Blogtable: Lakers Still A Threat?




Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


Week 5: Still-Stumbling Lakers | Hawks vs. Clippers | Dissing D-Wade


With a quarter of the season gone, are the Lakers still a title contender?

Steve Aschburner: There still is lots of season and lots of Steve Nash left. Look at it this way: Last winter, the New York Knicks were 8-15 in a lockout-shortened schedule when Jeremy Lin exploded and salvaged 2012-13 for them. Injury snuffed what was left of Linsanity on March 24, yet New York went 12-5 over the final month and grabbed the East’s No. 7 seed before losing to eventual-champion Miami. So I’m supposed to believe that Nash, a Hall of Famer-to-be reunited with his old coach and with weapons such as Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard at his disposal, can’t revive L.A. in similar fashion? I understand the concerns about age, chemistry and most of all defense but nah, I’m not hitting the panic button. Yet.

Fran Blinebury: We might at be at the quarter pole in the season, but the last time I checked, Steve Nash has played only two games and Pau Gasol is now on the shelf with those knees that have been ailing since training camp. I’d suggest that before writing off the Lakers completely, we give them a chance to put their full complement of healthy players on the court in Mike D’Antoni‘s system. April is still a long way off.

Jeff Caplan: The Lake Show certainly isn’t making it easy to keep it on the air. If this thing were a TV show it’d be up for early cancellation, especially after Tuesday’s disgraceful showing at Cleveland, one of the league’s worst home teams. Not to mention Sunday’s dismal home loss to Utah, which is one of the worst road teams. But, let the episodes play out. At some point, and maybe it was Tuesday, this thing has to bottom out and the long climb out will begin. Let Steve Nash get back, allow Pau to get his head and knees on tight and let’s see what happens. With each mounting loss it gets tougher, but, alas, it’s still early. It won’t be forever, but it is now.

Scott Howard-Cooper: While I see the problems, I also see a lot of time left on the schedule. Are the Lakers close to where they need to be to be a contender? Obviously not. They have the same chances right now that Dwight Howard does of leading the league in free-throw accuracy. But they can get there. (The Lakers can, not Howard at the line.) Any team where Pau Gasol is the fourth-best player has a chance to make a run.

John Schuhmann: Well, we haven’t reached the trade deadline yet, so I can’t count them out entirely. But as currently constructed, I don’t think they’re better than the Thunder, Spurs, Clippers or Grizzlies. Their perimeter defense is just awful and that’s not a problem that Steve Nash (or Mike D’Antoni, really) can fix. And as I’ve said before, they don’t have the 3-point shooting needed to run D’Antoni’s offense so well that they can make up for the defensive shortcomings.

Sekou Smith: As brutal as they have been at times this season, TIME is the one thing the Lakers have on their side. Their title-contending status will depend largely on the humongous gamble they are making on Steve Nash swooping in and rescuing this current mess of a team we’ve observed in his absence. What makes me think the Lakers still have a shot to be a title contender is the fact that a true measure of a team with those sorts of aspirations isn’t taken before the All-Star break. All the Lakers have to do is survive until then, stay in the playoff mix. No one is winning a title by Christmas or even Valentine’s Day. So I’m preaching patience, once again, until at least 2013 (calendar year).

35 Comments

  1. ddddd says:

    It is the fit. Round peg meet square hole. Mike Speedy Gonzales D’Antoni meet the NBA’s equivalent of the AARP-almost. Pick one or the other. The lakers cannot have their cake and eat it too. You have Phil Jackson, Rudy T, Phil again, and Mike Brown for a little bit run a slowdown methodical offense forever and expect the opposite to happen with many of the same players and types of players in Phil’s system only older now trying to play the Mike D’Antoni way? Not gonna happen!

    Pick one or the other. Nash and Kobe can do about any system. MWP, and Gasol can’t. D12 is young enough to add that dimension to his game, but not coming off that injury he has going on and not right away. So for this year there are 3 choices if the Lakers want to be successful……….. Trade players that don’t fit for players that do fit….. Kick D’Antoni’s butt into changing his system into a post friendly system….. or Get rid of Mike D’Antoni for a slower or adaptable coach.

