The Los Angeles Lakers continue to struggle as their nightmare season continues, and for the entirety of it the main problem has been their inability to figure out who fits with who on any given night.
Mike D'Antoni is the first guy who'll acknowledge that.
Of course, the four main players in this disaster of a season have been Kobe, Dwight, Nash and Gasol, all of whom have had their fair share of problems.
Howard's back has continued to hamper him throughout the season, while Gasol has seen his knees turn on him. That's the extent of the health problems they've seen, but the real story is how these pieces just don't fit together.
Nash works best when the offense is run through him and into the post, with wingers used as intermediaries, slashing and shooting at will. The biggest problem with that is their best wing player isn't exactly a passive slasher and shooter.
Kobe's best offense comes when he's the ball-dominant shooting guard with four offensive cohorts alternating between active and passive players. Metta World Peace and Gasol can get by as passive players, but the other important players are best effective when active on offense.
This, of course, leads to each member of Los Angeles' offense looking to be the most important player on the floor, often creating issues in chemistry and the overall flow of the game:
Why haven’t they been on same page? D’Antoni likened them to an All-Star team, where offense is 1-on-1 & no focus is placed on D.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 23, 2013
D'Antoni with the Lakers quote of the year: "We have an All-Star team out there. Have you ever watched an All-Star game? It's God awful"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 23, 2013
While it's quite evident that the biggest problem in Los Angeles has been the Lakers' lack of defensive chemistry, it's a problem that can be fixed by a smoother, more efficient and trustworthy offense.
The problem there is that neither Dwight nor Kobe has learned to excel as a passive offensive player, while Nash has flashes when he's great working as the second-banana ball handler.
This all leads to an offense that has a tendency to stagnate at times, leading to the Lakers falling behind, forcing their offense into a faster pace, leaving their defense shrugging shoulders and pointing fingers.
Overall, Los Angeles' chemistry problem has stood out more than anything else all season. They need to be able to work together in a cohesive unit in order to have any kind of success.
That's just been made harder to accomplish due to their poorly integrated offensive tactics.