Lakers’ Rebounding Woes Go Beyond the Big Men

Darius Soriano —  January 29, 2014

The list of things the Lakers don’t do very well is long. You don’t end up with one of the worst records in the league if this weren’t a true statement. But if we were looking for the thing the Lakers do worse than any other team in the league, rebounding would be it. If you don’t want to take my word for it, here are some simple numbers:

  • The Lakers are dead last in rebounding differential, getting out-rebounded by 5.9 a night
  • The Lakers are dead last in total rebound percentage, grabbing only 46.8% of the available rebounds a game
  • The Lakers are 29th in defensive rebounding percentage, grabbing only 71.3% of the their opponent’s misses
  • The Lakers are 27th in offensive rebounding percentage, grabbing only 21.7% of their own misses

These numbers essentially back up what the eye test tells us. When a shot misses, the other team grabs it more often than the Lakers do. It really is that simple.

The question, though, is why?

If you look at the comments of any game thread on this site (or, I’d imagine, any other Lakers-centric one) the blame will be placed squarely at the feet of the head coach and his rotation decisions. Fans wonder why Chris Kaman languishes on the bench while Robert Sacre plays. Fans wonder why Ryan Kelly gets more minutes than Jordan Hill. These are coaching decisions, after all, and they seem to dramatically affect the Lakers’ ability to rebound well.

Those claims aren’t totally without merit. Per Basketball-Reference, Kaman and Hill have the team’s 2nd and 3rd best defensive rebound percentages (defined as the % of defensive rebounds a player grabs while he is on the floor) at 26.1 and 23.8 respectively (1st is Pau Gasol at 26.4, by the way). Meanwhile, Sacre (15.8) and Kelly (12.5) lag far behind. Kelly’s number seems especially shameful, sitting at less than half the rate that Pau and Kaman’s are at.

Those are the individual numbers of the players, however. What about how the team rebounds with these guys on the floor? These numbers give us another layer of information and get us a bit closer to the root of the issue.

Per’s stats tool, Sacre still scores low with the team grabbing posting a defensive rebound percentage of 67.9% when he is on the floor. This is the worst number on the team. You would think, then, that if Sacre rates poorly in this area that Ryan Kelly would too, but that’s not the case at all. When Kelly is in the game, the team has a defensive rebound percentage of 73.4%, 3rd best amongst players who have played 350 minutes. More head scratching comes when looking at the team’s numbers when Hill is in the game. Though he is, overall, the team’s best rebounder in terms of total rebound percentage and third best defensive rebounder the team only grabs 70.5 of the available defensive caroms when he’s on the floor (which is the 9th best mark of players who have played over 350 minutes).

The story that these numbers start to tell is that you really can’t just pin the Lakers’ rebounding problems on the big men. Sure, they are part of the problem as we’ve all seen them miss box outs, not hustle to grab rebounds that are out of their immediate area, and, in general, simply get beat on the glass too often — especially on shots taken outside of the paint where classic rebounding technique (bodying your man and reading where the ball is going) matter most. They, as a group, must be better to hold down the glass and can’t just point the finger in another direction when the team continues to get hammered on the backboards.

That said, if we’re really looking to assign blame, the guards and wings deserve more than what they’ve received to this point. The Lakers defensive woes on the perimeter are a major factor in how poorly the team performs on the glass. When guards get beat off the dribble, the big men often have to slide over to help and challenge shots. When they do, the guards and wings must rotate to the paint to “help the helper” and body up the opposing big men who their teammate left behind. This isn’t just true on standard straight line drives, either. When the ball is penetrated and kicked out, that triggers defensive rotations that, when the ball is swung from side to side, often result in a big man rotating to the perimeter to contest a jumper. When that occurs, the Lakers wings must be better not just in seeking out a big body to box out, but in closing down the FT line area and grabbing the rebounds that carom out beyond the paint.

Too often what I see are wings who are either hopeful that their athleticism will get them to a ball or, worse yet, don’t even make the effort to move into the proper position to be factor in recovering a miss. Rather than fight and try to do the dirty work, they’re more than content to either leek out or stand and watch while a loose ball gets claimed by the other team. This, as much as the bigs getting beat, is a huge problem that needs addressing. And it has little to do with the big men and even less to do with the coaching and substitution decisions.

