Lakers Still A Top Heavy Team

Darius Soriano —  March 26, 2012

The addition of Ramon Sessions has unquestionably sparked the Lakers. While their record is just 3-3 in his 6 games with the team, there has been a noticeable pep in the step of the players and a change in how they’re playing, results be damned. The offensive sets look more crisp, the ball is moving more, and there’s been an increase in easy baskets. The defense has looked about the same – while having the same up and down moments that last night’s performance exemplified – but that’s a topic for another day.

What the addition of Sessions has also shown, though, is that the Lakers remain very much a top heavy team. This was masked somewhat by him coming off the bench for his first four games, but now that he’s starting it’s crystallized for everyone to see. Another way to say this is that the Sessions’ acquisition has essentially better balanced the team’s top talent while not doing much to really increase the quality of the roster – at least in relation to last season.

Let’s look at last year’s roster: Fisher, Kobe, Ron, Pau, Bynum, Odom, Barnes, Brown, Blake, Smith, Ratliff, Ebanks, Caracter, and Walton.

Now this year’s roster: Sessions, Kobe, Ron, Pau, Bynum, Barnes, Blake, McRoberts, Murphy, Goudelock, Ebanks, Morris, Hill, and Eyenga.

If you look at the overall quality of both groups, what’s effectively happened is that the Lakers swapped Odom for Sessions. The rest of the roster is either the exact same or has swapped out one group of veterans and youngsters for another group of similarly talented players. We can argue value in terms of leadership (Fisher) or athleticism (Brown) or skill set, but the fact is that the pieces that are with the team today don’t differ too much in terms quality of player.

And that is the real issue with this current Lakers team. They simply haven’t upgraded too much (if at all) from a pure talent stand point.

Some games, this simply won’t matter. With a top heavy team, that tier of elite players is good enough to win a lot of games. Last year that meant Kobe, Pau, Bynum and Odom doing most of the heavy lifting from night to night. Those players had played together for several years so there was chemistry at play but even if that was stripped away, their talent could lead the team to wins and often did. This season Odom is gone but Sessions is now in his place and his play making and ability to score provides a similar impact when added to the Lakers big three.

When it comes to role players, this is also true. They’ll have games that show why they’re NBA players in the first place by providing strong contributions that help a team win. Whether it’s Murphy knocking down shots, McRoberts providing hustle plays and open court baskets it isn’t too different than Fisher hitting open shots or Brown providing scoring punch and athletic finishes. The pieces and positions they play may be different but the overall talent level and on court, tangible production isn’t.

Again, some nights this won’t matter. The Lakers are third in the Western Conference, first in their division and they didn’t get there by being a bad team. They win more than they lose and do so through a mix of their top shelf talent performing to their standards and the role players filling in the gaps the best way they can. Sometimes this produces strong performances, other times not so much. Against the Grizzlies, the bench played poorly, the top level talent played okay and a loss ensued.

How far this team can go will be dependent on a variety of factors. Can their best players provide what’s needed each night? Can one or more role players raise their game? Can this group find the right mix of chemistry, personnel groupings, and hunger? We won’t know the answers to these questions until they’re in the line of fire; until they’re in a post-season series that requires them to be at their best or fight through a moment to hang on when they’re not.

But when looking at this team, understand that from a talent stand point, not much has changed from last year beyond a reorganization of the talent at the disposal of the coaches. When last year’s team failed, calls to better balance the roster were made and the team that’s before us today is the result for better or for worse. And the fact that Mike Brown is still searching for good lineups that can produce and/or tinkering with who plays and who sits shouldn’t obscure this fact.

Darius Soriano

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67 responses to Lakers Still A Top Heavy Team

  1. I would love to see what jordan hill has to offer. We know what Mcob and Murphy offer.

  2. Roster should be compared with last Lakers team to win championship not last year’s flame out roster. MB has to learn his rotation. A suggestion is minimizing Steve Blake minutes. Blake has replaced Fisher as the biggest problem.

  3. Apparently Jordan Hill is missing somethng. Only 2 minutes toal in four or 5 games. Question is, what is it? Basketball IQ? Talent? He’s listed as center in the boxscore, but his physique says power forward. Does that make him 4th string pf behind Gasol, Murphy & McRob? No wonder he’s listed as a center.

