For anyone who watched the Lakers get dismantled by Miami last night or score just seven points in the third quarter on Monday against the Dallas Mavericks, it is obvious what Los Angeles does and does not need for it to make a legitimate run at another World Championship.
Granted, the Lakers have played more games than any other team in the NBA up to this point, so they can be excused a bit for their ragged play of late. Their woeful offense managed just 73 points in a last second win over the Mavs when Mr. Reliable—Derek Fisher—canned a three-point shot off a feed from Kobe Bryant.
Against the Heat, and playing without Dwayne Wade and with an ailing LeBron James, the Lakers looked lost again on offense. They exhibited a no-flow scheme of disjointed passes, turnovers and lost rebounds. This is an aging team with an extremely thin bench. And that bench just got a whole lot lighter after point guard Steve Blake sustained an abdominal injury that will keep him in street clothes for up to a month (via the Los Angeles Times).
The Lakers were averaging an anemic 93 points per game—19th in the league before Thursday’s game with the Heat. Their 25 percent accuracy from the three-point range is the worst in the entire league. Metta World Peace, who continues to throw up bricks from downtown, was connecting on just seven percent from beyond the arc.
That means for every 12 or 14 bricks he throws up, one goes in. Not so good.
There’s no question the Lakers could use more talent at point guard and outside shooting. At 37, Derek Fisher is still better than half the other PGs in the NBA, but he is only good for 20-25 minutes a game. With Blake out and rookie Darius Morris playing erratically as his backup, this becomes a very weak position.
If the Lakers can somehow address those two problem areas, it would open up a treasure trove of opportunities for their bigs in the paint. Right now, those bigs are Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. That still may change before the year is over.
I wonder if Mitch Kupchak or Kobe have packed a Lakers jersey with Dwight Howard's name and number 12 on it—just as a reminder they're thinking about the big guy.
Remember sports fans, this is a wish list and won’t be easy to pull off considering the Lakers “over-the-cap” financial situation and the difficulty in making a big move to shore up their weaknesses. Let’s consider these five roster moves that could lead L.A. all the way back to the NBA Finals, if not this June, then in 2013.
As a line goes from the classic movie, Diner: "You gotta have dreams. If you don't have dreams, you know what you've got? Nightmares."