Around The World (Wide Web): Tough Times In Laker Land

Ryan Cole —  January 3, 2013

From Arash Markazi, ESPN LA: Despite starting 2013 with a loss and a below-500 record, Kobe Bryant still expects the Los Angeles Lakers to make the playoffs and compete for a championship. “I don’t think there’s a doubt about that,” Bryant told Colin Cowherd Wednesday on ESPN Radio when asked if the Lakers were built for the playoffs. “The problem is we’ve dug ourselves such a deep hole we got to do a lot of fighting just to catch up and get in that conversation. We firmly believe it’s going to happen but we have to do a lot of fighting just to get there.”The Lakers are currently 9.5 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers in the Pacific Division and are the tenth place team in the Western Conference, 1.5 games behind the Portland Trailblazers for the eighth and final playoff seed. The Lakers can cut into that deficit on Friday night when they play the Clippers at Staples Center.

From Ramneet Singh, Lakers Nation: It seems like every time the Los Angeles Lakers are discussed these days, there are questions about what the team is doing wrong and what coach Mike D’Antoni can do to turn things around.The Lakers are coming off a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night and that defeat prompted some harsh words fromKobe Bryant. Bryant called the Lakers team “old” and “slow” and it was clear by the way the Lakers played that the players are still figuring out their roles in this new system. The Lakers have plenty of options on the roster, but D’Antoni does not want to run specific plays to get his players shots. Instead, D’Antoni is focused on a free-flowing offense and one that requires his players to react to what happens on the court.

From Janis Carr, OC Register: Dwight Howard sat sullenly in front of his locker Tuesday night and tried to explain what is wrong with theLakers. Like how can they one night can beat a team by 17 points and the next fall to the Philadelphia 76ers, 103-99? “The games we’ve won, blowing teams out, we’ve played a certain way,” Howard said. “The games we’ve lost, we’ve played a different way, so we need to find a balance.” But finding that equilibrium has been difficult for the Lakers this season. They’re up, they’re down. They’re winning, they’re losing. Mostly, however, they seem to be stuck in neutral and the frustration is mounting. “It is frustrating,” point guard Steve Nash said. “Obviously we haven’t been able to find that understanding. We’ve had it in moments, but overall we’re still looking for our chemistry.” Both Howard and Nash said the team — and Lakers fans — needs to be patient. “We got to have patience, got to stick with it,” Howard said. “(We have to be patient) knowing that this won’t last forever, knowing that what we’re going through as a team won’t last forever.”

From Ben Bolch, LA Times: There may be no compromise short of a roster overhaul that can save a divided Lakers Nation from its biggest worry heading into 2013. You know, the physical cliff. The Lakers are Paleolithic by NBA standards, with an average age of 28.4. Three of their starters are already in need of retirement-benefits advisors: Pau Gasol is 32, Kobe Bryant is 34 and Steve Nash turns 39 next month. With advancing age come not only wear-and-tear injuries (see Gasol’s knees, assorted Bryant body parts) but wear-you-out nights like the one the Lakers experienced Tuesday in losing to Philadelphia. The younger and feistier 76ers made everyone wearing purple and gold resemble old-timey characters out of a faded black-and-white photo.

From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen & Roll: The notion that inconsistency hurts a team’s performance is as obvious as the sun is hot. If you have a job to do, and sometimes you do that job well while other times you do that job poorly, obviously it would be better if you just did your job well all the time. And generally speaking, it is better to play consistently at the same level instead of sometimes playing above that level and sometimes below that level, even if things average out to be equal. So if I were to say that inconsistency is killing the Los Angeles Lakers, you’d probably respond with something along the lines of “Well, D’uh”.

Ryan Cole

Posts

18 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Tough Times In Laker Land

  1. Rusty Shackleford January 3, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Not good articles.

  2. John Hollinger has the Lakers chances of making the playoffs at 43% and are projected for 10th place. If that for to happen in any other sport or business the FO would be fired.

    Not happening here either way.

  3. This year is very frustrating so far – no question. However, last summer we were very happy with what the front office had done – now they are garbage.

    Spoiled doesn’t begin to adequately describe many current Laker fans.

  4. To chime in from last thread there has to be a casualty with such a crowded froncourt especially if d’antoni insists on playing ron at pf some along with pau and hill. That leaves out jamison at first it was hill with the dnp’s. Lakers have a surplus of point guards and big men not enough wings. Last year lakers had few pg’s and quality big men but an abundance of small forwards. It’s been said before but it’s no balance on the roster. I guess that’s what happens when you make trades to get better and have to take on other team’s junk. Maybe jamison should get minutes at sf.

  5. Have to agree with the camp that thinks the Lakers’ bench is just not good enough. The starters can hold their own for the most part, but the bench is just too inconsistent. The Lakers are suffering now in large part due to their previous success. So many years of low or no draft picks and poor scouting have had the effect of not being able to replenish the team with any good, young talent. They’re paying for it now.

  6. Lakers are attempting to serve two masters at the same time; 1) win a title this year with a salary cap busting veteran team of big names (Kobe, Gasol, MWP & Nash (& Jamison to a lesser extent), 2) while at the same time rebuilding a post-Kobe contender around Dwight and free agency in 2 years when everyone except Nash will be off the books.

