Last night’s Lakers loss to the Jazz offered few positive takeaways apart from Kobe Bryant’s highly entertaining third quarter. It was also good to see Jodie Meeks find his stroke late in the game – this is why he was signed, to bring instant offense in limited minutes. The oh and four preseason start isn’t of any meaningful consequence except for the fact that fans don’t especially like it, the players themselves don’t especially like it, and the media in general uses the opportunity to question what’s wrong and how it can and should be fixed. In truth, the hows and cans are part of the training camp process with games being used as lab experiments.
Yesterday, Darius took a look at the building of a strong roster, the potential of certain bubble players and the harsh cost via luxury taxes of cutting a guaranteed contract. I agree absolutely with the three non-guaranteed players that he he singled out as holding the most potential; Sacre, Johnson Odom and Douglas-Roberts. The dollar-for-dollar penalties are tough though and the front office is now tasked with the cold hard choices. The first round of cuts is complicated by injuries – Earl Clark, Jordan Hill and Dwight Howard are not playing yet and the non-guaranteed bigs are being pressed into service.
There’s been quite a bit of talk about Derek Fisher and a possible path back to the Lakers. In its simplest form, it turns out the Fisher could conceivably return tomorrow due to the fact that he never exercised his player option for a subsequent year, when he was still a Laker. Regardless of rules, it’s hard to imagine the team bringing him back without freeing themselves of either Chris Duhon’s or Steve Blake’s guaranteed contract. I can’t see any team out there taking Duhon off our hands and I’d be surprised to see Blake traded – Mike Brown seems to like what he brings to the table. Mitch Kupchak will surprise you though – we saw this when he sent Fish packing last season.
Of course, if Fisher were to return, it would add another aging veteran to a roster that is already long in the tooth and one of the pitfalls of older teams is the propensity for fatigue and injury. There’s been a fair amount of recent discussion about Coach Brown’s sometimes heavy-handed practice tenancies. With the team’s well-documented health concerns, Brown is trying to find the right balance not only in practice but in game situations as well.
Regardless of Fisher or any other single player that the Lakers might or might not sign this season, the future will come and new blood will be needed. Part of the NBA’s future supply pool can be regularly found toiling in the NBDL, ever hopeful of a call-up to the Game. The Lakers roster will be trimmed by at least five players before now and and the start of regular season play and some will undoubtedly wind up on the D-Fenders quad, guided by new head coach Reggie Theus. There will also be the opportunity for young players who do survive the cut, to spend time with the D-Fenders, seasoning their skills and getting much needed game-time action.
Finally, lest we forget that there’s more to the game of basketball besides just basketball, league officials have now determined that excessive handshaking is detrimental to the nature of the sport. Sometimes it just bears repeating, the NBA cares.
– Dave Murphy
Is there any way DJO could be trained as a PG? Given his size, it’s hard for me to see him making the roster as a SG.
Rusty Shackleford says
Can someone tell me what it is that Steve Blake brings to the table that Mike Brown likes?
How many minutes can Steve Nash average a night during the regular season to A) remain healthy & B) not be gassed come playoff time? For me 28mpg would be a good number. However, does that mean Steve Blake is going to get 20 minutes a night? So, in my opinion, they will need to have a 3rd pg in the rotation. I like Goudelock for the scoring and shooting he showed last season.
Don’t listen to people that like to categorize 6-1 players as SG’s because they are explosive, can get into the lane and attack. Tony Parker is a PG. Rusell Westbrook is a PG. DJO is listed as a SG because that’s where he played in college to take advantage of his scoring ability and because SGs with size are hard to come by. Make no mistake about it… DJO is a PG. He is quick, has a great handle, and gets into the lane with ease opening things up for his teammates. He is the definition of a PG.
Here is David Thrope explaining why it’s silly to say PGs aren’t PGs because they look to score courtesy of ESPN insider…
Then we have the other type of point guards — scorers — the guys who dominate the ball much of the time but their primary talent on offense is scoring, not passing. That’s not to say they can’t or won’t pass because the top scoring point guards are also adept at playing the two-man game — getting open shots for a teammate when the defense pays extra attention to them as top-level scorers.
These guys don’t have the “vision” the “born” point guards possess, yet they are incredibly effective primary ball handlers because of their ability as scorers while still being able to make the simple pass or initiate their offense efficiently. A dominating, efficient scoring point guard can save a team on offense, and can lead it to titles and earn MVP votes along the way.
Best examples: Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Lou Williams
Paul L says
@2 So DJO is going to be your new crush? We all remember how you were right on the money about the Lakers hiding Goudelock because he was so good – now goudelock is unlikely to make the team. And then you kept saying Morris was an NBA starting point guard in the making. If he makes the team this year it’s only because he has a guaranteed contract. No way will he be back next year, he may even be out of the league all together.
