Game Two Thoughts

Kurt —  April 25, 2007

In those Greek tragedies we all were supposed to read in high school, there was something called Hamartia. (Apparently Gatinho read them because he pointed me to this.) What is Hamartia?

The “tragic hero” attempts to do the “right thing” in a situation where the right thing cannot be done.

I could see Kobe in that spot in game two. On one hand, he realizes the Lakers can’t beat the Suns over the course of a series if he has to score 50+ points and take over the games. On the other hand, the Lakers can’t seem to win any games if he does not score 50+ and take over the game.

These days we call it a “Catch 22,” based on another of those novels we were supposed to read in school. Call it whatever you like, unless the other Lakers step up it is an unsolvable bind.

——————————————-

The reason there has to be so much pressure on Kobe and the offense is because 48 minutes of defense is beyond the Lakers.

The Suns made adjustments to get more isolation — both by clear outs or the pick-and-roll. Both of those required quick and smart defensive rotations to stop. The Lakers were slow and stupid. They let Nash be the passer not the shooter. The rotations that were solid in game one disappeared, to be replaced by a very confused look on many players’ faces.

I thought about breaking down a specific second quarter sequence where the Suns pulled away, but it largely read like this over and over:

Barbosa blows past Smush Parker and nobody rotates over with any urgency. Barbosa doesn’t even have to change direction on his layup.

There were some minor variations of that sequence, but not many. The Suns started their 24-9 run that gave them the big lead for good against a Laker lineup that was Kobe and the bench. The Suns bench outplayed the Laker bench pretty badly.

——————————————

I feared this, the one blowout game where the Lakers got behind early and the players just folded. I hoped they would fight back, I didn’t want to admit it really could happen, but I feared a game like that.

Thursday night we’ll learn a lot about the mental makeup of this team. Another effort like Tuesday’s and they might as well not bother to come to Staples Sunday. But they are capable of winning, if they are willing to play within the system, on both ends of the court.

And they have to do it all for 48 minutes.

Kurt

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71 responses to Game Two Thoughts

  1. warren (philippines) April 25, 2007 at 2:18 am

    Ever you guys heard of the term “Harakiri”? It might suit the Lakers adjectivally right now. It portrays what they should do given the situation, so that, management does SOMETHING this off-season.

    Get atleast one defensive guy, a Trent Hassell perhaps, someone who can stop anyone or at least regulate the opposing guards.

    Also, get someone who can be a presence inside the paint. Like a Marcus Camby or a Jermaine Oneal. Someone please. Not Kwame who merely watches Amare dunk on him as if he was his greatest fan. Give up some hard fouls dude.

    Lots of times Lamar Odom is confused. Or lets just say I’m confused with him. He spots up at three, or he stays at the perimeter. I’d rather see him aggravate the injury than sissy out on defense. He’s too long to be staying out. He’s got too much potential that’ll never be unlocked.

    The only guy brighter than everyone is Jordan Farmar. He can be good. I can see him shine tomorrow. He has lots to learn but he will. Honorable mention – Luke Walton. Not stellar at both ends but considering the circumstances, he was pretty good this year.

    Oh and by the way, for those of you that are unfamiliar, “harakiri” is Japanese for suicide.

  2. warren (philippines) April 25, 2007 at 2:39 am

    A major revamp is in the works. Its best discussed what we can offer before we go on to war looing for what we need.
    Assets :

    MAJOR PIECES
    1. Kwame Brown – 9M expiring contract.
    2. Andrew Bynum – 2M + PPP next year
    3. Lamar Odom – 13M 2 years left
    4. Luke Walton – (signed as Bird FA)
    5. Vlade Radman – 5.6M 4 years left

    MINOR PIECES
    1. Mo Evans – 1.5M expiring
    2. Brian Cook – 3.5M 2 years left
    3. Sasha Vujacic – 1.8M expiring

    Due to lack of PG, I defer sending away Jordan Farmar…

    As you can see, only Vlade is committed to more than 3 years (4). All others are either expiring or 2 years left. The time to move these pieces is NOW. Leave the gamble of Andrew BYnum’s BOOM or BUST to the other teams. Kobe’s clock is ticking. Get him a decent post up guy who can defend.

    In my wildest dreams I’d even envision Boozer + Kirilenko in a deal, shipping out Lamar, Bynum and Luke. But this is a pipe dream.

