Kurt —  March 21, 2006

One of the best parts of having this humble little blog has been the smart and witty people who have become regular commenters here, not just adding to discussion but coming up with great insights and observations. Plus a few good questions.

That discussion had me watching the Laker execution of the triangle a little more closely last night. It started with a comment from a Clipper fan with a valid point (it can happen), John R., saying I should track how well the Lakers are running the triangle:

How often they enter it and how often they score within it. If they are still not executing the triangle then there are 2 ways that could go, either this squad is incapable or they could still get much better with proper execution. If they are already running the offense properly, then this is likely the max potential of this Laker team for the remainder of the Kwame Brown era. Unless the triangle is find Kobe 30′ from the basket with 6 on the shot clock, I don’t think the latter is true.

I don’t think there’s much question that the Lakers, if they are going to compete for titles again, need some talent upgrades. And, as they are a triangle team now, they need the talent that fits within that system.

But the question of how well they are running the triangle and the direction of the offense as a whole is a good one to look at. This deep into the season, the Lakers should be more proficient at the offense, but are they? And, are they becoming too reliant on the three ball (which led to an effort to come up with a good name for that disease, and the title for this post).

What follows is my two cents to start off the discussion, but of late family obligations – keeping an eight-month pregnant wife happy and making preparations for another child – have meant I haven’t had the time to watch games using TiVo to rewind and dissect as I would prefer. So, please jump in with your thoughts and observations.

I would say the Laker execution of the triangle tends to be like their commitment on defense – irregular. Even within games. They run the basic format of the offense but if feels like we see fewer back-door plays, cuts inside and the other things that lead to easy baskets in the offense, and instead there is more going through the motions of the offense until they throw the ball to Kobe and expect him to create. It’s a comfortable trap because Kobe will willingly taking on that burden and others are willing to relinquish it too quickly — although Odom has been better of late.

As for the threes, yes I think they take more than I would like, but it hasn’t been worse of late. For the record, in the last 10 games the Lakers are taking 18.1 per game, for the season it’s 18.7.

But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t shooting from the outside more. I don’t have the stats to back it up, but my impression is we are seeing more fadaways and less penetration (and kick-outs), which may be a symptom of Kobe’s tired legs.

All that said, the offense is still eighth in the league in efficiency, the problems are more at the other end of the court. And talent is an issue there as well.

to Treyaholics

  1. great post kurt, this is a interesting topic. I looked at the Lakers last 10 games, 5 wins, 5 loses. In the 5 wins the Lakers have attempted 79 3’s (15.8 per game), while in the 5 loses the Lakers attempted 102 3’s (20.4). I think what we are all noticing is that when the Lakers attack the basket (like against S.A. and Det) they are a far more effective team.


  2. Interesting breakdown of wins v. losses. Which brings us back to, when they penetrate things look a lot better. (wow, that last sentence can be taken the wrong way.)


  3. I think the title implies that the Lakers are addicted to Treyahol…


  4. Just wanted to comment and get your thoughts on the responsability Jackson has to take for a good portion of close Laker losses. I understand he has always let his players play throug bad times, but gosh how frustrating it is as a Laker fan to rutenely see them give up a 10 to 15 -0 runs before he calls a time out. Oh and then he has the nerve to chew on one of the newer players. Like stu says time after time “you cant take them home with you, use them or loose them”. How many more wins would Lakers have? Sacramento and Odom was one, how about Cleveland this last week.


  5. The close losses, the given up leads are frustrating. But I think that’s a sign of the quality of the team overall — good teams don’t win more close games than bad teams, they blow more teams out and don’t put themselves in that situation.

    That said, I would love to see Phil be more animated and call faster timeouts when this is happening. I just can’t lay all those collapses at Phil’s feet.


  6. notreallyimportant March 21, 2006 at 9:25 pm

    While Jackson does let players go through bad stretches that can be frustrating, isn’t there a possibility that this is improving the players abilities to deal with adversity?

    Ofcourse it could be sheer stupidity, but I will give the 9 rings and 14/14 playoff appearances the benefit of the doubt.

    Also I would like to thank everyone for responding to my post about 3s. I really like treyahol.


  7. Quick notes on 3pter …
    – for the season league avg is 16 3pters per game.
    – Lakers shooting/defending at 34% with league average being 35% for shooting/defense.
    – last 10 games lakers shooting 37%, but defending at 41% – cavs shot 46%, kings shot 53%, sonics 50%.

    Are the lakers being forced to use Odom to help in the paint because Cook/Kwame combo just doesn’t defend as well as the Kwame/Mihm combo?


  8. One more comment … lakers FTA’s are really down last 10 games, esp. Kobe going from 10 to 7 per game. 7 is still top 20 range, but for i don’t think there is another star in the league taking 35-40% of team FGAs, so maybe we are getting robbed by the refs … or maybe just tired legs and too many fade aways.


  9. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but kobe defintley has been getting to the line a lot less lately, does anyone have any theories?


  10. kings are locked up in a tight one with seattle, running up and down the court, expending a mighty large amount of energy


  11. kobe’s lack of free throws doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on most conspiracy levels. like another blog said, like the league doesn’t want the lakers in the playoffs?

    i do suspect the refs got a little tired of his constant complaining, they talk amongst themselves, and don’t feel like giving him much benefit of the doubt anymore.

    yeah kwame, we should win tomorrow night.


  12. DJ not damon jones March 22, 2006 at 12:46 am

    hey , just wondering if anyone saw the clip of best damn sports show with paul pierce reacting to ron artest’s apology song. it was hilarious , comment if u saw it.

    and yeah kings will be tired from the game against seattle and lakers will hopefully pull out a win.

    if u look at the standing right now, lakers are 7th, i actually want them to be 6th because they will be screwed if they match up against the suns. i’m either hoping for a battle of LA or lakers /mavs in the first round.


  13. WorthyTomahawk March 22, 2006 at 9:53 am

    Some more recent FTA comparisons for jump shooters (Kobe is a 80% jump shooter this season) …
    – Allen 6/game (84% jump)
    – Arenas 10/game (76% jump)
    – AI 10/game (76% jump)
    – Redd 7/game (72% jump)

    So recently, Kobe gets more respect than Ray but less than Arenas?

    However, over the whole season Kobe is at about 10/game.


  14. The way I see it Kobe has to go through this in order to grow himself. Jordan had the Pistons and Knicks before he saw the promise land. Jordan wasn’t a true leader until his teammates were incorporated into the picture. We could have said the same for Jordan that he could have had more success if he only involved his teammates earlier in his career but teams evolve and its all about a learning curve. Kobe is intelligent enough to know this team is a work in progress. He’s going to have to incorporate his championship experience to his team. His leadership will determine how far the Lakers go. We as fans will have to be patient…. unfortunately but if all goes well we too could see 6 more titles before Kobe packs it up. 9 rings for Kobe sounds crazy but that’s how Jordan finished when he figured out how to win with a team. Or he could end up like Wilt and West. Always dominant but could never find the right combination of players to become a dynasty.