Preview and Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

Emile Avanessian —  November 5, 2013

What is up, guys? So, it’s been a minute – hopefully this look ahead to Game 5 of what promises to be yet another oddity (different flavor, at least)of a Laker season finds you in good health.

When we last crossed paths, overstating the disarray that surrounded the Lakers would have posed quite the challenge. Wrapping up a season defined by tumult – the passing of a patriarch, upheaval and uncertainty on the bench, devastating injuries, the Next Great Laker eyeing the exit seemingly on arrival and cupboard shockingly devoid of youth, athleticism and, frankly, NBA talent – with Kobe Bryant shelved indefinitely and without a trump card to pull from their perpetually stacked deck, Mitch Kupchak and Co were staffed with the task of assembling transitional roster (I’ve gotta get diplomatic immunity for that, right?), on the cheap, without hamstringing their ability to go shopping next summer.

While acknowledging the myriad challenge that lay before the Lakers’ front office – the aforementioned financial constraints, an ascendant contender down the hall (still owned by a racist slumlord – never forget) also equipped with the “hey, ____, wouldn’t be cool to live and play in L.A.?” sales pitch – what emerged from the summer’s personnel machinations read like an obituary for optimism:

Chris Kaman, huh?… Hey, apparently Jordan Farmar’s back – Ok… Xavier Henry… at least he was a lotto pick?… Wes Johnson?! Isn’t that just English for Nikoloz Tskitishvili?… NICK YOUNG?!?! Really? Swaggy @$%4%$ P?!?!

It was dark.

On the other hand…

Though I’m not one to vocally advocate for openly tanking a season, I’m not not one to vocally advocate for openly tanking a season. And hell, if you’re ever going do it, this is supposedly the year… And man, if you’re in, might as well only do it once, and be the freaking Lakers of tanking.

Yeah, about that…

One week ago, the NBA’s island of misfit toys, err, the Lakers, opened the season with a matchup against their noisy neighbors, under the watchful eyes of a triumphant legacy, a legacy that, well… the hell with it – Oh, Doc. Shrouding the achievements of Baylor, West, Magic and Kareem so that giant Jared Dudley can watch over your squad? C’mon man! That’s just sad. Just slap a Pacific Division banner and Loy Vaught’s #35 on one of the other walls and be done with it.

Whew! That felt good. Sorry. Where were we? Oh yeah…

Last Tuesday evening, the Lakers’ curious collection kicked off its season as a near-double-digit underdog against the Clippers – and frankly my specs were not sufficiently rosy to allow me to expect what was to come. Unencumbered by the expectations that typically accompany the arrival of November in Lakerland, behind an early spark provided by Pau Gasol and fueled spectacularly by the desire and tireless effort of the Gallows Humor All-Stars, the Lakers took the fight to L.A.’s presumed contender. Not only did the Lakers dominate the offensive glass (15 off the bench – 11 from Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman), attack the paint and unleash an awesome 3-point barrage en route to 76 bench points (!!; That’s like a week’s work for your average Laker bench!) and a 13-point win, the backdrop against which they did so made for one of the most enjoyable victories in recent memory. For the first time in a long time, a Lakers win brought with it exuberance, and not relief. The Lakers as plucky upstarts.

With all due respect to the individual and collective abilities of the men comprising the 2013-14 Lakers’ roster, in an unaltered state it’s difficult to examine this crew and – in the absence of heroism the likes of which we’ve never seen from a still-rehabbing Kobe – concoct a scenario in which the accomplishments of this squad outstrip those of its 2012-13 predecessor. What we do have, however, is a collection of largely useful basketball players, without long-term financial commitments, looking to revive an NBA career, pen a successful final chapter, audition for a supporting role with a contender, capitalize on an opportunity to justify lofty draft status, or some combination thereof. And Nick Young.

And the opportunity to watch these guys work like hell to reclaim, reroute and resuscitate their NBA careers. And Nick Young.

The first stanza of the Lakers’ 2013-14 season has run the gamut. The euphoric haze of the shocking dismissal of the Clippers dissipating in Oakland, as the Lakers were rolled, lit up by Klay Thompson. Two nights later they once again flirted with an upset, challenging the (admittedly Duncan-less) defending Western Conference champion Spurs before coming up just short. And on Sunday, clinging to victory against the Atlanta Hawks after surrendering a double-digit lead they’d held throughout the game.

78 to go. It’s time to settle in.

