The biggest and most noticeable problem with this year’s Los Angeles Lakers is the lack of chemistry between all involved. In theory, this grouping of future Hall of Famers looks a lot better than what the Miami Heat put together a few seasons ago. Whereas that combination of extremely talented players featured two guys who essentially did the same thing, in L.A.’s case, everyone should theoretically have their own part to play.
Obviously things haven’t exactly gone according to plan, though.
Dwight Howard is dealing with injuries and has been at less than 100 percent all year. Steve Nash got hurt two games into the season and couldn’t develop any sort of on-the-court relationship with the guys until about a month and change ago. Pau Gasol was unceremoniously benched after Mike D’Antoni came to terms with the fact that he didn’t know how to utilize his ultra talented Spanish big man.
There has just been a general lack of cohesiveness with this year’s team, and nobody has really been able to put their finger on the cause.
We may have finally found the cause. Howard is apparently the guy that is messing everything up.
“What's wrong with you if the Greatest Teammate Ever is fed up with you?” asked OC Register writer Kevin Ding in a recent column. The Greatest Teammate Ever being referenced there is Nash, of course, a guy who spent the better part of his career making other guys rich by padding their stat totals.
Why was Nash fed up with Howard? Ding broke down a particularly troubling sequence from this week’s showdown between the Lakers and Miami Heat.
“Nash drove and was trapped on the baseline by two Miami defenders, Udonis Haslem about to force Nash out of bounds and Mario Chalmers also there between Nash and Howard, who stood deep in the paint. The other three Lakers had the floor spaced the way Mike D'Antoni wants, all behind the 3-point arc, so no other Heat player could get to Howard.
“Howard had time to stand there, stare at Nash and the two Heat players, hold his arms up and wave them. So Howard's eyes and arms were working. Tragically, his legs and feet were not.Are we going to chalk this up to after effects from his April back surgery, too?”
Here is the problem with Nash and Howard not being on the same page – nobody saw it coming. Everyone sort of expected that Kobe Bryant and Howard would bump heads. Nobody bumps heads with Nash. That’s why L.A. has the 39-year-old signed to a longer deal than Bryant. They envisioned him throwing alley-oops to Howard after No. 24 called it quits.
Suddenly that picture is in question. If the Lakers don’t turn things around this year, team brass may come to the realization that they need to re-tool the roster in some way to increase chemistry. And when you have two guys who butt heads, the best way to increase chemistry is to get rid of one of them.
There is a market out there for both, however, Nash obviously has less value at this point in his career.
All that being said, there is still time before the season ends. Nash and Howard could still get on the same page before it’s all said and done. If they don’t, though, it wouldn’t be all that shocking to see one of them in a different uniform next year.