HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — It’s still a bit strange seeing him in purple and gold.
We know, we know, get over it already.
But just like it’s taking Steve Nash time to transition into his role as the Los Angeles Lakers’ starting point guard, it’s taking a little time for us to figure out exactly how this grand experiment is going to work.
Without the benefit of seeing Dwight Howard out there with them, and with Kobe Bryant in limited doses during the preseason, imaginations to tend to run a bit wild with the possibilities.
A preseason loss to the Warriors where we don’t see enough of the Lakers’ core group together for long stretches makes it hard to make a true evaluation of what they are working with. Everyone knows what sort of potential is there. Waiting to see it, though, has to be a bit nerve-wracking for Lakers fans.
It’s tough for the rest of us, hoops voyeurs who are just curious to see this what the league’s big top circus will look like when it comes to our respective towns.
There were, however, positive signs. Folks who observe the Lakers’ every move saw traces of the powerhouse that could be, of the cohesiveness we all know is needed if the Lakers are to compete at the championship level expected:
Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Times — Results don’t matter in preseason games. So don’t suddenly demand the Lakers should blow up their roster after losing to Golden State without center Andrew Bogut and shooting guard Stephen Curry. But when the Lakers played with their starters in the first half, they showed that their chemistry looks strong. Steve Nash (five points, three assists) looked unbelievable throwing a cross-court no-look pass to Kobe Bryant, who then connected with Pau Gasol on an alley oop play. Nash also broke some ankles by shaking Jarrett Jack with a crossover that nearly made him fall before nailing an open three-pointer.
The Lakers also ran the revamped offense that includes elements of the Princeton system with fluidity. Rarely did the Lakers ever go into isolation sets. Each player appeared intent on following Steve Nash’s lead (five points, three assists) and finding the open player for a shot. Kobe Bryant, who posted 10 points on two of seven shooting and three assists, appeared intent on facilitating. The Lakers set strong screens and actually played off of them.
They routinely covered for each other on defense. The floor spacing gave plenty of room for Metta World Peace to operate outside and score 10 points on three-of-six shooting. It’s fair to say that this reflects how much calmer and easier it’s been for the Lakers to absorb Brown’s teaching concepts with more time and a solidified roster. As a result, the Lakers look a lot more exciting and fluid on offense than last year’s disaster.
The two names you need to lock in on are Mike Brown and Metta World Peace. As important Kobe, Nash, Howard and Gasol are, the two guys who could very well hold the key to this season for the Lakers are the coach and the wild card personality on the roster.