Records: Lakers 9-34, Last in the West; Kings 17-23, 10th in the West
Offensive ratings: Lakers 96.9, 29th in NBA; Kings 103.0 11th in the NBA
Defensive ratings: Lakers 107.7, Last in the NBA; Kings 105.9, T-24th in the NBA
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Clarkson, Williams, Kobe, Randle, Hibbert
Kings: Rondo, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Willie Cauley-Stein, Cousins
The Lakers Coming in: The Lakers have lost 3 in a row and 7 of their last 8. They are still banged up as Larry Nance Jr. will not play, but Julius Randle will simply slide up in the rotation and assume his old role as starter. Where the questions come in is whether Tarik Black will see any minutes as the back up C with Brandon Bass playing some PF or if Byron Scott will do what he did the last game by giving Ryan Kelly the backup PF minutes and having Bass stay as the C.
This is a game where it probably makes more sense to play Black, even if Byron seems less than enamored with the development of the 2nd year pro. The Kings are a team with legitimate size and can pound you on the glass if you don’t match up accordingly. Bass fought hard against Cousins the last time these teams played, but it would be nice to spare him from all that pounding by giving Black some run too. And not just against Cousins, but against Kosta Koufos as well.
Also, if you have not been paying attention, Anthony Brown has taken Nick Young’s spot in the rotation. This transition has been in place for a little over a week, but tonight will be an interesting test, especially since the Kings have two very different types of wing players that Brown will likely defend. On one hand, you have Rudy Gay who will try to post you up and work in isolation off the dribble. On the other hand is guys like Marco Belinelli and Omri Cassipi who do their best work running off picks and spotting up. Brown will need to be mindful of who he’s guarding and respond accordingly. I think he is up to the challenge, but we shall see.
The Kings Coming in: The Kings have won 3 of their last 5 games, including their last two against the Jazz and the Clippers. The Kings are also only a half-game out of the 8th spot, so their motivation is to continue to win and try to get into the post season. We’re a long way off from that, of course, with a half a season left to play, but the Kings look to have some staying power based on their roster construction and their investment in veteran players who really are “win now” players.
However, the Kings still may look to tweak their roster in order to better position themselves for a stretch push. This may involve Rudy Gay. The Kings have reportedly discussed a deal with the Pelicans, though nothing was close to being consummated. Those who follow the Kings closely note that Rudy isn’t so much “on the block” as much as his value being gauged around the league. Still the fact that discussions are being had at all, especially around a key starter, there’s probably some smoke to the rumors.
In any event, the Kings continue to both excite and frustrate their loyal fans. On some nights they look ready to jump into the playoffs and physically beat up a top-seed. On others they look to be the “same old Kings” who can’t seem to get out of their own way for long enough to beat a team they should.
Kings Blogs: Check out Cowbell Kingdom and Sactown Royalty for good insight.
Keys to game: I’ll keep this part short since, you know, the Lakers have only won 9 games this year and any “keys to the game” for them to win involve a bunch of stuff which usually doesn’t happen.
Anyways, the Lakers best chance involves a few factors:
- Get Cousins in foul trouble.
- Make three pointers.
- Don’t get blasted on the backboards (see the first bullet point).
- Defend the arc.
- Get to the FT line.
- Get back in transition.
This isn’t a crazy list, but it all starts with trying to manage Cousins who is, simply, a force. Hibbert cannot defend Cousins on the perimeter and struggles against his bulk in the post. This is why I alluded to Bass and Black earlier as their lower center(s) of gravity and better foot speed can lend itself to dealing with Cousins’ all-purpose game. Cousins, though, is prone to committing silly fouls and then exacerbating things by complaining about the whistle. If the Lakers can bait him into falling into this trap, it helps their cause a great deal.
Even if Cousins controls the paint, the Lakers can still keep the game close by working well on the wing. The strength to this group is in their perimeter players and if multiple players in the Kobe/Lou/Clarkson/Russell group can get going offensively, this game can get interesting. Russell feels he has a lot to prove against Rondo — who Russell shares a hometown with and sees as a mentor of sorts — so maybe that will serve as some extra motivation for him.
