LAKERS -at- THUNDER - 10/27 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

 
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2021 9:26 pm    Post subject: LAKERS -at- THUNDER - 10/27 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

Defensive Woes Continue... Perhaps, it just came too easily to start this one. Early big leads in the NBA are all to easy to cough up. The Lakers led 41-19 after the first quarter, and they hit the 70-point mark with 3:29 left in the half up 26.

That’s when the wheels started to come off as the Lakers turned the ball over and gave up open looks. The Thunder cut the lead to 72-56 with the poor close to the half by the Lakers.

With the Lakers givng up 37 points in that second quarter, the young Thunder were feeling good about themselves. The Lakers simply didn’t give them a reason not to. The defensive intensity wasn’t there and that turned into open threes or easy scores off the screen roll.

By the 9:25 mark of the third they had completely flipped momentum. Just 6 minutes of ball, the 26-point lead was just 10.

Offensively, during this stretch, Westbrook threw gas on the fire with a series of early offense misses or turnovers. More turnovers and early offense misses by others as the quarter went along made for some ugly ball.

When the Thunder banked a three at the third quarter buzzer, the Lakers were down 97-95 -- that was the Thunder’s eighth three of the third quarter. Between the second and third quarters, the Thunder had scored 78 points.

The Lakers fell back further during the fourth quarter, but chipped back into it. In the final 30 seconds they had a chance to tie it up. Westbrook missed a wide open three and you thought that was that. But the Lakers pressured the Thunder into a backcourt violation. Another chance to tie it up.

Out of the timeout, they missed a three as Monk went one on one. Not even close. Still a few seconds left, but that looked like it was over.

The Thunder inbounded it right to Melo for a wide open three and a chance to tie it up. He stepped into it… and airballed. The Lakers fell 123-115.


Davis -- -- Seemed tired. Second night of the back to back after OT. That sense of urgency he played with yesterday with LeBron out, wasn’t quite there despite the numbers. That was apparent at times on the defensive end. He still gave the Lakers a good 30 on 12-22 shooting. Just not quite the disruption on D. We’ve really only got a couple of guys who are bringing it on that end of the floor. If AD’s not disruptive we have few players who are on that end. The Stats: He had 30 points on 12-22 shooting (0-1 from three, 6-7 from the line) to go with 8 boards (4 offensive), 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers and 1 foul in 37 minutes. He was -7.

Westbrook -- -- Man, the quadruple-double. Not pretty. He had a poor 8-20 shooting combined with 10 turnovers. Before the season, we really needed him to cut down on the early offense chucks. He’s just very inefficient on those and we don’t get a chance to explore better options. So tonight, when you combine the 10 turnovers with as many early offense chucks he had -- those ended up like turnovers themselves. It’s a little frustrating to watch. Now, we’re talking about offense in a game we scored 115 in, but bad offense also makes it easy for opponents to score. Turnovers lead to points in transition. Misses don’t let your defense set up. So it hurts. Late in the game, we had him take a three in the final possessions (it might have been a two-for-one). He clanked. Frustrating night. He took exception to a late-game dunk and got tossed with 1.5 seconds left. The Stats: He scored 20 points on 8-20 shooting (2-8 from three, 2-3 from the line) to go with 14 boards (4 offensive), 13 assists, 1 steal, 10 turnovers and 4 fouls in 35 minutes. He was a -12.

Bazemore -- -- Your team leader with a +6. He sank three threes and made some nice passes including one off a steal that led to a hammer dunk from Monk in transition. He also had a touch pass to DJ for a dunk. But just giving the Lakers a little D probably the reason for the +/- lead. Unfortunately, he got into some foul trouble and we had to sit him. Swapping him with Bradley when maybe you need both those guys on the floor when we can’t get stops. The Stats: He scored 11 points on 4-6 shooting (3-5 form three) to go with 2 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 4 fouls in 28 minutes. He was a +6.

Jordan -- -- On the second night of a back to back (with overtime the previous night), this where those minutes that DJ fills can help the squad even in a loss. AD looked a bit tired. You hope it’s a little less bumps and bruises night after night. Over the course of the season, win or lose, that adds up. The team got off to a great start in this one. DJ had some good challenges (2 blocks on the night). Rush found him for a lob dunk on a corner drive. We are trouble anytime our guards can get baseline with the D scrambling. DJ also had a reverse jam off a dish from Monk and another dunk off a touch pass from Baze. The Stats: He scored 6 points on 3-3 shooting to go with 4 boards, 2 blocks, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 13 minutes. He was a +2.

