To call the Lakers’ summer league performance to this point a bit disappointing would be totally fair. Even if ignoring some of the talent on the team, the players aren’t working together and it is leading to a disjointed brand of basketball that is not aesthetically pleasing. Bring the talent back into the equation and the frustrations of the team’s 1-2 record through three games is understanding.
However, while many are using the results to focus their anger on the under-performing players, my ire actually has little to do with the stat-lines being produced by D’Angelo Russell or Julius Randle (or any other player). No, my focus is more about how this team is not playing like a team at all.
Russell's the only Lakers' guard tying to set up his teammates consistently. Besides a couple plays from Randle, the only Laker at all.
— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) July 15, 2015
You can tell this team's not being told to share the ball. If they are, the players clearly aren't respecting the message.
— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) July 15, 2015
Team assist totals are partly on the system, but also fall on the playmakers mostly just gunning. Yes, that includes Clarkson.
— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) July 15, 2015
Through three games, the Lakers have 20 total assists and have not had a game with more than 9. (As an aside, of those 20, Russell has 10 of them.) Part of the paltry number of helpers being handed out can be tied to the offense the team is running and the uncertainty in which the players are going through the sets.
We have heard hints from the players that the coaches installed a fair amount of plays/actions on that side of the ball. This could be contributing to the tentativeness and poor execution the players are exhibiting when playing in the half court.
But this doesn’t explain away everything. When you have multiple players (Clarkson, Dwight Buycks, Jabari Brown) almost exclusively looking for their own shots when they have the ball in their hands, teamwork is going to suffer. Instead of looking to move the ball on to a teammate who might be in a better position to make a play, the ball is sticking way too much and everyone is worse off for it.
Again, some of this is the product of the offense. When most of the plays being run are either a high P&R (without any natural secondary actions to foster ball movement) or simple pin down actions to get players a jumper or an isolation after running off a screen or two, it’s going to be difficult to whip the ball around the floor and get the defense scrambling.
Still, when watching the games closely, it’s also clear there are opportunities to move the ball that are either not seen by the players on the floor or are just being ignored. There have been chances to catch Russell coming off picks on the weak side only to have the ball swung the other direction or held to the point where his man recovers. There are times players are turning the corner out of a P&R and not giving the ball up to the wing spotting up, instead forcing a drive into the teeth of the defense.
These plays may result in a bucket (most times they aren’t — look at the players’ shooting percentages), but they’re also resulting in the type of disjointed action that isn’t allowing players to get into a rhythm offensively.
This may sound like a lot of harping for games that don’t really “matter”. The import of these games, though, really comes down to the opportunities offered to grow and improve, not in the boxscore. In other words, I’ll live with less than ideal results if the process is something worth getting behind. Right now, however, the Lakers are providing neither good process nor results.
Moving onto today’s game, then, my hope is to see a bit more teamwork from the guys and a higher priority placed on looking for the open man and creating good looks for each other. To this point Russell has shown he will try to do this. After his post game comments Monday, I expect Randle to do the same. I hope to see more from Clarkson, especially since he has pretty much proven he can score against this level of competition and will need to be a playmaker for teammates when the regular season comes.
As the team’s best three players, it is on them to set the example even if the offense isn’t ideal for the style that best suits them. If they can do this, and help generate similar play from their teammates, I’ll take whatever result comes in this game.
Ironic that Mike D’Antoni would have been the coach that would have maximized the talents of Russell and Clarkson. And Jahlil would have been great for Byron’s methodical half-court offense. Jahlil would also be good with the triangle.
Jamie Sweet says
Your assertion that the Lakers have been told to NOT share the ball is asinine. This is a perfect example of “modern journalism” where someone thinks a thought, Tweets it, and it becomes insipid reality. Based on nothing, conveying nothing, glory-hounding to the extreme.
Did you dig deep with the coaching staff before making up this drivel? Was your one-on-one with Mark Madsen dotted with references to his new book “7 Passes or Less…for the Whole Game”? If no, then your Tweet (and subsequent rant based also on purely speculation) is nothing but empty hollering down the corridors of the world wide web.
