I will forever be fascinated by team building and the construction of rosters contrasted against the direction of the league. How players are grouped and assembled to form a team + the defining style of play of winning basketball will almost always go hand in hand as general managers and coaches look to steal ideas (and players who fit into specific archetypes) from each other in a race to the top.
After the Lakers won their second title in as many years in 2010, you saw this first hand as some of the western conference teams (most notably the Thunder in their acquisition of Kendrick Perkins) added size and physicality to their front line to match up against the Gasol/Bynum/Odom trio the Lakers hammered teams with up front. By the end of 2011, however, things started to shift again.
Those playoffs, in their quest for a three-peat, the Lakers were unceremoniously ousted by the hot shooting, and eventual title winning, Mavs. The reign of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh then began with two consecutive titles, followed by the Spurs return as champions last season after their heartbreaking defeat the season before. This season, the Warriors posted a historical season with 67 wins and top-2 rankings in both offensive and defensive efficiency. All of these teams relied heavily on outside shooting to fuel their offensive attacks, a drastic shift — at least aesthetically — from what the Lakers had offered in their title winning years.
Today, at SB Nation, Tom Ziller and Paul Flannery discussed these ideas, using a recent Phil Jackson tweet as a jumping-off point to their conversation. Ziller and Flannery covered a lot of ground, but a key part of their discussion centered on whether, as the style of play around the league shifts, we are too dismissive of “old-school” thinking about three pointers:
FLANNERY: I want to go back to something. Do we run a risk by dismissing wise old heads like Phil Jackson simply because they don’t conform to the style of the day?
ZILLER: Absolutely! It’s easily one of the most dangerous facets of the New NBA, where an increasing share of decision-makers come from business or law school in lieu of a fuller basketball background. We as a chattering class are, at this point, so much quicker to wax skeptical about Phil Jackson’s positions than those of Sam Hinkie. We’ve joked before that the nerds won. It’s legitimately true.
I feel guilty for ridiculing the concept of the Basketball PhD and the theory of its demise as a professional credential in the NBA. The presentation of the concern was worth ridicule; the concern is not. There is knowledge gathered from learning and excelling in a field that cannot otherwise be obtained. That doesn’t mean we need ex-players running every team, but it speaks to the value of their voices and theories.
Every theory ought to be judged by its merits, not by the ideology it fits within or the orientation of its presenter.
FLANNERY: It doesn’t help that each side can drip with condescension when it wants to either. There are insights and intel to be gleaned from vets, quants, scouts and cap gurus. Sometimes it doesn’t jive with a preconceived notion, but that shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. It should be embraced. I feel like the best organizations are the ones that blend all that stuff together into a basketball bouillabaisse. Of course, there’s a difference between having all those people on staff and giving them all a voice.
What’s interesting to me isn’t whether Phil is right or wrong, it’s that as the league moves forward and embraces whatever innovations that can assist in winning, it’s easy to forget that there actually are multiple ways to win and that most successful things build on previously used concepts as foundation for their success.
Phil actually spoke to this, somewhat, in the tweet following the one that got so many in an uproar:
Why am getting cranky stuff? Seriously, bball, it's about penetration. Those cranky the Heat/Spurs got it..Heat via s/roll, Spurs all ways.
— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) May 10, 2015
In it’s most simplest form, basketball is about penetration. The Triangle used penetration in the form of the dribble, the pass, or a shot – this is one of the key principles that Phil and Tex Winter often harped on. The advent of “pace and space” style offense that optimize three pointers uses penetration against a spaced floor to accomplish this. And, as Phil noted with the Heat, the dive out of the P&R to collapse the defense in ways that open up the outside shot was key to their runs. What people also often forget is that Phil consistently used Kukoc, Horry, and Odom as stretch-y PF’s on his best teams and that, at least with the Lakers, his teams were consistently in the top half of the league in three point field goals attempted.
