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A Nash Equilibrium?

Oops, they did it again. Veto this, David Stern.

After getting taken out to pasture by a younger, hungrier OKC team, the aging Los Angeles Lakers appeared ready to go quietly into the night. Retired for good along with the 1987 Celtics, 1989 Lakers, 1991 Pistons, and many other former champions whose window had effectively closed.

This would have been the obvious takeaway…at least to anyone who has completely ignored recent Laker and NBA history.

Each of the Lakers’ last 3 dynasties in the past 30 years – from Magic/Kareem/Worthy to Shaq/Kobe to Kobe/Gasol has been marked by stunning Houdini-esque Laker front office maneuvers. How else to explain the acquisitions of Kareem, Worthy, Kobe, and Gasol for – wait for it – a collection of talent that includes: Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Myers, Junior Bridgeman, Don Ford, Chad Kinch, Vlade Divac, Marc Gasol, and Javaris Crittenton. For those keeping score at home: that’s 2 all-time greats, 1 other Hall of Famer,  and a perennial All-star power forward for a group of misfits headlined by two lumbering Euro centers. In acquiring Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns, Mitch Kupchak and crew are attempting to repeat history once again.

A Big 4 delivered on the 4th of July. Kobe. Nash. Gasol. Bynum. So the question now is: can the Lakers win the title with Nash?

Let’s cut to the chase: the prevailing opinions tend to slice one of two ways:

(1)    Yes! The Lakers got the point guard they finally needed. He will make Gasol and Bynum better and deliver in the clutch.

(2)    This still doesn’t solve the Lakers’ primary issues. Kobe is aging. There are too few balls to go around (and this exacerbates the problem). Gasol and Bynum are soft and Mike Brown is not the right coach.

Every article you read over the next few days will essentially boil down to 1 of these 2 points of view. So what are we to really make of this trade?

1.       Nash will make Bynum and Gasol better.

This is undeniable. As a point guard that Kobe actually respects, Nash will be able to better control game flow and ensure that Bynum and Gasol get touches at areas of the court where they can be effective. Whether or not you believe he is the greatest offensive player ever, Nash’s ability to break down defenses should also increase the number of easy buckets each big man gets. Lastly, Nash’s career has been dotted with his ability to make the big men around him look much better than advertised: from Boris Diaw to Amare Stoudemire. There is no doubt he will be able to do the same in LA.

2.       This in no way solves the Lakers’ athleticism problem.

To anyone who watched the Lakers/OKC series during this past year’s playoffs, it was immensely clear that the only way the Lakers could hang around was by neutralizing the Thunder’s immense edge in athleticism. Will Nash allow the Lakers to play faster at times? Sure. Will he make them more efficient on offense? Probably. But still fundamentally, the Lakers will look like old men against the Heat and Thunder. If fact, this trade just makes them slightly older. While a well-coached Laker team may be able to hold off the physical freaks that represent Lebron, Westbrook, Durant, and Ibaka for finite periods, as Charles Barkley likes to say, “No one beats Father Time”.

3.         Kobe and Nash will get along.

Anyone who uses the line that Kobe can’t play alongside Nash because he needs the ball, doesn’t really understand Kobe. From 2000-02, Kobe played alongside Shaq extremely effectively, putting up big numbers while allowing Shaq to get his own. Things turned sideways only when Kobe really lost respect for Shaq, amidst his conditioning issues and contractual demands. On the other hand, Kobe respects Nash immensely and will be happy to co-exist in an environment where Nash is the primary ball handler while on the floor. Expect a similar relationship to the early Kobe-Shaq days, where Kobe consistently deferred to Shaq for the first 3 quarters, while demanding the ball in the 4th.

4.       Contrary to popular belief, Dwight Howard is not the final piece.

As a Laker fan, I don’t believe the line of reasoning that this trade is only effective if the Lakers subsequently acquire Dwight Howard. I just didn’t see Bynum as the problem in last year’s playoffs. Was he as consistent as you would like him to be? Surely not. But his averages of 17/11 with 3 blocks per game don’t suggest someone that drastically underperformed either. The Lakers’ loss was due to several factors plain and simple, none of which had anything to do with Bynum or Howard: (1) Kobe not playing well in two 4th quarters that would have had the Lakers up 3-1, (2) Gasol shrinking once again when needed most, (3) OKC’s athleticism, and (4) the Lakers’ inability to get anything out of Sessions or their bench (especially from the outside). Trading for Nash will alleviate some of the pressure for Kobe to deliver in the 4th quarter, and it seemed as though the Lakers were able to effectively neutralize OKC’s athleticism for large chunks of their playoff series. Gasol and the bench however are two persistent and serious problems – neither of which gets solved by acquiring Nash or trading for Dwight.

5.       All this being said, the pressure is now truly on Kobe.

With a top 10 all-time point guard, one of the game’s best power forwards, and a top 3 center – Kobe’s legacy will be under greater scrutiny than ever. Even if these pieces are each individually imperfect (Nash is too old, Gasol is too soft, Bynum is too immature, etc.), another early playoff exit with this roster would inflict great damage on our impression of the latter stages of Bryant’s career.

