Around The World (Wide Web): Kobe’s Frustration, Dwight, Dan D’Antoni

Ryan Cole —  December 3, 2012

From Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles:  For the second time in five games, Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol watched the final minutes of the fourth quarter from the sidelines. Kobe Bryant says Gasol has to take it into his own hands to change that.”Put your big-boy pants on,” Bryant said after the Lakers’ 113-103 loss to the Orlando Magicon Sunday that dropped the team’s record to 8-9. “Just adjust. Just adjust. You can’t whine about it. You can’t complain about it.” For the second time in five games, Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol watched the final minutes of the fourth quarter from the sidelines. Kobe Bryant says Gasol has to take it into his own hands to change that.”Put your big-boy pants on,” Bryant said after the Lakers’ 113-103 loss to the Orlando Magic on Sunday that dropped the team’s record to 8-9. “Just adjust. Just adjust. You can’t whine about it. You can’t complain about it.”

From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Kobe Bryant is a little frustrated. Okay, a lot frustrated. He’s pissed off. And he should be after the Lakers Swiss-cheese defense was picked apart by the struggling Magic as they beat the Lakers Sunday night. The Lakers problems are not simple — it’s not just Pau Gasol not being comfortable, it’s not just Dwight Howard’s free throws, it’s not just Steve Nash being injured, it’s not just the bench, it’s not just the defense. It’s all of it together. Kobe’s answer to any challenge is to work harder. That has been the modus operandi of his career and it has worked pretty well. And that is at the core of his rant after the Lakers ugly loss Sunday night, via Joe McDonald at Fox Sports West.

From Andy Kamenetzky, ESPN Los Angeles: Tuesday’s 79-77 loss to the Indiana Pacers may have been the most aesthetically unappealing loss of this season for the Los Angeles Lakers, but Sunday’s loss to the Orlando Magic topped it. At least Indiana plays good defense, which can in part explain the Lakers’ inability to unite ball and cord. And in the meantime, the Lakers played extremely active defense to compensate for the anemic offense. Sunday, they laid an egg on both ends of the court while largely phoning in the performance. And with their record now below .500 again, it goes without saying they can’t afford to play games through the use of cellular towers. If these guys don’t feel completely ashamed of themselves, something smells rotten in Denmark. Here are three takeaways from the loss.

 From Kevin Ding, OC Register:  Perhaps it was the last time there was true clarity in the Lakers’ front office this season. I asked Lakers executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss a month and a half ago – before Dwight Howard started playing but Steve Nash stopped, before Mike Brown’s defense was replaced by Mike D’Antoni’s offense – about what then and even still now boils down to the central issue for the Lakers’ franchise moving forward: Doesn’t Dwight still have a lot to learn as far as being a winner, about becoming the kind of mentally strong leader that is the mark of a truly great Laker? Buss’ response: “I don’t feel that, but if you ask the question, I’d say Kobe would probably be the best teacher of that.” Yes, yes, yes. The thorny part of that completely sensible answer is that maybe the question is inherently flawed. Maybe being that kind of winner is something you can never really learn. Howard’s mental toughness came into question again after the Lakers’ loss Sunday night to Orlando’s crew of NBA novices. It was enough for Kobe Bryant to question directly what Howard and Pau Gasol are doing.

From Mark Medina, LA Daily News: The Lakers have remained anxious for Steve Nash’s return. But they will have to wait some more. In a brief interview with this newspaper after the Lakers’ 113-103 loss Sunday to the Orlando Magic, Nash said the non-displaced fracture in his left leg hasn’t healed enough for him to play in at least the Lakers’ three-game trip this week. They have stops in Houston (Tuesday), New Orleans (Wednesday) and Oklahoma City (Friday). The Lakers then have a home game Sunday against Utah. Nash said he plans to fly with the team to receive further treatment, but he hardly sounded optimistic about his return.

From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times:  Phil Jackson wasn’t the only one who got a late-night call last month. It was early compared with the one Dan D’Antoni received. Mike D’Antoni’s brother was sleeping peacefully in Charlotte, N.C., when the phone rang at 3:30 a.m. It was his son, Nick. He had some bewildering news. “Dad, you’re going to L.A.,” he said. Dan D’Antoni didn’t believe it. “Mike had told me his name was being bantered about, but he said, ‘We’re not going to get it. Phil [Jackson] is going to get it,’” Dan D’Antoni said. “I told my son he was out of his mind. He said, ‘No, it’s all over the news.’ I got up, went in there to the TV and there it was. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I called my son the next day and said, ‘You could have waited until 7. I’m dead tired now.’” Joining the Lakers’ staff was the latest turn in an unorthodox career for Dan D’Antoni. He left behind 28 years of coaching at Socastee High in Myrtle Beach, S.C., to be on his brother’s staff with the Phoenix Suns in 2004. He was barely part of it. He was the fourth of four assistants. He sat behind the bench for games. But he watched, learned and studied the intricacies of his brother’s offense. Now he’s Mike D’Antoni’s most important sounding board on the court.

 

Ryan Cole

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78 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Kobe’s Frustration, Dwight, Dan D’Antoni

  1. 30 points allowed in the last 6 minutes of the game…..to the Magic……………how do you do that?

    I will say no more.

  2. Kobe last 5 games

    12-27 fg 11 fta, 5-15 fg 4 fta, 12-28 fg 13 fta, 6-11 fg 8 fta, 7-23 fg 14 fta. With the talent that was brought here it’s no logical reason one player should take so many shots. Before the season started I said it won’t be good if kobe avg. 25 pts a game. Lakers are 1-8 when kobe scores 25 or more. Lakers need to play together and share the outcome of the game. And kobe has to adjust his game and incorporate the talent that was brought in every game.

  3. If there’s one to read from the list above, it’d be Kevin Ding’s article.

  4. This may seem like I’m just harping on Gasol, but I’m not trying to. like everyone I just want to make sense of of how he’s playing and come to the realization he can’t play power forward. I get that he’s not 100% at the moment, but this stems back to the 10′-11′ season(Bynums first “healthy” season).

    Gasol was uncomfortable in the triangle Bynum for 1 year and complained about post opportunities. Then he was uncomfortable next to Bynum last season in the Mike brown offense and everybody complained that it was just mike browns ineptitude. Then he was complaing about his role in the Princeton and now in Dantoni’s offense. Dantoni is the first coach to see that it doesn’t work with him.

