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  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:13 PM on October 12, 2018 Permalink |  

    5 Things I Dug 

    With the preseason slate of games coming to an end we can now turn our sights to LeBron James’ first official game as a part of the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s going to be bananas. Straight bananas. Like Woody Allen ‘Bananas’

    At any rate, t’was a fun preseason and tonight was no different. Lance and Michael got tossed, benches “cleared” (for chucks, only; just chuckles and guffaws) and so the 2018-2019 preseason curtains are drawn and the lights dimmed.

    1) Bonga! Nice to see Issac with nice efforts since his failure to take a potential game-winner in the preseason opener. While he has consistently shied away from wide open perimeter shots his combination of length, speed and strength is alluring on multiple levels. I expect him to play almost exclusively in the G-League this year, players like Wear and Williams have a better chance at a call up, but he could end up a Shaun Livingston (pre-knee injury) type of player. Great stuff from the young man.

    2) Kuzma grinding through the struggles. Young Master Kyle has really had a slog of a preseason. I don’t think he had a truly efficient game all preseason. His hook shot has been off, he’s over-thought his three point shots (often pump faking meaninglessly and allowing a defender to get back into the picture) and he has struggled at the 5, in general. He never stopped playing hard, though, and that’s a great thing to see from a young player. Seems like he’s started warming up in the last two 2nd halves, just needs to get his 1st half mojo straight.

    3) G-Leaguers in general! Game ball goes to all the dudes who will play on the South Bay Lakers. Svi found a groove, stopped passing up shots and just playing his game. Made some drives and eventually started stroking that three point shot. Travis Wear balling hard, just might have turned his best preseason yet. Bonga. Jonathon Williams was a beast on the glass all preseason and he has some nifty low post moves. The only question mark is Wagner, hope that knee gets right and he can get some in with the G-League when it opens.

    4) Lonzo Ball. Playing with a lot of confidence. A nightly triple-double threat. While not dominating any one aspect of the game he just always finds a way to make an impact in every nuance of it. Shooting it with confidence, making great passes, setting solid screens, just playing great basketball. At any rate, great couple of games and it sounds like he’s been going hard in practice. We got a few left before the season kicks off on Thursday, which is a really great thing for this squad. Ball will start, just a question of when. Great to see him come back strong, bodes well for the season in general.

    5) The Lakers are back. It’s not just LeBron James, either, though he is surely the comet in whose dust we are all traveling in. Brandon Ingram is generating buzz with his aggressive play, Lonzo Ball looks poised to have a solid season and could make a case for being an All Star, the additions of Rondo, Stephenson, McGee and Beasley look like they could work out. KidCore could graduate into KillingItCore. The Laker have a lot of potential that could be realized this season and for everything that breaks their way it makes the grind a little less difficult. Sure, everything we’ve seen so far is only so much summer league and preseason, I’ll be the first to point out the many faults that are bound to crop during the regular season but in this moment all I have is hope. Hope that we can break thru, get into the playoffs and maybe win a series or two. That would really be something after the last 5 years.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 12:05 AM on October 13, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Jamie
      I’m on the same page with all of your takes. We are starting to see glimpses of why the Lakers were intrigued with Bonga. At 18 the kid has the tools to be very special. I think we were fortunate that he came out this year. Next year he might have been out of reach for us.

      Svi looked comfortable for the 1st time in the preseason. Like BI you could see that he had played point guard in the past. He basically ran the point after Lance was tossed. Showed off he ability to put the ball on the floor and take it to the rack. Like a lot of rookies he needs to learn what he can and cannot do in the association. He tends to force things at times. But he will figure it out. And if that 3 comes around consitantly he could get some minutes later in the season.

      I’m still loving McGee. He is like a bonus. Even though he had some good minutes in the playoffs I was not expecting him to be this good for over 20+ minutes a game.

      Big shot Rob made a good point in the post game. He said young players that had good rookie seasons sometimes will press in their 2nd year. And if you remember BI struggled out of the gate last year. But he settled down and had a great year. Kuz looked a little more like himself in the 2nd half. Hopefully he settles down. While I know sharing the ball is the team mantra Kuz seems to take it a little far. He’s been to unselfish and has passed up some good shots for him.

      The biggest take aways for me this preseason is Ingram’s growth, the number of play makers we have on this roster and how deep we our. We are definitely deeper then the Warriors. We should be able to go hard for 48 minutes. It’s going to be a fun season!

      • mclyne32 (Director) 11:59 AM on October 13, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Aloha Michael.
        I agree about McGee and BI.
        JaVale fits in perfectly with what we want to do and has impressed me so far. He’s played under control, be great on defense and even provided some offensive spark.
        Brandon just looks comfortable now.
        He’s not rushing anything anymore and knows the spots where he needs to operate.
        Great to see Svi and Bonga have impressive games as well.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 11:39 AM on October 13, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff, Jamie.
      I disagree with your take on Kuz. Yes, his shooting percentages are down(small sample size), but his movement off the ball and aggressiveness have been great. His shooting will come around.
      The guy I still worry about is Zo. He had several sequences at the rim where he just couldn’t finish. This was a problem all year last season and it needs to be remedied. I hope this improves because he is a player the defense can sag off on.
      Overall, this was a pretty positive pre season and I expect our team to hit its stride late December or early January. We will need some time to gel and become a good defensive squad, but when we do, the competition will be presented with real problems.

      • mclyne32 (Director) 11:41 AM on October 13, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I almost forgot to add: the reputation ejections need to stop.
        Lance was hammered multiple times by Cook and yet he’s the one who pays the penalty.
        Juvenile and myopic reffing at best.

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

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:42 PM on October 13, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          That closed fist will get you tossed every time. Lance was definitely fouled tho.

          Thanks dude, it was a fun preseason!

          Re: Lonzo-yeah, def needs to get that touch around the rim to a better place. His offensive struggles are the big reason I still see him as a couple years away from truly “arriving”, as they say. Everything else about his game is exceptional so I imagine, in time, he’ll at least become a decent scorer. Ingram took a big step forward in his 2nd year so who knows?

          Re: Kuz-I just think he looks like he’s trying to show off everything he learned this summer Ian’s ends up forcing bad shots or over-thinking good ones. I agree he’s played well off the hall with his rim runs and cuts off screens, it’s what saved his preseason. He’ll find his mojo, no doubt.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 1:48 PM on October 13, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for a great post, Jamie.

      1) How can you not love Bonga, whose upside keeps growing every time we see him. What I loved about him is his court vision and ability to deliver passes. He’s already throwing passes that guys like Caruso can only dream about. Isaac’s like a rough jewel that has the potential to develop into a 6′ 9″ version of Lonzo Ball or a more athletic version of Earvin Johnson. Going to be fun watching him develop.

      2) I agree with you regarding Kuzma but think the problem has been he prepared all summer to play more 3 and has struggled to play small ball 5, which is going in the opposite direction. He also was trying to hard to pass the ball and not allowing his natural scorer to emerge. We need more of the Kobe Bryant style of Kuzma. Work on your playmaking and defense but don’t forget who you are. Your destiny is as an elite big time scorer. That’s what will determine your paycheck.

