Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Bulls

Darius Soriano —  February 8, 2014

After winning two of three on their road trip this past week, the Lakers return back to Los Angeles with some added confidence but a depleted roster. Eric Pincus reports that as many as six Lakers may be out through the all-star break. We all knew that Kobe, Pau, Xavier Henry and Nick Young were out through the next week, but it’s a bit of a surprise that Jordan Farmar and Jodie Meeks are also on that list of guys who we may not see for at least another 8 days.

That leaves the Lakers with only nine available players and while that’s worked out well the last couple of games, let’s not act as if this is a good strategy long term. Especially with Steve Blake and Steve Nash not 100% and the rest of the roster, in general, not especially balanced from a position stand point. Of the nine guys who are able to suit up, three are point guards (Nash, Blake, Kendall Marshall), three are centers (Sacre, Kaman, Hill — yes, in this offense Hill is essentially a center), two are power forwards (Kelly and Williams), and one is a small forward (Johnson). If you’re counting at home, that’s a roster without a real shooting guard and only one traditional wing.

This will create some interesting lineups, starting with Blake playing shooting guard almost full time while Kelly and (even) Williams find time on the wing as pseudo small forwards. These aren’t ideal solutions, but this is what happens when injuries wipe out your roster and you have to scramble to put together enough players to even complete a game.

Don’t look for today’s opponent to have any sympathy for the Lakers, however. The Bulls are going through their own injury woes, starting with Derrick Rose’s knee but including Carlos Boozer’s calf. Plus, after trading Luol Deng for, basically, nothing, this team doesn’t have the same top talent at its disposal and has had to move its depth up a rung into heavier minutes. Guys like Taj Gibson and Mike Dunleavy are capable — and DJ Augustin has had one of his best year’s as a pro replacing Rose — but, just as the Lakers, I can imagine they’d love to be able to go into battle with their full roster and see how they fare.

What all these injuries mean is that we’re likely to see a couple of tired basketball teams take the floor in this one. The Bulls haven’t played since Thursday, but this is the final game of a six game road trip for them — a trip that started way back on January 29th. Teams can get weary when being away from home for that long and the Bulls are starting to show some of that mental and physical fatigue. In their game on Thursday, a 15 point lead turned into a 15 point loss after the Warriors simply dominated the second half. The Dubs are a good team and were playing at home, but the Bulls’ vaunted D let them down as the Warriors got hot and were able to coast to a victory.

The Lakers will hope they too can get hot from the outside and turn this game into a shootout, because they certainly can’t expect to grind out a win against this defense. With Boozer doubtful, the superior defending Taj Gibson will get the start and he only makes this team more of a nightmare to score against — especially in the paint. With Noah and Gibson patrolling the back-line and making early rotations in Thibs’ strong side zone scheme, the Lakers will have to be smart with their ball movement and accurate from deep to get their points. Straight line drives from the wing will almost surely be thwarted, so moving the ball from side to side and getting the defense to chase will be a big key.

If the Lakers can generate some penetration out of the P&R, they should be able to kick the ball out to the wing and then swing the ball from the wing to the top of the key and then to the other wing to create the types of open looks this offense needs to be at its best. Having Kelly and Williams as the PF’s can help in this as both understand how to move the ball on as well as catch and shoot on the weak side, but both will also have to show that they are up to the task of being able to finish possessions with the right play. Nash, Blake, and Marshall will also have to be at the top of their games as this defense is designed to blitz them up high and turn them into passers before they really want to be. All three will need to keep the ball on a string and maintain their dribble in order to keep their options open as both shooters and passers.

Defensively, the Lakers must ensure that they don’t yield the types of easy shots in the paint that they have been prone to giving up most of the year. The Bulls aren’t a particularly good offensive team, but any offense looks great when all their shots are inside of five feet. The Lakers must keep Gibson and Noah from getting too many easy baskets inside while pressuring on the wing enough so that Hinrich, Butler, and Augustin aren’t able to establish a rhythm. In the last game these two played, Augustin was able to do just that and while it was Gibson’s layup that won the game at the buzzer, that game isn’t even close if the former Longhorn PG doesn’t score as well and as efficiently as he did.

After two straight wins, this Lakers’ group has a pretty good feel for how they will need to play if they hope to make it three in a row. They’ll not only need to play hard, but will also need to keep their offense humming through their guards. A lot will depend on the three point guards to run the show and make smart choices, but the Bulls’ second ranked defense will make that incredibly difficult. Will see which side’s strength is most up to the task.

Where you can watch: 12:30pm start time on ABC. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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98 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Bulls

  1. Let’s hope We see Nash on the floor and Kaman get a starting job for once

  2. After watching Spencer Hawes, I can see the Lakers going after him next season if we get rid of Pau and Mike D stays on as the coach. He fits his stretch player criteria perfectly. I wouldn’t mind that change because it would give Kobe more room to operate on the block.

