Roy Hibbert is the Lakers’ best defender and there is no reason why he should sit out during the fourth quarters. I’m not sure why Byron Scott preaches defense all the time and yet benches Hibbert during close games. Only Bryon Scott would decide to play Brandon Bass as a center in the fourth quarter instead of Hibbert. There is only one plausible reason why Bass is playing Hibbert’s position: for the former to boost his trade value.
I’m guessing that Roy has told Byron and the front office that he wants to be right around his career average of 26 minutes a game. Maybe Scott over plays Hibbert early in the game and then refuses to put him in late because he already reached the limit. That’s just speculation, but I think it’s a possible explanation. Perhaps the only one that makes any sense. Otherwise we’re seeing Brandon Bass struggling to play out of position for no reason at all, and that would infuriate me.
Fun fact: Drew Garrison from SS&R said today that Bass and Hibbert have yet to play together on the court this season. That’s insanity.
Good question. To play a bit of a devil’s advocate role, Hibbert is actually playing slightly more minutes than his career average (though that number is slightly deflated due to playing few minutes his rookie year). He seems like a player that has struggled to play huge minutes due to his conditioning and/or being a massive human being. Having said that, in an ideal world a large portion of those minutes would come in the 4th quarter when the Lakers have struggled to stop a nosebleed. Seeing Brandon Bass finish the game against the Blazers at the 5 physically pained me. So my answer to your question, in short, is: Byron Scott.
You do it as soon as possible. If there are any calls about Lou Williams, Nick Young or Brandon Bass, you pick up on the first ring. The sooner you can trade them away for any draft picks, the better. Not only will you potentially get valuable assets from the trade, but you will also open up more playing time for Tarik Black, Larry Nance, Jr. and Anthony Brown. If the Lakers can trade any veterans on the team for draft picks, I would consider that a victory.
I think that process can start at any time. Personally, I would try to find a trade partner for Lou Williams and Brandon Bass (preferably as a combo). They could go to a contender that desperately needs depth off of the bench and in return the Lakers can ask for a player that they can immediately waive and second rounders, with a possible conditional first rounder. Then you call up players like Michael Frazier and Robert Upshaw to fill in the bench spots. My preferred partner isn’t a contender, but they are prone to making dumb trades: the 76ers. I’ve talked with Honi and Thai (and really anyone who cares to listen) about a trade involving the two Lakers I mentioned earlier and receiving Nerlens Noel or Joel Embiid. Imagine the possibilities. The titles. The glory. It’s not going to happen, but I can dream, right?! (Editor’s Note: No.) I guess this shows you where my mentality is at this season. But to answer your initial question: soon. Very, very soon.
Part of me wants to say that the reason Lou Williams and Brandon Bass get so many minutes is to try and inflate their trade value. Another part of me says that’s impossible because they’ve both been mostly played out of position. That being said, the Lakers will probably wait until right around the trade deadline to make any moves. That gives their vets a chance to improve their play so contending teams desperate for some help bite on a deal. Nick Young can also be a good candidate for this as he’s been a consistently good player so far this season. However, I don’t see any of these guys getting the Lakers much in the form of assets. The best case scenario is probably an expiring contract and a 2nd rounder for one or two of them.
I am saddened with anything Kobe related these days. I’m not sure what is more painful to watch, his offense or defense. They are both really bad. Kobe is so old and slow on defense that players are just picking on him and it is sad. Imagine when he guards Kevin Durant or LeBron James, it’s not going to be pretty. At least Marcelo Huertas tries on defense.
Tyler Johnson begs to differ.
Huertas has to win the little battles, I guess. It’s honestly so sad to see Kobe struggle mightily on both ends of the floor to the point where this question is not absolutely ridiculous. The sliver lining, at least, is that unlike Huertas, Kobe has not been on the bad side of numerous highlights. Huertas is unquestionably the winner of the Vine/Shaqtin’ A Fool/”Huertas He Go?” Pun/ MVP awards.