Lakers News: Only Time Will Tell If Team Meeting Is Turning Point of Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 21:  Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 21, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. 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 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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It's entirely too early to determine the importance of a team meeting for the Los Angeles Lakers.

According to Arash Markazi of, the Lakers met the morning before the 106-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Following that defeat, Los Angles has beaten the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Markazi quoted Dwight Howard in particular who was praising the after-effects of the meeting:

"It really helped," Howard, when asked for details of the meeting, said after the Lakers' practice Monday. "It helped [us] and it helped everybody on the team. It was great. People have said it, it was a 'come to Jesus' meeting. It was good. Stuff like that takes time. We all got to a point that whatever needed to be said was said but none of the stuff was taken personal. We all want to add another banner up there and all have rings, and in order for us to do that we all have to do it together."

It's all well and good that the players have apparently resolved all of their differences. The team has clearly failed to gel together on the court.

That morning in Memphis could help the Lakers immensely; however, until the Lakers string together some wins on the court, there's no telling what kind of effect the meeting will have.

How many false dawns and excuses has this team had already this year?

First, people were saying the Lakers were struggling because of Mike Brown's offense. When Mike D'Antoni was hired, it was supposed to turn the team's season around, but the players would need time to adjust to D'Antoni's offense.

When that didn't work, it was the fact that Steve Nash was hurt. L.A. would naturally improve as Nash got back to full health. Nash's production, though, has declined much more from last season than anybody could have expected. To a certain extent, that shouldn't come as too big of a shock considering Nash is 38 years old.

All of these seemed like valid reasons to explain why the Lakers found themselves outside the playoffs until one by one they were shot down.

Now there's this team meeting that could be the spark the team so dearly needs.

At this point, the Lakers don't deserve the benefit of the doubt. This is still a roster that has a multitude of issues, regardless of the amount of talent it has.

The postseason is far from a foregone conclusion with the team 4.5 games behind the Houston Rockets for the last playoff spot.

Los Angeles is only going to get better by allowing fewer than the 101.0 points it's giving up each game. Team defense has never been a strength of a D'Antoni-coached team, so it's still up in the air how much the Lakers will continue to improve down the road.

The Lakers also need more from Howard. His PER is the lowest it has been since his rookie season, and his points per game are the lowest since 2005-06, his second year in the league.

At the very least, it appears the Pau Gasol saga has reached its conclusion. The constant rumors of his trade were added drama to a team that has had nothing but it from the start of the season.

Without a doubt, the performances against the Thunder and Jazz were marked improvements for the Lakers, but they could simply be more aberrations for a team that has been full of them this season.