by: Oliver Layco
The Los Angeles Lakers are often seen as either the best or second best franchise in professional basketball; from my point of view, they are the best. They have the best winning percentage of all time (.620), the most playoff appearances (59), and the second most championships in league history (16); second only to the hated Boston Celtics. On top of that, the franchise has only missed the playoffs 5 times in its 65 year history. I would say that qualifies them as the best NBA franchise. However, all these high times are surely to follow by some harsh downs. It began last season, but this year has been a complete bomb. I’m still holding to the belief that all these injuries led to a lack of chemistry, which then resulted in their current predicament. The 2013-2014 Lakers are on pace to have the worst winning percentage since moving to Los Angeles in 1961. This can mostly be attributed to the lack of one Kobe Bryant all season. The legendary Laker has been rehabbing a torn Achilles and when he did comeback, he managed to fracture his knee after only playing 6 games. That alone can sum up their luck this year. Everyone from Steve Nash, to Pau Gasol, to Xavier Henry has seen extended time on the bench due to injury. Initially I didn’t want to place the blame on Coach D’Antoni because I believe it’s up to the players to play hard. But when push comes to shove, the coach needs to discipline players and use them as best possible. With this said, these Lakers know how to put up a fight. They’ve shown that they are capable of hanging with the best of them; yet that’s all they could do until about the third quarter, the fourth if they’re lucky. The story each game has been the same also; and that would be the break down on defense. The team has no problem putting the ball in the hoop, but the lack of a cohesive defensive effort has been their downfall. I guess the Lakers have been long overdue for an off year, and it looks like they’re getting hit hard. Yet with all this happening, people can’t deny the allure of still being associated with the Lakers; whether it be through the organization or on a fan level. The franchise will find a way back to the top because that’s just the way it’s supposed to be. Even after the impending retirement of Kobe, the Lakers will find a way to remain the Lakers.