Lakers Trending Up And Down: 2015-16 NBA Season, Week 3
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The Los Angeles Lakers finally got their second win of the 2015-16 NBA season over a road-weary Detroit Pistons team on Sunday, but had to play creaky guard Kobe Bryant 37 minutes in order to do it.

The strain of doing so knocked him out for the second night of the back-to-back set when the team took on the Phoenix Suns, where the Lakers found themselves outmatched in nearly every facet of the game.

Overall, the season had still be been a rough one, although the focus should be on developing the young players this year anyway. With that said, let’s take a look at who is trending up and who is trending down after Week 3 of the new season.

Kobe Bryant: The Mamba’s first appearance on the “Up” side this season! Obviously the back issues aren’t good, and the uncertainty over whether he will suit up on any given night will be a season-long ordeal, but he was much improved in the last two games. He played an average of 34.5 minutes (yikes!), but Bryant also shot the ball more efficiently against Dallas and then overcame poor shooting against Detroit (6-of-19) by racking up nine assists. Now if he could just stay on the floor…

Jordan Clarkson: One of the knocks on Jordan Clarkson last season was his lack of an outside shot, but this week, he shot 43 percent from three and is shooting 45 percent for the season. This welcomed improvement has allowed Clarkson to maintain his effectiveness in spite of his assist numbers plummeting to an average of just 2.1 per game now that he has D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, and Kobe Bryant to share the ball with. Clarkson still scores routinely out of the pick-and-roll and his blazing quickness allows him to get into the paint with ease. Defensively, he is still a work in progress, but his speed allows him to effectively close out on shooters and he competes on every possession. Assuming he can eventually figure out how to play alongside Russell, the future looks very, very bright for this young man.

Larry Nance Jr.: LNJ doesn’t do much to jump out at you on the box score (5.4 points, 3.6 rebounds in 18.2 minutes this week), but he does all the little things on the defensive end that can really make a difference. While he struggled against Phoenix, Nance was phenomenal at shutting down the Piston’s pick-and-roll, often stepping out to stop the drive and then recovering back to the dangerous Ersan Ilyasova before he could get a shot off. Nance has a lot of growing to do on the offensive end, and is going to be prone to mistakes, but it appears that the 27th pick was well spent after all.

Roy Hibbert: When the Lakers made a deal with the Indiana Pacers to land center Roy Hibbert, it appeared that they may have found a piece of their future core. With young players like D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle on the perimeter, the Lakers badly needed a rim protector, and Hibbert is one of the best at just that. So far, Hibbert has mostly lived up to that billing, effectively protecting the basket while doing what he can to shore up the Lakers lacking defense. He has also been a vocal leader on the court, and just turned in a fantastic week (besides a broken nose) that saw him put up averages of two blocks and 6.2 rebounds per game. What was most encouraging, however, was Hibbert’s oft-lamented shooting, which shot up to 52 percent this week to go along with a stellar 90 percent from the line. Let’s hope for more of this from big Roy.

D’Angelo Russell: This isn’t time to panic, as Russell is just 19 and has only played in 10 NBA games, but thus far D’Angelo hasn’t lived up to the hype. He was particularly poor against the Suns, where the blazing speed of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight was able to burn him time and time again. Russell looked unsure and timid on the offensive end through three quarters before finally turning it on in the fourth, but he can’t wait that long to get his groove going. Overall, Russell has shown himself to be better than advertised on the defensive end, and his long arms are a nice advantage, but he really struggles at dealing with quick guards (many do).

While the rookie is focusing on playing mistake-free basketball, his caution has made it feel as though he has yet to really push down on the gas pedal. Cutting down on turnovers is great, but some risks do have to be taken in order to be effective and more importantly, grow as a player. His shooting (38 percent for the week) also hasn’t helped, as teams are increasingly allowing him to fire away. Russell was too good of a shooter in college to stay in this slump forever and will need time to adjust to the NBA three, but his marksmanship has still been disappointing.

Couple these issues with Kevin Pelton of ESPN, one of the biggest Russell proponents pre-draft, stating that the Lakers should have selected Kristaps Porzingis, and it adds up to a tough week for the No. 2 pick.

Julius Randle: The beast has grown quiet, scoring in single digits in five of his last six games and shooting a brutal 38 percent for the week. During that span, Randle has also hit double digits in rebounds just once, which has to be considered a disappointment after he hung 15 and 11 on the Wolves and 22 and 15 on the Mavs to start the season. Randle’s right hand is nearly non-existent when it comes to finishing, and defenders are catching on that he will compensate by forcing the ball back to his left. Along with a jumper, the development of some finishing ability with his right is crucial. His aggression has been a bit lacking recently as well, which was disappointing considering he matched up with so-so defenders like Ersan Ilyasova, Jon Leur, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tobias Harris this week. Randle has a ton of potential and has shown flashes of absolute brilliance, but as with most young players, finding consistency will be key.

Lou Williams: Sweet Lou was the Sixth Man of the Year last season thanks to his ability to efficiently score points off the bench for the Toronto Raptors. Unfortunately, Lou is still scoring points for the Lakers, but the word “efficiently” no longer applies. During Week 3, Williams shot just 33 percent from the field while being consistently burned on the defensive end. Lou still has an incredible ability to draw fouls (even on three point attempts), but like Nick Young, so much of his value is tied to taking and making tough shots that a cold shooting stretch really limits his effectiveness as a player. With Marcelo Huertas struggling and Metta World Peace thriving, Williams is also being pushed into the point guard position for the second unit, which might be asking a bit too much from this natural scorer.

Byron Scott: Scott continues to make head-scratching decisions across the board. After promising he would stick to a strict minutes limitation for Kobe Bryant prior to the season, Scott threw that plan out the window and pushed the Mamba through 37 minutes of action in order to secure a win against Detroit. Afterwards, Bryant’s legs and back were so beat up from the experience that he lamented the walk to the car. Not good.

