Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Nuggets

Darius Soriano —  March 7, 2014

I find myself going back and forth on how much value to place on the blowout loss to the Clippers.

On the one hand, the loss was, in the words of several players and the coach, embarrassing. After hanging tough for a quarter, the Lakers promptly lost whatever will they had to actually compete when the respective second units from each team came in, changing the tone of the game. The rest of the contest turned into a highlight reel of plays for the Clippers with the Lakers playing about as poorly as I have seen them all season (which is saying something considering the lows they have had this year). At certain points the team trailed by 50(!) points and ended up losing by a franchise record 48. That’s not really the type of record you want your name next to.

On the other hand, this team is bad. We know they’re bad; this is not a secret. And while they can flash the potential of being a good team on any given night, that should not be mistaken for actual quality. Even a child can pound on a piano for a couple of notes and produce something resembling a melody. So while some losses sting more than others, they are still just losses. This team has plenty of those in a variety of ways by a variety of margins to nearly every team in the league. Does losing by 40 hurt more than losing by 5? Sometimes yes, but other times no. They all count the same on the ledger in the end anyway.

Which leads us to tonight. After taking a beating like the Lakers did last night, there are two responses that are most typical. First is the itch to get back on the floor as quickly as possible to try and get that bad taste out of your mouth. The other, however, is that you end up licking your wounds and stay down for longer than you should and that bad taste lingers as to affect future play.

How the Lakers respond remains to be seen, but flying into Denver and landing at 4am local time while playing a game at 6pm isn’t really ideal. I can’t recall the last time the Lakers won when playing in Denver on the second night of a back to back after flying from the west coast (has it ever happened? maybe in the Showtime era?) so the hill they will try to climb tonight is already a steep one without last night’s game potentially serving as a bad hangover.

So, in many ways, what I am most looking for is that desire to play hard and the mental fortitude that is needed to try and overcome the physical tiredness they’re sure to feel. Last night’s game has that potential to drain a team of its spirit. The Lakers can show us all something (while also giving their coach a nod of support) by coming out and playing as hard as they can to try and get this win. They may not get that W, but going about securing it in a professional manner by giving their all would be something to look for. If they fall flat again or seem to throw in the towel early, that is a bad sign. Not just about whatever support (or lack thereof) they are giving their coach, but even about the mental makeup of some of the players.

In that regard, I’m not as interested in the X’s and O’s of this game. The Nuggets have had their own defensive issues lately and have given up big point totals in some recent games. They too are dealing with some injuries and, over the course of the year, have been called out by head coach Brian Shaw for not playing hard enough. Just as the Lakers are, the Nuggets are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in and have to evaluate players and start to decide who is part of their future core and who is not.

In other words, the stories of what is going on with these teams internally may influence the outcome of this game more than what goes on between them on the floor. This league can be interesting that way sometimes.

Where you can watch: 6pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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127 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Nuggets

  1. Can’t compare past games in Denver cause their team is not as good as in the past…Even if the Lakers lose tonight…its the way they play that will interest me…Has D.A. lost this team or was yesterday just a extremely bad game…D.A. just won in Portland… Yesterday shows how weak the Lakers are when a team wents to step it up against them…Clips had reason to play hard and the real value of the Laker players came out…Mostly 12th men on most rosters…

  2. I think MDA is in the hotseat at least, all the problems the Lakers have this season came out in the worst way posibl last night but on steroids, getting outrebounded by 20 almost every night? Nah lets go to 31 we allowed a gazillion points to the Pelicans? Thats not high enough. I understand MDA has been in a tough tough position since he got hired, and we know about all the myriad of injuries and i believe his system would work with better talent . But his stubborness and being unable to adapt to this team strengths and weaknesses is fatal, i still cant believe he is the only coach in the entire world that would play Sacre over Hill and Kaman and a couple of days ago he named him the best defensive player in the team, my head almost exploded. Marshall still starting shooting 10%fg is just i cant say the word here. I kept quiet about MDA all this time because i understand the circunstances but im at the point that i just cant understand this level of stubborness, unless he wants to get fired, i mentioned earlier the only coach that i feel could stir this team in the right direction is Byron Scott. He knows and understand the culture what it means to be a Laker and win with the Lakers. We need someone that understand what it all mean.

  3. I predict Lakers will lose tonight at less then 48

  4. Fern: Please tell rr that I did not tell you to mention Byron Scott : ) On that topic – if anyone thinks Scott’s record is questionable – you are correct – and it amazing similar to MD’s. With one big difference – as Fern points out – Scott is a Laker. Just like Brian Shaw was. Just like Phil was. We could have had any of those three. We do not.
    Tonight’s Game There are no key things I am looking for. I will not be impresed if ther team puts up good fight, nor will I be upset if we lose badly. It is what it is.

  5. I like MDA but if he is to go the only realistic target I like is Hollins. Kobe as Conley, Exum/Wiggins as Gay/Allen, Pau as Marc/Z-bo, Wes as Prince, Sacre as lol. Ultra offense to ultra defense. Pau might no longer be athletic but has high IQ and at a slower pace will be a good defender.

  6. Ty Lawson is going to run us rugged. I mark this game as a loss – just dont see with any chance mainly cos of Ty. Faried on the boards alert …lol. Our last game was pure torture …was following ESPN updates …felt sick …just praying it ended quick. Surprised we even got to 94.

  7. Fern, I am with you. With this team, stubbornness is simply not acceptable. It is one thing to go down trying your system, but it is another to keep doing the same thing over and over – insanity.

  8. Al4Christ. Kobe as Conley? I think it should be the other way around, on his best day Conley cant carry Kobe’s jockstrap. Memphis a slow team that is good defensively because to win games it has to slow down the game to a crawl and be physical i would not call 95 freaking points per game “ultra offense” gimme a break. That style of play is losing ground on todays NBA thats why they are on the outside looking in for a playoffs berth. We can gripe about the state of the team but i believe the mayority of people here agree that the Lakersare at least in the right track being faster than before. Speed and athelticism and talent is the name of the game nowadays, we have the 1st two to a degree but we are woefully lacking on the third.

  9. “Sacre as lol” i liked that hehe

  10. Boy is KM defense bad.

  11. @rr Robert did not told me i came up with Scott myself 🙂 Dont be deceived by Byron coaching record the 3 teams he has coached he got them on a rebuilding process and with the Nets and the Hornets he turn them around, he won COY with the Hornets for crissakes. He could not turn the Cavs around because after drafting a no-brainer like Irving their former GM could not draft his way out of a paper bag. Dont know if it happens but if they fire MDA hiring him would be a fine coach hiring and would go a long way to appease the fan base.

  12. Man oh man get Marshall out if there before Lawson scores 80!

  13. Looks as if another opposing team will top the 120 pt mark – within the customary 48 min span – against us tonight.

  14. Well it appears the coach made some defensive adjustments tonight.

    Nice job Mike .

