Sunday, December 21, 2014
Blog Page 17

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Update (Feb 1, 2:30pm) – Pau Gasol, who had been dealing with a sore right groin, had an MRI today which revealed a strained right groin.

Gasol will be out a minimum of a week and will be re-evaluated next weekend when the team returns from its three-game road trip.

Additionally, Lakers backup center Chris Kaman, who has a sore right knee, also had an MRI. Results of the MRI were negative and he is cleared to play.

– End of Update –

Over the past few weeks, Pau Gasol has played at an elite level–looking like the Gasol of old, all while battling a groin injury.

Unfortunately, the pain and discomfort has gotten to the point where Gasol will have an MRI Saturday to see what the extent of the injury is. ESPNLA’s Ramona Shelburne spoke with Gasol after Friday’s loss against the Charlotte Bobcats.

Gasol had himself a great month of basketball in January averaging 20.6 points and 12.1 rebounds per game.

For the Lakers, just when it looked like relief was coming on the injury front, this happens. All we can do is hope for the best regarding Gasol’s MRI results.

For as much criticism he has received and all the trade talk he’s been involved in the last few years, Gasol has been the Lakers’ best player this season and has continued to leave it all on the floor, despite the team’s struggles.

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After 30 years to the day, David Stern has retired as the NBA’s commissioner. His tenure was the longest serving and arguably most successful of any in major sports.

Adam Silver has officially been named the league’s fifth commissioner.

While most Laker fans will continue to view David Stern’s tenure in a negative light, due to the Chris Paul fiasco — no commissioner has played a bigger role in a league’s growth and expansion than him.
 

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Photo courtesy of Andrew D. Bernstein, Getty Images

Not-so-sweet, and short – the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Charlotte Bobcats, who have five more wins than their opponents tonight at 21-27. Just six games under .500. Remember when the Lakers were “just” six games under .500? Seems like ages ago, because here they are – 15 games under .500, with less than half the amount of wins as losses.

Adorned in their Hollywood Nights black uniforms, the Lakers were anything, but glitz and certainly nowhere near glamour. After 47 games in the books, they looked rusty, like they hadn’t played in months. And they look discouraged, and rightfully so. Who wouldn’t be?

The coaches are have little explanation for the what’s happening, the players are tired of losing and the media – we’re running out of ways to recap each loss. Tonight it was a 110-100 victory for the Bobcats, who still have a chance at the post-season in their conference.

High Points
Turnovers
– The Lakers had just eight and gave up nine points as a result.
Free throws – 22-27 from the charity stripe, 82%.
Pau Gasol – The Spaniard had another good scoring night with 24 points on 9-17, adding in nine rebounds and two blocks. He’s the only Lakers who shot over 50% from the field. With him, the Lakers shot 39%. Without Gasol’s offense, the Lakers shot just 36%.
Jodie Meeks and Nick Young did score 40 points combined, but they also went just 13-27 from the field for 35%

Low Points
Outrebounded…again. Jordan Hill – 3 rebounds in 12 minutes; Wesley Johnson – 5 rebounds in 20 minutes.
Gave up another 100+ points on 52% from the field.
6-26 from beyond the arc.

There isn’t much to say about tonight’s Lakers. They’ve played the exact same way they’ve played when they lost; failing to look back on the games in which they actually learned a valuable lesson (like rebounding being somewhat important), and then applying it for the next contest to give themselves a chance to win. But they continue this type of play, game in and game out, perhaps trying to maintain a certain level of energy. Unfortunately, who, in their right mind, would feel energized after losing a string of games.  They are, in a word, exasperating. (Side note: Pau Gasol is playing with an injured groin yet Chris Kaman remains on the bench, healthy, able to play, but continues to wait for his turn on the floor).

Box Score

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Photo: Jonathan Daniel | Getty Images

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Lakers have inquired about Chicago Bulls F Taj Gibson.

According to a source, the Lakers, Wizards and Bobcats have each inquired about Gibson, but they were preliminary talks in which the Bulls did not like the return.

Gibson is averaging 12.2 pts, 6.4 reb, 1.5 blk, 1.1 ast and is shooting 48.9% in 28.5 minutes per game.

The Bulls are looking to clear cap space to make a run at Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James this summer, and Gibson seems the most likely to be traded.

And while [Kirk] Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy have been churning in the trade rumor mill for more than a month, Taj Gibson’s name is the one that is picking up, and could determine how serious the Bulls are in clearing space for a max contract to land the likes of a Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.

