Changes for the Lakers on the horizon?

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,Jeffrey Tomik
For a second straight season, the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs in the Western Conference semifinals. The Lakers don't settle for just making it out of the first round, they expect championships. And during the past two years, it's become apparent that this roster as is can't compete with the other top contenders. So what changes need to be made?

Point guard is still a problem » Bringing in Ramon Sessions to replace Derek Fisher was supposed to help solve the Lakers' point guard problems, but it didn't. While Sessions is more athletic, he lacks the consistent outside shooting the Lakers needed to spread the floor for Kobe Bryant and 7-footers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

Getting nothing from their bench » The Lakers averaged the fewest bench points per game in the NBA. Bryant will be entering his 16th season next year and at some point he'll have to stop being among the league leaders in minutes played. A scoring threat off the bench would certainly help.

Big problem with consistency » With so much salary cap money locked up in Bryant, Gasol and Bynum, the Lakers need their stars to produce every night. That's never been a problem for Bryant, but the Lakers' big men have to be more consistent. Bynum had 10 points and four rebounds in Monday's Game 5 loss to the Thunder. And Gasol was held to 10 points or fewer four times and averaged just 12.5 points in 12 playoff games. If the Lakers shake up the roster, it will be Bynum or Gasol that will be gone.

- Jeffrey Tomik

jtomik@washingtonexaminer.com

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