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.
Do you see any signs that the Lakers can shake this thing and be OK?
Steve Aschburner: Here are the signs I see for why the Lakers still can make the playoffs (though I would have bet big money three months ago that I never would have typed that sentence this season). The signs are written in block letters, in Forum blue and gold, across the backs of several jerseys. They read: BRYANT. And NASH. And HOWARD. And a few more, frankly. C’mon, the math still is achievable because, if the Lakers start to play a little better, they’ll start moving up while someone – Minnesota? Portland? Hey, Golden State? – starts moving down. Going 30-18 the rest of the way gets them to 45-37, which should do it. I’m not ready to bet against 30-18 given the names on those jerseys.
Fran Blinebury: The holiday season may be over, but just like Jacob Marley in “A Christmas Carol,” the Lakers as a contender — and maybe even as a playoff team — are dead, dead, deader than a doornail.
Jeff Caplan: The Lakers are headed to the lottery, and the crazy thing now is that’s not an outlandish statement. Once L.A. finishes this week — without Dwight Howard and possibly Pau Gasol — and moves on to San Antonio Wednesday and back to Tinseltown for the OKC Thunder on Friday, the Lakers will be 15-21. This club is lost, and after giving L.A. the benefit of the doubt for two months, the sands of the hour glass are running thin.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Can they get into the playoffs? Sure. But shake this thing enough to position themselves for a long postseason run? No. At the very least, the Lakers of today, with this approach and this system that doesn’t fit, will be underdogs in every series. And that’s a strange perspective. But I see signs they can get to the playoffs, even if the lack of faith in some of the teams ahead of them in the standings is one of the indicators.
Sekou Smith: Not without my glasses. Seriously, the Lakers have done nothing to convince me that we should just assume that they’ll get things turned around eventually. They don’t have that kind of time anymore. That’s the beauty of the season’s schedule clock. It waits for no one and it could care less about how much hype a team has received. And honestly, the Lakers have to identify “this thing” before they can shake it. They have a new set of problems seemingly every week. Be it injuries, rumored locker room drama, coaching issues or what have you, they cannot seem to get it together on the court. Steve Nash was supposed to fix all things when he returned and for one game, on Christmas against the Knicks, you saw a glimpse of the Lakers that were supposed to shake up the league. But it came and went just like that. It’s Code Red time in L.A.