The Wizards Prevent The Lakers From Reaching New Low

Phillip Barnett —  December 14, 2012

Tonight was a strange one in Washington, if for no other reason than the fact that the Lakers struggled to close out an awful Wizards team. Jodie Meeks had his best night as a Laker and Cartier Martin was added to the long list of career nights from obscure ball players with is 21 and eight performance which included five three pointers. Meeks started a little slow, blowing a wide open layup in transition, but found his rhythm and shot the ball incredibly well. He was four-for-five on corner threes and hit a fade away from the left wing with the shot clock winding down to open the fourth quarter on a shot that he normally wouldn’t have taken without the confidence. He was also able to get to the rim a few times. He had two transition layups after Wizard turnovers. He also dove from the weak side with Kobe posting up 15-feet away. With Kobe drawing so much attention, Meeks was unbothered as he cut and was able to finish with an easy basket.

Kobe’s night was also an interesting one. He’s been moving in and out of what we can consider a point guard roll, and tonight he did a decent job facilitating. He finished with seven assists, but had countless other passes that led to wide open jump shots and attempts around the rim (Howard was fouled on a couple of those, and of course, the missed Meeks layup). On the other hand, however, Kobe took a lot of shot tonight. And a lot of them were unwarranted, low percentage shots. Bean finished with 30 points, but it took 29 attempts to get him there, which resulted in this heinous shot chart.

Kobe shot chart

Kobe was brilliant from 7-15 feet on the night, but everything beyond that was horrendous. Bryant has been suffering through back spasms, which may be the reason why his shot has been off. Whatever the case, his insistence on jacking up shots was both a gift and a curse for the Lakers tonight. The offense seemed to go into a stand still for long stretches, especially in the fourth where it seemed Bryant was intent on getting to 30. As a result, Dwight Howard didn’t see the ball in the paint for long stretches, and other guys weren’t able to benefit from his kick out passes that have led to open jump shots. Howard only finished with eight shot attempts and 12 points on the night in 32 minutes (foul trouble kept him out for some stretches), but he did finish with 14 rebounds.

D’Antoni also continued to play with lineups on the night. In the first quarter, eight guys saw time on the floor, including Robert Sacre who made the most of his minutes. He only finished with four points and four rebounds, but he played a bit better than he did against New York and proved that he can be more than just a body off the bench. One of his buckets came after an offensive rebound that he turned into a dunk. His other was on a baseline fade away — something that we hadn’t seen from him in any of his garbage minutes or preseason. Sacre only got extended minutes because Hill was down with back spasms, but it was nice to see him come in and play his role well and not hurt the team in the process.

Overall, a six point win over the Washington Wizards wasn’t the most encouraging victory we’ve ever seen, but it was definitely needed nonetheless. Winning streaks have to start somewhere, and if you can’t get one started against the Wizards, you’re in for a very long season. Like much of every game this season, the Lakers issues on the defensive end of the floor still persisted and they had some untimely turnovers, but tonight, I’d rather ignore those issues just enjoy the win. It had been a while.

Phillip Barnett

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90 responses to The Wizards Prevent The Lakers From Reaching New Low

  1. One thing I noticed the last couple of games. When did Dwight decide that a turnaround mid range bank shot is one of his go to moves?

  2. Dave McMenamin ?@mcten via twitter

    What possible explanation could D’Antoni have had for playing a back-spasm Kobe 88 mins over a back-to-back? … http://sulia.com/my_thoughts/0bd4c64e-8e7f-4a62-86b2-1e739d0697e8/?source=twitter

    What possible explanation could D’Antoni have had for playing a back-spasm Kobe 88 mins over a back-to-back? …

    “Part of it is because he’s good,” D’Antoni said after Bryant scored a game-high 30 points but shot just 9-for-29 in doing so. “He said he wasn’t even close to being tired and I told him that they’ll put a statue of him at Staples but it might literally be me riding him to death. So, they might just take him off the floor and bronze him right there. So be it. We need a win. We’ll figure out the rest of the stuff. We do have to watch his minutes as we go, but as soon as we get some guys back we can watch his minutes hopefully. I’m not promising anything.”

    Just the truth of the situation and hole they find themselves in – can’t admonish the coaching staff for wanting to win and try to stay in games when Kobe is the only real guy you have. Unfortunately you can’t have it both ways – either the team tries its damndest to win some games while Nash, Gasol, Howard recover or you write off the season until that time and save Kobes legs. At least once they’re back and healthy – there will be games where MDA can sit Kobe or certainly play him less. If a team of Nash, Gasol, and Howard can’t win games w/o Kobes help – then this team had no chance to begin with anyways.

    Also via @mcten

    Mike D’Antoni explained why he won’t be scrapping the offense anytime soon to appease Dwight w/ post touches …

    “If we run our offense right, he will get plenty of opportunities and he should get them,” D’Antoni said before the Lakers game against the Washington Wizards on Friday. “He should be involved in every play. But when you start pinpointing things and you go to it, I think that’s when you get in trouble. We need that flow. We need to have a tempo on offense.

    “You need, we told them today, ‘You need to play the 16-18 seconds of Laker Basketball. Laker Basketball is this: A,B, C …’ Then after that, yeah, we got guys on the team that when we need a shot, throw it to them and they produce a shot. But we cannot pinpoint, ‘OK, this time we’re going to go here and do this and next time we’re going to …’. It’s a flow. And every good offense, it’s a rhythm.

    “Our rhythm is off-beat right now. It’s like we got two left shoes trying to dance. It’s not good. It’s hurting our defense. It’s hurting our overall spirit and it’s something that we got to solve hopefully tonight, but soon.”

    Dwight sure hasn’t shown he can do any consistent damage downlow anyways – until he does something about the brutal turnovers, poor passing out of double teams, and ball stopping iso moves there is no sense force feeding him the ball simply to get him touches. He hasn’t earned that yet.

  3. Thanks Phillip for pointing out the obvious. Shooting 30% while the remaining starters were 50% or better is NOT smart basketball. Gotten to the point that Dwight now would rather shoot 15 foot clunkers bank shots then give up the ball.

    Funny because last night after the game he said he was going to change and become a point guard and set up his team. That lasted 5 minutes. Lakers will not beat many good teams with this method. It
    appears Mike clearly dosen’t have the backbone to manage Kobe.

    Yes this was a win, aganist a bad team. But watching Kobe shoot 29 times while Meeks, Metta, Dwight were shooting over 50% shows me a much deeper issue then losing.

  4. Does limiting Kobe’s minutes really matter anymore? That only matters in a world where the Lakers are assured a playoff spot and a deep playoff run. The Lakers basically need to win two out of every three games from here on. And the toughest part of the schedule hasn’t even been played yet. I can’t see Kobe’s minutes going down significantly anytime soon.

    This is the quandary the Lakers are now in.

