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Granderson: This year’s Lakers motto was ‘I just work here’

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#Granderson #years #Lakers #motto #work


One of many part-time jobs I had whereas in faculty was late-night cashier at a 24-hour social gathering retailer. As you possibly can think about, it bought sketchy at occasions. However that point when a gunman got here into the shop to rob the place, you realize what your boy LZ did? Regardless of the gunman mentioned. I wasn’t being paid to be the safety guard too. Extra importantly, that social gathering retailer wasn’t mine. I solely labored there.

That’s precisely how I might describe this Lakers season.

When issues bought sketchy, there have been occasions when it seemed as if we simply had a bunch of dudes who labored for the Lakers. It wasn’t their workforce. Not the losses, not the boos, not the shortcomings.

Not that I can blame them. All however three of the present gamers performed on a special workforce final season, and many of the new additions are on one-year offers. Why ought to they really feel in any other case? Maybe that partly explains why at any time when an opponent jumped out on them, significantly at first of the second half, far too typically there wasn’t a lot of a combat afterward.

And the 2 most embarrassing examples of this not solely bookend this season, but in addition outline it.

L.A. had a document of 230-0 over the previous 25 seasons when main by not less than 25 in some unspecified time in the future through the recreation. They snapped that streak barely per week into the season, blowing a 26-point result in an Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder workforce that had began the yr 0-4. Worst of all, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook had been enjoying, so it’s not as if we didn’t have stars.

The second stinger got here extra not too long ago, the blown 23-point lead in a must-win battle with the New Orleans Pelicans in late March. That loss all however eradicated the workforce from playoff competition. Extra alarming, Westbrook and LeBron James performed. I assumed how satisfying it should have been for Pelican ahead Brandon Ingram, who was typically criticized for showing to not care whereas in L.A., to point out simply how a lot he cared about beating his former workforce in such a high-stakes recreation.

“I’ve been out for 3 weeks, and to be again and win on this vogue with all my brothers, it’s particular,” Ingram mentioned. “It reveals we consider in one another. … When profitable is the mentality, good issues come to you, and nice issues got here to us tonight.”

To my earlier level, TeamRankings.com has the Lakers twenty second in third-quarter margins. Within the two video games I identified, they had been outscored by a mixed 82-48.

In hindsight, it was reasonably foolish to count on a workforce with simply three returning gamers from a yr in the past — James, Davis and Talen Horton-Tucker — to not have chemistry points. The rationale they had been by no means resolved is that mercenaries don’t usually do “us” and “ours.” Simply “mine” and “theirs.”

This workforce got here into the season with a roster stuffed with one-year minimums. And whereas I perceive the restrictions of the wage cap and the have to be versatile sooner or later, I additionally perceive it’s onerous to get vacationers to purchase actual property.

On paper the Lakers had been supposed … wait … why hassle with the recap, proper? Everyone knows this workforce is now a type of paper champions we drool over at first of the season.

“Look who they’ve!”

“There’s a lot expertise on this workforce!”

“How do you beat them?”

After which the postseason comes round.

“What went flawed?”

“Is that this the largest choke job in (decide your workforce) historical past?”

“Modifications must be made!”

This veteran-heavy Lakers squad got here into the season already being second-guessed due to the ages of a few of the new additions. However who would have predicted James and Davis would miss the postseason altogether? And now, with so many commerce rumors swirling about, who is aware of whether or not all three superstars will return subsequent season? In the event that they do, they clearly have loads to combat for, as a result of this dismal season … that is theirs. They personal it.

The supporting forged is a special query.

When the Lakers cobbled collectively a roster after buying and selling so many property to accumulate Davis, the outcome was a 2020 championship for a number of causes. Well being was an enormous a part of it. However additionally they needed to win it for Kobe Bryant, who died close to the halfway level of the season, in January 2020. Some had been searching for redemption or embracing a second probability. For no matter causes, there was a way of possession as to how the season would finish.

I don’t assume this workforce has felt that method shortly now. Because the roster is about to expertise its fourth vital overhaul in as many off-seasons, clearly the entrance workplace will look to reload with new vet minimums, new mercenaries. Possibly with some luck, well being will probably be on our facet and all will probably be effectively.

However I additionally hope a few of the present gamers do come again. Those who need one thing extra than simply to work for the Lakers. There have to be some who wish to be Lakers. Those who care how the season ends and wish to come again to assist clear up this mess.

@LZGranderson