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Pau Gasol hasn't played yet this season

I'm sure y'all are aware of this, as it's hard to miss a seven foot Spaniard in street clothes.  However, I thought it was worth tossing out a reminder, since Friday night's loss to Dallas (and Trevor Ariza's nice game against Portland last night) has led to reader anxiety.  Is this team on track to repeat?  Was it a mistake not to retain Ariza at any cost?  Will Ron Artest ever fit like a glove in the Lakers' system?  Your consensus opinion is being tracked as we speak, but should the numbers poll unfavorably, it's important not to lose sight of one very crucial factor.

Pau Gasol hasn't played yet this season.

Aside from the obvious tangibles forgone without an elite big men and any team's second best player, Gasol's absence affects the Lakers beyond his own contributions.  The Lakers become easier to defend.  Pau commands more attention than anybody not named "Kobe" or "Bryant," allowing defenders to be a little more honest with their assigned man.  You're no longer sporting the league's best 4/5 combo, which makes you considerably less threatening.  Not "non-threatening," mind you, as Lamar Odom is no slouch as a sub.  But it's not the same thing as Bynum-Gasol, especially since Drew and LO haven't worked together much as a tandem over the years.  You lose Pau's outstanding passing skills, making baskets that much harder to come by, the offense becomes less fluid and certain players ill-equipped to create their own opportunities will be forced to try more often.  Odom as a starter leaves the bench considerably less potent, a reality witnessed quite often last season.  And defensively, Gasol is a better all around defender than every big man save LO, which creates a void felt on both sides of the ball. 

In the meantime, we all knew Artest would require a feeling out period as he acclimated himself to a new system.  And that was fine, in theory, because the Lakers have so many weapons that his learning curve could be experienced in a way where mistakes and awkwardness would be softened.  Without Gasol, everything instead grows magnified.  The margin for any error decreases and can come to back bite hindquarters. 

In short, this is a bad time to properly judge where the Lakers are at, because they're neither fully intact nor able to grow as the unit pictured.  For now, patience must be exhibited and perspective maintained.  All joking aside, it's just two games into the season (another reason it's a bad time to properly judge anything), we have a long ways to go and if you recall, last season featured many a Laker fan throwing up his hands after a loss (or even a mediocre win), wondering if the team had what it takes.  Clearly, they did.  Let's see a little more evidence of problems at full strength before baby and bathwater end up splattered on the lawn.

AK
 
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GGBH,

You asked: Why did Ariza leave?

response: His agent was an idiot. His agent thought he could get Ariza close to
10 Mil per year. His agent failed to address the fact that the Lakers could
actually pay him more than any other team. His agent also failed to account
for the luxury tax issue. The "Bad Mouthing" of the
Lakers organization, in addition to the $$ differential of 4 - 5 million dollars,
left a window open and Artest snaked the spot.

The difference b/n Odom & Ariza is that when Dr. Jerry Buss pulled Lamar's
offer, he called Dr. Buss and tried to smooth ruffled feathers. Odom did lose
10% off the original offer due to "lack of business acumen". Otherwise known
as stupidity.

Duh! Lakers without Gasol = ZERO CHAMPIONSHIPS

I'm not the kind who likes to compliment people for their thoughts or comments but..... great post AK

AK
- - - - -
Well said as usual. Looks like a 41-41 season to some fans. LOL.
- - - - -
Tom

I think the "the sky is falling" commentors are probably very young. The same thing was going on last year and the outcome was a championship.

1) The triangle offense takes some players years to learn.

2) It's only been 2 games.

3) Pau Gasol is out.

4) Ron is NOT going to avg 20% shooting all season and you can bet that.


Ease up, relax and enjoy the ride. I will.

Pau is most acutely missed when the Lakers are playing against a talented power forward like Dirk.

Lakers are fortunate that their schedule up front is relatively easy, giving time for Artest to fit in and withstand the absence of Pau.

If there's one bright side to this, LO and Bynum will get more experience playing together.

