Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Pacers

Darius Soriano —  January 28, 2014

The Lakers are finally back at Staples Center tonight. After nearly two weeks on the road and a 2-5 record to show for their time away, they at least get to sleep in their own beds and see their families. This may be one of the only rewards, however, considering the team they have waiting for them tonight.

Tonight’s opponent, the Indiana Pacers, just so happen to be one of the best (if not the best) teams in the entire league. They have yet to even lose 10 games on the year and boast the league’s best win-loss record. They win on the strength of their defense, grinding teams down with a balanced scheme that smothers perimeter players on the wing with Paul George, Lance Stephenson, and George Hill and then crushes them inside with Roy Hibbert and David West. No other team in the league has a defensive group like the Pacers and that bears out with how much ahead of the pack they are in terms of defensive efficiency compared to the rest of the NBA.

Offensively, Frank Vogel has coined the term “smash-mouth basketball” and wants to punish teams in the paint with Hibbert and West and then use the athletic and all court games of George, Stephenson, and Hill to fill in around them. George, of course, takes on more of a scoring load and is very good all over the floor as a shot creator for himself and teammates. Many consider him an MVP candidate as the top performer from one of the league’s best teams and while I think he’s behind Durant and LeBron, he certainly deserves his due.

But make no mistake, while George is extremely important, the Pacers really do exemplify the term “team”. The rely on their full rotation to perform each night and each player is slotted into a role that is meant to help the larger group excel. On a night to night basis, it is usually the key (read: best) players who carry the load, but without their depth — and this includes summer pick-ups like CJ Watson and Luis Scola — this team simply doesn’t win at the level they have this year. They are, basically, the perfect example of what can happen when talent, coaching, and a hunger to win (especially coming off their conference finals loss last year) come together.

For the Lakers, then, winning tonight will be extremely difficult. The Pacers have not been playing their best ball on their own extended road trip (they’ve had close games against the Kings and Warriors with losses against the Suns and the Nuggets), but that should not be mistaken for playing to a low enough level where the Lakers are even approaching a scenario where they can be reasonably expected to win. No, even if the Lakers play to their ceiling, they would still need the Pacers to play well below their average to have this game be close.

The Lakers, however, can close the gap a bit and that will be dependent on their ability to rebound and defend well. These, of course, have been weaknesses for the Lakers all season but that is what it will take. Key will be slowing Paul George on the outside and limiting the dribble penetration of him, Stephenson, and Hill. If those three can be kept from getting the basket so easily, the Lakers can stay home on the Pacers’ bigs and that will hopefully lead to better work on the glass.

Slowing down West is also a major key since he is the rock the Pacers often lean on when they need to try and create a good look at the basket. West is a beast in the post and has a very good mid-range game that allows him to play a lot of pick and pop with any of the Pacers’ perimeter players. When he operates from the foul line extended, he has a great ability to hit the open shot or use the threat of that shot to take a power dribble or two to get into the paint and get an even better look 8 feet and in. Ryan Kelly will have his hands full with West, so I would really like to see Jordan Hill or even Sacre get some minutes on West to try and keep him under wraps as much as possible.

Offensively, I’m interested in seeing how Pau fares against Hibbert and Mahinmi down low. Hibbert remains one of the best defensive bigs in the league and Pau will have a hard time moving him when operating out of straight post ups. This is actually a game where Pau being able to step away from the basket and use his jumper to set up his work off the dribble might be the better approach. Hibbert has improved greatly when defending in space, but he’s still most comfortable hanging around the restricted area and contesting shots around the basket. If Pau can effectively score from 15 feet and out, it could be a very good way for the Lakers to generate the openings they’ll need against a stingy Pacers’ D.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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65 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Pacers

  1. Kelly might foul out in warmup if he is guarding West.

  2. The Lakers can compete in this game. Indiana is at the end of a LONG West Coast trip, and as good as they, are they are not a great offensive team. I think the Lakers can keep it interesting if they can hit a few 3s.

  3. 3 and D. Only way to have a chance of winning against Indiana…

  4. Wow, Magic+Twitter=Stupid. Magic Johnson is ruining his image with Laker fans like nothing I’ve ever seen. He could have murdered someone and still would’ve been loved in LA. Something really awful must have happened between he and the Buss’s. This is a guy that was my all-time favorite player…

  5. melcountscounts January 28, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Think MDA will use Kaman and his 6 fouls against Hibbert? Doubtful.

    I’ve grown to like Kendall Marshall and his ability to see the floor. Guess he’s odd man out when Blake and Farmar come back, too bad.

  6. Sounds like possibly nash/farmar/blake all back on fri if things go well.

  7. Coach must have given another half time speech .

  8. Ugh. Paul George is only 2-11, but Pacers are now up by 8.

  9. Okay, let’s leave Pau out there until his groin injury flares to the point that he misses a month.

    Marshall is a horrid defender!

    Even with a hobbled Pau and inefficient Sacre, Kaman still can’t get in the game!

  10. Kelly/Sacre 2 points zero rebounds again.

  11. News just continues to get worse and worse for Kobe. Out an additional month? Therefore, we’re looking at a possible return in what, the beginning of March? If this isn’t a sign that Kobe just needs to shut it down for the year then what is? But due to his competitive nature, we all know that shutting it down isn’t even an option for him. Doubt if I am, but I hope that I’m wrong.

  12. Sacre is not even a D league player yet Kamen still doesn’t play. What a great coach.

  13. I think I finally have to join the “why isn’t Kaman playing?” chorus. Sacre adds nothing and may well be a net minus when he’s on the floor. The perimeter defense is fair to average, but the paint protection has been basically nil for months, as we see by the ridiculous “points in the paint” totals we hear about every game. Pau, while playing his ass off on the offensive end, just can’t move quickly enough anymore to be an effective rim protector, and Hill, for reasons unknown, just doesn’t get minutes. The story that I’m choosing to believe is that the coaching staff feels he’s only really productive for 20-25 minutes a night, but seriously, he’s a professional athlete. Can someone get him on a cardio regimen or something?

    They’re obviously not competing for anything but pride this year, but a guy that could, by his mere presence, deter a few shots from being taken at the rim and credibly defend a few more, and have the side bonus of offering 6-12 points per game in short minutes can’t possibly be a bad thing.

    I’m not too down on Kelly, he makes smart decisions and could potentially be a solid 8th guy on a good team. I guess the thought is to give him game experience without worrying about the pressure of tight games.

    Kelly/Sacre tonight: 10 pts/5 rebs on 2/9 shooting in 31 minutes (and 7 fouls)
    Hill: 10 pts/12 rebs on 5/10 shooting in 29 minutes
    Kaman: Averaging 8.1/5.4 in 16 minutes on 49.4% shooting this season

    Baffling.

  14. Lakers only 5/24 on 3s…George only 4/21. Maybe he was pressing in front of the home folks or maybe he partied too much…

    Pau is putting up some nice numbers on O amid the endless losses.

  15. KenOak – read your comment and was intrigued, so I actually went to Twitter to check out what he said.

    “The great ones Michael, Larry, Kareem, LeBron and now Kevin Durant can put their teams on their back and win!”

    That was amid an endless stream of tweets that suggested he had a serious man crush on KD. He basically had good things to say about every team not named the Lakers, and every star not named Kobe. What a guy.

  16. It’s petty, really.

  17. That was amid an endless stream of tweets that suggested he had a serious man crush on KD. He basically had good things to say about every team not named the Lakers, and every star not named Kobe.

    Considering that Durant is on an amazing run and is headed for MVP, that Kobe has played six (mostly bad) games all year and will miss at least another month, that the Lakers are one of the worst teams in the NBA, and that Magic has no formal connection of any kind to the Lakers, I am not sure what you think that he is supposed to be saying about them. If you are mad that Kobe didn’t make his little list and you think that Magic left him off on purpose, so be it, but that may not actually be the case.

    Brian Kamenetzky wrote a pretty even-handed piece on the stuff that Magic said about Jim Buss:

    http://landolakers.com/2014/01/17/magic-johnson-obliterates-jim-buss/#respond

  18. Simonoid – in all fairness, though, KD’s been on a ridiculous tear of late. i get what you’re saying about neglecting to include Kobe in there, but i can’t hate on Magic for having a man crush on the slim reaper.

  19. the other Stephen January 28, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    I think Simonoid was having a particularly dry case of the sarcasms, Nefariousgnome. There are plenty of other instances in which Magic shouldn’t have said the things he said, but in this case, his Twitter probably isn’t the best example.

  20. I think Simonoid was having a particularly dry case of the sarcasms,

    That crossed my mind, although it is quite dry if so.

  21. Glad I never bet on us tonight at +9.5 coz I woulda lost.

  22. I know people don’t really wanna hear about the thoughts of people who are pro tanking. But I think the next string of games could determine if the Lakers really have a solid chance for a top 5 pick or not:

    Bobcats, T’Wolves, Cavs, 76ers, Bulls, Jazz

    If we drop 4 or 5 of the next 6, then it looks like the team really might be heading down to the bottom. I hope we can keep developing Kelly, Farmar, Marshall, Henry and bring a couple of them back next year.

  23. Thank you JB.

    It’s really mind boggling to see Sacre on court and Kaman not subbing in for a hobbled Pau… I really hope that MDA doesn’t stay longer than this year.

  24. Wisely chose poker tournament in Vegas over latest loss

    1-Lakers finally reached their goal and made it to last in the West. Sad it happened on day they honored Dr. Buss.
    2-another zero game for Sacre. Guess they need to send him to D-League so coach can’t play him.
    3-Kelly is not a starter. Nice kid but Lakers have enough guys who can’t defend or rebound.
    4-Either Young is in a slump or league figures him out. Several recent games his shooting is way off.
    5-Harris might think he is better then he is on offense.
    6-Latest set back on Kobe is expected. He is no fool. Just watched this team for 2-weeks and realizes they are behind help.
    7-MD appears to be wearing out another player as no reason to leave Pau in during end of 4th. Look for another injury.
    8-Finally the dislike for Kamen continues. The guy plays 2-should be D league guys with no experience and the former All-Star sits screeching his beard again! $3million well spent. Perhaps Chris should grow a mustache!

