*In any season there are ups and downs, turning points and crossroads that each team must navigate to try and reach their end goal. Obviously the Lakers fell short this year. Over at ESPN Los Angeles, Dave McMenamin does a good job picking out 20 moments that shaped the Lakers season. One note particularly stood out to me was the detailing of the Lakers 7 game roadie:
L.A. had another one of its patented Sunday letdown losses on Jan. 30 at home to Boston, losing by 13 points, but quickly regrouped by starting its longest road trip of the season with consecutive wins against the Hornets, Grizzlies, Celtics and Knicks in early February. Then it finished off the trip by losing three straight — in Orlando by 14, in Charlotte by 20 and in Cleveland by five (marking a 60-point turnaround from the last time the two teams met). “I think [my team] took their All-Star break before the game,” Jackson said. “They left before this game started. I’m not happy with the way this trip ended, that’s for sure.” All the goodwill from the back-to-back wins in Boston and New York was dashed by the feeble finish.
Looking back, this trip was indicative of the Lakers entire season. They could get up for certain games but ultimately didn’t have enough in them to sustain long pushes (post all-star break push aside). This year really was one where the peaks were not as high but the lows were lower than in seasons past.
*The playoffs are in full swing and while it’s hard not having the Lakers playing, the basketball on display has been fantastic. From the duels between Dirk and Durant to the defense of the Bulls and Heat, the competition is a joy to watch. I hope that you all are catching these games (especially since the potential lockout hangs over all of these games like a combination of a dark cloud and a wet blanket). If you’re looking for one of the better scouting reports on the Western Conference Finals, you should give Ryan Gome’s take a read. Gomes has long been known as one of the players who’s most savvy in thinking the game and his report for ESPN Los Angeles is an example of that.
*While the playoffs rage on, the Lakers are still transitioning and looking for a head coach. Sources are reporting that former Cav’s head man, Mike Brown, is now being considered for the job. My initial thoughts on this are mixed. Brown can obviously teach defense and he was able to achieve strong regular season success with a team fronted by a massive star. These would be key ingredients for any Laker coach. However, his offensive sets were limited (which is being kind) and his lack of success in the post season are checkmarks in the “cons” column of evaluating his tenure as a head man. In the end, I think the Lakers are merely being thorough by looking at all of the names that have surfaced with the media, but my preferences remain one of the trio of Shaw, Adelman, and Van Gundy (should he actually ever be officially approached for an interview).
*One of the fallouts of the Lakers going out of the playoffs the way that they did is that any success they had in the regular season is now under a microscope with some quick to diminish it or scrutinize it in a way that lessens how good they actually were. This happens at the team level and at the individual player level. Over at Silver Screen & Roll, there’s an in-depth look at whether or not Kobe Bryant deserved his nods to the All-NBA 1st Team and the All-Defense First Team. Give it a read as I feel there are some very good points made.
*If you have not heard, Jerry West is joining the Warriors in a non-decision making position on their executive board. He’ll essentially be another advisor the Warriors’ ownership group and will lend some needed credibility to a franchise that’s had about as much success as the Clippers over the past 20 years. One recent development, however, is that West’s role may also come with a small stake in ownership. Go read what Tim Kawakami (who’s been all over the West news) has to say about it.
*I really have nothing to say about this post beyond mentioning that you should go read it. Anything that has Ron Artest and Dostoyevsky’s Notes From The Underground together gets my thumbs up.
*Finally, this isn’t reading material but rather tasty treats for the eyes. If you’re on twitter and you’re not following @NBA-Photos, you’re missing out on some fantastic stuff. Like Kobe demolishing Okafor, Taj Gibson crushing Wade, and Durant’s outright assault on Brendan Haywood.
lil' pau says
The Artest article is strong. The folks over at 48 Minutes of Hell (Spurs blog) also are huge Dostoyevsky fans and constantly refer to the Great One to contextualize their Once Great Ones.
Anyone else here feel like they’ve got an unusual amount of extra free time and feel like there’s something they’re supposed to be doing, especially around 7:30? I also feel unusually stress-free for May, but would welcome the alternative….
The more I watch the OKC-Dallas series, the more dissapointed I am in the Lakers. I honestly just don’t think Dallas is that good, especially on Defense, and the Lakers totally played into their hands.
And yes, very unusually stress free. I don’t like it, I’m a stress junkie.
And then…. OKC puts up a stinkbomb of a first quarter.
Renato Afonso says
Watching this game I could smell the home cooking… This game would be over in the middle of the third if it wasn’t for the refs.
Collison is a defensive monster. He was made to stop Dirk Nowitzki. Brooks just made more poor strategic decisions on how to cover the Terry-Dirk pick-and-pop, but Collison’s defense was made to stop Nowitzki.
Thunder fell apart in the end with stupid mental mistakes. Westbrook chucked up an awful three. Cook and Harden’s I don’t mind as much because they were in rhythm, but they were only down six…would have been much smarter to drive.
I’m still AMAZED at how Brooks lets Westbrook get away with holding the ball like that at the end of games, while Durant politely watches like a 12th man. It really is stunning. Is Westbrook a malcontent that Brooks is afraid of offending (yeah, right)? Is Brooks hoping Westbrook will grow through trial-and-error? None of these explanations make sense. Yes, Durant sucks at shaking free under intense ball denial, but give him the ball in the backcourt and let him bring it up if you have to.
The way Westbrook pounds the ball and seems oblivious on which teammates to feed, he was made to be a Lakers perimeter player.
