Four Reasons The Season Went Wrong

Darius Soriano —  May 10, 2011

It’s been nearly three days since the Lakers’ season ended. As the smoke clears from that final loss, it’s now becoming easier to see what went wrong in a season where expectations for more were so prevalent. Looking only at the loss to the Mavericks only does us so much good. They may have delivered the final death blow, but the autopsy shows us many other contributing factors to the Lakers’ demise.

So, we look back at a season gone wrong, trying to pinpoint what exactly happened. Below are my 4 biggest factors in the Lakers failure to remain on top.

1). The Lakers template for winning became inverted…again. In 2008 the Lakers rode a dominant offense and an above average defense to a Finals appearance, ultimately losing to the Celtics. In 2009 and 2010, the Lakers inverted their philosophy to becoming a much better defensive team with their offense slightly regressing. In those two seasons they ranked in the top 5 of defensive efficiency for most of the year and rode their ability to get stops to back to back championships. Game 7’s slugfest against Boston will always be cited as a game in which the Lakers’ offense was awful (save for their ability to grab their own misses) but what is consistently overlooked is how the C’s offense was just as bad. The Lakers got the key stops that night. This year, that template inverted another time. Besides their fantastic push after the all star break where they saw their defensive efficiency jump from 10th to 6th in a month long push, the Lakers played only above average defense while their offense (ranked in the top 5 for nearly the entire season) carried them to wins. Whether this shift was a point of emphasis amongst the coaches and players or not is irrelevant. What matters is that the Lakers only temporarily found their stride on defense and that only occurred after a “shift” in scheme. Sadly, that shift didn’t hold up through the playoffs and the Lakers found themselves scrambling on that side of the ball to the point that the Mavs set an all time record in made three pointers in the last basketball this team played.

2). Call it fatigue, lack of hunger, complacency, inconsistent focus or any other adjective you’d like but the Lakers simply couldn’t summon their best ball consistently enough. After coming off an epic game 7 the previous season, maybe the 82 game campaign didn’t inspire the same type of devotion. Maybe after playing 300 games over the previous three seasons finally caught up to the core of this team. However it’s explained, looking back at this year it’s now clear that this team had an inability to consistently meet the challenge of their foes. Phil Jackson described it as enduring nightly assaults year after year and I think that aptly describes the process of trying to repeat as champion. While throughout the year they put together enough wins to quiet the critics and convince their believers that they’d put together another run like the year previous, that proved to be untrue. This team simply didn’t have enough in the tank, mentally or physically, to endure another 20-something game second season. It finally all caught up to them.

3). The wrong injuries at the wrong times truly hurt this team. Andrew Bynum missed 24 games to start the regular season after recovering from his knee summer knee surgery. That, in and of itself, isn’t as big a deal as the Lakers have had to deal with missing Bynum in the past. However, when combined with Theo Ratliff (signed in the off-season to be the 4th big man) also going down with a knee injury the Lakers suddenly found themselves without adequate big man depth. This ended up pushing Pau Gasol into unsustainable minute allocations and leading to him getting worn down. His December and January swoon came after a November that saw him average 40 minute a game, including 7 of the 15 contests where he played 44 minutes or more. And while Pau bounced back to more normal level of production, he never truly regained the form that saw him mentioned among MVP candidates early in the season.

Kobe’s knee and ankle issues also plagued him nearly the entire year. At the start of the season, he was bombarded by questions about the status of his surgically repaired knee as keen observers could tell that it was hampering him – especially on defense. As his knee strengthened it became less of an issue accept in the fact that he and Phil put together a plan that kept him out of most practices in order to keep the wear and tear down over the course of a long season. Knowing how much practice time means to Kobe and Phil in their philosophies related to building chemistry and reinforcing good habits, this lack of shared court time surely contributed to the results this year. When you add in Kobe’s horrific ankle injury – one that I still can’t believe he was able to play through – and Barnes’ knee injury that cost him 28 games and his explosiveness on both sides of the ball when he did return, you have a mix of minor injuries that just piled up for this team. Obviously you build depth to overcome these things (as the Lakers did with Odom, Artest, and Shannon Brown all filling for their mates to help compensate) but in the end, the effect the injuries had were real.

