After the Lakers were handed a bad loss at the hands of the Celtics on Friday night, Byron Scott said there would be lineup changes in tonight’s game versus the Pelicans. True to his word, Scott has swapped out two members of his starting group:
Ronnie Price and @eddavis32 will move into the starting lineup tonight alongside @kobebryant, Wesley Johnson and Jordan Hill.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 7, 2014
Reasonable minds can disagree about this move, but Scott is clearly trying to inject some defense into his starting group by removing Boozer and Lin in favor of Davis and Price. As we have discussed all season, the Lakers’ defense is horrid ranking last in points allowed per 100 possessions and doing so by a fair margin. Without getting into all of the details, the Lakers don’t do anything particularly well on that side of the ball and injecting two of the players the coaches feel are better on that end is deemed as the logical move.
That said, the numbers don’t really support this particular change. Let’s dive in:
- The lineup of Lin, Kobe, Johnson, Boozer, and Hill has posted an offensive efficiency of 102.7 and a defensive efficiency of 117.7 for an efficiency differential of minus-15.0.
- The lineup of Price, Kobe, Johnson, Davis, and Hill has posted an offensive efficiency of 96.0 and a defensive efficiency of 119.5 for an efficiency differential of minus-23.5.
- In terms of the big men pairing, when the Boozer/Hill tandem have shared the floor, the Lakers’ defensive efficiency has been 117.0.
- When the Hill/Davis tandem have shared the floor, the Lakers’ defensive efficiency has been 119.3.
- When Jeremy Lin shares the floor with Kobe Byrant, he is shooting 46.5% from the floor and has 94 assists to 42 turnovers.
- When Jeremy Lin has not shared the floor with Kobe, he is shooting 33% and has 4 assists to 11 turnovers.
There are some caveats in these numbers — the Price, Kobe, Johnson, Davis, Hill lineup have only played 20 minutes together over the course of five games. The Hill/Davis numbers offer a larger sample — 134 minutes — but still not as large as the Boozer/Hill duo (394 minutes). As for the Lin numbers, they too offer a small sample as Scott has preferred to play Lin almost exclusively with Kobe to try and optimize his two best guards by playing them together. So, these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt as there are simply not big enough samples to say any of these trends are irreversible.
That said, these numbers are what they are and do make me raise an eyebrow. The Lakers are making changes that, per the numbers, make them worse on the floor than better. When the samples get larger maybe these trends will reverse. But, my guess is that even if they do improve, they won’t do so at a rate that makes any sort of dent in how well the team plays as a whole. At least not without other shifts in how the lineups are deployed and how many minutes specific groups play together. We’ll see if Scott makes any such changes or if he simply swaps Lin and Boozer’s roles with Price and Davis’. If that happens, I expect things to look just as bad as they have to this point.
In any event, there is a game to play tonight and these changes will be put into play with a chance to make some waves. The Pelicans aren’t a great team by any means, but they have one of the league’s best players in Anthony Davis and other useful players who can make an impact against the Lakers. Chief amongst them are Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, and Ryan Anderson. Evans may be of particular issue since his ability to create off the dribble is a trait that the Lakers have struggled to contain all year. Maybe having Wes Johnson on him will slow him some, but unless Hill and Davis are there to help while still managing the stay with Anthony Davis on the glass and when slashing into open creases, it will all be for naught.
Further, when Anderson comes into the game the Lakers will need to find a way to defend the arc with a big man. With Boozer now coming off the bench, one has to wonder if defending Anderson will fall on his shoulders. If it does, watch out. Boozer is hesitant to defend out the three point line and that is exactly where Anderson will set up. If Boozer cannot get to the arc, Anderson will bomb away with quick releasing threes and hit more than his fair share if he’s open.
Offensively, we’ll see if the changes the Lakers make can at least spark their second unit. In theory, a unit of Lin, Ellington, Young, Boozer, and Sacre will be able to score some points and get up and down the court in the process. Lin, Ellington, and Young can all stretch the floor as well, so the space that they create should open up some post opportunities for Boozer and driving lanes for the guards should their men get too aggressive with closeouts. Hopefully, the bench can take advantage, especially against a Pelican’s bench that isn’t very strong in their own right.
Where you can watch: 6:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.
I don’t know if this new starting lineup is going to have any more defensive success. Their pick and roll defense is bad, and always puts the PG in a bad spot. They don’t switch; they just let the opposing guard use the pick to drive deep inside, and ultimately the big has to give up and help out. They should just switch and then crowd the paint, maybe giving up an open outside shot. Lin’s 1 on 1 defense has been fine, and his transition d is as good as you can expect from a PG because he always gets down the court … even if he’s the only one defending a 3 on 1. Am I wrong?
Anyway, it might make sense offensively, if Lin can do his thing more off the bench. We’ll see. Kobe plays so many minutes, it might just confuse things.
Kobe Alert: Against Boston, Kobe recorded his 1,862nd steal and moved by Isiah Thomas for 14th all time. To pay homage to all the posts from the last thread: KB launched his 5,000th three point attempt (only 5 others have hoisted that many). To put this in perspective, 11 of the 14 guys on the Lakers roster have less than 2,500 FG attempts of any kind for their careers. To throw some more meat to the Byron/Kobe attack squadron: Kobe needs just 65 minutes to move by Ray Allen, for 11th. If there were a way to get this done in one game Scott would probably allow it. Kobes needs 4 more dimes to become the only player in the top 10 in scoring and the top 30 for helpers. He has 77 points to go for his next big moment.
Berdj Rassam says
The Pelicans are a decent team and should beat the woeful Lakers.
Kobe is on pace to miss over 1100 shots this year. Kobe has missed 272 shots in 20 games this year. So we send a guy that shoots 30%for the year to help him out.
If BS wants a better defense, take the old and slow pokes out – Kobe, Boozer, and Hill.
hop: Some of us predicted poor performance for this team. The time to have done anything significant about it, has long since past. Kobe is all we have to enjoy. If you do not enjoy Kobe shooting so much, with a less than stellar supporting cast, and a coach that is OK running a 1 on 4 offense, then I might suggest you join me in my opinion of the front office. They signed the extension, they let all of our big men leave, they put this roster together, and they selected their third coach in 3 years.
pat oslon says
Excellent assessment Darius (as usual). I definitely see the second unit being able to light it up; but the first unit, not so much. I hope the defense actually picks up but I’m not so sure it will. However we will find out shortly. Realistically I don’t think we have enough talent and ability on the defensive end to compete consistently at a high level. Our upcoming schedule is brutal (as if the early schedule wasn’t)!
I am pretty sure the FO is not happy about Boozer being moved to the bench
The less Price shoots the better,…The more Lin doesn’t have to share PG with Kobe the better….I am guessing Jones isn’t signing with the Lakers. (Would’ve happened already)…
J C says
Interesting ‘shared floor time’ stats.
However, common sense says that having a better defender on the floor (Davis)
and removing a weaker defender (Boozer) will help.
Same w Price over Lin.
The only problem I see is that you lose Boozer’s scoring, so I’d be inclined to add Swag to the starting 5 in favor of Wes Johnson.
I’m not really seeing Johnson as the ‘lockdown’ defender he is purported to be, and his shooting is very inconsistent.
Darius Tweet, “The Hill/Davis data follows the eye test too. Those two simply do not have the chemistry that Davis and Sacre do.”
I’d be interested in seeing Sacre starting with Davis. Sacre is not a long term solution as a starter but he is a lot better then given credit for. I think has progressed from the 3rd string to a legitimate back up rotation center. Given the Lakers current roster I wouldn’t mind starting him and seeing what happens.
