Close up view of Lakers bench.
The Los Angeles Lakers have constantly been in the news throughout the 2012-13 season because of the numerous pivotal moments they have encountered.
They are a high-profile team that just cannot avoid the spotlight. Every situation encountered in Lakerland is typically treated as important news because it affects the entire basketball landscape.
Today, we rank from worst to first the most pivotal moments in the 2012-13 Lakers' whirlwind season based on their overall impact on the franchise.
Mike Brown pointing Kobe in the right direction.
The Los Angeles Lakers started out the season using the Princeton offense in an effort to get the team playing together in a system they could trust and consistently turn to.
Pundits mocked the team’s playbook because they felt that it failed to incorporate the dynamic playmaking skills of Steve Nash. Fair or not, the offense lasted just about two weeks into the season, much like the coach who implemented it.
Jordan Hill in street clothes.
Before going down with an injury in early January, Jordan Hill was the lone productive reserve big man on the roster. His ability to snatch rebounds, score at the rim and contest shots gave the Lakers a little assurance when Dwight Howard headed to the bench.
His unavailability resulted in more minutes for Howard and Pau Gasol as well.
Mike Brown was given his walking papers.
The Los Angeles Lakers decided to part ways with Mike Brown after opening the season with four losses in the first five games. The move came as a shock, but many felt as though it was a needed change.
It eventually opened up the door for...
Mike Brown’s dismissal as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers prompted fans at Staples Center to chant in unison “We want Phil” in tribute to Phil Jackson.
It seemed as though fans would get what they were hoping for until the front office allegedly called an audible and decided to bypass the former Lakers head coach for another candidate.
Injured Steve Nash on Lakers bench.
The Los Angeles Lakers' season was derailed two games into the season when Steve Nash’s leg was fractured against the Portland Trail Blazers.
It was widely assumed the future Hall of Fame guard would easily direct the offense and make it the best in the league. His absence made that wish a mere fantasy.
Dwight Howard injurs shoulder.
Once news broke that Dwight Howard had torn his labrum, many speculated he would miss a substantial amount of games to nurse the injury. What initially seemed like a disaster turned out to be a small scare.
The former Defensive Player of the Year rested his body for a brief period of time and re-emerged as the Lakers’ starting center.
Would Kobe Bryant do the same for Dwight Howard?
Dwight Howard’s back and shoulder injuries forced him to sit a couple of games during the course of the season. Kobe Bryant was none too pleased with the attitude of the center and made a public plea requesting his big man suit up and play next to his teammates.
Howard responded publicly (via ESPN) that his superstar teammate was not a doctor and that he was in no position to tell him when he should be ready to play. The situation helped illustrate the disconnect between both players that had been mentioned by many media members.
Kobe finishes with authority.
Kobe Bryant turned back the clock during the month of December with some of his teammates missing time due to injury. Bryant went on a scoring binge, netting 33.8 points per game on 46.6 percent shooting from the field in 14 games.
The point outbursts that made Bryant famous earlier in his career came back to haunt the league in December, with the superstar torturing defenses with his vast array of skills and occasional displays of athleticism.
Kobe shares the wealth.
After grumblings during a late January game in Memphis about player roles, Kobe Bryant emerged as an elite facilitator of the Lakers offense. Bean passed up shots in favor of getting his teammates involved, consequently turning them into threats to the opposition.
The five-game stretch where Bryant went into point guard mode saw the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer average 16.6 points and 11.2 assists per game on 48.4 percent field-goal shooting. Mike D’Antoni and company won four of those five contests.
Pau Gasol on the bench.
After playing a little over a quarter of the games this season, Mike D’Antoni came to the conclusion that Pau Gasol’s lack of athleticism and prowess as a shooter made him a bad fit alongside the starters.
The Lakers coach made the unpopular decision of benching the two-time world champion and inserted him into the second unit.
Dwight Howard in the media.
Dwight Howard’s contract will expire at season’s end, thus giving him an opportunity to hit the free-agent market. Any attempt at discussing his future has been met with silence, given his refusal to commit to the Los Angeles Lakers long-term.
The national audience debated the possibility of trading the big man this season, considering he could potentially leave the franchise high and dry, but he remained with the team.
The concerns are still present though.
Pau Gasol in street clothes.
Pau Gasol partially tore his right plantar fascia in early February, essentially putting an end to his regular season. His inability to play not only removed a battle-tested player from the lineup, but it also robbed the Lakers of a productive reserve big man.
That last point is particularly important considering that the Purple and Gold had already lost their other backup power forward/center in Jordan Hill for the season.
Steve Nash beats Stephen Curry off the dribble.
Steve Nash rejoined his teammates on the court in a late December game against Golden State. Many thought he would give the offense a terrific boost given his passing skills, creativity with the ball and shooting.
On the night he returned to the lineup, he did not disappoint. He fed Kobe for some great looks at the rim and even drilled a killer jumper late in the ball game to remind the rest of the league just what it was the Lakers were missing.
The Los Angeles Lakers front office surprised the basketball world by hiring Mike D’Antoni as their head coach. The former Suns headman was seen as a bad fit for the roster given his penchant for an up-and-down game.
Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol would struggle to fit in his offensive system that relied on floor spacing with multiple shooters and one interior presence. The decision to hire D’Antoni was controversial because of the personnel and also because he wasn’t Phil Jackson, the man most assumed was getting the job.
Magic Johnson, Jerry West and now Kobe Bryant may have been the most glorified Lakers ever, but no one characterized the franchise quite like Jerry Buss.
His passing gave the franchise’s legends a forum to reunite once more and also opened up the door for current Purple and Gold greats to put into words just what it meant to be part of the Lakers family.