  15. Last 4 quarters of play the Lakers have given up 155 points.

  16. Again with the 1st quarter fireworks SIGH…

  17. Thats not entirely on the coach, sorry thats on the players not appliyng the most basic defensive fundamentals. You can coach 1000 defensive schemes but if your players dont bother to box out or hustle is all for nothing…

  18. Fern

    Isn’t that a reflection of the coach wanted to only play guys with offensive skills to fit his style?

  19. Ko thats another issue, even if you have a coach that dont preach defense i expect a pro athlete to have the fundamentals that are ingrained ince basicaly their basketball cradle. Not entirely on the coach.For example, that Lawson basket, Farmar funneled him to the basket to where should be a big ready to challenge, where was Pau? Near the ft line standing looking at the play, thats on the player and on a lesser extent MDA for not calling him on that and sit his butt on the bench.

  20. Teams must be so excited to play Lakers.

    Meeks looking poor for 2nd night.

    Another 73 plus half.

    Season high for Denver.

  21. 77 1st half points YIKES!!!!!!!

  22. Good thing the Lakers aren’t planning major changes for next year … why mess with such a masterpiece of a team?

  23. I did not think the Lakers would give up 70+ points again in the first half so soon, I was very wrong.

  24. Got it Fern.

    Only guys worth keeping on the pile is.
    Maybe Kent
    Maybe Kelly

    Rest will be gone IMO.

    Entire coaching staff included.

    Time to start all over. Can you imagine Kobe playing this style next year?

    No way.

  25. If the Lakers allow 150 to the Nuggets, what are the chances of D’Antoni getting canned tonight?

  26. Not good if they want the worst record Mid

  27. Reality…most of these guys will either not be in the NBA next season or at the end of a bench..if you can play defense teams will find a spot for you…Most of these guys can’t defend at the NBA level…

  28. Gene

    That’s why I left Jody off my list. One way player. Gets bear as much as Marshall.

  29. You would think guys that are looking for jobs next season would try harder on defense….So maybe they just lack skill and motivation and that is why they are fringe players…

  30. Been a fan for 35 years.

    By far the worst team with the worst lack of coaching I have ever seen.

  31. Whoever is guarding Faried is not doing a very good job. 132 points. Wow. First team to ever allow 140 in consecutive games?

  32. Know things are bad when I long for former laker glory… Steve Blake and Nick Young.

  33. I really think they can do it!

    They have 4th worst record now.

    After the next 4 games they will be 3rd worst.

    Keep it going Mike your our hero!

  34. I actually like meeks – not watching tonight but even against the clips he was able to somewhat manage cp3 when he was in front of him and puts in a lot of hustle – thougjt he made a big stride compared to last year

  35. Warren Wee Lim March 7, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    If you want to change the coach, you do it with a few games left, give him training camp and give him the ability to choose free agents he would like on his team. If you put Lionel Hollins here, after putting MDA guys in, it would make yet another big mess.

    This has been a transition season and I am very much surprised with why people are complaining how this delicious sausage is made?

    Way I see it, we’re staying with MDA for atleast 1 more full season. We finally have guys that can play his system, we finally have a very good bench. However, if that bench is forced to play as starters, of course we’d be beaten black and blue night in and night out.


    ^ If that group would become our bench next season watch out league.

    Question is, who do you start then? Nash, Bryant, Young, Gasol, X. Not even Dwight could save that starting lineup defensively.

  36. Meeks has had a very positive season. Much improved. As horrendous as the Laker defense is thanks to coaching decisions, and some weak links in personnel, one defender containing athletes like Ty, Manimal, Chandler, doesn’t happen often.

  37. Warren
    Lakers have to go 10 and 9 to not be the worst team in Laker history.

    No way in this world can any team keep a coach with the worst record ever.

    Please put down the purple cool- aid.

  38. Warren…that is not a good bench…

  39. Agree Ko I’m at about 40 years as a fan and I’m basically astonished at what I’m seeing.

    Luke Walton said post-game that the players are playing hard, but they’re just not playing the right way. They’re not playing the way that gives them the best opportunity to win. James Worthy agrees. Jordan Farmar said they’re scoring 120 and losing; something’s wrong.

    If a coaching change is to be made I think it will help the team the most if it happens before the season ends.
    This will give the team a chance to shake off this ‘system’ and begin the journey back to planet Earth, basketball-wise- where rebounding and defense matter.
    And give guys like Pau, Kaman and Hill a reason to hope that next year will be better, so that they may consider staying in town. That’s a long shot at this point I know.

    On the lighter side:

    Ko, I think I had 26 wins in the wine contest.
    I think that number is looking pretty good!

  40. Yep I see 5 wins on final 19 games.

  41. an old dog cannot learn new tricks.

    in coach mike d’antoni’s system; you expend the majority of your energy on offense and what little left is spent on defense. this style has the appearance of playing hard on offense but plays to fatigue on the other end. not smart, not smart at all. this is what we got for a laker team and nothing changes until the philosophy and style in coaching changes. if this is what you resigned yourself to accept; then expect the same. if you’re in a position to make changes because you have seen the error of your ways, more power to you.

    thinking here is we all know who i’m talking about.

    Go lakers

  42. If I were Chris Kaman I would blow up a tall bald and bearded inflatable doll dressed in Laker warm ups and put it at the end of the bench and see if anyone on the coaching staff notices.

  43. jc: you are hilarious.

    btw: that was a tall bald and bearded inflatable doll dressed in laker warm ups. looked a lot like chris kaman.

  44. A slightly humorous side note to the Lakers week is that it started with the impressive Portland win, followed by a post-game MDA getting snarky about those who doubt that his style gives the team its best chance to win, followed by 408 points allowed in three games and a 63 point differential in three straight losses.

    If that’s not schadenfreude for the MDA doubters, I am not sure what is.

  45. Worst defensive team in the history of the NBA

  46. Warren Wee Lim March 8, 2014 at 1:55 am

    Ko March 7, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Lakers have to go 10 and 9 to not be the worst team in Laker history.

    No way in this world can any team keep a coach with the worst record ever.

    Please put down the purple cool- aid.


    What the Lakers do with MDA is up to them. Only problem is we have already secured pieces that fit his system, to go about another coaching change just promotes yet another problem because getting a coach like Lionel Hollins for this crew is just the opposite of what we’ve been doing over the last 20 months. Its not gonna change. This is my belief.

    Farmar, Meeks, Bazemore, Johnson and Hill make up an excellent bench. The only problem is we don’t have a starting unit, and Nash, Bryant, Young, Kelly and Gasol is just atrocious defensively.