Robert, Good point, but man B. Scott is bad. There must be a better way than have a bad player who shoots 30 % on the floor more. What up with Clarkson, better shooter and creator than Price. the kid is buried on the bench.
Chris J says
3:38 left in first quarter and Byron subs out for Price while leaving Kobe in. How does Kobe play 40 minutes a game? Due to coaching like this.
Even after a timeout, he still left him in. Makes no sense.
No matter who is out there. Kobe has figured out this team stinks and realizes tge FO will add no players.
Kibe is just going to shoot the rest of the year and BS will be the enabler.
Boozer, Johnson, Lin, Price would not get 10 minutes on any other team in the West.
And FO does nothing. No Clark no PG signing. Nothing.
Kobe is in for a rough night…I’ve never seen ref Danny Crawford give Kobe a fair whistle. Crawford calls very few fouls as a rule and allows an inordinate amount of contact against the Mamba.
Kobe 3-10 and 30% at the halftime and Price is shooting, 1-3, 33%.Great move B.Scott.
pat oslon says
Wes Johnson & J-Lin are like Jekyll and Hyde twins. One game they don’t show up & the next game they play like gang-busters. If they develop a little more consistency, on both sides of the court, we would be a much better team.
This is so bad. Everyone acts totally confused with their role. Scott has sucked the life out of these guys with his sour demeanor
Ronnie Price is open. There might be a reason for that.
Can’t remember LA beening this disinterested as a team. That is a reflection of the coach. Cleveland version 2.
Kobe is the least interested. This team may just completely quit by all star game.
Then what Jimmy?
Boo birds out tonight. Lakers down big entering the 4th quarter. Kobe should be rested and not play in the 4th quarter.
Another blow out.
Another 33% and 5 TO night Kobe
Another no time out sitting on his butt night from Scott.
This team had quit and Scott and Mitch should be fired.
How can any team be this bad on defense game after game without anyone in the media questioning this coach.
His ntire platform was based on how they will be tough defenders.
Kobe is back in, guess he needs his 30+ minutes.
We have more wins than Phil and Derek’s team…
Let’s not forget Byron Scott is the coach Magic Johnson wanted for this team.
Somewhere, Mike D’Antoni is laughing his ass off.
Wow – this is getting uglier all the time. Kobe and Young were a combined 9-31. We were out rebounded 50-34. And we lost by 17 at home in spite of the fact that they had 9 more turnovers than we did. Not going to even ask if this can get worse, because I know it can.
“This team had quit and Scott and Mitch should be fired.”
Aren’t you forgetting someone?
This is getting worse and worse by the game. I keep thinking this team has hit rock bottom but they continue to get lower and lower.
Finally ko is saying what i have been critical about and saying over and over. To hear scotts interview its like he saw a different game than we did.
BS post game interviews are getting dumber and dumber. Coming from a guy who avaraged 26 wins a season his last 3 years of coaching.
Used to post gme BS from BS I guess.
I Love Lucy reruns were more interesting tonight.
Yeah, Scott doesn’t look too good, but the people hammering on him should probably be looking more at the FO, if they want to complain. Scott came here with a track record, and the FO created the roster. And remember: Kobe will be the highest-paid player in the NBA again in 2015-16.
I know what this roster can do and be appreciated. Stop playing basketball just continue the Thanksgiving efforts by feeding the homeless at skid row and Santa Monica.
Jimbo and Mitch, you should be ashamed of yourselves in fleecing Hollywood celebrities with a garbage roster of which you were aware of. Is this rebuilding or a day of infamy in the Laker nation?
Jeanie, you owe the fans for their dedication and undivided loyalty, why not give chance to others please sell the team. You should all be ashamed of yourselves to continue the legacy of Dr. Buss in this manner.
Jim, Jeannie, and Mitch all need to go. They are all responsible for this pathetic team. Hiring 3 incompetent coaches in a row, shelling out $25m to one guy in a salary cap league, acquiring the likes of boozer, price, Johnson, etc. please sell the team!!!
Well said Oldtime
Sad part is those inept Buss family will still make $100 million so they are smart and we are fools for supporting this con.
The Dane says
A lot of pointing fingers at the FO at the moment, claiming they do nothing.
We can disagree a lot with the FO, and obviously things haven’t worked out. But I think they have done a lot the last 3-4 years, and I think they have shown that they are trying to continue the old ways, of waiting with the small tweaks, untill they have made the big move. The CP3 and Howard moves where the big moves, the failed recruiting run this summer was the big move, and right now they are just keeping all options open for the next big attempt.
I have a log of faith in Mitch, and like what they have tried to create over the last 3-4 years. Things just did not pan out, and they seem not to be aiming for a Seattle Supersonics long rebuild, 76ers kind of “only young kids without a clue” rebuild… and I think that too is true to the Laker-way. We just need a little paaaatieeeence…. yeaaaaah yeaah, we just need a little patience (sorry, old Guns n Roses fan).
Lin averaged around 30 mins last season with Houston – a playoff team in the western conference. If he hadn’t been traded to the Lakers, he would be averaging at least 25 mins per game. The last time I checked, 30 is not 10.. but it’s larger by a wide margin. So Lin could easily get more than 10 mins on teams better than the Lakers in the western conference. Your math needs polishing. On the other hand, your Lakers smash-mouth-defense starter Ronnie Price wouldn’t even smell the floor on any western conf playoff teams.
If you expect the potential consistency of Wes Johnson to make the Lakers a better team, your dreams are too far fetched. You are better off praying for Kobe to increase his shooting percentage.
Renato Afonso says
The only problem with failing the big move this Summer is that everyone, except Mitch and Jimmy, knew that we weren’t going to land a star player. So, instead of focusing on making the rest of roster better to attract such player in the future, they did the opposite. This is getting really hard to watch and I don’t feel the need to stay up to see the games anymore. At least, not the full gam… There’s better basketball around to be seen (even if I have no rooting interest in those games).
Warren Wee Lim says
I have to say Darius, other than Twitter being an enjoyable way to discuss snippets of the game, the posts at FB&G have been dominated by a few that I simply cannot stand looking at. They either state outrageous exaggerations or flat out BS. While our frustrations are in common, I simply disagree with how it is supposed to be approached.
I asked our good friend Eric Pincus on twitter as to how much the Lakers would have left in cap next season assuming we did land that Max guy… his answer to me was 3-4 million and that without Jordan Hill in the equation. I don’t know what number in salary cap he was using, I’m guessing he was using a good estimated amount. Putting that into use, it could very well be 3-4 as he put it, could be 5-6 if its generous and a maximum of 7. Again this without including Hill into our equation.
I mention these numbers in order to determine what moves are left for our front office to do, if any at all. Aside from player options whom we have no control over, we can then assess which players we can use in trades, which other assets, etc.
Steve Nash remains a big 9.7M expiring contract. However, unless we are prepared to take in a 2-yr deal of some sort, packaging it with the Rockets 2015 1st rounder (projected 25th) will not yield someone good enough to pass up his salary on during free agency.
Jeremy Lin is listed at 8.3 million, but his actual pay is 15. Not many teams will find his usabilty tantamount to 2:1 in terms of his dollar salary, therefore him being traded elsewhere is unlikely. I had always fancied him beside Kobe, someone with decent size, quickness, perimeter and transition defense, and of course the ability to create his own shot. However, things have simply not resulted the way we all hoped for.
Jordan Hill has a 9M contract and can veto any trade involving him. So not only do we convince the other team to take him in a possible deal, we also need to convince Hill that he’s going to the other team (and possibly have that team pick up his option) for him to agree.
