Breaking Down Los Angeles Lakers’ Best Blueprint for Long-Term Success

For the last 18 seasons, the one constant in Los Angeles has been Kobe Bryant. Many others have come and gone, including some of the greatest to ever play, but the Lakers as a franchise have never deviated from the plan of tying their success directly to Bryant.

Of course, Bryant is older now and decidedly more human than we've ever seen him, and perhaps that's why his two-year extension worth $48.5 million came as such a surprise.

While it's rarely a good business practice to reward someone solely for past performance, Bryant's value expands well beyond the lines on the basketball court.

Bryant has been the star that has guided the Lakers' decision-making process for nearly two decades. That almost never happens anymore. 

Eventually there will come a time when Bryant is no longer in the picture, but that day hasn't come yet. Balancing the desire to win now with the need to build for the future won't be easy, but at least the Lakers' uncertain long-term future presents them with plenty of options.


Best Player Available

When was the last time the Lakers have been able to acquire talent regardless of fit? Whether it be because of Bryant or the presence of coaches with a very particular offensive system, the Lakers have never truly been able to take a "best player available" approach to player acquisition.

With Bryant and Mike D'Antoni both set to have their contracts expire after the 2016 season and the Lakers having no players on long-term deals, talent can take priority over everything else.

In a way, it's sort of a fitting end for Bryant's last few years, as he wasn't necessarily a good fit or particularly needed when he joined the Lakers, as Eddie Jones was already on the roster. But we know how that played out.

Instead of solely building around Bryant and looking for particular fits, the Lakers are in a...

About the Author