Team Building, Youth, And Revising An Old Model

Darius Soriano —  June 7, 2012

Watching the playoffs unfold the way that they have has reminded me of a basic tenet of building a winning basketball team: the draft is where the foundation is formed for long term success.

We just saw the Thunder advance to the Finals with a nucleus of players (Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka) that was completely home grown. The team they dispatched – the Spurs – also sported a trio of home grown stars (Duncan, Parker, Ginobili). When you look to the East, the foundations are not as plush with guys that started on those teams but two of the Celtics’ top four contributors (Pierce, Rondo) were plucked up by the C’s brass. While in Miami, several key contributors (Haslem, Chalmers, Cole, Anthony) and a franchise cornerstone (Wade) are home grown.

Of course, when building a winner, there will be outside players brought in. Be it a superstar or two (Garnett, LeBron) or a role player (Battier, Perkins), organizations are tasked with finding the right pieces to fit around the talent that they drafted and cultivated. This is how most champions have been built (the one major exception is the 2004 Pistons, but they’re always the exception) and how they will continue to be.

When you look at the Lakers, they too have been constructed using this formula. Kobe has long been the home grown franchise icon that provided a pillar to build around. Bynum too has ascended to the ranks of top flight contributor that was also selected by the Lakers. When you add players like Gasol, Odom, Ariza, and Artest the Lakers have done a good job of mixing players they’ve drafted with others acquired via trades and free agency to build teams that won championships.

However, in the two years since the Lakers have raised the Larry O’Brien trophy we’ve seen a subtle shift in how they’ve gone about building their team.

Quick, besides Bynum and Kobe tell me a player the Lakers drafted that was a key contributor to either last or this year’s team.

If you came up blank, I don’t blame you. Derek Fisher would have been an easy name but he’s since been traded and was drafted the same year as Kobe. After him there’s not an obvious name. Ebanks? Goudelock? Both saw limited action this year and had minimal impact in the big scheme of things. Last year, there wasn’t a single Laker draftee that played significant minutes outside of Kobe, Bynum, and Fisher.

Now, look back to the 2008 Finals team and the back to back title winners from 2009 and 2010. The list doesn’t grow a whole lot but it does grow. Besides Kobe and Bynum the team had Farmar, Sasha, and Walton. Of course as time went on Luke’s role became close to non-existent and Sasha worked his way into Phil Jackson’s doghouse. But at the start of the Lakers’ recent run, they were contributors.

Of course, railing against the Lakers aversion to the draft is too easy and paints too black and white a picture. In order for the Lakers to acquire Pau Gasol, they had to trade multiple draft picks. And when constructing the team in front of us now, they traded more draft picks for Ramon Sessions and Jordan Hill. The latter two players are both young and provided great, albeit unsteady, production after they were acquired.

The bigger picture issue for me is that besides Hill and Sessions the Lakers have often gotten rid of youth and exchanged it for more experienced veterans. When Farmar was allowed to walk in free agency they signed Steve Blake. When Ariza left the team signed Ron. Matt Barnes has been a key rotation player the past two years and when Shannon Brown left this past off-season he wasn’t replaced at all – unless you want to count Jason Kapono’s signing.

Further analysis complicates things further. The Lakers have drafted well with the picks they’ve had. Ebanks, Goudelock, and Morris all look to be NBA quality players. The team also did sign Josh McRoberts as a young PF that has shown promise as a back up big man. But these players have not yet proven to be contributors that can stick in the rotation.

Ultimately, the Lakers have been a team that’s skewed older when looking for rotation players and that’s a departure from what earned them three straight trips to the Finals (even with the Ariza/Ron swap the team still had youth in their rotation). Whether or not this changes will depend on the myriad of decisions the team will make this summer. Two of their three stars are aging and they have precious few young options on the wing so these are surely conversations the front office is debating with the transition to next season is in full swing.

It’s interesting to see, though, how this team has evolved from one with a nice mix of home grown stars and youthful contributors to one that’s aged and overly reliant on veterans whose peaks have passed. Maybe the acquisitions of Sessions and Hill start to change that. And maybe we’ll see more youth infused in the free agency period or with a draft day acquisition beyond what the Lakers can do with the 60th pick. But as the Thunder rest today, with a Finals berth in the back pocket of their designer skinny jeans (kids these days!), the Lakers must also look at their model and wonder if they too need to get back to skewing a bit younger. After all, the last time they won a title they did just that.

Darius Soriano

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to Team Building, Youth, And Revising An Old Model

  1. I’ve been thinking about this lately especially vis-a-vis trade rumors and such. The problem with this team is its bench. The notion that Pau and Bynum coexisting is the problem is poppycock. Yes… they will have a hard time getting it done if you surround them with 3 other post players and/or players that can’t hit a jump shot. And this is why Pau was often ineffective when Bynum wasn’t on the floor. That lakers 2nd unit simply sucked. More than anything the lakers need a 6th and 7th man and some players behind them. I wonder if they might float the idea of starting Hill (should he return) and bringing Pau off the bench.

    They also need an effective backup at the 2/3 and really he needs to be able to defend and hit a shot. I’ll admit that’s not easy to find.

    The last thing the lakers need (and they probably need this most of all) is more exotic sets. After watching them all season, they were totally out of sorts when anyone fronted the post. Their only way of feeding the post was a wing post entry. This can work on crappy defenses that you see day in and out during the regular season, but elite defenses in the post season can and will take that away from you. This is what the triangle gave us… is that it worked even when the defenses tightened up. Maybe a pre-season and practices can help here. But this is on Mike Brown.


  2. Good post. I was thinking this morning about different philosophies of team-building and how the Lakers should prep for a post-Kobe era a few years down the line.

    How many times have the Lakers even been to the lottery? Twice? Eddie Jones and Andrew Bynum. Plus a draft day deal for the 13th pick.

    Getting younger is a necessity, few would argue that. But the philosophy of how to rebuild (draft, trades, FA) is more interesting. The Lakers just don’t bottom out very often. I’m not sure our fan base can handle it. Even the Smush-Kwame years were bearable because of the singular transcendent talent on that team. The record was poor, but we still had entertainment value. Bottoming out with Bynum (not a marketing draw) for a few years while trying to rebuild through the draft doesn’t seem like a very Lakers-like thing to do, as appealing as it looks right now with the ascent of the Thunder.

    Everyone’s trying to copy the hot Sam Presti model right now, overlooking the fact that there’s 1 Sam Presti and 1 RC Buford in this league*. Teams like Sacramento have young, promising talent. Can anyone see an ascent like this in their future? The Thunder built through the draft partly because out of intelligence, and partly because they had to. In my opinion, free agency will always be the best option for the Lakers. But drafting well is crucial to build a supporting cast around whatever team we build in free agency.

    We’re obviously in a very different situation right now because of the desire to retool and get one more with Kobe. We need to get younger, but we don’t have time for draft picks to develop.

    *I should add that while I think we have a good (not transcendent) GM like Presti/Buford, I’m also not sure you can judge how Mitch would do with a complete rebuild because he’s never drafted that high. Presti’s whiffed further down in the draft too (Cole Aldrich, BJ Mullens). Bynum at #10 was great value. It’s hard to say what Mitch could do with high lottery picks because we’ve never seen it.


  3. I should add… a big reason that homegrown talent helps is that the staff learns the real ins and outs of the players’ weaknesses. If you look at the shaq/kobe championship squad, it was not so much homegrown talent (though you did have fisher, kobe, horry and fox) that made it happen but the players that phil was familiar with (grant, harper, etc). After a year, Phil came to trust fisher, horry and fox, but i think the effect you see largely boils down to familiarity and then chemistry.


  4. 2010: Farmar, 23, signs 3yr/12. Blake, 30, signs 4yr/16.

    2009: Ariza, 23, signs full midlevel. Artest, 29, signs full midlevel.

    2011: Brown, 25, signs 1yr/3. Lakers draft rookies.

