Whenever the Lakers play the Clippers, intrigue follows — especially now that it’s the Clips who are the “contender” expected to win the matchup. The story shifts from big brother beating up on its historically bad younger sibling to ideas about “whose town it is” and what the Clippers have to do to take center stage in Los Angeles.
These storylines can be fun and be a nice way to pass the time, but I don’t really invest a lot of value in them. As Doc Rivers has noted several times — and he would know, well, in fact, due to his ties to the Celtics — that key is to not just win games or, even, this particular game, but to win championships. Not just one, but multiple ones. Just yesterday Doc spoke of the “head start” the Lakers have in this area and other players at different times have acknowledged that L.A. remains a Lakers’ town. (As an aside, with Clippers players still getting booed at Dodgers games, it’s hard to have a different opinion on this matter.)
This “argument”, then, is best tabled for a later date when the Clippers achieve at a higher level. This isn’t to knock them, I think they’d say the same thing themselves, not just because this topic is tiring, but because they have higher aspirations that, frankly, have little to do with what the Lakers have done. They want to win titles for them, not because of an ability to say “scoreboard” when it comes to a cross-town rivalry.
So, what he have left is the game itself. And it’s one that the Clippers should win handily. Yes, as Nick Young said, this can be viewed as a rivalry game and that brings an extra level of emotion that can translate to some actions and outcomes that aren’t easily predictable. But basketball is still a game of talent and the Clippers have more of that than the Lakers do. This is reflected in the team’s respective records.
In saying that, however, the Lakers can make this game interesting in a couple of ways. First is the fact that the Clippers have not been where they need to be defensively this season. Part of the reason for this is that they do not have many (any?) strong perimeter defenders beyond a totally engaged Chris Paul (who still does so much heavy lifting offensively his defensive attentiveness isn’t where it once was). This should allow Kobe, Jeremy Lin (when going against the Clips’ 2nd unit), and Nick Young to create offense from the wing. If they all remain aggressive, they should be able to not only create shots for themselves, but force the defense into help situations where easy shots for the rest of the team can be generated with good, crisp, passing.
Second, the Lakers’ big man rotation isn’t the best in the league, but they do have some quality and have multiple bodies to throw at the Clippers’ pair of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Griffin, of course, is a monster and must be accounted for at all times. But a combination of Hill, Davis, and, even, Boozer can work to try and wear him down. If they can keep him out of paint and do a good job of contesting his jumper (and force some misses), his efficiency will suffer. As for Jordan, his athleticism trumps anything the Lakers can throw at him, but if you play him smartly by bodying him up on the glass and by taking good angles against his moves to the paint, you can limit his ability to control the restricted area via lobs and offensive rebounds.
Of course, none of this accounts for Paul’s brilliance or the shot-making Jamal Crawford brings off the bench, but, again, there’s a reason why the Clippers are as good a team as they are. Even if you can limit some of their weapons, you can’t take them all away. The Lakers will just have to hope that those two aren’t on and that the rest of their game plan works in their favor. It’s a tough hill to climb, but that is the blueprint.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.
Calvin Chang says
Come on Darius. You didn’t mention that the Clips should easily beat Lakers by double-digits and don’t expect much. If you put that blurb in, the pressure will be off and Lakers will spring an upset.
Clippers achilles heel is their bench unit. Clippers, last I checked had the worst scoring bench unit in the NBA and that’s with the very talented Jamal Crawford. Basically Crawford is their offense, which works quite often, but he has his off games. I think they said that take away Crawford and their bench averages around 6pts a game.
So IF we can hang close, perhaps our bench can pick up the slack and at least make this competitive. I agree with Darius’s article, Paul does not look like the same defensive player anymore. He was getting owned last time, when Lin was going by him at will. I think Paul has lost a step, he’s played a lot of hoops. But Paul still impresses me in how he can dominate so many games with his crazy moves, passing, despite being so small and clearly losing some of his explosiveness due to age/injuries. Kobe could give them problems, its going to take teams awhile to start to consider Kobe as a primary passer and secondary scorer.
Kobe Alert: There was some discussion in the previous thread about All Star voting. Not sure what it was but something about James Harden being more deserving than Stephen Curry for a starting nod. The ASG is indeed a popularity contest, however, in spite of this the NBA All Star Team is generally way more accurate than the baseball or football versions. Even more accurate is the All NBA teams, or the MVP voting (not necessarily who gets the award – but the top 5 is very accurate). In any case, no matter how you slice it, here are Kobe’s numbers: He has been named to the All Star Team 16 times (tied with Shaq for 2nd). He has been named as an All Star starter 16 times (he is #1 all time). He has been named to the All NBA Team 15 times (tied with KAJ for first all time). He has been named as a 1st team All NBA selection 11 times (tied with Karl Malone for most all time). And he has been voted in the top 5 for MVP in 11 different years, which is second only to Kareem. So compare Kobe to others using ASG selections or any of these other categories and the results are basically the same. Like I said before, I have him as #3 on the GOAT list, and can see only reasonable arguments for about 3 – 4 guys I have behind him. If you have him less than 7th all time, let me know your list. Meanwhile Kobe continues to accumulate stats in addition to all these awards. He needs just 2 more games to reach AC Green level at 20th. Only 27 FGs to go to move by Shaq and into the top 5. The new share the ball Kobe is rapidly ascending the dimes list and needs just 25 more to catch Hondo for 29th and then he will quickly have Scottie Pippen and Clyde Drexler in his sights to move up further on a list many did not know he was even on. Kobe has pulled to within less than 4500 points of Karl and needs only 4495 to catch him. He can easily do this before his “next” extension runs out : ) If years 19 + 20 for $24 per was a good move by the FO, then years 21 + 22 for about $10 per would be complete genius : )
Thomas Rickard says
The Clippers are still pretenders as there 7-10 record against playoff teams prove, and uunless they make some trades before the 19th their future will be just like the previous years! The Clippers have 4 good players and the rest are just average at best, and just like OKC they haven’t been able to replace the one they gave away, is there a doubt in anyones mind that they were better when Bledsoe was backup pg.
With regards to your post on the previous entry, I too fear Option 3, with the outcome being that no FAs come (for whatever reason) and Randle / Draft Pick TBD don’t pan out and the Lakers are looking for another coach.
Please, please, please let things pan out in a more positive way! I need some of Mud’s optimism to rub off on me over the next year or two.
FYI Leo: In the previous thread, you mentioned that you’d like to see the Lakers make a play for Reggie Jackson, the restricted FA PG from OKC this summer. Check out ESPN’s NBA Rumors. It appears that Phil Jackson also has his heart set on acquiring Reggie for the Knicks.
It will be interesting to see how some of these battles between the Lakers and Knicks play out. The first contest was for Derek Fisher and the Lakers preemptively removed themselves from the competition by stating that they were only interested in experienced head coaches. I always felt that the Lakers did that so they would not have to bid against Phil for Derek’s services. I believe that Jim Buss knew he would lose a public competition for Derek to Phil. I believe that Jim is fearful of losing to Phil — because he knows that Phil is Phil and he is, well, Jim Buss.
Now, please note that I am confident that Derek will be a great coach and would have preferred to see him on the Laker’s sideline. However, I am not so sold on Phil being a great executive. Although, I do grant that he has a certain amount of gravitas that Jim does not possess. That is something which cannot be under estimated. Disclaimer: I do not blame the Knicks’ record on either Phil or Derek because the NY roster is actually worse than the Lakers. The Knicks will also regret signing Carmelo to the max extension, but like the Lakers with Kobe, had to sign him to put butts in the seats.
So this summer, if the Lakers and the Knicks pursue Reggie I wonder how it will play out. Will there be a battle, or, will Jim and the Lakers bypass Reggie like they did with Fisher? My fear is that Jim will either avoid confrontation for certain players or we’ll lose out on players because he is not Phil. This my friends is the hidden fall out of having Jim as the head of operations for the team. He and the Lakers lack that certain ‘it’ quality right now.
