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Fear factor, redux

The Lakers may have 58 wins but after two straight losses weighed down by an atypically popgun offensive attack, few in Lakerland are sitting comfortably.  The coaches are edgy, the players are edgy, if the comments on this site are any indication, many of you are a few steps past edgy.  Periodically, we've taken the opportunity to tap into larger concerns around the team, and try to put them on a fear scale. 

Some of these concerns are no joke (an important point to clarify on April Fool's Day).  How do they measure up on a scale of 1-10, 1 being fluffy bunnies, 10 sounding the doomsday whistle?

1) The Bench: After a promising start to the road trip for Jordan Farmar has regressed, with Tuesday night's performance basically wiping away the good will he'd started to build back up. And while both Phil Jackson and Sasha Vujacic will tell you that 18 is on the floor to do more than simply hit shots, a bucket here and there would still be nice.  Over the first six games of the roadie, Sasha has a grand total of six field goals.  On 27 tries.  That's not good (22.2%).  Josh Powell shot 42% in March, and finished 7 for his last 26. As it's been for a while, the Lakers can't generate any offense once the starters are off the floor.

How much this will matter in the playoffs is an open question, because the expected insertion of Andrew Bynum into the rotation changes the dynamics completely.  Minutes for guys like Powell and DJ Mbenga go down considerably, Pau Gasol can spend a little more time at power forward if PJ chooses, and it becomes easier for Phil Jackson to leave Lamar Odom out with the reserves (something that should be happening more now as it is).  Because the early rounds feature plenty of days off, it's easier to shorten rotations and squeeze out guys who aren't playing well. 

Still the poor play from the reserves is a truly disturbing trend, because it limits the (theoretically) Swiss Army versatility of the Lakers roster, impacting matchups and coaching options.  At the very least, the bench problems could have serious implications for how the roster is constructed next season. 

Fear Factor: 8 now, 7 come playoff time if Bynum contributes.

2) Kobe's Slump: 5-15, 9-25, 10-25, 6-18, 10-18, 5-19, 7-19, 11-28.  Those are Kobe's shooting figures beginning in the March 17th loss to Philly at Staples.  One need not be a mathemagician to recognize the un-Kobe-like quality of those numbers.  Bryant also looks like he's been run through a meat grinder of late.  The burst isn't quite there, the jumper is flat.  That he's played what seems like non-stop, high level hoop for about two years and is nursing nagging hand and leg injuries means none of this should be a total shock, even given that we're takin' Kobe, he of tall building in single bound leaps and the well documented propensity to play through sprains, flus, tears, shark bites, locusts, and whatever else the Basketball Gods throw at him.  

Because they don't happen all that often, slumps are something 24 has trouble dealing with.  He seems to get frustrated, and grow ever more determined to drill even the most difficult of shots, whether the timing is right or not.  But rather than freak out, I'll chalk Kobe's problems up to physical maladies and fatigue, all of which can be cured by rest.  It may come down to PJ asking Mbenga and Powell to strap Kobe to his seat at different points of a game, but I think Jackson will get Kobe a little more rest down the stretch, and with the aforementioned gaps between playoff games, things should get back to normal before anything bad happens.

Fear Factor: 4
 

Losing Home Court: I wrote the other day about this one.  No doubt home court against Cleveland, should everyone get that far, would have been nice, not simply because it's better to have it in a 2-3-2 format or because it's always better to play at home, but because it would have robbed Cleveland of a huge boost to their collective confidence.  But it's done, and now, assuming the Lakers don't give up their advantages over Boston and Orlando, the team can focus more on getting the squad healthy. 

Could it come back to haunt the Lakers?  Sure.  Cross that bridge when you get there, and if they do it likely means the Lakers are playing pretty well. 

Fear Factor: 6

4) (Offensive) Offensive Flow:

The Lakers have been so good on that end of the floor this year that it's jarring to see them struggle.  But That they don't look like themselves shouldn't surprise, given that Kobe is off and the bench can't score.  That, as they say, changes the equation.  The Lakers aren't moving the ball or themselves particularly well right now.  Too many jumpers, not enough activity in the lane.  A more consistent diet of looks for Pau Gasol combined with an attacking Kobe would go a long way towards fixing these problems.  What you don't want is to see five guys on the floor all trying to repair the damage themselves.  Watch the passing, watch the cutting. 

The Lakers are too talented to be contained for too long, and the good news is that their difficulties are, in my mind at least, due much more to their own execution than anything the other team is doing.  Zones have proved effective, especially against the second unit, and Charlotte's ball pressure bothered LA last night.  But those can be combated by doing what the Lakers do well- moving the ball, making the extra pass, making one more cut to the basket. 

It'll come back.