    First time I ever bet against Lakers as they were 4 points in second half. Clearly Vegas is not paying attention to 3rd quarters. Easy money but not happy money.

  25. Here’s the thing. It’s a combination of everything Magic has been saying lately really. He has nothing but criticisms to lob at the Lakers- even when he was crowing in delight about their moves just a few years ago. And, seriously, that list of people who supposedly can win by themselves. Please. None of those guys put a team on their back and won a title.

    Any of those guys, including Kobe, have put a bad team on their respective backs and won games, but not titles. Magic is just getting old and crotchety it seems. He used to be the ultimate Laker homer, but perhaps it’s just business. Hmmph. Maybe I am reading to much into it, but this isn’t an isolated case.

  26. The Kaman Tragedy continues. He must love it here

    Nice to see Jordan Hill finally get some good minutes. Wonder if MDA reads FBG?

    Magic, as incredible as he was as a player, is a bit of a buffoon now. IMO he tarnishes his legacy with his questionable rants.

    Lost in the descending spiral of this season is discussion of Nash’s return. Friday?
    Nash will be auditioning for next year’s squad.
    Do the Lakers retain him? Or exercise the stretch provision?

    Nash’s future with the team hangs in the balance as does the way he finishes his wonderful career.
    This qualifies as high drama, about to play out in relative and surprising quiet.

  27. KenOak,

    Magic is saying what A LOT of Lakers fans are thinking. Those criticism have a huge amen corner.

  28. If the Lakers don’t want Magic to criticize them in public, then they should offfer him a consulting job, or they should put a better team on the floor. Magic is at this point a media personalilty/businessman, with no real connection to the Lakers. I don’t know if that is how Buss wants it, or how Magic wants it, or if it is how both of them want it, but that is what it is. And if you add that to the fact that the Lakers have lost 17 of 20, and that people are going to ask Magic what he thinks about the Lakers, and that he is on some level a Lakers fan who wants the team to win, I don’t see the comments as a big deal–other than the fact that he has a bigger megaphone than some random guy venting on a blog does. Magic’s comments affect neither personnel decisions nor tactics.

    I don’t mean to pick on KenOak, whom I respect, but a lot of the SSR crowd complained about Magic and Kevin Ding wrote a piece at BR saying that “Magic needs to shut up” so this is not an issue on which I can get in line with KenOak. I suppose it would be nice if Magic backed the FO in public; I think it would also be nice if Buss reached out to the old legends in public. I am not as into that scenario as Robert is, but the Lakers could certainly use a little positive PR and connection with their history right now.

    As long as the Lakers are bad, fans and people in the media are going to criticize Jim Buss. Nature of the business.

  29. rr
    I’m not taking it personally man. I tend to agree with you a lot, so it doesn’t bother me one bit that I may be in the minority on this issue. (Or the majority depending on which blog you read, it seems…) It just seems like Magic is trying to eat his cake and have it too on this. He’s coming across like a complete hypocrite. He was so superfluous with his praise for Mitch and Jim when they made the trades for Nash and Howard and now that those didn’t pan out- he’s done a complete 180. There are places that Magic and I agree. The 2 coaching hires were ill advised imo. I got behind the MDA hire after it went down because there was nothing left to do but get behind it. The Brown hire was terrible from the start, however.

    The Kobe extension was too much money and premature. That’s *not* to say that Kobe didn’t deserve the money, but it wasn’t the best move for the team.

    “As long as the Lakers are bad, fans and people in the media are going to criticize Jim Buss. Nature of the business.” Magic Johnson, whether he likes it or not is more than just the average fan. He has to know that. Either something extremely bad happened between the Buss family and Magic or maybe he has another motive here? Regardless, he’s still one of my favorite players of all time.

  30. > It just seems like Magic is trying to eat his cake and have it too on this. He’s coming across like a complete hypocrite. He was so superfluous with his praise for Mitch and Jim when they made the trades for Nash and Howard and now that those didn’t pan out- he’s done a complete 180.

    A million times this. We don’t know exactly the circumstances under which he sold his stake in the team, but his comments over the past few months imply that maybe it wasn’t all wine and cheese. He’s a legend, one of the best players ever and if not the greatest Laker of all time, he’s in the Kobe/West stratosphere which is not bad company. However, either he’s practicing some of the toughest love ever or something pissed him off. I never followed him on Twitter (Twitter not being a big thing for me) but I did just un-follow him on FB last week, not because of this, but endless “It was so wonderful to speak at the San Antonio-area TGI Friday’s district manager meeting today!” stuff.

    Anyway, whatever the reason, I wish he’d stop. People will always listen because he’s Magic, but that doesn’t mean he’s always right.

  31. rr – I personally think Magic is doing a great disservice to the team and the fans with his criticisms, particularly since he seems to be purposefully going out of his way to make these comments. For example, this all started about a week ago when he came in, unannounced, to the Max and Marcellus show on ESPN radio and gave an interview where, if you listen carefully, it is very evident the hatred/anger he has for anything related to Jim Buss. This was followed by an interview with a Lakers fan website, followed by his appearance on the Tonight Show.

