The Lakers head into Detroit to face the Pistons, one of the three teams they were able to outlast to earn a win this season. This game also serves as the halfway point of the team’s 8 game road trip, which will still send them to Toronto, Minnesota, San Antonio, and Houston. I have been talking about fatigue for several games now, but whatever hints at tiring will only grow more evident in the coming days as the team zips around the country (and to Canada on Monday) to finish off this trip.
One way to battle against fatigue is to cut down players’ minutes, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. At least not in any predetermined sort of way. Kobe’s minutes are steadily, even if only slightly, on the rise in recent games, where he’s seen his totals reach 34, 33, 32, 36, and 35 in his last 5 games. Byron tried to rationalize the uptick in minutes a couple of weeks back by citing Kobe’s season average, when he made it perfectly clear it was a true in-game cap he would use. In any event, don’t expect Kobe’s minutes to drop anytime soon, unless game circumstances (score, injury) to make it so.
I want Kobe’s minutes cut because I want him to last the season. After Friday’s game, he was asked about his legs and he said they weren’t doing well. Playing while fatigued can lead to injuries. Any injury to Kobe — especially one which jeopardizes his season — is bad. If the goal is to get him through his last season healthy, monitoring his load more closely and not approaching the threshold which can put him in a position to get hurt is the prudent approach.
The other side of this is that this is his last season so there is no “saving him” for something. “Leaving it all on the floor” is probably something he’s not totally against and him trying to give every game his all in order to give fans what they want might be something that weighs on him. How much the coach should care about such things is up for debate (I think he should care), but I think it’s clear he wants Kobe out there. We’ll see how long this lasts.
As for this game, as noted above, the Lakers have already beaten this team and it was one of Kobe’s better games of the year which was a strong factor. Down the stretch his ability to control the flow of the game via his ball handling and passing which stood out most. Detroit, though, was on the second night of a back to back and at the end of their own road trip.
Those factors are now reversed. Whether the Lakers can buck their own tiredness while still slowing down Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson may be too tall a task. Add in guarding the three point line as well as they’ll need to and the challenge gets even more difficult. The Lakers wing defenders will need to be as sharp as they have been all season, helping in the paint on the P&R to try to slow Drummond and then recovering back to the perimeter to close out on shooters and get them off the arc. Running shooters off the line but still closing off the paint is something this team has struggled with all year which spells trouble, specifically against the Pistons.
Offensively, it’s cliche, but the Lakers need to hit shots — especially from beyond the arc. Russell, Clarkson, Williams, and Kobe can keep the team in it by hitting at acceptable rates. Hitting those shots will also open up driving lanes for Randle and get the Pistons into their perimeter rotations which should, in theory, open up offensive rebounding chances (at least when Drummond is out of the game). This is a lot to go right, but that’s what is needed for this team to win games this year. Let’s see what they’ve got.
Where you can watch: 3:00pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio Los Angeles 710AM.
From ESPN –
Lakers coach Byron Scott said reserve guard Nick Young will sit for his third straight game tonight vs Detroit and possibly the next few games as well. Scott insists that Young, who recently called the Lakers a “circus”, is not in his doghouse. “I’ve talked to Nick and I’ve told him we’re trying some other things, told him to be patient,” Scott said. “He’s been great.”
Not going to help with cutting Kobe’s minutes down. I have to believe that there are things going on that we aren’t aware of, which would explain some/many of Byron’s and the FO’s decisions because it’s hard to understand from the outside.
Second time this year Lakers started a game down 15-0.
Lakers will be down by 15 in first 3 minutes.
Kobe will be at 25% and shoot 20 times.
Either JC or Russ won’t play un 4th.
Lakers will lose by 15 and Kobe will laugh.
BS will say team not ready to play.
Print and replay this 64 more times
At this point “trying some new things” means playing Kobe too much??? Seriously, Swaggy actually has been shooting really well overall and he’s being DNP coaches decision? What is this for to help ensure we lose more handily, too much winning lately to guarantee a good shot a the #1 pick?? Are they going to trade Swaggy while he is showing value as a bench scorer again? That would at least make sense anyway. Since clearly winning now is not a concern. Throw in Lou Williams as a sweetener as well if we can get a younger more mobile defensive Center–maybe we can get Ed Davis back 🙂
This starting unit is not good for Randle’s offensive development. When Kobe is playing Randle rarely gets many good touches. Just not enough shots to go around now that DAR is shooting a lot more often, and Clarkson is a shoot first guy as well.
