Seriously, it's sad now that even moderate posters are falling for all the Dwight hate. Look, the guy is a media doofus, who has almost as bad PR skills and Jim Buss, but let's be real here:
This was always going to be a tough season.
We went from two seasons of completely uninspired basketball, being swept out of the playoffs once, then choking the next time around....we didn't deserve to just all of a sudden become number one in the West again. OKC has been building on their momentum for years now. The Spurs core as been steady as a rock and they've done an astounding job at grooming and cultivating their young talent.
We on the other hand have spent the last two years for Mitch to wave his magic wand. And do you know what he did? He turned Andrew Bynum -- who if you weren't convinced he was the injury bug incarnate, was at least a budding team CANCER -- into a player that before the last season and a half was IRON MAN.
The catch? He had just come back from back surgery. Now, I take Dwight at his word. He probably should have sat out until Christmas this season. Instead he decided to tough it out and lace them up. It just so happened that we were dealing with a handful of other disasters in waiting:
-Steve Nash was not only injured, but he is in decline.
-Pau was injured at the start of the season, but his confidence as a Laker has still been shattered from:
a) the failed CP3 trade
b) when we brought in an offense tailored for him and then fired the coach after 5 games
-Mike Brown was our coach
-The PR disaster that was the non-PJ hiring
-MDA was hired for Nash, but Dwight (and Pau by the way) are better suited for a more post-oriented offense
-Kobe has proven that while he's an admirably resilient player, he still can't carry a team on his back anymore...and not for a lack of trying.
So far has this been the most disappointing season of recent memory? Absolutely. Was it always fools gold? You bet your ass. Nash was always going to be Nash-in-decline, injury or not, Princeton Offense or not, Nash or Nash + Kobe is not going to bring out the best in him.
That being said, can we still utilize his shooting skills and use him more off the ball? Yeah. We've seen flashes of how he and Kobe can play together.
Pau is out now, so maybe he can be fresh for the playoffs, but he's had two horrible playoffs in a row and maybe he just needs a change of scenery.
MDA is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
So that leaves us with Dwight, and I know the media is picking up and running with every single story and the sheer volume of it makes every single one of us think well **** maybe there's some truth to it all -- which there's gotta be -- but the way he's being talked about it's as if he's the freaking Antichrist.
I get it now, this is just our fanbase. I joined this forum to defend Lamar Odom. The pulse of these threads beated with the wardrum-like chants of an angry mob--off with his head. Well the Lakers brass didn't listen to these fools, they pulled off the Gasol trade and those two and Kobe made us the special team that we were.
This season wasn't going to be easy. We had a **** sandwich on our plate and the choice was either to stick with Bynum, with his knees and lack of poise, or to make the trade that these same asscats were clamoring for. Well guess what? We made the trade you wanted. Yes, our expectations were flawed.
It's going to take him a year to fully recover from back surgery. Yes, Dwight could easily have quelled many fears and said he's going to stay here in LA, but can't sign until July for the max money. But part of the situation we were inheriting is Dwight's lack of certainty. Like Lamar, he's an emotional guy. He loves people and wants people to love him. Jesus, look at how awful Lamar has been since that failed CP3 trade, when his confidence was broken. The guy's spirit was crushed.
Fans apparently don't understand that they have a role in this as well. Instead of choosing sides between Kobe and Shaq, we should have embraced them both. Instead of clinging to Kobe's twilight years, we should be embracing the future. A future which after this year will begin to get a little brighter.
Instead I'm seeing a lot of people falling prey to the media churning out speculative story after speculative story. Grumblings of how Jim Buss is going to drive the bandwagon off a cliff. How Dwight is never going to get that athleticism back and he's going to destroy our salary situation for a decade. That we'd be better off letting all of them walk and expecting the LeBrons or Kevin Loves or Kyrie Irvings of the world come in and save the day here in Lakerland.
Well great. If that's how we wanna do it, then sure, let's throw away a guy that was arguably as MVP-worthy as LeBron two years ago and let's take a run at a numbers guy in Love or a kid who has no reason not to sign his next extension in Irving. Let's just peddle ourselves from new hope to new hope, deluding ourselves into thinking that we don't ever deserve a rebuilding period, despite all the evidence that this year was going to be a painful transition.
Or we can do what Jerry Buss, Jim, and Mitch did with Lamar and say we have an amazing piece to a puzzle here...let's get us a Pau Gasol to make it all work. We can take our time. We can show faith that while the big picture is still murky we can give us a chance to work it out. We got swept under Phil Jackson's last season, with a team that repeated and now completely retooled that team to the point where beyond Kobe, Metta, and Pau it's completely different.....
Did you really think it'd be easy?
We fell for the hype already. Well I'm not gonna fall for the hype of our demise. We have half a damn season left, I am all in for my damn team. Looking at our schedule, I think we can do it. We can only lose about 8 games the rest of the way. We start supporting this team, the guys start feeling good about themselves for once, and we go on a damn run then we can do it. Enough of the throwing our guys under the bus, already.
They're the Purple and Gold, and there's hope yet.