This is a tough one to draw a conclusion on – at face value: it still seems like there may not be enough here to put the Lakers over the top. Adding Grant Hill, and upgrading the bench would go a long way however and the jury is still out on Mike Brown.

A Nash Equilibrium is a game theory concept conceived by mathematician John Nash, loosely meaning “a set of strategic choices between two parties in which neither party has anything to gain by changing their strategy alone” (thank you, 3rd year college Econ class). However you may criticize the state of the Lakers’ post-Nash acquisition, it truly seems as if acquiring him (despite arguments against his age, need to handle the ball, lack of defense, etc.) was something they couldn’t pass up. Conversely for the Suns, another year with Nash wouldn’t have made sense for a team being rebuilt – and the Laker outcome was certainly better than an alternative with Toronto where no compensation was received at all.

In the end, it may turn out that this equilibrium with Nash was exactly that. The best choice out of a limited set. One that may provide just a brief flicker of life for the Lakers’ Kobe era over the next couple of years, but not much more than that.

Related posts:

  1. My Vote For Biggest 2011 All-Star Snub: Steve Nash
  2. Steve Nash – A Case of Mistaken Loyalty
  3. Why Steve Nash is the Greatest Offensive Player Ever
  4. Ten Trades That Need To Happen
  5. Saurav Das: Which Los Angeles Laker Frontline is Most Effective? (4/23/11)

Discussion

48 Responses to “A Nash Equilibrium?”

  1. Lame, why is the brown mamba guy still a contributing author to this site, he was nowhere to be found when lakers, more specifically Kobe, played like dog shit and was nearly swept for a second straight season, then this obvious kobetard comes out with a biased laker article on the impact of the nash signing, how bout brownstain mamba can’t contribute any articles that have to do with kobe or the lakers ever.

    Posted by sam g | July 6, 2012, 2:30 am
  2. Hi BROWNMAMBA,

    Thanks for the article! There are many points I don’t agree with.

    “Each of the Lakers’ last 3 dynasties in the past 30 years – from Magic/Kareem/Worthy to Shaq/Kobe to Kobe/Gasol”

    Just because Kobe & Gasol led the Lakers to 2 NBA championships are we really willing to call them a dynasty? Were the 94-95 Rockets a dynasty? Were the 89-90 Pistons a dynasty? Maybe according to the encyclopedia, but not in my book. In my book you need to win at least for the 3rd time.

    “A Big 4 delivered on the 4th of July. Kobe. Nash. Gasol. Bynum. So the question now is: can the Lakers win the title with Nash?”

    It really boils down to how Kobe will get along with Nash. Kobe needs to play fewer minutes, his usage rate must drop and he definitely needs to shoot less and put the ball in Nash’s hands. You are optimistically assuming that this will happen. Well, I have my doubts.

    I do agree with point 2 – this trade will not fix the athleticism problem. It actually can make matters worse as Sessions will probably leave LA. Also they will still struggle defensively at PG position. Nash is a horrible defender considering he is a two-time NBA MVP.

    “With a top 10 all-time point guard, one of the game’s best power forwards, and a top 3 center – Kobe’s legacy will be under greater scrutiny than ever.”

    Really? Because I remember 2003/2004 season when the Lakers were even more stacked and Kobe was already their alpha dog (highest usage rate; highest FG attempts). They also had a top 10 all-time point guard (Payton); top 3 all-time power forward (Malone); top 5 center all-time (Shaq). We all know how it ended. And yeah, Kobe is mainly to blame, because this was the worst finals performance I’ve ever seen from an all-time great.

    Nash or not, if Kobe keeps playing hero ball; keeps shooting his team out of games, Lakers have no chance at all of winning the title. I cannot imagine Kobe accepting a limited role (his usage rate went up each year in the past 5 seasons) and if that’s the case the Lakers don’t need Steve Nash, but someone who is actually athletic, can play solid defense and rebound well to compensate for Kobe’s 13 misses a game.

    Oh and by the way, to some people on this site Nash is the greatest offensive player ever; to others Kobe is the greatest scorer (if not player) ever. If so, the Lakers should crush the NBA next year (and probably should have an ORtg of 120). I can bet every money it will not happen!

    Posted by doosiolek | July 6, 2012, 6:06 am
    • “We all know how [The 2004 Finals] ended”.

      Yes, we do. With Karl Malone limping, and Luke Walton and Slava Medvedenko playing heavy minutes.

      “keeps shooting his team out of games” – exactly how many games last season did Kobe “shoot his team out of”? 2? 3? Gimme a break.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | July 6, 2012, 1:31 pm
      • “Yes, we do. With Karl Malone limping, and Luke Walton and Slava Medvedenko playing heavy minutes.”

        So what? Malone was healthy for the entire playoffs until the finals. The true finals took place earlier, in the West finals. Also Lakers had to beat the Spurs earlier. Both Wolves & Spurs were better than the Pistons.

