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Looking deep into our team's performance so far, and our future

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#1 Real Deal

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 04:35 AM

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Long read, hope you sit down and look it over, though. :basketball:

Well, eventually, my confidence in this team collapsed. I've been spitting the same thing about D'Antoni and Nash since September or October (mostly Nash, until D'Antoni arrived, and then I was in full panic mode). When this happens, you can always expect a write-up from me, right?

Took me a bit, but I figured it would be great to go in and see just how each of these coaches have done. I realize the first two played just five games each, but if that bothers you, ignore that and just take a glance at D'Antoni's numbers.

------------------------------------

The team is 12-12 without Nash this season.

Our original starting five (Kobe, Howard, Nash, Gasol, Artest) is 0-5 together.

Mike Brown Era (1-4, Nash for two games, both L's)
Lakers: 47.0% FG, 34.8% 3PT (18.4 3PTA/G), 66.3% FT, 44.6 RPG, 19.6 APG, 8.0 SPG, 5.0 BPG, 18.2 TO, 21.4 PF, 97.2 PPG
Opponent: 44.7% FG, 35.6% 3PT, 22.8 FTA/G, 35.4 RPG, 21.0 APG, 9.6 SPG, 5.2 BPG, 12.4 TO, 24.2 PF, 98.8 PPG

Bernie Bickerstaff Era (4-1, no Nash)
Lakers: 45.6% FG, 34.2% 3PT (22.8 3PTA/G), 72.1% FT, 49.0 RPG, 23.0 APG, 7.4 SPG, 6.8 BPG, 14.8 TO, 14.2 PF, 103.8 PPG
Opponent: 42.2% FG, 33.3% 3PT, 15.6 FTA/G, 40.8 RPG, 22.2 APG, 8.8 SPG, 4.4 BPG, 13.4 TO, 22.6 PF, 92.2 PPG

Mike D'Antoni Era (12-20, Nash for 16 games, 11 L's)
Lakers: 45.0% FG, 35.7% 3PT (26.2 3PTA/G), 69.8% FT, 44.3 RPG, 21.8 APG, 7.1 SPG, 5.6 BPG, 14.5 TO, 19.3 PF, 102.9 PPG
Opponent: 45.8% FG, 35.9% 3PT, 21.4 FTA/G, 44.0 RPG, 24.2 APG, 8.1 SPG, 5.2 BPG, 12.9 TO, 23.1 PF, 103.4 PPG

I've highlighted the concerning numbers in red...all being the lowest among the three coaches.

It's clear we are a worse defensive team with D'Antoni...by quite a bit. We allow teams to play at a faster pace, and PART of that is us launching more threes every night, and taking shots early in the clock.

Our Pace Factor (number of possessions in 48 minutes) is second in the NBA, at a staggering 94.7. For a team that has four of five original starters in their thirties (Kobe, Nash, Gasol, Artest are all out of their ultimate primes), that's a super-fast pace. But what do you expect with a D'Antoni/Nash-led offense?

Well, unfortunately, when we run...the opposing team runs. That's how it goes. D'Antoni was quoted saying that the Memphis Grizzlies outran us tonight.

Do you want to know what the Grizzlies' Pace Factor is? It's 28th in the league.

------------------------------------

Steve Nash is a major defensive liability. Because he can't defend his man, Kobe Bryant is having to spend more energy defending PG's. That means less help defense by the best help defender on our team, other than Dwight Howard. And with less help defense comes more defensive exposing, all directed at Pau Gasol and Antawn Jamison...who are awful defenders.

Pau Gasol can't post up with Dwight? Yes he can. Run a double-post motion offense. It doesn't work? Gasol doesn't need to be two feet from the rim...he can take short jumpers off the block, or make passes out of the low post, all while Dwight maintains his position. Ah, and that gives us two offensive rebounders near the rim.

We don't have shooters? We would have a lethal shooter, if Nash (who is a 50/40/90 shooter and arguably the greatest shooter we've ever seen at the PG position) would take just a few more shots a night, playing off of two superstars (Kobe and Howard). He could settle for a 5-8 assist night, correct? I'm appalled to find out that this offensive genius can't adjust accordingly.

