The Los Angeles Lakers took the court last night and faced the Clippers for their second game of the exhibition season. With Kobe Bryant nursing an injured wrist, the purple and gold changed up their strategy a little and essentially ran what could be characterized as the twin towers offense.
The Lakers showed a lot in last night’s game; let’s have a look at some observations:
- Andrew Bynum’s activity level in this second exhibition game was quite impressive. With Kobe missing the game, Bynum was probably excited at the prospect of being the focal point of the offense and it showed. The young center was energetic and quick to get to his spots on offense. He displayed good footwork as well as some solid post moves against the Clippers big men. Indeed, even on his misses, it was rather evident that Bynum has the required tools to carry the team on offense for stretches. The majority of his shots came directly at the rim as a result of post ups, put backs or lob passes he caught from his teammates. Although his 26 points and 11 rebounds were impressive, one could not help but notice how invested the Lakers starting center looked in the offense even when he wasn’t directly involved. For instance, the purple and gold repeatedly tried to post up Gasol against Griffin but had Bynum hang around the top of the key; which led to DeAndre Jordan sagging down (Jordan was defending Bynum) in the lane to double team the Spaniard before the ball got there. Instead of simply watching the action unfold, Bynum set screens for perimeter players around the free throw line to help free up shooters since Jordan was down in the lane helping out on Gasol and thus unable to participate in defending against the players coming off screens. When Bryant returns, this screen action may free him up for some easy jumpers should teams continue to defend the Lakers this way.
- There was some trepidation going into last night’s game on how Metta World Peace would perform after failing to contribute in the team’s first game against the Clippers. MWP was active on offense, cutting to the basket and looking for post up opportunities. With that said, he still drifted to the perimeter and took some questionable shots, but was still able to convert a pair of 3-point field goals which could be characterized as fool’s gold. Nonetheless, he was able to produce on offense and give the team some kind of spark from the bench to help out his teammates.
- In recent seasons, fans came to expect that the Lakers would coast during games and only occasionally show some interest in certain regular season match ups; but this year could be different. Although the Lakers lost their second exhibition game, they clearly seemed invested in this contest. There was a bit of trash talk between the teams, a few shoves as well as some hard fouls. If the Lakers are going to give this type of effort prior to the start of the season, one can only hope that it translates to the regular season.
- For the second game in a row, Pau Gasol’s defense gave Blake Griffin fits. Granted, the Clippers power forward scored 30 points, but none of his baskets against Pau came easily; as the Lakers power forward made things hard for Blake by moving his feet and contesting his shots. On offense though, Gasol was limited to a mere seven shot attempts. The Clippers double teamed him and thus forced the Lakers to beat them from deep, where they converted 12-of-24 shots. And although they were able to make the most of their attempts from 3-point range, there still needs to be an adjustment to help Gasol get more scoring opportunities given his efficiency on the low block.
- Steve Blake was assertive on offense last night, looking to create opportunities for himself by running out in transition and taking shots where available within the flow of the offense. The end result was a 20-point night on nine field goal attempts. The back up point guard made five-of-seven 3-point shots and converted all of his free throws for an almost perfect night.
- Although it’s only the preseason, one has to worry about the Lakers chemistry as well as their ability to play together currently. After turning the ball over 21 times on Monday night, they turned the ball over 21 times again last night which essentially completely nullified their 44-27 rebounding advantage. The purple and gold will unquestionably have to address their ball security going forward in order to maintain any type of semblance of efficiency on offense. Also, given their ability to control the boards, as long as they do not give the ball away to the other team, they should be able to score at a high rate.
The Lakers have some work to do but they still managed to hang in a tight (and entertaining) game despite the absence of their closer. Their energy level was much better this time around and this bodes well for the Christmas day game against the Chicago Bulls.
Once Kobe returns, will the team be better if Bynum is the focal point of the offense (combination of improved effort from him as well as the greater matchup advantage he has)? If so, will Kobe accept that, and if he doesn’t, will Brown be able to make him accept it?
After watching this second pre-season game, it is more apparent than ever that this team needs significantly better guard play to contend. What does the board think of Calderon from Toronto? Seems like he might be available, and would fit into the Odom TPE.
Does anyone know why Morris didn’t play last night? I guess the FO was impressed enough with his play last game and he’s a guaranteed roster spot? Also, I guess it was only fair to see what G-Lock was able to do last night.
Bynum seemed to have schooled Jordan. DJ is an amazing athlete, but does he have enough overall defensive acumen to help anchor the Clips defense for a full season and post season?
I’m a Bynum supporter but he still needs to show this consistency in the regular season. If he does, I don’t think Kobe will have a problem ceding a lot of the offense to him, especially if it creates open looks and driving lanes.
I was very surprised about Morris not getting any playing time at all. With the current roster makeup, I think he is almost guaranteed a spot. Which does make me believe the extended look at Goudeluck was to determine if he can contribute at all and warrant a roster spot.
Based on last night, I’m not sure he can. Great shooter but lots of holes in his game and I thought he was a lot more out of his element especially compared to how Morris handled his chance the other night. Goudeluck looks like D league bound and seasoning.
If Mitch can dig up a guard that can penetrate consistently, I really like the makeup of the roster.
I think the Clips’ interior defense may be overrated. Look at how Jordan and Blake play defense. They try to block every shot and give up position inside. I think teams may exploit that through the year, and certainly during the playoffs. Blake has every physical tool to be a defender, but I think the Clips may be buying a little too much into their own hype (“Lob City”) and are performing for ESPN highlights.
I just remember the year we played Orlando in the Finals. Dwight had been a one man wrecking crew during the Eastern Conf playoffs, dunking on everyone. But when he faced Pau/Bynum, I can’t remember many dunks in the Finals. You can’t base your offense on alley oops. At the end of the day, in the playoffs and Finals, it’s about half-court offense.
Last night the Lakers played with more purpose than Monday night.
Nothing else changed about the team, yet the outcome of the game was better (ie not a blowout).
Am I ecstatic about the lakers current roster- no. But, it is the team we have and it is a good one.
Its funny how the outcome of one game swings the tenor of the comments on this board: a blowout= doom and gloom, a close game= optimism for the upcoming season. Such is the life of a fan. I truly enjoy the ups and downs of the NBA season.
