The Lakers finished up their first three games of the Las Vegas Summer League on Monday with a 1-2 record and amidst the many storylines, the main conversation has surrounded the play of second overall pick D’Angelo Russell. Russell’s numbers have not been anything to rave about nor have we seen much of what was highlighted prior to the draft. His apparent slow start has gotten Lakers fans antsy, but a piece by Nate Parham for Warriors blog Golden State of Mind can calm the minds of Laker faithful as he chronicles how Russell’s natural gifts and unbelievable poise flashed glimpses of potential greatness. Here’s a brief look:
I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the L.A. Lakers saved my first day at Las Vegas Summer League yesterday.
Sometime in the first half of the Lakers’ game against the Philadelphia 76ers yesterday, D’Angelo Russell calmly weaved his way down the floor in transition, head on a swivel to see what was developing. As Tarik Black darted through the key, Russell flung a beautifully-placed no-look pass to him that ended up sailing out of bounds. And there’s no contradiction in saying that pass was perfectly placed despite being a turnover — after being confused into a spin trying to catch the pass, Black turned around acknowledged his fault in the turnover and gave the 19-year-old phenom an apologetic high five.
Even in a botched play, Russell is consistently five steps ahead of the other nine aspiring pro ball players on the floor — on that play, he slowed down, saw Black coming, took a casual probing dribble in the opposite direction Black was going to draw the defense, and waited for the defense to leave the opening to fire the pass into. Despite the outcome his potential was on full display and everyone, including his teammates who are fighting for their own basketball lives, are acknowledging it in various ways. He’s doing things that show a potential mastery of the nuances of the game that often eludes the other hopefuls in Vegas.
For more on Russell, Drew Garrison of Silver Screen & Roll talked about the adjustment the rookie is facing as he steps into this new environment:
The overarching theme of Russell’s introduction to the NBA is adjustment. He’s learning a system that pulls him away from handling the ball. He’s figuring out the kinds of angles that will be available to him. He’s playing against a level of competition that’s challenging him every minute he’s on the floor, as opposed to stomping on lesser-talented college athletes who’ll never step foot on an NBA court. A player destined to conduct offenses as beautiful as Tchaikovsky symphonies doesn’t just wave a magical baton. Everything falls apart when the orchestra’s timing is off. “If you run a set and it breaks down, it’s a quick turnaround. Five seconds and you need to get a shot off,” D’Angelo elaborated when discussing the difficulties of running an offense the team is unfamiliar with that also eats up the shot cock.
Yes, it’s going to take time and patience to watch his talent fully blossom, but the kind of ceiling he has should make it well worth the wait. “Summer League is great for the adjustment process. I feel like I’m going to get better every game, every practice,” D’Angelo said when asked about his progress. “Once I get under the system and get the hang of it a little better, I think the better I’ll possibly be.”
In the interest of the Lakers backcourt, second-year man Jordan Clarkson has shined in his Summer League showing thus far and has displayed noticeable progression in nearly every aspect of his game. It has been well-documented that the 23-year old Clarkson was a pleasant surprise for the Lakers in his All-Rookie season, but he unveiled the overall experience in a piece for the Players’ Tribune, entitled “My Rookie Year”.
Among the tidbits in the article, one of the most telling stories was one that portrayed the bond the team shared last season despite their struggles, here’s a brief excerpt:
Aside from the rookie duties, another huge aspect was developing friendships with team veterans. Despite having such an off year for Laker Nation, our unit was still pretty close. Nick Young and Carlos Boozer took me under their wings on the road. There were no internal conflicts that you hear about on some teams when they go through tough times.
The bond wasn’t always about basketball. It was more about us being a family off the court. Sometimes you’ll hear about rookies feeling isolated — you go into your hotel room, order room service and you’re solo. My experience was the complete opposite. Carlos would be like, “Yo, JC, we’re going out to eat. Be downstairs at 7:30.” It wasn’t an invitation, but more like an order. Nick is a big shopper, so he would always let me know when they’d go to the mall. They always kept me in the loop, and that made me feel included as the newest player.
If you’re interested in reading more about Clarkson’s growth as a player, our own Darius Soriano looked at the tall task ahead of him this upcoming season as he looks to transition into a new role as a combo-guard. Give it a read.
Larry Nance Jr. is seemingly full of surprises. After being somewhat of a shocker as the Lakers’ 27th overall pick, Nance has taken many aback with his efforts on the court throughout summer League. No, it isn’t pretty, but his never-ending motor, relentless hustle and apparent pride in doing the ‘dirty work” lend one to believe the chants of “Lar-ry!” that bellowed out from the Laker-centric crowd at Thomas & Mack will not have any trouble sticking.
Nance’s Summer League showing prompted me to do some research on his background — I had a vague recollection that he had endured a few hardships throughout his life but was unclear of how extensive they were. Lo and behold I came across this feature article from January by Eric Prisbell of USA Today Sports in which he details the diagnosis that changed Nance’s career (For those who are unaware, Nance suffers from a chronic ailment known as Crohn’s Disease). Here is a snippet of the read:
Watch Larry Nance Jr. amble around the basketball court and it looks as if success was preordained.
The Wyoming senior not only possesses strong bloodlines but also shares the name of his father, Larry Nance Sr., the former 13-year-NBA veteran who dazzled fans with almost freakish athletic ability. The 6-foot-8 Nance Jr. displays that attribute as well as a striking number of his dad’s on-court mannerisms.
But what few outside this high-elevation campus know is that the preseason Mountain West Conference player of the year can compete at the college level only because of a medical diagnosis during his sophomore year of high school that changed his life.
Perhaps the most polarizing player of the Lakers Sumer League squad is ex-Washington center Robert Upshaw. Upshaw’s history that led to his dismissal from two college programs have been well-chronicled, but the time between his last dismissal in January to his new agreement with the Lakers, not so much. So with that, here is a link to a radio interview Upshaw did earlier this month with a local Seattle station, just after agreeing to join the Lakers Summer League team.
In the interview, Upshaw discusses, in detail, the process of trying to overcome the issues he’s faced, his relationship with Bill Walton, and his excitement to prove himself while with the Lakers. If you’re looking to know a bit more about Upshaw as a person, I suggest you give it a listen.
Lastly, we would be remiss to do a links post for this past week without providing some reference into the series of events that played out with the team that sits just across the hall of the Lakers’ locker room. By now, the DeAndre Jordan saga has been chronicled and spun in most every way possible, but if you’re looking for the most detailed insight in regards to what exactly happened that led to his change of heart, you should check out this piece by ESPN’s Tim McMahonn and Ramona Shelburne.
