Archives For Fast Break Thoughts

The off-season is here for the Lakers and that means a slow-down of news around our forum blue and gold clad basketball team. Fear not, though, faithful FB&Ger’s as there is still plenty of good reading and listening around the web to consume you until the next piece of breaking information comes out of El Segundo or Staples Center.

With that, below are some things I have been checking out around the web, along with a few thoughts of my own. Enjoy and have a good weekend…

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A Quick Note on Progress

Darius Soriano —  December 9, 2016

The Lakers are in the midst of a 4 game losing streak. One of the key reasons for the losses are the injuries to key players they are dealing with, missing their starting back court, they next point guard up in the rotation, and their back up center. The team’s starting and backup PF’s have also been in and out of the lineup for a game or two over the last couple of weeks.

For a team which depended on depth and continuity to jump out to the stronger-than-expected start to the season, the types of injuries detailed above have a cascading negative impact on the team and the on-court results. Either out of rotation players are leaned on for minutes and production or established rotation players are stretched farther and for longer than they were when their production was being maximized.

These are imperfect solutions. They are also the solutions every team turns to in these situations. Ask the Grizzlies or the Mavs or the Nuggets. Next man up, as the saying goes.

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Whether you’re feasting or struggle plating, spending time with family or riding solo, working or relaxing, we at Forum Blue and Gold wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. We hope your day is filled with relaxation, a nice plate of food, and hopefully more good times than not.

As Lakers’ fans we definitely have a lot to be thankful for. Luke Walton is the coach. The young players, even though a couple are a bit banged up right now, are progressing and looking like they are on the right track to being really good. The veterans are playing well and proving to be productive and effective leaders. The team is 8-8 and battling every night. This is not the same team from recent seasons. They are fun and I am having fun watching them.

For this, I am thankful and I’d imagine many of you are too.

I am also thankful for this site, the community of posters, and for all of you who visit to read. I am thankful for the support you all have shown through financial contributions (you can still donate via paypal or at my patreon site) and for your encouragement here and through social media. I’ve now run FB&G for over 6 years and I enjoy it as much now as the day I took over.

With that, I again wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. We will see you tomorrow when the Lakers return to the court vs. the Warriors.

I am guilty. Guilty of standings watching. Guilty of looking at the Lakers’ win/loss record and celebrating it. The Lakers are 7-5! I’ve written joyfully. On here. On twitter. In texts to friends and family and Celtics fans. I am enjoying not just the way the team is playing or the fact they are improved, but the winning. I like winning. I am guilty.

Things are about to get less fun, though. Or at least they should. Matt Moore of CBS Sports tweeted out the Lakers’ upcoming schedule. It is brutal.

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This is great news.

(h/t Pro Basketball Talk)

It is the summer of 2016 and, as a Lakers’ fan, it is finally okay to dream again.

For most of my life, or at least the part where I understood what I was watching on TV, being a Lakers fan meant dreaming of the team and its players reaching heights reserved for only the greats of the sport. How far would they go in the playoffs? Would they win the championship? Would player X win the MVP? How many players would go to the all-star game? Etc, etc.

For nearly 5 years, those types of dreams have ceased. They dissipated with a ruptured achilles, free agents walking without compensation, a bloated contract extension, the bringing on of stop-gap players, and the hiring of coaches who either couldn’t live up to the memories of those who came before them or reveled so much in the past that embracing the future seemed like an afterthought.

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We have discussed at length the Lakers looking to use the mechanics of the collective bargaining agreement to their advantage to keep cap space open. The key to holding that space open is Tarik Black and the difference between his cap hold and the contract the Lakers have agreed to with him, but the deals for Marcelo Huertas and Brandon Ingram also play a role in this.

With Ingram, though, the difference actually isn’t all that much. His cap hold, dictated by the collectively bargained and already established salary slotted to the the #2 overall pick is roughly $4.4 million for this upcoming season. Rookie 1st rounders can sign for anywhere between 80% – 120% of that amount with most picks getting 120% based on historical standard.

The difference between his cap hold and the 120% standard is roughly $820K. Not a small sum of cash in real world standards and certainly enough where it could be meaningful in any sort of deal which the team wants to leverage its cap space, but it’s also not a huge enough where it is likely to make a big difference.

Ingram, though, isn’t the only 1st round pick who is unsigned. He is, in fact, one of three:

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Unless you live in a cave, you know Kevin Durant spurned the Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors in free agency. I have no hot takes on this topic, so if you’re looking for those I am sorry to disappoint. Once it was clear Durant was not a possibility for the Lakers, where he went was immaterial to me — well, I wouldn’t have wanted him to be a Celtic, but that’s another topic.

Anyways, Durant leaving OKC has put the spotlight right on his now former teammate, Russell Westbrook, and his own free agency which is only a season away. One can never know how these things will go, but without Durant in the fold, the angst surrounding Westbrook’s choice has now gone up tenfold. And with a future now cloudier than ever, national observers are saying the Lakers should make a play for Westbrook via trade to try and get the superstar they’ve sought, and not obtained, through free agency.

My thoughts on that are pretty straight forward and, if you follow me on twitter, you may have read them by now.

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