Lakers’ Issues Go Beyond a Benched Pau Gasol

Darius Soriano —  January 22, 2013

Pau Gasol started a game, for only the second time in his Laker career, as a reserve. The first time could be semi-excused as it was his first game back from concussion after not playing for more than a week. Taking into account the fast paced Miami Heat on the other side of the floor, and a plan for Pau to ease his way back into the fold could be easily explained.

Yesterday’s tilt against the Bulls was different, however. Gasol was placed on the pine in favor of the surprising Earl Clark. Easy Earl, as he’s been called previously in his career, has flashed of athleticism and a well rounded game on both ends of the floor that’s been a real plus for the Lakers ever since he got his shot to play. Combine Clark’s play with the fact that Gasol hasn’t been anywhere near his best this season (on either side of the ball) and his questionable fit into D’Antoni’s system as a power forward, and it’s no surprise Pau was demoted.

The fact that Clark is a better fit in any system over Pau Gasol is another story entirely, and that begins our trip down the rabbit hole of what the Lakers’ problems are this season.

In the interview that occurs between the quarter breaks of nationally televised games, D’Antoni was asked about the benching and rattled off a reason that spoke entirely to issues on offense. The Lakers needed the spacing that Clark provides. To be more direct, Dwight Howard needed the space that Clark provides. In the spread pick and roll attack that the Lakers want to run, spacing is everything and as Steve Kerr would mention later in the contest, Dwight’s desire to bull his way to the basket with a less refined post game requires even more space. It takes time to power through your man the way that Howard wants to. The implication is that Pau doesn’t provide that space, hence he’s on the bench. You see, it’s that simple.

So, there are issues of the Lakers’ current personnel fitting within the scheme their head coach wants to run.

When D’Antoni was hired, there were questions about how the roster would fit together and those were answered with words into microphones in front of cameras to a throng of media lapping up the answers like thirsty kittens do a bowl of milk. I admit, I was one of those kittens. The thought of Nash operating in a high P&R with Howard while Pau either circled along the baseline or camped near the elbow as a release valve makes all the sense in the world. Pau is a world class passer in his own right and a fantastic finisher from all over the floor (at least he is historically). However, the words offered to the masses haven’t translated to the hardwood. So Pau Gasol will now start games on the bench.

This, in and of itself, isn’t really the biggest problem, though. Pau is a center and he can play the same role that Howard plays and do it on the second unit. Pau can pick and roll, pick and pop, facilitate from the elbow or the post, and help the team on offense all the while. He can do this as the solo big man on the floor for most of his minutes, but can also find ways to do these things when paired with Howard. If D’Antoni’s biggest task is maximizing the talent on his roster, this is one way to do it. I’ve argued for staggered lineups that play to each player’s strengths and approaching this issue from the angle of “Pau Gasol, reserve big man” is one way to accomplish this goal.

So while there may be some bruised egos, the players will ultimately have to be professional. Pau will need to adjust. I have a feeling he will, even if he’s not happy about it. He’s done it before for these Lakers, after all.

Of course, this shift didn’t lead to a Laker win against a depleted Bulls team. No, the Lakers lost again, their ninth time in eleven games (to be exact) because of the same issues that have plagued them all season continue to attack their innards like a ravaging disease.

This team doesn’t defend. They don’t help each other on defense. When the ball is penetrated, the big man may step up or he may not. If the big does step up, a teammate may cover for him or he may not. If the teammate does cover, then the ball is kicked out to a shooter and when that happens, the wing may recover to his man or he may not. If he does, he’s likely to be beat off the dribble again and the endless cycle of sometimes helping and sometimes recovering begins anew. Sooner or later, a defender decides that he will not do the thing he’s supposed to do and a breakdown occurs that leads to a basket. If you are unsure of what I mean, watch any 5 minute segment of a Laker game and you’ll see it happen several times. If you want a specific example, watch the final 3 minutes of the loss to the Bulls.

This team also has issues on offense. As I’ve said before, the Lakers’ offense is a high functioning work in progress. They have the numbers of an efficient offensive team, but continue to have the types of issues that bad teams have. The ball sticks too often. Players shoot when they should pass and then pass when they should shoot. They are turnover prone and lack the type of ball and player movement that define great offenses. They also lack the teamwork that make ball and player movement the natural default.

Dwight Howard wants the ball in the post to wreak havoc, but has been turnover prone and isn’t as explosive as he’s been in season’s past. And while Dwight is a willing passer, it’s his finishing that’s come under scrutiny as he labors more often than he ever has before. Kobe moves the ball freely in many contests, but when things start to fall apart, he reverts to shouldering too much of the offensive burden. Shots are taken that shouldn’t be and he gets himself in trouble too often by dribbling to spots on the floor without a plan to escape should an easy shot not be there. Nash remains a fantastic set up man and excellent shooter, but is more vulnerable to double teams than at any other point in his career. He speaks about moving the ball on in order to create 3 on 2’s and 2 on 1’s on the backside, but, in the midst of a trap, the ball isn’t getting out of his hands fast enough to make that work.

I’ve already mentioned Gasol, but it bears repeating that he’s not been himself this season. He floats too often and, though claiming to want more touches in the post, will wander around the perimeter even when he’s the only post player on the floor. When he does get into the post, he misses more than he has at any other point in his career. He lacks balance when shooting his hook shot and relies on a fadeaway jumper even though he’s lacked lift. Maybe it’s the tendonitis in his knees or the plantar fasciitis in his feet, but he’s not been the player he was in season’s past; he’s not been the player he was in the London games this past summer.

The role players on the team are also too trigger happy, taking the first available open shot even if it’s not the best shot available. Every player is guilty of this, but Ron, Meeks, and Jamison are especially guilty. Maybe this is a product of the system they’re asked to run, but it’s an issue when Howard is an entry pass away and he instead must turn to find a shot that’s being launched towards the basket.

This team plays too fast for their personnel and takes bad shots in the process. The fact that they can score with the efficiency that they do is a testament to their talent and the ability to get hot from the outside, not the fact that they are picking apart a defense that they’ve ground into submission.

So here the Lakers are. Seven games under .500 and a myriad of issues to work through. The losing has led to veiled (and not so veiled) critiques about teammates to the press and a lack of spirit on the court when it’s really time to compete. This team is not a team at all, they are a collection of talented individuals that seem to pay lip service to what they need to do on the floor and then when given the chance to do it, don’t.

Is it a coaching issue? Yes. Is it a personnel issue? Indeed. Is it a personality/cohesion/chemistry issue? You betcha. Is it a minutes/fatigue/health issue? Sure is.

So while Pau Gasol coming off the bench is the story of the day, that’s really all it is. It’s today’s story. The issues the Lakers face go much deeper than what’s happening today. Their issues are today’s and from every other day that’s come before it, culminating in what we see now. This team doesn’t look like they know how to win. And even if that’s not actually true, their record is evidence that it is.

How, or if, it gets fixed with only a half season left is an open question. I can only tell you it’s going to take everyone being on the same page for them to find the right answer. Wether or not this coach is capable of corralling this group of players to get them there is another question entirely.

Maybe that’s tomorrow’s problem.

Darius Soriano

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77 responses to Lakers’ Issues Go Beyond a Benched Pau Gasol

  1. The criticisms of Pau the past few years have been: he doesn’t play tough enough inside, he doesn’t fight for position ect…and yet the national media narrative is demanding D’Antoni put him inside even though Dwight is already there. It makes no sense to me. And if I hear the crap about Pau’s gold medal game one more time I’m going to lose it.

  2. For those bashing Pau in favor of Dwight, I would say that Pau can (a) hit his free throws and (b) hit a shot from outside of 3 feet. Also, (c) Pau appears to be playing with more effort than Dwight, despite the constant trade rumours swirling around his head. Oh, and (d) He DID take it to the US in the Gold Medal game.

    Anyhow – where is Devin Ebanks? He’s a solid defender – really did a decent job on Kevin Durant in a few games last year – and now – he’s nailed to the BENCH???

