Even as the rest of the league prepared to head into the playoffs, it certainly felt like the bottom of the play-in field got more attention than teams atop the standings. The Lakers and Nets were both failures in their own rights, with the kinds of explosive atmospheres Michael Bay dreams of.
The Nets and Lakers have things in common beyond the eventually disappointing outcomes of their seasons, too. LeBron James and Kevin Durant both held unprecedented power over the way their teams were run this year as the next step of the superstar empowerment era. Given how poorly things went, though, it’s fair to ask if we might see a shift back to traditional power structures; much like we did when coaches proved they couldn’t handle personnel power, either.
This week, on another wide-ranging episode of “The Hook,” Aaron Larsuel and I discussed those topics, as well as “Winning Time” and the response from the Showtime Lakers to it, the playoffs to this point (sorry in advance, Timberwolves fans), the role injuries have played in the postseason thus far, and plenty more.
To be absolutely fair to stars like Durant and James, they absolutely earned the opportunity to wield this amount of power over organizations that literally could not function at the same level without them. Superstars getting to choose their teammates and coaches was always going to happen eventually, but such an evolution also felt somewhat destined for failure.
Look, it takes an insane amount of time and energy to manage a professional sports team well, just like it takes incredible work ethic and devotion to be as good at basketball as James and Durant are. There are just so many hours in a day, though, and expecting to be great at both is just unrealistic.
Whether the outcomes will affect power structures or the evolution of them moving forward, though, is another topic altogether, as most teams would do whatever it takes to get to employ players of James and Durant’s statures.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.