Re: From champion expectations to not even making the playoffs
A team full of stars need someone who can be unselfish enough to reign in the egos. Only the team leader can do this because usually the coaches are not reputable enough to earn the respect of the players.
With the Heat, they had Lebron who commanded the leadership role when the team no longer respected Spo; Jordan got the dream team together when they were beaten by a bunch of college scrubs in their first pick up game; Phil Jackson picked up the Lakers when they were in disarray and lead them to their first championship.
Lakers don't have anyone; Kobe is taking the leadership reigns, but unfortunately he is too selfish in his quest for the scoring title to ultilize other players in the offense; this in turn has killed the chemistry, demotivated players and has hurt their overall game including defense (can't play defense without effort right) ...
Motivation leads to effort; effort leads to hustle; hustle leads to great defense and offense. At the center of motivation is team chemistry and team chemistry is in the hands of the team leader.
Don't forget, even the Dream Team could not beat a bunch of college scrubs when thrown on the court. It took a leader (Jordan) with a vision and direction to bring all their talents together.
The coach couldn't do it because the stars all think they are better than him and he is easily expendable; that responsibility falls on the team leader and quite frankly the Laker's record is a direct reflection of Kobe's leadership skills (or thereof).
The only solution now is to bring another coach in who can take the reigns from Kobe and run the team the way he wants to run it ... or if Kobe by some miracle allows someone else to lead (Nash or Howard).