Lakers/Warriors: Steve Nash’s Debut & The Starters Look Good (This Is Not a Coincidence)

Darius Soriano —  October 7, 2012

It’s pretty rare that you can learn anything substantial in a preseason game.

Before the contest, Mike Brown addressed the media and relayed that he’d barely scouted the Warriors (even admitting that he didn’t even know who was on their roster) and that a win or a loss wasn’t going to matter much. He spoke of wanting to get everyone into the game, wanting to see the some of the offense they installed played at game tempo, and of wanting to see his defensive principles executed by all the guys.

On all three of the above counts, this game was a success. The fact that the Lakers lost 110-83 was secondary to so many other smaller things that went on in the game. And while we didn’t learn much about the long term prospects of the team, we did pick up a few things. Here are some notes…

  • That Steve Nash guy is pretty good. Seeing Nash completely control the tempo of the game and direct traffic like a true floor general is something to behold. We’ve all seen it countless times from the standpoint of an opposing fan, but when he’s running the offense of the team you root for it carries so much more weight. The pocket bounce passes to rolling big men, the cross court skip passes when the weak side wing digs to the paint to help, the step back dribbles and spin moves and probes into the lane are simply glorious to watch. The fact that Nash team high +12 was not a coincidence. With Nash in the game, the Lakers controlled the the flow and mostly got what they wanted on offense. When he wasn’t their game suffered.
  • Kobe Bryant didn’t have a great shooting night (2-7 from the floor) but he picked his spots very well and did a great job of making the extra pass when it was there and being aggressive for his own shots when warranted. He took six free throws in only 19 minutes of play, doing a very good job of attacking off the dribble when possessing the ball and with good cuts when without it. After the game, Nash mentioned that he thought the two already showed a good chemistry and I agree with that sentiment. On one first quarter play on a delayed fast break, Nash picked out Kobe with a nicely timed skip pass that gave him a wide open jumper. Kobe showed great patience and rather than shooting hit Gasol with a little lobe that was converted for an easy lay in. Those plays were few and far between last season but already look like they’ll be a staple of the attack this season.
  • There’s little Pau Gasol can’t do on the floor. He changes ends like a gazelle, makes hard catches look easy, can hit shots from anywhere on the floor, and remains one of the game’s best passers at any position. Two plays he made tonight stood out: first was a play where he was posting the right block and after Steve Nash’s entry pass got knocked away, Gasol went out the three point line to retrieve the ball, backed down David Lee, and then canned a turn around jumper in his mug from about 15 feet along the baseline. The awareness and skill it took to turn that play into a basket was extremely high. The second was a high-low play where Pau caught the ball at the FT line and then whipped a touch pass into the post to Robert Sacre who ended up getting fouled in the act of shooting. Only players with fantastic feel can make that pass and it takes great skill to complete it. After the pass, Mike Brown rose from the bench and fist pumped while yelling words of encouragement to the Spaniard.
  • Besides Nash, the Laker that probably impressed me the most was Ron. Seeing him up close, he really is in fantastic shape and, on Sunday night, it translated to a level of effectiveness we can only hope continues. In the first quarter, he was a his typical pest on defense getting his hands on the ball for deflections and forcing turnovers. He was responsible for three steals on his own and was part of at least one other Warriors turnover in that quarter. On offense, he showed little hesitation on getting up his jumper and did an excellent job of seeking out opportunities to attack his man off the dribble and post up when the lane was clear. After the game, Ron mentioned that he hopes to only get better as the year advances and based off how he played tonight that’s a scary proposition.
  • Jordan Hill’s game intrigued me. He found himself open on several occasions from 16 feet and let his jumper fly when he was given a lot of space. The results were mixed with his J, but the fact that he was willing to take them and then later used the threat of that shot to convert a nice driving hook was an evolution to his offensive game from last season. After the contest Mike Brown praised Hill, but also added that he needed to swing the ball more to the weak side and that he needed to do better work on the glass. I agree on both counts. But, I can say that watching Hill work the offensive glass was fun. He reminded me of a running back seeking out the hole in that when the shot went up he was looking at Warriors’ defenders and then running around them to try and find open space that he could slip into so he could establish inside position.
  • Outside of Hill, however, the bench didn’t show that much. Devin Ebanks was a nice bright spot in that he played solid D and looked assertive with his jumper and when trying to attack off the dribble. But every other bench player ranged from okay to really needs work. This is somewhat understandable as they mostly toiled with each other and played against the Warriors’ starters which made their offensive attack predictable and stagnant while creating challenging mismatches on D (David Lee did a number on Earl Clark several times). But even though their performance could be explained, it didn’t make it any easier to watch.
  • Speaking of the bench players, Jodie Meeks’ situation bears watching. Before the game Mike Brown made a point of mentioning both Devin Ebanks and Darius Johnson-Odom as back up shooting guard options when Meeks’ name was brought up. And then, in the game, Meeks didn’t see any meaningful minutes with any starter and instead played solely with the bench group that got ran off the floor in the 2nd half. It’s still early in camp so I’m not drawing any conclusions off a single game, but again, it bears watching.
  • Another thing to watch: Antawn Jamison got all his minutes at SF behind Ron and didn’t play any PF all night. As with Meeks’ situation, it’s only one game so I’m not jumping to any conclusions but this was interesting. I do think some of this had to do with the Lakers playing Sacre and Somogyi as much as they did at C (which meant Jordan Hill and Pau played PF a lot) but if Jamison plays a lot of SF during the season, the squeeze for minutes will be at SG behind Kobe (and will be a battle between Meeks and Ebanks) rather than trying to find enough PF minutes for Hill and Jamison to split.
  • Lastly, there were several X’s and O’s that were simply great to watch. Even though Mike Brown said that the Lakers only showed about “20% of what’s possible” in their offense, there was some great design on several sets. One action that I loved was when the ball reversed from strong to weak side and then the Center filled the post with a baseline cut that gave him deep position. On several possessions this created a solid post up chance for Robert Sacre (who, looked good tonight in getting the start) who was able to finish and/or get fouled a couple of times. Working off of this action, though, the ball could be (and was) reversed which led to a duck in post up by the PF who was hugging the lane line after the first ball reversal. If you’re wondering how Gasol and Howard can both get post up chances in this offense, this is one easy way the team could get them consistently as quick ball movement from side to side gets the D scrambling and allows big men to simply turn, make themselves a target, and then get the ball in position to score. There were also pinch-post sets, some very good pick and rolls, and a few other wrinkles that were nice to see. All in all, the O looked good before the all the starters sat.