    I note that the timing of these criticisms aligns with the latest Forbes valuation of the Laker franchise at $1.3B. Back when Magic sold his 4.5% stake in the Lakers in 2009, the Lakers were valued at about $607m, giving magic a $27m share of that pie (a nice return on his $10m investment). Had Magic held on to his investment, his pie would have grown to about $60m today – that’s a whopping $33m difference here.

    So, while it is true that “regular fans” will always criticize the team while its bad, Magic is not a “regular fan” and he should know better than to lay down the heavy criticism the way he has been doing lately. Additionally, given the financial windfall he just missed out on, I question whether his criticism is not fueled by other motives.

  32. T. Rogers
    “Magic is saying what A LOT of Lakers fans are thinking. Those criticism have a huge amen corner.”

    IMO that should probably be a red flag right here as most of us Lakers fans are often very wrong.
    It truly appears that Magic has an agenda here- That agenda very well may be nothing more than stirring up a bit of controversy to get on tv and get clicks on articles. Or is it something else? Anyway I don’t mean to take everyone’s attention away from more important things like our 6th worse record in the league. ;) Now that Exum has declared for the draft it appears that there are at least 4 *possible* franchise type players. You guys have to remember that someone has to win those games out East when the bottom feeder teams play each other…Lakers will likely be a bottom 5 team at the very least.

    **No, I’m not cheering for us to lose…(mostly not anyway) I’m just embracing our team for what it is right now.**

  33. KenOak,

    Magic, in spite of his likability, has always been kind of shaky as a media personality (remember “The Magic Hour?”) and he is not that well-thought-of as an analyst. So, sure, people listen to him, but I don’t think that many people take eveything he says as truth. The BK piece noted this–that Magic talks too much and goes back and forth on issues sometimes. Magic should have said, if he didn’t, that “I supported the Nash deal.” But it also noted that Jim Buss has some things to answer for as well, and if there is an issue with Magic and Jim, I think Jim would do well for himself to try to publicly reach out. If Magic tells him to pound sand, that would take some of the heat off Jim.

    Finally, I think people sometimes worry too much about the complaining about the FO and not enough about the actual FO. Fans vent. Media people, including Magic Johnson, talk. It all goes away if you win.

    One thing Magic said is that Jim needs to bring in some “Help”, and I think that is a key point. As I detailed up above, Jim Buss seems to think he’s got this. He needs to prove it, and in the meantime showing a little humility by saying, “We are happy to announce that the Captain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, will be working with us as a consultant and speaker and we will be conferring with him on some basketball and community matters. This Lakers Legend etc. etc” might help him out a little PR-wise, and might have some other benefits as well. The people at the final meeting with Howard were Jim, Mitch, Kobe, Nash and D’Antoni, and many sources, including Adande, made a point of saying that Howard and his people were “Unimpressed” with Jim. It is a point worth considering.

    Now, it may be that the Lakers have already done these kinds of things, and Kareem and Magic did in fact tell them to pound sand unless they were given real power, and that Jim is in fact simply, and wisely, holding his tongue. But I think it is also quite possible that is not the case.

    I don’t think Jim Buss is a clown, and I am not giving up on his being a successful executive. I simply do not know enough about how the man operates to pass judgment at this point. But I do know that he has brought some of this negativity–including Magic Johnson’s–on himself.

  34. Like most Laker fans……Magic was genuinely excited when the Lakers acquired Dwight, so it’s no surprise that he was equally upset when the team was unable (or unwilling) to keep Dwight. How is that hypocrisy? At the end of the day, the Lakers traded away a valuable trade asset in Bynum along with draft picks, and received nothing in return. Any way you slice it, that was a historical fail by the front office.

  35. rr – I personally think Magic is doing a great disservice to the team and the fans with his criticisms, particularly since he seems to be purposefully going out of his way to make these comments.

    That’s fine, but as I said in a post earlier, I don’t think it actually affects the team’s operations. I think some of the FO defenders need to separate, “This bothers me on a personal level” from “This actually hurts the team.”

    As to the money issue and motivation, you may be right. But that is a dark road to go down. It then becomes very easy to say that Jim Buss’ actions are motivated by personal insecurity and anger and resentment toward Lakers Legends whose status in the game he will never have and of whom he is therefore jealous–starting with Phil.

  36. LT mitchell
    The problem with going out and getting Dwight was that there *was* no guarantee that he was going to stay here. He even said during the whole “Dwightmare” that he didn’t want to come to the Lakers. My point is that Magic was ecstatic when they pulled off the deal to get DH here even though there was no guarantee that he was going to stay. He was also excited that Nash was coming to L.A. until he got hurt and then Magic started telling everyone, who would listen, how bad of a deal that was. We knew that Nash was injury prone before we traded for him…

    Any way you slice it the last couple years have been bad for the Lakers, but you can’t blame it all on Jim Buss. The entire NBA world was applauding the trades that brought DH and Nash to L.A. and now they’re lambasting Buss for making those deals. I guess that I just expect more from a guy like Magic. If not for the rash of fluke injuries that have crushed us these last two years, you may have seen a team that could actually compete.