I know it's still early and Pau has not play a single game this season, but can you blame me if I'm doubting the correctness of the Lakers management of getting Artest instead of just retaining Ariza. Ron-Ron is non-factor after two games while we know already what we can get from Trevor.

Well put AK...this is why you are miles ahead of 90% of the column/blog writers on the LA Times, news/sports any section. Good going.

I was at the Mavs Lakers game and sure I was disappointed, but that was just a game the Lakers did not seem ready to play and didnt help the building had no energy. This was the flat game that was bound to come from the ring ceremony, although they played lousy against LAC as well.

The Mavs game was awful though because not only couldnt they shoot, but the referees were awful. I had a good angle of the action and there was a bunch of blown calls...calls taht evened out late in the game by the time the game was already out of chance. Tons of lame foul calls, awful out of bounds calls. Even Kobe seemed to have no lift and seemed half asleep out there.

I have a question though..why is Rick Carlisle allowed to be on the court and on top of the refs all game?? I believe this is why he got the calls because he was literally on top of them all game ON the court.

Is it a full moon tonight?

Will the Beast make an appearance? Or will it be the alter ego?

One thing I would like to point out though, is that while we think we have great front court depth...id say otherwise. I believe that is our weakest point. Sure between Odom, Bynum, Pau we got the solid 3 man rotation, but you take one out and suddenly we are extremely thin. As much as we like Mbenga...he is not a quality backup because on offense he is a liability and he cant guard the small faster F/C hybrid guys. Its especially noticeable when you throw out Josh Powell because he is not an offensive guy either and he is short. JP is a junkyard dog type player, hustle hit the class, play D, but he's not good if he has to make up for Mbenga's liabilities as well.

I believe the Lakers have an extra spot, they should think seriously about getting another big man

Sure...the biggest concern is simply a game in the loss column - I believe that we need home court advantage to win this year.

But that effort from the lakers was truly pathetic...things started going in the second quater with Brown,Farmar and Bynum then Kobe came back in and tried to take over...taking some terrible shots.Its not like we haven't seen any of this before or it will necessarily mean anything much in the long run especially with Pau out an so early in the season but that was an embarrasing loss.

We'll see how Ariza goes now but it wouldn't surprise me if he was happy with going to Houston...he couldn't be in a better position to make an impact.If he winds up averaging 18 or 20 points a game then it was the best thing that could have happened to him.The assumption has been that he's not good enough to do that...and we'll see now when he gets more defensive attention.But he is obviously going to believe he is good enough - thats why it wouldnt surprise me if this Ariza/ Artest situation was more set up than we think.Protect Ariza's image, lakers believe they improve,Artests gone...everyones happy and nobody looks bad.

Um, is the tail wagging the blog here? There's a game to be played tonight, our season is here, it's what we've been waiting for. How do you think Clippers fans feel right now? Seriously. Forget name calling or saying the Clippers suck or whatever. That team is absolutely loaded with talent. Their top draft pick goes down with a cracked kneecap, they lose their first four games in a row due more to stupid lapses than anything else. And they have fans that have suffered for decades and they're still there. And we lose one game and people are looking for a bomb shelter? Seriously?

I know what I'm doing tonight, I'm enjoying the game and I'm not even considering any of this weak-ass stuff.

I voted I still like it. If I was going to change my opinion after the second game of the season I would be an idiot. I’m not saying anybody here is an idiot, just that I would be.

I do agree with Scott though. Keep ariza and sign artest wasn’t an option, and I think it should have been. In an ideal universe , I would have like to have kept them both. I don’t think Artest, Ariza, or Jerry Buss would have wanted that, and it was never going to happen in an non ideal universe, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like both players and I think they both make contributions. Houston is going to miss a lot of what artest does, and we’re going to miss some of what trevor does. That’s my take, and it would save a lot of time if everybody agreed with me. (Yup, I am full of it these days. Whaddya gonna do.)

