New Orleans Pelicans vs Los Angeles Lakers
Wed Apr 1, 10:30 PM EST – TWSN, FSNO
Line: NOP -9.5, O/U: 197.5
Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
The Lakers return from their five game road trip winners of two games and losers of three. The two wins were against fellow bottom-feeders in the Timberwolves and 76ers. Those wins surely impacted the team’s lottery odds as it is those two specific teams who reside directly above (or below, depending on how you view all this) the Lakers in the standings. Losses against said teams would have better positioned the Lakers for a greater number of ping pong balls and, with them, better chances of keeping their draft pick this June.
Balanced against that, of course, is how the team won those two games. In both contests Jordan Clarkson was a key difference maker, essentially winning both games by producing the points that created the final margin. Against the Wolves those points came in the form of pressure packed FT’s after drawing a key foul. Against the Sixers, Clarkson made a wonderful cut along the baseline opening himself up for a nice pass from Wayne Ellington in the process. After making the catch, Clarkson finished a layup that won the game.
Clarkson playing well is, of course, excellent news that also has consequences towards the Lakers’ draft considerations. There is no escaping the twisted nature of current experience for Lakers’ fans. With the move towards younger players by the team’s coaching staff, any win the team gets is likely the result of strong play from players like Clarkson, Jabari Brown, and/or Ryan Kelly. This should be cause of encouragement. But every win also moves the team closer to a position where losing their draft pick is more of a possibility. I don’t know of many other experiences that could be worse for a fan than these circumstances.
With that, the games continue tonight against the Pelicans — a team that is still within striking distance of the playoffs. With Anthony Davis playing at a level rarely seen, strong contributions from Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans, and the return of Ryan Anderson, this team is dangerous and would love to try and take the next step as an organization by stealing the spot the Thunder have their grips on. This makes them highly favored tonight against a team that, as noted above, we all want to see play well while almost all understanding what playing well could mean.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.
Jordan Clarkson 11 points and 5 rebounds and 5 dimes after one quarter. Early triple double watch, hope he gets one tonight.
The Dane says
This kid is starting to look like something!
The Dane says
Extreem how the Lakers fanbase has checked out… and yet we might have a dark sleeper horse candidat for ROY. Clarkson is more efficient than Wiggins! Any chance in hell that he gets consideration if he nails one hallmark performance before end of the season (a tripple double or a 30 pt game)? He got awfully close yesterday.
Craig W. says
The ROY is a media driven award. We keep thinking things like ROY and MVP actually mean something, when what they represent is largely how well known players are, and ‘did a high profile player live up to expectations?’. Therefore, no, Clarkson has absolutely no chance of getting ROY. It will be a major coup if he is named to the First Team All-Rookie squad.
I do think this has some impact on our draft, however. If we retain our pick, but don’t get to the #1 or #2 spot, the #3 and #4 candidates are PGs and we could trade down a few places with a team in the east to get multiple picks or add a wing player. I am not saying we will do this, but it is probably an option the front office is thinking about, now that Jordan Clarkson is becoming a front-line player.
How about some thinking ‘out-of-the-box’ as we tie up the season?
At a point where it is just wait and see what happens. I’ve been happy to see Clarkson improving and Kelly looks more like himself playing PF.
Interesting read about the Celtics from ESPN/Grantland’s Zach Lowe:
While Boston has a rich tradition, like our Lakers, they lack the geographic location to challenge for most free-agents. Ainge’s obsession with stockpiling young assets (players/picks) is a realization of that reality. Interesting that they did make a concerted effort to hire the right coach – a young energetic coach that had the potential to be a superstar: Brad Stevens. Ainge understood that a great coach provides stability on the sidelines which creates a level of trust with the players and fans.
The current Lakers FO has made many mistakes. Top among them has been their horrible selection of coaches. Their desire to find a quick fix seems to lead them to retreads who fail (as predicted). My gut says that Byron is simply an interim coach brought on board because the FO realized the team was indeed a mess and since there is, as of yet, no real plan for moving forward that CBS would fit the bill.
A big part of the Lakers’ rebuild will be finding the right coach. My hope is that the Lakers are putting together a short list of coaches that can have a positive impact on the Lakers present and future.
