Last year, the Los Angeles Lakers‘ defense wasn’t all that great, and it doesn’t figure to be much better this coming season. During the summer, the Lakers have lost two former Defensive Player of the Year winners in Metta World Peace and Dwight Howard, and the guys they’ve brought in don’t have the same kind of defensive prowess and the two outgoing Lakers.
For that reason, this squad will need to defend as a team. Thankfully, it sounds as if the coaching staff has been working on new defensive schemes on a daily basis.
Here’s what Mitch Kupchak told reporters yesterday during his yearly pre-season meeting with the media. The following transcript is courtesy of Lakers.com:
[pullquote]Q: On how the team will pick up defensively losing Metta World Peace and Dwight Howard, two former Defensive Player of the Year award winners:
Kupchak: The coaches have been meeting every day and they’re going to have to change how they coach. You could argue with Dwight, you could funnel into the paint and you know you have that big guy back there. There’s nobody like him in the NBA. Pau is big and long, and Chris (Kaman) is big and long, Jordan Hill, who did not play much last year, is very active defensively rebounding and blocking shots. So obviously, we can’t depend on one player to make up for the mistakes; it’s going to have to be more of a team effort.[/pullquote]
The Lakers hired Kurt Rambis during the off-season, and although he hasn’t officially been assigned as the team’s defensive coach, it was a role that he assumed under Phil Jackson, therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him have a large amount of input on that subject this year.
We know that Jordan Hill is one of the more active guys on defense, so hopefully he can stay healthy this season. The new additions Wesley Johnson and Shawne Williams are known for their length and defensive potential. If other players who are more known for their offense (e.g. Nick Young) can contribute on the defensive end too, it’ll make things winning ball games a lot easier.
Hopefully, the coaching staff has been able to bounce some good ideas off each other and they’ve been able to come up with a solid defensive plan that can be put into action during training camp and the pre-season.