    If Buss deserves blame for anything it’s the coaching hires but, and correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t the late great Jerry Buss make the decision to go with MDA? Does that mean that only one of the coaching hires can be laid at Jim’s feet?

  37. Jim Buss’ Power: It is debatable when he actually took charge, and how much Jerry still contributed. I believe he effectively took charge in 2012. Mike Brown was his guy, and that is the line of demarcation. Whether Jerry (RIP) nodded his head for MD or not, the Jim Buss era started in 2012. While this does appear to be a monarchy (complete with Princes and a Princess), it does not mean Jerry kept the power until his death.
    Lt Mitchell/Ken Oak: The synopsis tha the Lt gives above as to how Magic felt is exactly how I felt. There is nobody on this board who posted more about the need to obtain DH. When we finally did (1 year late), I was ecstatic. I even kissed Jim’s ring. However we bungled it, with a poor coaching selection, an ill fitted offense, and absolutely no relationship between Kobe and DH. So whatever good we accomplished with the acquisition was nullified with the bungling.
    rr: Well stated with regard to the PR connection to the past. Why not? We should go out of our way to keep all of our legends in the family.
    MannyP: You are right It is somewhat of a disservice in the short run, but he obviously feels that things need to change drastically in order for the Lakers to rise up again and I agree with him. And by the way, Kareem isn’t exactly enamored with us either. Shaq? West is in GS. Phil is in Montana. B Scott’s phone never rings,. B Shaw was exiled. Worthy and Horry are like a stand up comedy routine with the Lakers being the subject.
    This is nothing short of ridiculous

  38. Of course nothing is guaranteed, but Dwight was the first Laker in history to turn down a contract and leave the Lakers….and it happened under Jimbo. That is either a historic fail or a historic coincidence.

    Most fans were ecstatic when the Lakers acquired Dwight, and were upset to see him go for nothing. That’s anything but hypocritical. Watching the Clippers schooling the Lakers when it comes to keeping super star free agents made it even worse, and I’m seriously questioning whether Donald Serling is a better owner than Jimbo.

    I for one hope Magic continues to give us unfiltered opinions about what is really ailing the Lakers. The alternative would be to listen to the Lakers PR machine, making excuses for Jimbo at every turn. When looking at an organization or company, it always starts from the top.

  39. Kenoak

    My mother passed away 2 months ago of the same thing as De. buss. W oth pain mefd and other meds she made very little sense her final months. We do not know Dr. Buss condition and his decisions may have been not the same .

  40. KenOak,

    Doesn’t it seem odd that so many Laker greats are on outside looking in? Just look at the “pitch” meeting the team had with Dwight Howard. No Jeanie Buss. No Phil Jackson. No Magic Johnson. No Kareem Abdul Jabbar. We can argue about whether it was worth it to keep Howard. But the Lakers brand IS in large part their legendary players and coaches. To not have them in the mix means something is truly wrong up front.

  41. Pk let me put my 2 cents about Dwight before i explode, i was as extatic as everybody when we got him. And then the season started, we all know all about it, the whinning the pouting ect. The thing is that i believe the Lakers wanted to keep Howard but didnt went all the way about it. When Howard was demanding that the team fired MDA and dared suggest the Lakers ammnestied Kobe that was it. How this never winning anything no ft making loser dared to put terms to the Lakers? Wisely the Lakers didnt paid attention to this fool. I see his season numbers in Houston and they are not that different from last year when he was hurt. He wont get better as a player he us not the force he used to be and i count my blessings we didnt gave the franchise keys to this fool im sorry i meant to say they were to heavy for him.

  42. There was a thread awhile back that touched upon the need for an organization to fire on all cylinders to be successfull: Talent/Coaching/Front Office. It was stated that the current Lakers are lacking in all departments.

    Talent obviously trumps all and I am confident that between the draft and spending cap space wisely we will increase our talent level over the next few years. I don’t think its a surprise to assume that MDA will be a bridge coach and unfortunately will have to endure all the pain (of losing). He’ll be gone when his contract is up or when we reach a certain threshold of talent that demands a superior coach.

    I agree that it would be great to have JBuss acknowldge he needs help. The reality is that the Lakers have done a poor job of bringing in and cultivating FO talent. West and Riley are not coming. Its clear that there is great distrust between JBuss and Phil Jackson so that will not happen. The smart thing to do is elevate Mitch to President and hire a GM from outside the organization. To be honest we could use a fresh perspective and voice.

    Longer term I would reach out to Derek Fisher to join the coaching staff or FO. He’s smart and tough — qualities that play well in either role. I would like Kobe to be part of the organization when he retires but I’m not sure what his goals are after he retires.

  43. TR: You could have brought Wilt’s ghost, Jerry West, Kareem, Magic, the ’72 Lakers and the 00′ Lakers together to that pitch to DHoward and it still would not have changed the fact that this team needed DH to understand that for least 1-2 years the team would be in a rebuilding phase and a title would not come until after, plus, Kobe was not going to be traded as DH requested. DH simply was not ready to make that commitment. Plus, frankly, DH did not earn the right to be a Laker. Good riddance.

