Watching the Lakers get swept off of the court this year made one thing glowingly clear: they lacked focus. The signs were there throughout the season, but because they have Kobe Bryant and because they are the two-time defending champions – everyone gave them a free pass through the year, truly believing that once the postseason rolled around, they would show up. Unfortunately for themselves and their loving fans, the Lakers transformed from a basketball super team into an arrogant collection of rockstars, and subsequently decided to blow off the 2010-11 playoffs.
It was apparent from the first quarter of their postseason’s opening game against the New Orleans Hornets –- and from that point on, as much as I believed in them when they were down 0-3 to Dallas, they never had a shot at three-peating. And it wasn’t because they lacked talent or skill –- even on the heels of the embarrassing 0-4 outing against the red-hot Mavericks, they still have one of the most formidable rosters in the league. Rather, their unfocused mentality unsurprisingly carried over into the playoffs, and it ultimately hit them where it hurt.
If the Lakers want any chance at returning to basketball glory one more time before Kobe Bryant begins to loose basketball relevancy, it is imperative that they establish focus now and maintain it through the season. And similar to this past season, their mentality during the 82-game season will carry over, but instead of it being defined by words such as loose, unfocused and complacent, the Lakers will be focused and hungry. But only if they start now, because after an exit akin to their Mother’s Day debacle, they have no other choice.
But where do they begin their road to redemption?