Our Man Vlad Is Rad

Kurt —  July 2, 2006

One of the two off-season priorities for the Lakers was to get some more scoring punch out of the three spot, and it took all of one day to do that.

The Lakers apparently have agreed in principle to sign Vladimir Radmanovic to a deal for the full MLE for five years (that starts at $5 mil this year and is worth about $31 over the course of the deal). Nothing can be finalized until July 12, and Vlad has had some squirrelly contract dealings before (ask Seattle fans) but it appears to be a done deal.

The signing of Vlad makes the Lakers a more dangerous offensive team — they have a deadly outside shooter who will make it harder to just collapse on Kobe (or Odom). But the Lakers were the eighth best offensive team in the league last season (scoring 109.8 points per 100 possessions, ahead of teams like the Spurs and Cavs). However, they were weaker on defense (15th in the league), particularly on the perimeter, and this signing likely makes that problem worse.

What Vlad can do is stretch the defense — he hit 39% of his threes last season, 41.8% in his time with the Clippers. And you can expect plenty of them, 55% of his shots last season were threes. It’s not hard to envision what the Lakers picture, Kobe drives the lane, draws the double, kicks the ball out and one pass later Vlad’s draining a three. Also, Kobe could have another very dangerous pick-and-pop partner. With the Clippers Vlad averaged 15.4 points per 40 minutes, shot a good 54.4% (eFG%) with a true shooting percentage of 56.8%. No doubt he can shoot the rock.

It’s a bit cliché to say this about Euros, but he may be 6-10 but he won’t be hanging out near the hoop. Last season 79% of his shots were jumpers (and he shot 55.6% [eFG%] on those and just 50.9% on his shots close to the basket). Also he’ll grab a few boards but not a lot, last season he pulled down 10.8% of the available rebounds, a number that is pretty average (and maybe weak for his height).

While Vlad will fit well in the triangle offense, his defense is a liability (it’s the reason he was -2.9 with the Clippers and -1.9 with the Sonics last season).

He is particularly weak on the perimeter, where the Lakers need the most defensive help. Just to jog your memory, in the Suns/Clippers playoff series the Suns started using whoever Vlad was guarding to come out and run the pick-and-roll with Nash so they could get that switch.

Last season with the Clippers, opposing threes shot 53.1% (eFG%) and had a PER of 19.1 — basically the equivalent of having Richard Jefferson playing against you at the three nightly. In Seattle4 it was worse, threes shot 54.7% and had a PER of 22.7. For comparison, Walton held opposing threes to 44% shooting and a PER of 13.2 (below the league average of 15). If you’re saying to yourself “Well, he’s 6-10, make him guard some fours” the idea is a good one — but it doesn’t work. In Seattle last season he allowed opposing fours to shoot 53.4% and have a PER of 19.8. And, the season before, when he played more four for the Sonics (their better offensive season) he allowed fours to shoot 54.8%.

You can try to hide him defensively, but you’re going to have to ask more of Odom and expect Kwame to be better on defensive rotations than he was last year.

If Vlad doesn’t solve the perimeter defensive issue, and he’s taking up the full MLE, then how do you solve it? Specifically, how do you get in that better defensive point guard? I’m not sure we’re going to get anyone better than Smush for the veteran’s exemption. Maybe this means you have to trade Mihm (and some other players/picks) to get your starting point. I’m not sure that Minnesota wants to do a sign-and-trade for Marcus Banks, they would prefer to keep him. Toronto has Mike James, but they just got their center in a trade. So, who do you get?

Let me be clear — I like the pick up of Vlad. However we’ll have to see what other moves Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss have up their sleeves to see how this really fits in with the overall plans for next year. In and of itself signing Vlad is not moving the Lakers very far up the ladder in the Western Conference.

