Preview & Chat: The Golden State Warriors

Darius Soriano —  March 27, 2012

Records: Lakers 30-19 (3rd in West), Warriors 20-27 (13th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 104.8 (15th in NBA), Warriors 105.4 (11th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.1 (11th in NBA), Warriors 107.5 (26th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Ramon Sessions, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Warriors: Charles Jenkins, Clay Thompson, Dorell Wright, David Lee, Jeremy Tyler
Injuries: Lakers: none; Warriors: Steph Curry (out), Andrew Bogut (out), Andris Biedrins (questionable), Nate Robinson (questionable)

The Lakers Coming in: The Lakers are 3-3 in their last 6 games and after their last performance against the Grizzlies there’s an air of frustration pegged against a backdrop of optimism. The frustration stems from this team being unable to channel solid play for more than a couple of game stretch with levels of execution and effort wavering like a captive criminal under interrogation. Sometimes they’re defiantly good, showing everyone that counting them out is risk best not taken while on other nights their weaknesses are on full display. The fact of the matter is that this team is both a contender and a team with flaws. When at their best they can play with any team and with Sessions now in the fold they’re more dangerous than ever. When at their worst they’re too top heavy and overly dependent on their top players to produce at or above their all-star levels nightly with little room for error. If the effort wanes or the execution breaks down they become vulnerable against any team. The goal, of course, is to tighten things up en route to the playoffs and in that respect I think they’re doing okay. Only time will tell, however.

The Warriors Coming in: Over at Warriors World, friend and contributor to FB&G J.M. Poulard explained where the Warriors are, right now, in this tidy summary:

With the Golden State Warriors stuck in the land of mediocrity, they decided to make a trade that would help them in the future but also set them back for the present in the standings. For lack of a better term, the Dubs are tanking. The objective in this case is to get the players to play hard, give the young guys some playing time in order to find out what they are capable of but also give them a chance to gain some confidence in their abilities. Stephen Curry has missed time due to injury but will undoubtedly help the team whenever he does get back on the court and be the face of the franchise. Warriors fans are slowly coming to grips with the rebuilding project but they aren’t the only fan base that had to change their expectations during the course of the season.

The trade J.M. referenced was the acquisition of Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson (who has since been dealt to the Spurs for Richard Jefferson) while shipping out fan favorite Monta Ellis, former lottery pick (and plus/minus god) Epke Udoh, and Kwame Brown. This trade has opened up playing time for rookie Clay Thompson and given the team the center it’s craved for so long.

That said, it’s also made them into a worse team as Bogut is out with a fractured ankle (and unlikely to play the rest of this season) and Steph Curry is out with the ankle/foot issues that have plagued him for most of this season. So, it’s no wonder that the Dubs lost 5 of 7 since the trade and that the fans – who were sold on the idea of this team making the playoffs this season by ownership and head coach Mark Jackson – are upset. I mean, real upset.

Warriors Blogs: Warriors World is a very good resource for all your news and analysis on the Dubs.

Keys to the game: Tonight’s contest offers an interesting crossroads. Most observers of the Warriors claim the team is tanking. Their draft pick in the upcoming draft is only top 7 protected so if they win too many games and finish with too good a record, the Jazz will be celebrating like college kids who just found out they’re going to the NCAA tourney on selection Sunday. So, losing some games really is in their best interests. However, whenever the Lakers come to Oakland the competitive juices start to flow, the crowd becomes electric and competing hard is rarely an option.

And while the talent on display will be heavily tilted in the Lakers’ favor, effort (and some good old fashioned momentum) can be the great equalizer. The question is, will the Warriors compete hard and try to take out their divisional foe or will they roll over and play down to the level that their talent should dictate? The answer will influence this game and its results.

From a strategy standpoint, the Lakers advantage is inside and they must use it. Bynum’s coming off a 30 point game and if Biedrins doesn’t play will be matched up with a rookie taken in the 2nd round who’s been shuttled between the Dubs and the D-League all season. Gasol will likely be matched up with David Lee who, as a defender, doesn’t possess the instincts to slow the Spaniard with any consistency. Punishing this team inside is the recipe to winning and, as it should be most nights, is the tactic I hope to see most.

This game should also be a good night to run a lot of P&R’s. As mentioned, the Dubs big men aren’t strong defenders and putting them in this action will force them to make multiple reads on both the ball and in recovering to the paint. Sessions should be able to either turn the corner or make quick passes either to the roll man, the wing (whose man will need to help on penetration), or to the weak side big man ducking in. The Lakers have not yet fully explored all their options on the P&R but against a weak defensive team like the Warriors, tonight would be a good time to do just that.

Defensively the Warriors, even without some of their best players, offer an intriguing match up. They will try to push the pace and will run a lot of P&R actions in early offense where the big man will pop for a jumper after setting the screen (especially David Lee). The Lakers must get back on D (something they struggled with against the Grizzlies) and must be ready to defend once fully retreated to their defensive end. The Warriors want to run teams down and create open jumpers early in the clock for their myriad of shooters. Thompson, Wright, Brandon Rush, Lee, Jefferson, and even Dominic McGuire can all hit the open shot and it’s their preference to create those opportunities against a defense that’s not yet set.

In the half court, they’ll run a lot of P&R’s, weak side screen actions to free up Thompson (and the rest of their shooters), and isolations on the shallow wing and mid/low post for Lee to try and create offense. The Lakers defense will need to be active and show good communication to help on the screen actions and be ready to rotate to shooters should they shake free. One match up I’ll be watching intently is Klay Thompson and whoever guards him. If it’s Ron, it will be interesting to see if the rookie can shake free from the physical D he’ll be exposed to. Ron will body him over screens and Thompson will need to show strength in holding him off to create the angles needed for the screens to be effective. If Kobe’s on him, I want to see how much respect Kobe shows him; or said another way, I want to see if Kobe plays him tight or roams off him. Kobe’s always had a certain affinity for going at certain young players (Curry and Mayo immediately come to mind) and it will be interesting to see if he treats Thompson the same way, especially since he has some Lakers’ connections (his dad is Mychal Thompson, if you didn’t know).

In the end, this is a game the Lakers not only should win but need to win. The urgency must be there and after a poor effort on Sunday, I hope it will be.

