I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby Barnstable on Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:08 pm

I have to say it because I didn't expect it. I did not expect us to have a net improvement this year.

We lose Dwight, Ron, Clark and Jamison, and I seriously expected this team to be pretty terrible.

But somehow, the combination of getting younger, players that better fit Pringles's system, more comradery (IE no Dwight), and a bigger pool of talent seems to have combined for an improved team.

I know it's only been 3 games, but it's pretty clear to me from just these games that we are improved in a lot of areas we were hurting in last year.

I'm calling it. Unless we get hit with big injuries again, or Kobe doesn't come back looking like Kobe, this team will be much improved from last year.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby puffyusaf#2 on Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:44 pm

I think it isnt a huge leap to say such a thing. We have picked up talented guys who have something to prove. We added them with the older guys who have something to prove. We have a coach who has something to prove. I think this team will be much better than people think and we as fans will enjoy this ride.
For what it's worth, the Lakers also clinched the Pacific Division, an achievement Bryant dismissed by saying "We don't hang divisions." No, only the big NBA championship banners are considered wall-worthy for the Lakers.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby karacha on Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:46 pm

Definitely better. It's simple: youth and athleticism. And D'Antoni can usually do something with a team like that.

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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby Weezy on Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:48 pm

I'll just copy and paste what I said in the optimism thread the other day

I may be wrong in saying this or speaking way too soon, and I certainly don't think we're a great team, but the way I'm seeing it we are a better OVERALL team than last season, or deeper I guess you could say. What all did we really lose? Howard, MWP, Morris, Duhon, Clark, Jamison. I'd say we improved, or at least got no worse, at every position this season except Center

Farmar > Morris, Duhon
Young/Henry > Meeks/Morris (yes, I think Henry is better than Morris based off 1 1/2 games)
Johnson/Young/Harris> or = aging MWP/Ebanks?
healthy Hill/Williams > or at least = Clark, aging Jamison

but of course Howard > Pau/Kaman for defense, rim protection, rebounding

I don't expect us to be better (and if we are, not by much, and certainly not much worse) than last season, at least a far as win/loss record goes, or to win anything significant, but I do like all the youth, athleticism, scoring ability and shooting we've added. Basically last season we had pretty much no bench, now we have a decent one IMO .

From what I see, we'll at least be more fun to watch, have better chemistry, we already look like more of a team that actually likes to play together than all of last season.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby revgen on Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:50 pm

I agree, but here's the caveat. The rest of the conference is better too. IMO, we can't win 44-45 games and make the playoffs this season.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby lakersyunowin on Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:53 pm

i'm just glad i can watch games without feeling like i'm paying a visit to the dentist (or other unpleasant activities). it will likely be more fun to watch this year
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby Ras Algethi on Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:56 pm

Yeah we're miles deeper and arguably more talented overall assuming Kobe is Kobe. The blend of youth/athleticism with experience/vets is a much better balance.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby Weezy on Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:21 pm

I'd also add that while you can't say we're better off without what Dwight bring with defense and rebounding, on offense he almost handicapped us a lot last season. I know the guy is a 20 ppg guy, but he can't score outside 5 feet, he can't shoot free throws, he gets stripped a ton and turns the ball over, and IMO he clogs the lane. Yi also have to keep the guy happy with touches, and a lot of the time instead of moving around to be found by Nash, Pau, Kobe, or whoever for good passes, he would just park in the paint and ask for the ball, or even worse not ask, but just stand there and let us play 4 on 5. Obviously Kaman isn't close to Dwight, but the guy can shoot, put himself in good positions to get easy shots, and seems to be a pretty good passer. He also seems to have zero attitude and just goes out and plays. So talent wise, yeah you always want a Dwight on your team, but all other factors considered, I'm glad as hell he's gone, I can finally feel good about rooting for my team again, not conflicted that I must root for a guy I can't stand.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby wcsoldier81 on Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:37 pm

Pre-season ...

Let's see how we are going to do when opponents Pick n roll Gasol and Kaman to death instead of attacking them on the block ( if this game is any indication of the style Shaw wants Denver to play , they (and he) are in deep trouble )

- We are 3 deep inside with both Hill and Kaman being injury prone

On the positive side

-We added some much needed speed in today's NBA which is going to help us on both sides off the floor

- Team chemistry will be a lot better .


