Short Term Fixes

Kurt —  March 10, 2007

The Lakers need a rainout. But since even Crash Davis can’t get the Lakers one, the team is looking at a couple other ideas, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Sherridan (insider). Let’s take a quick look at them.

One, starting Kwame over Bynum.

“Andrew didn’t get anything accomplished out there tonight,” Jackson said. “Andrew needs to just get off the front line and get out of that enemy fire for a while.”

I’m good with this change, Bynum is still young and shows up for some games and not for others, like Philly. Some time on the bench may do him good, and his scoring would fit well with what’s left of the second unit.

But what about Smush vs. Shammond. I’m still good with Smush starting, he tends to start games fast, but what about Shammond as the closer? Smush fades, Shammond’s defense would be a help late. Plus, if Shammond hits threes like he did in Philly (4 of 6 from beyond the arc) you don’t lose that much offense. By the way, Shammond was a team best +6 against the Sixers.

The other topic Sherridan discussed was bringing in Pippen. Pippen and Jackson have talked and things seem to be moving forward. Again, I’m fine with this although I’m not sure what kind of shape he’s in, what kind of rust is there. I really wonder how much he can contribute, he couldn’t help much is last couple NBA seasons, and that was a couple years ago. But with each loss I’m more willing to give it a shot.

The question is, how do you create roster room?

…in order to get an additional roster spot, the Lakers need to have four injured players sidelined at the same time for 14 consecutive days. Chris Mihm and Vladimir Radmanovic account for two of those spots, but Lamar Odom won’t reach 14 days until a week from Sunday, and Luke Walton is expected back before then.

Another option would be to waive Chris Mihm, who is out for the season after undergoing ankle surgery, and whose contract expires in June.

There is no chance of the league cutting the Lakers some slack, that’s not how they work. That said, I don’t want to cut Mihm, I’m concerned the move could make him harder to resign on the cheap this summer. Bringing him back provides many more options next year (for example, trading Kwame’s $9 mil expiring deal).

But that may be a small price to pay if Pippen can help right the ship this year and give the team some veteran leadership for one more year.

Kurt

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11 responses to Short Term Fixes

  1. it just hare to win with 9 guys. most of who are not ready or able to play starters mins. with all the people that are out its hard for us to put a group on the floor that (minus kobe) is better than most other teams. therefore hard to win. its not like we have a star filled line up (denver, clips, golden state, heat) and cant win. we are just hurt. this is the same team that was 30-19. I still have faith come playoff time.

    Thank god all the teams under us keeping losing to.

  2. Kurt,

    Before you come up with the solution, you need to identify the problem. The Lakers do NOT have a problem with offense. Even with a depleted roster in recent games that they lost, they scored plenty of points.

    All season, and even now not fully recovered, Kwame is the best defensive presence that the Lakers have. The Lakers not only need Kwame to start, but to get as many minutes from him as possible–using Kwame as a power forward when Bynum comes in at center if the going gets tough.

    Kwame makes his teammates better. He handles the Smushian turnstyle so well sometimes, that Smush gets credit for playing defense. Kwame’s inside role complements Cook’s outside shot.

    Kwame’s return to the lineup has been more noticeably helpful than Lamar’s–mostly because Bynum’s defense is several years away.

    Smush has been the starting point guard all year. His failure to perform fundamentals and personal lack of coordination with teammates limits what the Laker defense can accomplish. He’s been scoring early as a “dishee” from Kobe, hitting wide open threes. Against the 76ers last night, Kobe decided to score in the first period, and the Smusher’s “early” contribution disappeared.

    Even when Smush is scoring, the guy he’s supposed to guard is putting on a show. Henry Bibby probably doesn’t even sleep the night before a Laker game; Gary Payton feels ten years younger when he “flys” by the Smusher.

    Shammond probably should have been the starter from the get-go, with Farmar coming off the bench. Shammond has learned how to be a point guard somewhere, and his defensive presence is a refreshing respite from “you know who.”

    Given his proven ability to respond to challenges, Smush might well come off the bench with real passion, with easier point guards to defend, a Turiaf to bail him out, and a real need for his steals and scoring.

    With fewer minutes, and off the bench, Smush would be more likely to make them count–especially if a turnstyle letdown meant he would be pulled in favor of Jordan Farmar.

    Scottie has spawned some wishful thinking in Phil–especially with Lamar’s shoulder the way that it is.

    Maybe Jeannie should talk with him about that:

    “Dream on, Phil.”

