A Season To Forget


I’ve been a Lakers fan ever since I first bounced a basketball.  Earvin “Magic” Johnson was my first basketball idol and I grew up with the Lakers/Celtics dynasties rivalries.  Those were the days – when the NBA was watchable.  Great memories of the 1987 Playoffs being televised by the BBC and watching the Lakers beat the Celtics 4-2 in the finals and then going on to repeat the following season when they defeated the original NBA “Bad Boys”; Detroit Pistons in 7 games.

So, it’s 2022… and I’m still a Lakers fan, always will be.  But this season has been pretty depressing to put it mildly. Depressing but not overly surprising.  Let’s get one thing clear… first and foremost I’m a basketball fan and the first to recognise and praise talent, but the Lakers hold a very special place in my basketball heart because they were MY team in my formative hoops years.  I grew up with the likes of Johnson, Abdul Jabbar, Worthy, Scott, Rambis, Cooper, Green… hell, even Divac, but this season I’m kind of glad we didn’t make the Play-offs; we didn’t deserve to.

Basketball geeks will no doubt chastise me for this – but I’m not a fan of Lebron.  There’s just nothing about him I can warm to. The same for Antony Davis… and don’t get me started on Russell Westbrook.  Looking at the stats they are all great players, that’s clear, but did the Lakers make a huge mistake putting them all together this year ?  I think so.

With this line-up the Lakers were expected to win their division and post a serious challenge for the 2022 title.  However, having lost 49 of their 82 games they fell at the first hurdle and failed to make the pre-playoff play-in tournament.

Lakers legend Magic Johnson described it as “… the worst season we probably ever had in Laker history.”  And went on to say “When you have four Hall of Famers, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook [there] is no way you should miss the play-offs. So it’s a disappointing season.

Back in July 2021 Magic had enthused on Twitter about the signing of Westbrook saying, “With Westbrook joining LeBron and AD, the Lakers now have their version of the Big 3. All we need now is a couple of shooters and we’ll be tough to beat!!”  Hmmm..

The answer to the debacle of the 2022 season ?  Head Coach Frank Vogel gets fired ! Fair ?  NO ! As one NBA pundit put it – “Vogel is a great coach, but he’s not a magician !”  He had to work with an aging starting 5 who spent lengthy periods on the bench due to injuries and although James had his best season in terms of scoring (30.3 points per game) he just didn’t get the support from the rest of the team.  Russ, though,  did provide some entertainment with some hilarious airballs and turnovers which makes me feel like offering my services to the Lakers.. and I’ll only ask for a quarter of his salary so a deal not to be missed surely ?  I’ll await Jeanie Buss’ call !

What next for my favourite team… let’s hope that they spend the off season nursing injuries, strengthening bodies, finding a coach who can work miracles, maybe make a couple of better signings and enter the 2023 season a championship contending “team” not just a group of highly paid athletes.