First off, look at the talent. Even the players who saw floor time last season (Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown, the abysmal Dwight Buycks and Tarik Black) would have been D-Leaguers, at best, had we signed an impactful free agent (like Gasol or Carmelo Anthony) or if Kobe had stayed healthy. After those three there is D’Angelo Russel, Larry Nance Jr and Anthony Brown. Julius Randle looks like he’s having trouble adjusting to his lower playing weight as it looks like it’s sapped his ability to finish through contact, Nance Jr. can’t shoot, Russell has had to adjust to the NBA game (and more likely his teammates) more slowly than some anticipated, and Anthony Brown is hesitant to get his shot off.
The staff has instituted the most basic elements of the offensive sets, and the screens by Black, Randle, et al are flimsier than a George Karl/Boogie Cousins hand-shake. The Lakers are introducing their team to exactly what the real squad will be running unlike the 76ers who are just letting the talent play out. Of all the teams we’ve played I feel the Knicks and Lakers are truly running the sets and plays you’ll see the full team running, albeit at a more basic level.
Honestly, all the hullaballoo surrounding the struggles of a 19 year old kid are just so over-blown it’s not even funny. The Princeton isn’t what it will be when the talent level goes way up, and Hibbert setting a screen for Russell is vastly different than any of these guys doing the same thing. SO let’s keep the Chicken Little routine on the shelf until, say, December. These guys need time to make this work and for one am more than ready to give them a few months as opposed to a couple of weeks.
Also, I call dibs on the following trademarks: Porzinsanity (created during the game against NY) and calling Clarkson, Black, Russell, Nance Jr. and the Browns Young Guns (6 reasons why the west was wild)…80s movies baby!
Did anyone else ever get a shot when Clarkson and Jabari Brown played together at Missouri?
Craig W. says
Aside from the fact that the Princeton offense wouldn’t seem to be attuned to the scatterball generally played in summer league, we have players with very specific strengths and weaknesses and collectively they should be at least as skilled as their competition. What this means is that it is more difficult to run a Princeton-type offense with such a diverse group of talents.
When the plays break down – as they normally do – the players simply have no familiar place to turn. Therefore the ball-handlers, who were ‘go to’ guys in college, simply try to innovate for themselves. Having been at the first three games, I can say that things got progressively worse with each game – that is not supposed to happen, even in pick-up games.
I blame much of our disconnected offense on the coaching and the system they are apparently trying to implement. We can’t properly judge our team’s talent if the apparent system is so foreign and requires more extensive and knowledgeable cooperation between the team members.
I completely agree with Calvin’s assement.
I’m happy we got Russell but, the game plan should change…
Instead of a day off the coaching staff and team should’ve practice and watch video…Team shouldn’t be tired…..also more minutes for Upshall.He sets great screens and it will help Russell with his game….
Darius Soriano says
There seems to be some confusion on your part. Saying someone is “not being told something” isn’t the same as telling someone “not to do something”. The latter, which is what you seem to think I’m saying, would be if the coaches were telling the players to not share the ball. That would be a silly thing for anyone to think is happening. Further, as I noted in my tweet, *if* they are actively being told to share the ball, they seem to be ignoring that based on how they’re playing. I don’t need to ask the coaches about this, the proof is in the tape.
Lastly, if you want to change the conversation to the talent level of the players, that’s fine. If you want to talk about the nature of the team’s sets, we can do that as well — though your point about running a slimmed down version of the offense is an interesting one since, at practice last week Anthony Brown stated that the coaches had thrown a lot at the players in terms of the playbook. And, if your comment about calming down about Russell’s play was directed at me, I again think you’re confused. I don’t think I’ve written anywhere that how he’s playing should be a big deal.
Brian P. says
Reading your comment also made me think you misread what Darius had written. Might want to go back and re-read it.
Interesting article on Grantland about how the Padres GM, A.J. Preller, destroyed the franchise. I think it’s a good read as it highlights the old saying that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.
Its meaning for our Lakers: ‘Stay the course.’
But for a guy who made his name in the slow burn of player development, Preller the GM decided that he no longer needed time as an ally. Patiently building the Padres into a perennial contender wasn’t enough for Preller — he was going all in from day one.
