Even with Steve Nash, Will Lakers Make the Playoffs?

Before the 2012-13 season commenced, astute Lakers fans wouldn't have been especially shocked if you told them Steve Nash would miss a chunk of action here or there.

They were to expect a slow start even, what with the requisite "gelling" period and Dwight Howard's recovery from season-ending back surgery.

But, folding against the Utah Jazz on the heels of recent losses to Oklahoma City, Houston and—gasp—Orlando, that wasn't what anyone had in mind. This was a new low in a series of lows (via Hardwood Paroxysm):

That was not a good loss for the Lakers. San Antonio was. The rest have been crap.

—Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) December 10, 2012

Since a Nov. 24 meltdown at the hands of the lowly Sacramento Kings, these Lakers have backslid on any progress made through the course of Mike Brown's training camp.

Mike D'Antoni's tenure is off to a rough start, and messianic anticipation of the Steve Nash Effect is more about optics than solving the Lakers' very real problems.

Problems that both the de facto and de jure head coaches understand very well (via Lakers reporter Mike Trudell):

Both D'Antoni & Kobe point to lack of transition D, fast break points killing LAL. Utah has done it in all 4 matchups this season (2 pre).

— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 10, 2012 Of course, the Lakers' transition defense isn't the only concern. It wasn't the only reason six Jazz players scored in double figures en route to the team's 117 points.

Big men Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Enes Kanter combined for 52 points and 26 rebounds. Each managed to outscore Dwight Howard's 11 points. 

Los Angeles' team defense is broken—rotations are late, and energy is scarce. It's a problem that neither Mike D'Antoni nor Steve Nash will solve.

And its a problem that makes team...

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