The Los Angeles Lakers are really average right now. They boast an 8-9 record. They are tied for eighth place in the Western Conference with three other teams. Their starting and backup point guards are both out, with no estimated return date in sight. And, most importantly, Mike D’Antoni has gone 2-4 in his last six games with a very possible loss against the Houston Rockets on the agenda this Tuesday.
Going 1-5 to start the year got Mike Brown fired.
As noted last week, one of the biggest problems with the Lakers right now is that it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with them. Statistically, they are not as bad as they have looked thus far this season. They are ranked fifth in offensive efficiency. They are ranked ninth in defensive efficiency. They are sixth in the in the league in points per game. They are third in rebounds.
A team that is in the top third of the league in all of those categories should not be at below .500 right now – particularly not with the extremely easy schedule that the Lakers have had to date. The fact that they are at that mark right now is forcing D’Antoni to answer a lot of questions that he, quite frankly, doesn’t have the answers to.
Which is why you’re hearing him place so much emphasis on Steve Nash’s return – he literally doesn’t know how else this team will improve.
"Our record won't be as good. We've got to get him (Nash) back," said D'Antoni to reporters recently (via the Los Angeles Times). "His effect is going to be big. If we have these problems when he's out there, then we need to sit down and examine some stuff."
In that same session, he acknowledged that the Lakers’ non-wins and losses numbers paint a much a much less dreary picture than their 8-9 mark does.
"Within the numbers there's some good stuff, defensively mostly, that in the long haul will make us contenders," he said. "In the short while our offense is anemic right now. It's not very good. The ball doesn't move. We don't do a lot of things we should be doing."
Are the Lakers putting way too much faith into the return and stability of a 38-year-old point guard who will turn 39 in two months? Yes. Does that appear to be their only plan for improvement right now? Yes.
Buckle up Lakers fans, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
(Kudos Los Angeles Times)