I think the thing with the Lakers is that they’re having a MAJOR identity crisis and this is ALL Jim Buss’ fault. Mike Brown may have had no idea what he’s doing, and Dwight was still finding his legs, but at least he wasn’t trying to pretend this is a ‘Showtime’ team. Jim Buss just doesn’t GET basketball like his Dad does. It’s pretty simple; you put together a team of players with certain skills and have a coach that can best utilize those skills in a complementary system.
Jim Buss wants ‘run n gun fun’ so he got us Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni… problem is we have mostly OLDER and SLOWER players that need a SYSTEM to operate, not a ‘screw the defense and just run and score’ play style that D’Antoni is known for (saw how he failed with SYSTEM-BASED Carmelo until Mike Woodson got it?). Oh and there’s that whole thing about Nash being 38 YEARS OLD. He’s still great, but he is a free and loose player, not a system player.
This is why Phil Jackson was the BEST choice for Lakers coach. He knows the players we have, and can operate successfully with a half-court offense to mask the slowing down of older players (Pau, Jamison, Dwight until he’s 100%, even Kobe and Nash to some extent). But Jim Buss’ fucking ego got in the way and he picked the wrong coach…. AGAIN…. Y’know who would have been PERFECT if not Phil? JERRY FUCKING SLOAN. I mean, the guy led Utah successfully for almost 2 decades, and took old and older Karl Malone and John Stockton into the FINALS TWICE. He knows how to utilize a half court offense when he’s got older players to maximize success… just like Phil Jackson… just like Gregg Popovich. Phil may have won the first 3 titles while Jordan was what LeBron is today, but when Jordan was slowing down after his comeback Phil drove him to work on a jumper and long-range shot (like Kobe has) so a more systematic approach would help MJ & Phil win 3 more.
For D’Antoni to succeed we NEED young, energetic, and drive to the basket players like LeBron, Durant (when he drives), Kenneth Faried, Russell Westbrook, etc…. not slower post players like Pau, Dwight at 60-75%, Jordan Hill, Antawn Jamison, etc…. Either Mike D has to go, or we need to make some changes. I LOVE Pau Gasol, but if D’Antoni can’t turn him into 2005 Shawn Marion (not happening) then we need to get an undersized, drive to the basket PF/SF like Metta World Peace is trying to be (when he’s not making 3s or dribbling like a retard). Josh Smith and a young, high energy, perimeter shooter is what Mike D’Antoni NEEDS to get us deep into the playoffs. Kobe will be Kobe, but he can’t be our only consistent perimeter shooter. Jodie Meeks has on games, and off games… we need someone ON like 85% of the time… once again IF WE STICK WITH MIKE D’ANTONI.
I believe it’s MUCH easier to fire a coach and hire a new one (damn the ‘the players have to learn something new’ logic), and if not Phil Jackson then for the love of FUCK just go hire Jerry Sloan… HE’S WAITING FOR A CALL FROM YOU, JIM BUSS, FUCKDAMMIT!!! If you refuse to do that then you gotta try to see who you can get for Pau. Again, I LOVE PAU and want to see him stay a Laker for life, but if you’re not getting rid of D’Antoni then Pau (and maybe another piece) have to go. Josh Smith and a 3 point threat should be target no. 1. Chris Paul would have been perfect for a Mike D style, but he’s not coming anytime soon.
How to convince the Hawks is another issue. As the season goes on it’s MUCH harder to push a 3 or 4 team trade, so 1 on 1 may be it. Though they know Josh Smith is leaving in the summer (he hates it there, even if they’d pay more) Atlanta is currently 3rd in the East with a 20-10 record (6-4 in the last 10 games), just behind Miami and New York. They would NOT make a trade unless they start tumbling a few spots, and/or they felt by getting Pau they would somehow shore up their size issue against East teams like the Heat, Knicks, and Indiana (taking Pau’s length and skills at the expense of Smith’s speed and power).
Oh, and they’d have to toss in another player (the shooter we want) to make the trade work– with the Hawks at 3rd in the East and the Lakers behind the Blazers, T’Wolves, and Jazz for the 8th seed in the West all the leverage might be in the Hawks’ hands. In terms of the secondary player the Lakers would want/need (IF the Hawks said ok for Josh Smith for Pau Gasol) there are several options, none of which Atlanta would really want to help L.A. with:
- Lou Williams – SG – 26 yrs old – $5.0 mil w/3 yrs left – They just got him this season for a steal, NOT trading him
- Anthony Morrow – SG – 27 yrs old – $4.0 mil w/1 yr left – New addition this season though his 3 pt shooting is at 37.8%, under his 42.5% career average (nearer to 50% in his first 2 seasons with the Warriors), DOUBTFUL they trade him
- DeShawn Stevenson – SG – 31 yrs old – $2.2 mil w/3 yrs left – Also new, and getting older, but has a cheap but lengthy contract, shooting over 40% from 3 this year but is wildly inconsistent (shot just 28% from 3 last year). Might be a POSSIBILITY but he’ll be 34/35 when his contract ends. Ugh.
- Kyle Korver – SG – 31 yrs old – $5.0 mil w/1 yr left – Getting older but a short contract, over 40% 3 pt shooting and having a good year, our BEST BET here
There’s also rookie John Jenkins, a 21 yr old rookie SG shooting 47.6% from the 3 point line, but his $1.2 mil contract is too low to make the numbers work, and Atlanta will probably want to see how he does this and next season, at least. So IF Atlanta starts falling apart this month and IF they’re willing to shake things up and IF they think Pau Gasol and Al Horford would form a great front line worth a combined $31.0 MILLION for just this season (that’s a lot of ‘ifs’)…. then Pau Gasol for Josh Smith & Kyle Korver MIGHT happen. However, according to the ESPN Trade Machine, this is the projected win/loss difference for both teams: