Around The World (Wide Web): The Disappointing Season, Earl Clark, Defense, Effort,

Ryan Cole —  January 10, 2013

From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: Just for a moment, disregard the Los Angeles Lakers’ disappointing record and the state of their dilapidated roster. Imagine you told a Lakers fan before the season started, “Listen, you’re going to play the San Antonio Spurs on the second night of a road back-to-back in early January. The Spurs will be riding a 10-game home winning streak at the time. The Lakers will hold San Antonio to just five points in the last six and a half minutes and will have five chances to tie it in the final 1:40 of the game with a 3-pointer.” What reasonable fan wouldn’t accept that scenario? Sure, there were some immensely heightened expectations before the year began, but even the fan who in October was already eyeing spots along Figueroa Street to set up his lawn chair for the parade could rationalize that having five chances to tie up the perennially tough Spurs in the final two minutes on the second night of a back-to-back would be a pretty good deal to take.

From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen & Roll:  At the start of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers sure seemed like a good idea. It’s possible that the idea which seemed so strong was actually flawed from the start, with too much age and not enough quickness to handle the modern NBA. You can easily question the implementation the Lakers have chosen, whether it is questioning why Mike Brown was ever hired in the first place, or why he was fired just five games into the season. For that matter, you can just as easily question the hiring of Mike D’Antoni, who has not presided over any noticeable improvements in his short tenure so far. It’s rather painfully obvious that the execution of the idea by the players on the court has been poor. But every single one of those possibilities is impossible to analyze accurately, because the overwhelming theme of this season has been that the Lakers just can not catch a break.

From Elizabeth Benson, Lakers Nation: This season has been one grueling test of faith for the Lakers’ players and their fanbase, and we haven’t even reached the All-Star break yet. While other fans continue to have a field day with the very apparent struggles of the Lakers, the situation only gains more serious with every game for the Lakers. What once were expectations of returning the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Los Angeles in June have turned into hopes of merely making it to the playoffs.

From Ben Bolch, LA Times: The Lakers’ defense hits triple digits more often than Dubai in July. It was 112 on Sunday, 125 on Tuesday and 108 on Wednesday. The numbers are uncomfortably high because the Lakers seem incapable of turning up the heat on anyone. There were a few dozen degrees of separation between passable defense and what the Lakers played again Wednesday night at the AT&T Center during a 108-105 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Things were so absurdly out of whack that Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni spoke before the game about his team having trouble defending the rim without Robert Sacre on the court. Yes, Robert Sacre.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register:  Once the proud favorites, the Lakers have now tried the scrappy underdog thing. They don’t win that way, either. Despite summoning some inspiration from an out-of-nowhere outing from Earl Clark — “Earl-sanity”? — the Lakers still lost to San Antonio on Wednesday night, 108-105, dropping their record to 15-20. The New York Knicks were 8-15 to start last season before Jeremy Lin suddenly took over Mike D’Antoni’s team and then conquered the world through his “Lin-sanity” dominance, spurring seven consecutive victories by the Knicks, who eventually did make the playoffs. Clark’s 22-point, 13-rebound splash was similarly shocking considering he had scored 12 points all season. The bottom line, though, was that Clark missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer — after Kobe Bryant twice and Antawn Jamison once also could’ve tied it down the stretch — and the Lakers lost for the fifth consecutive time. Not quite a Cinderella story there


Ryan Cole


to Around The World (Wide Web): The Disappointing Season, Earl Clark, Defense, Effort,

  1. Lakers need a win because I need to be delusional in belief that this is some Rocky-style basketball flick. Kobe, Pau and Ron don’t have the lateral speed anymore to regularly guard a well matched opponent. Ron at least has the hand speed to harass those who are not lightning quick. What Ariza provided way back when was enough foot quickness to disturb offensive rhythms when in the SSZ. This team needs two quick players on the court at all times to somewhat mask the old crusty dudes. The problem is the dearth of viable options.

    Morris is a spaz, Clark is an enigma, Ebanks is under the doghouse and very possibly subpar, Meeks is too small. Duhon is terrible and I choose to write his character as retired in Bermuda.

