As the current NBA season started, the Los Angeles Lakers were coming off back-to-back championships and three straight NBA Finals appearances. In supposedly upgrading its roster with the signings of Steve Blake and Matt Barnes, many NBA pundits had the Lakers as early favorites to win the title this year.
Yet, some issues began to show this season for LA. First, speedy point guards became even more of a nuisance, as many tended to have career games against the Lakers. Although the Lakers started off on a roll in winning eight straight to open the season, LA soon found itself losing more than two games in a row for the first time in the Kobe Bryant-Pau Gasol era.
In fact, the team had losing streaks of four and five games throughout the season.
The players tended to use their experience to make themselves confident that despite the struggles shown during the season (outside shooting, bench play, being outworked by younger and more athletic players), the team could flip the switch in the playoffs.
When most NBA analysts predicted an LA sweep of the New Orleans Hornets in the first round of the playoffs, LA struggled to beat a severely outmatched Hornets squad in six games. When most pundits predicted LA to win against Dallas, the Mavericks were the ones who played like champions in sweeping the Lakers, including an embarrassing closeout game in Dallas on Sunday.
It is clear that LA will struggle just to make the NBA Finals over the few remaining years of the Kobe Bryant era. In short, the team needs to get younger, acquire better outside shooters and work toward having a core group of players that have strong work ethics like Kobe.
The proposals I put forth describe 10 ideas that GM Mitch Kupchak and owner Jerry Buss should strongly consider during the offseason. If all of the following ideas come to fruition, the Lakers will have a great chance to win a few more championships over the next five years.