From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: In broad terms, Derek Fisher was largely the player this season he was the season before. In one important respect — 3-point shooting — Fisher was actually better, boosting his percentage from 34.8 to 39.6 percent, while shooting 39 percent from the floor, overall. While neither number is exactly slathered with “wow” factor, the figure from downtown actually exceeds, and the mark from the floor matches, Fisher’s career norms. Basically, they reinforce an important reality: Fisher has never, on a night-in, night-out basis, been a particularly good or consistent shooter. It also emphasizes how complaints about Fisher’s age and general lack of NBA-caliber quickness miss the point: While Fisher’s D garners most of the attention, he hurts the Lakers more offensively than at the other end.
From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen and Roll: Individually, all of these questions are difficult ones. They deal in the unknown, and therefore can not be answered with any kind of finality. We can surmise things from what we’ve seen and heard about Brian Shaw as a person, we can piece together the quotes from the players and front office and owners regarding the team’s direction, but at the end of the day, this is all just advanced guesswork. If the future were easy to predict, we’d all be rich. But it is the questions themselves that cause this situation to be so intriguing. Normally, in any coaching search, all that matters is the guesswork towards figuring out the answers to those first few questions. What kind of system does a coach run? Is that system a good fit with our team? Does the coach run that system well? Is the coach an effective motivator? If you know, or think you know, the answers to those questions, then you have the ability to figure out whether a candidate will be a good head coach. But, in the crazy world of the Los Angeles Lakers, we don’t even know whether the “right” answers to those questions are good or bad.
From Jeff Weiss, The Basketball Jones: We’ll probably never know what a goon is to a goblin, but it’s clear what happens when goblin meets goon. It looks like Andrew Bynum going full Macho Man Savage on an undrafted Puerto Rican ex-boy scout named J.J. Suddenly, the Lakers’ Three Mile meltdown was symbolized in a few frames, the footage as hideously memorable as a Craig Sager suit. Bynum’s crack up was one of those moments that crystallized every Lakers flaw: their lead-footed resistance to defensive rotations, their sour petulance, their inveterate ability to turn every middling point from Aaron Brooks to Goran Dragic into the second coming of A.I. Somehow, J.J. Barea — whose greatest prior achievement had been landing this woman — smacked the taste out of the Lakers mouth and made Mark Cuban jizz … in his … pants. Apologies for the grotesque imagery, but there is no other way to explain those flushed Frankenstein victory faces.
From Eddie Maisonet, Ed The Sports Fan: Mark Madsen, 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers – Also known as the dancing mistrel, Madsen was the original Psycho T aka Tyler Hansbrough…just with a lot less talent. Mr. Go Hard was always playing a half-step too hard, and when he got those garbage minutes everyone feared for their life. But ummmm, yeah about that dance… [The video is there in the post]
From Mike Trudell, Basket Blog: For the first time since 2007, Andrew Bynum is heading into an offseason with a clean bill of health. This is no small victory for Bynum, or for the Lakers, who could consider their 7-foot center’s current medical report the best news going after being unexpectedly swept out of the second round of the playoffs. In the summers of 2008, 2009 and 2010, Bynum was either recovering from surgery, or about to head under the knife, but as he detailed in his exit interview, the word “rehabilitation” is no longer an essential part of his offseason vocabulary: It’s going to change greatly how I approach the summer because I’m going to be able to work on my own. I don’t have to go through rehab, I don’t have to sit down for four months … physically I feel great, I have no injuries going into the summer. On that note, I’m definitely looking forward to becoming a better player.
