Lakers/Warriors: Vintage Kobe Makes An Appearance

Darius Soriano —  January 6, 2012

Boxscore: Lakers 97, Warriors 90
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 105.4, Warriors 97.8
True Shooting%: Lakers 58.2%, Warriors 55.4%

The Good
Kobe. Bean. Bryant.

For all the hand-wringing about Kobe’s shot selection of late (which, to be fair, is both a complicated subject and not off base) it sure is a glorious sight when he has his offensive game going. And, tonight was one of those nights. Kobe had his entire arsenal going, working inside and out in a classic performance that had the Staples Center crowd reviving the MVP chants that were an every game occurrence in season’s past. Kobe worked out of the triple threat, working his defender to the point that he could set up his turnaround jumper. He worked off the ball and got several lay ins off back cuts and hard dives to the hoop. And he found the range on his deep jumper, sinking several long twos to carry the Lakers’ offense for long stretches in the 2nd half. Most importantly though, was that he was able to draw fouls and earn trips to the FT line. He ended up taking 14 freebies (which did include a couple on technical fouls) which allowed him to boost his point total and keep his efficiency up, finishing with 39 points on 28 shots.

Plus, and this can’t be downplayed, he also did an excellent job setting up his teammates tallying 7 assists and several other plays where he made tremendous reads against a defense that started to trap and double team him as the night wore on. On more than one occasion he accepted the double team and hit teammates in the perfect position where they could either take an easy shot for themselves or move the ball on against a rotating defense. His night wasn’t perfect in this regard (he did total 4 turnovers as well) but he did enough to keep the defense off balance and his teammates involved. And on a night where the Lakers’ offense wasn’t close to clicking, his work on that side of the floor was the difference in the game.

The Bad
Not much to really complain about in this game from a Laker standpoint, so I turn to the Warriors and the shooting night of Monta Ellis. With Steph Curry nursing his sore ankle, the Dubs depend on Monta to be their offensive catalyst by pouring in baskets and tonight he simply couldn’t do it. Ellis finished the night with 18 points but needed 20 shots to get there and was only 2-5 from the foul line. Credit Matt Barnes for a lot of Ellis’ struggles, though. Matty pressured and harassed him in every half court set and clearly had Monta frustrated in the 2nd half with his physical D that didn’t draw many whistles from the refs. Barnes effectively chased Ellis around screens and sagged off him enough to help persuade him into taking jumpers. When Ellis did drive, Barnes smartly forced him towards the baseline and to his help and that greatly aided his effort in slowing the explosive Ellis. The night wasn’t all bad for Monta as he did finish with 10 assists by hitting his teammates when the Laker help did come, but if he could have strung more buckets together for himself, this game likely would have been there for the Warriors taking.

The Ugly
The first half of this game certainly qualified as ugly. It was so bad, on twitter I threatened to avoid writing a recap at all if the game didn’t get any better. The teams combined to miss 48 of their 82 shots, including 11 of their combined 13 three point attempts.  They, together, committed 21 turnovers as sloppy passes and botched fast breaks ruled the first 24 minutes. The teams couldn’t even make their FT’s as they only sunk 6 of their 15 attempts from the line as well. But the numbers really don’t even do it justice. Aesthetically the teams looked bad. Golden State was playing fast but out of control. The Lakers looked slow and somewhat disinterested (save for Kobe, Gasol, and Barnes) in doing anything productive on the court. It was just an ugly display of basketball that thankfully got better in the final two quarters.

The Play of the Game
There were several Kobe moments that qualify here but I’m instead going with another Laker that had a good game. And, I’m not just going with a single play, but with a string of plays that were essentially exactly the same. Matt Barnes finished with 16 points on 7-9 shooting and nearly all his field goals were the same exact play: him streaking up the right sideline, making a catch on the run, and laying the ball in for an easy two. There’s nothing flashy about what Barnes did, but his ability to run the floor and finish on the break was vital to the Lakers tonight. His hustle gave the Lakers some easy buckets that they sorely needed while also providing a 3rd scorer to balance Kobe and Gasol’s efforts. So while Kobe had some fantastic turnaround jumpers and Bynum had a nice lob off a sweet Kobe dish and Gasol had a couple of swooping drives, I’m going with Barnes and his totally unspectacular lay ins as the play(s) of the game. They sure did make a difference tonight.

Darius Soriano

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61 responses to Lakers/Warriors: Vintage Kobe Makes An Appearance

  1. Great game by Kobe! Kobe, Bynum, Gasol are as good as any big three out there. But, boy does it drop off from there. Artest is useless. Did the bench score any points tonight? We’re going to be placing blame on one of our big three all season if we don’t do something about the talent level of the rest of the team.

  2. Its not his scoring that’s really impressive about Kobe tonight, but his efficiency in shot selection and dishing out assist. this is what we want from Kobe!