Edwin Gueco says
Hey, that was a good loss last night at least Lakers showed some grit and competitiveness. The difference was defense on Griffin and Butler and also the 21 TO’s, other than that Laker should have snatched a victory from a team composed of superstars PG’s
I hope Troy Murphy, Jason Kapono and Gerald Greeen are aware of their handicap in their defensive assignments. So far, they have not shown their offensive thrusts that will help the Lakers tremendously.
I am very much pleased with our rookies. They can shoot and more nimble than the veteran PG’s. As a whole, they are still diamonds in a rough compared to the established PG’s of Clippers. I think these guys will be OK in the long run.
Worried about our other veterans like Barnes, Metta, Fisher and Walton. They are supposed to be the stable stewards of the Lakers in absence of Bynum and Kobe. So far, they’re exhibiting as if they are also rookies that need to be interned.
I have a feeling Kobe will play on Christmas Day, he will not be deterred by ligament injury, as long as he can walk and breathe, whether there is a blizzard or natural disaster if there is a game, Kobe will play. That’s the mentality of a hero. It would a tremendous punishment if he stays on the bench.
Just heard that Chuck Hayes has been declared healthy. He is a free agent again and would bring toughness to the Lakers, plus he guarded Blake Griffin better than anybody last year.
I haven’t been a huge Bynum supporter the last few months, but have to admit he was a force last night, although he sure is slow off the floor compared to DeAndre. Still, a nice touch-fake right, go left big guy..
Goudeluck is a shooter, still destined for the D-League I’m afraid. Blake had a horrible season last year, glad he showed flashes of what he can really do..
So long Gerald Green, I think he’d be a better fit for the Clips, actually…
Game was encouraging, if they can survive the first 10 games and go at least 5-5, I would bet they can win 35+ and be fine..
I must have watched a different game. Metta was terrible again. I believe he us 3 for 17. On defense he us out of position ir badly beating. He is as bad on tbe court as the dance floor. Devin looked great in the first quarter and never played again. Also Fisher was Fisher. Minus 11 with bad forced and blocked shots. Blake and Bynam were stars. I hope Brown forgets about the past and starts Blake and Devin and moves Metta to the 3rd team, or China, or the WNBA, or the housewives of the NBA. Or he changes his name to Amnesty!
Well, we were swept by the Clips (but it is just pre-season and Kobe was out 🙂 )
Are we going to say similar excuses on 12/25?
Then the next 4 games, we will have the Bynum excuse (and maybe Kobe as well).
Then people will say “it is just regular season” “we will pull it together”.
This is 66 games people, with the Kobe injury, and the Bynum suspension, we are in REALLLY sad shape. On the road for the first round is likely, and dare I say it? robinred has me thinking that being on the outside looking in come playoff time is not out of the question (not predicting this – just sayin 🙂 )
More importantly, as I said before, Howard is watching this from afar, and he may take the Lakers off his list of destinations (he may already have). He thought he was coming for Chris Paul and championship club, and now what?
Our FO was dealt some bad breaks here, but they have magnified it, and this is now hard to reverse. The moves they have made are almost comical, unless you want the team to be slower and older.
And please – if you disagree – please state why – no profound responses like “what a downer” or “let’s let them play the games” else us pessimists will start responding with comments that include catch phrases like “rose colored glasses” or “sticking your heads in the sand”.
Edwin Gueco says
Yes, Chuck Hayes and/or Calderon can help the Lakers. Cut Walton through amnesty and use the TPE in acquiring Hayes or Calderon or Arenas or combination of two.
Another importance in the infusion of medium stars in the line up, should there be a mega trade before ASG, Lakers can provide more flexibility in combination of players without trading one of our bigs to Orlando.
I am most concerned about the turnovers. I am hoping its just something the practice will take care of but like I said I’m concerned.
Very impressed with Bynum so far. I think he has an excellent chance at Most Improved Player and the All Star team this year. Regardless of all the hand ringing , an engaged and healthy Gasol & Bynum offer an advantage that only 1 other team can match.
Jerry West says
Edwin: We need to save the amnesty for MWP
I believe the amnesty period is over for this year, so that is a no go.
So – the last comment was not to your liking?
Igor Avidon says
Great points. Clips will be an exciting team to watch, but their ceiling for the next two years is WCF. They have another major hole that nobody is talking about – the head coach. VDN was an average player in his playing days, and so far nothing has impressed me about his coaching. No way he can coach past the likes of Popovich and Brown in a 7-game series.
I don’t think you can sign players into a TPE.
Some thoughts from last night’s game:
– Bynum’s footwork has improved, but it’s still not good. Getting his own shots is tough for him – he feeds from alley-oops, offensive boards, and cuts to the basket. If he wants the offense to go through him, he must become a reliable one-on-one scorer in the paint. He also gives defenders too much time to crowd him whenever he gets the ball inside and gathers to go up. Maybe it’s just lack of conditioning.
– Goudelock gave a much better effort on the defensive end than Morris did the previous game. He did about as well on D in his first real NBA game as a rookie can do against seasoned veteran guards. On O he took some Arenas-type shots in the first half, but then made better decisions in the second half. He was clearly playing for a spot on the roster. Expect to see him on the D-Fenders roster this year.
– Ebanks should (but will not) be our starter on Christmas. MWP & Barnes are not in game shape. MWP had some very good scoring opportunities but blew them mightily. Barnes looked out of sync for the second straight game. Luckily, Luke did not even play.
– Good things happened whenever Fish and Blake attacked the hoop. Our PGs can penetrate as a result of ball movement and/or early offense, and I think coach Brown is well aware of this.
– Gerald Green was the worst player on the floor, easily. Completely lost on offense and defense.
Finally, the team seemed to benefit from Kobe being out. Everyone was engaged and shared. Simmons’ Ewing Theory?
Perhaps it is time for new thread
In a matter of a couple of weeks, in my eyes the Lakers went from the 1980’s Dolphins a team that with Dan Marino I thought could win every Sunday to todays version of the Fish, that can win some games but can’t really play against the top tier teams. How sad.
Why are some comments being posted and others not?
Did the Laker brass officially say why they got rid of Odom? I still don’t get how you give away such a valuable chip?
Igor Avidon says
B.Lopez broke a bone.
Wow! Brooke Lopez out with a broken foot. Surgery required … Opportunity knocks.
Craig W. says
Brook Lopez to undergo surgery for a stress fracture in his foot. My guess is that this puts a real crimp in any trade of Howard to the Nets.
