Lakers/Bulls Recap: These Are Our Lakers

Darius Soriano —  January 21, 2013

Is there anything left to be said about the Lakers at this point? In what’s been the most frustrating season I can remember (even those post Shaq Lakers had an in his absolute prime Kobe while the post Magic teams seemed to compete harder more consistently), the Lakers lost again, this time to a depleted Bulls team missing Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. I’d call this rock bottom, but the Lakers dwell near the bottom these days so it’s difficult to really see shifts downward.

Some positives:

  • Steve Nash shot the ball well, scoring a season high 16 points on 7-12 shooting. Nash looked more aggressive tonight and benefitted early from having Kobe initiate the P&R and look for him after penetrating the lane.
  • Earl Clark, a surprise starter in Gasol’s place, continued to play well overall. 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and no turnovers. He didn’t get to the foul line and needed 13 shots to get his 12 points, but his play was solid on a night where many others was not.
  • Ron played decent individual defense most of the night and was a plus on the glass grabbing 8 rebounds (3 offensive). Ron had a tough cover in Carlos Boozer, but did a good job bodying up the bigger man and bothering his dribble when he tried to back him down.
  • Pau came off the bench had got a double-double with 15 points and a team high 12 rebounds. His shooting efficiency wasn’t great (6-14 from the field), but he did hit a couple of jumpers and show some life around the rim on a couple of plays.
  • The Lakers won the rebound battle 50 to 40. Four players had at least 8 rebounds and, as a team, they did a pretty good job of getting after the ball on misses. Even though they allowed 14 offensive rebounds, they still cleaned their defensive glass fairly well considering the Bulls missed 54 shots.
  • That’s it. That’s all I got.

Some negatives:

  • Dwight Howard needed to play with energy and, sadly, he did not. I’m not sure if it was another night where his back was bothering him, but he looked stiff and a step slow all night. On several plays he barely moved his feet defensively, didn’t challenge many shots in the paint, rarely helped on screens, and had a few plays where he barely jumped for rebounds. On one offensive play, he caught the ball diving hard to the rim and instead of trying to dunk the ball, double clutched and tried a lay up that missed badly. On nights like this, Dwight hurts more than he helps even though he did well to draw fouls on the Bulls’ front line and is still enough of a presence that he makes players think twice before attacking the paint.
  • Kobe continued his poor shooting for the 3rd straight game. Facing Jimmy Butler most of the night, Kobe couldn’t get clean looks at the rim and settled way too often for long jumpers. His final line of 7-22 with an 0-6 from behind the arc pretty much tells the story of how he struggled to get to his preferred spots for most of the evening. And while Kobe did have 5 assists on the night, he also had three turnovers, most of them on jump passes where he clearly left his feet without a plan of what he wanted to do.
  • Steve Nash was awful on defense most of the night, proving unable to cover Kirk Hinrich who went off for a game high 22 points on 9-11 shooting. Hinrich got Nash on skates multiple times, crossing him over to shake free for his jumper which he knocked down at a high rate. Can’t fully fault Nash though, considering the Lakers did a horrible job supporting him in the P&R by rarely stepping out high to show out on the screen and allowing Kirk to step into his jumper with good rhythm.
  • In the game preview I mentioned that the Lakers would need to slow the streaky Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli as they’ve been key parts to a Bulls’ offense that can struggle to score. Well, the Bulls’ backcourt duo combined for 26 points on only 15 shots, with Belinelli doing some damage late with two key 3 pointers that essentially sunk the Lakers down the stretch. Both times the Lakers lost him as he floated around the arc and both times he knocked down the open shot. I’m not really an “I told you so” guy, but…well…yeah.
  • The three point line was especially unkind to the Lakers on both offense and defense. When the Lakers were firing from deep, they couldn’t connect, hitting only 3 of 17. When the Bulls were shooting from behind the arc, they seemed to barely miss by knocking down 9 of 17. If you’re looking for a simple difference in the game, this would be it. The game came down to more than that, of course, but when you’re a minus-18 from deep the odds of you winning go down exponentially.
  • Craig Sager’s suit.
  • The team looked like they had broken spirits in a lot of this game. As I mentioned earlier, losing can create the type of fraying that can really affect a team’s chemistry. And while I’m not in the players’ heads or an expert on body language, they really looked like guys who weren’t enjoying themselves on the floor, even when they made a push in the third quarter to briefly take the lead. There’s simply no joy for this team when they’re on the floor and that, as much as the losses, is striking right now.

In the end, these are our Lakers. The look beat up, exhausted, and, with the losses piling up, like a team that would rather be doing anything else than playing basketball right now. They’ve only won twice in their last eleven contests and that surely has something to do with it. But it also looks like the combination of the expectations and the total underperformance of meeting them has sapped this team of their spirit. They’ll still compete when pressed, but in the crucial moments of recent games, they’ve simply fallen apart in the face of adversity. Again, these are our Lakers.

Darius Soriano

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59 responses to Lakers/Bulls Recap: These Are Our Lakers

  1. Soon to be 17-27. As devastated as I was last game, I was even more frustrated after this, because it was a winnable game. If they had just gotten blown out, I’d honestly be happier.

