Through 15 games, the Lakers only have two wins. This, in a vacuum, is concerning. In an ideal world — a world where the Lakers would have the inside track at a top free agent — winning a few more games with the young players showing a readiness to contribute to those wins would be occurring. In that alternate universe, the Lakers wouldn’t be .500 (or even close to it), but a 5-10 record with some eye popping numbers from any of the younger players in those wins would have happened.
Of course, this has not happened. In the teams two wins, one was predicated on Kobe handling the ball a lot and being a key facilitator of the team’s offense (vs. the Pistons) and in the other one the win came against a team arguably worse than the Lakers (vs. the Nets). The young players have shown some promise, but like most young players they have also been inconsistent, mostly subpar defensively, and still sorting out what they are good at in the NBA.
Through 15 games, then, it’s hard to feel too good about where this team is. We might feel differently if the team were 2-13 with the young players getting the bulk of the minutes while playing a style which seemed more in tune with the rest of the league, but this team is still heavily invested in Kobe Bryant as a centerpiece player and coached by Byron Scott. These variables impact the approach to any given game and the underlying schemes the team employs, leaving us to watch exactly what we are watching.
This is not all bad, though. In Saturday’s loss to the Trailblazers, the Lakers trio of young players all played well offensively and were able to find success within the team’s offense and through improvisation. Russell and Clarkson led the team in minutes and were 2nd and 3rd in points while leading the team in assists. No, none of this led to a win, but, again, players must first sort out what they can do at this level before they can directly channel those abilities towards wins and losses. Baby steps.
Sunday’s game against the Pacers offers another chance for growth, though that may prove difficult. Unless Roy Hibbert decides to channel Wilt Chamberlain in this match up against his former team, the Lakers do not have any advantages at any position to coming out of the gate. In fact, it’s worse than that because the Pacers have the best player on either team and one of the best players in the entire league.
When Paul George returned from a broken leg late last year, there were questions about how good he could be even when he was fully recovered (which, from a health perspective was last year, but clearly not from a timing and mental readiness perspective). When this season started with George bristling at the prospect of him playing power forward in small-ball lineups, questions about his attitude were added to that equation.
Now, though, there are no questions. George is having the best season of his career and dominating the action by playing amazing two-way basketball. George is averaging over 26 points, 8 rebounds, and nearly 5 assists a night while playing lock down defense on the other end of the floor. His play has catapulted him into the discussion of one of the top 5 players in the league and it is on his back that the Pacers are 10-5 and 2nd in a more-competitive-than-expected Eastern Conference.
Now is the time where I might try to explain what the Lakers can do to slow down George, but I do not think they can actually do that much. If playing the match up straight up, George will be guarded by Kobe which. If they try to cross match, Jordan Clarkson draws the assignment. Neither of these can even be considered good solutions and, if we’re being honest, are both pretty bad. Unless George just has an off night, he simply has too many advantages to fail against either guy.
George isn’t the only problem guy, either. The rest of their wing rotation features George Hill, Monta Ellis, and a recently red-hot from the outside C.J. Miles. This is a ton of firepower and considering how poorly the Lakers have defended on the wing, this has the chance of going very, very poorly.
If the Lakers are going to stay in this game, then, they will need to keep up offensively by pouring in the points. Clarkson, Randle, Kobe, and Russell all need to have good nights. As will Nick Young. Lou Williams will again not play due to the death of his grandfather, so the aforementioned guys will all need to be at their best. Hibbert and Bass will also need to do good work on the offensive glass and it would also be helpful if Nance and Metta hit the open shots this offense affords them.
Even if all that happens, the Pacers are still the better team and should win. But at least, if it did, the game would be much more entertaining than it would be otherwise. Which, considering what I wrote at the top of this post, is better than what we’ve gotten to this point.
Where you can watch: 6:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen at ESPN Radio Los Angeles 710AM.
Darius which players on the current roster do you think wil be on next year’s roster?
Darius Soriano says
Barring something completely unusual via a trade, these guys:
For Sure: Russell, Clarkson, Randle, Nance, A. Brown
Maybe: Hibbert, Kelly, Young, Williams, Black
I don’t see anyone else besides, maybe, Sacre having any chance at all. And I only include Sacre because he’s the type of guy coaches love to have around. He works and practices hard, doesn’t complain, is never hurt, and won’t be an issue if he doesn’t play. Fans don’t like him, but coaches do.
IG: jwoodz313 says
Anthony Brown should get a look against Paul George tonight. Hell, be bold and start him even.
