After another loss, this at the hands of Uncle Drew and the Cavs 100-94, Lakers fans and players are looking for someone to blame. Since Mike Brown is nowhere to be found, the blame game continues. Here’s how to play:
Watch a Lakers game, any game. It doesn’t matter whether they’re playing 17-4 OKC or 5-19 Cleveland. Without fail, within minutes of watching the obvious garbage on display from the Purple and Gold your instincts will force you to blurt out something like “Oh my God, can you finish anything Jordan Hill?” “or “Move. Just Move!!” or “If Turnovers were points, we’d be up 30!!” And now you’re playing. It’s easy to play the blame game since every Laker is a winner, en route to their inevitable loss. Lets check the leader board for who is winning the blame game now.
30% Pau Gasol: Pau is the modern day Lakers career leader in the blame game. But 30% cuts his normal 60% blame average in half. It’s tougher to blame him when he is not on the floor. His value to the Lakers increases, and his blame decreases, when they look at their team without the 7 footer with tendonitis in both of his knees. They have matchup problems all over the floor, not advantages. That might quell the constant trade rumors for an afternoon.
20% Injuries: Pau has missed 4 straight games. Steve Nash is still out of the lineup 4 weeks after the initial injury. What’s worse will be the Lakers are in a hole already when Nash returns and will be in an adjustment period getting up to speed. Steve Blake is out as well. But Dwight Howard still looks like a large shell of his normal self after offseason back surgery. It seems almost unthinkable that “Superman” was a Slam Dunk champion after watching him barely elevate over the rim for a dunk, and struggle moving up and down the court.
Mike Brown: Can’t we still blame him? No? Damn.
10% Jim Buss: Jim Buss is looking pompous, meddlesome and ineffective as his chosen head coach has been unable to stem the Lakers bleeding. Mike D’Antoni hasn’t fixed any problems, and Phil Jackson gets to sit back and enjoy the Lakers dysfunction. This number will continue to get higher as the loss column fills up as well. But when its all said and done, Buss isn’t on the floor.
20% Dwight Howard: Beyond the injury, and Howard’s questionable effort to this point despite his big minutes played, every time Howard goes to the line it is virtually a turnover. Houston is the only team averaging more turnovers. But with the clip Howard is shooting free throws, the Lakers are trying to win with an average of 20 empty possessions a game. If he doesn’t improve his free throws, or get healthy in a hurry, Dwight’s share of the blame will escalate quickly.
20% Kobe Bryant: What no one is doing, is blaming the 30,000 point scorer. He’s the leading scorer in the league this season, and shooting a career high 48% from the field, on 33 more attempts than the next highest in the league. He bears the brunt of the scoring, and constantly bails out the team on the offensive end, but he is killing the offense. When the team gets behind, he takes it upon himself to get the team back, and the other 4 players no matter who they are stand glued to their spot on their floor and watch. His stats look good, but he bares blame for the team’s struggles. Its his team anyway.
All of the players share the blame for the intangibles that lead to losses like horrific transition defense, poor effort, and no confidence at all. If things continue to go down this road, the Lakers will be sharing 150% of the blame for their failures.