4). The lack of dependable outside shooting finally did this team in. In the ’09 and ’10 championship seasons and coming into this season, the Lakers lack of shooting was thought to be a major issue with this team. In the years that the Lakers did bring home the title, enough players stepped up their shooting to the point that it became a strength of the team. Be it Ariza and Odom in ’09 or Fisher and Artest last year, the Lakers hit enough shots to win. This year, however, that didn’t happen. At least not for sustained periods. Sure, at the beginning of the season Shannon Brown, Steve Blake, and Lamar Odom hit their 3 point shots at an amazing rate. But while Odom kept his shooting up above his career norm for the entire season, everyone else regressed. Brown’s ability to hit the open shot deteriorated to the point that you could visibly see his second guessing when open jumpers became available. Steve Blake’s aggression never caught up to his ability to actually hit the shot and then a slump took over him as well. Fisher, normally old reliable, hit a respectable 39.6% of his threes on the year but went cold in the post-season. And Kobe shot a very poor 32% from deep but did so on over 4 attempts per game. As the Lakers tossed up misses, their big men felt the pressure of having to convert shots inside with perimeter defenders sitting in their laps. By the time the Dallas series ended, you’d often see 5 Maverick defenders within a step of the paint, ready to double team big men and close off angles for offensive rebounds. Without the shooting to loosen up the D, both in the playoffs and in the regular season, the Lakers became overly reliant on mid-range jumpers and post players that became worn down as the year progressed. That’s not a winning formula.

In the end, I’m sure many will come up with other reasons for the Lakers demise. Maybe for you it was the off-season signings or the inability to run the Triangle; the lack of athleticism or an over reliance of Kobe to be the only wing player that could create his own shot. I’m sure all of those played a part – big and small – in what we saw this season. But I still believe that the Lakers had a team capable of winning but didn’t due to the reasons above. Every season has its ups and downs and its obstacles to winning. It just so happens that the Lakers couldn’t overcome them this year.

Darius Soriano

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48 responses to Four Reasons The Season Went Wrong

  1. While it’s more exciting to blame off-the-court intrigue and advocate for demolishing this team, I appreciate (and agree with) Darius’ and Zephid’s analyses (as well as the K bros at Land-o-Lakers).

    The Lakers still have the most talent and the right pieces (when executing) to beat any team in the league, next year and going forward. We act like winning the uberdeep Western Conference four years in a row was an afterthought.

    The Lakers showed they’re human this season–and that they need some time to refocus (any wonder that their best run of the season followed the All-Star break?). Let us pray the Lakers’ front office is less reactionary than its fanbase.

  2. Good analysis, as always. I can’t believe the season is over. The universe just doesn’t seem right.

    Anyways, what can we expect when the Rifleman, Chuck Person was in charge of our defense? I seem to remember him as a one-dimensional offensive player. Apparently he didn’t help as a shooting coach either…

    JLV

  3. Scoop: The REAL Reason for Pau Gasol’s Poor Performance in the Playoffs

    Check it out:

    http://offbeatnbablog.blogspot.com/2011/05/real-reason-for-pau-gasols-poor.html

    FYI The article was written in jest, so please don’t take it seriously!!!

  4. In Walton’s exit interview he made a very salient point, though with an error:

    “The first thing that came to me when I heard Magic [Johnson] talking about blowing up the team. They won in ’85, lost in the Western Conference in ’86, and then kicked butt again in ’87 and ’88 and won more titles. So, I don’t really see how it’s any different from that, other than we’ve been there three straight years right now.”

    It’s a great point, especially when you consider that the difference isn’t that the Lakers are coming off of three straight Finals, it’s that the Lakers in the ’86 were coming off of FOUR straight Finals appearances. The team didn’t need to get blown up then – so I agree with Luke that it seems odd that Magic thinks it needs to get blown up now.

  5. Obviously their bench was an issue but for me once the Lakers couldn’t make Dallas pay for not chasing 3 point shooters off the line that was the dagger for this team. The court in essense shrunk for the Lakers in this series and generally throughout the year.

    The lakers need a sharpshooter (preferably who can defend and play point) even if they have to give up on of their big men.

  6. Also, I neglected to mention that Darius’ analysis – as is to be expected – is spot-on.

    All of the above contributed. The injuries, the mental fatigue from 3 years going to the Finals and a very emotional Game 7, the lack of cohesion built in practice, it led to a team-wide regression to mid-2008 levels of play.

    The great thing is that embarrassments like this sweep bring clarity – not just to the management but to the players. Suddenly they’re hungrier. I think that they will come out swinging next season.

  7. Reason # 2 is on point, and is the primary reason. A summer off, a shortened season via lockout , and a new PG should do the trick.

