Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets
Wed Apr 8, 9:00 PM EST – ALT, TWSN
Line: DEN -10.0, O/U: 205.5
Pepsi Center – Denver, CO
What can really be said about this game? The Lakers only have a handful of games left and if there is anyone watching for reasons that extend beyond how it affects the lottery odds or for Jordan Clarkson’s growth as a potential point guard of the future, you’re probably either lying or so hard core about your Lakers that the term needle in a haystack probably applies to your ability to search for and find things.
When looking at the game through the prism that most fans view it, you’re in luck. Today’s contest is the Lakers’ 3rd game in four nights and the second night of a back to back. Further, it’s the dreaded flying east to Denver portion of the second night of a back to back where the team did not finish a game until after 10pm PST and then getting to Denver late night/early morning and then driving the long distance from their outskirts airport to their downtown hotel. Even in the best of times these circumstances represented a “schedule loss”. Now that these are the worst of times with an overmatched-on-most-nights team riding out the stretch of a miserable season, well, you get the picture.
In terms of Clarkson’s play, he’s coming off a very nice bounce back game against the wily Chris Paul and the aggressive defensive tactics of the Clippers. On Sunday Clarkson has one of his worst games of the year, but on Tuesday night he recovered well with a 20 point scoring night to go along with a handful of assists and rebounds. Showing that type of growth in his game and showing that he could learn from errors just a couple nights earlier speaks well to his acumen and willingness to learn. Tonight, then, he looks to carry that forward against the Nuggets and another good point guard in Ty Lawson.
Lawson may not have Clarkson’s size, but he matches the rookie’s quickness in the open court and in ability to get to the rim from any part of the floor. Clarkson will be tested defensively by Lawson’s exploits and, with Lawson’s quickness and ability to stay with other quick guards defensively, there will be challenges on the other end as well. In other words, it’s another good measuring stick match up for the young PG who seems to keep stepping up to those challenges. Here’s hoping he can do so again.
Where you can watch: 6:00pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.
Hopefully this comparison puts and end to the Rondo to LA rumors.
Age: 29 / PPG: 8.8 / APG: 7.9 / RPG: 5.6 / PER: 13.19 / Salary: $12.9 Million
Age: 22 / PPG: 11.2 / APG: 3.2 / RPG: 3.2 / PER: 16.48 / Salary: $507,000
Clarkson (last 10 games)
PPG: 18.3 / APG: 5.7 / RPG: 5.1
Rondo makes 25 times more in salary than Clarkson. Fingers crossed that the rumors are just that and not based on what Jim intends to do this summer.
Has anyone heard any retractions or apologies from scott since he made his comments on espn
This is in response to Robert 5:22 post from the last preview.
I don’t think anyone here is saying that coaching is the only or the main problem. It would take too long to list all that has gone/is wrong with the Lakers. Coaching is just one and an important one.
FO making good sound choices and not overreacting is important too. The FO have struck out 3 times on coaches. They tried signing free agents (CP3, Nash, Howard) that for various reason did not work out. I don’t think they are doing a good job, but I don’t totally blame Jim B/Mitch for Howard being Howard, or the league vetoing CP3 or Nash getting injured. He’s old. Yeah maybe they shouldn’t have signed him in the first place but don’t tell me that you didn’t get excited when that signing happened. The potential was there (Kobe, Howard, Pau, Nash), unfortunately Nash got injured with about half of the team and that sunk the ship. Mike B and Mike D helped to throw everyone else who meant anything overboard and finished it. Now we got Scott manning the life raft. It’s going to be a pretty turbulent ride down the rapids.
It may be easy to blame the FO and in most cases, deservedly so, but there is no way the Buss family is going to sell the Lakers just cause we think they should. Let’s be realistic and discuss player, personnel, talents/skills and culture that can be change and improve upon. Makes for a more hopeful discussion. It’s not about who is more to blame, the coach, the front office, the players, the injuries, etc. It’s all of it together. We can discuss coaching or FO but it does not negate all the other hazards and rocks, big and small along the rapids that can overturn or crush a raft. Everyone has to work together to get the raft to safety and home where hopefully no. 17 awaits.
Also, what do folks think about Winslow? He’s being compared to Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler.
Baylor Fan says
There is one storied LA franchise that has embraced the new ways of doing business and brought in new age managers to run the team.
The Dodgers are not only all in on modern analysis but they are combining that information with more traditional team building. It will be interesting to see if they are able to repeat last season’s success only with a clubhouse that has better team chemistry. There are other ways the Lakers can use their wealth to benefit the team. They could follow the example being set by the Dodgers.
Craig W. says
I am not a big fan of players making large jumps in March, therefore, if Winslow wasn’t on the radar before the tournament, I don’t think he should be added because of it. He does fit the need for a wing player who can score and defend. I suspect we might consider him if our final drafting position were #5, but I am hoping for higher for this club.
