Los Angeles Lakers: Supporting Cast Must Step Up for Chance at NBA Title

Jonathan AndradeContributor IIIJanuary 20, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 19:  The Los Angeles Lakers line up before a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on January 19, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have managed a 10-6 record up to this point in the season, but there hasn't been many aspects of their game that anyone can really call impressive.

Sure, the Lakers have only lost one game at home and have gotten some solid wins against playoff-worthy opponents, but they have only earned a single victory on the road and have lost some early tests in matchups against the Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat.

If the Lakers are thinking to go deep in the playoffs, there are going to have to be some changes.

Kobe Bryant has been his usual dominant self, averaging 30 points and five assists but has been forced to be on the court for nearly 38 minutes a game with a wrist injury because of the lack of the supporting cast he has in L.A.

With the exception of Lakers big men Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, the rest of the Lakers starting line-up and bench players have looked stagnant through the first part of the season.

Both Bynum and Gasol are averaging 16 points apiece, while the next closest players are small forward Matt Barnes and guard Steve Blake with eight and seven points  per game, respectively.

The recent injury to Blake doesn’t help the Lakers guard play either since starting guard Derek Fisher is forced to stay on the court for longer minutes with rookie Darius Morris as the next player in line to come off the bench.

Fisher has only averaged four points and four assists while Morris has added three points and two assists of his own. Although Morris has shown some athleticism and explosiveness off the ball, he is also averaging two turnovers in his 18 minutes on the court.

 

For the Lakers bench to look anything close to the “Bench Mob” of last season, veteran forward Metta World Peace is also going to have to find his rhythm in his backup role.

World Peace tweeted earlier this week that “Wow I never knew coming off the bench was tough... Bench players get much more respect from me now.”

He also took the time to explain that once he found his “pulse,” his game was going to improve. Lakers fans are hoping the forward finds his game sooner than later since his minutes backing up Barnes will be huge down the stretch.

This goes for the rest of the team as well since once the supporting cast can put up some higher numbers, there will seemingly be plenty of time to rest the injured Bryant as well as the big bodies in the paint.

If the Lakers can figure out a way to turn their mediocre bench into a force that can go head-to-head with any other bench in the NBA, look for them to be playing come May and June.