The tragedy is that Preller didn’t have to do anything. The Padres’ boring performance on the field the past few years disguised how their future was actually quite exciting. They had two of the sport’s most valuable assets: a strong farm system and payroll space.
Let’s hope the Lakers stay the course.
Nice post btw. Considering they are trying to run the Princeton system it is a bit alarming to see Russell the only guy trying to move the ball.
the other Stephen says
“This team’s NOT being told to share the ball” does not mean being “told to NOT share the ball.” Somehow you turned a complete misreading on your own part into a long diatribe about nothing.
Speaking Okafor and Towns, the record of their Summer League teams are as follows: Sixers 0-3; T’wolves 1-2.
We are reading too much of the Lakers 1-2 and making all kinds of interpretations of what kind of offense could have been effective. Well, D’Antoni was tried and his system of chuckling shots without transition defense is a dismal failure. Offense and defense should go hand in hand. We have not really seen the real Byron Scott because last season was an *asterisk wherein fans, management were clamoring for tank in order to get a high draft pick. Nevertheless, we were entertained in the 2nd half wherein most of the games were winnable then collapsed at the last five minutes. All I’m saying forget D’Antoni he was a failure in three other NBA teams, forget Mike Brown who introduced the Princeton offense that did not yield any success. We often laughed at Phil an old Coach, yet he has 11 rings to booth. Basketball analysis are becoming too sophisticated with all kinds of statistics on hand relayed to the players. Don’t you think it is possible the player is simply confused with all those numbers tied to his athletic skills? As they say in Sales, “KISS” Keep It Simple Stupid. Here is what a down-to-earth coach will say to his players – Russell, you are a good passer but they are short, so the ball is intercepted; Black, you are overdoing your defense and with more than 6 fouls average, you won’t be playing long during the waning minutes of a regular season; Upshaw, you are a tall guy, good d on Towns, why can you be consistent against Porzingis and produce some offense as well; Anthony Brown, where is your marksmanship, the very reason why Lakers drafted you as a shooter, what have you done for us lately? Randle, tell me what is wrong with your game, convince us that you can start by November.
My point, analytics are good, systems can be creative but basketball is simple that start from fundamentals as Mr. Naismith has invented and promoted the game – know how to dribble, shoot, box-out in rebounds and run and deceive your opponents. If you could not execute those simple techniques learned at the park or in high school during formative years, then no analytics nor high falutin’ system could set you free.
Agreed, SL has been disappointing so far. I wasn’t even looking for brilliance, wins, or points and great stats, just for glimpses of potential and growth (esp. Randle). With that said, there were a few moments, but they were mired by ugly drives, turnovers, and clanking balls. Overall, it’s just good to have some basketball to watch and talk about. We remain where we were prior to SL and on course for our multi-year rebuild. Improvement is all I’m looking for. Hoping tonight’s game is better.
I was never a fan of BScott and his coaching style. It would be nice to have the coaching staff come up with offensive schemes that fits the personnel. Both Hibbert and Kobe will be slow so implementing a faster pace offense will not work with them in the starting line-up. Maybe instead of running a pure princeton offense, it would be great to see some experimenting with the bench playing at a faster pace-D’antoni-like offense that allows our PGs more options. Remember the bench mob? It wasn’t during D’antoni time, but they were a fun change of pace second unit. It’s somewhat hard to say now without knowing who’s going to be a starter or who’s coming off the bench. My initial excitement lead me to think that it would be great to see Clarkson, Russel and Randle in the starting line-up but the reality after SL is that they are not ready and will need to come off the bench with the exception of Clarkson. It’ll allow them better development and opportunity to excel playing other second units. Hopefully with time and improvement, they can get some time as starters or at least more minutes playing with the starters.
That analytics piece is interesting. Is it Mitch and the FO’s shot across the brow of old school Scott? “Get with the times and get us into the playoffs or…”? I will definitely not be complaining or losing any sleep over the firing of Scott.
Anonymous at 3:33 is me
Breaking news! Laker ciach threatened to bench any player who passes the ball!
