I am a lazy as shit writer. I get it.
I was on board the “This Laker team may be the greatest NBA team of all time” bandwagon when word got out that Dwight Howard became a Laker.
It is now well into the new year, and there is no better word to describe this Lakers season than simply, ‘shit.’ When LeBron James failed to win a title his first season in Miami, people were already calling the team a disappointment, and a failure. And that Miami squad made it to the Finals.
The 2013 Los Angeles Lakers are nowhere close to making the postseason. It’s already hit a point where the Lakers missing the playoffs are a huge possibility, and most people are recognizing this as the most disappointing season for a basketball team ever. Dwight Howard, the lone NBA center with any semblance of Hall of Fame potential has reduced himself to the laughing stock of the NBA. People loved watching LeBron fail in 2010 because LeBron was a villain. People love watching Dwight fail in 2013… to be quite frank, because it is both funny and pathetic. This is the guy people were calling the best Center in the NBA? An absolute liability on offense and crunchtime who acts like an absolute clown 99 percent of the time he’s on TV? Meanwhile guys like Marc Gasol are anchoring defenses, facilitating offenses, and guys like Joakim Noah, and for a while, Anderson Varejao, bust their asses off for their team, doing virtually everything that there is to do on a basketball court? The young Larry Sanders reinventing himself as a very impactful NBA center? Forget Andrew Bynum’s funny hairstyles and his weird bowling fiascos. Forget Shaquille O’Neal trying way too hard on Inside the NBA to try and make Charles Barkley look stupid. Forget about Greg Oden’s aged face and big black schlong. Dwight Howard today is about the worst possible example of an NBA center there can be.
Yes the Lakers had a solid win last night, and Kobe’s 14 assists was somewhat of a storyline, but this season has just been an absolute mess. There were many early scares, but no one thought it would truly become this. No one thought that the winless preseason would actually translate this literally into the regular season. From the coaching change, and the lineup tweaks (the Darius Morris experiment, and now Gasol coming off the bench while sliding Earl Clark into the starting lineup), the tease of a winning streak they had, and the allegedly ‘very real’ beef between Kobe and Dwight.
It has really been an incredible season for the Lakers. With the struggles of Dallas they now sit in the 10th spot, not completely out the picture.
ESPN predicts the 8th seed in the West will finish with 43 wins. The average of the past 5 years was 48 wins to get the 8th seed in the West. I want to believe it is closer to 46 wins.
If the Lakers were to finish the season with 46 wins, that would mean their record from here on out is a very respectable 28-11. Definitely no achievement for a team that many believed were capable of having that elusive 73 win season, but finishing 28-11 is a win percentage for third in the league, behind the Thunder and the Spurs.
So this is what I am proposing. The silver lining of this Lakers season is that if by some chance (and it is honestly not that small of a chance) the Lakers are able to make the postseason, they would win the championship. They would play like a true elite team in the NBA (MIA, OKC, LAC, SAS, *NYK LAL). Yes the Knicks are struggling a little. Also add that extra boost that NBA stars who are veterans get in the postseason… multiplied by four. Pau Gasol might make a return to the starting lineup and cause a huge momentum boost in the middle of a series. Dwight Howard may eventually hit some huge free throws, Kobe will put in a few 40 point games (ESPECIALLY in a series against the Thunder) just to make sure people know he’s relevant. Nash will just display stretches of extreme offensive dominance. If the Lakers make the playoffs there is absolutely no doubt in my mind they win the championship, and if they grab anything higher than the 7th seed, they are essentially a lock for the championship. No Thunder, Clipper, Spur, or Heat team are going to be able to stop the tandem of Gasol and Howard, with Kobe and Nash wrecking havoc from the perimeter.
But actually winning all these games to make the postseason is another story.
At this point of the season, the Lakers season is at an absolute tipping point, and there are only two ways this can end. Missing the playoffs would result in this season becoming the biggest disappointment of a season of all time. Making the playoffs essentially means a championship. There is literally no in between for the Lakers this season. Missing the playoffs by half a game is in many ways worse than just straight out missing the playoffs. The Lakers would just end their season early, and have 13 potentially much better ‘saviors’ taken ahead of their 14th pick.
Actually you know what? I think the Lakers don’t even have a pick, barring some strange pick protections.
What a peculiar season indeed.