The Breakdown: Andrew Bynum Feeds Troy Murphy

Phillip Barnett —  February 21, 2012

The Lakers have played the Phoenix Suns twice in the last five days to varying results. During their win in the Staples Center, there was one play that stood out to me and others on twitter. Andrew Bynum caught the ball at the pinch post and fed a cutting Troy Murphy, who finished the play and got fouled. When I watched it live, it was merely just a great pass from Bynum to Murphy, but after a re-watch, I realized that it was a great play drawn up by the Lakers coaching staff.

The Play starts out with a high screen and roll between Troy Murphy and Steve Blake. Matt Barnes and Andrew Goudelock are straddling the perimeter, creating space in the middle of the floor. As you’ll see, Murphy is coming up from the right side of the court, as Andrew Bynum starts fighting for position with Robin Lopez.

Instead of setting the screen from the direction Murphy was coming from, he slips the screen and Blake begins to drive toward Bynum. The slipped screen confuses Sebastian Telfair and Hakim Warrick — just for a split second — but long enough to free Troy Murphy. Warrick starts to show, when he doesn’t actually need to, and Telfair naturally tries to fight through a screen that isn’t there. With both eyes sets of eyes on Blake, Murphy rolls to the basket. During Murphy’s cut, Bynum begins to open up to receive a pass from Blake.

Steve Blake gets the ball to Bynum, who sees a wide open Troy Murphy cutting down a lane with no defenders in front of him. Hakim Warrick wasn’t quick enough to realize that he made a defensive lapse and found himself about a yard behind the cutting Murphy as the pass was being made. The design of this play was crucial for Murphy being wide open. With Barnes and Goudelock holding their respective defenders near the three point line and Bynum bringing the center out of the paint to the pinch post, there wasn’t anyone around to rotate fast enough by the time the defense realized that Murphy was getting the ball.

The result was Bynum hitting Murphy in stride with a beautiful bounce pass that led to a layup and a foul. Watch the play in real time below.

Phillip Barnett


to The Breakdown: Andrew Bynum Feeds Troy Murphy

  1. Well, Robert, Aaron kind of laid down the gauntlet in #1.


  2. What im saying is that we don’t need to trade Gasol to win a championship. What I’m sayin his Gasol is still a top 7 NBA PF at seven feet. What I’m saying is that his trade value might be worse than his production to do age amd declining skills. What Gasol will bring back in a trade might not be as much as he can bring on the floor right now. And we are playing to win now. Kobe has maybe one or two years left as the best player on a championship team. I’m pretty sure we cant get much for Gasol… So we might be better off using our picks and TE and filling in the holes at the one and three that way.


  3. that would be a nasty, nasty, set of men at the 3 for LA…add in a 20th-ish in the league PG and youd see a much different team with the beauty of it keeping Gasol


  4. Ken 2.0)
    I don’t know how we can get a 20th ish PG. that would be like someone a little better than Rubio. When Tony Parker is a 15th ish PG you get a sense of how good a 20th ish PG is. I mean teams usually now have like a two really good PGs. I think our goal would be like a 35 ish PG. Someone who is the worst starting PG in the league but would be one of the best back ups. That is obtainable that’s what’s Sessions is.


  5. To see vast improvements in your passing post game just call Darvin Ham. Who would’ve thought, lol


  6. Aaron,

    I am not saying you are incorrect, but I am just pointing out (good-naturedly) that Robert’s position all year has been that adding “problem children” (Beasley) and “journeymen” (Sessions) will not be enough to get the Lakers back to the the top, so Howard is the “only hope.” Your post is the first I have seen saying directly and specifically that adding certain guys to upgrade the 1 and the 3, can, in fact, make the Lakers a viable and immediate title contender.

    Conceding that it was biased in some ways, I found the Ken Berger piece linked in the previous thread very disturbing, as it fed my worst perceptions of the Jim Buss Lakers. I will be interested to see what FBG Ken has to say about it.


  7. Han,

    That was linked in a previous thread, and I mentioned it in this thread, in a post which is currently stuck in moderation.


  8. from previous post:

    #22/rr: it’s too early to tell whether or not jim buss is in the process of ruining the franchise.


  9. Aaron: One thing I agree on is that Pau is probably worth more to us, than he is in trade value. That was not true in pre-season. So, as I have been trying to explain to Dave, I do not want to trade Pau (a borderline star) for players who are not stars. A blockbuster I would do, but if we can’t get the blockbuster I would favor keeping the Big 3 and simply adding whatever we can at 1+3.


  10. Great analysis Phillip. This was a beautiful play, and it shows the team IS making progress on the offensive end. Lets be patient, we’re starting to see flashes of brilliance like this… we just need more consistency.

    (edited for trade speculation)


  11. Gauntlet: Aaron, where we disagree is where adding a servicable 1+3 to our existing Big 3 would leave us. I think it gets us a 4 seed and a second round (maybe 3rd round if all breaks right) exit. It does not put us in the Top 3 teams or close to Miami (barring injuries etc.). There is a big gap between the top notch teams and the second tier. And yes we can talk about the 11 Mavs or the 04 Pistons, but I am talking about the other 48 years of NBA history : )


  12. #22/rr: it’s too early to tell whether or not jim buss is in the process of ruining the franchise.