Now that was a foolish post and one Darius never said,
Let’s all harkin back to Mike Browns 1st preseason games. With the new Prin offense being installed even Nash looked like crap, I was there for 3 of those games sitting behind Laker bench hearing the complaints.
Wrong offense for rookies and D leagers trying to shoot their way on the team.
Oh yes it earnef Mike a ticket to go watch is son play HS ball instead after 8 games.
Calvin: So you are basically saying that for the past several years, our personnel and our coaching selections have not been a good match. I thought we said we were going to talk basketball and lay off the FO?
14:1 – Byron has 2 more years on his contract so it appears all the timetables are aligning. I think we should sign Kobe to year 21 and then we can have one whopper of a going away party
Robert – my comment was just in context of what Darius said in this article. Don’t want the topic to stray back to FO. We know Jim won’t fire himself. And Busses won’t sell. So fire Mitch? Anyway, I did try to talk more basketball. In the previous thread, I talked about Porzingis, Blake Griffin having good character, and Russell comparisons. What’s your opinion on Russell’s career trajectory? Is he like a taller Kendall Marshall? Lefty guard with average speed but elite passing? Or is he like James Harden who’s a scoring machine.
Robert – if Kobe being around is a negative factor whether the big free agents pick the Lakers or some other team, would you still sign Kobe to year 21?
Fire Byron Scott. He should’ve never been hired in the first place.
Thanks for the princeton offense wiki link. I stopped reading after I read “The offense is designed for a unit of 5 players who can each pass, shoot and dribble at an above average level.” That crearly does not apply to us. If I were Aaron I’d say we shouldnt scrap the offense bc we’re tanking. But Im not cynical. I just think the coach is…not as bright a basketball mind as I’d like for him to be. If you’re reading this, Byron or Maddog, please reconsider.
Craig W. says
I find it hilarious that people are implying that Kobe is a negative factor on any team. Yeeeesh! What is fandom coming to? Too many people listen to the ‘talking heads’ – whose primary purpose is to get more listeners, not to actually inform.
Craig – are you 100% sure that there is no chance – zero chance – that declining Kobe being the alpha leader and player on the Lakers is a negative factor for big fish free agents? I don’t know the truth, and I hope that’s not the case. But there have been some comments from other players and even Phil Jackson, that warrants this as a possibility.
Calvin: It is early, but I am a little concerned about Russell. He is a number 2 overall pick and he needs to step up. If he is really going to be “superstar” (we heard when he was drafted), then we should see glimpses of that. Kobe was not a super star in his early career (thanks to Del Harris), but he certainly showed major glimpses of it. I would like to see some of that from Russell and Randle for that matter. The Summer League is an organized pick up game so this can’t be blamed on the coaches although I am expecting the Byron bashing to continue all year.
With regard to Kobe – let’s wait and see. If he plays this year out and wants to play another – I will be interested in the discussion here. He will still be selling tickets (business reasons) and if he wants to play then what are we going to do? Throw him out? (loyalty). So year 21 is not out of the question. Let’s keep it under $15 million though.
Jamie Sweet says
@ Darius – Still sounds outlandish to me. Frankly I have hard time buying into the notion that any player who isn’t getting the message is seeing floor time. The fact that we have such an incredible amount of turnovers indicates to me, we are trying to share the ball; albeit poorly. The lack of talent is not in question and is something every one of these teams deals with in summer league. The comments regarding Russell and the Princeton aren’t directed at anyone (only the part about not sharing the rock were meant to be directed, and yes I did indeed slightly misconstrue your point and I do apologize for that. What can I say? I enjoy a good, healthy debate).
On the topic of the Princeton: While it’s always been en vogue to bash the Princeton (or Triangle) and elevate Quick Hitters (or 7 seconds or less, high P&R action, or whatever people want to re-label a basic basketball concept as) I think that it’s an over-simplification of the issue. Poor screens, missed jumpers and general lack of talent (something all summer league and most NBA teams now face thanks to the soon to be renegotiated CBA) coupled with a tremendous amount of unfamiliarity amongst teammates is as much to blame as anything else.
