Blogtable: The Lakers’ Answer




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 14: Has it clicked for the Lakers? | A healthy star who’s struggling | Clips without CP3


Have the Lakers found the answer? What will convince you?

Steve Aschburner: Oh sure. The answer was right in front of everyone’s nose, too — Kobe Bryant the playmaker setting up Steve Nash the shooter. Can this new normal possibly continue? Can Bryant radically transform himself as a player at age 34 — and be happy in the role? Can he average 13 assists a game the rest of the way, while Nash totals 12 every three games and still justifies his price tag and defense? Winning cures all, but I’m staying skeptical until they wrap up this seven-game road stretch they’re facing. If they take five of ‘em, then I’m impressed.

Fran Blinebury: The temptation is to say yes, because it’s what we’ve expected of the Lakers all along. But can Kobe Bryant keep averaging a triple-double the rest of the way? Can Dwight Howard keep his childish emotions in check and continue to play like the foundational center they need? The answers will likely come very soon. The calendar is working heavily against the Lakers now and anything less than a 5-2 record on the seven-game road trip that starts tonight in Phoenix will mean time is running out.

Jeff Caplan: I don’t know if the Lakers have found the answer, but they have found something and it’s quite remarkable. On a dime, Kobe Bryant has changed who he is. He’s a master facilitator now with 39 assists in his last three games. He’s working defenses and finding the open man, who then often finds another open man for an open shot. Whatever is going on here, at least it’s something positive and you can see it in the Lakers’ play. Kobe’s teammates actually look excited. Can it last with Kobe essentially becoming Steve Nash and Nash becoming a spot-up shooter and Pau Gasol unhappy coming off the bench and D’Antoni apparently swallowing whole large chunks of his offensive system? Who knows, but it sure is another delicious layer to this ridiculous drama.

Scott Howard-Cooper: A longer streak than three games would convince me, especially when the last of the three is letting New Orleans off the mat in the fourth quarter in Los Angeles. Winning on the road would convince me, which is especially relevant since the Lakers begin a seven-game trip Wednesday. Any roster with that much talent and experience gets a certain benefit of the doubt that they are very capable of finding a rhythm. But after this much bad, it will take time to convince a lot of skeptics they are suddenly surrounded by good.

John Schuhmann: They’ve looked good at home and they’ve looked good offensively in the last three games. Now let’s see what they can do on the road and if they can get their act together defensively. Starting with this seven-game trip that tips off in Phoenix on Wednesday, they have five more road games than home games remaining. And it’s the defensive end of the floor that will really determine if they can make the run needed to get into the playoffs. So I’ll be convinced (that they can get the seventh or eight seed and lose in five games to the Spurs or Thunder) if they go at least 5-2 on this trip and if they can play top-10 defense over a 10-game stretch.

Sekou Smith: They have found what folks in the over-the-counter medicine business refer to as “something that provides temporary relief” for whatever ails them. I’m not prepared to call it the “answer.” They have to climb all the way back from their sub-.500 existence and immerse themselves fully in the Western Conference playoff chase before I upgrade their condition fully. I must admit, this three-game streak has been impressive. But what will convince me that the Lakers have officially found an answer is if you ask this question again after the All-Star break and the Lakers are still playing this way.

43 Comments

  1. G-man says:

    Just one aspect I´ve been thinking of.
    They/ Kobe changed the way he plays for 3 games now, I think it is very interesting to see him beeing able to contibute to the team in other ways then scoring! Seriously I have big respect for this guy, but I have been wondering why everyone keeps saying it´s the answer for the Lakers problems. I think first of all the teams they met were not prepared for a absolutly different gameplan by the Lakers. Those Teams didnt change their respective gameplan and just maybe lost (big) to the Lakers.
    I want to see them keep playing like this for let´s just say 10 games and than we should reevaluate the situation they´re in!
    Now that said, I dont think Nash is a good fit right now, I dont think he likes his new role.
    For me I would love to see Nash in a Mavs uniform again, he would fit in well and Collison would fit in well with the Lakers too. Just a thought!

