What an In-Depth Examination of LA Lakers Reveals About On-Paper Champions

After another Lakers loss has caused yet another media freakout, we should note that this 2012-2013 team has become absolutely impossible to analyze.

There are two reasons for this. The first is that there are so many confounding variables lurking to make a farce out of the Lakers analysis we hazard at. If Dwight Howard has a bad game, we don't know whether it's his back acting up or if it's just Dwight playing badly. If the Laker offense sputters, we don't know whether it's impossible to fix or if Steve Nash can right everything upon return.

The second reason for the impossibility of analysis is the impossible standard by which this team is judged. I happened to think—and happen to think—that the Lakers are a very good team, but one that won't make the Finals. Since the Lakers are "expected" to win a championship, such an opinion doesn't register. If you aren't fitting the Lakers for title rings, you must think they're "terrible," because a non-title fate would be regarded as such.

The current 8-9 L.A. team has a healthy plus-3.8 point differential so far. Obviously, they expected to be better after 17 games, but we should remember that their record is somewhat deceiving when margin of victory is considered. Their point differential is above what 9-5 Atlanta has done and a little below what 11-5 Brooklyn has done against a weak schedule. 

So far, amid a Steve Nash injury, two coaching changes and constant media interrogation, the Lakers appear to be a 50-plus win team. They don't "suck," as many guffawed over Twitter last night (admittedly, it is a lot of fun to crack on the Lakers via social media during times of strife); they're a playoff team that features some talented, mismatched pieces.

While a lineup of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard sounded oh-so-appealing, it was mainly because the foursome fit positional archetypes that we got used to in the '80s and '90s. Pau is...

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