Brandon Bass has found himself playing out of position at center in spite of all of the evidence that he isn’t one. Tarik Black, who was 2nd team All-Rookie last season at the position, has languished on the bench. Scott has also continued to play yo-yo with the precious minutes of his young players, leading to a nightly ponderance on Basketball Twitter about which young player will be benched during the fourth quarter so that a veteran can “close” down the stretch. Byron’s post-game comments have become almost comical, with the belief that defense would improve if the team would just “man up” and the notion that tired legs are a sign of weakness. The roster Scott has been given is far from ideal and full of talent duplication, but he isn’t getting the best out of what he has to work with either, and hasn’t done enough to prove that he is catching up to the modern game.

It’s a shame how Russell is an absolute scapegoat! DR is the 5th best rookie stats wise. His overall numbers are better than Johnson and Winslow who are considered far and away better in how they are performing? And Winslow gets more playing time and has a bigger role as back up to Wade and Deng. All of the top ten lotto picks have been given bigger roles than Russell. This only proves he’s being held back in his development, and for what? It’s not like were winning games with the vets. Detroit, MInny and NY have winning records and are giving their rookies the bigger roles they need to grow. Portringiz is shoot the same FG percentage as Russell and he’s leading ROY polling right now? Russell is doing as much being given less playing under the guide of Scott’s pride and rookie hazing mind games.

  • In other news, the 4-6 Rockets have fired Kevin McHale. A team that was a series from the NBA finals 6 months ago? But Scott remains having the worst start in Lakers history 2 years in a row?

  • “but thus far D’Angelo hasn’t lived up to the hype.”
    ===
    That’s why you’re a fool if you believe the hype. The people who know what they’re talking about said he would take time to develop…and, by that standard, he’s actually ahead of the curve.

  • Rockets threw in the towel on the season…can’t believe they panicked so quickly.

    And while I’ve been a big critic of Scott, he has a lot of new pieces to work with and deserves a chance to make them work.

  • Agree. Some of these newbie casual fans are so disrespectful of, and impatient towards this new team, the legend Kobe, and the front office.

    Patience.

  • So because the Rockets make a bad decision, the Lakers should follow suit and do the same?

  • Here’s more evidence against Scott:

    At the beginning of the season he was unsure if he’d start Huertas or Russell. This indicates he had a fairly sizeable role in store for Marcelo. Huertas is barely getting on the court? Yes he’s struggled defensively but who on this team hasn’t? Meanwhile Bjelica, an older Euro rookie like Huertas is getting major minutes in Minny backing up KG and Towns. Minny is not much better than the Lakers defensively giving up over 103 PPG.

    Scott came into this season knowing full well he’d have a whole new roster . Witha ton of youngsters we need to be groomed for the near future. What part of that did he not expect major growing pains? Scott has already stated he’s lost patience, and did so before we’d played 20 games?!? I’ve tried really hard to be patient with Scott but I’ve lost patience just as he has. Time for Jimmy and Mitch to make changes….

  • Another one trending down: Huertas. He has been revealed. Unable to defend, at all. Too slow. Not NBA ready.

  • Scott gotta go!!! I’m not gonna argue this as I’ve detail enough reasons why and could easily show more.

  • I’m sure you could….it doesn’t mean you are correct. What happens when they fire Scott and hire another coach AND end up still with a bad team next year? How many times will we continue this cycle.

  • Get over yourself. I showed concrete proof of misuse and favorable comps to his top ten lotto peers.

  • LOL, but there is a problem if you have to do that. If the eye test alone is not sufficient to show that Russell is on par with those guys there is a real problem. It is bad that so many of you are having to defend the guy. It says that he isn’t getting it done on his own.

    Did you see the article on the Daily News? He clearly has attitude issues.

  • Surprised you said this. It is totally inconsistent with everything else you have said.

  • i can’t stand homos, that being said Porzingis is really breaking my heart lol. Russell if you wanted to be on a reality show you should have just been the next Caitlyn.

    i cant stand scott either, THAT being said Russell man the F@#$! up, ask for the dam ball and play your @$$ off even if you are only 19 you dont need to have experience to play with balls(huevos)!

  • Scott has a fairly long history of provoking bad team chemistry as he wears on players.

  • Notice how you continue to go every direction to defend Russell? It’s everybody else’s fault that he isn’t performing better or he’s performing as well as the others if you look at the numbers…

    I wish he put forth as much effort defending on the court as you are on here defending him.

  • I’m surprised both his ankles aren’t literally broken by now.. he’s terrible.

  • I respect this and i have said the same thing but how far do you let him keep going, If he is still making the same bad coaching decisions involving rotations, substitutions and in game adjustments? We have lost 3 close games that should have been wins in an 11 game span because of things he did or didn’t do as a coach. I don’t mind the losses against teams that are clearly more talented but games that we can win make me mad. So does he stay until ASG, the end of this year, or does he get untill the end of next year when lakers have an option on his contract?

  • Russell has been the weak link in the starting 5 so far. Lakers have no floor General out there which makes everything more difficult. He’s not being aggressive and getting guys the ball where they need it, nor has he figured out how to orchestrate an offense. I understand he has to learn the hard way but they will keep losing every game until he mans up. Stop walking the ball up, push the damn thing and always be in attack mode.

  • I didn’t believe the hype and wanted Okafor. I’m looking objectively at Russell and in doing so I see a kid with potential that’s being handicapped by his HC. The eye test is misleading as his production has him in the top 5 of all rookies. Given we’re almost as bad as the Sixers and have no better PG option on roster, there’s really no reason for Scott not to let Russell sink or swim with full access like Okafor.

  • Move the man to the SG position is my opinion , let JC, which have a season under his belt, play the PG. Didnt JC work with Nash
    ‘. JC is the only one that can penetrate and create for others.

  • You seriously insult gay people that way? I’m a lesbian. Your post is wrong and offensive.

  • The use of the word “Beast” on Randle by his fellow younger teammates during training camp has definitely proven to be premature. He’s got a long ways to go. It seems like he gets his shot blocked 2-3x per game.

  • its his first year. you can see he can play like a beast, but we are talking about a rookie here. He will learn. give him a year or two.. Blake wasnt that good his second year. he just could jump out the building.

