Monday, November 11, 2002

LAKERS TWO-MAN ARMY: Blame Mitch Kupchak:

Jerry West took a front-office position with the Memphis Grizzlies over the summer, and in his first offseason managed to add two quality players -- Drew Gooden and Gordan Giricek -- to his team's rotation. It may not seem like a big deal, but that's two more than Mitch Kupchak has been able to find since taking over the reins of the Lakers from West three years ago.

While the players West brought to Los Angeles -- Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Robert Horry, Rick Fox, Derek Fisher, Devean George and Brian Shaw -- went about winning three straight titles, Kupchak's additions have provided precious little help.

That wasn't a problem as long as Shaq was around to carry the mail for the Lakers, but his absence has exposed all manner of holes in the rest of the roster. The team is now 2-5 despite the fact that Kobe Bryant is averaging nearly a triple-double.

By John Hollinger.

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