        Even without Malone the Lakers should have won against the Pistons. Don’t forget who had the homecourt advantage (unlike LAL @ SAS and LAL @ MIN). They would have won if Kobe played better. Much like the Heat last year; had LeBron played better Miami would have won.

        “exactly how many games last season did Kobe “shoot his team out of”? 2? 3? Gimme a break.”

        It really depends what criteria we pick. For the sake of this discussion I will only count games that the Lakers lost in which Kobe attempted at least 20 FG whilst shooting lower than 50% (not FG%, but TS%). Seems fair to me. Here’s the result:

        2012-01-01 LAL @ DEN .269
        2012-03-18 LAL v UTA .313
        2012-03-06 LAL @ DET .384
        2012-05-16 LAL @ OKC .386
        2012-03-29 LAL v OKC .391
        2012-02-23 LAL @ OKC .416
        2012-05-04 LAL @ DEN .429
        2012-03-07 LAL @ WAS .429
        2012-03-20 LAL @ HOU .482
        2012-02-10 LAL @ NYK .490

        So it’s not 2-3, but 10 games out of 70. With Kobe in the lineup LA lost 29 games. This just shows you that every 3rd Lakers loss is mainly caused by Kobe’s poor shooting.

        To make things more interesting Kobe’s TS% this year was .527 which is by far his career-low (previously it was .544).

        If (and that’s a big if) Kobe can change, stop playing hero ball, put the ball into Nash’s crafty hands, then the Lakers have a chance. Otherwise it will be another early playoff exit.

        Posted by doosiolek | July 7, 2012, 1:44 am
        • lost in which Kobe attempted at least 20 FG whilst shooting lower than 50% (not FG%, but TS%)

          That is a terrible criteria for determining “shooting out of a game”.

          Posted by Gil Meriken | July 7, 2012, 9:26 am
          • Let me expand -

            By your criteria, I have found that Lakers WON 8 such games where KObe took at least 20 FGA and shot lower than 50% TS.

            I would seem this criteria is not significant -when he produced the aforementioned individual stats, they lost 10 times, but they also WON 8 times!

            But instead of trying to go down the fruitless path of analyzing the individual box stats, it might be best to admit that they don’t give you sufficient information to determine when Kobe has “shot the team ” out of a game.

            More important factors may include – what was the flow of the scoring margin of the game? Were the Lakers down big or up big when Kobe starting shooting badly? How were the other players performing? What was the alternative? Was his shot selection poor (relative to his skill)?

            And lastly, how many times has Kobe “shot his team into a game”?

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 7, 2012, 11:41 am
          • “That is a terrible criteria for determining ‘shooting out of a game’.”

            If this is a terrible criteria then what is a better one?

            “By your criteria, I have found that Lakers WON 8 such games where KObe took at least 20 FGA and shot lower than 50% TS.”

            Regular Season + Playoffs combined Kobe had 15 games with under .500 TS% (min 20 FGA), Lakers lost 10 of those games and won only 5 (not 8). Sure, sometimes the Lakers can overcome Kobe’s poor shooting and win a game (i.e. his famous 3/21 vs NOH which the Lakers luckily won by 3 points), but the success rate here is low (.333).

            LA’s record in games where Kobe shot .500 or better (min 20 FGA) is 25-15 (.625) so the difference is rather significant. There is definitely a pattern here.

            Of course there are other factors than just individual box stats, but my comparison gives you a general idea.

            You also asked how many times Kobe shot his team into a game. Again, it depends how we define it, but we can safely assume that TS% in a range of .550 – .600 is something to be expacted from a good scorers (i.e. LeBron’s & Durant’s average was more than .600 this year). Therefore let’s assume that anything above .600 can be treated as shooting your team into a game. Going by similar criteria (min 20 FGA, only games which LAL won; >.600 TS%) you have only 6 games (LAL were 6/8 in such games).

            Just for the info – in total, Kobe had 15 games with above .600 shooting and 21 games with under .500 shooting.

            Based on all the above it is more likely he will “shoot you out of game” than he will “shoot you into it”.

            Posted by doosiolek | July 11, 2012, 7:51 am
          • You are right, it’s 5 games.

            The better criteria to consider are – what was the flow of the scoring margin of the game? Were the Lakers down big or up big when Kobe starting shooting badly? How were the other players performing? What was the alternative? Was his shot selection poor (relative to his skill)?

            You are not thinking game strategy, you are only looking at the numbers, which is a poor way to look at a game.

            And your assertion that “it is more likely he will “shoot you out of game” than he will “shoot you into it”.”, is interesting, as that would imply that he is a detriment to winning, and that it would be better to have an average player than to have him on your team. Very interesting.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 11, 2012, 9:39 am
    • Doosiolek — thanks for the comment. Couple of responses to your points:

      * Re: whether the Kobe/Gasol team was dynasty, you are right, this wasn’t a dynasty from an NBA historical sense. I was more referring to dynasty from a Lakers’ perspective (e.g., great Lakers teams of the past 30 years).

