Clearing out the Inbox

Kurt —  May 31, 2006

A lot of things that I have wanted to comment on or link to have been piling up in my inbox but I haven’t gotten around to posting them. Until now. Sorry if some of it is dated, but as much as I enjoy this blog I wasn’t going to blow off summer BBQs for it — good ribs trump just about everything.

• Updated Reading Suggestion: Kevin Pelton talks about the changes in the offenses in the NBA, particularly the love of the three, in an interesting new piece at 82games.com.

The San Antonio front office has been the league’s best in recent years and remains way ahead of the rest of the NBA in terms of mining foreign talent, but the Spurs group missed how the game was turning to speed. Signing Nick Van Exel and Michael Finley last summer and Brent Barry the summer before gave San Antonio plenty of veteran savvy, but not enough quickness. So when the Mavericks paired point guards Devin Harris and Jason Terry in the backcourt, the Spurs never found a defensive answer.

This has got me thinking about the Lakers, the triangle and the future, but really that is a topic for a full post in the future (like, next week).

• Updated Reading Suggestion, part deux: Friend of this site Jones on the NBA, a Los Angeles guy who follows the Lakers closely, has some suggested off-season moves for the Kupchak/Buss team. And they involve Ben Gordon.

• I have been racking my brain for a couple of weeks to come up with a clever Black Mamba/Snakes on a Plane joke, but I just can’t find it.

• Eric Pincus lists roughly 7 million possibilities for the Lakers’ off-season moves in his latest piece (remember folks, these are rumors, I don’t like to deal with them myself, so I link to them). What I found most interesting was his list of potential draftees the Lakers are bringing in for workouts, it’s amazingly diverse, from top 5 guys to others likely to go undrafted. What I take away from that is that the Laker front office is keeping its options open.

• Some Laker fans/media types are floating it but I don’t like the idea of bringing D. Fish back — if we want a veteran older point guard we can get Mike James or Bobby Jackson, sign them for the full MLE and save millions per year, plus not have to go four years on that deal. Remember, Fish will be 32 next season and is signed through 2010, will make $5.8 next year and $7.3 by the end of the deal. That’s a lot of scratch.

• Another idea getting floated around is the idea of trading Lamar Odom, but I think Gatinho made a great point about this in the comments:

The problem with trading Odom is not emotional attachment, but time invested by the franchise. Bringing too many new starters to this offense creates the problem we had last year with a majority of our starting line up essentially learning on the job. Odom is one of the main reasons that Jackson chose to return. Trading Odom would have to net a top 10 player, not just a high draft pick and a point guard. If his growth stagnates in the coming season, then consider it a failed experiment, until then I would consider trading Odom as throwing a lot of hard work out the window.

• Who said that free agents don’t want to play for the Lakers? Once again, a little research gets in the way of a radio talk show topic.

• The Lakers along with Dallas and Memphis, plus hopefully a couple other teams, will be back in Long Beach for the Summer Pro League starting July 8. A number of other teams have moved operations to that summer league in Vegas (including Dallas, which apparently is doing the split squad thing). I don’t really understand that, what has Vegas got that Long Beach doesn’t? Both have an overrated pyramid shaped buildings, both have wanna-be rappers/hip-hop artists acting tougher than they are and trying to impress women. Long Beach. Vegas. It’s almost the exact same experince.

• You can expect first-hand updates on the Lakers at the Summer Pro League here at FB&G again this summer.

• In the days before I had children, I used to sit and read the New Yorker at night. I miss that, particularly when smart people start talking about things I find interesting — such as Malcolm Gladwell defending the new stats.

• I thought Nomar Garciaparra was a bad pick up. I was wrong.

• Speaking of things I was wrong about, I thought Pat Riley lost it when he broke up last season’s Heat squad and brought in Walker and Williams. But the Heat are going to the finals, and credit to them and Riley, and for taking advantage of the small window they have with Shaq.

