The Continued Need for the Lakers to Get Younger and More Athletic Reviewed by Momizat on . Steve Kerr said it during Monday night's Game 5 between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs; we are witnessing a changing of the guard in the NB Steve Kerr said it during Monday night's Game 5 between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs; we are witnessing a changing of the guard in the NB Rating:
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The Continued Need for the Lakers to Get Younger and More Athletic

Steve Kerr said it during Monday night’s Game 5 between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs; we are witnessing a changing of the guard in the NBA with the Thunder’s propulsion to the top. The youthful Thunder have faced three opponents in the playoffs so far that are centered around veteran experience, which are the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs.

The young team from Oklahoma City closed out the Spurs on Wednesday night to capture the title of Western Conference champions, and will vie for the Larry O’Brien trophy either against the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics. I wrote about how the Lakers passed the torch to the Thunder after the second round, and wrote about the team’s need to become younger, more athletic and quicker last summer.

With major shakeups in the forecast for the Lakers in the upcoming off-season, what does the Thunder’s rise mean for the Lakers? It means that the Lakers still need to get younger and improve on their athleticism and speed.

Over the past few weeks the rumor mill has been on high-speed regarding who may be coming or going for the Lakers. The Lakers exercised the team option on Andrew Bynum, and will only most likely put him on the trading block if Dwight Howard sets his sights on Los Angeles and commits to an extension with the Lakers.

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Pau Gasol is the targeted player that the Lakers have a high probability to shop around the league. Despite Gasol’s reputation for being not much of a physical player, and even though his impact on the Lakers, especially during the post-season, decreased from previous seasons, he is still a player of high value and wanted by several teams in the league.

This week alone, the rumors have stirred up names like Steve Nash, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen just to name a few. Yes, all of these listed players are future Hall of Famers, but they are not what the Lakers need in order to compete with league’s elite for the next several years.

Some would argue that Steve Nash had a renaissance season this year, and they would be right. However, he is 38 years-old. Garnett is 36 and although he is having a solid playoffs, doesn’t seem like the answer for the Lakers problem. Pierce will be 35 in October and Allen will be 37 in July. On top of that, Pierce and Allen have both dealt with injuries, which have slowed their games down this season.

Of course every team should have a couple of players that balance the youth and athleticism with experience and leadership. I honestly believe Derek Fisher’s presence of leadership and experience has made one of the biggest differences to the Thunder in the post-season this year. For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant may be all the experience, maturity, focus and leadership the team needs to influence the other players.

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This sentiment is echoed by Laker great Magic Johnson. On ESPN, Magic called out Jim Buss and Lakers management to do just this in the coming months by stating:

“You still build around Kobe [Bryant]. He was still great no matter what his age is. This man showed he’s still dominant as a player. To me, you have to get younger and more athletic. Oklahoma City is young, athletic and fast. The team to beat is the team that knocked you out. That’s Oklahoma City and then the San Antonio Spurs.”

It is crunch time for the Lakers management to get the team back on track. Making it to the second round of the post-season is seen as success to most in the league, but not for the Lakers. The organization has built a tradition and history of the ultimate success through its past successes. Whether it is acquired via trade or free agent signing, the Laker must make moves that ensure success for the next several years. This means getting younger, more athletic and quicker.

About The Author

Elizabeth is a graduate from Arizona State University and has her master's from Duquesne University. She is currently an associate editor at Lakers Nation. To read more of Elizabeth's articles click here. You can also follow Elizabeth on Twitter @Gobibs

Number of Entries : 381
  • Sam

    Elizabeth, I like the article but I think it’s really difficult to get the right players for Lakers to be contender again with this salary cap Lakers facing now. The only way Lakers could get the elite point guard like DWILL or other players to build around Kobe for next few seasons is Kobe accept less salary if really want to get 6th and even 7th rings other than that I don’t think it will happen and Lakers to be able to upgrade it’s rosters. There is no time left for Kobe and Lakers, they must make all changes this summer.

  • Danny

    Can they just re-structure Kobe’s contract?  If he takes the mid-level that would be great…they can bring in D-Will for Sure.  I mean Kobe’s contract is going to end in two years, and he has already made a ton of money, if he really cares about getting that sixth and seventh ring I think he should do it…

    • ArealisticLALfan

      If it’s possible, dude. According to the rules, a player can’t reconstruct a contract once it’s been done. Sadly to say, Kobe is killing us with his horrendous contract.

  • Matt

    Okay here is wat we need to do:
    Rockets get:Pau gasol and steve blake
    Nets get:Luis scola,Kyle lowry,Patterson
    Lakers get:Deron williams and brook lopez

    Then another trade:
    Timberwolves get:Jordan Hill and Josh Mcroberts
    Lakers get:Michael Beasley and Nikola pecovic

    Then sign:
    Nick Young
    Lamar Odom
    Jason Terry
    Shannon brown

    If the Dwill Trade doesnt work Try this one:
    Lakers get:Andre Iguodala,Lou williams,and Spencer Hawes
    Sixers get:Pau Gasol,Steve Blake and Devin Ebanks

    • rondo

      Matt wake up! It’s morning, you had a bad dream

  • http://www.facebook.com/ross.coventry Ross Coventry

    Trade Gasol, WP and Gourdlock to Rockets for Parsons, Smith and Lee.  They can waive Camby to help with salary cap.  This frees up cap space for signing Ilyasova and Billups.  This makes us younger and better outside shooting (Ilyasova, Parsons, Lee, Billups).  Sign Ebanks, Sessions, Hill, Murphy and amnesty Blake.  Waive Barnes.  Rockets have a good starting 5 of Scola, WP, Gasol, Lowry and Martin, and a good bench.  Win, Win I think.

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