Preseason Chat: Los Angeles Lakers V. Utah Jazz Pt. 2

Phillip Barnett —  October 25, 2013

Tonight marks the end of the Lakers preseason campaign. They’ll be going into the season with a wee bit more momentum than they had last year as they failed to win a game before the start of the season. With three wins under their belts this year, tonight’s focus won’t be on adding another tally mark in the win column, but more to leave the Honda Center as healthy as possible, and for the coaching staff to evaluate the guys at the end of the roster to to see who will make the Opening Night roster, and who will be waived to look for work elsewhere.

Chris Kaman will be out tonight for the second consecutive game, and while Steve Nash will suit up for the Lakers tonight, an eye will be kept on him as he’s dealt with both ankle and neck injuries. Nash missed 32 games last year, and the Lakers really struggled to find an identity last season without their point guard on the floor for nearly half the season with a broken leg and hamstring issues. If Nash only plays a half in tonight’s preseason finale, but enters the season relatively healthy, the Lakers win regardless of tonight’s score.

The injury issues haven’t just been an issue for the Lakers older players as both Jordan Farmar and Wes Johnson have already missed a considerable amount of time with calf and foot issues, respectively. Mike D’Antoni has already showed that he’s willing to sit guys toward the end of preseason games if means that it increases the chances chances that his key rotation guys get to live to play another game.

With that in mind, there are a few guys who have been at the end of the bench and will get their last opportunity to show that they belong on this roster: Ryan Kelly, Elias Harris, Marcus Landry.

Kelly began a bit behind the rest of this group as he entered training camp recovering from a procedure on his foot, which also kept him out of the NBA’s Summer League. In his first game with the Lakers, he drilled two of his three 3-point attempts, but hasn’t really done much since. He’s a young guy with a solid enough skill set that the Lakers can maybe develop over the next year or two.

Harris is another guy who is young. He’s an undrafted forward out of Gonzaga who has a decent enough post game, but can become a legitimate NBA player if he can extend his game to the midrange and the perimeter.

Marcus Landry seemed like the odds-on guy to make the team heading into camp, but was quickly surpassed by Xavier Henry a couple games into the preseason. Harris hasn’t really showed the shooting stroke that Mike D’Antoni has raved about in camp. It’ll be interesting to see if Landry can even see the floor tonight as he was the only Laker to not see the floor in the Lakers win over the Jazz.

In terms of what the Lakers do on the floor tonight, we’d like to see the starting unit get off to a better start. The bench unit should come in and provide a similar energy as they did on Tuesday night. If the offense is run through Gasol with the first unit and if Farmar can come in and run the offense, the Lakers will put themselves in a possession to win their finale as the reserves come in to finish the night. But more than anything else, health will be the main concern.

Phillip Barnett

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82 responses to Preseason Chat: Los Angeles Lakers V. Utah Jazz Pt. 2

  1. So far in this game, there are four perimeter players and Pau anchored at the free throw line. No cutting or movement by the players. Pau’s reluctance to get down on the block is disconcerting, and his lack of mobility is quite obvious. Hopefully Pau will continue gaining confidence in his body.
    I think I like the bench players better than the starters.

    Still, no defense from anyone. :(

  2. Jordan Hill is looking good today. The two-headed Steve starting unit is a terrible match.

  3. I have a H2H fantasy league drafting on Sunday, 2PM. Need 5 managers who will stick it out and know the league. Sticking it out is more important than knowing the league, as you can always learn. e-mail is erezbuki42@yahoo.com

    If this gets modded out, I understand.

  4. Scary that Blake is looking better than Nash and Shawne Williams looks better than Pau tonight.

  5. Steve Blake save some of this for the regular season, 5-5 from the 3 and 7-7 overall through three quarters.

  6. Jodie Meeks has no purpose on this team. If the Lakers could find a taker for him and pick up Shannon Brown it would make a lot of sense.

  7. Farmar looking pretty awesome. 9 points, 6 assists, 16 minutes.

  8. Oh for crissakes why dont we bring the Machine and M’benga while at it? Shannon is gobe, got a nice payday and is not coming back, wait i know!! Lets bring back Coop!!

  9. Well, it’s only a pre-season game. But there are some encouraging signs:

    * Steve Nash played 29 minutes today and looked OK (7 pts., 4 assists, 2 gorgeous assists to Shawne Williams);

    * The Bench Mob looked great in the first half and less than terrific in the 2nd half although they scored 42 pts. overall (which is very good);

    * Jordan Farmar looked excellent, I thought. He’s matured; he can run an offense; he dictates tempo; he’s less mistake-prone and out-of-control than he used to be; 11 pts., 6 assists, 2 steals in 19 minutes;

    * Jordan Hill just had his 2nd strong (pre-season) game in a row–10 points (including a beautiful spin jam over Enes Kanter), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 terrific block in 19 minutes;

    * Wes Johnson and Xavier Henry ran the floor really well and contributed in a big way (13 pts. for Henry and 9 rebounds for Wes Johnson).

