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2020-2021 L.A. Lakers Thread (Repeat)
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JAG



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2020 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LMAO.

So what happens if he’s really good?

He can handle it like a real point guard and he’s slithery and strong.

For 20. Wow.

Jagdip
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with THT Mania is where you find him minutes in Non-Load Management Games.

Here's what I posted earlier as the likely rotations, and what they did last year:

Likely Starters
8-6-3 on .427/.385/.735 in 26 minutes - Gasol (35)
26-9-3 on .503/.330/.846 in 34 minutes - Davis (26)
25-8-10 on .493/.348/.693 in 35 minutes - LeBron (35)
7-2-1 on .396/.364/.765 in 24 minutes - Matthews (33)
9-2-2 on .467/.385/.775 in 26 minutes - KCP (26)

Bench Rotation
19-7-2 on .580/.xxx/.658 in 28 minutes - Harrell (26)
10-4-1 on .443/.386/.776 in 21 minutes - Morris (30)
13-4-1 on .436/.316/.735 in 25 minutes - Kuzma (24)
5-2-2 on .412/.333/.734 in 18 minutes - Caruso (25)
19-4-4 on .469/.385/.839 in 31 minutes - Schroder (26)

We already have talk of Schroder wanting to start, and the Lakers possibly humoring him on that. That moves either KCP or Mathews to the bench unit.

Then you start wondering whose minutes he takes.

He's not taking minutes from Trez given the positions. I think the team has tremendous faith in Caruso given what he did last year, especially in crunch time defensive settings. THT doesn't really play the positions that Kuz and Kief play.

I very much believe that got Mathews in for a variation of the Green Role from last year, perhaps deployed slightly different but the similar trusty hand who focuses on a key defensive role but also can get some supporting buckets. From these two games, he has looked tremendous on the defensive side... light years ahead of some of these bench players he's teamed up with. Unless Mathews falls apart, it feels like there is no way that he gets marginalized down to 12 or so minutes a game.

We didn't sign KCP to that money not to play him.

It's a bit of a numbers game.

My wild ass guess for THT is:

* he gets 20+ minutes in Load Management Games

* he gets decent time when we kick the shit out of another team and we have a fair amount of garbage time

* he gets playing time if KCP, Schroder, Mathews or Caruso gets hurt... not saying their specific role, but minutes as the rotation adjust to an injury

* pretty much any minutes the team through Cook might be able to play

I think Cook didn't look good in these two games, and on the defensive side was his usual mediocre self. The playoffs kind of showed that if there was a "Break Glass In Case Of Need" moment for Cook in a key setting, Vogel was going to use someone else. That even was THT at one point. Feels like that ship has sailed for this season, and he has a high chance of getting cut if a player the Lakers like gets waived and is willing to come in at the minimum. Cook is still on a non-guaranteed contract.

Other than that... it's hard to see. This is a standard Lebron Win Now Team, and over the last 9 out of 10 season, they have almost zero time to develop kids. Either you find your way to help out (like Caruso with defense from the start last year), or your as is on the bench or gone. We need to remember that the 2017/18 Cavs brought in Bron's best friend. It didn't work out, his friend was washed, and he was sent packing.

* * * * *

Okay... let's hit the biggest positive.

THT *likely* means we won't chase a Dion Waiters or JR Smith type of marginal-to-washed up offensive help guard. There is still a massive question on whether he can shoot 3's consistently, but he pretty much fills any of the "we need someone who can create his own shots in a pinch" which is the Dion spot.

He also fills a guard role that pushed us to sign Cook. Since Cook doesn't bring any defensive value (actually a negative), he doesn't fill any need other than someone who can spot up from 3. There likely will pop up better options on spot up shooters, in the sense of one who could bring some defense to give us depth on the side of the ball.

And on Load Management Nights, he's is another guy we can look for offense to make up for the shortage of a missing Bron or AD.

Those are all good things.

I'd just tamp down losing too much shit over him yet. :)
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jdw
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KOC on THT:

Is Talen Horton-Tucker As “Flat-Out Special” As LeBron Thinks He Is? As if things weren’t good enough in Lakerland, the champs may have found a young player who can help them both now and in the future

John
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Steve Yohe



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think they want him off the bench, because he is controlling PG. He is going to play & others will sit. After two games, I don't see anything he can't do. We lucked out, Good character who works hard. If you believe in Laker luck....this is it.---Yohe
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JAG



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2020 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m with Yohe.

THT raises the ceiling for even this year’s team, play him 20 minutes and take the lumps early. We’ll need those And-1s in the playoffs.

Feelings will be hurt when you’re 11 deep. That’s what LeBron is for.

