Musings on the Lakers:
In recent news, the NBA season has started, which means that the Lakers (the sports team that I support above all) are back in action. No doubt, this is the most depressing team the Lakers have fielded since the 2006-2007 season (the season just before Pau Gasol joined). We have a decent roster of bigs, between Jordan Hill, Chris Kaman and Pau Gasol, but without exception, our wings/guards are either old (Nash, Bryant), slow (Blake, Farmar, Meeks) or inexperienced (Young, Henry).
Prospects for improvement over the next few years are also dim, given that Kobe and Gasol alone will chomp up almost all of our cap room and our draft picks will probably be middling since we’re in that no-man’s land peculiar to the NBA: our team is too bad to really contend and too good to have a shot at a franchise-reviving top-5 pick (basketball being a sport where the top 5 in the draft really, really matters in some years). That being said, all of our contracts come up for renewal next season so we may have cap room if we waive everyone.
The good news is that this is the first season in a long time where I, and probably other fans, have absolutely no expectations for Laker performance. It feels nice to be the underdog again and when we beat the Clippers on Opening Night with our bench in for the entire fourth quarter, it was the first time I’d been really satisfied with a Laker win in a long time. Every game we win is a total surprise, an unwrapped gift on Christmas morning.
12/1 Update: as I continue to watch this team more, I’ve come to like them even more. They broke above .500 in a win against the Pistons last night. It’s really refreshing to watch a team without Kobe’s predictable ballhogging. They seem to genuinely enjoy playing with one another – the ball moves around more, the defense has more hustle to it and no one seems that down on themselves after a mistake (vs. the old terror of being chewed out by Kobe). Lovable underdogs, kinda like the early days of the 2007-2008 team before Bynum went down.