Lakers/Clippers: Little Brother’s All Grown Up Now

Rey Moralde —  January 4, 2013

Box Score: Lakers 102, Clippers 107

If you didn’t watch the game, don’t let that score fool you.

It was another one of those games where the Lakers weren’t in control for most of the game. They did have that one fleeting chance to steal the victory; that was when they were down, 99-97. Unfortunately, Dwight Howard fouled out after getting Chris Paul from behind with the body (hey, hey, this is a family-oriented blog). Kobe’s three went in and out the following possession. Then CP3 basically sealed it with a long two.

Are we tired of Kobe carrying the Lakers this entire time? Yes, he’s fun when he explodes like this but he was supposed to take a much lighter load this season and he’s taken the heavy load pretty much in every game. 38 points and an efficient 15-25 shooting, even though a lot of them were tough jumpers.

Dwight Howard went for 21 and 15. The Lakers made a concerted effort to get him going early. But he seemed like he was cruising out there like most of the team. Steve Nash had 12 points (on four shots) and 10 assists and I think he needed to shoot more since most of the other guys outside of Kobe and maybe Dwight aren’t doing it offensively. Jodie Meeks was a maddening 3 of 13 for 14 points. I can only laugh like an idiot when he drives in but it has to be one of the more frustrating sights for the Laker fans.

Oh, yeah. Pau Gasol.

If you can find me another game that’s worse than this performance, let me know. Pau Gasol went for a quiet two points and four boards in 27 minutes today. For the most part, he was hanging out on the perimeter, where you don’t want him. And then when he’s at the post, he can’t even jump over a snail. Pau has no lift whatsoever and it makes us think on whether he should get more rest or he really has lost that much confidence on his game. So is this what Coach Mike D’Antoni and Pau talked about during their dinner date? Tell Gasol to hang around the outside and be Quentin Richardson or Steve Novak? He only got into the fourth quarter because Jordan Hill (13 points and 7 rebounds), one of the few players that played really well in this game, hurt his leg late in the game. I’m a huge defender of Pau but even I think he needs a change of scenery at this point. Maybe Atlanta. Toronto. Spain. Antarctica. Saturn. Anywhere.

Anyway, the Clippers basically did whatever they wanted. Chris Paul put Darius Morris in a blender earlier, it wasn’t even funny. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were having magic carpet flights all over Staples Center. And all the Clippers were outhustling the Lakers for most of the game (47-36 rebound edge by the Clips). If it wasn’t for a late rally by the Lakers and if Jamal Crawford actually played in the game (he sat out with a sore foot), the Clippers would’ve won by 147 points. Defense for the Lakers in this game (most of the season) is like me trying to speak Swahili.

So Dwight is still banged up. Pau Gasol probably wants his mommy. Jodie Meeks is stumbling all over the place when he’s dribbling. Jordan Hill’s injuries are mounting up. There are also point guard woes outside of Steve Nash. And the Lakers are being carried by a 17-year shooting guard veteran who somehow still leads the league in scoring. I’m not sure if it’s been brought up before here but at what point do we just say that this team is mediocre? It’s been 32 games. They’re 15-17. They’d have to go 35-15 the rest of the way to win 50 games. And they’ll likely need to win 45 games to make the postseason in the West. Hello? Anybody?

If the Lakers learn that a basketball game is being played for 48 minutes… if Dwight Howard gets healthy… if Steve Nash can regain his MVP form… if Metta World Peace can consistently hit his shot… if Steve Blake becomes the answer to their back-up point guard woes… if Kobe Bryant can keep up his stupendous season… if Jordan Hill can continue his hustle and stay healthy…

Yeah, there are too many ifs. Until they prove they can actually win basketball games, the Lakers will continue to be a mediocre team. Yeah. I wish I could shut my playboy mouth but this is the reality.

Be right back. I’m going to start digging graves.

Oh, yeah. Congrats, Phil and Jeanie. Hey, I had to end it at a positive note somehow.

Rey Moralde

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119 responses to Lakers/Clippers: Little Brother’s All Grown Up Now

  1. Nice Rey. That Pau wants his mommie was priceless. Come on now 2 points and a minus 20 is about right for $19 million. Is there anyone on the Bobcats worth getting? Only Jordan would take Pau at this point.

    Lakers have issues.

  2. Please Mitch, can we just trade Pau for a couple live bodies? Any average PF will do, and maybe a shooter (preferably a 3 & D type guy) for the bench? Is that so hard to find out there?

  3. Kobe was out of this world great tonight. What he was asked to do and did was amazing and absurd he did it. Don’t know how or why I give the guy hell but that was a joy to watch. The effort he put forth was 10x that of pau who is toast. Gasol doesn’t have it anymore big difference watching all the games from tv and seeing tonight live. He can’t run, jump, dunk, shoot or defend. Pau used to be one of the players who could defend blake effectively because of length and was quick enough to stay in front of him neither is the case. I will go to my grave mentioning pau when kobe’s 5 rings and phil’s 11 are brought up. But right now lakers have to get something for him. His 1 or 2 positives are completely hidden but the suck that he is now. Dwight looks stiff and fumbles the easiest of passes but not for a lack of trying. The injury and his failure to develop great big man footwork and lack of base drastically decrease his effectiveness with his back to the basket. It’s kind of obvious meeks and kobe have some kind of bromance going on. They were always chatting and meeks is playing like brown did. Kobe had to of told him to score and meeks is pressing the issue trying to do so. Kobe, nash, dwight, meeks, hill and ron are the only playerd who belong on the floor. Lakers have to figure out if their chances to win are gone or still trying to win this year. And flip pau for something he is of no help to this team. The 1/5 PnR doesn’t work because dwight can’t pop and pau can’t shoot. And only one can be changed the other lakers just have to manage.

  4. First time Kobe played in STAPLES and heard a non-Laker get MVP chants from the crowd. The Point-God is one.

    The Lakers keep getting beat by the better team. I think it’s become as simple as that. A poorly utilized Pau and Dwight at 75% is not able to shoulder what this team needs them to bring. Pau needs new feet. Dwight needs one month, at least, of hard rehab and strengthening. Kobe needs to exert less energy on making losses appear respectable (It’s like Kobe is working to mess with John Hollinger). The record does not allow what is necessary.

  5. Clippers shot 50% from the field. Kinda sums up the Lakers’ problems.

  6. The Lakers actually played a pretty good game by their standards. The Clippers are just better. It may time to just admit that this team is what its record indicates. There are the 10th or 11th best team in the Western Conference. I can’t even get upset anymore. They are not a good team. And we can’t even blame it on the bench. Its the starters.

    Gasol is just not good anymore. MWP is active, but often ineffective. Howard can put up numbers, but won’t change the course of a game. His stats are very deceptive. Nash has the ball in his hands. He has the green light to shoot. He just doesn’t do it. The net effect of that is he is good, but nowhere near good enough. And then there is Kobe who puts in the effort every night, but is not enough by himself.

    The Lakers are losing to the best teams in the league before then even go to their bench.

  7. they gotta do something. Pau can complain about not being used offensively – but when the lakers are still the 6th best offesnive team in the league – they obviously don’t need his offensive contributions – thats why systems complaints etc… from Magic about mis using Pau is so bloody annoying and misleading. For all the offensive issues – they don’t need his offense. however – he could bring something better than combined 3-18 he’s brought to the table the past 2 games. and only 4 rebounds tonight. Can’t blame it all on offensive positioning as he only grabbed 4 def rebs. He’s giving them nothing right now.

    Nash +12 in 36 minutes 12 pts, plus 10 assists on 3/4 shooting plus 3 freethrows.
    Kobe +6 in 44 38 pts on 15 for 25 whcih aint too shabby only quibble is
    1-6 on 3?s but he had to force some shots

    Dwight +5 in 36 mins Got an ugly 21 pts (his game was a lot uglier than the box score
    indicates) but at least grabbed 15 rebounds even if
    he makes dumb decisions at bad times.

    Pau -20 in 27mins only 4 rebs (no off), only 2 pfs, and 2 assists. Shot 1-6 and was
    brutal and none effective

    I know metta and meeks had crappy games too – but at least there was effort and they were trying to do something out there – a least they bring that every night. there is nothing stopping Pau from playing defense, or driving to the hole, or posting up closer. He’s doing nothing to make a force of himself out there even when given the chance. MDA hasn’t told him he needs to stay out at the 3 line, but you watch Pau’s body language and he’s just got no appetite to fight for position or make any sort of real effort. he just drifts out there. frustrating as hell because we all know he can play as evidenced by this summer.

    Kobe and Nash are the only guys that show up night after night – both having statistically great/efficient seasons (Nashes scoring is down only because he’s trying his best to keep everyone’s egos fed – which funny enough is a Howard/Pau thing. Kobe hasn’t been demanding at all – he’s just had to take over too many times because niether the posts are consistent or show up every night like the two backcourts starters.

  8. @t.rogers – I wouldn’t say Nash isn’t good enough. the prob is he’s responsible for setting the table for two post players who both act and feel that they deserve more shots – therefore he’s got to sacrifice his shots a bit in order to try and keep those two happy – whther they deserve it or not. Would be nice if Nash could get some more shots but that would mean getting rid of one of those guys so there isn’t the demand always that someone needs to be fed in the post.

    And i don’t fault kobe whatso ever for his shot amounts. He’s doing what a scoring guard is supposed to do and doing it at high efficiency. you want your best players taking the most shots, not guys that don’t have back to the basket games, or are struggling because they aren’t a focal point of the offense any more.

  9. Jerke,

    I’m not saying he can’t play good enough. I just feel they need him to be more aggressive. He should definitely look to set people up. But with the way he shoots the ball he should be taking more shots. The opportunities are there. The ball is in his hands. He passes up on shots way too often. It’s almost like he neutralizes his own impact.

  10. Ok, so how many wins do you think the 8th seed in the west will need to get to get into the playoffs?

    From just looking at how hopelessly crap the east is you’d think this would be another 2008 ( Warriors missed out with 48 wins). But after actually looking at the records and considering that OKC, Clippers and Spurs are pulling away from the likes of Memphis and the Warriors its seems like this scenario wont repeat itself again.

    Hollinger predicts Lakers making the 8th seed with a 42-40 record. How possible is that? it seems like Denver and Minnesota could pick it up significantly and that could be a problem.