Where you can watch: 7:30PM start time on KCAL and NBA TV. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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167 responses to Preview & Chat: The Golden State Warriors

  1. 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:

    So what’s the strategy?

  2. Ken wrote on March 26, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    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.


    Usually I would just gloss over a post like this, but I think it’s important to dispel rampant speculation like this. I’m going to go point by point and explain how these “arguments” are unfounded:

    -Byn(u)m is Jim Buss’s boy. He picked him
    Incorrect. Ronnie Lester (the assistant GM) was the fist to scout Bynum at the McDonalds All American camp in 2005 (along with Bill Bertka), and was the loudest Laker employee to recommend drafting him. Two months later he watched him again and then called Mitch to say that we’ve got to pick him up if he’s available at the 10th pick. A few months later Lester set up a private workout for Jim to see Bynum. Furthermore, as was the case then and as is the case now, the decisions are discussed and made by the triumvirate of Mitch, Jim and Jerry, with Dr. Buss being the final decision maker.

    -Brown is Jim Buss’s guy he hired him.
    Brown interviewed in a room with Mitch, Jim and Jerry. All three were blown away. Once again the triumvirate of Mitch, Jim and Jerry collectively decided to hire Brown, with Dr. Buss being the final decision maker.
    Source: Jim on Mason & Ireland 03/23

    -Brown is no fool. He knows his future is with Byn(u)m.
    Doesn’t everyone know the Lakers’ future is with Bynum, let alone Brown’s???

    -My guys inside told me Brown’s interview was based around making Byn(u)m the future of the team.
    See above. Bynum is the only one of our Big 3 that is just entering his prime, while Kobe and Pau are on the (marginal at this point) decline. OF COURSE our future is in our 24 year old All-Star center. 28 other teams in the league would kill to have what we have in Bynum.

    -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.
    Bynums immaturity certainly isn’t a new thing. Here are a few examples: playboy bunny on his shoulders while recovering from knee surgery, multiple driving infractions, multiple pictures of him parking in handicap spots, the flagrant foul and taking off his jersey last year in Dallas. Those incidents all happened under the watchful eyes of Dr. Buss and Phil Jackson. This isn’t a new thing with Jim and Mike Brown. I agree that Bynum has seemed a bit arrogant as of late, and a little too preoccupied with “his numbers” and needs to get back in that defensive monster mindset. However, he is a 24 year old multi-millionaire who is finally healthy for one season and has been absolutely beasting. I understand why he is filled with confidence right now. You can’t fault him much for that.

    -Perhaps this is a plan by Brown and jimmy to force Kobe to ask to break his no trade contract!
    This is my favorite part. Do you ACTUALLY think that Jim and Mike Brown got together to hatch a plan in order to sabotage this season and the indefinite future in order for Kobe to want to be traded? To throw away any shot at bringing home another banner while paying a near league high in salary, just to get rid of Kobe? You think that’s their goal?

    -Think about it.
    I did. Here’s your answer. Hopefully no one else will have to waste their time thinking about it now.

  3. In the end, this is a game the Lakers not only should win but need to win. The urgency must be there …


    Darius, you nailed it.

    @ BCS

    1. Even though it can’t be considered a strategy, but first and foremost, we MUST remain healthy.

    2. Give a more concerted effort on the Defensive End of the floor. Our BIGS can’t get outworked on the boards.

    3. The Offense needs to get more cohesive. With RS7 n the starting lineup, I have no doubt that they’ll learn to play off each other, but Coach Brown and the rest of the coaching brain-trust MUST figure out how to get something from our second unit.

    4. Settle on a SET ROTATION. IMO, it’s too late n the season to still b experimenting with lineups (keeping n mind that RS7 and Hill was just bought into the fold). Alot the minutes between RS7 & Blake and figure out who are going to b our backup bigs.

    5. Take care of Homecourt and also beat the teams that we’re suppose to beat (starting tonight with the Dubs).

    6. Not focus TOO much on catching the Spurs, but definitely try and maintain that 3rd seed. That way, if we end up facing OKC, it’ll be n the WCF.

    I, for one, believe that all of this is attainable as long as we play Focused Team Ball and bring Maximum Effort every night on BOTH ends of the floor.

  4. sbdunks – For simply backing up your statements with sources, I salute you.

    Seems like all ESPN writers can talk about lately is tanking. Am I the only one who thinks it’s not as big of an issue as some people make it out to be? Some writers treat it like it’s blasphemous and destroys the sanctity of the game and all that is holy and pure. I wish it didn’t happen, sure, but it seems like they’ve been running stories about it for 3 weeks now (at least from the titles alone; I’ll admit I rarely read full articles on TrueHoop).

  5. 2,

    Thanks for that. +1

  6. sbdunks @2, thanks, now I can stop thinking about it. Really, that is a solid comment with sources.

    The Lakers should be able to take down the Warriors tonight, without a problem, IMO. I expect lots time for the rookies, in this blowout W.

  7. @#2 sbdunks, great job.

    On the same note, I was doing a nostalgic tour of the archives over the weekend and had forgotten about the quote below from the very first post from the esteemed founder of this blog, Kurt Helin.

    “This blog is also an attempt to be a rational and calm voice in a world of screaming idiots on talk radio. There should be a place Laker fans can read and — through the comment section — discuss things Lakers rationally.”

  8. 2.

    Comment of the year. Thank you.

  9. Interesting tidbit from Zach Lowe, just food for thought:

    When the Thunder have their Big 3 on the floor, their offensive efficiency “jumps all the way to a ridiculous 115.2 points per 100 possessions. No team has ever scored at a rate that high. The 1986-87 Lakers, the most efficient offense in NBA history, averaged 2.1 points per 100 possessions fewer than the Thunder have averaged with Durant, Westbrook and Harden on the court together this season, according to”

  10. sbdunks–

    amen, brother (or sister).

    really, I thank you for that…

    in the interest of protecting what makes this site unique, I propose a moratorium on the following (mis)statements:

    1. Calling Mike Brown the ‘worst coach in the world’

    2. anything suggesting that there is a Jim Buss regime that is somehow disconnected from what came before. All major decisions (including Brown’s hire and the Fisher trade) were and are made by Jim, Jerry and Kupchak together.

