After the past few years of mediocrity, a franchise known for being the pinnacle of the National Basketball Association is going through growing pains like it has never seen before. Fans are starting to get disheartened, and those whom are fairweather fans have already hopped ship to the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers or whichever other side they feel has the best shot at walking away with the championship ring at the end of the season. The true fans are here, and they are tired of the losses, tired of the tankage. As a Clippers fan since the Yung Gunz days, I feel the pain of the dedicated fans, however, the Lakers need to tank it out, for just one more year.
Preposterous, you may believe. "You only want this as you are a Clipper fan," you may say.
Understandable why you would think that way. However, looking at the fine lines of trades made over half a decade ago make the intentions clear. The super team was assembled, and nothing came of it, besides disappointment and a loss of future draft selections. This past June, Laker fans were on edge on draft night, as they were projected with the second overall selection, and would only keep the pick if it remained in the top two, otherwise, Philadelphia would be acquiring it as a result of a few proceeding trades, which ultimately handed the Lakers Steve Nash.
Well, the Lakers lucked out as no team moved and they were able to sneak away with Brandon Ingram from Duke University. A great building piece to add onto D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., & Julius Randle. With super maximum flexibility in open cap space, the Lakers were hoping to convince Kevin Durant to hop to the purple and gold, being Kobe's replacement. Instead, Durant took the coward's way out, joining the Warriors instead, much to the joy of the former Laker fans who now rep the Warriors. Instead, the front office went out and spent money on Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov, both questionable decisions.
Hopes of being competitive immediately went through out Laker Land, talks about potentially sneaking into the 8th seed. In all reality, that isn't going to happen. Well, it may happen, just as I may buy a lottery ticket tomorrow, hit the jackpot, get hit by an asteroid and ran over by a car, all within the same hour tomorrow. Who knows.
In all reality, that isn't going to occur, so the Lakers and the Laker faithful need to take a deep breath and enjoy one more year of losing. Just 82 more games. It sounds tough, but it will pay dividends. For one, you will allow Russell, Ingram, and the rest of the young guys to get extended playing time, hone their games, gain experience and chemistry together.
The main reason lands in the fine lines of the prior trades made. If the Lakers don't acquire a top 3 pick, the Philadelphia 76ers will snag it away while Los Angeles will also owe a future first to the Orlando Magic. However, if the Lakers somehow land in the top 3 once again, they will retain their selection, and instead convey the 76ers their 2018 first round selection, which would then be unprotected. But the main victory is in the Lakers owing the Magic two second round selections as opposed to a future first. Therein lies the victory for Los Angeles.
So, Lakers, tank it up one more year. Laker faithful, stick it out. The pay-out will make you smile.