  8. In my opinion, another large domino that fell as part of the injuries was the Sasha trade for Joe Smith. Theo being hurt meant those heavy minutes for Pau. Him being worn down so early I think forced Mitch’s hand a bit more in making the trade.

    Sasha was going to go because of his history. But perhaps Mitch could have held on to him closer to the trading deadline and gotten a touch more value. Maybe another rough hidden gem wing/guard that could have helped when Barnes went down. But with Theo being out, Mitch was hamstrung to get a serviceable big man. As it turned out Theo never played and Joe barely played.

  9. I don’t think laker fans have too much to worry about. They still has a world of talent and enough assets to go out and correct the problems that cost them the title this year.

    Replacing Phil, well, that’s something else.

    http://sonofsambowie.blogspot.com/2011/05/phil.html

  10. Darius,

    Excellent analysis. In point 3, second paragraph, did you mean “except” instead of “accept”?

  11. As reported on ESPN, Big Drew suspended 5 games for the Flagrant Foul on JJ Barrea.

    Seems fair enough. Surprised it wasn’t longer.

  12. kehntangibles May 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Impromptu history lesson that no one asked for!

    In 1986, the Lakers were upset by the Rockets in a series that marked Akeem Olajuwon’s coming out party. (Wilt Chamberlain infamously wondered why couldn’t Kareem get as many rebounds as Spud Webb, after a 7(?) rebound game by the diminuitive Hawk guard) Houston’s Twin Towers made life generally miserable for Kareem and the Laker perimeter players were never able to make the Rockets pay. As conclusive proof that 1986 was not the Laker’s year, it was one of the few times that James Worthy’s playoff FG% and points/game did NOT exceed his regular season averages.

    The 1986 series is perhaps best remembered for the off-balance Sampson shot that ended it, but this was a five game series; it was unlikely to go past six. I was a seventh-grader in Cleveland at the time and still the local sports columnist’s pithy dismissal of the Lakers as “an overrated fivesome with an ostentatious point guard, an erratic shooting guard, a one-dimensional small forward, a non-scoring power forward and an aging center.” – a sentiment that captured much of the conventional wisdom at the time. Four straight Finals appearances had taken their toll. (This recurring theme was something that Laker fans would revisit with more finality in 1990, after a five-game loss to Phoenix where Pat Riley’s relentless practices had finally broken the team, and he left for the greener pastures and brick-lined hardwood of New York.)

    The immediate aftermath of the 1986 faceplant saw rampant trade speculation – mostly involving Mark Aguirre-for-James Worthy rumours. While it would’ve given the Lakers an unprecedented 2 players with their own Converse Weapon sneaker, the best deal turned out to be the one that they didn’t make. The rest, as they say, is history, as Riley turned over the reins to Magic, and started AC Green over Rambis The 87 edition of the Lakers went on to be the most dominant team of the Magic era, and there isn’t a single Laker fan alive today who wishes they’d made the Aguirre trade.

    All that said, there’s another footnote about that 1987 squad that is an interesting parallel to the Phil/Kobe/Pau years. The Lakers acquired Mychal Thompson before the ’87 season’s trade deadline. A capable big in his own right, Thompson gave the Lakers a total of four overall-#1 picks, as well as a backup 4/5 who was as good as anyone else at defending Kevin McHale. Boston complained bitterly about the lopsided nature of the trade (the Lakers traded away two stiffs and some cash), with an alacrity that matched Gregg Popovich’s reaction to the 2008 Gasol trade. Fittingly enough, Thompson was acquired from the Spurs.

  13. Well, my initial reaction was much the same as everyone elses. In retrospect it think the Lakers peaked too early. Last year the peaked during the playoffs. This year the post All Star run took too much out of the team. They just didnt have time to get their second wind. The teams that are winning are peaking. There are many options out there but in truth there is nothing much for the Lakers to do until the new CBA is signed but be that as it may, that wont matter either. Next february we will all have a better idea of where this team is and what is available to them. It is then that we have a chance to evaluate a Bynum for D12 trade, or a Pau + whatever for CP3. Personally those are the only moves i would make aside from signing role players. Man could you imagine Tony Allen on the Lakers? So let’s celebrate a great run by a great team. Phil thank you. I have followed you since you were a Knick and thank you for the championships the joy you have given all of us. Be well Zen Master and be loved by us all.

    As far as the next coach, Im betting that kahn lets Rambis go in minny and i think he would be the best option for the lakers.

