Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Blazers

Darius Soriano —  April 1, 2014

Don’t look now, but the there are only 15 days left in the regular season. In that span the Lakers will close with 9 games, starting tonight with the Portland Trailblazers. Beyond them, the Lakers will also have tilts against the Clippers, Rockets, Warriors, Spurs, Grizzlies, and Mavericks — making it seven of their final nine games coming against teams either in or actively trying to make the playoffs.

In other words, the Lakers are in a prime position to play spoiler. The West is so compacted that teams seven through nine are in a virtual tie while seeds four through six are only separated by 4.5 games. A lot can happen with margins this small, and while I don’t envision a team jumping from 6th to 4th, a shuffling around of those teams by a spot or getting into/falling out of the race is totally possible. And with the Lakers having every single team in the West race besides the Thunder on the docket, they have a chance to be the guys that do the damage. Just ask the Suns who, after losing to the Lakers, now sit in 9th place and on the outside looking in to the playoff picture.

The flip-side is that they also have a chance to get blown out of the water by teams playing for real stakes while the Lakers are trying to play spoiler. Because as dangerous as the Lakers can be (again, ask Phoenix) they also have the ability to be awful. If the threes aren’t falling and their defensive intensity is what it’s been since the all-star break, any game can get away from them quickly.

This is especially true against this Portland team. For the season the Blazers are 6th in offensive efficiency, scoring 108.2 points per 100 possessions. They have shooters at every position and do  wonderful job of working through and off LaMarcus Aldridge to generate offense. They are wonderful at moving the ball and taking advantage of defenses that don’t rotate consistently or who over-pursue the ball in the hopes of making the hero defensive play. In other words, the things they do well on O are the things the Lakers struggle to contain. Again, this has the chance to get out of hand quickly.

Of course, the Lakers always have a chance. If they get hot from deep or if the Blazers lay an egg, this game can be close throughout. If the Lakers show some discipline and hunt good shots more than just let it fly, they can test a Blazers’ D that isn’t nearly as impressive as their offense. If they can get Lopez or Aldridge in foul trouble early they can work against big men who do not pose the same deterrent defensively and will have a chance to put up points. We have seen the Lakers do this to the Blazers before so any outcome would not surprise me.

That said, don’t get your hopes up. When it comes to this time of the year, I think the motivation to stay in or better your playoff odds always trumps playing for the chance to knock a team out. And when measuring the talent levels of both teams, things definitely favor the Blazers.

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

Darius Soriano

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to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Blazers

  1. Know what I like most about baseball?

    I can text, email, take 4 calls and not miss a pitch.

    Can ‘t do that with basketball. Type one sentence and you miss 3 baskets and 4 turnovers.


  2. I can get a lot of reading in during a baseball game.

    Chances of the Lakers pulling off two upsets in a row. Very slim. Portland will be ready. But I’d like to see the Lakers play a decent game and make it competitive.


  3. Warren Wee Lim April 1, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    If we intend to lose this game, its a good time to put Nash, Kaman and Gasol in the game.

    VERY SLOW transition D.


  4. Warren Wee Lim April 1, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Bazemore is just a keeper.


    ^ If that is your bench next year watch out.


  5. nash playing/moving really well tonight – good to see


  6. Bazemore..Kelly….Sacre are below avg. players….Meek and Farmar are just avg…That is not a top bench at. All…


  7. would be nice if nash got that 3rd place all time assists tonight – 7 pts/8 assts/4 rebounds already


  8. Really good to see Nash playing well tonight. Mike Trudell reported that Nash turned his left ankle. Nick Young having a very good half. .


  9. jesus Nash can’t buy a break – turned ankle yeesh. Was playing great.


  10. I wonder if he secretly hates Lilliard w a passion lol


  11. Bazemore, Sacre, and Kelly are very young players. To call them below average is sort of silly, as we don’t know what they will become.

    Bazemore seems to have some chops and could become better than average. Kelly is a rookie rounding into an amazingly good NBA player. Sacre is showing he has game and may be a serviceable NBA backup big.

    With MDA, these players get a chance to play extended minutes and we get to see if they will develop into something we can use in the future. That is the point of having MDA as a coach. He is a coach for young and developing players. He doesn’t do so well with veterans or traditional bigs.