These 3 expiring contracts that I make mention represent our possible 25 million max cap space next year. Again as discussed in paragraph 1, the actual total cap could be somewhere around 32 to 33 million depending on many things. The idea of trading one or two or all of these three could also represent the inability to sign a maximum free agent. The question then remains is that are we better off trying for 1 more big swing next year, rather than make small trades this year to improve our asset cupboard?
Bottom line: if attendance & TV ratings aren’t falling off with this product on the floor, the FO’s plan is working. The rest of it isn’t important at this time. Yes, Lakers will miss out on post season income , but so what…they have TWC $$$.
So the real questions are:
-is attendance being negatively affected?
-is TV ratings being negatively affected?
-are they so negatively affected that the FO feels pressure or are they falling into the “acceptable range”?
So it’s quite possible the FO are geniuses after all and we, hardcore fans, are simply collateral damage.
J C says
Stern vetoed the Chris Paul trade.
FO rebounded and made the Nash & Dwight deals.
But Nash crumbled and Howard bolted.
Why did Howard leave?
Because he didn’t want to play with Kobe and there isn’t anyone else with enough charisma left in the organization to compensate for that.
Mitch is savvy but he’s no Jerry West in the player’s eyes. The Logo was the guy that kept Shaq and Kobe together.
Jimmy is on a completely different planet than his father was. Dr. Buss was a visionary. He’s the guy that held Kobe in check until we grabbed Gasol.
And while I do understand that Phil’s ego was tough to take, there’s simply no comparing any of the coaches we’ve had to Phil.
Signing Kobe to his current contract is having precisely the effect I thought it would.
Kobe will pass MJ in a meaningless loss on a broken team.
While I appreciate The Dane’s plea for patience, I think Oldtimer is right.
The ‘Hail Mary’ approach to landing a Melo or Lebron this summer demonstrates this is now a flawed model.
Mitch and the current FO and coaching staff just aren’t sexy enough to land the big fish anymore.
If LA can live without a football team, they can live without this mess.
Even Chick is probably turning the channel right now.
The Dane says
I admit I hardly watch the Lakers anymore, I do follow everything around the team, I watch the extended Kobe highlights and that is about it. I would much rather watch Pau and Rose, Curry and co., Mavs magic offense or even… yikes… the beautiful Spurs.
I pretty much agree with your post. Lin is more difficult to move because of the size of his actual contract is even bigger then his cap hold. The Lakers received a draft pick to take on his salary and it would appear unlikely another team would take Lin without similar compensation.
On Hill I think you are right about the facts but I don’t think moving him would be difficult. First it is hard to imagine Hill would veto a trade if the Lakers sent him to a contender. Second as I’ve read, Hill’s no trade clause disappears if his option is picked up. So if another team is willing to swallow the 2nd year the Lakers can trade him anywhere.
Calvin Chang says
Big City Sid nailed it. “if attendance & TV ratings aren’t falling off with this product on the floor, the FO’s plan is working.” I remember when Mitch Kupchak signed Lin, he said it would be great for the community. Translation – Asian market and ratings. They’re hoping Kobe and Jeremy can keep the ratings and attendance up. But the Byron’s bad coaching is really making it difficult to watch.
david h says
hey darius: props to you for continuing to dissect and disseminate the lakers in this, the most disappointing season ever in their storied franchise history. and so here we are, roughly one quarter of the way through with the forseeable three quarters of more of the same. undoubtably, more of the same because there is no substitute for talent; or in the laker’s case: lack of
at this point, I blame the water boys. for lack of hydration, the team will cease to be able play. without players, coaches will not be needed. without players and coaches, a general manager would not be necessary. and without players, without coaches, without a general manager, what’s the purpose of owning a team?
Got it? Get it? Good.
could use some of that cool refreshing H20 right about now.
Go Lakers. You still got a great fanbase.
I wonder why the coaching staff made moves that statistically would make them worse? Hmmmmm
Nice post J C. Certainly agree with most of that.
The Dane: “claiming they do nothing” Not true – In Jim’s case – I only wish he did nothing.
BCS: “if attendance & TV ratings aren’t falling off with this product on the floor, the FO’s plan is working.” The Lakers will be profitable for a long time even if we are horrible. It is a brand that can be milked much like the Yankees. This does not require planning. In the long run – it is championships and legends that make the brand, so if we do not get those the brand will erode slowly over time. We are the big losers The Buss Family will make billions either way but I would hardly call milking money out of cash cow that you inherited an ingenious business maneuver.
Lakafan: Nice ! And I had you incorrectly pegged as an anti Byron guy who still thought the FO was genius . My bad. If you want everyone to go – then I am right there with you : ) Seriously though – we may as well keep Byron until we fix the other stuff. Who else would want this job and be able to survive it through the re-build? I said the same with MD last year. If we get a roster – then we can significantly worry about coach – but now – as you have correctly listed – Byron is #4 on the list of who needs to go. Nobody needs to get fired. Jim and Jeanie sell; Mitch should resign (why hasn’t he yet?), and then after year 3 – we do not pick up Byron’s option. PS: Can you take 2 1/2 more years of Byron? : ) OK – OK -then we can fire Byron if that is part of the package : )
Yeah, I am watching fewer games now as well.
Calvin Chang says
@Aaron – Do you believe the coaching staff is tanking by design? Or is it inadvertent tanking? My impression is that the coaches are trying their best to win, but are just so clueless so they end up losing badly. Byron Scott’s past 3 years at Cavs indicate that this is the case. Unless Dan Gilbert instructed Byron to also tank those last 3 seasons? In that case, Scott’s got the best poker tank face in the business.
Robert – I am anti BS, I think he is clueless but not as clueless as the guy(s) who hired him.
Jimbo, Jeannie, and Mitch just do not have the “IT” factor to attract superstar free agents. Either sell the team or hire smart people into the FO who can attract and acquire elite talent. With the new CBA and with the lack of talent on the roster, we won’t be able to trade for a star, so need a smart FO to identify and acquire the next Laker star via free agency and/or the draft.
Btw anyone know if a draft pick in a trade can be protected based on record rather than draft position? I see our Lakers have the 5th worst record right now, and if they ended the season 5th worst that wouldn’t guarantee they would keep that pick with the way the draft lottery works. (i.e. If a team with a better record jumped them into the top 5).
Conspiracy Theory Alert: If the Lakers really are “stealth tanking,” then could this roster change, which arguably makes the Lakers worse, be a reaction to the (relative) glut of victories after Young came back? Aaron knows what I’m talking about. I don’t know if I buy the “stealth tanking” argument. But stuff like this makes me wonder.
West Coast Ram says
What would be interesting is to ask people that actually go to the Staples Center why they are attending the games. If it is to see Kobe, why would they want to watch this version of him? He certainly is not at the stumbling Willie Mays stage but as his stats continue to drop and he can no longer guard his man it is moving in that direction.
Please don’t get confused… I am not in the stealth tanking camp. I am in the overt tanking camp and have been all along.