    Anyway FB&G thank you for this forum its been a joy to exchange ideas and thought with you all. So lets reflect on what every other franchise wishes it had. Our Lakers. Peace

  14. Bynum seems to be expecting himself to do more next year. Is Kobe going to accept the fact that he is not as dominant as he used to be and let others do more? Especially in the 4th quarter

  15. One aspect that I’ve watched develop during these playoffs is that all of the remaining teams have players that were previously ‘unsung’, making contributions to their team:
    Teague for Atlanta.
    Anthony for Miami.
    Cook for OKC.
    To name a few.

    The Lakers have two rookies that we were giddy over before the season started:
    Devin Ebanks
    Derrick Caracter

    We knew that their chances of contributing on a continuous basis were minimal due to PJ’s disdain for rookies. If there were one flaw in PJ’s coaching philosophy, it has to be his unwillingness to play and develop the rookies. This aspect of PJ’s coaching style is at least a decade behind current times. Rookies of this era, are not rookies from times past. Today’s rookies have logged many minutes on a basketball game by virtue of their traveling teams. Thus, today’s rookies adapt their skills to game situations more readily.

    The Lakers must develop their rookies at a quicker pace than was utilized during Sasha’s tenure as a Laker. Players must be given an opportunity to develop quickly and mesh with the Lakers style of play, or be relegated as trade bait, swiftly and succinctly. No seven year time frame to become consistent, to only realize in the 6th year that said player will never be what you envisioned them to be when they were drafted.

    Either unleash Devin and Caracter or use them to acquire athletic 3pt shooters and a starting point guard!

  16. In a small quibble, I would say that number two on the list should be number one, in that number one flows from number two. This team is skilled enough offensively to be atop ten offense on talent alone, whereas defense is can only be good with enough energy and desire. Without the desire, we get the late rotations, screens not fought through, late close-outs, etc., that doomed us.

    12) The one thing about this analogy that scares me is that the core of it was the passing of the torch from Kareem to Magic as the leader. That is…ahem…unlikely to happen next year. In part, it’s a problem of timing. It will not be obvious that Kobe is no longer the best player, or number one option by the start of next season, or probably even the one after that (particularly to Kobe himself), so any rejuvenation will have to come from within the current hierarchy. That, it seems to me, will be more difficult than the task in ’86, which had the advantage of being, basically, “Kareem’s getting old – lets unleash the full powers of Magic and Worthy”

  17. MAN UP LAKERLAND!!!

    This is not the end of the world! We are the LAKERS and we are the best franchise in basketball.

    First, we need to redo the bench. We really got nothing from them all year. LO was the bench period. Shannon Brown regressed and Barnes/Blake were overrated. Getting a bench that actually produces means more titles for this franchise.

    Second, Who is the TOP GUN on this team? This is the biggest issue going forward. Kobe is the man and still a great player but he is not young anymore. The wear on the body is starting to show. Bynum maybe if he keeps developing but will he be injury prone forever? Gasol? Err, no srry! Very Good player but he has regressed…I question his desire going forward.

    (edited for trade speculation.)

    Young stud point guard….when is the last time this franchise has had one? Been awhile hasn’t it…I bet Kobe is sick of chasing these guys around and we know Fisher can’t do it…get one now Mitch!!!

    Knockdown Shooter…we don’t have any need a couple period.

    Fix it Mitch…Fix it Now! Still got a great core just need some fixing up.

  18. The team should not be “blown up” However, in a different world we would be able to acquire a shooter and a starting point guard without trading away one of our bigs. In the real world, I don’t see how that’s going to happen.

  19. Ken from Newport May 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    My reason are a bit different.
    1-’our starting point guard was last in the NBA
    Starters in shooting, ppg and assists. The back up was even worse. Add that the Lakers played 5 on 4 on defense.
    2-Ron Artest played 90 games. 80 of them bad. When your starting small forward can’t shoot, dribble or rebound you have a problem
    3-Mitch down graded the bench. Multi-year deals to Blake and Walton were shameful and allowing back up bigs Benga and Powell to leave and be replaced by Smith and Ratliff both on social security was even more shamefull.
    4-We lost our good luck charm. SASHA!

  20. I have heard several comments around that we should be looking at CP3. Two things to consider:
    1) Unless we are going to change our entire offensive system and personnel CP3 would not fit on our team.
    2) His knee is very suspect (bone-on-bone???) and I would much rather deal for a Deron Williams than a CP3 for the team we have.

    Anyhow, I really liked your history lesson kehntangibles.

