The Lakers’ most used lineup this year has played 152 minutes together. The Blazers’ most used lineup has played 1,169 minutes together.
— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) March 11, 2014
The Lakers are a bad team for a variety of reasons. They can be awful defensively. They can play at too fast a pace even when it plays into the hands of their opponent. They don’t make many adjustments to what their opponents are doing on both sides of the ball. I could go on and on, but you get the point.
Ultimately, though, if you want to get to crux of why this team is bad, read that tweet at the top of the page again and understand that no team could be very good with that type of lineup inconsistency.
A lot of that number is related to injuries. Off the top of my head, I don’t believe a single Laker outside of Robert Sacre has been available to play in every game (even Wes Johnson had a stomach bug that kept him out earlier this year). Some of it is also related to Mike D’Antoni’s infatuation with shifting his lineups in search of workable groups. There have been more nights where I can count where, seemingly randomly, a player has been put into the starting lineup for a game or two only to find himself on the bench or not even playing the next week.
Whatever the reasons, however, the results are the same. The Lakers simply have not had the type of lineup consistency that leads to chemistry on both sides of the ball (but especially defensively) or allowed them to establish the type of rhythm that can help create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. In fact, it’s been just the opposite as players often seem thrown together and end up looking out of sorts for long stretches, struggling to figure out how to generate good looks and having little clue on how to make it so the same is true for the other team.
One hundred fifty two minutes. After last year’s injury woes and the resulting crazy lineups, I didn’t think this year would come close to being the same. Boy, was I wrong.