It may not cure all, but the Lakers getting a win sure does make things go down a bit smoother. The night wasn’t perfect, but perfect can wait for another day. The Lakers needed a win severely, if only to ease some of their own frustrations.
Regardless of how good a win makes the fans feel, I can guarantee it feels better for the players. It is difficult to put all that work in and not see the reward on the court with actual wins. As much as performing well as an individual matters, these guys aren’t out there playing tennis or golf. They want their team to win. One only needed to see the look on the face of D’Angelo Russell in the closing seconds of this game (even though he was on the bench — more on that later) or the look on Julius Randle’s after the four previous ones (even though he’d played well in most of them) to recognize the difference.
Man, it feels good to see a Lakers win. I said this a lot last year, but these guys work hard. They have pride. Glad they got this for THEM.
— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) November 7, 2015
As for how the Lakers got to this win, I think Mid-Wilshire summed it up well in the comments of the game preview:
Randle: 14 pts. (5-9 shooting), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Clarkson: 16 pts. (6-12 shooting), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
Russell: 16 pts. (6-9 shooting), 4 rebounds (but zero assists), 3 steals
Could this have been a glimpse of the future?
Were there mistakes? Of course. They’re young. Was the level of competition very high? No. The Nets are horrible.
Even so, our three young players who (hopefully) are the core of the Lakers’ future just combined for 46 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 assists while averaging 29 minutes per game between them tonight. Considering that this is only their 5th regular season game together, I’d say that this is encouraging.
Even though they have a ways to go, isn’t this what we were hoping for?
Yes, this is what we are hoping for. Especially the stat line from Russell.
While he did not have any assists, Russell’s offense looked polished with his jumper falling in a way that reminded of his time at Ohio State. After missing his first two shots — both inside looks — Russell hit 6 of his next 7 shots. The only miss came on a heat check 3-pointer early in the clock to see if he could keep his hot shooting going in the 2nd half after his 2nd quarter spurt. I was especially happy with his overall aggressiveness, especially in how he is starting to get a feel for how to go away from screens in the P&R and shaking free to get into open space. He did that on one of his misses — a finger roll attempt over Brook Lopez — and he’s did it a couple of times against the Nuggets last game too.
Russell wasn’t the only rookie who had a nice game, either. Larry Nance Jr. saw his first action of the season and had a solid and productive night. Nance had 6 points, 5 rebounds, and was a +9 in his 15 minutes of action. He was active on defense, moving well all over the floor and showed enough range on his jumper – which is important if he’s going to be on the floor. If he can hit the 18 foot baseline jumper — both his field goals came on this shot — he can offer a semblance of spacing and be an release valve for open passes when his man helps in the paint.
Adding Nance to the rotation wasn’t the only change, either. Metta World Peace also got minutes and added a nice boost to the Lakers’ defense. The Nets didn’t have the type of quick-twitch athletes on the wing which give Metta problems at this stage of his career and Metta took full advantage working well on an island against guys like Joe Johnson and Bojan Bogdanovic. Metta’s quick hands and good position defense added to Nance’s more athletic movement around the court proved to be a nice combination when flanking Tarik Black’s paint protection.
All in all this was a good win. The Nets aren’t a good team, but neither are the Lakers right now. So why worry about the strength of the opponent? The important part of the game is that the young players did well and that, in the end, the Lakers came out on top. Everything done wasn’t exactly how I would have done it, but that’s every night.
Now, for some additional notes…
- If you look at Kobe’s final stat line you’ll see another poor shooting night (5-16), only marginal work on the glass or with assists (3 of each) and think he was bad again. And, in some ways he was, I guess. But he also went to the FT line 8 times (though 2 of those were technical foul shots) and did better in trying to get into the paint. Yes, he still settled for a lot of jumpers, but two of his 5 baskets were at the rim and he had a nice assist to Tarik Black on a drive where he drew extra help.
