Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Pacers

Darius Soriano —  February 25, 2014

Let’s get all the sad stuff out of the way first:

Everything is sad about this season.

Okay, now to everything else.

Seriously, though, there’s really not a lot to be happy about right now save for the idea of a high draft pick.

The Lakers have won 19 of their 56 games this year. They’re coming off a home stand that saw them lose five of their six games (at least their lone win was over the Celtics!). Kobe and Nash are still out. Xavier Henry may be cleared to play within a week, but he remains out too. And after returning for a single game — after declining to have an MRI and admittedly returning at least partially because he didn’t want to fall out of the rotation — Nick Young is also out for at least two games, staying in L.A. rather than making the trip to Indiana and Memphis with, wait for it…soreness in his knee.

If you can find the bright side in this stuff, you’re a better person than me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be happy with a high draft pick in June, but the day to day grind of watching this team “earn” that pick has pushed me to my limits as a fan and someone tries to watch games with an analytic eye.

The games go on, however, and tonight there is no reprieve for the downtrodden as the Lakers roll into Indiana to face one of the best teams in the league. The Pacers have fewest losses and second most wins while boasting the league’s best scoring margin and efficiency differential. They have the NBA’s best defense from any metric standpoint and while their offense is only middle of the pack it barely matters because they’re so good on the other side of the ball.

They also have a fair amount of depth, an area they bolstered in the past month by signing Andrew Bynum after he was waived by the Bulls (after trading Luol Deng for him) and by trading longtime franchise player Danny Granger for former #2 overall pick and 76er Evan Turner. While the Bynum signing probably made more headlines (especially since there was a strong impression they were competing for Bynum with the Heat), but the Turner acquisition actually intrigues me more. Turner has earned a somewhat sketchy reputation as a guy who doesn’t play enough defense while also trying to do too much with the ball offensively. Joe Johnson may have the nickname “iso-Joe” but Turner is also a guy who likes to pound his dribble and look to create off the bounce more than he probably should.

Now that he’s with the Pacers, however, he will need to tone down some of those tendencies while also coming to a team that highly values defense. Turner may have been a reach as the #2 overall pick in his draft, but he does have talent. He is a better than advertised spot up shooter and, while it has earned him critique, his shot creation skills do have value — especially on a 2nd unit who will face off against other team’s bench players. Whether Turner is a long term fit in Indiana is unknown at this point, but the Pacers gave up a guy who was oft injured for a guy who can probably help them this year.

Anyways, that’s just a long way of saying the Pacers have gotten better in the last month and the Lakers remain…well…bad. This is nothing against the guys they have available. I think Pau is doing his best to set a good example and play hard. I think Hill is doing the best he can with his minutes and has found a nice niche next to Chris Kaman. Kendall Marshall and Jordan Farmar are doing well manning the point and while the wing is crowded, it is nice to see Meeks still shooting well, Johnson make the occasional highlight play, and the new duo of Bazemore and Brooks adapt quickly to D’Antoni’s style. All that said, those positives do not a team make (or whatever Yoda-like phrase you want to insert).

Tonight, then, the Lakers can keep the game close the way that they normally do. They can bomb threes and catch a few breaks defensively and hopefully sneak up on a team who knows who the better outfit is. But, over the course of the game, talent and coaching and teamwork will win probably win out. Let’s just hope we get some entertaining play for our time.

Where you can watch: 4pm start time out west on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Pacers

  1. darius: we can find solace in the fact that through the thick and the thin, through the weeds and the mud, there is that glimmer of hope no matter how the spin has spun this season for the lakers.

    pertaining to tonite’s game versus the pacers over in Indiana; like chick hearn always use to say: we have two chances, slim and none; and slim left the building. and the game hasn’t started yet.

    thx as always for your astute observations. seriously, we feel your pain, we are your pain.

    Go lakers


  2. Excellent post as usual Darius.

    We’ve heard almost nothing about Nash since his last in-game appearance.
    Is he done?
    Day-to day?

    What’s interesting about the Lakers now is that it’s easy to see a bunch of bright spots:
    Pau is back to form.
    Kaman is better than expected.
    Hill produces.
    Marshall is a talented passer.
    Farmar still has upside.
    Meeks is having a career year.
    Wes J is a team-first athletic defensive guy.
    The two new Bs are intriguing.

    The issue at hand becomes, despite injuries, are these parts good enough to win?
    It seems they should be good enough to compete.

