NBA Playoffs 2011: Is Point Guard Defense a Point of Concern for the LA Lakers?

The Los Angeles Lakers are arguably the NBA's most talented and experienced team heading into the NBA Playoffs, but that doesn't mean there are no issues surrounding their quest for a third consecutive NBA title.

There are the usual questions about center Andrew Bynum's health, the recent news swirling around recent fines levied by the NBA to Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant, and the inability of the Lakers to guard opposing point guards.

If that last one seems familiar it's because the Lakers have had trouble defending bigger, stronger and quicker point guards for the past few seasons. Could this be the year that fundamental flaw comes back to haunt the team?

The point guard position is the one matchup that any of the Lakers potential playoff opponents should dominate, but they also have to use that advantage to capitalize in other areas.

For instance, New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul should win his matchup with either Derek Fisher or Steve Blake in the first round of the playoffs, but the Hornets don't have the necessary caliber of talent to make the Lakers pay at any other position.

However, if the Lakers do prevail over the Hornets, each of their next potential opponents have multiple options to consider once the Lakers perimeter defenses have been penetrated.

Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks can not hurt the Lakers with his quickness, but he is bigger than either Blake or Fisher, and he is excellent at using his strength to get in the lane.

But with no true inside scoring presence, the Mavericks are forced to rely on jump shots, which essentially neutralizes any advantage that penetration might establish.

The Lakers understand that most penetration by the Mavericks will usually result in a pass back out to the perimeter and that knowledge makes it easier to cover Dallas' outside shooters.

If Portland is the Lakers second round opponent,...

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