And they should maybe KEEP this as the rotation moving forward. Maybe swap out Black for Sacre every so often for the reasons you cited above, Darius. He works hard, doesn’t complain and provides solid activity. Would be nice if Kob ONLY plays 20-30 mins at this point, although we KNOW that’s not happening. Byron Scott doesn’t have a spine. Whenever Kob doesn’t play, they should slide Clarkson back into the starting lineup as the 2 guard and give Huertas the keys as the backup PG. I didn’t mention Lou Will here because he’s not playing tonight supposedly. But when he does play, Swaggy should get a DNP and vice versa. They should both be used separately
Still pullin for the Lakers always. I guess I’m goin down with the ship as Kob said before. But it’s a horse pill to swallow. Almost unbearable to watch. Let the young guns ball out!!
I enjoyed reading the different perspectives about Kobe in the prior thread. I found this article interesting about the way Kevin Garnett has adapted to his new role. I don’t know how Kobe interacts with the young guys, but I wouldn’t mind if was similar to Garnett’s approach.
The best way the Lakers get wins is to rebound. Hard to play defense if you give opponents second chances.
Kobe just announced that he will retire after the season, it’s over…
I think Kobe broke the internet…
And the players tribune site crashed…he broke the internet.
Kobe Bryant to retire after the season, let’s savor every moment we have left to see him play.
I have to admit that i cried a little, feel really bummed and even though i said time and again that for the Lakers to move fwd Kobe had to retire, i feel stunned and in disbelief, like i also said he is the last of his kind, he is one of the greatest players of all time and one of the top 2 Lakers off all time, his statue WILL be joining Magic and Kareem and take his place as a Laker immortal and his place in the Hall of Fame, it’s time…
What he gave up on that sixth and seventh ring?
“I’m ready to let you go.”
Wow – can’t fully get hold of this
Bottom line, no matter how bad this year gets:
Two Gold Medals
3rd on the scoring list
First ballot HOF
Statue outside Staples
Two jerseys hanging inside Staples
I don’t want anyone to get my thoughts wrong, because I am not equating Kobe’s situation to life and death. However, it is almost like watching someone succumb after a long illness. There is a certain sense of relief. In real life terms, KB is a young man with a tremendous future. Those of us who marveled and thrilled to the virtuosity with which he mastered his sport will miss him dearly.
Kobe Bryant WILL play tonight, says Lakers coach Byron Scott.
Here’s the link to Kobe announcing that he’ll retire at the end of the season:
I’m glad that he’s announcing it now. This should cool the ardor of some Kobe haters who have been urging him to retire. Well…he’s announced it now. He’s leaving the game. He is fully aware that this is the end. That should no longer be a subject of discussion.
His realizing that the end is near is the right thing. It’s tough to do. But it’s the right thing. And the timing is right, too.
Thanks for the memories, Kobe. You’ve been awesome.
Thanks for the championships, too. Five of them. Five. Wow.
Well said, LKK.
Warren Wee Lim says
Great post, Mid-Wilshire.
Thanks for the link
Good timing, Kobe. Gives the fans something cheer about before the Ben Simmons sweepstakes.
Well said, Mid-Wilshire.
Here is the poem with which Kobe announced his retirement…
From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:
I fell in love with you.
A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.
As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one.
And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.
I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.
You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.
And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have.
And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1
Love you always,
Not many people get to fulfill their childhood dreams. I’ve always thought that Kobe really loved being a Laker as much as he loved basketball itself.
Thanks for reproducing Kobe’s poem. That’s great stuff. That shows that Kobe considered basketball more than a sport. He considered it an art form — like ballet or the writing of a symphony. And it showed in his play.
Wow. I am filled with the most mixed of emotions. It has been abundantly obvious this season that it was time for Kobe to turn the page. But now that he has finally articulated It I feel something near and dear to me has been taken away. Undying respect Kobe!
5 time World Champion
2 time Finals MVP
2 time NBA scoring champ
Most prolific scorer (while wearing Purple & Gold) in Laker’s history.
Perfect message from Kobe !
Now now if he can only make of his final season, a plowing of the field for the seeds of the future, vs trying in vain to recapture what is past, a lost winter season, can be transformed into a promising spring.
From what I understand, fans attending tonight at Staples will receive a letter from Kobe thanking them for their support over the years. It now seems pretty obvious that Kobe has put a lot of thought into the timing of his announcement. He plays in front of the Lakers’ faithful tonight and then in front of his hometown Philadelphia fans in the Lakers’ only visit there this year on Tuesday.
Kobe’s poem channeling Jordan’s retirement poem:
We all knew this would happen. Just a matter of time…now I hope we can all savor his final season. Let’s stop arguing and just watch Kobe play. Can we do that?
