28 April 2009

A treatise on the history of the Lakers

The Lakers have been an exceptionally successful franchise. The team has failed to reach the playoffs only five times in 60 years. They have won 14 NBA titles and 21 conference championships during that time.

In the last 30 years, the Lakers have won 8 titles and missed the playoffs just twice, in addition to winning the WCF 14 times. 16 times they've made it to the conference finals.

That means that over half the time over the last three decades L.A. is one of the four best teams in the league, and often the best.

Any time the Lakers look like they're about to take a downturn, something saves the franchise from being mediocre. In 1975, the Lakers traded Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Meyers and Junior Bridgeman to the Bucks for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

In 1979, it'd been almost a decade since the Lakers' last title. Somehow the team acquired the number one pick (they won 47 games in the 78-79 season) and got Magic Johnson.

In 1983, they again had the first pick overall in the draft (despite winning 58 games the season prior) and acquired James Worthy.

In 1996, the Lakers had not won a championship for five years. Things were not looking good, and then the Hornets traded the rights to Kobe Bryant to L.A for Vlade Divac, who left Charlotte after two seasons to sign with the Kings as a free agent.

In 1999, the Kobe and Shaq Lakers had the talent to win it all but could not get it done. Suddenly, Phil Jackson wanders into town and they immediately win three straight championships.

And then in 2008, five years removed from the last of those three championship runs, they trade Kwame Brown for Pau Gasol and are right back in the thick of things.

It's interesting to me that the Lakers somehow manage to attain first overall draft picks and extremely favorable trades on a consistent basis. Teams would kill to be the beneficiaries of just one trade like those listed above.

Can someone please explain how the Jazz can manage the same thing? I'd like to receive first overall picks after winning 50 games the season prior. I'd like to trade Andrei for Dwight Howard. I'd like to move Jarron Collins, Matt Harpring and Brevin Knight for Dwyane Wade. How can I realize this dream?

1 comment:

LaPaube said...

Remember how Boston got the second overall pick in 1986, about ten days after WINNING THE TITLE? So the Lakers have been smiled upon but not to the exclusion of other franchises. Here's what the Jazz can do get that kind of luck: be a desirable geographic/cultural location (remember Kobe came partly because he refused to play for Charlotte) -- not going to happen; get some luck in the draft -- unlikely; change their franchise culture so they're willing to take gambles on shady personalities -- unlikely. The Jazz are kind of like BYU. They want to be good but they're not willing to do all of the things that the other teams do in order to be good.