ESPN analyst Dave McMenamin called the Lakers “slow-learning.” I predicted the Lakers would be the best competition for the Heat this year, so am I as slow-learning as these Lakers when by thinking that I am still correct?
Probably, but let’s take a look at why they are struggling.
It’s worth comparing them to the team I thought they could beat. Think of Kobe Bryant as Dwyane Wade (the franchise player that the franchise used to build around). Think of Dwight Howard as Lebron James (the incoming superstar that is arguably one of the two best players in the NBA). Then think of Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace as a sort of Chris Bosh combination. Steve Nash is a Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers.
These comparisons seem unbalanced because the only thing that is really missing for nearly all of them is Laker defense. When you put them all together, the Lakers’ roles, positional differences aside, are offensive. Pau Gasol should be a 20-10 kind of player, and yet he isn’t. Instead, he’s a defensive marshmallow. Steve Nash used to be a good defender, but then again, so did Kobe. Age got to those guys. They fell off.
The biggest problem is not in this group of players, though. This compilation, though messy, is impressive. When looking for the problem, just look up. No, higher than Dwight. Look at the expensive box seats where the GM and owner sit.
The biggest problem is in the higher-ups in the organization. They are desperate, and it’s showing. Come on, firing Mike Brown after five games? That’s ridiculous. His firing set a record for the earliest into any season. Five games. Then they had an interim coach, Bernie Bickerstaff. He was a bit of a time waster. In came Mike D’Antoni… to the rescue? With him came much doubt, stemming from his poor ending in New York, where he resigned due to a bad relationship with Carmelo Anthony.
But how can they expect to win games if they’ve had three coaches in 18 games? That is ridiculous. I think nine or ten is respectable. These guys spent the summer trying to find their roles in Mike Brown’s system, only to have that system replaced by D’Antoni’s. They must have known that they were going to fire Brown; otherwise they would have given him a chance. Why, then, did they wait so long? The answer seems to be the same answer to another common question. Why is Mark Sanchez still a starting quarterback?
Money, money, monayyy!
Contracts bound them to see if they couldn’t just make it work. However, with hindsight of 20/20, the Lakers are likely wishing that they saw Mike Brown as a sunken cost in the offseason instead of this season.
With D’Antoni’s system, the Lakers’ metaphorical ship supposedly righted. However, D’Antoni does not have a good history of bringing out defensive intensity in all-stars. Perhaps Dwight “Superman” Howard can bring out the best in this squad. Kobe, too, has been working to demarshmallowize Pau Gasol, who plays whipping horse of the Lakers.
I predict they lose to the Thunder in the playoffs. The preview of that game is tonight. But If they beat the Thunder tonight, it could turn their season around.