The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most decorated sports teams in history. Many great players have passed through this franchise and have left great legacies behind them. In the 2000’s the Lakers reinvented themselves and rose to the top of the NBA for several years, only failing to make the playoffs once(2005) since the new millennium began. Phil Jackson led the team to five championships but the team slowly started to decline, either due to injury or age. Jackson, who has been involved with professional basketball ball for many years turned 66 years old in September and looked to retire leaving the Lakers with a void. After that void many other voids were exposed due to various reasons. Reasons such as management plagued the team but that is not the subject of today. The Lakers have many things that need to change in order for the franchise to return to championship glory. The first point to examine starts at that very position; the one, or the point guard.
In 2007 Derek Fisher rejoined the Lakers as a veteran player and starting point guard. He provided a strong defensive presence and was the only player superstar guard Kobe Bryant listen to and had a real and equal connection. In 2009 Fisher made many big plays in the post season that allowed the Lakers to win the NBA championship and do the same the following year. When 2010 came around it slowly became evident Derek Fisher was a step slower but he still was a solid one guard.
The Lakers were swept in the 2011 postseason by the eventual champions, Dallas Mavericks in Phil Jackson’s last year as an NBA head coach(for now). Many questions were raised of Kobe Bryant’s health and the play of Pau Gasol but the real question was what were the Lakers going to do at the point guard position. By the start of the condensed NBA season of 2011-2012 Derek Fisher was the worst starting point guard in the NBA. This was due to his lack of ability to defend faster and younger point guards. At age 37 this wasn’t Fisher’s fault but it was an issue.
The Lakers traded Fisher by the deadline to the Houston Rockets who then bought him out. That left the point guard spot open for back up Steve Blake.
Steve Blake was a backup point guard in Denver before making his way to Los Angeles. He was seen as the man that would replace Fisher as the starting point guard a few years prior but he did not take that role the way the franchise and the fans thought. Blake is not the assist man that the Lakers thought he’d be especially with the triangle offense that circles around post play and a star shooting guard.
After the Blake experiment fell through in 2o11 the Lakers looked to pursue star pg Chris Paul in a three team trade with the Rockets. The NBA vetoed the deal leaving the Lakers with no permanent point guard. Fisher was there and so was Blake but nothing good came of their play.
After Fisher was traded and Blake was demoted behind no one the Lakers traded for Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Ramon Sessions. Andrew Goudelock had a little time at the point guard spot during the 2011-2012 season. “I had never played point guard before, last night was the first time I was really in that role”, Goudelock said after his 14 point performance on January 25th.
The position was up in the air at the trade deadline even with the Ramon Sessions trade having occurred.
“Lakers coach Mike Brown plans to start Steve Blake over newly acquired Ramon Sessions at point guard “for the foreseeable future and it might be [Blake’s] job for the rest of the year. I don’t know” said Brown on the subject when the questions first started coming. With a player like Sessions a starting role should have been guaranteed in many fans’ eyes because of the role he plays on a team.
Session showed a slashing and aggressive game the first time he put on a Lakers uniform. He put pressure on the defense and was quick on his feet in guarding younger point guards. Giving Kobe Bryant another player who can create for others but more importantly create for himself was very impertinent to the team’s success.
Ramon Sessions looked like the kind of player to really inspire the new free lance Lakers offense. During the regular season the Lakers were playing better and towards the end showed signs of greatness. Sessions shot 48.6 percent from the three point line during his 23 regular season games with the Lakers and gave out 6 assists. He also added 12.7 ppg to the Lakers offense. It seemed like a match made in heaven until the playoffs started.
Sessions played abysmal in the post season shooting 4-25 from the three point arc. 2012 was the first time he had ever been in the playoffs so his small play won’t be held under a microscope.
The franchise used to be known for having great point guards and recently they have been pretty scarce. With a player like Kobe Bryant a player to take pressure off of the Black Mamba would make his last few years in the NBA for excitable for Kobe, the team and the fans. Though there are many other issues with the Lakers franchise at this point the first topic for discussion is the play of the point guard.
Steve Blake, PG: 5.2 ppg, 3.3 apg
Ramon Sessions, PG: 12.7 ppg, 6.2 apg
Andrew Goudelock, PG: 4.4 ppg, 0.5 apg
What do you think about the importance of the point guard play for the Lakers especially with a “declining” Kobe Bryant, budding Bynum and a freelance offense?