Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Los Angeles Lakers fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts, and check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.
Because of their success throughout the decades of the NBA, the Lakers have become a nearly consensus villain for the rest of the NBA. Across the league, the Lakers failing brings a collective joy to most fans no matter where their allegiances may lie.
Many of those same fans are taking joy in the Lakers’ early season struggles. With the Thanksgiving holidays upon us, this week’s SB Nation Reacts survey centered on what NBA fans are thankful for. While a competitive league and new rules topped the list, the Lakers “growing pains” came in at third.
The Lakers have certainly experienced a fair number of growing pains this season. After their six-game Eastern Conference road trip, the team sits at 10-10 on the season. And while injuries and suspensions to LeBron James have limited his availability throughout the team’s first 20 games and, thusly, limited the Lakers ability collect wins, what they haven’t limited is the joy other fanbases have experienced in their pain, a direct counterweight to our own misery so far this season.
Previous NBA polls have backed up the first two responses. Fans did not feel like James Harden was being targeted by the new rules earlier in the season after years of baiting fouls in Houston. Similarly, the Lakers that came into the season as one of the Western Conference favorites didn’t even rank in the top four in a poll of who fans saw as the best teams in the conference.
But that the Lakers being down provides nearly as much joy as anything else this season for NBA fans should bring an evil smile to the faces of purple and gold faithful. Consider it a gift to the rest of the league during the holidays. Enjoy it while you can, haters.