    Now, for the warning signs:

    * The Lakers’ transition defense was poor, especially in the 2nd half;

    * There is clearly an absence of a defensive force in the middle;

    * 18 turnovers is too many;

    * Jodie Meeks, despite 3 steals, looks completely lost out there;

    * Shawne Williams shot 2-9 for 3-pt. range…and he’s supposed to be our stretch-power forward.

    Questions: When Kaman returns, who will sit? Will Kaman start? If so, what happens to Shawne Williams? Will Jodie Meeks be exiled to Siberia? Who will guard Chris Paul in the first game? Will the Lakers work on their transition game in the meantime (hint: they better)? Which Steve Blake will show up for the first few games of the regular season? Is the Bench Mob for Real? Has Xavier Henry actually earned a spot in the rotation?

    One final question: can the Lakers upset the Clippers?

  10. Was at the game. Farmer, Blake and Hill looked good. Johnson can really jump. Worst guy out there was Meeks.

    Rebounding is an issue. Team is playing hard and look like they know what to do on offense.

  11. “I want to put an end to any speculation that we would allow Kobe to become a free agent,” Buss told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Friday night. “That’s not going to happen. Kobe is a top priority for us. He’s a Laker legend and always will be. I don’t think we’re done winning championships with him yet.”

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/9880132/jim-buss-says-los-angeles-lakers-let-kobe-bryant-free-agent

  12. I saw that too rr. I’m willing to bet good money that Kobe is going to sign for 10 million or less. The Lakers should have enough cap room for 2 max players next year.

  13. Also, Phil is talking again:

    “I probably would’ve made a decision not to coach the team anyway because of my health,” Jackson told Seth Davis in an upcoming interview aired on Campusinsiders.com on Oct. 28 and Nov. 1 at 10:30 a.m. PST. “I was like, ‘It’s midnight. Let me sleep on this one.’”

    http://www.insidesocal.com/lakers/2013/10/25/phil-jackson-dishes-on-lakers-dwight-howard-michael-jordan-kendrick-lamar/

    The how-dare-you question the FO crowd at SSR is already running with it.

  14. KenOak-

    Maybe. Personally, I don’t think that the FO should be talking about Kobe’s contract right now. I think it would have been better for Buss to give Kobe the ups and props without talking about negotiating, but we will see how it plays out.

  15. @rr Agree. FO should take a wait and see on resigning Kobe. Last thing Lakers need is a bad contract.

  16. rr and Treylake , i think it was a good decision to kill that stupid made up story right now, unless you guys want to get a season full of drama from the media about it. The FO has said time and again that Kobe will retire a Laker, Kobe himself has say it, if tou read between the lines what Buss is saying is that they are waiting for him to come back and make an offer after they evaluate him.

  17. Hey Darius do you think the Lakers should bring back Shannon Brown? lol.

  18. If Kobe comes back and isn’t the player that he wants to be, then this is a moot point. He’ll retire at the end of the year. I don’t think we have to worry about a “bad” contract.

  19. Kobe: I have said all along that we should start the discussion with him. See how his health is, and resolve the contract fully, long before FA starts.
    Clippers: They are going to come out full bore on us. I am expecting to get creamed. However I will put myself out there for the optimists. If the Lakers somehow win game 1 against the LAC, then I will be definitely raise my opinion of the team. If we get creamed – my opinion will not change, because the LAC could be #2 or #3 in the league right now. My current prediction ranges from 13th if Kobe sits the year up to 6th in the West under the Kobe doesn’t miss a beat scenario. So if Kobe misses lets say 1/4 to 1/3 of the year, I am thinking about 10th.
    Optimists: Now that I have put myself out there (well as much as I will given the KB factor). I expect some of you to do the same. None of this “interesting” or “better than expected” stuff. What are the specifics? And if you are in the same range as me, then are there really optimists or pessimists, or all we just fans with realistic expectations?

  20. i think it was a good decision to kill that stupid made up story right now, unless you guys want to get a season full of drama from the media about it

    Nah. It probably doesn’t matter much either way, but all Buss had to say was, “We are focused on Kobe’s recovery and the 2013 season, and of course we want him to be a Laker for a long time.” If that makes Kobe mad, because it’s not strong enough, so be it. He is getting 30M worth of respect from the org this year. By saying that Kupchak is talking to Pelinka and by strongly suggesting that they are going to sign Kobe before he hits FA, Buss has a put a quote out there that people will remember–and again, in Buss and Kupchak’s own words, the Lakers are all about “financial flexibility.” And sure, they are going to evaluate KB–but suppose he is struggling and putting up a lot of 3/14s? Then what? Offer him 2M for one year? Announce that they have changed their minds and are going to let him hit FA after all? This is not a big deal–public statements are just public statements–but IMO committing any money to Kobe early on is not a good idea, if they actually go that way, and they suggested that they might.

