To say that this start is less than ideal would be a huge understatement.
Nevertheless, the Lakers appear to be committed to their core. Most specifically, their front office is backing the most criticized man in the basketball world today: head coach Mike Brown.
“Jerry Sloan to L.A. by December 1,” one league source predicted. “Nash and Howard are the new Stockton and Malone. He wants a ring, not to mention the money. He didn’t seriously consider Orlando, Charlotte or Portland [openings] over the summer because he knew Los Angeles would open up.”
For those in favor of Coach Brown, fear not. In an interview with Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register, Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss had this to say about Brown's future with the team: "I'm a hundred percent behind Mike Brown. Mitch (Kupchak) is. My dad is. We as a collective soul are behind him 100 percent."
As romantic as that may be, there is no way around how unstable the Lakers have been under Brown. For that reason, the franchise begins to walk a line of uncertainty in terms of whether or not it should trust him with its future.
In fact, the Lakers front office would be crazy to leave the keys to the kingdom in Brown's hands. Not without the incentive to improve or lose it all.
Valuing System over Personnel
One of the most common misconceptions in the world of athletics is that great talent can flourish in any system. The truth of the matter is that even the most skilled players may not be able to function in every system.
This is not to crown the Princeton offense as one that cannot work in Los Angeles.
Instead, it is to acknowledge that Brown appears to have rushed his personnel into a complex system before building basic chemistry.
In fact, it appears as if the basic preferences and tendencies of the players listed have not yet been understood or established.
As a result, the Lakers are 1-4 and averaging 18.6 turnovers per game. Although it is important for the team to commit to an offensive concept, there is a good chance that Brown made the wrong decision on which offense is best for the talent on the roster.
After all, not every player is fit for a motion offense of this complexity.
Win Now or Not at All
The Lakers are not the Miami Heat or Oklahoma City Thunder. They are not a young team that will have the next half-decade, or longer, to compete for an NBA championship should they fail to win in 2013.
Steve Nash is 38, Kobe Bryant is 34 and both Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace are 32.
If the Lakers fail to win the NBA championship in 2013, there is no guarantee that they will be competitive beyond this season. Not only are their players aging, but Bryant, Gasol and MWP will be free agents after the 2014 season.
Don't forget, Dwight Howard is eligible for free agency once the 2012-13 season concludes as well. Would he really want to sign on for longer if the Lakers continue down this path of underachievement?
For those who claim the Lakers will turn things around, who expected the Los Angeles Angels to miss the MLB postseason? This might just be the year that Los Angeles suffers with its sports franchises.
With all of this established, how could the Lakers trust a head coach with pedestrian postseason success? Although a proven winner in the regular season, Brown has had his motivational abilities criticized before.
If he cannot turn this team around by January, is the team's ownership really going to remain patient?
Where Is the Passion?
Forget about the execution of plays and the complexity of the Princeton offense.
The Lakers appear to have been playing without any form of passion, energy or dedication in trying to overcome their early-season woes.
Quite the unfortunate scenario considering how hard and spectacularly Kobe Bryant has been playing.
This has all culminated in a 1-4 start capped off by their most recent loss, a 95-86 defeat at the hands of the Utah Jazz.
Much like their previous four outings, this game was highlighted by the Lakers' inability to close out on perimeter shooters. Look no further than Randy Foye's five three-point field goals off the bench.
But jump-shooting is not the only facet of the game the Lakers' opponents' are excelling in. Opponents are driving into the lane and virtually scoring at will.
This is not a result of a lack of talent in Los Angeles. Dwight Howard is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Metta World Peace remains a stout defender and Pau Gasol is underrated on both ends of the floor.
This is simply a matter of the players not giving the type of effort that is expected of them. At the end of the day, that falls directly on the shoulders of the team's primary motivator: the head coach.
Mike Brown deserves to keep his job, but he does not deserve to coach without a sense of urgency.