Kurt

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47 responses to Our Man Vlad Is Rad

  1. If this is what they wanted, why not just start Brian Cook?

  2. Color me confused.

  3. First Farmar… then Radmanovic… yes you add talent, potential and shooting ability in Radmanovic… but what about that famous defensive end of the floor? And how do you get Banks or a similar defensive-minded pg? Those questions need to be answered by Kupchack!! I agree Kurt… if this team is about to improve and leap into contention really needs to emphasize defense in the offseason acquisition plan. Maurice Evans won’t be enough… and is slightly above average and probably suited as a backup for kobe and a specialist defending the 2. What about defending the 1 (still unanswered and always the weak link in lakers teams of the years past) and the 3 (you lose a good one in devean george and just get a very nice offensive weapon even giving up the cap space plan?) not to say the 4-5 where odom and kwame at times struggle. The Bulls of the golden era had a radmanovic type in toni Kukoc… but also had the jordans, pippens and harpers… defending the backcourt and rodman down low. How can you even think contending without having any great defenders? Or maybe we have one… KOBE…. but he’s way too busy contributing in other aspects i guess… Just hope there’s something we don’t know at the moment cause Phil, Mitch and Jim have to have a better plan than it seems. Spreading the floor is not the only area of need cause defense really is the most critical one. The lakers need an Artest type defender to feed off… even regardless of position.

  4. Well Peja just got 64 mil over 5 years, so comparatively it seems like Vlad Rad is worth 31 mil. Peja is more consistent on the offensive end but he’s not a better defender, is he? I’d much rather have Vlad for 31m. He’s only 25 and that contract will be tradable for the next 5 years. He may not be what the Lakers need but he’ll be considered a bargain in a couple of years (believe it or not).

  5. Radmanovic is way better and more consistent than cook. He can put the ball on the floor unlike cook. What the team needs is a consistent scorer off the bench and they got it. I forsee vlade’s role in the team will be similar to that of Toni Kukoc during the bulls dynasty. The 6th man of the team, instant offense and consistent outside threat that will spread the floor for kobe and lamar. He will come in for Luke walton and will be there in late to end game situations as another scoring option. Great pickup for the lakers! Now, if they could pull a deal/s to land a vet PG like bobby jackson and a vet big like Mohammed, Mourning, Antonio Davis, or even PJ Brown (they have Mihm, Cook, mckie, Smush or Sasha as trade assets), they will be set to contend next season!

  6. MItch seems to be doing some good things. Read in Riverside Press that LAL’s after Shammond Williams. He’s small but don’t recall him being any more than a shooter not defender. Anyone know more about him? Surely Kup is after others?

  7. chris henderson July 2, 2006 at 9:33 am

    I read somewhere recently that the Lakers have something like 16, 17 maybe now 18 players with Rad, under contract, and this included Devean, Wafer, and Green, Farmar, maybe Jackson, (Jim), (maybe Profit) as well. the logic in the article was that the Lakers are obviously overstocked because they are preparring for a trade.
    and as lots of folks are pointing out, with Rad on the team, it’s redundant to have Cook, so wouldn’t it make sense to believe the Lakes are looking to find our defensive minded PG by trading the likes of Mihm, Cook, McKie, etc?
    what happened with all out talks to Chicago? they seem to be overstocked with PG’s.
    do you know how many players we have under a contract? (I guess this includes the FA, pending deals etc).
    also, along these same lines, how do we handle the “too many players under contract” matter? we can send 2 players down to the D league, right? like Green and Wafer, let them develop, don’t lose them that way…etc. I’m not that “Stat” minded, so forgive my ignorance, but what is it, 15? how many players we can have on our roster?
    I mean, why would the Lakers have too many players under a form of contract, if they weren’t planning on trying to make this kind of a trade?

  8. “Radmanovic is way better and more consistent than cook. He can put the ball on the floor unlike cook.”

    Maybe. I haven’t scrutinzed each player’s game, but looking at the stats I see this:

    Brian Cook has a career PER of 14.9. Radmanovic has 13.7. Last year Cook turned in a 15.7 performance which is higher that Radmanovic’s best year (2004 – 15.1). Radmanovic finished off his year with the Clippers with a 14.2 PER.

