Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  January 2, 2013

The Lakers kicked off the New Year with a loss – a predictable way to begin this lead-in paragraph given the circumstances. It wouldn’t have been a predictable line for a team once preordained for greatness. This is reality though, and we’ve had ample time to get used to it – good one night and not so good the next is the unshakable narrative of a .500 team. The Lakers dug themselves another hole that they couldn’t climb out of last night and if there’s any positive spin, it’s that Howard and Gasol went a combined 3 for 19 and some nights the bunnies just won’t fall. Cue the glorious links:

Three days off without a game didn’t seem to help the Lakers last night. So writes Kevin Ding from the OC Register.

Kobe Bryant says the Lakers are just an old damn team. Dave McMenamin writes it up for ESPN Lakers Index and there’s only so much you can do about being old.

Drew Garrison at Silver Screen and Roll writes about last night’s too little, too late game.

Eric Pincus at the L.A. Times examines Steve Nash’s frustration, and the feeling that the Lakers are running out of time.

Helene Elliot at the L.A. Times writes that Coach D’Antoni saw this loss coming.

Backing off the free throw line by six or seven inches has never been a particularly effective method of fixing your free throw mechanics but that’s what Dwight Howard’s taken to doing. Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie has the story.

Rey Moralde at Lakers Nation finds a twitter narrative to structure last night’s loss.

***

Next up is a cross-hallway game on Friday. It’s another couple days of rest for the Lakers, while the Clippers are in the midst of a grind – their 17-game win streak ended last night in Denver and they face Golden State tonight. After Friday night’s game against the Lakers they get to face the Warriors again on Saturday. This would probably be a good time for the Lakers to will a little energy into those well-rested old legs of theirs. Whether they can or can’t or will or won’t is anybody’s guess.

Dave Murphy

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65 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. Saw a stat on sportscenter saying Lakers average age of players that play is 30. Heat are 30 and Knicks are 31 both those teams are top 4 in their conference. There’s plenty of excuses and while age can be one plenty of teams are old but they play together and a certain way every night that will help them win. Kobe says that’s what Lakers have to do but shoot 29 times (for a good percentage) with zero assists. The long jumpers he takes lead to fast breaks which he doesn’t get back on. The turnovers he commits in the process of trying to make a play leads to fastbreaks which he doesn’t get back on. A crucial play after Kobe made the 3 next time down he got the ball nash was at the top of the key wide open but kobe went the opposite way hawes and turnr trapped Kobe jumped passed to a turnover and sixers got fastbreak points. With the game still in hand Holiday blew by Kobe for a dunk which neither of the bigs contested. As rr as pointed out Kobe late game has been horrible and very much out of control this year. I think if Kobe as the leader of the team implements the style of play he wants the team to have any given night they’ll play that way. Not blaming Kobe just think he can steer the Lakers ship any way he wants. And could easily lessen pressure off himself by giving the ball to Nash late in games.

    As WWL pointed out in the last thread I do think Lakers will make a move but would you rather have $38 mil for two years of Pau or $100 mil for 5 years of the Dwight we’ve seen this year? Looking at the back end of the deal Mitch gave Pau he isn’t earning the 19 mil this year and probably won’t next year. Neither is Amare, J’O'Neal didn’t, Hibbert won’t, Lopez probably won’t or any other big that gets a max deal. Moving one player won’t solve all problems financial or on the court but Lakers could create a similiar problem financially like the on ewith Pau 3 years down the road if they give out another max deal to a big.

  2. Luckily Kevin you were not the only one that watched the game. Why do u fail to mention the open Jumper Hawes made (after Kobe’s 3) because his man Pau was lost on defense, that is where the game was lost, everything afterwards (including the so called dunk Kobe gave up) was inconsequential??? Why ignore the fact that if not for Kobe the Lakers would have had no chance to be in striking distance late. How many open shots did the other Lakers miss when Kobe passed to them?? You do realize that to record an assist the shooter has to score right??? Lastly you do realize that Kobe has played 17 seasons most of which he was and is still currently the best Shooting Guard in the NBA right? The man is performing his Job excellently, I can live with a few mistakes, he is human. Kobe cant steer the Lakers ship to be righted because the Lakers problem is Howard and Pau (mostly Howard). At this stage in his career Howard is supposed to be the best player on the Lakers. In fact, when Howard plays with energy, the Lakers hardly lose. Instead last night Howard got his shot blocked 4 times. That tells you that he isn’t healed yet. So what needs to happen on nights like that is for the other 3 big name players to step up. Kobe stepped up, Pau didn’t, while Nash was stuck on neutral. Until Howard is 100% healthy, Kobe, Nash and Pau should expect to do occasional heavy lifting. The only thing that can steer the Lakers right is for players to have a personal responsibility. That means no need to party when you have a game the next day. That means taking care of your body. Kobe is doing all of that but somehow its his fault that grown men aren’t doing the same thing?? Please stop complaining about the Late game play of Kobe, if you want to blame someone blame Nash who Kobe has ceded complete control of the ball over to. Nash is supposed to be a floor general but you could see that the heavy mins got the best of him late last night. He was glad to give the ball up to Kobe late. Here is the truth, If the big men made a couple of easy shots they blew or one of the many missed 3s dropped the Lakers would be celebrating an ugly win with the same worry – Age. You brought up Average age of NY and Miami, however what is the Average Age of the 2 best player on those teams?? 29 for Miami and 27 for NY. On the Lakers Howard (27) and Kobe (34) are supposed to be the best players instead on nights when Howard is hampered (like last night) its either Kobe (34) and MWP (33) or Kobe and Nash (38). So yeah, age is a huge problem for the Lakers when their young supposed to be best player isn’t himself.

  3. The one issue the hindered putting the ball in Nashes hands at the end of the game is the fact that Pau/Howard proved themselves to be zero threats by the time the last mins rolled around. And once you only need 3′s, guards just go over top or everyone switches everything on Nash to keep him from getting a shot off – ergo Kobe becomes the only one who has the height/elevation to get a shot off against that much pressure.