P.S. Orlando won so we can’t drop in the standings below where we are.
Listen guys. Rondo makes a lot of sense on a one year deal of the team doesn’t sign Kawai Leanard. He is a Carlos Boozer. A great vet who will lose a lot of games for you and is only getting worse. Remember we need to stay above the salary floor. Sign Rondo to a max one year deal and keep Clarkson and/or a PG we might draft on the bench to try and get that top three pick.
The best way to judge college players is in the tournament when they are forced to play against better players.
Coming in, Mudiay and Winslow were well regarded. The small that made a big jump was Russell.
Winslow should be our guy… perimeter d, rebounding, defense, slashing ….we dont have a guy on the team like that amd you need a top level talent to defend that position in the new nba
Unless towns is available it should be winslow
Draft express also has jerrel Martin going to us late … which would be another big. .. plus if we can get say deandre in FA or brook lopez … then we have a clarkson,kobe,winslow,randle, deandre/brook starting 5 …. deandre would be the better option since he covers up what randle might not be able to do and wi slow covers a bit for an older kobe and we have height at every position
Not me above. Again!
What do you guys think of the possibility of the Lakers FO going for Thibodeaux this summer? From all the talk on the bulls blog and in the their news, likely THibs is leaving due to problems with FO. An elite org needs an elite coach right? Plus it seems like he would be a major factor in getting free agents to sign with LA- especially upper echelon free agents (e.g., dwight would likely have stayed if phil coached, pau gasol went to bulls with THibs as a big reason, etc…) I hope this happens. I don’t think the potential backlash to FO for high turnover on coaches would be that bad- not if for an elite coach. And have THibs sign offensive assoc. head coach d’antoni (like how kerr in gsw signed gentry)??
P. Ami says
I like Thibs as a stopgap (Byron as a stopgap, to me, is a really bad move as you never want to introduce incompetence to the talent). You bring him in to get the team working together, develop the defense, and buy in. He is competent. I think his style wears out the body and the mind. I have yet to see a Bulls team under Thibs find a new gear in the playoffs. That is the “next level” type coaching which guys like Phil, Pop, Carlilse, and the Van Gundy Bros have already displayed. Blatt has shown this, as has Messina… but not yet in the NBA. Guys like Stevens in Boston might have this quality. I think Doc has coached teams into peaking for the playoffs. The Clippers did it last season and seem to be doing it again this one. Thibs has not.
Frankly, I think the days of a hard ass coach controlling the team for a while and then moving on when he gets tuned out are over. Now that players move around so much, you need a coach that can develop a core and knows how to define roles, experiment, coach up to the needs of the team and match strategies with the other brilliant strategists out there.
Re: Winslow… I like him a lot. I think he is more athletic than Butler was in college. The athleticism from Bulter in the NBA was a revelation. He was not this explosive at Marquette. That said, we NEED rim protection. The team cannot succeed without it. You might get away with poor rim protection if your perimeter defenders are Jordan and Pippin (and even the Bulls has rim protectors in Rodman, Grant, Cartwright, Dele etc…) but not so much if its any other combo in history.
I like Randal’s handle and I think he can be a shooter. If he can play the SF, I think that might be an interesting wrinkle the Lakers can bring. That said, he does not protect the rim. We need a Towns, a WCS, or one of the rim protectors who will be free agents. Only if Towns or WCS is off the board do I go for Winslow. I think Winslow will be a better player but what WCS brings is just too unique and important.
i like the idea….but we wouldnt see much of kobe next season too as he would run him into the ground like mike did….
But if he is available i think he would pass on la….a coach like thibs wouldnt sign in to a rebuilt
Thoughts on comments from above:
1) If Towns and Okafor are off the board, the Lakers will have a decision to make. Do they draft Mudiay/Russell (who are PGs as well) draft a player with a better fit or trade down. In this instance I think they should take the best player available. I don’t want to see the team pass on a clearly better talent because player XX was a better fit. The Lakers are at Square 1 in terms of rebuilding. I think Clarkson can be a starter but if his ceiling is as a 6th man so be it.
2) I can’t see the Lakers getting a permanent new coach until the 2016/17 season. They will have to nail that coaching selection and I think the FO should wait until there is more of a new talent foundation in place. This is especially true if the only real addition to the team are draft pieces.
I still believe that the Lakers should be active this off-season as they are one of the few teams with real cap space. Some combination of Greg Monroe, Tobias Harris and Khris Middleton would complement their draft selections. If they wait until next summer they will be competing against every team as the increased cap will give all teams the ability to sign a max player if they chose to.
Kimberly – I like Thibbedau because I think he (and not Byron Scott) is the type of coach that can attract free agents that may not otherwise be interested in the Lakers. One such free agent could be a certain Spaniard currently playing in Memphis. But, I think this is just a dream.
