Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  December 21, 2011

The epic two-day Lakers preseason schedule commenced Monday evening and concludes tonight. The package is fairly convenient – a mini-hallway series against the Clippers and an ironic way to introduce Chris Paul to Los Angeles. While there’s plenty of sound first impressions, don’t expect much from me. I thought there was some decent flow in the first half, the third quarter was just a mess and the starters came back in the fourth and attempted to restore order. As expected, there’s a fair amount of observation in the press about Mike Brown’s methodology and embryonic relationship with his new group. It’s just one of the storylines that will play out all season long:

Brian Kamenetzky from ESPN’s Land O’Lakers writes about Coach Brown’s willingness to jump on Kobe’s lapses, right off the bat. He also points out that Kobe doesn’t seem to mind.

Brian follows up with a piece about Gilbert Arenas, to which I can only say “just stop that. Right now.”

Mark Medina from the L.A. Times Lakers blog steers the conversation back to terra firma with more Brown and Bryant. The coach took a straight-forward approach with the media, “If I was afraid to coach this team, then I shouldn’t be here. It’s as simple as that.”

Dave McMenamin points out the bright spot of Darius Morris in his McTen piece (and Mike Brown’s “feast or famine” comment was pretty excellent by the way).

Janis Carr & Kevin Ding at the OC Register also cover Brown’s critique of Kobe’s defense, along with the Mamba’s relief to find that he’s not dealing with “a pushover”.

Wondahbap at Silver Screen and Roll went a different route, jumping on back court liabilities – an All-World legend, a 37 year old defensive liability, a current free agent bust, a one-dimensional shooter whose never clocked meaningful minutes for a good team, a 2nd-Round rookie, and three guys who’ll get cut. Ouch!

This links post wouldn’t be complete without some words about the other half of the preseason equation:  Kevin Arnovitz at TrueHoop writes about the oddities of the new Clippers respect and the simple essential ingredient of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin wreaking havoc with the pick and roll.

Tonight could well give us the first game-time appearance of Derek Fisher this season and I just want to voice appreciation for his long hours and unflappable presence during the lockout. It was an untenable position and now he gets to go back into battle, fighting for minutes at what’s certainly the weakest position on the Lakers squad. Get ready for the end of preseason – the Christmas day countdown is now only five days away.

– Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy


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  1. Another good link:

    “Kobe Faces His Toughest Test”


  2. @1 – very nice add, thanks!


  3. Is the link to LA Times blog (Medina) broken for anyone else? The blog is there, I found it the old-fashioned way, but the link for some reason won’t load for me.


  4. Yikes…I can definitely appreciate optism, but Darius’ initial thoughts thread turned fairly delusional.

    Darius…did you really compare the Lakers to the 1999 Spurs?

    Johnson and Claxton so far outclass Fish and Blake it’s almost embarrassing that you even made that comparison.

    MWP and Barnes may be able to mentioned in the same defensive conversation as Bowen, but Bowen was absolutely money at that corner three (Barnes and Artest are a guarenteed clank), but more importantly, Bowen never stepped outside his role…while MWP will freelance with an awful offensive sequence a couple times a game.

    Obviously Duncan and Robinson are better than Gasol and Bynum – but I think you acknowledged that.

    I know it’s just preseason – and the Clippers played like it was Game 7, but the fact remains:

    1) This is an old and/or slow Lakers team that actually managed to get older and slower in the offseason.

    2) Josh McRoberts (a guy the Lakers just signed for the mini-mle) is currently THE FOURTH BEST PLAYER ON THE TEAM.

    3) The fifth best player on the team is Metta World Peace.

    4) Read #3 again.

    5) The third best player on the team, ON AVERAGE, only manages to play 2/3 of any season, and by the way, he’s suspended for the first five games of the season (for you math guys out there, that means he already misses 8% of the season).

    6) The 2007 version of Kobe Bryant can no longer step in and save this team.

    Here’s the scariest part: take a look at the awful 2007 roster and try to make the case that this current Laker roster is better.

    PG – Smush, as bad as he was, would have run circles around Fish and Blake.

    SG – 2007 Kobe would have absolutely TORCHED 2012 Kobe.

    SF – You could actually argue that contract year Luke Walton (who was inexplicably hitting 50% from three with the new ball experiment) was more useful than Barnes or MWP.

    PF – Gasol is better than 2007 Odom

    C – Bynum is better than Kwame, obviously.

    So you could make an argument that that awful, awful 2007 team was better than this current team at 3 of the 5 positions.

    Forget about Monday night’s game: this team is in BIG TROUBLE.


  5. #4 Nice of you to essentially take what I said, manipulate its context, and then try to speak as harshly about the team as possible.

    I was asked if what Mike Brown wants to run on offense is conducive to the personnel currently on the roster. From that perspective, the current roster construction of the Lakers matches up well with what those Spurs put on the floor. I made no quality comparisons outside of Kobe/Ginobili or how Gasol and Bynum approximate Duncan’s role on that team.

    Yet, here you are calling me delusional. Sigh. Maybe it’s best I leave the comments for good.


  6. I’m not sure and not willing to go on record but I may not hate the Gilbert idea. With Brown gone is there anyone in the 2nd unit who can actually score even inefficiently?


  7. RE: 5 – No offense intended, Darius.

    I’m just saying people need to realize this roster is an absolute mess right now. It’s a triangle roster trying to play in a different system.

    Brown’s roster needs hustling, active defenders and guys who can create their own shots.

    Not very many players on the current Laker roster fit either of those descriptions.

    Bill Simmons predicted the Lakers would go 34-32…I don’t think that’s unreasonable. This isn’t a good team anymore.

