Fast Break

Kurt —  December 13, 2005

I’m swamped with work but couldn’t go without commenting a little on the biggest win of the season (so far). So, a few quick thoughts:

• As much as we all see of Kobe you think we’d become desensitized to the plays he makes, but there still seems to be two or three times a game when I’m left just shaking my head at what he can do. Dallas saw some of the best of that — that was amazing stuff even by Kobe’s standards.

• I want to say something about Kwame Brown finally playing like the aggressive player we hoped to see, but I’m afraid I’ll jinx him. (Kwame was +14 against the Mavs, second best on the Lakers behind D. George at +16.)

• The Laker defense was better but the offense was the key. Kobe and Lamar combined shot 51.2% (eFG%), but the rest of the Lakers shot 55.6%. That’s what you need to do against top teams if you’re the Lakers, have a spectacular night at one end of the floor and a good one at the other.

• Against Dallas was a good example of the Lakers using the bigger guards Phil Jackson likes to take advantage of smaller ones.

• The official Dallas Maverick’s Web site does a great little breakdown of two of the Lakers favorite plays out of the triangle.

• So which Laker was the coach killer again, Kobe or Shaq?

• It is fitting that Riley should have to coach the defense-averse roster he created.

• In case you didn’t see this in the LA Times, Ronny Turiaf could be up with the Lakers this season. That’s good to see, not just because he’d bring some inside presence but more importantly because it’s good to see him playing again and healthy.

• Some Laker fans are working hard to figure out how Ron Artest can suit up in Forum Blue & Gold. Don’t expect it. There are a a couple of big problems with this: 1) Artest has played the vast majority of minutes this season at the three and is 6’6”. The Lakers are already overstocked with swingman, that’s why Caron Butler was traded. Now you think they’re going to bring in another one? Where does Artest fit in the triangle? He can’t play the facilitator role Odom does. 2) Artest is a premiere player and Indiana is going to want one back — specifically Lamar Odom. It would take a fool to think Indiana would take D. George and Slava for Artest — the Pacers are contenders and want to stay condenders and that would mean no less than Odom. And the Lakers are already short big men, so if you trade Odom you need to get a four or a five back from Indiana. So a trade that works financially is more like Artest and Jeff Foster for Odom and Slava (or McKie at the end of the week). You also could come up with Scott Pollard scearios, but the questions are the same: Does that really make the Lakers better? Does it make Indiana better? I’m not convinced in either case.

• Of course, the much discussed “2007 Plan” that Laker management has touted has some serious flaws, most recently pointed to by Eric Pinics at Hoopsworld:

The core would start as Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum. The expectation is that Bynum will be an integral part of the team, so assume the team picks up his third year option. Those three would account for just under $35 million in salary. Assuming the cap of $53 million, the Lakers will have $18 million to spend.

Unfortunately, to spend all of that salary in free agency, the Lakers would have to renounce the rights to the entire roster save the aforementioned core of three.

Using Bosh as the theoretical target, the maximum salary in 2007 would be $12 million . . . giving the Lakers $6 million to spend elswhere.

• As mentioned in comments before, I am working on a Lakers against the pick and roll post, but have not finished the research (blame the holidays for filling up my schedule — damn you Santa!). It should appear later in the week.

• Tracking those picks, you start to see who sets good ones and who doesn’t. Erik Dampier doesn’t.

to Fast Break

  1. Frankly, if Bosh improves just a little bit – and Bynum improves to double-double status (tough call, but well within the realm of possibility), I’m not sure the Lakers would need much else.

    Then again, I’m among those mentally straining and taxing myself in an attempt to contrive a way for Ron Artest to join the Lakers without giving up Odom.


  2. Croshere + Artest = 15.5 million Croshere is definitely a contract worth dumping and it expires in 2 years; see the 2007 plan.

    Lamar + Slava = 14.5 million or Lamar + Devean = 16.5 million.

    Both trades make sense for both teams. Indiana has shown it doesnt really need Artest, so almost any trade will be an upgrade. Their goal is getting rid of their poison and maybe dumping a bad contract to boot all while not improving a conference rival. Taking Croshere’s contract doesn’t hurt the Lakers because they are gunning for 2007 anyway and Artest is a mild upgrade over Lamar with the possibility to dump a tweener or an extra 3. Lamar as facilitator is a failed trial. Smush and Luke can handle the ball. How about Luke, Kobe, Ron-Ron, Kwame and Mihm until 2k7?

    Call it daydreaming, but I’ve seen worse/less likely trades this year already.


