Lakers: letting the right players leave

Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:08 pm

So we’ve been talking about how good Mitch Kupchak’s GMing ability is—from his drafting ability to his recent free agent signings to the mega-trades that landed us key players like Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol. But the flip side of the equation is the players that he’s decided to let go in exchange, whether through trades, waiving or letting them leave in free agency. I’ve decided to look at recent Laker history about this, 2005 to current, and using logic, attempt to deduce whether he’s made the right decisions in letting certain players go. I have a ranking system based on some numbers-crunching (yeah, I know everyone hates numbers) which goes like this: Superstar, All Star, High level Starter, Starter, Role Player, 10th-12th man, Fringe NBA player, Out of the League. This ranking system is based on that player’s current level of play, NOT past level of play, just to keep things at the present. Just a few clarifications here: There’s some guesstimation at work here, so some players you’ll see below will straddle between some of the rankings (i.e. Starter/Role Player, etc), and the out-of-the-league players consist of players who either may not have enough talent to sustain being in the league, or those were in the twilight of their careers and have retired. Also, there were three players before 2005 that were former Lakers who are still in the league, and I took a look at them as well. And as you’ll see below, I bring up several occasions where I believe the Lakers have maximized that player’s talent, so when that player leaves they find it rough outside of Tinseltown, but with one exception (find out below). If you disagree with my ranking system or any of the rankings or my comments about the players, have at it and post disagreements below. Otherwise, without further ado…

The Lakers have done an excellent job in letting players go: the best player we’ve given up is what I consider to a high-end starter (Marc Gasol) and that was necessary for the Pau Gasol trade. We’ve given up roughly three starters (Ronny Turiaf, Shaquille O’Neal, Caron Butler), roughly five role players, roughly five 10th-12th men, five fringe NBA players, and 16 players that are out of the league. So out of the 35 players who moved on, nearly half are out of the league, and only about 10% of them have become starters or better. Note to opposing GMs: don’t ever trade for or sign players who have played for the Lakers. Read on below…

Andrew Goudelock (Offseason 2012)--Goudelock operated almost exclusively as a three point bomber for the Lakers, with decent percentages, and he also went in floaters and hit a very large percentage of them. However, he was a massive drain offensively for the Lakers, because he was bricking all his mid-range shots off the dribble, never saw the rim or drew fouls, and perhaps most obscenely, passed the ball even worse than most centers, having excessive tunnel vision--with all those flaws, he needs to shoot at least 45% from three to have any sort of value offensively. On defense, Goudelock is not NBA material and is an absolute wreck--he's undersized, doesn't rebound, lacks reflexes with atrocious steal/block numbers, and gets torched by opposing SGs in man-defense while playing poor team defense. There's very little to work with in his game, and frankly, his game is well more suited for Europe, so he's Out of the league

Troy Murphy (Offseason 2012)--Murphy was unspeakably horrendous with the Lakers, hurting them offensively with invisibility: unlike McRoberts, however, when he wasn't invisible he was draining his jumpers 16 feet and beyond and making smart passes, but for an exclusive jumpshooter the fact that he took significantly more long twos than threes hurt his offensive efficiency. And Murphy needs to maximize his offense, because on defense he's not NBA material: he's an absolute hack, he's losing whatever rebounding ability he once had and is a horrendous man-to-man and team defender, as he's always been. Overall he's wretched on both ends of the court and not a surprise he's Out of the league

Matt Barnes (Offseason 2012)--Barnes has one of the best shot charts among NBA players--he takes the majority of his shots on off-ball cuts to the rim and from three, and draws fouls at a decent clip, so despite subpar three point shooting he's quite efficient offensively. On top of that, he's an excellent offensive rebounder and good passer for his size and actually has the potential to be better offensively, but he underutilizes an effective floater and long mid-range jumper. Barnes is simply incredibly underrated on offense, being a jack of all trades type. On defense, Barnes is incredibly active, being an excellent rebounder, blocking shots well for his size, and being a decent man-to-man defender. There's this wrongful portrayal of Barnes as a clumsy player, due to his loose handle, rampant foul proneness, somewhat poor team defense and wayward three point shot, and that has probably cost him millions in free agency, but the reality is he excels at almost everything else to the point that he should sustain his level of play for quite a while. The fouls have also caused him to never play more than 30 minutes a game, which is why he's always been perceived as a role player rather than a high end role player, even though for the minutes he plays he's probably more of a high end role player. Nonetheless, Barnes is a player the Lakers might regret giving up, even if he's on the older side, because his level of production can sustain. Role player

Ramon Sessions (Offseason 2012)--Sessions put up his typical Sessions offensive wizard numbers while with the Lakers--good passing and good rebounding coupled with extraordinary foul drawing ability, a trifecta that's unique among players, and while he didn't take many, he blew his past numbers out of the water with 48% three point shooting. Overall, though, he barely takes jumpers and doesn't space the floor. On top of that, he's rock solid consistent offensively every year and never gets injured, which paints the picture of a new-age Andre Miller type. Of course everything unraveled in the playoffs, cementing this idea that Sessions is a "good player on a bad team" sort of player. Cementing that belief is also the defense--Sessions is an unspeakably awful team defender is also a very bad team defender, lacks reflexes, and gives the impression that he treats defense as optional because he rarely fouls. Sessions does a ton of things well on offense to the point that he can be the third fiddle offensively on a good team, but the horrid defense really takes things down several notches and probably makes him best as a popcorn offensive energizer off the bench. He's been used in that role for much of his career, and the shame is that he ever got to average defensively, he's a bonafide starter. But still, his unique tricks offensively should guarantee him a decade long career. Role player to starter