    I love the addition of Sessions, however I really think it shows just how weak the Lakers were at pg…because it still looks like we need one. Whether that new point guard will back up Sessions or vice-verse next season remains to be seen, because Blake is playing in a very ineffective manner.

  4. Improvement will come with comfort and familiarity. Sessions s often getting the ball to Artest in positions where a typical NBA small forward could, you know, create a decent scoring opportunity. A month from now he’ll know not to dump the rock off to Ron Ron with less than eight seconds to go on the shot clock; at that point Sessions should just as well take a crazy HORSE-style shot – the odds of getting a bucket are about the same in either scenario.

    Last night showed the difference between when Pau’s face-up game is off vs. what happens when he’s hitting the 18-foot jumpers, like he did against the Mavs. When Pau started off missing four or five shots in a row, the tone was set for the Grizzlies defense. It happens.

  5. Mike Brown has to find some sort of scoring punch off the bench and his best option continues to be Steve Blake. Whereas Blake has had another disappointing season to date, the Lakers have very few options other than going with a pair of shoot-first rookies still learning how to get the ball into the post. At least with Blake, we know that the offense will be run and that turnovers will be held to a minimum.

    My problem is running Blake concurrently with Sessions. Brown is obviously trying to jump start Blake’s offense out of its funk, but that tandem does absolutely nothing for the Lakers as a whole. I think the team needs to be concentrating on their set rotations because it’s of far greater importance to get Kobe/Sessions working better together.

    The adjustment period between Kobe/Sessions will prove to be far more difficult than with anyone else. I’ve seen plenty of botched plays already. Neither player is really at fault, it’s just a familiarity thing. It’s Kobe understanding that his new point guard wants him to cut and slash to get open. And it’s Sessions understanding where/when/how Kobe wants the ball delivered so he can be at his optimal effectiveness in the blocks.

  6. Darius: Excellent write up + conclusion. The team is basically the same, talent wise as last year’s team (at best).
    Then factor in that we have a new system + new team chemistry to adjust to, in a short season, well then – “6th” best is not a bad – on the floor performance. Others choose to bash MB, or KB, + that is their perogative. However, I think that when we walked off the floor after getting swept last year, most of us wanted significant change, + we simply did not get it. Blame the Veto, blame D12’s delays, blame some deals that did not get done for reasons unknown, + blame the CBA, however Darius’ conclusion is not even opinion – it is a simple statement of fact.

  7. BigCitySid,
    Spot on… We still need another PG. I think that player can be Morris even this season or obviously another player in the offseason. But whoever that second PG is…we def need one. I also think Jordan Hill will fill the back up big man role that Murphy/McBob have been unable to fill. When those two things happen I don’t see any holes in this roster. Do you?

  8. Funny that the consensus is that Bynum is the 2nd best center in the league. Yet, no one finds it odd that he gets 4 rebounds in the game, against Gasol (slow) and Haddidi (who).

    If Kobe is blamed for losing games after 16 years of Hard service, then Bynum can be blamed for lost games after 7 years of minimal service. Bynum says all the right things in post game interviews, but does nothing to mitigate the reasons for losing games in the next game. He does however, consistently have energy on offense.

    Even the last play of the game last night when he shot the 3pt shot. When he knew the Lakers were going to get the ball back in the last few seconds he hustled down the floor and flagged for the ball. Let’s not pretend that Bynum has not only wanted to play offense before. Phil had that same issue with Bynum or have we not forgotten that.

    Bynum played defense last year after the ASG and then reverted back to form. He does not want to play defense!

    There are times on defense when all Bynum has to do is raise his arm and he just might block a shot or at least affect it. But he just doesn’t bother. Don’t give me the fatigue factor, he manages to leave his arm up after a jumper when he’s clowning. That same gesture is useful on defense to deflect a shot.

    I’m not a Bynum basher, but let’s not give the team to Bynum until he’s mature enough to care about both ends of the floor.

    Shaq wants Howard and Bynum to get double doubles every night because they should.

  9. Bynum said something the other day after he was suspended. He acted as if he wasn’t sorry for what he did because it did not merit getting rung up and said that he wasn’t concerned with coming out with a sense of purpose just about getting his numbers. Now, that again shows you his mind state. All he wants to do is score. He nolonger cares about defense or rebounding. He has turned into a PRIMA DONNA. This is the hard part with dealing with children in adult situations. No matter how smart a child is, they do not see the big picture. His whole game is needed every game, not just when he feels like it.

