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Steve Nash says no guarantee Lakers will turn it around

Jan 9, 2013, 10:36 AM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash AP

For the longest time, I was with Lakers fans on one thing — I was sure the Lakers would figure this thing out and at least make the playoffs.

Now, I’m becoming less sure, just because of the math. As noted last night, the Lakers need to go 30-18 the rest of the way to get to 45 wins this season, which is pretty much the minimum needed to make the playoffs out West. And that is with the seven-game Grammy road trip and some other challenges ahead of them.

Then Steve Nash said this after the Lakers sloppy loss in Houston Tuesday night, as reported by the Los Angeles Times:

“I think three or four weeks ago, people would have said, ‘Oh, it will get better,’ ” Nash said. “Right now, I definitely don’t think there’s a guarantee it will, so the only remedy is to continue to work hard and give yourself a chance for it to get better….

“I obviously think with time — and that might mean through the summer — we can get better,” Nash said, “but for this season it’s definitely going to be a challenge to turn this around, to find the chemistry and cohesion, to find a way for the pieces to work together, to a find a way to get back in transition defense better. There are a number of things we have to try to improve on to get better, but the one thing we can’t accept is to take our foot off the gas and accept things. We have to continue to fight.”

Any sane person (so, not some Lakers fans) knew there were going to be bumps in the road this season as the Lakers integrated two new star players into a new offensive scheme, Mike Brown’s hybrid Princeton offense. Then there was Steve Nash being injured, Dwight Howard’s back never being right, Pau Gasol’s knees all holding stars back. Then there was a coaching change to a radically different system.

Through all of it, the Lakers have never found traction, particularly on defense (which remains the end of the floor where they struggle the most).

“We were walking out of the shoot-around [Tuesday] and we just kind of looked at each other,” guard Kobe Bryant said. “I said to him, ‘We thought it was going to be easier this year for us.’ “

There is an increasing likelihood the Lakers miss the playoffs all together. And they won’t get anything good out of that — they traded their first round pick this year to Phoenix for Nash.

  1. aboogy123456 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Is the first round pick protected in any way so that if lakers don’t make the playoffs they can keep it?

    • pl4tinum514 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      It is.

    • unxpexted1 - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      14th or 15th I believe

    • eventhorizon04 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      No. It either goes to the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Phoenix Suns.

      “Other teams watching the Lakers: Cleveland and Phoenix, both of whom own rights to L.A. draft picks. The Cavs can swap one of their 2013 first-rounders — likely the Heat’s via the LeBron sign-and-trade, certain to be near the bottom of the first round — for the Lakers’ first-rounder, but only if the Lakers make the playoffs. In a complicated roundabout, Phoenix via the Nash trade would get whichever Lakers’ 2013 first-rounder is lowest — i.e., furthest toward no. 30 — after the Cleveland swap, but with the caveat that if the Lakers miss the playoffs the Suns get the Lakers’ own lottery pick. In other words: The Cavs benefit most if the Lakers barely make the playoffs, while the Suns benefit most if the Lakers miss the playoffs.”
      Sources:
      1. Quote – http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/46851/analyzing-the-lakers-injury-apocalypse
      2. Reference for all NBA draft pick statuses – http://www.prosportstransactions.com/basketball/DraftTrades/Future/Lakers.htm

      • eventhorizon04 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        So in conclusion, the Lakers lose their first round pick to Phoenix (Steve Nash trade) or Cleveland (Ramon Sessions trade) no matter what -

        If the Lakers miss the playoffs:
        1. The Phoenix Suns get the LA Lakers’ lottery pick
        2. The Cleveland Cavaliers get Miami Heat’s draft pick.
        3. The Lakers and Heat have no draft picks in first round.

        If the Lakers make the playoffs:
        1. The Cleveland Cavaliers get the LA Lakers’ non-lottery draft pick, but the LA Lakers would get the Miami Heat’s draft pick in exchange.
        2. However, the Phoenix Suns would THEN get that Miami Heat draft pick from the LA Lakers.
        3. The Lakers and Heat have no draft picks in first round.

        Two trades for point guards in the past 2 years mean the Lakers have no first round draft pick in 2013.

      • hannsta - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        Its not ideal but I dont think you are missing much in this draft anyway. Im not a Lakers fan but I still think the best hope for the Lakers is to keep the team and reload with some chemistry. No matter what seed, that team will be beast in the playoffs.

      • loungefly74 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:38 PM

        great breakdown, man. thanks.

      • loungefly74 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        damn…that comment was supposed to be for eventhorizon04

      • badintent - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:55 PM

        Great ! nice post . Maybe Jimmy B can bring back T-mac from China. Someone has to rebound, won’t be KMart, he be heading to the Beast of the East. Knick Nation.

