It’s Time for the Lakers to Return to the Basics

Andrew Bynum: He is the second best center in the game today. He needs to start playing like it. Consistency is his key and the most important of these he needs to demonstrate night in and night out is his strength. His dominance under the basket is remarkable, yet he seems to find a way of getting away from his strengths.

Pau Gasol: He is a 7-footer that is skilled with a nice outside shot. This is his best asset. I agree with Gasol that he needs to get more inside opportunities. He needs to stick with his successful basics, shots around and in the paint, only shooting long jumpers when wide open or when necessary.

Matt Barnes: His strength is his defense, but also to drive the lane. He is an unselfish player who opts to pass on a shot, sometimes too much. However, he needs to increase his attempts in taking the ball to the basket for a layup and draw fouls. He needs to create open space in order for Kobe to pass him the ball when Bryant draws a double-team.

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Kobe Bryant: While his increased jump shot attempts are to adjust to Father Time instead of going against Father Time, he needs to push the ball inside more to create fouls and free throw opportunities. Get to the line; they are free points, take them and say thank you to the opponent. Bryant needs to take better care of the ball and stop depending on a bailout call from the referees, who aren’t making those calls.

Derek Fisher: There is no question that his offense is down quite drastically. Not utilizing the triangle offense is showcasing Fisher’s weaknesses. Fisher shouldn’t force his shot. If it’s not there, it’s not there. Create plays and opportunities, increase your assists, be the leader on the court and stay open for that big shot.

Let’s move on to the bench.

Bench: No energy, no Steve Blake (for at least two more weeks), an inconsistent bench leader in Metta World Peace. Besides a weak point guard position, this is the Lakers’ greatest weakness. World Peace’s basic strength is working in the paint. This goes back to his days in Indiana and Sacramento. World Peace’s three best games of the season occurred when his offense was in the paint. Troy Murphy needs to increase his opportunities with open jumpers. Jason Kapono needs to create space for spot-up jumpers. Josh McRoberts needs to work inside for dunks and/or create alley-oop opportunities.

This is nothing new for the Lakers to learn. They are suggestions based on their individual strengths. Their current offense clearly isn’t working and because of the heavy schedule this season, a new offensive identity may have to wait until the off-season. The Lakers need to return to the basics of basketball and can’t wait for a bailout trade to get them back on track. This will test the players and the team, but it is necessary to return to that tradition of excellence.

*Source: | Dave McMenamin

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