  3. warren (philippines) April 25, 2007 at 2:57 am

    Should the Lakers choose to do minimal tinkering, my suggestions are these:

    Vlade for Mike James
    Cook + Sasha for Mike James

    Cook + Sasha for Nazr Mohammed
    Vlade for Nazr Mohammed

    Cook for Bonzi Wells
    Vlade for Bonzi + Luther Head
    Or sign Bonzi with the Mid-level

    Vlade Radman + Sasha for Magloire + Sergio Rodriguez

    I’m trying to get rid of these three in other words…

  4. We’re done… :( We’ll talk about trades by the end of the week…

  5. We Must Trade Brown, Mihn and Odom For a Star…

    We must sign Jerry West

    We need a Fucking PG!!!!

    And bring Back Horry!

  6. Why not play Bynum? Does anyone on the Suns have his size? And Kwame, for all that can be said positive for him (over the course of the year), doesn’t seem to be holding up.

    All hustle lineup for large chunks of game three: Kobe, Mo Evans, Walton, Lamar, Turiaf (with Bynum sprinkled in).

  7. We need another offensive threat besides Kobe, but Bynum is too slow on defense to deal with the Suns. Solutio: Yes, Kwame can’t play the 4 on offense for the life of him, but his offense sucks anyway. But, we need him on defense. Start Kwame at the 4, have him play hard nosed D, and lay a few picks on offense. Start Bynum at the 5, and feed him with intent, any body besides Kobe who isn’t looking for Bynum in the post, pull him out of the game. Starting lineup: Farmar, Kobe, Odom, Kwame, Drew. Sooner or later, the Suns will have to double down on Bynum, this is when Kobe can start to go to town. That being said, we lost this series, and Kupchack has got his work cut out for him this offseason. Real risky, but might work out: make a trade for the #1 pick in the draft and get Kevin Durant. Start him right away. he and Kobe could do some damage.

  8. warren (philippines) April 25, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Kevin Durant? How?

  9. I fail to see competitive intensity and pride. Their mannerism last night seemed to say – we surrender, except Kobe. How about a tuff foul? And I don’t mean hurting anyone, but come on at some point you have to play hard and physical and send them to the free throw line and at the very least make them think about it. With the bench available, there has to be plenty of fouls to give out, and by the way this would slow the game down too. I think back to the Magic, Kareem, and Worthy era, and conclude the difference was each one of them on any night could have significant impact on the game, take the winning shot, and had mental toughness that included preventing a clinic like last night.

    I think that someone that really needs to go is Kupchack. I say we bring back Jerry West or try and lure Pat.

  10. warren (philippines) April 25, 2007 at 8:55 am

    I will say this only once : Game 2 was a gimme. A ploy from the ZenMaster to create an artificial scenario in the Suns minds. Apparently, it has hit us as well. It doesnt change the mediocrity of this team still but have faith in the Master. We shall see in Game3. Lakers by 8.

  11. warren (philippines) April 25, 2007 at 8:56 am

    Someone once said I was insulting Utah’s intelligence in suggesting the deal for AK. Now it seems I am derailed by someone else. He was looking to land Kevin Durant.

  12. Once more with feeling. Jerry West is not going to join the Lakers as GM while Phil Jackson is the coach. He may not go anywhere as GM, at the age of 70.

  13. Lakerjoe,

    To answer your questions. Jordan was right about Kwame.

  14. 7. Uhhhh, Paul, I think everyone in Lakerland would love to get Kevin Durant, but tell me which team in the lottery is stupid enough to trade him? And what do we have to offer?

    The only conceivable way to get a top-2 pick this year would be to offer Kobe … and that’s not happening.

  15. The problem with Andrei Kirilenko is that he is basically a versatile power forward who has been playing out of position this year at small forward because of Boozer. But his most effective position is the 4, not the 3. I think he really duplicates a lot of the things we already get from Odom.

    My wish list would look like this:
    1. Garnett
    2. Chauncey Billups
    3. Jermaine O’Neal
    4.
    4. Mike Bibby

  16. * Oops.

    4. Ray Allen
    5. Mike Bibby

    I think our biggest need is improved play from the point, followed by a post player who can create his own shot and draw double-teams.

  17. 15-16. The idea with Ray Allen being to play him as a big guard alongside Kobe. I think he has enough ball-handling skills to handle the 1 in the triangle.

  18. What happened to pounding the ball inside w/ Odom? Last year’s series he dominated Marion, and he seems able to do it again, but for some reason it looks as tought the offense is not trying to really work it inside. Is that b/c Amare is out there? I can see that being a reason, but if he’s guarding Brown, shouldn’t that still allow Odom to get inside? Also, whatever happened to Kobe posting up at the elbow or deeper on Bell? Bell can’t possibly be that strong, or is he moving him off his spot? I would seem to think that dump into Bryant, and looking for him to make a move w/ it, instead of him seeming to be pretty far out away from the goal…

    Maybe they should let Kobe handle it, bench Farmar and Smush, and bring in Evans to guard Nash on defense?

