Lakers v. Nuggets: 35 Extra Possessions Is A Lot

Phillip Barnett —  January 6, 2013

The Lakers shot better from the floor, made more three pointers, and took and made more free throws, and they still lost. Kobe had 29 points, seven assists and five rebounds while Dwight recorded a career high in rebounds with 26 to go along with his 14 points and they still lost. Steve Nash had a double-double, Ron looked a bit better offensively and Jordan Hill came off the bench with 13 points and they still lost. There were positives, but in the end, the Lakers still lost for the fourth time in their last five contests after reeling off five straight wins.

Despite the big games from Kobe and Howard coupled with the team shooting better overall than the Nuggets, the Lakers still found a way to end up in the loss column once again, and a quick look at the box score will tell you all you need to know — 18 Lakers turnovers and 17 Nuggets offensive rebounds gave the team 35 extra possessions that the Nuggets turned into points. The Nuggets had 14 points off turnovers, 25 second fast break points (some of the points off turnovers are included here) and 13 second chance points. The Lakers essentially gave the game away by giving the Nuggets extra possessions, which resulted in Denver taking 19 more shots than the Lakers on the night. So even though the Lakers shot better from the field, the Nuggets were still able to outscore the Lakers by the sheer volume of shots they were able to take.

And on those possessions that weren’t given to the Nuggets, the Lakers continued to struggle to defend. Ty Lawson was able to get into the paint at will, shooters took uncontested jump shots and JaVale McGee and Kennith Faried were able to get uncontested looks at the rim through P&R sets. The Lakers continue to fail to communicate on the defensive end of the floor with guys leaving ball handlers and missing rotations. It was very disorienting watching Lawson get free for a layup late in the fourth due to no effort on his own part. Both Kobe and Nash decided to leave Lawson for a cutting Corey Brewer instead of staying with the guy who was the biggest threat to score.

None of these problems are new, however. The Lakers have struggled on the defensive end for much of the season and still aren’t showing many signs of improvement. If you take a look at the beginning of Darius’ preview, everything he said in his third paragraph rang true tonight sans Dwight looking bad.

There are reasons the team hasn’t looked its best. These reasons are valid. Dwight Howard doesn’t look like himself physically on most nights. Pau Gasol is either in full decline (which, coming off his Summer in London seems far fetched, but is possible) or is a combination of dinged up physically and being misused offensively. Kobe and Nash are playing well offensively but must be compensated for defensively in ways that compromise the integrity of their defensive schemes. The rest of the roster is unbalanced and inconsistent in their performance from night to night. Add in an early season coaching change and what an upheaval like that means and this is the result.

At the end of the night, it’s another Lakers loss, and such is life these days. They’ll have to try and regroup tomorrow as they’ll play the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, another game that’s as must win as any game in January can be as Houston is another team that the Lakers are going to have to catch to make the playoffs. Hopefully the frustration settles, the defense tightens up, and the turnovers are cut down so the Lakers can get back to winning ways.

Phillip Barnett

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48 responses to Lakers v. Nuggets: 35 Extra Possessions Is A Lot

  1. I find myself getting used to losing and getting really excited when we win… against any team.

  2. Good recap. It’s pretty simple. 35 extra possessions is self explanatory.

  3. Its simple, Dantoni is just that bad of a defensive coach, we look completely confused on every defensive possession. Do we even run a defensive system or just simply guess what we are supposed to be doing.

  4. Mike

    But he would take Howard in a Texas Minute!

  5. Who would have thought that Dwight Howard would be a bigger cancer to the team than Andrew Bynum ever was.

    And if you listen to Max and Marcelus, a week ago, MWP called Dwight’s leadership “too easy going” for his liking.

  6. some random thoughts:
    i’m just wondering why we don’t try a zone defense? it can’t be any worse than what we have now, and it might just keep the miscommunications and missed rotations to a minimum. But for god’s sake, something has to change defensively. We can’t get any timely stops, it seems like any time we actually play a good defensive possession there’s a turnover and a quick bucket to follow, or the next time down there’s a wide open three.

    what’s most infuriating is the lack of attention to basketball basics.. boxing out, getting rebounds, setting good picks, i just don’t see any improvement, this downslide started phil’s last year, so i don’t think it’s completely a coaching problem. pick and roll defense has always stymied these lakers (phil’s teams were equally inadequate at defending the pick and roll) it is mind boggling how effective a simple pick and roll is for every other team except our own. (yes most of the other teams set moving picks and don’t get called for it) but our players don’t seem to get much contact or separation for steve nash to do his magic. dwight and pau seem to slip every pick, and never send the pg sprawling the way nash gets leveled on screens on the opposite end. i think there would be fewer turnovers if we didn’t just dump the ball down low to dwight, but constantly ran the 1/5 pnr, and let nash get him the ball on the move to the basket. have dwight set real screens, and go from there.