    As historically great as the Laker front office has been, as sweet as the “plans” could have been, it was a huge gamble, one of high risk…and high reward. In hindsight:

    -They didn’t think Mike Brown wouldn’t work out.
    -They didn’t think Gasol would fall off so quickly.
    -They didn’t think Kobe would still be so…Kobe
    -They didn’t think Dwight’s 1st year in L. A. could actually HURT their chances of re-signing him
    -They didn’t think Nash would have this much trouble involving Dwight & Gasol into the offense
    -They didn’t think these guys would be this slow & lifeless.

    Our boys are 15-16. Next five games vs Clips, Nuggets, Rockets, Spurs, & Thunder, five games in eight days will give us a good idea of what to expect for the rest of the season. How sweet 3-2 would be? Better than that? I’d be one happy & hopeful Laker fan.

    But my logical side says 2-3…or is that my hopeful side? :-)

  7. 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.

  8. We have lost to Phily because of the starters, they can not hold their own, at least every night. And they were not tired, there was enough days of rest.

    Starters, and the whole team, are still figuring things out. Individually and collectively. No need to panic.

  9. The Lakers lost to the 76ers because they went 3/22 on 3s, because Pau and Howard played poorly, and because they don’t have guys who can slow down players like Jrue Holiday and who get burned by players like Evan Turner. The first issue was just an off-night and maybe some regression to the mean; the other two are long-term team problems.

    Very few teams get great bench play nightly; guys who are consistently good are usually starters. But the Lakers bench is poorly constructed because it doesn’t have any young, athletic D-up/run-and-jump types who compensate for the starters and who are good enough to play 20 minutes a night. I thought Ebanks might be a guy like that, and I thought the Core 4 would be good enough to cover the problem in any case. I was 0-for-2 on those opinions, and here we are.

  10. of course, the solution to whining is winning.

    i hope winning happens soon because the henhouse is in an uproar.
    at least it’s not the Cubs that Laker fans are waiting on.

  11. Trading one of our younger players – or even one of our older players – for another older player who was good in the past would seem to be ‘whistling past the graveyard’. We would be asking for more of exactly what we have – older players, past their prime, with little upside to their game in the future.

    IMO – if Mitch makes any trades, they will be for younger players and this fanbase will be screaming that he didn’t get enough for xxxx. Anything we get now will have to be for our future – our present is already here and we have to live with it.

    For all those who are frustrated with Dwight Howard – back injuries take time and are fine one day and really hurt another when you did something completely normal. The doctors talked about one year, at least, to somewhat recover. He is doing better than many doctors predicted. While it is ok to talk about his current shortcomings, I don’t think it is particularly fair to claim he is on the verge of the junkpile or will never be better than he is now.

  12. We need to trade Kobe for LBJ. He probably wants to come here in 2014 anyway. We need to trade Pau for Love, Love is coming in 2014 anyway. We need to trade Nash for CP3, he’s coming here in a year anyway. We need to trade Dwight for healthy Dwight. Healthy Dwight will be here next season anyway. It’s just a matter of time. We will get this figured out. We are too Lakers not to.

  13. Is my comment from January 3, 2013 at 11:08 pm still awaiting approval or is it caught in some type of “cyber loop”?

  14. Julius, please read commenting guidelines.

  15. The trouble with the Lakers’ bench is that they are all jump shooters. When those shots are falling, the bench looks good. They’ve got nobody on the 2nd unit in the backcourt who can penetrate and create a shot for themself or others.

    Lakers just may be snake- bit this year. I can live with that. All I’d like to see is a good effort at all times. Consistent effort should be a given.

  16. Kenny,

    The funny thing is last season the Lakers had no real outside shooters. I remember the many back and forths on this blog about how defenses could sag on Gasol and Bynum because the shooters wouldn’t make them pay. Now the Lakers have some outside shooting, but they don’t like to put the ball in the post.

    Ironic indeed.

  17. Maybe the Lakers don’t need to trade for younger players but instead let their current players play how and where they are most effective and comfortable. Anyone who says Pau Gasol is done needs to go watch the Olympics from this Summer and you will clearly see Gasol has plenty left. He almost carried his team to gold and destroyed Lebron James in the post. Maybe he needs to be allowed to post up and clear out so he can use his skills instead of just standing out at the 3 pt line all game

  18. Roger… I’m tired of the “Pau played good in the Olympics” bit for a number of reasons. If Pau can show well for his national team, he can try to find a way to contribute more to the team that’s paying him almost $20M per year. The Lakers need Pau to be productive in a big way. If he’s hurt , that’s one thing. Bit if he’s not, then just because he doesn’t get the ball on offense in his sweet spots all the time is no excuse for him not defending, rebounding and playing like a 7 footer. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen Pau give a good, hard, clean foul like teams do to him all the time.

    I also think that a valid reason for his uptick in international play is the difference in officiating. International refs tend to call fouls, where NBA refs “award” fouls. Like it or not, Pau has garnered a rep as a soft player. NBA refs don’t buy his verbal flopping and he is often victimized by more aggressive players. Case in point, the Blake Griffin over the back dunk on Pau last year. Refs probably don’t allow Blake to get away with the same play if he jumps over Tim Duncan’s back like that because Tim is “tough and so fundamentally sound”.

    Lastly , I think Pau is worn down from years of playing with his national team. Combined with the fact that he only started weight training a few seasons ago, and that he is not known for his great training regime, I think Pau is just Worn out.

    Pau has done a lot for the team in the past, and we appreciate it. But at present, his indecisiveness, lack of assertiveness and poor production is really hurting the Lakers, IMO.