- One of the major storylines recently is that D’Angelo Russell hasn’t played down the stretch of games. Tonight he did get some late 4th quarter burn, but was pulled out in the final minute in favor of Lou Williams. This is likely going to be a thing for the immediate future so getting upset about it isn’t going to change much. As I said on twitter, I think Byron really wanted this win and did whatever he thought was best to secure it. I wish he thought that meant playing Russell in the final minute.
- Nick Young didn’t shoot well, hitting only 3 of his 9 shots on the night. But all three of his makes came on consecutive possessions in the 4th quarter, where he had a nice open court layup sandwiched between two 3-pointers.
- Julius Randle is really fun to watch. He’s also going to be really good.
- Roy Hibbert had another 3 blocks on the night. For the season he’s averaging 2.8 a night.
- Huertas and Kelly were DNP-CDs. Bass only got 3 minutes of action. For one night, at least, it looks like Metta, Nance, and Black have replaced those three in the main rotation. We will see if this continues. After a win, I would imagine it would.
Nik Kannan says
Not sure Kelly should play any longer unless we actually think we can get something for him via trade.. his shooting has been worse than Nance’s potential & is worse at rebounding, defense, & general energy…
D’Angelo not getting burn in the 4th is baffling…. he is one of our 5 best players, he needs to play down the stretch.
39 more wins to go until this is relevant.
J C says
Nice to see D’Angelo unleash some of his sunshine, I hope it keeps his confidence rolling along. Great as well to have Nance on the floor. I can see some Blake Griffin in him. Can’t forget to mention Metta, he’s our man of metal.
Victory and encouraging play from the young guys, some ball movement and a couple of Kobe drives to the hoop. I’ll take it.
Nance is kinda like kurt rabbis
Couple of notes:
– only 14 team assists
– nets are the worst team in basketball….that last inbounds play, jack is open to pass to, and thompson blew it….thought we gave it away again
– DAR was playing a little better finding his shot (that naaaaasty ankle breaker was some kind of play), but 0 ast?!? Really?!? Still not sold on him
– clarkson is the real deal! Randle is, too. If julius gets some more arc under his J, and adds some range to it consistently, he has the potential to be a top5 guy in the league
– Thank god coach playd metta some tonight. Made some crucial defensive plays. Also, nance didnt look too shaby to me
– why exactly did the FO sign bass?!?
– last but not least: HIBBERT IS BACK! Did you realize he avarages just under 3 blocks in 24min of play?!? I know it is only 5 games into the season, but 4.2 blocks per 36min is just HUGE!!!! if we could keep him on a cheaper contract for say 2 years, definately a keeper
Craig W. says
Actually, Nance Jr shoots better than Rambis did.
Darius, I have to disagree with you about D’Angelo. I think playing up until the last minute was a perfect way to introduce him to 4th qtr crunch time. He go a lot of the pressure, without the extreme pressure of actually closing the game out, particularly when he was a 4th qtr no-show previously. He had been doing well, but wasn’t collecting any assists, and he got some very good run near the end. Next he will have to become more the director for others – along with his shot – and he will earn the right to finish games.
We have to remember he is a rookie at the PG spot and this is 5 games into his first season. I think this shows B Scott is feeling pressure to bring him along quickly, but resisting the temptation to simply throw him into the fire and forget the concept of a win.
Warren Wee Lim says
This victory is a teardrop in the ocean. It won’t mean much after awhile, but it signified the start of Lakers success. The look on D’Russ’ face when the win was official, Randle, and all the guys… I just hope Scott didn’t have them do suicides after the game to prove he’s the boss.
My recent theme on twitter nowadays is asking for Scott’s head. There simply is no benefit having a coach like him on a team like ours. Not only that, Scott has been terrible in his stints and his ways are left in the 80’s. Back in the day, players weren’t millionaires and such.
I am not advocating that Scott go soft on these guys. He is set in his ways and he is pretty old to be taught new tricks. My main concern is how his tough love approach can actually yield a negative to the psyche of the youngsters, who are actually of very high character as described by everyone around them. So why punish them? Why make them feel like they should work for everything (even though they have to, somehow) and not give them the right props in mental development and positive reinforcement? Do you not trust these kids to grow up properly that you’d constantly need to whip them? Like I said, those ways belong to the 80s.
