Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Blazers

Darius Soriano —  January 10, 2017

The Lakers are have won 2 games in a row and 3 of their last 4. This recent stretch — dating back even a few games farther —  even if not better than the level of play exhibited at the beginning of the season, is more meaningful since it has been driven mostly by the play of D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle with Brandon Ingram also playing very good basketball in the last week.

All of this is not only encouraging, but does bring back the good feelings fans had to start the year. It seems like forever ago the team was actually playing consistently well, but those times are, seemingly, back even if the level of competition isn’t exactly the same as it was in the team’s first 20 games.

Tonight, then, offers a nice test. The Blazers are in town and offer two angles of inspiration for these Lakers. First, these teams just played a week ago and the Blazers were able to win on their home floor with a good 2nd half performance where Evan Turner’s strong play befuddled the team’s defensive wings and CJ McCollum’s shot making were key in pulling out the game.

Second, though, is that the Blazers are currently in the 8th seed in the West but are only 2 games in front of the Lakers. With this being the 42nd game of the Lakers’ season, we are officially in the 2nd half of the campaign and for a team which would very much like to make a push towards the post-season, things like that matter a great deal. The Blazers — like the Kings, Pelicans, and Nuggets — are one of several teams the Lakers would need to outplay from now until April if the playoffs go from dream to reality. That may be asking too much, of course, but games like this one do take on that extra meaning and represent a step towards that goal.

As for accomplishing the goal of getting a W, since these teams just played, there’s really not a lot to say from an X’s and O’s standpoint. Damian Lillard and McCollum are the keys to the Blazers’ offense and getting a win means slowing them considerably. Further, Turner has shown he can give the Lakers problems and when you add in Crabbe, Harkless, Aminu, and Plumlee there is a mix of active bigs and shooting wings who can pour in buckets not only via their individual talent but through the creativity of their offensive schemes.

Countering that, though, is that the Blazers simply don’t defend very well at all. And when you consider that the Lakers’ offense — especially their starting group — has been putting up some impressive numbers lately, there is some hope they will be able to put up enough points to not only keep the game competitive, but to end up with a W. That will be dependent on Russell continuing his stretch of impressive play, Randle doing the same, and Ingram showing that his past week is actually the start of him “figuring it out”. If those things happen and Lou, Young — especially Young since he has been struggling some lately — and Clarkson bring some scoring punch, this game could be interesting late.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet.


Darius Soriano

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42 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Blazers

  1. Darius: Zubac needs to play with a bounce to his step; something missing from his play since summer league. Make it happen first and second units by carefully and mindfully following excerpts from preview above and maybe we get a sighting.
    Winnable from the standpoint players are paying attention.
    Go lakers

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  2. This Robinson-Black combo seems to be working a lot better than it should…

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  3. Amazing passes from our main PG !

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  4. Man!!! Those passes by Russell, six assists by the half thats what i want too see more often!!. The Lakers have been fortunate though, they have been hot from 3 point land and Lillard is playing as horrible as i ever see him. im worried about him exploding in the game. It has been a while since a Laker game has some bearing in the standings. A win tonight would put us one game behind the Blazers for that final playoff spot. I know development is the keyword but damn is exiting!!!

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  5. Randle sleepwalking through first half; laker guards keeping pace with blazers; maintain slight lead.
    A rested Randle should come out with determination and help guards with a win.

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  6. D’Angelo allowed Lillard to get into his head.

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  7. Starters eating pancakes at the half explains sluggishness. Coach Walton hesitant to call on second unit. Enter late in third; hard to pick up any momentum. Gotta be a little frustrating counting on his starters to hold their own.
    Looks like another uphill battle entering the 4th.
    Get it together guys.

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  8. And then the Lakers collapsed in the second half.*sigh*

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  9. fern16 
    Yep,..it all fell apart,..

