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Lakers players frustrated with Mike Brown’s offense, should be frustrated with themselves

Mar 8, 2012, 12:39 PM EDT

Metta World Peace, Rodney Stuckey AP

It’s not the offense, it’s the execution. It’s the players.

But that’s not the way everyone sees it. What everyone does agree on is Wednesday night’s ugly Laker loss to the Wizards — where Los Angeles was up 21 in the third quarter to one of the worst teams in the league and came from ahead to lose — encapsulated the problems.

It brought some frustrations among Lakers players back to the forefront — many don’t love Mike Brown’s more traditional NBA offense. And they are talking about, if not offensive mutiny, at least just running some old triangle offense sets, reports Ramona Shelburne at

… sources told this week that there is growing concern among some Lakers players as to whether first-year coach Mike Brown and his staff have the X-and-O wherewithal to fix a Lakers offense that is averaging its lowest per-game point total (94) since before the advent of the 24-second shot clock in 1954-55.

Brown’s effect on the Lakers’ defense has been undeniable, but sources say the team’s ongoing struggles on the road — with L.A. dropping to 6-14 away from Staples Center following a loss in Detroit and blowing a 21-point lead to the undisciplined Wizards — have some veterans longing for a return to the trusty Triangle offense preferred by Brown’s predecessor, Phil Jackson.

Last season running the triangle, the Lakers averaged 111 points per 100 possessions, sixth best in the NBA (via Basketball-Reference). This season that is down to an offensive rating of 103.6, 15th in the NBA. An average NBA offense that contains Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. There are some serious issues here.

Let’s trace those back to the beginning.

Jim Buss and Lakers management made the first mistake last summer when, in replacing Phil Jackson, they decided to try and eradicate all traces of arguably the NBA’s greatest coach ever from the organization. Buss wanted change, wanted his own stamp on the organization. That meant the triangle offense was gone and lead assistant Brian Shaw had no real chance to move down to the big chair. The Lakers personnel, particularly their role players, were suited to run the triangle and not a traditional offense. Throw in a lockout that meant a condensed training camp and few practices, and you have a situation where installing and gaining trust in a new offense was going to be tough.

That said, the new offense can work. There are 29 other teams that run a whole lot of “floppy” and “horns” and live by the pick-and-roll — because when executed right they work. It’s about execution.

Which brings us to Wednesday and the Lakers loss. In the first half the Lakers executed the offense beautifully — they worked the ball inside out and took advantage of Gasol and Bynum in the post. There was fantastic ball movement. They ran when they could. They were up 21 points.

Then it looked like Kobe decided he could stick a dagger in the Wizards right there in the middle of the third quarter and forced some shots that missed. Bynum admitted he lost focus and just kind of loafed around. The Lakers bench turned the ball over and was sloppy. The Lakers played like they thought the Wizards would just roll over — at home teams do not roll over. Maybe on the road, but at home in front of their fans even bad teams do not like to be embarrassed. So the Wizards kept on fighting. And the Lakers never got around to executing well again. Kobe’s missed jumpers turned into long rebounds that got the Wizards out on the break.

That’s not on Mike Brown, that’s not on the offensive system. That is not about comfort level with the offense. The Lakers spent plenty of time in the triangle the past few years taking bad shots, not moving the ball and not getting it into the post where they had an advantage.

Maybe the Lakers should run a few triangle offensive sets (as much as you can isolate those from the triangle system), but that doesn’t solve the bigger issue. Not executing is not executing. Doesn’t matter the system. And on a veteran team it’s on the players, not the coach.

The Lakers need to shake things up at the trade deadline, they need to get a point guard that can both create his own shot and will snap them out of these lapses of execution. These Lakers are not contenders with this roster right now, but keep executing like this and a whole lot offensive talent will be going home in the first round.

  1. shockexchange - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    SHOCKER! It’s somebody else’s fault when the Lakers lose? First Shaq, then Bynum, the Odom and now Mike Brown. It’s about time the media stops co-signing the “person” throwing shade.

