What can the team that was chosen as the most likely to win the NBA Championship be missing? Hmmmm, let's see:
Best player in the NBA: Check
All-Star Power Forward: Check
Tough as nails former Defensive Player of the Year Small Forward: Check
Top Tier Center: Check
Experienced and Clutch proven point guard: Check
What else is there you might ask? Where is the kink on the Gold and Purple armor?
It's on the lack of leadership that is coming off the bench. The Lakers need a VETERAN. It's no secret to the NBA that the Lakers bench is not what it was two years ago when it made it's remarkable run to the NBA finals. This is not the same bench. It might be some of the same players but it's definitely not the same bench. The Lakers key bench players today have their own agenda and winning another championship is not high on that list. They are playing for tomorrow, not today.
Case in point, Jordan Farmar. Farmar is playing for the starting Point Guard position who in pre-season said should be his. The Lakers didn't offer Farmar a contract extension. He has something to prove and it's affecting his game in a negative way. He is forcing plays, dribbling too much trying to make something out of nothing. He has the kind of speed that outruns plays leaving him in an awkward position on the floor. Maybe one less energy drink before the game would help. Either way, Farmar is playing for next years starting position for the Lakers or maybe another NBA team.
The Machine: Sasha V.. Sasha is shooting the ball the during a game like it's a Monday morning shoot-around. Shots just aren't falling like they were a couple of years ago before he re-signed with the Lakers. Sasha needs to find his shot and rhythm during practice. He is a catch and shoot player, not a take it off the dribble and create a shot player he is trying to become.
Next up, Shannon Brown. Shannon wants to make a name for himself now that he has re-surfaced from the bottom of the NBA barrel and he has only this year and the next to do it. He has his ring, now he wants to get the money. Deservedly so I might add but not at the cost of running the offense. Brown want to posterize the entire NBA roster one dunk at a time.
So what is the missing piece that would help with the problems above? Its simple. A veteran bench player. Someone who could make Farmar slow down even if it means purposely sticking out his foot when he wizzes on by at warp speed. A veteran player that would block Sashas shot attempts. A veteran player that would stand in and get a Charging Foul on Shannon Brown whenever he wants to bull doze his way for a dunk. Well, maybe not in that fashion but with the similar results.
I'm tired of seeing Kobe and the rest of the starters kill themselves for the leads that they give the bench only to see it disappear because of the lack of a Championship commitment. A key veteran bench acquisition would remedy that problem and hopefully get the bench back in line.
As to who that player should be....I'll leave it up to you for suggestions.