The Los Angeles Lakers are going nowhere this season. Lakers fans, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s over- your team has dug itself into a hole that is far too deep to climb out of. Los Angeles has dropped 7 of its last 8 games, and any late-season surge that they will have will end up being irrelevant.
Before the season began, there was talk about the Lakers’ chances of winning the 2012-13 NBA Championship. Nowadays, the debate is whether L.A. will even make the playoffs. Any team that has Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, as well as Steve Nash, should not have a losing record. Currently, the Lakers are at a lackluster 15-21 and are slotted at 11th in the Western Conference.
What is the problem? Why is this team not winning? How can this be possible?
Well, there is no logical answer to those questions. Bryant, the leading scorer in the NBA (30.0 PPG, 4.8 APG, 5.1 RPG), and Howard (17.3 PPG, 12.4 RPG) are doing their part. How much more can they be asked to do?
This season, Pau Gasol has solidified the main knock on his game as being true: he is soft. His averages of 12.2 PPG and 8.4 RPG are pretty solid, but for as skilled as he is, Gasol is really disappointing in 2012-13. Coach Mike D’Antoni has had to bench Gasol in several close games for several key stretches due to lack of production, and the coach was right in doing so.
Despite Gasol’s weak play, D’Antoni is the main source of the lack of wins for the Lakers. D’Antoni’s offensive scheme consists of a lot of quick jump-shots, pick-and-rolls, and fast breaks. The Lakers are “old as ****,” as Bryant says, so there is no appeal to pushing the tempo. On a roster that has two elite low post players in Howard and Gasol, the ball is rarely thrown down low.
Bryant is averaging 22 shot attempts each game, which is understandable. However, the next closest is Metta World Peace with 11.5, followed by Gasol with 11.2, and then Howard with 10.7 who, last season, was getting 13.4 FGA per game.
At the rate that they are playing, it will be a miracle if Los Angeles even makes the play-offs. And, if they don’t reach the post-season, this will go down as one of the biggest disappointments in NBA history.