    Whereas Howard’s back and attitude has always been my concern, he loves defense and his ego has to be stroked for him to stay engaged as he adjusts to the randomness of his health. Put some speed out there with him and play up that he’s the defensive coach.

    1st team:
    Howard / Nash / Bryant / Hill-Peace / Ebanks-Clark

    2nd team:
    Gasol / Peace-Hill / Meeks / Morris-Blake / Ebanks-Clark

    MDAs 8 man rotation hasn’t and will not work. Send the riff raff to sell out on the D for 3-4 minutes per then switch them out. I’m reaching. I know it.


  2. i knew we would be bad again..we didnt fix anything that was fact we made it worse.

    we couldnt stop guard penetration…we get the worst defender in the league and his coach

    we had a center who wanted a bigger rolewgo pouted when he didnt get it.. we trade for a center who wants an even bigger role who pouts when he doesnt get it

    we have a power forward who didnt like the way he was being used so we decide to use him less and somehow expect more

    kobe still has no backup…and now refuses to play defense at all

    we bring in jamison who never played defense

    duhon/morris/sacre werent and arent NBA players..

    maybe i missed how this team was supposed to be good…we essentially doubled down on a failed strategy.

    you cant make this up


  3. Jim Buss will be on the Mason & Ireland show today at 2:15 PST ESPN Los Angeles 710


  4. Jim Buss will be on the Mason & Ireland show today at 2:15 PST ESPN Los Angeles 710

    Paging Ken for the ultimate smackdown!


  5. i also cant believe we didnt try delonte west for 10 days….we have nothing to lose

    i cry everytime i see duhon/meeks/morris take the floor.


  6. Its killing me I am in meeting till 4 and can’t call in.


  7. Last 5 games opp. Ast-TO: 25-18, 26-18, 33-8, 27-15, 27-10. Teams average 27 assists don’t know if that’s an average number. But it shows no resistance and teams picking Lakers D apart. Lots of backdoors and wide open shots too.

    +/- last 5 games: Nash +10, Ron +6, Kobe -29. Normally ignore that stat but it’s spot on with what we’ve been seeing. Drastic difference and don’t know how to explain that one.

    Jackson, Delfino, Brewer, Barnes and Turner +35. The guys who have been on weakside or cutting. Absolutely killing Lakers and usually go off when Kobe slides to sf.

    Rebounds-paint points- transition points-points off turnovers: vs Spurs 51-38-10-12, vs Rockets 47-52-14-20, vs Denver 44-60-25-7, vs Clippers 42-60-6-26, vs Sixers 48-40-16-20


  8. Lakers losing every statistical category on defense and it’s not close. Doing enough on offense but an abomination on defense. Perimeter defense is the start of the problems.


  9. Marques…..

    I don’t think you could have said it any better. All this front office did was say. Oh wow Nash, Oh wow Howard, Oh wow Jamison (can score in funky ways), lets put them together on this team! Yet, never really considered if they would be a good fit for the team. If they were the type of players that could help LA to a championship. Like Magic says, why is Jim Buss making the decisions??


  10. Just listened to Jim Buss on ESPN. I thought he was very positive, sounded compatent and like he knows what he is doing.

    But then so did Kennerh Lay in the final days of Enron!


  11. jim buss is blaming injuries



  12. Marques: I can’t believe that I am going to be the one who is going to defend the FO, but there was some sense in this year’s theory. It just hasn’t worked out in practice. Nobody thought our PG’s were any good last year on offense or defense, so Nash was brought in to help us on offense and theoretically was going to augment the rest of our stars. It was never thought he would help on defense. Well the defense part has certainly come true, and he has only been a marginal plus on offense. DH was brought in to be an upgrade to AB and he has been. Unfortunately, he has been a downgrade to his usual self. Why? Injuries – yes – but also he is not thriving, not happy and not enthusiastic. We clearly have not mentored or coached him in any positive way. Pau was supposed to still be Pau – you know the stud of the Silver medal team from Spain? Hasn’t happened. Again he is worse in our environment, and if he weren’t making the huge money – he would be asking for the trade. Jamison was supposed to be some instant o from the bench, but he has been exiled. Metta and Kobe are both having good years, but they are doing it in ways that does not exactly help the others thrive (as I have said we are less than the sum of the parts). I agree that some of the second teamers are weak, but guys like Hill, Meeks, and Duhon go from being exiled to being featured from one game to the next so how could that ever work? Everyone here knows that I am no big fan of Jim’s, but I will at least give him credit that he spent the money and made an attempt (which was my complaint last year). On the other hand, my feelings about the coaching decision and its results are well documented, and I believe that was decision was made for political reasons rather than basketball reasons. We were told that MD matched our personnel better, and now everyone is saying the exact opposite – go figure. However there are positives: We still have the banners, we still have the Laker girls, and we still have Kobe. So here we are : )