I think we all knew. That night when Kobe blew out his achilles. He knew it too. He cried that night because he knew that it would be nigh impossible at his age to regain his athleticism.
He tried to deny reality just as many of us did as well, but in the end…
I’m gonna miss you Kobe. Thanks for all the amazing memories. Thanks for all the great seasons. Thanks for all the ‘Chips.
Unfortunately it’s watching Kobe play that’s leading to the arguments! 🙂
Lakers 1st quarter woes continue as they go 2-20 and another slow start.
We are the 2nd worst team in the league.
This is just painful to watch.
Yes its been great watching him. But this is so sad to watch this garbage. 2 for 19 1st quarter and kobe 1 for 10 on way for another 1 for 14.
No true basketball fan wants to see this. Seems like retiring is a license to just shoot more.
This is too ugly and I can not watch anymore. Now 2 for 24 and Bryon does nothing.
This is stealing money from Laker fans. If Kobe and Bryon really gave a crap he would stop shooting.
Its now a embarrisment to me who played the game to see this.
Sorry but do you all enjoy watching?
Next summer we are going to have our young core plus 60 million in cap space and a clean slate, as sad as i am to see Kobe go im exited…
They will lose to Philly.
Going home Kobe will shoot 30 times.
And make 3.
Worst team in NBA
And sorry to say Kive is the worst starter in the NBA. Now shooting 30% on year.
Kobe Last for over 15 shots in NBA.
Scott us a fool playing him Back to Back.
The whinning never stop…
An 8-second violation in that situation is really inexcusable.
Think and except losing in life and you often become one Fern. We all have our own levels.
Kobe has played 19:10 in the first half of the 2nd game of a back-to-back. I thought that Byron was going to manage his minutes this year. Or maybe I made that up.
whatever happens in life have no meaning whatsoever in this situation but rest assured i take whatever life throws at me as it is, certainly not whinning on and on and on…
I started to think Russell was looking good but what is the deal here?
So, Fern what do you think will happen with all that cap space? What FA will sign with the Lakers? Who in the FO has a vision of what the Lakers are and can communicate to an elite (in one concise meeting). You realize that the cap goes up league wide, right?
Plus no one knows what the Lakers have with Randle, Russell and Clarkson (who is a restricted free agent BTW). Who is our coach going to be and what philosophy does he have? What’s going to happen between Jim and Jeanie? What about Mitch, who is well over 60?
The summer of 2016 offers too many question marks for any elite player to sign on — far too much organizational instability. Maybe by the summer of 2017 the Lakers will have made enough progress to be attractive.
The likelihood is that our FO uses cap space for this year’s version of Hibbert. An expensive vet who was once good but has worn out his welcome with his current team. He’ll be attractive because there’s still hope he can find his game and he’ll probably be on an expiring deal.
Not trying to be a jerk but this is the short term reality I see.
I think jim and mitch got lakers players voodoo dolls to make sure they lose
I notice that Anthony Brown is inactive for tonight’s game. I would have sat Kobe and played Brown instead. This is the 2nd night of a back-2-back after all. What better excuse to rest Kobe and play Brown some substantial minutes to see how he performs?
Dwight …lakers sign durant, and horford and trade the pick for sign and trade Dwyane wade, or lakers draft simmons, sign drummond and derozan
OK, Matt, sure. I’ll make a note of that and follow up with you next July.
Chris J says
Sign Wade? That thought is almost as repugnant as their play tonight vs. the Pacers.
Byron can’t hang in much longer at this rate. These guys just seems to be going through the motions, especially on defense. When a team has bought in, you can see it on that end. And when they’re all tuned out, you see it on D more than anywhere… I missed the Blazers games but they’ve been embarrassingly bad against Golden State and Indiana.
Thank you Kobe.
When all is said and done, I’m glad Kobe retires a Laker. I think that is as it should be.
Well the last 2 free agent classes were not all that, teams were wasting cap space all over the place, this next one is loaded and the lakers have been waiting for it.
@Dwight what the Lakers can sell to any prospective max player? A future and like i said a clean slate ,im more than aware that the cap will go up league wide, now i ask you, how many teams will have all that space? Not a lot of teams if any, last season and the season before that what we got in the summer to sell? No a damn thing, now we have a youth movement and again a clean slate, what we have in our 3 kids? Three young players that can be pretty good possibly 4 if you count Nance, about the FO i dont pretend like some people here to know better than people that do that job for a living year round, that have a real stake at the fortunes of this team, and for all the talk in the media and all that, we don’t know anything about how things work in the inside, but changes need to be made, I don’t think BS will survive this season the way is shaping up. Finally the Lakers are still the markee franchise of the league and a clean slate and with at young core can be attractive I don’t know how things are going to work out but there is a reason to be exited… btw Mitch is 61 not in his late 60s
I come home late, hear that Kobe announces his retirement (@end of season). I assume that the team will be motivated to kick some butt — and find out the Lakers have laid an egg.
