The Gray Area Of Clutch Performance

Darius Soriano —  March 19, 2012

I’m not a big fan of the meme surrounding clutch play. I’ve found that too often people who toil in the territory of claiming or refuting who is and who is not clutch do so at the expense of at looking at the entire game. That possessions that happen outside of the accepted construct (5 minutes or less in the game with a margin of 5 points or less) don’t meet the definition of clutch, that what matters most is scoring or shot making and the efficiency in doing so, that positional confines or players’ roles aren’t front line variables to consider, etc, etc.

Said another way, there’s too much gray area surrounding the arguments of clutch play for me to get worked up about it either way.

I’m more than happy to admit that as a game winds down and the score is close, the contest is more exciting. I’m also happy to admit that it’s thrilling to see someone hit a game winner and that misses in those instances don’t carry the nearly the negative connotation that a made shot carries a positive one.

This surely influences how I view Kobe Bryant. But as a Lakers’ fan, and someone that’s appreciative of having him spend his entire career helping the team I root for achieve more success than any other team during his era of play, I’ll also admit I’m a bit biased here. I mean, I’m objective about how Kobe’s late game play can both help and hinder the Lakers (last night is just the latest example of the latter) but over the years I’ve learned to accept Kobe for what he is: a fantastic basketball player who has had a bunch of success playing the game the way that he sees best while also being far from perfect. If you want to focus on the “far from perfect” part, that’s fine. If you want to focus on the “fantastic basketball player” part, I’m good with that too. After all, he’s both.

Again, I accept this.

I don’t care much about his place in history because those are of often mythical match ups that spur on hypothetical arguments that will never be solved. I don’t care how he stacks up against present day players because he’s 16 seasons into a career whereas his “peers” that carry the elite tag have had careers half as long (or less) to this point. I don’t need to argue who is better. I’m quite comfortable knowing that Kobe’s still quite excellent at this game and has been so for so long that he’s viewed this way both as a present day participant and through a historical lens. The fact that he’s in this discussion means more to me than if someone proves to me he’s better than another all time great.

Let’s get back on track though, shall we?

I don’t much care for arguing if Kobe’s clutch or not but I do know that the way we’ve come to define what is or isn’t clutch is too limited for my taste. For example LeBron gets gunned down by many fans for passing up shots to instead hit an open teammate in the closing moments of a close game. Some extrapolate this to mean he’s scared or deficient in the clutch. That he’d rather not miss than take and make the shot. I’ve no clue if any part of that last sentence is true but I can tell you I’ve read it about a thousand times in the last few seasons. Meanwhile, Kobe’s discussed and critiqued ad nauseam for the exact opposite reason.

Again, though, all we’re really discussing here is taking the shot. Is that all that matters? I’d argue no. And, while this topic has been covered some at this site before, there are others that would probably agree with me. Like Jared Dubin from Hardwood Paroxysm who covered this ground well in this fantastic read about what Kobe does and does not do in what’s become known as crunch time. He looks at Kobe’s stats from all angles and comes to this conclusion:

Kobe is such a lightning rod in the clutch discussion because his ardent supporters usually maintain that he IS clutch because of the game-winners and the championship rings, while statheads maintain that he ISN’T clutch because he usually doesn’t hit those game-winners and “count teh ringzzz isn’t an argument.” The track record on game-winners is indisputable. He doesn’t have a very good one. But he’s still an excellent shot creator – one of the best in the league at getting himself an open look – who routinely draws double and triple teams down the stretch of games, gets to the free throw line at an elite rate, steps up his rebounding and passing and usually wins. In other words, he’s a really, really good clutch time player, just not for the reasons his biggest supporters seem to think he is.

I suggest you go read the entire thing to better understand all the data that drove his conclusions. It’s a smart and well written piece that tries to get at more than just the shot that is or isn’t taken; that goes in or misses. And bringing some color to this gray area can only help us understand this part of the game better. Even if we’re not that fond of even discussing it in the first place.

Darius Soriano

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89 responses to The Gray Area Of Clutch Performance

  1. Kobe took good shots in the flow of the offense. Unfortunately it was the worst game if his career on both ends of the floor.

    Stephen A Smith was just on ESPN 710 and basically took back his thoughts on the Fisher trade. He said his inside sources told him it was almost a certainty that Fisher would have been a clubhouse cancer if he was demoted to 3rd string. That he basically told the Lakers as much over the course of the last couple years. Smith also said its a no brainer Session’s should be starting right away. But he said Mike Brown is a meticulous coach for better and for worse, he said Brown needs to dot the I’s and cross the T’s before making lineup changes. He expects Ramon to start very soon.