In the end, the big men will be the ones who get most of the flack since they’re the players whose job descriptions are “rebounding”. And as long as two of the team’s better rebounders (Kaman and Hill) don’t play as much as they could (or in Kaman’s case at all), D’Antoni will also catch heat. But, in reality, the perimeter players need to take more ownership of this issue than they have to this point and start to do the fundamental things more often to help the team. Because rebounding isn’t just the responsibility of the big men, it’s everybody’s.

Darius Soriano

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to Lakers’ Rebounding Woes Go Beyond the Big Men

  1. I apologize for hijacking the first reply in this thread, Darius, but in response to Robin, Nefariousgnome, and the other Stephen – no, that wasn’t intended to be sarcasm. I’m with KenOak and MannyP – Magic might not affect the day-to-day operations of the organization, or even factor into the big picture, but it is irritating to see on a personal level. He once was a big part of the Lakers, and still remains a legend. And as such, we typically expect a certain level of class, which he is failing to demonstrate more and more. To put it into perspective, you don’t see Larry Bird bad mouthing the Celtics’ FO. Last time I checked, he wasn’t on their payroll. It’s this sense of mutual respect that I sense is lacking on Magic’s part. And that’s disappointing to see, that’s all. If you want to delve more into the specifics, MannyP did a far better job than me in the previous thread, in many of his posts.


  2. why is rebounding so bad?

    well, part of it is that everytime a shot goes up, 5 players sprint the opposite way. this is the result of being beaten in transition time after time.


  3. you don’t see Larry Bird bad mouthing the Celtics’ FO.

    The situations are very different. Something appears to be going on with Magic and Buss, but I think it is probably unwise to assume that one or the other of them is more at fault. Magic may need to shut up, as Ding said, but Jim Buss doesn’t seem to impress many of the famous basketball guys who have actually dealt with him.


  4. Nice post Darius. A few weeks or a couple of months ago, I said the exact same thing. We’re getting beaten off the dribble too often and that triggers defensive rotations which doesn’t allow our big men to fight for the rebound as they should. The wing players and point guards deserve some of the blame (some more than others) and most of it should have been corrected long ago by their coaches in high school and college.

    However, stopping dribble penetration is something the coaching staff can work on. Adjusting our defensive rotations to be more effective is something the coaching staff can work on. Focusing on boxing out is something our coaching staff can work on. Benching a player who doesn’t hustle for a rebound or a loose ball in his vicinity is something the coaching staff can work on. Having better defenders on the floor for key possessions is something our coaching staff can figure out quite easily. Having better rebounders on the floor for key possessions is something they can also figure out.

    So, in my book, MDA is still the culprit of all these things as the team simply doesn’t improve in these areas. Obviously that a couple of our better defensive players are not available due to injury (Farmar) but it doesn’t mean that the others shouldn’t be improving. By the way, to the eye test, our best defensive lineup would probably be Farmar, Henry, Johnson, Hill and Kaman. Are there stats to back this up or does anyone think otherwise?

    NOTE: Congrats on the analysis Darius. Using the advanced stats to make a better sense of what the “eye test” tells us is the way to go (and not using advanced stats to prove a point that doesn’t match what we see, as it often happens in some places). I only have a very small criticism about those team rebounding percentages: due to the low minutes played, won’t those numbers be skewed if some other player on the floor relaxes a bit because he’s paired with a better rebounder? For example, does Nick Young fight more for loose balls and defensive rebounds when Kelly is on the floor because he knows the team needs help (even if he doesn’t win the rebound himself, he still influences the outcome), therefore increasing the team rebounding percentage for Kelly? And does the opposite happen when he sees Jordan Hill in game because he believes that Hill can clean the glass and he can now focus his energy on the offensive side of the court? I think there aren’t stats available to check this except watching some film of every Lakers’ defensive possession…


  5. Simonoid, I have absolutely no problem with Magic’s stance/position on the job the front office is doing and/or not doing. It’s quite obvious he cares and unlike many others who have/had some sort of connection(s) with the Lakers and want to maintain that relationship, Magic doesn’t need to be “political correct” with his Laker comments. Trust me, there are many more in the Laker fam who want to say what Magic says, and the way he says it, but are afraid to. Think of it as a “family intervention”. Tough love.

    As for Larry Bird’s lack of comments on the Celtics, really makes me no diff…but since you brought it up, the Celtics ownership decided not to make their aging superstar the centerpiece going forth, they knew it was time to go in a different direction.

    I for one hope Magic keeps calling it like it is.


  6. Magic sold his interests in the Lakers in Oct of 2010. The Lakers signed a $3b deal with Time Warner in Feb 2011. Im certain the Time Warner deal was in the works in October.

