After an early season start that probably worried plenty Los Angeles Lakers fans, the Lakers finally got their first win of the season against the lowly Detroit Pistons yesterday. However, they are still without their highly touted offseason acquisition, point guard Steve Nash.
Nash's acquisition (along with former Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard) this offseason brought great hope. But that hope was quickly clouded after the Lakers went on an 11-game losing streak stretching back to the preseason.
To make matters worse, on the 10th game of their recently broken losing slide, Steve Nash had to leave the game due to a shin contusion he sustained colliding with Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard.
The Los Angeles Daily News reports that Nash will likely be out for a few weeks, but he could return sooner pending a positive reexamination of the injury.
Considering Lakers fans expected so much from Nash, will his injury spell doom for Los Angeles?
In short, no. Absolutely not.
Despite the criticism of Mike Brown's Princeton offense (Lakers are 10th in the league in scoring), in many ways, it provides a contingency in the event of a game-changing playmaker like Nash being unavailable.
In a nutshell, the Princeton Offense is basically a half-court offense that heavily emphasizes a lot of back-door cuts, screens, player movement, and of course, ball movement.
Will the Lakers play better without Nash?
Considering it relies on all 5 offensive players to work in unison, it doesn't necessarily rely on Nash or anyone in particular to be a catalyst for the offense.
The Princeton Offense is essentially a read and react offense that is dependent on taking what the defense is showing—whether it's a zone or man-to-man scheme.
So although many are calling for Mike Brown's head because of the Princeton offense, the Lakers' woes lie in their defense (ranked 20th in scoring defense), not necessarily in Nash not being the primary playmaker.
Considering Mike Brown has a reputation for being a defensive specialist, it is perplexing as to why the offense has gotten most of the blame, not the mediocre defense.
And against Detroit, it was the defense that stepped up.
Pistons point guard Brandon Knight shot 1-for-8 with 5 turnovers. Detroit only scored 77 points. The Lakers' defense as a whole finally shut a team down—even if it was just the Pistons.
Dwight Howard also finally managed to stay out of foul trouble, finishing with 28 points, 7 boards and 4 blocks and only one personal foul.
Kobe Bryant nearly had a triple double with 15 points, 7 boards and 8 assists—solid numbers from someone the Lakers need to step up in Nash's absence.
Even Nash's replacement had a big game—Steve Blake had a whopping 5 steals to go along with his 6 points off 2-of-3 shooting, 5 rebounds and 6 assists.
Despite Gasol having a 6-for-16 shooting night, the rest of the team stepped up in a big way, a sign the Lakers are doing their best to improve upon their recent troubles.
Although he is certainly a big name, the Lakers won't miss Nash whatsoever while he's out of the line-up for these next couple of games.