I think MVP is more of a media and “best story” driven award than anything. Not to reinvent history, but I do think that at least one of Nash’s MVP seasons should have been given to Kobe (at least in 2006) as I firmly believed Kobe was robbed of the award in part due to being labelled the guilty party in the Shaq-split melodrama, and because the Lakers were not considered a contender in either of those years. I think that, more often than not, there is an unwritten rule that the MVP must be playing for a team in serious contention for the title. I think this is faulty logic, as it can benefit players who are in better, deeper teams than guys who are truly carrying the weight of their teams wins and losses on their back.
As far as ROY, I think recent history has shown that it goes to the best rookie with the best career projection. No doubt Clarkson should be a candidate on what he has done on the floor this year, but I do not think people project him to be a “star” in the league, so his fate may be sealed by that.
bryan S. says
Craig W: I had the same thought. Let’s say we are drafting fourth, and Muldiay/Russell are on the board. Are either a difference maker over the emerging Clarkson? Not sure at all. But Clarkson is showing he’s at least an NBA pg starter. That’s better than a maybe for position redundancy. Trading the pick might yield an established wing who’s about to hit free agency, plus a second rounder, for example. Budget minded teams like the Bucks and Magic come to mind as possible trading partners (e.g. Middleton, Harris).
Should the Lakers retain their top five pick, here are two prospects that are going to climb and might be Laker targets with the 4/5th pick: Jakob Poetl, 7′ Utah center with a very high ceiling. Athletic, big frame, smart, rim protector, raw as hell. Since the NCAA tourney his stock has shot up. Now as high as #11 in mock drafts. The other guy is a slider and more of a risk: Mario Hezonja, Serbia. 6’8″ 2/3. Ridiculous skills. Klay Thompson size and shooting, with more athleticism. Mental maturity is the issue. I like these prospects more than the some of the usual suspects. I suspect the Lakers are harboring fantasies about stealing Poetl.
Granted, this is all cart before the horse conversation, but hell, what else are we going to talk about?
It took this long for Scott to realize Clarkson should be pulled down the strecth of games?!?
T. Rogers says
The more I watch the Jazz the more I think the Lakers let one get away with Quinn Snyder. On League Pass the Jazz are one of my favorite teams to watch. I love their motion offense and ball movement. And they even run Triangle sets from time to time. Makes me smile!
If your team has LeBron in his prime, then maybe the coach doesn’t matter as much. But if you are building from the ground up the right coach is key. And I don’t if the Lakers brass realizes it or not, but they are building from the ground up. I would be surprised if Scott lasted the duration of his contract. But since both Mikes had early exits I expect Scott to be around for a little while longer.
bryan S. says
T Rog: Big ditto on Snyder. He’s a teacher and demands exactitude. Perfect for a young team.
@ The Dane,
You bring up an interesting question regarding Jordan Clarkson and the possibility of his being a ROY candidate. Craig W. is correct: ROY is very much a media-driven award and often takes into account the player’s Resume to-date–Was he a high 1st round draft pick? Does he look like he’ll fulfill his promise? Did his first year performance justify his relatively high selection in the last draft? Is he a good bet to be a future star? and so forth.
Since Clarkson is a dark horse all the way — 2nd round selection, #46 choice overall — there’s very little chance that he’ll be selected as ROY. But Klay Thompson wasn’t a ROY nor was Joachim Noah nor James Harden nor many other outstanding players. So the award is not really a predictor of future greatness.
The real question, then, is this: How good is Clarkson in comparison to the other Rookies regardless of media perception? And how good can he become?
The 2nd question is, at this time, unanswerable. We simply won’t know how good JC will be for another 2 years or more. (Did any of us foresee how good Klay Thompson was going to be after his rookie season? I certainly didn’t.)
