Many thought this Lakers team was a mortal lock for the Western Conference Finals, if not the NBA Finals. I had them losing to Oklahoma City in the West Finals, primarily because of the Steve Nash/Russell Westbrook defensive matchup, but why quibble - even projecting them to make the conference finals was a gross over-estimation of their collective ability. They stumbled out of the gate, getting Mike Brown fired in the process, and have yet to show any sign that they'll turn things around.
The Lakers have a host of problems, but many of them can be traced back to Dwight Howard. He's been an awful fit playing alongside Kobe Bryant. He doesn't like being a complementary player on the offensive end - even though he's probably the Lakers' fifth-best scorer. His presence has pushed Pau Gasol out of position. Gasol has been ineffective playing the four, fallen out of the starting five, and like Howard, taken to sulking about his role.
What's Mitch Kupchak to do? He m You've reached the end of our free article preview.
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