So with two threats from outside (Nash and Artest), how does that help our pick and roll? Significantly, especially if Nash establishes himself as a shooting threat. Why? Well, why would any player, in their right mind, leave him open to follow Howard to the rim? Why would any player leave Howard for a split second? Confusion is best generated by two scoring threats in that particular P&R situation. If Nash doesn't solidify himself as a threat, it's an easier decision for the opponent.

Where can Kobe play once one of our bigs take a seat? In the post. Can't do that in a D'Antoni offense, though, because he's not a ball-handler UNLESS he's in ISO on the perimeter.

Meanwhile, what is Nash doing when Kobe engages? Nothing. He doesn't cut to and through to the corner, he doesn't use a screen, he doesn't curl...so we basically play one half of the court, and weak side play ceases to exist (Kobe's perspective).

We go without multiple shooting threats, we lose spacing. We lose spacing, our two superstars are much, much easier to defend. Howard becomes easier to front in the post with multiple players...not so hard to slide 5-10 feet over and cover him with backside help. Kobe has a man on him AND one within two steps of a charge. In pick and roll, the opposing team can come out and push Nash 30 feet from the rim, simply because Dwight Howard is not a shooting threat, Nash doesn't establish himself as one, and Gasol is too slow to roll to the rim, as well as him being passive and choosing not to score.

The result? Ron Artest becomes our secondary scoring option...and to no one's surprise (maybe), he's shooting threes, not in the post. Kobe is strictly in ISO most of the game, once the ball comes to him. Dwight is being fronted, and because he has lost a bit of jumping ability, and because the spacing is horrible, he can't get the ball over the top. Once that ball reaches its peak elevation, and headed towards Dwight's fingertips, the opposing defenders are taught to lead him close to the baseline OR pack around him in the paint, then go "hands out" to cause the strip and prevent him from bringing the ball over his head.

We are scoring buckets on the offensive end, and our Offensive Rating is in the top 10. That doesn't mean we're a good offensive team, it means we're relying on Kobe far too much. Bryant should not have to play 40 minutes, score 30 points, and throw 5-6 assists for us to be within reach in some of these games. Our offense is not good if Ron Artest is our second scoring option, and he is shooting more shots per game (11.1) than Dwight (10.3) and Nash (8.3), and as many as Gasol (11.3). Yes, no joke...this is happening.

Why so bad on defense? Long misses cause fast breaks we can't defend. Turnovers do the same thing. We complain about fouls, and don't get back in time. We have absolutely no defensive strategy for guard penetration (leading guards to the paint or baseline, into Dwight) or for pick and roll situations (over/under, knowing when to switch, etc). We have two weak links in our starting five (Nash, Gasol...basically, Pau is a starter, since he plays big minutes) and multiple from our bench (Jamison and Meeks notably horrible).

We are old, but we TRY to play like we're young. In 2008 and 2010, the Boston Celtics were old...and played that way. Strategically. In 2011, the Dallas Mavericks did the same thing, and won it all. The following year (just last year), the Miami Heat were old compared to a fresh, young Oklahoma City Thunder team...and, yet, they realized that LeBron's post game, spreading the floor with three-point shooters, and not allowing the Thunder to ignite breaks, was going to put a ring on their fingers.

If we're playing without an identity, we are playing without effort. Rotations are broken. How many minutes will Jodie Meeks log next game? Will Jamison play the three or four? Will Darius Morris or Chris Duhon be our backup point guard? The 2010-11 Miami Heat ran through this, head first, for 17 games...and then they decided to change their offense. Once they adjusted, they went 21-1 over their next 22 games.

What would 21-1 do for us at this point? Do the math...38-26...64 games, 6th in the Western Conference.