  19. Matt,

    What about Odom and Luke for #2 pick?

  20. Warren: why do you continue suggesting unsubstantiated trade proposals? Yes, sure they’d be nice….and after a couple beers, probably some of us think of them too. But what’s the point in posting possible trades when Mitch has not mentioned trading anyone, let alone the blockbusters you propose? I mean, I don’t mind them…but really, is anyone paying attention? I want to discuss what’s going on with the Lakers NOW (and there’s much too much….), not unsuggested trade scenarios. I’m not trying to be rude, I’m just saying, really, aren’t there more important things for Laker fans to be thinking about right now? (And if the answer to that is no, well, I don’t know what to say……)

  21. Wow, I’m about as optimistic a Laker fan as anyone anywhere, but I’m absolutely heartbroken….I got nothin’……I’d say don’t blame these guys (our squad)….there’s a reason we’re a 7 and they’re a 2…..

  22. Ok, I get it. It looked like we were tanking to get a draft pick last night. The second half was punishment. I flipped over to the Dodger game, only to see us lose a close one to the Giants. It was the kind of night that made me wish I didn’t care about sports. But Jesus, people, do we need to talk about trades at this moment? Are we not still in the playoffs? Isn’t this the kind of wave-the-white-flag attitude we hate to see in our teams?

    I know. We probably won’t win four games from the fast/good Suns. I know, I know, I know. But let’s not be the fickle LA fans that the rest of the country considers us. I’m normally not a ra-ra kind of guy. Hell, I even feel awkward participating in the organized cheers at sporting events, but can we at least talk about the playoffs while we are in the playoffs?

    That being said, there is no longer any excuse to have Smush I-Won’t-Even-Pretend-To-Try-Hard-So-Someone-Will-Sign-Me-Next-Year
    Parker on the floor. Smush- aren’t you from the mean streets?? Didn’t you have to fight thru some screens in Rucker Park?

    Put Shammond in to spell Farmar (a sentence I hoped never to type). At least he runs around and hits people in the head. Try Aaron Mckie (the last few people just jumped off my bandwagon). Leave Mo in long enough to get some defensive rhythm. More Turiaf.

    Ideas?

  23. 19. Paul, while you could argue that would make basketball sense, there is not GM in the world that would alienate his fan base by trading away the rights to one of the most hyped rookies in a decade. You’ve got to sell tickets, and Durant (and Oden) do that right now. Odom and Luke do not.

  24. Warren, just to add to what TC said, for the most part this has not been a site about trade speculation. I know many fans enjoy it, and as TC said we may discuss after a few beers, but this site has been more focused on what likely will happen. On breaking down what has happened in a smart way. The day KG says “I want out” I’ll be posting about options. If the JO stuff really moves beyond the usual end-of-the-year frustration and they decide to move him I’ll have a post up on that. But right now their brass is saying he is the one they will be keeping around.

    There are Laker Web sites and boards where the speculation and hyperbole run wild (hey, Fire Mitch!). But this has never been that type of forum.

  25. 22. Remember that Shammond did play a chunk of the second quarter, while the Suns continued to pull away. He was -10 in that quarter.

    I don’t think he’s the answer, but I don’t know what is.

  26. I blame most of last nights game on Jackson. He needs to figure out which players really want it and which ones don’t. Smush checked out a long time ago and should not be in the game EVER!! Kwame finished this seaon solid and all of a sudden he has turned into a cry baby in this series. Plus he’s going back to try layups, which he has never been good at. DUNK THE BALL, GET THE FOUL LINE!!!
    Then Jackson threw a real curve ball at me putting in Shammond before Mo Evans?

    I would like to see Ronny in there just becuase he seems to be the only one that can match the energy on the Suns. Plus he guarded Stoudamire during the season really well.

    AND CAN WE PRACTICE OUR LAYUPS PPLLEEASSSE!!!

    Odom missed at least 3 three point play opportunities that were gimmies.