      3)The five subs who played last night -- Bonga, Wear, Svi, Jonathan, and Ivica -- could be the best end of the bench mob in the league. They’re all likely to see some time with South Bay Lakers in the G-League, which should make them one of the elite teams. I have to admit to almost turning the TV off to watch a movie at that point but I’m glad I didn’t. I think we’re going to see a lot of garbage time as the Lakers get better and better and I suspect we’re going to have a killer garbage time team too.

      4) I’m hoping Lonzo will kill in practice during the next week and Luke will decide to start him. There’s no question Lonzo is our best defender and his outside shot actually looked very good in the first two games. It’s his stellar defense and other worldly transition vision and skill that need to start. At this point, it would be smarter to get the starting team set right now. Lonzo, Hart, Ingram, James, and McGee should start backed up by Rondo, KCP, Lance, Kuzma, and Beasley.

      5) I agree 100% that the Lakers are back. What I’m loving is how much fun LeBron and the entire team is having. That chemistry is exactly what is going to be huge during the season. Everybody is having a great time and I was impressed with how well the G-Leaguers played in throttling the Warriors’ reserves in the second half. Watched and savored every last minute of preseason. Next Thursday can’t come too soon.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 3:12 PM on October 13, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think Kudos have to be given to Jesse Buss. I remember reading how frustrated he was when we were selling and trading away our draft picks. He saw what the Spurs had according by developing their low draft picks. With his leadership we are nailing the draft. Brown is the only pick in the last several years that I can think of that hasn’t turned into a real NBA player. I look forward to seeing Wagner play when he’s healthy. I don’t know if Svi or Bonga will develop into stars but I see no reason not to believe that they will develop into solid contributors.

    • keen observer

      keen observer 3:55 PM on October 13, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Fantastic read, Jamie. Loved it!

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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:23 PM on October 13, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks gang!

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:18 AM on October 5, 2018 Permalink  

    5 Things I Dug 

    1) The return of Kyle Kuzma! While not a great game Sir Kyle did have a good game and had the timeliest of tips to seal the win after a pair of Ingram-missed free throws. While still using his hands too much on D, to the tune of 4 (some fairly ticky-tack) fouls, he fought through it and made an impact.. He hit a three off an Ingram pass, he over-drove the ball to the rim and actually under-shot his three ball. Through it all he kept his head in the game and hot the glass precisely on the missed free throw. Welcome back, Kyle.

    2) A win!!! I don’t care if it is only preseason, the whole team was stoked and they’ve been working hard. Not 80’s Pat Riley hard, but hard. So, congrats Lakers on the first, meaningless, preseason win of the LeBron James era.

    3) Luke yanking the G-Leaguers. Luke wanted the W. Wanted it on Pride Night (another Lakers kudos, Jeannie looked resplendent in her new ‘do). Coach straight wanted it. No Mike Brown’s here. Watching LeBron, JaVale and Lance on the sideline was pretty funny and makes me hope for blow out wins. And so KidCore and Lance played some of the 4th followed by Jonathon Williams to close it out, he of much heart and raw dunking power. As a fan I loved it.

    4) Brandon Ingram’s side-out-of-bounds defense! 3 kicks and then the steal leading to 2 made free throws and the lead when Sacramento was threatening. Got the arena (those who were still there) on their feet, got the bench into it, got Stu Lantz into it. His overall game was smooth and in control. Need a bucket? I’ll slither my way to a layup. Need a three? Here Kyle. Maybe I’ll cut early in the game. Thanks LeBron. Ingram looks primed to flourish in the LeBron James era. Both play a complimentary style of iso ball that includes hitting the open man. Loving BI in preseason.

    5) The return of KCP. Just as, if not moreso, impactful as Kyle’s bounce-back game, it did kind of feel like a slump buster for both K-players tonight. Kentavious had looked pretty lost on all fronts out there (and had some more of those moments tonight) but he found his defensive mojo and hit some regular old KCP-style buckets. Good to see because if we can coax the player we saw finish the year out a lot earlier it’ll be a real good thing. Josh Hart was also solid and represented the arrival at training camp of the primary Laker 2-guards. Welcome to camp, lads.

    Addendum: Not digging the griping to the refs. Yes, there are weird new rules involving using your hands on defense. As in don’t. But I’m hoping they tone it down a bit as a team. It’s preseason, let’s find the camaraderie in finding an early rhythm.

    Also, not digging said new rules. Really makes for a lot of whistles…

    • p ang

      p ang 1:45 AM on October 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I dig what you’ve been dug-ging. I for one vote that you make it a regular thing.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:23 PM on October 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I’ll try, it’s a common kind of thing to see on blogs and websites and it help me limit my tendency to prattle on.

        • keen observer

          keen observer 6:34 PM on October 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I personally like that the Lakers are voicing displeasure with the refs. Watching Kuz do it was great! Last season, they were meek like college players, like they were afraid of the refs. Randle really got under my skin by being so button lipped after he was constantly being hammered.They’re finally looking like an NBA playoff team in that realm.

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

            Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:23 PM on October 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Interesting take, I tend to think it’s generally unbecoming to look incredulous, palms to the sky after every play (which is pretty much what Kuzma was doing), especially in your 2nd year. But I do like the edge and the will to win so if one begets the other I’m all in.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 4:48 AM on October 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Anybody know why Lonzo isn’t out there on the bench with the rest of the guys? That sequence with BI defending the inbounds at the end of the game was one of those organic bonding moments you don’t see all the time…woulda been nice to see him there.

      Maybe I’m being nitpicky…lol

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:52 AM on October 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good takes, Jamie. Thanks.

      1) It was good to see Kyle have a good game and stop overpassing. I think two things probably helped him. First, he’s always played better when starting. Second, I remember him talking last year about how much more he liked playing small forward. Best of all, I thought Kyle played excellent defense last night, fighting to front bigger players and using his quickness and leaping ability well. Wish there was a way to get him in the starting lineup all the time.

      2) Any win is good Winning is the ultimate habit you want your players to adopt.

      3) We have too many decision and too few preseason games to make surrounding players who will be in the rotation to turn the fourth quarter into garbage time.

      4) That was the kind of defensive performance we have been waiting for Brandon to unleash. I thought this might have been his best overall game as a Laker. I loved how he is playing very fast and being very decisive. Earning that locker at the front of the room.

      5) Good to see KCP perform but it’s becoming obvious that Hart is the better option to start at the 2. However, having a great 3-and-D shooting guard to come off the bench is still a plus. If KCP does come off the bench, he may be more willing to agree to a midseason trade should ADor another superstar suddenly become available.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:23 PM on October 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        1) Yeah, Kuz looks like he’s trying to cram 3 summers worth of improvement into 1. He just needs to dial it back a little, find a more controlled version of his aggression and play his game. the fact he’s struggling a bit with his running hook early on is something I expect to improve fairly quickly and he’s over-thinking every possession. His tendency to foul on defense is what will hold him out of a larger role. That’s a big Luke Walton ‘no-no’. if he cleans up the fouls I think he could be a better small ball center answer than most give him credit for right now.

        2) yessir!