  47. Warren Wee Lim March 8, 2014 at 1:56 am

    If we should consider a new coach, has to be Stan Van Gundy or George Karl. I know they would make something out of this current crew we have. If you choose someone like Phil Jackson or Lionel Hollins or worse Brian Shaw, we’re toast.

  48. I would love Jeff van Gundy, I think he did a great job with the ever injured Rockets teams.

  49. Renato Afonso March 8, 2014 at 5:13 am

    Secured pieces that fit D’Antoni’s system? Are you talking about Sacre, Kobe and Nash? Because, as far as I know, they’re the only ones under contract. The pieces for his system should be starters and Kobe certainly doesn’t fit his style.

    Regarding our bench, while I agree that it can be a very reliable bench, the truth is that you don’t need Pringles no defense all offense system for those players to flourish. Good players can play in any system and be effective, regardless of their stat sheet. Remember that the bench mob in ’09 was quite effective and our coach was Phil. It’s all a matter of adjusting your plays, tempo and defensive schemes for the roster available.

    So, you’re wrong on that one. We can dump Pringles, hire a real coach and provide him with good players during the offseason, because with that guy sitting on our bench no good players will want to come here.

  50. I cringe at the thought of it, but I think Warren´s right on the MD´A thing; we´re gonna have to endure another season with him on the bench :/
    still, anything can happen..that is to say: SVG or B. Scott – but it just seems improbable at this point
    egads, the Thunder back to back this week….

  51. Theworminator March 8, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Changing coaches which I totally agree with doesn’t solve tha Lakers’ problem. Untill we send Jimmy Buss back to the race track I’m afraid we will have to get used to being a substandard basketball squad. Look at the two coaches he’s hired was either one at the top of anybody’s list? And what about the one he passed on to hire MDA? What free agents have we chased? Trades? We lost something special when we lost Jerry Buss. Mitch has always had Jerry or Jerry to lean on without those two he is in over his head I’m afraid. And contrary to Jimmy’s belief daddy owning a basketball team doesn’t instantly make you qualified to run a team. Ok I’m done ranting

  52. The problem with MDA as our head coach now is, we don’t know which of these young guys we are trying to evaluate can actually play defense. We know which of them have the ability to play defense, and which of them absolutely do not, but we don’t know which members of the first group would be willing defenders if coached properly. All we know is that with MDA, this group has shown no heart, toughness, or will.

  53. I think it’s almost mandatory that the Lakers have a coaching change immediately after the season is over. There are several reasons for this–1) the team’s horrendous record (not all of which is D’Antoni’s fault), 2) the well-chronicled issues with MDA’s mis-managing of traditional bigs, 3) the team’s horrendous defense, both on the perimeter and in the paint, and 4) the occasional very un-Laker like blow out losses, especially of late.

    But even more important, I think, is the issue of D’Antoni’s attractiveness as a coach to free agents, especially big men. If MDA remains as coach, almost assuredly Gasol, Hill, and Kaman will not return. Regardless of one’s evaluation of those players, they represent 2 skilled seven-footers (which can be VERY difficult to find) and one outstanding rebounder who could probably average a double-clouble in another system.

    So the Lakers’ biggest challenge during the off season would be re-building the front line. With MDA’s reputation, who would want to come here? Would Mitch want to repeat another Chris Kaman scenario in which he pays $3.1 million to a player simply to have D’Antoni relegate him to the dog house for reasons which are obscure at best?

    The Lakers should have plenty of guards and wings to choose from. But available–and interested–Big Men will be scarce. With MDA as head coach next year, the Lakers could end up with a starting front court of Sacre, Kelly, and Wes Johnson. How appealing is that? Will that solve our rebounding and defense issues?

    And with regard to draft picks, neither Embiid not Jabari Parker nor Julius Randal nor Noah Vonleh nor Aaron Gordon is a stretch-anything. Would the Lakers draft one of them only see them languish on the bench because they don’t fit MDA’s system?

    So, with D’Antoni remaining, the Lakers’ ability to attract free agents and develop young traditional bigs will be severely compromised. With that being the case, I see no solution but to fire D’Antoni and bring in a coach (whoever that might be) who can re-build a team, attract quality Big men, and work with Kobe. D’Antoni, clearly, is not the man for that job. We will need a new head coach. Plain and simple. There’s no other way.

  54. Byron Scott took his New Jersey teams to the finals. In a weaker East, yes, but D’Antoni only got close once and never made it.
    Scott IS a Laker whereas MDA knows there are ATMs in every city.
    Scott played aggressive defense and offense in the NBA his entire career. As a coach knowing the NBA heights as a player, he is saturated in understanding that the game has to be played both ways. That makes him more palatable as Laker coach though he shouldn’t necessarily be the next Laker coach.
    As with many coaches whose teams don’t win it all, Scott seems to grate his player’s nerves after a few years.

    As much as Sarver has been derided over the years, he’s gotten over on us with his disposables twice in a row now.
    Presently, Howard’s run thus far is making him look like Einstein compared to the Laker brain trust. When will the jerseys read the “Los Angeles Cavaliers”?

  55. No coach can make this band of misfits win.

    A slower, inside out system would create less injuries and lower scores. Most if the points are scored on missed 3-pointers and run outs of 5 on 3 etc by the other team.

    Mike problem is he only knows one way to play. When it doesn’t work it’s embarrassing. He also would rather play guys that kiss his ring then what’s best for the team. Only a fool can say the last 3 losses were worth trying Kamen. 48 point loss and not a minute against his former team?

    Chris should sue the guy for ruining his future ability to showcase his talents in the NBA.

    Finally the backlash of keeping Mike next year would far out weigh the money they have to eat . Fans are disappearing both at games and on TW. I can promise you Kobe is lobbying for a new coach. 37 year old stars, coming off 2 bad injuries don ‘t need this guys style and lack of adjustments.

    Mike is 19 games away from his last head coaching job in the NBA. I am sure of that. As an Italian I hope he goes to coach in France instead of back to Italy.

  56. Theworminator: “Ok I’m done ranting” No – please continue. I will let you know if I disagree with anything
    Purple: There are two aspects to this. What we “think” is going to happen and what we want to happen. Of course Jim Buss is capable of keeping MD – he hired him over Phil Jackson didn’t he? Why would the two year record dissuade him? By the way as rr and I discussed – these game results should not matter in terms of keeping MD. But they do. Again – what I think should happen vs. what will happen. Getting crushed does increase the odds of Jimmy firing MD. A couple of hard fought wins he will keep him. It is silly but probably true.
    SkyHook: “All we know is that with MDA, this group has shown no heart, toughness, or will.” Well – there is a Laker fan contingent who actually think MD gets a large amount of heart and will from his team. I am not part of that contingent.
    WWL: “just the opposite of what we’ve been doing over the last 20 months” That I think is the point. Whatever we have been doing for the past 20 months, we should do exactly the opposite
    Renato: “Secured pieces” Agreed – we have nothing secured. We have Kobe, Nash, Sacre, and Kmarsh. Most of that does not even fit with MD.