    It doesn’t matter what offense he’s in if he playing alongside a dominant post player. Nash is not going to help Gasol. Nash is going to pnr every time down and Gasol is not the type of player to roll to the basket. As skilled as Pau is, he doesn’t fit plain and simple. It makes it worse because he can’t defend either. If Pau is going to play 30+ minutes and not Help the team, It’s time to trade him.

  5. Some people are really obsessed with Kobe.

  6. I had already read Kevin Ding’s article, but it is worth a second read. Dwight is basically a very insecure person and until he stops being afraid of failure, he will always fail.

    @Kevin…

    We get it. You think Kobe should pass more.

  7. Nimble: i critisize the whole team and I’m willing to debate about kobe. Whether him almost doubling, by all accounts the best center in the game, fga is good for the team. Or whether his sometimes over aggresion can be a negative for the team.

  8. Re: whoever stated meeks fell out of favour. That’s not the case at all, just mike D is trying to figure out who can play/how they can be used despite not having a training camp. I think we’ll see hill more in the next couple of games because mike d needs to find some defensive energy despite his offensive limitations – and to showcase him a little in case the FO decides to try a move for a pg – which is quickly becoming a bigger need than dealing pau.

  9. Blake undergoing laparoscopic abdominal surgery, out 6-8 weeks.

    My response is sort of a “Meh.” The more reps for Morris, the better; hopefully all these minutes will push him along the learning curve faster. I was pretty low on Morris coming into this season but he’s surprised me in stretches, so I want to see him get a fair shake instead of getting buried behind Blake.

  10. Worst thing about Blake’s surgery is now they can’t trade him at all. At least if he were healthy, there would have been a chance to deal him, albeit very small chance!

  11. I think Morris has earned the time Snoopy – he’s a good change of pace/defensive guard. Prob is he can’t run a team yet offensively – and for all the dfensive issues this team has at times – when you’re learning a new offensive system you need a competent pg and he’s not ready yet. Morris will still get mins when both steves are back – but they need a starting quality pg bad – if for the only reason to get kobe off the ball a bit. I’m not even slagging duhon – he’s been decent – they’re just not ready/capable of running team for more than 20 mins a night

  12. 1/2decaf1/2regular December 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    some things never change. when in doubt blame kobe

  13. Not blaming Kobe – he’s just better when he only has to focus on scoring – not being everything in the backcourt – though if he could figure out how to shoot dwights free throws that would be awesome lol

  14. I don’t know how anyone can read the Ding piece and not come away with renewed appreciation for Kobe the basketball player. The driving force behind all 5 of Kobe’s championship teams was Kobe. Not Shaq, and not Gasol. Kobe. He drove those teams to championships because of his relentless commitment to winning. Nobody else on those teams, or this year’s team, has that commitment and a respectable level of talent.

    The very things that make Pau and Dwight the kind of guys most of us would love to hang out with (and the thing that probably makes Kobe a jerk off the court) is also what makes them what they are as basketball players. Pau and Dwight are nice guys. Nice guys are sensitive to what others think about them. People who worry about what others think are not dependable guys in pressure situations.

    I’m not comforted by the fact that Dwight allegedly makes 80% of his free throws in practice; I actually find that depressing. That tells me that there’s no mechanical fix that can be implemented, and instead the problem (in effect his entire career) is that he is mentally weak. That’s not going to change any more than Pau will change and be a guy whose instinct is to go up strong for a dunk rather than a soft layup. It’s who these guys are.

    Kobe is, by practically all accounts, somewhat of a jerk. He openly admits as much. However, what he also is is a guy who will fight until the end to squeeze every ounce of effort he can out of his body, and will put winning above virtually everything else. It doesn’t make him a guy I’d like to count as a friend, but it makes him a guy I want on my team, and a guy I’d replicate 10 times over if I wanted to ensure a championship.

    I’m not saying that behind every jerk is a winner, but behind most winners are arrogant and self confident jerks who don’t let little things like fans booing them affect whether or not they can make an uncontested 15 shot….

  15. Always thought the leaders shouldered most of the blame when things went wrong. It kind of makes up for them getting most of the credit when things go right. If the Heat were woefully underachieving the media would be killing LeBron even if it wasn’t really his fault. He’s their leader. That comes with the territory.

    Some of the Kobe bashing does get out of control. But the idea that it is always everyone else’s fault and never Kobe’s is a joke. That irks me more than anything else with this team. The team is 8-9. On many nights they look like a lottery team. Sorry, everyone’s hands are dirty here. There are no sacred cows.

  16. Defense creates easy offense via fast break points. Seeing the ball go through the net on those easy opportunities increases the players confidence and allows the team to get into an offensive rhythm. That being said I do not understand why Jordan Hill is not in the good graces of the coach. His defensive toughness is desperately needed to jump start a lethargic team.

  17. Hill isn’t playing because in Dantonis system everyone has to be some sort of offensive threat – hills a little one sided – though he may get more play upcoming in case they feel the need to showcase him for a trade

  18. Kobe’s definitely not the reason why this team is faultering thus far this season. He’s doing an admiral job of balancing his duties as the teams lone facilitator, while also being its best scorer. He also goes hard every single night. With that being said, there is some validity to what Kevin is stating. When you’re surrounded by Dwight, Pau, MWP, Jamison and Meeks, there is no reason why, unless you’re on fire from the field, you should be putting up over 25 fga’s in a game. Hopefully, once Nash returns (whenever that may be) and he’s no longer the primary ball handler, Kobe’s fga’s will consistently be within the 16-19 range. Less quantity and more quality.

  19. But the idea that it is always everyone else’s fault and never Kobe’s is a joke. That irks me more than anything else with this team. The team is 8-9.

    What irks me is people who talk about Kobe, blame everything on how many shots he takes, and ignore every other aspect of the team. The main issue with Kobe right now is his D. He is slow laterally, and lazy with poor awareness off the ball. He is one of the biggest problems with the team D.

    That said, it isn’t his fault that the FO did not get a decent backup PG, that Brown was hired, that Pau has cratered, that Nash is hurt, that Howard can’t make FTs and that the team is old. And before anyone points to his salary, they should also look at the 30M owed to Blake, Pau, and Metta each of the next two years, and at some guys around the league helping teams off the pine for low pay.