    Perhaps, but:

    a) There are several signs that he is.
    b) The fact that the topic is on the table is bad sign in and of itself.

    As a guy taking over a very successful operation from his dad, Buss should have had the common sense to leave a lot of the smaller elements of that success in place. It is not as if Jim Buss earned his current position, either by making his own fortune and buying the team, or by applying for the job. It is also not as if the Lakers were in deep need of an organizational house-cleaning based on years of failure.


  13. #12, ya I read it and linked after reading your comment on this thread.

    from what I remember, back when we were trying to sign them, kg and grant hill both turned down the lakers’ offer, due to the instability of what’s going on with the front office. and that was when they got to team with a young, in-his-prime kobe.

    with these articles surfacing and shedding such negative light on our front office, along with an aging mamba, are we still a destination that dwight, dwill and other stars will want to come to?

    if it’s true that jim has no relationship with other GMs, mitch’s desire to remain at his job (to continue to work for someone who seems like nothing more than a typical clueless guy with a rich daddy) may be the only thing that stands in the way of LA becoming a clips town.


  14. So…we’re not going to talk about basketball anymore, just trades and free agency? Ok.


  15. I would argue that adding a scoring SF like Beasley can get the Lakers to the Finals in the west. The Lakers won 2 titles with an inconsistent PG backcourt, but where they didn’t lack was in the SF department. Ariza could knock down an open 3 and before Artest became Metta he had some solid scoring games here and there. I don’t think defense is that big of an issue on this team I think it is scoring (mainly at SF and PG). You get a guy who can space the floor at SF and that would open up things for Pau and Bynum plus giving Kobe someone to dish to on the wings. Last year all year I thought SF was the weakest position because let’s be honest as great as some of these PGs are in this league they still struggle to stop opposing PGs (For example Deron Williams dropped 38 point on Lin last night but Lin still scored 20 points on an off shooting night). I think defense at the PG spot is overrated and overemphasized, sure there are players who can be stifling at times but even Rondo (who everyone thinks is the best defensive PG in the league) got torched by Fisher in the Finals when it mattered.

    Add in to the fact that I think the West is weaker than it was last year I think LA can improve with marginal PGs (not long term solutions – ex Sessions). Basketball is all about match ups and I truly believe LA ran into the worst possible team in Dallas last year because of what they had (Superstar, 3 point shooting, solid bench, and great defensive bigs). If LA ran into OKC I think LA would have given them a run for their money if not beating them. OKC is really a two man show and if you can get Westbrook or Durant to have an off night then they are very beatable. They don’t have consistent shooters on the wings, they are very turnover prone, their bigs can’t score well (but are solid defensively). Really I think OKC is an ideal matchup. Since Dallas is weaker this year (although still a great team and streaking right now) I would argue that adding Beasley makes them better immediately. Just my two cents


  16. As I mentioned the other day, trade speculation isn’t going to fly here. I don’t care about a report by Broussard mentioning Beasely. Just like I don’t care about a Sheridan report mentioning Boozer or any other report that’s not substantial. A report about real talks occuring. We had that with Howard earlier in the year but even those have stalled and dropped out of the news lately and thus I’m shutting those comments down too until we get a significant report that the Lakers are engaged again.

    As stated before, those types of comments will be moderated.


  17. OK fifthrune: What do you think is going to happen in these next two games? These games are huge for the team morale headed into the ASG. Talk of the Lakers is the talk of the league now, and if we do not have a good showing against the Mavs + OKC, this talk will all be negative. Your comments?


  18. All this chatter about Beasley is interesting, but are we certain that Minny is ok with just the TPE and not asking for Pau in return?


  19. rr and others,
    Just because we are complaining about the front office and the “talking heads” are repeating our comments to generate interest, doesn’t make any of this fact.

    I seem to remember Jerry Buss being highly criticized about trading his starting center to Charlotte for their 1st round draft pick. Of course everything worked out, but there was a real chance nothing would come of it.

    The fact of the matter is that we don’t know anything about anybody until enough time has elapsed for all the pieces to fit – see the Pau Gasol trade for a recent reminder that we did give Memphis value and what they wanted in that trade.

    All this banging on Jim Buss is so much hot air. Also, this organization is always so amazingly quiet that we just have to make up something just to keep things interesting. Maybe you are right to criticize the Buss family, but there is a real chance you are full of hot air.


  20. I will predict again that Lakers will come out winner in OK land, but not sure with the Mavs. Well, NBA season is give and take and a game of adjustments. Mavs lost here when they came over last Jan., so they need a W when we get to their home grounds. With the OK team, Lakers will be motivated to beat them because of the so called favorite status.


  21. Beasley talk is already out there. There’s also news that Sessions can be had for a 1st round pick. Keeping Gasol and adding MB & RS. those are nice “tweaks.”


