LA Lakers Have Nowhere to Go but Down

Seeing isn't believing; believing is seeing. And right now, I neither see how, nor believe that the Los Angeles Lakers are going to turn their season around in time for a title run.

On the surface, the Lakers appear to be a formidable opponent, because they are. But not to the extent most believed them to be.

And that's not going to change. Not as they're currently constructed.

Is that on Pau Gasol? Steve Nash? Dwight Howard? Kobe Bryant? 

It's on all of them. 

Los Angeles' problems are not going to be quelled by one player, or by moving one in favor of another. This team, in all its star-power, is flawed—detrimentally defective.

Kobe continues to defy the laws of age, and Nash has been bordering on sensational since he returned. But outside of Bryant's league-leading 30.3 points on a career-best 47.9 percent shooting, and Nash's eight assists a night, what do the Lakers have?

Inconsistency. And lots of it.

In Gasol, Los Angeles has a deteriorating 32-year-old fighting a losing battle with plantar fasciitis. He's averaging a career-low 12.7 points per contest on a career-worst 41.7 percent shooting.

Then you have Howard, who's putting up a stellar 17.3 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks on 56.3 percent shooting, yet is visibly and admittedly at the mercy of his surgically—but not fully—repaired back.

Howard is obviously less explosive, isn't running the floor with as much zest, isn't looking to score as much and his impact on the defensive has never made less of a difference.

Former coach and self-proclaimed Howard confidant Stan Van Gundy (via Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times) even admitted as much:

"I don't think he looks quite as explosive or as quick as he has in the past," said Van Gundy, who coached Howard in Orlando for five seasons before being fired in May. "Now, he's still above almo...

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