There is an old Don Wilder quote that goes something like this, “Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” This quote offers the perfect description for the Los Angeles Lakers’ 9-14 tailspin.
Making excuses is the easy way to address a problem and we have heard them all from the Lakers and analysts so far this season; “[The Lakers} will be better once Steve Nash returns.” “Pau Gasol’s knees were hindering his play. He needs to rest.” “Dwight Howard is still recovering from his back surgery.” “Change takes time…” Enough already.
The 2012-13 NBA season is over a quarter into the 82-game schedule, and a Lakers’ roster with the highest payroll in the NBA is currently five games under .500. It’s time for the Lakers’ players, coaches and crazed fan base to admit that the team is not good.
It’s time for coach Mike D’Antoni to quit making excuses for why his system has stalled with the roster the Lakers currently have in place. It’s time for Howard to admit that he’s a terrible free-throw shooter. It’s time for Kobe Bryant to accept that he can’t do it alone, even in his best statistical seasons in years.
The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. Instead of trying to cover up their issues with excuses, the Lakers need to admit that they, for lack of a more effective term, suck. D’Antoni’s system is failing with the pieces he has to work with. Instead of being stubborn and hoping it catches on, D’Antoni needs to adjust his system to fit his personnel. That’s what separates a great coach from a good coach. As it currently stands, D’Antoni is more of the latter.
Dwight Howard needs to admit that he isn’t going to get a lot of post-up touches on this team. It is what it is. Instead of occupying the paint in hopes that the entry pass comes his way more often, Howard needs to be more active on the offensive glass or by setting off the ball screens for his teammates. Activity creates scoring opportunities, not standing in the same spot waiting for a pass that isn’t coming.
As great as he has been so far this season, Bryant needs to make adjustments as well. Bryant needs to trust his teammates. Some of the newer Lakers players (and there are a lot more new faces for the Lakers than old ones) are getting in the habit of standing around while watching Kobe go into hero ball mode. As previous teams have proven, hero ball doesn’t win championships.
Great teams don’t make excuses, the make adjustments. The Los Angeles Lakers need more action and less finger pointing or will they will continue to lose in embarrassing fashion.