The Laker players are going through their exit interviews and there is plenty of good insight and information being dispensed. If you’ve not seen them, head over the team website and catch up on what you’ve missed to this point and watch what you can through the rest of today.
One of the interviews I found most interesting was Luke Walton’s time on the mic. In his media sit down, he relayed a lot of good information about the many lessons he learned from Phil Jackson and also found time to endorse Brian Shaw as the next head man. But, there were also several nuggets relayed about why this team didn’t perform the way that it should have this season. We covered this topic some ourselves, but it’s always great to hear the perspective of an insider – especially one who has such a great feel for the game and can point out the failings from the standpoint of the X’s and O’s.
And one of the passages that caught my eye was his discussion of the team’s execution of the triangle:
I think our execution of the triangle was not at the same level its been over the past few years, as far as picking teams apart. It was basic this year, a lot of simple aspects of the offense, not the second and third and counter options that make it so hard to guard especially in a playoffs series, when everyone else runs sets and we know what sets they’re running, where they’re going to go. With us, no matter what you do defensively, there’s always a counter to counter that. We never got into that too much this year.
I couldn’t agree more with Walton’s statement and feel that if the Lakers are to stick with the offense that expanding on how deep they go into the playbook is a priority.
Too often this year, the Lakers ran the simple clear out cuts, elbow hand off sequences, sideline P&R’s, and weak side initiation options that are the staples off the triangle. But, what was missing were many the secondary reads that players off the ball need to make in order to counter a defense that’s locked in on the player with ball.
Everytime a player sets a screen, there’s an option to make himself available to the ball handler for a pass. That player can make a cut back to the ball, seal the man he picked for an entry pass, or slip the screen entirely and flow into open space. How many times did we see this last year? Other options include all the fake hand offs that lead to a variety of other alternative sets that the Lakers rarely ran.
Beyond these alternative actions, it was also easy to see that the players didn’t seem all that interested in moving off the ball at all. That’s an even bigger problem than the one that Luke described. As Kelly Dwyer notes in a very good piece on Pau Gasol:
Not only was Gasol turned into a more orthodox pick-and-roll partner with both Bryant and Derek Fisher in the playoffs, but he was also asked to be a typical low-post presence. He has succeeded at times in both roles during his career, but more often than not Gasol struggles to hit that baseline jumper that was afforded him many times in the playoffs (he prefers it at the elbow extended), and he’s out of his element when handed the ball down low, with nobody cutting off of him. The Lakers just dumped it in, and watched. It was almost shocking to behold, for those of us who have watched this team’s offense so intently, as two and sometimes three Lakers stayed on the strong side as Gasol was asked to go to work, his thin frame poorly suited to uproot defenders and pile in for the jump hook.
Dwyer’s a long time fan of this offense (he is a Bulls supporter that saw Phil Jackson led teams dominate the league with this offense in the 90’s) and his point is well made. Too often the Lakers simply stood around and watched their talented teammates take on the defense with the hope (expectation?) that it would produce a bucket. The fact that it didn’t as often as it did should come as no surprise considering how successful isolations are (even in the post) in compared to players shooting coming off screens, cuts, and hand off situations.
These failings can be placed at the feet of many parties, which actually leads me to blaming the entire team – coaches and players included. At this point, I’m not ready to claim that sticking with the Triangle is the only viable option in a life without Jackson on the sidelines, but whatever offense the Lakers run I hope that they explore it fully and execute it well as that’s the best way to dominate an opposing defense. I’ll leave the last point for T. Rogers who said it well in the comments:
When a team moves the ball effectively and has threats all over the floor defending them is nearly impossible. I would love to see a more equitable Laker offense. Theoretically, the Triangle is supposed to be the perfect offense for utilizing the entire team. For a variety of reasons we just did not see that as much as we needed to this year. That has to change.
Darius, if you don’t mind, I always tend to post when you put a new post…so this is from the last one but relevant to the new one (sort of)…
Fisher is probably at the 99th percentile in terms of 36 year old athletes. But you put the top 36 year old against a 23 year old athlete like Derrick Rose, it’s not even a competition.
For years, and even rightfully so, we have emphasized the intangibles like “veteran leadership,” “presence in the locker room” as being as important as foot speed, etc. But the problem this year is the intangibles failed to produce a tangible success: championship.
