The Lakers lost to the Raptors on Friday night, their 10th loss in 12 games, which is a bit concerning if all you are doing is watching the standings or worried about the team’s record. I do watch those things and would like that to be different, but if that’s all you are watching you missed some things which, in the bigger picture, are more important.
The Raptors game was a good progress game, a game where the young players all found their stride on the same night, a game that will, hopefully, be more of the norm in the future than it has been to this point in the year. Consider the following:
Russell/Clarkson/Randle were on the floor for 30 minutes vs Raptors. In those minutes the Lakers had an OEff of 115.2 & a DEff of 89.2.
— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) November 21, 2015
The young guys were the constant of every good lineup run the Lakers had vs Toronto. Those three + Roy/Kobe, + Kobe/Metta, + Roy/Metta.
— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) November 21, 2015
In the 30 minutes the young players shared the floor, the Lakers were +15 on the night. They were, as noted above, the constants in every strong performing lineup the Lakers deployed against the Raptors. This comes not just from their individual numbers — which were strong — but from how they interacted together within the team concept; how they were able to complement each other without stepping on each other’s toes too much.
Again, though, none of this happens if, as individuals, each of these guys did not play well. As I wrote in my preview, one thing I was looking forward to was Julius Randle (potentially) finding his stride in an advantageous match up against Luis Scola. Randle didn’t begin the game on the best foot — he drew a charge early and missed a bunny inside with his right hand — but quickly got on track after that, ultimately finishing the game with 18 points on 6-9 shooting (6-6 from the FT line) and 12 rebounds. The foul shooting is something I was especially happy with since he has been up and down at the line this year.
While Randle bouncing back was great, it was Russell’s play which stood out even more to me. Not because he was better than Randle (that is subjective, but I would say he wasn’t), but because of the manner in which his effectiveness was born out of him maximizing his chances within the offense rather than needing to break plays or simply run the P&R over and over to get it going. Further, his aggressiveness stood out. He got into the lane more, took the open shots available to him when the ball swung, and was (mostly) smart in how he set up the team’s sets and delivered the ball to his teammates.
His final stat line reflects all this too. He finished with 17 points on 7-16 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a block. If you want to nit-pick his assists, that’s fine, but, again, he made the right reads and delivered the ball to his teammates well. I can live with the lack of assists if he’s doing his job on offense the way he did in this game.
With all this happening — and I didn’t even mention Clarkson’s controlled night of 13 points on 6-13 shooting, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists — the question is how did the Lakers lose? Well, that’s pretty simple:
Lineup of Lou/Young/Metta/Nance/Bass played only 4 minutes together but were a -12 in that short stint w/ an OEff of 57.9 & a DEff of 194.1
— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) November 21, 2015
Beyond that, the Williams, Young, Kobe, Nance, and Bass lineup played 9 minutes and had an offensive efficiency of 97.5 and a defensive efficiency of 139.8. That unit was also a minus-8 in those 9 minutes. So, combined, these units of mostly bench players were a minus-20 in 13 minutes of action. Considering the Lakers only lost by 11 (and the game was much closer than that throughout), these stretches were pretty much the difference in the game.
Managing the bench units is a larger discussion for another day, but against the Raptors the way those groups played was the difference between the Lakers having a chance to win and, ultimately, losing how they did. Byron will need to sort out how he’s going to balance these lineups, especially since his starting group is starting to string together good games only to have to try and scrap back from big deficits after coming back from their standard rests.
Again, though, these are issues to sort out over time. In the short term, seeing the Lakers’ youth play well, having the starters put together long stretches of really effective play against another good team, and seeing all the guys find more comfort within the system (especially Russell) was good to see. Enough for me to not worry about the team losing for the tenth time in twelve games.
Clay Bertrand says
I agree with Darius big time. No ONE GUY is gonna be the savior for this team. All the young guys do need to play well individually, but the combination is the real hope and there is a teeny bit of progress slowly unfolding right before our eyes if Byron will continue to let it!!
