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Lakers fans predict first-round playoff exit

January 31, 2012 |  4:30 pm

Kobe BryantThe Lakers are only about one-third of the way through the season, but their fans have seen enough.

According to a recent series of polls, Lakers fans have become so disgusted with the team's offensive chemistry (52.5%), point guard woes (44.63%) and Metta World Peace's inconsistency (47.84%) that 33.3% of them predict the Lakers will bow out in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

So much for the Lakers' rectifying their four-game sweep at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Western Conference semifinals. It's safe to say that a win by the 12-9 Lakers on Tuesday over the 3-18 Charlotte Bobcats would do little to spur more enthusiasm. If the Lakers fall to the NBA's worst team, on the other hand, well, they'll enter their six-game trip beginning Friday at Denver with more concerns than whether they can win on the road.

"Let's hope the @Lakers can make something happen before the trade deadline," tweeted Magic Johnson, speaking on behalf of many fans.

Because of the Lakers' pressing point guard problems, 56.53% of fans believe the purple & gold needs to acquire New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams in a trade. But 33.77% of fans also say adding Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard would be a nice alternative. If the Lakers land neither, a 23.85% plurality believe they will enter the playoffs seeded sixth in the West.

Lakers fans remain impressed with a few things.

A 73.5% majority is still in awe of Kobe Bryant's league-leading 30.1 points a game, while playing with a torn ligament in his right wrist. In fact, Bryant looks so much more refined after having innovative procedures this off-season in Germany on his troublesome right knee and left ankle that 59.97% predict he'll be the regular-season MVP. Though Lakers fans are still stewing over the trade of Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks, a 42.17% plurality tabbed reserve Josh McRoberts as the most pleasant surprise. And though his first season has featured a transition period, Coach Mike Brown's defensive philosophies have earned positive reviews among a 43.92% plurality.

There are many things Lakers fans don't like about Brown's coaching, though. A 30.42% plurality remain concerned Brown has played Bryant 38.6 minutes per game, second in the league behind Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (39.4). And 29.12% divide their concern equally among Bryant's playing time, the constant rotational changes, information overload and long practices. And if 47.42% fans had their way, they'd want Brown to keep Matt Barnes as the team's starting small forward over World Peace and Devin Ebanks.

Lakers fans surely would like to feel optismistic. A 15.5% minority maintain optimism that the Lakers can collect their 17th Larry O'Brien trophy. But most don't feel that way. And even if the Lakers survive this transition phase well enough to remain a playoff team, that standard will always fall short among Lakers fans.


Mike Brown more concerned with development than limiting minutes

Things to watch in Lakers-Charlotte Bobcats matchup

Poll questions surrounding the Lakers' start

--Mark Medina

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Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant watches the final moments of a 100-89 loss to the Bucks from the bench Saturday night in Milwaukee. Credit: Jim Prisching / Associated Press