Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Hawks

Darius Soriano —  November 3, 2013

The Lakers lost a winnable game on Friday, falling to the Spurs in the closing minutes as the gap between execution and which team’s best players were able to make the key plays bore out. The Spurs had Tony Parker orchestrating the team’s offense and either scoring or creating good looks for his teammates. The Lakers, meanwhile, had Steve Nash laying on the floor on his back on the sideline while the offense was orchestrated by Steve Blake with the ball attempting to go through Pau Gasol. The contrast between present and past was stark down the stretch and it’s no wonder the Spurs came out on top. They had the best player on the floor making things happen with the ball in his hands. Sometimes, most times, that’s all that’s needed.

What we learned in that game, though, is part of what we already knew to be true. Steve Nash is old and, at least now, is not 100% physically. (Whether he gets there this season is another question for another time.) This means that others will need to carry the load as both an on court contributor and a staple of key lineups for longer stretches. Which brings us to the question of lineups and who should play, when they should play, and how much they should play. After the loss to the Spurs, Mike D’Antoni commented that one of his top priorities right now is sorting out his rotation and starting to figure those things out. He noted that nearly all 11 guys currently in the rotation are playing well in their roles — this isn’t necessarily true, but don’t blame the coach for not throwing guys under the bus — but that he may need to shorten his rotation or make changes to it in order to produce different results.

Tonight against the Hawks, then, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Nick Young has been moved to the bench in favor of Xavier Henry. Henry’s had his ups and downs as a shot maker through three games, but what he’s continued to do is play pretty good defense and use an attack mentality on offense to draw fouls and find other ways to contribute offensively. Nick Young, on the other hand, has not. Young hasn’t been making his jumper, hasn’t been driving to the rim for better shots, hasn’t been creating shots for others, and hasn’t been drawing fouls. Hopefully, by moving to the bench, Young can find his stride next to Farmar and Meeks and start to provide that offensive punch he was signed to deliver.

Another change we’re likely to see is more minutes for Jordan Hill. Against the Spurs Hill didn’t see any court time until the 4th quarter. When he finally did come in, he promptly started doing Jordan Hill things — grabbing offensive rebounds, challenging shots in the paint defensively, and generally hustling all over the court. His presence helped the Lakers remain close down the stretch and, while it can’t be said with true certainty, it’s not a stretch to imagine he would have done the same earlier in game had he gotten a chance. Moving forward, he likely will get that chance. How that comes about is another question.

If Shawne Williams remains a starter (and for not it looks like he will), there’s only so many front court minutes to go around. Pau is a starter and a fixture for this team. Kaman has played well in limited minutes and does the things he was brought into do — hitting jumpers, working well around the basket when given a chance, and doing a good job on the defensive glass. This leaves Hill as the “4th” big man and the one who seems to be hunting for minutes. Just as D’Antoni did with Young, he may need to move Williams to the bench in favor of a different player to open up more minutes for Hill. We’ll see if that’s tonight or not, but it should come sooner than later, especially if Williams continues to be a non-factor on offense (at least in terms of his own production) and only a semi-factor on defense (he has been active on that end and we can’t discount that).

Tonight may offer a chance to make this shift, though. Atlanta is a made over team, sort of in the same way the Lakers were. Josh Smith was their prized free agent and he walked for nothing. And while he was “replaced” with former Jazz (and Lakers’ nemesis) Paul Milsap, the team also lost Zaza Pachulia and have less depth up front than they once did. Tonight could prove to be one of those nights where the Lakers size makes a difference over the course of a long game, even though the more than capable Al Horford and aforementioned Milsap will do well in their minutes. Those two can’t play the full 48 and will only have Elton Brand as a viable back up there, so there should be opportunities for Gasol, Kaman, and Hill to work their respective games inside.

