7 Things We Learned About the L.A. Lakers After Week 2
The first two weeks of the season have been rough on a lot of teams.
That, of course, includes the Los Angeles Lakers.
A lot has changed in two weeks, and while the All-Star roster is still there, we've learned just a little more about what the Lakers plan to do this year.
Let's take a look at what we now know.
Mike Brown Was on the Hot Seat Heading into the Season
A coach doesn't get fired less than 10 games into a season—unless his job was in jeopardy beforehand.
Brown was not the most popular coach, and the fans wanted him gone almost as soon as he was hired. Last season was a failure, and the Lakers have wasted little time moving on from Brown.
I am not going to call Mike Brown a bad coach, but I do believe he was the wrong coach for this roster. He is not the type of coach who can lead a team to the promised land, something the folks in LA take seriously every year.
Overall, I am hesitant to think that it took two weeks to get him on the hot seat and out.
Brown being fired was just as much a judgment of his failure in the 2012 Playoffs.
The Lakers Want to Win
This seems like a very obvious statement, but there's more to it.
Obviously, the Lakers want to compete for the title every season, but this year is different.
The Lakers have made it clear that they don't want to see failure. Their goal is also clear: an NBA title.
If, for some reason that goal seems out of reach, whatever is blocking it has to be removed.
Early on, their obstacle was their own head coach; that problem was quickly solved.
Expect this attitude to continue as the year goes on. If any part of the Lakers is not up to par, it will be on short notice.
The Lakers are all in.
The Lakers Believe in Steve Nash
When your team has Steve Nash, there is only one reason to bring Mike D'Antoni into the coaching mix: You want your offense to run through Nash.
With Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol on the roster, the pick-and-roll combination could be one of the best in NBA history. Nash is the master of it, and Howard and Gasol are two very suitable players for him in that respect.
D'Antoni knows Nash, and helped him to win MVP twice. The relationship between a coach and a point guard is very important, and LA has a great one already here.
This will allow D'Antoni to acclimate faster and have the team running the way they should very quickly.
Expect some nice numbers up on the Lakers scoreboard this season.
The Bench Needs Some Work
The starting unit can only get you so far, and eventually you have to call upon your second unit to help you out.
The biggest addition to the bench this offseason was Antawn Jamison. Jamison is currently averaging less than four points and four rebounds per game.
It doesn't get much better from there: Jodie Meeks is averaging three points a game on 29-percent shooting. Jordan Hill is currently the leading bench scorer, averaging seven points a game on 50-percent shooting.
There is definitely a lot of work that has to be done in this area.
Hopefully, D'Antoni can find the perfect roles for the supporting cast to help put this team even further into title talks.
Kobe Bryant Has One More Year Left in Him
Last year, Kobe Bryant showed all of us that while he was a great player, he was clearly entering the very final years of his long career.
His shooting percentage dropped, his turnovers went up and his defensive play left much to be desired.
This season, Kobe knows it could be his last chance to raise a Lakers championship banner.
He is virtually carrying the team, as they try to find a formula that works and new ways to win. Through the all injuries and the coaching issues, Kobe has been the one putting in the work.
While I don't think his current pace will last, I do think that this year will be a significant improvement over the last.
Hopefully, with Nash now running the show, Kobe will get less looks, but they will be better ones.
Less misses and more makes would make every fan in LA happy.
Dwigth Howard Is Slowly but Surely Returning to Form
Dwight's numbers are not in any way bad, but he has been very inconsistent and does not look like the dominant player he was before his injury.
However, that is all starting to change, and Dwight is starting to be a game changer again.
Now that he is in a system more suited to him, his numbers should rise very quickly.
His rise in production will mirror that of Pau Gasol and Steve Nash as well.
Howard, Nash and Gasol are the players for whom the coaching change will really help.
Defense Is Not a Priority
As a longtime Suns fan, I can assure Laker fans that their defense will not improve under coach D'Antoni.
Meaning, if your problem with the Lakers was their defense (currently 14th in the league), it will not go away. The Lakers seem to believe that their explosive offense is going to win them this title.
This strategy is a very dangerous one and could backfire, considering that five of the last six Championship teams was ranked in the top ten in defense.
The only team to fall outside that category, were of course, the Lakers themselves. If any team has the ability to do it again, it's them.
The season just got a whole lot more interesting in Los Angeles, and it should be fun to watch them play the Suns this Friday.
Or at least I hope it will be fun.
Thank you for reading and please leave a comment with your thoughts!