Darius Soriano says
Coaches like Brown love veterans. They especially love veterans that compete hard. Blake checks both those columns. And, despite the holes in Blake’s game, he has shown — though not consistently — that he can hit big shots and that he doesn’t shrink from the moment.
I too would like to see Blake play better consistently, but he has traits that coaches love. There’s a reason he’s been in the league as long as he has even though his game never really evolved.
I never said GLock was good… I simply said he was better than Blake. I routinely said Morris was better than GLock as well… All the while saying it was hard to see how good Morris could be if he didn’t play but the potential was there. Neither of those guys have the athletisisim DJO has… So it’s not as much a guessing game. DJO stands out even amongst NBA athletes. That’s a great sign. And yes he is my new crush.
Wow, a great article about Antawn Jamison was posted to Grantland today: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8514767/examining-career-antawn-jamison-unc-nba
Jim C. says
I am a little sad that the FO let Sessions walk. He was a mediocre starting PG, but he’d have been perfect as the backup PG behind Nash.
Barbosa to Boston? I thought they had a stacked backcourt already – Rondo, Lee, Terry, Bradley (when he returns), and now Barbosa. Either there’s a trade, or Barbosa is happy with benchwarmer status.
FYI Blake has mire turnovers this preseason then points. Both he and Duhon the past 2 years were listed in the bottom 5 of all point guards in the league.
Brown likes vets no doubt because he has never shown to coach and help improve young players.
The gamble on Odom in my opinion far out weights the poor playing history if Blake, Duhon and Morris. I watched every move in person from the floor last night and they were all very bad.
Blake, Morris, Duhon 109 mins 5-22 fg = 15 pts in 3 games
Jordan Hill 20 mins 5-11 fg = 10 pts in 1 game. Please be the 2nd coming of Milsap.
Boston will be interesting to watch this year. If they get away without an injury, they may just have enough to beat the Heat.
I agree Harold, Miami has, by far, the best player in the league, but Maimi’s bigs are their weakness. Boston’s D (we saw it last year vs. Miami in the playoffs) can force Miami to play iso and play 1 on 5 and to be a jump shooting team.
I think that will be a great series if Boston makes it that far.
Wouldn’t a Boston/LA finals be splendid? 🙂
… and actually, I think Boston would be a tougher out than Miami (for this lakers team) … (defenses anchored by Dwight own lebron)
Mike Brown and OKC stand in our way :/
Oh no no no no.. Barbosa, why Boston? Why?
Dave M. says
Matt – thanks for posting the article about Antawn.
Clips play Utah tonight who beat Lakers by 30. Bet the house Clips beat them. But they will actually try.
Kobe 31 pts in a pre-season game? I don’t think Kobe + Dwight will work..you think???
When asked whose team is LA, he quips, it’s a ridiculous question? Can’t get enough of the ego? Good for Andrew.
All of this pessimism takes me back to last year’s pre-season. This board was divided. Some thought that 2011-2012 was going to be a fantastic year, while others were very skeptical – and might have from time to time, criticized the FO : ) I can see this thing from both sides. After all – last year I was a FO bashing skeptic and this year I am declaring we have this best team. My question to the group is to try to anchor your thoughts about the team, relative to last season. I mean if you were at all positive last year, how can you not be overwhelmingly so this year? Last year our bench was sporting Troy Murphy, Josh McR, Luke, and Jason Kapono. Trust me, we will not be worse than that this year : ) Last year we were “6th”. You may not agree with me that we are now #1, but you gotta realize that we are top 3. We have the best starting line up, and a much improved bench. Go ahead and be skeptical if you feel that way, however unlike last year, I am hoping for a few people to respond with “let them play the games”. What a difference a year makes : )
LT mitchell says
Between Blake and Duhon, Duhon looked like the better PG yesterday. He is more athletic, was quicker to react on defense, looked better in one on one defense, and was able to penetrate easier than Blake. He actually created a few open shots for his teammates. I would like to see Duhon paired up with Gssol in the next game, and see him set up the offense with a starter in the post.
Aaron. The Lakers had 28 points in the first half. Point guards had 10 turnovers. I for one was yelling at Kobe to shoot everyone down. He scored 23 of the 24 points scored and was open.
Who did you want to shoot. Smush? Kwame? They would have lost be 50 if he didn’t start shooting.
Don’t blame Kobe, blame Brown for his newest crap offense.
Ko @ 13 – “Both (Blake) and Duhon the past 2 years were listed in the bottom 5 of all point guards in the league.”
