An Open Letter to Fix The Lakers


As I watch the NBA playoffs and Lakers’ coaching search in late May 2022, there are a few points that jump out at me.

An Open Letter to Fix The Lakers

As I watch the NBA playoffs and Lakers’ coaching search in late May 2022, there are a few points that jump out at me.

Current State of Laker Affairs

Last three years: Over the last three years, the Lakers have won a ring, been bounced in the first round, and failed to make the playoffs. The two latter seasons were deeemed unsuccessful in a town that demands excellence, but it is hard to overlook how much of a factor injury played in these failures. Regardless, after losing to Phoenix in the 2021 play-offs, the team traded role-players for Russ (which didn’t work, but it has a chance to in the future).

Five coaches in six years: Frank Vogel won an NBA championship in the bubble, a year in which the Lakers stars got enough rest to stay healthy for the stretch run. With a defense first mindset, the Lakers had a great defensive rating, despite Vogel famously being the team’s third choice.

2022 Playoff Picture

Given the current state of the 2022 play-offs, it is difficult to find a team that the Lakers could not beat, or at least contend with in a 6 or 7 game series.

Suns implode. This was predictable. Chris Paul is overrated and the Lakers would walk all over the Suns. Anthony Davis even said so mid-season, alluding to the Suns eliminating the Lakers from the 2021 playoffs. Even with Westbrook playing like a clown, the Suns wouldn’t stand a chance against a healthy Lakers squad.

Utah and Denver (predictably) fall off. These teams are (jokingly) interchangeable. They both have a slow-moving big man and a star guard. Anthony Davis eats both Gobert (Fauxbert) and Jokic’s (Sloppy fat boy’s) lunch, and Lebron and Russ overcome the guards of both these teams. Hell, Gobert has no business being DPOY, and Jokic has no business winning back-to-back MVP awards (more on that later…). Jokic was pulled late from games in their first round exit because he is a defensive liability.

Westbrook embarrassing Fauxbert.

Dallas and Memphis: One trick ponies. Sure, Memphis has a good record without Ja Morant, but these one-star teams would be overwhelmed by the veteran star power of the Lakers.

Golden State Warriors: The Lakers would push the Warriors to 6 or 7 and could certainly win the series. What is the Warriors answer for Anthony Davis? This series would depend heavily on how Russ plays team basketball…

Now What?

It is often said that you’re either getting better or getting worse, and the Lakers decided to fire their coach. This was despite a championship just two years ago, and injuries out of his control. However, many organizations do this to appease their fan-base and appear that they are being proactive.

Surprisingly, Rob Pelinka can easily fix the team’s issues.

Run it back: Russell Westbrook was brought in to keep the Lake Show afloat during Lebron and AD’s absence (load management, injury, etc.). Russ needs to lead the second unit and allow Lebron and AD to stay healthy by accepting his role and allowing the other members of the team to flourish. This will lessen the load on the stars, and the Lakers should enter the playoffs healthy in 2023.

3-and-D guys: The league is dominated by two way players that can catch and shoot. AD, Bron, and Russ can create their own shots. All we need is some veterans to sign up and accept their role. Trevor Ariza, Kendrick Nunn, and Malik Monk tried to do this last year, and only Monk showed any success at it. There are plenty of options available, and anyone remotely decent should allow the team to be competitive.

New coach: This means the least to me. The Lakers are a veteran team capable of governing themselves and their egos. It doesn’t matter (that much) who ends up coaching the team.

If healthy, the 2021–2022 Lakers would be, at worst, the second best team in the west and still competing for the championship. There’s no reason to believe that they can’t do the same in a years time with a few minor adjustments to ensure that they are in the best position to remain healthy for the stretch run.

Go Lakers!