Disastrous doesn't begin to describe the debacle that was the Los Angeles Lakers' 2012-13 season.
Ironic? Unprecedented? Those are likely better words -- but the reality is that there are none that can do what the sports world saw manifest itself on the basketball court this season justice. The Lakers always seem to overcome any adversity they face and come back as strong as ever year after year.
This year, however, it's hard to imagine things getting better anytime soon. In fact, here are 50 signs that they probably won't.
1. The Lakers went 0-8 in the preseason, then proceeded to sell fans and the media on the idea that it didn't mean anything due to injuries, the games not counting and not having everyone healthy. It wouldn't be the last time fans heard that rhetoric.
2. They followed that up with a 1-4 start to the regular season, yet cited many of the same issues that caused them to go 0-8 before the start of play.
4. Backup guard Steve Blake strained his abdominal muscle five games later.
5. Just five games into the season, the Lakers fired head coach Mike Brown and cited offense as a primary area of concern, while the defense continued to struggle.
6. After that 1-4 start, the Lakers teased fans, the team and analysts everywhere with the idea of hiring Phil Jackson to replace the ousted Brown, only to ceremoniously crush the hopes of everyone, including Magic Johnson (more on him later), by hiring a polar opposite in Mike D'Antoni.
7. D'Antoni force-fed his fast-paced system to an aging roster that was more suited for the half-court offense to carry the Lakers to a 17-25 start.
8. That offense rendered Pau Gasol, one of the best players in the world, ineffective.
9. Before that, Bernie Bickerstaff was 4-1 as an interim head coach. Bernie. Bickerstaff.
10. Earl Clark, who was effectively a throw-in in the famous offseason Dwight Howard deal, was the Lakers' saving grace during January and February, where he averaged 10.3 and 10.9 points per game, and was a key to the Lakers treading water to stay relevant.
11. Consequently, Clark ripped the starting power forward role from Gasol, who D'Antoni pulled during the fourth quarter of several games, even going as far to once say he pulled him because he wanted to win the game.
12. Dwight Howard became public enemy No. 1 almost as quickly as he signed with L.A. as he tried to play injured.
13. Magic Johnson quit on the Lakers -- twice. His last rant was telling of just how bad things had gotten in Laker land:
"Laker Nation: I'm sooooooooooo happy this season is over. With the talent on this team this could go down as one of the worst seasons in Lakers' history!"
-- @MagicJohnson via Twitter
Yup. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you hit a proverbial nail on the proverbial head.
15. The Lakers seriously entertained the idea of signing veteran nobody Raja Bell as a means to bolster their struggling, aging defense. Bell is 36 years old and hasn't played since April 26, 2012.
16. Johnson went on national television to openly criticize a member of the Buss family. No one loved Dr. Jerry Buss more than Magic.
18. As the Lakers struggled in the middle of the season, a 39-year-old Nash was looked upon to be a savior on a team that already included Bryant, Howard and Gasol.
19. Bryant, one of the greatest scorers of all time turned into a facilitator for the first time in his career. And he was brilliant at it.
20. That transition by Bryant turned Nash into a shoot-first guard for the first time in his career.
21. Chris Duhon started nine games and played 820 minutes for the Lakers this season.
24. The possibility of trading Howard became a real thing. So real, in fact, that general manager Mitch Kupchak had to publicly deny that the Lakers would do it before the deadline.
25. The Los Angeles Clippers are the best team in Los Angeles, and it's not even close.
26. Before news broke that the Sacramento Kings were going to remain in Northern California, it was feasible to believe that the Lakers would be the worst team in the state to begin the 2013-14 season.
27. David Stern's systematic plan to destroy the Lakers appears to have worked.
28. Chris Paul said the Clippers were his first choice all along, and he was serious.
29. The Lakers' head coach literally cries himself to sleep at night.
30. Just when the Lakers finally started to gain some momentum, their biggest energy guy, Jordan Hill, suffered a season-ending hip injury against the Denver Nuggets on Jan. 6. This happened right before a critical stretch of games against the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder -- all of which they lost.
31. There is a very real segment of fans who thought bringing back Derek Fisher would somehow be a good idea.
32. In four games, the Lakers made Phoenix Suns swingman Michael Beasley look like a superstar -- 17.3 points per game, 5.5 assists per game (via Basketball-Reference.com) in four matchups against Los Angeles -- his highest totals against any team. This was a guy who literally shot himself out of the rotation on one of the worst teams in the league.
33. Try finding a Lakers fan who's happy with the Lakers' ownership this season. This type of fan displeasure has never been the case as the late, great Dr. Jerry Buss was one of the most beloved owners in all of sports, let alone Los Angeles.
34. The Black Mamba had to turn in Herculean efforts to beat the likes of the Toronto Raptors, New Orleans Hornets and Portland Trail Blazers in critical games (that shouldn't have been critical games in the first place).
35. Bryant, known for being a reclusive, enigmatic figure over most of his 17-year career, decided to delight fans around the NBA by joining Twitter. He got so good at it that it became a story, prompting him to pull the plug on live-tweeting during games to rob everyone of his 140-character gold.
36. Bill Simmons, one of the most prominent Laker-haters on the planet, said he respects Kobe Bryant.
37. Bryant only scored four points in a February game against the Phoenix Suns and wasn't upset about it.
38. Phil Jackson is now on Twitter...
39. ... and he has candid discussions with Bryant in front of the whole Twitter-verse. How awkward!
40. These dogs performing at halftime were more entertaining than any single Lakers game this season. To be fair to the Lakers, the dogs were more entertaining than most NBA games this season. That's no indictment on the league, either -- the dogs are amazing.
41. Nearly everyone on the planet subscribes to the fact that the Lakers hired the wrong coach in D'Antoni, yet Mitch Kupchak felt compelled to give him a vote of confidence before the season was over.
42. Talk of amnestying Kobe Bryant, an all-time Lakers legend, is a real discussion.
43. The super-team of Nash, Howard, World Peace, Bryant and Gasol were on the floor together for a total of 286 minutes.
44. The Lakers somehow overcame all of the challenges, including bouncing back from a 17-25 start to grab the No. 7 seed and make the NBA playoffs, just as superstar Kobe Bryant suffered what could be a career-threatening injury.
46. Howard, the next heir-apparent to the Lakers franchise, disgracefully got himself kicked out of the last game of the season when his team needed him most.
47. D'Antoni was totally cool with fans chanting "We want Phil" at the end of the season.
48. The Lakers finally won back-to-back games on April 9 and 10 against the New Orleans Hornets and Portland Trail Blazers in a pair of games they had to have, something they were in danger of not doing for the first time in franchise history. They showed all the determination, togetherness and fight necessary to enter the playoffs with some important momentum.
In the next game against the Warriors, Bryant tore his Achilles.
49. The Lakers mortgaged their future on the fact that Howard wouldn't dare walk away from the prestigious Lakers franchise, the Southern California lifestyle and weather, $30 million (the Lakers can pay him more due to retaining his Bird rights) and the potential to be the centerpiece on a team in need of a leader moving forward.
He is still undecided on whether or not he will return to LA.
50. Kobe Bryant is sad.
So is everyone in Laker-land, Kobe. So is everyone.
Michael C. Jones covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA as a Southern California-based sports journalist and editor. He contributes to SB Nation in addition to Yahoo! Sports and is the Managing Editor of Sports Out West.
Catch up with him on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets
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