  10. The difference is that we are sitting on a 8.9M TPE this year. What we do with it will determine the path forward for this team.
    I say use it on a combo guard like Eric Gordon or OJ Mayo – takes care of the bench issue.

  11. As I say in every post, the Lakers lack an effective back-up point guard (though technically Sessions is a back up on most good teams), a back-up for Kobe (a scorer off the bench), and an effective back-up big.

    Last year, I talked about Marreese Speights. He was getting absolutely no playing time in Philly and his contract was just over $1 million. The Lakers have needed a back-up at that position ever since Chris Mihm came up lame. Someone like Jason Thompson would have been way better than Hill because Hill will not see the light of day under MB.

    Look at what Speights, Thompson, Beasley and even Anthony Randolph do when they play meaningful minutes. Do you think that Murphy, McRoberts or Hill can do the same if forced to start? I didn’t think so. And yes, I understand you can’t force another team to deal with you.

  12. Good writeup, as always. Also thanks to lil pau for the great inside glimpse of a Lakers practice in the last thread. The perks of being a season ticket holder…

  13. Lakers looked confused last night didn’t help that Conley stiffled Sessions too. The chemistry with the starting unit is rebuilding again when it was fixed. Fisher and Blake are the same types of players Lakers big 3 really hid Fish’s defencencies.

    Kobe, Pau, Bynum don’t need Sessions to make them better they need him for better opportunities in crunch time. Barnes and Murphy need some help Sessions can provide that. The big 3 in Blake’s 15 minutes on the floor can minimize his mistakes alot more than the bench.

    Does anyone agree with me on this? The big 3 make Blake better and Sessions makes the bench better more than vice versa.

  14. Chearn,
    Try to see games as 1 out of 66. Bynum is at the top of the league in rebounding and block shots. He will be on the all defensive team this year. Keep things in perspective. He still had two blocks last night. But yes… he didn’t rebound well. A lot of that had to do with the fact he was 20 feet away from the basket guarding Gasol.

  15. Kevin, you’re right. And wrong.

    Of course the Lakers big three makes Blake better, and there is no doubt that Sessions makes the bench better.

    However, the opposite is also true. Blake most definitely makes the big three much, much worse. He is entirely useless on offense, and this affects all the other players. There is a reason that Kobe has had to work so hard for his shots this year (pre-Sessions). There’s a reason the best front court big man combo in the game has not been able to consistently dominate.

    The reason is historically bad PG play that allows perimeter defenders to swarm Kobe and pack the paint against the bigs.

    If the Lakers had a SF that was an offensive threat, then maybe you could get away with a bad PG and still be a contender. But that ship sailed when Brown committed to MWP as a starter (something I support–but something that eliminates the luxury of playing an offensively useless PG).

    Worse, Blake is not MWP’s counterpart at the PG spot. He’s much, much worse. MWP is an elite defender who can (and does) contribute to the team on the defensive end. Blake, by comparison, is a sieve on defense, and routinely exposes the Laker bigs to PG penetration. This is precisely what killed the Lakers against the Mavericks in last year’s playoffs, and it was what was plaguing this team all year long.

    Sessions gets easier shots for all of his teammates (starters or reserves). That’s what good guards do. The question is whether the team would be better off worsening their offensive production from starters in exchange for improving the bench. To me, that’s a resounding “no” because there are other ways to improve the bench, like never, ever playing Blake at SG, getting a physical rebounder and defender like Hill in the game instead of Murphy, and getting minutes for Goudelock as either the PG or SG.

  16. Kevin,

    Here is the 82games.com breakdown of Lakers’ 5-man units:

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

    The samples are small, but look at 3 and 11.

    Also, the Lakers’ ORTG in the two games Sessions has started are 113 and 110. In two of the bench games, it was below 100. It was 123 in the Dallas game, but the Lakers O has been fine with Sessions starting.

  17. This team can’t have chemistry…Bynum believes he is the star, Pau is a serial pouter and the team doesn’t support nor is it built around its best player.

    If Kobe isn’t the star then this team has no identity. Mike Brown was brought in to give the team the bynum, well this is what you get, inconsistent on both ends, good but not great, run of the mill playoff team.

    Nobody is scared of the bynum sessions future combination

    The lakers are the only team that does not consider its superstar as an advantage.

