Don't expect the Los Angeles Lakers to make a trade before the February 21 deadline.
Though it might seem like the team needs to add another player, this is actually the best decision for the team's playoff hopes.
Via the DailyNews.com's Mark Medina:
Mike D'Antoni sounds skeptical that any move before the Feb. 21 trade deadline would do anything beneficial to the team's fortunes..."We need to play guys who know the system," D'Antoni said. "We could bring somebody in to bring them on the bench for a while. But that doesn't make any sense for us either."
He's not wrong.
This season has been far from ideal for the Lakers.
Dwight Howard hasn't been healthy all year long. He struggled to get into game shape after back surgery last season for much of the early goings this year, and now he's dealing with a nagging, painful injury—a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Pau Gasol won't be able to make a return from his torn plantar fascia for at least six weeks (h/t NBC Los Angeles' Shanan Ahmed), and Steve Nash missed significant time with leg and back injuries.
Making matters worse, D'Antoni's system seemed to fit the players on the team like a square peg in a round hole for most of the season.
But against all odds, L.A. has been winning ballgames of late, posting a record of 8-3 in its last 11 games.
During this time, Kobe Bryant has become much more of a facilitator than a scorer—which must grate on his nerves—but his willingness to make the necessary change has resulted in wins.
D'Antoni's point about not bringing in players at this time makes perfect sense. Sure, this season has been about as pleasant as running into a brick wall, but somehow, some way, the Lakers are inching closer to being in playoff contention with about two months left to play.
With a record of 25-28, the Lakers are just 3.5 games back from the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. Adding a player who isn't familiar with D'Antoni's system would likely throw a monkey wrench into a precarious situation—one that's beginning to finally look good for this team.
You know you've got something brewing when you can win a game on a night where Bryant scores just four points on one-of-eight shooting, which is exactly what happened on Tuesday, as the Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns by a score of 91-85.
The best thing L.A. can do at this point in the season is to continue grinding with the players currently on the roster.
Howard is still capable of dominating games, as we saw from his 19-point, 18-rebound performance against Phoenix on Tuesday, Bryant is still one of the best players in the league and Nash will get back to his old ways in no time.
It hasn't been a pretty picture for the Lakers this season, but if the last 11 games are any indication, L.A. is starting to get the ship turned around in time for a strong playoff push.
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