    KenOak,

    WADR, we don’t know how Kobe will react if he has a lot of trouble this year when he tries to play. But I think it is just as likely that he will think he just needs more time and a full off-season to get his legs and timing back, and that he will definitely want to play in 2014-15 if this year is a struggle.

  21. From what I can see in preseason Pau doesn’t use his legs enough on defense and doesn’t seem to want to mix it up on offense – not exactly news bulletins. Hill really can’t play PF, especially in Mike D’s offense. Therefore we have a set rotation and definite holes in the middle. At least Hill brings toughness to the paint in the 2nd unit, even if he is a little short.

    Kaman and Williams with be our PFs, with Johnson as a backup in case of injury. I still prefer Johnson as a slashing 3, but that doesn’t seem to be the plan.

    Young and Henry at the 3, but I suspect Henry will play himself out of a job and Johnson will have to move over here.

    I think Farmar is the definite 2nd unit PG and will eat up an increasing number of Nash’s minutes. Blake is there for injuries. With Kobe, Young, and Blake at the 2, I don’t see a place for Meeks.

    That is an 11 man rotation and I see Henry as the odd man out when Kobe comes back.

    For the remainder, I think we have to keep Sacre, probably keep Kelly and Harris as development players. That leaves Landry and Meeks and I think we keep Meeks because of the money and his (alluded to) 3-pt shooting/defense.

    Nothing really new here, but we really need Young and Johnson to further develop their game this year to have any kind of chance. That would also help us plot our course in the future.

  22. What are the specifics?

    Well, we know what they are with Warren. I tend to think that predictions are overrated, and should be done just for fun, rather than as some kind of faux-knowledge test. That said, the NBA is in many ways fairly predictable, and although the league is crowded at the top right now, it is pretty clear which tier of the league most teams are in. Nobody knows who will come out of the West, but it is overwhelmingly likely that it will be one of Houston, OKC, SA, or LAC, with the other 5-10% going to Memphis and maybe GS.

    So, questions about teams generally involve whether they are in one tier or another, and the question about the Lakers is whether they are in the West’s second tier with:

    Golden State (some people see them as first tier, so they are a question team)
    Denver
    Dallas
    Minnesota
    Portland
    New Orleans

    or if they are at the top of/in the third tier and are much closer to

    Utah
    Sacramento
    Phoenix

    I know what I think, and we will start finding out soon enough.

  23. My prediction, Kobe plays Christmas and finds his legs sometime in February. Final game of the season. The Lakers are fighting for the final playoff spot. Nate Silver fully embraces his role as commissioner of the NBA. He sends his most dependable staff of refs. Every important call goes against the Lakers, we narrowly miss the playoffs.

    NBA Draft Lottery rolls around and the Lakers name does not come up as the final pick in the lottery. Pick 5 comes around. It goes to the Utah Jazz. This means two lottery teams have found their way into the top-3, the Boston Celtics being one of the them. Pick four goes to the 76ers. Oh no, the worst record in the league has fallen out of the top-3. Pick 3 goes to the PHX Suns. The 1st pick in the draft is announced. It goes to the Boston Celtics. The Lakers get to pick the best player the Celtics don’t want. Nate Silver has a familiar expression on his face. We have seen this expression for 30+ years. It is a wry smile, a twinkling eye, with a slightly raised eyebrow, like a curtain revealing the feet moving in place to an F-U performance. The apprentice has become the master.

  24. @rr i think Jim Buss was very clear regarding Kobe he aint going anywhere, thats the media triying to make a story out of nothing, majes sense to wait until we see how Kobe returns b4 extending him if he comes back on Mamba mode or he struggles is going to affect the contract talks, way to early for this. Kobe himself had said he will retire a Laker case closed on my book. I read somewhere that Shannon Brown was released by the Wizards and the Lakers have some interest. Interesting…

  25. All three expected to be waived by the Wizards — word is Shannon Brown headed back to the Lakers.

    — Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) October 26, 2013

  26. Robert,

    You say that you expect the Lakers to get “creamed” by the Clippers on Tuesday. I’m hardly a cock-eyed optimist, but I’m actually expecting a pretty close game. If nothing else (Jamal Crawford, notwithstanding), I think the Lakers will have the better bench.

    In the last two preseason games, the Lakers’ bench scored 114 points(!). That’s an average of 57 points in those 2 games. These are only preseason games, I realize. But the bench, led by a resurgent Jordan Farmar, looks downright exhilarating at times.

    My call: Clippers by 4…maybe 6. But not a blowout. We’ll see. That’s why they play the games.