  2. Don Ford,
    What do you want Mike Brown to say? Steve Blake is so bad we can’t even start him for two games while we get Ramon caught up to speed? But I agree he should have started last night and needs to be thrown in the fire eventually and we can’t afford to drop games like last night with a PG going for zero points and two assists. The question is if Ramon started and played 35 minutes plus… Would Kobe shoot 3 for 20? I doubt it.

  3. Darius,
    As usual I agree with you on everything here. But people like Abbott are not saying exactly what you are alluding to. Abbott is on record saying Kobe is one of the clutchest players of all time. He and many others say Kobe’s stats in the clutch are so poor because he takes awful shots against double teams in ISO hero mode offensive sets. Saying if he played more within the offense and didn’t force bad shots in those moments Bryant’s clutch numbers would be elite. Hard to argue anything there and I know you aren’t. From your piece it seems you were saying that Kobe detractors think he isn’t clutch? Maybe you weren’t meaning that… It was just maybe how I read it.

  4. Kobe is clutch when he has a good 4th qtr. and not when he doesn’t. Lebron is clutch vs boston and chicago last playoffs then he’s not vs dallas. cp3 couldn’t finish games a few weeks back he’s not clutch last 2 games he’s the best closer. CLUTCH debate is too hot and cold.

    Kobe takes tough shots late has a low percentage. Dirk and Melo take the same hero ball shots but have a higher percentage. So hero ball works then so they are clutch. The eye test tells all I’ll let Kobe take a big shot every time.

  5. At the end of the day, if you could choose one player to make the game winning shot to SAVE YOUR LIFE, I would STILL go with Kobe.
    Dirk is a close second option.

  6. Clutch and Kobe FGAs is a subject that gets tiring to talk about. That’s what Kobe will be remembered by in many eyes is his shot selection instead of how hard he’s worked to become the player he is today. Wasn’t blessed with out of this world talent. His heart and determination has taken him a long way. Same can be said about Fish.

  7. The Laker offense had 16 turnovers in Blake’s 27 minutes, and eight turnovers in Sessions’ 23 minutes. Sessions needs to start tomorrow. In this offense, a successful team cannot have a point guard who only takes two shots (going 0-2) and gets only two assists (and has two turnovers) in 27 minutes. Seriously, what is Brown’s worst-case scenario for a Sessions start? Our starting PG has just played 56 minutes over the past two games and hasn’t scored a single point. To me, Blake’s play has been the worst-case scenario. Even a Ramon Sessions unfamiliar with the Laker offense is ten times the point guard that Steve Blake is.

    Giving Sessions a lot more playing time might preclude the regular necessity for Kobe Bryant to be clutch in crunch time.

  8. Since when does “clutch” only apply to shots? I’ve always consider Magic a “clutch player”, and it wasn’t just because of his shooting, but because of his DECISION MAKING. The Lakers have another player who may or may not become clutch, And I for one am ready to see if he can. As mentioned in a recent article on Forum Blue & Gold “Bynum has become a beast on more nights than not, and even when he’s not on his game he’s a walking double-double. ” Darius S.

    I’m in complete agreement.

    So far this season he’s established career highs in points/game, rebs/game, blks/game, PER, defensive rating, mpg, & currently in the NBA is 2nd in fg%, 3rd, reb/game, & 5th, blks/game. And was also selected as an All-Star (a starter no less).

    Sure injuries minimized his play in seasons past, but now he appears ready to assume the roll the Lakers drafted him for. As a matter of fact I believe he should have the inside track on “most improved player” for this season. Has anyone else in the NBA had this type of breakout season this year?

    Being a clutch shooter is a beautiful thing, however being a clutch player/performer is even better. It’s all about making the right decision. One or two less shots by Kobe last night & one or two more passes into the unstoppable Bynum by Kobe last night could have made all the difference in the world in last nights game. Especially when you consider how Kobe, Bynum, & Gasol were shooting last night.

  9. Dude,
    Everyone knows this… Brown knows this… he apparently just feels it will benefit the team to have Ramon come off the bench for a few games. The question is if Ramon should have been starting right away. You and I both think he needs to be starting from the get go. Here is my question to you… do you feel as I do that in this offense we need GLock to be the back up to Session’s as its crucial to have a PnR penetrating PG running the offense? I think Blake with his length can play back up SG like he did in Denver. In my opinion the turnovers and lack of ball movement stem from Fisher/Blake not being able to run the offense forcing non PGs to make plays resulting in a stagnant offense and high turnover rates on occasion.

  10. Mojo,
    I couldn’t agree more. But I have always thought Ramon’s first start would be Tuesday on the road although I had a hunch he would start last night (I was wrong).

  11. Aaron, the problem with having Goudelock play PG is that he isn’t a good enough ballhandler to initiate the offense against ball pressure. He was ok the first couple games they put him there because teams didn’t pressure him in the backcourt or at half court. As soon as one coach decided to pressure the ball with Goudelock running the point, it was all over. He was routinely taking 15 seconds to make his first pass. Blake has decent chemistry with the second unit. Put him there for 12 minutes per game and we’ll be fine.

