Lakers/Suns: Lakers Lose Young And Lose Another Game

Rey Moralde —  January 15, 2014

It’s pretty tough to win a game when your roster is depleted. And the Suns took advantage of that as they beat an undermanned Laker team, 121-114.

The Lakers essentially played seven (Robert Sacre didn’t play) the entire game. Nick Young was kicked out of the game after he took a swing at Suns rookie center Alex Len and Goran Dragic. Len whacked Young in the face during a dunk attempt. Young had every right to be upset but he has to control his emotions better. I know; it’s easier said than done. A lot of people would react the same way, too, after such a dangerous play like that.

But enough of that. This wasn’t exactly a well-played game by both teams. The Lakers looked flat early on both sides as the Suns got off to an 8-0 start. The game was sloppy a lot of the time and the Suns outlasted the tired Lakers, who were playing on a back-to-back.

The Lakers were, as expected, atrocious on defense. They couldn’t stop anybody in the paint (64 points inside by the Suns) and they let Phoenix run on them (36 fastbreak points). The Suns also had a 53-43 advantage on the boards (16-8 on the offensive end). And once again, the third quarter proved to be disastrous for Los Angeles as they were outscored, 34-24. A quick 9-0 run by the Suns in the middle of the fourth proved to be the mountain that the Lakers couldn’t scale.

Gerald Green had a season-high 28 points as he seemed like he couldn’t miss any of those funky jumpers he took. Markieff Morris couldn’t be stopped inside (24 points) and Channing Frye had a big game (20 points). And I didn’t even mention Goran Dragic’s excellent all-around game (18-10-7).

As for the Lakers, it really hurt to not have Nick Young after the second quarter (who had scored 9 quick points). Kendall Marshall was distributing well (13 assists) but shot poorly (4 for 16, 10 points). Wesley Johnson (22 points) and Chris Kaman (18 points) with Young out. Pau Gasol got going late (24 points) but it was too late by then. But when they needed a shot, Nick Young was usually the one to bail them out and he obviously wasn’t there. Marshall looked uncomfortable shooting the ball and it showed when he passed up a wide open three late in the game.

All-in-all, it was a sloppy game to watch despite what the scoreboard said. Just that the Lakers couldn’t stop anybody (which has been a theme for the last six games; all opponents have scored 110 or more in that stretch) whether it’s in the halfcourt or in transition. The Lakers fall to 14-25 and at this point, watching a Laker game is equivalent to going to the dentist.

The Lakers go against the Celtics on Friday as they reengage themselves in combat. No, really. In Combat (Darius is going to hate me for making that joke).

In any case, it would be nice to see a win on Friday. This losing thing gets old really, really fast. The Lakers have lost 12 of the last 13 games. Hey, remember a few years ago when the Lakers lost only 17 games in the regular season?

Man, I miss 2009.

Rey Moralde

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62 responses to Lakers/Suns: Lakers Lose Young And Lose Another Game

  1. Its a collective effort. You back up Swaggy P even if you get suspended. It seems Jordan Hill will be suspended for leaving the bench as well.

    When it rains…

  2. Interesting that Worthy and Horry said. “5 on 1 would never happen when we played”

    Marshall says “bad move by Nick and we can ‘t lose more players”

    Difference between winners with Laker pride and
    D League player worried about a contract.

    It’s not about fighting it’s about protecting your teammate which this teams lacks.

  3. Exactly why is it manly to jump into fight mode? It seems to me the Suns did this a few years ago and MDA and Steve Nash may have lost a ring over it.

    Yeah, yeah, I hear the testosterone ramping up. But there is a reason veterans say you don’t volunteer. And there is a reason the rules say you don’t leave the bench.

    If we lose Jordan Hill when we face the Celtics…well it just gets worse. I sure hope old Mr. Stern enjoys the notoriety surrounding his most famous decision, because he sure ain’t ever going to outlive it.

  4. This team basically consists of a few holdovers, but most are one-year rental rejects who are only interested in covering their own backside. Young is the only one of the new guys that has real Laker Pride.

  5. What is your guys take on Kendall Marshall?

    Obviously he had a bad shooting night, but he keeps racking up assists and keeps his TO’s down. I think he looks like a really solid, traditional PG, and if he becomes 3rd, 4th option scoring wise, he will be much more comfortable taking those looks.

    I could see this guys share the point with Farmar next year, which would leave the FO free to focuse on a 4 or 5 in the offseason?

    But is Marshall/Farmar good enough to be our PG-combo moving forward?

