My apologies, but this game preview won’t be a game preview at all. Logistically, the Lakers face the Hornets on Monday, the second night of a back to back after playing in Memphis on Sunday night. But the game ahead, really, is just the scheduled event. It makes little sense to me to write about that game when this team has little chance to win that game.
In reality, this team has little chance of winning any game they play. That sounds harsh, I know. But, in reality, this is where we are with the Lakers.
I’m not saying they won’t win more games. As I wrote in my preview for the Grizzlies game, they’d won 2 of their previous 6 heading into that match up. But, in reviewing those wins what stands out more and more is what went into getting those wins. Mostly those wins were based on strong individual performances. From Kobe or from one of the young players. Maybe from Lou Williams. But the wins have not come from scheme or from some strategic advantage or adjustment made in game which triggered a run.
This leads to implications against the coach and, well, there should be. The Lakers do not look prepared. They are also not playing hard defensively as a group. They do not look engaged offensively often enough, either. When this happens in the NBA you lose and you lose big.
There's losing & then there's the type of losing the Lakers have been doing of late where every team seems to get up by at least 20.
— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) December 28, 2015
Little did I know how true that was.
The Lakers will fall to 5-26. They have trailed by at least 20 points in each of their last seven losses.
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) December 28, 2015
I don’t want to blame the coach for this entirely. The players are still the ones on the floor and it is still on them to play hard. They need to play smarter on both ends of the floor, especially defensively. They lack discipline on that side of the floor and simply do too many things poorly. Without knowing exactly what the coaches are teaching, it’s difficult to discern how much this is on the players and how much is on the scheme the team is executing.
Ultimately, though, there is little else to say about this team. Especially in relation to other teams and how they match up and what they can do to win games. So, yes, the Hornets are on the schedule. They are one of the surprise teams in the East this year, boasting one of the better defenses in the league and a viable offense. I expect them to give the Lakers fits considering the circumstances of the game and the quality of both teams.
I wish I had more to say here, I really do. I’d much rather talk X’s and O’s and what the Lakers can do to win. But that’s for competitive teams. It’s for teams who perform competently more than this one does. It’s for teams who look like they’re put in positions to succeed and teams who look prepared to capitalize when put in those positions. These things do not describe the Lakers.
J C says
Great write up Darius. Calling a spade a spade.
That’s exactly how I feel about the team right now.
No matter how it affects the ambience of the “feel-good Kobe farewell tour,” the axe must fall on Byron soon. To allow this sham to continue borders on the unconscionable.
That’s pretty much how I feel too. I’m ready to turn the page on this season and move on from the past and have a clear path forward. I thought this might be the year, but obviously way wrong on that.
I wouldn’t mind the losing if it was the young guys simply finding their way, but clearly Byron Scott is not the coach for them.
I see the glimpses in DAR. The advanced midrange game off the PnR, the sweet stroke…looking at the stats it’s actually impressive when comparing to current stars (and he’s doing it at a much younger age) considering the circumstances.
I love seeing Randle beast the boards. Sure he’s struggling now with offense but oh well he’s essentially a rookie too.
I feel bad for Clarkson stuck with that first unit. You can see the frustration on his face when he’s wide open but Lou or Kobe chuck up a long fading two.
I wish we had a coach with a game plan. One that can pull a player to the side and let him know what he’s doing wrong, pat him on the back and tell him to get back in there and work in it. A coach that takes full responsibility and protects his young guys. A coach that coaches and teaches. One that doesn’t just sit there cross armed and blame everyone else. A coach that is a leader the guys want to fight for. Not a guy that will questions their manhood. They got here because they’re men.
Instead we get to watch Slow Roy get outrunned down the court by Faried while the coach makes no adjustment beyond scheduled playing time. Or we get to see Bass come in against Cousins or Gasol and get trampled.
We see DAR get hot and run the show, only to get pulled due to a small mistake and benched.
We get to see Nick Young and Sweet Lou get free pass on isolation plays.
tom rickard says
I’m not sure team defense is possible this year, it has become quite obvious why Pacers didn’t want Hibbert, most of us hoped that he’d be the anchor of the defense instead we now know he’s got anchors attached to both feet, the Lakers need a center and unfortunately Sacre will never be much help for the future, until the Lakers fill that hole it will never be an attractive destination for top FA’s
I believe every team we’ve beaten had injured players that were out
Agree totally, and appreciate the optimism, we could use the sunlight !
I too wish that would keep the young guns together, so they can gel, because we aren’t winning regardless.
