Lakers/Sixers: That Familiar Feeling Is Back, And It’s Not a Good One

Darius Soriano —  January 1, 2013

With a chance to turn their .500 record into a winning one, the Lakers lost. Again. I say again because this is familiar. The last time the Lakers had a winning record on the season, they were 6-5. The date was November 20th and the Lakers had just defeated the Nets. Since then the Lakers have five chances to turn a .500 record into a winning one and have lost. This is, simply put, frustrating beyond belief.

The reasons for the Lakers loss to the Sixers are also simply put. Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner both went off for Philly. They combined to score 48 points on 33 shots, consistently killing their defenders in isolation to get makable shots. Seemingly every time down the floor, Holiday or Turner dribbled around on the wing, made a series of relatively simple moves to get closer to the basket, and then took a shot that more often than not went in. To call this attack elementary would be kind as it was the kind of thing you see on a playground court every day. Yes, there were some spectacular finishes mixed in, but for the most part both players just continued to get to their spots on the floor and make shots.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the floor, the Lakers’ couldn’t find any reliable offense from anyone but Kobe and Steve Nash (who both had some of their own issues as well). Pau Gasol went 2-12 from the field, missing shots from close and far away with equal ability. Pau simply couldn’t find a rhythm on offense (outside of making some good passes) and his inability to make his outside shot seemed to filter into the rest of his game where he found himself drifting a lot, not crashing the offensive glass often enough, not being present enough close to the rim where he could make a difference.

To make matters worse, Dwight Howard went 1-7 from the floor while missing countless point blank shots that would be automatic makes on most other nights. Little lefty hooks rolled off the rim. Attempts from the right side of the paint clanged off the backboard and ricocheted harmlessly away. On other shots he was either stripped on the way up or blocked at the peak of his release. Just a bad, bad night for Dwight.

Without speculating too much, it really looked like Dwight was not healthy in this game which only lends further credence to the idea that his recovery is not consistent in any way. After three days off you’d think he’d be as fluid (or more) than what he showed against the Blazers. Instead, he was stiff and plodding in his movement while lacking lift on both his shot attempts and in grabbing rebounds. On other plays, he simply stood around and watched as the action buzzed around him reaching for the ball and/or fouling in an attempt to secure it cleanly. This isn’t to make an excuse for Dwight. But it’s difficult to convince me that JJ Hickson and Lamarcus Aldridge pose that different a challenge than Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen, yet look at his numbers in comparison between his last two games and you’ll see the stat lines of two different players.

The Lakers may have been able to overcome Dwight and Pau struggling if they’d been able to hit some of the open shots made available to them, but that wasn’t the case either. The team shot 3-22 from behind the arc, many coming on the sort of looks they take and make every other night. Two of their makes came late in the game (one by Ron, one by Kobe) when they made one last push to try and close the gap, but that was too little too late. Free throws also hurt the Lakers as they only hit 22 of 33 from the line. Those 11 misses may not seem like much, but on a night when they only lost by 4 and needed every point they could get due to their other struggles, those misses loom large.

In the end, this game was sort of a microcosm of the Lakers’ season. Their bigs had some moments but didn’t play well enough (likely do to health and effectiveness within the offense), Kobe looked very good for most of the game but forced some shots when a different approach likely would have been better, and the team’s defense was poor enough that key performances from the other team’s wings were enough to bring a loss. Again, this game was all too familiar for a team that can’t seem to get over the hump and be the squad we all hoped they’d be before the season started.

Darius Soriano

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38 responses to Lakers/Sixers: That Familiar Feeling Is Back, And It’s Not a Good One

  1. we’re doomed!!! tsk tsk tsk…

  2. Keep the faith fellas. A win vs the clippers will seemingly solve everything.

    Oh, and i always forget to thank Darius and the crew for their hard work on this site, i know we all appreciate it.

