The Los Angeles Lakers aren't trying to lose games. They just aren't any good at this whole basketball thing.
Chris Kaman, who's now reclaimed a spot in coach Mike D'Antoni's rotation, said L.A.'s mounting loss column isn't intentional—it's unavoidable with this injury-ravaged roster.
"Everybody knows we want to win," he said, via Serena Winters of LakersNation.com. "It’s not like we are out here trying to chase picks, that’s not what we’re doing at all, I promise. I don’t think anybody thinks that way."
For a franchise as proud as this, this stream of setbacks is almost foreign to the fanbase. At their current pace, the Lakers are headed for their lowest winning percentage (.346) since moving to L.A. in 1960.
They may not set the franchise's new standard for futility, but it might be a while before things get any better.
Kobe Bryant (knee), Pau Gasol (groin), Nick Young (knee), Jodie Meeks (ankle) and Jordan Farmar (hamstring) all sat out Tuesday's loss, and Steve Nash left after less than 17 minutes of action because of nerve root irritation in his leg and back, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times.
Even at full strength, the Lakers figured to be facing an uphill climb to the postseason in the fully loaded Western Conference. The roster is in dire need of a talent upgrade, and this upcoming draft supposedly holds an historically strong collection of game-changing players.
Hypothetically, the Lakers could embrace the loss column and aim to improve their draft lottery odds in hopes of landing a cornerstone piece. Kaman, however, isn't the first to say the Lakers have no interest in tanking:
Kupchak blamed injuries, not D'Antoni, for Laker problems. Said Lakers won't tank. "It's the worst thing any team could do for their sport."— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) January 8, 2014
Of course, having an excuse doesn't make these struggles any less depressing.
"It's frustrating," Kaman said after Tuesday's loss, per Joe Resnick of The Associated Press (via NBA.com). "A lot of our guys are just trying to figure out where they're supposed to be and what they're supposed to be doing, because we've had so many guys hurt and then come back."
The losses may eventually prove beneficial if the Lakers pull a prime piece out of the 2014 NBA draft.
Still, they're going to sting for the time being. And those aren't self-inflicted pains.