Unfortunately, the Lakers don't give us any indication that they are going to change, and it could be this way for the next three seasons. If we lose Dwight this year, we go into the 2013-14 season with roughly $59 million dedicated to JUST Kobe, Gasol and Nash. That's the salary cap, ladies and gents. No free agents for us. If our plan is to let Gasol expire after next season (which will be an unforgettable one, for all the wrong reasons), we will have a Kobe/Nash squad...and that's if Kobe decides to extend (and with how these next 1 1/2 seasons could go, he'd consider retirement). Nash will be months away from 41 years old in the fall of 2014. Think about that.

We have made multiple mistakes over the years, from giving away large contracts to a couple of coaches (who clearly didn't fit here) and trading away draft picks (and making bad picks), to keeping Pau Gasol until his knees rust away and playing four entirely different offenses from May 2012 to January 2013. Instead of building a solid team around our two superstars, we have asked our two superstars to adjust to a 39-year old point guard that is playing like he's 39 years old (imagine that). Do the Knicks center their offense around Jason Kidd, or Sheed in the post? Boston is under .500 because three of their best are 35-36 years old, and the offense runs through them (especially Pierce and Garnett). If it wasn't for Rondo, and the fact that they are familiar with each other, they would be a disaster. The Spurs have stacked young players around their two oldest (Duncan and Manu), and Duncan is having an incredible season, regardless.

Dark times are ahead of us, if we don't play our cards right. As of now, our record in April isn't the biggest concern. Someone, whether it's Jerry or Jim, Mitch, or Jeanie reading from a hand-written note from one of them, needs to speak up and admit there have been crucial mistakes made to rebound from our preseason blunder, and with that recognition should come major changes as soon as possible. If not, we're heading in the same direction Boston is...but without a Rajon Rondo...and with the Clippers having the potential to rip away all of our free agent prospects, rebuilding may not be a pretty sight.

#2 LakersGAFan

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 04:48 AM

RD your my vote to be the [expletive]ing coach. Everything you said above is hoops IQ brilliance. Why cant the Lakers FO understand any of that.
When you said

If we're playing without an identity

Thats the #1 problem IMO and Ive said it since about game 5. We have no sense of wtf were trying to accomplish. Just a bunch of great battleships sailing in different directions.
Go coach man!

And your right, the future is bleek. in business when a companies stock goes down, investors gravitate toward whats hot in the same market.
Same thing with NBA basketball players in the LA area. One teams winning value is increasing and ones seems to be in a free fall. Who would you play for? And we have no draft picks...smh.

Edited by LakersGAFan, January 24, 2013 - 04:51 AM.

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#3 MadSci

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 05:39 AM

I'm trying to figure out what the next move is here. This season has been horrendous, embarrassing, and just a flat out shame. Now I have no idea what is being discussed behind closed doors between Mitch, Jim, and Jerry but if the consensus is to continue on this disastrous path with D'Antoni, then I am honestly in complete and utter shock.

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#4 manaro90

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 06:05 AM

great post!

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#5 LakerGeezer

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 06:28 AM

Excellent, honest analysis. I didnt see this coming THIS year, but it has been clear for awhile that a day of reckoning was approaching, given the FO's approach to building a team.

So whats the answer? One would be to tear it down now and start over while there are still marketable parts to sell. Another would be to try another band aid trade or two. A third would be a partial tear down (everyone marketable but Kobe goes), try to field a semi-competitive team/ sell tickets while building for a future 5+ years away now. The track records says the FO will choose option 2, which (if possible) will just make things worse down the road and the rebuild more painful and longer.

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#6 UKUGA

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 06:36 AM

We won both games started by Kobe/Dwight/Nash when Pau was injured (just after Dwight returned from injury).

There are so many anomalies in all of this. It gets difficult to isolate any specific situation becuase of injuries, guys playing hurt, back2backs, etc.

Will Dwight be a consistent force later in the season, or next year? Is Nash being impacted by his injured leg? What portion of Gasol's issues are mental, and what portion are physical?

Remember how happy this team looked and how well it played when Bickerstaff was coach?

The talent is there. Let the kids play!

Edited by UKUGA, January 24, 2013 - 06:37 AM.

