The Los Angeles Lakers failure of a season has led to much speculation over what is to blame for their poor year. The right answer is that many different factors played into the outcome. However, the onus is on management which failed to build around LeBron James.
One of the areas in which the Lakers have failed for years is the use of their advantageous wealth, or the lack thereof. It has been speculated for some time but as Howard Beck of Bleacher Report writes, rival executives believe the Lakers have not been able to use their money to create an advantage in areas where there is no maximum allowable spending:
Rivals also consider the Lakers to be behind the curve in areas like analytics, sports science and player development.
The Lakers play in the second largest market in the NBA. They have a monstrous television deal with Spectrum that is creating revenue regardless of the on-court product. And they have LeBron James’ star cache to make them even more money. Yet they are unable to use all that money for anything worthwhile.
RealGM currently lists four people in the Lakers’ analytics department: Joey Buss, Aaron Danielson, Philip Chang and Sam Usher. Danielson is the only one of those four to be in their current position for more than one year. Their lack of experience has shown tangible effects on the court even in something as obvious as lineup choices by Luke Walton. Meanwhile, their training staff has come under question due to the myriad injuries suffered this season.
It’s a criticism that has quietly arisen for the Lakers, that despite more wealth and value than just about any other franchise in the NBA, they are slow to adapt and use that money to pay staff and executives that can create an advantage on the court.
As the Lakers make changes this offseason, most likely to their coaching staff, it’s important to note that many of their failures start at an organizational level.