I spent a lot of time thinking about the Kobe Bryant injury over the weekend. I’m certainly not a Laker fan, but you wouldn’t call me a Laker Hater either (Well…this guy would). I, like most people, find the team interesting because there always seems to be some drama brewing. Also, it’s fun to breakdown the endless Kobe vs. LeBron debate with the rest of Twitter.
In considering the injury’s impact on the Lakers’ future, I started to get a little down. Basketball is a little less fun now, and it sucked to see Kobe go out like King Leonidas in 300. Somewhere along the line, the Lakers Super Team from October became the overmatched Spartans battling the rest of the NBA and scraping for a spot in the playoffs. Who predicted they’d be an underdog by season’s end?
Kobe is watching with the rest of us now, and it’s time to bury this Lakers season because, even if they make the playoffs, they’ll be swept out by the Thunder. The first line of the eulogy has to be: This team played the most disappointing season in the history of the NBA.
It takes a lot of factors conspiring for this big a disappointment, and I see it coming down to four factors. Play this fitting music as we eulogize the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers:
Michael Andrew D’Antoni –
And not just because he looks like the guy on the Pringles can. D’Antoni failed the team in a variety of ways throughout the season. While I don’t think his refusal to take Kobe out of games caused his Achilles injury, it highlighted the bigger problem: his refusal to show the leadership demanded of a head coach.
Where was D’Antoni when Kobe and Dwight were sniping each other in the media? Why didn’t he demand more ball movement on offense? Why couldn’t he get consistent defensive effort?
Ultimately, D’Antoni was the wrong guy for the job. His non-confrontational nature contributed to the team’s demise because he refused to take the reins from Kobe and put an offensive structure into place. Instead of “Seven Seconds or Less,” the Lakers played “Kobe and Four Other Guys” which had the team closer to the lottery than championship contention.
Front Office Incompetence –
Because D’Antoni wasn’t fit for this job, it’s not all his fault. There’s definitely some blame to be shared in the front office. It seems like three seasons ago that Mike Brown was fired just five games into this season. Remember him? Brown’s firing rendered training camp useless and guaranteed the Lakers would be adjusting on the fly with two new players in the starting five.
The failing health of former owner Jerry Buss led to the transfer of power to his children Jim and Jeanie. After impatiently firing Brown, there was the Phil Jackson fiasco where, depending on who you believe, Phil was promised the job and had the rug pulled out from under him in favor of D’Antoni. This reportedly caused a rift between Jim and Jeanie…who is, of course, engaged to Phil Jackson.
All this sounds like an episode of The Game; except it’s real life and shows Grand-Canyon-sized cracks in the once united Lakers front office.
Kobe versus Dwight –
The new Kobe versus Shaq! As referenced above, these guys spent more time talking to the media about each other, injuries, and how you should play through injuries than they did talking to each other. All of those links tell the story. This team, even among its leaders, was fractured throughout the season. This is the similar to the 2004 season when the Lakers brought in Karl Malone and Gary Payton…except this team won’t be losing to the Pistons in the Finals L.
Not all of the problems with this Lakers season were avoidable. Steve Nash (hamstring, old age), Dwight Howard (back, shoulder), Pau Gasol (foot), Metta Worldpeace (knee, craziness), Steve Blake (abs), Jordan Hill (shoulder), and Kobe Bryant (ankle, Achilles) all missed significant time this season. That’s a lot for any team to go through, especially one with the heightened expectations of this team.
In the end, though, this team was undone by dysfunction at the highest levels down to the players on the court. We’ll all feel bad for the Lakers now that Kobe has become a martyr for the season, but that shouldn’t overshadow this team’s dubious distinction as the most disappointing one in decades.
What about you, SBM Sports Fans? How will you remember this season for the Lakers? Do you feel bad for Kobe! Hit up the comments and let me know!
I definitely agree that (more) blame should go to the Lakers’ front office. Injuries happen, ego clashes happen, but the front office is supposed to hire coaches/administrators that can handle those demands. And as alluded to, the Busses for whatever reason didn’t make good moves on that front.
In general tho, this NBA season has been pretty fun: somehow the Heat became better than last year; the Clips are the best LA team(!), the Nets might actually win a playoffs series(!!!!, go BK!), the Knicks beat damn near everyone’s expectations(!!!!!!!!), San Antonio is still boring as ever yet might be the only team out West to stop the rolling Thunder, and so much other stuff that I can’t name without being late for work, lol. Overall, it’s been a fun ride so far.