    Pick one.. square or round. You can’t have both so don’t try to force it.

  2. JimD54 says:

    Dwight need to quit being so Hollywood and just play center, but he’s one of those players that was so tall he didn’t have to learn how to play the game. Cleveland and NY Players went down the lane on LA this week like I was playing center and this guy thinks he’s superman, that’s why I like low profile centers, Perkins, Marc Gasol, Tyson Chandler, guys not running around calling themselves Superman, but guys that show up every night with their lunch pail and hard hat ready to play center, no high profile TV commercials no $300.00 Gymshoes, just show up and play center, Dwight is seven feet tall for crying out loud, how hard could it be for a man that big to play center, quit shooting commercials and shoot free throws, nobody ever won a NBA championship for shooting commercials….

  3. The Angry Buddhist says:

    Where are all the pundits now who called Duwight Howard the best center in the league? He’s obviously just a steroid freak in a cape and has no idea how to play basketball. Tyson Chandler kicked his butt last night. Even with a healthy Gasol and Nash’s genius, Howard will just clog up the lane, miss free throws and over commit on defense. Howard is not even the list of top twenty all time NBA centers. somewhere in the Elmore Smith, Eldon Campbell, Marvin Webster realm

  4. thesniper321 says:

    yeah lakers are still a threat ……. For kingerdarten basketball

  5. Vash says:

    Defense. They don’t have that one. Back in ’09 and ’10, they’re the most defensive team in the West. They even defeat Boston in Game 7 of 2010 finals because of intense defense. Now, they play like tissue paper on the court. NO DEFENSE WHATSOEVER.

  6. Eli Odell J. says:

    no way, comeon now, this aint their year, they’ll rise 4-6(!!!) in the standings and maybe make the playoffs, but they aint gonna be no champions, hell naw, next year theyll be top 5, maybe #1, but not 2012-13, if they were championship level team they wouldnt let emselves get to 9-12 with their soft schedule, no matter what

  7. JimD54 says:

    We still don’t know what the problem is with the Lakers, but the one thing we DO know, is that the problem was not Mike Brown………

  8. Laker forever says:

    trade gasol for kevin love…

  9. dattebayo says:

    I think Mike Brown would have kinda shamed them into playing harder on defense and playing better defense as a team. He is a defensive minded coach and they never lived up to that this season. He might have lost hat locker room with his style of coaching, but with D’Antoni nothing has changed. The only thing they do different now is not running the Princeton offense and please tell me, is the current (non)system better than the Princeton? Clearly not. Also the Princeton would have featured Pau much better and it looked like Kobe a real good time playing the wing and playing within the offense instead of trying to score on his own. I don’t think they can change a lot under D’Antoni until Nash comes back, let’s hope that happens sooner rather than later.

    Oh, and I think Mike D’Antoni deserves something equivalent to the Golden Raspberry Award. I mean nothing he has done so far has worked out. He scrutinized Pau, so he’s rather resting his knees instead of trying to win games. He makes Dwight Howard literally look like an average player, only post ups and no pick and rolls. When Big Baby Glen Davis comes into Staples and leaves with a better statsline than Howard, there is something wrong. Oh and last but not least, how can you give everyone the green light to shoot every perimeter shot they think they can make? Going down the stretch you don’t let Artest shoot threes with 15 seconds still on the shotclock.

  10. HeatKingsofEast says:

    as expected. most of the nba writers are playing safe. don’t want to write an article realistically on the lakers. since the lakers had the most fans in the nba. lol. they said before let them have at least 20 games, or before 1st holiday. that’s all done. and they are 9-13. with road games ahead. which i think they will only win on wizards and bobcats. so basically they will become 11-19. lol. they can win on portland to make it 12-18. that’s the best of it. with the warriors rolling, and i don’t see denver not making the playoffs, the only chopping block would be utah. but utah is also winning. and another thing is that, houston, portland, and minnesota are at the bottom 8, 9-12 with lakers being 12th. lol. before saying title contender, just hope for the lakers to make it to the playoffs. be honest nba writers. at least jeff caplan the new writer gives somehow an honest opinion. hypocrites. geez!