The gates of Heaven may have just opened up. Milwaukee is looking to trade Jennings if you take on one of their bad contracts (read Corey Maggette). Could the Lakers finagle Luc Richard Mbah a Moute too, that would answer all but one of our problems (a back up big). Somewhat giddy.
Who goes to Milwaukee?
I wonder if the Thunder, as Hollinger has explained, just straight up stop playing Perkins (unless Haywood is in). Hard to go small against Dallas because they will play Dirk/Chandler together, but I think that the Thunder have to go ultra-athlete, ultra-small in game 4 to even the series.
We shall see. Dirk put up an absolute stinker (7-21, the kind Kobe wouldve been massacred online for) and Dallas still won.
Warren Wee Lim says
^ I’m sure its Walton and Blake and Caracter… Milwaukee GM then shoots himself in the head so he doesn’t live to see the blame 😀
Love Jennings’ game, but he shoots 38% career…that wouldn’t help our outside shooting woes…
No!!!!! Mike Brown is TERRIBLE. Terr-uh-bull!
Please say this isn’t so. I will literally DIE if he is the coach of the Lakers.
If that is true about Milwaukee that would be a nice trade. I like Jennings and Maggette would be a good scorer off the bench. Way better than what Shannon Brown gives the team 95% of the time.
I just don’t see what Milwaukee gets back? Unless they are looking to unload salary and are looking to buy out Luke or something…
dave m says
Not looking to incur any wrath here but the idea of Van Gundy is mildly intriguing – the guy’s able to get teams to buy into defensive concepts. Then again, Kobe would probably eat him alive.
Saves them $15 million over 3 years.
Van Gundy just doesn’t work. He would be bringing in too much and Kobe already feels like the door is closing. His comment that “he just wasted a year of his life” let’s you know all he wants is number 6. If we can get Pau to man up and make a couple changes (a point who can score and a more athletic forward) we have an excellent chance to get back to the Finals. The least athletic team in the NBA (per Jerry West) would then be viable. We are not that far away!!!!
I know this is going to get moderated but please read it first. If you need to kill the speculation part of it, so be it. But understand most of what we write is based on some research but mostly observation. I watch the Lakers (the NBA) religiously. I never played at any high level so my observation is based upon not what I would have done, but what Should have been done. That’s why, even on this site, my opinions are usually ignored until later when your team writes an in-depth analysis and well supported piece that details the limited knowledge observation I made. I’m not mad, just right.
The window is not closed, but it’s closing. The Lakers need new blood. The shameless way that they went out reminds me of the 2008 Boston series. Except then, they were a team that played far better than they expected and did not know eachother well enough to battle against a team full of thugs. Boston is by no means a true thug team (like Detroit in the 80’s), but they were as thug as an NBA gets nowadays. Kendrick Perkins’ stare and KG’s bark scared the hell out of that finesse team we had then.
Flash forward to 2011. The Lakers had inner termoil. Lamar kept telling the media and his team that they were missing out on a part of history. That they needed to sum up whatever inner strength they had because if they didn’t they would regret it for the rest of their lives. Everyone heard him but noone took him serious. Pau was too locked up in whatever hell he was going through, Barnes could not get past his injury, and the team was left to rely on Kobe and Bynum. Though they played heroically, they slowed the game down too much with ISOs and didn’t involve the other players. The rest of the team just stops and watches them work. Noone crashes the boards, cuts to the basket, or does anything but watch. Enough background.
The only viable coaching candidates are Shaw and Adelman. They are the only two that Kobe will not fight. In his mind he has to win number 6. It’s not an option to lose, therefore he will do whatever he feels necessary to win. With that said, the coach needs to understand that and have a coaching philosophy and offensive and defensive gameplan similar to the one the team has used for the last several years. Any momentous changes will be met with the rage and distrust of Kobe which will further alienate the team. So in my opinion, as long as Kobe is with the Lakers, he will have to be appeased. So the coaching choice is only between Shaw and Adelman. With West going to Golden State, look for them to make a strong push for Shaw.
The next point is yes, the Lakers need new blood. Blake was a failure, sorry pundits, but he was not what we envisioned. To think he could have another year that bad is a reach but what do you do? Walton, Blake, Caracter, Barnes and Brown (if they re-up) are the only trade pieces we have besides the player exemption for Sasha. There are possibilities out there like Brandon Jennings, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and OJ Mayo that can help where we are most vulnerable.
Indiana almost got OJ Mayo for a draft pick (in a weak draft) and a stiff in Josh McRoberts. Are you going to tell me Mitch can’t make a better offer? Phil didn’t want to rock the boat in his last year, but we have to now if Kobe is to get number 6. It’s up to Mitch to make it happen.
There had to be something really bad in that locker room that made Pau so miserable and unhappy that he will play for Spain this summer instead of rest. He needs to have fun playing basketball again after the hell that started sometime in November 2010 and lasted until their playoff ouster. Whatever it was, it was major and based on what Shannon tweeted it was personal.
T. Rogers says
Pau may as well play for Spain this summer. I seriously doubt there will be an NBA training camp in September anyway. He is looking at two weeks of ball beginning around the first week of September. Unless he comes down with a major injury (which is always a concern) I don’t see a problem with it. Maybe the best way for Pau to get his mojo back is simply to play basketball. Maybe the best way for him to put this Laker season behind him is to put on his Spanish uniform. My guess is it will be therapeutic.
Warren Wee Lim says
10 bucks says Gasol comes out gangbusting.
24/10 and 2 bpg.
And, Gasol also dishes out 6 apg, if he has shooters surrounding him, that can shoot. That is a big IF, BTW.