    I believe it comes down to defense.
    Can Dantoni (or Rambis!) coach it?

    If, as the coaching staff has alleged, they ARE working on defense in practice regularly, then it’s apparent:
    they have no idea what they’re doing.


  3. The Lakers finally have enough healthy bodies to use two complete units. That helps them to run and they have had the best success this year with the larger squad. What is worth noting is that the Pacers are built from within and did not have any top 9 picks of their own. They are one model of how to proceed without making splashy free agent signings or winning the draft lottery.


  4. If the lottery is most important to you, and getting rid of D’Antoni, then hope the Lakers play badly. Us crazies hoping they find some magic.


  5. Again with this short man lineup the Pacets will have another 63 rebound game. Just silly.


  6. Never learn do you Mike. It’s senseless to question this guy.


  7. Darius i feel your pain, i feel it everyday,i find solace that thru trial and error we have found a couple of players that are worth keeping beyond this season i find solace that there is only one way can go, up. And strangely i find solace in the fact that a high draft pick will eat some of the cap and maybe protect the Lakers from themselves this summer i read a disturbing rumor and im wary of that rumor.


  8. Big surprise wes johnson can’t guard david west… hmmmm who would have thought that


  9. Ko if we put out a big lineup we still gonna be slow and still be dominated on the boards, with the personnel we have we need speed to have a prayer on this game.


  10. Last game Pacers set a league high with. 63 rbs you don ‘t have to be a coach to figure out you MUST play bigs. Last 2 games that lineup was out scored by 25 points in the first 5 minutes.

    It’s not about winning it’s about being not looking like a D league team.


  11. Not many players can guard David West


  12. I am still bummed the Lakers didnt trade Pau, Kaman or Hill… In the end, no one wanted to give LA a 1st rounder… and risk being the team that gave the Lakers that extra player that would help them become a contender again. The Lakers had no leverage… if anything, last year was the year to trade Pau for a 1st (like the Cavs, since u know Mike Brown’s team would be a probable lotto pick)… if they were so intent on keeping Dwight… At least they could have got something last year and gotten under the cap (now with Blake being gone)…

    Alas… I wish Buss, Jr would bring back Jerry West to the Front Office… it would make him look like a genius of a co-owner, stick it to his sister’s fiancee, and draw more credibility to an organization that may look like a mess to Free Agents…

    Kobe for all his heroics may have to be satisfied with 5 rings… and maybe #3 on the all-time scoring list…

    This will probably be the most interesting off season since post-Magic.


  13. D’Antoni’s just going to try everyone and see who’s playing well or not. Auditioning for playing time. Hit shots, limit mistakes, play harder, hope Pacers are cold.


  14. Witnessing the worst season in Laker history is not enough, have to read the constant endless whinning about the same things game after game after game… The team is trailing but is playing ok within its capabilities against one of the top 3 teams in the NBA and still not enough for some people here.


  15. Team playing better than i expected. Really happy with the effort…


  16. Lakers have a little advantage in that Indiana can’t be very well-prepared to play them. If the Lakers play quick, hard, and hit shots… Pacers should still score a lot of points, though.


  17. What’s happened to Marshall’s game. 4th game in a row as many to’s and points?

    Hit a wall

    Nice efforts in spite of poor guard play.


  18. Good half, like i said speed kept this team in the game, btw what a sweet penetration by Baze he spun Hibbert around, kid has game…


  19. Not surprising that teams are now better prepared for Marshall’s tendencies. See what adjustments Pacers make at half time for slowing the Lakers offense.


  20. Fern, I feel your pain.

    This team was supposed to get smeared by the Pacers at home. When I read the comments it is all about how MDA doesn’t know what to do, Jim Buss is an idiot, and someone else could get the players to play better defense. Ok, we know the thoughts – why keep repeating the same thing? Try to point out something new.

    They played a better first half than I thought they would, even if I was frustrated about several things. These players a still playing as a team, not a bunch of individuals playing for their next contract. That is a real accomplishment, considering who is on the floor.

    Perhaps the trade of Steve Blake wasn’t as one-sided as we previously thought.


  21. 3rd quater of doom aproaches, Pau has 4 blocks, and i believe Roy Hibbert is grossly overrated, tou read and hear all the talk but he avg 11 points and 7 rebounds a game? A buddy of mine answered me ” but he avg almost 3 blocks a game” if your 7’2 you better block some shots. He get way too much praise for what he really contribute.


