Andrew Bynum - Jan 13, 2008 Left knee injury
Trevor Ariza - Jan 21, 2008 broken right foot
Pau Gasol - Mar 14, 2008 Sprained ankle
Derek Fisher - Mar 29, 2008 Right foot injury
The list goes on, the woes will not. The season so far has been anything but ordinary and it has been more about endurance and persistence than anything else. With only weeks to go before the NBA playoffs get underway the Lakers are struggling to maintain their position in the western conference standings. With back-to-back losses to sub .500 teams, the Lakers seem on the verge of collapse. Another wasted 50 point performance by Kobe Bryant, another wasted chance. The injury list keeps growing, infighting in the team.
That’s what the reporters are saying.
What many people are forgetting is that this Laker team is much stronger than what is seen from the outside. Without a doubt this team is resilient. The season started, well, in absolute chaos. Everyday eager fans received conflicting reports about Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Was he going to stay or was he going to leave? Masses of reporters swarmed players on their way to the El Segundo practice facility. National reporters said the season was already over, Kobe would leave and the Lakers would become a lottery team with players like Kwame Brown and Brian Cook. What happened next was both beautiful and incredible. Kobe set the precedent and his team followed and surged to higher branches of the western conference standings. Despite the chaos that started the season the Lakers were able to play through the uncertainty and rise from the ashes to become one of the best teams in the overly competitive West.
Then the Bynum and Ariza injuries occurred. Reporters once again said the season would be lost if Bynum took more than 8 weeks to return. “Without Bynum this team is like the team last year and the year before that, I highly doubt the Lakers will be able to play better than .500 ball”. In the wake of devastation the Lakers managed to play great basketball and through the brilliance of Mitch Kupchak the Lakers landed Pau Gasol. Not only did the Lakers hold the fort in Bynum’s absence they surged to the top of the Western Conference standings.
Again, injury struck early March when Gasol sprained his ankle early in a game against the New Orleans Hornets. Early estimates had Gasol out for two weeks, despite the loss the Lakers were able to pull of heroic wins against the Mavericks and the Jazz.
Herein lies my point. The Lakers are no stranger to adversity. This whole season has been about facing adversity and conquering the challenges of battle. Though the Lakers are in a rough stretch at the moment, with more players getting injured than those coming back from injury, they will find a way to get through this as they have been doing all season. The Lakers have traversed a road not taken by many teams but in the end it will make all the difference. Maybe the Lakers might not win the championship this year but through all the struggles they have had to endure they will come out this season a much more resilient and experienced ball club. It’s all about weathering the storm and once the storm has passed the Lakers will emerge a better team; a team which I think will be a formidable foe in the playoffs. The regular season has prepared the team for challenges which undoubtedly will be present during the playoffs and after all they have endured the Lakers will have a much better chance to come out victorious.
As the chilli peppers say, “the sun may rise in the east at least it settles in a fine location”. The Lakers will get their chance to shine one of these days and when the opportunity comes the Lakers will be ready; ready to defy all expectations placed upon them and do the unexpected.
Comments and Criticisms appreciated!