The Bulls visit the Lakers tonight and they come in flashing some of the determination, grit, and, most of all big victories, that had many installing them as the eastern conference favorites to reach the finals. They are winners in three of their last four games, with all three of the wins coming against strong Western opponents — San Antonio, Dallas, and Golden State. Their most recent win against the Warriors was one where they played with Jimmy Butler (though the Duns were missing Andrew Bogut), but were still able to gut out an overtime victory when Derrick Rose hit a clutch game winning jumper in the closing seconds.
Rose and (especially) Butler are two key reasons why teams are so high on the Bulls, but the reason most see them as a true threat is due to the addition of our old friend Pau Gasol. The Spaniard has thrived in Chicago as an anchor in the pivot, putting up strong numbers and having the type of impact those who still believed he still had something left in the tank thought he was capable of. The Bulls have offered him exactly what he needs to thrive — space in the post, a defensive scheme that limits some of his weaknesses, and teammates who compliment him on both sides of the ball — and he is taking advantage of it all.
Pau’s return to Los Angeles, then, is a bit bitter sweet. For me, personally, I am happy to see him playing so well and contributing on a team that has a chance to contend for a championship. On the other hand, I miss watching him nightly on the team I root for; I miss watching the exquisite passing, great feel for the game, and ability to act as the hub of an offense from the low post. Fact is, though, is that it was time for him to move on. The fact that things are going well for him, but so poorly for the Lakers does sting, but does not erase the good memories he provided during his time with the team.
With that, one has to wonder how fans will respond to Pau in his first game back at Staples Center since leaving in free agency. If Byron Scott has his way, Pau will be welcomed back as a former championship contributor should. Via ESPN’s Baxter Holmes:
And Lakers coach Byron Scott said fans owe Gasol one thing: “A standing ovation,” Scott said. “This is a guy that was here that helped to win two championships. He deserves that. Pau was a great player when he was here and is still a great player. He’s having a lot of success in Chicago. But I think fans should show him the respect that he deserves.”
Byron and I agree wholeheartedly here.
As for the actual game, considering who the Bulls have beaten lately and the fact that the Lakers have lost 9 straight games, I am not expecting anything different than what I wrote in leading up to the Wizards game. This is even more true with Jimmy Butler expected to return tonight to a lineup that already features Rose, Pau, and Noah. The Lakers simply do not have the front line talent to deal with these caliber of players, which is even more true with Nick Young (who hasn’t been playing great, but can explode on any given night to improve the Lakers’ chances) already ruled out with his sprained ankle.
In saying all that, there are a few things I’ll be monitoring tonight, specifically how a few Lakers fare in their individual match ups against their Bulls counterparts.
The first, of course, is Jordan Clarkson facing off against Derrick Rose. There may not be a more “trial by fire” position in the league for a young player than point guard. Clarkson has already had to defend Tony Parker and John Wall and be defended by Patrick Beverly. Tonight he faces Rose who, while not at the level he was when he won the MVP a few years ago, is still a load to deal with. I’ll be interested in seeing how Clarkson deals with the pressure Rose puts on him defensively. I’ll also be interested in seeing how he manages against a Bulls defense that is typically very good at dealing with perimeter players who love to attack off the dribble.
Secondly, I really do want to see if Ed Davis, Jordan Hill, and Tarik Black can hold their own against Pau, Noah, and Taj Gibson on both ends. The three Bulls are the superior players, no doubt. But the Lakers’ trio offer solid games of their own and have an ability to do damage in the paint on the glass and as release valves when slashing/diving/cutting around the rim. I am interested in seeing what, if anything, they do against a very good front court duo like what the Bulls offer.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TNT. Also listen live on ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.
J C says
Pau’s resurgence, relevance and all-star status stand as proof of the Lakers overall slippage.
The days of stealing one instrumental player to launch us into championship contention seem like a long time ago.
Sorry to sound negative!
I was a huge Pau fan.
Hope he gets that ‘Standing O.’
He’s gonna get a huge standing ovation.
Lamar coming off the bench for Dallas got a huge standing ovation the 1st time he came back to LA.
I’m actually pretty happy this is nationally televised so that we can at least see this happen, one of the few high moments in a season with so much tragedy
Craig W. says
Pau’s resurgence is as much do to the system as the talent around him. As Darius said, the Bulls have a defensive ability to cover for Pau’s shortcomings on that side of the ball and offensively he isn’t dealing with a space eater under the basket, like he did in L.A.
Pau was misused here in the last few years, as much by the talent as the coaching, and that is a big reason he is doing so well now. He chose well in deciding where to go.
Good luck Pau. You added a lot while you were here and you opened up a lot by leaving.
Calvin Chang says
Agreed with Craig W. It’s the system. That’s why good coaching is a game-changer. Good coaching can lead a team with average talent to a good record. Bad coaching can lead a team with good talent to a bad record. Bad coaching plus average talent = Lakers today. But as someone posted on a different site… Jahlil = Ringzzzz 🙂
J C says
Craig – true! Pau was misused by coaches here. Coaching being part of our team slippage.
His current coach is excellent, clearly.