Lastly, as noted, the three point shot will be critical this game. McLemore, Belinelli, and Cassipi can all hit the long ball. Cousins has expanded his range to this distance as well. If the Lakers don’t guard these guys out there, the shots will fall. Conversely, the Lakers must find a way to generate some 3 point looks and knock them down. Lou, Brown, and Russell all can impact the game from distance. Clarkson can get hot too, though he’s cooled down after blistering from deep early in the year.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.
Snarky George says
Don’t shoot the messenger. From ESPN’s ‘Grading Every Western Conference Team’ article. The Lakers review is done by Amin Elhassan.
The Los Angeles Lakers
Elhassan: How do you evaluate the Lakers? If you’re a fan of tanking, you can argue they’ve done a masterful job: They’re the worst team in the conference (and second worst in the NBA), their young assets of Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance have all shown promising signs, and there is, at long last, finality to the long shadow cast by Kobe Bryant.
For a team that owes a top-three-protected first-round pick to Philadelphia, these are all good things.
But the biggest sin of tanking is it fails to differentiate between intentionally stacking the deck against winning and being plain bad at your job. We cannot ignore the Lakers’ efforts in the offseason to try to field a winning team by acquiring Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass and Lou Williams. Likewise, we cannot overlook Byron Scott’s mercurial approach to rotations, as well as his poor communication behind the benching of the young future core of the team.
The Lakers are bad, and that’s good for the long-term basketball business, but before we bless them with an above-average grade, let’s remember they did not intend to be this bad.
Elhassan’s grade: D | Panel’s grade: D
Snarky George says
Sorry, I know this is a Kings-Lakers thread, but I did dome binge reading on ESPN and saw this trade deadline assessment of the Blazers. The article looked at the Blazers roster and since I really like Meyers Leonard’s game I had to share their comments.
Note: his shooting % went down because he had an injured shoulder. He is a restricted free agent this summer and could be a sleeper bargain. And, I should remind everyone we badly need a Big with range.
Meyers Leonard: After opting not to sign an extension during training camp, Leonard has seen his value decline after a shooting slump likely tied to the shoulder injury that sidelined him in November. Yet the Portland offense continues to run better with Leonard dragging opposing big men to the perimeter. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer.
I think the Lakers should look long and hard about going after him. He can help give Randle room to operate inside by pulling an opposing big out from the lane.
Jim and Mitch: Time to start putting together a roster that fits as opposed to buying odd fitting pieces because they are on sale.
Clay Bertrand says
Snarky George, Thanks for the post and the follow up on the Blazers.
I would agree with Amin (the admitted Laker Hater) that the Lakers didn’t INTEND to be this bad. The flipside to that is, they CLEARLY, regardless of the FO lip service, didn’t INTEND to be very good either. I just think that they CAN NEVER say that they expect to be losing a lot of games even if they DO expect that outcome. So I don’t put much belief into what Mitch says when he talks Wins and Losses and this “we can still win 40 games” nonsense. He just CAN’T be as brutally honest as he’d like to.
IMO, they KNOW they are in a down period and that the young players have to develop over time. I can’t believe that Mitch was REALLY TRYING to “field a winning team” as Amin alleges. I think we all, Mitch included, knew that we weren’t going to “field a winning team” once Aldridge went to SA. I think Mitch grabbed whatever was available in the hope that he could perhaps salvage Hibbert and get by this year with a funky line up and try again next year with a better young core and huge cap space.
The D grade from Amin and the panel is based entirely on this assumption:
“They really thought they’d be GOOD but they suck. Just LOOK AT EM!!!!!”
I just can’t honestly believe that Mitch Kupchak or even Jim Buss was lame enough to have thought they had a winning roster with this team. Now IF they actually did, (and we will never know) then the grade they deserve is an F their decent drafting notwithstanding.
Snarky, Meyers Leonard IS somewhat intriquing.
The way I see the Lakers heading into the Summer:
PF: Randle – lacks consistency & needs to be better than he has been. A real question mark.
SF: Need one who can knock down the 3pt shot at a high %
C: Need one
SG: Clarkson consistent but the Lakers need him to elevate his game to the next level.