  5. Right now, team plays like the bottom 5 of the league. Haven’t witnessed such a face fall of a team. Steve Nash is an automatic league MVP he can somehow turn around the team’s fate. Looking forward to a player signing in the coming days. Lakers can’t afford to fall any deeper.
    For the first time ever I feel the pain of the fans of those so many teams who struggle to make the playoffs every season, considering i’m a young fan. We are just too spoilt. Oh my, this ain’t even a roller coaster ride, it’s a freaking free fall!

  6. Happy for the win!! But cmon 9-29?! U gotta be kidding me..I’d like to see a stretch of games where Dwight takes 25-35 shots or even Gasol for that matter..U know , just to see what are record might be during that stretch?! I got mad respect for Kobe but the whole 1on 5 thing just isn’t working .. There is no I in team..Pretty simple concept and I know Kobe is better than this.. Or atleast I hope he is!!

  7. I don’t draw hope from the lakers being slightly better than the wizards.i want them to be able to pick on someone their own size.

  8. @joe atlanta. We won 5 championships despite that kobe-hero approach and not because of that approach. For a fan hoping for kobe to change his way is based on a valid grounds though we all know its a tall order, and this doesnt mean its a discredit to what kobe had accomplished.

  9. Well I guess only Joe Atlanta is really watching games,smh..
    Just look at Kobe’s +/- stat for the game.For 4 minutes he was out they were nearly swept off the floor.

  10. I dont see how Howard could get 25 shots a game when he is having such butterfingers this season, i chalk that up to him not 100% there yet, its obvious he is not at full strenght yet, we won but it wasnt a good win, all the issues remain, the only good thing i can gather from this dark December days is that we could have a deep bench once we get everybody back, i think this team will hit this stride eventually but not just yet, the absence of Nash its been lethal and to those people that say that Nash return wont change much, consider this, Last season Nash took a pretty bad Suns team almost to the playoffs basicaly by himself, this season he will have more talent around and not the burden of having to carry a team if he can make martin freaking gortat look like a star imagine with this roster, once he start running the team like its meant to be the defense will pick up exponentially, yes i know he cant guard.but his running of the team will round this team into form the Lakers will never be a defensive machine but they will make stops and thats all that i ask, this team coming January and February will be a diferent animal

  11. Been a die hard Laker fan for 30yrs..And yes I watch just abov every game..Believe me I put very little stock into what the media has to say!!Kobe is one of my favorite players but I don’t feel the need for hi to jack up 25?shots a game consistently..Like any team the Lake-show is at there best when the ball flows and the ball just hasn’t been flowing!!U know I was kiddinabout Dwight taking 25shots a game ?!But cmon guys been averaging 10or less shots a game for most of the season and that just isn’ t enough..The few games
    he has gotten 15?shots?a nice number I might add ?we’ve dominated.. And believe me I’m very aware of the fact he’s no Shaq but he is the closest thing since ..So in conclusion , I would just like to see more team ball cuz it’s truly is a thing of beauty to watch the Lake-show dominate as I’m sure they will once Nash returns!!

  12. Magic man ithe main thing is that even with Dwight getting all those touches we dont have the consistent 3point shooting to carpet bomb teams into oblivion he gets the ball inside he get swarmed by 2 or 3 defenders and most of the times he kick the ball out what we hear is a clang shortly after, that will fix itself in part once Nash but we need more from Meeks( great game), Jamison and even Blake whenever he gets back. When they start making teams pay from beyond the arc that will free Howard and let him go to work i warch all the games too so you must have noticed that Howard best offensive games have come hand to hand with good long distance shooting. And he is not a 100% tet it is painfully obvious.

  13. Kobe’s minutes and the number of long, contested shots that he takes will go down some if Nash and Gasol actually come back and are more or less themselves when they do. The Lakers don’t have anyone else on the roster who can create shots and no PG who can run the offense. Duhon would have been OK as a backup in the Triangle; as a starter in SSOL, he’s a joke.

    That said, Kobe needs to shoot fewer long jumpers, and I am sure it bothers Howard that Kobe got 29 shots and he got 8.

  14. I watched the game as a Laker fan–hoping for a win–but, quirky as we can sometimes become, I began to sympathize with the Wiz. As the game wore down, I got the impression that our Laker announcers were getting quirky themselves, commenting on bad referee calls (like the mystical 3 point attempt Kobe bailout foul) that went against the Wiz and ultimately cost them the game.

    A further quirkiness ensued when it became apparent that the majority of the so called “home” crowd wanted the Lakers to hold on and win–or were they merely cheering “Meadow Lark” Bryant tricks against the hopeless home team Washington Generals? Who knows?

    A quirky confession: I felt more sorry for the Wiz losing than the Lakers winning.

  15. Well is fair to say that the crowd there went to see the Lakers,they know the Wiz are bad.

  16. Pau talked to McMenamin about a “timetable.” Based on what he said, my guess is that both Pau and Nash will try to play on Christmas against New York.

  17. I agree that 29 shots is way too many for Kobe and Dwight needs to get the ball more on offense, however, look at Kobe’s +/- for the season. It is ridiculous. Not counting this game where he was +17 (the highest on the team) he is +7 per 48 minutes and the team is -13 per 48 minutes without him. He needs to do a better job getting Dwight involved and cut down on some of the long 2′s, but the only reason the Lakers have even won 10 games is because of Kobe. I’m getting sick of people blaming Kobe for the Lakers struggles because judging by any metric he is clearly not the problem. Check out his on vs off the floor stats below. They are seriously insane.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/52523/better-right-now-kobe-or-carmelo

  18. Yeah – the team has been playing so bad as of late you’d think that four of their top 8 guys are missing.

  19. Kobe is definitely not the main problem; he just takes too many long jumpers sometimes.

    Basically, except for Washington and maybe Toronto, pretty much every team in the league is better 5-9 than the Lakers are, and those guys are getting exposed with heavy minutes. So guys who are a weak 5-9 crew are, at the moment, 3-7. As Darius said in preseason, the Lakers’ bench is comprised of guys who do 1-2 specific things designed to complement the core. With the core at less than half-speed, the Lakers just aren’t a very good team due to the players they are using and how they have to use them.

    I watched some of New Orleans and Minnesota last night, and it was easy to see this, even with Minnesota missing Rubio and New Orleans missing Gordon.

  20. That 3 point attempt foul was legit,even Washington announcers confessed after seeing the replay.

  21. For those whining about Kobe – right now the Lakers are literally asking him to do everything. You are asking a scoring first shooting guard (one of the best of all time) to become a Rondo/CP3 style point guard because those guys look real good on TV. But that’s not Kobe’s game as much as playing Pau outside the 3 point line isn’t his game. They are also playing him 40+ minutes on back-to-back’s with back spasms. I don’t understand how the guy doesn’t get a break from him own fans.

    Even with Nash back, however – the Lakers need to find a 3rd player who can adequately run a pick and roll. Duhon can shoot, but he can’t really play; and I am hoping that the Darius Morris project is now over. And though I like Meeks a lot – he hustles, is a good shooter, and while he can be overmatched defensively, he not always a full negative. But he struggles with his handle.

