Well, the lakeshow season has started and we’re starting to get a better idea of where each team is. Admittedly, the Lakers have not gotten off to a champion-level start. However, before we hit the panic button on the entire season, there are lessons that we as the fans and they as a team can take from this first quarter of the season to improve. A championship is still very possible.
Defense Wins Championships
This is one area where the Lakers have actually excelled to begin the season. They are tied for fifth in the league for points allowed, at 90.6, and tied for first in the league for opponents’ field goal percentage at 41 percent. Mike Brown’s defensive emphasis has been paying dividends, and as long as that continues to be the focus, they will continue to be in competitive games.
Kobe Still Has a Chip on His Shoulder
So, maybe the talk of Kobe retiring or at least losing several steps were a tad premature. Kobe has opened this season on a mission of retaliation against such claims.
Kobe currently leads the league in points per game, coming in at an even 30. He’s shooting 45 percent from the field, which is right on the level of Carmelo Anthony (40 percent), Derrick Rose (45 percent) and Russell Westbrook (45 percent). Kobe keeps himself very healthy and works hard to keep his body as young and fresh as possible. It shows on game day.
Maybe Bynum Can Stay Healthy…
I probably just jinxed him. Seriously, though, Andrew Bynum is easily one of the most “potential-filled” centers in the league and is also the one that no one wants to hear about great potential anymore. Fans simply want great from him. His injury-filled career has left all Lakers fans cringing any time he seems to land at all awkwardly coming down from a dunk or rebound.
Nevertheless, so far this season, Drew has been a nice healthy surprise. He has put up decent numbers, though still not enough to quell calls for Dwight Howard’s presence. Bynum needs to be more consistent with his play, especially focusing in on rebounding the ball and controlling the paint. With Pau Gasol still finding his way and clearly not the player of years past, it’s time for Drew to step up and be a dominant center.
Andrew Goudelock Is a Baller
Maybe there is hope for life after Kobe. In the limited action the young player (affectionately dubbed “Little Mamba” by Bryant) has seen off the bench, he has impressed. In his last four games, he has been thrust into a greater role on the team due to injury, and he has not disappointed.
While averaging 20 minutes per game, he has put in 11.5 points per game on 50 percent shooting and a whopping 57 percent from downtown. He may be in line for even more minutes and a greater role in the offense if this keeps up. This kid has a bright future.
Kobe, You Can’t Do It All!
This is obviously still a work in progress. As he gets older, Kobe needs to continue to turn into a distributor. He continues to bark that he is primarily a scorer, but unless he can consistently drop 100 points per game, the whole team needs to be involved with the load. This is, of course, not all on him. His team needs to step up and prove they are worthy of touches.
But once again, Kobe is the MVP of the team, not just the leading scorer. If they can continue to jell on offense and pull together, don’t rule this team out.