  12. Mojo: Brown needs to be grilled for playing Kobe and Bynum 40 minutes per game this month in a shortened season at that.

  13. Dude,
    Yes… I agree. But dealing with NBA ball pressure is something that has to be learned. GLock faced it for one and a half games. I am confident it wasn’t his ball handling and more the speed and length of defenders that confused him. I think he can make the proper adjustments over the course of a week or two. It is worth the 15 minutes a game backing up Ramon when it comes to playoff time. Because this offense has been very disjointed without a PG running the show and Blake has never been a traditional NBA true PnR PG. Those 15 minutes of Blake running the offense could negativley swing several playoff games. Thoughts?

  14. Andrew Bynum named WC Player of the Week, YES:

    http://blog.lakers.com/lakers/2012/03/19/bynum-named-western-conference-player-of-the-week/

    Can “Most Improved Player” this season be far behind?

  15. In a traditional offense point guards are the lead domino. Everything flows from them. Starting Ramon now is not an issue of him adapting to the team. It is an issue of the team adapting to him. With his speed and ball handling skills he should be the main guy with the ball and the one orchestrating the offense. That is a huge adjustment for the team to make at this juncture in the season. I think some don’t realize just how much Sessions changes the offense. That is a good thing for sure. The problem is these players have spent four months solidifying habits that need to be uprooted.

  16. T. Rogers,
    Yours is the most cogent point I have heard made as to why Sessions should start.

    The best reason for not starting him is to keep the pressure on him down while he is making his first adjustment to the team.

  17. Craig,

    They can throw caution to the wind and start him now. However, the cost of doing so may be lost games and confusion just when they were finally gaining some consistency as a team.

    I think the person who would have to adjust the most is Kobe. It is clear now is the time for Kobe to move primarily off the ball. If Kobe can swallow that pill whole with relative swiftness then Ramon can be the number one PG right away. If not, he has to be eased in gradually. My guess is MB is playing this by ear based on Kobe’s acceptance of Ramon’s on court presence. And that seems like the smartest approach.

  18. T. Rogers,
    I actually think its the opposite. They are thinking long term. Short term we risk losing games like last night starting Steve Blake.

  19. I mentioned a few days ago that this season could be a replay of the Houston Rockets 1995 season. They were defending NBA champions and in the middle of the pack of the loaded Western Conference playoff race. At the halfway point of the season, they traded their 32-year old, former All- Star power forward to Portland for 32-year old, former All-Star two guard Clyde Drexler. Houston had a .500 record for the rest of the season and made the playoffs as the 6th seed, with Drexler in the starting lineup. With all the extra practice time in the postseason, their offense and defense gelled and they won the championship, beating #3 Utah, #2 San Antonio, and #1 Phoenix, then sweeping #1 Orlando in the Finals.

    The sooner Blake starts playing 18 minutes or less, the better. If MB insists on starting him after his performance the past two games, then Sessions should be brought in at the five-minute mark of the first and third quarters, with Blake coming in for two or three additional minutes before the mid-point of the second and fourth quarters. The sooner the starters and Sessions get accustomed to each other, the better.

  20. Dude,
    Haha… You just won’t go out on a limb. Nobody could ever disagree with that!! Do you think it would be better for GLock to back up Session’s and have Blake play his more natural SG role that he played in Denver? I think GLock can adjust in a matter of weeks to NBA on ball pressure.

  21. isn’t J.J. Hickson used to be the 2nd best player in Cavaliers?

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/03/19/kings-buy-out-j-j-hickson/

  22. JJ Hickson is a no brainer for the lakers.

  23. Abbot is a clown…..but so are most

    There ate many points in the game that are clutch….going into halftime tied instead of down 8 because Kobe had two steals and 6 points is clutch, hitting a shot to stop a run is clutch, hitting foul shots when you are ahead is clutch…

    Also other than Tim Duncan, who has been in enough meaningful games to even be considered?

  24. 1. Whether Sessions will be starter or not –

    I will go with the argument of T. Rogers, the Lakers other four are not yet ready to run with Sessions, so far only Barnes can keep up with him. Perhaps, Sessions is also adjusting with the plays in the post on when or how to get the ball to Bynum and to Pau? Supposing Sessions started last night and the Lakers still lost the game, who do we blame? In the same token, supposing they won last night, are we going to have any argument on who should start? Last night, it was a team’s responsibility for loss whoever is the PG.

