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  • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:14 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink |  

    How good is LeBron’s fit with Lonzo and the Lakers? 

    During their time in the lottery, the Lakers have accumulated plenty of young talent on cheap contracts. That makes the idea of cutting loose several players to sign two max free agents viable. But there are still no surefire stars on the Lakers’ roster, as Shelburne and Windhorst noted, and their skill sets don’t appear ideally suited to complementing a star free agent.

    That could give James and other veteran stars pause as they consider the Lakers in free agency.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:17 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Kevin Pelton also believes that teams need to surround LeBron James with players who can shoot, which is exactly what you need to do to maximize return from Lonzo Ball. Unfortunately, shooting is the Lakers biggest problem. Unless Lakers were willing to trade Lonzo Ball for shooters, the Lakers don’t seem to be a good match for LBJ even ignoring age issue.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:55 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink |  

    Should the Lakers Change their Starting Five? 

    The Lonzo, Caldwell-Pope, Ingram, Nance, Lopez group is one of the worst performing 5-man lineups which has played (relatively) heavy minutes this season.

    Of groups that have played 150 minutes or more, only the Orlando Magic starting 5 has a worse net rating (-11.7) than the Lakers current starting 5 (-8.4). If you up that to 200 minutes played, the Lakers are the worst (Orlando’s group is a hair under that threshold as of this writing). The only other teams who have lineups which perform this poorly at minute counts this high are the Bulls (-7.5 and who are terrible) and the Pistons (-7.5 and whose starting 5 is bad for reasons which aren’t entirely clear to me, but have been true all season).

    This brings me to Larry Nance. Nance is the quintessential “perfect 5th starter on a good team” who does all the little things coaches love while playing a style, especially on offense, which is devoid of loud mistakes that stand out when watching games. He dives for loose balls, is a more than willing passer, and basically acts as a conduit for all of the other players moving towards their strengths and away from their weaknesses. This has real value.

    The issue with this is, the Lakers aren’t a good team and, with the imbalance in their first 5 they very likely need someone who does more of the big things well in order to compensate for the other starters who either cannot or do not do them already. Swapping Nance for, say, Kyle Kuzma or Julius Randle may impact the team’s defense (Kuzma) or the flow of their offense (Randle), but I’m beginning to believe those trade-offs are worth it considering the performance of the starters as a whole.

    This isn’t a dig on Nance, necessarily. I like him as a player and think he really helps the team. If the composition of the roster were different — say if the team had established stars on the wing or more high usage players on the perimeter in general — I’d have no issue with him starting. But that’s not the case.

    Do I actually think Walton is going to make this type of change anytime soon? No, I do not. For one, Walton loves Nance and for good reason. I’m sure Walton doesn’t see Nance as the problem and, in a way, he’s not the problem. As I’ve said, what Nance does has value.

    The problem is, in the aggregate, the Lakers are not currently starting a mix of skills which result in good enough offense. They consistently start games poorly, fall behind on the scoreboard, and then have to make up deficits using their more productive lineups over the course of the game. This is a generalization, of course, but it happens a lot and, really, more than it should.

    So, if it were me, I’d move Nance to the bench. And I’d probably do it for Kuzma while keeping everything else the same. That’s the simplest solution even if it may still result in the starting group being a bit below the level in which they’d need to be. And this is where the lineup data comes back to tell another story. The group of Ball, KCP, Ingram, Kuzma, and Lopez has a net efficiency of -1.8 in 223 minutes this year. That’s solid, but if that were the team’s differential it would still only be good for 20th in the league.

    Still, though, it’s about 7 points per 100 possessions better than what the current starters are providing in about the same number of minutes. This is not a small number and I’d want to see if that could be sustained as the sample gets larger. Maybe it wouldn’t, but I think they deserve their chance to try.

    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 10:21 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Give it a go.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 10:31 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply


    • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:44 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Excellent unbiased analysis of problems with Lakers’ current starting lineup by Darius.

      • mud

        mud 11:35 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Darius may be right or wrong, but he’s anything but unbiased.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 10:51 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The topic has been beaten to death….

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:03 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Because it’s still a major issue that needs to be addressed.