Jagdip
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Steve Yohe



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Preseason's over....and it still fells like these Lakers don't like to lose. ---Yohe
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jdw
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I liked the unit that started the second half last night: KCP + Mathews + Bron + AD + Gasol. They flowed together nicely, the defense was much improved (35-23 quarter after the horrid first half), seemed less sloppy. In turn, they seemed to allow the other units to flow more naturally after them.

It looks like AD has been studying some KD Long Range film. :) Obviously that was heat check level which he's not going to have every night. But the shots were smooth, with a ton of variety and none of them were pick & pops that you'd expect:

1. spot up catch & shoot from Gasol
2. off dribble with KCP screening
3. catch + screen from Wes + fake the dribble into shot
4. transition off the dribble pull up
5. fake the hand off to Wes into a step back off the dribble
6. off the dribble side step

I mean... that level of variety is what you'd see from KD. One of the big things last year was that our offense looked pretty static when Bron was out, even when AD was on the court. Being able to consistently hit his playoff 3P% (.383) will really spread and open up the court in the AD Without Bron rotations.

It was a short camp and a short pre-season. I think that impacted some things.

One thing that stood out was teammates not getting Trez into the flow as much as you would have thought. He's a player who needs others to pass to him to set up scoring opportunities, which wasn't happening enough. You don't spend your #1 free agent spot and $9M+ on a guy who scored 19 PPG last year on .580 shooting and *not* look to get him the ball. We really only saw it in the second game where we were playing with an extremely short rotation (just 8 with no Bron & AD as well), so they had to go to him. I think this will improve over time, but it would have been nice to see more consistent flashes.

Some of that may also have been that we were limited to two opponents that Trez might not match up well with. Perhaps that's the case with the Clippers, though his best game was against them. Don't really think that was the case with the Suns second unit, who he probably would have eaten up if he were paired with someone like Lou Williams that he had a long term relationship with.

I do still think that we might be best starting games with a "defensive" line up like we opened this second half - KCP + Mathews + Bron + AD + Gasol. That *should* help us avoid getting in holes early. It should put less defensive stress on Bron to start games and let him ease into the flow. I think Dennis is better off the bench, working on developing a relationship with Trez, being in there when Bron goes to the bench to work a mini-stretch with AD, and then eventually a stretch of Dennis + THT for a double of self creators. Perhaps over the course of the season Dennis eventually develops a strong relationship pairing with both Bron & AD and his defense is high enough where he eventually starts for a three headed monster. But you can develop that by having Dennis close halves with them. Right now, I think coming off the bench lets him develop relationships with a lot of players, especially that initial run where Bron goes out and AD stays on.

It's a really loaded team as we thought, with a lot of combos that can be thrown at opponents. One of the things I'd really like to see them do is have a high ratio of blow out wins, like the Bucks did last year. Not in the sense of coming out playing like the 1996 Bulls or 2015-2017 Dubs where you're shooting for 70 wins. More in the sense of games where we jump the lead, the second units hold it, we push it up in the 3rd, and the 4th has a chance to sit people. That would allow a lot of minutes to be spread out in a good number of games, in turn letting Bron and/or AD catch some rest in a chunk of non-Load Management games. Spreading out the minutes in blow outs is a way to keep people happy, and also work on building those on the court relationships. Our margin of victory last year was 5.79, which was 5th in the NBA last year. I'd like to see that 8+ this year... not even being greedy and want a Bucks level of 10+ last season. 8+ obviously means a lot of wins, but to get up there you need a good number of blow outs.

Getting lots of playing time for guys, getting a broad number of relationships working, that all helps us on Load Management Games and the stretches where people get hurt. The schedule is might tighter right now - we have 37 games from 12/22 - 3/3 (71 days this year) compared to 31 games last year from 12/22 - 3/3 (72 days because of the 2020 leap year). More back-to-backs, more short turn around... just more. So there are going to be nights of Load Management, nights of injury, and nights where some guys are just dragging. Depth is big this year, and getting everyone into semi consistent minutes with an 11-deep roster of useful guys (Bron, AD, KCP, Gasol, Schroder, Trez, Mathews, Kux, Caruso, THT, Kieff) could be huge.

Especially because the West looks like it has a lot of decent-to-good-to-strong teams. This isn't a season where half the West is tanking, or even a third of it. Lots of teams where if they're "on" when you play them could be a pain in the rear. These Suns we just beat could hit you one night when they're rolling and you'd have to work hard to beat them. And they're just a team trying to make the playoffs at the moment rather than looking to go deep.