    This team was constructed based on the four stars hitting their career numbers and playing 70-75 games apiece. Kobe is playing the best of the 3 who are on the court and is the only one playing to his career norms.

  20. The last game and the season thus far have been abysmal. The team is severely under achieving and that is a direct reflection on systems and coaching. The transition excuse is starting to wear thin, because of the manner in which we are losing. Our effort and drive is not where it should be, and motivation is also part of coaching. Our rotations (see Meeks inconsistent minutes; Hill dog house) are also not where they should be. This “experimentation” that MD is supposedly doing can’t be done at the expense of this many losses. The lack of effort, the lack of D, and the crazy rotations were hallmarks of the Mike Brown era. Mike D’Antoni has done nothing to suggest that he was the correct decision. I will wait – because I have no choice – but the season is starting to slip away.

  21. “Winners” come in different molds. Most would agree Duncan is a winner, but he doesn’t fit the jackass mode of leadership, he’s a poor FT shooter, and in clutch situations you can sometimes see his pupils dilate in fear when he’s sent to the line. And yet few basketball fans consider him mentally weak. I still don’t like Dwight’s personality – I’ve always disliked his silliness – but not everyone has to fall into the fire-and-brimstone line to be a winner. As Lebron and countless others showed, you’re not a winner until you are.

  22. Kobe: After 17 years, it is amazing to me how the same Kobe arguments are recycled time and time again. The arguments about him shooting too much, playing “me first” , and playing hero ball started last century – literally. They hit their peak in 2001, yet here we are in 2012 speaking about the same things. As a huge Kobe fan, I still get it the basic root of the Hater argument. That is: He is not Magic. No he isn’t and never will be – so stop hoping he will be, because he won’t. He eats first because he runs down the zebra, and kills it. By hoping he would be like Magic, you are walking up to the lion and asking him to share. Not happening. That said – KB is the farthest thing from being our problem. If the rest of the roster had 1/2 of his drive we would be on top of the league. Kobe has been this way (me first) for 17 years. We have been to the finals 7 times and won 5 rings during that time. At no time did he ever waiver from his always attack attitude. So how could anyone conclude that Kobe is the issue when this team has repeatedly won with KB playing his alpha role? Where we have not won yet is with Dwight playing the center position, we have also not won with AJ, Hill, and Meeks being are most important bench players, and last but definitely not least, we have not won with Mike D’Antoni as our coach. Logic would dictate that those areas could be more likely candidates for the cause of our issues, rather than KB who is a proven winner. Just like Magic is a proven winner, Just like Phil is a proven winner. However, since many of us have already torn down our images of those legends, some want to start early on Kobe, before he even retires. Got news for you – don’t even try – because people have been at it unsuccessfully for 17 years.

  23. Look, anyone with eyes knows that Kobe didn’t play good defense last night. But, doggone it, who relieves some of the pressure on him?! Who steps up to the plate when Kobe has an off night? There are very few games that Kobe starts off in attack mode. He usually distributes the ball until he sees that his offense is needed. And with this inconsistent group, his offense is needed a lot.

  24. Snoopy and Jerke

    Go back andvwatch last ,3 games Morris. His defense is terrible, getting beat on first moves by every PG. Nelson killed him. On offense he is unsure of where to go. Dribbles into trouble and shooting 25% recently. Duhon at least knows how to run the offense and gets offensive fouls and steals. Not even close and Duhon has hit open 3′s. Morris shooting 37% Avaraging as many assists as TO Duhon shooting 42% and averaging 5 to 1. Morris should get zero time and when Duhon is out it should be Meeks and Kobe. Team is in big trouble as Nash may take a while to be in playing condition.

    Must make move now and if they have to use Hill and Morris or Devin to find a real PG it better happen fast.

  25. Wow what a humiliating loss yesterday. So Howard is sensitive and can’t handle pressure. I’m not liking our playoff chances if we have to sit him because hes scared of the crowd.

  26. Being a leader is no popularity contest. Kobe understands that. Unfortunately, he’s not good at the carrot part, but right now the good cop is injured and cannot play his role.
    Things will change once Nash gets back, everything from on court chemistry to off court leadership dynamics. That’s when we’ll see what we’ve got. In the meantime, it’s becoming more and more obvious that Pau and Dwight can’t really share leadership with Kobe.

  27. There’s a learning curve for Morris. Many of the NBA’s pg’s he is playing against them for the first time in his career. No matter how much film you watch, nothing replicates game but on court action. Morris is essentially playing his rookie year against starters not bench players and he’s a late second round draft pick. He’s not doing badly. Duhon playing all of the minutes in the game is great way to utilize these two pg’s until Nash returns.

    When the Lakers blow teams out early, no one has to worry about the hack-Dwight method. When the Lakers are winning by 15-20 points the opposing coach does resort to this scheme.

    Forget the offense for a game I want to see the Lakers to a man lock down on defense. Defense is all about EFFORT, not skill.

  28. It’s not that kobe can’t play d it’s he roams carelessly and has for years. He half asses on that end while others are just bad. It’s a difference between the two. He should “adjust” and give 50-50 energy instead of 80 on offense 20 on defense. Leaders don’t always chastize teammates so get them going on the court. It’s one person everyone is looking too who’s been through this situation plenty. He keeps calling them out saying he’ll “kick everybody’s ass” they’ll tune him out.

    Not buying Dwight isn’t mentally tough he’s just a bad ft shooter like most centers are. Everybody knew that coming in. Get on dwight for not calling for the ball more wanting to dominate his man not a problem we all knew he had.

    Anybody know the difference the 5 yr deal and 4 yr deal lakers and mavs can offer dh at season’s end? If it’s close we better hope our season’s aspirations are reached.