Now we need to shore up the tangibles: athleticism, foot speed, perimeter shooting and defense. But since we do not have the draft picks, we will have to find some players and let them grow (i.e., make mistakes). With our squad the past 3 years, young players had little room to make mistakes and ergo, our current trail is littered with the jettisoned youth (Ariza, Farmar, Sasha, Powell, etc.). I understand some of the young ones chose to play elsewhere, but it’s precisely because of the stifling nature of being on a “no time/room for rooks” team that made them go elsewhere. Time to restock an already plentifully stocked fridge. We have the protein (bigs), but now we need the veggies and fruits (perimeter players) as part of a balanced diet.
Darius Soriano says
#1. I don’t mind bringing relevant comments from the previous thread to continue the conversation.
Much thanks Darius.
Kobe argued that they have the tools they need to win next season in his own exit interview. And he’s right, IF the Lakers execute the way they should, fully exploiting their physical advantages, as well as the entirety of their offensive and defensive schemes.
To Luke’s (and Darius’) point, both the O and D schemes were simplified over last year’s championship incarnations and in reaction to their mid-season struggles. Was this a product of the new pieces (Barnes, Blake, and the rooks), Bynum’s more continuous role, or the lack of practices (that Bynum can’t stop complaining about). All three?
There’s a lot of dread in Lakerland and among the talking heads, but I, like Kobe, happen to be pretty optimistic about next season. The long summer layoff, and likely lockout time-off is going to do some good.
I think they simplified the offense for two reasons.
With Artest on the floor, the offense always seemed inefficient even against the bad teams because other teams didn’t ever bother to pay attention to him.
And when Bynum was on floor, especially with Pau, our other big was not in their normal offensive position andncould not play to their strengths. As much as people liked Bynums “beast” mode, he isnt an adept passer and it often
Often led to more iso post with Pau in bad offensive rebounding position because of the need for spacing.
Also, it would help to have more than one player who can slash towards the basket and create for teammates.
I thought the beauty of the triangle was phychological more than strategic. It forces great players to play within the confines of a structured offense.
The worst case scenario for supreme talents like MJ is Kobe is to give them free reign to do what they want in a loosely structed offense. The Kobe’s and MJ’s of the world go for 35-40 in that offense but the rest of the team would suffer. The triangle forces great players to play disciplined, and other players to stay involved.
There is all this talk about ball movement. I think I saw plenty of it. What we didn’t see was PLAYER MOVEMENT to go along with it. That’s how you make the defense react. PLAYER MOVEMENT, PLAYER MOVEMENT, PLAYER MOVEMENT. This past year, I became so angry when I saw the Lakers simply stand around on offense (even if they were passing the ball).
In game 4, Luke passed the ball to one Dallas player, he couldn’t know who is the Lakers player. I think Luke should play in Minnesota, Kurt Rambis needs help overthere.
The championship team turned into to the Washington Wizards of the NBA in front of our eyes. I don’t mind the coach who had 11,20 titles, one simple thing, when you lost home-field advantage ,you lost everything.
What are people’s thoughts that the Lakers need to get the “best available player on the board” as opposed to “best triangle player” (ala Fisher, Blake ,etc.)? Obviously it’ll be determined by the next coach, but with respect to our PG position, we have reasonably opted to go with triangle fits. But that has now left our roster woeful with respect to non-triangle PGs.
Also, the greatest conundrum with our trade assets is that we have no “middle-class” assets to obtain upgrades. We have plenty of “low class” assets who are old, and have atrocious contracts. And then we have the “high class” ones who require a high-value asset in return (Bynum, Odom, Gasol). That’s the greatest problem for Mitch. I also don’t know if it will be a blessing/curse to take away the MLE from Mitch, since the track record isn’t pretty.
The point that Darius makes about it being the fault of the players and coaches makes me think of a notion that’s been kicking around my head since Sunday.
I really wonder how much Phil had left in the tank. He said a few times through the year that he came back this season because he felt he owed it to Kobe and the guys. That he was ready to call it a day last year.
So it was an external motivation for him and not an internal one. That makes it harder to get into that extra gear. Furthermore, with that as an external incentive, I wonder how much of it, even subconsciously, he expected this veteran team to know how to execute without a lot of extra help from him.
The players may know what needs to be done, but that’s why coaches exists, it’s still up to the coaches to make sure the players stay the course.
If Phil went with his patented let the players figure it out method but didn’t follow it up with more intense correction in practice, you never develop those better habits.
If any of this is accurate, then it would also dovetail with some of Bynum’s comments about the team’s practices. Or rather the lack of productive practices.
It was a lethal combination of Phil not putting the extra effort to correct, expecting this veteran team to already know it and not having enough practices for the team to figure it out.
