The Lakers can beat the lesser teams in the league, as they did over the four-game winning streak that was snapped on the 127-119 home loss against the Grizzlies on January 9. But when it comes to the NBA’s elite, or even teams in the middle of the standings, the Lakers are almost always overmatched, leaving LeBron James to do too much with too little help.
Of the team’s 21 wins as of January 10, only five of them came against teams that, have winning records (the Grizzlies, Cavaliers, Hornets, Heat and Mavericks). Right now, fewer than half of their games have been against teams with a winning record.
Going forward the Lakers will face the Warriors, Nuggets and Jazz three times each. Eight of their next 10 games are on the road, including a six-game trip that includes stops in Miami, Brooklyn and Philadelphia.
Russell Westbrook wasn’t a pure point guard when the Lakers got him and he can’t be one. You’d rather make his primary role the wing who attacks and runs the break. LeBron James is the point guard.
If I’m the Lakers head coach I would make LeBron James be Magic Johnson most of the time and go get buckets when you know it’s time. This way you own the tempo. When Anthony Davis comes back, if healthy, he has to be in low-mid post, the offense has to be his, he has to go eat. Russell Westbrook has to be the team’s slasher and their pick and roll man with AD, all game. Westbrook has to push the tempo in the open court. Out of this the Lakers have to move the ball as a team and give their shooters good looks (Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington, Carmelo Anthony, etc.) and late in games Melo Iso’s is a key option too. I would go to Melo in a half court set even in game-winning situations based on what’s happening that night.
Now that the most important part is figured out and the team has an offensive direction, they need to clamp everyone. Closeouts, rotate, talk on defense, protect the rim (AD/Dwight Howard /LeBron) and make adjustments all game. Effort, effort, effort. That’s the main key!
The problem with today’s basketball climate is that there is all sorts of noise, all sorts of trade ideas and panic and people take the easy way out and fold. Not many provide basketball solutions!