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  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:19 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink |  

    Lonzo Ball will emerge as LeBron James’ most important team-mate on Lakers 

    That is according to FOX Sports pundit Cris Carter.

    The Lakers’ campaign began disappointingly on Thursday night with a 128-119 loss to Portland Trail Blazers.

    Luke Walton’s side lacked coherence in their defensive play at times and it seemed that James’ chemistry with team-mates is still a work in progress.

    The young team’s task does not get any easier as they welcome the Houston Rockets – who won the Western Conference last year – to the Staples Center.

    James and point guard Rajon Rondo played the most minutes in Oregon, but Cris Carter believes another player on the roster will prove James’ most valuable team-mate.

    “LeBron’s favorite team-mate is probably going to be Rondo,” Carter conceded on First Things First.

    “I’m just gonna tell you – it might not be his favorite team-mate, I believe the most important is Lonzo Ball.”

    Ball had his rookie season last term, averaging more minutes per game than any other Laker.

    The point guard entered the NBA with serious hype after his dad, LaVar Ball, became a national TV personality for his outlandish claims regarding what his three sons would deliver in basketball.

    Ball, 20, is expected to have a more withdrawn role this season given the signing of Rondo, who is a more experienced playmaker.

    Explaining why Ball will nevertheless be pivotal to James, Carter said: “The reason why is not only because of his skill set. A lot of it has to do with the organization.

    “If he can be the difference-maker at the point guard, it becomes even more attractive who they’re going to get in free agency beyond this season.

    “In the West, let’s not forget who you’re competing against. Chris Paul – he’s ageing, Steph Curry – he’s ageing, but these guys still got two to four years in their primes.

    “You’re gonna have to deal with those point guards. We saw the two Portland threw at them.

    “As long as the Lakers are developing, if they want to play at pace… If Lonzo develops his jump shot then he will be able to move the meter with LeBron.

    “If you have a superstar point guard who has a lot of the attributes of LeBron, I believe that to be significant.”

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:24 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I thought this was a more reasonable reaction to Lonzo’s first game with LeBron than the Jalen Rose articles claiming Lonzo is a poor fit with LeBron and should be traded to Blazers for Lillard. Looking for Lonzo and Lakers to have a big bounce back game tonight.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 12:18 PM on October 20, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Tom,
      The media are paid to have opinions but they are worth little if they don’t look at the big picture. Zo had not played since March. And he was limited in training camp for part of it. While he maybe healthy now he still needs get his game ready conditioning back. He also needs his timing back and reps with his new teammates. Lillard is an elite scorer but we scored 119 points on an off shooting night. Lonzo fits what we want to do. We would have to modify our style on both ends of the court if we brought in Lillard. By the time we can actually make trades we will have a better idea of what our needs really are.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:05 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink |  

    Rockets’ defense must adjust quickly as LeBron James, Lakers loom 

    After several days making repairs to their defense after a blowout loss to the Pelicans to open the season, the Rockets will be unable to use many of the corrections against the Lakers.

    Though the Lakers play at a pace similar to the high-speed Pelicans, many of the Rockets’ mistakes came after double teams in the low-post on Anthony Davis. The Lakers will spread the floor, rather than post-up anyone in the style that led to many of the Rockets’ breakdowns.

    While many teams have traditionally sought to keep their defensive player best-suited to match up with James on him as much as possible, the Rockets might start with James Ennis III or P.J. Tucker on James, but will continue to switch as he makes his way around nearly every screen.

    “We’re going to switch,” D’Antoni said. “That’s what we do. You can make a case, who is our best guy? We’re comfortable with what we’re doing. We just weren’t real good at it last time.”

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:07 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      If the Rockets are going to switch on LeBron, it might be the time for Lakers to try posting him up and forcing the Rockets to double him like the Pelicans did with AD. Lakers need to shoot lights out and play tough physical defense to prevent starting the LeBron era 0-2. I’m feeling a big win tonight as our shots will start falling.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:33 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink |  

    Lakers’ Blistering Pace Not Enough Against Blazers, Drop Season Opener 


    Setting the Pace

    Any indications that LeBron James would slow down the Lakers’ running game was nonexistent against Portland.

    The Lakers averaged only 11.5 seconds per possession on offense against the Blazers, according to Darryl Blackport. That mark was good for the fifth fastest offensive pace for a game since 1996. The Purple and Gold not only got out and ran, but did so frequently.