PG: Russell is the guy. Lakers need him to be very good in order to attract elite FA talent
PF: Nance is a nice energy guy off the bench – could be a spot starter
SF: Brown is a solid 3 & D off the bench – not a starter
SG: Williams, if not moved — limited to guarding PGs though
PG: Need to upgrade the over Huertas
PF/C Need size and an upgrade over Sacre
That my Lakers fans is not a roster that will attract any elites this summer. If I’m Mitch, I hope:
1) I keep my pick. Simmons/Ingram/Bender. Bender is a Big with range a little thin but you play him at center. Ingram slots into your SF – he’s young/thin but talented. Simmons is problematic because he doesn’t have range so he’s a bad fit with Randle who also doesn’t have range. Simmons is likely a better player than Randle (ball handling and passing). So what do you do — I’d probably keep both Simmons and Randle and pray one of them develops a decent enough shot to keep defenses honest.
2) I can attract at least one younger talented free agent. Slim pickings this summer but I’d target DeRozan (I know – he’s stayingin Toronto). However, if we draft Simmons or Ingram there no room at the SF. Note: Duke plays Ingram at SF and SG plus DeRozan can play SG. If both Ingram and DeRozan come, does that make Clarkson expendable? Another question: SG is like a corner infield/outfield position — you need significant production from there. Can Clarkson deliver? Does that move Clarkson to the first guard off the bench role?
Special note to Snarky George — If the Lakers drafted Simmons or Ingram I would pursue Leonard to play center. His Per 36 minutes numbers are nice: 20 pts and 10 boards. I can live with that.
All of this is a set up to the summer of 2017 when there are more elites available. The Lakers could upgrade a position of need. Say Randle plateaus and you want to sign Blake Griffin — if he wants to come join your up and coming team — bingo.
Of course the kids could begin to gel and the Lakers could take the OKC route: which was that the kids were going to be good so there was no need to sign free agents. Wouldn’t that be nice.
Its all about choices. Upgrading the talent someway somehow this summer gives you the chance to make better choices in the future — like the summer of 2017 and beyond.
This Meyers Leonard talk is silly. Portland is not going to let him go. It is a easy decision for them.
Hassan Whiteside, on the other hand, is a hard decision for Miami and they don’t have Bird Rights so it’s not even something they can control even if they wanted to.
The more i see “the bust” the more im convinced that in 2 years time he is going to be so good, he don’t have the consistency yet, but almost as soon he came in the team the team kick it in another gear, when he is able to do this consistenly it’s going to be something else.
I dont think anyone that follows this team ever a little bit, thought this was going to be a winning team, what i expected was an improvement over last season record, 30 wins would had been great, 35 would had been fantastic. Im pretty sure Mitch, more than any of us knew that, he talked about “possible” playoffs if everything broke right which obviously it didn’t. And well, he have to sell optimism to the casual Laker fan and the season ticket holders, the vast mayority here knew better. I thought the team would have a better record, and to be fair, the Lakers have blown at least 4 games that should had been wins. Now the Kobe retirement tour has taken over. So it’s a tough balance to act, like i say a million times now the Lakers will finally get off the treadmill when Kobe retires. At least we have some nice pieces in place already…
Jordan Clarkson Slam Dunk highlight play.
That was some dunk!! Let’s trade him!!!
I can’t believe George karl is still coaching
since someone posted the stats of Gasol & Howard yesterday, let me post their combined stats for today: 1 PT (0/9 FG)
Putting their stats togheter it as some comparision it’ ridiculous, we all know they didn’t mesh togheter here, as surprising as that was for me. Neither Dwight nor Pau are what they used to be.
Is that d’angelo russell’s official nickname “the bust”
Bring back pau
I gave him that nickname since some people here were calling him a bust since his 1st turnover in summer league…
Koufos vs kelly battle of the worst
Lol isn’t mudiay the bust
Dude russell is tearing it up, vs their bench
Sorry im like 20 minutes behind, recorded
With the way bass is playing i can understand why tarik doesn’t play
Randle and bass are the under the basket twins
Freakin rondo got 17 assist
76ers beat magic
From the Rockets game thread:
“Hope they move Williams and Bass as well.”
Nothing wrong with Bass and Williams, who as of now, are the two best players on the team. And re Williams, it’s even money whether Clarkson will ever surpass him in value to a team, any team. I’d hold onto both Bass and Williams, as they don’t cost much, and they would be perfectly fine on a 2nd unit. The young pups are otherwise getting enough minutes to develop.
