The Los Angeles Lakers have won eight of their last 11 games and appear to be hitting some sort of a stride.
After a historically disastrous start to the season, this team made it no secret that the goal was to head into the All-Star break with a bit of momentum and then ride that momentum into the playoffs. Well, with a victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, L.A. can make some progress in that regard.
Still, before getting too crazy about what has happened over the past couple of weeks, it’s important to put those eight wins and three losses in context. The victories came against the Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Bobcats and Minnesota Timberwolves. (And the OKC Thunder, for what it’s worth.) The losses came against the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. This group isn’t exactly rolling through elite level competition yet.
Baby steps, though.
Given the way that injuries have slowed the Lakers down, it would make sense for the team to go out and tinker with the roster a bit. Perhaps bring in a big on the cheap. According to the L.A. Daily News, the Lakers could use their $1.88 million Jordan Hill disabled players exception to bring in the likes of Louis Amundson or Kenyon Martin. ESPN notes that, while L.A. has expressed virtually no desire in signing someone to a short deal, Greg Oden is also available.
The Los Angeles Times proposed perhaps the most interesting of all the available options: using the Hill trade exception to bring in DeJuan Blair of the San Antonio Spurs or Ivan Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks.
While the Lakers’ last few victories have been a nice change of pace, it’s important to recognize them for what they are: mostly ugly wins over not-so-good ball clubs. And with Pau Gasol being out for the foreseeable future, Mitch Kupchak would be smart to shore up the front court.
"We need to play guys who know the system," D'Antoni told reporters recently. "We could bring somebody in to bring them on the bench for a while. But that doesn't make any sense for us either.
"We're in a strange situation."
Given the sporadic way D’Antoni has tinkered with the lineup in recent months, can anyone really say with confidence that he would definitely not play a new acquisition?
Of course not.