Wednesday , Jan , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Jerry West: ‘I don’t think the Lakers will be good for much longer’

Jerry West’s words — "The reason you ‘can’t play defense’ is because you can’t!" and "I don’t think the Lakers will be good for much longer" — stung the Lakers. Bryant nodded in agreement when informed of the substance of West’s criticism and Derek Fisher offered the utmost respect for West, who drafted the veteran guard as a rookie in 1996.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It doesn’t matter that he was an All-Star on-court and in the executive suite for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jerry West, possibly the most influential member of the purple-and-gold clan, believes the two-time defending champions have lost their motivation and are too old to continue their reign atop the NBA standings.

Perhaps he’s right. Now is not the time to make this assessment, though.

The Lakers are currently mired in the grind of the regular season. The games mean little. And because their defence is still solid they can win playoff rounds without home-court advantage.

That’s the positive news. The negative news is that the Lakers have stagnated, while the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and San Antonio have gotten better. Much better.

These teams might not have enough to overthrow the Lakers in the playoffs, but it will be closer than previous years. And some, like West, believe the NBA will crown a new champion.

–Oly Sandor.

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