Also true he has nice pieces around him now. Absolutely wish him all the best.
I guess I’m in the minority on the subject of Pau Gasol. Whether it was due to injury, misuse by the coaching staffs or just him being beaten down by constant trade rumors and the decline of the Lakers in general, Pau’s last couple of years in LA weren’t pretty. He played like he didn’t want to be a Laker any more. That was disappointing to me. Again, injury may have played a large role in my perception of his effort and connectivity to the team.
-Pau Gasol, simply the best, most productive power forward to ever wear the Purple & Gold (Baylor was a three). Without question his #16 will hang from the rafters in Staples.
-No question he’ll receive a standing ovation. Darius, I agree, it was time for him to move on.
-LKK, I think you hit it on the head, Gasol didn’t want to be a Laker anymore…for all the reasons you mentioned and more. Everyone knows how insane Kobe can be pertaining to expectations of his teammate, especially the more talented ones. It was pretty clear Pau didn’t want to be a “Black Swan” every night.
-As for the game…hopefully it’ll be entertaining.
I’m looking forward to Pau’s return tonight. I do hope the fans show him the positive appreciation which he truly deserves. But my primary interest tonight will be Jordan Clarkson’s performance. In four starts, including tonight’s, he will have gone up against Tony Parker, Patrick Beverly, John Wall, and Derrick Rose. That’s quite a series of challenges for the young guard.
In fact, out of curiosity, I did some research to see how he’s compared so far to the other guards taken ahead of him in the last NBA draft. Here are the comparative statistics (guards only) through January 28:
Dante Exum (drafted #5, Utah) — 19;44 minutes per game, 4.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 2.1 apg
Marcus Smart (#6, Boston) — 22:14 minutes, 6.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.1 apg
Nik Stauskas (#8, Sacramento) — 14:14 minutes, 3.8 ppg, 1.0 rpg, .7 apg
Elfrid Payton (#10, Orlando) — 27.29 minutes, 7.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.8 apg
Zach Lavine (#13, Minnesota) — 22:50 minutes, 8.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.5 apg
James Young (#15, Boston) — only 12 games; not in rotation
Tyler Ennis (#18, Phoenix) — only 7 games; not in rotation
Gary Harris (#19, Denver) — 20 games; not in rotation
Jordan Adams (#22, Memphis) — 12 games; not in rotation
Shabazz Napier (#24, Miami) — 20:48 minutes, 5.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.2 apg
C.J. Wilcox (#28, Clippers) — 6 games; not in rotation
Spenser Dinwiddie (#38, Detroit) — 12 games; not in rotation
Nick Johnson (#42, Houston) — 17 games, not in rotation
Markel Brown (#44, Brooklyn) — 13 games; not in rotation
Meanwhile, Jordan Clarkson’s numbers (which have been trending upward recently) are as follows:
24 games overall, 14:33 minutes, 5.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.0 apg
Last 3 games — 31:12 minutes, 12.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.0 apg
Several things stand out. 1) Clarkson is out-performing lottery picks Dante Exum (#5 selection) and Nik Stauskas (#8) and is only behind Lavine, Payton, and Smart in points per game. 2) Over the very small statistical sample of the last 3 games in which he has started, Clarkson has been outscoring all rookie guards. Obviously, we’ll see if that continues. (Of course, his minutes have been expanded considerably and, in the last 3 games, he is still shooting only 39.5%.) 3) Clarkson’s floor game must improve. Elfrid Payton, for example is averaging 5.8 apg; Clarkson is averaging 1.0 apg. Clarkson’s rebounds per game are also relatively low (1.6).
Whatever Clarkson’s shortcomings at this stage, all of this shows, I believe, that the Lakers were extremely savvy in acquiring Jordan Clarkson on draft day. If the draft were repeated today, does anyone think that Jordan Clarkson would be chosen #46 in the draft? Tarik Black (who is another story) could also turn out to be something of a steal (undrafted and picked up by the Lakers on waivers).
It would be interesting to do a similar comparison between Clarkson and the other guards of the recent draft at the end of the season (although it’s a lot of work). As I stated earlier, Clarkson’s stats are trending upward thanks to the increased playing time (as well as his intensity, athleticism, and enthusiasm for the game). In the meantime, one of the few interesting stories in LakerLand at present is the continued development of Jordan Clarkson.
The coaches lose all credibility today. The all star system is broken. Demarcus Cousins is by far the best big man in the league. What makes it worse is Tim Duncan hasn’t performed close to an all star level. If Cousins were not alive Duncan still isn’t close to deserving the all star selection. Yes Dwight Howard isn’t the player he used to be but he is still better than Tim Duncan.
average talent = Lakers today.
Not even close.
It’s the system.
Rose/Butler/Noah/Gibson vs. Blake/Young/Hill/Sacre
Pau is pretty much the same guy that he was last year, which is impressive in a way, since he is 34 years old. His numbers are up incrementally in almost every category, but I think most of that is because he is on a very good team where he fits perfectly.
Calvin Chang says
@Mid-Wilshire: Any NBA guard can put up numbers if he is given the green light to play through mistakes with no regard of winning or losing. The true steal of the season is Hassan Whiteside from the D-League. In the past 10 games, Whiteside is averaging a double-double and almost 4 blocks per game while helping the Heat win and get back in the playoff picture by being a true rim protector. Clarkson is a good athlete with great speed. But I’ll be more impressed if he can quarterback the team to wins.
The lakers talent is average, sure – for a d league team.
Oh I know I’m exaggerating but they are putrid no doubt …
I agree with Zack Lowe regarding Pau. His numbers look very nice but when you watch him play it doesn’t look like he his having an impact on the game.
While we agree Pau didn’t want to be with the Lakers, I disagree that Kobe’s expectations were a factor in his departure. Kobe helped Pau achieve his greatest professional success in the form of back to back c’ships. I think it was more of an organizational shortcoming that made Pau decide to leave.
Everyone knows how insane Kobe can be pertaining to expectations of his teammate, especially the more talented ones.
Pau actually said that one thing that gave him pause about leaving was feeling reluctant to bail on Kobe. But, really it isn’t that complicated: Chicago is good, he fits there perfectly, and they are in the East.
“It was difficult to talk to him,” Gasol said of Bryant. “But he was very supportive. He understood and he just said, ‘I had to do what was best for me and felt right for me.’ He was going to support me no matter what. That’s what friends and brothers do.”
Craig W. says
You fail to recognize that those who don’t care for Kobe – or dislike his style – have a hard time accepting that winning players generally want to play with him. Blaming Howard’s leaving on Kobe has never held much water, because there were a number of reasons for Dwight to leave – coaching, the pressure of playing in L.A., the focus on every little move by the media. Kobe’s attitude may very well have been a factor, but that is more a function of Dwight’s personality, than it is a criticism of Kobe.
As always , several deserving players were short changed by not being selected to the ASG. I’d love to see All-Star rosters expanded to 15 players. That would help.
great post Mid
I’m well aware that to some, Kobe is the root of all evil. I was trying to follow the commenting guidelines by being diplomatic in my response to BCS. 🙂
Awesome post Mid. I was an advocate for Smart as I like players that play the game with either a high b-ball IQ or an unparalleled competitive fire, and Smart is endowed with competitive fire.
Boozer sure showing his ex team why they still pay him $12 mil. They happy.
Say what you will but Byron has his team of ragtag players competing.
Hill playing great.
Then there is Kelly. What is his purpose? Not one positive,
Does this great coach know you are allowed to call time out?
How low is Lin BB IQ?
Again no Davis at the end for Tankero.
Clarkson three point play gives Lakers breathing room.
Wow what a shot by Clakson, kid could be good.
My god Scott give the kid help and get a darn guard in there. You can’t be this foolish?
Worst coach in the NBA. What a joke he is! No wonder he has 28% percent last 4 years.
Came in just in time to see the Bulls trap and trap and trap
So the old save the ball under your own basket fundamental no no is in effect
Win or lose I appreciate this team’s effort.
BS has done everything he can to lose this game but Bulls refuse. Leave a rookie in for last 13 minutes with 2 vet guards on bench. Leave D league Rob in for last 15 minutes wHild Davis sits. No adjustments. No plays, No time ours. Can it be more clear he is paid to lose!
Let’s give the team credit. They’re playing a hard, gutsy game against a team that many predict will go to the Finals. Sometimes you have to live in the moment. Go Lakers!! Hill ties it and forces a 2nd OT.
So far, Jimmy Butler has taken the same number of free throws as the entire Laker team.
Wait, that’s wrong. Butler has made as many foul shots as the Lakers have taken. He also missed a couple.
Clarkson is receiving on-the-job training.
Why did lin get benched
Can it be more clear he is paid to lose!
Maybe he is looking to re-negotiate.
Like I said great plan coach!
That’s a double overtime win!
Everything is Awesome!
Lakers win. That double digit losing streak will have to wait. Clarkson, Ellington and Hill had nice games to lead the Lakers over the Bulls.
Rose seems like a head case.
Great game Ellington, Clarkson, Hill. Not so much BScott
Lost chance to have all-time worst streak.
Rose was 7/26 with a 1/7 on 3s, and Noah and Pau were a combined 12/21. I remember that there used to be people here who would post complaining multiple times after any game in which Kobe took more shots than the bigs (Howard/Pau or Bynum/Pau) combined did, and often HA and other ESPN guys would bring it up/Tweet about it when it occurred. Now, of course, it is only Adande who notices anything like that:
jadande J.A. Adande
Pau gave Rose the “settle down” sign after Rose put up another quick 3. Then he went back downcourt looking like Grumpy Cat
Last minute intentional fouls and Brooks’ tech put the Lakers over the top in their side battle to out shoot Butler at the foul line.
As much as I dislike the TNT post game show, they were on it as far as Rose’s poor performance was concerned. Both Barkley and Smith noted that Rose shot poorly and made poor use of his bigs. Against the Warriors on Tues., Rose shot the ball 33 times, had 11 turnovers and only one assist. He had 5 more turnovers against the Lakers. Not a winning formula. The TNT crew even went as far as suggesting that a difference in philosophy between Coach Thibodeau and Rose is the reason for rumors that Thibodeau is on a bit of a hot seat in Chi-Town.
J C says
I’m in shock that we held on in this one.
The tank can wait!
Great win – credit Hill, Ellington and Clarkson.
Lakers need to work on their ‘press break’ offense.
Jimmy Butler is a stud.
The Dane says
Hill, Randle, Clarkson, R. Kelly + Pick, maybe even Lin off the bench.
Is that a foundation for the long run? Best thing would be, if the Lakers could start building like the Hawks, Trailblazers, Warriors and Grizz, build a deep team, develop your players.
Calvin Chang says
Very impressed with Jordan Clarkson’s freethrow shooting. Simple, consistent technique. Much better than Lin’s erratic FT% where he seems to think too much. Lin’s a better passer though.
I liked how the team played last night.
We lost tonthe wiz and it was a close game but when we have zero star level players on a team to compete that well is still a very good game.
Hill showed us what he could be amd that je was worth the money – to put up 26-12 against Pau,Noah,amd Gibson amd be a 4 that can hit 20 footers is valuable in this league – i think we pick up his option next year
Clarkson also played great – very active on D – got lost a few times – but overall for a 1st year guy to go up against a former mvp – great stuff – i didmt lile him getting trapped so easily or brooks bothering him so much but he could be a good young piece for the team
The Dane says
Clarkson looks like a George Hill kind of guard. Big, makes switching on Defense a good option, but he needs a playmaking SG or SF, and preferably a passing big.
Craig W. says
I don’t think I have ever seen an entire starting rotation get on-the-job training before. It is unique for a coach to tell a starting squad that they have 20 games together before he changes to another set – and he sticks to that even through two overtimes. There were previous starters available to play in one or both overtimes and – no – it was the starter’s game to win or lose. This was against an offensively challenged squad, but still…
For those who wanted to see what our young players could do, you really shouldn’t be criticizing Scott for last night’s game. That was as pure a laboratory as you are going to find.
…and we won!! Who woulda thunk?
Craig W. says
…and on national TV too…
If you are advocating the Lakers find a taker who will risk a couple of picks on Jordan Hill for a stretch run this year, last night was certainly a long audition of his skills. Boozer and Lin, not so much, but Booze can certainly put it up in traffic.
Nice to hear Clarkson is developing well. Thats very good news. I hope the same for Randle when he comes back next year. If we keep our pick we will have two lottery rookies next year, counting Randle (he’ll still be considered a rookie, no?). And if we dont trade our pick from Houston we are going to be LOADED with young players (we’ll have 5 guys with only 2 years experience at most, counting Black). The future doesn’t look too bad from this view.
Moses Buhay says
If All-Star selections are going to weighed when comparing player legacies then the voting needs to be handles by league employees. Just let the GM’s pick all the all-stars.
Excellent point re: the Lakers future prospects. You’re right. Next year the Lakers will have the following players on their squad:
Jordan Clarkson — Guard, age 23 (next year);
Julius Randle — Power Forward, age 21 (next year);
Tarik Black — PF / C, age 24 (next year);
A possible top 5 1st round draft pick;
A 1st round draft pick from Houston (possibly #24-26);
A high 2nd round draft pick (possibly #34-35).
This is very intriguing. Depending upon whom the Lakers select in the draft, next year the Lakers will almost certainly be 1) younger, 2) possibly much more athletic, and 3) in a position to begin re-building in earnest.
When most corporations develop long-term strategies, they usually think in terms of 5-year plans. This year and next could be the first 2 years of that plan with the emphasis being on getting younger and more athletic and building a strong talent base for the coaching staff to work with. If the Lakers are able to surround those young players with a few well-chosen Free Agents, then year 3 could be spent maturing and polishing the young players into legitimate NBA players and molding everyone (young players + FAs) together into a team.
In years 4-5 — with a bit of luck and a few more FAs and draft picks — the Lakers should be relevant again. It will take time. But you’ve got to start somewhere. Clarkson, Randle, and Black could be the foundation of all of that. We’ll see.
Renato Afonso says
That math is wrong by one year. You’re forgetting about the MDA season and giving the FO too much credit…
Also, Black is not a center and will take minutes away from Randle.
J C says
Hill is playing well and is likely trade-worthy.
But shouldn’t we retain him?
He’s not so old to be excluded from a rebuild, I would think.
I suppose it depends on what FA we can add.
I used to really enjoy reading mainstream NBA writers, even when I disagreed with them – Hollinger, Stein, Sheridan, Simmons, etc. The newer guys – almost all of them – seem to have some kind of weird chip on their shoulder. I have reached the point where I just avoid reading them. Have you listened to Simmons’ hand-picked successor Zach Lowe on podcasts? The guy just has this grating, hard-charging smugness that is unbearable. That sums up his entire cohort for me.
I don’t know what deal is with these newer guys. Maybe it’s part of that whole Millennial Generation thing, where your self-justification comes from knowing that everyone throughout history who came before you was stupid/evil/racist/didn’t know statistics.
We have seen enough of Clarkson. Put him back in the D league and let’s continue on with the plan.
I’m discounting the last year under MDA. I consider that to be a lost season. Also, I’m not giving any credit to the front office (or taking any away). I didn’t mention them at all. I’m just laying out the skeleton of what could be the makings of a possible 5-year plan starting now. These are my views only. I’m not attributing anything to the FO. I almost never comment on the FO.
Wouldnt Clarkson develop better playing vs nba competition???
J C said it best: `the tank can wait!´
always feels great to get a w
bryan S. says
Renato: Black is a 4/5, depending on the match-up. Don’t think Ed Davis will be back as he will have a chance to get a better deal elsewhere–same for Jordan Hill. That’s two bigs gone. Black’s game is back to basket; Randle’s face-up. Minutes won’t be a problem for either player.
Mid-W: Two excellent posts here. You quantified and confirmed what I described about Clarkson’s play in comparison to other pg rookies (much to like), and also laid out a very plausible road map for roster building. Appreciate your forward-thinking.
Ellington making a very strong case for a contract next season. Showing more skills than I thought he had and a lot of mental fortitude given what he has had to deal with this season.
Ellington looked good last night. Clarkson was ok, but got lost on defense a few times and struggles to bring the ball up the court. Hill, Lin and boozer all chip in and it was a good team win. We should cut back Kelly minutes he is a liability on defense. But overall looking at the game the lakers have some talent, but again the coaching is inconsistent.
david h says
aaron translation: Clarkson improving too rapidly; bad for the business of tanking.
if darius had to make a guideline for every aaron post; he’d be up to 110 by now.
with the win last night, now looking forward to the game versus Derek’s knicks sunday am.
Happy Friday everyone and Go Lakers
Craig W. says
The thing you are forgetting about coaching decisions last night is that it was an audition, not a real strategy game. We got to see how the youngsters would play in all kinds of situations, without having to look over their shoulder to see if they had made a mistake and were being pulled.
That was the real point of leaving Clarkson in there against a pressing defense, late in the game. He made mistakes and was able to work through quite a number of situations during the game. Now, not only will there be lots of film the coaches can use, but the player(s) can understand just how it feels to be ‘under fire’ and learn. This was a perfect situation – and we won.
P.S. Now if only Scott can prove he can make in-game adjustments when he is actually trying to win.
@ J C,
You bring up a good question: Do we trade Jordan Hill simply because he’s a trade-able asset? Or do we keep him and make him part of the re-building process?
Also, what do we do with Wayne Ellington at the end of this year? He’s been playing extremely well recently and doing more than just scoring. Do the Lakers re-sign him or not? And if so, how much should they pay for him?
I’ve noticed that Clarkson and Ellington, in the few games that they’ve started as a tandem, seem to work very well together. Against Washington (and a very tough back court), they combined for 46 points. Against Chicago (with one of the better defenses in the League), they combined for 41 points.
This could be an interesting new development. Obviously, we’ve got to see more. But the questions remain: Do you keep Hill or trade him simply because he’s trade-able? Do you bring Ellington back next year and make him a significant part of the re-build? Or not?
Kelly to the d-fenders. Thank goodness. He looks lost, looks afraid to shoot
T. Rogers says
I think the “statistical revolution” in basketball is one of the things making many new basketball writers a pain in the neck. Note, I am not taking a shot at the statistical models themselves. I’m taking a shot at the writers who treat said stat models like holy scripture. To me that is where the smug, know it all-ness comes from.
In one of ESPN’s 5 on 5 columns they discussed All Star snubs. One of the contributors cited WARP in response to every single question. That’s the thing that makes some of these new guys unbearable, at least for me. Simmons is a Celtic homer and drives me up the wall at times. But at least he is knowledgeable, loves the game, and is actually entertaining to read and listen to. Some of these other guys, not so much.
J C says
Thanks for the response.
Excellent posts by you btw!
I’d retain Hill, personally.
He’s the kind of guy you want on your squad whether he’s a starter or first big off the bench.
Lakers hold his option at $9 mil so his future may depend on other FAs we obtain, or don’t.
I’m impressed with Ellington!
Definitely a keeper in my book. Nice shooter and has some other tools as well. He and Clarkson do make a nice combo, and Ellington seems the more polished of the two.
Mid: “I’m discounting the last year under MDA. I consider that to be a lost season.” And the two seasons prior to that? And this year? “possible 5-year plan starting now.” 5 years is too long of a horizon in the NBA unless you totally tank and do what the Celtics have done. How many coaches and players who are here now will be here in 5 years? “I’m not attributing anything to the FO.” Nothing? So do they exist?
Craig W. says
I am actually going to give the FO a pass – yes a pass. I know, that isn’t a surprise, coming from me on this blog.
I do think they royally screwed up the coaching selections, but there may be some extenuating circumstances as to how that all started. Jerry Buss on replacing Phil with Mike Brown was a mistake, but Phil was physically broken, emotionally drained, and really didn’t really want to coach any more. The team needed an overhall, but the veto really, really screwed the plan, the chemistry, and just about everything else up. Of course, if Jim had been able to keep his mouth shut about that trade for – what, maybe 24hrs – then the owners would have left NY and the trade, in all likelyhood, would have gone through.