  22. Marshall is just falling apart. 0 points 5 TOs.


  23. Pacers are the best defensive team in the league, and Hibbert anchors their defense. I guess winning is the most relevant stat.

    Pacers turning up the pressure in the 3rd.


  24. Obviously he is a key cog in their D but he gets more praise than deserved is all im saying, well it was good while it lasted, getting blownout.


  25. Again one team makes adjustments at half.

    The other just runs around with no plays throwing up junk.

    Which one is coached by Mikey?


  26. Ko, this is not a game between equals, you can do 1000 adjustments and it might not matter against one of the best teams in the league, we dont have the talent.


  27. Pacers had adjustments they could make, i.e. step it up and play like they’re capable. Lakers are a thrown together bunch that’s going to go hot and cold. And, yes, D’Antoni just let’s them play. This was almost certainly going to be a loss. Indiana is not only far superior, they’re not the type to give away games at home.


  28. I know. Talking about all season 3rd quarters.

    By the way Laker pg since Blake left are averaging 6 a game with 7 TO. 2nd game in row Farmer/ Marshall 2 for 10. Also Brooks is not a keeper. Bad handle and forces shot. Kent yes .

    Who had 28 wins in wine contest?


  29. The game to game headbutting between Fern & Ko has been better contested than our squad´s performance in this 4th Q tonight


  30. Purple. Who is winning?


  31. Who is winning?
    hahaha –
    the judges are still deliberating!


  32. Just so we are not tied for last.


  33. Just so we are not tied for last.
    Nice analogy Ko;
    though it does seem that one of the judges has a pick in the case of wine giveaway, so you may have an edge there 😉


  34. Im tanking Ko


  35. Gotta agree on meeks -great year amd I thought he did a great job limiting stephenson – he must have stopped 3 breaks on his owm with good man defense

    Agree that brooks is terrible


  36. What i read around is that the Lakers really wanted Bazemore he was the real target, Brooks is a throw in, anything he give us is a bonus. He be gone after April, meh


  37. Acquiring players and giving them extended minutes in their first couple of games, is a knock against the players that have played without complaint; out of position, uncertain playing time, and playing more than 40 minutes a game. Neither Bazemore nor Brooks have an NBA resume that should tier them above the players that the Lakers already have on the roster. So what makes them worthy of walking in the door, sans practice or knowledge of the offensive system, to get a starting position (Bazemore) and minutes off the bench (Brooks)? I for one do not believe in handing a player the crown (Lebron) as the NBA poster child, until merit is warranted. Status is achieved through doing the drills in practice at game speed, running laps at a high pace, displaying basketball IQ by promptly learning the offensive and defensive schematics. I also believe that when a team is aware of the standards for playing time, and are evaluated by a set parameter in order to obtain court time, they tend to adapt to the style of play that the coach covets.

    Players are entrained to the game via consistency. Whether that be by knowing if they are a starter or through a pre-determined time off the bench, it has been well documented that players excel when they know what position they will play and game minutes.

    Twenty-nine different starting lineups do not breed self-confidence in the players on this team whom to begin with, are fragile. The Lakers coach is schizophrenic in his search to marry his offensive philosophy with wins. Hill is incapable of being this coach’s quintessential stretch 4, so in the media he maligns Hill’s ability to play at an appreciable level for more than 18-20 minutes a game. Meanwhile Hill mounted DNP’s as Sacre, Williams and Kelly played in games that netted the team 2-3 wins. If a player has one good offensive game he is then inserted into the starting lineup for 3-4 games. Then when opposing teams scout those players, they can’t put up those same numbers.

    In my years of watching basketball from the YMCA, to middle school, to travel teams, to high school, to college, to NBDL, to NWBA, to overseas, to the NBA, and I have never seen such an unstable starting lineup. Please, I’m aware of the injuries, but we all know that Hill and Kaman not playing had nothing to do with injuries. Those two veteran players could have provided consistency as starters or bench players, instead they gained DNPs. And in tonight’s game Hill played 10 minutes and Kaman played 14 minutes.

    Wake me when Kobe returns! BTW, I’m not saying he’s a savior it’s just that I’ll watch to see him score points, only!

    Oh, and once the opposing teams scout Bazemore his offense will wane accordingly. We’ve watched that with every player this coach has inserted in the starting lineup. Moreover, Bazemore is shooting the ball at a Kobe clip but not one mention of him being selfish.


  38. Fern

    You must have signed a multi hundred dollar contract with the local access cable station so you care less about the money.

    I am booing you from Newport Beach right now .