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  10. One thing going on right now is that Williams’ and Young’s shooting numbers are starting to regress to the mean. Williams was down to .364 from the arc before tonight (he was 2/3), and Young has dropped off to .429 from .449 in the last week or so. With the young guys not hitting, and the Lakers, as they too often do, allowing the opponent to shoot over 50% from floor, that was obviously a bad mix. 

    Next two games are at San Antonio and a “road” game with the Clippers.

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  11. Either halftime adjustments are lacking or this team is not responding to them. It is a pattern that has displayed itself too many times to be just a coincidence. When we are clicking on O it covers up a lot of faults. You need Defense to get u through bad offensive stretches and to be able to call someones number when u a bucket. Luke has to pick someone hopefully other than a veteran and run the offensive through them. It is time to dial-up the responsibility on the younger players and rely on the vets less. They need to learn to battle through adversity and prevail.

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  12. There were several posters here who wanted the Lakers to go after Mo Harkless last summer. He’s young, athletic, spreads the floor, plays defense, and could have been part of our young core. He was a restricted free agent, and the general sentiment during free agency was that the Blazers would match unless Mo received a “crazy” offer. The Lakers made a crazy offer alright, but it wasn’t to Mo.
    The Blazers ended up signing 23 year old Mo Harkless for 4 years, $40 mil last summer.
    The Lakers ended up signing 31 year old Deng for 4 years, $72 mil.
    ….sigh…..

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  13. LT Mitchell I believe Deng was signed alot earlier than that and we had the chance to sign Harkless, only we didn’t make the offer. So to say that both events were mutually exclusive, would be incorrect.

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  14. LordMo 
    Two steps up, one step back,..
    It’s expected from a young team, or with a new coach, in this case we have both.

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  15. wwlofficial 
    Agree wwloficcial, and would add that bringing up a deals deals long dead is like passing gas, makes one feel better at the expense of others.
    I suggest, that if one cannot cease beating themselves up over a past that they had zero control over, please don’t bring us along with you,.. have a beer and some comfort food.

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  16. A Horse With No Name January 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    LT Mitchell The cap explosion led to teams signing past their prime players/journeyman players to bloated deals that ate up their cap space and eliminated the possibility of signing that really good to great FA that want’s to sign with a bad team (cause that happens–like never.)  Neil Oshey, the blazers very savvy and shrewd judge of talent that he is, ate up his cap space by signing journeyman Evan Turner to a ‘crazy’ 4 year, 70 million deal.  They are stuck with a couple of exceptional guards who struggle defensively (too small) and a bunch of hard working role players that they paid serious money to in order to field a viable, competitive roster.  That’s the reality of today’s league. Your are going to over pay to keep your role players and to sign credible players if your team isn’t top tier.  You don’t do that,  and  you are a perenial lottery team, hoping to get lucky with the ping pong balls and ensuring the a losing culture takes root.  Olshey didn’t bat 400 in the off-season, but he was solid in keeping his team competitive and keeping his star, Lillard, comitted to the blazers.   (Key, as the last super star they had, left them for a real chance of competing for a title.)

    I was one of the posters who really liked Harkless, and commented way back when he was traded to the blazers from the magic for a second round pick or two, thay this was a low risk/high reward move by the blazers, and one I wished the lakers had found a way to do. The lakers had drafted Ingram, clearly with great plans for him as the number two pick in the draft. Not sure a still very young guy like Harkless would want to sign with the lakers, who was certainly assured of a big role with the blazers.  Speaking of the magic, do you think they would like their cap space back rather than Biyombo and his 72 million four year deal?  I bet they would–and I was one of the guys who liked Biyombo in free agency.  I’ll take Mozgov at four and fifty everday and twice on Sundays over Biyombo and his deal.  (Mozzy really kicked both Biyombo’s and Vujevics tails the other night.)

    Hey, don’t get me wrong.  I might pass on Mozgov for a do over, and I would definitely pass on Deng, but these deals have to be seen in the context of the current salary climate and the needs of the lakers to field a credible nba roster.  One of these guys will be stretched if the opportunity presents itself to add talent.  The lakers have never been penny pinchers, which has hurt and helped them historically.