Fear Factor: 5.5

5) The "Not Sharp, Not Enough Momentum" Thing: Writes Kurt over at FB and G:


I am not that worried about going into the playoffs with a ton of momentum... the playoffs are another season all together. They have their own ebb and flow, and teams will improve during them. Remember last year — the Celtics looked like crap in the first round. And much of the second. Nobody thought they looked like a champion, getting taken seven games twice. How did that end? The playoffs are another animal, all together.

That is not meant to say I think the Lakers need dramatic improvement, but rather a reminder that what is going on mid-April and in June are just simply different. And not easily predictable.

I agree.  Obviously, it's better for a team to head into the playoffs with confidence, swagger, and precision, but a) there's no reason the Lakers won't have that before the real games start, and b) even if they still look off, the postseason, as noted above, is an entirely different kind of flying, altogether.  The Spurs went 4-4 to end '05, and lost three straight to finish the '07 season before winning championships.  Conversely, in '93, the Sonics lost twice in their final 19 games, then tanked out in the first round against the 8th seeded Nuggets.

It's easy to read a lot into late season games, but in the end I'm willing to bet that a Kobe Bryant led, Phil Jackson coached team will look as it should come mid-April. 

Fear Factor: 5

6) The Matchups Factor: Given that Utah can't beat anyone on the road, it's looking like my concerns about their Giant Killer abilities have been overstated.  A lot. And since it seems like the Blazers will rise high enough to avoid LA in the first round and that the Lakers probably won't see CP3 there either, I'm content with how things seem to be playing out.  Dallas is still the likeliest first round opponent, with the Jazz harboring the potential to swap spots with the Mavs.  Both work for LA.

Fear Factor: 3

BK

 
Comments () | Archives (43)

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Rick F,

While I do agree somewhat about the bench is sucking I'm not too sure that more minutes is the answer. With the exception of Pau, Kobe and Lamar are on pace to finish less minutes this year than last year. I don't think it's a question of fatigue to the starters with the exception of Pau (who played more minutes but he is no aging veteran at 28 not to mention averaging more minutes in 2005-2006) and Ariza (who has played more minutes in his career this season). The rest of the 3 starters seemed fine and as for the question of Kobe's jump shot, it's been like that since he first became a Laker so don't be surprised by his cold spots when he does nothing but prefer to shoot his way out of games instead of running the offense or taking it to the hole more often.

And really there is always a question as to how *consistent* the bench can be. Jordan last year just was totally embarrassed in the playoffs. Sasha was good until the Spurs series and only had one good game in the Finals. Ronny just faltered all together. Luke had his up and downs trying to share minutes with Rad/Trevor/Kobe at SF.

I don't know how much the bench can become more consistent with starter minutes at this time. My guess is that their points/rebounds/assists would increase but not by much. I would guess their FG% would not improve or even suffer because there is no Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, or even Andrew Bynum to divert attention away.

Until they show they can contribute in limited minutes, I doubt that giving them extra PT in the last weeks of the regular season would do any good for them. The only good I could see is the starters are resting for the playoffs.

REPOST


LET US PRAY...

Dear Lord, we need RESTORATION.

The weariness of such a long season has caught up to our Lakers. Kobe's shots aren't falling like they normally do. The Bench Mob has been reduced to a shadow of their early season selves. LO's inconsistent...AGAIN! They're not giving Pau the ball in the paint and the defense is lackluster.

But we praise You. We thank You for granting us the #1 seed in the West. We thank You for answering our prayers with Andrew's recovery - and CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HIM BACK ON THE COURT! We thank You for choosing this moment in time for us to face adversity...

...better now than in June, Lord!

RESTORE US!

Restore Kobe's shot.
Restore the Bench Mob.
Restore the spirit of teamwork amongst us...even if it means some of our guys don't fill up the stats sheet with double digit points!
Grant strength to those who need to sacrifice their own desire to be noticed for the greater good of the team.
Let these last 2 losses be a clarion call for Kobe, Pau, LO and the guys to step into the greatness that we know is in us.

We did not suffer through last June and the following months to get to this point and to watch our hopes and dreams fade away. We, the fans of Laker Nation put our TRUST and HOPE in YOU! We believe You will RESTORE US. We believe You will REFRESH US. We look forward to watching Your mighty hand lead us and guide us to the NBA Championshp this year! Yes, these 2 losses have been setbacks. But we know that, with You, SETBACKS are SETUPS for MAJOR COMEBACKS!

Let the COMEBACK COMMENCE!
Let Andrew return to the court in a blaze of glory.
Let the Mamba return to strike venom in the hearts of our opponents.
Let the Spaniard TAKE HIS GAME to higher levels.
Let LO play with the strength and glory that WE KNOW exists in him.
Let Sasha & Jordan humble themselves and play their game NOT FOR STATS or GLORY, but for the good of the team as a whole.
Let D-Fish be our rock steady voice of reason, strength and confidence.
Let PJ and the coaching staff lead us back to the promised land!

