When Mitch Kupchak and Dr. Jerry Buss decided to put together this year’s star-filled Los Angeles Lakers team which included Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to play alongside Kobe Bryant, Meta-World-Peace, and Pau Gasol, in their minds they were creating a formula to beat the defending NBA Champions Miami Heat.
Every NBA fan including me bought into the hype surrounding this team—and boy were we ever more wrong about a franchise. After starting the season a dismal 1-12 (including 0-8 in the pre-season) they fired Coach Mike Brown making him the fall guy. Shortly after firing Brown the Lakers hired the highly touted Mike D' Antoni—since his hiring there hasn't been much change with this team.
I stand corrected, about the biggest changes post D'Antoni’s hiring are, the Lakers are a more disgruntled ball club; they don't trust their coach; and are very close to being labeled the biggest bust in NBA History.
Here is the dilemma with the Lakers. The season is at its mid-way point and the Team is a paltry 16-21 and currently sits in the 11th spot in the Western Conference. The reality of this dilemma is the Lakers are not going anywhere this season. To make the playoffs, as an 8th seed, they will have to win 29 of their remaining 37 games. (While not impossible—I'll say it’s more of a “hell-no!” not going to happen—improbable feat.)
The Lakers are no longer interesting to watch. There is no chemistry with this team—as one observer puts it “you cannot throw [a bunch of] All-Stars together and expect excellence especially when one player is selfish by nature.” Frustrations have started to mount with this ball club. Dwight Howard is now complaining about not getting enough touches. Normally I would call out “Dwightmare” as a whiner and cry-baby but in this case he is right.
At the beginning of the season the Lakers Organization added two legitimate Hall of Famers (Steve Nash and Dwight Howard) and Kobe still has not adjusted his game to accommodate these two additions—the guy still wants to take 30 shots a game.
To call Pau Gasol a disappointment this season is an understatement. Gasol has not done anything to silence the critics who have labeled him “soft” a.k.a. “cotton candy.” It’s as if he has loss all self-confidence. Coach Mike D' Antoni has had to bench him on several occasions when the games went down to the wire due to lack of production.
Despite Kobe's selfishness, Gasol disappointing play; as well as the fact that the Lakers are in complete disarray, the brunt of the blame rest squarely on the shoulders of Head Coach Mike D' Antoni for his team lack of production. D'Antoni's coaching style is all about offense (lots of quick jump-shots, pick and rolls, and fast breaks) with little or no defense. His coaching style has been criticized by teammates including the outspoken Kobe Bryant stating that there is little appeal to pushing the tempo especially since he has a roster fill with older players. On a ball club with two All-Star big men (Gasol and Howard), the ball rarely goes into the post for them to take advantage of opposing teams’ inferior Bigs.
With a plethora of issues this Laker team is facing, it is near improbable that they will make the postseason—and if they don't—I stand corrected, when they don’t make the playoffs, this year’s Los Angeles Lakers team will go down as the biggest Bust in NBA History.
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