The Los Angeles Lakers will head into their showdown with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night five games below .500 and on the verge of missing the playoffs altogether if the new-look roster can’t turn things around in the coming weeks.
Although the Lakers have a star-studded roster with Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard leading the way, the team has failed to live up to the extremely high expectations set during the off-season. The chemistry is nonexistent, the team is noticeably a step a slower on both ends of the floor and injuries have also taken their toll on this squad that can’t seem to put it together under head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Along with the struggles on the floor, the Lakers have been held accountable after all 20 losses thus far this season with everyone searching for answers.
Unfortunately, there seems to be no answer to these problems plaguing the Lakers moving forward with the team coming dangerously close to miss the postseason. Defense continues to be the main concern, but simply playing team basketball may help cure these problems rather than focusing strictly on the defensive end of the floor.
Only a handful of superstars in the league really know the kind of pressure that players like Bryant, Nash, Gasol and Howard are feeling at this point in time. A few years ago, the Miami Heat went through a similar transformation with the additions of LeBron James and Chris Bosh in South Beach to play alongside Dwyane Wade. The moves were heavily criticized and the Heat were instantly labeled the villans of the NBA.
LeBron talked about the Lakers’ struggles and criticism received as a result of their poor season and blockbuster moves made in the off-season. The three-time NBA MVP believes that the Lakers’ situation is pale in comparison to what the Heat went through two years via Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald:
“No one will ever be able to compare what we went through,” James said. “Even though they’re not winning and they’re losing a lot of games, it’s still nowhere near what we went through . . .
“. . . Yeah, right. That level of magnitude was nowhere near where ours was two years ago. Nothing. Nothing compares to it.”
LeBron has a point with comparison of the two situations in Los Angeles and Miami being different. The revamped Heat were able to reach the NBA Finals in their first season together even with early chemistry problems, but the negative criticism was overwhelming.