  39. Lakers have no leaders on the team…nobody is commanding a double team leaving teams to play tight and honest..I just watched in slow motion in the first quarter D. West intimidate Wes Johnson to the point it was embarrasing to watch..i know the coaches saw it…instead they allow Jordan Hill to sit out valued minutes…what a damn shame…if this is an audition for next season it should be for the coaching staff…I pray Lionel Hollins is on the short list ..MDA has got to go…this team has no voice on the floor getting players in a lather to compete anymore…no enforcers…no Alpha leading the pack…its just sad..


  40. Chearn

    You nailed it and summed up what we all have been struggling to say about this coach. Put a stamp on that and send it to El Segundo.


  41. Gosh, we have a team in a transition year, with transition players and we are complaining about giving new players time to show what they can do? With our injury situation we are complaining about 29 different starting lineups? With everyone trying to fit into the team concept we are complaining about alienating players because of their minutes?

    Hey folks, this is why people say Laker fans are spoiled and undisciplined. We fans have never had to face much of a system; we could just rely on the playoffs each year. Well, this year we are out of it and both the coach and the front office are doing things a bit differently – sorry if you don’t agree.

    I certainly have my issues with MDA, but I too am curious about who is valuable enough to offer a contract next year. Who we are likely to be able to sign next year. If it looks like we can’t retain our big men, then MDA may very well be the best coach for us next year, too. If Pau or Kaman, and Hill will stay with the Lakers next year, it may be best to find a coach who can make better use of them. However, all this will play out after the season ends and we will not be in on the discussion, but will have to wait for the decision from the front office. All the carping in the world won’t change the situation one iota.

    Among the wing players, MDA has certainly uncovered some talent. I love discussing this, but again, the front office won’t be consulting with us on any decisions. My guess is candidates for the team will be Marshall, Farmar, Basemore, Meeks, Henry, with Johnson being a longshot. Of course this could be somewhat altered by who we are able to draft in late June. I think it is almost certain Nick Young will be offered too much money elsewhere to stay with us, particularly if he is to be a Kobe backup.


  42. Ko,

    I had 29 wins. But if no one picked 28, I’ll take that, too.


  43. Anyone have a link to pau gasols post game rant apparantly he rips dantoni and selfish guys on the team


  44. It’s on Team Stream web site.

    Sounds fed up with MD who throws new run and gun undisciplined selfish guys out there every few days.

    No way he comes back with this coach next year.


  45. LA Times
    Gasol called for more discipline, presumably from D’Antoni, saying there were too many “individual actions” right now.
    Eleven of the Lakers’ 15 players are in the final year of their contracts, a big problem on a losing team, no?
    “Probably. That’s part of it,” Gasol said. “But that’s why you have to be disciplined and implement discipline. That’s how you kind of make that better or make that not a factor. I don’t think there’s a lot of discipline right now.”
    Teammates needed to be unselfish by making sure the ball was passed to an open player, Gasol added.,0,5748783.story#ixzz2uP5EqQRi


  46. Pau was focusing on the fact that MDA tried to play the Pacers by going small. Minutes:

    Bazemore 39
    Meeks 38
    Johnson 27
    Brooks 27

    Pau 27
    Kelly 15
    Kaman 14
    Hill 10

    Pau also noted that the Lakers play another big, D-first team tomorrow night: Memphis.


  47. Not everything is sad…we beat Boston twice!!!


  48. Oh man – its nice to see that the players are actually thinking the same thing as us

    I love pau and I think the fact that marshall has echoed some of the same sentiments directly lead to his sudden decrease in minutes

    As for dantoni – “he is who we thought he was” a la Dennis green – a terrible coach who has been run out of NY and will not be missed when he gets kicked out of LA

    Personally I would love to get hollins – old school coach who is a hard ass, focuses on defense, turned around a team to a contender even though they were flawed, his team loved him , and he would have a big chip on his shoulder since getting screwed over by new management

    Another choice would be stealing thibs away from chicago


  49. Interesting article on the Lakers real, available cap space and what it means this summer.


  50. I read it Craig, this cap stuff is way too convoluted. But if we get a really good draftee that make a inmediate impact i dont believe it would matter much. And i read somewhere that the Lakers “secretly” want to sign certain velocirator i hope is bs because if they do that my head will explode. And Ko i boo myself too.


  51. Craig W.,

    29 different starting lineups cannot be explained by injuries alone. Nor can the fluctuation in minutes per game. And I’m not talking about the bigs.