  3. This is neither support or indictment of kaman or MDA but there has to be something personal going on there. MDA has usually offered some explanation for strategy or playing time (eg they play hill only 20-25 mins because he’s a high energy player and there is a drop off after that or early on MDA defended not making pau focal point of offense because metrics said that lakers were the worst in the league on post ups )- again not saying I agree or disagree with those points but just that MDA has usually been somewhat candid and given a public reason. But this time I don’t recall hearing anything at all pos /neg from him regarding kaman? From all accounts MDA and kupchak are reasonably close and Mitch hasn’t waivered in supporting him so it’s pretty safe to assume he’s pretty aware of what is going on or quietly is in agreement with MDA’s personnel decisions. Kaman is obviously frustrated somewhat with not playing -and whether him on MDA are justified we probably won’t know until either a trade or end of season -but I will give him credit for not complaining publicly and being a pro and not seeming to drag the team down further in the midst of all the injury struggles.

    As for MDA’s lineups at this point, some can trash him/decisions all they want but the reality is aside from pau and nash (who are basically great one way offensive players at this career stage) – nobody else on this team could really be considered a legit starter on a playoff team. Or even 6th man for that matter. Meeks is basically Jared dudley – decent outside shooter who works hard but talent wise is maybe a 6th /7th man, not a starter. Blake/farmar have both been career bench players and have been reviled by laker fans in the past and haven’t magically improved (their performance is just good relative to how the lakers as a team have preformed this year). Swaggy is fun to watch but is basically a chuckers w inflated numbers due to playing for a decimated team, and one can go on about the rest but you get my take. (never mind that 11th-13th man/d league call ups are playing major minutes). MDA will take the focus of heat but no coach could put together any sort of successful/cohesive winning team w the injuries – but those same injuries were a blessing in disguise for mitch as it allowed his construction to escape a lot of blame that I think would’ve inevitably come his way. I believe he does have a serious problem now in that he has now too many guys that will continue to play hard and win games – that while being morale builders do nothing to get into playoffs but destroy chances of getting a good pick. He has to gut this team now before playing for pride becomes ruinous to a good draft. Would love to see a fully healthy nash kobe pau play together but mitch has to flip pau asap and if only Nash’s nerve issues were seen to be resolved somewhat – (edited for trade speculation)

  4. Busboys4me,

    Don’t make that kind of jokes… I feel sick thinking of MDA as coach next season.

  5. Busboys, I have had my sights on him for about 3 seasons now. Sad thing is, while he may have less post moves vs Pau, I consider him an upgrade because its this system and he can actually defend.

    The Bulls are the lowest-scoring team in the league. It will not be ideal if we allowed them to score like Houston or Golden State. This was also a team that scored 130+ this season so who knows. Overall, Thibodoeau’s teams are always gritty and tough. Can’t say the same about ours.

  6. Renato Afonso

    I’m sorry I wish I were kidding. MDA will be back because to fire him, Jimbo would have to make an admission that he made a mistake on his first official decision as an owner. Not gonna happen. He will be back at least until we get Kevin Love’s input or Kobe cries for his head.

  7. About MDA i doubt he will be fired, im not defending him at all and i have the same gripes like almost everyone else, but lets be honest his entire tenure has been a story of injuries, i thought it could not get worse than last season but boy was i wrong, looks like someone is sticking neddles at dolls of Lakers players ( Magic maybe? Lol) the thing is that this season its an impossible coaching job, if we had this record healthy i be the 1st asking for his head, but i think he will get a chance next season with a hopefully healthy roster in whatever Lakers incarnation we will see next year, if he dont deliver then off with his head. This season has been an anomaly in so many levels that his job cant be evaluated fairly.

  8. A quote from Nash after the Philly game (which some of you may have already read):

    “It feels amazing,” Nash said postgame. “It’s been a tough run for me in L.A. I’ve just never been healthy and I’ve put so much time in trying to repay the Lakers for bringing me in and the fans for being patient. Just to be able to move freely the last two games (at Minnesota, at Philly) has been a lot of fun for me and made it all worth it.”

    If there´s any kind of feel-good silver lining this season, for me this is it.
    ___
    As for today´s game…Go Lakers! Make it three straight!!
    (my apologies to those who, reasonably, point out that wins at this point are a `net´ negative)

  9. For the Lakers — wins are NEVER a net negative.

    Trying to game the ping-pong balls is an exercise in Russian Roulette. That is the very reason the league instituted the ping-pong ball scenario in the first place. Those of us older fans well remember Ted Stepien (former owner of the Cleveland Cavs) who was so incompetent he continually finished last and continually traded the 1st pick in the draft (remember James Worthy). The ping-pong ball rule was originally named for him.

    Aside from the Lakers being the Lakers, we should finish the year as best we can. This will 1) gain us the best look at the players currently on the roster and 2) inform any potential free agents that the Lakers are a winning organization, regardless the situation.

