Laker Fears

J.A. Adande writes about trouble in Laker-land:

Bynum sees a dissonance between a front office that was willing to give him a maximum-salary extension and a coaching staff that won’t let him play maximum minutes. Before Jordan Farmar suffered a knee injury that could keep him out a month, the backup point guard met with Phil Jackson to ascertain what, exactly, the coach wants him to do. Lamar Odom initially chafed at being relegated to the second unit, then grew more comfortable — so comfortable, in fact, that he stopped scoring. He had a run during which he produced double digits in the points column only twice in 13 games, even though he should be dominating against opponents’ reserves.

But the greatest issue with this team is the defensive softness that took over after a training camp filled with talk of getting tougher on D and a couple of weeks of proving it.

A lot of these worries seem misplaced to me. The 2007-2008 Boston Celtics were an excellent basketball team and won an NBA Championship. They had a 66-16 record. The 2008-2009 Los Angeles Lakers have, thus far, a slightly better record than that. The problem with the team isn’t that they’re anything less than excellent, but that the Cavs and the Celtics are both playing even better. That’s a real problem for LA in terms of winning a championship, but it’s not a flaw in the team per se. The Lakers are playing very well.