Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Pelicans

Darius Soriano —  March 4, 2014

More than any other game this year, I think, the win over Portland has fans experiencing a wide range of emotions.

Those who still try to find joy in watching the Lakers play well and actually win games found themselves beaming after the game. A win in Portland is always hard to come by, but a win by this version of the Lakers in Portland seemed impossible 24 hours ago. But there the team was, throwing hay-makers in the form of three pointers and digging in defensively (as best they could) to try and slow down a Blazer attack that features some of the best spacing and outside shooting around. When the game got close at the end, I think everyone was resigned to this being another loss, but a fantastic out of bounds play produced a game winner:

On a side note, that really was a great play design by Mike D’Antoni. He played up the idea that he would run a play for one of his guards, but then had Farmar set a pick (and an excellent pick was set) for Wes Johnson which freed him up for the lob. What also can’t be overlooked is Kent Bazemore’s pass. It takes a fair amount of skill and touch to get that pass there, on the money, to a slashing Johnson. He has to compensate for Aldridge’s length and the defender waving madly in front of him.

In any event, if you like watching this team play well, you were thrilled.

But if you are someone rooting for losses, odds are you were left disappointed after a win this team had no business getting when looking at the schedule. Each loss is a coveted asset for some fans as they represent a closer step to the promised land of a high draft pick. You want Joel Embiid? Andrew Wiggins? Jabari Parker? Then you probably want losses. And the more of them the better. Last night’s win vaulted the Lakers into a tie for the 7th worst record this year. At that spot, the odds of securing one of the super blue-chip players from this heralded draft class diminishes greatly. In other words, nice win team who can’t even tank right.

And then, of course, there’s the group of fans who liked the win but were mad about how it was delivered. An exploration of the boxscore shoes both Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman were DNP-CD’s. That duo getting zero minutes in a game where LaMarcus Aldridge is a featured player for the other team and had Robin Lopez getting a lot of garbage man points in the paint after the Lakers’ D was left scrambling to help was a point of frustration for many. D’Antoni’s insistence on going small and playing Johnson at the “4” and Kelly instead of his more heralded teammates is too much, was a common refrain during the game. And so there these fans are, struggling with the idea that the coach won a game and did it using his style with the players he wants to play in an environment he had no business doing it in.

I bring this all up because expect these to be the major themes over the last 22 games. There is no one right way to view these things. I know because I struggle with the conflicting nature of all these points of view myself. I hate losing. I want to see the team do well and, in the process, the players to get some joy out of what they do while improving upon their craft. I also want the best player possible from the upcoming draft and while there is no guarantee that a higher pick produces that player, what a higher pick does guarantee is the Lakers’ brass the option to make the choice they want rather than leaving the Lakers with whatever leftovers exist at pick 7 or 8 or 11. Further, I like Jordan Hill. I like Chris Kaman. I enjoy watching these guys do the dirty work and don’t like it when other teams’ big men do that work against the Lakers. I think there’s value in playing a style less reliant on high variance shot selection and a fast pace.

And I don’t think I am the only one thinking these things. Nor do I think I’m the only one thinking all of them in the course of a single game. Where that leaves us is in this strange middle ground of fandom that I don’t think can truly be balanced.

Tonight, though, the team is back at it. They face a Pelicans team who, like the Lakers, isn’t doing well and will be among the teams vying for one of the top 10 picks in the upcoming draft. They, like the Lakers, would like nothing more than to add to their core and improve their long-term fortunes with another high quality player. Can you imagine Wiggins playing with Anthony Davis? What about Parker? Or maybe Dante Exum in the back court with Jrue Holiday flanked by Davis in the front court? These are the ideas that a lot of fanbases are dreaming about right now.

What happens on the floor tonight, then, will be played against this backdrop. Enjoy the game however you see fit, folks. There’s only 20 some odd games left before everyone will argue about who to draft.