Stay tuned as the NBA trade deadline is fast approaching on February 20th.

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Photo courtesy of Andrew D. Bernstein, Getty Images

January 31, 2014 — 7:30 PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Rumors of potential future Laker superstars, a Laker legend’s criticism of Lakers management, and even coaching rumors have become hot topics in the last few days in Lakerland.

However, the Lakers (16-30) face off vs Charlotte Bobcats (20-37), who find themselves in the 8th seed by accident in a terrible Eastern Conference.

All three point guards, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmar, participated in practice for the first time in months due to their various injuries. The Lakers only true ball handler for the entire month January has been PG Kendall Marshall, who got signed by the Lakers from the D-League in December.

Those three point guards will not play tonight, but all seek to return simultaneously next Tuesday, which will cause a logjam at point guard.

Meanwhile, the Charlotte Bobcats have players who can cause a lot of problems for the Lakers again, especially on the defensive end. C Al Jefferson leads the Bobcats team who has shown signs of improvement this season despite a subpar record. Jefferson bring a veteran big man presence to a team that has been lacking a highly skilled big man for years, averaging 19.3 PPG and 10.5 RPG, which could have arguably got him into this year’s all-star game.

PG Kemba Walker, who scored 24 points vs Lakers in their last meeting, will not play tonight as he continues to recover from suffering a sprained ankle a few weeks ago.

To close out the 4th quarter, we expect to see former Laker PG Ramon Sessions and SG Gerald Henderson to close out the game in back court, which hopefully would not cause the Lakers defense as much turmoil as any of the Lakers’ opponents this month.

Projected Starters

PG – Kendall Marshall / Ramon Sessions [Advantage: Even]
SG – Jodie Meeks / Gerald Henderson [Advantage: Bobcats]
SF – Wesley Johnson / Michael Kidd-Gilchrist [Advantage: Bobcats]
PF – Ryan Kelly / Josh McRoberts [Advantage: Even]
C – Pau Gasol / Al Jefferson [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Bobcats: F Bismack BiyomboF Cody ZellerG Chris Douglas-Roberts, Anthony Tolliver

Lakers: Nick YoungG Manny Harris, F Jordan Hill

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Bobcats: Out-G Jeff Taylor, Out-G Kemba Walker, Out-C Brendan Haywood, GTD-G Ben Gordon

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-PG Steve Blake, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-PG Jordan Farmar

Keys for Lakers Victory

Defense: The Lakers have scored more than 100 points 11 times in the last 20 games, a very respectable number.

The problem?

The Lakers have allowed 100 or more points in 18 out of the last 20 games.

The result?

The Lakers have a 3-17 record in their last 20 games, which puts them near the bottom of the standings. Mike D’Antoni needs to try different lineups to see if anything would work. Maybe inserting C Chris Kaman into the game might help alleviate some defensive deficiencies.

Bottom Line

The Lakers will not win any games consistently playing one of the worst defense in NBA history. If the keep the Bobcats under 100, they win. If not, chances are they will increase their losing streak to 6 games.

Prediction

Lakers: 107-103

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Image Credit: US Presswire

The Zen Master has spoken.

Former Laker Hall-of-Fame coach Phil Jackson sat down with former Laker and current NBA TV Analyst Rick Fox to discuss memories from his 11 NBA championships as a coach, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and also his basketball coaching future.

Jackson made some pretty optimistic comments on whether or not Bryant could come back to become dominant after recovering from his recent injury.

“Kobe’s minutes he’s played, the time he’s been on the court, the duress, the way he’s played, has taken a toll obviously, his injury has been a part of chain of events because of what’s happened to his Achilles tendons,” Jackson said. “I think he’ll be back, and I think he’ll still be a scorer. … Kobe can still post up, be a good screen and roll player, hit shots, and hit some three pointer.”

He also responded to Fox’s question on whether or not he personally would have re-signed Bryant to a 2-year extension.

“Yeah, I would’ve. They paid him more than I would’ve gone for, But what he’s given to the organization, what he gives back, he brings a sense that ‘we are going to win,'” said Jackson. “We have to have a guy on our team doesn’t settle for 2nd. That’s one of the area where the value of Kobe, even at his age, is terrific.”