Lakafan: “I think he is clueless but not as clueless as the guy(s) who hired him.” Love it. By the way, the luck of the ping on balls plays a role in whether we keep the pick. We are in no mans land – just like we were last year. If we finish somewhere around “6th” to worst we are screwed – just like we were last year
West Coast: For me – it is quite a bit about Kobe. He still has it. Comparisons to Mays or Ali are premature. He is on his career average and no his D isn’t what it once was, but I think he is in the MJ Wizards category for sure. I have been to one home and one away game this year. The two environments are quite different. On the road, Kobe is the #1 celebrity in the game. Coming out of the tunnel is an event in and of itself. Every time he gets the ball, a hush comes over the crowd, and if he scores, you would think it was a game winning shot. It is like this in LA too – that is in the 200 section : )
Aaron: Yes – you have been. However we finished in the 7 slot last year, so if that was a tank it was a bad tank. Ditto this year. Tanking only works if done correctly. Finishing “6th” to last does not cut it. Why did we not trade Pau? Kaman? Hill? maybe even Young. They all had some value, and that would have helped the tank. Can we not execute this correctly?
rr: The only thing worse than being the “6th” best team in the league is being the “6th” to the worst team in the league. Three years later, everything has gone awry, and yet I am stuck on the same number : )
Joe Houston says
Lakers management have been smart through all of this. They traded Pau and LO at the right time. Let Howard walk when they realized he wasn’t the same player (the Lakers weren’t praying he stay) and now they are intentionally tanking to protect the future. Lakers know that Lin and Boozer are not good players, they got them to ensure they would tank. Both players are untradeable and that’s by design. The new NBA landscape requires you to be very bad before you can be very good and Lakers management are smartly adapting. As for Time Warner, they have smart people in their management, they are playing the long game with the Lakers. Kobe is retiring soon, they also want the star of the future.
It’s hard to tank when the bottom eight teams in the league are also trying to lose. We can do the best we can but nothing is guerunteed. Last year we were set up to be a bottom four team but MDA stuck it to the organization and thus was fired a few minutes after the final whistle. And Joe Houston is not me.
Great post, J C, most of it was agreeable to me.
Robert, Kobe foregoing shots on this team is nonsensical. He might as well shoot for KAJ’s record as well this season. Put Clarkson in and let him learn to pass to Kobe and or drive and create his own shot. Those two initiatives would make this season palatable.
It’s ironic that the changes in the starting lineup that the Lakers fans demanded, i.e., starting Davis, and a defensive guard would yield more wins. And thereby diminish the tank theory. Now that the team failed to net a win in its first outing—against a decent burgeoning team—this lineup is now considered the quintessential team to advance tanking. Really?
I’m sure that the Lakers are reluctant to play Clarkson as a rookie as they long to reserve that honor for Magic an all-star and eventual hall of famer. Kobe only started in six games as a rookie.
CP3 has been no panacea for a more talent laden team than the Lakers, he’s been there three years and has yet to take his team to the WCF.
Chris J says
And while I do understand that Phil’s ego was tough to take, there’s simply no comparing any of the coaches we’ve had to Phil.
The flaw with the “Phil as savior” mindset is the inherent assumption that even The Great Phil Jackson could have won with today’s roster’s players, or those of the past few seasons, for that matter.
Even if he’d been rehired in 2012, after Mike Brown died on the starting block, I was not among those who believed Phil could have waved his magical peyote dust over that locker room and turned it into a winner. Not with Nash being through as an NBA contributor; not with Howard’s sore back and inability to deal with the demands of playing with a winner like Kobe; not with an older, always on the block Gasol, nor the tired, can’t jump version of Artest.
Yes, Phil worked wonders with “bad” Lakers rosters from 2005-07, but compare the players on those teams vs. what is in the cupboard today. Aside from Kobe being the league’s unquestioned top player, still in his prime, you had Lamar Odom and guys who would develop into All-Stars and/or championship level contributors like Bynum, Sasha, Turiaf and Farmar. Mo Evans and Kwame showed enough value that they were usable as trade chips to help land Ariza and Pau. They’d even drafted trade-worthy assets in Marc Gasol and Javaris Crittenton… Most guys who saw the floor were in their 20s, and could run and play exciting basketball. A championship-level future was visible, and it came to fruition in 2009 and 2010.
Today… not so much. By 2012 the age balance had shifted to older, more experienced players and the window was closing fast. After the veto — which was a crushing knife in the back — landing Nash and Howard was a clear last stab at a title, ill-thought or otherwise. But when that plan went up in smoke with injuries and other issues, the need to rebuild was apparent.
Byron’s been awful, but honestly, no one could win with the roster he’s been given — losing Randle on opening night added injury to insult. So yes, we can’t compare the recent coaches to Phil. But we also shouldn’t compare the rosters, nor assume for a moment Phil would have done much better with these players and their recent injuries. (For evidence to support this theory, look to New York and its four wins.) You need great players to compete. A coach can only do so much sans that asset.
Joe Houston: While I find your confidence in our FO encouraging, I also find it ill placed. Why would the FO, if it had any sense, let assets with value (Howard, Meeks and Pau) walk away without getting anything in return? Where is the logic in that? All these non moves did was make the team consistently weaker.
Your argument that the only way to get good in the NBA is by losing flies in the face of what the Lakers tried to do this past summer in attempting to lure Lebron and Melo.
Look do I think the 2014 Lakers are trying to win – no I don’t. We agree on that. However, I do not think it was a plan – it is by necessity. The FO has so bungled every opportunity to right the ship these past few years (trade Howard/Meeks/Pau for young players or draft picks, not sign Kobe to a ridiculous extension) that losing is the only option left.
Joe Houston says
Yes, I am not Aaron. However, I agree with Aaron that the Lakers are tanking. Its the smart play. Also, I know that Kobe and Coach Scott are in on the tank job.
Calvin Chang says
If Lakers are gonna tank, they should make it an entertaining tank. Not a boring or irrelevant tank. Sign Sam Bhullar and Thabeet, and nickname them the Mountain and the Lion. Have them sub in and out for each other every 6 minutes. With a hulk 7 ft 5 and 7 ft 3 center combination, at least people will be entertained! Tell them that for every shot they block, they should wave their fingers like Mutombo and annoy opponents. That will get them a lot of publicity while maintaining the tank. I will watch that out of sheer curiosity.
People that think it takes a smart FO to realize it’s better to tank also think it takes a smart fish to swim.
We all love Kobe but lets be frank, what great player wants to play with a ball dominating 20 year vet shooting 38 percent? Kobe just isn’t built to be anything other than the Alpha Male which is what made him great but is which also was gonna make the inevitable Laker/sKobe end game very awkward. I think if he really wants to help the Lakers and have an outside shot of having a team next year that could make some noise he needs to publically state that next year is definitely his last year and that he wants to “pass the baton”, to the next great Laker(s). That may push some great players to go ahead and sign with the Lakers (or push a trade to the Lakers), play with Kobe for one year and then be the face of the new post-Kobe Laker era (which I don’t care what anyone says, or where the Lakers are at now, it is still one of the most prestigious positions to be in sports).
Poeple that think it takes a smart FO to realize it’s better to tank also think it takes a smart fish to swim.
That is not what people are calling you on. People are calling you on the idea that this is a long con, and that the FO has cleverly constructed a team, including the coach and the star, designed to “fool” people. If this FO is really that shrewd, then it should have done a better job with the middle and the back end of the roster in 2012 and 2013, and it should have dumped a couple of guys last year so that the 2014 pick was higher than 7th.
Calvin Chang says
If they sign 7 ft 5 Sam Bhullar from India, Lakers will make history and instantly generate so much publicity and ad revenue.
“Cleverly”. Haha. Again you don’t have to be clever to field a bad team around an over the hill star. The several year tank or what is politely called “rebuilding” in today’s NBA is commonly accepted and widely used by every team that can’t compete for the playoffs. It doesn’t take a “shrewd” front office to fool dumb people. Dumb people are fooled easily. I actually don’t know one person personally who doesn’t know the Lakers are tanking. If I knew one smart person who thought the Lakers were not tanking than I would call what the Lakers are doing a covert or stealth tank. Having said that I do not believe you think the are not tanking.
