Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Missing Showtime

You might as well call me old school right now, but it's hard to understand how my peers who grew up in Los Angeles like I did could be such big fans of this current Lakers team, especially when we spent our childhood gloriously watching a team prance to five NBA titles in 10 years -- beating real teams with real stars and not taking days off. These 2009 Lakers play with a sense of entitlement and I am stumped as to why. They took a day off in an embarrassing Western Conference semifinal loss to Houston on Sunday and now fans are fired up after a 40-point Game 5 win over the undermanned Rockets. Remember, this team is lacking two All-Stars in Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. We ain't exactly talking about the Fo-Fo-Fo Sixers here. This edition of the Lakers takes plays off, coasts for stretches of minutes off and tends to get bored with opponents and I am still trying to figure out why. Why such a sense of accomplishment for a roster filled with players feeding off Kobe Bryant?

Has Sasha Vujacic been spoiled by his success? I am not sure why. He's averaged just over five points per game over five seasons. Luke Walton doesn't have any championship rings. Neither does Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol or Jordan Farmar. The lone Lakers who have tasted that championship champagne are Bryant and Derek Fisher, so theoretically, the rest of the Lakers should be hungry for that success, not allowing 5-11 Aaron Brooks scorch them for 34 points, including an alley-oop to end a quarter. Before fans start celebrating a semifinal win over the Rockets, let's hope that these Lakers learn a little something from their predecessors about pride. Let's face it, the Bad Boy Pistons, Larry Bird Celtics or Dr. J 76ers aren't out on that court. We're talking Von Wafer and Luis Scola. The Lakers are capable of much better and until I see it, I will dream of Showtime.