    2. On Kobe’s clutch shooting argument –
    I would agree with Darius’ point. It is based on the decision making and also as agreed by the team on the last time out. On contrary, if Kobe’s sees an open player at the last ball possession, he can decide whether he should do it or give it to the open player not necessarily Bynum. When we started playing ball at the park, do we designate people on who will be the clutch player? It is a matter of feel isn’t it that if you’re open, just do it. If you made it, great and if you missed, too bad move on to the next play.

  25. @23, Aaron – No, not this season. Let the rook get some time in the summer league playing the point, then more time in camp. Not this season. Let Blake initiate the offense when he and Goud are on the court together.

  26. Why is it assumed that the starters will have an easier time adjusting to Steve Blake as a starter than Sessions? Blake hasn’t been a starter, so guys are now having to adjust to him, and if anything he is even more passive offensively than Fisher was.

    The other 4 starters are in for an adjustment period regardless of whether the new starter is Blake or Sessions. The advantage of making Sessions the starter now (leaving aside the enormous point that he is a radically better PG than Blake) is the fact that the Lakers will put Sessions in the starting role before season’s end, thereby forcing the “adjustment” that Mike Brown is now avoiding.

    Not to start Sessions this year is the equivalent of throwing in the towel on the season. If you know you’re gonna eventually start him, why not do it now since you aren’t avoiding a current adjustment but merely creating TWO adjustment periods in the remainder of the season.

    This team needs work, and it needs to get playoff rotations in order. I’m not sure how that cause is advanced by throwing both the starting and reserve units into a new state of adjustment, only to do it again in a few weeks.

  27. Abbott is the biggest Lakers troll on the web. There is a simple reason why he brings up Kobe once every few posts – it brings him a lot of attention that all his other pieces can’t bring.

    Still, facts are facts – Kobe takes way too many near-impossible shots against double and triple-teams to be labeled as truly great in the clutch. CP3 is a clutch player in that he makes the right decisions late in game and helps his team win that way.

  28. Dude,
    Okay… I knew I could find something we could disagree on. First time for everything.

  29. Exactly, Funky! Two adjustments! Here’s what I wrote in last night’s post-game thread, comment #9, second paragraph:
    ——————————————————-

    It was pretty obvious in the first half that Sessions, despite his poor shooting night, is several orders of magnitude better than Blake at running the team. By inserting Blake into the starting unit, we’re now making two lineup adjustments with Fisher’s exit instead of one. The starting unit had no flow because one of its members was too timid to shoot and it threw off everyone’s rhythm. Sessions better start on Tuesday.
    ——————————————————

    Great minds think alike :D

  30. Couldn’t agree more, let the regulars get used to HIM, instead of the other way around. Like the guy-quick to the rim, looks for the open man, seems like he would be joy to play with. Let Blake run the second unit instead of looking over his shoulder to see when Ramon is coming in.

    Did we trade for Jordan Hill too soon, or is J.J. Hixson not as good?

  31. Apparently Fish gave up all $3.4 mil of next year’s salary in the buyout.. is revenge on the Lakers worth more than that? Oh boy.

  32. 9 comments out of 23… dang Aaron, you’re commenting about at the same percentage as Kobe takes shots…

  33. Kobe is clutch as long as he wants the ball.

    That to me defines clutch much more than actual success and decision making, but that’s just me.

  34. It’s crazy how similiar Marc & Pau Gasol’s games/numbers are.
    Marc: 38 mins. 15 pts 9 reb 3 ast 2 blks 49% FG
    Pau: 37 mins. 17 pts 10 reb 3 ast 1 blk 50% FG

    I was looking at the big men FGA per game. While Bynum has 2 other elite players on his team the attempts aren’t too far off.
    FGA per game:

    Bynum 12.5
    Howard 13.8
    Griffin 16
    Aldridge 17.2
    Pau 13.4
    Marc Gasol 12
    Jefferson 17
    Bosh 14.2
    Love 19

    So Bynum has 2 elite players on his team and isn’t far off from the other elite big men. The biggest difference is Bynum doesn’t get to the FT line enough. Only 5 times a game should be around 8-10.

  35. Clearly Blake going two games in a row with zero points Is a no brainer. But then continuing to start terrible Metta is also a no brainer. Not playing McRoberts for a month and now bringing him in first off the bench is a no brainer. Not calling a tine out the last 2 minutes last night seems to be a no brainer.

    I can go on and on.

    Mike Brown nit being the coach of the LA Lakers is the real ji brainer. We win that game with Jackson or any other real coach last night. Zero
    chance Popovich would leave a non-scoring, scared to shoot Blake in the game when you have a fast, penetrating guard like RS sitting on the bench the last 3 minutes.