Darius Soriano

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to Lakers/Warriors: Steve Nash’s Debut & The Starters Look Good (This Is Not a Coincidence)

  1. Great post game write-up Darius.

    I live about 10 miles from Staples Center, so if I purchase NBA League Pass, will the Laker games be blacked out? I am not able to get Time Warner, and the few available options may never carry a Lakers channel.


  2. Great analysis, Darius, but it makes me even more anxious about the times when Steve Nash will be resting.

    Even if the Lakers always keep some starters on the floor, there needs to be someone (hopefully a pg) to continue the strategic “assist first” offense with Steve Nash on the bench.

    So far, it was my worst nightmare. . .


  3. Now that was fun (even if it was just a tease). Im glad you commented on the +12 for MVSteve. Keep an eye on that. Its gonna be the best way to measure his worth. I would love to see him go 13pnt 13ast every night, but i have a feeling the stats arent really gonna be there. (just too many weopons)
    Love the way you describe all the things he did tonight. Youre right, it is simply glorious to watch. As a borderline obsessed stevenash fan, all I can say is cherish it, because in 3 yrs you’ll be spoiled and then realize how good you had it.

    p.s. Cant wait to see the pnr with Dwight


  4. one more thing. Im used to the Suns announcers and pre/post game crew. Eddie Johnson is the best in the league.
    This Laker crew is unwatchable. (except for Worthy) Now Im sure there is some bias with me, but I cant be the only one thinking this. C’mon L A!!!! Ya got the best show on earth, now get some entertaining personalities to cover it.


  5. bittersunsfan for real? I’m not an LA local but I think Stu Lantz is one of the best local color guys in the league. Always pointing out what’s actually going on. Only other crews in the league who could be better would be Nets, Knicks, Warriors, Clips, depending on taste.


  6. It’s funny that people are already calling for Mike Brown’s head to be cutoff after one meaningless preseason game. It just goes to show how spoiled we Laker fans are.

    You can only imagine when we experience are first losing streak for the season, how people are going to overreact as if the sky is falling.

    The regular season is going to be a bunch of high and lows. What really matters is the 16 wins were going to win come postseason. Everyone should just relax and enjoy Kobe’s final ride off to the sunset.


  7. Stu Lantz is great, but he can get a little corny. The other guy (forgetting his name) calling the pre-season game was REALLY bad. His interview with Dwight was extremely corndog.


  8. bittersunsfan, no bias taken. we definitely miss Chick Hearn… even when times were bad and the jello wasn’t jigglin’ it was a joy to hear and watch him. everything about the game was so much more alive and more colorful when he behind the mic.


  9. i agree with BSF– I think Stu is pretty awful. Rather than say anything of value, he just invents conversations among the players:

    Kobe said to Steve: I’m open.

    Steve said: I see you buddy.

    Kobe said: Then get me the ball and watch me go to work!

    That kind of thing. The Lakers seem to always have better radio guys than TV guys.


  10. As he has the last couple years Jamison looks washed up. Considering he was brought into to create offense off the bench the FO should be looking for an offensive spark plug off the bench via trade during the season. Since they need a back up PG that should be the target… Two birds.


  11. 1st preseason game and Jamison is washed up, really?


  12. And then Stu will say classic basketball phrases like:

    ‘I just love to watch that man stroke it’

    ‘Drew really needs to feel a big body up against him’

    ‘He goes hard every, single, time’


  13. The only reason the warriors won is because they kept the starters playing significant minutes in the 2nd half, while the Lakers put out what it can be described as the 3rd unit, some of those guys wont be on the roster on opening night, in the first half when they played more or less the real rotation it was no contest,if this was a regular season game the Lakers would had won by blow out, and that was w/o Dwight, this team is going to be veeeey good from the get go.


  14. Even a washed up Jamison is better than a washed up barnes, McRoberts, or Murphy.


  15. I smell three months of Mike Brown messing around with rotations and constantly tinkering leading to a disgruntled and unhappy team…

    Hope I’m wrong, but the warning signs are right there.


  16. I really hope FB & G doesn’t turn into a Mike Brown bashing fest this season. Can’t we let the excitement last just a little while?


  17. It’s the first pre season game lol. Seriously, it’s a time to tinker, to take a look at what you have real time. The Warriors because they suck played their starters against our reserves they are supposed to kill them. We are a veteran team, most veteran teams pace themselves. They realize it a 7 game meaningless preseason and then 82 game regular season. They are not going all out to kill themselves and MB is a veteran coach. He expects his veterans to know how to get ready for the season and he takes no stock in the 2nd half of a meaningless preseason game against an inferior opponent. Come on guys get a grip.


  18. Mike Brown ‘s biggest job this year will be the development of his bench. IMO, the talent he has to work with on this season’s bench is a definite upgrade. The Lakers’ starting lineup is arguably the best in the Association. It has to be complemented and relieved by a competent group of reserves in order to reach its goal.


