Fast Break

Kurt —  September 13, 2005

Sorry again for anyone who tried to log on during the “down period” Sunday night/Monday morning. This site was in the process of switching hosts and blog software and it took 24 hours for it all to come together. Things are back to normal, sort of — the archives are up and the links are back here, so the core of the site is up and running again. One of the downsides of the changeover is old comments were lost. New comments may take a little longer to post the first time you do so because of an anti-spam feature, but it will be faster after that (especially for regulars). A new, more Laker-like site design will be coming in a few weeks.

But while I’m working on that, I’m still talking Lakers and NBA here. A few thoughts:

• Kenny Smith’s charity game was great for what it did and the people in Houston it was able to reach (certainly not the level of play). I enjoyed watching the game, seeing and hearing from the displaced and the overall atmosphere. I also thought that Kobe came off as thoughtful and showed something different than his cold media shell persona so many people associate him with. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy was listening to a lot of Charles Barkley, but since he wrote a big check I’ll let it slide.

• Luke Walton is going to do his part for Katrina relief by going on Wheel of Fortune. You can’t make stuff like that up.

• Everyone is now hearing the same thing, that Vlade is retiring. He had an underrated career.

• Thinking a little about the Pacific Division, the two biggest question marks are defensive: 1) How much better will Phoenix’s defense be with their off-season additions, and how much offense did they give up to get that improvement? 2) How good will the Laker defense be with Phil as coach and two 7 footers along the baseline?

• Speaking of Phoenix, talked with a friend yesterday who lives in that sweltering town and says the city’s NBA fans are buzzing about a Sports Illustrated article where Amare Stoudemire does not rule out going to another team in 2007. Don’t hold your breath, Laker fans. First, he’d be an idiot to limit his options almost two years from making the decision. Second, he’s getting plenty of exposure in Phoenix and on the national stage, and the endorsements will come wherever he plays. Finally, the Suns can offer more money, and that usually is the bottom line on these things.

• The best player I saw the first weekend of the NFL — that Burger King guy. He was everywhere.

Kurt

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10 responses to Fast Break

  1. it’ll be interesting to see how this new phoenix team turns out. my theory is that they were so formidable last year because of their speed.

    this new team might do better in the playoffs, but i don’t think they’d be able to outrun everyone to wins during the regular season like last year.

    i’d say they still win 50+, but not 60 or so like last year. you?

  2. My guess is along those lines, upper 50s in wins, which should still win the Pacific (providing Nash and Amare stay healthy). As for them doing better in the playoffs, maybe, but I think they have given away too much for the sake of a little inside defense. On ESPN today John Hollinger called them a “poor man’s Spurs,” which is a good description — they went away from what made them special to be tougher and I don’t see it paying off.

  3. yeah, but i think it was a no-win situation. that starting five had a speed advantage in almost every position against most teams, but it’d be hard seeing them all becoming the strong defenders they would need to in order for them to be more competitive when push comes to shove.

    i’d say lower 50s.

  4. Just wondering if you’d heard anything about the Lakers looking at Jay Williams? I haven’t heard anything, but it would seem to make sense. Williams would be a low cost investment if he doesn’t work out, would add a young (albeit damaged) body to the PG position as a potential defender for small guards, and of course there’s plenty of upside. I’d think the opportunity to play in LA for Phil and an opportunity for big minutes would be much more appealing than playing in Canada with the Raps, though the Heat would be a competitor for his services. What do you think?

  5. Williams allegedly worked out for the Lakers but they have looked at other (and older) players since. All I’ve heard is Toronto is the frontrunner, Maybe Miami is in the mix. If he is healthy (and that’s the big question) I wouldn’t mind picking him up as a project. The potential is there. But apparently the Lakers aren’t interested. I don’t know what they saw but they must not have liked it.

  6. The Lakers starting 5 ‘may’ be solid but how many games will they play together? Can the starting trio of Bryant, Odom, and Mckie stay healthy all season? Look at the numbers for these three.

    Bryant averages 69.6 games per year.
    Odom averages 62.3 per year and 64.3 over the last 3 years.
    Mckie averaged 68.4 games per year over the last 7 years.

    With an inexperienced frontline and serious question marks on the bench, Bryant, Odom, and Mckie cannot afford to miss more than 5-7 games each if the playoffs is to be a possiblity.

  7. Tony, I agree about the health issue, I may have posted this before, but it certainly will be part of my season previews — I think there are six pretty much sure things for the playoffs in the West (Spurs, Mavs, Rockets, Suns, Kings, Nuggets) with a number of teams fighting for those last two spots: Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, Sonics, T-Wolves, Griz. Among that second group, staying healthy will be a huge key for all of them.

  8. Kurt,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. The six teams you mention are a step ahead of the rest. And as expected, all the teams battling for the final two spots have legitamate question marks to answer.

  9. Hey this is just a thought but why doesn’t anyone talk about Deavin George? Its not like he is a horrible player or anything and two-three years ago under Phil he was a key player on that squad. I don’t know just something that I have been thinking about.

  10. As for the Katrina Relief All Star Game, any word yet on how many of the three dozen babies Kobe was seen holding were actually his?