Are The Lakers Too Far Gone For Improvement?

Raise your hand if you didn’t believe the hype when Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak brought in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.

Raise your hand if you thought firing Mike Brown so soon into the season was going to come back to haunt this squad.

And finally, raise your hand if your team is above .500

In all fairness, the expectation was that we’d see the team of Nash, Bean, Artest, Gasol, and Dwight Howard on the court at the same time from the very beginning. However, things haven’t worked out quite that way. When Nash went out in early November, the point was shared between Steve Blake and Darius Morris. After only playing 5 games, Coach Mike Brown swiftly got the ax. Though Lakers nation campaigned hard to bring back the Zen Master, Phil Jackson, Jim Buss chose Bean’s idol, Mike D’Antoni. As a Knicks fan, I’m not a fan of D’Antoni’s system. But he’s not a bad coach at all. This just isn’t a team that his coaching style works for, especially with Steve Nash out.

Let’s face it – Los Angeles is no stranger to non-basketball related antics. From the Dwightmare trade to them losing to the likes of Cleveland and Toronto, you have to really wonder what’s really going on in practices and in that locker room?

It’s easy to shove most of the blame off on Bean. After all it is his team, his legacy that he’s guarding. His shot selection has been the subject of much criticism. Now in his 15th year, Bryant is shooting an average of 22 shots per game; his highest is 41 attempts vs. Golden State. The volume of his shot attempts aren’t remarkable. But it’s when he chooses to shoot that so many fans and analysts take issue with. Let’s compare this season with his 2005-2006 season numbers; averaged 27 shot attempts per game (a career high), 45% shooting overall, and ended with a career high of 35.4 ppg. Now who were his teammates that year? Kwame Brown, Smush Parker, Devean George, Von Wafer, Luke Walton, rookie Andrew Bynum, and some other names not worth mentioning. After Bean’s 35.4 ppg, you want to take a guess who was the Lakers’ 2nd leading scorer? Hint: he’s now playing for the other LA team. The writing is on the wall. Kobe had a career year that season because he felt like he had to do everything. And with the names I listed, do you blame him?

Well this 2012-13 roster isn’t that far removed from that 2005-06 team. They added Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison, who have both been under-utilized in this system. But the other all star, Pau Gasol, has lost the little bit of desire that did exist. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before he gets dealt for a younger, fiery true 4 guy and some miscellaneous pieces; Josh Smith is the name that keeps coming up as of late.

As much as I like to hear a fly fart in the Lakers peanut gallery, I don’t like to see a team with this much talent suck so terribly. We’re about a month away from the  trade deadline. The Lakers don’t have anything to offer in the way of draft picks, cash or additional desirable players. Plus with the rumor mill steadily brewing about the Lakers taking offers for Howard, I believe that they’ll keep him in order to do a sign-and-trade at the end of the season should he verbalize not wanting to stay.

Is it too late in the season to make a meaningful trade? Who’s to blame for the Lakers’ implosion – Mitch Kupchak, the players, D’Antoni? What’s the most realistic trade scenario you see that’ll immediately improve the Lakers run for the playoffs? Will they even make the playoffs?

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