Preview & Chat: Lakers vs. Thunder

Darius Soriano —  February 13, 2014

I try not to be the dramatic type or succumb to hyperbole, but the Lakers could easily lose this game by 30+ points tonight. The Thunder hold the league’s best record, have won 13 of their last 15 games, and post the NBA’s 2nd best efficiency differential at +8.3 per game. Not only are they a true contender, but they have been doing most of this damage without Russell Westbrook who has only played in 25 of the team’s 54 games.

The Lakers, meanwhile, are…well…not very good. We’ve gone over this a bunch so it doesn’t bear repeating. Tonight they’ll be without Steve Nash and will only have 8 players available to play. They’re likely to start both Steve Blake and Kendall Marshall in the back court, meaning both are likely to play heavy minutes as they alternate between playing on or off the ball most of the night.

The play of those two, however, isn’t really my concern. Though Blake has struggled with his shot since he came back from his elbow injury, he’s brought an effort and competitiveness on defense that this team lacked. And while Marshall’s numbers have dipped some with his reduction in minutes, he’s still bringing skill and playmaking to help prop up the team’s offense when he’s on the floor. So while these guys will have their hands full chasing around Reggie Jackson and dealing with Jeremy Lamb, they’re two of the more “consistent” performers on the team in terms of what they bring to the table each night.

Where my concerns lie, then, are with the other perimeter players. Namely, with Wes Johnson, Ryan Kelly, and Shawne Williams as they’re the trio of guys who will be tasked with guarding Kevin Durant. Notice I didn’t say “slow” or “contain” Durant, because at this point those things really aren’t possible. No, they’ll be “guarding” him as he undoubtedly goes for 30 points on a ridiculously low number of field goal attempts and a high number of trips to the foul line. This is who Durant is, now. He has entered that rare zone where regardless of defense or strategy, his numbers are achieved. The only question is if he has one of those special nights that lights up twitter and the post game highlight packages.

This isn’t to negate what Wes or Williams (who, I think, will actually be the best defender on KD tonight) can do defensively. It’s just Durant is that good.

Anyways, this brings me back to my original point. The Thunder are worlds better than this version of the Lakers. Not only do they have the best player, they have the best four or five players tonight. I think Kaman can get some numbers offensively against Perkins or either of the Nick Collison/Steven Adams duo and I think Marshall can create some looks out of the P&R to get Blake, Wes, and the Kelly/Williams PF combo some open threes. But these shots would have to fall at an astronomically high rate (think the Cavs game), for this game to be close at the end. Can it happen? Sure. Do I expect it to? No. No, I don’t.

As an aside, if the Lakers do lose tonight it will be their 7th consecutive home loss this season. That would be the longest home losing streak the Lakers have had since coming to Los Angeles, breaking a tie with the 1993 team that lost six consecutive games at the old Forum. Not exactly the type of record you want to break. Alas, this is what this season has become.

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

 

Darius Soriano

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86 responses to Preview & Chat: Lakers vs. Thunder

  1. Not expecting much from the fellas tonight vs the Thunder so…Is Chris Kaman on the trading block? Hard to believe a contender wouldn’t be interested in adding this 32 yr old offensively talented 7 footer to their team. Averaging 20 & 9 since MDA realized he’s on the rooster. He’d only be on their books for a pro-rated $3 mill per in salary. I assume Lakers would be fine with a late 1st round pick. Can Mitch make this happen? Lakers don’t appear interested in keeping him.

  2. The only possibility that the Lakers win or even contend in this games, would be that the Thunder overlooked the game and spent their time in California partying.

  3. Darius,

    I agree. Tonight could be painful. Occasionally I get a feeling that a certain game could be competitive. Today I do not have that feeling. KD might go for 80 and outscore the Lakers all by himself.

    The only possible interest lies in seeing how our younger players will perform…guys like Xavier Henry (oops! I forgot he’s out), Jordan Farmar (oh darn, he’s out, too), and Nick Young (no…there’s another member of the walking wounded…ho hum).

    Well, maybe Jordan Hill will get more than 13 minutes tonight. Then again, maybe not.