However, in the aftermath of Jordan’s (in)decision, the more pressing issue is its affect on the Mavericks and their fan base. In a well-written piece for The Sports Academy, Mavs blogger Andy Tobo offers his perspective on the Jordan debacle and explores a larger issue of why the Maverick’s “plan powder” of preserving cap space in the hopes of selling the next big name free agent is, well, foolish:
Or maybe… the fatal flaws of the damn thing was always there for anyone who wanted to see them. Here’s the breakdown:
- “Plan powder” comes from the phrase “keep your powder dry.” In this case it means “have as much cap space as possible at all times.”
- The way to get cap space that involves just HAVING money on hand means a lot of one year rentals, few impact players, no continuity, and ultimately mediocrity.
- No top free agent wants to play for a mediocre team.
- Every top free agent gets the same offer, dollar figure wise, from every team that’s interested in them.
You follow? What the Mavs did was basically to say “we’re going to follow a strategy that makes us mediocre for the sake of having money until we score big, even though scoring big is based on what you can offer to free agents besides money.”
Sound familiar? Very much so. While the situations of the Mavs and Lakers are certainly not identical, there is a sliver of similarity on the surface: a formerly competitive team now failing to contend in the waning years of their aging star, a franchise whose height of success was quickly followed by numerous years of disappointment, management that is constantly preserving space while overlooking the need to build roster continuity, and despite all of this a front office that has continuous belief in their ability to lure a big-time free agent every summer.
Again, there are many presiding factors beneath the surface that separate these two scenarios. But the Mavs, much like the Lakers, underwent somewhat of a philosophy check over the summer. How quickly both teams recover remains to be seen, but in light of the Summer League showing and the solid signings post-LaMarcus, it can be said that the Lakers hold the keys to a brighter future.
There is no easy way out of awfulness. The NBA wants parity, and the salary cap structure is making it happen. Also the stiff California income tax is not helping either. No more waiting and clearing salary cap to get star players. It is time to build from within, even if it means 3-5 years of missing play-offs. Developing players and watching them grow can be fun too.
I never fully understand why is Jim Buss involved in personnel decisions. Did Mitch do a bad job? Before Jim Buss involvement, the Lakers were doing fine. What makes Jim Buss more qualified to run the franchise than Mitch? In fact, I think he is a detriment to recruit players. Being rich by inheritance actually makes it harder to convince people about his ability to run a team. Jim should step back and let Mitch do his job.
@5D2: Nice post I agree completely.
Mitch’s comments indicate that the FO believes the playoffs are realistic. I disagree. I think we have a very average group of veterans and adding the kids, who need time to develop, is not a recipe for winning in the NBA. This is indeed a 3+ year project.
What makes it more difficult is that we owe two of our next three 1st Round picks to other teams. So right when we could use middle to backend of the lottery selections to fill holes in our roster we will be shutout. And as Myles mentioned, no elite free agent wants to play for a mediocre team. We are going to have to rely primarily upon organic growth for improvement and that will take time.
@5D2 Yes the NBA got some level of parity, but not really. They have just moved the advantage to teams that are good. Players don’t go to bad teams. The Bucks got there first ever big FA in Monroe (who picked them over Knicks and Lakers to win now). It will be easier for teams to stay at the top by getting FA. This will really hurt the league in a few years. You will see that teams in the playoffs don”t leave just get new players. When the Kings go 2 decades without getting to the playoffs fans will completely abandon them. Getting a guy like Anthony Davis will be even more important because teams will have to find a way to the playoffs to get FA.
Jim has been involved since 2003. I don’t know why people have a hard time understanding this. He should get credit for finding Bynum and trading for Gasol, if you are going to blame him for all their problems. It was the CBA that doomed the Lakers not Jim. The media created a narrative and fans went with it. Fans want a scape goat. Jim does not recruit the players at all. Jim is anti-social and knows it. He leaves the recruiting to Mitch and Jeanie (who was said to go too long in her portion of her pitch to LMA, but praised for her pitch to Melo. she just has to learn more about what each individual is looking for). By the way Jim was placed there because Jerry thought Jim had a great basketball mind and worked well with Mitch. He placed each of his kids in the area he thought they would be best. Each child runs a different part of the organization.
I’d call 41 wins the midpoint of mediocre, and don’t see it happening next year for the Lakers.
Maybe incremental improvements in the Laker’s record is possible as we pay off the Nash and Coward rentals and enter the post Kobe era. Sorry, but Kobe leaving the building will be an essential milestone. If he’s extended, the return to relevance will be thereby delayed.
I think the Warriors took about five years to go from utter cluelessness to a championship. All it took was a change of ownership, replacement of a head coach who was going through the motions, replacement of another head coach, and replacement of the FO, including addition of one of the best talent evaluators ever as consultant and part owner. Oh, good drafting and a fair amount of good fortune was also required.
@5D2, ditto on your post. Here I go again, when Lakers lose any game, blame on the capped owner! He can’t win the hearts of Laker nation but he can always quit anytime…na, na, na,na.
Consider Mr. Russell as a raw material extracted from earth. There will be several processes to occur; he turns into pulp, then to bundle of paper, then to a refined stationary and finally into an important paper that will draw the Nuclear Free World Deal. Unfortunately, others see the elimination of other processes and turn immediately into fine stationary like they say on Okafor, Winslow, Towns. Well, we really don’t know their final contribution at end of the season. Some players develop early and depart early as well like Beasley, Bynum, Brandon Roy – the future never takes care of itself, sometimes it is luck to carve your destiny, sometimes hard work like Mad dog whose forte is rebound and defense and he catapulted into assistant Coach or Luke Luke who is member of the scrubs of ’06 became the best assistant coach for the Dubs In my perspective, I think Russell will become a great PG though he will travail a lot of hurdles, absorb lots of criticism and that alone is the test of his fortitude to prove himself to the cynics. Meanwhile, Lakers absorbed more losses whoaaa! hey, we will have lots of cap space next summer to beg again to the hard to please Superstars to play here. That could be the last season of Jimbo as well. Hurray!
Assuming a sale of the Lakers is not imminent, I’m tempted to say the Lakers best case five year countdown to relevance and beyond hasn’t yet started.
But we shall see; maybe I’m being too hard on the current ownership.
Mitch has said it was his call on the draft. You have believe that if it was up to Jim, he would have chosen Okafor. Mitch blew this draft and has set the franchise back years and people want to blame it on Jim? Russell and Randle should have been packaged in a trade for Cousins before anyone saw them stink up the Vegas league. That ship has now sailed and we’re up a creek without a paddle.
@R: But we shall see; maybe I’m being too hard on the current ownership.
No, you’re not being too hard on them. For the Lakers, the owner/operator model passed on when Dr. Buss did.
