Random thoughts on the Brave Bryantless World after the Lakers season-opening 120-114 victory over Houston on Wednesday (and I say random because I have already written on what I think the Lakers will be, so why repeat myself?):
- The starting lineup was curious until the second half. Nick Young not being staple-gunned to the bench? And chucking up misses in the process? What was that? I think we found out in the second half, maybe.
The reason Young has an NBA career in the first place is because he stopped Kevin Durant in the NCAA Tournament when USC upset Texas. This Lakers team, as currently constructed, is defense deprived. LA allowed an alarming 71 points in the first half. The guess here is the coaching staff advised Young if he doesn’t do his job in the second half… And Houston scored a more palatable 43 in the second half.
By the way, don’t be too surprised if that means Metta World Peace starts soon in Young’s place. Not that he would play major minutes. The idea being a reminder to the rest of the team: stop the ball.
- For defensive purposes and considering the development of Brandon Ingram, the lineup will continue to be in flux for at least another two months. They have no idea who they can consistently rely on yet, aside from Julius Randle.
- I want to hold back on praising the offense. Scoring 120 points is impressive, unless it’s against Houston. Now that the Rockets are coached by Mark D’Antoni, we’re going to have to come up with a new phrase for matador defense.
- As I’ve written before, the Lakers will at least be fun to watch. Having said that, when D’Angelo Russell followed up a basket by looking at the camera and screaming “This is my shit,” you might be a little ahead of yourself, playa. That was a lucky shot. You threw up some shit.
- ESPN color analyst Mark Jackson made an excellent point about top draft selection Ingram being part of the reserves. Ingram, a forward, played the point with the second team in the first half. That was a purposeful idea, Jackson said, because it accelerates the learning process to run the offense. Ingram wouldn’t have that opportunity as a passive member of the first team.
- I still believe the Lakers do not have the personnel to run the Golden State offense that fans were anticipating. Russell was the only Lakers player with more than two 3-pointers.
- Will somebody — preferably Randle — please commandeer the low post? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Vlade Divac and Shaquille O’Neal are all rolling over in their graves.
The Lakers embark on a four-game road trip starting in Utah on Friday. Keep in mind, LA started out last season 0-4, so they’re already ahead of last season’s awful curve.