This year’s Los Angeles Lakers team is a lot like President Barack Obama’s administration: both need time to produce significant results.
Pau Gasol has yet to lace up the sneakers due to a hamstring injury; Ron Artest is in the process of meshing with his teammates and identifying his role on a team already filled with stars; and the Zen Master is feeling out his bench to find the right combination of players suitable for a run at a second straight title.
There are other question marks too, like Andrew Bynum’s ability to maintain his aggressive play and filling the void that is becoming the starting point guard position with an aging Derek Fisher, but it is hard to put a finger on how lethal the Lakers truly are just five games into the season.
One thing if for certain: The Spaniard’s absence is certainly being felt on both sides of the ball. Through five games, the Lakers are tied for second-to-last in blocked shots (3.4/game), fourth in rebounds yielded (45.6/game) and 14th in scoring (100.2 points/game).
While those numbers will surely improve when Pau returns to the lineup, the Lakers’ ball control and free-throw shooting is cause for concern, regardless of Gasol’s involvement. They’re averaging 17 turnovers per game and shooting 72 percent from the charity stripe, both of which are direct contributor’s to the loss column. Sure the Lakers have been able to dodge these bullets thus far, but it is only a matter of time until such deficiencies come back to bite the defending champs.
All in all, the Lakers are 4-1 and have won three straight games, including overtime victories in back-to-back road games. What’s more, Gasol has been medically cleared and should dress for Friday’s home affair with his brother’s team, the Memphis Grizzlies.
You hear that?
It’s the Lakers’ championship-form time bomb, and it’s just about ready to explode.
About the Author
Written by Josh Hoffman