Which is EXACTLY why the Lakers need Fisher back; to pretty much corner the market on lousy PGs.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr funny but true!
Darius Soriano says
Just to keep a running score…
Ko blames Mike Brown for everything from the Lakers low point totals (this thread) to how bad Chris Duhon (among others) is (last thread). I’m surprised he hasn’t found a way to blame Howard’s back surgery on him yet.
Meanwhile, Aaron says Kobe and Howard can’t play together when *they haven’t even played together yet*.
And, basically, we’re still talking about preseason games. What happened to context? Like, say, the Lakers were missing their top 3 big men last night so of course their offense isn’t going to look right. Like, Howard has yet to play a game yet so we have no idea how the Lakers will truly perform on O or D because he happens to be a very important player on both sides of the ball because, you know, he’s one of the best handful of players in the league.
No. Let’s ignore those factors and just bitch and moan. Why? Because that’s what you guys do best. I honestly mean this: neither of you add anything of substance to the site and in my eyes have done more to drag down the comment section than any other set of 20 commenters combined.
And don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind complaints about the team. When they play bad, they play bad. But to ignore context is, for lack of a better word, just another form of hyperbole meant to make a point sound smart when in actuality, it’s the opposite. I wish you’d both stop.
Darius Soriano says
I should add, maybe people think I should be above comments like the one I just wrote. Honestly though, I don’t care. I pour a lot into this site. This place means something to me. This site was founded on the premise of being a place for rational discussion about the team we all love. And if I have to say some things in a manner that upsets a small percentage of people in order to try and preserve what this site has stood for for nearly 8 years, I will.
To everyone else, I apologize if this came off as out of line.
j.d. hastings says
Sacre should start over Dwight Howard tho
My questions has to do with the disorganized look the offense has had and the inability for the defense to get down court. Weather they are starters or subs they look much worse then any other team I gave seen. This is nit just my opinion. I was at yesterday’s game with 2 former NBA players and a Laker Legend who once was a part owner with Jack Kent Cooke. Mitch came over to sit and chat with the people I was sitting with. I respect your opinion but at the same time there was 70 years of NBA sitting around me and the overall consensus was “no team Should ever look this bad”.
I watched Nash throw 4 passes to guys cutting the other way in the first 7 minutes. Same when Blake came in. First half was Kobe, Metta, Nash and Jamison and they scored 26 points!
Yes it’s preseason but it is the same for 29 other teams. This team has great talent but at what point will you start questioning how bad the other players have looked? It’s either effort or coaching and other then getting back on D, the guys were trying hard. I am sorry you don’t agree but perhaps there is some merit to be observations.
Starting slow clap for Darius
I do respect you and your site and I will be more considerate of your wishes. The job you do is greatly appreciated.
im curious, when Mitch came over, did you tell him how much the team sucked and that things should change?
I don’t know enough basketball and don’t watch enough to add much meaningful insight, but I tend to know whom to trust.
And that’s Kobe. If he doesn’t seem troubled by our preseason ‘progress’ nor the coaching staff, I don’t see why we should be troubled. We could be, sure, but I doubt any one of us wishes the title any more than Kobe does.
Which, by the way, is why I’m a Kobe fan despite everything. He is one of the few athletes out there that CARE about the damn thing more than the fans do. That’s how he earned my trust, and I’m more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Thanks Darius. I think you should never apologize for those kinds of comments. Tough love is needed to maintain high standards.
I completely agree with everything you said.
No I was told to shut up or I would get punched.
harold: Kobe never shows chinks in the armor. He thought Lakers were still in the series down 3-0 to Dallas too.
Kobe on Dwight – “He’s extremely close. He’s making plays defensively that no big outside of Bill Russell could make.” I don’t think Kobe has ever praised a teammate as much as Dwight.
Coming off back surgery what are the real expectations from Dwight? I’d say he’ll still be the defensive monster he’s always been you don’t lose instincts and will after surgery. But does anyone think he can get to that 25 pts 12 reb club? I hope so.
According to Basketball Prospectus, the Lakers’ opponents had TOs on 10.7% of possessions last year–the lowest total in NBA *history.*
I want Dwight to dominate offensively that’ll open up things for everyone. He should take Pau’s shots because the 13 per game he took last year isn’t enough. As the future of the franchise and his accolades he’s earned the right to be in the high teen’s. I’m hoping for a big season statistically from Dwight. He’s too good a player not to be in the mid 20s scoring.
“I honestly mean this: neither of you add anything of substance to the site and in my eyes have done more to drag down the comment section than any other set of 20 commenters combined”
Let’s be objective in our comments, let’s ask questions about the game, and learn from the game.
