In a recent survey polling people surrounding the NBA, the Lakers didn’t get much love. In fact, they received very much the opposite of that.
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The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t really done much right over the past year.
A sequence of terrible moves in the 2021 offseason were initiated by what is sure to be remembered as one of the worst trades in the league’s history: the deal that sent Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards to Los Angeles. After that, the 2021-22 season went as poorly as it ever could have gone with the team missing the playoffs and play-in tournament entirely.
This 2022 offseason for the Lakers has also centered around Westbrook, as the team had some of the quickest buyer’s remorse you can have with such a major deal, evidenced by the countless rumors and reports about the team trying to dump him someone else.
After Donovan Mitchell was dealt from the Jazz (a team that reportedly could be a Lakers’ trade partner for Westbrook)
One of the most popular forms of this type of analysis comes annually from ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, when he polls anonymous coaches, scouts, and executives on different questions surrounding the moves made in the offseason. Naturally, as they are a lightning rod for conversation, the Lakers always come up in some type of way. But this offseason, there wasn’t much mention of them except when it came to two questions.
The first and most notable was “Which team had the worst offseason?” The Lakers received one of the 15 votes cast for this question, with three teams — the Mavericks, Hornets, and Nets — at least receiving more votes than them.
The second question with a Lakers answer was “What was the most surprising move of the offseason?” Again, one vote called out the Lakers, this time for Russ remaining on the team. Here’s what “the scout” said to Bontemps about what was assumedly their vote.
“I think [the Lakers are] trying to prove to themselves and other teams that they don’t have to do something,” the scout said. “I think Westbrook is not quite as broken as everyone sees.
“If he gets put on a bad team, he’ll make a bad team decent. You put him on Indiana? He’d affect winning.”
Who knows if this “scout” was the same person who voted the Lakers as having the worst offseason, but I’m sure if the Lakers’ executives saw this they’d say something along the lines of, “We’re working on it!”
Although training camp will begin in less than a month, this “worst offseason” in the league isn’t over yet. You have to assume that if Westbrook gets traded with this poll retroactively being performed after said trade, the Lakers and Westbrook probably wouldn’t have been mentioned at all (unless Rob Pelinka was polled, and was able to give the Lakers a “best offseason” vote).
Either way, it should be noted that 15 coaches, scouts, and executives — although they are some of the smartest people in the world when it comes to NBA decision-making — don’t always have the most trustworthy opinions about the offseason.
In the 2021 version of this poll,
Whether it’s because Russ is traded or if Russ, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis can find a way to stay healthy and thrive under new head coach Darvin Ham, let’s hope that one person who voted for them for having the worst offseason is wrong.
Otherwise, the doom and gloom from this past year will continue.
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