Remember When L.A. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak Was the Smartest Man Alive?

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterJanuary 27, 2013

I remember it like it was yesterday—refreshing Twitter like a mad man, waiting for confirmation that Steve Nash would officially be headed to the New York Knicks.

But I never got it. I never got it because Mitch Kupchak came out of nowhere, swooping in like a damn hawk and snatching up Nash within a blink of an eye.

Then just a little more than a month later, Kupchak struck again by acquiring Dwight Howard to play with Kobe Bryant, Nash and Pau Gasol. Do you remember what we were all thinking?

Holy crap.

Kupchak went Pat Riley and put together an all-star team. He got Kobe Bryant the point guard he never had and the closest thing to the center he used to have.

At the time, Magic Johnson called the Lakers the "the team to beat" on ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning show. Articles headlined "Lakers become championship favorites by acquiring Dwight Howard" were being run by the Los Angeles Times.

"We definitely want to beat the Bulls record and go 73-9, that's definitely something that I want to do," said Metta World Peace on ESPN 710 AM with Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley in L.A.

These were the type of conversations that were going on just a few months ago. The "who ya got, Oklahoma City or the Lakers" debate was going down in every waiting room and gym class across the country.

Now it's exciting just when the Lakers go on a run.

They're high-fiving each other more than ever before! It's like we're watching a bunch of toddlers in a playpen interact for the first time.

It's just incredible how much the mood has changed in such a short period of time. The Lakers beat the Jazz at home on Friday night, and it's viewed as a sign of hope.

The whole fiasco emphasizes the significance of team balance and chemistry. You hear those terms get thrown around loosely, but you won't find a better example than this current Lakers team.

These guys might be a bunch of artists, but they'd stink as a team playing Pictionary or charades.

For all you kids out there aspiring to be future NBA general managers, let this be a lesson: A whole bunch of stars doesn't necessarily mean a great product.

If you've seen Mars Attacks, you know what I'm talking about.

It's hard to blame Kupchak for pulling the trigger. He had the opportunity to add two marquee names to a lineup that had a small window for a championship. I would have done the same thing.

But that's why my office consists of a smelly couch and an IKEA desk in a tiny little apartment and not a luxury suite at the Staples Center.

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