With many Laker fans in panic mode, questions are flying about what is going on with this newly assembled super team. Where can we point a finger? The lack luster defense? Mike Browns coaching? How about Dwight Howards free throw shooting? I got it – let’s blame this Princeton offense…
It seems like regardless whether or not you are a Laker fan, or a Laker hater, both sides can agree on something: the Princeton offense does not fit with this superstar-fueled lineup. Developed for Princeton University’s basketball team by Pete Carril, this offense was taught to Lakers assistant coach Eddie Jordan when he coached with Carril for the Sacramento Kings. It relies on constant movement by not only the players, but the ball as well. I will save you the history lesson, but whether you are for or against the Princeton offense, it is not going to click from the start of the season. Right now it looks more like ‘Slowtime’ than ‘Showtime’, but remember how long it long it took for Metta World Peace to learn the triangle offense?
Adding to the headaches of the Princeton offense, we need to factor in that this team has many new faces that are used to playing a certain type of basketball for the majority of their careers. Steve Nash, for instance, needs to get used to playing with a ball dominant guard in Kobe. Dwight needs to adjust to it not raining 3’s (like it did in Orlando), and this Laker team has to gain experience and trust as a unit. This is not going to be an overnight story. Much like it did in Miami during their first season of the Big 3, it’s going to take time.
While that all sounds great, the problem is that this Lakers team was not brought together to grow as a unit, much like Oklahoma City has. They are built to win, and win now.
With all that being said, 8 preseason losses and 2 games into the season, Laker fans can stop with the excuses and can actually focus on some changes that need to be made. Things such as team defense, free throw shooting and turnovers can and will be corrected in time. However, two things remain a lingering problem for the Lakers: their defensive vulnerability at the point guard position, and their age.
The scary thing about these problems is that there seems to be no end in sight. The hope is that, with the additions of Howard and Nash, along with a few other off season pick-ups, these problem areas will be less of a concern once all cylinders are running. Being such an exceptional point guard, Nash will demand a lot more attention than past point guards playing for the Lakers and his ability to create plays for others should outshine his lack of speed and age. As for Dwight Howard, with his the defensive presence now in the paint, the team can afford some guard penetration, as many of these shots will now be blocked and or altered.
Coach Brown has been stressing patience, but the media and Laker fans are going to try to eat him alive. After practice Thursday, Kobe was the one asking for some silence since Coach Brown can’t exactly do it himself.
“I’ve won so I can (tell people to shut up). Mike, it would be a little tougher for him to say that. So I’ll say it for him, ‘Everybody shut up. Let us work. At the end of the day, you’ll be happy with the result as you normally are.’”
As we sit here and bite our nails at 0-2, remember it is a long season. It is not time to change coaches or look to make any drastic changes. The Princeton offense is something that will take time to learn and team chemistry will come with playing together. Just take into account what our stars are capable of doing when playing at a high level and trust in them, because we know they are hungry to win it all NOW. In the mean time, we might be in for a bumpy ride, because right now, the Princeton offense is turning out of be one of the best defenses in the league.