    Radmanovic’s career 3P% is 38.1%. Cook’s is 39.6%. Cook finished last year with 42.9%, which is again higher than Radmanovic has ever done — though not by much.

    True Shooting Percentage shows the same thing. Brian Cook 57.8%, Radmanovic 56.8%.

    Brian Cook has a better Turnover Rate. Brian Cook has a better FT%. Radmanovic had a slightly better Rebounding Rate last year, but Cook’s been better over the course of his career. Radmanovic has a better Assist Rate.

    The big difference between the players is the Radmanovic has gotten lots of playing time (26mpg) and Cook hasn’t (16mpg). Maybe with more responsibility, Cook’s stats would drop off — his percentages would go down and his turnovers would go up. Then again, maybe they wouldn’t.

    But it seems like a big price to pay for such a similar player.

  9. 6. I read that Shammond Williams thing too and think that has to be coming from some agent. The Lakers need a starting PG who can defend, Williams was a career backup who played decent defense but is an offensive black hole. Willimams is not a starter, and you want to develop Farmar so why bring in competitionn for him? Maybe Williams will be on the Summer League team, but little else. Unless he had an ephiphany while in Spain that move would make no sense. It’s possible someone in the Laker front office was using Turner for a misinformation campaign.

    5. If you read what Vlad’s agent said in the papers, tthe Lakers are looking at him as a starter. He didn’t resign with the clippers because he didn’t want to split time with Maggette.

    After sleeping on it, I don’t dislike this move (to use the double negative), We got a good shooter at a fair price. But I won’t feel comfortable until the team addresses the key offseason need. And, to get it done right, the vet’s exemption is not enough. Chris, yoiu can only carry 15 total, including the guys in the D-League. And the Laker allegedly want LaRon back. So I think overstocking for a trade seems logical, as does offering Mihm with the likes of Cook/Sasha.

  10. I expect to see Cook available as a trade chip.

    Maybe we can move him to the Bucks for Villanueva – the bucks were supposedly to targeting Vlad before our offer.

  11. I think Vlad’s signing means that Mihm is definetely a goner. He will undoubtedly be traded in a combo package for a PG.

    I know the rule of never trade a big for a small, but what if the Lakers package some players to Chicago to try to get somone like Duhon? The Bulls could use a big man like Mihm b/c who knows when Chandler will break down and it’s looking doubtful that the Bulls will get Ben Wallace. It would be a good short term defensive pickup for the Bulls. There might be an outside chance that Mihm + others might be enough to entice Minnesota to a sign and trade for Banks, but it looks doubtful.

    There will be no star PG for the Lakers, just a stop gap measure until we see how Farmar pans out. I hope Smush watched his performance against the Suns and was motivated this summer.

  12. The more I think about it the more this seems to set up for a future trade.

    Kwame Brown will provide less offense than the polished Mihm, getting Vlad counters that drop off. Now that you’ve accounted for those points, Mihm is more expendable.

  13. Vlad won’t be anything like Kukoc off the bench. The Bulls ran their offense thru Toni, he ran the fast break after pulling in defensive rebounds, and Kukoc actually moved without the ball after dumping in entry passes. Vlad just stands around. And though Toni was often criticized for being an awful defender — usually, he was — he was still a very good post defender. Toni was an expert at fronting the post, and Jackson used him to guard David Robinson and Rik Smits at times, with surprising (successful) results. His long arms and active feet bothered the entry passer and disrupted the timing of the offense, precious shot clock seconds ticked off as the team went away from their offense to try and exploit the “mismatch” that wasn’t.

    I want to like this signing, I really do, but it just smacks to me of stupid, stupid basketball. Kup overrated Vlad and it just seems like a waste. I’ve been trying to talk myself into thinking he’ll be perfect in the Triangle, or even good in the Triangle, and that Phil will find a way to hide him on defense, but the more I think about it the more I hate (hate, hate) this signing. I really hope I’m wrong.

