GDHQNBA15_2pg-L.A. Lakers

Minn Timberwolves Gameday HQ

WESTERN CONFERENCE PACIFIC DIVISION Los Angeles There is Jeremy Lin at point guard. Kobe Bryant at shooting guard. And then that is where things start to unravel. The small forward would be a backup 2 guard on most teams. The starting power forward is past his prime, while the other five power forwards have not had a prime yet. The starting center, just like his backups, is really a power forward. And the coach is not really a modern NBA head coach anymore. More like a cartoonish drawing of an old-fashioned 20th century head coach. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to your new Los Angeles Lakers, who have transformed themselves from Showtime to Slowtime in no time. DEFENSE These Lakers are not built for defense. Lin can challenge a player on D when he has to. Ronnie Price, a third-stringer, can get up for it too, in limited minutes as third-stringers are supposed to do. Bryant could show you his All-Defense award collection, which would disguise the fact that he has turned into a -1.64 defensive Real Plus- Minus defender in his mid-30s. And so on and so on. These Lakers do not defend. Ed Davis would qualify as the one big who actually is a deterrent in the paint, registering 0.7 blocks in 15.2 minutes per game in Memphis last season, while posting an impressive +1.38 dRPM. But considering he is just replacing Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman, who both posted similar numbers, it’s too much to expect the Lakers improving on last season’s 28th ranking in defensive efficiency (107.9 points allowed per 100 possessions) or last-place ranking in rebounding percentage (45.6 percent). That s a i d , l e t ’s remain optimistic for a second. Carlos Boozer, never known for being a defensive stopper, did learn a thing or two playing for head coach Tom Thibodeau’s renowned defense, and he and his communicative defensive skills could be an asset to the Lakers’ silent film ways. After all, the Bulls aren’t known for being a shot-blocking squad and they still get the job done. They get it done by talking, sliding, taking ballhandlers out the middle, forcing them to the sides and helping out on the sidelines from the weakside when necessary. I f the Lakers can star t developing that type of chemistry, perhaps they’ll be in position to defend better than 28th or rebound better than 30th. OFFENSE Look for the Lakers to really struggle on the offensive end with only two real threats, in attack guards Lin and Bryant. Both know what it takes to play heavy minutes in plenty of games one year whilst going down the next with an injury. Yet here they are together, trying to make Lakers basketball relevant again in a world full of doubters (count us, included). It really will be a steep uphill climb for both. Lin, whose game is patterned after retired preseason teammate Steve Nash, had good runs the last three seasons in Houston and New York, before ultimately becoming a Laker in the last third of his threeyear, $25 million contract. Here, Lin will be asked to deliver much of the offense, even when paired in the same backcourt of one of the NBA’ s most prolific scorers of all-time. Bryant, who is in the first year of a two-year, $48.5 million contract with the Lakers, has a bit longer shelf life with the Lakers, but he too has an uphill battle in coming off a torn Achilles and fractured left knee, all while placing a dead-weight Lakers team on his back. Some think—his former Hall of Fame Coach Phil Jackson, among them—that Bryant’s injuries will force him into more of a playmaker Kobe Bryant Victor Decolongon/Getty Images


Minn Timberwolves Gameday HQ
To see the actual publication please follow the link above