This is one of the best graphs put up on twitter, for a Lakers fan. There’s nothing like a statistician with some interest in sports to put up the relevance of a franchise in one graph.
The past two seasons have been doom and gloom. The Laker franchise went from having multiple All-Star players competing for a championship and struggling, to having role players competing for the playoffs and struggling. The systems may have changed. The coaches did change. Most of the players changed. One thing the Laker organization cannot control is injuries.
The Laker team has fought through them before. Superstar players Shaquille O’Neal Player Profile” href=”http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/o/onealsh01.html” target=”_blank”>Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant had quite a few seasons where they missed 15-20 games per year. Remember when the Lakers acquired Kobe Bryant Player Profile” href=”http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/p/paytoga01.html” target=”_blank”>Gary Payton and Karl Malone Player Profile” href=”http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/m/malonka01.html” target=”_blank”>Karl Malone? At one point in that season, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Karl Malone were all out with injury. Gary Payton took control of the ship (though he hated the triangle offense), and kept them afloat just enough to grab 1st place in the Pacific Division. The Detroit Pistons played better as a team in the Finals, but Karl Malone was a presence needed for the Lakers to win. He wasn’t there.
In 1989, the Lakers wrecked shop through the playoffs as well, only to lose to the Pistons with both Magic Johnson and Byron Scott with injuries. Clearly, David Rivers was not ready to lead the team to a championship.
What’s the point? The Lakers are the elite franchise. The Boston Celtics have more championships, but hang onto the former glory of the dominant 1960′s. There has been no other franchise so consistent, year after year, in making the Finals, competing, and having solid-to-great seasons.
Matt Barnes, "Lakers Run Is Over"” href=”http://www.lakersnation.com/matt-barnes-to-the-lakers-on-instagram-your-run-is-over/2013/08/22/” target=”_blank”>Guys like Matt Barnes have made comments about the Lakers, saying their run is over.
The best part about that graph is, to the Laker franchise, this is a hiccup. This is a Clipper team, just getting started. While the Clippers were waking up from a slumber, the Lakers won eight championships in the process.
It only took them 18 years.