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Have you noticed which other much-hyped contender has fallen into the basement of most defensive metrics?
If you guessed the Lakers, then...well, you win nothing, but good work nonetheless!
Not by them, of course. In theory, a team led by Mike Brown, a noted defensive guru, and Dwight Howard, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, shouldn't be struggling so mightily to stop people as have the Lakers so far.
Yet, that's been precisely the problem—or at least it was through L.A.'s first three games. Pick-and-rolls, dribble drives and even post-ups—you name it, the Lakers have had issues with it. They have been particularly porous in transition, though that's not entirely unexpected given their old legs and penchant for turnovers—18.5 per game so far.
Some would point the finger, rightly or wrongly, at the Lakers' attempt to institute a Princeton-like offense. As it happens, though, the Purple and Gold are having little trouble putting the ball in the basket—sixth in offensive efficiency, third in field goal percentage—and should cut down on the giveaways once their players, old and new, get on the same page.
However, what doesn't figure to change is L.A.'s inability to apply pressure on the perimeter. The Lakers were dead-last in turnovers forced last season and rank in the bottom third of the league to this point in 2012-13.
This should come as no surprise, seeing as how the Lakers lack length, athleticism and youth among their guards and wings. Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace were All-Defensive performers once upon a time, but are now vastly overrated in that regard.
As far as Steve Nash goes, he's long been more of a matador than a stopper.
Howard and Pau Gasol will do plenty to make up for the Lakers' mistakes on the outside, but this team is going to wear down quickly if it can't keep the opposition from using up clock to get good looks at the basket.