On Opening Night of the 2014 NBA season, the Lakers lost their soul. Julius Randle, future of the franchise, was sacrificed by the basketball gods on one fatal sweep of the leg. Why must the good die so soon? While the rookie’s immediate basketball future has been put on hold, his injury will have more direct and dire implications on the team.
For Kobe Bryant, the future has never looked more bleak. Just two games into the season, the star has looked utterly frustrated and downright exhausted on the basketball court. Randle’s absence will contribute to that as the year goes on. Talent wise, only the roster of 2005 and 2006 had comparable mediocrity. Kobe, however, was in his prime then; he could score at will and have a fighting chance at winning. The tables have turned. Now 36, that fight is now a struggle– Bryant manages to score, but inefficiently, at the cost energy and the sake of his team’s play. Kobe’s critics will have more than enough ammunition to mount their attacks -perhaps deservingly so- but does he really have a choice? Outside of Nick Young, he is the only measure of consistency on his team. He is the only offensive option on the roster. Can he do this an entire season? I am not so sure. Will his legacy take a hit? You be the judge.
Byron Scott. The feel good story no longer. His coaching stands to be dissected as much as anybody in the NBA right now. Mistakes could be forgiven in the name of progressing a young star. But with Randle gone, Scott is left with a disaster of a roster, no redeeming qualities, and ugly play in the biggest basketball market on the West Coast. Losses will pile up. Reality hits hard: this will be Byron’s last professional coaching job.
Jeanie and Jim Buss are left to answer questions. With no guarantee of a pick next year, the team’s basketball prospects are pessimistic. Due to past managing mistakes, the team stands to lose an entire season if this team misses out on the lottery. In regards to to the state of marketing, the teams stance in the NBA totem pole has never been lower. What will they do to correct these errors? I am not sure there is anything they possible could do.
Your 2014 Los Angeles Lakers, everyone.