  • i dont know what to tell you flag me i guess, i dont care about lesbians(but the hotter the better), g@y men on the other hand is disgusting. just like you have the right to be lesbian i have the right to my thoughts.

  • Ask for the ball?!? What part of Scott not trusting DR with full PG duties don’t you understand? How can he be the floor general when Scott is constantly giving that platform to JC, Kobe and Randle? How can he get past the growing pains if SCott pulls the rug from under him anytime he makes a mistake? Meanwhile Mudiay is allowed to have the highest amount of turnovers of all rookies, and is developing much more rapidly.

  • other teams know he’s going to his left, very easy to defend he needs to work on being more versatile

  • You have to understand Daryl is right. D’angelo isn’t getting consistent minutes. He’s playing like 5 minute stretches like he’s on a minutes restriction. & when he subs he takes out 5 at a time instead of 1 at a time. I bet if D’angelo was the primary ball handler he just assist would sky rocket. But he’s on uber floor with players that rather dribble the shot clock away Instead of shooting it when he gets them open.

  • Huertas wouldn’t be bad on a good team that could help absorb his weaknesses, but when he’s laying on a bad team he adds insult to injury.

  • Don’t you just love that LN filter right now? Seems like hate and bigotry is waaay more acceptable than swearing…

  • He’s gonna have his ups and downs this year so we just gotta roll with it. He needs to get his shot blocked a few times so he can realize he needs to use his off hand and do some fakes and improve that footwork. This is all part of the process but he will have many good games mixed in with some poor ones this year.

  • exactly. If they let him walk wout even getting a trade, ill be piss. but i want him to stay, and become our PG..

  • Right now, that year of studying the game doesn’t look like it’s done much. He looks just as lost as any another rookie out there. And why didn’t he do anything about his right hand during this time? Daym! I want to see him abuse somebody again! <:-)

  • This is the mindset icame into this season with. I know it’s still very early but I don’t see Scott changing his prideful stripes. That being said, I’m ready for change sooner rather than later.

  • true, but at this moment, dont Russ look a little timid? i mean i understand, he is doing everything BScott is asking for him to do, not to mention he is playing behind JC, Kobe and JR. but shooting seems not to be a problem. shouldnt B Scott let him get his feet wet, where hes more comfortable, and thats shooting. except, giving him the keys to the car, teach him a little. idk but im putting it all on BSCOTT. hes the coach.

  • My eye days he’s fine.and that he’s bein hn held back by the coaches.
    My eye days he’s playing like an invisible veteran, in that he’s making the right decisions, doing everything right except he’s not adding stats on the box score.

    Maybe this is a scott curse? We saw t he same thin hn with kelly, ABrown, randle at times.

  • Mudiay has a year of pro experience under his belt already. He’s further along than Russell right now.

  • two rookies, and a soph player. A legend(GOAT) playing, hopefully his last year. no chemistry what so ever. i dont expect much from our Lakers. i do expect for them to catch on after all star break. lets see what happens.

  • Russell is the 19 year old rookie, right? He has no track record yet like Scott yet you wanna clown? FOH

  • He appears to be ahead. He has more confidence in being a combo guard, but he’s also very turnover prone, make a lot of bad decisions and is playing on the edge of being out of control.

    Mitch got the pick right.

  • scott? lol who on the team listens to scott? i know russell is young and raw thats why all i want to see from him right now is some heart

  • I expect management to fire somebody or else tickets from now and attendance will be an all-time low!

  • I would have more faith in Russell if he we’re out there trying harder and making mistakes.

  • idk about our F.O. . they are not making the right moves. but time will tell.. still early. i just do not have no faith in Mitch or Jim. i dont know. Dr Buss and West would have picked the pick we need. there eye for talent is excellent. i think Jeanie and Magic can get that back. but who knows

  • russell is always hiding in the corners anyway, maybe he should play the 3 lol

  • yeah show some aggression. I dont care if he has 10 turnovers. Play like the play maker and guard with vision we all keep hearing about.

  • stupid mitch cupcake we turned the corner yeah right liar now I can see what he was a former lakers schrub player!

  • lol just had a picture of that lmao .. idk what going on behind close doors.. its to the point i dont think him and Clarkson get along.. idk

  • When he does go right, he goes back and tries to shoot a soft shot with his left. He definitely need to learn how to use his body to shield the defender like Zach Randolph.

  • But Russell can still look to get out on the break. Clarkson does it when he runs the point.

  • Clarkson is aggressive. Goes at it. Russ playing like Emmit Smith last year with Dallas Cowgirls lol

  • Really if he would be aggressive maybe the fans could at least see some flashes of what this kid could be. That the difference between Mudiay and Russell. Mudiay is not afraid to make mistakes.

  • at this moment not Scott BUT, its still early im waiting til all star break to start complaining

  • agreee but he looks too sleepy and no-existent sometimes would not be surprised if ryan west replaces him!

  • Or maybe, Randle needs to move to the other side of the key where he’s not at an immediate disadvantage by being a lefty. But in many systems that would be called a s.f.

  • Houston yanked McHale awfully quick. Scott is losing a locker room fulla rookies tho. He’s being questioned for the same deficiencies he’s been fired for in his other three stints as A HC.

  • Remember , Randle is a year behind schedule. The team’s mantra has always been to let him get comfortable playing his game on the NBA level, and then start to make adjustments. He’s 11 games into his pro career.

  • nance and brown have been solid benchrole players mitch deciding on top draft pick fail no offense to dangelo but I think he was not for this team dont hate the kid justsaying mitch overthought dumbly!

  • That is exactly what I am remembering. The advantage he was supposed to have though was that year of studying the game but I just don’t see any result of that. I still believe he will come around though, but not as quickly as I thought.

    (Gawd daym that LN filter for striking down on the wrong words!!!)

  • No, he should stay at PG…whether it’s with the first team or the second, he should play PG full time. It’s a hard position to learn as it is, no need to complicate thing by teaching him SG too.