    Accounting for 29.5 percent (19.5 percent last season) of their offense, the team relied heavily on transition throughout the game. Arguably more promising than the frequency of the Lakers’ bolstered play in transition was their efficiency.

    Against Portland, the Lakers scored 1.16 Points Per Possession (PPP) in transition according to Synergy, notably better than last season’s 1.05 posting. To help put the number into proper context, last season’s league leader, the Houston Rockets, scored 1.12 PPP in transition.

    Owning the Paint

    The Lakers made up for their 7/30 3-point shooting performance through their aforementioned transition also with a barrage of points in the paint.

    Last season, the Lakers were second in the league with a 39.7 percent shot frequency in attempts within four feet, according to Cleaning the Glass. In their opener, the team attempted 52 percent of their shots at the rim, converting 70.8 percent of their looks.

    This conversion percentage is even more impressive considering it came against the team who was first in the league in opponent field goal percentage last season.

    Brandon Ingram’s Utilization

    It may have been subtle, but Brandon Ingram was utilized slightly differently in the Lakers’ opener.

    Ingram’s two best play types from last season according to his PPP, were: transition (1.17) and spotting up (1.08). Yet, both were far behind in terms of his frequency compared to his most commonly used play type: pick and roll ball handler (29.5% frequency / 0.78 PPP).

    Clearly Ingram was more efficient utilized as a finisher compared to an initiator when given the opportunity. With LeBron James now in tow, the Lakers may finally begin properly optimizing his talents.

    In the opener, his most commonly used play type was in transition (38.9%). Tied for his least used? Pick and roll ball handler (5.6%).

    Also worth noting was Ingram’s three corner 3-point attempts. Last season, Ingram was in the 83rd percentile in corner three percentage among wings in the NBA. Yet, was only in the 4th percentile in terms of corner frequency. Despite missing his only three attempts, the volume/non-hesistation were very encouraging, given he attempted only 30 all of last season.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:37 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great stuff from Alex Regla for the Athletic. Alex is rapidly becoming one of my favorite Lakers’ writers for both the Athletic and BBall-Index. The Lakers pace, points in the paint, and utilization of Ingram show great promise despite concerns about the defense, 3-point shooting, and backup center.

      Here’s how Alex closed the article discussing Lakers’ shooting:


      The Lakers’ shooting will improve, even if just slightly from the perimeter. The offense, despite it’s congestion and indecision, generated several quality looks but simply failed to convert.

      The trio of James, Kuzma, and Ingram specifically shot a combined 1/15 from three against Portland, one has to assume this normalizes and retraces back to the mean. Yet based on the specific players taking the threes and the openness on those shots, the Lakers would have only been expected to score 5.8 points more from deep in the game. This number is far lower than expected, but highlights the shooting talent and quality of looks generated by the team in the first game. Regardless, better shooting is ahead, as the offense takes steps forward and we see positive mean reversion.

      The Lakers did a lot of things well, and conversely did a lot poorly. Yet, with any new team comes expected growing pains during the initial stretch of the season, and the Lakers will likely be no exception.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 6:03 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink |  

    LeBron James’ first game with the Lakers was also fastest pace he’s ever played 

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:42 AM on October 20, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Per Alex Regla in the above article, the Lakers played at “the fifth fastest offensive pace for a game since 1996.” Now if Luke can somehow convince LeBron to play some small ball center …

  • Michael H (Editor)

    Michael H (Editor) 4:14 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink |  

    That was Quick 

    Looks like Magic and Rob saw what we saw last night. They just waved Ware and signed Williams to a 2 way contract. I thought Williams played great in summer league and pre season. He played good defense and was active on the boards. Perhaps he plays himself onto the roster. He gives us a better option when Javale sits. Quick enough to switch and strong enough.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:26 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink |  

    5 Things I liked 

    Game 1, great spirit, battled back and now we look forward to Saturday. Having said that…

    1) LeBron Jame’s first dunk. Welcome to LA, LBJ. That was a fine ‘how do you do?’

