The Los Angeles Lakers are seventh in the NBA in points and field goal percentage per game. They’re second in rebounding. Sixth in three point percentage. Those numbers are solid, any which way you want to look at them.
Here are some not-so-solid numbers, though: the Lakers are tied for 18th in points allowed per game, 13th in field goal percentage allowed and 15th in defensive efficiency.
This 9-13 team has a lot of problems right now, but it’s not particularly difficult to figure out what they should be focusing on. Well, scratch that. It shouldn’t be particularly difficult to figure out what they should be working on. And yet, after Tuesday’s debacle against the Cleveland Cavaliers, here is how Mike D’Antoni responded when T.J. Simers, a reporter from the Los Angeles Times, asked why his team was playing so horribly.
"I don't know why, that's a good question.”
Wait, what? The head coach, the guy whose sole responsibility is identifying problems with his group and fixing them, doesn’t know what the problem is? How is that not causing panic within the organization?
If D’Antoni doesn’t know how to fix this team, who does? Kobe Bryant?
"Last year we got beat in the playoffs by transition points and this year it's still an Achilles' heel for us,” Bryant said on Tuesday night. “I don't know if we're too slow of a team and we got to change things up a little bit and play a slower game. I don't know the answer."
Yikes. But at least he has faith in D’Antoni’s run-and-gun offense, right? The defense is a mess, but at least the offensive scheme that this guy was purportedly brought in to implement is going to work out for this squad, right?
"Actually, we're slow as hell,” Bryant said. “I'm one of the fastest guys on the team and I'm like 50."
Over the rest of December L.A. is due to take on the following teams: New York Knicks, Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte Bobcats, Golden State Warriors, Knicks (again), Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers.
Thankfully the Blazers game is going to be played at Staples. Presuming they win that one and beat the Wizards and Bobcats, that’s still only three wins in eight games. That’s not even .500. And even those three wins aren’t locks.
Brace yourselves Lakers fans, this could prove to be a brutal month.
(Kudos Los Angeles Times)