When evaluating our young guys, people seem to gloss over the fact that the Warriors, the Clippers, the Pelicans, the Cavs, the Wolves to name a few, have ALL had YEARS UPON YEARS IN A ROW of lottery picks. We’ve had 2. But people expect the Lakers to hit on EVERY pick…..EVERY guy has to be Kobe or Magic or the next ____ or he’s a wasted pick. You don’t just pluck a Kobe or a Duncan or a Shaq or an Anthony Davis every time you have a lottery pick even if its a high one. This much is clear—Every draft doesn’t have a once in a generation player.
It seems the extra scrutiny applied to Lakers draft picks is flawed because it stems from:
1.) Limited Future Picks – i.e. Lakers not currently having all of their potential picks having traded them away.
2.) The Notion that the Lakers NEVER get to the lottery and MUST capitalize when they have these one or two seemingly rare chances.
The truth is that it usually takes teams who build through the draft YEARS of lottery picks to establish a quality core and possibly hit on a special franchise type of generational player. You need MULTIPLE high quality picks. The Rub is that the picks at the top of the draft are all ONE AND DONE’s who take a good 3-4 years to mature in the league a lot of the time. In other words, it will likely take the Lakers more than 2 years worth of lottery pickings…..Get used to it.
“But Jim Buss said three years!! Blah Blah Blah…” and if anyone believed that, they don’t watch the NBA.
We are not YEARS behind these other teams because we are a crappy organization. We are years behind them because we have been winning Championships and trying to keep winning them while they have been losing and languishing in the lottery year after year. NOW their lottery seeds are blossoming and our old tree doesn’t bear much fruit. We have started with a few new seeds though……
Unless you get lucky enough to cheat the system and sign a GREAT GREAT free agent of which there are like, 4 in the league, you have to build over time with multiple lottery picks and you need to give them the time to mature and just go from there.
It was great to watch the kids get the bulk of the minutes last night. That was a WIN last night all the way around. Kids got good minutes, Kobe got to ball some, Lakers got a loss to keep them closer to keeping their pick.
These are the kinds of losses that I can tolerate, where the young guys get to play more freely and show progress/development.
One thing that irks me is how Byron just substitutes in entire lineups 4 or 5 guys at time. On top of that, there’s no rhyme or reason to it. He doesn’t make them based on fatigue or matchups or hot streaks. Additionally, it’s mind boggling why he’s so persistent in playing Bass at Center over Tarik Black.
Good to see DLo gaining a little confidence and Randle playing aggressively but under control. Randle seemed to me to a little overly angry the last few games and I don’t think it was helping his game. Also, second game where Kobe seemed primarily focused on being a facilitator rather than a scorer. I think that’s really helping the young guys.
IT WAS THE BEST OF (Kobe’s) TIMES (’99-’00, ’00-’01, ‘01-’02 & ’08-’09, ’09-’10) AND IT IS THE WORST OF (Kobe’s) TIMES (’13-’14, ’14-’15, ’15-’16)
-Two records the Lakers are in danger of breaking this year:
– “Lakers all time worst start” and “Lakers all time worst record”.
This franchise has only won less than 30 games in a season FOUR times in their 68 year history…so far. Unfortunately it’s happened TWICE in the last two years…with a real possibility of three years straight. Some feel this is okay, as long as they are…entertained. I’m not one of them.
This is the bottom line thru 12 games of this season and their worst four previous seasons:
2015-2016 thru 12 games: 2-10 (?? win season/ 82 game season, ???)
2014-2015 thru 12 games: 3-9 (21 win/ 82 game season, .256)
2013-2014 thru 12 games: 5-7 (27 win/ 82 game season, .329)
1959-1960 thru 12 games: 3-9 (25 wins/ 75 game season, .333)
1957-1958 thru 12 games: 2-10 (19 wins/ 73 game season, .264)
Who would have thought with a healthy Kobe, the # 2 overall pick in the draft, a soft early schedule, and an improved roster overall, this years’ version of the Lakers would start the season WORST than last season? They are now tied with the worst record thru 12 games in Laker history.
– Yes, keeping the eye on the won/loss record.
