LOS ANGELES LAKERS
PACE #18 93.3
OFFENSE: #07 107.9
DEFENSE: #06 101.3
The last season of Phil Jackson as coach didn’t go very well for him and for the Lakers as they were humiliated and swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs.
I won’t waste a lot of time with the Lakers last season other than saying that they were one of the few teams that were in the top 10 in both defensive and offensive efficiency and as an introduction for this season, the Lakers are coming from a season in which they were “incredible healthy”: Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, Metta World Piece, Lamar Odom and even Kobe Bryant played all 82 games of the regular season!!!
A lineup Fisher – Bryant – Metta World Piece – Odom – Gasol was by far the most used lineup of all teams of the league last season and this shouldn’t be a surprise because they all played all games of the season! I can’t imagine the same happening this season, as no way a team can go two seasons in a row without any injury on their key players.
Unless the Lakers front office pulls some miracle, the Lakers offseason was a complete disaster from the start. Their need for a PG is a long time issue because Fisher simply hasn’t the legs to compete against the young guns anymore, so the Lakers tried to get Chris Paul and apparently they didn’t/don’t have a plan B. Going for this season with Fisher and Steve Blake is a considerable risk for a supposed contending team.
The Lakers had arguably the best frontline of the league in Gasol, Bynum and Odom and they decided to let go Odom for the NBA Champs Dallas Mavericks for basically….money! Don’t forget that Bynum is suspended for the first 5 games of the regular season and his injury history is very long and this season is full of b2b games and bad physical spots, so the Lakers have an incredible thin frontcourt. Josh McRoberts and Troy Smith aren’t bad players, but when we compare them to Lamar Odom, well we just can’t compare them because it’s unfair.
Kobe Bryant didn’t have a good season for his standards, as his multiple injuries slowed him down all season long. However even though Bryant had pretty good players as teammates that didn’t stop him to have the highest usage rate since the Lakers acquired Gasol! In fact, only Monta Ellis attempted more field goals per game than Kobe Bryant and that’s was obscene not only because the Lakers don’t need Bryant to play like he was in 2005 but also because he was “injured” and obviously his athletic ability wasn’t the same. Fortunately, it looks like Bryant is healthy for this season and the Lakers will need him to carry the team more than ever.
After a great start of the season in which he was clearly one of the best players in the league, Pau Gasol looked completely exhausted at the end of the season and in the playoffs he really couldn’t do anything. Gasol is still one of the best big players of the league but fatigue could be once again a problem and I’ve already mentioned that the Lakers don’t have good depth on the frontcourt.
Mike Brown is the new Head Coach and likely the “Triangle Offense” is gone for the Lakers. These are good news for Metta World Peace because he never realize how to play in that scheme so in a more traditional system, Metta World Peace can be a big factor for this season. Brown is a good defensive coach, as his Cavaliers team were always good on D but on the offensive end, he is little creative.
This season has everything to be a disaster for the Lakers. They won’t have such an injury-free season like they had last season and in a league that is thriven by great point guards who are explosive and ultra athletic, the Lakers have now the slowest rotation of the league in this position. Their premier size advantage is now gone with the departure of Lamar Odom and finally, they also have a new head coach that will have to adjust on the fly. There are just too many issues for them to consider the Lakers as a top contender for the title, unless something happens…