When you belong to a “loser” team, everything turns out into negative and it’s a vicious cycle until you weed out the root of the problem. IMO, even before Scott hire, Lakers already have gargantuan problem. I don’t know why it always go back to CP3 or Howard, the clown and injury proned Nash. When you are on top management, you are not excused by happenstance of undue circumstances that did not pan out, as management you have to adjust and think ways to remedy those undue circumstances. IMO again, the root of the problem is Jim Buss. He was the scoundrel in 2007 that drove Kobe into rants and a nutty character. It was the intrusion of the old man that put back the franchise into winning mode.
Understandably, when the old man passed away, it was all Jim Buss calling from the hiring of Brown, Dantoni; the underlying feud with former legendary coach and his sister, Jeanie; the firing of the scouting system like Ronnie Lester, Lakers personnel et al,; the unwarranted ambition to get Melo, Lebron together with Kobe @ max salary which is really close to impossible, how can you really pay these three under the new CBA rules?; the loading of 2nd stringer players maybe being frugal and protect as well the mistake in trading their first draft picks to Phoenix; the delay in hiring Scott or any other coach into consideration while spending so much time in choosing the 7th pick, finally Randle; and so many other little things. The only consolation of this season is getting Clarkson, Randle (don’t know how he will perform after coming from injury?); the young breed who looked promising as 2nd and 3rd stringers. To top it all, Jim Buss era is crippled by “bad luck” and bad breaks to the Lakers. Never in the history of the Lakers they had to endure so many injuries in every season. If a company has this kind of goofs and breaks from their CEO, it is fair to ask for voluntarily resignation than wait for the City to exercise its eminent domain based on the ire of Laker fans. It happened to McCort and also to Sterling and I don’t think it impossible that one simple event could trigger the removal of the Buss Family in order to rectify the restive situation. We are not there yet, something is brewing from the cauldron of every fan.
How do you solve the problem? Let Mitch Kupchak run the franchise freely and establish the priorities from scouting system, the coaching philosophy, the roster, the draft picks and day-to-day operations and also the communications with the Laker fans from season tickets down to the silent majority. They are all important because without them, there will be no Lakers fandom! He should stay out of the basketball operations like other owners from big market teams. Mind you, I am not being hateful to the Buss Family but just being objective based on historical results after the demise of Jerry Buss
Craig W. says
I agree with Aaron in that Rondo may be a good 1yr max signing. The problem I see is that he may want more than that – and I would be very careful about taking on a declining player for a young club, unless he was a clubhouse leader, which Rondo isn’t.
I also look at our development being over the next 2-3 years, meaning (IMO) we shouldn’t be hiring a permanent coach to replace Byron Scott and we shouldn’t be hiring a coach who is going to work players into the ground. We need to develop our young players – as we have Jordan Clarkson.
Mainly fastforwarding the season, but my 2 cents on Byron: Is he really someone we want to get rid of? I do not think he is about to revolutionize the sport, but he is actually making this rag-tag team compete in most games… I don’t know that many coaches could have brought more out of this group!?
Rondo is not getting much money on the open market. The Lakers can say “hey… We will give you 22 million dollars for one year in which you will be “the man” and you can up your market value for the next year when the cap goes up.” That’s a great sell to him. Of course he is a bad NBA PG so he will just look even more exposed next year with us. But he doesn’t know that.
I just don’t want a situation where we don’t sign Leonard and Randle, Clarkson, and our new draft pick take away our chance for a top three pick next year. I want Carlos Boozer, Rondo, and some other washed up veteran playing over those young guys next season.
the other Stephen says
RE: Robert and blowing it all up. 🙂
I’m a fan of Byron Scott–think that he’s done an amazing job in an impossible situation. I’d like to see what he’d do with a Laker team next year and post Kobe.
It’s too soon to speculate about the draft. After all, it is better than one in six that the Lakers wiull have noi choice at all!
P. Ami- what gives me optimism that he THibs could be better than stopgap- although even as a stopgap would be great- was that he was the main defensive coach for the celtics in 08 under Doc. Also with a young core here in LA, the minutes thing might not be as big of an issue. That said, while I consider him elite- he has definitely not reached super elite like pop and carilsle, and potentially stevens.
Anon and bleed purple and gold- you don’t think THibs, given a fat contract and a FO that would spend and not micromanage like the Bulls’ FO, he would come? Fingers crossed.
I’m very sure the players played hard IN SPITE of Scott and his system and rotations. From all the evidence, it seems that the players this year have been exceptionally professional. I mean, Byron scott has said the most damning things about his players, and yet, barely any dissent from the lockerrom reported. These guys seem to be playing hard for pride and their careers. I think of the Denver Nuggets this year as a point to contrast.
Baylor Fan says
If the FO really wanted to stick it to Byron they would sign Rondo in the off season. He is high maintenance and playing for a crummy team would only make his moods darker. Why one would want him around younger players you are trying to develop is a mystery to me. The Dodgers look like a solid model of how to move a franchise forward and make it competitive on an annual basis. The FO embraces the system baseball has put in place and takes advantage of the ways available to improve the team. The manager works with the FO and gives feedback for what works best for him. In contrast, the Lakers FO is still fighting the system trying to land max salary players and changing coaches the way they might change cars every year. Again, it is time to show a clear vision for the team and hire the right people to put that vision in place.