  3. That Earl Clark is a better fit at PF than Pau is not a product of a particular type of system. As the post states, Pau is a center. He’s not and has never been a PF. Earl Clark is a PF, and as such it’s no surprise that he’s better in that role than a center playing out of position. He’s not just a better PF than Pau, he’s a better PF than Dwight Howard. You can’t win in today’s NBA (a smaller, faster league than in the past) with TWO centers in the starting lineup. This much should be well-known by now, as it isn’t a new development this season…..

  4. Amare Stoudemire, Boris Diaw, David Lee, Pau Gasol can do something Shaq, Chandler and Dwight can’t. Play the pick and pop game. Pau played primarily with the bench and plays 33 and 26 mins a gets 15 and 14 shots because he can pop out for a jumper. Shaq was relegated to bread basket passes and Chandler never fit in with Olympic team because all they can do is roll to the hoop and finish that’s much easier to game plan for. Dwight is stuck in the same boat and that’s the reason for his low fga. When you stack that on top of his ineffective post game and D’antoni philosophy that’s polar oppsite to runnig post plays. That’s where the Dwight-D”Antoni problems occur. If Dwight could shoot a jumper he would be involved and much more effective in the offense but he can’t. With Pau playing center the last 2 games the offense has looked great. Him being able to shoot opens up lanes for Clark to dive for off, rebounds and Nash to get inside. With Lee, Diaw, Stoudemire, Pau the offense is much more diverse because the big doesn’t know whether the big will shoot or dive to the hoop giving Nash more room to maneuver and space for the offense. Dwight’s skillset doesn’t fit in D’Antoni’s system and you can’t just give him the ball in the post and get rewarded like Shaq or Bynum did. That really makes Dwight nothing more than a system player and if his defense isn’t other worldly he’s far from a franchise player. I could be wrong and there may be ways to get Dwight the ball on the move but without a stretch 4 and his lack of big man skills he’s a bad fit. Tough decision whether to trade him or Pau if D’Anotni stays coach for the duration of his deal.

  5. nice post. it’s a shame it hasn’t worked out, but the issues start at the top (looking at you jimbo! do us all a favor and hand the reins to your sister!). The issues just get bigger and more difficult as go down the line, all the way to the (nonexistent) bench.

  6. Not sure we could have foreseen much of this before the year. Pau used to be able to play defense has now turned into a dunk poster. Dwight’s still hurt. We’re playing 2 guys that shouldn’t even be in the NBA (Morris/Duhon) and my least favorite player ever (Jamison). As crazy as it sounds the only player who has exceeded expectations this year has been Artest.

  7. If the season ended today and every player on the roster immediately became a free agent, which Laker players could find another team to pay them what they make this year?

    I think the answer to that question reveals the problem. Our talent doesn’t in any way measure up to our payroll.

    But we are still just 3 games out of the 8th playoff spot….

  8. Lakers will trade.
    1. Lakers will have $130M (with luxury tax) if they dont.
    2. Lakers need young athletic players for defense and depth.

    The question is when.

  9. there is also an age factor. Something none of those kittens lapping up the PR bothered to think about. Nash is forty. He’s not who he was. Neither is artest by a long ways….and frankly, neither is Kobe. Now Kobe is a freak…a special case………and a driven elite ballplayer. But age catches everyone. So, even with a perfect system (whatever that would be…and i dont think this roster allows for one) the age factor was still going to be there. Its catching up with the Knicks now too. Add to all this, D’Antoni isnt the most inventive of coaches…ok…..he’s a crap coach.

  10. Isn’t it time to admit the villain of the piece is Buss Jr? You have a coach who will not adjust to the style that suits his personnel. Who hired the coach? Buss Jr. You have a team that is old and slow on defense. You have a team that is now breaking apart on offense as well. This is not just a “Lakers miss the playoffs” problem for now. This is a problem that could take years to fix

  11. It may not have mattered who was the coach this year. No one knew how long it would take Howard to come back from surgery and clearly he is still recovering. Pau has simply played too much ball in the last year. Last season was grueling once it started and the Olympics did not allow for any rest. Kobe has finally hit a wall now that he plays defense again. Although if anyone is Superman it is Kobe given all the injuries he has overcome. On the plus side Earl Clark came out of nowhere to be a useful rotation player and if/when Jordan Hill recovers he makes the rotation too. So the horrific bench has actually produced two good reserves. Overall the Lakers are making progress, just not at the rate expected. The hard decision is this off season when the Lakers have to decide just how much they really like Howard….

  12. Nice post Baylor fan. I agree that there actually is some progress its just that with expectations of an NBA championship no one can see it.

    And Funky Chicken you are exactly right. Earl Clark is not a better player than either DH or Pau he is just a better PF than them. And that explains everything.

    And great article, Darius. What I liked about the main article is that is shows that the problems are pretty much equally spread out around the roster, the coaching staff and the FO.

    In addition to the problems noted by Darius, I would offer one other which may be more of a question or issue. Last night, the Pau/DH tandem offered more evidence of the problem of the two of them on the floor. But I also saw a glimmer of hope that has perhaps been there before, but seems more possible now that Dantoni has showed (with the way he is now using Pau) that he is more open to post ups. Can a 5 be constructed without Nash or Kobe that uses Pau and DH and some combo of current players and possible acquisitions that plays a type of ball, more reminiscent of Utah or Memphis that runs for no more than 15 mins a game, that is more of a power unit, and runs without taking/requiring hardly any PT for Nash or Kobe, and is still effective? Because if that could happen, I do think a system would be in place to maximize the current pieces.

  13. Kevin

    I totally agree with you about how the offense looks on the floor when Pau is in the middle, but their are two sides to every coin. For every made basket on that end, there will be two made by the opposing team with guards that see Pau in the paint knowing there will be little too no resistance at the rim.

    This situation happens to all championship teams that hold on to what use to be too long. Trying to make one last run at a chip, and years of being on top with no solid draft picks( diidnt fit with triangle, or late round wishes) has finally taken its toll in a league built on speed now. I dont fault the FO for what they have done because they squeezed every ounce of juice out of the orange as possible. The rest of this season is going to be very interesting, who goes who stays, this script could have only been wriiten in Hollywood.

  14. I watched ewing and the dream go at it last night in the 1994 finals….it made me understand how bad dwight is as a post player….and hes a superstar in todays NBA.

    He has no moves..cant protect the ball…cant set a proper pick..doesnt lniw how to time the roll

    He needs four shooters on the floor so he can have enough space to charge into the lane with the right jump hook…

    All athletic ability..no skills

  15. “This team plays too fast for their personnel and takes bad shots in the process. The fact that they can score with the efficiency that they do is a testament to their talent and the ability to get hot from the outside, not the fact that they are picking apart a defense that they’ve ground into submission.”

    Exactly. Against weaker teams, talent alone can score you a lot of points, and against teams with weaker defense, Lakers usually manage to score over a 100. However, talent alone will not easily score through a great defense (Heat, Bulls). Obviously you are going to score less against a better defense, but the Lakers scored way less against those teams than normal. Down the stretch they could not score whatsoever against either team. I also remember Indiana, another great defensive team they struggled mightily to score against. So with the defense being terrible against every team, this team only wins games mostly off of pure offensive talent against weaker teams.

    At this point, Lakers should know in their hearts they are not winning a title this year. What they should do is take one step at a time and shoot for another goal, something that is realistic. Maybe just to get to 500. Possible everyone is trying to hard because of all the high stakes that are on them. They need to do 2 things in my opinion. Get Mike D to slow down the pace, or just don’t listen to him. And then, they need to just play basketball how they are most comfortable doing so.

  16. Times like this I miss D. Fisher and his players only meeting to sort things out among themselves

  17. Darius,

    Great (but sad) post. Since your post (rightly, inevitably) mentions systemic problems without presenting easy solutions (for which I applaud you), I’m taking the liberty to repost my personal sadness from the previous thread. Perhaps all we have left in this most painful of all seasons is the individuality of our grief:

    (repost begins:)

    I remember once reading an interview with Woody Allen in which he said that he wished, somehow, that God would appear and forbid him from making any more movies. The idea was, more or less, that he should be taking it easy and enjoying his life as he gets older but, for a variety of reasons, he feels compelled to keep directing.