Let Laker Nation rejoice! For You will RESTORE US!

We thank You in advance for answered prayer...AMEN!

Man, my SUNS are simply looking too worn out lately to make it into the playoffs. And I am sorry, because I want to see the SHACK vs kobey matchup to clear up the feud once and for all!

Alas, the mavs may have the upper hand at last.

Speaking of the mavs, though, is it just me, or are the lakers looking just like the 2007 mavs who racked up an impressive reg season record but stumbled to the finish line? The same mavs who had 67 wins but played their worst ball at the end of the season, then went on to lose to GS in Round One?

It's tough to return to the FInals, we all know that. I think the lakers are in danger of burning too bright, too soon.

One more new thread and my head will implode, seemingly....

GO LAKERS !!!

Ex,

I saw your post and man you hit it right in the money for those doom and gloom fools who are just so insistent on blaming one guy instead of the whole plate.

"Fisher and Farmar are both weak defensively. That is not going to change in the playoffs; the rotations by the rest of the team to cover for them will probably sharpen up."

Exactly though Fisher is still the better defender.

"Kobe plays defense about 10% of the time. He will probably pick up his focus in that area in the playoffs."

That and you need him to have a guy that poses a threat to him. Otherwise he prefers to roam more.

"Kobe shoots excessively instead of taking advantage of the mismatch Gasol presents with just about every team. Probably is not going change; hopefully he breaks out of his shooting slump."

Exactly but I guess the excuse makers will make some silly excuse like "Kobe gets doubled more today than in the 80's because of zone defense". Very funny. I saw Magic doubled more than Kobe.

"You never know what you're going to get out of Odom. Probably not going to change for the playoffs."

Agreed although i would take a chance with him over Farmar/Vujacic/Ariza to score consistently.

"Ariza is very inconsistent offensively. Probably not going to change in the playoffs."

That's what I've said since day one since Trevor is best in a fastbreak setting offensive wise. But I guess that bricking shots is okay as long as defense is okay even though his defense may not be as good as Kobe's.

"Farmar, Vujacic, and Powell are all slumping at the same time. If Bynum returns, Powell won't be playing much, so he likely won't be a factor in the playoffs. They really need either Vujacic or Farmar to break out of their slump, though. (Or for Ariza to show some consistency.)"

Forcing the run and gun bench mob into a half court set with a PG who prefers to pass it along the perimeter and not to a big man unless it is a pick and roll situation, a Combo guard that is Mr. Inconsistent when it comes to shooting, and "The next Horace Grant" dude getting more attention by teams is how they were neutralized. Both guards do need to break out of their slump really.

"Of those areas, the only one where it might be appropriate to criticize Jackson would be that Kobe still isn't optimizing his contributions on defense or within the context of the offense. And an educated guess on that would be that that is due to Kobe's stubbornness (which is definitely a two-edged sword) and not to a lack of effort on Jackson's part."

Exactly but just as there as much true Kobe haters who lay other players/coaches blameless there are Jackson haters who lay Kobe blameless. Can't blame them, they just love to place a scapegoat rather than use their heads to analyze the situation.

Love your post Ex. Agreed with you 100%

So Phill does not mind Bynum having fun at the mansion...
At least someone is relaxed around the joint..gee wizz....

Im really looking forward to Shannon Brown getting more minutes.Last night it went up to around 5 minutes...Thank you Phill...Jordan down to 9 minutes...Shannon is not a pure point guard but sometimes less is more....If this funk continues how long before Phill starts to play Morrison instead of Sasha?.Is Morrison putting mental pressure on Sasha by simply starting to understand the system?.If Morrison has a huge off season and comes back next year in his college form does make Sasha another expensive sub until the trade deadline?.This next off season is going to be huge for Jordan and Sasha.......Pull your finger out or be pulled......

Here's the deal,
It is just a two game losing streak. No more, no less. They will win against the Bucks and probably the next two against the Rockets and Clippers and people will forget all about their worries.

However, If I'm a Laker fan, there are a few things I would really be concerned about. These are things I have noticed all season for this team.

1. They need to score to win games. When the Lakers are struggling to score, they don't have the ability to shut down the apposing team until their shots go in. Many of their games have been won on the offensive end, not defense.

2. The Lakers bench is filled with specialty players but no instant beast that will bring energy and toughness. Farmar, Sasha, Walton, these guys can only help this team if they are making shots. They are not coming in to be defensive stoppers so the Lakers lose something on defense when they are not scoring.

