The Los Angeles Lakers will miss the 2013 NBA Playoffs, with this season being an abomination of epic magnitude. The Lakers have missed the playoffs only twice in the past 37 years, with the last missed playoff season occurring in their 2004-2005 campaign.
The Lakers are currently 10th place in the Western Conference, holding a 20-26 record. This team roster featuring Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, who could all be possibly in the Hall of Fame once their careers are over.
There is much blame to be had for this awful debacle. Jim Buss, the son of Jerry Buss and current acting owner of the Lakers, has proven to be one of the worst owner/executives we have seen in a long time.
His inability to hire Phil Jackson, an 11-time NBA champion head coach with a career winning percentage of .704, is atrocious.
The firing of Mike Brown, after only 5 games, is inexcusable. Also, let’s not forget that the Lakers, under Brown, were third in the division last year. They went to the playoffs, ultimately losing in the Western Conference Semifinals to the highly favored Oklahoma City Thunder.
Mike D’Antoni‘s Lakers are currently out of the playoff picture, while Phil Jackson has never missed the playoffs in his entire coaching career.
Jim Buss wen through great lengths to remove anything that was associated with Jackson: from the equipment mangers, to all of the assistant coaches and any memorabilia featuring his name. Buss’ obvious enormous ego purely detested this himself, because Jackson received the majority of the credit and adulation.
Buss wants to run “The Lake Show” and continues to leave his tainted fingerprints all over the organization. He should refer all the basketball-related decisions to a professional, objective and qualified individual. Buss also has an issue with Jackson being engaged to his sister, Jeanie. Sounds like the typical L.A. soap opera.
D’Antoni also shares the blame. First, I’m tired of hearing about his system. How many championships has that system won? It’s not a system, its a gimmick. Jackson is the one who has a system. Greg Popovich has a system. D’Antoni hasn’t done anything special.
When Mike D’Antoni coaching for the New York Knicks, he had three losing seasons with a combined win-loss record of 121-167, which is not very impressive.
While D’Antoni was coaching the Phoenix Suns, his teams never reached NBA Finals, and he arguably had one of the best point guards in the league at the time in Nash. Nash is too old, has missed the majority of the season already due to a leg injury and wont be able to bail D’Antoni out this year.
Bryant also takes some blame as well. I will admit, I am a huge fan of the Black Mamba. I have been covering him since the night he was drafted in 1996. However, Bryant’s shot selection and his enormous amount of shot attempts this year is causing the team to rapidly sink.
The one knock against Kobe Bryant, is that he never seemed to be player that made his teammates better. Howard needs more touches. Howard doesn’t seem to be 100-percent this year, after coming of back surgery, but I feel he can difference maker.
Bryant should not be leading the NBA in shot attempts at this point of his career. Bryant has other options on this current team. He has currently hoisted a whopping 981 field goal attempts, with the closest player being 119 shots behind him.
I also question Bryant’s focus this year. Not too long ago, he made a Twitter account. He seems to be preoccupied in the social media realms that he has notably criticized other star players for being involved in.
However, the Lakers have been improving these last few games. Bryant has started turning into an Oscar Robertson, as D’Antoni says so himself. He’s been passing the ball a lot of as of late, which led to the team’s big improvement recently.
On the other hand, Gasol still doesn’t seem too happy coming off the bench, and that could be a problem for the future. Also, seeing the Lakers blow a 13-point lead late in the game to the Suns a few days ago still shows flaws on D’Antoni’s system.
With all of that being said, no playoffs for the Lakers this year.