Josh McRoberts (Offseason 2012)--McRoberts is easily a fringe role player in this league and really should be out of the league soon, with his only strength being his ability to pass the rock. Offensively overall, McRoberts is a real wreck--most of the time he's just completely invisible and a drag to the offense, but when he did something, it was either turning the ball over or getting his shot blocked inside, and he completely lost the touch on his jumper with the Lakers to the point where he stopped taking them. Defensively, McRoberts was unspeakably wretched--he was torched by opposing power forwards in man-to-man and team defense, on top of slightly subpar rebounding and worse shotblocking than usual for him. He's a wreck both on offense and defense, and really shouldn't be in the league, but apparently he has a bit of a halo from his Indiana days, and people associate him as an "athlete", that's keeping him in for now. 10th to 12th man, for now

Christian Eyenga (Offseason 2012)--Eyenga only played one game with the Lakers, but his stints in Cleveland and the D-League revealed that he was all sizzle but no steak due to how raw he was. Eyenga can block shots and dunk, but he's lost on both offense and defense, as he can't see the floor, hit threes or draw fouls, doesn't rebound despite the athleticism, and gets torched particularly man-to-man. He might be hopeless offensively, but defensively with his athleticism he has more potential, so he needs to hang his hat on this to get back to the league. He's still young enough to get that chance, but he has so many flaws it's hard to see anything other than 10th-12th man as the eventual upside, if it even occurs. For now he's Out of the league

Andrew Bynum (Offseason 2012)--Bynum is a "strength-athleticism" old-school big man who is a prolific dunker and scorer within 10 feet of the rim and an excellent rebounder who plays decent team defense without fouling. The lack of fouling allowed him to play a career high 35 mpg last year, amplifying his two-way stats and making him an All-star for the first time in his career. In terms of his overall game, there are only two major issues of concern, both of which can be corrected: first, he has a bipolar game where when he gets scoring-hungry, his defense and passing suffer, and secondly, he has all-world defense potential, but he's only an average shotblocker where centers are concerned, and his man-to-man defense could be better, so as a whole he's just above average for now. In terms of intangibles, he also has an immature/rebellious sort of behavior. The major issue, and possibly why the Lakers traded him, is the injury: while he stayed healthy with his last season with the Lakers, he's had a ton of setbacks with his injury and hasn't even played for Philadelphia yet. There's no doubt he's a top three center, easy, when he's on the court, but if he won't play, or if he's in a reduced state, chalk this one up as another as the "Lakers--letting the right players leave" sort of situation, especially for who Bynum was traded for. All Star, for now...?

Derek Fisher (March 2012)--While he's a fixture in Laker lore due to his slew of clutch shots, multitude of championship rings and his veteran presence/intangibles, which by the way have all extended his career long past his NBA expiration date, Fisher's game is just rapidly losing it. He excels at drawing charges, plays good team defense and indulges in a long mid-range jumper with decent results, but his man-to-man defense is subpar, he doesn't pass the ball well or rebound, he's becoming incredibly invisible and a net negative on offense, he's rapidly losing his three point touch and his rare at-rim finishing is laugh-out-loud awful. At this point Fisher's offense is so awful that even his defense might be better than his offense, but either way, it's not even close to lockdown material, so he really he's living off the halo of his past success and leadership. From a game standpoint, he should be out of the league soon. 10th-12th man, for now

Jason Kapono (March 2012)--Kapono had always been an overrated offensive player long before he joined the Lakers, shooting incredibly well from three but always shooting himself on the foot by spotting up for way too many long twos for his own good. Considering that he brings nothing to the table in passing or finishing, he needs to take more threes, but he doesn't--and the fact that he only shot 29% from three with the Lakers pretty much ended his career completely. It should be noted that teams have never been better offensively when he's on the court, a HUGE red flag. On defense, let's not even speak about it--any person on the street can rebound better than him, and while Mike Brown actually maximized him a little here, at the whole he routinely gets torched on defense both man-to-man and teamwise. One trick pony to the max with everything else as a weakness, more or less, and considering he deviates from that trick it's a wonder how he's lasted this long in the league. But now he's Out of the league

Luke Walton (March 2012)--Based on his post-injury response, Walton should be out of the league. He can only do one thing well: pass the basketball. Even then, the rest of his offense is a mess that it doesn't matter--he had been a huge net negative with the Lakers, rendering himself invisible, spotting up for mid-range bricks, and turning the ball over for someone who never gets to the basket. Defensively, Walton has been OK in some areas in the past, but overall it's poor as he has been torched in man and team defense in separate seasons, on top of subpar reflexes and rebounding numbers. Even without missing games, he's easily out of the league material based on his production, but accounting for the chronic back injury, he seriously should be out of the league now. 10th-12th man for now

Derrick Caracter (February 2012)--Caracter's Laker tenure was characterized by aggressive offensive rebounding, foul drawing and low post scoring, and he was able to drain 10-23 footers as well, although he rarely takes jumpers. There was a ton of potential for some inside-outside offense based on those numbers. On the flip side, Caracter was clumsy: he was massively turnover prone, had extreme tunnel vision, got his shot blocked extremely frequently, and the Lakers were actually worse when he was on the court, so his style didn't fit the team concept. On defense, he was just downright atrocious: while he put up some empty shotblocks, he didn't bother to clear the defensive boards, was routinely torched on team defense, and had a foul rate as tall as the Empire State Building, such that he'd struggle to play more than ten minutes every game. On top of that, he had off-the-court baggage. Some interesting strengths coupled by a ton of bottom-dwelling weaknesses, and on top of the baggage, made him...Out of the league

Lamar Odom (Offseason 2011)--Odom is almost the primary example of the poster boy of the "Laker who plays worse once he leaves the Lakers". Playing worse is actually an understatement--he imploded with a one of the worst year-to-year PER drops in league annals. As a Laker, Odom's best assets were in defensive rebounding and passing, the latter of which allowed him to run the offense in a pinch, and when locked in he played exceptional team defense against power forwards. Odom also had an exquisite go-to short range floater as well. Odom didn't really excel elsewhere, but an a league where most players have a glaring weakness or several, Odom didn't really have any: he was a decent finisher, attempted to floor space more than most power forwards, and played decent defense overall even if that tailed off from exceptional in his early Lakers years. With the defense, passing, rebounding and floater game, he was the ultimate intangibles player. At the time, it looked like the Lakers lost something incredibly significant. And then psychologically, something happened when he got re-routed: he stopped rebounding and playing any sort of team defense, and he hurt Dallas's offense by losing the touch on his floater and shifting at-rim finishes in favor of three point bricks. He was just incredibly lackadaisical in a way that players don't naturally regress in, almost purposely, because it's hard to see someone with an array of tricks just lose so many elements to their game simultaneously. He's regressed to the point where he's a 10th-12th man