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

Darius Soriano

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64 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Pelicans

  1. darius: we agree, wins this late in the season, tastes, looks and smells bittersweet. part of the information gathering continues tonite versus another lottery bound team – pelicans at good old home sweet home- staples center.

    damned when we do, double damned when we don’t

    Go lakers

  2. All right Darius… I do love that we beat the Trailblazers, as they are a bitterly despised Laker rival. However, yes, I claim this season would be more “successful” if it ends with a higher draft pick- since we can’t make the playoffs. Nice phrase btw!

    “In other words, nice win team who can’t even tank right.”

  3. I have to say it, im apalled at MDA not giving a second of playing time to Kaman and Hill to play Robert Sacre?, giving ungodly rebounding advantages to the opposing team night in night out is unforgivable. I hate to talk about coaches but this is ridiculous.

  4. Great pass by Bazemore and finish by Wes.
    Great play call by Dantoni.
    Nice win @ the Rose Garden.

    Not playing Kaman or Hill?
    Dantoni is employing a strategy that is counter to any basketball sense I’ve ever heard in 40+ years of playing, coaching and studying the sport.

    Dantoni has drawn a line in the sand.
    It’s either them or me, he seems to be saying, to FO regarding Hill and Kaman.

    It seems clear which way management is leaning so far. They are supporting Dantoni.

    It’s gonna take a miracle to build a contendng team in the NBA with a system that treats lunch-pail rebounders like dirt. Not to mention the effect it must have on team morale when hard-working veterans are repeatedly insulted and snubbed.

    But hey, we won!

  5. Can we at least agree that we’re rooting for SAC, UTA, ORL, NYK and BOS (well maybe not them) to get some W’s?

    Finish with 7th worst record – 15% of getting a top 4 pick.

    Finish with 4th worst record – 47.7% of getting top 4 pick.

    *Ignoring tie-breakers and what-not.

    That worth the losses?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_draft_lottery

  6. Root for losses if you want, but to say the Lakers “can’t even tank right” isn’t much of a criticism for a team that isn’t trying to tank …unless it’s intended as humor.

    I don’t like watching the Lakers get manhandled inside, but does it really matter at this point? Let D’Antoni coach. It’s his show. His argument is that they have a better chance playing his way, and that does make sense because that’s what the team is geared to do. Make the other team adjust to you, if you can. I think Portland wishes the Lakers had gone big and slower against them. In any case, the Lakers are probably going to lose a lot more games this season. At least do it the best they can, and maybe the FO gets a better idea of who this team actually is, rather than what fans would like it to be.

  7. Kind of seeing things different. Team win or lose is more exciting playing small. If it’s not about winning then we might as well be entertained. See ya Hill/ Kamen. Get paid for having front row seats.

    Last nights game was fun. At this point fun is what we have.

  8. Gasol is good enough to help the Lakers win a few more games. Why not see how the other Laker bigs fare at the end of games? Shouldn’t Sacre get a chance to show what he can do in the last 5 min? I would even settle for Hill or Kaman. Also, it is okay for Farmar to start and Marshall to play the second half. Farmar is another player who will add to the win total. Give him some more rest for those hammies. It is hard enough to tank when you are trying, having players who care about winning and can do something about it is damaging the team’s long term prospects.

  9. Good post as always Darius. Yes the win coming with zero playing time for Hill and Kaman is hard to reconcile and I hate myself for hoping for losses and it prevents me from fully enjoying fun and improbable wins but I still think improved chances for a high draft pick is the best medicine for my current schizophrenic fandom.

  10. Hard to watch Marshall.

  11. Small ball looking good tonight.

  12. Looks like back to our regular sheduled programing:Tank. There or no other explanation to let Kaman and Hill on the bench and put Wesley and Kelly on Davis. Oh well it is what it is, it be over soon.Davis is going to score at least a new career high.

  13. Sacre is a lumbering oaf, he is not faster than Hill, even Kaman is faster than him. So he dont help this small ball lineup at all. Cant guard cant score cant rebound.

