Los Angeles Lakers: Back to School

Nate SmithCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2008

After getting totally embarrassed in Houston, I think it is time to hand out some Laker report cards. The myth around the association is that the Lakers have a strong cast of talent that produces at every single position and that's simply not true. Yes, the Lakers have been downright nasty and dominant when even a little healthy.

Yes, this team is still the favorite to win the title, but there are some glaring weaknesses on this team that might prevent the Lakers from staying afloat while awaiting the returns of Trevor Ariza, Andrew Bynum, Chris Mihm and Pau Gasol.

Speaking of Andrew and Pau, has anyone noticed that the big injuries this year have come just when a tough western road trip was approaching?

Can the elite teams in the West be any luckier?

Here are my grades...


Derek Fisher - C

Derek Fisher is a veteran presence. He’s a strong leader and a great set shooter. He is virtually terrible at everything else including, but not limited to, passing, defense, creating his own shot, and finishing at the rim.


Kobe Bryant - A

He has MVP status. He’s great defensively and offensively.  Please Kobe, stop yelling at the referees all the time and set a goal to get "only" 10 techs next season.


Lamar Odom- B

Lamar is an unappreciated asset to the Lakers. He does all the little things that go unnoticed. I'd like to see Lamar keep focused in the game and stop making silly mistakes. 


Pau Gasol - B+

Pau is fantastic. He needs to get a little bit stronger and fight for rebounds. He needs to stop being pushed around inside. I'd expect him to be much more aggressive at his natural position of PF once Bynum gets back.


Andrew Bynum- A

Andrew is, in my opinion, one of the top 5 Centers in the game, period. He blocks shots and he shoots at a high percentage. He can finish over anyone, and he's got an edge to him that is going to make him a valuable contributor once he comes back.


Jordan Farmar - C

The Lakers should look to trade Farmar. He's really an under-sized shooting guard. All he does is shoot threes and play terrible defense. His play is often erratic and out of control. The Lakers are their worst defensively when he's on the floor. 


Sasha Vujacic - B

The Machine is awesome. He plays pesky defense, runs the floor well, and shoots very well from the floor and beyond the arc. He's added a slashing component to his game. He’s a bit too trigger happy, but I like his confidence.


Luke Walton - F:

wish Bill Walton would spend less time criticizing Kobe and Shaq, and spend more time calling out the atrocious play of his son. Oh and to the Laker fans, stop saying LUUUUUUKE when he touches the ball. Start booing.


Ronny Turiaf - A

He plays to the best of his abilities every night. He blocks shots, rebounds, hits midrange jumpers, and he has an edge. Turiaf seems nice in interviews, but he's a tough cookie. Give me more guys like Turiaf and less guys like Walton. My one beef is that he's late on rotations and he wants to block every single shot so he ends up allowing a bunch of three-point plays.


Chris Mihm - F

Yeah, he's hurt. But he also suckered Lakers' management out of about a lot of money making them think he could actually play. 


Trevor Ariza- B

I like his game. His quickness, his versatility, and his hustle are valuable. He has the ability to bring so many things to the court. The best thing about Ariza is that any time he gets minutes, means less time Luke Walton is on the court. Get well soon, Trevor.


DJ Mbenga - B-



Vladimir Radmanovic - B

Good activity level. He also means Luke isn't starting which is a major bonus. His 3-point shot is often on automatic. I'd like to see him be more aggressive and take control of his role in the game.


Coby Karl - B

I like that he treats his rookie year seriously. He doesn't mope. He gets in the game whether its garbage time or quality minutes and tries to help the team in a positive way. 


Phil Jackson - A+

He has the most bonehead rotations in all of the NBA, but he has more rings than all the active head coaches put together. So I'll give Phil an A+.

He knows what he's doing.


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