Why Mark Cuban’s Criticisms of the L.A. Lakers Are Dead Wrong

Mark Cuban is right about one thing: championships aren't won or lost in the summer.

That said, though, the Los Angeles Lakers had one heck of a summer–even if Cuban isn't especially interested in admitting it at the moment.

ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon reports that Cuban isn't sold on the Lakers' transformation:

"The Lakers have done this before. Gary Payton and Karl Malone and Kobe and Shaq were all together, and it didn't work," Cuban said Monday, referring to the 2003-04 Lakers, who lost in the Finals, when introducing his team's acquisitions to the media and season-ticket holders. "It takes great chemistry. ... It takes guys wanting to be there. I don't know if all their guys want to be there."

In the broadest possible sense, yes, "the Lakers have done this before." You could actually argue that they do it all the time to some degree. This team doesn't rebuild–it reloads, and it does so relatively frequently.

But the comparisons to the 2003-04 run with Payton and Malone are neither accurate nor compelling.

For one thing, Gary Payton was 35, and Karl Malone was 40.

If Los Angeles had merely added Steve Nash (age 38) and Antawn Jamison (age 36), Cuban might have a point. That points falls apart when you recall that the organization also added the league's best center, a 26-year-old still very much in his prime.

Dwight Howard may never be as dominant as Shaquille O'Neal was in his day, but it's hard to argue this team was better nine years ago than it is today.

And that team just happened to make it to the NBA Finals, an accomplishment with which both the Lakers and Mavericks would be pretty happy after their premature exits in the 2011-12 playoffs. Cuban makes it sound as if experimenting with Payton and Malone was an utter failure.

To the extent that experiment wasn't as successful as Lakers fans would have...

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