Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Scapegoats for the Team's Flailing Start
The Los Angeles Lakers need to make some changes. They are currently 14-10 and tied for sixth in the Western Conference.
Some may say it's too early to come to such bold conclusions, but in reality we are nearing the season's midpoint.
The Lakers could choose to continue spiraling downward or proceed to make some strategic changes that could possibly turn their situation upside down.
Trading for or Signing a New Point Guard
This would really be one of the easiest ways the Lakers could instantaneously improve.
Fisher just doesn't get the job done anymore and even with Steve Blake's return in the future, he is far from an elite point guard.
Arenas is a proven scorer, although he is not much better on defense than Fisher.
Sessions is a quick guard who can create off the dribble and is looking for a new opportunity with the arrival of Kyrie Irving in Cleveland hurting his minutes.
It doesn't have to be one of these two guys, but a lot of LA's troubles would disappear if they simply upgraded at the point guard position.
Playing the Young Talent
My high school coach used to always say "If I'm going to lose, I'm going to lose young."
I feel as though this would be a good approach for Mike Brown and the Lakers. I'm not saying losing should be acceptable for the Lakers. But I am saying some of the younger talent on the roster should see some more minutes on the floor.
Recently Andrew Goudelock has been playing some great basketball despite the trade talks and rumors of the Lakers bringing in some new upgraded guard talent.
Labeled the "Mini-Mamba" by Kobe Bryant, it is clear he has had a positive impact for LA. He's not quite a starter, but the kid has got a lot of upside to him.
Devin Ebanks should also get way more minutes than he does. He is a long and athletic player who is skilled on both ends of the floor. He should play over Matt Barnes and Metta World who are really one-dimensional players on the downslide of their careers.
If nothing else, play him over Jason Kapono at the backup shooting guard position. There is no reason Ebanks should be sitting on the bench for whole games at a time.
That's a waste of talent and a waste of game opportunities Ebanks could be experiencing and learning from.
Playing the Game from Inside Out
There is no reason whatsoever that the Lakers shouldn't be playing the game from inside out.
I know they have Kobe Bryant, one of the best players to ever play the game. But at the end of the day do you want to take your chances with a Kobe fadeaway or a Bynum dunk?
Are you putting your money on a World Peace three-pointer or a Gasol 10-footer? The bottom line is that LA needs to look inside more to their bigs.
Yes, Bynum and Gasol have both been playing well and getting their fair amount of touches. This trend needs to continue and become a habit if the Lakers want to improve as a team.
Their shooting percentage will rise and opportunities will open up for players on the perimeter. Even for Kobe.
Bynum has been seeing immediate double teams lately. Once he learns how to pass out of the double team with more efficiency, accuracy and speed, the Lakers will be a much better team.
Get Back to the Triangle Offense
The Lakers have struggled to score this season more than they ever have in recent history.
This fact can apply to many teams in the NBA. The shortened preseason for teams has resulted in some shaky offense at the beginning of the season.
However, as we are nearing the midpoint of the season, the All-Star Game, the Lakers are still struggling to score.
Many teams in the NBA today rely on their marquee players to make plays on offense. This has never been a strong suit for the Lakers. They have not had that point guard who could come up and take you off the dribble for a very long time.
Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes, the two wings that see the most time for the Lakers also don't pride themselves on their offensive abilities.
It's no secret that the Lakers' strengths are their two seven-footers inside. The triangle offense is the perfect offense for both Bynum and Gasol to strive in. They would both get a solid amount of touches on every play up the court as their teammates would look to feed them inside.
Mike Brown needs to swallow his pride and resort back to Phil Jackson's offense. That is, if he wants to win.
Play with Some Intensity
It seems as though the Lakers' players and fans share the same attitude.
No matter how bad the Lakers are playing, their fans are still some of the most confident ones you will ever find on the planet.
LA could be on a 10-game losing streak, but their fans will still consider their team to be playing some of the best basketball in the league.
That being said, the Lakers play with the same mindset. They are rarely concerned about their play during the regular season and feel as though things will turn around for them in the playoffs when their experience can take over.
However, we saw how this worked out for the Lakers against the Mavericks in the playoffs last year when they not only lost the series, but got swept.
With a new coach, new players and a shortened season, it is more important than ever for the team to gel before April hits.
It's time for LA to stop coasting and playing with some intensity and passion before it's too late.