    Dwight has historically been a beast on the P&R but right now he isn’t getting the ball in good spots. Thats why I think Dwight is starting to fade a little bit. He needs to be involved in more P&R’s and more dives to the basket (they way they use Chandler in NY), than so much of this slow post up stuff where his back I am sure is just getting hammered.

  22. I’m glad to see no one who has responded so far was actually happy or even satisfied the Lakers won last night by 6 points over the worst team in the league. For me it was basically a sense of relief. Maybe reality is starting to set in across Laker Nation. Expectations are slowly being lower. Favorite to win the title? Haven’t heard that lately. Best record in the league? Unrealistic from the start. Top 4 spot in the Western Conf? Only a dwindling minority truly feels the Lakers can beat out the Spurs, Thunder, Clips, or Grizz for one of the top spots in the West. Make the playoffs? This is where a lot of us are right now. Even as the Warriors & T’ Wolves are improving, and the Mavs prepare for Dirk’s return. Hoping our team can become relevant this season, making the playoffs and attempting to prove they don’t need home court to win in the post-season.

    Next stop on the road to feeling good about our team: Philly. How I would have loved to see Bynum playing :-(

  23. KB’s Minutes: JayZ – while I agree that this is going to be way too hard on KB and may show up with wear/tear later on in the season, MD really has no choice. Between the back tightening reason, and the fact that we will simply get creamed without him out there most of the time, the huge minutes will be required. rr/Jerke: See I can defend MD on certain things : )
    KB Shots: He had a bad shooting game – no doubt. I am very puzzled by our offense, to the point where I am totally unclear what we are trying to do. DH gets the ball in positions that are often out of his wheelhouse; MWP has become a one man isolation machine all his own – the ball goes to him and he either shoots a 3 or takes his man to the whole (effectively last night); and Meeks, Jamison, Duhon, et al, just seem unclear where to be on the floor. This leaves KB often times with the ball with 10 on the clock and he of course is happy to oblige (and I love watching it).

  24. Kobe, Metta, Howard have all played just fine!

    A lot of us on this board were talking about Dwight not playing until January and he’s played every game! Anybody think the team would have been better at this stage if Dwight hadn’t played at all? Better yet, anybody think we’d be better off if we kept Bynum who hasn’t played a minute of basketball this season and probably won’t play anytime soon?

    The expectations for the season were based on having all of the components firing at the same time. Everybody knew that if this veteran team encountered injuries or setbacks it was going to be tough slogging. So? That’s where were at for the time being.

    We’re alternating between two point guards who under normal circumstances probably wouldn’t even be in the league. We don’t have a power forward and it’s quite possible that Pau won’t be the answer there, healthy or not.

    The bench has shown some moments of good play but the inconsistent minutes and shifting lineups have made it very difficult for them to get into any kind of a predictable groove.

    The good news is that it’s not even Xmas yet. Only about a quarter of the season has been played. If the team can re-assemble in the next 2-3 weeks and avoid any other lengthy losses of the key starters, then this team can still be as good as we hoped they would be.

    Very, very few of us were predicting a championship for this team. What we wanted was an entertaining team that could compete for the championship. That is still well within te reach of this team.

    Let’s hang in there. Better days ahead.

  25. As I have said many times, if Nash and Gasol actually come back, I think MDA’s core principles for player usage should be two stars on the floor at all times, and mostly Nash with Howard and Pau with Kobe. Meeks should be out there with Nash and Howard as much as possible; that is when Kobe should rest. Nash/Howard units should go full SSOL; Kobe/Pau units should run more Princetonish stuff.

    I know you have to account for matchups,daily nicks and cuts, foul trouble, and egos, but I think those principles are Point A.

  26. Superstars vs players 5-9: Let’s say the Wizard’s and the Laker’s rosters went to the playground to play for fun – with all players being up for selection for two teams – playground style. Does anyone doubt that the first two guys chosen would be KB and DH with a huge gap between them and #3? So all of us have played where teams are chosen and someone gets first pick and then the next guy gets 2. Well, if I were on that playground, and I agreed to give another guy the first 2 picks (KB and DH), I would probably require the next 5 picks and I still would not feel good about it. Further, one of my 5 would definitely be MWP, and possibly AJ (I still have faith) might be in there (can you name 5 Wizards you would pick over those guys?). The team with KB and DH would be a heavy favorite. So that is playground. Enter into the NBA. You have coaches and systems, and rotations. Sometimes they help and sometimes they don’t. This is why I am so disappointed in MD, is that we would crush the Wizards in a playground game (with current available roster), but we are basically even with them in an NBA game. Why?

  27. I am very puzzled by our offense, to the point where I am totally unclear what we are trying to do

    ___

    SSOL is based off PnR action instigated by the PG and floor spacers and, as someone noted upthread, and I echoed, the Lakers don’t have anyone who can do the first and are thin on guys who can do the second–hence the calls for either Delonte West or another cheap guy better than Duhon.

    MDA’s hands are tied to some extent; but at the same time, he knew that Nash was out when he took the job. I actually believe that D’Antoni thought that Nash would only miss a couple of more games from his takeover date. In any case, I have not been impressed with MDA’s adaptation skills. The upside is that we have seen that the system can get something out of Meeks, Jamison, and now, perhaps, Ebanks. That will matter if (and only if) the Core Four can get on the floor, stay on the floor, and work together.

  28. Kobe’s shot attempts are a chicken and egg argument this point. We can go back and forth on that all day. It gets us nowhere. But there is one thing we should all be able to admit. The game’s outcome on most nights when Kobe goes into volume mode is usually not good. Fortunately for the Lakers they were playing a D-league level team last night. If they ride into Philly with that kind of offensive imbalance the Sixers will hand them a loss.

  29. m.espn.go.com/general/blogs/blogpost?blogname=los-angeleslakers&id=35076&wjb=

    Adds to my optimism that Gasol and Nash will make a big difference. They seem to be so confident. If it works out, i can’t put it to words how it would feel….wow!

  30. If they ride into Philly with that kind of offensive imbalance the Sixers will hand them a loss.

    ______

    The 76ers will probably hand them a loss because they are riding into Philly with Duhon, MWP and Ebanks or Jamison in the starting lineup. I see your point, but the Lakers are very capable of losing with Kobe not shooting much as the +/- numbers suggest. One thing I have seen is that making simple entry passes to Howard is often hard for them, since the guys on the perimeter, other than Kobe, are not really threats. Add that to the lack of a PnR guy at the 1, and there it is.

