This is less a preview about the Heat and more a comment on approach to any given game moving forward. So, if you are interested in match up specific content, sorry to let you down today. Our morning links from today give some nice background Kobe and Wade and, like our previous game previews you can hash out the players of import simply by examining the rosters from both teams.
I am taking this approach for the simple reason that at some point the Lakers are going to need to decide what they want most out of this year. As we noted in our season preview and have touched on several times since, the Lakers headed into this season with contrasting goals of winning as many games as possible while also developing the young players. The balancing act which would come from trying to achieve both goals would be difficult and likely unsuccessful.
It is too early to comment on how well any of the young players are being developed. Jordan Clarkson’s second half rise last season speaks to that. At some point, with any of these guys, it might just click and we see a bound forward in their growth.
This is likely more true for a player like D’Angelo Russell who has looked farther behind Clarkson and Julius Randle, but it can also be true for the latter two. Players of such little pro experience can always learn new things and when the lessons finally stick and are combined with physical talent, the output increases.
What we do know, however, is that the Lakers are not winning games yet. Their 1-5 record against a relatively soft schedule confirms this team isn’t yet good. Whether this version of the team can be good is another question, but the evidence (even if only six games worth) is mounting to a negative answer there.
So, in any given game, the question above about trying to win versus trying to develop the young players via meaningful game action crystallizes further. Will the coaches continue to pour valuable minutes into veteran players who might get the team closer to a few wins or will they go more in the other direction, handing out minutes to the young players and letting them take their lumps (and losses) in the process?
This isn’t a decision which needs to be made today against the Heat, or even tomorrow against the Magic. But, if the team continues to lose at a rate similar to what they are now, it will be a decision which will need to be made. Because it will be difficult to walk the balance beam for an entire season. This much we know. In fact, we probably knew it before the year even started, even if we didn’t want to fully admit to it.
So, enjoy the game tonight. I will certainly try to and will be watching intently as Kobe and Wade duke it out, Hassan Whiteside tries to dunk on Roy Hibbert, Julius Randle takes his southpaw styles up against Chris Bosh’s, and D’Angelo Russell tries to earn some 4th quarter burn. The game itself has the chance to be a good one.
Where you can watch: 4:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.
david h says
darius: we feel you. not easy analyzing the nuts and bolts when clearly the nuts are nuts and the bolts are bolts. will do as you say, sit back and enjoy the game tonight for what it likely will be: one less stressful night to enjoy kobe on the horizon and the young one’s on the the other horizon.
david h says
darius: check that; turns out kobe will sit out tonite’s game vs the heat. good opportunity to see how this plays out from coach scott’s perspective.
I second what David said, it’s a great chance to observe the team without Kobe and see how things flow on both ends of the floor, interesting game to watch, GO LAKERS!!!
One 37 year sits and another 37 year old takes his place.
15-4 Miami with less than 4 minutes gone — yikes!
Kevin T says
I know it’s early but I thought Lakers lose because Kobe shoots too much and he is old and blah blah blah. Not a good team plain and simple and don’t let me start with the coach, waits until they are down 15 before calling a time out.
Metta is playing good D and they’re still down 9.
Geez, Whiteside is murdering Hibbert so far.
Kevin T says
Looks like Wade is pretty much done as well , he is only 33 and hasn’t had the major injuries that Kobe has had the last few years. 1 more year and he is basically done.
What’s strange and suprising is that MWP is short minutes looks like the lakers best all-around player often times. Suprised he seems to still be able to play some D and is fairly spry still.
Dragic has not looked very good at all this year, he better turn it around or he will be the most overpaid bumb in the NBA.
Developing the young players???
What does that mean? How often does a losing team “develop” players?
If none of these guys are franchise saving players (and they arent), the best you can hope is one gets enough numbers to bring in trade value in a few years. The most likely scenario is we blow through coaches and they all turn into Nick young
We can hope for the John Wall scenario, but there is no pressure in Washington.
Lakers need to find a way to stay competitive before these guys spirits get broken and bad habits set in.
Chris Bosh only takes half-court shots in the Shooting Stars all-star contest. he does not want to hurt his FG%
Good ball movement and Young with the hot hand. Cold Miami more so than stellar D. I liked the Nance/Black substitution. It’s made for better interior rotations.