For the current carnation of the Lakers, they too would be wise to understand where the league is going, but not forget there really are multiple ways to win. Byron Scott got himself in some hot water by downplaying the value of the three pointer, but as the season went on his team did shoot more shots from behind the arc and opened up their offense to incorporate more P&R that helped space the floor. Finally playing Ryan Kelly at PF also helped. Having enough flexibility and finding that proper balance between optimizing inside play and being able to space the floor via effective shooting should continue to be a priority for Scott and his coaching staff.
Craig W. says
Whether talking about sports or medicine, it is wise to be concerned with balance. The game of GO is all about getting as much territory as possible without giving up too much to your opponent. It is never possible to get everything, therefore you always have to balance offense and defense to get to at least 51% of the available space.
That fits right into Phil Jackson’s approach to team play. That is a fundamental aspect of having tall guards that aren’t always driving the lane – or always having some wing players ready to retreat on defense – never give your opponent the ball with an open court in front of him.
We are excited by speed, but John Wooden famously said to never mistake activity for accomplishment. Memphis, win or lose, is proving that big men do matter and you eliminate them on your team at your own peril. The emphasis may change, but the fundamentals do not.
Ok, enough homilies for one post.
– Nice article. Fact is the NBA (like other leagues) is a copycat league. Most are followers, few are trendsetters.
– Too many have devalued the big man in today’s NBA. Continue to hear it’s a guard’s league. Yet the best of the best, LeBron, Durant, A. Davis, B. Griffin are not backcourt players. Only teams I can think of that won a title w/o a HOF frontcourt player were Isiah’s Pistons, and Chaucy’s Pistons.
– Few franchises have built AND rebuilt champions in multiple eras. Lakers, Celtics, Pistons, Warriors, and 76ers are in that select group. Obviously our Lakers and the Celtics have been the best. Both accomplishing the feat four (4) times. And with a currently dysfunctional FO, this will be a challenge indeed. However hope lives, I still believe in Mitch…just don’t know how much his young bosses do.
Great post and a topic I have been debating with a couple of friends. Too much has been made of trying to be “right” on either side, as opposed to truly understanding the game and adjusting schemes / approaches to the available talent and then targeting the appropriate talent to add. This mindset bleeds into arguments about the “right” way to construct rosters under the new CBA, the “right” way to play in order to win a championship, etc.
I enjoy the process immensely (may be an age thing for me). While I obviously enjoy watching the Lakers win more, it is still an interesting puzzle to ponder, particularly as the variables increase in complexity and more information becomes available.
This is the kind of post that keeps me coming back to the site. Thanks Darius.
Wouldn’t you know it. I add a comment and within a minute Darius has a new post up. Reposting here:
@ Stuart: The Lakers are essentially starting at square 1.
All the more reason to take this rebuild slowly. It’s impossible to build a team with a wide open competitive window in a year or two. We truly are looking at a 4 or 5 year process. Hopefully we keep this top pick and we can take a step forward.
Which brings me back to Jim’s promise. I believe he has two years left on it. That is not enough time to do this rebuild right. While I do not like Jim, I don’t want him to use our only real asset, cap space, willy-nilly in an effort to meet his self-imposed deadline.
Mitch has spokenrecently about doing the rebuild the right way. However, Mitch reports to Jim not the other way around. At this point I almost want Jeanie to step in and say that everyone in the FO wants to build a winner but we aren’t going to be held hostage by an arbitrary deadline. We want the Lakers to be competitive long into the future — not just in a short window.
She knows in her gut whether Jim can do this job or not. If he is in over her head she doesn’t have to fire him she can move him to the side, let him keep his title, but allow Mitch or some badly needed new blood to lead the way.
As so many contributors have stated this rebuild is not a slam dunk. We could very well find ourselves out of the playoff hunt for an extended period of time.
This is the reason I’m not a huge fan of the idea of just taking the best player available. If I did it would be with the idea of trading for something else.
