We knew this season was going to be a process for the Lake Show. The preseason made that beyond obvious. Common sense made it logical.
You don’t just take Kobe Bryant, add Steve Nash and mix in Dwight Howard with the result being instant title. It takes time to get the right recipe for a championship. You don’t toss that bun in the microwave. The banner loaf has to be baked.
The new look Lakers 99-91 debut loss to Dallas best illustrates how half-baked the new Princeton system is thus far. It’s going to take time for the new pieces to get in place and the offense to find its pace.
On the one hand the Lakers did plenty of things well. Shooting 49% from the field should equal wins for most every NBA team. Getting 42 and 23 from DH12 and Pau Gasol is supposed to assure you’ll be in contention come the fourth quarter of any game. Having a questionable KB24 shrug off a foot injury to score 22 on 14 shots damn near promises a W on any day of the week.
On the other hand the Lakers did an awful lot of terrible too. Shooting 39% from the foul line including an ugly 3 of 14 from Howard will guarantee a loss on any night. Allowing an undersized Mavs team push around the Laker bigs in the paint led to a 15-point deficit in the fourth. Watching Darren Collison outscore Nash 17 to 7 yet match him in dimes at 4 to 4 is way too reminiscent of last season.
Give the Mavs credit. They played with plenty of effort, energy and execution proving they’re no easy out even with Dirk out. Rick Carlisle had his team fired up and focused.
Still many of the problems that began in the preseason have carried over to the regular season.
The Lakers are still sloppy in their offensive execution. 13 turnovers aren’t terrible but it’s enough to keep any opponent alive in an otherwise winnable contest. There are still defensive lapses that lead to all-too-easy buckets. There is almost no bench production as Dallas did L.A. 37-17 in the battle of the second squads. Jordan Hill is by far the most valued member of the bench but he’s not to be relied on for points.
Worst of all is that Nash was supposed to guarantee there were no more MIA performances from a Lakers lead guard. Aside from opening his Lakers account with a three, Nash shot the ball with no confidence and was hardly a factor in distributing the rock. It was Ramon Sessions-esque.
To be sure this was a mixed night that has got to elicit some mixed feelings towards the Lake Show. The process is going to have to play itself out but there is already some doubt.