  2. dattebayo says:

    Laker Nation, the Lakers record stands at 20-26 and from on, the Lakers play the losses. If they lose only 10 more games, they will have a record pf 46-36 and make the playoffs as the 8th seed. If they lose 11-12 games, they will probably miss the playoffs and they have zero picks for the upcoming draft. At least 15 games remain against better teams (Heat, Pacers, Clippers, Thunder,…), so I wouldn’t bet on the purple and gold :D

  3. Heath says:

    awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww poor little Dwight does your little shoulder hurt again????? too freakin bad!!!! you’re a loser and I’m sorry to say it but you get what u deserve loser!!!!! Here’s to the lakers losing all their games the rest of the season

  4. dylan19 says:

    Just got the ANSWER where LA lost to SUN and Howard injure right arm…The Best Answer is to FIRE D’Antoni….Find another solid coach…Sorry Kobe & LA for this year…

  5. Jenova says:

    7-0??? gonna watch it 0-7 @ mga ulul

  6. Chuck Shannon says:

    It’s too early to tell if the Lakers have turned the corner. The one game that mattered out of the three games played is the OKC Thunder game. Now we want ot see consistency. Let’s see what happens in ten games when savvy NBA teams begin to scout and dissect their game with Kobe and Nash reversing roles. Let’s see how they handle back to back games playing in the new roles reversal, on the road, with calls not going their way. Let’s see how the bench blends in with this new found way of playing with Pau coming off the bench. But even more importantly, let’s see if they can climb out of that steep hole they’ve dug themselves to make that elusive seventh or eighth seed in the Western conference. If they do all that, then we can be sure that our beloved Lakers, talented and aged as they are, would have not only turned the corner, but would be dreaded by any higher echelon team facing them in the playoffs; for they will now be a sleeping giant, full awakened, poised and ready to reclaim her place and restore order in the basketball universe. Go Lakers.

  7. Luis says:

    Please, we got a great team and not the right coach. He just don’t play defense. And Pau has to be on the floor the last minutes.

  8. Rich says:

    cpcheung what is your obsession with Jeremy Lin? Nobody calls him Linsanity anymore because he isn’t very good. D’Antoni has done nothing for Kobe. You don’t know much about the NBA my friend.

  9. bryan says:

    Lakers needs to change the coach some defensive coach that can utilize their advantage their bigs Pau and Howard

  10. mga ulul says:

    they will not go 5-2, they will go 7-0 on the next 7 road games, just watch out…

  11. ko0kie says:

    the west is too tough for the weak and old lakers. it will be a tough battle for that 7 and 8 seed with houston, utah, portland, la, dallas and maybe even minnesota… i think the current first 6 teams incl. denver are locks..

  12. ImJusSayin says:

    Smells like Bernie, Looks Like Bernie but Mike D is still head coach on the sideline. Bickerstaff had let the players work together to figure each other out and it was working. It seems if Nash’s comments are true somebody else on the Lakers team figured that out. Maybe PJ gave out a little advise as a wedding present.

  13. HMH says:

    They’ve been searching for an “answer” all season. Something tells me that after a few more games, they’ll be back to the drawing board…..

  14. theholyspectator says:

    too early to call it a comeback for lakers..they did in the early part of the season have a 6 or 7 game win streak befoire they started losing again ….whose to say it wont go that way again? sure they have changed up some of the roles drastically but at the end of the day can they continue to play wit this new approach? kobes a scorer and deep down he will eventually get back to that role..when they play the heat which is coming up on their road trip..and they are down 12 or 14 end of the 3rd beginning of the 4th, will kobe continue to dish out dimes or will he start shootin and makin shots to win the game? i dont see this style lasting too long..

  15. kevin nicholls INDIANAPOLIS says:

    When they play half court and let kobe make plays for others instead of shoot first there going to win and if they keep up this style of offense and defense they will make the playoffs, the only concern for me is the bench if they make the playoffs. Kobe is playing like a all around player and he should great players make other players around them better.

  16. LUGA KA says:

    Until when kobe will play out of his comfort zone??/(scoring) When things get a little tough he will be on his true nature… especially on the road…. Against Spurs,OKC,Warriors…. and still anticipating against the HEAT…. Remember DWade over scored him… With much higher f/g% After allstar break we’re back to DRAMA land again…

  17. Reality says:

    not a kobe fan and have never been but if he keeps playing like this he may earn another fan.