  3. I have decided that I’ll silently observe the next 10 games or so, before I let my emotions out for the team or players. I look back at the blog posts and I see a periodicity in the events. So before I give kudos to any player, or I tag any player a bust, I’ll just watch silently till the end.
    And yeah no bringing the word ‘playoffs’ in any of my posts until the season ends. Tonight the shots were not falling so we lost. I have stopped complaining about Dwight, I expect the rest to bring a good game. I want offense to flow through Nash more. Clippers game would be a litmus test.
    Go Lakers…

  4. Ever since the series vs the hornets when ariza was blowing past kobe he just has decided he’s raking off on that end. It really showed next series vs dallas and has continued 2 years later. Can’t keep getting lost on defense giving NBA players wide open shots and expect to win. This game reminded me of opening night vs chicago the team fights back and ill advised shots lead to defensive breakdowns resulting in a loss. Lakers didn’t give up two 1st, two 2nd and 28 mil to nash for him to watch kobe chuck good shots when he can create great shots. Obviously dwight isn’t himself one can go to youtube and see that but you’ll also notice his frame. Very thin shoulder not as broad far less muscle. Probably to relieve pressure off his back to carry around all that weight. He’s getting manhandled fighting for rebounds. Teams used to provide elbow room and lanes for dwight to rebound and dunk because it was a foregone conclusion he was going to dominate. Now he may not even be a top 5 big man in california right now. Meeks and hill are proving they can contribute every night. Nash is doing what he can. But until the lakers figure out how they want to play they’ll struggle with teams like philly even with far superior talent. I miss the days of princeton when fga were spread evenly and lakers looked like a team even in losses. Lakers still have the talent to win but the commitment isn’t there from all the guys.

  5. Darius.

    You summed it up. Little seems to be changing in spite of Mike D’s promising it would when Nash comes back.

    It’s very sad to think the best this team can hope for is a 7th or 8th seed. Perhaps that will wake Jerry up to see there are serious issues with this front office and it’s decision making.

  6. Agreed – the bipolarness of some on this board gets a bit much sometimes. Lakers aren’t out till they’re out and there is still a long ways to go.
    via twitter post game:

    Dave McMenamin ?@mcten
    Kobe on the Clippers: “I’m glad it’s not just us getting our ass kicked in Denver”

    Dave McMenamin ?@mcten
    Dwight has been sitting on a chair staring silently into his locker for the last several minutes after finishing with the media

    Have to believe that if Howards back lets him -that he won’t be coming back hard on Friday. Jordan and Hollins won’t stand a chance if thats the case. Also a positive – Howard can guard Blake Griffin and Pau can take Jordan/Hollins – which for once gives the Lakers a pf/c defensive matchups that don’t involve a stretch 4/5 dragging Pau (or howard) out away from the hoop like Spencer Hawes did. Griffin will be looking to hit the boards/dunk etc… every time so best to put Howard on him fromt he start anyways and Pau can stay closer to the hoop. Part of the issue tonight especially after Howard switched to Hawes late – was that he was stuck in no mnas land so often and wasn’t able to rotate over to cover Jrues drives to the hole late in the game and that happened multiple times you could see him just sorta hesitate – and be stuck 10 ft from the hoop w no one around him. If he’s heatlthy he recovers easy enough – but tonight – not so much. this was the exact same issue against Bobcats – BJ Mullens did the same thing, except he was hitting 3’s early in the game whereas tonight Hawes was shooting from far out later on. Howards lack of offensive production also meant Kwame Brown wasn’t needed and Sixers coul use a better offensive player such as Hawes more.

  7. Good recap; hit all the key points.

  8. Good recap,turnovers were very good,rebounding not so good,bigs cannot miss point blank shots,Ron should keep shot attempts down,Nash should shoot more,Sixers played extremely well.

  9. “‘Cause we’re old as s—,” said the 34-year-old Bryant when asked why a lack of energy has been a problem for L.A. all season. “What do you want? We just got to figure out how to play when we don’t have that energy. We got to change things up a little bit defensively. We got to figure out what we want to do offensively, figure out what we want to do on nights when we don’t have those legs or have that energy.”

