After losing to the Nuggets on Friday, the Lakers are back in action today against the Wizards. Friday saw Kobe score 28 on decent efficiency, D’Angelo Russell go down with a sprained ankle (he is doubtful for today), and Julius Randle notch his 1st career triple double. Still, though, it was a loss. The Lakers are now 15-57 on the season, looking less and less likely to even catch last year’s franchise worst total of 21 wins.
The hope is that all this losing translates to the keeping of the team’s top-3 protected draft pick, but we know that’s far from certain. And while it is on fresh on the mind now (especially with March Madness in full swing), it’s also more of a conversation for May when we will know for sure. Fretting today, while a fun barstool discussion, it arguing hypotheticals more than anything else.
These last 10 games, then, are really about the remaining storylines of this year. Which really means it’s about Kobe and the final 10 games of his career. Over these last 10 games, I will post a random highlight clip from the opponent. With today’s game being against Washington, I figured the best clip to show would be when Kobe faced off against Michael Jordan for the last time in Los Angeles when his Airness was a Wizard.
Kobe dropped 55 points, including 42 in the first half against his idol:
That game really was a passing of the torch (even though Jordan was well past his prime). Kobe did what a young MJ would have done to an aged legend, giving his full effort and trying his hardest to show who’s game it really was. Love Kobe or hate him, it’s performances like that one for which he’ll be remembered.
Today Kobe is the aged superstar on his last legs and one has to wonder if John Wall or Bradley Beal will try to do to #24 what he did to Jordan over a decade ago. If for no other reason, this game is worth watching just to see if one of them tries.
Where you can watch: 6:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.
“The hope is that all this losing translates to the keeping of the team’s top-3 protected draft pick, but we know that’s far from certain.”
At this point, with Lakers having a 5 game “lead” on the Suns, they would need to win 5 of 10 (a .500 winning percentage of which 9 of those games are against teams which have playoff implications…lol) with the Suns winning none of their 9 remaining games (which includes Wolves, Pelicans, Kings).
So anybody still on #TeamTank should probably get off now. No point of rooting for losses with such a distinct possibility of dropping lower in the tank race existing.
Enjoy the rooks/young guys, enjoy Kobe.
And Go Lakers
J C says
Yes our order of finishing seems defined.
‘Far from certain’ means that the draft pick is not a certainty to be retained despite finishing second to last. Cuz we still only have a 55% chance of retaining it regardless.
J C says
Watching Kobe’s highlights from his #8 days are truly amazing. He gets anywhere on the court that he wants.
I agree with his decision to retire now, all things considered. But if the Lakers were a perennial contender, like the Spurs, I think he’d stick around awhile longer.
LT Mitchell says
If Kobe played for a front office and coaching staff who prioritized his health…. and were smart enough to limit his minutes, give him occasional rest days, and do everything possible to keep him healthy….. I think he would still be playing at an elite level today. Coach Pop has done a masterful job at lengthening Duncan’s career. It’s unfortunate that Kobe played his twilight years under Jimbo and DAntoni (and Byron).
Kobe is the boss. Not the coach.
Thanks Byron, I needed my weekly “Ryan Kelly is terrible” reminder
I like Brandon Ingram; tell me otherwise.
Phil Jackson used Kobe like a rented mule, too. You’ll never see the likes of Kobe again in terms of suiting up and playing through injury and fatigue, KB was old school. I agree wholeheartedly that he could have added more years to his career by taking a more prudent approach, but somehow I don’t think the Mamba would change much. Not in his DNA.
I lmao when I hear that players like Kyrie Irving are taking games off to rest. What is he, like 16?
Yea Lakers don’t need player of the year and best scorer in Buddy.
In other news. Clarkson with zero points.
In other, other news, the Warriors can go just 7-2 the rest of the way and secure the best regular season record in NBA history. I think they have two more regular season games with the Spurs, so they look to be right on target. Maybe Kerr will take a page out of Pop’s playbook and rest a few key guys down the stretch. Although Steph has sat out a goodly number of 4th quarters already this year because the Warriors have blown out so many teams.
They are “just” 50 1/2 games ahead of the Lakers.
So yeah, the Lakers don’t need much more talent.
I realize that Buddy Hield is having a very good NCAA tournament. Personally, I’m a bit wary of him. He’s short for a SG and in his last game he had (along with 37 points) zero assists and 6 TOs. Also, his defense is not stellar.
The Lakers don’t need a guard. Rather they need a SF and a Center in the worst possible way. Just because Clarkson had a clunker of a game (and he did) I think it’s too early to bail out on him.
The Lakers have needs other than shooting guard. Hopefully they’ll get the number 2 position in the draft. Of course, as we all know, anything can happen.
Russell just wrecked his Range Rover on way home.
Time for Buss family to try going to church.
Good loss by Lakers, as expected. (I never thought losing will be this good).
We need to develop our young core, they are our future be it for development or trades.
If I was to choose who will be our pick, we go for SF-Center, and stay away from guards.
We have very talented guards on our team, and in the market there are stars looking to bring their talent elsewhere (on is from Toronto SG-star).
and to add, Kobe game against MJ was one of Mambas sweet memories (time really flys so fast). he torched them big time.
