The Lakers introduced their three summer acquisitions — Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass and Lou Williams — on Wednesday and the press conference was captivating…okay, not so much. But, seriously, when looking past the now infamous “silent treatment” and the disappointing fact that Bynum’s jersey number has yet to be retired (Damn you, Hibbert.), there are some real takeaways that can emerge from these traditionally cliché pressers.
For the Lakers, the biggest observation (pun intended) was some of the revealing quotes from Roy Hibbert both during the presser and afterwards with individual reporters. To provide some insight into Hibbert’s presser we’ve collected bits from a few articles on it over the web and ordered them in a cohesive manner. Read away:
From Blake Schuster of the Indy Star:
Former Indiana Pacer Roy Hibbert was introduced as the newest member of the Los Angles Lakers on Wednesday and seemed eager for a fresh start.
The center said it was a “no-brainer” to waive his no-trade clause with the Pacers — reportedly sacrificing $2.2 million — to play in Los Angeles and acknowledged Indiana’s plan to go younger and play faster played a role in his decision.
“You have to embrace change,” Hibbert said. “They wanted to go in a different direction. It’s a business and you have to understand that.”
Per Bill Oram of the Orange County Register:
To Larry Bird and others in charge in Indiana, Roy Hibbert was a lost cause. A lumbering center with little offensive game and a disinterested temperament, they were happy pawning him off for nothing more than a future second-round draft pick.
The Lakers, however, view Hibbert as a player who can not only regain his standing as an All-Star big man, but anchor their anemic defense, which last year ranked second-worst in the NBA.
“I expect to play at an All-Star defensive level, and everything else will come,” Hibbert said Wednesday.
From Anthan Pandian of CBS Sports:
To ensure that he will “play at an All-Star defensive level,” Hibbert has lost 16 pounds (all that jiu jitsu worked out). Hibbert is hoping that he will now be able to play faster.
Smart thinking by Hibbert, who was an All-Star in the 2013-2014 season, but he may have a tough time becoming an All-Star in the West as players like Marc Gasol, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis seem entrenched at the big man spots. However, Hibbert should excel with the Lakers, improving their low-ranking defense.
From Mark Medina of the LA Daily News:
“Kareem reaches out to me, comes to watch my workouts and we stay in touch for the most part,” Hibbert said. “He gives me little tidbits, I worked with him a lot last year during the summer and he keeps up with me. So, he always gives me some advice, gives me some things to work on and I always ask him questions.”
It seems a stretch to say that Hibbert will suddenly unleash Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook. Hibbert has averaged 11.1 points through seven NBA seasons in Indiana.
Yet, Hibbert credited Abdul-Jabbar for teaching him various techniques regarding his spacing, defensive presence, mental preparation and off-court issues.
If those didn’t leave you feeling encouraged enough about LA’s newest big man, we are doubling down on Hibbert news because, upon doing some research, I discovered a blog post from 2008 that examined the Georgetown offense, anchored by none other than Roy Hibbert.
The piece is worthwhile because Georgetown ran a similar variation of the Princeton Motion Offense that the Lakers plan to implement this upcoming season. And, even better, Hibbert was able to thrive in the system:
Most people when they think of a Princeton offense usually think of it being used by an under-sized and slower team that lacks talent. What would happen if a team with good size combined with great team speed and talent ran a Princeton-styled offense? Well, this year, you can watch Georgetown to see an elite team run a Princeton style offense, and the results speak for themselves.
The only real difference between Georgetown’s offense and a traditional Princeton offense is that Roy Hibbert is usually posted up down low, so they usually show a 4-out look as opposed to a 5-out look. But they do go 5-out on occasion as you’ll see in the video, but they are primarily in a 4-out set. […]
I’ve written about Navy’s Princeton offense before, which is much more of a pure Princeton-based offense with the 5-out look. Georgetown’s offense doesn’t use as many give and go plays, but they use the backdoor cut extensively and upscreens for Hibbert to post-up down low.
(So Hibbert loses weight, waives his trade kicker and works well in the Princeton Offense? What is there not to love??)
The post goes on to break down respective play sets and examine what was most effective. If interested in learning more about the offense in general, it is certainly worth your time.
Sticking with the theme of Laker big men, fan-favorite Robert Upshaw has yet to officially sign his deal with the team. Drew Garrison of Silver Screen and Roll examined Upshaw’s situation and how the Lakers plan to address their lone roster spot:
The Los Angeles Lakers sit at 14 signed players, leaving them a single spot to fill out before locking in their roster for the season. Their depth chart is currently a mix-and-match of veterans, fresh talent and prospects that are left over from the previous three seasons. Despite the team still having a handful of veteran’s minimum players, their flexibility is now compromised by the number of young players they’ve compiled…
Upshaw makes a great deal of sense as the final prospect for the Lakers, and he’s coming off what was a successful Las Vegas Summer League run. He’s still very much a project player, but he’s the kind that’s worth the attention of a franchise. […] There are red flags regarding Robert’s off-court decisions, though, which will continue to be an asterisk in any conversation about his place in the NBA.
