Lakers still in search of an identity

L.A. Times: So, exactly who are the Lakers?

With victories over Houston, Phoenix, Detroit and Utah, they’ve shown they can turn it up against anybody.

But jagged outings against New Jersey, Utah and Orlando demonstrated they can give it all back with ill-timed losses.

The feeling isn’t quite the same with the team’s record at 9-8 after a 7-3 start. They could try to begin a turnaround tonight against the hapless Minnesota Timberwolves, although there are a few trouble spots to sift through.

The Lakers can’t give up 70 first-half points as they did against Utah. They can’t have 22 turnovers as they had Sunday against Orlando. Lamar Odom needs to stay on track after a 19-point, 17-rebound effort Sunday against the Magic, and Kobe Bryant needs to get back on track after a 10-for-26 shooting effort the same night.

“You’re not a good team until you can play the same way all the time,” Odomsaid. “Even when you’re not scoring the ball, you still have to play defense. . . . We’ve yet to have that throughout the whole game.”

The second unit has been up and down since center Andrew Bynum was promoted to start in place of injured Kwame Brown. The second-unit chemistry also seems askew since Brian Cook and Maurice Evans were sent to Orlando for forward Trevor Ariza two weeks ago.

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Jaime is the co-owner and Operating Director for LakerNation.com from Alhambra, CA. He's help create the official websites for Kevin Durant and Goodwin Sports. Currently, he's the Online Producer for FOX Sports Radio and AM570 KLAC.
  • dj matt20

    i dont think the trade is to blame for the lack of chemistry off the bench it’s just because Kwame has been injured so Bynum isn’t comming off the bench instead we have a Mihm who is commnig off the bench which bring it to a totally different tempo since Mihm can’t keep up with a fast pace that 2nd squad brings off the bench.

  • E-ROC

    The identity and hallmark of this team should be defense. Getting Kwame would help, but not by much. He’s a good post defender, but that’s it. This team has too many soft players and Phil doesn’t play Ariza or Crit. Those two players play defense. And those soft players who are often in our rotation are Vlad, Walton, Odom, and Vujacic. And they can’t play defense. You can probably throw Fisher and Mihm. Both players try to play defense at least, but still come up short.

  • lakerfan81

    Critt doesn’t play defense why do you think he is not playing right now. He still needs to learn to play defense in the NBA, he has the tools but needs to learn to use them which is why he is the 3rd PG. Walton though not athletic enough to guard the quality 3s in the league (who is) but he is a good team defender (for the most part) but when you don’t have proper rotations it makes him look worst than he is. Odom is not good at guarding from the perimeter. Not sure if its his shoulder or that it has been so long since he played that position he can’t do it. The lakers don’t utilize him properly, he needs to play in the post more and cut to the basket instead of standing on the outside shooting 3s, he really is not a good shooter. If he played in the post like he does in the playoffs against PHX than that would be good, but he doesn’t. Part of it is Odom’s fault, and part of it is the coaches. Fisher has never been a good defender. He is not quick enough to stay with Parker, Willams, CP3. But no one is. It takes good team defense to defense to slow players down like that. Good rotation is key and good interior defense. Bynum is improving in that department but still makes the mental mistakes that can be expected from a 20 year old. Brown is big and strong and can muscle his man away from the basket. But is a poor rebounder and though he too has gotten a little better with the help defense is not good in that department. Farmar has the fundamentals to play good defense and the effort is there. On most nights he is a good defender. But 4 of the 5 best PG in the league play in the West. Then you also have players like Davis and terry. Its tough it takes quality team defense to stop these players. They penetrate, the defense collapses but no one rotates properly which leaves wide open jump shots from the outside. Or the penetrate, Bynum comes off him man to help, but no one rotates to give bynum the extra second he needs to get back and cover his man leaving his player for the easy basket (Perkins is a perfect example). Watch SA play defense. People still get in the Lane but their rotations are quick and clean and you rarely ever get an open shot. Duncan will come over but someone will rotate over to who he was guarding just for a second giving him enough time to get back (it helps that he is the best defender in the league).

  • E-ROC

    Have u seen Crit play??? I’ve watched him when he played in the ACC, the Lakers exhibition games, and garbage time. The kid plays defense. The Spurs team has a defensive mentality. Those players want to play defense. That ‘want’ is what the Lakers don’t have, at least in their personnel. Phil has been preaching defense. He even had a whole practice about how to take a charge.

  • foxxy

    PHIL NEEDS TO PLAY ALL THE GUYS…HOW DO YOU LEARN TO PLAY IF YOU DONT “PLAY”!!!

  • r3dempti0n

    This team is a very young team. Young players tend to play with inconsistency… But then again Odom is inconsistent as well. But I really think that the many changes the team has gone through via trades and injuries have disrupted the teams chemistry. Without the chemistry we start losing games, then we never get back on track due to lack of confidence. The game tonight should help us out. I think PJ should play the bench more and have them find their rhythm.

  • 187 ON BOSTON

    TRADE KOBE AND LO FOR CHARLES BARKLEY AND KENNY SMITH THEN WE WILL HAVE AN IDENTITY

    OH YEAH F**K BOSTON

  • kgmvp

    I think the right word for the Lakers right now is INCONSITENCY.
    This team is just like Lamar Odom one night looks great looks like they can win a championship next night looks like a team who really needs a change. I think the best thing that the Lakers can do right is to trade Lamar Odom for two productive people or an all star.