Which should be where the Lakers try to do most of their best work. Because, in the backcourt, the Hawks still do have some talent. Jeff Teague is an up and coming player with good athleticism, quickness, and playmaking ability as a passer and scorer. Kyle Korver remains one of the game’s best shooters and will be used coming off picks and as a spot up option when the team penetrates or tries to post up their big men. Rookie Dennis Schroeder is a very good athlete who is disruptive on defense and can get to the rim in both the half and open court. DeMarre Carroll is a big, active body on the wing and will work hard on both sides of the ball. This isn’t a group of world beaters, but they do have nice complementary games and can do damage with in the constructs of their individual roles.

This means that the Lakers back court and wing players will need to be sharp and understand their responsibilities. I doubt Nash will guard Teague, that mans he’ll either have to guard Korver or Carroll. Both have a lot more size than him and when he’s defending off the ball he must not get sucked into the paint (if guarding Korver) or bullied under the rim for offensive rebounding chances (if guarding Carroll). The same will be true of Henry.

The Lakers’ bigs will also need to be very sharp. Both Horford and Milsap are capable mid-range players who can also bang down low. Horford is especially dangerous in the pick and pop, so the defense will need to be sharp when he’s involved in the P&R with Teague and make the appropriate rotations. Teague will try to turn the corner and if the hedging big man needs to play below the pick to cut off the drive, the weak side wing will need to slide to Horford to ensure the wide open jumper isn’t surrendered. The Gasol, Kaman, Hill, Williams, and Johnson frontcourt will also need to be good on the glass. Both Horford and Milsap can attack the offensive glass and Elton Brand is no slouch in that area either. If there’s a way for the Hawks to win this game, it’s to gobble up their own misses and either put them back up for easy scores or to kick the ball out to Korver and Teague on the perimeter and watch them hit open jumpers against a scrambling Laker D.

Ultimately, though, the big thing to focus on before this contest is that it is a totally winnable game that the Lakers should, considering their goals for the year, see as one they need to win. I’m not a fan of the term “must win” when we’re looking at the 4th game of the year, but certain games should be won and a home game against a borderline playoff team in the East is one such game. The Lakers have plenty of excuses with their injuries and shifting of lineups, but in the end, none of those will be remembered two months from now. So, the team needs to execute on both ends and get this W.

Where you can watch: 6:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

Posts Twitter Facebook

76 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Hawks

  1. Lifelong laker fan good times and bad..but Steve Nash couldnt guard Steve Nash if Steve Nash was playing the back neck and hip hurt (laying on the sideline) Steve Nash. He is a class act.i hope he is classy enough yo face that he and his contract are hurting the team.he has a 9million dollar name,but veteran minimum production.I hope he retires to avoid the ackward front office decision of respecting his legacy by letting his contract play out,or disrepecting him by trading him to a place he didnt choose to play.

  2. Agree, agree and agree except you missed Farmar who should be getting more minutes then 13.

  3. Sadly, as I watch the other teams around the league during this first week of the season, the Lakers look like one of the worst teams in the NBA. Nash’s lack of production is glaring. Pau doesn’t fool me with his numbers…he still has trouble finishing at the rim. Man just doesn’t play with force. The Lakers’ newcomers look overwhelmed. Let’s hope it’s just growing pains and not a preview of a long, long season!

  4. I liked the pre-season when every player went to the hole with the intention of dunking on teams. I hope the Lakers go back to attacking the rim again.

    Wow, if Dennis Rodman played for this coach he would have never had a career. I hope the Lakers insert Hill with enough time for him to get in the flow of the game.

    Here’s to hoping that Williams does something other than stand in the corners waiting for a pass to shoot the three. He’s easy to guard because the defense knows exactly where he’ll be on the floor. News flash to Williams: You can criss cross the floor and go from one side to the other and wait for a pass to launch and miss a three. This is your last chance…the bench is calling your name.

    Lakers, Lakers, Lakers!

  5. Early season must win. Going on road and losing 6 of last. 7 including last year makes this one a must. More Hill and Farmar please !

