At first glance, the rebuilding Lakers will make you cover your mouth in shock. No Dwight Howard. No Metta World Peace. No Earl Clark. No new coach. No defined ownership. No clear plan. No Showtime. No Lake Show. No Bench Mob. No way in heck are you going to rush home from work on a Tuesday night in February to watch the fourth quarter of their game in Atlanta. But now wait. Look at what is left. Look at what has been added. If you really look at it, when you slowly remove your hand from your mouth, you might actually be smiling. In losing some of their hype and much of their hope, the Lakers gained something that has been missing in the three years since the final moments of Game 7 against Boston. These Lakers could actually be fun again. There is a little chance they will make the playoffs. There is a decent chance they will stink. There is zero chance they will play any defense. But with something to prove and nothing to lose, they are almost guaranteed to entertain. The theme will be Waiting for LeBron. The goal is still to get into position for a decent pick in one of the top drafts in recent history. The journey is still to nowhere. But it's going to be a blast watching the ride.
HaHaHaHaHaHa!!!! The best part of Dwight leaving and Kobe's injury is that LA sports' writers quite literally don't have any idea what to say, think, or write. They are falling back on empty traditional "sports' writers" analyses which simply DO NOT work when analyzing the LA Lakers.
EVERY sports' writer I've read from across the country has written articles saying that essentially tanking is the most successful NBA strategy to build a team. Tank. Lose big and then win big in the draft. That only works for small and mid-market teams. These teams get big draft picks, develop them for two or three years, then trade up for some veterans. That trade up process is how the big dog teams like the Lakers pick up new talent. So when Plaschke says the Lakers should tank for the draft, or have no hopes for the playoffs, or should fire the coach, that is all bullshit, lame, know-nothing analysis. Rather, this is classic Lakers basketball scenario, where the team found itself in 1997, in 2005, and in 2007. Here we are again. Notice just after all those times the Lakers quickly bounced back and won a title within 2-3 years ;)
So the Lakers will not tank, they will continue to play their ass off, and the goal is to make the playoffs, not to tank. In LA, we make the playoffs every year, it is our bread and butter. Its how our franchise pays the bills, NBA teams make BIG money in the playoffs. Further, it keeps our rep for attracting trades and free-agents. When you come to the Lakers, you KNOW you are going to make the playoffs. We've missed the playoffs only FOUR times in the past FIFTY years.
So LA will be fine. Lakers may even surprisingly have MORE wins than last season, because ALL our guys missed 20-30 games on injuries last year, so just being healthy will increase our wins. We will make the playoffs, probably be a one and done team, but it will tell other players out there on the market and teams interested in trades that LA Lakers are still real deal.
To recap. Others team? Tank, build in the draft, become better. This is how the Thunder made it big. How the Rockets developed enough money and young talent to attract Lin-Harden-Howard over there. What the Suns or the Magic are gambling on. How the Cavs become relevant every 5-7 years since 1982. HOWEVER. THAT is not Lakers basketball. We win. We win consistently. And we attract the best talent because we win, and because we can afford to pay our players. So let Dwight go. We will not tank. We are NOT the Celtics. Lakers WILL make the playoffs, and while they won't nab Lebron, they will splash it big in the 2014 offseason..