L.A. Lakers: Can Steve Blake Thrive Outside of the Triangle Offense?

Former Los Angeles head coach Phil Jackson's triangle offense must have seemed more like the Bermuda Triangle since Steve Blake seemed lost from his first days as a Laker and never could  find his way around the philosophy and the principles of the scheme.

Many people who had applauded the Lakers decision to sign Blake in the 2010 offseason were shocked at his inability to adapt to the Lakers offense, especially since Blake has been described as a steady, cerebral player who has good basketball instincts.

Instead, Blake struggled through his first season with the Lakers as his 4.0 scoring average was the lowest of his career, and his numbers were down in every single statistical category compared to his career averages.

Blake's main problem in the triangle was he had a tendency to over-think on some possessions instead of reacting to a particular situation.

Sometimes Blake would look for an extra pass instead of taking a wide open perimeter shot, and other times Blake would rush his perimeter jumper rather than waiting for his teammates to get into good offensive position.

Blake never did manage to get a grasp of Jackson's offense, and in the postseason, he looked as if the Lakers would have been better off if they had left him off the playoff roster considering his ineffectiveness.

But Jackson has departed for different pastures, and new coach Mike Brown brings a new system that Blake is familiar with and caters more to his particular skill set.

Blake will never be considered a particularly quick or athletic player, but he does have good size for a point guard at 6'3", and he has shown the ability to thrive in an uptempo setting.

Brown will likely stress the importance of creating offense through pressure defense, and the transitions from one end of the court to the other are something Blake has excelled at since his days as a Maryland Terrapin.

Unfortunately, the fact that Blake has thrived offensively in the open court doesn't mask his inferior defensive skills, and regardless of whether his numbers do increase under Brown, it cannot make up for Blake's defenseless ways.

Some Lakers fans may not want to admit it but Blake was probably a worst individual defender than much-maligned point guard starter Derek Fisher.

Fisher has definitely lost much of the quickness that made him such a sticky defender, but he still may be quicker than Blake, and his strength allows him to at least play physical defense against slower guards.

Quicker guards simply blow by Blake off the dribble, and the slower ones just casually back him down into the post.

And against guards who are both quick and strong like Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, it can sometimes get downright ugly for Blake defensively.

Considering that point guard is is unquestionably the Lakers area of greatest need Blake is sure to find his name associated with plenty of trade speculation once the current NBA lockout ends.

But looking on the bright side Blake has bottomed out as far as his career numbers are concerned and the only way for him to go now is up.

Blake's 40 percent career shooting percentage from the three point line is certainly something the Lakers could use next season since perimeter scoring looks to be at a minimum.

But can the team risk Blake's defensive ineptitude in exchange for his potential scoring output?

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