Saturday, October 25, 2014
Tags Posts tagged with "Los Angeles Lakers"

Los Angeles Lakers

1

Photo Credit: Getty Images

This is turning out to be a season for Pau Gasol to forget. His stat line is a career low, his minutes aren’t where they should be, and he’s already missed eight games with knee tendonitis. Clearly Pau isn’t in full form, and his true potential has not yet been unlocked in Mike D’Antoni’s system.

So with these problems existing, D’Antoni invited Gasol out to dinner at a local Manhattan Beach restaurant to clear the air and talk about how Pau is going to fit into D’Antoni’s new system, according to the LA Times.

Pau had some clear issues he wanted cleared up with D’Antoni. They were as follows:

1. He no longer wanted to be benched in the final minutes of crucial games, or any game for that matter.

2. He wants the ball more in the post instead of on the perimeter, where he is less comfortable.

3. He wants D’Antoni to trust him with the ball in his hands.

Gasol had most recently been benched in the final minutes of the 101-100 win over Charlotte. Being a two- time NBA Champion, Gasol felt he should be playing in these crucial minutes in order to help his team pull away with a W. Sources familiar with the conversation say that D’Antoni agreed to no longer bench Gasol in the final minutes. D’Antoni’s new system also calls for more spacing on the floor, which means he wants Gasol to be out on the perimeter more than in the post where Gasol is most comfortable. And finally, Gasol wants to be trusted as he feels he has earned that trust with the 2 championships he’s been apart of in LA. D’Antoni then had this to say regarding their meal together:

I thought he was great and gave me a lot of insight into a lot of things. It was more of a feeling-out process and what makes him feel comfortable. He’s a very intelligent basketball player. Why wouldn’t I get his opinion about a lot of things?”

Overall this system isn’t quite the perfect fit for Gasol, as he is a post player and this system calls for him playing the perimeter.  However D’Antoni wanting to share a meal with Pau and talk things over shows the great deal of respect that he has for Gasol.  More from that dinner can be seen from here.  Hopefully things get better as the season wears on, and Gasol and D’Antoni can meet halfway with their different ideas of playing basketball.  Bottom line, this dinner was beneficial for both parties, and things should be looking up for Gasol from here on out.

0
Getty Images

Yesterday I wrote an article intimating that Lakers star, Kobe Bryant, was taking a players perspective when expressing his frustrations with the Pau Gasol trade rumors. While I felt it was a great show of leadership for Kobe Bryant to stick up for his teammate, I didn’t think placing public pressure on the organization to make a trade or not make a trade did the team or the organization any good. So on the surface, Kobe’s rant really served no positive purpose outside of showing his support for Gasol, which has been doing all along anyway.

However according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, Kobe’s rant had less to do with his frustration with the Pau trade rumors, and more to do with the structure of the organization as a whole:

The Lakers’ front office is an uncommunicative, rudderless fiasco, and the unrest and paranoia that have been festering for years threaten to derail the team’s plans to ride Bryant to his sixth NBA title while they still can. And much of it can be traced to the growing influence of executive vice president Jim Buss, the owner’s bon vivant son, who has helped transform a great franchise into a steaming pool of nepotism and nincompoops.

Joey Buss, another son of the owner who runs the team’s D-League franchise, has moved into Jackson’s old office. Jesse Buss, 23, who was arrested for alcohol intoxication in Lexington, Ky., on a “scouting” trip in December, has moved into (Ronnie) Lester’s former office.

0
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

To say that Lakers forward, Metta World Peace, has struggled this season would be a gross understatement. He is currently averaging career lows in almost every statistical category, including field goal percentage, where he is shooting a dismal 32% from the floor.

World Peace was outspoken in an interview with CBS Sports a few days ago saying that Lakers head coach, Mike Brown focuses too much on stats while not placing much emphasis on intangibles.

According to at least one Lakers player, whatever intangibles that World Peace believes he brings to the team, do not overshadow his overall ineffectiveness on a night in and night out basis. According to Joe McDonnell of FoxSportsWest.com one Laker player (under the condition of anonymity) expressed team-wide frustration with World Peace, and believes that many on the roster wouldn’t mind seeing the 14-year veteran leave:

“There are a lot of guys in here who’d just like to see him gone…I think we’d definitely be a better team if everyone didn’t have to walk on eggshells when he’s around.”

For all of his quirkiness and off the wall antics, World Peace has almost always carried public perception that he was well liked by many, if not all, of his teammates no matter where he played. However the mounting frustration with how the Lakers are performing, specifically on the offensive end of the floor, has possibly brought the players’ season-long frustrations to a head. World Peace can talk all he wants about intangibles and playing solid defense down the stretch of games, but one has to wonder if he is trying to convince Mike Brown and his teammates that he is truly being productive, or if he is simply trying to convince himself.

0
Photo by Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

There have been multiple rumors over the last couple of weeks concerning potential free agents the Lakers can bring in to improve their roster, and more specifically, their bench production. If it were up to Kobe Bryant, that help would come by way of 3-time all-star guard, Gilbert Arenas. According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Lakers star guard has endorsed the signing of Arenas:

Not only do the Lakers intend to take a look at Gilbert Arenas whenever he holds a workout in his attempt to reignite his career, the team also has Bryant’s blessing to sign him, two people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com. Perhaps just as important, Arenas, 30, has Bryant’s personal stamp of approval. Bryant reached out to Arenas recently through an intermediary to let him know he’s on board with Arenas joining the Lakers. Bryant has reached out to other players this way, most notably Metta World Peace — back when his name was Ron Artest and the Lakers signed him in 2009.

There have been conflicting reports that say that Arenas has already held a personal workout with the Lakers in Los Angeles in addition to an open workout for all interested teams in LA.  The Lakers currently rank dead last in the NBA in bench scoring and the addition of Arenas would be a low risk/high reward move that would give them a proven scorer to anchor the 2nd unit. If they sign Arenas and he pans out, the Lakers might have a shot of getting back into the title race, if he doesnt pan out, he’ll only be in LA for one year on a prorated league minimum salary.

0

No one will mistake the 2011-12 edition of the Los Angeles Lakers for the “Showtime” teams of the 80′s, who were known for their high-flying, up-and-down, entertaining pace. Through the first 9 games of the season, the Lakers average just 8.9 fastbreak points per game, good for 25th in the league.

Lakers guard, Kobe Bryant, says that this should not be a surprise to anyone:

I mean we’re not a transition team by any means so you wont see some of the fluidity that you see from other ballclubs…we’re a very slow team so you’re not going to see fastbreak points, things like that so a lot of games are going to be ugly”

The Lakers open court woes can be attributed to a couple of factors. Number one, the age of the core members of the team. The average age of Lakers players who actually play significant minutes is just over 30 years of age (30.1 to be exact), which easily makes them one of the oldest teams in the league. Number two is their head coach, Mike Brown. Brown is a disciple of San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich, who is known as a defensive-minded coach who preaches a tough, ground-and-pound type of offensive pace that at times have garnered his teams’ the label of “boring.” Brown took that same philosophy with him to Cleveland where his Cavaliers were one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, while boasting one of the more snooze-worthy offensive attacks.

Age and offensive philosophy notwithstanding, at the end of the season all Laker fans will care about is the number they see in the win column, no matter if the final score is 135-120 or 75-70.

Social

Latest

2
The final pre-season game was handed to the new Lakers, but despite a strong effort, the Kings had them beat in the last second.