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Mitch Sees Lakers Standing Pat As Kobe and Co. Mount Another Run


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#1 LALakersFan4Life

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 02:57 PM

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No matter how many times Mitch Kupchak sees it, he still gets mesmerized by the dazzling play of Kobe Bryant.

"That shot at the end of the fourth quarter, when he went into the lane and made contact, somebody went to the ground, he had two guys on him," the Lakers general manager told SI.com after his team downed Phoenix on Friday night. "He couldn't get a right-handed shot off, so he shot it left-handed."

And made it, of course.

With the 18-12 Lakers placed fifth in the Western Conference through Saturday and having won seven of their last 10 games, there is an internal belief that Bryant's theatrics coupled with the current cast of characters might be enough to make a deep playoff run even if no roster moves are made. It's a good thing, too, as Kupchak certainly didn't sound as if a deal for Orlando's Dwight Howard or anyone else was in the works. Kupchak attended a workout for free agent guard Gilbert Arenas last Sunday, but the Lakers aren't expected to sign him anytime soon -- if at all.

"Of course we'll talk to a lot of teams [about trades], like everybody else does, leading up until the trade deadline to see if there is a way to improve the team," Kupchak said. "But the likelihood is that this is the team that's going to finish into the playoffs. That's just the way it normally works, but we'll see."

The adjustments continue for first-year Lakers coach Mike Brown, who recently had one of his own players -- small forward Metta World Peace --added to his list of critics. Yet Brown has been following through on the defensive promises he made when he was hired to replace Phil Jackson, as his team is currently third in the NBA in opponents field-goal percentage (41.8) and fourth in points per game allowed (90.7).

"It looks like they're getting familiar with the system," Kupchak said. "New coaching style, new coaches, new system, new offense, a different kind of defense. It takes some time, some roster changes.

"Taking into consideration all those factors, I think we're making progress. I think we're getting better every time we play. I would like to see us be a little bit more successful on the road (where they're 5-10). I think we'll get into the playoffs and would like to have some homecourt advantage. But if you don't, you've got to win a game on the road and we haven't demonstrated we can win on the road yet."

It's the offense that has been so problematic. If shots attempted are any indication of a team's dependence on one particular player (and they are), the Lakers have never relied on Bryant's scoring like they are now. The 33-year-old is averaging a career-high 23.9 shots per game while seeing a spike in minutes per game (33.9 last season to 38.2 in 2011-12) and leading the league in scoring at 28.9 points per game. "I'm not too worried about Kobe," Kupchak said. "When he's out of the game, he's yelling at the coach to get back in the game. It's a shortened season. We didn't play 82 games. We didn't play eight preseason games. So there's a lot less games. They are closer together, which is a concern. But I'm not worried about Kobe."

Bryant reiterated recently that he's a Laker for life no matter what Kupchak does with the team's personnel. And despite the Lamar Odom-to-Dallas trade in December that drew Bryant's ire, Kupchak said his star player's faith in him remains.

"The good thing is he trusts the organization, and we'll do everything we can do to get better," Kupchak said. "We'll look to do something big, and we'll look to do something small, or maybe we'll do nothing at all. Sometimes a small deal is all a team needs to get over a hump, so I wouldn't categorize something that we're looking to do as big, small or medium."


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/sam_amick/02/19/mitch.kupchak.lakers/index.html

Edited by LALakersFan4Life, February 19, 2012 - 02:58 PM.


#2 Azazello

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 03:02 PM

Without a move we are done. Second round and out. Another wasted year of Kobe Bryant.

#3 LikeABosh

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 03:33 PM

Without a move we are done. Second round and out. Another wasted year of Kobe Bryant.


Truth

#4 lodom7

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 03:35 PM

at least a minor move, we dont demand a huge blockbuster trade but one that gives us some athleticism in the backcourt is all we need to compete
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#5 Air Apparent

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 03:37 PM

i hope he's playing mind games with the media..before he pulls out dwight howard deron williams kevin love and rubio out his hat :glasses:

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#6 spbynum

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 03:45 PM

Smoke screen

#7 West Coast

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 04:08 PM

Nice poker face Mitch. Lol

#8 eZZy

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 04:11 PM

if its true then Bull[expletive]! lol

#9 KarlCalaguas12

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 04:14 PM

He's just bluffing right now. Mitch doesn't show any moves until the right time is coming.

#10 pointguard11

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 04:41 PM

Exactly what I wanted to hear coming from Mitch.

Imagine if he said "well we will make a deal, don't worry fans. I am working on it and trying to make it happen." This would only make his job harder and the price of trades would go up for the lakers.
"The way Steve is as a teammate, the way he sets the tone, the way the team kind of takes on his persona. As a coach, that's the best thing in the world. It's easy to coach. He's taking care of the chemistry. You just coach."

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#11 JGuez

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 04:42 PM

He really is a genius.

#12 leor_77

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 04:42 PM

I think he probably did this to put Gasol at ease. Doesn't want Pau worried about all of this and that effecting his level of play.

Besides that, Orlando probably told him they're not trading Dwight, and I doubt NJ trades away D-Will.

#13 TKainZero

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 04:47 PM

If Mitch is publically saying that no deals are imminent...

That means, a BIG deal is imminent.

#14 Japago

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 04:48 PM

We better hope he's just fronting.

If not, I wouldn't rule out the Lakers missing the playoffs.

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#15 Vipe3773

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 05:00 PM

We better hope he's just fronting.

If not, I wouldn't rule out the Lakers missing the playoffs.

well i don't know about missing the playoffs altogether....
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#16 West Coast

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 05:09 PM

Gotta remember, the team is starting to play well so he's doing this to keep the players focused on the court and not in the media.

#17 Japago

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 05:09 PM

well i don't know about missing the playoffs altogether....


I don't think they do, but it's possible. They're only 2 games ahead of the 9th place team in the west.

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#18 fido

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 05:18 PM

Second round?

If this team stands pat, they're out in the first round, no doubt.

#19 Hollywood

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 05:21 PM

Boom! tomorrow lakers get d12 haha
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#20 last stand 2.0

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Posted February 19, 2012 - 05:52 PM

If Mitch is publically saying that no deals are imminent...

That means, a BIG deal is imminent.


No it means neither. It means he's keeping his hand secret. He says this every year. Do we have big deals every year?
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