The Los Angeles Lakers are very solid.
At least, Jim Buss believes they are solid.
Are we talking solid as a rock? Or are we talking about a frozen pond that has a lot of cracks and will hopefully hold in the near future?
Analogies aside, I understand that Buss has to keep putting forth the rhetoric and talk about believing in the potential of this team. After all, what else is he going to do? He can't very well show signs of panic, confusion or utter frustration.
Then again, I can't help but think of Kevin Bacon unconvincingly screaming, "Remain calm! All is well!” at the end of Animal House.
No one believed him either.
Potential? Absolutely. Results this year? Not exactly.
With all due respect to Mr. Buss, I am tempted to throw the red challenge flag (I know, wrong sport) at his assertion that this team is “solid.”
What about this team is solid right now?
Steve Nash? So far, so good. Will he stay healthy?
Kobe Bryant? Probably the most solid part of the team.
Metta World Peace? Um, sure.
Pau Gasol? Uh, no.
Dwight Howard? TBD.
The bench? 27th in the NBA in scoring (via hoopsstats.com)
Coaching? More TBD.
In Jim’s mind, what is solid about this team?
The Lakers do have a solid ability to score. They also have a solid ability to give up a lot of points.
Sure, they fought back and almost beat the Spurs, but the way Manu Ginobili described it after the game, the Spurs slacked off and let Los Angeles back into the game.
He may be right.
To celebrate their close loss, the Lakers got destroyed by the Oklahoma City Thunder by a score of 116-101.
Kobe’s recent tweet has obviously been scrutinized:
No one would ever question the will of Kobe Bryant. However, this tweet seems to reveal that Kobe is fully aware of the problems with this team.
Does Kobe believe that the Lakers are solid? Undetermined.
Back to the comments of Jim Buss.
The optimistic vice president suggested in a recent interview, “Why blow up something we have a future with?”
The fanbase is smarter than that, Jim. This team was built to win, but win right now. Not in the future.
The only piece of this team that might represent a “future” is Dwight Howard. You have to wonder how Dwight feels about that future right now.
As Reggie Miller of TNT noted:
I would love for Jack Nicholson to throw a "white towel" on the floor and yell "No Mas No Mas!!"— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) January 12, 2013
Miller was talking about the in-progress game with the Thunder, but could this be applied in a more general way to the entire season?
In his interview with ESPN, Buss was also quoted as saying, “We haven't seen them all together and play together for games.” True, but at this rate we may never see what this team can actually do.
They certainly can’t play defense.
A level of decline is normal in sports. The Lakers may have avoided some of the normal rebuilding steps that all teams must endure, but it is very difficult to be an elite team indefinitely.
Jim Buss is right in that he does not necessarily have to “blow up” this squad. However, there may come a point where the math really starts to work against the Lakers.
Los Angeles is five games away from the halfway point of the season. The Lakers are 15-21, and there is more and more space between them and the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
Five games behind Portland right now, to be exact.
Oh, and the Lakers have lost six in a row. Solid losing streak?
Perhaps this team isn’t as solid as Jim Buss believes. Perhaps this team is on thin ice.
Blow up the team? No. Actually think about building for the future at some point? Yes.