Currently, the Lakers are in possession of the Western Conference's eighth seed by one game over the Utah Jazz.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: If the Lakers don't make it, they have at least five legitimate reasons why they failed.
Firing of Mike Brown, Hiring of Mike D'Antoni, Not Hiring Phil Jackson
After five games, the Lakers brass fired Mike Brown. But before he got fired, they forced him to employ the "Princeton Offense," an offense that never got properly instituted because of injuries to nearly every key player in the preseason. Brown was out, but who would replace him? For several days, Phil Jackson was going to be re-hired, it looked like a foregone conclusion. But under the cover of night, late on a Sunday evening, the Lakers announced they would hire D'Antoni instead. As the season has now almost completely played itself out, they couldn't have been any worse if they would've just retained Bernie Bickerstaff for the entire season, who won four of his five games as head coach.
Every significant player on the team was injured at some point this season. Steve Nash, Kobe, Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol- and those are just the starters. The bench was equally ravaged. Robert Sacre, Devin Ebanks, Jordan Hill, Steve Blake; and that's the short list. No wonder they haven't had any chemistry all year.
Lack Of Pau Gasol
Gasol's head wasn't right all season. And yours wouldn't have been either if your name was Pau Gasol. No one has taken more of a beating for being "soft". But if he was soft, Gasol wouldn't have two rings and a slew of all-star appearances. So what does he get for his trouble? He gets benched for Earl Clark by D'Antoni, who was trying to assert his power to "motivate" Gasol. That was a "bass-akward" thing to do. To make it worse, D'Antoni did it when the Lakers rotation was being held together with duct tape. If he was healthy, the Lakers should've squeezed every last second out of him.
Where Was "Ron Ron" All Year?
I get that "Ron Ron" has decided to completely give up on scoring. I get that he fancies himself a lockdown one on one defender. But for a guy who has scored over 20+ ppg in his career, for him to not be more involved offensively (and I don't mean hoisting up three's from the corner, which has become his signature offensive move), I mean getting involved and productive when the team needed him. He didn't, so Kobe had to carry the squad, and still is, like always.
Dwight Howard Saga
I don't care what Howard's numbers are, or if Andrew Bynum missed the entire season- Howard killed the Lakers with his endless, me first drama. It started before he got traded to LA, then continued once he arrived because of "injuries" and a bunch of other excuses. Dwight Howard is a drama queen and softer than Pau Gasol- FACT.
The Los Angeles Lakers have waited long enough for Steve Nash's return and it's been reported that the wait is almost over.
Hoopsvibe's quick call: As great of a point guard Nash is, I'm not sure he's going to be the Lakers' savior this season.
On the Lakers' 9th win of the season, Kobe Bryant surpassed 30,000 points in his career.
Hoopsvibe's quick call: Kobe hitting 30,000 is an amazing milestone, but I bet the entire organization is just happy to get a win.
Is Steve Nash the only reason Pau Gasol is stil in Los Angeles?
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: I doubt Nash's insisting will be enough if the Lakers continue to under perform.
Looking at the current NBA player injury report, it almost seems like every team is missing one (or in some unfortunate cases, a few) key players.
Hoopsvibe's quick call: Injuries certainly aren't ideal, but every team has to deal with them.
Here are few that are currently being dealt with:
Avery Bradley, shoulder, Boston Celtics
According to reports, Bradley will be out for another few weeks, at least until mid-December. While he's currently traveling with the team and working on his jump shot during warmups, he is not participating in full contact drills. The Celtics can't wait to get Bradley back, as he's earned a reputation for being an extremely talented perimeter defender.
Derrick Rose, knee, Chicago Bulls
After suffering that gruesome slash heartbreaking knee injury in the first round of the playoffs last year, (an injury that essentially took them out of NBA Finals contention), Rose is still in recovery mode. He's set to return mid-January but due to the nature of his injury, will take more time to heal if necessary. As much as the Bulls want their franchise player back in the lineup, they are not going to rush his recovery. The good news is Rose just recently began cutting in practice. The bad news is, with Rose out this season, the Bulls are below .500 at 6-7.
Kyrie Irving, finger, Cleveland Cavaliers
We all remember the freak accident that resulted in a broken hand for Irving earlier this preseason. If you don't, he made an errant pass in a game, was mad at himself, and punched a wall. We've all been there, right? Well, unfortunately, a freak accident found him with a broken finger recently and will have him out until late December. "Freak injury, minor setback but ill be back soon everybody, Love the support" Irving tweeted.