But Ben Rosales of Silver Screen and Roll has attempted to answer the 1st question in a recent article, “Jordan Clarkson Should Receive a First Team All-Rookie Selection”, April 1, 2015:
He compares the top rookies in terms of PER (an admittedly limited evaluation tool) and Win Shares. These are his findings. Interestingly, Clarkson is #2 overall (behind Nikola Mirotic of the Chicago Bulls, the 24-year old rookie who has been on a tear recently). It’s also interesting that Tarik Black is rated #6 among all rookies via this evaluation. The value of this comparison, of course, can be easily debated. But at least it does offer some comparative insights and it takes us away from the media’s invariably slanted, subjective, gut-feel perceptions:
Nikola Mirotic, 18.09 PER, 5.1 Win Shares
Jordan Clarkson, 15.98 PER, 1.8 Win Shares
Jusuf Nurkic, 15.50 PER, 1.7 Win Shares
Nerlens Noel, 14.96, 3.9 Win Shares
Elfrid Payton, 13.48 PER, 1.5 Win Shares
Tarik Black, 13.45 PER, 2.3 Win Shares
Andrew Wiggins, 13.40 PER, 1.8 Win Shares
Cory Jefferson, 12.78 PER, 0.6 Win Shares
Aaron Gordon, 11.99 PER, 0.8 Win Shares
Langston Galloway, 11.90 PER, 0.9 Win Shares
James Ennis, 11.48 PER, 1.5 Win Shares
Marcus Smart, 10.94 PER, 2.3 Win Shares
Bojan Bogdanovic, 10.85 PER, 1.8 Win Shares
K.J. McDaniels, 10.54, 0.6 Win Shares
Todd: I think Scott lasts one more year at the most. If we miss out on our pick and the FO does not spend anything on free agents I can see Scott getting bounced mid-year next season. If that is the case the Lakers will be as awful as this year — which will be the third year in a row that the Lakers were among the worst in the league. The FO will need a scapegoat and Scott will be it.
Funny, how perception impacts the equation. Even if we get Towns we’ll likely struggle. However, because we will have a very nice young core of: Towns, Randle, Clarkson, etc. I think outlook will be so positive that Scott might get a third year in that rare instance.
At some point, though, the Lakers will need a dynamic head coach to help guide the franchise forward. I am a big fan of Fred Hoiberg, the Iowa State coach. Rumors are currently swirling as to whether he will return there or respond to overtures to coach professionally in Russia of all places. In any event I think he’ll be ready to make the leap to the NBA in a year or two — which will coincide with Byron’s coaching expiration date.
Of course the 24 year old and 22 year old “rookies” are first and second in those statistical rankings.
Baylor Fan says
For another look at the Celtics head coach, check out this article from Rob Mahoney at SI:
Ainge did his homework and then committed to his man. Not exactly the approach taken by the Lakers FO. Stevens has been pumping up the value of all his players making life a lot easier for Ainge when he decides it is time to unload ones he does not want. You can also see why keeping Scott (or any coach) is a very bad idea if he is not the coach of the future.
SG Wayne Ellington (grade 1 right shoulder separation) will miss the remainder of the season, the Lakers announce.
–Baxter Holmes via Twitter
Here’s a notable point Robert may have missed: Per Yahoo, Byron is two losses away from the worst first year record of any lakers coach in our team’s storied 67 year long history. (Funny, this season alone has felt about that long.)
Who’s record is BS about to eclipse? Why our long term fav MDA.
Lakers are reportedly after Rondo in the off season. Oh my god, no. Too much baggage, not a good shooter, already seen his best days. Let’s really move forward, not pick up somebody else’s mistake.
Oh dear god, the Front Office better not sign Rondo, and it’ll be particularly idiotic because Clarkson is already better than Rondo at this present and not to mention the Lakers would only have to pay him a tenth of what Rondo would make. The Lakers don’t need to get a PG in the off-season.
I wrote the below comments, regarding previous rumors relating to the Lakers signing Rondo, about a month ago. The Jim Buss FO has cratered the Lakers because of making bad basketball decisions. Signing Rondo would be yet another one.
Regarding Rondo. I am vehemently against signing him. Before he came to the Mavs, they had one of the most efficient team offenses in the league. They are now among the worst. He is not the same player that led the Celtics to the Championship in 2007/08. His injury history alone should make signing him a non-starter.
From an ESPN article on Rondo: “As a scorer, he’s a liability as a poor perimeter shooter, and his historically bad free throw shooting (at 31 percent, he’s officially the worst free throw shooter in the NBA not named Joey Dorsey) has made him a tentative driver to the basket, as he has become wary of drawing fouls and getting to the line (career low FTA rate of 0.091).”