The current ownership will only succeed when they bring in a smart, young and energetic President of Player Personnel from outside the organization. The Lakers are badly in need of a fresh perspective and a new voice – preferably one with gravitas. It’s time to let in some fresh air.
Chris J says
Excellent piece on a variety of subjects.
One item that I would like to see addressed in the new CBA discussions, whenever that begins, is the unlevel playing field that’s created by the difference in state/city taxes. The current CBA has done wonders to make the Clevelands and Milwaukees of the world better able to retain their players and/or be competitive in luring free agents. If parity is the goal, they have achieved it through the hard salary cap and luxury tax system.
But true parity would also allow a mechanism for owners in states like California or New York to truly go head to head with those based in Texas or Florida.
How is it equitable to say the Warriors or Clippers must abide by the same hard cap as the Spurs or Magic, but when push comes to shove, a player being wooed by no-state-taxes franchises can realize far great money in his bank account by opting to play more than half of his schedule in a no-tax state, rather than a California, Pennsylvania or New York?
Today’s system isn’t fair to owners like the Buss family, Steve Ballmer, Mikhail Prokhorov, James Dolan or Lacob/Guber and Vivek Ranadive up north, or others in states with taxes, high or low.
Aside from owners, one would think the players would want to amend this. Let’s say a guy really wants to play for the Knicks or Celtics, but the higher taxes in New York or Massachusetts means that’ll cost a guy a few million dollars over his deal’s life vs. choosing to play in Orlando or Dallas — in such an interest one “max deal” is not the same as another.
If the NBA really cared about keeping things even, it would consider allowing a pro-rated cap based on a local tax structure. Then players’ decisions could view every dollar offered more equally.
@George, and what should have ownership done? Saying things like bring in smart personnel is not an answer (unless you are a politician and want to trick people into think you can fix things in 4 years or less). People seem to forget that the CBA was put in place in 2011 and designed to create parity. Lakers have to play by the same rules as everyone else. If there was a magic way to fix things every GM would use it. You really think if Dr. Buss was alive he would have done something different? Like What? The reason he was such a good owner was because he was aggressive while other owners were worried about other things. That went away in the last CBA in that the Lakers and rich teams pay to keep the small market teams profitable. Oh with a cap not even allowing for any advantage. So again what were they supposed to do?
Good summary. Thanks for all the homework. Below is another link to an article from our friend, Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk. He talks about our needing patience with a difficult, complex re-build, something that Laker fans are not known for:
Craig W. says
First of all..state taxes are not a huge determinant in free-agent signings – you pay taxes based on the city you play in, not your ‘home’ city. Note: I didn’t say they have no impact, but it isn’t something the CBA needs to address.
Second (and I asked this before)..which big free-agent have the Lakers ever landed? The only one who comes to mind is Shaq; and that was in 1996, when we had a reasonably good team. Free-agency has never been our thing, nor should it be – IMO.
Free-agency is for adding the topping on the cake, not for building the foundation. I realize the Lakers need a star, but adding it in free-agency hasn’t ever been our way. I posit that, outside of Boston a few years ago and Lebron James, free agency has not been the pillar around which great teams are built. They are built through the draft and via the trade. Only after assembling the foundation, can teams reasonably expect to draw in a free-agent to fill a need.
I put it on the front office that they built up an expectation that they would draw a star in free-agency, around which they planned to build. They have this process backward. That is the reason for our recent failure, not any inherent failure of the Laker brand.
Incidentally, building a foundation takes time and patience – something sorely lacking in our ‘have it now, spend it now’ world.
Justin: Jim was a part of the FO during a couple our titles and some of our key acquisitions. However this does not qualify him as the top guy, any more than Kurt Rambis having multiple rings on our staff makes him a great head coach. Further, because someone’s Father loved them is not good reason for them having a job either. Jim should not be involved in daily basketball decisions (most owners are not). What should they have don differently? Quickly: Not hired Brown; not hired MDA; not been forced into hiring Byron; not extended Kobe for 48 million; not lost DH for nothing; not lost Pau for nothing; not traded a first rounder for Sessions, and not fired the scouts (to name a few).
trollman: I agree. It has long been time to clean house.
R: ” sale of the Lakers is not imminent” Everyone else’s dreams seem to be crumbling this summer. Don’t ruin mine.
I am against management regimes that do not possess mechanisms for accountability. The Lakers, currently fall into that category. Were Jim not family he would have been shown the door long ago.
Jim’s fingerprints are on Kobe’s extension, the coaching selections the losing of Dwight and Pau for nothing and the decisions to pursue Carmelo and Aldridge over younger better fitting alternatives. Most recently, the Aldridge fiasco also cost the organization greatly in terms of PR — during which one author described the Lakers as sitting at the children’s table while other FOs were at the adult’s table.
Let’s not forget that we earned our back to back lottery picks at the cost of 116 losses over the last two years. Jim is responsible for not one but for the two worst seasons in Lakers history — a history that goes back 68 years.
Yeah, I think things could have been done differently.
@Robert Jim does not have more or less power than he did back in 2003. His role has not changed and Mitch has said as much. It was Mitch that went with Russell despite Jim liking Okafor. The only Buss to get promoted was Jeanie who attends the governors meetings and can fire anyone including her family members.
My point about Jerry placing them is that he made all the decision people loved, but somehow they are invalid when it comes to his children. If you think he gave them the position just because why wouldn’t he have given them a figurehead no power job, unless he thought they could do the job. You think a father knowing how turncoat fans are would do that to his children (in Hollywood no less) unless he thought they could handle it? Maybe I am wrong there. His children by the way receive their money regardless if they work or not. If Jim gets fired he still gets the same paycheck. And this notion that most owners aren’t involved is not what I hear. In fact the only owners who don’t get involved (from my understanding) is Peter Holt (Spurs) and Glenn Taylor (Twolves). In Spurs case this has worked beautifully. In Twolves case it has been a disaster. But to answer your question, no Jeanie doesn’t seem to get involved too much. If you say Jim, you realize it is literally his job (VP of basketball). I know in your ideal world he would be fired. I mean we sshould go out and get some hot young stud. Jim has only had experience since 2003 and grew up learning it. Remember how people wanted Phil. You see how much Phil is learning on the job. Oh but I forgot we go by what the media tells us. That Jim makes all the mistakes and Mitch all the right moves.
Retort: Brown was an analytic hire (you know the area that people hate on the Lakers for not being better). He was an ex Spurs Pop guy (again the fans want these guys) and he went to the finals (apparently fans don”t want experience anymore). MDA, a coach that changed the entire league. Who when the Knicks went small with his system won at an outstanding rate, created Linsanity (who has never been as good since) and Melo’s only MVP year. Sorry if he is a system guy and can’t use all players. So that makes him a bad coach? Forced into hiring Byron. You mean because they were using the coach vacancy as a selling point to FA. Really that is the worst thing?
