Despite trades, signings, coaching changes and Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers are at the bottom of the Western Conference, at 9-13. The Lakers have lost their last 11 consecutive games.
The Lakers don’t have a deep bench. They traded that luxury for a well above average starting line up. Unless they trade Pau Gasol to clear up $19 million, an outstanding bench isn’t feasible.
Consistency has been an issue for the Lakers. The team just doesn’t play well together yet, and even when they do, it doesn’t last long.
Yet, despite all of these problems, Mike D’Antoni has failed to take advantage of the underutilized aspects of the roster. Jordan Hill has had few playing minutes under D’Antoni until, Tuesday night, when he started against the Cleveland Cavaliers over Antawn Jamison. However, his full potential has not even been explored yet.
Hill plays an average of 15.4 minutes per game. Averaging 6.3 points and 5.3 rebounds. Yet, when he is given starter minutes like he was against the Utah Jazz, he put up career high numbers. Scoring 17 pts, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
“Hill has been one of the very few productive Lakers bench players. He does all the dirty work and he can score without having plays ran for him.” Hill was a part of the bench that scored 38 against the Houston Rockets.
Big men are a huge asset to every and any team in the league. In addition to Howard, Hill, when he is given starter privileges, plays like a starter. The 6’10 center can also play power forward, so he provides a solid backup for both Gasol and Dwight Howard.
The Lakers aren’t facing any big problems but a bunch of little problems that a superstar roster hasn’t been able to overshadow. It’s time to work on the little things. The Lakers, while they did more work during the summer than any other team in the league, forgot to work on the fundamentals.