The Lakers and the internal struggle of patience

The Lakers were dragged through the mud for the last three years, crippled by Bryant’s Achilles injury, shocked by Howard’s rejection and unable to effectively rebuild, putting a spotlight on the Steve Nash trade. The next few years were filled with misery, but they came out of that blessed with phenomenal young talent.

D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. The Lakers aren’t ready to win a championship, but they will be. The 2015-16 season wasn’t great; the youth were suppressed by a dictator and all of Los Angeles had to say good-bye to their hero. It became a necessity to fire Byron Scott as the Lakers needed to grow and all he could do was stifle it.

Don’t take any silly Snapchat storylines or petty beefs with a sub-optimal coach the wrong way. D’Angelo Russell is the future of the Lakers. The Lakers would be insane to consider moving him. They should be hard-pressed to move any of their kids, but that isn’t something they could avoid if it happens; it’s only in the Lakers’ nature.

The Lakers could have interviewed a number of adequate coaching candidates to replace Scott. All would be upgrades, but these are the Lakers; that wouldn’t be enough for them. They hired their prodigal son: Luke Walton. Hiring Walton wasn’t probable. He could have stayed in a comfortable situation in Golden State, ready to take over for Kerr if needed, but he didn’t. The improbability of hiring the most talked about coaching candidate of the summer had entered the realm of possibility because of who they were. The Lakers are able to go above their means in the worst of times because they are the greatest franchise in sports, and everyone begrudgingly accepts it.

The Lakers are still hoping for a meeting with Kevin Durant, somehow hoping that the former MVP will find appeal in the 17-win team. It shouldn’t happen, but if it did, would it surprise anyone that the Lakers are the 17-win team to pull it off?

This has always been the case for the Lakers. The ability to distort reality only belongs to Los Angeles. It makes Shaq leave a good situation for an uncertain one. It brings Phil Jackson to Los Angeles and back as well. It lures in Malone and Payton, while also being that close to making Paul, Kobe and Howard a reality. With all the good it brings, it doesn’t always serve as a gift.

The Lakers should focus on building a core around their youth. That’s what any team would do, but the Lakers aren’t just any team. The franchise can’t handle failure and is addicted to the allure of getting good quickly. In the midst of Kevin Ding’s report on the Buss family, one is reminded that the good times going forward are not certain. A quickly-approaching timeline, the lack of communication, and the presence of Phil Jackson, a man dedicated to the Knicks, yet whose name is always looming nearby as a potential replacement for Jim Buss has turned a successful rebuild into a battle with patience.

There isn’t a need to trade young assets for players that make you competitive but won’t win you a ring. There isn’t even a need to have a timeline; the Lakers don’t need to do anything at all.

They just need to watch their youth grow with the help of some veterans and the youth needs to pay their franchise back with the chance to do what Los Angeles does best: win championships.

The Los Angeles Lakers are departing from life with Kobe Bryant to an uncertain one. A life with no superstar, a group of kids poised to become great and make their franchise great again. Their future involves copious amounts of expectations, an unbridled path of pain, and the growth that is born from that pain.

Author: sheenlee

I write about sports, mainly at Lakers Outsiders. I once air-balled at Staples Center and understood how Smush Parker felt as a Laker. Follow me on Twitter:

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