Milwaukee Bucks vs Los Angeles Lakers
Fri Feb 27, 10:30 PM EST – TWSN, FSWI
Line: MIL -6.5, O/U: 193.0
Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
As I have said, I am not particularly fond of “tanking” or rooting for losses or any of the other negative wishes that draft pick protection inspires late in the season. So, it would be my preference to focus on Jordan Clarkson’s improving play, Ed Davis’ continued steadiness, whether Jordan Hill can carry over his good play from Wednesday’s win over the Jazz, or any other number of storylines that genuinely interest me.
I’m not going to lie, though. Those other things matter and, at some point in these last weeks of the season, I will touch on as many of them as I can. But, as it stands today, the thing that matters most is where the Lakers end up in the standings and the likelihood of them keeping their draft pick. Which means, sadly, that losses matter.
This is the conundrum fans are facing now and the battle that, honestly, sucks to play out every night. I mean, I’m quite happy with how well Jordan Clarkson is playing. Similarly, I like watching Jordan Hill or Ed Davis make plays. It’s fun to see Jeremy Lin attack the rim with zero regard for how well the defense may be positioned. But, in watching these guys succeed, the scoreboard also starts to shift in the other direction and the fallout is what happens in the standings.
To be fair, the Lakers are pretty firmly set in the 4th spot right now, between Minnesota and Orlando. But, even with that being the case, the anxiousness persists. A 4th worst record doesn’t guarantee a top 5 pick and as long as the pick is not secured the doubts will remain. Last year these feelings were somewhat there, but not to this level as there was no fear that the Lakers would lose their pick. Sliding down from 5th to 7th seemed like a big deal at the time, but it’s nothing like the prospect of going from a 5th to nothing at all.
I say all this not because I have joined the ranks of rooting for losses, but rather because the anguish of enduring through this type of fandom is something that I wish I weren’t experiencing and something I hope to never experience again. I wish I had something to say about the Bucks in this space, but I really don’t. This is what the season has come to. Honestly, I can’t wait until it’s over and there is some finality to it all.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.
Craig W. says
I think you put it pretty well. I can’t cheer for any loss, but if we play hard and still lose I won’t lose any sleep over it. I just can’t abide by the idea that the team should plan to lose – that makes no sense to me.
I do like the idea that all the lottery teams should have an equal shot at the top three picks and the standings should be used thereafter. I think that would pretty much put an end to the ‘tanking’ talk around the league.
Lil pau says
Darius, I’m with you: I love the lakers too much not to watch/attend, realize it’s in their best interest to lose, but simply can’t bring myself to root for it.
This situation is analogous in my mind to the Pop resting stars question– if maximizing what’s best for a team is at odds with good entertainment, it’s a problem with the rules, not how they are exploited. No one complains about resting stars in the NFL, because losing 2 or 3 games in a row night keep you out of the playoffs (eagles). It’s terrible that the lakers have an incentive to lose– an insult to fans and an outrage to season ticket holders who pay to watch a team try to compete. Worst of all, a team can’t even admit it (and repay ticket holders) because it would be in violation of league policy– the whole situation has the scent of Stalinism– capricious rules severely enforced
I’m taking my daughter, 6, to Sundays game. How can I possibly explain to her that most fans want the team to lose the game and many believe the team is only pretending to try to win and in fact secretly trying to lose? I can’t, and I won’t.
The NBA needs to redress this situation right away. The end of this season, indeed, can’t come quickly enough. In the meantime, I have thousands of dollars worth of unsellable tickets… Fantastic…
Had me worried for awhile. Just keep Kelly on the floor and they can lose this game. I watched him miss 7 in a row before the game from 3. Outstanding starter. 32% shooter.
Lil Pau. says
Huh. Strange season.
That’s a great idea Craig, the way to get rid of tanking, all lottery bound have equal shots to top three picks.
I would also add the concept, “losers should pay more”. That concept is practice in any sports competition. Besides the market snub on their home team, NBA should treat non-playoff teams with less money in distribution of the total income of the league on TV rights and other marketing endeavors. Because the playoff bound team were responsible in providing entertainment to the general public.
