I've been watching Lakers' games closely for the past month, and every time two glaring weaknesses show up: Derek Fisher and Luke "Fluke" Walton.
Not to take anything from away from Fish, he is a great leader (and everybody knows that), but it looks like age has caught up with him.
Derek Fisher routinely gets worked by opposing point guards. His offense used to offset that weakness a little bit, but as of late, even that has been pretty much non-existent.
He's missing open shot after open shot. I know people would like me soften up on him a bit because of the situation with his daughter, but there is no excuse for poor play.
It would be generous to call Fisher's ball handling skills average. He routinely drives to the basket and turns the ball over as he did last night in a crucial moment in the last minute of the fourth quarter.
Luckily for him, Lamar Odom was there to grab the offensive rebound. I could go on even further about his court vision, but I'll just leave it be for now.
Luke Walton has some of the best court vision in the NBA, but nothing else to offer.
He has become Kwame Brown 2.0: whenever he gets the ball, you cross your fingers, praying he doesn't turn the ball over or hoist up a bad shot.
Last night with Kobe on the bench, Luke nearly won the game for the Mavericks. He continually made bad decisions.
It took the Mavericks shrinking the Lakers' lead from 25 points to five, for Phil Jackson to substitute Radmanovich for Luke.
I don't see him sticking around much longer since he has fallen out of favor with Phil, who said the only reason Luke is playing so many minutes is because Ariza is out.
He said that Luke is not capable of playing over 25 minutes per game. I say the Lakers trade him for a second round pick during the draft.
Memo to Phil Jackson
Stop waiting until opposing teams considerably shrink your lead to call a timeout.
You don't have veterans guys like Grant, Harper, Fox, and Horry out there. You have a bunch of young kids whose confidence can go from high to all-time low in the blink of an eye.
Stop teaching your guards to leave their man open and telling them to double any driving player. That's the reason why you lost to the Houston Rockets.
It was atrocious watching Kobe shut down T-Mac and seeing your point guards repeatedly leave Rockets wide open for threes.
Upgrades and Downgrades
Fisher as PG is an upgrade over Smush Parker, but with the Lakers knocking on the "elite door," it has become apparent the Lakers need a better point guard.
Fisher cannot play over 25 minutes anymore.
Kwame Brown sucked so badly that he made other Lakers' weaknesses look minimal. But with him out, Luke Walton is now the Lakers worst player.
Who would have thought that Sasha "the machine" Vujacic would have surpassed Walton as a better defensive and offensive player?
Vladdy is a deadly three-point shooter, Ariza is our second-best perimeter defender and vicious slasher, Turiaf is a valuable post defender and underrated scorer.
Heck, even Coby Karl might be better than Luke.
No, I'm not being greedy.
But championship teams cannot have blatant chinks in their armor. It's best Mitch Kupchak hashes them out before it's too late.
-Ralph Isaac, bleacherreport.com
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