The Breakdown: Getting Kobe in Scoring Position

Phillip Barnett —  November 8, 2012

In today’s breakdown, we’re going to take a loot at some of the different ways that the Lakers’ new offense has gotten Kobe more high percentage shots. We haven’t seen much of the old Kobe repertoire this season — wing ISOs, high P&Rs, triple threat of death — we’ve seen a much more efficient Kobe who has been getting to the rim more. I understand that we’re talking about an incredibly small sample size here, but right now, Kobe’s shooting 50 percent of his shots at the rim, nearly double what he was doing in the past two seasons, take a look at his shot distribution charts (courtesy of NBA.com). Click the chart for a bigger view.

Kobe Bryant shot distribution charts

Here to help me explain why Kobe’s been able to get to the rim as often is Andrew Garrison of the fantastic Lakers blog Silver Screen and Roll. Garrison suggested that I write a post taking a look at how Kobe has been cutting off the ball more often, which has led to a lot of easy buckets. I asked him to help me out on this post. We’ll both be taking individual looks at a couple of plays where Kobe was able to get to the rim, and discuss a final play together at the end of the post. Andrew kicks things off with a look at how Kobe getting to the rim has created offensive rebounding opportunities.

AG: Cuts and Defensive Rotation Advantages

The most noticeable things Kobe Bryant has done through the season thus far is attack the paint. This has mainly been through the use of cuts, but he has also been driving from the perimeter decisively when the ball is in his hands. Kobe’s tendency to go into isolation jab step dance dance revolution mode has gotten a bit out of hand in recent years. It’s refreshing to see him willing to lower his shoulder and drive straight to the rim. If he’s matched up against a slower defender, like a Matt Barnes for example, he can push right by without an issue and get to the second layer of the defense. The hope has to be, even if matched up against an elite perimeter defender (say, Andre Iguodala, who will body and move his feet to keep Kobe in front of him), Kobe will at the very least draw a foul. Considering how crafty Kobe is at this point in his career, if he get’s even a whiff of the rim that’s an issue for the other team to account for. Once the defense sinks in to put a body in front of Kobe, the possibilities begin to branch out. A) He still manages to get the bucket B) He is fouled in the process C) He recognizes a soft spot in the defense and gets the ball to the open teammate or D) He misses.

The “good” thing about him missing, though, is that it creates a great chance for an offensive rebound. If the defense is having to rotate and turn their backs to Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, or Jordan Hill the probability of getting an offensive board shoots through the roof. The Lakers’ three primary bigs have great offensive rebound percentages, with Hill grabbing an insane 24.8%, Howard with 13.2%, and Gasol gobbling up 10.8% of the available boards. Simply put, if the defense’s bigs are having to move out of position, the chances that there is a Laker waiting to take advantage of this and erase the miss are very high. With the Lakers are shooting the ball at 50.3% over the first four games giving them extra possessions will have them putting points on the board in a hurry. Howard, Gasol, and Hill will gladly feast on wide open gimmies at the rim off of rebounds. Here, Kobe completely loses his defender on a backdoor cut. With nothing between him and the rim, the defender that is sitting under the rim with Pau is forced to rotate and try and force a miss from Bryant, which he does successfully. But, leaving Gasol alone under the rim proves to be deadly and it’s an easy two points for the Spaniard. While it was a miss in the end for Kobe it was still a good basketball play that led to easy points for Los Angeles.

PB: Bringing Howard Out of the Paint

Until Darius pointed it out to us earlier this week, I hadn’t noticed how much space Dwight Howard was creating by coming up to the high post. In Darius’ post, he explains how Pau was able to get some touches in the low post by inverting the bigs for a few plays per game. In the following set, the Lakers ran a 1-4 high set which started off with Kobe entering to Pau on the left wing and clearing out to the opposite side. Pau swung the ball to Nash who then hit Howard in the high post. As Nash clears out Pau comes down to set a down screen for him as Kobe is using a Ron screen to pop out. Already, there is tons of movement in this set which is fantastic. What makes this set unique is that all of the action is happening away from Kobe.

Nash slips as he turns the corner around Pau’s screen. He was obviously going to take a handoff from Howard considering the direction he was going and how high Howard was. My guess is that Nash was going to use the lane created by the spacing to penetrate and either get off a floater or dish to Nash should his man leave him to stop Nash. Since none of this happens, Kobe continues moving toward the ball until Batum turns his head, giving Kobe the opportunity to cut behind him with a wide open lane. Ron was still at the right wing, Howard was still high on the left wing and Pau wasn’t exactly on the left block as he tried to help out on the broken play.

