Boy... did we get that wrong.
Not even a week later, the Lakers of Los Angeles are reeling in a way that I haven't seen even after seasons where the Lakers didn't make the playoffs.
It wasn't so much the opponent, as the fact that LA were swept.
Not so much the sweep, as the way LA lost.
Not so much the way LA lost, as the images we're left with.
Like the after-taste of a bad curry, seeing JJ Barea prone on the floor, with a bare-chested Andrew Bynum storming off the Texas court... these are what we're to take away from the final game of the Laker-season.
This is uncharted waters for a Lakerfan... at least those who's fandom of the LA Lakers is measured in post-Kermit Washington terms.
So, where to from here?
Well... the important thing for LA fans to realize is that perhaps no other franchise has the ability to rebuild like the Lakers. And whilst a complete overhaul isn't necessary, there are some improvements to be made should LA wish to remain on the top of the pile.
Now... personnel - ignoring that no team is going to make a trade at all until the CBA issues are resolved - making trades is going to be impossible without knowing the parameters of contracts/caps, and whether there's litigation involved - let's forge ahead.
Of course, there's the coaching situation. Phil Jackson as coach gave LA something that's going to be hard to replace. No, impossible. The Zen Master could do things many other coaches simply aren't going to be able to do, given his stature within the NBA.
Who then, fills Phil's very large shoes?
That, will be interesting.
Keep the triangle, or dump it? If it's to stay: then the list of coaches becomes very, very short. One name in fact. Brian Shaw.
However, Jerry Buss for a long time has favoured a return to a faster brand of basketball, to a return of the glitz of "Showtime"... but with the prior successes of Phil Jackson and the triangle - why fix something that simply isn't broken?
But the departure of Coach Jackson, and the way this team ended it's season: now might be just the time to do it.
If LA looks towards a different offensive system, then it will be interesting what names start to crop up.
However, a different offensive system, a move away from the half-court? It's doubtful as to whether the roster as currently configured would be able to do that.
So looking in that direction, it's important to note that regardless of how the season finished, this is still a very good roster.
But there are three things that need to be considered...
First of all: Dwight Howard. Has to be covered, as that's where all eyes are. And post "Debacle-Does-Dallas", there's a possibility that Mitch Kupchak's already been on the phone to Otis Smith, kicking the tires on that wagon.
However, I'm not at all sure that needs to happen. This might be an unpopular stance given the past few days, but unless a deal for Howard is extremely attractive, I hope that the Lakers stay with Andrew Bynum. (more on Bynum in the next few days, but) He's big, athletic, one helluva player, and only 23.
Keep him around - unless Howard can be gotten without having to take on too much of the Orlando flotsam. LA have enough of their own millstone contracts.
The next most talked about 'piece-to-get' is Chris Paul, but I really doubt as to LA would be able to fulfil any needs that New Orleans have. As lovely as it would be to have Chris Paul help issue in a new era of a glorious showtime, it's simply not realistic. Barring any amazing situations like the one that brought Pau Gasol to LA, I cannot see Chris Paul in purple and gold, as attractive as that would be.
Still, that's where LA must press. Not with Chris Paul per se, but at the point. Derek Fisher's been great, but support from both Chris Paul and Ron Artest not withstanding - and regardless of what he thinks, I think it's time for LA to move on from Fish starting at the point. Far, far too often the Lakers are burnt at the one-slot by quick points. This is not to say that the Lakers need a truly elite guard, but they have to step up and finish with the band-aid solutions that have been applied to that gash... a gash that's quickly becoming a gaping wound.
Won't be easy, but if LA want to remain relevant - this is the most pressing issue.