Los Angeles Lakers: Is This Team Really Improving?

Sometimes I wonder if people just want the Los Angeles Lakers to be better than they truly are in real life.

We aren't just talking about fans. After all, the end (gasp) of their five-game winning streak has been well covered by outlets like ESPN. To be fair, whenever a team wins five or more games, it is news.

However, the Lakers seem to draw coverage that does not necessarily equal their 2012-13 accomplishments. Of course, fans and analysts enjoy good stories, which is why teams are followed when they succeed and when they struggle.

With apologies to the Wide World of Sports, we do love the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

(Oh, by the way, the Los Angeles Clippers have won 14 in a row. Just wanted to make sure that you were aware of that.)

Certainly, it is a positive sign when a team like the Lakers wins five in a row, particularly since they have enjoyed having Steve Nash back on the floor. Still, look at the record of their opponents during that streak:

Washington: 3-23

Philadelphia: 14-15

Charlotte: 7-21

Golden State: 19-10

New York: 21-8

The win over New York is very good, but the Lakers did not exactly blow away Washington, Charlotte or Golden State.

To celebrate their five-game winning streak, the Lakers gave up 126 points to the Denver Nuggets and lost by 12 points. To be fair the Nuggets can score effectively, but this is a lot of points to surrender when Los Angeles is theoretically a title contender.

Perhaps the game would have been different if Dwight Howard had not been ejected (via NBC Sports).

Power rankings do not mean much in the big picture of the sports world, but they do say something about perception. In the latest list from ESPN, the Lakers were listed as the 11th best team in the NBA.


Keep in mind that eight teams with better records than the Lakers...

About the Author