[…] Mitch has to proceed cautiously and doesn’t appear to be taking Upshaw’s previous transgressions lightly.
So, what appeared to be a done deal a couple weeks ago now seems up in the air. And, as our own Darius Soriano pointed out earlier this week, there are still a few holes to fill on the roster, which could also contribute to the team’s hesitation on Upshaw. It will be a situation worth watching as the offseason continues.
One of the other Laker acquisitions this offseason, Lou Williams, has been met equally with excitement and trepadation. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is unquestionably talented but with a similar-minded player in Nick Young also on the roster, how will the two mesh? In a piece by Mark Medina, he notes that Williams is optimistic about being able to co-exist:
Yes, Williams and Young have cemented reputations as looking to score first, pass second and defend never. Before signing a three-year deal worth $21 million with the Lakers this offseason, Williams has averaged 11.9 points and 2.9 assists through his 10-year NBA career [and] Young has averaged 12.3 points and 1.1 assists through his 8-year NBA career […]
Yet, Williams expressed optimism he and Young will co-exist. The Lakers plan to bring Williams off the bench as a shooting guard, while Young will play as a reserve small forward. Williams also cited his past experience playing with other high-volume scorers, including Allen Iverson.
“I’ve played in systems with multiple guards where we had two or three guards on the court at the same time,” said Williams, who will also share scoring duties with Kobe Bryant. “The most important thing is to not pin Nick and I against each other. We’re teammates now. We both have similar games. We both like to score the basketball, that’s been one of our strong suits. That’s what we hang our hats on. But once we’re on the court, I like to play team basketball. If I’m in an iso situation, that when I try to score the ball. Other than that, I just try to make plays whether it’s for myself or my teammates.”
Lastly, news on the Lakers’ other signee, Brandon Bass, was relatively quiet after Wednesday’s presser, but here’s some of what he said, per a release from Lakers.com:
“My plan is to be a two-way presence on both ends of the court,” Bass said. “To help my teammates anyway I can; do all the little things out there — set picks, run the floor, rebound and communicate on defense. (I’m) trying to lead by example.”
In trying to lead, Bass will be following the guidance of a familiar face in head coach Byron Scott. The pair were together for Bass’ first two seasons in the NBA, from 2005 to 2007 with the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.
Bass recalls Scott being driving force during his early years in the league.
“My first two (years), I didn’t play as much,” Bass said. “Just a lot of motivation. I knew I had to get in the gym and get my grind on.”
The first part of the quote is encouraging and certainly what you’d want to hear from a 10-year veteran. The latter, however, is quite interesting. Remember a while back when coach Scott asserted that guys had formally expressed interest in playing for LA? Well, it’s quite possible Bass was that guy(s). Of course, whether this is true or not is entirely trivial at this point, but, hey, conspiracies are fun!
Craig W. says
While having Hibbert here won’t solve all our defensive issues, he will serve as a base from which we can build. Now players can be instructed to take a few more chances, limiting opponents 3-pt opportunities, without sacrificing basic defensive integrity.
With Williams and Young, we will have dependable firepower in the game at all times and Kobe’s minutes can be more easily limited. This also means Nick could be traded, part way through the season, to a team needing a shooter to assist in becoming a contender.
I think Bass is now clearly our starting PF to start the season. Whether he finishes the season that way will depend on Randle and Nance.
We have flexibility and depth, now we need to gain experience. The beginning of the season should be interesting. Here’s to the 2nd half being fun.
Next to coaching, i think chemistry is a huge question mark for the team. I’m curious to see how they jell in the coming months.
Chris J says
There’s plenty of intrigue surrounding Hibbert, and if he delivers, it’s all gravy. If not, they lost only a second round pick and money they’d have had to spend anyway. I thought was a a natural and wise move on the part of the front office, and made much more sense than chasing Aldridge and Jordan, neither of whom were realistic pursuits.
The fact that he’s happy to be in L.A., is working to get in better shape during the off-season, and actively seeks advice from Kareem make it all that much better. Let’s hope for good things.
I’m not one who’s convinced Upshaw will be a difference maker, but something in the piece above begat a question: if he has not signed a contract, how was he able to play for the summer league team? I was under the impression that was a prerequisite, as evidenced by Mitch signing Nance and Russell in a Thomas & Mack Center locker room shortly before the first game. Can someone clarify that?
I presume it was because Upshaw wasn’t drafted.
I had not seen this previously.