Steve Blank seeks revenge.
tankyou: “Just not enough shots to go around” Said this all summer. Going into the year with Kobe, Williams, Nick, and yes Clarkson, was not good for development of DAR and Randle. Not sure what the plan was.
He is embarrising himself and the franchise.
Sure he will tell jokes after game.
We have 9 turnovers and 1 dime. Hard to put up numbers like that.
Recurring theme…no defense.
Lakers with no offense and look to Nick Young for some help.
Young randomly appears late in the 2nd quarter, WTF
Swaggy sighting… It’s possible there’s a trade in the works…he does have value to a team looking for scoring punch.
Even by this season’s standards this is an absolute eyesore of a game.
Can you imagine if Jerry West was still here. He would have a stroke watching Kobe. 0 for 10.
Lost all respect for him. Gave up on Bryon.
I must be 1 of 5 people left watching this crap. I need a psychologist.
A rare treat,. One Full quarter of garbage time.
Bet you big money Jimmy Bust even turns this gargage off.
J C says
Surely the front office cannot be satisfied with this.
A rebuilding year, a young roster, kobe’s twilight.
None of these reasons or even their combination can justify this travesty.
Byron must have a gold watch he dangles in front of Mitch in their meetings to hypnotize him like Obe Wan Kanobe, convincing him ~ these are not the games you want ~ move along ~ to the next loss in the next city.
Nick young had his own version of malice at the Palace
JC: Here is the Laker staff meeting.
Jeanie: OK – anyone have anything to say?
Jim: We have turned a corner.
Mitch: We have a team that can make the playoffs.
Byron: We are trying new things.
Jeanie: Anyone have anything else? OK meeting adjourned.
Garbage minutes was highlight of game, nick looks to be traded for sure, i was thinking lakers were starting to turn it around and then this game brought me back to reality
Sacre is the answer
They should not trade lou williams
I think they are waiting till they can trade bass then he and nick will go together
Chris J says
I love how in this week’s Sports Illustrated, noted NBA beat writer/NBA player press agent Lee Jenkins again bowed down before the altar of Kobe to breathlessly fawn, “Bryant could never ease into a supporting role, so he leaves the picture entirely.”
Jenkins is a sycophant and never writes anything critical of any player — the next bad thing he writes about a player will be the first. But his faux “journalism” aside, how is that statement just treated as a matter-of-fact, not-to-be-questioned item? There are a dozen other guys on that roster, many of whom will hopefully be contributing to the organization for years to come. There are untold millions of fans who spend time and money to support the Lakers. Are all of those interests less important that allowing one man to go out on his terms, damn the consequences? It appears so, and it’s just beyond absurd.
We’ve loved Kobe for years, and always will. But what he is doing to this team now is criminal, and just because he “isn’t the type to play a supporting role,” we’re all just supposed to turn a blind eye and pledge fealty to Lord Kobe while he goes 2-15 night in and night out, and more importantly, as the losses pile up?
If Byron Scott fashions himself as a Pat Riley disciple, he should follow Riles’ model in how he handled Kareem’s farewell season. In 1988-89, Kareem started every game of the 74 in which he played, as a legend would hope to do. But overall the Captain played less than 23 minutes per contest, on average, as Mychal Thompson carried more of the load. That team also won its division and was undefeated in the playoffs until it lost Byron and Magic for the Finals.
Not that this season’s team is anything like that 88-89 roster in terms of talent or achievement ceilings, but the template for handling Kareem then is the same as what Kobe should get now: let him start, give him 20 or so minutes, but rein in the nonstop shooting and knock off the three-pointers. Don’t let him impede the development of younger guys, and don’t let his bad shooting and defense hurt the Lakers’ chances of competing.
The front office gets a lot of heat, much of it warranted, but this, to me, is really among the Buss children’s most egregious gaffes and makes me question just what the hell is actually going on there. There were those who said overpaying Kobe a couple of years ago would bode well around the league, showing other players that the Lakers “take care of their own.” I even saw some merit in that idea. Now, however, any savvy player and agent would look to the Lakers and question why an organization would squander a whole season — and hurt players like Randle, a Top 10 pick who effectively won’t be given a chance to win until his third season — just to let one man go out his way. To me, that speaks far, far worse of Jim’s leadership than the bad coaching hires, letting Pau and Kaman go for nothing, stupidly pursuing poor fits like LaMarcus, Carmelo, etc. The total lack of direction in what should be the start of a turnaround season is the worst thing since Jim & Co. gave away the store on a geriatric guard on July 4, 2012.
