The good, the bad, and the ugly with the Los Angeles Lakers

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Julius Randle Los Angeles Lakers
Jordan Clarkson and Kobe Bryant
(Photo: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Let me start off by saying, it’s going to hurt me to do this, but it must be done.

Last night as I was enjoying my nice plate of Farfalle con Salsiccia (pasta with Italian sausage) with my lovely girlfriend at a dim-lit Italian restaurant, I found myself rushing to get home so that I could see how the Los Angeles Lakers would perform against the Miami Heat without the presence of Kobe Bryant (rest) on the floor. I honestly didn’t want them to do TOO well for the simple reason that I didn’t want to wake up to nonstop reports of how better the Lakers are without Kobe. Let’s not fool ourselves, if the Lakers would’ve won last night, every media site would have ran with that story. I’m already hurting with how Kobe is performing already, so I don’t think my heart could have withstood that. However with that being said, I caught the second half of the game and found myself shutting it off before it even ended. But in that span of minutes that I did catch, I made some observations. Some good, some bad, and some ugly.

The Good:

Our offense without Kobe on the floor didn’t look half bad. Often I have felt that when Kobe is on the floor, the guys are trying too hard to get him the ball instead of just taking what the defense gives and being aggressive. Last night, I thought things looked a bit more fluent and balanced. The turnovers were very high, but you expect that with such a young team and that’s something they can improve going forward. Although Jordan Clarkson had an off shooting night, I would like to see him continue to be aggressive because I believe he will be the focal point post-Black Mamba. Not to say that the offense needs to surround him, but that he will be the Lakers go-to-guy on a nightly basis.

The Bad:

Even though I thought the offense looked better, it doesn’t mean I necessarily like the offense that’s being ran. I strongly believe these triangle offensive sets HAVE to go. This isn’t the Kobe/Shaq Lakers team or the Kobe/Pau Lakers team. Those days are over and in the past, and that’s where this triangle offense needs to stay. Roy Hibbert isn’t a guy that we need to be dumping the ball to and letting him go to work, that’s just not it. Julius Randle isn’t a post-up guy either. Most of the time, when he gets the ball down there, he’s facing up and looking to attack off the dribble.

I would like to see a spread out, open floor type of offense that gives the players an opportunity to create. Not many power forwards in this league can guard Randle with his go-to misdirection dribble, so why not utilize it. Force defenders to help and collapse in the paint and kick the ball out for open shots. It’s obvious Kobe wants to just be a set shooter, so let’s stop trying to make him create and get the ball to the younger guys and let them create for him, as well as others. That’s why we drafted D’Angelo Russell in the first place, so he could CREATE. Byron Russell is sheltering him instead of letting him operate.

The Ugly:

Defense? WHAT DEFENSE?! This defense is atrocious and unbearable. They can’t stop anybody and even when they do, majority of the time the opposition gets an offensive rebound. When you have a solid defense, most of the time you’re a solid team, even when you lack offense. But the Lakers are the complete opposite of that and it’s difficult to watch. During the game last night against the Miami Heat, I reached my boiling point at this very moment.

Which was followed by this tweet.

What pissed me off even more about this play was Byron Scott’s nonchalant demeanor. I understand that not all coaches and players are emotional or big screamers, but sheesh, let me see a little bit of anger so I know that you care.

My man BJ Boyer said it best — which by the way, if you haven’t listened to the Lakers’ Lair podcast, I suggest you do so immediately. But Byron Scott isn’t doing a great job and his tenure as Lakers’ head coach might be ending soon. Whether it’s the Lakers getting torched on defense or the 2nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft sitting out the entire 4th quarter of games, overall, they just aren’t playing well. Players have to play and coaches have to coach, but at the end of the day, someone has to be accountable for it.

In this situation, unfortunately that someone is Byron Scott.

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