Archives For November 2004

Deserving Splinters?

 —  November 10, 2004

Road wins in the NBA are about as easy to come by as real breasts at the Bada Bing, so I don’t want to read too much into the near collapse in New Orleans. It still goes into the victory column and other players — particularly Butler — stepped up.

But remember back before the season started, when most of us believed that one of the strengths of Lakers 2.0 was going to be the depth. Rather than a two man show and no bench, this was a team that could run 10 deep.

Watching last night, I got the distinct feeling Rudy T. does not trust his bench right now and doesn’t quite know what to do with the rotation. The Lakers were up by 31 after three quarters, had another game the next night, yet Kobe still played 38 minutes (and he fouled out), Chucky Atkins played 42, Odom 41, Butler 34. The highest number of minutes off the bench went to Brian Grant with 15. Cook, just 8. Kareem Rush, just 3, Luke Walton, just 2.

Right now, that vaunted depth is not there — the poster child is Rush, who seems lost in the new system and will see less and less time as the season wears on if he doesn’t start to drain jumpers. (As a side note, guaranteed contract or no, right now I’d jettison Rush before Tierre Brown if Karl Malone is coming back.) There will be more depth coming with Slava (who is available now and could be forced into action after Jumain Jones left in the second quarter was seen limping around after the game with a sore calf) and Vlade (due back in two to three weeks). Both of them provide some help in the now overmatched middle.

But the return of their pieces does not easily solve the rotation puzzle. It may be halfway through the season by the time Rudy T. figures out what pieces he wants where, and what pieces he doesn’t want at all.

Part of this, and part of the collapse, is this is still a team struggling to adjust to a new system, so some addition time together in games has a silver lining. But that lining will not be tonight, when the tired legs of the starters take to the court against a desperate Memphis team.

Tip-Off

 —  November 10, 2004

Welcome to my attempt at keeping personal sanity in the midst of the swirling vortex of controversy that is the Lakers.

Honestly, sanity through a chance to vent is the core of why I chose start a Lakers blog. I am doing this for me and, if you like it here, you are welcome to come back, read, comment and be a part of it. I have no delusions of grandure here, no alterior motive. This is not my first sports blog, some of you may have stopped by Arrive in the Third, Leave After Seven, which was a general LA sports blog (with heavy Dodger content). While I enjoyed writing that, I noticed that the best sports blogs (Dodger Thoughts, for example) are focused on one sport or concpet.

The Lakers were a natural selection for me. I grew up in LA and have been a Laker fan since my parents took me to games in the Bob Uecker seats at the very top of the old Forum. While I’ve never been able to afford season tickets, I have been there for some of the best moments in Laker history — such as Magic Johnson’s first comeback game (1995), and the 2000 game seven against Portland (the 15-point fourth quarter comeback).

This blog is also an attempt to be a rational and calm voice in a world of screaming idiots on talk radio. There should be a place Laker fans can read and — through the comment section — discuss things Lakers rationally. Be warned I believe a bit in the “Moneyball” approach to basketball — I beleive in statistics and observation more than gut feel (the challenges with a statistical approach in a younger and younger league is a topic for another day).

What you will not see is posts or discussions about off the court problems, or to put a finer point on it, there will be no discussion of the Kobe rape case. That means in my posts or allowed in the comments. The only and rare exeptions may be a discussion of the impact of off-the-court problems on the court for Kobe or others.

So, lets get this thing started. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.