A lot can be said about the Lakers’ recent struggles. We can blame the 0-3 start on team chemistry, the Princeton offense, or everyone’s favorite scapegoat, Mike Brown. I’ve always been on the “Give Mike Brown a chance” bandwagon, but throughout his entire time with the Lakers one thing remains clear, Mike Brown has never had a set rotation.
It’s no secret that the Laker bench was one of the worst in the league last year averaging only 20.5 points per game for the whole season. This year, the additions of Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks were supposed to change that. But, Mike Brown can’t find the right rotations for them to be their most productive. He has Jamison playing backup to Metta World Peace instead of Pau, Ebanks backing up Kobe instead of MWP, and Meeks getting close to no playing time (only had 5 minutes in Portland and didn’t get out of his warm-ups against the Clippers). Brown has repeatedly said he’s still testing different rotations and figuring out lineups, but it seems to me that the lack of consistent rotations contributes to the lack of bench production, averaging only 16 ppg in this young season.
Another negative implication of an inconsistent rotation is the minutes our aged superstars are being forced to play. Both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are averaging close to 40 minutes a game, which cannot have a positive affect on them after a full summer of Olympic basketball. It also cannot be helpful to Kobe’s injured foot.
Last year’s rotating rotations can be chalked up to a compressed season with no training camp. But that excuse doesn’t hold up this year. Yes, it may still be early in the season, but after a full training camp with a full pre-season Mike Brown is still experimenting with his rotations and it doesn’t seem to be helping. Now, with Steve Nash out for at least a week, how many more experimental lineups are we going to have to see before we finally get some consistent play from our bench?