    jordan hill at this point gives us much more than pau, sad to say, and he should be getting the bulk of the minutes at the pf spot. there was a sequence where pau was posted with decent position with andre miller on his back, and he passed the ball back out of the post. i don’t even know how to understand why that happened. i don’t care if there’s an open shot for someone else, a center posted up on a pg has to be one of the best chances to score… i love pau, but really i think he needs to go.. we will have addition by subtraction, forcing dantoni to play hill more will help with rebounding and with defense, and honestly, hill’s shot doesn’t seem any worse than pau’s right now. if we can get a decent backup pg or sf, i think that deal needs to get done, or this season is over. (as it is, it may not make a difference, we are running out of time, and i think there’s a very real possibility we do not make the playoffs if we leave this team intact. )

  7. Clutch,

    The schemes aren’t the ones that aren’t hustling… It’s hard to win when you lose every 50/50 play because they either aren’t hustling or can’t hustle to the ball (athleticism).

    You can clean up a pig, spray perfume on it, and dress it up all nice and pretty…but at the end of the day it’s still a pig.

  8. Not only do I think D’Antoni is a bad defense coach, I think he’s a terrible coach over-all. I’m not saying that there are not any worse coaches in the league. There are plenty that are worse, but those who think that PJ wouldn’t have done any better are completely wrong.

    Let’s take a look at the first year that PJ came back to the Lakers, 2006-06. This was their their starting line up:
    Smush Parker
    Kobe Bryant
    Brian Cook
    Lamar Odom
    Kwame Brown/Chris Mimh
    With these dregs coming off the bench: Sasha Vujacic, Von Wafer, Devin Green, Aaron McKie, Laron Profit, Luke Walton, Devean George, Ronny Turiaf, Stanislav Medvedenko, Andrew Bynum

    Yet he was still able to get 45 wins, and almost knocked D’Antoni’s Suns out of the playoffs if not for a tying 3 pointer in regulation by Tim Thomas.

    D’Antoni is 10-13, and may end up 10-16 after the end of this week. Even with D12 injured, is he not a better player than Kwame? Nash > Smush? Current Kobe and 2005-06 Kobe is a wash. He was younger then, and more athletic, but his production hasn’t really dropped off this year. Odom > Gasol. MWP and Cook are probably a wash. Bench a wash.

    Hiring PJ will never be. I think the way the Lakers treated him, despite his engagement to Jeanie, there’s not way that he’d come back now.

  9. Lets take a look at the Lakers defensive ranking the past 3 years under 3 diff. coaches:
    2011 – Phil – Ranked 6th
    2012 – Brown – Ranked 13th
    Now – D’antoni – Ranked 21st (and slipping)

    Unfortunately this is what happens when you get old. Teams like Boston and SA have older cores but they continually add young athleticism to the roster. Lakers add guys like Jamison. Obviously we aren’t seeing the Howard we though we were getting, but doesn’t hide the fact that the Lakers are slow and old.

  10. Can’t blame MDA entirely for our defense – he has Browns entire staff from last year (plus SVG’s assistant Steve Clifford who implemented the defensive system around howard) and if Brown was such a defensive wizard I’m pretty sure some of that would’ve bled over to this year.

    In Phoenix you could blame MDA entirely for the defense because he built his own staff and resisted when asked to bring in a defensive assistant. But in NY his defensive guy was Mike Woodson, and here he’s got Browns staff. Even so, blame the coach all you want – but the players either aren’t giving effort/hustl;e, are just dumb – or justlimited due to age and it may just not be a roster that works no matter what is done. And sometimes you don’t know that until you play games. No one was complaining about this roster prior to preseason, but coaching changes and injuries sure exposed a lot.

    Quite frankly – i want to love Howard and his defensive skill set – but sometimes just wonder if the lakers wouldn’t be better with less of a prima donna at center and just dumping the entire roster save Nash and Kobe, and loading up on athleticism and length that can defend and hit an open shot.

  11. http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-lakers-fyi-20130107,0,4833654.story

    Just saw this now. If mitch truly believes this and refuses that this roster might need more than a little tweaking and this insistence that Pau be integrated into offense when he doesn’t do enough on either end of the flr – well then maybe this whole season is just a write off anyways. Doesn’t even consider that the roster might be an issue – and his “28.5 year age issue is misleading since the young guys are roster fodder and don’t contribute anything other than practice pylons.