    The Sixers beat the Lakers on Tuesday primarily with the contributions of 22-year-old Jrue Holiday (26 points, 10 rebounds) and 24-year-old Evan Turner (22 points, 13 rebounds).

    “You just saw an old damn team,” Bryant continued. “I don’t know how else to put it to you. We’re just slow.”

  10. i wonder if Soriano actually watches games
    again with the Kobe’s different approach?
    who was making shots? who could make shots in this squad? if i were Kobe i’d take 40 shots a night,that the phantom wearing the Gasol-named jersey took 12 shots is beyond incredible,Hill should punch D’Antoni for benching him in the last quarter

  11. D’Antoni is making great progress with rotations, but, even with Steve Nash, he has not yet found a way to achieve balance–and he remains confused about substitution packages. The team remains stubbornly out of balance, both on offense and defense. The key to achieving that balance is to balance Kobe. How will D’Antoni accomplish that?

  12. The key to achieving that balance is to balance Kobe

    ===

    Nah. Kobe shot too much off ISOs at the end, but that is the least of the Lakers’ issues. I posted a quote from Kobe which is stuck in mod; the team is slow, shallow and Pau and Howard are not what they were a couple of years ago.

  13. If I was Dwight Howard right now, I would seriously look at myself in the mirror and ask myself “how does Dwight Howard want to be remembered 20 years from now”?

    He could take Path #1 and average Patrick Ewing like numbers: 21ppg 10reb 2blk and become the “5th” best center in Laker History behind Kareem, Wilt, Shaq and Mikan.

    Or……

    Path#2: Channel his inner Bill Russell and post monster like Russell numbers (15ppg 18-20reb 4blk) and possibly putting him in the conversation as the greatest center and defensive player in Laker history.

    At this point in his career, He needs to realize that he is more Russell than Wilt. For us to win a chip now, the dude needs to unleash his inner Russell. He will never be a 30ppg scorer
    but more a 20reb player.

  14. Nice Post Darius, Just say it as it is.

    I really want the Lakers to go all out, and at least go deep into the Playoffs, hopefully winning the Championship at the end. But, it is just very unfortunate, that if we are lottery bound, we will not have our high pick, not even for the year after that. I still do not understand how the Lakers were allowed to trade away consecutive season number one picks, under the NBA rules that prevent that from happening, in fact, I do not remember when we had a first round pick. Who would even slightly imagined that the team would be this bad. I mean, trading away your number one picks, would normally not have mattered for the Lakers, since they all always greater than 25 or so. I do not know even why I am sharing this thought with this blog, but it is just too bad if it comes down to that.

    Another unfortunate event, for me at least, is that I am not enjoying the JOURNEY like I should and have in previous seasons.

    With that said, GO LAKERS!

  15. Dantoni should have never been in the coach and I am really afraid that it might cost us dwight aka as being the Kings in 2 years.

    Dwight is being used even more poorly than he was in Orlando and while it is true that he is not himself he should still be used better than just being a glorified Horace Grant – not going with Jackson – who would have used him as a focal point of the offense like when he had Shaq and whom was the whole teams first choice as a coach outside of Jim including Dwight who stated it publicly.

    The only thing that may make sure that dwight stays is that he is playing so poorly that we may be the only team wiling to offer him max money and the +1 year may be really appealing to him if he cant get back to dominant shape.

    If we do not fix our defense I am really not sure that we will make the playoffs – Does anyone know if the picks we sent out were lottery protected or not?

  16. This game showed how far the Lakers would go. Lakers have become a three point shooting team and if that long ball doesnt drop then we resort to the “save us kobe” plays. Kobe played very well in this game and the iso plays in the remaining minutes was a way of asking kobe to save the Lakers. The way guys are playing no energy and bad shooting I would have called Kobe’s number earlier in the third quarter and that could have placed the Lakers in a better position come fourth quarter.

    Another point is if the opposing team is leaving Pau open and his not hitting shots while playing any defense at all, then why not try Jamison who might make those open jumpers. Or maybe J. Hill who can be a presense on the defensive end.