    2) LeBron James 2nd dunk. That was the moment I really started to believe that this team could do it. We’d go on to brick every first half 3-pointer (0-15 and a lot of them wide open looks) and our defense couldn’t maintain that first quarter energy and focus. But that 2nd dunk was majestic. Came after Dame answered James’ dunk with one of his own. Those were just 2 of our whopping 70 points in the paint and 34 fast break points. I think LeBron is OK with playing fast.

    3) The kids grinding their way into their games. It didn’t come easy for any of them. Hart turned in the best individual performance and Ingram had a nice 3rd quarter run to keep us close. Lonzo looked rusty and still needs to adjust to the new NBA defense rules. He, and a lot of players fouled more than expected (each team shot 29 freebies) Kuzma was better around the rim but couldn’t hit from deep until a too-late 3 at the end of the game. But to a man they never wilted and ground out decent games and helped keep us in it.

    4) Rondo’s double-double. As rusty as Lonzo looked (and he did look pretty rusty) and without the public declaration that he’s on a minutes restriction (only played 19) he still generated some positives. Made both his free throws, grabbed 2 offensive boards and the three he hit looked great. All of that just needs to become the norm. In his less stellar moments he just looked a step off or out of sync. I don’t think the rust is as much physical as it is mental. He’s got a whole new team to get used to (one of the reasons I think he’s being paired more with the players he knows or the iso-centric Lance Stephenson whom anyone can dump the ball off to and see if he can generate a decent look) and his overall timing is still off. Rondo looks solid running things and I’d like to see more of the 2 of them on the court together.

    5) The on-court coaching. LeBron did it a few times, Rondo was great at keeping everyone engaged in the 4th when were almost able to mount a comeback. That kind of thing is monumental for the young players to see and be a part of. That’s how you can fast-forward this process a bit. While it didn’t result in a win last night it was a great foundational moment for them to build on.

    Winning in Portland last night was going to be a Herculean task one way or the other. Portland dominates on opening night, Lakers struggle in Portland, LeBron struggles in Portland, LeBron always loses his opening night contests with a new team, and Portland straight owns us right now (16-0 winning streak for Rip City). Plus it was Paul Allen night so, stacked deck to say the least. Get to .500 tomorrow.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:16 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Without reading your list first:

      1. LeBron’s dunks
      2. Lonzo’s free throws
      3. JaVale’s blocks
      4. Josh’s drives and threes
      5. Rondo’s assists.

    • p ang

      p ang 11:55 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Best analogy, if you guys can still remember it, is a young couple’s first kiss. Everyone tentative and bumbling along. Waiting for Kuz and BI to settle down. And when they do and shots fall down we should have a team.

      Dang, Javale McGee is a gamer. Go stick it to Shaq, Javale. Win three in LA and put the last in your middle finger for Shaq to see. lol.

      Oh, F the 3, find someone to guard the other team’s 3pt shooter. KCP, Hart and Zo aint it.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 1:54 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink |  

    KCP is with Lakers second unit in scrimmage today, alongside Kuzma, Svi, Ball, Wagner 

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:37 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink |  

    Lakers have waived Travis Wear and added Johnathan Williams on two-way contract 

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:29 AM on October 19, 2018 Permalink |  

    Coulda Woulda Shoulda 

    The title also applies to the Young Core of the Los Angeles Lakers. From Brandon Ingram to Lonzo Ball the youngins struggled, especially in the first half. The Lakers were 0-12 from 3 at halftime. Finished 7-30 so volume certainly wasn’t the issue.with only KCP (1-1), Rondo (1-2) and Josh Hart (3-5) shooting over 25%. Brandon found his game a little better in the 2nd half but the 3 ball eluded he and LBJ whilst Kuzma and Ball combined to go 2-11.

    The bench got worked in this game and obviously the three point discrepancy was a huge issue. But I really thought this was a winnable game up until a minute or so to go. If Ingram or James could have hit some 3s, if the bench had started a little more in sync, all of this could have gone very differently. It didn’t. First game and this is going to be a journey. One super-duper positive, Lonzo is 100% on his free throws through 1 game. While the perfection may not last his free throw shot looked smooth tonight. Just improving that aspect of his game would go a long way towards realizing his potential.

    Personal umbrages would be not enough Josh Hart, didn’t try Zubac when Kuzma was out-swolted in the first half and, subsequently, the second half (specifically to start the 2nd quarter and end the 3rd into the 4th quarter, felt like Luke never really matched their size…then again, Kuz just might have to learn a bit). Myles Leonard and Zach Collins simply cannot be the reason we lose. Kyle did his best when Portland, inexplicably, went small. Portland is a team that has solid to great talent at the 4 and 5. No adjustment by our team, something to work on.