  18. Busboys4me@9: Now ponder for a moment, what it will be like next year, when we are trying to re-sign AB. Keep in mind that this will be the year that Pau’s deal is expiring and KB will still have one more year. This board will be interesting. Never fear though – we have Blake locked down through 14 : )

  19. Robert,

    ….And Dwight Howard and Chris Paul may BOTH be FAs on 7.1.13.

  20. rr: The offensive rating is up which is good. Great stats. If Harden was starting OKC rating would sky rocket as well.

    funkychicken: fisher and blake are the same type player the starting unit would get no worse with blake starting. Plus it would allow Pau, Drew to post up early soften up the defense. And get Kobe in a rhythm and not a decoy.

    Lakers best basketball came recently vs Miami, vs Boston and espicially that 4 game stretch looked like a total different team. Basketball’s a game of match-ups and versus anyone’s back up PG Sessions has advantage over not Blake. Good coaches recognize 6th man’s are valuable there’s still time for Brown to make Sesh a 6th man. That book is closed.

  21. Pau’s deal expires in ’14, not ’13.

  22. rr: And we have $53 million already locked for 14 and that does not include AB. I know you know this, but the only way we are a player in FA, is if we let AB go, trade Pau for picks/TPE’s (will be tough to do), or bring up the “A” word. What a mess.

  23. RR

    With Howard and Paul we still wouldn’t be good enough cause you are just upgrading areas we are all ready pretty good at. A plan to add depth to the bench will be much more effective.

    By the those calling for Hill, while I wouldnt mind seeing him my self, he basicallis McBob so there isn’t much to be gained there, unless he has suddenly gained a mid range game.

    I know Brown is stll trying to find a 2nd unit rotation that works and it is getting late but since what we have isn’t enough maybe it’s time to run the kids a little and see what they have learned. Don’t think were going to catch the Spurs anyway. So it really can’t hurt.

  24. Michael h,
    To compare McBob and Hill is to compare Sessions and Blake. They play the same spot on the floor and have similar heights and weights. That’s it. Hill has a 15.4 PER and McBob is barley an NBA player this year. Sad but true.

  25. @21 – Robert:

    Where is there a need to become a player in FA this summer?

    The priority is to move Pau and his $21M for more cost effective front line / power forward help and with a little luck maybe some scoring to come off the bench.

    The best thing that could’ve happened to Lakers would have been the Gasol for Scola and Lowry deal which I contend would have gone down had Lowry not wound up in a hospital and out of action for a month.

    Instead the team is still stuck trying to play with two centers out there together and they’re so miserably slow that they can’t keep up with any NBA team that has any sort of a transition game.

    Gasol is not a power forward. He’s a center. he can’t consistently make a jump shot beyond 10 – 12 feet. That’s why the opposition concedes that shot to him regularly. They know he isn’t going to hit it with any consistency at all.

    I like Pau. We don’t need two centers on the floor at the same time though.

  26. 14) Aaron, I’ll give Bynum the benefit of doubt when I see him do Anything consistently for 82 games. His sample size of proficiency is not sufficient enough to warrant anything else.

    Four rebounds is inexcusable in 38 mins, regardless the reason.

    Until and or unless he decides to get 9-11 rebounds a game, there is no point in playing two seven footers at the same time.

    Rebounds and defense = rings.

  27. Kevin, I agree that Fisher and Blake are essentially the same (although I think Fisher is a better shooter), and that using Blake as a starter would make the offense “no worse” than it was before. It also doesn’t make the offense any better, and that’s the problem.

    The Lakers offensive efficiency has been terrible this season, and it seems to me that if you have the ability to improve your starters or your bench, but not both, you improve your starters–especially when you have three of the best in the league at their respective positions.

    A second unit with Blake at the PG, Goudelock at the SG, Barnes at SF, Hill or (ugh) Murphy/McRoberts at PF and Drew at center is a bench that is plenty good enough when they are backing up a starting lineup of Sessions, Bryant, MWP, Gasol, and Bynum.

  28. Last season Gasol hit 49% of his jumpers from 16-23 ft. That has dipped to 45% this season, but he remains a threat.

    He’s a prototypical power forward with a back-to-the-basket game and a face-up game out to the 3pt line.

    Who disputes this?

