The Lakers (20-39) suck. Their offense is producing 103.3 points per 100 possessions: that’s 22nd in the league, and very bad. Their defense is surrendering 109 points per 100 possessions, that’s 24th in the league and also very bad. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are old and have been injured all year. Pau is jonesing to get out. Chris Kaman is on board. A lot of fringe NBA players are on the team: Kendall Marshall, Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson. These players’ counting stats have benefited from the pace the Lakers play at, the 2nd most possessions played per game in the league. Nick Young is an aesthetic and practical-basketball nightmare who says outlandish things, the Bret Easton Ellis of hoop.
If the Blazers’ (41-18) players were merely above replacement level, they would probably beat the Lakers, but since the Blazers are actually quite good they will drag the Lakers into a shallow ditch and feed them their own hair. Go to the rim, is Chris Kaman going to stop you!?
Unfortunately, the Lakers have picked a pretty good time to be bad. The upcoming draft is regarded by “draftnicks” as “pretty swell” and the Lakers (somehow) still have their pick. Fortunately, they are also going to pay Kobe Bryant 20-some-odd million dollars to belittle and emotionally dominate whatever player they pick. Since drafting Bryant in 1996, the Lakers have drafted and developed just one All-Star player, Andrew Bynum, whose magic gifts are his extraordinary size and his complete lack of fucks given about anything anyone ever said to him. These young guys in college now are all normal competitive athletes, some of whom might even look up to Kobe and care about what he says to them, even as he hobbles through the end of his Derek-Jeter-Of-Basketball career. This is how Kobe will ruin every one of the players on Draft Express’s mock top ten:
1. Joel Embiid, C from Kansas.
Lots of “You’re no Shaq/Pau” talk. Getting beat off the dribble and yelling at yelling at Embiid when he fouls the guy. “We need to win now, and if we have to ship out some young guys because you aren’t producing enough, we should do it.” Farting in his locker when no one else is around.
2. Andrew Wiggins, F from Kansas
Shading Canada left and right. Encouraging him to “Only work on midrange turnaround jumpers, if you don’t take those you’ll never be great.” Buzzing his house with a helicopter at 3 in the morning.
3. Jabari Parker, F from Duke
Reads a book about the horrors of Brigham Young’s sex life and recounts the stories in a loud voice to other teammates while Parker is in the room. Hiring prostitutes to aggressively visit his room. Guilt tripping him for not going on mission. Yelling “God is dead” every time he makes a shot in practice. Pinches his sides and talks to reporters about how “chunky” he is looking. This is a very bad situation.
4. Julius Randle, F from Kentucky
Withering puns. “You don’t hold a JULIUS CANDLE to the Black Mamba.” “Way to lose your JULIUS HANDLE on that turnover.” “You’re playing like an ORANGE JULIUS, RANDLE!”
5. Dante Exum, G from Australia
Dante has openly said that he would like to play for the Lakers. Kobe will reward his enthusiasm by telling him to “spot up on the wing like fish, if you want me to make you a champion.” He will then throw a fish at him and call him “New Fish” in front of gathered reporters.
6. Marcus Smart, G From Oklohoma State
See: Exum, Dante. Will also call him “Marcus Dumbass” in practice.
7. Noah Vonleh, F/C from Indiana
Drops giant boat full of animals on his front lawn. Remember, Kobe is VERY rich.
8. Aaron Gordon, F from Arizona
Calls him “Blake” and completely forgets he is on the Lakers. Doesn’t pass him the ball because he is never convinced they’re actually on the same team. Slowly convinces himself that they’re only playing the Clippers and becomes monomaniacally obsessed with destroying Aaron Gordon, who he thinks is Blake Griffin.
9. Tyler Ennis, G from Syracuse
Point guard, see Exum/Smart. Will also make fun of zone defense and George Saunders, the only things a Syracuse man holds dear.
10. James Young, F from Kentucky.
Young’s name and youth will remind Kobe of his own mortality. He will become a man obsessed will capturing the glories of his youth, and start slowly taking James’s blood, drop by drop. He starts with “accidental” needle pricks. He then moves on to hiring “Soldier of Fortune” dudes to break into his house at night and take vials. Eventually, when they’re both going for a defensive rebound he snaps, bites him in the neck and drinks his blood wholesale. Kobe’s stans will swarm Twitter, talk radio, and NBA.com, insisting that “This is what a competitor does” and “This is why he is not only the next Jordan, he is BETTER than Jordan, because he was willing to kill his own teammate to gain his life essence.” Nike markets Kobes with bloody teeth drawn on them. Kobe moves to a compound in Alabama, starts his own religion, and eats people for fun on the d/l. In 200 years, a creepily sincere young man named JABARI PARKER THE 9TH enters the NBA Draft as the first Kobist NBA Lottery pick.