    0 fer on predictions, btw. C’est la vie.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 9:00 AM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It’s not the individual talent of the big that is the issue. It’s that said big can overpower their smaller counterpart and make the defense collapse.

      • mclyne32 (Director) 9:01 AM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Kuz does not have the body to fend off even the least talented big. He shouldn’t have to, either. That’s not his purpose on the court.

        • therealhtj

          therealhtj 9:37 AM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Just the same, we knew they’d struggle some from deep, but had they at least been acceptable in the first half, this probably goes differently.

          JaVale has been a pleasant surprise. Lance and Beas probably don’t last the season. KCP is only here because of his agency affiliation. He’ll be up in the rafters next to Marbury someday.

          • NBA4ever

            NBA4ever 10:49 AM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Why wouldn’t Lance last the season??? smh

            • therealhtj

              therealhtj 1:03 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink

              His basketball ability has abandoned him. His ability to be a distraction remains in tact.

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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:28 AM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks dudes!

      Something I was mulling over this week leading up to this game: I noted the plethora of hand-wringing amongst media pundits about how little turnover there had been on Portland, that the same team that got swept the previous year was starting the season in Portland red and black, again. I am of the opinion that isn’t such a bad thing. That’s a hungry team up there and they have a full season together under their belts. They know what they’re doing, few mysteries remain in terms of a team ID.

      We’re the exact opposite. You could see it in how many times we knocked over or screened out our own teammates, in the moments where LeBron or Rondo had to get someone to a spot to run the play right, just in a general lack of cohesiveness. The oddest part about that was how lost the team looked when it was guys who had played together before. Whenever KidCore was out there sans Rondo or James it was a mess on both ends. No movement, no talking on defense. That was weird, but it’s one game, everything eill improve which, honestly, bodes really well for the P&G.

      An expected loss, from my point of view but the way we competed gives me a lot of hope for the upcoming schedule. We won’t shoot that poorly from the outside and we were in this game from start to finish. On to the next one on Saturday!

    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 11:51 AM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Can’t defend the 3, can’t shoot the 3, we lose. We hung in there and showed no fear. Rondo is a magician. Hart showed his stuff! I think Kuz and Ingy will be fine. One game that we almost took. On to Saturday!

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:00 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Sometimes the shots fall. Sometimes they don’t. When you consider how horribly the Lakers shot from deep and from the line, how they were outrebounded, the poor play by KCP, Lonzo, Ingram, and Kuzma, it’s surprising the Lakers actually had a chance to win the game, on the road, after a short camp and preseason, against a team that was 3rd in the West last season, was dedicating the game to the passing of their owner Paul Allen, in the Rose Garden. I wish we would have won and we have some major issues to address but man, this team has some incredible potential once everything gets clicking.

        Here’s another weird way to look at last night. Blazers outrebounded the Lakers 60-53, giving them 7 more opportunities. Blazers outshot the Lakers 100-93, giving them 7 more shots. Blazers outshot Lakers from deep 37-30, giving them 7 more 3-point attempts. Blazers shot 35% from three so those 7 more attempted threes likely resulted in 3 more makes or 9 points. Thus, the 128-119 victory by the Blazers directly the result of those 7 extra rebounds, 6 of which were offensive.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 11:59 AM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Any opinions on our small ball Center tactic?

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:30 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Lakers lost the game but were in it until the last couple of minutes. On the positive side, the Lakers identity as a juggernaut transition team was clearly established. On the negative side, concerns about the team’s 3-point shooting, rebounding, and defense proved to be justified.

      The Good

      -Lakers played one of the fastest games in their history, posting a blistering pace of 113.5 possessions, which was the fastest game LeBron ever played and scoring 34 points in transition, which was just 1 point below the most ever by a Lakers team. Team also scored 70 points in the paint.

      -LeBron James made an effective but somewhat subdued debut in purple and gold, posting 26 points, 12 boards, 6 assists, and 1 steal but turning the ball over 6 times and going 0-4 from deep in 37 minutes.

      -JaVale McGee continues to impress with his speed and athleticism posting 13 points (5/6 shooting), 8 boards, 3 blocks, 1 steal, and 0 turnovers in 22 minutes.

