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  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:43 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Jim Buss and the Los Angeles Lakers: A look at the past, present and future 

    BY SHAWN MATIAM FOR SPORTS OUT WEST

    Jeanie Buss Jim Buss

    It doesn’t take much digging to discover what the Los Angeles Lakers faithful think of co-owner and head of basketball operations, Jim Buss. In fact, one can look to the legendaryMagic Johnson, the most famed Laker of all time to determine what the exact sentiments are:

    “You’ve got to have someone helping Jim,” Johnson told the Los Angeles Times (subscription required). “He’s got to quit trying to prove a point to everybody that he can do it on his own, get his ego out of it.” Magic has not been entirely bashful in leading the hate parade against Buss, criticizing the co-owner nearly every chance he gets.

    The animosity towards Buss comes at a time when the storied franchise is at a fragile crossroads. One could argue that the hatred Magic has displayed regarding Buss has single-handedly turned numerous Lakers fans against Buss themselves. Even though Magic does not directly have a role with Lakers anymore, he still has a tremendously loud voice that many fans listen to closely.

    The passing of former owner, the great Dr. Jerry Buss, left a massive void in the Lakers organization. The loss of the beloved, charismatic owner coincided with a decline in on-court success of the Lakers and when things go awry the throngs must point the finger, and point they have. Lakers fans and basketball pundits have firmly determined that they just don’t believe in Jim Buss, even when he gives them something to believe in. If things go right, the credit goes to others in the organization. If things go wrong, the blame is quickly directed at Buss. Somehow Buss has found himself in a situation where he cannot win, even when the franchise does, and it’s a shame.

    In the summer of 2012, the Lakers assembled a roster that was feared by everyone. By acquiring Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to play alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, many thought the Lakers were on their way to winning a championship. Who was praised most for these changes? General manager Mitch Kupchak. After an up-and-down season that ended with Dwight Howard leaving for Houston and the experiment not working out as Lakers fans were hoping, who has received most of the blame for it? Jim Buss.

    Buss has been accused of many things, namely having an ego, being stubborn and making bad basketball decisions. Although making accusations are simple, solidifying the complaints with pertinent evidence can prove to be quite challenging. In fact, if one was to analyze the facts in relation to the grievances against Buss, the results will show that the majority of the complaints are unfounded and exaggerated.

    Unfortunately for Buss, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty does not apply in the public court of opinion. Buss has already been investigated, charged, convicted, and sentenced without ever having a fair trial. Maybe expecting fans to objectively scrutinize the facts before reaching a conclusion is a expecting too much. But then again, maybe the facts have never been presented to them.

    (More …)

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:45 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      From Forum Blue and Gold:

      Lastly, there are no two words that trigger a more heated discussion around Lakers circles than — I hesitate to say this in fear of the forest fire that may ensue — “Jim Buss”. Despite not being a highly public figure, Buss is so closely associated with the Lakers’ recent misfortune that he has been outright vilified by the team faithful. So with that, Shawn F. Matian of Sports Out West recently portrayed Buss in full detail, taking “A look at his past, present and future”. The piece spans five pages, but here is a brief excerpt:

      In the summer of 2012, the Lakers assembled a roster that was feared by everyone. By acquiring Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to play alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, many thought the Lakers were on their way to winning a championship. Who was praised most for these changes? General manager Mitch Kupchak. After an up-and-down season that ended with Dwight Howard leaving for Houston and the experiment not working out as Lakers fans were hoping, who has received most of the blame for it? Jim Buss.

      Buss has been accused of many things, namely having an ego, being stubborn and making bad basketball decisions. Although making accusations are simple, solidifying the complaints with pertinent evidence can prove to be quite challenging. In fact, if one was to analyze the facts in relation to the grievances against Buss, the results will show that the majority of the complaints are unfounded and exaggerated.

      Unfortunately for Buss, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty does not apply in the public court of opinion. Buss has already been investigated, charged, convicted, and sentenced without ever having a fair trial. Maybe expecting fans to objectively scrutinize the facts before reaching a conclusion is a expecting too much. But then again, maybe the facts have never been presented to them.

      If you leave this links post only reading one article today, this should be the one. For all the indoctrinated animosity spewed towards Buss, it is often based on a lack of understanding about who he truly is and what exactly he is responsible for. The above piece offers insight into exactly that and should provide a much clearer — and hopefully more positive — perspective of Jim Buss, the person.

      http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2015/07/28/tuesday-links-vitti-kobe-randle-and-jim-buss/

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 11:04 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is Jimmy’s problem….he hasn’t built up any of the goodwill that his father had.
      If Dr Buss had made the exact same moves, fans would have given him the benefit of the doubt because he had a proven track record.
      But Jimmy hasn’t earned that yet.
      Born on 3rd base type deal…folks don’t respect it.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 1:31 PM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I wonder if any of the fans who “hate” Jim Buss will even go to the trouble to read this well written detailed defense of Jim Buss. Shawn goes into great detail to debunk a lot of the lies that are accepted as truth by Jim’s detractors. Very fair and objective analysis of how unfairly fans have treated Jim Buss.

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 2:00 PM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I agree Tom.

        Building up goodwill also requires time, an immovable fundamental element binding space together with distance.

        Lakers fans gave Dr.Buss time, he had nothing to do with the compensatory picks exchanging hands that got us the Magic pick and therefore had luck on his side as well.

        Jim’s had to deal with unique challenges so far.

    • tate793

      tate793 2:42 PM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The problem with the vast majority of Jim Buss apologetics is the blatant fabrication attributing the final decision to hire Mike D’Antoni to Dr Buss. Total bulls#it! On Nov 8, 2012 we were at CSMC and Dr Buss was heavily sedated in ICU. He had endured a radical prostatectomy and was totally incoherent. He received one visitor on that day, an ombudsman from the Chaplains office -- a routine aspect regarding end-of-life care. A step above hospice. There is no way that Dr Buss, while suffering from complete renal failure, pneumonia, and prostate cancer, being titrated with Roxanol, was going to receive a phone call from Jim Buss and hold a conversation, period. That, for me, completely invalidates the whole article..

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:08 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:03 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:12 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      While there will never be another magic, I’m excited to see D’Angelo Russell create a different kind of Magic as the Lakers once again become a team led by a great point guard. I loved Kobe and Shaq but nothing can compare to the excitement and entertainment that was Showtime. I’m looking forward to watching D’Angelo bring a new version of Showtime to the Lakers. Lakers need to run and gun.

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 1:00 PM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Everyone knows he’s my hero. Magic is the GOAT at that position and as a teammate, he’ll never have either usurped.

        It’s like Bird said “There’s just something about playing with Magic, you want to get that Rebound, you want to make that extra pass.”

    • Magic Phil

      Magic Phil 1:12 PM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m gonna say it:

      THE BEST EVER = G.O.A.T.

      Period.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:54 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Roy Hibbert ‘Wanted To Play For A Coach Who Actually Played’ In NBA 

    BY DAN DUANGDAO FOR LAKERS NATION

    USATSI_7938756_154224518_lowres

    After the Los Angeles Lakers could not land an All-Star in free agency, general manager Mitch Kupchak and company ultimately traded for Indiana Pacers center, Roy Hibbert. Following a disappointing season, Hibbert has already lost 16 pounds this off-season.