Kobe extention we could argue (getting to the salary floor), but I will give you that one if you want. Still doubtful that if you paid Hill more money it would have worked out any better (because you would have had to pay someone to get to the floor). But maybe you think LMA comes if we over pay Chandler. Yeah leaves us about the same place as we are only less money for next year.
DH was not a mistake. He would have been a half year rental to any team that would trade for him. No one would give up value for him for that. Any team that thought they could get him would have waited until free agency. But hey if you would rather have a 2nd pick than a 40% chance he would stay (and he flip flopped a ton so no one knew what he would do).
Lakers tried to trade Pau last year and again could not find a first round pick. So if you knock on the Lakers is that they didn’t get more second round picks I think firing the GM is a bit extreme.
Session was a decent PG at a fair price. Sure we could have kept the pick and then not had a PG that year and just been a worse team and lost in the first round instead of the second. Again I can point to 80% of the GMs who have made far worse decisions. But hey let’s fire a guy for not being perfect. Who cares about the scouts. Unless you hate the Randle, Clarkson, Russell, Nance, Brown picks what is the difference? By the way, if you look at win shares of guys like Kelly and Sacre you will see that the Lakers got steals there. Most players picked 40 or lower are out of the league. The fact that the Lakers have found deep back ups there is actually a huge win for their new scouting department. You act so entitled. 2 down years and everyone should lose their job. You do realize not a single team in NBA history has a rebuild in 2 years (unless you count the Robinson hurt Duncan team).
@George Jeanie going to long is for the LMA problem. Fine you can argue that you would go for Bledsoe (losing Russell in the process) or Monroe. Of course they could have been matched. Then you are in the exact same position but hey you would keep your job for trying there? Again how could they have gone differently? Won 7 more games with Bledsoe. How is that a better position. The new CBA made things fair. Deal with it. We have to go through a rebuild like every other team in NBA history.
Like I said a few days ago, FO defenders generally get down to saying stuff like “you’re entitled” “some bloggers are hysterical” and “deal with it” pretty fast. You can disagree with any specific thing that Robert or George says about the FO’s recent moves, (and I disagree with a couple myself) but the overall situation is what it is, and the FO has to take a lot of the responsibility. They are not fools or whatever, but their decisions have mostly not worked. End of story.
Looking ahead, the Lakers internet intelligentsia are clearly not going to rest easy until Scott is gone. I am sort of OK with that, since I would not have hired Scott to begin with. But I would add that if Russell and Randle are busts, people should remember that Byron didn’t run the drafts.
Enough with group-think, mob hysteria railings against the Lakers front office !
Seriously, the media packs up the same old stupid line about Jim Buss running the franchise into the ground, and then everyone just runs with it ? Without a factual assessment of the reality ?
When Buss died, 2 years back, the team was a post-contender. For anyone with a cursory familiarity of how championship teams age, the stars end up on the wrong side of their prime, and the indispensable role players demand higher and higher salaries that the team is forced to pay in order to stay in contention. And the draft picks are terrible.
Hence: Orlando’s finals team of 2009 is a lottery dweller for years now. Boston’s finals team of 2010 is a lottery dweller for years now. Dallas’ championship team of 2011 has done even worse, staying far out of actual contention, but failing utterly to rebuild. They are pulling an Atlanta Hawks, and get to start their rebuild in about 2017, and are facing a first possible contention slot in about 2021 or later, a full decade after they decided NOT to mount a finals defense.
LA is frankly where any title contender SHOULD be, about 5 years post a three-peat finals appearance… they have a potential all-star point guard in development, a potential 6th man candidate in Clarkson, a potential excellent wing scorer in Randle (yes, he’s a power wing, not a post player), and I think Nance is going to surprise. This is an excellent foundation for a team that was old and crumbling just 2 years ago.
Even if it were a full 5 year gap, that is well below the turnaround time for most contenders. Anyone see Portland, Sacramento, Detroit, Philly, Indiana contending ? Nope ? They been out 10-15 years… but it’s LA that is failing. Got it.
It’s very easy to parrot the masses and the crowd that loves the story about LA in disarray. Why ? Because that is a story that draws readers, even if it’s false. Telling everyone that LA paid $1 million in cash for the 48th pick, which turned into an all-rookie selection isn’t a good story. But it’s good GM practice. Telling everyone LA did a great job by taking on Jeremy Lin’s expiring, and picking up a 1st round pick, which has turned into Nance, is true, but not a good story. Telling everyone that LA has picked up value free agents the last 2 years in Ed Jones (1 mill per year, when he’s now making $6), and Brandon Bass (under 3), and Hibbert (expiring and a top 4 rim protector for a team that badly needs one), and Lou Williams (for 7 mil ? WTF ?!!! Look around at the Bozos making double that who can’t help a team, and try to claim that’s not one of the steals of free agency).
Point is, LA has grabbed the perfect free agents to bring this team into the solid 30’s in wins, which will help groom the youngs, and bring the team back into free agent awareness in a year or two. They have acquired 3-4 VERY promising prospects, and that doesn’t even include the possible development of Brown into a 3 and D player, or Upshaw as a defensive monster.
I’m not saying these guys are perfect. But that’s not the standard. They did phenomenal work in building the championship teams, and then setting up a follow up dynasty with CP3-Kobe-Dwight that the league kaiboshed (in a blatant violation of conflict of interest rules dealing with their ownership of the Hornets)… but if the consequence for shooting for the stars and a back to back set of dynasties is to fail only due to league interference, face 2 miserable seasons, and then be back at the front of the league’s young talent stacked rebuilders… how does that comport with a bad track record or results ?
@ Justin: Jim’s decisions have cratered the franchise.
Now that we are here, I am on record as advocating patience and letting the kids develop. We don’t know what we have with them yet, only time will tell. I think we are looking at a much longer rebuild than most. We still haven’t finished off paying for the Nash and Howard deals as we still owe two of our next three 1st round picks to other teams.
This is where you confuse me. You defend Jim, even though he’s the one that got us here. You say that we have to go through a rebuild (like every team in NBA history). Yet, it seems you aren’t aware that Jim is purposely trying to cut corners on that rebuild?
Its in Jim’s best interest to sign two max FAs no matter how old or ill fitting — that’s not what is best for the Lakers. If Jim had his way two years from now we’d have $50 million + a year tied up in a 33 year old Carmelo and a 32 year old Aldridge. So right when the kids are ready to emerge the team would be tied down with dead weight contracts. You’d have thought Jim would have learned his lessons with Kobe’s dead weight deal.