  27. Mid-W,
    thanks for the excellent breakdown!
    Robert,
    Unfortunately, I have to agree, the Clips are gonna throw everything but the kitchen sink at us, and I don´t see us withstanding the barrage…but heck, you never know
    As for predicitons, I´d rather follow what we´re doing day in and day out; & heck, like everyone else here, I simply hope and, occasionally, beg for Ws –
    rr has put it well enough:
    “ I tend to think that predictions are overrated, and should be done just for fun, rather than as some kind of faux-knowledge test.´´
    Oh, and thanks for gettin´ back about the C. Peppers -

  28. Assuming Shannon Brown does indeed return to the Lakers….is he basically a shorter Nick Young or a Nate Robinson?

  29. Mid-W:

    Utah has one of the worst benches in the NBA; that is the main reason that they are expected to be so bad, and that is one reason that the Lakers’ bench looked so good the last two games. The back end of the Lakers’ roster is better–Farmar, Johnson and Henry are certainly better than Morris, Ebanks, and Duhon (the Lakers needed this year’s bench last year, and the fact that the Lakers got all three of those guys, plus Nick Young, for the minimum, tells you something about the construction of the back end of last year’s roster and why some of us have questioned the FO). Also, one can argue that 27-year-old Shawne Williams will be more valuable than 36-year-old Antawn Jamison was. Jordan Hill will probably play more than 29 games.

    But the problem is that the Lakers roster may wind up having no top end. Howard is gone; Nash appears to be breaking down. Pau has not looked great. Kobe is an unknown. And even if things go well for those latter three guys, they are not going to be what they were 3 or 4 years ago.

  30. I don’t see any reason to bring Shannon Brown back. I like the guy, and uhh, a little more importantly, Kobe likes him. But with Henry, Farmar, and Johnson on the team, I don’t see why you would want Brown right now. He is another guy that last year’s team could have used.

  31. rr,

    I actually agree with most of what you say. I’m just not expecting a blow-out on Tuesday. There should be some intensity and emotion on both sides of the ball. I think the game could be tighter that most people think. (I am expecting the Clippers to win, though.) We’ll see what happens.

  32. If the Lakers were to get him they would have to get rid of Jodie Weaks….he is just a trainwreck waiting to happen…gets a steal…then tries to do too much and drives in with his head down and turns it over or blows the layup and starts another break for the other team….Aggressive on defensive but doesnt play within himself…if he were shooting mid 40s from 3 he’d be safe but that said I’d be asking to get rid of him first.

  33. Shannon is better than henry or meeks – wouuld love to see him back – I got him to sign my jersey for the 1 laker game Ive seen in person in toronto (im from montreal) – do we think its gonna happen?

  34. I am skeptical about what Henry will do in real games, but he is only 22 and was a lotto pick. In the Lakers’ situation, he deserves a chance based on his preseason performance. Brown is 27 and his performance level is established. He is as good as Meeks, and perhaps Young, though.

  35. Predictions huh?? Those are my fav. Anyone get analyze what has already happened but few can analyze correctly what hasn’t yet occurred. To me the Warriors are the best team in the west and will be in the Finals.

  36. I like what I’ve been seeing from Young. He does seem to be willing to move the ball a bit more. He seems to be putting something into his defense I don’t recognize in his form. I had to think about it a while and realize it’s called effort. It’s nice to see some crazy shots made a couple times a game. We need something so we don’t starve of Kobe-type shot making. You realize there are adult Lakers fans, eligible to vote, to die for our country, to drink; who don’t know what it is like to see a Lakers game minus a few ill-advised-by-anyone-other-than-Kobe shots? If Nick Young were not on the team, I’m not sure anybody short of 22 years old would know they are watching the Lakers.

  37. Purple: I am hoping that who rules “The City of Angels” is not water “Under the Bridge”
    P Ami: There was Magic and there is Kobe and in between there was the abyss called the 90’s (otherwise known as the Del Harris era). And yes – some youngsters do not realize how dark it can get. By the way – you have predicted 9th and I am predicting 10th under the same KB scenario. Does that make you an optimist and me a pessimist? : )
    rr: Your grouping of the teams has once again depressed me, and made me think my post above is too optimistic : ) Your post is way too accurate.
    Mid-Wilshire: Our bench is actually better (it had nowhere to go but up). However our starters took a big hit.
    Shannon: We never should have sent him away in the first place, and I can come up with about 12 names on our bench over the past 2 years to back that up. Is he some sort of savior now? Of course not, but why not make room for him?

  38. Robert.

    I don’t think you make room for Shannon because he is redundant, the team is trying to cut money, and it’s better to develop some young talent.

    I’m probably being the optimist, as I also predicted us landing the #2 pick in the draft… Or am I a pessimist because I predicted Boston getting the #1? Hmmmm.

    I wasn’t referring to the Lakeshow era, which I really enjoyed (I had fun watching that talent be collected, developed, shifted and eventually becoming the championship teams of the 2000’s. You are not really in an abyss when you get to root for Vlade, Eddie, Nick, Lake Ced, Peeler, Elden, Threat, and Lynch. That was a fun, fun group) but more to an unprecedented reality that there are legal adults who were born around the time that Kobe was still coming off the bench and Duncan was still second fiddle to Robinson. Obviously you and I predate that, but I can’t think of anybody whose athletic excellence has spanned such a large portion of a human life-cycle. Suppose it happens again for us in the next 5 years, I will be a very mature man, peeking into old-age, by the end of that hypothetical career. I’m having a panic attack thinking about that.