      • eventhorizon04 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        Oh, I agree. This isn’t a terrific draft, and it’s very unlikely the Lakers would be able to a high-impact rookie who takes them from 8th seed to top-tier team.

        I’m just pointing out that the Lakers HAVE to try to win with what they have this year, or trade Gasol (whose trade value isn’t exactly being helped with his knee problems, his concussion, and his numbers being down while playing next to Dwight).

      • loungefly74 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:38 PM

        i’m not sure what the rule is but do the Lakers still have the amnesty rule? if so, could Gasol be a candidate? its not like $ money is an issue…caproom is. ugh…i hate talking about “next season” stuff so early this season. yeah, i’m gonna let the season play out before i start speculating on anything beyond.

      • paleihe - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:33 PM

        They can’t amnesty Pau because it’s past the deadline, which was in the off season.

      • ludachrisgsx - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:21 PM

        I think they can still amnesty Gasol or Artest in the offseason, but it’s more likely they’d trade them for younger players – but nothing they get in return will be that great on paper – still might be a better fit though. I know some crazed fans think they can get a big name for Pau like Kevin Love or Josh Smith. But they’ll more likely get someone far less talented and/or a bunch of filler pieces with some potential. Maybe a Derrick Williams plus some bad contracts and a pick (not a 1st rounder). That’s about as good as it would get for Gasol though at this point. It would only be a playoff team that would take him trying to improve, looking for a solid post scorer, one that can take his salary and get away with only sending a quality bench player in return. Nobody’s giving away a starter unless that starter is past their prime, and why would the Lakers want that? This is why Gasol is still here.

      • eventhorizon04 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:57 PM

        And last point – when I say “Miami has no pick in the first round,” I mean they lose their own first round pick.

        Pat Riley traded down from the first round to the second round of the 2012 NBA draft for Philadelphia’s lottery-protected first round pick in 2013, so the Heat might have Philly’s draft pick in 2013 if the 76′ers make the playoffs. But they won’t have their own first rounder because of the LeBron sign-and-trade.

    • azcards - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:14 PM

      no its not protected boss. Read the following:

      As a result of the Ramon Sessions trade between Cleveland and Los Angeles last year, the Cavs have the right to swap picks with the Lakers as long as that pick is not a lottery pick. To further complicate that situation Cleveland’s right to swap picks is based on their choice of picks and they will not only have their own pick, but also Sacramento’s (unless it’s a top 13 pick) and Miami’s. This means that the Lakers getting into the playoffs will likely mean that Cleveland will swap their pick via Miami with the Lakers pick.

      In short, more balls in the lottery for Phoenix

  2. progress2011 - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    WELL….This is only news to FAKER Fans !

    Non-Faker fans know that two things are certain:

    1. Nash will NEVA be able to stay in front of ANY NBA point guard

    2. Wanna-Be-Like-Mike/ Harlem Globetrotter will NEVA pass the ball on a regular basis

    Some FAKER fans still believe 70 wins is possible….ahahahahaha

  3. klownboy - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    The Lakers stink – and I am loving it. I love the fact that Jim Buss is threatening to run the franchise into the ground. Keep making those dumb decisions Jimbo!
    http://wp.me/p1gCK6-vV

    • paleihe - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      I don’t exactly see how Jim Buss is ruining the franchise. He got freaking Dwight and Nash…an incredible steal!

      Now, the coaching situation could have been handled way better, but two outta three ain’t bad!

      • omniusprime - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        The little idiot buss boy is ruining the Laker franchise, he’s not bringing in a great coach who can win championships, just the two most ignorant coaches to ever disgrace the Laker bench, Clueless Clown Brown and Dumbtoni. Ancient Nash is too old and decrepit to play defense, heck he never played defense. Now he’s just old and injury prone. Howard could be a great acquisition but he’s still recovering from his bad back.

        So your reasoning about the little idiot buss boy is way off base. So how much did he pay you to write such tripe?

      • paleihe - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        You know that the Lakers, from all accounts, are not completely run by Jim Buss, right? You know it’s Dr. Buss, Mitch, and Jim that are making decisions, right?

        Nash got injured once, that doesn’t make him “injury prone.” How was a great acquisition. There are no doubts about it.

        The coaching choices were bad, but all three are blamed, not solely Jim Buss.

        Your last statement about me being compensated is idiotic and doesn’t deserve a response.

