The Los Angeles Lakers sit squarely out of postseason contention with a record of 15-20 on January 12 of the 2012-13 season. Despite that, executive vice president Jim Buss thinks the team is “very solid” and there is no need to “blow it up.”
Now, I don’t claim to be any kind of mental health professional, but I truly believe that Buss the Younger needs to seek the help of someone who is.
The Lakers have been an absolute disaster so far this season. Despite an MVP-like campaign by Kobe Bryan (who leads the NBA with 30.1 points per game), Los Angeles has been terrible. Yes, injuries to center Dwight Howard, point guard Steve Nash and power forward Pau Gasol have been huge blows but still, the team’s problems run much deeper than that.
Buss decided Mike D’Antoni and his up-tempo offense was the right fit for the Lakers, despite the team’s aging roster. While the Lakers are scoring 103.2 points per game (fourth in the NBA) they can’t guard anyone. D’Antoni’s teams have always struggled defensively and the Lakers are no exception. They are currently giving up 101.7 points per game, which ranks 26th in the league.
Here’s what Buss had to say about his Lakers:
“We still like this team a lot. How can you not believe in this team? This team is built to win. It’s a very, very solid team. We haven’t seem them all together and play together for games. In my mind, we would not consider a temporary fix or blow it up. Why blow up something we have a future with?”
While I believe the Lakers will make the playoffs, the pronouncement from Buss that the team is fine is simply ridiculously. I’m a big fan of Gasol but he’s completely out of place in D’Antoni’s system, that requires a power forward to play beyond the three-point line. D’Antoni’s offense is a round hole and Gasol has become the proverbial square peg.
At the time he was hired I voiced my option that D’Antoni was a terrible fit for Los Angeles’ roster. He’s never successfully used a low-post big man like Howard, and his system based on speed and quickness simply isn’t a fit for the kind of roster the Lakers currently have. Unless he makes some serious changes to the way he runs things, it’s not going to work out in Hollywood for him.
If they truly believe in D’Antoni and his system, Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak must make a few moves to help compile a roster that will work. If they could get younger and faster in the process, all the better. But for now things just aren’t working out.