These are worrisome times in Lakerland, as the Los Angeles Lakers are off to an 0-2 start for just the third time in the last 27 seasons. It seems far too early to panic, but there is a sense of uneasiness with the Lakers' start to the season, especially with their loss Monday night to the lowly Sacramento Kings.
After trading Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks, the team that ousted them in the second round of last year's playoffs, the Lakers as currently constructed don't look like a team that can win their third championship in four seasons. At Silver Screen and Roll, Saurav A. Das wrote that the Lakers are in need of a playmaker.
"I think the Lakers' championship hopes for this season rely not on a big-for-big swap to get Dwight Howard, but on getting another dribble penetrator, the one thing Lamar provided that hasn't been replaced," Das wrote. "Whether this player be a wing or guard is irrelevant (particularly considering the Lakers can still amnesty Walton if they must), but they must be able to create shots for themselves as well as others off the dribble - youth wouldn't hurt."
The Lakers tried to add a playmaker to the offense in Chris Paul this offseason, but that trade was famously denied by commissioner David Stern. Instead, Paul was traded to the Clippers and it's no longer ludicrous to suggest a possible changing of the guard in Los Angeles. That change looks to be more and more sooner rather than later by the day.
Again, we are only two games into a 66-game NBA season, and by Saturday the Lakers will have center Andrew Bynum back. As Tom Ziller of SB Nation noted, that might be exactly what the Lakers need to turn things around, especially if Bynum takes on a larger role in the offense:
Maybe the right play is to play a bit of keep-away from Kobe, and be more aggressive. Bynum has never had a problem being aggressive. If he touches the ball regularly, he will get shots up. They will largely be less efficient shots than what Gasol could get if so inclined, but they will be shots Kobe isn't taking. At this point, that could end up a blessing.
The Lakers host the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
Tuesday's 7:30 p.m. PST game will be televised by TNT. For more Lakers news and information, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.