There’s no question it’s been a disappointing start to the 2012-2013 season for the Los Angeles Lakers. After acquiring Dwight Howard and Steve Nash this offseason, many dubbed them as a “Dream Team” and thought there was no way they wouldn’t claim the NBA title.
But the team has been riddled with significant injuries and has limped out of the gate to a 15-16 start. For many of the Lakers and their fans, frustration is reaching a boiling point. Kobe Bryant, who has never been shy about calling out his teammates and voicing his displeasure when things don’t go his way, recently blamed the team’s age for their lackadaisical play.
“Cause we’re old as s—,” said the 34-year-old Bryant via ESPN.com when explaining the reason behind the team’s lack of energy. “What do you want? We just got to figure out how to play when we don’t have that energy. We got to change things up a little bit defensively. We got to figure out what we want to do offensively, figure out what we want to do on nights when we don’t have those legs or have that energy.”
After a 103-99 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, Bryant was particularly miffed.
“You just saw an old damn team,” Bryant continued. “I don’t know how else to put it to you. We’re just slow. You saw a team over there that was just younger and just had fresher legs and just played with more energy, and we were just stuck in the mud. I think individually we all have to figure out how to get ourselves ready each and every game to have a high level of energy. That’s all that is.”
Pau Gasol, who has often been a target of Bryant’s criticism over the years, agreed with his teammate.
“We’re not the most athletic team in the league; we know that,” Gasol said. “But we are experienced and we should create some energy for ourselves out there, and I think it starts by us talking to each other, by communicating, by letting our team really know that we’re there [on defense], and that will create some energy that we need on that end of the floor.”
However, some including Metta World Peace, were quick to point out that other teams with predominantly veteran-filled rosters are doing just fine this year.
“That’s no excuse, the Knicks are playing great, so that’s no excuse,” World Peace said. “You can’t use it as an excuse for us. Thank you. Thanks for trying.”
According to STATS, LLC, the Knicks current roster maintains the NBA record for oldest average age of its players, which is nearly 33. Yet, the Knicks are 21-10 this season, owning the Eastern Conference’s second best record, so what’s their secret? Bryant believes every team and every player must find a way to manage themselves and find ways to create energy.
“It’s figuring it out,” Bryant said. “That’s a big thing when you’re starting to age, is figuring out how to get yourself ready game in and game out. It’s tough. It takes a lot, a lot of commitment.”
The Lakers will try to get energized for Friday’s game against their in-city rival, the Los Angeles Clippers, which own a share of the best record in the West.