L.A. Lakers: Rumors of Lakers' Demise Are Not Supported by NBA History

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IJuly 4, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 03:  (L-R) Joe Smith #1, Luke Walton #4, Ron Artest #15, Kobe Bryant #24, Derek Fisher #2 and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers watch from the bench during the game against Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on April 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Some critics have called the Los Angeles Lakers loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA playoffs a defining moment for the team and the league as well, as it has been viewed by many as a sign that the rest of the NBA has finally caught up to the Lakers.

Age, the lack of a quality point guard and dependence on an antiquated offensive scheme are just a few of the reasons Los Angeles failed to defend their 2010 NBA title, and in all honesty, you had to see it coming.

The Miami Heat's ability to sign LeBron James, Chris Bosh and re-sign Dwyane Wade forced otherΒ teams to adjust to Pat Riley's blueprint and focus their energy on signing multiple star players to compete with the Heat's free-agency coup.

Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire in New York is one example, and many observers expect the biggest names in the free agency class of 2012 such as Dwight Howard and Chris Paul to form their own versions of super teams.

The convergence of stars in Miami was lauded as a bold and historical event, and it was seen by some as the next step in the NBA's evolution, but the only problem is the concept of pairing superstars to chase titles is not very bold, and it's definitely not historical.

In fact, Riley was only following a script that had been perfected during his time as coach of the Lakers during the Showtime era, and this same script is the reason it would be very foolish to dismiss the Lakers in the future.

Since the Lakers were formed in 1948, the franchise has only failed to qualify for the postseason five times, and they haveΒ captured 16 NBA titles and appeared in the NBA finals a total of 31 times, which is nearly half of all finals series played.

The Lakers as a franchise have defined success, but more importantly, they have also defined consistency, which makes all the talk about their demise a little silly.

I have been following the Lakers since 1980, and in that span, they have won 10 NBA championships and appeared in 16 finals series, and they have only failed to qualify for the postseason twice.

There have been down periods for the Lakers, but even in those instances, their season usually ended with a playoff appearance.

Lakers fans are rightfully described as an obnoxious bunch, but it's hard not to be when your team has only missed the playoffs twice in 30 years.

I'm sure that the Lakers success throughout NBA history is the reason for most of the venom the team has absorbed recently since success does breed contempt.

It's a little more difficult to understand how critics of the franchise can still predict ruin for the team, after all the lessons history has taught us about the Lakers.

And the 2010-11 version of the Lakers will be much better than other versions of the team who were coming off playoff losses that were preceded by championships or finals appearances.

The Lakers core of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom remains intact, and even if the team failed to address their biggest flaw, which is the point guard position, they are still a team capable of making a deep postseason run.

And if the current lockout does end soon and the Lakers can find a competent replacement for Derek Fisher in the starting lineup, then there is a very good chance that the team will find themselves in a position they are more familiar with than any other team in NBA history.

Critics may not see the Lakers reaching the pinnacle of NBA success anytime soon, but the consistently successful history of the franchise would certainly seem to suggest otherwise.


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