  19. I wasn’t able to see the game…on Cox not TWC. But in reading some of the comments there sure is a lot of carping…The Bench, Mike Brown, etc. Thanks Darius for the balanced and to my mind upbeat assessment of what is after all only the first of 7 PRE-SEASON games. The Ding writeup ( about the game was also very good and provides the kind of nuanced perspective that all Laker’s fans should adopt.


  20. The +12 was probably the best indicator of the Steve Nash effect rather than his 3 assists. I counted maybe 10 passes that created situations that compromised the defense that led to another pass for open shot or free throws. Glorious, glorious basketball wizardry.


  21. @14

    It’s difficult when we see the same signs of juggling rotations in a haphazard, strange way as last season and dropping gems like this one:

    “I don’t even know who is on their team. … I couldn’t tell you much about their team right now.” — Coach Brown said about the Warriors before the game.


  22. @ inwit

    I agree in theory, but even in the first preseason game, giving up a 35-0 run is enough to raise an eyebrow or two.

    As to Meeks, based on his track record, he is the best candidate to back up Kobe. Brown should be looking to build him up, IMO.


  23. I didn’t realize that Coach Brown is looking at Jamison as a SF – which explains why he wanted to see Jordan Hill at PF. So, the 4/5 minutes are going to be divvied up between Dwight, Pau and Jordan. Ron and Jamison are going to share the 3, which leaves for a very crowded 1/2. Assuming Meeks eventually wins out at the 2, that would mean our bench would be:

    Dwight or Pau


  24. Jim C.,

    The Lakers performed exactly as they should have last season, Brown or no Brown. Phil Jackson, arguably one of the greatest coaches ever, would have failed again like he had the season before. And I wouldn’t call Brown’s rotations haphazard last season. Most of the criticisms from the year before centered around his unwillingness to stray from his favored lineups (Blake, Barnes instead of Goudlouk, Morris, and Ebanks). And I seem to remember many people in this fan base criticizing Phil for “haphazard” rotations.

    I don’t get what all the fus is about. This is a preseason game, and I don’t think we should expect Brown to focus on an opponent’s second team, especially when the coaching staff should be more concerned with installing a new offense and reinforcing defensive principles. I really don’t get it. This anti-Brown stuff is pretty baseless.


  25. Not early to comment on what has been a common practice throughout Brown’s career: a wonderful sense of rotations… of the club’s buffet menu.

    I hope he figures it out soon, because as Jim C. wrote, dragging it out is costly to the team.


  26. Steve Nash had an instant impact on offense and it was a drastic visible difference from last year and it’s only the 1st game. A seamless transition it seems especially in the PnR. Dwight should have the same impact on defense when he plays.

    Hill took a lot of borderline 3 pointers which we don’t want. If Jamison is playing PF instead of SF those are his wide open shots. Jamison-Hill-C is not a good front court lineup. But I guess that speaks to the defensive liability Brown thinks Jamison is. CDR made a 3 and looked composed last night in his garbage minutes. Hopefully he can show something and become Lakers backup SF so Jamison can shift to PF his natural position.


  27. True, these preseason games are meaningless in the sense that it is a round robin of those who are aspiring to be Lakers. It is not comical to analyze the performance of the coach for the 2nd and 3rd unit. This is a team effort and “energy” exhibited. It is part and parcel of the whole. You can’t expect Kobe, Dwight and Steve do everything for the Lakers. Their strength is reinforced by the support group.

    My point is this – whether it is a preseason game or a regular game or even a playoff game, once you wear the purple and gold uniform, you’re expected to perform and compete at all times. If you could not handle that responsibility then don’t participate because it belittles the Laker standard, it affects the psychological effort established by the starters. Sometimes in this site we are homers for a wrong conviction.


  28. Wasn’t really refering to your comment, and nothing personal for sure, but was there was enough in the last thread and this to see the handwriting is on the wall.

    But, taking you point, should Brown have been worried about the Warriors? He has a new point guard and a new center who didn’t even play. They are installing a new offense that only one player on the team has run before. The bench is mostly new players. What defensive schemes work best with different combinations?

    The question now is what players should be cut, so giving the candidates a little run in a real game is the tried and true method in exhibition games.

    It’s not just a matter of figuring out rotations quickly, it is getting them right. I’m expecting a fairly slow start from this team.


  29. Another thing on Hill if he’s staked out on the perimeter hoisting 3s you take away the offensive rebounding he can give. Hill at center and Jamison at pf fits better.


  30. Nash took on 3 defenders, but waited…waited (still with 3 guys on him!) …waited… until our post man was in position under the basket … and BAM hit him with the bounce pass THROUGH THE LEGS of the middle of the 3 defenders.

    Yeah, I know this is typical Nash I guess. But, damn, he’s got a yellow #10 on him now, and, boy, that play just blew me away. It put an 82 game smile on my face.


  31. You quoted Mike Brown saying: “He spoke of wanting to get everyone into the game, wanting to see the some of the offense they installed played at game tempo, and of wanting to see his defensive principles executed by all the guys.”

    Well, we got the answer in letting the opponent made 30+ unanswered points. Where is the defensive prowess that we have been hearing last season and all week showed in several videos. If we, fans do not point these weaknesses, who will? GS came to Fresno to embarrass the Lakers and they were successful. Therefore, there should be no excuses that these are just meaningless games, aspirants vs. veterans and it’s too early to make comments about “losing”.


  32. Kevin,

    I think Brown was interested in giving our two camp invite centers run to see if either is a diamond in the rough. With a Dwight, Pau, and Hill center rotation, we should be fine. I can see Either Dwight or Pau being paired with Jamison or Hill depending on matchups. The possibilities are endless.

