Are LA Lakers a Cautionary Tale or the Feel-Good Hit of the Season?

As of Wednesday, February 27, the Los Angeles Lakers sit three full games behind the Houston Rockets while vying for the eighth seed in the 2013 NBA Playoffs. Currently sitting on the outside and looking in, LA has to be considered the greatest disappointment of the NBA's regular season. 

A supposed superteam since the day LA's management brought Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol together, the Lakers have become a feel-good takedown for other fans around the league. 

The NBA has become a superstar heavy league and the trend seems to point toward trying to assemble a small core of of the league's top talent at the expense of a deeper bench. After watching this year's Lakers, we have learned a bit more about the trend.

One does not simply expect a stocked starting lineup to immediately overshadow the need for depth and coaching. 

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat are the two best teams in the NBA, both are composed of superstars and both have a very unique story behind their rise to greatness.

Let's compare their situation with how the 2013 Lakers have come to be.

OKC struck gold on three lottery picks in the draft—Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden—and have since been able to manipulate their personnel to become the foremost team in the Western Conference.

Its lineup now includes a rising power forward in Serge Ibaka, quality defensive center Kendrick Perkins, guard depth with sharpshooter Kevin Martin and defensive specialist Thabo Sefolosha.

Miami's formation is a bit closer to the idea behind Lakers'—some would say exactly the same—with a different twist.

Miami landed LeBron James, and at some point he alone was going to bring home a title. With two teammates still near the top of their primes in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, LeBron's team gained enough versatile athl...

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