It might have been nothing more than a meaningless preseason but last night’s loss to the Clippers revealed much about the Lakers. It is painfully obvious that Kobe Bryant will again have to carry this team on his back.
Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are, without a doubt, the key to competing for a title. Still it is the burden of Bryant to get this team into position to compete.
Last night looked a lot like the Lakers prior to Gasol’s arrival. It was the Kobe show instead of the Lake Show. We were barely three minutes into the preseason and already Kobe was taking highly contested, off-balance shots that found the bottom of the net but revealed a lot of what troubles this team.
Without Bryant both Gasol and Bynum aren’t much more than active bigs that live off table scraps. Gasol seemed hell bent on showing the world he’s shed the soft label. Pau pushed his way through the paint but didn’t create a lot of high percentage looks. As for Bynum, he looks to be in great shape but is still not yet commanding the ball or double teams.
All night long it looked like the Lakers were lost on offense whenever Bryant wasn’t involved. This is a theme that looks likely to remain true. Kobe is going to have to roll back the clock as this could be his most challenging season to date.
Currently the Lakers are on the brink. They were denied the services of Chris Paul only to see him share the same arena. They are currently on the outside looking in on the Dwight Howard lottery. As it stands this Lakers team is searching for an identity because what’s on the roster is faceless.
Bryant is the only player on the roster that makes this team a threat in the West. Gasol and Bynum aren’t playing with a legit point guard. Big men need someone to feed them regularly. Looks like that responsibility will fall to Bryant.
Metta World Peace was once an elite defender. Now that he’s one step closer to being non-existent the burden for perimeter D once again is all on Kobe.
All in all Bryant is almost back to being alone. What help there is on the roster is still dependent on Bryant to initiate everything.
It might have been just one meaningless game but it revealed way too much about the Lakers. This is a team being held together by shoestrings. There is time t o get everyone on the same page but not much of it. This will be a learning- on-the-fly process which means the leaning on Bryant will be heavy.
I hope Kobe’s knee is ready cause he’s going to have to do all the heavy lifting this season.