Preview & Chat: The Miami Heat

Darius Soriano —  January 19, 2012

Records: Lakers 10-5 (5th in West), Heat 9-4 (5th in East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 101.9 (18th in NBA), Heat 107.7 (4th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 97.6 (5th in NBA), Heat 99.6 (7th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Matt Barnes, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Heat: Mario Chalmers, James Jones, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Joel Anthony
Injuries: Lakers: Steve Blake & Derrick Caracter (both out); Heat: Dwyane Wade (questionable), LeBron James (game time decision)

The Lakers Coming in: How much good will rest some rest do? We should find out tonight as the Lakers got their first consecutive days off of the season on Tuesday and Wednesday. And while some of that time was used for travel, the team could practice, get in some uninterrupted treatment on nagging bumps and bruises (like Pau’s shoulder or Kobe’s wrist – which is more than a bump or bruise), and generally rest some weary legs. No one had played more games than the Lakers to this point in the season and for a team that’s relied pretty heavily on veteran players (especially Kobe and Pau who are logging heavy minutes), getting some time to recuperate can only help. If they spent some of that time off getting more familiar with how to attack on offense, even bettter.

The Heat Coming in: The Heat have lost 3 of 4 with their latest game (a home win over the Spurs) breaking their 3 game skid of road losses. They’re a bit banged up as Wade is unlikely to play due to an ankle/foot problem but his absence hasn’t really been felt as the team has found plenty of wing production from their crop of reserves. This team is still a work in progress however, as they adjust to new parts and an old face that is working his way back into the lineup.

Shane Battier was added during the off-season for his veteran savvy, defense, and outside shooting. Rookie Norris Cole (a player I had interest in this past draft as a potential Laker) has stepped into Miami’s lineup as their back up point guard, bringing speed and confidence where last year’s 2nd PG (Mike Bibby) had little of either. And then there’s Mike Miller who returned to the lineup in the aforementioned win over the Spurs by hitting all six of his three pointers to the tune of 18 points. Integrating these three players into the lineup (while also dealing with injuries) has meant that the Heat haven’t quite hit their stride as a team (9-4 is nothing to scoff at, but that’s still only good for 5th in the East as of today) but they’re showing their potential in nearly every game.

In the end, they have the talent on both sides of the ball to rightfully retain their status as a title favorite. And should they put it together, they may just get there this year. 

Heat Blogs: The Heat Index does a tremendous job covering this team. You should be reading their work.

Keys to game: Kobe vs. LeBron! Mike Brown vs. LeBron! Pau vs Bosh! Bynum vs Eddy Curry! Okay that last one was a bit of a joke but you get my point. Tonight there’s a lot of individual match ups to look at.

Missing Wade is actually quite a big deal tonight because he offers that second perimeter threat that forces Kobe to expend a lot of energy on defense. And while James Jones (and Mike Miller) offer outside shooting (and in Miller’s case the ability to create off the dribble) they’re not the force that Wade is. So, tonight, Kobe can focus more on offense and as long as he’s active in closing out on his man, his defensive responsibility is diminished.

Offensively, though, Kobe will have a great deal of responsibility as he’ll again drive the car and be the key perimeter decision maker for the Lakers. It of course starts with his scoring and his ability to get open for good looks when moving off the ball. I expect that Kobe will see a variety of defenders tonight (Jones, Battier, LeBron, Miller) but the plan should mostly be the same vs. all of them. Kobe needs to work 18 feet and in as much as possible and preferably below the foul line when he’s looking to score. These are his money spots and even elite defenders (like LeBron) will struggle with his full arsenal when positioned in these areas. Beyond the scoring, Kobe will also need to show the commitment to setting up his big man that he did vs. Dallas because this is where the Lakers have an advantage.