  14. At this point in time is all about getting the best draft position available, we are misding the playoffs by a mile, so getting “hot” by this team standards is not ideal instant gratification and would bring a smile to my face but it the big picture of things it hurts the team’s future. I hate the losing but we going to have or been taking our lumps this season and hope things start to turn around next season.

  15. Fern

    By far Sacre and Marshall are worst players on the roster. Yet they play.

  16. Wow, either pau doesn’t give a crap or he’s gotten slower as he can’t move or provide any rim protection whatsoever

  17. Sacre is worse, Marshall can dish assists at least that helps the team, Sacre dont do any of the things a 7’0 center is supossed to dowell enough, in fact he stinks at being a center. Good cheerleader and not a bad guy but he stinks at his job.

  18. On the plus side tonight the jaguar commercial w Ben kingsley,mark strong, and tom hiddleston is great.
    #itsgoodtobebad

  19. Jerke–love it–“And they all drive Jag-YOU-ars…” British food stinks but the accent rocks.

    (Apologies in advance to all British FB&G posters…)

    Edit–correction–LA’s interior defense stinks worse…(more? I guess my grammar stinks “worser”)

  20. melcountscounts March 4, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    I hope I live long enough to see Stu Lantz no longer doing Laker games. He is so annoying, and adds absolutely nothing to the broadcast.

    Free Jordan Hill.

    Not sure I can watch entire second half layup line for NO…

    MDA is right and the whole world is wrong, we just don’t understand.

  21. In case you are not looking Marshell 4 out 5 games 0 points.

    6 of last 8 more turnovers then points.

    8 games in a row minus with minus 17 tonight.

    Still getting more minutes then Farmer and starting.

    No way anyone can defend MD on Hill/Kamen and KM still starting.

    Back to being bottom 4 teams in NBA.

  22. Let D’Antoni coach. It’s his show.

    No one is saying it isn’t, and no one is preventing D’Antoni from coaching.

  23. Embarrassingly bad defense, but nothing new.

  24. Jerke–Postscript–unfortunately the Jaguar commercial’s “cool” is offset by the terrible Chris Paul State Farm commercials that remind me of Emperor Palpatine’s, er….Darth Stern’s… um….you get it…

    Parenthetically, even though they are torching the Lakers tonight, can anyone really argue that the Pelicans are so much better off now than they would have been if the Veto never happened? Coming into tonight they were racing the rest of the dregs of the West for the bottom…

  25. Lol mind crime. The pgs aren’t helping things either. Farmar and marshall have both hung pau out to dry a couple times

  26. Stus analysis apparently aimed at those unable to tell a one possession from a two possession game.

  27. Thank goodness for Pau FTs.

    Back to last in West.

    Phewwww!

    Worthy blasting MD again.

  28. James Worthy

    “You can’t just throw up 3 pointers. You have to play defense, rebound and play the game correct”.

    In one Mumbles ear and out the other.

    Hehehe

  29. Tonight Anthony Davis goes for 28 pts. and 15 rebounds, the Pelicans score 132(!), and New Orleans shoots 59.7% for the game with one zillion points in the paint. Don’t you just love Small Ball?

    Once again, Kaman and Jordan Hill are in exile–another DNP-CD for our strongest front court duo.

    Am I the only one who thinks that MDA has gone too far?

  30. D’Antoni says the Lakers CAN play better defense. The question then: Why don’t they? They stink pretty consistently.

  31. D’Antoni says the Lakers CAN play better defense. The question then: Why don’t they?

    ———————————————————————————————————————–

    ‘cuz their coach can’t coach … defense.

  32. MDA has fooled me before, and Kaman and Hill might play 55 minutes next game. But I tend to think that something went down behind the scenes–some sort of definitive message that both of them are gone next year and/or maybe there still might be a buyout coming.

  33. The Clippers and Houston have each won 8 of 10 and are 42-20 and 41-19, respectively. This whole thing is still pretty simple.