    In a recent interview with TNT’s David Aldridge, Hibbert shared he wanted to play for a coach who actually played in the NBA if he had a choice:

    I wanted to play for a coach who actually played in the league if I had my own choice. Not to say that Frank (Vogel) wasn’t great. I had some real good times with Frank and we played well. But I told my agent that I possibly wanted to play for a coach that played in the league.

    Fortunately for Hibbert, head coach Byron Scott played for the Lakers during the ‘Showtime’ era where he won three championships. During his 11 seasons in Los Angeles, Scott averaged 15.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

    Heading into the new season, Hibbert is in the final year of his contract and has the opportunity to re-establish himself as one of the league’s best rim protectors. In seven seasons with the Pacers, Hibbert has averaged 11.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.

    http://www.lakersnation.com/roy-hibbert-wanted-to-play-for-a-coach-who-actually-played/2015/07/28/

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:57 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think there will always be a bias in favor of coaches who actually played in the NBA.
      Looking at the centers available around the league, Hibbert may be the best the Lakers can get.
      Lots of big men who can play a role but few who can really be dominant protecting the rim.
      If Roy is willing to focus on defense and rebounding, he could end up staying with the Lakers.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:50 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Lakers coach says Kobe Bryant will see time as power forward 

    BY RICK BRISSE FOR SPORTS GLORY

     Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
    Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

    With No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson and the addition of Lou Williams, Kobe Bryant might be in for a change.

    Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott told NBA.com it’s possible Bryant could play power forward next season.

    “If we don’t get another guard, then Kobe’s in that mix,” Scott said. “I’m kind of going through those scenarios. But not necessarily as far as who’s starting and who doesn’t … I think (Bryant) will play more three than two. If we can get him at the elbows and at the mid-post, the more effective he’ll be.

    “I don’t think he needs to be using up the whole 94-foot floor. If we can cut that down some, I think that saves his legs as much as possible. But if we can get him where he operates best, which to me is elbows on each area, top of the key, at the pinch post, at the mid-post, then I think he can be real effective for us.”

    Scott said the franchise’s goal through the draft and free agency was to become more versatile.

    “I think that’s the beauty of it,” Scott said. “The one thing that we wanted to do and accomplish through this draft and through free agency was to try and be a little more versatile, have some versatility. So I think all three of those guys can definitely do that. Kobe can play one, two and three. There’s no doubt in my mind. And there’s some games. against some teams, where he’ll probably play four. With his tenaciousness, the way he guards people and when his mind is set, if I say ‘Kobe, you’ve got him,’ he takes that as a challenge. You know how he is. He’ll compete.”

    http://sportsglory.com/nba/lakers-coach-says-kobe-bryant-will-see-time-as-power-forward/45795

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:00 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m actually looking forward to the Lakers starting Russell, Clarkson, Bryant, Randle, and Hibbert.
      This could be a great running team since we have four guys who can grab a rebound and take off.
      Going to be interesting to see if Russell, Randle, and Clarkson can earn those starting positions.
      That’s the key to the Lakers rebounding and winning 40 games this season. Need the young guns.

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

    Los Angeles Lakers Have Pieces in Place to Secure Their Next Superstar 

    BY JOSH MARTIN FOR THE BLEACHER REPORT

    As the late, great Aaliyah once sang, “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.”

    The Los Angeles Lakers appear to have taken that repurposed adage to heart. Last summer, on the heels of watching Dwight Howard dance his way to Houston, the Lakers went hard after LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony but fell flat on both accounts. This time around, they swung and missed on LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan and Greg Monroe.

    One of these days, a top-tier free agent is going to buy what the Lakers are selling and not just as a product of sheer persistence on the part of the NBA’s marquee franchise. At this point, the Purple and Gold are counting on the precocious but unproven trio of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson to improve and eventually make their pitch to players in search of a new home.

    With any luck, those three will eventually have the chops to pull it off.

    The key word is “eventually.” If there’s anything the Lakers learned from their sojourn to NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, it’s that their most promising prospects all appear to be a long way from actualizing their tantalizing potential, both individually and as a collective.

    Clarkson was clearly the most comfortable of the three, as well he should’ve been. The Missouri product, who was named to the All-Rookie First Team last season, came in with an understanding of how to compete against grown men that most of the recent collegians in summer league simply don’t have.

    Ultimately, though, Clarkson, who’s already 23 and was taken 46th overall in 2014, isn’t the one to whom the Lakers’ hopes—of returning to title contention and luring in game-changing free agents—will be pinned. Rather, that distinction belongs to the untested lottery-selected tandem of Randle and Russell.

    Randle looked rusty during his four summer-league appearances and understandably so. He hadn’t played a live-action game at anything approaching this level since breaking his leg in the Lakers’ 2014-15 season opener.

    All told, the No. 7 pick in the 2014 draft averaged 11.5 points and four rebounds while shooting 39.5 percent from the field in his team-limited 20.5 minutes per game. As Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver wrote, Randle still leans all too heavily on one hand to do his work on the offensive end:

    The strength of his game is his offense, and there he remains very, very predictable. His preference for directly attacking the basket is obvious, his reliance upon his left hand is even more obvious, and his finishing ability has been lacking…

    Randle’s comfort with the ball in his hands and natural scoring drive help him draw lots of contact, and he’s been a regular at the free-throw line. But for much of this week, he has been a one-trick pony, albeit a very muscular and determined pony.
    Randle won’t be able to overpower NBA opponents quite so easily or as often as he did in high school and college. It’ll be imperative to his prospects of success to work his way closer to ambidexterity and away from predictability while turning his jump shot into a bona fide weapon.

    Fortunately for the Lakers, Russell’s jumper won’t need quite as much fine-tuning. Contrary to what his subpar summer-league shooting splits (37.7 percent from the field, 11.8 percent from three, 68.8 percent from the free-throw line) would suggest, Russell looked comfortable and confident with his stroke, particularly during L.A.’s summer-league finale (21 points on 10-of-20 shooting versus Utah).

    The same could be said of Russell’s passing. The No. 2 pick in 2015 had considerable difficulty getting the ball to his teammates cleanly. He averaged a whopping 5.2 turnovers per game and, according to Synergy Sports (h/t Bleacher Report’s Dylan Murphy), coughed it up on 27.4 percent of his possessions—the sixth-highest mark among all summer-leaguers across Sin City, Utah and Orlando.

    Those are ugly numbers to be sure, but there’s still hope to be found therein. As Murphy explained, most of Russell’s miscues were the product of aggressive attempts to make plays for his teammates:

    Of Russell’s 26 turnovers at summer league, 17 were aggressive. Most of those 17 derived from his passing, and, in particular, trying to fit the ball into tight spaces.

    Russell’s ball distribution is one of the most attractive parts of his game. His ability to both see and create passing angles is remarkably advanced for such a young player. But the consequence of this talent is being turnover-prone, and part of Russell’s development will be understanding when to unleash his talents.

    On the one hand, Russell’s struggles don’t figure to abate once he finds himself matched up against longer, stronger and quicker stoppers operating within more complex defensive schemes. On the other hand, he should have an easier time getting the ball to Kobe Bryant, Roy Hibbert and Lou Williams than he did trying to distribute it to the likes of Robert Upshaw, Anthony Brown and Larry Nance Jr.