    I am very happy he was our coach this year. I also think we can take what he has helped develop and move further with another coach next year. We need our bigs and, because of everybody’s contract ending this year, all the veteran bigs will leave if he stays. Hence, I realize his usefulness has ended with the end of this season.


  12. Craig – i agree w everything except “We need our bigs” – yes you want some quality big men of course – except i fail to see what keeping these 3 (or any of Hill, Pau, Kaman) really gets the Lakers. Hill is overrated and none of them will help the defense and just take away time from younger guys. Keep maybe Pau if you can get a him to sign a decent contract, but knowing that you can’t let him occupy cap space going forward and that you still have to find a defensive solution inside.

    Aldrige already w 23 and 10 and +21. Pau and Kaman playing together for a combined -37 so far.


  13. The old “rib” play!!!


  14. How boring would this year be without Nick?


  15. Dave McMenamin ?@mcten 8m
    LaMarcus Aldridge just pump faked Kaman out of his shoes then tore through Gasol like a wet paper towel

    That pretty much says it all.

    A couple really good reads –

    Dave McMenamin ?@mcten 9h
    Blog post from yesterday: D’Antoni tries to explain the Kaman conundrum


  16. Starters are a minus 86

    Bench a plus 22



  17. totally different team for Lakers when Nash is on the flr. Pace might still be up but things are controlled. Marshall might get high/same assist numbers but its like Nashes assists are of higher quality – like 2 20 points a game scorers – but one on a good team, and another on a bad team that gets his pnts simply because there is no one else to score.


  18. Another way of looking at it: without MDA on the sidelines, we would not be able to appreciate just how good opposing teams can be on offense.


  19. Pluses for the game.
    + Nash plays great despite an ankle twist – gets a 10/10/4 in only 22 mins and leads the team in free throws.

    +Ryan Kelly comes off the bench gets 9 boards and plays pretty decently.

    = – Nick young scores 40 pts. Doesn’t do anything else. just takes the shots that kobe takes since no one else is going to take them. Is a chucker. +3 on the night.

    – Center position gets 24 pts, 16 boards, 10 assists and a -28 +-. Oh wait – that was three guys – and take away sacre’s numbers, and Pau/Kaman go -37 as the starters together.

    – Nash leads team in free throws. Kaman and Pau shoot 1 free throw for the entire game and go 10 for 25 in 57 mins combined w 4 and 6 rebounds apiece. Hill doesn’t play due to no time left for him.


  20. Dave McMenamin ?@mcten 1m
    Kaman on playing alongside Pau in the starting lineup: “I didn’t think it went that well, to be honest”



  21. Hill gets a DNP-CD, as D’Antoni goes with the 2 5s in the lineup. Wesley Johnson didn’t play, either.

    40-4-1 for Nick Young on 15/26.


  22. I like the way Jerke hangs in there with Nash and D’Antoni stuff. A true believer even at 25-49.


  23. In McMenamin’s blog the other day MDA said the priority at this point was trying to get mins for Sacre /Kelly to try and develop – which makes senseas young guys don’t get better unless they play in real games – but that it would mean that either Kaman or Hill would be squeezed for mins as they’re known quantities. Pau and Kaman started so that means nothing for Hill.


  24. Pau and Kaman started so that means nothing for Hill.

    Nah. Hill has been playing pretty well lately, and Sacre is in fact pretty much a known quantity, actually. The guy has a very low ceiling and will be 25 years old in two months. If Sacre has more than a very token role next year, the Lakers are probably in real trouble. Hill could have been given those minutes; D’Antoni just chose not to do it.


  25. wow Kelly is below average? Smh. Some of you will be clamouring for Otto Porter and McClemore just because they are high picks. Agree with you Craig and Jerke.


  26. I like how candid Kaman is. What annoys me is players who think they are smarter than the coach. MDA might have his flaws but Pau and co are dead wrong second guessing him and thinking they know better. The game has changed since we won our rings, and they should come to terms with the fact that they’ve all regressed talent-wise. Nash is the ulitimate pro – discipline and suppressing his ego as much as possible.