Williams can’t be this bad..can he?…He kills us every game.He should only play 15 minutes a game till he plays better…His defense…his shooting…his passing…All bad….
Russell defended well, and if not for missed easy shots could’ve scored 25 pts.
I thought Kobe fit in with the young guys as well as we’ve seen this season too. I was worried about that since he wasn’t able to practice all week, but the starters looked the most familiar they have all season
The coach i guess rested randle, russell, and clarkson all who were playing great, 3rd qtr. 2:41 score tied 65/65 inserts lineup bass, nance, young, lou, and mwp, end of 3rd quarter score is 68/76 lakers got rolled in 3 minutes, coach takes out mwp inserts kobe, at 10:15 in the 4th coach calls timeout, its now 73/84, come out with same lineup, at 7:55 time out is called, score is now 75/91, in 7 minutes we scored 10 pts. They scored 26, coach inserts lineup Russell, clarkson, randle, leaves in kobe and bass, the raptors call time out at 4:40. Score is 84/93 in 3 minutes lakers score 9, raptors score 2, that bench wad not working and it hasn’t been working. I understand that the last couple games were a long road trip, what was it 5 games in 7 days, this was after a long rest, the coach has said something to the context of players earning their minutes, if so are we gonna see an adjustment. I understand the youngsters were rested, but that bench was terrible
We have to remember one of the reasons lakers are bad, collective bargaining agreement, the other owners had enough of lakers dominance and shut us down, only way to rebuild players nobody wants and draft
Really good point, Matt. The salary cap really changed the way you can build your team. It may have been another reason why the Lakers decided to mortgage the future to win one more ring. With Kobe starting to decline and the cap penalties looming, the FO may have thought who knows when we’ll have another superstar like him.
It seems that if Kobe doesn’t shoot the 3, we would be better off. I have a hard time believing that anyone in the league respects Kobe’s 3 at this point, and although he may be able to knock them down when totally open, he really should not be shooting them.
Coming into this season, i thought we had a strong bench with the reigning 6th man, a hopfully improved young and a veteran presence in bass plus youngsters. I expected them to keep us in some games, not take us out of all games nearly every time. They are playing horrible.
Is Randel still under minutes restriction? He only played 30 min. Clarkson and Randle should play more minutes as the bonafide anchors of the team. And Russell also as he comes along. I can’t wait to see Randle get command of his right hand and the mid range shots. He would be unstoppable. Of course this is what I said about Odom but he didn’t have the work ethic that Randle does.
Also think Kobe changing his style to move the ball is enabling the young 3 to play better. In that regard his minutes are easier than him grinding his way through 37 minutes.
Really would like to see A.Brown in games more. He’s a smart 3 and D SF. Shave minutes off bench vets and develop him along with Nance.
I think the Kobe 3 needs to be an assisted rhythm shot. From my eye-test, he seems to miss them more when its off the dribble. According to NBA stats, this is the case (although the data suggests he is a poor 3pt shooter regardless of context).
His highest 3pt percentages are when he is wide open (no defender within 6 ft), shoots before dribbling the ball, and doesn’t hold onto the ball.
Per James Worthy, Randle has small hands and his length is below average. I think this makes it harder for him to control the ball in his right hand….Oh well can’t have everything I guess. People compare him to Zbo, but that’s too low of a target. He could be the next Karl Malone with a better floor game.
Warren Wee Lim says
Julius Randle was in foul trouble all game, thus his limited minutes.
Omar Azze says
Porzingis had 24 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots last night. Porzingis became the first 20-year-old to post his stat line in a single game since Shaquille O’Neal in 1992-93.
Joe Houston says
Lakers blew the 2015 draft.
Joe Houston says
Porzingis is a superstar already
Omar Azze says
That’s 22 years ago!
Porzingis is not a superstar. The truth is he’s up and down like a yo-yo. He’s a rookie. He’s young. His erratic play (and it IS erratic) will probably go on all year. The same will hold true for Okafor, Russell, Towns, Mudiay, and Stanley Johnson.
It’s the way things are with rookies.
Their true value won’t be known for another year or two (or 3).