It starts with the F.O. who has a vision of what they want their team to look like. Then hiring a coach who can implement that vision, then providing the players that fit that system. Byron Scott seems to be an old schooler who emphasizes hard work. I would focus on getting guys who are tough. Of course I am assuming the Lakers will stick with their coach which might be assuming a lot given recent years.
I feel almost bad for J. Hill. Here is a guy who gets coached by MDA and is told to develop a jump shot to fit his system as a stretchy 4. He goes out and does just that. Only to have a new coach who is more concerned about his energy level which is more of what Hill was originally. The Lakers need to have a persistent identity before any sort of rebuild is really possible. Otherwise they are just acquiring assets.
Darius – feel free to eliminate my double posting. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Kevin: “I believe he has two years left on it.” Well Jim made his infamous promise in 01/2014 (it was not reported until 04/2014). The promise was if he “couldn’t turn the franchise around in three to four years, he’d step down as Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.” So – I am going to guess 3-4 means 4. That takes us to 01/2018 by the calendar, however clearly we would let him finish the year which takes us to 04/2018 (notice I did not use 05), which by my count is 3 years from know. It will only be fitting for Jim to resign then. If he resigns at the end of the 2018 season we will have tied the Laker record for not being in the Finals for 8 straight years. It is his destiny.
@ Kevin and Robert:
What I want to know is this: Is there an internal sytem of checks and balances within the Lakers? So if, Jim goes crazy to fulfill his promise and wants to trade our top 5 pick for Carmelo would someone be able to step in and stop him?
Ano: The Laker checks and balances are a complex story indeed. Most teams have a simple org structure that would provide the checks and balances. The Laker story involves family meetings, trust docs, sibling rivalry, and in the case of Carmelo Anthony – it would Involve special non-collusion agreements signed with the league. So to answer your question. Thankfully I believe, such a deal would be VETOED.
Chris J says
Basketball is vastly different today than it was 25 years ago, when there were seemingly more dominant centers than there were playoff teams. Hell, the Rockets had two talented bigs, the Lakers had an overall No. 1 pick as their backup 4/5, and Boston had Hall of Famers on both sides of the key.
Today, how many truly dominant low-post players are there? Davis, Al Jefferson, Zach Randolph and Marc… Memphis truly is the outlier.
What remains to be seen is whether the NBA will ever revert to the “big is better” model. In other sports, we’ve seen ebbs and flows. The NFL used to value running backs and big OLs; now it’s QBs and pass-catchers. Baseball’s gone from speed and pitching to power, only to come back to speed and pitching. In those sports it was a mix of rule changes and outside factors (steroids, smaller ballparks) that drove the shifts. The NBA’s rules to loosen up defenses have definitely shifted the league toward offense, so for now the smart money says the dominant center is a thing of the past.
Still, all it takes is one or two unstoppable forces on the block to cause the league to look differently at players. Teams drafted to slow Shaq; they drafted or made trades to adjust to the Lakers bigs (Odom, Bynum, Pau), or to try to counter Duncan over the years. If history repeats itself, there will again be that one talented guy other teams have to account for in order to win a 7-game series, and then GMs will start adding size in an effort to get to the Finals. And then the centers will again have their day. But I have no clue how soon that change will occur. That’s what makes the games fun to watch.
Darius. Can you please get off the Lakers bleacher report page? You are annoying as hell. Thanks
Idk what it is about you but I just feel the need to come here and tell you that every time I get on the bleacher report page and I see your little comments I want to throw up. You are by far the most annoying lakers fan there is, a close second is the moron that handles the lakersnation twitter account. Anyway.. keep on being a tool, Darius.
Do people really take this nerd and his analysis seriously? I mean seriously, dude is a nerd. Homeboy is the type that shows up at the park to hoop with all th e gimmicks but can’t play for shhhh. Ya that’s you Darius.
the other Stephen says
lol ^ who let you use the computer?