  • I think JC is hitting Russ with tough love. Remember JC credited Russ for helping him match his career high. Kobe constantly says Russ gets him the ball in good position to score. I’ll admit Russ can be a bit lackadaisical, there seems to be a disconnect in how he responds to Scott. Not only that, Scott is not willing to let Russ play through mistakes. Kobe has stated several times over he understands Russell’s frustration.

  • Agreed. He’s basically a rookie so being inconsistent is to be expected. I am very happy that he’s shown what he can do once his game fills out. He’s going to be good once he gets a few moves, dev his jumper and right hand, and improves his defense.

  • I’d be in support of that move/experiment especially since he dribbles way too much for a pf imho.

  • Randle is just getting by on his talent and instincts right now.

    He looks like he’s never been taught how to post up. For as big and strong as he is, he should just post up on the low block, take one or two back down dribbles and power up to get fouled or a layup. When rebounding, his first instinct should be to box out anybody on the other team….but nope.

    He plays like a kid on a playground

  • Not a huge Okafor fan myself, but I agree that Russell should be playing more….what do we have to lose at this point?

  • I don’t know about this being a BS issue. If Russell was taking it to the rim aggressively I’d say BS might be the problem even if it was only 1 or 2 a game. He’s taken it to the rim maybe 1 or 2 times the entire season. He can still show something 25 min a night yet he’s always so passive. He’s got to show something first before I believe BS is holding him back.

  • I agree about Scott’s deficiencies, i’m just not a fan of firing him just yet. He should absolutely finish the season and, unless he loses the team or a “no brainer” comes along, should probably finish next year as well. Lakers hold the option after that, so they can simply choose to not exercise it.

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  • He has a fairly short standing reach (for a PF) and an explosive first step. The low block is not where he’s going to be most effective. Hopefully his rebounding improves.

  • Russell started the season off making very few mistakes. Scott told him he wanted less mistakes given how Russ played in Summer league.

    Scott flip flops with his message too much.

  • Not true. Scott pulls him because he not trying harder. He’s not applying his game to the offense. He can look to get out on the break more. Like Clarkson does when he runs the point. It will open up passing lanes and he can use that court vision we keep hearing about. He doesn’t have to walk the ball up all the time.

  • It’s too early to say who’s going to be better. Personally I would of liked the more athletic player for defensive reasons.

  • ….in college, his one year off while he was hurt with the Lakers, while he was in high school

  • Agreed — I like Horry’s suggestion of moving him to SF and Nance to PF for stretches…could give him a very favorable matchup.

  • We’ve seen flashes but Scott rarely lets the kid run things enough to see those flashes extended.

  • You have a right to your thoughts but why are you expressing it on a basketball forum? If The Brow came out and was traded to the LAL would you be upset? I sure wouldn’t since I could care less about his sexual orientation and do care about his basketball skills.

  • I haven’t. I mean the kid has a good stroke i’ll give him that. But passing wise and court vision wise. I haven’t seen it. And it was his passing and court vision that got him the 2nd overall pick right? Where is it?

  • Max him? Pretty good bet that somebody will offer him a “poison pill” deal upwards of $18m

  • If Russ has more than three turnovers, Scott will yank him even if he’s playing aggressive. Just think back to last season when Lin was agressive but hs d a few turnovers? Familiar mind games huh?

  • Who is clowning? You act like the guy is not getting a chance. He is getting over 20 minutes a night to prove what he can do. He is getting every day in practice to prove what he can do. Stop taking up for the guy. If he is great, it will show.

    Just look at Clarkson.

  • I haven’t seen anything that gets me excited about his play. A few solid passes aren’t enough to get me excited.

  • It would be all the same if Scott was letting him play 40 minutes a night and he was messing up. There would be just as many people on here then saying Scott should be fired because he is putting the Lakers future in the hands of a 19 year old that is messing up.

    Scott can’t win.

  • Until they scrap Scott and/or the system, unfortunately Russell will never get true PG duties … in Princeton offense, Wikipedia says positions become less important and on offense there is no point guard, shooting guard, small forward or power forward.

  • Charles Barkley, Elton Brand, Karl Malone, Zach Randolph, and Al Jefferson were effective undersized power forwards that posted up on the low block. There are more that I’m not even mentioning

    He lacks the polish and just doesn’t know how

  • You can’t blame Scott for this kid not playing aggressively. The experts are even questioning Russell aggressiveness. So it not just Byron. But you can put it all on him if you want too.

  • yeahrandle gets a3rdyearextension clarkson woks his but offand deserves a reasonable contract!

  • You want the ball to be equally passed around by every player, yet at the same time you want the ball in Russell’s hands??? Really?

  • The assumption is that if Russell had more opportunity he’d be much more productive. I am not seeing that, sorry. Right now defensive are pretty much ignoring him, if he became the central focus of our offense, he’d become the central focus of the defenses. I have not seen anything that would lead me to believe he’d do well in a situation like that.

  • Don’t be sorry. Daryl is convinced that EVERYBODY is wrong about Russell except he and Russell.

  • Karl ran P&R with stockton, Zach Randolph has a much higher standing reach (they estimate his wingspan at 7’5″), Brand I don’t remember (he was a clipper LOL), and Charles Barkley was a freak. Hard to bet on Randle being a freak too.

    Not that he shouldn’t have a few post moves, but he looks much more comfortable and his skills are bet utilized as a face up player.

  • “a bit lackadaisical” that is inexcusable for the Number 2 overall pick. Russell is not the first rookie to have to work through the growing pains and be frustrated. You point out Kobe and JC, they both went through their share of frustrations. Nobody changed the system for them…they had to work through it. Russell needs to too.

    If he can’t handle this, then he shouldn’t have come out of college early. Nothing is going to be handed to him. He needs to earn it.

  • Either way, his game needs some polish. He’s a one trick pony offensively right now

  • In all fairness, Buss bought the team at the end of a rebuild and, frankly, lucked into Magic and Worthy. Once that core was gone, the Lakers went nearly a decade before another Finals’ appearance.

    These things take time. Sux but it is what it is.

  • I am a fan of Okafor but I understand the critism of him. But if you didn’t like Okafor because of his lack of quickness and are worried about defense. Why did they go with Russell? He’s even slower and an even worse defender.