  31. C-Dave: As per BigCity’s post above, there seems to be some retroactive adjustment in expectations going on. I must confess – I am not familiar with your views so this is not directed at you, but this board and Laker Nation in general was very optimistic coming into this year. Check the archives. There was one group which included me that thought we had the best or one of the top 3 teams at a minimum. Of course that still only means 35% to win the title – tops – but nonetheless. The second group of posters thought we were a notch below the Heat and the Thunder, but that we were in the 3rd through “6th” range (in the league). Now if you had asked those groups if they would lower if those expectations if our current injuries took place – they would have. In my case, if you had asked me pre-season, where I thought we would be with current roster, I would have probably said 5th or “6th” in the league. Some of the more reserved like rr, might have said maybe 8-10 in the league, which would mean a 4 or a 5 seed. Nobody would have said we would have been battling just to make the playoffs. If anyone did then please point to a link in the archives.

  32. be with current roster, I would have probably said 5th or “6th” in the league. Some of the more reserved like rr, might have said maybe 8-10 in the league, which would mean a 4 or a 5 seed.

    Robert,

    What I think you’re missing, and why I have called you out on the “best roster” stuff, is that the Lakers came into the season with more variance than any other contender, due to age/health/depth/coaching. The Lakers’ upside was and arguably still is a parade; the downside, which we are seeing, is the lottery. The current roster is nowhere being the 6th best team in the league (And please save the remarks about Fisher. I have detailed the reasons why several times– and the Lakers weren’t really the 6th best team in the league last year. They were about 10th. They were lucky to go 41-25, and I explained that, too. You can choose to reject these explanations, but they are solidly based in facts).

    You need to step back and look at how long and how intensely you focused on getting Howard, so I think it is hard for you to believe that a team with him and Kobe can’t win. But as Zach Lowe explained, the Howard the team has is not the Howard of 2010, and the Pau the team has is not the Pau of 2010 or even 2011. Kobe is a liability on D, and the rest of the guys are very, very limited. That said, my guess, since MDA is so wedded to Nash and SSOL, that Phil probably would have this roster doing a bit better than D’Antoni does. He would play slower, and the Triangle would hide Duhon.

    But I think D’Antoni has as good a chance as Phil would have had with the team that everybody was envisioning in September–if that team can take the floor and stay on it. I think Phil would have buried Jamison and possibly Meeks, for example. MDA obviously won’t.

  33. I’m as encouraged by a 6 point win against the Wizards as I was a 2nd half comeback against a self-satisfied and Carmelo-less Knicks team in the previous game, which is to say not at all. Even without Nash & Gasol, struggling to beat the worst team in the league (without its best players, no less) is nothing to get excited about.

    It’s evident that the players don’t know what to do on the floor, and it’s equally evident that they don’t even understand what’s wrong. On a night where Kobe put up 29 shots and made only 9, and where Dwight got 8 shots, Howard was asked after the game what the difference was last night that allowed them to win where recent games have all been losses. His response? “We moved the ball better.” What?

    The difference between last night and previous games was one thing: they played the worst team in basketball–and played them when they were shorthanded. Far more than anything else, THAT is what permitted a victory. Tomorrow will likely be a return to “normalcy” as we watch Jrue Holliday run rings around the Lakers and the team comes home from another disastrous road trip….

  34. Robert. I also had high expectations after the trades. My fears were the age of Nash and slowing down (one of my companies was out of Phoenix) who I saw several times in person and the back injury and bad locker room info about Dwight.

    I attended 4 of the 8 Pres-season games and saw a bad passing, slow, terrible defense and miss-matched team. The oh it’s just preseason story held no water to me. Nash was bad, Pau was slow,
    team played no defense and refused to get back or rebound. Bad habits make for bad teams. And we got one.

    I saw them as a 50 win team and 5th or 6th. Now due to injuries and panic attach coach change I see them at 46 and 7th or 8th.

    Two real reality checks are Barkly saying they are slow and old and aren’t getting younger or faster when Nash and Pau get back. So true. And the other smack in the face is Junior Buss trading away the Lakers next 2 years of first round draft choices in a year they could end up a lottery team.

  35. Did anyone think that the lead was secure at any point before the 1:30 mark of the 4thQ?

    If we are discussing this team in the context of individual wins then this game is a success.

    If it is being discussed in the context of the team improving a little bit every game, there might be something to take away from this game but I think the quality of the opponent negates our ability to conclude this.

    In terms of this team showing improvement that we can take towards the original goal, chip 17, I see this win only as having neglected to put the team in a further hole for even hoping to get to the playoffs. The win didn’t put the team in the right direction. They simply achieved terminal velocity. Stick this team in the atmosphere produced by a below average team, rather then a full blown travesty of a team without 2 of it’s own starters, and I think the fall would have accelerated. The Lakers looked like the same team that lost to SAC, ORL and CLE. It’s the same team that lost to HOU, IND and UTA. It’s the same team that was not in anything like the same league as NYK, OKC or MEM.

    I don’t think this is hopeless in the context of this team being able to get better and be good by the end of the season. In the remaining 58 games the Lakers probably need to go .600 just to make the playoffs. While that only means they need to play a bit better then Brooklyn, CHI, UTH and MIN, I haven’t yet seen a sign of that happening. Certainly not last night.

    I find this situation fascinating. The possible story lines are incredible. If we don’t make the playoffs, that on its own would be huge. Couple that with Dwight’s free-agency and Kobe’s age… man that is an unbelievable set of integers. Plus, if the Lakers actually are a lottery team, holy crap, that youth and talent infusion that this team needs would actually be lost to one of PHX or CLE. Amazing worst case scenario.

    Suppose the Lakers just make the playoffs and wind up playing OKC or SAS as a .600 team (from here on out), either series would be something that neither of those teams would love, but we could still expect to lose.

    Suppose the Lakers get it figured out with a combination of two starters returning, Dwight getting healthy, Kobe getting to conserve his energy on O and playing better D, Jamison, Meeks, Ebanks and Blake and Hill being quality backups… and the team winds up as a 5th seed? That means the team wound up playing .760 basketball from here on out. That would be a championship caliber team. What a story.

    Lets enjoy the ride.

  36. rr: To add a little humor here – when I was saying “6th” all last year – I was known as a pessimist. Others were thinking/seeking higher. This year I am not yielding (still not yet) that we have a better roster than our performance, while others are beginning to throw in the towel on any lofty expectations.I guess this just shows that I am truly a moderate, level headed centrist, while others (not you) are swinging wildly from optimism (last year) to extreme pessimism – this year : )
    Variance: That is what coaching is all about (one of the three items you list). Teams that outperform – cudos go to the coach. Teams that underperform – the coach gets blame. All as it should be. Yes – there is luck and other things involved – but that is part of sports. As an NBA coach – you are judged on results – not coulda, woulda, shouldas.

  37. @Robert – You´re spot on about coaching – isn´t that what Dr. Buss reminded M. Brown about?
    ________
    Hoping for DEFENSIVE COHESION at Philly tomorrow [ok, let me get real here; I´m doing rain dances out back & burning incense under my Laker caps! ]

  38. Robert

    Not sure where you live but I am part if a NBA charity event Monday in Buena Part 6 to 9. If you would like to attend let me know as it would be fun to meet you.

