What Are the Lakers To Do Now?

06142009LAkersXX.jpg
Photo by =Manny= via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

Since I started here at LAist in 2007, the Lakers have won two titles and gotten to another NBA Final. Call it a hunch, but I don't think the Lakers will achieve either of those feats this season.

If that wasn't clear enough already, perhaps seeing Mario Chalmers drive along the baseline from the three-point line to the basket untouched early in the game would do it.

Of course, it's hard to expect anything better from the Lakers. They're on their sixth starting point guard in Kendall Marshall. In fact these are the 10 players the Lakers dressed for tonight's game against the Miami Heat:

Starters: Ryan Kelly, Wesley Johnson, Pau Gasol, Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks.
Bench: Jordan Hill, Nick Young, Robert Sacre, Manny Harris, Chris Kaman.

It's easy to see why the Lakers stink. The question is what they do in the future.

Last season I was one of the few people advocating for Dwight Howard to stay. I wasn't impressed with his play nor his attitude. I only had one reason for this: what else were the Lakers going to do?

Howard left during the offseason, obviously, and here the Lakers are. So what now?

Sure the Lakers can pray for a draft, but only six first overall draft picks since 2000 have helped the team that drafted them with a fairly quick turnaround:

Kenyon Martin, Nets, 2000
Yao Ming, Rockets, 2002
LeBron James, Cavaliers, 2003
Dwight Howard, Magic, 2004
Derrick Rose, Bulls, 2008
Blake Griffin, Clippers, 2009

So not even a great draft pick is a slam dunk.

Then there's free agency. The Lakers are actually pretty well set up for this. Only Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are on the books for next season. HoopsHype has a ranking of potential free agents. I'm automatically going to eliminate LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony because that's wet-dream territory.

After those two, the list is pretty thin or unrealistic. You really think the Lakers will land Dirk Nowitzki? You really think Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will opt out?

I'm having a hard time seeing a way out of this for the Lakers. In other words:

GIF: Kobe.  Distraught.   on Twitpic

Via TwitPic

I guess now that my days are numbered here (the Stadium Series game on Saturday is the last story I write here), I'm getting a little nostalgic despite my better judgement.

But here is one note of optimism: there is no way the Clippers win a title this season.