Bosh is no slouch, of course, but Pau can do damage against the lanky left hander. Running some P&R where Pau can either roll into the paint or pop for his mid-range jumper will get him some good looks at the basket but also don’t discount Pau going into the post a bit more. Bosh is built very similar to Pau but Pau offers a bit more weight and more length. Having Bosh defend the post can have the duel affect of getting Pau going on offense but also putting some burden on Bosh’s legs by having to bang in the post (something that could affect his jumper on the other end).

Bynum too will need his touches on the block and the plan to get Pau going should be duplicated with Bynum. Joel Anthony is a good defensive center, but he’s undersized and should have problems with Bynum’s strength. If Bynum commits to running the floor, he should be able to establish deep post position to get easy baskets. Drew should also be able to take advantage of Anthony’s desire to help at the rim by attacking the offensive glass and hurting the Heat by securing extra possessions or scoring easily on put backs.

Going inside to Bynum and Gasol in a deliberate manner serves another purpose outside of getting the big guys into a groove, though. Being deliberate in this manner also slows the pace of the game and limits Miami’s chances to run out in transition where they thrive. The Heat play at the 2nd fastest pace in the league and love to get out in the open court for easy baskets. Earlier I mentioned Norris Cole’s proclivity for pushing the pace, but LeBron is the player that really brings the wow factor in the open court, hammering his way to the basket and finishing with controlled power. If the Lakers can successfully make the Heat play in the half court, they’ve already done a great deal of work towards limiting the Heat’s offensive effectiveness.

Once in the half court, however, the job doesn’t end as this is where the individual match ups become more important. LeBron has been a terror in half court sets, attackng more from the post while still using his elite athleticism to attack off the dribble in isolation and in the P&R. Matt Barnes will have his hands full banging with James in the post but also shading him towards his help and battling the screens the Heat use to free him up. Tonight’s a night where an engaged and productive MWP would be of great benefit to the Lakers as he has the strength and instincts to slow James and give reprieve to Barnes who will surely expend a lot of energy on D.

(As an aside, the approach the Lakers take to defending LeBron is something I’ll be watching closely. There’s not a coach in the league – save for Erik Spoelstra – that has as good a feel for what LeBron’s strengths and weaknesses are on offense and what his tendencies may be when he’s operating on O. Will the Lakers double team? Will they show the 2nd defender early or late? Will they play any zone? Will they deny him the ball? Whatever tactical answers Brown provides could give us insight into whether Brown thinks LeBron’s strengths are primarily passing, his ability to score, or how well he works off the ball. Should be an interesting night in that regard.)

The other key player is, of course, Chris Bosh. Over the years Bosh’s outside-in game has befuddled the Lakers, hitting countless jumpers and then using the threat of that shot to attack the paint off the dribble. The masterful defense Gasol employed against Dirk on Tuesday will be needed again tonight as they offer similar games (though Bosh is much more conventional in his attack). If Pau can effective contest Bosh’s jumper and stay down on his fakes, bottling him up becomes more likely and thus eliminates a big portion of Miami’s half court offense. However, if Bosh starts to rain jumpers and then drive the ball to get inside to finish, it will be a long, long night for L.A.’s defense.

Lastly, the Lakers need to close down penetration lanes and rotate well to all of Miami’s three point shooters. I mentioned Miller’s perfect night against the Spurs, but beyond him, Jones, Chalmers, Battier, and LeBron can all hit the deep jumper. That said, knowing personnel is also key when rotating and closing out as certain players you want shooting the deep ball (LeBron, Cole) and others you want to force to put the ball on the ground and create off the bounce (Jones, Battier, and to a lesser extent Miller).

While tonight has little impact on the standings and won’t mean much towards any end the year seedings, this is a big game. Anytime these two teams meet, with these star players going head to head, it matters. That said, don’t be surprised if it’s a role player that makes the difference. In the games these teams played last, it was Fisher and Miller’s contributions that swung the game in their team’s direction. Tonight, can Barnes be that guy? MWP? Does Fisher have another heroic effort in him? Or will it be Miller again? Maybe Battier or Cole breaks out? The answers to these questions could end up determining who leaves the arena with the W.