3. The Lakers road to the Finals is not nearly and tough as the Celtics' would be. Some on here are saying that they WANT BOSTON and they expect the Celtics to beat the Cavs. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. But do you really expect me to believe that a championship team, who has just gotten through two of the best teams in the league(Magic & Cavs), without homecourt advantage mind you, will be intimidated about playing at Staples where the Lakers have hardly looked unbeatable (ask the 76ers). In fact, I am going on a limb and saying now that if the Lakers meet the Celtics in the Finals, Boston will win in 6.

4. If the Lakers believed they could win without homecourt in the Finals they would have already began to rest guys. They are not catching Cleveland unless the Lakers win out the rest on the year and the Cavs go 5-3 the rest of the way. Not going to happen.

5. Andrew Bynum's return will help but not solve the Lakers problems. They were winning games with offense even when he was playing. Did you see how many times they gave up triple figures to teams or how many close games they played against bottom feeders?

6. The Lakers have a lack of big guys. What happens if Bynum gets in foul trouble in the playoffs? They will have to go small. Can you imagine these matchups: Starberry vs. Sasha-Leon Powe is Mbinga-Glen Davis vs. Luke Walton. The Lakers will get eaten alive inside. And if their shooters are firing blanks it could get ugly.

Botton line. This team may still make it to the Finals and win it all but it is flawed.

Len

1) If Powell or Mbenga play any minutes in the playoffs that aren't either in garbage time or due to serious foul trouble for any two of LO, Drew and Pau then I'd be seriously surprised.

2) Can't do anything about it. The Lakers live with Kobe and die with him.

3) The Lakers can only lose 1 more game and retain home court over Orlando since they own the tie-breaker. That isn't much of a buffer towards any strategy of getting players healthy. What is most disturbing about this is there have been many players and coaches who stated multiple times along the way this season that home court was the goal. They tried to get it and couldn't. Rationalizing now that health means more than home court or that home court isn't that meaningful doesn't change the fact that the Lakers wanted it and couldn't get it. That's a little scary.

5) The NBA has a long enough history that you can come up with a lot of examples to support most theories. When the Lakers went through stretches earlier in the season of poor play, the mantra from the players and coaches was that it's a long season but what is important to them is hitting their stride down the stretch leading into the playoffs. Again, a stated goal from the players and coaches that isn't being met. They wanted to do it and, for some reason, still can't. Rationalizing now that it's not important doesn't change that fact.

Rick,

Glad to hear all is well with you and I do understand your frustration. I didn’t watch the last two games but listened to the radio broadcast and it is no doubt that the team just played horribly. I just don’t agree with the fans and bloggers who think this is the time to panic. I think the problems will all be solved as soon as Drew returns.

While some think this is too Pollyanna of a position, the obvious fact remains that many of the current problems are the result of the domino effect that Drew’s absence has had on this team, especially with the loss of a power game on both defense and offense. While I love Pau Gasol, his game is still a finesse game both as center and power forward and his defense protecting the rim is weak. I still am hoping that Drew comes back for 4 to 6 games before the playoffs and will get his game back to the level it was before he was injured. But even a 70% Drew will be enough to stabilize the team.

We both want the same thing so let’s just agree to disagree right now. Who knows, by the time the playoffs start, all of this temporary anguish will have been proven to be completely unnecessary overreaction. That is my bet for what is going to happen.

Finally, you have to wonder if there are bloggers who are suffering with the poor economy. I know for a fact that after a tough day at work – and there are more of those these days than ever – I sometimes find myself very impatient and aggressive towards my blog mates. That’s why I usually stay away from the blog after a loss. Others obviously do not share my hesitation to post when angry or upset. Best to you, my friend.

JMNSHBO!
DNFTT!

Tom

Solutions on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being ineffective and impossible, 10 being the solution and doable.

Solution #1:
Kobe is tired. We should cruise into the playoffs by resting him and getting the bench quality time. That is a 7. It is doable, it will help Kobe and it MAY help the bench.

Solution #2:
Let Morrison play. That is a 5. It is 100% doable. And, it MAY result in our having a player that could hit midrange at above 40%. This would be very significant.

Solution #3:
Play Kobe the maximum minutes so that he can get us home court advantage in the Finals. This one is only somewhat doable. Even Kobe can get tired and thus his ability to bail us out will - as we've seen - wane. In terms of help, I'd rather have a rested Kobe than home court.

GOOoooOOOOO LAKERS!!!!

Thanks, kobeblitz.

Edwin,

>>> Why get angry at Rick?

I was not angry with Rick. I was concerned that things weren’t right with him because he usually is more optimistic. Anyway, we have the best record in the West and second best in the league and have our starting center close to returning to the lineup, facts that certainly belie the problems we have suffered in the last two losses. Anyway, how are you doing, Edwin. You also seem to have become disillusioned with this team over the last few weeks. Don’t lose heart. Once Drew returns, all will be fine, my friend.

