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Nearly a quarter of the way through the condensed NBA season and where are the Lakers at? From the failed attempts to trade for Chris Paul (twice!!), to the sudden exit of Lamar, and then to Kobe going on a scoring outburst, one thing hasn’t changed….the Lakers never fail to get media scrutiny. With a 10-8 record (as of 24th Jan) many subplots exist as The Lakers try to live up to the lofty expectations we fans place on the team. Winning cures everything and it’s amazing how the Laker community goes from one extreme to another. A Derek Fisher game winner is polarized by a 3 game losing streak. (At least we can still enjoy the sight of this video)
From a “fantastic game by player x” to “Lakers need to trade everyone” it’s amazing how passionate Laker fans are. Just check out the forums at LakerGround.net and you will see why!
A few topics to chew the fat on:
New coach, New system
Yes we all hoped it would only take a few games and all would be fine. But realistically, the Lakers are trying to unlearn the triangle and pick up a new system. So it’s not surprising that the Laker offense is sputtering like an old car needing a tune up and oil check! It hasn’t been pretty. No fluidity and whilst Kobe going off for 40 points is great to see, it’s simply not sustainable in the long run. Gasol and Bynum need to learn to play together and the bench players need to work out their roles. Yes the Lakers are still searching for their identity.
Roster balance…the Point Guards
I admire Derek Fisher. What he’s done in the past is amazing. And he still manages to pop up and make the plays in crucial situations. See game v Dallas. His leadership qualities and presence are second to none but Fisher isn’t a penetrator who can get in the lane and create for others, and he has trouble staying in front of quick guards. Steve Blake was doing a better job before he got injured but like Fish he is a spot up shooter and not a creator. I do like rookie Darius Morris and its great he’s getting minutes, but he just needs time to develop. Cant fault his confidence though. Many say if he had stayed in college one more year, he would have been a lottery pick. Here’s hopeing he turns out to be a great Laker!
“I don’t know if he’s prepared, but he’s confident,” said Brown. “He told my lead assistant John Kuester . . . he looked him in his eye and said ‘Kue, I can play.’ He was almost like, ‘Let me remind you guys, I can play the game.’”
So the issue is apart from Kobe there isn’t anybody else who can break down the opposition and either finish or create for others. Losing Lamar meant losing a creator and someone who can set up the big guys in the post. I do think these are the reasons for the inconsistency with Gasol and Bynum. But realistically who can they get that will help without compromising assets as they pursue Dwight Howard and/or Deron Williams?
If Chris Paul were a Laker, you can bet your bottom dollar Dwight would be pushing to come. But this is no longer and there’s been endless chatter about what Bynum/Gasol/$8.5 mill trade exception/draft picks can bring the Lakers. It’s a waiting game at the moment, as the first chip in Howard needs to fall before the ripple effect occurs. That’s why, amidst all the trade rumours, Mitch Kupchak has held on to his assets waiting patiently on Howard. Sure he could make some small trades to help plug some holes (OJ Mayo, Devin Harris, Ramon Sessions & Andre Miller come to mind), but getting the next superstar to play alongside Kobe and carry the torch is the objective. It would be heaven if the Lakers could get Howard and Williams but patience is the key.
Amongst all of the issues, Laker fans will just have to be patient.