5 Reasons Why The Los Angeles Lakers Shouldn’t Be Considered Contenders
Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Reasons Why They Are Not Serious Contenders
The Los Angeles Lakers are frantically preparing to be ready for their first game of the season, October 29, against their in-town foes the Los Angeles Clippers. With the NBA season now less than two weeks away, the Lakers are doing their best to put together a team and make a run to the NBA Championship. Unfortunately, I cannot claim that the Lakers are legitimate contenders in the 2013-2014 season.
Head Coach Mike D’Antoni and his staff face a difficult task of rebuilding the team after an offseason filled with losses and transactions. After the Lakers’ centerpiece, Dwight Howard, took off for the Houston Rockets, the team continued to lose pieces in their roles players. Metta World Peace was amnestied in what will likely prove to be a smart choice and the team also lost names of the likes of Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark. Although these role players were not the center of Los Angeles’ game, they played vital parts in rounding out a solid playoff team.
As the Lakers’ management had very little room for adjustment in terms of salaries and contracts, the team did what it could to compensate for its losses. The Lakers signed center Chris Kaman and re-signed guard Jordan Farmar during the offseason in an attempt to bolster the offensive part of their game. In August, the Lakers signed their draft pick and former Duke Blue Devil, Ryan Kelly. After a few other low level signings, the Lakers rounded out their 2013-2014 roster.
As the Purple and Gold are getting ready to take the season head on, I cannot reasonably see them as justifiable contenders to bring home the championship hardware. It is time to start the slideshow, so to see the five reasons why I believe this to be true, click the “Next” button above.
Point Guard Troubles
The Lakers have already expressed a need to play starting point guard Steve Nash less minutes. This is probably smart considering Nash has struggled with injuries a lot recently and his 40th birthday coming up in February does not help either. From there, the Lakers must rely on Steve Blake and the recently re-signed Farmar. Unfortunately, Blake and Farmar are a huge leap down in talent from Nash. Despite the fact that these two make decent backups, the Lakers will truly need a solid ball handler in the game at all times. Blake and Farmar are adequate, but not for making a run to the top.
Defending the Paint
As much as I love Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill, these three just do not have what it takes to provide the Lakers with a strong enough post presence on the defensive end. Gasol is arguably the most talented big man in the game on offense, but his defensive abilities are limited. Kaman is a decent all-around big man, but he will not be able to handle the likes of Howard, Blake Griffin and Tim Duncan. Hill is the most tenacious of these three and will be required to step up in a huge way. Alas, in the long run, the lack of a truly intimidating defensive big man will shoot the Lakers in the foot.
Too Much Young, Raw Talent
Usually, having too much young, raw talent on your roster is not considered to be a bad thing. Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook proved that to be true not long ago. Alas, that trio was composed of high draft picks and highly sought-after young athletes. The Lakers have put together a group of talented young athletes, but they are all still very raw and unpolished. Xavier Henry, Ryan Kelly, Elias Harris and the other fresh players may prove to be a start to a rebuild for the Lakers, but I sincerely doubt this group of premature ballers has what it takes to carry the Lakers to a championship.
Kobe Can’t Carry the Team
Kobe Bryant has frequently carried the Lakers to victory in the past. During the 2013-2014 season, things are going to have to be a little different. In all likelihood, Kobe will not be in the starting roster on opening day and for some time thereafter. The Lakers will need the collective group to take the weight of the team off of Kobe’s shoulders and balance it out, even after he returns from rehabilitation. Unfortunately, Kobe is aging and, despite being one of the greatest players ever, will not be able to maintain the same level of performance forever.
Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs
Let’s be honest. No matter what moves the Lakers made in the offseason and even if Kobe does make it back as strong as ever, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs are just too solid and complete in order for the Lakers to have a legitimate shot at getting past them and into the NBA Finals. As sad as it makes me to say it, I must confess that these two teams are the ultimate reason the Lakers cannot be considered as true contenders in 2013.
That does it for my slideshow. Thanks for reading and please comment below on whatever you agree or disagree with.