As an 80’s kid myself, I learned that I can get through life if I have the talent and work for it. I breezed through grade school as an honor student and high school as valedictorian without having the pressure behind me that I should be #1, otherwise I’d be damned. I went through the motions, I outworked everyone, heck, I even outplayed everyone. In the end, I came out on top with pride. At age 34, I own my own business and doing quite well w/ God’s blessings. So I panned out ok, I never faced the pressure Scott is projecting these kids. If I had, I don’t know if I would’ve came out the same way I did.
The point is, Scott’s antics are too outdated. He hates analytics, he hates the 3pt shot. In the end you see Russell dribbling around and passing the ball from side to side with brush screens only to have Kobe shoot a fade away 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock. How is that a good offense? I haven’t seen 1 creative play he has out of a timeout where the Lakers score easily on a “clever” play… all he has is a set of plays thats (hand)written on a 70’s playbook he probably grew up learning with.
At the end of the day, you have to look past the trees and see the forest. DeAngelo Russell is the Lakers future (along w/ Randle and Clarkson) and they will be here for years longer than Scott’s remaining games as a coach. Book it.
I would be interested to know if the stats/film back up what my eyes were telling me last night–that LAL was (finally) adding a bigger dose of PNR to its offensive sets at times, as it seemed like those were the actions that were generating Clakson’s and Russell’s best looks. Relatedly, it seemed like things got “tight” down the stretch when the Laker’s shied away from simple screen and roll and the offense stagnated. Is this just confirmation bias on my part, or …
As much as i want DAR to play late in games, we needed this win and getting Williams in was a matter of FT shooting, DAR haven’t shoot Fts that well and Williams is an automatic, he is going to get his chance, say what you will about BS but i think he is doing right by DAR, he earned playing in the 4th tonight, he has to earn closing games, he wasn’t a factor down the stretch but he is getting there, solid effort but still need to improve, i think Metta and Nance earned those 2nd unit spots for the inmediate future, if we get this from them every night, we would do a lot better…
– Relief. 1-4, much better than 0-5. Especially considering the opposition.
– Amazing a team can have a lousy 1-4 record and still have a better record than four other NBA teams (76ers, Nets, Pelicans, Kings).
– Next up, Knicks…2-4? Yes.
– Expecting to see Phil Jackson in the house.
Victory on the road, let’s welcome it. I saw good chemistry, help defense and a controlled offense. Want to see more domination and self-confidence before getting back to normal curve. Well, who would think that Lakers now have a better record than Okafor’s team; Pelicans and of course Nets? They should raise the bar and take one W at a time.
it so refreshing to see analysis like the one in Warrens post above
Congrats to everyone. Getting that zero off the board is great !
Tomorrows game is going to be electric. In a very warped way, the Knicks are our chief rival right now.
Youngsters: Can we get consistency on the evaluations here? If you think it is too early to judge completely (which it is), then apply that everywhere. Some are claiming that our drafts have been phenomenal, yet when people criticize DAR, they say it is too soon. And it is to some extent, but it also too soon to declare Randle and Clarkson future HOFers. So my “early” opinion. Clarkson is going to be solid starter, possible occasional All Star in the league. Randle has the potential to be a little better than that (maybe a 5-7 time all start) but also a little worse as it is just too early. It is way too early on DAR, but the issue is that as time goes by it is more obvious – he is not a super star and with the #2 pick and a promise of a “huge upside”, conceding he is not a super star is a big concession.
Scott: The Knicks game is a big game towards his longevity. I still love the way people bash Scott as if they know for sure he is a bad coach, yet then they mock others for doing the same with Jim, Mitch, Kobe, and DAR.
Kev The Bold says
Robert, having grown up in an all black deeply basketball oriented neighborhood in the 60’s and 70’s, playing ball from am to am. I was always adept at seeing talent.
I have been a NBA fanatic, especially a Laker fan since Wilt, and have never been wrong in assessing a superstar in the making, and in my opinion D’Angelo has the potential to be one of the greatest.
Too many people believe that an abbreviated look at a player can tell them something of value, yet that’s not the case.