    Poor coaching, no effort, just pathetic.

    After this game, I have to agree that it’s time to make some major moves. This season is lost, but at least they can try to salvage next season by getting some players in here that will play with some heart.

    That one play in the 3rd where everyone looked at each other pointing at each other to grab the rebound while the Bulls player grabbed the rebound just sums up this season.

  2. Saw this stat, thought it was kind of a big deal: Kobe Bryant was 3-14 from the field in second half and didn’t make a basket outside the paint. Kobe’s scoring might be keeping them alive, but the amount of shots he misses… it just kills them. Certainly the case last year.

  3. Someone said earlier. ” Dwight quit on the Magic last year and he has quit on the Lakers”. Sure seems that way.

    Hope he enjoys next year in Dallas. Mark will take care of him. I for one will hail that the real beginning of the return of the Lakers. No more stripped balls, fouls on picks, goal tending and bone head fouls.

    The lost season by Dwight Howard coming to a theater near you.

  4. Again kobe is being asked to play defense and offense at an elite level. Hes too old to do both great anymore. If he tries to focus on both, his entire game suffers. It would be better if the team doesn’t need kobe to score alot so kobe can just focus on defense but thats not the case. Also, mike d’antoni is forced to play kobe 40 minutes per game because without him, its like the lakers lost half their offense.

  5. I think the players no longer want D’antoni. bring in Bickerstaff to hold down the fort. Mike has lost all credibility for not been open-minded.

  6. My only other positive thought is that I liked the rotations tonight. Tonight it was all about bad vibes, bad execution, bad shooting and bad energy, and its hard to see that turning around fast, because as Kerr said, it just seems to be like a leaky dam where you fix one hole and another develops. But I thought the rotations were ok, and that if a psychiatrist could be brought in, there is a blue print for winning. As the SSR article pointed out, the main problem when Kobe is shooting the ball ok, is the line-ups where Pau and DH are on the floor together and with a bit of a rejuvenation for Pau I saw a glimmer of hope for that configuration, as well. At least tonight..the way this season seems to be going another leak may appear next game.

    But I would really like to see a second unit with Pau and Dh and with a bit more help so that, you can have a real power ball formation that doesn’t use either Nash or Kobe, who can that get a bit of relief.

  7. Some of those post-Magic teams were competitive, thanks to Sam Perkins, as fine and productive a player as you’d like to see. In a way he was too good because the team kept finishing in the middle of the standings. Jerry West eventually traded him so the team would sink into a better draft position.

    Speaking of better draft position, I didn’t expect to regret dealing next spring’s pick.

  8. Looking at the schedule, considering the Lakers record on the road, and their won/loss against teams with winning records, their records on the 2nd game of a back to back, there’s actually a chance that this team could have the worst record in Lakers history. They have the potential to lose 60 games this year, meaning that they have to win at least 6 games this year to avoid 60 losses. If you look at the schedule:

    I don’t want to jinx it, but here are the games that I think the Lakers just will not lose:
    2-12 Pho
    3-22 Was
    These games the Lakers ‘should’ win but may not because they’re either on the road or 2nd of back to back:
    2-1 Minn
    2-20 Bos
    2-28 Minn
    3-12 Orlando
    3-17 Sac

    These are game you would think Lakers should win, but probably won’t.
    1-29 NO NO is a much better team now then they were the first time they played.
    2-3 Detroit(but another 10 am game, on Sunday. Lakers traditionally play poorly. And you know DH12 will be partying the night before, so don’t count on winning this game)

    They may occasionally breakthrough and beat a mid level team at home, but if you look at the schedule, I don’t see that happening much.

    I doubt that the Lakers will finish with 60 losses, but think something like a 28-44 season would be optimistic. That would be the worse since coming to LA.

  9. At the risk of sounding insensitive, I can’t buy the “Kobe is too old to play offense and defense” line. Kobe is the number one option. He is the alpha dog. That is way he wants it. Playing both sides of the ball comes with the territory. Does that mean he has to be a “ball hawk” on defense? No. I would be fine with him staying home on his man and avoiding “free safety” defense. But he has to play spirited defense every night along with the rest of the team. And he needs to put at least 20 points on the board every night. That comes with being the number one guy on the squad.

    Maybe the coaching staff and Kobe need to figure out an easier way for him to get his points. Ironically, Kobe looked the most effective offensively when the team was running the Princeton. He often got the ball when he was on the move to the rim. It was higher percentage looks and easier scoring for #24. Of course, there were plenty of other issues with that offense.

  10. Only other thought is that the Nash injury was the true killer. The lakers are playing like a team in training camp, but with all the high expectations and all the failures accumulating, with a real bad vibe. Had Nash played a whole season or at least been out for a few less weeks, I think some of this stuff would have been worked out in November/first half of December, and they would have still lost the same number of games but would have been way better set up for December/January where the need to win is so much more acute.