    It’s a comparison I certainly haven’t earned, but I thought about that interview during the Toronto and Chicago games as I realized that I wished that, somehow, that I could be forbidden from watching anymore games this season. This has been so unbelievably painful yet I still feel compelled to watch every minute of this season just as I have for decades. Why is beyond my comprehension. I feel like an automaton, forced to endure this horrorshow at great cost to my happiness, marriage, financial state (I attend home games), you name it…. I guess it’s like being a gambling addict: am I addicted to the million to one shot that they turn this thing around? Or is it more like being the victim of physical abuse who over time has been stripped of the confidence necessary to leave one’s abuser? I don’t know: maybe I’m just a dog who has no alternative but to serve his master.

    When this season began, I was one of the most confident posters on this blog: I was concerned about how we matched up against OKC but was confident we matched up favorably (even comfortably so) against every other team in the league, including Miami. I thought the FO did an absolutely masterful job of aligning the best PNR PG (Nash) with the best PNR finisher (DH) with the best PNR offball shooter (Meeks) and then complimented it by eating a huge chunk of cash to change horses in midstream and hire the best PNR coach (MDA). To put those three players on the floor, with Kobe spotting up on the weakside…. it sounded too good to be true.

    And I suppose it was. I’ll keep watching… through splayed fingertips if necessary. Thanks to all here for providing some semblance of community; it’s helpful not to feel entirely alone.

  18. I know its early, but I will go out on a limb and say this season will be a bust. With that frame of mind, my biggest concern is getting the key cogs in this team to a point where they gel with one another and like playing with each other by the end of the year, otherwise it will be the Laker summer of trade demands and non-signings…..sigh..

  19. I couldn’t have said it any better.

  20. Where is the talk about point guard. The two that are suppose to be the big offensive threat play isolation basketball with the ball. Yet they have a point guard that is great at finding shots for off ball players but brings nothing for the post player or a shooter the operates off dribble. Lets face it this not a team of players that will have the highest assist ratio. Get a scoring point guard that can drive and couple shooters then work offense inside out off the double teams with Dwight and Kobe. It’s so elementary yet all these over paid coaches want to do it there way so they can be the savior. First rule of coaching is find your players strengths and build the offense so they can score. With Dwight and Kobe you have to stretch floor give them room to work inside out and kick off the double teams. Supporting players knock down there shots and the floor will open for both of them. No reason to push tempo or run a bunch of off ball cuts with old players, a big low post threat and a scorer like Kobe. And dribbling circles for first 18 seconds just to give it to one of them to force a shot is the stupidest thing I ever watched. Get the ball immediately inside to dwight or to kobe and let them create for others. For all those crying defense it wont come until they can learn to play together on offensive end. Yes defense creates offense but let’s not forget confidence on offense can stimulate defense!

  21. Fantastic article by Kevin Ding:

    m.ocregister.com/articles/howard-408753-lakers-team.html

  22. The anonymous who linked Ding above is me, sorry.

  23. Gasol is a good passer and better than average big man offensively. But less than average defensively as he just lacks the athleticism and aggression. Just not strong enuf defensively to play the 5 and to slow for 4 in today’s league.

  24. 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 experienced. Extremely frustrating.

    Dr Buss, I miss you.

  25. nice post Darius -

  26. Wow, that Ding article about DH is brutal. And also true.

    Regarding DH complaining about only getting 5 shot attempts versus Chicago (apparently he was handing around the stat sheet to reporters with smirking disbelief), here’s a mathematical problem for those so inclined:

    A = # of shots DH attempted (5)
    B = # of additional shots DH would have taken had he not gotten stripped of the ball over and over again before getting his shot off
    C = # of additional shots DH would have taken had he caught the pass rather than fumbling the ball out of bounds
    D = # of additional touches he would have received had he hurried down the court in transition and sealed his man, or even sealed his man and ‘made himself big’ in the halfcourt game
    E = # of ‘obliterated’ FGAs because he was hacked due to his notoriously awful FT shooting; remember of course that if one is fouled while shooting and misses the shot, it’s not a FGA
    M = the ratio of (amount of minutes he would have played had he not gotten into foul trouble through a series of stupid reach fouls)/(minutes he actually played)

    So, instead of the 5 shot attempts that he complained about to reporters…. without any additional generosity from his teammates, DH effectively could have had:

    (A+B+C+D+E) * M shot attempts. I’ll leave it others to estimate those values.

  27. Ha I came here to link that Ding article and Simonoid beat me to it. Fantastic article by Ding.

    I think (just based on instinct and observing his play) Howard’s biggest mistake might have just been coming back too early from surgery, without properly building up and training his back and core muscles again. Otherwise I’ve been fairly lenient on him, esp. considering I hated everything about him before this season and didn’t want to have to root for him. That said, I like seeing things from different points-of-view, and Ding’s article certainly takes Howard to task, and it all fits.

    Darius’s summaries have been among the best on the Internet, because they properly capture the multi-factorial nature of this failure. I almost wish it were 2004 again.

  28. Darius’s summaries have been among the best on the Internet, because they properly capture the multi-factorial nature of this failure.

    Indeed. The breakdown is in all areas and everyone from Jim Buss on down has to take responsibility.

    As to the Ding piece, even from my distant vantage point it has seemed clear for awhile that Kobe and Howard don’t like each other and that Howard doesn’t like being on this team. My issue with the piece is that Ding presented the issue as being, more or less, entirely Howard’s fault, and I would tend to apply the “multi-factorial” approach, to borrow your term, to the personality/chemistry issues as well as to the others. I would guess that both Kobe and Howard, as well as D’Antoni, have contributed to the problem.

    It’s funny…I think if the Clippers were having a bad year, Paul and Howard might be planning their “Escape from LA” to Atlanta or Dallas as we speak. But the way the Clippers are going, it is hard to picture Paul leaving. IOW, Paul staying with the Clippers might make it more likely that Howard stays with the Lakers (or might not, of course).

  29. neil,
    It seems you may have misinterpreted what I wrote. I can see how that could happen, though, since it is worded strangely.

    I meant it more along the lines of “the fact he could be considered” a better fit in any system is another question entirely. Hope that clears it up.

  30. Delonte West and Sasha “The Machine Vujacic” both who could have helped signed today with the Grizz.

  31. One fundamental flaw with superstar teams is that each player expects the other player to make magic happen and win the game. You see it all the time in all-star games. One really competitive player carries the team offensively to a win. Then the other players dislike that player because they feel as though they are showing them up or a ball hog.

    This season the players that joined the Lakers did not come here to work hard to win games. They came here to get good seats to spectate and let the other players win a championship for them. Players that do not know how to play on a team or for fans with high expectations.

    First year, second year, should have retired but won’t because someone will pay them a million dollars to play players, a player returning from back surgery, a pg that has to run a certain system to be effective, a player that once was elite on defense and so-so on offense, a center that has been shell-shocked since the Clippers dunked on him, a coach that runs a system that worked in Phoenix with an exceptional point guard but has never worked anywhere else, no athleticism or defensive players, and Kobe an over-used player for years: When all of these factors are totaled, this is not a team capable of playing for a championship.

  32. Nobody covers the Lakers better than Ding.

    It’s growing increasingly difficult for me to see Howard in a Laker uni next season. He doesn’t appear to have the character to lead a team to a title, nor the willingness to be a #2 guy. Maxing this guy out looks like a fool’s errand.

    Let Dallas make that mistake. Either way, we’re rebuilding.

  33. Delonte West and Sasha “The Machine Vujacic” both who could have helped signed today with the Grizz.

    So we may see them tomorrow night, then.

