What was it? About four years ago when we were all enthralled by the slick maneuver that brought Dwight Howard to Los Angeles? And how about that sign-and-trade for Steve Nash? Three years ago?
And then we finally saw it wasn’t going to work, what? This season? We admired Lakers executives for being patient and determining that the head coach’s system was faulty. And we admired the front office for making a slow and methodical change.
The Lakers tried as hard as they could under the new coach, but when players started talking about a lack of chemistry, then the wheels of change began rolling forward.
Yes, it seems like years we’ve been watching this Lakers team, but, well, doesn’t time fly in Hollywood? And isn’t that the perfect setting for the melodrama that has taken place this season?
When Howard and Nash joined the Lakers, all of us were so impressed that we warned LeBron & Co. that the Heat dynasty might last only one year.
But five games into the season, the coach was fired. Nash missed 23 games with an injury. The new coach determined that Pau Gasol has a skill set a few notches below PSY’s. Dwight started acting like Dwight.
Gasol, Howard and Jordan Hill were lost to injuries, which led the Lakers to start a D-Leaguer at center. And Kobe announced to the world that the real problem for the Lakers was that “we’re old as s***.”
The only redeeming quality for the Lakers so far is that when they were put together, no one referred to them as a Dream Team.
But I started thinking about the Dream Team – and, of course, it was long ago decided there was only one – and I saw similarities between the Lakers and U.S. teams assembled to play internationally after 1992.
The Lakers – at least so far – are more like the 2002 World Championship team that had plenty of great players – Reggie Miller, Paul Pierce, etc. – but lost games to Argentina, Yugoslavia and Spain.
Then there was the 2004 Olympic team that had Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Amare Stoudemire, etc., and lost games to Argentina, Lithuania, and Puerto Rico.
The 2006 team – the first one under the new regime of Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski – had LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwight – and lost to Greece.
Those teams discovered that throwing together a group of star players and expecting a star result no longer worked internationally.
The Lakers are demonstrating that it does not work in the NBA. However, it should be pointed out that two years ago, the “Big Three” of the Heat had a 9-8 record at one point and there was talk about firing the coach.
Although the Lakers are six games under .500, there is plenty of time for them to turn their season around. But there is nothing to indicate they might.
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