Early schedule is tough , 3-7 ish start is likely without Kobe ... this is a very tough Western Conf , if he misses one entire month , it's going to be complicated to make the playoffs
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby D.B. Cooper on Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:37 pm

Kobe will be Kobe so this team will be better.

I agree that this TEAM is watchable compared to last years. You get rid of a cancer, get younger and just like that the team looks more exciting. Might be some mistakes on D but I think Rambo and Mad dog correct things during the season.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby Ariza3 on Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:36 pm

just being deeper and more athletic makes this team somewhat better. bench wise we have more talent id think. perimeter d length and athleticism is there. we have more guys that can really change a game with nick young, farmar, johnson. guys like that can really impact a game. kaman pau combo looks pretty good chemistry wise. everyone seems more together and happier. guys look like theyre having fun and rooting for eachother.

just a younger team and with no expectations. kaman can give us double doubles and a healthy hill can really affect the game on the boards and d. i like this team with nash blake and farmar which enables nash to play less and be fresh and another dimension to the PG spot with farmar. swaggy p will be fun and frustrating to watc but so far seems pretty good and under control. really want to see what jonhnson and williams can add bc i feel itll be huge for us. meeks needs to be more consistent and only spot up catch and shoot and scrappy d
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby purp n gold on Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:07 am

I'm with you OP. We have less talent vs last year, but the pieces are a better fit. If our squad can build some chemistry, it would not be surprising if they overachieve
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby therealdeal on Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:46 am

Barnstable wrote:I have to say it because I didn't expect it. I did not expect us to have a net improvement this year.

We lose Dwight, Ron, Clark and Jamison, and I seriously expected this team to be pretty terrible.

But somehow, the combination of getting younger, players that better fit Pringles's system, more comradery (IE no Dwight), and a bigger pool of talent seems to have combined for an improved team.

I know it's only been 3 games, but it's pretty clear to me from just these games that we are improved in a lot of areas we were hurting in last year.

I'm calling it. Unless we get hit with big injuries again, or Kobe doesn't come back looking like Kobe, this team will be much improved from last year.

The number one thing I've seen is improved chemistry and that's not even in regards to how the offense looks. It's because guys are pulling for each other. They genuinely seem to like each other and want each other to succeed. They're willing to work together which will win us at least 2-3 more games than we should. If we stay relatively healthy that's 2-3 more games than we should. And once we actually hit a groove we should win a few more games too. Most people had us at 40 or fewer wins. If everything stays groovy I'm going to put us up closer to 45-48.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby Lakerjones on Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:06 am

^^ I agree with realdeal there. Believe me, I'm not trying to be a downer, but I don't think this team is as good as last year's at all. I think the TEAMWORK is much improved from last season. In a huge way. And we got a nice infusion of young talent. But last year's team IF healthy would have been a contender to make the Finals especially with OKC hurting without Westbrook. This team is going to be contending for the 7th or 8th spot, IF we are healthy. It's a huge difference. Yes, we ended up there with the most injury riddled season I've ever seen for the Lakers, but that's now what we're shooting for with this team. So I think the goal for this team is just to be better than expected and I think they can do that if they stay relatively healthy this year. I still see this team potentially struggling to end the season over .500 depending on when they get Kobe back and depending on the level Kobe is able to play at. I don't think they will surpass OKC, Spurs, GS, Houston, Clips, Memphis in terms of regular season record. They'll be fighting it out with Denver, Dallas, Portland, Utah.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby revgen on Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:10 am

^If we're talking about talent, yes I agree with you and RD. But I think we're much less likely to have the health problems that we had last season by adding a bunch of younger players. So we automatically become better by providing better insurance against injury.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby Lakerjones on Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:19 am

revgen wrote:^If we're talking about talent, yes I agree with you and RD. But I think we're much less likely to have the health problems that we had last season by adding a bunch of younger players. So we automatically become better by providing better insurance against injury.


^^ True, it's a good thing that we added some young talent. Man, we needed it! But still, a lot of the guys who got hurt last year are still here and it could very well happen again. Nash, Blake, Gasol, Hill and even Meeks got hurt. Then we added Kaman who has never been the embodiment of health. And of course we don't know anything about how Kobe will be - he might not ever be the guy he was last year again. But yes, it is good we got some youth infusion just in case. Of course Farmar did already get hurt, so did Henry (wrist) and I guess Johnson must be hurt too as he didn't play last game. In other words, injuries do still happen and we've still got most of the guys who got hurt last year.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby therealdeal on Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:29 am

Lakerjones wrote:
revgen wrote:^If we're talking about talent, yes I agree with you and RD. But I think we're much less likely to have the health problems that we had last season by adding a bunch of younger players. So we automatically become better by providing better insurance against injury.