    As it happens, time will be the most important ingredient for both Russell and Randle. The former is 19, the latter is 20, and each spent a single season playing college ball—Russell at Ohio State, Randle at Kentucky. They’re both exceedingly young and will need ample opportunity to tack on some much-needed NBA seasoning while working through their growing pains.

    The Lakers can only hope those won’t turn into actual, physical pains. Their recent downturn has been as much about injuries as it has been about backfiring trades and free-agent failures. In 2013-14, the Lakers logged 319 games lost because of injury, per Lakers reporter Mike Trudell. According to the Los Angeles Times’ Eric Pincus, they managed to top that mark in 2014-15 with a total of 339 games lost.

    Should this coming Lakers season go the way of the last two, the organization will once again have some incentive to be terrible. L.A.’s 2016 first-round pick will transfer to the Philadelphia 76ers if it lands outside the top three in the draft lottery. Thus, if circumstances dictate another lost season early on, the Lakers could find themselves in full-on tank mode.

    Don’t expect that to be the case if the Lakers look like anything close to a competitive club, though, especially in what’s expected to be Bryant’s final season. This team’s mantra has long been about trying to win, even during these darkest of days.

    And as much reason as L.A. may have to pull back on the reins again in 2015-16, it’ll have even more cause for pushing toward on-court improvement. Chances are the Lakers’ lackluster performance over the past three seasons has had plenty to do with their inability to land elite free agents.

    The truth of the matter is the best free agents, the ones who are either in or just entering their primes, aren’t inclined to spend their most productive years toiling away on rebuilding teams. Why suffer in a big city when a player can make the same money (and maybe more, depending on local tax codes) and access the same global market for the good of his brand while playing on a successful squad in a smaller market?

    That same calculus figures to be a major factor in free agency yet again during the summer of 2016. As Grantland’s Zach Lowe recently noted, there could be upward of 20 teams with enough cap room to sign at least one free agent to a max contract next July. The market is due to be flooded with cash from the league’s new national TV deal, which is expected to send the cap skyrocketing toward $90 million in 2015-16 and $108 million in 2016-17.

    The Lakers should have room to sign multiple max-level players if they so choose—and if such players choose them. Bryant’s $25 million salary and Hibbert’s $15.6 million take will be off the books after this coming season, leaving L.A. with a veritable chasm of cap space.

    Lakers’ Upcoming Salary Outlook
    2015-16 2016-17
    Kobe Bryant $25,000,000
    Roy Hibbert $15,592,216
    Lou Williams $7,000,000 $7,000,000
    Nick Young $5,219,169 $5,443,918
    D’Angelo Russell $5,103,120 $5,332,800
    Julius Randle $3,132,240 $3,267,120
    Brandon Bass $3,000,000 $3,135,000
    Ryan Kelly $1,724,250 $2,155,313
    Larry Nance Jr. $1,155,600 $1,207,680
    Robert Sacre $981,348
    Jordan Clarkson $845,059 $1,180,431
    Tarik Black $845,059 $1,180,431
    Jabari Brown $845,059 $1,180,431
    Anthony Brown $700,000 $874,636
    TOTAL $71,143,120 $31,957,760
    Basketball Insiders

    The question is, who’s going to fill it? Most of the impact guys who might’ve been available in 2016, had they signed shorter deals in preparation for the coming deluge of TV money, opted instead for longer contracts right now.

    That does nothing to diminish the impact that Kevin Durant, Al Horford and Mike Conley could have as headliners of next year’s free-agent class.

    But the Lakers won’t have much need for Conley if Russell pans out. And everyone and their mother will be after Durant and Horford and will have the requisite financial flexibility to do so. Among those in pursuit will be the incumbents—Oklahoma City for Durant, Atlanta for Horford—both of which will likely have more to offer in terms of recent results and immediate outlook to players they’ve employed since their respective draft days.

    As for the rest of the class of 2016, the pickings could be slim, as Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick detailed:

    Many of the players (Kobe Bryant, Joakim Noah, Joe Johnson, Luol Deng, Al Jefferson, David Lee, Nene) are already into their 30s, most seemingly and some unequivocally in decline. Others have lost some of their luster, whether due to injuries (Eric Gordon, Brandon Jennings) or ineffectiveness (Roy Hibbert, Nicolas Batum). Others (Bradley Beal, Andre Drummond) are restricted free agents, and we know they almost never leave their current teams. There’s one wild card, Hassan Whiteside, who showed his talent in the second half of last season, but whose bumpy road to the NBA may mitigate his payday.

    That could put L.A. in a position where it has little (if any) choice but to overpay second- or third-tier free agents. Per the league’s collective bargaining agreement, a team must spend at least 90 percent of the cap on player salaries. Any shortfall would have to be divvied up among those on the roster.

    In truth, the Lakers have gone much longer without a major free-agent coup than the team’s reputation as a destination indicates. Come next summer, 20 years will have come and gone since L.A. last lured a big fish (Shaquille O’Neal) to its shores.

    But O’Neal didn’t come to a team on the skids. Those Lakers were two years removed from their last trip to the lottery, with seasons of 48 and 53 wins preceding Shaq’s arrival.

    The odds of today’s Lakers establishing such a sturdy foothold this season seem slim.

    The Western Conference playoff picture looks to be as crowded as ever in 2015-16. In all likelihood, Byron Scott’s Lakers would have to engineer a turnaround of at least 20 wins to so much as sniff the eighth seed, with teams such as the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans angling to lock down the others.

    And, as with free agents in the summers to come, the Lakers won’t be short of competition for that final berth. The Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings will all have something to say about it as well.

    This isn’t to say the coming season will necessarily be playoffs-or-bust for the Lakers. Any strides they can make, in terms of both wins and establishing a style of play, will be crucial for courting prospective free agents. The list of potential signees in 2017 is littered with All-Stars, impact players and franchise-changers:

    Top Free Agents for 2017
    Unrestricted Free Agents Status
    LeBron James* Unrestricted
    Dwight Howard* Unrestricted
    Derrick Rose Unrestricted
    Blake Griffin Unrestricted
    Russell Westbrook Unrestricted
    Chandler Parsons* Unrestricted
    Ty Lawson Unrestricted
    Stephen Curry Unrestricted
    Andre Iguodala Unrestricted
    Serge Ibaka Unrestricted
    DeMar DeRozan* Unrestricted
    Zach Randolph Unrestricted
    Giannis Antetokounmpo Restricted
    Victor Oladipo Restricted
    Nikola Mirotic Restricted
    Nerlens Noel Restricted
    Spotrac, * = option in 2016

    The onus will be on Bryant to cobble together a strong farewell tour and on the team’s other veterans (i.e. Hibbert, Williams, Nick Young, Brandon Bass) to lay a foundation upon which the Lakers’ youth movement can fashion a brighter future—ideally, one that will appeal to franchise-changing free agents.

    There’s no doubt the Lakers will keep scoring meetings with those types of players in early July. They won’t always succeed in signing their top targets, but so long as they dust themselves off and try again, they’ll always have a shot.

     
    • therealhtj

      therealhtj 6:21 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Still managed to go over the cap for this sorry bunch. Great work.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:40 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The lackluster free agent class next summer makes the development of the Lakers baby big three critical to the Lakers being able to score big in the 2017 free agency period.