    Jackson needs to smartin up and play the guys that really want to be out there and win on Thursday, otherwise, it’s gonna be a repeat of yesterday.

    ok I’m done venting

    D

  27. Lakers need to have hard nosed players (Rick Fox) come to mind

  28. And Warren, please, I wasn’t trying to be rude, it’s just that really, when I starte seeing the names of players (who are good, and sure it’d be nice to see them in Laker colors) under one of your posts….I scroll down. I don’t read them. But I do read your other comments. Anyway, please don’t take my comments as personal knocks, they were not meant as such and it’s great to see such loyal fans in the Philippines!!! We need more here in the Southland…. :)

  29. Game Two was not a surprise. This team has not played well at all in 2007. They started the season strong in 2006, then fell apart. The questions are: (1) Why and (2) Can they get back in time to make this a series? Here are some possible answers.

    1. They played out of their heads early on. The Lakers were never that good. (This is certainly possible, though the consistency they had for two months hints that this is not it.)

    2. The injuries messed up a delicate balance and the team has never recovered. Even after the injured players came back on the floor. (Also possible. But how did the team get in the groove in the first place? Why are they unable to regain what they had? If this is the answer to the Lakers’ woes, there is still a chance at some magic happening.)

    3. The injured players are not yet healed. Because the Lakers squad was built with such little margin for error, they need everyone at 100% to be effective. (I vote for this one. Unfortunately, this would mean there is no getting back to November/December form.)

  30. Man, I miss Fisher, Horry, and Fox. True warriors.

  31. I know everybody is probably thinking that theres no way in the world that the Lakers can beat the Suns 4 out of 5 games and are already thinking about offseason trade scenarios (warren) but lets stay in the moment. We have only a little while longer to enjoy this Laker season before 4 months of no basketball and lots of trade speculation. When the time is appropriate, as Kurt said, trade scenarios will be discussed.

    I been hearing all over the paper and TV about how crappy the chances are of coming back from an 0-2 deficit and how only a handful of teams have done this. But I wanted to quickly reminisce about the 2004 playoffs (the GP and Malone year). We were matched up against San Antonio in the 2nd round and they had the best record in the regular season. They were on a roll. They had homecourt and the smacked us hard to go up 2-0 on us (Tony Parker destroyed the whole team, especially Payton, in the first two games) and nobody thought that the Lakers could win 4 out of 5 games against a great team. The Lakers won games 3 and 4 at home by out hustling the Spurs and then stole game 5 on the .04 D-Fish miracle shot. The Spurs were too emotionally hurt and had no chance in game 6.

    My point Laker fans, is that it is possible. Granted we don’t have Shaq and Fish and Fox out there anymore, but at least we know that it is possible.

  32. … and can we please stop playing Shammond, Sasha, Cook, and Bynum all at the same time. PLEASE!!!!

  33. Rick Carlisle fired by Pacers …..
    “Jermaine O’Neal has called the Pacers’ offense “complicated” and said he doesn’t always execute it properly”

    It doesn’t sound like a good fit for Phil’s triangle offense

  34. Painful to read but what the hell …
    Phoenix never had a 2-0 advantage in any of its 10 previous playoff matchups with the Lakers. Overall, the Suns have been up 2-0 in any series only five times. … Eleven teams have rallied from an 0-2 deficit to win a series, most recently Miami against Dallas in last year’s finals. … Phoenix had one turnover in the first half. … Barbosa has 100 points in his last four playoff games against the Lakers

  35. #29

    You forgot 4.

    In which I believe I predicted all of this would happen and that their early success was the result of a rediculous number of foul calls in their favor.

  36. Wow, good job there Nostradamus.

  37. ah, john r, i bet you’re lovin this…
    can you help me out though, i’ve been outta the country, where are the clips now? can’t seem to find them…

  38. Game 2 the Suns played as perfectly as they could possibly play. They definitely do not play like that every game. We can not just quit just because we got blown out in game 2. The Heat are also down 0-2 but nobody is talking about off season moves right now in Miami.

    Our season is on the line thursday. Win and have a chance to keep playing, or lay down and be in Cancun by monday. If the Lakers don’t play energized basketball on thursday, they never will. Simply put, we know that they are a better team than us, it all comes down to who wants it more.

  39. would you stop with the foul calls in our favor lead to our early season success, John R? that is a load of crap. we did the same thing late last year by playing well together and actually playing defense.

    we’ve all been waiting for you to step out of the darkness here and be a typical Clipper fan schmo.

    go enjoy the lottery, clipper fans, especially you John R, especially you. hope it never gets old.

  40. If we would have played another good 5 minutes of basketball in Game 1, we would be 1-1 right now after the game 2 blowout and we would not be sitting here pointing fingers and thinking that we are the worst team in the playoffs.

  41. I think about Kupchack, a great defensive player, and “Wildman” Jackson, a defensive roll player, and Kurt “Clark Kent” Rambis, blue collar to the core, and super smart Shaw (and the others), and then I look at strategic, ersonnel/trade and substitution decisions that we have analyzed all year, including today.

