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Laker report cards: Matt Barnes

Photo: Lakers forward Matt Barnes reacts after falling to the court and injuring his right knee against New Orleans in early January. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press-600wiBelow is the third edition of Lakers report cards, this one focusing on Lakers forward Matt Barnes.

Grade: C+

A buzzing sound bounced around the walls of Matt Barnes' house in Palos Verdes, and the noise came from all sources.

First, the plasma television screen that showcased an NBA playoff game. Second, Barnes' barber and friend, Demorea "Truck" Evans, used a hairclipper to buzz his hair into a mohawk, a ritual Barnes followed for every playoff season in honor of his late mother, Ann. And third, the compression machine sitting by Barnes' right knee.

Barnes had grown accustomed to that sound ever since suffering a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee in the Lakers' 101-97 victory Jan. 7 against New Orleans. Even when he returned from rehab nearly two months later, Barnes wore the device three to four times a day for 30 minutes each, reducing the pain, swelling, tissue damage and muscle spasms by instantly freezing water into ice. There was a sound Barnes would have rather heard instead, the initial buzz surrounding his highly efficient play through timely cutting, hustle plays and endless energy. But the moment Barnes became injured and started wearing that compression machine following his injury, he no longer proved to be the same player. 

"Once I started returning, I never was really comfortable," Barnes said following a season where he averaged 6.7 points per game on 47% shooting. "I never got back in the rotation so to speak. So I’m still beating myself up about that. As we speak, it was hard to swallow to know that I had a chance but I was hurt."

That's why it's hard to truly evaluate Barnes' worth to the team. The Lakers will literally determine that soon as he's weighing whether he will exercise his player option. But from a performance standpoint, it's more appropriate to give two grades for before and after his injury. His grade before his surgery warranted an A- because he fit in seamlessly off the bench despite still learning the triangle by finding ways to compensate for the learning curve. While learning the triangle, he relied on his basketball instincts and made sure he was cutting properly into open spaces and converting on hustle plays. He had been very deferential to the veterans both with public comments and on-court actions. Even though he had eaten into Ron Artest's minutes, the two have set up a mutual system where one will raise his hand when he feels he's tired and needs a break. It was everything the Lakers had envisioned he brought ever since his infamous contentious play last season with Kobe Bryant when he played for the Orlando Magic. 

Once the injury happened, Barnes no longer proved to be the same player, as indicated by his 3.6 points per game average on 39.5% shooting in 13.1 minutes.  His play warranted a C- because he appeared extremely tentative, which prompted him to develop bad habits, such as shooting too many three-pointers, replacing physical defense with silly fouls and cutting corners on off-ball movement. Barnes surely should have found ways to compensate for those shortcomings, but he acknowledged the unfamiliarity dealing with his first major injury. 

"To have that one chance to finally be a Laker and contend for a title and then to tear my knee up," Barnes said, "it kills me inside." 

Photo: Lakers forward Matt Barnes reacts after falling to the court and injuring his right knee against New Orleans in early January. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

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Time for a reality check! We MUST keep Barnes! He has a commodity that was in scarce supply this season...HUSTLE!

Just think about it, it was a 'perfect storm' entering the playoffs. First, Barnes had the knee injury and was never the same when he came back. Blake gets the chicken pox of all things and is lethargic when he comes back. Kobe has teh ankle sprain to add to the laundry list of injuries he already had. The bench was already further depleted by the shortsighted trade of Sasha for Smith (Smith was a real help against Dallas right?). Alot of little things can make a big difference.

These things were said:

So kobe says everyone knows he shoots first and Pau is second and Bynum falls in line after them. So, him taking stupid shots is more important than playing team ball. That is exactly what he did and that is why they are on vacation.

Posted by: hmcsp | May 11, 2011 at 08:47 PM

You know what I would like hobbit to explain why la is at its best when kobe eats first. Hobbit is real good at explaining the benefits. Granted la get swept with this philosiphy but it would be entertaining.

Posted by: island priest | May 11, 2011 at 09:01 PM

my response:

Since you so nicely asked, I will. Class is in session.

