Los Angeles Lakers – Pau Gasol & Nick Young Have Changed For the Better

Pau Gasol

The biggest enemy the Los Angeles Lakers have this season is consistency, which usually separated the good from the bad. Right now, their on the higher side of their 2013-2014 roller-coaster, defined by Pau Gasol giving his best game so far and Nick Young continuing an excellent shooting stretch, leading their team to a 102-95 win over the Golden State Warriors.

Just how good was it? The Lakers actually played good defense against a team averaging 103.8 points per game. The perimeter wasn’t easy to slice through as always, but there’s no doubt not having Stephen Curry on the floor was quite helpful. The Lakers shouldn’t feel bad about their win – they have enough injury problems of their own, although one of them, like Steve Nash, might actually make them better.

Gasol scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, shooting a rare 11-of-19 for him from the field. Why so good all of a sudden? Maybe his charity pledge to donate $1000 for every point he scored to UNICEF disaster relief in the Philippines. If there’s anyone who should be looking for consistency, it’s Gasol.

Pau GasolWe’re finally finding some consistency. We’re finally putting good efforts mentally and physically together. Two wins in a row doesn’t mean this team is suddenly going to be climbing from the lower half of the Western conference all of a sudden, but at 6-7, things don’t look too bad.

Nick Young scored 21 points, carrying on with his excellent form over the last five games after a horrendous start to his hometown team career. He shot 7-of-15 from the field and is averaging 17.2 points per game over the last five, and his shooting seems to be the biggest improvement: 49.2% from the field, 41.7% from beyond the arc.

Nick Young

When this season began, many thought that Young might be someone who could slightly help people forget about Kobe Bryant being out with an injury that’s taking a lot more time to heal than Bryant made it seem like during his social media surge in the summer. Young isn’t that good, and doesn’t force teams to change the way they defend like Bryant does, but he’s providing more than he was expected to over the last few games, as his role on the bench seems to be doing wonders for his confidence and accuracy.

This isn’t something that’s likely to last. There’s no one on the Lakers that you know is going to be great a day after a good game. Xavier Henry finished with only 3 points and Wesley Johnson, in the lineup at the moment, hasn’t had a single good game as Laker so far. But there is talent on this team, and on some nights it actually comes together under the no-coaching style of Mike D’Antoni.

Will it be enough to keep the ground solid enough for Kobe Bryant to build a playoff run on? Probably not, unless the defense and Pau Gasol discover some hidden resources no one seems to think the Lakers have with the current roster.

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