  57. read that link guys…

  58. Re MDA, I would not trust a coach who cannot/will not maximize a poor lineup to properly utilize an ideal lineup (which we will not come close to having in any foreseeable future scenario). MDA must go.

    After the Lakers’ last championship, I heard Jim Buss talk. I thought man this guy is a tool. I know the good Dr. made the LA Lakers and one should not speak ill of the dead but some of the blame for their current woes have to be laid at his feet. He chose the wrong Buss. Jeannie I know is a PR person, not a basketball person. But I think she has the requisite knowledge, maturity and self-awareness to hire the right people and get out of the way.

  59. A team centered around a half-court maestro like Kobe and a half-court defensive anchor like Howard should have playing at one of the league’s slowest paces. A team centered around D-league type/fringe players should be playing at a slow pace to minimize possessions and prioritize getting stops (which is more about energy than talent) and playing with defensive cohesion and discipline.

    In other words the hiring of D’Antoni is only going to look worse with time, not better.

  60. Agreed Robert, agreed

  61. I obviously have no idea, but
    I don’t buy this theory. I think that the Lakers FO was trying to have the season that Dallas is having. They picked up Kaman thinking that they could either keep him around as a piece for a low-seed playoff run or move him, and I think they didn’t move him because they didn’t get an offer they liked. Farmar and Young kind of fell into their laps but were considered value-adds and are actually young veterans. They kept Blake until the deadline; they kept Meeks. Wesley Johnson filled a specific role on the team. I think they expected to get a lot more out of Nash and Kobe than they did, and I think that the FO thought that this would be a decent team.

    And, although not many people are owning it now, so did a fair number of fans, here and elsewhere, and that was reinforced by the team starting off 10-9 and hitting 10-9 on the day Kobe came back. There were people here, and elsewhere, talking playoffs.

    Kupchak is a solid, old-school basketball man who has been part of winning organizations almost his entire career. He learned under Jerry West. He has multiple rings. He played for Dean Smith at North Carolina and won a Gold Medal at the 1976 Olympics. I do not see that as the profile of a “tanking ninja.”

  62. The premise of Fern’s link is that Mitch is a “Tanking Ninja.” I have a post in mod explaining why I don’t buy it.

  63. Barty: ” hire the right people and get out of the way.” I have been saying this for 3 years. Jim coud solve all of the problems with his decision making, simply by not making them. He could leave the team to Mitch. Perhaps he could spend his time in NY with James Dolan. They could swap D’Antoni and Phil Jackson stories. Unfortunately we went from Jackson to MD. They went from MD to considering Jackson. Lets chart those trendlines.

  64. @rr i dont buy the entire premise of the article, that would give Mitch powers of foresight that are not even human, i do believe all those factors some unforseen some are not combined to spew this season. Lets not forget that Mitch works under the radar. So i do believe that he knew that this season could unfold this way if the chips fell of the table. We all knew that if the injury bug bit this team it was going off the rails fast ,well did and big time. Lets just say that Mitch tricked Jimbo into tanking this season while pretending to assemble a “competitive team”, we keep losing so the chance we get a really got player in the draft grows (imagine if the Lakers get the 1st pick? Conspiracy theorist heads would explode lol.) . Its nefarious and a total guess i know but i like it.And Mitch would never fess to it.

  65. “Hiring the right people” does not work if the people do not know what they are supposed to do. The GM and the coach need to share the same vision for what the team needs to be. The owner needs to be able to support this vision too. For example, SEA-OKC had a miracle run of drafts that netted them 3 outstanding players (Durant, Westbrook, Harden) to build around for years to come. The owner did not share that vision and insisted on dealing Harden. If he does not make that trade, OKC could be back to back champions. For the Lakers, Jerry Buss shared a vision of a fast paced team with Jerry West and gave Magic a ridiculous contract for the time to help make it happen. Buss then supported Phil Jackson when he brought in the triangle and ran a ball control offense. The current version of the Lakers lacks a cohesive vision that is shared by Mitch and Mike let alone Jim.

  66. The Lakers are too proud to tank or the Lakers are tanking Ninjas. It is more likely that they are just a bad team or as Charles said in his younger days: “Bad team, man. Bad f***ing team.”

  67. I find it harder and harder to take the SSR people seriously. It’s pretty obvious that the goal for this season was a playoff spot. The FO didn’t expect Kobe to play only 6 games and Nash to play only 10 games. Other injuries got in the way, too. Mitch’s problem was that the salaries of Kobe, Pau and Nash left little room for significant additional signings. So they got a few veterans (Kaman, Farmar, Young) who were willing to play for (a little) less than they might have gotten elsewhere and added some young players (including former lottery picks who didn’t live up to expectations). That had nothing to do with tanking and might even have worked out (with the players on the roster being utilized properly) if Kobe and Nash had been able to play more games.

    Of course when Mitch traded Blake (one of the few veterans who were actually utilized properly) it was obviously tanking (in the sense of weakening the team in order to put it in a better position in the future). Whether or not the team is going to profit from it is unclear, though, because young players in particular tend to adopt bad habits on losing teams.

    BTW, the infamous starting lineup that included Smush Parker, Kwame Brown and Luke Walton did significantly better than the current one.

  68. If the FO wasn’t tanking and thought they would battle for a playoff spot we are in trouble and they just should retire from basketball. There is not even a small part of me that thinks Mitch was trying to get into the playoffs this year. But I have said that from last summer.

  69. We actually had a record that supported it at the time when Kobe came back. Unfortunately he got injured before he could shake off his rust and things went downhill rapidly.

  70. Joshua,

    Good post. The Lakers had limited options, and I think it is obvious that the main mandate was “Don’t tie up a bunch of cap space long-term” (which is one of many reasons I think KB’s extension is such a bad idea). I would assume that the FO figured if things broke right, maybe they get into the low 40s in wins. If not..well, we are seeing that. The problem I had all along was that I think the team was most likely to go about 32-50, and I think that they are in some ways fortunate, crazy as it sounds, to actually be worse than that.

  71. Fern,

    I have never been a conspiracy theory guy, when it comes to either sports or politics. I have always been more of an Occam’s Razor guy, and the people running the Lakers, are, after all, human beings, as prone to false hopes and misjudgments as the rest of us. People at SSR and elsewhere can believe that Kupchak was acting on multiple levels in some awesome shell game here if they want to–choosing players that would give the illusion of trying to compete while not competing and also picking up reclamation projects that might help a future team win but would help this one lose. But if Mitch that much of a Machiavellian genius when it comes to manipulating and acquiring third-tier personnel, then he needs to explain Gerald Green, Troy Murphy, Jason Kapono, Devin Ebanks, and Darius Morris to me at his first opportunity.