I have no opinion right now on whether we should or should not get D12 (believe it or not) because I’ve been adopting a “wait and see” approach to what happens….
And I’m not going to speculate about what combination would work with what to get who, because I like Darius’ trade-discussion rule…’
But if the FO’s goal is to get Howard, this is the first thing that has broken LA’s way…zero pun intended, because I cannot revel in someone getting injured.
Edwin Gueco says
Robert, any posts under moderation perhaps, they want Darius to look at them first. On the other hand, Darius is busy shopping for Christmas gifts for all F B&G posters. lol!
10, VoR, is amnesty really over like the TPE of Sasha? Well, don’t you think that could really be a waste of money if they allow Lakers to cut one player and yet not used it to their advantage? They could use that money in good use by avoiding luxury taxes while using TPE in getting a player who could fill up the void position.
Anybody out there ask, why would Dwight wanna come to the Lakers? What players are we going to put around Superman to make him think we are a contender? Just a thought.
Well, the broken foot definitely puts the Magic in a bad spot. Here’s hoping they can keep Pau and use the Odom exception to pick up someone else.
Although Bynum looked great last night. Aggressive on O and D, bouncy, and had one beautiful spin/lay-in move that completely left Jordan in the dust.
Igor Avidon says
The fact that he himself put the Lakers as one of only three organizations he wants to be traded to.
Scottie Pimpin says
@19. Yeah, I’m not so sure the team that Dwight would have in LA is better than what’s surrounding him now in Orlando. I guess if we can get Dwight without losing Pau it’s an upgrade but Bynum alone will not be enough to get Dwight.
Definately time for a new thread: Perhaps one titled: Jason Kapono: Inside the mind of the new Laker. We could include his hobbies and favorite movies
Why is my comment regarding Odom awaiting moderation?
It must have been negative
The Kapono Kaption Kontest. I’m down.
You can’t tell me this wouldn’t be fun to caption: http://www.blogcdn.com/www.aolnews.com/media/2009/02/jason-kapono-150sc-21409.jpg
Here is a caption:
A reporter just said (this is in 2009):
“Jason, I can see that in a few years – the Lakers will be really desperate and I could see a scenario where YOU SEE LA “
azzemoto: your last comment is all the way up at #21
My comment is all the way up at #11
To answer your question: Salary dump
Amnesty answer for # 14 and others: I have read an analysis that indicated the Lakers couldn’t afford to use their amnesty now (on either Artest or Walton) because they have several years to use it and the new enhanced penalties (which could get up to $4.75 per dollar over the luxury tax line !) don’t kick in for a few years, AND because the Lakers might be in a situation with Kobe’s and other contracts that they’ll absolutely need to use it on a big time contract at that point (like Kobe or Gasol in final year). Mind you, this wasn’t a front office statement, just a capologist analysis. i.e. Why get rid of 6-7 mill at dollar per dollar, when you might be 20 million over the limit at a penalty of 60-80 mill in a few years…
FYI, any post that has the sequence “a – s – s” in a word gets held up automatically. For instance, “a $ $ u m p t i o n” or “b r a $ $” will cause the software to be held up. (Just speaking from my observations on my own posts; I don’t have access to the software.)
@27 – Edwin, if I understand it correctly, the amnesty period is over for this year, but there will be another period next year for those teams that did not use one this year. (Others feel free to correct me if I am wrong). My suspicion is that the Lakers are going to use it next year when it may be more valuable to them.
@11 Robert – the problem with your complaints is that you are not presenting any viable options (by viable I mean options that you know the FO actually had). The Lakers went all in for the threepeat last year and it didn’t work out. Now they are having to deal with that and work things out on the fly. They made a bold play for CP3 – it didn’t work out – through no fault of their own. The team moves forward.
There simply aren’t a ton of moves they could make. We have no clue who even wants to be here or what they are asking. Looking at salaries that have been thrown around at some of these other players recently- Lakers can’t do it right now. The one move that I think is questionable is the LO trade. It hurts short term, but gives some flexibility in the long term. So which is better?
The point is not whether this team is old and slow – it is. The point is, some of us are pretty sure the FO is doing the best it can with the cards it has right now. Rather than complain, enjoy the ride. It’s going to be an entertaining season, if last night’s game was any indication.
well that is a theory. The “software” should then simply post the comment at the bottom. Not 20 numbers up. Anyone referring to cmmments by # will be off etc.. True?
In any case, I am tired of all this negativity, here is another for the Kapono request:
“I can’t believe I am on the Lakers – even after Mike Brown beat me in the line drills”
Fisher was killing me with his continual selections of cross court passes directly to Clipper hands. There were very few fundamental passes which led to them feeding the turnover momentum. On the flip, Fisher and Blake seemed to be able to penetrate well which was a bit unexpected. Clippers’ interior defense is so slap happy that good screens and secondary cutters can give it fits.
Ebanks had a good run minus some defensive miscues and getting too comfortable on a possession that screamed “weak-side block coming”.
MWP looks like he doesn’t plan on getting in shape until March. He was ungodly lead footed.
Blake Griffin’s persona irritates the hell out of me. Hopefully that will change. He’s reminding me of a Dominique Wilkens type of talent in terms of being a one way player. Without the ref bail outs, Pau had effectively handcuffed Griffin’s scoring.
Kobe’s 80 million shots a game were up for grabs and Pau only got 7 of them. Lots of three balls but I want to see that ball touching Gasol and Bynum’s hands more often, preferably seeing them feed one another. Laker’s interior passing was terrible last year. If they make that a tradition, then it will be doom and gloom ’12.
Can we get post where everyone can make their season predictions for both the Lakers and the league as a whole? I think it would be fun to on record!
Darius Soriano says
Comments are held for moderation for a variety of reasons. I try to approve them in a timely manner. However, when real life intervenes the delay may be longer.
Drew looked really good last night, but I gotta say, I don’t think he would have looked *as* good without a few beautiful feeds from Pau.
Those two guys have a chance to build that chemistry that was always so fleeting for them when Drew was out and LO was closing games with Pau. You must admit, though. Last night’s game showed us that Pau and Drew are not worth giving up for Howard. One or the other, but not both. They are a huge asset to our team and have the potential to be the best 4/5 combo in the league when you look at both sides of the ball.
