The entire year of 2013 has been tough for a Laker fan. We’ve seen a borderline playoff team struggle to get into the playoffs, making it into 7th place, and getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs. We’ve seen a superstar consider another team. We’ve seen star player Kobe Bryant play beyond what his body could handle, twice. We’ve seen Pau Gasol deal with multiple injuries and role changes. We haven’t seen much of Steve Nash, sadly. We’ve seen some of the worst chemistry as a Laker team. We’ve seen some of the best chemistry on a Laker team this season.
We want to win every game.
But coming into the season with moderated expectations was a lot more reasonable. We hoped for Gasol to recover better and show flashes of his All-Star abilities. We hoped Kobe Bryant would recover properly and give optimism for the team into the 2nd half of the season. This is a completely different team compared to last season.
It feels like things just keep getting worse.
It has been a tough year.
The current Laker team is overachieving. Repeat that to yourself; overachieving. This is a Laker team full of role players and borderline starters that haven’t truly established themselves as defined roles in the league. Some of them are searching for their own identity. That includes the team itself.
Considering the situation, the Laker team is only five games from being a .500 team. The Lakers lost to the 76ers, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, and the Miami Heat. Think of their rosters. There are players on those teams we wish were Laker players, full of youth, upside, and talent. Michael Carter-Williams, Enes Kanter, Harrison Barnes, Stephen Curry, Eric Bledsoe, and seemingly countless others. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love this team. This team has the most character I’ve seen in a decade. The above listed names are possible considered franchise talents. For our Laker roster, that may not be the case. Yet, we have guys like Jordan Hill, Steve Blake, Nick Young, Jodie Meeks, and Xavier Henry having career years.
How many times has Jordan Hill come out with break-through double-doubles? How many times has Steve Blake played for double-doubles with points and assists? Nick Young is seeing double teams on the perimeter for the first time because he has been so hot from the 3-point line of late. Jodie Meeks has accumulated more layups this season than the entire last year, and it’s not all due to playing time. Xavier Henry is a skywalker to the hoop driving with aggression.
Repeat that to yourself. These guys are having career years.
There are articles out there that seem to repeat that bad news; Mike D’Antoni may be on the way out of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles: Things Aren’t Getting Better. It’s easy to look down on the Laker team and completely lose faith. As I mentioned, this team has the most character I’ve seen in a decade. Championship teams haven’t dealt with such adversity, and this team keeps fighting. The roster may not be as talented as other teams, but no other team does the best with what they have better than this Laker team. How competitive were the most recent five losses? Imagine if the team just had one steady point guard for 40 minutes a game? We’re not talking about an All-Star, just one solid, established point guard. When it’s realized that those recent losses could have been at least three more wins, it says a lot about the team. It says a lot about the coach. It says a lot about the franchise. As much as I want a lottery pick to get more wins long-term, the Laker brass still wants to win every game, just like you.
This team doesn’t quit. Neither should you.