    Mike Brown dosen’t have the ability to make good coaching decisions which is why his rotations are such a joke. I expect Blake will continue to start until we lose both games in Texas. this guy just dosen’t get it and this is exactly what was going on in Cleveland according to a close contact part of that team

  36. Ken, MWP plays fine when he can get up for a tough defensive assignment. He was instrumental in our wins over Miami (LeBron) and Boston (Pierce), and MB stuck him on Kevin Love during crunch time against the T-Wolves on Friday, and MWP responded by shutting down Love completely. IMO, MB should have stuck him on Millsap last night, and let Pau take his chances with Josh Howard. Millsap ALWAYS kills Pau. Why not think outside the box?

  37. Dude

    Can you sacrifice one of 5 spots on the floor forva bad offensive player when you PG also is scoring zero?

    I am ok with Metta when Sessions is starting but we can’t afford to play 3 on 5 which means doubles on Andrew and doubles on Kobe.

    That is simple and why we got sweep last year.

  38. MBrown at times makes a lot of dull replies during interviews like saying Blake will start up to foreseeable future. Perhaps, silence or a general answer will be enough for a hungry public.

    I’m sure Sessions was not taken to just loiter as the PG for the 2nd unit. Steve Blake knows this as well as our Big 3. They’re just acclimating Ramon to his new teammates as well as the plays but very soon, he has to assume the starter role. On the other hand, it is also good to reserve him during the playoffs when the real season begins.

  39. I had the same thoughts on Hickson, worth a look if you ask me especially because of his athleticism. Not sure why he was cut but he is young and in the right system the guy could flourish, heck when playing for the Cavs he started and looked great until they brought in Shaq and Jamison and took his minutes.

  40. Ken, you just explained precisely why starting Blake is such an absurdity. Putting Blake in the starting 5 is to ensure that 40% of the starting lineup need not be guarded.

    The presence of a vastly superior PG on the roster should make this a no-brainer for the coach. You get the benefit of a lockdown defender with MWP, but also the offensive threat from Sessions. Not sure why Brown doesn’t see it that way….

  41. Reading reports of why Fisher might have a hard time playing this year is sad.

    For Laker fans! The story says why would anyone wantva guy who can’t shoot, guard anyone and is at top of PG in turnovers per minute played.

    Aaron, Joel and I have been saying that for 3 years and now all of a sudden it’s a new fresh idea!

    Maybe management should hire this site as consultents.

  42. I don’t mind MB not starting sessions right away.

    1. You want to set people up to succeed, not to fail. Ultimately everyone including MB wants Sessions to start, so you want to make sure that when he does, he keeps it.

    2. Blake needs some confidence building as well. We need Blake. We can’t just toss him to the bench in favor of a new guard who doesn’t even know the plays. He has earned the right to show his stuff. It’s a bit contrary to point 1 in that in a way this is setting him up to fail, but at least here Blake was given enough time to prepare for this.

    3. Our starting line-up is fairly good and does not need much help. We won with Fisher, and Blake shouldn’t be that big a drop off from Fish. OTOH, our bench needs help big time, and needs a scoring threat. We briefly had success with the bench mob a few years back when the bench would come in and just change up the pace. We need something like that. Sessions could help even with his limited knowledge of our plays.

    All in all, give it some time. There are good enough reasons to not start him right away, and at least I think they’re better than reasons to start him right away.

  43. I don’t think Mike Brown is a bad coach. Rotations are a bit curious but he’s trying to see what works in a shortened season. His defensive scheme is great just have to cut down the offensive rebounds.

    Offensively he’s behind but Kuester has good plays. Ever since the loss to Washington the team has had good ball movement and running plays and offense have been clicking.

    My gripe with the guy is his minute distribution. He’s riding the big 3 too hard too soon. But he’s handled chaos and backlash in the media well. He just isn’t a motivator as a coach that isn’t good.

    To be 3rd place in the West he has to be doing something right. Sessions will start eventually but letting Fisher go was a mistake he is better than Blake.

  44. I understand that Mike Brown is responsible for every loss we have had this year and even Kobe missing 17 shots last night was his fault. But some of the other things I have found out is amazing.

    Disney is blaming Mike brown for the failure of John Carter at the box office it’s going to cost Disney 200 mil in a write down.

    It appears the rising gasoline prices can be directly traced to Mike Brown.

    Greece has issued a statement that if they do become insolvent it is basically Mike Browns fault.

    Tim Tebows passing woes this season was credited to Mike Browns coaching.

    A giant 400 pound Gorilla Koga actually bit it’s zoo keeper after watch Mike Browns rotations last night.

    Man he’s a menace to society.

  45. Watching Chicago playing and winning without Rose points out how important a great coach can be. These guys have very little talent yet they keep winning. Great offense/passing and amazing defense is all about coaching.

    Lakers would be unbeatable with the Chicago coach and Chicago would be a 8th seed with Brown as their coach.

  46. Kevin

    Some teams win BECAUSE of their coach.

    Some teams win in spite of their coach.