    These criticisms of Brown are baseless. What was his major transgression last season? Having a non-contending roster. Not much he could have done.


  33. Three months messing around with rotations would bring us to early January. Considering the amount of turnover on this team, the new offense, and new roles that players will be responsible for, having the rotations settled in early January would be a good job of coaching.


  34. @#17

    Definitely not intending anything personal in this discussion. Just fans bouncing stuff off each other.

    I would say that Brown should be worrying about EVERY team in the league to the point that he should have a gameplan in place and know what players are on the team, what they like to try and do, etc.

    Maybe that comment was an “off the cuff” sort of thing, but Mike Brown’s job title says head coach. He should never be ignorant of the team he’s about to play. Now, admittedly, this is just a preseason game and not really important, but the comment raises a red flag with me because it plays into the impression of Coach Brown being a bit bumbling and in over his head at times to state that he knows literally nothing about the team he’s about to play.

    Your point is valid that preseason is definitely the time to be tinkering around with new combinations, but last year that tinkering lasted for months into the season.

    Now, admittedly, part of that could be blamed on the lockout, but players play best if they know their roles and the approximate amount of playing time they’re going to get on a regular basis. That never really got established last year.

    I’m not going to jump to conclusions based on one preseason game, but Brown has a well-documented tendency to tinker to death. You’ve got a good point that trying new combinations and seeing what clicks is important, but so is getting the expected combinations some run together.

    Here’s what most of us expect the rotation to be once Howard is healthy

    PG: Nash, Blake
    SG: Kobe, Meeks
    SF: Metta, Ebanks
    PF: Gasol, Jamison
    C: Howard, Jordan Hill

    Certainly there’s some room to do things like playing Hill at PF and Jamison at SF and stuff like that, but does anyone really expect Robert Sacre to play meaningful minutes this year? So why was he starting instead of trying a more realistic combination like Pau at center and Hill at PF?

    ““I’m a West Coast Conference guy. He’s a West Coast Conference guy,” said Lakers coach Mike Brown, who went to the University of San Diego. “Even though he went to Gonzaga, I still don’t hold it against him. There are some ties there between the two of us, so he gets to start.”

    That strikes me as another really ridiculous quote in addition to the one earlier. “There are some ties between the two of us so I threw him in as the starter?”


  35. not a very professional thing to say, ‘don’t even know who’s on their team.’

    but since it’s MB, who is known to do his work, I think it was more or less a joke and his way of saying that his primary concern is with the Lakers, as it should be.


  36. Preseason games are glorified practice sessions. Now is the time Brown should be tinkering with things. I am not sure how much can be concluded after one preseason game.

    The team has a new offense and several new players at key positions. They still have a lot to figure out. There are still quite a few adjustments to be made. Let’s not blow our gaskets if the team doesn’t go 18-2 in its first 20 games.


  37. Interviewing Dwight Howard rather than calling an entire quarter of last night’s game was only the most egregious and obvious example of the unhelpful focus of the TV announcers.

    Since the most important purpose of preseason games is to identify rotations and the final composition of the team, I was looking for more attention to the centers and pg’s, and the future roles of Hill/Jamison–or Meeks/Ebanks. I’m not convinced that the announcers had done enough homework to even comment.


  38. Brown said before the game that he wanted Pau to get his minutes at the power foward position in the Princeton, where he will see most of his action this year. He said the debate was about starting Sacre and Somogyi, therefore the rather flippant comment about “West Coast guys.”

    Last year was so different – it is no coincidence that the 4 conference semi-finalists (Heat, Celtics, Spurs and Thunder) all had a core of coaching staff, key players and system) intact for at least two seasons. They could hit the ground running after the lockout ended, the Laker’s didn’t have that, Bynum was suspended and Kobe severed a wrist tendon. (Never mind Murphy and McBob off the bench …)


  39. Not Charlie Rosen October 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Remember hearing MB say in an interview yesterday that he was starting Sacre at center to keep Pau at PF, to mimic the initial rotations…and that it had been mid-season with Howard out, he’d have probably put Pau at center for those games.

    I also wouldn’t take too much from his comment about not knowing who’s on GS right now…aside from the most die-hard of us, do you think too many people know everyone on the Lakers roster right now? He knows darn well who Lee, Curry, etc. are, but it’s preseason…these are little more than paid scrimmages and tryouts for the end of your own bench. He (his staff) will have a gameplay for GS when the games count, not worried about that.


  40. And we speak about “rotations” as if it is some simple thing to figure out. One example:

    Say you want Kobe and Nash to average about 33 minutes a game this season. Well:

    Question 1: How many of those minutes are on the court together? If you say all of them, you have 15 minutes a game without Kobe or Nash in. Not good. If you say you want one or the other in for all 48, (if my math holds up on a tired Monday), then you have both on the floor together for 18 minutes a game. Not good.

    So you decide at most you want them off at the same time for 10 minutes. What combination works best against a given team for those 10 minutes? Dwight or Pau? Metta or Ebanks? etc. Do you want those 10 minutes in the second quarter? How do you shuffle the players during a game against a different opponent to keep the optimal combinations on the floor?

    And then go through the same process with Dwight and Pau.


  41. I may not have made this clear, but I was at last night’s game. And Mike Brown wasn’t “flippant” about starting Sacre, he was laughing and it was pure fun he was having with the press. He actually responded to a question about whether he “flipped a coin” to decide who would start between Sacre and Somogyi and he said that it was their “West Coast Conference” roots that had him start Sacre (which was another joke since Brown attended San Diego St. with Brown following up that “he went to Gonzaga though, but I won’t hold that against him).

