Friday Reading: The Lakers’ New Offense

Darius Soriano —  August 24, 2012

While there’s not been an official announcement, all signs point to the Lakers bringing in Eddie Jordan as an assistant coach next season and implementing the Princeton Offense. We’ve touched on this topic some already and believe this will be a great step forward for the Lakers as a whole.

We’re not the only ones that think this is a positive step forward for the Lakers however. Over at Grantland, the great Sebastian Pruiti has a fantastic breakdown (including video) of how the Lakers’ stars will fit into the new offense, concluding with this take:

In my opinion, the Lakers are going to start running bits and pieces of this offense here and there in the early days of next season, working it in slowly. However, once the Lakers see how successful this offense is, and I do believe that it will be extremely successful, they will incorporate it more and more and you will see them running it at a high rate. I just think that an offense like this complements everyone on this team’s skill set, allowing each player to have success with a particular aspect of it.

I’m completely on board with the idea that as the team gets more comfortable, we’ll them run it more frequently as their base offense. And while Pruiti focuses mostly on the Lakers’ star players, I’d argue that we’ll see the bench players run the Princeton much more frequently in order to get the most out of the talent they’ll have on the floor.

Remember, one of the main reasons the Lakers’ bench struggled last year was because they often didn’t have the talent on the floor to produce the types of good looks the first team did with Kobe, Pau, and Bynum anchoring them. Instead, the Lakers often only had one or (sometimes) two of the their best offensive players on the floor and that led to sets breaking down more often with the final result being a forced look with the shot clock winding down. And while the Lakers have brought in more talented offensive players to help anchor their bench in Jamison and Meeks (more on this in a separate post), having the foundation of an offensive system to lean on will aid them greatly.

Pruiti isn’t the only one breaking down how the Princeton will fly with the new-look Lakers, however. Coach Nick of BBall Breakdown also put together a very good video breakdown of the offense, specifically focusing on what he calls the Dwight Howard and Steve Nash effect:

Furthermore, at his site, Nick adds more about how he envisions some of the key Lakers will fit into the offense:

With the kind of cutting the Princeton provides (so long as the Lakers execute it, ahem, Kobe), the opponents defense will be in a crucible. Whomever they help off of will lead to open shots for some of the best all around offensive players in the league. Expect Pau Gasol to have a resurgence this year, setting back screens and flaring out for high post jump shots, as well as an occasional post up when Dwight needs a rest. Kobe can really use the movement to his advantage to gain very deep post position which would make him virtually unstoppable.

These are all only projections, of course. But, the foundation of talent combined with offensive know-how is already in place with this Lakers’ group. More than half of the Lakers roster (Kobe, Ron, Pau, Jamison, Hill, Blake, Ebanks, and Meeks) have already played in a read and react system for either Phil Jackson, Rick Adelman, or Eddie Jordan. That’s the entire expected rotation save for Nash and Howard (two players that can fit into most any offensive system well). I’ve little doubt that this group will be able to acclimate themselves to this offense and end up as one of the better offensive teams in the league.

It will take some time for the players to mesh and the coaches will have to find the right rotations and player combinations to maximize the team’s success. However, as Pruiti and Coach Nick detailed, the structure of the offense should be a good fit for these players and that foundation along with the smarts of the players should lead to positive results.

Darius Soriano

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to Friday Reading: The Lakers’ New Offense

  1. Nice video.

    But I’m not that worried about who is going to be featured or how the starters run the offense. There is too much talent on that starting five to be even a little worried. Howard and Gasol are the type of players that can be 20-10 threats nightly while being 3rd options. Kobe is still Kobe, so I expect him to say out loud that this is his team and whatnot, so Kobe is 1, Nash/Howard/Gasol work around this, with Howard and Gasol probably being fed early and often. Ideally, Kobe gets his 25, Howard and Gasol get 18-20, Nash 15, MWP 10, bench 20. That’s 106 right there. Cool beans.

    In the Princeton setup with our reserves however… Ebanks will see little of the ball, Meeks is a spot-up shooter that will hang around the perimeter, while Jamison and Hill work some high-low post action. That leaves Blake as the other outside threat and Ebanks as a roamer using screens and cuts to find an open spot near the basket. All in all, should work, especially if, when they play alongside one of the starters, they MOVE.
    Coach Brown, movement is key dude!

    Any word on how the final roster for the season will be? I do not look forward to seeing Duhon on the floor. Hope Glock and Morris develop fast.


  2. I’m relieved by the lack of movement that MWP has to do in that instructional video. If MWP got lost in the Triangle, we can only (sadly) assume more of the same, so a motion offense that doesn’t require him to move much would seem ideal.


  3. That’s a great video. I could see the action with Kobe cutting to the basket as Howard steps out to set a screen for Nash, being extremely effective.


  4. Watching this video makes me feel that the season can’t start soon enough…

    I’d not be surprised if this team goes to history as the best NBA team ever, surpassing the Lakers 71-72.

    If everything goes our way (knock on wood).


  5. If Dwight fully recovers from back surgery and Nash holds off father time for another year this Lakers team can win 70 games. So no… I don’t think the Lakers will win 70 plus games.


  6. Honestly, I don’t care about the regular season record. Our team isn’t young enough to grind it out the entire season. I’d rather have Brown rest our starters more often than last season.