  34. Shelburne piece:

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/8871264/sources-los-angeles-lakers-growing-concerned-unhappy-dwight-howard

    Howard has not publicly indicated any desire to sign elsewhere when he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1 and came to Los Angeles determined to succeed with a minimum amount of fuss after the hits he took image-wise during his drawn-out departure from the Orlando Magic. But sources say that Howard, as the Lakers’ struggles have mounted, has dropped hints within team circles about his discomfort in D’Antoni’s system and that he could consider moving on if things don’t improve or change

    “I’ve tried to go out of my way to get (Howard) the ball. Sometimes I end up looking like an idiot, because I get up in the air, I’ve got a shot, but I try to find him. But he thinks I’m going to shoot, so his back is turned. I’m trying to think about getting him the ball a lot — take care of him as much as I possibly can. It takes me out of rhythm a little bit, but I’m fine with that. If that’s going to help our team, I’m more than willing to do that.

    “I’ve constantly tried to help him out, tried to talk to him,” Bryant continued. “Two o’clock in the morning, three o’clock in the morning. Texting him. Sharing reading materials. Anything to try and help him. “He’s coming off a major surgery in a market where it’s just merciless; where there’s demands and responsibilities of athletes. It’s been tough on him.”
    __________________________________________

  35. lil pau – Great post about Howard’s FGAs. That is pretty much EXACTLY what I outline to people when they come at me saying Kobe needs to decrease his FGAs and give Dwight the ball more.

  36. I did not watch the game, but i believe what John Ireland said because he is Lakers’ supporter, he said that Howard when he got the ball , he lets defenders slap the ball out of his hand. My question is Howard is not the rookie in the NBA, he can’t excuse that he doesn’t know how to hold up the ball. The reason Lakers hiring MDA because we all thought Howard can play P@R with Nash, the problem is Howard, remember he said he did not want to join Lakers and playing behind Kobe and Gasol. If Phil is Lakers head coach, what is Phil going to do ? because Howard can’t play low post,can’t shoot from outside, can’t shoot the free throw, remember Lakers got swept by Dallas in the second round and Phil couldn’t motivate Gasol. MDA is in difficult situation, if you play Gasol as center, then FO and Howard will be mad because Howard is the future, if you play Howard but this guy can’t play consistent good, so what can you do ? MDA offense is not for 2 big guys, if Lakers don’t like that, let’s MDA go, but i like what MDA doing, you come to LA to coach, you don’t have to be friend with these crying babies, the right thing to do if Howard is not happy, let’s him go, Lakers got a lot of free money in the future to choose good players. About defense, next year Lakers should help MDA to hire good defense assistant coach, look at Doc Rivers without defense assistant Thibodeau.

  37. Not sure why my post was gone. I was just reporting what Shelborne had written that Lakers are talking to teams about moving Dwight. Also that Kobe was fefup.

    Odd that would get voided as I have been hearing about this for 3 days. Are my sources not repeatable?

  38. Ken,
    First of all, you didn’t post in *this* thread. Your comment is alive and well in the thread you posted it in.

    Second, no, your sources aren’t valid sources on this board in terms of trade speculation. You’re not a reporter with a history of having reputable sources. Sorry, mate. It’s just the way it is.

  39. For the two thousandth time: Dantoni’s offense does not fit the personnel and he does not coach nor demand defense. It appears that the players do not believe in what he is trying to do. There is no team chemistry, identity or direction. These are grown professional ball players and he can’t get them to mesh. As an owner Jim Buss is a BUST!

  40. I’ve been saying this for more than a year, back when so many on this forum thought adding Howard would solve all the Lakers’ problems… Glad to see others — including the front office, God willing — are starting to see things clearly.

    Anyone who would absolutely thrash an entire organization in the manner Dwight did Orlando is not someone around whom you can build a winner. He got his former GM and head coach fired by looking out for Dwight first, last and every step in between. That press conference where he put his arm around Stan Van Gundy and acted like they were pals, not knowing seconds earlier SVG had just told the press it was Howard who was pulling strings to get him fired — that summed up Dwight in a nutshell. Who wants to play with people like that? Need proof, go watch the tape of Orlando sticking it to the Lakers/Dwight earlier this season — that was a classic “eff you” game from the Magic.

    Attitude aside, Howard’s game has always been unpolished. Watch the 2008 Olympics again and you’ll see then that the coaches knew his game was a liability in a tight contest, which was why Bosh got time at the 5 in crunch time. Howard can’t shoot free throws, and his low-post game is so raw that he has no go-to move. You don’t win building around that kind of player either, unless your plan is to 100 percent shape the roster around him, as Orlando had to do a few seasons ago ( a la the 2001 76ers and AI). But you can’t/don’t do that kind of roster with a Kobe, a Nash, a Gasol… You don’t pay guys $30 million or $9 million a season to be role players just to make Dwight happy.

    More than anything, who here has enjoyed watching the Lakers this season? The plodding, confused games under Mike Brown have given way to a turnover prone, no defense team under D’Antoni. They just aren’t fun to watch — who wants more of that? And that’s despite Kobe having his best season in years. This season has been unwatchable, like the Chucky Atkins-era mess in 2005. Who wants more of that? Not me.

    For $80 million reasons, dump Dwight sooner than later — make him someone else’s problem. He is not a guy around which a winner can be built in L.A., and anyone who claims he’s a top 10 player in the league is delusional. He gets outplayed by lesser players night in and out, and aside from the Bucks game he’s not had one signature performance all season. Who wants that as your max deal franchise player?

    Trade him if you can, or let him walk come the summer. Either way, don’t bring him back.

  41. Darius sorry I must have messed up the post. It was not trade speculation as no 2nd party was mentioned just the Lakers having an interest in talking to teams about Dwight. I brought it up 3 days ago and it was reported by Ramona S this afternoon. If I was a reporter I would be the lowest paid one in the history of media.

    Guess we will see if I dreamed it or heard it! Sometimes I am not sure.

  42. Chris J

    Thank You.

  43. .Again my sincere apology Darius. This was my prior post I foolish put on a different day. Need to stop posting while drinking Italian Wine at a friends Restaurant. Sorry.

    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!

  44. Darius, some of us were already aware that there are multiple issues. I don’t think that there is soul here and abroad who doesn’t know that. But that doesn’t mean that we cannot speak to single issue.

    Someone on that other thread wrote, what can we do, it’s a flawed roster. Indeed it is. And what you do is, make do with what you have, at least if you’re the coach. And as some said, and perhaps they might have thought of this before linking insane pieces for discussion purposes, but if the problem is 5-10/12/the end of the roster, and that means that Kobe has to go for 40+, and because Nash simply cannot hope to defend the ball, maybe, must maybe, the team might want to conserve energy by not playing an uptempo style. In other words, so you and another soul get the point, the singularly salient point here, what some of us have been saying all season, with respect to both this coach and the last coach, and the coach in the middle there, is that the problem was and is, coach isn’t giving a flawed roster the opportunity to perform at its best. So he isn’t making do with what he has. He’s instead Hitler asking von Paulus to hold onto Stalingrad, and we all know how that ended.

    And we saw your and the other fellow’s staggered crew yesterday, there in the 4th, when Dwight sat down with 5 fouls. They got crushed late. Can you say, blowout late? That isn’t going to work. You are only multiplying the problem. What you instead ought to be doing, since for all intents and purposes, you are outnumbered, is concentrating your forces in an armored fist and using your brigade as a concentrated armored fist to punch holes in the enemy division. So instead of spreading the talent, you concentrate it, and since conservation of energy is going to be a concern, you ditch the uptempo style.

    And since the team is out-manned, and in certain respects, the quality is deficient, we need to have a defensive scheme that does not allow the enemy to either attack our weakest point or attack us along a broad front. So, as in season’s past, we’re going to need to channel the enemy attack into what we are going to call, killing zones, where we can concentrate our defensive fire on the enemy attackers. And this season, we either need a change in command philosophy or a change in command, since not only are we not channeling some into killing zones, we do not even look like we have any defensive scheme at all. And that isn’t giving our out-manned and flawed unit the best chance to hold its position and otherwise stay alive on the battlefield.

