Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  December 12, 2012

I am not quite sure what to write about this Lakers team. I don’t want to be an alarmist and in fact, I don’t feel like one. I don’t feel like ranting and I don’t feel like trying to put a positive spin on things either. A smart man once told me to look in the window if I wanted answers. In other words, the best way to objectively and dispassionately observe, is to pretend that you are walking past a window. You stop and witness the situation at hand. Don’t try to spin what you see – you are only watching events unfold.

The Lakers have had a rough start. They have dealt with injuries, system uncertainty, coaching changes, more injuries and more system uncertainty. They aren’t quite treading water, they’re actually drifting backwards. They are losing more than they are winning, against good teams and against not so good teams. They haven’t had a particularly tough schedule, except that they have made it a tough schedule. They are a team of battle-tested veterans who have faced every imaginable adversity and challenge over their long collective careers. As a team, they are letting their season slowly slip away.

From ESPN.GO, Magic Johnson talks to reporters about the Lakers.

Jovan Buha for ESPN Lakers Index, offering the rapid reaction for last night’s loss.

Mike Bresnahan from the LA Times writes about last night, and the fall to 12th place in the west.

From Kevin Ding at the OCRegister; Kobe Bryant says this is his most challenging stretch of basketball in 17 years.

From Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie, Coach D’Antoni gets testy with T.J. Simers.

It is only fair to include T.J. Simer’s response.

Mark Medina at the L.A. Daily News reports that Mitch Kupchak is trying to show patience.

From TrueHoop researcher John Fisher, The Lakers are 1 and 10 when Kobe scores 30 or more this season,

Drew Garrison at Silver Screen and Roll mentions the Lakers’ apparent interest in Delonte West.

Arielle Moyal at Lakers Nation writes about the importance of Nash, plus recaps and rumors.

***

Steve Nash may not yet be playing basketball but he is a member of a basketball team. He is known as a leader. He attends practices, he talks to his teammates, he makes suggestions. He is a smart guy. Pau Gasol is a smart guy. Kobe is a smart guy. Dwight is a smart guy. And there are other bright, experienced, intuitive players on this team as well. They know what they are doing wrong, and they will readily admit and explain what they are doing wrong. And there are moments when they correct their mistakes and there are moments when they play like they should. Until they don’t. Steve Nash will be back at some point and Pau Gasol will be back at some point. And the team’s fortunes may turn around. As a fan, I hope that’s the case. I hope the Lakers turn the page, and find another storyline.

Dave Murphy

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11 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. I said it was a no brainer for the Lakers to sign Delonte West before the season and I’m glad the FO is coming around. Even when Nash comes back the Lakers still need Delonte to back him up.

  2. Delonte > 0

  3. From the last post:
    Tra, aka, T Rogers, Jerke-

    So everyone not named Kobe is 15-47 and he needs to shoot less and move the ball for more shots? When we blew out Dallas and the Nuggets it was because players were *making* their wide open shots! I said as much then while it was happening. This team needs its players to make their shots. Nash might cut down on the turnovers which will limit the opposition to less fast break opportunities, but that doesn’t change the fact that other players are simply missing wide open shots. Jamison and Meeks were 2-10 on 3 pointers last night. How did they shoot in the Dallas win? If you want to blame Kobe for something, then point out his poor defense. (which was fairly decent last night) His shooting this year is not the problem because no one else can hit anything. When they *do* hit shots take a look at his assists. For the most part, it’s not that he doesn’t pass to other players, it’s that they either make them or miss them.

    And yes let’s give Delonte a try. Gotta try something with this team.

  4. One quibble: the Lakers aren’t letting the season slowly slip away. It’s running away at a full out sprint right now.

  5. How many parole officers do we have to clear West’s signing with first? There’s a reason he’s not on a team right now. We just need to wait and grit it out. The Steves should be back some time around the return of Mad Men to AMC in 2025.

  6. @kenoak – I’m not bagging on Kobe – none of this is his fault. He’s just not a creator and when he has the ball too much, everyone just stands around and watches. He can setup up guys for a game or two but he knows that’s not his game either. Giving the ball to him in iso is the most predictable play in the book and he routinely had double teams etc.. He’s just doing what he knows – unfortunately this team needs facilitaors more than a 30pt scorer. Right now w the injuries, Kobe is damned if he does/doesnt on offense and I don’t necessarily blame him for that – you know he’s that sort of beast.