    I think this is at least as much about bad karma, and a team that needed a lot more work from the outset than anyone imagined, being robbed of that chance by injuries, setting off this kind of perfect storm of problems. Still think that is at least as important as the flaws in the line-up or the coaching.

  11. 28-54 I mean. I think they’ll end up somewhere between 24-58 and 30-52

  12. T. Rogers,

    Agreed. He for sure needs to defend as well and he knows it. and wants it that way..This is yet another dysfunction that needs to be solved.

  13. As I said, as much of a Kobe apologist as I am, Kobe has cost us the last 3 games. With the Lakers up 2 points going into the 4th, the coaching genius D’Antoni leaves a tired Kobe in the game, and he proceeds to jack up a 3 which he misses, then turns over the ball, and the Bulls quickly take a 6 point lead.

  14. As the Lakers will not fire D’Antoni this year, even if they don’t win 20 games this year, and they won’t even fire him if they re-sign Howard because they’d be in rebuilding mode anyway next year anyway. If they re-sign Howard, they’ll just come up with some excuse that the team needs more time to gel or some other BS by Jim Buss not to fire D’Antoni, and they’ll win 20-30 games next year. Just can’t wait to hear Jim Buss say D’Antoni’s our man(which would be good because there’s a chance this clown D’Antoni may be fired.

    Again, it’s not to say that this team is not flawed. Their effort shows that they’ve quit on him. That’s what happens when the coach sucks. Players quit.

  15. It’s time to accept the lakers fore what they are, a bad team. Of course we can indivdiually break down their issues, but collectively they aren’t good together and it starts with the system. The lakers are in scramble mode offfensively and defensively for most of the game. That leads to lots of isolations and tough shots and giving up a lot of uncontested shots and offensive rebounds on the other end. In addition, they are a poor freethrow shooting team that can’t take care of the ball. So either they are taking bad shots, turning the ball over or missing freethrows. All three contribute to transition buckets which is why they have the worst transition d in the league.

    I’m not big on calling to the firing of coaches, but they have to cut their losses and get rid of dantoni at the end of the season. There’s a reason he’s been unsuccessful with every team except Phoenix in those 3 years. His system requires the team to go small, a superstar point guard, multiple athletes, and multiple sharp shooters. The lakers don’t have any of that.

    The triangle would’ve perfect for this team, instead dantoni’s philosophy is running this team into the ground. It’s very hard to optimistic about this team and expect them to play well and win, something they haven’t done all season.

  16. Patrick Dimalanta January 21, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Bottom-line is that this is not a team. They don’t have fun playing the game. They have so many holes, it’s not even funny anymore.

    -Turnovers
    -Defense is terrible… Nash especially can’t seem to be able to guard his own shadow.
    -Coach doesn’t want to adapt his offense scheme to his roster.
    -Dwight is not the same player he was, nor do I feel like he will ever be again.
    -Kobe has logged so many minutes and it is already starting to catch up on him.
    -Meeks and Jamison have been terrible and they were brought in to beef up the bench.

    And on top of everything else.. the Nash/Dwight pick and roll has been ineffective… really? How in the world is that even possible? I am sure there are stat heads out there who will pull up the data… but I watch every game and I keep on the lookout to see positive results when they run that PnR but nothing good ever happens… at least that is what it seems like to me.

  17. Lakers17
    isnt that supposed to be on the coach. The minutes he’s playing Kobe is completely absurd, and it seems he’s the only one who hasn’t noticed the guy’s legs are dead tired..smh. Kobe being Kobe will keep fighting on but its up to the coach to put Kobe’s sorry butt on the bench for extended mins. Rocket science? Nope

  18. It’s not only that this team is old, but that’s not as much of a problem as the fact that many of their players have very low basketball IQ, play with very little intensity, and are not good shooters. This makes for a bad combination. How often have you seen these Lakers miss basic rotations, not going after 50/50 balls, and miss WIDE open jumpshots that the other teams make 80-90% of the time(seemingly). A great coach can create a system to compensate for these problems or properly motivate their players, or put their players in a position to make shots they can make to at least create a .500 team. But D’Antoni is actually a handicap to his players. He actually takes the player’s flaws and exposes those flaws to such a great extent that it actually makes these players even worse than they normally would be if they were uncoached. It’s rare that you see a coach that is such a drain on a team. Mostly, you see coaches that are ineffective, but rarely do you get a ‘gem’ like D’Antoni. A real gem he is.

  19. You know what else is Terrible – he worse we are now the worse we make it for ourselves in the future

    The clippers look to be locked as the top team in the division for the next 2-3 years at least

    Golden state will only get better – especially when bogut actually plays

    And phoenix will possibly end up with 2 top 5 picks which could propel them up the standings

    If the Seattle “kings” sonics stay in our division with better managent willing and wanting to win we could also see a rejuvenated team that has a beast in cousins on the block and would only need a decent coach and pg to be a playoff team.

    We are going to be bad for 5+ years

  20. Bulls are the opposite of the Lakers–a bunch of supporting players playing way beyond their talent level, as opposed to a starting line of four (supposed) future HOFers laying an egg every night.