Robert: I don’t see how you can believe that Kobe will be an effective player for the balance of a 2 year extension on top of the year and a half left on his current deal. You’re saying that Kobe will still be a $10 million a year player at age 38 and 39? That is an extension that even our FO would not put on the table.
Trip: Are you saying that Jim has Phil envy?
Craig W. says
I think personal animosity toward Jim Buss can blind fans. Our tendency is to follow the herd and the ‘talking heads’ can make blatant mistakes and we still keep up their stupid mantras – i.e. Kobe is a ballhog and players don’t want to play with him. Jim does not have the same personality as his dad or Jeannie, but that doesn’t mean he is either stupid or can’t make decisions. Because he doesn’t revel in controversy, while Phil does, does not say anything about how the Lakers will go after free-agents.
George: MJ played until he was past 40 and he partied quite a bit more than Kobe does. That said, I was against the amount of the last extension. I wanted us to extend Kobe somewhere in the range of $12 – $16 per. Instead we waited for him to get hurt, then let loose with a $24 per extension. Go figure. This time, like last, I want the convo started earlier. Not now – but this summer. We need certainty going into next year. Go back and read my post from 1/7 at 6 PM. That is what teamn is referring to above. So I am a Kobe fan and want years 21 + 22. I honestly think he “could” be worth $10 per but let’s see this summer. What we do not want is a year of uncertainty where FAs don’t know whether Kobe is part of the picture or not, and how much of the cap he is going to take up. So I propose a compromise with those who do not like Kobe. Let’s just extend him at $8-$10 per. This takes the cap killing deal (like the one we have now) off the table. My “genius” statement is because some are defending the current deal due to loyalty and financial reasons. All of that will be present next time as well. I think the FO is weak and they are secretly hoping that Kobe retires. However Kobe is strong and he may not be ready to do that. There will need to be another discussion. The last time that happened resulted in a photo of Kobe, surrounded by Laker brass, with a pen in his hand, signing a contract next to an SI titled “Alpha Dog”.
Trip: “Phil is Phil and he is, well, Jim Buss. ” If you were on contract as a poster to this board, I would immediately offer you an extension just for that one phrase. Well done !
I think personal animosity toward Jim Buss can blind fans.
Perhaps. But since Jim took over, the team has had pretty much everything go wrong, and last year went 27-55–the worst record in LA Lakers history–but still not bad enough to pick higher than 7th. And the current team is now 11-24, has no especially good, young, healthy players; may not keep this year’s pick, and still owes first-round draft picks to other teams. If the Lakers were 26-9 and had Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, Jim’s baseball caps and reclusive ways would be endearing eccentricities. Personality is not the issue here. Winning is.
So, blind or not, much of the fan base is simply looking at the facts.
I said awhile back that Jim and Phil are on a collision course of sorts although both may well simply crash and burn as executives. Both of them will be talking to Marc Gasol this summer, and much of the Knicks’ fan base is as preoccupied with Kevin Durant (who has a connection to Fisher) as much of the Lakers fanbase is. Phil just cleared JR Smith’s deal off the New York cap sheet, although doing so came at a cost.
Also, the Knicks do have their pick in this draft.
Because he doesn’t revel in controversy, while Phil does, does not say anything about how the Lakers will go after free-agents.
That wasn’t the point of Trip’s post. The point was that Phil, with 13 rings, has status in the game that Jim doesn’t have. Also, recall that the Lakers supposedly went hard after Carmelo Anthony, and Anthony stayed with the Knicks, in part because of Phil. Now, IMO the Lakers are better off without Anthony, and most of us, including me, opposed offering him a max deal at the time. But the Lakers FO supposedly wanted him and didn’t get him.
Trip: I think that FAs and their agents are smart enough, given all things being equal, which team is the best situation. I think the competition between the Lakers and the Knicks is the same as between the Lakers and any other team. That is, which team can best communicate a clear vision of where the team is going, demonstrate that there is a plan, that pieces are indeed in place and that the player in question has a role in the plan’s execution.
It may be true that Jim does not have the gravitas that Phil has. However, Jim can bring in Mitch, who was Phil’s boss in LA, to help out in the process. I think the pieces will fall into place once the FO begins to turn this thing on.
The real question is when does that happen. I think we all feel that the Lakers have been treading water and going nowhere for far too long.
Free Tarik Black.
J C says
Right on, I agree that Jim B strives to avoid competing w Phil for players, coaches, etc.
However, part of that is savvy, since the Buss family essentially kicked Phil to the curb.
Jim knows Phil has some karma on his side right now, in addition to his 11 rings and the ‘gravitas’ they bring.
And why get into a personality contest you know you can’t win?
However, Phil is a bit of a publicity hog too. Writing books, etc., I love Phil but his ego is massive.
So it’s kinda nice to watch him twist a bit while NY sags. I have no doubt that eventually they’ll turn it around there, and I hope Derek is still around to taste those fruits.
To George I would say, yes, FO would probably pay Kobe $10 mil per year at age 38 and 39.
Look what they just paid Steve Nash.
Chris J says
I think Fisher will be a great NBA coach, but I also said six months ago that he will not last more than two or three seasons in New York. I still believe that.
So for those who wanted Fish to prowl the sidelines at Staples, don’t give up hope. In a couple of years time Byron could well be gone, freeing the door for Fisher to come to L.A. with some head coaching experience under his belt, and hopefully with some young talent on the Lakers’ roster who could stand to learn a thing or two from Mr. 0.4.
Knicks fans who put their hopes in Phil will be disappointed in the end. Jut a gut feeling on my part, but New York is an All In or Fold kind of place, and from afar it looks like Phil’s not wholly there; to even expect his full attention and passion at his age, stage in his career… that’s a lot to ask. My prediction is he’s gone before 2017 begins, with Fish tossed out onto Seventh Avenue as well.
Oh, and screw the Clippers and their bandwagon “fans.”
Lin could be the worst defender in the league. Did anyone in the FO watch any videos of him.
Jon Barry is crushing it tonight doing the ESPN late night game. He is just talking honestly about how Minny is set up so well because they have been poking up lottery picks for five years. And his main point is they are set up so well for the best future but this year and maybe the year after it would be better for the team to pick up abother top lottery pick this summer then to start winning more games now that some of their young players (Wiggins) are getting better with every game.
Tanking is such an obvious problem throughout the history of the league but even more so currently as smarter and smarter people have taken over basketball front offices. It’s just that it’s too hard to watch the NBA right now. Adam Silver is the new Mesiah because he kicks a giant a hole and racist out of the league? Please. If Silver was half of Stern he would fix this rewarding losing problem very quickly.
Swaggy B as in brick. Blame it on the Hollywood life.
Spin this joke Jeannie.
Kibe 3 TO no points.
Worst team in Laker history.
Spin this Buss.
Dragic is a great athlete. I know he is white so we can’t see it. But look at him closer. What makes him as a player is his athletisim. His strength and quickness are all world.
Take Kobe out rest of the game. He looks 60 out there. 5 turnovers and zero points. Terrible.
Btw the “overt tank”thing to do will be to have a public shift in strategy of the deployment of kobe. If they order him back to take a million fade aways and he agrees within the next week…. That would pretty much say “hey! Look at us!!! We are trying to lose!!!!!!!!!” I hope we don’t let Phil Jackson out tank us this *tankoffs.
*tankoff is a play on “playoffs”
1 for 8
A minus 34
And Buss says she wants him to play 2 or 3 more years.
Just saw the score. If the team is taking the night off, I’ll take the night off from watching.
Miss Buss’s 2 fav players are 3 for 20 as people rush to turn on Law and Irder or cartoons.
the other Stephen says
My bullet of choice is turning on the easy listening channel to calm my nerves. If anyone wants to join, the current track is a panflute cover of “My Heart Will Go On.”