  6. The idea isn’t to go into “fight mode”. The other 4 Lakers on the floor needed to get themselves between Nick and the Suns so he’s not getting pushed around. So Young doesn’t have to try to defend himself. Notice how none of the other Phoenix players on the floor got ejected, even though they were being confrontational. The Lakers on the floor, as usual, were much slower down the court. They didn’t have the passion to do anything, even get in the way, which is usually how they get back and play defense, i.e. they don’t. The Lakers are mostly rookies and failed players who come from losing organizations, so no surprise they lack what it takes to win. This is what you get when management has to scrounge around to pick up a team on the cheap. They brought in some decent talent for the money, some nice guys, but not a lot of winners.

  7. Nick Young shows personal and Laker pride,
    which is more than I can say for Dantoni.
    The players on the court froze instead of coming to Young’s defense. That’s a bad sign that these players aren’t developing team chemistry.

    That’s coaching.

    James Worthy mentioned that the Lakers aren’t improving on defense and keep repeating the same mistakes. And that the team isn’t developing an identity. I agree with James.

    That’s coaching.

    Jody Meeks is a nice shooter but I saw him lose his man once because he simply turned his head and followed the ball. Who doesn’t know how to open your stance to see your man and the ball? That’s pathetic individual defense and it’s reflective of clueless coaching.

    Kaman scores 18 points in 16 minutes and “Gene” Kelly plays 30 minutes? Why?
    Kelly is a soft defender down low and the Lakers gave up 60+ points in the paint – again.
    Yet Dantoni sticks with Kelly. It’s nauseating.

    If Jim Buss thinks keeping Dantoni around is honoring his late father because Jerry Buss wanted Dantoni as the coach, he needs to remember that even Dr. Buss knew when to fold a bad hand.

    Dantoni has to go.

  8. Dane
    Guy shot 21% in limited games last year. Book is to let him shoot. Last 4 games he took 51 shots, more then Pau or Young and made 31%. His defense is bad. He can pass that’s all. He is a D league player That’s all.

    JC you bailed it. Jim Buss new book “How to lose 50 games in one season” Keep a bad coach! Any half competent coach would slow it down, play Kamen 30 a game and try something different on D, Zone? Anything?

    Sure there are injuries but MD has turned this into the worst team in NBA. That of course was the plan. Why else start Williams then dump him, play the worst shooter and defender on the team Kelly 30 minutes and Chris 18 and put flat footed Pau back in to replace a guy shooting 80% the last 6 minutes?

    Building a losing tradition by Jim and Mike. And not one move by Mitch to bring in help.. Tomorrow it’s the battle of the ping pong balls! Will Jim at least win that one?

  9. 1) Nick Young’s boys didn’t step up, guys were no where to be seen on camera. No excuse, other 4 Lakers looked like they didn’t want any part of that altercation.

    2) Magic Johnson, personally my 2nd favorite Laker all time after Kareem, has said what I have believed for some time. The Laker’s biggest problem is…Jim Buss. He’s making horrible decisions (including resigning Kobe to stupid money) . And I don’t know one franchise that wins championships IN SPITE of dumb ownership.

    3) Hooray, Laker’s now 7th worst in NBA standings, moving closer to a solid shot at a top 5 pick in this year’s draft.

  10. Tunnel vision (also known as Kalnienk vision) is the loss of peripheral vision with retention of central vision, resulting in a constricted circular tunnel-like field of vision; picture coach Dantoni. for purposes of this discussion, let’s just tunnel vision focus on this one issue today.

    under coach Dantoni, put on a jersey that says stretch four and you will automatically be playing that position; presumably starting if it comes to that. why is that? could it be, that’s all he knows and proves the saying about old dogs and new tricks. how else to explain this season; after watching the stretch four position consistently clunk 3 point shot after 3 point shot; game in, game out. seems that stretch four is a little more consistent when shot attempts are more in the 15 to 18 feet range. dilemma solved if team had a stretch four that can consistently make the 3 point shot; at least pose a threat or is told that shooting open midrange jumpes are ok to do so. tunnel vision by definition.

    before coach Dantoni; never heard the term stretch four in laker lore; more like stretching for a laker rebound, stretching for a laker blocked shot, stretching for a laker loose ball. now those were the good old days. why is that? or is that my tunnel vision speaking?

    another forgettable game, one too numerous to speak of this season and yet here we are again; fanatics to the max. symptomatic of sadistic, masochistic hopefuls that this gradual nightmare will turn itself around while today we collectively experience a bad dream with eyes wide open.

    on to that green mess that call themselves the Celtics. one can only hope, one can only dream another dream: tunnel vision; no new dogs, no new tricks, for now that is.

