Been a lot of back and forth about what LA should be doing with the roster and strategy on the floor. Let's discuss some realistic things that can be done this year to give the team the best chance to win.
Anthony Davis trade is most likely NOT happening this year for a few reasons so let's not bombard the thread with that or anything having to do with NEXT season.
A few knowns:
1. LA is going to preserve cap space of a max player (so trading for Beal is a non starter in this thread)
2. LA isn't trading Lebron lol
3. Luke likely isn't getting fired
Suggestions that can get the team going:
1. I think internally LA should consider playing KCP more than Hart. Hart has been a fan favorite but when he's bad it mostly goes unnoticed because he's not one of the high expectation lottery guys. He's also still too slow footed vs quick guards. Not sure if that will change.
Maybe another way to go about this is playing Hart at the 4 and Kuz at the 2 defensively, matchup based of course. They seem to have the opposite issues of each other on defense.
2. They also have to find a way to get Moe Wagner more minutes. This team doesn't need a roster overhaul to shore up more shooting but they need a big thats a threat to shoot. Tyson Chandler has done well for us but he's still an offensive liability at times and a guy like Moe can give the team a bit more spacing for getting to the hole instead of just jacking up 3s.
I think a shooter at the 5 can open up things like Brook did for BI and Zo last year. Moe is still a 1st round pick that was a 3 year college player and I don't believe all his time needs to spent in the G League. They have to figure out if he can contribute like Kuz did last year.
3. I don't believe they'll make any real trades this year due to the AD situation. KCP might be the only value piece they can move in season w/o jeopardizing the assets needed for an AD move. Im not even sure what's on the market that KCP can get back that would actually boost the team.
I rewatched the Warriors game and this team probably is the best built to beat the Warriors over any NBA. Not saying they are the BEST team but they are the best matchup for that team. On the flip side I believe other teams like the Rockets present some issues for them if they continue to stay inconsistent offensively.
I'm not in a panic like some though. Bron covers a lot of offensive issues DESPITE some of the perceived ills the team has. LA doesn't have a 2nd guy avg 20-25 a game but they do have 3-4 guys that can get 15-18 together with Lebron having a big night. Hopefully we can secure Ariza in the buyout market come playoff time to add more shooting and length on D.
What do you guys have?
A. Great thread...
B. You make some good points...
KCP has been effective as of late and seeing Luke use him more would be a nice sight. At the same time Hart has been having a hard time being consistent and really figuring out what his role is. KCP knows why he's out there. He's there to let that thing fly any time he's open. Early on he was trying to figure out how to play with James and this group but he's not thinking about it anymore, and it's been working out well for him. His shot's been pretty wet...
I also don't see them doing much this year in the free agent or trade market because of the AD situation. Too much to risk and there just aren't enough high quality targets available...
Your idea of playing Moe Wagner kinda made me scratch my head. Regardless of who the coach is, a rotation will only be so long. Usually about 9 to 11 players max. 11 is really pushing it. Moe isn't in this rosters top 12 right now, regardless of the skillsets he may posess. He's got a future, but I'm not sure it's anytime real soon...
I do tend to agree with you that there's no need to panic now either. It's not pretty optics but what's happening in January isn't likely to be the reason for winning or losing later. Even for a team like Houston who's scorching right now...All this will be irrelevant with Harden missing a few weeks with injury or a rough patch during a tough portion of schedule.
If this were the playoffs, Lebron would be playing right now. He's mildly injured, but this is precautionary for rest and probably trying to see some growth internally from the youngins. For Bron himself, he wants his team to hold their position but it probably doesn't hurt his feelings that the team looks less potent without him as it adds to his MVP narrative that writers like so much.
1. Let Lonzo initiate more sets when LeBron returns. He defers far too often. The vision this off-season was that LeBron would be used more as an attacker off the ball, I would like to see more of that and it would help address the late game “watch LeBron dribble for 20 seconds” plays. His finishing, penetration, and PnR game have all improved since October and it’s well established by now that he’s a rhythm player. I’m not a fan of BI running the offense late in the game with Lonzo on the bench.