    The way Dwight is playing, I am starting to believe Aaron that back injuries like that really diminish ones mobility and athletic prowess. But then again experts says Dwight should have started playing mid january and the ear just started. Lets see how dwight would improve by end of january.

    By the way any one who would agree on dangling Dwight out there?

  17. Wow. Our Lakers:
    -are currently in 10th place @ 15-16.
    -over the last 10 games (6-4) they have only picked up one game on a playoff team (Grizz went 5-5).
    -are facing their biggest five game test. Over eight days they will be facing five Western Conf playoff teams. The Clips, Nuggets, Rockets, Spurs, & Thunder. Very hard to imagine the Lakers coming out of that set with a winning record.

    :-(

  18. Team problems are clear.

    1. Dwight is not 60% healed: so teams score in the paint against us more.

    2. Metta is not under control & hasn’t bought into being the 6th man: so he goes on ill advised point guard dribbling exhibitions or shooting sprees. His shooting has gotten better but still his percentage from behind the arc hurts the team.

    3. Pau is a great 6th man clearly not a starter.

    4. Nash is not aggressive. He’s getting paid too much money to be a glorified Steve BLAKE.

    5. DEFENSE:

    6. Coach has to learn how to utilize his 8 players BEST to maximize RESULTS!

    SOLUTIONS:

    1. Push Dwight by FEEDING him the ball. He should take no less than 20 shots per game. His health will improve along the way.

    2. We need to get a TRADE In for a 3/4 who can spread the floor &. Player who could play 1/2 with skills & aggression!

    3. Nash has to be more aggressive. He should shoot no less than 15 times a game. I mean If players know you’re not going to shoot they can slack off (rest) & then really murder us on the offensive end.

    4. Coach needs a defensive scheme that ALL Players will buy into & that FITS the old roster we have.

    5. Instead of saving the game (as I so desperately want Kobe to do) he needs to hold players accountable & give them the Rock! Let them shoot bricks all night if that’s what has to happen. If we lose that’s what will happen, but in the end no player can look at no one but himself!!

    Go LAKERS..lets find an answer together. We still have time if our team still has fight!

  19. Basketball depends on team play for success. No individual can win a basketball game on his own. Even Wilt Chamberlain’s teams mostly didn’t win. The game Kobe scored 81 points against the Raptors was a game that the Lakers could have lost.

    For the Lakers to consistently win, Kobe must help his teammates play better by playing a complete game in a predictable way. Left to his own resources, Kobe will dominate the offense; assists will go down; other players will have more difficulty scoring. Defensive intensity will decline.

    Kobe cannot see the team perspective when he is playing: he needs to be managed. He needs to sometimes focus on transition defense; sometimes one on one defense; sometimes on posting up; sometimes being a decoy; sometimes getting the ball inside; sometimes sitting down in favor of change of pace for team dynamics–and sometimes a key iso play to change the momentum of the game. He can’t determine these things on his own: he desperately needs to be managed.

    That has turned out to be a major problem for his entire career. He has never been totally managed, but Phil Jackson (coach) and Derek Fisher (point guard) sometimes got the job done.

    For the past two years he has been out of control–and it shows in team chemistry. Even though he may be playing at the highest level in his entire career right now, it is mostly a wasted effort. Tonight’s game was a classic example: Kobe was great, and the team stunk–especially the bigs. Was it Kobe’s fault? Of course not. If Kobe were managed differently, would the game have turned out differently? Maybe yes–maybe no.

    Unless Kobe is managed properly, is it possible for the team to exhibit consistent team play and great chemistry? I don’t think so–and I’m not sure how it happens anymore.

  20. 20 rebounds a game and not 20 shots a game would be the better “need” for Dwight on this team. Plus he isn’t “wired” to score 30 points a game on a night in and night out basis. If that was the case the dude would already have done it in Orlando where he was the first, second and third option on offense.

    And If your looking for Dwight to average Shaq type numbers, ya’ll barking at the wrong tree. It aint happening.

  21. It was really simple. A lack of energy and a lack of teamwork on both ends. No help defense. No ball movement. A bunch of guys standing around. They missed a lot of shots because the shots they took were flat footed, or forced. No matter the talent, energy, sharing and helping are the keys.