Exhibit #1.

Kobe took 34 shots & made 16 of them.
Pau took 12 shots & made 7.
Bynum took 8 shots and made 3.

The Lakers won by 25 pts. They would go on to win an NBA championship.
Kobe was the Finals MVP.

Exhibit #2

Kobe took 22 shots and made 10.
Pau took 14 shots and made 8
Bynum took 6 shots and made 4.

The Lakers won by 13. They would go on to win an NBA championship.
Kobe was the finals MVP.

Exhibit 3.

Kobe took 21 shots and made 8.
Pau took 14 shots and made 7
Bynum took 9 shots and made 6.

The Lakers won by almost 30 psts.

Exhibit 4.

click on box score.

Kobe took 18 shots and made 7.
Pau took 10 shots and made 4.
Bynum took 7 shots and made 2.

Let's set the context:

1. TEAM ball is *NOT* everyone getting the same number of shots.
TEAM ball is *EVERYONE* playing their roles for the betterment of the

I explicitly state this because your reasoning points to a lack of understanding
on this point. You do *NOT* want D-Fish taking as many shots as Kobe.
You do *NOT* want Ron Artest taking as many shots as Kobe.
There is a very clear reason why Kobe is an all-star & Artest/D-Fish aren't.

There are two false statements in the above posts.

False statement #1. So, him taking stupid shots is more important than playing team ball. That is exactly what he did and that is why they are on vacation.

The Lakers *specifically* tried to get the ball inside to Pau & Bynum because
*THAT* is where the Lakers strength was. Phil Jackson said it. Kobe said it.
Pau acknowledged it. Kobe stayed w/in the game plan. The Lakers tried to
get their bigs the ball. The bigs got out played. The bench got outplayed.
The Mavs shots the lights out and we're on vacation. Pau is upset with
*HIMSELF* not frustrated that he didn't get the ball. Per his own words!

false statement #2. la get swept with this philosiphy but it would be entertaining.

LA got swept trying to get the ball into the paint. LA got swept because Pau
played like a chump. For which he is mad at himself. Per his own words.
You never saw Phil trying to get Kobe going. You constantly saw Phil trying
to get Pau going. It never worked.

Now. Are you an ignorant putz or do you just play one on the blog?
Bynum & Pau got plenty of touches in these playoffs. The Lakers
*specifically* tried to get them going. There were some questionable
rotation calls, by Phil, but Pau and Bynum had plenty of opportunities
and were not as successful as they could have been. If you bothered to
look at the box score, you'd find that Kobe took less shots, during this
series, than he took in last year's playoffs. i.e. The Lakers tried to make Pau
and Bynum more of a focus on offense. And it didn't work because Pau
played like a chump and they're both too slow.

Which oddly enough, Jerry West spoke about. And oddly enough, so did

Educate yourself. Your ignorance is appalling.

Got to agree with the hobbit. Too many folks ragging on Kobe about too many shots (looking at too much ESPN). I do not see them do the same shot chart for any of the other major superstars in the league. It is not as if Kobe does not have any help (plenty of it) but his 2nd in command (Lieutenant Ryker or No. 1 in this case) really got lost and played as if he was new to the league. Never seen anything like that ever in all my b-ball watching (over 30 years). It is not to say the team did not have other problems but averaging 13 points vs 18 to 20 and less than 10 boards (meaning no offensive putbacks) means losing every time.. Maybe over the summer PG will develop a thicker skin for whatever was ailing him (girlfriend, rumors). We need a serious upgrade in speed and athleticism, something that Barnes provided but lost due to his struggles with knee surgery. He gets a mulligan for this season. As I stated before in another post, it was the perfect storm and the Mavs took advantage of if - ailing superstar, withdrawn 2nd in command, lack of bench play and the arrogance to think it can be turned and off at will led to me not caring about the rest of the season other than not wanting the collusional South Beach team to win it all.

...Pau THE TINMAN or the Cowardly LION can't say the same...