    Sure wish we had Thibs as our coach…

  21. Let us start dreams about coming seasons.After Kobe was assigned to ”dogging” defensively his legs have been dead hence his offensive efficiecy.Dwight has checked out mentally long ago as he is a quitter.Nash is well 39,Pau is whiny and should come from bench.Earl is the only limited guy trying.Ron is complicated to explain:)

  22. Lakers17,

    In addition to wanting to say enough already with the Danrtoni diatribe, the comment that the lakers have a low bbal IQ is just fairly silly. Nash, Kobe and Pau are renowned for their IQ, so whatever you want to say about DH or anyone else, this is a way above average team in terms of IQ..There is a long list of things to talk about but that is surely not one of them.. and simply extrapolating a record from exactly how the team is playing this exact minute is ridiculous, though I will acknowledge that anything is possible once the spirit is broken. Hollinger has them at about 36 wins, which is probably the best statistical analysis of where they are at if all you want to do is extrapolate, and refuse to give any allowance for any type of improvement.

  23. From ESPNLA:

    Lakers to head to China

    ————

    Maybe they will stay there for awhile; we all need a break.

  24. @Scott, well said. Well said.

  25. i guess we all can agree LeBron’s much publicized ‘monster’ game against us was hyperbole. Afterall, every point guard fills the stats sheet against us. Wade shutdown Kobe blah blah all bollocks. D’antoni is the actual Kobe-stopper…@this pace this all-star game will be his last.

  26. I made myself a playlist of the best funeral music, looking back at the good times. From dust to dust, thank you for the memories Kobe-era.

  27. I am sad. I am just sad.

  28. The few games I have seen this year, it has been total chaos out there. The players don’t where they should be on the court. MDA is a system guy and his system sucks. Who would be sitting there with two of the games elite big men and decide that aah post-ups aren’t really the way to go?

  29. Well, at the season’s official midpoint it’s safe to say this team is toast. Looking at the schedule, I don’t see one game that I would pencil in as a clear win. Not one. We all can see the various reasons. But the lack of confidence and team spirit really stand out.

  30. It’s politics there is a saying “It’s the economy, stupid”

    In the case of the Lakers, “It’s D’antoni stupid”

    Get the bum out. Boy, Jim Buss surely knows how to pick coaches.

  31. So now a Lakers team with Kobe, Metta and Gasol have quit on the great Phil Jackson and a Lakers team with Kobe, Metta, Gasol and Howard have quit on Brown and Dantoni. The Laker players have quit on three coaches now. Maybe the coaches aren’t the problem here.

  32. 1st head to roll: Marreese Speights. MEM did the deal to shed salary. We SHOULD follow suit.

  33. So now a Lakers team with Kobe, Metta and Gasol have quit on the great Phil Jackson and a Lakers team with Kobe, Metta, Gasol and Howard have quit on Brown and Dantoni. The Laker players have quit on three coaches now. Maybe the coaches aren’t the problem here.

    ========================================================================

    Very well said. The most sensible train of thought I’ve seen in awhile.

  34. Actually the NBA refs have quit on protecting offensively skilled big men from being eaten alive by high assasins that disguise themselves as 4’s and 5’s. This is the reason for shooting power forwards. So they don’t get killed down there. This is Stern’s directive. He doesn’t want the Lakers to win. When the Lakers saw this they traded big for small and had the trade 86’d. Go figure.

  35. To quote Bill Parcells “you are what your record says you are” and right now the Lakers are not a playoff team.

  36. @Harvey M,

    It’s not just me that’s fed up with D’Antoni. It’s me, it’s most of the true Lakers fans, pretty much everyone except his family members and a few who absolutely refuse to admit that hiring that clown was a bad move.

    Even Kobe is hinting at the fact that hiring D’Antoni was a bad move. He said that he wants the team to move away from the up tempo game, post up more, etc.

    As for basketball IQ, your team is only as smart as your weakest link. Sure Kobe, Gasol, Nash are tops in the league in that dept, but do you seriously think Howard is up there??? He should be reserving his fouls for the defensive end, not simply wasting it of ticky tack arm fouls on the offensive end, or being goaded into silly fouls, etc. Guys like Morris, Meeks, AJ, Duhon are serviceable players, but make one terrible decision after another.

    Those are the facts.

  37. As for their record, of course every game I hope that they turn things around, but the realist in me knows how this season will LIKELY turn out. No one knows for sure, and I’ll hang onto hope for a turnaround, but the fact is, this team is incredibly flawed in many ways. If D’Antoni apologists have any reason to believe he can turn things around, I would like to know how he is going to do that. Since he’s not going to be fired, and unless Kobe, Gasol, and Nash conspire to run things their way, it’s not going to happen. As horrible a player as Fisher was, this is the situation where Lakers could have used his leadership. His stand against Billy Hunter showed what an asset he is as a leader.

  38. So who has the worst record in the entire NBA in the year 2013?

    That would be your Los Angeles Lakers.!

    Worse then Bobcats, Pistons, Washington, Kings etc etc etc.

    Congrats to the front office, coaches and players for doing the impossible, making a mockery out of a once proud franchise.

