Jan 24, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D

Looking to the Future

Jan 24, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D

This is it. We’ve reached it as a team and as a fan base: rock bottom. The Lakers are now 2-4 on their Grammy Road Trip with the 115-105 loss to the also struggling Orlando Magic, but have one more chance to get a win against the drama filled New York Knicks. But with Carmelo Anthony dropping 62 points on a team that actually plays defense and all, things aren’t looking too good for the Lakers.

Who do we point the finger at? Jim Buss? D’Antoni? Mark Madsen?! The truth is, there’s more than just one problem with this Lakers team. If it were not for the injuries, who’s to say that maybe they would be 10 games better? Maybe? The injuries are a big part of why the Lakers are really struggling to pull it together. They are disrupting the lineup and they are making it almost impossible for the  players to figure out their identity as a team. The only ones who prove night in and night out that they have heart are Nick Young and Jordan Hill without question. Nick Young shows the most emotion on the team and he tries to share his energy with his teammates all the time. Every time Jordan Hill goes in, he’s playing with intensity in the paint, fighting and scrapping for boards. Yes, Pau Gasol has been averaging 16.7 points and 10 rebounds this season, but he’s proven to have lost his will to play here. His intensity has noticeably diminished and it has created a shroud of negativity around the Lakers; Gasol is supposed to be their leader but he has fallen into going through the motions.

Defense has also (for some odd reason) continued to be a problem for the Lakers. Last night against the Magic, the Lakers allowed Tobias Harris (a player who averages 13.7 points and 7.8 assists) to drop 28 points and pull down 20 rebounds. He had 11 and 10 at the 6 minute mark in the 2nd, then finished the half with 17 and 13. One would assume that at halftime the Lakers coaching staff and the players would have come up with a plan to halt momentum Harris was amassing, but they failed to do so for the rest of the game letting Harris to achieve a double-double and score 17 points above his average. Harris became the 20th player to get a career high against the Lakers this season after last night’s game. 20 times this season teams have found a way for ONE PLAYER to destroy the Lakes defense as a whole. That says a lot about the basketball intelligence of the coaching staff for the Lakers. Clearly the players do not even believe in the defensive philosophy because they still have not shown any signs of improvement. The Lakers offense also struggles with ball security. Turnovers have been a nightmare for the Lakers this season as they have been averaging about 15 a game.

The Lakers organization needs to advance their thinking in a sense that they must stop thinking, “What can we do to save this season?” because this season is lost. They need to let their hurt players reach full health and return whenever they can. Sitting Kobe for the rest of the season isn’t such a bad idea either, seeing as how it would give him more time to heal and actually be able to contribute for the last two years of his $48.5 million contract extension. Bringing Kobe back to 15 turnovers a game, no defense, and being out-rebounded every night would only force him to have to try to carry the team, and he can’t do that at this point in his career without risking his health.

Looking forward, the NBA trade deadline is coming up and the Lakers should really consider trying to get something of value for Pau Gasol, especially because he will probably be exploring free agency after his contract is up. Carmelo Anthony, Greg Monroe, Kevin Love, and (highly unlikely but also an option…) Lebron James are all options to consider moving forward. It also looks as though the Lakers will be making some significant additions in the upcoming draft; however, the draft is wildly inconsistent and has just as much chance of being historic as being a bust. That is why scouting this young talent should be high on the priorities list of the organization. A point guard (preferably one with ball security) and a big man (preferably with attitude, intensity and heart) would be huge improvements for the Lakers. They have been living in the past with regards to the type of players that comprise their roster. The NBA has evolved and point guards now play a dominant role in the league. This draft is a chance for the Lakers to take some steps toward adapting to the other teams in the league.

Tags: 2014 Nba Draft Los Angeles Lakers Trade Deadline

  • Jim213

    Good perspective, I have them finishing either 31-51 or 33-49 for the season. Not being able to beat teams they should and while at home aside of their mental factor (weakness) aids to this projection. If they’re not going to trade Gasol then be best to reduce the cap to avoid being taxed though Pau IMO won’t resign. The issues continue being defense and TO’s which haven’t been addressed and yet at the half way point.

    But FO gets the blame mostly for the product that’s on the floor though the coach has cost them some wins with his bad rotations, IMO, don’t believe they’ll finish 1 or 2 in the draft lottery thus Embiid is out of the picture but it remains to be seen if he’ll forgo college (doubts) to enter the draft just as J Parker has mentioned.