  4. darius: we got your back.

    heaven help us…..at least we got the all star break to lick our wounds aplenty.

    Go Lakers

  5. I have resolutely been an MDA supporter for this particular team – and I still think he is good for most of the guys and the team hasn’t either given up on him or just broken up into every-man-for-himself play. This is not inconsequential. However, his use of Kaman and Hill really have me questioning how the front office can retain him next year. We have to have some effective bigs (Hill, at least, along with a reduced salary for Pau) while MDA would seem to have created a poisoned atmosphere that almost demands these players look elsewhere for employment next year, should he be retained. I think the coaching decision could come between the draft – when we will see who we get – and 1 July – when free-agency starts.

    How he plays Hill tonight may be a look into the remainder of the season. Win or lose, I will be watching how the rotations are handled.

  6. Pretty much right w/ you Craig on all points. I think all parties underestimated the job ahead of him when he was hired and no one could’ve forseen the injuries. However, the only way he goes I figure is that the free agent market ends up dictating that he leave for someone else who is a game changer for the Lakers to sign there. Lots of guys do like him and his system, especially guards/quick wings so they might view it as a bonus to play for him knowing they’ll flourish and get their contract numbers – but if the lakers have a chance at some inside/back to basket big etc… where it’s either him or MDA – well then MDA is gone. Besides which, if the Lakers are still in rebuild phase next year and not going to seriously challenge for a spot, why spend more money on a new coach that is going to lose anyways and pay MDA at the same time? And of course its only for one season, not like they’re tied to him for life.

    On a sad note – Raja Bell retired today. Him and kobe made for some good drama/memories in 06 playoffs. Don’t care if it was lopsided etc… not too many old school “i hate em’ type matchups like that.

  7. Darius,

    Love your introductory paragraph.
    Humorous.

  8. I’m sure of one thing…someone on the Thunder is going to score their new career high. My bet is that it’ll be Jackson or Ibaka. If the game is not close then I expect Durant to sit after he gets his league average.

  9. I feel very confident the Lakers will come to the game tonight.

    That’s all I got!

  10. Hill trade value dropped 50% in past 6 minutes.

  11. Nice first quarter by the Lakers, never trailed. Durant on pace for his 30+ points.

  12. Good 1st quarter but i can hear the Thunder locomotive gathering steam and running us over.

  13. Kelly is starting to bug me.

  14. Chris Kaman looks like a shaved Big Foot.

  15. An entire half of basically good basketball and hold a team under 50 points, scratch that OKC shots just aint falling obviously they are looking to the AS break, the 3rd quarter of doom aproaches…

  16. Fern – Yeah, this third quarter might hurt.

    Upside – that was an enjoyable half, although turnovers were typically horrible.

  17. This has been a really good half. With only 8 players, I suspect the Thunder will beat the Lakers with fresh bodies in the 2nd half, but I can hope we play solid basketball and keep the turnovers under the 10 in the 1st half.

  18. Why did Chris Kamen get 11 DNPs this year?

    He seems like a really good basketball player.

    This was from my. 9 year old son Nikolas.

  19. Would it be ridiculous to assume that the Thunder are out-tanking the Lakers tonight to impact their draft status? If the idea catches on, there are going to be a lot of barely-watchable 60-58 games coming up.

  20. Kelly is just terrible. Johnson, Hill and Williams are good tonight though.

    Please stop playing bad players Mike.

  21. Wesley Johnson is neither an iso player nor a pull up shooter. He’s playing great but I’d like to see him play more within his game.

    This is the Chris Kaman I idolized. Putting on a clinic with his post moves. Beating a dead horse here, but he hasn’t been playing because…?

  22. Love these David vs Goliath games… Is this lucky number three (clippers, Houston)?

  23. I feel like Wes Johnson is the player I had hoped Ebanks would develop into, but like jimmym said, i wish he would play within himself more.

    and yea, Ko, if Mike were gonna stop playing bad players, maybe Kaman and Hill wouldn’t take turns in the doghouse

  24. Lakers 82, OKC 72 after 3. I’m shocked. pleasantly shocked…but shocked.

  25. 10 pt lead after 3 .. It was good while it lasted.