  72. I believe the FO had a two pronged strategy, we assemble a competitive team if they stay healthy they had a shot to make the playoffs i even dared to say that if everything went perfect ( Nash playing somewhat to the level he played his last season in PHX and Kobe returning close to what he was) we could win 50 games healthy is the operative word like really healthy that was a thin line to walk but it was possible. Early returns were satisfactory and that game Kobe broke his knee i thought that was the game that really started integrating Kobe in the team and the corner turn was right there. The next day we all know what happen and then the injury bug gorged itself with Lakers. This would show FAs that the Lakers would remaing competitive no matter what. The second one was if it didnt worked out take our lumps evaluate the young talent and keep 3 or 4 besudes the players already under contract, wash rinse and repeat next season by summer 2015 we hopefully have a young viable core of role players on the cheap around Kobe on his final season and then make the big splash in free agency and hopefully return to contention and try to sent Kobe off to the sunset with that 6th ring. A lot of it is me guessing and i never claim to know a lot but observing the team and some comments by Mitch thats what we looking for at least is what i see.

  73. Fern,

    That makes a lot more sense than “Mitch Kupchak: Tanking Ninja” does.

  74. @rr on the comment after i post the link i said that i dont buy the entire premise. I do believe that as a GM and a very good one at that, Mitch had some contingecy plan in case everything went well the way they did. Gee is not like i wrote the article lol.

  75. Yeah. I don’t agree with that article. I think that Mitch and Jim believed that they had a shot at the playoffs, if the rash of bad injuries was not repeated. And they probably did have an outside shot. I thought so when we were 10-9 right before Kobe came back. However, once the injuries hit us again, I would claim that the tank was fully on. Mitch told D’Antoni to “see what the young guys can do” and now Kaman and Hill ride the pine. Then they just so happen to trade Blake who was having a pretty good year. Seems obvious to me. Now Gasol is actually getting a little bit of feature in the offense and setting the stage for a possible SnT next offseason.

    Stealth tank. Unintentional tank. Tanking without tanking. Whatever you call it, we’re doing it now.

  76. A team learns zero from massive blowouts, except how to quit. My fear for this Lakers team is that in their huddles they are silently mouthing Nick Van Exel’s, “One, two, three, Cancun” mantra. On the other hand, maybe, they are silently mouthing, “One, two, three, new coach real soon!”

  77. Renato Afonso March 8, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    KenOak, my only problem with that is that if you tell your coach to do a certain thing (like riding the young guys to see what they can do) you’re actually giving the coach a free pass. Doesn’t matter what happens, the coach was following orders and therefore can’t be judged by the product on court, with all the blame for the low TV ratings and attendance falling on the FO’s shoulders. And if that’s the case, I would say we have problems that run much deeper than a bad coach and a roster filled with guys on expiring contracts.

  78. First of all, the Blake trade wasn’t about tanking. It was about getting Bazemore.

    And call me a contrarian, but I don’t see anything like ‘stealth tanking going on’. I think, rightly or wrongly, that MDA and presumably Mitch as well have concluded that, in light of our terrible injury situation, we are hopelessly outmatched against better teams and they believe that the only way we have even a chance to win is a desperate roll-the-dice strategy of playing fast and loose. I’m not going to weigh in here, but I think the idea is that we know that players like LMA and Z-Bo/Gasol are so much better than Hill/Kamen, so that even though Hill/Kamen are obviously objectively better than Kelly/Sacre, the latter pair creates a greater likelihood for a scenario in which everything might go right (three point shooting plus transition scoring) and the Lakers might eek out a win. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but some consideration of the ideas might be welcome instead of this onslaught of calling people idiots, or incompetents, etc. Guess what: MDA knows more than we do. If you want to really believe he thinks Kelly is better than Hill, well, that makes it awfully easy to win an argument when you don’t give your opponent the benefit of the doubt. Again, I am deliberately avoiding the question of whether or not I agree with this strategy, but let’s not kid ourselves and at least acknowledge that a strategy is in place.

  79. While a decision has not been made, Phil Jackson is leaning toward taking a front-office job with the New York Knicks, a source close to the team tells ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

    Jackson’s role would be president of basketball operations, in complete control of all basketball-related matters, according to the source.

  80. Yes, I know that people will write it off since it is Stephen A.

  81. PJax in New York as a president of basketball ops? Wow. I wonder who he would bring on as head coach at that point? Rambis maybe? If PJ goes to the Knicks, then Melo probably stays as well? If there is anyone who could turn that sinking ship that is the Knicks around…it’s PJ.

  82. I am actually a little skeptical about how Phil would do in a personnel role, in that I wonder how much he would engage with advanced stats and I think he might lean too heavily on older players.

    And, of course…Dolan.

    That said, I do think that Phil would see running the Knicks as the capstone to his career–he would have been a player, coach or exec in the three biggest markets in sports, and he would be finishing his NBA career where he started it. And it would give him a chance to do something Pat Riley could not do–win a title as an Exec in the Big Apple.

  83. Lol if PJ brought in Rambis as his head coach I think that would be a pretty suspect move to make to start his FO career – given Rambis wasn’t exactly any sort of success in minnesota and supposedly brought on by LA this year to handle def. If anything I bet PJ stays away from any nepotistic/laker flavored hires in order to establish a identity as a FO man separate from his laker days. Though if he takes Rambis. He should take mark Madsen as well, as he hasn’t shown much as a player development assistant coach.

  84. C Hearn: Whatever they are saying in the huddles is probably not good,but the whole huddle will be different soon : )
    KenOak: “I would claim that the tank was fully on” So please let me know why we did not trade Kaman or Hill or Pau?
    Jackson: IF (not done deal yet) he goes to the Knicks – it will clearly mean that Dolan has come to his senses and will back off. So perhaps there is hope here in LA as well.
    rr: “I know that people will write it off since it is Stephen A” Why would they do that? Over the past 3 years, Stephen A has criticized the FO like nobody else (well except maybe a couple of us here). He has been correct. He should be building a reputation for being accurate.

  85. Robert: 🙂 One can only hope, right.

    If, PJ lands in New York and turns that team into winners a la Pat Riley, I will not be a happy Laker: Particularly if the Lakers are still lost in SSOL land.

  86. Damn phone cutting my comment here it goes again, if PJ goes to the Knicks FO is irrelevant to our FO, Dr Buss left a clear sucession Jim and Mitch in charge of basketball and Jeanie on the business side. The last wishes of the good doctor must be respected. Sucks but PJ needs to find his own path so do our FO. I believe PJ will find out that James Dolan aint Dr Buss. I wish him the best of luck if he accept this job and thank you for all that you did. If Phil came back in any oficial capacity with the Lakers he wanted more than a head coaching job, he wanted to run the organization take control with Jeanie and no matter how we feel about that thats not what Dr Buss wanted.