  27. Kelly does look like a very good value pick at 48. Whether he will actually be an above-average NBA player is another question. He will be 23 one week from today, so he has less development time ahead of him than many rookies do. He was #5 on Bradford Doolittle’s 2015 Breakout Candidates list, due to his second half improvement.

    I said in preseason that he reminded me of Matt Bonner, who was picked 45th and is still in the league at age 33. Kelly has gotten his 3p% up to .386 and has some other decent markers.


  28. Jerke,
    I think there are some real holes with the +/- way of looking at things. For one, Pau and Kaman are somewhat copies of each other and starting them together is an exercise in ‘what’s going on?’ We certainly need rim protectors, but Hill is our best and that ain’t very good. Therefore, I don’t look at statistics to tell me much about this team. The eye test is the only true measure of how players are performing and you have to look on both sides of the ball.

    We need Pau or Kaman on the offensive side of the ball. We can’t replace them with a rookie, therefore, IMO we need to resign one of them – ergo, MDA needs to go. Hill would be a good player to come off the bench for another coach, but I could see us starting Kelly if we had defensive muscle down low.

    That is a lot of ifs, but that is the nature of evaluating a rebuilding team. That is why this jigsaw puzzle will be put together on-the-fly and we can’t proclaim a solution at this time. Much depends on who we can get to stay/or we want to stay. Then that exposes the next step in the puzzle.

    The first thing is our draft pick, or who we can get for that draft pick, or what two picks we can get for that draft pick. See, even here there are a number of paths and they are all open right now. As time goes on one will become more possible than another and Mitch will make a decision. The key to to understand all the paths at all times, up to the time you decide which one to take.


  29. Also, here is McMenamin:

    The coach stressed that his biggest priority has been finding playing time for younger big men like Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre and Jordan Hill, all of whom have a more likely chance of being with the Lakers next season and beyond than Kaman does.


    And, D’Antoni applied the known quantity thing to Pau and Kaman, not Hill:

    “To me, now I might be wrong, but Chris is an established guy that has the game and is not going to improve,” D’Antoni said. “Now, he’ll play well. But he is who he is and he’s going to be who he is next year and the year after, Pau is the same way. But Ryan and Robert can use these minutes to really get to be better. You don’t know what their ceiling is. That’s kind of the focus and the thought of why they need to hit the floor.”


  30. What annoys me is players who think they are smarter than the coach. MDA might have his flaws but Pau and co are dead wrong second guessing him and thinking they know better. The game has changed since we won our rings, and they should come to terms with the fact that they’ve all regressed talent-wise.

    We’ve won our last rings no longer than four years ago. MDA was in New York at that time and didn’t do anything to revolutionize basketball there. His case would be stronger with a better record. If he doesn’t have consistent wins to show for it’s only natural that people start questioning if he really knows things better than everyone else. Or than players who have actually won multiple rings and Olympic medals.


  31. MDA has a reputation for developing young players. He also has done that here. You may not think the players were stars, but we also need to identify role players, especially if we sign a star or two and need someone else to play on the team. It is easier if we can recruit some of these people from the existing team. Everyone doesn’t stink just because the team isn’t very good, as constructed or with all the injuries.

    I have a comment caught in mod, but statistics don’t really prove much on this team. It is watching how the players play and how they coordinate with others on the team. This is an ongoing process and we can’t see all the moves ahead of time.


  32. I think both the stats and the eye test tell us that the Lakers haven’t been good on defense at all. They are clearly one of the worst defensive teams. That is a serious concern.

    As for the development of the younger players, I don’t think that it’s wrong to give them playing time. But if they don’t want to develop bad habits it’s necessary for them to be around experienced veterans and coaches who demand accountability.


  33. Failing to see whats wrong with supporting/wanting to Nash do well RR. Never said he was the saviour for the team – only that there is a palpable difference in how the team plays when he does.
    Least im not one of the multitude of commentators that were saying that Marshall was awesome but now kill him nightly.

    Also, as far as MDA’s concerned. I don’t always agree with the person MDA is all the time or his personel decisions – i didn’t when he was in Phx and wish they had brought in Gentry immediately after MDA left. – but I love the offence and want to see someone win with it. This offence and a decent defence don’t have to be in opposition to each and can exist on the same team. I dont necessarily know why me keeping consistent views on this and these two individuals is worth mocking simply because you disagree.