  11. NBAfan says:

    right this very moment HELL NO…

    but at any moment in time, as long as Kobe, Dwight, Nash, Pau, and Metta are in this team…they will always have the POTENTIAL to be a championship team….

    Even if Tiger Woods misses a putt, he is still Tiger Woods. Even if the Lakers are below .500, they are still the Lakers…

  12. [...] NewsKevin Durant, Damian Lillard top Sporting News' NBA first quarter awardsOregonLive.comBlogtable: Lakers Still A Threat? « NBA.com | Hang Time BlogNBA.com (blog)SB Nation -San Jose Mercury Newsall 1,721 news [...]

  13. Willy says:

    I agree with John Schooo! They are scrambling now and it’s not going to get any easier even with Gasahol and Smashed back! It’s over, make a trade again.

  14. Since dantoni is offense nd mike brown is getn paid, lakers should just make him the defensive coordinator

  15. daniel paul says:

    WE NEED PHIL JACKSON BACK RIGHT NOW , OUR L.A WILL BE OUT OF PLAYOFFS

  16. Robert says:

    I think the Lakers will have to make some trades. They can’t win with the roster they have now. Pau has to go, Metta has to go. Anyone besides Kobe, Dwight, and Nash are basically trade fodder at this point, in my opinion. The problem with the situation is that nobody in the league is going to want to give up anything significant for anybody on the Lakers, except for Gasol, who happens to be injured at the moment. Who wants to give up a star player for an old and ailing Pau Gasol who has all but lost his game, let alone for the rest of the A-team there in LA? Their best bet is to go for a stretch four along the lines of Danillo Gallinari, along with some young, athletic role players. Ironically enough, Lamar Odom is having the last laugh now. He would’ve been a perfect fit playing that stretch four. With Dwight having the option to leave next year, the real question is not whether to trade Gasol and co., but whether to break it down and trade the big man? Maybe Horford or Smith would be within reach? Maybe Noah and/or Boozer? I think LA needs to give Denver a call and offer Gasol and a package for Gallinari and others, first things first.

  17. mookie says:

    What noobs don’t get, specifically about tonight’s game, is that even though Kolby was efficient for once, that’s not the proper way to run an offense. That’s why it doesn’t matter if it’s the Princeton, the Triangle, or any other set or read-react. The problem, is that Kolby hijacks the offense for his own selfish purpose. Efficient or not. Glad to live in an era where CP3 and Bron are showing the world how to play this game properly. Magic is the greatest Laker.

    • NBAfan says:

      There are many ways to play basketball…there are many ways to run a team…at the end of the day, you use the talent you have in the team…Kobe is Kobe…he isn’t pretending to be someone else…he’s a scorer and he is scoring at a high rate and shooting at a high percentage….is it still his fault the Laker team is struggling?

      He is doing his job and his job is a difficult one…what are the other 11 guys on the team doing? What’s the coach doing? If Lebron and CP3 play “the right way”, then how come Lebron had to team up with 2 other stars to win a ring, and how come CP3 has never even reached the finals…and oh yeah, the clippers are pretty stacked too…

      If you don’t understand that you just have to win with what you have, then you are the noob…

      • Francisco says:

        WHATTTT, YOU SAID IT , HE IS ONLY AN SCORER, THAT IS THE PROBLEM, HE IS SCORING ABOVE HIS AVERAGES WHICH ARE NOT BAD FOR A SHOOTING GUARD, BUT HE IS AN INCOMPLETE PLAYER WHO NEEDS A BUNCH OF GOOD PLAYERS AROUND HIM TO WIN , THEN WHEN THAT HAPPENS HE GETS THE CREDIT FOR SCORING MORE.WHERE IS THE LEADER?PLEASE DO NOT COMPARE HIM TO LEBRON WHO HAS BEEN THE MOST EFFICIENT PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE 5 YEARS IN A ROAD(CHECK STATS), BY THE WAY LEBRON IS A BETTER SCORER ALSO
        27.6 VS 25

  18. I don’t really buy the “Lakers don’t have 3 point shooting to match D’Antoni’s system” argument. They’re top 5 in the league in accuracy right now. Kobe is hitting nearly 40%, Meeks is heating up, Jamison is heating up, Nash is one of the best shooters in history, Blake is a career 38% 3 point shooter. There’s enough shooting to make it work.