    And the current field command also seems to have a problem in not recognizing talent. I mean, I simply find it impossible to believe that Private First Class Earl Clark was not doing these things in team scrimmages. And the report filtering up from the field is that another soldier, Staff Sgt. Metta World Peace, has said that Private Clark has been doing these things all season long in scrimmages, matter of fact, is the best player against the first unit in scrimmages. Hard for higher command, here us, to make any criticism of prior field command in this regard, at the time, i.e., back then, since we had no report on Private Clark and had no occasion to observe his performance in scrimmages. But now that we do, sure, it was also folly to not have Clark taking Jamison’s role from the beginning of season. But there’s no point now in critiquing the relieved of command General Brown in that respect, since it would serve no purpose. In other words, we are not being selective in our outrage, we are simply dealing with the brigade as we find it out now, but if you must note for the record, then note for the record that General Brown was singularly derelict in his duties for not fielding Private Earl Clark.

    And then there is the matter of the perception of the prior history of this man’s army. Some are saying that Captain Gasol and Major Bynum did not work well together in the same unit, but seems that they forget a certain 17-1 stretch during the brigade’s campaign of two seasons ago. Captain Gasol and Major Bynum were simply instrumental during that 17-1 campaign. And for more failure to comprehend or perhaps even to begin to complete our soldier efficiency reviews, or ERs, some have singularly failed to note that Captain Gasol earned his 2nd highest Soldier Efficiency Rating (PER) while with the brigade, during the brigade’s 10-11 campaign. Some claim to believe that SER/PER is all that, yet they blithely disregard the same and all of its implications when it suits their other purposes. They would be, if they ever found themselves in command, the destruction of this man’s army.

    But we’re seeing that now in any event, since the folks in actual field and higher command are just as clueless when it comes to command. No better illustration of this, than in the selection of General D’Antoni based on the needs of the not what he once was, and nearing retirement, Colonel Nash. You build and fight your army based on the whole army and the instruments of war at your disposal. You don’t select out Colonel Nash and say that we are going to fight this war according to his needs. And for where higher command failed, as a purely factual matter:

    Blake-Bryant-WorldPeace-Gasol-Howard 103 1.09 .94 33
    Nash-Bryant-WorldPeace-Gasol-Howard 116 1.17 1.09 20

    So the brigade functioned better with Colonel Blake running the outfit, and not in an uptempo style of operations. And presumably with a Major Howard who was in an earlier stage of his recovery and rehabilitation, for those few souls still offering the lame and without any proof whatsoever claim that Major Howard’s current performance is somehow to injury to the exclusion of all explanations.

    And by the way, this performance review board would like to know, does field command, and higher command, expect Colonel Blake to run the same uptempo style, or are we expecting the same brigade to run two different schemes? Or are we expecting, or setting up, Colonel Blake for failure, as he is singularly unsuited for this uptempo style of operations.

    And in addition to this uptempo style, seems to this performance review board that the current scheme of operations is tilted in favor of or preference to long-range sniping. However, it also appears to this review board that this brigade simply lacks the talent, the long range sniping ability, to make such a scheme effective. Witness yesterday’s battle and the performance from deep.

    Put most simply, why is field command asking the troops do what they simply cannot do? While the Great Squad Leader In The Sky, flying above the battlefield in his helo might want the troops to move faster, given that the troops are moving across the terrain in a nearly waist high rice paddy mud, all the yelling and ranting from on high isn’t going to matter since it is not physically possible for the troops to move any faster in the rice paddy mud. And thank you, late Colonel Dave Hackworth, for bringing your experience in Viet Nam to bear on the matter here, and the board appreciates your choice of phrasing, to wit, Great Squad Leader In The Sky.

    And Colonel Hackworth, another member of the performance review board would like to thank you for another of your submissions to the board, since the board member’s position was and is that the brigade is an extension of its commander. And so as you submitted to the board:

    They weren’t exactly carbon copies of their Old Man, but they’d developed a certain style, I guess it could be called, from me. If a trooper likes his CO and the CO wears his hat at a bit of an angle, the trooper starts wearing his hat like that, too. If the CO acts cocky, confident, and sure of himself, so do the boys.

    And now the board has a question:

    “This team doesn’t look like they know how to win.”

    And so the board would like to know, just whose fault is that? Wouldn’t by any chance be the same person who also doesn’t know how to handle Captain Gasol in any way, shape, manner or form?

    You make do with what you have. And you try to have in command someone who both understands that and also what he has, to specify but the two considerations. He might also think of troop morale, since even though he’s wrong about the role of Captain Gasol, he might have otherwise handled the reassignment much better, i.e., instead of saying that Captain Gasol was being demoted, he might instead have said, we have a need to leaven our 2nd unit with some seasoned, stud, superstar. Accordingly, I have relieved Captain Gasol of his duties with the 1st unit and assigned him to act as seasoned stud superstar of the 2nd unit. I have done so with deep regret, but the fact is, without Captain Gasol’s relief and reassignment, this brigade has no hope of winning the war.

    Sounds much better, yes? The nitwit might try that next time.

    Which brings the performance review board to the matter of combat training, and the story of PFC Lump Lump, which is follows:

    After WWII, a boy named Willie Lump Lump enlisted in the Army. He went to Fort Benning to take his infantry training, sixteen weeks of sweat and tears and lots of punishment, to turn him into a hardened soldier. Along about the seventh week of training, a sergeant stood up in front of his class and said, “Gentlemen, I’m Sergeant Slasher, and today I’m going to introduce you to the bayonet. On guard! With that, the sergeant went into the correct stance for holding the bayonet. “On the battlefield,” he continued, ‘you will meet the enemy, and there will be times when you will need this bayonet to defeat the enemy. To KILL the enemy! Over the next weeks you’ll be receiving a twenty-hour block of instruction on the bayonet, and I will be your principal instructor.”

    Willie Lump Lump went back to the barracks, deeply upset. Man, that was so brutal out there today, he thought. The war is over. We’re living in peace and tranquillity, and still the Army is teaching us how to use these horrible weapons! “Dear Mom,” he wrote home. “Today the sergeant told me he’s going to teach me how to use the bayonet to kill enemy soldiers on the battlefield.’

    Willie’s mother was shocked. She got right on the phone: “Hello, Congressman DoGood? This is Mrs. Lump Lump. I want to tell you what’s happening down at Fort Benning, Georgia. Here it is, 1949, and they’re teaching my baby to kill with a bayonet. It’s uncivilized! It’s barbaric!”

    The Congressman immediately got on the horn. “Hello, General Playitright at the Pentagon? This is Congressman DoGood. I understand the Army is still giving bayonet training.”

    “Yes, we are.”

    “Do you think it’s a good idea? I don’t think it’s a very good thing at all. It’s even somewhat uncivilized. I mean, really, how many times does a soldier need his bayonet?”

    “Not very often, sir, it’s true. Actually, I was just reviewing the Army Training Program myself, and I was thinking that the bayonet is a pretty obsolete weapon. I agree with you. I’ll put out instructions that it’s going to stop…”

    The next day, seven hundred miles away: “Gentlemen, I am Sergeant Slasher. This is your second class on bayonet training–” the sergeant was interrupted by a lieutenant walking purposefully toward his across the training field. “Stand easy, men.”

    “It’s out,” the lieutenant whispered.

    “What!” said the sergeant.

    “It’s out,” the lieutenant whispered again. The sergeant nodded, his mouth wide open in disbelief. He returned to his class.

    “Gentlemen, we’ll have to break here. It looks as if bayonet training has been discontinued in the Army.

    A year later, PFC Lump Lump, the model soldier, deployed to Korea with the 1st battalion, 23rd Regiment, 2nd infantry Division. He was standing on a frozen hill and the Chinese were coming it him–wave after wave after wave. Willie stood like a rock. Resolutely, he shot the enemy down. Suddenly he realized he was out of ammunition. He looked at his belt–not a round left. He saw a Chinaman rushing toward his. He remembered the first class on bayonet training. He reached down and pulled his bayonet out of his scabbard. Shaking and fumbling, he tried to fit it on the end of his weapon, but by that time the Chinese soldier was standing over him, with a bayonet of his own.