  22. Craig,

    Much of the stuff in the Berger article is documented: Jim Buss has gotten rid of scouts, Lester, training and video people, and others. Jim Buss does take a more active role than his father did. Jim Buss did choose Brown over Shaw. If you think these moves indicate a positive direction for the Lakers, make the case. If you don’t actually know, own that fact without being sarcastic.

    I am certainly willing to keep an open mind, and any eval of Jim Buss must take the veto into account. But I have yet to see a specific case made, or specific statements about Jim Buss made by people around him or who work under him, to the effect his early stewardship of the Lakers is taking the team in a positive direction.


  23. @Robert,

    I think they have a pretty good shot in Dallas, but I will be very surprised if they win in OKC. The development of Ibaka and the addition of Perkins make OKC a tougher matchup for the Lakers than they used to be. Given their performance on the road this season, they will clearly be decided underdogs in both games.


  24. @rr

    I will say this in Jim Buss’s defense. If the CP3 trade would have went through, then none of us would be down about how the Lakers are being run. We would probably be 26-6 or 25-7 and leading the Western Conference. (Or tied for the lead.)

    But, there are other signs that all is not well…We were all fairly upset with the firings over the summer and the choice of Brown over Shaw.(And anyone else really!)


  25. Looking at the possibility of Beasley, it’s hard to really determine if that’s a good call or a bad call. To me, what we miss the most from Odom is 1) somebody who can manufacture offense when Kobe’s not on the floor and 2) someone to initiate offense from the perimeter other than Kobe.

    Beasley would solve the former, but not the latter. IMO, it would be ideal to trade for a combo guard who solves both problems while adding some 3pt shooting consistency (OJ Mayo comes to mind). But I think Beasley would be nice if we can get him on the cheap.


  26. I can’t wait until the trade deadline goes away. Sigh.


  27. Robert,
    We agree almost. You’re just wrong about Bynum and Gasol. We are not the Pistons or Mavs of last year. We would have two dominant player (Kobe and Gasol) and a semi star amazing glue guy in Gasol. That’s a super talented squad with a Beasely and Sessions type players at the one and the three. I agree superstars are the most important thing. Cause it’s easy to get average players to put around them. What in saying is we already have superstar players in Kobe and Bynum. Two play players on both ends of the court.


  28. Do Lakers fans think Bynum needs more than 13 shots a game? I am in that camp who think Bynum has a ceiling on his scoring but we’ll never know unless he gets more shots, right.

    Is it necessary for Kobe to shoot 24 times a game? I think he can avg. 8 ast if he wanted to but he likes to score. I’m sure Kobe shooting alot doesn’t give fans a chance to see this offenses full potential. Who’s to say Kobe will give the ball up to a quality PG he never played with another above avg. perimeter player

    Blake had 17 last night, Barnes had 17 Fri. If the bench can have a guy produce like that evwry night it would help might mean more wins.


  29. Just confirmed my sponsorship of the Retired NBA Players event in Long Beach on March 14th. Top ex-players like Nixon, Erickson, Wilkes and many others will be there. Email me if you would like to attend.

    Should be fun and you can ask ex-Lakers their thoughts on this management, coach and team.


  30. rr: I would be happy with 1-1 w/o regard to sequence. I will be interested to see how our bigs play against OKC. Looking at OKC as the lead dog in the West at this point: Kobe and Durant is a good match up (stats wise). Our Bigs should/must win that battle decisively, because we know we can’t match Westbrook.


  31. Aaron: rr and others are shocked to hear this, but we do have much in common. Super Stars win – yes. Do not trade Pau/AB unless you get SuperStars in return – yes. If you can’t get the blockbuster (DW in your example) then keep the Big 3 and add a decent 1+3 – yes. A major difference is the appraisal of how good Pau/AB are. You have them higher rated than I do. Let’s see how they do at OKC : )


  32. For 16 and 17 Jim Buss seldom comes into the office and has little relationships with anyone. Trust me on that issue.

    Especially not his sister or Kobe.


  33. Robert,
    So you don’t think Bynum is by fat the second best Center in the NBA while being almost equal to Dwight Howard overall and better than him at low post one on one offense and passing?

    You don’t think Gasol is a top 5 PF who is only behind Howard and Bynum in post play?


  34. Darius — If you’re going to delete comments about potential trades, that’s fine. The site has always held that policy.

    However, while I see my earlier response to Aaron’s talk about the pros of adding a particular player was moderated off, why would the comments that prompted my thoughts (and others’) on said player still remain?

    If you’re going to spike one, spike them all, no? (From Post No. 1 on this thread on down, there are multiple comments about this player.)


  35. If they move without the ball like they did in the first half against Portland, for an entire game, they could beat anyone. But they don’t do that consistently.


  36. Great article by Berger and Right on the money?

    Only thing that bugs me is he clearly read some of rants and just called them his own.

    This is the mess I spoke of two days ago.