        3) Welcome to the new NBA preseason! Lonzo missing these games might really end up setting him back, especially if Rondo is playing well and we’re winning a fair amount of games. Doubly so if Ingram mans the point as well as he did last night, consistently. The fact Luke yanked the G-Leaguers is indicative of how much he values these on-court experiences for the real team even though the games mean nothing.

        4) You know I’m all aboard the Ingram Express. He uses his length really intelligently (not something that is automatic in the NBA). If he gets that three ball working…

        5) Agreed, Hart makes more sense over KCP on multiple levels. To me, anyways, but we’ll see how it shakes out. Luke has a tendency to let the vets play themselves out of a role rather than promote based on promise or potential.

    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 3:32 PM on October 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff. Negs are we still can’t shoot the 3-ball. We don’t defend the 3-ball. I musta missed what ya’ll see in KCP, 1-3 from 3. Lonzo not playing reminds me of my 2 first picks, Fox, Tatum. We shall see. nice to have RR! Go Yankees!

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:40 PM on October 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        KCP found his defense, got out on the break and helped bring home the preseason W. Three point shooting was always one of our bigger question marks, he was 3-4 on 2s so…

        Anyhow, he’s always been the grease that helped steer LBJ here, gave the agency a portal into how the Lakers do business, established a relationship between them and the front office, etc. He’ll get buckets but more importantly he’ll create stops.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:30 AM on October 3, 2018 Permalink  

    5 Things I Dug 

    1) Lance “Make ’em dance” Stephenson. Dude ruled the 4th quarter and almost got that gaggle of guys to eke out a meaningless win. As it is, he wasn’t able to lead the newest member of the Youth Brigade to a W. Poor shooting by the guards on the floor (Hart and KCP…one of ’em is going to back their way into that starting 2 guard spot) and great three point shooting by Denver’s future G-League team did us in. But man did Lance have some vim and vigor going for a preseason game. Lance as the starting 2? Crazier things.

    2) Ivicia Zubac and Travis Wear going off in the 4th, too. A couple of guys who will, likely, play a very tiny role (if any) in the upcoming season but that 3 by Travis to bring us within 2 and Zubac’s early 4th quarter play were a lot of fun to watch. While I’m not sure Ivicia did anything more than cement his status as the possible 2nd string center, Wear has an outside shot at making the team as a 3 point specialist and last night I thought he did pretty well, all things considered.

    3) The first half. So it looks to me like the plan with LeBron is have him play what I assume will be his normal-ish first half minutes schedule and then sit out the second half. This will, likely, get ramped up as we near the regular season. But the overall play of the Lakers in the first half was markedly improved. While we did give up a late three and play poorly in the waning seconds to make the score closer, both the first half and opening of the 3rd were filled with solid Laker play.

    4) Kuzma at the 3 & 4. There was a line up that featured Ingram at the point, Hart at 2-guard, Kuzma at the 3, LBJ at the 4 and McGee. That line up looked great and is one that I could see being used in crunch time. Kuzma looked the most comfortable I’ve seen him all preseason (granted, 2 whole games). But Kuz has looked woefully ill-equipped when he mans the center position, especially when Luke leaves him out there against true centers and Jokic is definitely one of the elite centers in the game today. I’m certain we’ll see some line ups with the theoretical starts and Zubac, eventually.

    5) Marv Albert’s mad Zubac love. Marv just loves him that big lug. Went on and on about all the work he’s put in, his footwork, how he’s lost weight, etc. I got to thinking ‘does Marv have a man crush on Ivicia or is he a stake holder in his agency or what?’ At any rate, watch those teeth, IZ, Marv’s a biter! At any rate, the TNT coverage was fairly decent, I’ll be re-watching the game on the Spectrum Sportsnet broadcast later tonight but always interesting hearing what the older players think.

    ***Can’t let Bonga off the hook for not taking the shot. Wake up, man, you’re the PG and one of the basic aspects of your job is knowing the clock. Learn from this one, move on, get better…but take that shot dude!***

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:54 AM on October 3, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great post, Jamie. I would add the following points:

      1) JaVale McGee once again played 19 minutes and was a force at both ends. If JaVale can continue to play at this level for 16-20 minutes per game, that will be a huge plus for the Lakers. All the talk about small ball notwithstanding, it’s obvious the Lakers can play aggressively on defense and run relentlessly on offense with McGee at center. I think a starting lineup of Rondo or Lonzo, Hart, Ingram, LeBron, and McGee could be the Lakers best lineup and maybe should be considered to close games as well as open them. He may be 7′ but JaVale’s speed and athleticism let him play small ballish.

      2) Meanwhile, the small ball lineups with Kuzma and/or Beasley at center have so far been unimpressive. Part of it is having to play against a very dynamic Nuggets’ center rotation. Plumlee actually hurt the Lakers more than Jokic. I thought Zubac looked better than he has in a long time but he’s nowhere near the quality as a backup five as Plumlee, who dominated. Luke has obviously not rolled out the Lakers’ version of the Death Lineup with LeBron at the five but that is looking more and more like it will have to be an essential part of the Lakers rotation.

      3) I’m not worried about the overpassing at this point in the season. Kuzma especially has been trying to hard and letting wide open threes pass by. And I’m not going to be too hard on Bonga for not taking that last minute shot. In fact, Isaac impressed me with his size, length, and quickness on defense and his great vision and passing on offense. He made a couple of passes that you just don’t see 18 year old point forwards make. He may be a couple of years away but he will be something when he arrives.

      4) I continue to believe Lonzo is the going to be the catalyst that elevates this team to another level. The Lakers miss him greatly, especially on defense and in transition. I have no problem with Luke even continuing to start Rondo as I do like him playing with JaVale but make no mistake, it’s Lonzo who is going to be the game changer that enables the Lakers to take full advantage of LeBron James. I’m hoping Lonzo gets to play some in the preseason. At some point, he will take over the starting job and the combination of the two of them plus LeBron will transform the Lakers playmaking.

      5) Loved the defensive effort by Brandon Ingram last night. I thought he did a great job pressuring on defense and fighting through screens. If he can elevate his defensive game and become an impact defender like Lonzo, it will make the Lakers a much tougher out. I’ve been critical of BI disappearing in games but I’m liking what I am seeing so far this preseason. Great job on boards by Ingram and the Lakers tonight.

      6) Lance definitely was dancing. I originally thought Beasley would be the iso scorer off the bench ala Clarkson and LouWill last year but it could turn out to be Lance. I loved his energy at both ends of the court. He’s like a powder keg but first glances seem to be saying we got the Indiana Lance. If so, that’s a big plus.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:31 PM on October 3, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        1) Agreed, JVM has looked really comfortable so far and has played better than expected. Not sure I need to see him jacking 20 foot baseline jumpers every game but if they go in no reason to complain.

        2) Not impressed with any of our SB line ups, so far. Kuz has looked really uncomfortable down low and basically results to fouling followed by a mystified look. That ain’t gonna get it done. He struggled against any big he was matched up with and it just might not be his thing. Beasley had a terrible game, same issue: fouled instead of defended. Zubac was the best but fell victim to over-switching and leaving Miles open for easy dunks. Not sure if he’s not reacting to someone calling for help and teammates not covering for him quick enough or what. Those are the kind of preseason things that are very fixable, though. In Kuzma and Beez’s case they may need to be used in more match-up specific roles rather than as the general back-up.