One way to look at the Lakers is to compare them to the other old, recent champions. The last 5 NBA titles have been won by SA, BOS, LAL, LAL, and DAL. Among them, these teams have and remain anchored on the floor by seven surefire (Duncan, Pierce, Allen, Garnett, Bryant, Kidd, and Nowitzki) and two likely (Gasol, Ginobili) HOFers. So, instead of focusing on intangibles, etc. people looking at the Lakers should ask themselves two basic questions:
How do the current rosters of these team stack up?
How do their cap situations and future salary commitments stack up?
The Lakers do have one asset that these teams do not: a 24-year-old 7′ guy with long arms, who, when he is healthy and focused, is arguably the second-best true 5 in the NBA. Basically, everything big-picture (assuming this latest injury will not be the one that takes Kobe down) rests on Bynum. Can he take the next step? Can he be leveraged into D12? Will he go down again, grimacing and clutching a knee?
For those who prefer micro-discussion:
1. IMO the Lakers’ best 5 in this system will be:
I would get this group as much burn as I could, play McRoberts about 22-25 min a game, Fisher 10-15, and spot in Murphy, Barnes, MWP, and Kapono/Goudelock/Morris in very short bursts based on game flow and matchups.
On the day Kapono was brought in, I said that I would rather Kupchak have spent that money on a backup 5 and simply given a roster spot to Goudelock as a spot player/floor spacer. It was only one game, but I have seen nothing yet that makes me think I was wrong.
Also, while it won’t happen, I think Darius Morris would be better off getting heavy reps and heavy burn in the D League. I like the guy–but he needs reps and minutes. Goudelock is older, has a much lower ceiling and fills a specific role.
P. Ami says
First, regarding the amnesty. The amnesty is in place for the course of this CBA. There is a one week period before every season in which a team can amnesty a player. You cannot use that amnesty on a player you traded for during this CBA (in other words, you cannot trade an amnesty option) and you can only use the amnesty on a contract established under the old CBA.
The same people who are freaking out about the Lakers are the same who seem not to realize that the amnesty needs to stay in the Lakers’ back pocket for a season or two. What if we keep Drew and his knee blows out? What about Kobe? In two seasons he will be paid $30 mil. The thing is, because of the new tax rates, the Lakers will be paying out $97 mil dollars for him with $67 mil of it going to the rest of the league. Can anybody here convince themselves that Kobe will be worth $97 mil, or that the guys around Kobe will be worth anything if near half the money going towards the cap is paying a 35 year old, dwindling shooting guard? Will all you be happy with the team under those circumstances or will you be calling for Mitch’s head because of the mess you didn’t have the foresight to avoid?
The same kind of patience is required to let this season happen. The Lakers have no real floor-leader. They have leaders like Fish, Kobe, Pau etc… But, there is no CP3, Billups, Rondo, D-Will, etc… a guy who sets the team up and helps to create plays. The closest we have to that is Kobe and his floor-leadership is not of the PG variety. So, unlike the Clippers, it will take time for these Lakers to get the system, to adapt to it’s nuances and to figure out how best to fill their rolls. They have had what, 10 days and two games against a super-athletic, hyper excited bunch with floor-leaders galore. You can’t expect the Lakers to have the same trajectory as the Clippers and frankly, when have we ever wanted to?
Last season, people were poking fun at the Heat for the first 2 months because it took them that long to start winning (remember it was that Christmas game against us that began their turn-around). LeBron’s teams in Cleveland, coached by Brown, took some time to get their act together but by the middle of the season they were humming. Criticize his playoff coaching but keep in mind, in the playoffs you can key in on the key players and all he really had in Cleveland was LeBron. I would that LeBron was better then anybody we have now but Pau and Drew are both much better then anybody the Cavs had, and guys like Blake, Barnes, McBob, Artest and the rest are perfectly in line with the talent the Cavs ran with then. It is the preseason. Get a grip on yourselves.
Lastly, the Odom move- we probably don’t know all the thinking behind. What Mitch said then still applies. The Lakers need flexibility. This is why they haven’t used the amnesty and this is why the Odom move may work out for us. You need to be prepared to pounce when a favorable situation presents itself. It worked in netting us Ariza and Brown. It worked in getting Artest. It worked, really worked, in getting Pau. We need to sit back and wait to see how the Dwight situation settles. Utah probably needs to make moves. Minny might need to work something out. You might see Indy needing to adjust their roster. There are ways to turn what we have now into something more powerful, but it doesn’t happen on demand. Enjoy the ride.
You used the term “with the cards it has right now”.
This takes me back to my Poker analogy (a game Jerry Buss plays).
We have been dealt some bad beats: Chris Paul veto and Kobe injury. However we have also gone on Tilt and played the cards wrong: LO rash move, signing a bunch of slow/old guys, no use of Sasha TPE, and no communication of plan to anyone (especially Kobe).
Others on the board have said this, but it needs to be said again: We are at the crossroads. Are we going to try to win another title with Kobe or not? Stocking the roster with slow/old guys does not seem to fit either a yes or a no answer. Hence, what is the plan?
You are giving the FO way too much credit. That was Jerry West and Jerry Buss. The titles are theirs, not Mitch’s and Jim’s. Mitch mishandled the Kobe/Shaq feud, he mishandled Phil the first time, he mishandled Odom, and he hasn’t done much except for the Pau trade which again involved Jerry helping put together that deal.
Most importantly, Mitch seems to be keeping Kobe in the dark with regard to the “plan”, which makes me question whether Mitch has a plan.
T. Rogers says
I agree about not giving up both Bynum and Gasol for Howard. As much as I would love to see Dwight with the Lakers he is not worth both of our bigs. Maybe Mitch can squeeze Orlando a little bit since Lopez is out. But there is no way you give up two very capable 7 footers for one.
I don’t think there will be a Howard deal for awhile, if there is one at all, but it is worth remembering (as many have) that Jameer Nelson:
a) Fits in the Odom TPE
b) has a contract that runs out in 2 years-before the tax kicks in.
That said, I think you may be right, and more to the point my guess is that Howard himself agrees with you. It is clear now that Jim Buss thought having Paul here would draw Howard, that Gilbert, Cuban, Stern and the owners thought so as well, so that was a big reason they blocked the Paul deal. Gilbert of course flat-out said as much in his email to Stern.
I think Howard would still come here-
if Gasol is here to play with him up front. But if it is just Kobe + flotsam my guess is Howard waits until FA to pick a team.
