Rodgers Report: The Allure of 72

Rodgers Report: The Allure of 72

Postby trodgers on Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:25 am

Over the past two seasons, the Lakers have won 122 regular season games. That total is good enough for best in the West and second best in basketball. They have won a remarkable 74.3% of their games during that span. It is perhaps understandable that Lakers fans have begun looking toward the greatest regular season achievement for a squad. Led by Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, and Scottie Pippen on the floor and with the greatest coach in the game in Phil Jackson on the sideline, the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls won 87.8% of their regular season games. They finished with a record of 72 wins and 10 losses, the most wins in NBA regular season history. Lakers fans want to equal that mark.

Expecting to best that mark would clearly be hubris. It is an absurd total. Phil Jackson teams have come close, winning 69 games the following season, hitting 67 wins twice (once in Los Angeles and once in Chicago), and the Lakers even won 65 in 2008-09. In fact, across the league, seven teams have hit 65 wins in a season, but only one has hit the 70-win mark. So perhaps even tying the mark, perhaps even hitting 70 wins would be an amazing accomplishment. So perhaps even thinking 70 wins a team's goal is a sign of hubris.

It must be said, however, that the Lakers are not most other teams. No other team has appeared in the past three Finals, or has won two of the past three. No other team has the coach widely considered the best in NBA history (Phil Jackson's 225 postseason coaching victories means that he has been victorious in more playoff games than all but one other coach in NBA history has appeared in--and that is former Lakers coach Pat Riley). The Lakers have also had remarkable success as a franchise, hitting 60 wins 11 times in the history of their franchise, including doing it eight times since 1980. They have won at least 65 regular season games four times, including a best of 69 wins. They have been within striking distance of the mark on numerous occasions, so perhaps when coupled with a superlative coach and excellent recent success it is not so unreasonable to think the Lakers can make a run at 72.

Consider the hard numbers of late. In order to win 72 games, a team must win 87.8% of its games. Over the past three seasons, the Lakers have been able to win at least 87.8% of their games in only two months (out of 21 months in which they played regular season games). In one of those months, the Lakers went 2-0. So the only legitimate performance over a month that meets the required win percentage is November of 2008 when the Lakers won 12 of 13. Their best two-month stretch is .933 (but this includes that pesky 2-game "month"). For two full months it drops to .828 (24 wins, 5 losses). Over three months, their best is .913 (21 wins, 2 losses; again, including the 2-game month). Remarkable? Yes. On pace for 72 wins? No. Try 68. Over four months, it increases to 32 wins, 6 losses, they posted an .842 win percentage (on pace for 69 wins). But that is where things fall apart. The Lakers have not put together more than half a season in which they remained on pace to challenge.

Why the obsession with 72 wins? Lakers fans are in an enviable position: their team wins regularly during the regular season, wins regularly during the postseason, and they bring home trophies. They have the player most often compared to the greatest player in the history of the game. They have arguably the greatest coach in the history of the game. But 72 wins in the regular season, while it would no doubt look great on a resume, is nonetheless a regular season accolade. The Lakers are not a team built to accrue regular season awards; they are built to compete for championships. That is something done in the postseason.
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Re: Rodgers Report: The Allure of 72

Postby revgen on Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:52 am

70 wins is possible if our bench unit can get it together next season. Signing Blake is a good start. A healthy Luke will help too. If our starters can just take a breather without worrying about the bench going to pieces, then anything is possible.
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Re: Rodgers Report: The Allure of 72

Postby trodgers on Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:55 am

Think about our injury issues. We have had pretty good luck in that department over the past few years. Still, our bigs are good for 10-20 missed games per year, our wings are good for 5-15, and you have to think that our PG situation cannot continue as it has. Having Odom and Blake off the bench would mean that our second unit can fill in for starters nicely, but 70 wins is a fool's dream for two reasons: so unlikely and should not even be the goal of a championship team. All you need is home court.
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Re: Rodgers Report: The Allure of 72

Postby bumrusherer on Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:15 am

Its like the undefeated season in the NFL.

I think you go for it if it becomes realistic but at the start of the year, it cant be something that you try to chase.

For what its worth, I think you'd need a couple really really special bench players to do it these days. Like if we had the PHX Suns bench or something, then we could probably make a run at it.
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Re: Rodgers Report: The Allure of 72

Postby DarthRekal on Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:10 am

i used to REALLY want the record ... and not cause it was a regular season accolade.. cause it was OUR accolade... and yeah i'm biased.. i dont think the Bulls deserve it.. anything i can take away from Jordan is GREAT... :jam2:

also the bulls did it AND won a chip that year.. so i think it goes hand in hand with winning it all..

but this coming year i could care less... i see the END ALL in sight... which is tying and shutting up BOSTON once and for all.. so if this coming year ends in a 3peat for phil and kobe.. and the donwfall of the evil empire.. i could care less about that record.. until we have MORE chips than beantown :man1:
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Re: Rodgers Report: The Allure of 72

Postby GNC on Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:49 pm

In theory it is a fascinating idea, but in reality the pressure of winning 72 games is too much imo. It was done once and honestly i don't want that type of pressure/thought process/burden on our team.

Not only would you have to go all out for 82 games which is a heavy burden in itself, but then if you actually win those 70+ games you have to live up to the hype you built in the regular season in the playoffs. But how much more can you elevate your game as a unit in the playoffs, when you spent all that energy trying to go for near perfection in the regular season.

& if people thought not winning a title is a failure, winning 72 games and not winning the title would be one of the biggest busts in sports history right up there with the patriots losing against the giants.
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Re: Rodgers Report: The Allure of 72

Postby therealdeal on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:30 pm

I think as Laker fans we're drawn to greatness and it can't be denied that the 72-10 record is one of the greatest achievements in the history of the sport. Because the Lakers have such a history of being one of the best, their fans (and I'm sure their team in some ways) are drawn to records like this. They want to match it, to call it their own.

As you've pointed out, it's not particularly likely, but depending on how this off-season turns out, there is little doubt that this team could have a fantastic record during the regular season barring injury.
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