^^ True, it's a good thing that we added some young talent. Man, we needed it! But still, a lot of the guys who got hurt last year are still here and it could very well happen again. Nash, Blake, Gasol, Hill and even Meeks got hurt. Then we added Kaman who has never been the embodiment of health. And of course we don't know anything about how Kobe will be - he might not ever be the guy he was last year again. But yes, it is good we got some youth infusion just in case. Of course Farmar did already get hurt, so did Henry (wrist) and I guess Johnson must be hurt too as he didn't play last game. In other words, injuries do still happen and we've still got most of the guys who got hurt last year.

Negativity feeds on negativity. When things are bad, they tend to stay bad. Both are old adages, right?

I think the death of Dr. Buss, the inability for Brown and then D'Antoni to coach effective, Howard's refusal to play the right way, and then a couple of key unlucky situations all fed into each other.

Now that things are looking more positive and people are feeling better about each other and about the team, I think we'll see less injuries. It doesn't necessarily make scientific sense, but I'm sure someone can help me explain what I'm thinking.

And yes adding younger legs DOES scientifically help negate those injury concerns. Younger guys like Young twist and ankle and play on it the next day. Blake twists and ankle and he might be done for the season. It's just the glory of youth.

Of course you're right LJ about the talent level being different. But doesn't hard work beat talent when talent doesn't work hard? Or how about if talent doesn't want to work at all? That's where we're at right now. The synergy of this team is already worlds better than where we were at the END of last season, let alone the start.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby Savory Griddles on Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:37 am

I disagree. The last half of the season we had a top 5 record, iirc. If Kobe doesn't go down...along with Nash, Meeks, and Blake...I think we give SA a real run for their money. Despite the horrible chemistry, we played well the second half of the season as Dwight healed and Pringles relented on forcing his system.

This team may have fun out there, and they may be more fun to watch, but it's not going to finish above Houston, OKC, San Antonio, the Clips, GS, or Memphis. And the bottom half of the west bracket has a lot more teams that can legitimately contend. There are essentially 2 spots for Minny, Dallas, Portland, Denver and the Lakers. Heck, I think the Pelicans could make a serious run at the bottom two spots as well with Gordon and Holiday in the backcourt to go with some decent bigs. When ESPN said we may finish 12th in the West, that wasn't that farfetched. You could finish 12th in this conference and be good enough to finish as high as 5th in the East. It's probably not mathematically possible, but it seems like they could win 39 games or so and still finish 12th.

I think if Kobe doesn't come back until December or so and the Lakers are in the crapper with around 5 wins, Mitch will do a firesale and jettison Gasol and Nash to make sure that Kobe can't will us to 9th in the West...the worst possible outcome.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby JLaker17 on Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:38 am

Chemistry is a big thing, and we have better chemistry through 3 preseason games than we had all last season.

Last year the team looked like a group of individuals playing, so far it is actually people playing as a TEAM.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby Lakerjones on Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:55 am

Savory Griddles wrote:I disagree. The last half of the season we had a top 5 record, iirc. If Kobe doesn't go down...along with Nash, Meeks, and Blake...I think we give SA a real run for their money. Despite the horrible chemistry, we played well the second half of the season as Dwight healed and Pringles relented on forcing his system.

This team may have fun out there, and they may be more fun to watch, but it's not going to finish above Houston, OKC, San Antonio, the Clips, GS, or Memphis. And the bottom half of the west bracket has a lot more teams that can legitimately contend. There are essentially 2 spots for Minny, Dallas, Portland, Denver and the Lakers.


+1 on this. The TEAM was better last year. The TEAMWORK is better this year. That's the distinction. And it is what it is. I expected last year's team to make the WCF, and this year's team I expect to challenge for the 7th or 8th spot in the west.

The improved chemistry is really nice to see. I'm happy about that as a Laker fan. I'm also happy that the Dwightmare has actually ended and it's a new chapter for the Lakers. But to me I think it's a little too rose colored to paint this team as better than last season's to feel better about everything.

I am saying - just take it for what it is. It doesn't have to be better. Just enjoy what we've got, knowing that we aren't going to be making the Finals, barring some crazy miracle.