This is yet another reason the Odom trade was so crazy:
a) Odom, with his face-up game and handle, would have complemented D12 perfectly in the event that managemenrt pulled the trigger on Gasol + Bynum for Howard and ORL agreed.
b) Odom has a buyout–which mean that DALLAS can now use that to clear cap space and possibly make a run at Howard AND Williams themselves–as Cuban has already made it clear he wants to do.
That is the magnitude of the gamble Buss took by trading Odom to Cuban: not only did he hurt the Lakers this year, he helped set up the possibility of a Dallas dynasty.
the injury to brook lopez is very good for the lakers.
the front office doesn’t have to compete with new jersey’s offers, and otis smith can’t play hardball and ask for both bynum and gasol anymore.
the only thing new jersey has now is the ability to swap an expiring contract for turkoglu. that, and what might be a lottery pick in a good draft if they struggle mightily up to the trade deadline. i still don’t think that’s compelling enough to intimidate the laker front office, though.
remember the big deals kupchak is working on? i imagine the big deal is finding a team to swap attractive assets(expirings/inexpensive role players/prospects/picks *cough* minnesota) for gasol.
Dallas and Dynasty? A cage match with Joan Collins vs Larry Hagman?
I agree with your “best 5” line-up.
Edwin Gueco says
RobinRed, completely agree on your selection as the Lakers ideal starters.
If you try to slide some starters like slide Gasol or Bynum to 2nd unit but add McBob, Goldilocks, Peace and Kapono I think you will sustain momentum. Don’t just combine all weak spots with purity, then they could blow out in few minutes with series of turnovers. I noticed MB was doing some experimentation and left Troy Murphy longer in order to gain confidence and will conquer the demon which is Griffin. If you combine the 3 pt specialist with Gasol + Kobe, Lakers have the players who can also rally in a matter few minutes. Because the team is still feeling with each other, it would really take time before they become the “terrible five”. They are like a baby still crawling, hardly standing and slightly walking as they take the cues and very attentive to their teacher. With the positive outlook and perseverance, they will eventually accomplish their set objectives.
Wow. 2 preseason games down the tube and people are ready to crown the next “dynasty.”
I’m no expert, but I’m thinking that an ownership that has put together teams that have gone to the NBA Finals in 16 of the last 31 years (and won 10 of those), probably knows a little about how to properly plan for the future of this franchise.
I think that Laker fans are like Manchester United, Real Madrid and Yankee fans in that they are furious of any result that is short of a championship. I say, chill, relax, drink a beer. Let the professional GM’s worry about this. Ultimately, I could care less if we win a title in this short season if it means that this team does not win another one for 10 years. I am confident that given the three marquee free agents on the market at the end of this season (Paul, DHoward and DWills) and the tradeable assets on this team, the owners of this franchise have a plan underway. That plan may not deliver us a championship this year, but that’s ok. You can’t win them all.
@ #47, T. Rogers:
Totally agree with you in regards to not giving up Drew & Pau for D12. Especially in light of the Lopez injury. Unless another team (besides NJ, LAL & Dall) enters the frey, Otis Smith has just lost leverage .. But for the sake of argument, let’s say our FO decides to move both to acquire D12, no way do we include the TPE or Draft Picks AND we need to get something back besides Hedu.
46) I agree with that lineup as well. I actually, from what I’m seeing so far, really like what Mike Brown’s offense does for Steve Blake. He seems like a more consistent jump shooter coming off of curls and screens than in the flat-footed set shots he used to get in the Triangle. Ebanks is an Ariza-like breath of fresh air for our slow starting unit. His energy keeps us from being attached to half-court play. I’d love to see D. Morris earn some run with that unit as well. We’re really a different team when we get some young legs out there to mix it up, cause some turnovers, win loose balls, and run the floor.
Jeff T says
Lakers cut Gerald Green, guess they didn’t like what they saw. Also cut 4 others brought in as camp fodder.
Jeff T says
Brown also had some nice words about Goudelock.
“There’s just something about that kid that intrigues me,” Brown said about Goudelock after Wednesday’s game. “He’s got some skill. He can handle the basketball. He can shoot the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He’s got a [mid-range] game. He’s tough mentally. He’s tough physically. Very good defender and for a young guy, he’s very far advanced in my opinion.”
Responding to Robert and the few other “gloom and doomers.” Its not that people are ignoring reality, its that all these criticisms of the Lakers are petty and boring. So what if they don’t have the championship squad. I watch basketball for the beauty of the game, and for the enjoyment of sharing in the pain and joy of rooting for a team, player, rivalry, etc.
I’ve lived outside the US for several years now, and the attitude toward sports is night and day between fans here and there. For example, people’s love for a football team is unshakable, even if their squad faces relegation or isn’t worth a squat. We on the other hand have a team worth a squat, and one that with some luck, and perhaps a mid-season trade, can compete for a championship. And you and others continue to whine about this or that deficiency that really has nothing to do with why most of us love the game. In the end, you’re not being realists, you’re being whiners. The realist acknowledges the ups and downs of a sports team’s journey. The realist knows that we have no say in what happens. The realist enjoys the ride, even in heartache, because that’s all there is for us. Sometimes that leads to a championship. Usually not. Get real, not real whiny, and maybe we’ll start talking.
Good news, guys. ESPN, hot on the trail for news on Kobe’s wrist, have a super-credible source who says he will play on Christmas day.
In other news, ESPN is a joke.
Who says I am not enjoying this? 🙂 Also – do not question my loyalty – I am a Laker for life – no matter what – again why am I here? – I see doom – but I remain on board.
I would say more but all my long posts take hours in moderation. They will be posted once a new thread is up 🙂
Very well said, and I could not agree more! Thank you. 🙂
Good rule of thumb for you to consider: everyone enjoys basketball for different reasons and in different ways, and as long as people are following the site rules and treating each other civilly, it is not your place to tell other people how to talk about, or root for, this team or any other.
I also notice that your post contains no basketball specifics, about either the Lakers’ personnel or salary commitments.
@59 Kareem, succinctly put.
I find it surprising that a post both calling people names and telling them how to be fans (been a Lakers fan since 1978) is drawing support.
I evaluate the team based on how good I think its players are and how they fit the system, and as I have pointed out, this team mostly has a group of players in their 30s with established performance records.
Note though, that I did acknowledge that Blake seems better able to contribute in this system, and I have been saying for weeks that I think he should start.
Wow. 2 preseason games down the tube and people are ready to crown the next “dynasty.”