Tom

Kurt of Forum Blue and Gold reports:

Saying "If you can’t beat them, join them," the very public owner of the Dallas Mavericks has purchased a majority share of the Los Angeles Lakers from Dr. Jerry Buss.

Cuban made the announcement via Twitter.

While the final price was not made public, it is believed to be well more than the $584 million that Forbes estimated the Lakers franchise was worth. Cuban said he was glad to overpay — that it was worth it just to see David Stern’s face when he has to hand him the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

"He dodged that bullet a couple years ago that he had the refs call a foul on my guys (the Mavericks) for even looking at Dwyane Wade," Cuban said. "Let's see him stop me now."

If Cuban cannot win the title with the Lakers this year, he has promised to make lopsided trades that would bring Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and other key Mavericks over to the Lakers to form an unbeatable Überteam that would not only win a title but would also obliterate the current single season wins record.

EJK,

>>> That's why I'm glad you're not our GM. I'm pretty sure 100% of the GMs
>>> in the league would trade Drew for LBJ in a heartbeat. LBJ is the present
>>> and the future of the league. Drew has merely shown flashes of great
>>> play during his short career.

I can’t disagree that you are probably right. Everybody is kissing LBJ’s ass right now and think he is the ultimate player. Of course, like with your boy Wade, much of it is in the eyes of the refs who never give James or Wade favorite son treatment for every game. So you are probably right that no GM would NOT trade Drew for LBJ.

Of course, you don’t seem to consider the flip side of that coin which is that NO general manager is ever going to trade LBJ for Drew or any other player in the game right now. What you are proposing is nothing short of a fantasy league trade. Why not change your trade to be Luke Walton or Pau Gasol? The answer is that it does not matter. Cleveland is NOT going to trade James to any team for any player. If you think otherwise, then you are sadly and unfortunately misinformed.

Let’s see what they think a couple of years down the road once Drew really breaks out and becomes the franchise player we are projecting. There will come a time when you will be glad that the Lakers never traded Kobe or Drew. Enjoy the championships and parades, even though you would have traded them for your man-love of LeBronze.

By the way, I have always said that I would not be a good general manager. I do not have the patience that Mitch has had and which has resulted in our having the best, deepest, and most talented team in the league, which is not just my opinion but the general consensus of the writers and analysts following the league.

JMNSHBO!
DNFTT!

Tom

blitz,

>>> LBJ NOR WADE WILL BE COMING AND THAT'S THE END OF THAT.

Kobeblitz has spoken. End of argument, EJK. LOL!

Tom

Hey Len,

If this team wins the championship, I don't really care if their flawed or not. A ring is a ring. Guess that means their less flawed than the teams they beat to win the championship?

In basketball, best team wins. Except in 1984.

ps. Would love to see Boston in the finals, payback is sweet.

pss. Retire # 21. Cooooooop!!!!!!

mike,

>>> Tom, I agree that AB still has to much potential upside to move, but
>>> cmon, if it's for LBJ or D Wade, I'm moving the dude. However, neither
>>> Cleveland or Miami would make that trade so it's irrelevant. BTW,
>>> neither LBJ or Wade is overrated, they're both at the very top of
>>> basketball's Mount Rushmore. LBJ might be the best to ever do it
>>> when it's all said and done.

The point was that it was a fantasy trade that would never ever happen.

And funny but I thought the guys on Basketball’s Mount Rushmore were Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – you know, guys who won more than one ring (with an asterisk) or zero rings.

And the best basketball player on the planet right now is not LeBron James or Dwayne Wade – it is Kobe Bean Bryant.

JMNSHBO!
DNFTT!

Tom

Why do the Lakers seem to always lose on Tuesdays and Fridays, but especially Tuesdays. They better hope they dont have any playoff games especially on the road on Tuesday.


Rick F.
Way to speak up!

The lengths some of you go to to cover for PJ is hilarious to watch. I don't think PJ is primarliy to blame, but he sure doesn't seem to be able to get the most out of his teams lately.

Lost in the finals with Shaq and Kobe.
Lost in the finals with Kobe, Pau, and LO

Some of you are willing to blame ANYONE but PJ. Yea....I'm looking at you HELO. I agree with you on so much, I have never been able to understand the "PJ shall never be questioned" point of view you stick to no matter what.

PJ is OLD, has pain and poor health. For those who can't see he's lost a step....I guess we will see who you choose to blame if we don't win a ring this year. This with the most talented roster in the league.

Watch out Kobe, ...Cause I'm sure it won't be PJ's fault.

"So Phill does not mind Bynum having fun at the mansion...
At least someone is relaxed around the joint..gee wizz...."