  3. Agreed, the assists by Kobe are necessary on this pg challenged team.

    Matt Barnes, has run the floor each game this season but would not receive the pass. It was so good to see the Lakers advance the ball via a pass. Ebanks, runs the floor as well and is often open but the ball never finds him.

    In order for the Lakers to win games they must utilize every weapon availed to them. Barnes and Ebanks need more playing time to make the half court game more effective. By running the floor and getting the ball, Laker opponents will have to honor the potential for a fast break.

  4. Kobe’s effort tonight was incredible, you easily could have given play of the night to kobe knocking away that pass, tracking it out of bounds, and still hustling upcourt for the score. Inspiring. Other observations:

    - lakers defense was active, but they haven’t gotten to point of defending full 24. Often they cover the initial action well, but have a habit of standing still and watching. Not unusual, especially since bigs are asked to cover a lot of ground.

    - this offense really needs a perimeter creator. Seemed like every set ran through kobe and that’s jarring after watching odom and gasol in the triangle.

    - seriously, why doesn’t kapono take those 3s? Drives me crazy.

    - late in the game after barnes fouled out, brown played matchups and had blake and fish out there together with kobe. Worst small ball lineup ever.

  5. This might be 1 of the best assist seasons for Kobe. Having 14 feet and great 4 hands certainly help.

    I particularly love the rebounding our team did tonight. If the shots don’t fall, don’t give them another one.

  6. 1

    To be fair, Barnes and Murphy had solid games as well, but point taken. It’s looking more and more like those 2 or 3 good early games from Artest were a flash in the pan.

  7. We still need a PG and another back up big for Pau and Andrew. Its good to see that Barnes and Artest had some good games of late so we can use either of them together with one of our SF’s (Luke Walton, Ebanks) for a trade as that no. 3 position is overcrowded for the lakers. We need a PG, another back up big and a 2 guy who can give Kobe some rest.

  8. Don’t forget that we’re missing the athleticism of Josh McBob… he’s been out couple of games and it really affected our game. Murphy can’t be used extensively… but he’s great with some 12 mpg. McBob is our best big off bench and he plays well beside Steve Blake.

    MWP = facepalm. Guy’s lost alot. And its not pounds.

  9. Its bad news that they are already a tired team. When you look at their schedule, it does let up a bit in a couple weeks but they will still be exhausted by the playoffs if they aren’t able to pull of a move for more playmakers and/or a true backup for Kobe. I heard a Scola/Lowry for gasol deal floated which I think would be fantastic but I don’t think Houston would give up an up-and-coming Lowry for an aging Gasol.

  10. Missing McRoberts hustle and athleticism!! Thanks Darius for the write-up!!

  11. Paul L,

    I posted a few threads back about Houston originally agreeing to send Scola, Martin, and Dragic for Gasol in the scuttled Chris Paul deal, wondering if the Lakers considered taking those three players after Stern took New Orleans out of it.

    Dragic isn’t as good as Lowry, but he is still better than any current Lakers PG. He is young, fast, can penetrate and shoot. Martin would bring efficient perimeter scoring that we don’t have, and Scola is a tougher but slightly shorter and less skilled version of Gasol.

    I think I would’ve made that trade. You?

    Probably a moot point now, since Houston’s plan was to get Gasol and then sign Nene to play next to him. Now that Nene is locked up in Denver, I doubt they’d still be interested.

  12. The Lake show may be getting to these guys’s heads. They play lackluster until the fourth when they need to get work done.

    Unfortunately this does not always work, for Kobe does not always bring his “K” game, or the opposing team turns it on before we notice it.

    None-the-less it felt like a huge drama in a act called the Lake show.

  13. You know for all the talk about Kobe hijacking the offense with his inefficient play, or his high usage rate, just want to mention that without that one clunker of a game (6-28), Kobe is averaging 47.33% from the field. And almost 6 assists. Both are career highs.

    Just throwin that out there amidst the recent Kobe crucifixation

  14. When the Kobe motor is revving like last night, he brings back memories of 2006. The problem is that the team reminds of the same period as they tend to stand around and watch. The difference now, Kobe can’t go to 11 every game, and he does have teammates that feed off his fire and the stand around and watch element is no where near as bad as it used to be. I wonder if the Kobe against the world act does leave players flat-footed so when he does pass out to Kapono, Murphy, and Blake, they aren’t quite ready to let fire. I think the coaches will figure out how to get these guys to put up their shot.

    Speaking of coaches- We’ve heard very little about Messina’s contributions to the team since his hire. Brown has such an unusually large coaching crew, and practice is at a premium, I wonder how these coaches manage to contribute to the development of the players and team concept. It might speak to some media, herd-mentality in that we know more about the doctors that work on Kobe’s joints then on the coaches that work on the team concept. Hope somebody with access will make use of it and let us in on that process.

