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The interconnectivity of the Lakers’ problems

Nov 2, 2012, 5:04 PM EDT

Lakers starters walk onto the court after a timeout during their loss to the Dallas Mavericks in their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles Reuters

If you ask five people what’s wrong with the Lakers, you’re likely to get five different answers. That’s what happens when a team with that caliber of talent opens the season 0-2. There are simply too many things to pick at for there to only be one thing wrong.

That said, the Lakers issues aren’t just these individual problems that exist in a vacuum. They are not compartmentalized where if one thing is fixed they can check it off a list and move on to the next thing.

No, the Lakers problems are interconnected where one thing is done wrong and that leads to another issue popping up and then it just compounds from there. Worse yet, there’s a chicken and the egg nature to these problems in that it’s actually quite difficult to suss out where their issues begin and where they end.

Is it the much maligned offense?

Is it the underperforming defense?

Actually, it’s both and the problems at each end of the floor are fueling each other.

On offense, the implementation of the Princeton has had its hiccups. Steve Nash has looked more like Steve Blake, getting rid of the ball early and often in possessions and spectating off the ball for long stretches. Furthermore, players have looked confused on what their next move should be, too often thinking about where to go rather than reading and reacting to the defense.

The Lakers have also been too slow in how they’re attacking on offense. They’re not pushing the ball and they’re slow to get into their sets. This is leading to too many possessions where they have to execute well in the half court — which they’re not doing well — and that’s leading to long misses, turnovers, and generally uneven play.

These offensive woes are then generating many of their defensive problems.

When the Lakers are forced into taking a long jumper their opponent is grabbing a long rebound and attacking them in the open court to make them defend in transtion. Because the Lakers are older and not very quick to change ends, they’re getting taken advantage of more often than not. When the Lakers turn the ball over, this lack of transition D is amplified and it is almost guaranteed that their opponent is going to get a shot at the rim or the type of rhythm pull up jumper that teams thrive on.

Even when the Lakers aren’t trying to defend in transition, they’re suffering on that end of the floor. Their lack of cohesion on D is seen clearly on missed rotations to the rim, the surrendering of offensive rebounds because they’re not helping the helper, haphazard closeouts on shooters, and poor pick and roll coverage.

And these defensive woes only fuel more of the Lakers problems on offense. When teams score, the Lakers are forced to inbound the ball and it slows down their entire attack. This also allows the defense to get set and, in some cases, set up full court pressure to further keep the team from playing at a good tempo. The result is the Lakers starting possessions halfway through the 24 second clock which limits their ability get comfortable in their offense.

And right back to square one we go. It’s like a downward spiral of poor execution.

There’s no simple fix here either. The team can start by playing better defense, but that will need to be aided by crisper offensive execution, better floor balance to defend against fast breaks, and cutting down on the turnovers that allow teams to score easy baskets. They can start to refine their offense, but to do so they’ll need to start getting stops on defense so they can push the ball up the floor and get into their sets faster. They will also need to figure out how they want to run the Princeton and get more out of Steve Nash in the process.

At this point, though, the Lakers need to start to improve somewhere. Because just like there’s a domino affect in how bad plays begat bad plays, the inverse will also be true. For their sake, it better start soon.

  1. sellahh - Nov 2, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    I know what’s wrong. Try ‘2 best shots of teams that play you on their respective nights’.
    One thing that worries me is their lack of killer instinct. But that’s about it, really.

    • bougin89 - Nov 2, 2012 at 5:28 PM

      That is a legitimate concern. The last two years they’ve almost looked tired/disinterested in the playoffs. Once they get on the same page hopefully Dwight and Nash’s hunger for a ring will get them going. As far as getting on the same page I think it will happen at some point but Princeton offense or not, why Mike Brown isn’t running pick n roll’s with Nash and their two bigs is crazy.

  2. spthegr8 - Nov 2, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    After reading this article. The Lakers may as well just pack it in for the year and get ready for next year!!!! GTFOH!!!! They have played 2 GAMES!!!!!! To quote Darius” Their is no simple fix here either” The fix is actually quite simple. GIVE THEM SOMETIME!!!!!!! DAMN, everybody needs to CHILL!!! This team will be right their in the mix when may come’s around.

    • joshm5683 - Nov 2, 2012 at 5:57 PM

      Darius is very good about all things Lakers. Mad props for him on Forum Blue & Gold. What he says is true though, there is no simple fix, but also there really isn’t anything super difficult about what they have to do to improve either. As a Lakers fan I’m just as frustrated as everyone else, but like you said its only 2 games. Hopefully they figure it out and I do have faith.

  3. cosanostra71 - Nov 2, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    just have to get to the playoffs, where anything can happen.

  4. paulhargis53 - Nov 2, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    What in the hell were they doing during training camp and preseason?!

    This was the same bs excuse they used last year. It’s looking like another 2nd round exit for the lakeshow….

    Tick tock lakerluver/bozosforall…

  5. libertynchurch - Nov 2, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Whats the fix for old and hurt? Hungry young guns coming off the bench. Time for Mr. Kupchak to do his thing!

  6. cpcfan - Nov 2, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    As a Clip fan I wonder if Mike Brown would be an upgrade over our equally inept VDN but I’m just not seeing it..The defense for the Lakes has been awful considering that was to be Browns strong suit and point of emphasis..

  7. rodge1 - Nov 2, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Dwight is the only player on that team that defends, that’s the problem with their defense. Kobe wants to be the only player to touch the ball, that’s the problem with their offense. Kobe’s crazy contract plus declining skills, that’s the problem with their bench…

  8. lakerluver - Nov 2, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    According to all you “experts” the LAKERS should just forfeit the remaining 80 games. The beauty of online sports sites is it gives those who would not normally have a forum a way to share their opinion. However, on the other hand, it opened up the floodgates to all the “smartphone” General Managers & Coaches. What a bunch of idiots.
    G O L A K E R S !!!

  9. heathater4lifeson - Nov 2, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Over/under on number of laker posts today- 7

  10. BigBeachBall - Nov 2, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Mike Brown has to get the defense locked in…. screw the offense…. just lose half the games.. get an 8 seed and role into the playoffs with a monster defense and the lakers will win it all…

  11. itsonlyaspeedbump - Nov 2, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Not a Laker fan. In fact, I would call myself a hater when it comes to LA. Saying that…all this ‘whats wrong with the Lakers NEEDS TO STOP. Did we learn nothing from the “struggles” of Miami?

    When you have basically 4 HOF playing together, there is nothing actually wrong. They werent going to go 82-0. Its not any different than them losing 2 games in a row mid-season.

  12. xcastorx - Nov 3, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    Lakers Suck Again! 0-3 on pace to be 0-82

  13. silveradonguyen - Nov 3, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    Kick mike brown put jackson back in hahahaha

  14. paulhargis53 - Nov 3, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    lakerluver, your statement implies that YOU actually know anything. Anyone that’s read one of your posts knows you do not.
    The pompous smug attitude is part of the reason I detest you.

    I pity you for the mindless following,the Busd and Kupchak and Brown can do know wrong attitude.You’re a 38 year old man for Gods sake, quit acting like aittle kid. You’re that old and you still have heroes?! You’re pathetic.

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