  21. @18. I agree. Deron Williams is much safer bet.

    Personally, I would like to see a complete change to the offensive system. Kobe pick and rolls already seem to work pretty well and the change would probably be a good thing for everyone.

  22. Yeah Dustin I’d like to see the Triangle go as well.

    The folks who can make it work: MJ, PJ, and Tex, are all retired.

    People say the Lakers have personnel who are right for the Triangle. Kobe? Breaks it at every opportunity. Artest? Don’t make me laugh!

  23. kehntangibles May 10, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    @20 – thanks. I think the main thing to take away is that:

    a) yes, overreaction is usually not the best answer. Certainly, something does need to be done, because our personnel as currently constituted is flawed. There is something to be said for breaking some eggs to make an omelette, but let’s not remodel the entire kitchen

    b) your championship window is not infinitely sustainable, for reasons others have eloquently described here. But just because you don’t win ‘em all one year doesn’t mean you won’t win ever again. After the ’86 series, I thought we were doomed to an also-ran status where I watched the evil Celtics repeat again and again. We still had the core of a championship team and we had to re-align it, but it paid off.

    1986 and 2011 are not one-to-one parallel cases, though. I think this current squad has much deeper flaws than the 1986 squad did, chief amongst them being age, and unlike 1987 we’re not on the cusp of anyone’s peak except MAYBE Bynum’s – and Bynum is no Magic or Worthy. So we’ll have to do something, but the pieces are there for a few more title runs and maybe this debacle was the ass-kicking we needed to make those runs.

  24. Warren Wee Lim May 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Darius, you missed out on the 5th and real reason why what happened, happened – Warren should be posting more and blogging more with you guys.

    If only Aaron and Ken could stop “fishing” :D

  25. kehntangibles with a very good write up. Your point that one loss doesn’t mean you blow up a talented core is well made, but as was later noted, the key difference now vs. 1986 is what’s on the horizon.

    As the Lakers now stand, there’s really only one guy on the roster who’s on the upswing, and that’s Bynum. Is wish they currently had a Magic-like talent who’d been holding back until the torch could pass, but that’s just not the case.

    It’s crazy to think that a little more than three years ago — in fall 2007/early 2008 — the Lakers were a rising roster, contending for first place in the West with one of the youngest core groups in the league.

    Turiaf, Bynum, Ariza, Sasha and Farmar were all key, yet very young, players on a team that went to the Finals. Kobe and Odom were in their late 20s prime, as was Pau once he came on board.

    Now, seemingly not that much later on, we’re looking at a supposedly past-its-prime roster.

    There’s no doubt the team needs an infusion of youth at certain spots, but for the most part there’s still some mileage left on most of these guys’ tires. They just need to add the right pieces, and address the glaring issues at point guard.

  26. Gasol Tripping U’All
    ============
    This hurt us more than any single thing. Really when the season started Gasol was a BEEAZT! But, as we know during the playoff run he looked like the Pau Gasol we had the first year. Not ready for the rigors of a serious “NBA Playoff” run.

    Believe it or not this is the number one reason we did not beat Dallas. It costs us in the first series and we were not able to get over it in the second against an “upper echelon” team.

    Funny thing happens with success…it is the distractions. Pau and LO I think were really distracted by this during the year. My point being this was there first Major “Media Year” due to the back to back rings and all that plus big raise in level of play for both. Big adjustment in schedule and ones energy….the personal demands upon ones self become even greater.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/news/story?id=6522942

    Bottom Line is…we are going to be fine!
    The team was just going thru some changes in the dynamics.

    Even tho i said that Pau will not be the man he will still be a hell of a player. I think he showed us that he was not ready to be the #1 but his game will grow and he will bounce back stronger. U try being the man on a team where Kobe is used to being the man. Kobe should have been using his skills to get Gasol easy looks. My point being that it is better for the team to have Kobe & Gasol both take 20 shots than Kobe 30 & Gasol like 10 to 12. I’m sure that Phil was preaching this but Kobe has not come to grips with the fact that this team doesn’t need 30 shots from him to win.

    So, enter the point about Gasol. I’m sure Gasol really was bothered by the shot distribution. But his lament was even greater due to the fact he prolly can’t really tell Kobe jack…well becuz it is Kobe and Kobe Bean Bryant is the “Law” in LakerLand right now. Simply put Pau will have to grow a pair and demand his place at the table.

    Someone (Magic…im thinking) should have pulled Pau aside and said this… You have a chance to become the best European player ever! All you have to do is be a friggin monster this playoff run and get us this title!