Plus if you get Rondo you push our one bright spot, Clarkson to the bench or to SG. As a Two Clarkson will be less effective as his height and quickness advantages are negated by the abundance of strong athletic Twos across the league.
Signing Rondo is my nightmare scenario. I honestly believe it would cement the Lakers in mediocrity for the balance of the decade. I think it It is wrong on so many levels, which is why I’m sure this is the one deal Jim Buss pursues this summer.
Craig W. says
If we are assuming facts about the front office, i.e. they are going to pursue Rondo hard, I would like to know where these ‘facts’ come from? If it is from the media, then I suggest we slow down and be careful before we climb on that bandwagon – the media is notorious for creating stories from practically ‘thin air’ just to get attention. Since our front office keeps things very close to the vest, it would be better to just not start another ‘firestorm’, unless the source turns out to be a pretty dependable one.
Sorry, I am just now reading the story. IMO, we shouldn’t persue Rondo and probably not Dragic.
Randle and clarkson are our only bright spots as of now…So i agree with todd 100%…however, the same case can be made against a monroe-signing as he would take significant playing time from randle….
About the roy discussion: i dont see mirotic as a rookie, so i would give clarkson the slight edge over wiggins based on the last 2 months….jc averages around 15, 4.5 and 4.5 on ~46% and 32 from three during that span….by the way: this rookie class was soooooo overhyped, they were talking about this draft for 2 years, yet i really dont see anyone with superstar potential besides parker, noel and maybe our very own jc (if he keeps developing the way he has as of late)…wiggins is way to ineffective, exum is a bust, the rest is solid but not that spectecular as they said they would be…
– @ the Dane, “Extreem how the Lakers fanbase has checked out”, I was thinking the same thing…about the Laker front office.
– Truly hoping the rumors of the front office having interest in Rondo is just a smoke screen. Have they learned nothing? A Rondo signing tells me they are still trying for another title run w/ Kobe. Let it go…that ship has sailed…or sunk.
Baylor Fan says
“I used to love baiting righties to go strong right & then eat up their handle or their jumper when they brought it right into my left hand.”
I hate it when righties do not use their left hand to challenge shots from fellow righties. That has always given right-handed shooters an edge over left-handed shooters. It must be harder for left-handed shooters since they are mostly facing right-handed defenders. Going up with the opposite hand allows the defender to play closer and react a fraction of a second quicker. It also encourages the defender to not try to spike the ball but instead to control it.
I don’t understand the posters that constantly default to defending the FO. It’s not like they were just hired to clean up this mess and they deserve our patience. The Jim Buss FO has orchestrated the worst two seasons in Lakers history — back to back no less. Their finger prints are all over this crime scene.
The League has changed with the new CBA. Young controllable talent and draft picks are gold but Jim keeps focusing on free agency as the silver bullet to rebuilding. Which might work if he targeted players that weren’t fading stars (Melo last summer and rumors of Rondo this summer).
I will give Jim kudos for Clarkson as that was a bold/shrewed move. However, everything else I see from him (coaching decisions, letting talent leave for nothing, the Kobe extension, the pursuit of meaningless wins) all strike me as being reflective of someone who doesn’t get it.
As for the Veto, there is enough evidence to suggest that Jiim went to the media before the league cleared the deal. By doing so he pissed off Stern, who responded to the cries of smaller market owners and vetoed the trade.
Jim does not strike me as being a true student of the game. He’s more like the kid that goofs off for weeks on end then reads the cliff notes version of the book the night before the test.
For those who have wanted the FO to go the route of the Knicks the last fifteen years and try to battle for the eighth seed by signing the likes of Lance Stevenson and Isiah Thomas…
The Lakers want to win championships. That means tankin/rebuilding and losing big for a few years. There are three ways to improve your team… Free agency, the draft, and trades. Basicaly the only way to attract free agents in today’s nba is to have quality young pkayers on your roster. How do you get those players and still have room to sign free agents? You guessed it… The draft. What’s the best way to draft the best players? You guessed it… Get the highest picks possible. What’s the best way to get the highest picks possible? You guessed it… Lose as many games as possible. What’s the best way to get the best players via trade? You guessed it… Have the best young players as possible on your roster. What’s the best way to get the best young players on your roster? You guessed it… Refer to above.