    The defense was horrible. The Sixers should have had ten or twenty more points than they did. The Lakers did not play like a team that really cared.

  22. dwight doesnt want to be in this offense or in LA..healthy or not..effort is the problem.

    he has a smirk on his face at every time out..shakes his head repeatedly and pouts consistantly.

    how can you have an offense that only one person in the entire world can run..and he happens to be a 38 year old defenseless pg

    how can you justify an 8 man rotation with old guys in a loooong regular season.

    if any team needs to use zone its us…at the very least it gives the old legs a rest and gives the other team something to think about.

    i still dont understand trading a bad knee for a bad back…backs never heal.

    imho i would much rather have a crazy delonte west than a terrible duhon/morris/ebanks/

    all that said…..failure in the long and short term generally means management problems.

  23. Unless Kobe is managed properly, is it possible for the team to exhibit consistent team play and great chemistry?

    You are worrying too much about Kobe and not enough about the rest of the team. Basketball is indeed a team game–and a team is made up of individuals who have to do their part. Kobe deserves criticism for two things:

    1. His defense
    2. ISOing too much late in games.

    That said, he remains the best, most consistent and most durable player on the Lakers. In the first half of the 76ers game, Kobe went 8/13 from the floor. Pau and Howard went 1/7 and the Lakers were down 54-50. They don’t get enough stops due to personnel and schemes issues, and they don’t have the depth to deal with Howard and Pau in their diminished states. “Managing” Kobe won’t change any of that.

  24. 1. We should put younger guys on the floor more. I don’t know why Ebanks or Clark are not playing, maybe it’s an attitude problems. Maybe we should recall DJO and play him as a backup 1 or 2, let him challenge Duhon and Morris.

    2. If a guy is not playing with energy – bench him. In his third game D’Antoni did bench Gasol in the fourth, why not do this again? Meeks and/or Hill should finish some games in favor of MWP and Pau. I hope coach will be flexible with the line-up.

  25. For Howard, it’s probably a combination of both. He is not the same player after a back injury and no longer the center of attention for playmaking.

    Howard feeds off of being the center of attention. That is what amplifies his energy. Anyone who watched him in Orlando understands this. That is why is always joking around and not being serious. It is what gives him energy.

    Doing dirty work has never been interesting to him. He may be able to sustain it for a game here or there because of team and media pressure, but it is not his modus operandi.

    Dwight is not changing. He has a way that works for him, and one that doesn’t. I can’t imagine him staying in LA with Kobe after this season.Especially if he understands the environment that he is most effective and destructive in. I am guessing he is telling himself this as he struggles to adapt his game to a way that doesn’t appeal to him.

    He is not Bill Russell. He is an entertainer.

  26. Darius,
    I have back issues and I find that sometimes I am somewhat stiff if I have been inactive for too long. It just may be that Dwight may be better with one day off than he sometimes is with two days off. Especially when recovering from back issues, we just may not be able to count on consistency.

    drrayeye,
    Kobe is paid to shoot the ball, not pass it. Several years ago there was a pretty complete study of Kobe’s shooting done and I have quoted it before here…http://www.littlewhitestatistics.com/?cat=7. While this is years old, it does represent what Kobe’s personality is. All this stuff about Kobe shooting too much in losses is pretty much debunked. Kobe shoots more when the game is in danger of being lost and when his teammates are just not getting it done. There are exceptions to this rule, but those exceptions just go to prove the rule exists.

    Kobe also has bad hands – this is also from injuries years ago – and this contributes to his turnovers. It isn’t the entire story, but it does explain a lot.

    When we are frustrated we want to pick out a single target and say fix that – problems are easier to define that way – but that isn’t the situation in life and it isn’t the situation with today’s Lakers.