  34. Not trading or buying out Kaman and Hill before the March 1st deadline really adds to the sense of cluelessness this organization has projected for several years now. These players now are stuck in a contract year not allowed to be in a position to maximize interest in them. And were I Farmar, would I really want to stay knowing that the coach thought you couldn’t/shouldn’t start over Nash’s ghost and another guard who can only pass? Weird.

  35. Another milestone for Mikey.

    1st team in West to lose 40 games.

    Looking at remaining games I can not find more then. 5 wins. 26 wins the WINE!

    Our new Mario Andretti wine is really good!

  36. Giving up 132 points is just not acceptable, even in a fast-paced offense. It’s not enough to play defense occasionally.

  37. That’s right..buyout deadline was 3/1. Thought it was 3/10. My error.

    I still don’t get why Kaman was not bought out; he was a very logical candidate.

  38. Rr

    Jimmy is saving him for the playoffs.

  39. I thnk the FO has said they don’t really care about the smaller money issues. They probably kept Hill and Kaman because they can’t predict the future or what D’Antoni’s going to do.

  40. Renato Afonso March 5, 2014 at 1:56 am

    This season is lost anyway. Hill/Kaman/Pau (all of them could be very reliable veterans in a contending team) are probably gone. Farmar, by far our best PG, may be gone as well. It doesn’t matter what happens for the rest of the season because I honestly believe we will lose those key veterans.

    Regarding MDA, if he stays here next year then I hope no big man of relevance signs with the Lakers and that we remain putrid for another solid season. Whatever it takes to get MDA out of here as soon as possible. He’s a bad professional who would’ve been fired already if the FO had “colhões” for that.

    NOTE: I think you know what colhões means, even if it’s a portuguese word.

  41. Marlon Brando March 5, 2014 at 2:45 am

    Mr. Pringles said after the game sacre is their “Best defender and shuts down the paint”, which is why he plays over hill and Kaman, and he said it with a straight face.

    I will always support my lakers, but I have no idea how to respond that. I thought some of the young guys played well, and Pau showed again he can be a difference maker on a solid team. Outside of that, just at a loss with the coaches comments.

  42. RR, they can still be bought out (I believe) or waived but would be ineligible for the playoffs.

  43. If the goal is to let MD run his system and see what players fit best for next year, then why not sit Pau and Kamen and put Hill in at center? Wouldn’t he be a better small ball fit? If it is simply too personal for that, then why didn’t the FO move Hill? Or, isn’t that appropriate evidence to fire MD after the season? A coach that holds a personal grudge to the point that it undermines potentially the best line-up for the style the coach wants to play seems odd.

    But, this whole season has been odd. If MD and his style are the future, then is Kobe on board with that? Did he sign the extension assuming he could play that style and move forward?

  44. Teamn

    Best hope is to raise Pau’s value by having him out up big numbers and then convince him to agree for a sign and trade after the season.

    Otherwise all 3 walk for free and Mike plays center next year and Dan D plays power forward.

  45. The idea that this system can bring a championship literally flies in the face of 35 years of basketball.

    Unless our draft pick turns into a Lebron/Magic type player this system won’t work. I think at this point almost everyone involved with the Lakers from Buss to Kupchak to Kobe knows that. The problem is it’s hard to go from “it’s the new showtime!!!”, to “is this for real???” in 20 months without acknowledging a critical error in basketball judgement.

  46. Ko,

    I guess that makes sense, although I wonder if the FO has thought that out or if Pau would help them out at this point.

    As for your second point — thanks for the laugh. Although, you may not be far from the truth…

    I really wonder who the FO will draft if MD is still the coach. I’m starting to really worry.

  47. Renato,

    It is a privelege to learn Portugese from you.

  48. A friend if mine who knows someone who used to work for the FO says the team is in a shambles.
    I doubted him.

    Now I don’t.

    No legit basketball team would play like this.
    Sit players like Hill and Kaman.
    Play players like Sacre ahead of them.