Chris J says
First of all..state taxes are not a huge determinant in free-agent signings – you pay taxes based on the city you play in, not your ‘home’ city.
And as I wrote, if you play for no-tax home team, that means more than half of your earnings opportunities will occur in a place where you keep maximum money, vs. playing in California, which the Institute on Taxation and Finance said boasts the top tax rate on the top 1 percent of earners, per CNBC on Jan. 31, 2013.
TrueHoop ran a story by Darren Rovell on July 1, 2013 that cited an accountant who said Howard would net $2.6 million more by signing with Houston vs. taking the Lakers’ best four-year offer.
The Spurs, for example, play road games in Dallas, Houston, Miami and Orlando, so you’d be looking at nearly 60 percent of your games occurring in a tax-free state. That’s a huge chunk of change a guy like Aldridge could pocket vs. sending off to Sacramento had he inked a deal with the Lakers or another California team.
The Oregonian ran a piece in May that said Aldridge would earn $1.2 million more in take home pay by signing in Texas rather than staying in Portland.
Yes, everyone pays the so-called “jock tax” but if you’re based in certain states, you keep way more of your money. Dwight could buy a ton of Legos with that $2.6 million, so please don’t just suggest dollars don’t matter when the facts suggest otherwise.
Russell: He will have a long learning curve. I want to see what he looks like over the last 30 games. That said, If he is going to be really good, he should, based on the historical reference points, at least hold his own the first year.
Randle: I have always been skeptical about his ability to finish and his shooting range. But I am no scout.
Scott: If the Princeton doesn’t suit the personnel, then they should run something else, but even if the system is not ideal, Russell and Randle should still be able to show what they have got–if they have got it.
Team: I said a few days ago that I thought Mitch’s playoff statement was ill-advised and seemed perhaps to be a shot across Byron’s bow. Looking at the West, the Lakers could easily be 15th.
Brian P. says
Got to say I’m getting tired of all the Laker front office talk. I feel like people are just repeating themselves over and over again. I think people know the position of the ppl against the FO. No reason to remind everybody every post… I like a lot of the comments here, but rather not have to wade through all the FO bashing to get to the basketball talk.
Biggest 3 errors they made was giving away 3 picks for 38 year old Nash, getting nothing for Pau and Dwight. Those 3 moves set the team back 4 years.
Nobody can deny that.
Brian P: OK let’s move on basketball talk. That seems to come down to two things: 1) Byron bashing – is this somehow better than FO bashing? 2) The picks: As I said previously – it is a bit early to judge. However that cuts both ways. Many talk about the picks as if “we nailed them”. What evidence is there that we nailed them?
It’s a concern Robert.
I notice that you left out the Spurs. Also, Boston made the the playoffs last year and owns Dallas’s pick this year (Top 7 protected) and Brooklyn’s picks, all unprotected through 2018 (they can exchange picks in 2017 and own 2016 and 2018 outright).
And, you leave out the fact, as George points out, that the FO made big plays for Anthony and Aldridge, and you leave out all the moves that people actually talk about–Kobe’s extension, etc.
Finally, in terms of repeating stuff: yes, we all know that it comes down to the young guys, so sure, if Russell is an All-Star, and Randle is a potent wing scorer, and Upshaw is a defensive monster, and Nance is a glue guy and 2-3 FAs come, then yes: things will be fine. So we just kind of need to wait and see what happens next, but that doesn’t change what has happened already.
Well, posts have gone this way because people came into SL wanting to see clear, powerful signs for optimism. Hasn’t happened. Russell and Randle have not looked that great, whereas Mudiay has looked good, and Porzingis has played in a way that has given NY fans some hope. So, as Robert suggests, this has sent the Scott/Madsen attacks into overdrive and in the same way, has people who doubt the FO second-guessing the picks. That probably isn’t really fair, in that I think SL expectations were excessive. But again, the negativity will stop when there is substantive good news based on what we see on the floor.
Also, check the threads. After the Hibbert/Williams/BB signings, there was a lot of optimism, a lot of renewed hope, many posts about winning 35-40 games, many posts about people being psyched about Summer League. I think a lot of people were expecting that Randle would look like the proverbial man among boys and that Russell would have the various internet cognoscenti Tweeting about his awesome PG gifts. Hasn’t really happened.
Ok back to basketball, what else can we talk about that is pleasant enough except on dreaming and imagining the Lakers Utopia? The bottom line, we should all tolerate the inadequacies of the newbies, give them space to learn baby steps and adjust to the situations. Everyone here has their own aspirations and spins of what the future can be?. However, It is a undeniable that Lakers were below par of the .500 performance for the last two seasons. That is a fact and no modern analytic can change those results. Indeed, truth hurts and some people can’t tolerate listening to truth. Let us just talk of good dreams.
@Robert Jim does not have more or less power than he did back in 2003.
Ramona Shelburne said the exact opposite of this back in 2011:
“please don’t just suggest dollars don’t matter when the facts suggest otherwise”
Let’s look at some facts: Duncan and Nowitzki took huge paycuts so their team can remain competitive. David West opted out and lost about $10 million for a chance at a championship with the Spurs. My point is that you assume money matters equally to everyone. Do you really think Howard’s main reason for not choosing LA was that he would make $2.6 million more in Houston? How about an injured Kobe? How about a Kobe who demanded too much of you? How about a fanbase too tough for you? How about a team that was too old? I sincerely believe that Dwight saw that the Rockets had a better team. I also think he would be in the Rockets even if it meant making $2.6 million less than if he had signed with LA. Dwight signed an $87 million dollar contract. $2.6 million out of that is around 3%. I really don’t think Dwight would choose a 3% pay increase over being happy. He already has a lot of money. It just so happened that the happier place for him came with a 3% bonus. That’s what I think, anyway, Chris. You’re free to disagree, but I’ve got facts to back up my argument, too.
I think people are forgetting that it was well known that Russell would take a while to develop. Everyone knew Okafor was more NBA ready (as well as Mudiay), and so I really don’t expect Russell to be rookie of the year. But, not every rookie of the year has turned out to be a franchise player or an all-time great, and not every potentially great rookie of the year goes without suffering career altering injuries. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I do acknowledge, however, that this rookie class is stacked with talent. I sure hope Russell turns out to be the player that accomplishes the most out of this class when it’s all said and done, but I do realize that he will have great competition. Let’s just give it some time.
Below is yet another link urging calm in the face of the recent struggles of the Lakers’ rookies in Summer League:
Players who have excelled in recent years in SL include Jerryd Bayless and Josh Selby. At the time, both looked like the 2nd coming of Jerry West. Players who struggled include Derrick Rose, Michael Carter-Williams, DeMarcus Cousins, and Stephen Curry (who shot only 32% in his Summer League games).
