The losing continues. The solution is nowhere to be found. The cause, right infront of you.
Welcome to Los Angeles Lakers basketball, where ‘Showtime’ was special, first at the Forum, then at Staples Center.
Lakers basketball was about West-Baylor-Chamberlain. It was Magic-Worthy-Cooper-Nixon. Then Shaq-Kobe-Gasol and the likes.
Now Lakers basketball is losing, blowouts, bad shots, bad attitudes, and more than anything else, bad leadership.
The Lakers banners and jerseys hung from the rafters, are the only symbol left what was the great era ownership by Dr. Jerry Buss. Now it is an era of error by his son Jim Buss, who has delivered us last place finishes, lottery picks that don’t pan out, and a parade of coaches, hired to be fired.
Since opening night of the 2013-season, the Lakers have a composite record of (58-158). Think about the history of the word ‘awful’ in NBA history, and the Philadelphia 76ers (9-72) record comes to mind back in the day. The terrible Sacramento Kings teams. The demise of the Boston Celtics. The poorly run New York Knicks.
They ended a numbing 10-game losing streak last night with a win over the woeful Minnesota Timberwolves. They’re still (10-41), very un-Laker-like.
But this is the Lakers franchise, where things like this only happened to other people in the Association. Right infront of your eyes, including those in the $1500 courtside seat, they are witness to this shameful product.
Kobe Bryant is in his farewell tour. Some nights showing flashes, other night’s firing up shot after shot, failing to hit. And then the nights he is so banged up he cannot suit up.
The Lakers have given us back to back lottery picks, Julius Randle of Kentucky, and Ohio State’s DeAngelo Russell, both with talent, both overwhelmed by this next level of play, both with reps of being whiners.
The growth is painfully slow, and there is agony watching their attitudes on the court, playing little defense, missing shots, and sitting and laughing on the bench in the midst of 27-point blowouts at home.
The rest of the roster, assembled by GM-Mitch Kupchack, is a mixed bag of young guys cut from other teams, D-League plays, and limited talent because the league says you have to suit up so many on game night.
Coach Byron Scott, a throwback to better days, is failing badly here, just like he failed as a head coach elsewhere. His glory days are behind him, and if he were not an ex-Laker, he’d be gone too.
But who should go is Jim Buss. They need leadership, and whether that comes from Kupchack, who knuckled under to Buss’ power move, or somebody from the outside, remembering Phil Jackson was available once upon a time, something has to change.
Good will and great days years ago, carries only so far. The Lakers have this TV channel, and the highlites are not game night against whomever they will lose to next, but rather yesteryear, and all the videos of Magic-Bird-Jordan.
The Lakers are no longer a destination point for marquee free agents. They think they can make a run at Kevin Durant a year from now if he leaves Oklahoma City. Did Lakers tradition carry the day last summer when they tried to lure the Trailblazers LaMarcus Aldridge? Don’t think so, then, or in the future.
Kobe vacates the first week of April, leaving behind cherished memories of 81-point nights, great years with Shaq, great fights with Shaq, and the time with the Zen Master-Jackson.
That’s all that’s left of Lakers basketball, the memories. The word bad is everywhere around that team’s practice facility and game night tipoffs.
Living in the past. That’s all the Lakers have going for them right now.