  39. Aaron I think us getting back yo’ boy, Andrew Bynum would happen first before the Warriors wins the west.

  40. 1.Yes to Shannon, particularly if it means releasing Meeks.

    2. I’m having a difficult time trying to understand why some here are selling Henry short: Prototypical 2 guard size with great strength and good length. Can attack off the dribble and get to the line, with an ability to withstand contact and finish. Showing a better than advertised shooting range with improving accuracy. Defensively, he has been the most active and disruptive wing defender. Great potential to be a 2-way NBA guard. Only 22. He will prove to be a steal off the scrap heap.

    3. My starting lineup for Tues: Gasol, Kamen, Williams, Young, Nash. Spell Nash quickly with Blake. Williams’ length and range can help compensate for the defensively challenged bigs. Nash cannot guard CP–Blake can.

  41. My starting lineup for Tues: Gasol, Kamen, Williams, Young, Nash. Spell Nash quickly with Blake. Williams’ length and range can help compensate for the defensively challenged bigs. Nash cannot guard CP–Blake can
    ———————–
    I tend to agree with this. We can easily make adjustments accordingly. This lineup is looking the most-likely with one big heading to the bench as early as 4 minutes gone by (Kaman) and being replaced by a Wes Johnson type since we would need more perimeter defenders playing against the paper clips.

  42. I’m having a difficult time trying to understand why some here are selling Henry short

    His track record in three years in the league is abysmal. But, in preseason, he attacked the hoop and got to the line, which gave him some NBA production to go with his NBA body. Given his age and where the Lakers are, they should give him a chance at this point.

  43. Blake will get destroyed versus the Clippers guards…let Farmar get the first crack defensively. And if you start Kaman with Gasol its gonna be Lob City all day…start Williams at the 4…my thoughts..

  44. Another thing about Xavier is that he has improved his jumpshot alot. NBA body, athleticism and his eternal quest to get to the cup (which often leads to him being fouled) and good FT% he is a lock to not only make the team but stay with the team as well.

  45. I dont care if we have too many guards, i be onboard with Shannon returning, they can release Kelly and Harris as far as im concerned, i trust Shannon starting at the sg position more than either Meeks or Nick Young, a starting 5 of Nash,Shannon, Young, Williams/Hills and Pau is nothing to sneeze at, i dont think putting Kaman in the starting line up is a great idea because it would make the Lakers wayyy too slow on both ends of the floor and he is a natural center. Kaman can come in with the second unit alongside Blake and Farmar. Not a world beater team by all means but if healthy a good playoff team.

  46. Fern,
    The only problem with starting Hill at PF is that he has shown absolutely no ability to do the things Mike D. wants from his PF. Perhaps that’s why he failed in NY. Anyway, for this team he would seem to be a center, and for that he would seem to be 2nd string.

  47. improved his jumpshot alot

    We’ll see.

  48. Can new NBA contracts be signed during the regular season?

    Specifically, must the Lakers re-sign Kobe before tuesday or
    he becomes free agent after the season?

    What is the risk to the Lakers if Kobe were to be a free agent after
    this season? Would Lakers own his bird rights?

  49. So…Nash has a neck injury which is a “nightmare”…what are the chances we try to trade him to someone or we’ll we use his contract next year as an expiring contract as a trade chip because there is no way he finishes his contract with the Lakers.

  50. Also wondering if Henry were to start if he will play the “3” but be involved in cross matchups where he is guarding other players 2’s and 3’s when we play the Reddick/Dudley and Sefalosha’s (sp) of the league and let Blake and Nash cover those who are mostly spot up shooters…

  51. We’ll see.

    Of course, right? Past is not always prologue when it comes to evaluating a guy who wasn’t ready at 19 for the league. More important is to look at why he was a no. 12 pick, and how he has preformed as a Laker since he joined the team.

    One more thing on my Henry evaluation: intelligent and coachable.

  52. Sorry: My comment at 10:55am!

  53. ” … what are the chances we try to trade him to someone or we’ll we use his contract next year as an expiring contract as a trade chip … ”

    Or he simply retires after this year due to health (age) issues.

  54. Is it really that hard to change your mind, even after you see?
    Things people do for honor that is really fallacy.
    For some guy whom you believed to not be just because he missed,
    Hey, don’t look at me, I’m not the one that’s pissed.

  55. Not NBA-related, but based on Darius’ tweets, I’m guessing he’s loving him some Sean Lee right about now….

  56. @Tra: I hope we can at least trade him before he retires…I believe you still have to pay their salary after their retirement like an Allan Houston…could be wrong…but thats a waste of a 1st round pick and $9 mil…

  57. quick question…is there a way to get alerts when new posts/comments are posted?

  58. More important is to look at why he was a no. 12 pick, and how he has preformed as a Laker since he joined the team.

    The guy has 1911 NBA minutes and has neither approached replacement-level production nor shown much improvement. His FTR did go up some last year, and that has carried over, so it seems to be a conscious change. Like I said, he deserves a shot, but let’s see how things look after these first 11 games. That is a small sample, but given the schedule, we will know a little more then.