  34. Jerke,
    Life is never simple, but in sports we want it to be, because then we get to escape for awhile, before we return to reality. That is doubly true for us fans. Hence, MDA has to be either all good or horrible, else we have to deal in shades of grey. Then our escape is too much like real life. MDA helped change the modern NBA game, but he also made some of our memories less relevant. Therefore we have to apply the ‘ring’ test to disprove who he is.

    I watched Wilt Chamberlain play and you will never convince me that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player who ever lived. I watched the entire college and pro career of Lou Alcindor/Kareem Abdul Jabbar and you will never convince me that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player who ever lived. I watched the entire career of Magic Johnson and you cannot convince me that Michael Jordan motivated the players around him better than Magic did.

    I watched these players play and didn’t simply follow the statistics. I can read the shades of grey. But, I also was prejudiced by watching them play, so I have to admit that my viewpoint is no better than the younger fans, who can only quote statistics.

    What does this have to do with MDA? None of us can avoid our prejudices. All we can do is to admit we have them and to be less sure we have the absolute answer to our basketball problems.


  35. Renato Afonso April 2, 2014 at 3:31 am

    What’s the point on playing Kaman and Pau together now? I mean, Our offensive “schemes” aren’t good enough to include two pure centers and our defensive schemes are, well, what defensive schemes? I really don’t get this guy at all… Every decision he makes lacks consistency and supports those who say he’s a bad coach.


    What if the coach is wrong and the players are right? We’re not talking about guys who’ve played basketball for 4 or 5 years. Pau, for example, has played basketball for the last 25 years at different stages and at the highest level. I can assure you that he knows about his defensive shortcomings and his regression. Good coaches are not second guessed as much as bad coaches are. Plus, there are plenty of former players that one year or two after retirement become good coaches. Basketball knowledge is something that comes from experience as well as your own basketball IQ. It’s just there.

    Craig W.,

    I agree with you and at the same time I don’t. Right now, Bazemore, Kelly and Sacre are below average players. So, that’s not a silly statement. However, I agree that we don’t know Kelly’s ceiling (he’s not going to be a star, for sure, but he can be useful) nor Bazemore’s (we haven’t seen enough of him), so saying that they will always be below average is a silly statement. On Sacre, I really disagree. The dude is almost 25 years old and has not footwork, no shooting ability, no defensive awareness and almost no rebounding ability (apart from his height). He’s a D-League player and I honestly believe that this is his ceiling. He’s just terrible. He wouldn’t start on 90% of Euroleague teams, so he’s really not good enough to contribute in the NBA.


    Here’s what I’ve learned from playing the game and coaching these past two years… Your offense actually influences the way you play defense. In points, since typing all this in a language that’s not my own can lead to poor semantic:

    1 – The Lakers players are often spread out throughout the floor which diminishes our ability to fight for the offensive rebound. Offensive rebounding leads to better transition defense in most cases because it leads to a made basket or because you can reset your offense in order to get a better look at the basket. Even if you don’t get the rebound, if you have 2 or 3 guys near the key, the defense will have to collapse to their own basket after a shot in order to secure the defensive rebound. If you only have one guy or noone near the basket, one defensive player may be enough to secure the rebound and make the outlet pass. In this case, the defensive wings will be sprinting upcourt for the fast break. And everyone knows that sprinting to score a basket is just 1% faster than to prevent that basket. We all know it.
    2 – The place where you shoot from actually matters. Remember that sometimes, with Phil, our transition defense wasn’t that good, often leaving only Fish or Kobe to prevent a fast break. More Fish than Kobe, but it doesn’t matter who it was. What matters was that with Bynum playing the low post on the strong side of the triangle offense, if the ball didn’t rotate to the wekaside fast enough and Bynum wasn’t able to establish a good position for him to score, then only available shot would be the corner three on the strong side (think MWP). So, if MWP was taking a corner three form the strong side, he’s not sprinting alongside whoever was guarding him. Bynum was boxed out and could only get a long rebound along his baseline. Odom or Pau would be on the opposite side at 45º (roughly) which meant their chances of getting a rebound from a corner three were slim (most rebounds from the corner stay close to the baseline or to the FT line). Kobe and Fish would be on top but isn’t enough to stop the fast break at this level. So, shot selectio within the context of the offense matters. We don’t have shot selection. It’s just a green light to shoot from everywhere, regardless of where your teammates are.
    3 – Our offense is based on player movement and the ball “finding energy”. While I’m not mocking the words and actually agree with the concept (as it comes down to being unselfish and passing for the open teammate) it also means that our offense does not open up specific players to shoot. The Celtics used Ray Allen in a way to maximize his strengths, if you remember correctly. He often played off the ball and had screens after screens being made up for him. He could still play iso or shoot a contested jumper from everywhere, but Doc decided to use him like that to get higher percentage shots. He adapted to what he had. I’m not saying that we have someone like him or anything, but surely Meeks, Young, Johnson, Henry and Bazemore have different traits on offense. They can play the same role, obviously, but they are more effective at doing different things. At this level, it’s not difficult to accomodate that in your offense.
    4 – Last season we played a lot of horns sets with Nash screening a big. While I don’t agree with point guards screening bigs for the entire game, as it will take a toll on their body, I think that those horns sets lead to less fast breaks due to the reasons explained above. This would be a great statistical output for coaches and I would like to think they actually did it. What was the % of opposing fast breaks when we played the horns sets vs. all other sets? Did those sets generated the shot they were supposed to? This is where Stan Van Gundy is right. New age analytics mean nothing if they’re not being produced by basketball people and interpreted by the people who actually designed the offense.

