Monday 22nd January 2018,
The Hoop Doctors

Lakers Playing Numbers Game

March 20, 2012 – R.S. De France

The Los Angeles Lakers are quicker and younger at point guard with Ramon Sessions, but without Derek Fisher, can they still compete for a title?

It was not just another day in Laker history when Derek Fisher was traded, not for Kobe Bryant, and not for the fans. The sturdy, reliable team player that is D-Fish was the last remaining member of Bryant’s first championship team in 2000. When he reflects about his time with Fisher, Bryant’s memories sound a lot like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. They spent summers together, playing against each other, sharpening their skills. In terms of maturity and perspective, Fisher was one of Bryant’s touchstones (the other may have been Phil Jackson). Even Bryant has admitted that Fisher will be missed:

Bryant and Fisher:

But, Kobe no longer has Shaquille O’Neal, Phil Jackson, or Derek Fisher. And he’s never won a title without at least two of them.

Remember the last time Bryant didn’t have Fisher? The Lakers missed the playoffs one of those years, even with Bryant at the top of his game.

The Lakers lost the experience of Fisher, Luke Walton, and Jason Kapono, while picking up youth, in two 25-year olds, point guard Ramon Sessions and power forward Jordan Hill, a #8 pick in the 2009 draft. As Shaq is famous for saying about Michael Jordan’s comeback with the Washington Wizards, “39 ain’t 29, bro.” Even though Fisher will be deeply missed, the Lakers upgraded at point guard, going from 37 to 25 years old. That’s a big difference that can already be seen when Sessions is in the game for the Lakers.

Jordan Hill:

Ramon Sessions:

With these moves, the Lakers have hopefully plugged the whole in the bench left by the loss of Lamar Odom. And, they have upgraded with a quick, highly skilled point guard who is good in transition. Like Bryant said, “we believe Sessions has that DNA,” that ability to learn how to win championships.

It’s a gamble, but all sports are. The Lakers have lost the only link, besides their leader Kobe, to the first championship three-peat, in losing Fisher. But, the Lakers have upgraded with youth in positions the Lakers needed. Just like Bryant, fans, and the critics wanted, the Lakers upgraded. It wasn’t a 2004-like re-load, a team that featured Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and Derek Fisher. But, the Lakers are making a calculated gamble on youth.

The only question will be how the Lakers’ chemistry develops, and if Hill and Sessions will develop that championship grit. The Lakers’ new acquisitions look good, but their record is not anything special since the trades, and they just lost only their second home game since Christmas.

Rob S. De France is a College and University instructor of English Composition living in Los Angeles. He has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Rhetoric, Composition, and Writing. De France has played, coached, and officiated competitive high school basketball in California for many years. Recently, De France, his wife, and another colleague started an internationally read magazine at Shwibly.com.

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  • Trading for Sessions means nothing as long as Mike Brown keeps Steve Blake as “HIS” starter at PG, which he says he will. One word to Mike Brown’s statement:  “INEPT”.  Against UTAH, Steve Blake scored 0 points, yet Brown refused to play Sessions in the 4th quarter.  The Lakers should have done whatever it took to acquire Michael Beasley, in what I conclude was a very poor effort.

    When I saw that the Lakers would enter into the season with McROBERTS, KAPONO, MURPHEY, WALTON and BLAKE, I wondered how they could compete.  The so-called front court advantage of the Lakers is just a myth, as all S.A.P. (Sorry Ass Pau) cares about is being the #1 offensive option which will never happen.  If he would concentrate more on the defensive end, only then will it be an advantage.  I continue to say that the S.A.P. trade that didn’t happen will result in the demise of the Lakers.  There’s a lot more I could say about Laker’s Management, but what’s the use.

    JUST KEEPING IT REAL!!!!!!!!!

    • I couldn’t agree more, for the most part. If the Lakers could have acquired Beasley in addition to Sessions and Hill, I would be a little more optimistic about their prospects for the post-season. Not sure if I agree with you about Gasol–certainly he helped Kobe and the Lakers win back-to-back titles–but his time with the Lakers should end soon if the Lakers are to trade him for anything valuable. The Lakers’ management, while I was unsure of their path since losing the expertise of Jerry West, has made some smart decisions. I think, mainly, teams like the Lakers are restricted due to the new CBA from making the types of big trade splashes we’ve seen in the past–Wilt, Kobe, Kareem. Excellent points, George!