  13. I can’t believe I’m saying this… but I agree with Robert. Great response. Our FO is not perfect, but they are trying.


  14. i guess thats where i differed…i dont see dwight as an upgrade…he struggles against bigger players and is a poor foul shooter. he also diesnt set picks well. he is a better pick and roll defender..but i think bynums length makes it a wash. and both are severe pouters when they dont get their way.

    pau complained all last season…and we knew we tried to trade him multiple times..he was happy in spain..unhappy on the lakers

    steve nash….what can you say…other point gaurds love to play him…hes great with the ball…but he cant contain the worst point guards penetration..then they get hot and shoot threes.

    i guess what im saying is….to win with kobe we needed high level role players not stars and old stars. our star is older and slower…we need people to make up for that not add to it.


  15. where’s the defense?


  16. Robert,

    Again, it was pretty obvious in preseason that age/defense/health/depth/coaching could drag this team down. I said that then; so did other people. The idea was that the O and the stars would be good enough to overcome these issues, and certainly most people thought they would be, including me, although I never saw this team as the favorite to win it all. But in assembling the bench:


    Kupchak went with three specialists with defensive issues and two guys who are simply not very good. With the injuries all of that has been exposed, and D’Antoni has not had an answer. Maybe Phil would have; maybe not.

    And the bench is where Kupchak should be looked at. Any GM in the league would have made the Nash and Howard deals.


  17. Robert

    As I guy who was once married to a Raiderette Cheerleader I would suggest you take that off your wish list.



  18. marques’ point is correct–the Lakers bench guys add to the weaknesses.


  19. @Marques

    At least dwight is playing. If Andrew is healthy and not prone to injury, I would pick AB because he can score a lot. He can still defend but Dwight.

    Bench play for last couple of weeks is really bad. No leader like LO style but we could see the hustle. All they need to do is play 48-min of defense.

    Dark days in these site everyone, it hasnt happened since 2008 I think. We just need to be hopeful.


  20. A point I agree with is as good as Kobe is playing this year, he is not really making his teammates better around him, but then again, has he ever? Lebron James makes his teammates better, but not so much Kobe who is more of a scorer and less of a passer. Nash is supposed to be the guy who makes the others around him better, but that only works well for him if he has people who can shoot from the perimeter. Lakers have no consistent shooters who you can rely on to make 3’s on a consistent basis. That is what they are missing. Too many times Nash is confused with the ball, leading to a lot of turnovers because he is playing with a bunch of guys who don’t really fit in this Mike D offense. Changes have to be made people. If you ask me, if the FO spend all this money, get us all these supposedly great players, and the team at this point of the season is UNDER 500, not improving, then it to me is a horrible job performed by the FO.


  21. rr: OK – I thought they would win it all and you thought they would around #4. So they are 19th right now. I am off by 18 and you by 14. You win : ) And you are above average as well, because most had us in the top 3 for sure.
    Kooo: I like your idea from last night. I will take one of those Laker girls, a bottle of Ken’s top shelf, put on my top hat, go down to the parlor and enjoy the last hours of the Titanic known as the 2012-2013 season.
    Manny P: Thanks for agreeing with me, but these guys are overwhelming me. Head for a lifeboat if you can. I will be in the parlor.


  22. Jimmy blaming lost season on ijnuries and also making excuses for Pau’s pathetic play which has been going on for 3 years now!,0,6002952.story


  23. Amazing that so many talking heads and pundits seem to completely dismiss the injury factor in this year’s debacle. The Lakers simply don’t have the depth to overcome all the setbacks due to injury. That’s the reality of the situation to me.