    If Kupchak is giving Dantoni enough rope to hang himself, mission accomplished.

    But let’s not drag the franchise down with the Dantoni ship.

    It’s nauseating watching “Dantoni’s Follies.”
    I resent the damage he is wreaking on the Laker brand.

    It’s time for an insurrection.

  49. JC,

    Sign me up.

  50. If I had to bet, and fwiw, I’d say Farmar will be back with the Lakers next year. I think he wants to play in L.A., and D’Antoni is a good coach for him. If it wasn’t for the injury issues, he would likely have played big minutes this season.

    Pau wants to be free. On his possible sign and trade, the options are more limited, and the other team needs to be below the apron. I wouldn’t count on it.

  51. JC,
    I’m not sure a friend who used to work for the the FO is the best judge on what is happening there. People hold grudges and sometimes folk with bad judgement get fired for a reason.

    MDA has a system. He runs that system. I can understand not liking the system and not liking what it does to guys like Kaman and Hill. I would have no problem with the Lakers getting rid of MDA after this season, depending on who they are in a position to draft.

    As for the team is in trouble if a Magic/LeBron caliber player is not available… Guy, there is maybe one team in the last 30 season who won a championship without one of those types of guys. Be it Duncan, LeBron, Kidd, Robinson, Shaq, Kobe, MJ, Hakeem, or K9 those are the players who have won championships. Throw Magic, Bird and Dr. J into the mix and you have the last 40 years, aside from the 3 Detroit championships. It’s hard for me to put Sheed or Isaiah on that level (Thomas comes closest) but that is the sort of talent it takes to win in the NBA. So, anyone who does not draft or sign a player of that caliber is in trouble, and BTW, everybody wants to draft or sign players like that.

    Personally, I think there will be at least one such player in this draft, and quite possibly a few. Embiid, Wiggins, maybe Parker if he loses weight and it considerably improves his defense. My perfect scenario would be the Lakers winning the top pick, seeing if maybe Philly is really in love with Wiggins and maybe convince them to give up their two lottery picks for the top pick. I would be excited to grab Embiid and Vonleh or something of that sort. That will ultimately mean I get rid of MDA and probably hire a Van Gundy. All that day-dreaming aside, anybody we pick will take a few seasons to mature. All the top talents require development, especially the bigs. Hell, LeBron needed development. His handle was not at all tight and his footwork is still something I would like to see improved. Imagine that, he is the best player on the planet and still has some fundamental elements to his game that can be improved. If LeBron were as fundamentally sound as Durant, it would be game-over for the league. It still might be. Guys like Wiggins, Embiid, Parker, Vonleh, Smart, Randall and the rest of the top guys all have work to do. I’ll tell you this. We get one of those guys, it’s going to be fun watching them grow.

  52. JC

    No it’s time to stop going to games and stop watching . TW is down 34% this year. My guess by season end it will be 50%.

    That should get owners attention since TW contract calls for rating penalties per John Ireland.

  53. Yeah, I think some people are going too hard at MDA at this point. I pointed out in preseason, with a long list of examples, what has happened to every NBA team since the time of Wilt that has lost a top-grade center for little or no compensation. No, Howard is not Shaq or Wilt or The Captain, but he is still a Top-20 guy. Add that to the Veto, and the Lakers were almost certainly going to be hurting–quite possibly for a long time. Like I said upthread, Houston is 41-19 and the Clippers are 42-20. Nuff said.

    That said, while I agree with the point that MDA has a system and plays it, I do think that has has shown he is very stubborn about said system, and as a fan, I do not like that approach. NY fans have said the same thing–MDA has his guys, his way, and that’s it. That is OK if you win, but MDA has not won since PHX.

    So, for me, where we are is:

    1. There are enough extenuating circumstances that I think the FO should get more time (Yes, I know that Buss is not going anywhere–I mean “more time” in the sense that people should not be Dolanizing him yet). If that includes keeping MDA, so be it.
    2. I do not like many things I have seen, from both the FO and the coaching staff.
    3. We need to see some big decisions that actually work and move the team forward, starting this summer.