    Also – those who are calling for Nash to be aggresive – his MO is to run the offense and get players involved/distribute but then hit/take shots as needed in the last 2 mins or so. Nash taking more shots earlier disrupts the fact that he has 2 post players who deserve/demand shots and that’s the balancing act w this team. Nash is aggresive enough – look at his performances against GS/NY down the stretch – he steps up and makes/takes more shots and handles more. But when the posts disappear for an entire game, hard for him to assert himself when opposition only has him and Kobe to key on.

    To further Funkys point from last post- I personally like the idea of the Lakers basically being able to clear the decks w Pau and everyone elses contract expiring in 2014 – but realistically, I just don’t think Buss (jr or sr) will be able to tolerate the level of inconsistency or issues for the next 18 months. Hate to say it – but Paus time w the Lakers may be determined by how the team does over the next 15 days. They won’t get equal value talent wise back – but if they can get 2-3 young guys on short/rookie contracts or cheap/waiveable deals who can at least help out in the short term – then expire or be moved easier in trades. Wing stoppers/athletic shooters become priority. As for backup pg – that’s pretty much a none issue as this team is going to need as much of Nash as possible the rest of the way out. They can survive w Blake/duhon morris behind Nash rest of way – they can’t survive w/o better perimeter defense at the 2-4 positions. I don’t include the 1 because every good team has a good 1 who does their thing every night whther its by scoring or passing etc.. So that’s a wash at that position Nash vs everyone. Besides which against westbrook, drose etc… Nash doesn’t guard them anyways and does okay being hidden on kmart/thabo etc…

  4. Kevin_
    You crack me up. You write a paragraph doing nothing but blaming Kobe and then at the end say that “I’m not blaming Kobe.” Dwight was 1-7 and Pau was 2-12. MWP was 6-17. The team was a combined 3-22 from 3 point land. When the team struggles, then Kobe is going to shoot and shoot and shoot. I don’t blame him for doing so, either.

  5. Not buying the age line either. The Lakers are trying to play a system they are not cut out for. However, due to Nash being out until recently, and other things, the team is not really running Mike’s system. They are half running it. And that’s even worse than running it. It’s like they haven’t fully taken on the SSOL identity (because they can’t). Yet, they are still trying. One minute they are trying to push the ball. The next minute they are running some of the same sets that Mike Brown ran. The team as a whole looks confused and bewildered. The only constant offensively is Kobe. But that’s both a benefit and a drawback.

  6. People don’t pay attention to detail…What does Kobe shooting less shots yesterday has to do with them winning or not??…the Lakers cant make stops period. Teams get literally any look they want against us, I mean my goodness…Sixers scored nearly on every possession down the stretch

  7. Ryan Feldman wrote this post today after I did the links, otherwise it would have been included. It basically looks at how age plays into the wins column for both half-court sets and the typical D’Antoni higher-scoring model. Whether you agree or not, it’s certainly on-point to the discussion in this thread. Personally, I think all the various issues have to be taken in total – it’s not just age, or just system or just salaries. Plus, I hate to say it but I just don’t have a great feeling about Dwight’s recovery from back surgery.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/53187/is-kobe-right-are-the-lakers-too-old

  8. i think the biggest problem right now is personnel. In a perfect world with great chemistry, theoretically our pieces fit together well. In reality, our pieces are imperfectly matched, and although they are all an embarrassment of riches in terms of talent, athletically we are challenged.

    Today’s team defenses are mostly about hedging and recovering as quickly as possible, and making the rotation to the open man when one man gets beat. While you don’t need to have a lebron type athlete at every position to make the system work, you do need relatively young fresh legs, and more importantly, you need consistent effort, and a consistent idea of where you need to go in the system. We have none of those things right now. I don’t believe the players know who they are supposed to be covering in any scenario because there are inconstant switches, and there are some players that are not doing the same things each time… sometimes covering, sometimes switching, sometimes getting back to their man. This is a complicated issue, but it’s gonna take all of those elements to make a great defense. to make a merely acceptable defense, it takes constant effort, and knowing your assignments no matter what happens.

    I’d be happy with a merely acceptable defense, and i have to admit kobe is putting forth more effort on that side of the ball, but as he said at the beginning of the year, this is his team. The bigs were admittedly terrible yesterday, everyone is going to put up some stinkers, but we still could have and should have won that game. If kobe puts forth more consistent effort defensively instead of cheating way off his man and constantly jawing at the refs after non calls (justified or not) our defense will get drastically better. every time down after a kobe turnover or a presumably missed call, our defenders are playing one man down, and noone knows who should be covering who…it’s fairly obvious that there’s confusion, and that needs to stop. there are countless times where there is a man wide open, and you can see players wondering “who’s guy is that?” before closing out very late, or not closing out at all. better effort and accountability on defense is kobe’s responsibility…he can’t simply conserve energy only for offense and think that’s a winning formula. it isn’t, and you cant just turn on a switch for a good defense if the good habits aren’t already there. i believe him when he says he has no idea what’s wrong, because he rarely admits to mistakes after games (other than, “i have to make those shots i normally make, or i have to turn the ball over less) It would be refreshing for him to take some of the blame, and step up defensively.

    so as much as i love pau, (i thought he was the mvp of the finals that one year with game 7) he is too slow on defense both at the 4 and 5 spot. I don’t think he gives us enough on offense to make up for his inability to defend and recover in space any more. (at least on this team where two others of the starting five are weak defensively –nash, and kobe) So i’m not going to call for him to be traded, but it seems that is something that has to be done. we wont get back a player or two that will equal his fantastic talent, but getting one or two players that are more athletic and can shore up some of our defensive lapses will go a long way towards making us a better overall team. (you can see a distinct difference when jordan hill is in the game.. he’s much more effective at covering ground than pau, and gets some tough rebounds to make up for his limited offensive skills…. so you don’t need to necessarily get as good a player as pau, because you wont but maybe having another lunch pail guy vs a high talent guy makes this team better.) i think of the showtime team… would it have been better with all stars at the pf position instead of AC or rambis? maybe, maybe not, every team needs some guys who are going to do the dirty work, and right now in the starting lineup, i’m not seeing that.

