Main Laker blog on twitter has us losing 50 games
Again, look at this team on paper: serviceable, no? Savvy veterans whose time with Pacific Division rivals keep them familiar, longtime Lakers who have won titles and a multitude of players who have had very good (though perhaps superficially so) offensive statistics. To the naked eye and ear, this looks like a team that could beat any given NBA team on any night simply by being around the game for so long. In many ways, this will appease the veterans on the team, season ticket holders, a vocal fan base who insist that the "Lakers don't tank or rebuild" and casual viewers who will know most names on the squad. The front office has built up a very deceiving squad that will be able to compete, but is worlds away from competing for home court advantage in the playoffs, let alone a championship.
With the new CBA as a legitimate excuse and mounting luxury taxes compounding those restrictions, Kupchak and Buss have cobbled together a team of vets who could help win games based on their experience, but is ultimately doomed to fail based on their defensive shortcomings. The Lakers can't be accused of trying to intentionally lose next season, not by their current players or the fan base, seeing as they have done their best to bring in guys with tangible skills. However, with a team built on injury-prone veterans and matador defense, they also look set up to fail.
Ultimately, I see this Lakers team losing around 50 games, missing the playoffs and nabbing a chance to end up a top 3 pick with a lucky bounce of a lottery ball. The organization will have a staggering $65 million coming off the books next summer, with just Nash, Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly being under contract in 2014-2015. Thus, in addition to a probable lottery pick, the Lakers will also have the ability to bid for a max salary free agent, as well as re-sign Gasol and Bryant to new, lower value contracts if they so please. In the intertim, the front office has to be given credit for this gentle balancing act of appeasing folks in the present but preparing for a rebuilding future, as difficult as it may be to see.
Edited by MDI, July 14, 2013 - 08:42 PM.