  87. @Robert
    Because the deal that the FO wanted for either Hill or Kaman wasn’t there. They reportedly held out for a pick + salary relief. If they trade either of those 2 guys for nothing more than a salary dump, then everyone would *know* that the tank was on. This can still be claimed as an “unintentional tank.”

    And who knows- maybe Mitch and Jim have made up their minds that MDA isn’t going to be here after this season and they are going to try and resign either Hill, or Kaman, or heck even Pau.

  88. Ken i believe there is a better chance to bring Pau back than Hill or Kaman, i doubt those 2 want anything to do with MDA when the season is over, it took a long time but Pau showed that he can thrive on this system. Just my 2 cents. What i really mean is that i doubt MDA is going anywhere. I was angry after the Clipper loss but he cant be completely judged until he has a healthy team.

  89. And Ken i dont think the Lakers kept those 2 for the sake of ” were not tanking” they didnt made those trades because they had no basketball value. The only trade they made? We are seeing the benefits of it. They squeezed the most value out of Steve Blake, Bazemore is shinning and Marshall have his moments thats bang for your buck right there. Thats why i know that this FO still have the capacity to make the right deals WHEN necesary, Mitch said himself there were not going to be trades unless they made basketball sense. I totally agree with that. That ls a good statement of the state of the Lakers scouting i mean who the hell knew who were those 2 guys before? I had a passing recollection of Marshall, Bazemore? Completely under the radar for me.Didnt knew he existed.

  90. Fern,

    I think MDA is gone. They’ll fire him as soon as the season is over. It’s just a feeling.

  91. @Fern
    I think there’s more chance that LBJ opts out and comes to LA, than Pau re-signing here if MDA is still the coach.

  92. @Fern
    You didn’t read my whole post to Robert.
    “Because the deal that the FO wanted for either Hill or Kaman wasn’t there. They reportedly held out for a pick + salary relief.”

    Yes, they didn’t make the deal because it wasn’t everything that they wanted. However, there were absolutely “basketball reasons” to make the trades anyway. To get under the tax line and avoid the heavy repeater tax is a basketball reason. It means that they can go back over quicker and with less penalties. There was no reason not to trade at least one of the two- considering both have hardly played a single minute since the trade deadline. :/

  93. @Mid maybe but i believe they are commited to this system. Something i read yesterday gave me some pause Doc Rivers which is not a great coach on my book went thru the exact same thing in Boston the year before they got KG and Allen he understands what MDA is going thru i read that in an article before the 2nd great Staples masacre 2014 that idiot Bill Simons wrote one of the meanest and most spiteful and scathing articles agaisnt him that year i remember i read it when it came out and thought like wow the next year he was shoving his words you know where and basically kneeling in front of him if ypu knpw what i mean @ ken i agree but Pau loves the Lakers and seeing his production since the year started made his complains a little hollow in my view. He might just hate MDAs guts we dont know but Kobe is on his ear. This is not a defense of MDA i have a problem with his stubborness but but im sure he be back. They are commited to that kind of play.

  94. Aren’t Phil and Jeannie engaged? or married?
    If Phil goes to NY, that could make for some interesting dinner conversations.
    Probably via Skype.

    Fern hit on a good point.
    Dr. Buss preferred that his kids inherit the team.
    Not Phil Jackson.

    Jackson has a strong personality.
    He probably – at least partially – contributed to the departure of Jerry West.

    I think the hiring of MDA over Phil reflected the male contingent of the Buss’ family preference not to gradually cede Phil any more power than necessary.

    Dr. Buss respected his daughter Jeannie’s personal choice of Phil yet at the same time reserved the right to bequeath his beloved Lakers to his children. Hence the rift.

    I can understand it. As great a coach as PJ is, he can also come across as quite arrogant.

    I’m sure Jim Buss would love to succeed without the help of his sister’s boyfriend. Unfortunately he doesn’t have the basketball sense nor good fortune his father did.

  95. Nor does he own close to a majority of the Lakers. There are several other owners not named Buss.

  96. Just watched some Jabari Parker highlights…Man that guy is ridiculous! He looks like he could put on an NBA jersey tomorrow and start scoring 25 a game. If I were picking I may be a little worried about his athleticism though. He would probably be a perfect fit as a stretch 4 in a MDA system.

  97. Anschultz owns 27%

    Buss trust own 66% with none of them owning any by themselves.

    2 others own 7%

  98. If Buss’ intention were to keep the Lakers in the family (I believe it was), it absolutely made more sense to leave the team to the people that have his last name. Jackson is a leader that uses words to sway people. It would not take him long to usurp power away from Jim Buss.

  99. Hearn

    Yes but a majority of the trust could also vote to make changes and force Jim to comply and the other 3 Buss kids have a majority.

    It’s ain’t over till the man in the hat sings.

  100. Wiggins finally asserted himself offensively, in a loss he scored 41 points. When he puts his mind on offense he is scary good.

    He can’t play at a high level for 42 games in college, so what will he do with 82+ games in the NBA?

  101. Parker’s definitely a scorer. I wasn’t as high on him early in the year. I saw some of Michael Beasley in his game – the dependence on a physicality advantage that will vanish in the NBA, the tweener status. But he’s just so crafty, so good at getting buckets. I’m not convinced he can be the best player on a championship team – too slow of foot defensively, not explosive enough. But he’ll get buckets in the league, no doubt.

    Not entirely convinced Phil will be successful in a front office role, but I’m eager to see how it plays out. The point rr makes about stats is a good one – I can’t find the quote now, but I thought I remember Kupchak saying once that “Phil doesn’t do advanced stats” – or something to that degree. The number of old-school FO executives is dwindling, and the few that are left are often swindled by the newer-age guys. What Phil will bring is a cachet and power in free agent recruitment. If he can hire the right guys for day-to-day GM/scouting duties, he has a chance to be successful.

  102. This is just sad… Knicks getting pj and we’re stuck with pringles and jimbo.

  103. You guys are putting the Zen before the Pen. If you think Phil is moving from Playa Del Rey and Montana to a apartment in NY without a big fight from Miss Buss then you don ‘t see the game of thrones being played.

  104. Ko,

    I heard Phil talk once about how he has been in all three of the biggest markets, and he and Riley have always been rivals of sorts going back to Bulls/Knicks in the 90s. Riley has 9 rings; Phil 13–but Phil doesn’t have one as a FO guy, and Riley never got one in NY. I have to think that Jeanie or no, this offer, if it is real, would be one that Phil would seriously consider.