Not at all. Simply pointing out some relevant facts about the Odom deal. It may be that Kupchak and Buss turn it into a positive. To date, they have not, and Mark Cuban has made it very clear more than once he is trying to clear as much cap space as he can for summer 2012.
Craig W. says
I think the post is drawing support because it’s telling people to stop whining about how much the team sucks, when we haven’t even seen the team, play yet (preseason games don’t count).
Last year, reading the comments on this blog was fun. This year, everyone is so negative I find myself wondering if I’m in the wrong place, since there is no way the team I’ve seen described in the past few comment threads can be the same as the team I have seen win two banners and make three finals appearances in the past five years.
The lock-out has ended, and that’s supposed to be a good thing. But I’m starting to think that I am a part of a very small minority here, since I’m actually looking forward to the Christmas Day game.
Exactly, P Ami!
Last night, the Clippers flopped five times: Billups, Paul, Blake, Blake and Jordan. That translated into 7-9 points. The Lakers lost by five with 21 turnovers. Against a team that has the same coach from last year and added three new starters; two of which are pg’s and all are veterans. There is not much to learn when playing with high caliber pg’s except space the floor and make your shots.
The Lakers will be fine once Kobe returns, if Bynum can get in game shape to play 30 plus minutes a night. Bynum was strong in the first half but decidely less so the second half. When Bynum is fatigued his post moves become sloppy and weak.
Ron Artest was a better player than MWP because at least Ron played defense.
Barnes appears to be distracted since his girlfriend moved out and took his children with her. Hopefully, he’ll learn how to play through his house being divided.
I like Goudelock and Morris going forward. They have moxie!
One preseason game does not a season make, so Steve Blake has to play consistently, say the next five games to get the starting spot.
The second unit does not have a rebounding beast, something this unit can surely use to rebound some of those long jumpers this group will consistently take.
Ebanks may have missed some defensive assignments, but that is due more to his lack of NBA playing time than to his basketball IQ. I like the look in his eye, though he looked like he is ready to become a solid Laker contributor.
Brown is animated, which works well with young players. I like the defensive rotations and closeouts by the team. Offensively, it will take a few more games for the team to become acclimated with the new schemes.
Really, did anyone doubt that Kobe was not going to play on Christmas? LOL, if you did, then you don’t know Kobe!
robinred: Thanks for the excellent statement above. You sound like a moderator 🙂
I do not like or find necessary, a battle between optimists and pessimists. We can both make our points. We can question one another’s opinions, without questioning loyalty to the team etc.
Did it ever occur to you that the pessimists find the optimists equally annoying? I mean we lose Paul, we temporarily at least, lose Howard, we lose LO, we lose Shannon, we lose Phil, we lose Jerry for Jim, we have Bynum out for 5, and we now have an injured Kobe.
Saying I should enjoy this ride is like saying:
Other than that Mrs. Lincoln how was the play?
MIchael Pietrus was waived….. If we picked him up would he be our 4th best player?
How about people “stop whining” about any comments by any posters that they happen not to like, and just talk about whatever interests them?
And, one more time: no, we have not seen this team “play yet” but with most of the guys on this roster, you know what you are going to get. Possible avenues for improvement include more burn for Ebanks (over 31-year-old Matt Barnes and 32-year-old MWP), Blake at the 1(over 37-year-old Fisher) more touches for Bynum and IMO using Goudelock as a 7-10 MPG floor spacer rather than the 30-year-old Jason Kapono. McRoberts has eight years on Odom, but is highly, highly unlikely to be an upgrade. And if you look at post 46, the poster talking about those specifics–and positives–is yours truly. 😉
you are a good fan robinred
I would immediately become an optimist if you were made GM. At least then I would know what the plan was !
Darius Soriano says
I’m leaving the comments up but everyone would be better off if they avoided criticizing other commenters simply because they don’t agree with the nature of their posts. I’ll delete such comments moving forward.
I will say, though, one thing I can state about the trend in the comments lately is that the conversation is much more fun to be a part of when the same points aren’t made in nearly every comment by the same posters. Most who actually take the time to post and read through comments are long time readers and thus actually know the opinions of a lot of the commenters. So, to make the same point (or handful of points) multiple times a thread can create an environment where people start to lash out each other b/c it’s tiresome.
Igor Avidon says
Majority of the regular posters on this site respect each other’s right to their opinion. However, nobody likes to watch a dead horse being beat on a daily basis.
if you predict the lakers are going to decline or succeed this season, you’re going to have to offer up more than a bunch of screeds to be taken seriously.
chris h says
I’ve been reading this site since the days of old John R (Kurt knows who I mean) it was I think the summer of 2004…
I’ve also been tempted to say this, but held off…
it used to be we all sort of knew each other and chimed in on a theme…
but lately it seems like one or two want to take it on themselves to have a comeback at every single comment, it’s getting old to me to see the same commentor so many times in every single thread…
pick your battles folks, state your opinion and let it ride for a while, you don’t have to come back at every single comment.
it’s getting old.
wow. okur to the nets for a 2nd round pick?
Darius Soriano says
Wow, indeed. They moved quickly to add a quality big after the Lopez news. I wonder how much Okur has left, but he could end up being a good floor spacer and pick & pop partner with Deron.
he’s going to be better than johan petro, that’s for sure.
no ak-47 for the Nets, i guess.
Okur to the Nets? Interesting.
Doesn’t seem like a move you’d make if you know you’re getting Dwight, as had been reported. Although they didn’t give up much to get him.
If I’m the Magic and I’m trading with the Lakers I’m letting Bynum serve his suspension before I get him.
What’s the old chinese proverb? “May you live in interesting times”? Interesting times, indeed. I love when we’re at the top and the favorites for the championship, but as long as things are in flux and changing, I love being along for the ride too!
Yes, Okur to the Nets another guy on a one year deal as they maintain their cap space. Also if you missed it, Pietrus got bought out by Phoenix and is leaning towards Boston.
As for our own team, I liked what I saw outside of the turnovers. I thought everyone was active and despite the pact our rookie’s may not be that impactful for this year, I must say I do like their longterm prospects. I think both Morris and Goudelock bring defined skills to the team. How much they’ll be utilized this year remains to be seen, but I like their games.
is much more fun to be a part of when the same points aren’t made in nearly every comment by the same posters
This comment, and the ones by Darius, Igor and chris h are to be filed in the “fair enough” category. But I will say that goes both ways. The same horses get pulled to their feet and fed a sugar cube–by the same posters–every day as well.
