Personally, I am a game-time decision with flu-like symptoms so I will keep this short and to the point. After Kobe was a late scratch on Christmas day, the Lakers gave a nice effort against the Bulls but ultimately got handled in the 2nd half to lose by 20. Tonight, then, on the second night of a back to back and again without Kobe while facing a very talented Mavs team, you have to wonder if they will suffer the same fate.
The Mavs, while only boasting the 6th best record in the West still grab two wins out of every three games they play. They have a fantastically efficient offense and, in a stunner of a trade last week, added Rajon Rondo to help shore up their defense at the point of attack. That deal was a gamble due to the potential to disrupt their ball movement heavy attack on O, but Rondo will bring a nice element to their semi-transition game and even if he is only half the defender he was pre-ACL tear, he will be a major upgrade over Jameer Nelson on that end of the floor.
The move, ultimately, was made with a deep playoff run in mind and it will be months before we see if that will pay off. I have my doubts, but that is as much about the gauntlet of the Western Conference as it is about any talent deficiencies the Mavs have. When you consider that the Spurs are currently the 7th seed and the Thunder (due to injuries) aren’t yet even amongst the top 8 teams, the playoffs will be a bloodbath where matchups will rule and a team who could make the conference finals will find itself out after the first round due to a bad draw and some luck that goes against them.
In any event, this is hint at what the Lakers are up against and, to a certain extent, what they hope to be in a year or two. The Mavs reworked their roster on the fly, using cap space and some assets to get back into playoff contention. The Lakers are hoping to make a similar push next summer, but we’ll see if they have the chips to play to get them there. This game, then, will serve as a reminder of how far the Lakers still have to go. The Mavs will punish the Lakers on the perimeter and space them out via pick and rolls, drive and kicks, and quick passes that move the ball from side to side. The Lakers have shown they simply struggle against teams who can put the ball on the floor against closeouts and hit shots when the closeouts are late. The Mavs aren’t the best shooting team (and Rondo made them worse in this area), but they have enough ability to hurt a team that doesn’t recover well and/or doesn’t show the discipline to rotate well and help the helper consistently. The Lakers, of course, are one such team.
Offensively, the Lakers will try to give the Mavs some of their own medicine by moving the ball and quickly swinging the ball when the defense over-commits. When Lin, Young, and Ellington share the floor the team is especially adept at this and made the Warriors pay earlier this week by making smart passes and then hitting shots when the defense didn’t get there in time (and even some shots when they did). If the Lakers have any hope of being in this game tonight, they will need a similar effort and hope to steal this game at the end. Playing on the road and for the second time in two nights, I have my doubts they can do this. Then again, this is why they play the games.
Where you can watch: 5:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.
Embarrassing. Looks like a team that has quit 2nd game in a row.
A Shark Tank?
Johnson is a terrible shooter. Is the coach watching?
How in the world was Ed Davis available for the league minimum?
Yeah Ed Davis is one of the only guys I would really like to see them hold onto next year. He’s still pretty young, has really low mileage due to never getting a chance to get minutes in his career until now. He always had pretty good stats, just didn’t have the minutes to improve sample size. Sounds like he works hard, doesnt’ annoy teammates, and focuses on his strength. He’s certainly not stretch 4 and he’s undersized as a center–but makes up for it with athleticism and hustle.
Hope they try and retain him if they can snag him for 5mill. The Lakers need to get some guys that are good on longer term contracts. They can’t just blow up the roster and sign guys to 1 year contracts all the time. That route is a surefire way to be bad the rest of the decade. What big name guy wants to come here to play with a bunch of contract year players and some untested rookies? Not many that’s for sure, if any. KD yeah right, no way. Swaggy is funny, but he isn’t going to be drawing talent here.
Yeah, the “superstar or bust” approach is not going to work when half the league is going to have lots of cap space.
Why does he take out Boozer with 10 Pounts and go back to Johnson with another 0 for 4 game? I don’t get it.
Scott loves Wes Johnson, doesn’t seem to matter if he plays poorly or not. Lin/Boozer are on the “do not like list” for Coach it seems. Ronnie Price, loved by coach, whether he is playing out of his mind like lately, or his normal 37/27 10 year career self.
Slow start to the third quarter. Time to get Young, Lin and Boozer in the game.
Bah, bench Wes does he have Kobe’s green light when Kobe’s out or something?!
Man boozer is really rolling on offense for a bunch of games now.
It really beggars belief that Wes Johnson is a starting 3 in the NBA.
I am convinced that BScott is just clueless. Johnson is 1 for 11 coming off 6 for 18. A 5 year old can see the guy is horrible yet he keeps getting 30 minutes a game. If he didn’t show up thus would be a close game.
I give up on this coach.
Swaggy and Wes can’t buy a shot. Ellington is off. The Lakers are just shooting horrible, let Boozer and Lin shoot see if they can make something happen. Amazing the Lakers are still in this game at all.
So many second chances for the Lakers who have 21 offensive rebounds. LA 32.4% from the field, missing several layups tonight.
Well if nothing else they haven’t given up…
Kevin T says
At about 1:45 left in the game,someone behind lakers bench said something to Kobe, well Kobe’s response looked priceless and highlight of the year for me personally. Did anyone else notice. Showed the person his hand and counted up to 5 and smirked at them. I hope it was Mark Cuban. Ha Ha Priceless.