  7. I don’t think the Lakers would even try to win 70 games even if Dwight were 100% from day 1.

    If they were on pace for that, they would likely be so far in the lead for 1st place in the NBA standings that it would be wiser to rest their veterans in the home stretch before the playoffs.

    Unless, of course, OKC or Miami are going to win like 66-67 games, which is certainly possible and would negate the ability to rest.


  8. I’m glad this 70 win talk came up because it brings to light one of the more absurd common arguments in basketball. You know the one…. Where teams that win a lot of games worsen their chances of winning a championship. The only team I know of that won 70 games won a championship. I do not see how intentionally losing games in the regular season improves a teams title chances. It’s just silly. You play to win every game. It’s as simple as that. If a player is hurt you rest him until he is better no matter of you are in the title hunt or not. Someone has to make this madness end.


  9. Have I mentioned lately that I’m smarter than 97% of the GMs in the league?


  10. Great video. The same guy made a Nash effect video on youtube he knows his stuff.

    Those only look like the basic actions. With counters to the counters the offense could be unstoppable with constant ball movement and teamwork.

    I’m hoping for a seamless transition like the 08 Celtics. But if Dwight doesn’t start the season we could have some valleys and peaks then ultimatily pick up steam around March.

    3 new coaches, 5 new players (2 starters), new offense. Glad we have a training camp.


  11. Agree with Aaron , homecourt is more important as ever and a team that can win 70 does so because they are locked in and unstopable – is that is what we become great 🙂


  12. The Princeton is great in theory, it’s part of the reason why I wanted Adelman so bad when he wanted to come here instead of Mike Brown

    I just question the wisdom of implementing it now after we’ve gotten Nash, and having Eddie Jordan as the architect as opposed to Adelman who’s demonstrated an ability to fit his offense to whatever he has to work with (see: Ricky Rubio).


  13. “The only team I know of that won 70 games won a championship.” <– One is a small sample size.


  14. Hummmm! Only two teams have won as many as 69 regular season games…and we have people talking about winning 70 this year…

    How about we wait and see. In 1971-2 there were enough questions that management benched Elgin Baylor for Jim Macmillan. How many people believed the Bulls would approach 70 wins before the season started?

    This is a long season and lots of things could happen. It’s nice to hope for a championship, but to set the bar at 70 wins is hubris.


  15. Homecourt is NOT more important than being relatively fresh and healthy when the playoffs start.


  16. Holy excitement Batman! I’m ready. Start the season tomorrow.


  17. How many people believed the Bulls would approach 70 wins before the season started?

    Many. The Bulls taking a run at 70 was considered a realistic possibility after they got Rodman.

    The Lakers are too old and the West is too deep for 70 to be realistic for this group.


  18. Leave it to Aaron to suck the life out of a discussion.


  19. The video was interesting, but I see it as confirming things we were already aware of.

    And those things are mostly pretty exciting.


  20. Nobody loves Pau more than me. But surrounded by Kobe and Bynum as the only creative forces he was relegated primarily to spot up duties. Now hes got a ball dominant Nash and Dwight who will need at least as many post touches as Bynum. Throw in a 4 out offense and I can see his talent being grossly underused. The high-low passing will be nice but trading for a more natural floor spacing big and across the board depth makes too much sense.


  21. The Bulls’ 72-win season deserves also came during an expansion year, which meant three wins against the likes of Vancouver and Toronto, as well as easier games versus other teams whose benches were depleted by the expansion draft.

    Put that team in the 80s, in a 21-team league where the Lakers, Boston, 76ers and Pistons had squads stacked with multiple hall of famers (and real centers) and see how many titles it would have won.

    But if you’re under 30, disregard that and stick to the mantra that NBC and Nike beat into a generation’s minds:

    “Jordan is the best ever. Jordan is the best ever. Jordan is the best ever.”

    Gotta go, the Jordan fans are outside my house with pitchforks and torches.

    My point is, in a deep West, the Lakers aren’t winning 70 games. So long as they win the last game in June, I don’t care how many they win in the regular season.


  22. JohnDo: I agree seeing him on the perimeter in those clips scares me a bit. Hopefully Nash decides to run PnR far more often than the Princeton when Pau and Dwight are on the floor together.


  23. The video is great, but everything looks great on paper(or video).

    Let’s see how this works out…


  24. I couldn’t help but link to this article:

    There is simply no question he is the most dominant player in the history of the game of professional basketball. Was he the best team player? – absolutely not. Was he on the greatest team? – not unless you are talking about the 1966-1967 Philadelphia 76ers.

    However, no single player and not even entire teams stopped Wilt. Teams stopped teams, but not Wilt.

    What this proves is that nobody wins the ring by themselves — not Jordan, not Wilt, not Magic, not Shaq, not Kobe, not Lebron.


  25. Great video, these type of posts are very educational, and make my enjoyment of Lakers basketball even more great.


  26. Fantastic video, but suddenly i’m like a little kid realizing how far away it is to my next birthday. this is probably the season I’ve been most excited about in my long tenure as a lakers nut. even the preseason games should be more than watchable (assuming DH plays, which is uncertain to unlikely)


  27. #22 i think Toronto had actually beat the bulls that year up here in Canada the game where Toronto beat Mjs bulls is considered a classic