    Warren,

    If that was directed at me, I am not pissed at all. I am just pointing out that all we have is eight preseason games, and these last two were against an opponent that is expected to win ~30 games or fewer, and has one of the worst benches in the NBA. What I think people will find with these new guys is that they will be inconsistent; that is why they were all available cheap (the exception to this may be Farmar, whose contract situation is unusual). Henry, Williams, and Johnson will have nights when they look pretty good–and other nights when they won’t. And, I think the same will be true with several other guys–Blake, Kaman, Nash, Pau, and Kobe when he comes back–because they are all pretty old or very old and/or have health issues. Basically all guys in an NBA rotation are capable of playing well sometimes. The question is how well and how often. That is why you need stars; they do it game after game. There is certainly some reason for hope with Xavier Henry, but there are also data that indicate that he will not be worth a crap. So let’s see what he does, over, say, half a season, before we start making assertions.

    And, one thing I have seen at this site (and of course with sports fans in general) the last several years is the pattern of some people overreacting to whatever they just saw. People were doing this even during the championship years. So I say let’s watch the team play some games that count against mid and top-tier conference opponents, and then take stock of where we are. 11 games don’t make a season, but I think these games will tell us something and if I am wrong, I will be happy to admit it.

  59. LakerFanatic,

    I don’t believe that you’ll find too many teams lined up to acquire a 40 yr old, breaking down (some would say, broke down) before our eyes PG. Especially at his salary. And even if we’re lucky enough to find a taker, realistically, what can we expect back?

    Also, it seems to me that Nash is the type of individual who would rather walk away from the game if he comes to the conclusion that he can no longer compete at what HE feels is an elite level, before he would allow himself to be used as a trade chip due to his expiring contract next season. Personally, I believe that this will be his last year within the Association.

  60. Wow, so quick to dismiss a 22 year old guy that has yet to play 82 games on the floor. Wonder where that quick hook was when the Lakers stayed with Vujacic for 6 years. Henry is worth retaining predicated upon his size, athleticism and willingness to drive to the cup. His shooting has already improved under the Lakers tutelage, in the past he continually changed his form on each shot. With the Lakers he has found a form and is sticking to it. Now all he has to do is get in the gym and shoot repetitively with that same form and he will find success and consistency. He won’t be able to do that until next summer, so he is primed to return to the Lakers a better shooter in the 2014-2015 season.

    Jodie Meeks displays the same instability on the court that he showed last year. His inability to hit open 3pt shots negates his prowess moving baseline and his hustle. If he can be moved for a draft pick, that would probably be apropos for both parties involved.

    If the Lakers are trying to shave their payroll, then it is unlikely that Shannon Brown will return. But, then again this year is uncharted territory.

  61. fun photo of the day, Kobe and Phil doing breakfast in El Segundo,

    http://www.tmz.com/2013/10/25/phil-jackson-kobe-bryant-diner-date-who-paid/

  62. Plenty of players have a chance to come out looking good this season. None of them will turn into superstars but they can become complementary pieces on a championship team. This is the time for the team to get continuity and for young guys to gain confidence as the Lakers build towards another ring. We’re not winning a title this year. This is like 07 all over again except we know something big is on the horizon. We didn’t see the Pau trade coming but this time free agency is approaching and we know Mitch is working the phones trying to swing big deals. Lakers will be back to contender status very soon and a big piece to that is Henry, Farmar, Johnson or Hill taking their games to another level. They all have the ability to be role players on a winning team. And if they all rise up that’s just icing on the cake for Lakers soon to be title runs.

  63. Kevin_ is absolutely correct. This is the year to find out which previous ‘busts’ can be reclaimed by a good staff aimed a development and a system designed to make offensive players look good – i.e. one where these young players will want to work hard.

    The good, but could be better players are Farmar and Hill
    The ok, but could be good players are Williams and Young
    The ‘bust’ reclamations are Johnson and Henry
    We are trying to figure out Harris
    The known, but could develop into a spot player is Sacre
    The unknown is Kelly

    That is well over half our team, therefore, we cannot be considered any kind of contender. We need several of these players to jump up a level or two from where we currently have them pegged to even contend with the mid-level teams. We have to develop a real cohesive system and have good development to target playing with OKC and SA, never mind beating them in a series.

    It is very likely we will not sign a major free-agent next summer (more likely we will get 1 or 2 in the next 3 years). We do need good development from these support players over the next couple of years

    This is the universe I am expecting to develop this year. If this makes me an unbridled optimist, then so be it.

  64. Jodie Meeks and Shannon Brown are mirror images of each other physically, except Shannon is 2 years older. However, Jodie isn’t a really great defender, no longer rebounds like he once did, and his 3pt shot seems to have left him. If the FO agrees with this analysis, then he should go, even if we have to pay his salary to another team. We then wouldn’t have to pay the luxury tax for him and Shannon could be signed to provide some muscle and athleticism at the 2/3 for the minimum.

