I don’t blame anyone for doing it. After all, I do it myself. After the Lakers hired Luke Walton and added talent through the draft and free agency, I started to look at the Warriors, their players, the roles they played, and then sought out analogues on the Lakers’ roster for players who would and/or could be slotted into a similar position or role.
Can D’Angelo Russell and his sweet shooting become the Lakers’ Steph Curry? Can Brandon Ingram be their Klay Thompson? Their Kevin Durant? The Lakers need a Draymond Green — can Julius Randle be that guy? Maybe Larry Nance, Jr. could be? Oh, maybe Deng can fill that Andre Iguodala role? I’ve even compared Lou Williams to Leandro Barbosa. My ability seek out Lakers/Warriors comps knows no bounds.
I need to stop, though. And you do to.
The Warriors can serve as an example of the way Luke Walton would like his new team to play, for sure. The unselfishness. The competitiveness. The way they move the ball onto the open man and rotate defensively. The way they have fun on the court while not sacrificing the work off it. The way they celebrate each other’s successes and pick each other up after failures. This is all a part of constructing a team culture and, with the departure of Kobe Bryant, one that does need a re-brand as much as a rebuild.
But as much as the Warriors can serve as a guide and, in some ways, even a benchmark to strive for in terms of approach and results (over the long term), the Lakers and their individual players must stay true to themselves and try to maximize their own strengths rather than replicate someone else’s. It is fine to try and steal from the best players and incorporate some of their tricks and pet moves into your own arsenal. So many of the greats blatantly rip-off those who came before them.
But trying to pigeon hole any of the Lakers’ players into the role a Warriors’ player served in isn’t necessarily the best way to optimize this team. While there might be some skill-set overlap, these Lakers are different players; different people. They are going to react to situations differently, improvise differently. They also have different strengths and weaknesses which can be leveraged or exploited.
I get that the Warriors provide a certain blueprint for success. And I get that with Walton coming over, the easiest way to analyze how the Lakers move forward and seek progress is to find ways they can emulate what his former team in Oakland did. But not only is that not really fair, it’s probably not even that accurate.
I think we need to give Walton credit that he will not try to create a carbon copy of the Warriors with these Lakers. That he is smart enough to recognize the differences in personnel and, beyond that, try to turn his new players into the best versions of themselves rather than knock-offs of his former guys. Further, that comparing these current young guys to players who all-stars, MVP’s, and Olympians or, worse yet, expecting them to play the same role or style as them may not be the best way to get the most out of them.
Ultimately, we need to appreciate these young players for who they are and what they can and, down the line, will bring to the table. While we can hope they follow a similar developmental curve to their best case Warrior comp, trying to put the round peg into the hexagonal hole isn’t in anyone’s best interests. Instead of trying to turn this team into the last great Warriors’ group, we hope they can develop into the next great Lakers’ one.
First time commenting, but love your blog.
Thank you for this!! This is what I worried about with Luke as our head coach. And I’m glad that I wasn’t the only one thinking about this. In my opinion, our players have more individual potential than the Warriors players, for the most part. It is up to Luke to ensure that our players play up to their individual potential and to form a cohesive group of players that live up to their collective potential. It is going to take a couple of years of playing together and an impactful free agent signing or two but I believe we’ll be right back in the hunt. And the way we’ve been drafting and the direction the team has been taking lately I don’t see why we can’t finally produce a consistent and sustainable level of success, just like the Spurs over the past 20 years. Instead of inconsistent spurts of championships with years of terrible basketball in between.
Having players that have no comparison allows you to do things no one else can. To quote Phil Jackson, “We have Saq and nobody else does.”
However, Kerr built on a foundation laid by Mark Jackson. Kerr took what Jackson did and made several tweaks to make it work as well as it does. So hopefully Walton will not only bring in a Warriors playbook but, also adjust it to the players he has and make it effective.
A Horse With No Name says
Eric Pincus Retweeted Lander
When the Lakers feel like there’s no better use of their cap room – they’ll lock in Ingram, Black and Huertas
I agree with you for the most part and possibly more,
however it depends upon what you are referring to with this ‘impactful free agent’.
If you mean max free agent then I differ strongly on that aspect.
Too many people believe that we need someone to come in and save us, and thus every summer they urge the front office polish up our trophies, put on their usher suits, and lay out the red carpet for agents who are more frequently choosing to give us a rain check.
I have an issue with that notion which pervades many minds.
We have a team with talented potential stars who only need the right farmers, proper soil and enough time, to grow into the max agents we require.
