After Kobe Bryant’s return from an Achilles injury was negated by a new injury to his leg, the Los Angeles Lakers’ intent to tank this season and get a lottery pick became fairly obvious. The unexpected outcome of this tanked season was how good this ragtag bunch of misfits would turn out to be and that was again evident in the Lakers’ “good try” loss against one of the best teams in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers.
Some diehard Lakers fans like to believe that the team is not actually tanking the season. They will try to convince you that, once the team’s best players like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Xavier Henry and Steve Blake get healthy, they will be much better. The truth of the matter is, after things started to crumble, the Lakers clearly started playing the guys they needed to play in order to get a high draft pick. The interesting part of the equation is that these guys play with an amount of effort similar to the Indians in the movie Major League.
Unfortunately for Lakers fans, the team is not winning like those Indians, but the squad is still able to keep themselves in games with better opponents. In fact, this season, the Lakers have lost 30 games with 14 of those losses by single-digit margins. Further, losses like Tuesday night’s against the Pacers in which the Lakers were in the game for a long time but could not hold on have been habitual.
With Nick Young fighting for a chance to be the Sixth Man of the Year, Kendall Marshall dropping dimes like a guy who’s coin jar broke and Jordan Hill keeping up his hustling antics, this group of Lakers is built like a loser, but plays like a champion. If only head coach Mike D’Antoni could take the hearts and efforts of his current squad and put them into players with real NBA-level talent, the Lakers would have a shot at the playoffs.
Alas, that is not going to happen and the Lakers’ front office has set the team up to fail. The bright side is that the team inches closer to a great lottery pick like Andrew Wiggins with each loss. Bring on the talent… in the future!