|2011-12 Team Rating|
|15th Overall||9th Overall|
Stats through Feb. 16
The continued encouragement of Andrew Bynum earning an All-Star bid vs. the frustration of Mike Brown already going through Devin Ebanks, Matt Barnes and Metta World Peace in search of a small forward. Pau Gasol remains a presence.
Wrist problems, coming off a knee injury, adapting to a new coach, and Kobe Bryant is better than last season. But point guard is still a problem area the Lakers undoubtedly hope to address.
The transition from Phil Jackson to Brown has virtually been seamless, with the Lakers still among the leaders in shooting defense. They still need work on the defensive boards, another non-change.
They were going to miss Lamar Odom no matter what. But in the wake of Odom being dealt to Dallas, without any help in return pending the use of the trade exception, the second unit is a major liability.
Brown has handled the intense scrutiny from fans and media well. More importantly, all outward signs are that a locker room that wanted Brian Shaw to succeed Jackson believes in the new system and message.
The Lakers remain very much a work in progress, a strange position for a veteran roster with championship experience. The uncertainty is real, though, as a significant trade remains a possibility in the absence of a consistent title drive and Bryant is having to play huge minutes early just to keep them in the race for home-court advantage in the first round.
If Bryant's body withstands the heavy lifting, if the Lakers can maintain the defensive pace and if Bryant, Bynum and Gasol remain at this level, L.A. can still do playoff damage. It's easy to see why skeptics are counting them out. It's just a mistake to agree so early.
-- Scott Howard-Cooper
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||C-|
|Los Angeles Clippers||B|
|Los Angeles Lakers||B-|
|New Jersey Nets||D|
|New Orleans Hornets||F|
|New York Knicks||C+|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B-|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|