    Go lakers

  11. I agree with what Magic said, some Lakers fan keep blaming coach,players. Who built this team ? MDA or Jim ? I don’t need to see Jim, or listen to him everyday,but when he builds a team, i can see what is on his mind, when you rent players for one year and you expect good things happen ? can Phil Jackson coach this team with a PG from D-league and bench players ? never, so Lakers fan, please be quiet, you guys complain wrong people.

  12. If they don’t make their defensive rotations, why would anyone expect a Laker to move to Young’s defense? This team is thoroughly demoralized and has lost its camaraderie through the numerous injuries and whimsy in place of identity. The identity is somewhat difficult to establish given the injury but the public comments and randomness of basic structure have at least equal corrosive powers to the team psychology.

    Marshall should have shut his mouth post game as he did nothing to help quell the situation in game.

  13. With so many injuries, especially to key players, it’s really difficult to accurately evaluate the team. By that I mean the entire team – coach, players and FO.
    Having said that, as a long time Lakers fan, I’m looking for glimmers of hope. Sounds like a lot of people disagree but I thought Ryan Kelly had a decent game and is definitely showing signs of improvement. Take a look at the box score plus don’t forget the 2 charges he took when we were making a bit of a run in the second half.
    For a second round pick (#48) who missed a lot of training camp due to the foot injury, he’s been giving us decent minutes and has been a pleasant surprise.
    He does need to be shooting better (obviously) but is a player I’d like to see back next year.

  14. Marshall, currently looks to be about a 3rd string quality player. Good play maker but lacks a consistent jumper. Shooting can improve with time so Marshall could develop into a good PG. However, with Nash still on the books I don’t know if the Lakers will keep him next year.

    If your team is getting disrespected the team should go with hard fouls in the paint. The line is crossed when someone blatantly tries to injury someone, fouls with no attempt at the ball, or starts throwing punches.

  15. On the floor during that scuffle: Marshall, Kelly, Meeks and Kaman.

    Kaman was under our basket and didn’t run to the other end when this happened. He’s been in MDA’s doghouse for a while and I’m assuming he isn’t going to stay in LA. Even so, a teammate is not the coach. He should’ve run to help Young.

    Meeks simply walked up the floor. Again, a man playing for a contract doesn’t want to get suspended. I’m assuming he’s not staying.

    Marshall couldn’t keep his mouth shut and expressed what he thought. I’m pretty sure that Young would have his back if it was the other way around. To me, Marshall should be gone once he get our PG’s back.

    Kelly was in the mix of things but he didn’t push anyone, didn’t try to stop anyone, he was just there… being soft.

    And Craig W., is not about being manly to fight. It’s about protecting your teammate. Young made a mistake by starting a fight, but if a teammate is in a fight, you back him up, regardless of who started.

    So to me, those 4 shouldn’t be on the Lakers roster next season. If we kept Young, Henry, Farmar and Johnson I’d be satisfied. Just get rid of the rest…

  16. Looking at our team right now I can’t help but contemplate about the future. There is a good draft pick coming and a tonne of flexibility. That’s not a bad thing.

    If the Lakers are bad enough to be in the 5-8 worst range, end up picking top 3, believe me, it will be a much better debate who to pick: Embiid, Parker or Wiggins. Even at 8 or 9, our realistic forecast for now, there are really good players based on what I’ve scouted in youtube clips.

  17. In the meantime, the Lakers plan to sign Manny Harris. He will join the team in Boston.

  18. Crag W: You never leave the bench and you do not throw punches – ever. However you do get in the middle and make sure your guy does not get gang punked.
    Ko/rfen52: Exactly
    Hale: good point – I guess all the Lakers were out at the 3 point line during the fight.
    J C: Could have used you on this board last year : )
    bigcity: We do not agree on Kobe, but we sure do agree on many other things.

  19. “However you do get in the middle and make sure your guy does not get gang punked.”

    Exactly. This is what happens when you do not have a leader on the floor. This is where not having Kobe and Nash hurts us as these guys are not really playing as a team and seem to be more concerned with their individual stats than the guys playing next to them.

  20. …..Unlike Jim Buss, Magic is a true Laker, a winner, and I can only hope that he continues to enlighten us about what is really wrong with the Lakers.

    …..The Lakers have a clueless owner who hired a clueless coach…but I still rooted for the players all season long. After 30 years of fandom, perhaps it’s just habit…but last night may have been the breaking point. How can I care about a group of players who do not have an ounce of care for each other?

  21. i thought rambis was brought on board to coach defense. I’m not sure any Rambis-coached team had great defense, so I’m trying to figure out what’s his role. But I’m not sure it really matters when you’re on the Titan(k)ic. Even if guys don’t come to Young’s defense, there are other ways to get even. Doesn’t seem like that happened either.