    Great Basketball Kobe, Bravo!

  18. Haywood says:

    Ive been telling all Lakers fans for so long who would say, “Trade gasol” “Its howards fault, his back isnt 100%” “world peace cant shoot” “Nash is too old” “Its the coach, fire him and hire phil” blah blah blah….blaming everyone BUT Kobe., that is was KOBE’s FAULT. He shot way too much and tried to take the game over as an individual. Ive been telling all Lakers fans for so long who would say, “Trade gasol” “Its howards fault, his back isnt 100%” “world peace cant shoot” “Nash is too old” “Its the coach, fire him and hire phil” blah blah blah….blaming everyone BUT Kobe., that is was KOBE’s FAULT. He shot way too much and tried to take the game over as an individual.

  19. killuabest says:

    too early to say good things to the coach..Go lakers!!

  20. cpcheung says:

    China’s CBA will love to hire Coach D’Antoni who can create Linsanity and reinvigorate Kobe for an unselfish team spirit and true leadership, like Jeremy Lin, when he retires from Lakers!

  21. cpcheung says:

    It is crystal clear that when Kobe listens to and follows the instruction of the Coach D’Antoni to transform him from a notorious ball hog into a reinvigorated, team-oriented ball-distributor, Lakers can then maximize the equal contributions of each superstars and rookies to win. That is the key to open up and unlocked the multiplication of every team member’s skills. It is the first change of Kobe’s traditional style and only Coach D’Antoni can change him, no one else. All credits should be given to the Coach D’Antoni who could teach Jeremy Lin (a rookie last year with 38 points) to beat Kobe last season with Knicks’ game in New York. As one of the best students of Coach D’Antoni, Jeremy Lin continues to beat Kobe every time they met this year. However, now it will be different once Kobe started to obey and learn from the Coach D’Antoni. Nash is another example of the brilliant product of teaching and training by D’Antoni’s strategy which I do not have to elaborate and prove to those Lakers fans who have been blaming Coach D’Antoni for those losses when Kobe did not listen to the coach. How many more outstanding examples do we need to prove it to you that Coach D’Antoni is a great coach? Nash. Jeremy Lin, and now Kobe….

    • Mister 215 says:

      So what you’re saying is that D’Antoni is responsible for Kobe playing the way he played. A coach needs players that can do certain things. D’Antoni said that Nash was the answer when he wasn’t. He has never took his team to the finals. He coaches offense. Kobe has 5 rings playing the way that he plays. When he feels that he should do something different then he will. The coach doesn’t even run HIS offense anymore. So how can he get credit for what Kobe is doing. D’Antoni say Nash as the fix…. Remember that!!!

      • Josh says:

        Completely agree with you. Kobe is doing this because he changed himself. D’Antoni did not change nothing. He is just sitting there and letting Kobe change the team. Kobe is figuring out what MJ had to figure out. When you dont have players as good as you and shooters as good as you, you have to get them open. If he continues this the lakers will make the play offs no doubt.

    • Patty says:

      KOBE DOES NOT HAVE TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THIS BAD COACH FOR THE LAKERS,

      ANTONI SHOULD BE FIRED RIGHT NOW.

  22. Kamote says:

    The problem that they have is still on defense. Sure they could win some games, but taking Kobe out of his comfort zone (which is scoring and Nash out of his (which is orchestrating the team) would definitely take its toll. Teams would eventually figure them out, and its still up to them to stop opponents from scoring. Its LAL, so there’s a hype already with them winning 3 in a row. But it’s still half of the season, and I won’t be surprised if something goes wrong again. But hey, its LAL, the media would just salivate on every turn.

    • KC says:

      Actually, I think that having Kobe as a distributor is less exhausting than asking him to score 30 points every game. He’s able to use this spare energy to improve the Laker’s perimeter defense, which frankly is quite bad otherwise. If the Lakers could somehow trade for / draft a spot-up shooter that also happens to be a good defender, they would be in better shape.

