The Lakers lost to the Wizards on Tuesday. It was their 53rd loss of the season in 74 games. They ended up losing the game by 11 points, 119-108. None of this sounds extraordinary at all. Considering the team’s record after their 10-10 start and the quality of opponent, one might even wonder how the Lakers lost by only 11.

Well, I’ll tell you how. The Lakers led most of this game. They were actually in full control heading into the 4th quarter and it took a 37-13 final frame from Washington to win. You can do the math, then, that the Lakers were ahead by 13 going into the 4th when it all sort of unraveled due to the Wizards turning up their defense, the Lakers missing some open shots, and Tyler Ennis having one of the more rough quarters I have seen for a guy who never got subbed out.

Anyways, that’s the background to the collapse, but the Lakers got to the point where they were comfortably ahead by having one of their best stretches of basketball of the season during the 3rd quarter.

Continue Reading…

There are now fewer than 10 games left in the Lakers’ season. Even if the team was not 21-52 on the year or that Brandon Ingram was set to sit out his 2nd consecutive game with knee tendonitis, I would be saying this same thing: with the Lakers out of the playoff hunt, there is very little left to analyze in this season.

Sure, we can see if Julius Randle making 3’s is an actual thing. We can look at D’Angelo Russell’s work off the ball and start to sort out what type of contributor he can be playing next to a ball dominant player. We can see if Jordan Clarkson can continue his uptick in growth as a passer out of the P&R. Add whatever other small things you’ve noticed since the all-star break and add them here too.

And while those things matter, at this stage of the year, the value you extract from those things can only go so far. The off-season will be here before we know it and with that will come a time for change and, hopefully improvement. It will come through roster turnover and through player development via their own regiments. The expectation is that forward strides will be made and that both the organization and the players will explore all avenues (within the rules of the game) to come back next season better.

Continue Reading…

In our latest Laker Film Room Podcast, Pete and I take an early look ahead to the Lakers’ offseason. We discuss the difference scenarios around the Lakers keeping/not keeping their lottery pick, how some of the top prospects fit next to the Lakers’ current young guys, trade scenarios, and more.

We also answer listener questions and announce a new partnership for the pod. Good times all around. Click through to give it a listen.

Continue Reading…

Keith Parish of the Fastbreak Breakfast Podcast invited me on to discuss the future of the Lakers and I happily obliged. We talked some of the young players, why I remain high on Brandon Ingram’s future, whether I would trade the Lakers’ lottery pick (if they keep it), and even what type of role I envision for Luol Deng and Timo Mozgov next season.

This was a fun conversation and I appreciate Keith having me on. Click through to listen to the entire pod:

Continue Reading…

After losing six games in a row and 14 of their previous 15, the Lakers earned a win against the ‘Wolves on Friday night by riding Jordan Clarkson’s hot hand and coming back in the 2nd half to force OT then pull away in the extra frame. While that win may impact the Lakers lottery odds by allowing the sinking Suns to get to within a half game of the 2nd worst record, I am still of the mind that wins like that one — where besides Corey Brewer’s 3rd quarter spurt, it was young guys who carried the way — can have some positive meaning within a season full of so many losses.

That said, my sense is that tonight’s game against the Blazers isn’t likely to end with a similar result to Friday’s game. The Blazers have given the Lakers problems all season, their backcourt of Lillard and McCollum proving too dynamic and being able to turn games in Portland’s favor whenever games were somewhat competitive. Add to this that the Blazers are currently battling for a playoff spot, sitting in the 9th spot a game back of the Nuggets, and games like this are truly must wins for them.

Continue Reading…

A week ago, it was D’Angelo Russell putting on a show against the Cavs and scoring a career high to carry the Lakers (though, it came in a losing effort). Friday against the Timberwolves it was his backcourt partner’s turn. Jordan Clarkson poured in a career high in points (35) and made three pointers (8), in a fantastic shooting performance which propelled his team to a win. Watching him knock down shot after shot really was a sight:

Continue Reading…

It’s Shaq day, and for that I’m nostalgic and grateful. I remember the good times, the winning, the high stakes of April transitioning to May and then June. Shaq’s feats of strength were as if festivus were celebrated year round and for that alone he’ll hold a fond place in my heart. Wilt used to say no one rooted for Goliath, but I know I did for 8 years and did so with fervor.

It being Shaq day also reminds me of where the Lakers are today, a team at the bottom looking for the right pieces to take the long climb back to where they once were. The Lakers don’t have the “next” Shaq on their team right now, but that’s because there won’t be a “next” Shaq. This is something that might make some sad, but not me. It’s a reminder to cherish the special times. Not only because they’re not guaranteed, but because they come along so rarely and are so fleeting. It also reminds me that, in many ways, it’s luck to get a generational talent on the team you root for and that they’re called generational talents for a reason. If any top pick could be that guy, every team in the league would have championship banners in their rafters.

Anyways, I’m rambling now…

Back to tonight, the Lakers face a ‘Wolves team which is finding it’s way and is now, seemingly, on the path the Lakers want to get on sooner than later. Number one overall picks Wiggins and Towns are the right foundation to turn a team around and, with help from Rubio, Thibs, and others, are doing that now. It’s not enough to get to the postseason this year, but they are taking the right steps; doing the right things more consistently which lays the foundation for longterm success.

Continue Reading…

I still remember watching the press conference and not really believing what I was seeing. There was Jerry West standing next to a 24 year old and in his prime Shaquille O’Neal, posing for pictures after announcing he had signed with the Lakers. The entire thing seemed surreal.

Before Kobe was Kobe, Shaq was the savior. The Lakers had recovered from the Magic Johnson HIV announcement 4 years prior to build a winning team. They saw their win totals rise from 33 to 43 to 53 the three previous seasons to his arrival and then West, in all his mastery, carved out cap space and opened up the starting C spot (by trading Vlade to the Hornets for the rights to Kobe) to make his run at Shaq. After finally getting the game’s best young big man to sign on the dotted line, West almost looked more relieved than happy. He knew the Lakers were really back.

Continue Reading…