    Honestly Kevin, which one applies to tbe Lakers in your opinion?

  47. D Wade is still a PUNK. However, I am going to re-tweet him on this board after looking at tonight’s scoreboard.

    Loyalty: HaHaHaHaHa

  48. Ken: It’s a bit of both you have to have talent to win. Those CLE teams didn’t have enough talent to win some years. When they did in 09,10 Lebron had one of those episodes.

    What has Brown done that’s detremential to this team besides heavy minutes?

  49. Darius: Love the write up. There has never been an athlete like KB. He is + always will be polarizing amongst all bball fans, as well as amongst Laker fans. I love the Lakers +I never thought I would have an ATF that would replace Magic. Yet Kobe appeared + I knew right away that he would be “it”. He has brought us 5 rings, an incredible list of clutch performances, + for me he is simply the most entertaining athlete of all time.
    When KB takes a 25′ foot turnaround, double teamed, fade away: There is just something about that moment, that does it for me. It doesn’t even matter if it goes in, just the fact that he launches the shot is enough to make my night in the way no athlete ever has. I recommend that everyone appreciate this legend while we have him.

  50. This topic sucks

  51. Just don’t see how you can say Mike Brown has done a bad job with this team.

    The Lamar trade could’ve divided this team but he stayed the course. Then Kobe’s first bad game came and he called him out on it. Others he said he trusts Kobe and he has the green light.

    He’s stayed the course and continued to say this team will get better no practices hurt and Lakers are in 3rd place.

    After those Detroit and Washington losses nobody would have been suprised if a tailspin of losses came. But the team has actually played its best ball since the film sessions he called.

    So I think Brown has done a good job. It’s just different after 13 years of familiarity. Lakers are fine.

  52. Can someone take down Travis’ comment please?

  53. Ken,
    How many times do we see teams play out of their minds whe the best player is down? The Jazz just beat a pretty damn good Lakers team at Staples Center where the home team happened to at the time have the best home record in the NBA (without their best player). It happens. Often. Both teams have very good defensive coordinators. I don’t agree with the Brown hate.

  54. I feel is constant changing of rotations (some games AG plays zero the next Murphy the same) has caused a lack of confidence on tbe team.

    Brown throwing Pau and Kobe back in games when they ate up 12 or down 15 late in games has caused burnout and lack of confidence.

    Popovich rests his vets during the season while Brown over plays and burns out his.

    Allowing Metta to call him out and reacting by moving him to the starter position shows a weakness.

    Lack of ability to adjust the offense on double teams and zones shows lack of awareness as a NBA coach.

    Inability to call time outs to stop 17 to 4 etc runs by opposing teams.

    Finally his refusal to demand the team goes into the high percentage bigs instead of throwing up bricks from three which zi feel is a fear if Zkobe.

  55. Aaron

    Coming from the Lakers new jinx Aaron! No more floor games from you.

    Clearly you scared Kobe into 3 for 20.

    Like a premium vodka you should remain top shelf in future games.

    As for Chicago I think they are now 8 and 2 this year without Rose.

  56. Kevin

    Ps

    At my NBA legends event last Weds I spoke to 5 former ex-Lakers that were there. Not one of them thought that the Brown hire was a good one.

    It’s was no accident that Kobe went public with his overriding Brown’s play last week in the Andrew winning basket. Also if you don’t think Fisher calling the closed door meeting to discuss team going back to the triangle had something to do with the trade! Well you are very naive!

    Brown like Andrew are Jim Buss touts. You don’t mess with junior.

  57. Ken: Maybe Brian Shaw deserved the job. This team had their chance and they got swept in the 2nd round.

    It’s hard to accept change when you’ve known something for over a decade but sometimes it’s necessary. Lakers didn’t even run the triangle last year. It was very very very basic triangle stuff because of the new faces.

    Jim Buss almost had chris paul. Now he’s traded for Sessions. He ‘s trying to make clear upgrades to help this team win now. You’ve been right on a lot of your facts you’ve stated here. Fact is Kobe’s getting older and Drew is dominating now it would make perfect sense to get younger, hire a coach and build a team around him.

    Progress has been made since day 1 of preseason. That’s all you can ask for.

    Thibodeau knows defense but he lost in 5 games to Miami. A coach is only as good as his players.

  58. Kevin

    Ok I will keep an open mind? Let’s see how he handles Sessions and Kobe/Pau minutes the next month.

  59. Ken: Sure and watch progress be made. Keep the rants coming those are still hilarious.lol

  60. Ken,
    Ha. No more floor games for me most likley anyways :(

  61. Man oh man… It’s sad to see what has become of Lamar Odom. The guy just sat on his butt for all seven months of the offseason. He is just an old flabby mess now :(

    DimeUpdate Dime Update
    The Mavericks can’t miss tonight. Except Lamar Odom. He can miss.
    21 minutes ago     

  62. The way Kobe is scrutinized is absolutely amazing, never seen anything like it.

    The man shows up every game, plays with effort every game, plays hurt, plays with scrubs, and yet..constant criticism.

