Rebuilding, To Tank or Not To Tank That Is the Question
Well here is a word that most Laker fans didn't picture entertaining much this time last year, rebuilding, man thought after that acquisition of Steve Nash and Dwight "he-who-shall-not-be-named" Howard that we would coast to the NBA Finals and possibly get "upset" in the Western Conference Finals, well let’s just forget about all those sweet thoughts and let’s get back to reality which was a coaching change after just 5 games into the season, the late night decision (for us East Coast fans) that Mike D’Antoni would be replacing Mike Brown and not the fan favorite Phil Jackson who the media leaked was "closing in on the position", and let’s not forget the constant squabbles between Dwight and Kobe, how many they had and the severity will never know, and the finale to what was an awesomely bad tasting was Dwight bolting LA for the green pastures of Houston… yea HOUSTON.
So as you can see it was an odd 12 months in the City of Angels, fans aren't used to this type of "averageness" hanging over the Lakers, almost like a plague, Laker fans aren't used to be average, or even potentially BELOW AVERAGE!!!!!! This is the Lakers were talking about, we win games and lots of them, we don’t lose.
Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news Laker faithful, but it is going to be a rough next few years. Now take a minute to breathe, clear your head, ok good now that we have accepted the fact that we will be average for a bit let’s take a look at some of the options moving forward to get the Lakers back to top.
There are two main ways to accomplish this goal, to Tank the season, which generally means that you don’t try your best and sometimes you lose games that you shouldn't, or you can hope to use the charisma of your city and team to bring in top talent via Free Agency.
Now that we have cleared that up let’s weigh the pros and cons:
Tanking means the chance, slim but a chance, at the top pick which happens to be wunderkind Andrew Wiggins, star prospect Jabari Parker, monster prospect Julius Randle, and the list goes on and on, many analyst have been quoted as saying there is 3 to even 5 franchises changing players, but yes the idea of the Lakers nabbing a top player would be pretty fun but let’s take a look at how realistic that is. With Dwight gone the already dreadful defense is sure to plummet even further down all of the defensive metrics, the Pick and Roll defense should be quite interesting to see. Now granted they have tried to sort of get younger this year with adding Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, but other than those players the team effectively got slower and older and in most people eyes the most important piece, Kobe Bean Bryant, tore his Achilles near the very end of last season and who knows exactly when he will be back to full health.
Now all of these issues posted show that the Lakers might not really have to try hard to tank, they aren't going to be shutting down many teams, they will still be relatively slow overall, but I do feel that they will have a better grasp on the offense system overall which should help.
The cons to tank would be, Kobe throwing a fit and making life miserable to most in and around the organization, this I feel won’t be as bad as many outsiders make it out to be but he would no doubt be quite angry. The other outcome would be the general reaction from the fans, from what I’ve seen when reporters and bloggers are doubting the Lakers the fans general reactions are angry rage. I feel in most sports majority of the fan base is "casual", someone that might watch games when they are on TV, read the occasional article but overall they just aren't into it like others. And I feel these type of fans wouldn’t understand the benefits of tanking and all they would see is their beloved Lakers, the team that has always been their rock, the team that no matter how bad their own personal day was always came through with the win, losing and losing badly. I think when I think of the average Laker fan I just want to tell them that either way, it’s going to be a rough and bumpy road for the next few years.