    So if best case scenario to make it is 42 wins, worse is something like 48 how likely are The Lakers to making it?

    Still have 15 very tough games; 2 vs LAC, 2 vs SAS, 3 vs OKC, 2 vs MEM, 2 vs GSW, 2 vs ATL and 2 vs MIA. With roughly half of those on the road. They also have a few games vs dangerous teams like 2 vs DEN, 2 vs HOU and 2 vs CHI.

    From my point of view anything from 42-45 ishold be fine, getting more than this is going to be a challenge, what do you think?

  11. Mitch has to realize that Gasol is just not a very good player anymore. I’m starting to have doubts that its the offense thats messing him up and not the fact that hes old and washed up. The only logical solution is to trade gasol for pieces that can contribute like a backup sf and pg.

  12. lakers will be going to another deep hole considering the upcoming stretch…

  13. Jalen Rose:

    “It would be helpful for Kobe Bryant if Steve Nash is actually guarding the point guard on the other team. He’s asked to lead the league in scoring and to guard Chris Paul, and late in the games. That’s alot to ask.”

    A perfect example of when Opinion sounds so much like Fact.

    In regards to Pau: Mitch, it’s time. Much respect to you for recognizing before last season that Pau was on the decline and had to be moved. Unfortunately, Commissioner Stern pulled that bullsh**t and, as it stands today, altered the future of the 2 NBA franchises that reside in L.A. It’s easy to say that Pau doesn’t fit into D’Antoni’s offense, but truth be told, he hasn’t been relevant since game 7 against Boston a few years ago. Even when he has the height advantage on his opponent in the paint (when given the opportunity), he isn’t strong enough to establish and maintain position. He’s constently being pushed off the block by smaller individuals. His athleticism has eroded him and at this point, jumping over 2 sheets of Loose Leaf Paper would be considered an accomplishment. On defense, he’s too slow to lockdown PF’s and too weak to challenge Centers. I’ve been a supporter of Pau’s skill set and even now, there will be night’s where he reminds us all of the Pau from ’09 and ’10, but those night’s are too far and in between now. Especially for someone who’s making around $20 mil a year. Maybe in another environment, where he can operate in his comfort zones on a regular basis and away from the pressure filled spotlite of the Lakers, he can flourish. But this will not occur in the city of L.A. Not anymore. Also, contrary to what some may feel, I’m sure that there will be a handful (which is a lot considering his age, salary and decline) of teams that will be reaching out to Mitch to try and secure the elder Gasol. Hopefully, the sooner the better.

  14. A lot of the Pau knocking just isn’t true to me. Pau was still an all-star caliber player the past two seasons and looked great in the Olympics. And now he’s just gonna get washed up over night. Pau is hurt and not playing well and I honestly feel sad watching him on this team. But… D’antoni has him at the three pointer line almost every play. Why?! Pau is a center he’s not Dirk or even Kevin Garnett. He’s Tim Duncan a guy that can hit a jumper when he’s wide open. They have Pau near the three point line. That’s like playing Shaq near the three point line. They’re setting him up for failure. Pau and Bynum weren’t perfect together but if Pau could replicate his season last year the Lakers would be a winning team right now. His injuries are no joke though and honestly there is no way any team trades for Pau with the season he’s having right now. Laker fans need to wait until dude gets healthy. It sucks for Pau to be the scape goat again though.

  15. Gomezd,

    Don’t forget the Lakers have a tendency to lay eggs against teams like Philly and Cleveland. You mentioned playoff teams. Wins for the Lakers aren’t a given against non-playoff teams. That makes the playoff pursuit more complicated for this team.

  16. @tra – bang on. Pau is still skilled and very talented – but the offense won’t be centered around him giving him the touches he requires here here and yeah – the defensive liabilities having to play him alonside Dwight to big too ignore anymore. Not that it’s Paus fault but he just can’t defend 4’s – and MDA can’t do anything about that fact either.

    kobe said in post game that Pau neesd to get more touches which does two things:

    1. He’s supporting his boy, which is fine as Pau’s ego seems pretty frail these days

    2. By drwaing attention to the fact that Pau didn’t get many touches – if he does next couple games – then he has to put up or shut up. Even if he didn’t get that many shots tonight – you can’t just disappear on every other aspect of the game.

  17. Jerke

    Last 2 games he is 3 for 18, how many touches would you like. The guy is done. Enough of this when he gets healthy. Who says the two arthritic knee and foot problems will ever get healthy.

    It’s like a horse with a bad leg. You can’t put him back on the track. Only one taking him is a contender that needs any center. Seems to be only Miami and Chicago. Maybe a crazy Mark Cuban. There is no one else out there to eat $19 mill for a broken down guy. And I like the guy as a person. But not for this team. He is DONE.

  18. Pau talked a lot of crap post game, talking about moving the ball and looking for his teammates. Two….two!! points is bad enough but 4 boards and 2 assists don’t amount to much except post game blather. Pau is the problem with the Lakers. For whatever reason, he’s just not getting it done.

  19. Gasol is 2-12 right? Perimeter? Put him in the post thats the area that he will succeed.

    If MD dont want that, its better for him to be traded.

  20. 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 good 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.

    Yesterday our boys entered this game at 15-16 with upcoming games vs Clips, Nuggets, Rockets, Spurs, & Thunder, five games in eight days, giving 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? :-(. Truth be told, if the Lakers go 0-5, @ 15-21 the Lakers would have to go 26-20 the rest of the way just to be .500, and that will not be enough to make the post-season in the West. Utah, currently at .500 is in 10th place, one spot ahead of the our Lakers.

  21. I like the mood that Rey put this. While the game felt like it was a 147-pt whitewashing, it sure felt like we’ve accepted our fate that we are a team that hardly has 8-pt leads against any team and we feel like we’re playing catchup all the time. Thats what bad teams do actually… just a glimmer of hope to win, but fall short eventually. It feels like 2007 all over again

    Wins are no longer afterthoughts. Wins are actually real hard and I don’t think any 1st post charm can help. This is a superstar team on paper that just isn’t cutting it. I have long asked for Pau Gasol to be traded and next week may be too late.

    Trade Pau for 3-4 pieces (thats what his salary will require anyway) and send out Clark, Odom and hopefully Blake. Get guards back and mobile forwards. Preferably those who are athletic enough to defend the transition, defend the perimeter and defend period.

  22. It may be a good idea if Lakers won’t make the playoff. They then have a shot for the No. 1 pick…haha.

  23. Anonymous, except that the Suns own the rights to this pick.

    Phoenix Suns: Receives L.A. Laker’s 2013 first-round pick (less favorable) via the Steve Nash trade on 7/11/12. Receive the least favorable of Minnesota’s first-round pick (Minnesota’s pick is top-13 protected in 2013-2014, top-12 protected in 2015-2016; Grizzlies pick top-14 protected in 2013-2016) via three-team trade with New Orleans on 7/27/12
    Read more at http://www.hoopsworld.com/draft-pick-debt/#ODmFAvb3eUrtggM7.99

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/draft-pick-debt

  24. trade pau

  25. The Lakers Payroll, Trading Pau vs not Trading Pau.
    by WWL

    This season, the Lakers sport a $100,365,744 payroll. With the NBA salary cap pegged at $58.044M and the luxury tax line set at $70.307M, the Lakers are set to pay the league $30,058,744 in tax penalties.

    Barring any further moves from the front office, 130M is the total amount that the team is set to shell out at the end of the season. With the playoff top seed nearly out of reach at this point (mathematically possible but highly improbable) this will be the highest amount any team has paid in NBA history. This number is nothing if we were contending for title 17, but as the looks of it, a 1st round exit is more likely.

    As I have advocated all season, trading Pau Gasol is my homerun scenario. A deal which nets us players of value whose contracts expire at seasons’ end or the next will be ideal. Teams like Toronto, Minnesota, Utah and Indiana. If you want a straight up swap for a star rumored to be available then Memphis would be another team you can consider – but that scenario would require another team to join the party to be successful.

    There are other outside-looking-in scenarios as well but these teams mentioned are the most-sensible ones to deal with, and not to mention a destination where Pau Gasol fits well. But trades are not easy to do especially that our guy is earning 19 million dollars! Factor in his trade kicker (listed at 15% but computed and explained by experts to be 3-4% only due to CBA rules governing max contracts) and it just doubly as hard. So assuming we do ride this team out, the most-probable scenario of a 7th seed finish and a 1st round exit.

    If we choose to let the trade deadline pass by unable to move Gasol, we will be missing out on teams that currently hold big expiring contracts that want to avoid contract negotiations in the offseason. Some teams will choose to accept a guaranteed contract and a player (esp with Gasol’s character and track record) rather than be forced in a corner to sign their semi-star to a big-and-long contract in fear of other teams that want to sign them. Buyers’ remorse would have to wait December 15th the following season just to be able to start trading them. For some, its January 15th.

    You get it, I want to move Gasol yesterday. But in the event we do ride this team out until seasons’ end, either unwilling or unable to move Gasol, there is but one nuclear option left: AMNESTY.

    Before you scream WHAT, here are the implications of such a move:

    1. 19.3 million is removed from our taxable payroll. We still pay Gasol that amount to play for another team. But…

    2. We get salary pay savings from whichever team wins his bid/waiver. Yes, he goes on to an auction and teams with cap space can compete as to who gets to sign him. The winning amount will be paid to Gasol as part of his salary and would eventually end up as Lakers savings. Assuming the winning bid is 10 million for 1 season, the Lakers are then just obliged to pay Gasol the remainder (9.3M) of his contract.

    3. Our payroll reduces to 59 million. This is for 6 guaranteed contracts in the person of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Metta World Peace, Steve Blake, Chris Duhon and Jordan Hill.

    4. If and when Dwight re-signs for the maximum contract, his new contract will have a starting amount of 20M thus bringing our payroll to 79 million with 7 players.

    At this stage, assuming the salary cap and luxury tax line remains close or is the exact same as the past 2 seasons, thats 9M in taxable income with 5 roster spots to fill still. Assuming we utilize 5 million to fill those 5 roster spots, we are then set to have 84M payroll with a taxable payroll worth 14 million. In computation, thats:

    1st 5M – 7.50M
    2nd 5M – 8.75M
    3rd 4M – 10.00M

    total of 25M in taxes.

