The fans are getting what they want.
After a rough Laker season full of injuries, who would have thought that the off-season would be more fun than the regular season? The first round of the Western Conference Playoffs have been the most exciting in decades. The intensity is simlar to the NCAA tournament. More importantly, two things have given Laker fans reason to cheer.
- Mike D’Antoni resigned as head coach.
- Dwight Howard is out of the playoffs in the first round.
While it made be considered rude or classless to cheer for the downfall of others, the same would not happen of other Laker players or people. Some fans are happy to see Derek Fisher and Caron Butler succeed for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Mike D’Antoni had two seasons to turn the Lakers’ fortunes. Criticism of him has been based on his philosophies, and not lack of effort. That didn’t win any one over in Los Angeles. While I contend that D’Antoni still had the current team overachieve, there was no real progression or growth with the unit throughout the year.
Dwight Howard, didn’t win many Laker fans either. Fans weren’t happy with the sign on Staples Center asking D12 to stay. The rule is, the franchise bends for no one. They bent, and still lost. Instead, Dwight left, sensitive to the criticism of his efforts from Laker fans and thinking he would be more successful elsewhere. It’s hard to respect a player who, allegedly, wanted to be the #1 option, wanted more touches in the post, wanted a new coach, and wanted the franchise players of the team for the past fifteen years dethroned. That’s too much to ask without the consistent effort.
Dwight didn’t earn it as a Laker.
In a few weeks, the draft for the lottery will be determined. The Lakers have a high chance of picking between #6 to #8, but there’s also the slim opportunity of picking #1-#3. Hopefully, the ping pong balls will swing in Laker favor and the organization can continue this cleansing. Once the new coach, the lottery pick, and players have been acquired, the next season may feel like a rebirth to a strong playoff run.
As fun as this off-season has been, it would be more fun with the Lakers, healthy, and in the playoffs.