The MDA hiring was actually quite understandable – Phil wasn’t about to commit to more than completing the year and wanted to think things over on his schedule – but also created a rift between Jim, Jerry, and Jeannie. MDA, however, wasn’t the right coach for the structure of that team and Pau was already somewhat alienated by the Chris Paul non-trade.
Hiring Byron Scott was an exercise in trying not to make a third straight mistake in hiring a coach, and the search itself left a confused taste in everyone’s mouth. Byron may still work out, but his history didn’t really match what this team was going to need for this year. It remains to be seen if he can effectively develop young players, while instilling a workable structure for becoming a contender.
IMO – the coaching carousel was the worst of the front office mistakes. Phil wasn’t the answer, but – with all parties learning on-the-job (Jerry Buss was dying/dead) and a new CBA in place – some mistakes were bound to be made.
Craig W. says
…the beginning of this comment is being approved…
The personnel decisions were mostly bad only in hindsight – I know, some didn’t like the Steve Nash trade at the time, but they were in the minority.
We now have some talent developing, even if only with rotational players; and whether we keep them to add stars to or trade them to bring back more talent, is really how the front office is going to be remembered. Now that we have the experience of some failures, we will see if a learning process has taken place. Like in the nineties, if we can develop an underlying core, we can add stars to lead them.
This frame of reference is why I think denigrating the front office as having no capabilities doesn’t mark us as Laker supporters, but simply people who want to magically recreate our storied history. We are in a new era and we will have to operate by this era’s guidelines.
The next year or two should tell us much more about the front office than do the last three years.
Your Aaron translation was spot on. How could I have missed that?
Watching Kelly in D League game. Looks like where he belongs. Bad defender.
When you advocate rebuild, you fortify the structure now on gradual basis not next season. Therefore, keep the guys that help the team move forward and discard other who just brings baggages. This doesn’t apply to Kobe because he is the foundation of this team, he is the symbol of W in this franchise. Having said that, IMO, I will go for the following players to re-sign next season – Kobe, Hill, Davis, Randle, Wellington, Clarkson, Black. That’s it. See if you can find a good trade for Swaggy P(oor) or else retain.
FO should not spend time in rebuilding via destruction every season. They could have started a sincere rebuild this season if they signed Ariza and Thomas last season who became available. When Lakers won their last Championship who were the formidable players that led to a winning season – Kobe, Gasol, Artest, Fisher, Odom, Bynum. Aside from disabled Kobe who else replaced those strong pieces? Nada! it is all bad roll of the dice on CP3, Nash and Dwight. Therefore, criticisms on FO and owner are sharp when team is awful, while accolade and praises when the team is on the top. I think that is an everyday reality in life from school; to work; to family.
Whatever happens to the season’s pick, will happen. I don’t like the idea of tanking in order to get there, it is bad for momentum and the fighting spirit of being a Laker. For the sake of our legends like Baylor, Chamberlain, Mikan, West etc. they never entertained losing in order to get more abled players to beat their nemesis the leprechauns or the knicks. They fought back every season until they finally won in 1972. A true Laker never say L whatever roster they have on the floor.
Of course, if Jim had been able to keep his mouth shut about that trade for – what, maybe 24hrs – then the owners would have left NY and the trade, in all likelyhood, would have gone through.
If you are in the camp of people who believe this, that is strange IMO, since that is a far worse indictment of Jim Buss than just about anything else. It is also quite odd coming from you since you have routinely held forth here about how close-mouthed the Lakers FO is and why that is another reason that we shouldn’t judge them/should trust them, etc.
I myself am not sure about whether Jim or anyone else being verbally indiscreet about the deal made the difference, but I tend to doubt it. I think Stern vetoed the deal for two reasons:
1. He wanted to avoid saddling NO with big salaries while they were for sale.
2. The Lakers getting Paul immediately after the lockout would have caused a firestorm of outrage from small-market fans, other fans, and of course, owners.
The funny thing is that, now, over three years later, other than Paul himself, Pau is still the most valuable guy in the trade, by far. Eric Gordon has been an overpaid durability nightmare for NO, and has played only 25 games–badly–this year. And Gordon has a 15M player option for 2015-16. Al-Farouq Aminu is a reserve in Dallas. Kaman we know about, and the Hornets just gave up on Austin Rivers.
But….they did win the Anthony Davis lottery, so the Clippers got Paul, the Hornets got Davis, and the Lakers got kneecapped–and are still very much lying on the ground in pain.
As to the coaching hires, Shaw was the obvious pick after Phil. That said, Shaw is having trouble in Denver and will probably get the ax at the end of the year. He might have done well here, though. As to Phil/MDA, the KBros nailed it: once Phil’s name was out there, the Lakers should have let him turn down the job. They could have given him a reasonable timeline–14 days or whatever–but once Phil’s name was in the ring, doing it the way they did made the whole thing a mess. Also, even if it is true, IMO Jim’s continuing to publicly put the D’Antoni hire on his dying father is all kinds of lame.
Gordon did play his best game of the year tonight.
“some mistakes were bound to be made..” – CW
Based on observations of great companies, they usually rebuild while they are still on the top by thinking ahead of the curve and forecasting what their customers wanted to buy? They eliminate departments that are costly and not profitable while infuse more research and development to put up new products.
Similarly, if we look back to 2011 when Lakers lost to underdog Mavs in 2nd round, Phil wanted to quit because he knows his salary is going to be cut, secondly, he could no longer handle the out-of-town games and also end of his contract. What if Lakers continued investing on Phil, while tinkering the roster with new breed of stars while discarding others gradually. They could have trimmed his salary but willing to share coaching to his trusted assistant on the other 41 out-of-town games, what would have happened?
What if Jim Buss stopped involving in the operations of the franchise since he had a history of meltdown when he gets involved like what happened in 2007? He lacks the charisma like his Dad to players and fans alike. He should have left the team operations to basketball professionals like Mitch and Phil Jackson, what would have happened?
What if Jim and Jeanie’s squabbles and back stabbing did not drag their own personal interest on the Lakers, treated this as a corporation wherein the family stay on the background. Example of this is the story of Irvine Co that developed the City of Irvine. It was the realtor-developer, Donald Bren who run the company while Joan Irvine stayed out of the picture. The same is true to Disney Companies, after Walt Disney died, different CEO’s took over while late Roy Disney remained member of the board. What would have happened to the Lakers if they are not run by the Buss Family?
Undoubtedly, it is hard to separate egos from the management of their wealth, The offsprings think that they can surpass the achievement whatever their parents built. It is like the stories of the rise and fall of wealthy families during the Industrial Revolution.
Rob Westbrook says
I think these stats paint a better picture:
Clarkson: 20.2 pt, PER 12.5, TS% 49.1, TRB% 5.9, AST% 11.7, STL% 1.9, BLK% 1.0, TOV% 11.6, Net +0.8
Payton: 14.5 pt, PER 12.2, TS% 44.7, TRB% 7.3, AST% 31.7, STL% 2.7, BLK% 0.6, TOV% 21.6, Net +7.3
Smart: 14.9 pt, PER 11.9, TS% 54.3, TRB% 6.0, AST% 19.9, STL% 2.5, BLK% 0.4, TOV% 16.4, Net +6.9
Lavine: 18.2 pt, PER 9.7, TS% 48.9, TRB% 5.6, AST% 24.1, STL% 1.8, BLK% 0.5, TOV% 21.2, Net -13.8
Napier: 13.3 pt, PER 8.4, TS% 51.1, TRB% 7.0, AST% 16.7, STL% 2.3, BLK% 0.4, TOV% 25.0, Net +2.4
Stauskas: 13.7 pt, PER 6.4, TS% 47.2, TRB% 4.2, AST% 7.4, STL% 0.8, BLK% 1.2, TOV% 9.1, Net -14.4
pt = pts per 100 team possessions (to control for pace and minutes), Net = Net plus/minus on-off court
Lin: 20.7 pt, PER 14.2, TS% 53.8, TRB% 5.2, AST% 28.4, STL% 2.1, BLK% 1.2, TOV% 19.4, Net -3.0
Price: 11.5 pt, PER 10.0, TS% 46.1, TRB% 3.8, AST% 23.6, STL% 3.2, BLK% 0.3, TOV% 17.3, Net +4.6
Westbrook: 39.7 pt, PER 27.6, TS% 51.9, TRB% 10.0, AST% 46.2, STL% 3.6, BLK% 0.3, TOV% 13.6, Net +6.1
Mid-Wilshire, I like your 5 yr plan!
I still say trade Hill, Lin and Davis as long as we can get assets (draft picks) back. Darius had a thread recently which outlined the reasons why each of the above have less trade value than we fans would expect. So we’ll see how this plays out.
Of the three I would imagine only Hill would be back and that’s only if we roll cap space forward again. If we are active and need his salary then he’ll be let go. Lin likely wants a new start elsewhere and his PG/SG skills can be filled less expensively and more capably by Clarkson.
Regarding Ellington, he’s on a hot streak now for sure. However his career stats would indicate that he’s a fringe rotation player. Additionally, he’s 27 so there is no upside he is what he is — so I would assume his presence on next year’s roster comes down to costs.
Old timer- I have always thought that Jim should not try to be his dad. The best solution fir the Lakers has always been for Jim to step back (not out) promote Mitch and fill the GM role with a young stud up and comer from another franchise. Jy is solution gives the FO stability with Mitch but also brings in some fresh ideas.
This way there is no three year ticking clock on Jim and if the franchise doesn’t turn around Jim wouldn’t have to fire himself as Mitch and the new GM would be on the hook.