Shannon Brown (Offseason 2011)--Brown's an aggressive scorer who can finish at the rim and limit turnovers, but that's where the offensive intrigue ends. His offensive upside is limited by a lack of efficiency: he struggles to draw fouls and has a subpar jumpshot which he insists on taking. In particular, he excels at bricking jumpers off the dribble from 16 feet out, hurting his overall efficiency. Moreover, he has absolute tunnel vision and passes the ball less often many power forwards. Defensively Brown is particularly poor in team defense and unexceptional in man-to-man, and average to poor overall. He's the classic gunner-in-bad teams sort of player, with poor shot selection/no passing on offense and poor defense overall. He's a facade player: he has a halo around him as part of the Lakers' championship teams, and people are mesmerized by his dunking ability. But strip those back to reveal the substance, and it's quite barren. I won't be surprised if he settles into fringe player soon. Role player...for now
Last edited by rydjorker121 on Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:07 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The Lakers have a good track record of letting the right pla

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:10 pm

Sasha Vujacic (December 2010)--A player who was pretty much a lot of sizzle but little steak with the Lakers, Vujacic was an earnest jumpshooter and an eager beaver on defense. He plays hard, but not smart though--he never truly developed into a sharpshooter, which could be a problem considering that almost all his shots are jumpers, so he's seen his overall percentages in the high 30s/low 40s. Also, he's had pretty poor defensive results. Very emotional and high-strung to the point that it clouds his judgment in terms of decision making. Can have a backup role in the league as a quasi-shooter who can be a bit of an irritant for the opposing team, but has opted for Europe the past few seasons (Role player/Europe)

Jordan Farmar (Offseason 2010)—Farmar is what I call a three point shot-based scoring guard, who in his best games can finish well with his athleticism and rain threes. But as I’ve pointed out during his Lakers tenure, his offensive upside is limited in large part due to his inability to get to the line/hit free throws and his lack of willingness to take shots from the mid-range. Combine that with his average three point shooting ability and pedestrian defense, and he’s really just an average player, at best. I would add that he passes the ball like a combo guard, but by this time no one actually thinks that he’s a PG. His numbers will be superficially inflated if he gets free rein, but his efficiency won’t improve, and he’s really at best a sparkplug off the bench. Has opted for Europe the past few seasons. (Role player/Europe)

Josh Powell (Offseason 2010)—Our third and currently last player with cornrows in recent years—all of our players with cornrows tend to big men. He has the heart and work ethic of gold, but the game of a fringe NBA player. When Powell is clicking, all he does well is score from perimeter J’s and get a few put-backs off offensive rebounds. But everything else can be considered a weakness—namely, the fact that even when he’s not clicking, his opponent scores and rebounds at will over him. Other things—he can’t handle the ball, defensive rebound, or finish inside. His work ethic might keep him in the league, but I don’t see him lasting more than four more years in the league. And I was correct, because he's now... (Out of the league)

Adam Morrison (Offseason 2010)—We know he’s about to leave. He’s one of the worst players in the league, but that probably was already obvious. He has no real skill he can even call average for the NBA, and while he’ll get chances because teams associate him as the third overall pick, if he continues on his current trend he’ll be out of the league within three years. Yep, and he's now... (Out of the league)

DJ Mbenga (Offseason 2010)—Again, he won’t be back. He’s capable of making wow plays like power dunks or shot blocks, but completely neglects the major essences of the game—rebounding, defending, and to boot he’s super raw offensively and incredibly foul prone. He actually was an OK role player for us last year, but history says he’ll be more like a 10th-12th man. His lack of grasping the finer details has made him... (Out of the league)

Trevor Ariza (Offseason 2009)—Ariza’s lone season with Houston has been roundly criticized by just about everyone, but let’s just recap quickly what his strengths are. Ariza is a freak athlete with two primary assets: he can finish off cuts/transition and few can top him at intercepting passes. He’s also fairly multidimensional, as he can rebound well when he’s not obsessed with launching threes, and he’s a quite good passer for his position. And while he doesn’t shoot well from them, his desire to launch off threes brings another edge to his game, sort of like what Matt Barnes does for us now. Rings like a very good role player at his peak instead of a real upper echelon player, and because the Rockets treated him like the latter he just wasn’t that successful, particularly on the efficiency side. Ariza’s shooting game is just unreliable—he sorely lacks a mid-range game, can’t hit free throws and even his three point shooting hovers just below average; we just introduced the three point shot to him so he could attempt to keep defenses honest against Pau and Bynum. He’s also just an average man-to-man defender and is a rover rather than a lockdown. So Ariza needs to be seen as a role player offensively and needs to be encouraged to make cuts to the basket more; he can’t be seen as either a shooter or a lockdown defender. He’s a niche player that, if misused, will cause harm to his future and to his team. Aside from Shannon Brown, this is one of the more recent cases where the Lakers have shown that they can maximize talent with role players. (Role player)

Sun Yue (Offseason 2009)—Hasn’t shown a major discernable skill for the NBA, but at least was aggressive. But definitely not even close to enough. (Out of league)

Chris Mihm (February 2009)—In his peak years with the Lakers he was a decent defender , good rebounder and had an inside-outside offensive game, but foul proneness and an alarming frequency of getting shots blocked inside held him back. Ultimately injuries really decimated his career, and he only played 41 games over the last two seasons for us before we traded him for a bag of peanuts, and then he retired. (Out of league)

