Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  April 5, 2013

So here we are, seven games to go, the home stretch!. It’s the same place we were on Wednesday except today’s Friday. Plus, it’s game day – tonight’s visitors to Staples are the Memphis Grizzlies, currently 5th in the west, with a 51 & 24 record, on a four-game win streak and trying to get into the top half of the bracket. The Lakers meanwhile are in 8th place, a half-game up on the Jazz. None of this should be a problem, right? Good. I didn’t think so either. Here’s some links:

Ramona Shelburne at ESPN writes about the difficult choices ahead for Lakers management. Thank you for the bright and happy news on a day when we are feeling supremely confident about the playoffs.

Patrick Michael for the Yahoo network looks at the possibility of New Orleans playing spoiler for those vying for the eighth and final spot in the west.

Brian Kamenetzky from the Land O’Lakers on Dwight Howard’s defensive numbers (along with a great embed from Drew at SS&R).

Drew Garrison for Silver Screen & Roll reports that Steve Nash won’t be suiting up tonight. Blame Drew – he’s the messenger.

Actuarially Sound for Silver Screen & Roll feels that the Lakers’ playoff hopes rest on Dwight’s shoulders.

Andrew Khatchaturian from Beyond the Final Score examines the idea that an overcrowding of star players has hindered the Lakers this season. This hopefully guarantees the win tonight since Nash and Metta are out.

Wait, hold on – Dave McMenamin from ESPN says Metta’s already off his crutches and excited about returning to action sooner than anticipated. Metta had knee surgery last week and was predicted to be out for six weeks. Mister Peace does not live by other people’s rules, man. It is on!

I didn’t find any new articles today about Kobe which could mean that he’s planning to go stealth tonight and annihilate the Grizzlies for daring to think they can come in here and pad their win streak on our backs. There was however a great piece by Darius yesterday about Kobe and off-ball defense.

Anyway. I haven’t had lunch yet and have a rending headache. Which may account for the sparse and loopy nature of today’s links post. So summation – Friday, top of the home stretch, we will enjoy a monumental and sustained run through the rest of the season and into the playoffs, stunning the sports world and assorted national media types who will quickly regroup and say they knew it all along. That is all.

Dave Murphy

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8 responses to Friday Forum

  1. HEY DAVE M……i mean hey dave m…….take two aspirins and join us after tonite’s game versus dem grizzlies from memphis is it?

    so chop liver’s thinking he’s the second coming of kobe bryant and any day soon he’ll be back traversing the hardwood along with the likes of howard, gasol and blake? hard to keep track of all these changes without flash cards. good for him i say and after all it’s the playoffs upcoming, damnit. at least we think and pray and hope our way into the playoffs that is.

    think maybe phil marches to this drummer..might help to soothe and/or drown out the head pain. will definitely put one to sleep fer sure.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfJHmDhLVRc

    happy friday.

    Go Lakers

  2. “They’re a game and a half behind the Clippers and trying to get into the top half of the bracket.” We are a game and a half AHEAD of the Clippers. Even if we end up in the 5 seed behind the Clippers, we’ll still probably have a better record, so we would get home court advantage anyway.

  3. @Grindhouse – like I said, I’ve got a headache. And am obviously blind as well. I stand corrected and will correct it. Thanks.

  4. Which skill set of Kobe’s is more apt to propel the Lakers into the playoffs and past the first round; defense, play-maker or offense? Because if he is required to play the entire game and do all three just to get a regular season game then it is unlikely that he’ll be as successful during the playoffs. Remember that’s when teams key in on a team’s deficiencies. How worn down will Kobe be in the playoffs when he is required to bring the ball up the court on every play under duress? Then guard the best offensive play in positions 1-3. Then score 20 points and set up every player on the team for baskets.

    Kobe is in an untenable position on this team, as no one else will be held responsible if the team fails. Dwight has not signed a long term contract with the Lakers and is playing his first season after back surgery. Nash is a new Laker and is 39-years-old. Pau just returned from injury, MWP is out, Blake has never been consistent enough to garner credibility, and the ‘Duke of Earl’ is a surprise for everyone. Kobe alone, even though he has bone spurs, has worn every hat on the team, and has played an incredible amount of minutes in order to get the 8th spot (still up in the air).