  29. Chearn, I think you are being unreasonably harsh regarding Bynum. He’s played 45 games this year and is averaging 12.3 rebounds. I think that’s a pretty clear indication that he has “decided” to get 9-11 boards a game.

    Last night’s rebounding effort was pathetic. But it was one night. Just like Pau has nights like that, or just like Kobe has (repeatedly) terribly shooting nights.

    Moreover, if you are going to harp on one game’s numbers, why do you simply disregard the fact that he scored 30 points against an all-star center (after posting a 37 point 16 board effort against the guy last time out)? In two games against one of the best centers in the league he is averaging nearly 34 and 10 even with last night’s effort. Andrew is hardly the problem.

  30. Blake is terrible.

    Murphy us terrible.

    McRoberts us close to a zero on offense.

    How can Goug and Hill be worse then Hill.

    Mike Brown cannot evaluate talent. He is a stat guy like Jim Buss which often dosen’t translate to winning basketball.

    The guy would have Benched Rodman, Green or Rambes.

    He dosen’t get it and never will.

  31. Dave @25: There is zero possibility of us becoming a player in FA until after 14 unless we do some seriously drastic things (amnesty, not signing AB, and/or dumping Pau). I certainly would like to acquire players like CP3 or D12 (makes me so bitter to say those names), however it is not in the cards. Yes, we could move Pau for youngsters, but his value is declining. I agree we are slow + also that we need change (I have 5 months of posts on that 1).

  32. Ken: We gave Blake a multi year deal at $4, our two early season signings were Murphy + McRoberts. MB had nothing to do with any of that. I am no big fan of MB, + his rotations are comical, however if you get dealt bad cards in poker, you fold. Unfortunately, when coaching in the NBA, you can’t do that, + you have to watch guys like Murphy + Blake play : (

  33. I don’t think it’s really possible to create a loaded roster without building through the draft. I guess you could get lucky and pick up hidden gems in the second round or something, but those are fairly rare… so unless you build like OKC, you’re not going to find too many rosters that have both top level talent and a serviceable bench.

    Even OKC will have trouble keeping its depth once the bench players get recognized and start commanding money on par with their talent; it’s just that their ascent coincides with Kobe’s closing window that is unfortunate for us.

    Also, I am not so sure if we can expect our bench guys to improve without giving them enough PT in important situations.

    Since we are mostly a championship or bust team, I am not sure if it makes sense to compete for a favorable seed – the west is pretty loaded top to bottom anyway. So why not use a few games here and there to develop our bench? Like, give Ebanks some run with Sessions, and maybe try to re-create our bench mob of old, that change of pace we had used successfully (during the regular season, anyway)?

  34. I was listening to 710 and Sportscenter they were saying Kobe got benched because of the play he didn’t get back on defense. He got back that play but Bynum hasn’t for many games now. His offensive ability is well documented his effort on defense has been poor last 5 games. Don’t mean to take the mods format but here are a few instances:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzxUzex1JOw
    :14 Kobe gets back on defense at 18 sec on Blazers shot clock. bynum stays on offensive end waiting for his points.

    2:32 Blazers shot w/ 18 seconds on shot clock. Another instance Bynum lacking effort on defense.

    2:45 Bynum sulks and Blazers score

    Vs Grizzles last night http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeW_S6R_zsk&feature=related
    :22 Kobe gets back on defense Bynum doesn’t Grizzles get a layup

    2:14 Little to no effort from Andrew

    2:28 Haddadi beat Drew down the floor for a layup. Drew was the last player on defense

    2:40 Kobe ran back on defense. Bynum stands on the offensive end more focused on getting his points.

    3:07 Half hearted effort for Andrew results in a easy 2 paint points for Rudy.

    5:31 Kobe gives up the and 1 to T. Allen.

    6:38 Drew gives up the offensive rebound to Randolph no effort to block the shot

    This has been Drew’s effort for the past 5 games. Brown should have benched Bynum he may be more scared of Drew than Kobe.

  35. Chern

    Andrew Averages 12.3 boards per game. More then the 9-11 you are asking from him

  36. Funky chicken,
    I think we get suckered into ridiculous basketball conversations. We literally had to defend the best offensive Center in the game, the second best rebounding/defensive center in the game and the biggest rising star in the game. I mean wow.

