Who knew Kobe Bryant would be so fond of Twitter, or so critical towards his own team, the Los Angeles Lakers, acting like a GM-fan regarding every decision, be it Dwight Howard leaving or Metta World Peace getting the amnesty clause used on him.
Bryant knows his power and influence, and yet he still manages to throw more gasoline on the burning flames of what used to be the Lakers’ title hopes not too long ago, giving million his opinion on how the team should be run.
It also shows quite a bit of naivety from Bryant about the Lakers’ situation, tweeting that the team should have kept Metta World Peace (maybe, it was mostly a luxury tax reason, they won’t find someone better at a minimum salary they can offer) and simply add free agents.
Maybe Bryant hasn’t checked the Lakers’ ability to spend or the roster they have, but it would have taken more than just a few free agency signing to make a run, even for the playoffs. The Lakers had no center (Jordan Hill isn’t going to start for them, no way that happens), and had to address that with the Mid-Level Exception. As for releasing Metta World Peace and suddenly being in a big hole when it comes to a small forward…
As it was mentioned here yesterday, the list of potential small forward the Lakers might go for, unless they have some sort of trade no one can even think of going on, is quite limited. Maybe there’s still a way to go back from the World Peace release, but at the moment, it seems like the Lakers are going to have a very short-on-quality lineup, even if they keep adding minimum contracts like Jordan Farmar.
Back to “making a run”, as Bryant referred to it. Last season, the Lakers barely made it into the playoffs. Bryant gave it everything he had (Which isn’t always the best thing), while Dwight Howard struggled for various issues, Pau Gasol struggled for a number of reasons and Steve Nash’s body simply broke down. An old team, with hardly any defense, and not the greatest chemistry in the world.
So maybe the chemistry issues were solved with Howard walking out the door. This still doesn’t solve the age issue, at least to the team’s top players, with a lineup that right now Chris Kaman is the youngest player on it (and will be turning 32 next season). He himself got benched last season during some point because his defense wasn’t good enough for the Mavs, a team that didn’t make the playoffs.
If Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash are healthy from day 1 till late April, the Lakers can make the postseason. They’re still that good, on offense at least. But for Bryant to become an everyday stopped on defense again? Not likely. They’ve also given up on Earl Clark, one of the few players on the team last season at least trying to play transition and perimeter defense.
Things look bleak for the Lakers, and only the most optimistic and yet delusional fans think that the team being patched up for some sort of run next season is going to be remotely close to competitive when it comes to the best teams in the West. Playoffs? Too many ifs need to happen and come through for the franchise’s current streak to stay alive. Usually, something has to go wrong, and the Lakers don’t have a way to react for that scenario.