Most expected a rough start for the Los Angeles Lakers as their new pieces learned how to fit together, but I'm not sure anyone expected it to be this rough.
Sure, they picked up their first win of the season Sunday night, to "improve" to 1-3, but this team is far from where it needs to be, and the timetable for the 2012-13 Lakers reaching their potential is getting further delayed due to the injury to point guard Steve Nash.
According to Los Angeles Times reporter Mike Bresnahan, Nash's injury could sideline him up to a month:
Steve Nash could miss up to four weeks with the small fracture in his left leg, a Lakers source said. #BadLakerNews— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) November 5, 2012
This team can win plenty of regular season games without Nash. In fact, it's not too hard to argue that they are better than last year's team even without Nash, but that is not the point, and with the Lakers, the point is never about regular-season wins.
The damage is not going to be felt as much in the record, but with the Lakers not reaching their true potential.
In the tiny sample size offered up so far, Nash is fitting into his new offensive system like Ray Allen at a Boston Celtics reunion. The Lakers new Princeton-style offense is far from the up-and-down style that Nash is accustomed to, and Nash's immense offensive skill has gone largely unused thus far.
It's not that I don't think that he can function in this offense, but it is going to take some time for him to get comfortable in the system and with his teammates. Once that happens, the Lakers will be able to reach their offensive potential, as Nash doesn't figure to be a primary scorer, but he does need to be the man who puts this offense in the best position to succeed.
But this is just half the equation. The other part is that these guys have to get used to each other on defense, and that defense has been horrid.
Nash can't guard anyone one-on-one. This is no secret. The Lakers must overcome that deficiency with solid team defense, and that is all about communication and familiarity.
They now have less time to work on this.
It is way too early to write the Lakers off. They still have the potential to win the championship. However, their road to that goal is getting longer by the minute, and it will continue to do that every day Nash cannot play.
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