    Hoping for more ping-pong balls so that we have a better chance to draft higher is such a loser’s attitude that I really shouldn’t have to comment on it.

  10. I agree with Busboys on this–I do not think that D’Antoni will get fired.

    As to whether he should be fired, as I said in the other thread, I think MDA’s plusses and minuses are pretty clear at this point, so if they are going to keep him, they need to get guys who work in the 7SOL system. The future issues for MDA will be seeing if he and/or Kobe can adapt to fit Kobe in better, assuming that Kobe can stay on the floor (I am not at all optimistic about either proposition) and, as Robert and Busboys, in the post above, have said, what FAs think of D’Antoni.

    The injuries and the talent level obviously affect the record, but IMO it appears that MDA will coach his way whether he is working with All-Stars or DLeaguers.

    The game today: I actually think that the Lakers will win. I have no idea how long it will last, but Nash appears to be enjoying what may (or may not) be the last plus moments of his career, and the injury to Pau has created some time for Kaman, who I would guess wants to show other teams that he is not done as an NBA player. So, as suggested above, the Lakers have some guys playing for pride, future employment, etc, and that IMO helps win games this time of year when the competition is not strong.

  11. Typical Nash quote, in a good way. I was very excited to be able to root for the guy when they got him.

  12. Thanks for sharing that quote PurpleBlood – I hadn’t seen it but it’s pure Steve Nash. Looks like all his hard work rehabbing has started to pay off for him; sure hope so. I’d love to see him pass Mark Jackson for 3rd on the assist leader board.
    Looking for another win today!

  13. We have a 2 game streak- I think we could get it to 4.
    Jerke: I agree on the Kaman/MD thing. We do not know the backstory. Without regard to what that is, MK is going to publicly back MD (until he doesn’t). My issue is that MD has a list of guys he has not gotten along with. At some point you look at the common link. And most of the problem guys are big names and the motivated guys are 2nd teamers (except Nash of course – who is the most coachable guy in the history of the league).
    Renato: I use to have nightmares about the Lakers continuing to be the”6th” best team in the league. Then I started having nightmares about us losing DH and keeping MD. I don’t know what to say. Perhaps don’t sleep.

  14. Mad isn’t going anywhere. He coached this team with Gasol and who to .500. After all the injuries the roster went from bad to worse. Critics are being completely irrational.

    I expect next year’s roster to be vastly improved. I’m hoping Mitch can swing a few deals to get draft picks. I don’t see standing pat as a good option.

  15. The ping-pong ball rule was originally named for him.

    ___________

    This is factually incorrect, as is your statement about why the league started the lottery. From Wiki:

    In fact, all of these questionable moves led the NBA to institute what is commonly known as the “Stepien Rule,” which states that a team (usually) cannot trade its first-round pick in consecutive years.[3]

    ________

    As to the point about the Lakers winning a few games down the stretch as a way of demonstrating their organizational chops to FAs, you are making assumptions about the mindsets of the FAs, and even if you are right, that horse has probably already left the barn. The Lakers have a bad team. The organization that has gone through the most similar arc to the Lakers over the last few years, and the organization that can actually make such a pitch to FAs with more evidence behind it, is Dallas. Cuban wanted Paul and Howard, too, and Dallas is working through the end of Nowitzki’s career as the Lakers are working through the end of Kobe’s. As of today, Dallas has rebuilt large parts of their roster basically twice over the last couple of years and yet is sitting at 30-21 in the 8th spot right now. In addition, the Dallas leadership team of Cuban, Donnie Nelson, and Rick Carlisle, has stayed in place and has been to the top as a group.

    Further, in addition to the fact that he is actually healthy, we should note that Nowitzki’s deal is up at the end of the year, and he has on multiple occasions said that he will take a steep discount on his new deal if it will help the Mavs bring in talent. Again, I am not blaming KB for taking the big payout, but how much the Lakers are paying him will affect things going forward.

    The caveat–and it is a big one–is that the Lakers have not had any cap room and will have some for the first time this year. But given how much money they have already committed to Kobe, getting high-level cheap talent is a must, and by far the best way to do that is with a high lottery pick. The Lakers, I think, will want to be in Dallas’ position next year when they are (we assume) preparing to court Kevin Love. But winning won’t help them much right now.

    So, while I sympathize with the idea that rooting for losses is anathema from an emotional standpoint, from a strategic one, your points are extremely weak. Yes, there are very few guarantees in the draft, but the higher the pick, the better the chance of getting an outstanding player. Like many lessons about the NBA, history has taught us this one over and over again.

  16. Hiring MDA and Mike Brown before him were decisions made with the blessing of Dr. Buss so lets not put all the blame game on Jim Buss. If it was about admiting about “making his 1st mistake” well he fired Brown 4 games into last season and his hiring was mostly on him even with the good doctor blessing. Some people are just clueless. Not even a hybrid of Phil, Red and Riley grown in a goberment lab could make anything with this team, with all the crap that gone down. If he cant cut it with a healthy team then fire him. Not with this mess.

