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  • tate793

    tate793 9:52 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Kevin Durant’s Foot Injury – As Explained By a Medical Expert 

    Soobum Im, USA TODAY Sports
    May 21, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (center) watches from the bench against the San Antonio Spurs in game two of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant has a broken right foot and is expected out six to eight weeks. But what is the Jones fracture and what is the likelihood of recurrence? USA TODAY Sports talked about the injury with Nick Grosso, a sports medicine surgeon and president of The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, one of the largest practices in the country about the injury.

    Here’s an edited transcript to help you better understand what Durant is going through:

    What is a Jones stress fracture?

    “‘Fracture’ is one of those words that people misunderstand. There are complete fractures, when the bone breaks all the way through. A stress fracture is the bone impending a break (as more of a crack). That’s why there was soreness when they looked into it (rather than more severe pain). From what I’ve read, it doesn’t sound like the bone is completely fractured.

    “It’s an overuse injury. So it starts with a little bit of soreness until it gets worse and finally they bring it to someone’s attention. I see it all the time where people have it start as soreness. They’re tough injuries to get better from. … These guys are used to playing with pain. A little ache in the foot didn’t get his attention until it got severe enough. … In a guy like this, you probably would operate on this no matter when he brought it up.”

    Why could he need surgery?

    “What differentiates the Jones fracture from other fractures … it’s really more toward the back of the foot, the back end of the long bone of the metatarsal, just forward from that. That has a very low blood supply and very low healing potential (without surgery) as a result.

    “Even in non-athletes, we tend to be more aggressive in treating this type of fracture. I’ve had two in the past few months where we’ve opted for surgery. … We’ve gotten more aggressive in treating this in the last 10 years. Some people still opt to treat conservatively, but a fair number of those … will go on to not heal and need surgery. But with athletes and other people who spend a lot of time on their feet, I try to talk them into the surgery right away just because it’s a higher chance of getting them up quickly.”

    Getty Images/iStockphoto
    Foot Bones, Arteries and Veins (Getty Images/iStockphoto) [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

    How do Durant’s body type and occupation factor into the injury?

    “Being a basketball player is very tough on your feet. Even with the shoes they have now adays, hardwood has very little give to it. The big difference is that if it’s a stress fracture, they’re going to put a screw right into the bone, running a wire and then put a screw in to reinforce the foot. If somebody has a complete fracture, the second operation is typically a bone graft. From what I’ve read on this, I don’t see it being a particular big issue.

    “Orthopedic injuries tend to be very mechanical in nature. … For the foot, what really makes a difference is the weight, how much weight and stress it sees, and also how much flexibility. Flat-footed people tend to be more flexible, while people with high arches tend to be more injury risks. That means more of an issue. Of course, I haven’t seen Kevin Durant without shoes on, so it’s tough to know.”

    What are the chances of re-injury or Durant being slowed down in the future?

    “The chances of it being a long-term problem are very low, assuming it is in fact a stress fracture as indicated. He should be pretty much as good as new, with the surgery done correctly. He should do really well.

    “Assuming everything heals well, he should be able to ride a stationary bike within a matter of days. Hopefully he won’t get de-conditioned (because he’ll be able to work out), and he should be able to get back to game-type situations at practice and they’ll see how he does.”


    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:39 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It’ll come down to playing on the foot. I’m sure they’ll start him on a minutes limit and ramp up as the season goes. I’m also fairly certain he plays at an All Star level if the foot is truly healed and he plays as pain free as any NBA player ever does. With the money ramping up as much as it will OKC has a nice little cushion to pay Durant max money and still have a Westbrook max slot available, should they so choose. When they’re both healthy they’re as dangerous as any tandem in the league and they know it.

      I’m also fairly certain we’ll tender KD the same offer we tendered Melo and LaMarcus Aldridge. It’s the best we can do. If our guys play well, show that they can compete, others will want to play with them. If not I do0n’t see any top tier guys coming here just for money and sunshine.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:19 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Sorry I haven’t been around, done got hitched 


  • LakerTom (Publisher) 1:43 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    A Reminder the Summer of 2016 has its Limitations 


    If you have not read all three parts of Eric Pincusinterview with Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss, you should. Pincus doesn’t try to play “gotcha” or spin Buss’ comments in either a positive or negative way, instead giving us Buss’ words directly for our own interpretation. It’s refreshing to hear what Buss says in this format, even if you don’t agree with what he’s saying.

    In the wake of Pincus’ work, one of the more under-discussed topics is Buss’ slight hedge regarding the summer of 2016 and building through free agency:

    What the Lakers didn’t accomplish this summer was to sign a major free agent.

    “It’s just that it takes time to build a core that guys want to play with,” Buss said. “I understand a superstar doesn’t want to come in and say, ‘Oh, we still have two or three years of rebuilding.’ I think with Jordan Clarkson, Russell, Randle, even Hibbert … we’re getting a core of seven or eight players.”

    With the NBA’s new national television deal kicking in next year, the Lakers could have up to $60 million to spend in July, enough to go after two max-level free agents, including Kevin Durant.

    “If a big name or two came, we have the room. That’s the key,” Buss said. “We’ve kept our flexibility.”

    Buss’ first quote gives us a bit more background into what he and the rest of the front office has learned through the past three years of free agent meetings and recruiting pitches*. From Dwight Howard to LaMarcus Aldridge (and even Greg Monroe), the Lakers saw their top targets sign with teams in better position to win games sooner. These results seem to have left a lasting impression.


    Via his second quote, Buss seems to put it out there, if not directly than through implication, the Lakers remain hopeful of landing a big fish free agent and have positioned their roster in a way to be able to do so next summer. But a key part of this process isn’t just having cap space, it is to build up a talent base organically through the draft and via smart trades in order to create the type of soft landing spot top flight free agents are looking for.

    Even in building this way, however, it’s also important to note what Buss says: “if a big name comes…” That if is pretty important and sets the tone for this entire discussion. When it comes to free agency there will always be uncertainty. And not just in the form of a player choosing you:

    From the depth of quality to the types of players available, there are more things to consider when Buss uses the word “if”. It’s not just if one comes, it’s if one is even available. It’s if that player fits into the same timeline as the other core players Buss discussed earlier in his chat with Pincus. It’s if that player even fits with the players in place and if it’s worth displacing a payer you like in order to acquire a new one. I could go on and on.

    When forecasting out a year from now, these are the types of things to keep in mind. Per Buss’ statements, the Lakers sure are. Even if it seems they weren’t always doing so.

    *Whether you think Buss and co. should have known this already is another story. One of the major hot takes from the time LeBron joined the Heat in 2011 was that he wanted it “easy” by forming a “super team”. Critics of James roasted him for teaming up with players the caliber of Wade and Bosh in order to give himself the best chance to win. What those critiques ignore, however, is that LeBron did was was best for him and gave himself the best chance to win championships in the process. Players since that time have shown a want to do the same. Remember, most of the top tier free agents are coming off their second contract. They are clearly in their prime and are at the point in their careers where they have little to prove as individual talents. Instead, goals become less about making an all-star team and more about making the finals with their everyday team. 

    Getting back on point, it’s fair to say the Lakers should have known that chasing max level free agents and trying to pitch them on joining a Lakers’ team with an aged Kobe and not much else was a losing hand. *Steps off soapbox*


    • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:02 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      “Getting back on point, it’s fair to say the Lakers should have known that chasing max level free agents and trying to pitch them on joining a Lakers’ team with an aged Kobe and not much else was a losing hand. *Steps off soapbox*”

      Which is exactly why the Lakers reached a deal for Roy Hibbert. He was really their Plan A because they realized the chances of landing a superstar while rebuilding was slim to none. Their only shot really was the attempt to free up enough cap space to sign both Jordan and Aldridge.

      As for 2016, we may look to add additional pieces but the real game for the Lakers has to be the summer of 2017. when there will be more and better free agents. Timing wise, it also gives the Lakers a chance to make the second jump from a barely playoff team to at least a first round winner.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 5:58 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Durant is the only big name I would want next summer. The rest aren’t close to being worth max money.

