Los Angeles is currently the third ranked team in the NBA Western Conference with a 33-13 record and is only 2 ½ games behind the top ranked San Antonio Spurs — oh, and by the way, I was referring to the Clippers.
There is a new team in Los Angeles, they play at the Staples center but don’t wear purple and gold. For so many years the Clippers have been the little brother to the Lakers. Thrown around by almost every team in the NBA and never given the chance to shine.
Well, this year the tables have turned. The Clippers are the ones near the top of the Western Conference and the once mighty Lakers are the ones fighting for a playoff spot, currently the tenth ranked team in the conference.
Three years ago the Lakers were swept 4-0 by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs, this denied the Lakers their three-peat and soon after legendary coach Phil Jackson retired.
Former Cavaliers coach Mike Brown was hired for the shortened 2011-2012 season where he led the Lakers to a 41-25 record, but was then eliminated by the Thunder in the second round.
This past offseason the Lakers seemed to make another one of their signature colossal deals that would once again shoot them up to the top of the Western Conference; they made a trade for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard just a month after signing point guard Steve Nash.
All seemed to be good in Los Angeles, the Lakers were quickly viewed as the top contender in the West and a lot of people had them meeting up with the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
And why not? Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and two seven-foot centers in Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, along with one of the league’s top one-on-one defenders in Metta World Peace — why wouldn’t they be viewed as the top contender in the West?
But after a disappointing 1-4 start to the season the Lakers fired Mike Brown.
This left open the possibility that Phil Jackson might return once more and try to win another title with the Lakers, but according to reports the Lakers opted instead to hire former Knicks head coach Mark D’Antoni.
So let’s get this straight. The 11-time NBA Champion coach in Jackson was pushed aside for, Mike D’Antoni? The same D’Antoni that could never get his Phoenix Suns into the NBA Finals? The same D’Antoni that could figure out the mess in New York for the past few years? Yeah that seems like a great decision.
There is no guarantee that Jackson would have even come back to coach the Lakers, but the report was that he was ready to meet with the Lakers before they so quickly hired D’Antoni.
The Lakers said that D’Antoni’s fast paced offense was a better fit for their team and that is why they chose him over Jackson.
Well let’s see how that decision is working out now. The Lakers are currently looking up at nine other teams in the Western Conference with a 19-25 record. The Lakers have the talent to win a title, but they first need to discover the right fit of personnel.
D’Antoni isn’t a terrible coach, but it’s hard to believe that the Lakers would have chosen him above Phil Jackson.
In the meantime Los Angeles residents can enjoy watching LA’s new team. The Clippers are having a much better season then their “big brother” and are challenging for the top spot in the West.
Tyler Rollason is a Winder-Barrow High School graduate and mass communications major at the University of West Georgia. He writes a weekly column for the Barrow Journal. You can e-mail comments about this column to email@example.com.