By Joseph Iemma
Woeful, pitiful, inept, and disgraceful are a just a few words used to describe the Los Angeles Lakers since the death of Franchise Owner, Dr. Jerry Buss, back in the spring of 2013.
Formerly known as the ‘Showtime Lakers’, the Lakers as of 2013 wouldn’t even qualify as an opening act for your daughter’s 8th grade dance recital. Since the beginning of the abysmal 2013-14 campaign, the Lakers have amassed 138 losses and just 49 wins; and just to put things further into perspective, the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors, who by the way hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy this past summer over LeBron and a hapless Cavs team in six, had 42 wins at the all-star break and just nine losses.
Did I mention that the Oklahoma City Thunder; who played 55 games without the 2013-14 League MVP Kevin Durant (due to a multitude of injuries including a season ending broken foot) somehow managed to amass 45 wins last year, while just missing the playoffs as a ninth seed, in a stacked Western Conference.
Sorry folks, but the Lakers are far away from competing for an NBA championship, according to Bleacher Report’s senior NBA writer Kevin Ding.
“When you look at the talent, especially in the stacked Western Conference, it’s safe to say the Lakers are certainly in a rebuild mode,” said Ding, who has covered the Lakers for the past 19 years.
“What makes matters worse for Laker fans is that for the past 20- 30 years (with the exception of the last three seasons), Laker fans know only Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Shaq, Kareem, and oh yeah, Championships,” Ding added.
The demise of the Lakers, on the court, can be traced back to that fateful night in early April 2013, the night Kobe ‘Bean’ Bryant, tore his left achilles tendon. Since then, the organization, as well as their fan base, has seen nothing but loss after loss, whether it be on the court, or in free agency.
“It’s certainly frustrating for Kobe, as well as the organization, to miss out on all these big time free agents,” Ding said. The free agents he is referring to, include stars such as Dwight Howard, Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, and most notably, Lamarcus Aldridge, whose camp expressed his displeasure with L.A.’s sales pitch to him this past off-season, before he took his talents to San Antonio.
Bryant received most of the flak for Aldridge’s decision not to become a Laker, after reportedly telling Aldridge; “You can almost be my Pau [Gasol].” However, Ding refuted that report, claiming Bryant was a positive focal point in the organization’s sales pitch to the All-Star Power Forward, who in Ding’s word “wasn’t really cut out for the job anyway” for becoming the centerpiece of a rebuilding NBA franchise.
Nonetheless, the Lakers are currently caught between two eras, managing a fading superstar’s farewell tour, while ushering in a youth movement, with the likes of guards Deangelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and stretch four Julius Randle, who have all shown plenty of promise in their first year playing together. All despite a 3-15 start to what will most likely be another lost season.