When the Los Angeles Lakers were swept out of the second round of this year’s playoffs, the major topic surrounded the possibility of acquiring Dwight Howard. As some time has passed and the Laker community’s shock of an abrupt departure from the postseason has started to fade, the true needs and weaknesses are in full exposure, waiting to be addressed.
With the recent hiring of new head coach, Mike Brown, the first need can be checked off the list. One of the Lakers’ needs is to become more youthful and athletic. However, the issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible relates to the point guard position.
Derek Fisher will without a doubt go down as one of the best point guards in the history of the Lakers. Even though Fisher maintains the ability to make shots in the clutch, his level of performance for the entire 48 minutes of each game has been diminishing over the past two years. However, Fisher has stated that he intends to play through the remaining two years that are left on his contract. While Fisher’s leadership cannot be replicated and he plays an integral role to the team, his minutes on the court and his overall statistical contributions are expected to dramatically decrease next season.
The addition of Steve Blake did not live up to expectations last season, which made the loss of Jordan Farmar even more apparent to Lakers fans. The Lakers seemed to get by the regular season hiding the true weakness of the point guard position through stellar performances by Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom. It was in the playoffs that this need was exposed by Chris Paul, Jason Kidd and J.J. Barea. With the NBA becoming a league of the point guard, the Lakers must address this issue and address it this summer.
Some are calling for Jerry Buss and Mitch Kupchak to go after the New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul. Paul is a top three point guard in the league, but his acquisition would require a trade. It is not known what Lakers would be on the trading block, but at least one of the Lakers’ bigs would have to go. The length of the Lakers is and will continue to be the biggest strength among their competitors. Therefore, the Lakers might be better off focusing on the player’s potential and fit with the rest of the team, rather than going after a point guard simply because of the player’s name.
Since this upcoming season is about transition and rebuilding, the Lakers might benefit from acquiring a skilled point guard through the draft or free agency. After all, this need is the Lakers most important agenda item for this off-season. This especially holds true based on Dwight Howard’s recent comments and activities indicating that he is going to stay in Orlando, at least to test the free agency waters in 2012. The Lakers may need to move on from their interest in Howard and focus on the point guard position.