  24. – I thought they would win it all and you thought they would around #4. So they are 19th right now. I am off by 18 and you by 14. You win : )

    You seem to focus on this a lot, albeit good-naturedly, but predictions are generally overrated as a sign of understanding or knowledge, whoever happens to be making them.

    Very few people saw this coming; that is clear. But it is also clear that there was a possibility for a train wreck with this roster, due to the way it was constructed. Your posts seem to suggest that there is a championship team lying in wait with these 14 guys if Phil were here. I don’t think that’s the case.

    As to Nash and the O, as I posted yesterday, when Nash has been on the floor with the other four starters, counting Metta as a starter, the Lakers offense has been the best in basketball, by a comfortable margin.

    This lends credence IMO to my “two-star platoon” idea and I agree with post #1, in that I do not think an 8-man rotation is the way to run this team.


  25. Lakers problems go beyond injuries Kenny. Without injuries I think this Lakers team could be a top 4 in the West, but no way can a team with so many older players and people who can’t knock down shots can win a championship in the league today.


  26. rr: I agree with the two star system you proposed. In fact I agree with most of your coaching suggestions. I already hired you – did you forget that? Most guys go from being Coach first then to GM. However I made you GM last year – because that is where you were needed. This year the need is on the bench.
    Train Wreck: If you had told anyone about the injuries etc, in the pre-season, they would have adjusted expectations. However there is no way anyone could have convinced me that there was any possible way we would be 19th at this point. So if predictions are an indicator of knowledge – then I am as ignorant as they come : )


  27. Kupchak said that Lakers are not old, average age is 28.5, but he forgot your super star players are over 31 years old, young players on this team are not super star, Kobe said that we are old and slow, we should believe Kupchak who did not play the game now or Kobe who faces NBA teams every week ? Lakers FO forgot one thing, you built a team with super star but you still ask yourself a question ? can your super star can dominate in 7 seven games in the playoffs ? The last 2 seasons Kobe and Gasol failed to show that, built a team with reality not spending time to read too much on stats, this NBA not horse racing business.


  28. Thinking about the Jimmy interview I am now at the point of no return. If he feels this team, which has failed with two coaches does nit be to be changed or blown up than we are doomed. Other then last 2 games they have had their starters for last 5 or so games and still lost.

    If he thinks this dysfunctional unit with these holes on the bench and defense is going to be like the LA Kings (his quote) and go from 8th to world champs, then things are much worse than even I thought

    People make mistakes but not admitting those mistakes and trying to correct them and ignore reality is a much worse personality weakness!


  29. @Robert

    No you are not ignorant. Quite frankly we all just overrated the Lakers. We knew that injuries, age and team chemistry would be problems that the lakers would have to face. The lakers currently face all of these problems and then some. We fired a coach and then hired another that doesn’t preach defense and misuses Gasol. The bench is inconsistant and the western conference( such as Clippers, Rockets, Nuggets) is much better than last year. Sure the lakers are better than 19th, but that would require effort, which the lakers only show spurts of.


  30. I’m pretty sure it was Jim Buss who said Mike Brown’s job was safe right before he fired him. No disrespect to Buss, but I take what the FO says with a grain of salt. Buss probably feels the need to show some kind of public resolve. If he gets on the radio and says the team is tanking and he’s trading all but two players, then any hope of turning things around goes out the window.

    I give Buss credit for at least talking to the media. I’m just not sure we fans gained any insight into his true feelings about the team.


  31. T. Rogers

    Agree with everything you said. Just hope he listens to his phone calls. Failure is not an option and weak excuses are not for winners.


  32. Jim buss also said last year right after they lost to okc that he didn’t think team needed any major changes. Then a month later they signed Nash, then big trade for Howard. Fired brown a day after giving him vote of confidence. Definitely take what he’s saying with a grain of salt!


  33. Brian Chu wrote a story on Yahoo sports on the reasons Lakers should trade Dwight now. Not Pau, Not Mike but Dwight being the problem. He must have been reading my blogs, here is just a part.

