5 Reasons the Los Angeles Lakers Will Make It Past the Second Round in the 2013
For two years in row, the Los Angeles Lakers have been knocked out of the playoffs in the second round. While it wasn't a sweep this year, it doesn't really matter, because they didn't win it all. What does matter is that the Lakers change things up to get out of the second round.
These are five reasons you can expect to see them in the Western Conference Finals and beyond in 2013.
The Lakers Organization WILL Make Roster Moves
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There is no question at all that the Lakers team who got knocked out of the playoffs this year will not be the team who enters them the next. This team, as constructed, is nothing more than a road bump for other teams to overcome. This is much like how the Lakers have typically viewed teams like the Dallas Mavericks (until last year that is).
GM Mitch Kupchak is one of the smartest men in basketball. He was able to unload both Luke Walton's and Derek Fisher's contracts last season, and got two quality players in return. He snuck Pau Gasol, in his prime, away from the Memphis Grizzlies. Who else can do these things?
Kupchak knows exactly what he's doing and there's very little doubt that he won't make huge changes to the current Lakers roster.
They'll Have a Regular off-Season
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Last season the players and everyone in the league (i.e. coaches) had to deal with the lockout which shortened their offseason. Yeah, they should have been working out in the meantime, but not everyone is Kobe Bryant (although that kind of dedication would be nice). Lamar Odom and Metta World Peace came into the season in particularly horrible shape.
With a regular length offseason, there will be no lag time between players getting their bodies NBA-ready and the first game of the year. They'll be conditioned, in sync and ready to go.
It's Coach Mike Brown's Second Season
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Last season was not a good indicator of what coach Mike Brown can truly do with this team. Sure, we got to see a snippet of what he intends to do, but it wasn't fair to him or the team to expect them to go far. Look at the four teams still in the playoffs. All of them have had their coaches for several years.
The Lakers lost a legendary coach, and brought in a new one who intended to do away with all things triangle. Many Lakers have played with nothing but the triangle for years,so learning a new system was tough. Especially when you factor in the shortened offseason and preseason. They were learning as they went.
Next season they'll have far more time to prepare and coach Brown will get the quality time with his players that he needs.
Players Will Get Used to Their New Team (i.e. Sessions and Hill)
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While some high salary- low production players will be unloaded this offseason, there are some players who will very likely stick around. The newly acquired Jordan Hill and Ramon Sessions are these players.
Since there is a longer offseason, they will get quality time with the leaders of the team, namely Kobe Bryant and coach Mike Brown. It's so interesting that after Brown started treating Ramon in a familiar way, rather than as a "coach," in the playoffs, the man started producing and played like he did when the Lakers first got him.
Hill is hungry to win and get minutes. He knows that even if Bynum is traded, he will have to fight and show dedication to excellence in order to get his minutes. He'll have a great opportunity to seek guidance and build rapport in the offseason.
It's Too Embarassing to Lose Again
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The last reason the Lakers will make it past the second round is that they're embarrassed. It's okay for this to happen to other organizations, but not the Lakers. Kobe Byant has been in the playoffs every year except for two in his whole career; since he was 18 years old. That's because he's a Laker, and Lakers win.
To the Lakers fans out there, you aren't the only ones embarrassed. While some players may seem like they don't care (*cough* Andrew Bynum), the front office does. These are the men following in Jerry West and Jerry Buss's footsteps. Mike Brown doesn't want to live in Phil Jackson's shadow forever either.
It's embarrassing to lose in the second round two years in a row, and no one feels it more than the people that directly make up the organization.