On the heels of a 3 game losing streak and a 9-13 record to show for it, the Lakers are stumbling. Actually if you include the Lakers 0-8 pre-season record they are 9-22 with the roster that was expected to crush teams on their way to the trophy this year.
It’s been rough waters so far this year, and that is with the easiest part of the schedule played so far. The Lakers stand with a 7-6 home record and a 2-7 road record and show no signs of figuring it out anytime soon. The big acquisitions this year were Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Many felt the core of Kobe/Dwight/Pau and Nash would easily roll through the season. The former 2-time MVP nash who has never suffered a serious injury has played 1 game this year since he broke his leg in the 2nd game of the season.
Mike Brown was let go after a 1-4 start to the season and was replaced with Mike D’antoni. Before D’antoni was hired it was widely assumed that bringing back in Phil Jackson would be a formality to the championship puzzle. Lakers management felt with this core that D’antoni could bring “Showtime” back to the Lakers and would be the better fit ultimately.
The odd man out in the new offense has been Pau Gasol. Gasol who has been out the last 6 games because of tendinitis in both of his knees has been made into a jump shooter. Ever since Gasol was brought to the Lakers in 2008 his brilliant post play helped bring the lakers to 3 finals appearances while winning 2 of them. Gasol is most effective as a post player and is now being used the wrong way as a 17 foot jump shooter.
Kobe Bryant, now 34 in his 17th year in the league is averaging nearly 30 points a game in the new offense. Stats say when Bryant scores 30 or more points the Lakers record stands at 1-10. Stats may show 1-10, but the games show Bryant as the only one willing to fight and claw each every possession during every game to do whatever it takes to win the game.
The way the team has been constructed 9-13 is simply a shocker. This Laker team continuosly finds a new way to lose each and every game. Lack of energy,effort,defense you name it. Of course this team wasn’t going to come jumping out of the gate at 22-0 but no one could have expected a struggle like this.
“Im not OK with this. I knew it would be a process but I am not seeing the will and determination that I expect to see. This is one of the most frusterating times in my entire career.” Bryant recently said to ESPN. “Everyone has to dig deep and find that determination inside of them that says we can get this done and we will get this done. Come hell or high water I will do whatever it takes to win ball games and figure this out, because if not then why the hell are we even playing?” Bryant continued.
It’s a long season and Steve Nash and Pau Gasol are both on the shelf. There is 60 games left for this LAker team to hit their stride and peak at the right time. As Kobe said everyone has to look into themselves and dig deep and find the will and determination to pull through this and come out on top.
The title of Phil Jacksons last book read as “A team in search of it’s soul”. It’s obvious Phil Jackson isn’t walking back through the door, so maybe everyone should read the book.
In Kobe Bryant I believe. As for the rest of the ball club they have to believe in themselves first.