If you’re a Los Angeles Lakers fan and have taken a look at Twitter or any social media platform this season, there’s a huge divide among Lakers fans as of late.
With the team officially out of playoff contention and a possible draft pick hanging in the balance, Lakers fans have experienced mixed emotions when approaching ballgames.
As most fans are aware, the lower the Lakers place in the overall NBA standings, the higher chance the team has to retain its draft pick. Essentially, the Lakers have to be awarded a “top five” draft pick in the draft lottery in order to keep the pick they traded away in the deal they made for Steve Nash back in 2013. If they don’t receive one of those picks, they lose out on the chance at a top draft prospect.
The consensus is that the Lakers would benefit greatly for years to come as a result of receiving this draft pick, going into next season. Coupled with Julius Randle (last year’s seventh draft pick) and Jordan Clarkson, who has made strides coming down the final stretch of the current season, another young prospect would be a great asset to have for a team in its rebuilding phase.
Even if the Lakers decide to trade the pick for an “immediate impact” player, the value of the pick is significant regardless of how you look at it.
The effect the Lakers’ current situation has had on its fans and how they approach the ballgames, however, has had a bit of a dividing factor.
You’ve essentially got the crew who wants the Lakers to “tank,” and the group who warns against this type of behavior — the latter arguing that the creation of a losing culture would not be attractive to free agents and generally would be a detriment to a franchise that prides itself on winning and being a class organization.
Rest assured, the Lakers are not going to intentionally “tank.” What I mean by that is Byron Scott is not going to approach his players and say, “We need to lose this game in order to move up in the tank standings.” No self-respecting coach would ever do that.
Given the Lakers’ situation, however, we’ll often see moves or lineup changes similar to that of a coach in the preseason or during an exhibition game. Byron isn’t always going to put the lineup with the best chance of winning a game on the floor at the end of ballgames, simply because it’s beneficial to see how a player like rookie Jordan Clarkson will respond in that type of situation. The Lakers are effectively in a developmental stage at this point of the season.
Back to the effect the overall situation has had on the fans, though.
There’s basically three categories fans can be cast into regarding how they feel about the outcome of any given Lakers game.
BEGIN SLIDESHOW: The Tankers