Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Early Impressions of the Lakers

Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) 
The Lakers are three games into this young season. How do they look? I'll discuss that in the following points:

  • Defense is better. The Lakers are rotating well, not letting teams have their way down low and their effort is nice defensively. Feels as if there's more of a focus on having a defensive system. Guys have an idea of what's coming from the opponent and they're responding to what's happening.
  • Role players are rolling! Steve Blake has been shooting the ball much better, Josh McRoberts is playing his part on both ends and it's really not just the stars being productive. This is going to be necessary, especially during the shortened season. The more guys like Troy Murphy, Derek Fisher and Devin Ebanks do well out on the floor, the more Kobe and Pau can ease up.
  • Metta World Peace is staying within his limits. Metta hasn't chucked up the worst shots you could imagine (which has plagued him in the past). He's getting down in the post more, shooting from the outside less and trying on D. That's the World Peace everyone should want to see. He needs to take outside shots, but only a few a game. No need to fill a role that the Lakers have set out for other players (Kapono, Blake, etc.).
  • It's easy to forget Andrew Bynum's absence. With Bynum being suspended the first four games, only when it's been mentioned have I remembered he wasn't there. This means the Lakers are staying tough down low and aren't sorely lacking a post presence. While LAL will gladly welcome Bynum back, it's great to forget he's away!
  • Kobe, despite what anyone says, is still dynamic. Playing through injuries is his new MO, and he's been doing so admirably. Playing in the back-to-back-to-back, it looked as though he came into form more as the games piled on. Kobe will continue to round into shape and rest up when he gets the chance. I'd like Kobe to stick to his man a wee bit more on defense, but that's a small request from someone who's keeping this team going. Don't discount the teachings Bryant is participating in on and off the court. He's involved with what Coach Brown is having the team execute and that's what makes Bryant tremendous. While many will look at stats, you can't get the full picture of what Bryant is doing for his squad that way.
Chime in with your impressions of the Lakers, or your favorite team, in the comments!

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