Wonder what B Scott excuses will be tonight. How about the entire team needs to take a few weeks off. How about your team could care less.
Unsurprisingly, Utah is starting to get better; they won in Chicago tonight and are two games up on the Lakers. The Lakers are also 1.5 back of Detroit and Charlotte, and 1 back of Orlando.
Minnesota lost by 2, however, so they are now 5-29.
The Lakers have the 4th-worst record in the NBA, which would mean that they could get the 6th or 7th pick if things go badly with the ping-pong balls.
J C says
I never thought I’d see the day when we can’t even compete with the Clippers.
Meh, for some perspective on the clips, Lakers managed to beat TO in overtime (mind you w/o derozan) last month but on their return trip to staples, TO then comfortably dispatched clips by nearly 20 (still w/o derozan). Obviously the clips feel the need to get up to play the Lakers, but they’re certainly not as good as the occasional blowout might look on the scoreboard. there is something off w the clips team this year and it’s showing on court. Nowhere near as good as they should be and the chemistry is Def off.
As for the knicks situation, nba radio is pretty heavy w east coast beat writers etc… as on air guys so it’s almost the exact same story line as the Lakers – ie big star took money over more talented teammates, gm that underestimated what needs to be done, coach that doesn’t get it etc… w the majority of blame focused on Mello for taking the $ then PJ for either overestimating his abilities or not taking the challenge seriously by saying they’ll make the playoffs after being hired (shades of micth/kobe “compete for championships” talk) w actually dfish getting sorta a pass as being a naive rookie in a sense. Rick fox was on in the afternoon and basically said if pj/fish are going to try to stick to doing triangle, that pj should just come out and say right now that this is possibly a 2-3 year rebuilding plan as that system requires the right guys and the right amount of familiarity. Furthermore nyk has set itself up similarly to LA thinking that they’ll be able to strike it big in the FA market over the next couple years – funnily enough both w poor teams based around aging and injured/recovering superstars w ball stopping reps. Hell of a dynamic set up for those free agent periods where it’s quite possible that one team could not land anyone of consequence because their team is so bad – or possibly neither team manages to land anyone really good either.
Rob Westbrook says
Glad I missed the game. Giving up 70 points by halftime… Kobe too old to play effective defense any more. Robert wants to see him at least two more years.. Why? When Kobe’s guarding the wing at the corner 3, he plays off his man so much he’s almost standing in the paint. Too far away to actually contest the three, and yet Kobe still can’t rotate the last few feet to help enough on penetration. Guys get layups and Kobe is standing completely stationary even after the ball is already through the hoop, not having moved to help at all. Even if he does move, he can’t contest shots any more. An average replacement player costing much less than $20M/yr hurts the Lakers less on the defensive end, more than making up for what little Kobe can still give the team on offense..
Rest of the team plays poor D too, with the exception of Davis. I know we have a lot of guys injured. Still getting over the Randle injury. It’s just.. I just loved watching Kobe during his prime. What we’re seeing now is depressing.. His on/off stats are dreadful. We don’t have the personnel to “hide” Kobe on D. I don’t want the blowouts to continue for years. I’d rather move on. If Kobe retired and his salary came off, we could have a great summer and a decent team next year. Talk of any more extensions should cease right now, unless you’re talking about the vet minimum…
Rob Westbrook says
Paul-Griffin combo just too good. Kobe doesn’t deserve all the blame for why the starting unit was -30. Hill and Davis had terrible rotations on the pick and roll. Lin got scorched by Paul in the first half (only -15 overall for the game though). Kobe mostly guarded Barnes, who did score 19 on 5-10 from three (2nd best game of his season). He just can’t move to help with team defense, and he doesn’t contest threes anymore because they can go right around him. The poor defense is a collective problem. I just see Kobe contributing a lot to the problem on that end. I like to watch him on offense still, especially when he plays an all-around game instead of hero ball. But we pay him too much for him to be the team leader (near league leader) in worst +/-. More often than not, whenever he comes in, the other team’s lead grows bigger not smaller. I just want the team to start winning again.
@Rob Westbrook, completely agree, Kobe’s defense has looked horrible this year. He basically overplays and gambles for steals, or plays way off and still gets burnt. The good news is there are not many really good 2 guards in the league. I don’t say much about Kobe’s D though, because most games the rest of the guys aren’t playing much better D anyway. But it looks like a battle between Boozer/Kobe for least engaged defense most games.
My bigger concern is how many games Kobe keeps hitting the 8+ TO mark. But James Harden (who I do not like) also leads the league in Turnovers. Kobe is only hanging around 6th in the league w/ TO’s. Plus Harden plays no defense and is only 26 years old! Kobe played hard D when he was that age, I see Kobe’s defensive problems as just more effects of age/injuries/fatigue. That’s why I think its crazy when Robert discussed Kobe playing beyond this contract, because his physical decline is beyond obvious and is most noteable on Defense.
Clippers are just straight up better than us across the board. But they have nothing hanging in the rafters, and they have a good chance of not making it to the finals yet again. Their clock is ticking, I’m surprised they haven’t traded to try to get them over the hump. Chris Paul’s window is getting pretty small. So maybe by Friday’s game we will have traded Jordan Hill? Also, Carlos Boozer pushes people in the back constantly!?! IF the refs called fouls on that move all the time he literally would foul out every game, its as if he habitually just pushes people. On a positive note thought Clarksonl/LIn both looked pretty good on the offensive end.
When Kobe retires, we are inevitably going to spend time in a post-Magic purgatory period, disappointed by the false promise of Doug Christies and Benoit Benjamins, and taking small comfort in the surprises of Sedale Threatts. Those folks who complained about Kobe will get what they asked for, and it will be a rough transitional period that might last years.
I’d still rather get it started. (For a really great related read, check out the book When Nothing Else Matters, about MJ’s last two seasons in Washington.)
Renato Afonso says
Hold on, there’s something that Aaron said that I agree… Dragic has great athleticism! I would love to see Dragic play for us.
We aren’t going to go through a “horrible” non Kobe period, we are already a pretty lousy team w/ Kobe. Kobe is going to decline even more just due to father time next season. Many fans will be happy to say goodbye to him by then. I don’t want my memory sullened by him playing no D and becoming worse than this year. He has had moments and some games that he still looks pretty good, at least on the offensive end. Whatever happens after Kobe leaves, its hard to imagine the team losing more than it does already. How about Byron Scott’s endless blaming the players and calling out their manliness or weakness turn into something else. Byron Scott can’t leave soon enough for me, hopefully next year is the end of Scott’s coaching career. His public comments often are just insults. He rarely says anything good, and no matter how bad Kobe plays he just makes excuses. “Kobe was a bit rusty” was his excuse for Kobe’s play last night? It’s not like Kobe sat our for weeks, he missed 1 bloody game!
@Renato, Dragic is good but will be 30yrs old starting his next contract. PLEASE don’t sign him! At best we get a couple good years, you don’t sign 30 years olds to MAX contracts during rebuilding, we aren’t going to be in WIN NOW mode next year–except for perhaps some truly delusional Kobe fans who think that’s may happen. If not for Dragic’s age I would say sure take a swing at him, he’s a far better player than Rondo–unless your looking for a PG that rebounds for some reason.
Byron: I do agree that Byron can be a little too “old school” at times, and calls people out unfairly at times. However, what exactly do you want him to say? Perhaps nothing would be better, but coaches are required to give interviews. Should he say: “We have a terrible roster, and we are tanking” or “we have a terrible roster – I am not sure what the FO was thinking”? He does get paid by the FO so I doubt he would do that – even though he might be thinking it.
Kobe: Not a good game obviously and he does look tired at times. That said – let’s not pendulum back and forth with the guy. People were raving about him being the “new Kobe” after the triple double, and how the team was soooo much better with that version of Kobe. Now we are ready for a retirement party a couple of games later. I am waiting for someone to give me an alternative to “rooting for Kobe”. Having him retire during this year or next – does not help us. And as far as my three alternatives. Option 2 was for the Lakers to announce that next year would be Kobe’s last and for him to have a retirement tour. I listed the options in my order of preference. I just do not want Option 3 which is for us to do nothing and go into Kobe’s last year with uncertainty.
