From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Whereas former Lakers coach Mike Brown and the rest of the basketball world would say a great defense will always give you a chance to win, Mike D’Antoni’s Lakers tried Sunday night to prove that his offense-first style can do that, too. Didn’t work.Even with an extraordinary 3-point shooting performance, the Lakers could not weather poor defense of every variety. Their early season slide continued to a 9-12 record with a 117-110 loss to the Utah Jazz at Staples Center, leaving D’Antoni to say players are taking possessions off and not hustling or communicating on defense.
From Drew Garrison, Silver Scree & Roll: The Los Angeles Lakers are struggling. It’s easy to see this; one could point to any number of issues plaguing them on a game by game basis and conclude that they are a team destined for another early playoff exit. Turnovers are stacked up like the reporters buzzing around the locker room trying to find a tasty soundbite from a locker room facing adversity. Opponents are recovering their missed shots at alarming rates in these despicable losses; as if opposing players are being being controlled by the likes of Dennis Rodman and Moses Malone in some elaborate marionette scheme. The defense? If Mike D’Antoni could joke about not having a D in his last name prior to coaching this Lakers team he needs to go ahead and take out any remaining letters of the word defense out. Mik Atoi. Though, whether he deserves the blame or not remains in the air as the players on the floor seem to care little about solving this issue. We can go on and on as we pick at the age of the players on the roster (which happened to get older as Dwight Howard ticked another year older, now 27), the lack of players who give a damn about playing the aforementioned defense, fragility; some mentally, others physically, and consistency as solid as water. Yeah, there are problems here.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles: The depths of despair seem to know no bottom this season for the Los Angeles Lakers. Think three coaches in the first 15 games while passing on Phil Jackson was uneasy? Think Dwight Howard giving away games with brick after brick from the free throw line was brutal? Think those poison-pill 35-plus-point quarters that the Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets andOklahoma City Thunder hung on them should have taught the Lakers to stem the tide by now? Think Steve Nash’s leg and Pau Gasol’s knees and Steve Blake’s abdomen hurt? What truly hurts right now is watching this Lakers team that didn’t show up Sunday in an embarrassing 117-110 loss to the Utah Jazz. This isn’t meant to be a slight against the Jazz, which are now 12-10 and have a deep nine-man rotation playing hard for coach Tyrone Corbin. But if the Lakers can’t find it in them to win a game like that on Sunday, what can they win?
From Helene Elliot, LA Times: If you believe the return of Steve Nash and Pau Gasol is going to make everything all right for theLakers, here’s some bad news: It won’t. There’s too much wrong for even Nash, as gifted as he is, to fix what ails the Lakers. And there’s certainly too much out of kilter for them to rest their hopes on the return of Gasol, who has been memorable so far this season only for his struggles at both ends of the floor while battling tendinitis in his knees. Even Coach Mike D’Antoni acknowledged the Lakers can’t count on Nash and Gasol to save them —and that was before the team’s too-often-passive 117-110 loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday in a home game jammed between a 1-2 trip and four more games back East.
From Ryan Ward, LakersNation.com: It has been a dreadful season for the new-look Los Angeles Lakers thus far with yet another loss added to their record after failing to get the best of the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on Sunday night. With a second loss to the Jazz on the season, the Lakers drop to 9-12 on the year with an uncertain future ahead with the current roster. The one player on the team that has a more uncertain future than any other moving forward is two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol. The trade speculation continues surrounding Gasol with all sorts of rumors flying around Los Angeles about his seemingly imminent departure if he can’t turn it around, but the team is reluctant to pull the trigger on a deal to send Gasol elsewhere until the return of Steve Nash. In the meantime, while Gasol rests with tendinitis in both knees, there’s been talk of the veteran power forward heading to the bench once healthy enough to get back on the floor. In Gasol’s absence, head coach Mike D’Antoni has gone with Antawn Jamison as the starter. Obviously, Jamison’s presence in the starting lineup hasn’t had a great impact with the team continuing to struggle, but it has been a topic of debate that Jamison fits D’Antoni’s system better than Gasol in terms of stretching the floor. Fortunately for Gasol, the Lakers’ coaching staff has no intention of bringing Gasol off the bench once he returns according to Ben Bolch of the L.A. Times.
Just for the sake of discussion, how certain is a team that averages 100+ points a game to make the playoffs?
(Speaking of recent decades, not back when they used to shoot every foul and 140-120 games were not uncommon.)
Darius Soriano says
A new post is up too, but continue to talk links stuff here.
Kenny T says
Jamison is not a starter at PF. He doesn’t have enough strength to do the job. He should be a sixth man where his ability to score can be utilized.
Right now, the Lakers are feeling the consequences of their previous success. Years and years of diminishing returns from the draft and salary cap issues have left them with one of the weakest supporting casts in the league. The injuries and early season turmoil have only aggravated the situation. In addition, their unfamiliarity with each other manifests itself in poor defensive communication and execution as well as alarming rates of turning the ball over.
The only solution that I see is to give each player a narrowly defined role that takes advantage of his skillsets. Howard needs to defend and rebound. Jordan needs to bang and protect the paint. Kobe, Meeks and Jamison need to score. Metta needs to sell out on defense and lock down the best wing on the opposition. The bench has to defend and limit turnovers. This team has no margin for error. Right now, players are heisting up wild shots and wasting possessions. This team needs more discipline on both ends of the floor. Mike D has his work cut out for him.
P. Ami says
Two reasons I don’t think the problem on defense is D’Antoni.
1. He lest the New York Knicks with a top-10 defensive efficiency with STAT and Melo as starters. His PG was Jeremy Lin. The onlu good defenders he had on that team were Chandler and Fields. So, coaching defense something MD’A can manage. Too bad for Utah they have such a glut of big men. Lots of teams could use a Milsap.
I’ve mentioned my reason #2 before.
2. The last season under Phil and then again under Mike Brown, the Lakers were not consistently getting stops. Our D has been mediocre now for a 3rd straight season.
Obviously removing Gasol is not solving our issues even if his move to PF is part of our defensive problem.
I think our best hope is cutting down on TOs, so our fast break defense is less tested. Nash should help with that. Giving up less rebounds is also going to help and Nash will help as well, as I think our shooting will improve. When it boils down to it, the ability to get stops in the 4th quarter is key to winning a championship. I still don’t see that happening unless a DH12, Artest, Hill, KB, Nash lineup figures out how to play together. Maybe with Nash, KB and Artest spacing the floor and then Hill and Dwight being mobile and springy down low, the team can both score and lock down late in games.
I think Pau is worth a max deal as a starting center. 19 million for a starting PF who is 3rd or 4th option and a minus on defense is a bit much, even if he is a stellar back-up center. I’m a big, big fan of Pau Gasol. I’d be happy to trade some of this skill overlap he provides and get some youth, some speed, some quickness (obviously skilled players with these traits).
Man, Milsap is such a nice player. Love that guy’s grit, his skill. He is really crafty around the rim. Shoots well. Rebounds like a mother.