Notes On A Floundering Offense

Darius Soriano —  January 23, 2012

At this point in the season, calling the Lakers offense mediocre might be a compliment. In terms of offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions) the Lakers are 19th in NBA with a mark of 101.8. Their 51.6 true shooting percentage (which takes into account free throws and 3 pointers) is 18th in the NBA, which is greatly influenced by their worst in the league 3 point field goal percentage of 25.7%. Considering the Lakers were 6th in offensive efficiency last season (111.0) their nearly 10 point drop in efficiency this year – even when accounting for offenses being down across the league – is staggering.

Watching this de-evolution on offense has led me to watching this side of the ball closely for the past several games. I’ve wanted to get a better idea as to what is going on with this team and why they’re struggling to score points. I’ve seen some good and plenty of bad and below are my notes on what can only be called a floundering Laker offense:

Some Positives:

*From a collective perspective, the Lakers prove to be a very good passing team. They regularly hit the open man (yes, even Kobe) and generally deal with double teams very well (Bynum is the least effective in this area but over the course of the season he’s improved). The Pacers game was a perfect example of this as nearly every time Kobe or Pau caught the ball below the foul line a second defender was sent their way. Both players handled this pressure masterfully by making the correct reads and either making simple kickouts to the same side wing or making more complex skip passes to a wing spotting up or drop off passes to a diving teammate filling in the vacated paint.

It’s not only Pau and Kobe that pass well, however. McRoberts has shown he has above average feel for a big man and often makes good reads from the top of the key by making excellent high/low passes to his front court partner or to Kobe when they’re posting up. Fisher has also shown good feel for making timely post entry passes and made more than a few eye popping passes out of the pick and roll. MWP makes good reads from out of the post and has been an effective passer and shot creator for teammates when teams send a second defender at him on the block.

All of this bears out in the Lakers assist percentage (the % of baskets assisted) of 61.7%, which ranks 4th in the NBA. This team looks for each other and uses the motions of the offense to help each other get open.

*The Lakers sets, for all the hand wringing that occurs, are actually solid by design and try to take advantage of the strengths of the players on the roster. Kobe is one the hardest off the ball workers in the league and this offense uses countless screen actions – set by and for him – to get him open coming to spots on the floor where he can do damage. The Lakers are also setting more screens for their big men to come across the lane to get the ball in the post with good position.

A set that looks to be one of the Lakers bread and butter actions is Kobe setting up on the wing, then cutting across the paint to set a cross screen on one of his bigs, and then using a down screen from the other big man to pop up to the top of the key. This action allows the Lakers to play to two of their strengths in a single set by getting a big man coming across the lane for a post up while also attempting to free Kobe coming to the top of the key to make a catch where he can easily get to either elbow for his pull up jumper (a pet shot of his). Setting up Kobe – still this team’s most prolific scorer – in spots where he can do damage is a major key to success.

*I mentioned the Lakers generally dealing with double teams well and it must also be acknowledged that being able to force double teams is a key to any productive offense. On countless possessions Kobe and Bynum force a double team simply by making a catch and Gasol also sees double teams when he’s working the deep low block. By forcing double teams the Laker are generating open looks for players all over the floor – shots that aren’t falling enough – but open shots nonetheless. Some of these doubles are based off the fact that guys like Fisher, Barnes, and McRoberts aren’t making defenses pay by hitting shots but committing multiple defenders is also due to the effectiveness of these specific Lakers when they possess the ball. Again, forcing defenses to shift or commit additional resources to slowing specific players speaks to the Lakers offense doing things right; it speaks to their best offensive weapons getting the ball in dangerous areas of the floor and showing the ability of these guys to hurt the defense when single covered.

The Negatives:

*The lack of capable shooters is truly hurting this team. As mentioned earlier the Lakers are last in the league in 3 point shooting and this ineptitude in hitting the long ball has a domino effect on how good the offense can be. Kobe, Pau, and Bynum often deal with guards digging down in their lap and the paint is more congested than it’s ever been.

On too many possessions the Lakers see a half court defense with nearly every defender having one foot in the paint. The positioning of these defenders cuts off passing angles and denies driving lanes. We often lament the big men not getting enough touches in the post but what’s clear from watching the Lakers’ sets is that guards are tentative in making post entry passes when they have defenders sagging off and threatening a deflection or outright steal. Even when the ball is effectively entered into the post the 2nd defender is there to disrupt a move by digging down and it’s either making post players rush to get their shot off (Bynum does this most) or get rid of the ball to a less threatening teammate.

*The spacing issues collectively hurt the team in the types of shots they get as well. Statistically speaking, the most efficient shots in the league are at the rim and behind the three point arc. The Lakers though, as a team, take the 2nd fewest shots at the rim and are 20th in 3 point FG attempts. Meanwhile, they take the 5th most shots from 10-15 feet and 9th most from 16-23 feet. And while the Lakers rank 1st in FG% from 16-23 feet, they’re still only shooting 43% from that range and most of that is because of Kobe’s shooting a very good 46% from that distance.

Meanwhile, the Lakers shoot nearly 67% at the rim as a team (5th in the league) but can’t get enough shots from that range to truly impact the game positively. When you combine that with the low volume of 3′s taken and horrid percentage made, the Lakers are living off the most inefficient shots available from night to night. And while I get it’s a bit of a contradiction to complain about both bad shooting AND low shot volume from deep, it’s really more about the Lakers not being able to capitalize on a type of shot that makes a difference in today’s NBA. Against the Pacers the Lakers were -24 points from behind the arc. I don’t care how good you are inside or how much Kobe goes off, winning with that type of discrepancy is nearly impossible.

*The Lakers have an identity crisis on offense as well. Coming into the season Mike Brown spoke of a twin tower offense in the mold of the early 2000′s Spurs that would also try to maximize Kobe’s effectiveness by getting him into his spots. That was a nice sound bite but it’s proven difficult to actually achieve.

Mike Brown is running some of those Spurs sets by having the first big man down the floor set up in the post with the second big man acting as the trail man that is an outlet for ball reversals (every time you see Bynum or Gasol sitting at the top of key waiting for a pass to swing the ball, this is the reason). However, this type of set up means that when the Lakers actually get into their sets they’re actually running a lot of Kobe-centric actions that require that big man to stay high while the other big man floats around the low block setting screens for (what can be up to) the first half of the 24 second clock.

So, the Lakers aren’t really running a lot of twin tower actions, but rather a lot of 4-out-1-in actions that leaves a big man 20 feet from the basket. This creates an unevenness to the Lakers sets that leads to one of their best players in a position where he’s less a threat. And mostly that player is Pau Gasol.

This season Pau is taking over a shot less at the rim and from 3-9 feet while taking over a full shot more from 16-23 feet a contest. Pau has, in other words, become another floor spacer for Kobe and Bynum to do work in the mid and low post but his game is suffering for it. Sure, Pau’s still very effective as a passer from that spot on the floor and his improved jumper means that he can threaten the defense from that distance. But Pau’s still one of the elite post players in this league (per mySynergySports he’s 6th in the NBA posting 1.06 points per play from the post) but simply isn’t getting the same number of chances on the block as his percentage of total plays from the post has gone down from 39% last year to 32% this season. Meanwhile the percentage of plays as a spot up shooter has gone up 5%, showing that he’s effectively trading post up chances for spot up jumpers.

*Pau’s usage reflects a bigger issue, however. The Lakers big three are all most effective working 18 feet and in, and primarily working in the mid and low post. But there simply isn’t enough space down there for all of them to thrive. Last season one of the big themes around the NBA was how the Heat would deal with their two best players (LeBron and Wade) having such overlapping skill sets. What we saw was that often one of them was relegated to being a decoy off the ball or, worse yet, standing in the corner while the other went to work with the ball. Well, this season, the Lakers are facing a similar issue but it involves their entire big three. Sure, Kobe is a perimeter player and can more easily adjust his game to work from the wing and/or other spots on the floor. He can also be used off the ball and brought into different spots easily because of his ability to cut and dash into open space. But the Laker bigs aren’t those types of players and figuring out a way to get them into their preferred spots on the floor while working Kobe into the offense remains an issue.

*One way to diversify the Lakers’ attack is to run more P&R but this too poses some issues. Kobe is the only natural P&R ball handler on the roster but possesses a bad wrist and mangled fingers from past injuries that have impacted his ball handling. He’s still able to create shots for himself as a ball handler in this action but he can be turnover prone when trapped turning the corner. If the Lakers try to run this action with the currently healthy players on their roster (MWP, Fisher, Darius Morris) the play gets gummed up because those guys aren’t respected as shooters. In any event, I’d like to see more of this action simply because the Lakers are only getting 9% of their offense from the P&R (per mySynergySports). But, it still must be run judiciously unless the team wants to see their turnover rate spike.

————————————–

Some improvement can come from more comfort level with their sets. Some can also come from Mike Brown further tweaking his lineups to better match personnel that fits together. A couple of suggestions are shortening the minutes that Pau and Bynum play together. Brown can then match Murphy with Bynum as the former can provide the floor spacing for the latter and then match McRoberts with Pau to give Gasol a more active and slashing big man to take advantage of his passing skills. This type of move would also free up the post for both the bigs more often and allow them to play to their strengths on more possessions, and thus improve the Lakers’ sets.

This is only one idea but there are surely more to be explored. Ultimately though, the Lakers have the tools to be a good offensive team but their limitations and ability to make a defense pay with the current personnel are real. In the last six quarters we’ve seen better spacing to go along with improved ball movement but until the open shots start to fall this team will only be average on that side of the ball. Which, to say the least, is disconcerting.

Darius Soriano

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150 responses to Notes On A Floundering Offense

  1. It’s pretty rare for a player to average 25% from 3 (and regularly take them). It’s downright horrific for a team. Hit shots.

  2. I just…
    I don’t…
    Where to begin?

    It’s a team built to run the triangle, that isn’t running the triangle. What more is there to say? The Lakers need to, as many have said, get bad by gutting the roster and signing the two biggest names on the market this offseason. Fill with spare parts and serve.

  3. Maybe its confirmation bias, but I strongly feel that the injury to Steve Blake has contributed to the recent woes on offense. Not to say that he is the player that brings it together, but rather it is the play of Darius Morris really killing the offense. According to basketballvalue.com, he is a net -18 when he is on the court, versus Steve Blake a +1.5.

  4. how about pau and bynum being the 1st or second guy down at the offensive end rather than the 4th or 5th? That’s an easy 6-10 ppg game right there and would get the team into an offensive set quicker. Pau and Bynum’s post moves are predictable. It would be nice if they brought a little more variety to their game down low.

  5. There was a time in the NBA when the goal was to get any of your players high percentage shots (i.e short jumpers and post up plays). You can’t have everyone hanging in the paint at the same time, but that doesn’t mean you have one guy there that either shoots or draws doubles and then kicks out to shooters. There are great motion offenses where all the players move and the ball is rotated until someone gets an open high percentage shot.