Rob W: “If Kobe retired and his salary came off, we could have a great summer and a decent team next year.” The CBA does not work that way. The $24 million is committed, just like Nash’s money was this year. If Kobe retired after this year, we would only get a small exception slot.
-Well that was one ugly game. Utah, Detroit, & Charlotte are all on the upswing. Any chance Minny improves in the 2nd half of the season thus pushing Lakers to 3rd worst?
-@ Craig W, “Our tendency is to follow the herd and the ‘talking heads’ can make blatant mistakes and we still keep up their stupid mantras – i.e. Kobe is a ballhog and players don’t want to play with him.” While your statement is true, I think you also realize Kobe has a huge percentage of fans who believe Kobe can do no wrong…so it evens out nicely.
-Continuing to hope Lakers become sellers during this trading period.
-@ Robert, “Like I said before, I have him (Kobe) as #3 on the GOAT list, and can see only reasonable arguments for about 3 – 4 guys I have behind him. If you have him less than 7th all time, let me know your list.” Truly respect your knowledge, posts, and passion for the game overall, especially the Lakers, and one of your favorite players Kobe. Stats are an excellent way to evaluate a player, but we both know they’re not the only factors.
This probably won’t answer your question, but personally I’d choose any of the following three guards to start a team with before I’d pick Kobe: Magic, MJ, or Oscar.
I’d pick any of the following three centers to start a team before choosing Kobe: Kareem, Wilt, Olajuwon, or The Admiral
As for forwards: LeBron or Duncan.
I know my list doesn’t mean some of these players are better than Kobe statistically, but it is the value I place on each one of them overall. Many will see this as a knock against Kobe because of the way I view him overall. Yet he’s in my top ten of NBA players to start and build a team around.
Tankyou: Thank you for stressing a reality that many fans simply gloss over. Age matters in basketball. Unless you are a team that is missing one final piece it makes no sense to pursue a 30 or 31 year old player – especially in free agency.
That’s why I was beside myself when the FO went so hard after Melo this past summer. Its evident now that the wear and tear of his 11 years are limiting his performance. Can you imagine if the Lakers had 80% of their cap tied up with Kobe and Melo? Plus, once Kobe retired we’d still have a 32 year old Melo for two more seasons clogging up our books.
I would prefer the FO to focus on younger talent/FAs. This summer some young emerging talent is available: Greg Monroe is 24 and is an unrestricted FA, Reggie Jackson is 24 and while being restricted there is no way the Thunder can match an aggressive offer. Heck, I’d even try to get Lance Stephenson (24 as well), who has one guaranteed year left on his deal– I think he would blossom under Kobe’s guidance.
Rumors are that the FO will pursue Marc Gasol this summer. Who wouldn’t want Marc on their team? Yet, he’ll be 30 when he hits the market. If it takes the Lakers three years to complete their rebuild Gasol will then be 33! Doesn’t it make more sense to pursue Monroe who will be entering his peak years (27 – 31) three years from now.
So, I applaud you for saying that it makes no sense for a team, especially a rebuilding team to sign a 30 year old. You end up paying for four years but get only one or two good years in return.
I ask out loud to no one in particular: What part of this is so hard for our FO to understand?
devean george forever says
I’ve seen enough of Clarkson to want to see more. They need to move Price or Lin, probably Lin is more marketable, to clear more time for Clarkson.
They also need to think about moving Jordan Hill. Hill has his moments but he’s inconsistent and can only seem to go for about 25 minutes a game. Not enough production to earn $9 million a year. Better to give minutes to see what type of players Black, Kelly, and Sacre are and then if none of them pan out see what’s out there in free agency next summer.
If the Lakers don’t do at least one of the above there’s another indication they don’t know what they’re doing.
For most of Kobe’s career he has taken opponents to school but there have been a few games in his career where he has gotten lighten up on both ends by somebody. I remember him being dominated by Wade a couple times, Gilbert Arenas lit Kobe up once, I’m sure McGrady did too.
I’ve never seen Kobe so thoroughly outplayed and dominated by a role player though and that is what we saw with Matt Barnes last night. And it’s not like Matt Barnes is a spring chicken either.
It definitely hit me last night watching it unfold that the end truly is near for one of the all-time greats.
A team can make up for 1 or 2 poor defenders in a starting line up. The Lakers have Kobe and that means the rest of the starting line up should consist of guys who can defend and they don’t have that.
@devean, I too would like to see more playing time for Clarkson, its been probably the worst ding against Scott this year not playing Clarkson at all. I’m also interested in seeing the continued development of Sacre, Black, and Kelly but their playing time has not been a head scratcher like Clarkson.
Renato Afonso says
I doubt he’ll get a MAX contract anywhere. I have no problem in signing a good and experienced point guard for 3 or 4 years if the price tag is right. If he demands a max contract, then obviously no, but at 12M per I’d sign him. He’s making 7.5M right now and we know the Suns are cheap…
I was going to write an extended note on the need to play Jordan Clarkson more (Tarik Black, too). But Devean and Vasheed have said it as well as I ever could.
Even though Clarkson and Black played primarily in garbage time, they both looked good last night. They’re both athletic, young, fearless, tough, and hungry. They’re eager defenders. And, as rookies, they have their futures ahead of them.
Clarkson was, arguably, our best player on the court last night (despite the garbage minutes). It’s time to see more of Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black.
At this point, we have very little to lose.
Calvin Chang says
Clippers were simply much better last night. They were coming off a bad loss against the Hawks and were determined to play like gangbusters. With so much more athletic bigs and Chris Paul engaged, the Lakers had no shot. Very impressed with Blake’s combination of strength, athleticism, skill, and willingness to pass and get a higher percentage shot.
Calvin Chang says
If I were Byron, I would have employed Hack a Jordan all night just to mess with Ballmer. Tarik, Sacre and Hill should have used up all their fouls to let Jordan shoot 20+ freethrows. Maybe he would have made half of them, but it will certainly throw Blake and CP3 off rhythm. Against teams that are far superior, you need to employ trickery to get under their skin and mess up their game plan.
Sid, Minny will get Rubio back soon and thus should improve.
As to trades, I’d like to see Hill traded before he’s exposed.
T. Rogers says
“I would prefer the FO to focus on younger talent/FAs. This summer some young emerging talent is available: Greg Monroe is 24 and is an unrestricted FA, Reggie Jackson is 24 and while being restricted there is no way the Thunder can match an aggressive offer. Heck, I’d even try to get Lance Stephenson (24 as well), who has one guaranteed year left on his deal– I think he would blossom under Kobe’s guidance.”
I agree with every word of this. All of the best teams in the league have dynamite young players in their starting line ups. Memphis has Mike Conley whose having the best season of his career. Portland has Lillard. Golden State has Curry and Thompson. Chicago has Butler. Houston has Harden. OKC has Westbrook and Durant. The Clippers have Griffin. Cleveland has Irving. Atlanta has Teague. And as balanced as the Spurs are we’re seeing just how important Leonard is to them. All of these players are 26 or younger. The team needs to eye talent in that age bracket. And yes, they may have to overpay for someone.
Scott: Again, he got his ideas about how to coach from Pat Riley. So, hiring him for a team like this was always questionable, and he came here with a track record.
Kobe: He has been bad on D for three years now, and he was bad on D in the NewKobe games that so many people were excited about, so I don’t see much point in going off on him after last night. There are about five or six people here who should probably just say, “I don’t like Kobe. I don’t like his personality or his style of play, and I wish he were off the team” instead of trying to dress that up as some sort of faux-analytical point. And again–it was pretty clear what the Lakers would be getting, given his age, injuries, and mileage and the FO made the call to make him the highest-paid player in the game for two more years. So, last night, even though he didn’t shoot the ball much, the team got blown away anyway, because, as has been obvious since well before the season, they don’t have front-line talent and can’t play D.