The result is a wide open layup for Kobe mainly due to the spacing underneath the basket afforded to him with Howard catching the ball at 17+ feet. Also, Kobe with some weak side movement as the defense is focused on the action surrounding Howard/Nash/Pau really helped to open things up. In years past, you couldn’t get that many sets of eyes off of Kobe simply because the Lakers didn’t have the personnel to hold the attention of opposing defense. Check out the tape.

AG: The Sneaky Spaniard Screen (SSS)

The cutting and driving Kobe has been doing is really just a pretty bow to place on the gift that is Kobe Bryant the offensive player. His skill set is still remarkable in his 17th season in the NBA. While he has been getting high percentage looks around the rim, he remains a threat from almost anywhere on the court, in any situation. In this play Matt Barnes is matched up with Kobe Bryant in a half court set. For the majority of the night Kobe had attacked Barnes by driving through to the rim. Because of this tendency, Barnes clearly prepared to play Kobe one to one and expected another drive. Then, boom, he’s blindsided by a HUGE screen from Pau Gasol.

With the space created from the screen, Kobe immediately takes advantage of the mismatch created with Blake Griffin having to rotate, and gets up a fall away jumper that is nothing but net. The variety of ways the Los Angeles Lakers can utilize Kobe Bryant is key in keeping the opponents off balance. Work him off ball in cuts, hand-offs, in the post, and off of screens. Defenders already know they have to deal with a mixed bag of tricks against Kobe in one on one situations, but layer in the macro game of using different ways to get him those looks makes this an even trickier slope to scale. Blake Griffin does a good job of switching onto Kobe and preventing him from getting into the paint, but giving Kobe that much space to operate in generally means he will find a way to score. Just too skilled without anyone pestering him.

PB: The Option Read

This is a set that the Lakers have run a few times this season. Kobe will set up on the strong side wing with either Pau or Dwight (Dwight in this case) in the low block on his side. As Nash brings the ball up, Dwight moves up the line and receives the ball in the pinch post. Nash enters the ball into Howard and heads to rub off of Howard’s right shoulder, Kobe his left.

Both Nash and Kobe reach Howard at the same time, effectively setting screens on the man guarding the other guy (Nash screen’s Kobe’s man and vice versa). As both men start to turn their respective corners, Howard makes an option to hand the ball off to one of his guys, which is Kobe more often than not. Again, with Howard being brought out of the high post, Kobe essentially has an open lane as he attacks the basket.

By the time the defense starts collapsing on Kobe, he’s already began his gather toward the rim and is laying the ball in by the time defenders start to jump. Check out the clip below and see how the design of this set was to get Kobe an easy bucket around the rim instead of having him take a jump shot.

 

AG: This cut from Kobe is just a flat our pretty basketball play. Metta World Peace is one of the most maddening Lakers right now, his up and down play leaves me shaking my head and laughing at times, but he puts this pass right on the money for Kobe. Tayshaun Prince is caught with his pants down essentially while he looks at MWP attempt to dribble around in the corner and Kobe immediately cuts through the key. This play really drives everything home, to me. Kobe again cuts off ball and it forces the defense to shift their bigs to try and account for it. The layup went down, but if it had missed, Dwight Howard was in prime position to swoop up the offensive board and get an easy put-back basket.

PB: Like Andrew said, this was just a fantastic play. Ron obviously wasn’t going to get anything in transition there, but Kobe made a great cut on the secondary break and Ron made an excellent pass that slipped right behind Tayshaun Prince. What I enjoyed about this, and what we’ve seen Kobe take advantage of a few times this year, is Kobe using his old habits to take advantage of defenders. More often than not, Kobe would prefer to pop out or hold off his man around the perimeter and extend an arm to receive a pass. Knowing this, Prince is playing a lot higher than he should trying to prevent the kick out to Kobe. Bean slips right behind Prince and receives the ball from Artest in stride to get an easy lay in.