  17. About Nash’s quote: despite all the injuries and other issues nobody can question his commitment to help the team, great class guy and it makes me proud to have a player like that in the team despite everything. Would love for him to have a last hurrah performance the rest of his tenure with the Lakers he deserves it.

  18. If wins over the Sixers and Cavs in winter 2014 are the difference in getting a high caliber player with a high draft pick or getting a marginal first rounder, losses now are preferable. At the end of the day, this season is not going to end with a parade, so the long view is preferable to me, and hopefully to the front office too.

    Yes, you can’t predict the lottery. But the odds are weighted, so when I and others hope for losses now, it is anything but me rooting for the Lakers to fail.

  19. @CraigW.
    I truly had this outlook at the beginning of the season when many posters were already calling for the “tank”. I was completely against it and it appeared that, heck, after the teams decent start they had an outside chance of competing for the 8th seed. Then injuries happened, and happened, and happened, and then happened some more.

    At this point, there is zero chance for the playoffs even if they won every game left on the schedule. As it is, they might win half those games if all goes well. That will just put the team in the 11-14 range for the draft. Why? How does this help at all? Does that somehow look good for prospective FA’s? I’ll tell you what would look good- A great young player alongside Kobe and Nash. A guy like Embiid, or Parker, or Wiggins. A guy like Dante Exum.

    I realize the draft is a crapshoot, but it’s better than just missing the playoffs. :/

    I agree completely with rr. Nice post.

  20. I gotta admit, I have been one of the biggest critics of MDA this season.
    I also admit I was a big fan of his hire!
    I thought at the time that Phil’s voice may have grown old to the players the year they were swept by Dallas & Phil lost his cool w Pau, and that Dantoni, Nash, Dwight, and Kobe would be epic.
    What I didn’t recognize was how his system makes his point guards look great, but how poorly he relates to his centers. And the knock on his defensive approach has unfortunately been confirmed.
    I guess the reasonable path would be to see how he does with a healthy team.
    In the meantime, I can’t help but cheer for Nash, Kaman, Blake, and every other Laker who seems to be playing his heart out right now.

  21. Kelly could not start for any other professional team. Would not get off bench for most. Guy looks scared in every national game.

    Call a time out and do something. 10 nothing with Kelly 0 for 4

  22. Wow Fern

    I never considered myself clueless. Not saying I’m a virtual know it all but a lot of my comments are just my opinion. In my opinion MiDA does not use his players properly. I consider getting a man’s approval from his death bed makes it Jimbo’s call not Dr. Buss’.

    I think it will be interesting to see whether or not collusion truly exists because the way Kobe compliments Melo and had Melo under his wing during the Olympics, we should see him in Forum Blue and Gold for around $20 million.

    Could a team with Lowry, Melo, Love, Hawes and Kobe work?

  23. Is today’s telecast some sort of tutorial on officiating?

  24. 1st look at Nash since he came back, got to say that he look a lot better than at the beggining of the season. Flashes of old…

  25. Sacre could be the worst starter in Laker history. Guy plays 20 a game a gets 4 points and 2 rebounds. Why is he still starting?

  26. Busboy Dr Buss was sick but he wasnt in a coma and he was lucid basically and i would not want Melo on the team under any circunstances because i cant think of nothing dumber than gave another 30+ player a max contract, for what? To be in the same spot we are right now in 2 or 3 year in age? Yeah thats what the team needs another 30 something that cant guard.

  27. Leave it to the Lakers to allow 34 first quarter points to a Bulls team that cant score

  28. Needless to say Hill- Kamen is by far the best lineup. How many games would they have won if the coach figured that out 50 games ago.

    Think Chris is auditioning on National TV?

  29. Today is looking like a Chris Kaman audition game.

  30. If Kaman have 14 points and 4 rebounds in 11 minutes why is Sacre on my tv?

  31. Sacre – minus 16. 2 points
    Kamen plus 8 14 points

    Both played same minutes.

  32. Nice ball movement by the 3 PG’s to end the half.

  33. Remarkable how good Steve Nash has looked these past few games. He looks fit and skillful. Sort of like the Nash of old. Lakers will probably win this game. Chicago is just a poor offensive team and the Lakers are playing awfully hard. I look for a close Laker win.

  34. How’s this for a contrast?

    In a combined 24:52, Sacre and Kelly have 2 pts., 3 rebounds, 1 assist.

    In 23:28, Kaman and Jordan Hill have 20 pts., 6 rebounds, 4 assists.

  35. Also, Taj Gibson (who has 16 pts. at half time) has been scorching Kelly. It’s obvious that Kelly simply does not match up with Gibson. Hill does.

