Only the Lakers…

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    READS: 1,117
    Updated: January 3, 2015
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    Before I get into the meat of this article, let me first apologize to my readers for taking a very long hiatus. I have had some personal and professional issues and I needed time to work through things so I could mentally be able to do what it is that brings you to my articles. I am still working out some things, but I am in a better place and able to write.

    So without further delay, let’s get to it. If you are a new reader of mine, thank you, I hope you keep coming back, because I do this for you. Much respect. I will warn you though, this is a more emotional piece as I have been bottling my frustration for a while.

    As you all know, I am a Laker fan. The title is…loath to me at times, since it usually comes with the assumption that I am either a Kobe Bryant fanboy or deluded (or both). Of course, converse with me for a few minutes and I will prove those notions unfounded and silly. But, nonetheless, I have to deal with the stereotypes and assumptions.

    Only the Lakers could put their fans in the virtual global predicament that they are in, where, by virtue of them sucking, every fan is objectified before uttering a single word.

    Only the Lakers could somehow piss away a rebuild project that not only virtually fell into their laps, but they themselves prepared for.

    Only the Lakers could overpay Kobe under the pretense that they still had ‘plenty’ of cap room for another max player (they didn’t), then go and utterly foul up their offseason waiting for Pau Gasol and Melo to inevitably walk away from the table (Everyone could see Pau was going to walk. EVERYONE. It was as obvious as a WWE storyline, or another disappointing iOS ‘update’).

    115580-thumb pau gasol bulls

    Only the Lakers could then try to spin the story of overpaying Kobe as ‘Well, we take care of our own’, when in reality they only overpaid Kobe out of cowardice. Jim Buss was rumored as not wanting to be the guy to be blamed for pulling the trigger on amnesty (which was still, in my opinion, the best overall move the Lakers could’ve made). Jimmy also had no mettle to argue with Kobe over money, thus looking further like the bad guy. In essence, he laid down before the lines in the sand were even conceived.

    Management was scared of its fan base running for the hills with no Kobe (which in and of itself is a HUGE red flag). The Time Warner Deal had to be justified (only realistic excuse, but not reason enough).

    All in all, this is what we are left with, the same things I’ve been saying all along, except somehow even less. Kobe’s corpse, Nick Young and Jordan Hill. Oh, and Linsanity. No bench. No front-court depth (even if Randle had not went down), and no I did not forget about Carlos Boozer.

    carlos-boozer-lakers

    Yes, the Lakers grabbed an extra pick along the way, yes, the Lakers still have some wriggle room next year, but ultimately, this rebuild is more like a very long and drawn out swan song for Kobe and the old way of doing things under the old CBA.

    The Lakers have ‘put together’ a team of epic proportions. Not in the good larger than life sense. More like the historically bad defensively sense. Unable to spend their way out of mediocrity like before, the Lakers had no choice but to fill their locker rooms with scraps and cast-a-ways.

    They could no longer afford to just sell their draft picks or trade them away arbitrarily for pennies and a ham sandwich. These Lakers, depleted and demoralized, were never going to be even an average defensive team, but even I did not think they would be one of the worse defensive teams of all time (the current pace).

    Only the Lakers could continue to bank on the declining defense of one Kobe Bryant, a player who at one point was one of the league’s best on-ball defenders, but now has devolved to something between Allen Iverson and, ironically, Jeremy Lin when he was with the Knicks.

    Literally, Kobe hasn’t been a positive on defense since 2010. His D-RAPM(Defensive Regularized Adjusted Plus/Minus), a defensive per-100 possession stat used to show if the player is having a positive impact or not, fell off a cliff after 2010. No, seriously. Not that it was great prior, but it went from a +1 to almost a -1.5. That’s outright atrocious.

    Kobe slider again

    The Lakers have seemed to look the other way, as it were. Even going so far as to hire an inept coach just to put a smile on Bryant’s face. If you honestly thought Byron Scott would accomplish anything here, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Does this sound like a rant? Because it is. I have watched the Kobe Bryant era from start to finish. I have watched stars come and go, and I’ve seen Kobe be his own worst enemy time and again. I’ve grown tired of the Kobe Bryant show. It would’ve been fine if Kobe took a Tim Duncan-ish deal, but not 24M. No, price too high. Ticket sales and ratings be damned. I’m just pushing the alarm clock to wake me in 2016. That’s when the Lakers can really rebuild and repair this broken team.

    Only the Lakers, a once proud and great franchise, could hasten their own fall with such hubris and miscalculation and ignorance. Not only have the Lakers shot themselves in the foot multiple times, but they make it hard for Laker fans everywhere to have basketball conversations from jump. But of course, I’m just nitpicking.

    The team will turn things around, but ironically, it will be because they must wait for one of its greatest players to leave before doing so. Hopefully, they make no other major moves and just let this two-season swan song take us all the way into the sunset of the Kobe Bryant era.

    Happy New Year guys. Thanks for reading. I won’t leave like that again.
    Follow @_MatthewCAPGOD on Twitter

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