Are Laker Fans Aboard #TeamTank?


The Laker season has been more down than up.  With 13 wins through 49 games approaching All-Star break, Laker fans may be happy to take a break from their home team and watch a star studded lineup duringAll-Star break.  At this point last season, the Lakers had 17 wins.

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The four win difference is irrelevant.

We didn’t think it was possible to get worse this season, but it already happened.  Julius Randle was out from game one.  Kobe Bryant’s fight against time is more uphill than ever, and now he’s out with injury once again.  Steve Nash never had a chance.

While there have been a few bright spots, namely Ed Davis and Carlos Boozer through free agency at affordable contracts, the Lakers are missing a franchise player.  Los Angeles teams have always been about star-power and the Lakers are no exception.  There were attempts to keep Dwight Howard and acquire Carmelo Anthony, but to no avail.  The Lakers are better off.  James Harden has been the star for the Rockets, not Dwight.  Carmelo Anthony is struggling to lead the Knicks, despite Derek Fisher as a head coach and Phil Jackson watching overhead.

There is opportunity for hope.  A draft website named Tankathon shows the Lakers currently fourth in draft position if the ping-pong balls went in order from worst to best.  With an 11.9% chance at having the #1 spot in the draft and 37.9% chance of landing a top-three pick, there’s reason for hope.

Players such as D’Angelo Russell, Jahlil Okafor, Karl Towns, Stanley Johnson, and Willie Cauley-Stein are theorhetical top-5 picks.

Some of these guys may be franchise players.  Russell and Okafor are dominating NCAA basketball right now.

With that in mind, it is not the mindset of the Laker organization to intentionally tank. Mitch Kupchak has repeatedly told the press that the Lakers coaches and players are told to win.  It looks a bit fishy when the Lakers lose to the Wizards in the second half.  The idea comes back again in an OT loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Fans can sense #TeamTank rolling around the corner almost every game.

During the 1990’s, there was no intentional tanking, just smart drafting. Eddie Jones was taken 10th.  Nick Van Exel was taken in the second round.  That’s two All-Star players drafted within a two-year period.

By the time Shaquille O’Neal got onboard, the Lakers were already a young, talented playoff team that needed a key piece.

The Lakers need that again.  This time around, it’ll be a healthier Julius Randle and a core of young, talented players out to prove themselves.  Hopefully with a top-5 pick, late first-rounder, early second-rounder, and late second-rounder, the organization and build a talented squad quickly to entice a superstar through free agency, and draft one as well.

That is enough for me to have hope for next season.  That’s enough for me to keep watching the young players develop this season.

Next: Byron Scott Believes Tanking Can Backfire