        3) Me either, gave up a ton of wide open looks for either just as open looks or passing back into where the defense was and they had an easier recover. Also very fixable and something I expect less of when the games actually matter, regardless. Easy to live with the occasional over-pass than a player who doesn’t pass it at all.

        4) We’ll see. Hope he plays tomorrow night so we can see how that all fits together. Hard to know how strong he’ll be right off the bat and might need a few weeks to get into game shape.

        5) Between LBJ raving about him, the coaches talking about how he’s improved and the fact that he’s my personal pick for 2nd best Laker I’ve loved everything that Brandon has shown so far. Still could stand to shoot a few more threes but I think that will come with more minutes. We looked great when he was running the point last night.

        6) Loved lance’s effort and heart. Exactly what Rob talked with him when he signed his deal on Media Day. Good stuff! Honestly, I’d start Lance at the 2 over either Hart or KCP right now, but it’s early. KCP has looked especially out of sorts. Not there on D, no shot (made a nice bank shot last night which I hoped would get him going but…) and Hart just hasn’t been as efficient as he was last year. Super early and lots of time to find a groove, but neither is off to a rosuing start.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 5:18 PM on October 3, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Coupla extremely early observations..

      Lebron, Javale, Rondo, & BI already seem to have some chemistry brewing

      Beez, KCP, & Svi look lost. Interesting that Svi barely played last night even in the 4th when Luke cleared the bench…left Lance out there with the 3rd stringers…strange

      Joshy looked much better in game 2

      Lance gonna Lance no matter what

      Kuz looks confused trying to log minutes at 3 different positions. He’s definitely not a small ball center. But it’s hard to play small against the Nuggs when both their centers are skilled & mobile..most teams don’t have that. But if we end up 4th or 5th seed vs them in the 1st round it could be a problem.

      In any case..it’s hard to really evaluate too much with Lebron playing limited minutes and Lonzo still out. The bench guys should improve once Zo returns to backup Rondo.

    • keen observer

      keen observer 6:58 PM on October 3, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Very little of anything we’re seeing right now should be given any serious thought.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:29 AM on October 3, 2018 Permalink  

    Bonga with a big bone-head play… Shoot the shot mang.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:58 AM on October 3, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      BFD. Kid made some great plays down the stretch on offense and defense. Saw some great signs that he could become a force down the road. His size, length, and quickness of defense was excellent and he made several passes that you don’t see 18-year old unknowns make. Give the kid a break. Lots of boneheaded plays by everybody and this is what preseason is about. I would rather have seen Isaac’s improved play than him taking and making a game winning shot in a meaningless pre-season game.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:51 PM on October 3, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        A2D. Basic job is to know the clock. Not saying he won’t get to a better place but he blew it last night. That’s where it begins and ends for me. He’ll get more chances to shine going forward.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:34 AM on October 1, 2018 Permalink  

    5 Things I Dug 

    1) Ingram’s aggressiveness off the ball. Lots of nice, easy opportunities for Brandon. While he wasn’t raining threes (Lakers as a team struggled from beyond the arc going 8 for 25) he was a force on the break, in the paint and on defense. If Ingram has success in those three areas it will bode well. If he starts hitting the three ball better, and more often, he’ll be an All Star.

    2) JaVale McGee doing his thing. JaVale played a great all-around game. Rebounded the rock, played his brand of defense and got out on the break a couple times for some easy scores, one of those at the very start of the game. While his lack of stamina due to asthma will force the coaches to get creative at the 5, for whatever amount of time he can bring it looks like he’s ready to bring it hard.

    3) Rajon Rondo coaching from the bench. The dude is relentless in his pursuit of an edge or to foster improvement in his teammates. They cut to Rajon on the bench with an iPad at one point and he looked like he was showing his teammates where they could have gone. Whether it was defense or offense doesn’t really matter. Rajon is the embodiment of ‘coach on the floor’. Great to see. While I still believe Lonzo Ball will end up as the starter Rajon certainly possesses the tools and IQ to make it a worthy conversation.

    4) Luke experimenting without fear of doing it wrong. While not every line up struck pay dirt, especially when he went to the bench, there was a high degree of variance to the line ups Luke trotted out over the course of the game. The biggest area where we had let downs was on defense and he acknowledged as much is post-gamer. So I have no doubt it will be addressed in practice. But the open mind and the exploration of workable combinations will be a big key in our hopes for early success. Can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, as they say.

    5) LeBron James. Come on, who didn’t get a slight chill when you saw him line up around the circle before the tip? This is going to be awesome.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 11:05 AM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I agree!
      I would like to add:
      6. Great Ball movement when either Rondo or LeBron were in the game.
      The ball did get stuck when both were out, but once Zo gets back, I don’t see a time where there isn’t one of them controlling the offense.
      Although Brandon did bring the ball up a few times, I would have liked to see more of it since he was so effective last year running the point.
      It wasn’t surprise to see our defense out of sorts, since it was there first game together. This will be remedied over time. I think by early January, we will be a very good defensive squad that works better together.
      I was hoping for at least a closer game, but patience is needed with all of the new pieces that need to gel.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:50 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks dude! The whole thing is a big-time work in progress from my point of view. As it should be, basically a whole new team save our drafted players. Every vet we had last season, except KCP, has been replaced. Lance tried to do a little too much on his own for a good 5-7 minute spell and that was when the game got out of reach. Lance is my (personal) biggest question mark. He often struggles on high profile teams and without a well-defnied role. Since there are no defined roles, yet, on this team I wasn’t too surprised to see him kind of over-adopt the ball, especially on offense where he’s not too familiar with anyone…yet.

        All in all, not bad for the first preseason game with, as we all know, basically a new team.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 11:31 AM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      1st preseason game went pretty much like it should have. We had 3 new starters and a buncha other dudes playing together for the 1st time vs a team with continuity who missed the playoffs by 1 game. I didn’t see a whole lotta switching on defense which is understandable based on where we are on the timeline and it explains all the wide open looks the Nuggs got…still waaayyyy early in the process.

      Things will improve when we get our backup point guard back….lol

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:53 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Agreed, no reason to even be looking at this other than a grand experiment to see who clicks with who on the court. KCP looked lost in general, which was a little odd since he was brought back into the same role as last season. Hope his new diet isn’t working against him (kidding, as we all know, one preseason game does not a season make).

        The defense will take the longest which is why we’ll need to be better about boxing out and securing rebounds. Lot of guys drifting in the no man’s land between the paint and the three point li9ne when shots went up last night, I expect that to be cleaned up with a couple of practices.

        plenty for the coaching staff to work on today!

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:44 AM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for the excellent recap, Jamie. I agree that Ingram looked good. I especially liked his movement off the ball. And you’re right, we struggled mightily when Rondo and LeBron were not in the game. Like Matt, I believe Lonzo’s return will solve that problem. Our offense without Lonzo reminded me of the situation last year when we gave point guard duties to Ingram or Ennis. Lonzo will change everything.

