When the 2020-21 NBA season started in December (it almost seems like yesterday, doesn’t it?), and even a few weeks into it, it looked like the Los Angeles Lakers had an excellent chance of winning back-to-back NBA world championships.
Of course, that’s not even remotely how it turned out.
Instead, this season ended in crestfallen fashion in a 4-2 first-round playoff series defeat at the hands of the Phoenix Suns.
Whenever a team underperforms like this, fans are ready to play the blame game and find a scapegoat. Immediately, a fair number of Lakers fans have been pointing the finger at general manager Rob Pelinka.
According to them, the Lakers failed because Pelinka “broke up a championship roster,” among other reasons.
That’s all wrong. Fans cannot blame Rob Pelinka for the Los Angeles Lakers’ early departure.
The jury may still be out on whether he’s truly a good GM (he’s only been an NBA executive for four years), but he’s shown the potential and ability to navigate the vagaries of the NBA’s salary cap structure and all the gamesmanship that agents love to pull.
After all, Pelinka himself used to be one of the NBA’s most powerful agents. We all remember him as the man who represented Kobe Bryant for most of his career.
Now that we’ve closed the books on the 2020-21 season, let the records show that Pelinka is not to blame for the Lakers’ epic fail in the first round of the playoffs.