      • tate793

        tate793 6:25 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The litmus test for KD will be how well his foot holds up this coming season. The Jones Fracture is a curious animal from which some never recover. What kevin has going for him is his slight build. Not a huge amount of weight being borne by that foot.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 6:53 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Yup. Plus, if he gives any indication of wanting to leave OKC, he will probably be traded.
          That will leave us with no real prospects again.
          Keep kicking that failure can down the road!!!!!

        • keen observer

          keen observer 11:04 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Forget about Kevin Durant. He’ll never come here.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:16 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Durant is the obvious name, and the pickings are pretty slim after that. We’d have to really show something next season for him to walk away from either:

      A) Much more money that OKC can offer not to mention the extra year at the higher rate.
      B) Hometown loving of the Washington Wizards who are already contenders on the annual.

      Not sure we should be on KD watch all that much unless he sends a signal or two through back channels, by that I mean Woj.

      • Michael H (Editor)

        Michael H (Editor) 9:17 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I don’t think Durants going any where. His treatment for the Jones fracture was experimental. If he gets through the season he would be foolish not to take that 5th year. And if it breaks again who knows what that will do to his market value.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:22 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I agree Durant is a long shot but we need a small forward to replace Kobe, assuming he does decide to retire. Like every year, there will be a bunch of guys who enjoy break out years. Those are guys who are younger and should be whom we’re looking at next summer. The guys near 30 looking for their last big contract and a shot a ring won’t be the right fit for the Lakers next summer. But adding 3 or upgrading 3 or 4 positions would be a successful summer 2016.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:52 AM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Jim Buss defends Coach Byron Scott and the Lakers’ use of analytics 


    Byron Scott

    A popular topic in NBA circles is analytics, which involve studying advanced statistics to gain an advantage on the basketball court.

    In February, Lakers Coach Byron Scott downplayed his use of analytics but has since gone on record, via radio on The Beast 980, that he’ll “use analytics a lot more” this season.

    On Thursday, Lakers part-owner and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss told The Times, “We’ve been using them for quite a long time. That’s basically [on] what I make all my decisions, is my own analytics.”

    Buss said the team has relied on an analytics staff for “six [or] seven years, but before that we were breaking down shot charts, everything we could get our hands on.”

    To the notion the Lakers are behind the times, Buss simply disagrees.

    “It’s an unfair assessment,” he said.  “We don’t announce what we do … if we are ahead of the game why would we tell people what we’re doing, so that they can catch up?”

    Obviously the Lakers don’t look like a franchise ahead of the game, given the team’s 48 wins in total over the past two seasons.

    “The reason that we’ve hit an extra bottom was because of injuries,” said Buss. “We lost Steve Nash, which is going to go down as a bad trade, but we would have done it again. He was a two-time MVP and we felt he still had some time.”

    The Lakers lost players to injury for more games than any other franchise last season, and they faced a similar fate through the 2013-14 season.

    All-Star Kobe Bryant tore an Achilles’ tendon in 2013, followed by a fractured knee the next season and a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder in January.

    The team has also suffered through a sizable talent gap in the Western Conference.

    “We’re rebuilding and there a lot of components that have caused us to lose the games that we have,” he said.

    Buss is confident that the team has turned a corner with players such as Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and Roy Hibbert. He’s also a strong believer in Scott.

    “Having that history of the Lakers from the very beginning of when [the Buss family] bought the team, gives you such a family sense. He’s a coach, a brother,” said Buss.  “He gets it.  He’s a strong personality. He believes in himself and the Lakers.”

    One of the big questions for the coming season is Bryant’s role. How many minutes can the 38-year-old veteran play?

    “[Bryant] and Byron talk daily,” said Buss, deferring the answer to the team’s coach. “I think they’ve got a game plan of how they’re going to handle it.”

    Scott, 54, has called himself “old school,” but Buss is confident that his coach will be open to changing with the times, especially analytically.

    “You can call him ‘old school,’ but what is he 50? He’s very flexible” said Buss. “He gets all the analytical parts of it, he’s not set in his ways. If he sees something that’s going to improve the team, he’s going to do it.”

    Buss focuses on the numbers when he’s investigating possible targets for the team, but he relies heavily on the wisdom of General Manager Mitch Kupchak, along with the input of Scott, when putting together a roster.

    “There are parameters that I need to see on a guy but that doesn’t mean he fits the team.  That’s where Mitch comes in, he knows the numbers, but he also sees if he’s a fit,” said Buss. “Then you go to Byron Scott, is this a guy that you like? Is this a guy that fits the team, does he complement the other players?

    “Analytics doesn’t really get to that human detail of, ‘Does he fit with this guy?’  Percentage-wise and stat-wise he does, but you have personalities, style of play, coaches that have a style of play and you have to put that all together.

    “If I don’t like a guy statistically or analytically then I might come in and say I’m not in favor of this. If he passes my test, then I just let [Kupchak and Scott] figure out who is the better fit.”

    Buss spoke of free-agent guard J.R. Smith, who recently declared his intention to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, as a very different fit analytically with the Cavaliers than he was in an inconsistent stint with the New York Knicks.

    “He didn’t just become great because he went to the Cleveland Cavaliers, he is a good player,” said Buss. “That’s the human element, where does he fit? How does he fit? That’s why you see the difference between him in New York and him in Cleveland.”

    From an analytic perspective, the Lakers’ acquired a defensive prize in Hibbert, acquired via trade from the Indiana Pacers.

    “He’s a stopper,” said Buss. “We’ve got a guy who can protect the rim.”

    A former two-time All-Star, Hibbert will earn $15.6 million in the final year of his contract.

    “It’s a perfect fit for us, especially with the flexibility it saves us,” said Buss, who is looking at the $50 million to $60 million the Lakers could have in cap room next summer.

    The Lakers absorbed Hibbert into their cap room in July, giving up just a 2019 second-round pick in a trade the team had lined up with the Indiana Pacers before they tried the free-agent market for bigger names like DeAndre Jordan and LaMarcus Aldridge.

    “We had him locked up,” said Buss.  “Larry Bird, [Pacers president of basketball operations], is a man of his word, and he basically said he we have a deal … It was contingent on [the Lakers not signing a big dollar free agent].”

    “He was fine with that,” he continued. “Bird wanted to put the kid into a spotlight like this.”

    In addition to his own number crunching, Buss said he learned a number of valuable lessons from the team’s former general manager Jerry West.

    “There are two [specific] things that are so incredibly accurate, that I feel like I have an advantage because of Jerry West,” said Buss, refusing to share the details.

    Buss called West one of his heroes. “His knowledge continues through to this day, now we have his son, [Ryan West].”

    Ryan West, who joined the Lakers in 2009, was recently promoted to director of player personnel.

    “I would say he has a different approach than his dad, but his work ethic and the drive is there,” said Buss.  “He’s straight from Jerry, 100%. Give him 20 years, he probably will turn into Jerry.”

    “Having Ryan in there, he doesn’t replace his dad as I don’t replace my dad [Jerry Buss who passed away in 2013], but at the same time, you get that he’s a Laker at heart,” he continued. “You know that he bleeds purple. You don’t have to question anything about the guy, he’s 100% dedicated to the Lakers. So am I, so is Mitch, so are our scouts. It gives a very comfortable feeling that you can concentrate on basketball when you have this kind of family around you.”

    Buss, who shares the majority ownership of the Lakers with his five siblings, said the Lakers’ franchise is not on the market.

    “There is no point to sell, because it’s a family business,” he said. “We have Jesse [Buss] who runs the scouting and does an incredible job. Joey [Buss], who is the business side and runs the D-Fenders and does a great job. They’re the future of the Lakers.

    “We’re not going to sell, that’s all there is to it.”


    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:10 AM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Eric Pincus’ great interviews of Jim Buss aren’t going to change the minds of the multitude of Lakers fans who blame him for the team’s fall from the championship elite and slide into irrelevancy but they should. If those fans would open their eyes and ears, they would realize Jim Buss is nothing like the half-witted buffoon he is portrayed. He is a smart, experienced, basketball executive who has been at the heart of the Lakers’ past success, understands what needs to be done to get back there, and has put together a team to accomplish that.

      Criticized in the past for being an enigma who shuns the press, these interviews were a good start by Jim to proactively address some of the concerns and criticism of the Lakers front office raised by the media and fans. I thought his handling of the potentially volatile subject of Kobe’s looming retirement or potential return to the Lakers adeptly balanced the past, present, and future. He showed great respect for Kobe but made sure that everybody understood that the role Kobe would play if he returned would be determined by the team and not by Kobe.