      * I don’t think your 2003-4 analogy is really valid in this scenario. Malone was barely able to walk in the Detroit series, averaging 5 point a game, and playing little to no minutes in 3 of the 5 games. GP was even more useless, averaging 4 points per game while playing over 30 MPG. Shaq was out of shape, had a couple of decent games, but generally was completley outplayed by the Wallaces. Add to that, the Lakers were playing against one of the great Finals defenses in NBA history. Kobe didn’t have a great series, but also keep in mind he is the reason they won the 1 game that they did. This was a team largely playing off reputation, not talent, in those Finals.

      * Lastly, I do think Kobe’s usage rate will go down (it almost must playing next to Nash), but as I stated, this trade doesn’t solve some of the Lakers’ biggest problems, which leaves a lot of doubt for this upcoming season still.

      Posted by Brown Mamba | July 7, 2012, 8:38 am
      • Why is it so hard to admit Kobe had a terrible series in 2004 and may have cost his team a title? Not only did he shoot horribly, he failed to make a tangible impact in any other aspect of the game. In fact, he was outplayed by his counterpart, Rip Hamilton, by a fair margin on both ends of the court.

        In game 1 the Lakers blew a winnable game at home with a healthy Malone playing 44 minutes. In what became the defining theme for the series, Kobe scored 25 points and Shaq 34, but Kobe took 11 more shots than Shaq did. Shaq’s TS% was 36 points higher.

        Over the course of the series, Shaq averaged 4 PPG more than Kobe on 6 fewer field goal attempts and had a TS% 18% higher than Kobe’s. Even in the one game they won, which Mamba solely attributes to Kobe, Shaq was a vastly more potent offensive weapon.

        Shaq was definitely the best player in this series. With half a foot and who knows how many pounds on Ben Wallace, it’s no surprise that he was unstoppable whenever he had the ball. The Lakers should have pounded the ball to Shaq until the Pistons stopped it-that they did not happen is an indictment of the man who had the ball, Kobe.

        There’s no doubt both Malone’s injury and Kobe’s attempt at hero ball impacted the team negatively. Which one had a bigger impact is up for conjecture. But you cannot argue that Kobe wasn’t awful. This is one of the worst NBA finals performances ever.

        Posted by lochpster | July 7, 2012, 1:25 pm
      • I strongly disagree with the statement that Kobe won game #2 in 2004.

        True that Bryant hit the three at the end of regulation to tie it, but that was the only three he made of his five attempts.

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 7, 2012, 11:05 pm
  3. All good points, Mamba.

    I do believe that Kobe will allow Nash to dictate the offense. I believe that the biggest benefactor of Nash will not be Bryant, but Gasol.

    The two negatives that I see are:

    1) That with Nash being 38, should he suffer an injury the likelihood of him returning and playing well in the playoffs are slim.

    2) The Lakers have taken a significant downgrade defensively.

    If they can keep Nash and Bryant’s minutes down in the regular season the Lakers would have a better chance to advance in the playoffs. I wouldn’t wager the Lakers winning the West.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 6, 2012, 8:21 am
    • I wouldn’t worry about Nash’s age. Stockton turned 41 in his final season and yet he was 16th in TS%, 5th in APG, 12th in SPG, 20th in PER, 1st in AST%, 4th in STL%, 13th in ORtg and 13th in WS/48M. People don’t realize how good John really was.

      He also avoided any serios injury (in his 5 final seasons he played every single game).

      Steve is much like Stockton in that regard. He will still be great. But I’m not so optimistic about Kobe allowing Nash to dictate the offense. Will see.

      Posted by doosiolek | July 7, 2012, 1:51 am
    • Thanks for the comment Paulie. I agree that this trade should put them solidly into the conference finals and anything less would be a disappointment. Where they go from there is a toss up in my book. .

      Posted by Brown Mamba | July 7, 2012, 8:39 am
  4. Mamba, my take is that getting Nash raises the Lakers’ ceiling from “conference finals at best” to “they can (I repeat, can) win it all if they play their absolute best as a unit and get some breaks to go their way”. He’s not enough by himself to make the Lakers clear favorites in the West, let alone for the whole league, but it was still a no-brainer, no-downside move for the Lakers-and a sensible move for Nash, given his stated priorities of staying near his kids while improving his chances for a title.

    I’m with you as far as not being on the Howard bandwagon. He’s better on D, but Bynum is much better on O. Immaturity? While I still hope for Bynum to grow up, I’ll take his occasional knuckleheadedness over the Dwightmare that #12 unleashed on the Magic any day of the week. Injury risk? Yes, Bynum has a history, and it can’t be discounted. But who’s the one rehabbing from back surgery right now? Backs can be very, very tricky to navigate with advancing age and mileage.

    The guy who’s really under pressure now is Mike Brown. His background is on D, and he can probably figure out a way to at least mask Nash’s defensive liabilities. But he’s been criticized in the past for offensive stagnation and lack of play-calling creativity. He has to find a way to get the Lakers’ O in particular to function at high efficiency-or he may be asked to step aside in favor of someone else who can.

    Posted by E-Dog | July 6, 2012, 4:10 pm
    • Yes E — I just don’t see how Mike Brown will work out here. Nash’s historically has relied on an offense predicate around his continual movement and spot up shooters, neither seems to fit in with Mike Brown’s offensive system or the Lakers’ talent. Will be interesting to see how things play out.