Bringing in some outsider even if you don’t deplete the team doing it, will do nothing but destroy the development of our young players and at the same time, their self confidence.
People must understand, that these young players see themselves as the future stars of this team, and some of them are proving that they could very well reach that potential.
Just as important, They also have chemistry which is essential to their future success at a cohesive unit, and an element that an outsider could wreck.
I say, keep them together and allow continuity to work its magic.
Any free agents we pick up should be built around our core, keeping the pecking order and talents in place until we know otherwise who is who and what it what.
I’m willing to bet, that if we can do that, if we can hold our patience in check and keep the big picture in mind, we will have a team with dynasty written all over it.
A nice analogy -via Phil & Shaq- Vasheed.
The last thing I´d want a Laker squad to do is to try & `copycat´ another successful team.
Luke´s his own man; has the on-court experience as well as a healthy coaching stint, not to mention father Bill´s likely words of wisdom.
Therefore, he´s gotta come in and do what´s best with the talent that we´ve got (and may end up getting).
That´s what I believe is the tack Luke´ll be taking. Hopefully, it´ll pay dividends… grandly!
_ Robert _ says
The formula is not to play like the Warriors, the formula is to obtain the best players (an amazing concept). If you do not have one of the top 3 players in the league, and 2 of the top 10, then the odds of winning the championship are slim (yea yea – 2004 Pistons being the exception). We have never won a title without those type of players. Besides – the Warriors are not the Champs – Cleveland is, and they did it the old fashioned way – they had the best player in the league Now GS is countering by going out and getting the consensus second best all around payer in the form of KD. Forget the alchemy – just obtain the gold directly. Jerry Buss and Jerry West were the master of that. Jerry West still is. Different CBA, different league, same executive achieving same results.
Jayro89: “consistent and sustainable level of success, just like the Spurs over the past 20 years. Instead of inconsistent spurts of championships with years of terrible basketball in between.” – I think we have done pretty well with our spurts of championships. We have 16 to the Spurs 5. We have dominated them head to head. I hate the Spurs. By the way – this would not be the time to switch our mode. We have just gone through a six year drought of trips to the Finals (our all time record is 8), so a “spurt of championships” should be right around the corner – right?
To flee war, to protect the lives of themselves and their families, and must live with the rhythm of society, sometimes makes people feel comfortable smell. Be strong in the harshness of life, you will succeed.
_ Robert _ Okay, I am a believer. Durant said the Lakers are two years away from being competitive. That may even be a little generous given how young the core players are. So who are the top 3 players going to be three years from now?
Mid Wilshire says
I agree that the Lakers should find their own recipe for success. What works for Golden State, given their talent, would work for few, if any, other teams in the League.
So…what are the Lakers’ strengths that they can build on? This, as we all know, is a difficult question to answer since the team (especially its young core) is still very much a work in progress. But if I were to tout any one element that truly stands out at this point (barring any disruptive trades that suddenly gut the whole team), I would say that the Lakers current roster excels in its versatility — players who can play multiple positions and thus give Luke Walton some intriguing possibilities for experimentation. Below are some of the players who can clearly play more than one position (Note: this isn’t “positionless” basketball; it’s versatility; there’s a difference):
GUARDS: D’Angelo Russell — 1 (primary position); 2 (secondary position); Jordan Clarkson — 2; 1
SMALL FORWARDS: Luol Deng — 3; 4; Brandon Ingram — 3; 2; and (possibly in the future) 4; Anthony Brown — 3; 2
POWER FORWARDS: Julius Randle — 4; (Small Ball) 5; Larry Nance, Jr. — 4; 3
CENTERS: Tarik Black — 5; 4
That means that the Lakers have at least 8 players out of 13 (I am not including Nick Young) who will be able to legitimately play more than one position. Furthermore, of those 8, seven are part of our young core.
I think the Lakers would do well to capitalize on this versatility and see where this leads them. This could be one of their keys to success in the long term future. In this way, they could carve out their own formula for success, one that few other teams could emulate.
Where is my favorite Laker nowadays, Zubac?
Mid Wilshire says
wwlofficial I think Zubac went back to Europe for a week or 2 and has since returned to LA. BTW, I did not include Zubac in the list above because I don’t see him as a multi-positional player. But I like him a lot. And I hope for big things from him. Hopefully, he’ll be a big part of this team in the future…but strictly as a 5.