  6. Team looks good early.

  7. …as they will when the 3s drop.

  8. Pau Gasol less than 5 feet 21% of his shots taken
    5-10 feet 26%
    10-20 feet 37%
    20+ feet 16%

    Gasol needs more touches closer to the basket

  9. Nash just can’t shoot this year. Worst percentage on the team.

  10. Question. Last year, many of us bemoaned Meeks’ inability to make a layup if his life depended on it…at least at times. This year, he has shown a vastly improved touch around the rim. Did anyone say anything about him working on that facet of his game during the offseason, because I question whether it is a fluke after seeing him have success pretty regularly so far….including that last possession

  11. Glove,
    Don´t know if you read it but Kevin_ had a nice post on the last thread about Pau & his getting down in the post

  12. Whats wrong with Pau tonight?

  13. Sweet Nash .. Real Sweet

  14. Thanks PurpleBlood, I will check out Kevin’s post.

    Good half by the Lakers, all 11 players who played scored. Lakers riding their hot 3 point shooting 61.5% to the half-time lead.

  15. Nash looking better tonight.

  16. WOW. Pau Gasol throws it down, slam dunk. That’s more like it.

  17. Wouldn’t we all like to see more of that from Pau?

  18. Get Nash out of thete

  19. Pau just isn’t as lethal down on the block anymore. Would rather see him down there than shooting 20 ft jumpers all night on pick and pops though.

  20. Serious question. Should our bench be starting?

  21. God Kaman was a steal.

  22. Johnson/ Kamen looks good tonight.

    Pau is 5 for 14

  23. will you guys stop whining and appreciate the team. I thought we were supposed to have the backs of our players …just support Nash cos he doesnt like his situation either. Why should the bench start …we need their spark after a controlled start.

  24. What the crap is Meeks doing out there. Blowing this game ?

  25. it took K-man getting to his 5th foul to bring JHill back in, geez

  26. @AI4, there is always a whinefest here, even if the team is winning 160-10 somebody will whine about something. Team looking good but Hawks making their run.TOs rearing their ugly head…

  27. Call a time out This lineup is losing it!

  28. Man… Farmar is really sloppy tonight. Good to see Henry bouncing back though.

  29. Some people here are really histerycal SMH, the team is still in the lead and trading baskets no reason to blow a gasket sheesh

  30. When did we pick up this Jordan Hill guy? He seems to play hard..why doesn’t he get more time?

  31. Boy is Pau bad tonight. 5 for 16 and boy is Blake worthless. Good thing Hill is here.

  32. Lakers have to find a way to get HILL in the game more….everyone notices it… the fans notice it, ,the Accessteam anchors realize it, the commentators notice it…

    Pau really needs to get back to working on his post fundamentals…I don’t care if you have to ask Kareem informally to help you get back to basics…I always kinda wince when Pau makes a 3 because then he becomes shot happy…the Lakers NEED him in the post to play inside out…

    Definitely have to figure out who we are going to go to when we need buckets…Henry is raw but something positive usually happens..

  33. How are you a Center shooting 29 freaking percent from the field? I am beyond livid right now…smh

  34. I don’t understand how you let Korver repeatedly shoot 3 after 3 when his isn’t missing

  35. To state the blindingly obvious: you might want to guard Korver on this play.

  36. Huge offensive rebound by Jordan Hill leads to 2 Fts by Gasol on a blocking call on Millsap. Gasol makes both.

    Gasol blocks Korver’s shot.

    Lakers Win.

  37. Do not put Blake on Korver!!

  38. D’Antoni later tonigh… It’s like rebounding is important.

  39. MDA in his presser after the game: “I might have to play Hill more.” Yeah, whatever. Heard that before. SMH

  40. Pau came up big when it counted! Great job to seal the win Pau with two big freebies and a block. And, uh yeah, maybe that Jordan Hill guy could get some more playing time since offensive rebounds are helpful for the, uh, offense and stuff.