    Regarding Bazemore and Brooks, I stated that Bazemore intrigued me more than Brooks and it appears I might be right after all. No reason to start him, though… Also, I think that playing Wes at the 4 is actually hindering Wes’ ability to sign a decent contract or remain a Laker next season. Those of you who played PF or C while you were really a wing player know that the physical toll caused by rebounding, boxing out and pushing a way heavier player will be noted on offense. Your step is just a tenth of a second lower, your shooting legs are there but they feel a bit stiffer than when you play perimeter defense, the fast breaks are harder to come because you’re much closer to the basket and you don’t have the physical ability to bang with the opposition on offense. As I said, I think those minutes that Wes is playing at 4 are not helping the Lakers nor the player…


  52. I follow Ben Rosales on twitter and find his tweets as really sensible ones. However, there are some factors he hasn’t considered and I’d like to take it up here.

    Cap space for 2014 is projected at 62.1 million. This is coming from 2 of the most-trusted cappologists in Larry Coon and Eric Pincus.

    Assuming Nick Young opts out, we have 4 players under contract: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Kendall Marshall and Robert Sacre. These 4 combine for 35 million and thus leaving us of 27 million in cap. Since we are picking at the top 5 range then our prized rookie will have a salary of 2.5M to 5.0M. Assuming the latter, 22 million is left, minus 3.5M for the 7 cap holds for 7 roster spots.

    If Lebron is not coming over, we are not spending 22 million on 1 player. But if he is, our 18.5M clean cap can go as high up as 24.8M if we waived Nash via stretch provision.

    If 2015 is the plan, and assuming we did not go out and sign contracts beyond ’14, then Nash would have not been stretched, he would be coming off the books and our payroll would look like:

    Kobe Bryant – 25M
    Draft Pick – 2.8M to 5.3M

    Assuming Cap remains at 62M, thats 30.3M payroll with 10 cap holds worth 5M, leaving us still of 27.3M.

    There are alot of permutations involved, player XYZ signing where is a very big factor.

    It would be interesting to see who the biggest domino is being waited on this summer.


  53. Shaun, re: coach next season, no retreads unless CHI stupidly dumps Thibs.

    Re: Bazemore and Brooks run, there are only so many games left for evaluating players. The other guys had their chance earlier this year and last, so the coaches and FO know who they are and what they can provide. In a lost season, needing to be perfect with decisions next year and going forward to maximize cap solutions, including keeping a max slot open for 2015, evaluation of all players on the roster is vital. In particular with respect to Bazemore, he hasn’t played very much in his career so let’s see what he can do with big minutes and how he can adjust when opponents scout his tendencies and take away what he likes to do best. I think that it is very wise for the Lakers to be taking this approach.


  54. Renato Afonso,
    I agree with you. As I said, I have issues with MDA too. I am not trying to paint the organization as always right. It is just that Jerry Buss made some pretty big mistakes and now we conveniently don’t think of them or refer to them. Phil Jackson didn’t develop successful coaches or develop young All-Stars (he inherited his superstars from the organizations), but he did win for both Chicago and the Lakers. What I hear from many bloggers is, all today is totally awful and the past was totally good. Neither is true, but it does take some digging to develop the nuances – shouting from the rooftops doesn’t do it. .


  55. Does anyone know if Pau can be signed and traded this summer or if because the Lkaers are above the tax line that they do not have this option.


  56. If MDA stays on as coach, Pau, Kaman, and Jordan Hill are all gone. Not one will return.

    However, if MDA is cut loose, there is a chance (I said, a chance) that one or more may return. Now the question: if used differently by a coach who knows how to utilize traditional bigs (two of whom are 7-footers and one of whom is the 3rd leading offensive rebounder in the NBA), how big a difference would that make?

    I believe that there would be a difference. But with D’Antoni we’ll never know.