  22. Kevin Ding brought the thunder with this one.
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1925511-does-magic-johnson-really-care-about-the-success-of-the-los-angeles-lakers

    Couldn’t agree more with KDing pretty much about the entire article. I love Magic Johnson. He’s been my favorite Laker since I started watching basketball. He’s wrong about this and many other things and he’s starting to come off as a jilted lover.

    The other Laker players should have been there for Nick Young last night. I’m not saying that they should have fought back or anything like that, but they should have been there with him. Holding him back or getting between he and the Suns players.

  23. good board everyone
    ___

    `In the meantime, the Lakers plan to sign Manny Harris. He will join the team in Boston´
    ___
    At this point, the dude must be hoping the deal falls thorugh! ;)

  24. trianglefan-…there are other ways to get even. Doesn’t seem like that happened either.

    Good point!
    ________________________

    Every player knows that when someone on the opposing team gets fouled hard, they better get ready because someone on their team is going to get a hard foul back.

  25. C Hearn/trainagle: Last year the enforcer would have been most likely MWP or possibly DH. Who would it be now?
    KenOak: He comes across that way because he is a jilted lover. Kareem is also a jilted lover. Phil is a jilted lover with benefits.

  26. bigcitysid…. I will say upfront, I think your point about Jim borders on stupid. Was his decision to trade for CP3 stupid? Was his decision to trade Bynum for Howard stupid? Was his decision to sign Nash stupid? Nope. Opposite, in fact. CP3 is the best PG in the league while LO is out of the league and Gasol has slipped. We had Howard for a year and tried to give ourselves a chance to sign him long term. Meanwhile, Bynum didn’t play at all last year and is currently out of the league. The Nash signing didn’t work out but we gave up very little. It was a good gamble. And finally, what is stupid about signing Kobe to the contract he got? Of all the FAs available in the coming offseason, Kobe is the second best option. We are not going to get the best option (don’t forget LBJ might opt into his final year and see where things stand in the offseason of 2015). So, that covers the 1st year of the contract. After that, there may be one or two max players available in 2015. Even with Kobe, there is money available to sign them if they choose to come. Then you have Kobe’s final season on the extension and get to decide what to do about that in the same offseason when Kevin Durant becomes available. I also believe Irving becomes available and a couple of other top quality free-agents. Meanwhile, while the team rebuilds, we still get to watch one of the greatest players of all time do his thing. The Lakers paid Kobe to put makeup over the ugliness of a necessary rebuild. That is not stupid. The Lakers have made the right moves.

    It looks to me the Lakers are going to be a bottom 6 team. Were I picking for the team, this is my current order…. Embiid, Wiggins, Smart, Exum, Parker, Randall. If we get either of the 1st two picks, I take whichever is available, 1st Embiid then Wiggins. If we have the 3rd pick, I make a deal with a team so that if Wiggins and Embiid are off the board, I move down to the 5th or 6th pick. I think Smart or Exum will be available there and I would rather have them than Parker or Randall, or I’ll be happy to have Parker or Randall with whatever sweetener can be dealt for in a trade down. This is just an initial idea. The tournament can change my mind.

  27. Robert-The Lakers don’t have anyone, that’s why you keep players like Shawn Williams, MWP, Reggie Evans, and Kenyon Martin. Players that will be there for their team, or at the very least will give the other team a hard basketball foul in retaliation.

    This team started out playing for each other but stopped when Williams was cut. The change on and off court is palpable. The team has devolved into the ‘me’ syndrome, they’re playing for the name on the back of the jersey and not for the name on the front. Death to any team, that’s why some colleges do not put the last name on the jersey, just so the player knows that you are just a number. The name on the front of the jersey supersedes the person in the jersey with a number. Anyone can put on the number but the name on the front will outlast any player wearing the number.

  28. At this point, should the Lakers sign Jason Collins? The season’s not going anywhere, so perhaps we should seize the opportunity to make history and give Lakers fans a reason to be proud to identify with the team… I, for one, would buy a Collins jersey; couldn’t say the same about any of the new Lakers other than maybe Henry.

    (I do realize it’s our guards that are injured, but is it possible Collins is worse than Kamen or Sacre? It would also fill a gap if Pau is moved before the deadline, which looks increasingly likely given how this season is going…)

  29. no lil pau, Signing Collins would be a publicity stunt.