    Ken@calbevimports.com

  39. As an NBA coach – you are judged on results – not coulda, woulda, shouldas.

    You can repeat this as often as you like, but you still haven’t dealt with the basic facts surrounding this team’s personnel, as detailed by Zach Lowe and others. Until you do, you are not really having a discussion. You are just venting.

    D’Antoni certainly is not blameless here; he is doing some things that are questionable, and one of Phil’s strengths was D. OTOH, MDA has kept Brown’s staff, so ISTM that you should also be calling out Chuck Person, Bickerstaff et al if you are unhappy with the way the team is being coached, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

  40. The problem I have with the “we lack talent” argument is that we just eeked out a win against a Wizards team missing John Wall, Ariza, and Trevor Booker. Who the frick is Cartier Martin? Before we acquired Duhon, I pointed out he was the one PG in the league worse than Blake. And before this season I was convinced Darius Morris would be out of the league at contract’s end. So I understand the dearth of talent at some positions, even if Duhon and Morris have actually exceeded my expectations in spurts. But we’re talking about a team starting Chris Singleton and giving major minutes to Livingston, whose best starter last night was Martell Webster. Yes, “any team with Dwight Howard and Kobe should be better than this” is a gross oversimplification, but I believe it’s one rooted in truth. Against a Knicks team, Kobe and half-speed Dwight is understandably not enough. Against this Wizards team? I don’t want to hear about a lack of talent. The lack of cohesiveness and defensive identity are glaring right now. As with everything, it’s multifactorial. Age, fatigue, foot speed, and coaching are all contributing. Until we get a defensive system installed that specifically defines each player’s role and responsibilities and drill such system ad nauseam, we’ll continue to see confusion and finger-pointing on that end of the court. The offense (and TOs) I’ll wait to judge until Nash returns.

  41. Nash, Nash, Nash.

    Hope you all are right because Lakers were 0 and 10 with the savior on the court.

    Less TO’s and more points will help but the defense will not improve and that is the elephant in the room. Perhaps the 3 year call for younger athletic players should have been heeded.

    To bad Jimmy fired all the long term scouts who might have helped.

  42. I’m not saying he’ll fix everything etc.. But throwing out statements like “lakers are 0-10 w Nash” argument is pretty weak.

  43. Ok maybe so. I was at 4 of those games and did not feel he looked good. If you looked at his %, TO’s and plus minus it was disappointing. At this point I am seeing things glass have empty so as not to be further dissapointed.

    Please someone make me wrong!

  44. The Lakers ceiling is to make the lower seed playoffs now. That would mean they have gelled through the course of the season, dudes are healthy and they would be total hell to play against. It’s unlikely but that’s what I’m banking on because all I want this team to do is win a championship every single year. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

  45. I’ve come to realize that this team is totally interdependent on each other. In order to have success, everyone has to be healthy and available so that the necessary chemistry can develop.

    Without Pau and Nash, the team is like a car without a steering wheel or its transmission. It may look good but it is impossible to run properly.

  46. Lol Hale – in all serious though – if Lakers can get 50 wins and get into the playoffs healthy – no team is going to be volunteering to play them.

  47. Jerke

    Except Cleveland and Orlando.

    Oh yea those are lottery teams.

  48. I simply wish there was more nuance in some of these comments. Ken talks about the Lakers being 0-10 with Nash and his high turnover rate while not once mentioning that both Howard and Kobe missed several of those games, the Lakers were playing under Mike Brown and the Princeton offense, and the team was playing in the preseason where multiple players were being thrown out there when they had no chance of ever making the final roster.

    Others talk about Kobe being the main problem with the offense while never once mentioning the role he’s being asked to play and how he’s the only perimeter playmaker who’s healthy enough to play right now. When you add his role to what his natural instincts have been his entire career (which is to be a scorer) this only further complicates things. He’s by no means perfect — he still forces too many shots and doesn’t always make the right read. But he’s also propping up an offense that has little offensive spacing that would allow Howard the room to be more like the player he’s been his entire career (though, to be fair to Howard, he’s obviously still not 100%).

    But hey, let’s ignore context (or, worse yet, call these “excuses”) and act like this team should still be winning at a 70% clip. Believe me, I’m frustrated with the losses. And multiple times I’ve mentioned that this team needs to play harder for longer stretches and needs to make the extra effort on defense more often. But lets not act like the other, aforementioned factors, don’t mean anything or shouldn’t be taken into account.

  49. Again: the Lakers were only 13th in defense under Brown. What people see as lack of cohesion is in many cases simply a lack of speed and athleticism. Some of it is coaching, but a lot of it is the personnel. . .

    Ken,

    Nash was uncomfortable in the Princeton; he will be playing in his system this time. The Lakers need to be #1 or #2 in offense; Nash is the best guy other than Chris Paul to get them there.

  50. What kills me Darius is watching the Clips up 20 at half against Bucks for their 9th straight win. How did they get so smart? Every guy works as hard on D as O. Their bench of Barnes, Bledsoe and Crawford, would be our 4th 5th, 6th best players right now and LO is in shape and would be our best off the bench for boards and defense. Hard for me to except they made all right moves and Lakers only hope is a 39 year old coming off leg issues to even make the playoffs. THIS IS THE LAKERS! How do you build for the future when you gave away all your 1st round picks? Something needs to change and I can’t help but wonder if the current FO is capable.

  51. We’ll be in for a surprise once Nash gets back and Gasol is somewhat more mobile before his knee flared up.

    This team isn’t built for the regular season as it is anyway, I don’t care if we’re the 8th seed. I really don’t think it matters with this team. Dallas showed us that a few years ago, hot towards the end of the regular season and into the play-offs.. We know what happened next.

    We play a PG centric offense with guys like Duhon & Morris, the drop-off from Nash to those guys is massive. When you talk about the Clippers, it’s like taking CP3 away from that team and they still have Bledsoe who can realistically start on a few teams.

    Everything that could of gone wrong actually did go wrong, I doubt sacking a head coach was in the plans when the season began and then to lose Nash.

    Once we’re healthy, we just need to buckle down and get to work. Our margin for error is small compared to those top 4 teams in the West, we need to go on win streaks which I think we’re capable of with a full roster available.

    The West this year will be even more competitive, GSW look the real deal. You’ve got Minnesota with Rubio back in action, Dallas still missing Nowitzki.

  52. Joe

    Are you equating Nash with Paul and Bedsoe with Blake? Really.

  53. When nash and pau get back lakers have to figure out how they want to play like kobe said. Nash running around 17 seconds every possessions finding players isn’t what the team needs. Mixture of PnR, kobe, ron mismatches, pau low block and plays for dwight. Figuring that out will take time that lakers don’t have and that’s only offense. Lakers have too many problems that even health won’t fix.

  54. Ko,

    Nash matters as much to the Lakers as Paul does to the Clippers.