@Matt, well, some people wanted Miudiay instead of Russell, i dont think Miudiay is a bust at all but he needs a lot of work and he got thrown to the wolves from day one. If Miudiay was drafted by the Lakers and was having the exact same season he is having in Denver people would be demanding for heads to roll, all the bust talk about DAR would be child’s play compared to that kind of backlash lol.
Fern i agree
Slappy I agree. Lou is one of onlyc3 guards next year and we still do not know other 2 upside. Bass latly is best front libe player.
Try to move Young, Hibbert and Kelly for 2nd rounder and anything next 2 weeks.
Fern and Matt: Russell will be fine. Its the other kids I’m worried about. Do Clarkson and Nance have limited upside due to their ages? The team needs Randle to be a 20 pt scorer and to do that he needs to develop some range/consistency on his jump shot.
Snarky George says
Bmcburney — Not the first time you’ve said that Meyers Leonard isn’t moving. Why do you believe that so strongly? Portland didn’t get the extension done before the October 31st deadline. Are they content to let the market set the price for Meyers and then match the offer?
I think if the Lakers are very aggressive with their offer (they have space and they have a need) that the Blazers won’t match.
Bass playing well — likely exercises his player option to become a free agent again next year. He’s a bargain at $3 Mil — might not be if he’s looking for 3 yrs at $7 mil + a year in a new deal.
Due to the fact he has a player and not a team option his trade value is limited. He essentially becomes a ‘year end rental’ for whomever acquires him because he’s going to opt out and he’ll be more expensive to keep next year.
Seems the Lakers sign guys to player friendly deals, then the player has a nice year and you’d think he could be moved for something on value. But because the deal is players’ favor he can’t really be moved. This happened with Meeks, Davis, Hill and now Bass. Yet another issue related to prioritizing ‘financial flexibility’.
Silly Fern with your well-reasoned comments. Dont you know that some here will never agree with reason?
I didn’t want Mudiay or Russell, I
Wanted Porzingas,Winslow, or Oubre…..
what is a bust? “Going to be fine” for a number 2 overall is not a great thing.
Russell may be franchise changing, I don’t see it. But that’s just an opinion.
Clay Bertrand says
Fern, Nice post at 8:41pm. Well NUTSHELLED comment!
Snarky, Meyers Leonard has an interesting skill set that appears tailor made for the modern NBA.
Bmcburney I believe is correct with regard to the Blazers holding a major upper hand here though. They have a number of things going for them even if they didn’t get an extension done because ONE they have TONS of Cap Space too and TWO Leonard is going to be a RFA.
The Blazers have the cash, the cap space, and the likely intent to retain him. PLUS, as a RFA, we would have to overpay to get him AND tie up a chunk of your cap space in an offer while other lower tiered UFAs are being gobbled up.
We have to go UFA big target PipeDream first, then its onto seeing what’s left among the UFAs and at the same time looking into RFAs. That’s the order of priority based on who gets courted and signed first by the teams.
Marques-Russel is already, at his age, having a much better career than guys like Nash, Stockton, Rose and just about every other All-Star point guard that has ever existed. But, it has only been half a season so we really should not jump into any conclusions. I value your opinion, but do understand that your “gut” feel seems contrary to common sense – in that its just too early to tell what will happen to this guy.
It seems to me, that some are refusing to see, and hope he fails just to fulfill a deep seated desire to be right, even if by being right, it sets our team back several more years.
The Lakers future is still very much up in the air. Looking at the box score from last night you see that all the kids (except Nance, who did not dress) ‘contributed’. So from a baseline perspective the kids can all play.
But other than flashes we haven’t seen any of them put produce at a consistent enough level to say, ‘OK – we’ve got that position covered for the next 10 years.’
Hard to really plan long term with so much uncertainty. Which is why free agency won’t be a real option until the summer of 2017 at the earliest — free agents don’t know what they’re getting into — are the Lakers emerging or are they destined to plateau as a 9th seed.
Tough spot for the team since meaningful trades are not an option (no one but the kids to trade) and keeping the pick is no guarantee either.
Gary, aren’t flashes all we can expect from rookies?
Snarky George says
From ESPN’s Latest Mock Draft. Lakers projected to get the 2nd pick.