    You can say magic says what he says out of love, but the $35m of hard cash he would have received had he waited a few months to cash out, tell me otherwise. There is a palpable bitterness toward Jim Buss in his comments. You may wish to ignore it if you wish, but it’s there whether you want plot admit it or not.

    Magic may not be eloquent or a Mensa member, but he is not dumb. He has to know his comments are detrimental to the team. Even Phil has toned down his rhetoric. The worst part about Magics nets is that they are unrealistic and self serving. For example, he says we need Jerry West back. Well, He works for Golden State now and he left town because of Phil, who is now engaged to the co-owner of the team. He says we need Riley. Ok. He is in Miami now. So, what laker greats with marketing power and name recognition are left? Hmmmmm, maybe him? He says Jim should step back and listen to his advisors.

    I have no idea what personal issue transpired between Magic and Jim. Even if he did something awful to Magic, Jim seems to be taking the high road and Magics actions seem petty, childish and intentional – even if what he says is true (it’s debatable, but for the sake of argument lets just say is true). I’m glad the Kamenetzki bros, Ding and others are calling him out on it.


  7. Excellent write up Darius. I have been talking about our rebounding and turnover issues all year. Big men have generally just not fared well under MD. That is a fact. Whether it is coincidence or his fault is up for debate, but the lack of performance is not. The irony is that Pau, Kaman, and Hill would all be “sought” by other teams partially due to their rebounding. Guard rebounding is mostly desire and the system. We obviously have little desire in this area, and you covered the systemic issues above.
    Relationships: Nobody is saying that an ex-player must hold all of our positions in the FO. And if you look at it, at this point, with Mitch and Rambis in key positions, we probably have more than most in those type of roles. That is not the point – the point is our relationships with everyone. Those criticizing the FO in this area are not saying it is “ALL” their fault. However, I am seeing defense of the FO that claim with each situation that comes up – that it is “ALL” the other person’s fault. The latest example is Magic – and it is “ALL” Magic’s fault – he is acting unprofessionally. Kareem got his statue and still pouts so that is childish. Dwight was a baby. Phil was arrogant and non-committal. Brian Shaw was a friend of Phil’s. Shaq is goofy, Robert and James just want listeners, etc. There are elements of truth to all of these statements, but it is not always “ALL” the other person’s fault. If many people have an issue with you, than you probably need to look in the mirror. And that is what Jim and our FO should do (for multiple reasons).


  8. You may wish to ignore it if you wish, but it’s there whether you want plot admit it or not.

    Sure, but like I said, that cuts both ways. I noted in the last post of the other thread that there seem to be a lot of people Jim doesn”t get along with/wanted to let go/was not able to impress etc. and Robert listed some of them. Ronnie Lester was with the Lakers 25 years; Jim didn’t re-up him and replaced him with his own guy, Glenn Carraro. That is Jim’s prerogative, but if you are going to start reading motivations into actions, then look at Jim’s background, his lack of quals, the spot he has stepped into, how he got the gig, and the insecurities that might result from that–and how that might affect decision-making. Shaw was tied to Phil, had been grromed to be Phil’s successor, and was respected by key players. Jim instead chose to bring in an outside guy with a good record in some ways but with a very middling rep–who owed his spot entirely to Jim.


  9. I’m glad the Kamenetzki bros,

    For the record, BK also believes that Jim should step back from player personnel decisions and has been saying so since Jim’s ascension. So, the Ks said that there is some truth in what Magic is saying–while also calling Magic out.


  10. FYI one of my business associates is a former player and President of Retired NBA Players Assoc on the West Coast. Over the last year he has brought 3 ex-Lakers(2 former Laker radio guys) into my wine company for charities, golf events etc . each one had equal to or worse comments on Jim. All 3 , at different times had Lakers from 30 to 35 wines wins this year with blame on ownership.

    Only difference is Magic has a media forum but clearly there is a big dislike and disconnect between top former Lakers and Jim Buss. Notice how new Dodger ownership has brought back former Dodgers as coaches, scouts or TV and radio guys! Time Warner hired Worthy, Scott and good old number 4? Other then Rambis no other former Laker was hired since Jim took over. Long time scouts and coaches were fired though! Why? Control issues ?