  41. Wow…gonna have to start calling these guys the Cardiac Kids….that game should not have been that close…someone is gonna say great game Gasol with 16 and 13 but not realize he shot a putrid 27% from the field….I’ll take the win though.

  42. That was not easy. But will take it.

    Play Hill Mike. Williams is not good.

  43. Can the Shawne Williams experiment be over for a few games, and let Hill eat those minutes? Feed the beast, please, he’s hungry.

  44. Really bad game shooting wise by Pau but he did everything else really good specially at the end. He is our go-to guy at the moment. We playing 500 ball, i take it…

  45. His stats won’t stand out when viewing the boxscore, but once again, J-Hill was the difference maker down the stretch. And although, imo, D’Antoni isn’t playing him enough, he’s playing him when it counts most and tonight, it paid off.

    Respect given to Kyle ‘Da Sniper’ Korver. Pure Shooter personified.

  46. ugly win. we blew our lead… but we’ll take it…
    breaks of the game went our way in the last minute.

  47. D’antoni will not give Hill a lot of minutes. If he does give Hill minutes, then that will cut into Kaman or Gasol’s minutes not William’s. Hill is a center in d’antoni’s system so he probably thinks its counterproductive to play Hill at the 4 alongside Kaman or Gasol.

  48. Glad to see Steve Nash show some signs of life this evening. Definitely saw some good things out there. Wes Johnson is showing off his athleticism on both ends of the floor. The X man looked good starting. JHill played well and did his thing on the glass. Kaman, Young, Farmar and Blake made solid contributions. The game tightened up in the 4th Q as The Show had trouble scoring. A victory is a victory. Go Lakers!

  49. Hard to love the win given the lead that was squandered. Then again, I’ll take 2-2 headed on the road for the first extended trip. And I like the overall attitude of the team, even if execution (and substitution patterns!) are still somewhat lacking.

  50. It took Kaman almost fouling out for J. Hill to get into the game. Once again, like last year, D’antoni will have to adjust to his personnel or sink.

  51. There are a lot of the comments tonight regarding Jordan Hill. Rightly so. His numbers, while good (6 pts. on 2-2 shooting and 2-2 from the line–i.e., not a miss, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 HUGE offensive rebound that may have won the game) just don’t reflect his true contribution. He’s a spark to the team. He provides energy. He rebounds(!). He plays defense. And he does it in crunch time. Hill may have been one of the 3 most important Lakers on the court tonight along with Gasol and Henry.

    But…he played fewer minutes (13:36) than any one else on the team. Think of it. The team is struggling to win rebounding battles. And Hill sits on the bench.

    MDA has got to wake up and smell the coffee. He needs Hill…whether he likes it or not.

    Hill should be playing 20-25 minutes. But in every game his minutes have diminished. MDA should sit Shawne Williams and start Kaman, then bring Hill off the bench as the 1st substitute. Is that so difficult to figure out?

  52. Henry had 18 points in 26 minutes, by hitting 2/4 3s and getting to the line 8 times, making 6. He had 1 dime, 1 TO, and no boards. I give the guy credit for figuring out an approach that seems to be making him an NBA rotation player, given his seemingly narrow skill set. He is focusing on his strengths.

    As to the Hill thing…if the Lakers are trying to make postseason,then obviously D’Antoni needs to get Hill out there a little more, like everyone is saying. But I recall that when the Lakers got Kaman, I thought that maybe Buss and Kupchak saw Kaman as a chess piece: a guy to move at the deadline, or a guy to cover the 5 if they move Pau, or a guy to be a bench guy next year if they can actually make a splash in FA. It may be that Hill is in the same kind of situation now. Hill is a Mike Brown type of player; the FO got Hill when Brown was still the coach. There are certainly contenders that could use Hill if the Lakers really don’t want to play him 20 MPG.