The lunatics truly are running the asylum.
Bluehill did the coach really say that bullcrap, let’s get real coach time to “man up”
They should not trade lou williams
He’s lipstick on a pig. Trade him.
This would have been the perfect game to play Tarik Black and Anthony Brown in the 4th quarter. But, I guess you have to dress in order to play.
At least, I think that’s how it works.
Meanwhile…somehow…Byron manages to hold on to his job.
Matt, it was from ESPN so you can decide how accurate it was. Swaggy ended up playing so whatever Byron’s plan was it not have been working.
Do you think a better coach would make a difference, when a guy on your team making 1/3 of the salary is playing this bad your gonna lose.
Chris J — I hear you and have been saying much of the same thing for awhile now. However, you have to be careful as there are a vocal cadre of posters who won’t acknowledge the truth.
It’s not an issue of wins and losses. A better coach, one with more gravitas, would limit, I would think, Kobe’s minutes, thus protecting him from possible injury and, as a consequence, limiting his shots. (The fewer minutes Kobe plays, the fewer shots he takes.)
Also, if Kobe were to play 20-25 minutes — some of those minutes with the 2nd unit — he would take up less of the total utilization from Clarkson, Randle, and Russell, thus giving them a better chance to shine and develop. There would be less of a tendency to simply sit back and watch Kobe “do his thing.”
Also, a “better” coach would, I would think, play Tarik Black at the 5 instead of Brandon Bass, thus giving Tarik a chance to develop his game. Black, you see, could very well be a part of the Lakers’ future. Bass will not. Also, a different coach would possibly insert Anthony Brown into the game from time to time to develop his abilities.
Finally, I would think that another coach might be more effective at drilling the young Lakers on several key facets of the game, namely ball movement and team defense. Byron has obviously not been successful at doing any of that.
In that sense, a different coach could possibly make a difference. Maybe a big difference.
Games like this are the ones Hibbert should excel at — opposing a traditional big. Roy was a no show again. Makes you wonder if the stealth tank was always in the back of the FOs mind.
J C says
It’s almost impossible to imagine the level of disconnect we must have now in the FO.
Over 20 years I either played or coached the game. Every minute I always tried to win.
Bryon is playing to lose. By continuing to play the guy with the worst shooting numbers in the NBA is disrepecting us fans.
Kobe is in route to the worst 3 point metrics in NBA history. Anyone who excepts this never played or coached the game.
I said awhile back that Kobe should get six minutes in the first, six minutes in the third and anything after that depending on the game. I bet that would come out to 15-20 minutes per game, balancing out all competing agendas. Not sure why Byron cannot do this.
Mid-Wilshire, how can they play Tarik Black when he’s not even on the Laker bench? Does anyone even know where Tarik Black went to? Nobody’s talking…..Bil,Stu,& Mike T have not said one word. I thought maybe tonight when they emptied the bench someone would say SOMETHING, but no mention whatsoever. Anyone know any thing?
I can’t answer your question. I, too, would like to know where Tarik is. And no one seems to have the intestinal fortitude to ask Byron about him.
This is very troubling. I honestly don’t know what’s going on re: Tarik.
But I don’t like it. And I think Byron has a lot to answer for.
Chris J says
Mid-Wilshire — amen, man. Amen.
Hibbert is one of the worse players in the Association…
The Lakers are such a poorly constructed team. Not one genuine energy player on the roster, combined with a roster replete with minimum athleticism, and half-a_sed defense played for a continued assault on NBA level basketball. I said it before the start of the season that backcourts around the league circled Lakers games to get their new career highs. There is no way a 1st year and 2nd-year guard can play in the same backcourt against the richest most talented position in the NBA and keep the game within striking distance. There’s not one defensive presence on the team that the coach can insert to change the outcome of the game. The most disturbing element concerning this year’s team is this team is similar to the player’s accumulated under D’amtoni’s tutelage, all offense. One would assume that those former rosters’ provided lessons learned and enough historical data not to pursue that path again. Nothing new here, keep it moving.
Non energy Sunday game,Nick has to play more.Looking for Tarick?One of the worst games I have watched.Randle and Druss?
Chris J says
For those who believe losing in 2015-16 has no long-term ramifications, here’s some insight from a key soon-to-be restricted free agent, per ESPN.com:
Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson agreed that frustration is growing.
