USA Today

The Lakers weren’t expected to contend for the playoffs this season, but so far it’s been a mess. From Kobe Bryant’s poor shooting to D’Angelo Russell’s lackluster play… the Lakers look awful.

As the “Fire Byron Scott” chants get louder, there’s still plenty of time to right the ship. Here are three quick fixes that can help the Lakers now:

Offense: Run perfectly the Princeton Offense isn’t effective. Add the fact Russell needs the ball in his hands, not spotting up for jumpers, and you have a bad fit for this team. Having a system is important, but implementing a system around the talent of your team is more crucial. The Lakers would do much better in a motion offense like the San Antonio Spurs run. Let Julius Randle come set a high screen for Russell with Roy Hibbert on the weak side block while Kobe Bryant and Jordan Clarkson float around the short-corner three point line.

With the current starters, four of the five players can handle the ball, but it should be left up to Russell to distribute it. Bryant should be in the high and low post (not near the 3 point line) and let Clarkson and Randle flash to the ball for open looks. The Princeton Offense is too methodical and slow for the youth in the starting lineup.

Rotations: The starting lineup is fine, but it’s the bench that needs tweaking. If Russell is struggling, he can still start, but let Marcelo Huertas sub in for him early. Russell could benefit watching Huertas run the team. Lou Williams is a combo guard, but he’s better suited at the two because he prefers to score. Metta World Peace showed in preseason he can ratchet up the defense which the Lakers need more than firepower off the bench. Brandon Bass should be playing the power forward spot with Tarik Black as the reserve center. Substitutions shouldn’t be predetermined, but based on the flow of the game. Full team substitutions can mess up rhythm, instead take players out when they are tired or cold. Nick Young is one dimensional and can be used sparingly while Ryan Kelly should be nailed on the bench next to Robert Sacre.

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Accountability: Kobe Bryant can be the team’s worst enemy when Byron Scott allows him to be. The main reason Scott was hired as Lakers Head Coach was because of his relationship with Bryant, yet so far he’s been more an an enabler. Even Bryant needs to be put in his most effective spots on the floor and taken out of the game when he’s off. At this stage Clarkson, Russell and Randle need structured guidance from the sidelines, not complete freedom to figure things out on the fly. Scott preaches defense, but doesn’t provide consequences when players blow by them. There’s no clearer message of displeasure than sitting on the bench. Scott needs to teach and discipline if he wants to see any results.

The Lakers may be young this year, but they still need to play to their potential. That means allowing the players to leverage their strengths. Scott can help this cause by inserting a more dynamic offense, add more toughness (World Peace & Black) and holding everyone accountable. Scott may have the backing of the Lakers Organization, but he’s quickly losing the support of the Lakers fans. Known as a development coach, Scott needs to make swift changes or risk being on the chopping block soon.

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