Itâ€™s human nature for us to put too much emphasis on the first game of the season and on the first weeks of the season. Blame it on hope and the raw enthusiasm of our team starting play again. Especially here in LA, with a new coach, new faces and the desire to get the taste of last season out of our mouths, we want a fast start.
But Laker fans may well need to show some patience this season because a sub-.500 November is not only very possible it could still show the Lakers are on the right track.
This season, the front end of the Lakers schedule is tough (and the back end easier, at least it looks that way now). The Lakers open against a Western Conference dark horse favorite in Denver on the road Wednesday, then travel home to take on the run-and-gun Suns the next night. Throw in a four game, plenty-of-frequent-flier-miles road trip that includes stops in Philadelphia and Minnesota, then close out the month with two tough home games, New Jersey and San Antonio, and you start to see what I mean.
I did this once before, stealing the idea from Matt at Blog-A-Bull (who got it from his father) â€” I used an â€œexpected winsâ€ system too look at the Lakers first month where you count wins by assigning a number between 1 (a sure win) and 0 (a sure loss) to each game (in practice, because there are no such things in the NBA as sure wins or sure losses, games are really given a number between .9 and .1).
The results: I have the Lakers at 5.6 wins in 13-game November. If weâ€™re optimistic and round up that puts the Lakers at 6-7, a few bad bounces and they go 5-8. (For me, if they are better than .500 at the end of the month Iâ€™ll be ecstatic, if they are 4-9 or worse Iâ€™ll have some big concerns, but 5 or 6 wins are expected.)
The bottom line here is Iâ€™m preaching patience â€” and trust me, I know thatâ€™s not easy, patience is a virtue I lack. But not only are the Lakers going to get more comfortable in the new offensive and defensive systems as the season wears on, the schedule lightens up. A 6-7 November may be a sign of good things to come.
Yup, patience will be very necessary this year. Watching the preseason games so far has required patience on a possession by possession basis, and I certainly don’t expect that to change in November. Excited about the season kicking off though!
i could deal with a 4-9 start– that’d be danger territory that’d cause some laker distress, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. especially if they looked pretty good while losing.
i had high hopes for another cruddy team a few years back, the wizards when jordan returned. they started something like 3-10. by the all star break they were 26-21.
bad news is not only do we have to open up with denver, but we have to go on the road to do it this year. the good news is they’ll be on a second night of a traveling back-to-back after playing the spurs. let’s hope they win that one.
wow. i just realized what a great opener is on the tube tonight. yay, basketball [that counts] is back.
Mark Davidson says
I guess I’m the eternal optimist. I keep thinking that we are still going to improve our roster. Realize that we have an all-star or potential future all-star at ever position except point gaurd (Bynum and Brown). I don’t think its too much to expect to play defense and 500 ball!
This first months scedule “looks” to be very tough but I am not expecting too much out of the lakers in the first month because only three of the starting five have really played together minus preseason and practices. Also the offensive is new to the majority of the team besides kobe, walton, george, and slava. It will take time and I am glad that you put the word out about patience because I think that we all are going to need a lot of that this season. I just hope that I am wrong and they come out of the gate and surprise everyone. Unfortunately we have to be realistic. Today is always one of my favorite days of the year, IT STARTS FINALLY.
Can you post your actual estimates for expected wins?
i wouldn’t be surprised if we start poorly. i also wouldn’t be surprised if all of a sudden the rest of the league and most of the pundits develop a whole lot of refound respect for the lakers by the end of november.
I didn’t get to see the game at all but were the kings as bad as the score of the game was or are the Hornets a legit team or was the game just the first game of the year? Thanks for keeping the troops outside the US informed.
I didn’t get to see the game either due to work, but the Kings shot 33.1% eFG, which is horrible. It’s just one game, but Peja was 5 of 14 from the floor after an unimpressive preseason. Kings fans need to be a little concerned about him.