———————

While everything isn’t exactly smooth in Lakerland right now, there have been some positives on the offensive end — especially when concerning Kobe. Last night’s game against the Jazz was Kobe’s first game shooting less than 50 percent (.412) yet he still scored 29 points on 17 shots because he was able to consistently get to the rim and draw fouls. If there was one thing I’d like for the Lakers to continue as this season progresses (and we know there isn’t much right now), it would be for them to continue to get Kobe easy looks on offense. Having Howard in the middle has certainly helped his cause as he draws so much attention, but it’s been much more than that.

I’d like to send out a huge thanks for Andrew for helping me out on this. Make sure you check out his work over at Silver Screen and Roll and give him a follow on twitter here.

Phillip Barnett

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47 responses to The Breakdown: Getting Kobe in Scoring Position

  1. Time to end the Ron Artest experiment. We need a guy that’s a better fit for this team. A hustler that can crash the boards, pick up PG’s and SG’s on D, and play a little more selfless. I would go after Ariza again. He doesn’t fit in well with Washington, and their salaries are a wash. Plus he’s a fan favorite over here.

  2. Thanks for getting back to analysis. It was looking like this site was becoming FB&G: Fire Brown & Gloat.

  3. Great breakdown. Many were calling all last year to get Kobe the ball on the move instead of in stationary positions. The offense is working for him 27.9 pts on 56% shooting.

    Blake, Morris, Nash, Ebanks, Jamison, Hill all shooting under 42% fg. Those 6 players together score (26.9) a game. It’s less than Kobe’s (27.9). Lakers won’t win this way. Too big a burden for Kobe to carry all year even if his scoring comes easier. He needs help on the perimeter.

    FG on the season: Pau 41%, Metta 39%, Blake 34%, Hill 39%, Morris 37%, Nash 33%, Jamison 42%, Ebanks 23%.

  4. I work nights. I usually DVR or record all Laker games that are played when I am at work and then watch them at a later time. Needless to say, it is a lot more fun when the Lakers win.

    The listlessness surrounding this group of Laker players and coaches have taken the joy of Laker basketball away from me. It’s sad.

    I’m not going to bash Brown. There was some eloquent bashing of him on the last thread, most of which I agree with. All I know is that something has gotta change.

  5. Jim Buss has said he has no problem with Mike Brown and thinks he is too knowledgeable to be blamed for this poor start. Looks like we won’t see Brown canned for quite some time if it will actually come this season.

  6. Buss also said he wouldn’t trade his boy Bynum, as well as saying he only envisioned minor tweaks to the roster when asked about changes back when OKC bounced Lakers out of playoffs. Usually vote of confidence = kiss of death!… If Lakers lose to either GST or SAC this weekend, Brown is gone IMO. And with 6 straight home games, only L that could be tolerated is vs Spurs.

  7. Off Topic:

    I was one who was preaching patience for this season and who cut Coach Brown some slack last year due to reasons (CP3 Veto, Lockout, Short Training Camp, Limited Practices ..) that has been spoken upon by several individuals within the FB&G Community. That time has now come to an end.

    There’s a Laundry List of reasons why I have come to this conclusion (Starters playing too many mins, Players balling out of position, Substitution Patterns/Bench being used incorrectly, Unacceptable Defense, Meeks not being given an opportunity ..) But what I saw last night was a team that was listless, lackadasical and who played without any passion/sense of urgency. They looked emotionless, defeated and definitely unhappy. All those are signs that the coach has lost the team/the personnel has tuned him out.

    If this happens to be the case, the FO needs to move fast to kill the cancer before it spreads (hope that by using that phrase, I’m not offending anyone). The Lakers, as currently constituted, are built to win not now. But RIGHT now … Jim. Mitch. Save the season.

  8. Continuing from the last comments thread:

    Radius: “Who will be the coach.”

    Realistically, I’d say Jordan was hired not only as an expert on the Princeton but as an insurance policy. He and Bickerstaff both have HC experience, but this is still Jordan’s offense, and the offense is not really deserving of any blame here.

    Once you realize that they’re not even running a pure Princeton or even “Wizards-style” Princeton, because Brown insisted on adding in his own strong-corner sets; once you realize that Brown is the one who’s insisted on a “positionless” offense, not any of his assistants; once you realize that Brown is the one responsible for rotations, managing minutes, and making in-game adjustments, then it’s very hard to believe Jordan could be any worse than him.

    People here will no doubt gag and immediately suggest fancier names.

    “Eddie Jordan? Screw that. I want D’Antoni. McMillan. Sloan. Fratello. Phil. Jeff Van Gundy.”

