The loss to Orlando Sunday night was a bit of the microcosm of the Lakers season so far â€” streaks of tantalizingly good play followed by streaks of disinterested defense, an offense that resorted to â€œletâ€™s watch Kobeâ€ in crunch time and an egregious number of turnovers. Some days, the good is enough (or lasts long enough) to get the win. Some nights the Lakers play Orlando.
What is starting to really concern me is this Lakers team is still battling its demon from last season â€” inconsistency.
Thereâ€™s no doubt theyâ€™ve improved â€” both some players (Bynum and Farmar, obviously, as well as the Fisher for Smush tradeoff) and the team defense has been better but still average (the Lakers are 15th in defensive efficiency, which is better than last yearâ€™s 29th). However, the inconsistency that was this team last year (even before the injuries) has returned with the new season. Each night it seems the Lakers find a new way to lose, as Rob L. put it to me in an email.
It seems like the coaching staff is playing whack-a-mole. Fix one problem, only to have another one pop up.
There is no one easy answer because there is no one reason. Yes the schedule out of the gate has been tough. Yes, not having Kwame Brown inside hurts the Lakers defensive toughness.
But for all the talk of a growing team, second youngest in the league, key cogs of this team are not young (Kobe/Odom/Fisher). This is not a team of kids learning on the job like in Portland (or Chicago of years past), not just a focus thing (Odom) and not just a coaching thing. Itâ€™s a blending of the three, with the coach hoping the mistakes and losses teach lessons.
But will they? And how frustrated will we all be if and when it does pay off?