    It flew under the radar, but Jim Buss did publicly state, back in November, that he would “be happy to have Phil as a consultant.” IOW, as a guy with no decision-making power. Getting the Knicks on top would be great way for Phil to stick it to Riley–and to Jim, as well as to honor Red Holzman, etc. And it would put Phil back in the spotlight where he loves to be.

    Oh, and one other thing: the Knicks cap will probably be clear enough in 2015 for them to go after Kevin Love.

  105. Rr

    Or it could be his Water Loo. Don’t think he wants to finish like Jordan. Dolan makes Jimbo look like a Mensa. I think it’s a power play to force the hand of Lakers. Jim would not be able to leave his house in fear of being egged. I see Scott as coach and Phil in control next year as opposed to Bozo and Chucko. Just aged myself!

  106. Ko
    I dig the Game of Thrones reference.
    Although I do believe Phil may miss the spotlight, and the pull of NY and his roots is real, it seems more likely this is Phil’s way of telling Jeannie and the Buss gang to bring him into the Laker power circle – or lose him.

  107. I believe the Good Doctor left the line of sucession very cl clear is not like the son of wife # 3 try to take over the Lakers his sons have a piece of the team but i bet Jim and Jeanie have the biggest share. Damn i wish i was Jerry Buss son.

  108. I see Scott as coach and Phil in control next year as opposed to Bozo and Chucko.

    I think there is basically no chance of that. Jim getting in back, letting Jeanie ride shotgun, and putting Phil in the driver’s seat after the Old Man handed Jim the keys? I would rather bet my savings on Aaron’s preseason LeBron scenario than on that happening. GoT is a fantasy show, buddy.

  109. every captain must go down with their ship

  110. Warren Wee Lim March 9, 2014 at 4:25 am

    I would like to echo the thoughts of Mambino.

    I know we’re spoiled and all but its just amazing how much we ask out of what we currently have.

  111. I would like to see PJ take the knicks job if only for the fact to see if it further validates his career beyond being simply a coach that can finish when he has the best players in the league on his teams. Yes he’s got 11 rings and is a great motivator, but I want to see how he does with a team that can’t run the triangle (does he rebuild a roster to suit the only system he knows and bring in a coach to do so?), what about a team with a true top flight point guard, or can he even spot/draft/tradw for young talent? PJ is an awesome coach as a closer – but in terms of all around preparedness and ability especially from player development side, would have to say Pop is better and certainly has always been more involved on the fo side/decision making. There is a real possibility that this could be another Jordan situation, where he sullies his career accomplishments by turning out to be a horrible fo decision maker.

  112. rr: Agree with your Phil situation comments, however one minor correction – since I am results oriented : ) Phil’s 13 rings need to be compared with 8 for Riley (not 9). Yes he has 9, but one of those is as a #2 coach. You must be the top guy in a major area (GM, Coach, Owner) or a player. So Gary Viti’s rings can’t be compared to Phil’s or Pat’s either (unless you are in a jewelry store – then they are the same).
    Rings: Those won as #2 coach do count if you are comparing coaching candidates. Shaw vs Brown for example. Byron Scott of course has the ring category covered. And no a ring is not required to be coach, there just needs to be some other “compellng” reason if you are void of rings. And a “better match for the roster” is not compelling – obviously.
    Phil: He indeed does have 13 rings with 3 different teams, none of which have ever won a ring since his departure.
    Ko: Phil in control + Scott as coach. That is a nice dream – but it is not happening. Root for something more realistic. Anyone else in control and anyone else as coach. That might happen eventually.

  113. Renato Afonso March 9, 2014 at 8:37 am


    to me, those guys at SSR have about zero basketball knowledge when it comes to tactics, rotations, player development, player strengths, etc. They’re just a bunch of fans drinking at the bar and watching the game. Plus, their blind faith in coaches and FO reminds me of those trolls you more than once and while see at other basketball sites, not to mention that the regular commenters there bring nothing to the table. They consist of a bunch of memes and quirky remarks posted in succession in order to make you crack a smile.

    To be honest, any regular here has more knowledge and more ability to defend their point of a view from a basketball standpoint than all writers in SSR combined, so there’s no point in bringing that up.

    To be more clear of what I mean here’s a part of that SSR piece:

    “And that’s the crux of why this Lakers team is so terrible. They surrender the second most points per game and the 7th most points per 100 possessions. They force the sixth least amount of turnovers per game. They have the worst rebounding deficit in the league per game by an average of three rebounds. To put that in perspective, three rebounds is the differential between the 29th place Brooklyn Nets and the 19th team, the Clippers. Amazing.

    To this, most people would say, “Why doesn’t coach Mike D’Antoni fix this? Why doesn’t he play his bigs more? Why doesn’t he coach them into being a better defensive team? Why doesn’t D’Antoni do more?”

    How can you do more with nothing?”

    The answer to that question is simple: better coaching. Good coaches improve their team’s weaknesses over the length of a season, and those who played ball, coached or were somehow involved in competitive basketball understand this. Sadly, the only ones who keep siding with MDA apparently haven’t… (I might be wrong, but again, it’s really my opinion).

    NOTE: Once you start searching other Lakers’ blogs, the difference between what we have here (yes, we…) and what’s out there is just… well, impressive. This is not only a knock on most sports bloggers but also a testament to the amazing work that Kurt did and the outstanding job by Darius and others.

  114. Phil has nothing to prove except to himself. Jordan is still on Mount Rushmore without regard to what he did with the Wizards or what he is doing as owner. Phil will always be the best coach of all time no matter what happens in NY (if he goes there). Phil took a team that Doug Collins could not win with and won 6 titles with it. He took a team that Del Harris could not win with and won 3 titles with it. He then took a team that was nowhere near contention and rode it out for 2 more titles. Pop gets credit for “developing players”, but it reality – it is the stars and mostly Tim Duncan. If Duncan, Gino, and Parker all walk out of there and four years from now Pop is winning with home grown D league players, I will be impressed. He won’t be. He will either have new superstars or he will not win. Many coaches have had superstars. Guys like Phil and Pop (in that order) win with them. Many have not.
    Knicks As rr implied, this could impact the Lakers. IF Phil goes there, he will be seeking the viable coaches (an already sparse field), and he will be vying for FA. NY is a huge market and is an attractive destination on its own accord. Phil makes it more attractive.
    WWL: Nobody is expecting much out of what we currently have. The issue is “what we currently have” – and that applies to a number of areas.

  115. Renato: “their blind faith in coaches and FO ” Agreed. And agreed with regard to the quality of this place.
    Other sites: However let’s quit talking about other sites and quit linking to them. Let Darius do that at his option. Link to news stories and facts. If you like an opinionated article from another site – go comment on it over there.