  29. Reread my post ko – I’ve been saying since start of season Morris is a decent change of pace/defensive guard but not capable of running this offense and that duhon has been decent in stretches – but neither are anything more than 10-15 mins backups at most. Not their fault – they’re just not the right guys for what’s needed right now. Not apologising for their play – that’s just the reality. Unfortunately what’s on the unsigned market in bibby, boykins etc… Aint a step up. Plus even if lakers can release someone they can only offer prorated vet minimum. Could possibly trade hill and one of them, but I don’t know if that gets the pg situation appreciably better

  30. No way they coulda foreseen this, nor did sessions want to give up time – but shame they couldn’t have signed him to backup steve then released blake and duhon when the trade went thru. Sessions woulda been a reasonable stopgap for the time being, but I think he’s been pretty clear he didn’t want to play backup from what I remember

  31. I agree 100% with Robert. The system and the coaching is the biggest thing that stand out to me at this juncture. I am still not sure if Mike D’Antoni is the best coach/system for these Lakers. One of the best thing about Phil Jackson’s system and his coaching style was making best use of the diverse talent of an eclectic group of basketball players. His players didn’t all have to be the exact same kind of player to succeed in his system. Think of Dennis Rodman (all defense & rebounding but no offense), think of Derek Fisher (clutch player but rather limited in the talent department), think of Steve Kerr (lights out shooter but very limited athleticism). Phil Jackson would have loved the non-stop hustle of Jordan Hill (reminiscent of Rodman), the uber athleticism of Dwight Howard, the versatility of Pau Gasol (he already proved that with two rings) and shooting/playmaking of Steve Nash. He definitely would have found a way to make use of all these parts. Don’t forget, the Triangle was a system built for dominant post players. With Howard and Pau playing the post a majority of the time (Pau stepping into the C position when Howard’s on the bench, kinda what happened with Bynum and Pau during the 2009 & 2010 championship season) it would’ve ensured the inside outside tandem with Kobe and Nash in the perimeter. Basically, Phil’s system would’ve made good use of the talent we already have in this current Lakers squad.

    But that’s not happening. (Sigh)

    So, sticking to the present situation, what worries me is that Mike D’Antoni’s system requires players with a very very specific skill sets. You need athleticism. Lots of it. To make sure you’re flying up and down the court at all times against any opposition. Next, you need shooters. Lots of it. In every single position. Clearly, this Lakers team doesn’t quite fit those requirements. And so far, I haven’t seen anything that shows me that MDA is willing to tweak his system (or his ego) to make best use of what’s available. In yesterday’s Orlando game, I was stunned that he didn’t play Jordan Hill at all, even with Howard getting in foul trouble and Orlando doing the Hack-A-Howard. Why not bring back Pau again for Howard around the 5 min mark of the 4th quarter with Howard missing free throws almost every trip? What about Jodie Meeks playing less minutes after torching the Nuggets in his last game? Why not roll out more of that Duhon-Meeks-Kobe lineup at the 1, 2 and 3 more often (which would get Meeks all kinds of open shots)? Why not put Kobe in the post surrounded by Pau, Jamison, Meeks & Duhon (all capable shooters)? Kobe is one of the best post-up guards in the league and I don’t know who in the Magic team could’ve consistently stopped him from there without double teaming.

    I don’t know guys. Mike D’Antoni seems like a nice guy and I really hope he succeeds coz it’d be a shame to see Kobe’s final years go to waste. Let’s hope against hope for the future.

  32. I think its fair to say that D’antoni deserves 10 games at least before everyone starts declaring that he’s a horrible coach and totally unsuited for the job.

  33. I’m case you all forgot Dallas swept the Phil Jackson led Lakers. That train has moved on. If you look at the rosters that Phil won championships with I think you could put Mike Brown in place of him and he would have won at least six rings. My mother can coach Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Kobe, and Shaq. I hear people saying Pau led the Lakers to two championships…hogwash. If so why couldn’t he get Memphis to the playoffs? Pau was an add on to an already formidable team led by Kobe Bryant. Now that the Lakers really depend on him since trading Lamar,Trevor ,Shannon, And Derek Pau is a no show. Teams only do the Hack a Dwight when they are up or within a basket. Neither would be the case if this team played with pace and urgency instead of trying to fit Pau into the Point/power foward position. Big Baby played like an All Star last night. Pau seems to bring out the best in average power fowards.

  34. What worries me about D’Antoni’s system is that Steve Nash is the only pg that knows how to run it effectively. Hopefully, Nash will take Morris under his wing and teach him the intricacies of the offense when he gets back. What happens if Nash does not recover to a level of acceptance for Nash or the Lakers. Do we suffer through a season like New York did?

    This is far more of a concern to me than Dwight’s freethrows, Kobe’s defense or Pau’s inability to play strong.

  35. This comment yesterday from Yahoo based on Dwight talking to a Orlando writer asking about his re-signing with Lakers.

    At a point in the season where the Lakers have changed head coaches twice, posted bad losses that have overshadowed their moments of triumph, continue to operate without the one ball-distributing savant whom everyone seems to think might be able to bring balance to the Force (well, in the absence of that other one, at
    least) and have just been publicly called out by their leader and top star, their shiny new centerpiece says something that could be construed as looking for a way out of Dodge if things don’t improve.p and with the city burning and everyone just worrying about putting out
    the existing fires, the Howard quote reads like a suggestion that the eventual disaster relief and recovery funding will be slow in coming and not quite as robust as expected.

  36. @chearn – that’s a pretty reasonable question. I think blake would be alright for a short stint but it would be nice to have a legit pg w starting experience to back up Nash. If they do end up flipping Pau, one would hope they could possibly convert that into a good pg besides whatever they get – but that’s a tall order.

    Just noticed Sacre is getting a call up – that’s a little interesting to say the least

  37. Last 3 Laker wins

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201211200LAL.html
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201211240DAL.html
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201211300LAL.html

    Last 4 Laker losses

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201211210SAC.html
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201211230MEM.html
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201211270LAL.html
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/201212020LAL.html

    There’s a distinct difference in the wins and losses. And the energy level in wins and losses. When has the D’Antoni offense all thrive? When the ball is moving and everyone is a threat. When everyone gets equal opportunity Lakers play much better and have won.

  38. On the positive side – despite missing Nash – and being labled a team that doesn’t have enough outside shooting – lakers are a very respectable 7th in 3pt percentage.

  39. Jerke – OK let’s give D’Antoni ten games.

    THEN can I start trashing him? :0)

  40. “The main issue with Kobe right now is his D. He is slow laterally, and lazy with poor awareness off the ball. He is one of the biggest problems with the team D.”

    But that’s not a peripheral issue. Its like you are saying Kobe’s not an issue, he just has this one problem. But that problem is fairly significant. If we are calling out Pau for being “soft” and calling out Dwight for his free throws, then we can call out Kobe for his defense. And being that he is the leader and a 17 year vet his frequent laziness on defense is unacceptable.