      • DJ2KB24

        DJ2KB24 2:01 PM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Team is a stinking 10-16, why not experiment? If we were 18-8, stick wit it, but we aren’t.

        • mud

          mud 2:53 PM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          10-16 is not bad at all for THIS team., they’re doing well, they are mostly competitive and have had many chances to win almost all the games they lost. it’s MUCH better ball than the team played last year. they are right on track. i do not understand all the hand wringing.

          • John M.

            John M. 3:43 PM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            It’s clear Luke is not, nor should be, coaching from a fan’s perspective. How many times does he have to say this is a development year? Next season may be as well.

            • mud

              mud 4:43 PM on December 14, 2017 Permalink


              since when is a fan’s perspective based on reality? the very word “fan” says it all!

              maybe Luke Walton will get fired. i doubt very much if that will fix everything, but…

              maybe the old scapegoat will work. slit it’s throat and wear the blood. maybe that magic will break all curses and the goat can suffer for the sins of the organization.

            • John M.

              John M. 5:19 PM on December 14, 2017 Permalink

              Might even get Kuzma a start or twelve…

            • mud

              mud 7:00 PM on December 14, 2017 Permalink

              ok, but he’s a likely to do something as lame as any of them do. he’ll come into his own soon enough.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:09 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink |  

    Oklahoma City May Need To Flip Paul George In The Coming Weeks 

    But through the first third of the season, OKC has been the NBA’s most disappointing team, a sub.-500 train-wreck showing little chemistry among its three stars. Now there are questions whether the Thunder need to move George in the coming weeks before they may lose him to his home-area Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.

    “The question is, what can Oklahoma City expect to get in a trade?’’ said one Eastern Conference GM. “The Lakers aren’t going to give up two young players for him now. And as for other teams, he’d strictly be a rental, if all the talk about the Lakers is still real.”

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:25 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think the bloom is already off the rose in OKC. The questions are:

      1. What could Sam Presti get for PG since everybody still believes he is destined to sign with the Lakers this summer. Unless it was a team like the Rockets, Warriors, or Cavs, it’s doubtful that any other team would be willing to give up anything of value for what looks on the surface to be a short term rental. On the other hand, can Presti allow PG to walk after trading Oladipo and Sabonis for him last year? Which leads us to question #2:

      2. Should the Lakers make an offer to trade for PG before the summer since they have to move contracts to free up the cap space to sign him this summer. The reason to make the trade is to guarantee the Lakers land PG and to make the team more attractive for a second elite free agent to join the team this summer. The obvious deal that OKC would jump at would be Randle and Clarkson for PG, which makes sense for the Lakers since they would likely have to move both of those contracts to create enough cap space for two max contract free agents, assuming that there would be a second elite free agent the Lakers would covet.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 9:04 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      OKC has to build around Russ the same way the Lakers did with Kobe. He doesn’t necessarily need other superstars; he needs very good players who are comfortable playing the subservient role and who will be ready to deliver when Russ allows them to. It’s ridiculous to me when folks say Russ needs to change..NOOO! Why would a HOFer stop doing what makes him an HOFer? Adams is already thriving in that role. Add in some more Pau, LO, & D-Fish types and they’ll be set.

      Clarkson & Randle could be those dudes…

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:37 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Mongo, would you trade Clarkson and Randle for PG before the trade deadline? Or would you try to get Presti to take less than that since he really has no other obvioius options?

        • MongoSlade

          MongoSlade 10:41 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Kinda depends on that 2nd max slot.
          If we’re gonna need to clear the cap space then sure.

          • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:09 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Yeah, I agree.

            Hate to give up Clarkson and Randle and then not have anybody we want to spend the money on as a second elite free agent.