  53. I really like the way the team came out focused on offense and defense. Had 12 assists in the 1st quarter and everybody got going. Players were early or on time on defensive rotations mostly throughout. Won’t dwell on blowing leads because they’ve been doing that since Kobe and Shaq days. even though this team has less room for error. Nice 3 game roadie coming up and wouldn’t be surprised at a few bumps along the way. Team still has room to get better and I think will.

    Think Nash needs to continue to be aggressive looking for his shot to keep the defense honest. Young didn’t do anything new just made the same shots he been missing so far. Long gone is the Farmar that is aggressive trying to force things, now he’s all about running his unit. I like the balance but when Young is off he’s going to have to pick it up. Kaman has done just about what fans thought he would. I’d like for Henry to look to pass a bit more, he gets tunnel vision once he’s driving to the basket. Won’t lie I’m a bit surprised Pau is producing what he is in sub 30 minute games but he’s proving he can still get it done through stretches. Still a long season to go. Biggest takeaway from this game was Wesley Johnson. His defense was outstanding. He got called for some fouls that I thought were clear solid defensive plays and is really holding his own at the pf spot. He’s shooting 40% from 3 so far and averaging 2 blks a game. What he’s producing can be kept up and he can even provide more.

  54. Obviously we don’t know what MDA saw in practices to give more minutes to some players and less to others. There’s some data/info gathered in rpactices that we simply don’t have access to and may influence the on court minutes. However, it is also rather obvious that production in practice doesn’t always translate to oncourt performance, so it’s about time MDA makes the adjustments everyone is saying and I’m not even talking about starting, just minutes played:

    – Give more minutes to Farmar at PG at the expense of the Steves.
    – Give more minutes to Jordan Hill at the expense of Shawne Williams. Our rotation of bigs should consist of Gasol, Kaman and Hill with the occasional Williams sighting if the game asks for it. There are 96 minutes to be played at both the PF and C positions and there’s no reason not to give 30 minutes to each of those three players.
    – Stop the Wesley Johnson experiment at PF and start him at SF guarding the opponent’s best perimeter player. He may not be the defensive player we need him to be, but we must teach him and turn him into said defensive stopper. His minutes should come at the expense of Nick Young.
    – Xavier Henry should be our starter at SG until Kobe returns. Meeks can be his backup until Kobe returns. Once Kobe returns, Xavier can be his backup while Meeks or Young fall out of the rotation.

    Just common sense here. Now, that’s if we are making a run at the playoffs. If we’re not then…

  55. Excellent post Renato Afonso.

    Don’t know what it is about Jordan Hill that rubs D’Antoni the wrong way – I’m guessing that it’s because Hill lacks the offensive skills that D’Antoni prefers in his big men – but even Stevie Wonder can see that the man needs, and should be getting, more floor time. As the season progresses and the volume from the fans, media and maybe even the players for Hill to get more minutes starts to get louder, D’Antoni will have no other choice but to then submit and grant the critics their wishes. Especially if – as I suspect – the team isn’t doing well.

  56. I for one like Wesley Johnson at PF although it does create further glut at the bigs rotation. He actually rebounds and blocks shots very well at this position. He cannot occupy the ‘stretch-four’ position as his shot is lacking, but the same can very well be said with Shawne Williams at the moment.

    I agree with Renato that MDA has data which we don’t have access to and to micro-manage him this early in the season is expecting too much as if we’re a real contender. Lets not lose sight of the realities which our team has. It would sure be nice to go 78-0 from this point on, but then again…

    I reserved comment till after I saw the game and here are my 3 cents with regards to the same topic:

    1. Jordan Farmar is a good ball-stopper. He isn’t a defensive savant but he does enough to disrupt the offense of the other team. That will not reflect on the statsheet but I like it alot. We need to consider his next Laker contract moving forward. Full MLE?

    2. Savvy Henry is just a baller. I remember one time we mentioned he was not supposed to be in the league? I like his aggression, I like his attitude and I like the results. I’m sure he could be better at passing off, but then again if our entire team ‘passes off’ then who shoots? I just take him for what he is and just savor his great play thus far. Question though, how much does he earn next year? He should be a priority if we could sign him to a mid-level contract long-term. I’m worried other teams would offer him the full MLE and Mitch might try to sign him for less and lose him.

