Placing blame for Los Angeles Lakers’ 0-3 start
Who's to blame for Lakers' lethargic start?
Who knew that the Los Angeles Lakers, considered favorites for this season’s NBA Title, would start their 2012-2013 campaign on a three-game losing streak? If you raised your hand, you’re either psychic or a liar.
Unfortunately, this slow start is a reality for the Lakers. And if they keep playing the way they’ve been playing, the notches in the loss column could keep racking up at an alarming rate.
The problem, however, hasn’t been a lack of talent or production from the starting lineup. While Kobe Bryant is looking as much like the Black Mamba as ever and Dwight Howard has provided the dominant presence in the paint that the Lakers expected. Even Pau Gasol is excelling with Super Man at his side. If only an NBA roster consisted of just the starting five, the Lakers would be 3-0. That, however, isn’t the case.
It’s still early in the season, and a 0-3 start is far from a death sentence. As many people have been pointing out, the only team to suffer such a sad start and end up winning the NBA Finals was the ’90-’91 Chicago Bulls. I say this with a touch of hesitation, but the Lakers have the talent to matchup with the aforementioned team. A big turnaround is needed immediately, though, to put themselves in the company of that Michael Jordan-led Bulls team.
The Lakers need help in a number of areas, and here’s a quick look those areas. Stay tuned, because there are still 79 games left for them to flip a 180 on this 2012-2013 season.
Steve Nash – 15 percent
The reason that the Lakers acquired Nash in the first place was to upgrade the point guard position and give themselves a true facilitator who could direct the offense and open up shooting opportunities for Bryant. That hasn’t quite been the case through their first three games, and it’s a significant part of why the Lakers are winless.
Although Nash missed the third game while battling an injury, his performances were less than impressive in the Lakers’ first two outings. He has racked up only nine points and eight assists, and simply looks uncomfortable in his role as L.A.’s floor general.
Some will give the excuse that he’s still trying to grow accustomed to new teammates and a new offense, but at 38-years old, there’s no time for acclimation. Nash needs to figure out how to make his new situation work for himself before the Lakers are in too deep of a hole.
The Lakers Bench – 40 percent
On paper, the Lakers appear to have one of the best lineups in NBA history, and that’s not excluding their bench. With new acquisitions Antawn Jamison, Jodie Meeks and Chris Duhon waiting in the wings, it was assumed that the starters would be capably replaced when they needed a breather. The Lakers, however, have seen the opposite.
The bench has averaged 16 points through the Lakers’ first three games, leaving the starting five in a mad scramble once they’re inserted back into the lineup. It doesn’t matter how good the Lakers’ starters are; they can’t get the job done by themselves.
Expect the bench to start gelling more as the season wears on and players learn to work together better out on the court. The Lakers won’t make it to the postseason if they don’t.
Mike Brown – 45 percent
Brown is no Phil Jackson, and his inability to manage a star-studded lineup is shining through at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season much more than it did last year. What’s worse, though, is that Brown has utterly failed to implement the Princeton offense at this point in the season.
Instead of allowing the offense to run through Nash, he has adopted the complacence that led him to let Bryant lead the charge all of last season. And while Bryant being, well, Bryant is putting points on the board, the fact that the offense isn’t being run the way a Princeton offense should be run is hindering the overall production that the Lakers could be enjoying.
The worst part of all: the defense is a train wreck. Players aren’t making the proper rotations, close outs are few and far between, and fundamentals were left in the locker room. If Brown wants to keep his job through the end of the season, the defense is going to have to improve drastically.