As far as last year goes the Lakers had the sixth worst record and would have had a bottom two record if it wasn’t for MDA coaching his mustache off. The guy who was brought in to win as many games as possible and potentially a championship. He did not care about the future of the Lakers which is why the Lakers fired him right after the final whistle.
The Lakers did a “shrewd” job of trading Lamar and Pau right before their steep declines. They played everythkng perfectly. They even picked Sessions over Nash but unfortunately as we have recently found our Sessions didn’t want to play off the ball next to Kobe.
Of course it takes a much more “clever” front office to build a championship roster perfectly than to just realize the system the NBA has instituted rewards losing. You don’t have to be a “clever” fish to know you need to swim to move.
david h says
Oh, so Darius, what you’re really saying is that one can move the chess pieces all they want but in the end, they’re still the same pieces…..Consistently Rotten Apple Players.
can’t agree with you more.
Chearn: I could not agree more – as usual : ) I know when I am at the game – when the ball goes to #24, I am extremely disappointed, when he does anything other than shoot the thing. That is what I am paying to see : )
Trip: “The FO has so bungled every opportunity to right the ship these past few years…..that losing is the only option left.” Bingo !
Chris J: As one of the leaders of the Phil fan club, I do not think Phil or anyone else could win with this team. Nor could he have won with last year’s team. Going back to the team he was supposed to coach (2012-2013) – he might have been able to do something with that or with the Brown team. In neither case would the team have been a favorite, but they would have been better and had a better chance. Coaches are more important at the top level of the league to get a team over the top. At this point – what is the big difference? Forget tanking – even if you are rooting for wins every game – how worked up can you get that Byron is going to win 20 games and a better coach might win 25? No coach can win without talent. What Phil has done throughout his career is win with talent. Unlike his primary predecessors – Doug Collins and Del Harris. Come to think of it – his successors have not done so well either : )
Calvin Chang says
Wow, this Sim Bhullar kid is hulk huge. I thought he’s from India, but actually from Canada. Please sign him for the minimum Mitch. If your goal is to tank, at least have Sim squash some puny opponents along the way.
…that didn’t work.
Trip: Look, do I think the 2014 Lakers are trying to win – no I don’t. We agree on that. However, I do not think it was a plan – it is by necessity. The FO has so bungled every opportunity to right the ship these past few years (trade Howard/Meeks/Pau for young players or draft picks, not sign Kobe to a ridiculous extension) that losing is the only option left.
Put me in the group that thinks the Lakers are losing in 2014 because that is the only alternative left. There was no grand plan to get to this point and that is what concerns me. If the FO was executing off of a plan then I would have confidence on their ability to turn this thing around. They aren’t and I don’t.
Byron Scott was interviewed 4 times to ensure that he was good with them losing a ton. But they need to win sometimes just to keep from being a complete laughing stock. But they started to win too much, so they had to secure the tank by making their offense as bad as their defense.
Lakers already have Kobe who is now a bad shooter at volume. Add Young who also shoots at volume with the bench unit, sub 40% (except 3’s). So those guys usually take 40% of the shots sometimes more than that, since they don’t count all the fouled shots Kobe/Young take. So add another 30/27% shooting guy to the 1st team, and put in Davis who is a catch n’ dunk guy, but that’s it. Defense goes up by barely a tick, offense tanks big time.
Now this set-up is ready to tank for real, not half measures! It will be ugly Kobe chucking. Meanwhile the best offensive wings Lin isn’t allowed to drive to the hoop b/c he needs to “act like a pg” and Wellington can’t get burn no matter how good the guy plays. Seriously, Wellington might be their best shooter, he plays D, he rebounds, but of course he can’t get many minutes b/c Scott is trying to lose on purpose. Its illegal to throw fights in boxing, but its somehow doesn’t hurt the integrity of the game to try and lose for a crappy pick.
Its back to 20-30 point blowout losses, but Gee whiz at least we get to see a tired Legend play garbage minutes in a blowout loss, hurray.
the other Stephen says
At two guard…number two! Six foot four, sixth year out of North Carolina…Beef Wellington!
I always thought that if the FO was going to go into rebuilding mode (stealth tank) they would have done it before Kobe took the floor last year. The uncertainty of Kobe’s health and his pending free agency gave the team ample cover to build for the future. They did not take the opportunity and in fact double downed on Kobe with the extension.
I was surprised that they didn’t begin during the summer of 2013 to take the focus off of Kobe and begin assembling a game plan for life beyond him. I thought there were some nice trade pieces on that team – Pau, Hill, Meeks and Young which would have returned some assets at the 2013 trade deadline or this past summer.
I’m not really sure what the FO’s plan is. This past summer they went for the home run with Lebron and Melo and in doing so let some nice pieces (restricted FAs – Monroe/Stephenson) slip away. Besides, elite FAs want to join a team with emerging talent already be in place. The current Lakers are bereft of talent so what elite FA, in the next few years, would find this barren Lakers roster attractive?
Management can’t really be looking at the draft – if that was indeed the plan how do you explain the late season surge last year that cost the team a higher selection? Additionally, any FO worth its salt knows that the draft is tricky and likely requires a longer commitment (4 – 5 years) than the Lakers would want to devote to that path.
If I were the FO, I would make sure that I kept my top five pick this summer. I think we all agree that this is what the FO is currently doing. I would then sign Greg Monroe (FA) and Reggie Jackson (RFA). I think a core of Kobe, Randle, Monroe, Jackson and a top five pick is better than good. Its also a team that may have enough young emerging talent to make KD think about joining us in the summer of 2016.
Absent that plan I don’t see what the FO’s approach would be.
Dan the Man says
Smart plan by BS to not play Lin and Davis together. The trick in tanking is to not only have the starting team be bad but also to have the bench not be too good so that it wins the games even when the starters are losing the game. Davis might be better than Boozer on defense but Price is worse than Lin on defense. This cancels out the defense improvements. But the starting offense is much worse than before. As for the bench, Lin might be better than Price on offense, but he’s told not to drive and score (his strength) and he must simply pass the ball of mini-Kobe Young. Also Boozer is much worse on defense. One might call BS a genius in his new tactic to tank.
It really isn’t a stealthy tank when virtually everyone predicts your team will be garbage before the season. When you put together a patchwork quilt of washed up has beens and d-league re-treads, it’s sort of obvious, isn’t it? Jim and Mitch hardly went “ninja GM” on the NBA. They simply made really bad choices.
Regardless, even if this all works out perfectly, does anyone here actually believe that Jim and Jeannie will make good decisions with a pick or with free agents? After what we have seen the past few years?
To me, this is a result of many things, but mostly because the Lakers have a pretty bad group in the FO making decisions. Some grand conspiracy — the long con as rr puts it — undermines too much of what we know about this franchise, to include Kobe and his legacy, for me to buy in to that idea. If that is the play and it works, then kudos to Jim and co., but it will leave an awful taste in our mouths.
Chris J says
Here’s where things have become really Aaronoying, excuse me, annoying on this forum…
If a great shooter lines up to take a last-second shot, down one point, from the moment the ball leaves his/her fingers, everyone can begin to make basic assessments: Did it get off in time? Is someone in position to block it? Does it appear to be too long, or too short? Is it straight, or offline? Is the arc too high, or too low? Sometimes a player’s history is factored in, such as, “Can he/she do it again?” or “God, no, why did they let him shoot it?” It all adds to the drama.
These are all things even casual fans can see, and almost instantly most viewers will discern “No chance,” or “That’s got a good opportunity to go in.” Possessing this talent doesn’t make one special. In fact, it’s why nearly everyone will stand when a last-second shot is about to occur — we all want to see what will actually transpire.