    Also, if you’d have heard Brown speak before the game you could tell that he genuinely did not care about the result to this game. He expressed a serious desire to want to see everyone play and made sure he mentioned it again after the game. He also mentioned that it was good experience for some of the lower roster guys to go up against established players like Lee, Landry, and Jack.

    After the first pre-season game, it’s quite ludicrous to complain about minutes or rotations or anything else related to how the players were used in that contest. Brown played 19 guys yesterday and not a single starter besides Sacre played in the 2nd half. But we’re supposed to take this game seriously and use it as an indictment of some sort of a coach? Give me a break. These comments show more about the the bias from person(s) making them than any so called insight about the man the comments are made about.


  42. Actually, I am literate enough not to use the word “flippant” in the context of flipping a coin … although it might have been too strong a word … oh well.


  43. #41. My point was, if you’d heard Brown actually say it within the context of how his pre-game interview went, you’d have known that his entire talk was light and jokey. He got several laughs from all the assembled media during that 10-15 minutes and really was just making cracks the entire time. The only time he was really serious was when he was talking about what he wanted to see that night, some other X’s and O’s questions, and when discussing the particulars of who could play where (this is when he responded to the Meeks question). And, even those answers weren’t so stiff that you’d think this game meant so much.

    As an aside, the season is going to be a long journey. Fans might want to lighten up after the first preseason game. Keeping up this level of complaining through the season will be unbearable for everyone (including, likely, yourselves).


  44. Kareem: Jamison should play PF and Hill play C that way those long jumpers are from Jamison and not Hill. Didn’t criticize Brown I thought the defense from the starters looked great without Dwight.

    I thought Meeks looked pudgy. And if Brown is keeping Ebanks to back up Kobe for the sole purpose for him to guard Harden that’s a great move.


  45. didnt the dubs have a similar run against us in the summer league?


  46. My only problem with Brown’s rotations were “there was none”. Running a bunch of guys out there with no chance of making the team is a waste of time and energy. Cut it down to 5 guys after the top 8 or 9. You can’t tell anything when guys are losing the ball, fouling, turning it over and losing to the shot clock.

    It looked like a intramural game and mass confusion. How does that show you anything about the talents of the final 4 guys on the squad?


  47. Let’s just say I don’t remember a SINGLE winning preseason, regardless of whether we won the championship or not.


  48. MB had faults last year – I’m as guilty of harping on them as anyone – but it is a little bit ridiculous to start indicting the guy after a preseason game. This is when he’s supposed to experiment. The only problem I would have had is if he’d played Nash 48 minutes in a meaningless game.


  49. Agree with Snoopy.

    At the same time, I’d like to see (maybe by the Clips game) a real simulation of what this team will look, with the proper rotations, etc. It’s pretty frustrating to see Sacre starts but, as stated before, he’s just trying different things.

    I’d give MB some time but again,we need to develop chemestry between the final roster.


  50. Mike Brown should not be immune to criticism. In Cleveland, he refused to speed up the pace of the offense and run the ball with Lebron and a bunch of shooters on the team. That was a head scratcher. He than decided to play inside out ball when an aging Shaq joined the team. Another head scratcher. I cant blame Lebron for lacking confidence in his coach, nor should we point the finger at Laker fans who feel the same way.

    Last season, his offense was to give it Bynum or Kobe in isolation, until defenses started packing in the paint. Than his offense became, give it to Kobe, who is in his 17th season, coming off a knee procedure, and play him as many minutes as possible. He failed miserably when it came to managing minutes for Kobe and utilizing Gasol more effectively. In the final playoff game, however, he suddenly had a change of heart in terms of resting Kobe, and decided to rest Kobe at the start of the fourth quarter in the most important game of the season. Season over.

    I don’t think people are criticizing Brown for his coaching of a pre season game, but he has yet to gain confidence from a large portion of Laker fans, and even a meaningless preseason game is going to confirm those beliefs until Mike Brown proves that he is worthy of coaching a championship level team. From my perspective, he has a lot to prove.


  51. Who can confirm if Jordan Hill’s back is look like Dwight?…

    Hell, I hope no..DAMN, this will be ugly.


  52. MB: The scrutiny is warranted because he is unproven as a championship coach. While the scrutiny is warranted, it is a bit early for serious crticism. Then again, once the regular season starts, the pressure will be there for him to perform. We have the best team, and results that indicate that, are the only acceptable result.

    Darius: I am with you on the “long jouney”. This year (unlike last), we have a good chance to get to the desired destination : )


  53. And just like that Jordan Hill has herniated disc for re-evaluation. Man oh man our number 1 enemy.


  54. Much ado about nothing….


  55. Lets all prey Hill will be okay since I in no way beleieve Jamison is still a rotation player in the NBA.


  56. When was the last time we cared about a preseason game so much?

    out of topic:

    My friends and I were debating something and perhaps you guys can help me,

    There was a playoff game wherein Kobe was demanding the ball and his teammate (Horry or Fox, but i’m guessing it’s Fox) took a three (and made the shot.)

    WHen teammate took the shot, Kobe was visibly upset and even claped his hands in frustration.

    Would you guys know which game I’m taking about?


  57. Aaron,

    Just wondering why you feel Jamison is no longer a rotation worthy player in the NBA. He averaged 17ppg and 6 boards last year. The 17 points put him at 26th in the entire NBA in scoring. I mean shouldn’t we wait until the season to start to draw those kind of conclusions?

    As for Hill K-MArt is still out there. If it looks like Hill is going to be out for a while, he maybe worth a look.



  58. Are you sure aaron, unbeleivable you are just now telling us this for the first time ever, this is such new startling news. And here you had been going on about how great thr jamison signing was for over a month.