Dirk Nowitzki, knee, Dallas Mavericks
The three point shooting seven footer, who hasn't played in a game yet this season, will continue to be a spectator for another few weeks due to a knee injury. Dirk is set to make his return to the lineup sometime in mid-December and Mavs owner Mark Cuban probably can't wait given the fact Nowitzki averaged more than 21 points per game last year.
Danny Granger, knee, Indiana Pacers
There's no question this injury hurts Indiana; Granger was the Pacers leading scorer before being sidelined after having an injection three weeks ago to treat patellar tendinosis. The Pacers better get used to life without Granger, as he isn't scheduled to return until mid-February.
Chauncey Billups, achilles, Los Angeles Clippers
By the way the Clippers have been playing, you might not have even noticed they've been balling without Chauncey Billups in the lineup. Chauncey is almost done rehabbing an injured achilles and is planning on being back in action mid-December which means the Clips are about to get even better. I'm sure in the meantime, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will continue to have everything under control.
Steve Nash, leg, Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers probably didn't foresee Steve Nash getting injured within the first few games of the season when they traded for him a few months back. Then again, the 38 year old is getting any younger. Nash is set to return by mid-December and knowing how much the veteran point guard will help their team, the Lakers can't wait. "When Steve comes back, things will change. You have one of the greatest point guards of all times that you're missing out of the lineup. It changes things," said superstar teammate Kobe Bryant. Even new Lakers coach, Mike D'Antoni, who coached Nash for many years in Phoenix highlighted his importance in the lineup. "In Phoenix, we couldn't win without him," D'Antoni admitted.
Shane Battier, knee, Miami Heat
While Battier might not be one of the most talked about players on the Miami Heat, no one doubts his immense contribution night in-night out. Battier is an amazing defender and hits the open three. Thankfully to his teammates, his recent knee injury will only have him missing a few games; Battier should be back early to mid-December.
Chase Budinger, Brandon Roy, Ricky Rubio, all knee injuries, Minnesota Timberwolves
At this point, it's almost as if you should be careful going to play in Minnesota because you might hurt your knee. All three players, Budinger, Roy and Rubio are currently sidelined with versions of knee injuries. Budinger will be out until March but thankfully, Roy and Rubio should return mid-December. Let's hope.
Amare Stoudemire, Baron Davis, knee injuries, New York Knicks
It's pretty amazing how well the Knicks have been playing with Carmelo Anthony at the helm and Stoudemire and Davis both out with injuries. Davis will unfortunately be out for the season but Stoudemire is set to return mid-December. How will the Knicks work Stoudemire into the rotation when the team is 9-4 without him? It will definitely be interesting to see what happens with Amare on the court.
Andrew Bynum, knee, Philadelphia 76ers
Just when I thought Bynum would go to Philadelphia and grow into the best center in the league, he injured his knee. Again. And then he went bowling, and got injured again. He's got all of the talent in the world but can't seem to stay healthy. Barring any further bowling incidents, a healthy Bynum will be in the lineup by the end of December. Fingers crossed, Philadelphians.
John Wall, knee, Washington Wizards
If there's one team in the NBA who truly cannot afford an injury right now, it's the Wizards. They are currently 0-12 and their star player, Wall, is sitting on the bench with knee injury. The good news? Wall is supposed to be back by the end of this month and there's only one way for the Wizards to go from here.
Anthony Davis, ankle, New Orleans Hornets
A stress fracture in Davis' ankle isn't helping the Hornets one bit. The team is currently 3-9 on the season. Davis played the first six games and put up huge numbers, averaging 16 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Pretty remarkable for a freshman. What's also remarkable is how much of an impact he's had because the Hornets haven't won without him. Since his injury, they are 0-6. Davis is said to be out until mid-December.
In the Lakers 119-108 victory over the Rockets in Los Angeles last night, Kobe Bryant went for a triple-double but it was Steve Nash who stole the show, performing a little Gangnam style from the bench.
Hoopsvibe's quick call: While Kobe was taking care of business on the court, Nash was tearing it up on the sideline.
Top 10 Reasons LA Won't Win the Championship This Year.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Even with Dwight and Nash many don't pick the Lakers to win this year. Here's why.
Below are the Top 10 reasons Los Angeles won't win the title this year. This is drawing from other teams of similar build as well as an analysis of their existing pieces. Los Angeles is loaded with talent, but talent doesn't always equal championship rings and these are the reasons why.
#10 Metta World Peace is wild.
World Peace is a solid defender, but his offense is sketchy and his ability to control himself in pressure situations is horrible. Look for him to have another incident this year as he continues to age and get more frustrated with his slowing body. It's not a matter of if, but simply when World Peace will go nuclear.
#9 Pau Gasol is weak.