  57. Phil Jackson, Jerry Buss and Jerry West were not perfect. However, they were the best ever at their respective positions. In my case, I am not expecting MD, Jim, and Mitch to be at their level, and they are not. Mitch is close as he learned from Jerry West. He just needs to be totally free of Jim other than for the most significant decisions (perhaps 1 or two of these per year). Jim is never going to be Jerry so we have permanently lost that charisma and personality. He could improve things tremendously, simply by backing off and not being an “active” owner. So that would be 2/3 of the equation (sort of – it would not be the two Jerry’s but it would be good enough). I think we all have our opinions on the last third (MD). My main issue there is not the record or the past mistakes, but the future. We all talk about Kaman, Hill, and Pau leaving, but what about anyone else coming? That’s the issue. We need talent. The ability to attract and retain that talent is Objective #1 for everyone in management- especially MD (and I am not talking about vagabond/youngster wing men trying to boost stats. I am talking about top tier All NBA type talent). If an elite level FA says he is coming to LA due to the presence of MD, then, I am in favor of keeping him, even if he loses every game for the rest of the year. On the other hand – if Pau, Kaman, and Hill all run from us in post season and report that they can’t stand playing here, and this is added to the history with DH and Melo, then I think the corrective action is clear. And playing hard and giving good effort in mounting losses is not going to change my mind on that : )


  58. Robert is correct in that adding talent is far more important than D’Antoni’s rotation tonight, and infinitely more important than the same people complaining about the complainers yet again. I would add that what Robert says about D’Antoni also applies to Buss: can he help the team add elite and second-tier/very good players? Is he going to be an asset in that regard? He was not when it came to Howard.

    The Lakers are almost certain to get one of the Top 7 picks, which will seemingly be (order TBD):



    Three points/wings, three bigs, and one guy, Parker, who could be a 3 or a smallball 4.

    The three FAs this summer that the Lakers might get who could make a pretty big difference are:

    Monroe (big, restricted)
    Lowry (point)
    Stephenson (wing/occasional point)

    I do not think Utah and Phoneix would let Hayward or Bledsoe come here, barring an absolutely wild overbid.

    All of them have issues/red flags, and of course, Monroe is restricted. Any of them would be the Lakers’ best player, if you don’t count Kobe or Pau.

    The other big issues are what they get out of Kobe, and whether they can put together a good enough situation such that Love wants to be here, since many other teams are going to want him.


  59. C.Hearn,

    Excellent post. And judging from the comments that Pau made after the game, you’re not the only one who feels this way.

    It’ll be interesting to see whether he starts Wes Johnson tonight against Z-Bo and the Grizzlies.


  60. I view this summer as the off-season the Lakers fill out their core players. It is unlikely they will be able to or want to sign any max contracts. Look for several 3-10 million dollar contracts. A few guys from this year’s team will remain who have favorable team options. I expect a few contracts for next year will be structured as 1 year rentals to come off the books with Nash to allow for a big signing the following year added to a sound core of players.


  61. Seems odd that Nash is not asked to retire and Pau may go through the motions and reward the team with a Dwight nothing in return.

    $27 million with little return this year and of course the $31 million with Kobe injury.

    $58 million Lot of dough for last place. I would be throwing stuff in my office if I owned the team.


  62. Ko,

    Kobe’s and Pau’s extensions were offered and approved by Dr. Buss after the first title. While I don’t really blame the FO for giving them those deal given how things looked at that moment, it was pointed out by some at the time that the deals were probably a year too long and a little too expensive, and that has in fact been the case.


  63. I doubt the Laker FO thinks they’re going to be an elite team next season. It’s going to take a lot of steps to get to that level, and they should want to take positive ones each year. The big question is whether they’re going to stick with D’Antoni and build a team to play his way. Who gets minutes in any particular game now is just D’Antoni looking for answers to win games, and really to show that he can produce positive results to build on.


  64. With all the stuff we are talking about it is instructive to remember these are role players being asked to play starter’s minutes. This might sound like a dream come true, but we are grading these players as if they were starters. These players are playing the starters from other teams, not the role players on the second unit.

    When evaluating who we will keep, it is imperative we realize that they will be expected to be role players – not starters – next year. When allocating minutes this year, as we get more healthy, it is important to realize that we need to see all the players and the minutes should reflect role players – not key starters. This changes how the coaching staff will allocate minutes and we shouldn’t expect them to follow the normal standards, in a normal year.

    MDA may still not be the right coach for next year, but don’t mistake this year for a typical year of coaching – for either the coaching staff or the front office.


  65. rr: “Parker, who could be a 3 or a smallball 4” So I guess we are going after Parker : )
    tviper: “coach next season, no retreads ” Could you define this? A retread coach is one who ________ . I want to see if your definition of a retread coach is similar to my definition of a vagabond player : )
    Shaun: As much as I want change – I need to see a personnel plan before bringing in someone like Thibs or Hollins (or anyone else for that matter).
    Ko/Gasol: ” “But that’s why you have to be disciplined and implement discipline.” Whose job is that? Pau sounds like he has nothing to lose by saying these things. I think he is correct.


