Forum Blue & Gold: Nomuskles called it a “lopsided polygon,” but whatever term you want to use what the Lakers have been running on offense of late is not the triangle. The off the ball movement is minimal (particularly with the starers) and the passing that made this team a joy to watch late last year has been replaced with more isolation and relying on talent rather than the offense.

Bill Bridges, one of the smartest members of the family around here, broke it down in the comments, and his thoughts deserved a broader audience and discussion:

If the first half of the season can be devoted to experimentation such as determining the rotation and the best fit combos, we are now a fifth of the way through this stage. I would strongly urge that Phil devote the second fifth toward a different set of lineups and rotations.

If we discount the 3 games against the Clippers and Mavs and the first game against Portland (where they were obviously affected by first game jitters and the loss of Oden). The Lakers are 3 – 1. During many of these games and even against Dallas and the Clippers the starting unit put the Lakers in a hole to climb out of.

The first unit is just not working as well as the rest of the rotations. I would contend that the balance is wrong. The notion the Vlad’s 3 point shooting “opens” up the court for Pau and Bynum just has not worked out. What would really open up the court is a few possessions that the Lakers actually run the triangle to the 2nd or 3rd options possibly resulting in a corner three for … Pau! (who apparently beats Sasha regularly in 3 point shooting in practice). Or running the triangle’s corner sequence resulting in a pass in from the corner to Bynum who’s sealed his man for the dunk (remember Fox to Shaq?)

A quick examination of players’ tendencies may shed some light.

1. Kobe does not play well without the ball. His best position in the triangle is the mid post (right block). He has rarely been seen in this position this year.

2. Fisher. Does not play well without ball except to rotate for open 3′s. He shoots 40% lifetime on layups but insists on disproving Einstein’s observation about insanity. When hot is a good catch n shooter but also likes to dribble and shoot. Will keep shooting , hot or not.

3. Bynum’s a low post player. Best initiation point is low left block.

4. Pau’s best initiation point is low left block. but also right high post.

5. Vlad … Not good without the ball except like Fisher sliding on the perimeter for open 3′s . Very unreliable finisher at the rim.

The starting 5 then has 3 players who like playing with the ball in Kobe, Pau, and Fish. Nobody who really plays well off-the ball. And no slasher other than Kobe. As Kobe has basically decided not to slash this year, there is no slasher in the starting 5. (In the 1st quarter, Kobe is playing “facilitator”, and in the 4th, he seems to be relying almost exclusively on jump shots – blame it on the long season, or his age… but that he is taking it to the hole less is obvious)

This composition creates a few problems. The triangle requires players to catch, read, pass, and move. All 5 players rotate around until one has a good shot. Both Pau and Kobe’s natural inclination is to catch and hold the ball and look for cutters. Fisher and Vlad are drifting on the perimeter (and if they were to cut , you wouldn’t want to pass it them). Bynum has not been establishing deep low post position to be a position to receive the ball.

The result, stagnation, short shot clock, shots out of rhythm.

Time to change the mix.

1. Ariza for Vlad. You get excellent movement off the ball. A slashing finisher to receive Pau and Kobe and as good a 3 pointer as Vlad – at least from the corner.

2. Sasha for Vlad. Kobe moves over to 3. This is the line up I believe to be the best against Boston. Sasha runs around covering Ray, Kobe plays Pierce. Sasha is much more aggressive than Vlad and much more consistent. Kobe initiates much more from an attacking position.

3. Luke for Vlad. Can’t be any worse . Remember the start of the 3rd against NOH? Vlad had a sequence of ignomy – turnover on first possession, foul, missed 3 etc…
At least Luke would keep the ball moving in the triangle.

4. LO for Vlad. LO became quite proficient at slashing to the rim and receiving passes from Pau.

I would also replace Fish, but Jackson would never do this. In vlad and fish we have two inconsistent perimeter shooters who are not good finishers and only average at best moving with out the ball. In Pau and Kobe we have two play makers looking to find non-existing cutting teammates.