I perspire when you make those player comparisons,. I want the Lakers to be the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe and Pau built a blue print of their own. Shaq and Kobe before that had their own. In fact that team was almost branded one time as one of the greatest sitting close to the greatest team ever built in my honest opinion – the SHOWTIME Lakers. Coming down the court, bringing the ball, these showtime boys were wired together.. They were the first WIFI Players to put it simply. All connected to one brain on who will take the shot.. Just a pure simple eye contact. They played flawlessly and unselfishly. Sorry Warriors but you are unfortunately not yet close.. The current Los Angeles young CORE is so talented that one can make an argument that if this thing is just planned, players mentored properly and meticulously, they have a great chance to probably equal the SHOWTIME boys. Looking at each individual talents Mr Soriano you’re just on the money.No one know that final plan or solution. Lakers are working quietly led by one of the most tight lipped GM on this league.. We don’t even know what’s actually cooking in El Segundo. Perhaps all we will just see are the result this coming season and what I’m sure I know is that Laker Nation is so excited..
wwlofficial Watch this kid in two years. might line up with the great centers of LA if mentored properly and meticulously. Most of all he is a very humble kid and his personality is what emulates the true Purple and Gold.
_ Robert _ says
FredP: Trying to predict who is going to break out is very difficult. And most guys never do. People like to use the Curry example as someone who gradually developed, but he is the exception. LBJ, Durant, Shaq, Garnett, Duncan were all superstars from day 1 (Kobe not on list because a coach had him in handcuffs). Previous generation was no different. Magic, MJ, Bird, and Kareem were all superstars from the word go. Does not seem to be that type of blue chip talent around now, so LBJ and KD might be able to dominate for the next few years. Getting these guys as we have seen does not require a crystal ball, rather an adept ability to forge a team together. LBJ has been signed away 2 separate times and now KD once. So I am confident that the next superstars will be able to be had for the correct deal and situation. The key is to be ready to make the deal when it becomes available. The Spurs signed LMA which is a guy in the next set of players down from LBJ and KD. So – next year’s title is almost certainly going to be won by one of the same three teams that was a favorite for this year’s title. Cleveland (signed LBJ as FA). GS (signed KD as FA), and a distant third would be SA (signed LMA as FA). We meanwhile put ourselves into this mess by letting our major FA walk in the form of DH and PG. So – we unfortunately need to mortgage a couple more years to put ourselves in position to compete for the next superstars. We can do that by continuing to develop the youngsters, having cap space available at the correct points, and not locking ourselves into long term deals that we will regret. We then need to present a cohesive team building plan to prospective FAs. This would include a plan from both the FO and the Coach. Those meetings have not gone too well in the past few years. They need to go much better as there are 30 teams competing for the best 3 players in the league.
KevTheBold Jayro89 Yaaa VOL
_ Robert _
Your ‘best player’ notion is biased.
You leave out players who don’t fit with your ‘star from day 1’ idea.
For example, Kareem had his productive years after age 32, and Durant himself said Ingram is further along than he was at that age.
You of course give Kobe a pass for being ‘handcuffed’his first year, but won’t extend the same curtesy to D’Angelo.
We don’t need to buy a max free agent, but do like every nba dynasty for the past 50 years, grow our own.
LT Mitchell says
Yes, these comparisons need to stop. The talent discrepancy is too large to make any fair comparisons.
These are the odds of each Laker eventually becoming as good or better than their Golden State counterparts:
DAR – Curry – 3%
Clarkson – Klay – 2%
Ingram – Barnes – 75%
Randle – Draymond – 3%
Mosgov – Bogut – 20%
Walton – Kerr 25%
Kupchack – West – 1%
Jimbo – GS Ownership 0%
J C hoops says
Kareem was dominant beginning from day one.
First year averaged 28-14-4,
Second year 31-16 -3 and NBA Championship winner
Third year 35-16 -4
Kareem won his first championship as a rookie and was mvp.
The only comparison I would draw between the lakers and warriors is building your team through good draft picks and develop them into a team that plays well together. I would not compare the players but the process.
As I said, his best years, ages 33 to 41, the dynasty years.
As for pure stats, keep it in perspective.
1. He was 22 when drafted.
2. He played the center position.
3. He was 7’2″ during a time when the average nba player was 6’5″.
4. Skill levels have risen as time passes.
Do you actually believe what you posted is scientific fact?
If so, I now understand your jaded perspective.
Good stuff, as usual D. I totally agree that we need to establish our own identity.
The Warriors are a great team but they didn’t invent “team ball, “it’s been around since day one minus the trey. The Lakers are, and always will be, trendsetters not copycats.
We have to let our players grow and play to their strengths. I trust in Luke to make the right moves to allow that to happen. It should be a fun ride.
