After winning two consecutive games, the Lakers were rudely brought back to reality by the Mavericks on Friday night. As we noted in our game preview, the Lakers could keep it close by playing well offensively, but at some point the odds were that tired legs and a juggernaut of a Mavericks’ offense would prevail. And, well, that’s exactly what happened. After the game Kobe spoke of not having his legs under him all night which was evident not only in his final shot numbers, but in the shots he decided to take. On one occasion, Kobe actually fired up a 35 footer with 6 seconds left on the shot clock, seemingly just because he did not want to work to try to get a better look against a defense geared up to slow him down. This shot attempt prompted one of the better photoshops I’ve ever seen (and a candidate for tweet of the year) from friend of the site J.D. Hastings:
— J. D. Hatings (@basquiatball) November 22, 2014
Hey, if you can’t have a few laughs in a season like this one, I’ve no clue how you ever plan to make it through. I mean, we’re only 13 games in and the Lakers are showing to be one of the worst teams in the league. There will be some wins to pick you up, but I can’t recommend whiskey every time something goes wrong.
In any event, the Lakers are back in action tonight against a Nuggets team that is suddenly playing much better. After starting the season winning one of their first seven games, Denver has sunk four of their last five opponents. This includes a 20 point manhandling of the Pelicans on Friday night — the same Pelicans that the Lakers lost to last week. So, while a couple of weeks ago tonight’s game looked like it could be winnable, it is now much more in question. Even with the Lakers returning home after spending the last week on the road.
Key to this contest, though, is for the Lakers to find ways to get Kobe better looks — especially on cuts and off screen actions. It’s obvious to say, but the Lakers are a much more competitive team when Kobe is an efficient scorer rather than the under 40% version he’s been in almost all the games this year. And the way to boost his efficiency is get him more looks in single coverage and with a step on his man rather than asking him to create from the top of the key or the win against defenses who can show him a second and third defender quickly and easily. Run a few more curl actions and tighter pin downs (with better screens set and better angles) and let him catch the ball on the move rather than at a stop or when moving away from the hoop.
Also key is for Jeremy Lin to continue his aggressiveness from Friday. In that game Lin started out looking for his own shot, making quick and smart decisions in how he would attack. He got into the paint, created space on his mid-range jumper, and was very good in catch and shoot chances. He’ll need to do more of that tonight against Ty Lawson, making his smaller counterpart defend and, in the process, expend some energy to make him less effective offensively.
As for the other side of the ball, the Nuggets aren’t especially strong in any one area but are good enough in several places to give the Lakers real issues. They have firepower on the perimeter in Lawson, Aron Aflalo, Randy Foye, and Wilson Chandler who can all shoot the long ball effectively. Add to them Kenneth Faried’s work on the glass and activity both in transition and when diving hard out of the P&R and the Lakers will have to defend the entire floor. Doing so effectively has been a problem all year, especially since they have had so many issues defending the three point line while also taking away shots inside. The perimeter defenders will need to dig inside and then recover to the three point line well or they will get burned.
Overall, the Lakers should have a nice boost from playing at home. Getting Wayne Ellington back should also help their perimeter offense and allow them to play Kobe more at the 3 while reducing his minutes. This latter point is important as it should allow him to be fresher for longer and, hopefully, lead to better lift on his jumper with better results. But, unless this team starts to get some stops, none of it will matter. We’ll see if tonight is the night the Lakers can play a bit above their heads and allow their offense to put them over the top.
Where you can watch: 6:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.
Kobe Alert: Against the Mavs. Kobe played in his 46,000th minute. Only 11 others have done that and all are in the HOF or are certain first ballot future members. In 12th in all time minutes, KB needs 321 more to catch Ray Allen for 11th. The Scott/Bryant tandem could get those minutes logged in 8-9 games : ) Kobe also tied Sam Lacy for 56th in all time defensive rebounds (very few guards in front of KB here). Kobes needs 6 total rebounds to have more than Michael. He already has MJ topped in Dimes, and needs 246 points to put Jordan in 4th.
Baylor Fan says
Lawson has been playing better lately. It will be interesting to see how the Lakers defend him.
My point about stars is that Howard and LeBron are not playing at superstar levels this season and yet those would be two max salaries the Lakers would have happily paid.
I was going to say “much respect” for throwing out Hastings tweet as a tweet of the year. It def was. But I realized just writing out “much respect” would chip away the last respect I had for myself.
