Sometimes, he elects to tell it like it isn’t too, when he’s feeling particularly spunky. Mostly, he’s a source of incorruptible honesty, someone who isn’t afraid to say what everyone else is. And that hasn’t changed.
Appearing on Fox Sports 1’s Crowd Goes Wild hosted by Regis Philbin, World Peace admitted that the Los Angeles Lakers had no chemistry last season.
“It wasn’t fun,’’ World Peace said of last season in Los Angeles, as transcribed by the New York Post‘s Marc Berman. “There was no chemistry. [Deceased Lakers owner] Dr. Buss was a chemist. All his molecules had great formulas. This one didn’t match up. So we kind of had no chemistry. There was no chemistry as an organization.”
Telling. It. Like. It. Is. Or rather, “was.”
Following the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, and given that Kobe Bryant had yet to show signs of slowing down, the Lakers were supposed to contend. Saying that might not even do the expectations they garnered justice. They were basically supposed to run away with the Western Conference.
They were supposed to dethrone the Miami Heat.
One turbulent regular season later, they’ve been disbanded. World Peace was amnestied, Earl Clark signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dwight Howard signed with the Houston Rockets. And Kobe’s still injured. By most accounts, he’s shattering his recovery timetable, but we won’t know how his Achilles responds to treatment or how well he fares until he takes the court again next season.
Which has left the Lakers looking ahead toward next summer, when Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and your mother’s cousin’s sister’s dog are all free agents. For Los Angeles, that’s actually a low. Not a new low, because the Lakers have never rebuilt through the draft. It’s always been free agents and trades, free agents and trades, free agents and trades.
Rarely, however, do they basically make cost-cutting moves that stand to taper their win total. I’m not accusing them of tanking. Kobe would either faint or punch a hole in the wall at the very mention of the word. But let’s not pretend ridding themselves of their best perimeter defender was a move made with contending immediately in mind. Because it wasn’t.
The Lakers aren’t raising the white flag for next season already. That purple and gold one is still billowing atop their flagstaff. They’re not making sacrifices in order to win now, though, either. More emphasis has been placed on the summer of 2014, signing superstar free agents and convincing Kobe (and possibly Pau Gasol) he needs to accept a steep pay cut to play with one or more other superstars in their prime.
Next summer was always a time of interest in Los Angeles; we have to understand that. Just not like this. A lack of chemistry last season forced the Lakers to make the 2014 free-agent frenzy a top priority, not merely a date they circled on the calendar.
After a disastrously expensive campaign, hearts and scented smile-faced stickers encompass that circle. Right now, it’s what the Lakers have to look forward to most. Had last season gone according to plan, had the chemistry World Peace alludes to existed, things would be different.
Devoid of cohesion in 2012-13, the Lakers are now here. Sans World Peace. And Howard. Anxiously awaiting the summer of 2014. And all the superstar chemistry they hope it will offer.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.