I CAN. NOT. WAIT. for the playoffs this year. The Heat will dominate the East, but I think the West will be crazy. Make sure to catch all the playoff home games for the Warriors. It's like a college atmosphere, and Steph Curry could go off for 60.
Playoff breakdown coming next week most likely.
"I definitely agree that (more) blame should go to the Lakers' front office. Injuries happen, ego clashes happen, but the front office is supposed to hire coaches/administrators that can handle those demands"
So in short any coaching hire not named Phil Jackson would have been a mistake, basically? lol, smh. Front office did more to help this year's Lakers teamthan it did to hurt them (in my opinion).
Not all of the problems with this Lakers season were avoidable. Steve Nash (hamstring, old age), Dwight Howard (back, shoulder), Pau Gasol (foot), Metta Worldpeace (knee, craziness), Steve Blake (abs), Jordan Hill (shoulder), and Kobe Bryant (ankle, Achilles) all missed significant time this season.
“Metta Worldpeace (knee, craziness)”. I’m weak! *a thousand tears*
Like most people, I don’t like Kobe Bryant beyond one inch of the court of basketball. However, as a fan of the sport and just as someone with common decency, I hate to see anyone’s career (possibly) end on this type of injury. Hope he manages to make a comeback and exit properly from the game.
Then he needs to see what that reality show money do, because altho he’s an @sshole, he delivers the kind of quotables that’d would be reality TV gold. I’m thinking VH1 – “Kobe Bryant’s Thoughts on Life and Kobe Bryant starring Kobe Bryant as Kobe Bryant.”
I have extra hate in my heart for MWP because people say I look like him. Which, of course, I disagree with. I don't have a murderer's look in my eye. I don't think so anyway.
That reality show would be have the highest ratings of anything ever. If they don't do that, I hope Nike does something similar to The Return with Derrick Rose/adidas.
As I said before and called it last year, The Miami Heat will repeat enough said! lol
Thanks for the shout out there, Joe (I guess) lol.
How will I remember this season for the Lakers?
Well, as with all seasons that don't end in a championship (I'll go out on a limb and say we won't win it THIS year), I'll remember it as a disappointment. Yeah, we were banged up, 2 new coaches, etc, etc….whatever. The bottomline is is banners in L.A. so I ain't hearing it. Disappointment.
Do I feel bad for Kobe?
Sure. Any athlete that goes through a serious injury how could you not feel bad for them?
At any rate, hopefully we can regroup next year, heal up and compete in KB's last year and get his 6th. After that I'm banking on Kyrie Irving and/or LeBron to come in and keep the party going.
Cocky Lakers Fan! Welcome, lol.
"Kobe's hurt…well, let's just wait on Uncle Drew or LeBron to keep us afloat."
Let's say you don't get either of them. How do you feel about the Dwight Howard era in LA?
Good…a lot better than the Andrew Bynum era would have been it's look like, lol.
If the Lakers win tomorrow, they will get the #7 seed and play the Spurs. They will have the same record as the Rockets and tied them head to head, which means they would have to go to the higher winning percentage in conference tiebreaker. The Lakers are 27-24 in conference and the Rockets are 24-27 in conference.
I want Golden State and Denver to win tomorrow so I can see a Golden State-Denver playoff matchup. That will be fun to watch.
Just the fact that you have to do that math for the Lakers to get the 7th seed makes them a huge disappointment, compared to what we were all saying at the start of the year.
Golden State/Denver would be soooo much fun. Looking forward to a lot of potential matchups out West. The East? Well…
I really thought i was the only one thinking that D'antoni looks like the guy on the pringles can, i'm dying of laughter… *sigh*
This season was way too stressful for me. As a "die hard lakers fan" i lost my temper so many times. As a "in my mind i belong to the Buss' family", i fired D'Antoni so many times during the season, he's WACK WACK WACK!!!! As a "my son middle name will be Kobe (ahahahahah)" i cried when i saw the injury (and i blocked everybody on my fb who was laughing, in other words Heat fans)… Damn this season was just too hard!!!
But still love my Lakers no matter what, i think that we (yes sometimes i'm a player too) actually play supa well when we decide to be into the game!! I think we're gonna make the playoffs and the way we'll loose will be the last humiliation of the year. OLALA can't wait for next year, i don't know what to expect though, is Howard staying? Nash? a better bench por favor?
The west battle will be cool as usual… In the east the Heat will win (i can't believe some people are actually putting money on the Knicks, come on people get serious!!!) I don't want the Heat to win the championship so i'll pray as hard as i can for the other team :D!!!
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