Ko- you’re right, I’m hoping he wants to coach coach able players like clarkson, tarik, and randle. That said I think he has coached both rondo and kobe before ( celtics, team USA). But more importantly, I hope he likes a fat contract and a nonmicromanaging front office.
Craig W. says
Thibs is the current ‘flavor of the month’ and a very good coach. However, he may very well be a coach like Phil Jackson, in that his specialty is getting the most out of what he has, rather than developing young talent. We are not in a position to demand ‘win now’ and ignore player development of young players.
When you add the issues he has with the Chicago front office, it doesn’t look like a good fit. I suspect both he and the Laker front office would think long and hard before making any move.
Finally, I agree that Byron may be better at developing player and he is here and knows the front office.
Note: Darius, one of your ads is acting up and really jacking around my browser positioning. This is not happening with any other site and my machine was clean before stopping here.
14.1: Oldtimer has done a masterful job of summarizing the Jim Buss era, so I will not repeat it although I fully agree with it. That said I will comment on another aspect of your post. “Let’s be realistic and discuss player, personnel, talents/skills and culture that can be change and improve upon.” Unfortunately (and I am being realistic) – that does not leave us much. The most important components of any NBA team are the FO, the Coach, and the Stars. So for us that is Jim, Byron, and Kobe. For different reasons, none of them seem to fit your statement. Many do not like to hear criticism of Jim, but to me it makes more sense than the huge numbers of posts that criticize Kobe and Byron. For two reasons. One – Jim gave Kobe and Byron their contracts and Two: They are both leaving soon. Criticizing Byron is almost like criticizing an employee who has already been fired (it just may be another year or two). I think the CEO is the one who should bear the bulk of the blame. The bulk of our roster is gone next year, so what we are left with that meets the criteria of your statement is Jordan Clarkson : ) Since you want to speak of positives, what are your views on him?
Calvin Chang says
Jordan Clarkson is a future Olympian… for the Philippines 🙂 #puso
I think you miss my point. My post was not about which problem is bigger or who is more to blame or who’s argument is more sound. All of it is a problem from the top on down. What I see here is an opportunity to start from scratch. Like you said, we will have Clarkson, Randle and a bunch of vet rentals, fillers and one retiree. So next year will be key in how we go about rebuilding. The FO needs to do better drafting, recruiting, signing free agents and trading for the right pieces. How a coach treats and manages the team will have an affect on free agent signings and recruitment. It all goes hand in hand. There is no one person responsible for all that went wrong and it will take more than just Jim to right the ship.
Let’s say that Jim wants to sign free agent A who would be absolutely perfect, but if free agent A doesn’t want to play for BS and doesn’t want to sign with the Lakers because of it, then there’s not much Jim can do but go find someone else. At some point you end up settling for a lesser version of your ideal. It all goes together. It takes a team to play bball right and win, and it will take a team working together to build the “right” team.
bryan S. says
Thibodeau: Not happening at all. He is not a magnet for FAs–just the opposite. He grinds guys down with too many minutes and shortens their career. That’s why Bulls management will be happy to part ways. It’s all black and white with him. Avoid formulaic grinders–they extract wins but won’t win championships.
Rondo: That’s his name on the jersey but he’s a shell of what he was. The Lakers aren’t that dumb at all. The market will speak and he will sign for change with someone–it could be the Lakers–but it would be in a back up role. No long deal, no cap hit. Stop worrying about internet journalists trying to get hits. That’s who’s driving this nonsense.
Matt Barnes: Sour grapes by Matt because Mike Brown didn’t want him back. It was a probably a mistake but hardly a grave one.
Draft: Feeling optimistic that we are going to keep the pick with the 4th lottery spot secured. If you get a chance, try to tune in to TWC for the current Lakers team episode. The piece on Ryan West should give you some comfort about our scouting. He’s absolutely competent and capable of getting great value picks, as he just proved again with Clarkson. Loved seeing Jerry West, and hearing Mitch compare Ryan favorably with his Dad’s personnel acumen.
Go Lakers! Lakers forever!
I have to disagree about byron being better at developing players. Clarkson’ progression has been due mainly to Nash tutelage. From Scott’s other teams- there have been super talents kyrie and cp3 both of whom would have likely succeeded without Scott.
As to THibs, jimmy butler and joakim Noah, aaron brooks, all seem to have progressed well and know how to step up when it was their turn. Also to note, rajon is known as great defensively, and it was known that THibs was the main defensive cog on the celtics coaching staff. Last, from what I understand, the Bulls FO is notorious for being cheap and difficult with their coaches. I think we should try to to get him if he is up for grabs this summer.