Makes one wonder however, if the front office plans on allowing one or two on the first unit young ones to walk or trade, thus are showcasing them playing with vets.
i try to he optimistic but the frustration is getting to me, it’s not that they lose it’s how, as much as BS is to blame the players share responsibility too, i mean, when i played no matter how our team did the D had to be there, i mean I don’t ask for a lockdown defense but c’mon guys at least try!!!!. This team don’t give a crap about defense, there is no system basically and i think it comes from the frustration of how difficult to score on this “system” this is just a mess, a disaster area and seriously i doubt BS will last the season, in one of those stupidly easy layups i saw Scott rubbing his hand on his forehead like ” im going to lose my job” at least thats what it looked like to me. Im just utterly depressed and dismayed about the state of this team…
Brooklyn, Detroit, and Washington were full strength but all at least 3 weeks ago,
Milwaukee and denver were missing players, i checked, I’m bored
At this stage it would seem that Scott’s mandate is to tank and lose enough games to possibly keep the pick. Kobe won’t be around next year to fill seats. This is crunch time for the FO.
Indeed it is.
The 2016/17 season is shaping up to be a ‘Frank McCourt’ like year for Jim Buss. Past failings can be minimized by winning but absent W’s they have a habit of coming back to bite you. The Kobe extension was designed to keep the money train intact and buy time for the FO to fix the product on the court. The clock is approaching midnight and the team is universally derided for its poor talent, poor roster and poor coaching.
My gut says the FO will look back on these last three years as wasted opportunities. Cap space is a great thing if you either have the lure of a solid team and/or the organizational gravitas to attract talent. The Lakers have neither. Plus, the 2016 crop of free agents is thin. And no, KD is not coming.
The future hinges on a 55% chance of keeping the pick and a 19% chance of getting the overall #1 selection. If those lifelines fail then it could get ugly.
Next season there will be no cover from Kobe, no distraction from his farewell tour. There will be the prospect of yet another losing season (despite incremental growth from the kids) and the fans will be looking squarely at Lakers management for answers.
Need to trade all veterans (with contracts into next year) for youth and/or expiring contracts and start new.
Can you believe charlotte got lin for 2 years 4 mil, this is a team who like the lakers will have alot of cap room next year,, Jefferson and batum are both gonna be free agents.
it will be interesting to see hibbert vs Jefferson, i have no clue who the power forward is, or small forward maybe batum, whoever their forward combo is gotta be a mismatch for us, maybe we win, it is against the east
No way Lakers win, unless they have multiple guys have one of those “make everything” games.
The Lakers can’t defend, so you have to hope the other team settles for jumpers and has a horrible shooting night.
Hornets are a decent team, it doesn’t matter if they are in the “east” or not. The East isn’t nearly as weak as they used to be. And the Lakers are a bottom 3 team–in the entire league, not just the west.
We have no one who can cover their PG’s, they are short on SG’s with Hairston-fill in for MKG. Batum can definitely score. Their bigs are way better than our bigs. Zeller and Jefferson both bring different things to the game, but our bigs have no shot of stopping them–especially Jefferson. We are worse than them at every single position, except perhaps SG. But who knows maybe the stars align and we win, coming off another crushing loss and a plane flight to the other coast, with no rest. Yeah, we are losing this one for sure. But hey it helps lock in that 50% chance at a ping pong ball.
The only team we are clearly better than in the East is the 76ers. That’s it. It’s just another waiting game until next year with the occasional excitement when DAR/Randle or Clarkson look “good” in another loss.
“They are also not playing hard defensively as a group.”
Truer words were never spoken. The lack of effort is very disconcerting and speaks to a lack of buy-in on the part of the players. I think we all can agree that Byron Scott is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. For the most part, we have seen the players trying to give a good effort but far too often we see a discouraged group that is resigned to losing.
Even in a totally throwaway season like this, there are lessons to be learned. One of those lessons is that you work with your coach because he has the job. That’s what pros do. One can disagree with and debate his philosophy, but you work with your coach until he’s no longer the coach. That lack of defensive effort speaks to the feeling of limbo surrounding this entire season. While waiting for Kobe to retire, the lottery situation to unfolded and this season to end, on a day to day basis the Lakers are getting their azzes handed to them. That alone should be reason enough to play hard defensively.
being competitive would require a competitive roster a competent coach and a plan for the future
Jimmy and mitch will be gone. Jim and mitch drafted D’Angelo knowing that he was a pnr point guard and HUGE part of their future and yet not only did they not find him a big to run the pnr with, they let one go (Ed Davis). Instead, they used that money on lou williams. Aside from drawing defenders into terrible fouls, every other skill williams has is redundant on this roster. They had to spend the money because of the cap floor, but what a detrimental waste. The summers of 2013 and 2014 were at least partly justifiable from a FO stamdpoint, but this past summer has really shown that Jim and Mitch dont have the ability to navigate in this new NBA landscape given the position the lakers currently occupy. Its time for new blood and ideas in the basketball ops department.
I well remember the Mike Fratello coached Cavalier teams of the 80’s before they acquired talent in the form of Brad Daugherty, Mark Price and the like. Those teams were horrible, but their defensive effort muddied the waters of every game and gave them a chance to win. This group of Lakers, for whatever reason, does not put forth a strong defensive effort on a nightly basis. If you don’t play defense in this league, you’re going to lose, plain and simple. That’s on the players as much as it’s on the coaches. A player like Matthew Dellavedova on the present day Cavs sells out completely on defense at all times and thus creates a niche for himself. Losing teams consisting primarily of young players don’t have the luxury of a sense of entitlement, IMO.
