Former Los Angeles Lakers great James Worthy has officially anointed forward Stanley Johnson as the next great Lakers enforcer. It has been a long time coming for Johnson, who hails from nearby Orange County. His NBA career was considered a huge disappointment up until this week.
Worthy is an unofficial spokesman for the Lakers brain trust. His post-game remarks mean the Lakers brain trust feels as if Stanley Johnson is in fact the next Ron Artest.
You might ask. Who is the Lakers brain trust?
Let me explain, in order of importance…
- Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and her siblings
- Magic Johnson
- Lakers GM Rob Pelinka
- Kurt and Linda Rambis
- LeBron James and Anthony Davis
The Lakers’ inner circle are not the only decision-makers in the organization. The minority owners are bankrolling the Lakers now. Blame them for not bringing back Alex Caruso!
- Patrick Soon-Shiong (who also owns the LA Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune)
- Mark Walter and Todd Boehly (co-owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers)
- Philip Anschutz, who owns the Crypto.com arena itself (he got $700 million for that naming rights deal!)
James Worthy works for Spectrum Sports Net as a studio analyst. Back in 2011, Spectrum paid $3 billion dollars over 20 years to air all the Lakers games, not on national TV. They have three billion reasons why they are not saying anything about the Lakers without the blessing of the men and women who cash those Spectrum checks.
The relationship between Spectrum and the Lakers is so intertwined that Worthy’s comments after the win over the Utah Jazz may as well be coming from Pelinka.
"“To me, the most valuable player for the game tonight was Stanley Johnson. He personifies what defense is supposed to be played like every night. If they can grasp some of that attitude, because he’s the toughest guy on the team.” “He’s tough as nails, reminds me of Ron Artest a lot. If they can just grasp onto that and push towards that, the offense will take care of itself.”"
The billions of dollars spent have made Spectrum become the unofficial network of the Lakers organization. Very little of what Worthy says in his postgame analysis is out of line with what the Lakers brain trust is thinking.
Johnson’s performance against Utah helped decide an argument within the Lakers brain trust, whether to play veterans or younger players?
His performance definitively proved that the Lakers need to play their young players! It turns out young legs are much better playing NBA basketball!
Stanley Johnson is going to be with the Los Angeles Lakers for a very long time.
He has shown he can be the next great Lakers forward in the mold of Ron Artest and even James Worthy himself.
The Lakers now realize that signing veterans who can only play specialized roles (Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza) and a third star (Russell Westbrook) was the wrong path to take.
Pelinka should be considered for Executive of the Year only because he picked up Johnson, Malik Monk, and Austin Reeves out of the NBA’s scrap heap. All three players should start alongside LeBron James and a returning Anthony Davis for several years to come.
As for Stanley Johnson, it has been a long time coming for him to finally shine on the brightest stage. He has come a long way since his days at Mater Dei in nearby Santa Ana.
Here is the tumultuous journey of the newest star in the Lakers organization.