    By the way, I don’t think the Odom giveaway is as big a deal as people are making it out to be. Odom is set to fall off a cliff this year:

    1) He played well for the first 3/4 of the year, and then tailed off significantly at the end, completely disappearing in the playoffs (as he has done MANY times, by the way).

    2) He is still married to Khloe Kardashian. Last year it didn’t make a difference, but I wonder how his fellow Dallas players are going to feel when she starts spreading gossip in that locker room the way she did with the Laker locker room? It will be interesting when towards the end of next year the Dallas players are going to have the same cold, detached demeanors as the Laker players at the end of last year. Just watch.


  8. maybe the spurs should have won more titles, then they might match up better. Otherwise, they have a long way to go to catch 16 titles….maybe they should be mentioned as a team that has won, but still falls woefully short of the team they don’t like being compared to. Maybe you can compare them to the rockets or pistons….they are more of a comparison.


  9. @3 – thanks for the catch, should be fixed now.


  10. I think the point of the Gilbert concept is not to actually acquire Arenas but to pick up a player who is capable of creating his own shot. Comments from MB indicate that, outside of Kobe, we are lacking in that area. Lamar was capable of this in the past, and his offense will be missed. Perhaps we will see more of Morris early on because of this.


  11. @4 – OK, you sure you really want to bring up Smush? He may have been faster of foot but I would never, ever buy into Smush Parker as a better option than Fish & Blake. Whoh there!


  12. Keith Bogans just got waved by the Bulls. I would prefer him over Gilbert. He can defend and is an average outside shooter.


  13. #4 You say,

    “PG – Smush, as bad as he was, would have run circles around Fish and Blake.”

    Wash your mouth out with soap.

    Dave M–nice update. We need to keep our focus on the facts on the gound–especially when our fellow Laker fans have less than sugarplums in their heads when they think about our new team this year.


  14. Darius,
    I guess the Laker sports landscape is like the political landscape – people on either extreme, but not a peep from anyone in the middle.

    I don’t envy your job…well yes I do – you get an excuse to talk Lakers 24 hours/day.


  15. Love the fact that fans think their knowledge of the league and the value of its players are better than that of the existing GMs. News flash: if you were that brilliant, you’d be a GM of a team. Additionally, let’s not count the Buss family’s money. If they see that saving money (by not using Sasha’s TPE, for example) outweighs bringing in a mediocre player and paying double for them, so be it.

    Re: Gilbert – no thanks. I watched more than a few games on League Pass last year, and it was evident he is done both physically and mentally. He could not create a shot for himself or anybody else. If you don’t believe the eye test, look at his 10.8 PER last season.

    This may be a transition year, but make no mistake – the FO is not just sitting there with their thumbs up their you-know-what. Phone calls are being made, and progress (or lack of) is being monitored. The organization that put together two championship rosters in the last three years deserves a bit more faith.


  16. I guess the Laker sports landscape is like the political landscape – people on either extreme, but not a peep from anyone in the middle.

    The Lakers have very serious roster and cap problems. It’s OK if Darius would rather not talk about them every day, but they do exist, and game planning, attitude, and tactics won’t make them go away.


  17. Clippers may have improved their image with the entrance of Chris Paul, Billups, Jordan and Blake but wait in March, they’ll realize that the team is still owned by Donald Sterling. These names will be used on real estate advertising via charity, is Donald really serious in improving this team or just a bridge towards his other projects.

    Lakers are in a transition and Coach Brown is energized while his star is very cooperative. If there is anything we can ask for this Christmas, it is the tranquility within the team in a pivotal year. What’s going on now at the FO is the free agent famine. It happened in 2005 when Lakers could not land a mediocre star, it’s always being snatched by another team with low salary cap. Mitch is not a good salesman in the open market, however he is a diligent and resourceful salesman in a secretive market. When nobody is aware, Mitch suddenly produces miracles turning Kwame into Gasol; Cook and Evans into Ariza.

    When listening to Mike Brown, he has all the answers to all questions about defense and the Lakers. Obviously, it’s different from ZEN’s coaching style and interviews with less words uttered and answers can be found from the results of the game. I hope Mike Brown will not lose his ingenuity in dealing with the Hollywood media, they are relentless like a paparazzi leeches with continuous inquiry in dissecting on what he said before vs. what happened later. Fans and bloggers in this side of the town are quite different from faithful fans in Cleveland and in San Antonio. Here, they want answers, they want action and they want a winner before clapping their hands. Therefore, having said that be careful of an agreeable Kobe, he can smile and cooperative only up to a certain extent. His sacrifices has to be rewarded with victories to get him on your side. Take a cue from Rudy Tomja., he came to this city excited with so many ideas from his laurels and left the city with so much pain and under severe stress.


  18. I think I lied the comment section better when everyone was more focused on talking about basketball, and less focused on talking about how the ones who disagree with them are delusional, and/or not real fans.

    Nothing against any one person, just a general observation. I’ve been away from here since the playoffs ended last year, and since then, the tone seems to have changed a bit.

    What happened to sitting back and enjoying the journey?


  19. @19, Mimsy, yeah what ever happened to enjoying the journey, I long for those days now it seems like.


  20. What happened to sitting back and enjoying the journey?


    You are free to do that. Others should be free to talk about the team’s very real cap and roster problems, and how those problems affect “the journey.”

    The Lakers are in limbo. Rumors are about that the Nets may get Howard tomorrow, but until that happens, there is a chance he lands here. We still don’t know why the Odom deal was made or what is going to happen with the TPE. Until these questions are answered, we don’t know what kind of
    “journey” we are going to be on. It is understandable that people want to talk about these things, even if Darius and some other people don’t.