      The good news is that it gives Russell, Randle, and Clarkson two full seasons to show how rapidly they can become the kind of players who will attract elite free agents to join the Lakers.

      The Lakers will also have tons of cap space to take on contracts and add role players in 2016 to make the team more competitive in 2017. Goal would be to jump from 20 to 40 to 50 wins.

      If you presume for simplicity that the Lakers are set at the 1, 2, and 4, then the obvious free agency candidates would be at the 3 and 5.

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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:30 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Uhm…didn’t we have the same pieces this off season and couldn’t lure anyone other than Sweet Lou and Brandon Bass? And cap space?

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 11:11 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think the only real shot we have at landing an A-lister is if we have a Heat situation where 2 of them decide to team up and come here. I don’t see a guy like Westbrook coming here on his own with what we currently have to offer. But him & say Parsons deciding to team up? That could happen. But then we’d have to still have that money available in 2017….

  • Magicman (Editor)

    Magicman (Editor) 11:15 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

     
    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 11:16 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Too much versatility on that 90s team for the 2000s Back-Court to handle.

      • mud

        mud 11:37 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        nah, backcourt is a wash. it’s the 90s frontcourt that would do the most damage.
        that’s a mean frontcourt for the 90s and except for Shaq, not a very sadistic frontcourt in the 2000s, but we all know what happened when Shaq met Olajuwan…

        • Magicman (Editor)

          Magicman (Editor) 11:39 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Oh, I meant the Pick and Roll with Mailman and Hakeem.

          But yeah you’re right.

        • therealhtj

          therealhtj 10:28 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Backcourt easily to the 90′s, Frontcourt more of a wash with Hakeem the clear choice over Shaq, but LBJ/TD having the edge over Barkley/Malone.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:36 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Would be one hell of a game though.
        Don’t see how the 90′s guys stop LeBron and Shaq.
        The contest that would be better would be the 2000′s vs 80′s.
        Magic, Isaiah, Bird, McHale, and Kareem.
        That team could handle the 2000′s.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 11:14 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Stockton > Nash
      MJ > Kobe
      Chuckster Shaq

    • Magic Phil

      Magic Phil 1:24 PM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      LeBrown x Barkley? Chuck

      Shaq x Hakeen? The Dream.

      Duncan x Malone? Mailman

      90′s win

  • Magicman (Editor)

    Magicman (Editor) 11:05 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

     
  • Magicman (Editor)

    Magicman (Editor) 11:03 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

     
    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 11:03 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I KNOW EXACTLY how Kobe feels, Phil. :)

    • mud

      mud 11:16 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      PJ also said “Anyway, I’ve always seen Kobe as a truly great player, an intelligent guy and a remarkable person.”

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 11:19 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yeah but he always puts a negative in front of any positive when it comes to anyone besides himself mud.

        A man’s most positive positive -tive is a negative. It’s a mega-negative. :)

        • mud

          mud 11:23 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          that’s how he can be, but i was just noticing how the reporter decided to use the twitter hook that he did. nobody wants to sell with “PJ says Kobe is a remarkable person!” lol

          • Magicman (Editor)

            Magicman (Editor) 11:25 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            He’s opened himself up to that kind of stuff. He criticized Duke Basketball, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Sam Dalembert, etc.

            Didn’t have anything positive to say about them.

  • Magicman (Editor)

    Magicman (Editor) 10:43 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

     
    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 10:45 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I had always been aware my aorta was a little bit bigger than usual. I was 6’5” by the time I was 13 years old. For people who are tall at a young age, everything is bigger. My feet. My hands. And my aorta. For a long time, everything was fine.

      But then it wasn’t, and all hell broke loose.

      Between the Chicago pre-draft camp in 2005 and the actual physical after I got drafted by the Lakers, my aorta grew. Everyone was just dumbfounded. Suddenly, my condition was life-threatening. Had they not caught it, there’s a big chance something bad would have happened in the next few years. I might have dropped, and there’s no coming back from that. At all.

      I’ll never forget being in the room with Lakers team doctor John Moe, who told me straight up, “Listen. You have two choices: A) You stop playing basketball. You are on blood thinners for the rest of your life. You can’t really do too much activity. Or B) Surgery. And there is a chance you’ll come back and play.”

      “Alright, how soon can I have surgery?”

      I knew nothing about open heart surgery when I said that, and plain and simple, I didn’t give a d**n. I left home at 15 to attend a prep academy in France that would allow me to pursue a career in basketball. You don’t realize it until later, but emotionally and psychologically, leaving your house at such a young age to be a professional basketball player is damaging. You get cut off from having a childhood. From your family. From experiencing the things a “regular” teenage boy does while evolving into a man.

      I chose to leave to provide for the people I love, and it’s great being able to make that stuff happen. But having already sacrificed in order to play gave me the strength to say, “I don’t give a d**n what I have to do. I will be back on the court.” Not just for myself. For my family. For the island of Martinique and for all the kids that never had the chance to make it out of the projects like I did.

      This journey was about something way bigger than Ronny Turiaf. I had no other choice…

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 10:46 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Ronny Turiaf was all heart. Word.

        • Magicman (Editor)

          Magicman (Editor) 10:51 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          …But I still needed to play in a game. Every time I would try, Phil Jackson would yell, “Ronny, get off my court!” Not just because I was a rookie and rookies were, in his words, “lower than whale poop.” Phil had put me in glass because he was worried about me.

          Finally, I got a chance.

          February 8, 2006, in Houston against the Rockets. There was a minute or so left in the game. Phil Jackson looks at me and growls, “Ronny, do you want to play?” I’m like, “Hell yeah!”

          Everything was going so much faster than practice, but I don’t give a d**n because I’m playing in the NBA! The first person I hear is Lamar Odom. “Hey, you popped your cherry! YEAAAAAH!” Everybody’s jumping on me. I’ll cherish that day for the rest of my life.

          • Magicman (Editor)

            Magicman (Editor) 10:53 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            #OnceaLakeralwaysaLaker.

            Rarely does an athlete story run deep like an Ocean. God Bless Ronny. Glad he’s still around to kick it and enjoy the ride!

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:24 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    D’Angelo Russell’s Arrival Can’t Stunt Jordan Clarkson’s Growth for Los Angeles 

    BY DAVID MURPHY FOR THE BLEACHER REPORT

    D'Angelo Russell's Arrival Can't Stunt Jordan Clarkson's Growth for Los Angeles

    AP Images

    The Los Angeles Lakers may have drafted a phenomenal prospect in D’Angelo Russell, but the team can’t let that overshadow the development of Jordan Clarkson.

    Russell was the vaunted No. 2 draft pick in June, while Clarkson’s story is a familiar one to fans by now. Last year’s rookie sleeper came on strong in the second half of the season, averaging 15.8 points and 5.0 assists in 38 starts. His progress was so impressive that he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team after being picked No. 46 overall in the 2014 draft.

    But the 23-year-old will spend more time at the 2-guard slot in the fall, allowing Russell to play primarily to his strength as a playmaking point guard.

    Appearing on SiriusXM NBA Radio, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak spoke about a vision for the future with the two players forming a backcourt duo:

    It was only last winter that the team decided to transition Clarkson from an intriguing backup shooting guard to a potential point guard of the future, with Steve Nash lending a helping hand as a mentor.