Gasol simply doesn't pay with the heart of a champion. Now that he is the 3rd or 4th option in the offense it won't be as glaringly obvious, but having people on your team and on the court that lack desire is a killer to team moral. Look for Kobe to continue to get pissed with Pau.
#8 Dwight can't shoot free throws.
When the game is on the line Dwight can't touch the ball. This is the same problem the Clippers have with Blake Griffin. The Lakers can overcome this by simply having everything flow through Kobe and Nash, but having your key big man not able to touch the ball is a serious weakness.
#7 Nash's defense sucks.
Steve Nash is a wiz at no-look passes and floaters in the lane, but lateral movement and man-up defense isn't one of his strengths. This will be exploited when he is matched up with speedsters like Russell Westbrook. This will be a key matchup the Thunder will exploit. This is why the Thunder are still stronger than the Lakers out West.
#6 Dwight's attitude
Dwight is known as a happy-go-lucky guy. He has always been much stronger and more talented than his competition. Unfortunately, this has made him weak. Dwight is not tough. He does not have the heart of a lion like Kobe. He has the heart of a kitty like Pau. This lack of mental toughness will be spotlighted in the playoffs.
#5 Kobe pressing
Kobe want's his sixth championship more than anything. He knows time is running out on both his career and the Laker's ability to hold this squad of players together. Look for Kobe to up in Pau and Dwight's faces early in the season. This could backfire with Dwight who isn't used to being scolded publicly.
#4 Mike Brown needs a spine
The Zen Master not only knew how to win, he knew how to let his leaders lead, but also how to keep them within his system. Mike Brown is no Phil Jackson and doesn't command the type of respect needed to keep massive egos in check. If things get bumpy early in the system look for Mike Brown to start catching some of the heat.
#3 No Toughness.
The toughest player on the Lakers is Kobe followed by Steve Nash. Where LA doesn't have grit is underneath. They lack the big men with muscle that are willing to both hit the floor and set a bone-crushing pick. Their big men are more pretty and gritty. Teams like San Antonio and Oklahoma City that don't suffer from this same prima donna mentality will exploit this lack of toughness.
#2 LA wants results.
Look for the temperature to be turned up as the Lakers struggle early in the season. They may even loose some early games to the Clippers and be threatened with losing the crown of their home town. Los Angeles has extrememly high expectations for the Lakers and if things start going south look for egos to get bruised and fingers to start pointing.
#1 First year together.
The Miami heat didn't win the first year their Big Three united in South Beach. The Lakers are no different. No matter how much talent a team has, it takes time for players to find their roles and fit together. The Lakers have the advantage of having winners already on the roster, but so did Miami. Look for the Lakers to win in year 2, but not their first year with this grouping of players.Read More
Top 10 Reasons: Why LA will win the championship next year.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: No, all 10 reasons aren't Dwight Howard
The newest Laker in town shows, yet again, his acting chops and sense of humor.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: It's awesome when NBA players show that they aren't complete PR robots and do things because they like to have fun.
A feud between Steve Nash and Jason Richardson makes Lakers pass on Richardson.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: It pays to get along even in the NBA. Shocking!
In just over 24 hours, the Phoenix Suns have completely overhauled their roster.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: If you're a Suns fan, you have to be happy with the overall aggressiveness and the direction.
Tonight at the stroke of midnight EST, the free agent feeding frenzy will begin.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Some long running questions about some big names and their destination for next season will finally be answered.
- Where will Steve Nash finally end up?
For two years we've been hearing Nash's name in about every conceivable trade scenario; and nothing ever happened. The Suns drafting of Kendall Marshall this week says a lot about how interested the organization is in bringing Nash back. Also, their supposed interest in Eric Gordon is another nail in the coffin that was Nash's time in Phoenix
- Where will Deron WIlliams go?
No matter where he ends up, will he finally play for a title contender? Mired in both Utah and New Jersey in his career, D WIll has been one of the NBA's most productive PG's. But can he lead a winner? Or will he forever be a great individual talent on bad teams?
- Ray Allen to the Heat?
The most the Heat can offer is a midlevel exception; three years 9.7 million. After the Heat's amazing performance from beyond the arc in the Finals imagine adding the NBA's all time three point shooting leader into the Knicks. It will be really interesting to see what other teams enter into the mix for his services.
- Apparently, Brandon Roy's knee is fine
Strangely, he may be the most sought after of all available unrestricted free agents. After being regarded as an "also ran" for two years, there are at least five teams vying for his services. If we are to believe the chatter, the Pacers are willing to do just about anything to get him.
- Will we finally see the flurry of trades we were promised pre-draft?
As team's negotiate a way to sign players that can't afford, inevitably some trades will happen. Will the Lakers FINALLY deal Gasol? Will Houston finally deal Luis Scola?Read More