When I learned that Kobe would be sitting out vs. the Warriors yesterday, I posted the following comment to a previous article on this blog:
Lakers decide to sit Kobe out vs. Warriors tonight. Of course, they would decide to sit Kobe out vs. the toughest opponent in the NBA, since the chances are low that the Lakers would win this game.
The Lakers org know that this Lakers team is much better without Kobe, so they wouldn’t dare sit Kobe out against an opponent like the Thunder, because the Lakers would end up winning without Kobe and fans would start being even more suspicious about the situation with the Lakers than they already are.
Well, when I posted this comment, I was sure that the Lakers would lose (albeit not as badly as if they would have had Kobe in the game), but the Lakers surprised everyone and ended up beating the best team in the NBA. I guess it should be mentioned that the Warriors was playing on the second night of a back-to-back so that may have a little to do with the Lakers pulling off an upset. But I can guarantee you that the Lakers would have lost this game if Kobe had been playing. And anyone who thinks differently, just doesn’t know the game of basketball or they are insane. Lakers are much better without Kobe playing the way he has been playing. There is no doubt about that. And I’d be shocked if the Lakers organization don’t see this. The reason the Lakers organization continue to play Kobe the way they have been is that they want to tank this season.
After I learned that Jeremy Lin was not starting (no surprise at all), I decided to not watch this game. So I can’t comment on the specifics of the game, but from looking at the game stats, it looked like the Lakers played team ball, not the usual BS Kobe PG iso ball. Lakers had 7 players in double-figures with none scoring more than 18 points and they racked up 28 team assists. As a result, playing in the OPPOSITE way that the Lakers org, BS and Kobe have been FORCING the Lakers to play, the Lakers end up handing the best team in the NBA only their 4th loss in 27 games!
This win is the biggest nightmare for the Lakers organization. As I wrote in my comments that I posted above, the whole reason the Lakers thought they could rest Kobe is that they figured the Lakers would lose this game, anyway. So that was their best chance at giving Kobe some much-needed rest for the first time this season by sitting Kobe out. They wouldn’t dare sit Kobe out for the first time this season (since the first time they sit Kobe out is a big deal) against winnable teams, like the Thunder and Kings, for example, which are teams that the Lakers faced prior to the Warriors game. And if you recall, had it not been for Kobe, the Lakers would have likely won both those games, as well. And you can say this same thing about numerous previous games. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Lakers would basically be in playoff contention if it weren’t for Kobe and Lin being insanely mismanaged and misused.
As I’ve continued to re-iterate in numerous previous posts, the Lakers are interested in only three things this season and none of these things have to do with winning games:
- Kobe gets his stats and finishes off his career strong (that’s why they keep Kobe in there during garbage time if Kobe hasn’t achieved good stats) so Kobe can keep fans interested to continue to watch the games.
- Lakers lose enough so they get the #5 pick, but not too much so that they lose the pick to Phoenix.
- Keeping Lin in check so Lin does poorly and won’t get attractive offers from other teams and they can retain Lin as their back up PG of the future. Also, they don’t want Lin ruining their tank plans by playing to win.
Luckily for the Lakers ALL of these three things work in concert. That is, none of these three things counteract one another. For example, Kobe playing for his stats helps the Lakers lose games. Keeping Lin in check also helps Lakers lose games and helps Kobe play for his stats, etc.
But after this Warriors win, the fans would start being even more outraged than they already are if the Lakers go back to having Kobe play for his stats. And when they don’t have Kobe play for his stats and actually play Kobe efficiently and sparingly, then how can the Lakers make sure that they continue to lose games (since only BS and Kobe are in on the tanking)?
For those who don’t believe my conspiracy theory, I think the fact that BS didn’t start Lin in place of Price last night should serve as more evidence to prove my theory. I mean, after Price’s awful performances as a starter, no coach would start Price with Kobe absent from the starting lineup. You only do that if you want to accomplish the three objectives that I laid out above. I don’t care how biased you are against Lin. I mean, even McHale started Lin whenever Harden was out. The reason is that, despite McHale’s bias against Lin, he was still tasked to win games, not to tank. And THIS is the main difference between McHale and BS. And THIS is why BS is so much more insane than McHale ever was.
Anyway, this upset of the top team in the NBA really messes up the Lakers’s main objective. The whole reason they felt it would be safe to sit Kobe out is because they felt 100% sure that the Lakers would lose to the top team in the NBA. I mean, it would be one thing if the Lakers beat a mediocre team or even a borderline good team. But to beat the best team in the NBA without Kobe Bryant really exposes all of the insanity that has been going on in Lakerland. I’m 100% sure that the Lakers org are devastated by this win against the Warriors.
I assume that the Lakers will continue to go back to their insane Kobe play PG iso ball. But I think going forward it will make things very uncomfortable for the Lakers to continue to play Kobe the insane way that they have been. I just hope that the fans and Lakers media continue to put pressure on the Lakers org about limiting Kobe’s minutes and usage rate. I’ve been saying all along that all the Lakers need to do to win tons MORE games is to Limit Kobe’s minutes/usage and increase Lin’s minutes/usage. Of course, because I run a Jeremy Lin blog, people just dismiss this as Lin fanaticism. But I’m actually just someone who tries my best to think critically about things without letting my perception get in the way of the truth of the matter.
Unfortunately, since Lin didn’t start last night and Price had a great game, the Lakers can continue to get away with the insane ways they’ve been misusing Lin. This is why the Lakers didn’t dare start Lin vs. the Warriors in Kobe’s absence, because if they had, then that would not just mess up their #1 objective that I laid out above, but it would also mess up their #3 objective directly above. Also, the Lakers didn’t start Lin, because they KNOW that starting Lin would actually give the Lakers a chance to beat the Warriors with devastating consequences to them. But they KNOW that starting Price would guarantee a loss. Of course, Price surprised everyone by playing out of his mind and way beyond his capability vs. the Warriors.
Had the Lakers started Lin and actually used Lin the right way (which is what happened in Houston whenever Harden went out), Lin would have had a great game and the Lakers org would have been screwed even more. Because even Lakers fans would be outraged at how they’ve been misusing Lin. Unfortunately, for Lin fans, things won’t change for Lin in Lakerland. But at least the win last night makes the Lakers org, BS and Kobe very uncomfortable. So that makes things a little more interesting. If the Lakers org continue to go back to playing Kobe big minutes and keeping Kobe’s usage high, then I think that’s more evidence for Lakers tanking–if it isn’t already crystal clear at this point.