Two years into their own retool-not-rebuild amid the professional twilight of their own generational great, face of the franchise, the Dallas Mavericks’ attempts to find a running mate of comparable stature for Dirk Nowitzki – via the pursuits of Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Dallas native Deron Williams – have anticlimactically yielded Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Sam Dalembert and DeJuan Blair. Tonight in Texas, the Lakers kick off what is certain to be a challenging three-game trip against the Mavs, with matchups against the Rockets and Pelicans looming Thursday and Friday, before returning home for six of their next seven games. And with Dallas looking at three road games of their own in the next four nights, starting in OKC tomorrow, they’ll surely muster their best shot for the Lakers.

Offensively, Dallas will present the Lakers with a range of challenges. Like the Lakers, the Mavs prefer to play at a breakneck pace (fourth in the NBA in pace; the Lakers rank first), but, through three games, have managed to do so far more effectively than the Lakers, ranking third in the NBA in Offensive Efficiency (111.3 points/ 100 possessions), and rank in the top 12 leaguewide in each of the “Offensive Four Factors”: eFG% (12th), Offensive Rebound Rate (11th),Turnover Rate (10th lowest) and FTA/FGA (3rd). The strong defensive effort from Wes Johnson will be huge here, as will the Lakers’ work on the offensive boards. (Note: Jordan Hill and his stellar 23.2% ORB Rate are banged up, but will be in action)

Not terribly surprisingly, however, a squad on which the Dirk/Monta/Calderon trio is logs roughly 100 minutes per night does not hang its hat on the defensive end of the floor, ranking 23rd in the NBA. Despite a similarly pedestrian ranking offensively (20th in the NBA), the Lakers must exploit the Mavs’ shortcomings at the defensive end – namely by getting to the line, as the Mavs’ .352 opponents’ FTA/FGA ratio ranks last in the NBA, and perhaps easing up a bit on the gas, and emphasizing lineups featuring both Pau and Chris Kaman, a handful to begin with, but potentially a nightmare for the Mavs with Brendan Wright out of action and Dalembert and Bernard James their only active bigs.

Beyond this as has been the case through the season’s first week (and likely will be going forward), the most vital components to a Laker victory will at the offensive end be energy, aggressiveness and outside shooting. In other words, Xavier Henry must build on the best week of his NBA life.

Enjoy the game everyone!

Emile Avanessian

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80 responses to Preview and Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

  1. Win or lose this year I must say based on what I see I really like all the Lakers this year. They just seem like a good group of people.

  2. “And Nick Young.”

    Priceless.

    Great write-up. Go Lakers.

  3. Any news re kobe eta?

    Saw the blackout tweet but not sure what it meant

  4. Team needs the bench to come through better than they did against the Warriors.

  5. Looking forward to seeing how this team performs on the road over the next 3 and hoping that our 2nd game away from the confines of Staples turns out much better than our 1st.

  6. It is encouraging when even the best efforts of the other owners – via the CBA – can’t keep the Lakers from at least being interesting. We will find out if they can be more than that.

  7. Williams? Why

  8. My gosh Nash just can’t shoot. 0 for 4 already.

  9. If your getting out rebounded would not Hill be a thought?

  10. Marion with an offensive tip in on 1 end of the court and on the Lakers very next possession, ‘Dub’ Johnson – Marion’s prototype in D’Antoni’s eyes – mirrors the act.

    Our defense, thus far, has been invisible.

  11. Nice job of coaching. Still no Hill.

  12. Here we go with the freaking out, good D or not the Lakers are shooting 35% from the floor not even 100 rebounds can help with that. This is not a very good shooting team no matter how we slice it some games they be hot but most games they wont. Thats the reality, i hope our gun sights get better on the 2nd quarter.

  13. Theres Hill, happy now?

  14. Ok so that didn’t work. How about trying Walton and Kwame.

    Running out of people to blame.

    It’s Obama’s fault!

  15. They’re not just hitting their shots and I can’t feel the energy on every players on the court.

  16. The problem for the Lakers have been the starting backcourt Nash-Blake 1-5, its been on every game so far, i still had that 3-20 debacle against SA fresh in my mind. Thats been this team albatross so far.