Yes. Injuries happen. But Dwight has been this same player since his back surgeey. Nothing has changed. As far as LBJ goes we all know what happened to him. Nothing is guerunteed. But having superstar players on your team is by far the best road to a championship.
Aaron: We agree that talent drives the NBA, we agree on SuperStars, and we agree on the merits of the multi-year tank (although I do not root for it so openly). We will agree to disagree that the tank is part of some ingenious FO plan. Now – you did guarantee me that the Lakers would finish 2nd to last behind the Sixers. This would be key as it would guarantee us a top pick. Games like tonight are winnable and therefore key to your prediction. Let’s see what happens. I will be “illogically” be rooting for a “W”.
Couple of bad teams out here.
Nice job by Price getting back on defense and drawing the charge on Nate Robinson.
up after 3 Qs
Swaggy KO says
These are the 2 worst teams I have seen in years. Bad D league game
Swaggy KO says
This Kobe going 1 and 5 stuff is dumb. Missed last 6 shots while the team sleeps. Bad coaching and bad team play.
The Lakers shooting is atrocious. Kobe, Lin, and Sacre are the only players shooting well tonight.
We are emotional animals. But what makes us the smartest animal on earth is we can know when we are thinking illogically. So for that I can respect you. I will be emotionally rooting for a loss and logically rooting for a loss. I guess I’m more evolved 🙂
Yeah, the Lakers (and Denver, actually) both need more movement off the ball (assuming, of course, that the O schemes are not part of the stealth tank plan). These teams don’t have the horses to run ISOs all the time. Kobe is 36, not 26.
The D looks better without Boozer, although part of that is obviously opponent. Davis had a bad night.
OT at Staples Center, just what this game needed.
Keep on jacking em up mamba… It worked great the last 6 minutes of regulation!
Two missed free-throws in crunch time with no defense…makes you long for the days of Fisher.
Kobe has played too many minutes, but who can blame the coach with this team’s anemic offense.
Well now we know what that 3pt shot does for the Lakers.
The Lakers needed Boozer’s offense tonight.
Yeah, the Lakers (and Denver, actually) both need more movement off the ball (presuming, of course, that the O schemes are not part of the stealth tank plan). These teams don’t have the horses to run ISOs all the time. Kobe is 36, not 26.
The D looks better without Boozer, although part of that is obviously opponent. Davis had a bad night.
1 for 8 last 7 minutes is not going to get you 20 wins this year.
Lost all confidence in BScott. He has become Kobe’s servant.
Now 1 for 9. Terrible coaching and bad bad team.
If Byron could just coach and Kobe would just play team ball, we would be a contender. And whatever is not directly able to be blamed on those two guys is clearly Magic Johnson’s fault : )
Lakers and Nuggets could not throw a pea in the ocean tonight.
Thank u to kb & bs for thinking of our potential top 5 pick down the stretch!! We can’t afford any wins vs other bad teams in the west. Lose more for okafor!
Lakers scored 11 points the 4th quarter and 19 points the last 17 minutes. I guess thus is not a very good team.
Isen’t a coach suppose to call plays when the offense is dead?
Oh that’s right he did. Kibe left, Kobe right, Kobe all the time.
They just lost to the worst team I have seen in a long while.
Lets see how fan boys protect scott in postgame analysis
Kevin T says
Too many minutes for Kobe. Need to manage, take him out earlier in the 3rd and bring him in about 7 left in the 4th,this should and would fix all the Kobe missed shots at the end of games. Kobe plays the whole 3rd and comes in at the 8 plus minute mark and the legs are gone with about 3 to 4 left in the game. Kobe or someone needs to smarten up and manage the minutes for him to have his legs at the end of the game, unless this is the plan to lose as many games as possible. Either Kobe is going with the plan or he is a dumb if he don’t know his own body at this stage of his career.
I think this game somewhat wraps up all the arguments in one fell swoop. Byron should let us shoot more 3’s – well we went 3-24. Kobe should let others get involved: Swaggy 2-12 Johnson 3-10 + Hill 2-8. Boozer should hit the bench and Davis should play more – okay. I think we might start realizing this is a roster issue at this point.
Kobe took 9 shots the last 6 minutes. Made 1
They scored 11 point in the 4th.
Clearly Kobe was cooked yet Mike De AnScotto just left him out there.
Kobe can’t help himself but a winning coach could.
sloppy game,tank on!
Has any one noticed that Ronnie Price went for zero points and zero assists (in 17 minutes)…again? This is the 2nd or 3rd time that this has happened in the last 4 games. Can you imagine a PG going for zero and zero in 17?
