Nov 3, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Jordan Hill (27) grabs a rebound between Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap (4) and Atlanta Hawks small forward Kyle Korver (26) at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers week 1 observations


Oct 29, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Nick Young (0) is charged with an offensive foul as the bench reacts in the first half of the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

 

With the 2013-14 NBA season still in it’s infancy, here are a few observations about the Los Angeles Lakers after 1 week of play;

 

 

November 1, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) controls the ball against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Lakers do not have a clear-cut go to number 1 option on offense. You can make the case for Pau Gasol, but let’s be honest, asking him to be the top option isn’t fair to him. He hasn’t been in that role since his Memphis days, and in recent years, has gone down to the number 4 option some nights (including last year coming off the bench a few times). Gasol is absolutely best served as a second option, but until Kobe Bryant comes back, the offense goes through Gasol, for better or worse, which leads us to number 2…

 

 

Oct 30, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) behind the bench during the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 125-94. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

2. The Lakers really miss Kobe Bryant. We all knew it was going to happen, life without the Mamba, but we never wanted to see the day. While there is more of a flow on offense, and more of a team game being played, when it comes to crunch time, as demonstrated vs. SA & ATL, no one is demanding the ball. This has of course allowed other players to step up, but it would be nice if the Lakers had someone out there who WANTED the ball in those situations. A couple plays the guys really looked lost without a clear-cut leader.

3. Something else we knew was coming this year, but still hurts to see it unfold; the Lakers will be hard-fought to be a .500 team. Yes I know, they are missing their franchise player, but I can’t believe that a 35 year old Kobe Bryant coming off major surgery is going to carry this team above the .500 mark when he comes back. .500 is now a very realistic goal to achieve. On the bright side, that was a running theme last year when they had a healthy Bryant, Gasol, Dwight Coward (yeah, I went there), and healthy Steve Nash. Speaking of Nash…

 

Oct 25, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash (10) during a break in play against the Utah Jazz during the third quarter at Honda Center. The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Utah Jazz 111-106. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

 

4. It really hurts to say this, because I’ve loved Nash as much as anyone over the years, but it looks like his productive days are over. His 40 year old body is rapidly breaking down (by his own admission this week). He starts when he can, but by no means is playing starters’ minutes. I’m upset Lakers fans never got the Steve Nash we were hoping for 2 years ago when the Lakers traded for him, but I feel worse for Nash as he is such a generally good guy, that his last playing days might end this way, a shell of his former self (assuming he retires this summer).

5. True to the form of any Mike D’Antoni offense, the Lakers are shooting 3′s, and a whole lot of them. As the old saying goes, “you live by the 3, you die by it”. On night when the 3′s are going down, the Lakers have a fighting chance. When they aren’t, an ugly game turns uglier.

 

 

6. Jordan Hill is a rebounding machine. I love his hustle on the boards.

The Lakers ended week 1 with a 2-2 record. There’s that .500 mark. Week 2 brings with it a difficult road trip, with stops in DAL, HOU, and NO. Here’s hoping the .500 mark is still in sight .

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