An image from the just-completed worst season that this Lakers franchise has ever had in 67 years of playing professional basketball
Only an idiotic Laker fan would look at their 21-61 record this season – the worst in the team’s illustrious history – and think anything positive about it.
And only that same idiot would vehemently argue with anyone who states that this franchise has hit rock bottom.
Enough analysis and scrutiny has been written about these Lakers and their woes that have been going on for the past two years now, as their combined record over that span is – get this – 48-116.
So let’s get down to answering the question worded in this article’s title, in my humble, not-a-complete-expert-but-someone-who-has-grown-up-with-the-Lakers-and-has-followed-them-for-a-long-time’s opinion:
I can definitely see this purple and gold squad that has been the elite sports team in Los Angeles and Southern California, complete with its iconic Laker Girls, for decades returning to elite status in the NBA.
But that return to prominence, the process of that, will not begin until 2016-17, when the contract of this gentleman wearing #24 (pictured below) runs out and he hopefully retires.
A few months ago I posted an article on this site which was an open letter to this man, saying with his advancing age and suffering season-ending injuries three years running , not to mention having absolutely nothing else to prove with his five championship rings and earning enough money so his great-grandchildren would never have to work if they don’t want to…
That he should announce his retirement for the good of the team.
I still feel that way, as the one year and $24 million left on his contract could be better served to improve the Lakers.
Not that I think they should go the route they have always gone and their fan base has always expected, coughing up big money for big name free agents.
No, these Lakers do not need to reload – and they should not reload.
THEY NEED TO REBUILD.
Start from virtual scratch in the form of young players via the NBA Draft.
Jordan Clarkson, who showed to be a bright spot among the Laker ineptitude, and Julius Randle, who unfortunately couldn’t get through the first half of the first game before breaking his leg, represent a good start to the rebuilding process that General Manager Mitch Kupchak and the Buss family sorely need to partake in.
There are a bunch of guys, including seven from a University of Kentucky team that was two wins away from being the first undefeated national champion since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers, that could fit in rather well in a rebuilding project.
That can join a team trying to heal itself, return to a level of being competitive if not being in contention for the postseason, and grow together.
That is the best way, I feel, for any team to get back into prominence.
Perhaps they can splurge for one big name guy; I hear that Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant, among others, may be available a year from now.
But I am more than convinced – and have been for quite some time – that the future of the Los Angeles Lakers lies in rebuilding with young players, NOT reloading with an all-star squad who became such with other teams.
In other words, there is a new word that I would like to impose on the Laker organization, the community and its Laker Nation fan base that has been scoffed at for far too long.
And which simply has to be accepted and embraced going forward:
Perhaps the biggest bright spot in the Bad News Bears-like existence that the Lakers have had these past two seasons…