    3. Any post containing the word ‘idiot’.

    4. Anyone providing a link to a Bleacher report ‘article’ as citation for an argument. Stephen A. Smith is borderline.

    5. Mentioning ‘Chas’ as a substantiation of anything at all.

    6. Misspellings of players’ names.

    It will be interesting to see if MB experiments a little with the lineup tonight– this seems like a chance to give Ebanks but especially GLock and possibly J. Hill an opportunity to work themselves into some kind of increased playing time. At some point, the rotations will be set, but it certainly doesn’t seem as if that’s happened to date, something I admire about MB (although I know many here disagree).

  11. Color me in the camp asking for Session to come off the bench, if only to maximize his time with McBob/Murph and Barnes. Of course Sessions with our Big Three makes for the best line-up, and that’s why we should play him at the end of games with the other starters. The main issue is running blake with the second unit. We end up with the same issues common before the sesh acquisition. Having no shot creator on the second unit. Until there is a decision to bench Blake (as some have suggested) and take a flier on our rooks, his lack of talents need to be hidden by the starting unit for ten minutes a game.

  12. I wonder if today is the day we finally see Drew not strike his hook shot pose after tieing the game in the 2nd quarter. Drew’s been in the league 7 years he should know you don’t get more points for show. How about giving the effort every night Kobe displayed at 24 on both ends starting with getting back on defense.

    Klay Thompson is avg. 20 points last 5 games. Ron has to put the clamps on him tonight. Kobe should be on Dorrell Wright save his legs.

    Richard Jefferson has scored more points than Lakers bench combined last 2 games 21-19. Going to be a long night if that trend continues.

  13. Thanks for the support guys, I really do appreciate it.

    lil’ pau, it is brother (Sean, by name, nice to meet you haha). By the way, where has our sister Mimsy gone?

    Tra, nice breakdown @3. I definitely think there’s going to be a renewed focus on the defensive end from here on out. Since Sessions joined the squad, our offensive rating has averaged 110.5, which would trump the Thunders 110.1 and be tops in the league. If we can get our defense back to top 10 for the season, we’re going to be scary in the postseason.

    Kareem, I preferred Sessions off the bench in order to maximize his scoring ability and time with Barnes and Murphy/McBob like you pointed out. Since Brown has put him in the starting line-up, I don’t see him going back to that though. However, I think he can come up with some smart rotational moves in order to get those guys more playing time together.

    I think Glock and Hill should get some decent minutes in the next 7-9 games or so to see how they’d mesh with Sesh. Based on their performance, lock in the playoff rotation for the final 7-9 games. If they can’t contribute more than Blake and Murphy/McBob, respectively, then fine. But there’s only one way to find out. Also, I’d love to see Sessions-Barnes-Ebanks out there for a bit.

  14. Pau is in the post 30% of the time shoots 49% in those situations. Pau should be on the low block more.

    Kobe shoots 48% off screens, 46% in PnR, 53% when cutting to the basket. Kobe shoots 37% in ISO’s, 39% in post ups, 40% in spot up situations.

    Conclusion: Pau needs more touches in the post where he’s very effective. Kobe has a higher success rate when on the move.

    Suggestion: When Drew, Ron check out instead of Barnes/McRoberts bring in Barnes/Hill in at C. Gets Pau more post touches.

  15. Sessions Start/Bench: Which is better for the overall results is very debatable. What is not debatable is our lack of bench and specifically a #2 PG. To ask MB to mask the problem with rotations is asking too much. It is like giving a golfer, half of his clubs + still expecting him to perform. We can “speculate” as to what MB should do all day long, however this is one case where the only way this was getting solved, was with the pre-TD type of speculation : )

  16. Laker games is all i watch on Tv. It has everything you need

    ACTION- Sessions speedin up the court making point guard plays, to Kobes deadly fadeaway shots that make you say “damn kobe”, to Metta and Barnes ichin for a fight every game lol.

    DRAMA- Will Kobe shoot too much? How will he play after Browns benching act? Will Pau be soft? Whats brown rotations gonna be? Will we ever see Hill play? Will Blake be benched for good? WHO KNOWS

    Im going too get my popcorn ready for tonight.

  17. Laker games is all i watch on Tv. It has everything you need

    ACTION- Sessions speedin up the court making point guard plays, to Kobes deadly fadeaway shots that make you say “damn kobe”, to Metta and Barnes ichin for a fight every game lol.

    DRAMA- Will Kobe shoot too much?, How will he play after Browns benching act? Will Pau be soft? Whats brown rotations gonna be? Will our bench put up more than 10 points? Will we ever see Hill play? Will Blake be benched for good? WHO KNOWS

    Im going too get my popcorn ready for tonight.

  18. While a “triumvirate” decision was made when hiring Mike Brown and drafting Andrew Bynum, it cannot be assumed that all 3 voices in the said triumvirate are all of equal clout.

    I feel the hierarchy breaks down as follows:

    #1 Jim Buss
    #2 Jerry Buss
    #3 Mitch Kupchak

    Jim eats first, the gap has been widening between Jim and his father/Mitch ever since 2005, and I forsee will continue to widen in the future.

    It is not so outlandish to state as Ken has that Bynum is indeed Jim’s “pet project” and it can also be reasonably inferred that the decision to part from the triangle and all traces of Phil was mostly a Jim centered move as Jerry is undoubtedly and invariably handing over the reins to his son.

    With that being said, I don’t believe Jim Buss is all that bad of a basketball executive. I liked his boldness in hiring a defense first coach, trying to acquire a superstar in cp3 over the summer, and his affirmative trade of Fisher to preclude any potential drama in the locker room. However, classless moves such as letting go long time Lakers’ employees without any prior notice have me thinking that Jim lacks the overall acumen and wisdom his father has so brilliantly displayed over the years.

  19. Paul,
    I’m not one to put all my faith in what people say on the record. People that live in the public eye or run an organization that where they must speak publicly about what goes on at that organization are naturally inclined to put out the message that portrays things the way they want it.

    That said, I’m way less inclined to go read between the lines as often as many seem to do (I’m not solely talking about what happens at this site). When it comes to the actions of the coaches and the front office, I think there’s a lot of confirmation bias going on by fans and that can get quite troublesome for a variety of reasons.

