Archives For

Hard to believe the regular season is already here. Way back in April, Kobe said goodbye with a 60 point farewell and since then we’ve seen the Lakers fire Byron Scott, hire Luke Walton, draft Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac, sign (and trade for) veterans in free agency, play summer league, go through training camp, and play 8 preseason games. Through it all fans have been waiting to get to this point where the games actually matter.

Now they will.

We already covered our big picture thoughts for the season, so I won’t rehash those now. There is a general excitement to watch this team play and, while there is not a lot of hope for a huge bounce back in terms of wins, I think expecting some good progress throughout the campaign is more than fair.

That, of course, begins tonight with a match up against the Rockets. Rather than get into what they present as a team, do yourself a favor and watch this breakdown from Pete Zayas of @LakerFilmRoom who does a great job of showing fans what Houston likes to do on both sides of the floor:

Continue Reading…

It is impossible to analyze anything about the Lakers’ present without interweaving it with their future. This is a team which just hired a new, 36 years young, head coach and whose foundation is built on similarly inexperienced players. Any examination of them must be viewed through the prism of them being works in progress rather than fully formed, finished products. While looking forward as a means of examining today, though, it is also impossible to avoid gazing backwards at what this organization has been, who it has lost, and how that shapes where the team currently stands and where it is going.

This is the dichotomy of the Lakers 2016-17 season and the backdrop against which this campaign will be forged.

Continue Reading…

The final roster construction is the main story of the day, with a 2pm Pacific Time deadline to get rosters down to the league maximum 15. The Lakers already made a move, granting Yi Jianlian his request by waiving him so he could explore alternatives.

With Yi moving on, it was assumed the final roster spot would come down to Thomas Robinson or Metta World Peace. It turns out that assumption may be wrong. From Tania Ganguli of the LA Times:

I did not see this coming, honestly. Brown, though only making $874K this season, has a guaranteed salary. And while he has not gotten a lot of opportunities to play in the preseason, his skill set and potential to develop into the coveted “3-and-D” player is something I thought the Lakers would value and want to hold onto.

Continue Reading…

For nearly a week, Luke Walton has said he was unsure who would make the Lakers’ final roster. With 17 guys on the team and a deadline looming to cut at least two players, Walton said nice things about all the bubble players then pivoted to a need to watch some game tape then have conversations with his staff and Mitch Kupchak.

Before a final decision could be made, however, Yi Jianlian — one of the bubble players — intervened and made the decision easier. From ESPN’s Marc Stein:

Continue Reading…

The Lakers’ preseason ends tonight with a match up against the Suns. While the team still has a couple of roster cuts to make — and maybe an assistant coach to hire? — and then sort out whether or not to treat this game like a real dress rehearsal, I think there is really only one goal for tonight: No one get hurt.

The regular season starts next Wednesday. The Lakers have plenty of work to do before then and pretty much all the goals should be to get to that date healthy with several practices and teaching sessions leading up to that point to help fine tune this team. So while tonight’s game is happening, I wouldn’t say it “matters”.

Continue Reading…

Coach World Peace?

Darius Soriano —  October 21, 2016 — Leave a comment

The Lakers still have two cuts to make before getting down to the roster maximum of 15 before the regular season. We have covered this ground already, so I won’t bore you with more words on the case for keeping the the guys on the bubble. Just know that this is likely a choice between Yi Jianlian, Thomas Robinson, and Metta World Peace.

Well, according to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne, maybe Metta isn’t really in the mix for that final spot. Because, if he really were, I doubt they would already be looking at him as a potential assistant coach if he gets cut. From the ESPN dynamic duo:

The odds are against Metta World Peace making the Los Angeles Lakers’ Opening Night roster, but the Lakers have interest in keeping the veteran forward around as an assistant coach if they can’t make room for him as an active player, according to league sources.

Sources told that World Peace’s impact as a mentor to young players last season was a big reason they invited him to training camp again under new coach Luke Walton.

This is the role many hoped for Metta last year, but Metta made the team as the final add when Bryon Scott, in what he called a very difficult decision, made Jabari Brown the final cut of the preseason. The argument then is the same one it is now: that if the value you are extracting from the player is almost entirely as a mentor, then using a roster spot on him is a misallocation of resources.

Continue Reading…

If you look only at the cumulative stats, Brandon Ingram is not having a very good preseason. He’s shooting 41% from the field, scoring 8.1 points a night, grabbing a little over 2 rebounds, and dishing almost 2 assists a game. For most of the team’s 7 exhibition contests, he could be seen floating around the perimeter, looking more like a ball moving role player than the 2nd overall pick in his draft.

Over the past couple of games, however, Ingram is starting to find his way. On Saturday, in the 2nd half against the Warriors, coach Luke Walton put the ball in Ingram’s hands to be more of a facilitator. This unlocked his ball handling and shot creation ability (for him and his teammates). But more than that, it engaged him in the process of making the offense work.

In Wednesday night’s loss to the Warriors, Ingram again was more engaged and looking for his offense even when he was mostly playing off the ball. As the game progressed, though, Ingram was again put back in position to facilitate and again he thrived. His fourth quarter was one of efficiency and offensive aggression — he poured in 14 of his 21 points and half of his 4 assists while playing the entire period.

Continue Reading…

The Lakers lost their 4th straight preseason game — and 2nd straight to the Warriors — on Tuesday night, but that L doesn’t quite tell the entire story. While several key players did not play as well as one would hope (Russell and, especially, Clarkson), there were some positives displayed from others.

Brandon Ingram had his best game of the preseason, taking over ball handling duties in the 4th quarter and acting as the do-it-all wing the organization (and fans) hope he can develop into. Even when paired with Russell, Ingram initiated the offense while still being aggressive in looking for (and making) his own shot. He finished the night with 21 points on only 10 field goal attempts, 7 rebounds, with 4 assists to 0 turnovers.

Beyond Ingram, Nick Young played another good game starting in place of Luol Deng who got another night off. Nick hit 7 of his 13 shots, including 5-10 from distance, to score 19 points. He also, again, played hard defensively in doing his best to try and slow Kevin Durant. That didn’t happen, but Young played good position defense, fought through picks, and contested shots well. Durant just did what he typically does anyway.

Beyond those guys, though, there was even more to talk about so after the game I joined Danny Leroux of Real GM, the Sporting News, and The Athletic NorCal for his Locked On Warriors Podcast. We covered a wide array of topics, discussing everything from Tuesday’s game action to team building to league-wide trends. Give it a listen after the jump.

Continue Reading…