  17. So tired of seeing Blake in a Lakers jersey. Meeks has outperformed him this season, why is he in?

  18. That’s the worst defense I have ever seen. Must have been busy night out in Dallas for Laker players last night.

    Rockets might win by 50 Thursday

  19. Ugh, i think i have enough of this.looks like a looong season, this is against a borderline playoff OLD team, its gonna get ugly in Houston. Lottery here we go!! Lol

  20. I rather see Steve Blake in a Laker uniform 10 more years than Joey Crawford officiating one more game.

  21. Rusty Shackleford November 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    They said Sam Slam.

    Pau looks slow.

  22. Lakers guards are by far the worst defenders in the league.

    Can you fire an entire team at halftime.

    Feel sorry for Kobe having to watch this team.

  23. On the road Lakers always seem to stink when Kobe’s on the bench.

    Not much a team can do when the starting guards can’s score and can’t defend. When it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But when it’s broke implode it, if necessary.

    The road is always tough for young players, it should not be that way for Nash, Pau, Kaman and Blake.

  24. Dribble penetration by their guards is killing us. Either they’re finishing at the rim, or handing off to 1 of their bigs for an easy bucket. Our guards are being made to look like mannequins.

  25. Lakers starting guards Blake 27%, Nash 29% on the season.

  26. Just started watching but it looks like the game is already over.

  27. Man, Nash not really looking good.

  28. Steve Nash has become a sad sad version of a once great player. Hard to believe for $12 million they couldn’t find better then Nash/Blake.

    Dallas managed to.

  29. Not a single tough guy on the Lakers active roster. Been a long time since one can make that statement.

  30. This is what we have and we better learn to deal with it. Long long season ahead. I expect a implosion by the trade deadline and go on full tank mode, im an optimistic an i love the Lakers but the D wont get any better, Nash-Blake should improve, they have to, but the horrible defense by the whole team is just too much to overcome. Whatever the FO decides to do with this team they need to keep that bench intact, thats the only thing going on for this team and the best building block going fwd.Case in point the bench has scored 11 straight points How the mighty have fallen.

  31. Once again, Lakers bench outscoring the starters.

  32. Let’s be honest …Lakers will be the underdog every road game..

  33. Fern

    Perhaps the FO is smarter then we think . Pretend to put together players who play for contracts knowing this is not a playoff team.

    35 wins and the fall guy is Mike D and start all over next year with new coach and players.

    Fooled us, Time Warner and Season Ticket holders.

    Brilliant!

  34. Keno your not far off, i believe that might be the case. Obviously this date next year we be looking at a very different team probably not a championship team yet but a young team on the rise in which Mitch can use his magic with money to spend for a change. Hopefully they dont blow their load on 1 summer thats my main concern that the FO go overboard spending and we be back to square 1 cap wise. This season looks like a wash.

  35. The Mavericks are hot this game. They can’t miss. Add that to the Lakers defense (or lack there of) and you get a blowout.

  36. Yeah, Mavs especially Ellis can’t missed. No energy on the starters and Nash/Blake really looks old. They need some sort of urgency on the road. The bench again scoring but the lead has ballooned to double digits, too late.

    Hence, we’re going for a record, bench scoring.

    On to the next one, its gonna be a long season and a 30 point loss is only one tally in loss column.

  37. Might as well get a glimpse of the youngin’, Ryan Kelly.

  38. Nick Young is still playing hard and with tenacity. Good to see.

  39. Based on what we saw tonight this is a. 0 and 3 toad trip. Might be deep in last place when Kobe returns.

  40. Ryan Kelly scored on his 1st NBA minute, the savior!!!!!

  41. So…the defense looks like this…PNR…big tries to hedge….guard for some reason thinks it is a switch…the big tries to recover….other team scores because there is no weakside resistance…usually with the small lineups its a guard trying to stop the roll man on weakside action….ehhh…

    Guards getting beat off the dribble…over and over…my god pick your poison…don’t let them get every paint bucket AND …wide open 3′s…

    For a team overmatched on the perimeter…interior defense…is zone defense an option? At least a matchup zone? Awful awful defense.

  42. he’s coming back nov. 15. blackout = debut of hollywood nights jersey. bear hunting = grizzlies.

  43. How u came out with that chaos? Very clever if true.

  44. Fern 2 words: chaos got it from exchangeagram!

  45. Either you get Nash and Blake with 29% shooting and zero defense for $12 million
    Or
    Caldron and Ellis for $14 million.

    Laker starting guards have been out scored by roughly 100 points in 5 games.

    Who’s trying to win and who’s not?

