Fast Break

Kurt —  October 27, 2005

Fifth, and Final, Update: Green has made the team as the Lakers just officially cut Corie Blount. We needed (still need) another big man but we needed one who could stay healthy.

Update Number Four: As of Monday morning, apparently Devin Green is in and Corie Blount may be the man on the outside.

Update Number Three: If you can’t wait for the rest of my Laker preview, coming Saturday, or just want the Cliff Note version, check out the always good Sactownroyalty.com, where Tom may hate the Lakers (and he should, they could never beat us when it mattered) but still posted my preview. He’s good that way. Not that I don’t plan to mock him every time we beat Cowbell City, including in tonight’s preseason game.

Update Part Deux: Not so much an update as something I forgot to mention below: The Lakers have until Monday to decide if they want to pick up the option on Brian Cook’s contract for next year. Pick up the option and we pay him just $1.8 million next season, let it go and he is a free agent at the end of the year. My initial thought, Cook isn’t the best back up four ever, but he’s not bad (PER of 14.1 last season) and at just $1.8 it is a good deal.

Update: Late Thursday the Lakers officially cut Tony Bobbitt and Adam Parada. Those were expected. One more cut needs to be made, with Devin Green or Laron Profit the likely candidates.

Following are some notes to clear out my inbox — but this is not the only site you can read my ramblings today. Over at Sportsfanmagazine.com there is a Q&A posted where I talk about the Lakers this season and entire league, plus what NBA player I think I can take in a fight. (By the way, there are also Q&A’s with Knickerblogger and Jeff from Celtics Blog on the site.)

• The details on the Jumaine Jones to Charlotte trade are out: It is a 2007 second round pick, unless the Bobcats have one of the five best records in the NBA this season. So we’re pretty safe it’s 2007, which is better than a 2006 pick, a year the draft is expected to be shallow (well, 2007 is better so long as the Bobcats don’t suddenly become very good that year). I also read in one account that the Lakers would get Charlotte’s trade exception, but that does not seem to be part of the official accounts of the deal.

Commenter James had a great breakdown (reprinted below) on why Jumaine Jones was third on the team in +/- last season, and it all comes back to the old problem with that ratio — it’s as much about who you replace as your game.

A few thoughts about Jones’ excellent +/- ratio. First, the other Laker leaders last year were Cook and Sasha. Either the team was worse than we thought, or the +/- ratio doesn’t capture much in regards to the 2004-05 Lakers’ squad.

In Jones’ case, the ratio essentially measures how much better the Lakers did with him on the court rather than the primary 3, Caron Butler. Butler played 52% of the minutes at the 3, Jones 29%.

As a scorer, Butler was miles ahead, putting in 7.9 more points per 48 minutes. Jones was better in other ways, capturing 2 more rebounds per 48, and actually winning the turnover battle, but the biggest difference is those points, and how they came. Butler got them because he shot 5.5 more shots per 48 than did Jones.

Those shots went primarily to Odom, Kobe and Mihm, who took 4.4 more shots per 48 with Jones on the floor than Butler. The Lakers were better with Jones on the floor, not so much because of what Jones did, but because of what he didn’t do–shoot.

What Jones’ +/- ratio really tells us is not that he should still be on the Lakers, but that we should all be glad that Butler is not.

• Count me among the people who didn’t see the end of the World Series because Time Warner Cable had an outage. If I had been emotionally invested in that game I would have flown off the handle.

• Quick thoughts on Bynum’s one outing this preseason: He looked raw but talented, just like in the summer league. He hit a difficult first shot against Utah (sandwiched between Ostertag and Kirilenko) but went 1 of 7 for the night. He showed some moments on defense, particularly when his quickness was the key (such as rotations and defending the pick-and-roll), but he got pushed around plenty by Ostertag. Got in some good rebounding positions but was “out veteraned” a few other times. I still don’t think he’ll play much, at least not early in the season, but in a pinch he can give you 5 to 10 minutes without costing you the game (unless he’s forced to defend a very good center). He needs to live in the weight room.

• I know who has got my vote for President in 2008.

• For the record, I’m picking McGrady to win the MVP, but Ed Weiland over at Hoopsanalyst does a good job handicapping the race this season.

• For you literary fans, I had the chance to hear Isabel Allende speak on Thursday, facinating woman and story that has led to fantastic writing.

Kurt

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12 responses to Fast Break

  1. bynum will probably play early on in the season at the very least, if they don’t send him down. because from there on out the stress on the team to make the playoffs will only exponitiate.

    he looked like any rookie out of the box, not some special high schooler-who hasn’t played any real competition case. like any other team with a rookie that needs to develop the lakers have to let him play some minutes, and let him f up. even if it costs a few wins.

    he can rebound and block a couple shots.

    mcgrady for mvp? put me down for kobe.