    But how logical is it to believe that the Lakers FO would not only fire Brown so soon after publicly endorsing him, but then also bring in a coach who might install an entirely new offense?

    I for one don’t believe it’s likely, not because I wouldn’t like it to be, just that I can’t see either Buss or Mitch coming to the conclusion that such a drastic action would help their title chances THIS year.

    Ultimately, who knows though? It was “bold” thinking that got Brown hired in the first place.

  9. It’s interesting few are singly out Gasol in this historically poor Lakers start. The guy is shooting 41 percent and playing terrible defensively. He clearly has lost a step to the point he isn’t even adequate in the high post anymore. He is a supporting player now. The last two years he has struggled trying to be the main guy with the second unit. That’s the thing that has been panicking. Dwight has a chance to regain his explosiveness. Nash can learn the offense and become more aggressive. The team all together can become Princeton savy. But if Gasol just isn’t a good NBA starting PF anymore the Lakers can’t win a championship.

  10. Nobody is playing up to their expectations. The only one who is close is KB. DH is at 70% hopefully because he is not in full shape. Gasol, I agree has drifted even further into his abyss. MWP comes to camp in great shape – but to what end? Nash is injured, but before that looked like he was a future version of Steve Nash playing in an old timers game (how does that happen in 5 months?). And what is the story with Jamison? 17 ppg last year and this year he has no clue and is slow. How can that be? Meanwhile the rest of the bench is below even its own low expectations.

    So how does all of this happen? One explanation is that Mitch, Jim, and people like me, are all wrong. Our roster is inferior and worse yet, we paid top dollar for it. Or, there is another explanation which involves getting the most out of your players, implementing systems that will maximize their strengths, and coming up with rotations that properly combine player talents. Perhaps I am wrong and the roster is not as good as I think. However if that is the case, we are not only cooked for this year, but we have also literally mortgaged our future. So I am not going to accept that yet. We have a great roster, but we must act. We must act before we go further under 500, before we go further out of the 8th seed, before D12 re-evaluates his future with the club, before MWP gets frustrated and snaps, and before KB tries too hard to carry us and wears himself out. The corrective course is clear. It may not work, but not taking that corrective course is almost guaranteed not to.

  11. Aaron I agree, Pau has been done since game 7 in the finals imo. He has 0 floor presence, Slow, no lift in his legs for rebounds. Cant hit his jumper consistently anymore and defensively he’s a liability, Oh he is good at tossing a couple fancy lobs to Dwight but thats not worth his contract. Hill needs to start.

  12. At the end Pau will have his career averages a one game slump (a game where everybody played like crap) and you guys are ready to turn against Pau. The least of your worries should be with Pau.

    As good a shape Metta came in it hasn’t translated onto the court, Dwight has been getting pushed around down low along with Pau and Kobe’s turnovers are something that continue to haunt the Lakers. It’s a team wide issues not just one person.

  13. Joe M,

    I heard it too. I don’t think they will announce what they have in mind, I’m sure they are also perplexed on what is going on now.

    Lil Pau,

    It is not only FB&G are saying about Mike Brown & gloat. Nobody in the Lakerland would be happy with 1-4, any Lakers blog you visit the topic is all the same. Pau Gasol is also another problem but I say it’s more of the Coach because Pau does not play this way with Team Spain.

  14. I’m in agreement with the criticism of Pau’s performance, but not of his capabiliy. He is playing out of position. He is not a power forward. His best days have always been as a center, either in Memphis, with the Lakers during the three finals trips, or as recently as this summer in the Olympics.

    Anyone doubting whether Gasol still can play at an elite level must have missed his effort this summer. He was, by far, the best player on the Spanish team, routinely getting almost all the minutes at center over his younger brother. He was what he has always been: a great low post player.

    However, with the Lakers he will not be the center unless Dwight gets hurt, and if that happens this team has no title shot. So, the option is to keep him in the wrong position (something Coach Brown seems quite content doing with multiple players…), move him to the bench and let him be the backup center (at $19 million a year…), or trade him for a legitimate power forward.

  15. Pau has been the player he’s always been. He’s a euro will play as such with more skill and less brute strength. He was featured on the block a couple games this year. If they can find a balance with Pau and Dwight on the post that’ll bring out the player you guys want to see.