Former Lakers C Dwight Howard clearly had a dysfunctional stint with current head coach Mike D’Antoni that caused him to leave the Lakers. When Fox asked Jackson whether or not he would have stayed if the Lakers had chosen to hire him over D’Antoni, Jackson responded:

“There’s a true chance that would’ve [stayed]. Dwight gave up a little early on the Lakers, but maybe it wasn’t for him. Maybe he didn’t find the culture exactly what he needed to blossom and benefit from the game, but it cost the Lakers a lot, it cost them a draft pick.”

The Lakers currently sit at a dismal 16-30 record, good for second-to-last place, slightly ahead of the Sacrament Kings. Many fans want D’Antoni fired to let Jackson coach one last time.

When Fox asked Jackson about his coaching future, he was very candid in his response.

“I have no intention of coaching again…physically, I have to reconcile a fact that I’m in a position after 5 operations in 3, 4 years, [and] at my age it takes a little bit more to recover from it,” Jackson stated.

He then left a small room of hope for Lakers fans who want him back.

“But who knows, maybe I will have a regenerative tissue that will get me back at it.”

Will Phil Jackson ever coach the Lakers again and help Kobe get his sixth NBA Championship?

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Photo: Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images

According to Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley, an anonymous NBA general manager recently told ESPN’s Chris Broussard that Kevin Love coming to play for the Lakers, in 2015 once he becomes a free agent, is a “100 percent certainty.”

If this rumor were to be true, it’s tough to see the Lakers signing Carmelo Anthony this offseason. While having Anthony and Love to go with a returning Kobe Bryant would be the most ideal situation, this would be highly unlikely under the new collective bargaining agreement.

If the Lakers don’t sign Anthony, but do sign Kevin Love, a scenario of Love, this year’s (hopefully) promising draft pick, and another 2015 free agent joining the Lakers is a likely scenario.

What are your thoughts, Nation? Leave them in the comment section below.

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Image Credit: Cameron Browne | Getty Images

The older you get the harder it is to get out of bed some days. You may feel like laying there and enjoying a day of rest and relaxation, or you may feel too sore to get up just yet.

Steve Nash re-injured himself by tweaking his back while getting out of bed Monday morning (via Eric Pincus of the LA Times). This caused him to miss practice Monday and the Pacers game Tuesday.

“I’m fine,” said Nash later in the day.

Nash had been targeting the Indiana match up as the game he would return for. Now that game may instead be next Tuesday’s match up against the Minnesota Timberwolves, as long as his back holds up well at Thursday’s practice. Maybe getting up Thursday morning too.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I’ve done all the work and I feel ready to practice again,” said Nash, who has been rehabilitating away from the team in Vancouver, Canada. “I’m really excited, just to be part of the team again.”

Despite Friday’s game originally being a possibility, Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding and OC Register’s Janis Carr report that Nash is not planning to play against the Charlotte Bobcats.

“Nash also said that he isn’t playing Friday vs. Charlotte, ‘I havent practiced in 2 1/2 months.’ Thinks Tuesday might be a possibility.”

Nash has played in six games this season, his last being on November 10th against the  Timberwolves. Since then, many have speculated that Nash may have to retire if this latest comeback attempt does not go well. With Nash being the oldest player in the NBA, and playing arguably the most important position, he will have to be ready physically to endure his nightly match-ups.

For Nash, and the already struggling Lakers defense, it would only mean easier opportunities for opponents if Nash cannot move well enough to guard anyone.

While I have confidence that Nash will make the best playing decision possible, I do hope that he is ready for the long haul. This season, if nothing else, has and will continue to be a marathon until the end. 

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Photo courtesy of Noah Graham, Getty Images

…at least not in the second half, where they have habitually unraveled for the greater part of this season. Is it because they’re gassed? Perhaps; they could be on a 9-man rotation. Is it because the opponent adjusts after halftime? Maybe so, but for the most part, the opponents aren’t the ones who transform before the third quarter and even if they did, who’s stopping the Lakers from adjusting right back?

After a long road trip in which they went just 2-5, it was cruel to come back and play the first home game after two weeks against the might Indiana Pacers. Whoever said they bet on the Lakers to win tonight was lying. They weren’t expected to win. Heck, they weren’t even expected to put up as good of a fight as they did in that first half, but they did. And that’s the most frustrating thing about this team – they start more than just well.

The second half, as per usual, played out the exact opposite of the first and, as predicted, the Lakers lost, 104-92.

