Ok. I get it. Yes, where the LA Lakers currently find themselves (an unbelievable 4 games below .500, an unimaginable 3 games out of 8th position, in 12th within the Western Conference) sucks. Yes, for the vast majority of the time thus far this season, that verbiage (sucks) could be used to describe the Lakers… a team with a starting roster that is beyond even fantasy teams.
But at what point is enough, actually enough? At what point as a fan do I give up on this season? A team with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and Steve Nash on the roster? Even looking ahead to the Superbowl – what are the odds you can accurately pick which teams will be in there, and what the result will be? Easier than predicting that this team would perform like this, that's for sure.
Clearly, Dwight's not quite yet "Dwight". And Pau's been very un-Pau-like… but a large part of that has to fall on the inability of Mike D'Antoni to effectively work Gasol into his system. Yes, part of it is on Pau. He has oft come across as mentally… fragile. Perhaps "emotionally fragile" is a bit closer to the mark. Someone recently pointed out to me that there are some similarities with what's being asked of Gasol to the way he plays with Spain (with brother Marc Gasol and Reyes dominating the low post)… and that's a good point. But … in that team he's "THE Guy". There's no question there, and the difference in attitude, demeanor and play is palpable. And I think it's mental – 4th wheel isn't sitting well for him. And that's a great pity (the entire situation).
Kobe recently commented that he thought that the Lakers were simply "an old team". I don't think "age" has had anything to do with it whatsoever, and I don't think Kobe thinks that either. What he said was more highlighting to the "young bucks" on the team that they need to do more. The old guys?
- Oldest player: Nash has been pretty good post breaking his leg (and before too). Even if I wish he'd shoot more.
- Third oldest player: Kobe's been having a great year.
- Another "old" guy: MWP's been having his best season as a Laker.
All of the other points people list (coaching, system, injuries): none of them have much to do with age, and matter o' fact – the "old guys" (sans Gasol) have been playing better than those younger than them.
Yet the results have been undeniable, and LA seems to be in danger of wasting a halcyon year from Kobe, a great year from Ron-ron.
It's a quandary… I just wish they'd give me something to believe in.