Top 5 Problems with Los Angeles Lakers on Defense

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Los Angeles Lakers Have Problems on Defense

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Jeff Hanisch - USA Today Sports Images

After Los Angeles Lakers practice on Wednesday coach Mike D’Antoni joked that the Lakers would be concentrating “99.9 [percent] on defense and 0.1 on offense.”

It should reassure Lakers fans that D’Antoni, who’s famously disregarded defense most of his coaching career, has decided to put more “emphasis” on defense this season, as ESPN LA puts it.

D’Antoni’s not the only one concentrating on defense. Jordan Farmar’s already declared that his focus will be on defense, and Jordan Hill proved aggressive and effective as a defensive center before he suffered his hip injury.

There’s one more person who will help the Lakers on defense: Kurt Rambis, the new assistant coach.

Rambis served as assistant coach to Phil Jackson and should be able to apply the same championship-mindset that Jackson instilled in his players. Rambis also stresses defense. Rambis’ experience and defensive principles will surely help the Lakers.

But the Lakers have more weaknesses than strengths on defense. Most of the weaknesses have to do with the quality of the players on the court, of course, but some of the weaknesses also depend on more ambiguous things, like team unity, confidence and rhythm.

I know what you’re thinking and the answer is yes—we can find a way to blame all the Lakers’ weaknesses on Jim Buss.

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5. Steve Nash

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Nash is one of the worst defenders on the Lakers and will be a major liability.

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4. Cohesion

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA Today Sports Images

With all the new acquisitions the Lakers made over the offseason, most of the players on the Lakers 2013-14 roster haven’t played together. And apart from Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, even those who have played together haven’t done so for long. Will the Lakers be able to play as a team on defense (and offense) by making switches on time, knowing when to double team and where to shift to? And with the loss of Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace, the Lakers have a lot of defense to make up for.

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3. Mike D'Antoni

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

If D’Antoni insists once again on running his “seven seconds or less” offense, the Lakers may be too gassed to defend well. For the sake of both their offense and defense, hopefully D’Antoni runs a different system.

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2. Offense

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Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Most former NBA players will tell you that if you play well on offense, you end up playing well on defense too. But the opposite happens as well—a bad offense can lead to a bad defense. Again, the Lakers' offense and defense is at risk if D’Antoni refuses to amend or abandon his system.

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1. Jim Buss

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

I told you we can blame all of the Lakers' problems on Jim Buss. After all, it was probably his fault the Lakers failed to re-sign Dwight Howard. Now that Howard’s gone, who’s the best defender on the Lakers?

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