      • klownboy - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:40 PM

        Look, for your sake, I hope you’re right. I’m just saying it’s obvious Howard does NOT want to be in LA. And Steve Nash, while a stud at PG, is a defensive liability and is old as Noah’s Ark…

      • badintent - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        Gee whiz boy and girls, Knick Nation is doing just fine with “ancient players from the Dino Age”. Stop Whinning on Nash ! All he does is throw dimes and hit open 3s ! Like Kidd. you have 4 other players that are supposed to help out on D if Nash has someone blows by him. It’s called Team Defense. Ya’ll pathetic

        Mike Brown is still laughing his ass off, with or without Phil.,
        Sucker MC

      • ludachrisgsx - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:41 PM

        I don’t see why people are ASSuming Howard will leave at the end of the season because they’re not doing that well after everything that’s happened. Why is it so “obvious” he’ll leave? What makes it so “certain”? Because they’re doing worse than expected? Really? That’s what you’re basing your assumption on?

        Dwight wants to be with an organization committed to winning – for the long term. Just because they’re not in a position to win this season doesn’t mean they won’t be in a better position next season or the season after. And he’s smart enough to know that once Kobe’s big contract comes off the books in a couple years the team will have a lot more options. I’m sure he’s thinking long term about this. And there’s no guarantee that Dallas or any other team will be in a better position. And let’s not forget about the money he’d have to leave on the table to leave LA to take a chance somewhere else. Even with the poor record this year and no playoffs LA still has to be the front runner to keep him. That seems pretty obvious to me and most people with common sense.

        They probably won’t get things together this season. And if they don’t improve much soon, we can probably expect a couple players to be traded to help reduce the luxury tax (like Gasol and Artest) for younger players, but not necessarily better players. Not to get better, but to get cheaper, with secondary hopes of getting more athletic.

  4. isujames - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    @ ^^ yes he did and how are those two players working out for him now?? One thing is certain D Howard won’t be back next year.Heat all day!!

    • paleihe - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      So having Dwight is worse than having Bynum? Would you rather have Fisher/R Sessions over Nash?

      Everybody would make those same trades again. What kind of year is Bynum having? Fish can’t even make it in the league anymore. Sessions is doing alright, but he picked the Bobcats, he’s not ready for the spotlight (or is just trying to avoid it completely).

      Just because it’s not working out the way most people (myself included) expected, doesn’t mean the trades were bad. The coaching fiasco should have been handled way better, and that’s a Jim Buss f-up. But the trades were the right moves.

  5. omniusprime - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Kurt as long as Ancient Nash is on the Lakers they will never turn it around. Ancient Nash has been a liability to the team, in fact the only thing he’s done to help the team is to get injured for so many games so that the younger guards got some playing time. Now he’s got a sore back, it will never end until the Lakers trade him for some young point guard who can play defense.

    Plus as long as Dumbtoni is coach the Lakers will never turn it around, no matter how much Kobe tries to help the team win. Dumbtoni is trying to force the personnel to play his idiot small ball garbage when they have a team built to play a slower paced set offense game. When will you write about how stupid Dumbtoni is and why it’s his fault that the Laker’s season isn’t turning around? Kurt, when will you start blaming the little idiot buss boy for making stupid decisions like bringing in the two worst coaches to ever disgrace the Laker bench in Clueless Clown Brown and Dumbtoni.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Away Ancient Nash!!!

    • nativetexan2012 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:45 PM

      Are you watching the games? “Ancient Nash” wasn’t the one who was getting beat on defense last night. They wouldn’t have even been in the game without his 16 points and 10 assists. I don’t know who you think the Lakers could get that would be better than Nash. The Rockets have a young team, and they weren’t able to guard Nash one-on-one. Nash is not the problem with this team. Mike D’Antoni is not stupid, and no one with any knowledge of the NBA believes that he is. My advice: start watching the games and quit repeating tired cliches.

  6. ron05342 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    I am continually surprised by writers like Kurt and some Laker fans who actually think the Lakers can turn it around.

    Hellooooo…they scored 112 points last night and still found a way to lose by 13. Helloooo…as long as the Lakers play the worst defense I have seen in years by any team in the NBA, they will continue to lose games, and by wide margins. I can’t imagine them winning any games at this rate, and I have been a Laker fan for over 45 years.

    It is indeed an amazing thing to watch.

  7. eventhorizon04 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Yeah, I’ve been on the “There’s plenty of time for the Lakers” crowd for awhile. The Lakers seemed to play better with Nash back, so I thought they were poised for a turn around and guaranteed either a 6, 7, or 8 seed.

    However, then the the Howard and Gasol injuries struck. Gasol’s injury is short term, but having him anchoring the defense and grabbing rebounds is a huge downgrade from Dwight. I expect Gasol’s numbers to improve without Howard but the team overall to be worse without Howard.

    I watched the LA Lakers-Houston Rockets game. The Lakers came out and played like a team with something to prove, but the fact that the Lakers got worse as the game went on is closely tied to the fact that they lack depth.

