The start to the NBA season has not been kind to the Lakers and their fans. Injuries to Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Pau Gasol have hampered chemistry and the firing of Mike Brown hasn’t produced a whole lot of optimism. The Lakers have looked old, slow, and unorganized on both the offensive and defensive ends. Their new coach, Mike D’Antoni, talked during his introductory press conference about running a “showtime” offense. Instead, it’s the Lakers who have been run over by the opposition.
The Lakers are now 8 days away from their Christmas Day showdown with the New York Knicks, and I think there are certain things we Lakers’ fans would like for Christmas. Dear Santa, our Christmas Wish List:
1. WINS. The Lakers need a good, substantial winning streak that puts other teams on notice. Even though others may be saying publicly they fear the Lakers, what have the Lakers done so far to make other teams afraid? Nothing. If they can string together 6, 7, or more wins in a row, the fans will be elated… and the rest of the league will not.
2. Consistency. Lakers’ fans want to see more consistent play on both ends of the floor. One night the Lakers look like legitimate contenders, and the next night they look like pretenders. A winning streak is a manifestation of consistency.
3. The Preservation of Kobe Bryant. Kobe needs to shoot less and play fewer minutes if the Lakers are to be there in the end. Kobe is arguably playing the best ball of his career, but chances are he can’t sustain this level the whole season unless he plays less and scores more with fewer shot attempts. Although fans love December, we know our Christmas usually takes place in June.
4. A healthy squad. The season took a huge hit Oct 31 when Steve Nash got injured. It got even worse when an injury that was supposed to cost him a week or two has turned into 7 weeks. Add Steve Blake, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard (who is still recovering from back surgery) to the mix, and we’ll find that a healthy squad is a winning one.
5. More touches for Dwight. The Lakers need to feed the “Beast” more! The more touches Howard gets, the more opportunities the shooters will get, including Bryant. Inside/out is the game!
6. More touches for Pau. Pau Gasol is too talented not to have some of the game plan tailored to him. He passes, he shoots, and he plays D and rebounds. Get him more involved! He opens up the floor which helps the shooters and Dwight.
7. Fewer turnovers. The Lakers will not win many games if they continue to turn the ball over. In recent games, there have been less TOs, but it is still a problem. Kobe is averaging 3 per game by himself and Dwight has his share. Protect the ball. Turnovers should not be the gift that keeps on giving!
8. Steve Nash passing. Right now it can only be envisioned, but when Steve Nash gets the ball in his hands, look out. It is going to be a beautiful thing to watch.
9. Jodie Meeks shooting. And shooting and shooting. Get Meeks coming off more picks and let him fire away!
10. Productive bench. The Lakers’ bench is finally looking like they have a clue. The bench players look more comfortable on the floor and since they are younger, should provide more of an up tempo feel.
11. Trades. If the return of Nash and Gasol doesn’t provide the punch it should, it may be time to say goodbye to the Spaniard, and whoever else we can get rid of for the betterment of the team.
12. Christmas in June. We expect the Lakers to be hoisting the O’Brien trophy in June 2013. Just win baby!