    3. Jordan Hill is not human, he is machine. J-Chill is the modern day Dennis Rodman who has potential to be our starting center. Thats of course provided Pau would welcome moving back to PF, which at this point, he might. Hybrid rotations on offense and defense I say. Teams with cap space are gonna take a hard look at him and offer him something like 6M per season and he would still be a bargain.

    4. I like Wes Johnson’s game. I’m worried about his consistency to produce once real offensive options are on this team. But due to his activity, I see a future with him. If we could perhaps consider signing him for a contract that’s not overpaying but at the same time allowing us flexibility.

    5. I hope Nick Young stays with that contract of his.

    Always looking forward at the same time staying grounded with expectations. Working ever so hard while considering everthing.

  57. The truly good news so far is that:
    – we’re 2-2, having played 3 top tier teams
    – we’ve been in position to win 3 of 4
    – we play w/ energy + effort all game, every night
    – the ball moves, scoring happens
    – we have a number of players who can score

    If we can learn how to close games, use our athleticism to get to the cup, and not fall in love outside when j’s aren’t falling, we’ll be in position to win most nights.

    While we gave clear vulnerability on the defensive end against speedy, penetrating point guards, out rotations will get better.

    Please MDA, more J Hill, as everyone notes. Go Lakers!

  58. Well, I’m pretty happy that the team is 2-2 and could have been 3-1 after playing some decent basketball in three of the four games. If they can build an identity on hard work and energy, then I think the Lakers can hover around .500 for the season. That was my personal prediction — 40 to 45 wins, factoring Kobe’s uncertain situation into the mix. I would argue that’s pretty good for a team missing its number one player, wondering about players 2-3 given age and injuries, and deploying a host of castoffs, washouts, and fringe guys.

    Over the longer term, I think having a few of these players prove themselves and contribute to an identity, particularly once Kobe returns, will make a difference with free agents. I can’t say that I know what LeBron or anyone else will do, but it has to make a difference to see a team with guys that can actually play the game and stay competitive.

  59. Something to think about:

    Game 1 vs Clippers = emotional win, phenomenal bench play
    Chris Paul – 15-6-11
    Jamal Crawford 15-3-3 **

    Game 2 @ Warriors = blowout loss
    Klay Thompson 38-3-1 **
    Toney Douglas 13-4-4
    Stephen Curry 10-4-6

    Game 3 vs Spurs = lost a winnable game
    Tony Parker – 24-4-6
    Manu Ginobili 20-3-3 **

    Game 4 vs Hawks = lost a sizeable lead but won
    Jeff Teague – 14-6-4
    Kyle Korver – 22-2-4 **

    ** – denotes Shooting Guard

    Steve Blake needs to play SG selectively.

  60. Yea I actually agree with the Wesley Johnson at the 4…doesn’t have to be a fulltime thing…but I have seen him in spurts put the ball on the floor and go by a big…something he wouldn’t do versus a 3 per se and he doesn’t have a post game to take advantage of 3’s offensively so he would basically just be a spacer offensively. I also liked him in the screening game when he rolled or slipped screens.

    First half was great…obviously the ball was going in the basket but the ball was moving a lot more…

    Now time for Over Reaction Monday:

    1. Meeks is shooting 50% from the floor, 42% from 3pt and 90% from the ft…so basically our 180 shooter on the team will be someone OTHER than Nash? Meeks I never thought I’d say this but you may shoot when ready. Green Light Status…

    2. Steve Blake gets the start but yet his past 3 games he has shot 30%, 17%, and 20% from the field overall….ouch…and a great 27% from the field for the season. How does he get 32 minutes last night…