  66. Craig W-I understand that the season is lost and the front office and coaches are finishing the season with a different tactic than planned. Even if the coaches want to look at the new players, why alienate the team by bringing them in and inserting them in the starting lineup or playing them 27 minutes? Bazemore and Brooks are playing playground basketball that is the only way they could start and or receive extended minutes two games after arriving in Lakers land. Unfettered by a playbook or devoid of the need to play with your team, most any player in this league will look awesome–see Henry: Remember when Xavier played point guard? He looked like an all-star when the ball was in his hand and all he had to do was score. He struggled when opposing teams’ shutoff his drive and he was unable to pass the ball out of double teams.

    Robert- “My main issue there is not the record or the past mistakes, but the future. We all talk about Kaman, Hill, and Pau leaving, but what about anyone else coming? That’s the issue. We need talent. The ability to attract and retain that talent is Objective #1 for everyone in management- especially MD (and I am not talking about vagabond/youngster wing men trying to boost stats. I am talking about top tier All NBA type talent).”
    I get on tangents occasionally—okay often—but my main objective is the Lakers future. Marginal players that score are fine coming in off the bench, at present the Lakers have a stockpile of that ilk.
    A top draft pick taught how to play the game to win championships is of utmost concern to me. What type of player would Kobe be today, had he not been under the tutelage of Phil Jackson, mandated to play like a champion? Any picks the Lakers get this summer needs to learn from day one that the Lakers are about championship trophies and banners, not points! If not, that draft pick/s will be a waste, as their indoctrination into the league will be similar to an Amare Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony type player: One that does not know how to play to win as a champion.

    Renato-“… I think those minutes that Wes is playing at 4 are not helping the Lakers nor the player….
    Truer words were never written. Trying to convert Johnson into Shawn Marion is a disservice to both Marion and Johnson.

    Ko-I can’t project how many games the Lakers will win or lose, as that would require statistics founded on consistency, since none exist I’ll just wait until year 2 of the nightmare is over!
    Bazemore is the latest player inserted by the coach (he will unearth the Rock of Gibraltar, if he thinks two points are beneath it) that has a propensity to score with volume shots, he is young and athletic, all coveted qualities upon in which to build a team. I am adverse to a player starting without earning that position. Bazemore should have fresh legs considering he has not played in any games on back-to-back nights with 7-8 players dressed. Nor did Bazemore have to play for a coach that played him as a stretch-4 in order to force-feed his system on him so he could garner playing time.

    Wes Johnson played well in February as the Lakers wing, note–that was during a time when he played in his NBA position and not as a stretch-4. Johnson is third on the Lakers in blocked shots, behind Pau and Kaman; he is third in total rebounds, after Pau and Hill and fourth in scoring behind Young, Pau, and Meeks. He achieved those stats all while being in and out of the starting lineup, and playing out of position. He has done everything the Lakers have asked of him, without complaint. So how do these statistics and attitude make him a player that the Lakers should not pursue next year?


  67. Who knows what the Lakers roster will look like next year? They hope Kobe returns, obviously, but who else is a sure thing? Unless it’s a complete overhaul, and they put together 5 bonafide starters who will stay healthy, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of seeing some of the same players starting games again.


  68. “C.Hearn February 25, 2014 at 7:17 pm
    Acquiring players and giving them extended minutes in their first couple of games, is a knock against the players that have played without complaint; out of position, uncertain playing time, and playing more than 40 minutes a game. Neither Bazemore nor Brooks have an NBA resume that should tier them above the players that the Lakers already have on the roster. So what makes them worthy of walking in the door, sans practice or knowledge of the offensive system, to get a starting position (Bazemore) and minutes off the bench (Brooks)?”

    This sorta sums up this season for me – but from a different perspective – aside from Pau/Nash/Kobe/Kaman/Blake/Farmar – (and they’ve all been injured significantly/dnp’ed) – “no one” on the roster has a resume that earns them the right to say we’re better/we’ve been here and deserve to start. These players have been here all year and and they lost all these games with these guys – so what does it hurt to find out what you just got in a trade. Furthermore given the injuries – almost all of the Lakers roster didn’t earn their mins, they were given them by default. Just because they got there first doesn’t mean they’re better than the incoming talent.
    First people on the board bash the bench warmers who take over for injured starters, then start to act like the bench guys are all replacement level players capable of starting “if only MDA did this/that/was fired and we had PJ/Adelman etc..” despite there clearly being a incredible talent disparity w this team and the rest of the league. Now its like how dare the FO/MDA give time to the new guys when “we the fans” can clearly make better coaching/personnel decisions than this team.

