Lifeless LA Lakers Proving They Have No Championship Desire

Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers weren't just supposed to contend for championships—they were supposed to win them.

But you can't win titles if you don't want to win them. And the Lakers don't look like they want to win anything.

Following a disastrous loss to the Toronto Raptors, it has become clear that Hollywood's finest are less than fine. They've lost eight of their last 10, five straight on the road and are now six games under .500. 

A failure of this magnitude is baffling for any championship caliber team, let alone one that boasts four perennial All-Stars and is costing ownership $130 million in payroll.

Most incomprehensible of all, though, is the fact that a majority of Los Angeles' struggles don't appear in the box score or even the advanced stat lines.

Yes, the Lakers 20th ranked defense is a problem, as is their league-worst allowance of 15.7 fast break points per game. They commit the seventh-most turnovers a night (15.3) as well, which is also cause for concern.

By no means, though, is this collective inadequacy purely systematic—it's much more than that. Allowing a surplus of points in transition and committing an excessive number of turnovers is a clear representation of this. 

Turnovers come down to carelessness, a lack of ball-protection. And those points relinquished in transition are a direct result of Los Angeles' inability, or rather, refusal to exert the energy necessary to get back on defense.

Don't believe me?

I wouldn't expect you to. After looking at the Oklahoma City Thunder, though, you will.

The Thunder aren't what you would call a reserved bunch. They take risks, especially on offense, and it costs them. They're averaging 15.8 turnovers per game, second-most in the NBA. Yet they only allow 12 fast break points a game, the fourth-best mark in the league.

So let's...

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