J C says
As LKK points out, maybe Kobe would have burned himself out no matter who coached him.
I was pointing out that the Lakers’ dismal chances of team success this year taints his farewell and may have slightly hastened his retirement.
Although his last few years have been devastating for Kobe health-wise, this year he’s been demonstrably better, and is at least still playing well enough that he could still very easily contribute meaningfully to a contending team.
Alas, we don’t have that.
The question was asked awhile back who you would take at #3 in the coming draft.
And buddy is the answer
But i don’t think anyone would take him over simmons or ingram.
Agreed lakers need a small forward, but if those 2 are gone, why not take a shooter.
As far as centers go
I don’t think picking poeltl or bender is good.
Hopefully we get simmons
Thanks for the video clip – warms this Laker heart, & plenty!
lil pau says
I don’t think longevity comparisons between Kobe – a slashing guard for most of his career – and big men such as Duncan (or Malone for that matter) hold any water. There’s a reason why the top of the all-time scoring lists are dominated by centers and power forwards— much less wear and tear and chance for serious injury. Before one canonizes Pop for ‘protecting’ TD, consider the injury history of Manu and Parker.
Kobe’s injuries are no one’s fault…. it’s just as simple as the more often you’re in the air, the more likely you;ll come down wrong… and the more often you’re bumping into bodies bigger than yours, the more often you’ll carom in a deleterious fashion.
This coming from the poster who predicted Kobe would catch Kareem, so this comes with a big mea culpa.
LT Mitchell says
While Phil played Kobe plenty of minutes, Kobe was young. In Phil’s final year. Kobe was showing signs of his age….. and Phil limited Kobe’s minutes to 33 a game. Kobe may be hard headed, but he accepted Phil’s attempts to manage his minutes.
Contrast that to MDA giving a 17 year vet starter’s minutes almost immediately after returning from major offseason surgery. This after running Kobe into the ground the prior year. Byron was not much better at managing Kobe’s minutes, and even took the blame for overplaying Kobe last season.
Smart organizations (Spurs, Heat, Dallas, Warriors) manage the minutes of their vets.
One of Kobes greatest strengths as a player is his pedal to the metal attitude.
Like many of us lesser beings, his strength can be a weakness as well.
Vintage Kobe in the video above! So fun to watch. Thx for the share Darius. As opposed to this last Laker’s game. Only 15 assists for the entire game. Stagnant uninspired offense. Non existent defense. And here’s what our coach had to say about it:
“I even tell the guys it’s like a broken record,” he said. “We talk about the same things over and over again. I want to sometimes just tape myself and just play it. Let me just save my breath and just tape it.” And later…”I feel they’re hearing it. They’re just not applying it,” Scott said. “It’s either not applying it or they can’t apply it. I’m just going to keep preaching it to them until they get it.”
From the coach’s perpective he makes it abundantly clear that whatever problems the team has are attributable solely to the players. The coaching and the systems and the motivation from said coach and his staff are beyond reproach evidently. Just as an un-funny joke does not become funnier by repeatedly telling it, the message and the method employed by Coach Scott is not gaining in effectiveness by virtue of blind rote repitition and his continued aversion to assuming the merest shred of accountability. Poor Byron is so frustrated with his players and tired of repeating himself that he suggests he should make a recording of himself. I sincerely doubt that the recorded version of his comments would be any less effective. I recognize that I am again harping on Scott but these latest quotes are so damning that I felt compelled to address them. Call it therapy.
Look clearly the Laker’s have other and arguably bigger issues (relations between Jeannie & Jim, the FO’s erratic and scattered approach to free agency, shortage of player talent, etc) than Mr Scott but it seems an unavoidable truth that replacing the coach is needed. A new voice is sorely needed and to the extent that Byron’s presence hurts our chances of signing free agent talent then that alone is more than reason enough to make a change.
It’s been said that Byron could be easily replaced for the balance of the season by a cardboard cutout of him in full on scowl and folded arms pose. We can now include a tape recorder to fill in for his wisdom laced words as well
I have only seen one or two people suggest that Scott should be retained. The big question facing the Lakers is whether the FO should be retained.
RR absolutely. Love your ongoing support of this site. And I didn’t mean to suggest that there was a large contingent of keep Byron supporters on the site and certainly did not mean to imply that. My comment was simply that I find myself devoting far too much time being critical of Byron rather than focusing on stuff happening on the court. So hopefully I will get off this jag soon 🙂
My comment was simply that I find myself devoting far too much time being critical of Byron rather than focusing on stuff happening on the court.
Like I have said (repeatedly): all of the regulars, me included, can be repetitive. So no need to apologize.
But I will extremely surprised if Byron is kept around. I think they will buy him out, thank him for guiding the team through a difficult time, etc. and offer him a sinecure with the org. I also think that Jim and Mitch will get another year, between the three young guys, the cap space, and the possible high lotto pick.
You’ll get no argument from me in favor of MDA or BS. And I agree that smart organizations try to mange the minutes of their vets as well as replenishing the team surrounding its star. The Lakers did neither. They tried to add pieces to help Kobe and Pau with Howard and Nash, but that didn’t work.