As of now, the Lakers are about as dichotomous a team as the day is long. Everything that surrounds the Lakers has an air of unfamiliarity. What type of team are they going to develop into? What type of offense would the team run? Who’s going to get shipped out for the next big name?
All of these things only add to the confusion and the Lakers inability to form any type of cohesion to start the season. The Lakers have their three best players and the rest of the guys on the roster have to fall into their respective roles. What those roles are, how they’ll benefit the team, and most importantly figuring out when to utilize and not utilize them, should be the top priority for Mike Brown. The Lakers aren’t young, they’re not as explosive as their Los Angeles counterparts, but they’re still relevant. One way they can become consistent is by tightening the rotation to 8 ½ players.
There are plenty of reasons why the Lakers look like a Jekyll & Hyde squad. Lethargy, no true point guard, guys taking quick shots as opposed to running a half-court offense, an inability to run the fast break effectively, and so on. While you can’t exactly pin-point one cause, eliminating players from the rotation would also then eliminate a bulk of the confusion on both ends of the floor (offense and defense) for the Lakers.
It’s simple. Cut the rotation, cut the confusion. It should be Mike Brown’s new mantra.
Against Phoenix on Sunday night, Jason Kapono played 19 minutes. If you’re suggesting that after being down 28 points, Brown put him in for garbage time; consider that Kobe Bryant was on the floor for 40 minutes. After making a nice push in the second-half to cut the lead to about 15 points, the Lakers just couldn’t get over the hump and eventually lost to Phoenix, a team they beat just two nights prior.
Against Portland Monday night, Brown stuck to a 9-man rotation, and not surprisingly, everything fell into place.
While it’s admirable that Brown was trying his best to incorporate the whole roster, the Lakers hardly have depth and the team could’ve just been victim to the too many players theory. Bill Simmons provides a standard to prevent this from occurring and it’s basically describes the use of an 8 ½ man rotation as follows:
Of those eight and half guys, ideally, you need two scorers, one ball handler, one perimeter defender and one rebounder. You need to be able to play defense. You need everyone to know their roles. You need to know who’s playing crunch time and who gets the ball in those last few minutes. And you need a coach competent enough not to screw things up. That’s it.
Next Page: The Roles to be Played