Monk -- -- Some nice moments early, sinking an early offense three. He had a drive and dish to DJ for a reverse jam. He hammered a dunk over a couple defenders on the break. The bench was on its feet for that one. He also cut and had a reverse dunk on a lob. I”m not sure what the intention was in the late-game play call to just have him go iso and chuck a three. The Stats: He scored 9 points on 4-8 shooting (1-5 form three) to go with 3 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 32 minutes. He was a -8.

Howard -- -- A bit too foul prone. That doesn’t help the D when your opponent shoots 15 more FTs. Scoring wise, he got a couple FTs on a tap pass in transition and also finished a lob from Russ. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 1-1 shooting (2-2 from the line) to go with 2 boards and 5 fouls in 14 minutes. He was a -2.

Anthony -- -- Melo with the steal, wide open for a three to tie it up with a few seconds left...airball. Wow. He had hit a big three with 3 minutes left to cut the lead to 4 (his only make from three in eight attempts), but on the defensive end prior to that, he got worked for an easy layup on iso. The Lakers are just unreliable defensively and when we need stops against a team that is rolling. Late in the game, we saw the Thunder attack Monk/Melo on one sequence. On other Melo switched onto SGA, sagged off and gave up a three. The Stats: He scored 13 points on 5-14 shooting (1-8 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 3 boards, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 31 minutes. He was a -6.

Rondo -- -- He rolled his ankle in the second half and had to sit at a key point right when we sat Russ in the second half. There seemed to be a little more intention to not play Westbrook/Rondo together as much. Not much analysis needed in this one. We need more than warm bodies if we want to defend. The Stats: He scored 7 points on 3-7 shooting (1-2 from three) to go with 1 board, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 16 minutes. He was a +3.

Reaves -- -- His only score was a pull-up after attacking a close out. He was probably a little bit too unselfish moving the ball. There was a three he could have taken but swung it to Westbrook for an open three. Know your personnel. You’re the shooter. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-4 shooting (0-2 from three) to go with 2 boards in 18 minutes. He was a -11.

Bradley -- -- Decent game from Bradley filling in for Bazemore when he got into foul trouble. We used him briefly for a stretch when Rondo hurt his ankle and Russ just sat to rest. Not ideal for him as he’s not a playmaker. The shot was falling, which maybe gets him some more run from Vogel in the future. Loved seeing the cut weakside as Russ was attacking strong side. That got him a reverse. The threes: He hit a wing three off good ball movement (not enough of that). We sank a corner three on a kickout. He swished another three straight away flashing to the ball. He wasn’t without mistakes on the defensive end. There was a curious double team that led to an open three. The Stats: He scored 13 points on 5-7 shooting (3-4 from three) to go with 1 board and 1 foul in 17 minutes. He was a -11.

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: Ultimately, the key moment was probably the close of the first half. The Lakers eased up and couldn’t turn it around from there. But the final minute of this game was there for the Lakers, too. The Lakers had a chance in the final minute after falling behind late. They got a rare stop with 1:02 left, then Monk scored a layup to cut it to 1 (could have been an And-1). The Thunder scored a layup out of the timeout getting middle of the paint to draw the D and find the easy layup. They essentially picked on Melo and Monk with some screens, but the help D by Russ was also late. The Lakers could tie it up with 31 seconds left and called a timeout down 3. Russ took and bricked an open three with 28 seconds left. Uggh. Still, it wasn’t over yet. The Lakers forced a 8-second backcourt violation and got the ball back with 17.7 left. Play call: Monk on iso, and he airballed a three with 10 seconds. Game over right? No, we stole the inbounds and Melo had a chance to tie it up as he stepped into a three...and airballed. Wide open.

Key Substitution: None.

Key Stats: I’m going to go with the freethrow differential. The Lakers fouled too much. OKC had 29 attempts to the Lakers 14. Certainly, the Lakers should have been to the line more, but a key part of a good D is not fouling as much.