  39. Dwight Howard has always racked up a lot of stupid, ticky-tack fouls and pointless technicals. It’s why Stan van Gundy was always yelling. The word for Howard is “knucklehead” and you can’t cure it.

  40. Darius, I love your work. But your wrap up is heavy on the “this guy was good, that guy was bad” type analysis I keep seeing. It misses the point.

    These Lakers, as a team, have no idea what they are doing. There is no system, on offense or defense. No way they handle pick and rolls. No direction they push drivers. No pattern to help. No precision to the way guys space the floor on offense, set up in spots, pass the ball, keep the ball moving instead of holding it for two beats and letting the defense reset.

    Even when they succeed it is one guy like World Peace making defensive plays, one guy like Earl Clark pounding the boards. One guy like Kobe hitting tough shots.

    THIS TEAM SIMPLY DOES NOT EXECUTE WELL. No crispness. No quickness of ball movement. No attention to detail. No understanding of each other. No system they are all committed to.

    I remain convinced that this lineup can win. Or at least win a lot more. I supported the D’Antonio hiring, but he seems to have no idea how to maximize guys’ strengths and limit their weaknesses. How to take advantage of the guys he does have and put them in a position to succeed. How to get a team on the same page.

    I hate to say it, but Phil would have been a lot better at working with this group. Oh well. At least we may be spared an early playoff exit by being spared playoffs at all.

    I expect moves at the deadline.

  41. Lakers17,

    Dwight hasn’t accomplished anything as a Laker to make me want to “apologize” for him. I’m a Lakers fan that will criticize the Lakers when I see them stinking up the rafters. I two problems with you.

    A) You are in no position to define who a true Lakers fan is. People express their fandom in different ways. We all have various personalities and deal with the ups and downs of life in our way. You happen to get hyperbolic and irrational when you are upset. That doesn’t make you any more of a fan who gets focused and analytical.

    B) Dwight carried a team to the Finals that could well have beaten our Lakers with a few bounces going their way. Just like people who said Magic was a choker, that a leading scorer could never win a championship (said about Jordan), that Shaq would never be serious enough of hit free-throws enough to win a title, that Kobe will never win without Shaq, that Pau was too soft to win in the NBA, that Dirk was too soft to win a title, or that LeBron will never win, all these people thought those were the facts. The funny thing is, the chances that they were right seemed fairly high since winning an NBA championship is a damn hard thing to do. All that said, Dwight had enough basketball IQ to beat Boston and Cleveland in 2009 and only lost to a team that was better then his in the finals. Dwight didn’t get basketball-stupid since then. He got a serious back injury.Tell me his back won’t recover and that his loss of athleticism and strength won’t return and I might think you have a point. There is evidence of that possibility with all the other people who did not fully recover from back surgery. That happens. It also happens to be that Dwight has proven his ability to lead a team to the finals.

    To all the rest of you all. D’Antoni may not be the solution, but he is not the problem. Phil Jackson lost this team. Let us repeat this. Phil Jackson lost this team. They were a bad defensive team for most of 2011. They could not muster the energy to defend their championship, to earn a three-peat, or send their beloved coach off with a win. They were swept off by a team playing as a unit, with energy, intelligence, and heart. Give me a team doing that and I’ll take my chances. This team does not do that with any sort of consistency.

    Unless there is a homerun type trade out there, it is time to blow this up. If it is up to me I keep Clark and Dwight. I probably keep Kobe but if there is a team he is willing to go to, I get myself some picks, young promising players and expiring contracts for him. I’m OK with playing out his career here but if you can get some value you get it. I do the same with Pau, Nash and Ron. Again, if there is a homerun trade out there, fine. Otherwise, this is over. Time to get Dwight’s back right (if possible) and getting us young, springy and hungry again.

  42. Haha, armchair experts stating the obvious..but then what is the solution to the problem?

    We all realise Kobe plays more minutes than he really should be playing in the regular season, last time I had a look at the roster, no one is capable of backing Kobe up consistently. So guess what Kobe has to play more minutes if we want to win.

    How is this MDA’s fault or previously Brown’s fault? The roster composition absolutely sucks.

  43. This is the worst team in the history of the Lakers. No heart the coach has no balls or brains, the front office is in shambles, they should call up the Defenders at least they would play hard. This team can not build around Dwight it is that simple, trade him now.

  44. Haha, armchair experts stating the obvious..but then what is the solution to the problem?

    No solution, at this point it’s just venting in frustration.

  45. I think it has come to the point, where Kobe is happy to have his non-trade clause. Since the FO must be looking at all possible scenarios: Nash, Gasol, Dwight, Clark, Metta… Phil’s high chair. Pretty much everything must be for sale right now.

  46. The obvious: this is a bad team. Truly the WORST Laker team I have ever seen since I became a fan at 13 in 1965. And I challenge anyone who follows the Lakers to name a worst season based on pre-season expectations. This has been a total failure.

