During the blockbuster free agency and off season trades, the Lakers acquired Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Mitch Kupchak kept Gasol and created a mini dream team. The Lakers walked into the season with arguably the best two guard, best center, and the most efficient point guard. A 40, 50, 90 percent point guard in the league while keeping a top 3 power forward.
As of January 07 2013, the Lakers have a winning percentage of .455%, 3 games below .500. 11th place in the Western Conference out of playoff contention… They are hemorrhaging. Gasol has been diagnosed with a concussion and out indefinitely. Furthermore, an MRI has revealed Dwight is diagnosed with a torn labrum to add to his healing back injury. The only bright spot naturally is Kobe playing at quality clip. Kobe is averaging 30.5 points, 4.8 assist, 5.2 rebounds, on 48.1 percent shooting on 22 attempts per game while shooting 35.9 from the three point line. And, 84.7% from the charity stripe. Kobe is being Kobe! The masses will complain that Kobe is a shot-jacker, but the statistics show that he is efficient.
So, what is the problem with the Lakers?
Secondly, The Lakers lack chemistry and a bench.
Thirdly, Mike D’Antoni was the wrong choice to steer the ship – no defensive philosophy
Fourthly,. The Lakers are “old”.
Kobe recently commented that “the team is old”. NBA Injuries are a crapshoot, nobody has a crystal ball and can predict from day to day who will be healthy and or injured.
Yes, the Lakers are plagued with injuries. One will argue that everyone in the NBA is injured. Ask the Chicago Bulls how they feel. They are still producing. Injuries are ultimately neutralized by creating a bench.
I equate the Lakers troubles are equivalent to building a home. The CHEMISTRY takes time. Many black men find a women they love or hitch up with but before you build the home you have to define the roles: Is there mutual respect and trust? Who is doing the dishes? Who is cooking? Who is disciplining the Kids? How do you communicate effectively with each other? Are you comprising and sacrificing for the greater team good? Who is making the critical leadership decisions, are they mutual decisions? Are you spiritually and mentally yoked? All these variables contribute to building, CHEMISTRY, relationship and continuity? I digressed…
Back to the Lakers…
Regardless, their performance is inexcusable considering the talent, IQ and the personal dominance within the players’s respective careers. While Kupchak brought all the ingredients in the pot in the off-season similar to building a home. He did not envision who will cook and stir the pot. Leadership, direction, sacrifice, chemistry, teamwork and selflessness are pivotal in the NBA to win a championship and conversely in life.
On paper they looked devastating and championship worthy but they lack CHEMISTRY and execution and a bench. The Super Friends in Miami have demonstrated it takes 2 years to develop Chemistry. The NBA front office schedulers are relentless. Ask Gregg Popovich, the grind of the 82 game season takes no prisoners. The Lakers lack a bench to spell the Superstars or mitigate risk. No large sized backup point guard to spell Nash’s defense woes, no proper back up in the post. Who is doing the grunt work, gathering the loose 50/50 balls. Who spells Kobe? The Lakers are old and the choice of D’Antoni was questionable considering his bias to offense and his dependence on the point guard direction. And, the word “defensive” is foreign to him. D’Antoni historically does not protect opposing teams pick and rolls, fades and penetration dribbles into the post. How does D’Antoni reduce the risk of and protect his slow footed defensive rotations. Jack Nicholson is sitting court side and telling D’Antoni “you cannot handle the truth!”.
The truth is…
According to Merriam- Webster Dictionary CHEMISTRY is defined beyond physical chemistry as
a : a strong mutual attraction, attachment, or sympathy
LAKERS HAVE NONE!
b : interaction between people working together; specifically : such interaction when harmonious or effective
LAKERS HAVE NONE!
This leaves me with one more conversational question when Kobe’s contract is up will he retire, play in Italy or play with Melo for the Knicks?