2. Let BI get minutes with Beasley (who is back at shootaround) and Mo. It’s become evident that a stretch big helps unlock some of his strengths in the PnR game. This would’ve helped against OKC when they loaded up on him fairly easily down the stretch and he kept driving into brick walls.
3. Hope Washington buys out Ariza or see what 3/D guys hit the market. I’d like to keep KCP now as he’s the most reliable shooter on the team and his speed/attentiveness off the ball was crucial in tagging Curry/Klay on Christmas. Ingram is the only reliable guy you could stick on bigger wings. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Luke had KCP and Hart guarding PG on Wednesday. Whatever. Harden, DeRozan, George etc., are guys that have torched us, but they torch everyone. If you can make it hard on them late in the game when it matters most, that’s key.
4. Hire a [expletive]ing shooting coach. We’re legitimately at the point where missing free throws is costing us games. There is no reason for a team to shoot below 70% from the free throw line. Luke can make them sign in for free throws and shoot 1,000 each practice but it’s irrelevant when guys like Zo and Ingram have clear mechanical issues.
I agree that more usage for Ball would be a positive thing. He led the NBA last year in fewest seconds spent dribbling in the back court as he makes advancing the ball up court a priority, but at times it looks like he's playing hot potato, doesn't it?
The notion that LeBron would be an off ball attacker is all well and good but we know tendencies take hold and players revert to doing what they do. Bron is more like a 1-3 type of player spacially and mentally. He can play with his back to the basket but it belies what he likes to do the most, which is have vision over the entire court. For a coach it's been hard to argue with because he's not only effective at it, it's not like he's out there looking out only for himself as he pounds the rock. He's surveying the court for everybody and at times it involves too much ball dominance, but with good results more often than not. He's not a Larry Bird type of 3 that was more of a 3-4 type of dude, who played off the ball more and in the post with great passing instincts. SO it's not easy to sell it to him to get off the ball. Plus really, Rondo is the only guy on this roster he probably trusts to make on ball decisions and he's missed so much time that using Bron as a true 4 hasn't happened much...
Are good shooting coaches not in abundance or something? Hard to understand why every NBA wouldn't have one especially if they weren't a good shooting team.
I think the Lakers employed Tracy Murray as their shooting coach so they are familiar with the need. They also talked about hiring a shot doctor for Lonzo but I'm not sure who they chose to fill that role...
Before the season starts, I always write down predictions for the players on his team and James stats. When I saw the roster and free agent signings included no historically great shooters, I wrote down that LeBron would have his worst free throw shooting season of his career. In the past he's been highly fortunate to have a guy like Kyle Korver or Ray Allen or Mike Miller or even Wally Szcerbiak to lean on in practice for advice about his stance, his stroke, his release, his routine, etc.etc.. Without a guy who he clearly feels like is way better of a shooter than him, the discussion and the in-practice shooting competitions change meaning.
Shooting is weird in that it can kinda be contagious. Have one guy whose confidence in shooting the ball is world class and it tends to uplift other dudes. A guy like LeBron especially needs this as shooting has never been his greatest strength. And it couldn't hurt a guy like Lonzo or Kuz or Ingram either...
In the past Bron had Phil Handy and Chris Jent as shooting coaches who have put in the work with him, but IMO none was as effective as Korver or Allen at helping him with his stroke at the stripe. Not sure there will be any free agents available with resume like theirs available this year, so when he goes to the stripe we basically just have to cross our fingers...lol
I'm not convinced the Lakers will be making any roster trades this season. Maybe some waiver signings but nothing else.
To win this year, Ingram has to magically become a reliable scorer, and Ball has to be better offensively and be engaged throughout the game.Just two things that are not going to happen.
Agreed. All around...
Lakers need to start playing Michael Beasley a lot more. Use Beasley like lakers and clippers used/using Lou Williams man. They say they need another scorer.. another shooter. You got one and you're not playing him. He's a mismatch for any team and a certified bucket getter.
Beas is a certified bucket getter. And I'd suspect that he probably would've been playing more had he not been tending to his mother over the past couple months as she was diagnosed as terminal a few months back I believe... They're probably just trying to support the young man and do what ever he needs right now. It actually looks to me like he's lot a bit of weight this year which could easily be due to stress. His mind has likely been absent most of the year even if his body was present...