• Shaq back in the finals will not change my perception of “the trade” or who “won” or “lost.” The Lakers can be winners if they rebuild the team around Kobe and compete for a title before he retires, something they would have struggled to do around Shaq at his age. Miami “won” long before reaching the finals because they started selling out formerly empty seats in their arena (and bringing in more sponsors).

• Just how bad is Ben Wallace’s free throw shooting? Historically bad.

• Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt? Was I the only person whose first thought was, “They named the baby after one of the bloodiest Civil War battles?”

• By making it through this post, apparently you can at least read at a high school level. (This is one of my favorite posts anywhere in a while.)

Kurt

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17 responses to Clearing out the Inbox

  1. “Eric Pincus lists roughly 7 million possibilities for the Lakers’ off-season moves in his latest piece…”

    Wait, Mihm + 26 for Duhon + 2? I think Tim Duncan would call that retarded. I’m just saying…

    “If his growth stagnates in the coming season, then consider it a failed experiment, until then I would consider trading Odom as throwing a lot of hard work out the window.”

    Except if that happens, its now too late to trade him for top value. Its a gamble either way, but if you go 2 for 1 you at least get 2 chances to be right. I’m just saying…

    “Who said that free agents don’t want to play for the Lakers? Once again, a little research gets in the way of a radio talk show topic.”

    Lakers join the Knicks and Hawks as the only team on both lists. And then there is this note,”While 13.7% of Eastern Conference voters said they’d most like to play for the Lakers, only 5.6% of Western Conference respondents said the same.” A function of those players getting to see Kobe et al operate 2 more times a year? I don’t think its fair to call the talk radio hosts completely wrong on this one. I’m just saying…

    The Clippers don’t make the Least List? What a world!

  2. I thought the exact same thing when I saw the name Shiloh, although I think its better than many of the names celebrities give their kids.

    “Except if that happens, its now too late to trade him for top value. Its a gamble either way, but if you go 2 for 1 you at least get 2 chances to be right”

    I dont think so, first of all these are basketball players, not stocks, and second of all, who ways that Odom’s trade value has peaked, as if that matters since the Lakers FO seems to be happy with him. And you dont get 2 chances to be right because neither of the players are going to be as good as Odom so both players better work out.

  3. My wife was quick to tell me she saw Shiloh and thought of the Neil Diamond song.

  4. I don’t think Odom faltering next year will lower his value because GM’s, as media members have speculated, will blame it on a lack of chemistry with Kobe, the difficulty of operating within the strict confines of the trianlge offense, and playing out of position, not on an erosion of his skills.

    I’m just typing…

  5. notreallyimportant June 1, 2006 at 3:16 am

    In that New Yorker article t was mentioned that Ray Allen had nearly as good a score as Kobe, since when does Ray even make an effort on the defensive end?

  6. I don’t think the lakers need a Sam Cassell or any other “pure PG”. It just won’t work in the triangle (remember Gary Payton?). I think what they need is a scoring machine capable of playing multiple positions coming off the bench (think Toni Kukoc of the bulls dynasty). With that in mind, I think Tim Thomas, Keith Van Horn, Al Harrington or Latrell Sprewell would fit the mold. (I’m just not so sure about their price tags) but i think Thomas and Sprewell can be signed for the $5M mid level. Next Move will be to try and draft Brandon Roy at 5-7, using Chris Mihm and the #26 pick as bait. Then try to sign a veteran big man to play the back-up C and PF slots (Antonio Davis, Nazr Mohammed, Reggie Evans, Rasho Nesterovic, or even a MIchael Doleac). Experimenting MIhm as the back up C/PF isn’t such a bad idea, but that would mean not drafting Roy, meaning they would still have to sign a veteran PG

  7. Please god not Spreewell. He was over the hill before he took a year off.

    And Roy is fast becoming a favorite here, which is good because he’d thrive in the triangle. However, he’s loved everywhere, so 5-7 will likely not be good enough, if you really want him we’re talking top 3 pick.

  8. notreallyimportant June 1, 2006 at 11:13 am

    Can we please under no circumstance get Tim Thomas? Are we forgetting the last 6 years of mailing it in?

    also I think cassel would be a good fit, he has no trouble what so ever hitting open jumpers, and you really cannot argue with his track record; no matter where he goes the team ends up winning.