Vladimir Radmanovic (February 2009)—Despite just hitting his 30s, it seems like he’s on the verge of being out of the league—he’s just living off his past reputation at this point. He was part of the early rush of 6-10 shooters in the search for the next Nowitzki, but after seeing the results he was also part of the reason why that intrigue died down. Radmanovic’s upside was that of a role player, and that was only when he was bombing three pointers, as his lack of all-around game and his penchance for getting burned on the other end prevented him from being more. But his shot went far south, and he was one of the worst impact players in the league last season. If he doesn’t turn it around he won’t last more than another three years in the league. (Fringe NBA player)
Last edited by rydjorker121 on Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:13 pm

Coby Karl (October 2008)—Actually was a sort of interesting player who actually showed some athleticism in garbage time—had some surprising dunks due to his length, and rebounded, passed, and even blocked some shots. But couldn’t pull off his calling card for the league—shoot. But he’s aggressive enough that he’ll probably get more chances in the league, but he’s already 27 and it’s questionable if he can even develop as a middling role player. (Fringe NBA player)

Ronny Turiaf (Offseason 2008)—Okay, here’s another one I wish we didn’t give away, but he wasn’t going to get a lot of minutes behind Gasol and Bynum anyway. Turiaf’s only 27, was our second player with cornrows in recent years, and was playing at a high impact level for us already (albeit in limited playing time because he was extremely foul prone), but he blocked tons of shots, drew charges and played decent man-to-man defense, and on offense he could finish off passes, showcase a mid-range game, get to the line and pass extremely well for a player of his position. That’s not to mention his awesome personality. His fouls are really limiting his minutes, and he doesn’t rebound well at all, but those role-player minutes he plays are filled with starter-level type impact with all the things he does. He’s technically a role player, but with his starter impact I’ll label him… (Starter)

Ira Newble (Offseason 2008)—He did nothing with us, and in past years he was an overrated, poor defender both ways, didn’t rebound that well, was an incredibly poor passer, and had a poor shooting game. Admittedly, we signed him up to essentially be the last player on our bench and for veteran leadership, but even at his peak he wasn’t that good to begin with. Not surprisingly,…(Out of the league)

Kwame Brown (February 2008)—Do I need to any further on this one? Sure, he was our first player with cornrows and one of the first Lakers in recent years to sport a headband, but we’ve seen the evidence for ourselves, and let me just to put it this way: Kwame’s free throw percentage declined from 40-50% to 33% last year—from super bad to ultra bad. He’s one of the worst players in the league on offense, with no instincts, no range, and no handles, but he’s staying afloat largely because of his rebounding ability and team defense. Kwame’s best asset is securing possessions through defensive rebounding, but he’s just an average overall defender, because his man defense is quite poor even if he draws charges. But average defense doesn’t make up for poor offense, and at best Kwame’s always been a low level role player. (10th-12th man)

Javaris Crittenton (February 2008)—Many a Laker fan has a soft spot for Javaris, but I’ve come to the point where I don’t think he’s just that good, even if he hadn’t gotten into the spat with Arenas. His best asset is being able to slash to the basket off the dribble, and that’s…about it. Seriously. He’s an improving, but average, passer and average/poor defender, but lacks the sort of defensive pop and any semblance of a jumpshot, the latter of which could actually undermine his career. He’s a middling role player at best, but played like an end of bencher in his last year with Washington. (10th-12th man)

Marc Gasol (February 2008)—My bad. But this is the only one, and we got Pau Gasol out of it. Hey, we have to give up talent to get talent, right? We can’t only let role players to fringe players leave. (High level starter)

Aaron McKie (February 2008)—Retired by the time we traded him, but even if he hadn’t, he was too shy to reveal his unorthodox flings on offense and had literally no speed on defense. (Out of league)

Mo Evans (November 2007)—He was one of the worst players in the league with the Hawks this past season. He’s an off-the-ball cutting/three point shooting role player, but he’s just a niche role player at best because all he does is play off the ball offensively. His offensive potential is handicapped by a lack of mid-range game and an inability to get to the line, while his overall potential is limited due to a severe lack of all-around game as well as his increasingly overrated, atrocious defense (in particular on man-to-man situations). The past three years his teams have suffered immensely with him on the court largely because of the defense, and with a streaky long-ranger and very meh finishing ability, he’s on pace to become a fringe NBA player in the near future, especially as he’s age 32 already. (10th-12th man)

Brian Cook (November 2007)—Hopefully I don’t need to go through this one. The Lakers maximized his (albeit limited) talent during his time with us. Immediately after being traded from the Lakers, he was on the very fast track to getting kicked out of the league. His pancake-flat long-range game was good and he can also hit mid-range shots as well, but his offensive decision-making was terrible, he’s turnover prone, and those people who have proclaimed him as the world’s tallest shooting guard aren’t wrong—the guy doesn’t even bother to play inside, can’t rebound the basketball at all, and his man-to-man defense was poor. In retrospect, the writing was on the wall—he only did one thing well and was terrible at almost everything else, and he’s already a fringe NBA player. Don’t expect him to be in the league for much longer. (Fringe NBA player)

Smush Parker (Offseason 2007)—Another case where the Lakers have shown that they can maximize talent while other teams cannot, Parker was an absolute basket-case who played façade defense (only racked up steals and drew charges) as he completely neglected any semblance of individual and team defense. His offense didn’t stand out either—OK finisher, decent shooting touch from the perimeter, shooting guard-passing skills but he lacked a mid-range game and eventually passed the baton to Jordan Farmar as another “PG” who couldn’t hit free throws. His dunking ability and stealing ability tantalized tons of Lakers fans, however. Wore a headband however, one of few Lakers in recent years to do so. Even with the Lakers he played sort of like a 10th man, indicating our frustrations with him, why we were that terrible that year, and indicating the trajectory of his career. Not surprisingly other teams couldn’t maximize him the way we did, and with his turnoff attitude he kicked himself out of the league. (Out of league)

Shammond Williams (Offseason 2007)—A volume jumpshooting guard who largely only splashes threes and plays adequate man-to-man defense, Williams was held back by a finishing game, lack of all-around game and just halfway decent passing ability. He actually does enough to be a serviceable player, but he’s already 35 and left the league after his stint with the Lakers. (Out of league)
Last edited by rydjorker121 on Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:15 pm

