Blog Entry

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

Posted on: January 21, 2011 11:33 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 11:36 pm
Los Angeles Lakers legend Jerry West says the current Lakers are getting too old to be good for long. Posted by Ben Golliver. jerry-west

Even in retirement, former Los Angeles Lakers guard, coach and GM Jerry West is still regarded as one of the finest talent talent evaluators in the basketball world. When he talks, people listen.

On Friday, West talked, but the franchise he's long been associated with might not like hearing what he had to say.

The Orange County Register reports that West told a business luncheon crowd that the Lakers were getting too old to remain championship contenders for very long and hinted that he would pick LA's chief rivals, the Boston Celtics, to win the NBA title this year.
“I don’t think the Lakers will be good for much longer, ” he said. “You can keep a car running for a long time by changing the tires, etc. You can’t change a player’s tires.”
West said many of the Lakers’ current players are “getting long in the tooth.” 
“If there’s a loose ball now, how often do they get it?” West pointed out to the crowd, which was relishing the sports talk.
“I think Boston is a very dangerous team,” he said of the Celtics. “I would not want to play them every other night.”

In a study conducted earlier this month by, both the Lakers and the Celtics placed in the top three oldest teams in the NBA when you weight their age by minutes played. As of Jan. 8, the Lakers' average age was 30.87 and the Celtics' average age was 30.48, virtually identical. It's worth noting that Boston's figure should come down slightly once center Kendrick Perkins, who is 26 years old, returns from injury and starts playing heavy minutes again.

Looking into the future, though, it's easy to understand what's troubling West. Guards Kobe Bryant (32) and Derek Fisher (36) are edging close to the twilight of their career. Fisher, in particular, has seemed to be on his last legs for like six years now, while Bryant figures to have a few very productive seasons left in him. But it's not just the backcourt: Lakers coach Phil Jackson is said to be retiring after this season and that likely makes everyone associated with the organization feel like the current chapter is coming to a close.

With that said, it's still too early to panic completely. Los Angeles sports key pieces like Pau Gasol (30), Lamar Odom (31), Ron Artest (31) and Andrew Bynum (23) who are not yet "long in the tooth."  In actuality, Boston may have even more questions in a few years than Los Angeles, with Kevin Garnett (34) contemplating retirement, and Paul Pierce (33) and Ray Allen (35) entering the twilight of their respective careers. 

The big difference between Boston and Los Angeles, of course, is that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (24) has already solidified himself as the franchise centerpiece of the future. Arguably the best point guard in the NBA, Rondo will make any rebuilding effort that much easier. The Lakers, however, are left to ride Bryant for as long as possible and then pray that Bynum, who has dealt with knee injuries already in his young career, develops into a premier big man. Backup plan: wait for a dominant free agent to choose to come to LA.

Given the respective outlooks of the two teams, I think most people, like West, would choose Boston's future. Rondo's skill is more than enough to calm the nerves and provide hope.

Hat tip: Pro Basketball Talk


Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2011 4:10 pm

When Jerry West speaks, we should all listen!

Ouch!  As a Lakers fan, I got to say there is much truth to what the Logo said.  The Lakers ARE getting old.  If we Lakers fan would take the blinders off, we will this is evident in the up and down play this year.  What West didn't say was the Lakers are not a good team.  What he said is the Lakers will not be good much longer.  This means the window of opportunity is closing on the Lakers.  In truth an end to era is closing in faster than what Lakers fans want to admit: The Kobe Bryant era.  Kobe Byrant will be close to 33 years old at the end of this season.  For a player like Kobe though, this is more like being 35 because of the minutes logged over a brilliant 14 year career.  Pau Gasol is a little younger at 30, but the point is that there will be a sharp decline in a couple of years. 

I believe the Heat will pose more of a threat this year than Boston though.  Boston is bigger and tougher inside and have the championship experience.  That said, when the Heat are healthy are clearly the most talented team in the NBA.  All I know is that this years playoffs will be good and if the Lakers want to continue competing, they had better find the next franchise player in the next couple of years.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2011 10:48 am

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

it's a marathon and the Lakers are pacing themselves unlike the Spurs who going to smack right into the wall very soon.
Oh yeah...that makes complete sense. The Spurs have the best record in the league so lets use that against them!!!

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2011 10:44 am

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

And sure fisher is old he has been slowed by bad knees but ok, who other than kobe would you want to take a game winning shot????

