Ryan Feinberg, staff writer
Any resident of Los Angeles since 1947 has understood the excitement that accompanies the colors purple and gold. The Lakers, with 16 championships, are proudly the second most successful team in NBA history behind the Boston Celtics.
As all teams do, the Lakers have rough patches. 2013, however, seems a bit worse than the average rough patch, with superstar Kobe Bryant tearing his achilles. Bryant’s only input nowadays is via Twitter.
With a first-round elimination in the playoffs, the team has left our city confused, solemn, sad.
While the Clippers performed remarkably well in league play, they are still the Clippers, and like the Lakers, were eliminated in the first round. As some note, the Clippers’ best season in modern basketball ended in the same position as the Lakers in their worst season since the 2006-2007 season, when the Lakers went 45-37.
“What now?” Laker fans cry. “Where did we go wrong?”
While the Lakers did manage to pick up talented experienced players for the season, the team’s failure this year can be attributed to a few devastating, outweighing factors.
Firstly, coming right out of the gate: injuries. Key players Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Jordan Hill, Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks all missed games due to injury. Their total games missed combined is 183 games.
In terms of coaching, Mike Brown was fired five games into the season, with Mike D’Antoni taking his place. The discontinuity of coaching placed the Lakers at a huge disadvantage, forcing the team to adapt to both new players and new coaches. As many sports analysts have noted and the season has proven, D’Antoni’s offensive philosophy does not suit Howard in the slightest.
Another tragedy that struck the team was the loss of longtime owner Jerry Buss, famous for sparking the entertainment side of professional basketball, namely, the Laker Girls. The death of Buss removes an icon from the enterprise, a face from the franchise.
Even though the season is over, the Lakers’ work is nowhere near done. The offseason can open the opportunity for drafting new player as well as strengthening the current team. In the meantime, enjoy the playoffs, and like any good Laker fan, cross your fingers that Lebron James does not get another ring.