Today is the Day

Wow, has there been a fall off on this site, and I understand why. Last year was a total disaster!! It may have destroyed this year as well. But I'm gonna say there is still hope for this year.

First thing is who do we have.









These are the pieces we have to work with. The other 8 players need to be signed, today!!!

So looks like we are gonna be stuck with Russel Westbrook for another year, or at least the start of the year. And the elephant in the room is, can Coach Ham make the difference, can he make Westbrook a defense first player. A guy that can run pick and roll and do his thing on offense and be a stopper on the defensive end. I want to say remember how he shut down Tatum down last year, he looked like Kobe, That style of defense, that in your face, in your jersey defense. I am going to say probably not. There is a 75% chance Westbrook refuses to dedicate himself to that role. On the off chance, 25%, that he will give up his game for the team, that is the a big part of the 40% chance we are contenders this year.

So assuming he will not, then what. This is where I start. And lets say it, Russ comes off the bench. He is a offensive punch off the bench. If he will not change his game for this team he is now going for 6 man of the year. This is how it works.

Nunn is our starting pg. He can shoot and brings the defense out on the screen and roll. He plays good defense. He has a good mid range pull up game and can finish around the hole with floaters. Kinda Fox lite. Yes he was injured last year and low level Laker fans hated on him all year, but that bone bruise has kept many young stars out for prolonged time as well. Think Ingram. Some foolish Laker fans hated on BI for the same as well.

This is the place where the rubber meets the road. Starting 2. Monk, bring this man back. He shoots 40% from 3 and can take it to the rack. His D is weak, but he has the athleticism to become better. His body is weak, but there is allowed to be one weak defender on the court and this is our guy. His offense makes up for it. Because this man can score. We need to bring back Monk!!!!! Now we have 7 spaces to fill.

SF will be Stan the Man. This is our defensive stopper/muscle. He is all that plus more. Nobody wants to wake up to SJ in your face all game. He will beat you up. Every team needs a defensive stopper and we got one. If he can shoot 35% from three we will be good. If he can shoot 33% from three we will be ok. He needs to shoot it when he is open. He is a good slasher and finisher. I believe in Stan!!!

This part is where we are the best, and I said it, best 4/5 in the league. LBJ at 4. LBJ is a top 5 wing and we know this! He can shoot, and gets some point forward work as well. But this is the year he sits 2nd games of back to back. No questions asked. It doesn't matter what our record is. We win or lose with LBJ playing 60-70 games this year and gets plenty of rest. In those games Russ steps up..

AD at 5. AD is a top 5 big and we know this! We are the only team in the league with a top 5 wing and a top 5 big. AD will be helped more than anyone else by Coach Ham, or Coach Ham's decision to add Rasheed Wallace to the coaching staff. AD has the ability to be a top 3 big if he could get his head together. He has always relied on his natural ability to score and it not only isn't working anymore but it puts him in a place where he is more likely to get hurt. He needs to stop getting the ball in the post or elbow and turn around and look. Horrible look! For this I say Coach Vogel deserves all the negative things said about him. Rasheed will teach AD how to score from the post and mid post. And spoiler alert that jump hook is a big part of the answer. He should also develop a baby fall away. And attack the rim quickly. He also needs to hit his 3. If he can't hit 33%-35% we will not be that good. If he can hit 35%-40% on 4/5 a game, we contend.

Really, that is a solid starting 5. And guess what, we have the best bench scorer in basketball in Russell Westbrook. The 24 minutes Russ is in the game, LBJ sits his 16 and the other 8 LBJ plays 3 and D wing. If Russ has it going he plays 32 and when he doesn't he plays only those 16. And Russ is allowed to be Russ. Do your thing. Attack, attack attack!! We then need to put players around him that can help him. Lets talk about who we put around Russ.

Gabriel, we start here because we know we have this kid who....Plays hard. And that's what we need from him. Play tough and hard and he will be helpful, if he can shoot 35% or better from 3, he is a regular rotational player. If not he is a 3rd string player we are developing.