      Posted by Brown Mamba | July 7, 2012, 8:41 am
    • Hello again E-Dog. I see that we disagree once again. I take offense to the statement that the Lakers can win the title with the current team. Lets not get ahead of ourselves here. It was a good trade for the Lakers, but it doesn’t vault them into the ranks of OKC and Miami. Either of those teams still will run the Lakers right off the floor. Plus you still have SA to deal with in the west.

      The Lakers still need a bunch upgrade and they aren’t that atractive to free agents in terms of taking less money to maybe play for a title. Miami(or OKC) seems like a much better place to go if you are going to take the vets min in hopes of scoring a ring(or in Ray Allan’s case a second ring). Unless the Lakers can upgrade their bench and get a better coach. I think Mike Brown is a horrible coach on everything but defense because hes not capable of getting everything possible out of his superstars(see Lebron in Cleveland), and I thought it was bad hire at the time and I still think it is. I have serious doubts about the Lakers chances as they are currently built.

      Posted by nightbladehunter | July 7, 2012, 8:59 am
  5. Of course, there are many teams that CAN win the title any given season.

    It may be best to be more precise, and state what you think the odds are, or ranking the teams, for example “The Lakers can win the title, but they have the 5th best chance to do so).

    Posted by Gil Meriken | July 7, 2012, 11:43 am
    • Gil you are correct of course. I put the teams in order of their ability to win the title next season right now…

      1. Miami
      2. OKC(a close second now that they have felt the pain of losing in the NBA finals)
      3.Spurs
      4. Chicago(if they can get D-Rose back healthy for the playoffs)
      5. LA Lakers/Boston

      This is not to say I think Miami will win the title again next year(although they have very good chances to do so if the big 3 stay healthy and as a Heat fan I hope they do)

      Posted by nightbladehunter | July 7, 2012, 7:27 pm
      • I agree with your first two.

        The interesting one to me is the Spurs. It’s hard to really figure them out, since they have done so well in the regular season, only to falter in the playoffs. Duncan and Ginobili aren’t getting any younger, and the full extent of Parker’s eye injury is not known.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | July 7, 2012, 10:15 pm
      • Nighbladehunter, and Gil, I would put the Lakers at #3 or 4 overall and #2 or 3 out West. I liken their ceiling to that of the 2011 Mavs; they won’t, and shouldn’t, be the betting favorites, but it’s certainly within the realm of possibility for them to jump a level come playoff time and get some breaks along the way.

        Posted by E-Dog | July 10, 2012, 3:50 am
        • @E-Dog only if Kobe and Nash(and the entire team) shoot the best they ever have over a playoff run, and become so hard to guard that its either let them shot open shots or put them on the FT line which they are going to make 99% of the time, sorry I don’t see that happening. Also the Lakers would have to somehow pick up a subsub like J. Terry was for the Mavs.

          Furthermore, the Lakers would have to run across a team from the East that believes it can win just by showing up, and will blow huge leads by forgetting to play defense, and they would need that teams best player to totally check out. Good luck with all of that happening again.

          As things currently stand Miami beats LA in 5 games in a 7 game series, I personally am going to enjoy seeing Nash chase Mario and Cole around the court for 42 minutes a game. And Miami would force LA to try and play small ball or get run by each time they ran to the basket.

          Did I mention that the Lakers have no offense(and a really crappy coach?)…cause I am pretty sure I have made these points before. The Mavs were much better off in 2011 then the Lakers are now. Kobe can’t shoot like Dirk can, he never has been a great jump shooter.

          No I think Miami is going to be just as hungry next year(History suggests that players of Lebron’s talents don’t win just one title, and once they break through things seem to get easier for them) and I see them coming out of the East unless someone major gets hurt. I personally would love to have them face the Lakers, that is a great match up for Miami. It would be 3 point hell raining down on the Lakers.

          Wade has said he is going to work on his jump shot this summer and I have this funny feeling that Lebron will also be attending those sessions. They just signed the greatest shooter in the game, maybe the greatest pure shooter in NBA history, so that should help them improve their jump shots. Lebron with an improved jump shot will scare other teams since he is already so good in the post and he can score at will there because anyone fast enough to guard him doesn’t have his size and anyone big enough to guard him doesn’t have his speed.

          Posted by nightbladehunter | July 11, 2012, 12:10 pm
          • Oscar Robertson, probably the closest comparison to LeBron James, only won one title. Of course, he was 32 years old then. And he had to get paired with a very young and very awesome Kareem.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 11, 2012, 12:24 pm
          • @Paulie, I was thinking more Magic then Oscar Robertson, also Lebron over the next couple of years at least will have better teams then Oscar Roberston ever did, but in my mind hes a better player already. Lebron could average a triple double for an entire season if that is what he cared about.

            Posted by nightbladehunter | July 12, 2012, 7:17 am
  6. I’d put the Lakers third. If you give the Heat a 33% chance to repeat and have the Thunder at 20%, the Lakers might be third at 12%, just a hair ahead of the Bulls and Spurs, who I’d put at about 8%. That give about a 20% chance to the field, which seems about right.

