The Los Angeles Lakers are averaging just under 100 points a game at 98.3 seven games into this NBA season. The Lakers’ bench is accounting for a ridiculous 58 points of that which is 59 percent of their total points per game. While this improvement in bench play is certainly a bright spot compared to last season’s struggles it once again proves how ineffective Pau Gasol and Steve Nash have been to begin the season. The Lakers’ leading scorer in Jodie Meeks was just moved from the bench to the starting lineup as well but will once again come in off the pine once Kobe Bryant returns from his Achilles injury rehab, which should be by Thanksgiving.
With Bryant able to handle a majority of the first unit scoring duties and a continuation of the solid bench play the Lakers could find themselves having a much better season than they were predicted to. The 3-4 record to begin the year with wins over the rival Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets, both teams projected to go deep into the playoffs, is nothing shabby. Fans of the Purple and Gold should feel a sense of pride that their scrappy team isn’t going to lay down and die this year. Winning matters in Los Angeles, and Coach Mike D’Antoni is doing all he can to make that happen.
A lot of that hope is going to come down to the effectiveness of Gasol and Nash as the Lakers’ current 11 man rotation is far from ideal. Nash is suffering from multiple small injuries and may be reaching the point where retirement is the correct answer, and Gasol is simply not getting it done. Bryant’s return will help all of this, but the Black Mamba can only fix so many problems so it’s time for the Spaniard to play like the Spaniard.
It’s still early, Lakers fans, and this season still has plenty of reasons for hope.
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