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#7 Real Deal

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 07:50 AM

We won both games started by Kobe/Dwight/Nash when Pau was injured (just after Dwight returned from injury).

There are so many anomalies in all of this. It gets difficult to isolate any specific situation becuase of injuries, guys playing hurt, back2backs, etc.

Will Dwight be a consistent force later in the season, or next year? Is Nash being impacted by his injured leg? What portion of Gasol's issues are mental, and what portion are physical?

Remember how happy this team looked and how well it played when Bickerstaff was coach?

The talent is there. Let the kids play!

Based on talent alone, we should be in the playoffs. That's just it. We could run two-man game with Kobe/Howard, everyone else getting jumpers all game long, and we'd be a FAR better team than we are now...not a MAJOR contender without a set offense, but still better.

#8 jax24

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 10:56 AM

Awesome post RD, pretty much sums up the failures of this team and reason for it.

#9 BasketballIQ

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 11:15 AM

How much of a difference does Pau and Metta make as being slow and not really fitting matter?

#10 fozi

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 11:20 AM

Managerial mistakes led to chaos .. started from being short-sighted. Hiring Mike Brown ? Passing Gasol trade(s) ?

Its easy to point out the mistakes now but as a manager everything should be considered. And yeah, not forgetting their Nash/Antoni principle..


When you make mistakes like this, you have to pay for it. Not sure if this will reach to next season but correction has to happen now.

The longer this admitting and firing MA , the more players will quit on the team since playoffs wont be a possibility, which might make the job for whomever next more difficult.


MA is not only our mistake now, Players have to acknowledge that sacrifices need to be made, as kobe pointed out earlier or in the preseason , not sure. Whatever it takes to get this going, it takes full dedication from everyone. and from there, start moving pieces..


Wonder what Jim and Mitch are thinking now ?!!

#11 bigfetz

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 02:21 PM

Honestly I think a this point you could give them the best coaching ever and they would still suck. If the right system was installed in training camp and the right personel was there I think we could have been great but we have dug our selfs in such a big whole that now everyone seems to be angry at one another and nothing could get them to play well with one another. No one seems to respect pau's play(understandably), dwight and kobe are not happy with one another, dwights also unhappy with te coaching. Nash has show some hostility to early in the season.

I think this is one of those seasons that just needs to end. They need to get away from one another for a few months. Dwight needs to get back to his old form, kobe needs to take some rest (no olympic team this offseason), we need to dumb allot of these uncaring scrubs, and pau needs to be gone(I think his metal softness makes everyone play worse).

If dwight can get a better attitude next season and maybe him and kobe become more of friends(or at least respect one another) then things will be better.

Theres is no saving this season though. Next season can be fixed but attitudes must be change as well the system.

#12 MAMBA24ILL

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 02:43 PM

When the Lakers signed Nash, I knew the guy wouldn't hold up. How often did we see him laying down in PHX? We all also knew how much D he could play. 0! I'll admit a part of me thought the Lakers weren't going to know what to do with the passes they'd get from him.

When they hired Mike D I was a bit interested thinking that maybe he would make this team fun to watch. We all also knew how much D
he could coach. 0! I'll admit, a part of me thought at least we'd go down shooting. WRONG!

This team is much more talented than any team he coached with the Suns but we look like garbage. We don't put up the numbers that they did & this current Lakers squad makes those teams look like all-nba 1st defense.
It's like they're not even being coached out there. Like a dang pick up squad against a pro team.

Rons not the defender he was but bless his heart, he's trying to help with the scoring jacking up 3 after 3.
Dwight doesn't seem to want to fight for position much.
Nash seems like bringing the ball upcourt is all he's paid to do. LET THE MAN SHOOT!
Kobe, i'm not sure what more he can do without hitting the wall in the 1st half of the season.
Pau's play pretty much encompasses this team & this season: capably of so much more.

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#13    

   

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 04:16 PM

:clap2: A pleasure to read. Thank you.

yo.