  15. @13 E – It was primarily that one game in Denver where Kobe was deservedly crucified by the Laker blogosphere. On nights when he doesn’t have his shot AND BOTH of our bigs are dominant on the block, then he should not be trying to shoot himself out of his slump, especially by chucking up contested three-pointers early in the shot clock. Since that game, he’s cut down on his three-point jacks and has been playing on the block or playing off the ball around screens. The results speak for themselves.

  16. Mcjoberts,

    I agree the dragic, scholar, martin trade makes the Lakers better. I do prefer lowry because hes a much better defender than dragic besides better offensively. It has become clear with the Odom trade that the Busses are not willing to maintain as high a payroll with the new CBA. martin is an expensive player to bring off bench. I would have pulled the trigger immediately after stern nixed the Paul trade but as you point out the rockets didn’t sign nene so its unlikely to happen.

  17. Starting with the second half in Portland constant double teams have taken away Bynum’s aggressiveness. That’s the last thing a young dominant big man needs to learn, the ability to play through constant double teams and not get frustrated. He still though did pull down 16 rebounds and passed out more or less to the right men at the right time as the help defenders arrived. The team as a whole has to be more aggressive and active away from the ball when defenses constantly collapse on Andrew. Since Drew and the Lakers are seeing these types of double teams for the first time since Shaq was here its to be expected there will be a slight adjustment period.

  18. Dude Abides is correct in #15. I got on Kobe big-time after the Denver game but have been defending him since.

    As far as Pau and Houston, as noted without Nene in play, I do not think Morey would consider including Martin. I heard that one reason the second go at the Paul deal didn’t take was that Morey would not substitute Lowry for Dragic.

  19. Paul L,

    Yes, Lowry is much better, but he’s pretty much Houston’s best young player at this point, so I don’t think they’d trade him.

    My plan wouldn’t be to bring Martin off the bench. I’d start him at SG and move Kobe to SF, or vice-versa. Kobe can focus on his post-up/mid-range game and let Martin space the floor and put up threes, which he shoots at a higher rate than Kobe.

    The trade would add 2-3 million to this year’s payroll, but it would save long-term on Gasol’s huge contract, as Martin’s deal expires after next season, Dragic expires after this season, and Scola’s contract maxes out at only $11 million in its last year (’14/’15).

    Thanks for the feedback.

  20. kevin martin does one thing well: score. playing alongside kobe, his status changes from 1st option to floor-spacing role player.

    he doesn’t draw fouls like he used to, either, due to the new kevin durant rule. his skill set and player profile are common enough–just like dragic’s. why sacrifice pau when they can develop goudelock/morris or use their TE?

    even if dragic were better than fisher, he’d still be his back-up. intangibles!

    scola is a tier below pau. he also makes us slower and shorter.

    pau for scola, a role player, and a back-up?

    no.

  21. We are nine games into the season. Darius Morris has not seen one minute of action. Meanwhile, Goudelock has gotten into five games, and even the worst player in the NBA (Luke) has seen minutes in three games.

    With Derek Fisher’s play giving credence to those who call him the worst starting PG in the league, where is the explanation for keeping Morris on the sidelines? Has he shown himself to be unworthy of minutes even on a team with all of one playmaker? Has coach Brown been asked about this?

    On a team that cannot defend at the point, and which desperately needs playmakers, what on earth justifies Morris playing less than Luke Walton?

  22. Spartcus
    What are you watching?

    “Artest had some good games of late”.

    Last 2 games 2 points! Now shooting 10% from 3 points! Standing around on defense and getting beat like a drum! Metta is a embarrassment to the Laker uniform!

    By the way Lakers didn’t feel they needed Nate Robinson?

    Last night Nate 9 points. Fisher 0 Blake 3.

    Daaaaa!

  23. @ #21 Funky Chicken:

    Agreed upon 100%. Your frustration is justified. Especially in regards to the play-making factor. To add on, I would also like to see Ebanks accumulate more playing time @ the expense of MWP, who hasn’t given us anything since the 1st couple of gms. Including defensively, which what use to be his calling card.

  24. I said before the last game that Kobe’s performance in spite of his injury, is nothing short of phenomenal. With 39 and 7, this man is playing at superstar levels, with an injury that most people would not even play with. We are lucky to have him, lucky to have had him for the past 16 years, and should all hope that his injury does not get worse (our hope depends on the last item).

    “He’s playing great, very aggressive, carrying that team offensively and he’s their lone playmaker.”
    Warriors coach Mark Jackson on Bryant.

    We need to win a couple in a row here, because that tough schedule stretch looms starting in mid-January up to Feb 12.

