As far as early season upsets go, the Los Angeles Lakers beating the Clippers on Opening Night was on of the more surprising in recent memory. The Clippers, with one of the more heralded off season acquisitions in head coach Doc Rivers, are one of the handful of teams considered to be capable of winning a championship this season. That discussion clearly doesn’t involve these Lakers.
You talk about unexpected, how about the bench playing the entire 4th quarter against the Clippers, and the Lakers won comfortably. I imagine Lakers fans delusions of grandeur quickly evaporated after the the proceeding losses to Golden State, and San Antonio.
That win, might well end up being one of the highlights of a potentially dreadful season. As the Opening Night adrenaline fades and reality sets in that they just aren’t very talented, and undermanned for the time being without Kobe Bryant.
This is what happens when expecting significant contributions from the likes of Jordan Farmar, Jodie Meeks, Nick Young, and Chris Kaman. I’m not trying to disparage these players. If they were on different teams, in the right situation, they could be valuable to those teams. They, however, aren’t well suited for this situation, in which they are some of the focal points of the team at this time.
Pau Gasol and Steve Nash are future Hall of Famers, but their time has past. Gasol is still a good player, but he can no longer dominate games, which is what this Laker team needs. While Gasol is still a useful player, even perhaps just for his potential trade value, Nash seems to be close to the end, if not there already. It’s tough to watch former great players hang around and a shell of their formers selves, and that’s happening with the 39 year old Nash now. He has two years left on his contract, he’d be wise to retire after this season.
If Bryant can come back and play to at least 75% of last season’s capability, he will win the Lakers a few games virtually by himself. The question is, do the Lakers really want that though? Los Angeles isn’t used to losing consistently, and it’ll be a tough sell to the fan base, but their path to recapturing glory isn’t by gamely winning 35-40 games.
They need to play there young players, and see what they have in them. Trading Gasol should be at the top of the list, as I’m sure there are contenders out there right now that feel he could put them over the top. The pieces they have on the team right now aren’t components of a contender, I’d assume many wont be in a Laker uniform very long, and Lakers fans should just accept that this wont be a pretty season to behold.
I know losing games isn’t particularly appealing to anyone, and with Bryant around, dealing with the losses could become a soap opera in of itself. It’ll be tough, annoying, and miserable for the fans and franchise, but if the Lakers are planning for the future, they’d be wise to let the losses keep on piling up…or pray that Lebron James comes to L.A.