Kevin T says
If Nick Young keeps it up and Lakers win, oh boy the media is gonna go with the line no Kobe Lakers win. But they will never write that Nick was shooting lights out.
Swaggy can raise his trade value if he keep scoring 11pts in less than 3mins 🙂
Lakers defense….ball movement…etc looks much better without Kobe….Team is playing hard for Scott…
Hibbert not the long term solution at center.
I seriously underestimated how much MWP could help this season.
At halftime, the Lakers have 4 offensive rebounds, the Heat have 12 (!). Also, the Lakers have 6 TOs and Miami only 2.
That means that Miami has had 10 extra possessions. Remarkably, the Lakers are only down by 1. I credit that to their defense and the influence of Metta. They may not win this game but I like the toughness that they’ve shown thus far.
Now…if only Russell can find the range on his jump shot.
Let’s be honest….Kobe holds the Lakers back….He can’t play all the games as anymore…. That disrupts the team chemistry…. Time for him to play 2nd unit minutes….
Just wondering where others sit on this: the Lakers feel to me like one of the worst defensive rebounding teams ever. Not just because Whiteside is tearing us up (he does that to most teams), but just on the sample size so far this season. The Nets seemed to get a ridiculous amount of offensive boards. Boxing out is slow, poor or non-existent for most of these guys, and as soon as Hibbert helps on D, the chances of grabbing the defensive board plummet.
Or is it just me?
Well Hibbert has never been a very good rebounder. Neither is Bass. Kelly? The less said the better. Randle is doing well so far but is a bit undersized, as is Black. And none of the perimeter guys are any great shakes on the glass either. So you may well be right.
So Swaggy and MWP are basically keeping us in the game today, wow.
Clarkson needs to chill out a bit, he’s looking like he wants to take over the role of lead volume shooter. I wish he would pass the ball more and set someone else up for a change.
Lil pau says
Huertas reminds me of my first job … when I used to run around looking really busy and stressed but in fact, it was a thinly transparent act and I truly accomplished almost nothing of value.
Kevin T says
Well at least the 1st half was fun. For this team to have a chance at winning Nick Young has to shoot 90% every game
it is frustrating because the young guys just arent getting any time on court!
we are down 10+ throughout the 4th, shouldnt we have D’angelo Clarkson Randle Tarik and Nance on the court?
i dont mind losing now if we are investing time and resource for the future. why are Lou and Nick even playing when they both are hogging the ball and play no defense!??
Byron must have his reasons, but Russell should be playing right now in the 4th quarter.
I try not to dwell on the negatives but some of those defensive sequences in the 4th made me puke in my mouth a little, Lord have mercy, our kids struggle tonight, all of them…
The Lakers lost this game primarily on the boards. The got out-rebounded 47-36 including 15-5 on the offensive glass. Whiteside and Bosh just killed them on the glass.
Also, the Lakers had 17 TOs to 10 for Miami.
So…if you add the differential in offensive rebounds + the differential in TOs, you have 17 extra possessions for Miami. It’s impossible to win when you give the other team 17 extra shots at the basket.
The Lakers have got to block out better and protect the defensive glass in particular. They’re getting obliterated on the glass. That’s a big red flag IMO. This should be a good lesson for Julius Randle and the others.
Devean George Forever says
I don’t see how fans are supposed to have hope for the future if the 3 highest scorers are Nick, Metta, and Lou Williams. If the Lakers are going to lose 6 of 7 games let’s at least see them lose with the young guys.
And, big Kobe fan here, but I’m not enjoying watching him this season. It’s too much like seeing your favorite boxer hang on too long.
AusPhil…the rebounding is definitely a concern, much like the overall defense. I agree that the team looks tentative and lacks aggression in those two areas.
Lost in all of this could be the good work of MWP, Larry Nance, and Tarik Black. To me, those three looked solid.
Jeanie says she knows nothing about player acquisition/development. It would appear neither does Jim.
I don’t think Jim and Mitch survive a third consecutive worst record in Lakers history.
