Fast Break

Kurt —  February 20, 2006

Trades and All Stars and Olympics, oh my:

• Kobe, the Mona Lisa for a new generation? Check out this art exhibit. (Thanks to LAist for finding this.)

• The rumor seems to have gained some attention — even though everyone involved is denying it — so let’s talk about Steve Francis, or specifically Francis for Lamar Odom.

While they get there in very different manners, Odom and Francis are very similar in terms of production — both have a true shooting percentage of 53% (although Francis gets to the line more) and their PER is almost identical (16.3 to 16.4). Francis gives out more assists, Odom can grab you more rebounds. Francis is a solid defender at the point, but he lacks Odom’s versatility.

So that begs the question, straight up would Odom for Francis really an upgrade on the court? Francis is an All-Star level point guard, but would he be happy in the triangle, or would he go Gary Payton? My guess is that he would not like the initiator role much as most other traditional point guards have not. To his credit, Francis would provide another guy besides Kobe who will drive the lane every night.

Also, you’re actually spending more money — both are signed though 2009 and Francis actually makes a couple million more per year than Odom. Now, we’d have to assume that other players would be part of this deal, but outside of the untouchable on the Orlando roster (Dwight Howard) who else helps the Lakers build toward a title? Also, is Francis’ attitude what you want in a young Laker locker room?

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, Francis would adjust to life out West and in the triangle, and put up numbers similar to what he’s been doing in Orlando. Then, if you are the Lakers, you’ve traded a 6-10 guy for a 6-3 guy giving you basically the same level of production. And, all other things being equal, you take the taller guy in the NBA.

• That LeBron James guy is pretty good. They should give him some TV ads.

• And no, he’s not going to leave Cleveland as a free agent and come to LA (or NY for that matter), so don’t go there.

• Pabst Blue Ribbon is good beer, if served at below 30 degrees in a schooner in a dive bar.

• Kobe the playmaker made McGrady look good at the All-Star game.

• Curling is not a sport (but I like to watch it anyway).

• Great bit over at Deadspin, tracking things actually said by Charles Barkley on the air:

Kevin Harlan: “(Andre Iguodala) had 9 dunks, and 4 threes. He was on fire.”
Charles: “He wasn’t on fire, he was just excited he got to shoot in a game.”

• Speaking of Chucky, he’s up for induction in the Basketball Hall of Fame. What really frightens me is not his induction speech, but the one that would come from another nominee — Dick Vitale.