    i’d still like to keep pau, but you can’t have three legitimately sub par defenders in the lineup and expect our defense to be passable. Maybe you can overcome one or two, but not the majority of your lineup. so barring a miraculous change in kobe’s defensive commitment, pau is the odd man out, and the sooner we make a move the better, because as i thought with the mike brown situation, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that you’ve lost the season for good.

    i really wish there was another way, but i don’t honestly see this team buckling down and playing adequate defense (this has been a problem since phil’s last years, so it’s not just a coaching issue)

  9. @Dave – I have no problem w someone publishing that kind of post if its a mass study of numbers and you can see some sort of consistent trends etc… But to measure one team – over only 30 games, w no mention of 2 coach philosphies, only 6 full games w its real pg, no training camp – AND ignore the litany of injuries to that this team has/is suffering thru – well then this article is pretty much junk and it was written just as a knee jerk response to one player’s quote.

    Is there merit in investigating if there is a positive/negative correlation between pace/age etc… For sure and it would be interesting to see. That being said – there seems to be more and more articles like this showing up on insider that purport one theory but are completely out of context or have many holes. ESPN STATs guys need to step up their game or hire Hollinger back if they’re not going to produce well thought out statistical arguments – particularly when as in this case – the reasons for debunking or invalidating their hypothesis are pretty bloody obvious.

  10. Haha, it really doesn’t matter what we think or say about Kobe because, as he says, he’s playing better now than he has in a number of years and he’s within 1000 points of passing Wilt for 4th place on the all-time scoring list. In addition, he’s playing on an old & slow team.

    The way the season is going, it will be interesting to see how soon people start talking about lottery draft picks. No way you say? Lakers are currently 15-16, next five games are all against teams ahead of them in the standings or Western Conf play-off teams: Clips, Nuggets, Rockets, Spurs, & Thunder. Chances of the Lakers being +.500 at the halfway mark of the season (just 10 more games)…dwindling.

    When the season started, many of us were thinking championship…then we downgraded to making the WCF, then a top 4 spot in the West, now many of us will just be happy to make the play-offs and go from there. These next five games may be a serious indicator of what’s to come in the 2nd half of the season.

    Don’t know about many of my fellow Laker fans, but Kobe scoring 175 points while the Lakers go 0-5 or 1-4 in the next five does nothing for me. If it works for you…ok

  11. Joe. Completely agree.

    Pau and Dwight were 3 for 19. Pau couldn’t get down court, defend or shoot yet was in The game the last 5 minutes. Mean while an active Hill who gad as many points and rebounds in half The minutes as Pau sat. In addition with the big’s going 3 for 19 a suppose offensive addition in Jamison sat for the 6th straight game.

    Clearly there are many issues with this team and one of the biggest is Mike No D’s inability to adjust and put the right players on the court at the right time.

    This team has serious issues with Kobe being the least of them.

  12. I dont know why guys are blaming Kobe for the loss. He is a SHOOTING guard for christ sake he does what he should do. If you take away his shooting who should carry the scoring load? Steve Nash? He is a pass first before shoot guy and that is what is needed from him by his team to make the right pass. Ron Artest? What is needed of him is his energy and hustle on the defensive end the guy is playing with all guts out there.

    What the Lakers are missing right now is thier twin towers unless they were the leaning tower of pizza that appears to collapse. How many times have we seen guards get a penetration and lay ins over our seven footer Pau Gasol? How many rebounds did Dwight get last night? Right now I still believe with the Lakers considering that medical experts said that he shouldnt be playing until mid january. But we will see if by mid january up early feb if he is the old Dwight of Orlando coz right now I see Tyson Chandler playing way better than Dwight.

    As much as I love Pau, and I even want him to retire as a Laker but it seems that this MDA system is not fit for him. It is unfair for this guy to adjust his game and let it suffer for the sake of the system being impemented. Yesterday we saw Pau drove to the basket with force but he failed to connect why? Coz that is not the way he plays, the guy is a finesse guy with a ton of moves at the post. That is why he is so effective in our championship runs and in the Olympics. I think we should let him walk away and play for a team where he can maximize his skills and in return get a stretch 3/4.

  13. Big City

    We have no ist round pucks. They gave them away for. Ahhhh ahhhhh ahhhh ok I give, WHAT?

    With Denver having 13 of their 15 games at home and a 10 and 1 home record the top 6 seeds are all but set.

    That leaves the Lakers, Houston and Utah fighting for the last 2 spots and the honor to okay OKC and the Clippers with the best records in the NBA.

    Help!

  14. dwight wants the ball…when he gets it his back will be fine

    pau wants the ball…when he gets it he will be fine.

    jordan had rodman… if we were smart we would have that type of player

    but we like names…even when the parts dont fit

  15. I have said it before and I will continue to say it. We are 31 games into the season and the Lakers are fighting for an 8th seed. Let me say that again, the Lakers are fighting for an 8th seed! This season is all but over. UNLESS, they trade Pau and Howard gets 100 % healthy. If both those things happen they may go far in the playoffs, if not, then say hello to a 1st round exit and a team to be laughed at as the biggest embarrassment in the NBA.

  16. re-posted from the other thread:

    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.

    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.

    Kobe was 8/13 in the first half, a % which should satisfy even the hardest core Hater. The Lakers were down 54-50 anyway–for the reasons stated above.