      Overall, poor defensive effort, especially in defending threes. Denver launched 37 threes and outscored the Lakers by 15 points from deep, many wide open attempts. Lakers were actually lucky the Nuggets didn’t shoot a higher percentage. I also noticed as Mongo pointed out that we really didn’t switch everything as expected, which resulted in the Nuggets being left open from deep. Be interesting to see what happens tomorrow night.

      As expected, the offense was limited to great passes from LeBron and JaVale playing well AND posting 19 minutes of action, a number of minutes he only surpassed just one time last year with the Warriors. JaVale was the best news of the day along with LeBron. Disappointing games from Kuzma, Hart, and Svi, who often looked lost on defense and struggled on offense.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:59 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks LT, Ingram was my personal player of the game (although you could easily slot JaVale in there like ESPN did). I expect to see Lonzo coming off the bench as they bring him back slowly. That will take the ball out of Lance “Definitely not a PG” Stephenson’s hands with the 2nd unit. If he forces his way into the starting line up (as I expect him to do by December at the absolute latest, if not during preseason) then we have Rondo to pick the defense apart play-by-play.

        Yeah, the defense will certainly be a big time W.I.P. and may not look decent until mid-season. Hopefully we’re not so behind the 8-ball record-wise as a result to have to fight for the 8th seed but what will be will be. I’m definitely not sold on either Kuzma or Beasley filling in at the 5 except for in very specific match-up situations. I hope we either see a little more Zubac 9who was fine, basically what we’ve seen) or Wagner if he can get healthy but those bone bruises are always tricky, especially in a big man.

        The bench unit lacked a true PG and, oftentimes, center, so hard to accurately grade them. I wasn’t overly disappointed or surprised in their struggles. Denver brought back pretty much the same squad and it looked exactly like a team that knows itself versus a team looking for itself last night. Preseason, and maybe even all of October and November, might be a bit rocky for the purple and gold. Hopefully the ‘panic button’ stays in the box until the summer. I think they just need more time.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 12:23 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Jamie,
      I agree with your observations. My expectations for the pre season isn’t very high. The short preseason is especially problematic for a team like the Lakers incorporating 8 new players into the mix.
      There were all these articles about which young player is going to benefit most from Lebron. If this first game is any indication It maybe BI. He was great off the ball.
      McGee was great. If he can give us 20 minutes a game like those we will be in good shape. He didn’t play that many minutes last year but the Warriors didn’t need him too.
      Rando was great. It’s going to be cool when Lonzo comes back because we will have one of the two on the court most of the time. I was a little surprised that they didn’t play Curso earlier but I’m thinking that Luke wanted to see how the offense will run without are point guards available due to in game injury or foul trouble. Since Caruso is a 2 way contract he’s not always going to be on the bench.
      We did get eaten up inside when we went small. The great thing about Randle was his strength. Kuz and Beasley aren’t as strong. We may need to play Lebron more at the small ball 5. He can match Randle strength. Wagner is a big boy so perhaps later in the year he might be able to fill that role.
      I wasn’t to surprised by the defense. I figured it wouldn’t be very good. You can play offense without much practice but a switching, rotating defense requires a lot of work to get it functioning properly. It’s probably going to take the first month of the season for it to come together. So we’re just going to have to score a lot until it does.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:02 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks Michael, totally agree on the new shorter preseason being a bigger obstacle for a team like we have. but it is what it is.

        I’ve thought from the get-go that BI would be the biggest beneficiary of LeBron’s presence. He does everything pretty well while not really excelling at any one thing. He truly is a Swiss-Army knife in NBA player form. If he can get that 3 ball working he will move into a new realm of elite kind of players because that’s his biggest “weakness” and I don’t really even see it as that. He looked great on both ends last night.

        Rondo will be a great presence for this team, even if it’s only for this season. He is a hoops savant, studies everything, and is great at gathering the guys after a bad play and getting them (kinda) back on the same page. Hopefully the IQ we brought in can overcome some of our growing pains. One game, so lots to work on.

    • keen observer

      keen observer 1:06 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I miss (the Lakers missed) Julius Randle. I still don’t understand why they couldn’t offer him a two year deal better than the one he got from the Pellies. He could always be traded if the cap space became an issue for next summer. You don’t let one of the best small ball centers go for next to nothing, especially considering his enormous upside.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:11 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        At this point it’s just too early to tell but my gut agrees with you. I don’t see the logic in that choice. maybe Magic and Rob simply valued Rondo’s mentorship more than Randle’s on-court ability? We’ll likely never know. But it’s over and done with now and letting Julius walk may be their biggest blunder yet (after simply not picking up his rookie deal the previous summer which is still baffling to me).

        • keen observer

          keen observer 8:06 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I’m not saying Randle OR Rondo. The Lakers could have done Randle AND Rondo. I miss him and I think the Lakers will miss him, too.

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

            Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:16 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I hear you and agree. We could have gone over the cap to retain Randle and so there’s no scenario that involves this season where his contract was the issue. With the defense and rebounding being what it is, I agree. Those are strengths Randle brings.

          • MongoSlade

            MongoSlade 8:23 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Pels gave him that 2nd yr player option..that was never gonna happen here with the way Earv n Rob are playing the cap game. It was pretty easy to see all season (hell…the season before too) he wasn’t in the long-term plans.

      • MongoSlade

        MongoSlade 1:22 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Reading some things from Randle since he left leads me to believe he wasn’t all that eager to stay here anyway. Whatever the case, it’s over with and time to move on…

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

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:59 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          His interview on the Undefeated was certainly indicative of that notion.

        • Magicman (Editor)

          Magicman (Editor) 5:17 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Julius Randle ain’t moving the needle to keep AD.

          Fans of teams love to overestimate former guys abilities.

          Was there even a market for Julius Randle? 1/9? That’s not job security. LOL.

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

            Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:26 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            2/9 w/player option in year 2. A year better, and with the option, than we offered.

            In regards to AD, probably not, we’ll wait and see. The real test for this line of thinking will come in the summer after the season. If we land Leonard it’ll be worth it. If we trade for AD…depends on the trade. If Davis ends up here in a couple of years, towards the end of the LBJ deal and we muddled through a couple of not quite the right fit in terms of personnel surrounding LeBron then it’s not so bright of a road to have traveled.

            Honestly, I just thought Randle was a unique blend of strength and speed, rebounding and playmaking, and worked to improve his body and skills around the rim in a couple of seasons to become a border-line All Star. I didn’t see him as the future but rather an interesting cog.

            Letting him walk for nothing or not locking him up for cheap were both poor strategical choices. So poor I kind of feel like the Lakers must have kind of had the rug pulled out from under them a little by the agent of Julius and PG. But who knows.

      • mclyne32 (Director) 1:50 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I agree 1000% Keen.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 1:53 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I actually think they let Randle walk because Kawhi came on the market when he did. There wasn’t time for that to play out. With little free agent money out there they could have offered him a nice one year deal and probably kept him. He has said many times he wanted to stay. Plus he would have been a nice trade chip if a Star were to hit the trade market at the deadline. It’s too bad but it is what it is.

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 5:20 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Hey Michael,

        My only…retort I guess would be to ask the following question:

        All it takes is one stupid GM to think, “I can change that guy.”

        All we got offered was 2nd Rounders for him.

        I think the Market was a Bear for Randle because he’s limited. Not because teams couldn’t afford him.

