The first, last and only time the Los Angles Lakers were riding a three-game winning streak was on Nov. 24 after a decisive 100-86 victory over the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center. At that point, the team improved to 7-7 and was anticipating the imminent arrival of Kobe Bryant. Unfortunately, the team hasn’t been able to put together a significant winning streak since while putting up losing streaks of six, six and seven since that date.
It’s no mystery the current availability of several healthy bodies have put the Lakers in position to put together another streak on Thursday night. Los Angeles will take on the Milwaukee Bucks, owners of the worst record in the NBA; this is a chance for a streak everybody can feel good about. Nick Young mentioned recently the team has set a goal of winning at least 30 games; right now they are at 24 wins with 12 games to go.
Of course, each win for the Lakers puts them further down in jockeying for a top lottery pick, which I know for a fact is upsetting a lot of Lakers fans right now. The way I look at it is you can’t expect the Lakers to just go out there and lose games. Ultimately it’s a good thing they are winning right now as it shows how much the injuries affected this season. This team isn’t nearly as bad as their record (24-46), and right now they are showing what could have been and more importantly what they can be.
Would it really make everybody feel better for this team to end on a huge losing streak? All that would accomplish is having to start fresh with a new roster, which leads to having to go through an entire season of trying to develop chemistry with players getting used to each other. If there is an opportunity to establish some kind of identity now, that would prove invaluable and would allow the front office to not have to go to the drawing board entirely.
There is no Tim Duncan, Bryant, LeBron James or Anthony Davis in this draft anyways. You can make a small case for Joel Embiid, but there are enormous injury concerns there. Regardless, winning breeds more winning, and that’s what this team needs to re-establish. Just watch how hard it will be for the Philadelphia 76ers to rinse themselves of their current losing culture; it gets embedded in locker rooms. Players get demoralized and start expecting to lose which leads to more losing in future years.
If the Lakers can end this season on a good note and are able to bring back some of the talented players currently on the roster for the 2014-15 season, it gives this group a certain confidence they can win games out of the chute next year. It’s true — a good finish to a season can carry over to the summer and then into training camp. A draft pick isn’t going to turn a team around right away like a big-time free agent can. So just sit back and relax, Lakers fans; don’t worry about tanking and watch for the Buck hunting on Thursday night.