  12. Jacob

    At no point am I absolving the players of their lacking effort.

    however our defense is completely confused every time down the floor, example, kobe and nash both leaving Lawson for an open layup. Just like offense, defensive roles need to be defined and a defensive system needs to be in place. We have absolutely no defensive philosophy. WE dont deny basline, we dont channel into shot blockers, we dont dig down hard on post players and recover, no one knows who covers the pop man in a pick and pop. Our one on one defense is actually pretty good all round, not fantastic, but good enough. Its our team defense and its more than just a lack of effort.

    I see no defensive philosophy invovled. For example that last year under Phil when we went 17-1 we loaded one side and forced people basline into a waiting Bynum, whether it was a good strategy or not at least there was one. Our only one seems to be stand in front of your man, that doesnt work in the NBA with the skill level and speed of players combined with intricate offensive schemes.

    Heck I would be ok with nash kobe and metta letting their players get by them into a waiting dwight or Pau, if anyone had any idea who they were supposed to rotate to, and it isnt like these are dumb defensive players. Kobe, Nash, and Gasol are all very heady intelligent players, and Metta and Dwight are both former DPOY. Even with a lack of athletisim if you have a proper system in place you can be a good defensive team based on everyone knowing their role and where they should be,

  13. Jerke,

    I think a part of the problem with D’Antoni and his teams playing poorly on defense is that defense and offense are not mutually exclusive. I know the Lakers, in their half court offense, often miss assignments and don’t rotate leading to easy baskets, and that’s not the coach’s fault, but his up tempo offense where any open man gets to shoot, and shoot early, leads to many rushed shots and transition baskets for the other team.

    It’s like those great Marino Dolphins teams in the 80s. Although the Dolphins had a decent defense, because the offense often scored too quickly, the defense was back on the field quickly and often. And they never ended up winning the Super Bowl. Most of the great defensive teams had ball control offense, which kept the defense off the field, and well rested.

  14. Jerke

    That may be Mitch’s lips moving but someone else is talking. remember last year when rumors were out there that Mitch might leave? So how will a $130 million lottery team look without a 1st round draft choice.

    Hummmmm

  15. Clutch,

    The guys are lacking in communication obviously, but like the whole team is saying that’s more along the lines of chemistry problems. When somebody is supposed to be in a certain spot and he isn’t (either due to effort or inability), that trust is now broken. Remember during that 17-1 streak season (Phil’s last), the lakers were repeatedly beat to the hole repeatedly by a heavy PnR team in the mavs. Bynum even said something during that series similar to what Dwight was crying about earlier this season, you need to help the helper. Even when they did funnel to Bynum in that series, the penetrator often made them pay because of the lack of mobility by the helper. They either burned them because they were unable to rotate down to the now open big, or they lacked the foot speed to close out on the shooter. Even tonight they actually played decent defense by holding Denver to 43% fg. However their inability to chase down rebounds (lack of mobility or lack of effort) and close out defensive possessions costed them a W.

    Schemes can be taught and practiced but unless you have the personnel or the commitment/trust, it won’t be fully effective.

  16. This has gotten to the point where it is no longer a surprise to see this team get schooled out there every single night. Even the crap teams make the Lakers look bad when the Lakers beat them. I keep thinking that they will eventually get better, but I am losing that confidence. It’s like they say fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me or whatever. Well I have been fooled for about the 30th time now, Time to face it, this team sucks.

  17. We can for sure agree that the defense could look better… but we only scored 45 points in the second half. This team has to score more than that.

    One issue seems to me to be a strange combination of the screen in pick and roll not being set strongly, as the bigs often opt for a quick slip/roll… but at the same the same time, they are slow rolling to the basket. There isn’t the expected power in the bigs attack of the rim of the pick, and Nash get surprisingly little room to operate.

    There should be 10 touches for Howard of rolls a game, but he just does not seem to fill the bucket the way he used to.

  18. Mountain man

    Come on now. Remember Mike said things will be fine when Nash gets back.

    Pau will be great when Nash is running the offense.

    Guard Defense will be fine with Dwight in the middle.

    Next it will be everything will be great when Steve Blake is back.

    This is just a mess. How do so many quality players have the worst season of their career?
    Pau
    Jamison
    Meeks
    Duhon
    Dwight

    How does that happen. We need a witch doctor.

  19. It’s 20-20 hindsight, but with this roster, Rick Adelman would have been the best coach. He has a system but it’s one that is generally fun, and player friendly. His teams play defense, and his teams play hard and with unity. Plus, he has a deep history with the Lakers dating back to the Kings. Alas.

  20. Its really pointless when all we hear are how we are a bad team because Jimbo traded for X and hired Y and did Z. All these things are already made decisions that cannot be undone.

    Defense. Ah defense. Good old cliche defense. Regardless of what system that may be, its the players’ job to run and hedge and cover and box out and do everything… only so much a crippled Mike D’Antoni can do at this point.