  20. Darius,

    I definitely agree with your premise that putting all faith in what people say on the record is often an endeavor that leads to all too faulty conclusions.

    However, when there are multiple on the record accounts from various different sources about what has transpired, it becomes logical to infer what the truth is, although I admit, is also dangerous waters to navigate. I do believe though that if you see enough smoke, there is a fire somewhere starting it.

  21. Paul,
    I should have been more clear. Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss, and Jerry Buss have all gone on the record stating that they make every major decision together and that it’s *Jerry Buss that has the final call. So, when you say that the order is Jim Buss then a huge drop off in who carries the most weight in the decision making process I’m wondering where that comes from.

    So, when I say that I’m not one to always put full faith in what people say on the record, I mean that there’s spin that exists and somethings must pass the smell test. However, as you noted, when something is said enough – on the record – there’s probably a fair amount of truth there.

    As an aside, it’s no secret that Jim Buss has a lot of power in the organization. He’s being groomed to take over for his father. But, I think it becomes a bit of the sexy story and one of intrigue and drama to then extrapolate that to the point that he’s some rogue leader that makes all the calls; that makes every decision. Not to mention there’s simply no evidence of that.

  22. Very true Paul, we don’t know how much clout each voice has at this point. And of course Jim isn’t going to publicly say anything that casts him in a negative light.

    To me, the most positive thing in all of this is that Jerry is still very much involved in the decision making. Mitch said so the day of the trade deadline, Jim re-iterated it in his radio interview and Jeanie even confirmed it when she joined Ireland and Thompson on the radio broadcast on Sunday against the Grizzlies. I was a bit worried prior to this point that Jerry had completely relinquished control. I’m very glad he is still consulted. Jim needs to absorb every bit of knowledge and professionalism he can while Jerry is still around.

  23. Well stated Darius and sbdunk.

    I think we are in agreement here.

  24. I talked to a few warrior fans today. I normally have a good nor cal so cal fued with them when we play the warriors. My friends response: I’m not trash talking this time. Anthony Davis sweepstakes!!!

    With that said, Lakers need this win. As seen the past couple of days: Laker fans on this site need a Laker win.

    @sbdunks… Could not have said it better myself, because I’ve tried and I just frustrated. So thanks for that.

    With Bogut out, I hope to see a lot of Bynum and Pau in the post on both ends of the court. And since the rest of my thoughts mirror Darius’, ill just stop now.

  25. If anyone is interested, I posted yesterday some of Mitch’s comments at the season ticket holders’ meeting (held on Sunday) specifically about the process that led to them deciding to trade Fish, from which one can glean quite a clear sense of how management works, at least insofar as player personnel. It was absolutely crystal clear that trading Fisher was a decision made together by Jim, Jerry, and Mitch and I had a strong sense (but it wasn’t explicitly stated) that they were in the same room together when they weighed their options and made that decision.

    Somehow, reporters have glommed onto the Buffoon Son angle with the same relish that they enjoy piling on to the ‘Lebron vs. the big shot’ story — sells papers, I guess — but I expect a more knowledgeable community here.

  26. Paul: Totally agree with your breakdown of Laker FO power.
    With regard to the letting go of long time employees, I would like to add as sbdunks pointed out, that this list of employees included the guy who “discovered” Andrew Bynum.

    The name of the team “scout” is not spelled correctly at 10.5 above. It is Chaz. Jim went to great lengths to state in his chat that “Chaz” has never been a bartender. To which I say: He was never a scout either, before we made him the #1 scout for the greatest franchise in basketball history. Quite a career move I’d say : )

  27. Raydiaz1238: Doubt it. This has become a PnR team something I feared with Sessions starting. Size will be imposing but Pau will be on the perimeter.

  28. #26. Again, this is a misconception that shouldn’t be spread around as fact. Chaz is not the Lakers “head scout”. That’s not been stated or reported by anyone. Not Berger who spoke of him in the first place nor anyone else that’s followed up on that story, at least to my knowledge. If you have a link to a story that says as much, I’d love to read it.

    Edit: I should add that Charles Osborne (Chaz) is one of the college scouts for the Lakers. This would be why he’s at the combine and scouting other events (all-star games, for example) that feature college talent. This is where Jonathan Givony (of Draft Express) met him and after seeing him at other events has since spoke well of him and the hard work he does.

  29. Darius: I believe we only have 3 scouts. They are: Jesse Buss, Ryan West (Jerry’s son), and Chaz. Now that is what I call nepotism : ) It is reported that Jesse can’t travel, due to a leg issue. I am not sure whether Chaz or Ryan is #1. I guess it depends on whether you are rating based on ability or job security : )

  30. #29. Berger reported there are 3 *college* scouts – a distinction worth mentioning, I’d think. Also how about there ins’t a #1? Or does that not fit into the story you’re crafting?

  31. I actually asked Jim specifically about who is behind basketball operations/scouting in his open chat at last week…

    Sean :  
    Jim, thanks for doing this! Would you mind giving us a rundown of who is involved on the basketball side of things i.e. scouting these days? Is there an new assistant GM? Who’s involved besides yourself, Dr. Buss, Mitch & Chaz?
    Thursday March 22, 2012 4:41 

    The Basketball Operations includes Bill Bertka, our Director of Scouting, Rondre Jackson and Glenn Carraro, alongside Mitch and myself. Furthermore, we have seven scouts, including Chaz, who cover the global basketball landscape.
    Thursday March 22, 2012 4:43

  32. I’ve never understood the fascination and debate over the workings of the Lakers ownership and front office management from a fanhood standpoint. Having opinions on basketball is one thing, but having opinions on how to run an NBA franchise or what is going on with Laker ownership is quite another. All we know about the Laker FO is what bloggers, beat writers, and analysts can infer or scrape together from interviews and TMZ-like research. I’d much rather discuss actual basketball.

  33. How about this sucky Lakers defense of late last 6 games:

    Giving up two 30pt quarters, three 29pt quarters and three 28pt quarters.