  46. Rick Carlisle is no slouch as a coach. In fact, he’s as astute as they come.

    He probably told his players: “Take it to the rim. They have no one who can protect the basket and no one who has the guts to keep you out of the paint. You’ll have clear sailing every time.”

    If so, he was right. Consider the following:

    Points in the Paint: Dallas–52, Lakers 36. Differential: 16 points.
    Rebounds: Dallas–50, Lakers 35. Differential: 15 rebounds.
    Rebounds by starters: Dallas–28, Lakers 9. Differential: 19 rebounds.

    Other notable stats: Dallas assists–34, Lakers, 21. Differential: 13 assists.
    Points by Lakers starters–32; Lakers reserves–72. Differential: 42 points.

    All of this points to several major weaknesses: 1) rebounding; 2) defense in the middle (not just protecting the rim but allowing players like Monte Ellis and DaJuan Blair to get into the paint at will); 3) underperforming Lakers starting guards, both in terms of scoring and distributing; 4) an underperforming starting 5.

    The biggest issue, I believe, is defense in the middle. Every team who plays the Lakers in the next 2 weeks will see this film. And they will salivate.

    Something must be done.

  47. Interesting enough is that D’Antoni will make all of the roster changes around all of the positions except the ones that may need it most with incumbent starters Nash and Gasol.

    Yes, Nash is a good floor general and brings intangibles to the team but you have a guy whose highest shooting percentage in any game this year is 38% and is shooting 29% from the field for the season with a 25% shooting performance tonight that still needs to be factored in..Add the fact that Nash isn’t a good defender and the fact that 24 minutes a game and will sit out back to backs…he should not be starting…

    Pau Gasol. I’m not sure if he needs to get his legs back under him from not playing all summer or what but he is not playing well at all…yes he will get the double double but where is his efficiency…he has fallen in love with the outside shot and isn’t aggressive in the post…two plays Nash gave him a pass for a basket he hesitates and then turns his back to try to post up…Sweeping hook….clang! (smh). If Pau Gasol is our best player now and our 2nd best player when Kobe gets back if he is playing like this the Lakers are in trouble. 5 games and as a post player you only have ONE 50% shooting game? Meanwhile his counterpart, Kaman’s lowest fg% is actually 50% in a game and is shooting 58% for the season to Gasol’s 40%.

    The sad part about the whole situation is that with both players productions they have essentially killed any trade value they really have outside of Pau’s expiring contract and Nash’s expiring contract next year so we really can’t even showcase them for a trade. It’s a shame that Nash really never panned out….I know that is basically the reason D’Antoni is even here…I’m not sure why he is trying to live out the good ole days but he really needs to say that no one’s job is safe in the starting lineup.

    My starting 5: Farmar, Meeks, Henry, Hill, Kaman. Make it happen.

  48. Since D’Antoni is in the midst of figuring things out I think Meeks needs to get a shot in the starting lineup. He’s been probably the most consistent Laker on the court and Henry was thriving as a bench player. Throwing him in the deep end so early after his success may hurt his progress being guarded by Marion and other elite defenders off the bat. Nash-Blake-Meeks-Pau-Kaman. Lakers have floor spacing with the 3 guards and get a two man game with two bigs. The starters need a spark on offense and the bench doesn’t lose any spark because they still have Farmar-Henry-Young-Jophnson-Hill. If this is truly about finding out who can play and helping the team beyond this season Meeks must play more minutes than Blake and Farmar needs to play the most minutes of any guard every night. No reason to keep running the corpses of Nash and Blake out there to get ran over night after night when they aren’t in the future plans. And at this point I think we’d all agree the young guys give the team a better chance to win. Put Henry back on the bench where he belongs, insert Meeks into the starting lineup along with Kaman and give Williams minutes to Kelly. Nash-Blake-Meeks-Pau-Kaman-Farmar-Henry-Young-Johnson-Hill-Kelly/Sacre should be the 11 man rotation and Blake gets weeded out once Kobe is back.

  49. he’s coming back nov. 15. blackout = debut of hollywood nights jersey. bear hunting = grizzlies.

    I don’t know if this is legit, but it actually makes sense. KB’s Twitter account actually does say blackout/bearhunt with hashtags.

  50. I think, by default, we need Hill in the starting lineup – who else has any toughness?

  51. Is it just me or the elephant in the room has been unleashed? But I promised Darius I will not talk about it.

  52. Good grief,no Kobe near perfect perimeter defense, him being atrocious for years,pundits here and there accentuating the details of this issue by numbers.25th is generous in ESPN oxperts rankings.
    Onwards.