Way to ruin a moment.
Jordan Clarkson is clearly the best player on this Lakers team.
Why the Lakers would want a 30+ Breaking down Dwayne Wade?
Very strange. Russell sits and MWP comes in….
Very easy to see who season tickets holders or regulars at Staples are and who guys who’s only investment is an electric bill.
Bet $600 a seat would change things.
I know well the hater got me excited
How bout them clippers though. Lol
Lakers are being handed this game
Matt — so, I’m a hater because I have a view that doesn’t coincide with yours. Nice.
Handed? Randle was fouled the last 2 times he got the ball and nothing was called, those damned slow starts are going to kill me, entertaining game…
I think Young may have some trade value — I’d sell high (ASAP).
Ok howard are they evr gonna turn it around, are they just gonna resign hibbert and clarkson and pickup evan turner
So we’re down only 4 with nearly 5 minutes to go and BS puts Kobe back in??!? He must not want to win the game… Sad to see that the Lakers would rather lose with Kobe than win without him.
Helluva effort tonight
Vintage Kobe how about that??
Nice effort but Lakers unable to overcome their slow start. Hoping Kobe has one game winner in him this season.
Great effort by the Lakers tonight. Had it not been for that horrendous 1st quarter (2-20 shooting), this would have been a different result.
Jordan Clarkson, BTW, was excellent. His stat line: 22 points (8-15 shooting, 2-4 from 3), 10 rebounds, 6 assists, one steal, zero turnovers. Pretty impressive. He was, IMO, the best guard on the floor tonight by far. He played within himself, was never out of control, and played both the PG and the SG positions effectively. Is there any doubt that he has a future?
Vintage Kobe? Amazing how blind some are!
He was 4 for 20!
3 more air balls
Vintage Kobe! There is difference in Laker fan and Kobe worshipper.
They win if Kobe stays home. That used to be the purpose.
Sad very sad.
I had a very nice response for you Ko but i guess it was removed, it was for the best, i dont apreciate people question how much i love the Lakers i been a fan for more than 30 years, i love Kobe as i loved Magic, Kareem, Shaq, Worthy, The Logo ect, they all came and went but guess what, im still here…
Had a previous post censored and not posted… Don’t understand why I can’t point out the irony to Fern that he constantly whines about other people’s whining?
Fern I guess it bugs me when people get to emotional. He is not dead. He is just retiring. With over $300 mil. If you guys want the address of his business office here in Newport I will send it. Its a half mile from me. You can drive by and wave.
Point is its all part of the big picture of a sports franchise. 30 years in the entertaiment business I saw people come and go. Some much bigger. Watching them trying to perform at the end was also sad .
He is not good now and is hurting the team. A team I grew up with as a 20 year ticket holder 40 plus fan. Wilt, Jerry, Karem, Magic all retired. None left playing this bad.
Its time to move forward not live in the past.Watching the worst team in Laker history bothers me more then a great player retiring. He should have retired last year and team would be 2 years ahead.
He is last in the NBA playing over 20 minutes at 31%. Last! Also last 3 point % avg 4 or more. He leads the NBA in air balls and Laker are way worse with him on the court. Look at his plus minus.
As an old friend and one I did seceral productions with said.
“You have to know when to hold em and know when to fold em”. Kobe should fold em. Now!
The FO gave him a 2-year 48.5M contract for his age-36 and age-37 seasons while he was still in rehab. As many of us said at the time, looking at it from a basketball perspective, the deal was simply an act of faith, not an act of reason, which is why the defenses of the deal have always revolved around people supporting the Buss Family’s right to exercise their financial prerogatives rather than on what the deal would mean on the 94’ by 47’ hunk of wood.
So, if the team’s being 2-14 is so upsetting to you, as it seems to be, I think you should be mad at the FO for offering the deal rather than being mad at KB for accepting it and wanting to play it out. He does need to stop jacking up 3s, and I do hold Byron and him accountable for that. But the rest of this is mostly on the FO.
Also, while FBG probably skews older than LakersNation or SSR, WADR you (and Sid) should remember that not everybody who comes to this site is either in or near his/her Social Security years. There is a huge percentage of the fanbase that has really never known Lakers basketball without Kobe, and when you add that to the vitriol that has always been directed at him, it is understandable that people are a little emotional about his retirement announcement. And those people’s fandom is as legit as yours is.