    Next up? Rumors of Laker sale.

    I am going on record on that one!


  37. Just found something I thought I’d post here though it isn’t relevant to anything:

    Laker efficiencies:

    Offense: 105.5, Defense 94.6, Differential: 10.9 (Pace 91)

    Offense: 100.7, Defense 106.9, Differential -6.2 (88.8)

    So the difference between their differentials (meta-differential?) is a whopping 17 points/100 home v. the road.

    The league average is +3.3 at home -3.3 on the road.

    Worth keeping an eye on.


  38. Ken: maybe to the guy who bought Magic’s share. The same guy who is bidding on the dodgers.


  39. Kevin

    Close. How about a certain former Laker who is also bidding on the Dodgers!


    Bet he can recognize a NBA point guard!!


  40. Ken: I can definitely see that happening. Anything to get the keys out of Jim’s hand his 1st and 2nd impressions awre not good at all


  41. After this season, can anybody honestly say that Jim Buss will every be as savvy as his pop. Sell the team while you can, Jerry? It is the only hope for this storied franchise.


  42. …because we all know so much about the Laker organization.

    I don’t mind criticism about the facts – like laying off the scouting staff – but much of what goes on here is conjecture. You all have been listening far too much to that guy A. Smith on KSPN 710.


  43. You all might want to read Kelly Dywer store on yahoo posted an hour ago.

    The house is burning!

    I won’t even say I told you so.


  44. Lakers will be exercising demons at Dallas. They absolutely took our heart that series. The most vivid memory isn’t PJ in Pau’s chest. Its ron absolutely shortchanging a wide open layup. That’s how bad it was.

    I’d like to see a Blake,Goudelock, Kobe,Murphy, Drew lineup. And Pau running the 2nd unit get him some post touches when he’s the only big on the floor.


  45. For all those coming down hard on the FO, the year 2014 is on the horizon and on the mind of every GM in the league now. The future is now whether you want it to be or not. This Laker team will be the litmus test on how to or not to operate in a new NBA. Mistakes will be harder to just throw money on the table and make go away. David Stern has made sure the dollar sign will no longer be king.


  46. @DirtySanchez, Wow, money will be an issue for all teams, but the days of buying a Championship will be over, for basically everyone. The Lakers in 2013-14 at 76.5 million for just five players is just crazy.


  47. I will say this in Jim Buss’s defense. If the CP3 trade would have went through, then none of us would be down about how the Lakers are being run.

    Yes, as I said, any evaluation of Buss must take the veto into account. It should also take into account all the changes he has made, his public image, which is awful, and the Lakers’ organizational track record.

    We will know more after March 15.


  48. Whatever is going on with the Buss empire, we as fans can’t do anything because you can’t fire the owner, tho’ as it is proven we can love a good owner like Dr. Jerry Buss. He was a consummate professional in handling the franchise during his tenure. The only fault that he made, he did not prepare the eventuality when he becomes old and incapable of making daily decisions. In close family corporations, the patriarch makes the necessary plans in transferring the reign of the property. It’s like monarchy wherein the royalty are mere title holders, it’s the parliament and prime minister who will run the affairs of the country. Similarly, if Jerry Buss knew that his sons and daughter, have rivalries, he should have delegated a professional corporation to run the Lakers. That corporation will only report to the owners but the day-to-day activities including the selection of GM, Coaches, and eventually the players and its finances will be run by the professionals within a Corporation. Right now, that Corporation is solely Jim Buss whom I believe is not knowledgeable enough to know the ins and outs of the trade. Unfortunately, he controls a vast empire and influences major groups such AEG who owns the Staples and Time Warner who invested 3 billion for the Lakers. Does Jim Buss have the business acumen, the qualification, the management group who would deal with all these mega Corporate moguls?


  49. sT

    The Lakers have always conducted business knowing they had a ace in the hole($). That is no longer an advantage when the luxury tax will even the playing field. The mindset of a frugal team in the land of excess, will take alot of getting use too for some fans, as you see by the last couple of days comments.


    If J. Buss gets the basketball personnel correct( vetoed CP3 trade), I believe he can work on his people skills and all will be forgotten as long as there are more W’s than L’s. I dont cheer for, follow blogs, or buy team merchandise because of Jerry or Jim. Its the product on the floor that makes me come back.


  50. 25 & 48 and others – We’ll never know, but I think trading for CP3 was a mixed bag. It would have created a very interesting core, to say the least. And it might have given Kobe somebody to pass the torch to down the road.

    Would have shedded payroll, too, as the Cavs owner famously pointed out. (By the way, why didn’t Stern fine him for shooting his mouth off?)

    It also would have gutted the Lakers frontcourt and given the team TWO players in the backcourt who must dominate the ball. Reminds one of the ancient but true cliche; there’s only one basketball out there at a time.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I suspect the CP3 trade would have been followed by the Lakers making a hard run at Howard. It would have made great sense for the Lakers to do this, because with a seriously depleted front court, it would have been quite helpful to have a super durable stud like Howard playing center.


