Where I come from nothing is given to you, you start from ground zero and work your way to wherever your talents take you. It makes you tough, it makes you gritty, it makes you relentless. I think of it as the old steel sharpens steel theory. You take many losses along the way but how you bounce back is how you’re ultimately judged. Winston Churchill put it perfectly, ”Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” I wish someone in the Lakers organization would post this quote on the locker room wall so everybody can sit back and just breathe.
Coach Luke Walton tapped into this yesterday when he said, “You have to go through tough times, you have to struggle and feel that pain and be willing to work that much harder to fight though and come out on the other side.”
Coach Walton may only be 36 but he is wise beyond his years. Seriously though, the NBA is filled with the best talent in the world, you’re just not going to come in and beat teams night in and night out right away. Some of these teams have been together for years, years ago for a lot of these Lakers was college and even High School. As talented as they might be, these Lakers have some growing pains to go through before they become serious threats night in and night out. After their decent 10-10 start a lot of people were thinking playoffs, a bit premature I might add but they did look good.
D’Angelo Russell looked like the floor general this team desperately needed, it seemed the speed of the game had finally slowed down for him. Lou Williams was firing on all cylinders while leading the highest scoring bench in the NBA, dudes was out there getting buckets. Julius Randle was out there grabbing rebounds and punking people around with no regards to human life. Clarkson and Ingram were playing defense so well on the wing that they inspired Nick Young to hop in and play defense for the first time in his 10 year career. Larry Nance Jr. was out there posterizing people, stuff was going down in Los Angeles.
That phenomenon was short lived, though. The Lakers are 2-15 since December 2nd good enough for 12th in the Western Conference and 4th in the Pacific division. These last 17 games were a harsh slap of reality that this team has a way to go but they are way ahead of where they are supposed to be at this point. 7 out of those 15 games could have been won by Los Angeles. If the Lakers don’t make silly mistakes in the final minutes of those games then they would have went 9-8 which would have made their record 19-18 good enough for 8th in the West, we could be having a whole different conversation right now if a few things went the Lakers way. In back to back games during that strech verses Charlotte and Miami the Lakers blew 19 point leads and lost both games. Yeah, re-read that and tell me if you’re head doesn’t spin. When they’re locked in, this team can play with anybody.
With all that being said Laker fans shouldn’t worry right now. Kevin Durant and Westbrook weren’t great right away. Curry and Thompson weren’t the Splash Brothers immediately.These players will learn to persevere and use this feeling of losing and turn it into fuel. Steel sharpens steel, the Lakers will sharpen each other through these tough times.