Ah .... even the revered holy man Jerry West was not immune to this talk.
Heck, no one is. How soon those young whippersnappers forget it took West *9* years to return to the Finals between the last Magic-led team to get there and the first Shaq-led team. Along those lines it took Sharman 7 years from the last West-Chamberlain Finals appearance to Magic-Jabbar's first. And that only happened because Jerry Buss had the brilliant foresight to force the drafting of Magic behind the brilliant trade Sharman made to get the pick that would ultimately result in Magic.
It's a bit harder now. In case you didn't notice.
So yeah, team is on a 3 to 5 year plan from here. No choice. They signed Kobe not only out of loyalty but also to put butts in seats while they figure out the bigger picture and to prevent Kobe from jumping ship in search of number 6 once he figures out the 3 to 5 year plan.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.