That team featured the youth of players such as: Trevor Ariza, Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown and Andrew Bynum. Now the Lakers feature one of the oldest teams in the NBA.
Ariza was replaced by Ron Artest and Farmar was replaced by Steve Blake, both moves were seen as upgrades but now most of Lakers Nation probably wishes that Kupchak could have a mulligan on those decisions.
The 31-year-old Artest still shows flashes of his younger self with tough defense but he can be characterized as inconsistent, and there are all too many times when the former defensive player of the year looks slow. Meanwhile, Ariza, 25, is still developing as a player in nearly every facet of the game. Ariza’s development was put on full display when he gave his former teammates headaches in the first round of the playoffs.
Kupchak also made a mistake at the point guard position. The Lakers general manager can’t be blamed for the departure of Jordan Farmar, but the addition of Steve Blake turned into a major bust in his first season with L.A.
The Lakers need a young, quick point guard in order to survive in a now point guard driven league, and Blake certainly doesn’t have those traits. This was proven in the playoffs when Chris Paul made history and even worse, role players such as J.J. Barea ran circles around the Lakers defense.
The Lakers bench also featured quality role players such as Sasha Vujacic, DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell. The Machine was sent to New Jersey in a cap saving move for the ancient Joe Smith. One has to wonder if Vujacic would have been valuable in the Dallas series both as a pest to Jason Terry and as a shooter when the Lakers couldn’t seem to buy a three pointer.
Mbenga and Powell departed by way of free agency, both rarely played with the Lakers, but when they did they both brought energy. Something the often lethargic Lakers could have used this season.
Aside from the Ariza-Artest decision, these roster moves seemed minor at the time they were committed but they were all costly to the Lakers efforts to defend their title.
Next: Is the current roster too old?
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