  3. I think our offense is a problem. Right now we don’t have a solid set of shooters or decision-makers out there. If Kobe is remotely off his shooting (see 2nd half last night), our offense can be putrid. Smush is a scorer as is Farmar, Evans, Walton, Lamar, etc…Cookie is our only solid shooter other than Half Pipe, and Cook likes to foul everything that moves.

    Our offense has problems, my friend!

  4. DrRayEye, I’m just commenting on the changes Phil talked about.

    I’d make the Kwame/Bynum change, but I think it’s huge that Turiaf is expected back Sunday because, by my quick count, when Kwame and Bynum were on the floor together in Philly the Lakers were -17. And to the eye they don’t look comfortable, Kwame has long struggled as the four.

    With Shammond, Phil suggested in the Times this morning that conditioning is a concern and limiting his minutes. Frankly, I’d like to see Smush, Farmar and Shammond (and throw in Sasha) get minutes in the first half, then just ride the hot hand (at both ends).

  5. chris henderson March 10, 2007 at 11:54 am

    I agree that it’s our offense that is the problem. look back at the Phx game, we played pretty good defense, but on the O end of the the floor, it was just perimeter passes, and give it to Kobe, and/or we jack up way too many 3′s, and it feels like no one EVER cuts to the hoop. sometimes Kobe drives but then it’s 1 against 3, and no matter how strong Kobe is, that’s bad odds.
    I think Phil needs to take advantage of one things opponents do EVERY GAME, they double and triple team Kobe with or without the ball, this means with some quick passes, off some picks, somebody can be open underneath. for the life of me I don’t understand why our coaches haven’t taken advantage of this. (maybe they are saving it as a secret weapon for the playoffs).

  6. (3) (5) If the other team doesn’t score, the worst thing that can happen is overtime. If Kobe misses 10 in a row, we’re still even.

    Unfortunately, it’s the opposite that happens. That’s why defense is the real problem.

    Last night in Philly, when Kobe scored 21 in the first quarter, the 76ers (not the Lakers) LED, 30-26. Bad defense can nullify Kobe at his most glorious.

    Defensive stops (and rebounds) give more opportunities on the offensive end. Even a bad offense tied to a terrific offense will score eventually. Offense, especially outside shooting, comes and goes. Defense can be a constant.

    During the regular season, a team with good defense generates and converts turnovers. During the playoffs, both teams will play good defense, and play of the game comes down to half court play.

    That has been historically when the triangle is most valuable.

    Without good D, the advantages of the triangle are wasted.

    Perhaps the statement that best supports your emphasis on offense came recently from Kobe himself. He pointed out that few Lakers are deeply into the triangle. This means that they have not discovered further nuances when the obvious wrinkles are shut down.

  7. Sorry about getting my “offenses” and “defenses” mixed up above.

    What I meant to say:

    “Even a bad offense tied to a terrific defense will score eventually.”

    Or, I could have said:

    Even the blind chicken finds a corn once in awhile!

  8. Offense or Defense? The Lakers offensive efficiency is about 7th in the NBA. The defensive efficiency is about 24th. Improve either dramatically (about 5 spots) and the team will win more. However, the defense only needs to clamp down by about 2 pts/100 possessions to move to 15 (average). That is a jump of about 10 spots. To move 5 spots on the offensive side requires the scoring of about 3.5 points more /100 possessions. Which seems more likely to happen? I’d love to say the D, as the team can make greater strides there. But at this point I think, with the players on the court, they are more likely to make offensive strides. The defense has been on a slow decline since December. I just don’t see how the Lakers turn it around at this point.

  9. Totally off topic, but I played a 5 on 5 full-court pick-up game for the first time in ages yesterday. My biggest weakness is I’m too much of a tweener. Too short to play forward, too slow to play guard. I played guard, and I got “Smushed” constantly. Man, I really need to work on my defense. I usually have a pretty good shot. But in that game, I put up an oh-fer. Now I know what Smush feels like.

  10. “I asked Jackson about Pippen tonight after the Lakers arrived 50 minutes late at the arena in Philadelphia because of traffic, and Jackson disclosed that the Lakers have been in touch with the league office to inquire about the possibility of adding a 16th player, which would allow them to sign Pippen to a 10-day contract.”

    http://sponsors.aolsportsblog.com/2007/03/09/phil-jackson-is-making-room-for-scottie-pippen/

  11. Can’t we all just admit that this team, our beloved team, is playing like shit right now?

    Go Lake Show!!!!