The Mayans were right, Armageddon is upon us and all that’s left to do is wait until December 21st. At least that’s the theory according to most Lakers fans that are irate about their team’s 0-3 start. As Charles Barkley said on TNT, “I want my accountants from Princeton, not my offense.” So what are Lakers fans supposed to do now? Go to their rooms without dinner? Or is it time to panic? Yes, it’s true, led by Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, the star studded team from LA are off to their first 0-3 start in 34 years. The NBA season is barely a week old, and already the Lakers are an absolute mess. So is it time to hit the panic button yet? Even Kobe Bryant, half joking, half pissed off, said it’s time to panic. These losses mean nothing, though, as we’re only in the first week of the season. Maybe some of you thought we were going to see the ’96 Bulls, but Kobe isn’t MJ, and there isn’t a Pippen, Rodman, or Kukoc at their prime on this team. And Mike Brown isn’t, and never will be, the coach Phil Jackson was either.
Some need to understand that putting Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in a slow, half-court offense isn’t using either player to their abilities. The Lakers need to run the ball and the court. The modified Princeton offense doesn’t give them enough opportunities to do that. That style of offense will keep every team in the game with you, and you don’t want that, you want to be better and faster than the other team. Slowing down the game when you have more talent than most NBA rosters, gives the opponent more opportunities at the basket, keeping games closer than they should be. You know what else gives the opponent more opportunities at the basket? Turnovers. Now, I said earlier that the Lakers should speed up their offense, and I will stand by it, BUT if they keep turning over the ball, they need to take their time going up the court. Here’s an interesting stat for you, through the first two games, the Lakers turned the ball over 39 times, and 24 times in one game to the Trail Blazers! You would think they had popcorn before the game as the ball kept slipping out of their hands.
Through three games, it’s pretty obvious that the offensive “strategy” is choking the life from the offense. But it’s not for what you think though. The Princeton strategy is an offense built on flexibility, where each of the five players on the court becomes a mock point guard when touching the ball. This apparent elimination of the pure point guard role seems to be very frustrating for Nash, the pride of Victoria, BC. Not to sound like a broken record, but fans should’ve expected this slow start. Nash is going from a system where he was the star to a system where he’s a part of a larger whole, which he isn’t familiar with. It would also help if the Lakers weren’t so married to a robotic form of the Princeton. In an offense that allows for so much fluidity and individual creativity, it seems like the players are more worried about finding where they need to be on the court than playing the game itself.
Time is of the essence. Howard, Nash, and the Princeton offense weren’t changes made to win a few games in November, they were made to win championships. Be patient.