  27. I agree Kobe forced some shots in the end, but as I watched the whole game I also felt that Nash was not very aggressive in creating opportunities – dumping to Gasol then being more passive then I saw him in previous games. But bottom line, defense is the issue. On a night most folks can’t shoot we score almost 100, could have been a win with better defense. Bad shooting nights happen

  28. I kept harping about a “broken team” since 2011 and we still are broken. This time its with great disappointment that despite our efforts to trade our way to a championship we’re still stuck in a very ugly middle. For all intents and purposes, you are what your record says. And we suck right now due to alot of things.

    The Lakers are going to stick with this plan until the plan abandons us. There isn’t much the team can do this season, there are but 2 options left: Stick it our regardless or trade Pau Gasol. I am looking at the organization, the payroll, the ramifications of the repeater tax, the team play as it is and so on. That is why I look at the Lakers in a much different color than most guys, I look at the payroll in considering alot of my decisions as if I were Buss and not Ken(o) or any other spoiled Laker fan.

    The Lakers will be trading Pau Gasol. There was only one future path in which this wouldn’t be done and it is if the Lakers were 25-6 instead of 15-16 at this point. So for everything thats been said and done this year, Mitch Kupchak is pulling the parachute for this season and preparing for the next.

    The next questions will involve Dwight and will he be here next season for that plan to actually mean anything. There are far bigger factors in Dwight’s decision than MONEY and BASKETBALL. In his impending decision this summer, it will be about life, environment, future after basketball, etc… in which case, for the ones that doubt, it HAS TO BE LA. No one leaves LA on their own unless they are traded.

    With my confidence on this 100% intact, I can conclude that the Lakers are actually managing the team according to payroll and the repeater tax. There is NO WAY the Lakers pay extra 19M x 1.65% (estimated progressive tax for Gasol) if the team is not cruising at .765 winning clip. With all thats been shown this year, MDA will have an easier time easing this lineup if Gasol were traded for spare parts.

    Continuing my monologue of sorts, the Lakers are prepared to structure the payroll to house in 3 stars instead of the current 4. With Nash being paid 9M and Kobe 30M next season, those 2 even out at 20M per player with Dwight being the 3rd one earning such. If you look at the Lakers payroll, there will be a sudden drop after Kobe’s current contract is due. This is the time when the Lakers face another crossroad of extending Kobe with KG-like contract for the next 2-3 seasons beyond his contract or they let him retire. In which case, something called the 2014 plan is in place and it works for the team as currently constructed.

    From a basketball standpoint, Dwight needs shooters to succeed. Thats assuming he is back to his old form in which he currently isn’t. From this view, D12 also needs a stretch PF for this to work, an athletic rangy 2-3 and Steve Nash. This is and would be the perfect set-up for MDA. In examining how basketball meets payroll and payroll + basketball meets title contention, the easiest and most obvious formula is to trade Pau Gasol. I just can’t see Pau being a Laker beyond the trade deadline and as early as after the Clippers grudge match.

    Peace.

  29. That’s how you build a highway: Brick after brick.

    Then, players lose their confidence and all hell brakes loose.

    MDA should have put Jamison in for Pau. It couldn’t get any worse than what he was doing.

  30. 15-16 record, 10th place, 31 games down, 51 to go w/ next 5 vs play-off bound Western conference teams. Lakers chances of being 15-21 are scarily probable. Best bet to avoid a sweep will be vs Rockets, unless they somehow overlook them during run against the Clips, Nuggets, Rockets, Spurs, & Thunder.

    For those looking for something to smile about, Kobe 36 points puts him within 1,000 points of Wilt for 4th place on the all-time scoring list. :-(

  31. Lots of theories about what `should be done´ during the game and how the team should be managed from a pseudo-perspective of the FO on today´s thread; `spoiled´ Laker fans, Kobe shoots too much, Dwight´s gonna bail to the Kings, Pau´s THE problem, etc. etc. –
    As far as i´m concerned if we´d made a couple more FTs and just one more 3pt. shot, we´d be celebrating an ugly victory today and would´ve already had an eye on our neighbors at Staples.
    Keep the vibe we, as die-hard fans, send out to our Lakers HIGH dagnabit! It´s microcosmic, true, but it is still positive energy!

