Social Media is at an all time high, and it allows the die-hard Laker fans to keep track of the team on and off the court. A lot of question marks were left at the end of last season. Where is Dwight headed? How is Nash’s recovery? What will Gasol do to improve? What is Bryant’s health look like? What acquisitions can be made? What else can the Lakers do to make themselves competitive this upcoming season?
Laker fans know the answer to the first question. Dwight went to Houston and it seems within the Laker community, fans weren’t really that devastated. Laker fans miss his talent, not his attitude and approach to the game as a Laker player. As fans, we’re used to seeing players make sacrifices, both financially and in terms of role, just to become Laker players. Dwight didn’t make those sacrifices. The Lakers lost. Props to him for fighting through multiple injuries, but considering that he had the option to take half to the entire year off, the season could have been even more disastrous than it was last season.
Steve Nash needed time to heal. It was clear he made sacrifices to the team, essentially becoming spot up shooter in a non-triangle offense role. It was clear the leg was bothering him and he still fought through it and played as active as he could. Still, he was the best perimeter shooter on the team. While Laker fans would have loved for him to excel in the point guard position, creating plays for others, last season wasn’t the right time for implementation. Time has allowed his body to heal, so there is reason for optimism this upcoming season. Hopefully he regains mobility and becomes the point guard that Laker fans have hoped for.
Fans were critical of Pau Gasol’s game last year. I wasn’t. He tried to adjust to D’Antoni’s system and it didn’t work. He fought through injury. His game is based on skill, length, and quickness, and it was clear that he didn’t have the motor or the feet that he had in years past. Perhaps his body was burned out, but late in the season when he started playing his more natural role in the post, he did rack up a couple of triple doubles and more comfort in the flow of the game. He has updated his progress on twitter and vine. Has anyone been paying attention? He has done pool work to reduce inflammation on his joints. A more positive sign was a short video on Vine of him hitting the weights. He does look a bit more cut than he did last year. With all the criticism last season, his confidence and dedication has never waned. He epitomizes what it is to be a Laker, and this is why he has two championships alongside Kobe Bryant.
Then there’s Kobe Bryant. He’s picking up marbles with his feet and putting them in a cup. He’s on a zero gravity setup running on a treadmill to reteach his muscles. He’s jumping off of high boards into swimming pools. These are just short snap-videos of his progress, and yet they’re all signs of his dedication and love to the game. His dedication has never been in doubt, but it’s nice to have fans feel like they’re participating with his progress.
Most recently the Laker organization released a short Vine video of players at the practice facility doing a lob dunk, a 180* reverse dunk, and another lob dunk. It’s difficult to catch the faces of the players, but it is giving reason for hope with Laker players in the facility working on their game or just out in the gym having fun.
This is the most active I’ve seen a Laker team compared to seasons past. While championship hopes may not be as definitive as they were last year, it’s nice to sit back as a Laker fan and just know that these guys and the new acquisitions are guys that actually want to be Laker players. I can’t wait to sit back and enjoy the season.