Wednesday Storylines

Darius Soriano —  January 23, 2013

Normally, when the Lakers are, you know, good at playing basketball, I like to call this period of the year the “silly season”. It’s that period of about 4 weeks before the trade deadline when rumors of trades start to pop up, guys are supposedly “being shopped”, and fans get quite thirsty about how the Lakers can go from being one of the the top teams to the top team with a trade where Mitch Kupchak fleeces an opposing GM by acquiring their best player for one of those limited edition gold coins they sell on late night TV. Like I said, silly.

This year, however, the Lakers have not been, you know, good at playing basketball. They’ve been bad. Twelfth in the conference bad, more multiple game losing streaks than winning streaks bad. And with their current predicament, ideas of change start to seem less…silly. The Lakers have already canned one head coach this year as proof of their commitment to trying to get it right. Of course, it’s debatable they actually did get it right and that leads us into our links for the day…

Every year there’s a certain amount of drama that comes with the Lakers. Most years, that drama could be (at least somewhat) written off due to the stature of the team and where they stood in the standings. This year, however, things are different in that regard. Whether or not the drama endures remains to be seen. Winning will start to push some of the noise to the background and allow this team to refocus on larger goals. Winning, though, hasn’t come easy.

It’s important to continue to look at the big picture. Based off the reading above, the Lakers brass continues to do so. Every good plan has contingencies built in. Those side routes are normally only taken when the plan that was in place has gone totally awry. As of now, the organization seems to feel there is still a chance of recovery this season. We’ll see if that mindset changes in the near future and those contingencies are acted upon.

Darius Soriano

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  1. Damn you Darius, everyone time I post you seem to have a new topic up! Reposting what I posted in the other one.

    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)


  2. It isn’t just that Dwight has a bad back and the team around him isn’t that great. HE is not that great. He is nothing more than a big man with athletic skills. The guy has no post game whatsoever. He could do nothing against Noah, a guy he is bigger and stronger than. With that said, he is still an upgrade from Bynum and an allstar center. But he is no franchise player. He is not someone you build your team around. I think the Lakers would be better to try and trade him for some wing shooters who can also defend.


  3. “It’s important to continue to look at the big picture. Based off the reading above, the Lakers brass continues to do so.”

    Is this the same brass who got what some claim are incompatible pieces, a coach with a scheme that fits neither the talent nor the age of the team, and have gifted the team and the fans with a bench that is progressively worse season by season? By the way, that’s the big picture. At least if you buy into the incompatible pieces meme.

    And this might have clued in one and all:

    Kupchak said when he and Buss looked at the roster, the coaches available and the vision they had for a team with Steve Nash and Dwight Howard on it, D’Antoni’s style was a better fit for the way they wanted to play “a year or two down the road.”

    And not this season. And do want to know how insanely stupid the brass has been? Who was competing for D’Antoni’s services? No one. Was the coach even physically able to perform the job when hired? No. Pretty much says it all, really.

    And did you grasp the significance of what I posted prior:

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

    So they weren’t exactly an offensive mess under Brown. Defense and defensive effort was the problem then. It is still the problem now. Along with a poor bench. How does hiring D’Antoni change any of that? It won’t and so it hasn’t.

    And, again, Pau’s 2nd highest PER as a Laker was 2010-11. That was the season with the 17-1 stretch, with him and Bynum on the court for it all. This might interest some as well, from their last title season:

    Fisher-Bryant-Artest-Gasol-Bynum 668 1.15 1.03 155
    Fisher-Bryant-Artest-Odom-Gasol 432 1.09 1.05 36

    So they were both a better offensive and defensive team with both Pau and Andrew on the floor. But some are right, not even the great Phil Jackson could meld Andrew and Pau. Not.

    And it ain’t rocket science there fella. If you need to play your aged starters for 40+ because you don’t have a bench worth speaking of, would seem obvious that to conserve energy you might want to slow down the tempo just a tad. Instead, we’ve seen the tempo increase. That’s why Nash has not been the anticipated savior of the team. Well, that and the fact, that while he may be an O upgrade in comparison to Duhon and Morris, his defense is singularly deficient. Which brings me to…

    Lastly, sticking with defense, not only is it obvious that the team has no defensive scheme to speak of, as there is simply none to be observed, the mere fact that the remedy to the defensive woes was and maybe still is to put Kobe on the ball means that there was no defensive scheme to speak of. And so the team doesn’t even have one now. Just put Kobe on the ball. Helluva scheme there… And a move, as related, that is only for the purpose of covering for a PG who cannot guard his own shadow. The human in question is otherwise overrated. Seem the Wikipedia piece on the flaws in PER, one of which is volume scoring. The other of which, not mentioned, is the same, volume assists. So he’s always been overrated, since his numbers have always been inflated by their pace.