Not surprising since under Phil, MJ would gamble at the casinos in Atlantic City in between PLAYOFF games. And. of course, Rodman showing up in Vegas in between road games is legendary...

Hopefully this season ends with a championship, but I can't wait to see what we do with regards to the backup PG situation next year. Farmar HAS to go.

Note to Mitch- do not resign Smush Farmar.

Phil Jackson on the Mac Cuban buying of a majority share of the Lakers. VERY FUNNY APRIL FOOL'S DAY JOKE!!!

GOOOoooOOO LAKERS BLOGGERS!!!!

Tom,

You're my man.

I shouldn't have used the Mount Rushmore reference. I was making the point their the best in the game right now along with Kobe. Definitely not ovrrated.

Until they both acquire more jewelry, to early to put them on the mountain. However, I think Lebron will be there when it's all said and done. He's the best team basketball player I've seen since Magic and has the crazy athletic gifts of a Jordan. I would disagree with you on whose the best player right now, but it's close. I love me some Mamba and like him better when it matters, come playoff time,

Can't wait for the playoffs.

Retire Coop's number!!!!!!

jon k said: I hate ted nugent. not much of surprise since you have posted hate for just about everything on this blog. except the clippers. You LOVE the clippers.

Ted Nugent is a patriot and he rocks.

Would we have wanted to go on a momentus end of the season run like PJ's old teams?

Sure.

But the fact of the matter is this team is too gassed to do so. The bench too out of it to contribute.

Something needs to be done. Playing the starters 40+ minutes isn't helping. Neither is playing the starters with the bench (by the way that was PJ's move, one I'd normally agree with but not at the starters' current state).

Time to rest the starters. Let them explode through the competition in the playoffs rather than whimper their way through the regular season.

Go Lakers!

First, let stop this crap "most talented roster in this league". After Kobe, Pau, Drew and maybe Odom (when he is committed to something other than 3pt shooting) we have a significant drop of talent. What Sasha can do besides occasionally making jumper? Collect fouls with alarming rate of front-court man, like Center or Power Forward? How do we know, the real Sasha is now who is pale shadow of himself from the last season, when he was obviously played out of his mind to earn a contract. Jordan? Give me a break, he is regressing with the light speed, makes me wonder when Shannon going to overtake him as a first option from the bench at PG. Looking at Farmar’s play I’m wondering if he really even care to be a Laker anymore, because obviously he is making all he can to be considered for trade of season. Who else? Luke? I’m not going to even start. Josh? As we find out he is not “cheap” version of LO, as Kevin Ding use to write. DJ? Please…

JustaLakerfan,

Someone didn't do their watching, or their reading evidently. The three plays I mentioned "in the clutch" never saw Pau in the high post. In fact one of them had kobe dishing to an OPEN Pau CUTTTING TO THE BASKET. Isn't this what you just said they need to do. Oh yeah, Pau dropped the pass. That's my point. He was as unclutch as he could have been.

don't get me wrong. I love Pau. He's my boy. And he's a baller. and he needs more touches. HOWEVER, call it what it is; all the bellymoaning for Pau to get more touches late in games to turn around what seems to be a struggling laker team, didn't fix anything. He got those late game touches and choked mightily.

Watch, and Read.

Then respond.

I'm not attacking your boy, in fact I love your boy. The problems run deeper than Pau's late game touches or non-touches.

Posted by: Jandro | April 01, 2009 at 08:47 AM

=========================
I as not refering to specific plays but to the overall premise. Pau has been our most consistent player and is playing the heaviest minutes. I said he was overused and not getting the ball in low post and that is through out the game.

Pau and Kobe have played Olympics and all star game and getting heavy minutes. Please understand that. Pau has even said he has tired legs.

Kobe is aging and getting beat up more and is definetly tired. Fish remember played very extended minutes when Farmar was hurt and he also went to all star game for weekend business as union player rep.

Now as to the cutting pass Pau missed (yes all players make mistakes) he was tired from long season to date but you refuse to give him that.

All Laker players are my boys but I will criticise when imo I see lack of effort. But if mistake is made trying to do more than he has done like trying to please coach to play more aggressive when he is tired is wrong imo to criticise if he errors.

Didn't mean to offend you but I was giving my opinion as you gave yours. I am not attacking you but presenting the alternate point.

Respond if you like or disagree to disagree it is not a big deal imo.

Another pathetic columnist writing about his dislike for Kob' just to get people to comment on his blog....

http://tinyurl.com/dhgyoq

LakerTom,

"Of course, you don’t seem to consider the flip side of that coin which is that NO general manager is ever going to trade LBJ for Drew or any other player in the game right now. What you are proposing is nothing short of a fantasy league trade. Why not change your trade to be Luke Walton or Pau Gasol?"