  6. This game vs the Clippers Weds. means alot. If the Lakers can win it does wonders for team’s confidence.

    If they lose and lose handily again it re-confirms 2 things

    Lakers will have a tough time making the playoffs

    A new sheriff runs Staples. Man, I never thought I’d say that

  7. “Pau’s usage reflects a bigger issue, however. The Lakers big three are all most effective working 18 feet and in, and primarily working in the mid and low post. But there simply isn’t enough space down there for all of them to thrive.”
    —–

    Outside of the horrible 3pt shooting this is truly the biggest issue. I can’t stand seeing Pau Gasol float on the perimeter while Kobe is in the high post. If Kobe is really going to spend most of his time in the high post then either Gasol or Bynum needs to go.

    When Lamar was on the team he would often end up on the perimeter when Kobe went to the high post and Gasol was on the low block. It worked because Lamar was a threat to take his man off the dribble or dive to the rim. Gasol doesn’t have Odom’s foot speed and agility. So when he sits near the three point line his man has no problem sagging into the paint. The Lakers three best players just don’t compliment each other much anymore. It largely due to the evolving nature of their games. Kobe is moving from being a slashing perimeter ball handler to an off the ball player who likes posting on the elbows. Gasol has gone from being a highly efficient low post scorer to a high post facilitator more comfortable with 15-20 ft jumpers. Lastly, Bynum has gone from being a clean up man to a more featured offensive player. I think the Lakers big three are still trying to adjust to each other as they are now as opposed to who they have been in the past. And it has to be confusing for them.

    Still the Lakers don’t need three players on the box. Someone needs to move.

  8. @T. Rogers couldn’t have said it better. I have been saying Pau is a true C who plays best with his back to the basket. His passing off the low block is exceptional when he’s there.

    And have you noticed our best lineups have been when Gasol is paired w/ McRoberts or Murphy and not Bynum.

  9. A lot of good work, particularly the stuff about Pau.

  10. thisisweaksauce January 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Watch: Aaron is going to come up with some garbage that Pau shouldn’t be in the low post because he is only a “natural PF.” As Darius clearly points out, he is playing worse right now by staying only in the high post – the dude’s one of the most effective low post players in the league.

  11. Last game was the first game in a while where they had any type of fluidity on offense. I like Pau as the primary playmaker on the team in the low to mid post.

    Don’t get me wrong Pau turning into in effect a rich man’s Brad Miller or Vlade Divac is a waste of Pau’s talents even with him past his prime but if Pau from 08-10 isn’t coming back and with Bynum taking so much space in the key and with nobody else on the team capable of making a play besides Kobe I’d be ok with Pau playing a power point role.

    Long term though it’s painfully clear that Bynum and Pau don’t play very well together, it’s lightyears behind the chemistry Odom and Gasol had, that’s for sure.

  12. You’reWeakSauce,
    Better to watch the games than only look at stats. Pau’s numbers are great in the low post because most of the time he gets it there he is wide open for a dunk. If you watched the magic game even Anderson pushed Pau out to around 15 feet when we tried to post him. As we saw all post season Gasol has a tough time battling for post position.

  13. I just saw this on ESPN. Supposedly Otis Smith reached out to the Knicks regarding a Chandler+ Stoudemire for DH trade.

    To date I had not heard about the Magic being the aggressors in trade proposals for DH.

    Does this mean that the Magic are serious about looking for suitors or is it gamesmanship on the Magic’s part? If the Lakes were to offer both Pau/Bynum that appears to be a better return.

    Do you think this is designed to get the Lakers to consider packaging both?

    http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/10220/sas-magic-inquire-about-dwight-to-knicks

  14. I think Brown needs to shake up the rotations. He needs to sacrifice some on defense in order to get more shooters more looks more times. When Blake comes back I think things open up a bit.

  15. Good post, Darius. I am convinced the lack of outside shooting is the primary (but not the only) problem. Not only are players getting good looks and missing, they are now, passing up the good look and putting the ball on the floor or passing out to someone else (Kobe, Pau or Andrew) who doesn’t have a shot available. I think a contributing factor to your point about the big three is that Kobe simply is not making many shots outside of 10-15 feet so he is playing in the paint a lot more.

    Given the roster and the poor shooting, I don’t think this is Brown’s fault (and missing Blake is just adding insult to injury). The one concern I have is what you pointed out about mixing up his rotations. He has to find some better combinations. There is no second unit. There are just spare parts he needs to fit around the six (now five) functioning players.

  16. Archon,

    Actually I think Pau and Bynum play pretty well together. The problem seems to come when Kobe is thrown into the mix. Whenever Kobe goes to the high post with the starting line up he basically is taking away Gasol’s space on the floor. That forces Pau to take Kobe’s “natural” space which is out on the wing. And you never want to see a 7ft player on the wing (unless its Dirk).

  17. If Pau Gasol is indeed a true center, then why all the complaining when he has to play the center position when Bynum is out? At the start of this year Bynum was absent for four games and everyone was worried that Pau was going to get burned out playing against opposing team’s centers. Although, we all know that European players age at a rapid pace, and their shelf life is limited; Pau is but 31 years of age and has played extended NBA seasons three times in his career. The Lakers relied on Pau last year and he wilted down the stretch, and he is starting this season in decline for numerous reasons.

    One of the reasons that I have always admired the Lakers organization is that they have always treated their franchise players with veneration. If the Lakers are even contemplating using the amnesty against Kobe Bryant, I will be able unable to remain loyal to the Lakers.

    I will lose respect for the organization because Kobe Bryant has played through injuries that other players would take games off instead of playing. He has not one time come to camp out of shape. During every off season Kobe has worked to improve some aspect of his game, and that cannot be said about all franchise players either on this team or on any other team.

    If the Lakers are going to amnesty Kobe, then do not wait until the end of this season, to see how things work out for the team, do it now so that he can join the Oklahoma Thunder and win a couple of more championships. Kobe deserves that much. Everyone screamed when LeBron made a decision that was best for Him. But management is supposed to be able to make any move that they choose, because its just business (see Lamar).

    Management tied their hands behind their own backs, by signing people more suited for the triangle, long after the triangle was going to be obsolete. Everyone knew that their was going to be a lockout and a truncated 2011-2012 season. So, they should have started making preparations for this years ago by: a) Signing PJ through this season, or b) Signing B. Shaw to continue with the triangle this season and while transitioning away from it at the end of KB’s contract.

  18. T.Rogers makes an excellent point, which supports Darius’ original thought. Both Kobe and Gasol want to occupy the high post and neither really wants to be on the perimeter. Early on in the season when Kobe was struggling a bit, the coaches had him out on the perimeter. SInce the horrifying Denver game, they have allowed Kobe to re-take the high post position where he’s most comfortable. It’s really problematic as talent-wise, they both have merits to be there, but there’s only one space.

  19. #17. Pau can play Center. But, he needs a viable back up Center on the roster to ensure that he’s not playing 40 minutes of Center a night. Last season, that was the issue. To start the season, that was also somewhat of an issue though Murphy and McRoberts showed that one of them could play Center in less traditional lineups.

    I think the concern with Pau is consistently being beaten up battling for post position on every single possession. I think I should make it clear that I’m not asking for that and I don’t think any rational fan is either. I think what’s needed, however, is for Pau to get more touches in the post than he’s getting now. Against any big man in the league – that includes Howard – Pau can be effective in the post. But what makes Pau so good on offense is the diversity in his game that allows him to work outside the post and still be a threat. However, if he’s relegated to the wing too often he’ll lose effectiveness just as if you ask him to post up 60 times a game. There must be a balance.

  20. The diff between Pau and Drew is Pau’s game is effective on the perimeter. Drew can only post up that’s why the duncan-robinson offense didn’t work because robinson could hit the FT line jumper was agile and quick enough to get past his defender. Drew can’t do that so when there both on the floor together Pau has to be on the perimeter. Coupled with the fact Drew doesn’t dominate the paint like he should give us more problems. He misses chip shots at the rim every game and isn’t a threat for offensive rebounds because he takes too many plays off. Bynum is one of the softest centers in the league

  21. I think talking about amnestying Kobe is insane. Lakers wouldn’t dare and Kobe would just retire before playing for a scrub team to end his career.

    As for the offense, we could talk all we want about putting Pau down in the post more but I’m over it. Ever since the Shaq years I’ve been hearing about our bigs not getting enough touches down low. We just have to face it, this isn’t a big man’s league anymore. With the way you’re able to zone, no team is just going to allow you to throw the ball into the post and go to work.

    Bottom line, our guys need to start making wide open shots. I’m talking to you Matt Barnes, Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol, Jason Kapono, Metta World Peace.

  22. http://www.82games.com/1112/1112LAL2.HTM

    Please focus on Lines 1 and 4. then 7, 13,14

    It’s very similiar whether Gasol or Bynum plays the 5
    the +/- are not that far apart
    As well as off. and def. effiency

  23. What’s not simple here ? They have the worst starting point guard in Basketball, and one of the very worst outside shooting rosters, and the worst #4-#12 roster in the league hands down. Zone them, and wear down their only three good players. This is why they need to trade “one great player for multiple good players”. Until that happens, nothing is going to make Derek Fisher competent again, nor Steve Blake able to get it done, nor the backup cast even at the league average.

  24. #22. Kevin,
    What stands out most, actually, is the difference in offensive efficiency when Fisher is replaced by Blake – not any difference between Bynum or Gasol manning the pivot.

  25. I’m convinced that if (1) the Lakers acquire a legitimate 3 point shooter, or (2) someone on the roster such as Andrew Goudelock, Kapono, or Steve Blake develops into the 3 point shooter that all three were brought here to be, then it would solve alot of these problems. Spacing would improve and defenses wouldn’t pack the paint, which would lead to better ball movement, post entries, and slashes to the basket from Kobe and Lamar.

    Errr….I mean, Kobe and the player we got from Dallas known as “$9M trade exception”….errr….I mean, Kobe and, I guess, Matt Barnes and Darius Morris.

  26. 12, That’s curious. You could replace Pau’s name with Bynum in those statements, and get a statement that was actually true. Bynum had trouble fighting for position against Tyler Hansbrough, and he had trouble scoring 1-1 against Hibbert when he was forced to use an actual post move (as opposed to dunking).

  27. 21,

    Rudy, I think amnestying Kobe in order to lower salary cap thereby Lakers could attract DH + DW is the grandest imagination I’ve read in this blog, It only happens when you are so desperate and over exposure to fantasy games. There are some practical propositions that are worth considering but cutting off a legend would be the weirdest act a GM or an owner can do. You solved the salary cap issue but create a much bigger problem which self-destruction of image as a great employer, The Lakers image and also to Los Angeles as the destination of stars. It was reported earlier, Kobe is one of the best three Laker players of all time. Think of another fantasy that’s feasible bridging reality and practical thinking.

    Robert Horry is in Russia today, he was asked: Who is the best player that you ever played with?

