If the Lakers need a new sponsor maybe the makers of the HurryCane® should be getting a call about right now!
Showtime has turned into Rehab Time as the Lakers have suffered through a rough start that has included a decidely unsuccessful coaching change. Mike D’Antoni was brought in with grumblings and those grumblings have turned into a loud chorus as the Lakers have been unable to find their footing. Even though they are only the 4th oldest team in the association, they seem to carry their age much worse than their elders (Knicks,Heat, and Clippers). The team boasts the leagues highest average salary ($6.7 M) and is certainly not getting very good bang for their buck. D’Antoni’s style of play has not fit in with the make up of this team and that includes it’s too biggest names, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.
Kobe is leading the league in scoring at 30.5 but has taken 119 more shots (726 total) than any player in the NBA while taking 367 more shots than any other Laker!!! Metta World Peace has taken the 2nd most shots (359) and I am guessing that was not in the Lakers game plan when adding Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in the off-season. The Black Mamba, in his 16th year, has certainly altered his game in the same manner as the G.O.A.T. Michael Jordan did towards the end. He can still score but backing his way to turn around jumpers is not the blue print of D’Antoni’s high paced offense. Bryant’s part in the offense is very similiar to Carmelo’s under the same coach, in that it is not going to work! The black hole mentality is not suited to the run and gun style of offense that D’Antoni was so successful with in Phoenix under Nash’s leadership.
Despite Kobe’s “experienced” legs, the team had high hopes with Howard and Nash coming aboard but it has been an utter disaster. Howard, despite playing the first 33 games, has not been able to make the difference that a perceived NBA franchise player should as the team has started 15-18 and sitting in 11 place in the Western Conference. The team will get a chance to improve it’s lot without Howard as he is now sidelined indefintely with a torn labrum. This injury, though I am sure real, is on the heels of a “disagreement” with Bryant that was very public. Howard is known for a very weak stomach when it comes to dealing with controversy and I have my doubts that he will be eager to return. While the addition of Nash was also slowed by an injury, he has now played 9 games and is averaging nearly a double double at 9 assts and 10pts per game but at 38 he is a liabilty on the defensive end. With the Lakers path to the NBA Finals littered with the likes of Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, being able to stop the opponents 1 guard will be critical. Then we have the issues with the big Frenchman! Pau Gasol has been on the outs with the team for the last 2 seasons but now he seems to be on the outs of the offense. D’Antoni needs a 3pt shooting wingman not a 7 footer pretending to be a three point shooter. Despite my early thoughts that Howard would allow Gasol to be more effective than playing with the Andrew Bynum Experiment, he has found himself a source of ridicule. Now Gasol joins Howard on the bench with a concussion, but so far his biggest headache has been the team that doesn’t want him and can’t get rid of him!
We have been told wait for Nash, now we will be told wait until Howard and Gasol return. The real question is when they return will Mike D’Antoni still be running the show and will Kobe still be the only one shooting? Plus, anytime Metta World Peace has been out of the negative news more than any big name on your team then there must be big problems!