    If we can think it, they already know–especially team play and defense.

    There’s something wrong somewhere.

  42. The Clipper franchise was summed up perfectly several years ago when the TV commentator at the lottery drawing referred to Elgin Baylor as “a veteran of the lottery process.” That’s not a good thing.

  43. @38 thank you skigi…

    yes it was depressing, and while we could not have played worse (including the early game, when we were still in the 3-6pt range) they could not have played any better.

    But our team (basically the same team) surprised the world last year with tenacious consitency. Nothing is over, as long as we have Kobe. Play hard and keep it close, and he can win the game.

  44. 30. Amen, brother. I’m sick and tired of softies like Smush, Sasha and Cookie. Fisher, Fox & Horry were all somewhat flawed, but they played hard all the time.

  45. The sports cliche for the past yr or so has been “you are what you are.” I think the corollary of that is you can’t be what you’re not.
    The Lakers are not a low-post team and trying to become one for the Play-Offs is a non-starter. They don’t know how to get position,the passers don’t know where the poster is going to set up nor how to pass into the post and their inital defense is all messed up as all involved are not in normal offensive spots so no-one knows who has anti-fast -break coverage.
    The regular season is where a good team builds an identity ans learns what to do under pressure. The lakers failed to build an identity during the yr and under stress they are floundering in the Play-Offs.

    BTW,playing 80% of their first two dozen games in LA had alot to do w/early season success.

  46. 19. Paul, the scouts are saying that Durant has the potential to be a true superstar, in the same class as Kobe, LeBron, Wade, McGrady, Garnett, etc.

    Now take a look at the lottery …
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/lottery2007/mockdraft
    … and tell me which team is going to trade a potential all-time superstar for a borderline All-Star who can’t carry his team (Odom) and a role player (Walton). I’ll give you a hint … no one.

    The only way you could MAYBE make it happen would be like this:
    1. Hope the team picking first takes Oden.
    2. Hope the team picking second desperately needs a center and not a small forward (like Memphis).
    3. Trade Lamar Odom for a pick in the #3-6 range (like to Seattle or Portland).
    4. Offer the #3-6 pick, Bynum and a future pick for the #2.

    That’s the only conceivable way to make it happen, and even then there would be many obstacles (what contracts do you take back for Odom?; who wants to hand the Lakers another superstar?; etc.). It would be about a million-to-one shot.

  47. The real issue with the Lakers is the Lack of veterans that are able to step up their games in playoff situation. The Lakers have a Veteran Kobe Bryant. Forget Bynum, Forget Kwame, Forget all of those young guys. Pick up as many good contributing veterans as possible. And I’m not talking about washed up stars. I’m talking about guys that have been good at being role players for their entire careers. Guys that can take a step behind Kobe, but yet not be afraid to hit a jumper when they are open. The Lakers don’t have any players like that. I swear, players like Fox, Fisher, and Horry from a few years ago would make such a difference on this team. Those guys knew their roles, yet weren’t afraid to step up and hit an open jumper or hit a big shot. Tell me: What guy on this team can hit a three point shot consistently. The triangle offense almost requires it, yet the Lakers don’t have one reliable three point shooter at the wing positions. Kobe drove and kicked about 5 or 6 times to open shooters in the first half, yet almost every single one was a miss. With a player like Kobe, it’s so simple. Surround him with guys that hustle and can hit and open shot. Kobe is going to get double and tripple teamed. He just needs guys around him that can step on and nail open shots. Because with him on the floor, players are bound to be WIDE OPEN. Beyond his stars, Phil Jackson has always had playoff tested veterans at his disposal. This Laker team (other than an injured/washed up Aaron Mckie) doesn’t have one. No team with at least four or five playoff tested vets would have EVER lost as badly as the Lakers did. In the off-season, the Lakers are really going to have to look into surrounding Kobe with older players. I don’t know how good their European scouting is (must not be that good: See Sasha and Slava), but if they follow the Toronto Raptors blue print, it’s obvious that their are older players over there that are ready to come over and contribute. Look how well Anthony Parker and Garbajosa have done this year. I don’t know. This is just frustrating. I can take a loss, but not a loss where the team seemingly gives up. Where’s your pride at Lakers?

