The Future of LeBron and the Lakers
HBO recently released a series called “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” highlighting the success of the Showtime Lakers. For 2021’s Lakers squad though, their show would be better fit to be called, “Losing Time.”
The Los Angeles Lakers finished their season 33-49 placing 11th in the Western Conference. Monday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Lakers have now dismissed championship winning head coach Frank Vogel. Vogel finishes his Lakers career with a record of 127-98.
The front office’s wishlist for a new coach who can change the culture includes Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder and Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers. Some say to watch for Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard or current Lakers assistant coaches David Fizdale and Phil Handy.
Regardless of who the team brings in, the biggest issue this past season was not the coaching, but rather the personnel.
This past offseason, the team went out and added Malik Monk, Austin Reaves, Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington, Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, Trevor Ariza and brought back Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo among other additions. The team also brought in Russell Westbrook via trade while giving up players who were staples of their championship run in Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
The team practically reconstructed its roster with 2013’s NBA All-Stars and a few veteran bench pieces. LeBron James was outspoken in saying none of this mattered though, that they would silence the doubters who claimed they were too old and that their talent would speak for itself.
James’ prophecy fell short. The team traded Rondo and waived Jordan. Ariza was a non-factor and players like Reaves and Talen Horton-Tucker played even more than James and Anthony Davis. The team battled injuries, COVID-19 and drama throughout the season. Westbrook played 78 games, but didn’t exactly endear himself with the Laker faithful, missing clutch shots and looking like he regressed significantly this season.
The season was a disaster and now the team must reevaluate the roster. Despite rumblings saying otherwise, all signs point to James returning to the team yet again. The team should look to bring back Monk if possible and rely on him, as well as Reaves and Horton-Tucker to continue to grow with more minutes and become a crucial part of their young core.
Anthony Davis hopefully can return to form, and coming off James’s second highest scoring average of his career with 30.3 PPG, the team will look to the pair to anchor the offensive attack yet again.
The team needs to move on from veterans like Anthony, Ellington, Bazemore and even Howard, and look to younger additions similar to Stanley Johnson who can be bench pieces with upside on both ends of the court.
Lastly, no matter what it takes, the team needs to move on from Westbrook and right their demons. He had a disastrous season and the Los Angeles market has not been kind to him. If a team is willing to take him, a divorce would be ideal.
With all of that said, if they can bring in the right coach, get younger and rid themselves of Westbrook’s contract, maybe they will be on the right track once more.
If they just bring in veterans though, or LeBron’s friends on the back nine of their careers, then this will happen again and a coaching change won’t matter because the team will inevitably find themselves tolling in disappointment and mediocrity yet again.
Dylan Price is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
First Year / Broadcast Journalism
Dylan Price is a first year student at Pennsylvania State University studying Journalism in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.
Dylan currently serves as a member of CommRadio at Penn State where he works with other students to cover Penn State and national sports. Outside of sports media, Dylan is an Eagle Scout and serves as a board member for FOTO, a special interest organization benefiting THON. Dylan also hosts his own podcast called, “Ambitious with Dylan Price” where he interviews NFL players, College Football coaches, NASCAR Champions, NHL Legends, Mental Health Advocates, ESPY Award Winners and Former U.S. Senators. Dylan also works as a staff writer for Empire Sports Media and Turn On The Jets covering the New York Jets, New York Yankees, Baseball, Boxing and NASCAR. Dylan intends to graduate and pursue a career in media or coaching as his biggest passion is entertaining and helping others.