From Elliot Teaford, Inside The Lakers: Kobe Bryant and Stephen Jackson were both born in 1978. Bryant began playing professionally for the Lakers in 1996-97 and Jackson the following season in the CBA. Bryant has played 21,186 minutes or seven 82-game seasons (averaging 40 minutes per game) more than Jackson if you add up all the playoff games, according to research done by Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News. That helps to explain why Bryant looked slow and old during the Lakers’ second-round playoff ouster at the hands of Dallas. Here’s Bryant’s workload in the last four seasons:
From Broderick Turner, LA Times: Do the Lakers try to find a copycat coach to replace Phil Jackson, or someone completely different in personality and coaching style? Or hire someone who is a composite of both?Now that Jackson has retired, it leaves the Lakers with giant shoes to fill as they search for the right candidate to replace the winningest coach in NBA history. “I don’t envy the person that has to fill those shoes. That’s for sure,” said Steve Kerr, who played for Jackson with the Chicago Bulls and is now a TNT basketball analyst working the Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and Chicago. Jackson performed his annual team exorcism before the Lakers began the 2011 playoffs, lighting a bundle of sage that he took throughout the team’s facility, doing it to get rid of bad spirits and to cleanse whatever ailed the team during the regular season.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: In the midst of the All-Star afterparties, Blake Griffin’s electrifying slam dunk performance and Kobe Bryant’s collecting his fourth All-Star MVP, Andrew Bynum’s conversation with Phil Jackson during the break helped lay the groundwork for what became a career-building season for the 23-year-old center. After missing the first 24 games of the season because of off-season surgery on his right knee, Bynum at the time lamented his role in the offensive system and his two-of-12 outing in the Lakers’ most embarrassing regular-season loss to Cleveland. That’s when Jackson implored him to take ownership of the Lakers’ defensive scheme that emphasized funneling players into the lane so the frontline could disrupt their opponents’ shots. Bynum laid out the perfect blueprint, averaging 11.2 points and a Western Conference leading 12.3 rebounds and 2.36 blocks per game, disrupting passing lanes and significantly altering the shots he didn’t block.
Everyone read the article by Jeff Weiss on the Basketball Jones. Jeff and I are childhood friends… He is a great writer and a smart basketball guy. Nate Jones along with myself and Jeff went to high school together. I taught Jeff everything he knows about basketball… As you will read in his piece.
That Jeff Weiss article was pretty raw, but I think it encapsulated the Lakers team this year. I always feared that Phil’s “Last Stand” would end badly because it seemed the team tuned him out, and one of my last memories of Phil will be of him uncharacteristically beating Pau’s chest. In that moment, Pau wasn’t being Pau, and Phil wasn’t being Phil.
And before people go on long diatribes about Fisher, remember, who were the available free agent PGs last summer? Almost everyone here was delighted about Blake, but that turned out to be a huge disappointment. Lakers had no choice but to sign Fisher since Farmar left (he didn’t want to stay). Sadly, until someone on the squad beats him for the PG spot, it’s his to lose. Blake clearly didn’t beat him to it, and Shannon is pretty atrocious at the PG spot.
So that’s why this summer, I think everyone is finally on the same page about needing to upgrade the PG spot. No more “intangibles” when we need some tangible results from that position. But it will take a pound of our own flesh (one of our 3 bigs) to upgrade at that spot so unless the team is willing to do that, Fisher will probably be the starting PG in the 2011-12 season (if there is one).
Kevin Ding at the OC Register says Dunleavy is seriously being considered for the coaching job:
Could someone please just pull me out of the ditch, pull the knife out of my back, and stick it somewhere new? Then push me back into the ditch? Thanks.
I read the Jeff Weiss article, and while he makes many valid points, I was really turned off by the writing. He sounded like somebody in love with its own wit and sense of humor. It really diminished the impact of fact-related statements for me. I guess I was expecting journalism and level-headedness from something linked on this website, but this was pure opinion, and not nuanced one. And talk about overreacting. Sounds like we would have been better off without Kobe all these years. Yeah, right. There is no perfect team in the NBA – all of them have weaknesses, including the Lakers. This is why we have sports in the first place – for competition and unpredictability. If all the best players were on one team, would it be worth watching? Ah, and the point about Dirk evolving, while Kobe is presumably at a stand still – give me a break. This just sounds like a long-accumulated hatred that can finally be spilled because Lakers are not winning a championship this season.
Steve Blake would be an upgrade over Fisher; I think that last season was an aberration for him, and he will likely do better this season. I doubt that there will be anyone better than him available for what the Lakers can spend.
I’ve been with the Lakers through thick and thin since the 70’s. I happily cheered on the post Magic teams with Sedale Threatt being the most entertaining player and a 1st round appearance being the most you could hope for. I stuck with the team in 05 and tried to be as optimistic as possible.
But if Dunleavy becomes the coach of this team, I will be gut shot and will have a very hard time in making a large emotional investment in the team.
The Wiess article was style over substance; or, to be more accurate, bad style over substance.
I agree with Aga that it was more an exercise in overreaction. Summary judgments can be made after every loss and every win–about players and teams–but they are very, very rarely accurate or interesting. I am a firm believer in being cautious and patient in analyzing the current state of players and teams.