  48. Jones, I think Mo Evans and VladRad could be those kind of veteran guys. But point well said.

  49. Jones, I couldn’t possibly agree with you more. I’ve been thinking this exact same thing for quite some time. We need a veteran ballhandler. We need a veteran forward/center who knows how to play D (PJ Brown anyone?). Guys who hustle and play with intensity. I think we’re seeing that Kobe is not a leader and Phil is not a teacher. The ETA for molding this team into a contender is +-3 years. By then, Kobe will be slowing down. We need vets and we need them now.

  50. I remember Kupchak saying something about trading our 2nd rounders for valuable veterans. Good idea if you ask me.

    Players that interest me this offseason are PJ Brown, Quinton Ross, Charlie Bell, Jannero Pargo, Grant Hill, Mo Pete, Calvin Booth, and Danny Fortson.

    Not that we can afford them…

  51. Besides the obvious, of course.

  52. warren (philippines) April 25, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Enough with the trade talk I know, but just out of curiosity, getting Kevin Durant is actually possible but plausible, I doubt.

    This is a bit lesser complicated than what was suggested and it might work.

    Assumption #
    1. Memphis takes ODEN as #1 (25%) pretty good chance
    2. Boston takes DURANT as #2 (19.9%) best chance at #2

    then, Boston trades Ratliff and Rajon Rondo for Lamar Odom + LA’s 19th pick.
    Not to mention that Pierce had always asked for a veteran to help this team. What better guy than Odom. Boston and LA will now look like this :
    West, Pierce, Szczerbiak, Odom, Jefferson.
    Farmar, Kobe, Durant, Kwame, Bynum.

    pretty cool huh? I dont really approve but it intrigues me. my apologies to Paul. :-)

  53. warren (philippines) April 25, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    Oh and just to add, LA might consider the deal. Ratliff can be unloaded next year and insurance pays for his salary this year. Cool! But I certainly doubt if Boston takes this one. I doubt man. With Kwame and Ratliff out, It unloads 21M of salary. Plus you get Rajon Rondo as back up PG for Farmar.

  54. 47. The problem, Jones, is that I don’t know if Mitch sees things the same way. Check out this excerpt from a recent TJ Simers column in the Times:

    —MITCH KUPCHAK was a guest on the father/daughter morning radio show on 570 the other day with Roggin, and he sounded like a man who is pretty pleased with the Lakers roster. That might come as somewhat of a surprise to Lakers fans, who think the team needs a lot more to compete for an NBA title.

    “If we had everyone healthy all year, we could’ve gotten to 50-plus wins and been one of the top six teams in the NBA,” Kupchak said. “There were 18 to 19 teams with worse records and we’re almost in the top 10 — and that’s playing as poorly as we did the last couple of months.

    “I don’t think we have to break this team up. I can see tweaking the roster with a bench player, one player who perhaps starts, a starter to get us over the hump and the top four teams [out there].”—

    Here’s the link if you want to read the whole thing:
    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-simers22apr22,1,5280003.column?page=2&coll=la-headlines-sports-nba-lakers&ctrack=1&cset=true

    Add to that statements Jimmy Buss has made this season about thinking this team could contend for the title this year.

    I’m starting to wonder if there might not be a bit of a power struggle going on between Mitch & Phil. Mitch has basically been saying, if Garnett becomes available we’ll try to get him, but otherwise we’re happy with where we’re at and we think the current roster can contend. Meanwhile Phil is making statements about needing to shake things up and upgrade the roster this summer.

    This goes back to two years ago when Phil wanted to trade up in the draft to get Deron Williams, or at least draft someone who could contribute right away, but Mitch and Jimmy wanted to take Bynum and groom him as their center of the future.

    Phil seems to understand that teaching and molding a young team is not his strong suit. But I wonder if Mitch and Jimmy understand that also.

  55. I heard Jim Buss on the Loose Cannons show a week or two ago and the hosts asked him, “What are you going to do to convince Phil Jackson to sign an extension?” and Buss’ answer was “We’re gonna try and make it so that he doesn’t have a choice, we’ll put the kind of team around him to make sure he can not leave”.

    Sounded a little bit to me like he was leaning more towards breaking up the team if we really have to, to please both Phil and Kobe.

  56. I certainly hope so. Kobe’s been making comments recently too about needing to upgrade the team immediately, get back to that elite level ASAP. I think that ultimately his opinion will carry the most weight. There are other coaches capable of leading the team to a title, but there’s only one Kobe.

  57. Here is the latest on Lakers preparing for tomorrow’s game .. :-( :

    – The mood of the team isn’t good. Kobe Bryant put up a good front, and as a team leader that’s absolutely what he should be doing, but Phil Jackson flat-out said that the team’s mental state was not good today. Whether they can recapture that before tomorrow night is anyone’s guess.

