Where's the Athleticism in the Los Angeles Lakers' Backcourt?

By Eric N. Ellington
Robert Hanashiro – USA TODAY

The Los Angeles Lakers need some athleticism in their backcourt if they want to seriously compete next year. Nearly all of the Lakers’ guards are too old or just plain slow. When Ramon Sessions left for the Charlotte Bobcats, I cringed — the Lakers miss his scoring and his penetration abilities. Other than Kobe Bryant, no player on the roster has the ability to break down the defense and reek havoc in the lane. Lakers need some explosiveness at the guard position.

39-year-old Steve Nash hasn’t lost a step — he’s lost about five steps. Nash, an obvious defensive liability, barely has anything left in the tank. Nash also missed the beginning of the season due to a fractured bone in his leg and only appeared in 50 games.

Kobe Bryant  is 34 years old and after his successful Achilles tendon surgery, we can only hope he will have some spring in those legs.

Chris Duhon, 30 years of age, also struggled to find the basket last year. Duhon has also lost quickness and speed and seems to have picked up some weight. Duhon was known for his quick first step, and three-point making abilities. Well, Duhon has neither at this point of his career. Last year, Duhon only made 33 three-pointers and averaged only 2.9 points per game.

Jodie Meeks is a great three-point shooter, but a perimeter spot-up shooter at best. Meeks is definitely not known for his aerial assaults at the rim. Steve Blake is a 33-year-old entering his 13th season, and played extremely well when Kobe went down in the 80th game of the season. However, Blake lacks athleticism and speed.

First year players, Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock didn’t see much playing time, but at least their young. If Bryant, isn’t ready for the start of the season, maybe they can have an impact in the backcourt next season.

All season long Kobe Bryant joked about being old and slow. Unfortunately, those jokes happened to be the cold hard truth. LA was 23rd in the league in fastbreak points, at only 10 per game. Mitch Kupchak should use this offseason to focus on bringing in some young talented players this offseason, either through the draft or free agency. If the Lakers want to finish strong next year, and keep some bodies on the court, they will need to overhaul the roster with younger players.


Eric N. Ellington covers the Los Angeles Lakers for Rant Sports. Follow him at @EricNEllington


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