I’m focusing on THibs only because he’s the only one I’ve heard of that might seriously move this summer.
Anyone but keeping byron scott. I really think the culture of threats and fear he has created in the lockerroom is dangerous. He’s also just not does not seem smart enough. I hate to be so disparaging, but I can’t imagine he could pass a basic stat comprehension test. Which you need to understand in order to really help develop players… I’m thinking spurs and golden state as main examples here. Both those teams are exemplary in using analytics of their players to help each player improve.
Anon- that certain Spainard is 30 and wants to win now, so he is not a good fit for a team that doesn’t know where they are. Plus he is the brother of another certain Spainard that left significant dollars on the Lakers table to get away from this franchise.
14.1: “All of it is a problem from the top on down. What I see here is an opportunity to start from scratch.” Agreed
Yea Robert also saw that Barnes story. Right in your face Jimmy. Why else would Pau and Dwight leave money on the table? Not Kibe! How about the sibling rivalry clown act in El Segundo?
Brian s. – THibs, fingers crossed. Or better yet, if the FO has the smarts and balls to go find someone like a brad stevens. I think Jason kidd’s assistant defensive coach is suppose to be phenomenal. That aside, unless I’m misinformed, I’m pretty sure players like THibs a lot. I’m pretty sure he was a big factor for Pau to sign and some of their current players like butler wanting to re-sign. I mean, besides a recovering Derrick Rose, there hasn’t been an super elite player on the Bulls to draw FAs. There has been homegrown par elite players that are super defensive minded (butler, gibson, Noah, etc).
Robert and 14.1: I don’t see how we start from scratch unless Jim steps down or steps aside for Mitch or another basketball guru to take over.
Craig W. says
Jim Buss isn’t going to step aside.
Now, on to how we can get better.
We have a good scouting group and have drafted well recently. We need to concentrate on a good FA this summer, but they may be only for one year – I like Aaron’s thinking.
Develop our talent next year and strike for a FA in 2016 or 2017. IMO, we will lose next year’s 1st round pick, no matter what, so let’s start with thinking we won’t have a pick then. If we get one, it will be because of a trade.
Here’s to going up from here, and less hate for the front office – they learn and grow, as well as us fans should.
P.S. Howard left money on the table because he couldn’t deal with the kitchen (youse folks) and Pau had been dissed and could see his best move was to go somewhere where he could win in the short term. Them’s reality as I see it, and Jim has something to do with it, but not everything. Howard’s personality and Pau’s age also were factors.
Jim Buss: He is not going to be gone tomorrow, but he made a public statement that he will step down so in three years or so unless the team is conference-finals quality, and his sister has referenced that statement more than once in public herself. Hard-core FO defenders, for obvious reasons, rarely acknowledge these facts.
Howard: He bailed for a lot of reasons, but he mostly bailed for the same reason Pau did: he wanted to be on a good team with guys on his timeline, which is pretty much what all players want if they can have it. The fact that Howard didn’t like D’Antoni, Kobe, or Jim Buss was a factor as well.
Ryan West: He may know what he is doing, but TWC is hardly in a position to run an expose on Lakers FO and scouting ineptitude, so we should, in that case, focus on results, rather than on organization-driven media presentations. Clarkson was a good pick, but Randle needs to prove that he can actually stay on the floor and produce, and the FO obviously, absolutely has to nail this pick, presuming that the team keeps it.
Rondo for 22M: the pick is only Top-3 protected, so even if next year’s team goes 8-74, that will not guarantee keeping the pick. Also, signing Rondo to that kind of deal would trigger a lot of weird media coverage and maybe even some kind of league investigation. I expect that the Lakers will go after guys like Middleton, Harris and Monroe–I do not think that the Busses want to field another team that wins fewer than 30 games.
Byron Scott: I seriously doubt that he will be a FA deterrent; I think people who believe that are projecting their own emotions about him onto NBA players. Also, not that many players have that kind of control and influence or are that focused on who the coach is. Most FAs are looking for two things: money and PT. That said, I do not think Scott will be a FA draw, either, and if the FO gets some indications that guys they want do not want to play for Scott, then they should fire him.
I’m very sure the players played hard IN SPITE of Scott and his system and rotations
Unless you have inside info about the team, you have no way of knowing this.
Add: Some guys on the team may really dislike Scott, but if that is the case, I don’t think we will know for sure until the off-season, with the possible exception of Lin.
As to guys playing hard while the team is dreadful, MDA defenders gave him credit for that as well. I think some of it is clearly guys playing to stay in the league, but I think it is a stretch to say that it happened in spite of the coach.
rr- I think my statement that the players are playing hard in spite of byron is more of a fair interpretation of what’s happening then that Byron’s coaching skills have gotten them to play hard.