    When your problems are age, athleticism and bad defense, you solve those. When those problems cannot be solved from within, you do it by using outside factors. Such as… a trade. Phil Jackson coaching this team is a foregone conclusion. And please don’t cite a 2006 team under Phil as the main basis for the argument coz the metagame of the league is far from being the same as 2006. The speed and athleticism requirement is THAT MUCH higher now than it was way back then.

    When you have a problem, the 1st thing to do is solve it from within. Find a certain combination find a certain compromise from your team. However, with the baggage this team has in playing too many games and nursing too many injuries, the answer cannot be found within anymore. Not even Zen can help that.

    Mike D’Antoni, no matter how you look at him, can only do as much as his players perform. Its so easy to blame a coach whose lineup is not built to run his system. So blame the system? Its easy, right?

    Instead of pointlessly pointing to factors that we cannot control – such as Nash’s age or Kobe’s desire to shoot, or Dwight’s lack of skill and goofiness, or Metta or just about everything else that involves the Lakers right now, why not look at ways to improve the team?

    I am a pro-production manager. Meaning, I don’t just point out the problems, I point them out and offer a solution. A fix if you may. So that my complaining cannot remain problems, they productively become criticisms that lead to solutions. I wish for the most of you here that you adapt that kind of thinking as well.

    Its normal to criticize, to complain and to point out errors. Whats not productive is continually saying “we should have hired PJ” or “Nash is old” instead find for our teams’ sake a solution and suggest it. Be part of the solution and not the problem.

  21. @Lakers17 exactly what I have twitted during the Clippers game. What I cannot phatom is the fact that in 2006 Kobe was playing with Smush, Kwame, Cook, George, Walton & Odom and still they have a winning record. While the 2012 Lakers have a very efficient Kobe, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, with Jamison, Steve Blake, Jordan Hill coming off the bench and have a losing record.

    I dont think its about the age or personnel problem but I really think its about the coach. It is all about motivating your players to box out, run hard and get back on D. Hedged hard, play and communicate with each other. People are saying trade X player or this player but it would be easier to blame the coach rather than the players. Indeed, it is not the coach who would fail to cover his man, it is not the coach who failed to box out and grab the rebound, it is not the coach who failed to rotate to the open man but it is the coach who failed to remind and motivate his players to keep on doing this simple things to win the game and play as a team.
    Dwight maybe a happy go lucky guy and his attitude might not mesh with Kobe’s strict personality but Phil Jackson had the same problem with Kobe & Shaq. Clearly, PJ should have been tapped to right this sinking Lakers instead of MDA. I always look at the glass half full but the way this team is sinking would make even the hardest of hard core die hard fans doubt as to the chances of this team winning the championship much more making the playoffs.

    Can this team turn it around after the All Star break like the 2004 Lakers? I am hoping and praying that they would but I am not that optimistic. Dwight is no Shaq and MDA is not Phil Jackson.

  22. We should remember this coaching staff is from MB, the only solution is trade Gasol to teams without big guys and get young players, remember with Gasol’s salary Lakers can get two good young players, if I were Lakers FO, i trade Gasol in the last season, and i don’t listen to people who said Gasol is good , skills,…, the bottom line is he a winner ? and if this team is good why Phil did not say yes right away to coach this team ?

  23. I agree with Warren.

    Lakers need to make a move. Not making one would be admitting defeat. Things aren’t getting any better. If you’re going down you might as well go down swinging.

  24. It is crazy to think about that the FO actually landed the guy who at the moment is playing as the best player in the league for Gasol: CP3!!!

    I still would not be completely amazed if the Lakers turned this thing around and made a serious run in the playoffs. They keep showing too many sparks.

  25. Ok Warren

    Your hired. Tell us how to fix the Lakers. I have run out of ideas. Before the tip they look like the 3rd best team in the West.
    Then the game starts.

  26. We are quite simply – less than the sum of our parts. DH got 26 rebounds and 14 points on 6-7 shooting. Does anyone doubt that he will be the top free agent after this year? He will be and deserves first team All NBA (I am telling you again that this could the worst record ever for a team with 2 First Team All NBA – I am going to try to research that). Kobe is still Kobe and was clearly the best player on the court last night. This should be a Shaq/Kobe tandem and it is not. Look at the box. Did Rick Fox, Horace Grant, and DF produce more than their counterparts did last night?

    The defense is horrible, but why? Clearly we would rather have the 2013 version of DH over the 2012 version of AB – true? How about Fisher and Sessions? Was their D so much better than Nash’s? Have Pau/Kobe/Metta fallen off that much? Well I guess as a sum – they have, but that is why I say we are worth more apart than we are together and that is the responsibility of the coach and the top player to make sure that does not happen.