    – There is still some mild pain in Kobe’s ankle, but he will play. He didn’t participate in the full-squad scrimmage, and neither did Odom, Brown or Walton

  58. It’s tough to develop any kind of rhythm out there when 4 of your starters can’t even practice, much less practice at the speed at which Phoenix plays.

    I hope it’s just a matter of getting guys healthy next year, but I also agree with JONESONTHENBA that Lamar and Luke cannot yet provide the veteran leadership that Kobe needs at times.

    One bench player that really needs to step up is Cook. As far as we know, he’s not playing hurt like Mo and Vlad. He’s earning good money to hit the open shots when Kobe’s double/triple-teamed, and he’s not doing it so far.

  59. warren (philippines) April 25, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    As much as PJ wants to downplay the Lakers state, I’m thinking they are prepared for G3. If thats the only win they might get from this series I think they’ll take it. Part of the plan is to have Phoenix over-confident in themselves. This then of course, depends on how the players respond to the challenge now upon them. The plan could either Work or it could backfire.

    Can anyone notice how game2 was played? You know the mood by how aggressive Kobe is with asking for the ball and jacking them up. He only took 13 shots as supposed to the usual 20+. He rested in the Third quarter for important stretches and PJ of all knows a 21 point Halftime lead is not insurmountible.

    What I saw was different. Cook was in, Sasha, Evans, Odom and Bynum. Yes your junk 5 aside from LO. The plan was to get LO going. Try if Cookie has found his sweet spot and if Sasha, knowing what he can’t do, can defend Barbosa even for a little whiles stretch. It was also trying to get the most of an already blown out game by giving shots to guys like Mo Evans who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to.

    If I was trying to win, Kobe would have used that time to get Hot. We all know that 20pts per quarter isn’t difficult for this man. But instead, It was for playoff experience. For the young guys to have a taste of what was to come and what they will never evre feel again if they don’t play hard enough.

    Andrew Bynum was in for quite awhile. He was trying to be acclimated with the “feel” of a playoff game that is, at this point, larger than he could fathom.

    Maybe this was one side of Game 2 some of you didn’t see.
    The “hidden-agenda” of the Zen Master.

  60. Forgot to add that Cook’s contract is also partly the source of Smush Parker’s (misguided) pouting, so he’s a -1.5 and not just a -1 right now. :-)

    Maybe some good old fashioned home courtin’ can give our bench a boost.

  61. I’m not talking about major changes. I’m just talking about having some veteran role players coming off of the bench. Of course if Garnett become available you go for him. But I do think injuries and inconsistent point guard play is what hurt this team. Obviously with Mihm, Kwame, Lamar, and Luke at full strength they would be much better. But they probably be struggling come playoff time. Phil Jackson teams have always been laced with veteran role players, had tons of three point shooters, and been agressive on defense (usually in the form of an incredible press). This team has none of that. It’s obvious that Phil needs those things to be successful.

  62. (60) Nate,

    Having said that, you are pointing to an obvious schism within the Laker organization : build for the future-vs. win with Kobe now. Phil did such a good job with the team last year, that they felt that they could have their cake and eat it too. This year, the contradictions have been exposed, and each decision to defer on a possible trade gets a little harder to justify.

    To their credit, the Lakers have made few long term commitments. They have tradeable players. The question is, are they ready to go all out to win next year?

    I’m certain that Phil and Kobe are.

    I don’ think that the organization as a whole is as sure as you are what that means.

  63. Replacement for Smush : Sarunas Jasikevicius. This guy has guts, heart (is that redundant?), experience dominating the competition in Europe, Olympic experience torching the US team, a couple years of experience here in the NBA (but has yet to really get his feet wet).

    I’m not sure what the Warriors would be asking, but they have a logjam of Guards and Guard/Forwards. I would say go after Jason Richardson, but the cost would probably be too much, and he may be damaged goods, anyhow.

    The Warriors are thin up front, and I think they still owe Jasikevicius a few years on his deal. I would swap Kwame or whoever possible (excluding Odom/Kobe/Bynum/Walton, but including a pick if necessary).

    Steve Blake has been talked about, but I think Jasikevicius is better. He must be in Don Nelson’s doghouse, or Nellie must just not have a need for him right now. Baron Davis AND Stephen Jackson were ejected last night and Jasikevicius still only played 2 minutes!

    I think if the Lakers were to get him, and start him for a season at the point, without making any more changes, they would win at least 8 more games next year. Not a quantum leap, but maybe enough to contend for the 6th-5th seed (higher with any improvement from Bynum).