  36. Teams that Scout Kelly know he can’t defend and can’t go to basket.

  37. Sacre is just the worst offensive player I can remember. 1 for 6 with 2 points.

  38. I can give MDA a break on a great many things this year given injury and cirucumstance, but his (mis)use of Kaman has been so terrible and so inexcusable that, standing alone, it is enough for me to say MDA has to go. Only a fool would have trotted out the Kelly-Sacre front line to start the second half and rationally expected a different result from what happened at the beginning of the game. Sacre should be stopgap minutes only—like 10-15 minutes a game, not 10-15 minutes a half….and he certainly shouldn’t be stealing minutes from Kaman or Hill

  39. Sacre doesn’t even look good defensively out there. He has one definite skill…he’s big.

  40. Thank you mind.

    We agree that this coach can not be back next year. No big would ever sign with that coach.

  41. My point exactly Mindcrime. Fern I never said $30 million for Melo. Collusion or recruiting by Kobe was my point.

  42. Hill and Kaman…both plus players today….

  43. So they are back to being a 30 win, top 6 lottery team. Not enough bad teams to get more wins out there.

  44. Totally agree with u Mindcrime i disagree with the minutes though, Sacre should not be playing at all, even now depleted i would not give him 10 minutes a game and when/if Pau comes back i bury him in the bench so deep, he would never see a sunshine again. He is a massive scrub, D league material and thats being generous.

  45. Gene

    Kelly/Sacre 1 for 10

    Daaaa

  46. Nash please retire and help the Lakers. U said u want to do anything u can to help , well that is the best way u can help and it’s not too late for medical retirement. Just do it.

  47. Welp, Nash is out for rest of the game, nerve irritation, per Lakers PR.

  48. Kelly& Sacre would not be starters in any other team in the league. At least Kelly has some offense going for him but Sacre is just terrible.

  49. If Nash can’t take the simplest of contact – which just occurred and knocked him out the game – then it’s probably best that he calls it a career after this season.

  50. Its been obvious to me that our starting lineup in the beginning of the year should have been

    Farmar
    Nick Young
    Wesley Johnson
    Hill
    Kaman

    I am just too fed up with our coach. If he coaches next year, we will yield the same results regardless of players.

    horrendous defense and good offense = mediocre team.

  51. If this brings the same nerve problems for Nash he should call it quits. Sometimes your body makes decisions for you.

  52. by the way, kendall marshall SUCKKKKKSSS on defense. omg.

  53. Fern

    If not then I will have lost a great deal of respect for him. Best for him or best for Lakers?

  54. What gets me about D’Antoni is that he refuses to try something different. Once all the players started going down and the fast offense was no longer feasible, why not try to utilize your bigs more?

  55. Another TO for Blake number. 6
    Also 3 for 12 shooting.

    Tough

  56. bleedpurplegold February 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Gotta give it Tod the crowd today….insane support down the stretch, Main reason for the guys to Make it a close one

    Bad pass by Blake lost US that one, but they showed great spirit to even make this a game in the end

    Kamen and Hill have to start from now on, our D is just so much better with both of them sharing the court and manning the middle

  57. Too bad we haven’t had this Kaman kid all year. He and the new guy Hill play pretty well together. Oh wait, they have been with us for awhile. That’s right, MiDA doesn’t like big men.

  58. Nice effort. If Sacre and Kelly stayed in bed Lakers win.

  59. From Nash’s comments post game , I don’t think he will retire , for some reason he thinks he can keep coming back.

  60. How is it possible to start the 2nd half with Sacre-Kelly? How many games are needed to see that Hill-Kaman is the best frontcourt lineup we have? Why is Sacre even playing at all?

    And for all of you we keep saying that we’re not being fair to MDA, I tell you this… Not one of us had any criticism regarding PG or SG rotations all year long. Of course that due to injuries there aren’t any rotations possible. EVERYONE’s criticism is focused on 3 things: defense, usage of bigs, defensive rebounding. The man just refuses to change any of those and they’re, for the most part, correlated! I’m fed up with him as well…

  61. “The Bulls’ starters outscored the Lakers starters 73-24.” Who would’ve thought…

  62. Sorry to say this but I feel Nash is being very selfish right now. Retire and go away man. Since he came to L.A. we’ve had a lot of bad luck.

  63. Steve “Bad Luck” Nash or
    Steve “Black Cat” Nash

  64. Renato Afonso

    No Laker starter in double figures!!! Wow!! Kaman and Hill should play major minutes, but they are better off the bench as a tandem. I would go back to starting Shawne Williams against bigger/stronger 3′s or 4′s and limit Sacre to 5 minutes a quarter. 25 to 30 minutes for both Hill and Kaman is ideal. We NEED another BIG!!! Hurry up PAU!!! Sacre is a 3rd string center at best. He would work well with a Nick Young or Kobe because he can’t score. He reminds me of a hard working, defensively challenged Kwame Brown.

