Five Things to Watch: Los Angeles Lakers

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kobeinjuryIt’s going to be an interesting season for the Los Angeles Lakers. It is a time of obvious transition, but for a team that’s accustomed to being on top, it’s going to be much different than that.

After a season in which they struggled to simply reach the playoffs, things might be even more frustrating for the Lakers in 2014. So before we dive into the upcoming season, a quick look at all the turmoil from a season ago should help make the picture a little clearer.

In 2012-13 the Lakers had some issues. They fired a coach, had half their team miss serious time due to injuries, saw their longtime owner pass away and ultimately got swept in four blowout games against the eventual Western Conference champions in the first round.

Then, to top it all off, they lost their future cornerstone, Dwight Howard, to the Houston Rockets. Needless to say, it wasn’t a very good season.

Now things are even more uncertain.

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SH Blog: Heat come to terms with Beasley, Jim Buss explains why Lakers really passed on Phil Jackson

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Michael BeasleyYou can be an incredibly gifted scorer in the NBA, but these days, that skill alone won’t necessarily cut it for most teams. You have to understand the concept of team play on both ends of the court. Without it, you might not be good enough to stick around in the league, and that is especially true if you come with baggage.

At this point in his career, Michael Beasley is that guy – a pretty good scorer that doesn’t defend and causes off-court issues. For his inability to generate positive results both on and off the court, the forward was released by the Phoenix Suns earlier in the summer. How did he get to this point from what was supposed to be such a promising career? Mark Deeks of SBNation shared his opinion on the matter:

Michael Beasley has taken extremely little care in cultivating his image of a wasted talent. The oft-documented off-court distractions that started from before he even took the court in his rookie season need no further documenting. It is known. Indeed, his career seppuku is close to being all that is known about him.

This is the path he chose. It is now the default Beasley story. “Off-court issues.” “Distraction.” “Immature.” “Bust.” And other pejoratives of the sort. This is the default story because he himself has rather made it be so. There have been no on-court positives to offset it all, so there’s nothing else for the storytellers to tell.

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SH Blog: Jim Buss takes shot at Dwight Howard, Olajuwon says Howard is still raw

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Lakers Jim BussWhen certain NBA owners are unable to attain a coveted player via free agency, they seem to feel the need to lash out or downplay what that player meant to their franchise. Mark Cuban has done this a number of times: he said the Dallas Mavericks were better off by not signing Deron Williams in the summer of 2012, and basically said the same about Dwight Howard after missing out on the center this summer. We all know about the vicious things Dan Gilbert had to say about LeBron James when the forward bolted to the Miami Heat.

Add Jim Buss to the list of owners who feel bitter about the loss of a critical player. In an extended interview with NBA insider Ric Bucher about a variety of topics about the Los Angeles Lakers, Howard’s name came up and here is what Buss had to say about losing the center to the Houston Rockets, from The Hollywood Reporter:

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SH Blog: Pierce convinced Garnett to leave Boston, Wiggins wants to play for Raptors

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2010-01-01 00.00.00-9After weeks of knowing that the trio of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry would join the Brooklyn Nets, they were finally introduced at the Barclays Center on Thursday afternoon.

While all the reports were out on how everything came about and what pieces were needed to successfully get a blockbuster deal done between the Nets and the Boston Celtics, there was never an opportunity to hear how the trio coming from Boston really felt about what went down. 

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Tweet of the Day: David Lee

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After billboard signs, a team meeting and a Time Warner Cable presentation, the Los Angeles Lakers lost the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. Howard chose to take his talents to H-Town, joining forces with James Harden the the Rockets.

[Tweet of the Night: Dwight Howard makes official announcement of his decision to play for Houston]

The Lakers—as a team—are moving on without the All-Star center. However, it appears that the Lakers’ PR and marketing staffs are not on the same page with basketball operations.

Golden State Warriors All-Star power forward David Lee has the scoop.