The Los Angeles Lakers are 1-4, their worst start since the 1993-94 NBA campaign, a season in which they finished 33-49. So, naturally, it’s time to panic.
Except that it’s not.
Yes, the Lakers are off to a horrid start. Yes, there are plenty of offensive problems to be corrected. And yes, Kobe Bryant isn’t going to be happy.
But it’s not the end of the world; it’s not time for Los Angeles to blow up the roster it only just assembled. Regardless of how much Kobe scowls, the Lakers are in this for the long haul. This is the team that was supposed to form the next dynasty and even after a terrible commencement, that remains the gameplan.
We must remember that convocations of this magnitude take time. I’ve wrote it so many times over the past few weeks that my eyes hurt to see it, yet it remains as true today as it was three weeks. The Lakers were never going to step on the court and dominate out the gate; instantaneous contention was never an option.
Just look at the 2010-11 Miami Heat. They spent the first 17 games of the season struggling to stay above .500, going 9-8. That team went on to win 58 games and earned an NBA Finals appearance. That team is also fresh off a title victory of its own. That team boasted the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Most importantly, though, that team should serve as a reminder for what the Lakers are dealing with.
Sure, Los Angeles’ start to the season now is worse than Miami’s was then, but its also dealing with four star egos as opposed to three while battling a counterproductive offensive system. And even in its losses, there’s still signs of growth, signs of what could be.
Are the losses disconcerting? Of course. Obviously there’s something wrong when you’re 1-4 and committing the fourth most turnovers per game in the NBA; obviously, there is a need for change.
But it’s a need for systematic change, not personnel change. This team is going to get it together. Once Steve Nash returns from his shin injury, Mike Brown is going to have no choice but to put the ball in his hands and wear his Mike D’Antoni hat for awhile. He’s also going to have to preach better communication on the defensive end, because the Lakers cannot contend for a championship giving up 100-plus points per game.
Yet they can contend for a championship. That’s the important thing to remember. We’re only five games into the season and a lot can change over the next 77. The Lakers could implode, sure, or they could hit the lofty ceiling that was set for them upon formation.
It’s the latter that’s more likely. Let’s not forget that we’re dealing with four of the best players in basketball. While Kobe, Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol have made a career out of individual stats and getting theirs, they also know what it takes to adjust and evolve.
And evolve they will, because teams—even inferior ones—always do. This holds true especially for the Lakers, whose struggles don’t run deep, but are surface defects that can be easily corrected and mitigated.
Because remember, powerhouses take time to develop.
So with that in mind, is it time to panic in Tinseltown, should Los Angeles and its fans be scared to see what comes next?
No, not at all,
The only thing scary about the Lakers is that they’re 1-4 and still likely to win 55 games this season without breaking a sweat.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.