  25. The Houston deal is forever off the table. They wanted to pair Pau with Nene and Denver took care of that plan the same way the Clippers (and Sternnnnn (KAHNNNNNNN!!!!) took care of our plan to get both CP3 and Howard. Lowry will be never be ours. Unfortunately neither will Dragic and that is too bad. He is better than any other pg we have. He has great handles, can shoot from anywhere on the floor, and breaks down the defense easily and gets wide open shots for his teammates. To be honest, he would be the best fit of anyone for our starting pg. He has the size and ability to be perfect for us.

    Morris, Ebanks, and anyone else who is not playing is not doing what they are supposed to in practice and Coach Brown has said as much. You earn game time by practicing effectively. Morris must not be doing what he is supposed to in practice. Barnes is better than Ebanks but the kid needs time on the floor to learn. MWP is working himself into shape and we will need him against Durant, LeBrawn, and Melo later on down the line.

  26. Great recap Darius!!! As always.

  27. My plays of the game both involved Pau. The first is when he tried a little jump hook in the lane missed it, tried to tap in the miss, and then grabbed it and dunked it to the delight of the bench. The second was him hitting the wide open shot on a Kobe dish in the 4th quarter that caused a Warrior time-out. He and Kobe gave eachother a inspired man hug and went to the bench. That was Kobe saying “I need that out of you, I can count on you to hit the shot.”

  28. @ Chibi,

    Dragic and Martin,common or not, are much better than anyone the Lakers have 4-11. Goudelock isn’t a PG. As to Morris, the problem there is his timeline. Whether Brown is right or wrong, he doesn’t think Morris is good enough to play ahead of Steve Blake and Derek Fisher at this point, and the Lakers are not exactly on a long-range team clock.

    I am not sure I would trade Pau to Houston, either, but it is not a bad idea. The Lakers simply don’t have much talent beyond Kobe, Pau and Andrew.

  29. robinred: Of course you are correct. However, how much talent did the 2000-2002 Lakers have beyond Kobe/Shaq? Fish, H Grant, Fox, Horry, Harper, Shaw hardly were an all star roster. Soooo while it would be nice to have some talent beyond our top 3, we also need the top 3 to be great. If Drew is “all that” (as some think), then we have have a Kobe/semi Shaq/plus a Pau that we did not have 2000-2002. Kobe is close to his 2000 level (not at his 2006-2009 level, but I think 2000. So where is the Shaq 1/2 of the equation? And why are we not even close to as good as that period? Hence my warped logic for the DH trade : )

  30. Robert, if you are expecting Howard to be as good as 2000-2002 Shaq, I think you are going to be disappointed. The guy has little in the way of actual post moves. He is big and strong, and looks great in a uniform, but he has yet to show any real killer instinct or ability to lead a championship caliber team, in my opinion. I’m just not sure swapping him with Bynum makes the Lakers that much better, although it does make them less injury prone.

    Also, I think you are underestimating some of the 2000-2002 role players. Shaw and Harper (and young Fisher) blow away our current PGs in every way, and Fox and Horry were tenacious defenders who hit shots when it really counted. I can’t name any of our current 4-12 I would take over any of those guys.

  31. Hi all,

    @15- spot on. Agree 100%

    @21 – I was thinking the same thing. Plus the DNP from Barnes a couple of games ago (or something like that). Then Ebanks, sometimes he plays, sometimes he doesn’t. Then Kapono, wide open and no ball. Then Troy Murphy, he gets the ball, open, can shoot, he kinda prepares…but pass.

    I’m a bit “unsure” about Mike Brown’s skills as a coach.

  32. Sharky H Towers January 7, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Oh my… Lakers fans, meet me at camera 2…

    - we do NOT need/want to sign (or have signed) Nate Robinson, Gilbert arenas, etc. Etc.

    - Goran Dragic is a nice backup, but it is somewhat doubtful he will ever develop into a better player than Steve Blake is RIGHT NOW.

    - This lakers squad is looking very promising on the defensive end. In such a screwed up year just staying slightly above 500 and getting into the playoffs healthy is the key. That is to say… hands off the panic button! Settle back with all of these trades.

    - a short flyer with the TPE on mo Williams or Kirk hinrich might be worth it, but we can make that move later. Undergo circumstances do we want to take on new contracts long term unless we are SURE the player fills a need and fits into our future plans.

    - All of you crazy people posting trades… Please… At least go and review the CBA and get familiar with basic contract and gm concepts. I’m so sick of seeing these fantasy LuKe Walton/ metta trades… Jesus…

    - Aside from some poor 3 point % Kobes advanced metrics look really nice. His role is pretty clear… Don’t listen to the haters… And remember…

    Thus is not Kobes first rodeo!

  33. @ Busboys

    I am sure the deal with Martin is off the table. A Scola/Dragic/+ deal, perhaps.

    @ Robert

    Howard is not quite Shaq. Howard can be guarded; Shaq really couldn’t. Also, defenses have changed some–zones etc. Howard is, however, better than Bynum–runs the floor much better, more dynamic on D.

