L.A. Lakers: Can Chris Paul or Deron Williams Restore the Franchise’s Magic?

Some fans of the Los Angeles Lakers point to the team's weakness at the point guard position as one of the primary reasons for their disappointing failure in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, but advocates of that theory should review recent Lakers history.

Lakers great Magic Johnson set the standard for how players should play the point guard position at the professional level, but the franchise has not had an elite player at that position since Magic retired—Gary Payton doesn't count.

Los Angeles has never found a lead guard that can fill Magic's shoes, but in all honesty, how does a team ever replace a player who is without question the greatest point guard ever to play the game, and is arguably the NBA's greatest player ever?

The short answer is you don't, but that hasn't diminished the team's success in Magic's absence.

The Lakers have still managed to win five NBA championships without an elite point guard, and that little tidbit of knowledge is never really taken into consideration when debating who the Lakers should target in free agency.

The NBA lockout has prevented teams from making any moves in the offseason, but it hasn't stopped rumors from circulating. In the Lakers' case, much of the talk is centered on how active the team will be when it comes to the free agency class of 2012.

The Lakers' loss in the 2011 postseason has created a subtle sense of panic in the franchise, and the promotion of Jim Buss and the hiring of Mike Brown to succeed Phil Jackson hasn't really helped the situation.

Brown's up-tempo motion offense derives from strong point-guard play, and it highlights the position in a way that the triangle offense never did.

In the triangle, a superior lead guard was not a necessity since the scheme made most players on the court interchangeable, but in Brown's schemes the point guard usually initiates the offense off the dribble.


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