  2. Agreed with John, he looked good and I can see him grabbing a few minutes out of the gate. PJ said he’d like to get him some minutes up front to at least give Bynum a reference point of where and how much he’ll need to improve and that sounds like a good strategy to me. Like any rookie, I can see him getting some small amount of consistent minutes up front, but then riding the PT roller-coaster from there. Of course if the other big men struggle…

    Sad to see JJ go, though it was necessary…

  3. Does anyone else still wonder what might have been had Eddie Jones (or Elden and Nick) not been traded before Phil got here the first time?

    Sure, there were the three championships. And the first was extra sweet. And Glen Rice, no doubt, helped with that one.

    But is there anything left from either of those trades??

    I know this is unrelated, but I just can’t shake the thought of Eddie in the backcourt with Kobe, on a
    Phil Jackson-coached team!

    (and for that matter, Nick Van Exel playing the role of “Super-BJ Armstrong!!”)

  4. i’m a big eddie jones fan. and yeah, the thought has crossed my mind that the lakers had so much talent and traded it away for diminished value.

    three titles won’t make most people wonder too much, and each of those guys had issues that may have prevented title runs.

    usually i ponder the flipside of that these days, how the lakers were so dominant in that first season with a 37 year old starting point guard and an equally ancient not to mention undersized power forward.

    i’m getting over my jumaine jones pain. yeah, he was in the last year of his contract. it’s better for him at least since he would’ve been sitting on the bench if george and walton play ok [wooh, saying that still sends shivers up my spine].

    phil appears to know what he’s doin.

  5. I hear the last cut comes down to D. Green and L. Profit. My question is, has Von Wafer shown that much to say he’s a shoe-in to make the team? Not in my opinion!!

  6. My guess, Tony, is they see potential in Wafer so they want to keep him on the 15-man roster but have him play in NDBL for a while to see if he can show the needed professionalism.

  7. I’d exercise that option on Cook because he has improved mentally and physically from year to year and seems willing to put in the work needed to improve, and his agent has said that there is interest around the league in regards to his services, so if things don’t work out he is a tradeable asset.

  8. Agreed Gatinho,

    As much whining as Laker fans do about how Cook sucks, I think the $1.8 M is a cheap, short term committment. Upside is Cook plays really well and you’ve got him locked in for an extra year, plus you’ve shown him he’s wanted. Down side is he plays badly and you’ve committed a (relatively) small amount of dollars for just one year, but are still in line with this (bogus, ahem) 2007 goal. Seems like a fairly easy decision to me.

  9. The super(not so) secret 07 cap space plan is a running joke among Laker fans, imagine what rival g.m.’s think of it.? They’re all probably working overtime, colluding to make sure that absolutely nothing goes right for the Blue and Gold in ’07. The hardest part is watching them lose free agents (Antonio Daniels, specifically) in hopes of making a splash with an undefined player. We get stucking speculating who that free agent messiah will be and when/if he is signed asking ourselves if he was worth the wait. I’ve just tried to remind myself that it is more about the team being healthier cap-wise, than signing someone who is not named Amare or Yao.

  10. egh, it’s not so jokey. while they won’t be able to sign another superstar, they’ll have enough money to definitely sign some higher-end complimentary pieces once shaq/grant’s money is no longer part of the equation. with odom and kobe locked up that should be all they need.

    i was a little irked they didn’t go for daniels harder at the time too, but since phil’s plan is that odom’s gonna be the ball handler, they decided it wasn’t wise to invest so much money in one.

  11. I think, no I fear, that the Laker management thinks that in 2007 or 2008 they will be able to lure a big time free agent here. That’s just not how it will work, if they get one it will be through a sign-and-trade because no player is going to give up the extra cash that the home team can offer. Now where would that leave the Lakers, they can get their superstar but have to gut the team around him to equal out salaries. Or, are they going to count on Kobe and ?? to just carry the team to the title. You would have thought the front office learned that lesson, once the good supports around Kobe and Shaq went away look what happened.

  12. egh, i think they’re trying to keep as many options as they can open for the future. i’m sure they’d like a superstar if they can get one. the ones that get paid that kind of money usually don’t only score well. if they can’t lure one that first year they regain their flexibility, i doubt they’ll sit on their cap room and instead go out and invest in two or three smaller pieces. or maybe they’ll keep all that money in-house and to shell it out to keep brown or bynum, if either or both mesmerizes the next couple of years.

    2007 was always this magic target date, but i think it has more to do with that’s when they’re finally out of the shadow of shaq’s fat contract than pining away for another superstar in particular.

    they’ll look at what they have and how everything has worked out at that point and make moves accordingly.

    i have confidence, and admiration, in the front office.