    • skids003 - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      Seems to work until the great Kobe decides he needs to get his points!! Seems like this is a nightly happening. When will you Kobe huggers in the media just have the balls to say it; he’s the problem, and his outsized ego.. Huh?

  2. loungefly74 - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    ugh…so frustrating. i’m still hoping for a couple minor tweeks to the bench but they really need to focus!

  3. smoothaswilkes - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Kobe is having a great season for a 16 year veteran (anyone really) but he needs to stop shooting the team out of games. It’s not 2007. Feed the post. It’s the Lakers only real advantage. If not, Bynum (or anyone else on the court) gets bored watching Kobe trying to ISO and get up a horrible shot.

    A new PG should alleviate this problem by taking the ball out of Kobe’s hands but until Kobe modifies his game to take more advantage of team strengths there’ll be a lot more losses like this one. The only way Kobe gets ring number six is by becoming a better team player and reducing his usage rate, which is ridiculously high for a team with Bynum and Gasol.

    • tomtravis76 - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:50 PM

      Damn, you forget how long Kobe has been getting it done, until you see it, a 16 year veteran…and he is still in the top 5 of the league with years left on the tires.

      Bring Byron back to LA…

  4. palakerfan - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Kobe’s insistence on being “THE MAN” at all costs is killing this team. No one cares if you lead the league in scoring! WINS is what matters, and the easiest way to do that is through Bynum and Gasol. It’s no wonder Howard doesn’t want traded to this team. It’s the first time I can ever remember thinking the Lakers should guage the trade market for Kobe. Sad but true.

  5. SmackSaw - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Jim Buss can go straight to hell!

  6. chadinkc30 - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Kobe huggers? There are many more Kobe haters out there & have been for years! The man has 5 rings & 1 MVP? That’s ridiculous that Steve nash has more than Kobe, so don’t give me this media loves Kobe bs! Would u rather be a great regular season player(lebron) or 5 rings!?

    • kinggw - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      Like Lebron, Kobe has lost twice in the Finals. And unlike Kobe, Lebron was good enough to take a team to the finals by himself. I like Kobe, but lets stop acting like he is leaps and bounds better than Lebron. He does have 5 rings, but Horry has 7, so whats your point? Is Horry better than Kobe?

      • mytthor - Mar 8, 2012 at 10:33 PM

        Did you just compare two people and call it even because they’ve LOST the same # of finals?

        Yeah, because you know what they say, “it ain’t a thing without the…conference championship!”

  7. david8726 - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Last night perfectly summed up why Kobe always has and always will have detractors.

    9 for 31 shooting from the floor. Considering how efficient Bynum and Gasol were, that’s completely ridiculous. The man had two weapons he could have given the ball to while he was having an off night, and he chose not to.

    Kobe is a great player, but every now and then he goes through stretches where he can be very selfish. The last couple games have been one of those times.

  8. shockexchange - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Robert Horry, Jr. has been carried by either Shaq, or Bynum/Gasol since he has been in the league. Bynum and Gasol must be “gluttons for punishment.” If I were one of them the Lakers would not have to trade me. I would leave as soon as my contract was up and let Horry, Jr. be “the man” all by himself.

    • namriverrat69 - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      I must have missed the part in the article that discussed Robert Horry being relative to this years Lakers.

      I don’t know where you have been watching your Laker games but Robert Horry retired left the NBA after the 2007-2008 season. He won two rings playing for Houston before he came to the Lakers and two rings with the Spurs after leaving the Lakers where he won three.

      Actually Horry was a very good player and developed into a role player on his teams. He never was the star of any team but part of the supporting cast. He became a good clutch player at times when the game was on the line.

      • shockexchange - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        @namriverrat I think you made my point when you said “He never was the star of any team but part of the supporting cast …” (Theme from Jeopardy … )Now take a which current Laker fits that description .