As to what to do, that is equally obvious: try to move Lin and Hill for whatever, and let Clarkson, Kelly, and Black play some. That said, I don’t think Kelly is really Scott’s kind of guy. He is, as noted when they picked him, D’Antoni’s kind of guy, so that again draws a line under fit problems. Jordan Hill wasn’t D’Antoni’s kind of guy; he was Mike Brown’s kind of guy. The Lakers don’t have enough talent right now to worry about fit, but it is still an outgrowth of the directional changes and quirky coaching hires.
And all of those guys’ ceilings is “rotation player” in any case.
One reason things are such a drag is that Randle is gone. I am skeptical about him, but an interesting rookie can make a season like this easier to watch.
The Lakers probably will keep the pick, but keep in mind that the pick is only Top-3 protected in 16 and 17 and has to go some time. So they could theoretically get the 5th pick this year and then lose the 4th pick next year.
-@ Leo, I’d love to see Marc Gasol “return” to the Lakers (who originally had his rights) as a free agent, but you’d have to figure he’ll talk to his brother Pau about his experiences in L.A. Hopefully he’ll focus on the positive times and not the negative ones.
-Agree pertaining to seeing Clarkson & Black get real minutes. Appreciate what Price & Hill have attempted to do, but it’s time for them to move on.
Everyone one of those cats but Harden were drafted by their team. That underscores the necessity of getting in the top 5 this year, nailing the pick, and have enough continuity to be good enough next year to where Phoenix gets a crappier pick.
The Lakers need to see what they have in Clarkson, Black and Kelly (if he can stay healthy).
@Renato, I agree with you in regards to Dragic being worth about 12mill. But I disagree, I think someone will pay him near max at least b/c despite his age he’s a talent that can help a team that is close to contending. Bledsoe got the max, and by most metrics Dragic is a superior player at this point anyway. Suns likely will offer Dragic a lot of money. Players are going for a mint right now w/ new TV contract starting soon. Even NY may consider offering Dragic Max money next year, they will have cap room and they have a small window with Melo–so Dragic age isn’t an issue for a team like that.
We need to focus on the 28 and younger crowd for sure, but not go crazy and try to have nothing but young talent with almost no vets either. I don’t want us to become another “supposedly talented” teams like 76ers that suck–and who knows if any of those young guys ever become more than mediocre. MCW for 76ers is highly overated and his stats wouldn’t be decent if he wasn’t given free reign b/c they stink. He’s a turnover machine that shoots poorly. But some people are high on him merely b/c he is young. Wes Johnson was a young hyper talented 1st round guy and we see he only become a modest player at best. Same with Hill, the NBA is replete with former 1st round “talents” that sit the bench or really shouldn’t even be in the league anymore. The scouts focus on athleticism to a high degree, and disregard lack of skill so you get high picks like Robinson for Portland who is a great athlete–but not a very good basketball player. I want us to actually build a team, and start looking at filling actual positions (like Center) instead of having 5 power forwards, or only 1 true small forward on the roster like we do now.
Everyone one of those cats but Harden were drafted by their team
Yeah, but since the Lakers have traded so many picks, they will need to add young talent in other ways. Monroe and Jackson aren’t as good as those guys, but they are pretty good, especially Monroe. But with Josh Smith gone and Detroit winning, I expect that Monroe will stay now. The time to go after Monroe was last off-season, although Detroit probably would have matched.
Calvin Chang says
I really don’t understand why LA won’t gamble on Sim Bhullar. He is 7 ft 5 and has great timing in terms of blocking shots. Basketball is a game of physics. A 7 ft 5 hulk with long reach clogging the lane will block and alter many shots. Many rebounds will fall into his hands just because he is there. When I see his Reno games, he’s not like Manute Bol or Shaun Bradley fragile tall. Sim is thick and huge, and he runs. As a guard, I can use my speed and finesse to shoot 15ft jumpers over a 6ft3 guy. But a 6ft7 guy will block that same shot just because he has longer reach.
T. Rogers says
I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this years pick is gone. As other have noted the Lakers have not truly committed to rebuilding. They are trying to have it both ways. As a result they just won’t be bad enough this year to keep their pick. They do have Houston’s pick. So maybe they can find a solid contributor late in the first round.
The Lakers will have to use unconventional means. They will have to find value in players that other teams miss. They will need to develop players as well. Simply waiting for big name free agents to hit the market when they are nearing 30 years old will not cut it. The word is they tried to get in on the Dion Waiters action. It at least shows they are trying to make some moves. I do wonder what assets they were offering.
BCS: When speaking of the GOAT list, not only is it an inexact science defining who is better than whom, but it is also inexact in terms of what GOAT means. That said – my definition is that the GOAT is based on accomplishment. Winning rings, MVPs, getting named to all NBA teams, and yes accumulating stats can all move you up on the list. You don’t get on the list due to sheer talent or what might have been had you been on a different team, you get on there due to accomplishment. So “starting a team with” is not a good GOAT measure. We are not picking teams, we are measuring accomplishment. And guess what – how long you play factors into this, because the longer you play, the more accomplishment you can have. We obviously agree on Kareem, and isn’t part of what makes Kareem great, the number of years he played? Ditto for Kobe? On to your list. I have MJ and KAJ in front Kobe. I will skip Magic and Duncan, because they fall in the category of debatable (meaning I can understand someone ranking them ahead of Kobes), so we will agree to disagree. I know you are an old schooler, so I can understand Wilt, although Kobe has him 5-2 in rings and 15-10 in All NBA teams. Wilt does have him 4-1 in MVP’s, but Kobes has him 11-9 in MVP top 5’s. Wilt should have played longer – he retired early (and started late). Hakeem and the Admiral are not even close (2 rings each and Kobe dwarfs them in so many other categories such as All NBA teams), and what do you have against Shaq? He is in front of both of those guys. Shaq has 4 rings. All I ask is for consistency when people rate these things. Kobe was ripped early in his career, that he did not have a ring without Shaq. Now he has a total of 5 including 2 without Shaq and you are putting Oscar in front of him, who won one late in his career with a dominant Bucks team that included KAJ? LBJ is getting close, but right now – he is three rings behind Kobe, and way behind in most other categories (and he may never catch him – even at one time it was supposedly a done deal that he would). So in summary – I said no lower than 7, because I have MJ + KAJ in front of him, and could “understand” someone ranking Magic, Shaq, Duncan, and maybe Wilt in front of him. That is it. PS: If you are going to go fully old school, then I could buy it better if you deleted LBJ from your list : ) Anyways – all good fun – because there is no definitively correct answer.
Everybody should check out the Vine DS just put in the sidebar.
A GOAT discussion? Man. I’ll brb. I need to get in on this asap.
J C says
Top 5 GOAT:
And my personal favorite…
He was the logo for a reason.
The Jordan of his era.
(Only one ring cuz of a guy named Bill Russell, who nobody mentions in these discussions.)
Yes, the F.O. is going to have to widen their scope beyond the Al Davis-like need to toss bombs every play. They already treated Pau like Marcus Allen. As it is, they currently have a high draft pick who will effectively be a rookie next year and if fortunate through this season’s misadventures, a top 5 rookie.
However, I’ve mentioned a number of times in the past that I don’t trust their talent evaluation. If they continue to act like they have something to gain by playing dead weight like Price over Clarkson then Jim needs to add a white jumpsuit to his repertoire.
So Coach Scott had them doing “running drills for 20-30mins” to start practice. Great idea, coming off a game, with only 1 day to rest before the next. That’s the type of stuff that most HS teams don’t do anymore, we never did “conditioning” in the middle of the season. It’s biological idiocy. Especially for a team with 1 guy out forever w/ messed up back, Randle broken leg, Kobe-old, Ed Davis broken nose, Price Broken nose, Kelly–messed up hamstrings, Young–Out w/ Knee problem.
