Part of our Lakers Nation “Sound Off’ Series – If you’d like to sound off, click here.
by: Matt Silverston
Despite a respectable 31-20 record that has them sitting 3rd in the Western Conference (1 spot above the Clipshow), no one is sold on the Lakers’ championship ambitions.
Kobe finally got sick of hearing about it the other day:
“Why is everybody acting like we are in 8th place?….here we are in the third seed and everybody is acting like we suck. I don’t understand.”
I don’t think the Lakers suck at all, but exaggeration or not, the Lakers have weaknesses that need to be addressed.
– Pau needs to get more physical down low. He’s had a nice season, but unless he starts to play bigger inside, the Lakers are going to be too soft to beat teams like OKC or DAL in the playoffs. He’s got to “re-learn” that it’s ok to throw some elbows and assert yourself in the post. However, my biggest gripe about Pau is that he doesn’t dunk the ball enough. We’ve all seen it before, layups won’t get it done in the playoffs.
– They also get hesitant on offense in key stretches of the ball game. Real NBA contenders close out games in the second half, but the Lakers go through long periods of offensive inconsistency where their offense goes stagnant, and they start to rely solely on Kobe’s one-on-one skills. Kobe is a stud, but he’s shooting the worst field goal percentage since his sophomore season, and sadly, he just isn’t the machine that he used to be (that hurt to say).
– However, their biggest issue is their lack of bench production. They are putting up around 28.2 points a game (not official statistics), which doesn’t sound bad, but in all reality it’s pretty terrible.
Take the Bobcats and the Wizards for example.
The Lakers have won 10 more games this season than the Bobcats and Wizards combined. They average more points per contest, shoot a better percentage from the floor, play better defense, etc. However, the Bobcats’ and Wizards’ benches average 10 more points a game than the Lakers’ bench (Bobcats: 42+, Wizards: 45+). That’s a pretty scary statistic for a team with title hopes.
Funny what happens when you trade away the reigning 6th man of the year…