    3. Pau Gasol’s field goal percentage for the year: 40%. Nash’s fg% 29%.

    4. X factor? Is it possible that a guy that has averaged 4ppg and maybe considered a bust could possibly be not only the best player on the team currently but our best scorer? I’m wondering when the team needs a score do they go to Gasol who can’t shoot at all so far with the exception of the occasional 3 or do they go to Xavier who is the only one who seems to be able to take his man off the dribble, get to the line, and is shooting 45% from 3pt…take away the Spurs game where he was clobbered he would be averaging 18ppg…

    5. Wrong points. Instead of using Nash and Blake…why not try using Nash and Farmar…while I like Farmar…it doesn’t seem like he is ready to run a half court offense and may need to either play off the ball a little more and make plays after the ball has been rotated and defense is out of position. Seems like more of a threat to a defense than Blake…if Blake isn’t hitting his 3’s he really isn’t much use offensively. With that said I think he could run a 2nd unit and be effective.

    That’s basically it for my over reactions for now

  61. To over reaction

    Considering the questions 2-2 is good. Seems like MD is very stubborn. Wonder if he and Hill have had words in the past or it’s a life style thing. Also agree on Blake who has been terrible in pre-season and regular. Not been a Meeks fan but match up and shooting wise he should play the 2.

    I would be most impressed if they come back 2-1 from trip. Lineup changes would help.

  62. LakerFanatic,
    good post – W.Johnson at the 3 or 4 seems to be a bit of a conundrum still, but your reasons for keeping him at the 4 are solid and have steered me in that direction.
    what would this great site be without you man! Last night a couple of folks(including our friend Fern) were a bit down on the perceived `whining´, but i couldn´t help thinking the following: ¨this is a good night for Keno, wait till we get to Houston!¨ 😉 keep it comin´ brother!

  63. I’m still rather perplexed at the constant pining to get Hill more minutes no matter what. The constant notion of plugging him in at PF is just wrong headed. Hill is a wonderful small ball center. He is useful when running a small ball line-up. The usage of Hill will be determined by how much small ball the Lakers run. As Gary noted, more small ball means less Gasol and and to a lesser degree Kaman.

    I’m glad to see my observations of Henry drawing fouls vs Young’s lack of drawing fouls were also mentioned in the article.

    I do want to see the best players in the line-up starting and getting minutes. Nods to Farmar and Henry. Blake should be getting less burn. But I’m wary of too much churn in the line up.

  64. tinkering with the starting line up can’t be easy considering the psyche of the individuals involved. and yet, until sunday’s game vs the hawks, the 2nd unit was providing the change of pace and energy necessary to offset the play of the starting laker unit. now with xavier henry’s injection into the starting unit; added energy has been infused and coach d’antoni may be on to something. with so many unproven players on the roster and some obviously past their primes, finding the right combination can be tricky and will probably take time to develop and understand.

    barring injuries, seventy eight games should be enough to develop and understand exactly what combination of players worked best together.

    let’s hope it doesn’t take seventy eight games..

    Go Lakers

  65. Vaheed,

    All I know is that without Jordan Hill, the Lakers would not have won last night’s game. In fact, he may have been the best player on the floor during the last 4-5 minutes. Without that last offensive rebound, we’d be having a very different conversation.

    To my way of thinking, Hill has demonstrated that he can play 2 positions: 1) small-ball center with the 2nd unit and 2) power forward along side Pau Gasol. He seems to relish playing next to Gasol. And I think it’s mutual.

    With that, i would suggest the following. With regard to Shawne Williams: Sit. Him. I’m just not impressed. He can go to the end of the bench.

    With regard to Chris Kaman, start him. Kaman should be playing 24-28 minutes. They’re certainly going to need him against Houston. (Can you imagine Shawne Williams guarding Dwight Howard?)

    With regard to Jordan Hill: bring him off the bench to anchor the 2nd unit. Farmar and Hill seem to work together well. Hill would then play 14 minutes at Center and 6 minutes (maybe in crunch time) at PF next to Gasol.

