LA Lakers' Injuries Aren't Bad Luck; They're Just Too Darn Old

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterApril 27, 2013

Mar 22, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) and point guard Steve Nash (10) in the second half of the game against the Washington Wizards at the Staples Center. Wizards won 103-100. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Bad luck comes to those who put themselves in position to receive it.

I swear, off the top of my head, not a fortune cookie.

In an attempt to assemble a win-now, championship-or-bust roster, the Lakers took a chance by acquiring another veteran in Steve Nash to join fellow veterans Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol in the starting lineup.

These guys are a different kind of old. Actually, Nash is every kind of old. But he, along with Bryant, Gasol and even World Peace, has played heavy minutes for an incredibly long time.

Minutes Per Game

  '03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '08 '09 '10 '11 '12 '13
Kobe Bryant 41.5 37.6 40.7 41 40.8 38.9 36.1 38.8 33.9 38.5 38.6
Steve Nash 33.1 33.5 34.3 35.4 35.3 34.3 33.6 32.8 33.3 31.6 32.5
Pau Gasol 36 31.5 32 39.2 36.2 35.6 37 37 37 37.4 33.8


Bryant has played at least 33.9 minutes per game in every year since 1998. Think about how crazy that sounds.

And you know 33.9 is on the lower end of the spectrum. He's played at least 37 minutes per game in 13 seasons.

Steve Nash and Pau Gasol have logged at least 31 minutes a game in 13 and 12 consecutive seasons, respectively.

With all those miles on the tires, these 32- (Gasol), 34- (Bryant) and 39-year-old (Nash) vehicles will eventually break down riding an 82-game course.

Bad luck?

I had an electric razor—it was around 10 years old. This razor cleaned my cheeks thousands and thousands of times. So should I have been mad the day I was forced to attend a wedding with a half-bearded, half-shaven face?

No! I should be mad at myself for not expecting the a worn-out razor to die in the middle of an important session.

For the Lakers, I'd say this is an important session. Nash and Bryant's motors died at the worst possible time.

General manager Mitch Kupchak took a risk by acquiring a 39-year-old to run an offense that already had so many tired legs. It's tough to blame the game plan, as the reward certainly seemed worth the risk on paper.

Every team has veterans. The problem for the Lakers is that too many of them make up the core of the roster.

The New York Knicks have taken flak for building a roster with old dudes, but what people fail to mention is that these old dudes aren't featured in the offense.

These old dudes play minor roles. When Rasheed Wallace went down, they just plugged in someone new. Same with Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas and Kenyon Martin. These veterans don't make or break the rotation.

The Lakers' old dudes are the nucleus of the team. When the nucleus gets damaged, the team can't function. You can't just replace Bryant with Jodie Meeks or sub in Darius Morris for Nash and expect favorable results.

You could say this team didn't receive much good fortune this year, but you can't say L.A. got unlucky. The Lakers' injuries aren't bad luck—the players are just too darn old.


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