Thanks. I will be interested how Mike Brown navigates the usage of personnel at the 1 and the 3. ISTM that giving more minutes to Blake and Ebanks, and possibly spot minutes to Morris, can ameliorate if not eliminate the team’s clearest on-floor weaknesses. Yet doing so will be difficult, due to the histories, salaries, etc, of the players involved. One thing that may help, if my (and many others) evaluation of Ebanks is accurate, is that Kobe appears to have taken a liking to Ebanks’ game and will it seems support more PT for him.
Craig W. says
With the compact schedule and new coach and system, we may have to play the rookies this year more than we would under Phil Jackson. I actually think that is a good thing – whether we win anything or not.
One of the very positive things that have happened to the Lakers so far is the second round picks they choose. Who would have thought to find these diamonds in the rough in the second round? I believe that both Morris and Goudelock will not only make the team better, but will be an integral part going forward. If anything, they are fairly inexpensive to keep for now, and some regular D-League play would also benefit them greatly, as another commenter posted.
Oh, and I am typically an optimist (not just here, but in life in general), just because I want to enjoy the NBA season (that we fortunately have), and the Lakers to their fullest, for me that means overall positive thoughts. But, everyone has an opinion about this team, and that is also fine.
Kobe costing 97 million dollars, wow. Or, his salary is under the lux tax cap, and all of the rest of the players are costing the extra money, just another way to look at the situation.
How about claiming Mickael Pietrus off the waivers? There’s absolutely no other SG other than Kobe on this roster. Chuck Hayes is also worth a look for a legit back up big
Here’s a surgeons take on Kobe’s injury. Hope it’s just a small tear, and knowing the Black Mamba, he will play through the pain. Him being able to go through full practice the day after the injury occurred bodes well for us Laker fans. Kobe might just be taking precaution and getting rest for at least 3-4 days to get the swelling down.
Ebanks: I like using him because there is possible payback both in the short term-micro, because he is probably the best bet, and in the macro, because he is young and “could” develop for our future “plans”.
Blake: This is only good in the micro (short term) sense. He is a better bet than Fish, but the translation of that is that he is better than a 37 year old stocky, short guy. Fish – We love you – but it is that time. Fish may still have a few big shots left in him – but 30 minutes a game – no way.
Salaries/Histories: You are dead on. Any benching, reduced minutes of Fish will of course have some saying it was due to Fish’s prominent role in the union.
Ameliorate: Your use of this word was perfect and proves to me that you should be the GM. Of course don’t let this go to your head. From the point from where we are today, your presence could only ameliorate things.
Chris J says
@ MannyP — Chris Paul won’t be a free agent after this season. Part of the deal was he would exercise an option to remain with the Clippers for this coming season and the next, otherwise the Clippers were not parting with Gordon for a one-year rental.
Kobe of course will give it a run on Christmas, but I think it might be better for him to wait until the 3rd game if his effectiveness will be compromised. Chicago will be very hard to beat with or without him since Bynum is gone, and I think if he rests until the final leg of the b-to-b-to-b against Utah he might give the team a lift in that game. But I am sure he will at least try Sunday.
GM? Well, I would be a better interview than Mitch. 😉
I agree with your points. I think Ebanks may start soon. Barnes and MWP are not in shape (Barnes is less than a year off knee surgery, as you know). And while Fisher will start, I am hopeful that Blake will close some games and get the majority of the minutes. Brown knows the history, but unlike Phil, he was not part of that history, so that may help him to make changes.
Wow Robert! In your response number 48 you channeled my brain. As a 40 year big time Laker fan and friends that are major sports agents, you nailed it. Mitch has been the given Pau by West, forced to take Bynam by Jimmy and managed to make zero drafts that resulted in a player that is helping this team. He did re-up Walton for 3 more wasted years at $5 mill and sign Metta World Brick who now can’t shoot or defend. The LO move is just another example of Mitch bumbling ways. West built this machine and his buddy Mitch has been cruising along while asleep in the back seat for years. Name one move by Mitch that was made by him. One draft choose that stuck. Clearly he a very lucky man and I thank you Robert for seeing through the smoke.
Darius, as always, you formulate my thoughts better than I ever could. I read this board every day, everyday I read people make the same “FISHER SUCKS” “LAMAR ODOM WAS A SALARY DUMP” “LAKERS HAVE NO CHANCE” “WE NEED TO MAKE THIS UNREALISTIC MOVE” “OUR FRONT OFFICE IS FULL OF CUPCAKES” comments every. single. day. They may all be true, and nearly everyone even agrees with the sentiments to some degree. But it’s tiring to hear it every.single.day. We’re all entitled to our opinions, but we’re also a community. This is more than just a soapbox.
My basketball related contribution: The NBA has really poor distribution agreements with satellite and cable companies available in the Mid East. And the internet where I am can barely stream youtube. So I am yearning to see just one Fisher PUJIT or Kobe turnover, a Pau Gasoft lay in instead of dunk or even a few Peace clanking threes from long range. Lakers fans, take solace in your privilege.
“It’s not really going to heal,” Bryant conceded. “I mean, it’s gone. The ligament is gone. So there’s nothing I can do about it. But I’ve dealt with so many hand injuries. It should be all right.”
P. Ami says
Of course that $97 million figure puts all the onus of the cost on one contract, and things don’t work that way. If one is thinking in terms of saving the team from a luxury tax A-bomb then the Kobe contract seems to be the best one to save the amnesty for, as he’ll be pretty old, close to broken down, and a huge contract. In my opinion, this is why it is so important for us to find the next GUY now. Kobe’s contract reflects, not just the last CBA arrangement but the one before 1999. He was already getting his raises based on figures the current crop will never match. It is hard to see LBJ, Rose, or Durant ever reaching $30 mil a year even if they play another 15 years. Maybe Rose, as he has that new contract that kicked in from getting the MVP while on his rookie contract. Point being, the Lakers need to get a superstar whose salary is based on the constraints of the last two CBAs. Those are the guys who’ll give you the most bang for the buck, and they’ll convince those vets to take a pay-cut to win chips here. The FO is playing the long game and if all goes unexpectedly well (the Lopez injury is an unfortunate example) then we could see the team competing this year while laying the base for the future.