    “I would say Hakeem Olajuwon and Kobe Bryant. The things The Dream could do on the floor were phenomenal for a big man. And the dedication that I saw in Kobe, I didn’t see in anywhere else. And I think that he’s not given enough credit for this: he has spent a lot of time and energy to become what he is now.”

  28. Darius, you ‘re right it’s obvious who the better option at PG is. What’s even more glaring is the fact Blake being our best PG speaks to the ineptitude at that position.

    Do you think moving Fisher to the 2nd unit would create stability and structure to our bench’s offense?

    Yeah, me neither. lol

  29. Pau doesn’t deserve as much blame as everyone gives him – this new system is not using his true talents that help the Lakers win to their fullest, though I do admit Pau shooting threes is an exciting prospect (though I think he’s 2-11 on the season or something :P)

  30. Ugh. I’m so disheartened of late that I spent a half hour on the ESPN trade machine trying to figure out viable uses of the Odom TPE. No silly rumors, just ruminations, so hopefully not against site policy.

    Anyway, I came up with the following candidates, all of whom have PER’s higher than Fish/Blake:

    1) Hinrich – has one year left on a $8.1M salary. Hasn’t played this year due to offseason shoulder surgery, but his PER last year was 12.3. In his absence, Jeff Teague has asserted himself as the PG of the future in Atlanta. But since his deal is expiring, would ATL go for it? The only incentive for them is gets them out of the tax this year, as opposed to next. Steve Blake used to be the poor man’s Kirk Hinrich, and we can always use another scrappy white player for our Hickory High lineup.

    2) Ridnour – only makes $3.7M/next 3 years, has a 14.5 PER. Kind of the odd man out once Minnesota gets Barea back, since at the point they’ll have their PG of the future, their big FA signing, and Ridnour. No D, but can shoot and create. Plus, can play on the Hickory lineup (though not as scrappy).

    3) Mayo – $5.6/1 year. Not really a PG but would dramatically up our backcourt athleticism, can shoot, and can D up. PER of 15.2. I’m trying to figure out why Memphis would do this, and the only thing I can come up with is it would get them out of paying the luxury tax. Maybe if we toss them a 1st-rounder?

    4) Farmar – $4.0M/2 years. PER of 20.3 (at least according to the Trade Machine). Just sayin’…

    5) Udrih – $6.9/2 years. PER of 11.4, so not really much of an upgrade. Not sure why Milwaukee does this except puts them under cap by a smidge.

    6) Sessions – $4.3/2 years. PER 15.6. But Gilbert hates us so I don’t see them doing this.

    7) Lowry ($5.8/2, PER 22.4) or Dragic ($2.1/1, PER 14.5) – not sure why Houston would do this, but I put it up because at least Dragic has been mentioned in other talks. But Houston is looking for assets and is under the cap so this is not the deal they are looking for.

  31. @Chearn & Rudy
    It’s not that the Lakers want to amnesty Kobe. Kobe sells tickets, jerseys, commercials etc. Even though he is making $25+ million he is still underpaid from the perspective that he makes the organization far more than $25 million dollars in revenue.
    The problem is that the Lakers as currently constructed are clearly not competing for a championship this year. I don’t think anyone would argue that they are better than last year’s team or even have a ceiling higher than last year’s team and we know what happened last year. A trade is the only way that that this team can get good enough to compete. They are old and well over the luxury tax.
    You are crazy if you think that Kobe is going to waste his last few years playing at an elite level on a team that has no chance to get him his 6th ring. He will demand to be amnestied and then let it be known that he will retire if a bad team picks him up.

  32. Fellow sports fans, and those who think they know a little about this game. First, when your SG out rebounds your center, which is 7?, there’s problem. Bynum did not hustle during the game. There were several loose balls within 3 ft of him he did not even hustle to participate in the action. Second, there should only be 2 dogs on this team, Pau and Kobe, the rest need to feed of them, not put Bynum in front of Pau, because when the ball goes into Bynum, he has one mindset and that is too score, even when he double team, and team see this and capitalize on this part of his game, rendering him ineffective. Third, under this type of offense you need the right players to create that flow, the Lakers do not have it. Fish is ranked dead last of all starting PG, and yet he starts, that’s a shame and management should be fired allowing this to continue. The bench, or should I say what bench?

  33. I agree with Sportswriter. However the problem is with Coach Brown. He moved Pau out of his comfort zone, rendering ineffective most of the times on offense. The team can have three main dogs. Pau needs to be close to the basket so he can feed Bynum on short and quick passes. Bynum can shoot and score before double team comes. When Bynum receives long passes from outside, he become isolated by double team which often confuses him. Bynum is good moving without the ball and when he gets the ball on the move, he is powerful and dominant.

  34. I’m listening to Stephen A. Smith Lakers are committed to 87 mil next year. What the heck is Bynum doing making $16 mil. Pau is making 19 mil What the heck are these guys doing making max player money??

    The big 3 in Miami each make 16 mil. What is Mitch doing giving out these outrageous deals? MWP is making 7 mil. Lakers hands are tied given a miracle it sounds like.

    Mitch has made some dumbfounded moves. He should be fired. Mitch has made 1 good move since he’s been GM that’s getting Pau. No one can name any good move other than that. What is Mitch doing here??

  35. The lakers have a lot of issues. Darius pointed them out nicely. The lakers have players best suited for the triangle in a traditional offense. Which means they don’t have anyone who can consistently penetrate the lane and force the defense to collapse and then kick it out to open shooters. Even if they did have a guard who can penetrate, they don’t have anyone that can consistently knock down an open shot.

    At most the opposing team has to guard 3 players on the court. That means the lakers are consistently playing 3 on 5 or 2 on 5.

    Pau needs to play with the second unit and more in the post.

    Another thing Stu Lantz mentioned yesterday was that the lakers run so much motion just to get the ball into the post. It doesn’t make sense. The lakers need to go into the post first. Mike Brown needs to tweak his offense and create better passing lanes. Something the triangle consistently did. Bynum passing has been bad, but what do we expect when the only available pass out the post is across court in the corner. The lakers are the only team that can’t pass out of the post. The pacers with Hibbert did it all last night. Orlando does it. But with the lakers its run motion for 15+ seconds, dump it to andrew and clear out leaving Andrew vulnerable to the double and trip teams without a clear outlet.

    It’s just tough watching this team right now and they could reasonably miss the playoffs if they continue to dig themselves into a whole.

  36. There’s a lot of good comments above, and obviously, a lot of good info in the post. The area that most stands out to me, is outside shooting. The Lakers haven’t been a really good 3-pt team for a lot of years but they’ve managed to get by. This current slump is beyond the pale. It’s completely across the board – Kobe, Fish, Barnes, Metta, Jason, Troy, and even Blake, are all shooting below their career percentages from distance.

    I always look for commonality. The lockout isn’t an excuse for having the worst 3-pt percentage in the league (.256). If one player is in a slump, then I look at that one player. If two or three players are in a slump, I look at those two or three players. But when virtually every player is in a slump, then it’s a systematic issue and then I ask, what has changed for the team as a unit?

    The most obvious question, is whether a huge staff shakeup has affected the players across the board, whether in x’s and o’s, in practice routines, or in some psychological way. Laugh all you want about that last element, but Phil Jackson used to bring a psychologist in when he thought it was needed. Outside shooting has a lot to do with confidence and rhythm, you’re either on your stroke out there or you aren’t. There’s no real margin for error.

    One of Phil’s strengths was managing personalities. His rotations were among the most boring in the league but his players knew where they stood. I think there’s some uncertainty right now, the only player who knows exactly where he stands is Kobe and he’s finally jacking up shots with absolute, unfettered freedom. And, his long range misses probably have nothing at all to do with confidence, they have to do with a torn-up wrist that no sane person should be shooting with.

    Very long story, shorter – chippy, messy, close-range play is working. Delicate balance of long-range ecosystem is compromised by merging of fresh water into old, established, salt-water marsh.

  37. 30. Brian

    It’s funny that you mentioned farmar because I was watching the bulls/nets on wgn and Farmar penetrated into the lane quite often. Farmar was a good all around point guard that didn’t live up to his potential because he didn’t like the triangle and phil didn’t like him. Farmar is an athletic pg that would fit into what the lakers are doing now. I wouldn’t mind or be surprised seeing him back with L.A. since he’s from here.

  38. Orlando scored 56 points in Boston tonight.

  39. These are dark days in Laker land … I only hope the players aren’t as hopeless as we FB&G ‘ers seem to be …

  40. 37. Joel

    Yeah, he’s pretty much exactly what the Lakers need right now – can create off the dribble, get into the lane and create easy shots for others, can hit the pull-up J, can hit the spot-up 3. Sure, he has his issues – mainly between the ears – but we sure could use him right about now.

    We could also use Sasha, now that I think about it.

    /cues up “Glory Days” on the iPod

  41. I’m starting to wonder about MB’s longevity as head coach. Not asking for his ouster, but wondering how much patience the FO has.

    After all, we’ve seen over and over again across many sports that it’s much easier to replace a coach than overhaul a roster, even when (or if) the latter is what is required for success.

    Now in the past, the Lakers organization has typically been able to do the right thing regarding replacing “parts”, be they players or coaches.

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see if this still holds true. I don’t think it’s time to panic – yet. Haha – don’t worry, I’ll let you know when it’s time!

  42. 38,

    If Orlando scored only 56 against the Celts, is it possible Lakers might score only 36 on their road trip; Kobe gets his average of 30 while the rest of the team 6 pts. If that ish happens, I think that would be the height of hopelessness in this city.

  43. King of interesting that possible help out there might come from Farmer or bringing back LO.

    Kind of backs up Kevin’s point above about Mitch.

    This current team could be a 3rd or 4th seed instead of a 10th seed.

    All it need is a coach who understands it’s personal and how to utilize them.

    Mike Brown is clueless. He sounds in interviews like a used car salesman telling you the car he sold you is just fine without a engine. “Just give it time, it will start to run”.

    Fire this guy now before you lose your fan base and the city Dr. Buss p!

  44. R – Just my hunch, but I’d guess Jim Buss will give Mike Brown a long leash.

    I look back at Buss’s belief in Bynum. Part of that was great insight into the player Bynum would become, but a large part of that was the personal pride – Drew was almost his personal project.

    I see Brown as similar. Jim Buss went against typical basketball “wisdom” (Adelman) and the wishes of the players/fans (Shaw). Mike Brown is his guy. Firing him after just 1 season would be an admission of failure on Jim’s part, and I don’t know if he has that humility in him. We’ll see.

    I also think Brown is getting more vitriol than he deserves, but he definitely should be held accountable for many things right now.

  45. On Shaw, pull up today’s LA Times and watch the video interview with B.Shaw. Much said by Shaw if you read between the lines.

    Clearly understands this team far better and it’s hard to argue the team would not be better off.

    Watch it!