  65. 91601guy Nice pic. 18 NBA rings at the table. We will have 4 in uniform on Tuesday. Thankfully we picked up Farmar.
    P.Ami: KB’s career is amazing in many ways – longevity of excellence being one of them.
    Craig W: It is not unreasonable to hope that a couple of these guys stick to our roster. It will be limited however, both due to talent and due to the fact that if anyone does well, we may not be able to pay them, as we will need to save for our big name.
    Aaron: The pipedream is the only prediction that matters.

  66. We need several of these players to jump up a level or two from where we currently have them pegged to even contend with the mid-level teams.

    That’s correct. Whether you are an optimist depends on whether you actually think it will happen, and whether you think the Lakers will get over .500 and contend for a 7/8 seed or finish 11/12/13. Even Aaron, who thinks that the Lakers will be one of the worst teams in the conference, has said that he sees value in some of these guys, like Henry and Farmar, in the sense that they could be role players on a good Lakers team in the future.

    Robert,

    One thing no one mentions along those lines is that the Lakers lost Earl Clark. They could have kept him but preferred a cleaner cap/less penalty payout. Clark is not a huge loss, but it is unlikely that Shawne Williams will provide more overall value than Clark did, although Williams does have more shooing range, which is obviously a big deal in MDA ball. But the salary factor will probably only come into play immediately in 2014 if the James/Anthony thing is actually real. Among the guys they have added, I expect that Farmar will probably sign a 2-3 year deal to stick around, and if Henry is for real, he may stick as well. Too many variables beyond that, with the caveats that

    They actually committed to Sacre (at a very low cost)
    Nick Young has a 2014-15 player option (probably won’t use it).

  67. @tra

    I’m hoping someone is trying to dump the salary of a really good player and we can package an expiring contract maybe even get a draft pick…I think they would trade more for Nash’s salary coming off the books than his skillset…thinking a midseason trade next year if he can make it through the season unscathed.

    Season starts tues…good news Williams is reportedly going to start.

  68. rr – You don’t think Young will exercise his option? I think that’s 50-50 at worst, and personally I feel that he might. Obviously how this season goes will impact on that, but I’m thinking he’ll be a Laker past this season.

  69. I think Nash is staying. If in case he’s too old or broken down to play, he would be waived via stretch provision and give us 6M more of space next season (if necessary).

  70. RR, we know how you like to be right in many situations and find a way to not be wrong on others. So we’ll leave you to your own opinions with regards to Xavier Henry and related topics.

    For what its worth, we all look at him as a guy who can help and no one mentioned super and star in the same sentence with his name. To insinuate we’re looking for one in him is delusional.

  71. Spurs, OKC, Clips, Memphis, GSW, Houston are all locks for first 6 spots in the West.

    That leaves Denver, Minny, Portland, Dallas, Pelicans and Lakers vying for the last 2 spots. With Kobe prolly not coming back till end of Nov/early Dec (my assumption), this is going to be a very interesting and close race. If by the trade deadline a few of those teams realize they don’t have a chance to make the playoffs, I can imagine some major trades brewing in order to get better positioning for the upcoming draft. This may benefit the Lakers.

    As a season ticket holder, I pay way too much for a Lakers game. The only way to justify that kind of pricing is the product on the floor. Now, we have endured a few “lost” years here and there but no more than 2-3 years. The fans and Hollywood demand excellence before they start jumping ship. Therefore, it makes no sense for Lakers to “tank” a season and/or build through the draft. Big free agent pickups are our only play. So look for Lakers to compete because that is the only business model that has worked and will continue to work for the Lakers. Although, the way the new CBA is constructed, it will be a lot harder for Lakers to operate that way.

    Be that as it may, this is going to be an exciting season! I’m looking forward to it. By the way, if anyone is interested, I have 4 seats in Sect 110 right next to Press Row. I live in the OC now and can’t go to alot of the games. Email me at amit@jelloisjiggling.com if interested.

    Go Lakers!

  72. To insinuate we’re looking for one in him is delusional.


    Never did that; never came close to doing that. All I said was that I want to see him do well in regular season games before I sign off on the idea that he has suddenly taken a big step forward.

    Like I said a couple of days ago, predictions, both about teams and players, are overrated. Nobody here is a professional statistical analyst or a scout, AFAIK. Henry’s track record indicates that he can’t play; his preseason performance indicates that he can. So, we will see. I am skeptical.

  73. You don’t think Young will exercise his option?

    Well, the second year, the option year, is, like this one, at the Veterans’ Minimum, and I expect that Young will see himself as being worth more than that if he has a decent year by his own standards, which I think he will. I think that he will probably want to stay with the Lakers, but will want a little more money to do so and will think that he can get it on the market.