    Almost forgot, but from a Bill Simmons piece, everybody’s favorite sports writer:

    Of course, SSOL also happens to be the reverse acronym for LOSS. D’Antoni’s Phoenix teams were wildly entertaining, consistently successful—and always heading home before the Finals. D’Antoni didn’t care that just about every NBA champ since the 1988-89 Pistons had won with defense; once teams slowed the Suns’ tempo and systematically broke them down, their lack of commitment to D always surfaced. Always. They had a fatal flaw. It took us four years to realize it.
    Look, I love watching Nash and I remain grateful that he helped make the NBA entertaining again. But there are two objectives in basketball (score and defend) and over the years he was exploited defensively more times than Lindsay Lohan. That meant we were voting a DH as MVP. Twice. I voted for Shaq in 2005 and Kobe in 2006—well, in my mind I did—and Nash didn’t make my top four either year.

    For one more, Jalen Rose (courtesy of ESPN True Hoops):

    Jalen Rose was on that Suns team, which he brought up after I asked him about Rick Carlisle, whom Rose once played for:

    He made sure we ran hard at shootaround. He made sure we broke a sweat. He made sure we’re prepared for the other team’s sets. We knew if we were doubling the post. We knew how we were playing pick and roll. Are we hedging on this player, going under on that one. Are we double-teaming? How are we going to play those down screens certain players are coming off ..
    We knew everything.

    Let me interrupt. What is the one critique of the team we hear and read concerning the D end? They look like they don’t know what they are doing. Now to continue:

    I played for the Phoenix Suns. 2007. My last season. [We were] playing against the San Antonio Spurs. And I remember us coming to our first practice before Game 1. And we brought it in. And we were excited about our playoffs getting started. And Coach D’Antoni put in some film. It was Steve behind the back. Amare slam dunk. Shawn Marion with the block. Raja Bell with the charge. It was a highlight film of our team. They have showed me making a shot on there, and I was barely even playing.

    So after that he [w]as like all right, we’re going to run and down, go through our set plays and whatnot, and we’re going to get out of here.

    And I looked at Kurt Thomas. I hit him with an elbow. I’m like hold on. I gotta say something.

    So I did my Arnold Horshack from “Welcome Back, Kotter.”

    I’m like “ooh, ooh, ooh, hey coach. I gotta ask a question. Are we going to talk about how we’re going to defend Tim Duncan on the post? Are we going to talk about Manu Ginobili in pick and roll? Keeping Tony Parker out of the paint?”

    He looked at me in front of the entire team and coaching staff and said: “We’re not worried about what they do. If we play to the best of our abilities, and do what we’re supposed to do, there is no way they can beat us. We don’t mind if Tim goes off. If Tim goes off, that means everybody else is quiet.”

    And that’s why there isn’t any defensive improvement and the only solution to date is to take a 34 year old Kobe, who is expected to play 40+ minutes, and stick him on the ball, thereby requiring him to use even more energy…

    But, yeah, the brass sees the big picture…


  4. I’m perplexed (not hard to do), but didn’t the Lakers KNOW that Dwight had a limited offensive game prior to trading our other young petulant center? Everyone in the league knows that Dwight’s game is predicated upon him being an athletic specimen. With back surgery did anyone really believe that he would be that athletic again? If his game was based on being bigger, stronger and jumping higher than others, did anyone not doubt that a back surgery would deplete those abilities to an extent? I am still of the opinion that Howard returned too soon. Had the Lakers forced him to stay out of the game to strengthen his back and work with Kareem on some post moves, they would have gotten more out of him. Instead, the Lakers allowed him to return too soon and missed a golden opportunity to help Dwight develop as a center. Had Howard started playing in January as slated the Lakers would probably have the same record, though they would have hope for the season going forward. At this juncture no one has any hope and the Lakers season is most likely lost. Add insult to injury the Lakers may not make the playoffs and have given away all of their draft picks which might have netted them a good player to add with the players in 2014 for the rebuild.


