It really says something about this Lakers season that a four-game stretch in the middle of a play-in race in which the Lakers have gone .500 is being seen as a source of potential hope. The Lakers started this year as the runner-up for title favorite! How did this happen? How did they fall so far?
If we actually wanted to answer that second question, the episode would have to be more of an ongoing series than a single podcast. Instead, I welcomed Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated to discuss how this season compares to others he’s either watched from afar or covered personally.
We started by picking up from a topic I covered in last night’s “Lakers Lowdown,” reacting to not just the loss, but how fans responded to a team that finally appears to care. I asked Howard, based on his experience, what it is that makes a fan base turn on its team in the ways we’ve seen this year.
Expectations clearly play a role and, as mentioned earlier, they were extremely high for this team. Yes, we could say those expectations were unrealistic for a variety of reasons, but the Lakers themselves helped set them there.
The other factor Howard and I spent quite a bit of time on was the lack of effort fans have seen throughout the season. Injuries be damned, a LeBron James team with some Anthony Davis sprinkled in occasionally, should never have been as non-competitive as it’s been for large chunks of this year.
From there, we segued to whether Howard thinks the Lakers can salvage not just this season, but their image in the eyes of their fans and what specifically that could look like.
Finally, Howard turned the tables a bit and asked me for my thoughts on where this season ranks among the lowest in franchise history. You’ll have to listen for that, though.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.