  • That was what I saw before the season started and it should have happened. The Lakers could have had a starting lineup of Clarkson, Bryant, Randle, Nance and Okafor. Four of those guys would have been the foundation for the next great Lakers’ team.

  • You’ve got to look deeper. Russell is running the offense. He’s not given full ball handling and play calling duties by Scott. Scott has openly admitted this. That in itself shows a lack of trust that leads to the disconnect.Russell has stated on a couple of occasions “we just need to do a better job of trusting each other” that is proven in how we often see the lack of man and ball movement more often than not. This is where Scott must step in and hold everyone accountable instead of defaulting to his usual vets trust mode. Especially when no ones collectively on the same page in trying to get it done.

  • The longer the season goes the less rope i can give Byron. My patience is just wearing thin with him. I didn’t hold last year against him because our team was crap and i wasn’t optimistic this year either but byron makes me want to pull my hair out. There is no reason JC isn’t playing 36 mins a game and either him or russell need to be on the floor at all times. Lou and Huertas should not being running the offense except in a foul troubled pinch.

  • Preach brother! At least Okafor is giving you some scoring with his poor defense. But he’s also getting some block as well tho. I’m an Okafor fan too.

  • Where I never agreed was in making the decision about one compared to the other. In looking at what we had before draft day, it was clear that the biggest issue was that the Lakers had no consistent low post offense. They had nobody that they could throw the ball to in the post and know that he was going to get a basket or get fouled. They had a guy that had played point guard for a portion of the season in JC. Even if he wasn’t the long term solution, he was something.

    Plus, Okafor REALLY wanted to be a Laker.

  • To add to your point Old man Buss also didn’t have to contend with the current CBA he could just go out and spend more than the small market teams.

  • If the Lakers begin to win games and end up with a better record than last year but still miss the playoffs will you still say that Byron should go?

  • Why do we have to look deeper. It should be easy to see great things from Russell. We should be able to watch one game and see enough reason why he was drafted. Instead, we have to analyze stats just to see his worth.

  • Actually Id say our biggest glaring hole coming into the year was defense. We didn’t have trouble scoring last year we just could keep the other team from scoring more. we really needed a rim protector and a lockdown perimeter defender.

  • Dr Buss had a lot of great basketball people in the FO helping make the decisions. Jim Buss fired a lot of people and put friends and family in their place.

  • I don’t understand all of the Jim buss hate his picks on coaches hasn’t been great but other than that idk what he has done specifically that hurt this team that can’t also be blamed on kuptchak

  • BTW in 18 years or so of playing in the NBA, I find it hard to believe that Karl NEVER had a straight post up…..he did.

    I would also argue that Julius is faster up and down the court than Charles ever was. Their physical “freakness” is comparable I think

  • We were not going to fix defense with the lottery pick UNLESS we went with Winslow (which I suggested before the draft). Had the Lakers took the focus of defense this team could have looked much different. The Lakers could have had a lineup of Rondo, Bryant, Winslow, Ed Davis and Hibbert. That is a defensive lineup…but somewhat offensively challenged.

  • Byron has surprised me, and I honestly feel, I will be happy with Byron’s coaching

    Defense has gotten better – still cannot figure out effectively slowing down, penetrating guards. Randle and Russell Defense is exceptionally Horrible – Lazy

    Not sure about the Development of Young players, i.e., Brown to D’League

    When will Upshaw be ready, to help protect the Rim?

  • Then why did they let Wes Johnson and Ed Davis walk? I can see Ed Davis got away from them but letting your best defender go is stupid for a team with defensive issues. Since Lou is then a huge mistake since he provides little in the way of defense.

  • Charles was pretty quick Ron…I’d differ with you there, especially the early Sixers years.

  • yes i do i just don’t see him being the long term answer as coach. If he was the right coach to start with it wouldn’t have taken half a dozen interviews for him to get the job. I think he was always hired as a place holder to appease magic and the rest of the old lakers.

    Let me ask you a question. If we have the worst record in the NBA and lose our pick do you keep scott?

  • Don’t you remember….Both Johnson and Davis got away while the Lakers were trying to get the major free agents. By the time they realized that wasn’t happening, both had signed elsewhere.

  • Julius is looks just as quick (especially with the ball) to me. I don’t think Julius is as good a leaper

  • Jim fired all the guys who worked for his dad. That’s why i dont think Jim is the right guy for the job. However I cant be to mad at every thing he’s done but the D’Antoni hiring was bad. The Mike brown hiring was also bad. I wasn’t happy with the draft pick i wanted Okafor.

  • It’s not about the occasional post up play. It’s how they go out and get their points consistently. For Karl that was out of the P&R and in transition.

    A 6’4″ PF dominating is just unreal. It’s just not something that you can easily duplicate so it’s a bad idea to use him as an example.

  • @lorenzozampighi:disqus @jjlakersfan3977:disqus Im not saying they made the right decision or have shown a clear focus on building this team I was just arguing that a low post scorer wasn’t our biggest issue. We already have kobe who works great out of the post and Randle who initiates in the High Post but needs the paint open to get to his spots.

  • I wanted KAT. Once he was gone, I get going small…just not much too available (not sold on Mudiay yet either).

  • It’s funny because people are upset with Jim for sticking with the past in hiring Scott and paying Kobe, but then they are also upset with him for getting rid of the past in letting Phil go and getting rid of a couple of the other old guard.

    Mike Brown is a solid defensive coach. He had the wrong roster for him…but he did get that team to the post season.

    D’Antoni was actually not a bad idea. It didn’t work but the idea was sound. The reason why it didn’t work was he didn’t complete the plan and get him a roster to fit his system.

  • Davis signed after the first meeting with LMA where it was clear he wasn’t coming to the LAL. The second meeting was such a pity party it was embarrassing. Wes signed a week after that. They had time and if defense was an issue they should of made it a priority to sign them.