        He thinks his worth more than he actually produces. That’s what I observed. You’re worth as much as people are willing to pay you after all.

        The Embiid game was indicative. “Pay me” and Joel rode his a*s like Zorro. Made sure to embarrass Julius Randle.

        Teams saw that to.

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

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:28 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I pretty much agree, but even a couple of 2nd rounders would have been something. Same thing happened to Ariza, we’d have to ask him how he feels that all worked out in the end. Lakers and MWP won another one so…doing OK here.

    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 5:24 PM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Work In progress, but thank god we can talk about Ball again. LOL.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:12 AM on October 1, 2018 Permalink  

    Walton tests variety of lineups, ‘won’t overreact’ 

    In the Lakers’ first dress rehearsal, coach Luke Walton did as he said he would: he’d tinker with a variety of lineups, including small-ball units that saw Kyle Kuzma and Michael Beasley at times try to hold the fort down at center.

    Source: Walton tests variety of lineups, ‘won’t overreact’

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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:15 AM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I thought our small ball line ups really, really struggled on defense and rebounding the basketball. Any line up we put out there scored OK (when they weren’t turning the ball over) and we looked great on the break. Nothing too surprising, honestly, we have a whole bunch of guys who had only practiced a couple of times together and scrimmaged. First run was bound to be awkward.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:52 AM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        We were outrebounded 50-37. Lonzo should really help that situation although Rondo did his share by grabbing 7 boards and so did JaVale grabbing 7 boards. Kuzma and Beasley did not help much. When we go small, which we did only for about 22 of the 48 minutes, we need team rebounding to hold the fort. Last night, we did not get that. Controlling the boards should be a top priority tomorrow night.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 10:57 AM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Small ball only works when your small playing center has a lot of muscle to fight with bigger players.
      Also, Jokic is a very skilled big who demands more respect than Kuz or Beasley. He destroyed both of them.
      We need another defensive big to be in there when JaVale rests.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:55 AM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Neither Kuz or Beasley played well on offense or defense. In fact, both looked out of position and will need a lot more time at small ball center to become comfortable. The entire idea of playing one of these two at the five is based on how tough a matchup they would be for the opposing center and last night, neither of the two had a good night on offense. Kuzma especially shot poorly hitting only 4 of 13 shots. KCP was also a total bust last night missing all five of his shots.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 11:22 AM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think (just like last season) Luke was forced into some funky lineup experimentation due to the Lonzo injury combined with Beez going out so early

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:57 AM on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I agree 100%, Mongo. While we may want to play positionless basketball, we saw the same struggles on offense last night as we did last season when Lonzo was out. Other than LeBron, Lonzo is probably the next most impactful player on the Lakers at both ends of the court. I’m hoping Ball plays tomorrow night and we’ll see the glimpses of the Lakers’ offense and defense we hoped to se.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:11 AM on October 1, 2018 Permalink  

    Beasley exits Lakers debut with head laceration 

    Michael Beasley left his Lakers debut with a head laceration.

    Source: Beasley exits Lakers debut with head laceration

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:32 AM on September 28, 2018 Permalink  

    Who’s Shaqtin’ a Fool? Certainly not Warriors big man JaVale McGee 

    The journeyman center has emerged as important offseason signing, given Andrew Bogut’s departure. His quirky personality and explosive, energetic game are fitting nicely in Golden State’s locker room and on the court.

    Source: Who’s Shaqtin’ a Fool? Certainly not Warriors big man JaVale McGee


    And one from April.

    • keen observer

      keen observer 10:09 AM on September 28, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks, Jamie. These were helpful. I would still love to hear him speak in more detail about it, wouldn’t you? I’m curious about how big an issue this still is with him and whether he could possibly be more of a 20-24 mpg player.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:34 AM on September 28, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It’s probably unlikely that McGee could play more than 20 minutes due to his asthma. The fact that he only averaged less than 10 minutes per game with the Warriors the last two seasons is likely an indication of that. He still uses an inhaler so teams have tried to play him in spurts. I suspect Lakers will use him like Lopez to start each half but close each half with small ball, using LeBron, Beasley, and Kuzma at the five.

        I reviewed JaVale’s minutes per game in the regular season and playoffs. In the regular season, there was only 1 game where he played 20 minutes and few games where he played more than 15 minutes and only 7 games where he played at least 15 minutes. That’s why I have him listed as 16 minutes per game max with the Lakers.

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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:01 PM on September 28, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hey Keen, I’m not sure it’s really in his best interests to keep bringing it up. While I understand our desire, as fans, for more info on this topic he’s only on a one-year deal. Like all the vets I think he’s hoping for something more from almost anywhere next summer. Hence all the pre-season fluff pieces.

      At any rate, it’s something that has limited him to, roughly, 20 mpg for his career. So he’s like a black ops team you deploy surgically in a troubled area. We’ll see how it all works out but his impact on defense will be a nice addition, regardless.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:27 AM on September 28, 2018 Permalink  

    JaVale McGee explains what has changed since becoming starter 

    The latest.

    Source: JaVale McGee explains what has changed since becoming starter


    For Keen-O.  Seems like, as of March of this year, it was still an issue.  Not sure there’s anything that can be done.  20 mpg seems about the limit (which of course is a number with a decent degree of variance to it).  That leaves roughly 28 other center minutes to be doled out.  I’m not even sure he’ll see the floor in crunch time, that’s when I expect us to go smaller and see a little LBJ at the 5 (also known as Laker Tom’s Dream Scenario).

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:53 PM on September 27, 2018 Permalink  

    Javale McGee on LeBron James, Shaq and the new-look Lakers 

    The Lakers are poised to be an NBA high-wire act. So what better place to prep their new big man, JaVale McGee, and his baby girl than at circus school?

    Source: Javale McGee on LeBron James, Shaq and the new-look Lakers


    Nice article on JaVale McGee from ESPN the magazine.  Having recently had a daughter just a few months later than he did I can appreciate the off-court journey he’s currently on in a lot of different ways.  While I don’t really see him as “better” than Brook Lopez I do think he brings the one thing he brings better on an overall level than Brook does.  That being rim intimdation and perimeter switching.  Brook will never get back to the rim as quickly as the JaVale McGee type center does and that’s what this defense really has needed.  it’s why they brought Dwight in because they thought they’d get the rim protector they wanted for years to come.  Didn’t work out, went through a host of mid-grade talent or ill-equipped fits, but this pairing of the Ball/Rondo PG tandem, LeBron James, and all our other guys with assist skills looks like a great direction to go.  It all works towards the same goal which is, obviously, to get easy buckets off of defensive stops.

    That’s what our identity will be, in my opinion.

    • keen observer

      keen observer 8:24 AM on September 28, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’d like to hear him talk about his asthma and stamina issues. I understand the “basketball IQ” that have plagued his career, but now that he has grown in that area and is clearly in his prime, isn’t it time for someone to finally showcase his enormous skillset? It must be his health that limits his issues and I would love to hear him talk about that. Does anyone have a link to share on that topic?

