Los Angeles Lakers Must Go All Out to Make NBA Playoffs Next Season

There are certain accepted norms in sports, and one is that the Los Angeles Lakers are almost always a prominent part of the playoffs.

This year was an exception with a historically bad 21-61 season, as was the previous year’s worst-ever record at 27-55. It has been a rough stretch, as the team begins to transition from the Kobe Bryant era. 

As unthinkable as it may once have seemed, the exception is in danger of becoming the rule in Los Angeles.

Consider the numbers for a moment—67 seasons and 60 times to the postseason. The Lakers have won 16 championships and 31 conference titles. And they have never, ever missed the playoffs three times in a row.

The 2015-16 season cannot set a new precedent. There is simply too much at stake.

Valuation is one element, although not necessarily the most pressing at the moment. Yes, continued losses will ultimate erode ticket sales and television ratings, but the Lakers were listed as the richest franchise in the NBA this season by Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes, and their massive $24 billion Time Warner Cable deal will continue to pay huge dividends. 

But a failure to make it to the playoffs next time around could also be the final nail in the coffin for the team’s chain of command. Jim Buss, who is one of the owners and the head of basketball operations, famously pledged to his siblings to step down in a few years if the franchise was not at least contending for a Western Conference title. 

The family summit of six brothers and sisters occurred in February 2014 and was reported on by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

“I don’t know if you can fire yourself if you own the team,” Buss told the Times. “But what I would say is I'd walk away, and you guys figure out who's going to run basketball operations because I obviously couldn't do the job.&rdqu...

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