There really isn’t any big mystery surrounding what it takes to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers. If you’ve got a quick point guard then you’ve already won half the battle. Of course, this is nothing new. The Lake Show has never had a lockdown defender at the point guard position during either of Phil Jackson’s stints in Los Angeles.
Who can forget the desperation move of putting Tyronn Lue on Allen Iverson during the 2001 Finals? If don’t recall that terrible tactic, then this image alone sums up how that matchup went.
Part of PJ’s philosophy has always been to utilize bigger guards in his version of the triangle offense. While that helps the Lakers on offense it also hinders their defense. Thus, no matter how good the perimeter defenders might be chances are their size alone negates the ability to keep smaller sparkplugs in front of them.
This on-going trend has been a common theme during the current three-game skid. From Darren Collison to Mike Conley and Aaron Brooks up next, the Lakers make average guards look great.
Ignoring the elite level PG’s such as Deron Williams, Derrick Rose and the sort, it is the second tier point guards that are playing at an All-Star level when they see the Purple and Gold in their path.
Part of the problem is the less than stellar perimeter defenders the Lakers use to neutralize point guards. Derek Fisher was once a serviceable defender but those foot injuries and age have taken their toll. Steve Blake has never been known for his defense and his foot speed isn’t such that he’ll be winning many races against the Russell Westbrooks of the league. Sasha Vujacic has made a mark as a defensive pest but if he were a true lockdown defender he wouldn’t be buried at the end of the bench every night.
Off the bench, Shannon Brown perhaps provides the best bet at slowing the competition. But being that Shannon is getting just 18 minutes a night it’s not like his D is going to make a huge difference over the course of a 48 minute contest.
While defending quick point guards is one issue it is compounded when you consider what is waiting for them once they turn the corner.
Without the defensive presence of Andrew Bynum there is an open invitation to simply go right to the hoop. Pau Gasol has the height but not the prowess to defend the rim. Just see Darren Collison dropping a layup right in Pau’s grill this past Sunday as Exhibit A.
In order to defend against the speed demons of the league, the Lakers need to communicate more and pay attention to their defensive rotations. Another problem is that once a guard does penetrate, thus forcing another Laker to step up, suddenly either a miss-match or an open shot is created.
All of these problems are fixable with a little more focus and a lot more effort. And therein lies the easiest way to defeat the Lake Show.
Simply put, if you out-hustle the Lakers and catch them on an off-night, your chances of winning increase. The two-time Champs haven’t been giving a title holder’s effort during this losing streak. And that just might be the biggest reason why the Lakers are mired in a listless three game quagmire.
Tags: Aaron Brooks Allen Iverson Andrew Bynum Darren Collison Derek Fisher Deron Williams Derrick Rose Mike Conley Pau Gasol Phil Jackson Russell Westbrook Sasha Vujacic Shannon Brown Steve Blake Tyronn Lue