Lakers: Why Losing Is Worth The Embarrassment


Earlier today, our own Hannah Kulik wrote a great article about why the Lakers should not be tanking. I strongly recommend reading her article, for those that haven’t, her point was simple: the Lakers losing games this year is both an embarrassment and not a worthwhile risk, that it is humiliating to be apart of this team.

There’s a lot of her points I disagree with in the article, no matter how strongly they may have been supported. We’ll start at the top and work our way down the article.

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[The Lakers] take the court each night with the intent to lose, and they have succeeded admirably.

There is a misconception about tanking (losing games on purpose), which the Lakers aren’t doing, and having a complete lack of talent, which the Lakers do have. Tanking is typically a front-office decision, where they choose to sit out players with mysterious injuries or prolong rehab for injuries.

While you could argue this might be the case with Nick Young, currently, this isn’t what the Lakers are doing. Quite simply, the Lakers have a lack of talent. Look at the Lakers’ roster and tell me how many players would start on a play-off team this year. With Kobe Bryant out for the year, the only argument you can make is possibly Jordan Hill. Otherwise, you’re looking at a lot of sixth, seventh, and eight men in a rotation, at best.

For a professional athlete, it is pure humiliation to be a part of this team.

Quite a hyperbole. I don’t think any current Laker is humiliated to be on this team.

Of these 15 top choices, only two — Davis and Irving (both number 1 selections) — have emerged as stars. All the rest have proven to be complete busts, adequate reserves, or decent players on bad teams.

That’s quite a large write-off of some of the names listed. You’re telling me the Lakers wouldn’t want the likes of Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, Enes Kanter, Tristan Thompson, or Jonas Valanciunas?

Not every top-five pick has to be a superstar. But having quality, talented, young players on cheap contracts (that last part is key) is a necessity under the current collective bargaining agreement. It’s not even necessarily about the talent itself, but the cheap assets. Look at the Houston Rockets. I know Lakers fans love to hate them, but they stockpiled young assets, turned it into James Harden and Chandler Parsons, then landed Dwight Howard. That isn’t a formula you want the Lakers to replicate?

Since the selection of Magic Johnson and James Worthy decades ago, the Lakers have always been a team built primarily on trades and free agent acquisitions.

You’re not wrong, but this is no longer a team that can rely on trades and free agents as heavily as they may have in the past. With the new details, most notably the repeater tax, the Lakers can’t stay above the luxury line year after year with minimal consequences. Sure, they signed a multi-billion dollar TV deal, but are you willing to throw away millions upon millions of dollars year after year?

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The CBA was renegotiated and the Lakers can no longer win the same way they did in the past. They have to adapt or die, and they’ve been doing the latter of late.

So desperate are the Lakers to find some reason to be optimistic that many have already anointed last years’ number seven draft pick, Julius Randle, the future face of the franchise. It is scary how much the Lakers sound like they are depending on Randle.

I don’t think fans put an abnormal amount of pressure or expectations on Randle. I also don’t think we were depending on him, either. I think fans were anxious to see his development this year as it was one of the few reasons to watch this team. But it’s understandable to see why they got excited. He performed great in the Summer League, showed flashes in the pre-season, and was seen a potential bright spot in a dull season.

Fans shouldn’t confuse anticipation or excitement with expectations. Randle is still a rookie, but look no further than in the same city to see a star who sat out a year and still is dominant in Blake Griffin.

No one wants to hear it, but what it all comes down to is luck. A top five draft choice is not going to turn anything around by himself, and he can just as easily be a wash-out.

Fair, but the Lakers are doing their best to improve their chances of luck bouncing their way during the draft lottery. In terms of prospect scouting, there’s reason to be hopeful considering the talent the Lakers have gotten in recent years.

Let’s just hope after these final 16 games, we never have to have this argument again.

Next: Top Five Individual Seasons In Lakers History