    I’m a lakers fan first, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Kobe go to another team, I’m sure the bobcats wouldnt complain too much.

    I’m sure the bynum sessions duo will get those next 3 rings for us

  63. I think it is very difficult to judge Coach Brown’s performance in this topsy-turvy 66 game season.

    I think that Andrew has to embrace the defensive end of the floor with the same gusto as he embraces the offensive end. He and Pau always wind up good numbers, double doubles and all, but neither is fond of the dirty work. They need to play better on defense.

    I think JJ Hickson could help the team. Some more productivity at the 3 would be nice. A plus is that JJ and Coach Brown know each other from Cleveland.

  64. Kenny T,
    The problem with any of us talking about the defensive end of the floor is that the only things talked about are steals and blocks. The other aspects of defense just don’t jump out at you like points scored.

    Over time we all seem to forget most of the defensive nuances. Players we like, we say are good defenders and players we don’t like, we say are getting old and don’t play defense. Specifics, however, are much harder to remember.

    I guess we just have to accept that we fans, mostly, don’t know what we are talking about. We are just blogging our mind with the moment.

  65. @ Craig W…

    Teams have been attacking the Laker basket way too much lately,IMO. Hopefully, the team can improve defensively as it integrates it’s new pieces.

  66. I am in favor of signing Hickson as a defender off the bench. I remember him being a decent rebounder with MB in CLE. Anything to reduce Murphy’s minutes.

  67. It’s funny… JJ had everyone including me excited about the possibility of being our big man off the bench. As it turns out he has a PER of 10 and one of 15 the last couple years before this one. Jordan Hill who is longer and a better defender has a PER of 15 this year. Maybe we are set there;)

  68. Love Hickson’s energy, size and athleticism, but we’re already overstocked with back-up Bigs. Coach Brown was already having issues trying to determine who should get the majority of the minutes between T-Murph & Josh-Mac. And this was before we acquired Hill. So I can only imagine what his dilemma would be if we so happen to pick up Hickson … Not required and definitely don’t see it happening.

  69. As long as Blake continues starting, Kobe HAS to take a lion’s share of the perimeter players’ shots. Add Ramon the starting lineup, and that may be altered somewhat.

    I don’t get how putting Blake in the starting lineup is supposed to help the team. To the contrary, I feel that Brown is about to “Ebanks” Blake, that is, artificially deem him as the foreseeable starter, then yank him. Blake starting has to eventually hurt his confidence, with all his 0 point games. He’s meant to be a bench player, and I think he accepts that role! Sessions may start in a week or so, but I feel that it may have been better to let Sessions learn on the fly, since he’s looked damn good doing so already.

  70. Hickson has proven not to be very good at basketball. While this isn’t an all encompassing stat, it’s a good place to start: as a PF, Hickson has a PER of 8.9 and a PER against of 18.3. That’s a negative 9.4 PER differential which is worse than what the Lakers PG’s were doing before the Sessions acquisition. I’m convinced that there’s a segment of Lakers fans that will want any player that’s available simply because they’re familiar with their name.

  71. Darius,

    I watched Hickson play every game for the Cavs two years in a row, the guy has the athletic potential to be much better than that PER (which in my opinion is nauseating how people use it as the end all statistic). He is much better than McRoberts and Murphy, especially when playing in a successful and consistent system. When he was in Cleveland he had an amazing season in Lebron’s last year. Struggling in Sacramento comes as no shock because let’s be honest who has flourished in that franchise post Divac, Bibby, and CWebb? Not to mention that Mike Brown coached Hickson and knows what he can bring to the table as opposed to guys who he has on his bench and never uses (McBob, Ebanks). I realize he isn’t a SF like some on here have suggested but is it a bad thing to have a guy with the potential to be a decent bench player instead of a meaningless veteran who will be gone after this year (Murphy)? He’s not going to demand big money so I see it as a low risk high reward type situation.

  72. darius: another good read on the mamba.

    this in no way is in defense of coach brown. having sessions on the 2nd team, perceptually is the only scoring commodity the laker team has. sure, they brought in murphy and kapono to fill that void and look how that’s turned out. one still in, just barely and the other gone to the great shooting pasture in the sky.

    now let’s put blake on the 2nd team and visually take a look at the bench from both a fanatic and coach’s perspective and ask yourself who can we/i bring in to provide a scoring punch? the team as currently constituted, it’s a dilemma for sure.

    Go Lakers !

