Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well it seems that the Lakers and the mainstream media are insane. The Los Angeles Lakers made big splash deals over the summer to acquire the great Steve Nash and the man formerly known as SuperMan...Dwight Howard.
And of course mainstream media can’t get enough of the Lakers now, hyping them up to be one of the best teams ever and to be the top challenger to dethrone the Champion Miami Heat. The Lakers should be good, but they won’t be what their being hyped up to be. They won’t be an all time great team, they won't break or challenge the 96-97 Chicago Bulls record winning season of 72-10, they probably won’t even be the best team in the West...Oklahoma City and a guy named Kevin Durant has a big say in that.
I know what you're saying to yourself right now “the Lakers have Kobe, Dwight, Nash, Gasol, hell they even have World Peace...of course they’ll win it all”. I know you're asking how could I possibly come to the conclusions that they’ll disappoint? And my answer to that is this...it’s simple and easy...I have history to go off of, this is where the Einstein insanity part comes in.
We have seen many teams try to buy themselves a championship, we have seen great players come together in the past and the media declares them champs before the season even started. And we have also seen those teams disappoint and fail to live up to the hype. Me being a Washington Redskins fan, I have seen it for the better part of the past ten seasons. The Skins are known and mocked for winning the “offseason trophy” every year, only to fail to make the playoffs most of the time once the real season starts. The Redskins have a grand total of two playoff victories, in the past 13 years, to show for the money they have spent on big name players.
Remember the “Dream Team” Philadelphia Eagles” The Eagles took the Redskins approach and spent big money on the most notable big name free agents in the 2011 offseason. How did that work out? The Eagles started off the season horribly, then went on a run and finished the season 8-8 and missed the playoffs. How are the Eagles doing this year? Not so good at all...they are currently 3-4. Head Coach Andy Reid will most likely be fired this offseason and star quarterback Mike Vick will probably be benched within the next two weeks or so and then ditched after the season. Look for the “Dream Team” to be broken up after the season ends.
Some of you might be thinking, “hey that's just football, it’s a different sport”. Well I have some examples in basketball too. But I won’t name them all because I don’t want to bore you. Let’s go back to the Houston Rockets in the mid to late nineties. They brought in Charles Barkley to join recent champs Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde the glide Drexler. The media thought that it was automatic that they would at least make it to the Finals to challenge Michael Jordan and the Bulls. Well Houston was shocked by the Utah Jazz in the Conference Finals as the Jazz went to two straight NBA Finals.
The Rockets even added Scottie Pippen a couple of years later and they still failed to make it to the Finals. Speaking of Pippen, he went to the Portland Trail Blazers to join a stacked squad and once again the media said that this group of players were destined to win it all. But it didn't happen, they lost in the Western Conference Finals to Shaq and the Lakers. Speaking of the Lakers...they tried to form a “dream team” in 2004. They added future hall of famers Gary Payton and Karl Malone. Of Course they were picked by everyone as the favorite to win the title that year. But it didn’t happen, although they did make it to the Finals losing to the Detroit Pistons. But that year is remembered as a failure. Even the “big three” in Miami , LeBron, Wade, and Bosh, didn’t win it all the first year like the everyone thought they would. They did win it all in year two though.
Are you catching the trend here? Buying championships just doesn’t work, unless you're the Yankees. The media goes crazy hyping these teams up just because they have a bunch of big names. But what they don’t think about is the team’s chemistry. Complete teams with great chemistry are the teams that win championships. And when you usually throw a bunch of stars together who have never played with each other before the team chemistry is usually the main problem.
That’s my issue with the Lakers. The team chemistry will have to gel in order for it to work, and that will take time. Steve Nash is used to dominating the ball at all times. How will that work with Kobe Bryant who is used to having the ball and doing what he wants to with it? How will the Princeton offense work with a guard in Nash who, like i previously stated, loves to dominate the ball? How will Kobe deal with having another dominant personality and team leader in Dwight Howard? How will Kobe deal with the offense going through the strength of the team...their dominant post presence?
To be fair there have been teams that have pulled this off before, the previously mentioned Heat, and the Boston Celtics with the big three in Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. But they were the exception...not the rule. They were unselfish teams who only cared about winning, not personal accolades and being “the man” or being the guy saying “it’s my team”.
That isn’t the case with Kobe and the Lakers. Kobe wants to win...but he wants to win doing it a certain way. If it’s only about winning with Kobe, then Shaq would’ve retired a Laker. The Lakers have the most dominant post presence in the NBA, in order to win they need to be a team that plays through the post. Do you really think Kobe will be cool with that? Do you really think Kobe will be cool with averaging only about 20-22 points per game? If he is...then yes the Lakers have the talent to pull it off and win it all.
But that isn’t the Kobe Bryant that I know. And history tells us that stacking teams with a bunch of big name players usually doesn’t work. After Tuesday night's loss to the Dallas Mavericks, and their winless preseason don’t be surprised if the Lakers don’t live up to the SoCal hype.