  116. Renato – prob is, (and this doesn’t absolve mda at all of his deficiencies) is that as far as defensive talent and ability goes, this team is at the low end of the pool and no matter how much one blames the coach, that doesn’t change the quality of player he has to work with and yet again over values the players on this roster simply because they are wearing blue and gold – which was the whole point of the ssr article. This team can lose by 10-40 puts on any given night. Sure they can play slower, which does what? They don’t have the talent to win as a half court team and not only would they still lose, it would be ugly slow losses that aren’t entertaining in the least. The only thing worse than a losing team is a slow ugly losing team. And so you play kazan and hill more, which does what? Laman isn’t an upgrade over pau defensively and you can’t play them together in off because they’re the same player. Hill can’t protect the rim or guard perimeter 4s, and doesn’t add anything to the offense so you gain nothing.

    This team just isn’t athletic enough, nor do the active players on the roster have the defensive mindset either for this to be a competent defensive team. And no matter how much a coach does, nothing is going to change that. As for individual player development that’s on your assistant coaches so make sure to tar Rambis, Madsen et al w some of the blame as well.

    Watching the Lakers this year is like going to war in Band of Brothers – the sooner you accept the fact that you are dead the sooner you overcome your fears and accomplish your objective and move forward. That is just the reality, this team just sucks and nothing is working, and it is all a sum of a decimated roster, coaching style, and below replacement level players who have no business starting for a new team or even on the roster.

    Sure the Lakers could lose by less, but at least the offense forces them to be engaged on that end and it’s an entertaining train wreck.

    And the reality is this is the worst it could possibly be. And it’s over soon.

  117. Seriously? Differing points of view don’t mean that everyone on other sites are idiots or their articles are junk or nonsense. Plenty of people on this site have said stupid stuff too (myself inxluded) and aren’t above reproach. If all of us armchair quarterbacks were so brilliant we’d be holding FO jobs. Nothing wrong with the article, just a differing take from the usual non stop mda bashing. And it has a lot of validity.

  118. Renato Afonso March 9, 2014 at 9:34 am


    it’s not about the linked article. It’s about 90% of the articles they write and mostly about the comments. It was bad enough to have me quit reading it way before MDA was our coach… And I don’t have a problem with different points of view if they’re backed up properly, which often doesn’t happen at that site.


    I agree with you on that.

  119. If there is a quality read somewhere else, by all means link to it. And from the guy whose job it supposedly is to do so.

  120. When Jackson was with the Lakers, everyone knew that rookies neither played nor developed in Phil’s system unless they were superlative talent. Making the playoffs prevented the Lakers from obtaining a player above a second rounder. No one complained as the fans knew that if the Lakers made the playoffs there would not be a high draft pick on the team the next season. The Lakers allowed other teams to lose and draft top players, and then L.A. accommodated those teams by sending those teams veterans for the young player with an upside.

    Phil Jackson had a proven system that was above reproach, so he never had to develop players. You know, “When it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Had Phil remained with the Lakers until Kobe and Pau retired I am sure the same process would have worked. Veteran players capable of learning the triangle would have come to Los Angeles to play with Dwight Howard, Pau, and Kobe under Phil Jackson. At this juncture, the Lakers would be in the conversation of the top teams in the west. Instead, opposing teams are lined up to garner career highs in points and rebounds against them.

    The triangle is a dying offensive system, as are all systems that don’t allow players to play the way they did on their traveling teams. It just makes no sense to sign Kobe to a two-year extension and then feature offense that is better suited for the young, athletic player.

    In basketball today, there is no need for knowledge of the game, merely roll out the balls and let them run, dunk and shoot.

    “This team just isn’t athletic enough…”

    This team has assembled more athletic players than has ever been on the Lakers during my tenure as a fan.

  121. which was the whole point of the ssr article.

    You either didn’t understand it or didn’t read it. The premise is that Kupchak deliberately and knowingly put this team together to give the appearance of being competitive while knowing all along it would be terrible. MDA’s role in that scenario is either being a stooge whose inability to coach is actively making the team worse while thinking he has a real job, or is he is in on the scheme and is in effect throwing games. Robert asked the guy who wrote it which it is, and the guy had no real answer, because the piece has basic logic issues.


    Riley’s Rings:

    1972 player
    1980 assistant coach
    1982, 85, 87, 88, 06 head coach
    2012 2013 executive

  122. Jerke,

    Looks like you were talking about the other article, not the ninja one. My error on that.

  123. I’m not sure if the Kupchak Tanking Ninja article is supposed to be funny or serious, but it’s amusing regardless of intent. Though conclusions are presented as fact, nothing obliges a rational mind to accept them as such. Alleged cause and effect is all hindsight, making Mitch look like a Nostradamus. I think just about every conclusion jumped to could be countered with a better, more common sense explanation.

    Last offseason, the Laker FO was limited in their ability to acquire talent. They had expensive players slowing down and with injury issues. They lost their inside presence and defensive anchor who was to be counted on. So what could they do? Concoct some elaborate scheme to get, oh I don’t know, Wiggins at the time? (as we all know, the next Michael Jordan) while appearing to compete? Yes, in the fantasy world of some. No, to everyone else. The Lakers simply did the best they could under the circumstances to give themselves the best shot to be as good as they could be. They managed to find quite a bit of talent for the buck, mostly younger and more athletic to fit how D’Antoni likes to play, and expected to stay healthy. Kaman turned out to be a waste of money, but not money they threw away just to look like they were trying. They probably just misjudged his value to this coach, the coach they chose and want to see succeed, as it was their controversial decision to hire him. Kobe might have been healthy. Nash, too. It could have been a decent year, record-wise, and without requiring anything miraculous. Common sense, and a little common understanding of how management thinks.

  124. rfen,

    Good post. It did occur to me that the piece might be some sort of semi-satirical internet performance art, but given the prevailing culture at that site, I tend to doubt it.

    I think the FO obviously knew, as we did, that the Lakers had a performance range of roughly 25-41 wins. If they were at the high end, well, no high pick but maybe a better case for recruiting FAs. Obviously, they are at the low end, so the focus is the draft.

  125. He then took a team that was nowhere near contention and rode it out for 2 more titles.

    Not quite. Phil took a team that was in the lottery and got it into the bottom half of the playoffs, where it lost twice to teams coached by Mike D’Antoni. Then he took a team that had added Pau Gasol to 2 more titles. And almost all the other teams made some personnel adjustments as well.

    That correction made, Phil did have obvious and clear impacts many times, and the Bulls hung together even after Jordan took his sabbatical.

  126. Thanks rr. It’s very hard to predict how a team’s going to gel, what players might have a comeback or breakthrough season. The Lakers turned out worse, I think much worse, than expected. They might have turned out much better than hoped for. I doubt too many people expected a deep playoff run, but regular season wins might have been above .500. I think most picked the Suns to be worse than the Lakers this season. They might win 50.