    If we pass up on trading or amnesty-ing Gasol and use the amnesty on Metta World Peace (a better fit to our needs in this regard) we simply add (12 million x 3.25) 39 million to the above tax of 25M for a total tax of a whopping 64M tax.

    So the rest of you can blame Mike D’ Antoni’s system all you want but the fact of the matter is, once we traded for Dwight, Gasol’s other toe was already out the door. Best thing Mitch can do right now is find a deal that cuts our payroll via a traded player exception (estimated to be 15% apart from Gasol’s contract) worth 3 million of payroll in the exchange. Or trade him for pure expirings. Or just amnesty him for nothing and watch him play for another team next year while paying him 19 million.

    Your choice.

  26. Maybe playing in the Olympics again wasn’t a great idea for pau. I mean taking two months off before the season may have saved his legs.

  27. As I’ve said every time people bring up trading Pau… The Lakers have tried to trade him for the last year and a half. Nobody wants him. Unless you want a bunch of scrubs Pau isn’t going anywhere. The Lakers traded both he and Lamar right before they both went over the hill. The Lakers knew both of them were about to be on the downside. Unfortunately now the rest of the league understands that too.

    And for people complaining Gasol need to be in the post more… Are you remembering 2009 Gasol? Cause that Gasol could play from the perimeter as well. This Gasol can barley get a shot to the rim from the post. Most of them are blocked.

  28. I said the same thing yesterday about lack of games for Lakers to get 45 wins. I went back through the Western Conference standings over the last 12 years and found the average number of wins the 8 seed had was 46 (averaging out the strike-shortened years). Offense is not the problem for this team. When have they held a team under 90 points? Defense wins championships. Mike D’Antoni doesn’t value defense very highly.

  29. Why does Nash only take 4 shots? Why is Gasol disinterested and out of place on offense?

    If you really think this doesn’t have to do with the fact that Kobe demands 20-35 shots per game, then I don’t know what to tell you.

    How come the only people who think Kobe is playing the game right and needs to take that many shots are all Laker fans? Everyone else has the perspective to see what his influence does to this team.

    Sure they might lose some games for awhile, but they are losing anway. That is how you develop chemistry…You share the ball unconditionally!

    Until LA can accept this they will see the same results over and over and over and over.

    When Kobe does share he ball for spurts, it is looked at as a sacrifice. As if other players aren’t perpetually making sacrifices to support his demand.

    Gasol had passion in the olympics and dominated. It was the environment that he played in. The Lakers environment poisons certain players games because of Kobe. Just because he produces alot doesn’t mean this isn’t true.

  30. TC and others…

    To say that MDA does not value defense is a fallacy. Every coach wants their team to defend and play the right way. Its just that others just excel in the other aspects of the game and thus they are known better for it.

    Last I checked, no matter how defensive your coach is (cough Mike Brown cough) and if the players do not play defense, what can he do? Jump in there and steal the ball from Cp3? To say that MDA doesn’t think highly of defense is just plain dumb and wrong, its ignorant and its passing the blame onto someone when it is the player’s job to execute. Even if MDA is a clueless guy on defensive rotations (which he isn’t) its the players’ task still to run, to hedge to talk to communicate, to listen to respond, to rotate, to help the helper, to close out on the corner, to press, to trap, to zone out. Its the easiest way out of all to just blame the defenseless coach (pun intended).

    Phil Jackson, in all his glory, wasn’t known for defense either. It wasn’t the triangle defense that won him 11 championships, it was his offense. But moreover, Phil’s ability to manage the game, the egos… the ability to command respect from his players that did him in. Not his defense. Every head coach in the NBA, even Alvin Gentry, knows basic defensive principles in basketball. Whether they are emphasized 10x or a 100x is up to the players to respond, perform, execute and deliver. With a bunch of hall-of-famers in town, you’d think it’d be easy.

    The problem with the Lakers is its INABILITY to play defense. I repeat, inability. Its not even a question of willingness. Everyone knows the “defense wins championships” cliche, even the most-ignorant of them. But if you are forced to run when you can’t, its just impossible.

    Tom Thibodeau, widely regarded as the league’s best defensive-oriented coach, could not help this team if it CANNOT play defense. Playing defense means to run, to come off screens, to close out, everything else that has everything to do with physicality and athleticism. Guess where the Lakers are in this department?

    So for those that curse Howard for his lack of post moves, booohooo. We all knew that before acquiring him. We all knew that before we traded Bynum for him. However, injuries and several new systems and principles get in the way of familiarity and thus his dominance is just halfway there. We all signed Dwight to be the dominant DEFENSIVE force. We never expected Shaq on offense.

    Steve Nash is old, Kobe Bryant is old, Metta World Peace is old, Pau Gasol is old and Dwight is injured. Go figure.

    My “payroll” post refers to the Lakers “need” to trade Pau Gasol more than the sense we try to make in keeping him. The payroll agrees that unless we’re 26-6 right now, we have no business maintaining a 100 million payroll. And since it is not as easy to trade out of contracts, the best thing you can do is to cut contracts NEXT YEAR when the taxes are even more punitive than this year. This is all part of a plan.

    Trading Pau Gasol is a must. Its not even my money, but hey, I care. I care because I can totally see it from the employer’s point of view. I care because a managed payroll also means a good team.

    Blame Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss all you want, but its ignorance that leads you to it. If you are someone that blames the moves they made as “questionable” and “disastrous” you should check if your brain still works. Last I checked, Steve Nash was the best PG available out there. Last we checked, we are all in agreement that Dwight Howard is, even at 70% recovery, IS the league’s best center. And thanks but no thanks to bowling, Bynum would have been a far cry 2nd best center with mental issues himself.

    Dating back to a happier christmas, we would have had Chris Paul wearing Lakers #3. Except someone upstairs chose to play God and have fun with us. So you then come to blame the trade that cut 8.9M in depressed (pun intended) salary which later on became Steve Nash? You blame the move that sent an aging and hobbling 37yo PG for an energetic and high-octane Jordan Hill? Can anybody in the league trade a crippled Luke Walton and convert him into a semi-useful Christian Eyenga for JUST the 25th overall pick in the weakest draft in recent memory? All these things pile up and it doesnt take much of a genius to understand the finance side of things. Except we all just want championships and not have to work for it. Thats how spoiled we’ve all become.

    This is a general rant and not directed to anyone in particular. But it is a specific and particular rant to those that are ignorant of the brilliance of our front office. Sometimes moves are not about the ones we come up in our heads, but the ones that are available. The ones that consist considering “despite of” rather than pipe dreams where imagination flows.

    I am Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss’ collective conscience. I will tell myself that until people realize the magnitude of the trades that the Lakers pulled off the past 2 seasons acquring the league’s best center for the 2nd best and almost acquiring the league’s best PG and instead acquired the improbably available.

    Peace.

  31. Warren: I have been someone who has harped on one topic in the past : ) So yes – we get it – you want Gasol gone. However most of your “benefits” above are all financial in terms of Buss profits and tax savings. It does nothing for us in “basketball” terms unless we completely fleece some team, which I think is unlikely as Aaron covered above. Cutting “taxable” payroll now does little for us on the court now, so we wait until 2014. We are clean after 14 (except for 1 year of Nash), and a Pau trade is likely to make our clean 14 slate very dirty. Unfortunately this was a 2 year gamble that has not panned out too well. Amnesty could be used, but that would only help Jerry pay for Jeannie’s wedding. Again it does nothing on the court except open a roster spot : )

  32. Pau: I still don’t get it. The studio guys spoke about this last night. I know the Olympics are different, but seriously, he was one of the top 3 guys on the court in the gold medal game. Do I expect that? No – but how can he do that in the summer and then forget how to function in the Fall? Like I said – I am open to anything. KB and MD are the guys impacting everyone. I do not buy that 5 guys on our team are having the worst years of their careers simultaneously. It is chemistry, and team play that simply is not there. Virtually everyone on the roster would be playing better somewhere else except for Kobe and maybe Metta. The systems and the other players around them are not helping anyone on this team.

  33. Pau Gasol isn’t being put in posistions to prosper.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBfHi0Xrop0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  34. Formalhault: I have a post in moderation which was interestingly timed given your post. That link is brutal and Stephen A was layin it down.

  35. I am a big defender of pau and thought given time he’ll improve but him not being used properly is wearing thin. He has to find a way to fit in. If he doesn’t want to shoot 3s kick it and fly to the rim for offensive rebounds. This is the system and everyone must fit in. He’s not getting the ball in his spots he has to go get the ball. Instead of standing ignore the play call sprint out to set the screen for nash and get involved. It was a play in 2nd half he was arm’s length from the rim surronded by guards and completely whiffed missed everything. A few lob passes aren’t enough for a max player anymore. The goal is to win and pau is hurting more than helping right now. Maybe two parties would be willing to swap 2yr/38 for 4yr/40 and something. Because pau is giving lakers absolutely nothing and is complaining instead of pressing the issue. He’s making entirely too much to be producing nothing. Expectations for the team are still high, dwight off surgery is expected to push through and play like a hofer. Same should be the case for pau he’s been given plenty opportunity to prove this stretch is a fluke but hasn’t. Even pau’s biggest supporters know hezns running out of excuses.

  36. Robert, how do u suppose the Lakers play defense when they simply CANT? I got a post in moderation.

  37. Big City Sid

    I often hear about the great front office. I ask which one. The one with Jerry West( you know the guy building a top team in GS) was great from Kobe to Shaq to great benches. This one has made one top-tier move, Pau. Insiders say that was again Jerry from a phone in Memphis creating that deal also.

    So what have they done since? Hired a poor coach in Brown. Replaced him with a coach who can only coach one way and it
    dosen’t fit the personal. Ignore defense. Get rid of quality bench players like Brown, Sessions, Barnes etc and replace them with junk like Duhon, Morris, Clark, Meeks, Jamison and Blake?

    The Lakers have become 3 quality players and a bunch of players and coaches that were cast off by other teams. Not a long line to hire or
    sign Mike D, the coaching staff, Metta, Blake, Jamison, Duhon etc.