Mess Johnson 3 for 14
Last 2 games 9 foot 32
And BS plays him 30 minutes a game.
And you wonder why in his last 4 years if coaching he has 30% winning percentage.
Kevin T says
Ko, there’s no Kobe for you to bang on so now you are going after Wes. Just stop it. This team is what it is, just sit back and enjoy as much as you can. No coach or coaching strategy can make it better without the talent.
Really Kevin Wes was 3 for 14 yet played 30. That’s a coaching issue just like not fouling a 32% FT shooter Rondo the last 45.
Bad team or not thats basic basketball. Play the guys who are hot not the ones shooting 30% last 2 games.
Then who you would want to play? No Henry, No Kelly, Randle, Kobe, Gary Vitti? Mark Madsen?..
Baylor Fan says
Looking at the box score the Lakers hustled and crashed the boards. The overall talent may not be there but this is a team that will make you work for the win. I hope that keeps up.
The downside of playing the hot hand is figuring out who is hot and having players constantly look to the bench to see if they are about to be pulled from the game. It helps everyone’s confidence to know what their role is and that they have court time to fulfill that role.
Vitti sounds good. My starting lineup is Davis Hill Boozer and Johnson gets 20 a game when Kobe comes back, rather see Swag at small forward in games where Wes starts out 1 for 11. No way he avarages 30 a game, can’t keep a guy out there shooting 27%.
Guys like the Lakers have will go up and down, no matter who is coaching, because they are not legitimate NBA starters. And again, these are all guys in their mid-late 20s–(Price is actually 31) known quantities. Davis might get a little better, and Clarkson is just 22 and might be a rotation guy, but the rest of them are who they are. They sort of stayed in the game tonight and made it close because they outscored Dallas 33-15 from the arc. So, basically, while Byron is clearly not some master tactician and he is clearly not Gregg Popovich, it is clear that the guys haven’t quit on him. A lot of that is that most of them are trying to stay in the league, but if Scott is going to get blamed for everything, then he should get a little credit for that as well.
The team does look a bit better on D with Kobe off the floor, but that was already pretty obvious. But there is no magic pill for this team.
Kevin T says
There is no talent on this team period. I don’t see Swaggy talking all big now the last 2 games. You know why he was shooting better percentage before and not now and some people have the koghones to say he is the best player on the team. I will tell you why,no Kobe on the floor and he is being guarded for real now instead of his man cheating off of him. No matter how old or worn down Kobe is,he is the only player on this team that demands a double team constantly, and this is why the Lakers are so bad, no talent. If they had one or two more players, young or old that demanded some attention from defenses it will help everyone including Kobe as far as shooting at a much better percentage.
the other Stephen says
What version of Wes Johnson are we on? If it’s anything like The Matrix, where the machines destroyed Zion six different times, then I don’t want to see this movie.
Kevin T says
On this team it won’t matter if Kobe shoots over 50% for the season or even 60, they still won’t win. No talent
I honestly want Kobe to sit out a few more, just to see what all the amateur statistics enthusiasts (who seem to be sprouting up everywhere nowadays) will have to say for themselves. Should be amusing!
Kevin T says
What I thought Kobe should do a few weeks ago was to take a few games and rest his body and play 30 to 32 minutes a game when he comes back. This would make his numbers much better as far as efficiency goes but they would still lose most of the games. The schedule looks very though.
The Lakers have a lot of guys that don’t fit together. They built the team mostly before having a coach in place and it shows. I favored getting George Karl as I believe he is one of the few coaches who can work with what you give him. To his credit I think Scott has done a fairly good job considering the circumstances but he is no grand strategist.
I was at the game, despite the Lakers woes they had the highest x-mass rating ever? today there were a LOT and i mean a lot of Lakers fans in the Mavs own gym i mean like at least 20% and im being conservative.People want to see the Lakers and there is a huge fan base out there. On to the game, Byron Scott is a way better coach than MDA, with the talent available he would had lost this game by 25 points. This team looks better on D than earlier in the year, i saw some good playbook plays and i saw a team that tried to defend like it or not they are playing hard for their coach and its showing, they anihilated the Mavs on the boards last i saw they got like 53 rebounds and the game wasnt over yet. Even with the loss i really liked the direction of the team. Glad to see Kobe and Randle on the bench i even had a Ryan Kelly sighting. If Byron convince Kobe to play a more of a facilitator role this team is not half bad. Liked what i saw and Mavs fans around me were surprised at how competitive this team was. They expected a blowout, that didint happened. Entertaining game, got my money’s worth.
-Some guys are being a bit unrealistic judging this group of players so quickly.
-This season Kobe has a usage rate of 36.3. Takes a minute or two for a team to make adjustments, especially on the run.
-Pertaining to the talent level on the floor, realistically speaking not sure how much better a franchise can do with a payroll of $43.7 mill. That’s the combined payroll of 13 Lakers scan Kobe & Nash. Only team currently w/ a lower payroll: the Sixers.
-I believe modifications in the FO & on the floor are in the works, the NBA trading season is upon us and now is a time for patience and seeing if words become action.
