Skip to content

First order of business for Lakers: Fix the help defense

Dec 11, 2012, 11:32 AM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard AP

It’s been a pretty regular happening for the Lakers the past few games:

The opposing point guard blows past Chris Duhon without much resistance. Dwight Howard sees it coming early (there’s a reason he’s three-time Defensive Player of the Year) and rotates over to cut off the lane — but then nobody helps the helper. Nobody makes the next rotation to pick up Howard’s man, or if they do it is late. Either way a big man gets a shot at the rim or there is a wide-open guy on the perimeter for a kick-out corner three.

The Lakers defensive rotations are maybe their biggest weakness right now (outside of injuries, anyway) and if they are going to start winning that is the first thing that has to be fixed.

Howard is understandably frustrated as he tries to quarterback this thing and he said as much to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com.

“Guys have to understand I’m going to try to block shots and I’m going to help as early as I can and I’m going to be there,” Howard was quoted as saying. “We have to get each other’s back.”

And, Kobe Bryant endorsed the frustration, saying, “He should be. He can’t do everything defensively. He’s doing as much as he can, changing shots and the things of that nature. But when teams are getting out in the break and laying the ball up so many times, there’s not much you can do.”

The thing is, Kobe is part of the problem — his rotations have been terrible at times and at other points he was busy arguing a call and didn’t even get back over half court to help in transition. Howard has barked at Kobe because of it. The bigger issue with Bryant is that he has gone back to doing a lot of roaming when his man doesn’t have the ball — he is gambling for steals and getting caught way out of position because of it. Our own Darius Soriano broke it down with video over at ForumBlueandGold.com.

We shouldn’t just single out Kobe, there isn’t a Laker who is blameless. They all are slow on rotations, get caught ball watching and when you then play a team like the Jazz that moves well off the ball you pay a serious price. But with Kobe as the team leader, more is expected of him.

While Mike D’Antoni’s offense might be free flowing, a defense is about discipline. And right now the Lakers have none on that end of the floor. That is not something the return of Steve Nash and Pau Gasol is going to instantly fix, but it is the biggest key to the Lakers turning this thing around. They are scoring points, but the Thunder, Jazz and even for a quarter Magic and Rockets exposed them on the defensive end. If the Lakers defense doesn’t improve, the team won’t, at least not to the level Lakers fans expect.

Latest Posts
  1. John Calipari on Anthony Davis: “In five years, he could be the best player in the NBA”

    Aug 30, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    Fa14_BB_WBF_Images_Ash_ANTHONY_DAVIS_2_32057

    Will Davis be better than LeBron and Durant in five years? I’ll say this — he’ll be on that level.

  2. 76ers second rounder Jordan McRae signs in Australia

    Aug 30, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Jordan McRae Jordan McRae

    Former Tennessee guard, drafted No. 58, will help Philadelphia tank from afar

  3. Goran Dragic’s brother, Zoran, getting interest from Pacers

    Aug 30, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    BASKET-EURO-2013-SLO-FRA BASKET-EURO-2013-SLO-FRA

    Other NBA teams also watching Slovenia closely in World Cup to assess Zoran

  4. World Cup Preview: USA vs. Finland, what to expect

    Aug 30, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Finland isn’t as good as the teams the USA was destroying in tune ups.

  5. Reports: Spurs making run at Ray Allen, who remains undecided if he will play anywhere

    Aug 30, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    2014 NBA Finals - Practice Day And Media Availability Getty Images

    He can decide this summer, or he can wait and join a team mid-season. There is no rush.

  6. James Harden on Kobe Bryant return: “He’s 20-year-old Kobe”

    Aug 30, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers

    “We talk and he’s ready. He’s 20-year-old Kobe. It’s going to be a crazy environment.” — James Harden on Kobe Bryant

  7. Record 45 current NBA players to compete in FIBA World Cup

    Aug 29, 2014, 11:15 PM EDT

    Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol (R) watch as th Getty Images

    Tournament features a record 75 players who have played in the NBA at some point, and we have the complete list.

  8. Chris Paul discusses his signature shoe, hoops with media at launch of his Jordan Brand CP3 VIII (VIDEO)

    Aug 29, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT

    101_Chris Paul Unveils Jordan CP3.VIII

    Chris Paul is way more into sneakers than you are, and articulated it well at the launch of his latest signature shoe in New York earlier this week.

  9. Report: Spurs interested in Mexico’s Gustavo Ayon

    Aug 29, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT

    ayon bucks Getty Images

    Ayon has played for four teams in three NBA seasons, and currently only has offers to play overseas next year.

  10. Iman Shumpert scares people (video)

    Aug 29, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

    Iman Shumpert, Trevor Ariza Iman Shumpert, Trevor Ariza

    Knicks wing acts as security guard in prank

  11. 67RIEFNS No. 1: Tom Thibodeau managing his bigs

    Aug 29, 2014, 3:33 PM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Bulls have Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic

  12. Jerry Colangelo: Team USA ‘by far’ better than 2010 squad that won gold

    Aug 29, 2014, 2:47 PM EDT

    Team USA Showcase Getty Images

    Colangelo touts Anthony Davis, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, Rudy Gay

  13. Clippers will stretch Miroslav Raduljica, too

    Aug 29, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Miroslav Raduljica, Omri Casspi, Donatas Motiejunas Miroslav Raduljica, Omri Casspi, Donatas Motiejunas

    By also stretching Carlos Delfino, Clippers can sign four veterans to minimum contracts

  14. Derrick Rose knows injury questions will keep coming. And coming. And coming.

    Aug 29, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT

    Derrick Rose, Anderson Varejao, Raulzinho Neto Derrick Rose, Anderson Varejao, Raulzinho Neto

    The truth is limited games in an unusual setting don’t provide real answers to how Rose is feeling or will do down the line. What you think this says about Rose really says more about what you think of Rose’s future than anything else.

  15. FIBA World Cup preview: USA, Spain, then who else can medal?

    Aug 29, 2014, 11:40 AM EDT

    Pau Gasol, Kevin Love Pau Gasol, Kevin Love

    It should be USA/Spain for the gold, everyone else is playing for third.

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Love (3288)
  2. D. Rose (3090)
  3. K. Bryant (2612)
  4. L. James (2562)
  5. R. Allen (2148)
  1. K. Irving (2113)
  2. C. Delfino (2046)
  3. T. Mozgov (1940)
  4. D. Waiters (1901)
  5. S. Marion (1797)