The high points and low points are the same as they have been for a while. Clearly they’ve never heard of the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

High Points
First-Half Defense – The Lakers’ defense was relatively active in the first half, allowing just 40% shooting for the Pacers, and 49% shooting themselves. Against the best defense in the league, a 49-point tie at halftime wasn’t a bad thing at all. They also kept All-Star Paul George at a very uncharacteristic five points on 2-9 from the field and just three rebounds.
Pau Gasol – Gasol continued his string of productive games with a 21-point, 13-rebound effort. He went 10-19 from the field and, despite aggravating his groin and having to enter the second half late, he still managed to chip in what he did. For all the failed trade attempts, for all the vitriol he’s received for playing the type of game that he does, Gasol is the hardest working player on this team who has every right not to be.
Jodie Meeks – Helping to carry the load has been Meeks. He had 21 points tonight, despite a less than stellar shooting effort. He went just 2-8 from three, and 7-16 from the field in total.
Kendall Marshall – This Carolina product didn’t do much of the scoring himself (just 11 points on 5-11), but he handed out 13 assists. Unfortunately, 12 of those assists came in the first half.
Turnovers – It was a cleanly-played game for the Lakers tonight, with just nine turnovers, a far-reach from their 20+ turnover games. Unfortunately, it’s one of many issues still unresolved.

Low Points
Second Half – After keeping pace with the Pacers (pun totally intended) in the first half, the Lakers came into the third quarter and did what they usually do – fall on their rear ends. Indiana scored six straight points before the Lakers could score their first after the break and with a three from George to end that third period, the lead was 10 going into the fourth. The Lakers shot just 28% in that third quarter, while the Pacers enjoyed a 54% shooting percentage. The fourth quarter was no better. Despite Indiana shooting just 35% in the final 12 minutes, they still managed to lead by as much as 16 points because the Lakers shot just 33% in the fourth.
Chris Kaman - What in the world did Chris Kaman do to get on Mike D’Antoni’s bad side? Against a team who clearly has some size, Kaman, for the upteenth time this season, sat on the bench and ended his night with a DNP-Coach’s Decision next to his name on the box score. Even after Gasol aggravated his groin in the first half, he still came in and played significant minutes in the second half. Perhaps Kaman could have done some good, being that he’s a solid scorer and all.
Rebounds – 63-50 boards, in Indiana’s favor. 17 of those 63 were offensive rebounds that provided them with 20 second-chance points.
Kobe Bryant – Even when he’s not active, he makes news, and today he was news of the bad kind. Reports are that Bryant will have to be out for at least another three weeks.

After two weeks and seven games on the road, the Lakers’ first game back came on the birthday of the late, great Jerry Buss. Dr. Buss would’ve been 80 years old today. What a sad way to celebrate one of the most, if not the most, important man in the Lakers’ successful history. The way this team has suffered from injuries (148 total games missed by players this season) and all the losing that has enveloped this season, the Lakers and their front office have to ask themselves – W.W.J.D. – What Would Jerry Do?

Box Score

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Credit: Getty Images

Kobe Bryant will miss at least three more weeks as he recovers from his left knee injury, the Lakers announced Tuesday. Bryant was evaluated by team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo and still has pain and swelling in his left knee.

Bryant will continue with a program of non-weight bearing exercise, consisting mostly of working out on a stationary bike. He will be examined again in approximately three weeks..

It is a tough blow for the Lakers, as they were hopeful that Bryant would return before the All-Star break. Bryant will certainly miss the All-Star game and could miss the rest of February.

It is important to remember that it is at least three weeks until he is re-evaluated.  If cleared after three weeks, he would still need another two or three weeks of conditioning before he steps back onto the court. 

 

 

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Photo Credit | AP Photo/ Frank Gunn

Lately the Lakers have been lethargic, careless, and they resemble a D-League team playing in the NBA. Throwing away games in the fourth quarter that should have been wins, and having their veteran power forward throw a tantrum after one such loss.  The Lakers aren’t winning anything this season as I wrote about in my last article on why the team should tank.  Even when Kobe Bryant returns (which, according to Kevin Ding, could be up to another month) the team won’t be contending for even an eighth seed in the playoffs.

So, this begs the question:  Should Kobe Bryant sit out the rest of the season?

We all saw Bryant return rather quickly from his torn Achilles tendon, only to subsequently suffer a fracture in his left knee to his lateral tibial plateau; keeping him on the pine for the foreseeable future.  If Ding’s timeline is correct, which can be seen here, Bryant will return roughly after the All-Star break should he be unable to participate in it.  That’s mid-February folks, and if he’s at the losing end of that timetable it could be as late as March.