Coach’s Challenge: Westbrook attacked with 1:47 left and drew a foul call on a kickout that went right to Monk. The foul was overturned, but the refs determined a jumpball at midcourt despite the Lakers never not having control of the ball in that situation. The score was 116-110. Frustrating. Lakers won the jumpball.
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A Mad Chinaman
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2021 9:48 pm    Post subject:

Obvioiusly a bad game

One could also observe that this game put on full display the leadership (or lack of leadership) on the court without LeBron

One would think that a true leader would have the guys focused and playing with energy during crunch time to force the other team to Win the Game

From AD to Westbrook to Melo to Dwight to Rondo and others, where was the leadership

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2021 10:09 pm    Post subject:

The fact that we were up by 26 shows that we have what it takes to be a great team on both ends of the floor. But defense for 48 minutes continues to be a problem.

Perhaps getting Nunn, THT and Ariza back will help with that, but I think we'll eventually need a 3-and-D forward who has legit length and athelticism and can play both the 3 and 4 defensively.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2021 11:26 pm    Post subject:

Longtime poster here - haven't contributed in probably a decade, but needed to get back on to vent some frustrations after one of the least inspiring efforts I've seen out of this team in years. Don't usually think of myself as a negative person, but tough not to feel some trepidation after the series of events between the Westbrook trade and tonight.

On Westbrook: Man, where to begin. Look, I'm down with Westbrook as a person - I know some folks didn't like him before his Lakers stint, but off the court he seems like a good dude. But on the court, this was just a beyond awful effort in terms of situational awareness and basketball IQ. It seems like recaps of this game have focused on the Lakers losing 'despite' Westbrook's triple double - I'd argue that if you took a random scrub backup point guard and inserted him in Westbrook's place in this game, we probably win. There's a reason his +/- was as bad as it was.

He frequently had non-competitive turnovers based on poorly angled passes or lack of court vision, and these turnovers tended to result in easy transition buckets for the Thunder. He can't shoot at all from the perimeter, but still routinely takes contested pull-up jumpers early in the shot clock. There were crucial stretches of the game where we more or less punted on anything approaching a functioning offense in favor of Russ calling his own number and jacking up bad jumpers. Defensively, he alternated between trailing his man half-heartedly, not bothering to rotate, and gambling recklessly on steals. There's so much physical talent that when he does something nobody else can do it's tantalizing, but in every facet of the game outside of rebounding he played the opposite of winning basketball during the collapse tonight.

All of these issues - the poor shooting, the lack of awareness or adjustment about it, the bad shot selection, the frequent turnovers, the inconsistent defense - all of these have been present for years, and each successive team (OKC, HOU, WAS, us) has seemingly convinced themselves that they'd be the one to fix them and unlock the unselfish version of Westbrook that harnesses his immense physical gifts while softening some of the rougher edges. Well, it ain't happened yet, and more than any individual loss so far the lack of any kind of adjustment in Westbrook's approach (or even seeming awareness that an adjustment needs to take place) isn't a great sign for this group reaching their potential.

On our offensive scheme: Why don't we run set plays with the same frequency that other teams (Phoenix in particular) seem to? I'm not really asking that as a rhetorical question or to be critical - I'm not an expert on Xs and Os, and it's entirely possible that I'm missing something. But we just finished a game in which we seemingly chose to go with a Westbrook pull-up three and a Malik Monk iso with zero movement in crunch time - I have a tough time seeing how that was a good use of our options.

We also love to enter the ball to AD in the high post without much off-ball movement - he's never been a particularly good creator in these situations, and this just seems like a recipe for a mediocre shooter to take a contested mid-range jump shot. Part of that might be how bad our spacing is when we have a traditional center on the floor, but we'll do it even when AD is playing the five.

On our defense:

We currently have two consistent defensive players - AD and Bazemore (and LeBron, when healthy, but even then we don't generally use him on anyone who's a scoring threat).

DAJ is immobile and will be targeted heavily by any team capable of going five-out, but he hasn't been too bad so far as a rim protector. Dwight hasn't played great, but he's also had to cover for a dumpster fire perimeter defense in front of him. Bradley's on-ball defense in a small sample looks fine, while Reaves has rotated well and bothered guards but gotten outmuscled by bigger wings.

Melo, Rondo, and Monk have all been completely unplayable on that end of the floor, though. Monk gives good effort but has serious physical limitations. Melo and Rondo have basically been auto-buckets for whoever happens to attack them. We could maybe, with a lot of caveats, handle having one guy like that on the floor at a time - but we've frequently had two. There is no real way we can hide two guys like that at a time.