  53. Monte Ellis –
    “The lane was wide open, so I just attacked, .. ”

    Steve Nash –
    “We obviously had a hard time containing Ellis, .. He got into the guts of our defense all night, getting easy buckets, .. ”

    It’s as simple as that.

    Defense is what gives you the opportunity to win in this league and unfortunately, last night, we didn’t provide any.

  54. Where are people like bigcitysid who claim the team is sharing the ball and they are happy. Where was that joy last night? Like said, sharing the ball doesn’t make for a happy team, winning does.
    Lakers are clearly trying to tank with a starting lineup that has Shawn Williams, Steve Blake and Steve Nash; probably the 3 worst players on the roster.

  55. A November 15 return would also roughly coincide with the three week conditioning period he said he needed. Last week was the “first” good week of that per a previous interview he gave.

  56. MDA is nearly purposedly creating the worst possible starting 5 so we’re #1 in bench points this season. By a mile!

  57. Maybe Hall & Oates oughta redo one of their diddies with new lyrics and call it “Kobe come back”. Pure cheese for a long year. Funny how both the Celtics and the Lakers appear to be tanking at the same time. I wonder who gets the big prize this time.

  58. Kobe is not a miracle worker, with all his leadership and abilities he is just one man and the glaring deficiencies of this team are too many to overcome. That said, this team has a serious lack of leadership if somebody can light a fire under these guys is him.

  59. Warren: what is the elephant in the room?

  60. Most of us here have known this season would, at least until Mamba has returned & gotten back into game shape to help out & try to right the ship, be an up & down affair leaving us woozy from the roller coaster ride game in and game out.
    So is it too much to conceive (& mind you, I am only too painfully aware of the improbability) that after that ugliness which transpired last night in Dallas town our squad might be poised for an upset win tomorrow night down in Rocket city?
    Maybe a last-second desperation triple swishing through the net, or better sitll, a solid, hard fought defensive struggle throughout 48 minutes ending in another clutch offensive rebound by
    J. `only in spurts…u serious?´ Hill?
    Up&Down Up&Down….it´s time for another `up´, & just in time…

  61. LakerFanatic – @wwlofficial is my twitter account and I’d like to take you up on that question there.

  62. Despite all the dissapointments this season the worst one is Pau total lack of leadership i expect better from a man with 2 rings. He should be the one carriying this team, if the ball is not going in from outside post the hell up and demand the freaking ball. He needs to be the leader at both ends of the floor and if MDA sit him for too lobg demand to be put back in, lead by example. Stop being a follower you are the best player on this team right now, act like it. When he plays for Spain we see a different man, active,vocal a leader, we never get that here. He should be scoring over 20 points a game.

  63. It’s just one game. One bad game! Move on. I like to see if they show some pride facing Howard and the Rockets. if they get blown out again, then we are really in for a long season. But if somehow they find a way to be competitive, then we will at least get some entertaining games through out the year. Go lakers!

  64. I don’t have a twitter but if its public then I’ll check it out…I think all subjects and players and coaches should be debatable with the exception of the Phil Jackson rants. I know THAT isn’t happening midseason or in the middle of the season so I would save that speculation for offseason…but I don’t see why anything else would be a problem.

    @Albert what is the significance of one extra blowout? If its a situation where every shot is going in and we are contesting every shot I can live with that. But what most of us are concerned about are not just the losses but how they are losing. I’m not trying to get all Moneyball over here but certain aspects of the team need to be addressed and haven’t for a while.

    Guards have been having career nights versus the Lakers for years and this has not been addressed at all. Not sure which individual player will help correct this. The Lakers tried to address this simply by getting a shotblocker last year using 2 bigs but never addressed the defense at the point of attack. Now there is NO shotblocker and our best defender at the point guard is either Blake or Farmar?

    I’ll give MDA credit for one thing…on defense it isn’t as if they aren’t trying…it just seems that their isn’t a clear system defensively as far as what they want to do. Its almost like coach is like go out there and just play hard on defense and pats them on the back and then just throws them out there.

    Players who could help defensively that have been rumored in trades no matter how ridiculous are Lowry and Rondo. I personally prefer Lowry or Rondo mostly because well Rondo can’t shoot at all, is kind of a diva, and I’m not sure how I feel about him as a stopper coming back from an ACL injury.