Devin Green (October 2006)—In his stint with the Lakers couldn’t shoot whatsoever and played atrocious defense. Showed that he wasn’t an NBA player. (Out of league)

Von Wafer (October 2006)—OK, here’s one of those rare cases of a player who was too young/didn’t fit the Lakers offense and who actually found success on another team afterwards. Wafer’s a middling to poor defender and suffers from tunnel vision offensively, but thrives best when he’s slashing and shooting spot-up three pointers, made all the better because he doesn’t turn the ball over. Decent athlete, will dunk from time to time. He’s definitely a role player at best due to his other limitations mentioned, but he’s only 25 and can be a decent role player due to his offensive skills. (Role player)

Devean George (Offseason 2006)—I want to say that the Lakers also maximized George’s increasingly limited talents, because after he left the Lakers he absolutely struggled to score with efficiency. George has always wasted his athleticism offensively by spotting up for mid-rangers and threes, and he’s not a good shooter. He’s also incredibly nonelusive, rarely getting to the line, having relatively poor passing ability and never turning the ball over because of his spot-up tendencies. Defensively, he’s average, nothing more, nothing less. Dallas discovered this after experimenting with him as starter, and sacked him after three years after having delusions that he was a “shooter.” If he’ s hitting his shots, he’s an OK role player, but all signs point out that his shooting with GS was a fluke, and he’ll be back to being a 10th-12th man soon enough, especially at age 33. (10th-12th man)

Jim Jackson (Offseason 2006)—Pretty much never played for the Lakers, but has had a storied career. Largely a jumpshooter in the tail end, but could really splash the three, and has the court savvy and passing ability of a veteran presence and the toughness of a hardened NBA player. Jumpshooting fell off a cliff and couldn’t keep up with the speed guards, leading to his retirement. (Out of league)

Slava Medvedenko (March 2006)—Largely a jumpshooter during his stint with the Lakers, but suffered from toughness problems, low post polish, foul proneness, being a black hole, and a chronic inability to draw fouls. His defense was actually surprisingly average overall, but his other faults and his one-dimensionality eventually kicked him out of the league. (Out of league)

Laron Profit (January 2006)—Profit briefly captivated Lakers fans with good team defense and acrobatic finishes inside, but his man-to-man defense and shooting ability impeded him quite a bit. He’s already 33 and his athleticism-based game wouldn’t have aged that well had he not suffered that injury, but I guess we’ll never know. (Out of league)

Jumaine Jones (October 2005)—Jones came into the league super-young and despite his hiatus from the league, is still only 31. He was a hybrid-forward for the Lakers, known for his three point shooting and his rebounding ability as his standout assets—he was effective playing off of others. His defense was largely average (he was a better team than individual defender) and he couldn’t pass the ball or draw fouls, but he did enough to be an OK role player. But he started becoming increasingly one-dimensional with the three point bombing, and he was only an average three point shooter for his career, and his other attributes weren’t strong enough to make up for it. Now…(Out of league)

Tony Bobbitt (October 2005)—Barely played for us. Nothing more to be said. (Out of league)

Caron Butler (Offseason 2005)—Probably Kupchak’s worst move over the past half-decade, in retrospect it wasn’t terribly bad. Butler certainly had the goods on offense in his early years with Washington, but his relatively poor defense never made him amount to more than just a solid starter. Butler actually played like a low-end role player for us during his one-year stint with us, because while his offense was quite good, his defense, particularly on man-to-man, was atrocious. He played excellent defense for Dallas, but career trends indicate that he’s really an average to poor defender, probably due to his stint in Washington. Butler’s predominantly a mid-range shooter, and while I can remember that hitch he used to sport as a Laker, he’s gradually removed it and now shoots it extremely well. Elsewhere, he’s really a mediocre three point shooter although he takes a lot off the dribble, and of note is his finishing ability has declined like a rock over the past two years, notable since he’s hitting 30 and has played four seasons of 39+ minutes before Dallas. His passing ability has also plummeted as well in recent years, and his best assets as of now are his mid-range shooting and rebounding ability. He’s probably a low level starter in terms of impact, but I think he’s in for a decline. (Starter/ role player)

Brian Grant (Offseason 2005)—Storied career, notable tough guy and good defender, but played poor defense (albeit he was undersized) against centers during his Laker stint, became increasingly turnover prone and rebounding fell off. Retired. (Out of league)

Vlade Divac (Offseason 2005)—Storied career, but injuries/age prevented impact with the Lakers, and played very terrible defense in the rare occasions on-court. Has a reputation as a good passer and savvy defender in his heyday. Retired. (Out of league)

Chucky Atkins (Offseason 2005)—Atkins was a terrible player during his lone stint with the Lakers, playing like a 10th man despite playing starter minutes, because his offense was not even close to making up for his “worst-player-in-the-league” atrocious defense. Atkins has always largely been a jumpshooter, lacking the athleticism/height to finish and the floater to optimize, but over the past four years his overall shooting ability fell off a cliff and rendered him completely useless as a NBA player. He’s still a decent passer, but that’s no longer enough to make up for poor offense and terrible defense. He’s probably out of the league next year. (Out of league?)