The same approach applies to the tanking or not-tanking debate — we can all see things, draw conclusions upon what they mean or do not mean, and even consider the history of the players involved in the processes. But at the end of the day, none of us here (presumably) work in Lakers management, so none of us really know — definitively know — what is actually going to happen, any more than fans in my prior “shot in flight” scenario are able discern while the ball is in midair whether the shot will go in.
People who repeatedly scream they “know,” and their ideas are “fact,” are just blowhards, and it’s aggravating to others who can see through the act (i.e. most sentient human beings over the age of 7). Likewise, to repeatedly be subjected to the same blowhard(s) patting themselves on the back about how “smart” or “informed” they are, drawing conclusions long before the end result can be known to anyone, is again, extremely annoying to many here. And when it’s coming from those who’ve repeatedly made absurd claim after absurd claim, each presented as “fact” — again, let’s just ramp up the annoyance level into maximum overdrive.
Are the Lakers tanking? I don’t believe so. I could offer reasons why I think that way, but few here probably care since I am the first to admit it’s just my opinion, and that my guess isn’t any better or worse than anyone else’s opinion.
I read all this talk about stealthy tank and the FO should be ashamed of themselves and all that junk, this season i cant watch many games for reasons that i stated before but i follow the team whenever i can. Lin and Boozer needed to be benched, people here were claiming for Davis to start, they got their wish but now the theme is ” that lineup is not good enough, the stats prove it” yeah the whole 20 minutes worth of data. I dont know but am i the only one that thinks the FO is riding out Kobe Bryant’s contract and if he retires like he has said several times, we are going to end up with a Laker team wide open, with a lot of roster spots and a gigantic cap space room? Is not 2016 the year the new NBA tv deal starts? Is that not the same deal that is expected to add some 20 mill to the cap? Timing is everything, we all new that this team was going to stink, me being an optimist i thought they could win 35 games, boy was i wrong. All im saying that a clean slate a Lakers team armed with humongus cap space, is going to be a really enticing proposition to any big time FA. I wish people get thru their heads 2 things i mean no disrespect its from my point of view, if Howard stayed here the Lakers would be a middle of the road playoff team because we would be cash strapped and capped out. And the Lakers wont build thru the Draft. For every OKC succes stories there are 20 falilure stories. The Lakers see the draft as a tool not THE tool. I said before that it was going to take 3 to 5 years, we are in year 2 so i dont worry about any of this, we all knew this was the Kobe Show. We be fine.
nice post J C –
Kobe will pass MJ in a meaningless loss on a broken team.
& the Chick reference are tough pills to swallow, but all too true right now
For those of you who think the FO wants to win and they are not tanking?
Today was the last day the lakers could cash in there 2 trade exceptions on Henry and Nash. And they did NOTHING!
Shame on you Mitch and Jimmy for this con job you are playing on Lakers fans, season ticket holders and Time Warner.
Also nice job media for not a word on this basketball sin!
Well, fans will abandon the Lakers as soon as Kobe passes Michael.
The most disconcerting part of this scheme is the Lakers have no road map for this plan. So, I guess the heirs think they’ve identified a new paradigm in the organization. A means to save money simultaneously and get the Lakers back atop the leader board.
Marketing is part of every business, currently Lakers are proud of their brand and trophies accumulated so their objective this season is to be frugal. Invest with low cost player while their important commodity i.e. Kobe and supposedly Nash are with the team. The Laker brand is being hurt by unconscionable losses, perhaps perceived as tanking but it is a dangerous prescription for rebuilding. You can continue rebuilding but you have to take care on the quality of the product which the team competitiveness. It has to be a playoff team because of the location that you represent. Once you destroy the bond between the fans and quality of the team, it would start the free fall. In my opinion, Lakers has been falling since Mike Brown has been hired and kept on falling from Dantoni and now the rotten roster that Byron got. As we said, if the Dantoni roster was retained and added some defense into it like Davis and Price perhaps, Lakers will be break even at this time. Unfortunately, it was a frugal overhaul without thinking of its repercussions. In this digital age, when everything happen so fast, there is such thing a product obsolescence wherein you can stop competing because the image of your company is obsolete. This is going on for the last three years with a valid excuse of injuries last season.
When I came to America, Kodak is one of the best brand, Sears & Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, Woolworth, Penney’s were by-name corporations in the retail business. Well, today they are about to become obsolete. My point here if the Lakers fail to take care of their future by not being competitive in today’s NBA, they could dry the appetite of the fans to patronize the team, sponsors would follow, then Buss empire would fall just like the other high and mighty institutions. You need re-seeding, continue competing, through dynamic changes such new vision in coaching, weeding non-productive players, asking help from the experts but the bottom line, maintain the quality because of the demand of the location, In short, if you think that getting LBJ or Durant will solve the problems, you are Wrong! You got to take care of the whole team from starters to role players that will motivate Durant or LBJ to join the winner. Lakers were already a known brand when Dr. Buss bought the team from Mr. Cooke. Through sheer wheeling and dealing he got the best players while taking care of the overall quality of the team under the stewardship of Jerry West. Market responded because team is always in the playoffs.
Well, the Buss Family are not that too secured with their hold of the team. If the sponsors run out of interest of the Lakers, then they will be forced to sell to Dr. Soon Shiong, one of the richest person in America today who could easily buy it outright from the door. Perhaps, you watched him on the 60 minutes where he is busy finding cure for cancer. He could include the Lakers in his research that needs to be re-charged from a powerful and visionary owner.
Yes Zi did see the 60 minutes advertisement for Dr Soon latest IPO. Lots if holes in the story which appears great but just like Musk and his electric cars I will not be investing in either. Nor am I spending a dime anymore on Laker tickets. No interest in the House Fsmily from Marina Del Rey soap opera.
-@ 5-16, Lakers are playing .238 ball and barely holding on to the 5th worst record. At the 1st quarter mark, SEVEN teams are playing .250 ball or worse. Meaning unless the Lakers play worse than they currently are, they will lose their top 5 protected pick.
-Since it’s hard for many to root for Laker losses, try rooting for wins for Charlotte, Utah, Minny, NY, Detroit, & Philly.
-21 down, 61 to go…this season front office considers hardcore Laker fans collateral damage.
-“The Lakers’ biggest defensive problem is simple. They lack good defenders. Only one current Laker ranked in the top 170 of ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus last season, No. 98 Ed Davis. Davis is also the only Laker with an above-average mark in Basketball-Reference’s defensive box plus-minus this season. It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that a team with Boozer, Jeremy Lin and Nick Young is struggling defensively. NBCSports.com
See more at: http://hoopshype.com/rumors/tag/los_angeles_lakers#sthash.VBpt0RBQ.dpuf
-“All indications are, to me, from him, that this (two-year contract) is going to be it,” Kupchak said. “If somebody’s thinking of buying a ticket three years from now to see Kobe play, I would not do that. Don’t wait. Do it this year.” NBA.com
See more at: http://hoopshype.com/rumors/tag/los_angeles_lakers#sthash.VBpt0RBQ.dpuf
-It appears Lakers did not sign Earl Clark
I go with you, Big City Sid in rooting for W’s. Winning is like smiling at any person that you meet. It is contagious no matter what it means in between? Whatever is the composition of this roster or what kind of coach is Byron Scott is, if everyone devote their approach to W’s or semblance of it, fans will understand and may accept its fate. No fan will criticize if they see some efforts in working hard to win. FO is not excluded from this attitude, they know the facts Lakers are undersized in the post, three 6’10” and one raw 7 footer cannot beat the Centers of most teams, what’s their move? They have four players in the injury list, NBA granted them trade exceptions for two, Lakers need help badly in many positions and what is their solutions? If you are in a chess game, either you continue playing in thinking and plotting for the next best move or quit. You just can’t fool a Laker fan.