  30. P.Ami

    Nice post. I think we long time fans have gotten spoiled based on the genius of Jerry West. Things just worked for him. Jim and Mitch had good plans but they didn’t ‘t work out. Of I have an issue it’s perhaps not having a plan B or plan C. What we have now is a mess and clearly not planned ,

    Whether West is and was a true basketball genius or very lucky we don’t know. Running a NBA team is not easy and until we see the end game we all must wait. We have no choice.

  31. When discussing whether someone is good or lucky, the subject is always someone with a history of success.

    The discussion revolving around Jim Buss is the opposite. It is whether he is incompetent or unlucky.

    I’ve noticed that people who think Phil’s success had more to do with luck tend to think Jim Buss is unlucky….and people who think Phil was great at his craft tend to think Jim is incompetent.

    Whatever Jerry West was, I’ll take it over incompetence or bad luck any day of the week.

  32. Luck: Of course it is huge. I play poker so it is paramount in that game. In any given hand and any given poker tournament, you can get unlucky even though you are playing well. Just because you go on a brief losing streak, that does not mean you are a bad player. However, the poker room is filled with sob stories. “I played that hand perfectly and I got so unlucky” or “I am a great player, I have just had a run of bad luck, can I borrow some money?” Well “sometimes” these stories can be true, but usually they amount to “the dog ate my homework” So how does this relate? Well I for sure would say we got “unlucky” with the VETO. The injuries are also bad luck. Perhaps we got unlucky with Nash. Perhaps we got unlucky with Mike Brown. Perhaps we got unlucky with Dwight? Perhaps we got unlucky with Sessions, and perhaps we got unlucky that the team dos not see to mesh well with the system. That is an awful lot of bad luck. Everyone can draw their own conclusion, but I have heard a lot of stories like this in card rooms. They never end well.

  33. and then there’s this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUj11TewHZc

    Go lakers

  34. It’s official. Young is suspended one game. That won’t stop the Celts from trying to lose on Friday night. They are in full tank mode.

  35. LT Mitchell, I think Jerry West was very good at his job. I think Phil Jackson was very good at his job. So, there is no mutual exclusivity to that notion. That said, I thought Jerry West was damn good at his job even when his best player had the bad luck of losing the end of his prime to HIV. I thought he was damn good even when he drafted Duane Copper, Frankie King, DeJuan Wheat, Paul Rodgers, Sam Jacobson, and Toby Bailey. I thought Jerry West was a damn good GM, even when his Grizzlies missed out on drafting LeBron James. I also thought Phil Jackson was a great coach while his team was swept from 3-peat contention as his largest player was elbowing a midget into the stands and removing his jersey during his exit. I thought he was a great coach even as his team, comprised of Kobe Bryant in his prime, and Shaquille O’Neal in his, with Gary Payton still capable, and Karl Malone sustaining the only significant injury of his career- lost the finals to a team led by Ben Wallace and Rip Hamilton (in five games). That wasn’t bad luck. It was the realities of a situation. The same holds true for Jim. It wasn’t bad luck that the CP3 trade was reversed. They made the right move. Same with Dwight. Same with Kobe.

    If the CP3 and Dwight thing wasn’t going to happen, THIS situation was going to happen. How about we take a sabbatical from this idiotic sense of entitlement that leads to scapegoating because poor little rich girl Lakers fan didn’t get to dance in a parade the last three Junes. The game of basketball, like the business of basketball, is a game of calculated risk. It’s not a game of chance. You can play hustle D, box out on every shot, make the right pass, only take open shots and still lose because your shot was off that day, or the other team was making everything with a hand in their face. It’s the front offices that make stupid moves that need to be replaced. The ones that take unnecessary risk, miscalculate on the talent of players consistently, overpay bad players, that make panic moves, that make reactionary moves, that make public displays of petulance when their superstar FA leaves… that is bad ownership. That is bad general managing. Those are bad franchises. The Lakers are in good hands and it seems to me they are thinking about 5 steps ahead of most of the folk commenting on the situation.

  36. “I love it. Jim, you look like your father; I’m proud of you. He’s definitely the guy now to win the NBA executive-of-the-year award.

    This is also so good for Coach Mike Brown. He knows defense so well and Dwight is going to erase those shots coming down the lane, and Mike will know just how to use him. The Lakers’ tradition of great centers continues. It’s just great.” That was was Magic said last year. Now is Jim Buss fault.

  37. LT im leaning towards unlucky because all the moves that had been made personnel wise were bold and what we would expect the Lakers to do. Starting with the veto its just been bad luck.

  38. P. Ami,
    Thanks for putting things so much better than I do. It is like someone has to be blamed for every little thing that goes wrong. When you are managing things you try to be right at least 51% of the time. However, that means something may go wrong 49% of the time, even if you are a success. Demanding 100% correct decisions would seem to be a little unreasonable.

