From Ben Bolch, LA Times: Once thought to have too many point guards, the Lakers suddenly could use at least one high-quality backup. They aren’t expected to add any to their holiday shopping list, despite announcing Monday that Steve Blake would require surgery to repair his torn abdominal muscle and miss a minimum of six to eight more weeks, the latest tumultuous turn in a season of upheaval. There are a few reasons the Lakers will probably go forward with Darius Morris and Chris Duhon, who started the season as third- and fourth-stringers but have become the starter and primary backup. Those reasons include that Steve Nash could return from a small fracture in his fibula in a week or so, the Lakers already have an NBA-high $100-million payroll and the list of free-agent point guards isn’t a particularly attractive one, with Delonte West, Mike Bibby and Jordan Farmar among the options. The Lakers had hoped Blake could return this month from the abdominal injury that has sidelined him since Nov. 12, but instead he is scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday and may not play again before February.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles: Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol will not play Tuesday against the Houston Rockets because of tendinitis in both knees. “I just didn’t think he was running fluidly,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. D’Antoni said Gasol made the decision to rest after consulting with the coaching and training staff. There is no set timetable for how long Gasol will sit out. Antawn Jamison will start in Gasol’s place. Following Sunday’s loss to the Orlando Magic, Kobe Bryant was critical of Gasol, who watched the final minutes of the fourth quarter from the bench.
From Elliot Teaford, LA Daily News: The Lakers’ lack of offensive rhythm and defensive determination still troubled coach Mike D’Antoni one day after their loss to the Orlando Magic. He didn’t like their lack of energy or the way they seemed so overconfident upon taking the court. “We screwed up last night big-time,” D’Antoni said rather bluntly after Monday’s practice and before leaving with the team on a three-game trip to face the Houston Rockets, the New Orleans Hornets and the Oklahoma City Thunder. “We have to have more of an urgency to our game that we have not demonstrated yet,” he added. “It’s odd, every time we play a team that’s lower than us in the (standings), like Orlando and Sacramento, we don’t have the same energy we have against a Dallas or a Denver. “That’s something we’ve got to get over real quick. ” It hasn’t taken D’Antoni long – only seven games, in fact – to recognize what everyone around the NBA has known for years about the Lakers. “We’re not real fast as a team structurally,” he said. “That’s not going to change. I can’t come in here and make you faster. But if we play with the right amount of concentration and energy then we’re OK. We have to understand you can’t come out and play half speed. “Our half speed is like quarter speed. So far we’ve had trouble with young athletic teams.” Effort can make up for a good many of the Lakers’ troubles, D’Antoni said.
From Ben R, Silver Screen & Roll: Given how the Lakers went about their business last week, you would be forgiven if you thought the real Laker team showed up to blow Denver into oblivion and had incompetent doppelgangers stand in against Indiana and Orlando. Perhaps the opposite sentiment should apply, as the frequency at which the “good” team shows up seems to be determined by the alignment of the stars and seasons. Either way, it is clear that the team is having a tough time keeping in sufficient rhythm such that they execute consistently and crank out offensive performances — and defensive ones — commensurate with their talent level. A big part of the problem is the fact that the Lakers are playing with their third and fourth string point guards at the helm of an offensive that is supposed to be dictated by their actions. This is no longer the triangle or any other structured motion offense we have been accustomed to in the past years in which you can make things work through sheer execution. As with most other teams in the NBA, it comes down to the court vision and skill of your primary ballhandler and how he handles the flow of the offense. Near everything in Mike D’Antoni’s system goes off the initial pick-and-roll and the opportunities that are created once the ballhandler penetrates off the pick. It is no accident that lineups featuring Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard initiating the pick-and-roll while being surrounded by three other shooters have achieved the greatest success under the auspices of D’Antoni’s offense. Past Kobe, however, you have essentially no one who can come even remotely close to managing the system in the manner that D’Antoni requires. You may describe D’Antoni’s pining for Steve Nash and Steve Blake to return as excuses, but he is absolutely right to say that they are essential for what he wants to do on offense.
From Jabari Davis, LakersNation.com: After leading the “Play Pau Properly” charge for so long, it almost comes out as a natural defense mechanism whenever I hear the speculation of a Gasol for fill in the blank scenario being discussed. The fact is, Gasol isn’t responsible for not automatically morphing into a player with a skill set more suitable for the most recent offensive system. That said, at 8-9 (W/L) and struggling to maintain any level of consistency, the Los Angeles Lakers are a team searching for answers. Lakers’ management does not seem keen on the idea of waiting patiently while their $100 million investment takes time to figure things out. If anything, the firing of Mike Brown after just a 1-4 start (without the services of PG Steve Nash) proved just how dire the circumstances truly were. It comes as no surprise that a source close to Lakers’ management has confirmed an interest in New Orleans Hornets’ PF Ryan Anderson as “legitimate.” Anderson is in just the first year of a 4-year, $36 million deal, having agreed to a sign-and-trade to join the Hornets in the off-season. The source went on to state:
West and Farmar are both better than Duhon and Morris.