-Looking forward to Sunday’s games vs the Suns w/ renewed interest.
-For context I s/h mentioned Kobe’s usage is 2nd league wide only behind Westbrook.
Jo Houston says
Where is the “Team is better without Kobe” crowd?
J C says
Talent-wise, let’s not forget Randle. I think if he were available this year he’d be making an impact and gaining experience.
Agree with most here that Wes J getting more minutes than makes sense.
Ko is just suggesting that the coach make adjustments when someone is consistently poor. If I were coaching this team and I saw something in Wes that I loved, I’d have him focus on D and give him a green light to finish on fast breaks only. He’s the type of guy I’d tell not to shoot from outside of 10 feet.
Tankyou is right on about Ed Davis. He’s a unusual pickup and could be a nice piece as we progress. I worry a little that he and Jordan Hill may be viewed as overlapping pieces by management so both players may not be retained next year. Personally, I like having two glass-eaters on the roster.
In New Orleans since yesterday, GREAT party town, if you haven’t been here, the music/food/vibe is totally off the hook.
Saw the Spurs-Pelicans game at “Smoothie King Arena” (haha) last night. It’s a great venue. The crowd was totally into it, really loud and vocal. Anthony Davis is a legitimate Beast, very athletic and skilled for his size. His blocks on Ginobili and Duncan were sensational.
It’s a blast to catch NBA games in other cities; I highly recommend it. Gives you perspective as a Laker fan too. The NBA is alive and well, even as we suffer a bit in Lakerland.
Randle, Bryant, Kelly sightings leave too many seats filled up for Nash to make an appearance between swings and videos.
Kevin T, your statement about Kobe shooting “50%-to 60%” and the team would suck is ridiculous.
IF Kobe had shot just 50% overall, which would mean a much improved 3 point shot as well, he would have scored at least 12pts more a game minimum. So taking the bottom number of 12 points, we lost 10 games by 11 points or less this year thus far. So all other things being equal if Kobe was shooting that well this season, our current record would be 19-11 and we would solidly be in the playoffs. So throwing out crazy stats just to trash talk the entire team is garbage. This team is not great, but they are scrappy and have played pretty well given all their injuries and the fact that Kobe is in steep physical decline.
I’m not one of the “the team is better wihout Kobe” people. But I do think the team can be as good or slightly better than him playing like he has the past 5 games. IF Kobe plays 20minutes most nights and takes some games off to recover, he can help this teem eek out some more victories. He still draws some double teams, although its not b/c he is hurting the other team, its because he IS KOBE. Kobe is a legend and the other teams respect him despite him shooting poorly, plus Kobe still shoots regardless a lot of the time, so doubling him makes sense from that perspective as well–since he shoots while double teamed more than anyone I see play, almost no players do that.
Some of the folks here don’t seem to root for the team, they just rip on the players, or love Kobe but seem hate everyone else. I loved Kobe, but his time is just about over, I just want to see him play well in smaller bursts of time and enjoy that. I don’t understand how anyone can enjoy watching him force 30 shots and clearly struggle on both ends of the floor–that’s not the Kobe I want to remember. If you want to endlessly rip on the team, root for someone else–these are the guys we have, they are OUR TEAM. They aren’t winning anything, but they fight hard some nights and its fun to watch when they get the occasional win against a team that most people think we should get blown out by. Even last night it was relatively close an the entire team shot like trash–except Boozer. The Kobe/Young outside shooting show is just not going to win us much, but no one in their right mind thinks the Wes Johnson/Ronnie Price outside shooting show is going to somehow do better!?
Fern: Congrats on being at the game. I know you have been looking forward to that. I know you wanted to see Kobes, but now you have an excuse to start planning another game : )
Vasheed: “The Lakers have a lot of guys that don’t fit together.” Uh yea – see rr’s comparison to old horror movies : ) “Scott has done a fairly good job considering the circumstances but he is no grand strategist.” Agreed on both counts. And this is the difference between me as a Byron supporter and last year’s MD supporters. They actually think MD is a genius and could have taken the team to a title. Not sure how they explain the Pau Gasol situation, but I am sure they would do it somehow. Perhaps blaming it all on Kobe like they did with DH.
Blizzard: “amateur statistics enthusiasts” Nice. To that end, I have some stats of my own: Last year we finished 27-55 for a 33 percent clip. This year, we are 9-21 for 30 percent clip. Without Kobe these last 3 games, we are 1-2 for a 33 percent clip. So let’s see I have three numbers spanning a little less than 1 1/2 seasons, all of which are between 30 and 33. This is fairly consistent. So what I did was, I multiplied each number by the square root of pi; I then normalized all the numbers as “per” 1000 possessions, and I finally took the standard deviation of the average margin of victory/loss. My conclusion is that whether the coach is Byron or MD, and whether Kobe is in or out, the Lakers are not very good, and they win 1 out of every 3 games.
tankyou: Your post above is good. And thanks for not focusing on Kobe. That said, I like to focus on him as well sometimes : ), so to that end, how does Kobe change anything about your post? Meaning – whether he plays 20 minutes or 35, whether he plays 82 games or 50, and whether he retires after this year as you hope or not – how does the future of the Lakers “significantly” change? I do realize that you could make some points about playing time for others, and perhaps (this is a stretch), some of those mid-tier guys might be more likely to come here if Kobe was in a lesser role. However your main point is correct, this roster is mostly gone next year, and the Lakers have little hope of landing a big name until at least 2016. So is it not clear that the Kobe conundrum is not a huge debate? It has been and it was, but the FO has already made their decisions. I understand that guys like you and BCS do not like Kobe and prefer watching the Lakers without him. I enjoy watching them with him. But can we at least agree that Kobe’s minutes, games played, and Byron’s handling of the “current” team, are all not a large part of what you are discussing in your post?
