Preseason Chat: Lakers vs. Warriors Round 3

Darius Soriano —  October 17, 2013

The Lakers’ time in China is coming to a close. On Friday morning (4:30am PST, to be exact), the team faces off against the Warriors in Shanghai with a return to the states shortly after. I’m sure after spending a week in China the team is ready to come home, despite some adventurous immersion into a new culture with some NBA diplomacy mixed in.

While the games in China are the most pure example of an exhibition — the Beijing game featured mostly offense and an up and down tempo — the seriousness of a training camp evolving is also on the mind. Just yesterday the team cut ties with Darius Johnson-Odom, trimming their roster to 16 in the process. The players that remain are all viable candidates to make the final roster, thought at least one additional cut will be made.

With that in mind, the players on the bubble should all be looking over their shoulders as at least one of them will be going home. Who that will be remains an open question, but as I’ve written, I think the final decision will come down to choosing between Marcus Landry, Elias Harris, and Ryan Kelly. Of those three, I think the safest bet is Harris, not just because of the partial (though relatively small) guarantee on his contract but also because of Mike D’Antoni recently calling him a “keeper”. The language of training camp can often be twisted to mean whatever the interpreter wants, but when you combine the salary component with Harris’ age, experience level, and skill set, I think that term can be taken literally with him surviving the final cut.

As for the Landry and Kelly, I still believe Kelly is the better (and smarter) bet to make the team, but this game (as well as the remaining ones) will give us more information. So look for both to get a fair shot to continue to show their respective worths, finding themselves on the floor with enough rotation ready players that they can play comfortably in roles they would be expected to fill when the games actually matter. As for other things to look for, let’s get to it…

*Mike Trudell of Lakers.com reports that both Jordan Farmar and Wes Johnson will be available for action. This leaves Kobe as the only player who won’t be able to play. With a full squad at his disposal, I’m interested in seeing how rotations play out and what personnel groupings are deployed. The season starts in less than 2 weeks and if Mike D’Antoni is going to start to tip his hand (assuming he hasn’t already) on what a rotation may look like, the next games should provide more hints.

*With that in mind, a few questions that I hope to see answered: Will Blake see any time at SG? Will the front court partnerships — Pau and Kaman, Hill and Williams — remain the same or will they start to be mixed together more? Will Xavier Henry still see substantial minutes or will Wes Johnson slide back into his presumed role as the rotation wing? How much will Jodie Meeks play? Lastly (and maybe this should be first), who will start on the wing — Meeks/Young, Blake/Young, Young/Johnson? The answers to these questions could provide important intel on what we see come the start of the season.

*Can this team score in the paint more frequently? The points in the paint totals this preseason haven’t been pretty. Rather than getting shots close to the rim, the Lakers have been relying on long jumpers to fuel their offense. Having a team that no longer features Dwight Howard and has Kobe wearing finely tailored suits will do that. That said, Mike D’Antoni has often said that he wants his team to get the most efficient shots possible — layups/dunks, three pointers, and free throws. The latter two haven’t been a big problem. The first, though, has. This team has to try and get shots closer to the rim and that means either executing in the pick and roll (not pop, but roll) better and by getting their post players better position. The latter point is one we’ll explore more another time, but just note that having Pau and Kaman try to body their way into the paint for post ups hasn’t been working. More strategy on getting them into the post will be needed if this team wants to get more points in the paint.

*I’ve tried not to get into too many opponent specific notes in these previews, mostly because I really don’t think the opponents matter much. However, as noted above the season is getting closer and when these teams played on Tuesday, David Lee had a field day offensively. I’d like to see if he can be better defended in this contest while also keeping a side eye on the help schemes that are executed when he’s working in isolation. Lee can be a dangerous player when facing up at 18 feet and while slowing him is initially the responsibility of his man, the schemes to help on him when he puts the ball on the floor or is looking to facilitate their sets are also very important. I’ll be watching both pretty closely.

Where you can watch: 4:30am PST start on TWC Sportsnet. Also watch in NBA TV nationally.

Darius Soriano

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30 responses to Preseason Chat: Lakers vs. Warriors Round 3

  1. See ya at 4:30; GO LAKERS!!

  2. PS: CONGRATS TO DJO FOR SIGNING WITH THE SHARKS; 400K

  3. They replay it at 7:30

  4. 4:30am pst is 7:30pm here in the Philippines cos we’re on the same tinezone as China.

    Pretty peeved that Farmar is playing tonight. Wes Johnson needs to show something positive to become something at all. I’d like to rest Nash a bit and hope for heavy use of Farmar and Blake at the 1.

    As for the final roster, I think Xavier is safe and between Kelly and Landry, Kelly has more upside and carry more potential as we kove forward as a team. If he continues to do a Steve Novak role he would lock a roster spot. He also has a defensive future for the team with his length.

  5. Glad to hear that Wes and Jordan will finally be available. Looking forward to seeing what they can bring to the equation. With Farmar, it’s more or less to see whether he has really improved since his 1st stint with the club or whether he’s the same player who just happens to be a few yrs older .. Johnson, before the foot injury, wasn’t showing me anything during his time on the court (although it must be mentioned that D’Antoni was playing him at the 4 for certain segments of his floor time. Which he is obviously not suited for). Looked to passive. As of this moment, Henry and Williams (who’s an individual that I believe can alternate between the 3 and the 4) have surpassed him on the depth chart in my opinion. It’s time for Wes to show and prove over these last few games that he even warrants a spot within the rotation.