Going to be a great NBA season. Going to be a great Lakers season if things break right like they did last year (i.e. Injury Avoidance to Bron & AD).
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corrado



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kuzma signing an extension:

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/30567074/sources-los-angeles-lakers-f-kyle-kuzma-agree-3-year-40m-extension
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jdw
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pricey. It means he needs to play a reasonable amount of minutes because the "worst case" scenario is that he gets traded and his contract matches that of someone who is better.

In theory we are signing him before he plays well and can demand more. If he plays well, it also means he has trade value at or above the level of that contract. I guess.

I would have preferred not to have his contract locked in if he doesn't play well. We already are going to need to re-sign Caruso and THT in the coming off season, along with figuring out what to do with Dennis and Trez at the very least, along with other people on contracts that expire. These add up quickly into an insane payroll tax if we retain a fair number of these folks.

I also would have wanted to incentivize Kuz to play well and consistently. This lets him off the hook of that. Also the issue of having to play him is a problem given the depth of the roster.

I think we did a good job of dodging the Randle time bomb. For some reason we didn't do the same with Kuz.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kennard = $16.0M a year for 4 years (Clippers)
Kuzma = $13.3M a year for 4 years (Lakers)

Some people a pointing to the cost of the extensions being tied to the fact that the 2021 Free Agent Class has blown up, which means a number of teams saving money for next summer will have money to burn on 2nd and 3rd tier Free Agents. Which in turn means that teams with guys coming up for extensions are trying to lock them down rather than risk them being tossed rich UFA offers next summer.

In turn, it also leads to the potential that these contracts become "reasonable" for trades if these players have good seasons.

Kennard is a very useful player: 16-4-4 on .442/.399/.893 last year. He's got length at 6-5, and for a SG has some PG abilities. He's the type of guy who fits in well on line ups where the "point" isn't really a PG, such as the Lakers (Bron) or Clippers (Claw & PG3, etc.). There are a lot more teams like that these days compared to the days when someone like Bird or Jordan or Kobe were SG's who were effectively the "point" on their teams and were kind of rare in the league.

Kuz could be a similarly useful player. His defense has picked up in the Bubble and in the Pre-Season. They need to continue to optimize his use both on offense and defense rather than how he'd been used in the regular season last year. I think the versatility of the roster lets them spot him into roles that better fit him. Also think that surrounded by such a strong defensive coaching staff, and so many players on the team who put in defensive effort, that some of that if going to rub off on him to improve. Seemed to by the time we hit the Bubble last year. Be nice to see it hold. My guess is that Kuz is starting to realize that his key to big money beyond this extension is to sharpen his skills as a 6-8 defensive wing in addition to his offensive skills.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ring ceremony on Tuesday. :)
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jdw
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On TNT tonight:

4pm PT Brooklyn vs Warriors
7pm PT Clippers vs Lakers

No Dray for the Warriors, and of course Klay is out for the year. That would have been a sorta interesting match up if Dray wasn't hurt.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://twitter.com/Tim_NBA/status/1341240063024312320

Quote:
Cranjis McBasketball @Tim_NBA

The Lakers have 5 of the top ~40 most impactful defensive players in the league from last season on their one roster.

Caruso
Matthews
LeBron
AD
Gasol

That's a 5-man lineup we'll see LA run out. I can't wait to see how that one performs.

8:32 PM · Dec 21, 2020


Tim also had a number of tweets on Trez' defense which I'll pull together into one "piece":

Quote:
Even with the deployment & front court partners not being ideal, Harrell was way better defensively last season than he gets credit for. The more regular season tape I see on him the more firmly I believe that.

A big piece of it during the Denver series was that Zu is an elite post defender while Harrell is very poor in that area (which usually isn't too impactful in today's NBA). The effectiveness of each guy vs Jokic on high volume was starkly different.

Defensively Zu's better equipped to defend the rim an an anchor big than Trez. Offensively, Harrell became solely a dump off big instead of his normal self and that lowered his impact.

LAC also ran some weird P&R coverages for the guys they were facing, which hurt both LAC bigs.

Having AD as your weak side rotator (or the anchor big that allows you to be that weak side rotating big) will help Harrell a lot more than playing alongside Morris/Green/Patterson.

The scheme piece materializes in LA using Harrell in more aggressive P&R coverages when the opposing personnel dictates you should. LAC was running the wrong coverages for the guys they faced.

LAL also has the roster flexibility to bench Trez if needed, which we saw LAC not do.

There were contextual factors for him + for LAC's roster & scheme that impacted his performance, but he also got roasted in the post quite a bit in a salient way.

You just need to separate what Clippers' fans were upset about vs what's important for this year & moving forward.

A big part of Harrell eval needs to be separating what LAC fans were upset about with him last year vs what matters moving forward.

