Lakers News: Return of Steve Nash Will Provide Opportunity to Re-Evaluate Team

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24:  Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles away from Eric Bledsoe #12 of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on October 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Things do not look great for the Los Angeles Lakers right now. Fortunately, help is on the way, and it should change the perception of the team immediately.

After a 116-107 loss to the New York Knicks, the team fell to 9-14 on the year. This is a disappointment for a team that had a huge offseason, putting together one of the best rosters in the NBA.

However, it is important to remember that the lineup that was created for a championship run has barely had a chance to play together this season.

The primary issue has been the absence of two-time MVP Steve Nash. The point guard fractured his fibula in the second game of the year and has been out ever since.

Additionally, the Lakers have been without Pau Gasol for two weeks due to tendinitis in his knee. 

It is tough to win when two All-Star players are not competing. It is even harder when a capable backup like Steve Blake misses time with a torn abdominal muscle as well.

Chris Duhon is currently taking care of point guard duties, and he has not been a regular starter for three seasons. It has been even longer since he was worthy of being a starter.

Still, there is good news on the horizon. Dave McMenamin reported that Nash plans on returning to practice soon. The guard told ESPN:

Hopefully, I can practice next week. We'll see. I'm definitely getting better. We'll see if I continue to improve and there's no setbacks, then I should be able to practice next week. On the court, I've been running the last day and a half, and [my leg] has been responding pretty well. So, I haven't done a really huge load, huge amount, but it's something.

While this is not the sound of someone ready to play immediately, at least this is encouraging for the future.

Gasol is also getting healthy, as he tweeted this on Thursday:

 

It's been hard not being able to play these last games, but everyday I'm closer to be back on the court playing with my teammates!

— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) December 13, 2012

 

Finally, the team is almost at full strength and ready to compete with the rest of the NBA.

Although the games still count, everything until this point should be more or less ignored.

The Lakers have spent the last month questioning different personnel moves that could help the team.

Gasol has been a subject of numerous trade rumors, while other players around the league have been considered potential targets. After Mike D'Antoni took over as head coach shortly into the season, his job is now being questioned.

However, the front office should leave things as is until they can see what they have with everyone healthy. It would be too rash to make a move prior to that point. 

Fortunately, this moment could be coming soon. Nash is set to practice and Gasol is ready to return to the court. With the team only 2.5 games out of a playoff sport, there is no reason to panic.

There is enough talent on this team to get into the playoffs. Everyone simply needs to be patient and let the players do what they came to do: win.