  17. BigCity: Losing 5 games where KB scores 35 ppg is not my first choice, but it does give me something to get through some of these games : )
    T Rogers: “The Lakers are trying to play a system they are not cut out for.” “The team as a whole looks confused and bewildered.” I would be remiss for not acknowledging your accurate observations – rr: he said it – not me : )
    Team: Even at these levels, DH is playing as well as AB did last year – probably better factoring in defense. We supposedly lacked a PG last year and now we have that. Metta and KB are better than last year. Pau seems to play his best ball for Spain. This is strange. No – do not read between the lines. It is just strange – nothing more – nothing less. Could be chemistry, could be injuries, or it could be just coincidental that 3-4 guys are having the worst years of their career all at the same time.
    Kobe: Does anybody think that KB told anyone that we were too old in the pre-season?

  18. Jerke – I agree that the available stats sample is small but it’s not like the writer’s just coming at this out of left field. This is a narrative that’s been discussed since D’Antoni took over and it’s certainly been much discussed here in the threads. At D’Antoni’s first press conference he talked about the numbers he thought the team should be putting up offensively. He expressed an understanding of certain age issues and kind of laughed off a “7 seconds or less” question. Still, there was no doubt that he was looking to run his style of ball and nobody should have expected anything different. In early December, Magic said “the system doesn’t fit the talent the Lakers have”. I don’t see Feldman’s article as any type of disrespect or knee jerk reaction really – I think he’s just using some numbers to point out some fairly obvious differences between low-post and full-court, and tying it in with Kobe’s statement.

  19. Robert,

    You overrated the roster, particularly on D, when you kept saying that Kobe made the All-D team last year, and talked about MWP as if he were Ron Artest circa 2004. It was clear that you were wrong about that before they had played a preseason game. And you overrated the bench.

    I have a post stuck in mod right now, but it basically says that MDA is doing some things I don’t like, and I think he deserves some criticism. But the main problem is Howard and Pau’s issues and Nash’s injury exposing the roster 5-10. Again: if you want to blame that on D’Antoni, make the case and I’ll consider it. But the innuendoes are tiresome.

    Finally, one more time: the Lakers point differential is about like it was last year, so the comps suggesting .that last year’s team was really a lot better than this year’s are shaky.

  20. Dave,

    Are your concerns with Dwight more in line with career altering concerns or that he won’t be himself this season? It’s obvious he isn’t himself but if the team is going to tie itself to him, it better know his back is up for the load this franchise carries.

  21. @Dave – except his article completely ignores the starting pg being out 20+ games, Pau missing 8 plus being hurt, howard having bad back, no backup pg (blakes out), below league average weak bench, along with the fact that this is sample is taken early on in the season therefore negating the major effects of age related fatigue- trying to make the arguement that the Lakers woes are age/pace related at this point is very weak.

    I’m not saying its not a theory worth covering – just the methodology used for this article was weak. If he wanted to make a real point – he wouldve been better off making a correlation of the suns teams between 04-10 and looking at long term trends there where a team w mostly the same major players aged together – while also looking at the Spurs success as they’ve adjusted over the past couple years and playing at a same or higher pace than Lakers while still maintaining an aging core. If the author compared/contrasted the offensive differences/similarities in age/pace between the Spurs/Lakers and how an aging team can make a good transition to player faster – and compare that to the Lakers current struggles (while taking into account the aforementioned issues – which spurs never had, plus having coaching continuity helps) – that wouldve been a much better article.

    I really appreciate the stats/analytics side as its helped dispel misconceptions I’ve had and made the game more interesting in dissecting why things work/don’t. Just ESPN has the tools/numbers to do more in depth research than presented – and it seemed like the numbers were picked and then held up to prove a point -in a total vaccuum. So yeah, it just seemed like this guy threw some stuff together in less than 16 hrs, just to supprt the team is too old quote from kobe (which when taken in full – he was referring to guys having to bring energy every night from a mental aspect – not reflection on their physical age necessarily).
    Thanks for posting the link though lol.

    Just for something different: for those curious what could happen between Rockets/Royce white if Rockets decided to terminate him. Very interesting legal take.

    “@LarryCoon: For those who have been asking me about the Royce White situation, @McCannSportsLaw covers it a lot better than I can: http://t.co/HWPwp15E

  22. That’s a scary thought, Dwight not returning to 100%. Who are we going to have available to pair with Kyrie Irving in two seasons :) ?

  23. @Dave – forgot to add this comment – but if the lakers weren’t missing almost 30 games to injury just from Pau/Nash alone – and had played together – I would be quite fine w the sample size regardless whther it indicated playing faster or slower.

  24. Lol Scorch – Nash backing up kyrie for one last season would be awesome.

  25. Kobe:

    “Cause we’re old as s— .. What do you want? .. You just saw an old damn team .. I don’t know how else to put it to you. We’re just slow. You saw a team over there that was just younger and just had fresher legs and just played with more energy ..”

    Now while these comments were made in direct correlation to questions that were asked of the teams performance, could the answers also be viewed as a cry for help to the FO to bring in some young, energetic and athletic personnel who could bolster the roster?
    ___

    “Howard sat on a chair staring silently into his locker for several minutes after speaking to the media .. ”

    1. Contemplating different scenarios in which he can better assist the team in reaching its ultimate goal, a Championship?
    2. Worrying, in silence, about the magnitude and significance of his back injury and the long term impact that it’ll have on his future success?
    3. Questioning whether it would be in his best interest to sign a Max Deal in the off-season with this organization?

    Just food for thought.

  26. @jerke – good points. I agree about using the Suns as an entry point and comparative analysis.

    @P. Ami – I’m kind of thinking more short term but it’s pretty obvious that he’s not moving well on a consistent basis and the surgery was 9 months ago. He’s a big guy and he’s always kept himself in great shape but he plays a physical game and there’s a lot of stress on the discs, soft tissue and nerves.