Where you can watch: 5pm tip time on TNT. Also listen live at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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72 responses to Preview & Chat: The Miami Heat

  1. I think we could use a little Warren mojo for this one…
    I really enjoy watching our “stuntmen” (remember the Mickey Hatcher led bench mob for the Dodgers?) McRoberts, Murphey, etc, these guys bring that hunger, dive for loose balls, energy, plus Josh has got some hops! I also think our 3 pointers are going to be fine, I don’t worry when Kapono pops one, and I thought Goldilocks looked nice on the shot too.
    winnin’ ugly is OK by me!

  2. Any video of Fisher and Kobe coughing to mock Lebron’s “flu?” Oh wait, they’re grownups, nevermind.

  3. Not to cry over spilled milk, but TMac is quietly having a nice season (PER of 19).

    http://hoopspeak.com/2012/01/tracy-mcgradys-value-is-in-his-vision/

  4. Is a heavy minute like heavy water?

  5. robinred,
    From previous thread:
    “Whether moving Odom was smart will depend on:”

    We don’t know what Mitch’s real budget is.

  6. We don’t know what Mitch’s real budget is.
    __

    Like I said in the post, we don’t really know anything about why that deal was made or what the actual goals of it are. That conceded, if the Lakers are now suddenly getting “budget” conscious after committing 143M to Pau and Kobe through 2014 when they knew a new CBA was coming, and when they are still on the hook for about 35M to Blake, Walton, Fisher and MWP, then, well, that is not a very effective way to run a team, to say the least.

    I don’t expect them to take on bad contract after bad contract and pay 100M in taxes every year, but with Kobe and Pau both being in their 30s and having 2 of the 5 most expensive (on a yearly basis) contracts in basketball, this is a team that needs to be the championship business. If they’re not, they should blow it up and rebuild. I will be a fan either way.

  7. I use this game as a measuring stick for LA, because if you can’t beat Miami without Wade and a sick Lebron then you’ll never be able to beat them.

  8. much better spacing so far.

    pau has been decisive and active. great to see.

  9. Is there a way to get the TNT Overtime to play just like a normal telecast, with a normal camera angle?

    If not, does anyone have a nice HD Veetle link?

  10. i guess they didnt work on the offense on the days off …sigh

  11. Bynum with 2 early fouls in first quarter

  12. They’re doubling Kobe hard and almost immediately. So nasty to see Morris and Artest spotting up when Kobe draws that attention. If that had been Kapono or Murphy, I bet Kobe would have passed on the last drive. I don’t blame him for going himself.

  13. watching this team is unbelievably painful

  14. Darius Morris is the man! On the other hand, they have no offense without Kobe/Pau. Sad.

  15. James – I hear that. Just watching the boxscore (which is all I have access to) is painful enough.

  16. Stagnant offense, no shot creator and Bynum struggling on the 2nd unit.

  17. It’s actually a little sad that I got excited about Jason Kapono making a mini drive (about 3 dribbles) and finding Murphy for a midrange J. Shows how much we lack playmaking ability.

    We really should be able to maximize this Bynum-Kapono pairing more. A dominant low-post scorer. A slow but accurate shooter who has recently tried to keep moving on offense. I just feel like we should be able to get more out of that lineup offensively.

  18. The lakers offense is pretty terrible. Kobe is the only player capable of creating off the dribble and they have no one that can shoot from outside, so there is no spacing.

  19. Hard to find upside at this point other than Pau’s good half. So far in games where the offense has dragged, we’ve either had otherworldly scoring from Kobe or scrappy and solid D. Neither of those things appear to be happening today. You can’t give up 50+ in the first half.

  20. The Lakers offense is just awful. So far a blow out against a Heat team that has no Wade. This is not good.

  21. I keep hearing this talk about how great our ‘twin towers’ are and how they are our biggest match-up problems for every team that we play. This just isn’t true. At least not as our team is currently set up. If we can’t find a shooter, or two, to take pressure off of Pau and ‘Drew then this supposed strength is just turned into a weakness. Teams collapse on both Pau and ‘Drew and we can’t make them pay.