    I am not going to sing the praises of this organization, but I certainly don’t think they deserve a gross of pitchforks, either. This is a process and we won’t be able to judge for several more years – sorry for those demanding instant gratification.

  39. Its nice to have someone to blame when things go wrong. I wonder if we all worship Jim Buss if things go right starting next season? Or do we again say that his incompetence lead to us being the lottery and choose to credit “luck” over any achievement.

  40. Guys on ESPN radio Max and Marseilles were beating up on MD quote that Young felt he was left 1 on 5. He passed it off saying we are not here to fight.

    Humm perhaps that part of why you have lost 12 out of 13. Standing up for your teammates goes a long way in building a team.

  41. Fern,

    Based on Magic’s excitement when Dwight became a Laker, its not surprising that he would be equally disappointed seeing Dwight leave. At the end of the day, the Lakers traded a valuable trade asset in Bynum and got nothing in return.

  42. This is a process and we won’t be able to judge for several more years
    I wonder if we all worship Jim Buss if things go right starting next season?

    I said yesterday that the best short-term defense of D’Antoni is the simplest one: the team was competitive with Blake and Farmar, and MDA runs a PG-driven system. And, the best long-term defense of Buss is also the simplest one: the master stroke move made on his watch was zapped by Darth Stern. Chris Paul is one of the 5 best players in basketball, and one of the greatest PGs in NBA history. The team would be in a very different place, probably a much better one, if they had him, regardless of what other mistakes the FO may have made. This being the situation, narratives and sarcasm don’t really do much to advance the case–on either side.

    That said, the facts are that:

    1. The Lakers have a bad team.
    2. The Lakers lack draft picks with which to rebuild.
    3. The Lakers lack young talent.
    4. The Lakers have committed approximately 35% of their cap space for the next two years to guy who will be 36 and 37 years old during those seasons, and is currently physically unable to play. Doing this with ANY player, no matter how great he is, is a huge risk.
    5. The FO under Buss has made a series of big decisions that are questionable. Not dumb, not silly–but questionable. I personally supported some of these; others I didn’t. But in any case, the FO needs to start making some big decisions (as well as some small and medium-sized ones) that work, that improve the team. Not today, not this second–but certainly before several years have passed.

  43. Robert in another universe we would be brothers.

    Both played college BB
    Both are poker players
    Both enjoy adult beverages
    Both are a bit crazed Laker fans

    Are you my ulter ego or a son I never knew I had?

  44. @Rr I basically agree with your last post. If the team is still struggling in 2-3 years, if we don’t see a bright light at the end of the tunnel, I’ll change my mind about the team’s leadership. My strongest disagreement is w/the Kobe contract. Money needs to be spent. There are only a few players in the league I’d rather spend Kobe’s money on and none of those guys are available the next two seasons. This is the transition period. If the owners are willing to spend their money so we can enjoy Kobe while they rebuild, I’m all for it.

  45. Yep. This is a front office that positioned themselves to have Kobe, CP3 and Dwight. And they would have if Stem didn’t veto the tcp3 trade.

  46. P Ami,

    Good post and response.

    My take on Kobe’s deal is that I would be sort of OK with it if it were

    a) 1yr/25M
    or
    b) 2yrs/25M

    I would have preferred (a) but I can see a case for (b). But I can’t see solid “basketball reasons” for the deal as it is, either in terms of his likely performance level/health risks or in terms of overall team construction. And, indeed, most of the justifications for it that I have seen on-line have been narrative, PR, marketing, brand, and business model-based justifications.

    My comment above about the FO’s needing to make some decisions that work applies to Kobe’s extension. IMO, the decision needs to move the team forward in some way to be a good decision, rather than, as you suggest, simply giving the fans something to watch during a difficult period. I could see doing that for one year at that price: “Come out and watch Kobe and our Number One Draft Pick, ______________ ,as they link generations of Lakers Stars at Staples!” But I can’t see it for two years.

  47. Rr, if things go well, then that 2nd year of the extension will be the 2nd year of a really good pick (I really like Smart) along with the first year with a high quality FA acquisition. The real issue will be, what is Kobe’s condition after this contract, and how much is he worth on a team on the rise.

  48. In my opinion, there;s going to be a fall guy: guilty or not, someone is going to pay–and one guy might not be enough.

    The question is who–and when? Those who think that Stern already was the fall guy have to be satisfied with what the Lakers have done since. Those who blame Stern and bad luck don’t have much to tell us about the future. Those who blame Stern, bad luck, and Dwight, have since had to deal with the changing status and potential of Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. Those who wish to blame D’Antoni have to consider the healthy players he has had to work with this year. Those who would blame Pau Gasol might consider what he has to endure, game after game, rumor after rumor. Those who wish to blame Mitch must consider that Jimmy was his boss. And those who wish to blame Jimmy?