    Whats worse is what was Plan B? They are sitting on $130 million and
    going up with aging players no one wants? Even worse they GAVE AWAY all their 1st round draft choices! Now they have a (no way) franchise player on a one year contract. A untradable $19 million no-
    power forward scoring 2 points, who thinks he is a shooting guard, a 39 year old PG in a league of 22 year old speedsters, the worst bench in the NBA and a coach who was run out of NY for failing. This team could be a lottery team with no picks for the next three years and paying two coaches $10 Million to lose!

    We do get to enjoy the last few years of the great Kobe. You know that genius deal made by Jerry West. Good front office?

    Single biggest mistake Jerry Buss ever made was saying no to West’s
    request for piece of the team. And giving it to his son instead.

    The Lakers have become the Yankees. Overpaying for overrated players which is covered up by a huge TV deal. They could field a D league team, pay them millions and still make money. Or maybe our government. Big salaries with no results and no plan B.

  38. Warren: Agreed on D. We had a few guys (Nash, Pau, AJ) who we knew coming in that D was not their strength. Then we added a coach who does not emphasize D, we make KB work so hard on the offensive end that D is an afterthought, and I think others have documented the DH situation. So yea – “at this point” solutions are a bit difficult.

  39. Regardless of what youtube clips are put together or what Magic says – they fail to point out that Pau has been completely ineffective regardless what role he’s been put in this season offensively. Even when he’s gotten post opportunities he fails to capitalize w his height instead playing weak then complaining to the refs when he finds himself forced into a bad shot of hs own making.

    Sure valid points can be made about his usage (though its not an easy prob to solve w howard on flr as well) but that doesn’t excuse at all his complete lack of defence or rebounding last night. He complains that he doesn’t like watching from the bench – but contributed nothing last night and was -20.

  40. How amazing is this? There are 3 players over 30 in the top 10 PER this year. Kobe 34, Duncan 36, Tony Parker 30. Everyone else is 28 or younger. Kobe is ranked at #4 behind Lebron, Melo, and Durant. (just ahead of Cp3)

    Thats just amazing to me… and I don’t put a lot of stock in PER because it doesn’t tell all the story. Like, for example, Kobe having Nash getting him easier buckets this year….

    Pau Gasol is now under 15 PER. Part of that has to be his health, but we have to blame D’Antoni’s system for it as well. That’s ridiculous.
    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=8815530

  41. For once Stephen A Smith is right on. It is more Mike D’s system then it is Pau. Yes Pau has had some nagging injuries this year but all you have to do is go back to the Olympics to understand that his skills have not diminished THAT much. And it’s not just Pau. Last night was the very first game that the Lakers made an effort to feed Dwight early and often because Mike D does not BELIEVE in feeding the post. Well you have TWO ALL WORLD post players so you better figure out how to use them. Also think about this, when you have quality bigs you need to spread the floor. We have lacked consistent outside shooting all year, yet Nash is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. Don’t you think we could figure out a way to get him a few more shots?

    This is really on the front office. They either have to buy into Mike D’s system and find a trade for Pau that will bring in better fits for the system or they need to go to Mike and tell him straight up to make the talent we have work, even if it means going away from his system.

    Personally I feel we should try and make what we have work because with Pau’s 32 years old and 19 million salary, it maybe very difficult finding a trade that will bring back players good enough to help us win now.

  42. Is there any reason why Nash doesn’t drive and shoot more?!

  43. I do not buy that 5 guys on our team are having the worst years of their careers simultaneously.

    Four of them are old and one of them has a bad back, so it is not that surprising. Like I said in preseason, the Lakers had a lot of variance. It was easy to see them as champions, and it was possible to see them imploding due to injuries, age, depth and, yes, coaching. And that is exactly what has happened.

    Basically, we can argue all day about what the biggest problem is, but the reality is that it is a combination of everything. Pau’s troubles stem from a combination of:

    1. Mileage. Remember how hard Phil worked him in 2010 and 2011? How hard Brown worked him last year? Add that to the summer ball, and his legs seem to be gone. The Olympics are totally different–schedule, type of competition, everything.
    2. Being asked to do things he can’t do and to play in a system for which he is ill-suited.
    3. Being signed to a contract that I said at the time seemed a bit excessive–should have been a little less money or one fewer year.

    And all the other problems are like that as well–multiple causes, and negative synergy. Jamison for example has been misused some by the coaches, Howard was supposed to cover for his D but is not himself, and signing him, when the team already had D issues, was questionable to begin with. It is all those things.

    Whatever happens with Pau, I would still like to see them try to pick up a backup 1 and pull a backup wing out of the DLeague and get rid of Morris/Duhon and Ebanks/Clark if for no other reason than to shake things up a little.

  44. Until LA can accept this they will see the same results over and over and over and over.

    USG, KOBE BRYANT:

    2009: 32.2
    2010: 32.3
    2013: 32.9

    You know what the “results” were in 2009 and 2010, I trust.

    It went up over 35 the last two years, but with Nash and Howard here, it has gone back down. People focusing on Kobe’s FGAs all the time simply don’t have a case and are being emotional.

  45. For people who think Stephen A. Smith has a point, this is from SSR today:

    A common notion is that he needs to be in the post more often. That’s a fair sentiment; Pau is a very fluid post player and can still dazzle with his arsenal of post moves. However, after taking a look at the numbers, they suggest otherwise. According to Synergy, Pau Gasol posting-up is worth .73 points per possession and he’s shooting 30.8%. In spot-ups, however, he’s at .87 points per possession, and shooting 41%. That’s a 10.2% differential; a large gap.

    —–

    http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2013/1/5/3838636/lakers-breaking-down-pau-gasol-clippers

    Again: focusing on one person, whether it’s Kobe or D’Antoni, is not the way to go.

  46. Very nice USG rates there, Robin.

    Should hopefully help silence a few detractors.

  47. rr: You make valid points, and I am open to the causes of our woes. I, like you, do not think KB is the issue, but he might be. The “old” theory is certainly there, but my question (that is all it is), is that all of those guys were old last year and the year before. Yes – less so, but did we just unlucky and get a bunch of guys whose tanks were on “E” all at the same time? Nash looked great last year, AJ averaged 17 ppg, Pau was MVP of the Olympics, Metta came to camp in great shape, and DH was 1st Team all NBA. Does not sound like empty to me. They are all out of gas now? Yes – injuries play a factor – but not as much as is being reflected on the court. “Synergy” – Bingo. That could be coaching; it could be KB; it could be a bunch of guys who are not compatible. The fact is we do not have “Synergy”.

    Michael H: With regard to your post, I will give you the best compliment I can: . Aloha ! It means “Hello”, “Goodbye”, and Awesome post Michael ! And yes we should just keep him.

  48. Simonoid,

    Thanks. And, as has been well-documented, Kobe’s TS% and EFG are UP from 2009 and 2010. D is where he should be criticized, if people want to go after him, as discussed many times.

    Robert,

    As to Nash, all his metrics are stable, with two exceptions:

    NASH, USG AND AST% 2012, 2013:

    19.6/14.2
    53.1/40.6

    The AST decline may just be guys missing shots and it may also be playing with Kobe. As to the USG, many people have said that Nash should shoot more, and he should. I think that is probably a personality thing. Nash’s reaction to failure and crisis is to try to get everybody involved and happy, so he may be deferring too much.

    It also may be that using some of the non-SSOL sets is affecting Nash’s opportunities, which goes back to the two-star platoon thing that I have harped on, with a Nash/Howard unit, and a Kobe/Pau unit. But MDA isn’t going to do that, so it is a moot point.

  49. Robert,

    Looking at the other guys:

    Jamison was playing on a deep lottery team and had a USG over 26 last year, and his efficiency numbers suffered accordingly, so the 17 PPG is misleading. That said, I think you can make a case that burying Jamison is a mistake. MDA likes short rotations, but that may not be the way to go with this team.

    Metta’s being in shape is nice, but the fact is that he is 32 years old and is simply not that good anymore,and the guy Kupchak drafted AND re-signed to help him out and to help cover the spot, Ebanks, has not panned out. Look at the starting 3s on the other borderline playoff teams: Batum, Parsons, Kirilenko, Gallinari. All of those guys are just better than Metta, except maybe Marvin Williams in Utah, and Metta is not really quick enough to be a 3 anymore. He is also not a good enough 3P shooter to be the stretch 4 MDA needs. He gives you what he has, but he is simply not that good of a player anymore.

    Howard is simply not the same, on D in particular, due to the back issues. And with the Lakers’ other issues on D, that is a problem. He will probably be first-team all-NBA again, unless they give it to Tyson Chandler, but he is not the force they need him to be. Still, I think some people are hammering on him too much. Pau and the bench are far bigger issues than Howard.

  50. rr

    Your 11:44 post is by far better then 98% of the writers and analysts that get paid for a living.

    Thanks

  51. rr,

    Facts do not always tell the truth. In order for a player to do well they need to be comfortable in the offense. Pau is not comfortable. There’s no way Pau can shoot an effective percentage from down low if he’s only going to be posting up sporadically. He’s shooting better further away from the post because that’s where he’s being placed in the offense, not because his post-up game has disappeared. Get him more involved in the block and his percentage will go up. He’s one of the best in the league at that.

  52. Lastly, as to “chemistry:” IMO “chemistry” actually means having players with tangible complementary skills and not having too many guys with the same weakness. The Lakers’ biggest problem IMO is that they have too many guys who lack athleticism and defensive skills. People go on and on about this and that, both here and in the media (Smith, Arnovitz). But the Lakers in the first half last night allowed the Clippers, without Jamal Crawford, 61 points on 54% shooting. That pretty much guaranteed a loss, and while they made it exciting, they lost. Looking at the young guys: Meeks is small for a 2 and not that fast, Ebanks and Clark are buried, Morris has decent feet but is not an overpowering athlete and is a dreadful offensive player who should be in the DLeague. Everybody else except Howard is old and slow, as Kobe himself admitted.

    The plan was to overcome that with star power, but the stars are a little dim.

    And, yes, MDA is not a D coach.

  53. Get him more involved in the block and his percentage will go up. He’s one of the best in the league at that.

    Perhaps, perhaps not. That is just an assertion, however, which is usually worth less than a fact. Check the SSR link for further details.