  27. From the beginning of the season, i wrote on this blog, don’t compare this team to Miami Heat, i compare this team to the Boston Celtics. You can blame on the coach if you want, but in my opinion Lakers FO made big mistakes, so Lakers fan have to wait for several years and hope they learn a lesson, remember they spent 100 mil to build this team, Paul and Kobe took a lot of money but they can’t play like Durant-Westbrook, Kobe can’t guard any players, he is scoring leader of the NBA, it means, he will disappear in the playoffs.

  28. Wasn’t blaming kobe just going off what I saw last night. Lakers have the pieces they have right now. How do lakers win consistently with these pieces? I don’t think with one player having 29 shots and zero assists. And I think we’ve all come to the conclusion our defense will forever be poor which means lakers must outscore teams. They have a better chance doing that by having a equal opportunity offense. Kobe used to get 45 easy off 29 shots but that’s not the case anymore. 29 shots to get 36 points isn’t efficient no matter how high the fg% is especially when you factor in zero assists. We’ve seen the past few years him not being able to will lakers wins by scoring anymore. Time to try somethibg different. Don’t mean to make it all about kobe but he steers the lakers ship not jim, mike, dwight or nash. What the superstar wants the superstar gets. Dwight was missing easy shots and pau is no longer an effective player every night but nash can be. He was so fun to watch after misses running the break finding guys and in the halfcourt screen game. Effortlessly having another good game (12 pts 10 ast). I hope nash and kobe can find a little more balance in their games because it’s becoming more and more apparent the season rides on their shoulders not the younger guy dwight.

  29. Watching Clippers and right now Matt Barnes would be the 2nd best player on the Lakers so far this year. Yea you heard me right. Guy has been averaging 16 off the bench and would be the leading 3 point shooter on the team and our best defender.

    But we have Jamison, Meeks, Clark and Duhon so what do I know.

  30. Kobe will disappear in the playoffs? did you watched the playofs last year?

    Saying Pau’s defense is the problem is Ok but offensively s
    also after one game w/fascilitis. He was playing awesome when he came back on 3 games.

    Saying this Laker teams is relying on DEFENSELESS NASH on OFFENSE is a joke. I mean really? Talking offense w/Nash running the point must be separated with him on defense. Not in the same phrase.

    This team is 6-2 since Nash came back. Aint you guys see that? even understand that? 8 GAMES!!!

    Somebody telling this team is over and MDA is garbage. Well, dont watch, change team and do.t visit these site.

    Simple as that. When Lakers lose, posting like its the end of the world. This is why I rarely post. I just read but these comments as of now made me sick that I was forced to post this one.

    Lastly, dont argue with Darius if he deleted your post. Be discipline enough and be tactful also.

  31. Ko – yeah, watching barnes right now is hard.

    someone had mentioned how we made the same mistake with our bench back to back in not having a replacement for shanwow when he left to spell kobe at the SG and now this year we have no backup SF after Barnes left.

    I know that mitch has been hitting it up with getting us stars but year – our bench is still weak – hopefully we can pickup a castoff in buy-out season cause im not buying the way we are starting out games with morris (even though I think he is our best bet to guard PGs like Paul,westbrook, lawson etc) and having to give up size to play small when our size in Gasol,Odom, Bynum – ( as well as Kobe) was what got us to the finals 3 years in a row and now we are giving it up to play like a suns team that we are not equiped to play like and whom we shouldnt want to be anyways because they never won anything and at their height we were a rebound away from taking them out in the 1st round of the playoffs

    Jim – Listen to Magic Johnson !!!!!

  32. Also Curry is really ripping Paul tonight – and the refs have started to give the clips superstar treatment – there was a sequence where griffen ran over paul and they called the warriors for a foul – plus they always give paul the benefit of the doubt even though he is always hooking his man

  33. i don’t mind lawler on the clipps broadcasts but whoever is doing colour w/ him is annoying – anyone know who it is?

    GS up 12 w 4 mins left in 3rd – missing lots but still playing good.

  34. Every player goes at Pau on defense, be it a guard, a small forward, a power forward or a center. He is ineffective on defense. Gasol has been in this league long enough to recognize what the other team is doing on offense yet he is always bewildered on simple schemes. Dwight plays much better defense with Hill on the floor rather than Pau, and so do the Lakers. One play last night exemplifies his defense and other players thoughts on him as a defender–there were numerous last night. Jrue probed the paint and dribbled until there was a switch with Pau, he took Pau under the basket and back out via the dribble. Then Jrue took Pau to the right of the basket just outside the paint for a simple shot and Pau’s defense did nothing to deter the shot.

    Darius Morris is a fine prospect for two years from now, however he is a liability as a starter on a team attempting to climb back into the playoffs. He dribbles too much, dribbles between his legs coming up the court for no apparent reason (something high school guards do to show their handles). And does not understand how to run an offense, can’t finish around the rim nor can he make jump shots consistently. In one play in the first half Darius dribbled the ball aimlessly for 18 seconds, crowded Kobe by bringing his man over to Bryant in the corner where he was forced to shoot a three.

    Dwight is going to sign with the Lakers because he knows this will be his team in two years. No star player in his prime has ever left the Lakers voluntarily and he will not be the first. Basketball is a sport that does not allow a player to take a week off much less to miss eight months having back surgery. Dwight will return to full strength from his surgery; it just may not be in time to save this season. The Lakers were doomed this season. Dwight came back early and maybe should not have tried to play until now…CREDIT Dwight for caring enough to get back on the court. Howard has shown enough flash of his past skills to let us know that he needs more time to strengthen and get his timing and more so, his instincts back.

    Nash has played less games for the Lakers this season than any team plays during pre-season, thus he is not in game shape. Prior to warm-ups against the 76ers Nash shot 5-10 shots from the 3pt line around the horn and maybe missed 5 shots. That’s 45-50 shots from 3. His timing and conditioning will improve, too. The problem is will he do it in time to save this season.

