Nash not the ultimate solution to Lakersí woes
Still, not many could have guessed just how defensively incapable this crest fallen Los Angeles Lakers (9-2) roster would turn out to be. After the stir the Los Angeles Lakers created with a four-team blockbuster trade to start-off, a single asset on roster should have ranked them defensively above Mike D’Antoni’s Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks. The Los Angeles Lakers’ boast the league’s best shot-blocker in the post Dwight Howard; which alone should give them a great advantage to contain opponent’s scoring by boosting their defensive effectiveness at the rim. Then, the Los Angeles Lakers have other weapons that Mike D’Antoni’s Phoenix Suns lacked. Veteran Kobe Bryant’s perimeter defensive capabilities could offer a built-in defensive advantage for the Los Angeles Lakers on the perimeter. Pau Gasol’s size along with Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace’s mere presence on the defense looked seemed good enough to compensate for Mike D’Antoni’s shortages at the defensive end.
While the many are relating the Los Angeles Lakers’ struggles Steve Nash’s absence in the backcourt the point guard isn’t the pill to cure the team’s all problems. There’s no doubt that his return could help deal with a number of issues, but defensive effectiveness is not at the top of that list. Still in the wake of all the Los Angeles Lakers’ defensive struggles, the department isn’t doing so badly as widely projected.
The Los Angeles rank 13th for team defense across the league, yielding 98.71 points per game and ranking 17th in opponent’s field goal percentage, while allowing opponents to shoot 44.3 percent against them. Overall, the Los Angeles Lakers are 15th defensively, that from their 23rd ranking in defending a short shot clock, 16th in transition defense, 25th in defending cutters and 24th againsgt a pick-and-roll handler.
And here’s where Dwight Howard has the most impact – the Los Angeles Lakers rank 11th in post defense while running-up 3rd in defending offensive put-backs. Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace can be largely credited for keeping the Los Angeles Lakers within second ranking for defending against spot-up buckets.
Given that Steve Nash ranked 58th percentile on the defensive end of the court, 29th percentile against spot-up shooters, 56th percentile defending a pick-and-roll man, 47th percentile on hand-off plays and and 57th percentile in isolation, he really does come-off strong on the defensive sides. Steve Nash managed an 86th percentile on defending off the screen but that only contributed 4.2 percent to the Phoenix Suns’ defensive stats from last season.
The All-Star’s presence on the offense is where Steve Nash really makes his mark and many have been anticipating to see Pau Gasoil as well as Nash take the court together. But the Los Angeles Lakers haven’t really struggled to score (101.81 points per game) with Kobe Bryant literally running offensive side of the court.
So the Los Angeles Lakers better get back to their strategy boards and figure-out another solution around this that doesn’t depend on Steve Nash.