    Posted by lochpster | July 7, 2012, 3:02 pm
  7. I think questioning whether or not Kobe will let Nash run the offense more is crazy. Look at the Olympics he took a ball handling backseat to Paul/Williams and even LeBron, for the team’s chances of winning. He one time played with a true point guard in his career in Payton. He even let Sessions initiate the offense at first, until the fact that he’s not a true PG showed their colors. I think that Doosiolek is using the image of Kobe more than what he actually is, kind of like those crazy “kobetards”.

    I agree with Nightbladehunter in his ranking of teams with their chances of winning, for the most part. I would probably switch Chicago and the Spurs and take Boston off of there. Not saying they have no chance, just saying the Lakers have a better one as currently constructed. Signing Grant Hill and possibly getting some vet minimum players to round out the bench could change the Lakers chances, but you can say that about every team. I agree that the Lakers really need to get more shooters. Sessions didn’t guard quick guards much better than D. Fish to my huge surprise. Fish used his know how to funnel them to the Bigs, but Sessions would either stand his ground or get burned. On top of that the Lakers were still a top ten Oppenent FG% team.

    This will definitely be an interesting season, especially if the Nets can get Dwight. The Lakers have much work to do to even get out of the West.

    Posted by J | July 8, 2012, 12:19 pm
    • @J my thing with Chicago is how hurt is D-Rose? Will he be able to play and when? Him being out should open up the top seed in the East for Miami, they should run away with it in fact. They might even get overall home court if they push it(which they won’t). Miami showed just how good of a home playoff team it is last season, the fans are going to be even more rabid at the thought of back to back titles.
      Chicago without D-Rose is an average team at best, no matter how well they do in the regular season without him.

      The Lakers have to show that hunger again and Kobe needs to not shoot them out of games. He can’t get 30 points on 30 shots like he did a number of times last year. He felt frustrated at the lack of offense around him so he started shooting more. He needs to stay within the system this season. Which would be easier if he had a legit coach, coaching him(yes I know the same things were said about Coach Spro but the difference was his players bought into his system. I didn’t see that last year with Mike Brown.)…oh and LA needs shooters that can spot up and shoot when its kicked out to them. So they need a halfway decent bench. Kobe hasn’t been known as the best teammate so I am not sure if he can draw good free agents to him.

      Posted by nightbladehunter | July 8, 2012, 8:17 pm
    • @J

      Comparing the Lakers (apples) to Team USA (oranges) is pointless really as they are not the same thing.

      I’m not saying that Kobe will not defer to Nash at all. He will do that to certain point. The question is will he defer enough.

      I followed Kobe for basically his whole career and he can be very team-oriented when his team is winning. When they are losing, he always takes the ball into his hands and has a tendency to take ill-advised shots. Even more so in the playoffs. Maybe this image is well-deserved?

      Even if for most part of game/season Kobe is happy to let Nash dictate the offense I think in the most decisive moments Kobe will show his old face.

      I guess time will tell who was right.

      Posted by doosiolek | July 11, 2012, 7:54 am
      • kobe doesnt care about winning he cares about winning AND being the man,thats been consistent his whole career. He wont defer to Nash as easily as you guys assume, he wants to be top dog and win ,that position is going to be his teams undoing, mark my words.

        Posted by samtotheg | July 11, 2012, 2:34 pm
        • So, did Kobe not defer to Shaq when they won 3 titles together?

          And why would Kobe defer to Nash, a much lesser player than Kobe is?

          Sam, do you also proclaim Lebron to defer to bosh or wade? Or Durant deferring harden and westbrook? How about Derrick Rose deferring to Noah?

          Posted by boyer | July 11, 2012, 3:06 pm
          • It’s interesting how people like Sam blame Kobe for not deferring to Shaq or whoever, and then blame him for not being ‘the man’ on his first 3 title teams.

            Posted by boyer | July 11, 2012, 3:08 pm
          • kobe did not defer to shaq winning those 3 titles , kobe was about getting HIS , while shaq got his or shaq drew triple teams ,to get those 3 titles, the year they lost was not shaq being jealous shaq had a clear cut advantage over ben wallace, kobe got outplayed by rip hamilton yet kobe tried to dominate the ball more on his matchup and nearly got his team swept in the finals, kobe doesnt get defer credit for his first 3 rings, and I dont blame him for not being the man, he just happened to play with a top 10 great while he was developing, kobe gets credit for his titles he won in his later years however.

            and for the defer to nash thing, I say put the ball in nashes hands more than kobe, kobe himself is not a point guard, you clowns say hes not a point guard whenever you try to defend kobe for him having a lack of assists, I say let the offense run with the ball in NASHES hands, after all thats the role of the point guard, and unlike kobe, nash is a WILLING PASSER and only cares about winning, I predict however if Nash finds gasol and bynum open more so than kobe , and kobes average dips to 16 points a game or some shit ,kobe will have issue with that and try to bring the ball up and shotjack, he already admitted he was a sidekick to shaq when he demanded shaq be traded in 2004 , (he wanted to be the man) and kobe is obsessed with catching jordan (he is not even close btw) and plus their is pressure on kobe ,with lebron getting a title and movin up.(btw lebron has passed kobe on the all time lists and has been a better player since 06 ) Kobe will not get his 15 points per game and win a title and shoot a decent percentage , he is going to want to win and be the mvp while gettin 30 points shooting barely above 40 percent ,sadly thats going to be what does the lakers in , like it did this last season.