    Lakers have downgraded in talent the last 3 years. Went away from key youth contributors who were going into their primes to journeyman vets. Farmar, Trevor and Brown helped win rings. Their replacements haven’t matched their production level. I too am in favor of a youth movement in 2 years.


  5. Roster mistakes have been made.

    Lakers would have had better chance defending their championship last season with Farmar, Brown and Sasha — young guns with something to prove.

    Sasha salary dump was a waste.

    Blake over Farmar/Brown was a down grade.

    On the upside Mitch did well drafting Ebanks, Morris and Goudelock.

    Morris and Ebanks could be above average NBA players. Goudelock could be a Charlie Bell type veteran.


  6. I keep hearing about this “Sam Presti” model of rebuilding from commenters on this site. What nobody is mentioning is that the 2 biggest factors in what they were able to do is ‘sucking’ and ‘luck’. The Thunder (and the Sonics before them) had to suck for quite a while before they had the picks to draft Durrant, Westbrook, and Harden. The Lakers could and would never do this. Its not the type of franchise we are. We are showtime. We need to be good, or at least entertaining, always. Can you imagine finishing in last place in the West 4 years in a row? Think about that for a second. And Finally, there is quite a bit of luck in where you draft and who you draft. 5 years ago, when they had the 2nd pick, it altered the direction of there franchise. Had they got the 1st pick, they would have taken Oden, and where do you think they would be now? Same could be said if they got the 3rd pick, and same could be said for the following years when they drafted Westbrook and Harden. The idea that the Lakers need to blow it up and get draft picks could work out well, like the Thunder, or it could work out like the Bobcats, the Kings, the Warriors, the Raptors, or any other team that doesn’t win. Is it worth the risk? For me, I’ll put my trust in the Buss family and accept the fact they we cant win it every year. The personnel ‘problem’ we had this year is not a big problem and can be fixed through coaching or roster tweeks. We won the West with these “old” players that don’t play well together, remember?


  7. Dear Laker Fans,
    Its time to admit it. The new NBA does not favor post players. We need to trade Bynum while his stock is high and we need to amnesty Kobe. The Lakers won’t go anywhere until they are fast, lean, young, and when one player does not take up a substantial portion of the team’s salary structure. Otherwise we will be stuck in 1st or 2nd round hell until Kobe’s contract is over



  8. The NBA has nothing against post players. Post scoring will always be a precious commodity. What the new NBA does not favor is bigs with slow foot speed, who can’t guard the PnR and recover well. That’s my main concern with Bynum.

    Scoring from the post is just a skill that’s nearly become extinct, which is why you don’t see it. These teams downsized because the alternative was starting guys like Dexter Pittman.


  9. There is no way to prove it, but I personally do not believe that the Lakers would have won in 2010 with Ariza at the 3 instead of Artest, particularly given Artest’s performance in Game 7. Also, it is not as if Ariza’s career has taken off since he left, although he played fairly well this year.

    But, yes, the Lakers have gotten progressively older and slower and giving Blake four years was a mistake.


  10. The problem is our Big Three, our core, doesn’t mesh. With our team, we have to find what works. We can either have the twin towers (Pau and Bynum), and a star point guard (unlikely) to feed them the ball; or a super-star big man (break-out Bynum/Dwight Howard) and a superstar perimeter scorer (Kobe).

    Twin towers without a star PG to feed them the ball isn’t working, especially with Kobe taking the reigns of the offense.

    In the current system, what the Lakers need is a star point-guard who can take control of the offense and override Kobe. Hero ball isn’t working.

    How should we acquire that star point guard? Obviously through a trade, or less likely, through free agency. But it’s obvious the current Big 3 isn’t working, we have to give one up for something better.


  11. Funky Chicken June 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I agree with Snoopy. It isn’t that post players aren’t important, it’s that teams with larger and slower post players have difficulty with today’s NBA tempo.

    It’s true that the Lakers controlled the pace for most of the games against the Thunder, but that’s exactly the point. They did it for most of the game, but not all of the game. I don’t think it is realistic to expect a team to control (as in slow) the pace for a full game, much less 4 of 7 in a playoff series.

    Part of the problem is that eventually you go to your bench to rest your (slow) starters. Once that happens, your bench players won’t be nearly as adept and playing a slower pace, and are likely to get into a faster tempo–especially if they, as bench players do, miss some shots and allow the other team to get into transition.

    The other problem with this approach is that it works only if you consistently maintain leads or are within very close striking range. If you find yourself down by double digits in the 2nd half (and that happens to EVERY team in the playoffs eventually), you must speed up the tempo to cut into the lead.

    If I was assembling a team for a half court game, or for only one or two quarters of a game, I’d build around a nucleus of Kobe, Pau, and Andrew. However, that’s not the reality of today’s game. The Thunder broke 4 of 6 games open against the Lakers, despite our guys knowing exactly what they needed to do. That’s how good OKC is this year, and it’s how good Dallas was last year.

    Building around Bynum means building upon a foundation that requires a slow pace, and that’s just not today’s NBA. Of the final four teams this year, only one (the Thunder) even bothers to play a “legitimate” center, and that guy doesn’t slow the team down because the other 4 guys run like deer….


  12. rr: Ariza had 2 of the biggest plays en route to the 09 championship. And turned into a excellent 3 point shooter. Ariza was only getting better and a couple years from his prime. No way to prove it like you said but I was surprised at the time he was let go.

    Some teams are shopping lottery picks. It’s some talent in this draft.


  13. Kevin,

    I think he just had a hot run from the arc in 09 postseason, like Odom did, and I do not think that he would have been able D up Durant and Pierce in 10 like Artest did. I don’t blame the FO on that one, even though I am a UCLA grad and Ariza is a personal favorite.


  14. I think part of this has to do with Phil Jackson’s tenure from 1999 on. His offense is such that he never favored young, up and coming players. He prefered veterans who had the hoops IQ to process the complexities of his offense. Plus, when the Lakers looked for players they went after guys who had specific skill sets that fit into the Triangle. Radmanovic, Ariza, and Brown are examples.


  15. To go with what I wrote above, Phil’s offense also deemphasized the position that now seems to be all important. So when his offense was scrapped the Lakers were at a real disadvantage personnel-wise.


  16. Funky Chicken June 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    T. Rogers, that is an excellent point. The Lakers added players based on the system and philosophy of their coach for most of the last 10 years. That coach ran a system that totally devalued up tempo play, and quick point guards, just as he had a personal disdain for young players.

    It wasn’t a mistake to do this, as it produced 5 titles. I think the front office recognized this and tried valiantly to make a change this year (CP3), but as long as Phil was coach and the triangle was the system, the team was going to add talent through free agency, and even then only with veterans.

    I tend to agree with rr that the Lakers would not have likely won the 2010 title with Ariza instead of Artest, although we’ll never know. The fact is, it was not crazy to opt for a physical, defensive enforcer over a younger guy whose claim to fame was one great playoff run. The Lakers made that mistake once before by rewarding Devean George with a rich contract after one good playoff run, only to watch him become a disaster of a player….


  17. Darn it — T. Rogers stole all my thunder.

    Phil Jackson is a coach who always has preferred the known veteran to developing a young player. Win now was his mantra, and it fit well into our Laker expectations, because the Lakers could always bring in a big gun (see Pau Gasol). Phil left the Lakers a year too late and he left Chicago (helped by Jerry Reinsdorf) at just the right time. When Phil goes, there is not much in the cupboard – see 1998, 2004, 2011 – and, actually, 2011 was the best he has left a franchise in his career.

    Blame Phil, blame the triangle, blame the win-now philosophy which has been effectively castrated in the new CBA.

    We will have to figure out new ways to build a team like the Lakers or be relegated to being the same as everyone else. I don’t know what this new way will be, but at least this franchise has a history of looking for a different way of doing things. Meantime, we fans will have a lot to gripe about.


  18. As much as we die hard Laker fans would like it, you can’t rebuild a roster overnight. Fortunately we started last year. Yes we need to get younger but we are already on that path.

    Andrew Bynum. He is a very good place to start. Whether you like him or not, his WORST CASE SCENARIO is inconsistent all star 2nd team all NBA. Not bad. It is written here all the time that you can’t build around Andrew. And it’s true because he is only one piece, you need multiple pieces to win. As a piece, he is a very good one. Let’s not forget this was the first year he was featured in the offense. And at times it showed. That said, once he becomes more decisive and stops with the little bunny hop dribble he immediately goes from 18 points to 22 to 25 points a game, easy. On defense he is not as good as Howard but Howard isn’t as good on offense. Plus Andrew alters more shots because of his freakish length. Howard get most of his blocks with weak side help. Andrew gets his by challenging the shots in front of him.

    Ramon Sessions. Ramon may never become an elite point guard in the league but he has the tools to be very good. Remember it took Tony Parker many years to become great, playing in a stable system. Ramon has bounced around. With a full training camp and time to work his skill set into the offense I think we will see the Ramon we saw before he was asked to slow down. Even if the Lakers swing a trade for a better PG he would still be extremely valuable off the bench. I hope we keep him.

    Jordan Hill landed in the perfect situation to maximize his skill set. He is the perfect role player off the bench. A contrast in style from Andrew and Pau, he is athletic, a rebounding machine and non stop hustle guy.. Again I hope we can keep him because he is perfect for what we need.

    Devin Ebanks. Unlike many on this blog, I do not blame Mike Brown for everything that went wrong. But his biggest mistake might of been his handling of Devin. In Devin I see a guy that can become a very good rotation guy. Hopefully next year he can be utilized because he has a lot of upside.

    Josh McRoberts. All I am really going to say about Josh is, he is much better then the guy that played for us last year. The single biggest issue I have with him is he wouldn’t shoot! And he can. That’s the sad part. He had a nice shot with the Pacers. If he begins to bring offense with his other skills he could be part of a young Athletic 2nd unit.

    Morris and G-lock. I see potential in both but they were clearly not ready for prime time. We will see what summer league and a full training camp will bring out of them. Morris is especially intriguing to me because he is a true six five and if he ever developed a consistent outside shot could also see time at the two.

    With these pieces in place what should be our next move? Well first if you are looking for the Lakers to become the Thunder, forget it. We could trade Andrew and Pau and not get back enough of the right guys to win with that style of play. Even D Will coming here wouldn’t matter, he is not Westbrook, he has a different style all together.
    What seems to be lost to many is, we did a decent job of controlling tempo against the Thunder. Size can control tempo. The 2 main reasons we lost was because we couldn’t shoot. Sorry 28% from 3 is not going to get it done if you want to play inside out. And of course our thin rotations over the year and playoffs wore us out in 4th quarters. I think Kobe’s 2 for 10 had more to do with no floor spacing and tired legs then anything that the Thunder did.

    As far as trades I am anticipating Pau will be moved. If he can return a star through a 3 way great. But because of what we already have in place, I expect it will be more for role players and depth to fill in the holes.

    And instead of finding an old vet with the mini MLE, let try for someone like a Gerald Green who has upside but may not be a full MLE guy yet. Just a thought.


  19. rr: Ariza was growing as a player. Same way Odom, Brown and Pau got better under Phil and Kobe’s tutilage. Lakers had been looking for the young athletic wing to pair with Kobe for years. Ebanks is in the same mold as Trevor if resigned he could possibly have a similiar impact.

    Ron just had one of his worst seasons before siging with Lakers. He was no sure thing at the time we knew we’d only get max 3 years out of the 5. Now we’re stuck with a overpaid vet.


  20. rr: Ariza was growing as a player.


    Perhaps, but that is just an assertion. We know, OTOH, that the team won the 2010 title, and Artest played a huge role in that what was IMO the biggest win in the history of the franchise since the merger and was a major factor throughout those playoffs. I will take that trade-off any time.


  21. #18 Bynum’s worst case scenario is a blown out knee that effects the rest of his career is career ending… And if that happens after a max deal next year, that would be even worse…


  22. The 2010 Finals was a series of inches. I don’t think there’s any way we win without Artest. The defense on Pierce and the Game 7 rebounding – those are things Ariza was unlikely to replicate.

    Ariza was on an unsustainable hot streak in 2009. I understand his shooting/shot selection probably wouldn’t have sunk so far if he had stayed with us, but this is a player who put together one of worst shooting seasons in memory:

    Even in a smaller role with the Lakers, it’s hard to imagine he could have kept up a 40% 3-point shooting rate over time.

    I think the Artest signing was genius. Mitch understood that the player we were most ill-equipped to defend in 2008 was Pierce, and had the foresight to realize there was a chance we’d face him again in 2010 (or Lebron). Ariza was perfect for the Orlando series. Artest was perfect for the Celtics series. We were fortunate in back to back years.

    At the end of the day, we as fans want to keep our back to back titles while at the same time setting us up to be contenders every year for the next 10 years. That’s not feasible. If you go into win-now mode (and are fortunate enough to actually win), there will be downsides later on.


  23. rr: I’m not disagreeing with you Artest did what he said he was going to do which is help us a ring. My points are related to the post “Team Building, Youth and Revising an Old Model”. Youth was on Lakers side the team had built chemistry coming off a champinship. Now we are old with overpaid role players who would see minimal PT with other teams.

    Artest didn’t do anything more than Ariza did in 09. Locked down a bigger offensive player in Melo and Turkoglu ( when he was actually good). He made defensive plays 2 steals and made timely 3s that year. Artest came through in 2010 Ariza did in 09 too. I see no big difference between Artest and Ariza besdes name recognition.


  24. west coast ram June 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I also think the Lakers felt back in 2010 that if they were in the championship round in each of the next several years they would need a more physical player to match up with either Pierce or James and that Trevor wouldn’t be able to effectively defend those players.


  25. rr. You also have to remember Pierce had a hard time scoring because of Artest AND Kobe. By Rondo being unable to shoot it allowed Kobe to roam and help on guys like Ray and Paul (even though every guard for LA had brain farts guarding Ray in transition).


  26. The aim of an NBA team is a to win a championship. Not to get young, not to cut salaries but to win championships. Please people appreciate the championships you have had. The real people to blame are the small market owners who are jealous of the Lakers deal with Warner. Unfortunately for the Lakers our Team owners don’t have deep pockets. The Lakers is all they have. With the small market team owners cutting into their profits the Lakers have to cut cost. As for Bynum, he is too slow to build around in todays NBA. Why would a young and fast PG want to play with Bynum?? He takes 12 secs to get past the timeline. He and Pau are mostly responsible for why Sessions was totally ineffective in the playoffs. As for the clowns wanting to amnesty Kobe, please note that Kobe is responsible for an estimated 80-100 million in income for the Lakers. Getting rid of him to get under the cap is being penny wise and pound foolish. No sane owner will do that. Look at who gets amnestied, it is usually highly paid players who have completely lost it. (Agent Zero, Allan Houston, etc). Kobe is the best shooting guard in the NBA. (1st team all NBA). He was the best player for the Lakers this season by a mile. He has freshener legs than 24 year old Bynum but you think he should go??? Like I said before, “we r surrounded by idiots”.


  27. One byproduct of the Lakers building through free agency is the fan base is not used to waiting for young players to develop.

    I agree with Michael H. The Lakers have some young talent that can be mined. The question is can we wait for them to get better? Sessions, Ebanks, Hill, Morris, Goudelock, and McRoberts can be real contributors. The key is having two or three solid vets to put them around and having a coach who can truly develop them. I am not sure if Mike Brown is that coach. But the Lakers are not lacking in young talent.

    We fans better become a patient bunch pretty quickly. The new CBA is forcing teams to build through development of cheap, young players. I know people on this forum hate Bynum. But him plus the young guys already on the roster actually form a good framework going forward. They just need support and development.


  28. west coast ram June 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    I think it is critical that in evaluating the front office that you look at how they make moves to fit the established culture. The organization has been most successful in the last 10 years with the triangle offense and the drafting and player aquistion should be evaluated through that prizm. In looking at it that way the drafting of Farmar was the wrong choice as he was never going to fit into a “tri system” PG but a guy like Sasha was the perfect fit. The best organizations find players that fit their system and that might not be the best player available during the draft. If the Lakers (i.e., Buss) would have realized that they were not going to be able to change the style in which they played without making major changes to the roster (i.e., Kobe), they should have realized that the coaching selection should have been made with the single purpose of retaining a triangle option offense until after Kobe’s retirement. Kobe will never be Ray Allen or Reggie Miller, who plays off the ball running off screens to get the open jumper. He is a ball dominate player so the best that the Lakers can hope for is that as he winds down his career that they find players that can shoot the open jumper that he provides through his playmaking skills.


  29. It wasn’t just the championship round the Lakers were worried in bringing in Ron, we were worried about getting out of the west. Remember Denver was seen as a real challenger and Trevor really did not play Melo well. But Ron did.


  30. The problem, with adding veteran players it doesn’t mean Lakers are going to win NBA title because the average coach MB, and you still pay more.

    My opinion, Lakers should think about, who is the best free agents in 2014 ? we should save money and go after him, and Lakers FO should have a formula how to pay good players, you can’t pay too much to super star and get role players with 800k, 1mil, 2 mil, it didn’t work, next year find a good offensive coach for the future.

    Dallas want to get center Hibbert of Indiana, but ProBaskettBallTalk site predicts Indiana will have to pay him 12 mil a year. I like PG Holiday of Philadelphia, he has speed, can shoot 3. Building a championship is not difficult if you know what you’re doing. I was disappointed with Jim Buss, he grew up in the Buss family, he saw many great moves of this team, he should do better than any NBA owners.


  31. Another way, some NBA teams need one guy to help them to make playoffs, so Lakers should trade with them to get good young players and good draft picks, team like Cleveland, Minnesota,Utah, ….


  32. #30

    “Building a championship is not difficult if you know what you’re doing.”

    You really believe that? Seriously?


  33. Sorry I was anonymous last comment, hit send to soon.


  34. As noted, Ariza was perfect for 2009 and Artest was perfect for 2010. Also, as noted, the Lakers’ main obstacles were seen not as Orlando, but as Boston with Pierce, Cleveland with James, and Denver with Anthony. Artest also played well against Durant in RD 1.

    Finally, Ariza’s agent played hardball (or tried to) with Buss, and Ariza said very clearly that he wanted to play in a situation in which he could shoot more, whereas Artest really, really wanted to be here and gave up shots to do so.

    Add that to Game 7 and the fact that Ariza’s career has not taken flight since he left, and I think the decision was clearly the right one. Ariza made some huge plays in 2009, but none of the series were as close as the 2010 Finals were.

    I second-guessed the decision at the time, and you would probably rather have Ariza NOW, but we are talking about a hypothetical case to begin with, and there are holes even in that.
    There are plenty of legit reasons to criticize the Lakers FO, but I don’t think the switch from Ariza to Artest is one of them.


  35. And, as I said, I agree about the pattern.


  36. Interesting post, some definite echoes of the 2004 team and the veteran approach to squeeze out one or two more championships. Not saying it was exactly the same, but in my mind similar.

    To rebuild, required a major move. Given that, Bynum is probably the only true asset that brings back real value, but could be one or two more moves after that needed, as with Shaq. Perhaps Michael H has the best idea in letting youngsters grow and pursue younger, hungrier FAs.


  37. Brian Shaw reportedly in the lead for the Magic coaching position. Good for him. Interesting, since Shaw did the major scouting against the Magic in 2009 and reportedly had the biggest influence on our defensive sets against Howard.

    Are the Lakers one of the teams that invests in the STATS camera/data system? Anyone know? The cameras track how long a player spends running at a different speed, organized into 5 categories. I’d be interested to know how much time Bynum spends in the “walk” or “jog” category compared to other players.


  38. I keep saying the obvious, but in today’s NBA, you just can’t win when you’re shooting below 30% from the 3, especially if you are trying to build around post players.

    You either get wing players who can penetrate paired with bigs who can get out of the way but box out on the other end, or have sharpshooters that punish the defense when they collapse around post players.

    Pau is special in a sense that he can pass within the paint to another post player thanks to his vision and height, and in a way Lamar was the same, but Lamar is gone and Pau seems to have lost the respect of the opposing defense so much that they aren’t scared of his scoring…


  39. The real frustration with reading these comments is their frequent concentration on a single move, or a single facet of the game. This is a team game and organizing a team is like coordinating an orchestra – different instruments have different functions and these change with the melodies you are playing.

    I was interested in the comments of both Michael H. and Joe Atlanta.
    * First they had a more complete look at what the Laker franchise looks like – it is not simply a list of players and how to get better by adding a better player here or there. D. Fisher is a great example of this.
    * Second, we should be grateful for the success our franchise has given us and not complain so much – very grating to those fans of less fortunate teams.
    * Third, we are hemmed in by the CBA and have to figure out how to fit what we already have together. It is simply not practical to imagine any scenario where we ‘blow this thing up’ and then are in any position to compete for a championship in the near future.

    Some of these comments seem more like arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We were not that bad this year and we don’t need a huge change next year. We need to figure out how to use the young assets we do have and add bits and pieces to get more depth.

    Depth is also the coaching staff understanding how to use the players we do have. That is the most disappointing thing about Mike Brown. Yes, we are a win-now fan base, but development is a requirement in the new CBA NBA.


  40. OK – I have a number of guarantees from the FB&G community that the Celts will not win the title. More than a few of those guaranteed they would not get past the Heat. I won’t mention the posters here, however I do have a list : ) I have another list of you people wearing green tonight (no smile on that one). Just root and root hard against those Beantowners or the whole Laker community will have to put up with a very depressing off season (even more than already).


  41. No need to,get nasty joe. We can disagree without the name calling. I agree Kobe is our best player but he takes up too much of the cap. That is my contention. Now, go run and cry to mommy.


  42. Gilberto,
    Kobe may take up too much of the cap, but he brings in much more than his salary. He is untouchable, if only for that reason. This is still a business and no business sells off their top producing asset unless they are preparing to either sell out or go under.


  43. Did anyone doubt that the Heat and the Thunder would play in the finals? People were talking about small markets and market shares for these two teams. This is the age of the new social media twitter, facebook, and instant messages. Lebron, Durant, Wade, Westbrook and Harden will provide conversations and merchandising that has yet to be realized in the NBA. Two young stars going head to head in their prime is an NBA marketers dream.

    This NBA finals is going to be bananas!

    Oh yea…Lebron has finally arrived!

    Barring injuries or contract problems due to the CBA these two teams will be in the finals discussions for the next 4-5 years.


  44. Chearn, Lebron hasn’t arrived until he plays like this in the Finals. He’s played like this before but just like Durant he’s yet to win a ring.


  45. Chearn: We still have a game left in this series. Also, do you have any money you can loan me? I lost a bundle betting the Heat -14.5 in the last game : )


  46. Did Game 7 just get cancelled?


  47. Yes, it has it’ll be a blow out in Miami. A shutdown just like in the Spurs-OKC game. Bosh is getting healthier and will probably start in Miami.

    It’s the look in LBJ’s eye that I’ve never seen before. He and Durant are contemporaries that will battle each other for years.


  48. Chearn: So are you predicting Miami by 15 again? : ) It’s all good as long as you are not rooting for the C’s. Please let’s not take Game 7 for granted.

    Even if Boston were to win game 7 – I like the fact that this has been extended on their old legs.


  49. 45 points, 15 rebounds on 19/26 shooting.


  50. I for one am not counting Boston out. They were suppose to lose in Miami last game but didn’t. I don’t know why but they always make it hard on themselves. But with their backs to the wall they are a tough out.


  51. I just got home. Missed the game.

    The Cheat beat the C’s in Boston by 18? WOW!!

    What happened? Did Bosh make the difference? Did the refs do what they did all regular season long with the Cheat?

    Looking at the box score, I see the C’s made only 2 of their 3’s…Pierce 0-6…



  52. LOL, I’m not a good prognosticator but I think the Heat as a one man team will beat the Celtics. If LBJ starts the game 7 the way that he did today, they’ll win. Heat players are front runners they don’t miss when there’s a blowout as opposed to a tightly contested game.


  53. I wanted signature games like this from Kobe this postseason, in a win…


  54. Magic Phil.

    Pierce, couldn’t handle “the truth” tonight. Guy was horrid, one of the worst games I’ve ever seen him play.

    KG was missing all the shots he hit the last game.

    Quite simply Lebron choked them out in the first half, they were basically in a coma afterwards and couldn’t make plays to get it under 10 points.

    Bosh had a minor effect, this was all Lebron and the Celtics inability to hit shots and make plays.


  55. So the Cs get blown out on their own home court… I guess instead of KG and Rondo, KJ and Hondo showed up instead.


  56. Harold: You and me both, however we must realize that KB was in his 16th year. Comparing him to Durant and James at this point in their respective careers is a tough order. The fact that we even make the comparisons and that KB is not that far off, is a testament to his greatness. Asking KB to still lead the team to victory if her had decent support is reasonable. Game 5 vs OKC was a microcosm of the season, as the support was simply not there.


  57. @54, StepUp

    Thanks for the recap.

    One more question (if you don’t mind):
    Did LeGone went to the paint using his arm like he and, by now, all the Cheat players do?

    I’m asking it because it seems that this kind of stuff became “permited” among we, the fans.


  58. You can trade one or both of our bigs but it depends on what you get in return. Will it improve your team or become worst under Mbrown rotation.

    Our team this season was not that bad, IMO Thunder are just too good as a team and our speed came too late in Sessions and shooting prowess in the perimeter was not there. I really questioned the streaky rotation in constant experimentation of Ebanks, Josh, Goudelock and Morris. When Westbrook was running down the whole Laker line up, we do not have any answer. Sessions was not effective nor was Blake so what should have been done? Lakers never found that answer for Westbrook and Harden. this was a repetition of last year when there was no answer on Dallas attack. We constantly boast of our big 3 but they were not properly utilized, in the end they were dead tired and could not even play a decent defense.

    Well, next season Mbrown will have one full year with preseason of all sorts so there will be no more excuses for the ineptness. Well, don’t blame the fans here, get used to Laker fans who are always wanting for Championship. We are not the same as Midwest fans r Clippers who are happy on continuous rebuilding and qualifying in the playoffs. Fans here pay the premium, that’s the reason why the big media is also after them. Lakers are “ratings builders” that provides revenues as their bread and butter. Lakers cannot afford to follow the Knicks dilemma – forever a rebuilding team.

    This is Hollywood, the show must go on. Winning goes with the territory and in our life blood. Who are the South land athletes? They are often the best players in every team from Harden, Westbrook, Pierce, Love, Affalo you name it, they all come from Southern California. If only they can join the Lakers, they could have done immediately after school. Secondly, we are the mecca of sports in the West. LA is the only place that held two Olympics, World Cup so its citizens are used to being the center not just an rider like other small markets.

    If you don’t aim high, look what happened to the Lakers when they ventured on Atkins-Mihm-Kwame-Smush-Cook-Luke the era of Scrubs, do you want that to happen again?


  59. EPIC performance by LeBron. We were all witnesses.


  60. My question is would Milsap, Lowry, D12, JJ Reddick and Ariza be worth Pau, Bynum, Blake and the TPE?


  61. Wrong again. Memphis ended up with the other Gasol, who is currently equal to Pau and draft choices that ended up being Darrell Arthur in 2008 and OJ Mayo in 2010 and allowed them to save enough money to acquire Zack Randolph. The past two years Memphis has won more playoff games then the Lakers who owe Pau $38 million.

    Lakers couldn’t have beaten OKC this year if they had 7 home court games. They only one 1 game in case you missed it.

    No one wants Metta and his $6 mill a year or Blake’s contract and Sessions is a free agent so can’t be traded as is Williams who can sign with anyone.

    Your free basketball lesson there Katelyn


  62. @ ko–How interesting is it that, after years of people suggesting that the trade that brought Pau to LA was proof the NBA was “rigging” things to help the Lakers, what I have said from the beginning about that trade has now come to fruition–MEM traded immediate pain for future rewards.


  63. kehntangibles June 8, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Last I checked, we got two rings b/c we got Pau. At some point his contract was going to eclipse his value and his younger brother who we traded away was going to be a better asset. We should’ve known that at the time, but even so with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, you still make the Pau trade again every day of the week.


  64. Edwin Gueco,
    I am very proud to be a Laker fan. I expect this franchise to always compete – and, more frequently than others, to win. However, I do not expect them to be invincible every year. We do go through cycles – it is just that we generally don’t have more than one year where we don’t make the playoffs during the down cycle.

    This is the Lakers. This is our front office and ownership history.

    At this time, we are still making the playoffs – and we are in the upper half of the playoffs. Yes, we have to retool our aging and less athletic first string, but we are not without talent. Treating the Lakers as if they were the 21st century Knicks is an insult to what we are. This is why I think many Laker fans are somewhat of a pain to read.


  65. If this playoffs has shown us anything it’s all those people were right about Kobe, Carmelo, amd Durant when it comes to LeBron….

    “But Durant/Kobe/Carmelo are better pure scorers… Even though they don’t shoot as good of a percentage, even though they don’t score as much, and even though they aren’t as pure. Wait… Pure means all they can do is score right?”

    Btw… Everyone is aware Trevor Ariza has been one of the worst rotation players in the NBA the last few seasons no? He was traded for nothing out of Houston when they realized he was garbage and then benched in New Orleans. He has lost a step and still has no ball skills. He is useless.


  66. Can’t believe I’m saying this, but Ko is right. It gets tiring to hear uncreative media members (I’m looking at you, Marc Stein) continuously refer to the Pau trade as a “trade, er, steal.” Marc Gasol is a top-flight center and Kwame Brown turned into the cap space to sign Zach Randolph. Trading in Pau for a Gasol-Randolph frontline is a solid move that shows excellent scouting from the Memphis FO, understanding Marc’s worth.

    Although I think you’re getting confused on your draft picks. Mayo was taken in 2008 by Minnesota. Darrell Arthur was drafted by New Orleans and traded. Our 2010 first round draft pick became Greivis Vasquez. Our 2008 pick became Donte Green, I believe, who was then traded to Sacramento.

    59, Edwin – I get what you’re saying about expectations for success. We’re not saying to aim low. What we’re trying to get across is that there are different formulas for building a championship contender, and many of these formulas involve being bad for a period of time to get high draft picks. The Lakers historically don’t do this very often. But with the new CBA, having top-notch contributors on rookie contracts is excellent value. Moving forward (not in the next couple years, but post-Kobe) I think you’ll see us become more reliant on the draft than in previous years.

    Contrary to what many Lakers fans believe, winning is a process, not divine right.


  67. Snoopy,
    I can’t believe you said this either 😉 I’ve never seen a more overrated player than Marc Gasol. Never. That was a bad trade by Memphis that could have been much worse if Marc Gasol didn’t turn into an average NBA player. The reason it was a bad trade is because Memphis probably could have done much better than Marc Gasol for Pau. Haha. They could have gotten better picks and better cheap young players. Other GMs have said as much. Apparently Memphis didn’t even call other teams to inquire.


  68. Warren Wee Lim June 8, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I will probably stand in a very dark and lonely corner with this stand. And no I do not like the Celtics or the Heat still.

    LA has judged itself with letter grades. No one bothered to grade Mitch Kupchak and I will do so with a resounding A+.

    (hears murmur from the crowd)

    Mitch Kupchak solved the Lakers’ deficiencies on 2 parts: huge payroll and playmaking PG. Huge payroll needed solving because of the new CBA. Playmaking PG simply because in order for an offense to succeed nowadays. That after he had already considered that the Head Coach will be Mike Brown.

    On a once-in-a-lifetime event, the deal fell through. The personalities involved expressed disbelief, as did the general public. Even the haters could not imagine such a thing exists in the modern era of social networking and multimedia. The ones who benefited, kept mum. The ones that wanted it to go through, generated the famous “WoW” reaction for millions to see.

    One personality revolted, got depressed and asked out. His wish was granted. The other, quietly accepted the uncertainty. Short to say, the game that we saw out of him was an obvious implosion of sorts.

    To that end, we fast-track into what we know now as the reality. It was an uneventful sight that warranted no further discussion. On one hand, one man got his wish (but donned different colors) the other 2 left reeling.

    Mitch Kupchak made bold moves. I will be the last and first to commend him for this. He acted within the bounds of his direction, his authority and his opportunities. He did what we would normally call as “the best he could do.”

    Sadly it wasn’t enough. Simply because there never will be one that would satisfy both in 1 singular motion. Something that was doable under the first situation.

    Mitch Kupchak traded for Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga. Ironically from the team owned by the little man that had everything to hate about the world. Hell hath no fury than Dan Gilbert scorned.

    Using very limited assets like a late 1st round pick and the perennially-injured Luke Walton, the Lakers got themselves a starting point guard. Still by no means a Deron Williams or a Chris Paul, but it was, what the assets could warrant.

    To support the move, Mitch further moved yet another late 1st rounder and team captain who’s best days were already seen. In exchange is a promising, skilled and energetic young big man whom we’ve all grown to love from the last day of the regular season until the playoffs came to the bitter end.

    To what end must you criticize management? To what depth did you expect an injured Luke Walton and an aged Derek Fisher plus 2 late 1st rounders would get you?

    Mitch Kupchak, under the circumstances, did everything right this year. The results are yet to show and I share your disappointment, but he did more than what RC Buford and Sam Presti could have done.


  69. Still holding out hope for pulling another rabbit out the hat by Lakers FO. I haven’t thought past that. What’s the best logical things to do if the FO still values Pau much more than other teams do? Trade him for less value or hold onto him. Some low ball offers will come in. Do we hold onto Pau tinker around the edges and wait until the trade deadline to see if Lakers can broker a better deal then? I guess some of that depends on whether Bynum signs an extension. Bynum seems untouchable you hear Jim say ” I never said I wouldn’t trade Bynum if the right deal comes along” during the season. After the season he says ” You can build a future around Bynum”. Hard to get a feel for how FO really feels about Bynum now but going on the past he’s untouchable. Him not signing an extension would have to be somewhat worrysome seeing all these other stars leaving their teams noted in a past post. My worst fear is Lakers going into next season with the same team the same who’s going to be here, who’s not scenario. Or hoping for a different result with more practice time but we’ll see.


  70. Craig W.,

    “This is why I think many Laker fans are somewhat of a pain to read.”

    You know what? there are so many things that are unbearable to read when you are in a blogosphere. I hope you understand that not all share the same thinking like yours. That’s the beauty of it in participating in any conversation. There is a degree or allowance to learn something from others. You don’t monopolize other people’s thinking.

    Like for example in your case, you have a fascination of the present establishment. Fine and nothing wrong with that. Others don’t believe in your philosophies. Is there anything wrong with that observation? These two point of views can also intersect in what they want to achieve, isn’t it? only they have different routes in thinking in achieving to a particular goal.

    My views are in the middle. You will read my posts sometimes of praise and sometimes of criticisms. To me both structure are needed in improving a front office, a team, a player and a coach from this fan’s point of views. It is what i refer as a carrot and stick theory in management. Observations changes based on events and results.

    Having said that, I trust Mitch can make miracles again just like what he did in March mid year trading where he found a home for Luke, Kapono and Fish. He was able to unload a huge chunk of contracts and improved the roster with Sessions, Hill and a trainee, Eyenga.

    If we bank of Ebanks, Goudelock, Morris, Hill, McRob, Blake and Sessions to develop into stars under Mbrown rotation, then we are all daydreaming. RR has been saying that those talents are not of high caliber to compete for WCF. You need to tinker more and keep on improving the stock. Don’t be satisfied with what you have if you can improve it furthermore. There are just too many talents out there to put all ideas to rest or quit on looking.


  71. Snoopy,

    “Contrary to what many Lakers fans believe, winning is a process, not divine right.”

    It cannot be a divine right because Laker fans belief are not infinite. That belongs to a supernatural scheme of things.

    I am aware that Lakers are handicapped by new CBA, the Kobe’s contract, the two Bigs contracts etc. therefore we cannot expand or acquire people. Should we quit from there? Should we just say add Gerald Green, improve Christian Eyenga and get two more 2nd round draft pick? and that’s it.

    You know when I read the Apple story, I was impressed how a PC morphed into so many other products that touched the lives of so many people. The same is true with the Lakers, we could have stopped our progress from Elgin Baylor who is one of the best during his time. No, it didn’t stop there, Kareem, West, Magic and down to Kobe. There is always an evolution of Lakers team and stock keeps on improving because their fans keep them pushing to greatness. Perhaps, Jack Nicholson would be pleased to put his face as a trademark of a Laker fan, provided the Lakers F/O will also keep on improving the stock. Once they become static and happy with mediocrity, then all fans will also be disseminated. You already have a clue on this one, fans booed their own team. Where in NBA town can you find that kind of passion? and yet cheered them all the way when Kobe tried to rally to win.


  72. I think Warren put my views about the Laker organization the best, so just refer to #69.

    I am not a stand pat person. I do not believe any of the existing Laker young players will be the answer to any big star of the future. The best future star we have is Andrew Bynum – with all his faults. And no, I don’t expect him to become a super star, just a first line NBA player, in a critical position on the team.

    That said, we do have talent on this roster that can be developed to be good rotation players. We need to move forward to do this over the summer and into next year.

    If anything develops I trust Mitch to jump on it and perhaps add a young player who would seem to have a much higher ceiling, but what I don’t want is to trade for some aging star that is at the peak of his playing and earning powers. Going down that path gets us no farther today and has severe economic consequences in the future. To trade Pau for a player in a similar situation, to me, seems pure folly and this is what a number of these comments would seem to want.


  73. Aaron–Marc Gasol is an average NBA player? And the most overrated player you have ever seen? Do you even believe some of the things you are saying lately? Because I’m starting to wonder if you are making outrageous statements just to get a rise out of people…

    Anyway, at risk of stealing your style “Bad trade for Memphis? Ha Ha Aaron, I know you don’t believe that because you know too much about basket ball to believe it…Anyone who knows anything about basketball would understand the Pau Gasol trade was good for both teams–LA got the piece it needed to make a run at a couple of titles, and MEM parlayed what it got from LA (a raw but talented big, picks, and cap space) into being a relevant team for the first time ever…”


  74. Sorry Aaron. I’ll try to live up to your high standards next time.

    Marc Gasol is absolutely an average player. Just like Tony Parker is an average player.


  75. Funky Chicken June 8, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Mindcrime, in Aaron’s world, Marc Gasol and Tony Parker are average NBA players, and Andrew Bynum is the most dominant player in the league. You have to put these comments in the proper context…


  76. Hate to say it, but gotta respect the C’s crowd for this:

    Not sure if this balances out them chanting MVP for Kobe or not.

