by Ryan Meehan
By now, all of us have developed our own little theories as to why the Lakers are not living up to expectations this season. People blame the decision to have Mike D’Antoni. They blame Dwight Howard for being overrated and not playing up to his potential. There are so many things wrong with the Lakers with the current roster they have that it’s hard to blame just one. It’s also inaccurate to do, as each of those compontents have given us the sub-average level of basketball we’re seeing from a team that was assembled by someone whom we can almost clearly assume knows better.
Defenders of the gold and purple will tell you that Steve Nash missing is a key component, and they are full of it. Of course Nash brings more ball movement, but what can he bring on the defensive end? Let’s discuss that for a minute.
Say for the case of this hypothetical argument that Nash was back and killing it on defense. He was averaging four steals a game and he was getting the assists that he has made a career out of…
Do you really think that would inspire some of the other players to hustle harder?
The answer is more than likely a resounding “no”. Which is a pretty insane thing to think, when you consider that the second any Mike D’Antoni team all of a sudden grows extra limbs the split second that they get the ball back. But it’s true – there seems to be almost no focus on getting set and preventing very easy baskets.
After Tuesday’s loss to the Cavaliers, for the first time I could actually really see the wheels start to fall of the Lakers. Kobe is frustrated, D’Antoni got real mad at a member of the press this evening, and Howard has no answers because let’s face it…he’s the Will Smith of the NBA. Kobe is very confused because he’s still not sure why they decided to bring a coach who can’t do anything for him in the twilight of his career and he’s finally starting to make his feelings public. D’Antoni claims to have been “real pissed off” by that reporter asking him if he has spent enough time working on defense in practice. But why would he be so upset about it if he had in fact worked on it?
And obviously they didn’t work on it enough. The highlight reel looked like a step by step manual of “How Not to Play Defense” (Complete with foreword by Carmelo Anthony, who also played for Mike D’Antoni…seeing a theme here?) It’s funny how so much thought went into the whole “triangle offense” conversation as soon as Mike Brown got fired. I think the Lakers have implemented something I like to call the “Hopeless Pentagon” defense. Basically how it works is all five guys slowly trot down the court after missing a rebound, then they stare into space while guys ten years younger just blow right by them. The home crowd laughs their asses off and everybody goes home happy.
I’m sure I had a more thorough point when I started this, but I guess it upsets me that there are still fans and “analysts” out there who seem to think that just because this is early season NBA that the Los Angeles Lakers shouldn’t panic. I wholeheartedly disagree from every angle. They should have both feet, both hands, and every moustache in the upper crust of the organization on the panic button at all times until this team proves that they have the desire to turn things around. We already know they have the ability, that’s not the issue here. The issue is that all of these things are indicative of a greater problem here, which is the fact that it is possible this All Time, All Star team they have assembled is very close towards falling off of a mountain that they won’t be able to climb again. Things are in dire straits right now, and it looks like they may have paid all of that money for nothing.
It may be a lame explanation to blame everyone and everything in sight. But if it all sticks and you’re not wrong, sometimes there’s just nowhere else to go