Ko: I think vhanz has a point. You thought Mike Brown and MD were clueless. You now think Byron is clueless. Kobe is clearly no longer your favorite, and you do not seem to like the guys we can play instead of Kobe. You have also individually ridiculed just about every guy on the roster. What do you think all these coaches and players have in common : ) Before you answer – make sure you put your thinking “cap” on : )
-Some guys are being a bit unrealistic judging this group of players so quickly.
One more time: this is not a young team, even with Kobe off the court. These players have known performance levels and clear ceilings. Sacre (25) has gotten a little better; Ed Davis (also 25) has shown that he can grow a bit and he is probably the Lakers’ best player right now. But everybody getting serious PT is 25 or over. Obviously, you personally like the team better without Kobe out there, and as noted above, that is your prerogative. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that there is something major in this group of players that Kobe’s presence was hiding, and in addition to that, of them, save perhaps Davis, has any notable market value. The person being unrealistic here is you.
-I believe modifications in the FO & on the floor are in the works, the NBA trading season is upon us and now is a time for patience and seeing if words become action.
yeah, well said
Fern, thanks for the post-game post, i liked that your words-eye view is positive; also, good to know one of us was present –
dagbang it dude! you are the man –
If I was Kobe I’d rather retire than play for a fan base that turned on me to get Nick Young and Ed Davis more time. Its so weird to me how toxic the fan base has turned towards him. That team the Lakers put on the floor this year is junk and isn’t going to do anything. What is lost by giving Kobe a season to do whatever he wants while we try and tank to get a top 5 pick so we can keep it? I get that a lot of ESPN writing has tried to shoehorn baseball sabermetrics into its coverage of a team sport like basketball, and as a corporate partner with the NBA they are obligated to trash NBA contracts (like Kobe’s) to try and swing public sentiment for the 2017 lockout or strike, and that is where most people get their sports opinions but acting like Kobe needs to step aside for Wes Johnson and Nick Young is crazy talk.
-Lol, rr, please read my comments twice before posting. You constantly misunderstand my message. So I’ll attempt to be clearer. This group of players (note I didn’t use the term team) are not use to playing w/o Kobe (a player w/ the 2nd highest usage rate in the NBA this season). It’ll take a little time for them to play better together, regardless of what that ceiling may be.
-Now to his credit, Kobe has publicly stated he’s ready to modify his game. This is something I’m looking forward to seeing. Every single great player has modified their game somewhat as they have aged…or they became extinct prematurely. Personally I believe it’s a step in the right direction. Kobe is no longer in denial. That doesn’t mean he isn’t still the best player on the team or that his presence is no longer needed.
-Last thing, pertaining to the Laker’s other players. Not quite sure what you’re expecting. Most of them are on short term lower paying contracts. If most NBA franchises thought more highly of them they would be employed for more money elsewhere. That’s why I stated “Pertaining to the talent level on the floor, realistically speaking not sure how much better a franchise can do with a payroll of $43.7 mill. That’s the combined payroll of 13 Lakers scan Kobe & Nash. Only team currently w/ a lower payroll: the Sixers.”
-Bottom line: less Kobe can be better for the Lakers. Why is that concept so difficult to grasp? What does anyone have to lose? It’s not working the way it is…not good enough for post season play, not bad enough to keep their 1st round draft choice.
-Once again I’m hopeful. How about you?
Interesting points Ryan. Don’t thinks it’s fans issue. Seems like the foolish front office that put Kobe in this disrespected position is the real issue.
Milking the guy to hide their own incompetence and chase more rating dollars is a shame. Problem is no amount of complaints will make Jimmy smarter or removable.
We all know Kobe is a warrior but none of us wants to see him struggle and be used. How would Pops treat a HOFer like Kobe? Not like this!
OMFG, wow now the FO is the one that is “disrespecting” Kobe, yeah they disrespected him at the tune of 24 million a year, can i PLEASE be disrespected like that?this is simple in my opinion, Kobe tried to bite more than he could chew at this point of his career and now he knows that he cant go at it like before, he needs to readjust his game. People claiming that the team was better w/o him are for a lack of a better word and to quote Byron Scott “stupid”. Its on Scott now to find the best way to use Kobe in the most efficient way possible. I say 25-30 minutes is about right.
