The two biggest factors, albeit not the only two that the Los Angeles Lakers need for a successful season, are consistency and more of a contribution from the rest of the roster excluding Kobe Bryant.
The latter was definitely achieved during last night’s victory against Dallas Mavericks, the first on the road. The Lakeshow definitely put on a more rounded performance from the whole team. The trip back to Los Angeles would have been a happy one, one of which would have been a huge confidence booster for the likes of Metta World Peace, Antawn Jamison, Jodie Meeks and Dwight Howard.
The Lakers put in one of their best performances of the season, after the defeat against Memphis Grizzlies the night before; I personally thought that the visit to Dallas would be the fifth defeat on the road for the Lakers.
Jamison without question put in his best shift in the purple and gold jersey coming off the bench and being joint top scorer. If we can see more of the same throughout the rest of the season, it would be beneficial for an ageing team that needs impetus coming off the bench. Chris Duhon and Meeks also aided the side when they arrived onto the court.
Marquee signing Howard started off the season as one of the better performers, but during recent weeks has been close to abysmal. The big center hasn’t scored more than 15 points during the last three games. D12 hasn’t been living up to expectations lately and production down the middle has been limited, an area where they most need to improve.
Pau Gasol has been a player who, if he can replicate his form he produced during the Olympics for Spain, would be a great contributor to the team. Gasol has so far not produced under Mike D’Antoni, evident in the defeat to the Grizzlies where he did not feature at all during the fourth quarter.
The Spaniard needs to work with Howard when it comes to getting into the low post and picking up points in the paint. The team will benefit if both big men can get up and down the court picking up more rebounds.
Although it has nothing to do with improvement, the return of Steve Nash from injury will be a huge boost to the team where the fast paced game that all Lakers fans have seen glimpses of, but hope to see on a regular basis, will benefit the likes of Kobe and the rest of the starters.
Kobe, the five-time NBA champion believes that the return of Nash will inject more points into his own game, despite being the league’s highest points scorer.
One of the biggest frustrations this season has been the amount of turnovers that the Lakers are giving away. During the victory against the Mavericks, they still managed 19 turnovers. Limiting this down will result in less points coming for the opposition.
More of a contribution from the bench players on a consistent level can only be beneficial as the older legs of Kobe can take a well-deserved rest from time to time.
Everyone knows that the Lakers can still become a scoring threat in the future if Nash and Kobe get firing, if Howard returns to the form he showed early on in the season, and if Pau wakes up and starts performing to his All-Star level. The fans who are still disappointed in not seeing the return of Phil Jackson will hopefully finally forget about the past month or so.