    Howard is supposed to anchor the defense as a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, but instead the Lakers are 26th on defense, giving up 101 points per game.
    NBA analytics guru Dr. Wayne Winston, a professor at the Indiana
    University Kelley School of Business who has done consulting work for NBA teams in the past most notably the Dallas Mavericks, calculates the effectiveness of a player per 48-minute game by taking the raw plus/minus and adjusting it with the other nine players on the court. His analysis also adjusts for the strength of the opponent. The
    numbers show that the Lakers are better with Howard out of the lineup than they are when he is in. Against the average NBA lineup, the Lakers are two points better when Howard is in, but three points
    better when he is out. Note, Gasol hasn’t been the issue (as much). When Gasol is in, the Lakers are four points better than the average NBA team, but are even when he is out. When Bryant and Metta
    World Peace are in, the Lakers are nine points better and when out they are 15 points worse. When Steve Nash is in, they are 10 points better and when out one point. In short, Howard, when playing, doesn’t have as much of a positive impact on the team as the other starters do.


  34. In total agreement T. Rogers and to add to your point, how would it look if Jim Buss got on the radio and bashed a team that HE assembled? Correct, like a complete jacka**. I don’t believe for 1 second that change is not on the horizon. Everyone, excluding Kobe, Howard and Nash, is expendable (Howard’s situation has different variables that I’m sure will be discussed within the FB&G Community in the future). Has injuries played a part in this horrendous season? Of course, Stevie Wonder can see that. But the injuries has done just that, ‘played a part.’ Cause there are several more factors – that have been mentioned by several posters – that have contributed to this wretched season.


  35. re: Jim Buss saying the opposite of what will soon happen, I thought the same thing when listening to him say that he loves Pau and implying that he wouldn’t be traded.

    agree with the poster above who said KB24 doesn’t play D. he seems to be saving energy for the offensive end, but as many others have noted, it is the D end that requires attention. IMO he needs to lead by example on that end for this team.

    also, the KB24 iso play needs to be retired. MDA system needs the ball to move. when I watch this team, I don’t see the ball moving as intended.


  36. I can’t believe that most of you cannot feel/hear/see … despite hearing that interview. Basically what he’s saying is he has our perspective from the off-season (less Mike Brown and plus Mike D’Antoni) and give us the time we need to play with each other and we’ll win you one.

    Although I may no longer have that same optimism, hearing the interview I will cease my request to trade Pau as I also set my expectations a little higher. Not championship aspirations but yet higher than just finding a miracle.

    There is one thing we have not seen done – and it can only be done if we are fully healthy. Having Dwight and Pau together in 1 team can still happen but they need to be sharing only 12 minutes beside one another. They each play 24 mins apiece at CE as Pau and Dwight alternate in playing PF beside one another. Its a simple compromise that I have yet to see.

    Dwight works well with just about anyone that can run with him. Pau works best beside someone that would do the dirty job. Play Clark beside Dwight, play Hill beside Pau. In most of the minutes remaining at PF, the better of Clark and Hill.

    The guards need to do a better job. After all its the transition game thats killing us. Thats the part we need to get creative in finding ways to acquire people, apart from the fact that we’re now supposedly keeping Pau.


  37. If all the posters want to blame Jim Buss and say he lives in a dream world, then fine, but you are all full of baloney. Even John Ireland said, after the interview was over, he thought Jim was talking to his players and not to either the fans or the media. He was using the public interview to say he was in his player’s corner and he supported them. People, this is what good ownership does!

    It is pointless for ownership to indulge, publicly, in the kind of name calling and hand wringing that we fans put out on blogs like this. It is counterproductive and reduces their leverage toward any type of trade move they might want to consider.

    Don’t expect ownership or general managers to ever “be honest with you” or “tell you the truth”. It is their job to run the franchise, not run down the franchise. They may make honest observations about how the game is played, but don’t expect them to dish dirt and name names.


  38. It is impossible to measure this team. The starters have all been available for eight games. They lost both the PGs they planned to use at once, until Christmas. All three bigs are now out, at once. They wasted training camp with Mike Brown. D’Antoni is trying to figure this thing out on the fly, with Brown’s staff and a depleted roster.

    It has all gone on too long now. This is a lost season. But it wasn’t necessarily a bad roster. It may be goo, it may sick, but it never really got a good chance.