Byron has 0 reasons for not playing Russell, other than the fact that he has refused to evolve as a coach. Lou Williams is an impediment to Russell playing? Fact is Byron has worn out his welcome at every stop and much of it was due to his constant harping and head-butting with his point guards. Byron got fired from the New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Pelicans, and Cleveland Cavaliers. His 3 point guards at those stops that he butted heads with are 3 future Hall of Famers in Jason Kidd, Chris Paul, and Kyrie Irving. Harp on Jim and Mitch all you want (it’s justified) but the fact is the Lakers have the worst head coach in the NBA. No adjustments made, no in-game timeouts, no sense to the rotations, and not an inkling to even uncross his arms and try to do something different. Russell can play, let him take his lumps and prosper.
Really liked Nance’s effort. He seems to know how to play. Black and Metta bring some toughness. We may see better results as the team gains the cohesion that comes from playing together.
Harp on Jim and Mitch all you want (it’s justified) but the fact is the Lakers have the worst head coach in the NBA.
Umm, Jim and Mitch hired him. I think this all begins to beg the question, ‘Are they the right guys to turn this thing around?’
Can’t hire the right coach, can’t recruit a free agent of merit and questionable personnel acquisitions. What’s left, the draft? Well that may be their saving grace but the early returns are mixed.
I agree that D’Angelo definitely should have been on the floor in the 4th. He was making the correct plays and people weren’t catching the ball, and if he would have been in the game for longer he would have gotten into a rhythm shooting like he did against Brooklyn. Byron might say that its defense, but to be quite honest, D’Angelo’s defense actually seemed pretty decent today – Dragic only had 4 points and 3 assists and I didn’t see Dragic blow by him as I’ve seen him do to so many.
Joe Houston says
You guys don’t have Kobe to blame tonight
We need to see more of Anthony Brown. Thats all Im saying.
Not being able to defensive rebound is a huge morale/energy/momentum killer for a team. A big part of the Lakers problem is they don’t have a good rebounder for their position on the roster. Hopefully guys like Randle and Russell develop into good rebounders but right now they are getting killed on the glass and it’s preventing any type of sustained offensive and defensive flow.
What all the Lakers, from the FO down to the coach and players have in common are is that they most live off past accomplishments and accolades right now. If we are to really rebuild, develop, and start over, we really need to change from the owner on down.
Minus Jim, Mitch, Byron and Kobe (and Hibbert) would be a good start and perhaps next year we’ll see some of that happen.
@ Victor, absolutely and they hired the wrong guy. They’ve hired 3 wrong guys in a row. I do however give Mitch the benefit of the doubt for at least acquiring some talent. I do not believe he turned into a bad GM overnight, I’m just not sure how much power he wields anymore.
Oh I see what Byron and Kobe did. Sit Kobe down vs the first legitimate playoff opponent and watch the team struggle, that way people can’t blame Kobe or Byron anymore for the team’s struggles. Brilliant, just brilliant.
They were very fortunate it didnt backfire, though I bet they were worried at the half.
@ rubenowsky, that Heat team would not have a playoff prayer if it was in the West, but it does make sense , we should be 3-4 not 1-6, long season ahead…
So bs up to more bs with playing Russell only 21 minutes (none in the 4th) and giving Lou Williams (why was he even acquired anyway) and 32yr old rookie huertas 4th qtr minutes. This bs has got to stop immediately, can’t believe Scott is a worse coach than potato & Pringles combined!!
4th quarter was a mess, coach looked like he knew it was coming, he pulled Russell because the turnovers were piling up, we could’ve used more interior guard play, they were trying to get in there. that young center on Miami casually controled the whole game, our guys were scared to shoot near him, randle got shutdown 2 games in a row. We did look good for a stint there, i think there is one more player or thing lacking, and it’s not ryan kelly. Maybe it’s robert upshaw j/k. Alot of rookie mistakes and mistakes that show the team is still not a unit yet.
I am going to keep telling myself that BS didnt play DRuss in the 4th because he didnt want to expose him to injury.
Love that Nance and Black are in the rotation now.
T Rogers says
We have to assume that Bryon is going into CYA mode. He needs wins. And he needs Kobe in his corner. That what’s driving him now. Development gets thrown in the back seat of a Corvette.
If Bryon makes it to the new year then we may see all the young guys getting the burn they deserve. Until then he will favor the vets. And the youngsters will be left to figure out things on their own. Of course by then he will have completely lost them.