It’s not inside information so much as common sense based off of reading, watching, and listening to pretty much everything lakers- the games, practice reports, postgame interviews , etc. (I’ve been way too obsessed this season regrettably). I’ve even researched everything I could find on Byron’s prior coaching… No way can his non superstar players (ie majority of his players) appreciate his regular public floggings of them- ESPECIALLY when he plays such incredible biased favoritism, e.g, kobe and ronnie price are wonderful, “I’m not saying jeremy lin is soft, but ronnie price is tough, lin is what he is.”…”we don’t have the talent”.
I mean common sense, no one aspires to play hard for a coach that belittles and disrespects them. So YES, I’d stake a lot on it that most of the players are playing hard INSPITE of byron.
– I sort of agree with your point that he isn’t a total deterrent/but isn’t a draw either..but I actually can see the better FAs who can go anywhere thinking Scott’s system is bad and choosing elsewhere- so yea. I do think he is an indirect deterrent. His system or lack there of is extremely bad. I’m constantly embarrassed for my Lakers fandom when I watch how incompetent we are compared to all the other teams in the league.
Aaron: I just don’t want a situation where we don’t sign Leonard and Randle, Clarkson, and our new draft pick take away our chance for a top three pick next year. I want Carlos Boozer, Rondo, and some other washed up veteran playing over those young guys next season.
Unfortunately young guys need experience to develop (that should be very clear from following Clarkson).
The other problem is that even if we suck next year we’ll end up empty-handed if we get something like the 4th pick (which we seem to be headed for this season despite sucking really bad). In order to get a top-three pick you need to (a) be lucky in the lottery and (b) have very few teams in the league that suck more than you. You can’t control either of these things.
Going for a top pick may be a reasonable strategy if you know you will keep your pick even if luck is not on your side. In our situation it’s a not very reasonable thing to do.
@rr, I hope you are correct in terms of Rondo and the FO but I fear that you are wrong on your guess. I think they will offfer him close to a max deal, someone drank the Rondo Kool-Aid, or think he will re-emerge as 2008 Rondo.
Also, I think 30 wins is likely the Lakers ceiling next year, even with a 2nd tier FA pickup and a bunch of “talented” rooks/soph’s. That would include Rondo and Kobe eventually coming back and playing decent (offensively anyway). The only way this changes is if they get some Vet talent surprises this offseason. I don’t want Dragic here, but I would LOVE to have him compared to Rondo. You need a PG who can shoot at this point, and can break down defenses, Clarkson would be a better PG than Rondo, and I still consider him a combo guard that really should be playing SG.
The way Clarkson plays, don’t see him meshing well with Kobe at all. It will be more mid-range stuff ad naseum mixed in with Clarkson driving to the hoop. No way Randle or any of these top 5 pick guys are going to move the needle in their 1st year against a strong Western conference. Next year will be more frustrating despite a handful more wins, since next year their won’t be any booby prize of draft pick to throw in at the end of the year. Best hope Kobe retires after next year, they don’t get Rondo, and they develop the young guys enough to pick one to keep and trade the rest for an established talent. Their core of Clarkson, Randle, Kobe, Kelly, Young, and perhaps Hill is not something I can even begin to imagine being truly competitive on a nightly basis. Defensively Clarkson does not impress me at all, especially when he guards other PGs, Kobe just can’t defend anymore due to age, Young is a crappy defender most of the time, same with Hill. So basically the guys we have on contract next year are all non-defensive players, with the exception of perhaps Randle who may be a decent defender but he’s basically just a big question mark at this point.
Nothing is guaranteed. We can just increase the odds as much in our favor as possible. Going for a top three pick is a much better option than over paying for average talent that just clogs up future cap space. Worse comes to worst and we lose the pick but we still have flexibility and we don’t have more nick youngs on nick young contracts.
Like I said I would sacrifice our chance at our top three pick only for Kawai.
Darius Soriano says
RE Players playing hard: Fwiw, I have heard from a couple of people close to the team that part of the reason Scott made those “foxhole” comments is because of grumbles about Scott from the players. What was intimated and implied to me was that Scott rides them hard in practices and in film sessions and that, combined with the losing, it’s getting old to them. Further, it seems that Scott’s on the record the digs about the players have not sat well either, but since most of the team is on one-year contracts, none are going to speak up to the press since they do not want to be seen as a bad locker room guy heading into free agency.
Again, this is just what I have heard lately. It’s not worth writing about on the main page because I cannot attribute this to anyone specific and I’m not a big “sources” guy anyway. Just thought I’d post it in the comments, however. I’d add, too, that this is the same thing that I have heard about Scott and his time in Cleveland.
It would be sad to thrash everyone and get into overhaul mode again, I think Davis, Ellington, Lin and also Hill are worth for consideration if they could be affordable. Lakers should maintain at least 50% of their current stock that can immediately contribute while training the rookies and acclimatizing the F/A’s. One of the reason why Lakers were caught flatfooted this season, chemistry and camaraderies was missing in the beginning. On the newbies, well we all know about Clarkson, RAndle is a case study. I don’t know with Kelly and Brown, their offense could further be improved as they mature in NBA, it is their defense that is badly needed from 2nd stringers. Lakers could have four draft picks, add two F/A’sand possible trade baits for Sacre and Young.