  55. The Lakers were average defensively under Brown with a nonchalant Bynum manning the middle. The difference – even to a 70% Howard – is significant. With our full team, and a proper defensive system in place with narrowly defined roles, I believe this team can be top 6 or 7 defensively. I look at the scheme SVG placed in Orlando (for which Clifford gets some degree of credit, depending on which source you believe), and was Turkoglu really that much faster than Peace? Nelson that much more imposing defensively than Morris? Lewis is faster than Gasol, true, but the difference is smaller than you’d expect considering Gasol has a center’s foot speed. I realize this is a simplified way of looking at things, but I do believe proper discipline – I’m looking at you, Kobe – can overcome age and a lack of speed on the perimeter with a dominant interior presence. The healthier our roster gets, and the closer Howard gets to 100%, the more the blame should shift to the coaching staff. Right now, it’s not warranted. In February? I think it’ll be fair to judge then.

  56. Kobe turns ninja at the end of the game lmao.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sitH_YQqniQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    And guys what do you think of Metta playing the 4?

    He was just abusing Nene all night.

  57. It is amazing to all the assumptions that are being drawn on this board and we haven’t even seen the Lakers play yet. I am withdrawing from commenting on what we need to do until we actually see the team playing in Mike D’s system. A lot of thoughts here.

    On Steve Nash. Yes he is 39 but we were all excited to get him. Why? Because he was still playing at a high level, that’s why. He hasn’t played yet except in the pre season with a new system and scrubs that are not even in the league right now. Shouldn’t we wait to actually see him play before we determine that he can’t cut it? Biological age is quite different from calendar age, thats why some guys play at a high level longer then others. Look at Kobe. He keeps his body in incredible shape and I am going to wait for him to get back before I pass judgement on him.

    Pau. Not only did he have tendentious in both knees but I read he bursitis in his shooting elbow as well. All is healing and he will be back soon. I am not going to pass judgement on him until he is healthy, playing along side Steve Nash. Then we will see if he can return to the form he showed during the olympics.

    Dwight. Dwight has not looked like himself yet. Maybe it has something to do with recovering from back surgery. I will withhold judgement on him until he is healthy.

    Kobe. Really guys? Where would we be without him? He is being asked to do things that he normally wouldn’t be asked to do. I will withhold judgement on him until everyone is back.

    Mike D’s system. This team has had 3 head coaches and two new systems to learn so far this year. We also added 8 new players to the roster and three of the hold overs were Morris, Hill and Ebanks.
    Getting the players to click will be incredibly hard. Anyone that doesn’t acknowledge that never played organized basketball.

    Front Office. Yes they never should have hired Brown and probably should have brought Phil back but why are we ragging on the personnel moves? We needed a PG guard and got Nash. Who else could we have gotten? Nobody was going to trade a good young point guard for what we had to offer. Besides it was a weak free agent PG class and all we had was the mini mid level. Oh and we got Dwight Howard to without giving up Pau and taking back to many bad players. Jodie Meeks looks like the real deal as well, so thats a good summer. I really don’t know what more they could have done with the pieces we had to work with.

    Another thing to consider. All the injuries have forced guys onto the court that would be getting little of no playing time. Duhon and Morris wouldn’t be playing at all. And it’s screwed up the rotations as well. we all know we were not a real deep team but how many teams have a good 3rd point guard on their roster anyway?

    Once everyone is back and roles can be defined, at that point we can come to conclusions about what the Lakers need to do moving forward.

  58. Michael

    That was longer then my will. Good points but have you considered this:
    Few NBA players, if any have come back from the surgery Dwight had at 100%.
    Pau’s knee problems may be caused by playing year round and his body may not recover. Again some don’t.

    Funny how very few have considered the above and expect all three to come back in all-star condition. Whould you bet large amounts of money that all will be great? When you are dealing with knees and
    backs it’s all a crap shoot. We can hope but not guarantee.

  59. KO

    I understand what your saying but I am not as concerned as you seem to be. First Pau has tendentious. It is not structural damage. It is simply inflammation of the tendons that athletes young or old can develop. In most cases, just rest is required to cure it. As for Dwights back, all the prognosis that I have read has indicated he should make a full recovery. Now it could take the rest of this season to get there, so we may only see a 80% to 90% Dwight this year. The whole point of my little rant is, I want to see this team as constructed play together a while before I panic and want to make any wholesale changes. With Blake out another 6 to 8 weks, the only move I would make at this time is perhaps finding a better option at back up point guard. Other then that I want to see how this is going to work.

  60. Funny how very few have considered the above and expect all three to come back in all-star condition

    I think most people here are aware of worst-case scenario. At this point, it is not hard to imagine the Lakers going 32-50 with most of the payroll watching the games in suits from the bench while Kobe goes for the scoring title. As someone noted upthread, this team has an incredibly wide range of possible outcomes.

    As far as the defense:

    Jamison is 36, one of the worst defensive players in the NBA, and had been playing a lot of minutes until the last two games.
    Hill tries hard, but he is very limited as a rim protector and is fighting back issues of his own.
    Meeks gives a decent effort, but he is below average and undersized.
    Kobe is slow and undisciplined.
    Metta is slow, oversized for his assignments at the 3 and too short for most assignments at the 4. Duhon is slow.
    Ebanks is not all that strong or quick and has limited game experience. Ditto Morris.
    Pau is a pretty good post defender but is very slow; Nash plays smart defense but he is almost 39 years old and is neither a physical nor disruptive defender.

    Again, for the Lakers to have a really good team, Howard needs to be Howard and the O needs to be in the top 3 in the league. That was clear before they had played a game.

    All that said, D’Antoni and the assistants deserve some blame for how bad the D has been the last two weeks.

    In simple terms: For the D to work, Howard needs to get back to near 100%. For the O to work, Nash to come back near 100%. For the team overall to actually be good enough to play with OKC, SA and (it appears) the Clippers and perhaps the Grizzlies, both of those things need to happen AND Pau needs to come back at least at where he was last year, if not a little better.

  61. D fish scores 26 in Mavs OT loss

  62. Hindi

    Any Barnes scored 22 in Clips 9th in a row. Lakers have Jamison, Duhon, Blake, Clark and Morris which proves Jim Buss theory.

    Who needs scouts.!

  63. and soon delonte west lol. how do you guys feel about gasol coming off the bench?

  64. Do the Lakers suck? Yes, but they’re also the worst-injury-hit team in the league right now. \

    Am I concerned? Yes, because the team has real problems in athleticism, transitiion D and turnovers.

    Am I in panic mode? No, because the team can win as is. Yes, weird as that may sound to most.

    Will Nash solve all the problems? No, but he sure can address how the stagnant, iso-heavy offense as of late. He will also make the others exponentially better, particularly Meeks, Artest and Jamison, those with range and can hit the long ball.

