Lakers New Year's Resolutions
Most of us are making New Year’s resolutions. And most of us are not keeping them. If you and I can make and then abandon them, no reason we can’t come up with a few for the Lakers — and if they would actually keep a few of these they may get to play a few more games this spring.
Get healthy. It’s one of your resolutions — to eat better, to drop a few pounds, to actually use the gym membership. For the Lakers, they need to get their best players off the training table and on to the court. Kobe Bryant missed the first few games of the season recovering from off-season knee surgery and just recently has he started to get his explosiveness back. Lamar Odom sprained a knee a few weeks ago and will not be back for a few more weeks. And just in time for 2007, Kwame Brown has sprained an ankle, meaning a few weeks sitting and watching (leaving the team thin at center). There have been precious few games where the entire group has been healthy.
Learn some geometry. When the Lakers actually run Phil Jackson’s favored “triangle” offense, they look like contenders: The entire team gets involved in the scoring and they get better looks at the basket when they do shoot. But all too often, the Laker starters should be paying courtside seat prices to watch the game, because they’ll throw the ball to Kobe, clear out and watch him work. And Kobe is all too happy to take on the other team one on five. The Lakers need to stick to the offense.
Pick me. It’s the bread-and-butter play for your modern NBA offense — the high pick-and-roll. For those of you who just got a confused look on your face, it’s really pretty simple: You bring your oversized, big slow center out to the top of the key, 23 feet from the basket, where he stands still and sets a screen for your speedy guard — meaning the guard tries to run his defender into the big guy then run to the basket unimpeded while the defender tries to figure out what wall he just ran into.
The Lakers haven’t been able to defend this since the Shaq era, but this season the combination of Smush Parker and Kwame Brown has made fans long for the bad-old days of Shaq’s spotty defense. Gilbert Arenas, Dwyane Wade and others have embarrassed the Lakers running that play this season, and the Lakers will see a steady diet of the high pick-and-roll until they start to slow it.
Raise ticket prices. Well, there should be at least one resolution on this list they will follow through on.
AP Photo by Chuck Burton