SPL Game 3 and Other Notes

Kurt —  July 11, 2005

Update: Up at Hoopsworld is another view of the Lakers at the Summer Pro League, plus the latest trade and free agent rumors, all courtesy Eric Pincus. Also, if you wanted to know why some teams were high on high schooler Gerald Green, check out this video from the Vegas Summer League (the link comes via Celtics Blog).

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I caught the first half of the Lakers game three in Long Beach Monday afternoon, and am here to pass along notes from that and a couple other things in my notebook.

• The crowd was a little smaller today but still pretty big — Long Beach State’s team couldn’t draw that big a crowd if they were playing UCLA. In the house were Phil Jackson, Mitch Kupchak, Jerry Buss and even Jack Haley.

• When the season starts, teams are going to lay off Ronny Turaif and dare him to hit any shot more than 10 feet away from the basket. He was even badly missing 15-18 foot jumpers in warm-ups. Until he can develop some kind of outside shot his effectiveness will be limited. He can rebound and his defense looks solid, but he can’t be an offensive black hole.

• The triangle continues to look ugly.

• When I’ve talked about Bynum being raw, I thought I should provide a little detail. I’m not a scout, so use whatever amount of salt you see as necessary with these. He really doesn’t have great positioning skills or box out skills — likely because he never had to develop them being guarded in high school by guys 6-5. He seems like he used to be just so much stronger that he could get where he wanted to go on the court no problem, now he’s got to get a body on somebody rather than just expect his length to do the job and he’s not quite sure how to do it. His footwork is bad; he took one hook shot Wednesday off the wrong foot. When he gets the ball in traffic, he gets flustered (he’s clearly not used to the speed of the game). On defense he made errors, for example: covering a pick-and-pop Wednesday he did something we almost never saw out of Shaq when he stepped out on the guard, but then he stayed with him almost out the sideline, where the guard passed it to the “popper” and Bynum, realizing he wasn’t supposed to switch, was futilely chasing after his guy who scored easily. All can be taught, but means don’t expect much from him for at least a year — he’s going to play Darko minutes this season. It may be three before he can really contribute.

• This weekend we (my wife and I) TiVo’d and watched the Live 8 concerts. London kicked our ass. Badly. USA Basketball vs. Mongolia badly. Their first three acts in London — U2, Coldplay, the aging but still entertaining Elton John. In Philadelphia the first act was Bon Jovi, followed by the mild rap stylings of Robert Horry, er, Will Smith. Even if it did close with Paul McCartney playing his best work of nearly 40 years ago, I’d rather have been in Hyde Park.

• Sasha’s defense does not look a lot better. He was slow on a couple rotations and got beat twice on ball fakes in the first half Wednesday. I’m curious how much Phil will use him, my guess is not much if he can’t play defense. By the way, after pumping up his catch-and-shoot skills from the weekend, Sasha went back to being a streaky outside shooter Wednesday.

• The emergence of Ronny Turiaf had Marcus Douthit playing harder and with more desperation on Wednesday (at least that’s my guess of the motivation), and at half he led the team in scoring (I think he had 10, maybe 12, stats weren’t available when I left). I don’t think it will be nearly enough.

• If I were Mitch K., I’d give Will Conroy and Smush Parker invites to training camp — I’m not sure they’d make the team but they’d at least be solid in practice. Smush is quick and can score, Conroy just runs a team well and can play defense. They’ve been solid in the SPL.

• Dean Oliver figures that a players scoring hits its peak at age 27. Kobe will be 27 this season.

Kurt

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