      -Josh Hart came off the bench to star, posting 20 points on 8/12 shooting including 3/5 from deep, 4 boards, 1 assist, 3 steals, and 2 blocks in 27 minutes.

      -Rajon Rondo was the Lakers’ best point guard, posting 13 points, 4 boards, 11 assists, and 1 steal with 3 turnovers in 32 minutes.

      The Bad

      -KCP had a poor game despite playing 27 minutes, including closing the game instead of Ingram, opening up the door for Josh Hart at the 2. KCP posted 5 points, 1 assist, and 2 boards and was basically a non-factor all game long.

      -Lonzo Ball also had a poor game, showing none of the great defensive fire from preseason and hesitating to shoot with confidence, especially early in the game. He did hit a three late and swished two free throws, which could be critically important to his development.

      -Brandon Ingram was actually pulled by Luke for KCP to close out the game. While BI had not played well, posting 16 points but taking 15 shots to get them and missing 4 corner threes. While playing 28 minutes, Brandon only grabbed 4 boards and was MIA for most of the first half. Concerns about whether he could play off the ball raised their heads again.

      -Kyle Kuzma also continued to struggle, especially when having to play small ball center. Kuz shot 1-7 from deep but only grabbed 4 boards in 29 minutes. He did make some excellent cuts leading to scores off passes from LeBron and Rondo. Question whether having him play small ball center makes sense, other than to keep LeBron from having to guard the 5. Lakers need to use that 15th spot for a backup or small ball center.

      The Ugly

      -Lakers’ 3-point shooting concerns proved to be justified as the team started out missing their first 15 threes. Fortunately, they hit 7 of their last 15 to end up with a miserable 7/30 or just 23%. The Blazers meanwhile hit 13/37 threes or 35% and outscored the Lakers by 18 points from deep. Lakers failed to run for corner threes in transition and their half court sets never focused on creating open threes.

      -Lakers’ rebounding concerns also proved to be justified as the Lakers gave up 14 offensive boards and lost the rebounding battle 60-53. The Lakers allowed 56 points in the paint, many on the offensive glass while playing small ball. Lakers were leaking three players on the break and only leaving two behind to rebound. The weak side guard or forward needs to stay and help secure the rebound.

      -Lakers gave up 128 points, including many devastating wide open threes. None of the team’s forwards did a good job helping protect the rim and none of the guards did much to prevent the Blazers from raining threes. Lonzo and Hart starting would definitely help elevate the defense

      • DJ2KB24

        DJ2KB24 12:35 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yes, what I said, lol. Nice summary LT!

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:38 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Oooweeoooweeooo wah wah wah, indeed.

        Pretty much agree LT, I did think we specifically ran plays for corner 3s a grand total of 3 times but missed them all. If they’re going to shoot that poorly though, I’ll take the transition 2s until someone emerges as legit three point threat.

        Yeah, the red flags that were waved still hold true. Good thing is I feel like those are workable things. Like cutting down on the turnovers. The rebounding will be an issue until we get guys boxing out for our guards to board better. Hopefully fixable with time and reps for our new small ball line ups.

        I think that, if KCP has more games like last night, Hart will supplant him. But Rondo outplayed Ball on every level. The kid is real rusty, man, give him some time. He already has missed a ton of games…because of that knee. I’m fine with easing him in a bit. He’s not going anywhere and has always had knee issues at every level of the game, best to see how it responds. He’ll get there and, for the betterment of everyone, it’ll be organically.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 2:40 PM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Jamie,
      Nice recap. While I had hoped for something different the result wasn’t unexpected. I’m not going to rush to too many conclusions based on a team that is still trying to learn to play together. While our 3 point shooting will be a concern I don’t expect that Kuz, Bi and Lebron will have very many combined 1 for 15 games either. I think there was a lot pressing especially with the young guys. Opening game with Lebron had to cause a few jitters. I thought BI settled down and had a decent 2nd half. I’m waiting for Kuz to do the same. It’s kind of like BI last year at the beginning of the year. Kuz has been pressing since training camp opened. I think he needs to relax. Although I do have my doubts about him at the 5. We may have to play Zu some and play small less if it doesn’t turn around. For me when you go small you need strong guys like Draymond or Randle to be real successful. Especially on the boards. LeBaron is strong enough but for whatever reason they are not playing him there. I’m hoping maybe Wagner can help once he gets healthy. I’m actually okay with where Zo is right now. He’s actually better then I thought he would be after missing so much time and limited for part of training camp. It’s clear why Luke chose to start Rondo. Once Zo is 100% I wouldn’t be surprised if Luke starts him. As for Josh, just start him already. I predict that after this year he will join Kuz and Mitchell as the steals of his draft class.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:09 PM on October 18, 2018 Permalink |  

    Lakers hanging tough despite inability to shoot from deep, down 63-65 at half. 

