Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 12/4/12

To say the Lakers have started off shaky would be an understatement. 0-12 in the preseason followed by a 1-4 start to the regular season sent coach Mike Brown packing. Bernie Bickerstaff lead the Lakers back to .500 at 5-5, but since D’antoni has been on board, the Lakers have again fallen to 8-9. The problems are endless, both on the court and off. The Lakers seem as though they cannot find their rhythm. I still wouldn’t count them out quite yet for 3 reasons. 1. Kobe Bryant Photo Credit: US Presswire This man has won 5 championships with an assortment of pieces. The only consistent piece that has remained throughout all five is himself. Kobe can take over a game at moment’s notice and usually does so. And for those who say Kobe ruins the offense by taking too many poor shots, consider his Field Goal %, 3-PT Field Goal %, and Assists per game: each is higher than his career average. Not only that, but Kobe understands what needs to be done to win. He will call out his teammates (Pau Gasol), call out his coaches, and even call out the front office. Kobe doesn’t care about anything other than his appointment with the jeweler. Kobe may no longer be the greatest player in the game, but he sure is damn good.  2. The system takes time Photo Credit: AP Photo/Kathy Willens One must realize that the Lakers ideal starting five has yet to play together under their current coach. Mike D’antoni is an excellent coach, but to come in during the middle of the season and try to institute a new system is quite challenging. Not only that, but two of the healthy starting five are new guys. The teams that didn’t make big moves this year are also the one’s thriving at the beginning of the season because they know how to play with each other (Memphis, San Antonio). I would not at all be surprised to see the Lakers make the playoffs as a #6 seed and make it to the finals. Their record is not good right now, but they will learn how to play well under their new coach’s system and flourish. 3. Steve Nash is injured via wrapupp.com It might sound pretty obvious, but I would rather have a two-time MVP in my lineup instead of street clothes. Darius Morris and Jodie Meeks are doing a fine job, but there is something about a team when Steve Nash is running it that looks different. Everything seems to click: players are more open, the defense is more active, and the tempo is ideal. Nash will never credit his skills for his success; rather, Nash’s knowledge of the game is what makes him so deadly. He understands the ebb and flow of the offense. Each member of the Lakers will improve substantially when Nash returns Don’t count them out. The Spurs, Grizzlies, and Thunder all look great, but I wouldn’t count the Purple and Gold out yet. The season is young, and many games still remain. -Greenberg

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