  • What kind of symmetrical roles has Scott defined? I see nothing but conflicts of interest. To be fair, the FO is in part to blame in the assembly of this roster. Scott did have say in who was let go and added tho. That said, I charge Scott for the dysfunction in team chemistry. Scott want Russell to be a floor general in running the offense but wants Randle to bring up the ball and take advantage of his ball dominate face up game. Then we have Kobe needing the ball in his ISO pump fake sweet spots, or JC sharing play calling/PG duties with Russ so JC can function in probing the paint. Where does Russell fit in learning how to lead in all of that? How can he aggressively attack the rim when he’s charged with only high post hand offs?

  • If you were to look at actual defensive stats you would see that Okafor is really bad on defense. Also you can have 1 bad defender in your front court and or backcourt at a time and still be competent on defense. The lakers already had a bad defender in randle penciled in their front court.

  • Both Davis and Johnson were gone by the time the Lakers would have wanted to sign them.

    Plus, neither of them showed enough to make the Lakers pay them what they wanted.

  • If “we have Kobe” and Randle initiates in the high post”…why do we have no post game? Our offense was in as much need as the defense. Plus a team that soundly runs their offense inside out, will be better defensively because they control the pace of the game.

    Besides even if they focused on defense and kept Wes or Ed, they still needed to draft somebody and Okafor was the guy.

  • That’s why Randle would not have been the power forward once drafting Okafor.

  • I could, but you would simply disagree and we would still be right where we are now. So…instead, I will just say, let’s agree to disagree.

  • Defense was a big issue last year yet their focus wasn’t signing their best defensive players? Toronto made getting more defense a priority during the offseason and brought in people to accomplish this or FO did not.

    Davis at 7 mil is a good price for a rotation big. Wes Johnson signed for the vet min. I think they were both steals at those prices.

  • You can’t put some of the blame on the FO but then still advocate firing Byron.

  • How can Russell show great things when Scott is not allowing it? Scott is not willing to let him work through growing pains. Too short a leash.

  • i will not argue with you at all I am generally interested in why you think that Scott is the coach for the rest of this year and the next.

  • Jim got rid of a lot more than just Phil. He gutted the FO of a lot of talent and replace it with friends and family. This is one of the beefs between Magic and Jim.

  • JJ i disagree with the D’Antoni take. It was a very bad idea. We had two 7ft skilled post players (howard not so much) with a run and gun coach. Who hates post play. Bad idea.

  • That’s what i was talking about the front office guys. The ones who helped his dad to be successful.

  • You act like Russell cant apply his game to the offense. Why is it that Jordan can do it and be affective as a two guard. But Russell cant do it as a guard. Its not Byron or the offense. It’s Russell approach to the offense. he not applying his game to it like Clarkson does.

  • Russell was aggressive in summer league and Scott beat him up over mistakes. Russell scaled back in cutting down those mistakes but lost aggressiveness in the process as Scott took the ball out of his hand. This is evidenced in how he moved Russ to SG game one of the season and openly admitted he was not letting Russ have major play calling responsibility.

    I could go on in further detail on how Scott is to blame. Don’t get me wrong, Russell needs to be more assertive in spite of Scott but I cannot ignore or pardon the in spite of part. Both JC and Kobe have tried to keep Russ encouraged in saying just stay ready. That’s telling.

  • I’m glad you asked….in fairness, this is hindsight…

    I would have traded Randle on draft day to the Kings, Pistons or Heat in exchange for their lottery pick. Based on who those teams selected, that would mean that the Lakers brought back Cauley-Stein, Johnson or Winslow in return.

    Depending on which one it was would determine the Lakers next move of either signing Rondo or Hibbert. If it was Cauley-Stein, they could have signed Rondo and had this starting lineup…Rondo, Clarkson, Bryant, Okafor and Cauley-Stein. Had they taken Johnson/Winslow, they could have signed Hibbert and had this lineup….Clarkson, Bryant, Johnson/Winslow, Okafor, Hibbert. Either lineup would have been a much more cohesive unit with natural roles instead of what they have now.

  • He’s had plenty of opportunities on straight post ups, isolation plays, jump shots and dribble drives. It doesn’t matter what system you put a guy in, if he can’t finish with his right hand, can’t shoot a jump shot, and doesn’t rebound, he’s gonna be ineffective.

    I’ve watched all the games from beginning to end. He’s inefficient and just doesn’t have the polish to his game right now.

  • You are talking about two different issues. Improving the defense was an issue but it was separate from the draft. If the Lakers were going to address defense with the draft it would have meant Winslow or Cauley-Stein.

  • Buried behind JC, Kobe and Randle all handling the ball more. Also Scott not letting him run the show by design.

  • Also in regards to rebounding, the “system” doesn’t have anything to do with that. It’s all about desire and boxing out.

    He could easily have 6-8 more points on put backs alone

  • LOL….we know you could go on. There is a saying that you might want to think about….”can’t see the forest for the trees.”

  • I agree with the “buried behind” statement. That’s one of the reasons I continue to say it was a bad move selecting him.

    Selecting Russell didn’t fit the roster. Regardless of those that say you draft best available, I still contend you draft what fits and fills needs. The guard position could have easily been improved through free agency. However, big mean are NEVER easy to come by.

  • He can’t when he’s not allowed to. Scott is only giving him limited opportunities to do so. Not sure why you can’t see that?!? Especially when Scott has openly admitted it.

  • Daryl team chemistry has to be built. You just dont get it after 11 games with 9 new guys mostly rookies. Everyone keep preaching give Russell time it’s only 11 games. Well Byron should get that same consideration. Give him time to build the chemistry. give him time to develop the young rookie. Russell has never play an 82 game season. Believe me he going to get all the playing time and then some. More than likely his minutes will increase in the second half like Clarkson’s did last season. Look Byron helped to develop Clarkson as a 46th pick into a starter after one season. And Clarkson didn’t get the early season playing time Russell’s getting. Give him a chance to do the same with Russell.

  • Pau is what made it not fit. Howard could have fit well in his system just like Amare did. They should have traded Pau for a stretch 4 and another wing perimeter shooter. They should have also traded for Lin at that point (can’t believe I said that). The truth is that Lin worked best with D’Antoni.