    God, I’m such a downer.

  14. Mitch is definitely planning a to make a trade for a PG. He knows even better than any of us do that the Lakers need a quality starting PG bad. Obviously the plan was to get Vlade with the mid-level then swing a trade, probably involving Chris Mihm. Mihm is a great player, but with the emergence of Kwame he is just too valuable as trade bait. He is in the last year of his $4.3 mill. contract. You can see why he would be attractive to most teams in the NBA. I know your never supposed to trade big for small, but this may be a situation where we have no other option. That being said, if Shammond Williams makes the team next year we’ll be in big trouble.

  15. This signing could very well turn out to be a giant mistake. Keep in mind though that this kid is still young and hasn’t really had the opportunity to develop at his natural position of small forward. Rashard Lewis hogged all the playing time in Seattle and Vlad was forced to play the 4 spot a position he’s really not suited to play. He does have a tremendous amount of potential and Jackson seems to think highly of him so I say it was a risk worth taking signing based on the player he could develop into. The Lakers desperately need someone who shoots a high percentage and can score 13-15 a game without needing the ball in their hands all the time. Hopefully Vlad can be our man. Now if Jackson could only teach him how to play defense, or at least good team defense.

  16. i like the move, we are long and versatile forwards with odom and vlad, couple that with brown and thats a formidable front-court. whatever liability vlad brings on d he will far make up for on o. imagine the pick and pop game he can run with either lamar or kobe, also, his ability to make defenders stay at home will create more seams for kobe lamar and smush. i still think we should couple mihm, smush and cook for speedy claxton or try hard to sign b jax. regardless, mitch has struck first, dealing a blow to the clips, whcih in turn led to a blow to the suns, i like that. also, this ends the banks dream, and i for one am glad, screw him and his unproven talents, mitch is having a great offseason, and we hav e chips to play with

  17. Good signing, for value, if nothing else. Several other teams were on Rad, he’s a solid commodity with the new rules. Remember, this league is so much about matchups. If we can get a decent, not even above average, just decent, point guard… how do you stop this team. Kobe and LO almost took out Phoenix by themselves.. if Rad was on this team, they were in the conference finals. LO gives Dirk fits, whose going to guard Kobe? and if you overload on either, Rad punishes them. Sure, Dampier is a little better than Kwame, but enough to make a difference? No. You need a point that can at least make a Terry/Nash work. I’m a big fan of this signing, it creates huge problems for other teams on the defensive end of the court. I believe Mihm will be moved for a pg, but it may not happen until in-season. Even if he isn’t, I think with the development of Sasha and addition of Evans, we have enough backcourt depth to compete. Sorry, but Smush showed me in the Playoffs that he doesn’t have a heart.. Sasha has his limitations, cardiac fortitude is not one of them.

  18. Doesn’t have a heart? What do you call that win in Game 4? Hits the three and makes the steal.

    Granted he played attrociously the rest of the time, but he was basically a rookie who was over achieving all season anyway. I think we play that series again and he plays at a much higher level.

  19. smush will learn from his mistakes and continue to improve this coming season. So I say we keep him. Bobby Jackson just signed with the Hornets. So where do we get our vet PG now?!

  20. I think that the signing of vlad was not a very good one because we already have problems on defense and he wont help at all smush cant guard fast guards in the west (Probably could but i dont think he has the toughness), Kwame Brown is a bad weakside defender with constant slow rotations, Vlad is just another defensive problem that i dont think we need. To top it all off we have no bench players to counter our starters defensive liabilites (if Vlad starts like it is being reported)defenders I think Bynum will be the best but how much can we rely on him, I think we really could have used Marcus Banks (im a big fan) because he is really fast and is the type of in your face defender i think every team needs including us. sorry about the long comment.

