The definition of success depends largely on expectations. Steve Nash won two MVPs because he was perceived as an outsider, given his natural abilities, compared to guys like Shaquille O 'Neal, whose incredible production was what was supposed to always happen. It's ridiculous that Nash has as many MVPs as Kobe and Shaq combined, but alas.
Kyle Goon of OC Register asked Kyle Kuzma to compare this year to last season. He seems to miss the atmosphere surrounding a team that has won about as many games as this year's team will win:
This makes sense, since last year's Lakers were young, adopted some kind of easy chemistry and scrambled their accounts in social media with roast clothes and everyone's tastes. The stakes were lower and the pressure less intense.
"I mean, of course, it was a little more fun," Kuzma said. "Last year, everyone knew it was development: we were out of the playoffs a long time ago, unlike this year, where (the playoff race) has somehow lived and lived. "
Last season was devoted to "development", it was very little expected of the Lakers team in terms of victories and defeats. Most people hoped that most people hoped that the guys looked much better at the end of the year than at the beginning of the season and that they were generally able to break that relatively low bar.
But Kuzma understands: winning is a serious business. The pressure comes with the territory. And if he learned anything during this season, it's because he does not want to have the pressure to conquer it.
"It's all about learning from this year and always having fun," he said. "You can not worry about high-pressure situations or let the stakes of something take away your joy and pleasure, no matter the circumstances, no matter the situation, but still have fun."
As long as LeBron is on the list, the expectations for the Lakers are going to be astronomical. Meeting these expectations will be exponentially more difficult than moving at your own pace over the course of a season.
And as nice as it may sound, a gaming season would be really fun and ensure a light-weight experience, it's not really the problem here. The Lakers are supposed to produce. Kuzma has not responded to the needs of the team this season. It may be because of these expectations that have triumphed over him, but either he will have to improve next year, or he will be replaced. It's as simple as that.
We will see what Kuzma and others are doing to meet these expectations, but it is of the utmost importance that everyone understands things quickly. This season has been a disappointment not only compared to last year, but in general. It looks like a giant kick in the Bas region.
This was the first Lakers team that could be expected. Next year, these expectations will be higher after a more successful off season than last summer. The longer the Lakers stay below expectations while LeBron is on the list, the more each season will drag on. The sooner everyone involved acknowledges it, the more likely it is that they will find a way to handle the pressure mentioned by Kuzma.
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