The comments section used to help me become a better player with discussions of spacing, cuts, and defensive rotations. There used to be such knowledgeable people contributing.
Let’s bring back the essence of what FBG once was and shall be again.
Darius Soriano says
When I get the chance, I’ll run the TO numbers from the preseason to see if that number has gone up at all. Part of the low rate is due to Mike Brown’s philosophy of being a position defender rather than one that gambles, but that number was still way too low last season.
Remember too that FGA’s don’t include trips to the FT line. Last season, Dwight led the league in FT’s attempted per game and that skewed his total FGA’s downward. That’s not to say I wouldn’t like to see him also up his attempts from the field, but just trying to get to the root of why it’s as low as it is in the first place.
While Kobe is good at keeping a straight face most of the time, frustration or worry will slip through. None of that yet.
comments section used to help me become a better player with discussions of spacing, cuts, and defensive rotations.
There is more to the game than Xs and Os. People who talk about the “old and better” FBG often seem to forget that, and they also seem to forget that it is OK to criticize the FO and the coaches sometimes.
That said, I am mostly with Darius, and Robert, here. We know at this point how Ko sees Mike Brown, and as Darius pointed out to Aaron, it is preseason and Howard hasn’t suited up yet. If the Lakers are 35-24 in March, and Howard and Kobe are sniping at each other in the media as D12 is texting Chris Paul about their future together in Dallas or Atlanta while Brown runs Nash into the ground trying to save his job–then Ko and Aaron can make their points. But until then, as Robert said, let them play the games.
Rey Moralde says
I don’t know about all of you guys…
…but I can’t wait to recap REGULAR SEASON games starting 12 nights from now. This offseason and preseason are taking WAY too long. It’s WAY too early for these doom and gloom comments. Next thing tomorrow, I’m going to see comments about how the Lakers are doomed in the 2013-14 season.
Good point–that is similar in a way to Boston’s historically low OREB numbers. Boston’s philosophy is “get back on D.”
I am hopeful, however, than Nash and Howard will help with this, Nash in terms of reducing Lakers’ TOs and Howard in terms of disrupting the opponents O in a number of ways, including the Lakers’ other guys gambling more knowing that the big man is in the paint.
LT mitchell says
As Darius noted, Dwight gets fouled at a high rate. Hence, the lower than expected FG attempts. Ryan Anderson at PF and Jason Richardson are 3 point specialists. They opened up the paint for Howard. Although Pau and Kobe get more defensive attention, I would expect defenses to pack in the paint more against the Lakers than they did against Orlando. Nash, Kobe and Gasol should find Howard for a higher number of easy buckets than his Orlando teammates did, and Howard should have more opportunities for offensive putbacks…….but it will likely be offset by defenses packing in the paint, along with Kobe taking his share of shots. The most likely position to see an increase in FG attempts this season will be at SF, not center.
“There is more to the game than Xs and Os. People who talk about the “old and better” FBG often seem to forget that, and they also seem to forget that it is OK to criticize the FO and the coaches sometimes.”
How do you evaluate the FO or coach, or assess a player’s competitive mentality, or player’s iq, or team’s chemistry etc. ?
In one way or another almost everything boils down to how and what is being executed on the court. That is where we can get tangible evidence to measure a team.
Criticism is fine, but opinion without reason is not bringing value to this site.
@28-29: It’s good to see one of the commenters you called out has already stepped up and apologized. Good luck getting that out of the other one, and thank you for speaking up.
You are right in what you say Darius, but at the same time, you do seem to have a bit of a quick trigger with your temper, at times.
Just a constructive observation. Of course, as Phil’s commercial goes, “you don’t know the egos I have to deal with.”
Really, we all should be excited right now. Maybe the Lakers win the title this year, maybe they don’t, but this is as exciting a season as I can remember anticipating since Shaq and Kobe’s first year, or Magic’s first year.
Personally, I plan on enjoying it, win or lose.
Aaron at 21 was not me (the real Aaron). I would hope people would stop posing as me. Please stop.
Darius Soriano says
A new post is up.
…oh… And if you are going to pose as me… Saying Kobe and Dwight can’t play together isn’t even believable.
Darius @27, 28. +1,000!
In one way or another almost everything boils down to how and what is being executed on the court.
Phil Jackson was asked at his exit interview what they key to his success was. His answer:
“Talent. I have coached some of the greatest talent ever to play this game.”
Or, as Billy Martin, the long-time baseball manager said, “You can kick a mule in the ass all you want but he ain’t going to win the Kentucky Derby.”
Indeed. I retract the part of the comment about you, if #21 was not you.
#21 seemed out of character, so don’t worry. didn’t think it was you anyway 😉