Los Angeles Lakers: Maybe Magic Johnson Should Coach This Team

Todd Pheifer@tpheiferAnalyst IIIDecember 12, 2012

20 Apr 1994:  Los Angeles Lakers head coach Earvin (Magic) Johnson looks on during a game against the Seattle Supersonics at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California. Mandatory Credit: J. D. Cuban  /Allsport Mandatory Credit: J. D. Cuban  /Allspor
J.D. Cuban/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are not in a good place right now.

Some fans may have cheered when Mike Brown was fired, but it has not taken long for the masses to turn on Mike D’Antoni. Losing will do that to people.

Maybe Bernie Bickerstaff can take the reigns again. He seemed to do pretty well.

Here is an interesting idea. Why don’t the Lakers have Magic Johnson coach the team? After all, Earvin usually has a simple solution for the latest problem with the Lakers.

As reported by ESPN, Magic’s current concern is with the strategic usage of Pau Gasol. In Johnson’s mind, Gasol should be in the low post averaging 18 points per game.

Fair enough. Then again, is it possible that D’Antoni also wants more production out of Pau?

The problem with these statements is that they imply the current coach could not have possibly come to the same conclusion.

They do not call it “armchair quarterback” for nothing.

When Magic Johnson talks, people do listen. He is Magic Johnson, and he is one of the most legendary Lakers of all time. That said, should he be questioning the strategy of the current team?

On the one hand, you could argue that Magic has earned the right to critique anything basketball related. After all, he did lead the Showtime Lakers and put together a Hall of Fame career. He remains a beloved figure in Southern California and it is not hard to suggest that he just wants the Lakers to succeed.

The challenge with Magic talking is that he is not exactly an authority on coaching. He was an uninspiring 5-11 when he coached the Lakers for a brief stint in 1994. You could certainly argue that he did not have much to work with at the time, but his limitless charisma was not able to overcome the lack of talent.

Is it possible that certain squads make the coach look good? Maybe, just maybe.

This is certainly not the first time that Magic has been outspoken about the Lakers. In the past, he has suggested drastic moves such as when the team was struggling in the playoffs in 2011. At the time, The Los Angeles Times and other publications quoted Magic as saying that Jerry Buss should “blow this team up.”

Blow it up. Interesting. As in, start over and rebuild? The Lakers are not a team that embraces the standard NBA pattern of decline and rebuilding through the draft.

Again, you have to respect the career accomplishments of Magic Johnson. He has an incredible list of NBA accomplishments, and he has also proven to be a savvy businessman.

Unfortunately, when Magic talks like this he sounds like the average frustrated fan. His comments are vague, and do not provide a great deal of constructive feedback. Quotes included:

"I've gotta adjust my system a little bit if I'm the coach. That's all."

And that means? Another quote suggested:

“Both our big men are not fast guys. So we gotta say, 'Maybe I should scale it back. I run, if the basket is there, we take it.' Just like us in 'Showtime,' we ran and if we got the layup, good. If not, Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), come here, bail us out. That's what you do. That's basketball.”

Yes, that is basketball. Sorry, that comment is also not helpful.

Unfortunately, anytime you reference the past, there is a natural assumption that a different era can easily apply to the current situation. This is problematic on so many fronts simply because the players, style and strategy have all changed in the NBA.

Don’t believe me? Get a new job and constantly refer to how well things worked at your last employer. See how well that is received.

What if the problem with the Lakers is that they are old and there are younger, more athletic teams that have caught up to them? What if this has less to do with coaching and more to do with injuries and the normal challenges of developing chemistry with new players?

Perhaps the Lakers are struggling because they do not have a point guard. Maybe they are losing because they are terrible from the free-throw line.

Perish the thought, but perhaps this team is on the decline. It could be that they are no longer able to flip the proverbial switch.

Magic is certainly entitled to his opinion, as are we all. However, the Lakers do not need any additional distractions right now. It is hard to see how critical comments from Magic are going to help this team get better.

What do you say, Magic? Want to take another shot at running this team?