Kobe is a businessman rather you guys believe it or not. He knew what this year would entail & that’s why he demanded to be paid handsomely for it. He’s being used as an entertainment piece to distract fans until the end of this horrendous season comes. What wasn’t expected was the backlash fanbase would fire at the Greatest NBA player since MJ. I know we just don’t have a playoff team & I’m okay with “building” this year but I’m NOT OK with paying to watch KOBE play (NBA league Pass) but instead get SwaggywannaB & JeremyWhen playing more just to lose. If we go down lets go down with KOBE GUNNING!! More exciting!!! He deserves that!! He’s given us how many rings ????????????????????(5)!!! Give him a break please!! And don’t preach to me about team sport! This ain’t about that right now AT ALL.
Chris J says
My opinion only, but it generally seems that many fans have a hard time distinguishing between a player’s overall, career contributions to a team vs. what he is giving to the lineup this season. Kobe is the greatest Laker ever — and those who want to debate that point will concede if he’s not No. 1, he’s no lower than third. His jersey will be up on the south side wall at Staples Center. There is no need to question his bona fides.
That said, this season has been difficult to watch. He’s taking too many shots, mostly far-away two pointers, and too often contested. There’s poor ball movement when he plays, and his defense is bad, as well. Oh, the team is losing twice for every game it wins.
Pointing out those facts does not mean someone has “turned” on Kobe. A fan can like and appreciate Kobe while also wanting what’s best for the team, and it’s become clear to most that Kobe’s best interests and the team’s best interests do not always dovetail.
The guy is historically great; no question. But his career numbers and accomplishments don’t mean a thing one the ball is thrown up in a game in the 2014-15 season.
He says he’ll alter his game. We’ll see.
Willy Mays was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His final years as a Met were sad. Playing center field out of pride and batting 3 or 4th was tragic. He is still one of the all time greats.
As a long time Laker fan and Kobe fan I prefer not to remember him trying to do more then he can.
Rob Westbrook says
Kobe is a great basketball player. More skill than the rest of the team combined (though his athleticism and defensive reactions have really fallen off a cliff). The problem is not that I’d rather see the rest of the Lakers taking Kobe’s minutes. It’s that Kobe is not as good as he used to be, so he needs to play a team game. He will be a defensive liability for the rest of his career, but that can be mitigated somewhat by playing fewer minutes and playing group D. On offense he can’t take low percentage long twos every trip down. Even though he’s more skilled than his teammates, if they’re wide open or cutting to the hoop, they are going to have the higher percentage shots, so he has to find them and include them. He probably won’t have another 33% FG% month like he has in December, but he’s only had 2 games (out of 27) where he shot better than 46%. Only two!
Personnel is a big factor in how teams do, but the system cannot be ignored. Teams that play coherently and efficiently maximize the production of even their role players. Think Pistons 2004. Spurs the last decade (Duncan and his sidekicks, but very effective role players too, playing within a system). If Kobe is going to continue to waste his skills by making poor decisions instead of taking advantage of a team system that can get them higher percentage looks, then maybe it’s time we give the playing time to young guys who may be scrubs but at least won’t kill us on defense (not talking about Lin, who may still be worse than Kobe even). Kobe is known for being the most fundamentally sound, but it’s really not showing when it comes to team dynamics.
Here again are your words:
-Some guys are being a bit unrealistic judging this group of players so quickly.
Like I said, these guys are known quantities. It is a group of guys who are very limited defensively and are not NBA starters. Giving things time to gel, etc. is more relevant when a team has front-line talent. Also, in any case, they played exceptionally well in their very first game without KB.
As to the rest, basically everybody on the board, (including DS, and including Kobe’s biggest FBG fans) has stated that Kobe needs to adjust his game to his age, play more off the ball, play less, shoot fewer 3s, etc. So I am not sure where you are getting the idea that other people here are in denial, can’t accept it, don’t get it etc.
So, it comes back to the same thing: Kobe is one piece of a much larger picture, and you continue to post as if everything that happens to the team revolves entirely around him and what he says and does. It doesn’t. For example, the Golden State game was a trap game for the Warriors, who are without Bogut right now, and the Lakers to their credit took advantage. On the road against a deep, tough Chicago team that matches up well with Nick Young and has a huge and potent front line, the Lakers hung tough as long as they could and then lost by 20. But you haven’t mentioned any of that–every post is simply more stuff about Kobe.
This being the situation, I think that you are overreacting to and overstating the significance of Kobe making changes to his game. You seem to see this possibility as a harbinger of some major organizational reboot. It isn’t. If Kobe comes out tomorrow and has a nice, efficient 30-minute outing, that will be a good thing for him and the other players will like it as well–but it won’t change where the Lakers are, fundamentally. Kobe will still be owed 48M. If the people who think Kobe has really been hurting the team are right, then these adjustments will actually make it more likely that the pick will be lost. It won’t have a huge impact on anybody’s trade value; other NBA teams already know what Lin and Hill can and can’t do. I suppose you could argue that it might impact FAs, but I very much doubt that. Kobe will still be here next year either way and his deal will still take up a huge chunk of the cap either way. I suppose it might make Ed Davis more likely to stay, but a guy in Davis’ situation will be looking for PT and money in FA whether Kobe shoots 10 times or 25 times in most games. Zach Lowe has strongly suggested, twice now, that Kobe’s USG is hurting Davis’ marketability by holding Davis’s stats down, but I seriously doubt that. If Lowe knows that Davis is playing well but is not getting the rock that much, then so do NBA talent evaluators.
