The mustard is off the hot dog: What's in store for L.A. basketball?
August 4, 2013 4:50 PM   Subscribe

Until last season I was a more-than-casual basketball fan in general and Lakers fan in particular, but for various reasons last season completely fell off my radar. Help catch me up.

I know that Howard is out, Kaman is in and Farmar is back, but I don't even know Kobe's injury status or the entire current roster. Hit me with all the facts, speculation, and common wisdom about what went wrong last season, what I can expect in the upcoming season, and what I can expect from across town with the Clippers and Doc Rivers.
posted by Room 641-A to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total)
Best answer: Wow, that's a lot to ask. Before I give you the briefest thumbnail sketch, I'll suggest some pages for you (reading through back post can fill in the details).

I really Ball Don't Lie and The Point Forward for general news and analysis. Grantland's columnist Zach Lowe is also very good. The ESPN stuff, I'm sure you know about already. (And yeah, these are all pretty popular, so you might know about them, too.) SB Nation has some good and not-so-good stuff, I'm not a Laker fan, but here's their page. At glance, a handful of the front-page posts address your questions.

OK, the story:
Kobe says he want's to play (and is highly motivated because (1) Kobe is massively competitive and (2) he's chasing Kareem's points record), Jimmy Buss thinks Kobe could be back for the beginning of the season. Pretty much no one else thinks this is possible let alone likely.

What went wrong?
Massive number of injuries (Gasol, Howard, Nash and Kobe all missed time or played through injuries). Complete lack of spacing because of little to no outside shooting. Howard was his typical passive-aggressive narcissistic self. A billion trade rumors about Gasol probably didn't help. D'Antoni's system sucks for their personnel (old, slow, no shooting) and D'Antoni couldn't alter his coaching to fit what they could do well (high-low post stuff with Gasol and Howard, iso's with Kobe, pick and roll with Nash). Basically D'Antoni has to be one of the worst coaching fits with Howard and almost everyone was injured at some point.

This season they won't be very good. Nash and Kaman don't play D anymore, Gasol tries but is slow. When Kobe comes back it will take a long time for him to round into form (possibly the whole season). They had a single 2nd round draft pick. So, no youth movement. In a stacked west the Lakers will be lucky to make the playoffs (unless Nash and Gasol really click and have massive years).

The Clippers will be very good. Their big weakness last year was defense and Doc should help with that. They had a great offense built mostly on energy, transition and Paul's genius (because Del Negro had no scheme). Their Achilles heels were the lack of outside shooting and decent back-ups in the front court. They addressed shooting by trading for Reddick and Dudley, but they have no depth behind Griffin and Jordan (and Jordan can't shoot!). They should be very good this year and will be a tough out in the playoffs, but all of their starters will have to be at their best to get passed OKC and Memphis.
posted by oddman at 6:47 PM on August 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Desperate times call for desperate measures. Grantland
posted by Cuspidx at 7:51 PM on August 4, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, this is just what I needed. I was getting a little overwhelmed knowing where to start.

Jimmy Buss

posted by Room 641-A at 9:51 AM on August 11, 2013

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