  • kgmvp

    INCONSISTENCY

  • lakerfan81

    I have to agree with this article. Hate to say it, but… Odom you gotta go!!

    http://www.sportshubla.com/2007/12/04/lo-you-got-to-go-the-lakers-must-trade-lamar-odom/

  • DCLAKER

    PLEASE STOP WITH THE TRADE KOBE SCENARIOS,AGAIN,close your eyes tell me what you see…..THAT’S RIGHT NUTHIN’ and that’s what will happen if they trade Kobe.No PLAYOFFS,No Finals and NO MVP CANDIDATES(or chants of).GET ARTEST OR JO or MAGGETTE or J.KIDD,etc.Somebody now then somebody later(after this season).

  • ricky

    ATTENTION ALL LAKER FANS!

    i think this may be the best pro-lakers trade ever! please let me know what you think of this 3 team trade i just developed between the lakers, pacers, and kings?

    LAKERS

    trade:
    lamar odom to indiana
    kwame brown to sacramento
    vladimir radmanovic to sacramento

    acquire:
    jermaine o’neal from indiana
    ron artest from sacramento

    PACERS

    trade:
    jermaine o’neal to los angeles
    jamaal tinsley to sacramento
    mike dunleavy to sacramento

    acquire:
    lamar odom from los angeles
    mike bibby from sacramento
    kenny thomas from sacramento

    KINGS

    trade:
    mike bibby to indiana
    ron artest to los angeles
    kenny thomas to indiana

    acquire:
    kwame brown from los angeles
    vladimir radmanovic from los angeles
    jamaal tinsley from indiana
    mike dunleavy from indiana

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/features/traderesult?players=981~617~1016~25~61~849~1708~615~1024&teams=23~11~23~13~11~11~23~13~23&te=&cash=

    breakdown:

    lakers: get jermaine and ron to help defensively and are two all-star caliber players that can fit well in the triangle system and give kobe consistent help

    pacers: remove oft-injured and disgruntled jermaine and tinsley get a versatile forward in odom and all-star pg mike bibby. both players will easily fit in and benefit from jim o’briens offensive running system

    sacramento: acquires expiring contract in kwame, shooter in radmanovic, versatile forward in dunleavy and starting pg in tinsley

    NOTE: the trade of kenny thomas and mike dunleavy were not required but placed into the trade as incentive for sacramento in willing to give up their 2 best players and also gives them more depth and versatility at forward

  • DCLAKER

    I don’t want to get rid of LO but I must admit that is a DAMN good trade scenario and reasonable,works for everyone.Plus J.KIDD comes back to CALI next season.

  • gugy

    That would be a nice trade Ricky,

    But do you think this lame Lakers FO will have the intelligence and guts to come up with such a trade? I doubt it.

  • gugy

    Plus I doubt Sacramento will get rid of Artest and Bibby at the same time.

  • drake hunter

    LOL….I must agree, Ricky that is a pretty good trade and looking at it in the long run, it helps everyone involved. Email that scenario to Mitch, good job buddy!

  • ab4sure

    [Comment ID #18636 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Good trade for the Lakers..Bad trade for the pacers and kings.

  • ricky

    ab4sure,

    how is this a bad trade for the pacers and kings? perhaps its not the best for the kings, but for the pacers thats really good.

    they get a versatile forward in odom who can run and play in jim o’briens system better than jermaine can. bibby can really push the ball and give them a veteran leader at the point guard with lots of seasonal and playoff experience. also, with the acquisition of kenny thomas, it gives them more veterans and experience which indy sorely lacks right now. it also makes room for the ever improving danny granger and shawne williams by trading away dunleavy for thomas.

    for the kings, its a bitter pill to swallow by trading your 2 best players but they are not gonna get anywhere with bibby and artest as their top guys much like the lakers are right now with kobe and odom. they gotta accept starting anew and bringing in some new players, like kwame with an expiring contract may look enticing and he can be resigned just to give them added toughness in the post. also getting tinsley will give them their replacement at the pg spot, who can play well in the slower paced offensive system of reggie theus. plus with acquiring radmanovic and dunleavy, it gives them more depth at the forward spots and really opens up the court alongside an up and coming star in kevin martin who will be their new leader.

  • ricky

    just imagine the lakers with the new roster after this huge trade.

    lineup:

    center: andrew bynum/mihm
    forward: jermaine o’neal/turiaf
    forward: ron artest/walton/ariza
    guard: kobe bryant/vujacic
    guard: derek fisher/farmar/crittenton

  • ricky

    still keeping the young talent in bynum, farmar, crittenton, and ariza but at the same time bringing in experienced veterans, this really helps the lakers out a lot and also good for all teams involved when looking at in the long run.

  • ab4sure

    Indiana expects much more for JO, dunleavy and tinsley. Dunleavy is having a career year 16/6 along with tinsley who is 14/8/5. They expect JO to get much better once his knee gets better, in fact tonite he had his best game of the season. I just think Indiana wouldn’t do it, the lakers definitely would. The lakers really are only giving up LO who has never fit playing with kobe and because Kwame’s value to other teams is his expiring contract and Vlad really hasn’t contributed to what the lakers expected.

  • ricky

    ab4sure,

    i understand what you are saying but this trade scenario is just for fun. i mean, seriously it will never happen because the exchange of all those big names in one trade is just too much. i was just toying around and thats like one of those fantasy trades that was fun to make up. it works though if those three teams wanna actually make the trade lol! =]

  • ab4sure

    [Comment ID #18668 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Totally understand Ricky…

  • drake hunter

    Ricky, don’t worry AB4SURE never even graduated high school so he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The trade works for everyone. He keeps throwing out these weird stats like he’s in math class or something….LMAO!!!!!!!

  • ab4sure

    [Comment ID #18705 Will Be Quoted Here]

    There you Go Again!!!!!!! LOL…. Making points without facts. Too bad… Ricky made a good attempt at a trade and i just disagreed with part of it. Learn to back up your points with FACTS… But then again that might be alittle diffucult for you.