    Well, isn’t he just carrying out his father’s dream?

    Rationalize as you will. I’m still betting that there will be at ;least one fall guy–but that’s just me.

  49. The decision to pay Kobe as much as he’s paid may not be sound if you consider it on the CBA point of view… but the Lakers are trying to sell something else to its next superstar: Come over and we’ll pay you handsomely like we always have and like we still do. This is a message for Lebron or the next guy that will be on his stature that will be the next Laker great.

    Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant. These guys all have reasons for leaving their current teams and for signing with us in the near distant future. The Kobe extension is for 2 years, its not crippling. If Kobe wouldn’t win another ring in the next 2 seasons after this one, then he has 50 million dollars. By the time Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are free agents, Kobe will be in Cabo sipping Mai Tai.

    As for the front office, I want to give special thanks to RR for pointing out what this team would’ve looked like instead of how it does now, because thats the only way to judge it fairly.

    CP3 / Steve Blake / Jordan Farmar
    Kobe Bryant / Xavier Henry / Jodie Meeks
    Wesley Johnson / Nick Young
    Shawne Williams / Ryan Kelly
    Dwight Howard / Chris Kaman

    Its both alternate and current reality. The front office is not a deck of Aces but it has a winning combination. We already accomplished that team. Stern simply didn’t allow it.

  50. Warren–good general point, but seriously question whether Xavier, Wesley, Nick, Shawne, or Chris (probably Farmar too but that’s a closer call) would have ever donned the FB&G if CP3 and D12 were here…….although with CP3, D12 and Kobe on the team, that might be all they were able to afford in those slots….

  51. Completely agree with P. Ami’s top 3 draft order. Embiid, Wiggins, Smart in that order, and I agree that Smart is being underrated and will probably be available at 5 or 6. Not as high on J Randle; don’t think he’ll be a bust, but I think he’s most likely to disappoint out of the high prospects. Haven’t seen enough of Exum to comment.

  52. Well good luck tonight on the Ping pong ball sweepstakes with Celts!

    Boy have times changed.

    By the way Boston fav by 7 points?

  53. Ko: Always enjoy your posts and yes – there are many common things we both enjoy.
    Ko/WWL: As to the alternate realities and separate universe: Approximately 3 years ago, I was at a liquor store buying Powerball tickets. I would have purchased the ticket for the largest prize in history, but some guy cut me off and VETO’d my win. In the other universe I won, bought the Lakers from Jerry, made rr my GM, and the Lakers are of course winning titles right now. On the FBG board in that universe, people criticize me for making rr and Phil (of course) do all the work, while I am always seen getting photographed with the Laker Girls and the Larry Obrien Trophy (I am always wearing a suit that would make Pat Riley envious). I make cameo appearances on that board (another improvement for you guys) and respond to those posters with “Exactly”.

  54. @LT really Bynum a valuable asset? How many games he played last season again? What were his stats this season before getting dumped by the Cavs? We got a season out of Dwight, if Bynum stayed on we would got nothing not a game out of him. You kidding me?

  55. The veto is the reason this franchise is the way it is. Not Jim Buss not Mitch. The veto had a cascade effect, we get CP we keep Howard, there would be no Nash, Kobe probably would not mess his heel no MDA (probably). People whine and complain about the FO i wonder how long it would take another franchise to recover from this sucession of crippling blows product of a harebrained decision brought on by whinny owners. I wasnt on board with hiring Mike Brown i think Jim Buss mess up on that and im not exactly thrilled with MDA, but the man deserves a chance with a healthy team. And the criying about Kobe extension, damn is a 2 year extension not a 20 year one get a grip!!! The Lakers would not be really good in the next 2 years and the revenue he brings to the franchise being one of the most popular players in the planet is more than what they pay him. Why would he take a paycut if Timmy did it in a small market like SA good for him. That dont work in LA. I dont expect the Lakers to start to recover until at least 2016 and i pray to Baal we dont sign Melo or Bosh or any of those FAs for this summer. In 2015 and 2016 is when we should make a splash and we might get something worthwile in the draft this year, so the foundation starts this summer but is going to take a while before we see results people needs to be patient.

  56. Fern: Please pray to Zuul and Crom also because I don’t want to see those cats get maxed out here.

  57. Fern,
    Thanks to you for another reasonable post. It is not necessary to be an MDA bigot to support this club. I, too, believe THE VETO has had more to do with our current situation than anything that has happened since. In a previous thread I commented that Stern would have to live with that decision, because it sure wasn’t going to be forgotten in his lifetime.

