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For the Lakers' sake, there better not be much of this in 2013
Player for player, you are hard pressed to find a better starting five than the one a healthy Lakers team will possess. There are two problems with that though. One, we have only seen that team together one time! Yes, yes, it's preseason. But with increasing rumors (err, reports) that Kobe Bryant may miss the beginning of the regular season, the question becomes when exactly will this dream team assemble?
As curious as that is, it pales in comparison to the second fact: Once again, the Lakers lack a very good bench. Sure there are some names in Antawn Jamison, Jordan Hill, Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake. That's all well and good. But this is a disjointed unit. Blake is not a good enough play maker to get other players their shots. Which means Meeks won't have the premium looks he was acquired for.
Which means Jamison, who is basically a knock down shooter at this point, isn't getting open looks. Jordan Hill is a very good energy player. That said, he is not a premium option in terms of dumping it in the post and letting him go to work. The potential is that Robert Sacre, who has been a revelation in these eight games, may help with some of that in the regular season.
But don't hold your breath. Plenty of guys have starred in the preseason only to fizzle when the games count. Normally, I wouldn't get excited, but we saw this same formula last year and really, in 2011 as well. Lamar Odom's absence is still being felt. Heck, the Lakers don't have someone to fill the void of Matt Barnes.
The real harm here is not scoring, it is defense. Far too often, the second unit is playing transition defense and players like Eric Bledsoe, Aaron Brooks, etc. have feasted in the preseason. L.A.'s lack of quickness was precisely my rationale for going after Leandro Barbosa. Now, he's in Boston with the Celtics, and the Lakers are just as vulnerable in the second unit as ever.
It will be interesting to see if Chris Duhon may get some time at point guard if the bench continues to struggle. Duhon doesn't give you much in the way of offense, but he is a more than serviceable perimeter defender. The more of that the Lakers can trot out, the better.