Blogtable: Look At The Lakers Now

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Blogtable Week 3: The new-look Lakers | Does a coach matter? | Are the Clips legit?

So, what do you think of the Lakers now?

Steve Aschburner: Do you really want to know? I’m answering this because it’s been asked, but frankly, I’d rather not be writing about or focusing on the Lakers for a while. Squeaky wheel, way too much grease from media and fans. It’s been silly, all this melodrama and he said/he said rancor after a 1-4 start, mostly without key guy Steve Nash available. They needed more time under Mike Brown, as they would have under any coach — including Mike D’Antoni — to find their game, build their trust, etc. If it doesn’t happen now, the cloud of Phil Jackson will hang over the whole season. This feels like a rewind of the Dwight Howard soap opera from last season, only with Howard as a supporting actor this time. Actually, it feels worse — like the team ought to be renamed the Los Angeles Kardashians. They’re actually making the 2010-11 Miami Heat seem like a C-Span snoozer by comparison.

Fran Blinebury: While it was way silly and ridiculous for Jim Buss to hand Mike Brown his head just after he patted him on the back, it was a move that had to be made. The move to bring in Nash is to win now and there is little time to waste.  It makes sense to have a coach whose philosophy and system should get the most out of Nash and Howard and should not negatively affect Kobe or Pau.

Jeff Caplan: Absolutely I like what they’ve done. The worst thing would have been to wait and really let things fester, which they would have. Look, it was obvious Mike Brown and the players didn’t connect. Whether it was the Princeton offense or Brown’s choice in ties, it doesn’t really matter. There was a disconnect there, the players did not believe in his ability to guide them. I have no problem with how they went about firing Brown and then hiring Mike D’Antoni late at night when it appeared Phil Jackson was ready to return. Personally, I think they made a good choice for now and the long-term.

Scott Howard-Cooper: The same as I did before: Definitely a contender to win the West and, therefore, a possibility to challenge the Heat. There’s an excellent starting lineup with everyone healthy, a weak bench, and they’re a work in progress — especially on offense — while integrating Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. The switch from Mike Brown to Mike D’Antoni changes nothing. It was a quick hook for Brown, but also understandable.

John Schuhmann: I think it’s pretty ridiculous that they were fine with Mike Brown, Eddie Jordan and the Princeton offense this summer, but then decided five games into the season that they couldn’t go on with that system and coach. If you fire a guy after five games, you obviously didn’t believe in him in the first place. And with the way the Phil Jackson situation was mishandled, it’s clear that Jim Buss was not born to lead. That being said, Brown was never a good fit in L.A. and I’m looking forward to seeing what Mike D’Antoni does with the Lakers’ offense, though I believe they need more perimeter shooting to run D’Antoni’s system at optimum efficiency. Heck, they need more shooting no matter what offense they’re running.

Sekou SmithMike D’Antoni is a quality choice as a coach for any franchise anywhere in basketball. So the Lakers got that much right in their quest to replace Mike Brown. My problem is not and never will be with choosing D’Antoni. But the method to their madness is not befitting of a franchise of the Lakers’ stature. As one of the standard-bearers in the NBA (and really, all of sports), this process was beneath the Lakers. Toying with a legend like Phil Jackson the way they did reeks of a petty and dysfunctional leadership structure that flies in the face of everything we’ve come to know about the Lakers over the past 40 years.


  1. Looking for a Black Cat in a Dark Room says:

    So many ‘experts’.

    Such a simple question.

    And you are groping for straws. Amazing !

    When you put together a team, you bring 15 or so ‘individuals’ together. Individuals with individual personalities, traits, talents, philosophies, ideas … even if they are all terrific players … no, wait … ESPECIALLY if they are all great players, there if bound to be disparity in thought and scheme. AND THAT IS WHERE A COACH COMES IN. That is the purposes of a coach – to focus the the divergence of opinions on a common goal – in a common, mutually acceptable AND effective manner. That gentlemen, is no easy task.

