Jones on Lakers: Reset the panic button?

December 5, 2012, 9:37 PM

Raise your hand if you were expecting to see the Los Angeles Lakers floundering at this point in the season after constructing their own version of the "Big Three" this past summer.

If you have your hand in the air right now you’re amongst the clairvoyant, you’re lying, or you’re simply a hater. But whether you fall into one of those categories or not, the truth is, things are not going well in Laker-land.

The 17 game mark is significant as it was the point when Miami’s manifestation of the "Big Three" took off in the 2010-11 season. The Heat’s triumvirate of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were sitting at 9-8 before they reeled off 12-straight wins during a streak where they won 21 of 22 contests. Back in 2007-08, the Boston Celtics, led by Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, stood at 15-2 after winning their fourth contest in the midst of a nine-game winning streak.

In truth, it’s not really fair to make comparisons because this Lakers group has not been together since Steve Nash was injured in the second game of the season. The assessment will have to wait until Nash returns to the line up and the team has a bulk of games together. But even when Nash is back in the fray, the Lakers will be running to try and keep up with or, at this rate, catch up with the pack. As of now there is still no timetable for Nash’s return.

Since Mike D’Antoni has taken over as head coach, things still haven’t improved to the point where the Lakers look like title contenders. Los Angeles is currently 3-5 under D’Antoni and head into a tougher stretch of its schedule, playing six of the next eight games on the road.

Yes, it’s tough on D’Antoni because, again, he is without the guy that makes the system work in Nash and he hasn’t had a training camp. But the bigger issue is the roster. As I wrote here the parts don’t fit.

To make matters worse, it sure looks like Pau Gasol, a key piece during the championship years, is becoming a lightning rod for what ails Los Angeles. He is regularly watching the fourth quarter from the bench and seems to be at the hub of trade rumours surrounding the Lakers.

In response to Gasol’s struggles, Kobe told him he just has to adjust to things with his now famous quote about putting on his "big boy pants".

With Gasol sitting out now and missing games because of tendinitis in his knees, it puts the Lakers in a deeper dilemma. If they are trying to trade Pau Gasol, is this simply further punishment being administered in the form of a "benching" by D’Antoni? I don’t imagine, because if you’re trying to deal him, you have to show prospective trade partners that he still has game.

But are Gasol’s knees really that bad? And if they are, who is going to run the risk of trading for a guy that has another season left on his contract at just over $19 million?

Maybe Kobe had better size up the whole team for "big boy pants" and get measurements so they can get some extra pairs for some of the boys in the front office. The Lakers need to get Nash back, but more importantly, since Mike D’Antoni’s system needs particular personnel, they need to make some deals to get players that fit.

It’s a classic case.

Does the coach modify his system for the players or do they go out and get guys that fit the system? Los Angeles is in a precarious position. They have already pushed the panic button once. A

At this rate, if things don’t change they will be forced to lean on it again.

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I’m not a Halloween party kind of guy. But every year, the pictures and costume selections around the event always raise some eyebrows.

Some laugh, while others think the decisions are in poor taste. Sure, they are meant to be in good fun but if not everybody is laughing, it’s not good when you have to explain a joke. It’s an individual perception.

This photo is the latest to divide the masses. The issues between Tim Duncan and NBA official Joey Crawford have been chronicled and currently nobody, not the NBA, the Spurs or Crawford has made a comment about the picture.

Commissioner David Stern has just finished putting his hands into the Spurs pockets to the tune of $250,000 for sending key players home before a much anticipated national TV matchup with the Miami Heat.

Will there be another fine?

Until Stern decides what he is going to do, or not do, the Spurs, or more specifically Parker and Duncan, should come out with a statement of the obvious. It was private party and it was something they were depicting in an attempt to have fun. Whether you agree or not is up to you. If they come out and make it known that it was not their intent to be malevolent, it will help everyone move forward.

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