            On the other hand, I would hate to see us dump Clarkson and Randle and then end up with nobody we want to spend the money on long-term this summer.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:01 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink |  

    Sources Describe LeBron James To Lakers As Long Shot 

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:06 AM on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      When you listen to what Rich Paul and Maverick Carter and consider how winning rings has dominated every LeBron James decision, I think LBJ to Lakers is a pipe dream. The Lakers are too young to be a contender for an NBA championship next season even if they added two elite free agents. There will be other franchises like Houston and Philly whose championship windows align much better with LeBron’s than the Lakers. Only way that would change would be if Magic was willing to trade most of the youth for vets as part of a deal to lure LeBron. I just don’t see that happening. And frankly, I think that is better for the Lakers in the long run.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:51 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    LaVar Ball: Ain’t no Plan B 

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:54 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      LaVar Ball is certainly a different breed of cat. He plans on going to Lithuania with his boys and there is no Plan B because then you don’t give full chance and effort to Plan A. It’s an interesting approach. LaVar obviously wants his boys to give this their all without worrying or thinking about any what ifs. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt that he knows his boys and how to motivate and get them to do their best.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 3:08 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ve been a supporter of LaVar and the Ball family but this thing with the 2 younger sons ain’t a good look. Bad enough the 16yr is no longer getting a formal education but now ur gonna put him to work full time in a foreign country? I figured the “home-schooling” thing was a farce but it’s really out the window now.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:20 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It certainly is not what I would do in his situation but it would make sense to make sure to have a teacher go with them to Lithuania to home school both kids. Gelo at least graduated from high school but Melo surely needs some serious home schooling to be a well rounded individual. Supporting and defending LaVar always leaves you with a large dose of uncertainty and concern despite knowing he has done a good job with the boys until now. Gelo’s and Melo’s future at this point is directly tied to the Big Baller Brand’s success. Now they have their chance to contribute to BBB’s success at best or just ride the profits at worst.

      • MongoSlade

        MongoSlade 3:30 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Gelo’s not gonna play in the NBA; let’s get that outta the way now. He was barely gonna play at UCLA and I haven’t seen a single NBA source call him a legitimate NBA prospect. So he’s not gonna be a BBB ambassador. A smaller school woulda given him a scholarship and he coulda worked on his game, got an education, let the China stuff die down, and then maybe carved out a career overseas.

        Melo…idk. I’m genuinely concerned for him.
        Could go either way for him.

        I just feel like LaVar hasn’t put them in the best position to succeed. .

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:50 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    If Nance is not defending well, what is he bringing to the table? 

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:56 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Nance guarding Porzingis in first half -- 29 points.
      Kuzma guarding him in the second half -- 8 points.

      Nance offense -- 5/1/9 with 3 turnovers in 25 minutes
      Kuzma offense -- 17/1/6 with 0 turnovers in 29 minutes.

      Comparing the performance of the two players covering the minutes for power forward is not favoring one player at the expense of another. It’s showing who is playing best and deserves to start and play more minutes.

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 12:58 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I don’t see any Beasley making BBQ Chicken out of Julius.

        This is bias ideology.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 1:09 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Beasley played very well. He won the game for the Knicks. And yes, he did take Randle to task as did Porzingis when he was covering him. The only Laker who was able to play good defense on Kristaps was Kuzma, who responded well to Luke’s valid criticism of his effort on defense. I’ve always like Beasley’s offensive game and have thought the Lakers should pursue him when he was younger.

          Sean, the definition of bias is “prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.” I am not biased against Larry Nance, Jr. I’ve said before he is a plus defender and a great locker room presence. I have no reason to be biased about him.

          I favor Kuzma over Nance, Jr. because of their individual skillsets, performances, and fit with other teammates as starters or reserves. That is an objective opinion based on stats and eye test. It is not bias. It is simply my objective opinion. If you don’t agree, no problem but I’m not going to stop stating my opinion for you or anybody nor am I going to ask you to stop stating your opinion if you differ. Just A2D and move on.

          • Magicman (Editor)

            Magicman (Editor) 2:21 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I stand with KB Blitz
            I stand with Phred Phredington
            I stand with Hobbitmage

            Now we’re a band.

            That was pure tripe, sir. I respect your opinion but gobbledegook is gobbledygook.

            • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:32 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink

              Gobblerdegook? Look up the definition of bias, Sean.
              Or feel free to join Blitz and Phred as former Lakerholics.

            • MongoSlade

              MongoSlade 3:37 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink

              This is tiresome.
              Lotta guys are either leaving the site or posting alot less.
              As it stands, you two are pretty much the only ones who start new threads…looks like soon it’ll be down to one.

