Fast Break

Kurt —  October 21, 2005

Just a few notes from last night’s preseason game against Denver (the Lakers opening night opponent), plus some other stuff from around the NBA and the blogosphere:

• 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.

• What looked worse was the new full court pressure defense the Lakers run, with Smush having trouble in particular. The speedy Denver guards — Earl Boykins especially — 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.

• The book is out on Smush, Denver was backing off him already and daring him to shoot from the outside.

• 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). I’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.

• In the second half we saw a little of something regular poster Renato mentioned before — 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.

• 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 — make smart plays and have things just look better when he’s on the floor. Green may be a good candidate for the NDBL.

• 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.)

• The latest Carnival of the NBA blogs is up at Give Me The Rock.

• Great work by Knickerblogger to separate Alan Houston the player — who was very good for a decade — from Alan Houston the contract. There’s a player who should not be remembered for the “Alan Houston Rule” but instead as a great shooter (career eFG% of 49.8%).

• 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.

• 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.

Kurt

Posts

3 responses to Fast Break

  1. Hi Kurt,

    I was finally able to catch some Laker pre-season action last night…and I did not like what I saw.

    What was especially glaring last night was the lack of defensive unity. The team as a whole looked a bit lost. Chris Mihm continued to foul himself out of the game. I fear the lack of depth at the 5 spot will hurt us during the season.

    Kwame and free throws? A bit Shaq-esque if you ask me…

    One thing I notice though, is that the Lakers look HUGE. Two 7 footers along the front line, a 6’10″ “small” forward, and two guards who are over 6’4″. The court looks way too small for them.

    Devean George looked good as did Devin Green, as you mentioned. Sasha couldn’t hit a jumper to save his life, and also made some very careless mistakes. I feel like he’s not really developing as he should.

    Based on last night, I think the Lakers will be hardpressed to make the playoffs.

    So…are there any good players slated for the lottery next year?

    Kevin

  2. yeah man, that was my first viewing of the team in action too. egads.

    nothing much looked promising. mihm’s still a fouling retard. kwame’s post moves look so sloppy, i don’t know, i was surprised he ended up 7 of 8. probably because he was aggressive.

    outside of smush and cook looking like quality little pieces in the rough, i was surprised by how disgusted i was.

    at the very least it looks to be a very rough first quarter of the season.

  3. The whole Laker team looks rough right now. I think you’re right John that they may look bad the first 10-20 games. The good news is they have a lot of home games, and winable ones, the last 15 or so of the season, if they can just stay in the playoff hunt.