I admire Luke’s determination, I acknowledge his contributions to the Lakers over his career, and he said all the right things in his exit interview. But man, isn’t there any way the front office can entice him to fall on his sword before next season? Promise him a plum job as a host on the new Laker network or something?
P. Ami says
I would like to understand better, why did the team stick with a simplified version of the offense? I think Chownoir brings one possibility, and it’s compelling. Yet, PJ’s motivation level and source, could only really inform a small part of the issue. If guys were not moving, and I can only relate it to my own experience playing ball, it is often because fatigue has settled into the muscle. Muscle fatigue is bad enough, but when the mind tires, it is harder to overcome the limits of the flesh.
There are more ways then one to improve on this season. My preference is through youth. Kobe has been a transcendent player, one of the all-time greats, but nobody beats time. I love these players as much as I can love entertainers. I love the Lakers as much as I can love a business I don’t own. I love basketball as much as I can love a sport. From Jerry Buss to Gary Vitti, and all the players and coaches in between, I love this franchise. I would like to see the team build around Drew. I can’t just sweep aside his injury issues and if I were to deal with that, this would leak in the forbidden territory of trade speculation. So, assuming Drew’s health trajectory keeps up, I want the team to start building around him. He needs athletes around him. He needs shooters. He needs someone with a PG mentality to run the team. he needs to get the freakin ball in the last 10 minutes of a game when you are trying to milk a lead.
There are reasons to keep the team together. There are reasons to make moves that center around Kobe, and there are reasons to start building for a future. I lean towards that last option.
12, Luke’s contract is pretty meaningless with all our other massive contracts. Even if we used the now defunct Allan Houston provision on Luke’s contract, making it essentially go away from the books, we would still be $30M over the salary cap next year.
Even if we got rid of Fish, Blake, Artest, and Walton, we’d still be $15M over the salary cap. So the only way we’ll get anyone is if the new CBA allows for exceptions to the cap like now, or trade.
Renato Afonso says
Zephid got it right. Retooling and dumping contracts is borderline impossible.
Darius, you said that you’re not ready to claim that the Triangle is the only viable option to bring us back the championship. I disagree with you because the two problems are linked. This roster needs the triangle and you can’t change the roster due to bad contracts.
In a conventional offense (let’s not go into to flex options or the Princeton offense) for the NBA you usually have a primary ball handler who makes most of the decisions on the floor while dribbling. We don’t have that player as of now. Then you have a couple of enforcers and slashers making picks everywhere to release the shooters or play the pick’n roll with the aforementioned PG or those shooters. We don’t have neither the enforcers nor the slashers (Ebanks, maybe?). We also don’t have the shooters (Kobe, but he won’t get much room to shoot). This leaves us with the only options left on a conventional offense: the beast down low to whom you pass the ball and say “please, can you score for us since we won’t be able to do it ourselves?”.
Maybe Shaw is the coach to make a smooth transition from the triangle offense (in place until Artest, Fish and the other bad contracts are off the books) to a more traditional form of offense. I don’t see the reason to totally break up with the system if we cannot get the pieces we need…
The “dumbing” down the offense to newcomers seems like a terrible approach. They are professional players who should know the playbook and were brought in because of their basketball IQ and characteristics that fit the triangle offense. Dum it down for the pre-season? Sure, go for it. Still not the full offense by playoff time? That’s ridiculous and I blame the coach for that.
14 & 15, I hear you. I just don’t want him taking minutes away from Ebanks.
Triangle offense would be better without kobe
Chris J says
Young legs will make a big difference. That, and one or more decent spot-up shooters.
I don’t believe in second guessing moves that resulted in championships, so I’m not saying things should have been done differently.
But damn if the Lakers couldn’t use a guy like Ariza, or a 2008-vintage Sasha once again. I had high hopes for Blake, but he was a huge letdown because outside of opening night he couldn’t consistently hit the two or three open looks the Lakers needed him to hit per game.
Matt Barnes should have been the Ariza this year. He could have been if the knee injury didn’t happen. Same kind of rangy wing athletic defender.
Barnes over his career has shot slightly better from 3 than Ariza, 32 vs 31%. In the playoffs, Barnes has also shot better than Ariza compared to career averages.
Throwing out this year due to the injury, Barnes shot 42 and 37% in two post season campaigns. Ariza 25%, 47% and 33% in his three campaigns.
That’s why I had a lot of hope for Barnes as being that breakout shooter Lakers had every post season.