    What should be said is Odom’s value may never be more apparent. A PG and PF who could come off the bench and produce like a starter. Lakers have never replaced him and now we see how other teams were not having a 6th man. Many took Odom’s talents for granted let’s not do the same with Pau.

  16. Pau had 24 pts, 8 rebounds, and 7 dimes in the gold medal game. He is not the stud he was in 2009-2010 but he is not the shell that we have seen on the floor so far. In the gold medal game he was motivated and he was enjoying himself. Neither of those adjectives come to mind when I watch Pau play now. My question is why?

  17. Robert: I think Pau is motivated he plays within the system and when more is asked of him to do he does it. He’s had 1 bad game this year. The game they constantly went to him in the post he had an effective 23-13-6-3 blk game. They have to find the balance on his passing perimeter game and his low post game. Pau will be fine.

  18. I agree with those who believe a great deal of Pau’s ineffectiveness this season and last is because he is not optimized by being kept so far from the basket. I would love to see Pau coming off the bench and being the ‘go-to’ guy (at C) with the 2nd unit. Anyone who watched Spain in the Olympics saw that Pau definitely still ‘has it’– it’s incredible to say this, but he was arguably the 2nd best player in the entire tournament after LeBron (or maybe after LeBron and Durant). Is the idea that he suddenly got old since returning from London?

    And yes, Edwin, I know the Fire Brown drums are beating everywhere and I understand why (among other things: terrible defense, playing AJ, DE and MWP out of position [and I would argue Pau as well, although that is obviously more debatable], but mostly terrible team defense, which speaks to attitude as much as system), I was just saying that having something fresh and analytical to discuss was a welcome change from the pile-on, not that the sentiment is unjustified.

  19. I think Pau is just uncomfortable playing in the high post. yes his high bball IQ allows him to run the offense effectively and get assists but hes not a mid range shooter like Dirk. he belongs in the low post.

    Also, when he played for spain in the olympics, he looked better because he was playing less minutes. He averaged about 29 min. per game. Right now hes playing almost 38 min. per game. And we all know gasol gets fatigued easily. However, I dont see Brown giving gasol less minutes So we’re stuck with gasol playing with no energy for the rest of the season…

  20. lil pau: Yes at times we can get very redundant and single focussed. That said, while the strategy discussion is a nice distraction, for some of us, it is akin to tuning an engine for a car that has 4 flat tires : )

  21. I think what we’ve seen so far shows that a team is more than just a group of talented players. We have a lot of “stars” but the pieces don’t fit together well. There was a point last night when we had Howard surrounded by Hill, Jamison, World Peace and Morris. How is Howard going to have space when we there are two really weak shooters on the floor? What advantage is there with that lineup? It’s not terribly athletic, can’t shoot and is not great defensively. While I’m not going to bash Brown, it’s stuff like that has to be driving Kobe crazy.

    The Jazz announcers said this toward the end of the game, but Kobe is playing frustrated. He was frustrated being an after-thought when the ball was forced into Howard. He was frustrated standing around weakside while the Princeton wasted a bunch of passes and shot clock time. That frustration is affecting the rest of the team, and there’s no energy or espirit de corps, just a bunch of guys who are thrown together and don’t have a feel for what’s going on. I guess that could be attributed to all of the new additions, but I really think it’s more than that.

    I hope we get more logical floor combinations when we go to the bench, like Howard surrounded by mostly shooters (Jamison-World Peace-Meeks-Blake seems doable) and Kobe surrounded by more energy players (Pau-Hill-Ebanks-Morris). Seems like you could then channel the offense through Dwight/Kobe in those groups, get rest for others and have a little more efficiency when we go to the bench.

  22. This stretch just shows us what we should’ve known all along.

    Pau is not a PF, and he’s no 2nd option unless he’s playing center. His best days were when he was playing without Bynum and with Odom. He could finish the game with us instead of Dwight due to Dwight’s FT%, or when we need more options, but he should mostly be utilized as a center in the 2nd group.

    Metta is not a SG, and not a shot-creator. He could post people up and could get some 3s, but he should not be relied upon to be the scorer in the 2nd unit (or the first).

    I think Pau should take the ‘demotion’ and play with the 2nd unit, even come off the bench. He should still be paired with one of the starting guards, be it Kobe or Nash, but the fascination with ‘length’ has got to stop.

    Of course I know why we’re obsessed with length. That’s the only thing we have to counter athleticism. But it should be used in spurts or as a last resort since it really does not seem to work much.

