*In any season there are ups and downs, turning points and crossroads that each team must navigate to try and reach their end goal. Obviously the Lakers fell short this year. Over at ESPN Los Angeles, Dave McMenamin does a good job picking out 20 moments that shaped the Lakers season. One note particularly stood out to me was the detailing of the Lakers 7 game roadie:
L.A. had another one of its patented Sunday letdown losses on Jan. 30 at home to Boston, losing by 13 points, but quickly regrouped by starting its longest road trip of the season with consecutive wins against the Hornets, Grizzlies, Celtics and Knicks in early February. Then it finished off the trip by losing three straight — in Orlando by 14, in Charlotte by 20 and in Cleveland by five (marking a 60-point turnaround from the last time the two teams met). “I think [my team] took their All-Star break before the game,” Jackson said. “They left before this game started. I’m not happy with the way this trip ended, that’s for sure.” All the goodwill from the back-to-back wins in Boston and New York was dashed by the feeble finish.
Looking back, this trip was indicative of the Lakers entire season. They could get up for certain games but ultimately didn’t have enough in them to sustain long pushes (post all-star break push aside). This year really was one where the peaks were not as high but the lows were lower than in seasons past.
*The playoffs are in full swing and while it’s hard not having the Lakers playing, the basketball on display has been fantastic. From the duels between Dirk and Durant to the defense of the Bulls and Heat, the competition is a joy to watch. I hope that you all are catching these games (especially since the potential lockout hangs over all of these games like a combination of a dark cloud and a wet blanket). If you’re looking for one of the better scouting reports on the Western Conference Finals, you should give Ryan Gome’s take a read. Gomes has long been known as one of the players who’s most savvy in thinking the game and his report for ESPN Los Angeles is an example of that.
*While the playoffs rage on, the Lakers are still transitioning and looking for a head coach. Sources are reporting that former Cav’s head man, Mike Brown, is now being considered for the job. My initial thoughts on this are mixed. Brown can obviously teach defense and he was able to achieve strong regular season success with a team fronted by a massive star. These would be key ingredients for any Laker coach. However, his offensive sets were limited (which is being kind) and his lack of success in the post season are checkmarks in the “cons” column of evaluating his tenure as a head man. In the end, I think the Lakers are merely being thorough by looking at all of the names that have surfaced with the media, but my preferences remain one of the trio of Shaw, Adelman, and Van Gundy (should he actually ever be officially approached for an interview).
*One of the fallouts of the Lakers going out of the playoffs the way that they did is that any success they had in the regular season is now under a microscope with some quick to diminish it or scrutinize it in a way that lessens how good they actually were. This happens at the team level and at the individual player level. Over at Silver Screen & Roll, there’s an in-depth look at whether or not Kobe Bryant deserved his nods to the All-NBA 1st Team and the All-Defense First Team. Give it a read as I feel there are some very good points made.
*If you have not heard, Jerry West is joining the Warriors in a non-decision making position on their executive board. He’ll essentially be another advisor the Warriors’ ownership group and will lend some needed credibility to a franchise that’s had about as much success as the Clippers over the past 20 years. One recent development, however, is that West’s role may also come with a small stake in ownership. Go read what Tim Kawakami (who’s been all over the West news) has to say about it.
*I really have nothing to say about this post beyond mentioning that you should go read it. Anything that has Ron Artest and Dostoyevsky’s Notes From The Underground together gets my thumbs up.
*Finally, this isn’t reading material but rather tasty treats for the eyes. If you’re on twitter and you’re not following @NBA-Photos, you’re missing out on some fantastic stuff. Like Kobe demolishing Okafor, Taj Gibson crushing Wade, and Durant’s outright assault on Brendan Haywood.