  46. Darius, it’s true that Pau has had to play a lot of minutes due to not having a backup center. However, many players have had to adjust to a team lacking competent backups at the position they play. Pau has known for several years that the Lakers had no backup center and thus, should have been prepared to fill that void. Lamar had to do it for years, switching from small forward to power forward and from a starter to a bench player.

    I am not disparaging Pau’s abilities in the post he has more than adequate skill to play the center position. Its just that Pau could have used this off season in the weight room; just as many of his counterparts have, to improve sustainable post position. BTW, ever since he was a rookie, I have always admired his skill set and was happy when the Lakers got him.

    With that being said, with this group of players, maybe it is best for the offense to run through Gasol, as you stated.

    With games being played with rapidity, the teams with a new coach and system are struggling. Additionally, teams with more seasoned players are finding it difficult to get their legs under them.

  47. Match the other teams intensity! Now there’s a statement that we have not heard coming out of the mouth of a Laker, nor a coach for that matter. At least, not that I’m aware of, but I could be wrong.

  48. All of you saying the Lakers should have kept the triangle might not understand the FO’s side of it.

    The Lakers were swept out of the playoffs last season. We all saw it, it was ugly. Maybe Buss felt shake-ups were needed. Even Kobe talks about how last year’s Lakers had lost their ‘fire’. Add the fact that Gasol’s play was/is deteriorating, and the notion that Phil Jackson was losing the grasp on his team, it’s plausible to think that was the case. And apparently, the FO felt it was the right time for Bynum to take on a bigger role.

    Lets be honest. If the trade for Paul would have gone through, we’d all probably be singing a different tune. We’d have at least one other player who could create his own shot. Also, when you get rid of a system that’s designed to make your players better, adding one of the best play makers in the league definitely helps. Imagine, would the Spurs be as good all these years without Tony Parker? He’s definitely a big part of that team. I know other posters have already commented this, but I’ll say it for them again: it’s not Mitch’s fault. Really, he tried.

    As far as paying players, and cutting salary, and all that business stuff, we must understand that it is a business. And Buss knows his way around this business, he’s proved repeatedly that he definitely wants to win.

  49. it’s not Mitch’s fault

    ___

    The Veto isn’t. The numerous bad contracts, dumping Odom, and the foolish decision to waste a million dollars and a roster spot on Jason Kapono are, however, at least to some extent, Kupchak’s fault.

  50. 49 Anonymous

    The contracts aren’t THAT bad. You can’t fault Mitch for Gasol’s contract. He was a big part of the Lakers winning 2 titles, don’t forget that. As were Bynum, and Artest, in their own ways.

    There’s a ton of teams with overpaid players in this league. Look at the Suns. Look at Orlando. Bynum’s about right, look at Marc Gasol’s salary. That’s the going rate for centers.

    Also, what’s so bad about the Kapono signing? Isn’t spreading the floor/three-point shooting, what we desperately need? What other options did we have? It’s practically a minimum contract too, so there’s no need to complain about that.

    And the veto of the Paul trade led to the Odom trade. So…

  51. What other options did we have?

    __

    Delonte West, to name one. Kapono is barely an NBA player and that was clear from his performance record before the deal was signed.

    One more time: MWP, Blake, Fisher, and Walton are on the books for over $20M NEXT year. The Lakers already have ~$80M committed for NEXT year.

    One more time: Trading Odom to Dallas will allow Mark Cuban to clear more cap space this summer and increased the chances that Dallas will land Howard and Williams. Josh McRoberts is guaranteed more money than Odom is next year.

    And Orlando and Phoenix are not the comps you want to make. Both of those teams have a lot of overpaid, mediocre veterans. That is why Nash and Howard will not be on those teams in 2013–unless Orlando can trade FOR Nash, or maybe for Tyreke Evans.

    Committing 143M to Pau and Kobe through 2014 is a different kind of issue, because of how good they are and because of Kobe’s iconic value to the team. But Pau makes more money than LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, or Chris Paul, and the Lakers are on the hook to him until he is 34 years old.

    There is a context to all the deals–but Kupchak and the Busses, simply put, overcommitted to this group of players, and they are–and will keep–paying for it.

  52. Thanks for a great article, lifting the discussion on his site to a higher level.

    Sounds like getting Blake back will do the Lakers good, and that fixing the shooting slump one or the other way will have a positive domino effect on the restof the offense… which gives me some hope that this team can turn it around without major changes.

  53. Nonisser,
    “There’s a ton of teams with overpaid players in this league.”

    The problem is that once a team gets past a certain point in “wasted salaries”, they won’t be contenders. It appears that that is where the Lakers are now.

  54. 34 – Kevin.

    Kobe and Pau’s contracts are on extension years, meaning these are the contracts that were necessary to pay them to perform. Kobe signed a 3-yr 87M deal whilst Pau signed a 3-yr 57M deal. At the time they were given, they were worth it. Right now when the team is struggling, it seems worse than Rashard Lewis’ deal.

    Andrew Bynum is on the tail-end of his contract that was paying him some 58M over 4 seasons. Thats the same deal that Marc Gasol was given this summer, only he got his 2 summers ago.

    Metta World Peace’s contract was a midlevel exception signing we did 2 summers ago when Ariza bolted (and signed the same amount) to Houston. It spans for 5 seasons and its now on its 3rd – the 4th and 5th year are player options.

    Luke Walton’s contract was given 4 summers ago – wherein Luke agreed to lengthen the deal to 30M over 6yrs instead of the original 5-yr deal or so.

    Blake was a midlevel signing a season ago… Matt Barnes was a LLE signing a year ago… Fisher’s deal is 2/3 of the 3-yr 10M deal he signed a summer ago.

    I hope this clarifies that Mitch Kupchak did not just give these contracts out of his hat.

  55. @30 Brian

    Excellent!!! If we could only do three do-overs we would have Trevor, LO and Farmar back and we would not be having these discussions.

  56. I actually made a post about the current team and its “options” 2 days ago…

    http://warrenweelim.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/assessing-the-lakers-and-its-options/

  57. Listen,….you can slice it any way you please…outside shooting is a problem, I agree. But what use are 2 7 footers, if they don’t play like 7 footers between the lines? These guys get pushed around and refuse to show any toughness at all. Drew gets hyped when he gets a dunk, and so does pau. I don’t see these two guys making a point of controlling the paint like true big men.

  58. Another issue….the trade rumors….Do you think these guys (pau and drew) are really putting it all on the line? I think drew is merely trying to stay healthy, and pau as well because they expect to be traded and don’t want to get hurt giving their all for a team who is seeking to trade.Pau and drew took a “professional” attitude to the trade talk but they still don’t seem to be all in from game to game. Stern effed the team up by allowing us to out who we were trading and now we’re stuck with disgruntled players, not to mention having to trade candy-@@@ lamar the crybaby.

  59. @58 DOC4DaLakeShow

    The Lakers did not HAVE to trade Lamar. lil Jim DID it because Lamar was depressed and acting like a jilted lover (Pau may be saying the right things but that’s how he’s playing).

    Mitch is the GM. As such, he SHOULD have talked to Lamar and told him to take some time off and clear his head. Then he should have been guided to Fish and Mike Brown to convince the guy that he was important to the team now and in the future. LO should then have talked to Kobe who would have given him a swift kick in the butt and told him to get dressed and STFU.

    If Phil were still here, he would have told lil Jim to F**k Off when the trade was proposed to him. If they still tried and failed, he would have convinced LO of his importance to the team as the glue guy, made a demon out of the guy through Zen (think Vic the Brick on steriods), and emoboldened LO with more responsibility to protect his name and carry the second team.

    Mike Brown probably wasn’t even consulted. Even if he were, he would have meekly accepted whatever the FO presented him with. Phil is a maker of men. Mike Brown appears to be more like a car salesman or the timid coach on the Waterboy (Henry Winkler). I know Phil and Mike Brown is no Phil.

  60. Warren,

    There was no need to extend Luke Walton. It was just a mistake by the FO. People knew it and said so at the time.

    I said last year that if Steve Blake wanted more than two years that the Lakers should look elsewhere. Giving a four-year guaranteed deal to a mediocre 30-year-old role player is highly questionable.

    There was no need, other than to show him respect, to make Kobe by far the highest-paid player in the NBA through age 35. There was no need to give Pau more money than a max deal through age 34, other than to thank him for 2009 and 2010, You can say they owed that to them if you like, but as business moves, both deals, particularly Pau’s, were questionable.

    I don’t know what other offers Fisher and MWP had, but I question giving either of them, much less both of them, two player options at the end of the deals–for Fisher in his age 37 and 38 seasons, and for MWP in his age 34 and 35 seasons.

    Barnes’ contract is a good value. So was Odom’s. Bynum’s is OK, given his age, skillset, and size. McRoberts’ and Murphy’s deals are solid. Kapono should have not been signed because he can’t play.

  61. A lot of revisionism going on here. Lot less complaining when the team was winning championships (and Kobe + Pau were extended). It was a series of unfortunate events. There is NO doubt in my mind that Mitch and the FO were fully aware of many of the problems (complaints) listed in these comments. He went out and got CP3 for 11 minutes for crying out loud!

    Tell me how having BShaw would make any difference given the sequence of events that led to the veto and Odom’s departure? We are a team ravaged by misfortune. Why don’t people complain about Kobe playing so hard in an exhibition game against the Clips and trying to dunk it on Jordan which resulted in hurting his wrist? We are trying to pull the team of the tailspin created by Hurricane Stern.

    As to the original post, which was brilliant, can anyone tell me why Bynum is often the 2nd pass in a lot of sets, where is almost at the 3 point line? He holds the ball for 5-7 seconds looking for a pass. Why is our 7-1 center making that pass and not posting up on the block?

  62. “There was no need to extend Luke Walton. It was just a mistake by the FO. People knew it and said so at the time.”

    This is not true. At the time Luke was seen as one of the bright and upcoming players on the roster and people were absolutely clamoring for the FO to resign him. Was he overrated at the time? Yes and in hindsight it was a bad signing but let’s not completely change history.

    Additionally, maybe you were but the overwhelming sentiment on here and in the media (even hollinger and simmons for god’s sake!) was that the Blake signing was a smart move. Again you’re changing history based on today’s outcome

    The only real controversy I remember was the choosing Artest over Ariza (which worked in short term and Ariza wouldn’t have been a good signing either) and whether (this was and has proved to be the big one) Artest’s option was player or team. FYI most people (except for kurt) were happy with the Artest signing.

    Bottom line for a lot you. Championship teams get old and the window closes and you pay the price for a few years. I have no idea (and neither do you!) how this season will end up playing out but at some point you just have to deal with it.

  63. #61. DY,
    That’s part of the Lakers ball reversal action. The second big up the floor is the guy that stays high and acts as 2nd player in the two man front. If the ball side action isn’t there (a pass to the wing, a post entry, etc) the ball is passed to the big at the top who is then looking to reverse the ball to the wing on the other side of the court, who’s usually involved in some sort of screen action. He’s holding the ball because he’s waiting for someone to get open. Watch the Spurs play and you see the same thing.