  23. With Pau its all about effort if he plays with no effort on the court he is detrimental for the team.

    Also Pau has never won a gold medal so of course he’s going to play with heart for his country. Will Pau have that same motivation for the Lakers in the playoffs? I’m not too sure.

  24. Everything I read here ends up at tge simple reality. Mike Brown is clueless.

  25. Remember when we had Odom, Gasol, and Bynum? And how we were clamouring for Phil to play those three together with Bryant and Ariza?

    Now I guess we finally see why Phil resisted all this time, and for good reason. Time to catch on, Mike Brown.

  26. I guess we expect much more from Pau because we realize Metta, Blake, Morris, Ebanks, Jamison and HIll can’t produce anymore than what little they’re doing already. Means the roster is flawed.

  27. Since folks are talking roster issues and talking Brown issues, I think it’s fair to point out that there’s probably a correlation between players not performing well in their roles due to some of the issues you bring up about Brown. This isn’t the sole reason, of course, but I’d argue that if players aren’t put in a position to succeed (or aren’t played at all like Meeks), I think it makes it harder to fully evaluate how good they can be for this team.

  28. The twin tower strategy gets exposed in today’s NBA. It limits spacing and transition opportunities on offense. Transition defense becomes a major liability, as well as the ability to rotate quickly against P&R’s and against good passing teams. Even defensive rebounding, which one would expect to be a strength given the added size, gets exposed because the team is too slow to react to missed shots.

    We’ve seen all of these flaws the past two seasons when Bynum became a focal point, replacing Lamar in the front court. Gasol is still an elite center, but when playing PF, he might be the slowest PF in the league, and all of his weaknesses get exposed consistently. I agree with other posters who think the best route is to trade Gasol for an athletic PF, preferably the one playing in Atlanta.

  29. Why MB keeps using veteran players instead of young players ? because MB looks good when he has good assistants, the problem is serious now if we think about it . Last season when MB took over Lakers, he wants to hire one of his top assistant in charge of defense, his assistant works for New Orleans and New Orleans playing good defense, later that guy was hired by Golden st, i don’t remember his name, so when MB coach the Lakers he can’t improve Lakers defense. Now, MB can rely only to veteran players to play the game, to make his job easier, so it explains why his rotation is a mess, and he said Nash can run whatever offense he runs on the floor because MB has no idea either.

  30. Darius: For the sake of debating I’d say we’ve seen Blake for two years and Metta for 3 years. Those guys are finished products. Hill being a hustle player makes things happen for himself by just being around the rim getting rebounds and blocking shots. Morris is a work in progress. So those 4 guys I’d think we’d agree are what they are.

    Ebanks thrived at SG in the preseason when many called for him to mainly play SF. He hasn’t translated that into the regular season yet. I think he’s being put in position to succeed. Jamison has caught the ball numerous times at the 3 pt line or post in the triple threat position. He never looks at the rim just passes.

    That really only leaves Meeks as a player who’s not being put in position to succeed because Brown isn’t playing him. The rotations and few minutes is something that may hender those players from them playing the type of basketball we all expected this season. But they still have to make something happen to provide a boost to the team. I just don’t see the talent on the bench that’s on other rosters. Although I’m still holding out hope.

  31. Come on guys, I’ve heard this for 3 years now, that Pau is done. Go look at his stats over the course of his career then go watch the gold metal game between Spain and USA.

    http://www.nba.com/playerfile/pau_gasol/career_stats.html

    With that said, thus far this season his D has been atrocious and he looks disinterested a lot of the time. But please, can we give him until (at least) the allstar break, he has earned that, me thinks!

  32. We don’t need to trade Pau for a better PF, because our starting lineup does not need any more talent. We need Pau to play C for the 2nd unit and be the focal point, and run a mini-team-spain there.

    But man, MB’s rotations are frustrating. I almost think he’s doing this on purpose to give him more excuses and buy him more time; or, maybe he’s letting players play to their desires and letting them fail on purpose. Really have a hard time believing this though.

  33. Kevin,
    Your points are well made but I’m speaking more to lineup combinations and trying to get the most out of players based off personnel groupings and how their talents mesh, rather than simply them being on the court at all.