Tierre Brown (Offseason 2005)—Brown’s still only 31 right now, but probably exhausted his chances in the league. He was an average defender with the Lakers, playing team defense far better than individual, and also an OK passer and three point shooter. But he was unable to finish or shoot well from anywhere else, was turnover prone trying to force the issue on drives, and ultimately lacked a standout attribute to cement his place in the league. Not surprisingly, he’s (Out of league)
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:16 pm

Other notables hanging around the league (Pre-2005)

Shaquille O’Neal (Offseason 2004)—Actually, I might one of the few who believe that Shaq’s still playing at a starter-level as of now. Certainly, he’s high maintenance between potential injuries and his relative foul-proneness, but he still does the quintessential Shaq-things of the past—he rebounds very well, finishes well, and is an absolute foul magnet. Certainly he has bouts of laziness here, but all things considered he’s a decent defender. He probably would need to adjust to being less the focal point of the offense, and he has turnover problems, but for his current level of skills, even at age 38, he’s still a decent player. (Starter)

Ime Udoka (2004)—Started out his NBA career playing with us, and has gradually evolved himself into a three point shooting/defensive specialist. He’s also somewhat more than that, being an underrated rebounder and very solid passer. Ultimately, he’s still a solid role player, and is still a good defender, but his long-range game is becoming increasingly unreliable. He probably has enough veteran savvy and staying power to get stints with playoff teams as a decent role player though, at age 33, with the defense being the primary asset. (Role player)

Jannero Pargo (January 2004)—Again, started out his NBA career with us. Largely a jumpshooter, not having the athleticism or strength to finish well around the basket, and he takes a ton of mid-range shots off the dribble, as well as some threes, and he’s quite good at draining them. But between the lack of an interior game as well as shooting-guard level passing, he’s only limited to these exploits, where he can be streaky. Can be a pretty good defender if he wants to, particularly with team defense, but when he’s not given a structured role can be poor as well. He’s a role player in this league when he’s dialed in, but both his long-range game and defense went south last season, so he needs to right the ship, at age 30, if he wants to stay in the league. (Role player/10th-12th man)

Draft picks we traded away (Either future or briefly owned, went away in trades)


Jared Cunningham (Draft 2012)--We traded the 2012 draft pick that eventually became Cunningham to Cleveland in the Ramon Sessions trade, and Cleveland promptly re-routed him to Dallas in draft day. In college, Cunningham wreaked havoc athletically--standing 6'4", he drew a ton of fouls, made a ton of defensive plays, and had a decent enough shot. He's severely lacking in rebounding, passing and general ball skills however, and is slight of frame, so one wonders if he can withstand contact in drives in the NBA. He has defensive role player upside, and the open court NBA should be conducive to his game.

Chukwudibiere Maduabum (Draft 2011)--We traded him for a 2012 second round pick, which could be a fair move. Maduabum is a raw 6'9" 210 lb PF with very few stats to gauge an assessment, but what's alarming is that he only had 1 rebound in 21 D-League minutes. His offense doesn't appear to be there either, although he's a decent shotblocker. He likely will never see the light of day in the league. (Out of the league)

JaJuan Johnson (Draft 2011)--We traded the 2011 draft pick that eventually became Johnson to New Jersey in the Sasha Vujacic trade. New Jersey prompted traded his rights to the Celtics. He's only played one season of garbage time minutes with the Celtics, and now he's out of the league. Johnson is a preferred jumpshooter who excels at the 10-15 foot jumper and really has potential defensively, between his knack for blocking shots, drawing charges and putting a lid on his man's scoring efficiency. However, he rarely plays around the basket, draws fouls, or defensive boards, and can't stretch the defense with an able long mid-range shot, so there's a lack of considerable upside on both ends of the court. He's lagging behind particularly on offense, where his impact with the Celtics was brutal. He's already one-and-out for a first round pick, and looking to come back to the league at the behest of his defense. (Out of the league)

Greivis Vasquez (Draft 2010)--We traded the 2010 draft pick that eventually became Vasquez to Memphis in the Pau Gasol trade. Besides Marc Gasol, this is the one, not Donte Greene, that might slightly hurt us a little. Vasquez stands 6'6" and is an excellent passer who really excels at pulling up and hitting floaters. He's also got an underrated mid-range game off the dribble and an improving three point shot, but he rarely uses them because he operates mostly as a slasher. There's a lot to work with offensively, but he can't finish at the rim and sports a very loose handle. The offense is keeping him afloat, because the defense is atrocious: he gets torched by SGs man-to-man, and his team defense is absolutely horrific. Still, pick-and-roll guards like Vasquez with a respectable shot have their uses in the league, but the lack of defense limits the high end upside.(Starter)

Patrick Beverley (Draft 2009)--We traded him for a 2011 second round pick, and might be a fair move. Seems to be a fringe NBA player, but he's a very athletic speed guard who can possibly carve a defensive niche against quick guards. He's a low possession player with questionable shooting and passing ability, the two biggest knocks against him, and is slight of frame. He's never played in the league, and likely won't--the low possession aspect with the inability to space the floor might be the hindrance. (Out of the league)

Toney Douglas (Draft 2009)--We traded him for a 2011 second round pick, which actually might be questionable considering we needed a shooter at the time. Has been a solid role player for the Knicks in his rookie season, and he's become a super inclined three point shooter. If the three point shot is going on, he helps the offense; if it doesn't, it hurts--so he's super dependent on this shot. His defense is also improving particularly in man-to-man against point guards as well. Still, he passes like a SG, doesn't take too many mid-rangers, and rarely slashes/gets to the line. As a three point shooter who ably defends PGs, there's a definite role, but he needs to maximize these to maintain a footing. (Role player)

Donte Greene (Draft 2008)—We traded the 2008 draft pick that eventually became Greene to Memphis in the Pau Gasol trade, and he eventually got conveyed to Sacramento. He has a lot of role player potential, but apparently his carefree personality has hindered the production. Greene's defense is decent, especially for a non-playoff team, he plays both SFs and PFs, and he excels in team defense and making defensive plays. Offensively, there's potential of an all-around game--he can drive in for floaters, cut off the ball and finish, and spot up for three pointers, but his floater game and three point shooting game are just decent as of now. His rebounding and passing leaves a lot to be desired, and he can take more mid-rangers, but he's a budding talent on both ends and is a role player now with some potential to be more. But, apparently he is too easy going for much of the league, so he's...(Out of the league)

Reinaldas Seibutis (Draft 2007)--We traded the 2007 draft pick that eventually became Seibutis to Dallas in the JR Pinnock trade. He's never played in the league and essentially this was a scrub-for-scrub trade. Didn't seem NBA viable anyway, because the only thing he can do is draw fouls, but he's not terribly quick or athletic, and he's not much of a passer or shooter. (Out of the league)

Cheick Samb (Draft 2006)--We traded him in the Mo Evans trade, and while Mo Evans wasn't that good, this ended up being better for us. Bounced around teams and never played more than bit minutes with them, but seemed like he had some potential as a team defender and had good shotblocking skills. Showed virtually nothing on the offensive end, spotting up for unreliable mid-rangers and didn't like to bang inside, and his rebounding skills are questionable. (Out of the league)
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby revgen on Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:33 pm

I don't want to be a black cloud, but it's easier for a GM to keep good players around when the owner is putting up the cash to keep them.