  51. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

    We fans don’t really do the math well, but Dirty Sanchez @46 really linked to an article that does do the math – and it ain’t very pretty.

    The Lakers are going to have to invent how to work in this new world of 2014 and that will have an impact on the world of 2012. The Lakers still have some assets – i.e. Los Angeles exposure, etc. – but they can’t really stay in luxury tax territory. This is something that can’t wait for 2014 to work at. We have to start it now.

    It may be that this CBA will, in itself, waste Kobe’s last high production years. For this we can thank all those small market owners – but I don’t think we can lay all the blame on Jim Buss – much as we like to find a single scapegoat and pillory him.


  52. Dirty,

    You may not buy merchandise because of ownership, but I think most players certainly think about it when they consider FA destinations.

    Personnel: Kapono and probably McRoberts appear to have been Buss-driven decisions, as was the Odom dump. Don’t know how involved Buss was in the draft. By all accounts, Buss is more involved in personnel than hid old man was.

    As to the frugality defense, they knew a new CBA was coming. I think they expected the new tax to kick in one year later than it will, but as I have said before, if they were concerned about costs, they might have tried to give a little less money or fewer years to Pau and Kobe–not to mention the much-discussed contracts given to role players. And even with revenue sharing, the Time Warner deal still guarantees them a nice chunk of change.

    I have an open mind. But there are legitimate, specific reasons to question Jim Buss now, just as there were legitimate, specific reasons to question the quality of the Lakers’ roster in pre-season.


  53. DS,

    Let’s assume that Lakers will have a payroll of $ 120M including luxury taxes when you pay the whole roster. That’s peanuts for the Knicks who have been shouldering a chunk of luxuries for many years without even getting to the 2nd round of the playoff or even missed the playoffs. What about the Lakers? They have a 3 billion revenue spread for 10 years, I think if you aspire to spend few pennies while hoarding lots of dollars,(in terms of %) that’s unfair to the fans who will be absorbing those contracts in form of cable patronage and other media payouts throughout the world. Are you aware what the Lakers earn in the world market? In Asia, they are all fascinated on basketball and Lakers is one of the most popular team, by now it has been grabbed by Jeremy Lin and the Knicks. Therefore, my point here will the Lakers become a 2nd class team after Kobe? Shall we spend like Sacramento Kings and expect the same fan base today?


  54. Let’s talk about the team how the fact with ball movement (which kobe started) lakers looked unstoppable. Then when kobe stagnated the offense blazers got back in the game. Laker players follow Kobe’s lead as evident by the rallying yesterday. When Kobe let’s the offense dictate the shots so does everyone else. When kobe tries yo destroy his man (killing players rhythm in the ptocess) everyone follows you see drew forcing shots, mwp doing outtageously stupid plays (whuch happens often).

    So kobe has to realize when you move the ball it comes back. He forces the issue a lot mucking up the offense.


  55. DirtySanchez,

    Great link that summarizes much of what my own thoughts have been regarding Lakers’ FO’s thoughts. The big picture is this:

    – Given all the existing variables (zero cap maneuverability, Kobe & Pau’s declines, lack of true upside in existing young players, etc) this team at best has a puncher’s chance at a championship. There is no reason to rush into any long-term commitments because..

    – The real key is the summer of 2014, when potentially the FA class includes LeBron & Carmelo and a slew of other All-Star caliber players such as Wade, Bosh, Gay, Granger, Deng, etc. Kobe will be done by then, and we will need a new wing star to pair with Drew/D12.

    Fans are short-sighted. Most want to make the most of Kobe’s remaining days as a top player as well as get him that 6th ring, but given our cap situation that’s simply not realistic. Few (if any) moves would elevate us to true contender status. So the long-term plan of clearing space to attract a new superstar (a la 1996) may just be the best course for us as a franchise, if we’re still in the business to strictly win championships.


  56. 54 – “So kobe has to realize when you move the ball it comes back. He forces the issue a lot mucking up the offense.”

    True, but since he hasn’t figured this out yet, I doubt he ever will.


  57. Seen in the light of what has happened since, the vetoed CP3 deal looks like a stroke of genius.

    Youth, and undeniable talent way in to the future. CP3 + Bynum would be a top 10 team for another 10 years, and thus keep the Lakers attractive to FA’s and protect the brand.

    Now it all seems to b eroding. I hope a few changes will come, even if just to add those drops of hope that a fanbase needs.


  58. Kevin, the picture you paint about Kobe is unfair, to have great ball movement you have to have someone to pass to who can knock down a shot, create one for others or not commit a turnover. Otherwise the defense will not respect that player and they can camp out on the more offensively gifted players. It is more of a personnel issue than Kobe issue.