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:38 PM on September 25, 2018 Permalink  

    Media Day Takeaways 

    Watched Laker Media Day (again) and man am I jazzed for the upcoming season. As we move towards opening day, Sunday being the first preseason game, one is tempted to envision how things will be. Which young Laker will bust out, which vet will play the best, how many wins will we have, how we will get those wins? But the truth of it is we don’t really know. Well, we know, based on today’s practice report, that (as in all his past camps) Luke focuses on defense first. Because he knows, both from his playing days and his Golden State years, that defense is what separates the great teams from the good teams.

    To that end I expect the scoring of the basketball to be based off of the best defensive combos and rotations. The Lakers have a lot of potential to be a solid defensive team. They have the right ingredients, length, high IQ, good mix of vets and younger players. They have a coach that understands the need for that to be a core part of our team identity. They just need to make it happen on the court. Great defense will unlock the the fast break potential of this Laker team. That’s how Showtime was possible, how the Bulls dominated the 90s, how the Lakers dominated the early part of the aughts, how Detroit won one and how Golden State has dominated the recent era. It’s how the Spurs stay the Spurs.

    So no surprise there, nor that Luke didn’t let them scrimmage. He’s a player’s coach, open to input and cognizant that the game is played between the lines and his job is mainly prep. But these are the best, most valuable prep days available and I’ve always admired and appreciated how Luke makes defense the number one thing. Scrimmage will happen tomorrow. At any rate, it’s on.

    LeBron James is a Laker. It still kind of hadn’t fully hit me until I saw him in the jersey on media day. As always, the media questions are generally pretty silly. Rehashing of things that happened (so you chose the Lakers, why?), the obvious ones (did your business interests factor into the decision?) to some real doozy’s (today’s ‘when do will you earn Lakers fans respect?) the media is as much a part of what makes the Lakers the Lakers as the on-court product, especially to the world outside of Los Angeles as we’ve somewhat immune to it. Or at least I am.

    The right things we’re said, I was stoked to see how lean and mean KCP was looking, JaVale McGee was pretty funny with his fanny pack thing, seeing Rondo was equally exciting to me as seeing LeBron James. i wanted Rondo after he left Dallas and I didn’t care how it went down with him at the end. That fire is what I admire and now he’s focused it into a usable tool, like a light saber of basketball passion and intellect. Lance and Beez were Lance and Beez.

    I really dug Josh Hart’s interview on Spectrum Sportsnet. The dude is h-u-n-g-r-y and ready to ball.

    The competition for the starting 2 guard spot is going to be epic! Between KCP turning himself into a lean, mean defending machine (gave up sugar) and Hart garnering SL MVP honors, his 4 years of college ball, NCAA championship and having a full year in the Association and you toss in Svi and Lance in that mix, too. Man!

    In terms of the rest of the interviews Ingram was kind of funny (“I’m prepared to go up against the 2nd best defender every night”) and looked a little stronger. Not sure we’ll ever see too much bulk on him, and that’s fine, his strength just needs to be there to be able to absorb contact and not get knocked around. Wagner was cool, Zubac sounded the better for having played in games all summer and Svi didn’t make the cut for the broadcast…weird? Not even sure i saw him there, actually…

    So it begins. Defense first, we got guys who can score and we’ll be at our best when we’re up and down off of rebounds, steals and defensive pressure. I’m sure we’ll see some new sets, many James-friendly sets, hopefully a solid uptick in off-the-ball cuts and maybe even some triangle! Certainly the Weave will make an appearance and we can all take comfort in that. Not since they’ve arrived has our coaching staff had this much talent to work with. I, for one, am super-duper excited to see how it will all work out on the court.

    Go Lakers.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 12:11 AM on September 26, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Nice job Jamie! I’m pretty stoked myself. While I’m not ready to proclaim them a threat to the Warriors just yet. they will be fun to watch and will make some real noise.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:23 AM on September 26, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I have them pegged for an early playoff exit. Second round or so. Maybe a tough out with some of these vets. But it’s the playoffs where either one of the youngins is going to have to step into the limelight in a big way or the debate about the second superstar will gain a lot of traction. But really I’m just stoked for it to all begin. All potential and hope these days!

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:53 AM on September 26, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff as usual, Jamie. I truthfully cannot remember being more excited about a Lakers season than this one. It’s the mix of talented young players, savvy tough veterans, and the greatest player on the planet. Going to enjoy the journey and challenge.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:53 AM on September 14, 2018 Permalink  

    Kyle Kuzma’s dream of having a LeBron-like impact on Flint 

    In his struggling hometown of Flint, Michigan, Kyle Kuzma hopes he can drive the kind of lasting change that LeBron James has led in Akron, Ohio.

    Source: Kyle Kuzma’s dream of having a LeBron-like impact on Flint

    • Magic2Worthy

      Magic2Worthy 10:20 AM on September 14, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      gotta admire his drive!!! he had a few stagnant periods last year, but he works hard so I expect more this year.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:54 AM on September 10, 2018 Permalink  

    Sources: Deng agrees to 1-year deal with Wolves 

    Free agent forward Luol Deng has agreed to a one-year deal with the Timberwolves, league sources told ESPN.

    Source: Sources: Deng agrees to 1-year deal with Wolves


    To the surprise of…nobody at all.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:56 PM on September 1, 2018 Permalink  

    The Last Free Agent from the JimMitch era 

    And then it was only Ingram and Zubac. The only Lakers that have survived, thus far, as being a part of the Laker franchise whilst it was being run by Jim Buss and in the twilight years of Mitch Kupchak’s time here. Just a few months after gracing the Draft stage in a Laker’s ball cap, Jeannie Buss cleaned house and tacked to starboard.

    Deng was the last free agent they ever signed, they didn’t last the season after they vastly over-paid for Mozgov and Deng. Those days can now be looked upon in the review mirror.of history. Were they as bad as some claim? Probably not, one could argue that all the picks made under the JimMitch era have translated into talent. But the fact remains that they could never close the deal when it came to luring top tier talent.

    Whatever one assumes the reasons may be (bad timing, no team of worth, allure of playing in LA dwindling) they were not able to overcome those obstacles and so we have moved on. Now to the point that only the players we drafted in the same summer we signed Luol and Timofey are the remaining vestiges of that moment in Laker history.

    Of all of our recent picks I have always had the highest hopes for Brandon Ingram. The ease at which he plays the game cannot be taught. He’s not a pure shooter or defender or play-maker but he’s just a pure player. He does everything at an above average level and he’s going to be a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses who also have to contend to the gravitational pull that is LeBron James.

    There’s also the ever-chipper and eager to please Ivicia Zubac. He has an opportunity at this moment to step into a vacuum at the center position. While he has the physical tools he has often lacked focus and/or aggression on the court. He found a groove at times in his rookie season and he played well enough with IT to make management feel comfortable letting much-hyped but under-played prospect Thomas Bryant walk for nothing. It’s on him now to justify that faith by turning in a campaign worthy of Most Improved player discussions, or at least approaching that level.