    The Secretary of the Army signed his thousandth letter for the day: “Dear Mrs. Lump Lump; It is with deep regret that I must inform you that your son, PFC Lump Lump, was killed in action 27 November 1950.”

    Heartbroken, Mrs. Lump Lump wrote to some friends of young Willie’s in the company. “How?” she asked. “Why???” “Willie wasn’t trained,” they wrote back. ‘He didn’t know how to use his bayonet.” Now Mrs. Lump Lump was not only heartbroken, but outraged. She didn’t even bother to call Congressman DoGood. She barged right into his office.

    “Why?” she cried and screamed. “Why wasn’t my son trained for war?”

    And so, sure, Mrs. Lump Lump didn’t know jack about training for soldiers for war, likely neither did Congressman DoGood, and so they both should have just shut the f up and let the army train PFC Lump Lump. But the real failing was with General Playitright, who didn’t stand in the door, as they say in the army, and insist on the necessity and bayonet training. Here that is the failure to assure that Major Howard is trained for his war. They could start by having scrimmages, and every time he’s in the post with the ball low, ready and waiting to be stripped, a whistle, and a reminder to keep the ball, as special adviser to the brigade, Mr. Stu Lantz, has been recommending and urging on a repeated basis. Perhaps then, Major Howard wouldn’t be 2-5 with 4 TO. And maybe if he wasn’t so inclined to be stripped of the ball in the post, some could trust giving him the ball in the post, and then he wouldn’t be griping about touches.

    And related to that, since someone mentioned that blithering idiot who goes by the name of Kerr, he’s been disgracing Irish stock of late, by the way, but anyway, the blithering idiot thinks that Major Howard’s inability to make his FT at some acceptable rate on a consistent basis, is all mental. No. As the board has noted before, Major Howard does not even have the same FT motion that he did during his rookie season, which was the season of his best performance at the FT line. Instead, that fluid motion has been replaced by a motion that has him breaking his wrists at the outset and not the end, and if anyone and everyone with eyes to see will note this next battle against Memphis, when Major Howard shoots FT, his arms always end in a “V shape. Do your arms end in a V shape when you shoot FT? Or do they wind up relatively straight owing to your follow through? And so the reason why Major Howard is 50% or so from the line is simply and only because with that V shape and not the prototypical follow through, he simply cannot keep and maintain a consistent release point.

    You’d think that one of these nitwits would have watched a baseball game and heard the commentary when the pitcher is inconsistent in hitting his spots, with the commentary being, he isn’t keeping and maintaining his release point.. And why is that? Because he’s mental, or because his mechanics are of whack, say, he’s dropping his shoulder? And works for hitting too. And so I’ve never heard coach say, Jebus, lad, but you are the mental case. Instead coach has said, you are opening your hips too soon.

    So my only question was, is and unless something changes, will remain so until Major Howard is either retired or on some other team, why is no one addressing the breaking of his wrists early, and the arms ending a V shape instead of the prototypical follow through. And for the misinformed and/or misguided, Shaq had excuse. He broke one or both wrists, cannot recall which, during his youth, and owing to how the injury healed, he was simply not capable of rolling his wrist(s) in the usual fashion. So Shaq had an excuse. Dwight appears to have none. And so you folks get the point, watch not only Dwight shooting FT, but also Kobe and Nash. Kobe and Nash look nearly alike while Dwight ends in that horrible V shape. And the continued horrible V is all on the coaching staff, no ifs, ands or buts, about that.

    And I’ve said this before, so why not again, but the reason why your youth coach taught you to bend your legs, was because it is your legs that are supposed to be providing the power for the shot. All in one fluid motion, with the power generated by your legs straightening simply rolling on up the body in one fluid motion. For the very same reason, is why, although the use of seat belts saves lives, keeping you in the car, and not hitting your chest against the steering wheel, the incidence of what we call whiplash rises with seat belt use as your head and neck are not restrained and so that forward momentum now restrained by the belt across your shoulder(s) simply moves on up through your neck and head (and since you’re restrained from the shoulder down, your neck and head move forward, but can only go so far, and so move back, and so we have what is more properly called, a cervical acceleration-deceleration injury). Is also why, if you’ve ever seen accident simulation footage, when you don’t have the race car belt(s), so over both shoulders, but instead only over the one shoulder, your body, on a rear end or front end impact, will slide out from under the belt in the direction of the shoulder that is not restrained. We do not usually not experience that phenomenon, as we are driving at slower velocities. But you get the velocity high enough, and you see it on the film of our crash test dummy there.

    And so I cringe whenever Dwight steps to the line, thoughI don’t really cringe, and contrary to what Darius apparently thinks, I’m not venting here. I am more in line with Darius’ last guideline than even he is. This is basketball for heaven’s sake. So when I say, nitwit, that’s just my way of saying, and unthinking, uncomprehending course of action, and there isn’t any anger, bitterness or rancor involved. And if I was saying to his face, I wouldn’t use “nitwit”, but instead I’d say, I take no pleasure in saying this, Sir, but it seems to me that your approach in certain respects, that I will detail shortly, appears to be unthinking and uncomprehending. And he can translate that as “nitwit” if he likes. The mere fact that I offer a constructive criticism might otherwise serve to tell him that the idea here is building up and not simply insult and tearing down. And he’ll have to forgive me, but unlike Mr. Actuarially Unsound over on SS&R, who posted on the post-game thread over thre, the comment that the solution to Dwight’s being stripped of the ball is 4 perimeter shooters, so he won’t be subject to a help defender who will strip the ball, well, let me interrupt, since that notion is simply absurd and insane, to suggest that the team go with a 4 perimeter shooters approach as the means to avoid Howard being stripped of the ball, but that now said, the far easier solution, and for why the nitwit, this isn’t the first season of the in game commentary wherein Stu has remarked that you avoid having the ball stripped by holding the ball high. So my only question is, going back to Darius’ “This team doesn’t look like they know how to win”, is there any evidence whatsoever that anyone on this coaching staff has worked with Dwight so as to get him to keep the ball high? If they haven’t, and there is zero evidence to date that they have, then they are simply nitwits. Since the youth league coach told one and all to keep the ball high. And he and/or she wasn’t earning a cool 3-4 mil a season, so what’s General D’Antoni’s excuse?

    And now well and truly lastly, none of this, so none of the above, is offered to say, do this, that and the other thing and this team wins the title. No. Do this, that and the other thing and you give this flawed team its best chance, whatever chance that is, to win the title. And it would be just great is the editorial staff of this site could grasp, for even a moment, that singular distinction. And how that’s for not meaning to throw water on your OP? And don’t forget that turnabout is fair play. And this post, well, the folks on the one Irish politics site would call it a “flounce”, which means that I’m getting the f out of Dodge, since this just basketball, and when we’re at the point that some can’t see that all some of us are saying is, give this flawed team it’s best chance, well, then what’s the point? And you can add a fellow posting a link, he says, for the purpose of discussion, and then he claims that he didn’t mean to say, “Look at this!”. Those statements are entirely contradictory. And my two year old doesn’t act like that, though she has learned that humans have minds, and that minds can be manipulated, so she’s sure to be more fun now, God bless her. And I can excuse her, for the attempts at manipulation, since unlike some here, she’s only two years old. And, besides, rather more entertaining and intriguing than this disaster of a basketball team, and the discussions here pertaining to the same, well, there is the related matter with the two year old, since, inquiring minds want to know, now that she’s grasped the fact that humans have minds that can be manipulated, when will she realize that I, in turn, can try and manipulate hers? She doesn’t seem to have yet grasped that it works both ways. This is going to prove roundly entertaining. Infinitely more entertaining than discussing a team that refuses to fix Major Howard’s flawed FT mechanics and also work with him on keeping the ball high in the post, so as to avoid being stripped of the ball, both so as to give a flawed team its best chance of winning. In other words, the two year old is intriguing and entertaining and a bundle of joy. Discussing this train wreck of a team, in this context, in marked contrast, requires one to be a glutton for punishment, and that’s just not me.