    But I more or less agree with Michael H. At this point, I think if they can’t move Pau, D’Antoni needs to change the system/usage/pace in a way to try to get more out of him.

  54. Isn’t it just simple enough to start Ron at the 4 and bring Pau in off the bench to replace Howard? This isn’t rocket science here! Is Pau’s 19 mil salary stopping them from making Him a bench player? I cant see anything else working.

  55. James:

    Kobe is averaging a shade under 22 shots per game this year, hardly “20-35 shots” as you put it.

    That number is more or less in line with what his career average as a starter is. He’s also shooting the ball some of the most efficiently he ever has. Earlier in the season, his turnovers were an issue, but he’s pushed those down lately. He’s not perfect. He could stand to play a little more defense. But he’s also an ancient player by modern day standards with an astonishingly high amount of mileage on him playing 39 minutes per game and giving us constant effort game in and game out.

    But anyone who thinks he’s the problem has absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. He’s been perhaps the lone bright spot on the entire damn team this year.

    Gasol is washed up and done. Nash has been injured most of the year. Howard hasn’t been himself yet on a consistent basis for most of the year, as evidenced more by his defense than his offense which has been a far cry from his normal all-world self.

    There is literally ZERO evidence that Kobe is hindering this team from a statistical standpoint. He’s more or less become Carmelo Anthony at this stage of his career from a statistical standpoint, who has been talked about as an MVP candidate this year.

    The same old “Kobe is shooting too much” whine has been trotted out with depressing regularity for years. It had a bit more validity last year when Kobe was tossing out 43% shooting. This year? Give me a break. Better yet, give HIM a break. His back probably hasn’t been this sore since 2006.

  56. yes, right now the Clippers are definitely the best team in L.A.,

    the difference between the Lakers and Clippers is not that great, however. a little more intensity a lot more consistently would turn the tide. the real issues are purely mental. that’s not to discount the physical issues, things like aging are real. it’s just that the difference in effectiveness isn’t age. it’s heart and motivation. the thing that is hard, is that this isn’t usually a Laker problem, it hasn’t been until the failed CP3 trade.

    Howard is a big part of this problem. he needs to get seriously concerned. the time for fun is over. fun is a by-product of life. when fun becomes the purpose and point of life, it’s just too easy to blow off one’s responsibilities. i understand that Dwight doesn’t feel right, but that’s not an excuse for cruising 3/4s of the game. if he played with Hill’s intensity, the Lakers would be firmly in the mix. Last night’s game was very winnable.

  57. We may see if the problem really is that Pau plays better at the 5, because Howard may miss tomorrow’s game. Hill is a “probable”.

    Pau vs Manimal & McGee… Yeah, not looking forward to that matchup…

  58. For us, it’s easier to say but more difficult to proclaim that the Clippers are a better team than our Lakers. But, the Clippers really may be the best team in the league at this point (behind the champs, I guess). Chris Paul is phenomenal.

  59. Yeah I agree, Stephen A. Is on point.

  60. Third quarter last night. Kobe feeds Nash for a 3 that cuts the Clips’ lead to 3 and the Clips call timeout to regroup. After that timeout, the Clippers seized control of the game by locking everyone on the Lakers not named Kobe. Even the Great Gatsby couldn’t work his way out of traps and find a decent look for himself. Kobe was the only one on the team who could find a way to score.

    The only good thing I can say about Pau at this point is that I hope he is injured. Because, if he is not, then he is just awful and no longer a factor in the NBA. He loses his matchup every night. His lack of involvement is like a punch in the face to Laker fans. His complaints about his usage are an affront to my ears.

    I understand the Lakers’ problems now. The lack of talent in the supporting cast is their Achilles heel. Combined with an injured and old starting five, team results have gotten ugly. After the Lakers’ last won back to back chips, the rest of the league scrambled to play catch up. Miami formed their big 3. Other teams developed young talent and grew. Now it’s the Lakers who are being left in the dust.

    Kobe reminds me of the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike in the old folk story. He just can’t hold back the flood waters engulfing his team.

  61. Jim C…

    Agree completely with your last comment. Well put!

  62. Again every one is focusing on Pau’s offensive woes and blaming coach/system – but even given touches, he has failed time and time again to be assertive and make good use of them. Rr s post was dead on and Hollinger or synergy had a post early in the season that said the same thing – that Pau looks so bad because hes missing the post up shots that he’s supposed to be making.

    But right now pau is playing worse individual defense than jamison and getting beat no matter if it’s outside or in. 7 ftrs don’t only get 4 rebounds by accident in 27 mins – you almost have to try to be that bad. And because of his contract they’re stuck having to capitulate to playing him when he doesn’t provide anything on defense or effort wise. Seriously – the talking heads on tv are saying that feeding pau in the post is the lakers biggest problem?

  63. Pau’s problems are a combination of a system that don’t fit him (about 75 percent), the other being Pau is just getting older (you can see this in his defense).

  64. I usually had three sites that I went for good Laker analysis but the K Bros have seem to have vanished from ESPNLA. What happened or where are they writing now?

  65. I agree with Stephen A. I don’t think D’Antoni was the right hire for this team, and I didn’t think he was when they did it two months ago. Stupid hire, and now we reap what we sowed.

  66. Rusty Shackleford January 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Uh oh. Kobe Bryant averaging 7.9 points in the fourth quarter and leading the NBA in that category. Where’s the Henry Abbot article? Come to think of it I haven’t seen much from him on Kobe this season.

  67. rr: To follow up on Rubenowski’s point, statistics have there place but they are not the end all (as you know). Some of us use our eyes and common sense (what little we have) and draw conclusions. Others use stats etc. However the people who use stats often do not fully respect the assertions made common sense/observation type guys. However, you can justify anything with stats. For example using Pau as an example. You could take his stats from 2008 forward and draw a straight downward line. I could preface that analysis with one of three assertions: A) This proves that Pau is getting old B) This proves that Pau has forgotten how to play C) This proves we had great coaching in 2008-2010 and it has gone downhill from there. I could write a thesis on any of those and use Pau’s stats as proof of my theory : ) Of course it would all be hogwash but hey – it would be backed by stats : ) Back to common sense: We were all upset by the past two full seasons, but little did we know it was going to get worse. So you can use you point differential stats as you have, or if you are a general observation type guy like me, you might say, what has changed? Well we changed out AB for DH; We changed out Fisher/Sessions for Nash; We changed out Odom/Shannon/Barnes for AJ/Ebanks, and of course we changed out PJ/MB for MD. Those are the places where I would look as to the cause of the decline : ) Logical? : )

  68. Again every one is focusing on Pau’s offensive woes and blaming coach/system – but even given touches, he has failed time and time again to be assertive and make good use of them. Rr s post was dead on and Hollinger or synergy had a post early in the season that said the same thing – that Pau looks so bad because hes missing the post up shots that he’s supposed to be making.

    But right now pau is playing worse individual defense than jamison and getting beat no matter if it’s outside or in. 7 ftrs don’t only get 4 rebounds by accident in 27 mins – you almost have to try to be that bad. And because of his contract they’re stuck having to capitulate to playing him when he doesn’t provide anything on defense or effort wise. Seriously – the talking heads on tv are saying that feeding pau in the post is the lakers biggest problem?

  69. Robert,

    As I said, on this thread, Pau’s problems are IMO a result of both physical decline and the system/coaching changes. The Triangle was a good system for him, and Odom was the perfect complement to him.

    That said, it is, again, not surprising that a guy Pau’s age with Pau’s mileage would drop off physically–and one of the reasons for it is probably how hard both Phil and Brown worked him. So if you want to look at coaching, IMO you should point the finger there as well. Pau was 27 years old, in his prime, in June of 2008. He is 32 now and has been in three deep playoff runs and two Olympics since then. Phil wouldn’t be able to change the wear and tear of that and indeed, added to it himself.

    You have made yourself clear–you think that hiring D’Antoni was a huge mistake and you think he is the main problem. I have not been impressed with him, but it is obvious, from both the stats and from watching the games, that this team has other problems besides the coach. I probably overrated D’Antoni, but you simply didn’t acknowledge–and still haven’t acknowledged–that there were and are many ways this roster could get torpedoed that have nothing to do with the coaching. I saw this in preseason; so did many others, fans and analysts alike. Few predicted it per se, but the possibility was clearly there.

    Also, I think you need to look at the roster as a whole, not in terms of discrete exchanges that lead you back to blaming D’Antoni. I and others have outlined in detail the various deficits in athleticism, talent, age, health, and defensive chops that plague the roster 1-10. The best argument for Phil is that his system would cover those holes better, and it probably would, but the Triangle would not eliminate those problems.

    I think it is possible, if the Lakers actually land in the lottery or are eliminated very quickly in postseason and Howard says that he wants to leave, that the Buss Family might actually bring Phil back, although paying TWO guys not to coach would be hard for the Busses to swallow.

    Kevin Love has re-fractured his shooting hand and will be out again. David Kahn said that this will make the Wolves “more aggressive in the trade market.”

  70. What happened to the spell check? It disappeared from my iPad. I need it worse then the Lakers need some trades.

  71. pau dont play hard…ever…its so annoying even if he failed over and over like a meeks drive f****** some effort

  72. Funny, many in here are now are saying how bad of a hire Mike D was. Because when he was hired everyone was just so excited for Showtime. People even saying he was the best hire for this team. For everyone who actually thought that, all I can say is…..LOL.

  73. Robert is right about stats. They can be used every which way to justify almost any position. The game of basketball is way too dynamic for one or two stats to tell the entire story (or even close to it). There is no one explanation for the Lakers woes. There is only a simple conclusion. They are not good enough as a team to compete with the best in the league. Period. As Robert noted, entire dissertations can be written on “why” they are not good enough. However, the bottom line is they are lightweights.

    Kobe is having an excellent season. It is even more impressive when you consider his age. But in the bigger scheme of things the team is woefully underachieving. Thirty two games in and they are under .500. As good as Kobe is playing it is not making a difference for the team. It doesn’t mean that it is his fault the team is so bad. It just means his individual performance is not having much impact on the team’s success. But that is due to a having three different coaches this season. It is because of Injuries to Nash, Howard, Gasol, and Blake (we’ve forgotten about him). Three distinct system changes have taken place along the way as well.