  26. Every minute Sacre and Kelly are on the floor is like bad D league game.

  27. Sscre: post up fish. Don’t shoot a jump shot!!!

  28. Trying to get away with both Sacre and Kelly on the floor at the same time might prove to be our undoing in this game.

    @ lil pau, i was just about to say the same thing

  29. So many turnovers in the 4th quarter.

  30. Embarrassing when Fisher is better then any guard we have. Blake has been bad. 6 TOs.

  31. Fisher is better then both Laker guards. Funny huh.

    Also Mitch just announced there would be no trades before deadline. I swear ! It’s on team Stream right now.

    That should pack the house!

  32. Steve Blake is one tough born again, gummo looking s.o.b…

  33. And to think Pringles chose to bench him all year?

    I would fire him for that alone.

  34. man, we can’t even intentionally foul without looking awful

  35. Did Shawne Williams distract Kaman on that FT attempt by talking to him about defense?

  36. @ Glove. yuuuuup

  37. i’m glad we lost.

  38. Nice try. Just getting closer to the worst team in the West as well as most consecutive losses at home in Laker history.

    Nothing can keep MD and JB from setting these great Laker records. And Mitch says no trades.

    Did anybody take 25 wins in my wine contest?

  39. Marshall and Kaman flirted with triple-doubles (and Marshall with 17 assists!), 6 players in double figures, and a classic come-from-ahead-to-lose scenario on the eve of the All-Star break. Can we still call it a moral victory? I mean, no one else got hurt.

  40. On a night where his shot, for the most part, was off, KD35 showed up big time in the 4th like a MVP should.

  41. It actually upsets me to see Kaman playing so well. What did he have, like 17 DNP’s? He’s pretty much auditioning for a new team at this point anyway. He’s not a superstar, but nice to have an option down low. Right Coach?

    Too much Shawne Williams down the stretch. You’re having the guy you cut a month ago take two tie or go ahead threes in the last minute?
    Thought Wesley played pretty well, he still can’t finish.
    Still love Kendall Marshall.

  42. So now that they know that Chris is as good or better then Pau, is there any reason to not move him?

    Or does Mitch/Jim think it’s funny to get nothing for Howard and nothing for Pau in two years?

  43. What I don’t understand was so little playing time in the 2nd for Jordan Hill. Even with Williams in the game Hill could have come in for Kelly, who wasn’t doing a da*n thing. Our players were exhausted in the 4th – contributed to the turnovers – and we couldn’t find time for Hill. Sorry, but I have turned, on the coaching.

  44. Craig

    Clearly Mike plays guys based on their grooming.

    Hill’s hair is too long.

    Kamen is to unkempt like a caveman.

    Guys like Kelly, Williams and Sacre have very short hair and no beards.

    If Hill and Chris cut everything else off and just went with the highway patrol mustache they would get 40 minutes a game.

  45. Wouw, this is the Kaman of old. There still might be some pieces on this team, only we are missing a first and second option. Maybe Wes will play more within himself when Kobe returns.

  46. Kelly got a lot of his minutes at the 3 tonight . With only 2 guards a one wing Kelly and Williams spent time at the 3 so Wes could slide to the. 2 and give one of the guard . Don’t think Hill can really play the 3. This is what you get when you have. 7 guys hurt and all but one is a guard or wing. I though we playe a great game, just ran out of gas. And if nothing els Kendall Marshall has been fantastic , I love his game, especially that bounce pass to Williams with the English on it. The ball twisted right around the defender. So cool.

  47. Kaman and Hill have such good chemistry with each other – I thought Williams could have moved over to the 3 in the last qtr – if only to give someone a little rest. Yeah, I know the guards had to play the entire qtr, but we needed something added on the glass, with all our misses and Hill is that something.

    There were no good answers, and I am proud of our guys, but Hill is a glaring black hole for MDA – 18 minutes for the entire game?