    • mclyne32 (Director) 10:47 PM on October 18, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Need a lot more from KCP and Zo.
      Stauskus killed us from the perimeter.
      Man do I hate always losing in Portland!
      JaVale, Hart, BI, and LeBron looked great.
      It would have been our game if a few more threes would have fallen.
      I’m still not down with our small ball Center approach- this only works when you have a guy with a lot of weight in his back pocket to throw around.
      I hope we trade for a serviceable backup big before the deadline.
      On to number two, where the outcome will be different.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:28 PM on October 18, 2018 Permalink |  

    Luke Walton finally faces the pressure and scrutiny of being Lakers head coach 

    You’re​ Luke Walton, a favorite son​ of​ the​ Los Angeles​ Lakers. You​ took​ over​ a team​ that had won​ just​ 17 games​​ before you got here and coached it to 27 wins in your first season, 35 in your second. Your staff developed raw and unknown prospects into a core that was promising enough to attract the game’s best player. Fans love you. Players embrace your vibe.

    So why are so many people around the league wondering if you’ll survive the season?
    Is it because the general manager who did not hire you said “to play the Warriors in their own game is a trap,” when the general manager who did hire you brought you in with an eye toward mimicking that very style?

    Is it because Magic Johnson is unpredictable?

    Or is it because every coach who manages LeBron James eventually ends up on the hot seat, anyway, so you might as well just start there?

    Welcome to your new life, Luke Walton.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:31 PM on October 18, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Excellent article by Sam Amick on the challenge that Luke faces now that the Lakers are no longer completely copying the Warriors template.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:32 PM on October 18, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Also from the above article in the Athletic:

      Walton would tell you that his influences and experiences prepared him to coach more than one style of basketball and that the things he brought from Golden State were less tactical than they were cultural.

      “I don’t think it’s as much the plays that you run,” Kerr said, “it’s more how you handle your team. … If you don’t have Steph Curry you’re not going to let somebody shoot 35-footers off the high screen, but every team is different, personnel is different, the coaches all know it’s talent. Every level of basketball is about talent.”

      That culture is where Walton has made his most lasting impression through 164 games on the bench for the Lakers. It was his main focus when he took the job.

      “We’d continue to build out how we play and execution and Xs and Os and all that,” Walton said this week. “But to me, my top priority was going to be setting up the culture we want.”

    • mclyne32 (Director) 10:48 PM on October 18, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      We have played exactly ONE game and this trash has to be written already?

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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:50 AM on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Wrong, been feeling the pressure since season 1. What a ridiculous notion, but whatever, sad when “news” is more akin to rabid editorialism. Like Magic and Rob being ushered in and a slew of players they didn’t pick being featured on the team wasn’t pressure, like being told to develop, try to win, but if you’re losing, lose often… but not obviously (if theories are to be believed, I am of the opinion that Luke tries to win every game).

      As if coaching any team in the NBA, let alone the Los Angeles Lakers wasn’t pressure. Questioning Luke’s cool is like questioning Lonzo’s cool. They just don’t feel pressure the same way. Luke’s doing fine, they’ve had about a month.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:16 PM on October 18, 2018 Permalink |  

    Don’t sleep on the Lakers young core this season 

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 4:43 PM on October 18, 2018 Permalink |  

    Tonight’s the night 

    Once more unto the breech dear friends, once more! Oh man I’ve been getting giddier and giddier all day. As if I had any idea how the game was going to go tonight (Spoiler: I don’t). All I have to say fellow Lakerholics is enjoy this moment. It’s been 5 long seasons since we had a player of this caliber in good health on the team and here’s hoping that good health lasts 4 (or maybe even more) years.