    Craig W. (again),

    I’m not sure that MDA really develops young players. I agree that young wing players and guards improve their stats when playing for him, but I’m not sure that’s a development. The pace is faster and you don’t have to expend much energy on defense. Again, I’m not saying that they don’t improve, I’m just saying that apart from some inflated stats I’m not sure about their real development since they acquire some bad habits when playing for him. And he certainly doesn’t improve bigs. I think we can all agree on that.

    On defense (from the previous post and I’m sorry because I have a busted right thumb which makes typing rather painful),

    One cannot have a great defense without at least average defenders and one or two really good one-on-one defensive players. I know I preach that our coaches should improve our defensive schemes but we definetly cannot have an above average defense with this roster. However, we could be very close to a league average defense if we wanted to. We have no change of looks on defense. We don’t change pace. We don’t adjust. We don’t try zone at all, no matter how much easy looks we’re surrendering. If your individual defense is bad, you try different things to improve a little bit. Being 20th is better than being dead last. Being 20th on defense could’ve meant more close games and more improvement for our younger players. It could even mean good habits for the future!
    We’re very poor in every aspect of our defense all the way to securing the defensive rebound. Coaches can improve that. However, contrary to popular belief, individual defense is not only about athleticism and will. They certainly play a big part as you need to be willing to stop that man in every possession but also need quick lateral movement, fast reactions and even faster hands. But you also need to study your opponent. You need to know his habits. You need to know when you must step back and allow him to shoot from a bad spot. You need to know when to funnel him to the baseline because there’s a big there. You need to know when to close the baseline because you just saw the opposing bigs flashing towards the top of the key through the corner of your eye. And you need to know your defensive limitations very well and hide it from your opponent. You need to make your opponent believe that the drive to that side simply isn’t possible against you. The guy would be able to drive by you 2/3rd of the time, but because you studied him and played defense really well in the first few possessions he had against you, he know believes that looking for an open teammate or shooting a jumper are better options, even if they aren’t. Physical skills certainly play a roll, but they’re not everything and it’s harder to improve individual defense (speacially for perimeter players) than to improve shooting form on anyone.


  36. Renato Afonso,
    Your comments are always very thoughtful, but today I think you outdid yourself. It is a reason I look forward to this blog several times a day. I also appreciate your experience with the game. Thank you!

    Ironically, I still have an early entry in mod while others were cleared??? but…while I agree that some younger players can learn bad habits under MDA, what they do gain is confidence and an ability to deal with NBA speed. Now you can truly measure whether or not they have NBA talent. I think that is a very important aspect of judging players because, IMO, there are quite a few players who never stick in the NBA solely based on the fact that they didn’t get enough minutes in games to establish any rhythm, confidence, or pace. Henry and Bazemore are two players who would appear to be worth a much longer look, before cutting them from any team. It is really possible that their year/part of a year under MDA has literally saved their NBA careers. With other players it is more of a ‘suspicions confirmed’ situation and you have really no qualms about cutting them.