It's tough to even evaluate Vogel's defensive coaching given how bad our defensive personnel are at the moment, and in general how light our roster is on wing-sized players. Like, it's easy for me to sit here and say we should play DAJ less and improve our team speed, or try and minimize the lineups with multiple terrible defenders (or even three bad defenders at times), but he doesn't really have the option to do any of those things. Austin Reaves isn't big enough to guard player X? Too bad - we don't have a single healthy SF. Malik Monk can't defend anything? We don't really have an alternative to putting him on the floor. Ditto for Melo.

On the FO: A lot of the issues above are on the FO, and I say that as someone who's generally been supportive of Pelinka up to the Westbrook trade. There's been a pretty simple formula for having success around LeBron/AD over the last several years (and really, around LeBron for his whole career): Surround them with tough 3&D players capable of switching across multiple positions. That's what we did during our championship run, with Green, KCP, and Caruso all certainly falling into that category and Kuzma/Morris/Rondo (the '20 playoff version) also somewhere on that spectrum. And we were the number one defense last year while relying heavily on a similar mix of guys, with Wes Matthews contributing defensively despite his lack of shooting.

But Pelinka has seemingly continued to offload that skill set in an attempt to chase more shot-creating firepower - I understood the Danny Green for Schroder trade at the time given Green's age and health issues, but it's tough not to see Green as a perfect fit for what we've needed over the past two offseasons. And this offseason saw us jettison basically all our defensive-minded role players in favor of poor defenders like Monk/Melo/Rondo. Ariza and Bazemore are pretty much the only two guys on our roster who fit what we need as two-way switchable role players who can shoot a little, and neither is getting any younger. We even kicked Caruso to the curb purely over tax $ (sidenote, he's been awesome for the 4-0 Bulls), who would instantly be our best perimeter defender and one of our better shooters.

It seems like Pelinka was banking on a heavy dose of Vogel turning lemons into lemonade here (see below), but I'm not sure that's really a fair expectation.

https://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2021/10/12/22721561/rob-pelinka-frank-vogel-effect-lakers-defense-roster-coach-general-manager

Vogel has gotten very strong performances out of competent defensive rosters in the past, and he's at times been able to integrate and coach up individual poor defenders who have the tools to be better (ex. Kuzma). But there isn't a lot of precedent for a coach being able to take a whole whack of guys who graded out last year as very poor defenders (Monk, Ellington, Melo, etc) and build a good defense while playing them all simultaneously, especially while navigating a severe deficit on the wing and an inconsistent star (Westbrook) who frequently freelances.

All of this is to say that while there's certainly a school of thought that you should always chase talent and worry about the fit later, we appear to have taken it to a bit of an extreme. And the on-paper fit concerns that existed the moment Westbrook was acquired have been exacerbated rather than smoothed over by LA's decisions since the trade.

I doubt Pelinka is unaware of any of this - but I wish (and I'm probably not alone here) that we could have seen the version of this team that didn't trade for Westbrook, managed its assets a little better, and prioritized defense, fit, and cohesion over star power. Maybe that team doesn't win a title, either, but I'd guess there's a 0% chance that a team with Caruso/KCP/Matthews & co. has a four-game defensive stretch like what we've seen thus far.

Sorry for the essay - tl:dr version . . . It's early, and sky isn't falling, but this team has some serious fit and personnel issues that were foreseeable (and were foreseen).
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A Mad Chinaman
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 3:01 am    Post subject:

Since LBJ and AD signed off/recruited Westbrook (over Buddy Hield), it’s up to these two to help discover how to make this work on the floor
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 5:03 am    Post subject:

SunshineMan89 wrote:

Sorry for the essay - tl:dr version . . . It's early, and sky isn't falling, but this team has some serious fit and personnel issues that were foreseeable (and were foreseen).


Great post, thoughtful and insightful, thank you.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 5:36 am    Post subject:

Man the defense was hard to watch. We literally played so far off perimeter guys, to give them space to shoot. Which they did. Let them get going.

We're in big time need of having some guys like THT, Nunn, Ariza to be able to stick more to man, if they can. It's really the perimeter D that sticks out.

Westbrook, Melo, Rondo. Just really poor defense. All around. Now factor a tired team on a 2nd night of a B2B. No Bron. Monk, not really a defender either. Leaves only AD, Baze, Bradley I would trust on D. DAJ/Dwight are situational bigs that can protect inside.