– @ Chris J: you forgot DeMarcus Cousins.
-Off topic. Intentional off ball fouling a/k/a “hack a whoever”. Lot’s of great minds here, wanted to run an idea pass you guys for dealing with this issue.
I don’t want to “reward” bad free throw shooters by outlawing “hack a whoever”, it’s an excellent strategy to deal with a player who doesn’t work on this part of the game as much as much as he should. At the same time it can be difficult to watch at times. In my eyes, it’s not the fouling that’s a problem, it’s the excessive use that’s a problem.
My suggestion: a team is allowed to “hack a whoever” just as they do now for “x” (4, 5,or 6) amount of times before a penalty kicks in. The penalty: the team committing the foul can only place two men (instead of 3) on the key line for rebounding purposes. Thus the shooting team would have a hypothetical rebounding advantage over the team committing the “hack”. I believe this would make coaches think twice about when to use the “hack a whoever”.This way the strategy of fouling bad free throw shooters could still be used, but not excessively. It’s a minor modification I believe would improve the flow of the game w/o eliminating the hacking strategy completely.
FB&G: your thoughts…
I’m inclined to agree heavily with Chris J’s comment on this thread. I believe the devaluation of big men came about as a side effect of the dominance of one Shaquille O’Neal. At the turn of the century the league implemented legal zone defenses to combat Shaquille and to end the pretense of illegal defenses. Teams had been playing soft zones forever, but once they became legal, zones became the standard and teams could really pack the paint on defense. Subsequently, the importance of 3 point shooting to spread the floor and force defenses to play perimeter players honestly has increased exponentially.
Personally, I love watching good post play. A team like Houston that constantly jacks up 3’s leaves me cold. The game I grew up watching had the goal of attacking the rim and getting a layup. Today’s game favors the 3 to the point where many players penetrate to the basket, turn down the layup attempt and kick the ball out to a teammate set up beyond the arc. A vast difference, indeed.
Darius Soriano says
Jon’s as sour as spoiled milk. Hahaha. But thanks for coming to my site! I appreciate the page views. Also, thanks to Bleacher Report for adding me to their team stream (it’s not like they asked me) and encouraging folks like Jon to visit my site. As a side note, if I showed up at the park to play, I’d work you in the post.
Anyway.. keep on being a tool, Darius
right, right…`takes one to know one´ they say –
Instead of throwing darts at someone who describes himself as a, quote `basketball junkie´ unquote, you might take the time to READ the articles on this blog and actually LEARN something, not to mention take part in intelligent discussion on the Purple & Gold AND other teams around the league, the workings of the NBA and bball in general (heck, there are even a few of posters from abroad who offer up fine insight into European bball and its players and coaches)…
So, Jon, join everyone here at the table, give us your views on whatever topic/team you like, & be a part of something worthwhile. You´ll find most of the commenters will appreciate it, & appreciate your taking the time to SHARE –
I’d work you in the post.
hahaha, so Darius, as per our topic on this thread, do I gather you lean toward having a solid big on the block then? Or a KB type of thing that you´re proposing? 😉
T. Rogers says
I always felt the league started allowing pro wrestling disguised as defense from the Bad Boy Pistons as way of countering the Showtime Lakers. I’ve seen enough old games to conclude that as tough as the teams were from the 70’s and early 80’s they didn’t resort to the tactics of the Pistons. Once the league allowed the Pistons to play that way it inspired the entire Eastern Conference to adopt that slow, mugging style of basketball through the 1990’s.
So the league changing the rules in the early 2000’s to encourage scoring is them undoing their own handiwork. From the days of the Harlem Rens to Mikan’s Lakers to West and Baylor’s Lakers to Malone and Dr. J’s Sixers they game has always been the same. It’s been free flowing and high scoring. Defense was played with the feet. Through all of that post play still thrived. And it will thrive again.
@ Kevin and Robert
The Lakers have a weird FO dynamic going that is for sure. Jim’s promise is indeed hanging out there and I do think it needs to be addressed by he and Jeanie at some point.