Time for the second phase of the experiment…

  • PauKobeBynumOdomDynasty

    The lakers are running the triangle, though not as often. I say Luke for Vlad, trade Vlad

  • DCLAKER

    Fish is more important…WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more valuable than Vlad…he’s a streaky shooter,never has he been inconsistent,not one day in his career.Ask Utah would they like to have him back.

  • e

    fisher needs to come off the bench soon…ppl need to realize that 0.4 was amazing but once again not something that he’ll be doing all the time..it does not prove anything about fisher…what ive seen thus far is inconsistent games, terrible decision making, holds the ball for too long without making the first available pass (its not like he can take ppl off the dribble)..farmar needs start, fisher needs to come off of the bench

  • e

    and as for vlad? what more do i need to say? i like sasha playing the 2 and kobe playing the 3

  • SamV

    I do not agree with this post at all. There is one thing that is being over looked: the Lakers bench. The starting rotation might not look good, but it keeps up with other starting lineups in the beginning of games. Then our bench comes out and overwhelms the opposing teams bench. Then we bring back some starters and put the opponents away. I think what really needs looking at is not the starting lineup, but the FINISHING lineup, what is the best combo for the end of games?

  • kb24thebestever

    well i wouldnt start farmar over fisher for one simple reason defense we saw what happend last year against utah deron williams was doing wat he wanted and fisher kept up with him just that he would get in foul trouble so for rite now lets leave fisher alone. and also what A.I did to farmar.

  • MR. JUAN_YOUR WARLOCK

    Yeah, I agree, Farmar has yet to learn how to play good defense against good offensive minded point guards… He’s been burned many a time!

  • David

    How about this idea. Go to last years starting lineup that ended the season with a 30-5 record. Rotate Bynum in with Pau. This way Bynum will be able to dominate in the post without worrying to share the ball with Pau.

  • domz

    [Comment ID #54867 Will Be Quoted Here]

    AS i can see.. Our starters cannot keep up with the opponent’s starting 5. They always come up beaten by 5 to 15 pts. And thanks to the Bench Mob for keeping us up. But when the bench is off. Expect a struggle.

  • mr.laker19

    I totally totally agree man. Except for taking Fisher out, we need him and his leadership and his jumper is more consistent than you think. But here is a few things I dont like so far

    1. Bynum does not look explosive, stronger, or any of the things I thought he was going to be this season. I want to see him get angrier on offense and more aggressive when he gets the ball. But he has been amazing on defense, keep it up.

    2. Why does Kobe never catch and shoot? To many times I see him pass up wide open threes to drive the ball and eventually turn the ball over. I know he can catch and shoot. I’ve seen him do it plenty of times but it was more in the good old days. Kobe, please shoot when you get open.

    3. TAKE VLAD RAD OUT! I said during pre-season that I hope that he could continue to play as good as he was then in the regular season. He hasnt. At all. I like any of the guys you said, Ariza or Sasha I would prefer.

    4. Finally, we need to come out and play aggressive in the first quarter. The problem with a young team is that the more we win, the less focus they become. When we got to about 5-0 we started going into games cocky and thinking we could win. We need to come out and act like we are playing Boston in game 7 every night.

  • ojt

    Keep Walton on the bench, just add some wax on his shorts so he can shine the bench,that’s what he can do best.Wlaton sucks…

  • DCLAKER

    Mr.Laker 19,I’ve been sayin’the same thing about Vlad since he came here…good shooter,that’s it,No “D”..he’s not a bum,just needs to…get traded for…..

    http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0fNg4PE7OG1El/610x.jpg

  • Moses

    The current starting 5 is quite a slow team, and they are not taking advantage of the big two guys in the post, and this is resulting in less room for Kobe, and Radmanovic is just playing poorly, he should no longer be in the starting 5, but i doubt Phil changes it.

    Tonight’s game will be a good indicator of whether or not Vlad is a problem, if he doesn’t play, let’s see if someone else does better in his place.

  • mr.laker19

    DC, Im not oppose to that trade at all. I would def. be willing to try it out.

  • DCLAKER