When the talent level goes up (Hibbert setting screens for Russell is going to be way different than Black or Upshaw, for instance) so too will the effectiveness of the offense. We’ll see what kind of adjustments Byron makes from here into training camp and, again, when the season starts. They certainly let Clarkson run the high P&R at the end of the season so I have little doubt that, if that proves to be the best chance for the team to win, we could go more that route as the season goes on. Mainly I think way too much is being placed on Russell’s shoulders (both blame and responsibility) considering he’s bee working with these guys for a matter of weeks.
Interesting tidbit about Anthony Brown and the playbook, thanks for that. Speaks to the point I brought about the Lakers running their regular season sets and other teams look like they’re having extended work outs in Vegas. I think that running the harder, more complex sets they’ll use in the season will prove beneficial in the long run but does not translate well to summer league success. The staff may want to take a page out of Phil’s summer league playbook and relegate them to the basic aspects of the offense, more of a foundational understanding.
Thanks for taking the time to respond, and again, no offense meant just seems ludicrous to me that anyone would suggest players are not passing on purpose. Then again, I never thought the media and public would side with billionaires in a lockout soooooo…shows what I know. Have a good one, sir, enjoy the rest of summer league.
Jamie Sweet says
@ the other Stephen & Keno: You’re welcome, glad you enjoyed it. Brevity is not my forte’, dig? Enjoy the season.
Randle playing small ball center again.
3 and half games.
Say what you want but:
Black is bad at defense.
Russell is a bad shooter. Rim is same height as collage. Looks like 2nd rounder to me. I see a year of excuses for this guy. Mud, Okafer, Town by far look better. Rus looks like a D-league bench player.
If Mitch blew this pick after 21 win season he should be fired.
At least Randel looks good and JBrown looks way better then Russell.
This could end up being Laker Kyame Brown screw up pick when you have more turnovers 21 then points there is reason for concern.
Sorry but the eye test says no way he is starter. Might be 3rd guard off bench. Getting embarrassed by D-leaguers and rookies for 4th time!
Jamie Sweet says
One more diatribe and then I’ll leave y’all alone for the day:
Summer League has never been about the wins or losses, especially for the Lakers. It’s about discovering what each player needs to work on. To that end it’s been very instructional for us:
-Clearly Randle needs to work on finishing his moves with a bucket. Might be the weight loss, confidence in the leg, overall rust or (most likely) a combination of all three.
-Clearly Tarik Black is struggling. Not sure if he literally took the summer off or is just experiencing a sophomore slump but right now he’s my last center off the bench behind Sacre and Upshaw (in that order). Big time regression for Tarik whom I had high hopes for. I had hoped he would render Sacre obsolete…no dice.
-Jabari Brown picked up right where he left off, he’s always been a gunner. It’s what he did when he played in college, the D-League, it’s what he did when he got called up and it’s what he’ll do today when he sees the court. Would it be nice if he was more like Kobe and found a way to score 20+ ppg and 5 apg? No doubt, but right now he’s points off the bench and why would you want to mess with that? Solid role player who doesn’t need a confusing “you know you’re just not passing enough” message quite yet.
-Anthony Brown is…OK. He tries on D, seems reluctant to shoot off the catch and holds the ball for a few seconds which means he loses his open shot and now has to work for a bucket which he is terrible at. Nor is he quick passer. In general it looks Brown is thinking about way too many things out when his role is to shoot the shot when he’s open.
-Jordan Clarkson is playing for a role on the Lakers just as much as anyone. Playing for a big time extension, too. He should not be in Summer League, he’s a man amongst the boys out there and it shows. I think he deferred a lot against NY and it showed in our inability to score. We saw him average more assists last season but I would wager his “message” was to score. besides, which of these guys should he pass to? Nobody can hit a shot.
-D’Angelo Russell ought to be the biggest complainer about the system. He’s not, it sounds like the opposite, actually. Read his quotes, he fully acknowledges the difficulties the system presents and in the same breath mentions how well it could work, given time. He’s not hitting shots and his multiple turnovers indicate he is actually trying to share the ball he’s just not doing it very well…yet. He will, I have no doubt, be better with the full team. It could come down to him coming off the bench in order to give him the time he needs to acclimate without adversely impacting his confidence.