    Point of all this is that the lakers moves that are being panned by many here have to been seen in context.

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  17. Ah, what a surprise….. the blog police strikes again….or more appropriately, the Cherub of Justice.
    I find it amusing that someone who is consistently eating crow continues to police other peoples’ comments. This is the same poster who would not stop ripping on Lou and Nick, who are turning out to be our two most productive players, playing on bargain contracts to boot. The same guy who was hating on one of the greatest Lakers of all time in his final season. The same guy who had a pessimistic attitude towards the Lakers win projections.
    Yet, he is quick to remind everyone over and over and over again what a ‘positive’ fan he is, and how negative everyone else is. His delusion has no bounds. He IS positive about one thing though, his man crush on DAR. His man crush is so strong that he would not even trade him for Westbrook straight up. ..no joke. Of course you have a right to your silly opinions, like everyone else, but please, remove some crow from your teeth before you point your fingers at others.
    I have my own suggestion. Analyze your own words…”makes one feel better at the expense of others” and look in the mirror.
    To Darius and fellow Laker fans, I apologize for my petty post above, but I have politely asked this poser, i mean poster, many times to stop responding to me, yet he continues to stalk me with baiting responses, usually personal in nature, and rarely related to actual basketball discussion, which is why I rarely comment here.
    Go Lakers!

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  18. LT Mitchell  
    Nice post, though
    full of inaccuracies, and as always, I’m sure you feel better now
    huh?
    I challenge you to support my ‘hating’ on Kobe, my pessimistic
    win projections, or

    your assertion that
    ‘Everyone Else’ is negative. You, mitch, are not ‘everyone’.
    Not to mention, that I do, and have stated so, have respect for those
    like RR or Robert and others, who post intelligent commentary. That
    does not mean however that I sit mute if I disagree with posts that
    offer complaints that I believe are lacking perspective.
    This is a place for
    discussion after all, is it not?

    Speaking of which,
    no I would not trade for Westbrook, or even want him in free agency.
    My reasons however, obviously go over your head, so I won’t waste
    time posting them again.
    As to Lou and
    Nick,..just because I saw and see the long term problems they present
    to our core, I did post several times that I also understood how they
    help with the culture of winning, and rooted for them.
    Of course you would
    dismiss those, as you do Laker wins, as we see you mostly after
    losses, so you can do your thing of ‘cry and sigh’.

    Lastly,.. this
    notion about ‘policing’ is simply a ploy. A cry for help, citing
    a rule out of context.
    If you don’t want
    a person to respond to your posts,..then you should start your own
    blog and delete any posts or members who don’t agree with you;
    because that’s what you are asking Darius to do for you.
    I say again, I
    accept anyone responding to my posts, and will respond to any post I
    choose to,..as so does everyone else here accept the same,…except
    you.
    What makes you so
    exceptional mitch?

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  19. LT Mitchell I think it’s a bit unfair to stand RFA and UFA contracts side by side. The RFA market often depresses salaries unless the player in question is a true max guy. The only time that doesn’t happen is when a team wanting an RFA bids super high in the hopes of having the incumbent team not match the offer. I don’t know what that number would have been for the Blazers, but I guarantee you it wouldn’t have been the number he signed for, so I don’t see much point in holding up his final contract amount as a reference point to what the Lakers paid for Deng.

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  20. I haven’t tabulated the numbers but it feels like Lakers have drastically reduced their TO’s in the recent stretch. Very promising if a young team doesn’t beat themselves. With this current coaching staff, think the team can make similar improvements defensively before end of the season.