    Then on the other end they end up being liabilities because other teams just stretch the floor and hit the 3′s. This is literally the worst I have ever felt about a Lakers team and they are 10-5!!!! At least the Lakeshow in the 90s were exciting to watch…

    No, it is not time to panic. We will make the playoffs and possibly even get to the second round, but I have to agree with Magic when he said, “that this team as it is currently constructed cannot win a title.” We have too many weaknesses. Our team is not athletic enough. We get crushed by any point guard in the top 25. We can’t hit outside shots!

    We need a way to get easier buckets. We need a point guard that can run a pick-and-roll. We need some shooters that can crack 15% on threes. I’m not asking for much…just 15% when you are wide open.
    Maybe we end up shooting better at the 3 point line–and if we do, then we have a chance.

    /rant off

  22. The takeaway from the 1st half for a few people should be that the shot distribution is exactly what some people have been calling for: 10/8/7 for Pau/Kobe/Drew,and all the other guys have taken a few shots. Playing this way, the Lakers have 37 points, are 2/10 on 3s, are at 31% overall and are down by 15 at the half, with Wade sitting and James less than 100%. This is not to suggest that Kobe should start gunning, but as has been clear all year, he is not the problem.

  23. The 2 quick ones on Bynum ruined any chance we had in the first half. Yes, it was that big a deal.

    Lakers finally on national TV and NOT at the unbearably late 10:30pm est timeslot… we may look like crap, but at least I get to look! GO LAKERS!

  24. After watching the Mavs game and 1/2 of this one – the Lakers barely deserve to be called an NBA club on offense. Mike Brown – get with it or all your defensive acumen will mean absolutely nothing. They still record wins using the guideline that one team has to score more than the other.

  25. This offense is a joke.n3rd worst 3 point team in NBA history. At what point do we question Brown and his inside out offense when the outside guysvarevso bad. Double team Zkobe and look what we have!

  26. Lakers shot just 31 pct in the 1st half vs the Heat, their lowest FG pct in any half this season per ESPN Stats and Info

  27. Happy with the shot distribution so far (10/8/7), but made shots is an issue

  28. I Really don t get why we are not more flexible in the offensive side.Even if the system says that GAsol has to be in the 3p line, can t they clearly see that putting him and Bynum together close to the zone is our ONLY chance???

  29. The most frustrating thing about this game is that the Lakers are looking defeated. This could be a 20-30 point loss, if they continue dropping their heads and not digging in with some grit on defense.

  30. They keep talking about the Lakers offensive “system.” What system is this, exactly? I’m too stupid to figure it out.

  31. Wow Fisher says Brown is calling the plays! Anyone who still thinks this team can compete with this personal knows zero about basketball.

    Bad defense and disgusting offense. Wake up Mitch this is not a very good team. One win on the road and a lack of clear talent.

    Sad.

  32. So, yeah. Screw this game.

  33. Brown probably won’t do it, but he should just sit Kobe and Pau in the 4th.

  34. Compare benchs:

    Mcroberts/Murphy/Kapono/Worldpeace/Morris

    Miller/Battier/Jones/Curry/Haslem

    Just sayin…

  35. This Lakers team is vulnerable from the players to the coaches. Mike Brown is a BAD hire. He was clueless when he was in Cleveland in terms of setting up effective offense. He still doesn’t have a system here in LA. The Lakers is going to struggle. I don’t understand how Mitch could be satisfied with the current roster. It seems every good team from last year has made some moves to improve their roster, except the Lakers. We made a lot of noise before the season, but there was no backup plan. With this terrible roster, Kobe has to over exert himself which will shorten his career. How could Mitch assemble such a BAD bench is beyond me.

  36. it’s Jim Buss’s fault. he’s a weak gm and the Lakers even cut staff from the scouting dept… they are undermanned and lost both on and off the court

  37. I predict a three point barrage from the Lakers.

    I’m not sure if the shots would go in though.

