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:
â€¢ As much as we all see of Kobe you think weâ€™d become desensitized to the plays he makes, but there still seems to be two or three times a game when Iâ€™m left just shaking my head at what he can do. Dallas saw some of the best of that â€” that was amazing stuff even by Kobeâ€™s standards.
â€¢ 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.)
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Against Dallas was a good example of the Lakers using the bigger guards Phil Jackson likes to take advantage of smaller ones.
â€¢ The official Dallas Maverickâ€™s Web site does a great little breakdown of two of the Lakers favorite plays out of the triangle.
â€¢ So which Laker was the coach killer again, Kobe or Shaq?
â€¢ It is fitting that Riley should have to coach the defense-averse roster he created.
â€¢ In case you didnâ€™t see this in the LA Times, Ronny Turiaf could be up with the Lakers this season. Thatâ€™s good to see, not just because heâ€™d bring some inside presence but more importantly because itâ€™s good to see him playing again and healthy.
â€¢ Some Laker fans are working hard to figure out how Ron Artest can suit up in Forum Blue & Gold. Donâ€™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 6â€™6â€. The Lakers are already overstocked with swingman, thatâ€™s why Caron Butler was traded. Now you think theyâ€™re going to bring in another one? Where does Artest fit in the triangle? He canâ€™t play the facilitator role Odom does. 2) Artest is a premiere player and Indiana is going to want one back â€” specifically Lamar Odom. It would take a fool to think Indiana would take D. George and Slava for Artest â€” 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? Iâ€™m not convinced in either case.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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 â€” damn you Santa!). It should appear later in the week.
â€¢ Tracking those picks, you start to see who sets good ones and who doesn’t. Erik Dampier doesn’t.