The Los Angeles Lakers are not a very good basketball team right now. They are 9-12 on the year. They have lost to unimpressive squads like the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic. They managed to squander what originally looked like very advantageous early season schedule. Worst of all, though, they’ve been bad in way that is hard to decipher.
Generally when teams are bad, you can point to one or more factors and explain why said team has underperformed. Maybe it lacks star power. Maybe it is noticeably weak offensively. Maybe it is noticeably weak defensively. The Lakers don’t fit that mold, though. They have star power. They are sixth in the NBA in offensive efficiency. They are 15th in defensive efficiency. They are seventh in points per game. Second in rebounding. None of those stats translate to a team that can’t even crack .500.
And because nobody knows what precisely ails this group, Lakers brass has essentially resorted to making drastic changes. A 1-4 start? Okay, replace the coach. Seven losses in 10 games? Okay, put Pau Gasol on the trading block. (Quietly.) The reason that all of these super reactionary things are being done is because nobody has any legitimate substantive solutions regarding how to fix the Lakers.
The team’s new head coach, Mike D’Antoni is no better. For weeks he has preached that the return of Steve Nash would mark a new day. He essentially insisted that the Lakers were destined to be mediocre until they got their 38-year-old point guard back. Never mind the fact that this team is obviously struggling defensively (over the last two weeks they’ve fallen out of the top 10 in defensive efficiency) – a problem that Nash will only exacerbate. Never mind that Nash can’t fix Dwight Howard’s terrible free throw shooting. Or D’Antoni’s inability to make reasonably obvious in-game adjustments, for that matter.
Nash was supposedly going to be the magic elixir that would solve every problem in Tinseltown.
Thankfully, over the last couple of days, D’Antoni has woken up to reality. Sort of
"Oh, no, it won't cure everything. But it will help," D'Antoni said of Nash's return (via Los Angeles Times).
"But at that point, if that doesn't cure some stuff, then we need to have some heart-to-hearts and we need to understand what's going on because if he can't run it, then we've got some problems."
The Lakers are embarking on a big road trip this week. If they win more than half of their games – then maybe the return of Nash will mean something. If they don’t, then this team is done – regardless of who is running the point.
(Kudos Los Angeles Times)