    Some Predictions:
    -Lonzo Ball is going to go 3 for 3 from deep. I think he’s going to want to force his way into that starting line up ASAP and be one of the Lakers in the All Star conversation.
    -Josh Hart might struggle a bit. Hope that hamstring issue is all good to go, I hope my man Josh has a stellar season but man did he struggle in preseason.
    -Ditto KCP. Although his last 2 games were much improved.
    -Ingram is going to score 30 points. BI is going to get so many clean looks sharing the floor with LeBron, he’s too god not to take advantage of them and get to the line a fair number of times.
    -McGee will shoot a 3…and miss it. Sorry, that’s just what I feel in the place where my feelings live.
    -Kuzma is going to find that shooting stroke from all over. Hook shots that didn’t fall during preseason will swish through. His three ball will look crisp. Kyle will be looking to shed his preseason struggles in game 1.
    -Luke will play 12 men deep tonight. It’s still “preseason” for the coaching staff as they work the offense in, discover what rotations work and generaly get a feel for the team.

    Best prediction…LeBron goes off for 40 for a little “Well hello there NBA, I’m a Laker now: deal with it.”

    Hoping the Lakers win but the Rose Garden (or whatever corporate schmorporate name they gave it) is brutal for both the purple and gold and The King. Let’s see if we can turn that beat around tonight!

    Go Lakers!!!

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:12 PM on October 18, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great post, Jamie. The d**n clock is moving so slowly that the next two and a half hours are going to be excruciating. Toughest two games out of our first 20 games will be tonight in the Moda Center AKA Rose Garden and Saturday night vs. the Rockets in Staples. You know the Blazers want to win one for Paul Allen and the Rockets are going to be looking to rebound in a big way from their loss to the Pels. Lakers have their work cut out.

      I’m hoping Lonzo and Rondo have great games. Hitting a few threes would take a great deal of pressure off of Lonzo. His stroke looks much quicker and smoother. One big thing about Zo is he’s not afraid to shoot, which is what the Lakers need. You can’t make them unless you shoot them. Problem is we have too many ‘reluctant’ 3-point shooters in the starting lineup. KCP is the only starter who never hesitates to take that open 3. The other free range, unlimited ‘shooters’ -- Lonzo, Hart, Kuzma, Svi -- are all coming off the bench.

      The 19th ranked Blazers took 28.1 threes per game last season while the 15th ranked Lakers took 29.1. In preseason, the 17th Blazers took 30.6 threes per game while the 39th ranked Lakers took just 22 threes per game. That will need to change tonight or the Lakers will lose. You just cannot give the other team 8 or 9 more attempts from deep and expect to win the game. While Luke is starting Rondo, KCP, Ingram, LeBron, and JaVale, I expect him to follow that up by putting Lonzo, Hart, and Kuzma into the game. LeBron will carry the starters but the bench is going to need to rain threes if we’re to win tonight imo.

  • mclyne32 (Director) 3:59 PM on October 18, 2018 Permalink |  


  • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:08 PM on October 18, 2018 Permalink |  

    How LeBron, LA Lakers Can Claim a Top-4 Seed out West This Season 

    Just over 100 days ago, Klutch Sports issued a simple but significant press release announcing LeBron James’ agreement to join the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year, $154 million deal.

    On Thursday night, James will make his debut with the Lakers to start the 2018-19 season in Portland against the Trail Blazers.

    Without James, the Lakers won 35 games last season to finish 11th overall in the Western Conference. Now, armed with the best player in the league, the Lakers will make a significant leap in the standings.

    By the time the postseason begins, Los Angeles should have over 50 wins and home-court advantage in at least the first round of the playoffs.

    Regardless of the competition, James gives the Lakers a tremendous advantage, and look for his teammates to rise to the challenge. The Lakers may need to add shooting or veteran size behind McGee at center, but James’ ability to impact a game will cover up some of his team’s blemishes.

    How far the Lakers get in the playoffs is a different question, but that’s what the regular-season journey is for. The Lakers finally start theirs Thursday.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:21 PM on October 18, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great to see Eric Pincus, who is usually very conservative with his predictions, come out supporting the Lakers as being a top four team in the West. Knowing how careful and close to the Lakers Eric is, that’s a promising start for the Lakers. Thankfully, we might have a chance to win since they changed the name to the Moda Center so no more Rose Garden.

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