    1) They are going to miss the play-offs for only the 7th time in their history
    2) They don’t have a 1st round draft pick
    3) The chance of re-signing Dwight Howard is dwindling daily
    4) Their $100 million payroll greatly limits their personnel flexibility
    5) A healthy year for Kobe has been wasted
    6) The coaching picture is a mess
    7) The front office appears to be clueless.
    8) Is there any LOGICAL reason to feel the Lakers will be substantially better next season?

    No question, this is the worst Laker season I have ever been a part of. Extremely frustrating.

    Dr Buss, I miss you.

  47. Lakers17,

    I get that the a big part of the fan base thinks its all about Dantoni. But a lot of the more rational, less emotionally based ones recognize that at the very least, Dantoni is one of many causes, and that it is probably more a flawed roster than anything.

    Its pointless to argue with someone whose mind is made up, and I have to be kind of crazy to do this on a site where so many are totally opposed to this view, but I will offer the following observations for the record.

    1) Firing Dantoni is unlikely to happen as it would be a recognition of abject failure by the FO, though to be sure anything is possible.

    2) there are a ton of causes for this problem, that have been well outlined by some of the smarter posters on this site…Start with the fact that despite a rash of injuries that was really of epic proportions and hit the Lakers squarely in the well documented achilles heal, their lack of depth and poor assortment of talent through the 5-10 spot on the roster, the Lakers have been hovering in the top 11-12 spot in Hollinger’s system of ranking for the entire season. Meaning even with everything they are playing much more like a 22-19 team despite the devestating injuries than a 17-24 team.

    3) despite the age of the roster, 2 of its big 4, played international ball this summer, and the third would have but instead was coming off a potential career ending surgery, leading to some of the burn out we are seeing from Kobe and Pau, and the very inconsistent play of DH.

    3) this group has been on the down slide for some time. Just like Dantoni’s so called flawed system, the lakers needed very many particular things in place to succeed, so that as they started getting stripped away, by age, soap opera lifestyle choices, complacency or whatever, the championship team eroded very quickly. The twin towers approach, was shown to be flawed not just over this season but for 3 seasons running now, as Gasol has never thrived when playing along side another true 5, and the triangle offence did not solve that.

    4) key players have played very inconsistently on a team which depended on them absolutely dominating because of the poor quality of the roster 5-10.

    5) with the age of the roster and the injuries to DH, this is not a team that was built to defend well. Chemistry and a lot of heart are needed to overcome that, and that appears to be in short supply so far.

    6) Kobe while having a great year for the most part has always been known for not really wanting to share the ball, and has increasingly hurt the team with bouts of terrible shot selection, and poor trust of team mates down the stretch, which will tend to dishearten, and diminish the impact of the Nash/Dantoni complex which requires excellent shot selection leading to excellent offensive efficiency to thrive.

    7) Dantoni is the claasic scapegoat and for that reason alone, I refuse to accept it. He has been miscast as a guy who doesn’t care a whit about defence, and was mistrusted here, from the outset. In NY, it was pure bad chemistry with Melo, a guy known to be a head case, who is only thriving finally because he took it on himself to grow up and a veritable cadre of veterans was assembled (Jason Kidd, Rasheed, Camby, Juwan Howard and to a lesser extent Felton) to force him to actually grow up, share the ball, defend and play a style of ball that Dantoni actually instituted. (i.e. 4 and 1, with a big, Chandler, surrounded by outside shooters).

    7) My overall take away, is that the season has exposed a lot of flaws in the make up of the team top to bottom. To be sure Dantoni is not blameless, not in the slightest. However, he was dealt a bad hand. This team needed a strong hand from day one, and a real training camp, under the same coach, even tolerating a normal amount of injuries to work out the philisophical divide, to match players and concepts that weren’t well meshed and are pretty stubborn about their inconsistent concepts, and to grow team chemistry. Without that, you have had a perfect storm, Flaws that are exposed mid-season and a team that is playing tight and passionless ball, because they are trying to work all of this out on the fly and under the enormous weight of expectations playing for a fan base that hated the coach from the outset and are rightly or wrongly pretty impatient. Fire the coach now and you just have more excuses to fail I say, and you rob the team of the chance to see, whether this thing could be worked out, and something can be built upon for next year, or whether this really needs to be a blow up.

  48. This season isn’t totally a shock. Before the Howard trade I said he wouldn’t ever be the same player following back surgery. The day the Lakers traded for Nash I said most likley as he approached 39 he wouldn’t be an upgrade over Sessions. The day the team signed Jamison I pointed out he has been washed up for a couple seasons. The reason LA isn’t a 5-7 seed is because I didn’t predict Gasol’s body would fall so far so fast. But that can happen with player older players who aren’t known for their education to their bodies (see Lamar Odom).

    As I’ve stated before… The big question now is if the Lakers FO kills the future by resigning Dwight. A 70 percent Dwight signed for the max will put the Lakers back a decade. Clearing cap space while racking up a couple top 3 picks is the only way the Lakers can be back on top in five years.