    I also agree with you that the Mike Brown hire wasn’t an inspired one, but that MDA was a reasonable decision at the time. I dont laud the front office/owership as being geniuses – either now or in the past (I remember too well the problems between Jerry Buss and Jerry West). However, they really have done nothing to warrant the hate expressed on this and other blogs. IMO, the talking heads have entirely too much impact on the average fan’s viewpoints, and the talking heads simply aren’t in the game for truth or insight, but to flog their own egos and to get hits. This isn’t a formula for reasonable opinion decisions. People like Magic Johnson have their own agendas and biases. They certainly should be listened to, but a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted with ALL commentators.

    I don’t think most fans can realize – or accept – just how much the CBA has changed the landscape of the NBA. It was very difficult for the players and resulted – like in the NFL – in the mid-level players being squeezed out of the league. This makes surrounding stars with anything resembling a strong supporting cast extremely fragile and short-term. The Heat, due to their assembling their team just before the CBA, are an exception and will feel the crunch in the next couple of years. The Thunder had to dump Harden because of this. The only franchise that seems positioned to succeed long-term is the Spurs, and they will lose their HOF anchor within a couple of years. All clubs are struggling to determine just how to operate in this new environment – the CBA will be fully implemented after next year – and the Lakers are no different. The Lakers have an advantage of being in a large market, being a communication center, and having a world-wide following. This will help us recover, but none of us should underestimate the changes the CBA has wrought.

  58. Snoopy… Good to see you. Seems like a while.

    Obviously, I’ve not seen more of Exum than you have. He has an accomplished international pedigree and I just prefer guys who play above the rim if they are playing down low (Parker and Randall play lower than that. Especially Randall). Obviously, if you are an uncannily good shooter like Nowitzki or Love, and can make plays going to the rim with either hand, make plays for others and can still rebound, than that is an exception. That’s a baller, straight up. So, Randall has great lateral movement, but plays below the rim and is left hand dominant. He’s really strong and I think he’ll be a good player in the league, but I like the idea of a 6 foot 6 point, who is long, has great lateral movement, sees the floor, scores from everywhere and plays above the rim. That is Exum. Frankly, I like that better than what I’ve seen from Parker too, but like you, I’ve seen more of Parker than of Exum. So, I’m just judging from what I’ve seen of each. Finally, I would not be surprised if Smart winds up the best player in the draft. His jumper is dropping this year. He’s shooting it more and has still raised his 2Pt% by 8% and his 3Pt% is a reasonable 35%. Jumpers get better. That said, I think any of the top-6 guys are interesting players to add to the mix. The key will be putting them in a position to succeed.

  59. >2 year extension not a 20 year one get a grip!!!

    Well, two years is a long time in the NBA.

    >The Thunder had to dump Harden because of this

    I would say it is more accurate to stay that they chose to trade Harden because of their owner’s view of team financials. Also, I think it is pretty clear that Indiana, with George and Hibbert locked up, is in position to succeed long-term. Finally, I don’t think that new CBA has been in place long enough for us to globally evaluate how it will affect team-building.

    Basically, the FO discussion comes to how much one weighs results, and how much one weighs context. The FO’s most vocal defenders generally make everything about context, and its most vocal critics generally make everything about results. Any fair evaluation of Buss includes The Veto. And any fair evaluation of Buss also acknowledges that this may well be the worst team that the Lakers have had since they moved to LA–that Jim Buss is the highest authority in the organization, and that according to most sources, takes a more active role in the basketball operation than his dad did.

  60. P. Ami – I tend to think of Smart as a hybrid of Westbrook and Harden. He’s compact with bullish strength like Westbrook, without quite the same freakish level of athleticism. But he has a nice control of pace reminiscent of Harden (whereas Westbrook plays at one speed only). I’ve been high on him for a while, and I agree – I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up the top player in the draft.

    Randle confuses me more than other players in the draft. His physicality is truly impressive. So much of what I see reminds of me a leaner Zach Randolph. While I wouldn’t be surprised if he blows up, I feel like it will take him time to adjust to the superior strength and athleticism of above-the-rim NBA players.

    Embiid is obviously the classic potential big-man pick. The one thing that concerns me about him picking up basketball so late in life: those players tend to have poorer basketball IQ, and while he has the tools to be a defensive menace, I suspect he’ll struggle with the complex defensive rotations of today’s NBA. That said, his physical tools and surprising footwork are too drool-worthy to pass up, even if I’m slipping into a classic NBA scout mistake.