L.A. Lakers: Lamar Odom at Point Guard?

The Lakers were swept out of the playoffs by eventual champion Dallas, making it the most disappointing season since they lost 4-1 in the finals against the Pistons in 2004.

There's much speculation about what went wrong in Lakerland. Was Phil Jackson not as devoted as in years past? Was there a rift between Kobe and Pau? Were Lamar Odom's off-court affairs distracting to the team?

Or, was it simply that they weren't good enough?

I believe it to be the latter. The Lakers weren't good enough to win it all this year because they weren't strong enough at the point guard position.

When facing teams with small, quick point guards, the Lakers were hopeless. If they went with Derek Fisher, he couldn't guard anyone, and if they went with Shannon Brown, the offensive structure fell apart.

This offseason, most "experts" are talking trade for the Lakers. They're talking about bringing in a big-name talent like Dwight Howard or Chris Paul, and they are talking as if they'd be able to get one of these guys for Andrew Bynum or Lamar Odom.

They won't.

Thus, they need to start thinking creatively.

I believe they need not look much beyond Lakers teams of the 1980s for the answer to their problems.

In the '80s, the Lakers didn't worry about matching up with other teams. They put together an indefensible lineup, and let other teams worry about guarding them. They had a point guard who stood at 6'9"; his name was Magic Johnson, and he may be the greatest ever to do it.

The Lakers weren't worried about covering small quick guards on defense. No, they let the other teams worry about matching up with them.

And nobody could.

That is why the Lakers won five titles and the Celtics only three during the Bird-Magic era. The Celtics had no solution for Magic on defense.

Of course, Magic is a rare breed, a tower of a man with the skills and agility to han...

About the Author