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

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 4:27 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink

              dig those dudes.

            • keen observer

              keen observer 4:39 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink

              Trade Nance.

          • mud

            mud 4:35 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            objective opinions based on stats are still bias. right or wrong.

            bias is not a bad thing, except in Newspeak. “usually in a way considered to be unfair” does not mean always unfair.

            now everybody, it’s a game and your opinions are worthless, except to you. enjoy them and the team.

            no need for a petty dictatorship, although Tom’s opinion is by far the most important opinion on this site. he can certainly take his ball and go home. it’s no reason for anyone to be an small donkey, even though poop comes out every donkey.


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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:55 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Larry is an impact player in the mold of Kurt Rambis, Mark Madsen and A.C. Green (although AC could score better than those 2). But, when the intangibles don’t manifest, it’s hard to justify some of his minutes, especially in crunch time. Porzingis is killing everybody this season, that’s not a knock on Larry. Kuzma played some of his best defense of the season last night, doesn’t mean we just forget about his ball watching and late rotations in other games, as well.

      Here’s my question for the ‘Start Kuzma’ band wagon. Bear in mind I can equally justify Nance starting, not starting and simply being benched. But I digress, here’s the query: what does the bench lose by moving Kuzma to the starting line up? We didn’t rattle off multiple victories in a row with Kuzma starting. What makes anyone think we’d be drastically better with the switch?

      Starting Nance gives you a hustle player in the starting 5 which is one thing they need. KCP does some dirty work but he focuses on guarding the best player and disrupting passing lanes. Randle seems locked onto a bench role simply because of his contract…which sucks for him, blame your agent. So, for the sake of this discussion, let’s assume Randle will not start more than 9 games this season, thus ensuring a lower QO in the summer. Kuzma isn’t a loafer…but he’s not diving for the rock like the mad man LNJ is.

      Kuzma certainly provides buckets, he’s working on his playmaking and defense. Nance provides defense, usually, but struggles in most other areas. Sure he makes an occaisional play for a teammate with the rock but he ain’t Lamar Odom. Kyle is all hype and upside right now, something Larry will never have. Larry has a nose for the grit and grind every NBA team needs…but does the G & G need to start in order to be effective.

      It’s understandable why Luke has a fondness for LNJ: they’re the same player except Larry has an NBA-type body and Luke had his Luke frame and athelticism. Kuzma looks like he’ll be playing for an All Star spot sooner than later, Larry is mulling over, maybe, participating in the dunk contest. But Luke’s ‘team-first’ philosophu and the style Larry plays in are obvious fits and I do think the bench unit needs scoring to continue to be the bulwark against the slow starts (which still happened with Kuz in the starting line up, I might add).

      The last point, outright benching Nance, feels unlikely this early. While I’d love to see Thomas Bryant getting about 20-25 NBA mpg I think the Lakers will stash him the G-League for most of the year. It’s unfortunate but may end up being a great long-term move if they can mold his impressive, but raw, skill set. All in all, I think outside of a few questionable moments and clock management, Luke’s done a great job handking the team and minutes. Only 5 guys can play and were evalutaing all of them, still. Even LNJ.

      I expect this basic rotation to last through December, if we’re still winning one out of ever 4 games I expect a change for the new year.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:37 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    Knicks packed paint & threw bodies at BI, who’s working on pull-up J as counter 

    • keen observer

      keen observer 12:39 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      They had Porzingis waiting for him at the rim. How many teams have that?

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:46 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It was more than Porzingis. There were times, especially in the 4th quarter and OT when BI was driving and there were 4 defenders in the paint. The shot to take was the jumper he was working on today rather than forcing the drive which resulted in 5 turnovers. BI will learn and adjust but Luke also needs to surround him with players who can shoot and run plays to keep the floor spread so Brandon can use his first step and length to attack the rim.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:43 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good move to work on that midrange jumper as a counter. Brandon obviously struggled to get his shot but a big part of the reason is the Lakers’ starters’ inability to spread the floor with 3-point shooting to stretch the defense and create the driving lanes he needs.