  37. Renato: That post was platinum.


  38. GOAT post from renato. With an injury and second language as well! Brilliant.


  39. Kelly and Bazemore will put up numbers in D.A. system but in a standard system they would be below avg.Also teams don’t give the Lakers other words the defense being played against the Lakers is not the same defense they would see if they were a better team….That is why the second half has been a problem for the Lakers…The opposition will turn it up for the second half……


  40. Jerke,

    Nothing is wrong with wanting Nash to do well. I have praised Nash many times. But at this point, how and what he does is not particularly relevant to the rebuild, and recent data and events indicate strongly that he can no longer stay on the floor.

    As to D’Antoni, I think people here, including a lot of people I like, have gone too hard at him lately. But you are still spinning every decision he makes into responses to unavoidable circumstance and taking the heat off of him–like that Hill/Sacre thing. KenOak makes the point succinctly.

    Also, FWIW, I put in a “request deletion” for that post, since I thought it was a little snarky, but I guess the request didn’t go through.


    You are of course right about biases and grey areas. But I would respectfully suggest that you check the mirror. About a year or so ago, you said, “I am here to support the FO and ownership. Period.”


  41. I thought that Ryan Kelly played fairly well for the most part (9 pts. on 3-8 shooting and 9 rebounds). Not bad really. But in the 4th quarter, they had him guarding Aldridge one-on-one. Did any one else notice that? The radio announcers were incredulous. So was I.

    I would have at least tried Jordan Hill in the 2nd half. Against an opponent that features Robin Lopez and LaMarcus Aldridge, shouldn’t you play your best defensive big 20 minutes or so? The Lakers did not need a finesse player in this game at the 4. They needed a banger.

    This simply underscores how far off-base some of D’Antoni’s decisions can be. And it shows his priorities: Offense first, Defense 2nd (if at all).

    The decision to play Kelly in this game at the expense of Jordan Hill is dubious to say the least. You have Jordan Hill on your team for situations such as this. Why not use him?

    What would Popovich have done?


  42. Renato,

    I concur with the others. A superb post. Thank you.


  43. When the Titanic was sinking, there must have been at least one or two people who were trying to convince the fleeing passengers that the ship was going to be fine, despite the fact the the ship had a gaping hole and was half submerged in the ocean. I don’t know about you, but I’m sprinting to the first available lifeboat.


  44. Renato: wow; and at 3:30 in the morning no less.

    what bleeds thru for me is that the coaches are (and not just coach d’antoni):

    1. lazy
    2. clueless
    3. gave up on the group of misfits
    4. specifically instructed to bomb this season.

    Go lakers


  45. I have to add my voice to the chorus and say, Well done Renato! That was a great post.


  46. Renato’s post is quite good and very sophisticated; some of the stuff about individual D echoes what I said yesterday.

    I said a few months ago that what MDA did in PHX was a shrewd and innovative adaptation to his personnel. Rather than seeing Stoudemire as a 4 and Marion as a 3, and getting a traditional 5, he moved everybody down a spot and killed with speed and shooters and Mario Andretti Nash driving what was essentially a basketball customized race car. When MDA was hired here, it was clear that he didn’t have the speed and shooters that he might have wanted, and I wrote, “I think he is smart enough to adapt.” He has in some ways, but not nearly enough IMO.

    Also, prime Nash and prime Marion were unique talents, and Stoudemire was an excellent player in his heyday as well who fit that system perfectly. The Lakers simply don’t have guys who can do the things that those guys did. Nash can still do some of it–but not all of it, and not nearly in enough volume.

    One technical point: one of Phil’s big things with the Triangle was that he always said that if it were run right, it created floor balance–and therefore helped with transition defense.


  47. @ LT mitchell

    I’ll let the women and children get off first, but I sure as heck ain’t playing music while she sinks!