The bottom line? Take Summer League with a grain of salt and don’t be deluded by any stunning displays of brilliance by this player or that. They could simply be mirages arising from the Las Vegas desert.
Brian P. says
The summer league performance has definitely been a let down but as all the evidence provided the different posters here it isn’t a clear picture of what is to come.
I understand the frustration with the front office but it’s the reiterating the same frustration over and over again that just wore me out a bit. Didn’t mean to come off as harsh as I did. Guess my frustration got the best of me.
Has the summer league ‘play off’ schedule been released yet ? Hopefully by the last game we at least show some progress to keep our hopes up till training camp.
Chris J says
Of course I am not suggesting dollars alone make the difference in each instance. Howard never wanted to be a Laker, in my mind, and I doubt Aldridge did either. So no, the extra few mill here or there weren’t going to sway things in the Lakers’ favor there, for all of the reasons you cited.
My original point was about parity. If the NBA believes a cap is needed to prevent some organizations from outbidding others with less cash flow, fine. But to truly have the desired even playing field among all franchises, this state tax issue is a real factor. Not the largest one, but it can play into a decision.
Assume a hypothetical scenario in which all things between two teams are essentially even — cap space, roster composition, ability to compete for a title, and so on… A great free agent hits the market and is wooed by the Heat and the Lakers, both offering max deals. Does the difference of a few million come into play then? I would assume it would, but that’s just me.
The last CBA really stuck it to the large market teams, and I guess I am now pining for someone to take steps to tilt the scales back the other way a bit. This seems like one way to push toward that, but maybe I’m just Don Quixote on this one…
Lakers will play Cuban’s team on Wednesday. They read your concern, promise to play better or else they won’t get their allowance for this week.
I read Clarkson’s article on the Player Tribune. Am I the only one who noticed a glaring omission? He didn’t mention Steve Nash even once throughout the article. Didn’t Nash one on one mentoring sessions with him coincide with the breakthrough? This from March:
He and Nash have worked out a handful of times, including during the All-Star break, and Scott said he’s already noticing improvements in Clarkson’s play. Most notably, Scott said, was Clarkson’s use of the so-called “pocket” pass off the pick-and-roll, a quick bounce pass as the player who set the pick breaks to the basket.
“You start seeing some of the stuff that Steve is talking with him about,” Scott said. “Sometimes it’s easier to relate to a player like that than it is to us as coaches. Because we’re sitting there saying, ‘The pocket pass is open. Jordan, the pocket pass is open.’ Steve is showing you how to throw it in his own unique way, I think is even more important.”
Don Draper says
We should have taken Mudiay!
To follow on Chris J’s comments about the next CBA, Silver’s talk about franchises still losing money sounds like a clear shot across the bow for the players. Owners have shown this year they will spend the new TV revenue and, in some cases, this will happen in the smaller markets. But, I suspect we will hear the argument build that the owners need even more salary relief or a bigger percentage of the pie. Should be a challenge to avoid another work stoppage.
I do find it fortuitous that the new CBA came into effect just before the TV bonanza. Some of the small market teams that went through various re-builds can now pay their guys, keeping free agents from moving to LA or NY. This helps the owners avoid acrimonious internal battles and focus on a more coordinated message for the next CBA negotiations. We’ll see how the players prepare and respond.
Interesting little article:
Seems the Lakers have taken the criticism of their analytics to heart.
BrianP – Agreed about your views on FO bashing. Let’s talk more bball. What’s your take on Dangelo Russell? Do you think he’s a future all-star in 4 years? I think he has incredible vision and passing. But so does Kendall Marshall. I’d love to play with a guy like Marshall – PG who looks to pass and delivers it right in your shooting pocket. His passes are crisp and precise. Is Russell a taller version of KM? (which isn’t bad) A lefty version of Ricky Rubio? My worry is that Mudiay has looked steadier and poised. Russell is more entertaining, but Mudiay’s style is more controlled and deliberate – the kind that will be more effective in the playoffs.
Craig W. says
Personally, I think any talk about our being able to avoid another work stoppage/strike is simply whistling past the graveyard. With Michelle Roberts I certainly hope the players are better prepared, however, I think losing a year may be inevitable – and this time I suspect that NY and LA will secretly hope the players do a better job of protecting their rights.
Michelle Roberts is a tough cookie. I suspect a lockout is going to happen.
What do you guys think of Porzingis? I expected the good shooting touch and lack of strength given his age. But I was surprised at his shot blocking and rim protection skills. He alters a lot of shots with his length. His ceiling is definitely higher than Okafor.
With all of this Deandre Jordan drama beaten to death, one thing that stood out was Blake Griffin’s character. When Jordan was having second thoughts about Mavs and talking to Blake about it initially, Blake told Jordan he should honor his commitment to Cuban. He might be the rival across the hall, but Blake’s a stand-up guy with good character.
Craig W. says
For those posters who already want to dump/dump on either/both Russell and Randle, you should read http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/07/15/nik-stauskas-looking-for-redemption-in-philadelphia/.
Sacramento is an organization that not only makes a lot of mistakes in drafting, but gives up on its choices far too quickly. When you are drafting players who are only one year out of high school, you simply have to be patient with their learning curve. There simply are very, very few Lebron James’ out there.
so the Lakers can’t fully compete due to the California tax rate? what other businesses does this apply to?
Anonymous July 15, 2015 at 7:19 am
so the Lakers can’t fully compete due to the California tax rate? what other businesses does this apply to?
None of them; because there is no cap on what those other businesses can spend to attract employees.
That’s really too simplistic on my part. The businesses do have a cap, but it’s based on profit and ability to pay, not on an arbitrary level. I happen to agree that people make too much out of the California tax disparity, but it’s probably a factor in some, but not all, negotiations. I have a feeling it’s not very high on the list however.
That said, I personally know multiple business owners who have expanded their enterprises throughout much of the country but won’t touch California because of taxes and regulation.
Craig W. says
…and other, very successful ones who do compete in California. This is an argument where both sides can claim facts to support their point-of-view. Suffice to say, California taxes are an issue, but not a very large one. If you are losing players due to taxes, then I would say you have other problems you should be addressing first.
Interesting read from the five thirty eight guys on who is (and will be) overpaid and underpaid now and in the future.
George Best says
One of the best posts on FBG ever. I appreciate being able to come here and read all this stuff and the great comments from the readers.
I think the FO has done a great job these past couple of years as we transition from trying to add over the hill or indifferent superstar types to get Kobe his 6th ring to building from the ground up with draft picks and good second teamers.
The record will be bad this year but the foundation will be there to bring in a FA next summer.