    Its part of the overall problem. We can’t just overlook it because its Kobe. And yes, he will get more focus put on him. He is the leader of the team. That’s par for the course.

  41. Managing this team is a complex job. We fans often can only focus on one aspect of the team at one time. When we move on to another aspect we seem to forget how other things integrated into our previous position.

    I think this, along with a consistently unfriendly press – whom he didn’t like either – help explain 17yrs of Kobe hate. Another was that he was ‘daring’ to follow Michael Jordan. Another was that he threatened Shaq – and all sports writers need a story from Shaq – sooooo.

    All told, only a few bloggers seem capable of dealing with a genius superstar. Genius’ are notoriously hard to deal with, require patience to follow, and generally antagonize other, normal people. Some have a genius for their public persona – Magic and Michael Jordan – but even those have been shown to have clay feet over time.

    Incidentally, the complexity of the inner workings of this team is also beyond most of us. I am as frustrated as anyone on this blog, but I also recognize that it is on the defensive end that most of the ‘chemistry’ frustration shows itself. It is here that a player can choose to ‘take a little off’ and slide just a bit due to frustration. It doesn’t take more than this slight bit to cause a big problem at the skill level NBA professional players operate at.

    There is no really simple fix and we are likely to see good/bad cycling, but if the extremes lessen over time, I think that is the only comfort we will be able to draw.

  42. @r – lol. in reality he should be getting nash back + 10 games + a Pau with rested knees and an attitude adjustment before the pitchforks start coming out. But given the situation he’ll have to macguyer some wins and consistency out of this group over the next week or so. The Blake situation may be the tipping point where the fo decides to dump Pau at pennies on the dollar if it means getting enough talent back to keep things upright until they have a full team. Miami was 9-8 and made the finals and had nowhere this much adversity to start their season so until it’s clear they’re out of it, I’m happy to let D’Antoni do his thing having followed him in phoenix.

  43. Kobe’s USG% in wins – losses

    17.4 – 21.1
    30.6 – 34.1
    25.3 – 37.2
    33.2 – 35.0
    28.7 – 27.4 vs Spurs was a well played game in loss
    27.8 – 39.7
    25.5 – 38.9
    24.5 – 42.1
    Eight – 36.8

    I know it’s repetitive and wouldn’t be surprised if deleted. But I think we can see a trend. Those are extremely high usage for one player on a starless team let alone one with multiple. As the season has gone on losses piled up the usage in losses has gone up. Sometimes doing less can actually be doing more.

  44. Calling Sacre back to the Lakers might be a harbinger that Pau is going to get a few games off.

    What are the Lakers going to do now that Steve Blake is out for 6-8 weeks? I doubt that Morris and Duhon can hold the fort till mid-February.

  45. The Clippers are just so much better then the Lakers. They have 9 guys to score.. Even LO is looking really good right now. Rebounds, defense, going to the bucket.. Lakers are not in the same world as them in the effort department. Just beat Utah on home court down by 8 last 2 minutes. If it was Lakers Dwight would have missed 6 FT and Kobe would have shot 4 35 foot 3 pointer bricks.

    Clips made great moves. Lakers got problem guys or older. I am so
    sick and ashamed. Barnes, LO, Ronnie guys who knew how to play hard and win. How did this happen?

  46. Barnes stated last week when asked in an interview why he didn’t resign w Lakers he gave a two word answer: “Mike Brown”. He didn’t want to be here at that time under that coach.

    @chearn – my thoughts exactly – or Hill might be getting moved and they want the extra big body. As for the pg’s, thats a tougher q than what to do w Pau becuase there isn’t much out there that you could replace them with or bring in to help. Shame Baron Davis wasn’t healthy – him and Nash are great friends and could’ve easily split playing time the whole year. Boom Dizzle woulda been awesome on this team but he’s out the whole season rehabbing his knee:P

  47. Just reading all these comments really make me sick. This is the regular season that’s all I can say. The 2011 Heat started 9-8, we are 8-9 not bad at all. Patience is the key and I admire you Darius for having such an enormous amount of patience on these people.

    Lets watch tomorrow against Houston.

  48. @Jerke, you’re right BD would be awesome with the Lakers. I thought the Clippers made a mistake when they traded him. He and Griffin had chemistry. The thing about BD is he can throw the lob from virtually anywhere on the court. Dwight would have loved that.

  49. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSd4WZ72P9U

    Agreed Vhanz – but the link above should help push away the blues temporarily courtesy of Nash and BDizzle!

  50. Its like you are saying Kobe’s not an issue, he just has this one problem.

    No. I have said several times–and said even before the season–that D would be the biggest issue with the team, and it is. And Kobe is a big part of that problem.

    And therefore his USG is not nearly as big of an issue as the D, or as the other personnel problems the team has, no matter how many times you, Kevin, and Sid repeat yourselves. Note that Kevin ignores post after post about the rest of the team, and has not talked about anything other than Kobe all day, whereas other posts, including Darius’, have covered a wide range of issues, since the Lakers have many problems right now. Note that Sid’s entire long post revolved around Kobe, and ignored basically everything else.

    As the KBros have said, Kobe going into isomode is a chicken/egg thing, and it is complicated.

    Does Kobe shoot too much from deep sometimes? Sure. Is that the biggest issue with this team? Not even close. The Lakers gave up 40 points at home in the 4th quarter to a lottery team and got 1 stop on Orlando’s last 12 possessions. If you want to obsess on one aspect of the Orlando game, I would recommend that one.

  51. I miss Matt Barnes. Anybody else think the Lakers were too quick to show Ramon Sessions the door? Young and quick, two things we don’t have. The finger pointing has begun, this is going to be a rocky road. Just seems like a ship with no captain, from the management on down. Mike Brown? Mike D’Antoni? Really? Jim Buss? Who’s in charge here now that plan A has fallen apart?

  52. Sessions wouldn’t have stayed if he wasn’t getting the majority of the mins at pg – plus there wouldve been no way to pull off the trades etc… if he was still around though he woulda been nice to have at this point.

  53. Honestly, guys, Kobe is 34 years old with 17 years worth of mileage. He’s not the Kobe of his peak (even then he was on and off defensively) and definitely not Jordan at his peak.

