Current Lakers’ Chances of Returning, and Why L.A. Might Want Them Back

LOS ANGELES — After the worst season in Los Angeles Lakers history, you'd think that the worst possible idea would be to bring these guys back for another run.

It's not as off the wall as it sounds.

Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson rolled through Staples Center this week to face Southern California's only NBA playoff team and dropped one of his mantras that fits well with the longtime loser Los Angeles Clippers:

"Trials and tribulations are transportation for where you're going."

Jackson was actually bringing it up in the context of the Warriors having become a good team trying to be more than that. They went 23-43 in Jackson's first season, 2011-12. They were undercut by injuries, and it wasn't much fun.

"A 23-win season," Jackson said, "it lays a foundation."

The pain of being a loser helped drive Jackson, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee toward winning, and it prompts the question whether that sort of tenet is relevant to the Lakers and their just-completed 27-55 embarrassment.

No matter how bad the Lakers were, how they lacked key elements of pride and hustle and how fundamentally they didn't have suitable defensive personnel, there needs to be some continuity carrying over to next season.

Whether Mike D'Antoni is still the coach, there needs to be a sense that the Lakers are building something in the form of player development. For these trials and tribulations to wind up something more than trivial pursuit, the Lakers will need to be able to look back as future winners and take solace in how at least one or two of these guys laid a foundation.

It's not easy when Kobe Bryant's retirement is on the radar, the club is so determined to rebuild through future free agency and so much is expected of the great draft hope of 2014. It seems ridiculous to give attention to how Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly, spare parts at best, showed this sea...

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