Lakers Defense: Reason for the Slump

Kurt —  January 1, 2010

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I have my first story up on, breaking down the Lakers defensive woes of late, which I think is the reason for the recent mini-slump.

The problems with the defense have been exacerbated because of Ron Artest’s injury. But the problems were there before, on Christmas Day and against the Thunder.

There are a few things going on. The Lakers have reverted at times to an ineffective defense used in past seasons: everyone collapsing into the paint to help out. For example, early in the second half against the Suns, Steve Nash came down and ran a drag screen (a high screen-and-roll very early in the clock) but used it only to get a switch, so Lamar Odom was now on the much quicker Nash. Then Nash drove into the paint off an Amare Stoudemire high screen — Odom went with him, both Bynum and Gasol slid over to take away the rim, Kobe slid in and was one foot out of the paint trying to guess a passing lane. That all left Derek Fisher trying to cover three men at the 3-point line. So he stood at the top of the key. With four Lakers in the paint it was an easy kick-out to Channing Frye, who had plenty of time to drain an uncontested 21-footer.

That’s one play, but the Lakers have seen a lot of variants of it — off penetration, the wing shooters are getting very open looks with nobody really contesting them.



9 responses to Lakers Defense: Reason for the Slump

  1. congrats on the new gig, Kurt!

    (Warren, I hope not.)

  2. Does this count as the game day post? If so then 1st post !!!!! Wooooohoooo !!!!

  3. Ugggghhh somebody beats me to it. Ok this doesn’t count…

  4. Warren, game post going up around 7ish (pacific time).

    Thanks. This is not a new “gig” in the sense I am not on staff there or anything, but I may be doing more writing for them in the future. It was nice of them to give me the chance.

  5. I tried posting on ESPN (under pochoki888) but ESPN member services doesn’t seem to be working…

    If the previous matchup with the Kings taught us anything, its to NEVER underestimate anyone. Tyreke Evans is Dwyane Wade lite and that kid can go to the rim at will.

  6. Congrats Kurt. You’ve earned it.

  7. Yes Kurt, that is just great, now you are writing for ESPN, congrats.

  8. Great article as always. Defense has to do with energy and Lakers are like old dogs watching the puppies running around the front yard. They have to be forced to play defense. Kobe doesn’t get after until someone his size starts lighting the Lakers up. Bynum doesn’t like defense because he doesn’t get calls. Pau allows people to get into him way too much. Fisher’s best days were gone before he left his heart in San Francisco.

    [Edited for trade speculation]

    Your other point on the lack of a consistent 3 point shooter goes back to what the Lakers have lacked even when they were winning championships. They have always needed a three point shooter. From George McCloud to Glen Rice, Mike Penberthy to Robert Horry, Vladimir Radmanovic to Adam Morrison they have always tried to find that guy. Rice was serviceable, Horry hit almost all big shots, and……
    [Edited for trade speculation]
    We just need someone to hit the shots when the game calls for it. As such that person does not have to be a starter or play major minutes. If we have to go to someone at the end of the game and the other teams allows us to take the shot, we someone who can make that shot besides Kobe (I still don’t understand why more teams don’t foul before the shot). I think they will after Kobe just hit his third game winner in a month.

  9. Bynum doesn’t go after the ball.He enjoys the ball coming to him.There should be performance clauses for people who get paid and don’t work for there $. The top defenders are Ron Ron, Black Mamba and Shannon Brown. Phil please play Shannon on a more consistant basis. Bynum please step it up…we can’t keep giving u passes and please don’t end up like Kwame Brown..cause he is a true BUM.