  48. Didn’t see the game. Checking the boxscore and watching the highlights. But that Kaman guy surely provided a nice boost to my dynasty fantasy team these last few games…

  49. Fun game. We all got what we wanted. An entertaining competitive team plus a loss to solidify our bottom 5 status.

  50. Ko i say 22 wins, fun game, the guys played hard, but no, Kaman is not better than Pau are u kidding me? Lol, but ge always been a good player much better than he looks lol he should be traded for a late 1st or 2nd rounder imo. Durant should be the MVP, what he did yesterday proves it. He almost single-handedly has the Thunder in the position they at. Without RB he dont have the help Lebron has in Miami. I actually felt pity for Wesley Johnson but he did the best he could and make up for it in the offensive end.

  51. As long as he is a Laker Kaman should either start with Pau out or be the first frontline option coming off the bench in front of Hill, he is the better player.

  52. I smell a first round draft pick :)

  53. Why do commentors complain that the Lakers got nothing for Howard. It was not the Lakers decision for him to leave. He was an unrestricted free agent. Maybe they could have signed/traded him, but no team would trade real assets for Howard when they could just sign him outright.

  54. Agree w above question -\why is S Williams taking two of the biggest shots of the game at the end when he wasn’t even on the team two weeks ago?
    And, again, I’m sorry – what kind of teammate interrupts you when you’re taking the game-tying FT (Kaman) w under a minute left?
    He’ s trying to concentrate! Even in a rec league, when the game is on the line, you don’t stop your teammate’s FT routine to discuss a defensive assignment. Beyond ignorance.
    Ironically – we will prob be stuck w MDA for another year, since he is coaching the team to its worst record in its history and contention next year looks doubtful.
    Is it permissible to trade the coach at the deadline, instead of players?
    Maybe Ko’s 9-yr old son Nicholas will be available :)

  55. Clearly Mike plays guys based on their grooming.
    ___
    hahahaha
    ___
    Respect to the fellas for their effort against, IMO, this year´s champs -
    (& yeah, that dish to Shawne served with english was nasty!)

  56. I am not trying to compare the two, but Marshall does remind me of Steve Nash. Until he hooked up with Dirk, Nash was another 2nd or 3rd string guard. Then he became a starter, but not close to an all-star. When MDA got him was when he turned into an MVP and HOF player. The system certainly does make a difference in how most players are perceived – same for bigs and guards.

  57. That was a surprise – I thought we’d be down by 30 after the 1st quarter, and I consider myself an optimist. Maybe the league should give us a 1/2 win in the standings for that effort.
    What really destroyed our chances to sneak a win was our free throw shooting. 59.1% isn’t going to get it done (we’re usually around 70 % this year, I think).
    Put it down to a sign of a very tired team – I’m sure they’re all looking forward to the break to get away from this for a few days. They look pretty much exhausted, both mentally and physically.

  58. Craig W., Nash was never a bad shooter adn that makes a difference…

  59. Then he became a starter, but not close to an all-star.

    We covered this about a year ago. Nash made two All-Star teams in Dallas (2002 and 2003) and while he did of course have his best years under D’Antoni, his overall numbers did not change that much in many respects upon going to PHX. Nash did have a long development curve, in that he didn’t really get rolling until his 5th year in the league, although there were already signs that he had it. Nowitzki’s development did probably Nash, but Nash was an All-Star before he ever played for D’Antoni.

  60. the other Stephen February 14, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Chibi: Yeah, winning would have confused us with all sorts of conflicting notions of what our Lakers’ true identity is. We can’t be having that.

  61. Craig… I remember when PHX drafted Nash and he was stuck behind Kidd. He showed a lot of promise then. Much like Dragic now, I think it took time for him to develop fully, and Steve got that chance in Dallas, but I can’t agree with the idea that Nash was not an All-Star type talent before he hooked up with Dirk. We are seeing Steve Nash hampered by a real back issues. Take those away and you have one of the best PGs to play the game. Right now, we get to see Cain from Kung Fu in basketball form. He is a poet-warrior.

    http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-finish-line-episode-1/

  62. Craig W & Jerke – I’m pretty much in agreement with most of your earlier comments about MDA. The team always plays hard and the wings and especially the guards are definitely thriving in his system. I still think he was and is a good hire with the roster we had/were supposed to have the last 2 years.
    But I really don’t get not playing Kaman more. The only thing I can think of is that MDA wants the center to set a strong pick and then roll hard & deep to the hoop to create space for the point guard. Then it’s either a easy basket for the center, a good shot for the guard or pass out to the wing. Kaman just doesn’t do this.
    Interestingly, Sacre was doing this when he started to get more minutes. This combined with his size down low made him fairly effective. Unfortunately, Sacre has picked up the Laker bigs’ bad habit of slipping screens and not rolling hard to the hoop. With Sacre’s limited offensive skills and lack of athleticism this has really contributed to his lack of offensive production (scoring and rebounding).