            Posted by samtotheg | July 11, 2012, 9:23 pm
          • Kobe is actually pretty close to Jordan in career points. Kobe is only 2800 or so points behind; roughly two seasons.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 11, 2012, 10:00 pm
        • Yes, please, let’s mark your words.

          You were also probably saying in 2004 that Kobe would “never win without Shaq” and that he “couldn’t win a title being the main star”. Presumptuous, yes, but I’d be willing to wager on it.

          Posted by Gil Meriken | July 11, 2012, 3:14 pm
          • I never said that ,I was too busy watching the spurs racking up titles, I will say and stand by what I say, kobe can not win unless he has a stacked roster, unless he has a team to mask his defencies, a team that can offset his team killing anti ball moving shotjacking ways.It is the equivalent of a bowler who cant win the bowling championship withou bumper lanes, He has NEVER done what even lebron did in the finals last year or nowitski the year before(althought on all time ranking nowitski isnt ranked higher , in my opinion.

            Posted by samtotheg | July 11, 2012, 9:31 pm
          • Samtotheg – Kobe must be the luckiest player ever to get so many lucky breaks in his career. Thanks for the insight.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 12, 2012, 9:07 am
      • Kobe has said himself in radio interviews that he will welcome the relief Nash will bring in terms of Kobe not having dominate the ball and facilitate. He said he can get back to what he does best, which is finishing plays, and catching and shooting.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | July 11, 2012, 3:16 pm
        • As usual, the same parties on the same side of the issue. Gil and Boyer defending Kobe, everybody else on the other side. We’re almost as bad as politicians, but the thing is, nobody actually knows what’s going to happen. Kobe’s never played on the Lakers with a top flight point guard, and now he’s with one of the best ever to play the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if he puts together one of the best offensive seasons he’s ever had, nor would I be shocked if he continues to decline.

          Either way, let’s not write the story before it happens once again.

          Posted by lochpster | July 11, 2012, 5:41 pm
          • Not really a matter of sides here, mainly about being consistent. If people want to blame Kobe for not deferring, then make sure to blame every other superstar for not deferring as well. What Sam said is just completely false. If Kobe didn’t defer to Shaq, then they don’t win 3 titles together. We want to blame Kobe or not give him the credit he deserves for those first 3 titles, but they worked great together until Shaq got lazy and was jealous of Kobe becoming better than he was.

            The lakers will most likely get better offensively, and most likely get worse defensively. While sessions and fisher are awful defensive PGs, Nash is one of the worst defensive players ever, and he’s very old now. But, Mike Brown is a great defensive coach and will figure something out. They better get some athleticism on the wings. Kobe is on the decline, just like any other player his age, but still is a first-team all nba player, so he’s clearly far from being a has been or afterthought.

            Posted by boyer | July 11, 2012, 8:20 pm
          • I think the entire Kobe/Shaq thing is silly because here is what we know. Shaq was the alpha dog of those teams, no question about it. Shaq stepped back in 2006 with Miami and told D-Wade alright its your team take us to the promised land.

            With Miami this year D-Wade stepped back and handed the team to Lebron and that being settled in my mind was one of the big reasons they were able to win a title, everyone understood their role on the team. No one was fighting about who got what shots.

            So the question is what will Nash’s role be on the Lakers? How quickly will this team figure it all out? That will be a lot of what decides how far this team can go. People tend to forget that you don’t just throw great players together and win titles it takes time(which is not on the Lakers side due to age)…Boston was different in 2008, they had a great coach(and still do) and had 3 players who were willing to do whatever it took to win plus they knew whos team it was going in. Their pieces also fit together very well.

            Miami last year was a different story, they needed time to come together and learn how to win as a team. Sheer talent carried them to the finals, but they weren’t a team until this year. Teams have properly defined roles were each player knows what their job is. I think they had to go through what they went through to win this year(and most teams in NBA history have had to go through that pain before they win). Dallas went through it in 2006, Miami who won in 2006 went through it the year before when they lost game 7 on their home court in the ECF, the Lakers went through it in 2008 when they lost to Boston.

            Personally I think that the Lakers limit is the WCF, unless OKC has someone major get hurt. Now if they add a bench or they add D-Howard then that would increase their upper limit(maybe). I think one of their major issues is coaching, teams need an offensive system and the Lakers don’t have that.

            Oh and I don’t have Lebron higher then Kobe(yet) on the all time list. But Lebron has another 8-10 years in the league unless he gets seriously hurt and I think he will win more titles. If that happens he will keep rising on the all time list.