This team needs warm bodies that have some energy left in them. How about some varied schemes defensively when we are losing, or some double teams, or our bigs actually contesting on the picks occasionally. This “old school” to me is synomonous with DUMB. These guys need recovery time, and we have played the hole bloody season with a short roster.
I’m telling you, Byron Scott will be a huge negative for any free agents of talent. They are going to have to try and find tapes from Jason Kidd in his prime to see him coach a winning team. These guys need rest so their ligaments/tendons can regenerate from microtears. This is a surefire way to just have compromised athletes go into a game w/ a higher risk for injury.
Honestly, if Lin and Hill get traded it may be one of the few times that players jump for joy to leave the titanic. Re-arrange the deck chairs and enjoy the show. At least if they trade Lin/Hill they might guarantee the 5th worst record and have a shot at a decent draft pick. Fans aren’t going to enjoy the Lakers turning into the Lakers from month 1 where they were getting blown out with regularity. Swaggy “Kobe and Scott are like the same person” no wonder Kobe is only “rusty” rather than soft last night like his teammates. More demeaning garbage, guys need to understand that focusing on criticism is a sufefire way to not get more out of people.
I fully agree except I’ve only clung to the pick as my trophy for the year. Sad, I know. There’s no way they can lock the top 5 pick in a league that includes Philly and the regular Eastie Boys. Phil is cashing in the Knicks but Detroit’s on a mini-tear. In the West, Minny will get back Rubio and Pek, Utah has a decent squad. The entire situation is fluid with injury and trades but it’s probably best to think the worst. Man, I really don’t want to sit through this an additional year and gift Phoenix a super high draft pick.
GOAT means the greatest players of all time. There is no interpretation. It isn’t “gaoat” (greatest accomplishments of all time)… It’s about who are the best players. Like I’ve said for great players wins/rings have more to do with their teammates and their compitition than it does how great they were.
Michael Jordan was significantly better than Kobe but if the Bulls don’t draft Pippen, Jordan doesn’t win one ring while Kobe has five. Kobe was much better than Manu Ginobli but if he doesn’t get traded to the Lakers Kobe has zero rings and Manu has five. If LBJ doesnt leave Cle he has zero rings. Rings are one of the last things I look at when comparing players. I just look at offense, defense, physical attributes, and length of prime.
But I know for most it makes it a lot simpler to just count rings or accomplishments. The harder thing to do is compare and contrast the greats by their actual talent and skill.
Aaron: Perhaps you would like to discuss the current team? For me the GOAT discussion, the Kobe Alerts, and my hard rock references are all meant to distract everyone from reality. If I focused on reality, every one of my posts would be about Jim Buss. You are the same, you just focus on “tanking”.
J C: Another old school list. Come on – you guys gotta give #24 a break. I love Jerry West, but seriously? KB leads by a wide margin in virtually everything: Rings 5-2, MVPS 1-0, Finals MVPs 2-1, All NBA 15-12, First Team All NBA 11-10, All Defense 12-5 (although this award started during West’s career), ASG’s 16-14, and he dwarfs JW in all stats except dimes and that will be on a Kobe Alert in the not too distant future. I realize he is the “Logo”, but that is about as relevant as saying Kobe will have twice as many numbers retired : ) I do like your Laker heavy list, because the history of the league is the Lakers. Again – no mention of Shaq, yet neither you or BCS are too fond of KB either. So was Rick Fox the key to those teams? : ) It is all good !
Its advantageous to keep the pick this year. That gives us the chance of still getting a top three pick next year or making a quality signing or trade (or both) that makes us so good next year we aren’t sending a way a quality pick to the Suns at all. Not only would losing is years pick send us back another year in the rebuilding process but that potential top pick we get in two years would be one year younger when these draftees are hypothetically going to be contributing to a championship team in 3-4 years.
2: LBJ (he switched with Jordan now they he got off HGH and isn’t close to as good)
That’s the top 4
Aaron: Your list is the best physical specimens of all time. Why isn’t Len Bias on your list? I honestly think he was as good as MJ or Kobe. Also, the switching of MJ and LBJ makes no sense. Which MJ are you comparing LBJ to? Are you comparing current LBJ to the Bulls version of MJ? Why not compare the Heat LBJ to the Wizards version of MJ? See why this “who is the best specimen” method does not work? If Wilt had played 5 more years, would you have downgraded him cause he would have averaged 15 ppg rather than 50? In any case – there is no right answer.
Rating on talent and skill: OK – I will do it that way. When Kobe tomahawked (think playoffs against the Spurs), I can’t imagine anyone else on the planet doing that. Further, when KB takes a double teamed, turnaround fade-away, chills go up my spine. All of that “proves” that Kobe Rules and that he is the GOAT : ) After reading my last sentence, I think a more objective method of comparing “accomplishments” might be better : )
I do like the fact that you included Shaq !!
I am not sold to that idea that if we add two 1st rd draft picks to this roster, we will be a good team. Baloney! If that is true, then Cavs could be the best team in the East since they have lots of 1st rd draft picks plus Love, Lebron. If that is true then T’wolves will be on top of the chart since they have lots of young players plus Wiggins. Who else got the high draft picks who are near the cellar Jazz, Bucks, Sixers, Lakers etc. Let the chips fall where they may. I believe it is combination of youth, veterans (mid tier) marquee players plus a good camaraderie, hemistry and at least two season familiarization with the coach that brings the best in everyone. PJ can’t do anything good when he had the “scrubs” in his roster in ’06 and ’07.
With regards to Kobe, he’s doing great in assist and rebounds last night plus facilitating which is what everybody wanted. His shots are not falling in maybe lost of rhythm after being absent of one game; maybe his body is no longer competitive to the young opponents who could run faster, jump higher and shoot better. It happens to anyone upon reaching a certain age or putting it in basketball, he is old @ age 36 or 19 years in NBA, there are good days and bad days, his teammates should be the one lifting him up not the other way around. With regards to his pay as some people always relate to his play, get over it. Buss Family used him as a marketing tool to cover their shortcomings while still attracting more season tickets and TWC subscribers. Kobe is doing all he can to be in best fit. We should be thankful that he can still play up to this level after those several major injuries.
I switched LBJ and MJ because it seems like James is off HGH and unless he goes back on won’t have the length of prime years that Jordan did. If LBJ took this time off of basketball to get back on his vitamins and starts being himself again until his mid 30’s I’ll put him back above Jordan. Again I’m conparing peak prime years first (most important) and then total quality years. Bad years at the end have no effect. But if like Kareem the player can stay effective until 40 that obviously helps. But what all GMs are lookig for are the total of peak prime years. That’s what really helps your team.
I picked those four because they are in a leage by themselves when it comes to peak prime years when it comes to the eye test and advanced stats. LBJ/Jordan/Wilt are basically tied using the real stats with Shaq a shade below them. The thing is that Shaq doesn’t have anyone on his statistical level either in that fourth spot. So those are the clear top four to me. Yes you can call them the best physical specimens. And you would be right. Basketball is an athletic game. So the best athletes will be at the top when you’re talking about GOAT. You can’t punish guys because they are bigger faster and stronger. This isn’t golf… Larry Bird doesn’t get a handicap because he was slow and couldn’t play defense. Life isn’t fair. Being born a physical freak helps you. It’s no surprise that the four most imposing NBA athletes were also the four best statistically impressive athletes.
That’s a tricky discussion for me and so very fun. He didn’t know what a good shot was for an offense. He thought takif a bad shot was better for the offense than passing to a bad teammate for a good shot. We now know that not to be true. If Kobe grew up in the era of advanced stats I think he would have been a better smarter player with advanced statistics that put him in that number five slot behind Shaq. I think he was the fifth best athlete in NBA history (I’m not counting players who got hurt before they could accumulate 7-8 prime years).
