A Photo to Summarize Every Laker's 2012-13 Season
If the Los Angeles Lakers were a television show, they'd certainly be in the Emmy conversation for Best Drama. The 2012-13 season has everything you could ask for in a thrilling roller-coaster ride of a season, which is why we're going to sum up each character in a single picture.
Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard have done a terrific job providing us with memorable storylines, individual episodes and unique highlights in their lead roles, but the supporting actors like Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni have done their parts as well.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here come a whole lot of words.
I don't know exactly what's going on in between Kobe's ears at this moment, but I'm 100 percent sure he has some sort of internal monologue playing.
The expression on his face seems to be a curious combination of exhaustion, focus and bewilderment about what's going on around him. There's no doubt that the Mamba has been exerting himself as much as his 34-year-old body can handle, but much of the effort has been rather fruitless.
This picture wasn't selected solely for his face, though. You have to look at his hands as well.
Not only are they tugging at his shorts in the classic "I'm catching my breath for a minute" pose, but they're also occupied so they can't be used in more unacceptable ways. I'm placing the over/under of number of times that Kobe has wanted to grab a teammate and shake him repeatedly at 100.5.
Fortunately, No. 24 hasn't moved past his breaking point, which reminds me of the second-best Kobe picture of the season:
Even though he's acted miserable at times during the 2012-13 campaign, Dwight Howard has never stopped flashing those pearly whites. An ear-to-ear grin has been just as omnipresent as those gaudy purple arm sleeves that make it look like a middle schooler was accessorizing for Dwight on NBA 2K13.
The beauty of this picture is that no context is needed.
Were the Lakers winning this game against the New Orleans Hornets? I have absolutely no clue, and Dwight might not either. He was probably smiling regardless, even if his visage was serving as a mask for his innermost emotions at the moment in question.
L.A. is 2-0 against the future Pelicans thus far, so there's a good chance the Lakers actually were winning. But you get my point.
Chin down, confused and probably ineffective.
That's the best way to describe Pau Gasol this year, fresh off his dominance in London at the Summer Olympics. Somehow, someway, his decline was as precipitous as it gets.
When Gasol has managed to stay healthy, he's been benched and ultimately kind of useless in purple and gold. He hasn't been compatible with Dwight Howard when the two are on the court together, and his shot just flat-out refuses to fall regardless of who he's playing with.
I'd love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation between Gasol and Metta World Peace.
Steve Nash looks tired, in control and a little bit older in this image, but there's one major difference from how he normally appears when photographers capture the moment.
The ball is nowhere to be found.
Although he's averaged over seven assists per game, the Canadian floor general is still falling well short of the numbers we're used to seeing him put up. He's been effective in spurts, but Nash hasn't been allowed to dominate the ball and make things happen with his playmaking abilities.
Sure, the rock is in his hands more often than when he sat out with a small fracture in his left leg, but Kobe has still become both the primary scorer and the primary facilitator.
Nash and a basketball normally go hand in hand, but that hasn't been the case in 2012-13.
I'm assuming that right before this snapshot was taken, someone crept up to the Los Angeles Lakers sideline and asked Mike D'Antoni if he had any idea how to get his team to play defense.
The coach famous for installing the "Seven Seconds or Less" offense with the Phoenix Suns probably looked at our mysterious inquirer, laughed and then lifted his arms up in confusion.
"What is this 'defense' thing that you speak of?" might have been the words he uttered next after the smile was wiped from his face by the opposition scoring yet another easy bucket in transition.
Metta World Peace
Metta World Peace actually started out the season in fantastic form on offense, so it's understandable he looks so surprised about how the year has turned out.
If you told the defender once known as Ron Artest that he'd average at least 14 points per game in both November and December, he probably wouldn't expect of the team to be sitting under .500 come March.
Additionally, confusion and surprise is the only way to accurately portray World Peace. You never know what you're going to get with him.
Earl Clark is one of the few purple-and-gold-clad warriors who has actually exceeded expectations during the 2012-13 season. It was this 25-year-old Louisville product who was thrust into the starting lineup to replace Pau Gasol, and he's thrived in that role.
As a starter, Clark has actually been allowed to shoot, and he's averaged 10.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.9 blocks and 1.0 steals per game when he doesn't need to come off the bench.
If your focus drifted away from Clark's jumper to the person unsuccessfully guarding him, you shouldn't have too much trouble identifying him. Not many players can boast such a large bald spot and get away with it.
This sharpshooting stretch-4 was supposed to light it up off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers, drilling threes without a conscious as the rest of the offense provided spacing for him.
Well, that hasn't exactly happened.
Antawn Jamison has connected on only 34 percent of his three attempts per game from downtown, and he's averaging only 8.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest with a 15.1 PER. It's no wonder he has such a glum expression on his face.
Jamison's counterpart off the bench has been an even bigger flop. While he's hitting shots from downtown at a fairly decent clip, that's about all he's brought to the table during the 2012-13 season.
Whenever Jodie Meeks tries to do things besides let fly from beyond 23 feet, bad things have happened.
Sadly enough for L.A., he's been one of the team's three most effective bench players, along with Jamison and either Pau Gasol or Earl Clark, depending on who's starting. Jordan Hill was in that category before the injury to his left hip, but it's highly unlikely the big man returns this season without quick rehab and an extended postseason run.
As a result, I'm going to let this picture represent the seasons of all but one of the bench players for the Lake Show. These campaigns can be accurately summed up in one word: struggle.
Robert Sacre is special. He doesn't just get a picture, but rather an entire GIF.
If you had consistently celebrated like this on the sideline for a team that will exit February below .500 and out of the playoff picture for the moment, you'd deserve one too.
Sacre's dances and celebrations have been captured tremendously by B/R's Jesse Dorsey, so I'll point you in his direction for more hilarity provided to us by the reigning Mr. Irrelevant.
For more NBA musings, make sure to follow me on Twitter.
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