The Los Angeles Lakers continue on their certain way towards a very high draft pick with Jordan Clarkson as their leading point guard. What of Jeremy Lin you ask? Well, he’s doing as you might expect from a player that’s been toyed with by an incompetent head coach, who is probably instructed to not use players who actually give him a chance of winning games.
And even when Lin or Carlos Boozer do get a chance to play more minutes than they’ve seen this season, how exactly should they feel? Tanking is an ugly part of the NBA. It’s not just the fans that have to endure a season (or more) of purposeful losing by a team, but it’s also certain players almost losing a year of their career because of a franchise putting themselves in an impossible position. It’s not hard to guess the ways the reasons for which the Lakers find themselves in such a bind.
Lin played 23 minutes off the bench, scoring 7 points on only 1-of-5 from the field but did finish with 8 assists. The Lakers were down by three points when Lin left the floor in the fourth quarter (83-86). The Wizards, a team actually playing for something, only drifted further away when Clarkson was back at the helm.
Unlike Ronnie Price, there might be some promise to Clarkson. He scored 18 points and 8-of-18 from the field. His main asset right now? He’s young and unknown, which is exactly the kind of player who gets plenty of minutes from a tanking team. Wayne Ellington offered the biggest surprise of the evening with 28 points after a very strong start but when Lin wasn’t on the floor there wasn’t actually anyone directing the offense. Instead, it looked like a jumbled up mess with players going through hot and cold streaks.
The tanking becoming official makes things easier for Scott. He’s in a ‘do no wrong’ situation at the moment. Kobe Bryant not playing takes tons of pressure off his shoulders. Losing on purpose helps hide the fact that his own incompetence has a lot to do with such a poor start even before Bryant’s injury. Overworking an almost washed up player and other incredible personnel decisions that did nothing but ruin it for the Lakers.
Now? It’s too late, and it doesn’t really matter. The Lakers will play with Clarkson as their point guard till the very end. Jeremy Lin? Scott doesn’t want him or at least doesn’t care for his success. The Lakers will trade him if they have a good offer, but Lin won’t have a lot of opportunities to show what he’s actually worth. Not on this team, with this coach, and these goals. At this point, it’s hard to see too many reasons for him to remain motivated, not to mention confident.