The Lakers had a decent road trip. They went 4-3 over the Grammy trip, which lasted 13 days away from the comfort of home, but they failed to make up any ground. The team encountered two injuries on the trip; one that will sideline Pau Gasol for six to eight weeks, at minimum. There has been slight progress as the team has won seven of their last 10 games, but there are still a plethora of questions lingering around regarding the team’s identity.
“We’re still trying to find ourselves,” Nash said. “It’s hard. We had a lot of injuries. We haven’t had a lot of time on the court together. We’re not a fully formed team.”
One of the most critical questions that hasn’t found an answer less than one week away from the All-Star break is how to involve Dwight Howard on offense. Kobe Bryant had the following to say:
“We could obviously get more. He’s had games where he’s had 25 points and 17 rebounds and so forth. We’d like to see that more consistently.”
Steve Nash, who has made a career out of the pick-and-roll game and getting his teammates involved, offered the following suggestion on how to get Dwight going offensively:
“We’d like to get him in the pick and roll more,” Nash said Sunday. “I think that’s how he was really good in Orlando. He’d pick and he’d dive and they’d swing and put it in to him, so he could get deeper catches and the help side has a more difficult time coming to him.”
“I don’t know. It’s been difficult really to get him into that game – running into pick and rolls, diving hard, looking for the ball. We really haven’t found that rhythm from him yet.”
After being known as one of the best rollers in the NBA for pick-and-roll sets, Howard has been reluctant to execute this set this season. Instead, he wants more touches in the post, where his efficiency stats are very questionable. However, this will not deter hope for finding a rhythm with Howard for Nash, who said:
“We’re not in here ready to quit on each other,” Nash said. “We’re still going for it. But it’s just been really slow going.”
The Lakers need to get on the same page as soon as possible. With two critical games coming up this week before the All-Star break, how the team decides to come together, or not, will impact how they perform in the remainder of the season.