  9. Just for fun, here are the opponent PER and eFG% against point guards from last season for some of our top guys to play the one:

    Mike James, 17.7, 51.7%
    Bobby Jackson 15.5, 50.2%
    Marcus Banks 17.9, 48.1%
    Sam Cassell 15.4, 45.9%
    Smush Parker, 18.7, 48.8%

    I will add I think these can be a bit misleading — for example, Cassell is not great at stopping penetration, however get past him and Brand and Kaman were waiting in the paint. However, it’s some thing to think about.

  10. The basketball gods are asleep at the karmic wheel letting Tim Thomas have the playoff run he’s had…

  11. I think something else to think about is their respective ages next season. Whose more likely to improve next season?

    James – 31
    Jackson – 34
    Banks – 26
    Cassell – 37

  12. Smush – Age 25

    I’m happy with the status quo. This year, we played PHX to seven games and PHX is a good team. With the team we have right now, we are at least a second round team next year b/c we don’t play the #2 seed in the first round next year.

    Yes, we need upgrades at PG and PF but that upgrade might just be sitting on our bench. The idea of Mihm at PF and a one-year-older Smush at PG is really not that bad of an idea.

  13. Is there any reason we’re not looking at Jay Williams as a possible PG for next year. I know he’s working out for the Raptors and a couple of other teams and he feels he’s ready to come back from the injury. He’s still pretty young and we could get him for less than the mid-level so I’m wondering why we’re not at least working him out. Any thoughts?

  14. Jones’s idea of Mihm and a pick for Ben Gordon seems like the best idea. I like the lineup, Godon at the 1, Kobe at the 2, Luke at the 3, Odom at the 4, Kwame at the 5. Weak link is Luke. If Sasha develops, we could go Gordon at the 1, Sasha at the 2, Kobe at the 3, with the others the same. The question is do either of these lineups have the size and muscle to play Miami or San Antonio when the lineup is Duncan at the 4, and Nazr at the 5?

  15. 14. The question, after watching these playoffs, is do we really need size to compete with those teams?

  16. PHO: 751pts 107.3 pts/gm
    LAL: 704pts 100.6pts/gm
    Net: PHO +47

    (PHO: 786 pts 112.3pts/gm
    LAC: 793 pts 113.3 pts/gm
    Net: LAC +7 GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR)

    Repeat this over and over until you get it: The Lakers were lucky (and Salvatorre-aided) to push it to 7. Try not to be myopic.

    As for size, the Lakers are one (Curse of Shaq) injury to employee #24 from being the Trailblazers. And Kobe and Lamar will be coming off a National Team summer. You better believe they will be missing some games.

    Compare to Jordan’s Bulls who lost Jordan for a whole season and still made the playoffs. Where do these Lakers go if something happens to Kobe? Think like a rebuilding team not like a one piece away team.

    Its not just me. From Sheridan’s ESPN chat today:
    Chris Sheridan: “They’re going to have to think long and hard about trading Lamar Odom if they want to clear cap space for the summer of 2007. If they decide to hang onto him, I believe they’ll go after Speedy Claxton, Mike James or Sam Cassell to upgrade the PG position and cross their fingers hoping that Kwame and Bynum continue to develop.”

    Keep those fingers crossed I guess Laker fan.
    Kwame PER by year:
    13.65
    15.73
    10.34
    11.77

  17. If Kobe and/or Lamar have to miss serious time next season, I say scuttle the whole season and enter the Greg Oden sweepstakes. Isnt Robinson’s injury the main reason San Antonio ended up with Duncan?

    For the record, I dont like the idea of signing Mike James. I dont like the idea of signing a guy after what will obviously be the best season of his career, besides I dont think he’ll sign for the MLE. Why cant the Lakers ever look to get guys like Mike James BEFORE they mature into good players? I guess Smush counts, hopefully the Kupchack regime can understand that getting better with a limited buget requires buying commodities on their way up rather than at their peak. (sorry to get so Moneyball)