The Lake(r) Effect in Utah

How do the Lakers effect the Utah Jazz forecast?

So, I have to ask... What's with the Lakers? They've now lost to the Dirk-less and Kaman-less Dallas Mavericks, and the Portland Trail Lillards, i mean Blazers. I understand the Blazers are a different team from last year's sub .500 team, but this is a team that hasn't made it out of the first round of the playoffs since the turn of the millennium! And hasn't even made the playoffs half of the seasons since then. This is after an LA record of 0-8 in the preseason. Yeah, yeah, preseason doesn't matter. You're not worried about winning in the preseason. But there's still a winner in every game. If you're playing good basketball (which I presume is at least one goal of the preseason) then you'll win one eventually won't you? And these last two games DID matter, and they still didn't win. So I ask again (with slightly different wording): What's up in Lakerville?

Ok, so there's plenty of excuses:

  • Newcoming players getting used to a new system
  • Starters didn't play together in the preseason very much
  • Tail end of a B2B against Portland
  • Slight-but-existing injuries
  • Having to learn a new concept [that is, sharing]
  • 'You cant win them all'
  • etc.

The truth, however, is that you can only use the excuses for so long when talking about the Western Conference All-Star team. (ok, half of [I'd make a joke here about how OKC is the other half, but considering Harden's untimely departure to the other side -- bottom -- of the conference... may he rest in Houston]) So how long will it take them (talking about the Lakers again) to learn to get along/play together/play up to par/heal/etc.? Is it just these 2 games (excluding the eight preseason games of course)? Will it take 4 season games? 10 games? 40? 82? Never?

Now this may not be very fair, but I have a hunch that if Phil Jackson were still the coach, they'd probably already be to that point. He would have only needed a preseason to make them get along. After all, that's what Phil did best, and possibly the only thing he did: he created basketball chemistry. At the very least, they would've been able to beat these teams by now if not the Spurs or Thunder if Phil were at the figurative helm. But, as I've heard it said before, Mike Brown is their least valuable player. He doesn't have any control over these guys. (Did you know he was born in China? The crazy things Google can teach you... Also, Lakers are becoming quite the international team, Chinese, Spaniard, Canadian, Italian and Japanese, etc...)

So anyways, the juice of this short post is this: How does this effect the Jazz??? Do we get a W on Nov. 7th because they haven't meshed yet? What about as far out as Dec 9th? Do we get a W in LA because they're still having a power struggle? Do they give us the extra W we need to lock in the 6th seed in the playoffs? Do we advance past them into the 2nd round of the playoffs because Nash is trying to find the big guy down low while Kobe is trying to rip the ball out of Nash's hands for his own jumper? (By the way, talking about sharing, Lillard had 11 assists. I didn't think he'd be able to make it in the NBA, but he has veeeery quickly proven me wrong)

Lets look at the bigger picture here. How many western conference teams end up with a better record because the Lakers couldn't play together? We already know of two. Dallas and Portland were two games that they definitely should've won. Sure, that's just one extra game to tally in the Mavs' win column, but that one game could be the difference for our Jazz entering the playoffs as the 7th seed or 8th. It could even (hypothetically) be the difference of the Jazz being in or out of the playoffs. So... When will the Lakers start winning like they're expected to? Is this a legitimate concern for us, or are these first two games of theirs just a small part of what was already destined to be a 65-17 season? (Or something like that...) How else does this effect our Jazz? I just want to spur on conversation here, so please leave your comments. What other angle can this be seen at? Or is there absolutely no angle at all and I'm just trying to make something big out of nothing? If so, just tell me how stupid I am below. I can take it. (Preparing to find a corner and cry into a pillow while hugging my favorite teddy Jazz Bear)

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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