As noted, Mitch has made comments about not loading up on veterans in an effort to send Kobe out a winner. Then we have Jeanie coming out and saying that next year would be a Kobe Celebration – although I’m not sure what that means for the product on the floor. (There’s that weird dynamic in action.)
Mitch has also mentioned his preference for taking the long view of the rebuild process. This of course runs a bit counter to Jim’s promise, which wasn’t just that the Lakers be competitive, but that they will be challenging for the Western Conference/NBA championship in 3 or 4 years.
Many have commented that the Lakers have a long road ahead of them and even if plans fall into place, four years seems about as optimistic as one could get to reach those heights. (I use the Warriors as a baseline, this is Curry’s 5th year in the league and the 1st time that GS is deemed to be a legitimate challenger. The point being that even with talent a certain amount of time/experience is needed for success.)
So bottom line for me is that Jim’s promise feels a little self-serving and not Lakers focused. To add fuel to the fire Jeanie seems to want to hold Jim to it – she hasn’t shied away from acknowledging the promise in interviews. I believe Jeanie is waiting for the draft to take place before offering any clarification on this topic.
If we keep our pick and get Towns then the rebuild begins to take shape more quickly. Towns plays a position of need and he can contribute right away. A big plus is that he isn’t redundant with a piece the Lakers currently have. As much as I don’t feel Jim is qualified, if the Lakers get Towns, I’d be willing to let Jim off the (promise) hook as long as he and Mitch went about building the team the right way — acquiring young talent through the draft, trades and free agency.
I think Lakers fans would be happy if in 2 or 3 years the team had a young core, an upward trajectory and appeared to be growing towards a championship level. There would be no need to have Jim working against that momentum by trying to keep to the timeline of his ‘promise’.
@ Todd: I think Lakers fans would be happy if in 2 or 3 years the team had a young core, an upward trajectory and appeared to be growing towards a championship level. There would be no need to have Jim working against that momentum by trying to keep to the timeline of his ‘promise’.
I always thought Jim’s ‘promise’ was theatrical and self-serving. No one in the position of executive vice president of basketball operations needs to issue a ‘promise’ to do their job. Its inherent in the position that you either succeed or you are replaced.
Since taking over the reins in the 2011/12 season the Lakers are a cumulative 134-178 for a winning perentage of.430. ‘Promise’ or not, brother of the team president or not, beloved owners’ son or not — that isn’t going to cut it. If Jim were not family his seat would be very hot and his leash would be very short.
Craig W. says
I don’t like the idea of giving the officials another subjective judgment – al la ‘what is intentional’. IMO, it would be better to specify exactly what you are basing your call on.
My suggestion would be to outlaw fouls that were half a court away from where the ball is, i.e. if the ball is below the mid-court 3pt line of the backcourt, then fouls below the mid-court 3pt line in the forecourt would qualify. The penalty would be a technical foul by the person fouled and returning possession to the team fouled.
This would mean the attacking team would have to have a strategy for combating the foul by the time the ball reached half-court, but they would have some seconds to implement this strategy – perhaps a 4pt shot could be legalized. This would also reduce two big men being overly aggressive in trying to fight for position while the ball is in the backcourt, but I am not totally against that, either.
Finally, this would not materially change the current game and the officials would have some definitive definition of the parameters of play.
Calvin Chang says
Darius – is Jon someone you know? His comments sound like an inside joke I would throw at one of my friends just to mess with him. Haha
@ George: Since taking over the reins in the 2011/12 season the Lakers are a cumulative 134-178 for a winning percentage of .430. ‘Promise’ or not, brother of the team president or not, beloved owners’ son or not — that isn’t going to cut it. If Jim were not family his seat would be very hot and his leash would be very short.