5. Exheldodrvr…I truly hope so. He has all the tools to be at least an average point guard on offense/defense (which Fisher was not). I’m just concerned about how he shrunk like a violet under playoff pressure (chix pox notwithstanding). But Blake will still have to earn the spot from Fisher…and knowing Fisher, dude will fight even harder to keep his starting spot. I admire Fisher’s passion, but at a certain point, he needs to realize he’d be better in a more reserved (and I mean RESERVED) role.
If we keep the core players, not much we can do with our PG situation but hope Blake dramatically improves.
Igor Avidon says
Isn’t Jim Buss in charge of hiring the new head coach? That would explain the interest in Dunleavy. He hired Rudy T the last time he had his pick of a coach. I’m terrified for our team in terms of where the ownership is heading. Is this what Clipper fans go through every year? What a terrible terrible existence..
I don’t expect this team to win anything if there isn’t at least one large piece moved. All the talk about the bitter taste and how bad it feels to exit so early – I’m not buying it. Team needs one good shake-up move to awaken and reinvigorate the interest in developing on-court chemistry.
The Weiss article was pretty bad, which makes me think Aaron really did teach him a lot about basketball. There were some good points made, but they were covered up by the ridiculousness and other points that went to the extreme (the Lakers hated each other? Really?)
If the Dunleavy rumors are real, I think there’s no doubt Jim Buss is behind them. Dunleavy still has a friendship with Jerry, but I think Jerry’s generally too smart to let friendship get in the way of smart business.
Gabriel R. says
Whatever wins for the Lakers, that’s all that matters in the end.
I’m not paid to be the GM/Owner, but if my opinion actually mattered, Dunleavy isn’t the answer and Adelman is.
That’s just my vote.
P.S. I wish we were having this conversation about the new coach in late June!
i cant believe Darius would even link the Weis article. Fail!
Darius Soriano says
A new post is up.
Is Jeff in love with his own wit? Yes. Guys that’s what happens when someone has talent. It’s hard to be confident when you talk like George W. Bush and walk like Dick Chaney. I know many on this site are hesitant to read things that even resemble the truth but if you want to absorb it in small doses with a spoon full of humor then read Jeff’s article. If anyone understands cancers in the clubhouse it would be Weiss. He single handedly ruined our High School baseball and basketball teams.
How old are you, Aaron?
LakerFAn wrote on May 17, 2011 at 12:45 pm
i cant believe Darius would even link the Weis article. Fail!
in defense of Darius, this was Phillip’s post, and I don’t think they edit each other.
Chris J says
I just read the Weiss article. Dude drops way too many pointless pop culture references, like he’s there to amuse himself with how clever he believes he really is. No one wants to read stuff like that. It’s first-degree hackery.
Also, his point that Fisher “couldn’t, at nearly 37, helm a championship team” was also amusing, considering Fish had done so over the prior two seasons, when he wasn’t that much younger. (Though clearly, this season age finally did catch up to Fish.)
Despite the poorly written garbage, I have to agree with the point Weiss makes about how the manner in which Kobe faces his coming reality will absolutely dictate the future of the Lakers.
If he wants to go out when he’s the best in the game, he should have retired a year ago. But if he can make a Kareem-like transition, still playing a major role but realizing he’s not the greatest player he once was, the Lakers have the right pieces to build around going forward. However, the days of him taking 35 shots while Bynum and Pau look around hoping for the ball have to end.
Two seasons ago, Kobe has six game-winners at the buzzer; this past season, I can only recall the 3 to tie the game at Sacramento as an example of him coming up big at the end. But he couldn’t get a shot off against the Jazz, and couldn’t pull off a miracle in multiple possessions at the end of Game 1 vs. Dallas. Hell, even in last year’s playoffs it was Artest and Gasol who made the big plays at the end, following up on Kobe misses.
I don’t meant to base everything on last-second plays. When the ball moves around and the Lakers play to their size and length, they’re a match-up nightmare for most teams. Add a decent outside shooter, a little more perimeter speed and they’re where they want to be again.
But to stay with the “Let’s let Kobe take 60 percent of the shots and never move the ball around” mode would be foolish. He’s smart enough to see that, if his ego will let him see things as they really are.
As always, it’s all up to Kobe.