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  21. Russell: Last night was a microcosm of my concerns about him. His 3s were not dropping; he was 0/7 from the arc. But he also only got to the line four times, so his FTR for the night was .286, he was 4/14 from the field, and Portland’s excellent backcourt did their thing even on a bad night for Lillard. For the year, his FTR .233, which is a nice spike from his rookie year. But: 

    Wall, age 20: .404
    Wall, now: .335
    Ginobili, now, age 39: .249

    Ginobili, career: .408
    Harden, age 20: .415

    Harden, now: .555

    I mostly like Russell as a player and overall he is doing well for a 20-year-old PG (will be 21 in about three weeks) but this remains a big issue for him since I still do not see him being elite on D. 
    Biyombo and Mozgov: If the Lakers were going to spend big $ on a 5, I wanted Biyombo then and I have not changed my mind even though, as I conceded weeks ago, Mozgov has outplayed Biyombo. Biyombo is younger, quicker, and even playing poorly this year has a better DBPM and BLK rate than Mozgov does. As many noted at the time, signing Biyombo when they already have Vucevic, Ibaka, and Gordon was a very bizarre allocation of resources by Orlando. I think he would be doung better as the 5 here. 
    Deng and Mozgov deals: One problem with the “context” argument is that it cuts the other way. Walton plays Mozgov 22 minutes a game on a team that is on pace to go 30-52. Given that context and Mozgov’s age, it seems like it would have made more sense to go cheap, split those 22 minutes up among Zubac, the guys they have now, and maybe a very cheap guy who provides size. Mozgov is playing OK, but I don’t see that he is making a big enough difference to justify the deal. Ditto Deng.

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  22. LT Mitchell  
    I must say for the record, that these ‘stalking’ and personal attack smears are totally false. I respond to his posts no more than any other poster, and know nothing about him personally, other than he usually posts to vent against our front office, or players.

    His post above on the other hand is full of the kind of hate and rhetoric he accuses of, while pathetically taking a victims stance, which is not at all like a Lieutenant, and as a Navy vet, believe me I know.

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  23. Maybe Russell’s best case comp is another left handed PG who came out of OSU.
    Mike Conley’s FTR in his first 3 seasons (age 20, 21, and 22) were .278, .270, and .225. He’s up to .361 this year.
    Conley’s TS in his first 3 years were .502, .548, .526 (up to .582 this year) compared to Russell’s .502 and .520.

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  24. — With Crabbe as the projected starting SF, along with the addition of Turner, I think it would have been unlikely that the Blazers match an offer of $74 mil, almost double what the Blazers eventually offered. This is assuming that the Lakers didn’t panic, never went after Deng in the first place, and had money to spend. My point was that if the Lakers were going to overpay, they should have overpayed for an up and coming player with potential as opposed to an over the hill player on his last legs. What we’ve seen from Deng will likely be the best version of him for the next 4 years. Mo is only going to get better.
    — With the SF logjam in Portland, and with Crabbe being the projected starter before the season started, Mo would have had more, not less opportunities for minutes here.

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  25. new rr  
    One could easily take his good games as the ‘microcosm’.
    Being that he is young, and learning the most difficult position in the game, would tend to support that notion imo, more than the opposite. 
    As for being elite on defense there are not many point guards who are, yet it they are still stars.

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  26. A Horse With No Name January 11, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    new rr Biyombo is Black with bad hands and non-existent passing skills. Terrible fit for this offense. Lacks the ballast and length to combat true big men.  That’s why he looked good against Tristan Thompson in the playoffs and struggled against Mozgov.  Lakers probably lose that game without Mozgov, and that’s how the lakers see it: you need a true big man for match ups against the giants of the game.  Could of they gotten a true big who chews gum and runs the floor  for less?  Possibly–just can’t think of any.

    Basically you are cherry picking a stat for  DAR that doesn’t favor his game. As coaches like to say of guys with high FTR rates, “he plays downhill.”  Naturally guys like Wall and Harden are going to look good here.  DAR ability to attack and get to the line is showing significant progress–as you note–but it is still very much a work in progress.

