bill-swift - May 23, 2012
The season came to a rather disappointing end for the Los Angeles Lakers Monday night as a team that is accustomed to challenging for supremacy in the conference (let alone the league) was ushered out of the championship race by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
After a tumultuous season that saw the team undergo a number of changes, the Lakers were thoroughly outplayed by the young, up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder team it would not be shocking to see a different team take the court next season.
There will be some talk that it was Mike Brown's fault that the Lakers were defeated so easily in the conference semi-finals again; coaches are always the first to get blamed. His system was too different from what the team was accustomed to running will be the argument. Without an off-season to implement it and work out the kinks too much was expected of the players during an already compact season.
Pau Gasol has already come under some heat and will likely continue to do so. The question is whether the criticism is fair. During the regular season he averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds a game; in the playoffs he averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds--not good.
Great players are expected to take their game to another level in the post season; maybe he just isn't a great player.Whatever he is, expect to see him in another uniform next season.
The team was only able to get rid of Lamar Odom because they had Andrew Bynum and Gasol to take up the slack. While Bynum acted like an absolute man-child at times during the season, he and Gasol did just that and then some most of the time. However, both were inconsistent in the playoffs and Bynum's comments after the game made it sound as if he was open to going somewhere else next season.
Tack these issues on with the fact that Kobe Bryant is not getting any younger or healthier and we could be talking about a very different Lakers team come this October. Owner Jerry Buss will want to surround his aging star with enough talent to bring another championship back to Los Angeles while Kobe is still an elite talent.
Expect to see some new faces wearing the purple and gold. The questions now will be who will go, who will stay, and who can they talk into coming to town.
Article by Travis Pulver