By: Julio Olmo
I figure that the Lakers would struggle to find themselves. I just never thought that it would ever…TAKE THIS LONG!
Ever since I can remember the Los Angeles Lakers have always done an amazing job rebuilding and reloading their teams every year.
Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, Worthy, Shaq, Kobe etc…They just continue to plug-in star players into their lineup and march into the playoffs.
There was a different mentality in Los Angeles, unlike other franchises, Lakers Nation use to view any early playoff exit as a season of failure.
Kobe Bryant talked about winning titles as if he’d never won one before in his career and the Lakers have the Original Celebrity courtside seating during home games, Jack Nicholson.
But in 2012 the wheels really came off their wagon.
They plugged in star players, like they always do, but it turned into an absolute disaster.
At the time, Lakers Nation fans didn’t know which one was more embarrassing, not to make the playoffs or to make the playoffs and see their team possibly get sandblasted out of them.
Personally, I just could not imagine the Lakers not being in the playoffs back then, it would’ve been like celebrating Christmas without the Big Guy for me.
In retrospective, making the playoffs and getting sandblasted out, turned out to be way more embarrassing!
The Tell Signs of Pending Trouble were there from the start of the 2012 season, but never in my wildest scenarios I could picture the Los Angeles Lakers remaining this bad for this long.
Their 2012–13 roster started The Lakers Fall from Grace.
Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace were not a basketball team…they turned out to be the dysfunctional cast of a Reality Show.
There was and there still is, lots of blame to go around:
Dwight Howard ~ No offense to the Orlando Magic fans, but it took the Lakers Nation fans less than forty games to figure out this guy was a childish egomaniac and signing him was a huge mistake. I knew that Howard’s circus act will crash and burn in Los Angeles.
It was not a good sign, when a grown man had to be kept being reminded by others to act like an adult.
Getting rid off Andrew Bynum back then was absolutely necessary, they treated him with kids’ gloves for years while he recovered from multiple knee procedures and Bynum repaid their loyalty by launching ill-advised three pointers and disrespecting coaches in public.
Who knows what else he was up to behind the scenes? At least Dwight Howard never tried to hide his childish feelings.
Steve Nash ~ Yes!, Lakers Nation, he was as old and fragile as he looked on all those ESPN/TNT close-ups during his short tenure with the Lakers.
Nash was such a defensive liability that Kobe Bryant had to pull double duty. Score and defend the other team’s point guard because Nash couldn’t guard a door knob, which was reason Kobe suffered so many injuries in the later stages of his career.
Sure Nash could pass and hit an open shot, but if you have play in the NBA for over a decade, you should be able to hit a wide open jump shot when prompted.
The signing of Steve Nash was nothing more than a management smoke screen.
Kobe needed help in L.A., not another guy to just pass him the ball. It was ridiculous idea to even think that an old man like Steve Nash was going to be able to defend Brian Westbrook, Tony Parker or Chris Paul at the time.
Laker Fans momentarily relived memories of Show Time days past with the signing, but Magic Johnson brought Show Time *and NBA Titles to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Whenever the Lakers were on TV, all you had to do was count how many times the announcers mentioned the words Hall Fame or Phoenix Suns, when they talked about Nash. If it was more than seven or eight times during the broadcast, that is NBA Code for “He’s Done!”.
Pau Gasol ~ They needed to trade him right after the Chris Paul Trade was veto by David Stern. Trading Gasol back then would had brought in an up and coming young prospect. The Lakers waited too long to get rid off him, thus forfeiting any chance of getting any real value for him.
Mike D’Antoni ~ The biggest scam in Sports is the Vote of Confidence. Everybody knows what it really means, it is code for…
“We found a reason not to fire you!”
The Lakers fired Mike Brown and wanted to fire Mike D’Antoni a lot sooner than they did, but they were stuck with him.
It really didn’t matter who coached that team, the coach was going to inherit a mess anyway.
When Carmelo Anthony ran Mike D’Antoni out New York with his tail between the legs. His potential hiring should had send Red Flags throughout Lakers Nation.
In a tradition rich franchise like the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant’s ring of honor status is edged in Stone!
The Lakers traded for him after he was drafted straight out of High School and he played spectacularly from day one. Lakers Nation was spoiled as far as Kobe Bryant went.
Living up to the Michael Jordan legacy will always be every NBA player measuring stick.
Michael Jordan was able to carry mediocre teammates and win titles with them, so MJ is still the King, but…
Kobe Bryant was one Hell of Knight!
Metta World Peace ~ The guy was socially challenge, and per his very own words…Proud of It!
He could play defense and hit a jump shot, but, once again! If you have been playing in the NBA for over a decade you should be able to hit a wide open jump shot! Somebody in the Lakers’ organization with some stones finally told him that his overpaid services were no longer needed and he’s currently out of the NBA nowadays.
There were several players in that Lakers’ 2012–13 roster that played tough defense and could hit a wide open jump shot when needed for a fraction of whatever they were paying him at the time.
Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn, Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason were tough guys too, but they never climbed into the stands to get into a fight with fans half their size because they got their feelings hurt by their heckling like he did!
It’s still puzzling trying to figure out why the Lakers held on to GM Mitch Kupchak for as long as they did. Kupchak continually failed at his job. All of his personnel decisions made national news…for the wrong reasons!
The Chris Paul Trade Veto by David Stern basically accelerated the Lakers downfall.
It kill any chance Mike Brown had at succeeding as Laker’s head coach. Brown envisioned an offensive scheme being run by CP3, instead he had to settle for an over the hill Steve Nash, whom very quickly got injured.
The Lakers did have Chris Paul clear in their sights, and their road back to their Show Time Glory Days seemed imminent, but David Stern held a press conference and used a four letter word to describe the trade…VETO!
Lakers Nation was stun and lost for words on the reason The Commish was hating on ’em, but…
It was common knowledge around NBA circles that all of the owners had vow revenge against the Lakers after they pretty much got Pau Gasol for free years earlier from Memphis and they used David Stern to deliver the message.
The once proud franchise has been spiraling down ever since.
While Lakers Nation was celebrating another title back then, retaliation was patiently waiting around the corner for them.
After the CP3 Veto, the move should’ve been to get maximum value and trade Pau Gasol, not trading for Howard and Nash ( they could be had later), but Mitch Kupchak panicked. The result is the mess we’re seeing now.
Mike Brown’s only claim to fame is that he once coach and road the coattails’ of LeBron James in Cleveland.
By all counts Mike D’Antoni is a very nice man, but he could never get his Phoenix Suns pass the Western Conference Finals.
Personally I just can’t forget how Carmelo Anthony showed him who was boss and ran him out of New York.
It’s still puzzling to this very day for me to figure out what was former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak thinking when he made all these bad decisions, but he left one Hell of a mess for Magic Johnson to clean up!
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