It’s much deeper than that.
In D’Angelo’s case too many have given him the once over with an eye that was already squinting in disappointing disapproval that he was not Okafor.
Combine that fact, with Scott’s use, or misuse of his talents, the composition of this team, his inexperience, and the incalculable pressure, and we saw the result: Confusion and the resulting lack of confidence.
What you did not see was the real D’Angelo.
We saw a bit last night of his offensive side, and don’t let anyone say it’s a fluke, the kid can shoot the wings off of humming birds, but his best skill to come is floor general, and passing at complex angles by making the ball change directions after it leaves his hand.
The kid is perfect for Showtime, which means he’s perfect for the Lakers.
I think the team’s assist totals will be held down with this group because so many players can create off the dribble, and they draw so many FTs. When you padd to Randle you aren’t as likely to draw the assist because he’s going to take the ball and bull inside. Guys still love passing it to him though, as he leads the team in passes received and dished out. So I’m not worried about D’Angelo not averaging a lot of dimes. His pocket passes to guys on the move may also not result in an assist while still being the best play he can make.
Chris J says
Scott’s antics are too outdated. He hates analytics, he hates the 3pt shot. In the end you see Russell dribbling around and passing the ball from side to side with brush screens only to have Kobe shoot a fade away 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock. How is that a good offense?
Great, great point. For a guy who is not a fan of three-pointers, Byron’s team sure takes a ton of them, usually because they’ve all wasted the first 20+ seconds of a possession passing around the arc and not trying to get inside, Clarkson and Randle being the exceptions.
As for Russell’s low assist count… I’m not worried about it. He’s made some great passes already that were fumbled or the shots were missed, so assist totals are somewhat misleading. The better indicator is how the ball is moving and what spots can he gets to while on the floor. I see progress on those fronts.
People expect the No. 2 pick to come in and light up the world, but PG is difficult to pick up, even more so in such a disjointed system. A guy as great as Steve Nash averaged a whopping 3.3 PPG playing 65 games as a rookie. Not to say Russell with match Nash’s career, but my point is don’t judge the kid prematurely.
pat oslon says
I liked what I saw from CBS new rotations (what took so long). Defensively MWP was a no-brainer & Nance was Conference defensive POY in college. Tarik Black played well also. D-Lo looked very good. The kid is going to be a very good player. This should be a confidence builder for him. In the future he will look back on this experience and realize how blessed he was to have Kobe Bryant as a mentor.
PS: MWP too.
Kev: Love hearing historical references. You have me by some years, but I remember the old days as well. The “Showtime” period is not possible to describe to someone who was not there. I also played a great deal, so I know a little about talent as well (other than the fact that I used to consider myself a super star – which unfortunately was not correct). I did score 28 points on Ralph Sampson in a game, since you are an old timer – you may like that. That said – your comment – ” Too many people believe that an abbreviated look at a player can tell them something of value” My point exactly as per above. So that works on both the positive and negative sides. However “super star” is a bit different. DAR can still be a great player, but super stars do not develop slowly after 3-5 years, and they are not held back by someone like Byron Scott as some are saying. They burst on the scenes like Magic, or MJ. And yes I know Del kept KB on the bench, but he showed the fact he was a super star even in his limited minutes. DAR needs to do that. I do not want to have to “squint” to see it. I want him to get in peoples faces and show them what he is.
Re-posted from the other thread via Snarky George:
Steve: Would you say D’Angelo Russell’s struggles are more on the offensive strategies then on him so far? Still, way too early to be concerned, right?
Kevin Pelton: While I don’t think Byron Scott is helping with his focus on winning games over developing players, I think it’s more on personnel. Surrounding a player whose best skill is playmaking with multiple guards who need the ball in his hands never made much sense. In fairness to Mitch Kupchak, I don’t think signing Lou Williams was Plan A or Plan B and the Lakers sort of had to take value where they could get it. But they might pay a long-term price with Russell’s development.
Kevan: Can you elaborate on cognitive biases involved with teams making poor personnel decisions? Obvious example, the Lakers focusing on winning over developing their youth… How do they not see the value we do?