      I especially liked Jim’s responses regarding Byron and analytics, two areas about which I have been extremely concerned and critical. I will continue to accept Byron’s more recent comments about the value of 3-point shooting and pushing the ball as evidence that he is open to adapting his basketball philosophy to the modern game. I do believe we will see a much faster tempo this year and increased, more efficient 3-point shooting. I still hope the Lakers add an offensive guru to the coaching staff or at least an up-and-coming associate coach but I’m rooting for Byron.

      The moves the Lakers have made this summer also demonstrate an increased embracing of analytics in my opinion. The additions of D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Brown, Jonathan Holmes, and Michael Frazier gives the Lakers a lot more long range fire power as well as 4 young studs who should develop into 3-and-D players. Jim and Mitch have done a great job adding young players who fit the modern game at both ends. Now it will be up to Byron to adjust his offense and defense to take advantage of the new offensive and defensive weapons at his disposal.

      Finally, I loved what Jim said about the Lakers having Roy Hibbert locked up before going after Jordan and Aldridge, which showed that the Lakers learned from the previous year and weren’t going to miss out on what they needed swinging for the fences. I also loved the idea of Roy as a key piece of the team’s future core eight. Nothing is more important to an analytics driven defense than to prevent layups. I also like how Jim is looking at having this core eight at the end of the year as our real goal for 2015-16 rather than some arbitrary win-loss record. This year is about building for the future. Time for Lakers fans to get ready to give Jim Buss some credit.

      • keen observer

        keen observer 10:59 AM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Certain fans will nitpick the stuff that feeds into their scapegoat attitudes. They refuse to accept the way things naturally occurred due to the CBA, which handuffed the Lakers out of the shoot because of their enormous payroll and then of course the major fallout from the CP3 ordeal and then the injuries. They focus onsuch inconsequential things like the head coaching decisions, the draft picks that were traded away for Nash, and the Lakers inability to keep Howard then Gasol (both of whom these same fans can’t stand anyway). Jim Buss’s timing could not have been worse. His father dies just as things were really going south, so it was a great opportunity for these fans to feed their egos and of course they blame Jim for everything bad that happened since the championships, too, including the 2011 playoffs because “he” fired everyone in anticipation of the lockout. I really don’t care what he says or doesn’t say. The Lakers will get back to the top in due time and the fans should be patient. This might be our worst dry spell, but what’s the difference. A dry spell is a dry spell regardless and all that matters here is championships anyway.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:10 AM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          We’ve always been of the same mind with respect to the unfair criticism of Jim Buss, Oscar. With the Lakers now poised for a steady climb back to relevancy and championship contention, I’m hoping we will see a reprise of those exciting years watching Kobe and Shaq and Fish get it together. If all you want is championships, then just jump on the latest hot team’s bandwagon. But if you’re a basketball fan, what could be better than watching the Lakers build their next championship roster.

          I’ve never bought into this championship or bust mentality that drives Kobe to claim a season a waste unless it ends in a ring. The best things in life are the journey getting to where you want to go, not simply being there. I love the way we are building this team to be a sustainable contender anchored by homegrown talent. I have no problem waiting 4-5 years for us to become a truly dominant team again and plan on enjoying every minute of the journey.

          • keen observer

            keen observer 4:21 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Build it and they will come. The Lakers have historically built things a little faster and a little better than most NBA franchises and were stymied by an aging roster and an utter lack of flexibilty imposed on them by a prohibitive CBA and a small market @ss kisisng commisioner. Now that the cap is under control and some talent has been amassed, they will build it again and they will coem again. The chill pill isn’t something that most Lakers fans take, but it is something they should invest in. Seeing the big picture has never been the specialty of Lakers fans either. They need to sit back and relax.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 10:53 AM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think Jim got a bad rap for just being a private person. He has been in the same position through the championship runs as well as the down years. He wasn’t tooting his own horn but if you followed the Lakers closely you saw his name from time to time.

      What changed things was Dr Buss’s passing. That came on the heals of the nixed CP3 trade. That was the 1st step in this down ward spiral. That was followed by two years of league leading injuries and Howard asking the F.o to basically choose between him and Kobe. Which of course Dr Buss would have played the same way. I really don’t think we would have had any better results if Dr Buss had lived because the players we brought in were good moves that didn’t work out.

      There are a couple of things but none involved players. I didn’t like the Mike Brown hire. And in hindsight that proved to be a bad one. Still Brown did have a resume that included coach of the year but he would not be my choice. I also didn’t like D Antoni hire which very well could have been Dr Buss’s last major move. I liked Mike as a coach but we didn’t have right players and Mikes biggest flaw as a coach is his unwillingness to adapt his system to his players. It’s got him run from 3 jobs.

      The last thing is on Jeanie as well. They really needed to keep their sibling rivalry behind closed doors and show a united front to the public. It does appear they have gotten better at that.

      All in all I do feel the team has turned a corner and we are well situated moving forward. Even all the bad luck allowed us to draft Randle and Russell. Without all the misfortune we would have neither. Our 3 young guys seem to get it and I can’t wait for the season to start to watch them. It maybe be rocky for a while but the future is bright.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:01 AM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Great points, Michael. Thinking about all the criticism targeted towards Jim and Byron, much of it is based on isolated comments they made in the past that I doubt represent their positions right now. Jim’s comments about any guy in the bar knowing who to pick or Byron’s that you can’t win shooting 3′s come to mind specifically. Frankly, who hasn’t said something they later regretted or changed their minds. Considering who they drafted and have signed as free agents, I give them a solid B that could easily turn into an A. I like the makeup of this team and their potential to play the modern game. I have a hunch this year is going to be a lot of fun.

      • keen observer

        keen observer 11:01 AM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Well said, Michael H!

        • Michael H (Editor)

          Michael H (Editor) 11:20 AM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Thanks Tom. Thanks Keen. Jim was there all along. When Dr Buss died it just pushed Jim into the spot light. When you think about it what would have changed if he had lived? He was alive when many of the things Jim gets blamed for happened. He okayed the Nash trade, the D Antoni hiring etc. dr Buss may have ours added Pau to stay but honestly all that may have accomplished is probably would have lost our pick to Philly. So in the end we have just had to rebuild like most teams eventually have to. And we were lucky enough to be bad in years were there were game changers available. That doesn’t always happen. I have said this before but it’s rare that a rebuilding team has a nice blend of top rookies and seasoned vets. It will be fun to watch.

          • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:37 AM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Your point about us being luck with the draft the last two years is true. Living in NorCal, I must have seen the Warriors win top pick after top pick in weak draft after weak draft. We were doubly lucky that we won high lottery picks in two of the best drafts in the last 20 years. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. Had we not had the injuries, our rebuild would not be in as good a position as we are right now. In a way, maybe the basketball gods understood we had to get worse in order to get better down the road. Like Mongo always points out, every time you turn down a different fork in the road, everything changes. Those injuries turned out to have real silver linings.

            • Michael H (Editor)

              Michael H (Editor) 12:47 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink

              Your right Tom. We would have been a mediocre team not good enough to contend but to good to land a top pick. Add in great scouting to land Clarkson and we are better off then any of the pernially bad tankers.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 6:26 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Yeah, Jim has been great,
      Nash debacle.
      Howard fail.
      Kobe contract fail.
      FA fail last two summers.
      You guys are funny.
      Thanks for the laughs.

      • mclyne32 (Director) 6:28 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Mike brown fail.
        Dumbtoni fail.
        Pau Gasol fail.
        CP3 fail.
        If you don’t think that’s not the opposite of nitpicking, then you are insane.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 6:30 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Phil Jackson FAIL.
          Jeannie Buss FAIL.
          Cleaning house of longtime Laker staff FAIL!!!!!!!

          • mclyne32 (Director) 6:31 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Alex McKecknie fail.
            That’s a whole lot of failures.

            • mud

              mud 9:21 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink

              sorry, don’t care about lists of failure. failure is the result of doing things. even the greatest fail more than they succeed.

              there was no Nash debacle. he broke his leg and had nerve damage from that. that’s nobody’s failure, it just is what happened.

              the Howard fail is Howard himself. worth a try, i’m glad he’s gone.

              i love Kobe’s contract. it’s fine.