LAKER4LIFE wwlofficial not only that, he LOVES that he’s a Laker. That’s very important to me.
I find it hilarious when people compare Randle with Draymond Green and DAR with Steph and so on. GS sucess have a lot of luck built into it. They drafted and hoped for the best as we do. Why is Steph is so grossly underpaid? Because his ankles where built of cotton the first years of his career and they didn’t knew if they could hold. If Steph ankles gave way, there would not be a GS powerhouse. We drafted the best we could, now we can only hope. I hope ALL our kids pan out. I don’t like comparisions because each championship team has been built in a diferent way. There is no blueprint. If there were all 30 teams would have rings by now…
That is just ridiculous…
J C hoops says
well said, i agree
LT Mitchell says
I’m in no way suggesting that our players will not eventually be good players. I think they are on their way, but let’s be realistic.
Curry is arguably the best shooter in the history of the game, and was considered by many as the best player in the game, at least before the playoffs started. DAR, or any player, has very little chance of reaching that status.
Klay is arguably the top SG in the league and is elite on both ends of the floor. The odds of Clarkson becoming an elite two way player are slim, to say the least.
Draymond is arguably the most versatile player in the league on both ends of the floor, as well as a PG on offense. His basketball IQ is through the roof. Randle has little chance of getting to Greens level. I won’t even get into Jimbo and West, but you get the idea.
If anything, I may have been generous with my odds.
Excellent article and points well taken.
Excellent article and points well taken.
LT Mitchell T
You should smash that crystal ball, it’s already broken.
Look, There are many reasons players never reach their potential, most of which is being drafted by the wrong team.
In our case our core has proven talent, and have landed in a great spot and now, have the right coach.
All they need is the time and space to develop; something your strenuous urgings to trade for Westbrook would ruin, and set us back another 5 years at least.
Let’s face it, you’re just a pessimist, with a bias against our core, especially D’Angelo.
I assume you wanted us to draft another player and you just can’t let it go.
LT Mitchell says
This is my very last response to you. You continue to make false accusations at me. I wanted to draft DAR, and still would have made that decision.
Wanting to trade DAR for a top five player is not hating on DAR, and stating that he will never be as good as the best shooter in league history does not make anyone a pessimist.
Please do not respond to any of my future posts. I come here for a nuanced disscussion, not to throw insults and have a chest thumping war with people with poor reading comprehension skills and an inability to see anything beyond black and white. Good bye.
So your saying the chance of d’angelo russell ever becoming a league mvp are 3%
Jerry west is not the general manager of the warriors bob Myers is.
Jerry west joined the warriors in 2011 so he gets no credit for drafting steph curry
Jerry west is not the general manager of the warriors
The warriors drafted big man udoh in 2010 and passed on paul george and gordan hayward, so let’s not act like they perfect, draft is hit and miss.
No need to get angry at me, you bring this on yourself.
Your continual posts about wanting to ship out D’Angelo in a useless trade which would do nothing for our team but gut it, would make anyone question your motives.
In addition, your ridiculous home made percentage chart proves more about your pessimism than I could ever say.
As for reading comprehension skills, you should read a bit more on the consequences of your trade proposals before you post them for the 20th time, as it would lend some of us to believe that you can read or at least care about other opinions.
So you’re telling me there IS a chance?…;D…
One problem not mentioned in trying to turn the Lakers into the Warriors is overly faithful emulation tends to not work. Successful teams are somewhat unique combinations of talent, coaching, chemistry, and luck which cannot necessarily be duplicated by saying, “We’re going to build a team like X”
Back in the 1980s, teams tried to emulate the Lakers by looking for tall Magic Johnson-like point guards. Only the 1986 Rockets (whose tall athletic wings bothered Magic) and post-1987 bulls with Scottie Pippen came close.
Similarly, the success of those Olajuwaon-Sampson Rockets and the Parish-McHale Celtics had many teams looking to pair two center-type players and led to ridiculous free agent signings like Jon Koncak (the Timofey Mozgov of his day). Again, those teams rarely prospered.
Yet one more: how many coaches have tried to install the Triangle Offense (e.g. Jim Cleamons, Kurt Rambis, and Derek Fisher)? How many have had any success with it?
If the Lakers are as talented as we hope and the coaching staff as smart as we hope, the Lakers will evolve into a very good team. Exactly what it will look like and how it will resemble other teams is very difficult to predict.
Exactly. Let’d not act like the Warriors had some grandiose plan all along. A lot of it is just dumb luck…