  37. One of the role players I’m very disappointed in is McRoberts. His signing made me happy, as I thought we got some real value. After some promising play early in the season, his on-court contributions have been minimal. I wonder if it’s the inconsistent minutes or the way coach Brown (mis)uses him that’s the problem.

  38. RR

    With Howard and Paul we still wouldn’t be good enough cause you are just upgrading areas we are all ready pretty good at

    ___

    Wasn’t saying that they would or should. Just pointing out that it will be part of next year’s conversation if this year’s team does not do mch in post-season.

  39. Kevin

    Bynam is Jim Buss’s boy. He picked him.

    Brown is Jim Buss’s guy he hired him.

    Brown is no fool. He knows his future is with Bynam.

    My guys inside told me Brown’s interview was based around making Bynam the future of the team. That got him hired and Andrew knows it that’s why he is so arrogant and feels he can break any rule on or off the court.

    Perhaps this is a plan by Brown and jimmy to force Kobe to ask to break his no trade contract!

    Think about it.

  40. Hill seems to be a more talented versatile option then our other backup bigs. Murphy does provide situational usefulness with his 3pt range.

    Glocke has a better floater and 3pt stroke then Blake. Blake however, is the better passer. Morris has better ball handling skills but lacks outside range and holds the ball too long. Blake is the middle of the road guy but, since he has not been producing Brown should decide to go in one direction or the other with the rookie guards.

  41. Robert,

    Don’t count on D12 even for the next five years, he’s a dead star out of orbit of the Laker scope. Perhaps, CP3 is possible but it will also be redundant when we already have Sessions and Ramon is here to stay as a future Laker starter.

    Well, Lakers has to package some of their players and aim for the youth movement in the draft or those who are like Sessions available by F/A.

    Lakers are still the team to beat according to Jimbo, well it depends on the Coach’s playoff strategies. So far his season leaves a lot to be desired, now how far can he go on a 7 game series? We are getting redundant here with roller coaster performance during the season. If we hold on the 3rd position, can we beat Memphis in the first two home games? Bynum has to defend the post; Kobe has to be serious with his defensive assignment; Gasol has to grow into a man in the post and Metta has to shoot those free throws. Will his bench show up during the playoffs or another DNP for a good shooter like G-lock or unlock from the cage the player who replaced Fisher. Can MBrown do these simple tasks? Right now he’s not sure whether to chew a gum or drink his bottle of water. After benching Kobe, he’s getting hot & cold stare from the season ticket fans starting from Jack N and Denzel W? What! he’s benching a $25M a year player when a Coach is only guaranteed for $3M and never been a NBA player.

  42. Ken: Sound points. You’ve been right before ahead of time so I won’t question what your told. Bynum really has been a hot head lately little rebounds and Brown failed to call him out on it. Hope Drew doesn’t get too cocky not sure he realizes how Kobe & Pau inflate his numbers.

  43. So we let our bench been awful for the rest of the season? Do you think it will be wonderful to watch?. If Sessions will start then opposing coaches then will knew our weaknesses and it will be the bench. Against the Thunder or like the Grizz last night, then game is over. They are the worst nightmare match-ups and hey Spurs have Ginobili, Captain Jack and Gary Neal. We might be torched by having Murphy/Mcroberts/Blake,Barnes or even Hill out there. Hill can get rebounds on all possessions all the time. If there is Hill out there and no Sessions still he is a liability on offense which is also Murphy/Mcroberts been when Sessions is on the bench.

  44. Ken,

    I don’t think Jim Buss has anything to do with benching of Kobe last night.

    MBrown is a frustrated chemistry professor so he is mixing up things and see what will explode in his laboratory? So far, it’s implosion. He benched McBob for so long then suddenly expect him to produce with sudden surge. Currently, G-lock has fallen out of grace either he’s not growing taller for his SG position and Steve Blake became a dual position. If our bench continue to be weak, don’t be surprised if he uses Kobe as the 6th man or leader of the bench. By that time, there will be an explosion in his lab work. whoaaa!

  45. Not directly Edwin. The problem is if Brown knows he is secure in tbe Jim Buss/Andrew team he is apt to make decisions or moves based on that security. Just like Phil was able to say or do certain things because of his rings and relationship to another Buss.

    Brown had many problems in Cleveland and if you pinned into talk radio there you would hear lots of “told you so’s”.

    No one pays a $1000 a game to watch Brown stumble around during games. They pay big bucks to watch Kobe. Dr. Buss knows that.

