I watched (and I use that term loosely) the Lakers game against the Jazz. No need to say more.
Obviously, the Lakers are missing a lot of key players, so it’s really hard to judge what they’re going to be like based on the past couple of games. But I think one key issue the Lakers will have–even with most of the key guys healthy–is that it will take them time to learn Scott’s offensive sets. My immediate solution to this is that until the players get comfortable with the offensive sets, the Lakers should rely primarily on Lin pick-and-rolls and Kobe post-ups during games when those guys are on the floor. They can mix in one or two offensive sets in games and continue to practice more sets in practice.
During Linsanity, Lin hadn’t even practiced with any of the players that he made look like stars on the court. That’s how automatic of a weapon Lin is offensively, if he is given pick-and-rolls and especially high screens. That’s all you really need in your offensive game plan when you have Lin on the floor. And the Lakers not only have Lin, but they also have Kobe, who is one of the greatest post-up players ever. So I think especially for now, Scott should keep things simple on the offensive end and just rely on Lin PnRs and Kobe post-ups.
Right now, the players look lost offensively, because they are still not comfortable with the offensive sets. It’s one thing to understand the sets, but another thing entirely to implement them smoothly in games. If Scott continues to force the guys to learn a bunch of offensive sets, we’re going to get a lot of the same results that we have been the past couple of games.
Another key recommendation I have that will help turn things around is to start Ed Davis over Jordan Hill. I actually like Jordan Hill land he’s one of the bright spots so far, but I think Ed Davis is not only better, but starting Davis over HIll will improve spacing on the floor. Hill and Boozer are somewhat similar offensive players. They both are more comfortable with taking long jumpers, so if you have them both on the floor, the spacing gets crowded. But Ed Davis likes to occupy the key offensively so that will create good spacing with Boozer.
I think they need to keep Boozer as a starter, because he seems to have very good chemistry with Kobe. So if Boozer plays with the second unit, he might get lost. Also, both Hill and Davis are good rebounders, whereas Boozer is not as effective of a rebounder. So you need at least one good rebounder for each unit. So starting Davis over Hill makes a lot of sense to me. I doubt the Lakers will figure this out, but I hope that they do. I think Hill will stay the starter, mainly because he has a big contract and it’s not like he’s played poorly. He’s actually been very good. Whereas Ed Davis has a very small contract that would keep him on the bench. This is unfortunate, because to me starting Ed Davis is key to Lakers success mainly because it will help with the spacing.
Also, since Lin is likely going to be the starting point guard, Ed Davis will pair well with Lin on PnRs. He can be the one rolling, whereas Boozer can be the pick-and-pop guy. If you have Hill and Boozer out there, then you have two pick-and-pop guys and no roll guys. So that’s, yet, another reason to stat Davis over Hill. I don’t think the Lakers see this, though, unfortunately.