Of all the preseason games we’ve seen so far this season, the Los Angeles Lakers losing to the Golden State Warriors 116-75 has to be the worst so far. Jeremy Lin didn’t play because of an injury. Is that the reason the team looked pathetic from start to finish?
The starting lineup for the Lakers – Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer, all finished with a +/- varying between -23 to -39 for Bryant. Nash missed all of his five field goal attempts and played just 12 minutes. The backup unit did a lot better against other backups, although it wasn’t the players the Lakers were hoping for to see do well. Julius Randle finished with just 4 points on 2-of-7 from the field.
Robert Sacre with 12 points and Wayne Ellington with the same amount were those who led the Lakers in an abysmal appearance of offense and especially defense, which is going to be a problem all year long. Not having Lin on the floor showed their offensive limitations as well. It doesn’t matter if Lin is going to play most of his time with the bench unit. The Lakers are very weak at point guard without him, because even on good days from Nash, he’s not reliable to stay on the floor for more than 20-24 minutes without breaking down.
Ronnie Price stole the show and not because of his nine points. He lost his shoe and decided to use it in order to stop a fast break. Andre Iguodala picked the ball up and raced forward on the counter. Price, running hobbled, used the show and threw it at the ball, hoping to hit it and stop Iguodala from finishing the fast break.
Iguodala started off the bench, as Steve Kerr is now trying out giving Harrison Barnes the lineup spot, while Iguodala becomes the point forward from the second unit. Not having a good backup point guard who can actually handle the ball and be a floor general might reshuffle the rotation, which is great news for Barnes, who has never been really accustomed to becoming a bench player.
The Lakers need Lin maybe more than they expected. Kobe Bryant is going to handle the ball a lot, but the team needs a point guard if they want the players around Bryant to be actually happy. The first unit seems too slow and stuck offensively when Nash and Bryant are in the backcourt. The second unit, once Xavier Henry and Nick Young are back, led by Lin from the backcourt, has the more interesting potential to actually do some damage for the Lakers which make teams find it difficult to keep up with them.