Suggested Reading

Kurt —  September 29, 2005

Well, I’m in the middle of Polysyllabic Spree and it’s entertaining and a great chance to find out about authors I might not otherwise have read, but that’s probably not what you came here for. If you’re looking for some Laker news and stories in the days before training camp opens, there are a few things I can point you in the direction of (think of this as a lazy bloggers way to come up with a new post).

• The Los Angeles Weekly has a wonderful in-depth profile of Phil Jackson, where the “Alpha coach” talks about his spiritual beliefs, the triangle, politics (and his future in it), Joel Goldsmith, the book, things he would have done differently, Garrison Keillor, dreams and much more.

Now, in summer, the dreams have renewed. They may even have intensified, because three weeks before signing point guard Aaron McKie, Jackson dreamed that someone entirely new was trying to take the ball upcourt, trying to orient the triangle offense — a player whom he gradually recognized to be Oprah Winfrey.

Jackson does not take long to interpret this dream as his imagination’s ode to the difficulty of finding roster spots for possibly mismatched talents. Also, it was about “trying to coach basketball skills to someone who was completely not a basketball player.” Arguably, of course, that is coaching at its purest. But neither Jackson nor his audience is used to seeing him in so ultimate a test.

• Speaking of Phil, he sat down with the rest of the media yesterday and the main topics were Kobe (if you read JA Adande, who used more quotes from the past than the present) or lowering expectations for this coming season (if you read the AP version). As I said before, the media this season will focus more on the Phil/Kobe relationship and if Phil can deal with not being a championship contender this season, both of which I think will pan out to be non-stories. On the court issues will be pushed to the side for the soap opera. (I really need to work on letting this issue go.)

• In Laker news, Vlade’s situation is up in the air, according to his agent. Apparently as a potential backup the Lakers have worked out the Corie Blount, who didn’t play last season after an 11-year journeyman career. Not that the Lakers are desperate for big men or anything. (Update: In Friday’s LA Times Blount’s agent said his client would sign with the Lakers for the vet minimum of $1.1 million and the deal would be done before camp opens Oct. 4.)

• Celtic Blog is one of the premier NBA blogs out there, and Jeff recently put together a list of the blogs that have upgraded their looks during the off-season (FB&G included). It appears just about all the top blogs did some refurbishing this summer.

• Hoopsanalyst has interesting breakdowns on the Eddy Curry situation and NBA team attendance (not much interesting stuff on the Lakers because they almost always sell out, but for other teams it is).

Kurt

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4 responses to Suggested Reading

  1. yay, vlade.

    corie blount??

    if vlade does come back, it should be for the 1.1 mil. him getting five at this point is ludicrous.

    phil’s low-balling a goal of 45 wins sounded a whole lot similar to when he took over in ’99. but seeing that odom has still not recovered from shoulder surgery and realizing that every town he visits is going to ask him and kobe about the ‘trashing’ of kobe in his book…looks like the road is going to be even tougher.

  2. John, you really think PJ was lowballing? Given the things you point out, plus if Kwame works out, if the Lakers can get a decent back-up big, if no one gets hurt, if the team steps up and defends, and if they can learn the triangle – man that’s a lot of “ifs”!

    Honestly, to me he sounds optimistic to the point where it’s a bit out of character. I mean, realistically shooting for the playoffs is the only goal that would’ve gone off well with the city of LA, but I wouldn’t have put it past him to say something more like, “It’ll be very tough for us to even reach the playoffs this year – maybe next year.”. Telling us to perish the thought about not making the playoffs this year seems a bit cocky to me, especially when Phil has the history of setting expectation low so he can exceed it.

  3. hmm. maybe “low-balling” isn’t the best term. let’s just say he didn’t make the most favorable outcome that some people might reasonably expect. a la finishing in the middle of the pack of playoff teams.

    from what i read he didn’t sound extremely confident about that prediction. i saw a little bit of jim rome today where he was killing phil over his ‘it’s kind of like baking a cake, you just got to wait and see what happens’ line.

    a middle of the pack finish doesn’t sound all that outlandish to me. the lakers were a very good offensive team last year. they’re bringing back a coach that emphasizes solid defense. take that, all the injuries [the odom/butler/bryant combination only getting to play together for like 40 games], the coaching change mid-season…an improvment to 45-50 games isn’t such a crazy thing to expect from a healthy, rejuvinated team.

    i LOVE how he’s doling out the responsibility so far. has anyone ever insisted that odom become great? and telling brown that he’ll be the difference whether this team is above average or below, that’s beautiful.

    almost as good as when he took the podium to accept the laker job in ’99 and called shaq out.

  4. Songbook’s even better than Polysyllabic Spree, though that was excellent. Hornby’s great.

    So’s the new site. Been busy, but i’ll be back…