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Westsider Rider

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The future of the Lakers to be determined tonight

As you read that title I'm sure you're thinking "No shit Kenny, of course we know if the Lakers lose tonight and get down 0-3 this series is done." Obviously that is true so I'm not really going into that. The Lakers have done a good job at times throughout this series (Quarters 1-3 of the first game, and the 1st quarter of Game 2) at playing with the Suns, but as we all know basketball is a 48 minute game so unless the Lakers put together a 48 minute game we cannot win against the Suns.

What I'm more referring to is the long term future of this Lakers team. As I posted at halftime of Game 2, I was extremely frustrated at the play of this team and the fact that Mitch Kupchak has been on the radio numerous times saying this team will not undergo any major changes. Tonight may determine if he changes his tune to that statement. As Lamar Odom said after Sunday's game the Lakers lack camraderie right now. That is a statement you may expect to hear during the preseason or even in the early stages of the regular season and shake it off, but to hear it in the middle of the playoffs is disheartening. This team has gone through numerous injury problems so I understand how timing and teamwork may be off a bit but to say there is no camraderie really has me worried more than anything. You can see it in the body language of the players no one seems to really care that much aside from Kobe and hopefully this team doesn't start pointing fingers at each other. You can definitely see it in Smush Parker as he is clearly upset at his demotion this late in the year and when he's on the floor it doesn't even look like he wants to be there.

If the Lakers get blown out today it could be the signal for Lakers management to say enough and realize this team in its current state is nowhere near where they think it is. I believe last year's close call to take the Suns to 7 games put management in a comfort zone thinking that a couple years this same team could make a run at it, but it can't. Number 1, Smush must go. He is an offense first PG, who plays no D, he has a lot of steals because he finds himself reaching and getting steals or he'll let the defender by and pick up a stupid foul reaching for a steal or leaving his teammates out to dry and allowing an easy bucket. Aside from that we will have to wait and see what happens with free agency and the draft before I can make any statements as to what else I think this team needs. The Lakers franchise has a proud tradition of winning and this team is not living up to that standard. If you look up at the rafters of Staples there are only NBA Championship banners, no division championships, no conference championships as you will see with a lot of other teams. If you don't win the championship your season was not as successful as it should have been. Only a few years ago I was at Lakers games wondering where they would put the 10th banner up, Staples has them up in 3 rows of 3 and there isn't much space around them, now I'm left to ponder if I will see the 10th banner go up.

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