    It’s like being a Laker is some warped version of dungeons and dragons – just by putting on the uniform “x player” automatically gains +15 in offensive/defensive capabilities across the board regardless of his real value vs other players in the league in the eyes of the fans. The fan base was denigrating Blake/Fisher/Sessions/Farmar daily in prior years – all guys had bad stretches/were villified by laker “fans”, but now they’re gone and yet earlier in the year heard how we needed Fisher back, shoulda kept Sessions vs getting Nash or how good Steve Blake actually is when so many people on this board were previously talking about how horrible they are and they need to be cut loose immediately. Seriously, no one healthy on this team (aside from Pau and he’s only a one way player at this point) is a regular starter on any playoff bound team. There was a reason all these guys were available for the Lakers to keep as roster fodder including Kaman, Hill (who again I don’t get the excitement over – over rated defender/energy player who doesn’t have the greatest bball iq, can’t get his own shot/doesn’t stretch defense, not a great help defender/rim protector), Meeks (works hard and can hit 3s when on but he’s not a lock down defender/starting 2 scorer in the league), or Nick Young (the guy is a chucker and someone has to take shots on the team – only reason he got a chance at all is because Kobe is hurt). Same w Marshall – someone asked MDA about his great stats and MDA said something to the effect that it only matters if you win. The roster is what the roster is at this point. Giving extended mins to the big slow guys so Pau/Kaman get better numbers isn’t going to win more games at this point – it only means the Lakers are going to lose in a different fashion. That is just a simple fact of this roster being constructed/destructed as due to the FO/injuries. Don’t over value these guys – other FO’s pay attention to the fact that despite whatever numbers players got, wins got less/losses got later, and they’ll chalk up inflated numbers for guys like Nick and Marshall to kobe being out and the system that allows for pg play and more shots.

    And I can understand that players are frustrated about losing mins to guys who are freshly new – but really at this point in the season it has to be clear to Pau et al that the FO needs to see what they have/got in a trade. It’s also easy for Pau to say the team needs to play w discipline/not look for numbers when he’s already at the end of his career and made his $ while every other guy is playing for their next contract. Lakers just need to let guys go – including Pau and Kaman (I don’t get why some are pushing for the FO to keep 2 or 3 Pau/Kaman/Hill and fire MDA – when that does nothing to improve interior d or get younger/athletic). It’s time to move on. If the FO decides that includes firing MDA – fair enough (though he is good w young guys and why pay for him to sit at home when you’re rebuilding next year anyways). Enough w/ continuity/transition – Lakers just need to cut the cord, clear the board and make a fresh start.

    For all his other numerous mistakes – and they are many this year amplified via unfortunate circumstance – I’ll give MDA a lot of credit. He’s managed to keep the lockerroom together so far – it will be interesting to see if he can do so the rest of the way.


  69. Re: Nash – people saying Nash should retire etc… now but that doesn’t save the Lakers any money this year. Yes they can waive/stretch him but that s still a 3 mil a year hit on their cap next 3 years.

    however – if they let him rehab over the summer they get 3 possibilities:

    a: comes back healthy and they have a high level pg for 20-25 mins a night and a team leader they can keep

    b: if he stays healthy/plays well – he becomes a 9 million expiring contract that could be very very favourable to flip to a contender or a fringe playoff team needing an upgrade while getting back youth/picks etc..

    c: if he rehabs but plays less than 10 games and retires early in the season for medical, then they’ll get a player exception/lnsurance pays out, doesn’t cost them anything luxury tax wise and they can save the cap space $ or use it to facilitate a trade//signing.

    I can see wanting him gone, just to be rid of him (not that I agree – just there is that sentiment out there) but waiting 5-6 more months isn’t going to hurt. Besides, Nash is realistic as well – if he can’t go 100% by start of next year the he’ll hang it up voluntarily.


  70. darius: before we get mauled by the grizzlies tonite:

    Go lakers


  71. LOL, so Wesley Johnson is going to start and play against Marc Gasol! Johnson is giving up what 100 pounds to Marc. Twenty-five games and counting down! This coach is so skewered in his philosophy that I have to laugh.

    This coach now talks about defense, when all year long he’s harped on offense. He’s now throwing the entire team under the bus, let’s see how this works out.