2010 featured a game 7 win in the NBA finals against the hated Boston Celtics. The first time the Lakers ever beat the Celtics in a game 7 in the NBA finals. Since 2010? A second round sweep in 2011. A second round 5 game loss in 2012 and a first round sweep in 2013.
It’s been dark times for an organization that expects to be in the championship round every season. The 2012-2013 season was especially tough after the huge expectations when they acquired Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Steve Nash missed 30 games due to injuries and Dwight Howard never fully recovered from off season back surgery. The team had injuries all season long and the worst was Kobe Bryant suffering a season ending surgery with 2 games left in the season.
Kobe Bryant underwent surgery that could leave him missing the first month of the season. Kobe Bryant is now 35 entering his 18th season in the league and may never be the same. This is the first time in a long time the Lakers truly face a time where everything could be up in the air.
Could we be seeing a glimpse of life after Kobe sooner then we thought? Kobe has tossed out the word retirement a lot lately. Could this be the last go round? He said watching the Spurs mere seconds away from another championship gave him motivation to delay retirement.
The Lakers made some quiet pickups in the off season with a series of low risk moves. The plan for the Lakers is the 2014 off season where they will have enough cap space to acquire 2 max players. The question is if free agents will want to come. Losing Dwight Howard in free agency was the first time in recent memory the Lakers failed to keep their prized free agent. Nothing in Lakerland has been the same since coach Phil Jackson retired and Legendary owner Jerry Buss passed away in Feb of 2013.
Experts are picking the Lakers to win 35 games and miss the playoffs entirely. Maybe the low expectations for a change will be enough fuel for the Lakers to have a fairy-tale season? Kobe Bryant has missed the playoffs once in his stories career and i don’t think he wants to miss them again now that the end is near for him.
What made the Lakers special during 2008-2010 was the chemistry. The team that went to 3 straight finals and won 2 straight championships wanted to play for eachother and wanted to win for eachother. Last season, there was no such feeling of that. The big ego’s never found a way to mix with the constant shuffling of the line-ups with all the injuries.
I am not ready to write off Kobe Bryant and his Lakers just yet. The Lakers don’t stay down for long and I refuse to believe Kobe Bryant will let his career end in mediocrity.
2013-2014 Prediction-53-29 4th seed in the West.