Will the Lakers Make the Playoffs?
Kobe seems to think so. And both Dwight Howard and Steve Nash back him up - but thats to be expected, even amidst another tumultuous season in Los Angeles - the first since the Kobe and Shaq era came to an end. The egos of both Kobe and Dwight do not seem to mesh well as both believe strongly they deserve the ball and the freedom to operate as they please.
But this is Kobe's team --> and it always will be until he retires. Even if he doesn't deserve it. But Kobe proves time and time again that he still is the cold-blooded assassin that he always used to be.
But that can only carry this old, lackluster roster so far - the team does not get back on defense, ever. Dwight Howard, whether he is still recovering from back surgery or not, never once runs down both ends of the court at full speed. He looks like a guy who has been off the court for months. He uses his arms to push opponents for rebounds instead of boxing out. He looks like a shell of his former self, and that has hurt the Lakers.
Kobe playing heavy minutes and logging a majority of those handling the ball is also responsible. The Lakers signed one of the top offensive point guards in NBA history in Steve Nash, yet he has yet to fully take the bull by the horns and run the Laker offense. Mike D'Antoni was suppose to change the culture, the offense and the Laker philosophy - bring back Showtime.
All he has done is watch his team play sloppy offense, no defense and defer to Kobe Bryant. It might as well be the Lakers post the Shaq trade with Smush Parker running the point - Kobe played the same way then.
Chemistry can't be bought. Pretty much every famous athlete can probably be caught saying that. And it holds true once again. The Lakers will not make the playoffs for one simple reason: they cannot defeat a top team.
The Lakers had been feasting on teams below .500 this month until running into the Denver Nuggets tonight, reminding them how truly old they are. Nuggets PG, Ty Lawson was quoted a few months back in an interview with TMZ claiming the Nuggets would put a whooping on the Lakers if they were to meet in the playoffs - and he's right. They are too active, athletic and cohesive a unit for the Lakers to compare to.