Despite a 1-4 start for the high-priced Los Angeles Lakers, general manager Mitch Kupchak isn't about to sound the alarm bells any time soon.
Perhaps he should.
Kupchak told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday:
Expectations are high, there's no doubt. The city is impatient. At what point do you lose patience? Is it 1-15? Is it a higher number? A lesser number? I don't know right now. But we have a game Friday night and we're going to win it and try to build off that.
Well, if Kupchak was a numbers guy, he would be losing patience at 1-4.
Numbers Never Lie tweeted on Thursday:
1-4. The Lakers 1-4 start is tied for their worst five-game start ever, and is the worst in the Kobe Bryant era.— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) November 8, 2012
But pure numbers don't tell the full story of why Kupchak should be worried.
For one, it takes time for players to learn how to play together. Before the Big Three of the Heat won the championship last season, it took them a full season of ups and downs to gel. They made it to the NBA Finals in their first season together, but the difference in chemistry between the Heat and the Dallas Mavericks was a big reason why Dallas ultimately won the title.
We all know the Lakers aren't short on talent this season. After bringing Dwight Howard and Steve Nash aboard, they have a Big Three capable of winning a championship.
But so did the Heat, and they didn't win until last season.
The difference for the Lakers? Well, that brings me to my second point of why Kupchak should be worried.
The Lakers don't have another season to figure things out.
Howard's contract not only runs out after this season (barring an extension), but also the Big Three of the Lakers are much older than the Big Three of the Heat. Nash is 38 and Bryant is 34.
With age, of course, comes that thing called "getting slower."
In a league where players like LeBron James are capable of playing power forward, speed kills. Bryant can't cover as much ground as he used to on defense. Nash is not only 38 years old, but he's never been a particularly impressive defender.
That brings me to another point: When you're in a league where speed kills, having two big men in the post is not necessarily the best route to take to the title.
Pau Gasol has long been the subject of trade rumors in L.A., and I suspect those murmurs will only get stronger as the season progresses. Princeton offense or Mike D'Antoni offense, Gasol and Howard only get in each other's way on the block. The Lakers would be better off with a power forward who can stretch the floor and hit threes. It's exactly the same problem the Lakers ran into when Andrew Bynum was on the team.
Not only is L.A.'s defense slow, but its offense is clogged up in the paint.
That's not only a recipe for a 1-4 start. It's a recipe for disaster.