    I can’t even fathom the retirement of Kobe, a star so competitive that he denies himself a respite on the injured reserve list in order to heal. In the not too distant future, the next star in purple and gold will catch so much flack for being out for anything less than season ending surgery.

  5. Long response to Robert from previous thread:

    That category would be, what are the positives that MD brings to the table and why he is the correct man for the job?

    I don’t know that it is wise to frame it this way. You can never know, exactly, who the “correct man” for the job is. You can only go with whom you think is the best among the candidates.

    I linked the McMenamin piece because I think DM did a pretty good job with both sides. MDA inherited a tough situation on a number of levels:

    1. It would be much, much, much, easier for MDA if Phil had said: “I am happy hanging with Jeannie and looking at the beach.” Once Phil was in everybody’s head, MDA was going to have a rougher row to hoe. Your own attitude towards MDA and his supporters is a microcosm of the bigger issue there. The biggest issue is that Howard apparently wanted Phil as coach.
    2. All the usual–injuries, no camp etc.
    3. Same thing: roster. The Lakers have an old team, a center coming off back surgery, and the worst personnel in the NBA 9-12. Given that old guys often get hurt and miss time, this was, and we knew this going in, a dangerous combination.
    4. Roster construction: Kupchak added three weak defenders and two guys over the age of 35 to old, defensively suspect core. I endorsed Nash, but was lukewarn on Jamison and sort of
    a B-minus on Meeks. Kupchak obviously miscalculated to an extent. We have seen, with the addition of Clark to the rotation, that even a limited player with some youth and athleticism can help.

    That said, the reasons to hire MDA were simple:

    1. Nash
    2. Howard likes to have fun on the floor–he has said this over and over and over again. MDA/Nash is supposed to be NBA FunTown.
    3. Phil is pushing 70, has major orthopedic issues, and did not want to coach all the road games. MDA is 61 and had just had knee surgery, but he coached on a bum knee and got out there quickly.
    4. Nash is not a Triangle player. Maybe he could have adjusted; maybe not. But his dribble-heavy/low-D approach is 100% anti-Phil in terms of a PG. Given that the Lakers traded four draft picks to get him and gave him a three-year deal, it made some sense to bring his old coach and friend in.
    5. Phil is married to the Head Honcho’s younger sister. That, in and of itself, complicates matters, and you can make a good argument that it is, in and of itself, a reason not to hire Phil, particularly with the Old Man gone.

    All that said, McMenamin nailed the main issue with MDA: he did not adjust, and in some ways, has still not adjusted, to the realities of his personnel. It was very easy to see, for any reasonable observer, that the Lakers would have issues with speed and shooting trying to play D’Antoni ball and that playing a short rotation would be problematic. I myself couched my endorsement of the hire by saying that I thought MDA would adjust. In many ways, he has not.

    Looking ahead, I think it is about Howard. The Lakers have no choice but to offer Howard the max and hope that he stays. If Howard wants MDA gone, I would fire him, reagardless of whether the team finishes 8th or 9th. That is harsh, but it is the NBA.

    Finally, while I agree that Craig was out of line, as I have said, you made up your mind about MDA months ago, so although I decided to answer, I am not really sure why you are still asking.

  6. Chearn, you’re right, and that’s why Kobe gets the big bucks.

  7. Excellent post rr. As you know I also feel that we need to sign DH for sure, so if he makes such a demand, then yes it will have to be granted. However what if he does not? Don’t answer now – but after the season. Don’t forget you are the GM, and I am the non-meddling owner : ) So this is your decision. Do not bring me a list of pros and cons, or I will do my Clash imitation and ask simply: “Should he stay or should he go?”. I will deliver my answer to the same soon after we either win the title or are eliminated : )

    Chearn: Love it. Let’s hope there is a 3 year extension coming.

  8. Rusty Shackleford April 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    rr: I’m not a D’Antoni fan and absolutely not a Nash fan but please don’t ever refer to the great Dr. Jerry Buss as that again. In all of the crap that this season has been let’s do our best to not disrespect him.

    FYI – did anyone know Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni aren’t known for their defense and that’s what all of the articles on the Lakers are about today? Weird.