The point being — Jim is family and like it or not rules that would apply to you and me simply don’t apply to him. I never really felt the ‘promise’ was anything more than a meaningless statement made in public as a response to the fact that it was clear the Lakers were heading for rough waters and the backlash of fan frustration was beginning to build.
Interesting to note that Jim has been absent from the media light these last months. Only Jeanie has been the face of the franchise and those media efforts are so polished by the Lakers’ PR firm that nothing substantial is ever discussed. It might be best for Jeanie to take the lead from Jim and just say no to future interview requests for the time being.
The smart move is to let Mitch do all the talking. I always found his vague responses to questions encouraging— as if there is something in the works that Mitch can’t comment on. I especially hang onto Mitch’s recent comments about the franchise valuing youth and taking their time to do this right. These remarks give me more confidence than anything Jim or Jeanie could say.
Calvin Chang says
For next season, I agree with Aaron. If the league doesn’t change the lottery rules, I’d make the coming season a Kobe celebration tour – make it a very entertaining, gimmicky tank. I’d sign Sim Bhullar, Jeremy Lin for ratings, Rondo for 1 year to give the impression Buss and Kupchak are trying, and try to get as much publicity and sponsors without trying to win. Then in 2016, try to draft Thon Maker or Ben Simmons. Either of these mutants are game-changers.
Where do you fall in regards to the ‘promise’?
1) It’s real and Jim is making it a priority — even over the long term needs of the Lakers
2) It’s real but Jim will prioritize the long term needs of the Lakers first
3) Its not real and Jim would not hold himself to it
4) It’s real and Jeanie will hold Jim to it
5) It’s real but Jeanie is looking for an opportunity to wipe it away
6) It’s not real and the words were forgotten as soon as they were spoken
-“As a side note, if I showed up at the park to play, I’d work you in the post.”
Hahaha, that’s right a mouse in the house work him over down low! And, his jumper better splash. Because like Charles Barkley, Darius will say, “I got every rebound, and I’ll get easy buckets.” Awesome.
Never discount the skills of a nerd!
@ Alan I’d add another option:
7) It’s real and Jeanie will hold Jim to it, however, no one knows when the ‘promise’ started or will end.
@CalvinChang, please no “celebration tours” that can easily turn into yet another injury ending season for Kobe at this point. The team needs to develop players big time, LA isn’t going to turn this thing around on a dime. Don’t touch Rondo unless its in the Vet Minimum-ish pay range.
Lin won’t resign with LA, he’s going to go somewhere where he thrives as a 6man on a winning team, or starts on a mediocre one. IF he stayed in LA I would be completely amazed, a bunch of teams are going to want a guy who can still get so many assists from the bench and get to the rim at will.
Basically any real rebuild happens after Kobe leaves, since he dominates the ball so much he prevents us from developing a PG or a SG for that matter. Although the harsh reality is his body is likely going to fail him again at this point. Basketball is just a harsh sport on the body and the grind of the season is intense, back-to-back games prevent microtears in the ligaments from healing properly increasing risk of injury. 36 year olds heal significantly slower than 26 year olds regardless of training regime. You can stay in amazing shape at 36, but you just don’t recover as quickly. So please prioritize landing guys in the 25-30 year old range with some experience ideally but some upside to improve and the biological clock in our favor–not working against us.
I vote for 3 and 6.
Stuart: “The smart move is to let Mitch do all the talking” Agreed. For example, when an agent calls to negotiate a deal, let’s let Mitch do all the talking. Or when another GM calls and wants to propose a deal, let’s let Mitch do all the talking. Or when the commissioner calls and asks us who our pick is, let’s let Mitch do all the talking.
George: “Since taking over the reins in the 2011/12 season the Lakers are a cumulative 134-178 for a winning percentage of.430” . I remember there used to be arguments here as to “when” it was exactly that Jim took over. I agree with you that the 2012 season was the year and what a 4 years it has been (the worst such stretch in Laker history by many measures). Nobody argues about this anymore because if you start Jim’s tenure in 2013 or 2014, the record just gets worse.