1-1 on this road trip, considering no Lebron, and where this team is, ok. But we have a legit problem with the defense. Frank's got some quality defensive coaching in him, but he has to work with what he has. Until we get better defensive players in, we need to keep playing what we have, healthy.

One thing, it should be noted that the lack of defense and the issue with Dwight/AD should where we are as a team vs past. Just not together, not playing with each other as one unit. Not sure if this group likes each other's company, even.

We're dead last in points given up. We are the worst team in the league, in points allowed. Before this game, OKC's average was 94 a game. We gave up 120+ to them. This is just not acceptable. Frank needs to change his lineups around, but the issue is he doesn't have Nunn, THT, Ellington, Ariza, or players that he can go to and sit Melo/Monk/Rondo/Westbrook for their lack of D.
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Aeneas Hunter
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 5:47 am    Post subject:

wolfpaclaker wrote:
Before this game, OKC's average was 94 a game. We gave up 120+ to them.


I didn't know this. That's a stat that sort of slaps you in the face.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:11 am    Post subject:

Aeneas Hunter wrote:
wolfpaclaker wrote:
Before this game, OKC's average was 94 a game. We gave up 120+ to them.


I didn't know this. That's a stat that sort of slaps you in the face.


And 104 of those points surrendered in quarters 2-4.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:13 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB for the write up.

That was a stomach churning turn of events after a promising start. The extended defensive woes continue.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:17 am    Post subject:

The injuries to THT and Ariza make this process very frustrating... as in when am I allowed to panic about what I'm seeing?
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:23 am    Post subject:

As I said in the game thread, statistically this was not a bad game.

Good FG% and FT%. Rebounds, points in the paint, turnovers, three points made were close.

Defensive effort and offensive aggressiveness were the big issues to me. First quarter the Lakers were closing quickly on shooters and penetrating into the paint for layups, lobs, and passes out to open shooters.

After the first quarter, they did not close out on shooters and settled for jump shots offensively. That is not going to work no matter who you are playing.

Leadership from AD and WB was missing as A Mad Chinaman posted. Hopefully LBJ will be back at the next game but I doubt it. I get the sense he is pissed off right now and showing guys that without him, they are in a bunch of trouble.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 7:32 am    Post subject:

SunshineMan89 wrote:
Longtime poster here - haven't contributed in probably a decade, but needed to get back on to vent some frustrations after one of the least inspiring efforts I've seen out of this team in years. Don't usually think of myself as a negative person, but tough not to feel some trepidation after the series of events between the Westbrook trade and tonight.

On Westbrook: Man, where to begin. Look, I'm down with Westbrook as a person - I know some folks didn't like him before his Lakers stint, but off the court he seems like a good dude. But on the court, this was just a beyond awful effort in terms of situational awareness and basketball IQ. It seems like recaps of this game have focused on the Lakers losing 'despite' Westbrook's triple double - I'd argue that if you took a random scrub backup point guard and inserted him in Westbrook's place in this game, we probably win. There's a reason his +/- was as bad as it was.

He frequently had non-competitive turnovers based on poorly angled passes or lack of court vision, and these turnovers tended to result in easy transition buckets for the Thunder. He can't shoot at all from the perimeter, but still routinely takes contested pull-up jumpers early in the shot clock. There were crucial stretches of the game where we more or less punted on anything approaching a functioning offense in favor of Russ calling his own number and jacking up bad jumpers. Defensively, he alternated between trailing his man half-heartedly, not bothering to rotate, and gambling recklessly on steals. There's so much physical talent that when he does something nobody else can do it's tantalizing, but in every facet of the game outside of rebounding he played the opposite of winning basketball during the collapse tonight.

All of these issues - the poor shooting, the lack of awareness or adjustment about it, the bad shot selection, the frequent turnovers, the inconsistent defense - all of these have been present for years, and each successive team (OKC, HOU, WAS, us) has seemingly convinced themselves that they'd be the one to fix them and unlock the unselfish version of Westbrook that harnesses his immense physical gifts while softening some of the rougher edges. Well, it ain't happened yet, and more than any individual loss so far the lack of any kind of adjustment in Westbrook's approach (or even seeming awareness that an adjustment needs to take place) isn't a great sign for this group reaching their potential.

On our offensive scheme: Why don't we run set plays with the same frequency that other teams (Phoenix in particular) seem to? I'm not really asking that as a rhetorical question or to be critical - I'm not an expert on Xs and Os, and it's entirely possible that I'm missing something. But we just finished a game in which we seemingly chose to go with a Westbrook pull-up three and a Malik Monk iso with zero movement in crunch time - I have a tough time seeing how that was a good use of our options.