  38. Why are the starters still in? I don’t get that.

  39. We have the play and the plans very well. We just don’t have the fire power. Paul would have made it complete. Its a shame.

  40. Wow ‘Drew gets no love from the refs. Lebron fouled him on that dunk attempt. Wrist first and then he got ball.

  41. Is anybody else not looking forward to the Orlando game tommorow?

  42. I miss Lamar! =-/

  43. This game can be thoroughly described by Kobe’s face after his airball.

  44. 1 and 5 on the road with 9 of the next 12 on the road. 2 wins against top 10 teams. After 12 games this usca .500 team which I said at the start of the season and got blasted for my comment?

    If you can’t win in the road and you can’t beat top teams in the first 25% of the season you have a problem.

    Clearly someone needs to make personal changes or hire a asst coach who understands offense.

  45. Ahhh, but they’re saving money. Think fiscal responsibility people. It’s better to be prudent, cost conscience and average than to overspend during Kobe’s few remaining years. (Drenched in Sarcasm).

  46. Brown’s been complaining about Kobe’s minutes. We’re not winning this game. Why are our best players still in the game? Brown asleep on the job?

  47. Great the rebuilding years are here with long term contacts and one of the highest payrolls.

    Maybe Jimmy shoul raise the price of tickets and parking!

  48. Snoopy he is teaching them a lesson.

    Ha

  49. @ Chearn

    I do too, but we all will eventually. We need help badly. There has to be another scorer. I would take JR Smith. They need a point guard. The rookie is faster than Fish, but he prods and pokes like Blake and never beats anyone to the hoop. He moves entirely too fast and seems somewhat out of control.

    I don’t like the idea of rebuilding while Kobe is still on the team. Please get me Deron Williams for anyone not part of our starting four for Valentine’s Day. The Commissioner owes us that much.

  50. Don’t like that Mike Brown has kept the starters in this game that is out of reach this long with a game tomorrow in Orlando. At some point you need to do what Coach Popovich does and pull the starters and get ready for the next game.

    Lakers are not a good road team right now but they do play hard.

  51. Kobe went 41 minutes again–wound up with 24 points, which will probably keep him #1 in scoring. Pau went 37 and Bynum 36. Really dumb, IMO.

  52. lakers looked pretty good on O for stretches.

  53. MB kept the starters in the game when it was all over. Bad move.

    MB has no plays for his bench. We need scoreres? Well, why not build some plays for Kapono to shoot wide open? The guy can shoot. But no…

    MB is getting into my nerves… No Ebanks tonight? WTH?

  54. So,Brown is continuing the Phil Jackson tradition of leaving the starters in in blowouts. The only plusses I can see are that it protects Kobe’s scoring average and might help the Lakers in the Hollinger Power Rankings. I’m not sold. This continues until they get a real PG. All the other stuff–shot selection, practice time–just blowing smoke. They need a PG they can play 35 minutes and back up with Blake. Fisher needs to be 12th man/clubhouse guy/vocal leader, and Morris needs to be in the DLeague.

  55. I agree that the starters should have been pulled earlier towards the end, when a loss was imminent. But, nobody can blame the FO for not attempting to reduce the long term contracts, or even the current payroll. Remember the vetoed CP3 deal?

  56. Hopefully we can salvage this Florida 2-step by getting a victory 2morrow night against the Magic … As for 2nite, a Pathetic showing both Offensively & Defensively. Finally get 2 days in a row off and we give this type of performance on National TV. Coach Brown & his staff need to start getting there sh*t together.

  57. i’m not losing any sleep over this loss. i thought our guys looked more comfortable in the offense. this team is a work in progress, not a finished product.

    give credit to the heat for hitting their 3s and playing good d, and give credit to lebron for making tough shots.

    the lakers don’t have the benefit of running full practices, so mb has to use games early on to level up his guys and allow them to gain experience points.

    better they take their lumps now than take them later.