    Opp. average 28 fourth quarter points. 10 come in the paint

  34. Darius: The fact that we let most of our scouts go, except for 1 named Buss, 1 named West, + a guy from the track named Chaz, is a little odd IMO. I think if this happened in any business in the country – there would be cries of favoritism. If you do not find this situation odd – then I am fine with that. Many on this site criticize KB, they criticize MB, etc. I choose to criticize the guy who got his job simply because of his last name + will continue to do so, until he proves himself, which at this time – he is far from doing : )

  35. I feel like instead of talking about bringing Sessions off the bench the easier and better solution to this Blake problem is simply to play Sessions more. Not all minutes are equal in terms of effort. Sessions’ 6-10 extra mins with the starters don’t involve that much breaking down the defense. Let the rest of the scorers go to work more, and then become a creator when the subs come in. I feel like it will make zero difference in terms of how much left he has in the tank for the playoffs. As for our big three’s minutes that’s a different story.

  36. Here’s one of our international scouts, if anyone wants to read more about him:

    Thanks to the original FBaG poster who shared that link with us; I can’t remember who that was.

  37. Robert, we have seven scouts, including Chaz, and five other personnel in the front office + Dr. Buss; clearly more than the three people you mention.

    As far as earning his job, Jim has been involved for seven years now in his current position. Every good draft pick, trade and personnel decision in that time he has had his hand in, under the tutelage of his father and Mitch. You simply cannot give all the credit for positive things strictly to Mitch or Dr. Buss, while placing blame for every bad thing strictly on Jim’s shoulders. It is very clear that they discuss and make decisions together.

    You say you are choosing to criticize him because of his last name, but what moves has he made that you are critical of?

    The way I see it, in this past year alone, he has drafted two rookie guards in the second round who have some some decent potential. He pulled off a trade for a superstar point guard while shedding salary. He turned two non-contributers in Kapono and Walton into Sessions while shedding salary.

    I’d say the front office has done a damn fine job. Sure you can say they didn’t spend enough money by using either TPE (in the case of Odom, you must include YET) , but who are we to spend the Buss family’s money? In actuality they have never shied away from spending money on players they think can help them win, and have been a habitual tax payer because of it. Quite frankly, they deserve our thanks for that, not criticism.

  38. How do you guys think Kobe will respond on the floor tonight after getting benched?

    If Brown gets him on the move. Watch Out

  39. We can continue this discussion later. For now, I agree with Travis @33 and let’s move on to the game. I hope if any Kobe bashing starts that he receives as good of a defense as Jimbo is getting : )

  40. Frank the Tank March 27, 2012 at 7:21 pm


    See comment 32.

  41. Frank – See 40

  42. Frank the Tank March 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I feel like talking about the power differences between the owners, criticizing management, and making all these assumptions that seemingly come from nowhere.. it feels almost like women spreading gossip. It’s almost as if sports has become a soap opera for men, especially in the internet age. Stop worrying! The men will do their jobs, the Lakers are perennial contenders, just enjoy and watch the games. Stop worrying about things that aren’t even certain and you have no control over.

  43. This probably doesn’t belong in the game thread, but while we’re on the subject of the Buss family, the K Bros did an interview with Joey Buss:

  44. #40 There’s literally no reason to “talk about this later”. The topic of the number of scouts is moot as earlier comments have explained. Continuing to argue this point is akin to arguing that 1 + 1 = 3. It’s not based in fact.

  45. I have to say, having now read that article, that Joey Buss impressed me with his maturity. A good read.

  46. Apparently Lakers bus was late bc of bad traffic due to rain. According to kevin ding, kobe was not on the bus. No reason was given, so iwont speculate why that was. No really, i wont.

    Just saw the starting lineup comparisons… NEED this win.

  47. I see rebounding!

  48. Oh nice! Barnes & McBob come in and Brown leaves Sessions in.

  49. ‘Drew looks like he is fully engaged right now. I love that he gave the Hakeem move a try!

  50. Interesting how we haven’t run a high P&R yet in the first nine minutes of play. Sessions brings the ball up, throws the ball to Kobe or to one of the bigs in the post, then moves out of the area. Can’t Steve Blake do that?

  51. Dodgers announce Magic Johnson’s group has won the auction.

  52. @Glove – Best LA news since the Sessions trade!

  53. Dude, exactly. We’re wasting Ramons speed and scoring abilty in the starting line-up

    Blake owes Barnes a nice steak dinner for turning his turnover into an assist for 3

  54. Anyone have a link for the dodger sale? Cant confirm it anywhere…

  55. Why is McBob getting so much run lately? He was in DNP-CD territory earlier in the season.

  56. It’s really tough to see what Kobe’s role is in this offense?

  57. @Kevin
    Alpha dog scorer. Same since 2004-2005.

  58. @Kevin- Break the offense when needed, ride hot streaks, close the game.

  59. We need to bury this team so we can rest up for OKC.

  60. I’m wondering if the coaching staff has made a conscious decision to steer the Laker offense back toward being post-up and iso-centric, and away from the P&R. The Warriors have played some zone, but they weren’t doing that in the 1st quarter while Sessions was in the game.

  61. I agree bury the Warriors and let the bench play the entire 4th Q. Would like to see Goudelock, Ebanks, and Hill get some playing time tonight. But will this happen?

  62. Glove: LOL: A) We need to bury them B) MB needs to feel secure enough to pull the starters C) He then needs to unlock those 3 from the bench
    So you ask for much – but tonight could be the night : )

  63. dude: I see that also 1st time in a while. Do you think it’s because of match-ups?

    Sessions has been ineffective w/o the ball in his hands tonight.

  64. Finally, two high screens set by Kobe and Sessions gets to the rim off the first one.

  65. Great first half from Barnes always brings the energy

  66. @65, Kevin – I don’t see how he can really be effective without the ball in his hands unless the Warriors double one of our Big Three. He hasn’t been calling out plays and getting his mates in the right positions. When he was doing that in the previous six games, the offense was running with much greater efficiency. It’s curious, because I thought our new coaching staff was really into advanced stats.

  67. No offensive direction so far. As Kevin has noted, RS7 is basically a spectator .. Defense hasn’t been much better. Just so happens that they’re missing alot of wide open jumpers .. Can’t allow this Inferior squad to stick around. They might just get confidence and ride the momentum of their home crowd to victory.

  68. dude: Your best big 3 need the ball in their hands that’s the strength of this team. Hopefully now Brown recognizes the best way to utilize Sessions with speed not size.