    That being said, his defense has seen better days.

  7. KenOak,

    I responded on the last thread. But to summarize my response:

    Keep passing the ball even when guys aren’t making shots. The team’s chances are better taking that approach. Kobe going solo is an automatic loss these days. Are the Lakers the only “competitive” team in the league that scraps their entire offensive system mid-game because players miss some shots? What happened to letting them play through it? Wouldn’t that actually help build some consistency?

  8. Reasoned piece from Ric bucher here –

    “For those wondering why the Lakers’ coaching change has had no impact on the team’s fortunes, one big reason is,

    according to sources, that an ill Dr. Jerry Buss ordered the firing, posthaste, from his hospital bed, without concern about who might replace him. The move, hasty and unplanned as it might be, was apparently supported by voices outside the organization who thought it would open the door for Phil Jackson to return. But no one in the front office intended to move on Brown that quickly and, thus, no succession plan was in place. They were in full scramble mode. Teams usually consider their team’s health and the schedule and make a coaching change at optimal times — lots of winnable home games, lots of practice time, coinciding with a star returning to the floor — to make the change look like it provided a solution and aid in getting the players to buy into the new system. Instead, the Lakers made the move at the worst time. Interim Bernie Bickerstaff got the benefit of an easy homestand (4 games in 8 days), whereas the Lakers have not had more than one day between games at home since Mike D’Antoni took to the bench and won’t until after they return from the current trip next week. Steve Nash has yet to play since D’Antoni came on board and Pau Gasol, already dinged up, limped through seven games before shutting it down. When I look at the circumstances, the Lakers’ problems aren’t about D’Antoni’s system or Pau not playing in the post or Jim Buss not wanting to re-hire Phil. This is about oversized expectations not being instantly met and an ill-timed panic move that was supposed to magically make everything better. Panic moves rarely do.”

    Thats pretty much it in a nutshell.

  9. @Mike – you’re probably right but the ‘slowly slip away’ looked better on the page, haha.

    @Jerke – thanks for posting that – interesting stuff.

  10. Sorry, I mean’t to post this here.

    Dwight Howard is not yet healed, so he is having problems holding onto the ball. The back is intricate and effects every limb adversely until it is at optimum strength.

    Howard’s butter fingers are in direct correlation to his back not being at full peak. Add to the fact, as another poster stated, that donning a Lakers uniform is not easy and wrought with underlying adversity.

    I have touted forever that playing for the Lakers is far different than playing for any other team in the league. Few players are capable of playing at a level of excellence in the uniform of the Los Angeles Lakers. Klieg lights shine brightly upon the Lakers, is it any wonder that players can shoot and score on other teams, but when they join the Lakers they can’t throw a pea in the ocean.

    One positive about Phil Jackson is that players have to stay with the team 2-3 years in order to learn the system and as an aside they learn to play on the Lakers. Derek Fisher was always able to handle the pressure of wearing the uniform, although his skills became prohibitive to him staying with the Lakers.

  11. First of all, it’s my contention that there are players who are trying to accomplish too much. Kobe tries to put too much on his back (not any different from past seasons). He forgets when he’s the distributor he plays a much more controlled game and the others benefit as well. We have all noticed when Kobe is shooting more not only is his shooting percentage dips and the team generally loses. What’s more disconcerting is his lack of urgency on defense especially when he misses a shot and tries to engage the refs makes the Lakers vulnerable to transition baskets. There are a few other bad habits I’ve noticed but that’s for another post.

    Whereas Howard has been very good about getting back, he tends to try to block every shot near the basket. What usually happens is that the off-side forward doesn’t rotate to the lane and as we’ve seen layup after layup or a upsurge in opposition offensive rebounds. Then there’s the situation that once Dwight gets the ball he tends to go to the basket and doesn’t look for the dish to others. Essentially he’s stopping the ball and triggers the defense to sag without worrying about the perimeter.

    The upshoot is that the team tends to recognize Kobe and Dwight as the prime targets and look only to get their approval by feeding them the ball. In most cases once they pass they end up watching rather than seeking offensive rebounds or getting to open spots on the floor. Finally I blame this on the coaching who seem not to want to ruffle the feathers of the superstars. They know better but are afraid to alienate themselves.