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 24, 2006
Posted on: January 22, 2011 10:13 pm

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

Boston can say they would have won game 7 is perkins played, its the same thing.  you think Kobe would have had 16 rebounds if perkins played, nope.  half those second shot attempts go away.  truth is the Lakers and Celtics are equally as good.  it all comes down to home court advantage and health. 

Since: Nov 23, 2006
Posted on: January 22, 2011 8:45 pm

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

Man, this is like the old joke about the bull and the young calf.  Look, it's the 7 games in each playoff series right into the finals that count. This is the same crapola Lakers fans hear year in and year out... 2008 Lakers lost to the Celtics because we didn't have Andrew Bynum or a MAGIC WHEEL CHAIR!  Seems to me the Celtics had Rondo last year and what happened?  same thing that will happen again this year.  Number 17 soon to be hung in at Staples.

Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: January 22, 2011 5:08 pm

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

I LOVE LAKER HATERS!!!    They must love the way crow tastes, because they set themselves at that table year in and year out.....  

Since: Jul 10, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2011 4:59 pm

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

In case you didn't notice the Lakers just won a championship and I'm pretty sure one year does not turn every player into a old man. Regular season and Playoffs are two different things for the Lakers. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon and the Lakers are pacing themselves unlike the Spurs who going to smack right into the wall very soon. Everyone said the same thing last year about Kobe and the Lakers, OH Yeah how did that turn out? And in case u forgot they have the 3rd best record in the league. Please wake up and stop hating on the CHAMPS!

Since: Jun 21, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2011 4:30 pm

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

Hahaha! You Faker fans crack me up. Three years ago you were ALL ragging on the Celtics being old and they cleaned your clock (2008). Now that the Fakers ARE old its ok. More nonsense that Jerry West is attempting some kind of motivation technique. Right! Keep believing that. I suppose that Christmas Day beat down by the Heat was an anomaly? was a sign. Lakers ARE old and slow. Gasol is running out of gas now can't wait to see him D up in June! Smart $$$ will be on the two best defensive teams in the NBA, Boston and S.A. Show time is over turn the lights out and don't let the door hit ya on the way down. I suggest you fill the Staples arena ceiling with 1,000s of balloons to fall celebrating your win. History has a way of repeating and Tim Duncan can look up and say, "Gee what are they gonna do with all those balloon now that we popped their plan!" No threepeat fellas!.

Since: Sep 12, 2010
Posted on: January 22, 2011 3:01 pm

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

The Lakers are a bit old compared to the avg team, but I will take that experience over any other teams'.  With age comes wisdom.  Why are they going to play 110% every night when they know they are in the playoffs?  They know how to pace themselves which is exactly what they are doing.  Remember: they've been there, done that.  Why risk engery and stamina when they can get by playing 75%-80% during the regular season and keep that extra umph for the playoffs in their reserve tank.  We saw it last year.  Down the stretch the Lakers went like 2-8 and everybody was saying they are getting tired and they aren't going to repeat.  What happened?  They playoffs started and BAM!! They were playing like the Champs again.  Huh, go figure!  My advice to the Lakers?  Do exactly what you are doing, get through the regular season doing as little as possible, and then lets bring another championship home for Phil to close the book on. 

Since: May 12, 2010
Posted on: January 22, 2011 2:49 pm

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

who cares, basketball sucks anyway

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: January 22, 2011 2:37 pm

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

This is nothing more than Mr. Clutch taking a page out of the Zen Master's playbook and motivating the Lakers through the media. These old geezers are sitting with the third best record in the league. Not bad considering how poorly you all think they've been playing.  

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: January 22, 2011 2:04 pm

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

Look at Spurs fans. As if they're as young and spry a bunch as the Thunder. Manu's glass ankles are on borrowed time, and without him healthy for the playoffs, you know you're toast. Lakers, on the otherhand, have won rings in spite of our albatross a.k.a Andrew baby boy Bynum. . And Frenchy's herpes are bound to flare up come playoff time when the pressure starts to mount. Face it, no one wants the Spurs in the Finals as evidenced by their championship series' being the least watched in decades. We'll see who comes out of the playoff rubble. Smart money is on a Lakers/Boston rematch. Spurs fans know damn well that all things being fairly equal health/talent-wise, the purple and gold have gotten over on the S.A. Spuds. Kiss the rings Thesh. All 16 of 'em!

Since: Jun 21, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2011 1:38 pm

Jerry West: Lakers too old to be good for long

Pity the poor Laker foo when they have NO home court advantage in the playoffs! Thats what the regular season is all about! Spurs are setting themselves up perfectly for this. The only parade you're going to see this year will be in San Antonio. Laker road record getting worse with each passing game plus.....their shooting % is going down and the defensive FG % is going up. The trends are pointing to a struggle for them. Like Jerry knows, their getting old and the fire isn't there. Kobe more worried about his bone-on-bone. Hahah no worries I have an old VHS tape you can have. It has old Magic taking an old Kareem hook shot over 3 old Celtics. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or