  69. I decided to watch Bynum exclusively on defense and see how he did in different situations. These are for the first half:

    SS = strong side secondary defender
    WS = weak side
    ISO– isolated primary defender
    OTM – primary defender on the move
    PNR – pick and roll

    WS no challenge on shot – Thompson miss
    WS no challenge on shot, rebound tipped away
    SS no challenge on shot – D wright middle of paint easy shot – miss
    SS no closeout effort 15 ft
    SS straight up jump Thompson layup
    ISO 12 ft – D Lee shot good challenge
    WS – no box out on Lee, missed rebound
    OTM – block Lee
    ISO post Lee good challenge – miss
    PNR – slow challenge

    End of 1st quarter – sits
    2nd quarter 6min return

    SS Barnes cut off Clay no need to help DLee knocks down 15footer, AB no recovery
    PNR x2 good closeout on their PG – miss
    ISO post Lee good defense on spin move – miss
    PNR sag off too much, Lee beats AB on closeout – foul
    Run back slow after his shot blocked, wide open 3
    Rebound to him no one around
    PNR sag off wide open – Jenkins FT line jumper made
    PNR sag cut off drive – kick out

    4 SS situations:
    – 1 decent challenge
    – 3 no challenge
    2 WS situations:
    – 2 no challenge
    4 PNR situations:
    – 1 good cut off drive, 1 good challenge on mid-range shot
    – 2 slow challenge on mid range shot, sag off too much

    3 ISO
    – 2 good challenge, 1 good defense
    1 OTM – block Lee

    3 opportunities for defensive rebound
    – 1 tipped to him, no one around
    – 1 no box out, tipped away
    – 1 50/50 – could’ve gotten in position but a step slow

  70. And what was that from Bynum….

  71. ROFL Bynum tries a three and Brown gets McRoberts off the bench then promptly calls timeout when there’s no dead ball. Hilarious.

  72. Bynum…for 3? I think MB is gonna sit him after that.

  73. Great. Andrew just confirmed our worst fears about his mental state. SMH

  74. Bynum PUJIT (though he was the last person in transition) hahahahahaa! He is whacked out of his head tonight.

  75. Bynum takes a 3-pointer and Mike Brown is not pleased. Bynum about to head to the bench.

  76. Bad Bynum has showed up. Many have been harping on this lately then Lee out ran him in transition.

  77. I guess Bynum just felt like coming out of the game? Why was he jacking up a 3. Better yet – Why was he the trailing big and not ready to be on the block when there’s 15 left on the shotclock?

  78. WTF? Pls bench Bynum immediately .. It’s starting to brew again. Saw a semblance of it n the first half. As I’ve said before, Drew is feeling Himself. Not getting his shots, while Kobe is getting his.

  79. Bynum laughing on the bench showing his release…. I dont know what that shows but I’m not a fan.

  80. This defense is awful. Kobe carrying us…

  81. MWP active tonight

  82. MWP is doing work.

  83. You know Mark Jackson watched the game vs memphis. He’s Iso’ing whoever is on Blake. And what does Brown?…… nothing

  84. 4th quarter needs to be a lot of Pau and Kobe.

  85. Looks like this game is going to be a battle all night long, not good for the Lakers.
    But a fun game to watch.

  86. @81, Tra – MB did bench Bynum immediately. Right now, I don’t like watching this iso and post-up Laker team. I have no idea why we’ve gone away from the P&R.

  87. is bynum high?

  88. I mean. We’re to the point that a Bynum pump fake, from 3, frees him up to drive the lane…

  89. @ 87), Raydiaz1238 – Which Kobe? The one that was 7-14 at one point or the one who just bricked his last 6 shots in a row and is now his usual 7-20?

  90. Funniest tweet of the night?

    Dexter Fishmore ? @dexterfishmore
    “Because there are no fours.” — Andrew Bynum in his postgame interview, I hope

  91. Watching Blake trying to guard somebody is like having a root canal… Very painful. Smh

  92. Odds that bynum is done for tonight? Pretty good.

  93. If Hill can’t get off the bench with a Bynum situation like this, I’m giving up all hope of ever seeing him.

  94. For those supporting Brown. Does he not see that everyone is abusing Blake yet he does nothing.

    Brown is really a smart coach. Looks like he will try and blow another game with his coaching.

  95. Thank god Barnes didn’t miss the bus tonight.

  96. Barnes is shooting much better lately. Good to see!

  97. Zirk, well obviously the good Kobe :). Just meant that Bynum wasnt gonna help tonight so we need the big two more than anything.

  98. I guess Mike Brown’s solution to the loss to Memphis is more Steve Blake.

  99. I haven’t been watching the game but from the box score the only thing I like that I see are Barnes’ numbers and Pau’s rebounding numbers. That guy should never have less than 10 rebounds a game, same goes for Bynum, rebounding is all about effort. A guy like Kevin Love shows it, he’s undersized yet he’s a monster on the boards because he has to motor to go after every board.

  100. Can’t believe what I’m seeing from Drew .. He’s PURPOSELY tanking the game. Obviously Coach Brown sees this and that’s why he’s benched him again .. Would b surprised to see him the rest of the game.

  101. Blake reaches new lows every game. Airballs & Side of the backboard clanks

  102. Nice job Pau! Very patient. MWP is having a great game tonight. wow

  103. Closing with Sessions and Kobe on the floor. Good rest, should be good to go now.

  104. So it looks like tonight, Rush is the stiff on the oposing team that we’re making look like an all-star. Unbelievable.

  105. Bynum doesnt want to be a Laker anymore. And he will never be one of our legend big men. He wants to be a shooting guard anyways.

  106. Why did Mike brown take Bynum out the game 3 minutes into the 4th?

  107. if the offense isn’t flowing through drew against golden state’s platoon of sorry bigs then i understand why he’s frustrated. it’s madness.

  108. My god what is wrong with the Laker coaches.

    This team has turned into a joke on defense.

    Never seen a team fall apart on defense the last 2 weeks like this one. Isn’t Mike suppose to be a defense coach?

  109. Bynum got benched cuz he showed he didnt want to be in the game. Barely trying.

  110. Bynum’s a joke. MB is a joke…this whole f’ing team is a joke

  111. On Bynum’s two FTs early in the 4th, he basically just threw the ball up there. Didn’t take his time at all. Got benched right after that.

