USA TODAY Sports
Kobe Bryant's Lakers are struggling.
The overly optimistic fan says: Wait, just wait. Wait, wait, wait.
Hold on, it's still early. We are still adjusting to a new system and new talent.
Kobe Bryant is the league's MVP. Dwight Howard will only become better. Mike D'Antoni is still putting his system into place, and Steve Nash is gearing up to run the pick-and-roll to perfection.
Just relax. Things will come together.
The pessimistic fan says: How long will we continue to make excuses? Bryant can score, but can he lead? Dwight Howard doesn't have enough intensity to redirect the Lakers' losing pattern. Pau Gasol looks toast.
We have starting-five talent, but no depth and no direction. Early isn't an excuse in January. This season is nearing its halfway point.
The big-picture realist says: The Lakers have put together a minor streak and are hanging around just enough.
It will take more than a handful of practices to implement D'Antoni's system. The offense probably won't be running at full strength until well into the New Year.
Still, the clock is ticking a bit swifter, and there still haven't been many positive signs that Los Angeles can contend for a title. We'll know more once Nash returns.
So far, it's been a complete disaster.
Updated grade: F