Posted by: yellofever | May 11, 2011 at 09:26 PM

You know we have the "Lamar Anthem"
Lamar is the Scarecrow (Wizard of Oz) in the "Lamar Anthem"

I could probably come up with something for Pau.

Hmm, Pau as the "Tin Man" or "Cowardly Lion"
the wheels are turning

hobbitmage ftw @ 11:38 PM

Hobbit thanks for your feeble response. The Priest recalled that you invited a blogger down to your local dojo to train with you. Hopefully you know martial arts better than you know basketball. Because your basketball knowledge is mediocre at best. The flawed Kobe doctrine of eating first was fine with the younger kobe. The younger kobe was able to beat you off the dribble, get into the lane and jump over the final defender. Those days are long gone. how far have kobe fallen? Dallas stratedgy was to place an ancient 38 year old Jason kidd to guard the Mamba in the 4th when he is supposed to be at his best. Kobe is now a slow footed old guard who can hardly jump any longer. The best stratedgy is to play to your advantage which is Bynum and Gasol or LO at times. Some days it will be kobe on the block. Who ate first when magic, worthy, scott, kareem and cooper played?

The great tragedy in the 2nd round sweep debacle is that the ball hogging Kobe still doesn't get it. Dr. buss gave him the most talented team in all of professional sports and he goes and screw it up. I am sure Dr. buss is livid right now at Kobe Bean Bryant.

I don't know what games some of us were watching but Bynum did not get touches late in the games. I am a die hard Laker fan. Love the Lakers but if management & the team think they can win with everything remaining the same then we as fans are going to be disappointed again. Even Phil says they need to get quicker. They might want to change the offensive rotation on who can get the high percentage shot as well.

Roast of the day awarded to: Hobbitmage!

Yeah, it's funny how people are so sure Kobe was jacking up shots when in reality, he really did keep the shot count low and continued to try to feed everyone else, particularly Pau and Drew. Pau came up short, Bynum didn't. Like I keep saying, if Pau hadn't played like a chump, we would've beat them )or at leasr made it a contest) like we did towards the end of the season.

Educate yourself. Your ignorance is appalling.

Posted by: hobbitmage | May 11, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Excellent post,as usual you manage to find stats and facts.In the end though I think some people are just Kobe haters and there's no way around it.Kobe didn't have a great series against the mavs,like you said he stuck with the gameplan.Yet he gets flogged for sticking with the plan.Wow.............

c+ sounds about right, he failed to find his stroke again the bench was non-existent during the playoffs so our key guys couldn't rest-Kobe had to step up because our PG spot was inefficient and very unproductive, took a toll on Fisher himself, Barnes subbed for Artest, and he could cut and rebound here and there, so Odom had to sub for Gasol... so because we didn't have fresher legs out there, Sasha, Jordan Farmar, Shannon, DJ Mbenga our rotation was weak (Phil didn't play the guys he did have, Joe Smith, Luke Walton) our team played too many minutes and ran out of gas, as they were supposed to.


Get 3pt shooters, get 3pt shooters, get 3pt shooters.

Upgrade the point guard spots.

Get a coach.

Get 3pt shooters.

Kobe get your finger surgery pronto.

@ hobbit -

Regarding your complete and total dismantling and subsequent deep sea burial of island priest's & hmcsp's posts above:

Game. Set. Match.

You sank priest's battleship.

No whammies! Big bucks! No whammies! *ERRRRRRRRRRRRR!*

Finish him! Flawless victory!

hmcsp: End Of Line.

I'm am in the presence of greatness.


To my fellow laker fans, get a life. The lakers went to three finals in a row. Mark Cuban would love to win one title, so would LaBron James so would most franchises. We are lucky to have the Buss family owning the Lakers. Age and injuries have caught up with the Lakers. The fact of the matter is there are better, deeper teams out there. The Lakers being loyal to there players have most of there Big dollar guys under long term contracts. Most likely it will take several years until the lakers return to prominence. It is the same for San Antonio and the Celtics. Boston knew when they signed the Big three that it was a short shelf life. Sucessful teams get old, Lottery teams get good. There is no way of knowing what will come out of the new NBA contract. A hard salary cap may make it impossible for owners like the Buss family do what they have been doing. Dr Buss and the rest of the clan. How about buying the Dodgers? Lets tar and feather Frank McCourt and ride him out of town on the rails.