It’s not inside information so much as common sense based off of reading
Well, I would say that common sense suggests that it is not a good idea to presume that guys playing hard are doing so in spite of the coach—unless you just can’t stand the coach, which, obviously, is the case here. Like I have said, many people had made up their minds about Byron before he had even been hired, so for those people, everything that he says and does is going to be filtered through that lens. There were many fans who talked about D’Antoni the exact same way, since they never wanted him to have the job to begin with.
As to the rest of your post and DS’s, it just draws a line under what I have been saying all year: Byron riding guys hard in practice and in film sessions was to be expected, since that is what Riley always did and is apparently what Scott did in Cleveland. One counterargument is obvious: you should not coach a bad team in 2012 or 2015 the same way that Riley coached the Lakers in 1988 or 1989. So, that brings it back to the unknowable, since Imo that issue would revolve around what Byron said in interviews. If he said that he understood that difference, and would take a more nurturing, calm approach, and then went back on his word, then, yes, that is on him. If, however, he said that he believed in tough practices and that the way to motivate guys was to get on them and get in their faces, then any frustration with Byron’s coaching should land squarely on the guys who gave him the contract.
Going for a top pick may be a reasonable strategy if you know you will keep your pick even if luck is not on your side. In our situation it’s a not very reasonable thing to do.
Correct. If the Lakers lose this year’s pick (and there will be a 17% chance of that happening on lottery night), then I would probably be on board with tanking next year and going with Kobe, Clarkson, Randle and a 76ers-type roster. But if they keep the pick, then tanking next year would be silly, unless (and even this would be arguable) there is a LeBron or a Shaq or a Duncan in the 2016 draft that I don’t know about.
Of course, it is very possible that the Lakers will not want to tank but will be bad enough that we are lottery-watching again next year anyway. There will be heavy competition for the FAs that could help the Lakers, most of them are RFAs anyway, and as noted, it is unlikely that Randle and a guy like Town or Mudiay will move the needle that much next year. Minnesota has a worse record, but as I have said many times, the Lakers have the worst roster in the conference.
5 weeks till the lottery 🙂
bryan S. says
Kimberly @ 4/9 8:34pm: Gasol signed with Chicago because he wanted to go to team ready to compete for a title. Secondarily (or not), he wanted to be in a sophisticated urban environment where like a true son of Barcelona, he could enjoy fine dining and los belles artes. (That’s why he didn’t sign with the Spurs.) To my point about Thibodeau and wearing players down; that’s what we are seeing right now with Noah and what he did to Luol Deng. Don’t think that players don’t know that a coach who plays vets high minutes is a coach to avoid. Bill Walsh was ahead of the his peers in the 80’s by rotating his lineman in and out to keep them fresh. His team’s peaked in the playoffs. We see the same now with Popavich, and other coaches following suit. Thibs, like Byron, is behind the curve. (And yes, he is by all accounts, a great guy–but that fact won’t cancel out his shortcomings.)
For a ‘must read’ on Rajon Rondo, read… http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/12587848/old-questions-surface-dallas-mavericks-point-guard-rajon-rondo
bryan S. says
rr: Agree with you that Byron’s short comings aren’t late breaking news, and as DS has said repeatedly, this is a failure of the FO. But that doesn’t exculpate Byron from all of it either. These latest remarks (foxhole) and his disparaging of Jeremy Lin for a perceived lack of toughness were his most egregious and damning ones I can think of. In the case of Lin, there is a hint of bigotry to them (Asians are soft), which can’t be proven, but the evidence on the court is that Lin is anything but soft as he relentlessly attacks the paint and takes a beating doing so.
your remarks here:
“Ryan West: He may know what he is doing, but TWC is hardly in a position to run an expose on Lakers FO and scouting ineptitude, so we should, in that case, focus on results, rather than on organization-driven media presentations. Clarkson was a good pick, but Randle needs to prove that he can actually stay on the floor and produce, and the FO obviously, absolutely has to nail this pick, presuming that the team keeps it.”
Of course anything from TWC is cheer leading. But that doesn’t invalidate this piece at all. Proof being that Ryan West, as the de facto head of scouting (unless you believe Jesse Buss is finding guys–but Jesse does deserve credit for rebuilding the scouting infrastructure), has made the most of the scant picks he’s had to draft from. Sacre was an excellent last pick of the draft and a solid third string center; Ryan Kelly is a work in progress, but again, if he can improve his shooting and strength he become a solid contributor (again, though, most guys picked in that range don’t stick).
