This season so far has been one giant struggle. Lakers going on losing streaks, reaching above .500 just once this season, getting to .500 only to fall back below, injuries, the list goes on and on.
On the floor the Lakers can’t seem to put it together even with coaching changes. It seems like every Laker loss they struggle then play horrible in the 3rd only to make a big comeback attempt in the 4th and fall short. What’s the issue here? Turnovers? Lack of Urgency? Coaching? Well some of those are issues but not THE problem. So whats THE Problem you ask? Well look no further than defense.
The Lakers defense has basically been non-existent in games and that has been a big problem for Los Angeles. Whether it’s halfcourt defense or transition defense, the Lakers struggles have been defensively which leads to them losing a lot of games. If you look at the Lakers on defense in games they seem to have issues rotating, leading to points being scored in the paint or beyond the arc.
Along with the poor rotation, the lack of communication between the players on the floors also haunts the Lakers causing opposing players to drive the lane or other players to get easy dunks at the rim. No communication or rotation, let alone defensive help, and that results in losses.
If you look at the stats, the Lakers are giving up an average of 101.87 points per game and that alone can tell you why the Lakers are 17-21. Yes, turnovers and lack of urgancy have contributed, but they need to get stops to stop their opponets from scoring all over them. They have Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace but the team defense is the issue.
Yes, Steve Nash can be a liability on D when it comes to point guards like Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and so on, and that’s where team defense comes into play because you can’t guard point guards one-on-one: it just won’t happen in the NBA.
So, what can the Lakers do to to turn this around? Play defense. It’s that simple.
They need to let their defense create their offense and if they can do that then the Lakers will be fine and can right this ship. That means Kobe will have to be better defensively and not lose his man by roaming around or not going to contest shots. The Lakers have to communicate and help each other out to get stops, especially when they make those late game runs. Also, the Laker bench have to talk and rotate defensively as well to keep leads or just keep them in the game.
The bench is supposed to help the starters out and they haven’t done that at all to help the Lakers so far.
Transition defense is something that has haunted the Lakers for a while as well. Teams like Oklahoma City, Portland and the Clippers are young and love to run. Let’s be real – the Lakers are old and slow like Kobe said, but they have to talk and take spots to stop the fast break or at least slow it down. Whether the Lakers can do that or not remains to be seen.
Now, some of you must be wondering: what about Coach D’Antoni? Well, defense is on the coach and players but I say more so on the players because the coach has to draw up the plays and strategies but the players have to execute because they’re the ones on the floor playing.
All in all the Lakers defense will be the thing that make or breaks them. We all know they can score but they have a issue stopping other teams from scoring. That won’t cut it at all. Defense is the way to go and if they do that? Watch out NBA.