    RE revisionism: There’s always a lot of “I was right!” when something breaks the way a person said it would. That’s human nature and the nature of sports in general. People want to be right about the things they predict. And when hindsight is on their side, it’s easy to say so. I will say, though, that I’d also like it if people came back and said “I was wrong”. I try to do that when I make predictions and they go the other way. But I digress.

    I must also say that I find it funny that people say “this team isn’t good enough to win” and then come back and essentially say “I told you so” when the team doesn’t win. Winning is hard! When a team doesn’t win, it’s not a surprise. To me, it’s like betting on the no pass line on craps. People may not like you for it, but the roller is going to crap out evenutally. Can’t go hitting your point forever. Anyway.

  64. @54 Warren Wee Lim When Bynum was paid he was a unproven player 4 years ago. Pau and Kobe contracts are fine even though Pau is not a max contract player he’s a champion and was/is vital to our recent success. But to give MWP 5 years w/ player options is crazy he was already in his 30s, same with Blake 4 years. They length of contract was the main problem these role players were already in their 30s.

    Trading a young improving Caron Butler 4 Kwame Brown was a mistake that was hidden because of the Gasol trade.

    Trading Sasha 4 Joe Smith and a 1st rounder. Joe Smith. Letting Farmar and Shannon Brown walk. Those are our athletes out the door the players besides Kobe who get the crowd rocking. Not having a back up SG Kobe has played the 2nd most minutes in the league because he doesn’t have a backup. Bill Polian got fired for not having a backup for Peyton Manning.

    Trading Lamar for cap space. And when is the last time the Lakers drafted a player who becomes more than a role player. You look at the Spurs they find gems late round to 2nd round. Clippers, Boston Rondo was a late rounder, Miami. The Gasol trade has really given Mitch a pass.

  65. 64 – Marc Gasol was drafted at the end of the 2nd round. He’s more than a role player.

  66. Trading for Ariza and trading for Brown were some moves that worked out pretty damn well.

  67. @64 Kevin

    Excellent, Excellent, Excellent!!!

    I’ve been saying the same thing for years, the Lakers FO has become penny wise and dollar stupid. We have let our atheletes walk out of our doors for grizzled vets who aren’t worthwhile. Yes, Ron Ron won a championship for us. But didn’t Trevor’s steals get us a championship too? Caron was Kobe light when he was with the Lakers. He would finish what Kobe started. He and Kobe were on their way to be a dynamic scoring punch. Can you imagine Caron and Trevor as the scorer and the defender!?! Damn that would have been nice!!!

    Farmar hated the triangle but he didn’t get a bigger contract than we could have handled. Not getting anything for Sasha, trading LO and letting Shannon walk instead of dunk; nucking futs!!! What scares me is that they are not playing Ebanks. Meek Brown (my new name for the coach), please don’t continue to make the same mistakes. Sit MWP instead of Ebanks.

  68. When one team and one team only – the Spurs – are touted as the team that is capable of finding gems later in the draft, that pretty much make me realize that it’s hard. Show me the 10-12 other teams that do this consistently and I’ll happily rail on the Lakers for doing something poorly that others are doing well. When it’s one team, I’m not convinced.

    That’s like a Spurs fan saying “The Lakers continuously find ways to make it back to the Finals every decade by attracting FA’s and making savvy trades. Buford and Pop should be fired because they can’t do that!”. I mean, come on.

  69. To DY

    Either way this is not a champ team. The difference is with Shaw the old offense fits and can better hide your bad guard. In addition slowr players can win with the triangle(see Bulls). If Buss would have just stayed away we would be competitive and Brian might have talked LO off the ledge. There is a giant difference is 3/4 seed opposed to 8th or out of playoffs.

    As for Mitch, he was the recipient of West’s hard work when he took over. Pau was a gift from Jerry. Every other move he has made has hurt tbe team. Make a list of the guys he let go in the past 6-years, now make a list of what he got back. Skip Gasol because as of today the brother has better numbers then Pau.

    West built tbe Lakers. He built the Griz and no doubt will build a winner in GS. A smart GM can see 2 to 3 years in advance. That means long term contracts to Luke, Metta Mess, Blake and re-signing a over the hill PG should not have happened. Mitch let all the young guys go botched the LO situation and instead re-signed all the old ones. Oh yea then there is the head coach thing.

    If Mitch was a chess player he would be check-mate by the 3rd move!

  70. Ariza and Brown were great pickups I seemed to have overlooked that. All I’m saying is Lakers have not drafted well for a long time.

    We have the highest payroll with 4 good players. Lakers aren’t going to stay 30 mil over the tax the FO has said as much. See the LO trade as evidence of that. So our ability to outspend teams has been our safety net. Not anymore.

  71. Darius:

    Just like last time: if you have specific refutations of my points, let’s hear them.

    Others:

    The Lakers’ FO, like any FO, is a mixed bag of moves. I raised some specific points about the current contracts on the team–noting the good as well as the bad. I also noted that there is a context to the deals of which I am not aware. That said, right now, the bad outweighs the good.

    As far as “revisionism”, I can’t speak for others, but it was clear when these deals were signed that there were issues with them, and I said so at the time. You can argue, if you like, that I simply don’t know enough about either basketball or the NBA to ever question the FO, but that is about all you got. I conceded in the post that I don’t know what other offers MWP and Fish had.

  72. Ken. So then your main problem with the FO is that Shaw isn’t coach because with Shaw we would have been able to run the same system and mask our biggest deficiencies? Even with out Lamar? And you wouldn’t have been as opposed to Pau and Kobe’s extensions? Also, because Shaw would have been the coach, Fisher would have shot better than 24% from the 3 point line?

    I know for certain that almost everyone here was exuberant when Kobe/Pau were extended. Most of us were happy about Blake signing, pointing to things like Blake’s triple double against us, etc. This sort of revisionistic sentiment is how marriages fail, relationships crumble, etc. Why are we now criticizing Mitch for the very things that he was praised for when the team was winning?

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But it is objectionable when that opinion is based on hindsight, and when it is completely revisionist. If you are of the opinion that we shouldn’t have extended Pau/Kobe and let them haggle it out during free agency (sure, that wouldn’t have been a distraction, right?), as well as take away Artest’s heroics in Game 7, Pau and Kobe’s stellar play the past 4 years, then be my guest. But don’t say “I told you so,” because most of us were not that prescient.

  73. #71. I find it funny that you often think I’m addressing you when I’m not. When I have something to say to a specific commenter, I’ll do that.

  74. DY,

    It is a question of degree–not a black and white question. Extending Kobe was a good idea, but was it a good idea at 83.5m through age 35? Same question with Pau.

    I agree that the Lakers probably don’t win in 2010 without MWP–but was giving gim two player options through age 35 a good idea? Same with Fish. After winning in 2010, they probably needed to bring him back–but was it worth committing to him through age 38?

    Same with Blake–signing him was OK–but i she the type of player that you want to commit to through age 34?

  75. Guys, relax. We lose 3 in a row, its not the end of the world. We just need to pick up a guard that can penetrate and shoot the 3, JR smith would be nice coming off the bench. I think we need to bench darius morris, the kid is not ready. We will beat the clips and everyone will be back to the positive bandwagon. Relax, everything will work out, its early in the season.

  76. At the time plenty Lakers fans were wondering why LA chose Artest over Ariza they got the same contract in the end. Same with Farmar and when Lakers traded Caron for Kwame. It’s just the Pau trade shut us up. Since then what has Mitch really done. Our hands are tied because of these contracts.

    Ron has played about 5 good games out of 200 since he’s been here. The dollars spent aren’t worth the production from these signed guys. Jerry West said last year Lakers are slow and old we let all our youth walk and signed veteran players.

  77. Darius,

    In the previous thread, you addressed me directly, at length, by name, and failed to address any of my points. You did hit a couple of them in this post, but there were some questions in the post that you simply didn’t respond to.

    In this case, you were adding your .02 to the concept of “revisionism”, which ISTM is quite obviously directed at and Ken for criticizing the FO as several posts on the topic were directed at me.

  78. Since there’s a lot of chatter going on about personnel moves in the past, let me say this: player acquisition/retention is difficult because you either get the player or you don’t. There’s no in-between. So, when you look at the contracts doled out, understand that the question you might want to ask instead is: at the time that deal was made, should the Lakers have kept that player or not? Because ultimately, that’s what it really comes down to. Saying Luke or Kobe or Pau or Artest or Bynum or any other negotiation the Lakers went through was worth it in hindsight will give perspective not there at the time. But at the time, it likely took that player option or that extra million a year or that extra year on the contract to keep that guy or avoid a messy negotiation that can tarnish the player/team relationship. We should all be familiar with this since we saw what happened with Shaq.

    In reality, this subject is what at least part of the lockout was about.

  79. #77. Hate to break it to you but my participation and running of this site isn’t about you, how to respond to your questions, or how I can address your posts with or without mentioning your name. Jeez.

  80. I agree with darius’s on his last point. We needed to give out the extra year on the contract to win those championship rings. We needed artest vs celtics, not ariza. I am even fine paying luke his money because luke is a laker for life. The money we give him today will be returned later down the line. Your highest paid employee is your cheapest employee. Remember that.

  81. One thing people forget is that negotiations involve two parties: player and the team. Sure, as a team (and fan of a team), we’d love to have signed Fisher/Pau/Kobe for a year-to-year contract, or Artest for only 2 years. Or, sign these players only through the “prime” of their careers and hope that the players are willing to shortchange their own earning capacities. But there’s a reason why Pau/Kobe/Artest got longer term deals: they want the maximized $$$ and if we didn’t offer it, some other team would have done so. So when you bash FO and Mitch about the length of contracts, just understand that if they didn’t agree to the terms, we might have very well seen Pau/Artest on other teams, and yes, maybe even Kobe.

    I am not disappointed in Mitch. I trust in him at this point. He did get us CP3 for 11 minutes this summer.

  82. We Laker fans sure are spoiled. Sometimes I understand why other basketball fans don’t take us seriously. It is amazing to read some of these comments. I think the incredible success the team has had under Dr. Buss and Jerry West has made some of us Laker fans delusional.

    The Lakers can’t win every year. They can’t dominate all the time. There will be down years. The FO won’t make the correct decision all the time. Players will get injured, and so on. That is the nature of the game. Are some of you basketball fans or are you professional whiners searching for a forum to vent?

  83. Darius,

    I have refrained from addressing you in a sarcastic manner. As the site moderator, you should return the courtesy.

    _____

    As to the contracts, players in the NBA are assets, that appreciate and depreciate based on age, performance and are leveraged based on value and context at the moment, and on other factors. While I am sure there are reasons the Lakers gave out all the deals that they did, there is nonetheless a pattern of giving lnegthy extensions to players over 30, some of whom are far from being stars. That is a pattern worth noting.