    Finally, it is worth reiterating P Ami’s point about the draft. All of the guys that people are talking about 18-20 years old and none of them is Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan. Given the amount of hope that the fanbase is hanging on this pick, we will need to remember that. But–whoever the guy is will need to show immediate signs of being a big-time player, although there will be a development curve.

  54. rr,

    You make good points, particularly about MD’s stubborness. Hill would appear to be a guy that fits the small ball approach, so I don’t really understand why he does not play, other than the personal issues that must exist.

    As for the draft, I expect a player that will show he has potential. What the Lakers do with that potential is at question in my mind. What if Kobe and MD clash all year? How does that affect the rookie? What if MD is fired mid-season? What if there are no vets beside Kobe to help mentor — just another year of players on one-year contracts auditioning for the future?

    I have not given up on the FO yet, but I anxiously await more signposts as to what direction the franchise is headed. I give them the benefit of the doubt that there is a plan. I sure hope it comes together.

  55. The TW contract penalties might be the most interesting thing I havent heard about before and I could see that leading to Dantoni’s departure if it starts costing them tens of millions in lost revenue per year.

    They probably thought a dantoni led team would be fun to watch and would boost ratings, which then backfired since we as fans know what championship basketball looks like but obviously the injuries this year have been bananas

  56. I’m not ready to buy that D’Antoni is benching Hill and Kaman because he has something against them personally. There’s too much at stake for that. He’s fighting for his coaching life, and wins and losses are as important to him as anyone. I just take him at his word, or what he implies by it. Those guys are not important to his offense, and he thinks Sacre is better defensively right now. Kaman is relatively slow-footed. Hill isn’t really that great defensively, and maybe inconsistent with the effort because he feels undervalued by the coach.

  57. He’s fighting for his coaching life, and wins and losses are as important to him as anyone.

    Maybe, but I actually doubt it. Buss and Kupchak presumably know by now who D’Antoni is and what he brings, so I seriously doubt that MDA’s job security hinges on what happens the rest of the way and, frankly, it shouldn’t. And there is no solid argument to be made that the Lakers need to try to win the rest of the year, particularly since Kobe and Nash are MIA and DOA, respectively.

    Now, I do think that if things don’t get better for the Lakers on his watch, MDA’s next job will be overseas, as an assistant, or on TV, but I would guess that his immediate future with the Lakers is already determined, with perhaps the draft pick caveat.

  58. I’ll likely write on this in the next day or two, but in the last 10 games the team has performed awfully when Hill has been on the floor. When he’s been in the game, the Lakers’ efficiency differential is -25.6, which is the worst on the team for any player over that stretch (he Lakers Offensive Efficiency has been 90.4 and their Defensive Efficiency has been 116.0).

    That’s not all on Hill, of course. But when no other player’s numbers come close to approaching that number (the next closest is Kendall Marshall at -13.1) so it’s not like the number can just be disregarded either. In any event, if you want more insight into why Hill isn’t playing, this is likely one variable.

    These numbers don’t explain Kaman’s drop in playing time, though. But I will explore that more thoroughly when I post.

  59. Renato Afonso March 5, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Darius, is it possible to split the stats in games where Hill plays 0-5 mins, 5-10 mins, 10-15, and so on? Most of times we only look at the averages while forgetting that playing 5 to 10 mins a game leaves little to no margin for error while on court. And obviously, the same numbers for Kaman as well, because it’s really hard to understand their consecutive DNP-CD’s.

    I do agree with what everyone is saying. He has his favorites, he has his system and screw everything else. I would buy into that if it came from a proven winner, but he hasn’t won anything and most winners are exactly the opposite in order the extract the most out of the roster that is available to them…

  60. Unless there is an injury, there is zero reason to play Kaman or Hill. They won’t be back next year, Sacre will. Therefore Sacre needs playing time to develop. Also, Kelly needs to be evaluated to determine whether they will extend the QO. Not that difficult.

