The following is a guest post by Jory Dreher:
They stumbled out of the gate, fired a head coach in the second year of his contract just 5 games into the season, then flirted with a legendary one responsible for the last five NBA Championships in twelve years, before dumping him at midnight the night before the prom.
They decided to take a chance on Mike D’Antoni, who’s offensive philosophy had everyone drooling with over the rebirth of ”Showtime”, but after a 7 and 9 as the head coach, I think its safe to say that the honeymoon is over and the Lakers are out of excuses and must begin to produce.
Put it this way; with a record of 12-14, the Lakers simply can’t afford to drop 16 more games in the ultra competitive Western Conference where winning over 50 games almost guarantees a playoff birth.
ESPN.com Senior writer Chris Broussard spoke with an NBA scout, GM and assistant coach who all revealed that the Lakers’ biggest problem is Kobe’s “ego”.
There is a statistic that points to the Lakers having a 4-11 record when Kobe takes 20+ shots per game, and 8-3 when he shoots less than 20. I’ll argue that it is unfair to single out Kobe when you take a look at what he has done this statistically this this season – he is shooting a career high 47% from the field and a career high 38% from behind the three-point line, all while posting a league best 29.5 ppg, on that magic number of… 20 shots per game (down from 23 a season ago).
So is he really what’s ailing the Lakers? One player offers his own unique take on the situation:
“I don’t find (playing with Howard) tough,” Gasol said. “It’s more the system right now that makes it tough at times, because (D’Antoni) wants four guys to be spread and one interior guy and it’s a guard-oriented system, so that makes it tough. I think there’s enough looks for both of us. But again, it’s not a system that you post up a lot, so we’ll see. We’ve just got to figure it out, but if you’ve got two great post-up players, you’ve got to utilize it.” (Via USA Today)
I tend to agree with Pau. Sure, he isn’t the same player from the Lakers’ last title run, but he is still the most skilled low post player in the game who should be treated as such instead of being stationed 15-20 feet away from the basket.
The reality of the whole mess in LA is they have two big men very capable of putting up big numbers offensively and they aren’t being used in a way that would allow them to dominate the game. In other words, before you lash out at Kobe with a “ball hog” label, question the system and the players assembled within it.
In the upcoming days, everyone could expect the Lakers to get a boost when All-Star point guard Steve Nash returns from a fractured leg.
Considering the long lay off and the pressure facing him to right the ship in this high octane offense, you have to wonder how much does the 39 year old have left in the tank? Is it enough to sustain him for the remainder of the season through the playoffs? I believe so, but what’s really ailing the Lakers is self accountability and it’s time for all 15 guys and the coaching staff have to look themselves in the mirror and ask what am I doing wrong? What can I do differently? Only then will the $100M roster begin to live up to the expectations Laker fans everywhere have grown accustomed to.
This was a guest post by Jory Dreher. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jay_Laker. Edited by Lakerholicz.com.