    Currently he’s asked to score and facilitate. To add full-time defensive duties on top of that would be unreasonable. In a perfect world, teammates should shoulder some of the offensive and facilitating burden so Kobe can be relegated to defending more, like in the Olympics, or man up defensively enough so that we can ‘hide’ Kobe.

    Despite having Howard, it’s not happening. Should Kobe defend more? Sure, but at what cost? It’s moot to ask him to give his full attention to defense when there are other holes in our defense that will be taken advantage of. Especially when we don’t have anything on offense, especially late in the game.

  54. Rr: let’s have a discussion about the team. We know there old, slow and lack athletes. We know there 8-9 as a team and are significant problems across the board. Lakers have shown since d’antoni hiring they can win convincingly and lost convincingly. I think the way they play in those wins can be sustained. What say you?

  55. What, did I read playing Sacre and rest Pau!! The results would be atrocious than what happened last night when Ebanks replaced Hill. Sacre could not even play a decent 5 minutes before committing fouls or turnover.

  56. Going back to brown the princeton was fine. Offense had structure and used the starters well but he mainly failed to utilize the bench players to fit that system. Most notably jamison and meeks. That doomed him and the long practices.

    With d’antoni he has a style of play that must be played a certain way to maximize it. Pau at pf hurts but lakers have blown teams out with his poor performance with kobe playing pg. this team ignites it’s defense by playing together on offense as backwards as that is. I’m convinced if the ball moves on offense bodies will move on defense.

  57. Lakers are without nash so it’s not fair to put all the blame on one perimeter player because of lack of help. But we’ve seen this year without nash thia team click on all cylinders and it wasn’t a mirage. Lakers find a way to consiatently play like they did vs denver, dallas or houston the results will come. But it can’t be a game time decision to decide to play team ball.

  58. We all know every Laker fans are frustrated the way it is going..Compiling losses that can be a winnable ball games..Every game day so many adjustment made..Kobe is on its 17th season, wants to win now..Its a simple, go back to basics..win one game at time,,we all now they are future Hall of Fame superstar..everybody must be on the same page…

  59. the princeton had structure yes. it also marginalized Nash and took advantage of none of the skills he was brought in for, forced Ron to make too many decisions, was too complicated for Howard to pick up, and did nothing to maximize the overall talent of this team. D’Antonis system is based on movement and spacing not necessarily speed. pop has used some of the same principals with success and Spurs are not a slowdown team but now play very up pace and they’re just as old and experienced as the Lakers. It’s not the system – we’ve seen how good this team can be when they click offensively – and thats even wthout Nash. Converesly they’ve also played some decent defensive games vs the spurs and even the Grizz to keep themselves in it. Right now it’s mental issues that are doing them in. Mindset and focus have to be there every game. As Kobe said last night – “it’s not rocketscience – we just have to do our jobs”.

  60. Kevin–

    Well, thanks for asking. I will give my opinion. Here is Hollinger on the Lakers in chat today:

    The Lakers have $100 million budget, and they have pretty much every free agent in the league clamoring to play for them..,And yet, they have four good players and the rest of the team sucks.
    Meanwhile, the back end of the roster has been total crap for what, half a decade now? When does this become a story? Just wondering ….

    ____

    There is a little LakerHaterboy in that, as there is in most of what JH says about the team, and it is biased. But at the same time, I have said many times that Mitch has had trouble with the little things. Yet, he gets the big things right, and he did that again this offseason.

    But the problem is that the Lakers DON’T have four good players right now. They have 1.75, with Howard at .75 of what they need him to be. And the rest of the roster simply is not good enough to overcome that. The Lakers 5-10 are guys with 1 or 2 skills who could fit around a Howard/Bryant/Gasol/Nash core IF that core was rolling. Obviously, it isn’t.

    So, no, I don’t think the good games are sustainable, because I don’t think MWP and the bench guys are anywhere near being good enough to play well consistently, and with Nash hurting, Kobe roaming, Pau tanking, and Howard bricking, that is being exposed.

    To bring it back around: would they do better if Kobe cut his USG from 31 to 27 or so? Maybe. Maybe not. But Pau is shooting 42% from the floor, Howard is shooting 47% from the line, and the other guys are mostly incapable of creating their own shots.

  61. Rr: there are valid roster concerns in play and moving beyond that we’ve seen each player show a flash of greatness. The hard part is bottling that up and bringing it every night as a team. that starts with excerting your will on teams. That happens by playing your style of ball the whole 48. Some games lakers do that and wear opponents out coming from all angles firing on all cylinders. The style of play vs houston, dallas and denver we saw that. The 5 elite teams (sa, mia, okc, mem, lac) consistently play the same style every game win or lose. If lakers play the same style the wins will come and chemistry will build.

  62. Rr: there are valid roster concerns in play and moving beyond that we’ve seen each player show a flash of greatness. The hard part is bottling that up and bringing it every night as a team. that starts with excerting your will on teams. That happens by playing your style of ball the whole 48. Some games lakers do that and wear opponents out coming from all angles firing on all cylinders. The style of play vs houston, dallas and denver we saw that. The 5 elite teams (sa, mia, okc, mem, lac) consistently play the same style every game win or lose. If lakers play the same style the wins will come and chemistry will build. I agree with what you said about the roster and your post.

  63. With the number of games piling on MDA, he has yet to find a stride. One game we look like the perpetual champs, the next we’re the laughable chumps!

    The team has invested on 3 constants:
    1. Kobe Bryant
    2. Dwight Howard
    3. Mike D’ Antoni and Steve Nash

    It is my belief that getting MDA is largely due to Nash, maximizing him, making him happier… that in turn makes a happy Dwight Howard, he resigns … and in turn a championship that Kobe would not be complaining about. Ie effect, we have to understand our team’s constants so we can proceed with understanding the next set of moves.

    This in mind, I then conclude that:
    a. Jamison as a stretch 4 and Meeks as a spotter is guaranteed.
    b. Metta has been playing well as of late and would get MDA’s approval.
    c. Pau Gasol is out of place and therefore a deal is, by all accounts, imminent.
    d. Jordan Hill becomes the backup C when Pau moves.
    e. We cannot deal Steve Blake due to injury.
    f. We need a stretch 3/4 and more rebounders that can put the ball midrange.