  58. I’m sorry but Chris Paul would not have solved all of the issues on this team, sure it would have helped somewhat but Chris Paul has to have shooters to pass to. Do the Lakers have any true consistent shooters who would play for most NBA teams? No they do not, they have a rag tag team of NBA players nobody wanted. Chris Paul and Kobe may have made a better tandem but Bynum still can’t be that dominant player the Lakers need him to be so they would still have been a second tier team in the league. I hate to see this for Kobe because the guy is doing all he can with a bad team.

    Pau should be docked 10,000 dollars for every game he doesn’t have at least 10 rebounds. You have an undersized guy like Kevin Love out there working his butt of for rebounds but Pau just hopes they fall in his lap, that is just ridiculous.

  59. That was a terrible performance by the Lakers. Its understandable every now and again to get down big cuz the other team is hot – but Miami wasn’t even playing well in the first half and was up by 15.

    I know the old mantra is that defense wins championships – but defense only wins if you can actually score yourselves. Unless Kobe is hot the Lakers are offensively inept. And the Lakers defense it one of the worst in the league at creating points.

    The heat didn’t even have DWade and cruised against us, it was just a silly bad performance for the Lake show.

  60. You lose one game on the road, just move on and win the next game tomorrow. Lakers are out of sync since the Mavs. game. As some posters said, they are still a work in progress. The good part, they were able to reduce the lead in the last 3 minutes with success coming from Troy and Kobe. How about that strategy? Whoever is hot on the road, feed that player.

  61. Hey guys the season is only 25% over and look how much they have improved?

    Not!

    Fisher 2 point 1 for 5 in 30 minutes.
    Metta 21 minutes 1 rebound. Morris had 4.
    Bynam outplayed by ahhh some guy I guess?
    Bench outscored by 14 or so.

    Not really sure about the offense by coach Rudy T. Oh wait the fired him because of his convoluted Kobe controlled offense.

    My bad.

  62. Oh yea. Report in tbe LA Times that several players have stated privately that Brown is working the team to hard.

    You mean the same Brown who claims he wants to give Kobe more rest and then leaves him in the final 4th quarter minutes in a blow out.

    The wheels are falling off this hire faster then even I thought. What’s over under on Brown coaching the entire season.

  63. I’m with you Ken. Nothing has changed from day 1 having no training camp hurt but in Lakerland we don’t have excuses. Here are a few things that I see that are hurting the Lakers

    1. We play 3 on 5 on offense because our PG & SF can’t consistently knock down open shots the opp. defense cheats on Kobe and Pau and we can’t make them pay when they pass out of the double team.

    2. The lineup that starts the 2nd quarter is ANEMIC. they put the starters in a hole when they come back in. maybe brown should sit Pau around the 4-5 min. mark in 1st qtr. and bring him in to start the 2nd that way we can have a go-to-guy with our bench. then sit pau at the 7-8 min. of 2nd & bring him back around the 3-4 min. mark.

    3. Andrew Bynum’s reluctance to control the paint. Drew doesn;t block shots he alters them and lately the alter shots have been going in. D12 blocks the norris cole layups he got and the lebron floater in the 4th.

    4. Darius Morris PLEASE sit him he’s not ready.

    5. Another scorer who if need be can ensure that we have a chance to score 100 pts. Kobe needs help he can’t do it alone

  64. vs the bulls, denver, portland, clips, dallas, miami LA scored 87_90_96_94_73_87 that won’t get it done..
    the struggle offensively is real and it won’t change. brown struggled in cle nothing so far we’ve seen tells us otherwise.. Lakers won;t make it out the first unless Drew turns into Kareem.

  65. We have no one other than Kobe that can break down their man and get a lay up.
    No one.
    Zero
    Zilch
    Nada

    Mitch cant find one slasher that can come off the bench and play some D for cheap? Really?

  66. This is what Tom Haberstroh from the Heat Index wrote about the Lakers after the Lakers-Heat game and it echoed some of the comments that some commenters at FB&G have made.