    Will the Lakers become good defensively? Yes, if you’ve seen the wins against Denver and Dallas, when the team makes baskets they have fun. When they have fun, they tend to play with better aggression on Defense. In short, a better offense leads to a better defensive effort. Quoting Nellie on this one “Offense is the best Defense” …

    Will the Lakers have enough to get a top 4 seed? Yes, but alot of it has to go right. By alot I mean ALOT. Realistically speaking, we need to play our odds right. We need to play our players right. We need to play 1 game at a time, 1 stretch at a time. Worry about the record later. Get better, get better and get better.

    Is a trade necessary? For me thats a resounding yes. I love Pau Gasol to death, but there are 5-6 better options regarding payroll, fit, future and balance in mind. None of the trades I have give us a better player than Pau individually, but this is one situation we have to trade quality for quantity if it means making whats left better, making the team collectively better.

    Whats the best-looking lineup right now? Duhon-Meeks-Bryant-Artest-Howard.

    Small ball is what MDA preaches. Lets do that. And for those who try to question why I advocate such… well, we have to deal with what we have instead of dream of something we don’t. Small ball with Pau back? Yes, by relegating him to the bench and playing during Dwight’s rest. In essence they will only play 12 minutes together, 24 each as centers of the team.

  65. Advocating the Small Ball for LA

    MDA is forced to play Pau Gasol beside Dwight Howard. That is just the nature of the business. Whenever your name has 2 championships, 3 olympic silver medals, multiple all-star appearances and 19 million attached to it, conventional wisdom dictates you kinda have to. However, you also have a 3-time DPOY and perennial MVP candidate beside him. That complicates matters.

    Run either of Jamison or World Peace at PF – thats been our best bet this year. If we aren’t able to trade Pau then we play him with Dwight only on 12 minutes per game – where they each get 24 playing as centers for the team. If we are serious about keeping Pau, lets keep him and trade for complimentary pieces. Jose Calderon comes to mind being available and all. If we feel like its Dwight in the middle and other pieces work best, then there’s no use prolonging Pau’s agony and giving him hope.

    All these things shall get better with Nash on board. But until then we can only hope so.

  66. Wee, you make tremendous amount of sense.

    Hindi, Fisher also had 20 turnovers.

    20!

    Who DOES that????

  67. The reason the Clips look good now is that they literally sucked for many years. The draft choices they accumulated finally bore fruit. They lucked up with the Chris Paul veto and getting Billups via amnesty. The seeds for the Lakers’ current situation were sown with the conscious decision of the FO to eschew the draft and go with veterans in the quest to stay in the hunt every year. Now, it’s caught up to them. The Lakers may have given up on LO, Barnes and Fish, but it is revisionist to think that Barnes and Fish played all that well in their last stints as Lakers. And LO didn’t want to be here and it’s taken him some time to come around and get out of his own head.

    I’m not saying that theLaker front office is always right, but they do try to incorporate the right ideas before the fact. Hindsight always has perfect vision.

  68. 20 turnovers? Are we sure that’s not a typo? Carlisle is one of the coaches I most respect in the league, but I might have to reconsider.

    Also, this Mavs team is proof Fisher uses sorcery to maintain his grip on his starting position. If we hadn’t traded him, he’d have convinced MDA that his intangibles are a better fit for SSOL than Nash. The man is a Dark, Dark Wizard.

  69. So many Kobe apologies, I gave up reading. Then the comments. Dear Lord. You guys deserve to root for a team like the Phoenix Suns.

    Lakers for Life. Feed the post.

  70. Rusty Shackleford December 16, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Tonight would be a terrific game for the Lakers to come out making everything they throw up while playing with energy on defense. F-it, even if they don’t play any defense and score 132 I’d still be thankful for the win. Either way Philly would be a high-quality road win for this struggling team.

    Lakers start at 3PM today and the Niners vs. Patriots game starts at 5:20PM. That would be a big-time win for the Niners to go into New England and win.

  71. Isn’t Kobe scoring 30 and the Lakers only beating Washington by 6 just about the same as Kobe scoring 30 and the Lakers losing?

  72. You know? I been reading all this panic talk about not making the playoffs, seriously? Im not even concerned about the playoffs, they will be there, this is the most hurt team on the league right now we have 4 rotation players out including 2 all stars and our 2 top guys are not at 100%. Every body panicking should look at the 2002- 2013 Lakers they started 10-18, that is a bigger hole that the one the team is now and they ended up winning 50 games they didnt won that year of course but that team had Kobe, Shaq and not a lot else, this team is way more talented. I read a season preview that put the Lakers finishing gasp!!!!! 4th in the West because of the issues they are facing right now, a lot of Lakers fans were up in arms about that. How dare you put the Lakers 4th? Looks like the guy was right, he also said that come playoff time this team would be and i quote ” terryfing”and put them to come out of the West. We cant judge this team until its its 100% healthy i dont discard this team winning 50-55 games. And im 100% sure this team from January onward will be a beast. Im frustrated and sometimes down right pissed off but i know this team is not healthy and its most vital parts are either injured, hurt or recovering from surgery, people need to calm the hell down.

  73. The Lakers finishing 32-50 people are just out of their damn minds, if the team was 100% healthy all season long and still be 10-14 i be concerned but they never been

  74. @snoopy
    Lol sorcery?!! Man I laughed so hard, I could imagine Fish wearing a black hat and well he probably taught some of that magic to Steve Blake too which he used on mike brown. That would explain MB’s man love for Blake.
    Anyways we need this win, way too many losses piled up already. More L’s would just increase Kobe’s frustration and put more pressure on Nash to deliver. On a side note, Latimes lakers blog straight way said they want gasol to be traded, suggesting many trade options.

  75. Formal

    Not sure what you are looking at but Fisher had 20 points and 5 TO’s. This year he is averaging 2 TO ( less the Kobe and Dwight) 10 points per game and shooting 43% from three.

    In business you MUST gave a plan B and C. Unless you never ran a business before Jimmy.n Fisher and Barnes were there for the minimum and would be that B and C instead of horrible Morris, bad Duhon and inconstant Jamison.

    Plus having a leader in the locker room would be huge. But what do I know. On paper and my sons video game the Lakers are unbeatable.

    Nepotism: The curse of American Business.

  76. The Lakers finishing 32-50 people are just out of their damn minds

    That scenario would depend on injuries re-occurring/not healing.

    JAS,

    If you want to bag on Kobe, plnety of good places to go on the net for that.

  77. So many of the FO moves are questionable. Barnes never delivered in the playoffs that’s what they said, reach the damn playoffs is what we say now. And well Fisher is just surprising this year, I didn’t see that coming from him.

  78. Fern: that 03 team had 2 of the best players at their position and solid perimeter defense. This team has no inside presence and possibly the slowest team in the league.

    Lakers are 7 1/2 games behind the best team in LA, 6 games behing the Warriors and 2 games ahead of Sacremento. This team is going downhill and from what we’ve seen last 2 years I don’t know how this can be disputed. PJ always said you can’t really tell what kind of team you have until after 20 games. Well after 24 games eye test tells us this team stinks. Bad perimeter defense, bad transition defense, no inside presence, a glorified chucker and no depth.