  32. Definitely should have put Jamison in. Stu said it basically “despite what you can say about Antawn’s D, you need some offense right now. Why isn’t he in?” (jist)

  33. I’m guessing that 3 for 19 was not what the Buss family had in mind when they signed on to pay $40 million for two 7-footers this year.

    Kobe might be overpaid, but at $28 million he is a damn bargain relative to Howard and Gasol (whose COMBINED scoring average is below Kobe’s this year…).

    With January 15th looming, I don’t see any way this team does not make a trade, even if simply for a salary dump. There’s no reason to think that squeeking into the playoffs is all this group needs to “flip the switch” and compete for a title. At this point, they’d be better served missing the playoffs and being a lottery participant.

  34. Glad I came back here to continue reading since early, early morning.
    @Funky Chicken January 2, 2013 at 11:20 am, Unless the next two consecutive seasons have the Lakers first round picks lottery protected (why would they be for this team), we are not going to have them, they are gone.

  35. “They don’t get enough stops due to personnel and schemes issues, and they don’t have the depth to deal with Howard and Pau in their diminished states. “Managing” Kobe won’t change any of that.”
    —————————————————————————————————–

    Au contraire, my friend. You need to use systems thinking. Let’s suppose that there are 100 shots available per game plus 20 freethrows. An equal distribution would be 20 shots per player and 4 free throws–for 48 minutes. Adjusted for 36 minutes per player, that’s 15 shots and 3 freethrows. A decent number of shots per starter would be 15, with a range of 10 to 20 shots and about 3 freethrows. As a player’s number of shots go down, his strategy changes. He may emphasize screening, rebounding, passing, or transition defense on the offensive end, and reducing the scoring of his opponent on the other end. Kobe might be at the upper end of the range at 20 shots, but few assists and rebounds. He might not play defense against the opponents top shooter. Dwight might be at the lower end of shots, but at the upper end in rebounds. Steve Nash might be at the lower end of shots and rebounds, but have more assists. For MWP it would be defense.

    When ANY player gets out of an expected range, it has a ripple effect on the rest of the team. As they try to compensate for each other, other aspects of their games collapse. An outlier can easily damage team chemistry in such a way that nobody contributes their part. Kobe may well get more points due to taking more shots, but as he becomes more and more of an outlier, team dynamics suffer, and ultimately collapse. Right now, the Lakers are clearly not balanced, and Kobe needs to be managed to resore balance. Of course, it’s not only Kobe: the rest of the team needs to be managed to better complement each other as well.

  36. good points by warren and funky chicken. At this point i would not blame the FO one bit for dumping salary. Plan did not work out as anticipated so save money and cut bait. Come up with a new plan and reload.

  37. Dantoni is the problem, from the moment he was chosen over Phil…all you need to know is, this guy designs plays for Pay to shoot 3’s …I’m done with him

  38. Funky,

    This year’s pick is not lottery protected. PHX fans are already making a big deal about it. Don’t know about next year’s.

    dr rayeye,

    As has been shown by analysts, and as we saw last year when Pau and Bynum’s EFGs cratered with Kobe out of the lineup, efficiency in basketball is not scalable. I suggest that you read Craig’s link. It is quite informative.

    That said, I do think that Nash needs to initiate the O more late, and Howard needs more shots. But IMO the Lakers are not losing due to chemistry issues or due to Kobe’s FGAs. They are losing because Pau is about 50% of what they need him to be and doesn’t fit well in any case, because Howard is about 70% of what they need him to be, and that is exposing how weak the team is 5-10, particularly on the defensive side of the basketball. MDA has his plusses, but he is not the guy to cure a sick defense.

    As I have said many times, I would run a 10-man rotation with this team, with a Nash/Howard unit and a Kobe/Pau unit. But since MDA is going to run 8.5 man rotations, they need to upgrade the backup 1 and backup 3/4 and therefore they probably need to deal Pau.

    And, while O and D are connected, guys still need to D up better whether Kobe is taking 15 shots or 30. That is what they are paid to do.