    Given that Kobe, Sacre, and Nash (SMH) are inked for next season FO should only consider (IMO) resigning players like Hill, Farmar, X Henry, R Kelly and possibly W Johnson/Meeks. The rest of the players should be allowed to walk as this would make for a good bench while FO focus next season on acquiring some starters though ending up 3rd and beyond in the lottery draft. With regards to injuries they should return some in March (Kobe)/(Blake)/Farmar given that they need to make sure they return and remain injury free as they’ll be FAs a few months from then so best to return to full 100% health first.

    • reno

      I think they are gunning for Embiid ultimately, but I agree he may be out of the picture. They really need to consider taking advantage of the trade deadline to acquire some pieces they can use as trade bait for the off-season because trying to save this season is a wasted effort.
      The coaching is another situation that the front office needs to address. Clearly the offensive as well as the defensive strategies are both clearly failures and easily defeated. They need to reevaluate their personnel very closely going into the next season.

  • Daryl Peek

    Injures, that’s all. A healthier roster would have meshed better together by now. I 100% agree that would be the difference in at least 10 more wins. There is some blame to be assessed but you can’t properly pin point it without first looking at the carnage the injuries has left.

    • Jim213

      SMH @ donkeys fan (pun)… Agree and disagree to know surprise as injuries have cost them games but when they don’t hustle for 48 minutes the results speak for itself. After the half way point some aren’t giving a 100% effort. Hopefully they acquire starters in 2014FA as it looks pretty good to acquire some good players that can play good starting minutes next to Kobe and the first rounder chosen.

      Have you tried posting at the other site?… they either took DQ down or are having issues (posts).

      • Daryl Peek

        Yeah I noticed the other site has seemed to have disabled comments?

        On the lack of competing in the second half, you do realize that up til Manny Harris was brought in they were running with only 3 guards and one SF, right? Johnson is the only true SF and Marshall the only PG. Meeks has been averaging like 42-45 minutes a game. Young is floating between three positions as back up PG, SG and SF. Think about it? The team always starts strong and fades in the second half… not enough bodies that are use to playing such high minutes.

        It seems now that the totality has killed their collective will to fight. They’ve settled into accepting who they are as Gasol said. Sad. Looks like the draft is what were looking forward to as trades likely wont help this season.

  • Marty Susman

    A lot is being discussed about how/why the Lakers should proceed. As of today (Kobe not involved) the Lakers have Gasol, Blake, Hill, Johnson, Kaman, Nash all of whom could be packaged for “DRAFT PICKS” that will not only save the Lakers tons of money in the future but make them an exciting, young & dynamic team for tomorrow. No Melo’s, no LaBron’s, just young kids like Curry, Irving, Thompson, Beal, Barnes, Westbrook, Love Etc. In 2015 a ton of super free agents will be coming on line & that’s when the Lakers should make their move.

    Today (before trade deadline) the Lakers should find teams like the 76ers who have 4 draft picks in the upcoming draft, teams looking to settle a bit & not spend tons of money. They give the Lakers draft picks & the Lakers send them the above group. Hill & Gasol & Blake are worth 1st rounders & the rest 2nd rounders. The Lakers can always package the picks & end up with TWO LOW FIRST ROUNDERS….

    Aside from the above, they need to “KEEP LOSING UNTIL THEY ARE IN THE RUNNING FOR THE TOP THREE PICK”. (They also need to dump this coach before they try & convince really good players to come to L.A.) (Think Byron Scott & his new asst. D. Fish & K. Jabbar.

  • Marty Susman

    BTY, the article was dead on….

  • Geoff

    Dante exum in the draft

  • Doctore

    It’s safe for me to say that the Lakers are looking at a top 5 to top 8 pick this season as they are tied for last in the West (would be in playoff hunt in the East). That said, here is my GM 2 deep direction for the 2014-2015 Lakers: PG Ennis, Marshall SG Bryant, Young SF Deng, W.Johnson PF Bosh, Kelly C Hill, Sacre… Yes this is predicated Ennis going pro (pick 5-8) and the Lakers making him their PG of the future, Bosh opting out and being given reign as ‪#‎1b‬ option offensively in D’Antoni offense. Deng will be able to do what he does best as a “glue” guy. Mind you this makes a team attractive to Kevin Love but builds a competitor should Kevin Love never materialize as a Laker. You have to get Deng at 4 year $32 million level. Bosh at 4 year $54million level. This eliminates any hopes of a Westbrook, Rondo, Irving PG of future in LAL. I have to believe I am realistic in this projection.