  61. Darius,

    I agree with Renato. If you do a post on comparative figures, I would make sure that you place things in context (which I’m sure you would). Ten games, itself, is not a huge statistical sample. (You could look at any 10-game stretch and draw widely different conclusions.)

    Furthermore, over the last 10 games I noticed that for the first 7 of those Hill’s point totals (just to look at one isolated category) were as follows: 14, 15, 7, 10, 10, 10, 11. He then had 3 games in which he barely played before being completely benched by D’Antoni. In those first 7 games, he had one game in which he shot 33%. But in the other 6, he shot 50-85.7%. Of course, this is only one category out of many and doesn’t even touch on defense or rebounding. But if nothing else, this shows, I believe, that Hill had been one of our most consistent performers even though his minutes were anything but. Also, as I understand it, Hill’s PER rating is one of the highest on the team.

    I would also caution against trying to justify or somehow validate D’Antoni’s decisions statistically. I honestly believe that MDA just doesn’t feel that Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman fit into his system. And for that reason, he prefers not to play them.

    It could be no more complex than that.

  62. Mid,
    It could also be as simple as the team performing terribly when Hill has gotten minutes lately. I know this coach looks at lineup data – he’s said as much in interviews and people who cover the team have noted he’s brought it up in explanations. I don’t think lineup data can can or does explain every decision, but I’m positive it’s part of the process. Ultimately, though, it’s not about defending the coach, it’s trying to figure out what can be at the root of of the decisions and evaluating what works and what doesn’t within the context of the style the team plays and the players available. I’ve had no issues being critical of anyone associated with the team nor offering praise when I think it is warranted. Not sure why anyone would think that would change at this point.

  63. Renato,
    Anything is possible, it’s just more time and effort when numbers aren’t readily available. I only have so much time, however. Also, I think those who are so critical about minutes and rotations should also acknowledge when the numbers tell a different story than what they’d want while also accounting for ideas like a guy’s minutes get cut or are limited in a game because he doesn’t play well in any given stint.

    I’ve said several times I like Hill and have backed the idea he should play more throughout this season. However, I’ve also noticed a dip in his effectiveness as the season has advanced and the numbers in a lot of ways back that up. I think there are many ways to give context to numbers and they must always be placed against the backdrop of the style the team plays. That said, when some vehemently disagree with that style in the first place I think they should acknowledge how that plays a part in their critiques of those decisions that are at the root of those complaints.

  64. rr wrote: “Buss and Kupchak presumably know by now who D’Antoni is and what he brings, so I seriously doubt that MDA’s job security hinges on what happens the rest of the way and, frankly, it shouldn’t. And there is no solid argument to be made that the Lakers need to try to win the rest of the year, particularly since Kobe and Nash are MIA and DOA, respectively.”

    Seems many here all season have underestimated how much winning means to those who work for the Lakers.

    I don’t know where anyone is getting that D’Antoni’s job is secure. Is it a guess, or has Kupchak actually said it? What I remember from Mitch is that he’s looking for the team to play hard, together, and show improvement the rest of the way, and it stands to reason that the coach is responsible for that — the team. I believe it was said in the context of the job D’Antoni was doing. Kupchak was positive about what the coach has showed so far under the conditions, but it’s hard to say whether that was an obligatory statement of confidence for the media, or that D’Antoni was still unquestionably their guy. D’Antoni’s not as dumb as people make out. He has a full bench now and knows how the team plays is going to be a reflection of the coach. And I can see he’s very competitive and wants to win. So to say he’s intentionally weakening his own team because he has some personal dislike of Kaman and Hill –no evidence of that either — is jumping to an unsupported conclusion.

    Whatever opinion the stats support or contradict, D’Antoni has two eyes and knows what he wants to see on the court from his players. If he prefers the defense Sacre is playing, there need be no hidden agenda involved.