The irony here is most people do not understand the game. They see stats only, or remember, selectively, what they want to remember. However, they comment on something, vitually not within thier grasp to comprehend.

Basketball is more than %, it helps to have an high % in your responsible category, but for the most part, defense integrity; offense integrity are essential to team success.

Here's an example; When Pau receives the ball with his back to the post, a low post position, he should be no more than 5 feet from the basket, not 7 or 10, its no longer a low post position, this distroys the offensive integrity, because now the team has to adjust to him being that far out, when in fact it was meant for him in the low post. The spacing is off, the cuts are off, the integrity of the offense is off. This happened so many times it was like watching a your kids and you scream at the coach and tell him to take that guy out and put someone else in who wants to play. The Lakers got 5 less points from Pau than his season averages, but got 80% less hustle, pride and determination.

Derek Fisher, I don't buy the leadership crap that most people use to support having him around. He can do that from the bench and in practice. Fish is ranked last in all category's for starting PG's. Not good.

ODumb, where was he during these playoffs? He has had a better year than most, he actually stayed consistent for longer periods this year than the past, but he also went into a funk for most of the entire playoffs.

Bynum, Mr. Disingenuous. He also allowed himself to be punked. Not as much as Pau, but I think he did not want to be the 3rd wheel in the offense, therefore I believe he sulks at times.

Bench, pathetic. We really need quality players in this area. I believe Barnes is a keeper, everyone else erase their names from all the basketball jounals.

Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, not the same dude, but never the less the best on the team. He sacrificed his game to get these guys engaged all season. He actually shot less this season than last, but that goes unoticed, so blaming Kobe for the Lakers decline is easier. However, he did not have a great series either. I would have rather him become the Kobe of 06 and just took over, than watch us go down with only memories of Pau floppy and running up the court like a wet noodle.

Why is trading Kobe off the table?

Posted by: God | May 11, 2011 at 09:46 PM

does god exist?


When exactly are we going back to instapost? This moderation thing sucks, can't carry on a conversation with the eminent members of this blog.

Funny thing is that 90% of the people that manipulated MM into this crazy moderation have bailed on us and now have their little 15 member rogue chat while we get to suffer for their "sensitivity".

PSP Solutions Architect


Great stuff. I took a quick look at playoff averages last year vs this year and they are interesting. Kobe's attempts per game dropped (realize I am comparing 23 games last year vs 10 this year) by almost 4 a game. Looks like Pau's also dropped, but overall the 3 big men took more shots per game than last year, so that definitely points to a slightly less efficient offense (about 3 shots per game for 2 points per game). And overall looks like there were less shots for the team per game.

Combined, the three bigs averaged close to the same numbers in points, rebounds, and assists per game last year to this, but Pau's PER numbers fell apart.

Very strange dynamics at work. Of course, it is hard to tell just looking at stats what caused what, but combine those with watching the games and some things become clearer.

I certainly hope that Pau and Drew can figure out how to play at a high level together, assuming no trades are made.

Thanks Hobbit hope all this Kobe haters will shut up now.Thats the number one reason why we lose this series trying to change our identity.KOBE ball win us two straigth championship why change it look at what happen we gave the ball to odom,bynum and pau result 2nd round exit...

hobbitimage: I don't necessarily think that the inside-out strategy was a wrong one. But the execution broke down. That doesn't discredit the strategy, which called for an equitable distribution of shots among Bigs early and Kobe late. It was the football equivalent of using the run early to set up the pass late.

It was a strategy Phil employed with the Bulls during their title runs. The Bulls often went inside first, with Jordan as distributor early on. Once they were able to build a lead with execution and defense, it was up to Jordan to hold it.