For that you need to realize the context of lineups, usage, & scheme.

Everything considered, I both see why he frustrated + why he may not for LAL

Yes, there were areas he either was actually getting beat or appeared to be performing poorly based on how LAC used him.

LAL is far better able to lean into what he can do and not insist he do what he's weaker at. We've seen that already in preseason.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2020 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As said in the Clippers thread, they are a very good team, with depth and a lot of versatility. They have some things that can be tough match ups for the Lakers. When we eventually get our rotations in order, and people get use to playing together, we present some issues for them. I also don't think anyone expects PG13 to shoot .625 from 3P range across a seven game playoff series.

Bad start, poor finish running out of steam late. Brom wasn't sharp for much of the game, and kind of missed some reads that he likely will make as the team plays together more.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2020 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dallas' defense was poor last year, and doesn't look a ton better right now. We ate it up, but with the offensive players we have on the team we should. So...


What's Work In Progress:

* Gasol offensively in the line up with Bron & Schroder.

Bron is going to be ball dominant, while AD needs some time on the ball with those three. Bron is also trying to make things work with Schroder, which at times is clunky and other times is improving. Gasol is the odd man out in that set. The value of his passing / play making with cutters is removed. He's also largely in pick / screen sets, which doesn't put him in nice 3P spots.

In turn, by starting Bron + Schroder, or AD minus Bron & Schrorder segments lack an additional playmaker and get a little static around AD.

On a certain level we're sort of forced into Schroder starting with Bron, and Gasol pretty much came with the promise of starting. So this part is going to need to develop and evolve. Gasol is smart, Bron is smart, AD is Smart, KCP is smart, and Schorder is crafty. They probably will figure it out, as will the staff.


* Matthews

It's early. I think the lack of a camp and real preseason has hurt him develop with his team mates. He doesn't have the aggressive offensive game like Trex and Schroder that imposes itself on the game. He's a guy who plays off his teammates on offense, which takes time to develop.

I think the staff is also trying to figure out all of the rotations when they're effectively 11 deep which includes trying to get THT time in games.

What Didn't Work:

* Rim Protection / Lane Protection

It was a strength last year with McGee/Howard + AD in the help role. 4.5 blocks a game out of those three, along with countless shots altered and drive shut down.

We'll likely figure it out. Good defensive coaching staff. Smart players. Some of them, like Lebron, will be in Regular Season mode at times, and bring a different level of defensive consistency in the post season.

* Offensive PG Caruso

5 TOV and 3 Assists in 29 minutes in two games. Admittedly not a ton of it has been at the point, as when he's in there with Bron of course Bron is at the point. But one of the issues with Schroder starting is that someone else has to point for a mini-shift each half. Caruso has been it, and hasn't been good. He's forcing his dribble in deep, and has dribbled into messes for the turnovers.

I could put this in the Work In Progress section, but right now it's clearly not working. I'm not massively confident it's going to get much better when even the Mavs' terrible defense made him look bad in that role.

The rest of his game is okay-to-good. He didn't shoot 3's good against the Clippers, but they were largely shots he needs to take and over time needs to make at a positive clip. Tonight he made both his 3's. I think he's going to be decent at 3s this year with so much offensive talent around him and teams leaving him open. His defense has been typically good relative to the match ups he's been given, and we all know he's a high end defender. His +/- remains sharp: he was +3 against the Clippers, and +10 tonight in just 13 minutes, so good things continue to happen when he's on the floor.

But the PG stuff dribbling into traffic... just not good.


What Worked:

* Schroder & Trez are Schroder & Trez Offensively

What's funny about it is that they aren't even firing on all cylinders yet given the short camp, the short pre-season and now just being two games into the regular season. Their relationship with their teammates is developing. Still:

17-10-3 & 22-7-2 Trez
14-12-8 & 18-2-6 Schroder

The talk for much of last year was whether someone would step up to be the 3rd reliable scorer on the team. This is pretty much why we went out and got not just one of these guys, but both of them.

Dennis didn't have a good scoring night against the Clips, yet still got 14. Tonight is was a smooth 18 that didn't even feel like he was gunning and instead was in the flow of the game.

Trez... the guy just scores.

This isn't like last year where we were hoping someone... ANYONE would step up in a game to hit 15 points and hit some key shots. Or that Kuz was stop having stretches of games where he score 18 followed be 2 followed by 6 followed by 11 followed by 5. That's not going to be the case with Trez and Dennis. They're going to have games where they put in 30, especially on nights when Bron or AD are Load Managing. It will be fun to watch.