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  27. LT Mitchell Again, your point is rooted in assumption. What I am saying is rooted in how restricted free agency has played out over many years across many different teams. You also choose to ignore the Blazers being, traditionally, a team which does not like to lose assets for nothing — something that is crystallized further in the wake of having LaMarcus Aldridge walk in FA for nothing. Not to mention that the Blazers are owned by one of the richest people in the world that has never shown much concern about an elevated payroll. I was listening to a podcast between Kevin Arnovitz and Portland GM Neil Oshey, and Oshey made the point that Paul Allen treats the Blazers like a big market team even though they are in one of the smallest markets — this was specific remark regarding payroll. 

    Lastly, your point about where Mo would have had minutes opportunities is irrelevant. It’s not up to him where he ends up playing when he’s a RFA, it’s up to the Blazers. 

    Now, if you want to have a conversation about the Lakers’ ongoing aversion to RFA’s in general, that’s a different discussion. There’s a case to be made they should be more active in that market even though many teams are now taking the same approach the Lakers are by avoiding that market almost entirely. That said, that point has little to do with the original points I was making: 1). comparing what a RFA makes to a UFA is an exercise filled with issues and 2). you cannot assume what the Blazers would or would not have done with any real certainty so to frame it as tilting in the direction of letting him walk is disingenuous.

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  28. A Horse With No Name new rr

    Biyombo: He is very limited, but I would still rather have him than Mozgov, for the very specific reasons I laid out. But it easier to make a case that the Lakers should have simply kept the powder dry rather than doing what they did, or bringing in Biyombo or Mahinmi. 
    As I pointed out last week, the Lakers are simply not good enough to have a 64M matchup chess piece playing 22 minutes a game for his skills in certain matchups. If the Lakers wanted size and clubhouse affability, they could have kept Sacre for the minimum and let him and Zubac play some. If we buy your assertion that Mozgov was the difference in the Orlando game (which is highly questionable–they won by 16, and of course Orlando beat the Lakers by 19 in Orlando, and Biyombo played much better than Mozgov did in that game) then I don’t see that as persuasive, and it takes us back to the off-season: are Deng and Mozgov here to try to get the team to 35-47 instead of 27-55? If so, will that help long-term? I have my doubts. 

    Russell: No, I’m not cherry-picking. If Russell is going to be a franchise cornerstone, he is going to have to do it with his offense, and pretty much every guy he has been compared to as best-case gets to the FT line much more than he does, always has, always did, even when they were his age, and this was a concern, tied to his athleticism, even before the Lakers drafted him. 
    As I have said, I like a lot of things about the guy. He can shoot from distance, he has decent size and great court vision. I think he can a 20 PER guy, a borderline All-Star. But this is a hole in his game.

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  29. A Horse With No Name new rr

    Also, Tarik Black’s career BLK rate is 2.2. Biyombo’s is 5.7.

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  30. KevTheBold new rr

    Neither Magic Johnson nor Chris Paul ever averaged a 25/10 for a full season, although they both did come close a couple of times. Tiny Archibald did average 35/11 way back in 1973 and a 28/9 in 1974. 

    I see what you are getting at, but those are not the numbers you are looking for, if you meant average.

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  31. new rr Player comparisons are a black hole, because no two players are the same coming out of college. And Wall, Ginobli, and Harden are very different players than Russell. Harden is the closest comparison, but was also playing on a very different team when he came into the league, usually playing shooting guard partnering with either Westbrook or Durant. It’s a lot easier to get free throws when paired with superlative offensive talents who perpetually put defenses out of place. Ginobli, too, was on a team that used him as a SG slasher/penatrator. Wall did not come to a similarly talented team, but he was/is an extremely athletic “downhill” scoring guard coming into the league. Yes, these stats might highlight Russell’s limitations, but they are also decontenxtualized, so it is hard to know how much value comparisons serve. For example, would Russell have better FTR playing next to a Westbrook or Durant who allowed him to work off the ball and play in his natural position? All of this is to say that I don’t know how Russell will turn out. But I am hopeful, because there are a lot of good signs. There are some weaknesses in his game. But we will not know whether those come to define him as a player for at least several years. 