    All in all, we are now as firmly entrenched in the Magic Johnson/Rob Pelinka era as we’ve ever been. Gone are the major signings of yore and only drafted players remain. While it may not have brought banners, it did bear enough fruit to bring the franchise to this moment. the raw materials bartered or forged under more savvy and gregarious rather than the less introverted personalities of yesterday. So I raise a glass and bid Luol Deng a fond farewell, may you latch onto a team that truly needs you for it was never this one.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 10:32 PM on September 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good write up, dude.
      We will have to differ on the Jimmy/Mitch era. The Mozgov and Deng contracts, taken separately, were two of the worst in Laker history. Combined, they could be viewed as the worst combination of free agent signings of all time.
      As for the false narrative of them tanking on purpose- this is the one that makes zero sense. They didn’t do a five year tank job on purpose. They were just that inept during that period to put together winning teams.
      I still remember some on this site claiming that Jimbo and Mitch actually saved their jobs by signing Mozgov and Deng!!!!
      I’m so glad that Jeanie made the hard decision to fire her Brother. I’m also ecstatic that she chose Magic and Rob to right this ship. Nobody could have predicted the drastic turnaround that they have masterfully conducted.
      I am glad that Deng can finally move forward and hopefully sign on with someone. From all accounts that I’ve read, he’s a really good dude.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 4:52 PM on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I would only go so far as to say that, in the hands of a President and GM with a subtler and more deft touch the clay that was all those draft picks has yielded the following:

        D-L0, Mozgov-Kuzma and the cap space to sign LBJ
        Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr-pick that became Svi (I believe, or Issac) More cap space to sign LBJ and one could throw McGee’s money in there, too
        Randle-walked for nothing but his cap space became Rondo

        We still have Ingram, Ball, Hart and Zubac for our upside pool (and players we have rookie Bird rights to so can both go over the cap to re-sign and offer them more money/years should any of them merit such a boon)

        Did it ever translate into wins? Certainly not, not yet even under Magic and Rob. But the area where the new era has far out-shined the old is the recognition of what having just the flexibility year in and year out to offer that max deal gets you in the game. Somewhere along the line Jim and Mitch just started banking on this ‘play in LA fantasy, we’re, like, historical and whatever!. That didn’t cut it with modern NBA superstar, nor should it have. It was lazy and entitled beyond where we were at.

        But it did yield enough positive raw material to lay some semblance of a foundation to build on. Jim and Mitch were as undone by their inability to recognize a one year cap spike for what it truly was as much as their inability to get even the B grades of the top NBA talent to sign on. Jerry would have done Jim a bigger favor by never putting so much into his hands so early, especially when one considers Mitch’s unwavering loyalty to the family patriarchy when it was the matriarch who truly had the balls. ironic, considering how Jerry lived his life, that his daughter ended up with cajones of steel. but there it is.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:49 AM on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff as usual, Jamie. Appreciate any contributions during these last 30 excruciating days before we finally get to see these new Lakers actually take the court in a preseason game. I’m happy that we were able to get Deng to agree to a buyout, waive-and-stretch deal. Always an awkward situation for Luol as well as his Lakers teammates. Good luck with the Timberwolves, Luol.

      I’m psyched for the coming season and am convinced the Lakers are going to get off to a much better start than expected. When you consider that LeBron, Lonzo, Brandon, Kyle, and Josh will all likely play around 30 minutes, Rondo 25 minutes, and JaVale 20 minutes, for a total of 195 of the 240 total minutes per game. In other words, those 7 players will log 80% of the team’s total minutes.

      Lakers will win 16-18 of their first 20 games to be ranked among the top four in the league.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 5:03 PM on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        We’ll see what kind of rotations Luke has going to start camp and into the season. I’d probably bump Rondo’s minutes down to something more like McGee’s but it doesn’t really matter. As long as the kids are playing 15-20 mpg of NBA basketball with LBJ the growth will happen.

        A hot start would be sweet, no doubt, but for my part I’d just as soon see them establish a cohesive and unified defensive identity as early as possible. That’s where this team will hang it’s hat because that will ignite the fast break and get our best finishers rolling downhill.

        Timberwolves, funny. Could happen though. Thibbs always seems to want to get the band back together.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 5:04 PM on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        30 days…counting each one of ’em down, man.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 5:35 PM on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        LOL, Kentavious can’t catch a break in your break downs. it’s like he’s not even on the team when you talk about starters, finishers and players in general. Funny stuff.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 11:54 AM on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Peace out Luol..don’t let the doorknob hit ya where the good lord split ya!
      I’m just happy we can move on now and not operate under the dillusuion that anybody was ever gonna trade for that contract.
      Hopefully somebody will sign him & he can recoup that $7milly….

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 5:07 PM on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It was the most untrade-able contract in the NBA. Both sides would always have to come to an agreement and I too am glad it’s over and done with. Never faulted Luol for bumping that bank account up, just a ridiculous offer by us and he was smart to jump on that kind of money at his age.

        He’ll recoup some of it in the form of the vet minimum, hard to see anyone overpaying him, again. But, hey hey, it’s the NBA! Anything could happen.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 5:40 PM on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Jamie,
      Nice write up. It’s funny I don’t really blame Mitch for those contracts. I always thought he was pretty solid. I think it was all Jim panicking as his stupid self proclaimed deadline was approaching. The irony is if Moz and Deng had been halfway decent we probably wouldn’t have BI and Lonzo now. We wouldn’t have made the playoffs but we probably would have won enough to keep us out of those top picks. I guess everything has a silver lining.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 5:57 PM on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yeah but it never felt like Mitch tried to put the breaks on either of those deals and defended them in interviews multiple times. Always the consummate soldier and company man. He was due for a break after his family tragedy and I’m glad he found a lower key team to help out. I’m sure he’ll do great in Charlotte and I wish him well.

        Jim just never seemed like a smart move. Always felt like a bigger gamble than anything resembling a plan. Yes, he worked behind the scenes to help guide the Lakers during the Phil Jackson years. Yes, he had faith in Andrew Bynum that had it not been for injuries would have been, I believe, even more rewarding.

        I just think he completely under-estimated what the modern free agent was looking for when it came to free agency. We have a lot of money and sunshine and we’re a legendary franchise doesn’t even move a hardcore fan’s needle. Never sounded like they pitched much more than that to Aldridge, as an example. Never got meetings with others. Paul George did indeed “blow off” Magic and Rob but they bucked the trend by landing the bigger fish and here we are.

        When Jim tried to go behind Jeannie’s back and pull some shenanigans was, for me, the nail is his coffin. A classless buffoon who deserves nothing and has earned nothing. It’s too bad Mitch went down with him but, again, he was in dire need of a break to begin with. It’s all turning around now and we’ll what these guys can do together soon enough.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 5:59 PM on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Silver linings indeed. The raw material yielded a return, really all you can ask for out of that salary mess and record.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 6:40 PM on August 23, 2018 Permalink  

    Lamar Odom’s heartfelt birthday message to Kobe Bryant 

    Odom, who won two titles with Bryant when they were Los Angeles Lakers teammates, shared an emotional message on Instagram for Bryant’s 40th birthday.

    Source: Lamar Odom’s heartfelt birthday message to Kobe Bryant

    • Seely_Iggy (Director)

      Seely_Iggy (Director) 8:20 PM on August 23, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Wow, I had a lump in a my throat reading that. Bean is loyal to those who has his respect. Lamar, Derek, Pau… those are his brothers he’d happily go to war with.

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