No Middle Ground: Lakers’ Motley Crew Will Be Feel-Good Story or Sheer Disaster

Respectability or bust.

Don't expect the slogan to take the marketing world by storm or even pacify restless Los Angeles Lakers fans, but it needs to be Hollywood's mantra for the 2014-15 campaign. This could be a low-end playoff contender or a raging tire fire.

Those aren't the extremes, they are the options. There is no in-between.

The Lakers, of course, can't sell the season as such. Not with those 16 championship banners suspended from the Staples Center rafters, which serve as both badges of honor and measures of success.

"This organization is all about championships, period," head coach Byron Scott said at his introductory press conference. "We don't look at Western Conference finals, Western Conference championships. We look at (NBA) championships."

That unwavering pursuit of excellence dictated L.A.'s offseason maneuvers, although futile attempts to drape LeBron James and/or Carmelo Anthony in Purple and Gold forced the franchise to take an indirect route. Future flexibility drove front-office decisions, as short-term contracts were handed out like the Lakers were hiring seasonal help.

The result is a mishmash of a roster highly motivated to do something. Whether those motivations are shared by the collective or split among individuals will determine what happens next for the Lakers: decency or disaster.

If the Lakers do go down in flames, the carnage still shouldn't be quite as bad as the calamitous 2013-14 season.

"The Lakers were so awful last season that it figures to be next-to-impossible to be as bad," wrote's Jeff Caplan. "The Lakers lost a franchise-record 55 games."

Kobe Bryant made six appearances, and Steve Nash played 15 games. Former coach Mike D'Antoni pulled interior bruisers out of the middle and tried forcing them out to the perimeter, curtailing their playing time as their production predictably suffered.
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers