The Good Stuff

Kurt —  November 10, 2005

Sometimes I feel I focus too much on the negative, on the things that need improvement, but there are a lot of things to smile about five games into the Laker season, and not just that they are above .500:

• What was the biggest problem with the Lakers last season? Say it with me: Defense. This season things are much better. Last season the Lakers gave up 108 points per 100 opponent possessions (29th in the league), this season it is way down to 97.5. The biggest reason for the Lakers defensive disaster last season: Not creating turnovers. Last season opponents turned the ball over on just 12.5% of their possessions, this season it is at 18.1%. It’s really early, but that is a very good sign.

• Kobe came into camp 15 pounds lighter and is causing defenses problems because of his quickness this season. That and his quick-release and willingness to resurrect the lost art of the mid-range game in the NBA. How many times a game is he running off a weak-side pick (or curling in at about the free-throw line), catching the ball and going up before the defense can even think about getting the double team over to him? He looks rejuvenated this season.

• Smush. What can we say? Before the season we just hoped for good defense, some smart plays and if he added some offense that would be a bonus. His line after five games: 16 points, 4.1 assists and 3.1 steals per 40 minutes played. And lots of energy out top, as opposed the lethargy we watched last season.

• The Lakers are doing some nice things with the triangle, maybe not as constantly as the coaching staff (or fans) would like, but they are getting it done. And it’s not just the stars. One example that springs to mind was against a youthful Atlanta squad: Sasha had the ball as the initiator and threw it to Brian Cook just above the high post on the weak side, then Sasha cut toward the corner using Cook as pick. Sasha got open so Cook passed back to Sasha while the big man (Uruguay’s Esteban Batista) stepped out on the pick-and-roll switch. But the guard (I forget who) came over the top and also went with Sasha, and frankly you don’t need to double-team him. Cook, wisely, slid out to his favorite spot on the floor, the three point line almost straight on (he was the most accurate shooter in the NBA from that spot last season), got the return pass and buried the three. Yes, they did it against the second team from Atlanta, but they used smart play against youthful players and took advantage, and we’ve seen a fair amount of that.

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Congratulations to Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, who are expecting their second child in May. That’s one thing I have in common with Kobe.

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Today is the one-year anniversary of Forum Blue & Gold, and while I usually get a lot of kudos in the comments when I mention milestones, that’s not why I’m bringing it up. Rather, I want to thank all of you who have made this a regular stop, made comments, sent me emails and generally made this a lot more fun for me than I ever expected. Some time next week odometer will tick over and this site will get its 100,000th visitor, a number that once seemed astronomical to me but has come up very fast. It is all of you that really make this place special, have given me rare opportunities and that’s why I just wanted to say — Thank You!

And keep coming back, this is shaping up to be a fun time to be a Laker fan.

Kurt

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17 responses to The Good Stuff

  1. I’m willing to write off that loss to exhaustion and inexperience. Just like the Phoenix game they were right in it at the end. After cutting the lead to 4 and forcing a miss they weren’t able to come up with the loose ball. Anthony Carter found it and buried a 3. I had the same feeling after James Jones’ 3. IT’S OVER. This team is too young and too inexperienced to come back from a dagger like that.

    I thought Kwame played great defense on KG in the first half. Very pleasing.

  2. I’m with you, the Lakers just looked gassed at the end and started doing the things tired teams do (getting out of the offense, jumpers coming up short). I’m not reading much into a fourth-quarter fade in the second game of a back-to-back. Plus, Minnesota is a little better than people think — they are playing some defense.

  3. happy anniversary, sir. you’ve created a nice site for crazed laker fans to get info and analysis they won’t find in the paper.

    i get the feeling you’ll attract a lot more people here during this season.

  4. Don’t lie Kurt, you want the inflated self-esteem that comes with congratulatory comments.

    congrats on the milestone, this blog has gone very far in such a short time.

  5. Screw the site — congratulations on the kid coming! That’s great news!

  6. i think he mentioned it before… didn’t you? i could’ve sworn you announced that a couple months ago.

  7. I’ve been folowing along, silently, for a while now. I’m really learning a lot. It’s been fun starting to think about stats in basketball in a new way (and more in line with what has been going in in baseball now for a number of years). Kudos all around!

  8. I don’t think I mentioned the second kid before, although I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, so it’s entirly possible.

  9. oh. well, sorry about that.

    congratulations on the spawning too. here’s to hoping you’re watching the lakers in the playoffs during the delivery.

  10. Congrats, Kurt. Here’s to many more great years.

  11. Congratulations, sir! Best wishes on a healthy, happy second addition!

    Congrats with the FB & G anniversary, as well. Thanks for providing this calm little niche away from the madness.

  12. Kurt-

    Congratulations on one of the best blogs out there., and another kid. You and Kobe should get together and swap parenting war stories.

    Henry

  13. I’m a bit late, but congratulations on both milestones. This is one of the best out there.

  14. A couple of years ago, Jon Weisman’s Dodger Thoughts
    had maybe a few more commenters than you do now. Now, when I visit, he’s got 2 or 3 hundred per post. So, if you think things have gotten going here, just wait! And that’s a complement to both blogs.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Reichert Gerhart - October 25, 2006

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  2. Mattila Seija - October 25, 2006

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