    Funny things is when Metta complained about his minutes Brown hid under a rock and started a below average player. Yet know he wants to control Kobe.

    I promise Staples Center will NEVER have a statue of Mike Brown in front like there will for sure be one of Kobe.

    Unless of course it’s with Brown’s foot in his mouth.

    By the way Kobe and several other Lakers read this site. I also live 4 blocks from him in Newport and I bet the house Brown won’t pull this bench Kobe in crush time again or he will find himself coaching a certain high school in Santa Ana.

    Brown has never won anywhere as a head coach and his erratic subs(as he likes to now call Kobe) have been a problem in his career.

    NO ONE other then his kids and wife pays $1000 a game to watch Brown pace up and down the court. They pay big money to watch Kobe play. He may get away with it this time but next could bring a mutany.

  46. Sorry about double post. Ipads are not made for this site because you can’t scan up or down to review.

  47. I’ve liked Bynum since the Christmas game against Shaq when he dared to go at Shaq. So, I’m not attacking him because I think he’s not improving. He is! But, Kobe is maligned when he carried the whole team on his shoulders for long stretches when no one knew who was going to be on the team post trade deadline. Kobe is fatigued after 16 years of playing every game for the Lakers and giving his all earlier this season to give the Lakers the record that they now enjoy.
    So, why can’t Kobe rely on Bynum to shoulder above and beyond 27 pts (the three was against absolutely no one, it was for Bynum’s numbers) and 4 rebounds to get the ‘W’ while he gets his legs back after the early compressed schedule?
    I’m sure that Bynum’s agent is telling him to get his points and averages up, so that he gets a maximum contract. How much more impressive would negotiations be if Bynum added another ring to his resume as the anchor that drove the Lakers title?
    Shaq never reached his maximum potential because he became complacent with his achievements. Let’s not create another 7ft Prima donna.

    Thought: One day Kobe will retire and when he does, and another superstar takes the mantle we’ll look back with fondness on the work ethic of Mr. Kobe Bean Bryant. It’ll be sad when we watch the star take games off because he has a headache or a cold. Kobe and Fisher will be remembered for strapping up every game regardless what happened off court to play the game.

  48. 47,

    Stole the words rights outta my mouth.

  49. From the headline of this thread: Lakers are still top heavy team.

    My interpretation: Lakers are known to be “top” team here in the West. This time they’re carrying a “heavy” coach in Mike Brown to take him to the top. If you combine both, they are really a top heavy team.

    Currently, Coach Brown is the laughing stock from ESPN LA media people, which they termed it “brutal benching” of Kobe in the closing minutes. Rambis was defending Mike as a coach but not so fully convinced on his reason for the move when he was interviewed by media. So far, the media are still kind to him, they’re supplementing the chides with laughter while sarcasm is in the background but I wonder whether Mike is aware of what lies ahead if he fails on this task before him. This is a top heavy responsibility that he has assumed as a Coach where rants and melodrama follows a season ending elimination.

  50. my mind is a little scatter brained took a right hook from bane…on topic i believe LA will improve a lot but i dont know how far that takes them…and 2 blake griffins foul on ariza was worse than the one put on him by smith…trevor was in the air…blakes a coward

  51. It doesn’t matter what Bynum’s stats are lately. He is placing much more emphasis on his offense and IMO is playing selfishly. If he had half the motor of a Noah or Tyson Chandler, he’d be the best player in the league.

    I don’t like to criticize players and will only do so for a perceived lack of effort. Drew certainly earned my criticism for a poor rebounding and defensive effort this past Sunday.

  52. Ken@46 states that Kobe reads this site, so:

    Kobe: Please don’t listen to the haters. Most of us appreciate everything that you do. Please stay after 14. We need you. You are 1-2 rings and 5-6 years of points away from being the greatest of all time. And most of all, after you run down the prey, and kill it, make sure these young cubs in the pack stay away and Let You Eat First !!!

  53. The talent level may be similar, but a huge difference between this year and last year is that the 4th best player can play at the same time as the top 3 players. Odom is/was incapable of playing the 3 effectively, so Jackson had to make a choice between Bynum and Odom in crunch time. That’s no longer the case with Sessions essentially replacing Odom.