I understand that Price’s primary strength is defense and that he is a veteran. But we need SOME offensive contribution from him. We’re basically wasting his 17 minutes. I think it might be time for Byron to call on Jordan Clarkson.
This team needs to be shaken up. And who knows? Clarkson might end up being a contributor. It can’t hurt to find out. At this point, what do we have to lose?
Ko: KB was tired and missing down the stretch, however if he did not take those shots it would have been Young and he was 2-12. We can talk strategy – but Byron is playing chess with one Knight and a bunch of pawns. Checkmate.
Torture.! And I’m done watching. It’s just a waste of my time. Jeremy Lin is not the problem… this team needs a center. I’m no G.M. but if I was they’d have one. Lakers are going to lose a lot of money, when the fans realize what they are doing. They are tanking. How can the public see the problems with this team, and the g.m. doesn’t. Go Clippers. Yeah I said it. Get Andray Blatche or Jermaine O’Neal or both veteran minimum. Get rid of Sacre.
I agree, Robert. Add to the fact that those guys missed wide-opened shots. At least Kobe has an excuse the Nuggets played defense against him.
I hear you, and agree to a large extent. But like I said in an email: I will never look like Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling, but I still need to do my crunches, not eat too many cheeseburgers, shave, brush my teeth, and dress decently.
Also, letting Davis, Henry and Clarkson play, and having Kobe do a little less might:
a) Help the team a little in the future.
b) Save Kobe’s legs for next year
It’s the non-reaction that causes a reaction. No one was moving a inch
The last 6 minutes. Just standing an watching. Felt like I was watching that underhand softball pitcher that tells the guys to go sit down snd plays one on nine, If someone cut, moved or set a pick perhaps Kobe isen’t 1 for 9 and team is not 19 points last 17 minutes. That is the COACHES fault. If they want to watch then sit them down. Guarentee Pops would.
Nuggets inbound the ball with 20-some odd seconds left in overtime and the Lakers foul Afflalo. He sinks both free throws and Lakers call a time out to draw up a play. Byron brings out his pad and his little marker and points to the three point line on the pad and says, “All right guys, bring up the ball and shoot a three from here, here or…[trying to make us his mind] here. Try to get fouled so that you can go for a 4-point play, alright? If you miss, get the rebound and shoot another three. If you miss and they get the rebound, foul. If you make it and don’t get fouled, foul them when they inbound it. If you get fouled and you don’t make the three, make the first two three throws and then miss the third one, then get the rebound and dunk the ball like Jordan did when Pippen missed that free throw that one time, alright? Let’s go!”
At this point, what do we have to lose?
Some would say “the draft pick” although I am personally unconvinced that Clarkson would have much or any impact on the W/L. In preseason I said that Clarkson needs to be playing, with either the Lakers or the D-Fenders. If Scott really doesn’t think that Clarkson is any better than Ronnie Price, then Clarkson should be in the D-League.
As to Scott: he is running a very rudimentary offense, like Riley sometimes did. You are right that this team is just undermanned, but I would suggest that that does not take Scott off the hook, presuming that the Lakers are trying, anymore than the team’s current situation takes D’Antoni off the hook for the problems that he had here.
I am not on board with blaming Kobe much, however. If Scott is going to run clear-outs for Kobe, Kobe is going to try to score.
Kobe and Byron should aim for 32 mins. a game…9 at the start of the 1st & 3rd and 7 minutes at the end of the 2nd and 4th . Ellington can fill in the other minutes. Pushing the envelope with his minutes just isn’t smart.
I think I’ll have that whiskey.
Renato Afonso says
Are you related to MDA or anything like that? There are NO Byron Scott fan boys in this site. There are people like you and there are people who are willing to give Byron Scott the benefit of the doubt. I never thought that Scott was a good coach but I was willing to give him a few games to see if he’d adapt or not. Just like MDA and Brown and everyone before.
