The current generation of Lakers fans have been spoiled. You witnessed one of the greatest one-two punches in NBA history lead you to three titles. You were blessed with arguably the greatest coach in league history TWICE, helping you to five total titles. More of your life as a Lakers fan was spent discussing NBA Finals chances rather than NBA Draft Lottery odds.
But much like life, the NBA is cyclical. Those at the top don’t stay (unless you’ve mastered witchcraft like the Spurs).
The Lakers are now on the downside. No longer are we title favorites, but instead lottery favorites. However, the decrease in expectations is so foreign to most Lakers fans that some are already counting this Lakers team out for the season.
Even prior to Byron Scott‘s hiring, which was met with a fair amount of negativity, many fans were frustrated that the Lakers front office was not committed to tanking once again.
While the debate over tanking is a topic for a whole other discussion, to put it briefly, I don’t think teams should come into the season with the mindset to lose games from the get-go. That’s the signs of a bad franchise. If, during the season, things go badly like with the Lakers and their injuries last season, then tanking becomes a viable option.
You’re making a mistake counting this Lakers team out.
A tweet I composed from our own Lake Show Life twitter account was met with much laughter and mockery this weekend, which can be seen as follows.
Kobe reached out to Swaggy, Lin, and Booz with essentially the same message: "Get ready to shock the world."
— Lake Show Life (@TheLakeShowLife) July 25, 2014
However, I honestly believe this is the case.
Take last year’s team for example. Despite being totally decimated by injuries and having the worst season in franchise history, they still won 27 games and were only the 6th worst team in the league.
This year, they add a healthy Bryant, Boozer, Lin, Randle, and Clarkson, which will lead to an improved roster without a doubt. And while Byron Scott is not a world beater, he’s arguably the best coach they could have hired. I, myself, am not a Scott fan and have criticized him a fair amount, there’s no doubt he’s going to take this job seriously and coach his ass off for this team.
I’m not expecting title contenders. I’d be mildly surprised with a playoff berth. But this team has talent. It has a coach with Finals experience. It has a defined leader.
It has a chance. Don’t count out the underdog Lakers.