The Lakers are going through one of their toughest seasons in recent memory. Expectations were already low with such a young, unproven team, but with the number of injuries the Lakers have suffered this season, it is beginning to seem likely that the Lakers will return to the lottery for the first time since 2005.
Of course, with a draft as highly touted as this one, many believe that is a good thing. In fact many are calling for the Lakers to ‘tank’ in order for them to improve their chances at landing a top pick in this draft. Mitch Kupchak, however, says that is not going to happen as reported by the LA Times’ Mike Bresnahan:
Kupchak blamed injuries, not D’Antoni, for Laker problems. Said Lakers won’t tank. “It’s the worst thing any team could do for their sport.”
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) January 8, 2014
Kupchak is obviously against the practice of making the team worse and he is not alone as Kobe Bryant has also spoken negatively about tanking and its effects on the culture of the organization. Even when the Lakers were attempting to trade away Pau Gasol, they were insistent on getting a player who could help the team now as opposed to just the salary cap relief of waiving Andrew Bynum.
Many teams in the league have obviously given up on the season and are positioning themselves to improve in the offseason, but the Lakers are not like every other team. There is sense of pride and mystique about the Lakers and doing something like tanking would go against everything that Dr. Buss built over the last three decades.
It is this mindset that separates the Lakers from every other team in the NBA. The Lakers don’t operate under the same rules as everyone else and that is why they are the Lakers.
VIDEO: David Beckham Talks About Being A Lakers Fan – NASH The Documentary Teaser