    Also, Pau is 31 and Kobe is 33. If they were younger, it would be a different story on many levels. But they need more help.

  34. IMO there was Chamberlain, Kareem, Olajuwon and Shaq (apologies to Russell). Those were greatest centers ever who could lead a team to a title with the help we now posses. D12 is none of them. He lacks the pure power of Shaq and Chamberlain, and he doesn’t have the full offensive repertroire of either Kareem or Olajuwon. He is the best center of the current generation and he may go down as a Russell (maybe as good as Olajuwon if he improves offensively) but never as the others mentioned. He is an incomplete all-star player with a gaping whole in his game (the incapability to effectively shoot free throws.) Both Supermen have/had the same weakness.

  35. @ Sharky,

    Some good points, but Dragic is much better than Blake and is six years younger. Lowry was out tonight; Dragic started and played 38 minutes for Houston. He had 20 points, 8 assists, and two turnovers, going 7-10 from the field.

    Sometimes I am not sure that people watch the same games that I do.

  36. Just looking at the stats and us losing at the half I’d have to say we got some hometown cooking with the 10 freethrow attempts advantage. I agree that without another playmaker, Kobe will be battered by the time the playoffs come. I just get the feeling that Kobe will be less and less efficient and will be taken advantage of on defense and fast paced games. Both Kobe and Bynum are slower and slow so they will need others to cover transition defense. It just seems that they labor on defense because of their lack of youth and athleticism. Kobe’s missed 3 pointers is a disaster waiting to happen in the playoffs. I hope this changes in the next 4 months with his pct improving from the current(20.0%) or he takes less of them and sets up the top 4 guys pct wise on the team with opportunities. Currently those are Murphy, Kapono, Goudelock, & Blake. Not exactly names that have championship written on their resumes so Kobe will have to will them in to get them ready for pressure situations. I just don’t have high expectations for this team currently. Bynum and Pau don’t seem to have that will to elevate a team and Kobe is getting picked on his dribble by people who aren’t even on the all defensive team now. Strategy wise I would defend the Lakers with the mentality that let Kobe shoot all day and stop the others. Kobe can’t maintain last night’s efficiency unless others step up on a regular basis. Bynum and Pau need to have that urgency to earn all-star status and not be relegated to just honorable mentions. That will not get it done this year if they want to defeat these young hungry teams. Coach Brown and Mitch K have a lot to think about as nobody on this team can fill Kobe’s shoes when he becomes injured or decides to retire when his body fails him over and over again. I hate Stern more and more knowing we could have had CP3, Kobe and Bynum together. We could have picked up Chauncy too like the Clippers did. Mitch K needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat or we’re in for a long season of .500 ball and being a low or lowest seed in the playoffs. I can’t see Dallas being the 8th seed for very long.

  37. The Los Angeles Lakers still have the potential to win another NBA championship and they don’t need to go out and get someone like Dwight Howard. They have the key ingredients to dominate the paint already. They are just missing however the one role for a while now, which is the solid defense/ slasher/ wingman next to Kobe. They need to go out and get Gerald Wallace from the Portland Trailblazers. He is what the Lakers are missing. When they had Ariza, he was just like a Gerald Wallace type…more
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  38. “Also, defenses have changed some–zones etc.”

    Yesterday you spoke to being unable to post up Shaq 50x in today’s game owing to “modern defenses”. The changes in the rules have always been for more scoring, so as to put more rear ends in the seats. Back the day, when the zone was made legal and the defensive three seconds took its place, Sports Illustrated reported:

    “Several players and coaches are opposed to the changes, believing the NBA is making too big of a move in response to lower scores, declining television ratings and flat attendance figures.”

    Here’s the scoring over time:

    1990: 108.1
    1991: 107.9
    1992: 108.2
    1993: 108.0
    1994: 106.3
    1995: 108.3
    1996: 107.6
    1997: 106.7
    1998: 105.0
    1999: 102.2
    2000: 104.1
    2001: 103.0
    2002: 104.5 (zone defense allowed but defensive three seconds in its place)
    2003: 103.6
    2004: 102.9 (2002 rule(s) change(s) didn’t work, since to compensate for the hole in the middle owing to defensive three second rule, perimeter players were more prone to be checked, and so after the 2004 season, the NBA well and truly eliminated checking on perimeter players and also clarified the defensive three second rule with this result:)
    2005: 106.1
    2006: 106.2
    2007: 106.5
    2008: 107.5
    2009: 108.3 (the highest in NBA history since 1987)
    2010: 106.8

    So scoring is higher now than it was in Shaq’s earlier days with the Lakers. And here’s some relevant rules history. First, effective ’66-67:

    After the offensive team has advanced the ball to its front court, a defensive player may not station himself in the key area longer than three seconds if it is apparent he is making no effort to play an opponent. The three second count starts when the offensive team is in clear control in the front court.

