5 Ways Los Angeles Lakers Can Ensure Themselves A Better 2014-15 Season
The Lakers Must Make Drastic Moves This Offseason
This season could not have been anymore disastrous than it has been for the Los Angeles Lakers. The team is currently in dead last in the Western Conference and has the fourth worst record in the entire NBA. Certainly something both the fans as well as the rest of the league are not familiar with.
Los Angeles has been one of the most storied, successful franchises in professional sports history. Somehow, the team has always managed to stay at the very least competitive, however this season has been extremely unusual. A lot of the losing can be accredited to the absence of superstar Kobe Bryant but still, being last in the conference is unacceptable, plain and simple. Teams such as the Utah Jazz, for example, came into the season expected to be tanking for a top pick. Nothing has changed with that situation. The Lakers were not expected to be tanking though, and the team is still in last place. It just does not make any sense.
Losing is one thing and lack of effort is something totally different. The most upsetting part about this season has been the lack of effort on the defensive end. It does not matter who is on the coaching staff, these are professional players. Professional players are expected to have some prior knowledge of the basic fundamentals of basketball. Defense has been taught to athletes since elementary school, so to simply not care enough to exhibit any energy on that side is absolutely pitiful.
We must face it, this team is in utter disarray. As a result, a complete rebuild is necessary that includes some drastic moves. Not every move may be favorable to the fans, but in order to succeed they must be done.
5. Sign Luol Deng in Free Agency
Most fans are anticipating that the Lakers hold off on signing any big names this offseason in pursuit of Kevin Love in 2015. However, if Los Angeles wants to compete and put together an all-around solid team, they are better off signing Luol Deng. The major perk to bringing him in is that he will not demand too steep of a salary. The Lakers would likely have enough space to sign Deng along with an additional star in free agency, creating a possible contending team.
4. Fire Mike D'Antoni
It is no secret that Lakers fans have had enough of Mike D'Antoni, and who can blame them? The D'Antoni experiment could not have gone any worse. We must cut him some slack because he has had to deal with a multitude of injuries. On the contrary though, his lineups have been questionable almost every single game. No player has known for sure how many minutes that they will be playing or if they will even be playing at all. A coach simply cannot be that inconsistent night in and night out. He needs to go.
3. Acquire Joel Embiid By All Means Necessary
Joel Embiid has a legitimate shot at being selected number one overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. Based on his skill set and potential, the attention is most definitely warranted. The Lakers also have a strong chance at winning the lottery this year if the team continues to play the way that they have. Embiid could be the once upside for Los Angeles losing so many game this season, but he is no guarantee. If he is selected before the Lakers are on the clock, GM Mitch Kupchak must find a way to acquire him. Embiid can be a franchise changing player, especially on the center-loving Lakers.
2. Waive Steve Nash, Use the Money to Re-Sign Pau Gasol
Here's when it comes down to the tough decision making. Nobody wants to root against Steve Nash as he is one of the best guys in the entire league. He has worked tirelessly to get back into playing shape, but his body unfortunately will not allow him to. At this point, Nash is only a burden to the team as his salary reaches almost $10 million next season. The Lakers cannot have this on the books, so if Nash does not retire Los Angeles has to use the stretch provision on him, which would ultimately end up in waiving him..
With this extra salary cap, the Lakers must re-sign Pau Gasol with his Bird Rights. If D'Antoni is fired Gasol will likely consider sticking around instead of bailing out. Gasol is still extremely talented and will be an asset if brought back.
1. Have Jeanie Buss Take Over
Finally, possibly the most impossible obstacle to achieve on this list, Jeanie Buss must take over her brother Jim Buss's spot to oversee basketball decisions. Jim Buss has proven himself to be egotistical in his decision making rather than doing what is in the best interest of the team. The most prominent example being, hiring D'Antoni over the coaching legend, Phil Jackson. No explanation can be valid enough for Laker fans to forgive Jim Buss for this decision. His sister and also part owner, Jeanie Buss, must force Jim out of office so the team can prosper. Without this occurring, I'm not sure the team will ever get back to having the success they once did.