Henry Abbot, the Godfather of basketball bloggers (don’t ask me about the horse head incident) has a long Laker post today, talking mostly about the future. A lot of smart people are quoted (plus me) and it makes a good read. Below is my part, but you really need to read the whole thing:
Under the very best of circumstances — everyone healthy and playing well as a team — the Lakers as constructed are a second-tier team in the West, maybe a four seed. I’d compare it to Houston (or maybe Denver), a team that none of the contenders really want to face, but a team that likely couldn’t beat them in a seven game series. Just about everyone in the organization has said they are “one player” away, and that’s fairly accurate, if that is a high-quality player.
The other thing the Lakers have had exposed in the playoffs is a lack of the confidence and composure a couple of battle-tested veterans can bring. You see it in San Antonio, Detroit, in other teams moving on. They are unflappable. The string of injuries created a lot of adversity for this team — and still does — but how the Lakers responded to that adversity has raised a lot of chemistry questions. In addition to the “one player” some more veteran stability is needed on this squad.
Also (and this strays a little from the question), the big off-season question becomes point guard. The spot has been at the root of the Lakers perimeter defense problems for two seasons now. It’s safe to say Smush is gone (and will make a fine back-up PG somewhere else, in a less structured offense, if he can accept the backup role). Farmar will be solid someday, but right now he needs someone to share that role with. The Lakers don’t have the money to get a Billups or Mo Williams in free agency. So this will be the most important, and hardest question, for management to deal with this off-season.