T. Rogers says
“TrueHoop ran a story by Darren Rovell on July 1, 2013 that cited an accountant who said Howard would net $2.6 million more by signing with Houston vs. taking the Lakers’ best four-year offer.”
But the Lakers had more than a four year offer for Howard. They had a five year max offer that still would have paid him more than Houston’s 4 year offer. And lets not assume the 5th year money will be matched in the first year of his next contract. Howard’s value has gone down over the last few years. If a player of Howard’s caliber is letting $2.6 million in taxes over 4 years determine were he plays than he has bad advisers around him. Top level NBA players have multiple ways of drawing ancillary income.
Plus, the trend we are seeing over the last couple of years is players leaving money on the table to play for winning teams. LeBron left money on the table last season. Adridge left money on the table to switch teams. Monroe left money on the table to switch teams. David West left a boatload of money on the table to switch teams. If Durant leaves OKC next season I doubt his tax burden will be a deciding factor. Winning will be that factor.
If players have a chance to win here they will pay that California state tax and be one with it. Tax rates sure didn’t stop DeAndre Jordan from doing the two step on the Mavericks. Bottom line is when the Lakers put together a better team they will draw higher level free agents. A front office make over would probably help as well.
His defense and shot blocking are not news to me. I did post about it while it was rumored the Lakers where taking a look at him. His biggest issue is obviously strength but I think his potential is greater than anyone in this year’s draft.
What did surprise me is that the Knicks started him at Center. I was even more surprised to see the Lakers match up with him with Black going more small ball. I would have tried to pound on Porzingis with Upshaw.
Despite of drought problems and earthquake fears, California is still the most livable state for majority of recent immigrants. I think even the Superstars, they have a home in Southern California because of its climate and beaches and amenities that cannot be found in tax free states. Basically, the reason why those states have tax free in order to compete with the populous state. All these stars, KG, Aldridge, Miller, Tiger Woods have properties in CA, yet they use other states as their primary home for tax shield purposes. Not with Cap, Magic, Jerry West and Kobe, they lived here and pay taxes here. They put their conviction on the state that made them famous, no need of ditching, penny pinching after earning multi-million bucks. Secondly, as I said earlier post if you are a smart player with business acumen, you will invest half of your earning in multiple units dwelling and buildings in California. They are not only tax shields but also the possible extension of your NBA salary after your playing years if you manage them professionally. Thirdly, another method you have the capital to invest on properties with tax lien problems. That’s a sure money in flipping houses in the future Unfortunately, majority of players have high IQ on sports but low IQ in management of their money because they have one year college education who objective is to get into draft. Once they get a good contract, they spend more than what they earn on frivolities in life, buy mansions that hard to maintain after retirement. Some of their agents are shrewd to recommend to live and work in other tax free states in order to afford luxuries in life, having fun with romantic relationship with multiple women, afford child support like DH12. IMO, it was a great decision for Dwight to choose Houston because he is no role model for young Laker fans with regards to sportsmanship-liked conduct nor have any tinge of loyalty to purple and gold.
@mindcrime: The fivethirtyeight article drives home my point. In their analysis for this year’s free agents Greg Monroe was ranked 8th in being underpaid (by $30 Million over the life of his deal). Jim’s passion for Aldridge seems to have been misplaced as LA was ranked 50th ($1 Million underpaid).
This is the stuff that drives me crazy. FO supporters seem to think that the Buss kids are victims of some horrible tragedy, beyond their control, and that they deserve our sympathy. That’s not true, they created their own mess because they simply don’t get it. Case in point: targeting LA over Monroe was the wrong move — by several orders of magnitude.
If you make enough bone headed decisions like that you crater the franchise, which is what Jim has done.
What worries me most of all from this summer league is the princeton offense. I admit I have no idea what it is, but if it is what they’ve been trying to run in summer league then…idk what to think. An offense that makes CP3 play like Derek Fisher? I exaggerate of course, but if you have a guard who has talent, why not let him develop that talent? Why take the ball off his hands and place it on a guy whose motivation is to score rather than swing the ball around? I like Clarkson, but he’s no playmaker.
I’m not as schooled as other commenters on here about basketball and basketball systems and all that, but I did notice that our first game vs. Minny was our best offensive game. In that game Russell brought the ball up a lot and finished with 5 assists. In the next two games I saw him defer to Clarkson in that regard. Russell shot the ball more but handled it less. Those last two games were extremely ugly.
According to my understanding, the Princeton system seems to be very similar to the Triangle offense except for where the big man is positioned (near the elbow instead of posting in the low block), which helps for spacing purposes.
Joe Houston says
George, all due respect, what NBA team do you run? Mitch and Jim are great at what they do, not good, great. They have been part of a front office that traded away Shaq, and built a new team that went to 3 straight finals and won 2 championships. Note that the NBA darling Franchise San Antonio Spurs have never gone to 3 straight NBA finals. How many NBA GM’s can match Mitch’s resume? Everyone talks about about only the CP3 aspect of “basketball reason’s” but what gets left out is how deftly Mitch cleared cap room for the future in that deal. We are blessed to have a great GM, lets stop whining and support the team. We will be great again soon.
Very honestly I think it should be scrapped.
Or, more likely, Scott will be scrapped. Scott has Vinny Del Negro written all over him.
Thanks for the Wiki link. I am not sure many centers out there could do what the Princeton system asks for. I have seen Black execute a few of those passes from the top of the key to a cutting Clarkson, as the philosophy indicates should happen. But those were only a few of maybe a hundred opportunities. Back door cutting is something which works so you will have no argument from me there.
What do you guys think an offense should consist of?
@ George Now if you had lead with Jim was cutting corners I would have been much more on board with what you said. And it is not that I think Jim has done some fantastic job, my point is he hasn’t been bad or worse than 25 other GMs. The Dwight and Nash moves were good moves that failed due to bad luck (but were not bad moves and people still can’t see to understand this).
If the Lakers had Melo and LMA they would be a playoff team. With the cap going up and Kobe coming off the books they would have a strong selling point to bring to Durant. Or Westbrook, or whomever going forward. And in that case they probably trade Russell and or Randle to build around whatever big three they end up with. Now I know a lot of people hate that approach and I understand that. But fans who think you will draft a team and compete for a decade don’t seem to understand the risk there either (draft bust, dropping back in the draft, etc). Of the teams have attempted to draft their team to contenders, only the Thunder (maybe Bulls) have had any real success. Lets look at last years playoff teams:
GS: went to the lottery 10 out of 11 years. Got lucky when Twolves passed on Curry twice. If Curry goes before the Warriors pick they never become a contender. Made good moves in Klay (Jerry West and really isn’t that why people hate Jim, because he isn’t West, the greatest talent evaluator ever. You think another GM is doing what he does).