2. Los Angeles Lakers*
Brandon Ingram: Duke, Freshman – Forward
The Lakers are playing better basketball, but thankfully for their fans, it’s not good enough to mess with their lottery odds. That’s important, because L.A. must send this pick to the 76ers if it falls to fourth or lower in the lottery. Finishing with the second-worst record gives the Lakers a 56 percent chance of keeping the pick.
Simmons would, of course, be a godsend for the Lakers, but Ingram is also a prize and would fit a major need. The long, athletic wing has been terrific on both ends of the floor the last 10 games for Duke. He’d be a major upgrade at the 3. A combo of D’Angelo Russell and Ingram should give the Lakers a serious foundation for the future.
Odds of winning lottery, projected record: 19.9 percent, 19-63
Clay Bertrand says
Snarky, thanks for the post as always.
I have seen Ingram in 3 games and Simmons in 2 and I have to say Ingram is no slouch. His game and nice skill set (albeit still somewhat raw) looks to be really transferrable for to NBA level for a Modern wing player.
For all his mostly deserved attention, Simmons NEEDS THE BALL IN HIS HANDS to impact the game. Don’t get me wrong, we need elite talent and assets period!! But I don’t like the look of our team having so many Ball Dominant players. Would Simmons be ANOTHER ONE?? Not HATIN on Simmons AT ALL and would LOVE to have him but it is a concern.
As we only keep our pick if its TOP 3, we need only focus on the players who will likely go that high—Its TOP 3 or BUST!! Right now, the focus is on Simmons, Ingram, Bender, and Kris Dunn a PG and a couple of others. With Bender a project and self proclaimed “Stretch 4” and Dunn being ANOTHER PG, if Simmons will be limited because of all of our Ball Handlers, Ingram looks like a really natural fit for us as currently configured and perhaps the BEST FIT of the top 4. Like all these one and done’s though, he is FAR from a finished product.
I’ve seen another Mock where we select 2nd (if we are LUCKY) and select Jamal Murray out of Kentucky. We WILL DEFINITELY have some big shoes to fill at SG!!!
Yeah draft lottery will be watched by lakers fans, it’s sketchy stuff, last year lakers jumped into the 2nd spot, i think the knicks got knocked back, hope for the best
Watched meyers leonard highlights cuz i didn’t know who he is, looks good, is he a small ball center, a backup center, or???
Clay Bertrand says
Hey Matt, Meyers Leonard is a rare STRETCH 5…..I don’t think he has the quicks to be a Stretch 4. He’s a 7 footer I believe……
Im wondering what the FO was like during the roy hibbert trade pursuit, it would be a great comedy skit,,,,,,mitch, jim, and whoever, “that’s it guys were getting roy”, champagne popping, high fives, shouting, clapping, jim says,”were turning this thing around” mitch says “yah, were gonna make the playoffs this year”
Ya blazers got a ton of cap space next year though, gotta hope they are, not high on em, or have other plans.
matt: sounds like you were there when the Hibbert deal was made. I’m sure that’s exactly what happened – seriously.
Clay Bertrand says
Matt, you HAVE to try to find the video of the Draft War Room for Sacramento in 2014 when they drafted Stauskas (who has since been traded to the 76ers). Its really funny!! Those guys are SO lost!!!
It’s pretty much the OWNER HIMSELF who calls the shot on the pick……It’s hilarious because Vivek Ranadive pans around the room with a Smirk on his face as he asks what is APPARENTLY a room full of Yes Men, “Stauskas???? Stauskas???? Stauskas Right??!??!!?!?”
And they ALL agree (LOL) and then they pick Stauskas!!! Its a charming video!!! Hard to find now that Grantland has been changed…….
Clay ,,who did they whiff on, who went after stauskas
The all time funniest Sacramento moment was divac after robert horry hit the game winner, “it’s just a lucky shot”
Clay Bertrand says
Matt, based on an admittedly limited sample size, I would argue that they whiffed on all of the picks following theirs (the 8th) through the 15th pick with the possible exception of Vonleh. Later in the round Rodney Hood was around and we got Clarkson at 46. Obviously, I’m Monday Morning QuarterBacking here…….