So, to answer the question: I personally will have hope again when the Lakers have high-level talent on the team again, and not before.
Kobe is a topic I do have some interest in : )
Kobe’s Condition: Let’s hope KB’s body holds up or all of this is moot. How long can he physically play at this level? Nobody knows, but I am hoping we are years off from a retirement or significantly reduced time. KB’s physical condition is the main driver of this rather than what us fans want.
Legacy: Even though Ko is referencing the Willie Mays, he is correctly conceding that Kobe is NOT going to damage his legacy, just because his stats and performance go down a bit. This has happened many times in history, and it never damages the overall legacy. MJ is a perfect example (Wizard years). Kobe has not put on another teams uniform, and even if he did – his Laker legacy is intact. Shaq is another good Laker example. In his last years in other uniforms, he was a shell of what he was at his peak. Did this damage his legacy? No – so “damaged legacy” is just not a valid point.
Laker Future: What does any of this Kobe talk have to do with the team’s future? Most people seem to agree that the majority of the roster is gone next year. Kobe is not taking playing time or shots away from Randle or Clarkson. The only way I can see that this affects our future, would be if we signed him to years 21 and beyond. Tankyou and others seem to think that year 20 is even questionable, which would make this whole discussion questionable. I fail to see how Kobe’s playing time, and shot selection in 2014 will have any bearing on a 2017 team. So those referencing “for the team”, need to come up with an explanation for exactly how that is the case. Do we want to win 30 games instead of 25? Do we want playing time for guys who are leaving? Is Nick Young our key centerpiece for the future so we need to turn over the reigns to him?
Our record: Over the past 1 1/2 years, we are winning about a third of our games, with or without Kobe, and without regard to whether the team is led by Byron or MD. These profound posts about how we will do better with a different coaching strategy or without Kobe – are not supported by results. We are 1-2 in the last 3 without Kobe and we won 1/3 of our games last year without him.
How We Play: There are many references to the “correct way to play”. The Spurs/Pop are often mentioned which of course makes my stomach turn. So I think the point being made is that with Kobe in we play a Kobecentric game and without we play more of a 5 man team game. I think there is merit to this, however, Jim Naismith is not going to grade us on “how we play”. We get graded on our record, and more importantly, WC and League championships. So if you think that somehow the elders of basketball will frown upon us unless we win as a team, OK – I understand your point, but I do not agree with it. We are going to have a terrible record this year and 5 more wins is not changing that.
Fan Abandonment: As per Ryan’s and Kobe4life posts above, there is a sense that Laker fans have abandoned Kobe. Most of those throwing him under the bus were never supportive of him anyway (not just on this board). Many sided with Shaq and never forgave him. Many blame him for DH and all of our woes now. People started lambasting Kobe in the late 90’s when he shot the air balls, he then was blamed for 2003 + 2004. He was then lambasted during the 2005-2007 gunning period. And he was a shot or two away from being blamed for 2010. So – he is being blamed now. How is this profound or legacy changing? It isn’t.
Personal Preference: Obviously I am a Kobe fan and I want him on the court shooting a large volume of shots. It is entertaining for me. If I thought Kobe retiring, shooting less, or playing less would somehow move us closer to a title, I would support it. However if we are riding out the rest of this year and perhaps next, then I would rather it be with Kobe being Kobe. If you are more entertained by watching others on the team, I respect that, however just own up to that. Do not try to support your stance with statements about legacy, championships, the Laker future, because they have no bearing on this discussion. The team is years away from a title, and winning 35 games does not change that (except perhaps for the worse). If someone can point me a picture that gets us to the NBA title in the next few years and somehow a key part of that is less Kobe, then I am all for it. Until then – I really think it comes down what entertains you. Jim Buss has chosen fans that love Kobe over those who do not. I did not ask him for this. I want titles, but Jim is evidently incapable of giving me that. So I will take what I can get. I root for Kobe and follow his milestones in Kobe Alerts. And even though I do not know when our FO personnel will change, I take solace in the fact that that each day brings us one step closer to that point, because that is the real center of the Laker discussion. However that discussion is for another day : )
Rob Westbrook says
I have to disagree with some of the points above. This is coming as a huge Kobe fan, who might’ve even switched allegiances to the Clippers if Kobe had gone there in 07. And I’m not the only one, so don’t doubt our motivations for criticizing the Mamba.
He WILL tarnish his legacy if he keeps this up for another 130 games. They’ll still retire his jersey and admit him to the HoF. But the MJ comparisons will become even more of a joke the more Kobe keeps this up. Even in Washington, Jordan played much better than this (FG%, TOs, DRtg), and he was already the undisputed best going into it. Kobe was an excellent defensive player when he was younger, but he is so bad this season that it will detract from his being known as a two way player. Obsessed Kobe fans will always love Kobe, but the emotionally detached statisticians and future generations who didn’t follow his career will stop talking about him as a Top 5 or Top 10 all time player. More people will start to argue that Duncan has been the best of the last 20 years, not Kobe, and they’ll have plenty of data to back it up.