Let's say LBJ wants to leave Cleveland in 2010. If you're Danny Ferry, would you want LBJ to waltz away to NY and more importantly, not getting anything in return? The first consideration would be getting a valuable asset in return. The second consideration would be getting him out of the East. If I'm Danny Ferry, sending LBJ to LA for Drew in return is a heck of a lot better than letting him sign with NY. Of course, this is all assuming that LBJ would want to come here.

"Kobeblitz has spoken. End of argument, EJK. LOL!"

I rest my case. I'll readily admit that I don't have what it takes to engage in an epic blitz/hobbitimage style battle.

LakerTom,

Nope, I'm not disillutioned with this team. I want them to succeed by getting the right answer on how to rest the starters and let the bench play it out all the way to the season. Well, at the rate they are playing the bench mob could not even beat the Clippers or even the Final Four contenders. We shipped the wrong guys.

LakerTom, we suffered too long with this team from the time the Smush sucks, Drew was the deliverance but he has to play one full season. My whole comments redounds on one thing, what happened in two months time to the deep bench, it suddenly became a shallow bench, yet GM is not concerned on the open spots.

justa,

not offended. Just felt like you were trying to say my post lacked some logic or sense, rather than you disagreeing with it.

Like I said in the other post, I totally agree with you about some of our problems, and I am a huge PAU fan.

I think your points about tired legs are interesting. I know that seems to be everybody's topic of the day, but I think you have a good point regarding my criticism of PAU's late mistakes. He has had unfairly heavy minutes, and he and Kobe have been at it quite a while w/o a break.

I just get frustrated at all of our guys when we play like crap--but with some perspective, a whole day later, I really tend to agree with you... It looks like tired legs for Kobe/fish/Pau.

I also think because Kobe/Pau are starting to show the effects of fatigue it is hurting the rest of the team. I think that because they are tired, their performance drops, which in turn hurts all our role players performances. I think this is probably because our role players' level of play is so dependent on the greatness of kobe/pau, that without them being dominant and creating for others, everybody else job just gets harder.

Anyway I'm rambling now.

No offense justa, I just thought you were taking a small shot for me criticizing Pau. I think we agree much more than we disagree. Here's to starters rest, bench renaissance and W tonight!

LAL_Fan

Criticizing is easy...What team has a better roster?

I'm guessing your only choices are Boston or Cleveland?

JohnnyP,

PJ proposing marriage to Jeannie Buss.

(Limited engagement reserved only on April Fools Day! LOL)

Fairly detailed update on Drew from the Lakers website:

http://tinyurl.com/cabaf7

Talks about exactly what he's doing, who is overseeing it, what the future milestones are, etc.

At this point, it's all about Drew through through non-contact practices and then getting clearance for full contact practices. After that, it's up to him and coach.

What stuck out to me was that this is a description of what he's doing under the Lakers staff supervision. More than likely, he's also working with his personal trainer separately. I think a lot of people assumed he's been using his own personal team and his progress is up to them. The article said he's already back down to his playing weight.

new post

BK

EKG,

>>> I rest my case. I'll readily admit that I don't have what it takes to engage
>>> in an epic blitz/hobbitimage style battle.

I’m with you there, EKG. Those guys must be so rich that they don’t have to work. LOL!

I used to think there was no way that LBJ would NOT end up playing for New York as I thought the move to bring Dantoni in by Walsh was genius as LeBron would average 5 ppg more in Dantoni’s open court run-and-gun system. And if the Cavaliers do not win a championship in the next two years, that is still what I think will happen. If the Cavs can win one, then I think LeBron will stay in Cleveland. Anyway, that’s just my take.

As an unrestricted free agent, the Cavaliers will not be able to force LeBron to sign a contract. As for a sign-and-trade, there is one advantage in that they would be able to offer LeBron a longer and bigger max contract than any other team, just as the Lakers were able to do when they re-signed Kobe. But LeBron would still have to OK the deal and I doubt he would want to share alpha position with Kobe or that Kobe would be willing to allow LeBron to be the #1 option. And so far, LeBron seems to be leaning in the direction of shorter contracts so that he can maximize his income.

Anyway, no doubt LeBron is a unique talent. The only question at this point is his relatively poor outside and free throw shooting. If he learns to shoot it too, it would almost be unfair. I do admit that I do not like the guy and that is part of why I would not want him on my team. So I am obviously biased when you want to trade my 2nd favorite Laker for a guy you think will replace my favorite Laker. Thankfully, the chances of it happening are extremely remote and unlikely. Thank God for that.

JMNSHBO!
DNFTT!

Tom

It is not alarmist to say that this team does not have the mentality to win a championship. Last year, Boston was on a mission, from training camp through the finals. It showed up every night.

