But do they have a championship caliber head coach?
At this point the only thing preventing the Lakers from winning, or at least competing for, the next two or three NBA titles may be coach Mike Brown.
Mike Brown Was Almost Fired Last Year
After coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers for five seasons (2006-2010), Mike Brown landed the Lakers head coaching position in 2012.
It turned out to nearly be his only season in Tinsel town.
The Lakers were surprisingly pushed to a do-or-die Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs against what appeared to be an inferior Denver Nuggets team.
Even Magic Johnson said if the Lakers lost to Denver, "His job will go. The Lakers are about championships…If they lose this game, Mike Brown, I bet you, will not be sitting here." Johnson reiterated this message when he said, "Mike Brown will not be coaching the Lakers if they lose this game."
Somebody queue the ominous music. According to Magic, Mike Brown was one loss away from being unemployed.
Why Mike Brown Was Nearly Fired
The Lakers had a veteran, battle-tested team heading into last season's playoffs. Kobe Bryan, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum have all been All-Stars and won titles. Ramon Sessions was an upgrade at the point guard position. Metta World Peace had found his game late in the season.
Expectations surrounding the Lakers were high heading into the postseason, but what else is new?
The Lakers barely averted disaster by beating the Denver Nuggets in a first round series that never should have gone seven games.
In the Western Conference Semifinals the Lakers faced the Oklahoma City Thunder. Los Angeles blew golden opportunities in Games 2 and 4, with much of the blame going to Mike Brown.
In Game 2 the Lakers led by seven points with two minutes remaining and would up losing 77-75, with Scott Brooks clearly outcoaching Mike Brown down the stretch.
In Game 4 the Thunder rallied back from a 13-point deficit with eight minutes remaining in the game. Head coaches are often held responsible for late-game collapses, and the Lakers had two of them in a three-game stretch against the Thunder.
The Lakers could have - actually, should have - been up 3-1 against the Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals if they could have avoided the epic collapses in Games 2 and 4. Instead, the Thunder were up 3-1 and easily closed out the series.
Going into 2013 the Los Angeles Lakers clearly have the best roster from one-through-six in the NBA.
But do they have the right coach in Mike Brown to lead them to the title?
Anything less than a title in 2013 will be a major disappointment for the Lakers. And if they fail to win it all I think Magic Johnson was right when he said, "Mike Brown will not be coaching the Lakers if they lose…"
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check these out articles:
- Sports & Recreation
- Los Angeles Lakers
- coach Mike Brown