  65. This comparison confirms what everyone has been saying:

    Sacre + Kelly combined: 36:12 minutes, 2 pts. (1-12 from the field), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, plus/minus of minus 23;

    Kaman + Hill combined: 54:04 minutes, 42 pts. (19-35 from the field), 19 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, plus/minus of plus 27.

    That’s a difference of 40 points(!), 13 rebounds, and 4 assists. Also, the Lakers’ defensive presence in the paint seems to be hugely improved when Kaman and Hill play together. Taj Gibson abused Kelly terribly at the beginning. But then Hill virtually shut him down the rest of the game (while scoring 15 points of his own in 25 minutes).

    This game, perhaps more than any other, has been the most emphatic indictment yet of Mike D’Antoni’s misguided use of his players this season. Although this is only one game, there have been other games (such as the recent victory over Philadelphia) which hinted at the strength of the Kaman/Hill combination. Clearly, this is our strongest front court duo.

    Kaman and Hill–together–are strong offensively and, for the most part, strong defensively. They are also our best rebounding duo. They complement each other beautifully.

    It should not take a coach 51 games to realize this (not that he has realized it). I firmly believe that we may have thrown away a handful of games by not playing to our strengths. And that’s a shame. Because this season, as doomed as it seems, could have been better and less catastrophic.

    The truth is obvious. We need a different rotation among our big men. And, I believe, we need a different coach.

  66. melcountscounts February 9, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I was going to comment on Sacre-Kaman, but others have that covered I see.

    In what world is Ryan Kelly a “power” forward?

    Still like to watch Kendall M. passing the ball, love that old school PG style. Tough to win without Blake’s triple double I guess.

    What kind of coach benches a 7 footer who is good around the basket with both hands, can shoot a decent midrange, and can make FT’s at the end of the game. I think we know. He’s the Andres Villas Boas of the NBA benching his best player (Adebayor) for personal reasons. Wished for Nate McMillian or Brian Shaw, but Byron Scott is looking better and better.

  67. A lot of you guys are complaining about the wrong things. Kelly has a better chance of remaining on the roster for next season than both Kamen and Hill. He deserves some playing time so he can develop. Have we forgotten that he is a rookie?

    As much as we argue back and forth over tanking or not tanking, the truth is this season is a wash. There is no reason for the Lakers to be mediocre or win games. As such, this season is the best season to develop the guys the Lakers want to keep and trade away the players that they don’t. To argue that Hill or Kamen should play more minutes is trivial.

  68. Gary interesting point. Except in my opinion Jelly at best is a end of the bench spot up shooter that will not get faster or better on defense. As for Sacre he has D-League talent. Now if you used Manny Harris as an example I would agree.

    Talent is what talent does. I think Tom Hanks said that.

  69. Gracie Gold just stated that the skating team is reading Phil Jackson’s book for inspiration and focus in the winter Olympics.

  70. Gracie Gold just stated that the skating team is reading Phil Jackson’s book for inspiration and focus in the winter Olympics.
    ___
    friggin´great

  71. Kenny: A heavy dose of Mike Breen is bad enough, but having to listen to him endlessly prompt Javie to keep the referee’s pov narrative alive throughout the game was truly awful.

    The basketball gods have spoken loud and clear! Their warnings must be heeded or further calamities will be visited upon the purple and gold: Nash must retire now. (Seriously, getting bumped on the knee results in nerve root irritation and back tightening? Just stop.)

  72. Your right Gary. I don’t think danonti has been told by the front office to play Kelly more. I just want to know what’s going on. Is the front office tanking this season with dantoni or are they using dantoni to lose? do they want to lose next season?? Clearly dantoni is either inept or being told to tank. There is no reason either hill or kaman should not be getting a combined 60 minutes a game since the start of the season. If dantoni comes back, i am presuming we are tanking next season also. When will Kobe flip out on dantoni? More drama to come.

  73. Retirement is best Nash contribution to Lakers. He can’t defend opposing pg’s when he is able to play. Said after trade it was stupid, Nash was a relic.

  74. Clips up 21 less than 5 minutes into the game…. Crazy!!

  75. Nash was a minus 14 and was all on defense. As far as I am concerned he has never been a Laker, just a guy who came from Phoenix for 2 draft choices the Lakers could really use.

    Worst trade in past 10 years.

  76. Up 31 after q1 wow!!

  77. Clips have all the pieces to be in finals.

    Best PG in league
    Top 3 PF
    Top 3 rebounder and defensive center
    Top 6th man
    Top 5 bench
    Top 3 coach

    How did that happen?

  78. Can Gracie Gold dribble a ball? She may have more to offer than Nash at this point…

  79. As Laker fans we are not really use to rebuilding years. But around the league it really is not unusual to see young guys playing ahead of vets to develop them. Kelly has had some good moments . I read an article where the writer redrafted last years draft and had Kelly going in the first round to OKC. He may never become a starter but he does have Ryan Anderson potential as a rotation big. If we had a shot at the playoff you would probably see more Hill and Kaman. And over the next few games you may see more of them as the FO shops for trades.

