Beck: There Should Be More Heat On Magic Johnson

Magic has made a lot of mistakes since acquiring LeBron James, but he doesn't seem to be catching a lot of flak for it

Tiki and Tierney
February 27, 2019 - 6:39 pm

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Despite rostering arguably the best player in the world, the Los Angeles Lakers (29-31) are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the sixth straight season.

While LeBron James deserves criticism for the Lakers’ performance – or lack thereof – this season, what about Magic Johnson? Why hasn’t he caught much flak for the Lakers’ woes?

“I don’t think that Magic and Rob Pelinka have done a bang-up job this past season when it comes to creating the right roster around LeBron,” Bleacher Report senior NBA writer Howard Beck said on Tiki & Tierney. "That said, the Lakers are in the predicament they’re in because LeBron has missed a quarter of the season. If LeBron doesn’t miss 17 straight games (with a groin injury), they are probably right in the thick of it, just as they were before he went down.”

The Lakers went 6-11 in James’ absence.

“Now, it’s not a great roster around him,” Beck said. “They loaded up on a bunch of ball-handling, not-shooting veterans and quirky personalities.”

Translation: Rondo Ball and Lance Stephenson.

“It was a very strange approach,” Beck said. “There should be much more heat on the front office than there is on Luke Walton. I think there’s no question about that. But listen, I worked in that market for seven years, and Magic Johnson could win the mayorship of L.A. tomorrow with a 99 percent return. I think he’s going to get a lot of latitude because of who he is.”

Beck believes the Lakers were too obsessed with acquiring Anthony Davis. Once it was clear that wasn’t going to happen, perhaps they should have shifted their focus elsewhere and made a play for, say, DeAndre Jordan.

“DeAndre Jordan would have been fantastic for the Lakers, it’s a position of need, and LeBron would have loved playing with him,” Beck said. “I don’t know why they couldn’t pull off anything else. They were so locked in on Anthony Davis that it just kept them from exploring other smaller options.”