  59. Yeah bad sign already that Hill is out – if we can get Kmart great.

    Jamison can play the 3 like in the test and whenever hill gets back he can back up at C or do the shuffle with Gasol and Dwight like we did last year with KMart being primarily a backup 4.

    With Nash out there maybe we can see some old time Kmart alley oop action.

    Bad sign for the first game


  60. MB: The scrutiny is warranted because he is unproven as a championship coach

    Well, the only reason that anyone is saying anything about it is the 35-0 run. That is an unusual occurrence at this level regardless of context.

    That said, this team is designed for the playoffs, so no, no one should overreact to anything for awhile.

    The Hill injury is, obviously, unpleasant news.


  61. Kevin,

    I didn’t mean to suggest that you were the one making baseless criticisms of Mike Brown. There are plenty others doing that here.

    LT Mitchell stepped up with the most common stanzas that I’ll respond to.

    Brown didn’t have trouble keeping Kobe’s minutes down. Kobe had no backup all of last year.

    True, Brown did resort to a lot of Kobe and Bynum iso, but there was a reason for that. Kobe was the only perimeter ball handler the Lakers had (Sessions could mostly only run it on the break) and both Bynum and Gasol were most comfortable operating on the low block. Brown came in without an offensive system like the Princeton or Triangle that is less talent-dependent and in a lockout-shortened season often playing back-to-back(-to-back)s without time to practice. On top of all this, the bench was atrocious. And anyone is going to blame our offensive woes on Mike Brown? You have to be kidding me. Name a coach that could have taken the Lakers further than Brown did. Phil couldn’t do it the year before with a younger core and a full season. Greatest coach of all time failed at that one. Sigh…


  62. Unfortunately first telltale signs are not good sugarcoat it all you want.35-0 sequence is unheard of be it in a kindergarten game.AJ is lost, KB jumper extremely flat.
    Hope for the best to come.


  63. nice game…let’s just hope mike b can now build and notable second unit to give ample time for our starters to rest. go lakers!!!


  64. I honestly don’t see how Aaron’s criticism of Jamison differs from people’s criticism of MB after one game.

    Sure, guess some must have expected him to show signs that dispel every doubter out there on a meaningless preseason game (not sure if that’s possible, though he did NOT ride the starters like the Secretariat and that’s a noticeable difference), but if that behavior could be justified, anyone doubting Jamison is also justified in crucifying him after one game.

    And seriously, Kobe went with MB last year, and he has made absolutely no comment sticking with MB this year as well. I would think that Kobe has much much more at stake than any of us here, so if there’s something terribly wrong with MB, he’d definitely let others know about it.


  65. KAREEM-

    I don’t like MB as a coach (He has problems with: rotations, offense, coaching feel) —- may be a big deal when your goal is a championship

    Rotations and offense have been explained above, lemme just define “coaching feel” really quickly with a few examples:

    #1) geeze, 35-0 run, maybe I should have done something in between that run (insert a freaking starter, run a play… oh wait, it’s mike brown coaching, a play call from him won’t work) so I could settle my guys down and, thus, actually be able to evaluate what I have… cause I am bad at that…

    #2) …for instance, using Ebanks as a starter for 12 games (12!!!!), early in the season… then benching him… SO HE STARTED 12 GAMES THEN EBANKS RECIEVED A TON OF “DNP-Coaches’ Decision.” —– My two questions are “If Ebanks is that bad, why was he starting?” – and of course -“If Ebanks was starting, how could he be that bad?” (HINT: Both answers are Mike Brown) —–

    #3) … another popular question, that also has Mike Brown as it’s answer — “What current laker’s coach used the horns set (the most effective set the lakers had all year) only once during a key, late season game, against the #2 seed, Oklahoma City Thunder?” (I saw the question on Jeopardy, btw)

    #4) but at least MB did a great job of resting kobe in game 5 vs OKC!!!!! In the 4th quarter… season on the line

    So Kareem-

    Although everything you said in post 62 is absolutely, 99% true

    **It does not disprove the notion (that many of us feel) that MB will somehow undermine the team in some way(s) this season and prevent Nash from getting his ring**

    (that notion is just inflamed due to preseason game #1)

    (post 62 is, IMO, 99% true because: I would like to add that Gasol can run the highpost and can CREATE GOOD SHOTS like a ballhandler could do… (those ISOs for KOBE and BYNUM take away from that)


  66. Again, I don’t believe Mike Brown is bad at rotations or offense. I believe our rotations and offense suffered last year because of our extreme roster limitations (only having one outside scorer/initiator, in the same body, no less; no three point shooting, save for Goudelock and his terrible defense).

    #1 35-0 run: It’s a preseason game. I don’t care about preseason games and there is no pride on the line for Mike Brown. You care about that and that’s your prerogative.

    #2 Ebanks as a starter: Ebanks did not hit a single 3pta last year. I can think of 3 points why Ebanks didn’t play more until Matt Barnes was injured. He wasn’t going to beat Metta out of the starting role, and in terms of offensive production, Barnes was better (and a wash on defense). In the post-season, our major deficiency was outside shooting. Yes, I would have gone with the player who shot 33% from behind the arc during the regular season compared to Ebanks’ 0%. Mike Brown could make many very convincing arguments to play Barnes ahead of Ebanks. But keep beating the wrong dead horse.

    #3: The Lakers roster was the major (and I would argue ONLY) reason for our shortened post-season run. I ask all you MB bashers again, do you think another coach could have gotten us past the Thunder or the Heat? MB kept us competitive with OKC and our team nearly stole a couple games. But it was a tired team that lost us the close ones (old starters, no bench depth; aka inadequate talent), not MB.