  11. Darius,

    It’s one thing to point to an individual statistic, to make a point. But one thing is not up for debate…a COACH has to have the same facts and statistics as you or any analyst does. San Antonio won multiple championships with bruce bowen who was not a gifted offensive player per se, but was a defensive specialist used to guard the likes of Kobe. Point is, the coach needs to sacrifice parts of his offense to make for better rebounding and defense. That may mean playing a lesser offensive player to get better aspects of the game. How do you expect any defensive structure or continuity when there is never any structure to the lineup or defensive philosophy. You can’t continue to just put in the best shooters to make your offense click, while not looking at the big picture. What sense does it make to try and outscore opponents with below average players? Maybe hold the opposition down and not need as much scoring?? Injuries are a fact of sports. The problem is the coach will not adjust his offensive plan to make a better team effort.


  12. Farmar, Henry, Johnson, Hill

    I don’t know if any numbers back it up, but I said a couple of months ago that these are the four guys that I would look to keep, since you need your best defensive options and guys who can move their feet if you are commutted to Kobe, which the Lakers are. The caveat is that Hill should probably go if D’Antoni is staying.


  13. I agree – Hill should stay – and since he hasn’t been fully utilized under Dantoni,
    the coach should go!
    I wonder if Kaman would stay next year if there were a coaching change.
    Or if Kaman may be part of a trade coming up before the deadline?

    Any rumors/news on Pau – if he may be traded before the deadline?
    His numbers are on the rise again; surely he’d be valuable to a contender needing one more
    big man.
    I shudder to think how good Miami would be with a Gasol giving them 20-25 minutes per night.

    Otherwise I’d love to see Pau in a Laker uniform next season, if at a reasonable price.
    As long as a new Pau contract won’t interfere with the Kevin Love 2015 sweepstakes.


  14. Great write-up Darius. This is something I’ve noticed over this season but thank you for the thorough explanation and for putting stats to the problem.
    It makes me less crazy if I just set aside defensive rebounding. The coaching staff has obviously decided to ignore that aspect of the game. How else to explain the strategy of having 4 or 5 players running to our offensive end of the court when our opponents put up a shot outside the paint?
    Offensive rebounding is another matter. As you point out, too often our bigs have to rotate to the 3 point line and the wings don’t cover. Another problem is that Gasol is does not have great lateral mobility/quickness. I know he gets a lot of rebounds in a game but very few of them are hard fought ones. His rebound numbers are somewhat inflated. Compare his rebounds to those of Hill, who is always battling 2 -3 guys for the ball.
    Finally, I don’t understand why people aren’t calling out Rambis wrt our defensive problems.He was brought in specifically to help with the defense. I know our talent level has fallen off, but the defensive schemes are peculiar.


  15. rr- Very true, but the K bros are saying that for the benefit of the organization Magic should shut his trap. I agree. I think Magic can disagree with Jim and MDA all he wants, but where I have an issue is when he comes out to the media with these attacks that hurt the Franchise. I could frankly care less if MDA or Jim have their feelings hurt, but what Magic is doing it hurgint the Lakers and, therefore, I’m against it.

    Robert – Magic is still welcomed by the Lakers. So is Shaq. Same for Kareem. Shaw may feel abandoned, but he is not a persona non-grata here. The only person that has a reasonable beef with the FO would have been Phil, but he his recent comments indicate he has made peace with it (likely not true, but he one can see how he is trying to say nice things in an effort to help the team and jeannie). Maybe Ronnie Lester and Shaw hold a grudge, but I have not seen any articles that support that. As far as former Lakers, aside from the inference of a Magic-Jim feud as evidenced by recent comments by Magic, most former Lakers I have read about in the press seem to have decent relationships with the organization as a whole. Not sure where you are getting the idea that the Lakers, Jim or whomever keeps burning bridges with the players, but I sure would like to know for my own sake if I am mistaken on that point. I would hope giving player statutes would suffice, but apparently that is not enough. Sure would like to know what you think they should do to “show” respect. (Let me guess, give them FO jobs!)


  16. This is more of a question for folks.

    There has been much talk about whether JBuss should take a step back (not step out completely) and let Mitch be the primary executive that represents the Lakers. My question is this: Is this decsion soley up to JBuss to make? Or, do the other Buss children have a say in the matter?

    Is it possible that the Buss children make a strong suggestion to Jim to elevate Mitch and he would have to comply or could he just tell them to pound sand?

    My initial thought regarding Magic is that his comments are better left out of the public eye. However, if JBuss does indeed have a terrible rep with other FO executives/players/agents then Magic’s comments may force Jim’s hands or as noted above the hands of his siblings.


