Skip to content

With Nash on court, Lakers offense full of options

Dec 26, 2012, 1:55 PM EDT

Lakers' Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash celebrate after teammate Pau Gasol scored against the Knicks during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles Reuters

The Lakers are 2-0 since the return of Steve Nash, both wins over quality teams in Golden State and New York.

Let’s not go overboard with what this means — it means they won two games in December. It doesn’t speak to the playoffs.

But we are starting to see just how things open up with opportunity when Steve Nash is the guy directing the Lakers offense compared to, oh, let’s say Chris Duhon. Or Darius Morris. Suddenly there is a lot more creativity in the Lakers offense and that shows promise. But that promise is far from realized — the Lakers offensive numbers in those wins were not impressive (it was pretty average on Sunday if you look at points per possession).

Still, you can see signs of hope and what could be.

Of course, there are the Nash/Dwight Howard and Nash/ Pau Gasol pick and rolls we all expected. Most of those with Howard were drag screens (early in the shot clock screens while players are running down court) and Howard slips out early on almost all of them. What you see with these is what Nash has that few others in the game do — patience. He sees what the defender does than attacks where it is weak. Against the Knicks that meant a number of Nash runners in the lane.

But the play I really like that we barely saw was some Nash and Kobe Bryant 1-2 pick-and-rolls. In the same way having Dwyane Wade set a screen for LeBron James is nearly indefensible in small doses, the Lakers ran this just a couple times the last couple games but we could end up seeing it more.

Bottom line is that on pick-and-roll plays the Lakers ball handlers and roll men combined to shoot 9-of-16 (and that’s not counting the opportunities created for other players on the court).

D’Antoni also is using some of Mike Brown’s offense from last year and making it work — the Lakers ran “horns” a few times, where the two bigs start at either elbow. When they do that and Gasol gets the ball and starts to initiate the offense, good things happen as wing players get open looks. There was even some quality high-low action with Gasol and Howard.

It worked, and you can see why Mike D’Antoni leaned heavily on it — Nash played more than 40 minutes against Golden State and 37 on Tuesday in the first game of a back-to-back for the Lakers. Nash is still 38 and coming off an injury (not to mention the chronic back issues). The minutes have to be controlled for Nash (and Bryant and Gasol and Howard) as the season wears on. But with the Lakers at just .500 and looking up at the playoffs it’s not that simple for the coach to just sit back and think about games in May.

Latest Posts
  1. Lou Williams ‘disappointed’ Raptors didn’t want him back

    Jul 7, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets Getty Images

    The reigning Sixth Man of the Year signed a free agent deal with the Lakers.

  2. Dwyane Wade cites his scoring average when asked how long he’ll continue to play: ‘I think I’ll stay around a while’

    Jul 7, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    wade Getty Images

    Wade was the third leading scorer in the East last season, but missed 20 games due to a combination rest and injury.

  3. Mark Cuban fined $25K for commenting on free agents DeAndre Jordan, Wes Matthews

    Jul 7, 2015, 11:31 AM EDT

    Squawk Box - Season 20 Getty Images

    Teams aren’t allowed to discuss deals during the moratorium period, which is still going on.

  4. Report: Kevin Garnett to re-sign with Timberwolves

    Jul 7, 2015, 10:52 AM EDT

    Kevin Garnett AP

    KG will be back for a record 21st NBA season.

  5. Report: Cavaliers ‘have not abandoned’ pursuit of J.R. Smith

    Jul 7, 2015, 10:40 AM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game One Getty Images

    Cleveland just added Mo Williams, but Smith (and Matthew Dellavedova) will likely be back.

  6. Jazz GM says he’ll have news for fans soon regarding contract issue with Trey Lyles

    Jul 7, 2015, 9:55 AM EDT

    Trey Lyles Trey Lyles

    The 12th overall pick hasn’t practiced with the Jazz, and remains unsigned. But the GM says “No worries.”

  7. Report: Players union to set up fund to help retired, destitute players medical expenses

    Jul 7, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Michele Roberts, the Executive Director of National Basketball Players Association Getty Images

    This is the kind of thing that all that new television revenue should go to.

  8. LeBron James says his legacy “will speak for itself” (also talks “Trainwreck” movie)

    Jul 7, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    All I have ever argued about LeBron’s legacy is that you can’t compare it right now to Magic or Jordan or Bird or whoever because he’s still playing at the peak of his game.

  9. Matt Bonner blames down shooting season on iPhone 6

    Jul 7, 2015, 12:17 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v San Antonio Spurs - Game Four Getty Images

    Bonner claims a Spurs strength-and-conditioning coach supports the theory

  10. Report: Mo Williams signing with Cavaliers for most of their MLE

    Jul 6, 2015, 10:04 PM EDT

    Mo Williams, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving AP

    Cleveland fills its biggest need with its second-best roster-building mechanism

  11. Reports: Mavericks re-sign J.J. Barea for two-years, $5.6 million

    Jul 6, 2015, 6:44 PM EDT

    J.J. Barea J.J. Barea

    This is a solid signing, but the Mavs need more help at the guard spot.

  12. Report: Cavaliers, Clippers discussing Jamal Crawford for Brendan Haywood trade

    Jul 6, 2015, 6:01 PM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    This trade could work for both teams if the Clippers can flip Haywood’s contract again for a big man.

  13. Reports: David West agrees to veteran minimum deal to play for Spurs

    Jul 6, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT

    David West David West

    West left $10.6 million on the table to go to a contender.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. Aldridge (5902)
  2. D. Jordan (4007)
  3. W. Matthews (3954)
  4. R. Rondo (3455)
  5. D. Wade (3385)
  1. R. Hibbert (3349)
  2. D. West (3322)
  3. K. Bryant (3154)
  4. R. Lopez (3056)
  5. T. Harris (2986)