    Which brings me to another perplexing concept being thrown around by the ‘experts’. That of a coach’s game-plan – Mike Brown’s Princeton, Phil Jackson’s Triangle, Mike D’Antoni’s 7 Seconds or Less – which one is better – which one will work ?

    Excuse me !

    Isn’t having a coach’s system akin to a coach bringing a cart and then trying to squeeze the horses behind it ?

    How about counting your eggs first ? Evaluating the particular strengths and weaknesses of your players. Reading their temperaments and their attitudes. Finding the collective likability and work=ability etc. etc AND THEN CREATING A SYSTEM BEST SUITED FOR THE ROSTER ?

    I know … I should go back to tending my garden. Sorry !

  2. Calling a Spade, A SPADE ! says:

    “Toying with a legend like Phil Jackson the way they did reeks of a petty and dysfunctional leadership structure that flies in the face of everything we’ve come to know about the Lakers over the past 40 years.”

    Dear Mr. Sekou Smith,
    This is the second time in just as many days that you have expressed your disgust at the Lakers with out mincing a word.

    You are the only one who told the King he was naked – and I salute you, sir.

  3. LakersNation says:

    Yes we have our problems with our bad bench and injuries, but I still believe that we could make a comeback as soon as Nash-Howard-Kobe-Gasol. I say give it till All-Star break

  4. Horsewhip says:

    I’m not A Phil Jackson fan. I think he’s just lucky to have coached a power house Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers in their eras. The Mark D Antoni choice will bring, I am hoping, some excitement and surprise. He’s the logical choice if the Lakers would like to squeeze the remaining basketball juice from Steve Nash. It will be really fun. If we enjoyed Steve and Amare doing the pick and roll back in Phoenix, imagine a Steve and Dwight (or Pau) tandem. It’ll be a lot of fun.

  5. ddd says:

    we are goin’ to win the championship baby, i have a great & optimistic feeling gooo mike d’antoni do your best. lal fans believe on u

  6. KneeGrowPlease says:

    LOL @ this question

    Ask me this in the Spring.

  7. W/E says:

    The lakers need a leader, a player who can step up above all ,lead and motivate,force the others to play defence, yell at them when need too, KOBE should do that, the lakers are not nashs or howards team, its KOBES team right now..

  8. steppx says:

    All you pundits annointed the Lakers are a super team. Funny how far we’ve back off that. The truth is this team has a host of issues. First is age. Second is a DLeague bench. NO coach can fix that. Not a win in preseason, and no meaningful wins in the regular season. Their best game was losing to the Spurs. The fact is the point guard is pushing forty and very far past his prime, and Kobe is on tired legs. How will D Antoni find a way to keep Kobe at 32 minutes? Who plays in his place? Dwight too has to worry abut his back. But even if healthy, this team is deeply flawed. Why cant anyone just say, they dont look like a team to beat OKC, the Spurs, or even Denver. And maybe not Memphis or the Clips either. Pau is aging before our eyes, Artest is terrible, and that leaves Kobe and Dwight. The locker room better jell, meaning kobe and Howard have to get along. I dont see it happening.

  9. steppx says:

    Lakers were hyped as a super team. All of you pundits annointed them champs…or close to it. Then they didnt win a game in pre seaon and looked awful even when winning. They played their best game losing to the Spurs. They are not contenders just because they spent a lot of money, or have future hall of famers. The fact is, they are not beating anyone meaningful yet. They have a point guard who is CLEARLY far past his prime….an aging but still potent Kobe…but one who doesnt defend anywhere near how he used to, and a big baby man child in the middle, who may or may not get with the program. D’Antoni I personally think is NOT a great coach. He is not a guy who is going to teach defense thats for sure. All that said, they will games if they just roll the ball on the court and let Kobe improvise. The question of going further than a 6 seed depends on avoiding injuries with this much age on the roster, and somehow minimizing a D League bench, AND ….the biggest issue, finding a way to hide Howard’s weaknesses while emphasizing his strengths. For that to happen Dwight has to get with the program. The locker room has to jell.— meaning Kobe has to get along with Dwight. I dont see much of any of this happening.