  84. Al is not lost Lakers fans… we are still one average NBA PG away from competing for a championship… and PGs are the easiest players to find in the league. We are not in the Celtics situation yet.

  85. #83. I’d rather not continue this in the comments. Send me an email, please. The link is in the sidebar. Thanks.

  86. Darius,

    I will respectfully decline and get back to talking Lakers.

  87. Love how Aaron is the one maintaining the positive spirit (I’m seriously being non-sarcastic here). I really think Aaron is right. We have a gaping hole at the PG and backup SG spots. Those will be fixed, and were fixed when Mitch traded for CP3 and we had him 11 minutes this summer.

    I for one, would not trade in today’s “bloated” contracts for 1 or 2 of our most recent championships. Don’t regret certainty (back to back rings) for uncertainty (who knows what we would have had if we made all the changes everyone is retroactively suggesting).

  88. @ Aaron

    Hope you’re right. But getting one may not be so easy.

  89. Will people please stop saying we are 1 player away or 1 good point guard away from being an elite team again. How many other teams can say the same thing? The problem is how are we going to get that player? We likely have to give up 1 of our key assets which probably puts us in the same position we’re in now.

    I personally think Pau has to go. I was an advocate of trading him last year while his stock was still high. Now, who knows what we can get for him. Plus, it sounds like he’s starting to complain about touches again.

  90. I was part of the optomistic party but I’ve come to my senses this may not be a playoff team. We just can’t score it’s a struggle to get to 90 points. When Kobe and Pau dominate we have a hard time winning. Now Pau is questioning the offense saying we should get more post touches and we need better offense defense just won’t win us games.

    Darius, Do you think we’ll beat the Clippers Weds?

    Will we have a winning record by All-Star Break?

  91. 86,
    This is because I am a talent guy. My view of teams rarely changes through the course of a season. Teams win and lose championships in the offseason via personnel decisions. When the Heat started out the year a season ago a .500 team I still thought they would win a championship. Of course they ultimately lost to a fluke rule team in the Finals. If the Lakers bring in a standard NBA starting PG it changes the whole dynamic. We all see how losing our best PG in Steve Blake effected the team. And he is a back up NBA PG. While the Lakers do not have a good NBA SF, Matt Barnes certainly isn’t hurting us. The Lakers have the talent to maybe not be the favorites to win a title but to def compete for one if they fill in the giant hole at PG (something that should not be too hard to do as the season unfolds and players become available)

  92. On the plus side, the Lakers have scored over 56 points every game this season, unless the Orlando Magic.

  93. @ Aaron,

    Me too, to an extent. Coaching certainly matters–we have seen with Phil here, and more recently with Thibodeau in Chicago, Collins in Philly, Vogel in Indiana, and Adelman in Minnesota.

    Good coaches help teams hit their ceilings. BUT, they still have ceilings that you can see by looking at the talent.

  94. I watched Sunday’s game again, late last night. Obviously a lot better in the early going, than the late. One of the things that struck me was late game management. I don’t say this as a slam on Brown at all, every coach has a style and players have to adapt and make the best use of what they’re being told. That said, an observation:

    Jackson always began timeouts by having players sit on the bench and collect themselves. Once they’d had their breather, he’d bring them into a huddle. It always appeared (from as much as you can tell from a TV POV), that he made his points pretty clearly and concisely. And I can certainly recall plenty of instances in which he’d call players back if he sensed that they weren’t clear on the concept, or if they signaled him that they were unsure.

    There’s something that I’ve noticed in recent late-game Lakers huddles, and I’m going to try and pay more attention going forward. Mike Brown has a lot to say. This is more the rule than the exception in basketball. MOST coaches have a lot to say. But, unless I’m totally misreading things, it seems as if Fisher and Pau in particular, have come out of some of the huddles wearing question marks. Kobe by contrast, has exited some of the huddles with a shoulder shrug and body language that suggests, f*** it, I know I’M gonna do”.

    I fully acknowledge that is totally subjective on my part – nothing more than trying to read tea leaves. It could very well be the furthest thing from any objective truth. Coach Brown seems to have generally done a good job in getting guys to play with energy. One thing I’m pretty sure of though, is there’s a gap between good coaches and the very few great ones. And, I think the closing moments of close games, are defining moments with coaches and players.

  95. The reality is…the rules are such that fast point guards and pick and rolls dominate the game…we can’t run it or defend it with these players.

    If no trades happen then some form of the triple post is needed and a zone defense needs to be used in key situations.

    Bynum only plays hard when he is scoring.

    Gasol pouts when he isn’t scoring.

    If Orlando needs both for Howard…we should do it expeditiously.

  96. Pau is complaining about touches on the low post. Pau’s a C at heart. The triangle gave both Drew and Pau opportunities on the block. With this offense Pau is always on the perimeter.

    Let’s see how Mike Brown handles this.

  97. Also remember, Odom played about 30 mpg, and let Pau play center while Bynum sat out crucial moments in games. The Lakers never really reconciled a true Pau-Bynum pairing for 35+ mpg, and it shows somewhat. The spacing issues are a concern. If Odom was still on the team, we’d see more Pau in the paint.

  98. 71, robinred.

    Artest – His contract at the time was a complete bargain. He had a PER of 15, was a 17ppg scorer, was still an excellent defender, and he signed for the league average, $5.8M. His previous salary was $7.4M, and it’s almost unheard of for a 29 year old NBA player to take less money in a contract. However, signing him at a discount up front meant that his true value was loaded on the back end, meaning we would have to pay him for extra years, not extra dollars per year. He helped bring us a championship, and played solidly last year, but it was always these last few years that would be the worst.

    Walton – In 2006-07, Luke was the Lakers 3rd best player, with a 14.7 PER and averaging 11ppg. He was making $1.4M per year, and we gave him a raise to $4M per year with raises. At 26, he was still young, and it was reasonable to expect him to continue producing at that level or better. $4M per year for an average NBA player is a bargain. However, since he was debilitated by injuries, he has become basically useless (although he did have one good game a little while back).

    Pau – After 09, when Pau signed his extension, he took below his maximum contract value, and also took below max raises per year. For an All-Star center, someone who was just as crucial as Kobe in winning a championship, he left at least $10M on the table by taking less than max raises on a less than max contract. So his contract was also a value at the time.

    Fish – His contract I agree was a loyalty contract. But the Lakers seemed to be (note past tense) an organization that values loyalty, and Fisher had just won us the Finals with a legendary Game 3 of the Finals that had Aaron eating crow for weeks. But organizations like the Clippers, that have reputations of treating their players, coaches, and staff like crap, lose value in the sight of free agents, which is exactly why Lebron never even considered signing with the Clippers.

    In short, I believe each of these contracts had good merits which outweighed the bad ones at the time, and each good be seen as being a “bad” contract when the contract approached its expiration. Also, a good organization builds its reputation as a place that treats its players with respect over time, and thus is a favorable place for free agents to go, given that they’ve treated their players well in the past. So it is overly myopic to only consider current and competing value of a player when assessing their contract amount.

  99. I’ve heard Devin Harris is on the trade block…im not sure what the Jazz would demand, but maybe trade exception, 1st rounder and Ebanks or Morris gets it done?

  100. 99. Adam. Can’t combine a trade exception with a player for a trade. And the trade exception alone is not enough for Devin Harris’s salary, meaning, it must be real players’ salaries and draft picks. I doubt they take Artest/Blake or any of our assorted bench players. And we probably won’t be sending Pau to them for Harris + other player.

  101. Zephid,

    Committing to four-and-five year deals that carry guys into their mid-30s is never a “complete bargain”, nor is a three-year deal that carries a guy through his age-38 season–particularly if the players in question are not superstars. Many bad NBA contracts are deals of this sort. The Lakers have more of them than any team in the NBA.

    You can argue that the market and the Lakers’ resources, as well as their position in the championship cycle and their organizational history, made the deals worth it and that they may have been necessary. (In the case of the MWP deal, I am inclined to agree. Walton, Fisher, and Blake–afraid not). But if you are going to do that, then you should also acknowledge the other side, which is exactly how bad the deals to MWP, Fisher, Blake and Walton look not only today–but for next year as well. It is the other side of the question. And it isn’t about me or other similar-minded fans “whining” or feeling “entitled.” It is about wanting the organization we support to be successful and for many, it is about wanting Kobe to end his career on a top-tier team.

    The Paul Veto should serve as an object lesson for both long-time Lakers fans and long-time Lakers Haters. Yes, the Lakers took a serious blow through no fault of their own. Almost every team that gets in a bad spot gets there in part due to bad luck and undeserved misfortune. But they also get there due to questionable management decisions. That is true for the big markets as well as the small ones.

  102. I have to chime in on the defense of Luke Walton’s contract. It has always astonished me that some Laker fans continue to defend Luke Walton’s contract, and refer to criticism of his contract as “revisionism” or “hindsight.”

    Luke Walton may have been the 3rd best player on the 2006 Laker team (the worst Laker team in 20 years), but he has always been a player who does, at most, one thing (passing) well. He cannot shoot. He cannot dribble. He cannot defend. He is a poor rebounder. He is slow. He cannot jump. These are not “revisionist” comments; these attributes applied to Luke during his career at the University of Arizona (where, as a UA alum, I probably watched more of his college career than most of the people on this board).

    He is known for being a great locker room guy, and for being knowledgeable about the game, but his talent NEVER warranted the kind of contract that he was given, in dollars or years.

    Finally, and this point applies to Walton as well as every other Laker, a player’s value is not measured by past contributions to the team. A player’s value is the product of two things: anticipated future contributions, and what the market (other teams) will pay. By this standard, Luke’s contract was and will always be a patently ridiculous move by Mitch Kupchak; whereas deals for Bynum and Pau are a lot more realistic.

    The ones that fall into the “maybe/maybe not” category are those for aging players like Blake, Artest, Fisher (more of a “no” deal to me when they gave him 3 years), and, yes, even Kobe. In two years, there is no way in the world Kobe Bryant will be worth $30 million a year….

  103. It’s amazing how chippy it gets in here after a short losing streak. Whatever, they’ll right the ship, although they may not sail all the way to Championship Island, and it’ll be a nice harmonious place again.

    Anyway, what I came to say, since it’s a hot topic in the comments, is that Luke is an above-average NBA player, or rather that he would be if he could shoot and defend. Actually, either of the two–if he’s able to get back to average-NBA player shooting (he’s in a three- or four-year slump at the moment), he’s quite a good player. He rarely makes mistakes (except when he shoots), the offense flows amazingly when he’s on the court, he’s a crowd favorite, and has the flair for some creative passing, particularly to the big men.

    But he’s always been a sub-average to poor defender, and unless he gets a leg transplant to speed things up a little, that’ll never change. If he can offset that with, say, 42% shooting, he’d be a valuable component again. He’s just been injured (and before that, hindered) for so long we’ve forgotten he once was a viable rotation player.