    Lakers will have spacing issues once Pau and Nash return because Pau isn’t a floor spacer and the center can only roll. Amare, Lee, Diaw could hit the mid range and roll to the basket for high percentage. Teams will continue to clog the lane on PnR because Lakers have no legit floor spacer at the 4 and Howard is one dimensional. Chandler was almost non exsistent in D’Anotni’s NY tenure on offense and in Olympics. Howard skillset is similar to that not Amare, Diaw or Lee’s and may only work in this offense if he has a legit stretch 4 flanking him. Pau’s a better center for this system and I guess that speaks to Howard’s lack of skills that he’s only effective as a PnR player and needs Nash.

  79. Hindi: I am never one to defend the FO, but there is another side to that. Why does Barnes look better in another uniform? Why does Jamison look worse in our uniform? Why does Fisher look better in another uniform? Why does Howard look worse in our uniform?
    Panic: The panic is warranted. Whether this team gets it together or not (I happen to think they can), their odds to win the title have decreased significantly. The odds of us getting a 4 seed are low, and we are highly unlikely to win 4 straight series on the road. As I stated previously, a team starting the playoffs on the road has only won the title twice in the 66 years of league history. Is it possible? Yes – likely – no. So the panic button needed to be pressed a while ago. for those who have not pressed it, then I am guessing that you either never had championship goals or have backed off of them. I am fine with either, but some of us are clinging to a pipe dream : ) Hence we are panicking : )

  80. @rr

    Actually, I was bagging on the people that make excuses for the problem. It’s not just me. Listen to the players on the team, what do they all say, including the coaches? Everyone says in just about every single interview lately, “we need to share the ball.” As Metta (one of our defensive leaders) has explained a thousand times, offensive stagnation is killing the Lakers on the defensive end. Who do you think they’re all talking about?

    Meanwhile, a great deal of mental effort has been put into making excuses for the lack of ball movement, and not just here. So, respectfully, don’t try to tell me to move along. At least I remember way back in the day like 2008 when Kobe finally figured out that he has to share the ball with his teammates, even if they miss every single shot, because ultimately he can’t do it on his own.

    Lakers for Life. Feed the post.

  81. It has become obvious that the Lakers most effective strategy to win is to slow things down, and play the old-man game. Otherwise they turn the ball over like crazy, and their transition D is the worst.

    Bringing an old, still-injured Nash into that kind of an offense? Really? I think that this could potentially make the Lakers worse with his doormat D against quick PG’s, and adding further confusion to their lack of identity.

    Do you know why they have no identity? Because all of the big pieces don’t fit together. Because they are old and can’t play D. And because they don’t seem to like playing together.

    Showtime era, my foot. That team was joyful and young and had off-the-charts chemistry. Magic was the best teammate in the history of the NBA. He made everyone better.

    They didn’t have the Kobe Bryant-type on that team. If they did, they never would have been who they were.

    The only way that Jordan won was with Phil. He changed Michael’s mentality while he was there. When Jordan played with the Wizards he became an island again.

    Kobe’s only chance at winning anything is with Phil. His personality and game requires it. All other coaches are in over their heads.

  82. 2003: Yes Kevin we did have 2 of the best players at their position and so does the 2013 team : ) And yes rr – even with KB’s defense and Howard’s performance – that is still a true statement, and the All NBA Team and All Star Team will probably show that. Fern – I applaud your appraisal of our roster’s talent, however the 03 team lost in the second round. In nine years of Phil’s tenure, he made the finals 7 times. The years of 2003 and 2011 being the off years. So let’s not duplicate those seasons – in spite of the fact that they look infinitely better than where we are now : )

    Relax people – that loud noise you just heard was me applauding Jim’s last post.

  83. Left out a couple of years – sorry should have been 7 out of 11 for Phil

  84. Jas/rr
    Truth be told If Kobe shot 40 times or 10 times it would not matter. They lack talent, are old and slow in a young, fast, athletic NBA. The days of 7 footer pounding the rim are over. Go back to the last 3 years and see who the top drafts were. When was the last time a bruising center was MVP? Who won the title the past 2 years? League has changed but Mitch and Jimmy remain in the past.

    Laker FO has not changed with the times. Instead of begging for a fundamentally limited on offense Howard they might have added a
    stretch forward like Anderson that can shoot and a young guard that can chew gum and run. You know like Jerry West is doing up in Golden State, or OKC, Miami, Clippers etc.

  85. Robert, im aware than that 03′ team lost in the second round, thats why i said this team is better than that team. Im still convinced this team once totTally healthy is going on a roll, the best thing we can get out of this dark December is that the team could be deeper than projected bench wise. How many times we seen teams not necesarily the Lakers have horrible starts during a season and then turn it around? If this team tight the TO and the perimeter down and Howard is back at a 100%tje defense shoild improve exponentially with Howard dominating the paint its became easier to guard the perimeter, all thos issues are solvable

  86. @Robert I don’t understand your perspective. The team can go on an extended win streak and put this all behind them as easily as they have been on a losing streak. That’s professional sports! That’s how it works.

    Are you saying the current good fortune certain teams are having will remain in tact for all 82 games? The Clippers won’t have a bad run. The Knicks are world beaters! The Heat slightly better than a .500 team?

    In the immortal words of John McEnroe, “You cannot be serious!!”

    It’s a long season. Last year we didn’t even start until Xmas day.

    And to Charles Barkley and his preoccupation with the age of this team. Funny how he didn’t seem to think that was a gigantic problem season before last with the Mavs.

    Hey Chuckster, I think Dirk was in his mid thirties then, pal!

    Jason Kidd late thirties, Shaun Marion in his thirties, Jason Terry in his thirties…In other words, the backbone of that team who incidentally won a championship was just as old and just as slow of foot and un-athletic as this Laker team.

    Try telling that to the Heat who lost to them in the finals.

    Hey Chuckie, if your such a genius, how about the Celtic team that you were writing off because of their bad start in December and January last year that pushed the Heat to the seventh game of the Eastern finals?

    So how old were the big three again? (Ganett, Pierce and Ray Allen). Yeah, they were old and un-athletic also I guess.

  87. @Ko

    I don’t buy the notion that “the days of [a] 7 footer pounding the rim are over.”

    Big men will always dominate the game of basketball, and neither the “past 2 years” nor the “last 3 years” is enough to reverse over 100 years of basketball. There’s always been a talent drought at the true center position, nothing new, and it’s not always big teams that win, but their success rate is far superior to jump shooting teams. I’m sorry but those are the facts. If you want to root for a team that thinks going small is their strength, I’d suggest you’re rooting for the wrong franchise.

    Lakers for Life. Feed the post.

  88. C- Dave you forgot to mention than the Knicks are way older than the Lakers