Hitting the reset button on the Lakers using NBA 2K
The Los Angeles Lakers have been playing inspired ball recently & it hasn’t gone unnoticed that this has coincided with the team not having its biggest conundrum in the lineup due to injury. To my excitement, it’s allowed people to be reminded of the talents of the players around him.
In this, the age of 35-foot pull-up threes, scoring point guards, & stretch bigs, everyone is expected to impact the game in the same kind of way or they’re labeled obsolete or old-school.
However, while the players & puppeteers change, the name of the game doesn’t: You must have a team of cohesive players with unique personalities all working towards a singular goal. THIS is where I think Lakers brass has gone wrong.
Granted, this isn’t the work of any singular entity. Mitch Kupchak & Jim Buss were stragglers from an era of basketball that was dope but also monotone & bland as the world caught up to the United States. There was a complacency in all aspects & the rat race we call existence is the result of such laziness.
But as we millennials shift to the vanguard, I had hopes that Magic Johnson & Rob Pelinka had seen enough of both the real & inside the NBA world to appreciate that you cannot buy into the hype if you want to build a successful business brand.
Ask Golden State & Minnesota.
Call up Koby Altman, ask him how he’s doing.
Then, do the same to Danny Ainge. Then let’s chat.
There’s a huge difference in swinging for the fences when you’ve put in the work versus taking a chance & hoping it works. Don’t get me wrong. Koby Altman has a dope story & he’ll be just fine. But Danny Ainge is a multi-sport athlete. There’s transferrable qualities you look for in athletes of the old school vein.
Danny also understands & knows what it’s like to fail at the highest levels.
He traded fan favorite Antoine Walker, who never truly recovered & even publicly clashed with former head coach Jim O’Brien. Meanwhile, Koby hasn’t experienced much difficulty.
Unfortunately, Koby, this is your tape. Reconfiguring the decision 2.0: From Man back to Luh Boy.
Meanwhile, back in LA LA Land, the purple & gold brass is trapped in the upside down themselves. They got it right retiring both of Kobe Bryant's numbers. Being that Rob is Kobe’s former agent, that was a sitter.
But everything else? ShamWOW.
Even the Bogut experiment didn’t encompass the entire season.
Not a great sign.
Not a great start.
Luke Walton flexed his basketball mettle & in my limited purview, showed more when faced with adversity than Steve Kerr has with a lot of the same pieces that are in Oakland now. And yet Luke is now being discussed as an average or subpar basketball mind, partially due to the spotlight he accepts as being the Lakers coach but also the fact that nobody is holding management accountable for shaky decisions.
I don’t have enough words to rant on Mozgov & Deng’s contracts now but let’s just say this: I’ve never seen a more pathetic waste of money & I watched someone voluntarily spend money on a Keri Hilson concert. DO BETTER KINGS & QUEENS!
Mind you, what you’re about to experience is a three-part journey using a medium that you probably brushed off: NBA 2K video games.
Going as far back as the Julius Randle draft, I’ve had issue with Lakers picks.
It has been understood for a while now that one of the LA threesome of Kevin Love/Paul George/Russell Westbrook would potentially be interested in coming home while knowing Kobe couldn’t play forever. Yet management has been piss-poor in at least sustaining an entertaining product in the meantime. Randle’s grown on me over the last few seasons – which you’ll see later - as his skillset grows but I had hopes of getting Jabari Parker in his draft.
While that was unrealistic, everything I speak of next was wholly plausible:
I called ESPN radio on the day after the 2014 draft from San Antonio, Texas to ask the panel if the Lake Show would regret passing on Okafor for Russell & it was a resounding “no.”
Yet, they trade him & the Mozgov contract for a player with nothing more than NBA production to show that Okafor doesn’t. Ingram was the grand slam pick. They couldn’t get it wrong. Simmons would’ve been beautiful but he wasn't falling past the first pick & I’m okay with that.
But that latest choice is the one that drives me most nuts.
Byron Scott tried to warn folks & got sacked for it. But Russell wasn’t made for this spotlight.
Neither is Lonzo. There’s character flaws, maturity questions & quite frankly, now that I have numbers that can back it up: Lonzo’s intangibles are really nothing more than what you ask the average basketball player to bring to the table in a normal sense.
He seems the anomaly in the age of Steph, Kyrie, Dame & Russ at the one but hit-ahead passes & looking up the floor first are simply old school ideals. I know because I’m an old school athlete. I’ll never win a sprint or high jump, but I have a strong IQ. Well, Lonzo plays like me except with no jumper.
Meanwhile Tatum literally checked a ton of boxes, mainly off the court in his capacity to do & say the right things. Not to mention, that single mom’s plan would be a super hit in LA.