Plus or Minus: Lakers Grade After Three Games
Does it seem that this season feels a lot longer than three games old? I guarantee you, it feels that way to the Lakers, too.
Now that the Lakers have a day off to recover, or get transfusions, let’s look at their pluses and minuses, three games into the 2011-12 season:
Plus — Kobe Bryant’s healthy. More or less.
Wrist is a problem but whatever else he is, he’s a super-gamer and can play with it.
Best hops he’s had in three years after undergoing innovative surgery in Germany.
That’s our guy. If the Martians come up with the next advance, he’ll charter the space shuttle. The team will find out after he gets back, assuming he feels like telling anyone.
Plus — Devin Ebanks.
Brings youth and athleticism to starting lineup, which used to be so low-energy with everyone in it so big and/or old, you didn’t know if they were would go out for the center jump or doze off.
It remains to be seen if Ebanks can keep making threes and will gets steals, blocks and defend the way Trevor Ariza did.
Personally, I didn’t think Devin could play at all, coming out of West Virginia as a college 4-5. Major props for Mitch Kupchak if it works out.
Plus — Metta World Peace, whoever that is, playing so well off the bench.
Oh, that’s Ron Artest?
If this keeps up, they may not have to amnesty him! On the other hand, with his $7.3 million salary triggering $22 mill in tax through 2014, he’d better keep it up.
Plus — Josh McRoberts. Just what they needed, a big, strong, high-energy banger.
More props for Mitch.
Plus — First 44:26 against Chicago, when Mike Brown’s defense held the Bulls to 71 points.
Lakes used to be decent on defense — showing how solid they were in Phil Jackson’s scheme since they only played hard on D when they felt like it.
Brown learned his trade in San Antonio and is a Spurs-style, defense-oriented coach. Now the Lakes will look at defense as more than something to do until they get the ball back again.
Plus — Lakes look like the Lakes for the first time this season, rolling over the overmatched Jazz.
Special thanks to the schedule for delivering the over-matched Jazz with the fate of Lakerdom seeming to hang by a thread if the team didn’t get a win.
Minus — Last 3:34 of the opener, when the Bulls outscored the Lakes, 18-5.
Of course, the Bulls’ problem may not have been the Laker defense but their offense. Derrick Rose took only 12 shots, trying to get teammates more involved so he doesn’t have to carry them this season.
Minus — Lakers’ defense in Sacramento.
Remember how big and slow they looked last season?
That’s how they looked Monday when the smaller, more athletic Kings spread them out and cut them to ribbons.
Minus — The pre-season, in which David Stern took Chris Paul away, Orlando kept Dwight Howard away and the Lakes gave Lamar Odom away.
Huge minus for whoever decided to move Lamar because he asked them to, for a draft pick and a trade exception… unless the pick and the exception eventually make their way to Orlando for you know whom.
With the stakes involved, that counts as a minus-5.
Bottom line — Minus one, corresponding to their 1-2 record, one under .500!
That’s because of the scientific method I employed.
In real life, considering what they hoped they might do (land Howard and Paul) and what remains of that dream (the hope of getting), it feels like it has already been a long season.