What's up with the Lakers?
Here's what Ben R of Silver Screen and Roll told me:
To say that the Lakers have been awful as of late is only a mild understatement, as a combination of factors has seemed to have caused the team to become unglued all at once. The most glaring of which is that this is a point guard-centric system that currently is bereft of any playmakers to make it work, a problem that Knicks fans should be all too familiar with. As a result, the Lakers are essentially waiting for their Jeremy Lin in the form of Steve Nash to return and fix a huge assortment of problems: taking the ball out of Kobe Bryant's hands and letting him work as a scorer instead of an awkward distributor; helping Pau Gasol find his place in an offense that needs him to space the floor, although this might be even beyond Nash's capacity; and most of all, give the team someone to pass to the league's best roll man, as Dwight Howard has been woefully underutilized in that regard. These problems, moreover, are accentuated by the fact that the Lakers lost Steve Blake as well and are down to their third and fourth point guards, a scenario basically no one saw when the year started. Chris Duhon has actually been much more serviceable than we were led to believe by his time in Orlando, as it appears a return to D'Antoni's system has done him some good, but he will mix in mediocre to outright bad nights along with the good. His backup in Darius Morris has been terrible after a five game patch in November during which it looked like he was turning a corner, so the Lakers don't exactly have a whole lot of options at the position and this has crippled a good portion of the offensive flow on most nights.
More troubling, however, is the Lakers' defense, which really is subject to how well Howard's back is faring any given night. When he looks like his old DPOY-self, the Lakers' defense is rather imposing, but once he falters, a whole laundry list of problems get exposed. Although he has been coasting for years now, Kobe's defense has become truly horrific, as he will barely bother to move on most possessions. Antawn Jamison, who is starting in Gasol's absence, is and has been a defensive liability, and Metta World Peace holds little value on that end except against mostly isolation players. A subjective take is that Dwight isn't 100% yet and his back feels better or worse any given night, but the Lakers desperately rely on him to have anything resembling a respectable defense. In sum, the Lakers were from the beginning of this venture a top heavy team, so take out two of their four stars, give one of the remaining stars a back issue he is still recovering from, and you have severe problems. Really, the only thing keeping the ship afloat is that Kobe has turned back the clock and is having an insanely efficient season that is probably not sustainable. The Lakers' issues are comprehensive enough that the team's prospects even when everyone is healthy are questionable, hence all the rumors about dealing Gasol, but that's the lone string of hope sustaining Lakers fans at the moment.
Meet the new Lakers!
Earl Clark- Beneath Earl's jersey is a fanny pack filled with graham crackers.
Chris Duhon- Knowing Chris's preferences from his days as a Knick, MSG locker room attendants turned the temperature up to 85 degrees, reconfigured the "strobe" function on the overhead lights, and stocked the mini fridge with Zima before the Lakers even arrived.
Dwight Howard- Dwight holds regular Pen15 Club meetings in a Staples Center conference room and is repeatedly surprised to find that none of his teammates attend even after they've gone through the initiation process.
Antawn Jamison- In an effort to "be more green", Antawn has been urinating in paper cups and burying the paper cups in his backyard. Antawn's approach to sustainable living is admirable in its enthusiasm, but woefully misguided.
Darius Johnson-Odom- A single glare from Darius is enough to turn a human into stone and a stone into a human.
Jodie Meeks- Lakers staff members believe Jodie to be the first player ever to request pre-game notes and scouting reports printed in fruit roll-up form.
Robert Sacre- Highlights of Sacre celebrating on the Laker bench are sold as bootleg workout tapes in some foreign cities.
Steve Nash- In an effort to occupy himself while injured, Steve has been bringing recording equipment to games and sampling sneaker squeaks, whistles, dribbles, the conversations of his teammates, the sounds of Mike D'Antoni sighing, and Dwight Howard's armpit farts for a dubstep beat he's producing.
Adventures in Impersonating Dwight Howard on Omegle!
You're now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!
Stranger: hey asl
You: currently in new york
Stranger: me tooo im jessie and im 26
You: sup jessie
Stranger: u horny
You: i mean kinda
You: but i should probably focus on my game coming up
You: coach yelled at me for building a fort before
You: so i really need to look focused
Stranger: me too how big is ur penis
You: proportionate to my stature
Stranger: and that is how big
You: i'm 6'11"
Stranger: my dick is 7 feet bet that
You: wow your dick should consider playing pro ball!
Stranger: im a guy bro
You: i know bro
You: that's why you have a dick LOL
Stranger: r u gay
You: NO WAY MAN
You: just think dicks and weiners are funny
Stranger: k gtg bye luv u
You: wait wanna see my coach d'antoni impression
You: real quick
You: please please
You: ok check it out
You: HEY I'M COACH D'ANTONI
You: I HAVE A MUSTACHE
You: HEY DWIGHT YOUR DEFENSE THIS YEAR HAS BEEN SUBPAR
You: I HAVE A MUSTACHE
Stranger: ok kool bye
Your conversational partner has disconnected.
Jim Todd Pep Talk!
we're goin hack-a-howard tonight, guys. i got you all machetes.
And now you're ready for Knicks-Lakers!