Tank, Quit, Total Failure – are those good solutions at this time? Get rescue from NCAA best players next year by tanking, is that a good solution? Be happy during the lean years and take losing in a stride in the 2nd biggest City/Media in NBA? is that a great solution to revenues? Hold tight on your profits in the past, ignore criticisms, stay on course do nothing and Lakers will soon return to its glory when Kobe and Nash salaries are taken out from the cap? is that a good attitude and apparent solutions to current malaise? NOPE, those are just assumptions! This is a diverse city which became famous throughout the world because of the talents of its citizenry, people here will never acquiesce with a loser. The solution, whatever your future objectives are? there is only one solution now to quiet these restive fans – Winning or at least show efforts in trying to win . As Gen. Douglas McArthur titled his book; “There Is No Substitute For Victory”. True, if he did not attack from Australia, leap frog one island to another, it would prolong the agonies and defeat.
-Since it’s hard for many to root for Laker losses, try rooting for wins for Charlotte, Utah, Minny, NY, Detroit, & Philly.
i´m one of those who´ll NEVER be able to root for our Lakers to lose, no friggin´ way, so thanks for the alternative Big C; that´s where we´re at, a kind of collective `poorman´s ´ consolation prize…geez
`product obsolescence´, interseting point, & necessarily worrying – however, come what may, `Lob City´ & any other fly-by-night pretenders swooping down on the City of Angels can kiss my g*******mned ugly *ss ….
thanks for that post a couple of threads ago, nice one –
This is the greatest article yet on Anthony Davis who is putting up by far the greatest season in NBA history… At least so far. Even if his stats get worse he will only be in a group with Jordan, Shaq, and LeBron for best seasons of all time. But as you will see in this article as of now he is far and away on an island all his own.
T. Rogers says
I will say this. Reading this blog is actually more entertaining than watching the Lakers play right now. So much good insight here beginning with Darius.
It’s pretty bad right now. And it will probably get worse as the year goes on. Right now it would be great to see something out of the front office that really gives some hope. I don’t mind the team not being good. That happens. I just want to believe the people running the show have a plan, know what they are doing, and are capable of pulling it off. Right now I don’t see any of that. That is more unsettling than the product on the floor.
@ Aaron, thanks, nice piece on AD. Kid is awesome, he’s doing amazing things. New Orleans needs to surround this kid with better personnel next season. Team is playing sub .500 ball. Hate to see a talent like his wasted. Just goes to show, this is not a one man game.
IF he keeps this up for the entire season, posting a PER of 33.2 or so, it would be the highest PER ever posted for a season by someone averaging at least 20 ppg. Wilt’s 31.8 is the next highest from the ’62-’63 season. While PER isn’t everything, it’s the best single stat indicator…at least in my eyes to evaluate players. Check out the following list of players who have averaged at least 20 ppg and posted (or who are currently posting) at least a PER of 30 for a season: http://bkref.com/tiny/8rnkk .
MVP voting will be very interesting if Davis maintains that PER and gets the Pels over .500. He won’t win, but I could see a 2nd or 3rd place finish.
We’ve seen the future, his name is Anthony Davis…and in another two years maybe we can add the name Giannis Antetokounmpo.
I also love Giannis Antetokounmpo. Back to Anthony Davis… His PER overrates his abilities right now and his impact on the game. That’s where other advanced stats like win shares help show where Davis is right now with every other top player. Davis isn’t a dominant one on one scorer yet and therefor doesn’t attract double teams. Attracting double teams is the best thing you can do for your offense. Once he develops as a one on one scorer his win shares will be up where his PER is and his teams no matter who is on it will be a title contender like LBJ with the Cavs years ago.
Baylor Fan says
It is a little early to bump Davis up to GOAT discussions even if it is only for one season. His impact on his own team’s winning is not enough to put them in the playoff discussion. I do not think the NBA will have to change its rules to slow him down. It is also a bit of a dead era in terms of all-time NBA stars. The best players have peaked and are not concentrated on a few teams. With so much talent dilution on each of the teams, it is much easier for a prodigy to shine. In addition, there seem to be numerous teams that are just plain bad right now. Give Davis some all-star running mates and a few star studded opponents and then we can talk about how great he is.
So if the Bulls never drafted/traded for Pippen and the Bulls never won championships, Jordan wouldn’t have been as great? Jordan was the same great player before Pippen became Pippen without the rings. Great supporting players don’t make you a better player (they can make you more effective) they just make you win more. If Kobe was drafted by the Clippers he would have no rings but he would have still been the same player.
As I wrote above I do not think we can consider Davis the GOAT or even in that category with Jordan, LBJ, and Shaq. But if he develops his isolation game to the point he demands double teams (and I think he will) than Davis is at worst on par with the GOATs no matter who he plays with or how much he wins.
Or maybe I am just biased as I said before last season Davis was the best PF in the game and the third best player behind LBJ and Durant.
Calvin Chang says
Magic just stated that the Lakers should lose every game to get a good pick. So it is now becoming clear that the goal is to lose. If that is the case, why even show up for the games? Why even suit up or play defense? Playing defense and making shots increases your chance to win. So just don’t play defense and intentionally miss shots? As a coach, how do you even say that to your players? If I’m a player who wants to win, I’ll ask the coach “are we trying to lose?” Will the coach lie? Why not just forfeit all the games to guarantee 5 – 77? If you play, it’s risky because you might actually win. What a conundrum…
Baylor Fan says
No Jordan would not have been as great without Pippen. Because of Pippen and the rest of the Bulls, Jordan was able to show all he could do on NBA’s biggest stage. Likewise, Bird and Magic needed each other and their all-star teammates to show the world what basketball could be (and just how great they were). How great was Maravich? We cannot answer that since he never had the supporting cast to help carry him deep into the playoffs. Even with modern metrics, I would still take any of the all-time centers over Davis (Russell, Chamberlain, Kareem, Shaq) even though they played a different position. Davis is having a fantastic year and it will be a shame if the Pelicans do not do a better job of surrounding him with talented players.
The GOAT discussion is similar to the MVP discussion, in that everyone has differing definitions of what it is. In my mind, both the GOAT and the MVP are about accomplishment, not just talent and who is the best player. MJ is the GOAT because of his talent and because he played for Phil and with Pippen. Had he been buried with Doug Collins and a sub par cast his entire career, then he could have been just a great player, but nowhere near the GOAT. A player like Karl Malone comes to mind for this (no rings). A young player can not even be considered for the GOAT because he simply does not have the resume or the accomplishments. However, a young player could be the most talented or the best player in the league at that time. Len Bias (RIP) never played a game in the NBA, so he is not even a whisper in the GOAT discussion, but he may have been in the discussion for best player in the league for one day (sad story for those who may not be familiar with it).
Calvin: You are on to something. Let’s sign Sam Bhullar and Hasheem Thabeet.. We start them both, we tell them not to shoot under any circumstances. We let Kobe shoot. And if Bhullar or Thabeet get the rebound their instructions will be to throw the ball back to Kobes. I think this wins all the way around. Magic is happy because we will lose with such a line up. Kobe is happy. Robert and Chearn are happy. Aaron is happy. Calvin is happy of course because we have finally signed Thabeet. The ratings go up because we have Kobe firing and the tallest front line in the history of the NBA. What is not to like? Anyone have a better plan?