  3. To me, the Luke, Kobe, Ron-Ron, Kwame and Mihm lineup only works if Kwame plays every night like he did in Dallas. I’m not willing to bet on that. Also, from Indiana’s perspective, Artest for Odom makes you worse on defense.

    The thing with Artest, wait two weeks and he’ll want to play in Indiana for his career. He’s a big child who has a short attention span and changes his mind every 5 minutes.


  4. I don’t think we want to trade from this current line up, it’s starting to gel now, so can’t we all be a little patient? Kwame just had his best game of this young season, who knows, maybe more of that to come, maybe even improving on that? he’s got the body for it, if he can get the coaching and mind set…who knows??? and Lamar is coming along too, so why try bringing in another dissatisfied player, I can’t shake his comments that he’d rather be promoting his Rap label, we don’t need to make a fire sale deal now, when this team is just starting to gel.
    patience everybody…


  5. “The thing with Artest, wait two weeks and he’ll want to play in Indiana for his career. He’s a big child who has a short attention span and changes his mind every 5 minutes.”

    Sounds to me alot like a Big 34 we used to have around here. Phil has experience reigning in madmen. See: Rodman.

    I don’t see it as a fire sale or a panic as much as a mild upgrade to a player better suited at the position. Im not sure we can say anything is gelling either. They are having a good road trip against some mostly bad teams thanks to hot shooting. But its the same problems, if Kobe doesn’t hit that turn-around falling-away 30ft’er that possession was garbage. Another possession at the end of a game ending with a pass to Kobe at the end of the shotclock in bad position. He single handedly turns an L into a W and we are talking about them gelling.

    I bet if he missed that shot my scenarios would be a lot more interesting this afternoon.


  6. I agree with John R. Lamar Odom has played in the leauge for a long enough time that his true colors have shown. He is a player with an exceptional amount of talent, but lacks the mental make-up to be the # 2 option on a contending team. Ron Artest, as crazy as he is, has the skill-set and attitude to help this team. Artest will be able to truly protect Kobe by defending the oppossing teams best perimeter player, while also providing an aggressive offensive option that can score off the drive and post-up. Artest, with the exception of ball-handling, can truly be the Pippen to Kobe’s Jordan


  7. I think Odom, at his best, is better than Artest. The problem is that he’s pretty inconsistent. Being from LA, I also have a soft spot for the kid, having witnessed his Clipper career.

    I think Artest is an awesome player, but he probably wouldn’t last in LA. What if we traded for him, and he ended up somewhere else in another season or two? I think Odom might finally be rounding into form. Let’s see if Kobe and Odom can mesh as teammates and form the core of an exciting future!

    If the two of them get it together – One more player and the Lakers are contenders! And does anyone really think that Dr. Buss won’t be able to lure ONE top-flight player here in the next 3 years?? NO franchise in sports is as storied as this one.


  8. brian is a beautiful man.

    i doubt there’s a chance in hell phil will trade lamar, especially for a head case who has already said he’s just going to ditch a west coast team to go back east once his contract is up.

    that “one more player” might already be on the team. hell, there might even be two. 2007 is just the year the team gets out of the shadow of shaq’s big fat contract, nothing more, nothing less. in the meantime they’ve planted a couple seeds to see if anything grows in-house. if not, like any other dang team’s strategy, when the money’s freed up they’ll try and use it to the best of their ability.

    i’m freakin TIRED of people acting like the lakers’ plan is some form of wacky lunatic thinking and not common goddamn sense. even cuban doesn’t play willy-nilly with the cap anymore.

    espn reported the lakers are trying to get artest tonight. i don’t see how they can pull it off. and i doubt they’ve suddenly become as hysterical as some laker fans were early on this season, especially after this phenomenal road trip.

    we’ve been dealt a pretty decent hand. let it play out.


  9. Trading for Ron Artest will always be a bad move. Odom is inconsistent, but Artest can be a poison to the Lakers locker room (not to mention the fact that he wants to go back East).

    Like Eric said at Hoopsworld, the best the Lakers can do is stick to the plan. I’d rather see a team playing in the Finals by 2008 than being knocked out in the first round of the playoffs for the next 5 or 6 seasons.

    Plus, we should really wait to see how Kwame, Mihm, Bynum and Odom adapt to the triangle. By the All-Star break everyone will know who fits and who doesn’t. Maybe we can talk about acquiring a better supporting cast for Kobe and Odom (sacrficing George and Slava). That makes more sense than trading for a big name…