  21. Mihm, Smush, and Cook for Speedy Claxton? You have to be kidding me! There is no way were going to package any one of those players, let alone all three for a 5-11 point guard who shot 27% from three, 41% from the field, and turned the ball over 2 times in 28 minutes per game. Smush by averaged 36% from three, 44% from the field, and only 1.7 turnovers in 33 minutes per game. I can’t see Speedy Claxton being anything but a downgrade to this team. There is no way the Laker front office is dumb enough to pickup Claxton.

  22. I know this has probably been talked about alot but i just cant figure out what Farmar is good at and i dont think he is very good player. Anybody know because i cant find any strong points , from what ive seen he only has one positive that ive seen about him in his game is that he never quits and is very scrappy. But he has many holes like being turnover prone , only 171 pounds , not a great athlete(the vert thing i compare to Vernon Davis running a 4.38 on his 40 time it was practiced), and he isnt a great shooter so why does almost everyone i talk to think it was a great pick?

  23. What are Vlad’s percentages on certain type of shots? Like guarded vs unguarded and on the move vs set feet? From (the little of) what i saw, Vlad threw up alot of guarded shots which probably killed his percentages, but as long as he can hit the open corner 3 that Kobe can give you 10 times a game i’ll be a happy man with this signing

  24. Vlad’s great

  25. As a Sonics season ticket holder, I say good luck to you with Vlade. He plays zero defense, and he tries to shoot himself out of a slump. He moves OK for a big guy, but has has a aversion to paint, as he does not go inside as much as he should for his size, and he does not rebound. As with a lot of euro guys, he HATES to get knocked around, it really throws off his game. There will be times that he hits everything he puts up, and you start to really like him. And than he will disappear for weeks, missing everything, but still putting the ball up continuosly. I will not miss him and his ole defense, maybe Phil can turn him around, but I say good ridance.

  26. What’s the logic behind the mav’s pursuing Mike james? they just signed jason terry and have devin harris. does this mean Harris is expendable? I say try for a sign-and-trade package for mike james, or if we are beaten by the mavs, then package a trade for devin harris or marquis daniels. Daniels can play point in the triangle since he doesn’t have to be the facilitator of the offense

  27. One would hope that Vlade’s lack of defense was partially due to his playing on a team (Seattle) that played zero defense as a team. I’m going to be optimistic in here and hope that his sorry defense improves as he plays in the laker system.

  28. 23. Goo, I wish I could tell you. I went to look up some of this before I posted (because I wanted to compare Vlade’s numbers on jumpers and what happens when he has to put it on the floor to Cook’s) but Synergy, the company that had supplied said stats, has ended its free trial and currently does not have any of its info open to the general public. So I don’t know the numbers. (Synergy designed this software and system for NBA teams, and they had a handful of clients who pay five-figures a year for this info and even more stuff. The public thing was a lark for them and they said they got 8 times the response they expected.)

  29. Well, Vlad’s defensive rating went from 114 to 103 when he went from Seattle to the Clippers. I don’t know if that’s because of team philosophies (Vlad has hope on D) or the Clips being able to better cover his deficencies than the Sonics (Vlad has less hope).

  30. 29. Sam Cassell also has a pretty good defensve rating with the Clips and he is a horrible defender. I think that with Kaman and Brand inside, plus Ross and an athletic Maggette, they could compensate well for players who didn’t defend. Kwame has a long way to go on defensive rotations.

  31. Just to throw a monkey wrench in the “Mihm+Cook+whatever to Chicago for a point guard” talk, the Bulls are going hard after Ben Wallace. If they get Wallace, the only way they’ll want Mihm is if they get someone to take on Chander’s deal.

  32. Heard that Chicago and Hornets could pull off a deal including Chandler and JR Smith if Wallace signs with Chicago.

  33. 30. Yeah I figured it was the latter. The only thing I don’t like about the signing is the fact that… even if we do get a good starting point guard who can play defense, we’ll only have good defense in the backcourt. Our starting front court of Vlad, Odom, and Kwame are only average on defense at best. We could still use a front court “stopper.”