We obviously need a player or two to add talent and athleticism to this squad. But the only tradable assets we have are Derek Fisher and Luke Walton. Besides those two who else do other GMs want?
In all seriousness… It’s hard to trade expensive players over thirty no matter how talented they are. You won’t get much in return for Kobe, Gasol, Odom, or Artest individually. Most teams want young talent to rebuild. The only way we get quality talent is if we trade Andrew Bynum but then we are without a Center on the roster. Now if we can get Dwight Howard that’s a whole other story.
The most likely way this team improves is signing a big athletic guard who can shoot to play alongside Kobe. A player like OJ Mayo. If we keep a system like the triangle we don’t need a pure PG which gives the Lakers more options. The reason a SG would be ideal is because only SGs usually have succsess guarding PGs with their length. PGs are too small to play defense.
Paul L says
Bill Simmons is so predictable. He’s already using the rondo injury as an excuse.
This crew of Lakers and Celtics had a symbiotic relationship. Sad to see the final vanguard go, but what the heck, it’s the Celtics. Now I just cheer for whichever team plays Miami in the Finals.
Magic may be on to something, although I don’t think “blowing up” the team is the answer, exactly.
Now, “blowing up” the offence might be in order.
I finally figured out what happened to Pau. Over the summer him and his brothers brains(Marc) where switched in a freak accident. Watching the OKC/MEM game, Marc looks like a bigger version of Pau, hopefully Pau’s at home watching.
Craig W. says
I think the biggest problems were…
1) The already mentioned exhaustion of both Phil Jackson and the players after 3 yrs of the same grind. This also would explain why the offense was “dumbed down” this year.
2) Our almost total lack of outside shooting. When you combine our inability to hit the outside shot with our refusal to run more than the basic triangle, then add in the insistence on running iso’s at the end of games, we allow defenses to actually rest against us and simply clog the middle.
I too think we are reacting like psychotic fans when we talk about “breaking up the team”. Building a championship level team is a process – exactly what do we think the Lakers would do next year if we do a complete meltdown? We will be worse, both during the season and the playoffs.
Warren Wee Lim says
The past season is a painful reminder of the “basic” things we need to do…
1. Intangibles win championships but tangibles win games.
Sure I’d love to have a 36yo Fish on my team but a 23yo Derrick Rose sounds more appealing don’t you think? We cannot live on intangibles alone, we have to show for it on the tangible side.
2. Basketball players are not fine wine… we do get worse with age.
Yes even the immortal Kobe Bryant is subject to this… therefore we need more youth (not necessarily 19yos) in the team, just enough to keep up with the footing and athleticism of the rest of the league.
3. The triangle is not a given. While most of our players already “know” it or atleast spent time knowing it, we can still function as a semi-triangle team.
@21 Ha, they still haven’t lost a series when their starting 5 are healthy!!
From the excerpted Dwyer quote:
“his [Pau’s] thin frame poorly suited to uproot defenders and pile in for the jump hook.”
Then he better be working with Kareem, as Kareem is listed at 225 lbs. No way that Pau weighs less than that [BRef has him at 227 while NBA.com has him at 250].
Next, don’t know why we can’t think of Pau as C. His career split:
And the weight doesn’t always work in Pau’s favor playing PF. Courtesy of NBA.com:
Lastly, whatever happened to all that talk about Dirk’s defense being poor as a general proposition and certainly down low in the post? Now I’m reading about Pau not having the mass to pile in.
Almost forgot, but the quote of the day, for Lakers and Celts fans, from a soul on Sons of Sam Horn:
“Their [sic] is nothing Ainge can do this offseason that will enable the Celtics to rectify all the holes that are on the team. You can’t purchase youth and athleticism for the veteran minimum.”
So it looks like Kobe still won’t get surgery on his finger. I didn’t even know it was still an option. I think it was The Dude Abides who theorized that Kobe’s ball handling has deteriorated due to the finger (though now healed, is arthritic). I heard the surgery is drastic/not commonly done, thus the long recovery time. What do you guys think? Should he do it? I think Kobe should – it’s affecting his game more than he realizes.
Here is the link to the article: http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/news/story?id=6529112
Chris J says
LeBron is like a giant condom. The shape looks correct, but there’s no meat inside. And the only way hell ever make it into the promised land is by strapping himself onto someone else’s unit.
Can’t say I’m ever sad to see Boston lose, but let’s hope one of the other remaining teams takes out the Heat, lest LeBron pull a David Robinson and claim the title “champion” while riding someone else’s coat tails.