    LT Mitchell – I have issue with the statement that “most fans were sad” to see Dwight go. In this board alone the sentiment seems to be 50 for “sad” and 50 for “glad.” Also, Donald Sterling’s history of ownership is horrendous. 2-3 years of good management do not erase decades of mismanagement. Its also unfair and myopic to label a guy a “horrible” owner after only being solely at the helm of the Lakers for 1.5 years. Whether he is a good, average or bad owner cannot be determined at this time. Only time will tell.

    Robert: Shaq burned his bridges with the Dr before leaving LA – no way his sons or his daughter would ever welcome him back to the organization with open arms. Take it as a great sign of respect that they agreed to retire his number. That should be enough on that point.

    Phil has issues with Jim and, per his own words in countless interviews, he does not want to coach; he wants an FO job. Do you realistically think Phil would take a job that reports to Mitch and Jim based on their historic animosity? I think at some point we have to base our criticisms on reality, no? Plus, given his huge ego and terse personality, do you really see him wheeling and dealing much with the other owners or do you see him more or less having the same entitled attitude MJ has as an executive (and see how well that has turned out)?

    Kareem – awesome player, but with a very difficult personality. I know I would not want to work with him on a daily basis.

    BShaw – there’s a reasonable argument made that he was not ready at the time to take over the team. But, this is one point reasonably up for debate.

    Worthy and Horry: Dude… you are really stretching it here. Is your only requirement to join the FO to have won a ring, played as a Laker or be over 6 feet tall?

    Finally, I hate the fact you keep bringing up that former players are not in the FO as if being a former player suddenly qualifies you for an executive position. Further, you imply that getting a ring somehow boosts your FO IQ by some imaginable percentage. Sorry, but there are a limited number of FO positions in any given team and very few individuals, in the entire world, would be qualified for them. In addition, I would guess that just because you were a good player, it does not make you a good executive (see Jordan) or business man (see countless examples of former players) or eloquent (see Magic). Also, by comparison, even the Celtics have only 2 of their legends on their FO. The Heat have 1 of their former players. The Spurs have 0 of their former players. Same for the Bulls. So, where is the logic with this line of argument? Is it for the value of marketing?

  44. Ko-I am truly sorry for your loss! You have pinpointed the dilemma that exists pertaining to Jerry Buss’ nod of approval regarding anything Lakers. When one is near death one tends not to be concerned with the quotidian activities of the living. Most even experience mild or severe dementia, which relegates their thinking to mishmash.

    Re Magic: Jerry always thought of Magic as a son, so there could be a bit of sibling rivalry involved between the two sons. Jim has taken his heritage as the only son in the blood line, while Magic is the the son that was only held in esteem with the Lakers while Jerry lived.

  45. MannyP: Who said any of these guys should join the FO? Where did I say that? : ) I just want to be on speaking terms with some of them. Let’s crawl before we walk. However since you brought up the point about it being crazy to think someone could operate in a management job just because they had a ring and were tall, I would agree. However it is more ridiculous to think that a guy with no college degree, no basketball playing experience, no coaching experience, and no taste in clothes could run a team. So – I guess you make a good point. I’ll run the campaign for James Worthy to be owner. The campaign slogan will be: “He is not qualified – but he is more qualified”
    C Hearn: Sibling rivalry. Well – hmmm. I think you might have a point : )

  46. For an organization to be sucessful it dont need former glories in the FO. MannyP im totally 100% with you. For all we know most of those guys are dumber than us lol. MJ track record as an owner speaks for itself.Most of ex players with notable exceptions in FO positions are mouthpieces and marketing tools. BTW people talk about ex players oook does some people here know that Mitch is a 3 time NBA champion part of the Showtime era a Tar Heel and a 1st round draft pick? Theres your player in the FO.

  47. How I missed this until now I don’t know – but this is a thing of beauty:
    “And if Jim wants to be as loved as his father, then people of Los Angeles will embrace him if he chooses to be just an owner, and not an “Owner/GM.”
    http://www.laobserved.com/intell/2014/01/blame_jerry_buss_for_the_laker.php

  48. melcountscounts January 29, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    It’s just foolish to think that Phil Jackson would have turned this team into a contender. No way.
    Magic on the Jay Leno show, why? Do you need the spotlight that much?

    Like my Mom told me, if you can’t say anything nice….

  49. KO
    Really sorry to hear that man. My condolences…

  50. mel: I am not focused on the Phil part. I am focused on the fact that Jim should not be Jerry Jones of the NBA. Not an owner/GM. Just step back – and let Mitch run the team and then Jim and Mitch can stay.

  51. “You could have brought Wilt’s ghost, Jerry West, Kareem, Magic, the ’72 Lakers and the 00? Lakers together to that pitch to DHoward and it still would not have changed the fact that this team needed DH to understand that for least 1-2 years the team would be in a rebuilding phase and a title would not come until after, plus, Kobe was not going to be traded as DH requested. DH simply was not ready to make that commitment.”