    So, the newer defensive three second rule is this old rule reborn. Needed to be reborn because effective ’81-82:

    (2) Guidelines for Defensive Coverage

    a. Weakside defenders may be in a defensive position within the “outside lane” with no time limit, and within the “Inside lane” for 2.9 seconds. The defensive player must re-establish a position with both feet out of the “Inside lane” to be considered as having legally cleared the restricted area.

    b. When a defensive player is guarding an offensive player who is adjacent (posted-up) to the 3-second lane, the defensive player may be within the “inside lane” area with no time limitations. An offensive player shall be ruled as “posted-up” when he is within 3′ of the free throw lane line. A hash mark on the baseline denotes the 3′ area.

    Do you see from item b that if the opposing player is “posted-up”, you can park yourself in the middle of the lane if you so desire?

    Which brings me to, lastly, the Rockets players in the trade that was and then wasn’t. Chibi has the Martin thing spot on. Martin is a below average defender, has 885 assists to 800 turnovers on his career, so his elevation of his teammates is microscopic, and he’s high usage, so he’d not be worth all that much to the Lakers. Re Scola, good scorer and good post defender. But poor transition defender and what with bad reaction time and not so great lateral movement, more than a few folks drive right on by him to the basket (or if your West, you drive past him and then pull up for a shorter mid-range jumper). Re Dragic, assuming there could be a salary matchup, whatever, he’d be an upgrade.

  39. Mcjoberts/robinred/Busboys: You are all correct – DH is no Shaq. He is the closest thing to him in today’s league though, and I think the 2 superstar (or more) route is the best way to get a title. My DH dream just gives me hope of a ring for Kobe. When/if I give up on that, I might start saying things like “sit back and let them play the games”, because I will have accepted our fate (and not just for this year). For now, I can still dream.

  40. Reality! With this backcourt and this bench the Lakers are 7th in the West. Expect that to be our 2012 destiny. It can’t get much better with thus roster. It could get worse with Kobe be pounded down during the year.

    Don’t us Laker fans deserve better then these guards, Metta, Walton etc? Do you all realize that the Clippers have 4 point guards that would start on the Lakers! Is the Jimmy Buss era to be all about saving money and being average? Wasn’t that the Sterling formula for the past 20 years?

    Is this .500 team filled with bad players and bad contracts to be Kobe’s reward in his final years?

    I hope not as a 40 year Laker fan!

    Ken from Newport Beach

  41. Ken: Your reality is brutal but true (I think we can get 5th). And yes – Kobe deserves better.

    League Analyst: The Lakers big 3 (as they can be called) are supposed to consist of a 1st Team All NBA guard, a third Team All NBA 4 man, and the second best center in the league. That would give us 3 of the best 15 in the league, and if that were true, you could surround them with Kaponos and Murphy’s and still contend for a title (not ideal but you would contend). We are a little short of that now, and it is just not the 4-12 slots. Bynum and Pau need to play like 2nd and 3rd Team All NBA respectively (at the same time). When we evaluate Pau and Drew, we are grading on a curve, and we are saying that they had OK games, when OK is not good enough. If the big 3 start playing as such, my trade demand is withdrawn If they don’t, then we do need the trade so we have 2 first team all NBA and more importantly – hope. And yes – we will have holes at the PG, and SF either way, but not even Jerry West could solve all of these issues now : )

  42. Man do I tire of the entitlement some Lakers fans constnatly express.

  43. Darius

    I own several successful Companies and I expect them to be run better then my competitors. As a 40 year Laker fan who has spent thousands of hours and dollars on the Lakers I expect the same.

    Us Laker fans have helped turn this team from a business barely surviving in the Buss early years to the 2nd highest valued NBA franchise. We did that with our financial and fan support.

    If you consider that entitlement then you and I have very different philosophies in life!

  44. Ken,

    That is extreme entitlement. In the modern era, the Lakers have been run as the best basketball franchise in the world, securing championship glory in every era, almost always fielding a competitive team, and securing profits for its management. But these are accomplishments measured by the decade, not for each year. Your expectation is unrealistic, even for the most savvy businessperson. And that’s entitlement, expecting what is befitting only the most privileged and lucky in the world.

    My first Lakers memories are of Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones. They are among my favorite Lakers of all time, even though they played on middling squads. Kobe is a blessing for our team. And you know what they say about blessings. Count them, lest you have none. A good way to do this: I suggest you watch Kobe, now described as in his “twilight”, for all the splendor that is his offensive game. I never tire of watching it, it never gets old, because it is beautiful basketball. And when Kobe retires, someone else will come. We are a storied franchise in Los Angeles. Markets are here. Superstars will come. Enjoy the ride

  45. Darius,

    I agree with you. People act like there aren’t 29 other teams trying to win as well. They seem to forget the years from 1989 to 1999 when there were no titles. We can all be fans, but lets stay grounded as well.