The following projected win shares are from an online article published on July 16th at Sports Illustrated:
WEST………………………….PROJECTED WIN SHARES
1. Golden State Warriors……….63.0
2. Los Angeles Clippers………..61.9
3. Oklahoma City Thunder…….60.0
4. San Antonio Spurs…………..57.5
5. Memphis Grizzlies…………..56.6
6. Houston Rockets…………….53.2
7. New Orleans Pelicans………45.7
8. Phoenix Suns…………………41.3
9. Dallas Mavericks…………….41.2
10. Utah Jazz…………………… 41.2
11. Portland Trail Blazers……..38.6
12. Sacramento Kings………….33.5
13. Los Angeles Lakers………..29.9
14. Denver Nuggets……………. 29.6
15. Minnesota Timberwolves….23.5
Note: if the Timberwolves get another top pick (projected to have the second worst record in the league — the 76ers are forecasted at 23.2 win shares) then the NBA better watch out. Can you imagine Skal Labissiere or Ben Simmons joining their existing core of: KAT, Wiggins, Rubio, Lavin, Jones, Mohammed, Dieng and Bennett. Yikes.
Interesting win share list. I think that the Suns will be better than that as long as T. Chandler stays healthy. I think Dallas is going to have a lousy record, given two of their best starters will likely won’t start the season and will be time limited for a decent chunk. Even with Parsons/Matthews I don’t think they will be that good at all, I think Dallas is going to be somewhere around us record wise 30-35-ish. I really have a tough time seeing the Timberwolves doing that poorly again this year, they have massive talent and athleticism, yeah they are young, but still think they should win 30 this year.
Kings are a big question mark for me, they have enough established talent to fight for the 8th seed, but they have enough headcases and ownership drama to maybe devolve into one of the worst teams in the West. Will they even have Geroge Karl? Rondo playing for his next contract, not known to be very likeable by basically anybody. Maybe the Kings will still be a potential trading partner for us by the trade deadline this year??
This is a take it with a grain of salt post. I had to look up the SI article to understand the definition of win shares. Its basically the value of a player in wins and in this case rolled up to a team level. Not that this matters, as its just an interpretation of how the standings could look – we’ll see a lot of these as we head into the season.
Playing along with it though, what did strike me was the fact that the Pelicans were in the 8th seed last year and won 45 games. Yet this projection has the 8th seed being a .500 team. The West hasn’t had an 8th seed without a winning record in quite awhile. Then I noticed the top of the standings – three teams with projected 60+ wins.
I guess this is a question for the board: For so long the West has been head and shoulders above the East, are we seeing a further separation of the truly elite Western Conference teams from the balance of the Division?
Using this SI article as an example:
Elite: Golden State, Clippers and OKC
Near Elite: SA, Memphis and Houston
Best of the Rest: NO and PHX
The Rest: Dallas, Utah, Portland
The Worst: Sac, Lakers, Denver and Minn.
Only change I’d make is to switch the Clippers and SA. The Spurs deserve to be with GS and OKC as the elite of the West. But, boy the West is really loaded.
Win Projections: OK – so this SI list projects 30 wins. So if we win say 40 games, it would be a phenomenal performance by the team and the coaching staff. Conversely, if we won 20-25 games this would be a bad performance. Now – why do I think that if Lakers finish 30-52, rather than say they “finished as predicted”, many will say “it was because Byron was an idiot”. And yes – before any of you remind me – I did wear out MD 3 years back. We were projected to contend that year and we barely made the playoffs. And yes I remember the “context” of the injuries that year. So let’s say this. If the Lakers do not win 25 games this year for any reason – we can all call Byron an idiot. However if the Lakers win 30 or more – it is what it is. You can still think Byron is an idiot, but recognize that others think he is worth more than $4 million per year.
Craig W. says
In this article Stan Van Gundy states, “I think all the teams like us would tell you, when you’re a team that’s been battling below .500 for a number of years, the free agent market, quite honestly, is not kind to you.”
Both posters here and the Laker Front office should take note of this statement. Perhaps the front office did do this, and are therefore quite happy that they were able to sign Williams and Bass.
Yes – rich get richer; We were on the right side of that for over 60 years. Now we are on the wrong side.
Chris J says
I’m not putting much stock in those SI projections if they’re suggesting Minnesota will be the worst team in the West. I view the Wolves as a fringe playoff contender next year, with Portland, Dallas and Phoenix likely to regress, and Sacramento possibly slipping, too. Utah could be better than some or all of those four as well, though the Jazz’s off-season hasn’t really wowed anyone.
There’s no way the Wolves will be worse than Denver barring a slew of injuries plaguing those within the Target Center. Their current roster is better than the Lakers’, as well, in my opinion.
Minnesota could develop into a real powerhouse in two or three years, provided they’re able to keep their players once they approach free agency.
Based on this, minni wouldnt be able to cash in 30 wins?!? Absolute bs….they are about to surprise some people with a dish-happy point in rubio being able to throw lobs all game long to the likes of wiggins, lavine, dieng, etc…..nobody should underestimate their core, maybe the most athletic one in the league….i think they end up around .500
Looking at our conference, we have no shot of getting to the 35win-range this year….i think we get a top3 pick again to lock up one of those hyper-talented prospects….and we dont even have to tank cause those bad teams in the east like philly or orlando have also improved and aged the last 2-3 seasons….realistically, i think no one can name 3 teams worse that us outside of maybe denver