We also love to enter the ball to AD in the high post without much off-ball movement - he's never been a particularly good creator in these situations, and this just seems like a recipe for a mediocre shooter to take a contested mid-range jump shot. Part of that might be how bad our spacing is when we have a traditional center on the floor, but we'll do it even when AD is playing the five.

On our defense:

We currently have two consistent defensive players - AD and Bazemore (and LeBron, when healthy, but even then we don't generally use him on anyone who's a scoring threat).

DAJ is immobile and will be targeted heavily by any team capable of going five-out, but he hasn't been too bad so far as a rim protector. Dwight hasn't played great, but he's also had to cover for a dumpster fire perimeter defense in front of him. Bradley's on-ball defense in a small sample looks fine, while Reaves has rotated well and bothered guards but gotten outmuscled by bigger wings.

Melo, Rondo, and Monk have all been completely unplayable on that end of the floor, though. Monk gives good effort but has serious physical limitations. Melo and Rondo have basically been auto-buckets for whoever happens to attack them. We could maybe, with a lot of caveats, handle having one guy like that on the floor at a time - but we've frequently had two. There is no real way we can hide two guys like that at a time.

It's tough to even evaluate Vogel's defensive coaching given how bad our defensive personnel are at the moment, and in general how light our roster is on wing-sized players. Like, it's easy for me to sit here and say we should play DAJ less and improve our team speed, or try and minimize the lineups with multiple terrible defenders (or even three bad defenders at times), but he doesn't really have the option to do any of those things. Austin Reaves isn't big enough to guard player X? Too bad - we don't have a single healthy SF. Malik Monk can't defend anything? We don't really have an alternative to putting him on the floor. Ditto for Melo.

On the FO: A lot of the issues above are on the FO, and I say that as someone who's generally been supportive of Pelinka up to the Westbrook trade. There's been a pretty simple formula for having success around LeBron/AD over the last several years (and really, around LeBron for his whole career): Surround them with tough 3&D players capable of switching across multiple positions. That's what we did during our championship run, with Green, KCP, and Caruso all certainly falling into that category and Kuzma/Morris/Rondo (the '20 playoff version) also somewhere on that spectrum. And we were the number one defense last year while relying heavily on a similar mix of guys, with Wes Matthews contributing defensively despite his lack of shooting.

But Pelinka has seemingly continued to offload that skill set in an attempt to chase more shot-creating firepower - I understood the Danny Green for Schroder trade at the time given Green's age and health issues, but it's tough not to see Green as a perfect fit for what we've needed over the past two offseasons. And this offseason saw us jettison basically all our defensive-minded role players in favor of poor defenders like Monk/Melo/Rondo. Ariza and Bazemore are pretty much the only two guys on our roster who fit what we need as two-way switchable role players who can shoot a little, and neither is getting any younger. We even kicked Caruso to the curb purely over tax $ (sidenote, he's been awesome for the 4-0 Bulls), who would instantly be our best perimeter defender and one of our better shooters.

It seems like Pelinka was banking on a heavy dose of Vogel turning lemons into lemonade here (see below), but I'm not sure that's really a fair expectation.

https://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2021/10/12/22721561/rob-pelinka-frank-vogel-effect-lakers-defense-roster-coach-general-manager

Vogel has gotten very strong performances out of competent defensive rosters in the past, and he's at times been able to integrate and coach up individual poor defenders who have the tools to be better (ex. Kuzma). But there isn't a lot of precedent for a coach being able to take a whole whack of guys who graded out last year as very poor defenders (Monk, Ellington, Melo, etc) and build a good defense while playing them all simultaneously, especially while navigating a severe deficit on the wing and an inconsistent star (Westbrook) who frequently freelances.

All of this is to say that while there's certainly a school of thought that you should always chase talent and worry about the fit later, we appear to have taken it to a bit of an extreme. And the on-paper fit concerns that existed the moment Westbrook was acquired have been exacerbated rather than smoothed over by LA's decisions since the trade.

I doubt Pelinka is unaware of any of this - but I wish (and I'm probably not alone here) that we could have seen the version of this team that didn't trade for Westbrook, managed its assets a little better, and prioritized defense, fit, and cohesion over star power. Maybe that team doesn't win a title, either, but I'd guess there's a 0% chance that a team with Caruso/KCP/Matthews & co. has a four-game defensive stretch like what we've seen thus far.

