Yes, there are still games to play. And while there is a growing agitation from fans about the on-court product and some of the machinations involved with producing that product, there really is no escape. The Lakers are not a good team right now and some of the decisions which are going into this final stretch of games for an evaluation period only serve to exasperate some of this team’s short comings.
To be clear, I don’t think this is solely a coaching or players issue either. I don’t necessarily agree with D’Angelo Russell coming off the bench. I don’t think shifting the starting lineup seemingly every game is to any of the players’ benefits. I also don’t think the players should be let of the hook for making some of the mistakes they do, for not playing hard for longer stretches, nor for some of their overall poor play. More than one thing can be wrong and from more than one side in all this.
What needs to be consistently reiterated, however, is that while so many things can be done differently, I don’t think we could be expecting different results at this point. This team wouldn’t suddenly be winning games if Russell and Clarkson started together or if Julius Randle and Russell played harder defensively for longer stretches. This team simply doesn’t have enough experience yet nor does it have the type of high talent veteran who can be a fulcrum for what the team wants to do schematically on both ends of the floor. When these two things are the case, it’s going to be hard to win games.
All of the above has little to do with the game against the Bucks tonight and for that I apologize. The fact is, though, is I don’t actually have much to say about the Bucks. I love Giannis. I feel bad for Jabari Parker who tore his ACL again. I’m happy that Khris Middleton is back in the lineup after tearing his hamstring off the damn bone before the season. I also don’t know if Jason Kidd is a good coach or not. These are general thoughts about the opponent, but they tell you nothing about this matchup.
But, really, what does that matter? These last games of the year actually have very little to do with the opponents wearing the other jersey and everything to do with what the Lakers – players and coaches – do to try and get something out of this time on the floor together. This is a young roster with a young coach that is doing a lot of losing. They need reps, but they need to try and extract something of value from them and not just frustration. After all, fans feel enough of that for everyone.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet.
Travis Y. says
What we need to understand is that players don’t tank organizations do. We all know the worst case scenario is to wind up with the #4+ pick, which also kills us in 2019.
Thus, it is apparent that management has requested that Luke explore the lineup aka not put our best players on the court.
Where is the evidence? Well, it’s been right under our noses.
Example #1-Deng and Mozgov have been ruled out for the season.
Example #2-After averaging 20+ since the all-star break, Russell was benched.
Example #3-The extensive looks at Ennis, Nwaba, and Brewer.
Look, Luke doesn’t believe in tanking, however there is no doubt that he is not playing our best players. Rather, we are looking at what players we want to keep, who plays with heart, and what is our team’s greatest need (DEFENSE!!!!), aka who would be the best player would address our team’s weaknesses.
I’m not looking for wins and losses, rather I’m looking at who will play defense, who actually gives a crap, and if they can fit our ball-sharing offense from the beginning of the season.
Evidence of “tanking”????
“Example #1-Deng and Mozgov have been ruled out for the season.”
I’m saying this tongue in cheek here but………..
Are you suggesting that Deng and Mozgov being allowed to play would somehow produce BETTER results than what we are seeing???? Its almost UNFAIRLY FLATTERING for anyone to elevate these two stiffs to the level that they could be seen in any way as ON COURT IMPROVEMENTS were they to be allowed to play.
I don’t think any of us are saying to ourselves, “Cmon Luke!!!! Put Deng in and lets WIN this thing!!!!!!!” or “Well, yeah we may be losing…..But its ONLY because we aren’t playing our BEST players like Mozgov! You just wait til next year when we can UNLEASH Dengov!!!!”
Honestly, I would assert that playing Luol and Timo HUGE minutes would lose us just as many games as would benching them. This is the Lakers amazing versatility: Play Dengov and LOSE or Play a D-Leaguer with 19 yr olds and LOSE……..We can lose with ANY line up!!! We are HINKIE-ESQUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wait til next year when we FINALLY will be playing to win. Let’s see how VITAL Deng and Mozgov are to winning. I’d bet not much. I personally dread having to watch these guys get ANY time. LUCKILY only three more years to go on their deals……just THREE……which is really only like, 1100 DAYS…….SMH
Weak article, what are you trying to say Darius?
Darius Soriano says
Thanks for your feedback Mr. Anonymous!
Hopefully the Clarkson as a starting PG experiment ends soon. Stalls the offense and plays turnstile defense.
LT Mitchell says
Watching Nance, Ingram and Russell sticking up for their teammate was a beautiful sight. Aside from the victories over the Rockets and Warriors at the start of the season, this was probably the best moment of the season for me. Mild mannered Ingram in particular, who got right in the middle of the scuffle, was not having it!…against Monroe who outweighs him by 80 pounds. Don’t let that calm demeanor fool you. This kid is as tough as nails, is a student of the game, and plays hard on both sides of the court. He has all the attributes I want to see in a Laker player. He is a keeper. I just get the sense that many of the players have been playing for themselves this season. It was nice to see them fighting for each other for once.