    I think that would be a much better use of our bigs.

  66. Mid

    Funny thought hill has basically played just the 4th quarter last 2 games.

    Lakers blew 2 big leads in the 4th quarter last 2 games.

    Odd cause he was best player on the court.

  67. about JHill…

    i don’t know if he can give maximum effort for more than 18-20 minutes without hurting himself. his style is reckless, so any fatigue is a dangerous thing. he’s been a game changer. i like the insertion of Hill into the lineup at key moments that require extra energy, but i don’t know that he can keep that up for 35 minutes a game, for 82 games…

  68. Hey I find it interesting that no one brought up something from last nights game…Swaggy P the PLAYMAKER! I can’t remember the last time I saw Young dishing to create for someone else…I think he had like 4 assists…anomaly or concerted effort to actually get people involved through aggressive play? Gotta say I like that more than the double crossover top of the key shots which he drained twice last night by the way.

    And yes my post would not be complete without my gripe/I know more than the coach comment: I think the coach definitely needs to get the tempo up and get them running more…if the wings run more and harder they will get better shots…before you say Gasol can’t run you don’t have to use him as the rim runner, he can be the inbounder/trail player and he can be part of a drag screen if the initial break isn’t there…GASOL IF YOU ARE READING THIS I WANT YOU TO ROLL TO THE BASKET ON SCREENS NOT POP!!! …I think the tempo and pace has to be quicker not necessarily Paul Westhead speed but we can’t set up versus halfcourt defenses with limited halfcourt options and our supposedly best halfcourt option as a post player shooting 40% from the field…

  69. . I remember one time we mentioned he was not supposed to be in the league?

    His numbers going into the season strongly indicated that, yes. Darius said at the time of the acquisition that he thought it was not all that likely that Henry would make the team. That said, Henry has made a conscious decision to change his style to focus on his stregths, and as I said above, power to him. But even based on these four games he is sitting at an 11.7 PER. You can say PER means nothing if you like, but the stuff Henry does do is very visible, whereas the stuff that he doesn’t do gets lost in game flow if you go entirely by the eye test.

    One thing he needs to do for sure is get his FT percentage up, He is averaging 10.1 FTA/36, so if he is going to maximize his effectiveness playing this style, his conversion rate needs to be higher. He is at present 4th in the NBA in FTAs, and he is surrounded on that list by All-Stars and MVP candidates.

  70. Keno,

    D’Antoni had issues with Hill in New York, as has been noted here.

  71. I like how Henry attacks the rim…he reminds me of a Derrick Rose attacking the rim with reckless abandon…the only problem he finds himself in is when he is 5 feet from the rim…he doesn’t seem sure or maybe unable to at this time finish over defenders and doesn’t quite have the finesse to finish around someone maybe using a euro step or a shot high off the backboard or a pull up shot…either way me personally I’m not overly concerned with Xavier’s FT percentage mainly because I see how he is as a 3pt shooter and a shooter in general…I think he will likely finish the year in the high 70s percentage wise.

  72. i could see where mark cuban will want his team to tank this season so tuesday’s game vs his mavericks is one game in the win column. i could see where not only rocket howard but the entire city of houston would want to jettison the lakers into obvilion in their home arena thursday. i could see where coach d’antoni will again start steve blake at point guard in a back to back against the winged pelicans. that game would be a toss up.

    i could see waking up next saturday realizing this was all but a dream.

    Go lakers

  73. think he will likely finish the year in the high 70s percentage wise.


    Maybe, but his career rate going into this year was .624 and this year he is 18/31–.581.

  74. 2-2 without Kobe. That is actually a good start for this team. Such a relaxing season without high expectations.

  75. Surely MDA (or at least Kurt Rambis) can see that we have real difficulty protecting the rim and that more minutes for Jordan Hill would help that.

    I agree, Williams is frustrating. No even providing the shooting the MDA is presumably donating minutes to him for.