This year, Cleveland is on a mission. What they are doing is incredible. One home loss all season? Unreal.

The Lakers become content far too easily. Ten point lead? Give up a couple of 3's and let the other team back in. This isn't new; this has been the case all year long. Whether it is PJ grinning on the bench in Atlanta or Lamar laughing about near airball free throws, this team is not passionate about winning. Boston was last year; Cleveland is this year.

With all due respect to Tom, Andrew Bynum's return will NOT increase the passion, and without that, they will fall short of a title again.

justa,

not offended. Just felt like you were trying to say my post lacked some logic or sense, rather than you disagreeing with it.

Like I said in the other post, I totally agree with you about some of our problems, and I am a huge PAU fan.

I think your points about tired legs are interesting. I know that seems to be everybody's topic of the day, but I think you have a good point regarding my criticism of PAU's late mistakes. He has had unfairly heavy minutes, and he and Kobe have been at it quite a while w/o a break.

I just get frustrated at all of our guys when we play like crap--but with some perspective, a whole day later, I really tend to agree with you... It looks like tired legs for Kobe/fish/Pau.

I also think because Kobe/Pau are starting to show the effects of fatigue it is hurting the rest of the team. I think that because they are tired, their performance drops, which in turn hurts all our role players performances. I think this is probably because our role players' level of play is so dependent on the greatness of kobe/pau, that without them being dominant and creating for others, everybody else job just gets harder.

Anyway I'm rambling now.

No offense justa, I just thought you were taking a small shot for me criticizing Pau. I think we agree much more than we disagree. Here's to starters rest, bench renaissance and W tonight!

Posted by: jandro | April 01, 2009 at 02:44 PM

===========================
No offense and thanks I think we do agree and yes frustrations take over at times for all of us.

No problems as I agree I think we are good.

Andrew Bernard,

>>> It is not alarmist to say that this team does not have the mentality to win
>>> a championship. Last year, Boston was on a mission, from training camp
>>> through the finals. It showed up every night.

>>> This year, Cleveland is on a mission. What they are doing is incredible.
>>> One home loss all season? Unreal.

You made an excellent point about the similarity between the Celtics’ commitment to playing championship basketball last year and the Cavaliers’ great home record this year. However, you may have forgotten that we beat both of these teams twice this year – the second time at their home arenas late in the season without Bynum. Every time this team has been challenged – at home or on the road – this season by another elite team, they have responded like the champions they will be in June.

>>> With all due respect to Tom, Andrew Bynum's return will NOT increase
>>> the passion, and without that, they will fall short of a title again.

With all due respect, Andrew, I disagree. Assuming he is healthy and playing at least at 70% of how he was playing during January, Andrew will totally change the dynamic of this team. With Pau at center, we are a finesse team on offense and a layup drill on defense. Drew’s physically powerful and dominating post game on offense will force us to play more inside-out basketball. He will demand the ball where Pau cannot. He will force the double teams where Pau cannot. And on defense, he will stop the DUNK, LAYUP, DUNK, LAYUP, DUNK drill that Pau cannot.

Anyway, appreciate your comments. We will just have to agree to disagree. Thanks.

JMNSHBO!
DBFTT!

Tom

the lakers are hurt, we cant win with this team, too many flaws that have been exposed, first lets address the point guard situation, fisher too old to compete at a high level every night, he would be good to come off the bench, we need a guard that can penetrate and get to the rack to put pressure on opposing defenses, fisher cant complete a drive and dish or make a lay up, having a guard like that takes alot pressure off kobe(jason terry is perfect for that spot).trevor ariza needs to work on his game, he has good talent and athletisim, but his jumper and defense needs to improve as well as his i.q sasha is a disaster waiting to happen, not tough enough mentally or physically cut ties with him. jordan farmar,will always be off the bench no matter where he plays make him earn his spot use shannon brown. kobe should take ariza under his wing and mold him. at small forward, now thats tough but you have to go with toughness artest is ya man, should have gotten him when we could, lamar, i like you, but you are a nine year vet that is still battling with incosistantsy. starting five; jason terry, kobe bryant,ron artest,pau gasol, andrew bynum. the bench derek fisher,trevor ariza, luke walton,and whatever talent you can use to fill the roster.

Bynum's return will be a significant morale boost, as well. That is as important a factor as his personal contributions on the court.

How bad does Jordan Farmar have to play to lose minutes? He must be Phil Jackson's son because if I did that BAD at my job I would lose it. He is HORRIBLE, he can't shoot, can't pass, he does not defend, what does he do??? Phil Jackson will take out Walton, well deserved, but will never take out Farmar for his mistake after mistake. Help all Laker fans if he is ever our starting guard.


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