  73. Drew is the 3rd best frontcourt player in the league. He has not taken more than 18 shots in a game this year and only shot less than 50% 8 times in 40 games. 3rd in double-doubles (31), 36 mins per game, 5th in blocks (2), 2nd in FG (57%), 3rd in rebounds (12.9).

    And he’s getting stronger as the season rolls along.
    Jan. 15.8 ppg 12.1 rebs 1.2 ast 1.9 blk 53% FG 57%FT 2.2TO
    Feb. 15.7 ppg 13.7 rebs 1.5 ast 2.3 blk 54%FG 69%FT 2.4TO
    March 24.0 ppg 13.1 rebs 2.0 ast 2.0 blk 65%FG 75%FT 3.6TO

    Big Man PER

    Howard 24.59
    Griffin 23.23
    Love 24.71
    Bynum 23.12
    Noah 19.24
    Duncan 21.39
    Pau 20.11

    Feed The Beast.. And IMO K. Love is the best in the league.

  74. Lakers8884,
    It’s just that Hickson isn’t very good and is worse than Jordan Hill.

    1/2decaf1/2regular,
    Hickson is a bad defender and this year isn’t as good as Hill on the offensive end. There is a reason we had to trade for Hill and JJ (on a cheap rookie contract) was just cut.

  75. Kevin,
    Nice stats. Very nice. I’m a huge stats guy but I also put those numbers in context. And when I do guess what happens? Those numbers are even better. Out of all those pkayers Bynum gets double teamed the most and also is set up the least by his PG (until now). Howard has Nelson, Griffen has CP3, and Love had Rubio. So… For those who say numbers don’t tell the whole story… You’re exactly right ;)

  76. Aaron, you know nothing about Jordan Hill because the guy hasn’t sniffed the court no matter where he has played.

    I at least KNOW that Hickson if put in the right system (started for a Cleveland team that won 60+ games two seasons in a row) can be a solid contributor.

    In 2010-2011 Hickson averaged 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per 28.2 minutes. He was improving each year until he joined the train wreck franchise that is Sacramento. Put him around better talent and the guy gains confidence as well as improving his overall play.

  77. Lakers8884,
    Haha. I happened to go to the University of Arizona where a guy by the name of Jordan Hill attended. If you don’t believe me ask Darius as we are friends on Facebook so he can confirm the university I attended;). So I am pretty farmiliar with his game. I’ve followed him from NYC to Houston. JJ Hickson is an undersized PF who in his best season before being cut by the Kings yesterday (on his rookie contract!) in Cleveland had a PER of 15 while playing subpar defense on one of the worst teams of all time. The guy by all accounts isn’t as good as Jordan Hill (who has a much better PER) for what this Lakers team needs (a big off the bench). If we wanted Hickson to morph into a SF we can have another conversation. Trust me… I would listen to Darius and myself on this one.

  78. 1/2decaf1/2regular,
    Both would be upgrades over McBob and Murphy (not saying much). What I’m saying is that Hill is a bigger upgrade (who is already on our team) hence forth adding Hickson to just sit on the bench doesn’t make much sense. Furthermore, Hill can also play spot minutes at Center where JJ can barley get away with guarding PFs at his size.

  79. Lakers8884,
    Btw… As I’m sure most everyone else knows on here… JJ Hickson did not start on an Clevalnd team that won even 15 games haha. He was on the bench behind Anderson Verejow and Jamison on the Leabron James Cavs teams with Mike Brown. He got PT the year LeBron left and Cleveland filled out their squad with D Leaguers.

  80. Aaron (85),

    He actually started in 73 games in 09-10, when the Cavs won 61 games. To be fair, he only averaged 20 minutes. This is in no way an endorsement of JJ Hickson – no thanks.

  81. darius: we’re meandering…….game preview forthcoming?

  82. Matt,
    Oh right… Varejo got hurt that year right? If I rememeber a bad ankle sprain? But yea… Jamison played the majority of the minutes at PF if I rememeber correctly?

  83. Aaron,

    Well, Jamison did get the start in 23/25 of the games he played for the team that year with 32 minutes a game, but that was after getting traded in February around the time Shaq was done for the year. Varejao played in all but 9 games I think, but only started in 7.

  84. Matt,
    Thanks

    Darius,
    Third straight game where the Lakers have the advantage at PG if Ramon plays 35 minutes. Please put that in your game preview? That probably hasn’t happened since Nick Van Exel was running the Forum. Pretty please?

  85. Aaron: Thanks. Drew is on a mission to be the best.

    Hickson isn’t as good now because he doesn’t have Lebron anymore. Hickson hasn’t been the same since Lebron left cleveland.

  86. Kevin,
    Nobody is the same not playing with LeBron. The guy is a combo of Magic and Jordan in Dennis Rodmans body. It’s a pleasure to watch him play.