Feeling Better?

Kurt —  January 17, 2006

Last season at this point, the Lakers were 22-16, actually one game better than the 21-17 record they have so far in 05-06. That said, how much better do you feel about this year’s squad?

I have three good reasons for optimism:

1) Last year the Lakers were winning in spite of their defense —they were in the bottom 10 in the league in defensive efficiency constantly (and finished second to last). This season the Lakers are ninth, tied with Detroit.

2) Last year the easy part of the schedule was at the front end, this year it gets easier later.

3) The West is not as deep as last year — while I expect some teams to turn it on (Denver?), the bottom tier of playoff teams in the West will be flawed squads.

The Lakers are just one turned ankle from being average (at best). But from this point forward last season, the Lakers went 12-32, and you just know Phil Jackson won’t let that kind of collapse happen.

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Andrew Bynum just went up another notch in my estimation of him. I’m still not sure what he’ll turn out to be in 3-5 years, but he has some fire in him.

Kurt

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13 responses to Feeling Better?

  1. Re: Lakers

    I too feel much better than last year’s squad. In addition to the scheduling issues and the weakened West, the Lakers must have 3 or 4 games where they easily could’ve won. TNT brought up that they’re 12-12 in games decided by 6 or less and while that’s not exactly encouraging, I think that record will be over .500 before the playoffs as they learn to finish games better.

    Odom seems like he’s finishing games better.

    If I’m GM, Bynum is going to be a little harder to get out of LA via trade.

    Re: New Ad

    I think your Ad has caused the content of the site to drop to the bottom.

    Pony should drop you a little more dough because I stared at the ad for about 12 seconds longer than I would’ve normally, before scrolling down.

  2. Last season’s squad was a work in progress and I don’t think anyone said, “Let’s keep this squad together a few years and see what we have.” Mihm was very inconsistent, but was our only true C. Cook, our only backup PF, played like a really tall SG. We had too many SF’s. Our PG’s played awful defense. We didn’t have an offensive or defensive system. We won games through sheer heroics.

    This season, we have a well-balanced roster (though we could use help at PG and back up SG). We have an offensive system that everyone is slowly learning. We are playing much better defense. I think most fans would be happy to play with this roster next season.

  3. i agree about bynum. if you remember, i was pretty pessimistic about that draft pick, but last night was pretty cool. i’ll be thrilled if i turn out to be dead wrong about the guy.

    and i did not notice the pony ad. but don’t tell them that.

  4. Dennis, I think you hit on the key thing this year — we have an offensive and defensive system that the guys are buying into this year. I’m already working on a “halfway through the year” post for next week, and that is the central idea. There is structure now.

  5. Loved the hustle last night. Taking advantage of an older and exhausted Heat team ending a long road trip. The maturity continues to show.

    I guess Kobe shooting over 50% is not so unrealistic. His mid range jumper has been deadly for closing out games.

    Bynum seems to have caught up to the speed of the game, but it is good news if he’s not getting a lot of clock because that means that Kwame and Mihm are staying out of foul trouble.

    How many bar bets could you win right now by saying the Lakers play defense as good as the Pistons?

  6. Good win last night…but not great.

    They had a great 1st half. 2nd half I felt Odom did not provide the leadership to maintain the 19pt lead. They got really lethargic on offense and gave up too many easy baskets in the paint. I can’t believe how many lane violations , traveling, and 3 second violations killed their momentum. There was some lapses in defensive rebounding too. Very glaring fundamental issues.

    Dwayne seems impossible to stop. I’m surprised they didn’t attack Kobe on every play. Even Tashaun can’t handle him. But Kobe was smart and didn’t get in foul trouble. But it cost us Mihm and K Brown both fouling out in the 4th. Combined with Cook getting kicked out we were actually very lucky Miami was at the end of their 7 game road schedule. I think a fresh Miami team would have made this game a lot harder. But the Lakers also played good defense in the first half to put themselves in a position to win. They had a great plan in the 1st half and executed it to a 15 pt lead.