The main reason the Kings deal was funny is because you have this ignorant/arrogant owner who stubbornly tries to force his Business world philosophy on his Sports Management people and he basically seems to TALK THEM INTO STAUSKAS and its just funny to see how CERTAIN he is based on his having NO NBA EXPERIENCE. AND THEY ALL DO WHAT HE SAYS of course…..lol
When Ranadive took over ownership control, he even wanted to play 4 on 5 and had to be told it wasn’t legal…….he also pushed for constant FULL COURT PRESS because it worked for him on his young daughter’s team that he was coaching even though he openly states he knew NOTHING about the sport when he became coach.
The video is just funny to me knowing the background…..
Look for the story. Grantland did a full behind the scenes of their draft. I can’t find a live link for the video but the story is out there.
That “lucky shot” comment from Vlade is great!!!
The best rookie season for a pg EVER, belongs to some guy called Earvin, nuff’ said. I find kind of ridiculous to say that Clarkson and Nance don’t have upside because because their “age” they’re like 23 not 32 for crissakes and they played more time in college than Randle and Russell, their games should be more mature but they still have room to improve quite a bit. Im going to compare Miudiay and Porsingis or whatever, damn thats a hard last name to write unless your a Knick’s fan lol, i think Miudiay going to China was a mistake, the chinese league level is below the NCAA level in my opinion, and that hurt his development, if he played that year in college he would had been better, Russell is starting to thrive and Miudiay is stuck in the mud, because Russell had a higher level of competition the year prior joining the pros, Porzingis? he played in the ACB in Spain since he was 17 years old, as far as im concerned, that’s the second best basketball league in the world, that is a level of competition that no other rookie in this class faced, and Porzingis play show how his experience in the ACB paid off. And lastly, Randle and Russell are rookies with weaknesses and are inconsistent, that’s to be expected, Russell in two years could be something else, he is still an NBA baby but the potential is there and is getting more comfortable playing at this level, Randle can be pretty good too but he needs to develop that right hand and that jumpshot, he is a rebounding machine already,he needs to really improve in the offseason, but he seems to have a maniacal drive so im pretty sure he will spend a looot of time working on his weaknesses. Russell “the bust”? looks like he is could to be somebody in this league already…
Fern: Only time will tell on the kids. My heart may be more optimistic but my brain says that its far too early to be sure.
As Gary mentioned above: But other than flashes we haven’t seen any of them produce at a consistent enough level to say, ‘OK – we’ve got that position covered for the next 10 years.’ I only disagree with that statement about one player – I think Russell can and will succeed at a high level. But really being honest I can’t say that about anyone else.
I think the Lakers are fortunate on some level that the big free agent bonanza is the summer of 2017. We would probably not fare well if that was happening this summer. Elite’s aren’t giving up the last four years of their productivity based on potential and that’s all we have to sell right now.
But in my mind the team needs to integrate at least one in their prime talent this off season. That will make us all the more attractive next summer. I think its a stretch, but Anon above, mentioned that its not impossible that with the right draft pick the FO may decide they don’t need to add an elite free agent — just let the kids grow.
I hope you are right about Randle. I agree that he is a pretty fair rebounder. That is only one part of the game, though. I’ve heard many times that he needs to develop a right hand and improve his outside shot. He also needs to work on the less obvious holes in his game. JR needs to be more attentive and competitive on defense, both on the ball and as a help defender. Also, he has to make better decisions when he attacks the basket. He incurs a lot of offensive fouls. The biggest red flag for me, though, is that he has trouble finishing against size and a lot of his shots near the basket are just so awkward looking and simply don’t go in. As a fan of the team, I’m rooting hard for the young man, but as you said, he’s gonna have to work hard to overcome some of his deficiencies.
Darius still trying to say Ryan Kelly is good or no?
LKK almost 10rpg coming mostly off the bench at 26mpg is more than pretty fair at the rate he is going i think is fair to assume that he will end up with double digits in rpg, if he correct his deficiencies he could be lethal, if he needs to be guarded at mid-range it opens his game off the dribble and if he could attack with both hands he could be really tough to guard. He is basically a rookie and this is a case of a lot of potential upside, he wont fix his troubles in season. But all indications are that he is a hard worker and wants to improve…
Randle has a lot of trouble finishing, he lacks both a mid-range and long-range game, and he does not project to be an elite defender, and maybe not even a good one. He is strong and quick and young and gets a lot of defensive rebounds, and those are nice things that people see with the eye test, but there are a lot of reasons to be skeptical about Randle. For example, comparing him to an older teammate:
FG% 0-3 FT FROM THE BASKET
Randle could still get quite a bit better; he is young and only played one year of college ball. But he will need to improve in several areas.