    Everyone knows I love Kobe, but I am throwing him in this mix, because he impacts everything. The other guy that does is the coach. When a company is not profitable, the guys who get the blame are the Chairman, the CEO, and the CFO. On a basketball team it is the FO, the coach, and the Star Player. It is, as it should be. Blaming everything on Pau or similar is like a company blaming their whole quarter on one factory worker. I agree that crying over previous decisions will do no good for the future, but some decisions can’t be fixed. Trading Pau or signing a back up PG is going to be no different than the Sessions/Hill moves last year. too little too late. We had a 2 year plan and that plan is falling apart 1/2 year into it. If we made the wrong moves with players and coaching then we need to take the medicine for another year or so, and it does not taste good.

    Before we do anything, we need to re-look at our plan and decide what our objectives are. Can this season be saved? Can next year’s be saved? And what does saved mean? Are we going to adjust expectations and just go all out for a playoff spot? Or is our objective the same as always and that is titles, which might mean that the best move is to ride out the next year and half, without making any moves that could jeopardize the period beyond 14? Are we committed to MD, in which case we bring in his type of guys, or are we going to continue this mismatch of personnel and coach (why does that not sound right relative to what I heard when we hired him)? How did we get here, when we all expected to be on top of the mountain, rather than careening down it head over heels?

  27. The right coach for this group already has a job. That’s Popovich.

    I bought into D’Antoni. But now I am questioning it. I am a big Phil fan, but thought this was one time too many to go that well. I was wrong. This team would be much more successful under Phil. D’Antoni just doesn’t know how to get these guys on the same page.

  28. Warren, I don’t disagree that the Lakers need to make a move. And I’m also in a field where my job is to fix problems, so lets not put our qualifications to post responses. I’m sure that since we all come from different fields that we can all provide interesting responses.

    To solve a problem, the first thing one has to do is to identify the problem. And I have to disagree with you that D’Antoni isn’t the problem. I think he is. The game may be a little different that 2006, but not THAT different. Teams like Spurs and Celtics have proven that you don’t need to play small ball to win. Also, there’s no way that anyone is going to say that the 2006 Lakers had more talent than this team. When this Lakers team had no coach(the Bernie games when he just let the players play), they were a much better team then than now. It seems like they are slowly regressing each game. If D’Antoni isn’t the problem, how come the Knicks are so much better this year than last year?

    It’s not that D’Antoni can’t win if he had the perfect mix of players, just like the Phoenix days. But the fact is that the Lakers are not going to be able to get those guys for Pau, especially now that most teams know the Lakers are desperate. No team will give up a bunch of young talent for Pau. If you were a GM, would you take Pau and give up 2-3 young talented players? Amnesting Pau isn’t the solution either. That’s strictly a financial move and provided no tactical advantage at this point since the Lakers are well over the cap.

    I suppose I have to concede that it’s moot to bash D’Antoni since there is no way Lakers are going to fire this guy and D’Antoni isn’t knowledgable enough to come up with a new strategy for the Lakers.

  29. KOOO

    Id be more than glad to share you my ideas.

  30. just a bad mix

    two guys who thing they are better than what they are

    two guys who arent what they were

    one guy who only works in one system

    one coach whos system only works with one guy

    i didnt like the trades that brought them here at the time…i feel even worse now

  31. The defense.
    Got off on wrong foot when Brown decided to spend his scarce training camp minutes on installing Princeton Offense. Whether he figured defense from previous yr would hold,or that Dwight would cure all defensive ills,that’s for him to say.
    But with the complete revamping of roster due to Dwight trade and FA signings,hindsight suggests he would have been better off going to a simplified pick-n-roll offense and spend his time building the D.
    D’Antoni comes in w/instructions to get the offense in gear,so he’s spending what time he has tuning the offense.
    What the team needs is to spend several days putting in a D,practicing it and committing to it. I doubt that’s going to happen as there aren’t too many open stretches and D’Antoni has been sidetracked by Gasol and what to do w/the bench.

    The offense.
    Dwight goes 1-7 and next game goes 6-7. Big men need to be fed as they don’t have the ball on the perimeter. That’s a commitment a team has to make and the Lakers aren’t making it. Can anyone imagine Kobe,Ron or Nash not getting the ball if they start out 1-7,or not continuing to get it if they start out 6 of 7?
    The Kobe dilemma. At the 7:30 minute mark of 4Q,the Lakers were basically 0 for the Quarter. From that point on virtually every time Kobe got the ball he shot it. On one sequence he got the ball,passed it back to Nash,who passed it back to Kobe,who was doubled and Kobe passed it out to Nash who went elsewhere. EVERY other time Kobe touched the ball he shot it. Considering he went 7-9 until last second miss it’s hard to argue w/the results. Except…for those 9 possessions his teammates stood around watching. And that saps energy and hustle,things that will show up on defensive end.