    The Lakers have fallen victim to the schedule. One would think that the Lakers would profit from having multiple days off but they have not. Every time it looks as though the Lakers appear to have figured out how to play together, the schedule dooms them. They take days off and come back to play as though they have never played together.

    I think the Lakers will actually get a rhythm and finally figure out how to play together in this system. o_O I believe!

  35. The very superficial analysis going on in some of these posts is really annoying. It sounds like a bunch of grade school kids arguing about their favorite color.

    Try to think a bit about the fact that this is a team, with all the team dynamics and chemistry issues that all teams face. The crap about Matt Barnes being the 2nd best player on the Laker team is simply unthoughtout trash. Matt is playing in a different system – much more matched to his skills – and proved to the Laker FO that he couldn’t handle the post season – Matt isn’t going to radically change this late in his career – so the front office decided it would be best to proceed forward without him. The fact that he didn’t like Mike Brown didn’t encourage our front office.

    Exactly why someone would even put that statement out isn’t worthy of a thoughtful Laker fan.

  36. Good point Chearn.

    Lakers current front office (just look what Jerry West is doing with Golden State) reminds of a guy who I once sold one of my record stores too. He loved the oldies and the Beatles. Instead of filling the store with current new music he went for what he knew. Oldies but goodies. He was out of business in one year in a store I owned for 10 years.

    Point is Jim Buss and Jerry don’t realize the new NBA is younger, faster, fast breaking and athletic. Instead they went for oldies but
    goodies who can not compete in today’s NBA. Biggest mistake Jerry ever made was not giving West a piece of tbe franchise like he wanted.

    Instead he gave it to Jimbo. How’s that working?

  37. Lakers are 15-16 with their next 5 games coming against EACH of the top 5 teams in Hollinger’s power rankings (these rankings are not perfect as they don’t know about context/injuries/etc but schedule adjusted point differential is as good an objective measure of team quality you’ll get).

    Lakers REALLY needed to win v. Philly and in retrospect against Orlando and Cleveland. LA could come out of this stretch 17-19 or 16-20 and it wouldn’t surprise me. And looking forward, LA should be shooting to get into the 4/5 bracket and avoid OKC/SA/Clips in 1st round. With every GS/MEM/DEN win, its looking like it might take between 50 and 55 wins to grab the 5 seed.

    If LA wins 2 of next 5, do they have a 35-11 stretch in them? If not, they’ll be a 6-8 seed and face a 1st round heavyweight fight, even if they do get in the playoffs.

  38. Relax Craig I was kidding. Just watched Matt score 16 in the first half . I am well aware of his plus and minus. been Laker fan for many years and understand every opt is different. Matt was injured late last year but never played this well. Having Chris Paul on your team makes most better.

    Just for you I will boo Matt Friday at the game.

  39. Lots of good points in both directions. A case can be made for a patient “wait and see” approach–A case can also be made for “hmmm…..is the sky falling this time?”

    I’m choosing the former based on only one thing–Nash just returned. I want to see how the next 5-10 games play out before I let my inner Chicken Little take hold.

  40. These guys have plenty of talent. They are slow, but as Kobe says, you have to learn how to cover for your weaknesses.

    But with all the injuries and changes they have had, they have simply not learned how to play together. It s hard for a group of established stars to all learn a new system and how to fit together.

    A both ends the Lakers seem to be doing a practice walk through of their system. They are not in any kind of flow. No energy. No passion. No precision. Not sure whether to be aggressive or to defer. Do I take over or avoid stepping on toes?

    It may come. When Nash and Pau returned I thought, well, by the end of February we’ll see if this all comes together. The problem is, by then it may be too late.

    If they had a full camp, healthy, with the right coach, they would be a different team. But putting these pieces together on the fly will not be easy at all. And it is not always easy to watch.

    It’s easy to blame coach D, or Pau, or Dwight’s health or Kobe’s trigger finger. But the reality is it will take time. Even healthy it took Miami two years to really get there.

  41. Dear Kobe,

    The Lakers are old… you guys cannot stop transition play from the likes of the Cavaliers, Jazz, Magic and 76ers. Remember? These are teams that a team with 4 superstars are expected to blow out of the water. Instead, we fans can no longer pencil in any schedule wins because we do not know which team will show up.

    As far as team dynamic goes, the franchise has chosen to build the team around Dwight and it will be HIS team come 2014. You can still play at a lot higher level during those years and be a “complimentary superstar” beside him as the team transitions into a faster, and more athletically-based team around him. Your boy Pau, who can supposedly “get it done” in the postseason can hardly run in the regular season. End his suffering and suggest to management that he be traded somewhere where his lack of athleticism is not exposed playing for the Lakers… a team that could use his skills and mentoring to full avail.

    In the process, you get younger guys that can give you more relief in terms of staying longer on the bench so you and Steve (Nash) would be fresher for the playoffs – where it all matters. And for us who are believers, you guys can do it. But you would have to get there unscathed or else it will be a wasted effort.

    Emphasis on younger guys and guys that will help the backcourt. As Metta has shown great dedication and effort this year, he has transitioned to be the team’s much-needed stretch 4. Although at times he would defend well the taller and bigger SFs of the league like Carmelo and Lebron and Gay and Durant. We need guys in the backcourt that can make plays, stop transition and shoot. This, after all is the best way for you to achieve that elusive 6th ring (and maybe 7th). We fans want it more than you do.

    The team is ailing and the difference is glaring. Pau is no longer the Pau that was the Game 7 MVP 3 Junes ago. Pau has better efficacy if he was traded to a younger team whose personnel are better equipped to shoulder the load and where he can rely on teammates to be younger and athletic, instead of forcing himself to be a 3pt shooter of sorts.

    I implore you in a manner that favors all of us. Winning will cure all, and you of all people know that winning takes sacrifice. This time, for the betterment of our team dynamic as a whole and for your very good friend, its time to part ways.

    Peace.