Certainly Scott has a share of the blame on our defensive issues (he could have better rotations) but there’s only so much he can do when everyone is unable to guard a simple dribble penetration. Now, his offensive system is either atrocious or Kobe is simply ignoring the system and doing whatever he wants (maybe both). I understand using some of Riley’s ideas, namely the “ride the hot hand” for stretches in games, but we simply lack the talent to play the way Riley liked. We don’t have a reliable post up player, a reliable shooter or even high basketball IQ players in our roster. A great coach could get more out of this roster than Scott is but the win improvement would be minimal. But from what I remember, Scott never seemed smart on his playing days, so I’m not surprised that he doesn’t look very smart as a coach. He can improve: the open looks our offense gets (open looks would be a nice start, because I don’t see them…), Kobe’s minute usage and efficiency, containment of dribble penetration and defensive transition. Failing to improve one or more of those areas by Christmas will show either his inability to coach or something worse…
I’ll go straight to my point. I absolutely hated the way Kobe came down court and launched his last four shots during regulation. There was no doubt the was going to take those shots, he didn’t look for anyone else on the team. Kobe apologist previously have stated “he has no one else on the team who can get his own shot” or “no one else on the team wants the ball in crunch time”.
This particular issue was suppose to be “minimized” once Nick Young returned. If I remember correctly, Nick was on the court last night, w/ Kobe for those last four shots and didn’t get a touch. True, Nick wasn’t having a good shooting night (2-10), so I guess that will be the next acceptable excuse for Kobe, “Swaggy P was having an off night”.
It wasn’t a great game, but the Lakers had a chance to pull out a victory…they didn’t.
I wondered how long the Kobe-Swaggy P honeymoon would last…truly hoping this isn’t the beginning of the end.
Gonna be a long few years. No guarantee of anything changing next year for sure and toxic culture created does not mean free agents run here a couple of years from now.
I guess Kobe did make the deal with the devil, but Scott must have as well. I understand Kobe’s motivation, but not Byron’s. He just looks bad and fans blame him for not coaching a completely untalented team.
Fans didn’t make the deal, however, and it is not clear what we get out of this at all. Watching Kobe do well is one thing, watching him play like this is another. I wonder if even Robert enjoys this Kobe?
Renaldo, well written article. My reference to fanboys, who i really mean are the laker commentators. Scott was one of them who trashed mda on a nightly basis. Now they are giving scott a free pass. No i am not a relative of mda but recognize he ran a system that was compatible with the talent buss gave him. How did all these laker players get in the nba without having a high shooting percentage. They average 6-8 and can’t hit the hole 8 ft out. Amazing!
-@ Teamn, agree completely. I’m awaiting a response from Robert pertaining to your last line: “Watching Kobe do well is one thing, watching him play like this is another. I wonder if even Robert enjoys this Kobe?”
-Lakers currently 3-11, will have a very good chance of winning two of their next five (Grizz, T ‘Wolves, & Raptors at home, then a back to back on the road vs the Pistons & Wizards. Actually if the Lakers don’t win at least one of their next three, they will once again tie the ’57-’58 Lakers for worst start in franchise history. That team was 3-14 thru their first 17 games….ouch!
Can’t wait till we play Philly. That one is going down to the wire.
“I wondered how long the Kobe-Swaggy P honeymoon would last…truly hoping this isn’t the beginning of the end.”
@BCS be honest man..no you’re not! LOL. This is your dream year remember?
It was a good game in that it was a close fought game that ended in a loss. That’s the best type of game for this year.
I agree with Coach Byron Scott that the team didn’t rely on Kobe but the truth of the fact that Coach Byron Scott rely on Kobe…….and the big question mark ?????? who is the coach????? Byron Scott or Kobe Bryant????????
I for one, don’t enjoy volume poor shooting. At least Kobe didn’t jack up a ton of 3’s, that’s when he has epic type bad shooting nights. Many of us talk about Kobe’s shooting % and how poor it is thus far on really high volume shooting, but his defense IMO is really bad. He can’t cover anybody with any quickness, even Chandler Parsons SF made him look crazy slow.
Thus far Wes Johnson, Ronnie Price, and Kobe Bryant are hands down our worst shooters. That should tell Kobe something, or perhaps the COACH that Kobe needs to take better shots. Honestly, Lin was lighting up Lawson who looked like a dwarf compared to Lin. He could take easy 15 footers over the top of him all night long, he’s the one who should have shot 24+ shots last night, not Kobe. Sometimes you need to give the green light to the guy who has the match-up advantage and who has the shooting touch. Unfortunately, Kobe seems to think he just lost his Rhythm b/c he didn’t shoot enough in the 3rd quarter. Seriously, how about playing 28mpg instead, that likely would make a world of difference. Or how about the Coach benches you to rest you, when we are getting blown out–rather than stat pad points with 30+ shots.