Smart fans are happy about all the losing the last couple years. And they pray we keep the pick this year and get a top three pick next year. There are no short cuts in this NBA.
… As to the rondo rumors specifically… The Lakers GM Mitch Kupchack has already said the team won’t be going after veterans to try and win with Kobe. They are focused on the future. Stop freakkng out.
Craig W. says
I am one of the primary vocal front office ‘defenders’, so let me speak to you Trip. Nobody is saying there have not been mistakes made over the last several years, but your default position that the Buss family – particularly Jim – couldn’t think or plan their way out of a ‘paper bag’ is an equally silly position.
There is only a statement by Jeannie that she didn’t like the front office talking about the Chris Paul trade before the owners all left New York – not before the league cleared the deal. Given the number of comments on this, it is interesting that there is still no new information, except what Jeannie has given on one occasion.
The CBA changed the landscape for all the owners, but it was the Lakers who were specifically targeted by this agreement – to include the repeater rule. During a time when the beloved Laker owner was dying, it is nonsensical to think that the ownership would be operating at peak efficiency and also know exactly how to react to the new rules.
The Lakers did try to recover from the VETO with the Steve Nash trade. The Dwight Howard part of this scenario had – IMO – as much to do with Dwight’s personality as with our front office.
Mitch has never before been known as a great draft general manager, but his selections are definitely getting better in the recent past. The organization is learning new lessons, as the impact of the CBA rules becomes ever clearer.
Kobe’s extension is not universally thought to be a mistake, but bloggers on this site seem to think this is the case – perhaps egged on by the ‘talking heads’ and various Kobe haters. Yes, there were fans who didn’t like it at the time, but they were not all the Laker fans. His contract has not materially impacted the ability of the Lakers to sign players and, because of the past year under the cap and the jump in the salary cap in 2016, it shouldn’t hamper us this summer. I continue to insist this signing will help us in the future and that the players we want would want to play with Kobe.
I realize this bitter hatred for Jim Buss isn’t going to subside. I just think there is another, more reasonable case that can be made for the organization. The statements supporting this view are simply not accepted by some of the extreme views that keep popping up here, being either ignored or simply not acknowledged.
Rondo rumors … May well have been planted by his people to try to hype demand for his services or just by wise guys who like to stir up … Stuff.
Let’s hope so.
Chris J says
Signing Rondo would, at least to me, be my nadir. It’s been difficult enough to hold my interest on a consistent basis the past three seasons, first with Nash and Howard (both moves that made me sick, for myriad reasons), and then the past two Kobe-less, injury-ridden wastes. The only light at the end of the tunnel is the desired and expected rebuild, and overpaying now for that overrated ex-Celtic whose skill set is so limited it hurts my eyes to see him shoot, well that would set them team back another several years.
Even the most devoted fans have other interests in life, other things vying for their time and money. The Lakers would be wise to keep that in mind — sellouts and TV rating are earned through performance, and historic goodwill only goes so far outside of the zealots who’ll paint their faces no matter how lousy the team is. Rondo would be an awful fit, and his presence would essentially kill my everyday interest in the team for however long he’d be present.
There have been a few instances in which a hated former opponent won me over — Rick Fox, Karl Malone and Ron Artest come to mind. But Rondo? Nope, couldn’t do it… maybe that’s just me, but no way.
I will be very surprised if the Lakers sign Rondo. I don’t have a lot of faith in the FO, but that is a pretty obvious move to avoid at this point.
You should consider the possibility that people who bag on the FO do not have any major personal animus towards Jim Buss and are not guided by emotional concerns, other than wanting the team to get better, and, in fact, it is you who lacks the ability to critically and objectively evaluate the Lakers FO and those who take issue with its performance. You have told us for the last two years that the team on the floor would be better than we thought and that the organization is in good hands. You have been demonstrably wrong on the first point and the evidence is very weak on the second.
Calvin Chang says
From a stone-cold, no nonsense point of view, Aaron’s right.