Clarkson, on the other hand, wasn’t a “good pick”, he was a great pick. A veritable home-run of a pick at 46. He has exceeded anyone’s expectations, and is in the running for first team rookie. His analytics since the all-star break are off the chart. His head to head play against top point guards has shown that he has plenty to learn, but the take aways are that this guy belongs. His assist totals would be way up if his teammates could shoot. He’s been better than Wiggins on an equally crappy team. The only player I’d maybe put ahead of him right now is Elfrid Payton, who really should be in the conversation for rookie of the year (Mirotic is not a rookie–seasoned Euro professional). We will see about Randle, but I expect we will see a very good to great redux rookie season from him. Your assertion that the FO has to “nail the pick” we hopefully are getting, is unfair if you look at the history of top draft picks–it’s checkered at best. Some much depends on position and available talent. Drafting fourth as opposed to third, might net a quality starter, whereas third might net a star. There is luck involved, and any honest evaluation of a draft must acknowledge these variables.
Finally rr, an oft made assertion of yours is that “the FO must do something right.” Buying a second round pick and turning it into a starter level players qualifies as that in spades.
Yeah, so the pro-FO argument right now is, basically, Jordan Clarkson. I get that. But that is a long way from being a tight argument. It is a data point in the FO’s favor. There are many more data points that aren’t, and you need to acknowledge those, instead of holding up Robert Sacre as a win.
And, sorry, but yeah, they have to nail the pick and Randle needs to stay on the floor and get the job done. That doesn’t mean that the new guy and Randle have to turn the franchise around but they do need to be plus moves.
Why? One way to look at it is a simple, two-part thought exercise: Part 1: imagine that Jim Buss was not a member of the Buss family. How much heat would he be getting from Jim’s sister, the fan base, and the media right now? This isn’t about Jim Buss. It is about roster quality. Part 2: On reason that Minnesota is so bad is that they missed on some high lottery picks:
Wesley Johnson (4)
Derrick Williams (2)
Jonny Flynn (6)
Does this mean that the guy who oversaw the picks is dumb? No. But that guy—David Kahn—who was a guy with questionable quals and a controversial figure—got fired after a few losing seasons. And remember that this FO traded six draft picks to make a run with Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Were those reasonable gambles? Yes. But they didn’t work, and in the NBA, you need to make decisions that work, even if you are a smart guy, which Jim Buss may well be.
One counter is that Jim was part of the FO during the title years. But as DS himself said, in a post right here at this site after Jerry Buss died, that this is Jim Buss’s time to lead. So far, things are not going well on his watch.
Jim Buss was part of the FO when we won titles just like Kurt Rambis was part of the coaching team during title years. This does not make Jim a great owner, nor Kurt a great head coach.
Not talking about Jim because he is not going anywhere is akin to not talking about Napoleon right before Waterloo. I don’t think anyone thought he was going anywhere either.
bryan S. says
rr: Maybe I should have been more clear–thought I was. My argument isn’t pro FO. That would be silly (the Nash trade wasn’t a reasonable gamble–it was foolishness given Nash’s age and history of back issues). My argument is that we have a very capable scouting department who will get value from our picks this draft. That’s something I feel confident about based on the performance of Ryan West et al.
Darius Soriano says
Jim is not the “owner”. I try not to correct people every time this is said, but he’s not. The team is owned, via a majority share, by the Buss Family in a trust. Jim is the VP of Basketball Ops and, as has been reported countless times, makes decisions in tandem with Mitch Kupchak. Mitch has gone on record saying that Jim will defer to him when he feels strongly enough on something and Jeannie has said that, if she wanted to, she could overrule anyone on any basketball decision because she is the team’s “Governor”. This is, essentially, the same role her dad had as the “owner”.
Sorry, but this drives me batty in the same way that people calling the last lockout a “strike” does. The players did not “strike” the owners “locked them out”. There’s a fairly big difference between the two, but people use the terms interchangeably. They are not. So, yeah.
bryan S. says
Robert : Enjoy the historical references. They are as out of scale as your personal animus is for Jim Buss, and lend a grandeur to your novel arguments.
I had mentioned in earlier comments that I thought players worked hard in spite of Scott- that this was a more fair interpretation than the thought that scott gets credit for the players working hard… Not “in spite of scott”, rather “despite scott.” My bad.
Bryan s- I see your point on THibs and the riding vets too hard. Just optimism on my part I suppose, since it seems from what’s being reported that he will be available.
Anon- I admit I do not like Scott as a coach. But my dislike did not begin until after the season began. Besides his generous outpouring of criticism to his players, his part in initiating rookie hazing and kobe fanboydom, is really too much. I really think he lacks a basic professionalism that even other losing coaches have. Lot of coaches can occasionallt throw their players under the bus- but not so regularly as have byron. Ok. Dead horse.
Ryan west- I am excited about the FO scouting- wish they can extend similar efforts into finding a coach.
bryan S. says
Kimberly: Very nice posts. Keep it up.
Brian s.- thanks! Will do. This forum besides SSR are the only two sites where I can read posts without too much humph!ing.