  48. rr,
    Yes, a year ago I gave my unconditional support with continuing the direction that was taken. First, over a year has gone by and additional decisions and events have transpired. I would hope my opinions wouldn’t be so ‘locked in stone’ that I couldn’t reexamine them as the future unfolds. Second, I still think the MDA hire was correct for that time and I also feel we have gotten a window on some talent that might not see many minutes if MDA weren’t here. This means most of the long-shot gambles simply confirmed what people previously thought, though some new talent was shown; however, we also shined a light on several players that might not have had any real chance at many minutes in any other year – Kelly, Henry, Bazemore. Finally, the last two years have seen quite a run on injuries and, while you may say you expected this, the fact that they were so pervasive across almost the entire club means we really had no chance to develop a coherent 1st and 2nd string with any kind of strategy to win.

    Now it is a new year, our last-year contracts are running out, and our decisions going forward will not be the same as last year. To base any criticism of the front office on assuming what was done last year will dictate what is done this year is, IMO, foolish. Past indicates patterns, but we can all also learn from these experiences.


  49. Rr, nothing I put down earlier was specifically in support of mda, merely recapping tonight what happened as compared to what was posted per Mcmenmain blog posts prior. If Pau/kaman were Duncan and Robinson you could play them together- but they’re not. I take your point about Sacre being an older player, but Kelly deserves more time to develop over Hill who doesn’t add much on offense or defense, especially w the lane already clogged w 2 slow 7 footers. Of course I thought MDA was a decent hire last year and yeah the reality is the lakers for a lot of reasons, didn’t get a chance to live up to their potential – but it wasn’t all his fault as some try to paint it. This year, w kobe and nash out, people were pretty accepting of him going .500 until all the injuries helped push the team off the cliff. If everyone was healthy I could understand the total villification, but the reality is the team sucks for a variety of reasons and playing Kaman or hill more gains you nothing except maybe a couple wins which in turn ruins draft position. I don’t advocate tanking but trying to win 35-40 games w this team that isn’t particularly young – you’re right most of the players are known quantities – does nothing for development. The year is a write off plain and simple, and no matter who the coach is, they would be caught between a rock and a hard place trying to do something this while it could arguably be said the best thing for the organization is to finish poorly in order to snag best possible pick in a decent draft.

    That being said MDA has been far from blameless and done nothing to ingratiate himself to the fan base which in this town unfortunately is part of the job. And the youth development is overstated because of said points about certain players excelling in the system – MDA has been forced to play no name guys who all of a sudden put up numbers – that’s not development, that’s prior lack of playing time. And yes, the defence is non existent equally due to lack of philosophy from coaching staff/FO composition of this team/and the general abilities of individual players. Yes MDA isn’t Thibs, but pau isn’t noah, tag Gibson, asik,etc… and this team just isn’t fast or athletic enough to be a good defensive team. and even the stars – kobe and pau- are just as much a part of the problem no matter how they complain.

    The reality is MDA has to go – for the reasons above and because it’s not fair for him to be the whipping boy for everything that’s out of his control as well next year – the team ain’t gonna be good – and I think the FO will have no prob paying him the $ because they realize w roster construction and injuries he wasn’t put in a position to succeed and the FO shares some of the blame for that.


  50. So MDA is still trying to decide what everybody else seems to know – that Sacre has little to contribute?

    Oh, OK.

    Fine … however …

    Why did the Lakers even pick up Kaman only to have him essentially waste a year of his career sitting on the pine?


  51. hey darius: things to consider:

    lakers are playing a back to back tonite versus the sacramento kings up in sacramento.

    lakers are playing a back to back tonite after a defeat at the hands of the Portland trailblazers at home in staples center last nite.

    lakers are playing a back to back tonite after having re-experimented with starters pau gasol and chris kamen with a loss to the Portland trailblazers at home in staples center last night.

    lakers are playing a back to back tonite after having re-experimented with starters pau gasol and chris kamen with a loss to the Portland trailblazers at home in staples center last night and in all likelihood will be without the services of steve nash.

    lakers are playing a back to back tonite.

    lakers are playing.

    Go lakers


  52. Jerke,

    I, for one, believe the majority of the blame should be directed at the front office for hiring MDA…and more blame should be assigned for not firing him at the end of last season.

    It was abundantly clear that MDA was not the right coach for this team at the end of LAST season (some would say it was much earlier than that). Everyone from current to former Lakers to the fans knew it….so why did Jimbo decide to keep MDA?