The Dane says
Clarkson looks a lot like he would be perfect in the Ginobili role… which makes Ingram a great fit in the starting unit. Match him up with a strong 3 and D wing/SG and it will be and interesting unit.
Mudiay vs Russell. The argument for Mudiay was that he is an impressive athlete and if you teach him to shoot then you have an all-star. I’m rather skeptical of these sort of outcomes. Russell on the other hand was a super high skill level player with modest athleticism. These kind of players seem to always improve. This was why I was so vocal about drafting Russell. Russell has the potential to become an elite level player.
Porzingis was at the top of my draft board in terms of potential. Yet I didn’t think the Lakers would take him as they already have Randle. When Randle was drafted I favored getting Vonleh. Up to this point Randle has been more impressive. However, Vonleh has the total tool set. Given his role in Portalnd Vonleh has shown himself to be a capable defender with flashes of showing his offensive potential. It is fairly common to have to teach big men to be aggressive enough. Vonleh is quiet soft spoken kid whom, I expect to eventually to become assertive enough to become a two way player.
Randle is the exact opposite. He has assertiveness in spades. However, he lacks the tool set. He doesn’t have the long arms to be a shot blocker or be effective in the post. These are things he can never ever correct. He has shown himself to be a better defender than I expected. I forget the exact stats but he is a slightly subpar defender at the moment. He is able to keep his guy to modest fg% numbers by staying in front of his man and using his strength.
He also seems to be poor at reading opposing offensive schemes and being out of place. And as often mention he cannot use his right hand and his jumper doesn’t fall. These problems are correctable though not a given. He does have the right work habits though.
My eventual expectation is that he becomes an average defender with an above average offensive game. Likely a good player but not an elite player.
Ryan kelly is good………….in the d league
Someone mentioned jabari brown earlier and it makes me wonder, he should be on the team, i mean didn’t he make the team last year, he shot well, and he’s young, ryan kelly has been on the team like 3 years and he wasn’t that good last year when everyone was either benched or hurt, and mwp wasn’t he waived or amnesty before, couldn’t they just have a coaching spot open, then huertas an undrafted 30 year old, he did play good in like 2 preseason games, but if aint in the league by now what are you thinking, like i said jabari brown should be on the team just based upon what he did last year, him and tarik should have been given the green light right away, instead they gotta swett it out, it’s kinda dumb to cut a propect like that for those guys i mentioned (i understand sacre he’s big and you always need another giant), jabari is only 23 and he is still a type of rookie he played limited last year, i read that he scored 62 points in 28 minutes in china, i know its china but thats alot of buckets, he also scored 50 in the d league last year, and 32 points against Sacramento last year (as a rookie ), he also was clarksons teammate in college, i think it was a mistake to cut him.
J. Brown definitely was an interesting prospect and was borderline to making the team. I believe it came down to him or Metta. On a team with so many rookies I don’t think adding a vet was a terrible idea. From what I saw in the preseason Metta had a huge impact on Randle, especially improving his defense to what it is. You could argue he could do that as a coach yet, a player has a different impact in a personal way then coaches do. So from the stand point of developing Randle being a priority this was a good move.
Huertas was supposed to backup Russell. At the time I was supportive of this. Huertas is great at distributing the ball and has the type of game that could tutor Russell. However his defense is terrible and with the Lakers team defense he can’t hide. Further the PG position is pretty much filled already between Russell, Clarkson, and Williams leaving no playing time for Huertas making him redundant.
Sacre is a great teammate and an acceptable 3rd string center. He is exactly the type of guy you want in that role not complaining about not playing until needed. However, I think if we had fewer guys at PF Black could play time at PF and also serve as the 3rd string Center. I did not envision Bass playing Center in the beginning of the year and I would have liked to see Upshaw given a shot to prove himself.
Michael h says
It’s interesting to me how there are so many projection on the kids. They will be this, they won’t be that. Personally I don’t how good any of the young guys will be. But I have seen enough to believe the potential is there to be very good. And the thing they all seem to share is a strong work ethic. That’s the key to becoming great.