              FA fail? i guess so, but it’s more like what should have been expected. worth a try…

              Mike Brown? a real fail. oh well. Dr Buss himself had a number of those types of failures. Randy Pfund?

              Dumbtoni? ok, another failure. see above and use Magic Johnson or Mike Dunleavy as the coach.

              Gasol fail? hardly.

              CP3 fail? ok, but nothing to get upset about. the rest of the league cheered. you can’t blame Buss for not realizing how much the league wants to cut the Lakers down. i bet he knows now.

              PJ fail? hardly. the only failing was a PR failure. not hiring PJ was the correct move. he didn’t want the job. i don’t prefer PJ over Kupchak. i could be wrong, but as fat Charles says, i doubt it.

              Jeanie Buss fail? huh? those Playboys picks were awesome. the billboards were inconsequential. yeah, she shouldn’t have posed for Playboy.

              i’m wondering which will happen first. will the Buss family leave the Lakers or will you?

            • mud

              mud 9:23 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink

              i was sorry to see McKecknie go too, but i can’t classify it as failure.

              cleaning house? sometimes it’s the best thing to do, for the long haul…

            • keen observer

              keen observer 11:06 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink

              mclyne in rare form. Can’t see the forest for the trees. You define the exact type of Lakers fan who refuses to look at the big picture and the real facts. The typical Lakers fan lays all the so-called “failures” (translation: wahhhhh!!!) on Jim BUss and gives Mitch all the credit for when things went right. I’m surprised you didn’t throw Rudy G on your joke of a list.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:14 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Jim Buss talks about D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and the Lakers’ struggles 



    Lakers part-owner Jim Buss says he’s anxious for the new season to begin, and one of the reasons is the team’s top draft pick, D’Angelo Russell.

    “I can’t wait for the season, one of the reasons I can’t wait, first of all, I love basketball, second is to watch this kid develop,” Buss told The Times during a wide-ranging interview that also touched on Julius Randle, the summer league and why he feels he’s an easy target to blame for the franchise’s recent struggles.

    The Lakers selected Russell with the second overall pick in June’s 2015 NBA draft, passing on Duke center Jahlil Okafor and Latvian forward/center Kristaps Porzingis.

    “It was a long, long process that we decided to go with Russell. He’s just very impressive. We saw an upside of being a potential superstar in the league,” said Buss, the Lakers’ executive vice president of basketball operations. “Okafor is going to be a fantastic player also. Porzingis [will be] a great player.”

    The Lakers looked at more than 80 players at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo, preparing for the draft — ultimately selecting Russell, Larry Nance Jr. (27th overall) and Anthony Brown (34th).

    “We sit down with our scouts. We have countless workouts. Russell came in two different times, we saw him play all year long,” Buss said.  “Basically, my job, with [General Manager] Mitch [Kupchak], is to piece together all the information that we’ve gathered.

    “We probably met, this would just be a guess, 30 times on [the No. 2 pick].”

    After the draft, the Lakers’ summer league squad struggled in Las Vegas, dropping four of five games.

    Russell wasn’t especially impressive, averaging 11.8 points and 3.2 assists a game with 5.2 turnovers while shooting 37.7% from the field and 11.8% from three-point range.

    How much stock does Buss put into summer league play?

    “None,” he laughed. “Basically none. Summer league is the first time they get to meet, there’s guys trying out. There’s limited time.

    “What we’re trying to do in summer league is not to see how good Russell is, but to find that 14th or 15th guy [for the regular-season roster].”

    Summer league was also a source of frustration for second-year forward Randle, who was limited to five-minute stretches on the court, after missing almost his entire rookie season with a broken leg suffered on opening night.

    “He was very frustrated. You could see that he was overplaying. He was trying to cram 10 minutes into five,” Buss said. “That’s OK, all we were looking for was that his leg was OK, that he can handle the minutes.”

    Randle averaged 11.5 points a game but shot just 39.5% from the field.

    “I felt bad for him because he was trying to do too much,” Buss said.

    He said he and other Lakers officials have watched Randle work his way back into form at the team’s practice facility.

    “He’s been in almost every day all summer long; we’ve seen him relaxed, letting the game come to him,” Buss said.

    He said that, including Russell and Randle, he’s hoping about eight players emerge as core members of the Lakers’ future.

    What makes up a core player?

    “I don’t have a checklist, but I’d say a perfect example would be a Jordan Clarkson,” Buss said of the second-year guard. “Watching him develop into [what we hoped he would be] … his work ethic, his style of play, his team, his personality, the way he is with teammates, what he wants in life.

    “Is he focused on being a superstar for himself or is he being a team superstar for the Lakers? There’s a lot of different things, but there’s no checklist. I’ve done it for so long, it’s a feel.”

    Buss officially became the Lakers’ top basketball decision-maker after the death of his father, Jerry Buss, in February 2013.

    That doesn’t make him a newcomer to the team. He originally mentored under Kupchak’s predecessor, Jerry West.

    “I’ve been here for 20 years doing this with Jerry West. We’ve won championships. I’ve had the lows, I’ve had the highs,” Buss said. “We lost my father, he was a strong vote but he taught me so long. We’re not doing anything different than we were doing before. His voice of reason is missing, but he has taught me all the way through how to have that voice of reason.”

    Buss has been questioned by media and fans, especially with the team winning just 48 games in total over the last two seasons.

    Does he notice the detractors?

    “Of course, I read it,” he said. “Basically I’m not a person that is looking for recognition. I work extremely hard. I worked extremely hard for these championships.

    “When we’re winning championships, I don’t care who gets the credit because we’re winning championships. That’s the whole point.”

    Buss said he believes that approach has made him more of a lightning rod for criticism.

    “If I had to do something over, I would have made it a little bit more known that I was involved in all these decisions,” he said. “I get credit for the Andrew Bynum draft [in 2005], but I was extremely instrumental anywhere from Phil Jackson coaching the team to Pau Gasol [acquired via the trade of] Kwame Brown.

    “I could care less if Mitch gets all the credit for it, he’s the GM. He’s the center point. When it came to blame, you’d think it’d be the same kind of thing but people look at me as kind of a privileged kid.”

    He continued: “Nobody knows how hard I’ve worked this entire time. … My personality is to not to take credit for my work. It doesn’t bother me because it’s self-satisfaction that I know I’ve done a good job, I know I work hard, and that’s all I needed to know.”


    • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:13 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I actually think finishing this season with a solid core of 8 players would be a great first step towards continuity, something we have sorely lacked the last 3 years. Makes great sense as a goal and focuses how we are at the end of the season rather than overall win-loss record

      So the question is who do you think will turn out to be he Lakers core 8? Interesting that Jim included Hilbert along with the three young stars Russell, Randle, and Clarkson. I would agree. If Hilbert has a come back season, the Lakers would lock him up. Rim protection and preventing layups are at the heart of analytics basketball. The big question then is who would be the other 4 players who could comprise the Lakers core at the end of this season? Who do you think are the other players who could end up in the core 8?

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 8:33 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      A quick glance at the team’s salary sheet gives me an idea who those other players will be. Lou Williams, N.Young, Larry Nance, and Anthony Brown are all under contract for 2016. Add in Russell, Randle, Clarkson and that’s 7. If we sign Hibbert and Kobe hangs around, that’s 9. All these so-called 3 & D guys at the end of the bench are gonna struggle for the playing time needed to prove themselves as “core” players moving forward; especially with Bass eating up minutes as well.. And that’s five 1st/2nd year players that need to hit…rarely happens that all your picks pan out like that. Of course, this is barring any trades between now and then,

      But the million dollar question becomes…..what free angent(s) wants to join that core?
      After winning around 35 games and with true contenders out there with an extra $20 mill to throw on the table? The clock that Jimmy stupidly put on himself is ticking fast….

      • keen observer

        keen observer 10:38 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        “stupidly”? You’re so closed minded. I love the way you ignore 95% of the sh!t that makes sense and focus on the 5% that reinforces your scapegoat hatred for him .. stupidly.