    Talent wise Pau is as talented as Dirk … different games but both equally as talented. But one big difference…Dirk knows he is the man the “head honcho” on his team. But Dirk, has no Kobe to deal with either. Pau seemed to be struggling a bit with his transition to “top dog” both on and off the court with an “Giant” of the game.

    My guess is that he will be ready for it the next time around and you will see the Gasol that will pouring in 30 point games during our next Championship run.

  27. Yeah Warren, you are missed for sure, I always enjoy reading what is on your mind, unfortunately some of it does not make it through due to roster changes. Anyway, welcome back, and Darius says there will be a trade thread in the future, so keep all of your thoughts for later.

  28. Renato Afonso May 11, 2011 at 1:42 am

    21. I don’t think that you need to change the system to give Kobe more pick’n rolls. The Lakers have that option built within the offense, specially when the ball switches to the weakside and the big on that side receives the ball in the pinch post. When he gets the ball, he has the option to give it back to Kobe and step out to make the pick.

    If you don’t want the pick’n roll being done with a big, but with the other wing instead, the big can cut to the opposite corner and set the pick inside the paint for the wing coming in the opposing direction. This is a read and react system, and if the pick’n roll is giving us easy points then it’s up to the players to get the ball in the appropriate spot.

  29. I’m not sure Brian Shaw is the answer here. I think this team requires an attitude adjustment – and that change has to come from the top. I believe a new coaching staff may help here.

    I believe that one of the problems this team had was complacency brought on by the comfort level the players had with the coaching staff, which may have contributed to this feeling from the players all season long that “there is nothing wrong” and “we’ll get it together come playoff time”. Shaw played with Kobe and Fish, so there’s a friendship there – and that spells trouble to me.

  30. First of I just wanna say Darius you’ve done a great job all year. It’s been heated at times, its been awesome at times, but overall you do a great job of running this site along with phillip and everyone else. congrats on another great year and keep up the hard work!

    As a life long fan of the Lakers I’m very excited for next year they gave us a hell of a run and while I didn’t want it to end like this I can honestly say we are very spoiled. I honestly can’t blame one player or place the blame solely on the coaching staff or bench, it was a complete meltdown top to bottom and whether it was a long time coming or not I think the reflection and time is great for this team. I still believe we have the best front court in basketball and the best 2 guard in basketball. I think this will have humbled us and we will see a determined team next year.

    On a side note everyone check out the exit interviews on lakers.com I got a lot of closure from them haha as Im sure everyone else will.

    My wishes for next season:

    Kobe becomes a more complete team player. I’ve said this many times on this site it is not kobe’s job to try to be everyone’s therapist and figure out whose ready to go or not that is the coach’s job, I hope that next season he comes in very healthy, focused on being efficient, figuring out ways to get back to the free throw line and back to attackign the rim and choosing his spots , or deeper into the post (maybe play him with the second unit more in the post) and to mostly make the correct basketball decision on a given play. I think he should keep his shot attempts around 20 per game and try to average over 5 assists per game. That is the Kobe we need not 30 shots and 0 assists as in game one. Whether his teammates were ready to go or not there is no excuse for kobe to take 30 shots you win together you lose together and I HATE when people say kobe is not a team player or he doesn’t care about his teammates he just needs to realize they can do more then he allows them to do. Ron Artest said it in his exit interview he felt he could score 30 on peja (maybe not 30 but he wasn’t getting ANY shots and that’s not up to Ron that’s his role). What I am trying to say is we need to have more balanced roles because that is when we are at our best. Even kobe dominating the ball in the last 5 minutes of games is very wrong for the team.

    I also hope our bigs can work on establishing deeper low post position. Phil mentioned that they are allowing defenders to uproot pau and andrew more in the post. We need to adjust to this if it is true. I did think it was weird that our bigs could never establish deep post position and while I despise the way defenses can play basically turning the game into a 3pt contest if that’s the way its gunna be that’s the way we gotta win and adjust.

    In the end I’m proud of this team for what they accomplished I didn’t like how they went out but I can understand it. We will come back stronger next year.

  31. The main problems going forward are 1) Kobe’s health and whether he actually CAN be the man. If he can’t, can he adopt a different role? And can anyone else step up?

    And related to the first 2) are there enough shots to go around? Bynum is young, beastly, and injury prone. He’s already pretty great on offense most of the time. He wants to get the damn ball. Pau is less demanding, but needs the ball to operate. He’s most effective when he gets the ball and can pick apart the offense. Obviously, there’s Kobe.