Again I say, I would rather watch Iverson/Jordan re-runs during their high volume shooting days b/c that was at least fun to watch. I’ve about hit my fill of watching fade-away airballs, bricks, and forced 3 pointers that aren’t even at the end of the shot clock!
Renato Afonso says
If Kobe was at least forcing it at the rim and getting FT’s because of it but we’re stuck with the “I live for the contested long two” Kobe… Not enjoyable at all.
Teamn: I do not “enjoy” this in any way like I enjoy rooting for a Laker contender. Rooting for Kobe allows me some level of enjoyment in what would be a completely dismal situation otherwise. Kobe has been like this his entire career. The comments about him being selfish have been being made for 19 years. The comments about him going one on five have existed since Shaq left. If we had lost Game 7 those comments would have hit an all time high. Fortunately they did not. I am not at all surprised by Kobe’s on the court behavior, his shot selection, and his unapologetic explanations afterward. He is what he is. He can’t help himself. When the Alpha Lion sees the Gazelle, it goes after it, kills it, and eats it first, before any of the cubs or other lions do. That’s it. There is no more explanation. He will do this until he can’t anymore and then he will retire. The Lakers have known this for years.
Renato: “A great coach could get more out of this roster than Scott is but the win improvement would be minimal” Exactly – perfect. For all of you criticizing Byron – guess what – he deserves it, but keep it in context. The numbers in the “W” column are not going up significantly due to coaching with this roster.
rr: Of course what you are saying is reasonable. Scott should clearly limit Kobe’s minutes (I mean how ludicrous is it that he leads both teams in minutes?). He should also have some semblance of an offensive scheme other than a 1 on 5 isolation. That said, I think you nailed it that in both cases – these would help Kobe and the team in the Long Run. They are not going to significantly change the win total in the short run. Scott is not Pop and he is not Phil Jackson. Kobe has had 8 different coaches with the Lakers (10 counting interims). There was only one who controlled him at all. This is just another testament to Phil Jackson. I am not sure Pop could control Kobe. It is what it is.
Karen: With regard to Fanboys. Many may think I am one, but I despise Fanboys. I enjoy Kobe for what he is. However I think I (and many others) have made it clear that we have a horrible team. In pre-season, many were predicting playoffs and large win totals. “Let them play the games”. I was never in that group. We are playing exactly how I thought we would – well maybe a little worse : ) The source of this problem is our FO. Those who refuse to speak about that are FO Fanboys and are using Kobe and Byron as scapegoats for what is a FO issue. So let me be clear – our franchise is in disarray, we are horrible, and our future is not very bright unless you firmly believe in Laker Manifest Destiny. We will rise again – but when – I do not know.
Chearn: Thanks for the support. I guess in a very warped way – I have become the board’s optimist. I try to enjoy Kobe and realize what a bind Scott is in. Wow – dark days indeed for this team.
Agree: I started to get tired of Arnold by the time Terminator 3 came out. The chances of Kobe changing are like the chances of Arnold acing an acting lesson. This Laker movie is not the fault of the leading Actor – he is a known commodity. This problem started with the Executive Producer.
Ko: I understand the frustration and you and I both know what the real source of the issue is. I know we have 68 games left and it will do us no good to talk about the Front Office and the roster for that entire period. That said, to focus on Kobe and Byron for what is clearly a roster issue is not fair. We are severely outmatched in 60% of our games, and the other 40% are toss ups. Last night was one of the later and we lost the coin flip. OK – if Byron would listen we could make the coin flip to be 55% in our favor, and that might result in 3 more wins on the year. Not something I am worried about. I am worried about – how we got here – and how we will leave. Sadly both Byron and Kobe have a limited time left with this team – but I do not think their future departure will be the key to our success. Major organizational change is required.
Regardless of Kobe’s team composition, historically, when they miss the mark he feels compelled to fill the gap. Kobe has to empower his team by impressing upon them the confidence he has in them. More so than in previous years, Kobe has to build this team’s sangfroid. He has to use muscle memory to remember how MWP felt when he passed him the ball against Boston. MWP had more credibility than these players, but the idea is to build the team’s continuity. More so than in previous years, Kobe has to build this team’s sangfroid.
This team may not be as atrocious offensively as they’ve performed, and I agree much of it is coaching. Even if Scott desires or is mandated by management to let Kobe score there has to exist the illusion that that is not the case. Otherwise, the team will stand on court spectating and defense will converge on Kobe (in some games, and not so in others). Obviously, good teams (GSW) can afford to let Kobe get his but teams like Denver cannot operate that way because even at 36 there’s a possibility he beats you. Shaw knows Kobe’s tendencies as well as PJ, Fisher, and Scott. At a rudimentary level, any coach that’s been on the bench during a player’s career should be able to diagnose that player’s game.