    OTOH, Mozgov and Deng deals suck. No matter how much lipstick we put on those piggish contracts.

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  32. I
    can’t help but look at the Lakers in a multi-year view.For me, it’s not only, ‘are we better
    now?’It’s realizing how good we need to
    be in order to make a deep playoff run and asking, ‘can we get there?’

    I fall into the cautiously optimistic category. I’m
    happy we have turned the corner as a franchise — we have enough young talent to
    make watching Lakers games and being a fan fun again.  But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have
    longer term concerns.  If winning an NBA
    championship is akin to climbing Mt Everest, the current Lakers are merely at
    base camp 1.  In other words we have far
    to go and truth be told our FO, Jim and Mitch, haven’t found a successful path
    forward since their #1 sherpa (Kobe) went down nearly 4 years ago.  Silly analogies aside, the question remains,
    can this team evolve to the point where they can make a deep playoff run?

    One
    side of the coin is that we have all the ingredients currently in place and all
    we need to do is be patient.  If you
    conclude that the kids will produce one All NBA performer (top 15 player) and
    one other All Star (top 30 player) and another near All Star (top 50 player)
    then the Lakers are essentially set except for the time it takes the kids to
    endure their NBA learning curves and to fill in the roster with the right role
    players.

    The
    other side of the coin is the uncertainty in that assumption.  What if the kids end up being just good
    starters and they need help to get to the next level?  Can we still get there?  In this scenario we need to look at the tools
    the FO has to make the team better:

    1.Draft
    picks:  The Lakers owe two of their next
    three picks to other teams.  If the
    Lakers lose their 2017 pick it means they lose their 2019 pick.  Keeping the 2017 pick means the 2019 pick is
    paid off with 2nd rounders.  Some say that the Lakers don’t need any more
    young talent.  However, the new CBA just
    made 1st round picks more valuable because keeping a star player
    you’ve drafted is easier than signing one as a free agent. 

    Looking at this year only, the Mozgov and Deng
    signings are likely to do nothing more than make it very unlikely we keep the
    2017 pick — which means we forgo our 2019 selection as well. I have said that
    the FO should have waited one more year before spending cap space and trying to
    dramatically improve the team.  The draft
    pick issue alone should have been enough motivation for the FO to concentrate
    on organic growth this year. The downside of losing two picks would have
    encouraged me to take a few less wins in an effort to gain a few more ping pong
    balls on draft day.

    2.Trades:  Well, trading any of the kids at this point
    is definitely selling low — which is bad business.  Plus, how do you get better by trading any of
    them? Obtaining a top player would mean packaging multiple kids — which would leave
    the remaining roster thin.

    I feel this Lakers team should be focusing on
    asset acquisition, especially in light of likelihood of losing multiple near
    term first round picks. If Atlanta got a 1st round pick for a soon
    to be 36 year old Kyle Korver then that paints an optimistic picture for moving
    Lou Williams and Nick Young.  ESPN stated
    yesterday that the Lakers have a less than 1% chance of making the playoffs
    this year. The Lakers should be looking at next year and beyond instead of
    keeping tradable assets in an effort to grab the 12th seed.  As we move towards the trade deadline I hope
    the FO looks to move anyone that’s not part of the young core.