    Also, how can all three refs possibly miss that grab of the rim by Jefferson?

  112. It appears that Mike Brown is losing the respect if a different player each game. Golden State is a bad team that has only won once in the last two weeks. Today it’s Andrew.

    How can people defend his coaching.

    Brown will never get this team out of the West.

  113. Fricken horrible shot by Kobe…stupid hero ball again. What happened to execution? God, this team is playing horrible.

  114. OT – Dodgers:

    Magic’s group will control the parking lots, and they made a backroom deal with McCourt to buy the team. No auction.

  115. Yeah, great cut to Pau to the hole.

  116. Kobe gives the Lakers the lead.

  117. Kobe Bryant. No bleeps were given. That’s just what he does.

  118. Maybe Brown should bench Kobe now and go with Blake?

  119. Did Bynum just point to the scoreboard to indicate lakers are losing without him? Wow haha

  120. Good to see that the team hasn’t quit tonight the way that our ALL STAR CENTER has … Maybe it’s me, but I don’t even see him on the Bench.

  121. We have nobody I trust to make FTs down the stretch except Kobe now. And they doubled him. Could be a problem in the future

  122. I actually think something is wrong with Bynum’s knee. It’s been a number of games now where I’ve seen him loafing out there. He hasn’t been protecting the rim lately.

  123. lowest percentage in clutch situations??? Kobe in the clutch even if it meant saving my life!

    MWP rounding out into playoff form on offense and defense. I’m not worried about him, he’s a vet and he knows whats at stake

    Bynum is an idiot. he just proved today the keys to the franchise SHOULD NOT be handed to him

  124. @Rudy, i dont know why a bad knee justifies his crappy attitude tonight. I mean it appears blatant tonight. Props to MB for not letting him get away with that crap and holding him accountable.

  125. Kobe is clutch…

  126. Bynum has been playing uninspired ball for a while now. And this is the guy fans want to build the future around?

  127. Okc is going to run us out of staples.

  128. Rudy – its not Bynum’s knee. You can tell its his attitude. He has been acting up ever since he the ejection game. Tonight was the worst, he didn’t feel like trying – so he didn’t.

    Guy may be a good bball player – but he’s not a professional. I would be embarassed if I paid good money to go see the Lakers tonight – even in the win – just to see one of their best players blow the game off. And blow his team off.

  129. What is Bynum’s contract status?

    In other words, when can he walk (or limp, as the case may be) away?

    Another question: Some folk seem to think it MB’s fault Bynum is acting like a total jackass. Why is it coach’s fault?

  130. LBc: I’m afraid so.

    Strong play from all the vets tonight. Shouldn’t have been this hard. Team needs to get chemistry down.

    sT: damn right he is

  131. CDog, how did you feel when when Kobe quit on the team in Game 7 against the Suns?

  132. Without scoring punch from Barnes tonight this game is a loss. Sessions look tired tonight watching his body language. Hoping for a bloody battle against Thunder.

  133. Mojo – oh I don’t know, I think the team has lost its soul. They weren’t exactly in sync last year either. Oh, and Bynum behaved pretty badly last year as well.

    I wouldn’t lay it (all) at Brown’s feet, although of course it’s easier to fire a coach than to fix a dysfunctional team.

  134. I’ve lost all respect for Bynum. He didnt even cheer on his team while on the bench. What an immature a-hole.

  135. Can’t wait to hear from Drew after this one .. Much respect to Coach Brown for recognizing the Blatant Disrespect that Drew displayed towards his teammates and benching his Immature Azz .. Seems to me that Jim and Mitch is going to have to step in and try to get this situated because obviously Drew has lost all respect for Coach Brown and the Captains of the squad, Kobe n Pau .. The media is going to have a field day with this. Another Soap Opera, starring The Lakers.

  136. chibi: Kobe took that SORRY SORRY SORRY Lakers team 7 games with the Suns. That series had no business going to 7 games. You can never question kobe’s dedication and effort. Drew is a different story.

  137. Dave McMenamin tweets about Andre Bynum’s actions in this game showed that Bynum was not ready to play in this game. Hopefully this is a one game aberration for Drew.

  138. GLock, Ebanks, Hill: all DNP
    Blake: 18 min (-3)
    Murphy: 6 min (-7)
    KB24: 37 min
    Pau: 39 min

    Against a bottom feeder team. That is all you need to know. MB has no clue what to do, and now we see he has no respect from his players. What a disaster.

  139. Chibi –

    First, I disagree with the consensus that Kobe quit in that game. But, since I black out those dark-dark Smush Parker-Kwame days from my memory as much as I can, I don’t remember the details enough to back up the argument either way.

    In this game – Bynum blatantly quit. Hucking free throws at the rim. Jacking up 3 pointers (3 POINTERS) with 17 left on the shotclock. Walking up and down the court. Laughing when he got pulled. And when he got given another chance, pulling the same antics all over again.

  140. I guess I will keep saying it: I think Hill should get a little run.

  141. i dont understand the argument that Bynum’s behavior today was because MB lost the team. the five players on the floor in the end were all playing hard and hustling, including Pau, Barnes, and MWP. Kobe was TERRIBLE shooting the ball in the second half until the two clutch shots (which were guarded really well). the hustle and determination to win shows that players are playing hard and hustling. But MB doesnt get credit for that?

    instead its his fault Bynum shot a 3 with 18 on the clock. didnt care on free throws. and was acting like a jerk on the sideline. i dont get it.

    MB benching Bynum was the righr thing to do as a coach. If he didn’t, I would have lost respect for him. MB gave Bynum another chance at the start of the fourth, but it looked like Bynum did not want any part of that game.

  142. Kobe needs to get in the locker room and punch that idiot in the face for the BS he pulled tonight. MB was absolutely correct benching his sorry ass. In fact, if he continues acting like this I wouldn’t mind if he gives him a DNPCD to send a message.

    I just hope it won’t take something like a season ending injury to get Drew humble again.

  143. Hasn’t been the case but Pau played some great Center for the Lakers in the 4th. 17 rebounds played tough all night. Barnes got back in his groove 3-5 on threes. Ron with lockdown defense at the 4 with the big block. Sessions missed 2 FTs but opened lanes on offense with the PnR that Dude had been asking for all game. Solid play down the stretch regardless the opponent.

