The Los Angeles Lakers have officially ended the preseason winless. What exactly does this mean, if anyhthing at all?
Well, the typical response you'll get from a Lakers fan right about now sounds like, "It's a process man, we'll get it together. It's preseason, they weren't even trying because they knew it didn't matter," or something along those lines.
Well, here's the thing. The same problems that consistenly persisted during the preseason will still factor in when the real deal tips off next week. As a matter of fact, the problems will be magnified. Just hear me out.
What's L.A.'s biggest issue? That would have to be depth. Let's begin with the fact that once the starters need a breather they've got nobody coming off the bench who can create his own shot.
I get it, Jodie Meeks is a good shooter, Antwan Jamison averaged 13 points a game last year, and Jordan Hill's motor is always running. But, that's nowhere near the caliber bench it takes in order to compete for a championship, especially in a league continuing to improve across the field.
Before someone flips out, let me give credit where credit is due. The Lakers arguably have the best starting line-up in the league, individual talent wise. Steve Nash is still one of the best at setting up his teammates. Kobe Bryant is feening for another ring. Metta World Peace looks to be in great shape. Pau Gasol is one of the most formidable big men in the league, and of course, with Dwight Howard anchoring this team on both ends of the floor, the Lakers will be no joke.
But hold on, let's think about this a little bit more in depth. Nash and Kobe are getting up there. They can't play overbearing minutes game in and game out if you want them to be healthy come June, and the thing is, we've already established they lack depth across the board. That's a big problem.
As much as L.A may have said seeding doesn't matter in the past, it does more than ever now in as deep a Western Conference the NBA has ever seen.
In the Lakers' 8 preseason games they were often times late getting back on defense resulting in easy fast break points for their opposition. The offense consistently looked stagnant. Dwight found himself in foul trouble because of the poor defense played on the perimeter. These are not issues that can be dealt with easily.
Of course, as an NBA fanatic I understand it's a long season, which is indeed a process. But it may be a little bit too soon to believe the hype in L.A. At least as far as purple and gold go.
It is very rare for a super team to come together and win it all their first year, which is bad news for guys like Nash and Bryant whose windows are closing very quickly.
The biggest issues the Lakers may have to deal with is time, something this team does not have a lot of.