  64. (60) Nate,

    Further thought. I can think of three role players that are in the playoffs for other teams that could be helping the Lakers. One is a point guard for the Utah Jazz–Derek Fisher. He left the Lakers as a free agent. Another is Devean George of the Dallas Mavericks. He left as a free agent. Another is Robert Horry of the San Antonio Spurs. In their “roles” we’ve got Shammond, Smush, and Sasha for Fisher (would you make the trade?). We;ve got Mo Evans for Devean George. Maybe pretty even. We’ve got VladRad or Cook (take your pick) for Horry.

    I think that you are (correctly) asking for the type of players that the Lakers deliberately let go with no compensation.

    It would appear that you are arguing that if we had a 2nd unit that was Fisher, Kobe, Devean, Horry, and Turiaf, they would have done better than Kobe, Smush (or Sasha/Shammond), Mo Evans, Cook, and Bynum vs. Phoenix.

    Any one pick the current “youth movement” Lakers over the old timers?

    I bet the dollars are about the same.

    Although fanciful, it may illustrate the thinking that has gotten us where we are.

  65. Whoops–(60) became (61).

  66. Have we come to the point where we will acknowledge that Lamar isn’t what this team needs? At least with his mental state?

    I think that is the most obvious lesson, Lamar is no Pippen, no second option.

  67. warren (philippines) April 26, 2007 at 9:23 am

    I have. Lamar is good, he can be great. But he refuses to be like KG. They have the same length, he’s even have a better dribble. His shot looks good but there’s something to him that just doesn’t seem to fit.

    Jermaine is my #1 priority now. And it seems Indy is interested in a deal involving him too. Looks to me like JO is gonna be a better fit with the system. Defensively, JO is a lot superior too. A second option with interior defense. If we get him, PG is the next move. I’m thinking LO + Vlade for JO. Or if Bynum is included, get Diogu from Indy.

    Then perhaps we can tinker a little like Cook and Sasha for Mike James. Or Steve Blake. Out.

  68. Boy, Warren…read the comments above. no one is interested in trade speculations that have nothing to be based on. if kupchak or a fellow GM begins the rumor mill, please jump on board. you have a new trade scenario everyday, and as a hard-core fan of this site, you are making the comment sections insufferable.

    your in-game notes are solid and your heart is in the right place, for sure. but this is not a video game. keep it based on what we hear from laker mgmt right now.

  69. Ummm Lamar is a Shawn Marion type player for this team. He might not ever be a first or second option scorer. But the little things he does for this team can’t be replaced. He rebounds, defends, assists and is our second best scorer. The Lakers need a guy with a scorers mentality, preferably a shooter to surround Kobe with. Imagine if Kobe had a Kapono or a Bell or any of the top three point shooters in the league that he could kick out to and know that they were going to come through most of the time. Even a Rashard Lewis/Ray Allen type (although they are less feasible). This Laker team needs veteran leadership, development of their big men, outside shooting, and development of Farmar or another point guard,

  70. Kobe finishes third in MVP voting, according to GMs

    Kobe Bryant finished a distant third behind Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki and Phoenix’ Steve Nash in MVP voting in a survery of NBA general managers posted on nba.com today.

    Before you get all riled up, remember the real MVP award is voted on by the media, the results of which have not been announced yet. But according to the results of NBA.com’s survey, Nowitzki received 17 first-place votes and 8 second-place votes for a total of 109 points. Nash finished second with 82 points and Kobe Bryant finished third with 21 points. 25 of the leagues 30 general managers participated in the survey. Kobe only got one first place vote.

  71. I just think that LO and Kobe have bad chemistry on the court. The Lakers organization has little concept of chemistry with this team. Examples:

    - Vlade Radmonovic and Brian Cook are the same exact player. Oversized SF’s who are slow and can hit outside shots.

    - Lamar and Kobe are placed in the same role. They are told to be shot creators. When you have two guys playing the same role, it takes away from the prized triangle offense.

    - We have two “project” centers. Two guys with potential, but no proven talent. We can’t have two guys at such an important position that are learning while playing. Especially in the playoffs. You have to have an older guy in there that can help teach the younger guy how to play. Choose one of these guys, and bring in someone with some experience.

    - Leadership at the PG position. The biggest leader out there is a rookie (Farmar). Fisher had Brian Shaw and Ron Harper to help him learn and win games. Where is the veteran help for Farmar? Smush? It sure isn’t Mckie.

    Lots of problems here. Plenty of solutions in the offseason. And I’m really concerned about Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak making these decisions.