Oh and I wasn’t being sarcastic. I was totally one hundred percent genuin. I love talking about the greatests to ever play the game I love most.
lil pau says
@Aaron: A GOAT discussion? Man. I’ll brb. I need to get in on this asap.
This is my favorite line in the history of FB&G. No offense to Kurt or Darius but…. was the idea that we were all supposed to hang out and wait for the next post?
Darius Soriano says
I’m going to say this one more time: cut out the HGH talk or I’m going to ban you. Thanks.
It’s about cheap talent. The longer the delay of fresh talent, the longer the development and the growth the of team. The draft can’t be looked at through a vacuum barring the rare transcendent player. And even that unicorn needs talent around him.
First problem we have 3 very poor shooters
Kobe 37% but he takes almost 21 shots a game (currently 20.8)
Price 37 % and he takes 5.4 shots a game
Swaggy P 38% and takes 12 shots a game
Total between the three players is about 37 of the team 86 shots a night average
Then Kobe handling the ball, which slows down the whole offense. that means everything is hard on the offensive end of the floor. Then add 3.7 turnovers a game from Kobe. Almost half of your team shots are dictated by one player that is struggling on both ends of the floor. This team needs to get young fast and allow the young guys to grow and play together. Get rid of the Old school coach and the old school players.
Oldtimer-“It happens to anyone upon reaching a certain age or putting it in basketball, he is old @ age 36 or 19 years in NBA, there are good days and bad days, his teammates should be the one lifting him up not the other way around. With regards to his pay as some people always relate to his play, get over it. Buss Family used him as a marketing tool to cover their shortcomings while still attracting more season tickets and TWC subscribers. Kobe is doing all he can to be in best fit. We should be thankful that he can still play up to this level after those several major injuries.”
I particularly like the line that the team should aid Kobe. He’s the one that’s been in the league for 19 years, played in countless games for this country, and won five championships.
Everyone wants to compare Kobe to players like Duncan, Nowitzki, and LBJ. But what championship player has been asked to do more at the end of their career than Kobe? Duncan, Nowitzki, Ginobli, Parker, Carter, Terry, Pierce, and Garnett are all allowed to finish their careers playing the exact manner in which they came in the league playing…all except Kobe Bryant.
J C says
I always enjoy your Kobe updates and your enthusiasm keeps things fun.
And frankly I do understand the argument for Kobe being in the top 5.
In fact, in many ways I absolutely love Kobe.
His athleticism combined with his skillset is pretty much unparalleled.
I think I’m biased toward Jerry West because I grew up watching him. Jerry was the only player ever to win finals mvp on the losing team.
And yes he has fewer rings than Kobe but he has plenty of finals appearances!
The thing about Jerry is…when he retired as a player, he went on to become possibly the greatest GM ever, too!!
He was Mr. Laker to me.
(Now he’s making an impact for the Warriors.)
Here’s a cool story:
When Kobe was a rookie, the first time I saw him play, I was stunned. Most people were. The way he moved on the court was electrifying.
This was at the Fabulous Forum, where you could move from section to section.
I happened to be standing at one of the entrances watching the game unfold and seeing Kobe for the first time.
I looked to my left and who is standing beside me?
My childhood idol, Jerry West.
Being cool, I casually mentioned to him that I thought Kobe could lead the league in scoring someday.
Jerry simply said, ‘He’s going to be a very special player in this league.’
And that was my Jerry West moment, a brief conversation about Kobe.
The thing is: Jerry DRAFTED Kobe.
He knew how great Kobe’d be.
Jerry wasn’t just great – he also had an eye for who’d be great.
He was an iconic player who then became a legendary, visionary franchise-maker.
Who else has done that?
So he’s in my top 5.
david h says
good morning darius: so I’m looking at the laker official schedule this morning and thinking if we don’t win tonite versus Orlando at home; our next realistic and potential win won’t come until next month, after two days off and beginning a four game road trip starting off against the once much anticipated game versus the knicks of new york. imagine that our season and our beloved laker team is being subjected to life of professional basketball purgatory……as evidenced by our recent blowout by the above average crosstown opponents: the clippers no less.
speaking of which, when first came to los angeles, the clippers were playing at the sports arena and as a promotion; we’re handing out basketball trunks. that’s right, not jerseys, not caps, not even t-shirts; the short, short basketball TRUNKS !! to me, they will always be the basketball trunks of the nba. embarrassing to lose to trunks.
so tonite I think would be a perfect opportunity for the laker public relations staff and Jeannie buss to come up with some sort of give away item;
got it: face masks. lately a couple of players on the team have one; recent play dictates face masks needed all around.
will leave that to public relations to figure out.
in the meantime, they’re still and always be ours to ponder.
Which commenting guideline is Aaron violating by mentioning HGH? I gather this is some kind of top-down gag order from ESPN.
david h says
aaron broke guideline #11; don’t talk about HGH.
T. Rogers says
Kobe’s team is nowhere near as talented as Tim’s and Dirk’s. Part of that is management’s fault for not putting better players around him. Part of it is Kobe’s fault for accepting his current contract being fully aware of salary cap realities. You can’t compare the talent around Kobe to the talent around Tim and Dirk without mentioning the pay cuts Tim and Dirk took to allow the accumulation of talent around them. I have no problem with Kobe getting every dollar he can. But it came at a price. Losing is that price.
@rr I have to agree with you about the various coaching changes leading to a cobbled roster of misfitting players. But I disagree about not worrying about fit. It is never too early to worry about fit. Got to start somewhere. This assumes the Lakers have finally decided to stick with their coach and build around him.
J C: Good story. I also am a big Jerry West fan. I wore #44 as a player in high school and college. Here is my Jerry West story. I went to Jerry’s basketball camp. There was a couple of sessions where Jerry stood in front of the campers and fielded questions. Most of the kids were asking who he thought was better, Wilt or Kareem or stuff like that. Not me. I wanted to know why the Lakers were not winning the championship and what he was going to do about it. He answered somewhat generically, with a little bit of a “who is this kid?” smile on his face. I then followed up asking him for more specifics and a plan of action. He looked at the other coaches and said “What is this a news conference?”. The place burst out laughing.
T Rogers: I agree with you as I often do, but I split this more 75/25, with 75% of the blame to the FO. They should have approached Kobe about possibly taking less and showed him why. That is what I think Dallas and SA did. I do not think our FO said “hey Kobes, how about taking $12 per so we can get more players?”, only to be countered by Kobe at $24 per. What I think happened was that the Lakers offered $24 per and Kobe said “OK”.
As rr reiterated in some replies, Lakers could have accelerated the rebuild if they were willing to improve from existing talents compared to rolling the ping pong balls to developmental or experimental talents. When you go on high draft picks, you aren’t sure if you can get a Davis or a GilChrist talent? Lakers has been notorious in buying talents from other teams by creating a climate that this is a destination team under the JerryWest & Mitch plus Dr Buss era. Now under Jimbo, we are always the state of rebuilding from scraps, trading our best players in order to get more cap space without any concern in putting this team down further to oblivion, It would take sometime before other “talented players” will trust this team. It becomes a trash team not a team of destination where their career will shine for the rings as their aspirations. They will associate it with scrubs or cellar dwellers of which we should avoid such identity.
Look what happened in the last few years, we got twin towers Pau & Kaman they let go….we have a decent three pt shooter Meeks, they did not pay and let go; Former players like Ariza became available, though expensive, he can really put Lakers back to playoffs, maybe PG Thomas too, Laker didn’t want to pay and yet they were willing to get highly expensive Melo or LBJ or Dwight for what? Aha,a prized ego as if we want to parade in getting the best horse in the derby. They spent money on Lin, took Boozer from auction what did we get a rag tag team or somewhat inconsistent from the fly.