      The main culprit, as usual, was Larry Nance, Jr., whose man was always in the paint helping because of no threat of a shot from Nance. Kuzma starting would help create the driving lanes that Brandon needs to be successful. Can’t run a pace and space offense with guys who can’t stretch the floor.

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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:15 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Countering the counter. Love it.

      • tate793

        tate793 6:53 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Why couldn’t BI just shoot the J, instead of having to have a lane opened up for him? You said the same thing about Julius. That he needed the floor stretched so he could drive. Wny not stretch the floor for LNJr?

        Bryant stretches the floor and is probably our best big. They keep bringinh him up, but, don’t play him when he gets here.

        Seems like politics, posturing, signifying and ego are playing a part in who plays and when.

        Furthermore, there’s no reason to wait til next year to bring in s decent shooting coach. Zo isn’t the only player that would benefit from one.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:18 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    Lakers Trade Rumors: How they can land Paul George now instead of later 

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:27 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Deng and Hart for Paul George?
      Of course, Lakers would love this trade.
      Hart as a replacement for Roberson does make sense.
      Josh can defend and shoot.
      Don’t see OKC agreeing to this.

      The trade that might make sense is Clarkson and Randle.
      Works in ESPN Trade Machine. -1 win for Lakers. -4 wins for OKC.
      If we have to trade Randle and Clarkson to free up cap space for 2nd free agent.
      This trade could be our best option to make sure we get PG this time.

      If we wait for free agency, we could sign PG and keep Randle and Clarkson.
      But wouldn’t have any cap space for second free agent.

      Starters: Lonzo, KCP, Ingram, PG, Randle
      Reserves: Clarkson, Hart, Kuzma, Nance, Lopez

      Starters would be improved by replacing Nance with PG.
      Reserves would still be dynamic with Lopez replacing Randle.

      I think Lakers would make this move if PG is put on market.
      I’m tired of NOT landing elite free agents.
      Next summer could be same. Trading for PG makes sense.
      Bird in hand.

      With PG aboard, we could still move Randle and Clarkson this summer for LeBron or Cousins if available. We would have a better chance of making the playoffs and be a more attractive landing spot for a second elite free agent this summer or summer 2019.

    • keen observer

      keen observer 12:41 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is hilarious! Who came up with this one, a 10 year old?

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:29 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    NBA Rumors: Paul George to the Lakers whispers are ‘alive and well’ 

    With the possibility of both Carmelo Anthony and Paul George hitting the NBA free agency market after the season, you can’t help but wonder if that’s something on the back of the mind of Presti. Especially considering that they’re not even currently in the top 8 of the West.

    Rival executives will argue that his value is depressed because of the alive-and-well rumor he is headed for the Lakers, knowing full well that the Thunder don’t want to lose a superstar for the second time in three summers after Kevin Durant.

    The George to the Lakers rumor isn’t something that we’ve heard a lot about since he was dealt to the Thunder. Why? Well, it’s simple.

    Who would give up the chance to play with two other hall of famers (Westbrook, Anthony) to play with a losing team in LA? George leaving the Thunder after this season to join the Lakers felt like an afterthought and wishful thinking before the year began. However, apparently it’s still very much a strong possibility according to those around the league.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:31 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      If Cousins is put on the trading block this winter, Lakers should trade for him.
      I don’t feel the same about PG, who could end up being traded again this winter.
      If PG is put on the trading block this winter, Lakers should likely pass and wait for free agency.
      Still sounds like PG is committed to playing in LA.

      • DJ2KB24

        DJ2KB24 11:33 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Wait for Cuz too, unless it’s a great deal for us, like our Yanks have done lately!

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:37 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    The Thunder won’t trade Paul George or fire Billy Donovan 

    The league is watching the George situation very closely, and there’s a general belief that the Thunder will have to act if they haven’t significantly improved a few months from now (there are 29 games left before the deadline). With every George trade inquiry – whether it’s Presti on the call or recently-returned front office mate/former Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan, who often handles such discussions for OKC – executives will be eager to exploit the situation.

    And if that unlikely day comes? Rival executives will argue that his value is depressed because of the alive-and-well rumor he is headed for the Lakers, knowing full well that the Thunder don’t want to lose a superstar for the second time in three summers after Kevin Durant. The lack of leverage, if nothing else, could compel the Thunder to see this through until the summertime.