    I made the case a few years back that he should start at the point. Why not? None of the PGs can stop penetration anyway, he can post up the Kyle Lowrys and Chris Pauls of the world, and any points they get from him, much like from Fisher, are gravy.

  104. When a team is winning titles, the management can do no wrong. When it is in bad shape, the entire organization and every decision is subject to the whimsy of irrational fans. We are going through the latter at the moment, it would seem.

    Never forget that Kwame Brown became Pau Gasol, and then the Lakers went to 3 straight NBA Finals.

  105. Holy cow!! I don’t check the site for a while and suddenly Jordan Freakin’ Farmar has become the Lakers’ basketball Jesus. And Brown, too…. I expect if the Lakers lose again there will be calls for the return of Smush.

    People need to chill out. If this team is healthy, they will be a 4-7 seed. If there are lengthy injuries to any of their top six players they will be on the outside looking in. It is what it is.

    My bold prediction is that MWP is going to round back into decent form this year and three point shooting is going to come around.

    I think this year has already been more fun than last year. So many pieces and angles to be following right now.

    Enjoy the ride people – or jump on the Clippers’ band wagon.

  106. VoR – “I don’t check the site for a while and suddenly Jordan Freakin’ Farmar has become the Lakers’ basketball Jesus.” Hahahaha! Best line I’ve read all day. Awesome.

  107. Losing is acceptable. Taking a winning team and turning it into a losing team is unacceptable.

    You create a system that fits your players not implement your system and hope the players figure it out… That’s for young teams

  108. Things that make me go hmmm….
    1. Why did we not attempt to claim Chauncey Billups off waivers?
    2. What about Arenas? Is he that much worse off than Kapono?
    3. Are we really waiting for Blake to come back? I mean, are we thinking that Fish+Morris should be enough to tide us over for the next couple of weeks?

  109. On the topic of appropriateness of contracts, you have to understand that management’s objectives aren’t necessarily aligned with the fan’s.
    Sure, a championship is great, but only if the team is making money. Which is why a 35-year old Kobe at 30M per year is a no-brainer for the Lakers.
    Oh, and as for PER, currently, Farmar has a higher PER than Wade.

  110. 105 and 102

    I absolutely agree with the observation of VoR, there should be no turning back of the clock but move forward. Great comments from Funky Chicken about Luke which exactly what he is and if possible FO should just accelerate the Fisher/Luke’s contract by negotiating with them just like what they did with Vlade Divac. What we need is clearing of salary caps without hurting the team.

  111. http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2007/07/02/free-agency-day-one/

    Here is the thread on the Luke signing. This is what I was talking about. At the time Laker fans (this board being the sample liked the signing

  112. Amazing post Darius, congrats once again.

    Difficult time to be a Lakers fan, but we were in this situations sometimes. I think the big mistake was the hire of a new coach and a new system in the lockout year… That was a horrible move of the FO.

    And now… we have to keep supporting and expecting for some trade. I do not have faith in this team, but heck… you never let down the Lakers, ever….

    Keep the bandwagons away.

    Regards from Argentina and -again- excuse my poor English

  113. Does anybody knows where is kwame a.? He was a great poster here a few years ago

  114. Possible gets with our LO exception, or a combination of Morris/Ebanks+Draft_Pick:

    1. Augustin (Charlotte) (PER 16.5) (Avg distributor, 35% 3FG)
    2. Barbosa (Toronto) (PER 14.2) (Avg scorer, 36 %3FG)
    3. Bayless (Toronto) (PER 14.6) (Avg scorer, distributor, 33% 3FG)
    4. Livingston (Bucks) (PER14.6) (Good defender, distributor, 0% 3FG)
    5. Hinrich (Atlanta) (PER 12.4) (Good defender, distributor, 38% 3FG)
    6. Miller (Denver) (PER 16.3) (Good distributor, 32% 3FG)
    7. Mayo (Memphis) (PER 14.8) (Good scorer, 44% 3FG)
    8. Ridnour (Minny) (PER 15) (Avg distributor, 37% 3FG)

    Don’t know if any of these teams are actively looking to shop these guys.

    We are already a good defensive team. What I think we need most is a 3pt threat to space the floor. Ball-handling proficiency would be a plus. Arenas, if he has matured, would be a great fit.

  115. Said it before, and I’ll say it again – I am glad the FO does not have the same knee-jerk reactions like the fans.

    If the end justifies the means, then just about every move Mitch made has paid off. We got three [3] trips to the Finals and two [2] rings in the last four [4] years in large part thanks to his roster moves. There is no championship without Pau & Trevor in ’09, and no championship without Shannon and Ron in ’10. Just about every long-term contract you give to players in their PRIME will have an ugly tail end – that’s what happens when your CBA allows 10% raises and 6-year contract lengths. Even Kobe’s current contract is a hideous cap killer, and he’s one of the top 10 players in the league.

    To all those drumming up support for a trade, don’t forget that it takes two to tango. I would bet that few FOs in the league are eager to help out the club that’s been so incredibly successful at winning it all.

    Have faith in your organization, adjustments are never speedy nor pretty.

  116. Kevin @90: Props to u for your post. There are many others on this site who should do the same.

    In any case, the pre-season debate was whether we were constructed to win. That doesn’t seem to be a debate anymore. In fact it seems comical that it was. Additionally people are finally realizing how bad our hands are tied with our huge payroll. Perhaps re-evaluating some of the previous/current trade scenarios, with this newfound understanding of our situation, is in order : )

  117. I read Jeremy’s link. One interesting thing about it is that there is a lively discussion about bringing in Steve Blake, and of bringing in Derek Fisher who had just left Utah. Here is my own comment on that issue:

    ___________________

    robinred wrote on July 3, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    I recently read “The Show” by Roland Lazenby, and among the endless quotes spannning many eras, Derek Fisher came off as the most candid, solid articulate individual in the book.

    So, given the turmoil seeingly always surrounding the team, his presence/personality/intelligence might have great value. That said, I do not think he is more than a 15-minute a game player.

    I looked over Steve Blake’s stats and saw little to recommend him. When I actually saw Blake play, (three times) he looked OK–a bit better than the numbers.

    _____

    I suppose many might say Fisher proved me wrong, but I would debate that. Either way, the fact that these two guys are our point guards 4 1/2 years after that was written is telling. Kurt himself, incidentally, was also very restrained about Fish, picturing him as a “tutor” and telling people not to expect too much.

    I did not comment on the Walton deal in that particular thread, but Jeremy–presumably it is the same Jeremy–most certainly did:

    _____

    Jeremy wrote on July 3, 2007 at 11:25 am

    All this talk about the great role players we have does not mean a damn thing if we cant get that second superstar. Luke wasnt going anywhere and Kupchak isnt a genius for getting him to stay where he wants to be. If Kupchak is good, he makes moves that make a difference which is something he has not done since hes been GM.

    ___

    Jeremy is also overstating the Luke support. A few people said they liked it, one or two didn’t, but the main focus was Fisher, Blake, and the possibility of getting one Pau Gasol.

  118. Brian K breaks down the Lakers’ brutal upcoming schedule and outs the team’s situation in perspective:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/26307/wading-into-dangerous-waters#comments

    “While I don’t believe the Lakers as constructed can win a title, they’re not — or shouldn’t be — a lottery team, either. Still, without a quick improvement in performance, particularly on the road, they could find themselves in an uncomfortable position, closer to the bottom of what likely will remain a very crowded playoff ladder than they’d like, where one mini-slump or untimely injury could sink the boat.”

  119. @ Mouse

    1. We couldn’t bid on Chauncey because we are a tax paying team

    2. Hibachi might be better than Kapono, but why buy trouble?

    3. With all of the flux this team has been in, is there harm in waiting to see what happens when Blake comes back?

  120. Add: Mitch certainly did get that second star, as it turned out.

  121. Ken,
    “Skip Gasol because as of today the brother has better numbers then Pau. ‘

    Are you serious? If they keep Marc Gasol, they don’t make it to any finals, let alone win two.

  122. As a 40 year Laker fan I have NEVER hoped they would lose a game.

    Today I am hoping they lose tomorrow.

    This FO and mist if the media are in denial. They make excuse after excuse for the sad offensive performance if this team

    Perhaps another loss(the forth) to the Clippers, the first 4 game losing steak in the Pau area and further buried into 10th place will slap the ownership into reality.

    Perhaps this becoming a Clipper town will force Jerry Buss to take over and correct the errors that created this mess.

    Perhaps!

  123. @ mindcrime

    Everyone wants Blake back. But the reality is that although he is the team’s best option at the 1, he is nothing more than a backup. He will help a little, but that’s all.

  124. Man I hate this iPad. Not made for tall people with bigger fingers. Bad spelling should be my new name.

    Sorry about that.

  125. Winning makes us arrogant in referring to a mythical switch; Losing makes us hopelessly desperate in being compared to teams from Cleveland and just being in the middle of which we are in right now makes us lethargically weak. Laker fans are not used to be cheering a team that is just a push over. After all, Los Angeles is the home of the stars where the “best” movies in Oscar are chosen; the “best” musicians are selected in Grammy and the proud City that held two Olympics and the source of best athletes in the nation. If you are truly a Laker whether a Coach, a General Manager, a player or just a fan, you cannot afford to be a mediocre. If you cannot handle the job like what Rudy T. did, QUIT and give it to someone who can do it. If you are a player and could not keep up with your guards, please be proud to be a Laker and be a honorable gentleman by QUITTING now, admit the glaring handicap, don’t prolong the agony of defeat.

  126. Among all of us laker fans, apparently no one watched Memphis when Pau was the “star”.

    He came to LA with the soft label after continuously getting pushed around and out played. Yes he is skilled..but playing next to Kobe hides things…calling for more Pau touches only works until defenses decide to key on him.

    Then he gets”tired”..see last season…or his time in Memphis.

  127. Ken, I agree tomorrow’s game is definitely a gut check. These are the games Lakers get up for after losing streaks. We can’t afford to keep falling behind in the stands. But if we pull a no show, and lose by 20 which I can absolutely see happening, stick a fork in us.

  128. (90) Kevin asked,

    “Will we have a winning record by All-Star Break?”
    ————————-
    answer: not sure. But FB&G will almost certainly have a “whining” record ’til then and beyond.

  129. dr rayeye,

    Would you prefer that those who think the team is in trouble not comment, and leave the board to the optimists? I am as tired of hearing vague and vapid reasons people think the team will get better as you apparently are of hearing negativity, yet I say, “to each his own.”

  130. robinred,

    The salary cap prevents the Lakers from signing players to front loaded contracts, so in order to sign quality players, they have to back load them with extra years.

    So your choices are not 1.) sign Player X for more now and less years, or 2.) sign Player X for less now and more years.

    They are actually 1.) sign Player x for less now and more years, or 2.) don’t sign Player x at all.

    So, if the Lakers had let Luke walk and not signed Artest, would you have been happy?

    Re: Luke’s skills

    I also think it is disingenuous to claim that Luke’s only skill is passing. He was actually a decent triangle post-up scorer before all of his injuries. He used to function quite well in the low post on the strong side before the Lakers got Gasol.