    • Kamote says:

      Yup. But old habits die hard. Once defenses gets tougher and opposing teams focuses more on this new LAL scheme, Kobe and Nash will revert back to what theyve been doing their whole careers. D’Antoni should figure out on working on his player’s strengths, not making them do what pleases him. Everything will take its toll.

  23. Kings#4 says:

    I think they are on the up, they have looked really great these last few games. The question mark is mostly Pau, he needs to put his ego away and realize that he if he wants his minutes back he has to earn them and not rely on his reputation, even with some of the strange benchings of him where D’antoni is wrong IMO he needs to accept it and not complain, this team needs to stand together and drama could kill that, Pau needs to put winning first over himself.

  24. Game Time says:

    Kobe has not has a single triple double in the last three games. Yes he ALMOST did, but writing that he’s averaging one is just bad. My take on the Lakers are that they might be able to get right at .500 but there still a good chance they miss playoffs. This is not a system I can see Kobe being happy with, or Nash either. The only one that wins is Dwight and the bench. Oh yeah, Gasol isn’t going to keep playing the content role and probably will break and request a trade.

    • Game Time says:

      *has not had

    • LakersWillWin says:

      Kobe is happy with winning. They are winning, he has 30K points. I think he’ll accept his role. He really doesn’t have much left to prove. The guy is 17 years in the league and led the 1/2 the season with a 30ppg average. Is that really just not impressive to people?

      • Game Time says:

        No it really isn’t impressive to avg 30pts on a losing team. It just means you take all the shots. Should I be impressed that he takes more shots? Also you’re wrong. Kobe (and the majority of his fans) all want him to prove he can get 6 rings to equal Jordan. Personally I would have liked to see him prove he can actually lead a team.

  25. Lakers R just Fine says:

    So far so good, is looking pretty good, we need to take one game at it time and it be easy, the season started Friday against Utah,

  26. cpcheung says:

    It is crystal clear that when Kobe listens to and follows the instruction of the Coach D’Antoni to transform him from a notorious ball hog into a reinvigorated, team-oriented ball-distributor, Lakers can then maximize the equal contributions of each superstars and rookies to win. That is the key to open up and unlocked the multiplication of every team member’s skills. It is the first change of Kobe’s traditional style and only Coach D’Antoni can change him, no one else. All credits should be given to the Coach D’Antoni who could teach Jeremy Lin (a rookie last year with 38 points) to beat Kobe last season with Knicks’ game in New York. As one of the best students of Coach D’Antoni, Jeremy Lin continues to beat Kobe every time they met this year. However, now it will be different once Kobe started to obey and learn from the Coach D’Antoni. Nash is another example of the brilliant product of teaching and training by D’Antoni’s strategy which I do not have to elaborate and prove to those Lakers fans who have been blaming Coach D’Antoni for those losses when Kobe did not listen to the coach. How many more outstanding examples do we need to prove it to you that Coach D’Antponi is a great coach: Nash. Jeremy Lin, and now Kobe….

    • Logic says:

      Wow get off D’antoni’s gonads already my goodness

    • Logic says:

      D’Antoni doesn’t know the word defense exists.

    • bballjunkie1 says:

      Ditto, It’s obivous to students of the game that Kobe needed to change his game to win a championship again. With D Howard to be the latest to maybe not stick around (Ariza, Sessions), I think he finally realizes that scoring alone, and not getting your teamates involved will not get you there. His scoring abilities will always command double teaming which means someone is open (HELLO). Of course there will be nights where he will have the green light due to match ups. But finally the elephant in the room is acknowledged the laker problems was having someone to tell Kobe you are problem. MJ went through this as he accepted the triangle and began to win. Too bad as he/Shaq could have beat MJ 3peat with 4,5,6 in a row, that pair was truly special.

    • AM says:

      Right now, the lakers aren’t playing as D’antoni says, so how can you give him all the credit?

      • 16going417 says:

        Exactly, this has nothing to do with D’Antoni and that is evident by him benching Gasol in the 4th again and allowing the Hornets back in the game.

    • Lakerdashians says:

      Why do we have a blog about the lakers? They are a low rate team. We might as well blog about the Wizards/Pistons/etc….I think I speak for everyone outside of LA when I say WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CARES! Kobe please retire so we can stop hearing about this g@y team