Kevin Pelton: Well, for one it’s a matter of incentives. Byron Scott probably isn’t going to be the coach of the Lakers when Russell is in his prime. He probably isn’t going to be the coach of the Lakers next year. He needs — or at least likely feels he needs — to win games right now to keep his job. It’s understandable then that he’d be more focused on current performance. It’s a natural tension in the GM/coach dynamic that I think would be helped if teams changed coaches less frequently or at least made it clear they were being evaluated more on process than results.
J C says
Kev the Bold
Precisely. Great post.
I’d add that as a high school player, and afterward, 35 year rec player, 15 year youth coach and lifetime hoops junkie, that IMO with some players you can tell almost immediately. Kobe was like that. Electric. Jordan too.
As clever as I may consider myself, I believe that Jerry West’s eye for talent was second to none. I have to believe Mitch has, or absorbed some of Jerry’s philosophies.
Although I don’t necessarily see ‘superstar’ yet from Russell, I do see unique talent and a big kid with a nice shooting touch, extraordinary passing skills and vision with a calm demeanor.
So I’m inclined to trust that Mitch and even Jimmy’s choice of Russell at #2 had merit.
He’s only 19 and just scored 16 points on 9 shots in 23 minutes. Not bad at all.
Give him a few years, say, at age 23 — who’s to say he won’t be an all-star? He may well be.
Young guys: As I have posted a few times, Russell’s college numbers were very similar to John Wall’s, although they are very different types of guys, with Wall being more athletic and Russell more skilled. Also, Russell may take longer to gel, since he does not have in-your-face jock traits. So, I think the hope is that Russell will be a #2 guy, an All-Star, and that Randle will be a #3 guy, like the guy Kobe and Mitch have compared him to, Lamar Odom. Clarkson looks like he can be a starter on such a team. But if there is another truly excellent Lakers team over the next five years, the best guy on it is probably not on the roster right now.
That is not a knock at the FO for choosing Russell. Guys like Jordan and James and Duncan show up every 5-8 years, and I don’t think anyone in the 2015 draft is on that level, and the one guy who might have a chance to be like that, Towns, was pretty much the consensus #1 and was off the board.
Scott: This site is a lot fairer to him than some other ones are, but there is still too much focus on him—and on Kobe. I get that, in that what fans really want is to root for a contender. If they/we can’t have that, then they usually want to root for a young team, focusing on development and future picks, with a relatively young, well-thought-of coach, but they usually want the team to be good enough to compete at least some nights (although tanking complicates that). Denver is going to lose a lot this year, but I would guess their fans are mostly feeling OK. They have put Mudiay in position to succeed, Nurkic looks pretty good, they have some tradable guys, people seem to like Mike Malone, and they are probably not going to lose 65 games and get hammered every night.
The Lakers OTOH have Kobe in his uncomfortable NBA dotage, an odd mix of one-dimensional veterans on mostly short contracts and youth, a very weird ownership/management situation, and are being coached by an old-school grouchy guy in his 50s whom the Lakers internet types treat like a pop-up punching clown. But if you step back, Clarkson looks good, Randle is looking pretty good, it is very early on Russell, and he seems to be getting better already, and that is what matters right now, no matter who the coach is.
Do you guys think Curry’s talent was obvious in his first couple of years? I don’t have the greatest recollection of him maybe because the overall team was so bad. Just remember him be a really good shooter, but never was really aware of his ball control and passing skills and definitely was not expecting him to be the player we see today.
Kev The Bold says
All great posts and valid opinions !
To the question of D’Angelo’s hesitancy to show his stuff, what I see is a kid who’s ultra polite and respectful, traits which I’m sure he’ll refine over time.
One thing for sure, this will be a refreshing change over Bryant’s abrasive personality.
I do believe however that despite this, he’s got that essential killer instinct.
Craig W. says
Jordan played had 4 years of college, Magic had 2. Because of the systems, they both were able to learn with players who would spend multiple years in college – only the really developed could leave after 2.
