The Los Angeles Lakers are an NBA franchise known for winning games and accumulating championships. But, according to @ESPNStatsInfo, they finished this season with the most losses in franchise history (55) and second-worst winning percentage in franchise history (.329).
Overall, the Lakers have the highest winning percentage (.619) in NBA league history. Since their move from Minneapolis, Minn. in the 1960-61 season, the Lakers have reached the playoffs every year except four. Based on their overall record and number of championships, the quality of basketball they’ve played for over 50 years has been nothing short of extraordinary.
This season, the combination of paying Kobe Bryant too much money, which didn’t allow them to spend money on other good players, and injuries is the recipe for a disastrous fall from grace.
Even the most fanatical Lakers fans weren’t confident about this year.
“I have been a Lakers fan for 15 years,” California Lutheran University junior Monica Ramos said. “In my opinion, it was all of the injuries that plagued them this season. Most people blame [Mike] D’Antoni for being a horrible coach but he did the best he could with what he had.”
With so many injuries, the starting five were never consistent, which caused more problems.
“Practically every game the Lakers had a different starting five and different people sitting on the bench because of injuries,” Ramos said. “With so many people being in and out of the lineup, it is extremely hard for a team to play with the consistency and chemistry a team needs night in and night out on the court.”
Bryant only played six games this season because he was nursing an injury all season. Some people call it quits following an injury at an older age, Bryant does not. He is considered by many as one of the greatest basketball players of all time but his huge salary prevents the Lakers from being able to get good free agents and put together a great team.
CLU junior Brooke Minnich said, “Kobe should retire because he is not letting the Lakers live up to their potential because he is tying up all their money.”
After Bryant destroyed his Achilles tendon last year, he was tough and came back, only to get injured again. His ego is the one entity greater than his talent.
Most Lakers fans have a love affair with Bryant and do not want to accept the fact that he is not the player he used to be. They are convinced he will come back stronger and better than ever.
“LA does have an infatuated love for Kobe but Kobe has that same love for the city. Many fans believe that once he comes back, he will be the same superstar player he used to be,” Ramos said. “I believe he should have taken a bigger pay cut similar to what LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Duncan and Garnett did in the past to build a better team.”
CLU junior Curtis Kummerehl said, “I think fans need to be more realistic about Kobe and the fact that they probably won’t be a championship caliber team next season or even the season after.”
The Lakers need to rebuild and start from the ground up to become that respected team again and win.
Published April 23, 2014