Them’s my takeaways from Summer League thus far. Have at it.
Yes, it’s Summer League. Yes, they’re young guys. Yes, the result is irrelevant. But in 2 timeouts, down by 2, they came up with giving the ball to Randle 35 feet from the basket? This is when you actually run something to get an open look for a shooter, not just drop it off to the first guy who gets open.
But still some positives – Russell’s 2nd half was improved, Jabari clearly wants Swaggy’s job of all shots and no passes, and the general energy level of the team seemed good throughout the 2nd half.
If you didn’t know better J Brown has more potential than Russell…..
Saw some positive signs in this one. Randle came alive and in general the team played hard. Would have liked to have seen a more traditional lineup with Upshaw at center and JR at the 4 for at least a few minutes. DAR showed flashes as well.
Brian P. says
I actually thought Russell made some good strides and flashes of his potential.
This was a much more fun game to watch than the previous three.
Randle looked much better as well.
Right on Jamie. Based on their 4 games performance, no Coach in his right mind would play Russell and Randle in the starting line up. Let them compete for the position. I don’t think Russell is better than Lou Williams at this stage of the game nor Randle could beat a 10 year Pro Brandon Bass. Go with the stable Vets first than going with rooks.
This game is better than the previous game but came out short in the end due to TO’s and being out-hustled by the winless Mavs. All rooks should spend more time in the D’League and learn to finish shots.
Russel had a few really nice passes in the second half. One was a really great bounce pass in the pocket to the roll man on a pick and roll. He also had a really great bounce pass to a cutter with the perfect spin on it so it got there just as he was getting to the rim.He does have a great feel for the game. Seems to me has been kind of overthinking things, plus he is unfamiliar with the offense and his teammates. But he has shown some signs.
Randle has a great first step, he just needs to finish better at the rim (might just be because hes just coming back from injury) and be able to hit a mid range shot if the defense gives it to him,
Gene – Or you’d think that Jabari Brown has played NBA basketball before and isn’t a 19 year old kid in his 4th Summer League game learning to run a team not just shoot every time he catches the ball.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Agree with your post Craig W. Last year of Kobe and still some fans can’t relinquish their stirring hate on the guy just because he won’t reduce his big contract with the Lakers. In business, it is called retirement bonus for excellent performance. The fellow gave it all for the Lakers, sustained so many injuries and playing in pain, saved D’Antoni’s butt to make it to the playoffs . When you are up, everyone cheers and when you are down especially with injury or disability, the weight of the world is on your handicap,forget all the glories achieved in the past. It narcissism at its worst of “what you have done for me lately?”
Who would you rather have lance and a brown or justin anderson?
I thought Anderson was awesome and its a shame we couldnt combine our picks to move up …. some mocks had anderson slipping to us …. could have been a longterm answer at sf
Shaun – Agreed on Anderson. Like many here I wanted him pre-draft, and was hoping he’d last until #27. Nice to see that we weren’t crazy in thinking he’d make a good player.
Agree with upshaw … i dont think tarick is a C in the leagie more a power pf
I don’t think rookies are in a position to complain.
My complaint about the princeton offense is not a complaint about it as a system per se. My complaint has to do with the princeton being run by this team. Why would you implement a system that makes everyone an equal passer after drafting the best passer in the draft? Now if the system allows for certain players to dominate the ball more (not Kobe) and Russell manages to make some nice plays, then great. I don’t know too much about the system, but from what I’m reading I’m not getting that sense.
Craig W. says
We don’t need two PFs who have trouble 15′ and out.
Yup! I’m 100% sure. I understand the Twitter feeds and things said in passing, but any player ‘worth their salt’ wouldn’t complain about playing with a winner – see Dwight Howard. However, it makes a better story to bring this up and, once again, make news on Kobe Bryant’s name. Phil Jackson has proven to vent through the media so often that I would think you would be afraid to mention his name. He always works his agenda – and it sometimes has no relation to any kind of truth.