That’s about one month of basketball until playoffs begin, which, again, the Lakers aren’t making.  Do the Lakers want their veteran leader to play for a month, risk injury, and still not have anything to show for it at the season’s end? Probably not, but I don’t run the organization, nor do I have any influence on Bryant’s decision and drive to play basketball.  In the end, it’s completely up to him once he’s healthy enough to play, and his decision is final.

So, I’ll open the floor up to you guys, do you think he should sit the rest of the season?

Should Kobe Bryant sit out the rest of this season?

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Since Mike D’Antoni joined the Lakers last season, legend Magic Johnson has made his feelings known regarding the head coach, while blasting the front office and Jim Buss every chance he gets.

It was no different recently as Johnson went on ‘The Tonight Show’ with Jay Leno and ripped the Lakers coach.  Here is one of the most telling quotes of the interview:

“We’re the Lakers, we got to have a championship coach,” Johnson said.  “We made a critical mistake in not bringing Phil Jackson back.”

The video is below:

Do you agree with Johnson’s criticism of D’Antoni? Sound off Nation!

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Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

January 28, 2014 — 7:30 PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

The Los Angeles Lakers finally return from their 2-week Grammy’s road trip to play at STAPLES Center tonight. However, they will have to play the Indiana Pacers (34-9) tonight as a significant underdog. The Pacers have a very talented starting lineup and also an improved bench, especially with former All-Star F Danny Granger returning from a chronic knee issue.

Pacers F Paul George has blossomed into a bonafide NBA Superstar. Elected as an NBA All-Star starter this season, George plays both ends of the floor significantly well, scoring 23.5 PPG, grabbing 6.3 RPG, dishing out 3.4 APG, and take 1.9 SPG from his opponent which ranks him 7th in the league.

The Pacers also have 2 more potential all-stars on their team in C Roy Hibbert and G Lance Stephenson.

Hibbert, who many NBA experts consider as the best center in the Eastern Conference, makes his name as an anchor on the defensive end, blocking 2.6 shots per game, grabbing 7.8 RPG, and also contributing 11.9 PPG on the offensive end. His length and skills have made the Pacers the biggest threat to de-throne the 2-time NBA Champions Miami Heat throughout these last 3 seasons.

Stephenson has evolved from a bench-warmer to a potential all-star this season and also seems to be the probable winner of the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award. Stephenson has played this season much more under control and consistently, averaging 14.2 PPG, grabbing 7.0 RPG, and dishing out a team-leading 5.3 APG. Stephenson’s emergence has let Granger come back slowly by coming off the bench without any pressure this season.

The Lakers, meanwhile, have arguably had the worst defensive team in NBA history, allowing more than 100 points for every game in the year 2014 after their 1st game of this 2014 year. If the Lakers cannot get their act together on the defensive end, the Lakers will never become a winning basketball team no matter how much Head Coach Mike D’Antoni tries to improve its offense.

Projected Starters

PG – Kendall Marshall / George Hill [Advantage: Pacers]
SG – Jodie Meeks / Lance Stephenson [Advantage: Pacers]
SF – Wesley Johnson / Paul George [Advantage: Pacers]
PF – Ryan Kelly / David West [Advantage: Pacers]
C – Pau Gasol / Roy Hibbert [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Knicks: F Danny GrangerF Luis ScolaG CJ Watson, Ian Mahimi

Lakers: Nick YoungG Manny Harris, F Jordan Hill

Bench Advantage: Pacers

Injury List

Pacers: None

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-PG Steve Blake, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-PG Jordan Farmar

Keys for Lakers Victory

Defense: Nothing to explain here. The Lakers have allowed 100 or more points in 31 out of 45 games so far this season, which. Before D’Antoni game-plans anything on the offensive end, he needs to shore up major deficiencies on the defensive end to have any chance of winning basketball games.

Bottom Line

Hopefully the Pacers play lethargically and play down to the Lakers level. The Lakers have to get off to an excellent start before the Pacers start getting warmed up. Otherwise, this will be a very ugly game for the Lakers versus a team that views this season as their best opportunity to win a championship.

Prediction

Pacers: 119-84

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Photo Credit: TNT
Photo Credit: TNT

Let’s face it, Laker Nation. This season sucks. There was hope at the beginning that maybe, just maybe the role players could come together and hang around until Kobe came back (they did), before taking off upon his return (they didn’t). Kobe broke his knee, and the team has dropped 20 of their last 26 games.

