The Los Angeles Lakers’ championship hopes are apparently directly tied to Steve Nash’s health. In other words, if this team’s 38-year-old point guard -- who has played in over 1,100 NBA games and has averaged about 31 minutes per -- isn’t right, they won’t win a chip in 2013.
That’s troubling, to say the least.
Never mind the fact that Nash is away from the Phoenix Suns’ miraculous training staff this year and that nobody knows how it will impact him health-wise, just the simple notion of a team with three future Hall of Famers relying so heavily on another player is nuts.
Again, this team boasts three other future Hall of Famers.
One of those players, Kobe Bryant, is having one of the best early season stretches of his career (27.3 ppg, 53.1 fg%, 41.8 3pt%, 87.6 ft%). And yet, even though the Lakers have played a ridiculously easy first 12 games, they sit at a lowly 6-6 as of Friday morning. If they fall to the Memphis Grizzlies tonight (a very formidable group, mind you), they’ll be back to below .500.
How does Los Angeles’ new head coach explain his team’s struggles to date? Here is what he told USA Today following the Lakers’ Wednesday night loss to the Sacramento Kings:
"Oh no, no, we'll get it done," he said. "We're going to get it done. We've just got to have a little more of a healthier roster. But we'll get it done.
"The biggest point is, and I don't want to belabor the point, but Steve (Nash) is a big part of this, and we need to get him healthy and get him back."
Are you kidding me? Forget Nash’s fractured fibula. He is a veteran with a lot of milage on his tires; when this injury heals, there is a very good chance something else will start bothering him. That’s what happens when you play a 38-year-old too much. (Which the Lakers inevitably will because Steve Blake is hurt, too, and Darius Morris is probably still traumatized from what Deron Williams did to him.) If your entire year rests on how good Nash is feeling, you are not a legitimate championship contender.
This team has enough talent currently on the roster to not rely so heavily on having Nash back. That must stop being a crutch. From here onward, everyone involved has to assume that they will play large chunks of the season sans their extremely talented point guard. And if they can’t? Then Jim Buss stupidly wasted a lot of his dad’s money this summer on a title campaign that simply isn't going to happen.
(Kudos USA Today)