Todd: “I think Lakers fans would be happy if in 2 or 3 years the team had a young core” I sense that you are wavering. I promised you if I sensed that you were that I would set you back on course. This ship will never be righted until we get a solid, visionary Front Office. Seeing a few rays of hope in 2-3 years will merely be a delay in the inevitable change that needs to occur in order for us to ever again achieve the success we are used to as Laker fans.
Count me in on that posting with Jon. Not sure how well I can play on those 6 foot childrens baskets though.
If Blake Griffin got to play SF he would be on the all defensive first team every year. I hate when guys like Blake and Barkley get a bad rap on D because they are forced to guard guys longer than them.
Watching Dwight makes me realize how clueless Jimmy is. Signed a 38 year old broken down point guard and a broken brained jack ass in Howard.
Gee hard to see why that destroyed the franchise!
Holy hell Clippers. That was depressing to watch. Who you guys like in game 7?
KenOak — well, wow. Guess I gloated too soon about D Coward and company. SMH.
Rockets at home for game 7 – theirs to lose.
The Rockets seemed just about ready to implode. Dwight was picking up stupid fouls like normal and making bone-headed plays. Then, the Clippers started playing not to lose and everyone tightened up. Sadly…I think I like the Rockets in game 7. However, the Warriors will beat them in the WCF.
How funny was it to watch the Rockets entire comeback happen with their MVP candidate on the bench though?
I have been an NBA fan for a long time, and that was one of the more bizarre playoff games I can remember.
I think the Clippers take Game 7, though.
Griffin is actually the guy I think about the most when I think about Randle in terms of body build and athleticism. I don’t believe Randle is quite the athlete Griffin is, which is a problem. I concur with the desirability of mitigating that issue by playing SF but I’m not sure he would fit there either. The unfortunate talented tweener problem.
With the hope the Lakers keep their pick the more I think about it the more I’m dead set the Lakers need to get either Towns or WCS. In the NBA the center has such a disproportionate effect on overall defense that it is hard to overlook, Meanwhile centers are of such rarity and good centers even rarer that they go for a premium on the open market. As such a defensive center on a rookie scale price controlled contract is a luxury to filling out a roster.
Ideally grabbing Towns with the first pick would give the Lakers the 2 way player franchise guy but if they should fall 2-5 my ultimate goal would be to get WCS either by drafting him or trading down. I really like Russel and guys like Mudiay could be phenomenal but, I just find as I pencil in names that shoring up the teams defense through free agency a daunting task without some luck as there just aren’t that many guys who can really fill that void as opposed to other positions.
Just a reminder for everybody. Lakers’ chance of getting the
#1 pick 11.9%
#2 pick 12.6%
#3 pick 13.3%
#4 pick 9.9%
#5 pick 35.1%
losing pick: 17.2%
So, unfortunately, there is actually a better chance of getting no one than there is of getting Towns. I think getting Justise Winslow at 5 would be a pretty good outcome for the franchise.
Seeing a few rays of hope in 2-3 years will merely be a delay in the inevitable change that needs to occur in order for us to ever again achieve the success we are used to as Laker fans.
Just for the record, here is the quote again:
“I was laying myself on the line by saying, if this doesn’t work in three to four years, if we’re not back on the top — and the definition of top means contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship — then I will step down because that means I have failed,” Buss said about the meeting. “I don’t know if you can fire yourself if you own the team … but what I would say is I’d walk away and you guys figure out who’s going to run basketball operations because I obviously couldn’t do the job.
“There’s no question in my mind we will accomplish success. I’m not worried about putting myself on the line.”
So, as I have said a few times, and as Todd and Robert allude to in different ways here, the question will be what happens if the Lakers are at 45-37 or so with some young talent. If the team is still losing 60 games a year, then Jim will be gone as Basketball Ops guy. If they are actually contenders, then obviously he will stay.