The good news is for the Los Angeles Lakers that they're still only 12-9. They just beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-101 to improve to that mark, in a game where Andrew Bynum went for 21 points and 7 rebounds alongside fellow big man Pau Gasol who finished with 28 and 6. Also good news. Depending on which way you look at it, the 35 points and 14 rebounds that Kobe went for in that one is kind of encouraging too.
Unless you're concerned by the idea that Bryant, Gasol, and Bynum can combine to score 84 points and grab 27 rebounds between the three of them and they still only beat the Timberwolves by 5. Or the fact that Kobe is playing over 38 minutes per game, averaging over 30 points per night himself, and the Lakers have won only twelve times in twenty-one tries.
You might also be concerned, Lakers Nation, that despite the production from Kobe his team isn't doing enough to score 100-points per night on a regular basis either. Prior to that win over the T-Wolves, the Lakers had just set a team mark in futility for scoring less than one hundred points in thirteen straight games. Something they hadn't done since the 1954-55 campaign, Dick Bavetta's first as an NBA official.
The injury to PG Steve Blake isn't helping things, nor is the 5.4 points and 4 assists per game that starter Derek Fisher is averaging. This team that started the season with NBA Title aspirations has also used a combination of rookies Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock in attempt to find a spark at the PG position too. No offense to Morris or Goudelock specifically, but that's not ideal.
In response, the Lakers seem to be seriously considering whether or not the artist formerly known as Agent Zero can swoop in and cure all that ails them as a basketball team. Or at least improve their PG play some. He's available after being amnestied by Orlando, and apparently the Lakers are interested. This according to Alex Kennedy at HOOPSWORLD over the weekend:
The Los Angeles Lakers have expressed interest in Gilbert Arenas, according to sources close to the situation. The 30-year-old is an unrestricted free agent after being amnestied by the Orlando Magic last month. No signing is imminent, but the Lakers have reached out to the veteran point guard.
League sources say that Arenas would love to join the Lakers. He grew up in Los Angeles and is interested in playing for his hometown team. He believes that he can contribute in Los Angeles’ backcourt, which currently features an aging Derek Fisher, injured Steve Blake and inexperienced Darius Morris. Arenas and Blake played together for two years with the Washington Wizards.
Arenas spent the summer working out in Orlando, losing 20 pounds as he prepared for the upcoming season. The weight loss should prevent further issues with his surgically repaired knee, which was a cause for concern during his brief stint with the Magic. The three-time All-Star is healthy and looking forward to proving that he can still play at a high level if put in the right situation.
In Orlando, Arenas struggled to come off of the bench behind Jameer Nelson. Stan Van Gundy had Arenas on a short leash and would often pull him from games if he made a single mistake. However, he did have the opportunity to start 16 games last year and he was extremely productive. As a starter with the Magic, Arenas averaged 17 points, six assists and 2.5 steals. He averaged similar numbers – 17.3 points, 5.6 assists and 1.4 steals – in 21 games with the Wizards prior to last December’s trade.
If Arenas is in fact healthy, I say not only go for it if you're LA, but go ahead and start him. Go all in. Derek Fisher is a back-up point guard these days at best. If Steve Blake comes back healthy, start him alongside Arenas in the back-court, move Kobe to the three, and round out that starting five with Gasol and Bynum inside. Metta World Peace started at the SF position last game, and he responded with 2 points. Peace is averaging 5 points per game on the season, and prior to using him in that capacity, the Lakers opened the season by starting Devin Ebanks. The same Ebanks who caught a DNP-CD last time out.
The Lakers need a lot of help. They are about three pieces away (PG, Wing Player Alongside Kobe, Bench Player Who Can Score) from being a legitimate title contender at this point. Gilbert Arenas alone doesn't make them that, but he could make them a little better maybe. If he really is in shape, and can put numbers up anywhere close to those 17 and 5 that he averaged for a brief stretch starting alongside Dwight for the next 40 or so games, it's worth the risk. Reportedly, Arenas can be had for the prorated veterans minimum at this point, and I say go for it.
|Like CC on Facebook||Follow CC on Twitter|