Good news all around. Lakers showed heart–and attitude–and gave the Bucks a real scare–but mercifully lost. Phoenix is almost in perfect lockstep–so we better watch our toes. Philly seems to be fading away with another win–they’ve got something going.
We’re not home free, yet, but our lottery situation remains hopeful.
I’m looking at free agents and trading possibilities. I bet I’m not alone.
There’s been little cause to cheer this dismal season since the one quarter mark, when it looked like the lakers had at least attained mediocrity.
That said, I was happy to see Swaggy’s teammates stick up for him last night.
I think it was Reed who stated that thinking about the Lakers looking the lottery pick this year and a first rounder in ’19 makes him want to break things. I agree and venture if it comes to pass it will mark one of the worse stretches of FO ineptitude in NBA history, if not THE worse.
Clay Bertrand says
I am not happy about the prospect of losing those picks, but I think the NETS deal with the Celtics is SIGNIFICANTLY worse than the Nash-Howard deals and will prove to be historically bad in the long run.
Consider that the Nets gave up First Rounders in 2014, 2016, RIGHT TO SWAP firsts in 2017 (NO BRAINER) and another first in 2018, for an aged Garnett, Pierce, Jason Terry and throw in DJ White. Note that the picks received were UNPROTECTED too.
If the Lakers can dodge this last bullet, (and DON’T end up delivering the First Pick in the 2018 draft to Philly), it would be a HUGE escape from what could have been much worse.
The Laker situation is bad……but the Nets is downright ghastly!!!!
Clay I’m thinking not just of the failed Nash/Howard deals but also many many other fails that have been discussed here ad naseum, not least of which is the $136 million blown on Deng and Mosgoz. Taken all together, it’s a pretty catastrophic showing.
Not as bad as Brooklyn’s situation? Well, even if true, feel better now?
Clay Bertrand says
Better??? NO, I don’t feel too much better……I still feel fairly not so good. How can anyone feel better with Deng and Mozgov??? I was merely pointing out that SOMEONE has it worse than the Lakers because their FO had a worse run. That’s all. I was responding to your assertion that if we lose the pick this year (and in ’19) that, “… it will mark one of the worse [sic] stretches of FO ineptitude in NBA history, if not THE worse [sic].” The Nets situation IS THEEE WORST!! Hands DOWN!!!
AT LEAST the Lakers FO can say they drafted fairly well. The Nets can’t even say that. As bad as we all know it is, it could be worse–we could owe the next 2 first round picks unprotected to the Celtics. Does that SALVE the Dengov wound??? Of course not. For that I think they’d need to invent a new gnarly OPIOID or something…..
But AT LEAST our former FO made SOME good decisions and for all of our losing seasons lately. AT LEAST we have some young players with potential to show for it. The Nets won’t even be able to benefit from their down seasons. Instead, they are lining the pockets of a DIVISION RIVAL………
IF—BIG IF—but IFFFFFF, we keep our lottery pick this year, we will have avoided paying the heaviest price for the Nash-Howard deals. The Nets in their situation have NO WAY OUT…………
Rick in Seattle says
Good observations Darius. Walton seems to be treading the line of not winning and at the same time still getting a good look at all of the young players in different combinations.
In fact, I am a bit surprised that they have not waived MWP and brought in another waiver wire prospect or D-league star like Justin Harper, Josh Magette, or Vander Blue (again). Keeping MWP on the roster serves no purpose, and with the team in full tank mode, what better time than right now?
To quote an infamous writer, “The current Lakers roster is flawed. They need shooters and defensive help, to be able to win against even average NBA competition”. No shit, Sherlock!
Hopefully, the new regime change will begin to correct some of that this summer. If I were Clarkson or Randle, I wouldn’t be buying a house in the LA area right now!
And, Magic, if you are listening, finding new homes for the Deng & Mozgov albatros contracts has to be a priority. And as history has shown us, there are no untradable contracts in the NBA. Go Lakers!
Rick in Seattle – “no untradable contracts …” Let’s hope Mitch gets another GM gig; maybe he’ll trade for Dengov.
Exacerbate vice exasperate?
Can anyone explain why DAR got tossed?
Looks like DAR got physically involved – good for him! – and who knows what trash he was talking …
Clay Bertrand says
Interesting that its totally clear that Nance pushed Monroe in the melee FIRST. He pushed him BEFORE Russell did it and Nance received NO punishment in game or via fine. Not like they didn’t review the whole thing before levying fines.
Its at about the 1:20 mark……