      • mclyne32 (Director) 6:33 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I’m so glad that he did place that timeline on himself because he will continue to fail.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 1:54 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    DJ… Next three games against Braves are like the first three games of the World Series. Tanaka, Severino, and Nasty Nate. Let’s see if we can take a 3-0 lead.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:04 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Is Robert Upshaw the Lakers’ Next Hassan Whiteside? 


    By now we all know about Los Angeles Laker stud D’Angelo Russell and rebel Larry Nance, Jr., but the rookie that could prove to have a tremendous impact on the team is the undrafted big man out of the University of Washington, Robert Upshaw.

    After embracing the future and taking Russell with the second overall pick, rumors began to swirl about the Lakers having an inside track on snagging a big man through free agency.

    Hindsight being 20-20, that was not the case. That said, could the solution to the Lakers problems have arrived gift wrapped, Hassan Whiteside style?

    Looking at Upshaw’s stats and tape while at Washington, it’s scary to begin to imagine his NBA potential.

    Through 19 games, Upshaw averaged 10.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, and a staggering 4.5 blocks a game.  He shot nearly 60 percent in only 24.9 minutes a game all while coming off the bench.

    2012-13 Fresno State MWC 22 16.4 4.5 .378 1.7 .459 3.8 0.3 0.3 1.8 1.0 4.1
    2014-15 Washington Pac-12 19 24.9 7.6 .593 4.4 .434 8.2 0.5 0.4 4.5 1.3 10.9
    Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CBB: View Original Table Generated 8/27/2015.

    At the 2015 NBA Draft Combine, Upshaw came in standing 7′, 260 lbs with a combine-high 7′ 5.5″ wingspan.

    To get a better grasp of this, Jahlil Okafor measured 6′ 11″, 270 lbs with a 7′ 5″ wingspan and Karl-Anthony Towns 6′ 11″, 250 lbs with a 7′ 3″ wingspan.


    Furthermore, DraftExpress ranked Upshaw as the fifth best college center of 2015, trailing only Towns, Okafor, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Myles Turner. All of those men were lottery picks in the draft.

    So how did the physically imposing big man manage to go undrafted?

    It is only by diving into his past that one can begin to see the various caution signs and flashing hazard lights to accompany them. Though dominant on the court, Upshaw’s struggles stemmed from immaturity and off-court issues.

    In his past two seasons, Upshaw was dismissed from two teams — Frenso State University after 20 games and Washington after 19– for what seemed to be drug and alcohol related instances.

    Upshaw spoke about his troubles at Frenso State in an interview with the Seattle Times.

    I just got tired of being talked about and not in good way . . . I’m tired of being average. I put my average ways behind me and now I’m striving to be great. . I’m a completely different person . . . I’ve matured. I’ve become a lot more coachable. I have the trust of my teammates and my coaches to do the right things. I’m just a completely different player

    The troubled center revealed that he’d been released by the Huskies two weeks later. In a May Pre-Draft interview, Upshaw said similar things, but as proven time and time again, talk is cheap.

    On top of his off-court difficulties, Upshaw was also flagged at the combine for a minor heart issue. Even with all those red flags, DraftExpress had him pegged to go 19th overall at one point. He slipped to 45th overall in their last mock draft.

    If you look at the Lakers’ youth initiative, Upshaw seems tailor-made for this role.

    The Lakers feature prominent offensive options one through four — Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Anthony Brown, Julius Randle — but the one thing they lack  is a defensive anchor on the other side of the floor, something Upshaw could immediately provide.

    Dec 22, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies center Robert Upshaw (24) blocks a shot against the Tulane Green Wave during the first half at Alaska Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    All of the Lakers’ draft picks seem to specialize in at least one category, and Upshaw is no exception.

    Implementing NBA 2K signature skills, Russell would possess the dimer trait, Nance Jr. highlight film, Brown corner specialist, and as the No. 1 shot blocker in the NCAA, Upshaw would undoubtedly possess the eraser trait.

    Through 19 games, Upshaw’s 4.5 blocks per game were almost a whole block a game better than his closest competitor, LSU’s Jordan Mickey with 3.65 blocks.

    While the Lakers have since brought in Roy Hibbert to defend the paint, Upshaw does similar things for nearly $15 million less. Additionally, Hibbert is in the final year of his contract, so signing Upshaw would be a low risk, high reward acquisition.

    Earlier in the offseason, Lake Show Life (LSL) discussed how Upshaw could benefit from playing behind Hibbert, but this could all be in jeopardy considering his contract has yet to be finalized.

    In recent weeks, the Lakers have signed forward Jonathan Holmes and guard Michael Frazier, meaning they are one player over the league limit of 15.

    Furthermore, rumors of the Lakers’ apparent interest in Metta World Peace compounds this issue even more. As LSL has referenced before, the fate of Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly are yet to be determined, but it is likely that they will be on the move.

    Through some analysis, it’s pretty apparent that Upshaw’s motor is similar to that of Andrew Bynum and Hibbert, in that they are often disengaged — jogging back on defense, missing block outs, and sulking after missed shots — but when they are playing hard, they can alter the course of any game.

    Having said that, the Lakers should, without question, make it a priority to lock up Upshaw before someone else does. The Lakers let one get away with Whiteside, and it’s unlikely they make the same mistake twice.

    Upshaw stands alongside the youth movement of Russell, Clarkson and Randle. Hopefully, Upshaw begins his redemption tour with the Lakers once the regular season rolls around.

    It’s not often that you get a third chance at life, and while Upshaw’s Laker dream seems to be hanging on by a thread, LSL can’t help but cheer for him and wish him the best of luck.


    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:18 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      My Lakers 15-man roster for 2015-16 season:

      PG -- D’ANGELO RUSSELL, Lou Williams, Open spot

      SG -- JORDAN CLARKSON, Nick Young, Michael Frasier

      SF -- KOBE BRYANT, Anthony Brown, Jonathan Holmes

      PF- JULIUS RANDLE, Brandon Bass, Larry Nance Jr.

      CE -- ROY HIBBERT, Robert Upshaw, Tarik Black

      • mud

        mud 12:20 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        seems there is an error there…

      • keen observer

        keen observer 2:10 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        No Jabari Brown? He’s showed nothing but improvement.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:23 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I agree, Oscar. I think he will lose out to Frazier, who plays defense as well as shooting 3′s, and has a partial guarantee. I would not mind him being the 15th guy and he was on there before I switched it to a backup point guard. Just not a great defender but good 3-point shooter no doubt.

      • tate793

        tate793 6:32 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        PG -- D’Angelo Russell, Lou Williams, Michael Frazier
        SG -- Jordan Clarkson, Nick young, Jabari Brown
        SF -- Kobe Bryant, Anthony Brown, Jonathan Holmes
        PF -- Julius Randle, Brandon Bass, Larry Nance, Jr
        C -- Roy Hibbert, Robert Upshaw, Tarik Black

        With a plethora of versatility and interchangeability. Every player, with the exception of Hibbert and Upshaw can play and defend multiple positions.

        • keen observer

          keen observer 6:06 AM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          More like:

          pg- Russell, Clarkson, Williams, Kobe
          sg- Clarkson, Williams, J Brown, Kobe
          sf- Kobe, Young, A Brown, Holmes
          pf- Randle, Bass, Kelly*, Nance
          c- Hibbert, Black, Sacre*

          I want Kelly and Sacre gone as well, but they will be on the team. Frazier will be in the D League and I wouldn’t be surprised if the tweaking isn’t complete. I have a sneaking suspicion that we may never hear from Upshaw again as a Laker. For now, this is what I think the roster/rotation will look like.

          • tate793

            tate793 5:35 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            So, Mr Keen, if Sacre and Kelly were to disappear -- who do you think the Lakers would pursue to fill those two roster spots? IIRC -- you mentioned Rasual Butler. Is he still available? It’s been rumored that Emeka Okafor is playing in pickup games. Latrell Sprewel’s illegitimate son (Michael Beasley) was still unsigned last I heard.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 12:40 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Potential only goes so far.
      You have to put in the work over and over again and improve to get your time on the court.
      I hope that he can put it all together because we Need another good defensive big to win a lot of games.

