At the risk of offending Captain Obvious, I must say the Lakers are really a lousy team this year. There may be a handful of fans out there that have enjoyed watching this brand of basketball, if that is what you can actually call it. Some may say it is fun watching these young guys get a chance to play meaningful minutes in an NBA game–as opposed to a developmental league. Heck, 17 wins is pretty good for a bunch of rag tag castoffs from other teams. Afterall, we have more wins than five other teams at this moment in time. Four of them happen to be in the Eastern Conference, if that tells you anything about this stellar season. I will save you the time of looking them up. They are Cleveland, Philadelphia, Orlando, and Milwaukee. The lone representative from the Western Conference being Utah.
If the Lakers were a cereal that was sitting on the shelves of local grocery food chains, I imagine the boxes would have been pulled right about now due to lack of interest from the consumers. At the very least, they would have been shoved behind the fan favorites, not easily accessible. Someone would really have to love them, to go through the trouble of getting their hands on them. As a long time Lakers lover, I find myself continually reaching for that box of stale product this year. I can’t help myself, because they are my team no matter what. I have to live inside the recurring nightmare of this Lakers season, in hopes that the episode that keeps repeating itself in my sleep will someday have a better ending.
You must understand that my odyssey with the Lakers began a long, long, time ago. I was along for the ride when Bird and Magic forever changed the landscape of the NBA as we know it today. I was a witness to those epic NBA Finals battles with the Celtics, when the last team standing won the ring, but not without enduring a knock down, drag out brawl to earn it. Ask Kareem and Robert Parrish, Kevin McHale and Kurt Rambis, or Michael Cooper and Danny Ainge. I have been there for the Kobe and Shaq years. Big shot Rob, Derek Fisher, and the threepeat. Those are the things that keep me coming back for more.
With this season almost halfway over, I am beginning to see the rainbow, even though it continues to rain on the Lakers. There will be a day when the Lakers will stop being a tryout camp for players looking to catch the eye of another team to play for next year. The Lakers will once again find value in playing team defense, and fighting for the cause. Players will want to be Lakers, because they want to win rings, and carry on the traditions of the champions that played before them. The head coach will be someone who has championship pedigree, and a hunger to teach the fundamentals of this great game of basketball. For now, it is what it is. Will someone please wake me when it’s over?