    Manny,

    I agree with everything you said here. What concerns me is the pitch itself. Sometime over the next few years the team will be in a similar situation with other free agent hopefuls. Who knows maybe one of those free agents will be Kevin Durant. The same Kevin Durant Magic Johnson has been fawning over on Twitter. In a game of inches wouldn’t it be great to have Magic sitting in the room for that sales pitch? My concern is our current front office has alienated all the people who have the power to sway the potential next franchise player.

  52. “For an organization to be sucessful it dont need former glories in the FO. MannyP im totally 100% with you. For all we know most of those guys are dumber than us lol.”

    Fern,

    Its not about giving those guys decision making power. Its about at least giving the impression they are still part of the team’s cultural dynamic. Its about giving the impression the Lakers are still the Lakers.

    Magic Johnson is still one of the most charismatic people associated with the NBA. NBA players associated him with success both on and off the court. This is not about what Magic, Kareem, etc. thinks. Its about the perception of the organization to potential free agents. Whether we want to accept it or not the Lakers right now look like an organization in disarray. That’s the perception. We can say what we want about Howard. But him leaving $30 million on the table to go to another team made a loud statement about the Lakers. Yes, it made a statement about him and his waffling nature. But it was also a statement of how far the Lakers have fallen perception-wise.

    The team desperately needs to go on the offensive from a PR standpoint. That is where having older players and coaches comes into play.

  53. Agree with you Robert we have a proven top of the line in place in Mitch. But i would not mind Phil in some advisory role. But i doubt Jim Buss would allow that. Im not saying PJ is a great evaluator of personnel, i dont know but his name would have some clout on free agents.

  54. All these people who complain about MDA make me really wonder who they envision as a better alternative. We’re not getting Pop or PJ or even Thibs (and you should read the Chicago boards re: fans animosity towards Thibs including rumors that his caustic belligerent style alienates players, that he plays his stars too many minutes even in garbage time and that may have broken down DRose, etc). Nor are we getting Carlisle. So who does that leave? Van Gundy 1 or 2? Larry Brown? Maybe MacMillan? Are any of these people really demonstrably better than MDA (or for that matter, even Mike Brown)? Would any of them be winning with this injury-ravaged roster? I really wanted Adelman, but he’s losing with a team that’s 100x better than what MDA has to work with. It wasn’t that long ago that even the legendary PJ was savaged on this board for bizarre lineups (Luke and Fish), terrible game-management (no timeouts), constant lackluster beginnings to second halves (this sounds familiar), and worst of all, failing to inspire players to play hard (this last criticism one that I think MDA never deserves)

    Like many here, I hate what MDA is doing playing Kelly and Sacre over Hill and Kamen, although Darius’ post a couple of days ago makes a strong argument in defense of this strategy. With that caveat, it’s hard for me to imagine any coach getting as much out of Marshall, Blake, Henry or Meeks as MDA has. This was a bad team before the injuries and MDA had them playing an exciting brand of underdog ball; I don’t think its fair to revise my assessment downwards given that he has lost (count em) 1-2-3-4-5 guards.

    But again, for me the main question for me is: who’s better?

  55. this season is a mess. nothing more needs to be done. it won’t be saved.

    right now, the best thing would be to get everyone healthy and get some minutes in so that the ones who will be here next year can get some practice.

    if there are deals that can actually be made, make them, but i don’t see any FO from any team curing this year’s woes. it’s still FAR too early to say ANYTHING substantial about next year. there are too many variables left to be sorted.

    personally, i don’t think the FO has been so especially terrible. if the team was 100%(or as reasonably close to that as possible) healthy, they would be in the thick of the playoff race. that’s a good job by the FO, fielding a competitive team out of minimum contracts.

    it’s hard to watch all these losses and i hate it, but well…that’s just too bad. this is one time i agree with D’Antoni, if you can’t stand this team, find another. otherwise, support them at least as well as Cubs fans support their losing franchise.

  56. Just a clarification:

    1). When I mentioned that Mitch should be elevated and a new GM hired I was thinking of one of the young up and comers that had a comfort level with new era statistical analysis. I think this is an area that the Lakers are lagging behind the league.

    2) My comments regarding bringing in a former Laker like, Derek Fisher. I brought up his name because in my estimation he is talented enough to do a good job. I alwasy thought he did a nice job representing the players association and was integral in pushing out Billy Hunter – whose regime was incredibly corrupt.

    I echo the comments that bringing in a former player for the sake of bringing in a former player is a recipe for disaster.

  57. just an FYI – since it’s been mentioned a couple times in past days that Nash is injury prone – he actually isn’t. Despite him lying on the side lines – thats not him injured, it’s merely how he manages and deals with his back to keep it loose and not compress as part of ongoing care. The knee injury last year was completely unrelated to his back condition as was the resulting nerve damage. They don’t have anything to do with one another.

    Career wise – Nash has only played 37 games less than Kobe and that was only due to treatment/fixing his back in 98/99-99/00 otherwise they’d be even or Nash would have more. Both him and Kobe are the real iron men in the NBA in that they’ve played legit mins almost every game in their entire careers and take care of their bodies better than anyone else in the league for 17 years.

  58. The problem with Phil is that he does not want an advisory role – he said in an interview that he wants an executive position with more or less decision making power. Phil is not a guy looking for a handout or some money in the side. He wants decision making power.