      • keen observer

        keen observer 2:04 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The Houston Rockets won a lot of games with Tarik Black as their starting center when Dwight Howard went down last season and it was his rookie season. He will improve at both ends this season with his great work ethic. I don’t think people realize that he has a 7’3″ wingspan to compliment that big, strong frame. he may not be a shot blocker per se, but he can bother people and mucle them off the block. I think he is more than adequate to back up Hibbert.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:29 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I like Tarik but I would still like us to sign Upshaw as a project.
          I think he has great potential at very little cost or risk.
          We would be pretty strong at center with those three.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 6:37 PM on August 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I like Black a lot and hope that he continues to develop, but he has a way to go to become a consistent piece.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 5:14 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Somebody knows something about Upshaw but nobody’s saying it in public. With all his hype n stats, he should have been signed even to a bullshyte contract someplace by now…especially when you look at the type of guys getting signed at this stage of the summer. Just doesn’t pass the sniff test.

      As for Whiteside, he bounced around the D-League, Lebanon, n China for 4 years before he finally got right. Could be that Upshaw’s head just ain’t where it needs to be yet…

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 6:48 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I don’t see Williams getting much run at PG. unless someone else really steps up I expect a 3 guard rotation with either Clarkson or Russell on the floor most of the time.

      And the whole Upshaw thing is just weird. It was out of shape in summer league but still with his potential you would think someone would have signed him by now. Very strange.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:19 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Kobe will be the third point guard. I think the Lakers are waiting on Upshaw to come into camp in condition and prove he deserves a contract. If the support team he has around him does their job, he should be able to come in and make Sacre disposable, At least that’s my take and hope.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:29 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Using Hall of Famer comparisons, what Kobe’s last season might look like 


    By the time the NBA playoffs roll around next spring, it will have been nearly four seasons since Kobe Bryant suited up for a playoff game.

    It will be approaching six seasons since he won his fifth championship ring with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has finished the last three seasons on the sidelines. With his contract expiring and his NBA experience meter about to click over to 20 years, it’s fair to wonder whether this will be it for one of the game’s greatest players. Bryant has hinted in the past that this year might be it, though he’s left enough wiggle room for the rest of us to speculate.

    We were posed this question in the Summer Forecast, and 18 of 32 responders decided that Bryant will play on after this season. In reality, none of us really know, and perhaps Bryant himself doesn’t know, either.

    There’s plenty to write regarding the basketball aspect of this. How will Bryant’s presence help or hurt the Lakers’ growing gaggle of young players? Is he shooting too much? (The eternal question with Bryant.) Can the Lakers afford to commit future cap space to him when they are trying so hard to build the right way, and attract an in-his-prime superstar? But today, I want to focus on the historical aspect of this possibly being Kobe Bryant’s last stand. Given the physical woes of his last three seasons, what would a successful farewell even look like?


    For Bryant, his final season, whenever it is, will be his one chance to create a favorable last impression for fans and young players alike. He enters the 2015-16 season facing enormous challenges. His Lakers are coming off their worst-ever season. He’s played 41 games total over the last two years. When he did play last season, he averaged 22.3 points in 35 games. But he also put up an astronomical 35 percent usage rate and finished in the 12th percentile of effective field-goal percentage. With Bryant as the primary option of the Lakers’ offense, L.A. barely reached a point per possession while he was on the floor. Is putting up an empty scoring average for a bad team really a fitting swan song for a five-time champion? In the end, the answer to that is really up to Bryant, and his body’s ability to hold up for a full season.

    Bryant just turned 37 and two decades of professional basketball take a toll, as we’ve seen the last couple of years. We shouldn’t expect Bryant to suddenly turn the clock back a decade and put up 35 points per game. It would be fun if it happened, but it’s not realistic.

    So just how should we establish our expectations for Bryant’s just-might-be last season? For that, we can scroll through the final outcomes for Bryant’s true peers: The upper-tier Hall-of-Famers from the NBA’s history books. We’ll rank the scenarios from worst to best.


    The Steve Nash Scenario

    This is one is fresh in our minds and of course Bryant got to see Nash’s end from up close. Nash was injured, tried for more than one season to out-work the disintegration of his body, and ultimately was unable to do so. He ended up as an expiring contract and placeholder for cap space.

    There was nothing undignified about it — Nash did everything he could to get back for one more quality run. It just didn’t happen.

    Nevertheless, we have to admit that this is the worst-case scenario for a Bryant swan song: He simply isn’t able to stay on the court because his body won’t cooperate.


    The Michael Jordan Scenario I

    We’re talking Wizards-era Jordan here. I am not in the camp of those that think Jordan’s Washington coda detracts from his overall legacy and I think that now, 12 years removed, we can all see that it really doesn’t. I know that I was thrilled to get to see Jordan play out the string, just as I’m hoping to have the chance to do so over the next year or two with Bryant. We get these legends for only so long, and every chance to savor their skills should be appreciated for what it is. Jordan was nowhere near his Bulls-era self, either in terms of athleticism or productivity.

    Nevertheless, what he did at ages 38 and 39 was pretty amazing. He averaged 20 points at age 39, down from 21.2 the season before. He did this after being away from the game for three years. But the analyst in me knows those scoring averages were largely hollow, as Jordan’s percentages were well below average. At the bottom line, he wasn’t able to get the Wizards into the playoffs. I see this as the most likely outcome for Bryant, if even a little optimistic. A superficially OK-ish scoring average, low efficiency, with a few sparkling games sprinkled into the mix to remind us of what once was. But no return to the playoffs.


    The Larry Bird Scenario

    This one is a mix of the first two scenarios, and a rosier one. Bird was still a very good player during his final season with the Celtics. Unfortunately Bird’s on-going back issues limited him to 45 games and pushed him into early retirement.

    But those 45 games were enough to give us some great last-season memories of Bird’s greatness. On March 15 of that season, he put up 49 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists in a double-overtime win over a Portland team that eventually made the Finals. Boston made the playoffs and lost a first-round series during which Bird had limited availability. But in the one game the Celtics won, Bird had 16 points, six rebounds and 14 assists. If Bryant can’t get all the way back physically, is it too much to ask for one or two more vintage 50-point outbursts, perhaps one of them punctuated with a buzzer-beater?


    The Miller, Stockton and Havlicek Scenarios

    These are the dignified farewells. Hall-of-Famers who we kind of figured were playing their last seasons (we knew it was the case for Havlicek), who weren’t at peak levels, but still very effectively went about doing the things they’d always done. Miller averaged 14.8 points in 66 games, then scored 27 on 16 shots in a second-round playoff loss that ended his career. Stockton played and started every Jazz game for the 12th time in his last 13 years and led the league in assist rate as Utah made the playoffs.

    Havlicek averaged 16.1 points in 82 games for a Celtics dynasty two seasons removed from another championship, and one year away from Bird’s arrival. In his final game, Havlicek put up 29 points and eight assists, and received a seven-minute standing ovation at Boston Garden. Boston was bad that season, but that last image of Havlicek is indelible. These three players, like Bryant, spent their entire careers with a single franchise and if Bryant’s last season is like any of these, that’s a great outcome.


    The Wilt and Russell Scenarios

    Now we get into the realm of fantasy. Chamberlain put up the greatest individual final season in history, averaging 13.2 points and a league-best 18.6 rebounds. He also played 43 minutes per game at age 36, and shot 72.7 percent from the floor as the Lakers advanced to the Finals.

    Russell played and coached the Celtics to the 11th championship of his 13-year career. If Bryant were to have a Bryant-like season, and did so in the service of high-level winning, this would be a season we’d never forget. Then he’d have to walk away, right? Alas, this is not going to happen.

    The Michael Jordan Scenario II

    Which brings us to the ending that so many thought Jordan should have stuck with. He was still the best player in the game, paced the NBA in scoring, and not only led the Bulls to a sixth title, but hit the game-winning shot to make it happen. Unfortunately, even if Bryant were magically get back to his pre-injury level of play, this scenario won’t happen, either. The Lakers just don’t have the talent or experience.

    But, to paraphrase Hemingway, isn’t it pretty to think of this happening? In any event, the Jordan sagas tell us a couple of things. First of all, players, even great ones, seem less concerned with their own histories than the rest of us. And Bryant doesn’t need this kind of storybook finish to cement his legacy. He just needs to stay on the floor and play to win. The rest will take care of itself.