Reeves is much the same and I know there will be some angry but Reeves is not ready yet. The positive is he could be. He needs to get a mans body. He can't be punked. He has the defensive and offensive brain and the jumper but he was to weak last year. And his foot speed needs to be improved a bit too. He could be a better version of Caruso. Depending on the changes he made to his body this summer will decide if he is a regular rotational player or a third string guy that we are developing.

THT, wow this is the hardest one. I feel like the Lakers have decided that they can no longer be a win today team only, with that in mind they may keep THT. I hear trade ideas and maybe that would be best, but THT can't be the best THT until Russ is gone. That being said, THT has it in him to be a defensive stopper at guard he could guard other teams pg well, with those long arms and strong body So if we keep him it all comes down to his 3. If he can shoot between 33%-40% from 3 he can be a rotational player, if not, again, 3rd strong developmental player until next year.

So what we have seen is our other three signed players could be perfect next to Russ, because frankly, the man doesn't play hard on d. Now what, I said we need to resign Monk, OK, 7 more spaces, where do they go?

MLE I'm not going to give Monk this. I'm gonna give him a vet min but let him know, wink, wink, that we have his Bird rights after this year and we can, and will wink wink, give him the $10 mil a year he deserves for two or three years, if all goes well. So, here is my wish list. One MLE & 6 vet mins.

Mo Bamba!!!!!! This man needs us as much as we need him. He is a future star, who needs a stage. We are the only team that can give him the role he needs to shine. Heck he could start and we could slide SJ to the two and be BIG and STRONG! The same formula that wins in the playoffs, see 2020. Come on MO!!!!

Second choice would be one of the Martin brothers or TJ Warren. All three do the same thing. Play tight D and hit the 3. We need a 3 and D wing from this spot if we can't get Mo. Also is push comes to shove, and we don't get Mo, maybe we use this on Monk. I hear one of the Martin brothers could take the vet min.

Now on to the Vet min. And I start with a stretch 5. Bjelic. He just won his ring and now its time to get back on the court. He is a perfect fit. Smart and can hit the 3. Plays fine d but may struggle with bigger 5s. Another Warrior I chase of Toscano-Anderson. I chase both. Toscano-Anderson is a young player we are looking to develop and could give us some quality minutes this year. We need more of this, young athletic guys. Either of these guys can fit into our second unit next to Russ and AD, because I play AD next to Russ in all his 16 non LBJ minutes. They had flashes of brilliance together last year.

Vet min, Jevon Carter and Jereomy Lamb. I take one of these guys or both but work hard on one. Both would fit with that second unit. and could even get minutes with the first unit if their shot is falling. High energy and good size.

I just mentioned 8 players for our final 7 spots, but I am not silly enough to think we get all. We probably won't get half, and that leaves spots. I try to bring back Mello and Dwight. I know Dwight wants to start but really Dwight? Maybe against teams with big 5s if we don't get Mo but I do want to big back up 5. My cousin wants Boban, maybe.

And Mello, I play Mello at 5 when the other team has a small 5. I do think he could also play next to AD at a four. The man can shoot. Is smart and is strong enough to guard slow players. He is to slow to play in a switching defensive scheme where he is asked to switch off on a pick and roll. Maybe Coach can scheme around this.

I also think Max Christie makes the 15 man squad. He may not play much but would learn from being around the guys more than playing on South Bay. That being said South Bay should be fun to watch. McClung could make it up to the big team but needs time to work on his jumper and Swindler will be fun to watch. Pippen and O'Neal are long term projects and probably don't have the fire to make it but will also be fun to watch. Huff and Jones are solid G league players and will continue to be.

So all in all things are not as bad as many predict. If we stay mostly healthy and AD plays over 70 games this year, we should make the playoffs. And playoff basketball is different. In the regular season young teams come into Staples, I know Crypto, but Staples and play their best game of the year. Playoff basketball is rough and tumble. Teams get more rest and our team is for the playoffs so, lets buck up, no tears, and enjoy LBJ for one of his last years.