Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
These are the Los Angeles Lakers. A below .500 non-playoff contender. That hasn’t changed on Mike D’Antoni’s watch and it isn’t going to change at all this season.
Stick a fork in them. The Lakers are done.
The mind-numbing coaching hires, the desperate personnel moves, the total lack of chemistry, the rigors of old age and the compiling injuries have all sabotaged a completely lost season.
Forget about a title run. That’s impossible if you’re not in the playoffs. At this point all that remains is to play for the name of the front of the jersey in hopes of salvaging some sense of pride for the fallen franchise.
The clock has already struck midnight. Mired in a four game losing streak, unable to beat the teams in front of them and absolutely no improvement being shown is where the Lakers find themselves halfway through the season.
No longer is there a return of Nash on the horizon. He’s here and the team still turns the ball over far too much to succeed on a nightly basis.
No longer is there a learning curve for the D’Antoni system. Playing pickup ball will never win a title in the NBA. Thanks, Jim Buss, for helping to prove that.
No longer is there enough time to pull off the great escape. Teams that can’t figure out anything in three months of hoops aren’t going to do so in a matter of weeks.
What we’re looking at is the beginning of the end of the Los Angeles Lakers as we know them. For decades we’ve avoided rebuilding. With Kobe Bryant set to retire, Dwight Howard likely to depart and no other noteworthy pieces to build around remaining the Lakers are venturing into uncharted waters.
But that is looking much further down the line. In the here and now it’s the daily task of finding some reason to watch this team play. We’ve seen all we need to know at this point. The only real surprise would be a change in the results.