    Oh, and Robert, keep track of Kobe’s missed FGA, since if nothing else, we both know that Celts fans, and, yes, even MJ fans, will never let Kobe and his fans hear the end of it when Kobe eventually passes Havlicek for the all-time lead in missed FGA. So keep track, and begin to steel yourself for the onslaught that will surely come. And just between you and me, this isn’t really a flounce, meaning that I am outta here, but there is no annoyance or impatience, but entirely instead, what’s the point? You come here, address a single premise in a single piece, and somehow is claimed that you were saying, when you never said, that if only we fixed this one thing, then all would be magically well. Again, what’s the point of being here for that? None whatsoever that I can see.

  45. Oh man, never watched the Dwight Howard – Stan van Gundy interview… man. That is so freaking awkward.

    Stan says: “The only thing I am ever uncomfortable with is bull****. To come in and no comment, or deny that it’s true.”

    Then Dwight comes in and puts his arm around him… I don’t think we put all the blame on Howard for this season. He did fight back early and suited up every night. But if Nash cannot get more out of Howard, then I think FO should see what else they can get for him.

  46. I’d resist trading DH12 until his back is 100%, unless you can use him as a ‘chip’ to also have other teams take on bad contracts like Kobe’s, if he’s willing to waive his no-trade, and Gasol. Even if taking on Gasol would help a team, I doubt any team would do it for two reasons. One is because they’re the Lakers, and there are teams that are really enjoying the Lakers lack of success, like Cuban. So they don’t want to do anything to help the Lakers. Then there are guys like Gilbert, who loves the fact that the Lakers are going to have to pay a $30M luxury tax this year, and a potential $75M luxury tax next year, because that’s more $ coming to him. He even said so himself when he led the charge to block the CP3 for Gasol and Odom trade. Not only would that have been a huge upgrade for the Lakers, but that would have saved the Lakers major $. DH12, with the right coach, who can show him how to be a leader, how to play the ‘right way’, can be a top 1-3 player again. Trading him now would be selling a stock at almost rock bottom price. You don’t want to let him go now, unless you can at least get something else, like cap and luxury tax relief, in return as well.

  47. Darius, welcome to the Dark Side.

    You have always tried to stay upbeat and give those on the team and in the FO/management the benefit of the doubt over this past while and in a way it was a nice to hear someone still talking about the season in a positive light compared to what the majority of us have been reacting to this horrible horrible season.

    Dwightmare is happening – I expected it to happen when we didnt go with the triangle and Phil – a coach that we and specifically Howard wanted to play for, not Dantoni and now it is rearing its ugly head. If we lose Dwight for nothing – its back to the stone ages for us as we will need to bottom out OKC style to get the level of star talent we would need to compete.

    Not sure if this will work/count as a reputable source but Bill Simmons Twitter account is both interesting to read in that a known Laker hater is feeling sorry for us and s dumbfounded by Dantoni who was once someone he and the rest of us held in high regard – as well as mentioning a trade that I think could actually turn our for the better if Howard is looking to walk but I would add that we would also need to switch PGs or add picks as Nash is done.

    Ill include the link and wont mention specifics but it wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen – Dwight leaving on his own with no compensation or the Lebron/Bosh type compensation that Cleveland and Toronto got would be way worse.

    https://twitter.com/BillSimmons

    As a side note looks like Dantoni might just have been given the kiss of death

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/8871522/mitch-kupchak-los-angeles-lakers-says-team-problem-effort-not-mike-dantoni

  48. Kupchak weighs in on the disaster:

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/8871522/mitch-kupchak-los-angeles-lakers-says-team-problem-effort-not-mike-dantoni

    Money quotes:

    “Without a doubt, we have utmost confidence in Mike (D’Antoni) as a coach,” Kupchak told ESPNLosAngeles.com in a phone interview Tuesday from Memphis. “I think if you spoke to him, his vision on Day 1 was dramatically different than it is today. It’s the coach’s job to adjust and to make changes. Sometimes a player is just not going to fit. Sometimes a coach has to make changes and compromise in the way he’s done things and I think that’s what Mike is going through right now is just the process.”

    “It’s not like we don’t have a player at a certain position and if we added a player — an eighth guy or a ninth guy — all of the sudden our record is going to go from 17 and whatever it is to 30-11. That’s not going to happen by adding a bench shooter or a defensive player. You know what I mean? That’s not going to happen. We’re underachieving for other reasons, not because we’re missing a bench player.”
    —-

    I like Mitch, but it would still be nice to have a bench shooter and a defensive player.

  49. One more:

    “I’m a little bit concerned about our effort,” Kupchak said. “I’d like to see better effort on the court. When the ball is not bouncing your way, when shots aren’t going in, you just can’t seem to get a break, the one thing you can control on the court is your effort and loose balls and running the floor, defending, offensive rebounding. I think back to the Miami game and I have that vision of LeBron (James) diving on that ball at midcourt.”

  50. If it were Jim Buss saying that he has confidence in D’Antoni, then I’d think D’Antoni is on his way out, but it looks like it’s going to be 1-2 more years of this.

    The effort isn’t there. That’s definite. Is that something that can be changed in a player? There are high energy guys like Fareed who bring it on every play, and guys like Odom, who often took a night off. Maybe lack of effort is something that can’t be coached away. I didn’t believe this, because Pat Riley coached teams seemed to always play with intensity, but maybe he just happened to have the right players.

    Or it maybe that due to constantly losing, they’ve just given up.

    Either way, win or lose, you just hate seeing players just going through the motions, pointing at others to grab the rebound, etc.

  51. Lakers 17

    Ok so then what. Dwight is the most valuable chip. Think anyone wants Metta, Jamison, Meeks, Ebanks, Pau? Dwight will not resign here. Lakers were his 3rd choice. No way he can co-exist with Kobe. Dwight thinks he is much better, smarter, funnier then he is. Do you as a fan want to watch him get stripped 5 times a game, get called for illegal screens and goal tending calls every game and brick free throws for the next 3 years? Hardly must see TV.

    Expect Gasol to have a good game tomorrow. The one who plays for Memphis!

  52. Dwight is a defensive monster for sure but very limited offensively.It is virtually impossible to dump all balls inside and wait for him to fumble and stumble for a shot.I wish this worked but he is fluctuating like third world currency.
    However,most blazing thing is Stern and refs have shut down all doors after TimD travesty right or wrong.Nobody can buy a call or get any benefit of doubt whatsoever. I have seen LBJ go for a 5 game foul-free streak,KD back to back 21 FT s,James H walk his way through entire game and not get called.This is deep and hopeless.

  53. Until some articles today it seems like Howard has been getting a free pass for the season. I understand he’s coming off of a big surgery but he is begging to be a post player when he simply isn’t. Howard hasn’t shown any back to the basket center skills his entire career yet is still demanding to play like one. Statistically he is one of the most efficient pnr players, playing with arguably the best pnr PG, with a coach who’s whole plan revolves around pnr and yet he refuses to play in the system. This sounds crazy but I would welcome a trade for someone less selfish if this is the Howard LA will be stuck with.

  54. I am not a pessimist nor too much of an optimist, I’ll just say I’m a realist who has dreams. In this episode, much to my own dislike, it talks of Dwight leaving for better pieces instead.

    WHAT? WWL retracting his trade Pau stance?!

    In all seriousness, it could be just a day… a week or so… but some sort of fever has hit me over the past couple of days. Why not trade Dwight?

    Let me contradict myself for an instance and just allow a little dream to enter. Suppose you trade Dwight to a destination that would: 1) make him happy enough to re-sign; 2) can provide us with pieces that we could support Kobe, Pau and Nash. Again, this is not a lucid interval of sorts, just an idea I was entertaining.

    For all that Dwight is and is not, if he could command significant value that can bring back: 1) potential uncovered franchise-level talent 2) pieces that fit better 3) allow us to compete next season; and 4) allow us to restructure our payroll in a manner where we keep our 2014 hopes alive.

    Would you?

  55. Re: Bench Shooter and Defensive Player?

    The Lakers have a “Bench Shooter” in Jodie Meeks, and a “Defensive Player” (potentially) in Devin Ebanks. Why these two languish on the bench and don’t at least play 15-20 minutes a game, giving Kobe and Ron a break, is beyond me.

