Good News For LA Lakers As Injured Starters Return To Practice
The Los Angeles Lakers, a team that was supposed to contend for a playoff berth earlier this season now find themselves with the second worst record in the Western Conference. The team was competitive earlier in the season, but has been unable to avoid the injury bug, which has taken its toll on the team. Now would be a good time to get some great Lakers tickets. Once the starters return to active duty, the season could turn for the better.
Former League MVP Kobe Bryant has only played in 6 games, because he suffered a knee injury after returning from a torn Achilles that he suffered last season. Starting point guard Steve Nash has only played in 6 games this season, his backups Steve Blake and Jordan Famar have only played in 21 and 22 games respectively.
The Lakers only managed to win three games in January, and are currently 16-31, which is 4th in the Pacific Division, and 10.5 games behind the Dallas Mavericks who are currently 8th in the Western Conference and hold the final playoff spot. They still have a slight chance of clinching the final playoff spot, but will need to drastically improve their play and hope the teams ahead of them go on losing streaks.
On offense the Lakers average 100.6 points a game, which is 15th in the league, but they allow 106.1 points per game on defense, which is 29th in the league. If they can find a way to improve their defensive intensity, it will lead to more scoring opportunities on offense and give them a better chance of winning games.
Los Angeles head coach Mike D’Antoni favors a fast paced offense which forces the team to take a lot of quick shots and 3 pointers. The Lakers are 5th in the league averaging 25 3-point attempts a game, but are only making 9.1 of those shots per game. The misses gives their opponents a lot of opportunities to score in transition because the team doesn’t have enough time to get back on defense. D’Antoni needs to take advantage of having a big man like Gasol who is good in the post and play more half court offense, which slows the tempo of the game down, and gives his team a better chance of getting back on defense.
The good news for the Lakers is that they are getting some of their injured players back soon, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmer all returned to practice this week, and are hoping to be back on the court soon. Kobe Bryant is also expected to resume practice soon and join the team after the All Star break
In their absence Kendall Marshall, the fourth point guard to start for the team has been playing well since he was signed, averaging 10.5 points and 9.6 assists per game since the team signed him. Former All Star center Pau Gasol has also been playing well so far this season, averaging 17 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
Historically the Lakers have always played better after the All Star game, which includes last season where they went into the All Star weekend with a 25-29 record and finished the season 45-37. They have their work cut out for them this season, and will need Kobe Bryant to return to his All Star form immediately, and hope the team can quickly get on the same page if they are going to have a chance of making the playoffs.