Russell is slated as a great passer. But he is not a bring it up the court point guard. In fact, his lack of athleticism has proven to make that task very difficult for him, as athletic guards are bothering him as he advances the ball. Instead, he’s much better as a secondary initiator/SG. Which is fine, because we have plenty of players that can bring the ball up the floor. If anything, having someone like Russell who can make the right read on a situation and make the right pass is an asset for the Princeton offense. And systems are systems that can be used and not used by the same team. Systems like the Triangle and Princeton are useful as fall backs for when things break down. Most of the time, the Phil Lakers and Bulls were not running the Triangle. But having those sets in their back pocket allowed players to change it up easily.
Baylor Fan says
Another way to look at the lack of passing is that maybe the players were told to cut down on the turnovers. It looked that way last season especially during the second half. Yes, Clarkson looked good but he was controlling the ball more and waiting for good passing opportunities and not trying to force things. It seemed rare for more than one pass before each shot attempt. This summer, the players that will be the core of the next competitive Lakers team are too young and inexperienced to run an offense at the speeds needed. That will improve and will be helped by the free agent signings.
Kobe could have the gravitas of Bill Russell and the personality of Magic Johnson, and he would still be a negative for FA recruitment right now since he will be 37 years old when the season starts, has played 41 games in two years, and was given a contract that takes up nearly 35% of the cap.
If he were healthy, 27 and made a max salary for his service time slot, then he would be a plus in recruiting FAs.
Baylor Fan says
It is somewhat amusing to hear that the coaching staff is “old school” and does not believe in analytics and reluctantly agrees that 3 point shots may be useful. Imagine if Jerry Buss hired an “old school” coach and had Magic work on his two hand set shot instead of his running game. Granted Magic did work on his set shot to improve his 3 point accuracy but even then it improved spacing for the offense. The Lakers under the early Buss regime were never about “old school” anything. They were introducing one innovation after another on the court and off it. Those days are over and the next two years are going to be brutal as they try to learn from other teams what they need to do.
I know this is Summer League, but people forgot when you are top 3 picks of the NBA, you have to dominate those average players out there. I don’t blame Russell, i blame people who picked him at number 2, Lakers coach said:” Okafor will be a good center, but Russell will be superstar…”, and i don’t see it yet, if you can’t play in Summer League, how can you play better in the NBA ? I don’t expect too much from Randle either, because he was 7th pick, he may be good or just a role player. This year is very important to Lakers, first they have to make playoff to get free agents, if FA won’t see any improvement on this team, they won’t sign, right now i don’t see this team can make a playoff, because we don’t have two guys who can carry this teams through 82 games.
Don’t do this Lakers!Princeton offense is garbage,the outings are getting aggressively worse,I remember MB year,it all started very innocent like this.0-82 is possible with Randle without handles.
rr, they should not have used Kobe to recruit anybody on his last year. He is placed in a no-win situation. Secondly, the scouting spies of the Lakers on marquee F/A is weak and flawed. When they picked Russell on #2, the assumption was they have a Center locked-in either LaA or DJ or Monroe. The espionage has wrong reading, they are merely suitors and being hoodwinked by the agents of FA’s to raise their market value for other teams. This happened in ’05 and it just repeat itself. As you often said, if they knew before hand that their hold on those three players is weak, then they could have changed the pick to a Center. Problem is that they are not sure of Okafor too and Towns went on first pick. At this stage of Kobe’s career, just let it go, he didn’t ask for the money but offered to him for marketing purposes. Lakers were afraid that if they did not offer that kind of money, then another team would snatch Kobe and offer that contract instead. Kobe = marketing money to a moribund team, what is it that people would not accept that concept? He may occupy 34% of the cap but he is 75% reason why season ticket holders renew their pass. Remove Kobe from the line-up, do you think people will still be interested with the Lakers this season?
Lakers fans, please be patient with these young kids. Russel, Clarkson, Randle, are basically kids who would have still been in college if it were not for the huge salary that the NBA offers. It takes time to develop players. These are good kids with right attitude, so hopefully, their learning curve will be shorter.
