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TBR Sports Blog: "Composite Powers"

Ya’ll remember prime numbers in math, right? Let’s have a quick review before we all turn into grade schoolers again:

  • A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that is not a product of two smaller natural numbers. A natural number greater than 1 that is not prime is called a composite number.

  • A composite number is a positive integer that can be formed by multiplying two smaller positive integers. Equivalently, it is a positive integer that has at least one divisor other than 1 and itself.

  • In mathematics, a prime power is a positive integer power of a single prime number.

So there. Now let’s talk about the Los Angeles Lakers.

What I’ve said on record and often since the offseason when Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, and DeAndre Jordan, we’re joining the Lake Show as the new supporting cast to LeBron and AD’s lead, is that James is quite literally is running a geriatric's home. What do I mean by this? I know that everyone is continuously talking over and over about how the Lakers have a great team this year, and I'm not saying that they don't. What the operation is in Los Angeles is one of sheer desperation.

Now, Russell Westbrook is still one of the most dynamic players in the NBA, he’s averaging just 12 points and 8.7 assists while shooting 34.9% from the floor from the floor. Regardless of what happened last night against the Spurs in San Antonio (33 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals for Russ in the win), I'm not gonna sit here and say that Russell Westbrook should NOT be a Laker; if that's the case, I should say that about Carmelo Anthony too, even with his 28 points and six threes on Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Here’s the thing about the Lakers. Think back to 3rd grade once more. The shortcomings of a lot of these players who’s prime has passed for years now, have nothing more to provide in terms of positive integers within their stats on a consistent basis. More simply put, burned-out stars like Westbrook, Anthony, Howard, Jordan, Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, the list continues, aren’t going to result in Prime powers being shown many nights. We’re not talking about a team of prime integers deriving from LeBron’s seemingly omnipotent prime power that seems unfathomable.

LeBron is now surrounded by a team of composite powers.

It took James sitting out with ankle soreness (which no one believed) for Westbrook to feel comfortable enough running the show like he had for years last night at the AT&T Center. Sure, coexisting with the King is going to take time as usual, but this is the cost of putting together a team that's not built for regular season basketball: once the injuries pile up (and they will), if you think about regular season basketball, this is why I didn't really agree with the Russ trade. I understood it they needed someone else after Dennis Schroeder foolishly decided not to take the money in the offseason to stay in LA, and if anyone realistically can fix Russell Westbrook, it should be Lebron James.

But the question is now, coupled with the now-constant injury scares and bluffs (Davis suffered a knee stinger last night, so look out for a “DNP (Rest)” indicator next to his name in an upcoming game), Laker fans now have to deal with their team desperately trying to even stay relevant in their own division; forget the Western Conference for a sec, because right now on a neutral court, they would probably lose against anyone else from the playoffs last season. We all saw what Golden State was able to do (STILL without Klay Thompson). What the Suns did…again. You mean to tell me the Clippers wouldn’t do the EXACT same thing?

To everyone that was so quick to give the Lakers the championship already this season, I hate to break it to you, but this team is not going to have a good regular season. You're going to see a lot of key players not having that many minutes. You're going to see a lot of stars take off games. Do you want to know what the average age of the lakers team is right now? 31. That is the oldest team in the league by a considerable mile. They have about 7 players over the age of 30, 2 over the age of 35 (LeBron himself included). I understand that James is a bionic figure, but even his most devoted stans already are dreading this seemingly evident outcome: when LeBron yet again has to put more onus on his body to save the team, and save them from facing another exit in the 1st round of the playoffs.

LeBron no longer possesses the uncanny ability to elevate himself AND the team simultaneously. With the injury factor in play, the prime power of LeBron is quite literally all that the team really has that can still be classified as special. At what point are the Lakers organization going to ask themselves: “are we a franchise, or a retirement home?”, and I don't mean this disrespectfully, is I'm just saying when you have too much of a concentration of one age group on a team, the prime ends up getting compromised by the composite.

I don't care how seasoned these players are, how respectful they are for each other, they all unequivocally feel some type of way, and they should. Sometimes, veteran leadership breeds vanity, and these now composite powers surrounding LeBron know that they’ve been around the block before. How's that going to fare when LeBron, and AD, and Westbrook, and Melo, and Howard, and whoever else is injured (or resting, more likely), not playing in the biggest games of the season? How are we supposed to feel when we don’t see the entire cast and only understudies on Christmas? All-Star Break? The last playoff push in April?

These composite powers, with only providing positive prime integers of stats here and there, aren’t going to result in too many wins. This is a team built SOLELY for playoff basketball and nothing more. You're not going to have a good regular season, Laker fans. Will you make the playoffs? Sure. You still have the greatest living basketball entity playing for your team. All I'm saying is don't be surprised if you have an outcome similar to last season. Don't be surprised when during the biggest games against Milwaukee, Brooklyn or whomever, that a considerable bunch of stars aren't playing. When you only have composite powers over prime ones, in mathematics, it works out when you divide down. In Basketball, its detrimental. Don’t be surprised when you see it yourself like we first did back in 3rd grade.


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