    Per Bill Oram of the Orange County Register, Clarkson foresees continued workouts with Nash that will likely include Russell.

    Head coach Byron Scott even went so far to suggest to Clarkson that he model his game after Chris Paul, per Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Scott has a leg to stand on here—he was CP3’s first head coach, continuing in that role until partway through Paul’s fifth year in the league.

    This isn’t to say Russell and Clarkson can’t coexist. In fact, they have each paid enthusiastic lip service to the concept.

    “He’s a guy I could definitely play with,” Russell said of Clarkson, per Serena Winters of Lakers Nation. “He’s versatile. He can play on the ball or off the ball.”

    Not to be outdone, Clarkson said of Russell, “He makes the game a lot easier for everyone,” per a Lakers Nation video.

    Despite the appealing potential of what this pairing could be, they’ll have plenty of work to do as they learn to play together.

    During the recently concluded Las Vegas Summer League, the two 6’5” guards started each game together. But they were also juggled in and out of the lineup—each taking turns as the initiator as well as handling off-ball duties.

    Clarkson showed the benefit of a year in the league, averaging 16.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.8 turnovers per game. He did, however, go a little too uber-Westbrook at times with his one-man-wrecking-crew determination.

    The 19-year-old Russell mixed showmanship with raw rookie mistakes during his first NBA exposure, often pushing too hard and trying to do too many things. In a game against the New York Knicks, he had as many turnovers as he did points—eight of each.

    “I’m trying to get better so fast instead of being patient and letting it come to me,” the rookie explained, per Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding.

    John Locher/Associated Press

     

    Russell’s timing improved as summer league went on, but he still averaged more turnovers (5.2 per game) than assists (3.2) in five games. 

    The question isn’t whether the one-and-done Ohio State guard can succeed in the NBA—he clearly has phenomenal court vision and passing ability. But how well will the two players work together, and will a focus on Russell stunt Clarkson’s growth?

    Drew Garrison of Silver Screen and Roll writes that the learning curve for each guard makes their tandem development more questionable:

    Both excel with the ball in their hands, though in different areas. Clarkson’s lightning first step, burst to the rim and athleticism make him dangerous, while Russell’s ability to navigate the pick-and-roll, pick apart a defense with passing and his shooting touch set him apart. Finding a balance between them is going to be a challenge.

    Kupchak has also padded the ranks with the addition of reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, a 6’1” scorer who can operate out of both guard positions. And the general manager may not be done yet. 

    “Depending on how you look at it, we may look to bring another guard on board,” Kupchak said, per Medina. “We may not.”

    There’s plenty of good reasons to bolster the backcourt given the rash of injuries that have struck the Lakers in recent years. Also, Kobe Bryant is now in the twilight of his career.

    Perhaps the supposition of Clarkson’s development being compromised is premature.

    But it is also worth noting that last year’s second-round pick blossomed when given extra time and encouragement. He has an insatiable hunger to improve, and he was the brightest spot in a wretched season.

    The rookie wasn’t content to rest on his All-Rookie honor after the season ended, per ESPN’s Baxter Holmes.

    “I’ve got to come back again next year and put a whole year together,” Clarkson said. “I still have a lot to prove. I’ve got to keep working. I’m not satisfied.”

    But despite self-criticism, there was a general feeling that Clarkson’s evolution was strong enough to have a real impact on the team’s ongoing rebuild. In fact, Duke center Jahlil Okafor was the presumptive favorite as the Lakers’ No. 2 pick heading into the draft. But a shifting dynamic toward smaller lineups and increased emphasis on guard play made Russell the pick.

    There is certainly no indication yet that management blundered in its ultimate decision—selecting Russell could end up being a stroke of genius.

    That acknowledged, it would also be wrong to sleep on Clarkson—a prospect with blinding speed, an intuitive ability to find the seams and, most importantly, a player who was learning how to make his teammates better.

    A balancing act will play out this season, and it could extend further than 82 games. And that’s OK, so long as it breeds progress. 

    But management can’t let the arrival of the next big thing hinder the growth of Clarkson. He is the diamond in the rough and potential building block who was already on board paying dividends long before Russell entered the picture.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2531805-dangelo-russells-arrival-cant-stunt-jordan-clarksons-growth-for-los-angeles

     
    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 8:25 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Still don’t like him being forced to play outta position.

    • Magic Phil

      Magic Phil 8:30 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      “Head coach Byron Scott even went so far to suggest to Clarkson that he model his game after Chris Paul,”

      I think he meant Russel. Clarkson should model his game after Westbrook. DAR is more like a passer while JC can attack the rim like RS.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:46 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    What is Analytics? 

    anlytics

    BY SETH PARTNOW FOR BBALLBREAKDOWN

    Though we’re probably stuck with it for the time being (it is and will probably remain the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference for the foreseeable future), the terms “analytics” or even “advanced stats” aren’t particularly helpful. Many of the “advanced” stats rely much more on the logic of how things fit together than fancy mathematical technique, and some of the most powerful tools to increase your understanding of the game come from basic algebra.

    For example, the three-pointer has never been more in vogue than it is today. In the NBA, the three-point line is about a mile-and-a-quarter from the hoop, so naturally the more shots from way out there, the lower the percentage. But when they go in, they are worth a point more. Factoring that extra point is important since the object of the game is to score more points, not make more baskets. So to that end, there is Effective Field Goal Percentage (commonly cited as eFG%) which accounts for that extra point by making each made three worth 1.5 times a “normal,” two-point, bucket. With that subtle change, you can compare a post player and a jump shooter. Factor in free throws (almost always a highly efficient way to score) and you have “True Shooting Percentage” (TS%).

    I got away from your question a little bit there, but it’s not a fad, it’s just information. In the same way watching film is information, “analytics” are just a better set of tools to keep track of what you see on film and compare it to what happens in all the games you can’t watch. This point, that game tape is scouting reports is statistical analysis, is often lost when analytics are described in public. Most often this is because the people doing the defining are opposed to the endeavor in the first place. There is a, largely false, perception that metrics are coming for your spot, and that just isn’t the case. It isn’t “either/or”; it’s “yes/and.”

    There were almost 200,000 shots taken in the NBA last season, nobody has the time to watch them all, and even if they did, nobody could accurately separate the good shooters from the bad after doing so because it’s simply too much information for the human brain to process at once. Part of why it seems like, as Denise said, “mumbo-jumbo” is the way it’s presented: full of jargon and terminology, and often short on answers for “what does this mean?” If I was to say, “eFG% is just a way to account for three-pointers in shooting percentage” you’d understand readily, even if I hadn’t shown the work of how to get there.

    http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/07/27/askbball-stats-mailbag/

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:18 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Lakers fan who have been critical about the team dismantling their scouting department should be equally critical about the team’s hesitancy to embrace analytics, which is not only another valuable tool to be used in evaluating player talent but also to guide in player development.

      • tate793

        tate793 7:29 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I’m more critical of them dismantling the Training/Conditioning Staff. Alex was a national treasure -- who could have saved us countless hours of grief + $27M + numerous 1st Round Draft picks by disclosing the true physical status of Steve Nash, i.e. the teams hesitancy to embrace common sense. .

        • mclyne32 (Director) 8:37 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Exactly.

