If it ain’t broke don’t fix it
Here’s how I feel about Brook Lopez starting over anyone else in the world:
I’ll just let the free throw speak for itself.
How is it that Brook Lopez is even averaging 22.9 minutes this season with a 22 million dollar salary. It blows my mind. A couple of air-balls really sum up his season for him. He’s slow, plays like he’s ancient, and may very well be past his prime… at 29 years of age. Perhaps he’s just been slumping a bit to start the year but I haven’t seen much this season to prove there is a bounce back coming.
If anyone wants to argue he’s a beast defensively, because he averages 1.6 blocks per game, then think again.
If you’re just going to clear a path for Lebron James to to dunk on your team, I don’t even know why you bother to put on a jersey. As an NBA player if your mentality is, ‘you can’t stop Lebron’, then you know what? You’re part of the problem. You’re being paid 22 million dollars to play basketball, I expect to see you actually show up and play some basketball.
Lopez’s mediocre performance day in and day out should really be a sign that the Lakers need to start making changes to their starting lineup. Offensively the Lakers lack a certain something that all elite teams have in droves – ball movement. When you compare the Lakers to elite teams like the Houston Rockets, it’s the Lakers’ lack of ball movement that really sticks out. Perhaps it’s a chemistry thing, or perhaps the guys are too young to understand when you move the ball it will most likely find it’s way back to you. It’s not that the Lakers don’t get assists, it’s that the players only seem to be willing to pass the ball when they can get an assist out of it. When you’ve been blessed with a pass first point guard like Lonzo Ball, it’s just a shame to not take advantage of his strengths and play a bit more of a wide open, ball movement offense. The movement seems to start and stop with Brandon Ingram, who drives to the net every time he touches the ball and can become predictable. And that may be the Lakers’ biggest problem. Predictability. In their first overtime loss to the Warriors on November 29th, Draymond Green said in reference to Ingram’s final shot attempt in regulation,
“He’s gonna go right every play, So you know he’s going right to the cup. I tried to be there to help.”
“You know he’s going right, we couldn’t seem to stop him, but I just tried to be there to help, make sure he don’t get a layup like he had done all night, and then on the boxout, I did step right in.”
I hate to say it, but I agree with Lavar Ball’s assessment of the final play of that game in regulation. Julius Randle had the ball and instead of pushing it ahead with a pass, he tried to dribble the ball up the court. Why didn’t Julius Randle pass Lonzo the ball with 5.3 seconds left to attempt a layup? Why did Luke Walton call a timeout? The game could have ended in regulation, but Walton didn’t trust the Lakers in transition. In general, the Lakers seem like they don’t know how to run offense, and everyone seems to just be playing for their own stats. They don’t even run a lot of basic concept offense, like a Pick and Roll, it’s just a lot of iso-ball.
I think the first step to solving the Lakers’ issues, is to play a starting lineup consisting of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and KCP. If they switch up the lineup, and play a lineup they often end games with, they might be able to a build more chemistry early and that might lead to better ball movement and trust late in games. Spreading out the scoring a bit gives you a better chance of maintaining scoring on both the first and second units. The Lakers too often have fallen behind early, and once Jordan Clarkson and the bench unit enter the game, they often make a run, only for the starters to be re-inserted and for the Lakers offense to struggle yet again. My proposed lineup change would put shooters on both the starting unit and the bench unit, giving the Lakers a bit more balance. These are the types of moves, the Lakers need to at least be contemplating.
The old saying is, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Well, the Lakers are broken, so Luke Walton, it’s up to you to fix it.