BTW, I like some of the young guys but another benefit to them getting playing time is showcasing them for teams looking to see young talent in exchange for superstars they have to move. Morris and Ebanks might be used as sweetener, and if Kobe sings their praises, it only elevates their profile. He had nothing but good things to say about Caron Butler and that helped net us Kwame…. Oh, wait…. Never mind.
P. Ami says
He made the Shaquille move which netted us LO. He made the Gasol move when West was already retired from his GM position in Memphis. He brought is Farmar, Turiaf, Ariza, and Brown, all of whome contributed to the team making 3 finals and winning two. You forget the contribution Artest made in beating the Lepers. The only guys left on this team from West are Kobe and Fish, and Fish was gone to GSW and then Utah before Mitch brought him back. You are entitled to your opinion but not the facts.
We now have a few more facts to help us make 2012 vs. 2011 roster comparisons. From 2011, we lost Smith, Ratliff, Johnson, Brown, and Odom. For Smith and Ratliff, we signed Murphy, and McRoberts (got younger). Kopono and Odom (about the same age). Brown and Johnson are older than rookies Goudelock and Morris. Caracter is a second year man, but injured.
This season, the Lakers are a bit younger.
Where might we see this youth?
Murphy and McBob should see much more time than Smith/Ratliff. Ebanks may equal the time of Shannon Brown at SG. Morris and Goudelock may eat into the time of Fisher/Blake.
Bynum may play more minutes.
if you predict the lakers are going to decline or succeed this season, you’re going to have to offer up more than a bunch of screeds to be taken seriously.
Feel free to address the specifics.
anti Dwyer Abbott says
It is humoring to see that this site is harboring zillions of subtle/disguised/sly Kobe haters under ”Lakers” camouflage.
Edwin Gueco says
Thanks VoR for enlightenment on amnesty usage. IMO, I don’t think they will ever use it to cut Kobe or Bynum or Gasol, These are the best players of the Lakers and the most tradeable assets. Take for instance Kobe, somebody said that he may not be worth 30M @ age 35 which will cost the Lakers $ 97M. Well, I’m not a Kobe apologist but for the memories he has given the Lakers for the last 14 years and still playing with mangled fingers, hand, knee, back and still playing like a worn out battery, he is worth that money. Whatever happens in good times or in bad, Lakers should finish his contract for posterity reason of giving us five championships. Should we use amnesty for Bynum? What for, this could be his last year as Laker next season Lakers has a team option on Socks. Should we use the amnesty against the Spaniard? IMO, he is a model citizen among the Lakers and can still attract any team to go a trade just to get Pau. With all the trade rumors and almost done deal, I really applaud the attitude of our bigs who take trade as part of the business deal. They just go on play and move on.
I sincerely appeal to all Laker fans in this site not to get into squabbles with opinions or accuse each other as sorely pessimist or blind optimist. I’m a visitor here this year which Darius accommodated many of us who came from the LAT blog. We saw what happened to that famous blog that we started in 2005, it became a worthless site when fans started tearing each other apart. This is a great forum site, control your emotions and respect each other opinions. I go with the belief that commenters, bloggers or posters are not public figures, they are merely messengers like a bunch of humans who are fans that you meet in your neighborhood or at Staples – everybody has an idea of how his team should progress or digress. Please take their opinions with the grain of salt, eventually it will dissipate in time to be overtaken by events. Laker players, management are public figures, they make decisions on basketball court and that is the primary reason why we are here commenting. A good comment, a bad comment or a just a fair comment or a preach like this post, if you are not pleased with the subject matter just move on. Anchor your love with fellow Laker fans. We all want our team to win and sometimes we have different views on how to get there.
Can`t believe the difference in the Barnes I saw in the scrimmage( confident,smooth stroke,tough defense) and the last 2 games. With the tough schedule,I think Morris is going to get regular minutes(5-12) a game. Until Bynum returns,and we get a better idea about Kobe`s hand,can`t make a good evaluation of the year ahead.
I’m not making any judgements about any teams or players until about 10 games into the season.
It’s just to early to get all worked up over things unknown.
But I know this. In a playoff series, I would take Andrew and Pau over Blake and Deandre.
In regards to Mitch’s effectiveness as a GM, I believe he has gotten a lot of blame for nothing. Everyone seems to forget that he has spent most of his FO career in the PJ era. All these players to be drafted and developed is an after thought with Phil. They were not going to play in a difficult triangle system too learn, so why not trade the picks away for veterans or not sign them at all.
Toney Douglas or J. Farmar would look great in a LA uniform running Brown’s offense, pushing the ball and manufacturing shots for teammates. With a more traditonal offense draft picks will be chosen on a need basis not looked to unload or packaged off to another team.. Kup has laid a few eggs but all in all he has done the job to get the jewels. The best things come to those who wait, as the saying goes, lets all take a step back and realize that the time will come when we will be able to critique decision. It is too early in the game to say this team will do this or that because alot can change in just a few games or days.
P.S. Hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday and dont forget the real reason for the season.
Baylor Fan says
The Lakers are in desperate need for a real point guard. They no longer have the triangle to hide behind and mask the utter inability of Fisher and Blake to pass to their own teammates. The turnovers are a huge problem and will prevent the Lakers from being an elite team this year. The deal for Paul fell through but that is no excuse for not having a Plan B for getting a real point guard and not having to rely on combo guards to run the team.
Darius Soriano says
A new post is up.
96/robinred: explain how you evaluate players and how they fit in the system.
also, describe the new system. as far as i know, all we know of it amounts to a bunch of blurry snapshots.
at this point we can identify basic shapes but its details have not come into focus.
unless you have some kind of incredible predictive model in your back pocket you want to share, let’s not rush to judgment.
WRT player personnel, I have covered those issues already, in enough detail that several people told me to stop. There are additional elements, notably the schedule and the competitive ecology of the West, that do not bode well for the Lakers’ W-L record.
WRT the system, it is going to involve more traditional “automatics” as Brown called them, mixed with some read/react “Triangle” stuff, and presumably will include elements of Ettore Messina’s post-up heavy system, which can be Googled easily.
One key change, as we have seen, is that it requires more traditional drive/kick/dribble-dominant PG play, as well as shooting in motion off curls, etc, which appears to help Steve Blake.
As I said in a previous post, the Lakers have a wider performance range than they have had in many years. But barring some unexpected developments, this team does not appear to be a top-tier championship contender. Given the team’s age, current payroll, recent moves, and future salary commitments, that is an uncomfortable situation.