With that said, really Beas isn't in the 10 man rotation anyway. Tyson coming on board and now Zubac's recent upswing has made it even more apparent that he's one of the odd men out. I have to believe he knew what he was signing up for when he signed, but for a certified scorer like him it does have to be challenging.
The days of the Carmelo type dudes are numbered though, so Beas is probably happy he's just still getting a check...
I honestly wish they'd fire Luke. It's clear they don't have an offensive system. They keep trying to make BI perform like he's KD. He's not that. He still needs development and body maturity to be a reliable scorer on a good team.
There's no reason for him to be running 6 consecutive ISO's in a game. He's not that kinda player. They also in the 3rd year should have a system in place. I've been trying to optimistic but even I'm getting to my breaking point. This team has exemplified too much talent across the roster to be this bad. I'm a believer in the talent but not in how it's being used.
All you have to do is watch a team like the Nets or the Magic to see the difference. I guarantee you if Steve Clifford was coaching this team things would look differently.
A Steve Clifford offense would likely look much different. Not sure this team has the shooters he'd like for what he does, and as the season matures, it's likely his team won't either. But he is a better coach than than Luke.
That said, Luke is doing a nice job in many regards. Even if he loses his job it's not because he's been totally ineffective. The most important skill for a coach in this era is possessing the attribute of being likable, believe it or not. It's more important than X's and O's. Connecting mentally with this generation of player is crucial, and not trying to offend anyone, but I feel like Walton does this as well as any White coach in the League, maybe with the exception of Kerr. Players smell a fraud a mile away, and Luke passes the authenticity and compassion tests. So even if he loses his job, we'll likely be seeing Luke Walton coaching in the NBA for a long time if he so desires...
Bringing in a different mix of new ideas in the form of different assistants may not hurt either. With 4 to 6 coaches on a bench one man never deserves all the blame. For me, this is why Red Auerbach is the NBA's best coach ever. When you look at the photos,it's Red and then the players, with zero assistants. In the 60's one man had to be a wealth of knowledge on the sideline to win, but not today. Just keep guys on the same page, call a smart set every now and then, and stay out of the way of what happens organically... All easier said than done...
Things were clicking with a healthy roster and it seemed as though we were firing on all cylinders against the Warriors on Christmas day.
The past several games have been a pain to watch. Even with KCP finally finding some consistency in his jumper, we just don't have enough fire power to get consistent offense, especially down the stretch.
I'm very disappointed with the way Ingram has performed with Lebron out. I viewed it as a chance for him to prove/display what he is capable of doing and unfortunately it's been very underwhelming. I do disagree with the way he's being utilized in the offense.
He's the type of player who should get iso looks and post ups, but the fact that they consistently force the iso, especially down the stretch when he was clearly not succeeding was a pain to watch.
It's difficult for any team when you remove the 2 most consistent/lethal scoring threats (Lebron and Kuzma) so I get why it's been tough to win games, but there needs to be a much better game plan and execution down the stretch.
As far as being a GM, I'd dangle the idea of trading Ingram depending on what we could get in return. However, the ideas being thrown out such as Bradley Beal just isn't worth the cost amount. Sure he's a good 2 guard, but he's not worth the pricetag.
I'm feeling your disdain with Ingram. I'm right there wit' you! Dude burns me up every game. So many dribbles, 6, 7, 8, while in attack mode when he should be long enough to take one or two dribbles and stretch out to the cup. Aggravating. The unwarranted confidence he shows in his mid-ranger is also perplexing... And I ain't gonna lie, he's hard to look at. Looks bombed out on that good Cali whenever you see the kid and plays with little passion.
Remember how Kyrie started the season like trash as his team and his individual play stunk up the joint? He was rockin' this nasty little 'fro with the haven't shaved in three weeks look on his face, and his game matched that trash. He came back freshly dipped from the barbershop with a clean Caesar and is now having a stellar year, averaging career highs in assists, rebounds, steals, blocks, offensive and defensive ratings, and close in PER. BI needs to do the same... Cut that SH IT off your head and face B.I.!! Clean that garbage up! (Sorry...lol 30 year Barber just venting a bit...)