  42. mindcrime: The Chicken Little syndrome, or the pushing of the Panic Button all depends on expectations. If someone was expecting a championship contender, the Panic Button has already been pressed. We are battling just to stay alive, and yes “we can get hot in the playoffs”, but obviously the odds of us winning have gone way down. Remember the stats: In 66 years of the NBA, only twice has a team started the playoffs on the road and won the title.
    A Little Optimism: A new pipe dream that I have is that we will have a first/second round match up against the Clippers. This would significantly reduce travel and would allow our weary bodies some extra rest.

  43. The major question is what do the Lalers do with Dwight going forward? Do they sign him to a max contract and hope he gets back to 100 percent in the offseason? Or do they guess he is now in the 100 percent column of players who have back surgery after 21 years of age (the age discs no longer regenerate) that no longer have the same athletic ability. If its the ladder Dwight is no longer a max player. He was a guy who completley relied on freakish athletic ability. The reason you see Dwight look so inept in the post is because his post game was 100 percent built on a quick first step and explosion above his defender. If the Lakers fill up their cap on Larry Johnson 2.0 it will set the team back almost a decade.

  44. @Keno – `Biggest mistake Jerry ever made was not giving West a piece of the franchise like he wanted´.
    Absolutely right!

  45. Aaron: With AB going down, it appears as though the Lakers possibly traded one injured guy for another. Nonetheless, you correctly pointed out the DH back risk from the beginning. So perhaps you could further enlighten us as follows: Back injuries are slow healers and can be problems for life, that is or sure. That said, the recovery usually involves: Rest, Stretching, and Therapy. Basketball usually would not be on the prescription list. So if Dwight is truly still “recovering”, then why is he playing? If he is not “recovering”, then does this heighten your concern that he will never be the same?

  46. Aaron – funny how you were the debby downer from the beginning about D12 but you have been right so far. Howard is a big dud up to now – well still better than Bynum but far from what the lakers require to get to the finals.

    Guess his health is now on everyone’s mind – is this as good as Howard gets? And as robert pointed out if he is still recovering then why is he playing and risking further injury?

    Never had back surgery but when I had an injured back from an auto accident docs had me in physical therapy. Was only allowed to rest, stretch, and a little strengthening – but not playing contact sports for sure.

    I’m hoping he will fully recover – not only for basketball but just for his life in general.

    D12 looks like he is not engaged in the game of bball – does not seem to be enjoying playing on this team. Of course winning will solve all of that but if the lakers get a first round exit or don’t even make the playoffs will Howard stay? Or do the lakers even want to pay him a max contract?

  47. 1/2decaf1/2regular January 3, 2013 at 11:43 am

    larry johnson 2.0 give me a freakin break!

    and to all others.. please before we go anointing aaron as a certified back practitioner keep in mind its still January and dwight is still recovering.. even dwight at 70% is still averaging 17.3 pts 1.9 assts 1.0 stls 2.6blks.. all stats more superior than lakers would ever get with bynum at 100%

  48. You guys can say what you want, but Kobe is absolutely the #1 problem with this team.

    I’ve been saying it for months now, same problem still, Kobe has to trust his teammates.

    Anyone else remember the 2006 season?

  49. You guys can say what you want, but Kobe is absolutely the #1 problem with this team.

    Heh. Classic.

    As to Howard, if they lose 3/4 of the next 5, trade rumors about him will start up as well. I have seen a few already.

  50. Howard has been better than Bynum only because Bynum hasn’t played. I would take last years Bynum over this years Howard by a long shot. while statistically they look pretty similar, Bynum can shoot free throws and can also create his own shot, whereas it seems like whenever Howard tries to create his own shot, it is like watching a comedy routine, this guy appears to have no offensive game aside from putback dunks and lob passes. As a Lakers fan I can only hope that he is still getting better because if he doesn’t improve I would rather have him walk. His attitude appears to be no better than Bynum and if he can no longer bring his A game then it is probably better to completely rebuild off of the cap space in 2014 than to have this team tied up with another overpayed 20M player.

    That being said, I Haven’t given up hope for this team. They are still improving and at this point I dont really think that playoff seeding is as important as most people do. What really matters is this team getting to their best at the right time, and if they can play like the best team when the playoffs come around then it shouldn’t really matter who they play because to win a championship you have to beat the best regardless whether it is the first round second round etc.

    Go LAKESHOW! and hopefully they can take it to the clips tomorrow night.

  51. JAS: While I disagree with you, in the interest of fair/spirited debate: there is certainly evidence that Kobe “could be” the problem. Let’s look at some Laker players and their performances:

    Dwight: Injury could be impacting him, he may not have a killer instinct, he also may not be in a good “system” and MD may not be coaching/utilizing him correctly, or he may not like playing with Kobe or the tough love that KB gives him.
    Pau: Ditto – literally – with the only caveat, that in 2008 – 2010 he played with KB just fine, but at this stage of his career? Don’t know. Certainly the MD systems do not seem built for him. He also does not seem to be reacting to the KB “big boy pants” type comments too well.
    Nash: Again could be injury, but also doesn’t seem to be blending in too well/not aggressive enough, and KB is involved heavily with that. Certainly MD’s system is fine for Nash, but maybe not fine for Nash + these Lakers. He is not exactly thriving (either now or in pre-season).
    AJ: No injuries here, but he is exiled because he does not compliment those around him so we are told. Well, does this mean he does not blend well with KB? Or is this just an MD thing? Or did his skills drop off the map in 6 months?
    Metta: In great shape, but he gets totally out of control. Could a better coach keep him in control? Or does he get out of control when Kobe goes hero as some have pointed out?

    So, in all 5 cases, we have a player that could be performing much better and we have 3 explanations. It could be on the player himself whether that is due to injury or his own lack of performance (reason 1). Or we could say that MD (possible reason #2) and KB (possible reason #3) impact all around them. They both have histories. MD could not make it work in NY and is still being thrown under the BUSS by his ex-players (see AS interview). KB could not make it work with Shaq. So is DH just another Shaq? Pau could be a sensitive guy who just doesn’t buy into the Mamba speak anymore?

