There has been non-stop media coverage regarding the soap opera of a season that is the Los Angeles Lakers this year. While the constant media circus around Laker Land only adds fuel to the fire, there are some issues that are deeply rooted in Lakers’ camp.
TNT’s Kenny Smith recently gave an interview, although reluctant to keep discussing the team that has filled the airways for the wrong reasons, offering his take on the drama filled Lakers this season. Smith brought up a topic that has been a popular reason why the Lakers are struggling this season despite the talent on the team; talent.
When asked why haven’t the Lakers been able to mesh together all that talent, Smith replied:
“There’s a lack of trust, obviously. They don’t trust their first coach and they don’t play well. Boom, now he’s gone. They don’t trust the new coach and the system. Basketball isn’t about the talent. It’s about trusting each other. Do I trust the game plan? Do I trust my teammates? Do I trust their reactions? That’s what it’s about. When I watch a team, it’s easy to know if they trust each other. As a basketball player, it’s easy to see it. It’s not very difficult at all.”
When asked what has contributed to that lack of trust, Smith added:
“That’s the difference that separates championship teams. It’s a collection of things that happen throughout practice and games that abandon trust. It’s as simple as we’re supposed to send everyone baseline. They send a guy baseline and the opponent dunks it. Do I trust the next time that my teammate is going to be there? No, so I’m going to stand in the middle and play my guy straight up. Then that time the guy actually goes over. You basically have 12 guys doing that. That’s how you lose close games.”
Steve Nash has talked about identity and the lack of holding one repeatedly throughout the season. Kenny Smith similarly shared how the Lakers don’t play with an identity during crucial points of the game.
“No one is totally abandoning the game plan. They’re just not sticking to it in key moments. It could be late in the game or when the team is making a run in the second quarter. Those are the times that it shows. It doesn’t show when you’re up 15 or points. That’s when they follow the game plan. When the game is close or getting away, that’s where the lack of trust shows.”
The Lakers are currently four games below .500, with time running out. Kobe Bryant has stressed that the team must regroup, refocus and play with absolute urgency. However, the Lakers must trust each other first for the Lakers to make a serious run for the playoffs.