  17. JC: I share your thoughts on Pau. The rumor mill has been silent about him in the new year and all the while his numbers put him in the top tier of NBA centers.

    Outside of Indiana and Portland virtually every contender would have a need for him. The problem of course is making the salaries work. The Lakers would be reluctant to take back deals beyond this year unless there was a young talent or picks included to make it worthwhile.

    Plus, if you are the acquiring team you have to be pretty sure that Pau would tip the scales in your favor before you make the deal. My gut says that if he is moved it would be to a western conference team as Pau could be a difference maker in getting out of the conference finals.


  18. I just feel like Lakers should be able to get more defensive rebounds if they just box out. Isn’t that one of the fundamental skills you learn to box your man out on defensive rebounds? Too many times I notice players just sort of standing around staring at the ball expecting another player to challenge and go up for a rebound.

    This has been happening over the years but with Kobe years, I just felt that the reason was the guards looking to start fast break immediately (Kobe’s tendency to gamble for a steal and lead fast break – which we could afford to when we had Shaq, etc.). I don’t know if that team culture (?) is still in place but it sort of correlates to the fast break mentality this team has.

    I just feel like they could focus on the fundamental items more and let the fast break come naturally rather than looking to run every possession.


  19. My issue with Magic’s comments is pretty much in line with what was written at the K-Bros’ site. His comments lack nuance and, because they lack nuance, they come off as these booming critiques that people take very seriously due to his stature as a former Laker. It’s not that he’s entirely right or entirely wrong in his critiques, because I don’t believe he is.

    It’s more a matter of what he’s saying lack a depth and context that, for me at least, make his comments not very insightful. Said another way, my issue with Magic’s comments about the Lakers are the same issues I had with him when he was an announcer or when he was an analyst — he just doesn’t come off as very good at what he’s doing. At least not to me. That doesn’t make him any less a great player or remove the luster from what he did when he was on the court winning titles. Not everyone is good at everything they do. Magic was a brilliant player and has had enormous success as a business man. That doesn’t mean his opinions on basketball personnel or how a team is run should be considered valuable. I take them at face value and form an opinion based off my own research too. Anyways.


  20. Bobby: I have also wondered how the Lakers are structured. Do the sibling’s and AEG form a Board of Directors and review Jim and Jennie’s performance? Or, does the family just follow what Dr. Buss laid out, Jeannie in charge of the Business side and Jim the Basketball Operations, and nothing can change that.

    My thought is that AEG has a lot invested in the Lakers but are they contractually limited to being essentially a silent partner?


  21. To put it into perspective, you don’t see Larry Bird bad mouthing the Celtics’ FO.


    Bird and Magic’s situations are very different. Bird is a FO official with the Pacers; for him to critique the Celtics as Magic does the Lakers would be peculiar to say the least and would probably attract unwanted attention from our beloved and universally admired Commisioner.

    Magic, on the other hand, can say whatever he pleases about the Lakers – just like the rest of us!


  22. Since Magic’s comments about Jimbo, a large portion of the discussion here has revolved around Magic’s “evil” motives, his lack of class, his credentials as a commentator…someone even brought up his failed coaching stint….. and last but not least, a conspiracy theory that Magic is upset that he lost money from the Time Warner deal. You can’t make this stuff up. You guys sound like a bunch of corporate lawyers trying to discredit a witness. I think we should stop blindly speculating about Magic’s motives…stop ripping this great man down…and instead, focus on the real issue, which is the validity of his comments.

    – Is there a league wide perception that the front office is in disarray, and will it have a negative effect on attracting free agents…and if so, what can be done to fix this perception?
    – is Jimbo overly involved in making basketball decisions? Does he impede Kupchack’s ability to do his job?
    – does the team need a face to represent the franchise to help attract free agents and to quiet the perceived disarray in the front office?
    – does his ego get in the way of making the right decisions? Hiring MDA to coach a bunch of slow post players over Phil suggests this to be the case.

    These are all legitimate concerns. I can’t speak for Magic’s motives with certainty, but as a fan, I would love to see these issues addressed. I would love to see Jimbo follow in the footsteps of his father by hiring excellent basketball minds and allowing them to do their job….and I’m guessing that’s what Magic wants as well.


  23. Nash needs to keep the beard for the rest of his time in the league – sweet look!


  24. Nash just hurt himself again — growing the beard put too much strain on his legs, so he’ll be out for another 97 games. But no, he’s not retiring.


