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The once-promising preseason campaign of the Los Angeles Lakers has gotten off to a rocky start.  What began as a year full of hope and optimism has quickly regressed into a harsh reality as injuries and a slow start quickly popped the proverbial bubble.

A preseason opening win over the Denver Nuggets was followed up by blowout losses to the Golden State Warriors (twice) and the Utah Jazz, though LA was able to get a resounding come-from-behind win over Utah in their next matchup. With over a week to go before the regular season starts, here are three points to take note of as the team moves forward.

1. The (lack of) three-pointers.

The style of the play that Byron Scott has implemented is a stark contrast from last season.  Under Mike D’Antoni, the Lakers last averaged 24.8 three-point shot attempts per game while training 38.1% of them. Those marks ranked 6th and 3rd in the league, respectively. Scott has made it known that he has a disdain for three-pointers and wants the team only attempting only 12-15 shots from long range per game as a team.

The problem is, the shots that they’ve attempted have been missing their mark.  They’ve shot the lowest number of threes (42), made the lowest (10), which has put them in the cellar in terms of shooting percentage (23.8%).  Went went 1-19 in one stretch, which included two games where they went 0-8. Without a threat from the outside, this inability to space the floor won’t give the team space inside to post up and attack the rim.

2. Health.

After leading the league in games missed due to injury last year with 319, the madness just doesn’t stop. Before even playing a single game, Nick Young went down with a thumb injury and will be out for around at least six more weeks.  Steve Nash’s nerve problems resurfaced and it looks a walk on a tight rope when it comes to dealing with his injuries.

In addition, Jeremy Lin, Ryan Kelly, Jordan Clarkson, and Xavier Henry are all recovering from various ailments.  As a result, Byron Scott’s rotation hasn’t been what he envisioned before the year, and it’s shown with their play.  Ronnie Price has been the starting point guard, and camp invitees Wayne Ellington and Roscoe Smith have both seen extended minutes on the floor.  The bright side, at least it’s still early, and one can only hope that the injury bug only sticks around for the preseason.

3. Kobe Bryant.

The hope that fans cling onto is that Kobe Bryant looks, well, like Kobe Bryant.  While he hasn’t shot the ball efficiently, only making 37% of his shots en route to 17.4 points per game, he’s been moving extremely well.  While lacking the familiar explosiveness to the rim that he’s demonstrated his entire career, you wouldn’t know that he’s someone coming off two major injuries in the past year.  With more games under his belt, the offense will come with time.

While the blowout losses painted a momentarily bleak future for the Lakers, the truth is that there’s no reason to panic just yet.  As time goes on and the team gets its rotation players back, there will be more fluidity and consistency to their game.  And that feeling of hope and optimism that was present on media day will be back again.

Photo: Tom Szczerbowski | USA TODAY Sports
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

You read it right.

Steve Nash is not 100% healthy as of yet but that will not stop him from achieving a childhood dream of his. On Tuesday Nash will be trying out for one of the best soccer, or fútbol, franchises in the world in Inter Milan. Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press was first to break the story.

”It’s a dream come true to get a chance to try out, not just to try out but to take the field with Inter Milan, one of the great, storied franchises in professional sports,” Nash said in an interview with The Associated Press. ”I feel like a little kid.”

Nash has always been a huge soccer fan and occasionally jokes about how he would be a great soccer player if he didn’t become as good as he is in basketball. Tuesday he will have the opportunity to show the world the type of player he could be. First, he’ll have to get over his big case of nerves.

”It’s going to be a lot higher than it is playing basketball, for sure,” Nash said. ”I still get nervous for basketball games from time to time. When I get out on the court, I don’t get nervous, but before. To go out there with guys that I look up to and watch play, it’s definitely going to raise the nerves. I’ll be really nervous and really excited.”

As far as his day job goes he still is working to get to 100% health. Everyone knows how injury riddled the Lakers were last season and Nash missed a significant amount of time on the court. Despite that, he has been training hard this off-season and believes that he will have a good year.

”I’ve had a really good summer of training and rehabilitating,” Nash said. ”I’m not 100 percent, but I’m pretty close. Good enough to go out there Tuesday. I’m thrilled I’ve had this time to build myself back up, and I believe I’ll have a great year.”

”We’re all just excited for another opportunity,” Nash said. ”We’ve got some terrific players coming off of difficult seasons. I know Pau Gasol after his injuries, Kobe’s coming off a difficult injury, I was injured for the better part of the season. The three of us are eager to get back out there and there’s other guys, Jordan Hill, Steve Blake, who missed a lot of time last year.

Nash did not stop there as his excitement for next season continued to dominate the conversation.

”We’re excited to see what we can make of ourselves. We really are going to try for the second consecutive year to find chemistry and identity, but we’re excited for it, so we’ll see.”

With Nash already coming of an injury plagued year it would be best for him to continue to work out for basketball activities and rest his body. However you cannot blame the guy for wanting to try something that he has always wanted to do and been good at. As long as he makes it through this experience and remains healthy then the fans should have nothing to worry about. If he does happen to succumb to injury, then he will have risked a lot of Lakers hopes for this upcoming season.

Do you believe Nash should tryout for Inter Milan? Why or why not? Would you if you were in his shoes? Let me know below!

 

Steve Nash and others show off their soccer skills!

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