Watching Kobe’s exit interview, I noticed that he repeatedly expressed his desire to get stronger over the summer. He reiterated that point at least five times, in addition to “Taking it to another level.”
I hope he does as some commentators have said, which is taking the route of MJ and just bulking up. I would love to see Kobe go back to work in the post with increased bulk.
Great insight from Darius and Luke. It certainly makes sense; something seemed very different about this team’s offense this year. I think Chownoir brings up some great questions about whether Phil brought the same level of detail in his preparation that he normally brings.
30 – I’d love Kobe bulking up too, but we’re talking different physiques here. Michael Jordan didn’t lift weights at all for the first 6-7 years of his career. Once he began working with Grover, he bulked up tremendously. (On a side note, this also shows how the mythology of Michael’s incredible work ethic is just revisionist history. Early in his career he was more famous for avoiding the weight room and hitting the golf course on game days).
Kobe, from what I gather, has been in the weight room for years. He’s been committed to getting much stronger since 08, and adding to his post game for several years. Some people just don’t have the body structure to bulk up, and I think it’s very, very likely that Kobe falls into that category. He lifts about as hard as a guy can lift. He has an incredible physique, but he won’t get much bigger.
Here’s a quote from Kobe that, despite my respect for him, I highly, highly dislike:
In regards to Bynum’s offensive demands that he made Tuesday with local media, Bryant stated that the ball should continue to go through him first, Gasol second.
“Ultimately, he’ll have to fall in line because I’m gonna shoot the ball,” Bryant said. “We all know that. Pau is going to get his touches. He’s No. 2. And then [Andrew] will have to fall in line.”
It’s sad, because Kobe had this exact same battle with Shaq. In that sense, Kobe and Shaq aren’t so different after all. Great players always have difficulties setting their egos aside. If Bynum continues to show growth offensively, he needs to be rewarded for the sake of the team.
Also, I’m sure everyone’s seen this by now, but just in case – we can lay the salacious Pau rumors to rest. Ramona Shelburne does reporting, and Kelly Dwyer rips Plaschke for perpetuating the rumors:
Pau’s girlfriend was at Game 2 with Pau’s mother. Not sure how the mainstream media doesn’t pick up on that until after the series is over. So thankfully we can look at pure basketball again.
Interestingly, Pau credits his decline to fatigue and the same thing Luke mentioned – the lack of player movement in the offense this year.
Shooters are the #1 priority, but I think athletic cutters have to be #2. Player movement is hard on old, tired legs. We have very few players that cut hard consistently (Barnes when healthy, LO occasionally). A couple of those could go a long way to helping clear space for our post players.
And reading the comments from the last thread, I also agree with those promoting Adelman. I like Shaw, but Rambis showed that a great assistant coach isn’t always the best head coach. We don’t have a long enough title window to falter under a rookie coach’s learning curve.
“You won’t get much in return for Kobe, Gasol, Odom, or Artest individually.”
They might be able to, if a second ‘bad’ contract is acquired along with a good player. But doubt they would be willing to do that.
Yea, noticed that too. I remember he bulked up before, and as far as I remember it led to a bit of a down season and more injuries. Anyone remember which season that was?
But for old Kobe it might be good, he could take it even more to the post, but maybe – as disgusting as that might be – he might want to watch some Paul Pierce footage over the summer. As PeePee really gets away with playing a slow and earthbound game quite effectively.
One thing I really like about the Kobe we see now, is that he sounds like a real team-player. Everything his critics always called him out for, he seems to have corrected. His shot attempts were down at the end, his focus on passing has increased, and his demeanor is very supportive (of Pau) and calm.
The Dude Abides says
@29. Yes, that was me. The difference in ball handling between today’s Kobe and the pre-December 2009 Kobe is striking. I don’t think this team can win a championship going forward with Kobe’s finger in its current condition.
Darius Soriano says
#36. I think it might be a stretch to say that this team can’t win w/ Kobe’s finger in its current condition. Without going into a big list of things that would counter that statement, I believe that having another wing or two that can create offense from the perimeter would greatly help as it would allow Kobe to be off the ball more than he currently is and thus reduce his ball handling responsibility.
T. Rogers says
I believed Kobe bulked up to about 220 pounds just before the 2002-2003 season. He carried a little more upper body mass around for a few seasons. I remember reading somewhere that he intentionally dropped the weight when teams began to really embrace zone defenses. He spoke about needed to get quicker. Plus, I think after getting those knee surgeries he wanted to be lighter on his joints.