  32. Robert, that’s really the most levelheaded and logical post I’ve read so far. I hpoe the Lakers front office thinks that way.

  33. we are trying to win the present and the future and will lose both.

    if your not going to build around kobe…have the heart to tell him..if you believe howard is the future..gasol and kobe have to go..

    i wont like it..the fans wont like it..but you cant keep picking around the edges and firing coaches.

    hitch your wagon to one or the other

  34. Trading Pau or signing a back up PG is going to be no different than the Sessions/Hill moves last year. too little too late.

    WADR, based on your own stated view of the game–“superstars win titles”–this doesn’t make sense. This isn’t last year. I assume that you still see Howard and Kobe as Top 5 players. That being the case, the key is to surround them with pieces that:

    a) Fit the system.
    b) Compensate for what they can’t do.

    Therefore, The Lakers need a 4 who can run the floor and spot-up, they need a 3D wing player, and they need a backup 1 with decent feet who can spell Nash.

    Whether Pau can get any or all of that is an open question, but it is what they need, if for no other reason than it might help keep Howard.

    Superstars do in fact win titles–if they have the right pieces around them, and the right coach. We know what you think of D’Antoni, but he is not going anywhere this week. So, the Lakers need to make adjustments to the personnel.

  35. BIG PICTURE: Overall, no surprises here. Lakers lose while Kobe scores a lot. 15-18 & quickly heading for 15-21. But what’s even more horrific is this can get WORSE:

    -Lakers probability of missing post-season is increasing. If their record is 15-21 after their next three (vs Rockets, Spurs, & Thunder), not only will they be on a season long six game losing streak, but with only 46 games left, they would have to go 26-20 just to finish the season at .500. And .500 won’t get you into the post-season in the West, not this year anyway…but it can get WORSE

    -Lakers don’t have a 1st round pick, they used it to get Steve Nash…but it can get WORSE

    -This morning on 1st Take, Steven A. Smith made the statement that Dwight Howard really doesn’t want to be on the Lakers and chances of him re-signing are not good…and it probably will get WORSE

    -because Kobe’s salary will be a cap killing $30 million & there is a very good chance of absolutely no coaching change next season.

    What’s a Laker fan to do the next two years??? Maybe just forget the final score, join the Kobe club and root for him to keep climbing the all-time scoring list…only 930 more points till he passes Wilt for 4th place. :-(

  36. The defense is horrible, but why?

    The Lakers give away too much athleticism at the 1, 2, 3 and 4 every night. You seem to suggest that there is no difference in older guys’ abilities from 2 years ago or one year ago, but there is. Recall that alleged defensive wizard Mike Brown only had this team at 13th in D last year and that was with a more functional Pau and a slightly younger Kobe and Metta. And, again–the young guys aren’t that athletic, either. The Lakers simply have too many guys with the same weakness.

    That said, although everyone thinks of the Triangle when they think of Phil, he was a good defensive coach. I think it is clear at this point that this team should play a little slower and needs more focus on D–and those are areas where MDA should be taken to task, and you were right to be skeptical about him.

    But a lot of the problems revolve around lack of quickness as much as missed assignments or “chemistry.”

  37. gasol and kobe have to go

    Kobe isn’t going anywhere. Pau probably is.

  38. thats the point…the team isnt either

    if kobe is staying..dwight is leaving…you get nothing when he does…nothibg when kobe retires…you cant win now…or later.

    not to mention being stuck with MDA and no nash.

    losing with no plan is the worst possible way to go.

  39. Pnr defense, paint protection, center in space, second chance points, giving up off. rebounds and overall defensive presence haven’t gotten better. All things dwight was supposed to help improve and it’s the same problems as last year with bynum. Still waiting to see the impact from him. Kobe keeps the team in games and nash has his stretches of brillance. Dwight and pau aren’t impacting games. That has to change.

  40. Rob – Except Pau is not just a factory worker – he would be at the level of a supposed all star hedge fund trader at merril lynch making 19 million a year but making such bad bets that it lead to a 2 billion write down at the company – Pau is top 5 or 10 in the league at his pay rate so overall he is on the same level as a carmelo, lebron, CP3 when looking at the cost/benefit he brings to the team.

    In the context of looking at this team and what our goals should be I present the following

    1. Make the playoffs

    We need to make the playoffs, no lottery protection on our pick means that not making it has no benefit at all and if we need to convince Dwight to stay making the playoffs with this team is paramount.

