LA Lakers’ Season Is About NBA Survival Now, Not the Score

Pride is an all but forgotten feeling for the once mighty Los Angeles Lakers.

On the heels of their worst loss in franchise history (a merciless 142-94 beating delivered by the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday night) and en route to their worst finish since moving to L.A. in 1960, the organization's priorities have changed.

The loss column, which shows 42 entries from the team's first 63 games, has been embraced by forward-thinking fans hoping for a prized pull from the stacked 2014 draft class. A slew of one-year contracts has turned game time into evaluation periods.

Standards have been lowered, if not outright abandoned.

It's the definition of tanking, only the typical rules of the unsightly practice don't apply.


Reputation to Uphold

Most tanking teams have the "luxury" of completely neglecting the present and giving undivided attention to the future.

Sure, there might be a prospect to develop (Michael Carter-Williams for the Philadelphia 76ers, Giannis Antetokounmpo for the Milwaukee Bucks), but any exertion is restricted to simple damage control.

The Lakers, of course, never find themselves among the "most teams" umbrella. They have an image of sustained success to sell to their restless fanbase, one that coexists with a tank job as well as oil and water.

"Too much of the team's brand is based on always fielding teams that have a chance to win, or at least trying to," ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne wrote.

Fans have begrudgingly accepted this fate. Playoff hopes, if they ever existed, were officially shelved when Kobe Bryant was sidelined by a fracture in his left knee.

Even still, fans weren't ready for this. The Lakers were 13-13 on Dec. 20—they're 8-29 since.

They're not even a laughing stock, just an unyielding source of disappointment.

"It's t...

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