There has not been a lot for Lakers fans to celebrate so far this season. We have a 6-7 record, Kobe is still on the mend, Pau has been mostly a non factor, and Steve Nash is showing his age (both through constant injury and telling long stories that put me to sleep while he is trying out being an analyst.) However, there is one positive note in this otherwise bleak season: the bench.
Our bench is hot, and I am not just talking about their physical appearance. The bench is the reason why the Lakers have won those 6 games. It is astounding how well they have played. When I look at this bench I think of the movie “The Replacements.” Like the movie, our bench is made up of pieces that no one really wanted or thought would accomplish anything, but they have managed to be the number 1 scoring bench in the league.
This bench has revitalized the Lakers and have given us fans something to be excited about. They are young, fast, and athletic. One thing we have learned this season is that it doesn’t matter how well Steve Nash or Pau Gasol play, instead the Lakers live and die by the bench.
What I find so fascinating about this bench’s success, is the fact that it is a true team effort. None of these players could win the “6th Man of the Year” Award, yet they are the most offensively successful bench in the league. This is a testament to a successful strategy that does not rely on a single individual. However, no plan is full proof.
As we have seen, these players are young and mostly inexperienced. While there are times when they are explosive, they can also let their immaturity and egos get in the way. This fact was blatantly obvious to me when I attended the Pelicans game 2 weeks ago. I only wish that the middle aged man repeatedly grabbing me anytime those birds scored was the worst thing I had to endure that game. The bench was incapable of passing the ball and instead played one on five and took stupid Kobe-esque shots. Unfortunately, none of these players are Kobe (I am looking at you Nick Young, get your ego in check).
The Lakers are by no means set to win the Championship this year. They are lacking guards and someone to take the shot at the end of the game (I don’t trust Jodie Meeks to consistently make game winners). However, I chose to take the Bradley Cooper approve and see the silver lining.