    Our trade assets include:
    a. Pau Gasol
    b. Chris Duhon (expirer, must bring back another PG)
    c. Earl Clark (not much)
    d. Devin Ebanks (might get attention from other teams)
    e. Darius Johnson Odom + Robert Sacre

    If any team wishes to take a stab at Pau, I say we let them. Its our LAST piece of asset to make this team work.

  64. Are uppercase and lowercase kevin_ the same person? Either way- Those 4 teams that you mentioned do *not* play exactly the same way every single night. What I’m taking from you is that no one on those teams takes over when the offense isn’t clicking? That is completely and totally false. Every one of those teams has a player or players that will take over an offense at times and put their stamp on the game.
    SA- Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili
    MIA- Lebron, Dwade
    OKC- Durant, Westbrook
    Mem- Rudy Gay and Zack Randolph
    LAC- CP3, Caron Butler, and Jamal Crawford

    Every one of these guys will sometimes put the team on their back and take over a game when others are not hitting shots.

    For this Lakers team to be “hitting on all cylinders”, players have to make shots. Pau has to hit his wide open jumpers. MWP has to hit his wide open jumpers. Darius Morris has to hit his wide open jumpers. Meeks has to hit his wide open jumpers. Jamison has to hit his wide open jumpers. Dwight has to make at least 55-60% of his free throws.

    You and others on this board seem to always be making this point that Kobe hijacks the offense before it gets going, but that’s not what I see a majority of the time. When other guys on this team are missing all these shots is when you see Kobe go into hyper aggressive Mamba mode.

    The only reason that this team isn’t more consistent from night to night is that role players are not hitting their shots consistently. That and defense is not where it should be.

  65. 1/2decaf1/2regular December 4, 2012 at 8:30 am

    looks like lakers need a cheerleader on the road and sacre is back to full towel waving duties.. so expect to see lots more PT for hill and lots more rest for pau. we all know pau is not exactly the epitome of a road warrior so maybe some extended rest will do him and the lakers some good.

    and please dont start duhon over morris coach.. we dont need the return of linsanity!

  66. Joe ATL….

    I was very disappointed that Dwight played so passively against his former team. That was the one game where he should have come out jacked up and ready to dominate. Players have to find ways to motivate themselves.

  67. Oh no, the Lakers are 8-9, the world has ended.

    Nevermind that our PG’s right now are D-Leaguers, meant to play, at most 10-15 minutes per game, and both of our big men are injured (one recovering from, the other suffering from).

    Nevermind that MDA has only had a few games under his belt, and is figuring out his rotation (which we would rather do now, than say, in May).

    Nevermind that the contracts on the books all expire in 2014 (aside from Dwight this summer), so that next year if the Lakers really want to blow it up they at least have expiring contract to dangle.

    Let’s just blow it up now, so instead of rooting for a team who has ups and downs, we only have to watch a really terrible team (like the Bobcats). It so much more fun to be rooting for lottery picks, think of the potential!!! We could get a player like . . . Dwight Howard or Kobe Bryant.

    SMH. Time to get some perspective.

    The team is constructed in the same way as the Heat (the current champs and back to back finalists), just with a Big 4: 2 of them are hurt, and 1 of them isn’t back to being himself. And, like the heat, the rest are mediocre-below average players who can play in some games are are terrible in others (magic of the salary cap system).

    Maybe Pau wont recover and be an elite big man again after he works through the tendinitis.
    Maybe Steve Nash will come back and look like Gary Payton, circa 2004, and be no savior.
    May Dwight needs a full season to be Dwight again, because he didn’t do ANY physical activity for 6-8 months.

    Who knows.

    But downgrading talent for the sake of downgrading . . . the madness needs to stop.

  68. Cdog: We agree on your basic premise, which is that this is not a time to try to make major roster changes. Let’s wait until we see what we have with Nash, and see if rest helps Gasol and time helps DH. That said, I am amused by the “end of the world” comment. Obviously, this is basketball, so we are not talking about world peace or such, so does any of this matter? Really? – no. However this is a Lakers blog and we are zealots, so yes – it could be the end of the world : ) Or more accurately the end of the season. Again it is all about perspective. If somebody is OK with a reasonably entertaining team, that will make the playoffs, and maybe get ousted in the second round – then all is well. If however somebody (like me) came into the year with title hopes, then those hopes are being questioned now by the Lakers results. Now again – I agree – let’s not start making panic trades – however this is a basketball blog and I believe that questioning our talent level as many have (I still say we have a great roster), questioning the players (all the Gasol bashing and KB defense questions), and of course questioning the coach (as I like to do) is warranted. If I were a Laker coach or a Laker cheerleader I would not do this, and I would just bark the party line that the year has been tough and we are hoping for the best. As it is I am almost saying that: What I am saying is – The year has been tough; I have seen nothing from D’Antoni thus far, and I am hoping for the best. So I am just a few words away from being a perfect soldier : )

  69. Pau Gasol will not play tonight tendinitis in both knees , Jamison and Duhon will start per Dave McMenamin.

  70. One problem the the Lakers have, as many of us talked about in preseason, is the depth and balance of the West. The Lakers have already lost to Portland and Sacramento, and they lost a home game on Sunday to an Eastern Conference lottery team. Tonight’s opponent, Houston, is 8-8, has won 5 consecutive home games, and has rebuilt into a decent team, with some young, improving players in Parsons, Patterson, and Asik, and a now a go-to scorer in Harden and a decent PG in Lin. And Houston could easily be a lottery team in this year’s West.

    The Lakers team that most people envisioned would still be better than these teams, but as we are seeing, the margin of error is very thin. Basically all opponents that the Lakers face will be better, younger, and quicker than they are 5-10–and Robert, that would be true if Phil were the coach. D’Antoni seems to be this year’s hobby horse for you, (5-7 mentions in the last two days) but the decision has been made and the Lakers were planning on winning games at the top of the roster. If they don’t get more out of Pau, and Howard and Nash doesn’t come back near 100%, nothing else will matter or would have helped. Phil might have gotten more out of Pau, but I don’t see any edge for him with Nash (obviously) and probably Howard.

    That said, as to what to do/what should happen.