    Bynum sure got checked by Shaq. But what a double standard that Shaq who violently hit someone and didn’t get kicked out but Cook who violently hit the floor instead with his hand was given a technical. I’m curious what he said to get his first technical to infuriate the ref to call his number. Cook just needs to hold his cool. We’ve had many playoff games that we never got the benefit of the doubt during our 3peat yet we gave them the business as Shaq said back then and just played to win. Nothing else.

    But as Lamar said this was a win that they could build on. I hope the next 4 games are wins. I would love to see the Clippers beneath us in the standings.

    Interesting that Artest was at the game again last night.

    Peace

    Lost in all the hoopla of the reconciling of Shaq and Kobe was Kobe’s patience on offense in the 4th quarter. I was very impressed that he didn’t start attacking and stopping the flow of the offense. He picked his spots which at the end allowed Devean to get that crucial offensive rebound which allowed for the 5pt cushion.

  7. Bynum did not play a whole lot against Maimi but while he was in there, he showed a lot of fire. Hopefully this game will boost confidence in himself and in Phil to play him more.

    I’m tired of everyone hanging on to this idea that Kobe is a bad teammate. With Shaq and guys from last year making comments in the media, people picture Kobe as this selfish, terrible teammate. This year will be there year that all that is put to rest. It looks like the guys on the team respect him, they understand their role, and in the media they have said nothing but great things about him. When the Lakers go far in the playoffs this year and Kobe gets the MVP, all those “Laker Haters” need to shut up!

    And can the networks that broadcast these games please keep the cameras on the floor while the ball is in play and not on the coach or some celebrity in the crowd!!!!

    D

  8. Re: 7

    I hear ya D. But the all-star votes indicate that it is a minority of folks who are on the hater band wagon. Anyone would love to be watching Kobe on their team winning ball games. I didn’t like Jordan winning all those championships but now that he has retired I find that I respect him and his game that much more. The Lakers are 1 or 2 players away from being serious contenders for a championship. If the Lakers acquired KG with the cap room they’ve freed up they would be there. He’s not getting younger (30) this May. Even Chris Bosh. Both will be available soon. I’m sure KG knows that he will never win in Minnesota and LA is much more attractive and lucrative. Bosh I’m sure is dying to leave Toronto. Their record this season speaks for itself. but Chris appears to be on his way to becoming a double-double player and he’s young (21)and will fit in with the young team.

    Peace

  9. Nice work. I really like your commentary. I think that Bynum is showing some encouraging flashes of potential. It’s also a great sign that he is so eager to play and get the ball and try his wings. As you said, there’s a fire in there. But I believe that the wisdom of the coaching staff is right on the mark. He should only get small minutes this year and perhaps next. An 18 year old body, still growing, is not made for the grind of heavy NBA minutes over an 82 game schedule. Let him taste and practice while his body catches up with his spirit, and his skill level creates a consistent production level. Grow slow, long consistent production.

  10. I’m wondering why everyone is expecting it to take 2, 3, 4 years for Bynum to be a contributor. I think that with minutes he could easily surpass Kwame RIGHT NOW.

    Next year, his minutes should DEFINITELY increase.

    Not saying to throw him to the wolves, but allow for him to make some progress in real games!

  11. There’s a couple of reasons there are those of us in the “bring him along slowly” category with Bynum. First, he needs to put on some muscle, he is not now strong enough for too much of the NBA nightly grind. Second, with Kwame as the example, is confidence. Right now his confidence is sky high, but Phil needs to be careful and put him in places he can succeed to build on that. Big failures on the court could lead to setbacks.

    That said, I think by next year he could play a more steady backup role. What I mean by 3-5 years from now is that I just don’t know how good he can be — but I don’t think he’ll be a bust.

  12. Would you trade Bynum and George for Artest at this point?

    I would and if we showcase Bynum a litttle more, Indiana might do it as well.

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  1. CourtsideTimes.Net - January 24, 2006

    […] Forum Blue and Gold was a bit more measured, saying that the kid’s young, but has some fire. […]