    3.Free
    Agents/Cap Space:  As mentioned the new
    CBA makes signing FAs more difficult but obviously not impossible. It should be
    noted Lebron left money on the table to sign multiple 2 year deals with opts
    outs after one in order to give himself increased long term earning capacity.  So there are free agents that will move if
    properly motivated. The problem is that the Mozgov/Deng deals make it difficult
    to sign a max player this summer without making a number of moves to create
    sufficient space.  Forget about signing
    two max deal players as there’s not enough room to go that route. It’s ironic
    that Jim/Mitch tried so hard to play the ‘sign multiple max players’ card to no
    avail and just when the Lakers kids are playing well enough to attract top
    talent we have no space to make such offers. 
    I’ve mentioned before
    that Randle, Russell and Nance will all have signed their second contracts
    before Mozgov/Deng roll off the books. 
    In other words we are a few years away from filling our cap space by resigning
    our young core — which will preclude us from adding talent via free
    agency.  Zach Lowe mentioned, in his
    recent, article that the Lakers may well have to stretch Mozgov or Deng to
    create flexibility in a few years just to sign the kids to their extensions.
    The near/long term cap ramifications of the Mozgov/Deng deals makes their
    signings a real head scratcher. 

    I believe that Ingram is special and
    that in time he can be a top 15 player. His talent and physical athletic
    advantages create favorable mismatches in virtually every matchup on the floor.
    However, I’m simply not sure about Randle and Russell. The FO did them a huge
    disservice by having Byron coach them last year.  BS essentially wasted a year of their
    development — complicating the assessment of the fits and starts we see on the
    floor this year. 

    It feels, to me, that we’ll need additional talent if we want to make a deep playoff run in the
    future. My angst is that the Lakers’ FO has unnecessarily boxed themselves in
    and handcuffed their ability to make needed improvements to the team going
    forward. 

    Again, time will tell and I’ll be glad
    to eat crow if I’m wrong.

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  33. Kareemez new rr

    Harden has been great at getting to the line his whole career, and Ginobili has always been very good, as has Wall most of the time. So, for that matter, has Lou Williams. His numbers have gone up and down based on system and usage, but as a 19-year-old rookie just out of HS playing 30 games he was ahead of where Russell is now, at .250. At 20, playing on a 35-47 Philly team, he was at .436. At 30, playing in the same system as Russell, right now, he is at .450. 
    Systems can change players’ numbers, obviously, but at the same time, players also have skills that translate from system to system and from situation to situation. 

    Russell will improve at this skill; Walton may find ways, such as using him on the blocks, to get him more FTs. But the facts are: 

    1. Most truly elite perimeter offensive players get to the line a lot more than Russell does. 
    2. They were doing that when they were Russell’s age.
    3. There were concerns about this when Russell was in college and before he was drafted. Those concerns were legitimate. 

    So, Russell will probably need to get a lot better at it, and/or shoot even better from the 3 point line than he already does, to be that type of player. I hope he can do it.

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  34. In my opinion, DAR getting in a pissing contest with Lillard and losing badly and getting him going was the key to that game. He is the pg for crissakes!!!

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  35. A Horse With No Name January 11, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    new rr  A Horse With No Name

    Steph Curry’s career FTr: .230
    Mike Conley’s career FTr .276

    Shocking huh?  Two elite players whose games resemble DAR’s far more than the players you’ve cited have low FTr numbers, yet they are still great offensive players.  Looks like a pretty weak stat-backed argument you’ve conjured up there.

    I like cherry pie.  Please save me a slice with all those cherries you’ve been picking!

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  36. new rr  Kareemez Not sure what you mean exactly by elite perimeter players.  But my list would include

    S Curry (.230 career FTR)
    K Thompson (.153)
    B Beal (.286)
    E Gordon (.310)
    K Walker (.296) 
    JJ Redick (.261)

    It’s not unrealistic for DLO to reach these numbers.  The bigger issue is whether he can be a perennial high volume 40% 3 point shooter.

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  37. A Horse With No Name new rr

    Curry is probably the greatest shooter in NBA history. His career 3p % is .440. He is also a career 90% shooter at the line. And, if you looked at my post, you will see that I said specifically that if Russell can jack his 3p% up, that will help with his FT issues. So, yeah, sure if Russell turns into Steph Curry from the arc and the stripe, then he won’t need to bring up his FTR. 

