In addition to our weekly chat, which Chuck Myron facilitates every Wednesday, we have a second opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap, or the NBA draft? Drop me a line at [email protected] or @EddieScarito on Twitter. Now for this week’s inquiries:
“In order to preserve Kobe Bryant‘s minutes in the upcoming season wouldn’t it be wise for the Lakers to seriously consider making Kobe the sixth man? That way Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell can start in the backcourt with Jordan Clarkson at the three, and with this alignment, Kobe and Lou Williams are first off the bench. In addition, Kobe could remain on the floor in the 4th Quarter. I could see Kobe playing in the neighborhood of 25-30 minutes in games 1-50, with the time increasing as the season progresses. Then in games 51-82, Kobe would replace Young in the backcourt and as the sixth man off the bench. I feel with this rotation the Lakers have the best chance to win 42+ games this season. I also would start Brandon Bass over Roy Hibbert at center, and of course put Julius Randle at the power forward position. This way the Lakers’ attack consists of moving the ball quicker downcourt on breaks and off of defensive rebounds.” — Joseph
The first flaw in your plan that immediately jumps out at me is just how abysmal the Lakers’ defense would be. I mean it would be utterly ghastly. A lineup featuring Russell, Young, Clarkson, Randle, and Bass may not be able to stop anyone’s offense in order to create those fast breaks off of defensive rebounds that you salivated over. In short stretches, perhaps against teams utilizing smaller lineups, it may be passable. But that lineup would make what is shaping up to be another long season in Los Angeles feel even longer if deployed full time.
Beyond that, I don’t see Kobe willingly taking on a sixth man role on what is not shaping up to be a very good team. If the roster was loaded and the team was a potential contender…maybe. But I would hate to be the one tasked with telling Bryant that he’s coming off the bench behind Young and Clarkson. It’s not a discussion that I would expect to go all too well, given that this may be Bryant’s last hurrah in the league, and that’s before even considering his ego and competitive nature. Williams was signed to provide scoring punch off of the bench for the team, and if Kobe is healthy, he needs to be out there with L.A.’s collection of young players to provide leadership.
The Lakers aren’t going to make the postseason this year, and the organization’s biggest draw will be fans coming out to see Bryant play. The Lakers have little to gain at this point by taking it easy with Bryant’s health, so they might as well try and get their money’s worth out of him. If he has a serious injury, the franchise really doesn’t lose much in the long-run besides some potential tickets sales. I’m not saying that the team should disregard good sense and intentionally run Kobe into the ground, but rather that there wouldn’t be any significant impact on its future if Bryant were to have his final season interrupted prematurely due to injury.
Wow. That’s a really tough call to make. It’s a matter of weighing the value of potentially having two future stars versus one who just happens to be one of the best players in the league. If I was planning for the long haul, adding two starting caliber talents like Towns and Wiggins, who are both under the age of 20, is certainly an extremely appealing option. But Davis is only 22 years old himself, and already a bonafide superstar. Since the NBA is a star-driven league, and Davis has already proven himself to be one, whereas Wiggins and Towns have yet to establish themselves, I’ll go with Davis as the better option here, if only to play it safe.
“Should the Knicks consider hiring Tom Thibodeau to replace Derek Fisher as head coach?” — Pete
While I’m not personally sold on Fisher’s ability to be a successful NBA head coach, especially when he’s hampered by the organization’s insistence on running the triangle offense regardless of the quality of personnel present, it is probably too soon to write him off completely. Look at Jason Kidd, who had an extremely rough start in Brooklyn his first season, but who has seemingly figured things out since then. I’d say Fisher has earned one more season to prove himself before the Knicks seriously consider making a change.
As for Thibodeau, it’s unclear if he would even want to come to New York and join a rebuilding club that doesn’t appear close to title contention. He’ll likely have much better opportunities in the future than with the Knicks. Plus, as long as Phil Jackson is running the team, I don’t think Thibs would be a good fit personality-wise in New York, and with him being a defensive-minded coach, he’s not a great fit for the team’s current roster either.
That’s all the space that I have for this week. Once again I would like to thank all those who sent in their questions. Please keep them coming, and I’ll see you back here next Saturday with more responses.