Remember when the Lakers’ big problem was Mike Brown so they fired him and instantly became a title contender? Wait no. What I meant to say was, remember when the Lakers decided to hire Phil Jackson because he would make them a title contender? That’s not right either. OK try this — remember when the Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni and instantly righted their ship? Farts, no. Remember when getting Steve Nash and Pau Gasol healthy was the key to the Lakers rising to the top of the Western Conference? Also inaccurate. Dag, this is turning in to “I hope Baron Davis gets healthy soon” territory for the Lakers, but Robert Sacre is no Jeremy Lin.
Basically, it’s a yikes festival over in Los Angeles. And the worst thing is the players are kind of already giving up on the season. From the Los Angeles Times:
“I think three or four weeks ago, people would have said, ‘Oh, it will get better,’ ” Nash said. “Right now, I definitely don’t think there’s a guarantee it will, so the only remedy is to continue to work hard and give yourself a chance for it to get better.” [...]
“I obviously think with time — and that might mean through the summer — we can get better,” Nash said, “but for this season it’s definitely going to be a challenge to turn this around, to find the chemistry and cohesion, to find a way for the pieces to work together, to a find a way to get back in transition defense better.
“There are a number of things we have to try to improve on to get better, but the one thing we can’t accept is to take our foot off the gas and accept things. We have to continue to fight.”
For as much as Nash is saying things like “We have to continue to fight” he’s saying more things like “I definitely don’t think there’s a guarantee [the Lakers] will get better” and that they might need a summer to get their team straight. I don’t want to say he’s given up on the season, but it sounds like he’s just about ready to chalk this year up as a loss and get better in the summer. When he’ll be 39.
As it turns out, acquiring a bunch of future Hall of Famers isn’t the easiest way to a title. Just ask Kobe.
“We were walking out of the shoot-around [Tuesday] and we just kind of looked at each other,” guard Kobe Bryant said. “I said to him, ‘We thought it was going to be easier this year for us.’ “
That conversation almost assuredly never happened (at least not like that because this isn’t a Saturday night NBC drama), but I think you get the point. As most everyone assumed, adding two of the greatest players of their generation to a team that already featured two of the greatest players of their generation seemed like a sure-fire thing. And while there were certainly concerns about injuries (yep) and defense (yep), most people wouldn’t have assumed the Lakers would be out of the playoffs at the turn of the year.
But hey, summer is coming soon and it looks like the Lakers might have quite a bit of time to figure things out. Plus, as we all know, basketball gets way easier the older you get. Everything’s going to be fine, I’m sure.