ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith boldly said the LA Lakers had a far more disappointing season than the New York Knicks. He is a diehard Knicks superfan who has publicly defended and also criticized his beloved hometown team. However, in this instance, he believes they had a better overall year than the Purple and Gold.
On "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Fallon invited Smith to play "Wheel of Opinions." A random generator landed on a sports topic, prompting Smith to give his perspective. He was asked to share his point of view on "Knicks or Lakers?" and gave a rather unexpectedly bold reply.
"Believe it or not ... the Lakers are worse," Smith said. "Here's the reason why: ... You had LeBron (James), Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook. Tinsel Town, Purple and Gold, Hollywood, statues of Shaq and Magic and Kareem outside, and Kobe, and you are like 17, 18 games under .500? You know, stealing money from the public, ain't thinking about giving it back."
As William Shakespeare wrote, "Expectation is the root of all heartache." That's exactly what Smith was referring to when talking about the Lakers (33-49) and Knicks (37-45). Both teams finished 11th and missed the play-in tournament. There was so much hype and excitement around the LeBron James-led Lakers that their finish was more disappointing by leaps and bounds.
He stated that the Knicks fanbase is used to missing the playoffs and losing on a yearly basis. The franchise hasn't been relevant in the playoff or championship picture since the 1990s, when Patrick Ewing was running the show at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks lost the 1999 NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs and made the Eastern Conference finals the next season.
The only other time they came close was when Carmelo Anthony carried them to the playoffs in the early 2010s. He said:
"Are we really surprised the Knicks lost? Where's the suspense? I mean, I'm disappointed, but most people expect it. At the very best, a late first-round exit. At the most, second round, you going home...Give the Knicks credit for this, they've been honest."
The Knicks have made the playoffs just once since 2013, whereas the Lakers, who have made the playoffs just twice since 2013, won the title two seasons ago. The Lakers built a super team with multiple All-Stars and MVPs and were declared the betting favorites before the season began. The Purple and Gold went from championship favorite to not even making the play-in tournament.
LA Lakers might pursue Jason Kidd for coaching job
Jason Kidd is having a blast as the Dallas Mavericks coach, and he recently credited his previous assistant coaching job at the LA Lakers for his success. He praised coach Frank Vogel for his mentorship and said he learned a lot during his tenure in Los Angeles.
As reported by Coty Davis of Sports Illustrated, Kidd said:
"You see things differently. ... It's an opportunity to better your craft. Learning from Frank was great. He is always in a good mood, and he competes to win. He communicates with everyone. I've learned a lot over those two seasons."
Kidd's words praising Vogel and the Purple and Gold raised eyebrows. Many reports have started to appear suggesting that the Lakers might pursue Kidd to replace Frank Vogel.
Vogel, in fact, endorsed Kidd for the NBA Coach of the Year award this season:
"He has done a phenomenal job in Dallas. As someone who preaches the extra pass and defense, he is a big part of their success so far this season."
A bunch of names popped up with respect to the Lakers job. The list includes Doc Rivers, Mike D'Antoni, Quin Snyder and a few college coaches such as John Calipari, Juwan Howard and Bill Self.
Only time will tell who fills the role for the Lakers as they enter a long offseason.
Q. Who had a more disappointing season?
New York Knicks
45 votes so far