        • mud

          mud 9:12 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          i generally agree, but Nash’s leg break couldn’t have been anticipated by anyone.

          • tate793

            tate793 1:41 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Even without the “leg break” Nash’s back issues were legendary. His exit was predictable and inevitable. It was imprudent to mortgage the future and considerable cap space for damaged goods. Lakers paid $27M for what they thought would be 246 games. Instead, they get 65 games. Had they not unceremoniously parted ways with so many longtime staff members the FO might have received full disclosure and not an electronic rubber stamped cursory exam.

            • mud

              mud 9:58 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink

              i really doubt that. good story, though….

              the “leg break” was what ended him. the back issues were known. the “leg break” had nothing to do with the back issues. neither did his retirement, based on what is publicly known. if you are saying that there was some smokecreen, then you are free to speculate. i do agree that losing AM was the wrong move. as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.

              again, nobody could have foreseen Lillard breaking Nash’s leg.

      • mud

        mud 9:13 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        i don’t see any problems looking at numbers if they tell a story that needs to be told.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:08 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I would agree with that, however one came far before the other did. Time does factor into the equation (at least for me).

        Here’s the thing, I’m not sure any amount of analytics is going to make a team better than the sum of it’s parts. And our sum just ain’t all that. Additionally, the Lakers have an analytics department, Mark Madsen evidently heads it and is a firm believer in analytics. He just went 2-3 in summer league with as talented (on paper) of a roster as anyone else had.

        Furthermore, I don’t think analytics can tell you how to play basketball. Especially if you start off from a place of: these shots are the best shots, all other shots are subpar. That closes off entire sections of the basketball court where many players have spent a lifetime learning to score from.

        Where I think analytics can help the most is with our younger players, guys who don’t have habits ingrained in them from hours spent in the gym maximizing their talents. But at the end of the day some players just aren’t good at the analytics-driven aspects of the game, their strengths lie elsewhere and I hate to say it dude but our team is loaded with players who don’t really fit into the analytics way of doing things. They’ve learned it a different way.

        My hope is that Byron and his staff take all the information they have, get to know the players on the team and what their strengths are and where they need help from the team to shore up a problem. I think he’ll give a little more time and mind space to what Mad Dog brongs from the math room, I think he’ll watch what works on the floor and how it intersects with how he wants to coach the team. We will definitely see some unorthodox line-ups, possibly for long stretches of the season. I think Byron coaches more like a baseball manager does, if a guy is slumping drop him in the order, let him see some easier pitches and hit in less stressful situations get hot and then see how the rest of the line does with the adjustment.

        Anyhow, I honestly think our problems lie on the other end of the court. We’re going to need to defend at a much higher level than we did last season.

  • DJ2KB24

    DJ2KB24 3:20 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    Gotta love all the Kobe haters? Best player since Jordan ( 7 Finals and 5 Chips) and supposed Laker fans dissin him. Wow! I thought ARod was dead too, HE AIN’T! If the Laker FO isn’t THE screw-up and after next year I guess we’ll be welcoming KD35, probably LBJ to take the Laker reins. Westy coming next! Russ will be the Rookie of the Year this year, Randle will make his first appearance on this year’s All Star team, along with Clarky! Whooooohooo, gonna be Laker Nation rising from the ashes. I be wishin and hopin just like Dusty!

     
  • Magicman (Editor)

    Magicman (Editor) 12:50 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:51 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Uhm…who are they and why should I care that they think thoughts?

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 12:54 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        So they can’t have an opinion? Hell man, post an opposition or make a salient argument against their point, but to dismiss an opinion because their nobodies isn’t a cool look.

        I happen to agree. Kobe will play 28 minutes per game for about 2-4 weeks and revert to his Superman mind, and he will get hurt again.

        Again, people, you can’t fight the uneven distribution of mass/force that is gravity. :)

        Oh and one the dudes is an intern at Laker Nation. #Buthurtmuch

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

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:07 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Never hurts, just curious. Didn’t recognize the names or why I should give a fig. Love opinions but I can only assert my will over the masses to such a degree ;)

          To that, I wonder openly if these folks have posted articles/opinions/thoughts to how the Lakers are lagging behind the “position-less basketball movement” sweeping the nation. If so, this is even more inane. If not, cool, here’s my rebuttal.

          This is all about match ups. Byron’s not saying “I’m starting Kobe at the 4″ or anything like that but if there’s a 2/3 sized player slotted in at the 4 on the other bench then I got no problem seeing Kobe man up on him.

          I expect to see a LOT of zone from us next season since we have a defensive presence in the middle and to that end Kobe will be responsible for an area more than a specific player. I’m totally fine with that.

          Basically, I want to see the man on the floor with our young guys. All of them, and as much as possible. I think Kobe will end playing more of a hybrid point forward position on this team, he’ll be defensively challenged no matter where he plays and so sloughing him off on a bigger, slower player just isn’t a big deal to me. I don’t expect to see him matching up against Tim Duncan but certainly the Draymond Green’s of the world could see some #24 on D.

          It’s funny how, in the positionless basketball craze, people make a big deal out of a move designed to embrace that, cracks me up is all.

        • mud

          mud 4:54 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          you know, i keep hearing this take that Kobe will definitely be injured again, but i don’t see that as a given(not a major injury anyway). the legs appeared to be fine last year, it was the shoulder, which was an old injury that was never corrected. he might be just fine. it’s not like he’s 60.

          if he gets hurt, he gets hurt. then he’ll almost certainly retire and Tom can breathe again. otherwise, i’ll enjoy seeing a player of his caliber at least one more time.

        • mud

          mud 4:57 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          all opinions are not equal.

          all people are not equal. equal means “the same”. one glance at people can show the proof that there’s no equality. equal pay for equal work, equal respect under the law, these things can exist. to be equal, means you can replace one with the other. you cannot replace me or vice-versa. this screams inequality. equality is an illusion.

    • John M.

      John M. 12:56 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      If both teams go small, why not?

    • LRob (Director)

      LRob (Director) 2:25 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      At this point Byron should just be trying to hide on the weakest opponent…whether its a 1 or a 4. Offensively they’ll figure it out. I’m not worried about that as much.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 3:01 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      So now we got Kobe starting at SF, backing up the SG, backing up the PG, and now playing some PF.
      All at the age of 37 and coming off 3 consecutive major injuries.
      Yeah….that’s gonna work out fine.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 4:19 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think it’ll be as fine as anything if he’s healthy, if he’s not what does it matter?

        • mud

          mud 4:58 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          it does not.

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

            Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 7:19 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Yup, what will be, will be. I’m hopeful we see Kobe healthy, start him on a minutes limit and ramp it up as the season goes. If he’s playing well I figure most of the Kobe detractors in these parts will change their tune.

            • therealhtj

              therealhtj 7:27 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              As soon as his PLAY matches his pay, I’ll be the first to STFU.

            • MongoSlade

              MongoSlade 7:59 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              Hard to imagine him staying healthy playing 4 different positions on the court. I thought the idea was to lighten his load…not having him play out of his natural position most of the time.

            • mud

              mud 9:18 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              his play has always matched his pay. even when he was shooting 30%.
              often, he wasn’t paid near enough.

              i don’t think this offseason chatter means much, as far as what position he will play. he has often played the 3. this talk about the 4 is just talk. it’s a smallball idea. he guarded Ron Artest and vintage Carmelo, he can handle time at the 3. if the other team had a small forward at the 4, he could play the 4. it’s just talk.