  63. Marshall sure can pass. His numbers are padded by PT and by the system, but the guy has a flair for passing.

    But the problem I see for him is that he can’t do much else. Not much on D in general, gets almost no steals. Nothing special on 2s. But…Marshall’s 3P% right now is .465. If he can keep that near 40, that will be a big deal for him. Like Wesley Johnson, Marshall has some skill, but he needs to knock down enough 3s to be an overall contributor. I said in preseason that Johnson needed to get his 3P% up to league average to be the guy Ebanks was supposed to be–and Johnson has done that, currently hitting at .369.

  64. Nash was never able to defend his shadow. He became an average team defender with years of practice. Yes, he was always a good shooter, but became a historic shooter. Marshall was a poor shooter, but has become an ok shooter in his 1st year under MDA. No, Nash and Marshall are not equal – I said that. However, each really blossomed when they played under MDA and I suspect Marshall has solidified his place in the NBA. He may or may not be a starting PG, but I doubt he returns to the D league. MDA does have a way with PGs and the NBA is becoming a PG league.

    This in no way assumes MDA will be our coach next year, but it means he does bring value to the teams he coaches – something I hear regularly downgraded by bloggers here. The man is not a pariah and doesn’t deserve the hatred spewed. Criticism – YES; hatred – NO!

  65. Jesse: ” I still think he was and is a good hire with the roster we had/were supposed to have the last 2 years.” This is two different things. We have a depleted roster with a lack of talent. We lose with the roster as expected, but we play hard. So while I personally do not think that is much of an accomplishment, it is what it is, and MD is doing a “OK” job with what he has. Now – what we were “supposed” to have was a veteran laden team with DH, SN, KB, and PG. There is no evidence that MD was the right coach for that, and more evidence that he was not. I will accept a verdict of jury is out, because that group of 4 almost never played together. But concluding he “was” the correct coach is a bit far. So therefore MD is the correct coach if we have depleted under talented roster, which we will have for the rest of this year (hence let’s keep him for the rest of the year). We may have a roster like that next year, in which case we might as well keep him. But I see no evidence that if we “reload” (2004 term), that MD is the man to lead that star loaded team. If you have the evidence – I would like to hear it, but having Steve Blake and K Marsh play hard for you is not on the resume of a ring maker.

  66. Craig W.,

    I read your comments above with great interest. For what it’s worth, I began the year in MDA’s camp, too. I thought that he was not given a fair chance to show his stuff last year and was cheated out of a crucial pre-season camp. This year, there were injuries from the get go. Surely, he couldn’t be blamed for that. I also liked the way he was developing our younger players and wings and giving certain players a true chance to excel–Jodie Meeks, Kendall Marshall, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry. All good stuff.

    But eventually, over time, I became more and more frustrated with his use, mis-use, and non-use of certain bigs…especially traditional bigs.

    Do Shawne Williams and Ryan Kelly really deserve more minutes than Jordan Hill? (They both average more minutes.) Should Chris Kaman have been benched for 24 games? Last year, should Pau have been relegated to the reserve unit? And why do Jordan Hill’s minutes fluctuate as wildly as they do–25 minutes one night, 12 minutes the next night, and so forth? Should Hill be on the bench when Kelly and S. Williams are playing in crunch time?

    These are serious questions. And it’s difficult to justify MDA’s reasoning. This is why I have migrated from being in the “let’s give Mike a fair chance” camp to the belief that we probably need a coaching change.