  131. Seriously, I love the developing meme: “We had Chris Paul for 11 minutes.”

    Hey, it’s something!

    Regarding Pau: I could swear a couple seasons ago he had a trace of muscle in those arms of his. What happened?

    Pau should get back in the weight room.

  132. lol at drrayeye’s comment.

    I don’t think I have ever seen this forum being so frustrated and pessimistic.

  133. I keep reading all of the calls for the front office to make a move but seriously at this time there may not be any moves to make. With the condensed season and ragged play league wide teams really don’t know what they have or may need yet. there really haven’t been many trade yet at all. even teams that lost key players to injury have yet to replace them through a trade.

    As far as a blockbuster trade, I am not holding my breathe. With every win I think the magic are less inclined to trade Howard and if Howard isn’t moved, you can bet the Nets won’t trade D-Will.

    This will leave the Lakers in an interesting dilemma when the trades do begin to happen. Do you hold out for a blockbuster that may not be there until summer or do you look for smaller deals to compliment Kobe, Pau and Andrew. After all they would be quite formidable with a adequate point guard and a decent shooter that can create a little as well. Personally, I am for winning now. I think I would look for the smaller deals that could round out the roster.

  134. KC

    I think people are frustrated because some of us sense the end of a GREAT era approaching. The Duncan era ended sudden, same with Boston there window closed so sudden. And we may be watching the same right now.

  135. Zephid,

    Perhaps you missed the part where I said MWP was the most defensible signing. To put this to rest:

    Artest: Had to sign him, given the team’s need at the 3 and the competitive ecology of league in 2009. Question whether the 5th year was needed to acquire him. If it was, so be it. Problem with him now is that he is playing too much.
    Fisher: Should not have given him third year. Two years I understood if that is what Miami offered (I am pretty sure Miami and the Lakers were Fisher’s only two offers but maybe not). He is also playing too much.
    Blake: Note that I quoted myself from a four-year old thread and even then I was not enthused about Blake, when he was in his prime. Said last year that they should not have gone more than two years for him. Would have preferred Ridnour (if they had to give four years to a 30 y.o PG), Livingston, or McGrady.
    Walton: Agree with Funky Chicken.

    We can agree to disagree on any or all of these contracts at this point.

    Pau and Kobe: More complicated question, but rather than looking back, you should consider this:

    The new luxury tax kicks in in 2013/14. As of today, the Lakers are on the hook to Kobe, Pau, Blake and MWP for around $60M in 2013/14, when Kobe will be 35, MWP 34, and Pau and Blake 33. Basically, they have committed most of the cap money for that year already, when the tax becomes much more punitive.

    And this is another reason why, of course, so many of us are deeply concerned about the state of the team as it stands at this point.

  136. Great post Edwin.

  137. Here’s a funny thought! Eric Gorden has not signed a extension with Hornets. Maybe Stern feels guilty and will make it up to the Lakers.

    Gorden and Kamen for Andrew.

    I’d do that deal and tbe Lakers would be pretty good then.

    Funny huh,

  138. Gasol needs to move to the post. Just because Bynum sucks at passing doesn’t mean he should get all the shots.
    “And Bynum himself made it pretty clear he’s not enthusiastic about suddenly becoming the team’s facilitator.
    “I haven’t really gotten effective to learn to facilitate too much,” Bynum said. “When I get my chances, I will try to use the best of my ability to get a basket.”
    http://lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/2012/01/little-clarity-provided-about-pau-gasols-role.html

    It makes no sense to penalize Gasol (taking him away from his comfort zone) just because he has a much more multi-dimensional game. Bynum needs to shut up and learn how to pass.

  139. Don’t get me wrong, the 2012 version of Luke makes me cringe when he gets on the court, and yes, his contract is currently an albatross.

    But if you go back and watch some of the games from the 2009 playoff run, he was really effective in his spot roles. He played particularly well in the Denver series and had some good moments versus Orlando. No one would claim he was the reason the Lakers won the title, but he made a lot of positive contributions when his number was called.

    MWP is driving me crazy these days too, but I can’t freak out about his contract either, because there’s no way we beat the Celtics in game 7, 2010, without him.

    Times are tough now, but I’m going to be looking at those 2009 and 2010 banners forever. You have to respect the decisions to get and keep the players who helped us get them, even though they’re hurting us right now.

  140. I still believe Lakers’ management will do the right things to get this team back on track. Truthfully, I still believe in our team. I believe in Fisher. In MWP. In Andrew. In Gasol. I believe in the Lakers.

    By the way, I was re-watching the game we had against the Jazz a couple weeks back in a Utah telecast and there was a point in the game, almost right after MWP was subbed in that the commentators talked about how Metta was signaling Mike Brown to take him out of the game. This was at some point in the 2nd quarter, I believe. The dude’s out of shape. That might also be the case with some of our other guys.

  141. @mindcrime:

    1. I distinctly recall Chauncey threatening to retire if claimed by a team going nowhere.
    2. Arenas was trouble. Don’t think he will be trouble in LA with Kobe around. Worst-case scenario, cut him. You’ll be getting him for the veteran’s minimum anyway
    3. A lot of the flux has to do with the holes in the roster. If you don’t plug those holes, the ship is going to continue leaking (losses).

  142. The future of Lakers is still bright as long as the owner use the money to sign right players. We saw the failure of Cleveland and Orlando when the GM got Antoin Jamison and Gilbert Arenas for LeBrons and D-Howard. You don’t have to be an NBA expert to see it coming.
    Orlando lost to Boston, but they beat Indiana , who just beat Lakers. D-Howard just want to send a message to Lakers. Three guys i like from Orlando, D-Howard, Turkolu, JJ Redick, Turkolu can run P&R with D-Howard.
    In my opinion, Bynum will get better in the next 2,3 years, but the big questions are , is it too late for Kobe and can he dominate the game ? because the goal of Lakers is championship.

  143. Love the discussion going on. Even though I disagree with some points being stated, thats the purpose of a discussion.

    About contracts…

    I absolutely adore what Zephid said in “… a good organization builds its reputation as a place that treats its players with respect over time, and thus is a favorable place for free agents to go, given that they’ve treated their players well in the past. So it is overly myopic to only consider current and competing value of a player when assessing their contract amount.”

    This, people, you should really factor into your heads. While this whole thing is business-based, you are forgetting one very essential asset that is called “goodwill”. All things being equal, that is the difference between 2 bidding parties.

    As for Luke, you are basically blaming management for Luke’s injury. Luke was your perfect intangibles guy back when he had the speed to play on an NBA level. But because he got injured, he has therefore lost his ability to play. Not Mitch’s fault.

    Ron Artest brought us a championship. Him being overweight now and seemingly un-motivated was somehow bound to happen, but after all the championship was what mattered. Where were you when Ron hit the 3-pointer that won us the championship?

  144. Somewhere toward the end of last season the Lakers lost it. It took the Mavericks to bring that out for everyone to see–but it was already gone.

    Between the time the lockout began until the start of a truncated pre season, the Lakers went through a management revolution, needing to make tough decisions according to new rules. The players came back to a group of strangers in the coaching department–finding key players on the trading block.

    When the smoke cleared, the Lakers had a starting unit accustomed to the triangle offense, and a second unit of leftovers. They needed to learn an adapted version of the Cleveland offense and East Coast style gritty defense on the fly.

    It remains uncertain when (or even if) the Lakers will get it back.

  145. 131 (R). Yes, the 11 minutes meme was my facetious idea. However, the point was that you cannot really say with any credibility that Mitch has not been endeavoring to fix our PG problem, because he pulled off one of the most stunning trades in Lakers’ history, only to be one-upped by the more stunning action by Stern.

    The FO is in a tailspin, and we are watching them try to get out it. Whether we find a way to get Dwight or DWill remains to be seen, but let’s just give the FO some time to get out of this. No need to get all whiny/panicky about this season because we are 10-8 and not looking like a champions caliber (or currently being a 10th seed). The team has to evolve by way of mindset (not a Triangle team anymore) or personnel change. Unfortunately, in this instant [insert product] culture, such a change is not as instant as we want.

    Also, want to give props to Darius and the FB&G staff for a great post. Unfortunately, the comments have not really been on the wonderful analysis of the team we currently have.

  146. I’ve often said it’s not surprising Laker fans get a rep as soft – the whining here is intolerable – talk about spoiled – we have a three-game losing streak and you’d think we were in the Sahara with a dwindling water supply!

    Great post Darius – I’ve thought we need better spacing and your post confirms that. Personally I think we need to establish the offense through ‘drew down low – just as often we got Shaq going in the first half and Kobe would close. As it stands, it seems Pau and ‘drew are uncertain as to how to play with each other. I’d say the responsibility for that uncertainty lies with Brown. I was mad we didn’t hire B. Shaw coz I think he would have taken control of this team a little better. If Kobe started throwing up 35 shots a game, he would have told him to knock that stuff off because he is comfortable telling Kobe what to do. I don’t think Mike Brown is. All that said, these losses have coincided with the absence of Blake who has looked much more positive this year than last and seemed to be distributing the ball nicely. I’d personally like to see Metta World Peace back in the starting lineup as it looks like he’s getting depressed and unsure of his role from the bench. Still, as long as this team is healthy, as someone else said above, I think we’ll be a 4-7 seed. If not, well, c’est la vie. As the INXS song says, sometimes you kick, sometimes you get kicked.

  147. Yes, Billups threatened to retire if a team that he didn’t like claimed him. The Clippers took that risk and Billups showed up to practice (prior to them getting Paul).

    There was NOTHING the Lakers could have done to get Billups, period.

  148. Drrayeye

    Excellent post. You said it all.

  149. @144 DY,

    I agree we have to be realistic. Most of the “now” teams haven’t won anything. We’ve dominated the last decade and some, so let’s give the FO credit, regardles if it is Mitch, West, Jerry B, or Phil as your preference for credit. Stern screwed the pooch and continues with the Eric Gordon saga. My take:

    PG- we do need one with playmaking ability…5ppg and 4 apg ain’t cutting it.

    Bigs- Two 7footers ought to control the paint on offense and defense (keep rebounding the missed 3-pointers until they go in and keep blocking shots until the other teams gives up)

    Mike Brown- He’s preaching defense and trying to get players to give effort, not a bad approach, give him time and commit to the plan.

    Roster- Everyone on the roster not named KB is scared to death of being traded or getting hurt- until the deadline passes, this is what you get.

    Stern- Hate this guy!! Every team with a star who wants to play in LA is scared to be the one who gives us a piece we need.

    Playoffs- Maybe we need to get into the lottery and draft our next superstar (maybe there is a top level player who can be Magic to Kobe and extend his career)

    Lamar- I don’t have time to listen to a “grown” millionaire cry like a baby!! You’re talented, but the same guy Stu Lance and everyone else wondered why you never brought it every night.