(Let me preface what I'm about to say by noting that (despite popular belief), this is NOT a Lakers' hating thread and I'm not trolling for the sake of pissing off an entire fanbase. What I'm simply doing is pointing out something that many Lakers fans are in total denial over and should accept after last night. Also, this is not necessarily time to panic, but this should be a wake up call.)
Dear Lakers Fans,
I've spent the last few months since the Dwight Howard and Steve Nash acquisitions reading countless posts touting how incredible your team is going to be and how likely they are to win the title. After the Harden trade, I read dozens of posts from Lakers fans and non-Lakers fans alike praising how the Lakers were the real winners of the trade, because the Western Conference would likely be a cakewalk for them. All the time I just kept saying "It's not going to be that easy."
Last night should be a slap in the face.
There shouldn't be rioting in the streets or mass suicide outside of the Staples Center, but you should all be a tad concerned right now because the offense was in disarray, Nash looked like a fish out of water and a Mavs team without their best player beat the Lakers in their house in what was supposed to be a revealing of the next great Lakers team.
It wasn't and you should be worried.
Be worried because you have four of arguably the 100 greatest players in the history of the league on one team, but three of them are older than 32 and on the decline and the fourth (Howard) hasn't been locked up long term yet.
Be worried because if this Lakers team doesn't ease its way into the playoffs and make a deep run, that Howard could potentially walk and leave LA with the shattered remains of the possibilities, another gigantic "what if" in the history of the NBA.
Be worried because you have a mediocre coach who could never figure out how to be successful with the best player in the NBA now trying to coach arguably the league's most talented roster. And Phil Jackson is not walking through that door.
But all is not lost.
Eventually they're going to develop some level of chemistry together and they'll realize that you cannot confine Steve Nash to that pathetic excuse for an offense they showed last night. For this team to be successful, the ball has to run through Nash and Kobe has to be a playmaker without the ball in his hands 24/7. If that happens, this team could still be very good. They could contend. They could be champions.
But above all else, be worried because even if they do figure it out, there's never any guarantee. Super teams are not a new development. They've been around since the early years of the NBA, and they were not always successful. Wilt joined the Lakers in 68 with Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, but lost to Bill Russell one more time in the 69 Finals. Philly had Moses, Barkley and Erving (three of the 20 best players in league history) for two seasons in the mid-80s and earned no hardware.
And we just got done a season and a half ago learning that it can take a while for three or more superstars to mesh together and figure out how to play together as we watched the Heat get embarrassed on the biggest stage against a more seasoned, more practiced Mavericks team.
A year and a half later, however, and the Heat have risen from their mediocre beginnings to become champions. Watching them last night and the rest of the league should be concerned with the fact that they looked even better than the team that demolished the second best basketball team in the world in the NBA Finals just a few months ago.
The Heat aren't the only obstacles, either. The Thunder are no cakewalk, nor are the Spurs, the Clippers or the new-look Nuggets. All of these teams should concern you, because while they may not be as talented as your Lakers, they will look better in their openers than your team did last night and all it takes is one bad playoff series for your team to be watching the NBA Finals from a television at their homes.
People will say this thread is an overreaction. That I'm just doing this to piss off Lakers fans because they had one bad game and this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Maybe. Or maybe last night merely personified all the questions and concerns I had going into this season about this team so perfectly that I had to write this down while it still has meaning.
I know it's been easy for you in the past, seeming to always get the players and the outcomes that you want and winning countless titles with star players donning the purple and gold. But wake up Lakers fans. It's October, it's gonna be a long season and you haven't won anything yet.
The rest of the NBA and its fans