    “That offense needs serious work. Bringing in a defensive guru in Mike Brown will probably end up as the smart move eventually, but right now it’s inexcusable to trot out a sorry offense with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the fold. Credit the Heat’s defense some, but the Lakers didn’t even compete in this one.”

  67. Can we stop whining now? People, this is who the team is. Last week the forum was knee deep in the “Kobe shoots too much/Kobe has to shoot” argument. I said then that if Kobe has to shoot a lot for the team to win then they are not a top tier team. Well, guess what? They are not a contender. So let’s not act surprised when they lose on the road to the team most talking heads have picked to win it all.

    The Lakers are a work in progress. However, for them to be a true contender something needs to change. Obviously personnel is an issue. A system change may be in order as well. If we all know this surely the front office does as well. Mitch is not sitting on his hands. However, the man can’t just wave his hand and make Deron Williams and/or others appear out of thin air. It is a process. It takes time. It takes other teams willing to work with you. It takes the league NOT getting in the way. And all that has to be done within the constraints of certain financial limitations.

    I know we all expect the Lakers to win the title every year. However, there is always the possibility the season ends without a banner. LA can’t win them all.

  68. If Kobe hits just half his shots (like he has been lately), then this game is close.

  69. So let’s not act surprised when they lose on the road to the team most talking heads have picked to win it all.

    _.
    The people who are realistic about the team aren’t surprised at all. That’s the point.

  70. It is clear that David Stern did screw the Lakers in the CP3 trade. However, you have to wonder if the Lakers should have made such an aggressive move a year earlier. Surely the FO had to know that the odds would be against winning a 3rd consecutive championship with Odom/Pau at 31+ and Kobe at 33+. Even if the fans and the press would rebel against trading Pau, Odom or even Bynum (at their highest value mind you) it would have been best for the organization.

    I don’t mean to be overly critical because I truly love the Lakers. My real frustration is that the FO has been a little too complacent in laying the groundwork for the future. I recall a quote from Jerry Buss many years ago. It was along the lines that a team doesn’t get 1 year older each passing season it gets 13 years older (or however many players are on the roster). I believe Buss said this in response to the trade of Norm Nixon, an established player, in exchange for the draft pick that turned into Byron Scott. The point being absent the integration of young talent teams can paint themselves into a corner. The Lakers currently find themselves in that corner.

    To a great degree the FO has tied their own hands. They gave Odom away, Pau is expensive & older (showing signs of settling into being a nice player as opposed to a really good one) and they have little else to bargain with aside from Bynum. If Bynum is earmarked as bait for DH then what do the Lakers do to improve?

    One way to have bought time while waiting for a bigger deal to unfold would have been to upgrade our bench over the past few years. Statistically, our bench is the second worst in the NBA (behind the Clippers who traded assets for CP3). The second unit scored 14 points last night. Is this lack of production the reason why the starters played so many minutes? If yes, then this is a pattern that guarantees a burned out Kobe/Pau/Bynum by playoff time.

    One avenue that I haven’t seen the Lakers pursue is young players that haven’t been a good fit on their current teams. Because of these fit issues their productivity is inconsistent and sooner than later they are in the dog house. These players normally cost less in both salary and in acquisition costs. My belief is that with the winning culture of the Lakers their talent can be brought out of them.

    In the last year a number of these types of players have been available and were not pursued by the Lakers: Michael Beasley was given away to Minnesota by Miami. Anthony Randolph went from Golden State to NY to Minnesota for very little. Rudy Fernandez went from Portland to Denver – he was originally drafted by the Blazers who bought the unwanted draft pick from Phoenix.

    I know there are many other examples and certainly hindsight is always 20/20. However, I think the FO should have been taking chances along the way and been more aggressive in pursuing talented youth.

  71. @Pal, Recently, players like Nate Robinson and Tracy McGrady, Morrow were available for little or nothing and the Lakers stood pat.