    Yes Kobe goes Iso too often, but when he’s your best & most consistent offensive threat on a team devoid of them other than Bynum and Pau, he should be given slack and more credit by fans like you and the coaching staff (like he is)


  59. The big questions now (all others are secondary IMO) are: 1) is JBuss willing to trade Bynum for Dwight, and 2) is Orlando willing to trade Dwight for Bynum. If the answer to either of those is “no” then it doesn’t look like the Lakers will contend for a long time. Bynum is probably the second best C in the game, but he doesn’t have Dwight’s D, motor, health, or star power to draw FAs. I don’t think moving Pau is the answer. It should be either Bynum for Dwight or lets roll with what we have with minor tweaks with an eye to 2014 as Craig W. notes.


  60. I lived through the Lakers in the mid-to-late 70’s. It wasn’t pretty – and we had KAJ in his prime. There are a few bloggers here who also lived through that, but they don’t express the vitriol for Jim Buss that newer bloggers do.

    Because of what happened after Jerry Buss took over, we idolize him. Well, just as we won’t see another Kobe very soon – in all likelyhood – we won’t see another Jerry Buss very soon either.

    I say give Jim Buss a few years to prove his mettle – don’t pillory him just because he didn’t anticipate the new CBA two or three years in advance.


  61. This is a lockout season. New coach with a new system with very little training camp time and an extremely short pre season (2 games!!). A trade that in any other circumstance would have gone through without a single hitch. Because of the vetoed trade (never in the history of the NBA has this happened!), the Lakers were forced to sign whoever they could sign to start playing. All of this speculation about the FO and the organization is for nothing. When the trade was vetoed I knew the Lakers weren’t going to go far this season.

    How about we, the Lakers fans, wait until the trade deadline to see what happens, then we wait until the end of the season. With a proper off season, proper training camp, and a proper pre-season, THEN we can dissect the Lakers to our hearts’ content. Until then, please leave the speculation alone and just be patient. Mitch Kupchak has proven time and time again that he’s one of the best GMs in the NBA, he pulled off the Pau trade he can pull off another great trade. Surely Jim Buss isn’t that big of a douche to interfere with Mitch’s decision making (at least I hope he’s not).


  62. (Sorry Abu Saud, I didn’t see what you wrote right above when I wrote my post. You’re spot on)

    Nobody can judge how coaches run practices or a Lockeroom just like nobody can judge really how a VP runs a team. We don’t know what decisions are actually Jim Buss and there are no moves that suggest the FO is bad. In fact… Everything they have done has shown a combination of vision (trading aging Gasol/Odom) patience (not ruining our flexibility by moving peices for average returns to get a PG after the NBA illegally ruined the CP3 trade and wisdom as they have kept what now looks to be a top 10 player in Andrew Bynum when every NBA team offered their star play for the giant Center over the last 6 years. The big mistakes, letting Farmar walk, keeping Fisher, and signing Blake seem to be more Mitch than Buss as they are smaller moves.

    Furthermore… The Lakers are in great shape as the trade deadline approaches and complaining shouldn’t be allowed till we see what the team does after the trade deadline. Heck… Aren’t we like a game behind the golden children across Staples Center?


  63. Yes – no more speculating. Don’t question why Coach Brown made, or didn’t make a substitution. Don’t question why a player didn’t pass the ball to an apparently open teammate, or why they didn’t use the “foul to give” in the closing seconds of a game. And don’t ask why the front office is taking steps that don’t appear to be helping the team move towards the next title.


  64. I was suspicious of Jim Buss dating to a few years ago but was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I was happy he didn’t go shooting his mouth off in public whenever he got attacked in the media.

    But I’m not happy with the lack of replacements in the scouting department after the lockout was over. I had no issues with the layoffs during the lockout, every team did that. However, I think scouting is such a vital factor.

    In the new landscape of the upcoming CBA, I believe that pouring more money into scouting is how big market teams such as the Lakers can leverage their higher cash flow. There are no restrictions on spending on scouting, no salary cap. An extra million more per year in the scouting department for a half dozen more scouts and their expenses will pay heavy dividends. Find that hidden gem of a role player that can be signed for a reasonable contract.

    As we’ve seen with this current team 1 or 2 role players whose strengths would match the system would make a huge difference in the team’s performance.

    I’m hoping that Jim will see the light there and spend on scouting and infrastructure. That’s how you leverage the money if you can’t outspend teams due to the new more onerous luxury cap.


  65. Whatever happens, I refuse to let the next two games be a referendum on the season–my greatest fear is that, if LA drops the next two games, the media, the fans, and this board will go into full-on “skyfall” mode. Even if you could magically transport the last Laker championship squad to now, there is certainly no guarantee of going on the road and beating two high-end opponents like OKC and DAL.


  66. Edwin

    Good points. We don’t know what is now in the head of the Buss family. I do know Jerry is much sicker then most people are aware of which I verified yesterday in a meeting.

    Are they looking to sell and buy Hollywood Park? A shopping mall, produce movies or buy a small country? We don’t know. What we do know is long time ass’t GM Ronnie Lester was fired and replaced by a Jim Buss friend who’s qualifications are a former bar tender. We also know the Craig Hodges our top scout was fired and replaced by J.Buss who qualifications are he has watched basketball games.