That aside, Mitch has done a pretty good job of keeping the good players around in addition to acquiring the good players through drafts and trades.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby Helljumper on Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:35 pm

Great posts and analysis! :jam2:
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby RenePerezz on Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:38 pm

Dumb posts and analysis :jam2:
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby marklar20 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:41 pm

What about Tyronne Lue?
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:48 pm

revgen wrote:I don't want to be a black cloud, but it's easier for a GM to keep good players around when the owner is putting up the cash to keep them.


That's true, but the Lakers haven't exactly been overpaying--they've learned from their mistakes of handing Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic mid-level exceptions. But I definitely agree with the idea that they've been getting the right players at bargain value--Steve Blake could've commanded more from the market, Matt Barnes was woefully underpaid as always, and you can even argue, that with Ron Artest's defensive impact with us, he was a bit underpaid (but I won't press that argument). Certainly the Lakers can't offer tons otherwise they'll have a Isiah Thomas-like fiasco, but they've kept the right strategy of bringing fresh, talented blood, keeping the right players already on the team while sacking the ones who aren't that good, all while keeping their bottom line consistent.

Marklar--Tyronn Lue left us at 2001, and isn't even in the league as a player anymore--he's working as director of player development for Boston. I only look at players 2005 and beyond or players <2005 if they're still in the league, and Lue isn't, so I left him out.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby John3:16 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:21 pm

Great stuff, as usual.

I laughed at a few of the names and reading "Caron Butler" made me want to cry. You correctly labeled Kwame as a 12th man, but the sad thing is, he was a starter for us (as were many others on that list). We got abused in that Caron /Kwame trade, but made up for it later on.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby jackflag on Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:22 pm

Nice write-up. I'd disagree with Turiaf being a starter-quality player, but then, that really only strengthens your argument, so cheers.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:32 pm

Well, the reason bad teams are bad is because they always start role players or 10th/12th men in starting positions. Want to know why Toronto was so bad this year? Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani played like 10th/12th men. New Jersey? Devin Harris and Courtney Lee. Granted, these players can always bounce back and oftentimes they're just unmotivated because of all the losing, but that's the same reasons why our 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 teams were terrible. Chucky Atkins was a 10th man masquerading as starter. Caron Butler's defense was horrific. '05-'06, it was Smush Parker and Kwame Brown--we still made the playoffs, but that was because of how great Kobe was. But that's the nature of the beast--unworthy starters starting makes a team bad. Mitch did a great job clearing away those unworthy starters, especially with the Kwame trade for Gasol.

jackflag--I'd say Turiaf has a starter impact, but he's squeezed into role player minutes because he's such a hack defensively. The guy is seriously good, and I enjoyed his time with the Lakers a lot.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby artuditu on Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:58 pm

rydjorker121 wrote:Well, the reason bad teams are bad is because they always start role players or 10th/12th men in starting positions. Want to know why Toronto was so bad this year? Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani played like 10th/12th men.


Good post, but you exaggerated in this point, IMO. Calderon wasn't even a starter this last season (he didn't start for half season, injury problems, averaged 27 minutes per game) because Jarrett Jack proved to be as good as him with half his salary. Bargnani has somewhat improved these last two years (if only because of more playing time), he's still far from a #1 overall draft pick, but definately not a 10th/12th man.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 4:41 pm

^^^
Yeah, Calderon started like half the games before Toronto realized that his defense was terrible and replaced him with the more reliable Jarrett Jack. And it's unfortunate, I like Calderon (had him in my fantasy team in '08-'09) and he's one of the more talented offensive guys you'll find at PG--just steady and super efficient. It's unfortunate that his defense has to be far worse than his stellar offense--that's how bad his D is.

As for Bargs, the guy's defense was super horrendous--he can't guard is own man, and he can't switch off effectively on team defense. He really was terrible and was a major culprit to why Toronto was the worst defensive team last year. Yes, his offense you can argue is starter material, but his defense is out-of-the-league material, and I'm just splitting the difference. I don't think that guy will be on winning teams anytime soon if he's a major player. In fact, Toronto nearly made the playoffs largely because of Bosh, and couldn't get any further because Calderon and Bargs were such a detriment.

I'm also anticipating some arguments that Mitch is relatively conservative in terms of letting talent go. Unlike GMs such as Donnie Nelson, he doesn't constantly swap top level players or sixth men (Nick Van Exel, Keith Van Horn, Josh Howard, Marquis Daniels, Antawn Jamison, Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse, Erick Dampier, and most notably, Steve Nash) and unlike most bad GMs he doesn't freely let talent go (LA Clippers--Maggette, Brand; Bucks--Sessions, Ford, Mo Williams, Desmond Mason, etc). With the exception of trading Shaq and Butler, you can argue that he's been very conservative--in our bad years, we either had terrible players or players that were about to retire, so they were never going to amount to anything, with few exceptions. We gave up no good players (well, except Marc Gasol) in the Pau trade, but we didn't know what to expect with Marc. So after the Kwame trade in 2005, he never swung for the fences and made his mark through rip-off trades and smart FA/draft signings, and only letting role players and below go in the process. That's some smart GMing there.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby artuditu on Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:22 pm

rydjorker121 wrote:^^^
Yeah, Calderon started like half the games before Toronto realized that his defense was terrible and replaced him with the more reliable Jarrett Jack. And it's unfortunate, I like Calderon (had him in my fantasy team in '08-'09) and he's one of the more talented offensive guys you'll find at PG--just steady and super efficient. It's unfortunate that his defense has to be far worse than his stellar offense--that's how bad his D is.