  25. Parrothead Phil January 30, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I have a question regarding the team def reb % being higher with Kelley on the floor despite his low individual reb %: Is it a reflection of the fact that Kelley shares the majority of his floor time with better rebounders (ie Pau)?


  26. My thing about Magic is that as much i respect him and how fond of him i am, he needs to be quiet. His comments are hipocritical and obviously self serving, there is an agenda somewhere. Last year after we got Dwight and Nash he went overboard with the praises to the FO and even Mike Brown especially Jim and how good a deal it was, and now the guy is a disaster? Now the Nash deal is bad adquiring Dwight was bad. I would understand if the critisism was constuctive but it comes off hipocritical and bitter. He need to show some respect not to Buss bit to the franchise that made him rich and famous. I dont mind if he is critical of the Lakers, a lot of people are but he needs to cool it.


  27. Farmar and Blake might return next Tuesday . . . . take your time boys. Seriously though, we need as many ping pong balls as we can garner; especially as I am now thoroughly geeked up on Dante Exum as a prospect. This guy has the goods: elite quickness and guard size, two-way ability, skilled scorer and developing shooter. A winner with leadership skills. I think he’ll move into the top three picks. Top seven in order: Embid, Wiggins, Exum, Parker, Vonleh, Randle, Smart.

    Likeliest Laker picks based on best guess finish: Vonleh. Not really a stretch four, but too much upside to pass on. If they rack up wins and drop below these picks, look for a darkhorse name like Zack LaVine.


  28. genius of MDA


  29. Lt Mitchell: I count 5 yes answers to your questions above.
    Nash: Everything went down hill after he cut his hair.
    Leo/Bobby: Your posts made me cringe. The thought of the Buss siblings circled around a table making decisions about the Lakers just does not quite cut it for me.
    J C: Your opinion about who should stay and who should go is pretty binary. I like it.
    Magic: I agree with the fact that Magic’s success on the court in no way prepares him to be a successful FO man, nor even a good commentator. That said there are others whose backgrounds do not match their current positions either.
    rr: You were correct when you made your point about “explanations”. We are always arguing facts against “explanations”. In this case, it is a fact that Magic has a bad relationship with us. The explanation is that it is because of issues on Magic’s side. Everything is like this. It was Dwight’s fault. It is the injuries. It was the commissioner. It was Mike Brown’s fault (just his – nobody who hired him). It is the CBA. It is Kobe’s unwillingness to change. It is the Grammy trip. It is the back to backs It is all bad luck. We sound like the French trying to explain the Louisiana Purchase.


  30. LT,

    Spot on. Those are the issues that both fans and former players are concerned about. If it takes him stepping on some toes to get something moving I’m all for it.


  31. Robert – upon reflection (read: looking up the definition of the word ‘binary’) you’re right!
    I always try to keep my comments aligned with the Dewey decimal system.


  32. Sorry LT, Rogers and Others: I’m gonna have to side with the K Bros, Ding and Darius on the Magic comments: the comments may be valid (I disagree, but whatever), but they offer zero insight or a realistic, plausible solution to the problem (sound familiar?) and, given Magic’s stature with the Laker community, they hurt the team more than help it. In short, his comments pile on for the sake of piling on.

    Magic has been away from the game for 30 years, without a leadership role in a front office, coaching role or decision making role. While he may have a right to his opinion like any other person, at least weigh his comments based on their insightfulness. I mean, its pretty pathetic that some posters on this board who agree with the theme of his comments, whom I bet never played in the NBA, give more effective criticism than “he don’t teach no defense” and at least offer realistic solutions to the maladies that affect the Lakers. All I ask is that you do not fall into the trap of merely accepting his comments because, “hey, he is Magic.”


  33. I meant to say 20 years not 30. My bad.


  34. Getting back to rebounding, try sending two players after the offensive glass. The boards they get are more likely to turn into points and it will force the other teams not to leak out on missed shots. I agree that the big men, especially Pau, are constantly out of position due to poor defensive rotations. Why have your only 7 footer chasing 3 point shooters? It guarantees that an opposing big will be boxing out whoever is left near the rim. This idea of making the Lakers more entertaining by running more is bumping up against the reality of poor play in other areas of the game.


  35. Darius, thanks for that analysis. Excellent work. I especially enjoyed it as it made me think about my own habits on the court and how I might find just another little things to do that leads to wins. It’s really easy for a player to get beat off the dribble and then try to contest a shot from behind, or trail the play. I can see the sense in finding someone else to put a body on, and how that could really help, even in the informal environment of a pickup game.

