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Time for Lakers to trust Steve Nash to get offense working

Oct 31, 2012, 2:16 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown (R) chats to Steve Nash of Canada during their loss to the Dallas Mavericks in their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles Reuters

That wasn’t pretty.

The Lakers offense in their opening night loss really wasn’t much of anything. It wasn’t very Princeton with its reads and spacing (only in flashes). It wasn’t up-tempo. It wasn’t much pick-and-roll despite some deadly combos on the floor. It really just wasn’t much of anything except making a point to get the ball inside a lot. Which didn’t really work that well.

What it’s going to take most to fix this is time on the court together for the Lakers stars — Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. They looked like a bunch of guys who haven’t played much together. Because that’s exactly what they are. They looked like they were thinking and not just reacting in the offense, that takes time to fix.

But there is one other thing the Lakers could start doing as soon as Wednesday in Portland — start trusting Steve Nash. Fully trust him. And he needs to start trusting himself and not deferring.

Watch the first game and you didn’t see a Lakers offense doing what it was designed to do — figure out the opponent’s weakness then exploit it with superior talent. They went inside, which was supposed to be their advantage, but when it wasn’t working there was no Plan B. Nash is the guy who is supposed to make that determination on the court and get the ball where it needs to go.

Instead, he deferred t0o much, just getting the ball to someone in a Princeton set and then seeming to float around the perimeter. Don’t take my word for it, here is what he told Sports Illustrated.

“I’m caught trying to get the ball moving and get us into different sets,” Nash said. “Tonight I didn’t get a lot of pick-and-roll. There are growing pains and there will probably be more.”

The Lakers need Nash to be aggressive and attack on pick-and-rolls, especially if Howard is his roll man. He needs to push the tempo, get up the floor and get the team some buckets in transition (which needs to start with better defense). He needs to attack more quickly against pressure up the court like the Mavs used. If they do run a Princeton set, the Lakers bigs need to remember that Nash is the best three point shooter on the team and a kick-out to him is a good thing. There were flashes of what could be, like some nice passing from Gasol to Howard. But it was not enough.

The Lakers need Steve Nash to be Steve Nash. To take charge of the offense. The other Lakers need to trust him to be that guy and to space the floor, to know if they do that they will get the ball back and open looks.

It’s too early to blame the Princeton offense right now (you can start to discuss if it was wise to put in a complex new offense this year). Or the players — Kobe wasn’t attacking in quite the same way, Howard was not finishing dunks he normally crushes, the Lakers were not healthy. And of course, there were the free throws.

  1. patfic15 - Oct 31, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Brown needs to sit down and let these guys do their thing. Perhaps the young guys benefit but is there a more useless coach given a teams overall talent?

  2. clownsfan - Oct 31, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Mike Brown couldn’t handle coaching a squad w/1 Superstar. How’s he gonna manage 3-4? Lakers are goin NOWHERE w/that guy.

  3. spthegr8 - Oct 31, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Wow, no “TROLLS” yet, that’s SHOCKING!!!!!!! It’s like some kind of alarm goes off and let’s them know their is a new Laker post. That was UGLY last night and EMBARRASSING!!!!! ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for us too lose to them. I know on any given night, anybody can beat anybody. But on OPENING NIGHT, like that???????? It’s only 1 game and I know it’s a new system………..BUT, I don’t think it fit’s our team. I mean why go and get Steve Nash, if you just want to NEUTER him like that. They ALL looked like they think this system SUCKS also. AGAIN it’s only 1 game and in the long run, it may work for us.( I have my DOUBTS) But only time will tell. One thing for sure. If it doesn’t work soon. Coach Brown, Brown as in SKID mark. Better ABORT MISSION or it’s gonna cost him his job. I said it before and I’ll say it again. All you “TROLLS” better have fun with this while you can. IT WON’T LAST LONG!!!!!!!!!!! It’s STILL LAKESHOW ALL DAY!!!!!!!!!!

  4. nbascreed - Oct 31, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    I agree. Nash needs to be given the keys as the ‘offensive coordinator’ if you will and relegate brown to a suit on the sideline. I don’t trust Mike Brown, I felt like the Lake Show’s success last year was IN SPITE of him not because. If they win this year it will be IN SPITE of him, not because.