    What has been frustrating has been a seeming lack of effort. Now that too may be injury related, especially for the bigs, who have all been banged up or healing all year.

    Fans get pissed when things don’t work. But the FO made some pretty reasonable moves to try to make last years roster competitive and plan for the future at the same time. The fact that the Lakers look like a lottery team with no lottery pick is frustrating. But most of us were celebrating these moves in the offseason.


  39. One other thing. The last couple of days, with the bigs out, we’ve seen the whole team focusing on rebounding and some effort to play defense as a team, especially inside. It hasn’t worked, because the horses aren’t there, but the effort has been.

    That has to continue. Teams with bigs like Dwight and Pau tend to think that paint defense and boards are the bigs’ job. But to win, you have to gang rebound and play swarming defense. I hope these good habits stay when Dwight returns.


  40. Some eye popping numbers about my favorite Laker since Eddie Jones…

    Metta World Peace Proving to Be Real LA Lakers MVP This Season


  41. Lots of issues but, I think the easiest one to address is Kobe. He roams around on defense and lets up 4 or 5 easy unguarded baskets. He needs to be told to stick to his man. I think Kobe will do what is asked of him by his coach. That alone changes point differential by at least 6 pts. I understand Kobe is Kobe and what not but its so glaring an issue it has to be addressed. And the coach needs to be willing to bench him if it keeps happening.


  42. good ownership? jim buss is a joke. he basically gave the finger to phil jackson – twice. He gutted the scouting staff, kicked ronnie lester to the curb after 15+years, screwed up by hiring mike brown by not interviewing everyone (he was sooo worried someone would hire him so he couldn’t wait to interview others. really? someone would take another job over the lakers? really? are you that dumb?), then screwed up by hiring d’antoni with no clear direction…in between that he goes on the radio to say he likes the team, then changes, says he knows what kobe is saying with eye contact, then fires mike brown.

    How do you know when jim buss is lying? When his lips are moving.

    the lakers problems can go back to the crappy defense they played in pj’s last year. the lakers deserve a lot of credit for making gutsy moves to right the ship. I put most of that credit to kupchak.

    The lakers could have won 2 of the games against okc last year. Given everything in a lockout shortened season, I thought that was pretty good, and I was not a big fan of MB.

    This team should be playing better, no matter what the injuries are. The healthy players should have this team over or at .500. The blame starts at the top and trickles down to the star players, especially the ones who have been here a while.

    The hiring and firing of coaches in the last 3 years is complete joke. It’s bush league. And that’s all jim buss. If I’m a player, if you treat the coaches like that (including Phil Jackson, one of the greatest!) how do you think he’s going to treat players?

    Jim should just shut his mouth until the lakers actually accomplish something.


  43. Craig excellent post, alot of needless crying going on about that interview.

    Warren it’s good to see you switching up your stance about Gasol.

    I still think Clark should be the backup 3 and we could use
    Delonte West as a backup PG.

    So the Lakers ARE really putting more emphasis on defense and rebounding these days now. And btw, i’m going to say we triumph over OKC today.


  44. I´ve been feeling the same thing as Formalhault, we´re gonna get a big W versus the Thunder tonight!! Glad to know I´m not alone..
    (& I am enjoying the hustle we´ve seen the last two games)


  45. It is easier for players to adjust to fewer minutes than to suddenly play quite a few more minutes than they have been expected to. To play more minutes requires a modicum of game-time conditioning and a change in mindset. Our players are now beginning to get these things and, if they are decent NBA role players, they should perform better as time goes on.

    I also like the intensity and persistence they are playing with – even when tired. However, I can’t really say I expect a win tonight. I will be cheering for one and certainly hoping, but if everyone gives the maximum effort they are capable of and tries to work as a team member, I am going to look at tonight as a success.

    At this point I don’t demand we make the playoffs, but that we improve a little bit every night. I we do that the future will take care of itself.


  46. Kobe needs to step up his defensive effort and stop focusing on just one side of the ball.


  47. Unfortunately no teammate, coach, owner, brother, cousin, friend, father, tv commentator in the world have the guts to call Kobe out on his defense. But yes, Kobe always gifts the other teams wing player (usually a scrub) with 3 or 4 wide open threes that they usually drain. Making the scrub look allstarish.