Bernucca: Lakers’ offense struggling with Ivy League courseload

You can point to a handful of reasons why the Los Angeles Lakers are on the verge of panic. 

Dwight Howard missed all of training camp and most of preseason recovering from back surgery. Kobe Bryant has a sprained foot that requires him to wear a walking boot. Steve Nash is out for a while with a fracture in his fibula.

That lack of continuity led to 11 straight losses – all eight in the preseason, which the Lakers dismissed as games that don’t count, and the first three of the regular season, which counted very much.

Asked after that third loss when it was time to press the panic button, Bryant said somewhat sarcastically, “Now.”

Lakers fans are looking for a different button – the one for the ejection seat for coach Mike Brown.

Virtually every team is dealing with injuries and incorporating new players. The Mavericks are without Dirk Nowitzki – and beat the Lakers. The Trail Blazers have a rookie point guard – and beat the Lakers. The Clippers have five new players in their rotation – and beat the Lakers.

Those teams aren’t trying to install a new offense, however. In the offseason, the Lakers hired Eddie Jordan as an assistant coach with the express purpose of having him put in the Princeton offense, his calling card as an NBA coach. The idea was to have Jordan complement Brown, whose principles are in defense.


    • Chris Bernucca says


      That is a great job by you and an awful job by me, which I will explain when I give you a shout-out in my column next week. The correct answer is in there now. Thanks for reading.


  1. Cornelius says

    This article is poorly written for a few reasons; the most glaring one is the premise that the Princeton offense relies on constant movement and thus is a bad fit because the Lakers have older players. All good offenses have good player and ball movement. All…without exception in other words, function based upon ball and player movement. To suggest a team shouldn’t run an offense because there is too much movement is silly. Especially considering just last year Nash played in a system where they ran every possession and he used 3 to 4 pick and rolls per game. I would say that using ball screens continuously and pushing tempo as a PG is tougher than what the Lakers are asking him to do. Also, to suggest that Dwight is away from the basket and it minimizes his effectiveness is not looking at the offense as a whole. He may start on the elbow but they run actions that allow the ball to be swung with Dwight ceiling his man on the reversal. The issue with the Lakers is not offense. Kobe is shooting 60% from the field. Dwight is getting dunks and layups at will. Artest looks rejuvenated. The issue is they cannot guard anyone. The talk and focus on the offense has been too much and the excuses as to why it hasn’t worked has been ignorant at best. All offenses work when executed correctly and where belief remains. No one will remember this silliness when the Lakers have won 60+ games.

    • Chris Bernucca says


      Thanks for reading. I did say it was a simplistic view, but I just don’t think it’s what’s best for the Lakers and their star personnel. I think there is a difference between movement and constant movement; my HS team runs a Read and React which involves constant movement and conditioning is a HUGE part of our season prep. Yes Nash ran constant P/R in Phoenix; he also was limited to 32 minutes per game and was an absolute mess when he played more. And while Dwight is not a disaster at the elbow (he often started there in Orlando’s sets), I think Pau is more suited. I do think all of this will have an adverse effect on the other end, which you and I both mentioned is an issue with this team. Having said all that, these are really good veterans who will figure out something to get between 55-62 wins. The panic is in LA, not in this space. CB


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