Pau Gasol: Let's face it - Pau is sucking. People know he's playing terribly, but they have no idea how much his injuries are affecting him. Tendonitis at his height and age are no joke because they take a tremendous amount of time to heal and playing ONLY makes the condition worse. When tendonitis gets bad, you can barely walk, even with knee braces. Aside from tendonitis, he has plantar fasciitis, therefore, his legs are pretty much toast. He should not even be playing right now, because when playoffs roll around, he's going to be BIll Walton 2.0. I am almost certain that his legs are dying out on the court. Also because of the injuries, he can't train or practice as much, which means he can't learn the new offense.
All these things are contributing to a player who's probably at 35-40% of what he should be.
He's also untradeable because of his salary and current inefficiency. The Lakers absolutely blew it by wanting to see how he would play with Steve Nash. The instant they heard tendonitis, he should have been shipped out the door. I think that they knew he was untradeable so they made the excuse of "wanting to see how he would play with Nash."
I think it's clear to a lot of people that Jordan Hill should start, for AT LEAST defensive purposes. Let Pau rest those legs and give full effort in the lesser minutes.
Darius Morris: Unfortunately, the Lakers have no one else. Darius can not run a pick-n-roll, can not shoot, has zero court vision, can not read the defense, and does not look before he passes. The best that Morris can do is play defense. D'antoni wants Morris to hassle the ball handlers, because frankly, Kobe can't. Kobe can save his energy by playing off the ball by guarding the wing players. We are stuck with him, but I would actually rather have Morris than Steve Blake, as demure as that sounds, because Blake might be the worst defender in the league.
We simply do not need Morris to score; he just needs to bring the ball up the court and spend all his energy playing defense, which he will get better at.
Jodie Meeks: There is a reason why Jodie was on 3 teams in one season, then let go. He has so many fundamental flaws it's mind boggling how he even got into the NBA. For example, in the Lakers-Clippers game, he shot faked a 3 pointer and could have drawn a 3-shot foul on Christ Paul, but moved out of the way and drove to the basket instead. I don't know who's coaching him, but they need to get fired.
He is pretty much a blackhole who's incredibly streaky and can not pass the ball. Unfortunately, he's not going to learn to pass the ball in this offense because he's just taught to catch and shoot (early in the shot clock).
Everyone thinks he's a hustle player, and that's true, but that doesn't make him a good player. He misses defensive rotations and drives into the paint with reckless abandon. He NEVER protects the ball or knows how to side step the opposition when heading towards the basket. He also doesn't know what a pull-up mid-range jump shot is. It's either a 3 pointer or die at the rim.
He hasn't learned how to play in 3 years..he's not going to learn now. The Lakers need to trade him ASAP.
The Offense: Ok, this offense is terrible and transparent. I think we've all figured it out now. Yes, the Lakers are scoring points, but NOT because of the offensive scheme. Kobe is working his butt off every game and so is Steve. If the Lakers didn't have so many above-average one-on-one players (Kobe, Steve, Dwight, and Metta), the Lakers would be AWFUL. They're not scoring points because of efficiency, but because they are shooting early in the clock and having a lot of possessions!
Relying too much on the point guard and 3 point shooting is a bad way to run an offensive. We may as well be the Orlando Magic, except they had REALLY good wing shooters from the 08-09 season. The Lakers are currently 3rd in 3 pointers attempted, which is not a good sign. Do you know the last 3 point shooting team who won the NBA title? The Houston Rockets in 1995...the Lakers are no where as good as that team.
D'antoni's offense relies so much on Nash that the other players have no idea what to do. This is why all hell breaks loose when the bench players come onto the floor. They just don't know who to pass it to or why, or even how. Players off the ball don't make cuts or screens for each other and just expect Steve to magically find them every time for an open 3 point shot. This is why the Triangle is such a good offense: The triangle opens up passing lanes and allows any given player to get open at any given time and position. It makes every opposition player work by running after cutting players around screens. Players are also taught to make the proper pass and space the floor. Remember the Lakers bench just torching the 08-09 Orlando Magic in the finals?! That bench consisted of Farmar, Walton, and Vujacic.
D'antoni always runs the same predictable high-post offense where Dwight will catch the ball above the free-throw line, then Nash and Kobe will cross each other. It's too obvious. Other than that, it's all pick-n-rolls. Do you know why it worked in Phoenix? Because Amare actually learned to shoot the midrange; Dwight can't shoot the side of a barn. Also, when D'antoni was winning, he had Nash, Marion, Joe Johnson, Barbosa, and Stoudemire. Two good point guards on a really good overall team.
Everyone knows D'antoni's same old offense by now. This is why teams like to hire brand new NBA coaches.
Look at the Championship Bulls (97-98) and the three-peat Lakers - these teams weren't young, but the offense allowed them to use their energy wisely while always taking non-contested jumpers. This would pay dividends while on defense because it made the opposition work so hard and stopping many fast breaks because of all the screens that were set.
Coaching: This was D'antoni's first mistake. He has a hodge-podge of coaches who were tailor-made for Mike Brown's system. Keeping Eddie Jordan? Come on...he had loads of talent in Washington and couldn't bring them together. His brother hasn't accomplished a damn thing in the NBA and nobody would even know who he was unless Mike was in the league. Bernie is only there because of Mike Brown. Yes, I know that the Lakers were winning with Bernie, but it really wasn't because of him. He simply let the Lakers do whatever they wanted, which any interim coach would have done - the Lakers were playing free and loose, which caused havoc on the opposition because nothing could be predicted. Lakers players were just running around, setting random picks and shooting a bunch of open jumpers, which can work really well when shots are falling. The instant a system got into place, the players were handcuffed again. The Lakers didn't exactly play the best teams either.
All the Lakers bench players are making the same mistake over and over again which is a clear sign the coaches are not doing enough. If the chemistry is not there, it's the coaches fault, without question.
If these coaches were doing their proper scouting, the Lakers would not be getting scored on so easily. Defense in the NBA is primarily about opposition statistics and tendencies. The NBA has so many teams with new players and systems, and it doesn't seem like the Lakers are doing the proper homework on many of them.
For example, in the Lakers-Clipper games, the coaches really wanted Pau to get offensive rebounds. Let's think about this...you want him to sit outside for jumpers, then try and get an offensive rebound? So what happens when he misses? You're going to make Pau, with injured legs, run the whole court trying to chase Blake griffin? That's absolutely asinine. You just made Pau do a half court suicide drill just to get dunked on.
D'antoni also doesn't seem to meld these guys together like Phil did. Phil would have his whole team constantly hang out with each other so they knew everything about each other which translated onto the basketball floor.
Coaching is BIG deal and at least 60-70% of the problem. If you listened to the half-time report of that game, then you heard Magic, Bill, and Jalen all agree. Jalen played for D'antoni as well.
Trades: Get rid of Sacre, Meeks, and Ebanks. Bring up Darius Johnson Odom and play Earl Clark more.
Edited by integrate0, January 06, 2013 - 11:44 AM.