One thing that is time tested and that’s that injuries will determine the ultimate picks in this draft class. The league is replete with draft picks whose careers were derailed by injuries.
Lou Williams is trying to prove that he can play through his hand injuries in the Kobe Bryant vein, but he’s too short and limited in skills to pull off that feat. So for those reasons, he should sit for a week or two to heal his fingers. Play Nick Young to see if he’s truly entrenched in his new focus on defense that way he’ll either show that he merits retaining a position with the Lakers going forward, or Nick will play his self onto another team.
Agree with mid Wilshire. To compare a 19 year old point guard making the leap from one year of college to a 20 year old center who has played professionally for years is uninformed.
True post guards (pass first playmakers) have the longest learning curve. Centers the shortest. One and done college guys are also facing a much greater adjustment than guys who have been banging against 25-30 year olds for 3-4 years.
And then you have the favorable green light KP has with no legit centers competing for offensive touches, in contrast to D’Angelo standing in line behind Kobe and Clarkson, and fending off Lou, Nick, Huertas and Byron to just keep those touches… That is a huge factor.
Maybe Porzingis will end up as the better player. Or maybe Russell will develop into a Harden like version of a point guard, which is where his skill set and current production projects.
But to call it less than knew month in… Uninformed. Inaccurate
Great Posts from Clay, Mid, and Mikey ! Wisdom true.
Age matters in evaluating young guys, but Porzingis is only five months older than Russell, who turns 20 in February. Also, supposedly one reason the Lakers’ FO stayed away from Porzingis is that they thought his learning curve would be too long.
Like I said in the other thread, it is far too early to be calling Russell a bust. I think Russell is doing fine. But Porzingis has clearly done more than Russell has that says “All-Star” to this point and KP is doing better than fine. If the counter to that is that Russell is playing for the wrong coach with the wrong roster situation, then, well, those are just more marks against the FO, not a defense of the pick per se.
rr, I for one am more keen to have a potential star point guard, than center.
Imo, it’s much more intricate and exciting.
Well, OK. Aesthetics are to a large extent a personal thing and they certainly are in sports.
Guys I live in NYC and I can say for a fact that the Porzingis is a very promising player. Dude has me watching Knick games, something I haven’t done in many years. He is 7’3″ tall and can really shoot the ball from outside. And yet, he’s not one of these new wave big men who are averse to playing down low. He rebounds and is learning to play defense without fouling. Blocked 7 Houston shots last night with the capper being a block of Harden that sort of sealed the win for his team. I agree it’s a small sample size, but when Dirk, Kobe and Patrick Ewing are singing his praises, something is up. If I had to make the #2 pick for the Lakers this past year, I would have played it safe and chosen Okafor. Hindsight is always 20/20.
I hope Russell develops into a terrific player. I really do. I want to see the Lakers do well. But, keep you eye on the Zinger. He has a very bright future. He has the potential to be a true stretch 5.
Ahhh the Clippers, Doc Rivers is the most overrated coach in the entire league, after the DAJ nonsense it really crack me up seeing them struggling, %$&@ them. Good to see our kids having a good game togheter and Kobe playing the role that he must embrace if he really means being a mentor for these kids. But those minutes are murder, Randle is were i thought he would be stat wise 11 and 8 and finally got out of that funk, Clarkson is solid and DAR “the bust” is improving, his is a hair from 40% from the field after starting the season barely hitting 30% better 3 point shooting too, he is in the upswing, like Darius said his assists per game could be better but he is passing within the offense’s framework, im ok with that, but im confident those will go up in time, big test for our backourt tonight but it’s another winnable game. GO LAKERS
I know way to earl but if young players show promise think about getting top pick drafting Ben Simmons and then signing durant and joakim Noah. Resign hibbert and hopefully upshaw is ready also.
Sign a veteran sg to get some minutes off bench or maybe brown can play this. There is so much flexibility with multiple type of line-ups. We could go big, small, long/athletic. These players would bring back showtime.
Somebody tell me what u think about crazy dream for lakers
I for got to add get a new coach: mark Jackson, ?