Barring a miraculous occurrence it seems all but certain that disaster will strike this week. Unlike the NFL there is no billion dollar pie to argue over. The NBA pie is more like a burnt pizza that has small market owners fighting over charred crumbs. Thus a lockout is the only tool owners have at their disposal to reassert themselves as beneficiaries of the business of basketball.
There is no way of knowing what kind of a summer we’re in for. Given the fact that there doesn’t appear to be much urgency to try and avoid a work stoppage I’m guessing we could see a big portion of the 2011-12 season canceled.
But here at LSL we prefer to look at things from a positive perspective.
When you take a step back and look at the NBA landscape you’ll notice only a few franchises standout as true contenders. The rest are built for the regular season or the lottery. That is where the silver lining in this ominous gray cloud can be found.
Despite their epic flame out in the playoffs the Lakers are still very much a team capable of contending even without making any major roster changes. I’m not advocating going back in with the exact same personnel but there might not be another option should there be a lockout.
Much like what the NFL is currently enduring, the NBA free agency period would be put on indefinite hold. Should that be the case it would make things difficult for teams that seek outside help to build a contender.
The beauty of the position the Lakers find themselves in is that they’re not in dire need of a drastic makeover no matter what Magic Johnson says. This team needs a slap in the face and not a facelift.
As a veteran squad the Lakers don’t need to go through the growing pains a lot of other teams in the league must endure on the road to contention. This group knows exactly what it takes to win and therefore won’t be as affected by a loss of practice time or actual games. This is where a shortened season gives the Lakers a slight advantage.
While adjusting to a new coaching staff does require time, a veteran team generally dictates terms in the player controlled NBA. Mike Brown will be calling the shots but Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher will be running the show next season. Not saying that all Brown needs to do is to roll out the balls at practice but he’s got to know not to over-coach an accomplished roster.
In addition some extra rest might be just what this team needs. Fewer games equal fewer chances of the injury bug biting Andrew Bynum again. KB24 gets extended time to recovery and a shorter season which could mean more playing time as there’s not as much of a need to pace the suddenly aging superstar.
As other teams are learning how their newest pieces fit together the Lakers are simply rediscovering their rhythm.
Of course the bad news is that the Dallas Mavericks get the same advantages. Naturally the Western Conference road to the Finals goes through Dallas. Hopefully the extra time to bask in the championship afterglow will affect the Mavs’ focus. That might be wishful thinking but it’s a real possibility.
Now I’m not advocating a lockout. I truthfully hope the regular season isn’t cut short at all. Truth be told, it wouldn’t feel right to celebrate one of those San Antonio lockout titles. But if there is a season then somebody’s got to hang a banner. So why not the Lakers?