    I find the Magic discussion utterly uninteresting. As Darius said, without insight it gives us nothing. More so, it lets us confirm our biases.

    As for the draft, DX has us getting Smart with the 6th pick. Love that. Even better, the ESPN Mock Draft has us sneaking into the top-3 and getting Wiggins way more often then I expected. The kid is getting better. His shot looks really good. Has great touch around the rim and gets to it so effortlessly. He uses his length and his feet really well on defense. I can see the T-Mac comps. Another thing I like, he’s raising his shooting % and has a chance to come really close to matching MJ’s college career stats. I don’t see the same ferocity as MJ played with and I don’t think anyone on the perimeter was ever more disruptive a defender than MJ, but this Wiggins kid is doing some special things, and I get the feeling people are a little disappointed with him. What I wouldn’t do to have him wind up in the purple and gold with Kobe around to show him the work-ethic. Either way, Wiggins is going to be special.


  36. Yeah I bet K-Love, Bosh, Lebron, Melo, Durant, Westbrook, and every other possible free agent that is available over the next few years are sitting back listening to one of the greatest players ever to lace em up bad mouth the Lakers…and they are saying to themselves, “Wow! L.A. sounds like a fantastic place to land.”

    Magic may be correct in what he’s saying but, as Darius said above, his comments have barely any depth and offer nothing in terms of value to the Laker organization. I would argue whole-heartedly that what he’s doing right now is hurting this franchise more than their current dismal record.

    Having said that- I still love Magic Johnson the player. I just wish that he’d shush.


  37. BaylorFan: Your comment is interesting, It starts out talking about rebounding fundamentals but then comes back to the system we run and how that affects rebounding. Shows exactly why there are a few topics that are central to everything
    Magic Discussion: It is not a Magic discussion. Magic is talking about the FO and how the team is run. Just because he is saying it – does not make him the topic. So yes – let’s quit talking about Magic.
    KenOak” “Wow! L.A. sounds like a fantastic place to land.” So there it is. That is indeed the most important issue. How do we make that statement true?


  38. As Darius said, without insight it gives us nothing.

    Not necessarily, and I would suggest that your making that statement confirms your own biases.

    As to how much Magic’s blasts are hurting the franchise…I don’t think anyone really knows. It is certainly possible that NBA stars take Magic’s comments very seriously; I think it is equally possible that they see Magic the way a lot of younger people see older folks–out of touch, behind the times, and not to be taken seriously at all. It probably varies from player to player. That said, I very much doubt that what Magic says on Leno will be a major factor for Kevin Love when he has to decide whether he wants to play here. I will also guarantee, right now, that if Love doesn’t come here, that there will be fans, both here and elsewhere, who assign more responsibility for that to Phil, Magic et al for badmouthing Buss than they will assign to Buss himself.

    One thing about the FO discussion is that much of what goes on and the nuances thereof are largely invisible to us, which is why I try to focus on facts: the Veto really, really hurt the Lakers, and Buss’ other decisions have not worked out. Beyond that, there are different interpretations– and the FO needs to make some big decisions that don’t require much interpretation.

    To put that in concrete, on-floor terms, I very much hope that a year from now I am posting stuff like: “The FO really nailed that Dante Exum pick. This guy has a chance to be a healthier, more athletic Penny Hardaway, and he is already good right now ” and, “I sure was wrong about Kobe’s extension. He is really bringing it, he’s only missed four games all year,
    and he can definitely help the Lakers land Love.”


  39. Earvin Magic Johnson ?@MagicJohnson 3h
    Sorry to my good friends Carmelo and Dwyane who are both players that can put their team on their back, win and are …

    Earvin Magic Johnson ?@MagicJohnson 4h
    Laker Nation: It doesn’t do the Lakers players, coaches or ownership any good for me to complain.

    Earvin Magic Johnson ?@MagicJohnson 4h
    Laker Nation: I’m going to stop complaining. I’m going to support and encourage Jim Buss and Coach D’Antoni because I love the Lakers!


    Maybe he’s mad at Kobe instead of Buss..


  40. Earvin Magic Johnson ? @MagicJohnson
    The great ones Shaq, Kobe, Dr. J, Isiah, Duncan, Olajuwon, Barkley can put their team on their back and win!


  41. rr- Magic is bactraking like there is no tomorrow today lol. At least he have some good sense left.


