Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the past 6 months, chances are you still probably heard about the struggling LA Lakers. From the team’s old age, to their head coaching issues, to all of the injuries, to the amount of shots Kobe has taken compared to Dwight, and so much more, the Lakers have seemed to make headlines almost every day.
The Lakers currently sit in tenth place in the Western Conference 16 and 1/2 games out of first place and 3 and 1/2 games out of 8th, which would give them a playoff berth. The big question is: Can the Lakers bounce back from the abysmal first half of the season that they’ve had?
With the All-Star Break coming up, the Lakers are in serious need of rest, both physically and mentally. To say they need to recuperate is an understatement beyond belief. Contrary to what some uneducated NBA fans may say: That it is just one season and they will bounce back next year. No, no, no. This season, like most seasons for the Lakers, is an, “All or nothing” season for them. If the Lakers don’t win a championship, it will be a miserable failure. However, now we find ourselves discussing if they will even make the playoffs. I couldn’t have predicted this, but I must say that I was not so sold on a championship in LA even with the additions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Let’s discuss what the Lakers have done wrong or had go wrong this year:
The hiring of Mike Brown: Yes, this happened last year, but any idiot could have told you it was the wrong move. I was one of those idiots. Mike Brown is not a good NBA coach and it was obvious through Lebron’s run in Cleveland and eventually apparent in LA.
The firing of Mike Brown: It was necessary, yes, but it caused more drama in LA.
The hiring of Mike D’Antoni and the dismissal of Phil Jackson: The Lakers slapped their all-time best coach, the best coach to ever be in the league, right in his face. They had an offer ready to make, and then pulled it, and made an offer to a coach who was supposed to fix all the offensive struggles the Lakers were having. Let’s just say that hasn’t been the case just yet.
The injuries: Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and Pau Gasol steal the headlines here. It seems like the three of them have not played in a single game together yet this year with the amount of injury time they’ve all had thus far.
Kobe: One would think that Kobe could never be a problem for any team, however, there have been some reasons to indicate that this may not be true. He has shot the ball more than double of what Dwight Howard has this year. In games where he has played more of a point guard role, than a shooting role, the team seems to have done better.
The relationships: Kobe has called out Dwight Howard a number of times this year to the media, questioning his will, effort, and determination. Situations like this have caused the meda to ask the question, “Will Dwight Howard want to stay in LA for another year of this?”
The Age: Let’s face it, they’re not the youngest team in the league by any means. Kobe is up there, Nash may only have a couple years left in his career, Pau could be nearing the end, Dwight is playing like he is as old as Nash and Pau, World Peace is washed up, and their bench isn’t even worth mentioning.
The Expectations: LA is expected to be a championship caliber team every year, and the fact that they didn’t win a single preseason game, and then continued their losing streak far into the regular season, caused immediate concern. This year specifically, was a year that this expectation of winning was more like a guarantee. The fact that struggles emerged early on created a media frenzy that has since, not stopped. This certainly has not helped the Lakers cause.
All of these subjects are reasons for the Lakers struggles and media tie ups. Still though, can they prevail? My opinion on the matter is this: I think LA will continue to be a mediocre team. I think they will win more games in the second half of the season than they did in the first half. I believe they will sac up and win enough games to make the playoffs as a 7th or 8th seed. It will not be easy, for teams like Utah and Houston are not just going to crumble. There are usually teams that even if they play well in the beginning, an expected trail off is normally not far away. The Baltimore Orioles are a perfect example of this sort of team, rather just in a different sport. I don’t think Utah or Houston will croak so easily, so the Lakers will have to rely more on their talents than the fuck ups of other teams.
If the Lakers do in fact make the post season, I do not see them making it past the first or second round. Oklahoma City should slap them around, while San Antonio has the ability to lose big games to bad teams. If the Lakers have any hopes of making it past the first round, they better hope to play the Spurs (I’ll still be betting on San Antonio).
So there you have it, we are seeing a different team out of LA that will have one of the more interesting second halves of the season that the franchise has ever seen. Stay tuned for more drama.