It was a grueling season for Los Angeles Lakers fans last year. In fact, it was the worst season in franchise history. But one thing that the fans always held on to was hope for next season, with the team’s offseason moves helped bring more optimism for the upcoming year. After a fantastic media day, fans were excited and ready for practices to start on Tuesday, and it looked like the players were too. In classic Byron Scott fashion, the practices were tough on the players, but according to Mike Bresnahan they were a bit tougher on D’Angelo Russell.
Bresnahan reported that Russell limped off of the court at the end of practice after trying to play through a bone bruise in his right foot. This alarmed many fans, including our own Anthony Irwin (who had some funny, yet sadly true tweets on his timeline), and prompted some calls for another year of tanking and Byron losing his job. But let’s all take a step back and calm down.
Yes, D’Angelo should be rested and have his practice time decreased. No, we don’t want it to turn into a Julius Randle type situation. That is not going to happen. As questionable as Byron’s decisions can seem, I think he would have learned his lesson from last year. His workload led to the deterioration of Kobe’s season and led to the fourth worst record in the NBA. I’m sure he knows that minor injuries like this can turn into something worse, and I have confidence that he and the training staff will monitor the situation. But I want to focus on the idea that losing Russell would lead to another year of tanking.
This team is not at all like last year’s team. This year they have key role players who know exactly what is expected of them and what they need to accomplish. Last year the lineups were messy because the talent they had was not good enough to compete with Western conference teams. This year there is the addition of Roy Hibbert, who is a former all-Star and an elite defender. He is also an incredibly smart player, as you can see from his Media Day interviews. They also signed 6th Man of the Year Lou Williams, who will bring a veteran presence to the guards. This isn’t a team that I expect to tank. No, they won’t be in the playoffs (probably) but they will at least have some entertaining games and make the purchase of League Pass worth it (like I wouldn’t purchase it anyway).
So I’m asking all Lakers fans to take a deep breath in and let it out, because it’s going to be fine. This is just a minor road bump and it will likely be forgotten by the time the Lakers tip off against the T’Wolves on opening night.