    2. Have a top 10 Defense

    When we lost in 08 the thought was that you needed a strong defense to be competitive and thats what we did in 09 moving i believe to 3rd overall on defense that year. This assignment should be taken out of MDs hands because he cant do it and there should be significant practice time spent on this

    What about looking at Rambis to bring back his zone, bring in mcmillan just to work on D, heck dwight has even been reaching out to Stan for guidance on their D – bring him in as a consultant – Mike D needs to swallow his pride here because what he is doing it not working.

    And for those thinking how could MD do what Brown a defensive ”Savant” couldnt do – Brown sucked at coaching defense as well – as noted we went from 6th to 13th under brown his touting as a defensive coach was bullshit – Phil had almost the same guys as brown – he got them to play – Defense brought us 5 and the bulls 6 championships – Phil is really underrated in that area in terms of the masses peceptions of his defense.

    I believe that as our team defense improves so will our chemistry and trust which could build to a run – I also agree with mitchs statement on the age of the team – I dont think we are too old – when you look at the title teams they are all order with experience – does anyone think Golden state will win the title this year? How many 10+year veterans did the mavs have on their team when they won, Even Miami in 06 had a bunch of old guys except for Wade – our experience should be a strength but MDs forcing his system is making it a weakness.

    3. Improve Chemistry

    Right now with maybe the exception of Sacre, we have no players on the entire team that work as glue guys to the team with their personality. Having guys like Fisher, Odom, Turiaf, even Walton were beneficial in getting these guys together – one would think that Howard and Nash would be able to do this but they havent – I think Nash might be too old, or he is too involved with the movie business/going to see his kids on weekends to do this and howard it seems is isolating himself from the team. realisitcally our team is made up of half old guys and half young guys with no one in the middle to bridge the gap. Bring someone in who can do this because Kobe wont, Pau doesnt have the ability, Dwight cant, Nash is coming of as ineffective at this.

    With a Payroll of 100 million+ looking at close to a 200 Million+ team next year clearing space with guys that we are not using at all like DJO, Clark, Blake (I hate blake) for someone that would just bring the team together might be worth looking at because the incremental cost could have a huge effect on the team this year compared to future years and tax hits. If we are going all in – go all in.

    Schedule team outings and force the team to do certain things together – I know they went to go see lincoln but a movie is not the most social activity as you are just watching TV – Either meals, special training sessions, special player only practices or meetings – whatever it takes to get this done but someone needs to step up in this role because now we all seeing an isolated indifferent team – Kobe is trying to prop them up by getting in their face but we need a yang to his yin to create cohesiveness.

    4. Play to our stengths on Offense – AKA more weekend at Bernie Offense

    In yesterdays game thread I mentioned how when we slowed the game down – went to iso offense and played to our stars strengths we took the lead and got back into the game when we trailed.

    If this is what works, which is very Trianglesque mitch, stay with it because the SSOL offense is leading to transition opportunities for the other team, turnovers, and last second Kobe ‘Hero” shots as the shot clock winds down.

    In terms of the SSOL offense – I completely agree that our bigs need to actually set their picks instead of just hoping to get the ball on the roll – I would get so frustrated with Bynum last year when he would simply run to the top of the key to set the pick, never set it, run back to the paint and then complain that he didnt get the ball – we are seeing the same thing with this team – if we are going this route they need to look at the tape and push it into the players heads to make the right simple play.

  41. Interesting viewpoint, Marques. I’d like to think we haven’t reached the point of picking one player over another.

    You and Robert do raise an important point. When is it time to start thinking about the future? If this team is at or below .500 by the end of January, then we can rule out anything of note happening this season. And if this season is a wash, then what are the priorities going forward?

    Resigning Howard has to be priority number one. For all of us flaws, he is still a top 10 NBA player. And if he regains his previous form, he is top 5. Losing him in the off season would be just as bad as losing CP3.

  42. Shaun: OK – i see your point. That ML trader lost his job, but guess what – so did his bosses. In fact the whole company was sold. Perhaps you are on to something : )
    rr: The conversation is interesting and of course you realize it is circular. People, including you are correctly bringing up synergy, chemistry, etc.. Without that, everyone plays slower, everyone plays worse, so it becomes a chicken or egg scenario. Last year, I made you GM. This year – I will buy the team and make you coach. It is a good gig. If you turn things around – you are coach of the year. If you do not – we will simply state that the team is injured/old/bad attitudes/etc – sound good : ) You do need to let me come down from the owner’s box and coach the last 3 minutes of every game. I feel I am fully qualified. I will of course do the same thing that the last 9 coaches of the Lakers have done. I will tell everyone to give the ball to Kobe and get out of his way : )

  43. Lakers17: Thanks. And you have the best name on the site – for sure

    And your last paragraph above is depressing – but proabaly true

  44. i think that it´s important to give this team more time. We have great talent on our roster and there is no way anyone can point fingers at mitch for having the best summer a gm can possibly dream of in his entire career.

    in my point of view, the following things are facts:
    – Pau is playing injured and there is not a team out there that will give us much for him after the last couple of weeks. if the lakers want to maximize what they can get for pau, they have to wait until the summer and for him to be healthy. By that time most people wont remember how banged up he was and see him as a steal, since he´d be in the last year of his contract.