    It’s the defense that is horrific.

  19. Charlie says:

    What I find the most disturbing is Kobe and Mike D’s reaction in their post game. Neither one of them know why the Lakers can’t perform and defend. I love the Lakers, but if your star player and your coach simply don’t know…we are in trouble

  20. Gentledee says:

    please look at what D’Antoni did to New York Knicks…now look at the Knicks with a defensive coach…please FIRE D’ANTONI NOW…

  21. Clips82 says:

    LMAO at 1:08 on the video!

  22. charles says:

    they need better guards.

  23. [...] Mike D’Antoni, Pau Gasol, Scott Howard Cooper, Sekou Smith, Steve Aschburner, Steve Nash / No Comments [...]

  24. [...] Blogtable: Lakers Still A Threat?NBA.com (blog)Each week, we'll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below. Week 5: Still-Stumbling Lakers | Hawks vs. Clippers | Dissing D …Report: Lakers Considering Delonte WestBleacher ReportIan Thomsen>NBA MAILBAGSI.comMagic: Pau Gasol being used wrongESPNSportingNews.com -HoopsWorld -Lakers Nationall 1,024 news articles » [...]

  25. [...] Blogtable: Lakers Still A Threat? « NBA.com | Hang Time BlogNBA.com (blog)Each week, we'll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below. Week 5: Still-Stumbling Lakers | Hawks vs. Clippers | Dissing D …Report: Lakers Considering Delonte WestBleacher ReportMagic: Pau Gasol being used wrongESPNSean Deveney Sporting NewsSportingNews.comSI.com -HoopsWorld -Lakers Nationall 1,022 news articles » [...]

  26. Justin says:

    Kobe>>>>>>>>>>>LeBron

  27. [...] Blogtable: Lakers Still A Threat?NBA.com (blog)Each week, we'll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below. Week 5: Still-Stumbling Lakers | Hawks vs. Clippers | Dissing D …Report: Lakers Considering Delonte WestBleacher ReportIan Thomsen>NBA MAILBAGSI.comMagic: Pau Gasol being used wrongESPNSportingNews.com -FOXSports.com -Yahoo! Sports (blog)all 1,032 news articles » [...]

  28. Lee Prince says:

    I am a big time laker fan but, they are not going to make any runs this season, steve nash is not going to make any differance, it’s the coaching,no defense no one is buying into D’antoni on that team, it’s just a big smoke screen going on up there right now, nash is not going to make a differance due to the bigest problem they having this year is defence making stops and nash is not a defense stopper and d’antoni is not a defense coach

  29. Sea Pea says:

    Gotta play defense. Nash can’t help them with that. They might increase their scoring average with Nash but eventually you gotta stop somebody.

  30. E-Dubbz says:

    We should set a goal of holding teams to 97 to 98 points a game, holding teams to around 24 points a quarter and never give up more than 27 in a quarter. Focus on defense and let the offense happen but nothing but defense should our focus. And 30 minutes is enough time for practicing defense. If we’re loosing games on the defensive end then practice defense until they get it right

  31. dirk45 says:

    I disagree. They can start a run and will most probably get to the playoffs but they would need a miracle to even get to the CF. With Gasol, Nash and Howard each laboring with injuries (thus missing the time to build up the physis needed), with Kobe clogging too many minutes and not a single reliable bench player, with a defense especially at point that just asks to be slashed apart and a seat that will probably end in the lower half of the board they’d need to beat at least two out of Spurs, OKC and Clippers on foreign territory.
    Maybe if Duncan, Ginobili, Paul and Durant are hurt during the playoffs.