These Los Angeles Lakers are going through a mighty tough time, having lost four of their last five games. Unfortunately for them, this is a trend that is likely to continue, at least until Kobe Bryant comes back.
In what has to be a big shock to nearly everybody, Jordan Hill has arguably outplayed Pau Gasol, which isn’t good news for the Lakers. Gasol was a world class player in his prime, but it’s now getting to the point that an average at best NBA big is proving just as valuable as he is. This isn’t to disrespect Hill, who is using his skills to the best of his abilities, it’s just a clear signal that Gasol is declining rapidly.
Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks have also continued to play about as well as one can expect out of these two. They have each had a hiccup of a game during the last week, but overall have played really well, at times carrying the Lakers load on the offensive end. They are both shooting astronomically high from three point range, and are due to fall as the season goes along, but if they can continue to shoot above league average from beyond the three point line, then they will continue to be positive contributors to the Lakers. If their offensive games really fail them, then they add little value, as both of their defensive games are below average.
Both Blake and Meeks are carrying the offensive load due to the rapid decline of the formerly great Steve Nash, who is out once again due to his fragile back. This is one of those situations in which the Lakers should be doing all they can to try and trade Nash to the only place that might take him, the Toronto Raptors, in his Canadian homeland. This is unlikely, as the only real reason that they Raptors would want Nash, would be pretty much solely be for marketing reasons. In that case the Lakers shoulda just bite the bullet, and cut Nash, as harsh as that sounds. He brings no value to the Lakers at this point in time, even when healthy.
One thing going in the Lakers direction right now is that four out of the next five games are winnable, the only one they should have any real doubt about would be against the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers really have to hope that Gasol can eventually find his footing, and regain at least a similar form to his once outstanding self. It is imperative that players such as Meeks, Blake, and Jordan continue to defy expectations in order for the Lakers to remain competitive for the time being.
Perhaps the best news for Lakers fans around the globe is that Bryant participated in his first practice since he tore his Achilles tendon at the end of last season. Bryant’s competitive side is legendary, and it’s no surprise he is on his way back already, and even though expectations should be tamed due to the severity of his injury, his willingness to still keep going at his age is something the Lakers and their fans should be proud of.