BI is not an iso player. He didn't play like this at Duke. BI is clearly talented but he needs more development and it's likely he's not ready for a high usage role but that doesn't mean can contribute to the team in meaningful ways. He's still their best on ball option for the top wings out West.
That's the thing that gets lost on this board. BI may not be a star but that doesn't make what he can bring and contribute bad. Zo is clearly talented as well but I believe his issues are more confidence based than BI's. In the end when you add Bron to a roster it hurts development because of the ridiculous expectations. The front office is out here whoring themselves out for a star player not even thinking about how that effects these 20-21 year old guys that are in the SOCIAL MEDIA age.
I still have hopes for the team and it's never good to make assessments after a bad loss. Go watch the Kings win or even the highlights and look at what he was doing vs the Knicks. He was forcing way too much bull[expletive] at the rim vs the Knicks. It's not quality ball and it's not a role he's ever excelled at.
I still don't understand why Luke yanks Zo so much. That [expletive] is as puzzling as anything I've seen from this team.
At this point Luke is a common denominator in what is wrong with this team. They aren't going to be able to make a trade this year so they have to figure out how to get the best out of this roster. Because if they don't it won't matter come time to make a trade lol. If BI isn't performing well they aren't going to be able to move him for Anthony Davis.
I just torched BI, but I do agree he's not a total loss. He can get a team 16 and 6 but I believe he could probably do it even if he played less MPG with this group. His value against replacement (VORP) says that he's the least effective player on the entire roster. Not good.
But they're in a tough place because they need to play him to shop him to potential suiters. He's just not holding up his end of the bargain. Honestly, I'm no expert in the area but Ingram looks like he's depressed. Not sure having to play seconfd fiddle to James has helped that condidtion, but even if he were here alone and James had never come, I can't envison his effectiveness or demeanor being a whole lot different.
Averaging 16 to 19 ppg in the League is nothing to scoff at, but when you have his basketball pedigree coming from the basketball hotbed of Kinston NC, and under the tutelage of Coach K at Duke, the expectations exceed a guy averaging 17 and being an also-ran.
For me Ingram is what he is... A guy who's personality and game are well matched. Low excitement...
Luke is a players coach, the guys like him, and he’s done a great job emphasizing defense and making that a priority for the young guys.
With that said, I’m really puzzled how you can not implement any sort of offensive system outside of run and gun, or read and react. It’s not going to work. I’m not necessarily advocating for his firing, but at the very least, he needs to have a staff that can cover his deficiencies. He doesn’t. He hires his buddies. B Shaw is the only guy with legit coaching experience and I’m pretty confident the team’s offense would look much better if it were something he was in charge of.
This team is losing games in the same ways. It’s inexcusable. Lack of execution down the stretch and ISO ball has made a 4th quarter lead irrelevant. This desire to continuously let Ingram initiate the offense late is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. You have Lonzo, use him. There’s no reason for him to be playing off-ball in favor of Lance and BI.
The lack of offense is the main issue Magic had with Luke and it doesn’t appear as though anything came from that early season meeting. Should’ve brought in some quality assistants yesterday. If Luke wants to stick with his guys, that’s understandable, but he’ll be on the way out with them.
Luke has sold defense and has attempted to sell a heavy ball movement offense. They're right in the moddle of the pack in assists and last years leader in assists has missed quite a few games. The ball movement was clearly better when Rondo was running the second unit.
I've followed James career in social media and in Forums for the past 16 years. If one thing is consistent, it's criticism of the head coach. And I really gotta say, it hasn't been warranted. These guys are no slouches as coaches or they wouldn't have ever advanced that far to take the helm. All of 'em... None were Hall of Fame types, but years from now I believe history will look fondly on more than one of them. When we look down on the history from a far, we'll understand how unique of an experience it was for a coach of James, really unlike any other of his contemporary or previous peers coaching experiences, because of the timing of the social media explosion, and daily interrogations that have become the mode of operation in sports television. James brings a circus. Everywhere. It may not be his fault, but he's grown comfortble with the circus none-the-less. That spotlight has to be crushing for a lot of guys in his peripheral. I feel like Luke's navigated the chaos pretty well...