    We could all find dozens of articles on the web that would support anyone of these three theories. This is where opinion comes in. Take your pick which one of the 3 it is. Some might say it is a complex equation involving all 3. Not sure which one is correct. The injury excuse is a bit tired, as we demonstrated nothing in pre-season or now, and we are at least close to full strength. I do not feel KB is the problem, but I understand there is evidence to suggest he might be. However the same could be said for MD. We certainly lack chemistry, we lack cohesiveness, we do not seem to be running anything resembling an organized offense, and we are nowhere on defense. The two guys who have the most influence on all that are MD and KB. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but one thing we know, is that the current situation is not working.

  52. I mean it when I say it is gratifying that so many commenters try to base their arguments on evidence — stats, what their eyeballs tell them, the players’ own insights, whatever it may be.

  53. Aaron

    Your point on backs is valid. Dwight may never be what he was but:::::

    Maybe his former self masked his now clear deficiencies. Poor handle and turnover by getting stripped, setting screens that over and over turn into fouls, several obvious goal tending calls, low skill level around
    the basket and the need to blame other for his short comings.

    Perhaps this guy is not what we all thought he was.

  54. Robert,

    Good post. I am mostly in the “complex equation” camp. As to Jamison, I think it is two things:

    1. D’Antoni seemingly wants to play 8.5 guys. If no moves are made, I think he will use Blake/Metta/Hill/Meeks as a 3.5-man bench.
    2. Jamison’s being able to work here was predicated on Howard’s covering for him on D. With Howard’s ability to do that compromised, Jamison’s D is so bad that MDA feels he could not add that to a team already weak on D.

    I am not saying that these are the right or wrong decisions; just explaining what I think MDAs reasoning is.

    But, again, I think the roster is simply very weak 5-10 and needs the Core 4 hitting on all cylinders to function, Out of control or under control, MWP is a borderline starter and indeed would not start for many, many teams. Morris and Duhon would not make many other NBA rosters. Hill is a good garbageman, but he is limited on both ends of the floor. Meeks is an OK–not great–spot-up guy who is undersized on D and has no handle. For that kind of bench crew to work, Pau and Howard need to be Pau and Howard from last year or 2010-11, and I think they are not mostly due to physical issues and to an extent, in Pau’s case, system issues. I agree that Nash needs to look for his shot more and take charge on O late in games.

    That said, I am not that impressed with MDA so far. I thought re-hiring Phil would be sort of like making three movies out of The Hobbit–overworking a winning combination–and I thought that MDA was the guy to get the NasHoward synergy we were all excited about rolling for real. Hasn’t happened.

  55. If we are to believe that D’Antoni does not play Jamison because of his defense, it just does not make sense. I don’t recall Channing Frye being a defensive juggernaut. Additionally, the Lakers are running a hybrid of several offensive systems and not merely the SSOL. So what gives with the inability to find playing time for a career scorer when the Lakers are clearly anemic on offense.

    If Dwight is indeed rumored to be traded, how does that make sense as he is obviously damaged goods. Which GM would trade for him four months after the Lakers traded for him. That’s nonsense. Dwight is not going anywhere for the next four months, but what is viable is that if Dwight does not return to form during the last 52 games the Lakers may indeed let him walk.

  56. Mountainman : “Howard has been better than Bynum only because Bynum hasn’t played.”

    Haha, you are kidding, right?

  57. IT

    It sounds like your call out is to the front office. Considering a bench of Crawford, Barnes, Turiaf and Lamar cost the same or less then Metta, Hill, Duhon and Jaminson that would be a good call out.

    Just saying——

  58. R
    if you were to tell me that Howard this year is an upgrade over what we had in Bynum last year, I would tell you that you were wrong. SO, no, I am not kidding.

  59. Not sure if blaming on the front office could be reasonable. It’s always easy to look back and be smarter in hindsight or simply compare our bench with others but more often than not if presented the same trade options we would have gone for it ourselves. I mean, how many times have we said Barnes didn’t want to come back so it’s not up to front office? Then Lamar trade fell through, he doesn’t want to stay and we got Nash from his trade exception, and after we cal out we simply cannot pursue guys like Crawford or get a good draft guy in Bledsoe with our cap space or draft position? Complaining repeatedly without context is too easy but hardly relevant

  60. Chearn – Frye never played For D’antoni, MDA was gone before then.

  61. Right, same system wrong coach. Thanks

  62. I was lukewarm on Jamison and was against Steve Blake from the beginning–I said giving 4 years to Blake was a mistake when they did it. I was, however, in favor of keeping Hill and signing Meeks. I mentioned in the off-season that they should consider keeping Barnes. I have supported the idea that Ebanks could be a 10-15 MPG guy, but it now seems that he can’t.

    Kupchak has had trouble with the back end of the roster the whole time that he has run the team. Not all of that is his fault, but some of it is. I believe that the Lakers still need a backup 1 and a backup 2/3 if they are going to get this turned around, regardless of what happens with Pau, Howard and MDA.

  63. Have you guys heard about Amare blasting D’Antoni about NOT having a coach that teaches defense?

    I think he’s spot on there.

  64. Re: Back Recovery

    A player doesnt need rest he need reps to rebuild strength. The first window we have into Dwight’s potential recovery is after the all star break. That’s a time for all the work he has put in to bare fruit with a little time off. The second and final chance Dwight has is of course over the offseason. If he doesn’t regain his explosiveness by next years training camp like all of the over 20 year olds post back surgery before him Dwight has been zapped of his athletisism.

    Again… The three worst NBA injuries in this order are…

    Back Surgery
    ACL Surgery
    Micro Fracture Surgery

  65. Oh right, the discussion now has spiraled into “trade Dwight” or “let him Walk” and “Larry Johnson 2.0″ … Nice.