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NBA lockout: Lakers will be more competitive in shortened season

Kobe BryantEvery loss big or small spurred a tiresome script that became monotonous for both the Lakers and the press.

The media questioned the state of the team as if a single game would determine the Lakers' championship prospects. Depending on the game and circumstance, players either chastised reporters for overreacting, spoke in mindless cliches about the team's need to focus more or angrily echoed the fourth estate's sentiments to motivate teammates.

Neither the Lakers nor the media would have engaged in this dialogue if each game actually meant something. That's why there's a small silver lining in the cancellation of the first two weeks -- and possibly more -- of the NBA's regular season. The Lakers will experience three different scenarios the shorter this season becomes. Each game will become more consequential.  Players, without the long season as an excuse to mail in their performances, will actually try to win each game.

Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher will play with heightened energy because they won't have to worry as much about their bodies surviving the season. Pau Gasol and World Peace will play with more focus than during the NBA dog days when they normally tune out. With the Lakers fresh off a disappointing 2011 postseason, a shortened schedule will only add more urgency.

Various factors still lead me to believe the Lakers won't benefit long-term from a shortened season. But at least we'll likely see a more honest effort because of it.


Would a shortened season benefit the Lakers?

Which Lakers will spend their time wisely?

-- Mark Medina

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