Image by: RMTip21
By Thomas Stone
Much to everyone’s surprise, the Los Angeles Lakers have had a slow start to the 2012-2013 NBA season. Before tonight’s showdown against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Lakers were 14-15, and at least a game-and-a-half out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Sure, it’s early, but the Lakers aren’t usually struggling in December.
During the summer, the Lake Show traded for former Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, capping months of front-office drama and ugly-for-Dwight headlines. D12 wanted out of Orlando, and L.A. seemed to be a good fit for his style of play, and his personality.
But things haven’t worked out so well. Howard is still dealing with a bad back, he had a herniated disc that required season-ending surgery last year before the Magic headed into the playoffs, and he recently said that he loses feeling in his feet at times.
So, not only is Howard not playing at full strength, it also doesn’t appear that his team is either. Outside of the Lakers poor record, Howard’s point and rebound averages are a tick below his career normal.
It could be Howard’s health, or not fitting into head coach Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced system.
In just 29 games, the Lakers have gone through two head coaches, and some have suggested that firing D’Antoni would be in the best interest of the franchise. And with all of the media scrutiny on L.A. right now, we just may see coach number three before the season’s out.
While the Lakers are having growing pains and currently smack dab in the middle of a transition period, they still have Kobe Bryant starting, and point guard Steve Nash has returned from injury. Experts say that the team will get it together before too long and start delivering on all of that promise.
I think it is fair to say that the Lakers may not win a championship this season, but I do expect to see them make a little noise come playoff time. But first, they have to get there.