Sorry for the essay - tl:dr version . . . It's early, and sky isn't falling, but this team has some serious fit and personnel issues that were foreseeable (and were foreseen).


very well Written.
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danzag
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 7:54 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB and Sunshine.

I'm disgusted. That's all.
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Halflife
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 8:11 am    Post subject:

this wasnt on the coach or one individual player. This was a team choke.
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pio2u
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 10:24 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB
    NEXT GAME:
      Los Angeles Lakers vs Cleveland Cavaliers
      Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA | Friday, Oct. 29, 2021 • 7:30 PM PT
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 7:45 am    Post subject:

SunshineMan89 wrote:
I doubt Pelinka is unaware of any of this - but I wish (and I'm probably not alone here) that we could have seen the version of this team that didn't trade for Westbrook, managed its assets a little better, and prioritized defense, fit, and cohesion over star power. Maybe that team doesn't win a title, either, but I'd guess there's a 0% chance that a team with Caruso/KCP/Matthews & co. has a four-game defensive stretch like what we've seen thus far.

Agreed, all of this has been rather predictable given the roster choices. It drives me a bit mad to realize that we could have paid to keep Caruso and added DeRozan or another target for less than what we're paying to have Russ, who is an obvious poor choice.
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vasashi17+
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 8:16 am    Post subject:

Rek wrote:
SunshineMan89 wrote:
I doubt Pelinka is unaware of any of this - but I wish (and I'm probably not alone here) that we could have seen the version of this team that didn't trade for Westbrook, managed its assets a little better, and prioritized defense, fit, and cohesion over star power. Maybe that team doesn't win a title, either, but I'd guess there's a 0% chance that a team with Caruso/KCP/Matthews & co. has a four-game defensive stretch like what we've seen thus far.

Agreed, all of this has been rather predictable given the roster choices. It drives me a bit mad to realize that we could have paid to keep Caruso and added DeRozan or another target for less than what we're paying to have Russ, who is an obvious poor choice.


Solid take by Sunshine and DB has proven his legendary status within the community with honest game breakdowns. It’s a shame I haven’t come across these sooner.

As for the alternative route to a Russ trade, I hope folks understand Caruso could have been had if we were willing to spend. For comparison, BK and GS are paying nearly 70m & 140m more than we are in taxes. Also last season, teams were given COVID relief rates from their total taxes. It’s not too far fetched to consider that the league decides to give similar relief to tax paying teams at the end of this season as well.

DeRozan would have been a S&t (I’m assuming Kuz/Trez go out) and he wound come in at about 26m hardcapping us at 143m. So we’d still need to relocate KCP’s 13m deal or it would have cost us AC or THT still.

Bron/AD/DeRozan/Deng come out to 107.6m in salary, so we’d have about 35m in potential salary distribution to fill out the roster still. If THT & AC get their 9mish and 8mish salaries applied to our cap sheet, we got about 18m remaining to bring in 9-10 more bodies. We would have the 9.5m fMLE to split among players though. But depending on how much THT/AC costed in retention, we wound still be looking at about 2/3rds the roster on vet min deals.
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Dr. Laker
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 8:37 am    Post subject:

Thanks, DB!

Even the Shaq-Kobe Lakers would do this on occasion . . . but not against the worst team in the league.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 6:03 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB. Excellent write up again.

Sunshine - interesting read, and your take reflects exactly how I feel about our roster changes.

The OKC game made me sick. It wasn't just one guy screwing up, or one bad coaching decision. This was a shameful, selfish and lazy performance by a bunch of highly paid non-leaders looking for shots, not moving on offense, not communicating or extending themselves on defense, who were embarrassed by a group of green kids who hadn't won a game yet but, couldn't score worth crap in their previous games but, to their benefit, were willing to try hard.

This is the polar opposite of everything I liked about that title squad we had 2 years ago.

Sorry for the negativity, it's early and things can change. I don't foresee it, but let's at least see if effort returns to the roster next game.
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TooMuchMajicBuss
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 6:05 pm    Post subject:

One more thing - yes, a little ball movement and AD not getting the ball in the high post with nobody moving off the ball, that would be a good start. AD can score, but forced mid-range jumpers are not his forte.
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