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Pride or Playing the Percentages?

With ten games left, those who put in for playoff tickets are breathing relatively easy. Not that the Lakers should rest on their laurels or begin starting a Devin Green-Von Wafer-Aaron McKie-Jim Jackson-Ronny Turiaf lineup (they're going really small). But barring injury or some monumental collapse, they're wading in reasonably safe waters. The team's in a pretty nice groove at the moment. And save Sacto, nobody trailing behind seems capable of back to back wins, much less a threatening win streak. No slacking allowed, because every game still counts big and bad. But assuming the Lakers treat their business as such, I have a hard time picturing a 9th seed finish.

That being said, I don't see them rising past 7, either. Never say never, especially since they could do some damage by beating their Staples roommates on April 9th. But both Memphis and the Clips are playing pretty well. The Clips are deep enough to absorb Cat Mobley's ankle injury. Pau Gasol and Mike Miller are making life without Damon Stoudamire pretty tolerable. Therefore, I wouldn't bet your metaphorical farm, much less my own, on a 6 or 5 seed (Unless I just wanted the property off my hands, since I have absolutely no interest in farming).

But I could buy L.A. and Sacto swapping the 7 and 8 spots. And that's a scenario keeping the blog abuzz, since everyone is weighing first round pros and cons. The general consensus is that Phoenix, the probable 2 seed, will run the Lakers out of the arena. I happen to be a part of said consensus. The Lakers have crapped it up against teams like Atlanta, who don't even run particularly well, but do it all game like decapitated chickens. Against the Suns, a team that actually knows what they're doing, I give the Lakers worse odds than me hooking up with Scarlett Johansson. By getting the 8 seed, they'll theoretically face the Spurs or Mavs. Both tough match ups, but better on paper. The Spurs play a slower pace. Kwame's had some nice moments against Tim Duncan. And there's always a chance "Manu Girl" will return to Staples for that series, a definite plus in my mind. The appeal of Dallas can be summed up with one number: 62. I don't care how much Dallas' D has stiffened. Getting outscored by one guy stings for a while. Neither is a cakewalk. But both are undeniably better, so many folks could live with a loss or two. Assuming the Lakers make the playoffs either way, they'd view a slightly worse finish as a postseason survival mechanism.

But if you're a fan, especially during a season where a title is unlikely, would you prefer the team finish as strong as possible and let the chips fall as they may? Does the idea of a 7 seed provide more bragging rights and pride on the season? And can you stomach the idea of finishing behind the Kings? Cow Town/Cow bells? Tainted cheeseburgers? Mike Bibby's dance? You're cool lagging behind them in the "W" department? And for those "Kobe for MVP" campaigners working overtime, the lower the Lakers finish, the less likely Kobe will clear space on his mantle come May. And it's not like the Lakers are a lock to win against either Texas squad, anyway. If the same first round exit is a possibility against all three teams, does it really make a difference if it's a 4, 5, 6 or 7 game defeat? Wouldn't a better overall record provide you with a bigger sense of satisfaction when it's all said and done?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Better record and rolling the dice. Worse record and a "safer route."  Both arguments have some merit. I really don't think there is a right answer, but I'd like to know what yours is.

AK

 
Comments () | Archives (115)

The comments to this entry are closed.

BK,

How about "aspiring to do the best job you can"?

Works for me.

BK

AK,

Also, honesty doesn't necessitate objectivity, especially if it involves an opinion.

Honesty usually implies a degree of subjectivity. Saying "Kwame wasn't doing a good job" is subjective, but it makes better writing than "Kwame pulled down 8 rebound in 30 minutes. His goal before that game was 13 rebounds. Thus he performed beneath his goal."

The second writing is objective. The first is subjective. There IS a difference.

Jon,

I'm not interested in having a semantics debate. As long as you agree that I've evaluated Kwame without an agenda at hand, I can live with whatever descriptor you deem appropriate.

