I’m here to eat some crow. Yes, one of the Lakers’ toughest critics is here to admit it that I might have been too hard on the organization. This isn’t to say they never made mistakes, but for the most part, the Lakers’ offseason thus far is off to quite literally the best possible start.
The lesson: While it’s easy to see each mistake and show immediate concern in the moment, the bigger picture must remain in focus.
Would I have preferred the Lakers canned Byron immediately after Kobe’s glorious final game? Yeah, that would have been the ideal icing to that cake. Hell, I would’ve preferred they not retained his services after his first year, but hey, he played a vital role in getting to where we currently stand.
Might waiting as long as they did eventually fire him prevent them from at least speaking to other potential candidates? I’m on an island in that concern regardless, but yeah, that would have been nice. Even still, the Lakers head into the draft with a shiny new coach and an even glossier number two pick.
The journey here has been arguably the most painful stretch the Lakers have ever put their fans through, but if this team makes the right couple moves and the kids develop, all might be forgotten, and at least somewhat quickly — depending on those aforementioned moves.
The offseason serves to offer us a larger point: There will undoubtedly be frustrations along the way moving forward. No matter which of the duo atop this NBA draft “falls” to the Lakers at two, they’ll still enter next year a rookie. While it will be great to have someone not named Byron Scott at the helm, Walton steps into his shoes a rookie, himself. The rest of the Lakers’ core will be undoubtedly thrilled to play for Walton, but the longest-tenured guy on the roster right now is Robert Sacre.
Barring some kind of personnel-related miracle, the Lakers won’t vie for the playoffs next year. The over/under, much like it was heading into last season, will probably be somewhere in the 30s. There will be losses, a lot of them, with quite a few mistakes made that have everything to do with youth across the roster. Thing is: who cares?
This is what Byron completely missed out on, he completely ignored the bigger picture in the hopes of winning in the short term. He admitted to this even after doing so cost him his job.
Next season (hell, even this offseason), things might not turn out completely according to plan. Does this mean we should pass on criticizing those moves or in-game mistakes if we deem them poorly? Not remotely so, but we should also do so while keeping the larger picture in mind. At the very least, as we have no idea what that larger picture might be, we should remember that one exists.
Managing expectations has kind of become my “thing”. D’Angelo Russell was named to the All-NBA second team and not the first in large part due to initial expectations. Yet with all that said, some of my criticisms this year crossed the line into being unfair as I failed to manage my own. But here we are, on the verge of the latest most “important offseason in Lakers history” and I can only hope I learn my own lesson.