    Oh, and another note about Brown. Brown got the Lakers to the best record in the Pacific his first year as head coach.

  • What do you mean he’s not allowed too? You mean to tell me if Russell were to get the team out on a fast brake to get the team easy buckets and open the passing lanes. Byron would take him out? No he wouldn’t. What you dont get is Russell has to make his opportunities. Push the ball when you have the opportunity. Byron is not stopping him from doing that. Russell simply not doing it.

  • That Laker team was not a run and gun team. And it had more to do with Pau. That was an older team that couldn’t have handed that type of pace. That’s how Kobe tore his achilles.

  • PJ Carlisemo was fired after 10 games in a very similar situation as HC of OKC. Brooks was hired and they kept losing but Scott stuck to grooming the youth. After going 3-29, that patience in the youth began to pay off as they ended the rest of the season strong. The nec t season they added even more youth and win over 50 games as reward for allowing KD and Westbrook to go though the growing pains.

    Scott is not doing this and is on record saying he’s not willing to.

  • Kobe tore his Achilles playing 40 plus minutes. You missed my point which was that you change the roster to fit the system.

    When the Lakers jumped so soon in firing Brown they had limited options. D’Antoni was by far the best available coach (hasn’t “best available” been what people keep saying). That means if you sign him, you start trading players. Pau could have easily brought back some players that fit the system. They could have signed or traded for others as well.

  • I believe Scott will finish the year anyway. What if Lakers fire Scott and hire a new coach like Tom Thibodeau, but then some hot FAs like Durant asks for a different coach he likes to play for during the summer?
    Because of that, we are stuck with Scott and he is the answer to get Ben Simmons.

  • OKC had no expectations placed on them. The Lakers are not the franchise for rebuilding. Byron can’t afford to do what you suggested. If he did, there would just as many people wanting him fired for doing so.

  • But Brooks was eventually fired too for not getting the team over the hump. Brooks got the benefit of that team coming into their own while on the job. PJ could have just as easily done the same given the time.

  • No Simmons…build with what you have.

    You do make a valid but sad point. Players should not be dictating who the coach is.

  • LOL what does “grooming” mean!? Just let them play the whole game, make mistakes, and lose?!

    In any walk of life when you make mistakes, to move forward you have to correct that. As of now, Russell and Randle are making mistakes on both ends of the floor and Byron is correcting their mistakes by not giving them all the minutes.

    You use OKC as an example…how many championships do they have? Kobe had to earn his minutes early in his career and has 5 chips.

  • Clarkson has been playing well, but we need more from him. He needs to shoot like 20 times a game.

  • JJ your my boy and most times we agree. But Phil was the best available. Given the two 7ft on the roster and the triangle as a proven system. Versus D’Antoni system that Howard nor Pau would be affective in. Not to mention D’Antoni system was as proven as the triangle.

  • Keep in mind I wanted Okafor. I’m just looking at how Russell is being used by Scott.

  • Because he playing fantasy Basket ball and not allowing basket ball people help him make the decisions. One of the guys he hired has no basket experience on any level. Just a bar stood buddy. Look it up.

  • I see the whole forest…the good trees and the bad. You don’t see me focusing on one player.

  • I want Russell to be freed. Mistakes or not. It’s not about passed around equally.

  • But you can’t blame Scott because of a problem he didn’t create. Did you notice how Russell’s most productive games were Randle’s weakest and also Kobe wasn’t playing? In fact, Clarkson had problems in one of them as well. Russell is the piece that needs to be let go.

  • Phil would have been the best available, I agree. But for how long? And how bad would it have looked for the team to go to Phil a third time?

  • See, this is a perfect example of why Byron’s job is so tough. You don’t want equal sharing of the ball. Others do claiming that the GSW system or the Spurs system is best. Byron can’t win if he tries to please people. No coach can.

  • Does it matter for how long? Had we had Phil Howard might have stayed as well as Gasol. Taking a coach back who won you 5 titles in 10 years for a third time. I dare anyone to call that a bad move.

  • First, it gives Phil too much power. Second, I don’t think Howard is a winner. Third, Pau no longer played well for the Lakers. Fourth, if what everybody has said is true, the NBA has changed and the Triangle no longer works.

  • Yes, he does. And I see at least two reasons for that:

    1) firing BS would add up to the general chaos. And you don’t want that when you’re on rebuilding mode with so many young players to develop, do you? With that said, I’d like him out as soon as next summer.

    2) like elite players, premier coaches would not want to join the Lakers now…

  • Phil stated he wasn’t asking for any type of additional power with the team. Can’t argue the Howard and winner thing. But we would be a better team with him. Pau still puts up great numbers for the bulls. Phils Ny triangle and his 4th overall pick look a whole lot better than what we have. I’m just sayin.

  • Sometimes I wish BS would unleash the young dude and sometimes I’ve got the feeling that Russel himself is indeed too focused on playing mistakes-free basketball.

    With that said, assessing Russel at this stage of his career is plain stupid. He might very well be a bust but we won’t know until at least two to three years from now.

  • They do, and all that you said is true, but to me it just seemed like a quick fix but not a long term solution. The same way we are seeing Kobe not handle B2B and miss multiple games, Phil may have done the same with his bad back. Phil was not the future, and in some ways, a D’Antoni-type coach is.

    I wasn’t in favor of D’Antoni either in the moment, but in hindsight I have changed. In fairness, how would his best Phoenix teams that had guys like Joe Johnson, Barbosa, and Diaw have fared in today’s NBA?

  • That’s why i would have never let his presence be a reason for not getting Okafor. It is said that the Lakers didn’t get Okafor because of the prospect of putting him with Randle on the defensive end. Well, why couldn’t they have just traded Randle?

  • He fired more or less everyone in the scouting department. One of the guys he fired was Ronnie Lester, the lead scout with 25 years experience. He is the guy credited with finding Bynum. One of the guys he hired to fill in the scouting department was Charles Osbourne. Apparently “Chaz” qualifications included being a drinking buddy to Jim and being a “great bartender” with no basketball experience.

  • Have the Lakers done a poor job scouting talent since these changes? Is talent scouting the real issue?