    Obviously, this is food for thought. If you have indeed come around to the belief that a coaching change should be made, I understand. I say that because, in the span of half a season, I, too, have arrived at the same conclusion. A change must be made, I believe. There’s just no other way.

  67. Regarding a coaching change. I am no fan of MDA, however, my hope was that he could last one more year. The Lakers are in transition. It just made sense, in my mind, that he absorb the pain (losses) of a roster in transition. Then once we get to a certain talent level, heading into the 2015/16 season, we’d bring in a solid coach with an approach that does not alienate half the roster.

    Clearly, I have been mistaken. MDA’s approach is very rigid – he does not adapt it to the personnel he has. Additionally, there is a disconnect with the FO. If Mitch truly understood what MDA needed to succeed then he would have moved Pau this past offseason and never would have signed Kaman.

    I heard a stat on the radio this morning, where the Lakers with the top three PERs were Gasol, Kaman and Hill. The three Lakers that MDA has jerked around the most.

    Coaching continuity is a key ingredient for a winning franchise. It looks like we will need a new coach.

  68. Mitch came out in the last few days and said the team would not be making any deals at the deadline. Yikes! I can see not trading Pau as he might require taking back a bad contract. But Kaman and Hill are valuable enough to be moved. Kaman gives us a free asset as he was a FA signed on the cheap. It would be the classic something for nothing move. Why hasn’t this already been done?

  69. Everybody knows this, but D’Antoni’s presence or absence is far less important than adding talent is, so as Robert has said, the main criterion for evaluating MDA is what role he can play–positive, negative, or neutral–in attracting various free agents, both top-tier (Love) and second and third-tier (Lowry et al), since the Lakers will need both to get off the deck. What MDA has done with Hill and Kaman, and to a lesser extent, Pau, is actually a secondary issue.

    MDA’s presence or absence should not affect the draft: the Lakers need to take whomever the FO believes is the best player on the board, without regard to either position or fit. Among the Top 8 or so guys, Randle and Embiid may not fit what D’Antoni likes to do, although Embiid is very mobile and could probably learn to play PnR the way MDA likes. Any other guy whom people are talking about–Wiggins, Parker, Smart, Exum, Vonleh, Gordon–would have skills that would fit in an MDA system. Vonleh reminds some people of Bosh, and actually physically resembles Bosh, and Bosh would be a guy that I think MDA would love as a 5 (the real Bosh, of course, may be a FA this summer). Mobile, can play PnP and PnR and even shoots the 3 some.

    And, if the Lakers try to snag a RFA (Monroe, Hayward, or Bledsoe) with a poison-pill deal, I doubt that MDA will be a factor–that will be a money thing.

    As far as how MDA has handled the current team, I said the day of the hire that I thought MDA would “adapt.” But he is not really that adaptable that I have seen; he wants his teams to play a certain way and has issues using guys who don’t fit that style–unless they are named Kobe Bryant.

  70. The only explanation for MDA’s rotations is that he was given a directive to “make it look good.”
    I know that some do not like that thought at all, but it’s the only thing that I can come up with. Kaman and Hill are playing much too well for the amount of minutes that they receive. Anyway, the dead horse has been beaten once more. Sorry all.

  71. KenOak,

    I tend to doubt that, but of course I don’t know and you may be right. It may be that had Kobe and Nash been able to stay on the floor, that we would have seen more of Hill and Kaman, as the Lakers would then have been going for the “plucky veteran team trying to finish 8th” thing. IOW–the Dallas Mavericks. Also, an active and productive Kobe might well have called MDA out in the media if he (Kobe) had major issues with the rotation.

    But…I tend to be an Occam’s Razor kind of guy. A Knicks fan that I know told me that NY fans just saw MDA as being stubborn–as having “his guys” and that’s that. Earlier in the season I posted that I think in MDA’s mind Hill is a backup 5 and is a guy whom you only play 20-22 minutes–or he hurts you–and that Kaman is the 3rd-string 5, whose skills duplicate Pau’s, so you don’t play him unless Pau can’t play. Who plays the 4 is, therefore, in MDA’s mind, a separate question and playing Hill 35 minutes is simply not ever a good idea.