#14 David

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 07:10 PM

One thing about Nash that disappoints me is his lack of aggressiveness. Like you said, the team is trying to adapt to Nash instead of having the Bryant-Howard combo. What Steve Nash has done offensively has yet to offset his liability on the defensive end.

KOBE. #VINO. BRYANT.


#15 fozi

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 08:45 PM

One thing about Nash that disappoints me is his lack of aggressiveness. Like you said, the team is trying to adapt to Nash instead of having the Bryant-Howard combo. What Steve Nash has done offensively has yet to offset his liability on the defensive end.


Guy is 38 , not 28 .. Its not his fault , but the problem get stupid and dumb when you know it was caused by ignoring your two superstars and design the team to fit him ..


Nash is 50/40 , which means he is still effective(shooting wise) , its his best strength now at this age..


I still believe Mitch can figure things out, its a small window but hope it could fit us.

#16 Piston Honda

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 09:17 PM

Guy is 38 , not 28 .. Its not his fault , but the problem get stupid and dumb when you know it was caused by ignoring your two superstars and design the team to fit him ..


Nash is 50/40 , which means he is still effective(shooting wise) , its his best strength now at this age..


I still believe Mitch can figure things out, its a small window but hope it could fit us.

What's left to figure out? Nash, Kobe, and Metta aren't going to get any younger and 2 of those 3 are not going anywhere for the time being. So expect to see our guards get blown by a lot. Gasol might be shipped out, but unless there is some dumb GM out there the Lakers are not getting anybody in return that will drastically change the course of this disaster of a season.

I think the Lakers will ride out the season with D'Antoni for better or worse.

#17 fozi

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 09:42 PM

I wasn't referring necessarily to this season..


Diasgree on your last part , the guy is leaving and hopefully soon..

#18 Piston Honda

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 09:47 PM

I wasn't referring necessarily to this season..


Diasgree on your last part , the guy is leaving and hopefully soon..

I'm not sure if management can live with the egg on their face for a 70+ day hire and fire, but we'll see. *fingers crossed*

#19 DanishLakerFan

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 09:57 PM

Good read!
I dont think the future of the Lakers is as dim, as Real Deal proposes.
The Lakers is still a place superstars would like to play and with the right moves we could be right back in contention next year. This year is pretty much down the drain - unless they make the strongest come-back in NBA history. (I'm still forcing myself to belive it's possible).

My biggest fear is that the Front Office is a lot more financially strapped, than they used to be. The new luxury tax, the revenue sharing and as Max Kellerman mentioned on ESPN the possible "death tax" that'll hit the Lakers in case Jerry Buss, god forbid, should pass away. If the Lakers arent willing to spend money going forward, we might be in trouble.

I think the first step right now is for Mitch and Jim to make a few decisions. Either stick with D'Antoni and his offense or dont. It really is that simple. And if they do chose to stick with D'Antoni, then make the needed moves for this to succeed.

Personally i think they should fire his ass, hire someone who knows defense and can manage egos and then see if they can figure it out. If they manage to put together a 5-8 game win-streak then go on. If they keep slipping i'd probably trade Dwight. I dont think he'll resign, so why not trade him now rather than lose him for nothing. We could potentially land Kevin Love by sending Dwight to Brooklyn and for Brooklyn to send Brook Lopez to Minnesota. If we're out of the playoffs i'd probably put everyone on the table.

#20 fozi

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Posted January 24, 2013 - 10:15 PM

I'm not sure if management can live with the egg on their face for a 70+ day hire and fire, but we'll see. *fingers crossed*


And they gave enough time for the coach to wrap things up, maybe he doesn't have the perfect personnel but don't spit lies when you say "Its a perfect fit" prior to hiring ..

If the team is improving but still losing then you might have an argument , but their worse than my grandma in 2k,,


and besides, would you take the risk not to make a change that MIGHT shake this team up when you are paying over 100 milly ?

if Utah won that would be 2-11.. Not sure whats worse, Joey Crawford's call in suns and blazers game in 2010 or this team ..

Edited by fozi, January 24, 2013 - 10:15 PM.






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