Oh boo hoo for Mitch Kupchak, I refuse to feel sorry for a Los Angeles Lakers organization that has missed the playoffs a total of five times in its entire history but I digress.
In an interview with Sam Amick of USA Today, Kupchak talked about the Lakers frustrating season, the affect its had on him and questioned the thought process of anyone who would shun L.A. when they’re winning (Ahem Dwight).
“Frustrating is a great word,” he said when asked to pick a word to describe this season. “I don’t think anybody, including myself, could have predicted this…It’s been tough to try to pinpoint the problem, too, (because) there have been so many different things – new players, injuries, new coaches. That’s all been frustrating.”
“Losing keeps me up at night,” he said. “If we win, why would anybody think to leave Los Angeles? I’m not sure why anyone would think that anyway, but winning solves all the problems.
Kupchak also defended impending free agent Dwight Howard, who has been criticized by teammates and the media this season, even going as far to say that the former defensive player of the year should be given credit for his selflessness.
“I think he should get more credit for the reality of what has taken place,” Kupchak said. “Here’s a guy who didn’t have to come back. Forget whatever he needs (because of) this summer as a free agent, because doctors are going to say that after a year you’re going to be fine. But he came back because after a year he wanted to play and he wanted to win. And then he’s also had the torn labrum (in his right shoulder). I just thought he was getting unfairly criticized.”
“I was surprised that he went through training camp and didn’t miss a practice,” Kupchak said. “I thought that maybe he would do some things on a side basket, and then he’d get in condition and we would maybe see him in December or January. I was surprised. I’m not sure he came back too early, but I think people expected too much, too soon.”
The Lakers General Manager is confident that if the Lakers make the playoffs they can match up with anyone.
“For us to get in the playoffs, we’re going to have to be playing at a pretty good level,” he said. “And if we can get in the playoffs, that means we’re playing well. At that point, I would take our chances against anybody in a seven-game series. I wouldn’t feel like a typical eighth seed. I just think this group, in a seven-game series during the playoffs, can do it. I really do. But we do have to climb out of this hole and we have to scramble and figure out a way to get in.”
The Lakers are in a good place right now, can they beat the best teams in the west? I have my doubts but I wouldn’t put it past them.