@rob: thx for sharing thise stats
Looks like clarkson might be the steal of the draft, he is playing great ball the last 2-3 games
Baylor Fan says
This game showed that just as it is hard to win all the games you are supposed to win, it is equally tough to lose all the games when you are over-matched. It is really hard to evaluate how good or bad the Laker players are in the offense they are running. For the most part, the offense is one or maybe two passes and then shoot whatever shot you can get. Occasionally it will be an open shot but usually it will be contested. The 3rd and 4th quarters were great examples of this and the shooting percentage was predictably poor. What would it look like if the players kept trying to pass to teammates with better shots? What would it look like if they decided that having a hand in your face means you held the ball too long?
The Lakers won because the Bulls played down to their level and Thibodeau refused to use his bench. Once the game hit overtime, the Bulls did not have anything left in the tank and their version of hero ball kept giving the ball back to the Lakers.
J C says
Rob, which data do you see there as relevant? In other words, what did you deduce from this info?
Lil pau says
The question isn’t would you move Hill, Lin, Davis for draft picks – everyone would – but what kind of contract would you be willing to take back ALONG with the pick? If it’s a 1st rounder plus a scrub on a four year deal, is that still worth it? No one is trading picks straight up– in all cases but Davis and sacre, the numbers don’t work and picks are so valuable under the CBA that they are always bundled with a player a team wants to dump. That was the beauty of Lin– a 1st round pick, a player we could actually use, and an expiring contract. This larceny was only possible because Hou thought bosh was coming and because our much maligned FO had the flexibility/cap space to absorb lins poison pill contract, something that should at least be acknowledged by the something is better than nothing camp
something that should at least be acknowledged by the something is better than nothing camp
I backed the Lin deal at the time, and I think most people did. If they can’t flip him before the deadline, at least they did get the pick. As to the rest, the Lakers’ FO made the decision to pay Jordan Hill 9M and to offer the second year of the deal with the team option. So, if Hill’s contract is tough to move/match, presuming that they even want to move him, then, well, that is on the FO. It was also the Lakers’ FO that gave Nick Young a four-year deal, which will probably be tough to move.
As to last year’s cases: supposedly PHX had agreed to send a lowish first-rounder here for Pau, and the money could have been worked out by using Emeka Okafor’s deal, but the Lakers said no when the pick wasn’t high enough. That was never confirmed, though, so it may not be true. I thought then, and said then, that they should have just bought out Kaman if they couldn’t find a taker, as all that he might do is help them to win a late game or two that Sacre probably would not have.
Matt: “The best solution fir the Lakers has always been for Jim to step back” I have been saying this for 3 years.
Oldtimer: “He lacks the charisma like his Dad” You think? : )
Lil Pau: When you take a salary dump you get consideration, usually in the form of a pick. That is not larceny – it is a standard deal. Larceny was what the Suns committed. They got the picks and we got the salary dump. Meanwhile – what we did with Pau, Dwight, and Kaman was not larceny either. It was a charitable donation.
Craig W. says
Baylor Fan ,
This is our bench mob starting all our games. Yes, they are making lots of mistakes, but they are also playing more as a team – with the current bench/former starters also playing as a team. The lessons you are talking about can be learned if they continue playing for some 20 odd games as starters – regardless the win/loss record. The question is, “Will they learn these lessons in that amount of time?” That is exactly what we will be finding out for the next 10-12 games. That is why I am watching these games – however I record them before watching. That is how the front office will make their decisions on who to keep and who to dump.
P.S. Byron Scott also refused to use his bench late in the game and through two overtimes.
rr — that’s the way I remember the Pau deal being reported, too. Might not have been true, but if it was, that was dumb. No way Pau was coming back anyway; we all wanted the highest of PHX’s picks (or the chance to get back one of ours), but even the lowest would have looked good now.
They should have bought Kaman out just because it was embarrassing watching him rack up DNPs and sleeping on the bench.
J C says
Anyone see Diaz vs Silva UFC last night?
Entertaining, but early on, Diaz layed down on the canvas taunting Silva.
Like Kaman lying on the bench!
Craig W. says
It is interesting how the ‘talking heads’ and us fans set up a supposed scenario, then presume said scenario is actually what happened, then criticize the front office for that scenario.
The Laker front office is amazingly quiet on pretty much everything they do – or don’t do – perhaps because of what always happens around here, or perhaps because they don’t really want to advertise what they are doing to the rest of the league. It is impossible to stop the rumor mill, but at least you can keep your mouth shut – Jim Buss has seemingly learned that lesson.
I was at a Super Bowl family pre-party last night and a nephew works in the LA Corner’s department. He indicated he has seen so much ‘fact’ published in the newspaper that was patently untrue – from what the cause of death was to who did what to what evidence was found. He said we all should not watch or comment on deaths until the investigations are complete – whether it is Michael Jackson or a 3-day old baby. I think some of the same advice could be applied to the Laker front office.
1. You yourself, in this thread, as I pointed out to you, suggested that Jim Buss running his mouth may have contributed to the Paul veto. This runs directly against your repeated statements about the Lakers FO being so closed-mouthed, as I also pointed out to you.
2. I specifically said, and minorthreatt also specifically said, that we didn’t know if the stuff about Pau and PHX was true. It was reported by multiple sources, including the KBros, who said that the FO was making a big mistake if they had turned such a deal down.