    • tate793

      tate793 9:48 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…….fart, fart, fart….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:55 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Kobe Says Playing With Dwight Howard Is What Made Him ‘Appreciate’ Shaq 



    After a decade of near silence on the end of his partnership with Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant finally said what so many never thought he would – that he regrets much of the behavior that led to the fracture of one of the league’s most talented and accomplished tandems in history. The five-time champion, though, apparently only came to realize the missteps of his youth after sharing the floor with yet another dominant, gregarious, and often criticized big man.

    In another excerpt from his upcoming guest appearance on The Big Podcast with Shaq, Bryant said that playing alongside Dwight Howard during the Lakers’ ill-fated 2012-13 season is what made him “appreciate” his days with O’Neal. Courtesy of Per Sources Sports:

    Until very recently, the argument could have been made that Bryant’s Lakers tenure with O’Neal ended in just as contentious a manner as his one with Howard.

    2003-04 was an ugly year for Los Angeles all the way around, one that began with Bryant informing police of O’Neal’s infidelity while being questioned for an alleged rape and ended with the big man packing his bags for the Miami Heat after the Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons in a dispiriting NBA Finals. The former teammates were hardly chummy during that season and the ensuing several years. There was a time not long ago, in fact, when it would be hard to believe Bryant nor O’Neal would ever publicly cop to mistakes of the past – let alone in a recorded conversation with one another.

    But time heals wounds, and Bryant’s playing twilight has shown a side of the five-time champion rarely seen throughout his storied career. Even so, it’s become increasingly difficult to see him mending fences with Howard.

    Its widely understood that the most sought-after free agent of 2013 left Los Angeles for the Houston Rockets because of an inability to coexist with Bryant. According to reports, Mamba didn’t exactly roll out the welcome mat during the Lakers’ free agency pitch to Howard, confirming months of speculation that the pair’s drastically disparate personas made for an imminently failed marriage – and prompted this, in retrospect, hilarious tweet from Bryant.

    Frankly, the rift between Bryant and Howard needs no more coverage. They made their displeasure for one another quite clear during the 2014-15 season-opener, and each have far more to worry about currently and going forward than indirect criticisms of the other.

    From a historical perspective, though, Bryant’s latest soundbite on O’Neal lends a unique perspective to their relationship not yet seen. Might Bryant finally understand that not every teammate must share his incredible desire and commitment? And that it’s possible to achieve the ultimate goal regardless? It certainly seems that way.

    And like millions of purple-and-gold clad fans across the country, we just wish he’d come to that realization earlier – like sometime right around 2004.


    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:02 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      LOL. Had Kobe and Shaq stayed together, they would have matched Magic and Kareem in rings won. Had Shaq had Kobe’s work ethic, they would have won more rings than MJ and Pippin. In an alternate universe …

      • mclyne32 (Director) 10:15 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think if they could have gotten
        along, and Shaquille could have stayed in decent shape, they would have won 7 titles.

      • keen observer

        keen observer 11:04 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        You guys have selective memories and are nuts, quite frankly. Most Lakers fans have this ridiculous fantasy actually. It is absurd to assume that they would have won any more rings given the fact that the role players were either old or gone, that Kobe was due for his max contract and that Shaq was going to get at least a $25 mil extension. Everyone has this delusion that the Lakers could spend whatever they wanted back then, but there was still a salary cap in place, so they would have had to surround those two with the right role players for cheap (plus the MLE). Not only that, but Jerry Buss was actually frugal until Kobe had his meltdown in the summer of 2007. Perhaps Fish would have come back, but who knows. Shaq’s last chip was in 2006 and he certainly played on other decent teams, but never won again. Dr. Buss did the absolute right thing and history has proven him correct.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 12:38 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Nope, not nuts.
          I’m saying IF Shaquille could have stayed in shape.
          He didn’t and that was the biggest reason for their demise. The role players would have been replaced with new ones seeking a chip. It happens every year with the dominant teams.

          • keen observer

            keen observer 2:02 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Does it? How long does it take for them to blend in? Immediately? The 2006 Heat may have been an exception, BUT Riles had large contracts to trade for equal value. The Lakers would not have had that luxury. You can look it up.

            So you are saying that minimum contract players would have been enough to get these guys back to the top. Shaq was happy to play 1b to Wade’s 1a, but do you think his ego would have allowed Kobe to become the team’s leader? The bottom line is that things happened for a reason and while it may have been ego related, that was enough. Remember, Kobe threw Shaq under the bus during the Colorado investigation and that is a wound that takes a long time to heal even if men are being men. We can’t pretend that Colorado didn’t happen.

            Back to my original point though, I have serious doubts that even if Kobe and Shaq were on the same page, which they obviously were during the threepeat, that they would have won any more championships. It is pure speculation. HOWEVER, the run we had from 2008 -- 2010 should have satisfied ALL Lakers fans without exception.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:09 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:51 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great stuff from Eric with more to come.

      • keen observer

        keen observer 2:23 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It came. The Jim Buss haters will be all over it.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:30 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Thanks, Oscar. Of course, they will. :-)

        • tate793

          tate793 6:45 PM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          No. It’s time for Jim Buss haters, and, Kobe haters, to dispense with the hatred. Does absolutely no good, serves absolutely no purpose, but to sew seeds of discord among the brethren.

          It should be kept to one’s self, and, be converted to positive synergy for the good of the team and fan base. Me being a sour puss regarding Jim Buss provides nothing but negativity, division and distraction -- at a time when unity, optimism and camaraderie is what’s needed.

          Then, again, others should stop trying to spoon-feed Jim Buss accolades down the throats of those that find it distasteful.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:06 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:51 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hey, that #33 looked pretty good. Noticed he was firing away from the 3-point line.
      Level of competition looked pretty good too. #44 on the other team stood out.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:01 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Jim Buss is Open to Kobe Returning After Next Season 


    Jim Buss sat down with Eric Pincus of the LA Times for a wide ranging interview on Thursday and provided plenty of insight on all things Lakers. Pincus’ entire interview is well worth your time as the Lakers’ part-owner and top executive on the basketball side takes us behind the curtain on where his mindset is heading into a critical season in the team’s rebuild.

    And while Buss’ thoughts on D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, and more deserve your attention, the most intriguing part of their discussion, at least for me, relates to none other than Kobe Bryant and his future with the team and whether this upcoming season may be the superstar’s last:

    “We’re going to approach it like it is, but that doesn’t mean it is,” Buss said of Bryant. “I’m not going to sit there and say, ‘This is it, Kobe, you’re done,’ because it’s not my decision, it’s his decision.”

    While this seems like the politic answer, Buss does elaborate further:

    So is this Bryant’s final year with the team? “My arms are like this,” Buss said, holding his arms wide open, about Bryant’s future.

    “He just has to know, at that age, and that many miles on you, what is your role? We’ll explain the role, and if he still wants to do that and that’s how he wants to go out, that’s fine with me.”

    This is the first time anyone within the Lakers’ organization has even ever hinted at there being any sort of conditions for Kobe returning or that he might need to accept a reduced role if he does want to return. And, frankly, it’s good to hear the organization is taking this approach.

    I, like many other Lakers’ fans, have immense and total respect for Kobe, what he has provided the franchise over the course of his career, and how much he means to the city of Los Angeles. There are no caveats that come with that statement, no qualifiers.

    But, as the old saying goes, father time is undefeated. The Lakers, at some point, will move on from Kobe to the next era of Lakers’ basketball. That transition will be one which involves discussions with Kobe, but the terms of that transition won’t just be set by the franchise icon. The front office and the coaches will have a say in those terms and Kobe will likely have to accept them.

    How those conversations go remains to be seen and, of course, their may not even be much to say. Kobe could easily tell the front office he’s not interested in returning at all, essentially ending the need to have any sort of talk which could be uncomfortable for both sides. I mean, Kobe could easily follow through on what he told Jerry Colangelo and want to ride off into the sunset for Team USA at the Rio Olympics.

    But, if that’s not the case and there is more Lakers’ basketball in him, it’s good to hear that Buss is prepared to talk with Kobe about what (Buss) and the rest of the organization want that to look like rather than it only being what Kobe wants it to. That won’t be an easy conversation to have, but props to Buss for seemingly being ready to have it.