For now, Byron is right guy for the job. For these young kids, learning to compete at higher level, and to develop the right mental approach to the life of NBA is actually more important than Xs and Os. Byron, after all, was a champion breed kind of player, and a Lakers faithful. He can be trusted to give these kids the right guidance.
Just be patient. Its a long season.
Great point about Kobe. At this point in his career, he is not a draw to free agents. I’m not saying players want to avoid Kobe for being “Kobe”, but the fact is that he is on the last leg of his career and the Lakers just aren’t that good. That is the reason it’s difficult to recruit a great free agent. While every free agent is different, we are seeing that a lot of them are influenced by where they feel they have a good chance to win. Players are valuing their legacy more than ever.
Changing gears, I unfortunately didn’t catch the game, but was able to watch some highlights and saw the box score. Much more encouraging. Nice to see Randle be able to put together a decent game and I’m glad that he was mixing things up with his jumpshot and passing the ball.
Russell had another off-shooting night, but some of his passes are incredible. He’s definitely going to need to hit the weight room and work on his quickness, but he has a very advanced understanding of the game.
Even though I’m gonna be patient with Russell and I’m not throwing the towels, but ever since someone mentioned ‘taller Kendall Marshall’, I can’t get it out of my mind.
Russell really needs to improve on his explosiveness, lift, handles and quickness. These attributes seem to be the limiting factors as of now. He has problem shaking off defenders and his drives to the rim are very slow and weak. His vision is undoubtedly remarkable. I don’t think he will have any problem as far as understanding the game is concerned. He needs to work on his body.
Yeah the Kendall Marshall comment stuck in my head also. Although Russel’s shot looks amazing compared to Marshall’s weird set shot crap that was never going to fly in the NBA. Russell really doesn’t look like some extreme athlete out there that’s for sure, so his skill level better push him over the top in the year to come–but its not there yet.
Clarkson is a SG, or “combo” guard, but barring a few games last year–he was a scorer looking for his shot first once he got the green light. This years Lakers squad has a bunch of Offense first guys, swaggy, Lou Williams, Brown, Clarkson, Kobe–depending on the game or if its 4th quarter or not. So in one respect Russel already looks like the most willing passer the team has, except those games where Kobe goes into uber passing mode. The offense is going to be a mess again at least the first half of the season. We also won’t defend well overall. So this talk of winning 40 games possibly just makes no sense to me. Williams isn’t that great, that’s why we got him for 7 mill, sure they guy is great at getting shots off, but he’s not very efficient overall, and again he’s 6’1″ and his defense is pretty lousy–so he gives back a lot of points.
I have a tough time seeing them give big roles to Brandon Bass, but he’s probably the best all around player we have–he can score, he can defend. At this point, Russel is going to look pretty bad in practice if Bass plays him tough–since Bass is agile as well and strong. So Clarkson again looks like the only rook to see the floor, yet he’s playing for a new much bigger contract and clearly will have to be reigned in a bit, unless they decide he’s our new Kobe, go to guy for next season at some point?
Craig W. says
Why can’t we simply accept what Mitch said? — that they selected Russell because they thought he would be the better player.
Everyone agreed 1) Oakfor would be a good player and 2) Oakfor was much more NBA ready for next year.
Repeating that the Lakers took Russell because they presumed they would be able to get a free-agent center implies that they would have taken Oakfor if they had thought they wouldn’t get a free-agent center. There is no indication this is true, so why not accept Mitch’s explanation – or does that not fit the narrative the front office couldn’t get out of its own way?
P.S. – Hibbert is an NBA center, just Oakfor in reverse and with experience.
Nice flashes from Russell last night. Living in the DC area, I have watched John Wall’s evolution and development — I can see some of Wall’s ability in Russell. Not the pure speed and athleticism, but Wall sees the court better than I think he gets credit for and that’s something that Russell definitely has already. He can work on his shot, as Wall has the past few years, and he should work on defense, something Wall does well and takes pride in.
Hopefully Byron and Kobe can connect with the kid and put him on the right path and he has the internal desire Wall has. If so, it may take time, but in year three, he could be the superstar Mitch projects.
FWIW, Russell and Wall’s college stats were very comparable. I posted links right after the draft.