The 2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers have a laundry list of problems. At 15-18, the Lakers struggle defensively, look old and the players appear to have zero chemistry with one another. Considering the lofty expectations after this team acquired Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in the offseason, Lakers fans weren’t expecting these kinds of problems.
Now, they need to brace themselves for even more problems.
Howard and Pau Gasol are both out indefinitely with injuries sustained in Sunday night’s loss to the Denver Nuggets. Howard is dealing with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, which will sideline him for at least a week. Gasol suffered a concussion after being elbowed in the face by JaVale McGee and will not travel with the team on their upcoming two-game road trip.
This couldn’t come at a worse time for the Lakers. After seeming to right their ship in the second half of December, winning seven of their final eight games of calendar 2012, they have lost all three of their games in the month of January so far.
Jordan Hill also was injured against the Nuggets on Sunday, further depleting the Lakers frontcourt.
As of right now, the only healthy power forward or center left on the Lakers roster is forward Antawn Jamison, who most likely has a fair amount of rust after not seeing much playing time in recent weeks.
The team will likely be forced to recall center Robert Sacre from the D-League. Ironically, he was sent down just two days ago. That’s probably not at all comforting for Lakers fans, but there really aren’t many other options.
For a team that’s struggling defensively, losing Howard, the Lakers’ best interior defender, will be a crushing blow to their team. More than that, one of the actual strengths of the Lakers is their rebounding, averaging the fourth most per game in the NBA with 45.8 per contest. However, the now-injured trio of Hill, Howard and Gasol account for a combined 26.5 rebounds per game.
Given that, it’s safe to assume that the Lakers’ rebounding is going to suffer because of these injuries. Now one of their biggest strengths is probably about to become a glaring weakness while Hill, Howard and Gasol are out. That’s not a good way to try and get their team back on track.
With these three post-presences being out, the Lakers backcourt is going to have to play better as a whole. Nash and Kobe Bryant aren’t really a concern in that area, but the role players like Jodie Meeks, Metta World Peace and the bevy of back-up point guards on their roster are going to have to find some level of consistency in their play.
If they fail to step up in the absence of their frontcourt, the tough times the Lakers are going through are just going to get tougher in the weeks to come.