            Posted by nightbladehunter | July 12, 2012, 7:13 am
        • I think it’s interesting that Kobe stated the 1992 Olympic Team was, and I will paraphrase: “guys at the end of their careers”

          Where exactly does Kobe, at age 34, believe himself to be?

          Bryant is already older than all but Larry Bird, who was 35.

          The ages:

          Magic 31
          Bird 35
          Jordan 28
          Stockton 29
          Malone 28
          Barkley 28
          Pippen 26
          Robinson 26
          Ewing 29
          Mullin 28
          Drexler 29
          Laettner 22

          True that the 2012 team has an average age of 26 and the ’92 team averaged 28, but do we really think that Tyson Chandler is an upgrade to Ewing?

          That Chris Bosh is better than David Robinson?

          Carmelo Anthony was better than Barkley, Malone, Pippen, or Drexler?

          Chris Paul may be as good as Stockton, but likely not better. Stockton didn’t even play as he broke his leg before the games.

          I think that only James and perhaps Durant, Bryant and Paul could have been on that team.

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 12, 2012, 9:33 pm
          • I think just james and Durant and maybe paul on that team, who taking off for kobe ,not micheal jordan , a prime drexler for a past prime kobe , I say not. Durant and lebron both better than a 35 year old larry bird and a prime chris mullin.

            Posted by samtotheg | July 13, 2012, 12:36 am
  8. oh btw , the defense thing , yeah the lakers are going to be putrid with the guards on D, you are going to have nash who is old and slow and you are going to have kobe , mr takes plays off, mr guards the worse wing player on the court, mr too lazy to close out or put a hand up (remember the dallas closeout game when jason terry bombed on them with 3′s) mr too lazy to rotate ,the bad thing too is Nash cant defend the cross matchup, an example can be the celtics with rondo and avery bradley , kobe guards rondo ,bradley would burn nash, or if kobe guards bradley ,rondo is going to punk nash, or russel westbrook and james harden , holy shit , if kobe guards westbrook, whats harden going to do to nash, you guys should have never gotten rid of fisher, the speedy point guard is the achilles heels of the lakers, and its still going to be .

    Posted by samtotheg | July 11, 2012, 9:28 pm
    • Haha I can understand Nash being a problem defensively, he was pretty bad in his athletic prime (if there was one) you can imagine how he’s doing at 38. The Kobe thing is true in bits and pieces but you can’t just tell one side of the story. Kobe is still an elite defender this league, I’m not sure he deserves his defensive teams but its still a testament to his skill that coaches (or the media idr lol) still choose him. Last season he’s had some games defensively where he would dominate against some of the best offensive guards in the league. When the Heat visited the Lakers in Staples Kobe clamped down on and frustrated Wade like few have ever done in his career. Late in the season after Westbrook already lit up the Lakers for 36 points in Staples, Kobe switched on him for the last double OT game and absolutely dominated defensively. He guarded Harden during the 2012 series and held him to a very poor series.

      In other words, Kobe can handle his defensively. Anyways like you said the Lakers have ALWAYS struggled with point guards but that’s never stopped them from being the most successful franchise since the bulls. Westbrook played a very good series against the Lakers but was he really the number one reason the Lakers lost? Remember the Lakers had games 2 and 4 in complete control before they had ridiculous collapses in crunch time, they could’ve been up 3-1 going in to OKC.

      Maybe the pressure Nash takes off Kobe in crunch time changes that entire series, maybe Nash’s ability to shoot might’ve helped the worst shooting team in the league or maybe, just maybe, the pressure Nash takes off of Kobe offensively might allow Kobe that much more energy defensively so he can close out and put his hand up now lol

      Posted by stillshining | July 14, 2012, 9:51 am
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    Posted by ?? | July 19, 2012, 11:51 pm
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    “?????????????????????????????????????”??????“???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????”
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    Posted by stillshining | July 19, 2012, 11:54 pm
  11. Though Allen Iverson has taken an indefinite leave of absence and even threatened to retire because of his current bench role, the Grizzlies organization maintained its stance Wednesday that the 1-7 team has five better players than the four-time NBA scoring champion and 2001 league MVP. “We’re really confident about the decision to put Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, and Marc Gasol on floor instead of Iverson,” general manager Chris Wallace said of his starters, who combined have appeared in 10 fewer NBA All-Star games than the former No. 1 draft pick. “And I can’t forget about our sixth man, Marcus Williams. He’s been coming off the bench and putting up 4.4 points a game. He wowed us when he scored seven the other night.”http://www.wholesale-usajerseys.net

    Posted by stillshining | July 20, 2012, 12:25 am
  12. No …

    However, this was totally worth the re-read just to laugh at the completely b.s. rationale for “Kobe losing respect for Shaq” … the actual reason will never change, no matter how much manure is piled on by the Kobe mythologists: Kobe selfishly wanted to be “the man” at any cost, including destroying the franchise in the process; and then he proceeded to crumble when it mattered most …

    his hubris got the best of him, he had a tantrum, he got his way, and then he failed over and over and over again … end of story …

    Posted by Ken | January 2, 2013, 1:11 pm

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