    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 9:55 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Might another big mistake on OKC. PG is not going to stay in OKC when La La Land comes calling. Everyone is behind GS for a few years either way. Where would you rather call home?

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:37 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    Lonzo looking forward to playing LeBron: 'In my opinion, he is the best player in the world 

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:40 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Let’s hope the mutual admiration will lead LeBron to want to play for the purple and gold. I still believe that it will be Lonzo, not Brandon or Kuzma, who will be the attraction for free agents to want to play for the Lakers. His selfless style of play and great upside as a transcendent point guard will be the key reason elite free agents will be flocking to Lakers over the next two years.

      Lonzo last night: 17 points, 6 assists, 8 rebounds, 1 block, 2 steals, and just 1 turnover in 39 minutes.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:00 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    Kyle Kuzma on the Lakers future: ‘My goal is to keep winning. It’s not really fun to lose’ 

    Kyle Kuzma has taken the NBA by storm. The little-heralded rookie from the University of Utah was an afterthought at pick No. 27 in the 2017 NBA Draft, but—thanks partially to the struggle of fellow rookie Lonzo Ball—has become a fan favorite among the Laker faithful after a highly successful Summer League showing translated well to the regular season.

    While you can tune into any given Lakers game and here a cascade of “KUZ” descending from the crowd, Kuzma hasn’t let the hype go to his head and is focused on his game. Kuzma, whose Lakers host the Timberwolves on Christmas, certainly looked like he was in the holiday spirit at the NBA Store in New York City.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:08 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I hope all the Lakers’ fans who downplay Kuzma’s defense noticed that it was Kyle who the coach chose to guard Porzingis and who did the best job on him last night, holding Kristaps to just 8 points in the second half and overtime.

      Throw in his game-tying three to send the game into OT and Kyle Kuzma continues to make a case that he should be starting over Larry Nance, Jr., whom Porzingis personally torched for 29 points in the first half.

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 10:12 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I did.

        Tom, I’ve acquiesced to requests made, by yourself and Seely and others.

        I have a request of my own.

        While I agree Kuzma should start, it’s with bad taste that you prop up one player while disrespecting another.

        If this happens again, I will be taking my opinion elsewhere.

        A lot of positives with this team, there’s just no need to pile on, there’s no purpose to it than being negative and counter productive.

        You can prop up one person without being counterproductive to others.

        I’ve asked this twice already.

        Go Lakers!

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

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:32 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I would say there are issues both players have, the main being they’re still young and finding their way in the NBA. Having said that, I think Kuzma should start, that starting 5 just doesn’t have enough fire power and we’re always coming from behind. Lot of pressure to put on the bench.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 10:53 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I’m confused.

          You’ve been throwing shade on Julius since his first couple of games.

          • Magicman (Editor)

            Magicman (Editor) 12:55 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Dude, after your bigoted and xenophobic comments about Muslims, don’t even talk to me. Thanks.

            You felt emboldened to write that.

            Now, I, feel, emboldened, to ask you to stop engaging me.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:14 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Sean, I’m sorry you misinterpret my support for Kuzma and criticism of Nance as disrespecting one player to boost another player. You’re a valuable contributor to the site and I appreciate your contributions but I’m not going to stop praising Kyle when he plays well or criticizing Larry when he doesn’t. I will state my opinion and support it. Period.

          If you follow my posts, you will see that I have criticized many players who are favorites of mine as much as ones that aren’t. Look at my comments about the game before this when I praised Larry’s play and criticized Kyle’s play. I also keep an open mind about players whom I have been critical of in the past. Perfect examples of that are my current stance on Randle and Clarkson, both of whom I have come to support keeping rather than trading. If Nance suddenly shows he can play offense, then I will jump on his bandwagon like I did Julius’ and Jordan’s.

          Unfortunately, my opinion of Larry Nance, Jr. has not changed. He is a great bench player who can impact the game defensively but struggles to have a positive impact offensively due to his lack of offensive skills and aggressiveness. If you don’t want to read my criticism of Nance or any other player, just scroll on by. The decision is always yours and if you decide to leave, you’ll always be welcome to return.