  42. Darius, going by your analogy, Michael Jordan was the best (non-Laker) ever as a player but not as a GM or owner.


  43. I would like to see a comparison about rebounding between the .500 Lakers early in the year vs now. Is this a missing personal problem or a system problem. Something seems to be missing.


  44. Vasheed – Yeah, Kobe, Nash and Blake are missing.


  45. Actually Kobe wasn’t playing then.
    Farmar Blake and Henry are missing.


  46. After 20 games – the Lakers were 28th in rebounding differential. We have now dropped to 30th. It has been bad the whole year.


  47. I really liked the way Farmar was playing before his injury. In fact I’ve always liked his game.

    I know the Lakers and Dantoni like Blake as well.
    And of course if Nash can play he’ll also get minutes under MDA.

    Now you’ve got Kendall Marshall who’s been practically a miracle when you consider his recent status as a D-leaguer.

    So this leaves quite a glut at PG.

    I wonder which PG will end up sitting next to Kaman?


  48. As a true Laker fan, I can’t see this season going any better. The team was stuck in 3rd gear even before Dwight left. With Kobe’s injuries, no cap space, and no trade assets, there was no way this season would amount to anything in the “win” column worth pursuing. With Kobe’s injuries continuing on, MDA coaching the team into the ground, and Magic calling out the organization, we are creating the possibility for a top 5 pick and someone other than Jim Buss making “basketball decisions”.

    If we start next season with any of the top 5 picks in the draft (the lower the better), Kobe refreshed and locked in for 2 more seasons, Nash and Gasol off the books, a new coach and somebody else making “basketball decisions”, that is the ideal scenario. Let’s just hope Kobe doesn’t show up and start winning games. Let’s just hope Nash and Kobe don’t return and mess this all up for us.


  49. Travis,

    I hate to disappoint you. But if Nash, Blake, Farmar, Kobe, and Henry all return (in however staggered a schedule), it WILL make a difference. The Lakers will still not be a championship caliber team. But they will no longer be going 3-17 over a 20 game stretch. After all, not that long ago, they were 13-13. Remember?

    That is why I try not to participate in the draft day musings. Will we get Wiggins? Will we get Exum? Will we get Julius Randle? If these 5 players return–and they WILL return, in some instances very soon–the outlook will be muddier than ever before.

    All 5 players are valuable talents and fierce competitors. Things will definitely change. Therefore, I think it’s best that we contain our draft-day speculations. We’re a long ways from June.


  50. JC what is the record with Marshell at PG?

    Laker trying to get Gibson from Chicago. Why?


  51. Vasheed SMH, something missing? What about 5 of our top 6 rotation players? Something is missing indeed.


  52. That Gibson move makes me think they are moving Gasol and are triying to get a younger replacement. Gibson is a good player 12 and 4 coming off the bench is very good and he is a good defender. Btw is just an inquiry and its good diligence to ask from part of the FO.


  53. In respect to Marshall.

    He is the best passer between Blake and Farmar.

    He is the worst defender if the 3.

    He is limited on offense as Farmar can go to the basket and similar to Blake on 3s.

    So where does he stands as one of these guys need to be moved hence the talk with the Bulls who need a PG..,


  54. And he be making less that 9mill for the next 4 years, for a quality player like that thats a bargain. Doubt that it will happen but one only can dream.


  55. Ko the one most likely to be moved if that even possible would be Blake he is the one thats making the most money on an expiring deal. Marshall has his flaws but he is young and obviously can run an offense plus the Lakers gave him a 2 year min. deal. He should be a good second string option start Farmar when he comes back and Marshall coming off the bench. Or viceversa it wont matter we we will still stink lol.


  56. I am wasting my breath on MammyP and some others who think Jim Buss’ or Mike D’Antoni’s reputation with the fans means anything at all to a free agent or his agent when it gets down to deal time. It doesn’t. What matters is who is the MAN. Right now the MAN in the Lakers organization is Jim Buss. Everyone who matters knows he is a punk with a chip on his shoulder and a hell of a lot to prove. Magic was asked about it on Leno. What he answered was “inside baseball” or basketball, in this case, but it was for the fans who do not normally see the inner workings of professional basketball. No superstar wants to work for a punk. Why does it take Magic to point that out?

    For the Lakers to return to prominence, we need the Busses to go fix themselves, i.e. kick Jimmy to the curb. Magic kindly supposes that JB could be saved by bringing in wise counsel, like his father did when his father brought in Jerry West. I think it’s too late for that. Telling Magic to shut up is equally misguided, MammyP.