AK

Dang, I'm still working on my grammar. I knew I shouldn't have been cracking jokes in soph. english.

mike

AK,

Know your terms before you use them. You're a writer.

And AK I don't think you have a true agenda, just an informed opinion.

Again, Jon, I'm here to talk about the Lakers, not create a semantics battle in an effort to sound like the smartest guy in the room. You know the basis behind what I was saying and haven't even brought up anything to disprove it. If you want to skirt the issue and pretend to have proved me wrong by turning it into a war over vocabulary usage, I'll just declare you the winner and be done with it. It's too stupid and boring a debate to make everyone, including myself, sit through.

AK

That said, Jon, I do appreciate you agreeing that I never had an agenda when it came to Kwame. That was my whole point from the beginning.

Thanks,

AK

AK,

Cool. Just so long as you understand that there IS a reason why sometimes long-time Lakers fans (such as myself and Michael T., etc.) get angry with you.

It's not (entirely) because we're crazy.

When it comes to being a fan, everything is opinion. There is no truth.

And we all know that you guys are diehard Lakers fans.

That's why we (generally) respect you.

"When it comes to being a fan, everything is opinion. There is no truth."

That's actually not a bad statement for everyone to remember from time to time.

No worries, Jon.

AK

Brandon,

The reason I brought up Mike James and Hinrich was that these are guys who are capable of finding, and making their own shot, while at the same time, being good defenders. I'm not saying we give away Smush to get either of these folks - just that these folks would make us better than we already are. Smush *may* become much greater than either of them, but at this time, they are clearly ahead. Also, keep in mind that when they play for LA, they will be playing with Kobe and LO - so we're looking at scorer #3 here, who will also make life hard for the likes of Nash, Parker, Bibby at both ends.

To be honest with you, i hope we play the suns in the first round. In my perspective, beating steve nash and the suns in the first round of the playoffs may be the last opportunity for Kobe to prove to the so called expert voters that he deserves the MVP honors.

By the way, did you see how awful they were against NJ?

No choice here. No coasting to 8 seed for LA. The Lakers still have to learn to play at something resembling a playoof level. Kwame has to establish that this is not a 2 week fluke. Lamar needs to keep developing good habits. All out, tough ball needs to be played. Or they coast to the 8 and are not even close to playoff ready.

Why does everyone always think the suns are for real? Defense less-, no half court offense, not to mention the injuries they have suffered. Amare will be a shell of his former self, maybe for the rest of his Carree....thats what happens when your game is strictly played about the rim. Marion shoots like a lady, and oh boy am i happy that Mitch didn't trade eight for broken down j-kid and Marion. Fact of the matter is in our two losses to the Suns...KuThomas killed us on the pick and pop, which he does better than anyone in todays game. Without that element the Suns will have a difficult time scoring in the playoffs especially in a half courts set. I think the two most vulnerable teams in the top eight, are the teams that rely on the fast break the most...Easy buckets are not easy to come by in the playoffs, that being said, Bring on the Suns so we can expose Nash's defensive woes, the fact that Diantoni isn't even a real coach. I in laker Nation have a belief in Kobe, to elevate and to maybe make this a surprise run for the Lakes. If you think about it Timmy is off this year, Dallas let Kobe outscore them Thur Three and who knows he could have shattered Wilt's record. Suns are pretend, we always seem to play well against the Nuggets(Kobe's focus on Colorado or something), ( Clips are weak, can take em for sure E-brand is super undersized still..although very skilled, Cassell will break down...then what you have a semi rook point in Livingston, yea rite your going to advance, Memphis is whack...they using Chucky(hes the best player for who ever the Griz are playing, and the Kings who for my money are probably the best second half team of all of em, and present a lot of match up problems, Ron Ron is legit. Bottom Line why sell our self short, I'm looking at getting a Larry O'Brien Trophy.....For everyone there is no point in making the playoffs if you are gonna lay down and get shoot in the head. Lakers win it all baby, don't stop winning till it is October again.

 
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