          • keen observer

            keen observer 11:41 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I want to see Nance traded for a wing with a similar contract who can shoot the basketball.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:58 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    How does Luke Walton still have a job? 

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:12 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      While any calls to replace Luke Walton are ridiculous, Luke did a terrible job managing the clock and fouls the last two minutes of overtime. Lakers should have immediately fouled the Knicks twice to save clock time. Still haven’t seen any mention of Luke admitting he didn’t manage the game end well. These are the games that our team and our coach need to learn how to win to make the playoffs this year. Hopefully, the next time we’re in this situation, Luke will make the right moves. Last night, he didn’t and it was a factor in why the Lakers lost a game they needed and could have won.

    • mud

      mud 3:09 PM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      How does Riley Culler have a job in the NB….oh, nevermind.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:56 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    Los Angeles Lakers: Three things we learned from their first game in MSG 

    1. Brandon Ingram still has an incredibly long way to go.
    2. Luke Walton refuses to go down with the ship
    3. There needs to be a changing of the guards

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:18 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I would have like to have seen Luke play Clarkson more and Ingram less since Jordan was balling while Brandon was struggling. Five points to go with five turnovers and a plus/minus of -9 doesn’t deserve to play 41 minutes while Clarkson plays 20 minutes.

      Combine that with terrible clock and foul management in the last minute of OT and you can easily make an argument that Luke Walton’s poor coaching was a major factor in the Lakers losing this game. Not sure what Luke’s issue is with Clarkson but this loss really hurt.

      • bobmoore100 10:06 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I thought Luke made a huge mistake at the end of the second quarter. The “second team” with Clarkson, Kuzma and Randle was rolling big time and had built up a 10 point lead with 5 minutes to go to halftime. Rather than strategic substitutions to leave the hot players on the floor, he made a mass substitution to put the starter back in and within 4 minutes they were down one, an 11 point swing and the die was cast for a close game in the second half. I really hate Luke’s decisions as to the starting unit and his substitution patterns. Clearly, Clarkson deserves mid-20 minutes on the court and Kuzma 30. If that means less for Nance and Lopez, so be it.

      • mclyne32 (Director) 10:58 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I agree 100% with changing the guards.
        Jordan has been outplaying Lonzo for most of the season, yet he sees less floor time.
        This is counter productive to a winning culture.
        Lonzo should still start, but should not be playing more than Jordan.

        Brandon is fine. He had a bad game. His improvement has been tremendous this season and he’s still getting better.

        Luke is still learning and made a mistake at the end of the game.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:45 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    LeBron James Says He Loves Lonzo Ball’s Humility, Discusses Rookie Parallel 

    According to ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin, LeBron is especially impressed with Ball’s selflessness: “The kid hasn’t said anything. It’s been everybody else. So, I love his humility. He goes out, every time someone asks him a question, he says, ‘This is not about me, man. I just want to win. I don’t care about what I did.’ I seen he had a triple-double one game and they lost. He was like, ‘I don’t care. We lost.'”

    James also discussed the similarities between his own rookie year and what Ball is going through this season:

    “So, can I draw any parallel to my experience? I mean, of course. I guess when you’re drafted to a franchise, they want you to kind of be the savior. And it takes a while. I mean, listen, man, this guy is 20-something games into his pro career. S— doesn’t happen [that fast]. Here it goes again, it goes back to my instant oatmeal [quote]: Everybody wants it right away. Can he play ball? Absolutely. The kid can play ball. Do guys want to play with him? Absolutely, because it’s a guy who is not about him. It’s about the success of the team. And he gives the ball up, and he passes the ball, and there’s energy behind the ball.”

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:25 AM on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      LeBron sees a lot of himself in Lonzo Ball’s game and approach. Will that be enough to tempt him to sign with the Lakers? Lonzo played well although he still had a game worst -11 plus/minus, mostly because of having to play with an offensively challenged slow starting lineup.

      You can’t run a fast break when the guy you’re throwing the ball ahead is Larry “I can’t and won’t shoot” Nance, Jr. or play fast in half-court isolating Brick “how slow can I play” Lopez. Randle and Kuzma need to start instead of Lopez and Nance, Jr. Wake up, Luke!

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