    All of this is why stats that compare this season to previous seasons are not very reliable. There have been too much turnover among key players. There has been a complete overhaul of the team’s system from the Triangle to Brown to whatever it is they run now.

  74. How awesome would it be if Howard pulled a Kobe at the end of the season and told Mitch, “It’s me or Kobe.” That would be poetic. I know Kobe’s got a trade clause, but anything can happen.

  75. Joe M, I stand by what I said when I wished (and willed) the MDA hiring.

    As much as Stephen A. Smith wants to run his mouth about MDA, which is a very easy target to hit right now, the Lakers hiring him was never to please Gasol’s lackluster 3 seasons. Instead, the FO has already decided that his ship has sailed last season, except we exposed our hand when someone upstairs decided its not possible for us to own CP3.

    Defense? He isn’t known for it, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t ask his team to hedge, cover, funnel, run, close out… HIS TEAM JUST FRIGGIN CAN’T! We have a starting 5 thats (39+34+33+33+26) 165 years old. Compare that with other teams that have what like 120 on average.

    The FO has been on point, you blame acquiring the likes of Ramon Sessions? Try trading a Crippled Luke Walton and the 25th pick and see what you can get in the open market. Blame the FO all you want that their moves haven’t worked out, but you can pretty much see that other FOs literally didn’t do anything.

    The last straw, that FO needs to do is to trade Pau for bums. Bums that contribute and have big enough expiring contracts. Utah can provide it. Milwaukee can provide it. Those “bums” can never be or ever will be as good as Pau but they are below 28 and they provide a much-needed energy on defense because their legs permit it.

    Right now, you keep harping on the Lakers defense and defending Pau Gasol on this system… when you could solve all that in 1 fell swoop by trading Pau for expirers and young players that have the legs to play Defense and give Kobe and Nash some relief.

  76. The only thing I fault the FA for was to not trade Pau Gasol when the rumors from Houston and Atlanta surfaced. But I don’t really blame them when they decided to give the 2-time champ and multiple-olympic medalist a chance to flourish. When Brown got the boot and MDA was in, it was clear as day that Pau was on the way out as well.

  77. KOOO-

    Thanks for the compliment.

  78. Only one thing positive about the game last night. That 4th quarter comeback was legit. The Clips didn’t relax and let the Lakers back into the game. The Lakers fought, scrapped and played good defense to give themselves a chance to win. Clutching at straws? Maybe. But I was just glad to see some fight from them.

  79. All of this is why stats that compare this season to previous seasons are not very reliable

    People say that the Lakers lose because Kobe shoots too much, but he shot this much, and less efficiently, when the team won titles. If your position is that on this team in this system his USG should drop to 25 or so and Howard’s and Nash’s should go up, then make the case. You may be right. But the Lakers ORTG as of today is identical to the 2010 team’s ORTG–108.8. The difference is the DRTG (103.7/106.3). The 2009 title team had an awesome ORTG of 112.8–with Kobe shooting as much then as he does now.

    I agree that stats don’t tell the whole story, but at the same time, almost all arguments at the end of the day go back, directly or indirectly, to stats. Robert, for example, has talked a lot baout Jamison and used Jamison’s PPG from 2012 to buttress his case.

    Also, I note that you assume that Kobe is “not making a difference.” But as KOOO suggested, the Lakers might be 10-22 if he shot less. The advantage to looking at stats is that they tell you something about what happened, as opposed to guessing about what might happen with different facts in evidence.

  80. QUESTION:

    Is it Pau’s fault for not fitting in the system?

    OR

    Is ia MA’s fault for not using a system that fit Pau?

    Personally I blame the coach. A coach’s job is to make his player play better than they actually do with their “system”

  81. Ecomug,

    Howard is 27. Kobe is 34. Youth trumps all in this *business*, and it’s poetic because Kobe played that card when he was the younger, prized one. Just wait, Kobe keeps on and . . .

  82. Agree with someone who earlier noted Howard´s terrible foul on CP3 when we were just down 2 with 1:07 to play; ugh, that f***ing hurt

  83. Robert,

    Warren wants Pau gone as much as you wanted Howard here.

  84. Ecomug

    Even with all of the injuries, Pau is still pulling down 8.5 boards a game same as a younger Serge Ibaka. For further reference reference Blake Griffith is pulling down 8.6.

  85. Reality is MDA can’t heal howard magically and make Pau younger/ faster. people can mope on here about how PJ’s triangle woulda been a better fit for the roster – but that still doesnt in anyway solve the defensive deficiencies be they health or age at the 4/5 spots. Again – offense isn’t the issue here and no matter what defense you put in – until Pau can either stop anyone one on one or howard gets healthy/consistently well enough to cover behind everyone, this team is going to struggle against particular matchups. This roster may just be too fatally flawed to present a real challenege to top tier teams as its composed right now.

    Nash is 7 years older than Pau and played easily just as many mins if not more over his career with his playoff runs and extended time playing national ball and in qualifying tournaments – and he’s shown a marked improvement defensively since last year. No he’s not a stopper – but at least there is an effort there and positionally he’s making an effort every time out. No reason Pau can’t at least compete at that level. Fine – maybe Pau should get the ball more in an ideal world – but im not impressed w the lack of effort and willingness that he’s shown this year. If he feels that he can’t play defense/rebound w/o getting x amount of shots a game then he needs to go.

    rr; your comments are well done sir.

  86. Warren, Mike D’Antoni IS the problem, and if the Lakers throw away Gasol for garbage, it’s going to be 10 years of mediocrity. The Celtics have been winning with an old team for years. So have the Spurs. They just play a 1/2 court game, very good team defense. The Celtics often will sacrifice offensive rebounding for the sake of getting back on defense to prevent transition points.

    Every game, I can tell you 4-5 times when D’Antoni makes tactical errors, or makes adjustments too late. For instance, in the last game, I was shocked that Howard wasn’t guarding Griffin to start the game. Jordan can dunk, but his doesn’t really have a 1-1 isolation game, so Pau should have been guarding him instead. When Pau left the game in the 4th and Howard was guarding Griffin, he was able to shut him down.

    Near the end of the periods, D’Antoni should have gone to hack a DeAndre. Or anytime the Clipper were on a run, he should have tried to do that, especially if the Clippers were in the bonus, to stop the run.

    Some coaches can take talented players and win championships, like PJ, Pat Riley. Some can take a moderately talented team and make them better, like Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson, probably even Mike Woodson. D’Antoni has only been successful with a loaded Suns team with Nash, Amare, Marion, Diaw, etc. in their primes and couldn’t even go to the finals once. He’s failed everywhere else he’s been. He’s just a really really bad coach. Little or no in game adjustments, poor preparation, doesn’t get his players motivated. I’ve watched the Lakers and followed basketball for over 30 years, and hiring D’Antoni over PJ was the equivalent of the Chargers hiring Norv Turner over Jim Harbaugh who they didn’t even bother interviewing despite the fact that he was interested. That’s what happens when you have someone like Jim Buss who takes basketball advice from a bartender.

  87. Paul Sigismondi January 5, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Lakers17, you are correct. MDA’s rotations don’t make any sense. This is the problem.

  88. rr,

    As I explained in my “payroll” post I just see the writing on the wall. You will not find any other fan that loves the Spaniard more than me but his time is done. I just don’t like treating them like toy soldiers and thus I also value where they end up as much as I value what we get in return.

    Pau earns alot and he earned that contract after 2 and a half championships. But as our team evolves for the next decade, our needs have also evolved. We need to be more athletic and faster on our feet, and its only fitting that we send Pau to somewhere he would be comfortable being 1st/2nd option and where his leadership and character is of utmost importance. Thats why an upcoming team like the Bucks, Raptors, Wolves or Pacers make the most sense.

    Factor in the payroll and its just double the urgency to deal him out. Of course he wouldn’t want to leave LA per se and saying it just makes it harder for him to be traded. And thus we won’t hear him wanting out until we trade him. Thats how much of a class act he is.

  89. Laker17. I have to admit I was one of those on Laker talk radio who thought the MD hire was a good one. Perhaps it was because I really had issues with Brown and his annoying post game babbling.

    You are right, he is not a good choice and that makes Jimmy the horse trainer 0 for 2 on coaching.

    This franchise began its slide the more Jim took control. Only thing we
    can hope for is that Magic’s constant criticism has a purpose. New Magic led ownership.

  90. Lakers17,

    Its is a universal fact that the Lakers problem is on defense. Not the offense. Regardless of what combination MDA uses, its the players’ task to run, close, hedge, funnel, perform. Do you know why regardless of what combination, we cannot defend? Its because we CAN’T not because we’re not willing.

    The Lakers are old and having 2 injured 7-footers with one being 33yo simply cannot defend the transition. Howard is the only one that can run but even he is obviously not back to his old self yet. Aside from that fact, the Lakers backcourt is also 500 years old combined. Nash is 39 and Kobe is 34, and while they are still at a very good stage of skill, the lift and the run isn’t there anymore. Thats the only reason why Darius Morris gets inserted in the starting crew.

    The Lakers need youth, athleticism and fresher legs in general. In doing so you need to trade someone. So who do you trade?

    A. Kobe – ummmmm nope. Besides he earns 30M and no one can match that contract.
    B. Dwight – ummmm nope. Besides we want him here in the 1st place and his D is exactly what we need.
    C. Nash – ummmmm nope. He is the offensive maestro we hired our coach for. Besides, his misgivings on D is very much offset on O.
    D. Metta – ummmmm nope. Not only do we need his skillset and defense, his value is not exactly at an all-time high.

    Which leaves us with? yeah.

  91. KOOO, the bashing on Jim Buss is not warranted. Its ignorant to a point of sickening that you completely ignore the moves he’s made.

    1. Pau Gasol + Lamar Odom became Chris Paul.
    2. (a very depressed and angry) Lamar Odom to Dallas for a lottery-protected 1st rounder + 8.9M TPE.
    3. Luke Walton + Troy Murphy + 25th pick became Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga.
    4. Derek Fisher + lottery-protected 1st became Jordan Hill.
    5. Ramon Sessions opted out, we let him walk coz we were getting Nash.
    6. Traded 8.9M TPE and 2 1st round picks for Steve Nash.
    7. Traded Andrew Bynum, Josh McRoberts for Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark.
    8. Re-signed Jordan Hill to a very good contract.
    9. Signed Antawn Jamison to a minimum contract.
    10. Signed Jodie Meeks to a very good contract.