    As to Sacre and Kelly, as people have noted, the Lakers (inexplicably in my opinion) have committed to Sacre and need to look at Kelly. So, I think they are trying to see what Sacre can do and Kelly to MDA is just one of the guys, along with Williams, and Johnson, who can play the 4.

  72. @rr thanks for the link. Great article and video.

  73. rr: “the main criterion for evaluating MDA is what role he can play–positive, negative, or neutral– in attracting various free agents” Yes – that is what you and I say – however what does Jim say? I see a few possibilities:
    1) Jim still sees MD as a real coach for the future: We draft and seek FA in the image of a 7 second machine gun
    2) Jim realizes MD is not a winner, but also sees we are not yet ready to contend. So we make the pick (as you say – best player – MD style or not), We are not real players in FA during 14, and we tell MD to make the best of it in 14-15 – waiting it out
    3) Jim has seen enough and is ready to make a move: We get a new coach – we have him draft and seek FA immediately.
    Now mind you – this is my logical group of alternatives. Let me introduce some additional options – Laker’s FO style.
    A) We are not sure what we want to do with MD, so let’s see who is on the draft board and we still may take the MD style guy over the non MD guy – we will deal with that when the time comes.
    B) Ditto FA – Let’s see what’s available. The Baseball cap, Mitch, and Pringles will be the recruiting group. We will see what happens. If LBJ (or similar) says he will come if MD goes, then we will fire MD – else we will see.
    C) If we have no shot at decent FA we wait another year and who best for that than the banker from the game of Monopoly.
    I honestly think A-C is closer to reality.

  74. I like how most have come to terms that MDA is the coach until the season ends, possibly up till next season. I also like that most have realized that 2014 is the the big splash but possibly 2015. However, 1 of the major reasons why 2014 is such an important year is Kobe Bryant. He needs to prove he’s back to his 25ppg form at the tail end of this season to be able to attract the “right” free agents needed for a reload of sorts.

    I think LA has had Carmelo on its plans, but not necessarily all in on him. They realize that he’s 30 and not getting any younger and would need a bit of time to develop chemistry in building a new team. If it were a 2-yr Max deal then MAYBE, just maybe. But if we’re talking here of the full non-bird max of 4yrs then I have realized its not the best way to do about business.

    The RFA route has always been the best-case option. Among the 3 of the better ones (Bledsoe, Monroe and Hayward) the Lakers have a shot at landing two. Bledsoe is staying a Sun. I’m sure the Pistons and the Jazz would also reconsider rehiring these guys, Utah in particular has shed out Millsap and Jefferson to do this. Detroit is more interesting because they had instead done the opposite. So if you ask me, among the three, Monroe is your best bet at being let go. Just note that these guys’ max is not the same as Carmelo’s. If the cap is set at 62 million like most experts project it to be, the starting salary of any of these 3 will be 15.5 million.

    What if all three teams decide to keep their RFAs?

    Then the Lakers ought to explore sign-and-trade deals pretty much like what Utah did for GSW. However, this is only good if your team doesn’t have Kobe Bryant itching to play/win. So? There’s Luol Deng, Kyle Lowry, Danny Granger, Marcin Gortat and possibly one or two of Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph. You also have the possibility of Chris Bosh, then there’s Melo… then there’s Lebron.

    Who among those names would give you the best shot at winning?

  75. Hey Robert, My reasons for thinking that MDA was a good hire for the team last year was the presence of Nash & DH. Many people were looking forward to a great P&R pairing which would have been devastating if
    1. Nash hadn’t been injured 2 games in and it hadn’t turned out to be a major injury instead of a minor one
    2. DH wasn’t coming off of back surgery and not himself until late in the season
    3. DH had wanted to play P&R basketball.
    I guess you could say “Who knew?” to all 3. Had it worked, it would have been MDA’s Phoenix Suns on steroids. With a healthy & committed DH we would have had the ability to play a power game and also an up-tempo one. I also had the feeling that Blake would do well in this system. With Gasol’s skill level, especially his passing ability, he could have thrived.
    My only real concern with the MDA hire is been the gazillion $ question: How does Kobe fit into it? Jury is out on that, but I do have big concerns.
    This year’s team has been a mess from the start of the season, even without the injuries. We’re not very talented and the pieces don’t fit together (the Kaman signing remains a head scratcher).
    I think MDA’s ability to get these guys to play hard and hang in with each other is a big deal, especially under these circumstances. Read other blogs/articles from teams who are having bad seasons. One of the constant comments is that the players aren’t giving effort and there is a lot of locker room friction/issues, etc.
    Also a big part of being a head coach is creating an environment and system where players can play to their ability and beyond. That’s certainly the case with SB, WJ, Swaggy P, KM. If we can keep some or all of them and get our starters healthy, we’ll actually have a real bench next year.
    I hope that helps to explain my thinking on this. By the way, as I’ve posted before – the real big mistake by the FO was the Mike Brown signing; should have been Rick Adelman.

