Change is inevitable; however, growth is debatable.
The Los Angeles Lakers have heard they are not good enough since their unceremonious exit from last year’s playoffs. Every analyst from here to Bangladesh has written an article explaining who the Lakers need and who they do not. There have been countless articles written about how imperative it is that the Purple and Gold trade for this player because only he can return them to championship allure.
As the trade deadline quickly approaches, the Lakers must ignore all previous cries for change and stand steadfast with their current group of combatants. At this point, LA’s royal family must prepare for
battle with the soldiers who have carried their flag thus far. Changing players at this juncture would not bring championship glory, but most of all, it could cost them a chance to compete.
Now, it is not that they do not need help; it is that at this point, the ship has sailed. You know what you have and who you have it from. To bring in a new face and expect them to direct or redirect this group is delusional.
The Lakers brass have known since the offseason they were tragically flawed at the lead guard position and have not addressed it. Yes, they were sabotaged by the league with the Chris Paul acquisition and departure, but there are other players with less name recognition that would have helped this current group. The decision to stay as presently assembled may, in fact, be through design, but nevertheless, it is inconsequential at this point.
To add a starting-caliber NBA point guard at this junction would ruin the team more than help them. The Lakers are in a race for Western Conference supremacy; it is foolish to change drivers in mid-race. Yes, the Lakers have looked pathetic on offense at times, but their defense has been durable and steadfast.
The Lakers have become a defensive stalwart, ranking in the top 10 in opponents' points per game, opponents' field-goal percentage, blocks and opponents' three-point percentage. This will allow them to remain competitive regardless of their offensive woes.
This notion that it is imperative the Lakers make a move is “mob-ology” at its best. You have a group of anointed basketball minds who have decided every team and player needs this to be successful. However, when the prescribed remedy fails to take place and the selected team still manages success, the soothsayer is never removed from his throne.
The Lakers are primed for a strong playoff run as presently constructed, and any new addition would disrupt that. There struggles with dynamic point guards have been a thorn in every Purple and Gold fan's hide. In games versus the top lead guards in the league, Los Angeles sits at 6-6. Those six losses came against Derrick Rose, Ty Lawson, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook and John Wall.
Of those opponents, only Westbrook and Rose have yet to lose to LA. This gives credence that despite any issues they have at defending the point/lead guard position, they still have managed to overcome them. The main reason they have been able to overcome their deficiencies at defending that position is size.
The Lakers start two seven-footers and can, at times, have three giraffes on the floor at one time. This is a deterrent to the waterbugs who have terrorized the Lakers during the season. Why give away a significant advantage over your opponent for a moderate upgrade on your roster? In addition, this
upgrade would not guarantee a Finals run. Since the 2000 NBA Finals, only two teams have won championships after making midseason trades that altered their starting five.
The 2000 Lakers when they added Glen Rice and the 2004 Detroit Pistons with Rasheed Wallace were circumstances when the nucleus of the teams were not interrupted and the players were not asked to be play vital, and in LA’s case, monumental roles in the team’s championship drive.
At this point, any change to the Lakers starting five would cost the team Gasol and/or Bynum, which could mean death to any hopes of a title. The Lakers currently sit third in the conference and just two games out of second. In the Western Conference, only Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers have lead guards who can take over a series, but the Lakers with their size intact are capable of offsetting that weakness because both of those clubs have little to know inside presence.
That means the Lakers can slow down the game and limit Westbrook and Paul’s effectiveness by minimizing their open court positions and being EXTREMELY physical with them in the halfcourt sets.
In any squad there are strengths and weaknesses, but that does mean you weaken your strength in order to even out your weakness. The Lakers must accentuate what they do have and not be enamored with what they do not. The NBA used to be a league where the giants were kings. It is now time for the team of giants to regain their throne.