    I wonder which among these 10 moves do you question as bad ones. Cmon lets talk facts.

  92. Jerke,

    Thanks; appreciate it.

    Warren,

    I was just joking around with Robert. The only way for me to smile about the Lakers these days is to make a joke or two, as I am not smiling much when I watch them.

  93. Bang on Warren – good posts here tonight. The FO had a plan – which was to try and reload this team knowing that in 2014 the books would be clear and this team would instantly become younger and stay talented with a reload around Howard and Nash being the only two contracts.

    What derailed all of that this year is the injuries to Nash/Pau (which are out of FO’s hands – this team is a whole lot better if they don’t miss a combined 30 games) – and they could’ve survived Howards off nights and would be demonstrably better than their current record (plus the FO would be in a much better position to makes some trades if they had been there from the start.). Where they did make a mistake was in the hire of Brown in first place – his teams weren’t defensively that great, and he proved that he’s not an offensive minded guy what so ever.
    Perhaps Pau would be getting more touches if he was still here – but it would be a complete misuse of Nash who i would argue is more valubale to this team than Pau certainly is at this point.

    MDA doesn’t get a free pass – but he’s still only been here for 22 games w no training camp and only having Nash for 8 , plus pau missing 8 games – as well dealing with an inconsistent centre/bench players, and an older team to boot. Again, thats why Nash/Kobe are the ones preaching patience but at the same time they seem to be the only players that act like they know whats at stake for them and how they end their careers. They get that there needs to be a sense of urgency as they try and build something – as howard just jokes about there needing to be more chemistry/fun while Pau is off “woe is me” in the corner. When Kobe talks after a game about going to MDA and trying to get Pau more touches – he’s not sayiing that to undermine/question MDA – he’s doing so as a visible sign of support for Pau. But if Howard is out the next game or so because of the shoulder and Pau gets touches – it has to be put up or shut up time. Reality is he’s never been the same guy since the CP3 trade debacle – may just need to go.

    Laker FO hasn’t done that much wrong – they have played a decent game plan to this point – then got snakebit with a freak injury to Nash, and miscasting Brown – who might’ve worked with the old roster alright – but not this new incarnation that needs to play differently. Reality was PJ was never coming back to coach – FO shoulda made that clear from the start instead of letting the public entertain that idea and blow it up bigger than it ever was a reality. MDA isn’t coaching against his record or the realities of this roster etc… – he’s dealing with the imaginary perception that this team would be world beaters if PJ was here when that was never going to be the case.

    In that sense – the FO screwed him over and you have to believe Mitch/jim Buss are letting him know that he’s their guy since he has to take all the heat for what happens here on out regardless of the original circumstances when he was hired.

    Also – was it just me or did anyone notice a distinct lack of any horns sets in fridays game? I was watching but don’t think I saw any? Which i found really curious – instead the first quarter almost seemed to be an endless parade of dumping the ball down low to get big guys going which turned into everyone else standing around – which seemed ot derail the entire offence from the start.

  94. If you have highly skilled, multifaceted players, you expect them to do a bit of everything and do it efficiently. Instead, surprisingly, the Lakers have gone the other way. Kobe is responsible for the shooting, Nash for the assists, Metta for the defence, Howard for the rebounds..
    They seem to be a much more brittle team

  95. Warren

    You may not no the inner working of the Lakers front office. Mitch K made those moves with the final approval of Jerry. The firing of scouts and the hiring if Mike Brown was Jim Buss. Jerry from his sick bed ordered the firing of Brown. The botched meeting with Phil and hiring of Mike D was Jim. These are facts. If you read my post the issue was with the 2 coach hiring. This is verified information. Thank you.

  96. KOOO,

    Hiring coaches are just like signing free agents… except doing such involves the Laker triumvirate of Mitch and Jim and Jerry. They can’t all take turns talking to someone so each of them do their assigned jobs. Understandably, with Jerry being the highest order of this trinity, he lets the other two do the talking.

    The Front Office is Mitch and Jim. And no matter how you cut it, there is no such things as solely Mitch’s or Jim’s decision or solely one’s decision over the other except when Jerry speaks.

    In a podcast interview I remember so well made me understand how Jim’s thinking runs. I wish I can find you that podcast and I hope you listen to it so you would understand. Its right after the draft.

    So what is it, when its a good job its Mitch, and when its bad its Jim’s? Oh cmon.

  97. I would say that the issues with the FO in terms of players are:

    1. Focusing too much on shooting/experience/roles at the expense of athleticism and defense. Even Hill is not really much of an athlete.
    2. Signing Blake to four years and then not getting a backup 1 after Sessions left (even before Blake got hurt).
    3. Apparently missing on Ebanks. I don’t mean drafting him; any guy you draft that late is a longshot. But they decided to keep him, let Barnes go and not get someone else, and that is a problem right now.

    The other problem is that between the Veto, and the decision to fire Brown, the coaching choices and the roster construction have been out of sync.

    The Sessions and Hill trades were good moves, and even if the whole thing completely blows up in their faces (team misses playoffs, and Howard leaves) obviously bringing in Nash and Howard was the right thing to do based on what was known at the time.

  98. I still don’t get why the Lakers didn’t hire Phil Jackson. We have a coach who hasn’t coached a good team since Steve Nash was in his prime. For weeks he pointed to Steve Nash as the answer to all the problems. I don’t think anybody really bought that, and sure enough Nash is back and it’s still a .500 team. Now we’re in this position of wondering why things are going wrong: Is it Dwight’s back? Is it Pau’s fit in the system? Is it Kobe doing too much? Is it overall team chemistry? Age?

    If anything, hiring Phil would have provided a clearer answer to the question of what’s wrong with the Lakers. Worst case scenario, they would have brought in Phil and remained a .500 team. What does that tell you? Time to blow theup the roster and go into full re-build mode. If Phil had come in and they had started winning again, then at least they would have established an identity. But right now, there are way too many variables out there (aging franchise player, injured future franchise player/pending free agent, new coach, old & expensive roster) and there’s no way the front office can figure out what needs fixing except through a long and painful process of elimination.

  99. Further to WWL’s cogent and appreciated argument, I have posted several times on this board about hearing Mitch speak in person at the end of last season at which time he made it clear that ALL important decisions – every one – are always made by Mitch, Jim and Jerry acting in tandem. Yet the same posters seem determined to repeat inaccuracies in a grandstanding fashion. Since trade ideas are already banned in this site, how about expanding the ban to include:

    1. any mention of Chaz or ‘the bartender’ or the word ‘nepotism’, as they are all misleading and incendiary?
    2. any suggestion that the team has declined since it has ‘changed hands’ from Jerry to Jim, a shift that most assuredly never happened.
    3. blaming the FO for an absolutely stellar off-season that simply hasn’t worked out as planned, but was a series of brilliant moves with an insane difficulty level given our payroll. My God, they got something back for Luke Walton!
    4. complaining about the length or duration of contracts without taking into account the negotiating position of the team at the time (e.g., saying MWP’s contract is ‘too long’ without acknowledging he took a huge paycut per year to play here and this was the only way to get him, or without also acknowledging we wouldn’t have won in 2010 without him.

    I see one bad contract on the Lakers– a single example of a player who was overpaid and overextended without any clear indication at the time that there were significant rivals for his services (although of course there might have been, just not publicized). It’s Steve Blake… and even then, it’s not all that terrible of a deal.

    The FO has done a masterful job with personnel. Want to blame them for MDA versus Phil? Fine, go ahead. But will you also acknowledge how mystified every Phil coached Lakers team looked when facing the PNR? It was like they had never seen it before, and it was only Kurt’s SSZ that gave us any hint of a defensive identity. Remember Pau and Bynum looking lost half the time on both sides of the ball? Or the whole team looking they didn’t give a damn except for Kobe? Remember the Lakers always, always, always giving up huge runs at the beg of the 2nd half because motivation was never Phil’s strong suit? Remember a refusal to play talented rookies because he didn’t believe in playing rookies? Remember the lack of timeouts during huge runs? Remember Phil playing LO at the 4 a the end of games because he couldn’t get Pau and Drew to play together? But now he’s magically going to get a struggling Pau and an injured DH (who has no real post moves btw) to be a devistating offensive tandem to rival Robinson and Duncan? Okay, if you think so…

    The trend towards wildly inaccurate and ill-informed armchair quarterbacking around here is seriously compromising the excellence of this site.

  100. Sorry we disagree Lil Pau. I consider you a very smart poster.

    I agree Lakers made good moves this off-season. Which causes more concern as to why they have the 18th best record in the NBA. My question was the coaching decisions.

    As to wild arm-chair speculation. I talk with and deal with retired NBA
    players in my business Daily. Have you considered some people in the world might have direct access to information that others don’t? Have you considered Mitch might be saying what is asked politically correct in public?

    I would be happy to invite you to our next golf tournament or event and introduce you to NBA Legends and you can ask questions
    yourself. I trust you may come away with a different mind set. They
    are just opinions, like for instance Magic’s on ESPN, but are they wild arm chair speculation?

    Warren another excellent writer.
    Do you really think Mitch and Jim have equal final decision power? Do you really think Mitch wanted MD more then Phil? One is a owner, the other a employee. Do you think Mitch liked making that mid-night call to Phil? Why didn’t Jim the owner make it? What did Jeanne or Linda
    Rambus think about that. Would the Lakers be better then 18th in the NBA with Phil, another coach or system. I would hope so.

    I clearly was wrong as a 40 year fan so far about Mike D. Former NBA players and coaches I spoke to ALL thought it didn’t fit. Makes me
    stupid and them right so far, Wish I was smarter.

    Thanks

  101. Dwight Howard.. is this the player we’re so excited about? The franchise player who will take over Kobe? My goodness. I can’t even fully convince myself that this guy will stay with the team after the season. God bless his health too. Reading his post game interviews really makes me cringe,even if they are valid. So much finger pointing and negativity and yet he goes on and on about team chemistry,all the while indirectly slapping his team with every complaint. I really think his personality clashes heavily with Kobe and Nash. If this doesn’t change soon,he might just leave to find a team with guys that ” really enjoy each other off the court ” and uh.. whatever really. Nothing good comes out from that mouth after a loss always.

