After acquiring Steve Nash and Dwight Howard last summer, the Los Angeles Lakers were thought to be instant NBA title contenders with the team being able to hold onto Pau Gasol while bringing the two veteran superstars.
Unfortunately, the Lakers have been anything but championship-caliber this season with injuries constantly throwing off the chemistry building process. Nash, Howard and Gasol have all missed time during the first-half of the season and have only had limited minutes on the floor together.
Nash missing the majority of the 35 games played by the Lakers took a huge toll on this team, with the hiring of head coach Mike D’Antoni mainly made due to Nash’s presence in the backcourt.
Without Nash running the show, D’Antoni’s system has been a failure thus far and even with the two-time NBA MVP running the point guard position the team still struggles with chemistry issues on the floor.
With the Lakers currently five games below .500, the talk of trades potentially being made by the team to right the ship have begun to circulate with the NBA trade deadline a little more than month away on Feb. 21. Rumors continue to swirl around Los Angeles with players like Tyreke Evans and Ryan Anderson receiving interest from the Lakers’ front office, but the team continues to be reluctant to make a move.
Lakers Executive VP Jim Buss spoke with John Ireland and Ramona Shelburne on 710 ESPN on Thursday to address the Lakers’ problems and current situation. Buss emphasized the fact that the team hasn’t had the chance to build chemistry with injuries becoming a major issue via Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times:
“I don’t know if we’ve had five games where all our players are playing,” Buss said. “When you have injuries like that, you can’t play enough games together to get chemistry.”
It’s hard to argue with Buss’ comments here as the Lakers have been ravaged with injuries all season long. Not only have the injuries taken a toll on this team, but there’s a lot of new faces in Los Angeles still adjusting to their new surroundings and learning to play with new teammates.
Although injuries are clearly a problem moving forward, there’s no telling whether or not this team can truly compete this season or the next with the current roster intact. Only time will tell if the rebuilt roster fill with superstar talent can transform into a true title contender or if the team will even have the chance to reach its true potential if Howard ultimately decides to leave in the summer.