No one is confusing the Lakers as title contenders right now. But they are on a three-game winning streak. And they are looking pretty crisp on offense as of late. With the West being wide open right now, I wonder if they can actually pull this off.
I’m seeing ball movement. It’s nice to see them swing the ball and be patient on offense trying to get a good shot. Kobe Bryant has been better at picking his spots. And the bench is getting more and more confident. Mike Brown’s defensive schemes have always been stupendous.
But there are still a few concerns.
1) I’m hoping they can continue this momentum to the All-Star Break. They’ve got some tough games up ahead after a rematch with Phoenix tomorrow. They have Portland at home and Dallas and OKC on the road. Can they continue that offensive execution against more disciplined teams like those three?
2) Pau Gasol is a sad panda. The trade rumors seem to have taken a toll on him. He looked very listless against Phoenix last night and even though he got his eighth consecutive double double, he got the last bucket of his 10 points when the game was pretty much done. It remains to be seen if Pau will actually be dealt… and that is not going to sit well with one Kobe Bryant.
3) Andrew Bynum NEEDS to be better around double-teams. I’m sure he’s not used to it since he’s never shouldered this much responsibility before but once he sees a second man coming to him, he has to pass it out quickly. But the thing is, the Lakers don’t have great shooters (they’re getting a LITTLE better) so opponents are going to keep sagging off of them.
At the very least, they are beating teams that they ARE supposed to beat. Also, it’s nice to see Mike Brown settle on a rotation. He’s been bringing out Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Troy Murphy, and Andrew Goudelock as his regulars off the pine so, at least, the players are getting more comfortable with their roles.
Right now, yes, they don’t look like title contenders. But we’ll see where they are before the All-Star break. Like I said, the West is more WIDE open this season. They would still be a tough out in a seven-game series.