The Ryan Anderson stuff–not seeing how that would work,particularly given Pau’s situation.
Lakers are a mess and miss Fisher’s leadership. Who’s the voice of the locker room?
Now Pau is out probably for the road trip. Could be looking at 8-12 coming back to LA.
Joe M says
5 on 5 on ESPN, Darius is the only one to give the Lakers any consistent positive comments. He surely never loses faith in this team.
latest from rotoworld:
Pau Gasol is technically listed as day-to-day with tendinitis in both knees, but the Lakers will rest him as long as it takes to get him healthy.
“We got to get him healthy,” said Mike D’Antoni. “Whatever it takes — one game, two games, 10 games — I don’t know.” ESPN.com also confirmed that there are no trades currently in the works, but GM Mitch Kupchak has told Gasol’s representatives that “if Gasol is unable to adjust to D’Antoni’s system, the team will have no choice but to search for possible trade scenarios.” The veteran PF is averaging 12.6 points on 42 percent shooting this season.
I brought up Anderson last week and I got LOL from a few on this site. 43 on 3 is better then Pau from field.
Am I the only one who thinks the Lakers will play better without Pau than with not healthy Pau?
Hill clearly can give more effort on the glass and in transition offense/defense.
And Gasol will have a chance to see from outside where he can better fit in this system.
And D’Antoni also will have a chance to see Hill in extended minutes and try him with different combinations (not experimentation, he just doesn’t have a choice).
Maybe even it will lead to a new rotations after Gasol returns, two primary lineups:
Starters: Howard, Hill and others
Bench: Gasol, Jamison and others
Maybe Gasol will follow Walton’s example and ask for a bench move. After all, he was on the team that year.
Let’s hope we win some games now!
LT mitchell says
Ryan Anderson might be the best three point shooter in the league, and he’s a PF. He doesn’t just hit wide open threes, he hits threes off off the dribble, step back threes, and can hit threes with a hand in his face. He would do wonders for the spacing on this team. With Nash and Anderson, Dwight would be surrounded by 4 legit three point shooters, and the paint would open up like the Red Sea for Nash and Kobe. Anderson makes about $6 mil less than Pau, which could be used to bring in some depth and/or possibly a quality PG.
Mike McGee says
Can someone, anyone please tell me why New Orleans would want to deal a guy they just signed this past offseason who is making less than half what Gasol makes and who’s a much better player than Pau right now? Makes no sense. We as fans can ask for Anderson and Lakers management can say they are interested in him, but it takes two to tango.
Gasol with his declining performance, bad knees, and hefty contract is as close to untradeable as a player can be!!
Joe Atlanta says
Why would New Orleans agree to trade Anderson to LA? This is why I like the ban on trade scenarios. Let Pau get healthy 1st before speculating on trades.
Tom Daniels says
Pau needs to rest his knees. Jameson has been playing well and he can step in and can start. Hill needs some playing time to see if he can play for D’A. This is all good.
Then maybe when Pau and Nash get healthy we can see two great passing ofays out there and the season can really get going.
Brooklyn was desperate they got johnson washington was desperate for change they got nene along with 2 brutals contracts. Houston was desperate when they traded for pau. Philly was desperate for change see where i’m going with this. Hornets don’t seem like a team desperate to deviate from their current path. Lakers trade partner have to be as desperate for change as lakers brass seem to be. Hornets rumor is a pipe dream.
@Mike Magee & Joe Atlanta: Thank you. Seems like everyone wants a new pony for Christmas. Pony ain’t coming, guys, and the only people that will even be considered in a trade scenario will need to have less than 2 years on their contract or the team is in luxury tax hell forever.
david h says
guys: footspeed, or lack of it will result in an eventual defeat unless two things happen: lakers make a high percentage of shots and free throws and houston does not. projected over the course of this nba season, the same should hold true. rebounds, steals and blocked shots will also come into play in this scenario but have a way of evening out over the course of a game and a season.
figuring it out is the mission of both players and coaches. starting with tonight in houston, here’s hoping there’s a start to this figuring it out so we can go to tomorrow’s game nine and nine and not the converse.
If you win, you need not have to explain…If you lose, you should not be there to explain!”