We really don't know how good we're going to be until we see Kobe on the floor and what he's still capable of. That being said, the ceiling is not that high even if he comes back with a great recovery.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby gcclaker on Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:01 am

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Not there to contend but not bad enough to be in the lottery. Kupchak has stated the organization does not want to be in the "middle" pack. It could mean that they will attempt to upgrade the personnel depending of course how they progress as a whole.
Nor can the Lakers get blamed for always making the right decisions over decades. At some point its not just luck or "gamble", its superior management and superior ownership.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby bnr034 on Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:59 am

I hate it break this to you guys, but all those strips that Crybaby was getting in LA will now be called as Defensive fouls :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang:
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby LOSLAKERS on Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:08 pm

I felt the team would be better from the get go. Honestly surprised not many shared the same sentiment.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby Barnstable on Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:55 pm

Lakerjones wrote:^^ I agree with realdeal there. Believe me, I'm not trying to be a downer, but I don't think this team is as good as last year's at all. I think the TEAMWORK is much improved from last season. In a huge way. And we got a nice infusion of young talent. But last year's team IF healthy would have been a contender to make the Finals especially with OKC hurting without Westbrook. This team is going to be contending for the 7th or 8th spot, IF we are healthy. It's a huge difference. Yes, we ended up there with the most injury riddled season I've ever seen for the Lakers, but that's now what we're shooting for with this team. So I think the goal for this team is just to be better than expected and I think they can do that if they stay relatively healthy this year. I still see this team potentially struggling to end the season over .500 depending on when they get Kobe back and depending on the level Kobe is able to play at. I don't think they will surpass OKC, Spurs, GS, Houston, Clips, Memphis in terms of regular season record. They'll be fighting it out with Denver, Dallas, Portland, Utah.


I can't totally agree with all that.

First, I'll say that health (and possibly a full training camp) is the biggest factor determining this year's success IMO. But assuming that Kobe comes back healthy, I think we've upgraded in some significant ways. Losing Dwight's numbers and defense hurts, but I attribute most of the problems with him in LA to him not being a perfect fit with Gasol and the rest of the team. Pau is a center. He can shoot from 15 so every coach tries to have him do that, but it's not his natural instinct. He's best on the block with his back to the basket, where he can see the court, pass, or shoot as the situation requires. We've tried the twin towers role before. Bynum and Gasol and then Dwight and Gasol, and it's the same every time. Defensively it's good, but offensively they get in each other's way. Gasol needs room to operate down low. That's a large reason why he and Odom worked so well together. Odom slashed, and spaced the floor with 3's while Gasol operated in the paint. We have the potential for something similar with Gasol and Williams. Make no mistake, Williams is not as good all around as LO was, but he can shoot about as well, and he will draw his man away from the basket. We also don't have a baby crying for the ball all the time and pouting when he doesn't get touches anymore. I think we're going to see Gasol shine again this season with some added space to operate.

Help defense? We lost Dwight's basket protection, but we gained better/younger perimeter defenders. Artest's hands and strength were incredible, but his feet were stuck in the mud as he got older, and he couldn't keep quicker players in front of him. Same with Jamison. Clark was good, but I think switching out he and Williams will be a wash defensively. We didn't win the lottery with an incredible upgrade defensively, but I'm convinced we've upgraded in man defense guarding quick players compared to last year. We now have a good mix of old and young. I expect to not get run out of buildings as often, and to have players recover through screens a lot faster, hopefully somewhat softening the blow of no longer having that last line of defense (although Gasol is no slouch at challenging shots). Plus we finally have a good defensive coach with a concrete plan in getting Rambis back. That is huge IMO.

And if our second unit consists of Farmar, Blake, and Young, I expect to finally have fast break potential again. We had none of that last year, and I expect to see quite a bit of it if Farmar is in the game.

I think we've improved overall, but our fate will really be up to the god Achilles.
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Re: I'm Callin' it... This team is better than last year

Postby GoldenKnight on Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:27 pm

I agree, we will be a better team....how much better? That all depends on how Kobe returns. This team has a positive vibe & actually look like they are having fun instead of trying too hard to please each other like last season. D'Antoni is the perfect coach to up role players play & I believe these players will gain confidence from the freedom he gives them, mix that in with Kobe/Nash/Pau in their ear this will be a tough squad to deal with if & when we reach the playoffs.
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