When will the low point of the season be for the Los Angeles Lakers? Now that both Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are injured, maybe we’ll find out.
To make things worse, Jordan Hill is also unavailable for the Lakers on their short road trip in Texas, playing the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs. The three combined this season for 36.2 points and 26.5 rebounds per game, which now the Lakers are going to have to replace with Antawn Jamison, Earl Clark, Devin Ebanks and Robert Sacre called up from the D-League. Jamison, quite a promising player to have coming off the bench, hasn’t played more than 10 minutes since mid-December.
You just feel like at some point you hit rock bottom and then it’s time when the only place you can go is up. We already talked about it and what we have to do. Guys have to step up and I made sure everybody knew because we want to make sure everybody is in the right frame of mind whether it being playing a different position or playing a little bit differently than they normally have.
Dwight Howard is suffering from a torn labrum in his right shoulder, an injury he picked up in the loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, and played with a heavily bandaged shoulder in the next loss to the Denver Nuggets, not stopping him from finishing with 26 rebounds. While it’s not likely to be an injury that keeps him out for a prolonged amount of time, Steve Nash’s fractured fibula in his left leg, an injury that didn’t look too serious in the beginning turned into a 7 week absence.
For Pau Gasol, it’s “only” a concussion, but it feels like this entire season has been one massive knockout to his career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Not just the trade rumors, carrying on from the previous season. Gasol is simply playing the worst basketball of his career, combining his bad physical condition, injuries and often looking out of sorts and out of sync with the rest of the team, playing in a position he has no business playing. He’s averaging only 12.2 points while shooting 41.6% from the field this season, adding 8.4 rebounds. Even when he’s in his comfort zone, he doesn’t look like a player who has the desire to pick himself up.
It’s a 15-18 season. Still a long way to go, but the problem is D’Antoni doesn’t have that many weapons to go on a fight with. Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and what else? It’s hard to point at a single Lakers player playing at his expected level other than Bryant and maybe Nash, who is averaging 10.2 points and 8.8 assists this season, doing pretty well on an individual level since coming back from his injury. The Lakers, despite all this talk about Nash’s return making the system work, are 3-4 since December 22, the day of his return. In all of their losses during this stretch, the Lakers have given up at least 103 points.
Maybe a few games without their two starting big men, and the Lakers will really see what rock bottom while having the biggest payroll in the NBA feels like.