      • mytthor - Mar 9, 2012 at 3:17 AM

        He’s trying to say Kobe is “Robert Horry Jr.” Because you remember that year Horry averaged 35 points per game, don’t you?

    • mytthor - Mar 9, 2012 at 3:15 AM

      You’re just an absolute idiot.

  9. fcs34 - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Couldn’t happen to a bigger group of dicks. Looks like karma finally took notice.

    • cinnalocks - Mar 8, 2012 at 6:43 PM

      Okay Mr Fool.

  10. lakerluver - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    I don’t care what style of offense the LAKERS run, they SHOULD NOT LOSE TO THE DARN WIZARDS!! I’m one of the biggest Kobe fans around but the last two losses rests squarely on his shoulders. The LAKERS have TWO virtually unstoppable 7 footers but Kobe decided he’s just gonna jack up 30 shots a game. If he’s making them, fine. But when he’s missing get some easy baskets with our bigs!!! They can’t blame Browns system for losing to the Wizards AND Pistons!!! These last two games only make me angrier at Stern. Had he not vetoed the CP3 deal the LAKERS would have a player who would take the ball out if Kobe’s hands and FEED THE BIGS!! Kobe wants a sixth ring but he won’t get it unless he decides to play the right way. Along with Magic he’s still my favorite LAKER but he has to realize what the strength of the team is. And that is two very good 7 footers inside!!!!

  11. chadinkc30 - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    So gasoft & bynum won Kobe 2 rings now? Wow you are an idiot! As far as LeBron goes…he’s been in the league for 9 freaking years! No rings! End of story!

  12. lameasish - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    LeBron has never had shaq in his prime and then gasol and odem. I wonder if that played a part in kobe getting all those rings?….I know he has wade now but it’s only been one year. What is everyone going to complain about when LeBron does win a title?

  13. cinnalocks - Mar 8, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Win one first and we will see what they have to say. It has been 9 yrs now and counting.

  14. chadinkc30 - Mar 8, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Just acknowledge that rings are hard to come by & Kobe has 5 of them! That’s it! When u say that gasol & bynum(who was absent in both championships btw) should get the credit, it makes u look like an ignorant hater! Is Kobe paying great right now? No, but he also has the worst Laker bench in history of laker bball!

  15. zxrated - Mar 8, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    I’m a long time Laker first/Kobe fan. Kobe is one of the all time greats the league has ever seen but you gotta a foul when it’s committed. Simply put the ongoing Lake Show drama is like the overriding theme of the movie Purple Rain… insert Kobe as Prince. Kobe needs to purify his alpha dog selfishness in the waters of Lake Minnetonka!

    • zxrated - Mar 8, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      call foul…

  16. ramblingalb - Mar 8, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    Maybe Kobe should utilize his two solid big men and stop hoisting 30 shots a game.

  17. losangelasbasketball - Mar 9, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    The offense sucks because everybody is used to running triangle offense plays from the phil jackson era…. plays that have worked well over the years(5 championships)…. now Mike Brown doesn’t know any of those plays and doesn’t want to know them… so the players are waiting to see what Mike Brown is going to cook up… but they are not optomistic so it’s Kobe Ball in the meantime..

  18. omniusprime - Mar 9, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Mike Brown has proven he has no clue about offense except to give the star player the ball and let him shoot lights out. Jim Buss is a total idiot for trying to erase the awesome legacy of Phil Jackson and his Triangle offense that won 11 championships in 21 years. Jim Buss is the one who ought to be fired and Jeanie Buss brought in to run the Laker organization, maybe she could seduce Phil back out of retirement. What good is defense when the offense can’t score when it needs to? The last two losses were Mike Brown’s fault for not showing proper coaching to ensure the players didn’t flake out. The whole pitiful season is the fault of Mike Brown and only a foolish pundit would try to place the blame on the players.

    Fire Jim Buss and Mike Brown!

  19. gavilansalvaje - Mar 10, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    Didn’t Mike Brown’s playbook in Cleveland consisted of one play?
    “Give LBJ the ball and get out of his way”

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