  46. T. Rogers: I think many of us remember the 90′s well. I have mentioned the debacle of a Laker decade several times. We are vocalizing our opinions as to avoiding a repeat over the coming years. The Lakers have not been to finals 31 times with 16 titles by being grounded. The 90′s was a long term blemish in otherwise a stellar hisory. Let’s avoid a repeat of that decade at all costs. On that subject I am on firm ground : )

  47. I disagree with the “entitlement” line as applied to the team the Lakers have now for this reason: the team’s payroll, age, and future salary commitments. I think most fans would be fine with a non-title team if it were young and there were future options to build/rebuild and would even be OK with this team if a lot of money were coming off the books after the season.

    But given what they are paying Kobe and Pau and how old they are, and the fact that Kobe and Pau are both signed through 2014, and given that Blake, Walton, Fisher and MWP are all signed/have player options through 2013 or 2014, thus dramatcally limiting the team’s chances to improve, it is quite reasonable to complain.

    It is also reasonable to say one is tired of the complaints and just wants to watch/break down the games. But that position should be tempered by an awareness that the Lakers have several bad, overpaid old players who are not going to get any better, no matter what Brown does with them; that the FO has made some mistakes that are costing the team at this point, and that the organization is in a tough position right now.

    There should be room for both views IMO.

  48. True, there should be room for both views. But there has been a lot of whining lately, and it is certainly tiresome.

    It’s not like the people who come on this blog don’t know that there is no legitimate pg on this team. But whining about it, win or lose, after every game, seems like a waste of time and energy.

    Things could be far worse – Kobe could have decided to completely rest the wrist – and the lakers might not have then been able to keep up in the playoff race.

    Darius – I really enjoyed the break down. Keep up the good work.

  49. I actually disagree in a way about the 90s. After Magic was forced to retire, West did a great job of assembling a competitive team with low draft picks and one trade:

    Cedric Ceballos
    Nick Van Exel
    Eddie Jones
    Elden Campbell
    Vlade Divac
    Anthony Peeler
    George Lynch

    The last pre-Shaq team went 53-29; one reason Shaq wanted to come here was that there was some talent here,and, of course we know how they got Kobe.

    So, those teams weren’t title teams, but they were young, interesting, competitive and the assets acquired laid the foundation to get Shaq and Kobe, setting up the threepeat.

    One problem the Lakers have now, of course, is a lack of mid-tier tradeable assets. The trade assets were Odom, and are Gasol and Bynum. So, they can either make a huge move, as they did until Stern stepped in, or no move. This is one reason they moved Odom for the TPE–lack of assets.

  50. It’s not like the people who come on this blog don’t know that there is no legitimate pg on this team. But whining about it, win or lose, after every game, seems like a waste of time and energy.

    ___

    Well, I am not sure everyone knows that, but perhaps. I see the point, but I would also say that talking about/hoping some of the Lakers players doing things that they are simply not going to do with any consistency is also a “waste of time and energy.”

    As to Kobe’s wrist…if Howard goes elsewhere and/or no trade for a PG can be executed using the TPE, it might, at that point, be better for him to let it heal and let the chips fall this year. We all recall his playing through the finger injury in 2010 and the finger is now permanently deformed. But that was worth it, given how the 2010 season played out. Different situation now.

  51. At 5-4 record, I’m not ready to make season-end conclusions yet. It is just a pendulum swinging back and forth because of the tedious schedule designed by Stern Co. who are more interested on the inflow of revenues than maintain quality of every game. Throughout the league due to hectic schedule, there are several injuries and also fatigue from each team. They are exhibited on those b2b games. Mind you, preseason games were short, not enough time for body conditioning and stadiums were closed during loackout period, so what we are watching is a semi-slappy NBA like a summer D’League type. In the case of the Lakers there is a great preponderance of turn overs, eye contact communication are not in the same wave assumption.

    Overall, Lakers have the talents but I’m just concerned of their comparative body strength, speed in a constant transition basketball. It is like comparing to the speed of TGV trains in France to Amtrak trains in US. If only they can run with young Cheetahs out there, our record would have been better.

    We want a PG, how and where to get it? As far as the American PG’s are concerned, most of them are already under contract, perhaps the Euro league could provide us another Tony Parker type or Rubio who is also having a hard time adjusting to NBA standards and couldn’t lift the ‘Wolves from their previous standing. It really takes time to hone skills at the highest level, therefore these games should be treated as process of elimination for the playoffs. In Conference standing, the Lakers are 7th in the West only 2 games behind the 1st place. That’s just a matter one week of consistent victories, Laker could be competing at the top. It’s possible that Lakers could get 4-0 in the next four games based on the schedule where games are mostly played at home.