    1. I think the FO needs to try to bring in a PG. Not sure how or who, but they need to look at FAs, DLeaguers, and end-of-roster guys on other teams. I suspect that they CAN find a guy who is better than Duhon and Morris if they try, and they need to try.
    2. They need to decide how to deal with Pau. There are no trading partners right now that I can see, so they need to decide if they want to sit him a few games to rest up, if they want to bring him off the bench, if they want to have him down low some with Howard up high, and D’Antoni needs to look at different ways to use him.
    3. They either need to move Hill for a guy MDA will play or MDA needs to play him 10-15 MPG.
    3a. MDA needs to use Meeks 20-25 MPG and decide if he wants to play Ebanks a little or just have Kobe go heavy minutes and play some 3.
    4. Everybody, starting with Buss, Kupchak, D’Antoni, and Kobe, needs to focus on making Howard feel comfortable, better, getting the most out of him etc. Howard is essentially being recruited and the team is an ugly mess. And everybody needs to focus on defense.

  71. Also, a lot of us complained in 2010, 2011 and 2012, about Phil and then Brown overworking Pau–it may be that the bill for that has come due.

  72. rr: All of our issues are not due to Mike D’Antoni. I and many others said this was a great roster pre-season. You and most of the rest said it was a very good roster. Everyone thought we were in the top 3-4 teams in the league. That still could be true, but as you are pointing out, it does not look that way now. If we were all completely wrong and this team was a middle of the pack team, then no coach could take that and win a title. However a not so good coach can easily take a top 3 team and make them a middle of the pack team. So there are 2 possibilities: The roster is not so good and we were all wrong (me more so than you), or with better systems and coaching, we could become a top team. I have not given up on the second possibility and I guess that makes me an optimist : ) So since we need better systems and coaching to have any shot – that falls on you know who.

  73. I say rest Pau. If Jamison/Hill work out really well in replacing his minutes, then consideration can be given to having him come off the bench or trade him, although it seems unlikely that they will be able to get anywhere close to equal value without taking on long-term contracts. If Jamison/Hill don’t work out well as his replacement, then at least you’ve got a healthy Pau.
    As long as they get into the playoffs, a healthy 1-5 is significantly more important than their seeding.

    Do they need to get Stern’s OK before giving Gasol a few games off?

  74. guys: playing gangnam style under coach d on the surface may seem all warm and fuzzy, but like the front office, what do i know?

    patience and time is a recurring theme when losses begin to outnumber the victories. question on everyone’s mind: did the front office make a hasty choice in coach d’s hiring? there are pros and cons to all issues when weighing specific factors such as coaching philosophy, coaching styles, player personality, player style and capabilities. what we got here is a mixed bag and so far it ain’t working, much like when playing for coach brown.

    what to do? what to do? what to do? we can begin by praying that old legs can survive an nba season let alone an nba game from start to finish. we can continue to pray that young minds can grasp the coaching philosophies of the current coach. and we can hope upon pray that these things will somehow find their way. if not, we’re in for a long season.

    to be sure, the front office has taken all this into consideration and rather than lament and weep in sorrow, they will stay the course enabling themselves to seek solutions that will be mindful of laker nation as we know it. and what is it that we know? we only know nba championships. now get out there and get back to work because the work so far needs to be reworked.

    Go Lakers

  75. Also – many on this board have directly stated that Phil’s only talent was to choose which players he was willing to coach. Forget the fact that MJ and Kobe have won zero titles without him. To some on this board Phil has no coaching ability, and can only pick ready made championship rosters. Well – he picked this roster. And so did I. And so did much of this board. And so did much of the press. We could all be wrong – but I am not there yet. Like I said – I am an optimist : )

  76. Robert,

    I don’t think either of us (or anyone else) was really “wrong.” My diff with you is that I think Miami, with the addition of Ray Allen, with Wade still very good at 31, and with James and Bosh in their primes, remained the favorite, even after the Nash and Howard deals.

    Recall what Mitch said in preseason: “I wish they were all 22.” This was and still is perhaps a POTENTIALLY awesome team, but that was predicated on the idea that Nash, Kobe, Howard and Pau would play 65-80 games apiece at more or less their established levels, in spite of age and injury concerns. If they were doing that, the Lakers would be about 12-5 or 13-4 right now, we would not be having this conversation, and the worries about the bench would be confined to worries about how it might affect potential series with OKC, SA, MEM, and LAC. Those top of the roster issues don’t have much to do with Brown or D’Antoni; but, as noted, *Phil* and Brown had a bad habit of playing Pau too much, which may be hurting him now. Where I think you are wrong, however, is the daily “D’Antoni hasn’t shown me anything” snark. He has shown that he can get something out of Jamison and Meeks, which was a big issue for Brown, and that he can get the team to score. He has not shown that he can get anything out of Pau (partly his fault, partly Pau’s fault, and partly no one’s fault) and that he can get the team to defend better, which are both big issues (the team defended best, actually, with Bickerstaff).

    So, I think the idea that “this is a great roster” is a bit misleading. It was and maybe still is a potentially a great CORE, with filler guys that could, if used right, complement that core. But the core is in tatters right now.

  77. Kobe’s career window is closing down, so they are rushing to try and get a ring NOW. Problem is that you cannot force chemistry, or build a completely new system with that approach. It causes injuries, breakdowns, and stifles development.

    That is the reason he will be an albatross for this team until he retires. Too much pressure not enough time.

    It takes so many things to go right to win a ring. Developing Good habits is #1. The Lakers have really bad habits. They have had them for years,

    Then there is injuries and age. This is a very narrow margin for the Lakers since they are so dependant on aged stars.

    Defense is paramount. Chemistry and committment to one another and a system is crucial.

    The Lakers don’t have any of this going for them. Their talent allows them to occasionally dominate some games against average teams. I think this will probably continue.

    The Lakers approach is wrong.

    The only reason Miami was able to pull things together in such a short amount of time is because there defense is nasty, Lebron James had one of the best NBA seasons of all time, and they had the whole world against them in a way that no other team has ever experienced(which bonded them).

  78. http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/8709159/pau-gasol-los-angeles-lakers-tuesday-houston-rockets-tendinitis-knees

    Pau to sit indefinetly to rest knees. JHill will get a chance – though Mike D’s words regarding Hill playing more sound like more of a warning that he better take advantage of the opporutnity this time or it might not last. Soudns like Mitch has made it clear to Pau’s reps as well that he has to make an effort to fit in or they will trade him.