Not exactly, if I remember correctly (I may be wrong of course) it happened the other way, when Calderon came back from his injury he was relegated to the bench as Jarrett Jack was doing it quite well (making half or less Calderon's salary), it was at the end of the season when they decided to put Calderon again as a starter (probably to prevent his value from plummeting, just the exact way injury-prone TJ Ford became a starter in detriment of rising Calderon 2 seasons ago). Anyway both Calderon and Jack played more or less the same minutes, whoever was the starter.

Calderon has stagnated anyway, injuries, defense, confidence, whatever, we all know it, but you cannot say at the same time that Jordan Farmar is a role player and Calderon's played as a 10th/12th man! IMO you exaggerated there :)

Same with Bargnani, the dude has issues with his game, defense, rebounding, etc. It's a known fact. Yet I wouldn't say he's played as a 10th/12th man. As a #1 overall pick there is a intermediate point between being Nowitzki and being a complete failure.

Besides of this, I think you've written a great post.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:00 pm

Yeah, that's true. I'm trying to think of a better way of putting it. I mean, normally when you have guys playing like starters one year and then 10th/12th men (in my ranking) the next, normally that player has the talent, but just isn't making the most of it/starting to get lazy. Especially when you see these huge disparities on both ends of the court (like really good on offense/really bad on defense). That's pretty much what Harris, Calderon and Bargnani were like a nutshell. Certainly they're not 10th-12th men of course, but I meant their impact was like one that year, and that was reflected in all the losing and the 100+ points they were giving up every night. The real 10th-12th men are the ones who are poor/average offensive players and terrible defenders, or vice versa.

So yeah, for the "10th-12th men" like Calderon and Bargnani, all they might need is a change of scenery.
For example, if Calderon were with us we could easily hide him defensively and his efficient offense could make him look like a starter/high end role player. So it's all due to the situation and what the teams want to emphasize, I think. Courtney Lee just got traded to Houston, he might look better in that system for sure.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby trodgers on Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:36 pm

Very interesting take. I agree with most of it. I think some guys are slightly better than you give credit for, but nothing remarkably different. Another side of the same issue is how good the players are the Lakers can't shake...like McKie, Vujacic, and Walton. It would be nice to see an analysis of the FA signings and re-signings to see how LA did on that front. It's not quite as good.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby rydjorker121 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:54 pm

That's what my scouting reports are for (see sig)--I've updated Vujacic's profile recently with an in-depth look at his skills and his future. He definitely played like a 10th-12th man this year, with horrible team defense as usual, and he also played like one last year. I'm definitely excited at moving his name here sometime this season. Sasha tries hard, but doesn't get great results. I haven't updated Walton's, mostly because he was injured for most of the season, but in the time he played, he pretty much played like a 10th-12th man, with terrible shooting and terrible team defense (which is funny, because I thought he was a good team defender in years past); in normal years, he's just a role player.

I just thought it would be interesting to take a trip down memory lane and see which players we've sacked during the latter part of Mitch's GMing with us. When people think of GMing they think of what the GM actively does to improve the team, and the trades/free agent signings are always analyzed throughout forums, the blogosphere, ESPN, yahoo! sports, etc. I could easily do that too: in a nutshell, I thought the Barnes signing was excellent (see his profile in the scouting report), the Blake signing was likewise very good (see profile again), the Ratliff signing was meh, and I like our two rookies a lot so I thought their signings were definitely good. So it was nice to take a look at the flip side: the players the GM sacks tend to be ignored over time. So looking at Mitch's work over the past five years proves that very few of the players we've sacked have amounted to anything starter and beyond, which I think is almost as impressive as his already good drafting and trading abilities.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby trodgers on Sat Aug 21, 2010 8:01 pm

^ One thing about Walton: I thought that when he was healthy he was the best help defender on the team. At the very least, his ability to double team the ball was incredible...and somehow underrated.

I like Sasha, and I hope he reverts back to two years ago (or three seasons). I just don't know how many minutes are going to be available for him on this team.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby Sirron on Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:25 pm

That was a lot of work. Thanks for sharing. :jam2:
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby 432J on Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:38 am

the only mistake mitch made in letting a player go was caron butler, but with his departure came kwame brown and with no kwame brown, theres no pau gasol :jam2:
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby rydjorker121 on Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:30 am

Hey, thanks all for the kind comments. Yeah, I hope to post more thought-provoking stuff regarding our team every now and then, and I thought that at this lull of the offseason, it would be good to post something.

By the way, if someone wants me to predict the next current Lakers who might join this list (in other words, are expendable), it's pretty obvious already: Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic are probably next in line, playing like 10th-12th men last year (Luke in particular with the injuries). Luke's contract is hard to get out of though, so he might last longer barring retirement. Fisher's always been a role player but last year, because he couldn't shoot his threes, also had an impact of a 10th-12th man; I don't think shooting deteriorates as much as age (although, if you ask Ray Allen, maybe it does), and Fish could have a bounceback year into a role player especially since Blake can alleviate him. Besides, he'll probably retire as a Laker due to his seniority with the team. Ratliff's just a one-year rental, and has had quite a poor impact in recent years; he'll probably join the list after this season. Finally, Shannon Brown's just a role player, and I don't think there's any great upside to him unless he radically becomes a great defender or something--he's expendable, and frankly instead of giving him 2-year contracts with 1-year team options all the time we might eventually cut ties with him and search for an athletic 2-guard in the draft to eventually replace him. I know, strong opinions here, but we'll see. Fisher and Luke will probably stay due to their contract/seniority. So by next offseason, I'd expect Vujacic, Ratliff and Shannon Brown (who opts out of his contract) to join the list.
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby nameant on Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:47 am

Good to see you back and posting. :jam2:
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Re: Lakers: letting the right players leave

Postby GoldHammish on Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:41 pm

Great analysis. Definitely a good read. :jam2:
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