Under no circumstance or condition should any player spectate on court…period! A coach should tell his players to cut and move without the ball whether they receive a pass or not. After all, their movement on the court opens up lays and creates opportunities for the defense to miss an assignment and thereby create a scoring opportunity for Kobe, themselves or others. Moving without the basketball helps the team. For example, LeBron is finding it problematic with the Cavs because they don’t have a fundamental comprehension of basketball (my hypothesis). This caused him to yield the comment, “F&*$ you have to cut!” Even though Fisher was not a gifted player, he had a high basketball IQ and cojones. LeBron is a known passer yet his team is not moving, so the Lakers problems on the court are not symptomatic of Kobe being a ball-hog. It has more to do with players knowing how to play. Currently, that is not a quality most on this team have. These players are not hurting Kobe (he’s received a lifetime of monetary incentives) they are mitigating their chances to attain a contract in the NBA. This is their last chance.
The Lakers guards: When a player is an 80% free-throw shooter yet misses not one, but both free-throws during the last two minutes of a game that is telling of that player’s composition. There is no other excuse. Price is a waste of space forget his defense there is no place for him on the Lakers going forward, so why indulge his services this year. Either play Clarkson or find a D-league player with fewer miles than Price and an upside. Henry is disappointing he is reverting to the player that was cut by previous teams.
Ellington and Young both played their first few games off adrenaline, but now the reality of the conditioning required for the best athletes in the world is catching up with them. They should get their legs under them in a few more games. I think Kobe understands that, so everyone can rest their speculations that the honeymoon is over between Kobe and Nick.
Scott has a revolving lineup every game based on players going on and off the injured list. Couple that with the composition of the roster and there is precious little a coach can do.
All this to keep a pick?
Not gonna help unless it’s the next KAJ and the FO has a clue. Neither condition holds.
Remember when the Raiders traded their coach in the early 2000s for a truck load of picks ? They went to a super bowl with Gruden’s team, then it was all downhill after that …
What FA of value will want to come to LA? Perhaps a total drama addict who loves disfunction. In that case, all should be well.
J C says
A winnable game sacrificed at the altar of Kobe’s ego.
I think Robert analyzed this pretty well. By necessity Boozer sat, Davis started. 3’s were shot and pretty much everyone shot poorly. About the only bright spot was Sacre who had a good game. At this point I would throw Scare into the starting line-up and see if having a true center in the starting line up helps at all.
I’m also in agreement with RR on Clarkson. Clarkson plays more like a small 2 guard. His lack of size for that position has had him trying to working on skills as a PG to make his size an asset. I don’t think he has it all together yet but one or another the Lakers need to find a way to develop him either with back up minutes or send him to the d-league.
A couple of excerpts from Zach Lowe’s column today: I watched the Rockets-Lakers game on Wednesday night at a bar with an executive from another team, and we couldn’t stop talking about how insane it was watching Kobe shoot and shoot and shoot. When the Lakers called timeout ahead of a crunch-time possession, the TV showed Kobe and Byron Scott talking. “What do you think Byron is even saying?” the exec laughed. “‘Hey, Kobe, what’s the plan?’”
that the Lakers are actually better on both sides of the floor — by miles — when Bryant sits. That only two teams, the Pelicans and Nuggets, average fewer passes per game. That Bryant, at age 36 and coming off two career-threatening injuries, is on pace to challenge the single-season NBA record in usage rate — an objectively crazy record that he already owns. Even when the Lakers run plays — flex sets, pick-and-rolls with Kobe as both ball handler and screener — they usually end with Kobe doing his thing.
@KenOak, lol, this is far from my dream year, however it is rapidly becoming the nightmare I imagined it would once I heard the salary cap restricting $$ amount on the contract the Lakers & Kobe agreed to.
And honestly (really), as long as the “Kobe package” is viewed in it’s entirety, hi-points, low points & the small print, I’m fine. Example: a recent posting stating Kobe passed MJ on the all time career rebounding list and how great this is for a guard. On the surface, sounds great, but it took Kobe 187 more games, over two more seasons to accomplish that. So while it’s a nice accomplishment for those who like comparing Kobe to MJ, it’s also a double edged sword.
BTW, Kobe is one of my favorite 7or 8 All-time Lakers.
