Following the Lakers terrible loss to the Dallas Mavericks (their sixth straight), Laker Coach Phil Jackson stated that with all their problems "Jesus Christ could come back and we still wouldn't have a chance because we've ruined the mix by not playing together". I'm not going to get into the implications of that statement. But, I will address what is ailing the Lakers.
Coming into the season the Lakers glaring weakness was at point guard. At this point of the season, the Lakers glaring weakness is still at point guard. For three straight seasons the Lakers have been terrible at one thing: defending point guards (especially on the pick and roll). Although I don't have access to the stats to prove it, I wouldn't be surprised if point guards over that time performed better against the Lakers than anyone else. As I've mentioned before, the Lakers don't really need a traditional PG. They just need someone that can hit an open three and DEFEND the opposing team's point guard. It's safe to say that the Lakers starting point man is not capable of doing that.
Beyond problems with the Smusher, the Lakers' main issues are injuries. If you rank the Lakers top ten players and how many games they've missed, you'd understand why they are finally starting falter. As Larry Brown proved last year coaching the Knicks, teams don't respond well when their lineup is constantly changing. At the start of the year, the Lakers were a DEEP team. But with Kwame, Luke Walton, Chris Mihm, and Lamar Odom all missing over 20 games throughout this season, it's no wonder they're in the position they're in.
But there is hope for the purple and gold. On Sunday it was announced that both Lamar Odom and Luke Walton are scheduled to return on Thursday. With their starting forwards returning, and Phil Jackson's reputation for sending his teams into the playoffs on a roll, I think the Lakers still have a chance to get into the playoffs and make some noise.
Smusher or no Smusher, when the Lakers are healthy, there isn't any team in the west that would be happy to see them in the first round.
Other Related Fan House Posts:
Jesus Wants No Part of the Lakers
The Lakers Missing Link: Chris Duhon
The Flaccid, Despondent Smush Parker