Part of the problem is the offense itself. It’s plodding, predictable and way to heavy on the iso’s. Last I looked we were number one in iso’s and 27 in efficiency. But you can see some of the potential when we play pick and roll and run. Randle in particular is really a poor fit for this offense. It just doesn’t spread the floor enough for him and his attack game. Although I thought he was really good in 3 of the last 5 games. Seems more controlled. And for those that don’t think his ceiling is very high remember Draymond Green averaged 2 points and 3 boards and shot under 30 percent from 3 his first year. And he was a four year collage player. As defense is concerned Randle is quick, fast and plays with energy. There really isn’t any reason that he can’t become a great defender. Defense is always a challenge for young players. It takes time. Lebron was considered a defensive liability for years. Now he’s one of the best.
I also look at Clarkson as having way more upside then he is generally given credit for. I looked at a lot of other shooting guards out there and he stacks up well against most of them at this point in his career. For instance Clay Thompson only out scored him by half a point in his 2nd year but played 4 more minutes a game. He was a better 3 point shooter but Clarkson out rebounds him and has more assists. Plus Clay didn’t have to play within the context of a Kobe farewell tour. That’s something to keep in mind with all of the kids. By the way Clay was not thought of as a defensive stopper in his 2nd year but he’s considered very good now.
Again I don’t know how good any of these kids will become I just think it’s a little early to draw conclusions in the first or 2nd year. I mean at least until the season over.
Umm Vonleh is averaging 3 points and 3 rebounds for game and he has started in 20+ games for the Blazers after being traded after his rookie season in wich he avg guess what? 3 and 3, that “tool set” sounds like a bust set, i take Randle over him everyday of the week and twice on Sundays…
Vonleh the guy with big hands
A Horse With No Name says
michael h: mahalo. Very sensible comments, good observations.
Fern: Keep bringing your “A” game.
Michael H i agree with everything you said but the Lebron part, Lebron’s defense has been overrated thru his entire career, his athelticism allows him to make some pretty impressive steals and blocks but overall? he is not a shut down defender.
Horse is just observations based on my near obsession with this team and common sense at least the way i see it. My projections of the kids are all “could be” the potential is there but i would not dare to throw out terms like “elite” until they prove it but they could be pretty good, specially “the bust”.
Like I said, Green’s development arc is more or less unprecedented in the history of the league, so suggesting it could happen again is a long reach, and that is to some extent true of Golden State as a team. And even as a rookie, Green was a lot better at the rim than Randle has been, and that matters. Randle also does not have Green’s length.
The other point is one reason why so many people want Walton to be the coach, and there may be something to that. Budenholzer has helped Atlanta with some of the same principles. I tend to think Walton will stay with GS, but we will see.
As to the offense: yes, Byron’s O is part of the problem, but so is the personnel: Kobe, Young, Williams, Clarkson–all guys who attack off the dribble a lot and use the ISO. Kobe’s retirement and getting the other two other than Clarkson off the team should help with that. Long-term, Brown and Nance Jr. can fit in as low-usage bench guys on a team whose offense is initiated by Clarkson and Russell.
A Horse With No Name says
Randle does not have Green’s length
Julius Randle 6’9″ in socks, 7′ wingspan, 8.95 standing reach max vert 35.5 2014 nba draft combine
Draymond Green 6’5.75″ 7’1.25 wingspan 8.90 standing reach max vert 33.0 2012 nba draft combine
Randle’s struggles are mostly about under developed skills, not lack of length. One college year compared to Green’s four years. Randle has an incredible combination of speed, power and quickness for a man his size, plus handles. So early and silly to feel dim about his prospects.
Fair enough on the length but even as a rookie, Green’s BLK % was higher than Randle’s and it is far higher now.
1. Green’s development arc is essentially unprecedented. Expecting Randle to do anything like that is a reach.
2. Randle is already 21. Green was 22 as a rookie.
3. Randle can’t finish, can’t shoot from mid-range, and gets most of boards on D. He is an eyetest favorite for the reasons I stated and you repeated, but he has a lot to work on to actually be a good player. Like I said last year, I hope you are right about him. So far, you have not been, but he is in a very bad situation.
Also, you should just go back to your previous handle.