    Some of the theories have been – Jim is an idiot… Jim didn’t want to pay for three coaches….Jim was following his dad’s wishes….Jim thinks MDA needs training camp to truly implement his system…..Jim didn’t want to admit he messed up twice in his coaching hires…… Jim wanted to tank…. Chaz told him to…..etc.

    My theory is that if MDA had been fired last summer, Jimbo would have faced insurmountable pressure to bring unemployed Phil back into the fold, and he knew it. This pressure is the same reason he rushed to hire MDA before giving Phil a chance to accept the job, only the pressure to hire Phil would have been even bigger last summer. Now that Phil is employed in NY, the biggest obstacle for Jimbo has been cleared, and I fully expect Jimbo to do something he knows he should have done a year ago. I just hope Chaz agrees with me.


  53. Here is a surprise. Another MDA fan?
    From LA Times

    “It gets old,” Hill said, mindful he had posted 28 points in Milwaukee just five days earlier. “It’s what you can expect, though. It’s not a surprise. I can’t do nothing, but stay humble and continue to keep my head high and support my team.”

    Yet, it appears clear that Hill has no interest in filling that role long-term. He said “it’s too early to say” on where he would like to play once he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Hill also called the Lakers “the best franchise in the NBA.” Though he did not rule out returning to the Lakers next season, Hill made it clear he has no interest in doing so if it means having a similar role.


  54. @Jerke …great post. Everyone is trying to ignore the context by just laying all the blame @MDA’s feet. You expect a team of 1-year rentals to play average to good D in this league, considering the lack of chemistry and all that? How many wins have the Knicks got again? Vogel cant seem to get his loaded team to score. We might get a defensive coach who cant really do much with this team on D, and we’ll in addition suck offensively. That will be one dreary season to endure. Be careful what you all wish for


  55. Ko and others,

    A few facts re: Jordan Hill, in his last 10 games, these are his numbers:

    Feb. 28 — 5:58 minutes, 0 pts., 1 rebound
    March 3 — DNP/CD
    March 4 — DNP/CD
    March 21 — 26:39, 9 pts., 14 rebounds
    March 23 — 32:58, 28 pts., 13 rebounds
    March 25 — 14:02, 9 pts., 5 rebounds
    March 27 — 31:20, 28 pts., 16 rebounds
    March 30 — 18:27, 6 pts., 3 rebounds
    April 1 — DNP/CD

    So…in the lst 10 games, Hill has played in 7 games and averaged 21:06, 12.9 pts., 8.4 rebounds. In that same span, he has had 3 DNPs.

    Now, how do you explain having a player who is averaging 13 pts and 8+ rebounds per game and refusing to play him for 3 games out of the last 10. Also, notice the distribution of minutes (all figures rounded off): 6, zero, zero, 27, 33, 14, 31, 24, 18, zero. Wouldn’t such an erratic distribution of minutes throw anyone’s game off?

    Furthermore, to those who complain that Jordan Hill only plays well against inferior competition, bear in mind that he has had the following games:

    Feb. 9 — Chicago, 15 pts. and 9 rebounds
    January 28 — Indiana, 10 and 12
    January 8 — Houston 10 and 8
    December 21 — Golden State, 14 and 10
    December 16 — Atlanta, 21 and 9
    December 10 — Phoenix, 13 and 7
    November 13 — Denver, 18 and 15
    November 12 — New Orleans, 21 and 11

    Now tell me, why has Jordan Hill received 3 DNPs in the lst 10 games?


  56. Renato Afonso April 2, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you for your comments. I’m no expert but I like to put things in perspective and that’s what this last comment was. Rest assured, it’s the overall quality of the comments we have here at FB&G that brings out the best of us when it comes to all things Lakers related. Darius and the gang do a great job with their posts and you guys provide a tremendous feedback. So, once again, I’m the one to thank you guys….


  57. Renato – unbelievable post. Great work.


  58. I am very curious Renato. How did you break your thumb? Hope not trying to open a bottle of wine!


  59. Renato Afonso April 3, 2014 at 2:41 am


    Veterans league game. Plenty of good players there who aren’t quite as fast as they were. My thumb got stuck in someone else’s jersey on a drive to the basket. I didn’t break but ruptured some ligaments I cannot pronounce in english.