  5. Neil – totally agree on Dantoni’s inability to bond with the team

    Another link – – simmons and zach lowe discuss the state of the lakers

    Key line

    Simmons: I’m glad we finally got to Pau. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you’re a professional basketball coach and your system is telling you, “I should play Earl Clark more than Pau Gasol,” you need a new system.


  6. And another one …. just please read this article – im trying to not post the whole thing because it really is that good please read

    Simmons: You left out “And someone who shouldn’t be playing as much as Pau Gasol.” There are two types of coaches …

    1. A coach who looks at his players and says, “How can I put these guys in the best position for them to succeed?”

    2. A coach who looks at his players and says, “How can I use these guys to make my system succeed?”

    Now, think about the mind-set driving Coach No. 2: He’s basically saying, I’m here only because of my system. I can’t actually coach. If you give me the wrong players for my system, it doesn’t matter — I will keep using the system anyway, because Plan B would be coming up with a more inventive way to coach these guys. And I can’t do that. I’m not good enough. So if it’s OK with you, I’d like to go down in flames with my system.

    That’s what D’Antoni did in New York (cut to Knicks fans nodding vigorously), that’s what he’s doing with the Lakers right now, and that’s what he’ll be doing when he’s coaching the Minnesota Lynx in three years.


  7. Major moves have to be made. It’ll take an individual all day to list the litany of problems that we have, but, IMO, the main problem is team camaraderie. They don’t like each other, let alone, like playing with each/for one another. They being Kobe, Dwight and D’Antoni. Because of this, the losses will continue to amount and the fraction and division among the players will continue to escalate. Do remember the Shaq faction and the Kobe faction back in the days. While Phil (somewhat) moderated .. Kobe is Kobe (simple as that). D’Antoni, due to the early season termination of Brown, isn’t going anywhere (@ least this season). So who it boils down to is either Dwight or Pau (highly doubt if it’s both, unless the FO is really going nuclear). I believe it will be Dwight because we can harvest more back for him and because of the obvious, him walking this off season without us receiving any compensation. This is what occurs when your 2 Best Players, and the Coach, also carry the Biggest Ego’s.


  8. It’s simple to sit back and play armchair NBA fan and say that the Lakers made the wrong hires, but we all know that hindsight is 20/20. The fact of the matter is, they should not have traded for Dwight Howard without a contract extension. He is obviously not happy being in LA and preferred to be in Brooklyn from the get-go.


  9. Two things to consider as we discuss Dwight Howard:

    -Dwight never wanted to come to the Lakers. He stated it on more than a few occasions. Maybe all involved should have paid more attention.

    -Yes Dwight has bad hands, and what makes them look worst is because we (Laker fans) were use to seeing what Bynum did when he caught the ball in the low post.

    …just saying


  10. I’ve never forgotten that game in the Magic-Lakers finals where they fouled Dwight Howard and if he had made either of his free throws it would have iced the game. He didn’t, and the Lakers came back to win. That’s just one example of several flaws in his game we were all aware of before he joined the Lakers. And his health problems were also known — but unlike Bynum’s, they don’t keep him off the floor.

    He’ll probably look pretty good next year when he’s healed even more — wherever he is. I’m disappointed to see so many reports he isn’t playing all-out.


  11. “I have to do more for this team. There are a lot of responsibilities on my shoulders. I have to step up and take it. It has to be me. It has to start with me. I’m a guy that has to dominate for us to win. We’re not going to win unless I dominate.” — Dwight Howard, Jan. 23rd, 2013

    This statement is extremely true, and we see it. As good as Kobe has played most of the time this season, it’s just not enough.

    Is this the start of D-12 version 2?


  12. just fire mike brown and let bickerstaff take the keys.

    hell I’d even bring back mike brown as a defensive asst.


  13. Hey y’all – good thread, feel free to keep it going. But, also wanted to let you know there’s a new post up – it’s the preview and chat for tonight although not a traditional preview. It’s been a screwy season and I’m not sure that normalcy awaits around the bend.


  14. If Howard does not play hard for one of the most storied franchises in history, how does any other team take a chance on him playing all out for them? Dwight has to start playing for his maximum contract or he may not get it from any team.


  15. A new post up? Dang, that means I have to copy and repost my last comment, doesn’t it? Oh, it doesn’t?


  16. Braziman – yeah, it does actually, haha.