Yup, we will be screwed if Pau doesn’t come back. On the bright side, I don’t think there has ever been, in the entire history of the league, an NBA player who missed a season because of a hamstring injury, or at least one that didn’t involve the hamstring actually being in two pieces, and I don’t even recall that. Maybe one of the more veteran observers of the game could offer a counterexample. Perhaps LakerTom was reffing a game of rock ball between Ooog and Uggg, and one of them went down with a hammy. Perhaps I am jabbering meaninglessly and droning on and on until a white froth begins to bubble out of my mouth and I fall over.

“…I have a question though..why is Rick Carlisle allowed to be on the court and on top of the refs all game?? I believe this is why he got the calls because he was literally on top of them all game ON the court.
Posted by: The Lake Show | November 01, 2009 at 04:28 PM …

Taking lessons from Pete Carroll, I believe. Was he screaming epithets at phil?

FANS WHO LOVE THE LAKERS AND LOVE BASKETBALL KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CELTICS AND AL QUEDA. ONE IS ABOUT THE LOVE.

I’LL GIVE YOU ONE GUESS WHICH IT IS. OKAY, THE CELTICS FANS CAN HAVE THREE, CAUSE, YOU KNOW, WELL…

THE LOVE IS VERY PROUD OF ITS SPECIAL CHILDREN

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE LOVE

GO LAKERS!

I am getting more and more anxious by the day!! :-(

Even when Pau Gasol returns, and the team delivers an overall lackluster performance as they did against Dallas, we will loose again against the better teams in the league. I still believe that we will have success in the playoffs.

To often we see an inconsistent and low offensive output from players like Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, and Luke Walton. These guys need to score more!

I'm pleased to see Trevor Ariza put up some big numbers in a game. He really helped us last year.

Bynum's improved speed has impressed me this year.

Go Lakers!

All the talk about 73-9 aside (really, some people need to cut back on their Modesto Miracle consumption), the Lakers are very well configured for the playoffs. With Ron, the have an answer to Carmelo (he looks beast!), Lebron, and Pierce.

PJ could care less about the regular season. We have a great team that will take a third of the season to even begin playing great. (Ron Ron needs to figure out his role in the triangle, and Socks and Pau need to figure out how to play together in a way that maximizes their collective time on the court. Both of these will take time.)

Dang, phred, I finally figured it out!

You're the Joker to LT's Batman! lol, all in fun.

p ang-

you should see my catwoman outfit.

I know it's still early and Pau has not play a single game this season, but can you blame me if I'm doubting the correctness of the Lakers management of getting Artest instead of just retaining Ariza. Ron-Ron is non-factor after two games while we know already what we can get from Trevor.
Posted by: NINOY

HOW MANY TIMES DOES IT HAVE TO BE SAID, IT WASN'T ARIZA VS ARTEST, IT WAS ARIZA VS ARTEST, ODOM AND BROWN. Ariza's agent told Mitch in no uncertain terms, Ariza would be paid $10 million dollars or would not come back with the Lakers, Mitch signed Lamar, Brown and Artest for around $15 million, we would have been a MUCH WEAKER team with Ariza but no Brown, Odom and Artest.

Hey The Lake Show, what the heck are you talking about, Mbenga is about the best 3rd string center in the league, he's WAY better than most teams 2nd string center's and can play good D against a lot of 1st stringers. ANY offense you get is a bonus, he's out there, to buy Andrew or Pau some rest, and block or alter shots, and cover the pick and roll. He blocks more shots per minute played than anyone on the team, and covers the pick and roll better than Drew.

The point with Artest is he puts us in a better position to beat the celtics...I still think Ariza didn't want the role he would have had on the lakers and Artest did.Ariza may end up looking like a ten mil player but it doesn't matter...I still think the team will ultimately be better with Artest - it'll just take a little time.

I kind of get the excuses for enthusiasm but seriously? its a new season, you get paid well, you got the reward last year,you've got fresh challenges...you've got every reason to be fired up right? I just don't get the whole motivation/enthusiasm thing...its the first week of the season...I used to even enjoy school for the first week after the summer...get over it boys!


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