LA's execution simply broke down. Pau didn't have it. Bynum actually played fairly well. That affected Kobe's productivity, because he was forced into action early, drawing the defense to him, making him less effective and LA less competitive late.

It's a strategy, however, that can still work, albeit with some different personnel in 11-12, because change is inevitable. That's okay. The runs of the 80's and 00's required personnel changes midstream/late.

I guess we are truly in off season in Laker land, boon to our loved ones whether our better half, girl friends, walk the dog, tend the garden, house chores, projects and to our bread and butter employment or business. It is also boom times to naysayers on Kobe, the ever Laker haters, the copycats, these are their moments they've waiting for, the vulnerabilities of Lakers. It was reported this morning on LAT business page that approximately 70M will be lost because Lakers were stopped in the 2nd round, I'm sure AEG Ent. would also be evaluating their lost opportunities and these losses has multiplier effects because Laker fans stayed home. It will be boon to reality shows like Idol, Dancing and sitcom, Modern Family and a sure loss from the cable feeds in cancelling subscriptions, advertising dollars and that eventually trickles down to this blog. That's the effect of Gasol meltdown and Lakers lackadaisical approach during the games of 2011 season.

In absence of a reliable Coach, same-same complacent players, over the salary caps, future looming lock down will u not want to improve what is already working? In the Lakerland, winning is a necessary evil to put bread on the table, to send kids to education by avoiding teachers' layoffs, to avoid further economic trickle down of a bankrupt state, a moribund first class city in the world, a bankrupt major newspaper. To Kobe, LO, Gasol, Bynum and Walton, they lost opportunities and their glorious time but to many it's God forsaken livelihood.

Therefore, to all dreamers and dissenters, it's time to relax this off season and step back in order to get proper NEW and DYNAMIC perspectives. You can't rely on past statistics when bodies are old and worn-out. To naysayers, you can't continue putting down the duck that lays the golden eggs when he contributed a lot of the Championship of this club. I want to promote the middle grounds, not too much and not too little. Lakers front office should view this situation carefully but got to make hard decisions. Don't just believe that everything is broken nor everything is just fine. Make it better.

Educate yourself. Your ignorance is appalling.

Posted by: hobbitmage | May 11, 2011 at 11:38 PM




Wow, Island Priestess; looks like the general consensus is that you just got your behind handed to you. It's okay man, what don't kill you will only make you stronger.

PSP Intern

I wasn't one of the people that championed moderation; I just said something needs to be done about the ridiculous amount of garbage posts and handle jacks. That's not exactly how you get new fans to engage in discussion.

As of right now, there's not a whole lot to say.

Celtics losing, NO surprise there. Lakers losing in a sweep, BIG surprise there.

How do people anticipate the Lakers getting "faster" like Jackson advises?

And by Faster... how many slow people do we have?
Is Lamar slow?
Is Kobe slow?
Bynum and Gasol are big, so of course they're slow
is Shannon Brown slow?

In my book, there's two guys that are slow. DF & RA
(not that I want these guys, but) If you swapped out Traitor Ariza for Ron and Farmar for Fish, I'd say you just sped up the team a whole lot.
Funny thing is, we used to have those guys on the team....


Who is this Island Pwnd guy?

My gosh, the dude just got blown out over the internet

"Funny thing is that 90% of the people that manipulated MM into this crazy moderation have bailed on us and now have their little 15 member rogue chat while we get to suffer for their 'sensitivity'".

Posted by: Practice Season Police | May 12, 2011 at 08:16 AM


Amen! What a farce :-(

Yap I think that 15 you mention PSP jinx our Lakers...

The most interesting thing in regards to kobe is when he's shooting folks say he shoot to much and when he's passing the ball, folks say he should shoot more. Thank God he has a strong character and mind of his own. What I find most interesting is an in jured Kobe is better in my opinion than 90% of the league. Barnes was playing very well until he sustained an injury. I think he should be given another opportunity to show his worth. He is a very good asset for Kobe. These two players show what it means to forgive, forget and then work together for one ultimate goal. Nowadays that is a very rare sight. Psalms 121



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