As a fan it’s sad to see the Lakers in a position of such helplessness. As great as Kobe Bryant is and has been, even if he scores 50 a game, it won’t be enough to save the inefficient talent level of the rest of this Lakers team. Pau Gasol has had his heart stolen by Brendan Haywood and Tyson Chandler, at 7 foot plus I have never seen a guy get so many shots blocked that should’ve been dunks. Then again we’ve seen Kobe’s and Phil’s frustration with his lack of aggression on and off for years. Every time he’s in the paint he should be trying to tear the backboard down.
The second problem is Derek Fisher is to slow and old to defend Terry or Barea, and Steve Blake shouldn’t even be in the NBA, he can’t score, defend or assist. Ron Artest has the movement of a 50 year old man, is an intelligence liability and a shadow of his former self. Lamar Odom needs to eat a bowl of gunpowder, he has the aggression of a poodle. The only help Kobe has is Andrew Bynum, but his 18 pts and 15 boards won’t be quite enough either.
All of that said, between the aging of the Lakers and the improvement of the Mavericks, not even Kobe’s greatness can save them. The Mavericks have produced the blueprint for defeating the Champs. The rest of the team is such a minor threat that it’s become increasingly more difficult for Kobe to get his shot off. The one thing MJ always had was guys that could knock down shots when he got doubled or dribble penetrated, Kobe can’t even get in the paint, the defense collapses with no care about the Lakers 3 point shooters.
After a 2 for 20-something night from behind the 3 point arc, it doesn’t look too good for the 2-time defending champs. As a matter of fact, in the infamous words of an old college coach, “Boys you can call in the dogs and pee on the fire, the hunt is over.” I’m sure this is not what Phil Jackson envisioned as his swan song.
- Seth Joyner