Lakers’ Season Ends with a Whimper

From the very beginning (when THE trade was made – before a game had been played) I knew, and I often wrote, that this Lakers’ team, even when at full strength, was not a championship caliber team, that Deee-Wight was the most over-rated player in the NBA in a couple of decades, that the team had no chemistry, no defense, no bench, and at the start of the season, no capable coach. Relying on aging point guards, each with a history of more and more games missed due to injury, should have alone been a tip off as another key issue in the making, Hiring a new coach who disdains the need for, or any effort to improve, team defense was another nail in the team coffin.

Today’s fiasco against San Antonio clearly portrayed the differences between a winning organization and the team they put on the court, and a moribund organization that is clearly moving downhill at an alarming rate. The Spurs have a deep, talented, and young bench, and can pull an NBA caliber fivesome onto the court that can compete. Not so the Lakers.

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Injuries, some that should have been anticipated, were certainly a key, but even a healthy Kobe Bryant in the playoffs would not have mattered one iota. He might have gotten them one win against the Spurs. Maybe not even that. This was a team that was ill conceived and it should be ripped asunder. The time to make a trade for Howard has likely long passed, unless a sign-and-trade deal can somehow be done. What if four months ago they had done one of those three-team deals, perhaps getting Kevin Love and a lottery pick for Deee-Wight? How about Love and Shabazz Muhammad in Lakers’ uniforms next season? That will not happen now, but it could have been.

The laughing man, Deee-Wight Howard, has little basketball instinct, and through this painful season none of Kobe’s rubbed off on him. The laughing man was called for his second technical foul just as the third period started, and he, and his seven points, were done for the day and for the season. I was actually very happy to see Howard and his smirk leave the Lakers’ court – hopefully for good.

Viewers saw some great honesty from TNT commentator Reggie Miller, who emphatically said that in his opinion Deee-Wight is not a “Max” player and does not deserve “Max” money, that a “Max” player is one that a team can count on in the last five minutes of a game to score, and Howard clearly has no offensive talent, other than the power dunk game, and unless there is yet another rules change, fouling him and forcing him to attempt free throws will negate the talent he does have.

Speaking of free throws, no Laker other than the laughing man went to the free throw line until there were 22 seconds left in the third quarter. Howard shot a magnanimous 33% (3-of-9) as the only Laker who got to the line for the first 35-1/2 minutes of the game, until Darius Morris in the waning seconds of that third period. No Lakers’ player again went to the line until Pau Gasol with 4:17 left in the game, and no one after that. Another telling stat that demonstrates the Lakers’ play the entire season was their today committing 21 turnovers, to the Spurs eight.

There needs to be a major fix, and it has to start with telling the laughing man, bye-bye!

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