            • AK27

              AK27 7:43 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink

              htj, you dont have to shut up..just see if your surly ol’ azz can find a different tune to sing, will ya ? you are abt the only one who seems to be hurting worse than those with skin in the game..friggin’ whiny the pooh !! Lol

    • tate793

      tate793 7:22 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Kobe will be fine. If he gets injured, so what? The real hemorrhoid is the stupid a$$ articles that project doom, demise and redumbdant failure scenarios -- whether it be by the players, the coach or the system.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:00 AM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    GM Mitch Kupchak Says The New Lakers Have To Prove Themselves To Kobe Bryant 

    Kobe BryantUSA TODAY Sports

    Just in case you thought this year would be any less dysfunctional for the Los Angeles Lakers, Mitch Kupchak is here to assure you it will be just as absurd. Kobe Bryant is in the last year of his deal with the Lakers, and is coming off yet another major surgery. It’s as plain as day that he’s diminished as a player. Yet, for some reason, Kupchak thinks all of the new Lakers have to prove themselves to Kobe, as he said in an interview with Sirius XM NBA.

    .@Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said that the young players and rookies will have to show @kobebryant in training camp that they belong.

    — SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) July 24, 2015

    Why, exactly, do the young players, the ones around whom the Lakers are trying to build a future, have to prove to Kobe that they belong? It should probably be more important that they prove it to the organization that drafted or signed them, rather than a player who may not be there next year, and certainly won’t be there when those young players reach their prime. And what happens if Kobe decides they don’t belong? Will they trade them, simply to appease him? It’s probably pretty hard for them to even begin to get his approval when he doesn’t even talk to them.

    To be fair, Kupchak almost has to say these sorts of things, if only to appease Kobe — a deity in LA now. As long as he’s on the Lakers, Kobe will have a stranglehold on the “franchise player” tag even though his days as a true franchise player have passed. Still, appeasement or no, it’s an absurd statement, which shouldn’t be surprising, given the overall absurdity of the Lakers franchise the past two seasons.

    http://uproxx.com/dimemag/2015/07/mitch-kupchak-los-angeles-lakers-rookies-prove-themselves-kobe-bryant/

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:05 AM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      As much as I love Kobe, I hope this will be his last year so the Lakers can move forward all on the same page. The worst thing would be for a diminished Kobe to hang around for another couple of years, even at a reduced salary. The Lakers won’t be free to pursue the future until the cut their bonds to the past and Kobe is the biggest link to that past.

      • mud

        mud 9:45 AM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        you do not love Kobe. if you did, you wouldn’t shovel the dirt on his face until he was truly and completely dead. that may happen this year, but right now, he’s looking at playing.
        that is fine. it’s your prerogative.

        • therealhtj

          therealhtj 11:46 AM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          He was dead after his Achilles blew up. Sure it’s a great narrative and maybe necessary to keep the legions of blind Kobe lovers at bay, but from a basketball perspective it’s already proven to be a terrible mistake. One I don’t believe Dr. Buss would have made.

          • AK27

            AK27 11:48 AM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            The fella just said ..”he’s lookin’ at playing” ….the hell are you talking about ?

            • therealhtj

              therealhtj 11:50 AM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              He’s been looking at playing the last coupla seasons since his injury. They resulted in the two worst in franchise history.

            • AK27

              AK27 11:56 AM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              So, you knew Kobe wasn’t just done as an elite player but done “playing” just as soon as the Achilles injury happened ?

              What narrative were you referring to ? The possibility that he could ..play ? that is restricted to blind Kobe fans ?

            • John M.

              John M. 12:14 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              His attempts to come back after such a devastating injury are just one more indication of his tremendous desire to compete and win. The same traits that get him criticized for hero ball, taking too many shots, etc. When I stated a few weeks ago that I didn’t think this season would be any better for him than the last two, I meant that I think time is going to give him the Old Folks’ Boogie again: “When your mind makes a promise that your body can’t fill…”

              I hope he proves me wrong, everyone stays healthy, all the new parts gel, and we can have fun watching it unfold.

            • Magicman (Editor)

              Magicman (Editor) 12:20 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              Everyone loses when they fight gravity, even Kobe Bryant can read a f*****g science book.

            • AK27

              AK27 12:41 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              That is a reasonable take, John..the body just might give up at some point…but I am hoping that better time management and the youngsters, the new pieces taking some load off him helps Kobe last, say, 50 games…

            • therealhtj

              therealhtj 1:03 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              Oh no, I knew he wasn’t just hanging ‘em up. He was going out on his terms, or at least as close to them as he could muster. I’m just saying everyone would’ve been better served if he would’ve called it quits. I mean besides Kobe’s various sycophants.

            • AK27

              AK27 1:08 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              Well, letting him go wouldn’t have been an entirely unreasonable thing to do, htj…I wouldn’t have been too pleased about it but it was hard not to see the upside…and it is not like going the other way made things a whole lotta fun..short-sighted behavior …the inability to make the right tough decisions has been a problem with the FO..

    • Seely_Iggy (Director)

      Seely_Iggy (Director) 9:31 AM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The Lakers are looking for their next franchise player. Someone to carry the torch for the next decade and represent the values of the Lakers brand -- the commitment to being the best and competing at the highest level. Why shouldn’t Kobe hold them to the same standards and values he held dearly. Physically he may not be the same player -- but that competitive spirit burns as brightly as ever. That’s what he wants to see in these youngsters. Not petty celebrations after a win… nothing but a championship deserves a celebration.

      Someone like Jordan White won’t have a clue what the Laker’s tradition of excellence is even if it landed on his head. He should write for TMZ and leave sports writing to those who know basketball traditions and history.

      • AK27

        AK27 10:01 AM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yup..I don’t quite understand the negativity surrounding Kobe…there are legitimate things one can criticize the guy for without having to make him the next candidate for “Guess who broke the Lakers ??” every other week…flimsy article…one remark from Kupchak turned into a nightmarish scenario where big bad Kobe is maintaining his stranglehold over the franchise, sucking the life out of it….it is not that the youngsters HAVE to prove themselves to Kobe or hit the road if they fail to do so….Kobe ain’t calling the shots…he is certainly not who he used to be ( there is some insight ! ) but the man knows a thing or two about basketball…about being a champion…so maybe, just maybe, passing that test could be a good indicator of a person’s worth as a basketball player….nothing deterministic….just some info of significant predictive value…

        i don’t think all is hunky dory with the organization but if this is a sign of dysfunction, I’m a hopeless fool

        • Magicman (Editor)

          Magicman (Editor) 12:16 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Tide goes in, tide goes out, you can’t explain that.- Bill O’Reilly

          :)

          Quite easy to understand actually. The negativity surrounding Kobe has nothing to do with his past or his legacy but is a result of his recurrent injury history.

          It would be beneficial to the Lakers and Kobe if he retired on his own terms and healthy. But it’s not looking that way Amit.

          And we have to go by percentages and odds, that’s all we have. Odds are an injury will cause the end of Kobe’s career, not his own terms.