    The issue has been the timing of their decisions…not the decisions themselves.

  • I hear ya. And the more they try to prove that they are, the worse it gets.

  • Name one guy they drafted since Kobe that has impacted the team. Bynum is the only one I can really think of till Clarkson.

  • A lot of little decisions that have slowing made the LAL worse. When Jim took over LAL were a WCF team. Now we are a perennial 20 win team. It’s just not a coincidence.

  • A whole lot happened that was outside of his control during that time. How different would this team have been without the injuries?

  • You do realize that by your own statement it would mean that the scouting prior to Jim’s changes was bad as well?

  • You’re right it would have been another quick fix that may have only delivered one more championship if any if you factor in Kobe’s injuries. But even if Phil move into a front office role after coaching one last season with the Lakers. Again we would have the guy who had the vision to take

    Kristaps Porzingis. When everyone was talking about Okafor Towns Russell and Mudiay. Now granted he never had the chance to take Okafor Towns or Russell. But remember Mudiay was considered a #1 overall coming out of high school. His stock fell a bit when he skipped college to play in China. But no one would have booed had he took Mudiay at 4 like they did Porzingis. Once again Jim missed an opportunity to bring in a great basket ball mind to help him.

  • Firing the scouting department was within his control. Not bringing in analytics (and looking dumb for this) was within his control. Bickering with Jeanie during FA was within his control. Letting go of Dwight and Pau without getting anything back was within his control. Trading for a 38 year old point guard was within his control.

    I can see failing to win a championship due to injury as bad luck. Turning a championship team into a consistent 20 win team is not bad luck.

  • So he’s solution is to fire absolutely everyone and hire his drinking buddy? That’s going to work out great! Let’s not even try to be competent when we can fail and be wasted!

  • First off, the scouting department and analytics are subject areas for this discussion. Not knowing the inner workings of the team, I’m not about to comment either way. Houston is all about analytics and they just fired their coach and have started off poorly.

    The bickering between Jeanie and Jim really seemed to be more media hype than actual reality. If it was really as bad as stated, Jim would already be moved.

    The Lakers knew when they traded for Dwight that he could walk for nothing. There was nothing Jim could do about it. I honestly think the bad decision was in getting him in the first place.

    At the point that they would have traded Pau he had no trade value. The Lakers actually did offer him a salary to stay which he declined.

    2 seasons of 20 wins is still just two seasons. You can’t place the “consistent” tag on something after only 2 seasons.

  • Scouting is not the issue unless it was the scouts who advocated for Russell. I think that decision was more about direction for the team.

  • Everything is subjective so we might as well stop talking about this team altogether if that’s your feelings.

    And it’s soon to be 3 seasons.

  • JC was allowed full access only after injury and Lin not being in favor with Scott. No comparison in how they’re being brought along.

  • The issue is direction of the team but how can we have direction when our FO isn’t competent and lacks vision? This is to me the root problem of which BS is just a symptom.

  • LOL…do you think Phil would have taken Porzingis with the 1-3 pick? He took him by default and it looks like a great move in hindsight. Miami took Wade in their draft class, but do you think they would have taken him had they of had Cleveland’s or Denver’s picks? They would have taken Lebron or Carmelo. So don’t go giving Phil so much credit for that one.

    If Phil is the only basketball mind we can get, that says a lot about the NBA.

  • He had a vision when he brought in D’Antoni. He saw the Warriors. He just didn’t finish the job by bringing in the right personnel.

  • Numbers don’t lie but eyes will. Especially when Winslow is getting more MPG and isaallowed more freedoms.

    I’m not saying Russell is a better player, but Russell is in fact doing more with less.

  • Russell isn’t allowed to take risks, the dude has no leash to work with. With that kind of environment is it any surprise he plays timid? Put him on the Nuggets instead and give him a green light and I bet you’d see more of the assertive scorer that led Ohio State last year.

  • IDK…..before Jimmy Hat purged the scouting department, they were drafting guys like Toney Douglas and Chinemelu Elonu in the second round. Now they’re getting guys like Clarkson and Nance. Coincidence?

  • Dude’s been shooting 50%, if I want anyone shooting on the team I want it to be him.

  • IDK who he would have taken at #2. But Mudiay and Winslow we’re considered better picks by the draft. There were a lot of concerns regarding Porzingis. He ignored them and took him at 4 anyway. I wouldn’t say he took him by default. Knicks were expected to take Mudiay or Winslow. Phil had the vision to take Pozingis who’s looking like the steal of the draft. Phil is looking like a genus right now. So if he was the only Basket ball mind we can get. We might be looking a whole lot better than you do. With Russell under preforming at #2 overall.

  • Not allowed to take risk? He doesn’t take risk. He can get the team out on the fast break when the opportunities are there. Clarkson does it when running the point. And he’s a two guard.

  • I hear you, but I don’t think his offensive game has evolved enough for that kind of workload.

  • Lakers draft picks weren’t as high back then either. Most times we we’re picking in the 20’s. Or second round

  • You choose not to focus on all I’ve said. I speak on all players and the coach. Russell is the scapegoat. I’ve even detailed how each players style affects the other that’s where a coach should step in and get everyone on the same page. Scott is and has failed at that.

  • “Lakers starters played 14 minutes together vs. the Suns, had an OEff of 123.9 & a DEff of 95.7. Played zero 4th quarter minutes together.

    — Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold)November 17, 2015

    So Scott played an exclusively veteran lineup (other than Nance, Jr.) while his young core of Jordan Clarkson,D’Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle sat on the bench with Roy Hibbert (his best defender) while his team was competing in another winnable game. The lineup Scott chose was predictably horrible defensibly while the young pieces of the Lakers’ future missed out on valuable development time, and then he decided to call out his team for their lack of “manhood” after the game.”

    This is what I’m talking about when I say look deeper. Russell is the main starter who sits in the 4th quarters. More often than not we’ve been more efficient when he’s been on the floor with the starters yet Scott chooses to sit Russell for Williams? And when he does play Russell in the 4th he sits Clarkson for Williams.

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