  144. I forgot to mention before that apparently Jordan Hill has a sprained MCL. Not sure when it happened.

    Two things regarding tonight:
    First, why did we go away from running the high screen and roll? This was the most iso-Kobe and post-up game in the past couple weeks, even more so than the Houston disaster.

    Second, the team needs to sit Bynum for a game. He doesn’t deserve to be called Drew right now. It’s either Andrew or Bynum, or big stupid idiot. Who the hell does he think he is, a JetBlue pilot?

  145. your bias is showing.

  146. Dude,

    Thanks for the info on Hill. Maybe Brown will still give him a chance if/when it heals.

  147. Also, apparently LeBron injured the ring finger on his left hand. How ironic.

  148. Dude, I saw that headline. Those reports have to be incorrect, Lebron doesn’t have any ring fingers.

  149. Somebody in the organization should admonish Andrew to stop his antics. The star complex is getting into his system. Cooler heads should intervene and educate the uneducated punk. I don’t know how to accept this hallowed victory against a team without a 7 footer. Lakers are again in control in the first half and gave it away in the 2nd which has been a pattern all year round. Although some of our players are trying their best to hustle, you can see from the body language that most of them are carefree and careless with the ball. Do something on those buttered fingers that produced lots of TO’s in losing the ball after getting the rebounds. Brandon Rush and Klay Thompson who are considered still babies can penetrate with ease.

    If Lakers put up this kind of stance on Thursday, we all know how Thunder could capitalize with those mistakes. Will Andrew continue to pout and stay foolish up to the next game?

  150. Uh oh, just saw a clip of Bynum in the locker room…

    “I guess the message was dont shoot threes. I made one, I missed one”

    Ireland: So are you gonna stop shooting threes?

    “No. Ill keep shooting them, hopefully theyll go in.”

    Im paraphrasing but the message is there. Someone needs to shake some sense in this kid.

  151. @tviper, 144, You basically said it all, yeah against this sorry Warriors team. Bynum’s contract for next season was picked up too early, IMO. I mean, we want to keep him, but he has lost any motivation that he may have had before to play hard. So, the Lakers need to motivate him somehow, I am not sure what has gone wrong with him lately. Millionaire kids.

  152. The 3 was bad, but I can not believe i saw Bynum throw up a free throw like that in a close game. Say what you will about Kobe, but he would NEVER EVER EVER do that in a game. Bynum was one of my favorite Lakers, but he just lost my respect.

    Kobe misses 7 straight and drills the 2 that count the most.

  153. Bynum seems to have these brain farts a little more often then not… Parking in a handicap spot, having a playboy model on your shoulders while having a bum knee, now this act of immaturity. What a turd.

  154. Kevin Ding: Kobe suggested young lakers coaches might’ve overreacted to Bynum’s 3. “He was just testing the limits of his game.”

    Kevin Ding: Kobe said Bynum reminded him of a young Kobe by trying stuff out on the court, said it was “familiar.”

    what now, haters?

  155. Just a comment, Bynum’s team option has not been picked up. won’t be until the end of the season.

  156. Does Bynum know that attitude problems in his first full and productive year can cost him millions in revenue over the span of a career–endorsements and salary? Is it worth getting a rep for being spoiled? Kobe was the 200 million dollar man prior to Colorado. What shoe company wants to pay Bynum Rose type money not knowing where his head is?

  157. Where’s Fish’s leadership when you need it? I bet he would have been in Bynums face right after he took that stupid three and on his ear in the locker room after the game. should have just traded Blake and kept Fisher… Blake is like Fisher statwise, minus the locker room presence, toughness and savvy. At least Fisher wouldn’t have been raped in the post by the warrior players. He would have done something… taken a charge, given a hard foul to stop the warriors from posting him up

  158. chibi,

    That’s just Kobe being the leader. playing good cop to the coaches bad cop approach. He knows he needs Bynum to re-focus, especially with a big game against the Thunder tomorrow and having everyone alienating him (Bynum) is the worst thing that can happen. Great zen-move by Kobe in my opinion

  159. @161 Kswagger, good point, I think this shows the lasting influence of PJ, who I remember using this technique a lot.

  160. OMG chibi… Bynum thinks he’s Kevin Love shooting 3s but he’s not! Seriously though, you all better enjoy Kobe as long as he lasts because you have to be f’ing kidding me that you’d pass the reigns over to this jackass.

  161. chibi: Kobe knows Brown will read those quotes. He’s playing mind games w/ Mike Brown like Phil did with him for years. I take those as sarcasm. He knows Bynum shouldn’t shoot 3s.

    Pau had 17 rebounds and played big. Barnes found his touch, Sessions created for others with PnR late and Ron was a bull down low making key stops.

    Ken said this in Jan. Mike Brown has no control over this team. Otherwise he wouldn’t bench Kobe for no apparent reason then give the hard nosed answers postgame. Then he set the presedent and had to bench Drew. Guys are walking all over him.

  162. sbdunks,

    If you are going to put Jim Buss in the equation going back to 2005, then he also needs to get nicked very deeply for the Walton and Blake deals, as well as (arguably) for the gargantuan amount of money tied up in Kobe and Pau. Kapono was never a good idea (many of us said as much at the time) and McRoberts and Murphy, conceding that the Lakers’ options were limited, have not done much, either.

    Buss obviously deserves huge props for the Paul and Sessions deals. The jury is out on the Fisher deal. If Brown is not going to play Jordan Hill at all, that puts giving away yet another #1 pick just to get Fisher off the roster in a different light.

  163. Lakers gave up another 30+ point quarter. 32 in the second 29 in the 4th. Have to tighten up the defense.

  164. Add:

    Buss also then gets some credit for the two titles and that is huge. But the CURRENT team has a lot of issues and some of those are on the FO as it is TODAY–operating day-to-day under Jim Buss. Add that to all the dismissals of long-timers and there is reason to look at Buss with an objective and critical eye.


    I agree that the optics are bad–Brown seems like a guy having to crack down since he does not have the players’ respect on a basic level. It may not BE that way, but it SEEMS like it from where I sit.

    OTOH, the point Robert has made is well-taken: 31-19 seems about right for this team, given its talent level.