2014 is finally here, which means it's time to make changes to better our lives. The same goes for the Los Angeles Lakers.
After losing Dwight Howard in free agency to the Houston Rockets, the Lakers signed low-profile players to one-year deals despite having little cap space.
However, the Purple and Gold have had a rollercoaster season thus far. The storied franchise clearly had playoff aspirations coming into the season, but with their current record of 14-19 it may be difficult to achieve that goal.
But can the squad turn it around in 2014, and make a push to the playoffs? Or will they be lottery bound for the sixth time in franchise history? No, that's not a typo — if the Lakers miss the playoffs it will be for the sixth time since their opening season in 1947.
Here are two New Year's resolutions L.A. should target.
Make the Playoffs
To say the Lakers' season has been inconsistent would be a major understatement. With that being said, despite the countless injuries that has been occurring throughout the season— Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar— the Lakers have been flirting with the eighth seed in the extremely tough Western Conference.
However, L.A. is just 3-7 in their last 10 games, and as a result they have dropped to 13th place in their respective conference.
Furthermore, despite the suggestion of "tanking" for a high draft pick by many fans, the Purple and Gold have too much of a rich history to intentionally lose. Although the proposition of tanking is a clear goal of some NBA teams, the Lakers have too much pride and glory to follow that path.
With Bryant's illustrious career coming to an end, L.A. should aim for playoff aspirations, not the silly facade of tanking. Though the Lakers may not make much playoff noise, Tinseltown must look competitive for attracting free agents this offseason when L.A. has a lot of cap space.
While the Western Conference is very tough— unlike the dreadful Eastern Conference— the Lakers must aim for making the playoffs this April. While the team is currently just 1-6 in their past seven games, there is still plenty of basketball to be played this season.
But if the Lakers have playoff aspirations, they must get their act together and make their push to the postseason. However, Lakerland is currently undergoing countless injuries, and health is certainly a key component in making the playoffs.
Define a Set Rotation
The Lakers have had a whopping 18 different starting lineups in 33 games so far this season. Though injuries are a contributing factor in their inconsistent starting lineups, coach Mike D'Antoni must define a set rotation for the New Year.
Inconsistent lineups have certainly caused unknown roles for players. Take center Kaman for example. The former All-Star was brought in this summer to provide a bulk of minutes in the frontline along with Gasol and Jordan Hill.
However, that has not been the case thus far. D'Antoni has given the Caveman very little time on the court despite playing well in the preseason.
Kaman has expressed his frustration on his lack of playing time and his ongoing"DNP's". And he has a right — if stretch forward Shawne Williams is receiving a fair amount of minutes, then Kaman should as well.
Frustrated Chris Kaman on ankle/9 minutes: "You play pretty decent the game before, itÃ????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??s like thereÃ????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??s no benefit. Throw it out the window."
Frustrated Chris Kaman on ankle/9 minutes: "You play pretty decent the game before, itÃ????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??s like thereÃ????Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¢??s no benefit. Throw it out the window."— Bill Oram (@bill_oram) December 30, 2013
Point is, D'Antoni must sustain a consistent rotation for the rest of the season.
Hopefully, the Lakers can have a successful 2014, and with their abundance of cap space this offseason, marquee free agents may be arriving soon in Los Angeles.
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