  59. Ted – Agree that Derek Fisher is likely to make a mark as a coach or in management. Wouldn’t mind the Lakers reaching out to him to join MDA’s staff so he could cut his teeth on the bench. Unlike some I do not see Rambis as a viable head coach when MDA moves on.

    Also agree that Mitch should be promoted and that the new GM should be comfortable with statistics and analytics. Under the Dr. Buss regime the Lakers could always back up their smarts with a bigger payroll. The new CBA rewards smarter teams – plain and simple. The solution: hire smart people.

  60. Jerke-
    While technically that’s true about Steve Nash the reality is that he’s been playing old man minutes for like 7 years now. Even though he hasn’t had “injuries” per se…he has had that bad back ever since I can remember. You can’t really compare him with Kobe because Kobe has played at least 6k more regular season minutes than Nash. That’s not even counting postseason minutes which Kobe has logged nearly 8k of whereas Nash has only played about 4k. Add those totals together and Kobe has played nearly 1/3 extra of Nash’s seasons in minutes. (10k minutes.)

  61. mud: I have been with this team for a lot longer than MD has been and I will be with them for a lot longer than he will be. And I certainly can understand your invoking the example of the Cubs, but the fact that you have done so on a Lakers site shows the current state of this franchise. By the way – you would love me if we were both at a game together, because I never say anything negative and cheer loudly.
    MannyP: I love Phil but that is a pipedream. Jim just needs to step back. That is all I really want. Be like Jerry.
    Ted: Love the DF reference. And no we don’t want former players in jobs just for appearance sake. However we also don’t want to shun them either like we did with Shaw.
    T. Rogers: “the Lakers right now look like an organization in disarray. ” uh yea : )

  62. I think the Jim Buss hate is a bit too much, personally. If (big if, bear with me) they’d have had better luck with overall team health this year, they’d be right around .500 and a few games out of a playoff spot at worst, and we’d be praising him, or at least Mitch, for making something out of nothing–nothing being contending with a team comprised of three aging stars surrounded by guys on minimum contracts.

    About the only thing I’m willing to chalk up to family drama is that Phil Jackson isn’t working for the team in some capacity–he’s never going to coach again, but having the Zen Master occupying an office upstairs is a hell of a lot of value to a team’s culture. Everything else comes down to “basketball reasons”, Howard being vastly more immature than anyone was prepared for, and some incredibly bad luck with team health–Kobe was due for something serious so I’ll allow the Achilles injury but call bad-luck BS on the knee, and Nash missing essentially 14 months with a leg fracture is insane.

    I’m not even going to talk about the PG position being about as stable a position as Spinal Tap’s drummer.

  63. i don’t disagree kenoak – kobe’s logged more mins overall for obvious reasons. just some are now playing out the trade for Nash like everyone knew he was injury prone prior to the leg/nerve injury, thats all. As for the reduced mins, MDA and Gentry did their best to purposely limit Nash’s mins to around 30-35 over the past 7-8 yrs in order to prolong his career/save the wear and tear on his legs (especially when he had to do the heavy lifting in phoenix) – hopefully that all wasn’t for naught and him and Kobe get a chance to play at 100 percent together for an extended stretch sometime in the near future.

  64. For those of you asking that Jim step back, where do you get the idea that Jerry West ran the FO without input or approval from the Dr? I think some of you rewrite history to suit your picture of what the ideal front office should be without thinking about the realities of the business.

  65. Manny,

    Dr. Buss to my knowledge never had a title like this:

    Jim Buss (born November 9, 1959)[1] is the executive vice president of player personnel for the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

    If you can prove me wrong, fine. But all indicators are that Jim has a far more active day-to-day role in the basketball operation than his old man did. This is yet another thing that his defenders usually fail to acknowledge.

    Jim has said in public that he would be fine with Phil as a “consultant”, and I even posted that quote here, so yes, I think it is correct to say that Phil wants power.

    I would ask the people defending Buss to consider a couple of things:

    1. I think a general rule of thumb is that the less a decision has to be explained, the more likely it is to work. People here are bagging on Howard, and Fern does make a point, in that Houston has not improved that much as per the metrics. I noted that a week or so ago (their W-L record is better). Part of that is that Howard is replacing an excellent defender, Asik. But to use a simple example, for all Howard’s baggage, nobody asked Daryl Morey, “Why would you want this guy? What are you thinking?” It was pretty obvious why Houston wanted Howard. But a lot of the stuff that has happened with the Lakers under Jim Buss requires explanation, context, dissection of motivation, speculation etc. Something to consider.

    2. The next big FA target will probably be Kevin Love. So, ask yourselves a question: if you are Love’s agent, or Love, how do the Lakers probably look to you right now? Bad team, Howard bailed, a ton of money already committed to Kobe when he is still on the shelf. If the Lakers are in the running for Love, it will be more than a year from now, so things could change, and I hope they do. But if Love leaves Minnesota, he will likely want to join a team with a solid FO and a highly-respected coach, that looks like it is ready to contend. Right now, it is hard to see how the Lakers will get from here to there.