  49. @Pinch, it’s not all D’Antoni’s fault, but he’s a big part of the problem. If he had in their prime, Nash, Amare, Diaw, Marion(a very underrated player), Bell(again, a very underrated player in his prime), and not make it to the finals once(granted that he was robbed one year), and be one Tim Thomas despiration 3 away from being knocked out by a 7th seed, there’s something completely wrong with D’Antoni. With no coach, I’d see the Lakers playing at least .500. With this clown, we’re lucky to be 17-24.

  50. If anyone is interested in seeing a professional NBA game tonight, the Clips play the Thunder for 1st place. Should be very entertaining.

  51. MD is entirely dependent on his system. He doesn’t configure his play according to the players strengths. One good example is: MD made Pau Gasol a three point shooter. “No one can make a cat bark like a dog”. Another flaw is the up tempo play, it just doesn’t naturally compliment the whole roster.

    I can see two solutions: 1. Sack MD for a good versatile coach. Or 2. Trade Pau Gasol etc for players that fit the MD system.

    Fans are sad and disappointed. FO please make a move now to stop this humiliation.

    -tansyong

  52. Will reiterate, Kobe does not need to play elite D but he cannot play lazy D and expect good outcomes. Dwight is a better Bynum, but still does not mesh well with this team. He should be traded although I’m not sure how many teams would be eager to pick up his expiring contract outside of Dallas or NJ.

    We should be starting Gasol over Dwight as his skill set would wok better in an offensive scheme. Meeks needs to be pulled out of the dog house and given a few of Kobe’s minutes. In an ofense hat demands 3pt shooting Meeks should play more.

    Clark has turned out to be an another throw in trade gem. He fits in the system well. Question is will we have him next year i the ship cannot be righted this year.

    Lastly it looks like next year will be the last for this team as currently constructed. The following year will be a rebuilding year.

  53. @Lakers17

    I don’t disagree, I just don’t agree with this notion that everything is on MDA or Brown before him. They were never my first choices either, but as fans I supported whatever decision was made by the FO knowing full well they’ve made more of the correct decisions as opposed to the terrible ones.

    I also agree that the style of basketball we try to play isn’t really possible with the set of players we have, so again it comes to the decision of hiring MDA in the first place. He’s not a bad coach by any stretch, just doesn’t suit the way the players we have want to play.

    Going by this season so far, Vinny Del Negro is the second coming of god.. Remember last year? When everyone wanted him sacked. That’s what a good team does for you.

    Good coaches certainly help, evidenced by the likes of Tom Thibodeau. But I still do believe MDA is caught between wanting to play his style of basketball with the players we have and don’t have. Having a bench that is one of the worst in the league certainly doesn’t help, especially not when your big 4 aren’t performing.

    For all the good that the Buss family along with Mitch have done for the Lakers, one problem no one can hide away from is the ability of finding the right coach, other than PJ we’ve had nothing but busts.

    Seeing what has happened this year, I do wonder if they should of taken note of what Magic said after being swept by the Mavericks in the play-offs 2 years ago. You can’t blame them for going for it knowing full well Kobe won’t be around for much longer. Still it hurts knowing we’ve got nothing to look forward to after a half a season like this one.

    The Suns are going to hit the jackpot this year by the looks of it, doubt they imagined it would really come to this.

  54. Guys like Morris, Meeks, AJ, Duhon are serviceable players

    Morris and Duhon definitely are not; you are simply wrong about that, and it pretty easy to demonstrate–pick any stat you like, or just use the eye test.

    Meeks–yes, but he is very limited. I have said since before the season started that Meeks should play 15 MPG backing up Kobe and should play with Nash and Howard exclusively. But Meeks is undersized on D and has no handle.

    Jamison gives back as many points on D as he scores on O–always has. He might have worked out OK if Howard were himself defensively.

    As to Aaron’s post, I agree in one sense. As I said preseason, there was a chance that something like this could happen. The Lakers had issues with D, depth, age, health and coaching. It is pretty obvious what Kupchak was thinking: last year’s team was 11th in O and 13th in D. He brings in Nash, and brings in Jamison and Meeks as bench scorers, and his O goes to top 3-5. The switch from Bynum to Howard gets the defense into the Top 10, and the team is a contender. They make a run at it this year, re-sign Howard, maybe make a run next year, and then they have Howard plus cap space, the LA market and the Lakers brand to reload with in 2014.

    It hasn’t worked for a lot of reasons, but I didn’t really see anybody, stat guys, MSM guys, fans, Haters–predicting that the Lakers would be this bad.

  55. As a 50-year fan of the Lakers, I have to go way, way back to ’74-’75 to recall a time that seemed so hopeless. Wilt was gone, West was gone, and Elmore Smith was playing in the middle (Chickism: “ELLLLMORE THE RE-JECK-TORE!!”). He could block shots, but in the era of dominant centers, he pretty much didn’t dominate.

    The Lakers went 30-52 that season. Kareem, who had torn the Lakers up in the ’73-’74 conference finals was still “the dream”.

    Bright spots: Goodrich was still with us, and averaged around 22 PPG. We got to see the amazing Connie Hawkins in the twilight of a career that began too late. And at times, he was still amazing. And though we didn’t know it at the time, we had several talented young guys who, along with draft picks, would be traded between seasons for Kareem.