  34. Anyone know what the salary cap ramifications of the Vlad signing are for 2008? What amount will the Lakers have to pursue free agents?

  35. 33. Can Bynum be that stopper?

    34. The Lakers will have some cap space in 2008, however they could not offer a “max” deal. So, bottom line, they finally figured out that LeBron was not coming to LA.

  36. I still don’t know what to expect from Bynum. He’s shown flashes but I don’t know how good we can expect him to be or how much he can contribute next season.

  37. Two guys the Lakers can seek out to play PG are Earl Watson and Antonio Daniels. Both are on teams that could use centers and both the Sonics and Wizards would gain some financial flexibility by dealing for Mihm + Cook/McKie (to make the salaries match up).

  38. STARTING FIVE =KWAME,WALTON,ODOM,KOBE,SMUSH = CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2007… WATCH OUT MIAMI BECAUSE LAKERS ARE GOING TO HIT IT BIG AND PHIL IS GETTING HIS 10th RING NEXT SEASON.

  39. NOW THAT’S A WELL THOUGHT OUT COMMENT BACKED UP WITH FACTS!!!!!

  40. Actually, Phil has 11 rings, two as a player, and 12 if you count his CBA title in 1984. Also, though he is not married, I have seen him sport a pinkie ring as well. So that’s like, 13 rings that we know about.

    So, Rich, I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with you there.

  41. Speedy Claxton is off the market! Thank god,now people can stop talking about bringing him to the Lakers.They were scaring me.

  42. Can we wait ’till the end or even at the halfway point of the season before we judge radmanovic, evans, farmar, and the rest of the laker players? Rad wanted to be with the lakers and motivated to do well, parker will learn from his mistakes, odom, he said before last season that he would have a hard time figuring out his role in the first half of the season, and said to watch out for him after the all star break (w/c was true) and kwame and the coaching staff only found out that he is more of a center, luke walton came off an injury in the first half of the season and sasha started getting his confidence during the season. Phil will get “his” team before the start of the season, and whoever we end up with, phil will get his mindset right and motivate him to contribute to the team. We are just one or two solid role player-veterans away from contending. Keep the faith laker fans!!!

  43. Well put in comment #42. There are just too many X-factors that need to be fleshed out b/f conclusions are drawn.

    1. Kwame’s ‘emergence’ in the Lakers 3 wins
    2. How Smush will respond to his disappearance in the Lakers losses
    3. How the Lakers will defend the S/R (what the coaching staff has been working on)
    4. Bynum’s growth and maturity
    5. Whatever new trick Kobe has been working on this summer
    6. Walton’s growing confidence
    7. A full summer and training camp for Turiaf to be better acquainted with the Lakers system
    8. Whether Mihm will stick around (since Chi has picked up Wallace)

    This list is not exhaustive, but shows that the Lakers unfortunate demise at the hands of Phoenix was not necessarily a conclusive statement, but rather left us all with a huge offseason of a cliffhanger. I’d still like to see the Lakers pursue someone like Songalia with the smaller exception, and if possible, a veteran point guard like Lindsey Hunter.

  44. Just a small suggestion, Kurt, but I think it’d be nice and convenient if the big “forum blue and gold” logo could link back to the home page, so it’s easy to get to the home page from anywhere on the site.

  45. 43. I agree that the playoff loss was not conclusive, but what it did do was show our weaknesses and start to give us a bnchmark of where we will need to be to be contenders (Phoenix is just going to be better next year with Amare back). I think the existing Lakers have a lot of room to grow and the Vlade signing brings something to the table. But I’m still not sold on our perimter defense.

    44. I plan to do some upgrades this summer, there are a few things I want to do. That is on the top of the list. The challenge is I have no programming skills, so I need to get a little help.

  46. No egos on the Clippers? Sam Cassell can be called a lot of things but egoless is not one of them.

  47. WHAT ABOUT KG has anybody heard anything about that?