We may need to reset our thinking with respect to the Lakers and recognize the reality of what their season is, and what it inevitably was going to be given the circumstances and roster makeup.
One the one hand, we have the Kobe Bryant Farewell Tour and 3-Point Chucking Clown Show.
On the other hand, we have multiple rookies trying to learn the NBA game in the midst of the aforementoined farewell tour.
Meanwhle, most of the remainder of the roster are veterans playing for their NEXT contract (most likely from a non-Laker team).
Changing the coaching staff will not alter the above situations (unless the new coach is willing to bench Kobe regardless of backlash).
Trading the vets will probably bring back mediocre daft picks and/or fringe NBA players who won’t fundamentally alter the team dynamics.
There’s little to do but endure it and find hope for the future where we can (e.g. DAR’s performance against the Clippers on Xmas Day).
I wouldn’t bet my life on the Lakers beating the Sixers in a 7 game series. We might finish with a slightly better record then the Sixers but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we are considered the worst team in the NBA by most analysts by seasons end.
Kobe hatred is the life fuel for soo many Laker fans,bordering on obsession.Life without Kobe will be hard for keyboard knights.
Cody zeller 7 footer at center
Marvin williams at power forward
Batum at small forward
Hairston s guard
K walker at point
Rookie 7ft frank kaminsky
Al Jefferson pf/c (back after missing a lot of games, likely will be a starter)
Jeremy lamb sg
Jeremy lin (last years victim of the byron scott boot camp, you can’t hang your benched)
Charlotte are 2-5 last 7 games
Espn site things you should know
1.nance coming off his best game 17pts 11rebs
2.kobe final game at charlotte against the team that drafted him
3. Hornets protect ball, commit a league low 13 turnovers per
4. Hornets 3rd best in 3pt shooting
5. Batum is playing great
6. Al Jefferson coming off missing a bunch of games, injury 6, drug suspension 5
7. Hornets only have a very low 46 dunks all year
Eddie Pinetti says
I want to smell Byron Scotts socks
Darius: Understand the frustration. Not sure what exactly made you reach this point right now, because I have been frustrated for the better part of 4 years.
“But that’s for competitive teams.” Well – yea : )
Reply to nimble:
I believe your previous comment was directed at me. I do no hate Kobe Bryant. I have enormous respect for him and enjoyed many of his exploits in a Laker uniform.
But the game against the 76ers was clearly a case of Kobe chucking 3s to please the crowd, not him trying to score within the context of the team offense.
Against OKC recently, Kobe commented that he went at Kevin Durant on offense NOT because Kobe vs. KD was the Lakers’ best matchup to exploit, but because Kobe felt that the personal challenge of trying to beat KD one-on-one was more imporatant than team goals.
Again against Memphis, Kobe admitted that his knees were sore and he considered not playing. Did he gut it out and play because it gave the Lakers the best chance to win? No, he did it because the adulation of the fans made him feel obligated to put on the Farewell Tour 3-Point Chucking Exhibition (2-8 from 3, 6-15 overall) and Clown Show.
I am ready for Kobe Bryant to be retired because his production on the court is no longer worth the considerable narcissism he continues to display.
The post at 337 PM may be the most bizarre FBG post ever.
We are clear on the white-hot intensity of your dislike for Kobe and of how he plays the game. I suppose you may as well vent here as any other internet spot.
The problem with your analysis is that you’re framing Kobe as the lone gunner. As Stu mentioned on air, Kobe’s trip to Charlotte brought a record-setting crowd to the arena. That means a lot of money for Charlotte, for the Lakers brand owners, and for Kobe. Kobe is not the sole driver of Kobe’s minutes. Someone on a previous post smartly pointed out that the ownership is using Kobe as a tourniquet to hold off the financial bleeding while the franchise rebuilds. With Kobe, they still can sell tickets and merchandise. Without him, no one would watch or talk about this Lakers team. With this much money at stake, I’m sure these economic logics are not lost on everyone involved. That’s part of the reason that opposing teams are rolling out the red carpet for Kobe. They’re also trying to cash in on the retirement wave.
Rickey Larue says
Eddie- if your implying that you want to smell Coach Scotts dress socks from after coaching a game than I think you need help. They probably smell like your breath!
Bench outplayed starters with exception of nance who had a cool looking behind the back layup, randle hit a 3, lou struggling but he’s a veteran so he gets a pass,,from coach
the Hornets made our team look like some decent players,, i can’t understand why hibbert did not dominate vs the skinny white boy zeller, russell at times could keep up with the quick kemba walker, if russell played more we probably win he looked great vs lin, kobe fouled jeremy lin hard,
blah blah blah, why not play kelly, brown, and tarik, why even care anymore