Lakers fans buzzed, we got Dwight Howard, we got Steve Nash, we will easily win the NBA Championship. Then reality hit an old Steve Nash, and a still injured Dwight Howard have crippled the Lakers. This season has been a mess for these Lakers, from on the court play to the coaching staff.
Kobe Bryant, yes Kobe Bryant is still the guy, still the guy that carries the team. This was supposed to be the season to move from Kobe to Dwight. Show him it will be his team moving forward and that to has failed. Dwight quarrels with teammates and has been unhappy about the coaching, shock right? Dwight won’t be happy until he is in Brooklyn, like I wrote some months ago. The Lakers took a chance and traded for Dwight without him signing an extension. He only agreed to the trade hoping he could play one year in LA and get Championship. His heart isn’t in LA it’s across the country in Brooklyn. Sure his numbers are great this season 12.4 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, and 17.3 points per game. Yet he still hasn’t seemed the same and now he has a torn shoulder and is out indefinitely.
Getting Steve Nash was supposed to solve the Lakers point guard woes. Yet he has hardly been on the floor, playing in only 10 games so far this season. Yes he can still play but will he be around for when it really counts, the spring and playoffs. Nash’s body has taken a beating over his career and age is not on his side. Defense was never his strong suit and losing a step hasn’t helped at all. Nash if anything is the face of the new look “Oldtime” Lakers.
Kobe’s guy, his boy, Pau Gasol has played horrible, not poorly, horrible. He disappears in games,a Gasol staple, but usually he waits until the playoffs to come up short. His stats seem good but you have a handful of good games and your stats will look great through 30 or so games. Now he has a concussion and is out indefinitely also. Not to mention another front line big man is out Jordan Hill is out with a hip injury. The Lakers front line is more like a NAIA front line then a NBA front line.
The Lakers are old and slow, they tire quicker then younger teams like the Rockets and Thunder. Knowing this Lakers brass said lets bring in Mike D’ Antoni and his fast paced offensive scheme. The had the chance to bring back Phil Jackson and a better coaching fit but didn’t. Yes the Lakers offense has awoken as of late but they exert so much energy playing offense they tire and their defense fades and then in turn they are sluggish and the offense fades at the end of games. D’ Antoni is a good maybe great regular season coach but when his teams come across physical teams in the playoffs they fail every time.
The one constant is Kobe Bryant. Kobe the savior is how he should now be referred to. With out Kobe the Lakers maybe in the the same company as Washington Wizards. Kobe is playing out of his mind at the age of 34. He leads the league in scoring with 30.2 points per game, a full point ahead of Carmelo Anthony. He is grabbing 5.2 rebounds and dishing 4.8 assists per game, both above his career averages. Kobe is the Kobe, the black mamba. He can still go toe to toe with LeBron James and go off for 60 points. The Lakers are Kobe’s team and will be Kobe’s team till he walks away.
Every great franchise has down periods, the Yankees, the Cowboys, the Canadiens, yet all rise up and take control of their sport for stretch’s of time that amaze and wow. They lose once in a lifetime players and find a new one to replace them, Kobe replacing Magic, yet every great team must age and restart, its the circle of sports. the difference is the marquee franchises in sports know how to do it quickly and seamlessly. Some trade the aging star for the up and coming guy, some do it through the draft. This Lakers brass has decided to try to fix the aging problem with more age, and an injured not mentally involved star. Once they face the harsh reality that they will lose Dwight, Pau Gasol isn’t worth as much as he once was and make the moves that are needed and not fan friendly they will compete again in the West. By Steve Kish