Just a few notes from last nightâ€™s preseason game against Denver (the Lakers opening night opponent), plus some other stuff from around the NBA and the blogosphere:
â€¢ While the offense looked a little smoother than in game one, there is still a long way to go before the starting five reaches a state one could call comfortable with the triangle. Much of the early scoring came with players breaking out of the offense for one-on-one moves. Part of this struggle may be because Kobe appears to have intentionally pulled back a little in the preseason to get others involved, a good idea right now but he needs to step up come November.
â€¢ What looked worse was the new full court pressure defense the Lakers run, with Smush having trouble in particular. The speedy Denver guards â€” Earl Boykins especially â€” abused this by just using his speed to get past Smush in the backcourt and create outnumbered opportunities. Maybe Phil kept this going because it was a preseason game, but when the games matter the Lakers need to be more careful about when they dial up that pressure and against whom.
â€¢ The book is out on Smush, Denver was backing off him already and daring him to shoot from the outside.
â€¢ Kwame was not drawing the immediate double team in the post (that may because Denver is deep with good post players), and he took pretty good advantage of that (7 of 8 shooting). Iâ€™d still like to see him be more aggressive, take-it-to-the-hole more and less finesse. He did that at points but not consistently.
â€¢ In the second half we saw a little of something regular poster Renato mentioned before â€” getting Odom in the post on occasion to get a mismatch. I hope to see more of that in the future, in the first half Odom hung out on the perimeter a lot.
â€¢ Popcorn.net had a game flow up for a preseason game, which confirmed a couple things I noticed without a +/-. 1) Devean George has looked comfortable in the offense and may provide some good punch off the bench. 2) Devin Green continues to do what he did in the Summer League â€” make smart plays and have things just look better when heâ€™s on the floor. Green may be a good candidate for the NDBL.
â€¢ Interesting read at SI.com about the statistical revolution in basketball (in which I consider myself nothing more than a lowly disciple preaching out in the wilderness). Check it out for a good overview and find out why Adonal Foyle considers himself like a fine wine. (I have not read the “original” version, I have to pick up the mag.)
â€¢ The latest Carnival of the NBA blogs is up at Give Me The Rock.
â€¢ Great work by Knickerblogger to separate Alan Houston the player â€” who was very good for a decade â€” from Alan Houston the contract. Thereâ€™s a player who should not be remembered for the â€œAlan Houston Ruleâ€ but instead as a great shooter (career eFG% of 49.8%).
â€¢ The best blog your not reading is focused around the Sacramento Kings, and it just moved to a new address. Tom does good work and the SB Nation (which includes Blog-A-Bull, the very good former Bulls Blog) made a great pick up.
â€¢ Earlier this week, Mark Heisler of the LA Times did a piece I liked about the new NBA dress code, which is Sterns’ sad attempt to deal to close the cultural gap between the players and those who can afford the high-priced close tickets and luxury boxes at games.