  54. 47 Ken two-finger scroll up and down to scroll in text boxes without moving the page

  55. Warren Wee Lim March 27, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I had always emphasized that Odom WAS the Lakers true PG. That said, replacing him w/ Sessions while saving 9 million is not bad management.

    Fans are always spoiled like that… of course we want Beasley… of course we want Barbosa and whoever can inject offense onto our bench. But such things are not possible considering our pieces, and until now I still marvel at Walton + Kapono + late 1st for Sessions and Skyenga.

    I play sim leagues alot and perhaps thats how I learn to build good teams via trade and by valuing a player with considerations to his contract. Ramon Sessions is a heck of a player for what he’s paid. So was Odom. But it was a case of us having to let go of Lamar or send Gasol elsewhere. Doing either of that while securing ourselves a PG.

    So considering the parameters and everything else in between, the Lakers payroll improved dramatically with the deadline deals while many of you contend that we are still back to where we were.

    For me thats a heck of an achievement nobody should overlook.

  56. Warren Wee Lim March 27, 2012 at 9:46 am

    May I just emphasize that the Lakers just improved as a team (considering its MB at the helm and not Phil and its no longer the triangle) WHILE doing everything else in between such as give us our best PG since the last millenium past.

  57. Warren Wee Lim March 27, 2012 at 9:59 am

    May I also remind everyone that Memphis is a very tough team to play against. Just ask the Spurs. They are top of the league in forcing turnovers and they are just in constant motion.

    The last 6 games only means that the team is still learning to play with each other. Thats why I prefer deals at seasons’ start, coz midway deals that bring too much of a change usually never pan out. But it was necessary, and I retain my solid A rating for the front office for the job they did this year, all else considered.

    The Lakers are a very dangerous team right now. Sure we have lots of kinks to work out before being that refined gold in a bed of purple, but that’s the fun of the journey. The site’s negative energy is taking over the blog (you know who you are) and when we journeyed together back in 2008, it was alot more excitement rather than all this negativity.

    Believe me, I’m sure some of the newer posters don’t, I haven’t had this tingle since we acquired Gasol. Any of you remember how that turned out?

  58. @57 Warren
    Just yesterday I was reminiscing about 2008. Even though the Lakers didn’t win it all that year, it was one of the most enjoyable seasons for me to follow as a Laker fan. In life (and basketball) it is the journey that often matters the most.

  59. BTW
    The “for Warren” first comment on a game preview and chat post has worked every time this season.

  60. So the question now becomes: what is the PRIMARY strategy for the balance of the season.

    -Lakers have 17 games to go
    -currently in 3rd place in the West
    -5 games behind 2nd place Spurs in the loss column
    -2 games ahead of Clips & Grizz in loss column
    – Kobe, tied for 3rd in mpg (38.6)
    -Gasol, 9th in mpg (37.1)
    -Kobe, Gasol, & Joe Johnson (12th @ 36.7) are the only players in the top 20 “minutes per game” who are 30 years of age or older:

    http://bkref.com/tiny/2TfLr

    So what’s the strategy?

  61. I think some are overreacting because of one game . If anything is to be learned, taking the game by game approach in determining whether this team is a pretender or contender is going to have its ups and downs(especially this year). Comparing the teams record say before and after the all-star break is a better assessment on where this team stands and has made strides and slides. With a 6 and 2 record at home and a 4 and 3 record(2 losses against the bottom feeders mixed in) on the road post break. The team has played better away and fallen a little at home compared to the first half of the year. Dividing the season into sections is a better indicator of how this team is truly playing instead of living and dying by one game alone.

    The ideal scenario is for this team to be playing its best ball before the playoffs starts. With Ramon on board, there is still time room for improvement with this team that has the pieces and leadership to make a push for the chip. Lets leave the regular season glory to the rest and concentrate on how LA has gotten better and will continue to improve. There is no team in the league that is head and shoulders above the rest this year.

  62. #40 Kevin,

    Why such a puny, small minded post?

    You really think the world surrounding the Lakers these days simply translates into a series of trivial soap box affairs where one considerable ego makes every attempt to impose itself on everyone else?

    Seems like that may say considerably more about the person conjuring up these supposed circumstances than anything close to the real actors themselves.

  63. Dave-#40 was penned by Ken not Kevin.

  64. 65) 2nd that post.

    Still agree with Ken he’s been right before way ahead of time.

  65. By the way Kobe and several other Lakers read this site.
    ___

    Hmmm.