    #4: Had you watched the rest of the series, maybe you would remember that Kobe was dog tired at the end of every single game (and it cost us twice). So MB responded by resting Bryant at the beginning of the quarter, hoping to have his starter fresh for when it counted. He gambled and lost. But he might have kept Kobe in and still lost. He did a legitimate coaching move based on the previous games where he overplayed Kobe.

    You sound like you have a lot of pent up anger towards MB. Chill out, look at things with a level head. If you’re trying to prove a pre-supposed argument, you’ll always ignore important contradictory information.


  67. The words ‘Herniated Disc’ never sounds good. Especially as it pertains to athletes. Lets just hope that, after the evaulation in 10 days, it’s not as serious as it sounds.

    With that being said, I have a question/statement: Obviously, I’m not a doctor; nor do I pretend to be one. But I would assume that this injury occured during the game? I would hate to feel that he participated in a pre-season game, with an injury, that he was not aware of because it was not diagnosed by our Medical Staff/Trainers during routine physicals that take place before the start of camp. If so, going forward, this would be a major concern of mine taking into account our 2 biggest off-season acquisitions.


  68. Whether it is just a preseason games or regular games, don’t start the “habit of losing”, in a way it affects the mojo of superstars whose objective in joining the Lakers is to win all the way to Championship.

    For a coach who is fond of teaching on-the-job unfortunately, he has no pedigree of being a Champ. He was a question mark in Cleveland in letting Lebron leave the team because of being disgruntled with the team and in high probability with the Coach too. He himself knows that the pressure is on here in the Lakerland, so he should start converting doubting Thomases among longtimed fans into believers with the confidence that he can handle a great team.

    This is like being a CEO among the top 5 companies in Wall Street, there is a great challenge in the horizon and every moves made is being analyzed by investors and competitors. After all, the Buss family invested hundred millions and willing to pay humongous luxury taxes. Dwight is good for one year only. Nash and Kobe are not getting younger. Don’t spoil that investment and opportunities even in a perceptive meaningless game. Start the winning habit and stop coddling a PR campaign with the media then making excuses on a lost cause.


  69. There will be times where criticizing Brown is totally warranted. We’ll do it plenty here in this space. I just think comments like Edwin’s above are the type that are based on bias against the coach rather than an actual analysis.

    I mean, how would a preseason game where the starters didn’t play in the 2nd half affect the “mojo of superstars whose objective in joining the Lakers is to win all the way to Championship” in any way? Sunday’s game was of as little importance imaginable but there are some on this board treating it like a playoff game.

    Finding some perspective would be good.


  70. The Lakers fielded a Summer League team versus the starters of a prospective playoff team with good bench depth in the 2nd half. Who expects that team to win?

    The team has some big questions to answer at the end of the roster, and the pre-season is the only time they get to answer it. The pre-season isn’t the time where the Lakers need to become a well-oiled machine; that’s April.

    Frankly, if Mike Brown had come back with the starters after sitting them for a full quarter+, I would’ve been extremely upset. That’s how you cause injuries. Why risk injuring a team where injuries are the biggest concern to make a meaningless pre-season game less embarassing? Who honestly gives a crap?


  71. Darius,

    When you try accusing me of bias to MB, I think you should also consider that YOU are also bias in protecting MB. It is an opinion and it goes both ways. Even if you are the moderator of this site, you don’t have the monopoly of truth but just like anyone of us here have the freedom to air your own opinion. Therefore, if you believe otherwise, don’t accuse your posters as “bias” because it can also bounce back on your own perception.

    Those superstars are not saying anything to the public on the first preseason game but I’m sure they are uncomfortable in that 35-0 run. What if it happens again in a regular game.


  72. Zephid,

    The well-oiled machine in April starts in Fall practice games.

    We did not clamor for the return of the starters but don’t let the freakin’ 3rd team bleed to death. Anyway, you splice it the Princeton offense did not work on the 2nd and 3rd unit. Call a time out, tinker with the line up, put up a strong defense if they could not shoot at least they know how to defend but don’t let the paying crowd in Fresno witness a 35-0 wallop. How many Laker fans in the Southland spent $10 each at a sports bar to watch the Lakers? Give them a fair show, preseason games are entertainment too.


  73. Wow. I love this site and all the articles posted here. I’ve been coming here since Kurt first started the site. I’ve stopped reading comments though and only read the site through Google Reader and I am glad about it.

    All this garbage in the comments with people freaking out about a PRESEASON GAME. That is unbelievable and extremist. This site used to be a bunch of knowledgeable and level headed Lakers fans that had amazing back and forth conversations in the comments.

    I can’t believe people are arguing that pre-season is where Championship teams are made, especially the FIRST preseason game.

    The first few games are usually just so fans can see the starters for a few minutes, and then the coaches evaluate the end of bench players to see who gets cut. The outcome of the game never crosses the coach’s mind.

    After the coach see the first few games and those end of bench players get cut, then the coach starts toying with lineups until the season starts. Wins are never a priority.

    Phil Jackson teams routinely went a whole preseason without a win, was he a bad coach?

    Darius, sorry for the rant. I love what you and all the other authors on this site do for us Laker fans. It is just a shame to see the comments degrade the way they have. Hopefully I am wrong and it is only this post, since like I said I get most of the articles through Google Reader.

    Either way I will continue to read the premium content that is posted on this site.


  74. Darius,

    My reply to your stirring comment is still under moderation but I hope you will publish this one immediately.

    You are concerned on the negative comments aired against MB on the first preseason games. Perhaps, this is the best time to air our frustration on that 35-0 while we are still in practice games. Last season, Lakers lost their first game against the Bulls after leading all the way and lost the game in the closing minutes. I don’t hate MB, I want him to succeed and win his first ring. You ask Mitch, Kurt Rambis, Stu Lantz, Mychal Thompson, they are role players with the Lakers. When they are on the floor, they refuse to lose. They always promote winning at all times even on-the-job training. Magic J. is one guy who hates to lose, he was so delirious in his first game with the Lakers after winning by one pt.

