While Los Angeles Lakers fans have been seeing some generally pedestrian, and at times, absolutely pathetic basketball the last several years, there are reasons for the Lakers and their fans to be excited about their future. The funny thing is, more losing could be involved, which isn’t fun, but just might be necessary.
First of all, embattled head coach Mike D’Antoni has gotten all he can out of the selection of players available to him. Especially with the injuries that have affected the Lakers, there aren’t too many teams in the league, less talented than this squad. While he walks in the shadow of the legendary Phil Jackson, D’Antoni will never be a favorite of Lakers fans, but he should be getting credit for squeezing as much production as he can out of this D-League level lineup. Whether or not D’Antoni will be coaching the Lakers when they have superior talent is still in flux, but it would be a good idea to give him a chance, as he has led talented teams deep into the playoffs before. His style gets criticized, but he is a tremendous coach.
Jordan Hill has been the Lakers most consistent player this year. He isn’t great, but he is a hustler, and will always provide energy in his, at times, limited playing time. His rebounding has been phenomenal, especially considering the minutes he does play, and while they don’t really run plays specifically for Hill, he does a great job of cleaning up, and getting those hustle points.
Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake have been thrust into the lineup more than most thought would be the case, but those key injuries to Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash have forced the Lakers’ hand. While Meeks and Blake aren’t really suitable for starting, they have performed admirably, providing relief via their three point shooting.
The best thing really for the Lakers, though it may seem contradicting, are the unfortunate injuries to Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. With those injuries come diminished expectations, and as a result, fan pressure should tempered a bit, but considering the Lakers fans are used to winning, we’ll see how long that lasts. With the upcoming draft being the most highly touted since 2003 (the year of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and… Darko Milicic?!), the Lakers would be wise to gain a decent drafting spot, that could supply them with home grown talent.
Kobe Bryant’s injury, in particular, is good for the team, and its fans. Bryant came back for all of six games before fracturing a bone in his left knee. While his Achilles tendon injury, and this current one might not be related, it will be hard for the Lakers brass, and it’s fans, to be counting on Bryant going into the future. As hard as he might try, sometimes the body just isn’t willing to do what the mind wants it to do anymore. It looks like Bryant is in that sad phase of his legendary career, unfortunately.
With a few years out of the spotlight, and some luck via trades and/or drafts, the Lakers will be in contention within five years. Even at it’s bleakest, its never that bad in Los Angeles.
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