A lot of “advanced stats” are just facile circular reasoning. Two examples from this thread alone:
1) “The Lakers’ biggest defensive problem is simple. They lack good defenders. Only one current Laker ranked in the top 170 of ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus last season, No. 98 Ed Davis.”
“Defensive plus minus” just means that the team gives up a lot of points per possession when the player is on the floor. So the statement above quite literally says nothing more than, “The Lakers play bad defense because they have bad defenders. How do we know they have bad defenders? Because they play bad defense.”
2) “Once he develops as a one on one scorer his win shares will be up where his PER is and his teams no matter who is on it will be a title contender like LBJ with the Cavs years ago.”
“Win shares” are basically just PER multiplied by team wins. So Aaron’s statement here is just a circular “once his team starts winning more, he will be on a title contender.”
Statistics can be a useful tool, but put it in the hands of dim, conceited ESPN writers, and you end up with pseudo-intellectual drivel.
Re: Magic. This is a huge problem for the league. The cat is out of the bag that teams are deliberately trying to lose, and the league is still raking in money from these ~30% of games that are meaningless. How long until a class action lawsuit is brought by fans who paid for tickets under false pretenses?
By the way, this is another factor that the pro-tank cheerleaders are not accounting for. Your odds of getting a high draft pick are reduced by the likelihood that the league will change the lottery weightings.
Calvin Chang says
Robert: Now you’re talking. That’s exactly what I was thinking. If you’re going to intentionally lose, at least make it entertaining. If you have Sim Bhullar and Thabeet, instruct them to only rebound and try to block shots and set screens. Kobe shoots all he wants and gets the scoring record. Bhullar and Thabeet will generate some buzz because they’re so big. Plus Bhullar would be the first player of Indian descent. Instant publicity and ad revenue. On top of that, make it more theatrical by having Thabeet and Bhullar always wag their finger if they block a shot. They will still lose, but at least they won’t fade into irrelevance. Last Sunday’s loss was as boring as can be. It’s like going through the motions.
Calvin Chang says
By the way, I’m not Thabeet’s agent. Haha. I just want to see some entertaining Lakers basketball. And there is no better plan at this point. Make it an entertaining tank. And don’t forget to nickname Bhullar – The Mountain. It will generate an even bigger buzz because opponents will all try to dunk on him. He will get dunked on, but he will also block a lot of shots. He already stuffed Jordan Clarkson bad in the D League game.
ESPN’s Stein just wrote that the Nets are looking to dump Williams, Lopez and Johnson. All three are either underproducing, constantly injured and overpriced. Natiurally, Stein linked the Lakers to Williams and Lopez.
I would just die if the Lakers front office took us two years down the rebuilding path and then brought on board Lopez and Williams. Our cap space would evaporate and the team would be no better off than they are now.
Please Jim, the key to turning this thing around is young emerging talent. Not talent that in a year will become dead weight on our books.
now that even Magic chimed in, do you think the league will fix things? you know how it is when the Lakers take advantage of the system. things get fixed pronto.
Stuart: I read the same article. I think the Lakers’ reference is his own thinking and not the fact that the Lakers have expressed interest in Williams and or Lopez. The Nets have been under achievers and Williams is a big reason why. He’s 31 and looks as if he has hit a wall. I alway’s liked him but don’t see him being effective in a year or two. Lopez is a huge injury risk and should be avoided at all costs.
I do share your concern that Jim may look to win one for Kobe and make deals that further ransom our future. A silver lining is that the Lakers have nothing to deal with so the fact that we have no talent and no picks to trade may mean we are not a good match with the Nets.
I despise magic johnson and particularly his comment on tanking. He was instrumental in railroading mda out. He got his man in, bs. Tank team tank team, it takes all the heat off his boy bs
Trey, Disagree that the lakers have nothing for a team like the Nets. They have expiring contracts that can come close to matching salaries. Lin/Nash could be moved, they have Randle. For a team looking to contend they basically have Lin/Hill to help give some team a great bench mob. But the nets want to dump salary and rebuild. Lopez would be an easy trade for them, Deron Williams won’t be so easy–despite his recent resurgence. As you noted he’s now old and he has a huge salary 23 mill + trade kicker of 15% I think so it will be real big.
Lopez for Lin/Nash would be a great move for the Lakers, it may net them a talented guy that is injured a lot, but you get rid of a worthless contract and Lin who clearly isn’t part of the tanking future.
The move that I think would be the worst would be to dump assets (pick) for Rondo. Rondo and Kobe would make up the worst shooting back-court in the NBA and one of the worst defensive pairings as well. Rondo is a great passer/rebounder but his defense has declined big time and he’s a crap shooter. Kobe is only getting older and more tired he isn’t going to turn back the clock, he’s good for 1 quarter of quality basketball and thats it. After the 12mins are up, he shoots like trash and his defense becomes unbelievable bad. Kobe would be an amazing 6th man at this point in his career, if he played 20mins a game and came in and just tried to take over for a short spurt. But instead he is leading the team in minutes and getting garbage time to pad his point totals. This 38/27% shooting Kobe is as good as its going to get, unless he skips games and plays 20mins–but clearly that isn’t happening. So add Ronnie Price to the mix to ensure the tank, now the offense is going to be as bad as the defense.
He was instrumental in railroading mda out.
This is a big meme at another site–that MDA was unjustly run out of town by mouthy Lakers’ Legends and foolish, ignorant fans. If you actually believe it, and if you also believe, as you seem to, that MDA is an awesome coach, then that is a far bigger indictment of Jim Buss and the FO than anything any of their harshest critics here have said about them.
If Buss is making huge decisions based on internet fan chatter and Magic Johnson’s Tweets, and in so doing is depriving the Lakers of an excellent coach to hire a bad one, then the Lakers are probably going to be bad for a long time.
And, of course, people are hoping that they won’t be, so they have to come up with stuff like elaborate conspiracy tanking theories to ease the ache.
I do like how Magics thought process went from “now that my man BS is in things will be better, we’ll get back to Laker bball” to now saying “lets be bad on purpose” as if thats a reasonable course of action and msg to communicate to the fans lol. The whole situation and all people attached to it are getting almost comical at this point.
Blizzard of oz
Who didn’t already know that every day team tanks? That’s why there was a lottery in the first place. I still don’t know if rr actually believes the FO was trying to win this year after they couldn’t get LBJ. I think he is playing dumb and he really knows NBA teams tank for better picks since the inception of the draft. This isn’t anything new and it’s the reason the league implimented the lottery in the first place. It would be a conspiracy theory to suggest the Lakers were actually trying to win. Especially since the FO said last year it would be a 3-4 years before the Lakers would be competitive again. If every bad team tries to get a better pick and the FO is saying a doing everythkng to let the fans know they won’t try to win until after Kobe’s contract comes off the books I think it would be a stupid conspiracy theory to think the Lakers are trying to win. But who knows… Maybe this conspiracy theory is true…Maybe the Lakers FO is the only bad team trying to win. But like most conspiracies… I doubt it.
Reggie Hammond says
even magic johnson is aboard the losing “strategy”…like i said its unfortunate but it clearly makes the most sense for the teams future because its present is something awful
The league doesn’t want to fix things. They have a monopolly on top level basketball so they have created a socialist system. The system won’t change till as I have said another leagie pops up that can challenge the NBA. Only then will players get paid what they deserve and only then will teams stop being rewarded for losing. Capatilism is brutal…Only the strong survive… small markets and bad basketball organizations wouldn’t be able to compete. But the way it is now the Cavs can lose their way to LBJ not once but twice!!!!!