    Wish real Lakers fans weren’t priced out of Staples. Instead we get Adam Sandler and Kevin James, both of whom are too lazy to actually stand up at any point during a game. I wouldn’t be surprised if they carted Sander into the arena and to his seats.


  77. Aaron … Do you even believe some of the things you are saying lately? Because I’m starting to wonder if you are making outrageous statements just to get a rise out of people…


    Mindcrime, you are STARTING to wonder ??


  78. @R

    I’m starting to wonder about the “JUST to get a rise” part–I’ve always known PART of Aaron’s “game” is getting folks riled up, but I thought he at least believed SOME of the things that he said….so Aaron, am I wrong?

    PS Aaron–I’ll name two CURRENT players off the top of my head that either are, or have been, more overrated than Marc Gasol–VC and Stat


  79. Edwin – To be honest, I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. The simple point is that if we are to build through the draft at some point, it will require patience. I’m not sure how you get ‘satisfied with mediocrity’ and ‘giving up’ from that. The Lakers sure did move on after Elgin Baylor – they drafted Magic. Under the lottery system, that would require at least a year with a poor record and thus patience. I’m not saying “hey, let’s tank a few seasons, and when we get the #2 draft pick, pick the 50th best player in the draft (someone like Gerald Green) and be happy with what we’ve done in the past.” And I’m not talking about the immediate future – building through the draft makes no sense right now when we’re trying to win another ring with Kobe. I’m talking about the distant future.

    I don’t really understand the concept of confusing patience with “wanting the Lakers to stand still and give up.”


  80. Snoop: I have been complaining about our lack of home court advantage all year. OKC has a sea of white and blue jerseys and yes the Beantown chant was impressive. Of course when I have brought this up in the past, I have received responses about how LA is more sophisticated than the people from OK or other towns. That might be true – however the LA elite is not a very good group to have in the stands. It is a complete disadvantage for the team, but also one that we have to accept.


  81. I was a big Ariza fan when he was a Laker, but he’s no Artest. Once he got in shape, MWP was a beast this year. I bet if you asked any Laker player or coach, they’d assure you Artest was one of the most valuable players on the team. He’s a good deal at the price, and I expect to see him back next season.

    The Gasol deal was good for Memphis, as stated. It was great for the Lakers. 3 Finals, 2 titles, and we still have a very good 7-footer to play or trade.

    Lakers are in a tough spot with the new CBA. I see them trying to make a run or two with Kobe and then a quasi-rebuilding while trying to stay competitive. I think the most likely scenario is some number of years, possibly many, before the franchise is back on top.


  82. I’ll just list the facts.. Marc Gasol is ranked 15th at Center offensivley. Check insider. That is DEAD average. That’s besides the point that he is a bad defensive player that can’t move his feet and can’t jump.

    As far as Tony Parker… He ranked as an average starting PG offensivley the last four years. And we all know he is too small to play defense. These are just the facts. That is more of a slap to Marc Gasol as there are no good Centers. As I’ve long said… Tony Parker is very talented… The fact he has ranked as an average NBA PG the last few years is a testament to how great the PG posision is now in the NBA. I’m not saying anything that is schocking. This is common knowledge in NBA circles. Pleas try and learn from me instead of shutting me out because what I say can sometimes fly in the face of your “common” knowledge.


  83. Mindcrime,
    Please read what I wrote again. It was a bad trade for Memphis because they could have gotten more than an average NBA starting Center and cap space says every NBA GM that has spoken about the trade. They have all said Memhis didn’t ask around and just took the first offer they got. These are the facts we are aware of at this point in time. If you’re telling me the GMs are wrong or are lying and Memphis couldn’t have gotten anything better than a second round pic that turned out to be an average NBA starting Center and cap space… Then we will kindly disagree.


  84. Lakers game attendants are the reason opposing teams like to play in Los Angeles. They are the entertainment! Basketball players go to the movies or to a concert to watch some of the L.A. patrons entertain them. These same customers go to watch the basketball games to be entertained.

    The Lakers have been solidified as an entertainment vehicle since ‘Showtime’ and this won’t change anytime soon.

    The Lakers need to be concerned about flipping positions with the Clippers. After all the Lakers could turn into drawing the crowds that the Clippers once drew and the Clippers could turn into the place to be seen.

    There’s much more at stake this upcoming season than the Lakers position for the playoffs. The Lakers owners must ward off the Clippers encroaching on their territory. If Sacramento comes to Anaheim in a few years the pot will be divided by three.


  85. Mind crime… One more thing… STAT and VC arent rated very high. VC is washed up and everyone knows it. When he was young he was damn good. He wasn’t on Kobe’s level but he was darn close. STAT was great as well for many years. Now he has aged and broken down and everyone knows it. So again… He isn’t rated high… Hence isn’t overrated.


  86. Amd I just checked the Stats on Tony Parker. I was wrong. Offensivley he was ranked 17th two years ago. But other than that he was ranked in the top seven. Still including defense he would be ranked as a 8 to 15th ranked PG. Pretty impressive at the PG spot that is so competitive. So I will take a new position and call him an above average to good PG. Depending on how highly you value defense. Because I see it as half the game I’ll say Parker is an above average starting PG.


  87. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kendall Marshall, Austin Rivers are all going to be solid NBA players. Teams are willing to part with their lottery picks for the right package. If getting one of those guys meant Lakers would take a lesser package. I’d be on board with that.

    You don’t find many Centers like Marc Gasol. His passing allows Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph to be black holes. He’s the guy who gives those guys the ability to play their games. Tony Parker is older than his age due to playoff mileage. Pop system is very beneficial to him at this point.


  88. WWL: An A+ for Mitch? Well I think you know I disagree. A couple of points:
    1) The Veto is something to be considered, but the bottom line is the deal was not completed. This is a little like the dog ate my homework.
    2) Net adds are RS, JH, JM, + TM; the Net Subtracts are LO, SB, + DF. How is that an A+? That is moving backwards.
    3) Who hired MB instead of Brian Shaw? If you want to blame this on Jimbo than fine – but if you think MK and JB are a team, than again – MK is downgraded for this.
    4) Does MK have free ability to use TPE’s and make trades that add to payroll? We do not know. So again if you blame Jimbo, than I can be sympathetic to Mitch.

    My grade for Mitch is a C+ (which is better than my “C” grade for MB and “D” for Jimbo). My C+ is taking into account that MK is held down by Jimbo. If you on the other hand think Jimbo is a great guy, then I would have to lower Mitch’s grade. I grade based on results, not based on “what could have been”.


  89. Here is the stats in this year’s playoff:
    the most dominant center in NBA (12 games, 37:36 mins):
    16.67 pts
    47.7% FG%
    11.08 RB
    1.5 Asst
    3.08 BLK

    Most overated, below avg center (Marc Gasol) (7 games, , 37:07 mins):
    15.14 pts
    52.2% FG%
    6.71 RB
    3.14 Asst
    1.86 BLK


  90. Katelyn and Aaron are the same person, evidently.


  91. @ R–I kind of wondered the same thing–but, like the coward I often am, waited for someone else to make the accusation–the screen name, the use of absolutes (“obviously” “hands down”) and attacks on intelligence (“naive and misinformed”) made me think “Aaron” but—Katelyn is a much better speller who didn’t use emoticons, so it made me think otherwise….


  92. Memphis didn’t just let Pau’s contract expire because that got them nothing. What they got were promising players in Crittenton and Marc Gasol, some first round draft picks, and some cap space. The trade was worked out by Chris Wallace and was approved by the owner. Eliminate hindsight and speculation about what deals could have been made, and it was a legit deal in every way. As it turned out, Marc Gasol has worked out well to help solidify a strong inside presence for the Grizz. I doubt the Memphis FO cares what stat-heads think about his abilities.


  93. R – Ha I was wondering myself if Aaron has a sister.

    If you believe Marc Gasol is not crucial to the Grizzlies success…I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe you’re looking at the TV wrong.

