Below is a sampling of what NBA TV analysts Kenny Smith and Chris Webber see regarding the Lakers’ latest play.
Smith on Kobe Bryant’s role with the Lakers: “When you put a ‘Dream Team’ together, [Bryant] shouldn’t have to be the scorer, the defender, the passer, the coach and the psychologist. He should just play his role.”
Webber on the Lakers: “This is a ‘Dream Team,’ this is one of the best teams we’ve seen on paper…once again, everyone is riding Kobe’s back and he needs some help.”
Webber on how Pau Gasol should be a bigger part of the Lakers’ identity: “When you get the ball to [Gasol] in the post, he can get it right back out to Kobe or Nash. That makes it harder [for the defense] to check players. They might be establishing that their identity is Kobe as their leader, but Pau Gasol is second and then everyone else.”
Webber on Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni adjusting to the players on his roster: “So much has been said about D’Antoni and his style. One thing we know is they don’t have enough players for his system but he’s making adjustments. He has shooters and he’s saying, ‘If you guys play the way that I want and move the ball, get everyone involved, I can make the guys at the end of the bench much more valuable by utilizing their skill set.’”
Smith on the impact Earl Clark has had on the Lakers: “They are sharing the basketball and trying to play defense. None of this happens if Earl Clark isn’t playing well because then you can have Pau Gasol coming off the bench.”
Smith on the importance of the Lakers’ upcoming seven-game road trip: “They are passing the basketball and their body language is better. Also, they are looking at the standings…if they don’t bring it on this [upcoming seven game road] trip, you can write the playoffs off. They have to go at least 5-2 to have a chance to catch the eighth seed. Desperation is playing on the Lakers side right now.”