    As Kurt noted, “the Lakers need to go 30-18 the rest of the way to get to 45 wins this season, which is pretty much the minimum needed to make the playoffs out West.”

    The next 2-3 weeks (the time they won’t have Howard), the Lakers face Spurs, Thunder, Cavaliers w/o Varejao, Bucks, Heat, Raptors, Bulls, Grizzlies, Jazz, and Thunder. My prediction is 3-7 through that stretch, which means with Howard back at the end of January, the Lakers would have to then go 27-11 to finish the season. A 27-11 pace is equivalent to a team winning 58 games (A top-2 seed). Doable, but virtually impossible given how this group has played together (around 0.500-level). And again, even if they do all that, their reward is an 8th seed, so they go on the road against OKC or the Clippers, and they won’t be able to rest players before the playoffs…

  8. mogogo1 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    This is a rudderless team. Nobody except probably Nash has bought into D’Antoni’s system and absolutely nobody was on board with Mike Brown before him. Kobe was already making “we’re old” comments a couple weeks ago. Now, Nash is admitting they might not get things turned around? These guys are looking for excuses to fail.

    And TONS of blame to be shared… D’Antoni won’t adjust his system to the personnel…but to let the season go down in flames without even attempting to make things work within two different coaches’ systems is just as bad…and what kind of owner/manager brings in a coach who only wants to run when there’s nobody on the entire roster who can do that any more?

    • nativetexan2012 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      Nash did not say they are not going to turn it around. He said it’s going to take time to turn it around, but they are not going to stop trying. I don’t know why you believe that no one is attempting to make things work. Did you watch the game last night? They did not look like a rudderless team. Their problems are 1) injuries and 2) lack of depth 3)not enough time together. How many games since D’Antoni arrived have they had all 5 starters healthy and on the court together? You have to be realistic about the time it takes to learn a new system and become proficient at it. That is the reason that Nash said it might be the summer before they can play together like they should. That’s not an excuse. It’s just a fact. The lack of depth has been magnified by the recent injuries. The Lakers seem to have run into the perfect storm this season. They are probably going to have to add some players if they want to compete for a championship. However, it’s wrong to say they are looking for excuses and not trying to win now.

  9. phx1311 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    @pale Nash has been breaking down after all star break for the past two seasons. He is becoming more injury prone by the day. And if I’m not mistaken he was briefly taken out of last nights game. I miss him on my team but not that much so enjoy!!!

    • nativetexan2012 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      Chris Paul and Rondo (not to mention Rose) missed more time due to injury last season than Nash. He is no more injury prone than anyone else, even at his age. Yes, he went out of the game last night, but he wasn’t going to play the entire second half anyway. He came back in the game sooner than he normally does in the 4th quarter. You don’t miss him in Phoenix all that much? Seriously? Why don’t you ask Marcin Gortat or any of the other players how much they miss him? Yes, we are enjoying having one of the best PGs ever to play the game. If the Lakers don’t make the playoffs, it won’t be because of Steve Nash.

  10. itsonlyaspeedbump - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    The math and their current record is interesting information, but man, it is hard to imagine that collection of talent missing the playoffs.

  11. bougin89 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    It’s comical that the Lakers “can’t find the solution”. Maybe D’Antoni can start a player discussion on why they don’t run back hard on defense…

    Making sure you get back on defense is about effort not some sort of gameplan. It’s one thing if your a slow team which the Lakers are but they also don’t box out very well, play clueless on defense and they jog back in transition. These are all effort issues. You dont’ “figure out” effort you either have it or you don’t.

  12. bucs24 - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    It’s time to blow it up Kobe is done, Howard won’t be back (thank god) try to get something for Pau and Nash or trade Howard and get rid of the sh$&@ coach

    • ludachrisgsx - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      LOL- Kobe is done? I can tell you’re just trolling.

  13. mazblast - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Laker fans may scream for the team to trade Gasol (or Metta, or whoever), but like Yankee fans, they always seem to forget that in order to trade someone, another team has to WANT them.

    You don’t always get a player just because you want him, and you don’t always get rid of a player just because you don’t want him.

    BTW–eventhorizon04, thanks for the draft analysis. Great stuff!

  14. jimsjam33 - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    What the Lakers needed was for Matt Barnes and Lamar Odom to return prior to the season starting . . They should have traded for Eric Bledsoe at PG . The Lakers need speed and they just don’t have it .
    Bledsoe , Kobe , Barnes , Gasol and Howard would have equaled a Championship . They could have gotten Barnes , Odom and Jamal Crawford for nothing before the season started . Chris Paul playing GM for the Clippers has ripped the guts out of the Lakers . Even Turiaf would been better than Sacre .

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