          Here’s a good example from Nature :) :

          • Magicman (Editor)

            Magicman (Editor) 12:16 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            #Deathbygravity

          • AK27

            AK27 12:27 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Sean, it sure seems probable that he won’t get to go out on his terms..still, the injuries don’t make him THE reason for the state of the franchise the way scores of simplistic articles try to claim every week…you believe all that bs about how he is gonna be threatened by the youngsters or that proving anything to Kobe would be worthless for ‘em ?

            • Magicman (Editor)

              Magicman (Editor) 12:36 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              I don’t think Kobe’s ever looked over his shoulder once on or off the court Amit, so I don’t buy it neither.

              One thing though, one element Kobetards are missing, is that it’s essential for the brain to reduce things to their simplest forms, easy to understand, easy to explain, easy to remember.

              Is Kobe as responsible for the bereft state of our beloved team as Management? Nope.

              But he bears the responsibility, the same responsibility as every other player, and if he’s to believed that it’s all about winning, he’s taken upon himself to help prevent that from happening.

              You can’t fight the tide, man. He was 34 years old, playing 40 minutes a game guarding Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving.

              He pushed his body over the edge and he’s paying the price now.

              Hardcore decay if you will, that’s admirable, and it’s what makes him who he is, but there’s a flip side, and that at the end of your career, you spend more time on tables than on the Hardwood.

              You spend more time on the Couch than on the Bench. You spend more time talking the talk than walking the walk.

              Just saying.

              As much as he takes care of his body, in his 19 years he’s also spent as much time ignoring his body and not listening to what it’s telling him.

              Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/kevin-mchale-on-kobe-bryant-torn-rotator-cuff-2015-1#ixzz3h7f3464N

              Former NBA player and Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale weighed in on Bryant’s injury and offered a harsh reality:

              Eventually, this catches up to you, man. Kobe’s a great player, but I’ve seen other great players. When your time’s up, your time’s up, man. It’s too bad, but it happens to everybody.

              I wish him all the best. I’ve always admired him. I think he’s a hell of a competitor, but everything comes to an end. In my case, my body just said, ‘You weren’t playing anymore,’ and I said, ‘OK.’

              Bryant is 36 years old and playing in his 19th NBA season. Despite his high mileage, he was still averaging nearly 35 minutes per game this year.

            • AK27

              AK27 12:59 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              Oh he bears responsibility, no doubt…for someone in his position, you get most of the credit when the team does well and a lot of flak when they don’t…I get that…I also agree with Kobe having to pay the eventual price for pushing himself hard all those years…the man achieved a lot doing things his way and if that means the end isn’t gonna be as good as it could have been, then so be it….there is only so much the body can take..

              I just get annoyed with simplistic narratives…picking guys to bear the brunt of the blame when things don’t work…commenting on how the brand is dead..anointing the latest trend as the superior choice without sound analyses…

            • Magicman (Editor)

              Magicman (Editor) 1:17 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              That’s a congruent argument about over-simplicity dude.

            • Seely_Iggy (Director)

              Seely_Iggy (Director) 6:37 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink

              Amit wrote:
              “I just get annoyed with simplistic narratives…picking guys to bear the brunt of the blame when things don’t work…commenting on how the brand is dead..anointing the latest trend as the superior choice without sound analyses…”

              I hear ya, bro. Most of them are hacks who rehash talking points no matter how flawed or ill-informed. Mindless sheep who bleats the same story -- perhaps they think that by repeating the same thing over and over again it somehow becomes the truth and will sway people.

            • AK27

              AK27 7:58 AM on July 28, 2015 Permalink

              True, Seely..and I think it is worse…they dont even care if the things they help perpetuate have any semblance of truth…as long as it is consumed by a significant chunk of the audience..it reflects poorly on the average individual they target cuz the media didnt exactly evolve in a vacuum… the business model used to sustain online content providers is broken as well…

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:58 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        “Nothing but a championship deserves a celebration.”

        No disrespect, Seely, but I totally disagree with that statement. In fact, it says a lot about what I think is wrong with sports today, the idea that the only success you can enjoy comes from winning a championship and not winning simply means failure. That’s the kind of attitude that I have grown increasingly tired of. It demeans everything that sports stands for and means as far as I am concerned. It’s why you have fans like some on this blog who lack the capacity to enjoy anything short of a championship. Last time I looked, winning wasn’t everything.

        So call me a Kobe hater if I’m tired of watching a boys game turned into something that is no longer fun and if I am thrilled that we drafted a facilitator rather than a gunner as our next franchise player. I’m looking forward to enjoying the Lakers develop their your core and play great team basketball. I’m looking forward to seeing these young kids grow and mature into stars and the team grow and mature into a contender. Do I want them to win championships like the Lakers always have? Sure, but I also know that championships are built on the foundation of great plays and great efforts and great wins.

        It’s watching the journey that excites me just as it was playing the game that turned me into a basketball junkie. Was I happier when I won? For sure but I didn’t let the losses depress me or make me abandon my love for the game. So I see nothing wrong with players congratulating themselves or their teammates for a great play. It would be a pretty dreary world with little joy to be shared if “nothing but a championship deserves a celebration.”

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

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 4:53 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Nothing but a championship deserves a parade?

        • mud

          mud 5:03 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          a game played by men does not require the coddling that boys require. it’s not AYSO soccer. only winners get trophys. coffee is for closers.

        • Seely_Iggy (Director)

          Seely_Iggy (Director) 6:33 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Basketball at the NBA level is a game for men. If they want to have a friendly game and then hold hands at the end of it by all means go play a pickup game. But when you’re playing at this level then you should aim for the highest accolade. Even as you draft young players and watch them grow, ultimately you know that the objective is to achieve at the highest level. Surely, you won’t be satisfied to continue watching them grow into mediocrity.

        • tate793

          tate793 7:47 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Not understanding why an obviously geriatric Steve Nash, at 40, was celebrated as “timeless” and a Godsend, but Kobe at 37 should be dead, buried and cremated. Nash’s back and nerve issues are legendary. Equally as documented is Kobe’s resolve and ability to play through pain, injury, distraction and seemingly impossible odds. Why is it that Nash got a “thumbs up” , while Kobe, get’s nothing by a disingenuous cursory pat on the head?

          Tom, by definition, you’re not a basketball junkie. You see, a true basketball junkie has a basketball jones. Having such, would not allow a true basketball junkie to avoid depression after a loss. Sorry…

    • mud

      mud 9:43 AM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      this is why Mitch has a good head on his shoulders. his priorities are straight. rookies have to prove themselves, what’s wrong with that? since when do untested recruits get preferential treatment over proven performers? what competitor worth his salt would be happy with being treated that way?

      this is a “prove it” league, based on performance, or it should be….

      • Seely_Iggy (Director)

        Seely_Iggy (Director) 10:25 AM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Exactly, Mud…. what is wrong with having standards to live up to? Aim for the stars and you at least land on the moon. Shoot for the ankles and your head will be buried so deep in mud you won’t know which side is up. These youngsters have a lot to prove, if not to Kobe then to the organization and the fans. Lakers fans have a lot of stars to compare them to. That’s why playing for the Lakers is not for everyone. Some thrive under the pressure and reap the rewards, others crash and burn.

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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:07 PM on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      They have to prove themselves. Period. Ain’t none of them but Clarkson showed me anything NBA ready.

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