  5. paleihe - Oct 31, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    The Princeton offense would have been great, last year, when they didn’t have an incredibly talented point guard.

    Now, that you have the best pick-and-roll pg, and the best pick-and-roll finisher, it’s not time to read and react. It’s time to pick and roll every defense to death. Over and over and over and over, make the defense pick their poison.

  6. imthedudedude - Oct 31, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Kobe will have none of this. This is HIS team.. Remember?

    • leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Oct 31, 2012 at 3:46 PM

      Sadly this may be the case. I mean is it really a trust issue? Who on earth wouldn’t trust Nash? To me it seemed like an issue of Kobe having to have the ball in his hands as often as possible, and that included bringing the ball down the court and setting up the offense.

      • badintent - Nov 1, 2012 at 1:33 AM

        Ho-Hum. another Laker loss tonight. what is that ? 10 in a row this year ? Vegas has Brown NOT to finish the year at this rate. Any bets Lakerlover ?.

    • mytthor - Oct 31, 2012 at 9:03 PM

      I disagree. I think that probably the brightest mark for the Lakers last night was that Kobe was the perfect amount of assertive and he moved really well without the ball with the confidence that he has teammates that can get him the ball in great position.

  7. misterdreamer119 - Oct 31, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Mike Brown is an awesome coach. Evidence how great he did in Cleveland.
    Oh that was all Lebron? Oh right. Brown sucks and that foolish look on his face with the lower teeth peeled as his team gets sunk.

  8. 20dollardinners - Oct 31, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    They lost to a Dirk-less Mavs…

    They certainly have some growing to do.

  9. BigBeachBall - Oct 31, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Lebron/Dwade chemistry doubts remix…. here we go again…

  10. rodge1 - Oct 31, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    That is probably the real reason.

  11. openseason51 - Oct 31, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Lakers could be at the bottom of their division and the West before Christmas. Kobe should be resting that foot. Howard’s back is bad, so why are they playing? It’s a long season. Gasol looks lost and MWP is pissed off. Nash needs to be turned loose. The bench just needs to keep the pace and not let the score get out of hand. Brown is a nice guy but just sit down and let Kobe coach and run the team.

  12. dysraw1 - Oct 31, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    any coach that has a Steve Nash and doesn’t hand Nash the keys is asking for trouble

  13. passerby23 - Oct 31, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Kurt Helin, can you explain again why the Lakers were ranked #2 in your preseason power rankings? After going 0-8 in preseason and their starting five not having played together? I get that it’s one game and, come April, I’m sure they will be deserving of a top spot, but now? It’s not looking good and there was no reason to believe they would be deserving of the second best team in the league to start the season.

    If one game is a snapshot of things that COULD go wrong for LA, it’s exactly as I and others predicted could:

    1. Terrible bench.
    2. Looking old.
    3. Nash doesn’t fit into their offensive schemes and/or he and Kobe do not play well together.
    4. Their perimeter defense is still bad.
    5. Dwight Howard can’t make free throws.
    6. The one guy who would work beautifully with Nash in a consistent pick and roll game – Gasol – is now relegated to fourth option.
    7. What exactly is MWP doing out there??

    They should get it together, but they have no business being #2 right now in the power rankings.

  14. chargerdillon - Oct 31, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Can somebody tell me the point of playing smallball with 2 seven footers on the court?

    How do they expect to beat anybody playing ZERO defense and really slow offense.

    This team was better last year when there was ZERO hope for a championship. We got older, slower, and weaker on the already weakest bench in the NBA.

    Ramon Sessions would be a better choice than what Steve Nash did last night. GOOD LORD LAKERWORLD, IT’S GONNA BE A LONG YEAR FOR US

  15. cpcfan - Oct 31, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    No comment about him as a complete defensive liability..He looked just like a 38 year old defender should..

  16. fanz928 - Oct 31, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Give Nash the damn ball

  17. fanz928 - Oct 31, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    He doesn’t need to defend when they got Howard mwp

  18. lakerryan - Oct 31, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Some of these comments are funny. Sessions would have been better? Ha. Kobe needs the ball in his hands? Ha. Last night kobe went 11/14 off of a lot of catch and shoot/ dribble moves. He will
    Be fine. Pau is fine and Dwight is fine. Nash just needs to stop over thinking. Be him do his thing. It’s one game. Things will
    Work out. Talent always prevails.

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