The Lakers need a lot the rest of the way.
Sudden chemistry. Immediate cohesion. As many as, according to Coach Mike D'Antoni, 20 victories.
If that last requirement isn't frightening enough, consider that the Lakers would be going 20-8 to end a season during which they, to date, have been above .500 exactly once – at 6-5 – and spent precisely one day there.
But what the Lakers don't need right now is the very thing that arrived Monday with the death of owner Jerry Buss.
A team that has been unsure of its direction, undecided in its identity, unfocused and unclear in general, now is wrapped inside a franchise facing an uncertain future.
During his 34 seasons of ownership, Buss was the final voice of the Lakers. That voice is forever silent, and the resultant muttering – even as everyone involved with the team tries to keep the potential problems hushed – is concerning.
Buss' children, principally Jim and Jeanie, are running the Lakers. The health of their relationship, never mind its strength, has been in question for months. Moving forward, that strain could affect everything from the top of the front office to the end of the bench.
In a situation that already was going to be daunting – General Manager Mitch Kupchak likened replacing Buss to following in the footsteps of John Wooden – any cracks in management could quickly become valleys, valleys deep enough to swallow an entire franchise, even a staggeringly successful one.
"We'll see," Kupchak said Tuesday when asked about the transition this team now faces. "There will be an adjustment period, but I don't anticipate there being a problem."
Of course, Kupchak, like almost everyone else, also didn't anticipate there being a problem – or, more accurately, a multitude of problems – with the 2012-13 Lakers and look how that has gone.
Lakers' season of uncertainty just become more so
Orange County Register | Feb 20