Little Victories LA Lakers Fans Must Look for During Rest of NBA Season
Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers do not have much to cheer about, but there are still a few positives they can look forward to.
Despite the fact the Purple and Gold will likely finish the season with a losing record, there are still a couple of things they can accomplish to give the fanbase a small sense of success.
In a year that many would consider a failure in Los Angeles, the Lakers faithful can still set targets for the sake of keeping the campaign relatively interesting.
Kent Bazemore is quite possibly the most enthusiastic bench player in the league. He consistently brings the energy when celebrating the accomplishments of his teammates.
Bazemore is the best Lakers benchwarmer not named Robert Sacre. Seriously, watch his antics on the sidelines every time the Golden State Warriors score (Bazemore is a former Warrior). He joined the Lakers in a February 22nd trade along with MarShon Brooks.
The Lake Show will own every second unit in terms of teammate support and give the fans a little something to get excited for.
Lakers Still Relevant
The Lakers have remained relevant throughout the season, and it will be interesting to see if that holds up. The Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder have a shot at representing the Western Conference in the NBA Finals, and yet, the Lakers are a bigger draw.
Attendance figures indicate that both at home and on the road, people continue to show up to Lakers games in bunches. The Purple and Gold clearly generate interest, which in turn means the team is quite relevant.
Given the tortuous nature of the season, this is one of the few positives Lakers fans can hang their hats on.
Avoid Worst Record in the League
Every time the Lakers win a game, it creates some separation between them and the worst teams in the league.
There is nothing prestigious about owning the worst record in basketball, and the Lakers probably want no part of it. Things have been bad in Lakerland, but the team still projects to finish ahead of the league's bottom feeders, according to Hollinger's playoff odds.
The Lakers faithful probably are not celebrating just yet, but once Mike D'Antoni's unit avoids the worst mark in basketball, fans will likely enjoy the fact the team they root for is not the most pitiful one in the league.
With that said, the Lakers have not had a top-10 draft selection since the 2005 NBA draft (Andrew Bynum). Owning one of the worst records in the league, if not the worse itself could help L.A. benefit from one of the highest picks in the league.
One Last Shot at Dwight Howard
Lakers fans are still salty because Dwight Howard left the team last summer in favor of the Houston Rockets. Naturally, if the Lake Show can make life a living hell for Howard, that will be considered a moral victory of sorts.
The Rockets are in the thick of a playoff race in a brutal Western Conference. Howard and Co. can potentially secure a top-four record in the West, which would enhance their chances of making it into the second round or perhaps even the Western Conference Finals.
Los Angeles has lost two of three head-to-head battles against Houston, but the Lakers have one last contest in the final month of the season against Howard's squad.
By defeating the Rockets, the Lakers might sabotage the Houston's season on some level and give fans of the Purple and Gold a little bit of satisfaction.
Since moving to Los Angeles, the Lakers have never failed to win 30 games. L.A. has been bad enough this season that the streak is in danger.
General manager Mitch Kupchak has already stated he refuses to encourage tanking, which is a positive sign for the team. It means the Lakers have a shot at securing or possibly surpassing the 30-victory threshold.
History can be a powerful motivator, and the Lakers will likely want to avoid the record books in this instance. Otherwise, they will be the worst Los Angeles Lakers team ever.
Fans probably do not want to see that one happen, and Mike D'Antoni can steer them away from that milestone.
Do Right by Pau Gasol
The Lakers must give Pau Gasol whatever it is he wants this season. If the Spaniard requests a buyout in an effort to join a contender for a chance at a ring, so be it. In the same breath, if Gasol wishes to remain a Laker until the end of the year, the franchise must accommodate him.
The Lakers have demonstrated they take care of their own with Kobe Bryant's $48.5 million extension, and Gasol is certainly one of theirs. Prior to Gasol's arrival in L.A., the franchise could not sniff the second round because Bryant did not have enough help.
Gasol's arrival quickly changed the fortunes of the team, and the front office must reward that. Future players who contemplate joining the Lakers might look at how the team dealt with Gasol before deciding to sign up in the City of Angels.
Gasol is more likely gone at the end of this season, and really, doing right by him will more than likely be a big win for both the fans and the team this season—and for future ones.
Return of Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant has only appeared in six games, and that makes one wonder whether or not he will return before the end of the season. Bryant signed a $48.5 million extension that keeps him in uniform until the end of 2015-16, a clear sign that the franchise is committed to him.
The Lakers will have roughly $26 million in cap space this summer, and they will be looking to add talent. However, prospective free agents will probably want to make sure Bryant is healthy enough to play at a high level before they sign on.
Bryant's return this season will squash any potential concerns players might have. As a result, his return to the lineup before the end of the season is the biggest win the Lakers can enjoy.