    Fwiw, Blake has looked fine. As has Hill. But their roles from last season to this season remain mostly unchanged. However, Jamison is being trotted out as a SF and is playing a lot of minutes against wing players who are better equipped to guard him all over the floor. Ron is now playing SG and that translates to him doing more ball handling while defending quicker players on nearly every possession for the entire game (since he already defends the best wing in the starting lineup). Ebanks, at this point, hasn’t looked like a player that deserves to play as many minutes as he is and I’ve been one to support him through the preseason and up to this point.

    This is what I mean when I’ve said that this team is playing at a level that’s less than the sum of its parts. There are ways to deploy these players that, based off their skill sets and how they’ve been successful in the past, would seemingly make more sense. Or, at least on the surface merit a look. But we haven’t seen it. That’s frustrating for everyone, but for me especially. I’m more than willing to say something doesn’t work or give analysis about what’s wrong but I’d also like to see a broader representation of possibilities rather than say “they need to do better as is”. Especially when I believe there’s evidence that says they may, in fact, do better should some adjustments be made.

    And, based off conversations that I’ve had with other very close observers of this team, I’m not the only person that thinks these things.

  34. thanks for this breakdown. yes, i like this offense.

    i do think MB has problems utilizing the talent. he is very good at getting people together to operate a system. he seems to be weak in exploiting matchups.

    as much as i hate to see these losses, i’m going to give them more time. as bad as the Utah game was, the Lakers could have won with just a little more effort together. a team is entitled to stink up one game, even if it makes us uneasy. i take heart in that there had been steady improvement until Utah.

    the Lakers have been losing because of one thing, turnovers. i can excuse the turnovers and losses caused by a player not cutting or cutting in the wrong direction, as long as it’s just because of the building of familiarity with eachother and the system. there have been a lot of those. i can deal with losing because Dwight literally can’t hit ANY freethrows some game. it happens every now and then. the law of averages says that he’ll have a great shooting game later.

    the turnovers that i can’t accept are the ones that lost the Utah game. those kind are the result of a lazy pass or play. that’s what was so disturbing about the Utah loss, that the team was so listless and down, i mean to where Dwight didn’t even try to block shots and Pau didn’t even go after rebounds and worse. there were moments when they seemed to wakeup, but then those moments passed. to some extent, there may have been fatigue. Utah is VERY physical, i’d almost think that there is a toll being paid by the Lakers having so many stars. i think the refs are swallowing their whistles on chippy play. the reason that the Lakers shoot more free throws is that they are being abused just that much. the best scene exemplifying that was when Pau got called for a foul and had to go to the sidelines to have a handfull sized gouge sealed up on his shoulder.

    i don’t think panic or knee-jerk reactions will help anyway. if the team goes to management and tells them “this coach is junk!” then Brown needs to go now. otherwise, there’s no assurance that firing the man will make any difference. it will be the same players with the same problem.

    this is a motivated verteran team. i don’t think they’ll stay bad. the breakdown in this post by Mr. Barnett is proof of that.

  35. Darius put it extremely well, and is basically making the same point we all are, only in a much more reserved way. The fact is, Mike Brown needs to get a clue. When even I, of no more than High school basketball experience, know that his rotations are not the best use of the team, it says a lot.

  36. Darius: great points. It’s best management get a coach that can maximize this personnel and fast before the hole is too deep to get out of.

  37. Darius: “This is what I mean when I’ve said that this team is playing at a level that’s less than the sum of its parts.”

    Exactly. The roster “could” be flawed, but right now we do not know because we are clearly not getting the most out of them. Further, as you state, it makes it difficult to evaluate the players, when they are not put in a position to succeed.

    So, while I acknowledge to Kevin, Aaron et al that the roster “could” be flawed, I can think of only one way to find out. And that move must be made quickly or our year will be a bust.

  38. What happened to DJO? He has some athletic moves in one game I saw him during preseason. Morris is a very unreliable back up, he’s really a rookie with his moves – sudden jerk and sudden collapse; almost a steal and lose sight of his defensive assignment. When the second unit came in, from a spread of -5, it grew to -11 similar patterns in other games. Lakers were having difficulty in scoring with Dwight missing FT’s while MWP becomes a loose cannon on lone offense, Kobe committing a lot of TO’s so he just took the ball to the hoop in waning seconds. They are just all trying too hard to win and lose sight of teamwork or get frustrated with their defense.