  65. The Lakers problem is defense, particularly interior defense. How is Kobe going to help that? It will be a major psychological boost to have him out there. But the problem remains the same. Teams with fast guards (which is most teams in the league) will get to the rim at will. The only way the Lakers have tried to offset this is by taking lots of 3′s and hoping they hit at a high clip. Occasionally that works. However, that is a recipe for failure long term.

    We all saw this coming. It is no coincidence that Lakers have a defensive hole in the middle. Still the team and us fans will have to solider on. We knew it would be a struggle. But seeing it actually unfold is a bit jarring.

  66. Obviously for entertainment value, I want the team to be competitive and fight hard every game of the year. BUT… for the sake of our future, my hope for this yr is as few wins as possible combined w/ getting our young guys key experience so that at least a handful become high quality rotation players on a championship caliber team. High draft pick in 2014 + promising young talent + a few high quality free agents in 2014 and/or 2015 = awesomeness in 2015-16 and beyond.

    I’m hoping Mitch and Jim are looking hard to see what (if any) value they can get in exchange for Nash, Blake and/or Gasol. Old just doesn’t work in Dantoni’s system. At this point it just feels like Dantoni’s playing them more out of loyalty than out of ability.

  67. barry_g

    Agreed this season should be the start of the next Laker dynasty – high draft picks plus responsible FA signings. However, its too early to go into tank mode. I believe out of loyalty to Kobe the FO will give him a chance to come back and play with Pau and Nash. If, as most of us expect, Kobe needs longer to fully heal – and the Lakers continue to struggle – then the FO will have no other choice.

    Keep in mind that the Lakers won’t have to go out of their way to tank. The talent level on this team is not very good.

  68. Listen last few years I was one of Pau’s biggest supporters. No way Bynum should have been the secondary option when Brown was there…no way someone as great as Pau with his skillset should be floating at the midpost…let Pau get it on the block at let DH play off the ball and clean up…

    So now fast forward to this year…he gets a whole offseason to rest….no olympics..limited preseason action…gets to be THE MAN while Kobe recovers…basically gets the paint all to himself in a 4 out 1 in offense after complaining the last couple years (and reasonably so) that he isn’t getting paint touches and what happens? He only shoots jumpers! If I didn’t have a Ceasar cut I’d literally be pulling my hair out…seriously. Pau HAS to go…how many post players that are go to players on their team are shooting 40 freaking percent? Please bench him…maybe he can dominate 2nd lineups bigs….Pau’s shooting percentage has progressively declined each year with the Lakers from 58% all the way to 40% now…strangely enough it seems that as Pau goes so do we because those were our best years in the past 5 yrs…

    Interior defense. Kaman is playing great offensively but isn’t a defender, Hill is NOT a shotblocker but is a great rebounder energy guy, Pau is timid and Sacre….

    I’ve said it once and I’ve said it again…we can’t get a Jason Collins or Tyrus Thomas for interior defense?

  69. The season is only 5 games old. Too soon to tell how it plays out. My two cents are that without Kobe we will have more games like last night. We need to shoot extremely well to make up for our numerous other flaws (interior defense/rebounding/poor guard play). Kobe is indeed a wild card but how much can he reallly turn this around.

    Even if the season unravels the FO won’t make any move that adds salary beyond this year. So moving Pau/Nash/etc. is not likely unless they can be moved to a team that has expiring deals or has cap room.

  70. LakerFanatic,
    Pau has never been a tough interior guy. He has gutted it out in some years, but – even in Memphis – he was never known for going into the scrum and coming out with the ball. He has never been stone hands Brown, but he also has always gotten stripped far too much for his position.

    He has always been an unselfish and very talented player. In his older years his lateral mobility has been reduced. This is what Warren has been saying – and some of his posts have been removed for this.

    This is what is behind my feeling that Mike D. has to play Jordan Hill with Pau. We absolutely need to have some interior toughness on our starting unit. Yeah, we need better wing defensive play to succeed, but that isn’t the point of this post.

  71. The Lakers problem is defense, particularly interior defense. How is Kobe going to help that?

    ______

    He may make the D worse, actually. He certainly did last year.

    I think the first thing that MDA needs to do is stop playing Steve Blake. Blake is 33, the team is not a contender, Farmar is on the team to split time with Nash at the 1, playing Blake and Nash together is silly, and the Lakers have a better chance defensively if they play the younger, bigger guys on the perimeter more. Nothing against Blake–he tries hard and gives the Lakers what he has. But he serves no purpose on this team, regardless of whether one sees them as a team going for 45 wins or as a team headed for the deep lottery and looking ahead.

