Kobe Bryant

The Lakers tied their franchise record for most losses in a season Tuesday night, falling to the Clippers 103-81. Their record is 16-61, and with five games still to play it looks like this season will stand alone as the worst in franchise history.

This season is an embarrassing one, and that is before you consider this is the swan song for arguably the franchise’s greatest player, Kobe Bryant. When the team closes out the regular season at home against the Jazz on April 13 it will surely be a grand farewell to a remarkable career. But it will also be equal parts a merciful end to an ugly final chapter.

This fact is not lost on Head Coach Byron Scott, and he lit into the team’s effort in recent games. From ESPN:

“It bothers me that his last five, six, seven, eight games are going to be with the way we’re playing as a team,” Scott said after the Clippers rolled to a 103-81 win over the Lakers at Staples Center on Tuesday night. “That bothers me, because you’re talking about a champion. That bothers me, because he is a champion. And I hate to see him go out this way. Unfortunately this is the way it’s going to be.

“It bothers the hell out of me that somebody who’s given 20 years to this league and has played through broken fingers, come back from the Achilles, come back from the shoulder surgery, and he still goes out there and gives it everything he has, that bothers me.”

It is hard to question Bryant’s effort, but his body is failing him. The sideline shots of him undergoing treatment just to play make evident that this is man close to the end.

If Bryant cannot will the team to competence in his final season, then it falls on the guys around him to send him off on a high note. However, there are 77 games of evidence that this team is incapable of doing that.

While effort may certainly be lacking, that does not remove Scott from blame either. Stressing bad shot selection, undermining the confidence of the team’s young talent, ill-advised substitution patterns, and questionable play calling have all sabotaged this already subpar team.

The 2015-16 Lakers are a mess, and instead of feeling melancholy on April 14, fans will mostly be relieved the nightmare is finally over.


About Ben Sieck

Ben is a recent graduate of Butler University where he served as Managing Editor and Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Butler Collegian. He currently resides in Indianapolis.