Will Short-handed Backcourt Be Lakers' Achilles Heel?
Funny what effect a big win has in the sports business. After the Los Angeles Lakers dispensed with the Boston Celtics in La La Land on Christmas Day, talks of big trades and free agent acquisitions faded like a Venice Beach sunset. Winning big battles, at least temporarily, alleviates roster headaches. Unfortunately, it's not always a complete cure.
Call it a hunch, but I just have an uneasy feeling that the pain will return come playoff time. The Lakers seem content with their current crew and don't appear in any kind of hurry to sign a fill-in for Jordan Farmar, who is out for several weeks after knee surgery.
But what kind of player will Farmar be when he comes back in February or March? Heck, he wasn't exactly shredding the net before tearing up his knee earlier this month. In fact, looking back six months, Farmar had plenty of problems with the Celtics in last year's NBA Finals.
So, why not cook up a trade or lure a playoff-savvy free agent? The Lakers haven't had a lightning-quick point guard since Lue flew town; a pesky little backcourt player to counter the Pauls, Parkers, and Rondos come May and June. (By the way, I don't advocate bringing in a controversial player like Marbury, who might upset the team chemistry.)
It's just one guy's opinion, but the front office should be looking for a solid defender with good ball-handling skills; someone who is unselfish, but can knock down an occasional shot.
If LA does manage to repeat as Western Conference champion, and I think that is a good bet, it's likely that they will be facing Doc Rivers' feisty green leprechauns once again. This time, with Bynum back, it may not be solely the Celtics' big boys that inflict the damage. The Lakers' achilles heel could be a backcourt with one effective but aging point guard. Even better-than-average players need reinforcements.
Though Phil Jackson seems to favor big guards and would likely insert Bryant and Vujacic in the mix, at least one observer is not convinced that it's the perfect solution. There is something to be said for having a variety of weapons (so to speak) at your disposal, including a few "small arms" like Lue or Pargo.
With Jan. 1 just around the corner, maybe Mitch Kupchack should elevate adding this "dagger" to the Lakers' arsenal on his resolutions list. That could help the purple and gold slay all foes on the way to an NBA championship and make for a very happy New Year in Tinsel Town.
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