Notes From The Weekend

 —  April 25, 2005

I watched some NBA playoff games, read what I could about the Lakers and went to the LA Times Festival of Books. Here are some thoughts:

• Phil Jackson Watch: The Lakers are meeting Tuesday with Jackson to talk coaching, according to Joel Meyers. Phil also is scheduled to talk to the New York Knicks in the next week or so. Personally, if I were Jackson I would meet with everyone I could, even if I knew where I wanted to coach, just to drive up my price.

• Do you really think Isaiah Thomas would give up the roster control Phil Jackson would demand?

• Kobe’s wrist, which bothered him the last couple weeks of the season, does not have anything seriously wrong with it.

• I guess what Laker play-by-play Paul Sunderland will be doing next fall depends on whom you ask. As passed along here, Bob Kaiser in the Press Telegram said a few weeks ago that he was toast. Then last Friday Larry Stewart in the Times said no decision would be made until May. My guess is management is looking to see who is out there before making a decision. Stewart also said:

Word is the Lakers are considering a change because the ratings are down. Earth to Lakers: Maybe the team’s performance had something to do with that.


• How ‘bout those Nuggets? I still have to like San Antonio over seven games, but what if this were a five-game series like the “old” days? Same thing with the Houston/Dallas series, I think the Mav’s depth will win out in seven but if this were a five-game series Mark Cuban would and should be a lot more nervous.

• By the way, the rest of my playoff picks (based on my first round selections) are: Western Conference, second round, Dallas over Phoenix in seven, San Antonio over Sacramento in five. Western Conference Finals: San Antonio over Dallas in six.

Eastern Conference, second round: Miami over Chicago in five, Detroit over Boston in five. Eastern Conference Finals, Detroit over Miami in six.

NBA Finals, San Antonio over Detroit in seven.

• There are T-shirts on sale in the Miami arena that say, “Thank you, Kobe.” That’s pretty funny.

• My wife and I got to the LA Times Festival of Books early Sunday so our daughter could see Bob the Builder. Turns out he’s just like a real contractor — he show’s up late and only works for about half as long as expected.

• Other highlights from the Festival include getting a book signed by Gore Vidal (I had to get his new book, but also had him sign my copy of Lincoln) and a very funny speech by Eric Idle. By the way (and not that anyone organizing the festival reads this), but at the large political panels (such as the one we saw in Royce Hall), don’t let the public ask questions. People at the mike either give a speech, plug some other book or just generally spout nonsense — you’re lucky if one out of 10 people actually ask a good question. I came to hear the people on the panels, let them talk.

• Mike G. over at the APBRmetrics board posted recently this chart showing the Lakers true shooting percentages as compared to points per game — and it showed that the Lakers who took the shots pretty much were they guys who should have taken the shots. I’d like to see Odom and Butler getter a higher TS%, but all in all this isn’t that bad. That said, the offense wasn’t the problem.

TS% . . player . . . . . . PPG
.563 Bryant,Kobe . . 27.6
.558 Atkins,Chucky . 13.6
.556 Jones,Jumaine .. 7.6
.552 Mihm,Chris . . . . 9.8
.539 Grant,Brian . . . . 3.8
.539 Odom,Lamar . . 15.2
.528 Butler,Caron . .. 15.5
.522 Cook,Brian . . . . 6.4
.437 Brown,Tierre . . . 4.4

(True Shooting Percentage is half of points per shot attempt, a stat that credits people for three pointers and free throws in addition to basic made baskets. Some stats people prefer TS% to PSA because they see the stat as more “digestible” as a percentage. I don’t have a preference. The league average this season was about .529.)

• Wild, unsubstantiated rumors of the day: The Lakers sending Devean George, Slava and both our second-round picks to Indiana for Jonathon Bender and the 17th overall pick. There’s also the rumor the Lakers are trying to revive the Carlos Boozer deal with Caron, Chucky Atkins and more going to Utah — I’d love to see that, but I’d also love to see myself driving a Porsche. Both seem highly unlikely.