  39. Good points Darius.

    There are other problems.
    1-Two years now Metta and shown to be one of the worst shooting and ball handling SF in the NBA. 1 out if every 10 games he is good. People remember the good. Stats don’t lie and to have a guy in a scoring position shooting under 40% and one of your leaders in TO is a big problem.
    1-Blake remains stat wise on if the bottom 3 PG in the NBA. Another 2 for 10th performance against Utah and they were wide open shots I could make.
    3-Jamison appears to be done. No shot, beat on D and slower then slow.
    4-Morris is not a NBA player and needs to be in D league to learn.
    5-Pau seems to be less motivated and not fitting in with Brown. I feel very intelligent people see right through Mike’s fast talking stats speeches and tune him out.

    Some of these can get better with a well respected coach but others are clear roster problems. The league has gotten younger, faster and more athletic while the Lakers took a different approach. At best this is a 4th or 5th seed with a coaching change. Without this is a .500 team. Roster and coaching changes need to be made. As for those who yelled at some of us “it’s just preseason and means nothing” you all are looking very silky right now.

  40. Pau is already playing Center with the second unit and he has been unable to score effectively in the post or create offense for his teammates. Brown tried to make Pau the leader of the second unit last year but he also struggled and Brown eventually turned to Bynum to anchor that unit towards the end of the season. Pau Gasol is no longer Pau Gasol. He now seems to be a complimentary piece.

  41. Pau’ numbers dropped off some last year, but it is too early to write him off based on five games. He has not done as well outside the Triangle. Some of that is age, but I would guess some of it isn’t and he has some bounceback left.

  42. With rr popping back in to talk today–I am reminded of something—

    I think someone who sounds a lot like “rr” said something about everyone making too big of a deal about how Kobe would fit in to this new lineup….

    I know it’s a small sample size, but I think the games played so far demonstrate that, Kobe isn’t the problem so far……

  43. I think people are pretty unfair to Pau on this board, especially the Olympic Gold medal game. Of course he played better for Spain, he is their GO TO GUY and everybody on the team knows it, so naturally when you have 4 pretty darn good players built to support you, you’re going to have great stats. On the Lakers Pau at best is third option and nobody seems to know if Dwight or Kobe is the 1st. On top of that, the Lakers are playing without a PG right now, which makes things even worse.

    I would have to agree with everyone else and say its the coach(atleast mostly). The thing about Brown, and the thing that makes it so easy to want him fired, is that it was like being punched in the jaw when I heard the news he was hired. I’m sure everybody here remembers thinking, WTF? I’m sure if everyone here made a list of Coaches they’d like to see coach the Lakers Mike brown would’ve have been on no one’s top 5.

    Right now, I think everybody is frustrated because watching the Lakers is like watching someone try to make algebra out of simple addition. It seems like the Lakers NEVER take advantage of any opportunities, like they always want to set up w/e freakin offense they’re trying to run. I’ve watched the games, to me, Kobe and Pau look like they are still capable of being themselves. Kobe has actually been really good. Gasol’s gone downhill since Nash got injured, which of course kills him since its the first time he’s played without a decent pg as a Laker. Dwight looks like he needs to recover and get back into shape, but he’s already putting up big numbers. Nash, to me has looked the worst, but he’s not being utilized. He literally doesn’t do any Steve Nash stuff. No running, passing. creating, or at the very least spot up shooting. USE HIM! I guess he need to come back from injury first.

    So i don’t know, this is just such a mess. The worst thing about all this is, even with the sorry### bench I KNOW we should be winning games. Kobe and Pau can still play, and although Dwight Howard definitely needs to recover and get in shape, he’s already been putting up big numbers. I don’t know what to expect from Nash, but assuming he can still play, this team should absolutely be a championship team. Based on offense alone this team should be dominating team, you can see flashes, and you expect them to go on a 20-0 run, but it never happens.

    Since most of us are Lakers fans, I think its easy to go to a site like ESPN, read the firestorm of hate being spewed at the Lakers(its disturbing), and start to think maybe they’re right, maybe this team just sucks when they play together. BS. If Howard, Bryant, Gasol, and Nash had decided they wanted to go play for the Bobcats, and they had a start like this, their coach would be gone yesterday. You don’t put those 4 names together(even the first 3)and play like this anywhere, period. We shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking anything else.

  44. Breaking: Mike Brown got fired. I’m ashamed to be a Laker fan today.

  45. Right now on ESPN they say he’s been fired.