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Lakers offensive system not the problem, it’s the shooters

Mar 9, 2012, 9:06 PM EDT

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

The Lakers are frustrated. They are talking about wanting to run more triangle sets and less of Mike Brown’s east-to-west motion offense. I’ve said it’s less about the offense than the execution — the Lakers need to be an inside-out team, but are you when Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol combined take just 1.7 more shots per game than Kobe Bryant alone? And in the loss to Washington, Kobe had 30 points on 31 shots to Bynum/Gasol having 38 points on 19 shots. That’s not running the offense as designed.

The problem is it’s not always easy for the Lakers to get the ball into their post players because defenders sag down into the paint — and the Lakers don’t make them pay. The Lakers are shooting just 30.3 percent from three going into Friday night, third worst in the league (the Bobcats and Jazz are worse).

Coach Mike Brown talked about it, as reported by Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register:

“We’ve got to make them pay on the back side, so teams are hesitant about doubling because they’re getting hurt on the weak side,” Brown said. “We’re shooting 30 percent from 3(-point range) right now, so that doesn’t quite help the cause, because teams stay in the double team longer and they really come aggressively.

“If we were halfway decent in that (3-point) area, where we’re getting great looks because guys are getting doubled, we’d be even better and more efficient offensively. But it’s going to continue to be a struggle for our guys on the block, because, shoot, I know if I’m playing us, I would double those guys. I don’t know who wouldn’t.”

What Brown wants to run is what the Spurs ran with Tim Duncan and David Robinson — but those Spurs teams had good shooters everywhere spacing the court. Collapse on the bigs and the ball moved and you paid a price.

There is no price to be paid with the Lakers. They don’t move the ball consistently, they don’t knock down shots. They do not make themselves hard to defend, they just beat you because they have three really talented players. But those guys need help.

  1. isujames - Mar 9, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    thats not bad for kobe that = 1 point/shot.

  2. smoothaswilkes - Mar 9, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Kobe jacking up 40 shots over two games against below .500 teams (or every other team for that matter) doesn’t help the offense. Why do you think they are looking to run more triangle? The ball isn’t in Kobe’s hands so much. Problem is the Lakers haven’t gone to the post in the triangle since 2010, or turn of the century if you want to get picky.

    The offense isn’t the problem. It has been run to perfection at least once this season, even with all the excuses, (short season, new system, new coach, yada, yada, yada.) and Kobe was playing off the ball. Not chucking 5 crappy shots in a row.

    Watch a Lakers game. Gasol and Bynum in the post is winning basketball. Dump the rock every single time down and good things are going to happen. Kobe – feel free and you’ll get that sixth. For the love of the Lakers, do it.

  3. patsfan508 - Mar 9, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    It’s simple, they need to play team ball. Seems that the system is working when they get up by 21, but ince they blow leads then it’s not.

  4. progress2011 - Mar 9, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    Slowly….ever so slightly, people are openly starting to at least, suggest the obvious. kobe has a few Harlem Globe Trotter shots per game, that makes everyone say WOW !

    But he missed the previous 5 by pounding the ball for 15 seconds of the shot clock and either jacked up a terrible shot or throw it to Bynum or Gasol with 1 second left on the clock and expect them to make a miracle shot.

    Then have the audacity to get mad at them, throw his hands in the air and make one of those weird faces, when they don’t beat the shot clock or make a And1 type trick shot.

    The gig is up ! This dude never learned how to play team ball. Trade and get another good scorer that is in their prime ( Monte Ellis ), draft picks and money and let kobe go try to win Vanessa back.

  5. jason1214 - Mar 9, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    Somewhere Shaq is smiling…

  6. AlohaMrHand - Mar 10, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    So you’re saying Phil Jackson WAS a good coach?

  7. lucky5934 - Mar 10, 2012 at 4:39 AM

    Progress2011,

    I find it coincidental that your user name is “Progress”, but you are referencing a regression in team play in the NBA. I completely agree with you that Kobe is not a team player who has unreasonable expectations of his teammates when receiving the ball with just a few seconds left. But the problem extends to the mindset of just about every NBA team in this day and age. Teams rarely play team orientated basketball anymore. Everyone wants to be Jordan-esque, and with all of the top players tying up most of the salary cap, the teams with big name stars rarely have an 80’s type Celtic or Lakers team where many players can take the shot. The quality of team play is such a distant memory that when teams surprise us with excellent team play (Ex: last year’s Dallas Mavericks NBA Finals showing), we are pleasantly surprised. And YES, Phil Jackson was an excellent coach.

    • progress2011 - Mar 10, 2012 at 8:37 PM

      Lucky, for the most part, your comments are in-line with what I believe to be the ” regression in team play, in the NBA “.

  8. davidly - Mar 10, 2012 at 5:02 AM

    Bynum had seven turnovers in that game. Anybody see the game? Did Kobe get tired of his butter fingers and start jacking it up or was it more a matter of fleet hands swatting the ball away from him?

    People said similar things about Jordan shooting too much. The difference is that Jordan had a better all-around game, and that if Bryant were shooting MJ’s career FG percentage, he’d already be passed him on the points list.

    Yep, the Lakers need better kick-out shooting. If they played D like they did against Miami, however, a lot of this would take care of itself.

    • progress2011 - Mar 10, 2012 at 8:44 PM

      david…you fail to mention the fact that kobe has 7 turnovers in a half, on occasion. So, because his team mate is having a bad turnover day, should not give him the green light to stop passing the ball.

      It’s not fair to kobe to compare him to MJ, for the very reason you mentioned, MJ’s career FG percentage was far superior.

      Remember, Miami was minus Bosh and the Heat had played several tough games that week. It was purely a moral victory for laker faithfuls. Trust me, even kobe knows they wouldn’t beat the Heat in a 7 game series.

      Good post anyway.

  9. pop562 - Mar 10, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Kobe can make or break a game, he’s taking bad shot selections and should start passing it to the bigs earlier in the post with enough time on the shot clock… Play that high-low with the bigs and the bench stepping up would help the team tremendously… However it won’t happen until they get a true point guard he can pass, play physical smart defense and is aggressive on offense…

  10. losangelasbasketball - Mar 10, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    You could argue that kobe’s excessive shooting is allowing gasol and bynum to rest offensively for the playoffs… battling for putbacks, dunks, and rebounds will crush a man’s spirit over time…plus bynums knees are made of glass.

  11. zblott - Mar 10, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I love when people start talking about how the Lakers need more talent. They got 3 All-Stars, the highest payroll for what seems like the zillionth year in a row, and a lot of their non-Big 3 players were talked about very positively when they showed up.

  12. LPad - Mar 10, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Since Bynum admitted that he wasn’t playing hard in the second half, I’m not sure if you can blame Kobe for taking a lot of shots this game.

    • progress2011 - Mar 11, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      Bynum is clearly frustrated. Most big men need to touch the ball frequently, (even if they only pass it back out) to stay engaged in the game.

      However playing on a team with a guy that has taken 153 shots more than the 2nd leading scorer in the league. But only has 13 more points !!!

      kobe- 960 shots taken, 417 made

      Kevin Durant – 805 shots taken, 404 made

      LBJ- 718 shots taken, 396 made

      I would be disengaged too, knowing that the likely hood of me touching the ball, is not very likely.

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