Worst team in franchise history?
With their 60th loss and one game left in the season, Lakers look to beat 1957-58 record.
SACRAMENTO 102 LAKERS 92
SACRAMENTO — There’s only one thing left to say about the Lakers. If they lose to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, they’ll be the worst team in the franchise’s 67-year history.
The season is almost over for them, as imbalanced and offcenter as Vander Blue’s jersey.
Who is Vander Blue, you ask? And what’s wrong with his jersey?
First a few pertinent details from yet another loss, 102-92, Monday to the Kings at Sleep Train Arena.
Jordan Clarkson was on his way to playing all 48 minutes but landed on Ray McCallum’s foot and sustained a sprained left ankle. He stayed on the court long enough for two free throws before limping to the locker room with 23 points and six assists.
“It hurts,” he said afterward with a squeezed face, adding quickly that he hoped to play in Wednesday’s season finale. “Real important.”
Very much so, particularly if the Lakers want to avoid being worse than the 1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers, who had a .264 winning percentage. The present-day Lakers (21-60) have a .259 success rate. Yuck and yuckier. Even the famed purple and gold jerseys were off the mark Monday.
Blue was signed so the Lakers would have more than two healthy guards, but his No. 12 jersey was askew, the first numeral shifted too far to the left.
The Lakers had been in Sacramento since late Sunday night and initially ordered a No. 2 jersey from their Los Angeles-based uniform supplier. One problem: No. 2 still belonged to Wayne Ellington, who was declared done for the season only two weeks ago because of a shoulder injury.
Upon realizing their mistake, the Lakers hurriedly had a No. 1 sewn to the left of the perfectly centered No. 2 and sent the jersey up to Sacramento with a team attendant.
Blue received it with little time to spare. He didn’t even see how it looked.
“I noticed it actually during the game,” said Blue, who scored seven points. “One of the other players said, ‘What happened to your jersey?’ I looked down and was like, ‘Oh, I guess that pretty much shows the day I had.’ ”
Blue flew in from Dallas to join the Lakers, barely signing a contract before the official 6 p.m. cut-off time.
If Blue didn’t play, forward Ryan Kelly might have been the Lakers’ third guard. The team has now lost eight guards to injury or retirement this season: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Nick Young, Jeremy Lin, Ronnie Price, Xavier Henry, Dwight Buycks and Ellington.
The Kings (28-53) recently shut down All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins and high-scoring forward Rudy Gay, but it didn’t matter Monday because Omri Casspi had 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Jordan Hill and Jabari Brown each had 18 points for the Lakers, who turned their attention slowly toward Wednesday’s game.
Is this the worst Lakers team ever? Really?
“Definitely don’t want to be a part of that,” Hill said.
But it definitely could happen.
JASON THOMPSON shoots over Lakers forward Jordan Hill during Sacramento’s 102-92 win.
RYAN KELLY shoots over Sacramento’s Omri Casspi during the Lakers’ 60th loss of the season.