    • mclyne32 (Director) 10:19 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good on Buss for saying that. He knows how valuable Kobe is to this franchise. If Kobe can play at a high level, with only minor aches and pains, he should come back- especially if the Lakers have a real chance at Durant.
      I think he will go over seas and play a year or two. One in Barcelona and one in China.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:57 PM on August 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Jim Buss is thinking only positive thoughts about the Lakers 



    The Lakers start training camp in just over a month and there are still many unknowns.

    How will Kobe Bryant play? Was rookie guard D’Angelo Russell the right pick? Can the team make the playoffs?

    On Thursday Jim Buss, part-owner and executive vice president of basketball operations, spoke to The Times about the upcoming season, the team’s draft picks, his rebuilding plan — and what could be the final season of Bryant’s career.

    “We’re going to approach it like it is, but that doesn’t mean it is,” Buss said of Bryant. “I’m not going to sit there and say, ‘This is it, Kobe, you’re done,’ because it’s not my decision, it’s his decision.”

    Bryant, with one year left on his contract, will be the highest paid player in the NBA this season at $25 million. Buss gave Bryant a two-year, $48.5-million extension in 2013 before he even returned from a torn Achilles’ tendon six months earlier.

    Since then, Bryant has played in only 41 games over the last two seasons because of a fractured kneecap, followed by a torn rotator cuff last season.

    Buss has received plenty of criticism for over-investing in the aging star, who just turned 37 as he heads into his 20th season.

    “The man has done so much for the Lakers and the fans of the Laker nation, he deserves the money,” Buss said. “I don’t understand anybody trying to break down what I did for him. Let’s break down what he did for us, then say, what is he worth? To me, he’s worth that.”

    So is this Bryant’s final year with the team? “My arms are like this,” Buss said, holding his arms wide open, about Bryant’s future.

    “He just has to know, at that age, and that many miles on you, what is your role? We’ll explain the role, and if he still wants to do that and that’s how he wants to go out, that’s fine with me.”

    The Lakers went 21-61 in a painful 2014-15 campaign, the worst in franchise history, but Buss remains optimistic.

    “I’m very competitive, so it hurts. It hurts terribly,” Buss said. . “I try to look at the future while I’m watching the present, and that is to find core players. I think we’ve done a good job doing that.”

    He’s upbeat about Julius Randle, selected with the seventh overall pick in 2014. The former Kentucky power forward went down on opening night last season with a broken leg.

    Randle has since recovered, and is gearing up for what is essentially a second shot at a rookie season.

    “He’s a beast. He’s been working out with some ex-NBA players and handling himself very well. He’s super strong, very fit,” Buss said.


    Another player Buss is excited about is guard Jordan Clarkson, whom the Lakers selected with the 46th pick in 2014. After spending most of the first half last season on the bench, Clarkson proved to be one of the best of his class, earning a nod on the NBA’s all-rookie first team.

    “Watching Jordan Clarkson develop [this summer], he’s followed that same path, how he got better and better every game,” Buss said.

    The Lakers have traditionally built their championship rosters with big men, but the team passed on Duke center Jahlil Okafor to take Ohio State guard Russell with the second overall pick in the 2015 draft.

    “We’ve got high aspirations for him,” Buss said. “We normally look to get bigs, but [Russell] was just that impressive, that we just didn’t feel right passing up on him.

    “My enthusiasm for D’Angelo Russell, I have to curb it because I’m so excited about it. He could be anything in this league.”

    The Lakers also traded for Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, signed veteran free agents Lou Williams and Brandon Bass, and drafted forwards Larry Nance Jr. and Anthony Brown.

    What the Lakers didn’t accomplish this summer was to sign a major free agent.

    “It’s just that it takes time to build a core that guys want to play with,” Buss said. “I understand a superstar doesn’t want to come in and say, ‘Oh, we still have two or three years of rebuilding.’ I think with Jordan Clarkson, Russell, Randle, even Hibbert … we’re getting a core of seven or eight players.”

    With the NBA’s new national television deal kicking in next year, the Lakers could have up to $60 million to spend in July, enough to go after two max-level free agents, including Kevin Durant.

    “If a big name or two came, we have the room. That’s the key,” Buss said. “We’ve kept our flexibility.”

    Buss also believes strongly in Coach Byron Scott.

    “He has the Laker blood in him,” Buss said. “[Mike] D’Antoni and Mike Brown, they weren’t Lakers. They loved the Lakers and they tried their best and I think they’re both great coaches.

    “I’ll take blame for that, but there was a lot of people, including my father [the late Jerry Buss] and Mitch [Kupchak], who were in favor of these changes. But it feels like we’ve righted the ship. We’ve got the coach, we’ve got the players.”

    In April 2014, Buss told The Times he would step down from his basketball operations position “if this doesn’t work in three to four years, if we’re not back on top.”

    His sister Jeanie Buss, part-owner of the Lakers and the team’s president and governor, has said she will hold her brother to that pledge.

    “I don’t mind that I said that, and I live by it. If we’re not back contending in two years from now, then really I haven’t done a good job,” Buss said. “To me, the barometer of success at the end of next year … is if we have eight core players that are going to be Lakers for the next five years.

    “It’s not a number of wins. It’s not if we make the playoffs. It’s not how far we go in the playoffs,” he said about the upcoming season. “It matters that we have core players, and that these guys are our future.”

    Buss said he expects to deliver and rebuild one of the NBA’s top franchises. “I’m the one who put it out there because that’s the way I feel. I’m not a core player if I can’t get this back to where we’re supposed to be.”


    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 7:32 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Still throwing his Daddy under the bus…..

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:47 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think the record is pretty clear that the controversial decisions were always consensus decisions. That’s the way most smart business run today. Yeah, somebody has to make the final call and in this case that was Jim but I don’t see any evidence that he was doing anything different than Mitch or Dr. Buss would have done. But then some people will never accept that Jim is anything but an idiot and loser. The old Jim can do nothing right and Kobe can do nothing wrong bandwagon.

        • MongoSlade

          MongoSlade 8:01 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          But why keep bringing it up tho? Nobody asked him about who weighed in on Brown & Dantoni..this fool brings it up out the blue. It’s very telling.

          • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:05 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            LOL. I don’t see it at all that way, Mongo. Guy is being interviewed. I think Jim was just accepting that the buck stops with him regardless of whether it was a joint decision or consensus. Jim needs to get over his hesitancy to be in the public eye. The more he opens up, the better he comes off as far as I am concerned. I thought his responses showed a good grasp of the Lakers current situation and pathway back to relevance. Folks need to give him a break.

          • MongoSlade

            MongoSlade 8:19 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            He should give his Pops a break and stop dragging his name through the mud every time he feels cornered. Especially when some of these decisions were made when he was terminally ill and on his damm deathbed. Weak sauce. When I see him continuing to do this, it makes me believe that he isn’t growing or maturing at all. Just say that some mistakes were made in the hiring of head coaches and just leave it at that. Shouldn’t be that difficult. .

            • mclyne32 (Director) 10:25 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink

              Agreed. He should be kissing his Fathers butt every chance he gets because without his Dad, Jimmy would be a bartender, at best.
              It’s extremely telling of his lack of character when he wont take full responsibility for his failures.

            • keen observer

              keen observer 10:27 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink

              You guys are so jaded.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:44 AM on August 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Outstanding interview of Jim Buss by Eric Pincus. I agree with Darius that it was good to see Jim set some criteria should Kobe wish to continue to play. Also interesting that he seems very supportive of Byron Scott because of his Lakers legacy. He was also unapologetic regarding Kobe’s extension and time has pretty much shown that the extension really did not hold back the Lakers. I liked how Jim seemed to have a very realistic understanding of what the team has to do to attract elite free agents. I like his approach of putting together a core of 7 or 8 players. Interesting too that he included Roy in that group. Good interview by Jim. Looking forward to seeing what other gems Eric has in store later today.

  • DJ2KB24

    DJ2KB24 8:57 PM on August 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Little League Umps (Balls and Strikes) about as bad as NBA Refs!

  • DJ2KB24

    DJ2KB24 8:52 PM on August 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Wow, Cavs best be sweatin’ on the Kyrie health report. Too bad and too much promise ahead of the young man. Injuries, ugh!

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