  80. This is going to get moderated but….. if we can keep Hill and Kaman, Kelly, Wes, Meeks, Blake, Shawne, Farmar, K Marshall, Xavier, and Nick Young and Sacre (he’s already paid for) we have the bench players that we need. Now begin to fill in the starters beginning with Kobe. Give me Hawes and someone like a Bledsoe and we can move forward to 2015 and get Love and go after a Kobe replacement like Westbrook.

  81. the other Stephen February 9, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Seriously, Kevin T? -_-

  82. Ko: I agree no prospective center would sign up here with mike at the helm……
    1. Unless we grab some one through the draft going by the name of Embid ( a far fetched idea but throughout laker history a big has always played an important role to establish the teams presence in the paint) that takes us to point 2
    We need to move pieces with value to set up for nxt year…. This year is lost, might as well fold and cash in…. Still gotta make it fun, for which Mr. Bean will be retuning soon… Until then hold tight

  83. Playing Kelly and Sacre ahead of Kaman and Hill to see what they can turn out to be?

    Kelly would be a very, very, very poor man’s Ryan Anderson, since the latter actually gets some rebounds. Sacre is a D-League talent. They are simply not talented enough both physically and technically to deserve this. If you want to tank, then trade away Kaman and Hill and get more rookies/sophomores to see what you can develop. The way they’re doing it develops turmoil among the fan base, mistrust in the coach by the veterans (and that includes Kobe and Pau, obviously since they’re not blind) and diminishes the possibility of signing other good PF/C’s.

    And Gary, you’re the one who’s wrong because since both Kaman and Hill will be free agents and we have their Bird rights, there’s no reason to think that Kelly is more likely to be in the roster next season than any of them. Hill and Kaman are better right now than Kelly ever will be, and the Lakers should be trying to keep them instead of losing them for nothing…

    Ko, dead on! IF we were having this discussion about Harris, then I would be on board with letting him have some minutes to see if he could be a productive NBA player.

  84. Renato, projecting that Ryan K is a “very, very, very poor man’s Ryan Anderson” is a big stretch. Look at Ryan Anderson’s stats his first year. Nearly identical to Ryan Kelly’s. If RK becomes 75% of the player that Ryan Anderson is he is a keeper. Regarding Kaman, he’s gone after this year (if he’s not traded), simply gone. He doesn’t want to be here and he’s not going to be part of the future. Hill is more debatable (I’d love to have him) but if someone gives a huge offer the Lakers won’t match. RK is more likely to be around next year, he has some upside and his skill set is different than Hill’s. If I had my druthers, Gasol AND Kaman would be traded for assets and Hill would start at C, rather than PF

  85. Renato
    Clearly we share one brain from different mothers. Maybe we can lend it to the coach.

  86. dparker626, I disagree. I don’t see that much upside in Kelly. Obviously he can improve, but I just don’t see him with the physical tools to be 75% of Ryan Anderson. It’s not like Ryan Anderson is a great rebounder or plays great defense but Kelly is really lost on defense… And certain things, you can only teach so far.

    And yes, you’re right about Kaman being gone in the offseason, but who’s fault is that? Don’t you think that if he was playing backup to Pau since the beginning of the season he would’ve been more productive and would be happier and more willing to stay? You can’t just say “play Kelly/Sacre” because Kaman isn’t staying without mentioning the reason why he isn’t staying…

  87. Sad, if true. What would his retirement do to our cap numbers? Would it be better/worse than medical retirement during season?

    http://www.lakersnation.com/lakers-rumors-steve-nash-set-to-retire-at-the-end-of-this-season/2014/02/09/

  88. One big problem with Anderson/Kelly comps: Anderson played his rookie year at age 20; Kelly will be 23 in April. In terms of potential developmental curves, that is a pretty big deal. Kelly looks like a good value pick at 48, and I think he will have a career. But I think it will be as a 9th-10th guy,back-up floor spacer.

    And, yes, Sacre is a 12th man kind of guy, who fits into the Lakers tradition of end-of-the-bench mascot bigs: Chuck Nevitt, Mike Smrek, Mark Madsen, DJ Mbenga. Sacre is a bit better than those guys, but he simply does not have the athletic ability, skill, or size to be a factor in the NBA.

    As to what is going on with the rotation of the bigs…there have been suggestions over the years that D’Antonio tends to be conflict-avoidant and is not a great communicator, and this would seem to be a situation that could use some straight-up communication with the players involved and with the fan base. The former of course may be happening off the radar.

