Lakers are 10-17, we were 10-10 prior to this rough skid. Preseason expectations of winning 30 games and growing together as a young team, turned into fighting for the 8th playoff seed expectations after an encouraging start to the season. Then the reality of the NBA season kicked the Lakers right in the nuts, injuries unfolded, shooting slumps occurred, and the lack of consistency on the defensive end has put us out of games early. D'Angelo Russell and Nick Young aka our starting back court was out with injury for the majority of the losing streak. Even with them back the last two games they've been playing limited minutes, so they haven't been able to contribute their normal level of play yet. I couldn't be any further from a panic, yes we're on a bad losing streak, and we haven't been playing good basketball whatsoever. The thing is we're a young team, growing pains are part of the process, we have a good bench, Luol Deng needs to find a role on this team, and flourish in it because he's been the definition of inconsistent, but panicking is completely irrational. Last year we didn't get our tenth win until February, it's December and we have 10 wins, so we're already a helluva a lot better than last season.
Obviously a long 7 game road trip is not ideal when you're in a funk like this, but it's the association, it's an 82 game grind, and these young studs need to grow accustomed to that. Brandon Ingram, the second overall pick, has a long way to go before he's a star in this league. He's not assertive or aggressive by any means and to be completely honest he's never going to be anything in this league if he doesn't pack on at least 25 pounds. Russell, Randle, and Clarkson I'm completely sold on, they're already good players, with the chemistry they'll build playing together, and gaining experience this will be one of the best cores in basketball in a few years. If Ingram pans out that'll just put us in an even better position to create a dominate dynasty. Don't worry Laker fans, the Lake Show 2.0 is just getting started.
For a guy that doesn't have to speak to the media often, Phil Jackson certainly does a good job of making headlines every time he does. He most recently made headlines for comments he made about the way Melo plays. Phil said "Carmelo a lot of times wants to hold the ball longer than two seconds. We have a rule, if you hold a pass two seconds, you benefit the defense. So he has a little bit of a tendency to hold it for three, four, five seconds, and then everybody comes to a stop." Publicly bashing his best player, essentially saying he stops the offense from flowing with rhythm. Definitly not a good look for the team's GM to be saying the team's best player is hurting the offense, especially to the public. Melo refused to comment on what Phil Jackson had said, but he was visibly irrated when it was brought to his attention. Sometimes body language says a lot more than words ever could. The thing is, Phil Jackson, is a very smart guy; you don't get to where he is in life, and accomplish the things he's accomplished without being at bare minimum a borderline genius. He doesn't get to play dumb, his motive here is simple, he's trying to force Melo out of New York.
Carmelo Anthony has a no-trade clause, so the Knicks can't trade him to anyone unless Melo signs off on it. Well, Melo has been pretty adamant about wanting to stay in New York, so it's going to have to take an ugly breakup to get him out of New York. This isn't the first time in recent memory that Phil has made comments that have gotten under Melo's skin. A few weeks ago when Jackson referred to Lebron's associates as a "posse", Melo was not a fan of Jackson's word choice. Now, Phil is calling him a "ballhog" and saying he slows down the offense, he's clearly trying to get Melo irritated, so he'll want out of this now toxic relationship. Phil did say Melo is improving on these things and is willing to do these things to succeed, but I don't really care how he spun it, he was publicly taking shots at Melo in a clever way, master manipulation at it's finest. We'll have to see how this plays out the next couple months leading up to the trade deadline, but don't be surprised if Melo isn't a Knick for much longer.