    Does this sound like a franchise building for the future? Jim seldom comes in. Jeanne almost never comes in now and Jerry has been at home with medical problems. Thus sounds more like a family toy that the kids and their friends can play with if they want or toss into the closet when it becomes boring.

    Believe me when I tell you the main goal of the team under Jim is to deduce payroll, plain and simple. As long as Kobe is there it will draw and the new cable deal will pay. The truth is the CLIPPERS are a better run franchise today with a much greater upside and our Lakers are becoming the Dodgers. With poor ownership and a declining fan base.

    Our only hope is a sale with a Magic Johnson lead new owner who actually knows, played and cares about the game.


  67. Aaron you are spot wrong. We are also a game and a half out of 8th place. What if no trade is made and the LO $9 million just goes in the pocket of the Buss kids to buy a few more cars? You know like the Sasha $5 million.

    You don’t just fire your scouting department, ass’t GM, training staff and others for nothing. Consider that it’s now only about money not winning championships which cost lots of money.

    Would you be surprised to know that the Lakers with high payroll and loss of playoffs games did not make money last year? Don’t be.

    Pride of ownership to a founder in business often turns to pride of money to his heirs.


  68. #69. “What we do know is long time ass’t GM Ronnie Lester was fired and replaced by a Jim Buss friend who’s qualifications are a former bar tender.”

    Lester was not replaced by this person. Lester, from what I know, was not replaced at all.

    Also, this person that everyone is now making fun of because of his background as a bartender has been a Laker scout for several years. I’ve spoken with another scout that’s met him while scouting at the same events and said that he works hard and does his job well. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express (one of the most respected scouts in the business) also tweeted this last night:

    “As someone who attended dozens of NBA scouting events over the last 8 years, I can say Lakers scout Chaz Osborne is just as professional… and as hard a worker as any scout you’ll come across. His background might be different, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t do his job well.”

    So, uh, I’d prefer if you’re going to start implying negative things about people, we at least TRY and give the entire story. You know, be ojective rather than riding the wave of hyperbole to try and trash a guy because he may not have a traditional background. I’ve found in life that people can come from all backgrounds and then find something they’re good at down the road that has nothing to do with what they did before.


  69. Why all this nostalgia for our scouts? When have the Lakers found some unknown South American or European player who was completely off other teams’ radar? Isn’t it possible firing the scouts was a referendum on their (non)-performance rather than some kind of new austerity? Does anyone believe the collected salary of all the released scouts would total even the mini-MLE (with no luxury tax implications to boot)? If it rains tomorrow, the media will say Jim Buss is to blame, but there’s nothing I’ve seen thus far to suggest any clear change between regimes and that Mitch has been disempowered in any way. The CP3 trade – addressing our key need while selling high on a Pau whose value is unquestionably lower than it was before the season began – was the perfect move. I still believe selling high on LO will be prescient– that we’ll get for LO’s TPE a player we could not have gotten at this point for LO straight up (cash is king!).

    There’s some major SSR-drift around here these days– people just parroting sensational media reports and talking about Brown being ‘the worst coach in the world’ when there are all kinds of mitigating factors due to the lockout, our defense is in great shape, and the poor play of our bench. How can people criticize Mitch and Brown at the same time? If the roster is bad, then doesn’t Brown catch a break for that, or if Brown is underachieving, doesn’t Mitch deserve some consideration. I really miss the days when commentary on this site was about basketball analysis (i.e., teams are running this kind of defense against us, so the counter is for X to flash to the top of the key, etc.).

    I’ll be disappointed if the TPE isn’t used by the trade deadline, but only angry if its not used by December. Until then, can we try to minimize the repetitive and reductive ‘(Brown/Mitch/Jim/Fish/MWP/bench) is the worst ever’ posts?


  70. Well said Darius


  71. I was wrong in using Berger/Dryer stories on that scout which I should not have. As for Lester/Hodges and FO stuff I wll be happy to discuss where my information comes from off the board if Darius or Aaron would like to call me.

    You should have my number.


  72. Speaking of games and x’s and o’s, lil Pau—

    While it’s an extremely small sample (and maybe nothing more than a coincidence)–It was interesting to see more energy out of the team after Kobe spoke out. I’ll be even more interested to see what happens in these two road games–to see if a “bunker mentality” does emerge, and if the team can translate that into more road success. Simply put, LA has been as good as anyone could have hoped for at home. If LA was even just .500 on the road, LA would be 22-10, half game out of the two spot in the West, and I think much of the negativity would be lessened. For all of the team’s struggles, if LA can just become an average road team (not even the “above-average” road team it has been in years’ past) things will look much better.


  73. If you want to read real basketball writers… Hollingers is my favorite. I’m sure many of you don’t have espn insider… So I’ll post some good bits from Hollingers Lakers per diem from today…. Here ya go…

    So what’s the irony here, Alanis? It lies in the fact that the individual pieces are the antithesis of middle-the-packness. Basically, there are three kinds of Lakers: the big-time superstars who are carrying the team, the supporting cast that is dragging them down, and Matt Barnes. Barnes is the only average thing about this team, a decent workmanlike combo forward who is putting together a perfectly respectable season.

