Tonight I did something I haven’t done since the first round of the 09/10 playoffs. I turned a Laker game off before the end. Those of you who follow me on twitter know as profane and scathing as I get in my criticism of them, I always stick it out. Whether it’s a blowout win or a blowout loss, I’m there. I even sat through every last minute of last year’s sweep by the Mavs.Tonight that ended.
I’m sick and tired of the cavalier way both this team and Mike Brown treat basketball. There is no effort, no focus, no intensity. No defensive adjustments, offensive changes, or reassessments of current rotations. There appears to be no accountability for poor play. Steve Blake gets 23 minutes per game this season despite being a liability on offense, and perhaps the worst player in the league on defense. Andrew Bynum manifestly halfasses it most games, yet Mike Brown compliments his effort. Kobe Bryant receives no criticism for his complete lack of effort on the defensive end, and Pau Gasol gets a free pass for getting torched by the likes of Boris Diaw. If the players won’t hold themselves accountable, then it’s on the coach to do so. If role players don’t perform, bench them to give someone else on the team a shot. Don’t give us platitudes about “veteran leadership” and “intangibles”. We aren’t idiots. We know how little those mean when the player is a net negative on the court.
As for the players, I don’t know if it’s that they’ve quit on the coach or have somehow convinced themselves there is a switch that they can magically flip once the playoffs come, but the effort level has decreased with every passing game. The guards don’t fight through screens, and the team doesn’t rotate when someone goes to help. Bynum or Gasol defending the likes of Tony Parker and Chris Paul happens more often with every passing game, and it’s on the guards to ensure that doesn’t happen. I don’t expect them to get through every screen, but it would be nice if they at least pretended to try.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love this team, and will be back in front of the TV their very next game, but I am done with watching them disregard the game, their opponent, and my intelligence. No more sticking it out, no more free passes or excuses. If the team doesn’t respect the game enough to try to win, why should I make the effort to watch or defend them?