Bringing coach Eddie Jordan to the Lakers may not be the most celebrated off-season addition, but it may prove to have the biggest impact. Last year’s Lakers spent a great deal of time trying to sort out chemistry issues, and with such a shortened season, learning strict sets and plays was an inhibitor they couldn’t shake.
The Princeton offense will utilize Los Angeles’ greatest strengths: intelligence, experience, and versatility. For opposing defenses, guarding the Lakers will be a nightmare to say the least, regardless of their top-end talent.
It seems confusing up front, and that’s its advantage. More often than not, the average player isn’t capable of making the right decision every time when guarding the Princeton Offense, and the Lakers will look to exploit those slip ups. How will it work with the Lakers? BBall Breakdown does a great job of exploring the Lakers options within the Princeton offense.
Sebastian Priuti, one of the game’s premier analysts, also discusses what options the Lakers have to utilize the Princeton offense to their advantage, and gives a detailed breakdown of how each player can benefit.
Passers Needed: Lakers are Willing
The biggest Lakers critics will instantly point out the flaws in this system; the biggest argument being that since the Lakers are Kobe’s team, Kobe will break down the offense and revert to isolation.
News Flash: Kobe Bryant has played in a motion system for the majority of his entire career. This adjustment won’t be as monumental as his critics propose, and playing with Steve Nash and Dwight Howard won’t threaten his ego either. Kobe is a willing passer, and is very good at it.
Among active players, Kobe ranks seventh in terms of career assists, no doubt a boon for most anti-Kobe prophets. At least we have solid proof that he passes the ball some of the time. What’s come as even more surprising to Kobe’ critics is that this coming season, Kobe Bryant is primed to pass Allen Iverson, Dennis Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and most notably, Michael Jordan on the all time career assist list. Not bad.
When it comes to Steve Nash, in the words of the great Stan Lee: “Nuff’ Said.”
Pau is a brilliant passer as well. In fact, Pau is often referred to as the key cog that helps the Lakers function. Without Pau, the Lakers instantly revert back to the 2006 Lakers: Kobe and the Ball-Watchers.
Phil Jackson, in his recent comments, said about Pau: “The oil that’s going to make everything kind of work, that’s Pau Gasol. He’s the guy that can kind of make it easier for Howard to be a player inside.” The Lakers’ biggest advantage over other teams hasn’t been Kobe Bryant. Their biggest advantage was that they boasted two skilled seven footers. Being seven feet tall doesn’t make you good. Being seven feet and a brilliant passer makes you good. That’s what scares other teams.
All said and done, it is very clear that the Lakers starting five are incredibly intelligent in terms of basketball strategy, and are all more than capable passers. With intelligent players, operating within a motion system makes things easier, not harder. Just like Ender, the Lakers will be able to react, adjust, and counter any defense they face.
These are exciting times for Lakers fans. The offense is coming back.