Ask any member of the Los Angeles Lakers what’s plaguing them during this hideous start to a supposed championship chasing season and to a man every one of them will say the same thing. The effort given isn’t good enough. The communication on defense is lacking. The many turnovers are troubling.
Identifying the problem is a start. Solving it is another headache for which there is no aspirin in sight.
The frustrations are mounting and we’ve still got to get through the holidays. Mike D’Antoni even began to lose his cool during last night’s postgame presser in Cleveland.
What is it going to take to get this team back on track?
Waiting for Steve Nash to return is foolish. He alone cannot and will not solve all of these issues. Same goes for Pau Gasol who still has no defined role in D’Antoni’s ill-fitting system. Not to mention there is no telling how far down the Western Conference ladder the Lakers will have slid once Nash is back.
The good news is that it’s the same problems every time the Lake Show takes the court. That’s also the bad news because nothing is being done to fix the issues.
Every game reveals what my worst fears were all along. Mike D’Antoni is not the man for the job nor is he going to be able to reverse these trends. D’Antoni appears unwilling to change gears in hopes of finding a better system to fit his personnel. Many of the Lakers defensive woes are tied to their offensive philosophy.
Long shots lead to long rebounds which in turn lead to easy breakouts for the opposition. The Lakers seem content to watch the action instead of getting back to defend it. This too is largely tied to the D’Antoni system as getting the ball back up court in a hurry is mandatory. The older Lakers would rather conserve energy by staying at one end of the court knowing if they sprint back on defense they’ll be doing the same moments later on offense.
Obviously the players deserve the burden of blame for lackluster effort. But it’s on D’Antoni to inspire belief and to make adjustments as necessary to better suit his team.
Until every man in the locker room has a clearly defined role with definitive expectations nothing will change. What we’re seeing right now, for worse or for the absolute worse, is the 2012-13 version of the Lake Show. Perhaps it is we the fans that should be making the adjustment. Our expectations were clearly far too high and by listening to the same things being said by the players after each loss it is pretty evident that what we see is what we’re going to get.