Hmm. Lets see...what about almost every other player in the league? 

Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2011 8:59 am

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

Jerry West is the first person that has stepped up and acknowledged that the Lakers are getting OLD. When you have ten players on a NBA team that are thirty years old and above you are looking at a problem now and down the road. The night in hussle on the court is not there. The fourth quarter runs are far and few between. Any other team with ten players over thirty on their roster would make headline news. The die hard Laker fan says, "wait until the playoffs". I say when the playoffs get here the Lakers will be a few months older and slower. The playoffs will not bring out the best in you without a major effort from each individual. The Lakers as individuals have to many side interests: Lamar has his TV show. Fisher is working on his next job, President of the players with a check or the next Laker sports commentator. Gasol has finally achieved his goal, he has a ring, his family is safely in America and his brother is in the pros. Artest wanted to get a ring before he retires, done. Luke has his own Bar-B-Q place and he loves spending time there. All of this adds up to split interest with basketball be only a small part. Jerry also said that Boston looks like the team to beat. He might be right, but one thing Jerry did not say and that is , the road to the championship will run through San Antonio. They are the sleepers in this years run. Mark my word.  SPURFANINLA.

Since: Apr 30, 2007
Posted on: January 24, 2011 6:16 am

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

West is just trying to light a fire under the LAKERS. West is a true blue LAKER through and through.

Since: Jul 5, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2011 5:14 am

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

To old huh? I cant believe that jerry did my boys like that. The celtics are  a very good team and can keep up with anybody in the league. But come on look at how thier numbers have dipped the last few years. Pierce was a go to guy but now hes lucky to even get off the floor. They are the best team defense in the league and have been for awhile now. Doc has done a great job with these guys and they buy into the system and it works for them. But thier bench is shallow, and health issues are always right there. Yeah kobe has been hurt, but he has played hurt for years and now it an issue? And sure fisher is old he has been slowed by bad knees but ok, who other than kobe would you want to take a game winning shot???? Rondo? Maybe West would have been better to wait until two years from now to make that statement cause i dont see the lakers losing to anybody on their championship run. And Rondo is not one of the best point guards in the league. guys i would take over hime in a minute---Rose, Paul, d williams, i would even take wall over him. Rondo is limited and if you play him for the pass instead of the shot then you can make him turn the ball over. Ok ok ok all you rondo fans and celtic fans relax, i didnt say he was not a good player but he cant shot. if teams would let him score 20-30 points a game the celtics would suffer. Pierce needs his touches and so does allen. and if they dont get into a rythym early they cant just turn it on like kobe, or lebron. Hopefully those of you who read this will say i am full of sh--. But we will see who is smarter after the finals....ttyl

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: January 23, 2011 10:12 pm

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

I think West has made a good point. And it is not always the chronological age that matters most. It is the high mileage on these guys. Kobe has been the go to guy for years and in some years he had little support. Even now the Lakers depend on him much more than the Celtics depend on any one player. Kobe has even said his knees are pretty much down to bone on bone, he is playing with a finger that needs surgery.

I am surprised that the Lakers have not gotten involved in the Melo drama actually. They will soon need a replacement for Kobe so Kobe can play fewer minutes and maybe move into a #2 option that will allow him to prolong his career. Maybe one reason that the Lakers have steered clear of this and other free agency situations is that when the time comes, traditionally players have jumped through hoops to get into the Laker organization.

I think the message is that teams like the Knicks should not feel they have a done deal for Melo or Chris Paul until they have actually signed. Paul would be the ideal replacement for Fisher. Even now, Fisher is more ready to be a role player than ever before- age does that to you.

Since: Jan 10, 2009
Posted on: January 23, 2011 8:51 pm

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

I'm not even a Lakers fan and I believe this article is ridiculous... (Go Chicago Bulls)
My main question is why do you list Kobe as TO OLD and then 2 players that are a year younger then him as still good for a few years.

Lakers have a few more years in them, everyone knows that Kobe can't play forever and when he's done, the true championship hopes are pretty much done till the new superstar shows his face in LA.

That's still a few years away though.

Since: Nov 16, 2010
Posted on: January 23, 2011 1:19 pm

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

Since: Jun 14, 2009
Posted on: January 23, 2011 11:00 am

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

The Lakers are too old, but the Celtics are the team to beat? That's incredibly lawl-worthy.

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