There should be a round robin of the 16 playoff bound teams to determine the remaining 8 teams; another round robin of 8 team in a 2 out 3 games competition; and finally for the remaining four, round robin of 4 out 7 games in the Final Four. All playoff bound teams will have equal chances in getting to Championship rounds.
I don’t think we will sniff the playoffs for a long while.
What gets me is that the Lakers will be bad next year and Scott will likely get canned. Now, if we get the top 5 pick, Scott has a chance to be here longer because he’d have a young talented core to grow with.
Calvin Chang says
What a head-scratching game. I still can’t decide whether I should be horrified or happy for these tank-fighting rebel scum. Wayne and Jeremy are saying “up yours, draft pick”. The game was entertaining though. But what about Jahlil?
Craig W. says
These players are proving and improving their worth now. The draft pick is simply a possibility to be great. My guess, Duncan and Ginobbli will retire together and the Spurs will start their slide. The only difference being people here will say that is the normal cycle of things.
I don’t know what the future holds for us, but our schedule is getting better and the team is becoming more experienced and more aware of how each of them works. We are improving during the season – it’s just that the rash of injuries early left us with no leaders and only Boozer as a veteran. If this continues, it would be nice to hold a core of these players together to start next year – instead of starting all over. For the same reason I think Byron should be around next year.
Saw the game from the 2nd on…. clarkson looks like a superstar in the making…the more i watch him and his game evolve, the more i am intrigued by the potential he offers for our future…great shot selection, nice touch on his j….really liked the scene when he pumpfaked and drove to the basket….
lin looks like a keeper the last couple of games, maybe he doesnt feel as much pressure now… like he said, he has to feel ”free”….if we can get him at around 3-5mil and bring him off the bench, he is worth it
hill is definately massively overpaid, liked him last year at a lower price tag, but he is not worth his new one….maybe talk him into a cheaper extension for his contract so he cuts his option and we could trade him?
As much as i dislike him, couldnt understand the dnp-cd for black….he is one of our few young prospects and we should give him some burn to see if he can develop into something given the minutes….
One last note: utah and philly both won last night….even though i loved the fact we won against a playoffteam, a L would have brought us closer to a top pick….
I hate to see a meaningless win derail the tank….but it is nice to see Clarkson play well. The thought of Clarkson, Randle, and a guy like Towns or Okafor is pretty exciting. Add in Kobe and a FA and you have a fun team to watch grow next year. Then, Kobe comes off the books in 2016 and hopefully a max guy will want to join the team. That’s my hope anyway…
– Interesting how so many Laker fans want to change a system (draft selection) that’s been in place for so many years simply because it now directly affects us. Very few Laker fans had problems with it before.
– No question, strangest Laker season I’ve ever witnessed since my 1st in 65-66.
– Currently Lakers are 16-41, a .281 win %. Kobe has played in 35 of those 57 games :
Lakers w/ Kobe: 10-25, .286
Lakers w/o Kobe: 6-16, .273
Can a conclusion be reached here or is it still too early? Last 25 games may tell the front office, Laker fans, and the world more about the Lakers then where we stand draft wise…strange season indeed.
Craig W.: Despite the mini win streak the Lakers have poor talent. Only Clarkson and hopefully Randle could be termed foundational and be looked on to be part of the team beyond next year.
So when you say the players are proving their worth I cringe a little. We are letting players who soon won’t be Lakers (unless it’s a 1 year commitment by the team) change the 5 – 10 year future of the franchise.
It does us no good to lose the top 5 pick this year and keep our pick in the teens next summer. We desperately need talent and we are letting a chance to secure a premiere young player at essentially the same cost we are forking out for Swaggy P.
I will go on record as saying that if we lose out on this pick the negative ramifications will be felt in the standings, the coach’s seat, and the FO. This franchise can not continue to either allow top talent to leave (Howard and Pau) without compensation or miss out on the opportunity to acquire young controllable talent.
It’s a talent driven league and the Lakers only option will be to acquire older and more expensive players on the free agent market. I am skeptical that approach is going to pay off in the ways our FO seems to believe it will.
Sid–No it’s not too early. In fact, before the season started, most fans believed the Lakers would be bad with or without Kobe–which is what those numbers show.
If you’re claiming those numbers prove that the Lakers perform the same regardless of whether Kobe plays, consider this.
The 10 “Kobe wins” include wins over ATL, HOU, TOR, SA, and GS–five solid playoff teams including, arguably, the best team in each conference
The 6 “non Kobe wins” are IND, ORL, CHI, BOS, UTA, MIL (one good playoff team that would probably be a lower playoff seed in the West, another Eastern playoff seed that wouldn’t make the playoffs in the west, and four terrible teams) and the 6-16 record came during an easier stretch of the season schedule wise, considering the brutal first third of the season the Laker’s faced.
This doesn’t demonstrate that Kobe’s presence mattered either way–they were terrible with or without him, and he put up some atrocious shooting numbers–but pointing to the fact that the winning pct was the same regardless of his presence without providing the full range of facts (lies, damn lies, and statistics) doesn’t demonstrate anything either.
At most, these numbers show that the Lakers are a terrible team, and that Kobe isn’t good enough to make a terrible team a mediocre team anymore. Which we all knew anyway.
Craig W. says
The draft system has been modified over the years. Because of Cleveland selling off their picks, the lottery was established in 1984. It has been ‘tweeked’ several times since and there have been complaints about it intermittently since 1984. As the CBA has changed, the value of draft picks has changed. With the last CBA wealthy teams were extremely penalized, and rookie players were more clearly ‘indentured servants’ – though moderately well-paid – for more years; hence draft picks became so valuable that a team like the 76’ers would manage their year to lose games.
All this has been building for some time and is not just a ‘Laker thing’. It is just that the Lakers were the ‘target team’ for the last CBA.
Now it is time to actually address the problems with the lottery system in the NBA. It can be done with the CBA – not really likely – or with modifying the playoffs and/or the lottery selection itself.
Hope that helps explain why the grumbling has increased in recent years.
I think it’s a little duplicitous of the FO at this juncture of the season to say ‘tanking’ is beneath the Lakers. You mean to tell me that the rosters they have put together these last two years were designed to win? No, they were designed to hopefully be entertaining while we lost. How stupid does the FO think we are?
I can count and this is year one of Jim’s promise. The heat will continue to rise in the FO because even with this pick the challenge to turn the team around is daunting. Without it – well good luck with that.
This will end in disaster for the Jim Buss FO.
when Magic came back to play & then coach, much weirder.
Last 25 games may tell the front office, Laker fans, and the world more about the Lakers then where we stand draft wise…
Serious question, Sid: what is your end-game with these kinds of posts? That Kobe won’t make the HOF on the first-ballot or get his statue outside Staples? That his jersey won’t go up in the rafters? That Lakers Nation and FBG will collectively bow to your wisdom and admit that he was really overrated and selfish all these years? That if had just been a different kind of guy, then the Lakers would have won 8 titles instead of 5?
The KobeWars are basically over. You are firing empty shells at a decaying wall. KB may or may not give us some nice farewell moments in 2015-16, but his legacy is pretty much set in stone. There can be arguments about where he fits on people’s personal lists among the best players ever, based on what criteria they use, but even that is IMO pretty clear.
His contract really isn’t part of the legacy because he didn’t offer it to himself. That will be part of Jim Buss’ legacy, for better or for worse. Time will tell.
Fantastic response. Now I don’t have to.
“All this has been building for some time and is not just a ‘Laker thing’. It is just that the Lakers were the ‘target team’ for the last CBA.” Well said Craig!
Mindcrime … didn’t they beat Golden State without Kobe? I don’t know about that count that was made. Plus … it takes some time for Kobe’s depressing energy to wear off. Seriously, I love the guy. But let’s be real … this few wins have been about the team trusting and having fun with each other. That’s an impossible situation with Kobe there.
this few wins have been about…
1. The schedule. Boston and Utah are deep lottery teams, although Utah has a lot more talent than the Lakers do. Milwaukee is having a nice year, but as DS pointed out that night, they will miss Brandon Knight, and they ran out of gas in the 4th.
2. Jordan Clarkson playing very well.
3. Like I said a few days ago, unless you simply want to carry 12 clear-cut DLeague guys, a few wins are coming your way. Guys who are good enough to be in the league will have big nights sometimes. Jeremy Lin and Wesley Johnson had fantastic shooting nights against Boston, and Wayne Ellington blew up in the 4th against Milwaukee to the tune of 14 points. Stuff like this is going to happen, no matter what Byron Scott does with the rotation, and sitting Clarkson right now is simply untenable.
The Lakers are in this position because the FO went all-in on Nash and Howard, trying to get Kobe and Jerry Buss one more trip to the Finals, and that plan didn’t work. It is a drag for us as Lakers fans, but it is, as they say, what it is.
Calvin Chang says
Interesting. In the 4th Q of the Bucks game, Byron played Kelly as a 4 for a few minutes. The defense got more spread out, and Ellington got more space to operate and shoot.
Craig W. says
I think we can all agree that Kelly is misused at the 3 and should be playing the 4, if only to see what he can do. The problem is that we have adequate 4s that Byron prefers playing. I think Kelly will just have to wait for next year – or another team – to get his chance at a stretch 4.
Baylor Fan says
The OKC game will be telling for how far the Lakers have come this year. OKC will be without their two superstars and probably consider tomorrow a must win game. With Lin rounding into the player the Lakers thought they traded for and Clarkson playing like he should have been drafted much earlier, will the Lakers grind out another win?
Chris y says
Clarkson is niceeee. Nicer work ethic I see a bright future. With the top pick we get this year randle coming back and Kobe and whatever star they sign. Been talking about Durant a lot on here. He really respects Kobe and if okc don’t go to the finals this yr I think the Westbrook Durant experiment will end. If the Lakers are able to get a star in the off seaso . Look for Kobe to take a huge pay cut after his contract so the Lakers can get yet another star with randle. Top pick from this year and clarkson maturing and growin . Future is bright. Our guard rotation with Kobe is really nice. Lin clarkson Ellington. All can create off dribble and hit threes and space. That’s why I hope they don’t go after dragic in the summer but I do think they need to land an all star this summer
Chris y says
If Shaq was willing to let Kobe be the man like he did with wade thelakers would have 7 titles. Think about that Kobe lost the most dominant center in history and still went to three straight finals and won back to back rr Nice response haha. Kobe is top ten hands down top five in my book. His stats would have been crazier had he grown with his own team like lebron . Just love to point out he has a losing record in the finals haha.
Craig W. says
West had a losing record in the finals and I wouldn’t down-grade him for that. You have to look at the era, i.e. the Celtics had an all-star lineup with a center that changed the way defense was played in the 60s.
Everything is context, i.e. MJ was really great, but the 90’s weren’t exactly the high point of NBA talent. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine Lebron being more dominant than Michael, except that the talent throughout the league is better – and better distributed.
Todd: I will go on record as saying that if we lose out on this pick the negative ramifications will be felt in the standings, the coach’s seat, and the FO. This franchise can not continue to either allow top talent to leave (Howard and Pau) without compensation or miss out on the opportunity to acquire young controllable talent.
My concern is how we spend our cap space…what if we strike out on good young FAs and end up with max contracts for fading stars.
Supposing Clarkson and Ellington are progressing rapidly while Lin and Davis are discovering their smooth chemistry getting double digit productions while Boozer, Davis, Hill, Sacre and Johnson are contributing on W’s in the next 25 games, Lakers get to the 7th position, how would everybody feel? Happy, Down or Ambivalent? We lose the pick but got the mo…It means Lakers are now a team with promising future, a little tweak could put them back to the playoffs and no need to over haul all over again. I think for every adversity, we stumble on opportunities and with great potential that a good F/A’s could park their career here based on the team character shown in the 2nd half.
Having said that, Lakers realistically would fall in the 5th position based on historical trends. Some players can be good but always inconsistent if you measured on their performance in a moving average of 10 games except Clarkson and Wellington where there are few samples.
Oldtimer- making the playoffs this year would be fools gold. Of the players you mentioned only Clarkson and Hill will be on next year’s team. If we lose this draft pick it would be like Kobe’s extension. We will regret it immediately and it will set the organization further back.
I know people read my posts and think I’m crazy. But I so strongly believe that the path this organization will choose, if we miss out on this pick, will be wrong. The FO will be forced to sign older/expensive players and because they will eat up cap space we won’t have a deep enough roster to truly compete.
Craig W. says
The front office hasn’t said they regret Kobe’s deal; only some of the fans and – of course – the ‘talking heads’. That contract had two objectives: 1) keep a decent bottom-line via marketing and 2) showing loyalty so the Lakers could realistically sell that fact in an increasingly bottom-line world (see the 76’ers).
The team is not going to tank and there is a possibility they will lose their pick this year. You can holler and ‘scream’ all you want, but that won’t change the facts. The likely-hood, however, is the Lakers retain that pick. Either way the choices change somewhat – not drastically like some fans seem to imagine – and I would be shocked if the front office didn’t already have alternatives laid out and ready to go.
@ rr, “Serious question, Sid: what is your end-game with these kinds of posts?” It’s always interesting to see how one will respond. And it’s interesting how you did. My post deals strictly w/ this season. Meaning everything you mentioned is irrelevant. This has nothing to do with his “legacy”. But just to make it clearer for you and others, my position hasn’t changed. I am on record as being against the salary cap choking contract the FO signed off on w/ Kobe for this and next season from the very beginning of the negotiations. The point of my post pertains to this season $24 million dollar man. Bottom line: was he worth it, did his present make that much more of a difference…positively speaking? Come up with all the stats you want, bottom line and most important one is wins & losses. If you can justify the contract signing to your satisfaction, good for you…I can’t.
“The KobeWars are basically over” (as per rr). I’m requesting clarification on this statement. Not sure what you mean. Are you saying those who backed Kobe’s contract signing lost, and we should just let this go? Devastation is left in the wake of any “war”, and the current status of the Lakers is horrid and extremely unsettled. Because as long as Kobe is sucking up such a large % of the salary cap, and adversely affecting the Lakers ability to improve, this is a continuing conversation…or do you believe something different?
Pendulum: Just a few games ago, everyone was speculating that we could get the top pick, Byron was an idiot, and the FO had a master sinister plan to stick it to the league by showing them what a disaster the lottery system is. Now we win a few, and everyone is worried that we will lose the pick entirely, Byron of course is still an idiot, but because he won’t tank, and the FO is trying to win to salvage ticket and cable sales. Interesting.
Craig W.: Oddly – you and I (rr and a few others) are the last people who do not think the FO has been fully – intentionally tanking. They are accidentally tanking and as such they will “probably” keep the pick as you state. They could have easily made themselves worse if they were intentionally tanking.
Aaron: Before you jump into this, you never really addressed what happened last year. Had we intentionally tanked, we easily could have moved up a few notches by trading people like Pau and Kaman. We did not, because we were not fully trying to tank. I realize we should be – but we are not.
Todd: You are not crazy. The team is in shambles and hitting big on the pick is one of the only ways out. Unfortunately hitting big on a pick as your only way to get good is like buying lottery tickets (literally) to get out of debt. You need to have lots of tickets. If you just have one or two, you need to get very lucky.
BCS: The KB extension was a mistake. I am not sure why you are arguing with rr, as he has also said this many times. We do not need results from this year or next to know the extension was wrong. Those who want to defend it do so on the basis of loyalty and marketing. They would not change their positions if the Lakers went 0-82 next year while Kobe was playing.
There are some on the board that always believe that the actions of the FO are part of a grand plan. Well, if driving the team into the ground is the plan then maybe we should look to change it — or the people who are designing it.
Baylor Fan says
The Lakers goal the past two years has been to maximize cap space. It has not been to field a competitive team. If that was the case, D’Antoni would still be the coach this year. There were not any teams competing to sign Kobe when the Lakers lavished their precious salary cap space on him. That act has no impact on players coming to LA other than to eliminate some of the money that would have been available to them. Lastly, Scott leaning on the veterans such as they are to close games is taking precious developmental minutes away from the younger players who need them. End of morning rant.
Chris y says
The cap is wrong it doesn’t make logistical or business sense and will be closer to what it should be after the next CBA, not the contract. The contract is even too low. Whoever said lebrom would do well in the 90s haha would have loved to see that. Wouldn’t even have one ring. If you don’t think Kobe deserved that contract when he was 3 peating for us at 21look up his contract then you don’t understand respect and loyalty between the organization and a top five player of all time. THIS season? Get over it. If you want to be fair it was the league that screwed over the Lakers who had cp3. Then it was Jim buss bringing in Nash. Not hiring Phil. Also Kobe makes the franchise 500 million annually easy!! Get a clue! So he’s not entitled to 5% of HIS earnings please. If you don’t like kobe and respect his legacy you’re not a laker fan and you know nothing about this beautiful game. He can just as easily come back for two more years after his contract on a vets Minimum and we have clarkson randle potential top five from this yr Durant and marc gasol. A lot to be excited about and look forward to.
Unfortunately hitting big on a pick as your only way to get good is like buying lottery tickets (literally) to get out of debt. You need to have lots of tickets. If you just have one or two, you need to get very lucky.
that´s what i´m talking about
As Robert points out, I have said, probably at least 25 times, that KB’s deal was a mistake. I said it when he signed it. So, if your focus is actually KB’s contract, then your ire should be directed at the FO for offering it. But, pretty much all your posts about the subject:
a) Fail to mention the FO at all.
b) Take swipes at Kobe himself.
So if you think when the FO offered 2/48.5, Kobe should have responded by saying, “No. I am not worth that anymore. Give me 1/15 for the good of the team” then you should just say so. If that is not what you think, then you should focus on the FO.
But really, like I said when there were several guys here bagging on Kobe, you, like them, have already given yourself away. Kobe has his faults and the things I personally hold him most accountable for the last few years are lazy defense and his part in alienating Dwight Howard. But guys who focus entirely on him and his negatives and ignore everything else about the team are pretty easy to spot, and like I said, give themselves away.
A good example of what I am talking about is this, which you say above:
“Because as long as Kobe is sucking up such a large % of the salary cap, and adversely affecting the Lakers ability to improve,”
Note that you word it so it is Kobe himself doing this, like he is some parasitic monster, killing the team, and everyone else is helpless to stop him.
As to the the KobeWars are over comment, you are moving the goalposts. Your post didn’t mention the contract; it talked about the team’s W/L record with him on and off the floor. So my point was this: whether KB has a nice little comeback next year or shoots 37% from the field and goes down with another injury, his historical legacy is basically set. What is going on now won’t change what he has done in the past, although there are people who wish it would.
That said, I have also said that I do agree with you about his contract as a subject for discussion. People who try to dismiss the subject by saying it’s over are being silly because there is another year on the deal and it will affect every move the team makes other than who they draft–and it will have repercussions even after that.
We were desperately trying to trade Pau and Kaman. They had zero trade value. Could we have gotten a second round pick? Yes we could have. But that kills our reputation in further trade negotiations if the league knows we just give away players for nothing. Look how easy it was to buy a second round pick when we wanted Clarkson. As I’ve said before the tank was on last year but we had a coach who sabotaged us and because of that was fired as soon as the last game was played.
… I should add its exactly the same as this years trade deadline. Mitch said he was trying to move players for furure assets but nobody was interested. It’s always inoortant to remember it takes two sides to make a trade happen.
We were desperately trying to trade Pau and Kaman
Reports were that PHX offered the 17th pick for Pau and the Lakers turned them down. Also, supposedly the FO offered Pau 2/20 with a NTC before he went to Chicago. As to Kaman, he probably would have taken a buyout, as I said last year.