The playoffs are out of reach. As a passionate Laker fan myself, I know that most (if not all) of us are only concerned with championships. Thus, it can be tempting to tune out for the next couple of months instead of watching D-League standouts on 10 day contracts get their shot in the NBA, and players on one year deals play for their next payday.

Here are four reasons you SHOULD watch the Lakers until the bitter end of this season.

1)   Watch the Young Guns Grow Up

The Lakers will rebound and win championships again, and some of these players will play important roles. You want to be able to say you “knew them when.”

In the Lakers’ last down period (‘05-‘07) which admittedly was not as bad as this one, guys like Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic grew up, eventually playing big roles for NBA title teams.

Watching Sasha drain two huge free throws in Game 7 of the finals in 2010 (and make sure his hair looked good), we remembered him gaining confidence during the “lost” seasons.

Seeing Jordan Farmar lead the Lakers second unit in back to back championship runs was so much sweeter after seeing him as a rookie struggling with the triangle offense, and learning to manage a team under Phil Jackson.

Maybe in a couple of years Ryan Kelly will hit a game winning 3 in the playoffs, and you’ll recall his first start for this injury riddled Lakers squad. Perhaps Nick Young will score 20 points in the fourth quarter of a Finals game, and you’ll remember the time he went toe to toe with LeBron for a quarter in a losing effort this season.

When a scuffle breaks out in a big playoff game, and Kendall Marshall mixes it up, you can remember the time he absolutely did NOT have Nick Young’s back, and that Young taught him the value of standing up for teammates.

Just like with Farmar and Vujacic, it will be so much more satisfying for you knowing that you saw these players grow up. Watching these guys struggle and develop will make seeing them play the right way even more enjoyable.

2)   Pau Gasol’s Final Stretch as a Laker

There are nine games left until the trade deadline. Any one of them could be Pau’s last in purple and gold as the Lakers look to the future. Even if Gasol is still a Laker after the deadline, there are only 37 games left this season, the final one on Pau Gasol’s contract.

While he started slow, Pau has recovered from lingering injuries, and is playing like the man who controlled the paint for two straight championship teams (20.5 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 1.8 BPG in January).

Enjoy Pau Gasol while he’s here. You will miss him when he is gone.

3)   Kobe’s Last Chapter

Kobe will return this season. Laker Nation has seen every stage of one of the great careers in professional basketball history, and Kobe’s swan song may be the most fascinating yet.

Photo Credit: Icon SMI
Photo Credit: Icon SMI

A fan base develops a bond with their franchise player, and Laker Nation’s bond with Kobe is stronger than most. During Kobe’s 18 year career with the Lakers, most of us Laker faithful know Kobe’s game like the back of our hand. We’ve seen him make countless pull ups from the elbow, work defenders over in the post, blow by defenders for reverse layups towards the end of quarters, and get hot from downtown. We know his moves and his tendencies better than any scouting report.

As we saw in Kobe’s six games this season, he will have to adjust his style of play based on his injuries and age. Now Kobe will form new tendencies, and develop new moves, and we get a chance to re-learn about Kobe Bryant as he discovers the next form of his game. As a Lakers fan who watched Kobe grow up, I can’t wait to see him evolve yet again.

4) Pleasure would not be so good if not for pain.

The Lakers will make it back to the top. Not because they are “the Lakers” and it is their birthright (although that might help woo free agents), but because they are smart, rich, and they care. It is only a matter of time until the Lakers win another championship.

When the Lakers climb that mountain again, you will enjoy the victory more for having suffered the defeat. You will know the feeling of watching teams like Utah and Milwaukee beat the Lakers at Staples, and rejoice when the Purple and Gold celebrate tough playoff wins on the road.

As the Lakers hoist trophy after trophy, others will complain that the Lakers “always get what they want” and you will smile, knowing that the Lakers succeed because they make the right moves, because they do not accept mediocrity, and because the organization and fans demand excellence.

So stick with it, Laker Nation. Watch the Lakers play the Pacers on Tuesday night, even though Indiana’s professional basketball team looks much more like one you’d like to see in L.A. than the collection of NBA hopefuls auditioning for supporting roles in Lakerland right now. And continue watching, all the way until the Lakers season ends in April, long before basketball season in L.A. is supposed to end.

You won’t regret it.

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With the Lakers off to a poor start, trade rumors have begun to swirl around Kobe Bryant, leading many to speculate if he'll leave for greener pastures. Kobe puts those rumors to rest in his interview with Yahoo Sports.