  52. Darius’ breakdowns are excellent.

  53. Wonderful comment Robinred! You could work for me! Excepting mediocrity creates losing!

  54. Forums are to discuss issues that concern the team. Such issues include: A) Should we trade for DH ? B) Should we get help at PG? C) Should we rest Kobe’s wrist? D) How are we going to manage down our bloated payroll? they also include: E) Is Kapono taking enough 3′s F) Is Brown using the correct combinations G) Is Drew getting the right looks. I think A-D are more important than E-G, however having others talk about E-G is fine with me and I will not whine about it

  55. robinred,

    These points have been overstated ad nauseum on this blog. Nearly every thread devolves into the same “discussion.” Do you really need to repeat it again?

    Hell, personally, I generally agree with most of what you say, and Robert too. You both are pretty knowledgeable fans. But its boring to read the same points over and over again on every single thread.

    Tying in your own stated grievances, given the club’s realities, there is little that our management can do other than adding salary through the TPE (further constraining our financial flexibility) or trading for Howard, if, in fact, the Magic are willing to go through with it. Maybe they can find a suitor for Pau that would give us equal talent in return, although its unlikely given his age and contract.

    Outside of that, there’s little to talk about. Unless you want to rehash one of the following points again about the club being at best a middle seed in a crowded western conference *yawn* or about Mitch making bad moves *violins*, or maybe we should speculate when Bynum will suffer his next freak injury (obligatory “trade for Howard” plug). As Darius has said before, most readers here are long timers. I read every post. So, unfortunately, I’ve read every post of yours :P.

    And regarding your response to “entitlement”, I think you’re applying a very a historic logic to the current roster challenges. Kobe, Pau, and Bynum needed to be signed to astronomical contracts, or they would find other suitors. In my mind, there is no doubt about that. Thankfully we made those terrible decisions, and won several championships because of it.

    Considering the new CBA, the cumulative cost of those three talents (59 million; salary cap is 58 mil) will invariably hamstring our roster until Kobe’s contract runs out in 2014. Are you telling me we shouldn’t have signed Kobe to his contract? Or Pau? Or Bynum? All the other contracts are just icing.

  56. I except your points Kareem. It’s tough for me to except being the 2nd best team in LA this or any year. Especially knowing Sterling personally and his history. I will try to focus on the bright side.

    1-boy we have lots of coaches.
    2-wow no Kardasian’s at the games.
    3-Lakers could cancel Ron Artest’s contract since he changed his name.
    4-we don’t live in Washington?
    5-Charles Barkley has lost weight.
    6-Kwaime Brown is not our starting center.
    7-Luke Walton only has 2 more years on his contract.
    8-We do have a NBA season!

    Good thoughts!

  57. Are you telling me we shouldn’t have signed Kobe to his contract? Or Pau? Or Bynum?

    ___

    Bynum’s deal is fine; I didn’t include him. They need to make a long-term decision on him over the next 6 months, though, one way or the other.

    As to Pau and Kobe…huge “thank you” extensions were in order, particularly for Kobe. Whether they needed to be for that much money, or for that many years, is an arguable point, however. I suspect that Old Man Buss thought the new tax rules would not kick in until AFTER the 2013-14 season, as had been rumored, and that Kobe and Pau would come off the books then.

    There is an article up at Land O Lakers about Mike Brown’s trying to find a stable rotation. Many of us noted before the season that given the team’s roster issues and Brown’s predilection for tinkering, this might happen.

  58. If Lakers are 7-2 and not 5-4, perhaps there is less whining and more cheering. If Lakers are located in MidWest, where glamor teams don’t really exist, perhaps fans would always be hysterical every time they hear about Lakers.

    Unfortunately, they are located in a fair weather Cosmopolitan City of Los Angeles, hometown of the Stars where court side tickets are sold by the thousands of $’s, with numerous blogs, with numerous products to be sold before you get to your team, with numerous hooplahs from local ESPN before you get to the game, I think the fan like Ken has the right to voice his own concern. It may be extreme but he is entitled to his own opinion. If you are selling a commodity at the highest price, it is best to put up the best quality product out there.

    How come there are no complaints about the Clippers? Because It is the product of Don Sterling that is designed to fail however they’re now defying the odds and could prove us wrong. The prices of tickets are still reasonable and less hooplahs from the media and sponsors too.

  59. Sharky H Towers January 8, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Robinred- great points in a lot of your comments. I LOVED the post magic team west assembled as well. Eddie jones was one of my fave players ever. But I still disagree about Dragic. I like him a lot, but I still don’t think he’s an answer for the team looking at it from the perspective of a team that takes advantage of Kobes “window”. He’s a nice prospect, but I think he’s a career backup and maintain Blake is better at his $. Someone’s gotta pay dragic soon, and I don’t think it should be the lakers.

    I could be wrong. It happens frequently.

  60. I wonder if DWade or Lebron would still be this effective and deadly when they reached the same mileage as Kobe right now!