Spurs: Consider the best run organization. Made a great move in trading for Kwahi. Drafted euros before anyone else. Stuck with them (whereas if the Lakers stick with Pau, Odom, Kobe, and Dwight we made the mistake of keeping them). IS ONLY A CONTENDER BECAUSE ALL OF THERE Players take a pay cut, thus allowing them to cheat the salary cap.
Clippers: Did the no brainer and drafted Blake. Made a great move to get DeAndre when he was free falling. Only got Blake after a decade of sucking (which Laker fans are clearly not ok with). Was gifted CP3 in a far worse deal for NO (that LUCK saved them).
Blazers: Got lucky when the Nets made a horrible trade. Blazers would have taken any 1st round pick to get rid of Wallace, ended up with Lillard. Not a true contender.
Hey notice so far that the teams on top of the west all required luck or horrible trades in their favor. Maybe the Lakers need to get a rabbits foot or trade with an actual horrible GM like say Sacramento (which they tried and probably will again because you know they actually have a bad GM/Owner).
Rockets: Got lucky when the super cheap Thunder thought they were smarter than everyone and traded away Harden for crap on a stick. Got Dwight only because of the Harden trade (Houston was not on his list until the playoffs). Let Dragic leave (showing how someone consider a great GM does it apparently). Oh and made a thousand moves which resulted in about absolutely nothing.
Memphis: Drafted Conley after years of being a laughing stock team, got taken by the Lakers but thankfully for them Marc Gasol worked out, got ZBo when no other team wanted him, made decent moves with FA.
Mavs: Not a real contender, but hey lets play it out. Traded a 1st rounder for Rondo who left in game 2. Stuck with Dirk. Got Chandler back on a bad trade (New GM Phil Jackson), Got Monta while his value was down then let him go. Couldn’t get a FA to save his life despite being some kind of amazing owner. Suddenly is a horrible team that stole money from Dirk, and has very few 1st round picks. If he didn’t have a top coach they would have been horrible for the last 3 years.
NO: Was forced to trade CP3 in a horrible deal, but got lucky and move up the draft. Would be a bad team if not for Davis (again which they got by luck).
Cavs: Were as lucky as you could be in getting 3 of 4 first number one picks which was time perfectly with Lebron loss in the finals. If Lebron doesn’t go there they still suck.
Brooklyn: Mortaged their future to be a low playoff team in the bad east for the foreseeable future. No one wants to be like them.
Raptors: Sold everything to get a middling team with no superstar and no chance out of the second round.
Bulls: Somehow fired a top coach despite overachieving for 3 years straight. Made a great pick in Butler. Was horrible for half a dozen years before jumping up in the draft (IE Luck) to draft Rose. Made a great pick in Noah when he would have went number 1 overall the year before but people cooled on him because he was a defense only guy. Made a great pick in Gibson, Deng, Mirotic, and sold high on Gordon. So if you want to use them as a draft built team the Lakers need 3 more lottery years.
Bucks: Lucked in the Greek Freak, but lets say they were the one team that knew he would be good. Were bad enough to get Jabari, made a good pick in Henson, made a good pick in Saunders who just imploded (bad luck), traded for a better player in Knight for MCW (although cheaper), Got Monroe by being the most ready team after years of 8 seeds. I will give them drafted into the playoffs though. Are we now at 3 of 30 teams that drafted themselves into the playoffs (though can’t see how they ever become a contender).
Boston: Got a great coach. Haven’t done anything and has no chance as a contender as of right now.
So now that we have explored the playoff teams do you see that it is largely based on getting A) lucky, B) taking advantage of a bad GM, or C) never being better than a bottom playoff team. By the way, Jim should did take advantage of Memphis (in Gasol trade), NO (in the veto CP3 trade), Orlando (in the Dwight Trade). And if you haven’t noticed, the Lakers are not keeping this young team together. When they get a chance they are making a big trade. That’s why going after guys like LMA and Melo make more sense. Lakers don’t do a long rebuild (and won’t even if Jim gets fired as you can see how fans react to just 2 years of losing).
Now what GM would really be better than Jim and has proven it other than Spurs (we will ignore the Duncan luck because of their skill afterwards) and Thunder (though they haven’t done anything well since making the finals). I see what you think he shouldn’t have done, but what are the things he should have done? And how would they have made us better (I am asking not trying to be a jerk)? Jim and Lakers have a different philosophy that is proven. If it is antiquated explain to me how?
@ rr, and how are they supposed to take responsibility. Publically come out and say give themselves a deadline to fix things. You think Laker fans would get off Jim’s back if he said he made a mistake but will do better in the future. All you would hear is that “see Jim even admitted he made X mistake, he should fire himself”. How does that solve the issues.
And yes I think Laker fans should stop acting entitled. No team has a 2 year rebuild plan. In those two years Lakers have Russell, Randle, Clarkson, Nance, Brown, Upshaw to show for it. Should Sonic/Thunder fans have asked for Presti job when he was gathering Durant, Westbrook, Harden and Ibaka? Remember after those first two years they were still a 20 win team (didn’t even have Harden yet). I think a little patients should be given, especially when you kill a guy for going after two ready now all stars. Laker fans aren’t happy going young nor are they happy trying to get all star vets. Oh so unless the Lakers some how get a pair of young 25 year old superstars they are doing a bad job? Do Laker fans not realize teams don”t just give away Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, Westbrook, Anthony Davis, etc.
Scouting is a very difficult skillset. To project what a 19 year old will be in 5 years time is extremely hard. The fact that college underclassmen make up most of the draftees adds to the confusion. Gone are the days where a scout could view a player over a 4 year college career. Today’s best college players are one and done. The 4 year college player is just about obsolete.
That being said, I think Porsingis has the highest ceiling in this draft class. There’s just something about him. I hoping against hope that the Lakers did the right thing with DAR. I didn’t see “IT” with him in college and I don’t see it now. Maybe it’s all a matter of time.
One thing about SL, why not let the players have some freedom to showcase their skills? The Princeton Offense? Really? That seems like an offense that takes a while to master.
You can re-explain things all day, and come up with as many rationalizations and counter factuals as like, but it comes back to the basics:
The Buss FO has made a long series of decisions that have not worked, and has in many respects done a poor job dealing with the destruction caused by the Nash deal and Howard’s departure. They also did not do a good job constructing the middle/back ends of the 2012 and 2013 rosters. Looking ahead, if they nailed the Russell and Randle picks–big ifs right now–the team is probably on the way back up. If they didn’t, Jim and Mitch will likely be gone in two years. If they don’t pull it off, it doesn’t make them fools. The NBA is a tough racket.