    There are other things I would try, but as was the case last year, D’Antoni simply doesn’t run his rotations the way I think he should, so complaining about all of it is sort of pointless. But I think benching Blake is pretty obvious.

  72. The Lakers problem is defense, particularly interior defense. How is Kobe going to help that?

    He can’t .. And unfortunately, coming off of this type of injury, it’s highly likely that he won’t be able to help us with our perimeter defense either.

  73. Tra,

    I have a post stuck in mod which says something similar. Still, it will be nice to see him play again.

  74. Tra,

    You are right. And I’m not expecting Kobe to do that. Honestly, I’m concerned about Kobe trying to play defense on the perimeter. The thought of him chasing around some of these lightning quick guards on a surgically repair tendon makes me nervous. I’ve been soaking up this free week of NBA league pass. What jumps out is the amount of sheer speed on the wings across the league. It’s eye opening.

    I just don’t want the expectations on him to be unrealistic. Kobe can’t fix this team as it is constructed. I think seeing him out there will be a morale boost. And that counts for something. But there are real holes in this roster that Kobe can’t cover up.

  75. Double R,

    I can guarantee that the majority of us within the FB&G Community feels the same way in regards to seeing Kobe back on the floor. I just hope, if the rumors are accurate – based off of his Tweet – (that he plans on returning next Friday, the 15th, against the Grizzlies), that he’s sincerely ready beyond a reasonable doubt for said return. And I’m also pretty sure that there are several of us that have the same concerns.

  76. @Craig:

    I definitely understand I’m not saying he has to shoot 17 shots a game and all 17 MUST be in the paint…I know Pau’s versatility which is a gift and a curse (wow that was cliche but whatever) is something that must be utilized but he is falling in love with it.

    Last couple years he complained about not being in the post enough and that he needs to get a rhythm out there on the floor. There are literally articles about this from him. I’m not sure what is going on with the shooting affair I just don’t like it. The most 3′s this guy has ever taken in a season is 28 which happened to be last year…the year before that 27….his years prior in LA the most he ever took was FIVE…truth be told he is hitting a respectable number but I always get nervous when he makes one because he will keep shooting from outside…

    I’m not gonna pretend to act like I saw him play in Memphis outside of their playoff appearances but I do know that he only shot under 50% one season when he wasnt with the Lakers and that was his 3rd year…He is now looking at his second straight season under 50% (46% last year and 40% through this year). I’m not sure what he has to do to succeed. I know playing off of Kobe for alley oops and dump offs and tip ins from misses helped but he was pretty self sufficient and we saw this same trend last year WITH kobe…I attributed it to the plantar facitis(sp) and tendonosis or whatever he had going on but from what I’ve heard he appears to be healthy, there haven’t been any talks about limiting minutes or sitting him out back to backs or anything so I have to assume it is not a health issue.

    Really have to wonder what the coaching staff is really working on as far as post games in breakdown drills…sure MDA states post up is the most inefficient shot but if your best player going into the season is a post player you have to do something. Kareem are you available? Let Pau practice something besides 16-20 foot jumpers….

  77. when sustained attendence at staples begins to dwindle, and it will based on current circumstance; ownership will be in a real bind. can almost picture it now….

    coaches, players, management, ownership will be under seize. laker nation will be up in arms. where’s our savior? where’s our savior?

    if i were kobe, i would wait and wait until it is savior time. you will know when.
    christ almighty, it’s almost christmas.

    Go Lakers

  78. Kind of curious…it seems that a large number seems to think we should tank…not sure if this is right or wrong but…we get cap space…get this top X pick…but aren’t we wasting Kobe’s twilight years? He can’t play forever and another year not going for the trophy is a year wasted utilizing him.

  79. Fanatic,

    I expect that nothing will really happen with tanking/rebuilding until Kobe comes back and plays. After that, depending on how things play out, the FO may try to move some combo of Pau, Kaman, and/or Hill along with Blake’s expiring deal for whatever they can get.

    As to wasting Kobe’s twilight years, the Lakers can’t really afford to worry about that anymore. They need to add talent and get the organization moving the right direction, with or without Kobe, and we don’t know how he will look when he plays again. Pretty much every player move they made between July 2010 and the day Howard walked was designed to put the team in position to make one or two more runs while Kobe was under contract. That chapter is over now.