Twilight ZoneWritten on 12/18/2007
You know it’s a different year when Vlad Rad comes to play, knocking down shots from way downtown. You knew the young kid would be Bynumite, but most of us didn’t expect this much so soon. You know things are going abnormally well when Sasha Vujacic can put the game away in the fourth quarter by draining trey-after-trey.
So, where exactly did this team come from?
Sporting one of the most difficult schedules in the league so far, the Lakers have made line-up changes and trades to address the needs for a team on the rise. The result? An impressive opening record with some huge wins against true competition. Last month, this team was seemingly a collective pool of talent filled with duplicate skill sets and D-League talent, and now, the same players that were the cause of hundreds of negative threads are getting appreciation left and right. Enter the twilight zone.
Hell, twilight might not even be the word. Mitch pulling off a trade that rids us of our most redundant player while filling a dire need is on an whole other level. It’s hard to imagine that this is the same front office that has been the criticism magnet in recent years. The drafting, the last two mid-level exception signings, the refusal to part with the young stud even when it could have potentially meant disaster; they say you need to take risks to get places, and we’ve certainly rolled the dice. Seven, eleven, click clack.
The option of letting them gel was something I frowned upon, and although I feel like less of a man for saying this, it’s possible that Mitch and the front office stooges know what they’re doing. There is absolutely nothing I can say negative about the team at this moment in time. I can’t remember the last time I felt that way.
While I might come off as overly optimistic, it’s hard not to feel that way. A tradition of winning brews a fire inside the belly of Laker fans that only winning can put out. With a four game road trip on the horizon, the Lakers are looking to stockpile wins before Santa brings his Shaq-esque frame to Los Angeles. There’s no reason to think we can’t come away with three of those four. A 17-10 record would be a better start than most of use imagined. It’s time to start thinking of the Lakers as a more “now” team than “future”. Kwame returning is hopefully the beginning of the end of the injury bug that has plagued this team for the past eighteen months. If it is, keep your ears open and listen for the noise this team makes in the playoffs.