“It’s high,” he said. “Nobody wants to lose.”
Clarkson added, “To be honest with you, nobody was moving the ball. We were all taking tough shots. I think that’s why it shows up on the scoreboard like that. We were all forcing shots. We weren’t playing together.”
Ahem, Coach Scott, front office and owners who continue to enable the Kobe Bryant Kills the Lakers Show to have an extended run. There is a better way to send him off than this…
The Dane says
The biggest thing would be if Kobe called it quits. Just man up to the situation.
This is a man who made a career of out-working everyone and every problem. He has gotten old and cannot work anymore. He has to skip practise and relaxe in the off-season! As soon as that started happening, Kobe wasn’t Kobe anymore.
Donate the rest of this years salary to some people who have less than you Kobe, and ride off to a new beginning. You have earned it.
– A life time fan –
Renato Afonso says
I don’t get it. Hibbert seems to have Jekyll and Hyde defensive performances. Does he get frustrated with the lack of help he gets and stops trying or does he party too much on the night before from time to time? He has been very soud defensively even if he’s not the best rebounder. He provides help, tries to shut down layup lanes and most of the times doesn’t get the help he needs. And if you’re always helping out on dribble penetration, you obviously won’t be well positioned to get the defensive rebound.
I believe that this game was just that… He tried on those PnR and dribble penetration and then he simply stopped trying. And because he’s very tentative to use his length to get some baby hooks on offense (notice how he doesn’t lean towards the rim on jump hooks but rather away from it) he’s not a factor on that end as well. That and the fact that we have an offense that relies on him playing near the FT line plenty of time.
I’m really puzzled by him. He’s not bad. He certainly isn’t worth 17M a year or anything near it, but we’ve had very serviceable centers in the past 4 years (Dwight to Pau to Kaman to Hill to Hibbert) and they don’t seem neither happy nor trying hard when wearing the Lakers uniform. And then they left. Were they all bad? Or do we have a coaching and FO problem that’s hurting this franchise?
This season is over…..all we can do now is what i belive FO had in mind all along: get a top 3 pick again and develop players
Lets start russell-clarkson-brown-randle-black, cut/trade a couple of guys(sacre,kelly,huertas,young,williams,bass) and recruit youngsters from the d-league as well as get another pick for next years draft…and bring kobe off the bench for 20min max…we wont win much, no matter if he plays or not…
Speaking of d-league: we even fail to develop our own guys there…
upshaw a dnp-cd last game?!?!? only 16mins per game yet averaging 2blks!? This is some serious bs, i know he needs more experience, but how shall he get it if not through proper playing time in meaningless dleague games!? Have i missed something or has he gotten in trouble again?!?
Or do we have a coaching and FO problem that’s hurting this franchise?
Plus, a leader in Jeanie, who refused to lead.
But those are all issues to resolve starting next year. This season is clearly all about using Kobe for cover so the FO can try to save its bacon by keeping the pick.
-It’s becoming more and more obvious, Kobe’s teammates are not enjoying this “circus”, and they have witnessed what happens when someone speaks on it.
– This season’s showing by KB makes it so much easier to believe a major reason highly desired free agents chose not to sign with the Lakers. They saw this act coming a mile away.
I think Byron needs to let the players know that we gotta tank to get Ben Simmons. Here is an idea. Play the youngins without Kobe for three quarters. Have them play their hearts out and in the right way to try to win. Then bring Kobe in in the fourth and have him shoot our way into a loss and Ben Simmons next year. We have to be better tankers than Philly
Dr Mike says
My feeling is that no one, not even Kobe, knew how quickly his skills would fall off the cliff. At worst, the FO thought Kobe would produce numbers similar to last year (37% shooting) not substantially worse. Hence, Kobe’s “sudden” announcement. This year’s tanking is necessary IMO. The Washington win gave us a glimpse of what this team might be this year or next year if we had a legitimate star in his prime. We’re still an average or slightly above average team- not one contending for a title.
@ Paul, lol,.. sounds like a plan.
Big City Bingo Plus.
Word I hear is FO told BS to play Kobe max minutes and let him shoot all he wants.
Theory is that they lose either way but this way seats are filled by Kobe fans. Who are Not true Laker fans BTW.
SELFISH owners go hand and hand with SELFISH Kobe. As another season bites the dust. I for one can’t watch this shameful exhibition of horrible coaching and street basketball.