NBA Rumors: Switch to Princeton Offense Would Doom Lakers Before Season Begins
Not content simply to add Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison to an already-solid team, the Los Angeles Lakers are strongly considering an entire philosophy shift as well.
"It's a great offense," Bryant told Yahoo! Sports. "It's exactly what we need. It takes us back to being able to play by making reads and reacting to defenses. It takes a great deal of communication, but that's where we're at our best: Reading and reacting as opposed to just coming down and calling sets. Calling sets make you vulnerable.
"There's so many threats, so many options, it's very tough to defend. Against the type of defenses that teams play nowadays, they load up on one side and are constantly coming with help from the weak side. The Princeton offense makes it very, very tough to lock in on one particular player.
"From my experience, those types of principles – ball movement, changing sides on the floor, everybody being involved – those are championship principles. That's championship DNA."
Almost everything that Kobe said is completely and totally accurate. However, the second sentence doesn't pan out so well.
The Princeton offense doesn't play to the strengths of the Lakers and implementing it would take time, something the aging squad doesn't necessarily have.
This offense requires intelligent players—which the Lakers have in spades—but also a certain style. It's predicated on making the extra pass, hitting backdoor cuts and running the offense through a versatile big man.
Pau Gasol fits in perfectly, but do the Lakers really want their offense running through the Spanish seven-footer?
The answer is clearly a resounding no, especially because of the presence of both Kobe and Nash.
Making the extra pass has never exactly been one of Kobe's strong-suits. He prefers to dominate the ball and dazzle his opponents with a number of ball-stopping moves. His offense requires him to take a lot of shots, even if the degree of difficulty is simply off the charts.
Then there's Steve Nash, who thrives with the ball in his hands in transition and the half-court set alike.
Is the Princeton offense a good system for the Lakers?
Andrew Bynum (or Dwight Howard if some trade occurs) also needs the ball with time to work on the block. Plus, each one will need to be made happy in order to convince them to sign an extension. That doesn't happen without possession-ending touches.
Yes, the players might be able to successfully adapt and win a championship. There are far easier routes though.
Trying to learn a new system in one offseason and immediately contend is a risky proposition, especially when that new system doesn't play to the strengths of the players on the roster.
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