    That’s a lot of guys who want/need the ball. Solving that won’t be easy.

  32. I also want to say this for all you very ignorant laker fans who keep calling for fish’s head and keep saying that we don’t have a solid pg situation. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! this team doesn’t need a conventional pg we have the best front court and best 2 guard in the league. we just won 2 rings with fisher… you guys are unbelievable. why don’t we just get chris paul, lebron james, dwight howard, and kobe and pau. c’mon….. we have a great team we just didn’t have the energy. we went 17-1 post all star break and had every team and every analyst pencilling us in for a 3 peat we just ran out of gas stop predictably overreacting to everything. Our pg’s role is very minimal by design, that’s the point. We want other quick pgs to get into the paint so our bigs can stuff them that is just how our team plays defense. stop looking at everything at such a basic level.

  33. You don’t think every opposing PG getting by Fisher on a nightly basis is a problem? That doesn’t put a ton of pressure on the bigs to challenge shots and stay out of foul trouble? You think at 36, Fisher is still a solid STARTING PG?

  34. Great (but depressing) piece on B.Shaw – http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/columns/story?id=6516923

    Sounds like a real glue guy.. but I’m still not sold on him being able to take a team full of vets and get a ring. How many rookie coaches win a ring? How many do so within two years? Three years? Our window is not wide open, and it’s slowly closing as Kobe continues to get older. We need a proven winner who can handle big egos. I can only think of Pop (probably too ingrained in SA), Rivers (never want to see him coaching the Lakers), and Larry Brown (I don’t think anybody here wants him). The dark horse is Pat Riley – I think he is the most able candidate and should be considered heavily.

  35. there seems to be a core group of fans who still believe there isn’t a team in the League who could beat the Ls 4 out of 7 (well, with maybe one exception). have you been watching these playoffs? there are probly 5 or 6 teams with the personnel, and the energy, who could have eliminated the Ls this year.

    and next year could be even worse.

  36. For outside coaching candidates, I actually like Adelman a lot. His only drawback is age at 66, older than Phil.

    But his offense includes a lot of movement and read/react that has the same core principles as the triangle. It also allows a transition game and not a pure grind. Aesthetically, it’s like a more showy version of the triangle and that would appeal to Buss.

    He’s a proven winner, taking a couple of teams to the Finals, his contenders have lost only to eventual champions. His teams always play hard for him. He can command the respect of players.

    He’s also showed he can coach teams to play hard nosed effective D. In all aspects, it would seem he would present the easiest transition from current scheme and personnel makeup.

    Again, my only worry is his age and how much fire and fuel in the tank he has left for the grind. But if he knows he’s got a ready made team and only a 3 year window, he might get locked in pretty well.

  37. On Lakers.com, I’ve watched most of the exit interviews, but no videos of Kobe, Odom, and Barnes?

    Maybe they’re meeting today.

  38. chris y,
    “We want other quick pgs to get into the paint so our bigs can stuff them that is just how our team plays defense”

    No, they don’t. The defense is designed so that IF the PG gets into the paint, there will be someone there to greet him. They don’t WANT the PGs to zip past the perimeter defense.

  39. I’ve been stewing on the Lakers issues for a few days. As far as what ails the Lakers I think Darius has done an excellent job of laying it out here. Zephid had great points in the last thread as well.

    One thing I wonder about is our Kobe-centric offense. The thing that really jumped out to me about that Dallas series was how much scoring help Dirk had. He did not monopolize the shots. When a team moves the ball effectively and has threats all over the floor defending them is nearly impossible. I would love to see a more equitable Laker offense. Theoretically, the Triangle is supposed to be the perfect offense for utilizing the entire team. For a variety of reasons we just did not see that as much as we needed to this year. That has to change. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing the Triangle ditched.

    The other concern I have is something Andrew spoke on in his exit interview. He mentioned Kobe not practicing with the team for most of the year. That is a red flag. He rightfully pointed out how that affected the team’s on court chemistry. You can’t have a player as important as Kobe sitting out practices. If Kobe’s body can’t stand the rigors of the NBA games plus practice sessions then maybe he needs to consider calling it a career. With new role players (and maybe a new system) sure to arrive this off season Kobe needs to be able to get out there and practice consistently.

