Sunday, July 21, 2013
7/21/2013 12:43:00 PM | Posted by Matt Silverston | Edit Post
It's been a long time since the Lakers were the clear losers in ANY free agency battle, but that is the reality in Tinseltown as we speak.
For the first time in decades, critics are seriously debating whether the 2013-14 Los Angeles Lakers squad will even make the postseason, a feat that they've accomplished 18 out of the last 20 NBA seasons.
Oh boy, let me pour a glass of wine for this one.
You know what? Doubt all you want because despite what the roster looks like, I am very excited for this upcoming year because of their atypical situation.
Due to a seemingly diminished and unproven roster, not only do the Barons of the Staples Center get the opportunity to play "spoiler" in the Western Conference, the circumstances surrounding the upcoming year allow for a delineation between us real fans and the rest of the "band wagoners" that have hopped onto our 20-year success train.
We all witnessed the absurdity of "Miami Heat Band Wagoners" when hundreds of them left early during Game 6 of the Finals merely a month ago. I think this not only upset the Heat team and their fans, it annoyed the rest of us because we would've died to support our franchises in that capacity, let alone died to just be there in general.
Unfortunately, this is a symptom of sustained dominance that the Los Angeles Lakers have endured and embraced at the same time for almost two decades. Clearly we love filling opposing arenas with Kobe jerseys and Laker gear, but I'd like to think that those fans are people that truly appreciate the Lakers' role in NBA history and would opt to wear forum blue and gold whenever they have a chance. Fans that lack this appreciation dilute the solidarity of any franchise's "fan-ship."
In a few months, we'll have answers either in the form of declining Lakers' jersey sales or more empty seats at Lakers' games.
Now I know that Kobe is hoping to be back by pre-season, but if he's not back or worst case scenario he's not the Mamba of old, we also get to evaluate just how effective Coach Mike D'Antoni is with limited talent.
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of heady ball players on their roster right now including a two-time MVP in Steve Nash and four-time NBA All-Star Pau Gasol, but ultimately this is not a team that expects to start 3-4 elite athletes each night like we're used to. Given that Nash almost led a very inexperienced PHX Suns team to a postseason birth 2 years ago, D'Antoni will be forced to put together a game plan that allows Nash almost unlimited offensive freedom, as well as compliments Gasol's strengths. Obviously, this is something the Lakers struggled with last season.
D'Antoni will also need to dedicate a lot of time and effort to the defensive end because after losing Metta, there aren't any lockdown defenders employed by the Lakers minus Kobe and they'll need to play defense by committee.
In fact, offense by committee might also be a good idea considering their lack of shot creators.
Again, I'm bringing up two things that he was unable to utilize a season ago with a much more talented roster.
Here comes another glass of "vino."
Nonetheless, I'm keeping an "even-keeled" mentality similarly to Bryant's mindset as he fights through his Achilles' rehab treatment. I refuse to get too high or too low about the Lakers' future because for the first time in years there aren't any expectations on this upcoming season since this is apparently a "throw away" season in the eyes of most main media outlets. Truthful or not, the Lakers do seem to be settling by preparing for the 2014 free agency throw down that'll go down over next summer.
Regardless, my message to these media entities comes from a Kendrick Lamar song: "B@&$? don't kill my vibe."
And you're just naive if you don't think the Lakers squeeze into the 2014 playoffs one way or another. Mark my words.
Actually, you can comment on them!
Thanks for tuning in,