* Schroder's Point of Attack Defense

I'm not saying he's Ben Simmons or CP3 or Claw or even Caruso. But he's been really busting his hump defending the lead playmakers in these two games. Luka is a brutal match up given not just how great and tricky Luka is offensively, but also the size and length different. I thought Dennis was really up for the challenge and made Luka work. This bodes well for the balance of the year and the long term if he's putting this much focus into the defensive side. His quickness will be nice against some of the quicker points he faces as the season goes on.

As a side note, per Woj the Lakers are already talking extension with Dennis:

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/30596881/sources-los-angeles-lakers-begin-contract-extension-talks-dennis-schroder

Quote:
The Los Angeles Lakers have begun engaging with starting point guard Dennis Schroder in contract extension talks, and those discussions are expected to pick up again as soon as mid-February, sources told ESPN.

Before the start of the season, Schroder turned down an initial Lakers offer to extend his contract for an additional two years and $33.4 million, sources said -- an overture that represented the maximum allowable offer the Lakers could make to him prior to Feb. 16.

Schroder, who entered the final year of a $15.5 million contract, becomes eligible to extend that deal for more money and more years -- as much as $83 million over four years -- between Feb. 16 through the start of the 2021 offseason.


If he gets the full max, it ends up as:

2022: $18,600,000 (28 years old)
2023: $20,088,000 (29 years old)
2024: $21,695,040 (30 years old)
2025: $23,430,643 (31 years old)

That's not super cheap and starts taking the Lakers deep into the luxary tax with Bron and AD's big extensions/contracts. On the other side, it's a lot less than a $40M a year contract for a "third superstar". These are the tough choices teams have to make when chasing titles with Lebron. We're not going to be able to create cap space to sign a superstar once Bron and AD locked down their new contracts. It's either sign & trade (where you need money to match the superstar's contract), or hope one of the guys you have on hand steps up.


* AD

AD was pretty fab last year. It's kind of ridiculous that he's taken it up a level this year. Who knows if it's going to be reflected in him upping most of his 26-9-3-2-2 numbers from last year. I think it will be reflected in his efficiency. He's .581/.429/.778 after two games, and it's not like he's tossing up a bunch of easy shots or dunks. It feels like everything is easier for him: his shot looks smoother, his footwork looks better, and he looks more relaxed/confident. I also think the one number he might top are those assists from last year. There are some better offensive players around him this year, and he's going to be confident in seeing them open and getting them the ball.

It's a lot of fun watching him when he's flowing.

* Keef~!

Sorry... I love Keef. As much as anyone, he seems to accept his roll. There are going to be match ups where he plays more, and match up where he plays less. He has zero fear tossing up the spot up 3's. He puts in his shifts, does his work, at times the dirty work, and is okay heading back to the bench. He rarely appears to be out there in his own little world, but instead in the flow of the game and what's needed.

Two games?

He was one of the few Lakers on the + side of +/- against the Clippers at a rather ridiculous +14. No one else was above +7.

Combined totals for two games are:

34 Minutes played, 14-11-3-1 with no turnovers, .500/.571/.667 shooting and a +/- of +17.

You kind of don't notice it because it's in small segments, and someone else like AD or Dennis or Trez or Bron is catching your attention. But that's good bench play from a role player.

I'm not saying he's the key to the Lakers's season or that he should get 30 minutes a game. But he's a good, versatile, smart player. The more he practices and plays with these guys, the better he fits with them. That goes both with the second unit, but also with guys like Bron and AD. He's a guy a but like Robert Horry where he doesn't seem to get shaken when the shot isn't dropping, just digs in on the other dirty work and is still willing to fire up of given an open 3. There's going to be a series in the playoffs where he makes an impact, or a game in the playoffs where he steps up with some big shots.

What I'm saying is we got him for the Freaking Minimum because he wants to play with THESE Guys, on THIS Team to chase Another Ring. You want guys like that on your side.

Hey... there are probably going to be weeks this year where we don't even notice him because his box score numbers aren't flashy. But there are also going to be games where we go, "Right... Keef's one of guys stepping up tonight!"

* Kuz

15 points against the Clipps, 13 tonight... back-to-back decent-to-good offensive games, one against a good defense and the other against a weak one. As joked about abovem, he wasn't good at stringing together quality offensive games last year.

He's far less going itno isolation scoring sets, and instead working off set plays plays or action. He's working well with a variety of teammates. He's developed a pretty interesting relationship with Trez, with each picking up the other for passes.

He's continuing to try harder on defense and not looking completely lost like he did in his first few seasons. If he continues to improve and becomes competent on the wings, at 6-8 his length gives us another defensive option against opponents.

Combined, it would make that contract extension look good.
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