Hey, why not?
If going big and playing so is swimming against the tide of recent NBA history, in which the elite teams play ever smaller and fasted, it’s the only way the Lakers can play, as constituted.
Nor is it likely that trading Pau will bring in enough players to turn them from aging and hulking into a Phoenix Suns lookalike.
(In the much-speculated scenario of a deal with Toronto, the Lakers would get Andrea Bargnani, who is, indeed a stretch four, and DeMar Derozan, a 24 percent career three-point shooter.)
Then they can pull this team apart next spring, aided in no small way by the fact all their contracts will be up, except that of Nash, and, they hope, Howard.
“It’s going to depend on the talent we have,” said Kupchak.
“The trend in the NBA, and the way you’ve seen college players and and NBA players play, is very different than what it was 20-30 years ago. That’s probably not going to change.
“It’s an open game, a lot of pick-and-rolls, perimeter shooting…. Thirty years ago, you might say one or two three-point shots in a game and now you’re seeing 30 or 40 three-point shots. That’s not going to change.
“The game as really gravitated toward the way Mike coaches, but you have to coach to a great degree based on the players you have on the team.”
Of course, there’s the matter of Jim taking over for his father.
On one hand, after coming in callow and smart-alecky, he has learned to approach the duties as his father did, trusting his professionals.
Jim was instrumental in one initiative that worked out, drafting Andrew Bynum, and two that didn’t, hiring Rudy Tomjanovich and Mike Brown.
So, if it’s not fair if the mere mention of his name occasions despair in Lakerdom, he does, indeed, have something to prove.
So here’s how it will go:
1) Lakers wait to see what Dwight does.
2) Lakers shop Pau to see what they can get for him. If everyone low-balls them—as teams always do when you put a star on the block, knowing you must be desperate—they’ll bring him back and go slow.
Not good enough, you say?
Unfortunately for Laker fans, their team is what it is. Dreaming of saviors only leaves you to wake up bummed.
Speaking of saviors, No, Phil isn’t coming back.
For the team’s part, pursuing him again would look like a neurotic tarantella.
For Phil’s part, showing any interest would look the same way.
Hey, the Lakers feel your pain!
“You have to understand the passion of the fan,” said Kupchak. “During that last game, a fan came up to me in the fourth quarter and just got really close and was passionately pleading with me to do something about the score….
“And at some point, I said, ‘I understand but do you understand we don’t have Kobe we don’t have [Steve] Nash, we don’t have [Steve] Blake?’
“And he looked at me and he said, “I know all that but can’t you do something?”
We’ll see, won’t we?
In case you missed it, be sure to check out our complete recap of Day 1 of Laker exit interviews from their practice facility in El Segundo!
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