    I guess I wrote all that just to say the first question the Lakers need to ask it what can they get from Kobe going forward. He is not the player he was even two years ago. Can he continue to function effectively as a number one scoring option? Can he still be counted on to consistently stay in front of dynamic wing players? Does he need to be moved to small forward and play more on the block? Would he better in a system that plays him off the ball more a la Ray Allen? Determining Kobe’s role going forward is the first step in getting this team back to the Finals.

  40. @ 37

    Adelman would be my favorite if I had a say in the next Lakers coach as well. His teams always come out and compete. It will be nice to see the Lakers head coach forcing motivation during the game rather than waiting for it to occur intrinsically.

  41. Buzz Lightyear May 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    A few things to keep in mind in this off-season:

    1) The same Laker team that looked so helpless against Dallas waxed them 110-82 on March 31.

    2) The same Laker team that seemed so mentally weak against Dallas beat the Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 Finals largely on mental toughness.

    3) The Triangle, when run correctly, is a beautiful offense. I remember watching the Bulls in the their first year when Michael Jordan went to play minor-league baseball, and it was some of the finest offensive basketball I’ve ever seen.

    That being said…it may be that the Triangle can’t be successfully run in the NBA anymore. Given injuries, roster turnover, the lack of 4-year college players coming into the league, etc., the Triangle may simply be too complex to be sustainable.

    You need a roster full of smart, dedicated, team-first players to run it correctly, and it seems that most players take at least a year to understand it.

    That strongly limits the kind of players the Lakers can acquire and how successfully anyone who isn’t a perfect fit (Ron Artest, Jordan Farmar, etc.) can play in the offense.

  42. I like Adelman over Shaw too.

    I think your point Kentangibles is a good starting point for discussion, but I feel this team needs new dynamics introduced to it. Now whether that is new bench players, new system or new central figures, I am not sure yet.

  43. @ Chris Y — If you believe any fan is “very ignorant” for suggesting that the Lakers have issues at point guard, there’s really not much anyone can say to you there. But I’ll tear up your argument anyway…

    To your claim that the team doesn’t need a conventional point guard. That’s either A) an assumption that the new coaching staff will continue using the triangle, which no one yet knows or B) a statement that the Lakers can win with average to little production from one position on the floor.

    Go watch the Dallas series again and let us know how that came off.

    It wasn’t just the fact that Fisher and Blake added nothing on the offensive side; it was also the fact that the opponents’ point guards tore the Lakers to shreds.

    With Chris Paul, there’s no shame in that. But to get consistently burned by the ghost of Jason Kidd’s career, or JJ Barea, who looks like a fifth-grader? Even career backup Jarrett Jack went off on L.A. You believe it’s very ignorant to suggest there’s nothing to be worried about there?

    You said the Lakers “just ran out of gas.” Hint: 36-year-olds tend to run out of gas more easily than younger players.

    Also, the Lakers didn’t just win two rings with Fisher; they were swept out of the second round with Fisher averaging just 8 points per game and Blake averaging just 2.8 points per game.

    Fish’s past successes speak for themselves, but if we’re going to live in the past why not suggest Magic Johnson or Norm Nixon could run the point next season? They won rings in L.A. too. Or is that looking at things from too basic a level?

  44. 44. Chris J. Also, Fisher is probably at the 99th percentile in terms of 36 year old athletes. But you put the top 36 year old against a 23 year old athlete like Derrick Rose, it’s not even a competition.

    For years, and even rightfully so, we have emphasized the intangibles like “veteran leadership,” “presence in the locker room” as being as important as foot speed, etc. But the problem this year is the intangibles failed to produce a tangible success: championship.

    Now we need to shore up the tangibles: athleticism, foot speed, perimeter shooting and defense. But since we do not have the draft picks, we will have to find some players and let them grow (i.e., make mistakes). With our squad the past 3 years, young players had little room to make mistakes and ergo, our current trail is littered with the jettisoned youth (Ariza, Farmar, Sasha, Powell, etc.). I understand some of the young ones chose to play elsewhere, but it’s precisely because of the stifling nature of being on a “no time/room for rooks” team that made them go elsewhere. Time to restock an already plentifully stocked fridge. We have the protein (bigs), but now we need the veggies and fruits (perimeter players) as part of a balanced diet.

  45. @40

    I cannot disagree more…

  46. I put a lot of weight behind #2. Matter of fact, I think there are lessons that we can all learn with what went wrong with the Lakers mentality and attitude:
    http://phpagencyblog.com/2011/05/10/nine-things-we-can-learn-from-the-lakers-being-swept/