The LA Lakers have been the big shots from the Western conference for several seasons. But things have rapidly taken a downward swing into a wasteland in 2012 early into the NBA season.
And with the up and coming Clippers playing very good ball, sitting atop the Pacific division at this point, and playing much better than the big daddy’s from the other LA court. Question arises who is the paramount team in California?
And of course, Oklahoma City has their dynamic team, have made big changes losing their knock down shooting guard, James Harden, who is playing sound in Houston, putting up 24/gm. Looking at everything, the Thunder are the kings in the Western conference, and the Lakers don’t matchup well with them. Durant lights them up when playing them and Westbrook additionally.
One would think these alterations would make things a bit easier for the Lakers in their conference, with the young and talented Thunder having to deal with some drastic changes as well. Yet they continue to struggle.
After signing an aging 38 year old Steve Nash and picking up the glorified C Dwight Howard to be their big man in the middle, the Western conference was supposed to be set up to be theirs to rule.
A fraction of the issues has been the Lakers have struggled awfully on the road, at present with a 2-6 record. Losing to careworn teams like Portland and Sacramento. Struggling to play defense, allowing 103/game. With Dwight in the middle, they still allow 11 offensive rebounds/game to opponents, which after Howards signing should have been fewer.
Getting a bunch of stars together is a development and could take some time. It’s never going to be an overnight success. And now the lack of winning is getting the team to be ill-tempered at one another as well. Kobe Bryant, who has constantly been vocal to teammates when they played inadequate to his expectations, is getting jawed at by new teammate Dwight Howard. And Kobe didn’t like it. This could be a very troublesome situation the Lakers have gotten themselves into.
Losing Pau Gasol and him not giving his 18/game doesn’t help matters any, with his tendinitis in his knees. So awaiting his return is suspicious. And who knows what kind of shape he will be in, or how long it could take for him to become productive again? He is a key element to the team, scoring and getting his 10 boards a night in his 6 yr career in LA, no matter how many want to jump on him for being soft.
The Lakers were built up this off season as the “be all-end all” team that had put together the final piece of what was going to be a historic run across the NBA. Instead they are dealing with team chemistry issues, and poor play. Players on the team need to play diverse roles and work together as a unit, as the much detested Miami Heat had done.
A team has to be genuinely unselfish to put together a group of superstars who are accustomed to being the scoring option 1 on their teams, to becoming another scoring alternative for a team. Many people bashed the Heat for what they did, and there really is no right or wrong answer to how a team ought to be built to win titles. Some favor a team to draft and built a team ground up, some others who have the cash and pick up players and their massive contracts and move them to their teams. Kobe needs to become less selfish, and become more of a veteran team player, give up the 22 shots a night and 27+ ppg, grow to be a leader, not just that scoring threat.
Written by Tony Karpinski for VegasTopDogs.com