    That’s the point, Mike Brown is not a true Laker by tradition, so far he has not convinced a good segment of the Laker fans to his side. We haven’t seen anything yet to say that he should be commended for a job well done. Of course, the real measure is after the first 20 games but we want to help him to win now by challenging his lethargic coaching.


  75. Edwin,
    Okay. I guess I’d actually rather believe you’re biased in some way than think you actually believe a 35-0 run would happen in a regular season game when Brown will certainly play his starters more than 18 minutes and doesn’t have a 19 man roster he wants to see play. Or that you’re biased instead of thinking that a preseason game — especially the first one — matters in any way shape or form. Or that you’re biased rather than thinking that the Lakers’ superstars are in some way affected by what happened last night, or, even more so that they see it a reflection on Brown rather than the players on the court expected to get stuff done.

    So, if you’re telling me that you’re not biased that’s fine. I’m then forced to assume that you believe those other things which is, well, another can of worms.


  76. Wow, you mentioned bias 4x you still don’t get it why we are airing these views on the first game. In return, you use your enormous power in this blog to insult me at will. Did I piss you off just because I went opposite direction to your point of view? That’s not good buddy.

    Do you accept criticisms, Darius?


  77. Edwin,
    This will be the last I say on the matter because I don’t need the comments to turn into a giant back and forth about a topic that is, to me, not that important.

    I’m fine with criticism. I’m also fine with people disagreeing with me. However, when I see someone reacting in a way that is very much disproportionate to the value of the event, I’m going to point that out.

    This isn’t a regular season game. It’s not even a late stage preseason game where we’d hope to see more of a semblance of a rotation and things more in line with what the regular season will look like.

    This was the first preseason game. A game in which he played 19 players and he sat his 4 best available players for the entire second half. The fact that you insist on acting like these circumstances lend any credibility to the game in question while also insisting to disregard them in leveling criticism against Brown is comical to me.

    If you find my opinion insulting, so be it. As you noted, this is my blog and I’ll run it and comment on it as I see fit. If you don’t like it, you can not read, not comment, or both. The choice is yours.


  78. Whoa!! Too much negative energy here.

    I agree with Darius and the “general” consensus that reading into 1 pre-season game (or, in my opinion, the entire pre-season) as a means of extrapolating how the season will go, or that coach B needs to be fired, is a bit much.

    That being said, I think “bias” was prolly the wrong word to use in this case. I know Edwin G from the old LA Times days, and I think he’s right in that it’s not bias as much as an opinion. Maybe it’s the semantics, but opinions are a lot more short-lived than biases.

    My point in jumping in was to say that we have a special season ahead of us, and we should all be here to enjoy the ride – differing opinions included 🙂


  79. Also, Darius, why do I continue to languish in moderation-purgatory?


  80. Michael H,
    I’m not judging Jamison on one game as you probably know. I watch every NBA team every year. I’ve said Jamison is washed up when we signed him. Last year Jamison played on a garbage team who couldn’t score so the points needed to come from somewhere. Scoring 17 PPG in 40 percent shooting (when he wasn’t creating shots for himself) is nothing to write home about.

    The Lakers had the leagues worst bench last year. I don’t know why people are pretending the scrubs were responsible for the 35-0 run. The Lakers played Jamison, Hill, Duhon, Ebanks, and Meeks in the third quarter to go along with a rookie Center. Yes the Warriors were playing three starters… But wow. That kind of slaughter only happens in high school. There is reason to believe the Lakers bench is in serious trouble with no back up PG and no spark plug to create offense (Jamison at this point in his career needs offense created for him).


  81. #81. Comments get stuck in moderation for a variety of reasons. It’s blog software that decides and I go in and approve comments as often as possible throughout the day. I’d appreciated some understanding on this moving forward as I’m the only moderator that approves comments full time.


  82. Darius,

    I understand the situation – and appreciate your efforts. It’s just that whatever I have been posting the last couple of weeks has ended up in moderation.


  83. Kareem,

    I find it unfair to compare Phil’s Lakers from a couple years ago to Brown’s Lakers from last year. Kobe was hobbled with knee issues and contemplated retirement during Phil’s final season. Last season, Kobe came into the season with healthy knees, and was a much improved player. He dominated the league in the first half of the season, but his shooting started to dive as he was forced to play a ridiculous amount of minutes.

    The bench was thin last season, but there is absolutely no excuse for allowing a 17 year veteran to be the league leader in minutes in a condensed season. I’ll go out on a limb and say no other elite coach would have been so short sighted to do so, even with a thin bench. Give a couple minutes to Gouldlock, who showed flashes of confidence to start the season, and a few minutes to Ebanks. If Shannon Brown was on the bench, he might have been glued there as well, like he was in Cleveland. I saw a coach who coached with desperation during the regular season without looking at the big picture. You made a couple comments about the Lakers being dog tired at the end of the season, but ignore the possibility that Brown’s mismanagement of minutes might have been the main reason for it.

    I’m not suggesting another coach could have taken this team further in the playoffs….I am just scratching my head at some of his coaching decisions from Cleveland, along with his head scratching decisions from last season. He might prove to be a championship caliber coach, but he certainly has a lot to prove at this point, and should not be immune to criticism.


  84. Excuse me? How did Nash and the starters look good? Nash only had three assists while the Lakers lost by 17 points to the warriors.


  85. @Slap Dog Hoops You obviously didn’t watch the game. Neither the stats or the outcome of the game tell the whole story.