    As to Conley, he is a perfect example, especially compared to Curry, that supports my point, not yours. I said that I think Russell can be a 20 PER guy, a borderline ASG guy. Peak Conley has been a very good player, and has kept his PER around 20 during his peak, and has teamed with Marc Gasol, who is better than Conley, on some nice Memphis teams. But Conley has never made all-NBA or an ASG, and in spite of his massive contract, is not the kind of guy that people mean when they say franchise cornerstone. 

    Curry OTOH has been a 30 PER guy and has 2 MVP awards–and he has been able to do that with a low FTR  playing average defense because he is probably the greatest shooter ever.

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  38. DrMike1 new rr  Kareemez

    I responded on Curry above. Bringing him into this is frankly not a good idea, since he is probably the greatest shooter ever, as I detailed above.
    As to the other guys, sure. If you are cool with Russell being as good as Bradley Beal or Kemba Walker when DAR is 25 years old,  then I think you will be fine with Russell, and my point all along has been that I think that is the kind of guy he is going to be–not what I consider a franchise cornerstone, like Harden, Wade, Curry, or Kobe. And I am fine with that as well, but I think it means that the team will still need a guy better than the guys they have now to get into serious contention. YMMV.

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  39. Portland 102 – Cleveland 86.  Maybe Cleveland can package 2 or 3 of their starters and get someone good since Portland keeps playing them like a drum.

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  40. Darius Soriano LT Mitchell
    I never claimed my assumptions about what the Blazers would do in a hypothetical situation were based on any “real certainty”. It was an educated guess, and a fair one in my opinion.
    Sure, Paul Allen has deep pockets and has shown a willingness to spend, but he is also a savvy owner who rarely spends money irresponsibly. Signing Allen Crabbe and Turner was a $36 million per year investment for just one position. If the Blazers match the Lakers offer of $18 mil for Mo, that would total $54 mil annually for that one position. To put that in context, the Blazers have the second highest payroll in the league and their entire payroll is $112 mil. $54 mil is just under 50% of their entire payroll.  Although all 3 players are solid role players, none are potential all stars. Spending near 50% of your entire payroll on three non-stars (2 of which were projected backups) would be what I consider ‘irresponsible spending’, something I do not associate Paul Allen with. We are talking about Paul Allen here, not Jimbo. 🙂
    The main issue however is Deng’s contract, not that we failed to land Harkless specifically. That ‘crazy’ money we threw at Deng could have gone to someone like Harkless is my main point. 
    (By the way, my comment about Mo’s minute opportunities was in response to Horse, not you).

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  41. LT Mitchell  Darius Soriano Not to belabor the point, but assuming anything about the Blazer decision making — especially based on payroll or roster implications (back up status, overall payroll, etc) is a tough sell. And to repeat, I’m not saying the Blazers certainly match any offer — my original point, which is my same point now, is that I’m not sure where the number would be to ensure the Blazers actually don’t match. 

    Harkless is a starter for them now and started in the playoffs for them as well. Maybe a huge number scares off the Blazers, but my sense from hearing their GM talk and based off the factors I have mentioned before leads me to believe they match any “reasonable” offer. Considering the market for FA’s this past summer and what similar players received (Crabbe, Deng, Bazemore to name a few), I think there’s much more reason to believe they match than not all things considered. It’s fine to disagree and I’m perfectly okay agreeing to do just that.

    The last thing I will add, however, is I think it’s important to go back to a point I made in an earlier comment — the Lakers — like many other teams — simply do not venture into the RFA market that often. And I think this discussion is more about *that* than making this a Harkless vs. Deng discussion. My guess is that if Harkless was a UFA this past summer, the action on him would have been higher and the Lakers might have shown a different level of interest. After all, their first target on the wing this past season was a player who was very much like Harkless (Bazemore) in profile.

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  42. fern16 
    Agree that Lillard getting angry was the turning point.
    Yet, if I’m not mistaken he was peeved after DAR blocked his shot, getting into DAR’s face.
    I don’t know what DAR should have done at that point,.. back down?
    No, but maybe laugh like Randle did against Cousins?

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