Top 10 Blunders of Laker "Mis-Management" for 2011-2012

March 10, 2012

With the March 15th trade deadline fast approaching, there is still speculation that the Lakers might make some moves.  Any move they might make however, will only go towards mitigating a disastrous and "un-Laker-like" year of mismanagement.

Here are the top ten blunders by Lakers General Manger Jim Buss, er Mitch Kupchak, this year:

10. Failure to acquire Jeremy Lin or draft Isiah Thomas before the season.

Okay, I understand this is slightly unfair, which is why this reason is #10.  The entire league pretty much missed on Jeremy Lin.  However, the Lakers have less excuses than most.  Lin grew up in California, Los Angeles has a large Asian-American community, and the Lakers desperately need a point guard.  They should have been paying more attention.

Isiah Thomas was an explosive player in college despite his diminutive size.  An all-Pac-10 performer last year at the University of Washington, his potential should not have been hard to see.  Even with Tyreke Evans, the Sacramento Kings wisely used their the last pick of the second round to get Thomas, who is now flourishing in his rookie season.

The Lakers contrary decision to select Darius Morris cannot objectively be called a failure - yet.  Regardless, it certainly hasn't helped the Lakers long-standing point guard concerns this year.

9. Failure to amnesty Luke Walton and his salary.

The new Lakers apparently care a lot more about finances than wins. The decision not to use their amnesty clause on Luke Walton is a perfect example of this. Although the Lakers would have had to continue paying Walton's substantial salary, or making up the difference of what another team offered him, at least Walton's salary would not have been a salary cap restriction. But when you have no plans to use the extra money, then it doesn't really matter does it?

8. Believing signing Josh McRoberts, Troy Murphy, and Jason Kapono would actually create an impact.

While significant trades and free agent signings were taking place all around the NBA in the off-season, the Lakers pulled the trigger on Josh McRoberts, Troy Murphy, and Jason Kapono.   All decent players, but no game-changers.  The results have been predictable, as none of the three has yet to have a significant impact. The real surprise was that the Lakers didn't see this obvious outcome before signing these guys.

7. Failure to Sign J.R. Smith or Kenyon Martin from China.

Remember when players used to sacrifice money and playing time to be on the Lakers?  Now they willingly take less of either to play elsewhere.  Kenyon Martin chose the Clippers over the Lakers -willingly being Blake Griffin's back-up.  Why?  He believed they just had more potential and were more exciting.

J.R. Smith gave pretty much the same reasons for choosing the New York Knicks.  Although he likely would have started as a Laker, Smith comes off the bench in New York and gets less shots than Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and Jeremy Lin.

6. Letting Shannon Brown go in free agency.

Despite his penchant for dominating the ball and shooting too much, Brown added a much-needed dose of raw athleticism to the Lakers' backcourt.  Brown's energy on both sides of the ball, and his play above the rim provided excitement from an otherwise very old and slow team.  Although the emergence of rookie Andrew Goudelock has helped, Brown's loss has certainly been felt.

5. Failure to go after Chauncey Billups.

This blunder was utterly inexcusable, and is only not higher because Billups' subsequent injury is taken into consideration.  Billups was the perfect fit for the Lakers - a clutch, defensive-minded player who provided a major upgrade to their weakest position - point guard.  The fact that the guard-heavy Clippers got him for under $2 million (with New York paying the rest) is that much more embarrassing.

4. Failing to Pull Off the Chris Paul trade and alienating Gasol and Odom in the process.

While Lakers fans have a valid argument that NBA Commissioner David Stern unfairly vetoed their deal for Chris Paul, they still should have had a Plan B.  Furthermore, Gasol and Odom were a steep price to pay, even for the skills of Chris Paul.  The subsequent alienation of two of their crucial players, and the Lakers' arrogant and cold-hearted attitude towards both players stained the team's vaunted reputation and has hurt the team substantially.

3. Failure to acquire Dwight Howard. 

Of all of the failed moves thus far, this is the only one that has any hope of being rectified.  But don't count on it.  Howard has made it clear he wants to "be the man" wherever he goes.  Unfortunately, allegedly after speaking with Kobe Bryant, he was informed he would likely be more akin to a role player for the current Lakers.  Nice sales pitch.

I'm not sure Howard will be too excited at the prospect of merely shagging rebounds for Kobe's 12 - 25 missed shots per game.

2. Hiring Mike Brown to replace the retiring Phil Jackson.

Okay, we all understand that there is no equivalent replacement for Phil Jackson and his 11 NBA Championships credentials.  Yet the LA Lakers coaching job is, or should be, the most prestigious basketball coaching job in the entire world.  How could you assume that Mike Brown would easily slip into this high-pressure role?

There are the obvious concerns that Brown:  (1)  has no NBA titles; (2) is not the most experienced coach around; (3) may have merely ridden the coattails of LeBron James in Cleveland, and (4) coached teams that choked in the playoffs.

Furthermore, Brown is not an offensive coach.  While the Lakers certainly needed to focus on improving their defense, a huge question was how to transition (if at all) away from the triangle offense. 

If you wanted to merely tweak the triangle offense, perhaps keeping assistant coach Brian Shaw made sense.  If you wanted a younger coach with similar experience and qualifications, with the addition of Laker history, couldn't a play for Byron Scott have been made?  Finally, if you were planning a change, isn't Rick Adelman simply more qualified?

1. Lamar Odom - for a trade exception? - to the defending champion Dallas Mavericks!

This could easily be described as the single most embarrassing blunder of the Mitch Kupchak era - except this move really indicates it no longer is the Mitch Kupchak era in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, it is now the Jim Buss era.

In an utterly moronic move, the Lakers decided to upgrade one of their prime competitors in the West - the Dallas Mavericks - by giving them Lamar Odom for a "trade exception."

The loss of last year's NBA's 6th Man of the Year - for nothing tangible - reflects a gross underestimation of the value of Lamar Odom to the Lakers' last two championships. Other than his versatility and selflessness on the court, Odom was loved and respected by all of his teammates. Laker management didn't seem to care. 

When Odom, still emotionally hurt from being a part of the nixed Chris Paul trade, asked the Lakers to trade him, the team quickly obliged. A synopsis of their justification: "Well, he asked us to trade him, so we did." Since when is that how it works in professional basketball?

Of course, nobody really believes such nonsense. Essentially, this was just another salary dump and a cost-cutting measure based upon the abstract hope that Dwight Howard would fall somehow fall into the Lakers' lap.  We're still waiting on that one.

By Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

1 comment:

  1. jim buss is a silver spoon disgrace. he is gonna take down the franchise trying to please daddy and he doesn't know a thing about basketball.


We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...