If Kobe is going to go to the post he will really need to add some mass. When he started doing that in 2009-2010 teams were caught off guard at first. However, they quickly adjusted. Teams started throwing longer and stronger defenders on him like Kenyon Martin. Plus, if Kobe really hits the post full time the Lakers will really need to bring in a slasher.
Dude, I agree with you about the finger affecting his ball-handling. In fact, I think it has had the greatest effect (more than his somewhat diminished athleticism) on his ability to singlehandedly impose his will on games, since he has to rely upon his pull up jumper so much (at the expense of going directly to the cup and forcing the issue, getting to the line, etc).
If you watch highlights of pre-finger injury Kobe his ballhandling ability was incredible. When is the last time anyone has seen him cross anyone over? Also, It looks like he is guiding the ball on finishes now rather than gripping it firmly.
All that being said, the fact that he is still able to function at such a high level with his fingers the way they are is amazing. I also agree with Darius that the Lakers can win nonetheless, if we can get an additional perimeter player who can create offense.
When Kobe bulked up (adding 20 pounds of muscle) before the 2002-2003 season it was incredible to see how big he got. That in my opinion was one of his best seasons. If you remember that was the season where he went like 20 -30 straight games scoring 30 point or more.
I absolutely agree that he needs to bulk up and also I think he needs to work on his 3 point shooting. Adding more consistent range to his shooting would prolong his career like it has done for Paul Pierce.
I’m really worried about all the talk of us not needing to make major changes. If we come back next year with Derek Fisher as our starting point guard I’m gonna scream. I’m sure Ken’s out there somewhere nodding his head.
The Dude Abides says
Yes, but how do we get an additional perimeter player who can create offense? They don’t grow on trees, and we have a lot of “assets” who nobody wants. Dorell Wright at triangle PG would look pretty good right now 😀
I think about 80% of my vocabulary during this post season was one word, “MOVE!!” Every time the ball went to Pau or Kobe, the entire team stopped and watched. Kobe is used to this, so he wasn’t terribly ineffective (although his assist totals certainly represented the extreme level of this change). Pau, on the other hand, would catch, turn and face and hold the ball… and hold the ball… and hold the ball… At some point I felt like I was watching Carmelo Anthony if Anthony had Kwame Brown hands and no jump shot.
And this brings me to a question I’ve wondered for the last year. What the hell happened to Pau’s hands? That guy turns it over in traffic constantly now!! Even the slightest bit of contact and the ball flies out of his hands (as seen in the closing seconds of game 1). Kobe at least put his through a meat grinder, did I miss the time Pau’s fingers exploded?
TDA, if only Golden State were in a gift giving mood…
At the end of all of this, there are a couple of glaring flaws on this team.
1. No shooting. To quote Coach Wooden, “Offense is spacing. Spacing is offense.” Without players to stretch the floor, teams are able to dig in post more without concern for recovering to the perimeter to shooters. It’s a serious problem that has to be addressed.
2. Athleticism on the perimeter. Fisher, God rest his soul, is a corpse on the floor. Kobe is too old to take on every speedy perimeter player so the Lakers can hide Fisher. Defensively, they need to get quicker and more athletic to protect their bigs. It’s simply too much to ask that Pau and Bynum defend everyone on the floor because no one on the perimeter can contain dribble penetration. Against teams that shoot the 3, it is devastating to continually have your defense broken down this way.
These are really the two keys to next season. Also, I’d love to see Rick Adelman with the Lakers because, while he runs a similar offensive system, he takes greater advantage of the 3 than Phil ever has. In today’s game, and with the Lakers strength inside, this would be a huge advantage.
One more thing… The Lakers can get the pieces they need by trading a big. Everyone’s first thought is that that would weaken the Lakers inside, but wait… Does anyone remember how efficient Kobe was operating in the post last year when Pau missed the start of the season? I would love to get an athletic shooter on the wing and clear space inside for Kobe to post. Defensively, we would be able to contain dribble penetration better, and that would largely negate the loss of one of our bigs on that end of the floor.
When the 3pt line was first implemented, shooters had to adjust to the distance to the goal and that took time. It has been years now, and the players have improved their field goal percentage from the line to the low 40 percentile. A team catching fire from the 3pt line needs to be ushered away from the line into the 2pt territory. The Lakers never made this adjustment all season long.
Additionally, the offense was stagnant as has been said previously, no player movement off the ball. Even during fast break situations the Lakers would trot/sprint down the floor, just to spot up at the 3pt line. This had me SCREAMING all season long!