Biggest Issues LA Lakers Must Fix on Defense Before 2013-14 Season Begins

Kurt Rambis has his work cut out for him with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Last season, the Lakers were a mess defensively. They ranked 20th in defensive efficiency (106.6) and 22nd in points allowed per game (102). 

Defensive breakdowns plagued the Lakers more than injuries, leading them into a slaughter at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.

And that was with Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace, both of whom are former Defensive Players of the Year. Imagining what their defense would look like right now, given Dwight is in Houston and Metta in New York, is the equivalent of being subjected to torture.

He hasn't told me himself, but after what Rambis, the Lakers' new assistant coach, told Jeff McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, I'm inclined to believe he would concur:

Their defense never really gave them a chance to win. It was very erratic at best. In a lot of ways, when you bring in a lot of players from a lot of different systems, it takes awhile to get everybody connected and on the same page, how you have to defend a myriad of offensive NBA sets and you have to defend talented offensive people, it takes all five guys. They’ve got to be connected, and they’ve got to make the correct decisions at the correct time, and for the Lakers last year, it was clear that they just never really got connected on that end of the floor.

Mike D'Antoni owes Rambis a thank you, because he was being kind.

Assembled on an offseason whim, the Lakers aren't built to outmuscle, outrun or consistently outscore everyone. They can't rely on their gunners, Kobe Bryant and Nick Young, to shoot their way into games every night. They must play defense as well.

Protecting the rim has become somewhat of a foreign concept in Los Angeles, though. Swaggy P isn't known for his defensive fortitude, and he's joined by teammates such...

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