Lakers start off season with discouraging numbers, demoralized players

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Eleanor Bogart-Stuart, staff writer

Over the course of the past three years, the Lakers basketball team and franchise have been disappointing.

It all started back in 2012 when legends Dwight Howard and Steve Nash graced the cover of a Sports Illustrated, emblazoned with the words, “Now This Is Gonna Be Fun”. Some would consider this to be ironic, considering the team’s later failures. To me, it was an ill omen and a discreet, but vital, hint at the oncoming breakdown of the team.

It’s now 2014, and the Lakers’ prospects are still looking as dismal as they did when they finished Howard and Nash’s debut season with a winning percentage of .549. Nash is now out for the entire season with nerve damage in his back after attempting to carry luggage.

Lakers starting forward Kobe Bryant taking a jump shot in a game against the Denver Nuggets in 2013. Photo courtesy of Howcheng.
Lakers starting forward Kobe Bryant taking a jump shot in a game against the Denver Nuggets in 2013. Photo courtesy of Howcheng.

“Being on the court this season has been my top priority and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now,” Nash said in an official press release. “I work very hard to stay healthy and unfortunately my recent setback makes performing at full capacity difficult. I will continue to support my team during this period of rest, and will focus on my long-term health.”

High hopes had been placed on the new additions to the team: guard Jeremy Lin, center Carlos Boozer and rookie forward Julius Randle. Much like the team itself, their debut as Lakers was disheartening. Lin’s talents have only appeared sporadically on court, and Boozer is averaging a meager 10.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Randle fractured his tibia in his right leg during the first game of the season, which doubled as his NBA regular season debut. He’s out for the season.

Some think the team is cursed, but many Lakers fans at Beverly believe otherwise.

“Kobe is still Kobe, and they have some other good players like Carlos Boozer, but their defense can’t stop anybody. I think if they can improve their defense and move the ball on offense, they’ll be decent this season,” junior Jake Wolken said.

Most would agree that a team’s success on the court is directly influenced by the players’ relationships and emotions outside of the court. If the team isn’t feeling good, then their gameplay won’t end up being good. That’s what makes the Laker’s situation a bit more serious than we thought.

“Oh, of course [morale] down. You know, it’s definitely down. [Kobe Bryant is] not happy right now. Nobody is. But we got to figure it out. We got to figure it out fast,” center Jordan Hill said in an interview with Lakers Nation.

It seems like Hill finally understands what Lakers fans have been yearning for the past three years: for the team to figure itself out. Maybe he should be doing the talking, instead of new head coach Byron Scott, who is on pace to become the next Mike Brown. Although Scott headed teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and New Jersey Nets, won a Coach of the Year Award and served as an NBA All-Star head coach on two different occasions, he has yet to prove himself to the Laker nation. And he doesn’t have much time.

It’s obvious that the Los Angeles Lakers have not been doing so well. Their best players are getting injured. The rest of the NBA is stalking them like hunters closing in on their prey. The franchise is like a deflated balloon, out of willpower.

But it is in defeat that they, hopefully, will find victory. The team must use their failures as fuel to become better than ever before.

As the great Thomas Edison said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

This kind of mentality is exactly what the Lakers need to return to their former glory.

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