  76. Lionel Hollins should be on a short list for coaching job next season…The job he did with the Grizzlies in those few seasons is exactly what the Lakers need…defensively and offensively..

  77. I need help . If I watch another guy in black tights skating around in the Olympics I am breaking my TV.

    Feb and March used to be my fav time of year back in the days when the LA Lakers were a competitive basketball team.

  78. I honestly think A-C is closer to reality.
    __
    dang Robert, you´re probably right – sufferin´sucatash, what a predicament!

  79. Ko,
    you are the man! hahahaha

  80. As a european I do not always have access to the games, so I love watching the videos on this channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eyropZzfU4

    These are complete highlights from one player in one game. The link above is for Kendall Marshall, very nice bounce with a lot of English for the backdoor cut. I must say I love his work as a playmaker and think he is a nice piece for a MDA-team.

  81. Jesse: Thanks for the response. Your reasons for thinking MD was a good hire last year are reasonable. I did not/do not agree with them, but hey – different people have different opinions. We do agree that Mike Brown should have never been coach, of course I would have picked Shaw. All of that is history, and what is important now is going forward. Is he the correct coach for us in the future? I am not a zealot who wants him canned immediately. Let him finish the year for sure. However we need to decide in advance as per 1-3 above, not A-C as I fear. Further, if we look at our options, and determine that 2014 is not the year to make our move, then I could also see MD being the caretaker for another year. There is benefit to this, because there is no point bringing in a new coach without bringing in talent (draft picks aside). However if we are going to make a move in 14 and certainly we will by 15, then that is where we differ. MD’s track record, his dealings with DH and Melo, the fact that Kobe seemed to not fit the scheme at times, his poor handling of big men, and his inability to deal with the media are a few reasons. Having an under talented team play hard is an OK accomplishment, but it does not offset all of that. That said – if you want him to stay, I think you have a good chance as per A-C above. I do not run the Lakers – Jim does : )

  82. The problem with retaining MD is that we lose Kaman – most likely – and he has shown himself to be a very capable center, considering we may lose or trade Pau.
    I can picture him being a solid piece on a contender.
    It’s hard to imagine Kaman sticking around next season unless there’s a coaching change.

  83. The notion that this coach has the team playing cohesive all out basketball is off base. Players play on the offensive side of the ball for themselves, for their stats, for their next contract and players play defense for the coach, for the wins, and for the organization. Since this team does not play defense, the easy conclusion is that this coach does not have a voice with this team. Does anyone believe that if this same group of players were bound by long term lucrative contracts, there would not be more dissension? In regards to their playing time, Hill and Kaman would be apoplectic in the locker room, and with media. A team full of veteran players with contracts could never play for this coach (see the Knicks) because he is old and dogmatic in his ideology about how basketball should be played.

    He would garner much more acceptance of his philosophy had his system flourished on any team in the NBA, that did not have Steve Nash as the point guard. A winning track record is non-existent without Steve Nash as his coach on the floor. And, I think that Steve Nash is not given the credit due him for being the genius in the wake of this coach’s success in Phoenix.

    Devoid of Nash, would this coach even have an NBA coaching career? I liken this coach to Mike Brown, in that Brown is still surfing the wave of Lebron. Too, this coach is in a different ocean but no less riding the wave of Nash.

  84. Oh Chicky Baby!!!