The argument that the team is better without Kobe is very debatable, despite what Byron thinks, which is concerning in and of itself, since he’s our coach and and has a history of ignoring the obvious, i.e. claiming 3 pointers = bad (apparently long twos are OK as long as Kobe takes them?). Doesn’t it concern you though, if a superstar like Kobe can’t even make the team better at this point? We have one of the worst rosters in the history of the NBA, and yet if you sub him out for a scrub, our record couldn’t get much worse? Our points differential might be smaller, even? Kobe is team worst when you look at ORtg-DRtg per 100 possessions; he’s at -17 this year (Lin and Price are next at -12), and only a handful of players around the league are worse than that. Ed Davis is +18 which is like Top 20 in the league despite our terrible season. As a Kobe fan, this is depressing.
“How we play” is the biggest problem I have with Robert’s comments (and he may be saying what the Front Office has been thinking). It does matter if we continue to play “hero ball” instead of a team game like the 04 Pistons or the Popovich Spurs. Lakers are graded on wins and championships, true. But if we continue to lose and miss the playoffs in historic fashion, everyone will always ask why this team was so bad when it had Kobe. And it won’t be as simple as “the rest of the Lakers were terrible,” not now with Advanced Stats. If the season continues like this, and after 82 games the stats show that the Lakers are much worse with Kobe on the floor (offense and defense), they will ask why he didn’t adjust. Why didn’t Kobe play fewer minutes so his defense wouldn’t be so terrible (Spurs are always fighting for home court advantage and Pop still finds time to rest his vets)? Why didn’t Kobe try for higher percentage shots for himself and his teammates, instead of settling for the long twos that he can make maybe 2 out of 5 tries? If the ball moved more, his teammates can make shots at a higher rate than that, and it would also open up the D for Kobe to get closer to the basket.
What Kobe is doing on the court defies logic, common sense, and basic math. If he keeps doing it for the next 130 games, it will be embarrassing to be a Kobe fan, and I want to continue to root for the Mamba..
. If someone can point me a picture that gets us to the NBA title in the next few years and somehow a key part of that is less Kobe, then I am all for it.
The only caveat I would attach along these lines is that if Kobe is utilized more reasonably, that might–might–make the Lakers appear a bit more functional to potential FAs. But I seriously doubt that it would have a significant impact. Big-time FAs will consider coming here if they think that they will be joining a team that can win, and that will depend largely on what other talent is possibly coming with them. IMO most of the people who are precoccupied with Kobe’s USG are Lakers fans, media guys who don’t like him, and fans of both the Lakers and other teams who don’t like him.
I want to see him utilized better simply because I don’t think overusing him is a reasonable way to tank. If the Lakers wanted to really tank, then they should have either let him walk or signed him to a one-year deal and surrounded him with guys like Price, Ellington, and Sacre instead of adding guys like Lin, Davis, Hill, Young, and Boozer. But since those guys are on the team, and Kobe is on the team, IMO they should play this out based on the data and the eye test, and if they lose the pick, so be it.
Calvin Chang says
@Robert – Why does mentioning “Pop-Spurs-correct way to play” make your stomach turn? As a basketball fan, I just enjoy watching this team win the next game. That’s where I’m coming from-just enjoying the Lakers win one game at a time. Given the Lakers roster, the best way to win is to play Spurs-style basketball. That means making the defense scramble using screens, quick-passes, good spacing and cuts, then looking for the high-percentage shot depending on what the defense gives. There’s no Shaq or Pau whom you can pound the ball in the low-post to and churn out a high-percentage shot. Given this roster, playing the Pop style is the best way to get a win – that’s why I’d like to see the Lakers play that way. If the best way to win is to pound it down low to a Shaq-like talent, or to have Kobe score 40 points, I’m all for it. But there’s no Shaq-like talent on the team, and Kobe forcing up low-percentage shots on long-range 2pointers is not good for Kobe’s body, nor winning. Byron Scott is not a good coach because he doesn’t have a good spacing strategy on offense, and he doesn’t know how to maximize the talent and skillset of the players he has on his lineup.
Calvin Chang says
For the record, Kobe’s legacy can never be tarnished. He’s won 5 rings. Even if he shoots 35% over the next 2 seasons, it doesn’t decrease the number of rings won. Every time someone tells him “Kobe, you suck”, Kobe can just look them in the eye, hold out is hand, and ask them to count 1-2-3-4-5 rings. Kobe is a living legend. But when it comes to the present, in terms of maximizing Kobe given his skill and age, Scott should limit Kobe to 27 minutes per game, feed him the ball in the midpost, 15 to 17 feet from the basket, and have him quarterback from there. From that distance with single-coverage, Kobe can manufacture a high-percentage shot. (whether it be a dribble-fallaway, fake-penetration, spin, face-up 15ft jumper, etc) So opponents will have to double-team Kobe. If Scott can get his players to read defenses and cut or pop when Kobe is doubled, it will result in a high-percentage shot. If opponents don’t double, Kobe can apply his array of moves to score. With controlled playing-time and a pass-first approach, Kobe can conserve his energy. Then in the last 6-minutes of the game, put Kobe in as the closer. A fresh Kobe is still one of the best closers in the league. Fresh – not fatigued.
