Last season was rough for all 30 teams in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers having a tougher hill to climb than most. With a new head coach in Mike Brown, the vetoed Chris Paul trade and shortened season with a brutal schedule filled with back-to-back games, the aging Lakers were thought to be impacted severely with a nightmare season ahead.
Along with being the first season with Phil Jackson running the show on the sidelines, the Lakers also traded reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks and put two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol on edge with the knowledge that the team intended to trade him at some point before the trade deadline.
Needless to say, Coach Brown had inherited a team that seemed destine to fall apart or struggle to compete with the elite teams in the Western Conference. Even though Brown arguably exceeded expectations considering the circumstances, the new Lakers head coach received some criticism for the way he handled the squad.
Reportedly, Brown is ready to change things up with the revamped squad according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
“I’m going to be me,” Brown said. “And I’m going to coach the team however I feel like I need to coach the team. Not everybody likes me all the time. Right now I think my oldest son is mad at me.
“To me the preseason is a time to make guys uncomfortable. You make guys uncomfortable so later on it doesn’t feel as bad. I’ve been doing that most of the preseason. But I’m going to back off a little bit because we do have an older team and I want them to respond in the right way.”
With four of the five starters on this squad 32 or older, the margin for error or injury during the upcoming season will be small to say the least.
Fortunately, all five starters don’t have much of an injury history or tend to battle through injuries without missing a beat. The only problem is that none of these starters outside of Dwight Howard are spring chickens anymore and will have to be monitored in terms of minutes.
With a bench that has failed to impress throughout the first four games of the preseason, this could be a problem for Brown as he may need to continue to play his starters heavy minutes in order to compete at a high level over the course of an 82-game season.
Only time will tell how Brown will use his players and whether or not he’ll be able to give them the rest needed to stay fresh throughout the season. At first glance, it appears that he’ll have to lean on his starters in the same way he did last season, but that may change once the final roster is set and bench players prove their worth.
In case you missed it: Kobe talks A-Rod, growing up in a family of “a-holes.”
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