    That was a lousy year, and a pretty lousy team. But they played hard. Maybe for pride, maybe for Bill Sharman, maybe for the fans. Maybe they played hard because if you’re lucky enough to get payed to play basketball, it’s the least you can do.

    Sure D’Antoni sucks. There we’re a lot of better choices out there, including retaining Bickerstaff, a guy with a decent track record and a fine basketball mind. But does anybody who watched the last two games believe this team is bringing it’s best possible effort to the floor every night?

    So am I looking forward to Wednesday night? Sure I am. TNT is showing “Castle” re-runs.

  56. I can see two solutions: 1. Sack MD for a good versatile coach. Or 2. Trade Pau Gasol etc for players that fit the MD system.

    Pretty much. As I said prior to preseason, I still think the two-star platoon system would be the best way to run this team. Failing that, though, you are probably right.

    Door 3 is try to trade Howard for pieces and picks if you think he is walking, play out next year with Pau at the 5, and then start over with a clear cap and a couple of young guys.

  57. We can all find a million faults with the roster (and clearly it can use some help) but ultimately, a team is an extension of its coach. This team has absolutely no identity.

    On either end of the court.

    That’s the frustrating part. The players look straight up confused just about all the time. Even for the few stretches every game that they do bring their energy, they’re still making mistakes because they just don’t seem to know what the heck they’re running on offense and how they’re supposed to defend as a team.

    It is the coach’s job to install the offensive and defensive game plan and make sure that his players BUY INTO IT. Making your players believe in your system/philosophy is probably the biggest job of an NBA head coach. And Mike D’Antoni is failing miserably ever since he’s taken this Lakers job. And need I even mention how clear it is that this entire team, including Kobe, is not fully buying into MDA’s system. Nash, for all his affiliation with MDA, is just not the same player right now that he was five years ago, and he cannot be expected to carry a team on his back, like he did with the Suns teams back in the day (but I have this weird feeling that MDA was kind of EXPECTING Nash to do exactly that…very disturbing). A good coach should have enough faith in his system that even if he is missing his best players, the team shouldn’t go on a free fall. Case in point, the Chicago Bulls (minus Rose, and recently Deng), the Spurs (Popovich almost beat Miami, in Miami, after sitting ALL his starters for the entire game), the Warriors (minus their expected starting center Andrew Bout), and etc, etc. These teams are always competing. You can see the players having faith in their coaches and their system.

    Now let’s talk about the highly overrated, borderline gimmicky “7 Seconds Or Less” system of MDA. First of all, this system fits this Lakers roster like a square peg in a round hole. But even if MDA got a roster to his specific liking, here’s why his system still won’t work in a long term big picture scenario in the NBA:

    1) The helter skelter, pants on fire pace of the game will wear down the players physically, especially with Mike’s penchant for using short rotations. Hence, its no surprise that Mike’s teams have historically have injury issues.

    2) A lot of quick shots, particularly quick 3 point shots, when missed (a team at best will make 40% on 3s for the season), will result in a LOT of opponent fast break/quick shot opportunities and the offensive team won’t be able to set up its defense properly. And in the NBA, if you cannot set up your defense for the majority of possessions,it doesn’t matter how many points you score, you’re gonna be toast in the long run. Case in point, see Mike’s coaching history.

    3) Mike’s system is COMPLETELY dependent on the penetration and passing acumen of a PG playing at an MVP/All-Star level. The “system worked” in Phoenix when Nash was having back to back MVP seasons and for a short stretch of time in New York when Jeremy Lin was playing out of his mind. Without a savior type PG, Mike’s whole system simply crashes. And in the NBA, especially in the playoffs, good defensive teams can and will focus on neutralizing that single player and cause havoc in Mike’s entire game plan.

    Mike’s system is too limited for the NBA. His failure in New York should have been a red light for the Lakers front office. And especially for this Lakers team, he is an almost ridiculously bad fit. The rest of the NBA is indirectly saying the same thing. As odd as it might sound, I genuinely believe that they’d have been much better off with even Bernie Bickerstaff at the helm for the whole season.

  58. It is a fact that Knicks (and melo in particular) came to life the minute MD left New York. But MD and Nash did mash in Phoenix (which is one of the major reasons that MD was hired over the Zen Master, a shocker no less). What gives? My theory is that MD’s specialty is a cut and run system that requires young and athletic players. Knicks runs isolate play with melo and Lakers with Kobe, neither is a good match for MD. Either Lakers has to replace all the players at this point or MD will leave sooner or later. This is a mismatch made in hell.

  59. Reality has finally reared its head. Lakers are talking to teams about moving Dwight. Kobe has had enough. Fans have had enough. Buss has had enough. Dwight is the main difference between a 2nd round and out team and a lottery team and an embarrassment. Rather have Pau and a couple of hard-working guys who care from a 3 team trade then this guy fumbling and bumbling around.

    Dwight will be with Brooklyn or Dallas by Feb 1st and we will go back to being a decent basketball team. Fly away Spuperman, fly away!