The last time the term "super team" was thrown around these places, the '03-'04 squad had the likes of Shaq, Kobe, Payton and Malone losing to the Pistons in the Finals. There was so much hype on "The Fab Four" and the other guy-Devean George during that year's pre-season. The expectations were so high that anything other than a championship would be considered a catastrophic failure. If losing in the Finals was a failure, how would this season's result compare to that? Would this season's Big Four and the other guy-MWP even get a chance to make the playoffs?
The last time the Lakers didn't reach the playoffs was in 2004-05. Their overall record that year was 34-48(W-L% .415) and they finished 11th in the conference. Almost halfway through the season, this year's Lakers are eerily similar to that team with a 17-23(W-L% .425) record and yes...good for 11th in the standings. This is somewhat sombering: The '05 team was actually better after 40 games with a record of 22-18.
Some people used to say that the Lakers has a switch that they can turn on when the games finally count. I think they should flip that switch now...and whatever buttons or levers that they could lay their hands on. In the last 4 years prior to the shortened '11-'12 season, the 8th seed in the Western Conference had an average of about 48 wins. In 3 out of those 4 years though, the difference between the 2nd seed and the 8th seed is only 5 to 6 wins meaning the race for the playoff spots were tight. If the trend in the WC continues, this season would probably be more similar to the '06-'07 season wherein the top 3 teams were all above .700 in W-L%. The 7th and 8th seed that year had only 42 wins. That's the best case scenario for the Lakers. Let's just say the Lakers should aim for 45 wins which is right in the middle of a high win of 48 and a low win of 42 to make the playoffs.
If 45 is the magic number then the Lakers must go 28-14 or win 2 out of every 3 games the rest of the way just to make it to the dance. This is still attainable but the Lakers have yet to string a few good games consistently that could somehow indicate that they have turned the corner already.
The only superstar on that '04-'05 team is Kobe. No Phil, no Shaq...This team of superstars must turn things around otherwise they are headed on a path worse than that forgettable season.