  74. Looking over Henry’s preseason numbers, he shot 45 FTs in 167 minutes. That is 9.7 per 36 minutes, a rate which is higher than Dwight Howard’s career rate (9.2). Kobe’s career rate in this stat is 7.5. Howard’s career high is 11.2; Kobe’s is 9.0. Henry also hit 6/11 on 3s in preseason. And, Henry took a huge leap in hitting all those FTs:

    Career: .624
    2013 Preseason: .778

    Henry had 18 TOs and 4 AST; Nick Young, notorious gunner, was at 13/15. Even with the 3s, Henry was only 27/61 from the floor. Take those away, and he was at 21/50 on 2s, 42%. His career FG% is .403 and his 3p% is .289, but he has only taken 45 in is career. He was 2/17 as a rookie; is 11/28 since–39%.

    Those things noted, Henry’s FTR jumped a bit last year, and it was apparent watching the two preseason games that I saw that he was making a conscious effort to go to the rack and get contact, which he presumably will continue. And it may be that he is actually a pretty good 3P shooter, since the sample is so small, it is hard to tell. But If he can really get to the line 7 or so times every 36 minutes, hit 70% of his FTs, and hit 37% of his 3s, he is certainly athletic enough to help the team.

  75. Young is Swaggy. he’d rather look good.
    he’s staying if he has enough money to look good, because he’s a local boy. he knows there’s no looking better than as a successful member of the LA Lakers. really, i think that means something to him. i think he’ll do his best for the Lakers and so will Farmar. that can get infectious. i don’t think either want top dollar from the Lakers, they just want to be paid fairly.

    or everything can go wrong and ole Eyore can say “told ya so”.

    i’m thinking it’ll be ok. these are guys with a chance to shine. the difference in talent from the good teams to the bad teams is really really small. successful players are in a position to succeed, a talent in itself, but they also are in an environment that makes room for their success. after that, it’s just basketball. even the worst NBA players are pretty good at some aspect of that.

    a title is not likely, but until these guys truly fail, and that could happen tuesday, they have a chance if their talents and skills are pooled together in a winning scheme. there is an animal called Man. there are duck billed platypuses and green gooey algae that grows in the gutter. there are planets that seem to be covered in liquid methane. stranger things can happen.

  76. I’m very happy though with what I saw out of this preseason. It is a far more auspicious beginning then last year.

  77. rr,
    Yes… I see Farmar, Johnson, and Henry as all being valuable role players on a championship team. Young can be a survicable role player. I don’t think Gasol can be as I like my role players to be able to play defense and shoot the three. You like to see athletisism around your star players. Farmar can already shoot from distance and Henry and Johnson are approaching the time in their careers where they will develop their outside shots.

  78. Vasheed, maybe you were expecting something like 3-5 from this bunch and got 4-4 (yay) while last season you kinda expected 7-1 and we went 0-8.

  79. Hmmm my thoughts on Kobe…everyone knows Kobe typically “adds” something to his repertoire each season. I was wondering if Kobe would work on …well his 3pt shot maybe could be something he works on …hopefully…32% on 400 attempts from 3pt from a coach that emphasizes spacing and taking 3s. I’m hoping he doesn’t just doesn’t end up like Wade shooting 26% from 3pt over the past couple years. And while a lot of players don’t usually increase too much in terms of field goal % I have seen Lebron go from a 29% 3pt shooter to a 40% last year. Pretty impressive given that he actually attempted more threes than the previous year and still improved his percentage by 4 percent. Also see the same increase from Carmelo a 33% 3pt shooter shoot 38% from 3pt last year. I personally think it would be the best thing for Kobe to work on to open up his inside game especially with declining athleticism.

    Any thoughts on what you think or are expecting from Kobe as far as new skills if he adds anything?

  80. rr — Sounds like you’re making a case that Henry’s ceiling is a poor man’s (perhaps as high as a lower-middle-class man’s) Corey Maggette. I’m beyond okay with this, good and bad teams both need a garbage man. Shoot decently on five to eight shots per game, average a free throw every 6-8 minutes, get bigs in foul trouble, give the starters a rest and do exciting stuff that’s fun to watch while doing so.

    I still think the utter ceiling for this team, barring some of the “potential” guys on this team playing out of their minds and/or a trade or two, is about .500. But they should be entertaining getting there.

  81. rr — Sounds like you’re making a case that Henry’s ceiling is a poor man’s (perhaps as high as a lower-middle-class man’s) Corey Maggette

    Sounds reasonable. I was just looking at the numbers as a way to add some information to having seen him play a couple of times.

  82. For the record, I agree. Having a guy that just crashes around and causes havoc is a great change of pace. Gerald Wallace, Maggette, Ginobili (in a markedly different way than the previous two) are all kind of disruptive players. Never the best player on the team (though Ginobili’s per-36 minutes throughout his career are surprisingly comparable to Kobe’s, and Wallace probably will be captaining the S.S. Celtics this year on their way to sinking to the bottom of the Back Bay), but good enough and different enough in style to get some good results.

    There’s another guy from a transitional Lakers squad from the 90s that seems familiar too…can’t recall his name and I have to run to Lake Havasu anyway. Perhaps it’ll come to me there.