Los Angeles Lakers: Can the Lakers Regain Their Winning Ways?

I knew this season was lost when Kobe Bryant went down with a broken knee last December. Just as a practical matter, there was no way the Lakers were going to get out of the intensely competitive Western Conference without him. They wouldn’t have enough firepower. 

I cannot remember a season in which the Lakers sustained so many injuries. Kobe going down was the tipping point. What you have seen since is the magnitude of his absence. It’s everywhere. He's no longer giving direction on the court, setting the tone with the media or playing alongside the younger players and helping them develop.

It’s even shown up in the television ratings. As the Los Angeles Times has reported, national games have been pulled, and Time Warner Cable’s ratings for Lakers games have been heading down. 

Now it’s time to pick through the wreckage with an eye toward 2014-15 and beyond. 

What does that mean?

First, no tanking allowed. I know there is a significant part of the fanbase and media that want the team to tank. And let’s admit, it’s a fun talking point and a good way to vent frustration. 

But if you really think it through, what does that look like? Some assistant coach going up to say, rookie Ryan Kelly and telling him, “Hey kid, dribble more, take less shots and the ones you do take, miss.”

When you see it in black and white like that, you realize how absurd it is. Especially because most of these guys are playing for their future NBA lives and contracts. No proud, competitive athlete is ever going to tank. But that point is academic, because with the Lakers so severely short-handed, the result will be the same: a high lottery pick. 

Which one doesn’t matter. Let GM Mitch Kupchak worry about the pick and the draft. 

Second, the only bright spot all season long has been the bench. ...

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