14 down, 68 to go…
And that awesome Lowe piece is exactly why Kobe needs to play as many minutes as possible. He helps the team lose and he gets people watching all at the same time. It’s a win win for the Lakers. And what are we saving Kobe for anyways?
I agree–I wasn’t saying that this could be a good team with better tactics, just that I don’t think that gets Byron off the hook–again, presuming that the Lakers are trying to win.
I am so confused as to why you want the team to tank but are unhappy with the FO for bringing in the bad players and not going after the good players that allow for the three year tank (currently in year two).
And that’s a GIANT presumtion
Reading that the Nets may waive 33 year old Andrei Kirilenko (last year @ $3 mill+). Should the Lakers be interested?
NBA’s new power ranking is out. Lakers @ # 27 scheduled to play # 28 T ‘Wolves & # 29 Pistons in two of their next four games…Happy Thanksgiving Lakers.
bryan S. says
Robert: Spirited defense of Kobe ball. I’d rather watch “playing the right way” and losing than this. See, if you love Kobe and all that he has meant to the Lakers, why would you want to see him tarnish his legacy by playing as if he was still capable of carrying a team to wins? He can’t, as the record shows. I find it sad and depressing to bear witness to this travesty.
rr: I don’t look like either of those guys, but I look like Charlie Sheen, and I say no to cheeseburgers.
Ronnie Price is really bad. How many times is he going to turn the ball over on carries?
Lowe’s article, really is a good read. Touched on areas that … well … give me worry:
1) We are a team without much talent.
2). The FO is not trying to tank – although they are not trying to win either (a strategy that is as ridiculous as it it sounds considering Point 1 above).
3) Not likely that any FA player with real talent will want to play with Kobe. So we are looking to be shut out in free agency until Kobe’s contract is up.
4) Elite FAs want to play with other good players and given Point 1, above, the Lakers FO has until the summer of 2015 to put a base in place to draft/trade/sign some quality building blocks. Point 4 is hard to execute because of Points 2 and 3.
bryan S.: Thanks but not a defense, more of an acceptance. Roster wise we are in 2005, but there is no Phil, no Lamar, no Derek, no Jerry Buss, and Kobe is 9 years older. Playing wise though it is pretty much the same. Go back and read the board archives from 2005 if you don’t believe me. Same stuff. Kobe is a ball hog – nobody wants to come here – etc..
BCS: Saying Kobe is in your top 7-8 Lakers of all time, is like me saying Ringo is in my top five Beatles of all time.
Aaron: I know the tank is in our best interests. I am mad at the Front Office for getting us here in the first place and they are not doing a good job tanking (we had 7th pick last year remember?). It took us too long to fall to rock bottom. We wasted several years and then we will still have several years to rise back up. Not impressed with this level of genius from the FO.
Lakafan: “they usually end with Kobe doing his thing.” Thankfully. Without that – what would we have? Honestly, if you could change Byron’s and Kobe’s approach to exactly what you want, how many games difference do you think it would make?
The league really should give the Lakers a gift pick in light of how the Commissioner was to intervene in the Paul trade. I have not seen any writer or NBA commentator (even those that hate the Lakers) side with Stern’s ruling.
In his efforts to right wrongs that were instituted by or allowed to continue under the previous administration, Commissioner Silver should award the Lakers a compensation 1st round pick. Stern’s intervention was wrong and it showed a lack of backbone for him to stand up to the arguments of weak owners.
I can not tell you how much pleasure it gives me to watch the Cavaliers flounder with Lebron, Love and all the 1st round picks Cleveland’s ineptitude brought them.
@ Worried, Zach Lowe’s piece is well worth the read, and in my opinion, pretty much on the money. For those interested in reading it in Grantland:
Was it just me or did anyone else find it interesting that Lowe’s article did not touch on Jeannie or Jim? Their leadership and relationship are central to the Lakers malaise and key to the decisions that need to be spot on for the Lakers to change direction.
Lowe is a serious writer and I wonder if mentioning the Buss kids opens a rabbit hole that takes any writer into the realm of reality TV melodrama that can’t help but read like People Magazine. Or, did Lowe correctly put this on Kupchak? Who as Lowe points out came ever so close to being the architect of the Lakers next championship run (The Kobe/Paul/Howard era) only to have it snatched away and be left with tainted assets/decisions which inevitably lead to the Lakers falling to their current sad state.