Calvin Chang says
When Kobe is out, let Lin quarterback the team, but tell him to pass first. Not look to shoot. Look to create and assist first, then shoot if the opponent gives him space. Lin is a better passer than scorer. Have Lin run the high pick and roll with either Davis or Boozer, get Swaggy and Ellington (and maybe Ryan Kelly) for corner or wing 3’s. That play will get you an open look most of the time.
People who want to get rid of Kobe with 1 1/2 seasons to go, you are just dreaming, it will never happen. Whether you like it or not, he is destined to glory days based on historical performances. Best way to utilize Kobe, play his strengths while augment more help where he is weak may it be playing time or being receptive to coach instructions.
With regards to this roster in 2014-15, it is bad on the onset and worse at its current performance and the end result of “tank mentality” just to get into 7th position in draft pick. This is like an employee who prefers to stay disabled just get benefits from his company and government. It becomes a habit and a way of life, that you are a loser and will be a loser forever. I think it is a poison when you plan the whole season based on getting the lowest 5 in order to preserve what you traded to Suns. Who cares for the lowest 5 if you could improve your team “at this moment”. In the same token, who cares of having Randle and Clarkson if you can get a better option that will dramatically improve the team soonest. The future is never a guarantee with anyone however if a good player is on hand who can jump start this team, why babysit the rookies, the future draft picks who are all question marks at this time.
I come now to the 3rd point, rebuilding is improving every part of the structure to make it more stable and formidable. You don’t call it rebuilding when you get into mixed signals by inviting marquee players like Melo, paying Kobe then surround them with so-so players. It has to be analyzed every position and FO as well as Jimbo have to be daring and willing to spend like Dr. Buss to improve the team. Stop coddling with undesirables then question the results: it is the fault of Kobe, it is the fault of Scott, it is the fault of the injured etc. You reap what you sowed, accept with humility what was bestowed unto you and move on.
-rr, For the record I do agree w/ you that some free agents may find Kobe’s new mindset (and thus the FO’s new mindset) more to their liking. In addition I see your point: “(you) personally will have hope again when the Lakers have high-level talent on the team again, and not before.” Understand how you feel.
-I on the other hand just need to see the organization make a change in direction. When I spoke about denial, my focus was on Kobe and the front office being in denial. I can care less about fan denial, means nothing in the true scheme of things. Anyone who has ever attempted self improvement must first come to terms that if something is not working a change is in order. That’s what I heard Kobe say, it’s what I heard him tell Scott, it’s what I heard him tell the FO and I believe him. Obviously it still remains to be seen how much if any his “playing modification” will mean.
-Not quite sure why you disagree w/ me that everything pertaining to the 2014-15 Lakers revolts around Kobe. Of course it does. Same as everything Spurs revolves around Duncan, same for Dirk & the Mavs, and Lebron & the Cavs to name a few others.
-As for legacies being affected by much poorer levels of play at the end of careers, I wouldn’t be so quick to say it doesn’t matter. MJ’s career and numbers were so good, so off the charts that his AVERAGES were hardly blemished. When Shaq was at the top of his game, many argued he was better than Kareem. As time went on and his career started to close, you stopped hearing that line of thought.
-Looking forward to the next chapter of “the 2014-15 Lakers”.
Darius Soriano says
Kobe’s averages are also “insane” and by simple boxscore metrics (points, rebounds, assists) he’s producing the same 25/5/5 that he has for a decade. Where Kobe is suffering most is in efficiency and, more importantly, in the win-loss department of his team. Fans who don’t like Kobe (including you) will point out whatever parts of his game are suffering and hold them up as the reason he should not be liked. Those who stan for Kobe will deflect as much as possible and shift as much blame as they can to others. Read this board and you can plainly see who’s who.
-Discussion for another day: for those who always love to play the “5 titles” Kobe card. It’s not always relevant to the conversation. But for those who believe “it’s always relevant”, we can compare the careers of star players who have won at least five rings in the NBA to each other. Should be fun.
-Darius, I agree with you completely. And that’s why I believe it’s important to hear/see both sides. Love this site.
Same as everything Spurs revolves around Duncan, same for Dirk & the Mavs, and Lebron & the Cavs to name a few others.
James in Cleveland, maybe, but IMO Dallas and San Antonio revolve around organizational dynamics and philosophies, which start at the top. And that is also true to an extent here. Remember that the Busses have both said that giving Kobe the huge deal was a reflection of organizational philosophies–taking care of our stars, making sure he retires without wearing another uniform etc. etc. The moves made between 2010-12 were made in part to try to get Dr. Buss another title. Everything revolves around Kobe for you personally, but that is not the same thing.
As to DS’s comment above, Kobe has been shooting too much, has been shooting too many long 2s and 3s, has been giving lousy effort at times on D for about four years, made the decision to accept the big payday, (which I personally do not blame him for doing) and did a really lousy job dealing with/welcoming Dwight Howard. So yes, the Lakers are where they are in part because of him. But as DS said a few days ago, Kobe is ultimately a player and one part of the organization. He doesn’t run the draft, hire coaches, set the rotation, design the offense/defense, decide on contracts, design the training and medical programs, approve trades, or make final roster decisions. The fact that people see him and think/talk about him all the time doesn’t change any of that.