Top three questions facing the Lakers
by David Leon Moore, USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES – Many of the Los Angeles Lakers’ fans are questioning the team’s baffling, bumbling start. A 9-12 record by the popular preseason choice to challenge for the Western Conference title has even Magic Johnson asking on twitter: “what is the strategy, identity and purpose for the team?”
Others question the choice of Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson as coach to replace the fired Mike Brown last month.
While those type of queries are fodder for debate on sports radio, there are three key questions D’Antoni, who succeeded Brown after a 1-4 start, needs to answer if he hopes to get things headed in the right direction.
D’Antoni has already said the return of point guard Steve Nash is key to the team’s fortunes. Nash was a master at running D’Antoni’s offensive system when the two were together in Phoenix.
Once Nash returns, the Lakers are hoping to get better play from big men Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. Howard is not taking a lot of shots and is missing a lot of free throws. Gasol hasn’t seemed to get going in the offense at all.
The Lakers hope to find some answers as they head out for a four-game road trip, beginning tonight in Cleveland.
Can Nash be the savior?
D’Antoni, starting with his introductory news conference, insisted that the Lakers would turn things around just as soon as Nash, who suffered a small fracture in his left leg in the second game of the season, got back in the lineup.
“Give him an hour and a half,” D’Antoni said about how long Nash would need to fix what ailed the Lakers offense.
D’Antoni envisioned Nash running something akin to the Showtime offense that Magic Johnson ran in the 1980s. That seems a little far-fetched given how the Lakers have struggled to get out on the break and produce easy baskets. They were outscored 19-4 by the Utah Jazz on fast break points in their most recent loss – a defensive nightmare (117-110) Sunday night, when the boo birds came out in the fourth quarter.
The main Lakers players are old by NBA standards, with the exception of … [For more on Top three questions facing the Los Angeles Lakers, click here.]