The Los Angeles Lakers lost 101-82 to the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, dropping to a Western Conference-worst 9-41. The 10th straight defeat tied a franchise record, and they have just two more victories than the Philadelphia 76ers, who began the season 1-30.
"The Navy Seals have a way of taking guys to the bottom of the pool," Bryant said. "Sometimes you've got to go to the bottom of the pool, man, and figure it out. We're almost there. Gasping for air."
It was an interesting way to put it, but it makes sense. Bryant is acknowledging the young team is at the lowest of lows but hopefully can learn from this trying season. However, his words went from philosophical to colorful when he learned a loss in the team's next game would break the dubious record, per Holmes: "Honestly, it doesn’t matter. What, it makes a s----y season less s----y?"
This is the Lakers we're talking about—one of the most storied franchises in the history of the sport. Their 16 championships trail only the 17 the Boston Celtics have won, and Los Angeles has won more than the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons combined.
This is not the way Bryant wanted to end his illustrious career, and it's clear he is becoming frustrated that his final season in the NBA will be his worst. On ESPN Radio 710's Mason and Ireland, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith suggested Oklahoma City Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are both considering heading to the Lakers within the next two years. Of course, that isn't going to do Bryant much good.
The 2015-16 Lakers will be lucky to win 20 games. Aside from a lack of veteran talent, head coach Byron Scott has publicly called out multiple young players on the roster. In turn, they have decided to respond to the criticism through the media.
Matt Moore of CBS Sports commented on what he perceives as a journalist covering the NBA:
I really, seriously NEVER thought I’d say this.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) February 1, 2016
The Lakers, at least from a distance, seem to have a culture problem
It's a mess in Los Angeles, and it doesn't seem as though the Lakers are going to be competitors in a loaded Western Conference in the near future. If young guys such as D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle can get it together and carry the team, then improvement down the road is possible.
But for now, the team is at the bottom of the conference and will likely stay there. Its only hope is to find a little air.