    – Kobe is playing out of his mind, but he is doing too much. Our team can´t defend when it counts, and it is killing us late in games. I´d love to see kobe try to take the opposite route and play defense like he did during the Olympics. I don´t think he cares that much about the scoring title. More touches for Nash, Pau, Metta, Meeks and Howard might create more opportunities for the entire team and raise the chemistry that seems to be missing at this point.

    – MD needs to play Jamison and Morris at least a couple of minutes each game. Jamison´s defense isn´t great, but he is a smart veteran and by all accounts knows how to impact a game in a good way. He basically killed the nuggets a couple of weeks ago and is now basically out of the rotation. Same goes for morris, who played good defense and did everything he could just to watch Duhon come back from injury and take all his minutes. I´m guessing that when Steve Blake returns, Duhon will be out of the rotation too and then we will see 3 players who deserve minutes sitting pissed off at the end of the bench cursing at the coach. If the clippers manage to get minutes for all of their players, why the hell can´t mike D´antoni figure out a way to give everybody some burn and then stick with the guys that are hot after halftime?

  45. part of chemistry is every player knowing a and accepting their role

    we have four players who dont know or wont accept their role.

    the only thing we know for sure is kobe isnt going to change..nor should he

    so what do you do with everybody else?

  46. @ Jayz — I did. I’ve been saying it for the past two years. Howard is a train wreck, and he’ll never be a winner in this league.

  47. lesha: “the best summer a gm can possibly dream of in his entire career. ” I think statement leads us to the crux of the issue. Some on this site do not think it was that great of a summer and are now saying the roster is flawed; Others like me are agreeing with you on the great GM summer, but we feel the team is not being run with the correct motivation and systems. A last group thinks both the GM and the Coaching are great, but that we have been hit with a bunch of bad luck and injuries. You are saying to give it some more time. There were many saying that during the first portion of the season. However, now – as you can see – most are calling for change, whether that be with the roster or the coaches/FO. If it makes you feel any better – I agree with your conclusion (give it time), because the FO and the Coach are not going anywhere for a while, and with regard to the players, we need to play the hand that we dealt ourselves : )

  48. @Warren

    I understand where you are coming from. I personally believe a few free agent additions such as a Delonte West would help but as far as working with what you got I am with you.

    The front office really made some head scratching moves notably the marquee bench signing being Jamison who averaged 17ppg. What people failed to realize was that his percentage was 38% on a bad team. Too small to bang with 4’s consistently and not quick enough to stay with 3’s. Losing Matt Barnes who by the way, is having a great year playing for the rivals in the same building and would give the Lakers what they are missing which is energy, defense, outside shooting, and athleticism. Honestly as much as athleticism, speed, defense and shooting come in to play, the team sorely misses leadership. How many nonstars on this roster have championship experience? One of the biggest problems are the team doesn’t have a locker room presence with winning credibility. Kobe is the biggest winner but who else in the locker room has won and has a voice that people respect? Look at the Knicks built with Kurt Thomas, Rasheed Wallace, Jason Kidd etc. You’re gonna tell me these guys aren’t influential in the locker room?

    With all of that said, D’Antoni has to adjust or this may be the last stop for him. I’m so sick of this offensive genius label that he has. Every team using his Horns or A-set, and every team uses the same spacing on the pick and roll that his playbook has.

    This team does NOT have the firepower to simply outscore teams gunning shots with a high volume of shots. However, with the talent on the team they should be able to get some sort of mismatch and exploit it on EVERY possession whether thats from a 1-2 P/R or a 1-4 P/R…offensively Gasol needs to get the ball on the block and Dwight either need to be a roll man or be on the baseline on the block for the dump off.

    Warren I agree that it is on the players but it is the coaches responsibility to put them in a position to excel. Look at Tom Thib in Chicago. They hedge hard, they rotate, they know all of their roles. The whole reason why they call them DRILLS are so they are drilled in so they become a habit. You can’t go over something 2 or 3 times and expect it to become habit. This team has no defensive philosophy at all. Teams are routinely outscoring the lakers in the paint and there isn’t one sound philosophy whether its packing the paint (Coach Sloan), or defensive overload (Coach Thib), or disrupting the passing lanes (Coach Del Negro/Spoeltra). It just looks like a glorified scrimmage on defense. D’Antoni needs to suck it up and figure out how to change things ASAP.