Why LA Lakers’ Model for Success Is Unsustainable in Today’s NBA

The Los Angeles Lakers are the best franchise in American sports over the last 65 years, but their past model of success doesn’t guarantee future success. In fact, it’s unsustainable in today’s NBA.

There’s no argument about whether the Lakers and their fans have reason to be proud of their accomplishments. Over the span of nearly two-thirds of a century, they’ve competed for nearly half of all NBA titles, having been to the Finals 31 times in 64 years. Not even the Yankees, with 25 pennants since 1949, can come close to that.

They’ve missed the playoffs just five times—ever.  And they’ve only missed the postseason twice since America celebrated the Bicentennial. They’ve won 3,170 games, more than any team in NBA history, and more than the Boston Celtics, who have 62 fewer wins in 91 more contests.

The Lakers have a franchise winning percentage of .619, the best in the Association and the best in any of the four major American professional sports leagues.

They have 440 playoff wins, per Basketball-Reference, 96 more than any other team.

The Celtics may have one more title, but when it comes to being in the title picture, they haven’t been as consistent. Year-in, year-out, the Lakers have been the most successful team in the NBA, and all of American sports. The evidence is just too compelling to deny that.

Is it any wonder that Lakers fans have grown to not just hope, but even expect their team to contend for the title every year?

So, even with Dwight Howard’s departure, there’s little wonder that Lakers Nation just points to the cap space they’ll have in 2014 and assumes that it’s a matter of signing free agents and reloading. According to Sham Sports, the only contracts they have next season belongs to Steve Nash for $9.7 million (and that’s if he doesn’t retire) an...

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