  89. I read some conments about MDA style of coaching not atracting centers or making trades for a Center, i have to ask a question, what centers? The Center is an endangered species in today’s NBA the top 2 centers in the league Hibbert and Howard would be absolutely destroyed by the likes of Shaq, Hakeem, Kareem, Ewing, even Robinson and i neglect to mention a lot of centers that were better than the current best. Lets face it, Hibbert is overrated, he look like a monster bc there are no bonafide centers anymore put him against any of those guys mentioned above and lets see what happens, you guys know who was Howard equivalent on that era? Kevin Willis they even look alike, same built, and while Willis was a good player not great he aint crashing the door of the HOF anytime soon thats the same type of player as the one considered the best big man in the game. There are no centers anymore.

  90. Fern,
    Your point emphasizes that the NBA game has been evolving over the last 15 years, both by example (young players coming up) and by rule (the NBA wants a more open, watchable game). MDA is a coach at the forefront of this change. I defend him not because I think he is a great coach, but because he isn’t a bad coach and may be the best thing for the Lakers at this time – when they are changing the focus of the franchise. If you want to go back to the Lakers of yesteryear then the current NBA and CBA are squarely against you. Adapt or die, that is the Laker choice and I think they may be doing quite well – considering what was stacked against them.

    Oh yeah! Perhaps MDA should be replaced next year, but that is yet to be determined.

  91. There are no centers anymore.

    There are no Kareems or Shaqs right now, but once you get past James, Durant, and Paul, several of the league’s key and top players, many on the best teams, are bigs:

    Bosh
    Duncan
    Hibbert
    Howard
    Marc Gasol
    Love
    Griffin
    Aldridge
    Nowitzki

    And, if you look at the teams in contention, all of them have some quality size at the 4 or the 5, or both.

    It is true that the game has evolved, but people tend to think the game is changing based on who the best players are at a given moment. At some point, there will be another truly dominant big. The emphasis on the 3 and the fact that the league allow zone defense rules will of course affect things, but quality bigs will always be a scarce asset. A traditional back-to-the-basket 5 can still help a modern offense since low-post options help to spread the floor.

    And, the fact that Embiid is now at the top of most draft boards is yet another data point for this argument.

    Indiana is one of the best teams in the NBA, and they are using a traditional lineup, with a traditional center, are built on defense, and are 18th in the NBA in Pace Factor. Miami is one of the best teams in the league not because of how the game is changing, but because they have one of the greatest players of all time backed by two other All-Stars.

    As always: it is a talent league.

  92. Busboys – I agree that we have identified a number of young players with upside. Indeed, if we kept them together they would form a nice bench. The challenge will be to find the starters needed to make the whole equation work.

    This is why so many here have spoken of a multiple year rebuild to get back to the next level. Let’s say Kobe returns healthy next season – then we have one starter in place. A top 5 pick this summer should produce another starter (who will likely be overmatched for a few years) – there’s two starters. A FA signing, likely a RFA that we have to overpay, would produce a third starter. That’s an awful lot to ask based upon our budget and limited trade resources. The balance of the starters would be culled from our bench squad.

    This is why it will take more than one year to fix this. It’s difficult to assemble the quality needed to compete in one offseason. The other two ‘quality starters’ would come during the 2015 draft and FA offseason. This of course assumes Kobe stays healthy and the ‘other starters’ identified this offseason can pull their weight.

    The hope is to get 5 great starters but that is unlikely. Most teams run out of resources (cap room or trade assets) before they get to that point. That is why the next two years are so important. The Lakers have to make the right draft selection(s) and FA move(s) get at least three stars in place before they lose their flexibility.

  93. I’m sure there was some rule against it but can someone on this site tell me why the Lakers didn’t resign Manny Harris to another 10 day or just sign him for the rest of the season as soon as Meeks went down?

  94. Adapt or die doesn’t seem to be D’Antoni’s mantra.

    West Coast: He has already had 2 ten-day contracts. If signed, it would have to be for the year and I assume the Lakers want the roster flexibility until the trade deadline.

  95. are people actually trashing the players at this point!?

  96. West Coast Ram,
    The Lakers wanted to keep their roster at 14, not the max of 15. Manny was the 15th player and the only one they could release without signing for the remainder of the year. This need for flexibility was rewarded because when Pau went out we were able to sign S. Williams to a 10-day contract. We wouldn’t have been able to do this if Manny had been retained.

    At some point it is a numbers game, both in players and financial flexibility and taxes.

  97. Todd – Even a two year window is highly aggressive. The Lakers will have to be smart and lucky to pull this off in short order. Even if they get lucky and find their three stars over the next two years it may take a while to fine tune the lineup to win consistently.

  98. I believe the front office needs a scapegoat to take the blame for all that’s gone wrong and mike fits the bill…. A clueless looking coach who seems to somehow make wrong in game decisions help stack up more losses…… Helping us get a good draft position ( even with a depleted roster we would have had 5 wins min without mike)—-
    Front office is pleased
    1. Safe from direct blame for needed losses
    2. Draft position

    As fans, we just have to wait a little longer this time around to see our team back on top… And of course blame mike even though the losses with a few motivational wins here and there is wats really needed!