Xavier Henry, out with Achilles rupture in practice. Not that he actually was showing any signs of playing, but definitely feel for the guy–he has been the walking wounded for some time now. So he’s out this season, can’t imagine he will be a Laker again.
Kobe is certainly on a record setting pace, for worse win shares, worse shooting % for a person leading the league in scoring. Ultimately, the “rebuild” likely can’t happen until he retires. Of course Coach Scott will be paid to leave as well, likely after next season. Kobe/Scott can retire together as buddies. Meanwhile there will be people praying Randle develops into an amazing player. I think he could be a good 2nd tier star potentially, but in part that’s just due to his age. I don’t see Clarkson as someone to get excited about, but I would still try and develop him. I don’t see why he can’t become a decent #2 guard/slasher type–but its hard to see him get many minutes until Kobe retires. Since apparently the Coach thinks 36mpg is a good number for someone that looks exhausted all the time.
Kobe should be thankful they have Ronnie Price and Johnson, since he should clearly outshoot them this season. I’ve never been impressed with any player that shoots a million shots but misses 60%+ of them. Kobe despite his rep had many seasons that were fairly efficient, his career avg of 45% is pretty good. But he used to drive/dunk all the time, not just shoot his fade-away. Now he is almost entirely a jump shooter and until he proves otherwise–he’s not a good one currently.
Was it just me or did anyone else find it interesting that Lowe’s article did not touch on Jeannie or Jim?
Lowe is excellent…but like the rest of ESPN, he is uninterested in the Lakers, unless they are being filtered through the Mamba lens.
Lowe’s piece underscores that the Lakers, are, in the eyes of many opposing fans and the media right now quite literally a joke. Not a bad team, like Denver, or a building team, like Utah. A joke. A situation that you openly laugh at.
This is not a huge issue—unless opposing players and player agents start believing it as well.
And what are we saving Kobe for anyways?
He has a two-year deal.
I hear you on Kobe and agree with your perspective on his approach, but that approach, or if you prefer his approach to the entire last couple of years, puts winning at risk, does it no? Kobe’s a complicated fellow and is too smart in my opinion to not see all of this. At some point the alpha male approach does not work in this context, meaning accommodating a bad FO and bad coaches and bad teammates. Of course, as Aaron keeps pointing out, it’s supposedly for the best. Personally, I think things may be so bad it won’t matter.
And I still don’t get what Byron is getting out of this. The money? I doubt it. Another chance to coach? Ok, but then what. How does he not get fired down the line? How does he not know he will get fired down the line? Unless something truly unexpected happens.
I had no illusions about this team and did not expect much. I was “interested” in last year’s process, but this year there really is not much to watch grow into a team. I hope I’m wrong, but the Busses have made this tough to swallow, with little hope for future success.
Worried: I’d like to tell you not to worry but let’s be honest — there are too many variables at play here to have any degree of certitude. I agree with you in the need to have a foundation in place before elite FAs agree to sign here (first real opportunity is in the summer of 2016).
Randle’s injury makes what we all hoped would be a pillar of the rebuild a complete question mark. And the FOs decision both tank/compete means we may not be bad enough to keep our draft pick. This is a bad move in my book unless the Lakers are planning to tank/compete again next year (as they will keep their pick in 2016 if they give it up in 2015)..
I’d rather the Lakers be bad now because I believe it will make them even more successful in the future. When the Lakers sign difference making FAs (as soon as the Summer of 2016) they will again be drafting at the back end of the first round. These next two years are the only opportunity to secure elite young controllable talent which you can still add two or three max contracts to.
I think an argument can be made to be awful for the next two years and collect high draft picks in each the 2015 (top 5 protected) and 2016 (top 3 protected) drafts. Then we could give the Suns our pick in the 2017 draft when its at the back of the 1st round.
Anon: Yes, I too feel a bit pleased when I see Dan Gilbert’s Cavaliers struggle.
J C says
Here’s another aspect to consider.
If Kobe averages 25 ppg this year, whether he leads the league in scoring or not, then most likely he’ll average 20-22 ppg next year.
By then he’ll be within striking distance of his next career scoring targets – Malone and then Kareem.
So what makes anyone think he won’t stick around a couple more years to catch them?
If management is hiding their head in the sand now, waiting for this season and next to pass so they can wake up from this nightmare, they better think again.
I fully expect Kobe to expect his ‘availability’ to continue sometime next year.
At that point I’m sure he’ll make a big show of playing for ‘less’ money.
To all, my apologies, my use of fanboy is laker commentators not guys commenting here.