    And then every day we have some people finding new topics to criticize (in the espn site esp). Most notably Kobe for being a ball hog and now Nash of all people to be more aggressive. Like someone said,without Kobe we’d been even worse than this 15-17 record. People who watches all the games live and is not blind or an idiot will know. Whenever the Lakers is on an offensive drought,Kobe will step up and do whatever it takes to get them some points. He will be more than willing to pass it (imo for sure) ,if the team can knock down shots. I mean the guy is already 34 and hinted retirement. But no,they need Kobe for he is only guy who can consistently score and plays with an edge every single game. And the damn thing is that he is actually EFFICIENT and is almost always the main reason why the Lakers make a late run down the stretch. But people still be complaining.

    I hope they play hard tomorrow. No more 126 nonsense.

  102. @lil pau – lots of revisionist history going on here since even MDA was hired. Love how guys rvert to the “phil would make everything perfect argument”.

  103. Jerke

    I for one was aganist Phil and said so on ESPN and here. I remember the last year and lack of intensity. My position is that decision was made more by Jim then Mitch and in retro MD and this slower older personal might not be a fit. I kind of think a Pops, Sloan or Phil type might find a way for the system to fit the team not the team fit the system.

    Now on ESPN Dwight is complaining about team chemistry. Seemed to win in the Kobe/Shaq days with worse issues Dwight,

  104. I don’t think the fo warrants blame for bringing in more offensive weapons like Jamison and Meeks. Keeping Hill as the 3rd big. Upgrading at pg and trading for Dwight. If any blame goes their way it should be maybe firing Brown too early. But the 15-17 records falls on the players. Despite no reason to believe things can still turn around. Dwight can wake up one morning and feel better than ever and play like he did in 09. The right move could also help. Lakers were in shambles in 2010-2011 season and after the asb went 17-1 mainly because of defense. Maybe al the team needs is some time apart to regroup and may have another type of run in them. Too much talent to right the team off.

  105. Warren, I agree that at this point, Lakers probably have no option but to trade Pau, but because he’s injured, and because of his contract, they’ll get pennies on the dollar, if that. But don’t think that he’s necessarily a bad fit in any system, and I think his recent poor play is almost certainly due to his injury. After his two weeks off, he played well. I think they should shut him down for 2 months, try to make the eight spot, and bring him back two weeks before the playoffs. Someone with knee tendinitis and plantar faciatis wouldn’t even be able to walk, so it’s incredible that he’s playing now, even at this level.

    Having said that, and no matter who hired D’Antoni, he’s just a terrible coach. He doesn’t get the most out of his players and makes too many tactical mistakes during games. Although PJ was also not a great in game tactition, he a least had the wherewithal to surround himself with guys like Tex Winter, Rambus, Shaw, who could fill those gaps. Also, the triangle offense is better suited for an older team like the Lakers, and for players like Pau and Howard.

    D’Antoni is like a golfer who is playing with an incomplete set of clubs, but doesn’t know how to adjust his game to account for this. He compounds this problem by sticking to his philosophy of never laying up, even if has to carry 260 yards over a water hazard, to a green surrounded by bunkers while hitting out of a grove of trees and over the maintenance shed. And then he wonders why he can’t break 100.

  106. Kevin

    To much talent fir 18th best recordm yes. But at it’s best us Tge team able to beat OKC and Clips from the 7th 8th spot?

    Watched Clips last night destroy GS with their 3rd best scorer for the 2nd night out, Do you see this current team beating those teams on the road?

    Are we fans satisfied just to make playoffs and 1st round out? based on complients over 2 years of 2nd and outs I would say no!

  107. KOOO: lakers can beat the clippers i believe. Neutral court, nobody on that team can guard kobe and griffin, jordan and dwight’s ft’s are a wash. Spurs are vulnerable to size and lakers lost to them on a last second shot. Wouldn’t mind having those two matchups. Tough road but if dwight recovers some and lakers crunch time offense is solid they can win get to wcf.

  108. Kooo,

    First of all, thank you for your gracious reply.

    Of course, there are plenty of people who know a million times more about the inner workings of the team than I do. I am grateful for your ‘inside information’, although of course it is difficult for anyone to ascertain the validity of statements made by unnamed sources.

    The Kupchak remark I referred to was spoken to season ticket holders at an event to which the press was (deliberately) not invited. Sure, of course Mitch might be spinning things, but for whose benefit? Is it clearly in the interest in the Buss family for him to say that it’s a triumverate rather than saying how much he admires Buss Jr who now has a firm hand on the tiller? My sense from body language and motive is that he was telling the truth. Let me bolster my minor credibility here by saying I work in Hollywood and am surrounded by liars; my career survives on being able to tell the truth from the lies. It doesn’t mean I’m right here in trusting Mitch, it just means that I am a skeptical observer who admits the possibility of lying but my ‘read’ was he was telling the truth. I understand your sources have led you to feel differently; again, they may absolutely be right and I may have been misled or tricked, but without knowing who they are or speaking to them directly, I’m sure you can understand my willingness to trust the data to which I have direct access, limited as it may be.

    As to personnel, is it paradoxical for a team to make all the right moves… and for things to still turn out wrong? Or is the record the final determination of the merit of the FO and the FO alone? For example, putting the best PNR finisher (DH) with the best PNR PG (Nash) and the best shooter out of the PNR (Meeks) on the same team with Kobe looks pretty perfect to me. If it doesn’t work, it it necessarily short-sightedness by the FO, or bad coaching, or is it more mystical (chemistry) or a matter simply of a collection of maladies (age, injury, etc).

    I don’t know the answer here, but I do admit that I would have made (or aprroved) every single move that Mitch made this summer, including hiring MDA and it irks me to read suggestions that our front office is somehow incompetent for making a bunch of great moves that somehow didn’t work out. I appreciate that other fine minds might see it differently.

    Finally, I appreciate your generous offer to meet some of the people in your braintrust. I’ll take you up on that, but certainly not on the golf course where I would endanger your relationships on the basis of my almost-unthinkable incompetence. If another venue arises, I would be interested.

    Thanks to all here for allowing a place to rant. I have been a fan since they drafted Magic and a season ticket holder for nearly 15 years now and attend virtually all home games; this season has been the most painful in my history of being a fan, no doubt in large part due to my misplaced confidence that the FO had created a dynasty. You’ll see me at Staples if you look hard enough– after losses, I’m the guy with his head buried in his lap as security tries to get me to leave the building.

  109. Kevin_’s right. Assuming everyone gets healthy Lakers are just as much a matchup problem for everyone else. As for clips beating gs last night – gs is missing Bogut in the same way LA needs dwight to get healthy. Would be an enitrely different game if Bogut is there to protect the rim.

  110. (edited for baiting/insult)

    since 2000-2001 Kobe has never averaged fewer than 20 shots per game except once, when he averaged 18(Payton-Malone team, i believe). in that time, the Lakers have been to the finals more than any team except the 60’s Celtics(maybe the Jordan Bulls too, i’m too lazy to check).

    just because some lazy analysts who either can no longer or could never play want to talk about his whot attempts won’t cover the fact that Kobe has always taken the same number of shots and that the team has one more often than not. please stop repeating stupidity that only sounds good, but is not connected to fact in any way. the problem with the Lakers is tied to Gasol and Howard’s lack of urgency and intensity, coaching changes and chaos and injuries. the problem is NOT Kobe Bryant, even though he is not perfect.

    i just wish the rest of the team was even CLOSE to Kobe’s level of aggression and competitive fire. spoiled, whining “fans” who are looking to use the team’s struggles to mask their own personal failings in life by being professional naysayers and know-it-alls when their job on the team is to cheer will never be as important to the team as someone who has spent his adult life making the Lakers winners.

  111. wow, i can’t type or spell…. lol…

  112. ok, i’ll accept that “stupid” is not allowed because there’s too much emotion involved, to the point that it can be called baiting.

    however, when statements are continually made which ignore reality(for example, that Kobe is a guy who shoots too much for his team to be competitive when there are 12-13 years of him shooting the EXACT same amount, and the team has been successfull during that period), i’m pressed to find a better adjective.

  113. Good news! CDR has just been waived by Mavericks.

    Get this guy!

  114. Wow – lots of well informed posters here. I am just a laker fan but am very concerned about what d12 is always spouting off. I really thought that the media portrayed him in orlando as the bad guy – but now it seems like it’s his mo. The dude really is beginning to be a bad apple. Lots of complaining and no performing. Lack of chemistry but dude is always throwing people under the bus. Don’t think he will stay – and maybe better for the lakers in the long run.

  115. mud

    Very well said man!

  116. I’m beginning to think that what Dwight means by team chemistry and sharing the ball is being spoon fed for easy shots. Dwight has difficulty creating a shot on his own against staunch defenses and has had all sorts of trouble finishing at the rim this year and as we know is an atrocious free throw shooter. I wonder how Dwight would like it if one of his teammates said that Dwight’s poor free throw shooting has cost the team multiple games. A bigger problem than Dwight’s back is Dwight’s mouth.

  117. Dwight Howard is one of the hardest working player in the league. Those of you questionin his heart, will, and basketball skill are just wrong. This is what happens when are aren’t healthy. It is not Dwight’s fault. At 100 percent he is the second best player in the NBA

  118. Nice post Lil’Pau. You know the old story about opinions! Some of the ex-Lakers I have talked to may have their own axes to grind. It of course is not gospel just an opinion. Of course I can’t quote sources or I will hurt my business and be just a goof with a big mouth.

    I understand your feeling on the entertainment biz having been a manager in the music biz for 12 years. I got out due to finding myself being nothing but a guy covering up my clients lies.

    Having been a Laker fan since the days of Baylor, West, Ellis and
    Goodrich it pains me to see where we are. I also was excited about the off season moves and dreamed of sitting in the stands watching the Lakers vs the Heat to shut those guys up.

    I truly hope it turns around and and this team can turn it around. Many of my friends are involved with the and now fans of the Clips and the
    amount of ” laughing texts” makes me a very angry guy.

    Thanks for your response and a hope I am proven to be wrong. I will
    let you know about our next event. We just had one in Buena Park for a children’s charity that was great.