The Lakers have gotten off to a rough start. Mike Brown's failed Princeton offense led to a 1-4 start, and the team is still adjusting to new coach Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun game.
The Lakers' greatest loss, however, was new point guard Steve Nash. He suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left leg in the team's second game of the season and only just returned to the lineup on December 22.
It can be argued that Los Angeles can now reach its full potential, since D'Antoni's system heavily depends on an effective point guard. However, do the Lakers really need Nash to be title contenders?
I, for one, strongly disagree. As valuable as Nash is, the Lakers need two more things to happen before they can even think about a championship: Pau Gasol must fully adapt to his role in D'Antoni's offense, and Kobe Bryant must be willing to share the ball.
Yes, Bryant is the unquestioned star and leader of the Lakers, but D'Antoni's system relies on team play for its success. That won't happen if Bryant is shooting the ball willy-nilly and not sticking to the plan.
Granted, this has yet to become a problem with Nash running the point, and for all we know, it never will be. It is just something that Lakers management and fans should be wary of as the season progresses.
Nash definitely will help the team to improve as a whole, but to say that he is the ultimate savior is a bit farfetched.
Then again, he knows D'Antoni's system well, so who knows? Perhaps the Lakers will surprise everyone down the stretch.