  6. Amazing game so far at the half. Amazing defense for Farmar and Young. Yup Nick Young.

  7. Just turned the game on and i see a turnover machine and how in the hell you leave Clay Thompson alone in the corner? TWICE!!

  8. Defense in the 3rd quarter was straight up atrocious.

  9. Just horrible on both sides of the court. Have to notice that GS have its best players on the court. We are playing to decide who gets cut.

  10. I dont see any difference whatsoever between Farmar now and the old Farmar, same crap. I thought he was the best player in the team acording to Aaron lmao. Second string PG at best so far

  11. Ugh just ugh, they should cut everybody on the court.

  12. Good 1st half; pathetic second half.

  13. Looked like the Lakers played their end of bench players in the 4th. No way guys like Landry and harris play significant minutes in the regular season.

  14. They played well in the 1st half. 2nd half was about experimentation.

  15. Pau simply can’t play defense down low. He has never been good, but his lateral foot-speed is simply none existent at this point. That is why you can’t play Kaman along side of him for very long. I was thinking Williams could play next to him, but the more I see, the more I think Jordan Hill will have to start alongside Pau – if we want any type of rim protection at all. If Hill or Williams get injured this year we are simply at the other team’s mercy down low.

    The weakside defense in the second half should encourage the coaching staff to sit some wings – that was atrocious. As good as some of the help defense was in the 2nd qtr, it was that bad for the remainder of the game. Some players apparently thought they were only going to play the first two qtrs and weren’t prepared to continue.

  16. Sure do like Young and Kamen. Jordan also moving well. Lakers need to move Meeks. Has no purpose with Young, Johnson and Henry on the roster. Team looks way better then last year. Actually looks like they have a plan this year. On offense that is.

  17. Breaking news !

    Lakers leave from China 2 hours earlier then Warriors! Another words go to work and skip the 2nd half. The Lakers did.

  18. That 3rd quarter was a bad horror movie.

  19. I want to believe D’Antoni spread the minutes out evenly because cuts are coming, but there’s already 16 players on the roster. Team needs to tighten up. Could be as easy as Keno said they jut checked out the 2nd half. Nice pump and one dribble pull up by Kelly.

  20. Definitely disappointed in that 2nd half – from midway through the 3rd to the end of the game. If guys were fighting for a spot on the roster, it sure didn’t look like it….looked more like a p/u game.
    In the 1st half, the defense was much better than I thought it would be. I was surprised they didn’t go inside much – that needs to be fixed.
    I agree with Fern – Farmar didn’t show much. I’m hoping it was just because it was his first game back and not indicative of what he is capable of.
    The first half overall was quite encouraging as the GSWs are a good team. But, very disappointed overall due to the 2nd half: poor defensive play and undisciplined offense.

  21. Kern: Defensively I think Farmar has improved. Offensively same ol, same ol: tendency to overpenetrate leading to turnovers, too many off-balance chucks that rim out. Disappointing for sure.

    Random observations: My starters: Nash, Henry, Young, Kamen, Gasol. Playing the two bigs together will help get them off to a strong start–in spite of the defensive limitations. Williams first off the bench first off the bench to spell one of the bigs. Henry deserves a shot to grow with the starters, he can be a very solid two-way guard. Configuring the bench rotation a challenge. Kelley is a keeper, smooth, great mechanics on his release. Needs to train hard to gain upper body strength for this level. Cut Landry and don’t think twice to cut Harris if a veteran 3/4 with something in the tank is a final cut. Wesley Johnson afraid to shoot the open shot kills this offense. Does Corey Maggette have anything left?

  22. If Lamar Odom has anything left I would pick him to replace Elias Harris.

  23. Glad DJO got the deal in China.

  24. When Nash is on the court, his usage rate is too high. The offense should go through Gasol, and Blake needs to be involved in some play making duties as well when he is on the court with Nash. Nash is a role player at best, and the team would be better served if they stopped over relying on him.

    I’m not sold on Xavier Henry. He is completelly tunnel visioned and a ball stopper. Except for the second half of the first pre season game, watching Henry force shot after shot has been frustrating. As crazy as it sounds, he needs to learn from Nick Young about balancing his aggressiveness while keeping the team offense flowing.

  25. Wait a minute did someone just say they want 6-8 Hill in as a rim defense? God help us if we are relying on Jordan Hill to block and alter everyones shots. It also been said J. Hill isn’t moving that great laterally since the hip surgery.

    I’d like to see D’Antoni go with a Nash Farmar backcourt and see how that works …biggest highlights aside from Nick Young’s pregame trick shot from half court is probably Kobe running the sidelines and taking midrange set shots.

  26. Not all teams have a defensive center that can alter shots. 2-way players like those are just the rarest commodities nowadays. A stud PG is even easier to find.

    Dwight Howard
    Roy Hibbert
    Andre Drummond – he has alot to learn but his curve is high

    Even MDA recognizes the need for rim protection its just not our strongest suit. And its not like we have that many assets to get one. We would’ve if we could’ve. Unless we do something via trade, such problems will linger. But we knew this after Dwight left so whats the fuss?

  27. D. Rose looks as if he’s on his way back to reclaiming his status as the best PG in the ..A

    It’s going to be a war out East this season between Miami, Chicago, Indiana and Brooklyn.

  28. Derrick Favors signed a four-year extension with Utah today. Supposedly Detroit is not going to extend Greg Monroe–but that doesn’t mean that he will actually reach the market.

  29. If the Lakers could land a talent like Greg Monroe, even though I look at him as having ways to go, that would be a complete off-season. Something tells me Detroit would match any offer via Free Agency esp coming from us so I’d prefer to trade for him if given the chance.