    Why sign Meeks, why re-sign Ebanks, if you aren’t going to give them a legitimate shot to contribute?

    Can’t be worse than what we’re currently seeing …

  56. I’m usually on top of CBA-related provisions but I’m too lazy to look this one up:

    Is it true that Dwight Howard cannot be signed-and-traded next season?

    If someone has the info, plus the link, I would appreciate it.

  57. Also:

    If anyone can play in D’antoni’s system, I would think it would be young guys like Meeks and Ebanks.

    Can we get a lineup of Nash, Meeks, Ebanks, Clark, and Gasol out there for a stretch? I’d like to see it for a few minutes, especially if they threw that lineup out there a few games in a row. I think it would be pretty solid. Or throw in Darius Morris for a spell, if you want to really go young – with Gasol as the anchor in the post, and the pick-and-pop.

    DO IT!!!! :)

  58. Warren:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/CBA-111128/how-new-nba-deal-compares-last-one

    “Taxpaying teams have a smaller midlevel exception, can acquire less salary in trade, and cannot use the biannual exception. Starting in 2013-14, teams more than $4 million above the tax level cannot receive a player in a sign-and-trade transaction.”

    http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q89

    Seems to me – on a quick read – that the restriction is on the team receiving the S&T player. Is there a restriction on the teams sending out the player as well? Not sure, as I haven’t fully gone through the FAQ.

  59. Thanks Snoopy, I read that too. The restriction is for teams like us (taxpayers) to receive, but nothing says about us not being able to s&t Dwight if need be.

  60. Darius, all of a sudden we’re hearing “a lot” of speculation about Howard being traded, with Brooklyn being a possible landing spot as per Chris Broussard, among others, this morning on ESPN’s Mike & Mike.

    When this issue was brought up by me and others previously on this site, “IF” I remember correctly, we were told, based on NBA rules pertaining to trades, L. A. & Brooklyn could not make a trade involving Howard & Lopez.

    So my question, theoretically, can Howard be traded to the Nets for Lopez?

  61. ^ I guess I just misread it the previous time that it disables us to use the sign-and-trade provision… I guess we can’t just be on the receiving end.

  62. Big City Sid, yes.

    At that time, there was the January 15 restriction with regards to Brook Lopez. Now, everyone in the league (except only for those claimed via amnesty waivers) are free to be traded. Oh and Kobe and Pierce and Dirk too who own active no-trade clauses.

  63. If Howard gets traded, I believe he will play better or at least start looking better. The majority of NBA teams have what the Lakers don’t, a fast PG who is able to drive the lane hard and collapse defenses. That’s what Jameer Nelson was/is at Orlando. Thats what Barea was and Terry sort of was for Dallas that Made Chandler look good (offensively). Thats what Paul and Bledsoe are for the Clippers making Jordan look good. Howard, Chandler and Jordan are the same type of center, all D and very limited O.
    I said this a few weeks back, but since Nash came back the only player he really gets the rock to is Gasol, Howard and Kobe. Metta’s and Meek’s game have suffered majorly since Nash came back.
    System this system that, all mumbo-jumbo. Almost all offenses consist of the PG driving the lane and kickng out.

  64. Excellent analysis. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and they just don’t work. Things happen fast in sports, and it seems age has finally caught up to Kobe a little and Dwight has not fully recovered. I thought if those two were dominant, It would lead the way for the rest Of the team. Hasn’t worked that way.

  65. Howard doesnt know how to set a pick properly or roll properly. his hand suck. he can catch lobs..not pocket passes..which is what nash lovesto do

    Players just dont compliment each other..effort helps but is deflating when you know you dont fit

  66. Yep its true. Howard is on his way out! BYEEEE BYEEEEEEE DWIGHT!

  67. According to Kenny Smith: a system is for guys who can’t play. So they know where to go to.

    I so agree.

  68. Trading Howard won’t make Kobe any better on defense. It surely won’t make Nash better on defense. Trading Howard won’t give MWP faster feet. We have to be careful here and avoid pinning all of the Lakers woes onto Dwight’s uninspired play. LA’s front court has issues. But when the Lakers take the floor against Memphis tonight they will be at a decided speed disadvantage athletically on the wings. That is their biggest problem. And unless a Howard trade nets a bona fide, in his prime, wing presence then it is for naught.

  69. the ding article is not balanced. kobe and pau both are as responsible as dwight. they certainly aren’t as immature as dwight to walk around the locker room with a stat sheet. If only pau’s ego was as big on the court as it is off the court, he’d look like that guy who played for spain this summer. And if kobe put a little more work on defense earlier in the year, it might have encouraged others to work harder and we would have a few more wins. kobe says he leads by example, so he should take ownership for the lousy defense we’ve had this year.

  70. Trianglefan: I think pau has handlrd everything well. Getting traded, injuries, benching and being demoted to being 4th option. Has played better than dwight last 2 games and harder. Obvious limitations on defense but he’s been a pro after being treated like crap last few years.

    If dwight was as offensively skilled as phoenix amare he would be a force. If he had bynum’s post moves he’d get more post touches. But he’s not center size and is moving like elden campbell. His offensive limitations really hurt his chance to be great in this system.

    Looks like mitch has made it known d’antoni is staying onus is on the players. Agree with t. Rogers about the defense but that’s where schemes come in. All d’antoni’s flaws are on defense and adjustments. Hope clifford or person can start earning their checks.

  71. Howard may not be a #1 franchise guy. But I know he can be an integral part of a championship team. Sending him off because he doesn’t mesh with D’Antoni’s approach seems backward. What has D’Antoni accomplished to warrant sending off quality players?

    The Lakers are quickly going from the model organization to the laughing stock of the league. And I mean that seriously. Shaw gave up on a head coaching opportunity in 2010 because he was all but assured he would succeed Phil. But the Lakers went with Mike Brown. Everyone knew Mike Brown was a bad hire.Then they shipped Fisher out of town because he didn’t mesh with Brown. But they turned around and sacked Brown. I bet they could use Derek’s mediating skills in the locker room right now. And there was the whole fiasco with Phil and D’Antoni. Now they are ready to trade Dwight Howard because he doesn’t like D’Antoni’s system. They were ready to Gasol for the same reason. It’s like one bad misstep after another.

  72. Every team minus the thunder start with the pick and roll/pop…we cant defend it…kobe starts roaming the lane and that gives up back doors and threes

    It starts at the top…we cant stop any point guard and putting kobe on the point guard tires him out.

    When bickerstaff was coaching(or not coaching)
    They somehow managed to look like a team that had a plan

    What changed?

  73. We’re in somewhat of a hole actually, wasn’t the deal to bring D12 over.. Show him a championship winning culture, learn from the likes of Kobe & Nash on how to lead a team and eventually challenge for a title THIS year.

    We’ve looked woefully out of sorts, D12 hasn’t helped his cause. Although I don’t want to totally put this on him, he did have major surgery on his back after all.

    Again, Lakers would be fools not to think about trading him at this point given what’s happened in this short season so far. If he wasn’t sure whether or not he was going to sign-on with the Lakers, what do you think he thinks now?

    This might be the reason why the FO won’t let go of Pau, he’s our insurance should D12 really bolt.

    I know good C’s in the NBA are RARE..Going forward do we need a C? Especially when the one we do have is limited in his play and seems to want a whole system built around his prowess.

    I was all for D12 coming to the Lakers, after the season so far I’m seriously thinking if he really is a franchise star. I wouldn’t go as far as saying what Shaq has said about him, but is he really a great player? He’s extremely limited in what he does and do we really want him for the foreseeable future (5+ years)

  74. Gilbert Francis January 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    The Lakers need an old Boston Celtics K.C. Jones coaching style for the team they have. Not a run and gun basketball; the Lakers can frustrate young opponents by slowing down the game half court defense which will save the legs of the slower old players.

  75. Andrew Andrekopoulos January 24, 2013 at 11:43 am

    One word is destroying this team………..EGO