From a pure basketball standpoint, I cannot understand Mike Brown's rotations after the trade deadline. First of all, Sessions should be starting. Blake has carved out a role with the bench that was just starting to work out. The starting unit has badly lacked athleticism in the back court to take the pressure off of Kobe. Sessions was supposed to alleviate this situation, so he should be starting IMMEDIATELY.
Also, now that we have an athletic defender and rebounder in Jordan Hill, Brown should be MINIMIZING the minutes he gives to Murphy and McRoberts. I pay careful attention to the point differential when either Bynum or Gasol comes out of the game, and there is a significant drop in rebounding and interior defense when we rest one of the twin towers. Against all but the poorest teams, we lose points the longer either of our clumsy white bigs, whom I will now dubb the Bumblef*** twins, plays any significant minutes.
There is a reason Phil Jackson kept our big man rotations tight so that either Bynum or Gasol was on the floor at all times, and since we no longer have the benefit of Odom soaking up all of the minutes as the power forward while either center rests, we need a new player to take that role. Jordan Hill CANNOT replace Odom's offense. Jordan Hill CAN be a much better solution than the bumblef*** twins for our loss of rebounding and defense when one of the twin towers is resting.
I noticed that when Steve Blake rested at the 5:50 mark in the first quarter against Houston, the Lakers had a 2 point lead. When Steve came back in the game for Sessions, the lead was 12. Similar scenarios happened in the Utah and Minnesota games as well. The main reason is that Steve Blake is not used to, nor is he good enough to withstand, first string defensive pressure. He is not a smooth enough ball handler, or an adept enough passer, to play through that kind of constant attention.
The second reason is because Steve cannot get dribble penetration against starting caliber set defenses, so he cannot CREATE good looks for teammates. Part of that is his lack of breakaway speed and pure athleticism, and part is because of his penchant for poor angled or mistimed passes...but either way, he was, is and always will be a BACK UP point guard. Another thing I noticed in the Houston AND Utah games is the tendency of Mike Brown to play Sessions WITH either McRoberts or Murphy. I believe that is a mistake as well.
We get ourselves into scoring deficits whenever either bumblef*** twin is in the game. We also need to maximize the effectiveness of all of our offensive weapons. If that means playing Gasol, Bynum and Sessions together at all times and for as many minutes as possible, then so be it. The only time we should play McRoberts is if Gasol, Bynum, Jordan Hill and Troy Murphy are in foul trouble...IN THAT ORDER. The only time we should play Troy Murphy is if Gasol, Bynum or Jordan Hill are in foul trouble. Our big man rotation should be Bynum and Gasol TOGETHER for at least 28 minutes of game time, and then 8 minutes each at center with Jordan Hill as the power forward.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND THE UNAVAILABILITY OF ALL THREE OF OUR BEST BIGS OR A LEAD LARGER THAN 30 POINTS should Murphy AND McRoberts ever be on the floor together. Also, when the other team starts to gain momentum, Brown needs to counter with a line-up of Bynum, Gasol, Barnes, Bryant and Sessions. Our best five players should be on the floor when things get tight. McRoberts and Murphy should only be playing in garbage time. MB should also change his substitution patterns if the opposition starts to gain momentum.
How many times this season have Bynum, Gasol or Kobe (and now Sessions as well) come out of the game right when a comfortable lead has begun to dwindle to a few points...the starters have to EARN their rest, not get it automatically. Just because we have more talent than before the trades, that doesn't mean we can afford to be blasé about our substitution patterns.
We still have a very thin bench, and our substitution patterns should reflect that SITUATIONALLY...meaning if the starters earn a big lead, then they can INCREMENTALLY (minimizing match-up disadvantages) get rest. Putting Murphy, McRoberts and MWP on the floor with Goudelock and Sessions is a recipe for DISASTER. Especially if we have a lead of less than 30 points.
The End is nigh. Time for a total Cut and Shuffle. Kobe contract was a mistake...time to avoid making more. The future is here, whether we want it to be or not. An era is over, but for the death rattle, and it's time for the cycle to begin anew. Growth and change are scary and painful, but alas...nothing worth achieving comes easily.