In a nutshell, what I am saying, rebuilding should be improving the roster, not retrogressing in order to improve on a cheap. The latter is an experiment and hard to guarantee. Like if we compare it to the past, if Lakers did not gamble on Gasol/Ariza/Fisher, they would not have been in Finals twice or taking another gamble on Artest which resulted to another Championship. With that example, you could see where I am heading, it would be nice to have a team that is trying to compete to get into the playoffs with whatever roster we have than aiming for a meltdown. I want a team that may be satisfactory but could be good then aim to be better next season until reaching that team goal of being the best in the league. On the tanking scenario it is impossible to jump from satisfactory to best with the high draft picks without a leader who has been in Championships, what you have, are young talents purely experimental. If this team has a “scrap”mentality, those young talents will also go elsewhere once their time is up.
@T. Rogers, completely agree. Kobe got paid, that’s done and over, but it did have some repurcussions. Dirk/Duncan took pay cuts, with an extra 10mill or so you can sign a couple pretty good players or 1 very good player. There are some good Vet Minimum players floating around, I think we got a steal with Ellington and Ed Davis–they are without a doubt worth more than the minum. I was not a fan of Boozer being signed, but despite his lack of defense his high level of offense makes him worth a 3mill rental for sure.
We have had bad luck with injuries no doubt. The nash trade/injury continues to hurt us with basically 10mill wasted, plus all the draft picks we gave up. But it was a gamble, just didn’t pay off. I don’t see any free agents of note next year that would want to come here, they all can get paid on better teams that they already play for. So I think snagging some mid-level guys and giving them a shot at more playing time is worth attempting.
@Robert, my guess Is you are correct, they offered Kobe 24mill and he said sure. So he can make his money and hopefully try and adapt as best he can. I just wish him and Scott would quit going on their demeaning rants. Kobe has played a ton of utter crap games this season, and his defensive numbers suggest he is right there with Boozer in the bottom. So don’t talk trash on your team, as if this TP crap is somehow inspiring. Kobe’s recent comments about the Clippers are far more appropriate “they are a better team, they have better players”. Isn’t that the truth. The lakers can be tough and play all out scrappy defense, and they just don’t have the talent the clippers have period. Griffin and Paul are elite at their positions, and accross they board they are better. It’s not all about “toughness” or “effort”. The Lakers match up fairly well against some of the really good teams and can win on a good night.
Anyway, I hope Swaggy can play tonight. I hope Lin and Clarkson get more minutes tonight. And despite the magic being our “tank-competition” I hope we beat the magic!
T. Rogers says
“They should have approached Kobe about possibly taking less and showed him why. That is what I think Dallas and SA did. I do not think our FO said “hey Kobes, how about taking $12 per so we can get more players?”, only to be countered by Kobe at $24 per. What I think happened was that the Lakers offered $24 per and Kobe said “OK”.”
I agree with this. If the team’s reloading plan was “superstars or bust” then it makes sense they should have asked Kobe to take a bigger cut. If you are going for cheaper guys like Stephenson or Thomas then a drastic pay cut for Kobe is not so important. But if you KNOW you only want superstars, and you know there is a salary cap then it seems they should have approached Kobe’s contract totally differently. But its done now. We just have to ride this thing out.
One point I forget to add, if you want talents, you are willing to spend like the great Dr. Buss . OK, Lakers paying additional luxury taxes say 70 million on those mid tier players. I don’t know the financial effects on the cost and benefits if Lakers are in top four in the league. What I know Lakers is a popular brand worldwide worth multi millions in extra income from sale of Lakers videos, paraphernalia etc. Stock-wise, Lakers increases its market value when they are on the top. Suppose they continue to go below Clippers every season, guess what happens to their stock value in the future?
Okay good… It looks like guideline número eleven was recently taken down. Time to start talking about HGH again. Phew!
Darius Soriano says
Yeah. Wrong day to try to make jokes…
I found this footage of Darius banning Aaron from FGnB: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JhuOicPFZY
It a “must lose” situation.
Lakers gotta lose tonight. MUST.
Boston 12 21
Detroit 12 23
Utah 13 23
Orlando 13 25
LA Lakers 11 25
Minnesota 5 29
Philadelphia 5 29
New York 5 34
Its time to Suck For Jahlil Okafor
Darius Soriano says
My mustache is not nearly as luxurious.
Calvin Chang says
Question for you guys: If Lakers lucked out and got the #1 pick, who would you draft? Jahlil, Towns, Cauley-Stein, Mudiay, or Stanley Johnson? Stanley Johnson reminds me of a Kobe-Lebron type of wing.
Calvin – my answer is, I would ask Jerry West who HE would draft, and go with that.
I wonder if West might be available to consult with the Lakers. The Warriors have gone from clueless to contenders since Jerry hired on. Probably just a coincidence, huh?
So Knicks clean house and make cap room with a plan.
So Boston cleans house dumping Green and picks up more(11 1st rounders in next 4 years) and has a plan.
So Philly, Minn, Orlando etc get younger and add drafts and they have a plan.
And clueless Jimmy has a mishmash of over paid, under performing, losing players who stink at defense and shooting. They have 1 guaranteed 1st rounder(probably around 25th the next 2 years. They make no moves and clearly have no plan.
And we fans have to wait 2 more years of incompetence by Jimmy Bust when clearly the handwriting is on every wall, ceiling, floor and Time Warner screen.
I actually think Jim’s plan, if we believe what he says in public, was/is to
a) Attempt to keep the team likable and somewhat competitive without making large, long-term salary commitments. IOW, semi-tank. That is why Kobe is here on the huge deal, why they brought Young back, part of the reason they brought in Lin (the other being the pick from Houston), why they kept Hill, and why they brought in Boozer. I think Davis probably just sort of fell into their laps due to being repped by Pelinka.
b) Sign a couple of big name FAs and add them to two or three lottery picks as the new core. .
Here again is what Jim said to Shelburne:
“The pitch is we can go for two max players. And we have room to solidify the team with others,” Jim Buss said. “We can’t sell who we’re going to get because we don’t know yet, and it’s illegal to do that. We pursued LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony last summer.”
“Every free agent is unique and different. I don’t think they’re going to be in the same position or make the same decisions as those two players did. So I’m excited about free agency coming up in the next two or three years.”
So, it comes back to the same thing that he and Mitch have kept saying since 2013: “financial flexibility” combined with the idea that the Lakers will remain a big draw for FAs, even though Howard left, James never considered coming here, and Anthony didn’t come here, either (Yes, I know, dodged a bullet, etc.)
But, unless Jim knows some very specific kinds of things about some upcoming FAs that we don’t, I don’t see much reason to think the Lakers will make a big score, and even if they do, they will probably be getting guys entering their decline phases.
R: Unfortunately, allowing Jerry West to make our picks would require two things: 1) Having Jerry under our employment 2) An owner who would stay out of his way and let him do his job. Neither of those two things are true.
Ko: “2 more years ” Do you know something we don’t? : ) If it were really only 2 years – I would feel better.
tankyou: “demeaning rants” Well the rants do seem a little out of place at times, but can you imagine how defeated the Lakers would seem if the rants didn’t exist? Let’s say we go on a losing streak, and Byron and Kobe simply say well – the reason we have lost 8 straight is because the other teams are just better than us. I mean it would be true, but wow – that would not go over well. It is just a bad situation.
Game: For those rooting for wins, tonight’s game is very important. If we do not win this one, it could get very ugly, when looking at the upcoming schedule.
Chicago looks horrible up to this point. Their missed shots equal the bad shots the Lakers took against the Clippers. However, they are projected to be eastern contenders while the Lakers are Lakers pretenders.
Robert – yes, yes, of course I understand he would have to be employed by the Lakers and not by the Warriors.
I wonder what his contract with the Warriors is and if he can be approached?
Yes, I do agree the current Lakers “leadership” would get in the way, and I usually prefer to look forward with hope instead of backwards with longing.
But still (sniffle …)
I like Tony Snell as a developing 3 and D player. I’d like to see him in a Lakers uniform.