In an on the record phone call, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak talked about tanking the season.
“In any sport, that should never be a factor, whether it’s NBA basketball or football or baseball,” Kupchak said clearly. “That’s the worst possible message you could send to anybody anywhere, whether it’s a fan or a player or a coach, and we will not do that. Our players will play hard and fight to the very end.”
The Los Angeles Lakers do not tank. They do not tank games, they do not tank seasons and they take offense to the thought of tanking.
Since Dwight Howard ran out of town, calls from far and wide asked the Lakers to blow up the team and tank the season. The thought process behind tanking the season is that the Lakers will get a high pick in the talent-rich 2014 NBA Draft.
However, the Lakers ignored those calls.
They filled the gaps with the best available talent and started the season with the best bench in basketball. By the time Kobe Bryant was set to return, the Lakers had a winning record. However, unfortunate injuries have constantly marred the team’s chances at a winning season and entry into the post season.
The Lakers do not look like a team that can turn it around, but they did not tank this season. Kupchak’s comments may not ease the pain of losing, but they do bring honor to a season of failure.
The comments come at an especially trying time for the team. LA has lost nine of the last 10 games. With the Grammys’ road trip coming up, the Lakers have little to no relief coming their way. Including an away game against the Clippers, the Lakers play eight of the next nine games on the road. Looking beyond January, the Lakers play 11 of the next 14 games wearing visitors’ purple.
Apparently, there is honor in losing--even for the LA Lakers.