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Assessing the Lakers… and its options.

January 22, 2012

LAbig3

Record: 10-7
Points Per Game: 92.1 (21st overall)
Rebounds Per Game: 44.9 (3rd overall)
Assists Per Game: 21.9 (6th overall)
Points Allowed: 90.1 (5th overall)

Home Record: 9-1 (tied for 3rd)
Road Record: 1-6 (tied for 25th)

At 1st glance, it shows that the team’s success is coming from the defensive end of the floor. Top 3 in rebounds and Top 5 in points allowed per game. We feature 2 legitimate 7-footers in the starting unit, 2 of whom might be all-stars this shortened season.

On the other end of the floor is where the massacre is happening. Weird when you have the league’s leading scorer and the planet’s best player and competitor. What’s not quite consistent is that while the offense is actually stagnant most times, the team thrives at passing, averaging some 21.9apg as a team (6th overall) with no real PG.

More Stats:
Kobe Bryant: 30.8ppg (#1)
Kobe Bryant: 5.7apg (#20)
Andrew Bynum: 13.6rpg (#3 behind Howard and Love)
Andrew Bynum: 53.5% FG% (#11)
Andrew Bynum: 1.92bpg (#7)
Pau Gasol: 9.4rpg (#16)
Pau Gasol: 51.8% FG% (#20)
Pau Gasol: 1.29bpg (#22)

Ok so we have the league’s leading scorer, 2 of the best big men in the game and yet we cannot score? Well that’s coz the bench has been just terrible. The next most-glaring thing to note: the 37yo Derek Fisher being the team’s lead PG. Backup PG Steve Blake is injured and out for 3 more weeks and the next in line there is rookie PG Darius Morris.

The SF position supposedly belongs to Ron Artest errr Metta World Peace. But just like his name change, his game changed. Thus the position has gone to veteran Matt Barnes. 2nd year forward Devin Ebanks plays like Trevor Ariza, he even looks like Trevor Ariza… but his game isn’t there yet. He has impressed management during the very short training camp but has fallen off the rotation so far.

Have I mentioned about the terrible bench?

Darius Morris: overdribbling
Andrew Goudelock: shot selection
Luke Walton: slower than a schoolbus at school
Jason Kapono: not very efficient this year
Troy Murphy: no hops
Derrick Caracter: injured
Devin Ebanks: confidence
Steve Blake: injury
Metta World Peace: lost
Josh McRoberts: adjusting

Its important to note that the Lakers are dead last in 3pt shooting. Its not just the bench, its the whole team. The percentages are outrageous and they just either have to wait for the law of averages to gain back or just stop shooting them altogether. With 3 post threats in Kobe, Bynum and Gasol, the least-effective 3ball percentage certainly doesn’t help.

So that’s the team in a nutshell thus far. There will be nights when we can beat the best of them… and lots of moments, especially the most-recent Florida road trip where we just don’t deserve to have that 10-7 record.

So, anything we can do Mr. Kupchak? Lets assess our assets:

Draft Picks: LAL 12 1st, DAL 12 1st*, LAL 13 1st, LAL 14 1st
Other Assets: 8.9M TPE (via Lamar Odom deal)

In my post sometime ago about the possibilities there are for us, using the minimalist concept in making moves, these are the players that are available.

So we have 4 options:
1. Stand Pat, hope for chemistry, hope for the best.
2. Use minimal assets to improve the team
3. Making big trades A
4. Making big trades B

Option 1: Suggests that the Lakers, being tired and old and lacking a good time together, will gel right in time for the playoffs. Thats if we make it. With how quick the rest of the league are developing into their groove, a loss tomorrow to the Pacers could wipe us out of the Western playoff seeding. As is, the current team exactly how it is and just healthy, can do serious damage. But how far does ‘serious damage’ take you? It ranges from a wildly disappointing 1st round exit, or a magical playoff run en route to banner #17. We’re gonna need alot of health, alot of things right and everything to go perfect. Its about a puncher’s chance only, but nonetheless its possible.

Option 2: The use of minimal assets such as Luke Walton’s 2-yr deal, the 2nd rounders cheap salaries and Steve Blake’s manageable deal. The best of which would be 3 1st round picks (LAL 12, DAL 12 and LAL 14) and the much-hyped Lamar Odom Traded Player Exception.

Like I mentioned, the players available for that are limited. We cannot expect maximum gains for minimal assets. Most likely, we will be getting a 2nd-grade talent or talents. Remember, any dollar we spend out means double. And any salary we take back beyond 2014 means having to pay more than dollar for dollar. Ouch.

Option 3: Trade Big. Dwight Howard. Deron Williams. Both. Name it, but as long as you do not move Bynum or Gasol or both, this will not happen. Doing a homerun deal, this time around, make little sense to me. But thats me. Everyone wants Dwight. Everyone wants Deron. More than everyone want them both to suit up as Lakers. But I don’t see it happening, unless you have better ideas.

Option 4: Rebuild. Basically, the opposite of what we’ve all been trying to do. After all, management has already taken the 1st step trading Odom to Dallas for a TPE and a heavily protected 1st rounder. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next move was to trade Gasol for an expiring player and some assets and cheaper players or to a team who has cap space like Indiana. After all, we’ve already traded Gasol once, we just ended up with him still.

At the end of the day, game 17/66 has shown us the possibilities and probabilities that our team has. We have 3 guys earning a combined 59 million enough to cover the whole salary cap. Safe to say, we won’t have any cap space anytime soon. The vaunted Laker bench combine for a total of 25 million. Safe to say, not many other teams are bugging us for any of them. Couple that with our current injury status (posted below) and you got yourself a very good idea what we have.

Injuries:
Kobe Bryant: Torn wrist ligament; Avulsion fracture; a funny pinky finger; recovering bum knee; bum ankle.
Pau Gasol: injured right shoulder
Josh McRoberts: injured toe
Steve Blake: injured ribs
Ron Artest: back spasms

Which option do you see best?

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2 Comments
  1. First off, I look forward to what you have to say (unedited), and what is on your mind, especially this season Warren. If the team is a lottery bound team, then we might as well get the best pick possible, I am not saying to purposefully ‘tank’ the season, but Kobe (injured), Gasol (some mental anguish), and Bynum (never know about another knee injury) should not be playing 40+ minutes every single game to try to win it, well maybe it is not 40+, but they have been playing more minutes than they should have to in this shortened season. Do not get me wrong here; I love Kobe Bryant and his game. When my son (who was 17 at the time) came to LA, we both enjoyed that game against the Bobcats in December 2010 (the Kobe ejection game), and watched in awe the way Kobe works on the court. But, that 30m a year salary is going to kill the Lakers, IMO. He does deserve it though, but it handicaps the team’s ability to acquire players.

  2. I just realized that I did not answer your question. Option 1 is my choice, I want banner #17 as soon as possible, but without all of the extended minutes for our valuable and mostly aged starters.

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