    Otherwise, the roster is all peaks and valleys. Himalayan ones. And this is why I’d argue that the Lakers may be in more trouble than they appear to be.

    As I noted in an earlier column on my “BAD” rating, the Lakers get more minutes from awful players than any other team in the league. Metta World Peace has a PER of 6.26 and Derek Fisher has one of 8.33; both of them start. Players like this usually don’t play at all, but for L.A. they’re out there all the time — only five players in the entire league have played at least 700 minutes with a PER below nine, and the Lakers employ two of them.

    The alternatives are no better. Steve Blake (9.57), Troy Murphy (9.80), Andrew Goudelock (10.69) and Josh McRoberts (9.82) have all struggled, while Jason Kapono (4.98) shouldn’t be in the league anymore.

    In one sense, that represents a great opportunity. If they can find a way to replace the awful players with ones who are merely decent, it will improve the team tremendously. This, for instance, is why the Knicks leapt forward so abruptly once Jeremy Lin cured their open sore at point guard.

    As I noted above, it would appear the Lakers’ only trade assets are ones that allow them to do things around the edges, unless they’re willing to part with one of their three stars. Of the three, Gasol is obviously the one to go — Kobe can’t be traded without his consent, and Bynum is a 24-year-old behemoth just coming into his own. If Dwight Howard becomes available, great, but otherwise Bynum is staying put.


  74. How can people criticize Mitch and Brown at the same time?


    Because both of them can make questionable decisions in their respective roles at the same time.

    I said yesterday that the Berger piece was obviously slanted and Darius’ point is well-taken. What is equally true, however, is that most people excel in fields in which they have both long-term training and extensive professional experience. Jim Buss being heavily involved is his prerogative; it would probably behoove, him, however, to have some professional basketball lifers–like Kupchak and Lester–around him and his family members as they run the team.

    “Scouting” takes in a lot of territory: international scouting, collegiate scouting, advance scouting, scouting other players in case you want to trade for them, etc. It is an important aspect of any basketball organization. Given the Lakers’ long run of success, it seems logical to assume that their scouts were making a contribution to that success.


  75. Here’s my other problem with all these reports and tweets that are coming out. They’re all pounding on Jim Buss and selling Phil’s (and Jeannie’s) side for the most part. As we’ve seen with trade rumors, stories from the media usually have an agenda and bias. So I take these kinds of storm of stories with a grain of salt. Sure there’s truth in them but they can be twisted such as the bartender/scout story.

    I’m curious what exactly is the agenda behind this recent wave of attacks on Jim Buss. Is it just a general attack to weaken his position?

    There are just so many unknowns, I refuse to let my strings be pulled and react violently to so many anonymous sources.


  76. 77. I agree with that. My point isn’t to talk up this particular person or downplay the cutbacks that the Lakers have made in their front office and scouting departments (cut backs I don’t agree with and don’t in any way support). My point was only to say that this guy has become the embodiment of what’s wrong with the Lakers and I don’t think that’s fair at all. A line about making a good drink is catchy but after the fact it’s clear that it’s much more complex than that.

    I should also note, I have nothing against Berger. During the lockout he provided some of the best coverage and is a respected national writer that covers the league well. I just think in this case, there was more to report than what was written. That said, I understand why pieces like that are written in the tone they are – they sell well AND it’s hard to get people on the record to represent the other side.


  77. Here is The Lakers section of Hollingers famous “BAD” article that came out a week ago… I can’t beleive with just the eye ball test I said a short time ago Orlando had the second worst PGs behind the Lakers in the NBA. Man I’m good…

    BAD: Worst by position
    Team Position Players BAD
    Nets Small forward Stevenson, James, Sha. Williams, Owens 7,856
    Knicks Point guard Bibby, Shumpert, Douglas 5,794
    Kings Small forward Salmons, Garcia, Outlaw 5,663
    Lakers Point guard Fisher, Blake, Goudelouck, Morris 4,925
    Timberwolves Small forward Johnson, Webster 4,749

    If you’re wondering how the Lakers are 17-12 despite having three of the best players in the league, here’s your answer. The chart shows that the Lakers lead the league in BAD, with only four players having a PER above 12. Metta World Peace leads the way with 3,553 BAD points (fifth league-wide), but the point guards and frontcourt reserves are also major contributors. In their infinite wisdom, the league’s coaches decided to punish Pau Gasol for this by keeping him off the Western Conference All-Star team.

    Orlando ranks second, with horrid point guard play the main reason, although the Magic have at least begun to remedy a bit of the problem: Larry Hughes, with a horrid minus-4.84 PER in 114 minutes, was one of the worst offenders but has been waived.

    In each case, this represents an opportunity too. If L.A. or Orlando could just acquire a league-average point guard at the trade deadline (coughRamonSessionscough), it might improve their chances considerably


  78. Going around metta like he was a rock.