    I’d recommend this read, for starters:


  94. Aaron’s using PER as an offensive ranking system when he says that Marc Gasol is ranked 15th (the same point he’s using for Parker, fwiw). That’s such a flawed way of looking at things I don’t even know where to start. One thing I will say is that PER doesn’t take into account minutes played, which is kind of important considering the expectation is that when minutes increase it’s difficult to maintain efficiency (which is what the “e” in PER stands for). Of the players above him in PER, Marc Gasol played more minutes per game than all of them except Dwight Howard and some of the guys in front of him (Birdman Andersen, Tiago Splitter, JaVale McGee to name a few) are known to be less efficient the more they play – not to mention foul prone (which makes it so they actually *can’t* play more minutes). Also, if you go by Value Added or Estimated Wins Added (other metrics Hollinger uses), Gasol jumps from 15th to 7th.


  95. Funky Chicken June 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Aaron, three NBA centers scored more ppg than Marc Gasol. Each of those three (Monroe, Bynum, and Gortat) also averaged more rebounds, while Gasol average more assists. The next tier of center behind those 4 is quite far away. How you position Gasol as an average NBA center is beyond me. He’s no superstar, for sure, but in today’s NBA, he is one of the best at his position. That there is a dearth of talent at the center spot is no more his fault than it is Andrew Bynum’s, and both guys’ rankings benefit from playing in an era of weak centers….

    While I appreciate that you have upped your ranking of Tony Parker based on your reassessment of the facts, to call him “above-average” is still a disservice. Only 4 other point guards averaged more ppg than Parker, and each played significantly more minutes per game (CP3, DWill, Westbrook, and Jennings). Of those 4, only 2 averaged more assists per game.

    Parker is a top 5 PG on statistics alone, and that does not factor in his role leading the Spurs to the #1 playoff seeding twice in a row, or being a 3 time NBA champion. He puts up stats, and he wins more than any other PG in the last 10 years.

    You are right in considering defense as part of the equation, but on overall performance, what guards (besides CP3, DWill and Westbrook) do you consider to be better?


  96. Funky – Parker gets carried by his teammates – that’s why he has three rings…

    … OK, now that you are done laughing, I actually read that same “reasoning” once in an article trying to explain away Kobe’s dominance. (I think it may have been on True Hoop – and no I am not kidding!)


  97. LO,


    You say this maybe 4-6 times a week, but you never acknowledge how badly Odom cratered this year and the fact that he wanted out. I think they should have tried to talk him off the ledge and keep him too, but if you are going to bring this up all the time, you need to present the whole picture IMO.

    Fisher we have covered several times. The problem with losing Shannon Brown was that they replaced him with a guy who is not an NBA player–Kapono.

    As to the Veto, I disagree with “the dog ate my homework” line. That was an unprecedented set of circumstances, not a commonplace misfire. The biggest mistakes the FO made were Kapono, McRoberts, and to a lesser extent, Murphy, and arguably, Mike Brown.

    Also, I think it is pretty well-known that deals have to be approved by the Busses, so no, I don’t think Kupchak can do much on his own.

    The real grade for the FO is “incomplete.” We need to see if they use the Odom TPE and for what, and we need to see what happens with Sessions and Hill. The did let the Vujacic TPE expire, but it is hard to know who thet could have gotten with it.

    I think they are closer to a C than an A+, but the pieces are still in motion, and the veto is a huge deal.


  98. Also, McRoberts seemed like a decent idea at the time, given the money and the options available. But it has not worked out.


  99. Warren Wee Lim June 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Luke Walton and a late 1st that became Sessions and Eyenga is enough to stamp my A grade. You simply dont trade nothing for something, and we did. Much moreso trade something of negative vale to something of positive value.


  100. rr,
    I know we’re on the same page here but even talking about PER and simple rating in regards to Parker/Rondo/Williams places the argument in the court of “this is a reasonable way to evaluate players fully” which is something I don’t think you (nor I) would believe is reasonable.

    For example, PER is unkind to Rondo for a variety of reasons but his impact on the game is still very, very high (beyond what his PER says).

    As we’ve discussed plenty, these advanced stats are tools to be used when evaluating but need to always be mixed with what our eyes tell us. This is why even the biggest numbers guys (like Hollinger) still depend greatly on what they see each night when they watch games. The games are not played on spreadsheets and even the staunchest supporters of advanced metrics speak of the limitations that stats have in terms of measuring intangibles (or even more tangible things like defense).

    Anyways, just thought I’d throw that out there because I don’t want this conversation to shift too much in the direction of basing everything on stats – even if I value them when evaluating players, teams, etc.


  101. Darius,

    Sure. I just tossed it out there because I think it indicates (not proves) that Parker is among the top PGs in the game. One thing to look at with metrics is whether they are all pointing the same way. If they are, and you use that in conjunction with visual and contextual information, that will help you to construct a good argument.

    But yeah, all the stats have limits. Rondo’s PER is 17.5, but his Simple Rating is 6.8. Parker is at 22.0 and 7.0.

    Personally, I think Parker is among the top 5-8 PGs in the NBA, looking at the whole picture.


  102. rr: If you are closer to a C than an A+, then perhaps your issue is with WWL : ) In any case, you are taking exception to my mentioning of LO and DF. That is all I did. I am not (in that post) revisiting these moves. The fact is that we added RS, JM, JH, TM and subtracted LO, DF, and SB. How this all happened is another matter. This is the “box score” of the FO. Yes – there were mitigating circumstances, but that is true for coaches and players as well. We should grade on results. Of course I agree that we got shafted by Stern, but that is like a bad call in a game, or a player getting injured, In the end everyone is measured by results.


  103. WWL: LW + and 1st Round Pick in exchange for RS + Eyenga. This is hardly going to go down as a historic blockbuster. I was never high on RS (you can check with rr for verification on that), and now we know he is a good backup. Eyenga is unknown. LW was worthless, but at this point, I don’t know if anyone would give us more than a late first round pick for RS if we signed and traded him. Further, we let the Sasha TPE expire, and did not use the LO TPE, in spite of the fact that we had one of the worst benches in the league (perhaps the worst). In fact I feel after writing this post that my grades are too high. I will leave MK and MB where they are, but I am lowering Jimbo to a D-


  104. Robert,

    Here is what you said of that sequence in your most recent post:

    “That is moving backwards.”

    So, yes, I think you are revisiting those moves.


    but that is like a bad call in a game, or a player getting injured


    Like I said, don’t agree with the analogy. Recall my statement about it back in December:

    “This may be the day the Lakers stopped being the Lakers.”

    Paul is one of the greatest pure PGs of all time, and solved several of the Lakers’ problems by himself. The Veto was unprecedented. The K Bros piece today revisited it, and suggested that all evals of the FO must take it into consideration. In my view, if you are going to hammer on the FO every day, it needs to be out there.

    As an aside, Charlotte is shopping the #2, Houston is shopping the #14 and #16, and Toronto is shopping the #8. I am all ears via email if you want to float some ideas my way.


  105. Funky chicken,
    I’ll explain in more detail. The Centers biggest job is to play team defense. They are the anchor. Marc is a decent one on one defender. But how many Centers get the ball in the paint anymore. And of those who can Marc guard? Maybe Hibburt… Maybe. He sure as heck couldn’t guard Bynum as Drew averaged something like 35 ppg on 68 percent shooting in three games against him this year. Gasol has a nice set shot not doubt… And he is a good passer. But he will kill your team D like post knee surgery Kendrick Perkins. The guy can’t move his feet. Since I would rank him as one of the worst defensive starting Centers in the league… I rank him actually right where his offensive ranking is… 15th. He is that high because is offensive PER ranking is lower than it should be because of usage ranking. Guys like McGee are offensive liabilities who only touch the ball them it’s a dunk. If Darius wants to pretend to the public that I don’t know how to interpret PER in the real world then there is nothing I can do about it. But I know he knows the truth.