With the game moving faster and the players getting younger, we should expect players to take a while to develop – but we don’t. When that player is a PG, in a league expecting more and more from PGs, the situation is further exacerbated. In college, Russell took almost half a year to really show his stuff. The NBA is a far greater jump than that from high school to college, these days.
Taking it all into account, we don’t know what Russell will be yet. Let him adjust, then develop. Byron is probably not wrong in his approach, so far.
Kev The Bold says
Robert, 28 points against Ralph Sampson ! Impressive, I take take my hat of to you sir.
JC, I agree, this time it looks like the front office got it right.
Jerry West’s son was said to have a hand in it.
With luck and patience, our trio could be our salvation.
Superstar is slippery territory. Steve Nash, Chauncey Billups, Dirk Nowitzki, Metta World Peace did not look like superstars years 1 and 2. I feel like you’re falling to your own truism. It’s too early to rule anything out with our young talent.
The problem with Scott, as people are identifying, are his rotations and coaching. He’s coaching Huertas and Russel to death. He hasn’t appeared to prioritize playing time for young players. When the media has criticized him, he has responded with brush offs “development happens in practice” and “wins before development”. At the very least, he’s creating a perception problem. And I feel that its not just outward, with the public. Russel’s comments about not knowing why he was being benched in the 4th suggest that there hasn’t been clear internal communications between the coach and his players about development goals and in-game expectations.
The problem with sitting Russel isn’t that Scott’s putting in Williams to win games. Williams is exactly the type of player you want in during crunch time. The problem is that Scott is sitting Russel instead of Kobe. Byron’s commitment to Kobe is what is hampering Russel’s and Clarkson’s and, to some extent, Randle’s development. Kobe should not be the primary initiator, secondary initiator, nor first or second scoring option. He should be last. Spot up shooting and coming off baseline screens. And defend. Byron’s relationship with Kobe is the problem.
And, sure, the FO probably has some responsibility in this, keeping Kobe with his contract. Imagine if Kobe is sat in the fourth. There would be a media firestorm and he would be asked questions about it. And I am not sure he would handle it gracefully. He’s definitely reigned in since the first few games, but the problem is that Scott seems unaware or unable to limit Kobe to the role that his play justifies.
preemptively, Robert, I love Kobe. I love that baseline jumper he sunk to end a quarter. I love when he makes the shots. I love when he makes the right play. But he’s taking time from the youth movement. He and Lou should be playing about 25 minutes, and Russel 30. He’s playing too much. He’s playing too inefficiently. He’s playing like he’s done.
It is not that the FO “probably has some responsibility.” Byron and Kobe had/have long track records and are here entirely because of the FO. ISTM that any objective critique of the situation should foreground that, clearly, as Pelton does, rather than making it an afterthought or an aside, which is what generally happens. I am not that into angrily yelling “You have spots!” at two old leopards every day. I opposed the Scott hire and the Kobe extension, which I thought should have either been one year for less money, or not offered at all, because I didn’t think that having them around would help the team get off the canvas. I haven’t seen much to make me want to change my mind about that opinion. Finally, I think if you look at their respective performances so far, it is questionable to claim that Clarkson and Randle’s development are being hampered to any significant degree, and Russell is only five games in. What is being hampered is a lot of people’s enjoyment of the team, since no one wants to watch Byron coach and fewer and fewer want to watch Kobe play.
I have come to the *personally* sad realization that Kobe is destructive to these young players’ in-game performance. I wasn’t trying to call you out as supporting Scott, or Kobe’s play for that matter. As you’ve said many times, the FO interviewed Scott (four times), hired him, and has shown endless support since. The same rationale applies to the Kobe contract. However, I feel that there isn’t such a static dynamic between the Management/Coach, whereby there’s no two-way feedback. Yes, Randle and Clarkson look great. But that is almost in spite of Kobe commandeering possessions and Scott making questionable calls and rotations. I think they would look this good and have even greater team success with Kobe having a lesser role in the offense (and on the team). I’m all for Bill Russel player coach role for Kobe. Show the young kids film, coach them on the sideline, play 20 minutes a game. That would be wonderful, but a dream it will remain.