LA Lakers Will Have Long Road Back to the Top of Pacific Division

Even under purple-and-gold skies, the future looks bleak for the once-mighty Los Angeles Lakers.

There will be some blissful moments and perhaps a transcendent acquisition or two. However, they'll be more like bandages when surgical procedures are needed to correct what ails this franchise.

This organization has tied its fate to crossed fingers and wishful thoughts: to the hope that 35-year-old Kobe Bryant, who's been battered by injuries like never before, hasn't left all of his best days in the history books;  to the dream that assistance from outside the organization (Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony, a 2014 draft stud) is not only coming, but that it will bring monumental relief when it does.

False hopes can cripple a franchise. With certainty, assuredness and the potential for greatness now running rampant elsewhere in the Pacific Division, have the Lakers fallen completely behind a group they've historically dominated?

If so, just how long is L.A.'s road to recovery?


Staples Center's Changing of the Guard

It was maddening at the time, but it looms catastrophic now.

If only former commissioner David Stern hadn't intervened, perhaps it would be the Lakers—not the Los Angeles Clippers—following Chris Paul down the path to the podium. Unfortunately, there is no way to rewrite history, nor deny its massive impact on the present.

Paul didn't just give the Clippers All-NBA talent at the point guard spot, he changed their reality. The influx of talent that has since joined Staples Center's other tenant is staggering—Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Darren Collison on the perimeter, Doc Rivers in the coaching box.

L.A. not only has a championship ceiling, it knows that one exists.

Ability helps, but championship-caliber confidence can be the real difference-maker.


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