Look, the Lakers know more than anybody else. They’re not the hungriest wolf in the jungle right now. They intimately know that; however, they’re running marathons, not sprints. Ultimately, a failure to box out on a Thursday night in January won’t cost them their season. They chock up the L and move on, while the media shrills, because let’s face it, ESPN has gotta talk about something.
Truth: the Lakers don’t need to make a move. They’re the two-time defending champs. They’ve been to the Finals the last three years. Just because people make moves to counter the Lakers (and that’s the crown jewel in Kobe’s legacy, that he made LeBron James join forces to beat him), doesn’t mean the Lakers have to make the moves. They’re the ones holding the crown — it’s on the league to figure out how to topple them.
The bottom line is — nobody is going to want to see the Lakers when the playoffs come around. No team is truly going to feel like the favorites against the Lakers — despite whatever that final (number) next to the Lakers ends up being. The Lakers will answer anybody’s call for a best of seven game series on anybody’s court.
The Lakers also know that they’re going to need all this energy come June. The Boston Celtics played this route last year and it ultimately cost them; but it’s the smartest route for the Lakers to take at this point. If the Sacramento Kings want to run and gun and bring their A-game just so they can say they beat the defending world champs at home, then so be it. The Lakers have bigger fish to fry than the Sacramento Kings. Let them have their moment.
The only thing that’s hurting the Lakers is defense (how they won the title last year, by the way) and execution and ball movement — all fixable things, when minds are laid to purpose. They show flashes of it almost every game — as if to just calmly remind people: By the way, we are the two-time defending champs, despite what you heard.