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Should 0-4 Lakers be worried about preseason? Not really.

Oct 17, 2012, 2:20 AM EDT

Kobe Bryant,  Kevin Murphy AP

Do not take any results from the preseason seriously.

I mean it. Don’t do it. The Sixers blew out the Celtics Monday night, but a game without Kevin Garnett (and Andrew Bynum) is not an accurate reflection of anything that you might see on the court in just a couple weeks. It just doesn’t matter.

But sometimes you can start to see trends that you should watch heading into the season.

So the Utah Jazz blew out the Lakers 114-80 Tuesday night in Anaheim, and Lakers fans should yawn. The loss makes the Lakers 0-4 in the preseason, but that is utterly meaningless. The Lakers were without Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol or Jordan Hill in the paint Tuesday night, for starters. At least Kobe Bryant put on a show in the third quarter (he finished with 31), so the Lakers fans in attendance feel like they got their money’s worth. Which is all anyone can hope for in the preseason.

But there is something going on this preseason Lakers fans should be concerned about:


That’s what you see in preseason games — Kobe and Steve Nash and Pau Gasol don’t need big minutes to get ready for the season. Dwight Howard is sidelined. Those are not the guys getting the run. What you see in the preseason are the guys who get limited minutes during the regular season getting big minutes.

The Jazz roll out nice young players to get minutes in the preseason — Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks and on down the line. The Lakers… not so much.

The Lakers starting five may well be the league’s best. They will show up ready to ball for the regular season. But the second five has either Chris Duhon or Steve Blake as the backup point, Jodie Meeks, Antawn Jamison, the currently injured Jordan Hill, Earl Clark and maybe Chris Douglas-Roberts. They are not a deep team.

That may not matter as much once they get to the playoffs when the starters can run more minutes (with less travel and regular days off). As long as they are healthy they will still win a lot of regular season games.

But the Lakers need to keep Nash’s minutes under 30 a game this season and bring Kobe’s down from the 38 a game he played last season. And of course some guys are going to miss games due to injury (or just need a night off) during the coming nearly six-month regular season grind.

And you can fairly question how much the Lakers bench will contribute during that grind after watching them this preseason. It could impact their playoff seeding.

Lakers fans, don’t worry about your team losing big to the Jazz in a meaningless preseason game. But you should be a little bit concerned about why.

  1. limonadamas - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    Meh. You’re right about the Lakers being top heavy… but this year’s bench is still light years ahead of last year’s bench. Last I checked, the Heat’s second unit isn’t so hot either, and they’re the ones to beat.

    • joshm5683 - Oct 17, 2012 at 9:20 AM

      I agree the Heat bench isn’t very deep, but their big 3 are a lot younger than the Lakers, Wade is the oldest and hes what 29 or 30? Granted he appears to be slowing up a lot, but their man guy Lebron is like a truck……….I still like the Lakers chances even with their bench, but it is somewhat of a concern.

  2. nokoolaidcowboy - Oct 17, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    Lakers shouldn’t be worried too much about their preseason games so far. Yes, you should win some but more importantly is that you come out with minimal injuries (some guys will be out of shape) and that the team and coaches can make some tweaks on their offense and defense.

    These guys really don’t get going, giving their all until these games mean something.

  3. 1historian - Oct 17, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    Nash and Kobe are both over 35 – slowing down and more injury-prone – , Gasol is getting there, Howard isn’t even on the court yet and has never shown the ability to step up when needed, yet some people are already conceding the title to LA.

    Even if I were an la fan, which I am NOT, I wouldn’t be so confident.

    • bougin89 - Oct 17, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      You make some valid points and although I think Howard was acting like a crybaby to get out of Orlando, to say that he “has never shown the ability to step up when needed” is not accurate.

    • therealhtj - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      You’re not much of a historian seeing as how Kobe just turned 34.

  4. tsi431 - Oct 17, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    The Lakers never have all 5 bench players ever playing, unless its a blowout. I will take 4 bench players and Dwight Howard over 25 other NBA teams any day. More then likely it will be 3 bench players and two starters on the court when the backups come in.

  5. lakerluver - Oct 17, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    For someone who calls himself an “historian” you should know that Kobe’s not over 35. He’s not even 35 yet. Also, your timing is “impeccable” (I’m being sarcastic) bringing up Kobe’s age after he dropped 31 without even breaking a sweat. Come June the naysayers are going to look foolish. If the LAKERS stay healthy, banner number 17 will be hanging from the rafters of the Staples at this time next season!

    • dexterismyhero - Oct 17, 2012 at 9:51 AM

      Not a chance man. Not a single chance. And I won’t be looking foolish wither.

      BTW: Kobe is over 34.

  6. omniusprime - Oct 17, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    The Lakers can improve their bench by signing Derek Fisher and dumping Steve Flake. I’m not too worried about the Lakers losing in preseason and especially short handed. When the regular season starts and the team is whole the Lakers will put on Showtime again.

    • zerole00 - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      That’s a sidegrade at best.

  7. observingii - Oct 17, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Well, to be accurate, Kobe is 34 years old, which means he is now living in his 35th year.

    • philtration - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:06 PM

      I wonder what year Kurt is living in.

  8. davidly - Oct 17, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    Kurt, I agree that depth is an issue. But you just tailored a post laying out the implications of what is “utterly meaningless”. No, this one loss doesn’t count towards the regular season record. But the meaninglessness of what we see in the pre-season ends there.

    The best starting five? It sounds to me that you are using an “who the best players would be in the first ten minutes as long as they are healthy” kind of argument. I believe you have to factor in age and durability to make the assessment. If another team’s five can stay on the court longer–both per game and throughout the season–then you gotta go with that other team as having a better starting five.

    I’d say that a lot of teams have an edge when you take that into consideration. As far as depth is concerned, like I said, you are on the money. I’d say that depth is what is going to place teams like the Pacers, Nuggets, Sixers, Clippers, and even the Celtics and Heat ahead of the Lakers by the time the postseason kicks off.

  9. lakerluver - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Can’t wait for the season to begin. Rarely does the team with the best reg season record win the title. So, that would imply that the preseason is even more meaningless. The LAKERS are title contenders. As long as they’re healthy in June I don’t see a team that can beat them 4 out of 7 games.

  10. jerdogthompson - Oct 17, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Yep. Kobe dropped 31 without breaking a sweat. Against a bunch of scrubs 2 & 3 string I might add.

    Face it, teams are figuring out Nash and he will be tested this season more so than any other season in his career. No doubt he’s a competitor and will get his on any given night. Just remember this post.

    How’s Jordan Hills herniated disk so perilously located in proximity to his pelvis? I’d worry much more about that than the preseason or Kobe’s 31 if I were a Faker I mean Laker fan.

    Bring on the hate blogs…,on three Ready.

    • progress2011 - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:25 PM

      Ahahahaha…Mr. Thompson,

      You are digging-in DEEP. You may successfully shatter the faker glass house, if you keep it up…ahahahaha

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