Vlade’s Perception

Kurt —  July 18, 2006

Since we first started talking about the Lakers big off-season move, the signing of Vladimir Radmanovic, the consensus has been something summed up by Tex Winter in an interview on Roland Lazenby’s blog:

“In this offense, he’s gonna get some shots,” Winter said of Radmanovic. “He’ll get more open shots than he’s ever had in his life. That’s if we get the ball movement we need. Radmanovic can do other things besides just shoot. He has an ability to go to the hole off the dribble. Yes, he’s more of a perimeter player, but that will open the floor for Kobe and our other players to drive.”

The Lakers have a 6-10 perimeter player in Brian Cook, and you can make the argument Cook is a better shooter like Andrew did. But in an email with someone — who asked not to be named but: 1) knows and has seen a lot of Vlade; 2) knows basketball and is very respected — an interesting point was made.

Vlade is a threat because other teams perceive him as such. When opposing coaches are putting together game plans to stop the Lakers the first three names mentioned will be Kobe, Odom and Radmanovic. Whether or not Cook could have provided that, other teams did not fear him in that way. No other Laker had that impact last season.

Not only, as Tex said, will Radmanovic get open looks, but if teams focus on him too much other players will get very good looks. More space may be created for Kobe or other players going to hole because opposing teams don’t want to collapse of Vlade.

Not all the report from this source was glowing about Vlade. While those that watched him with the Clippers last season say this has changed, he is not good at defensive rotations. In fact, he’s a better post defender against fours than someone who should be guarding threes.

Vlade is better offensively at the four than the three the source said, although in the triangle that distinction is less meaningful. In Seattle, when he was most successful, he was coming off the bench as a four, replacing a very different player (like Reggie Evans) and other teams just left their four on him, and said player would not go out for enough to cover Radmanovic. However, what teams started to do against Vlade that worked was cover him with a three — he’s not good enough in the post to make you pay for that and he can’t out quick his defender to get a good look.

We’ll see how all that pans out starting in November. I’m just hoping reality lives up to the perception.

to Vlade’s Perception

  1. I think that the numbers don’t support the statement that Vlad Rad was best as a back-up PF. Instead, IIRC, Vlad Rad’s per-minute numbers were much better when he was a starter.


  2. i strongly believe in radmanovic. he is the kind of player that would play great in th triangle (ala kukoc)
    and as winter said, he will get more shots than ever bcuz of the triangle and radmanovic knows to secure that shots.
    last season we saw some plays where it was obious kobe or lamar were going to take that shot and having the extra pass was not a plus in efectivity cuz no other was as efective shoting (how can you pass the ball when you know that you, with double D over you can shot better than your teammates…)

    any ofensive threat that can shoot the 3s for the lakers will give kobe or lamar better positions to score

    i have a doubt, who will defend the small forwards? vlad? lamar? i would pick lamar…


  3. Just to continue a point in the discussion as it pertains to shooters in the triangle:
    Tex has often remarked that observers would question the Bulls about playing Steve Kerr, because he could be successfully guarded (and could be a defensive liability). Tex always countered that the key with Steve was that other teams had to guard him. He “occupied” the defense, which in turn opened the floor for Jordan and the rest of the team. Tex said that whether he got or made any shots didn’t matter. Opposing teams always stayed with him. I suspect the Lakers aren’t concerned so much about how much attention an opposing 3 or 4 pays to Rad so long as they pay that attention. His presence enables the offense to operate with the help defender occupied.
    If Kobe’s going to start to get the calls that Dwyane Wade got in the Finals, then the offense should work quite well.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents.
    This is a fantastic site. And thank you for being so generous in your comments about my work.

    Roland Lazenby
    author of The Show


  4. My biggest worry is that Vlad pulls a Damon Jones and losses his outside shot for most of the season. I guess it speaks well for him that he continued to shoot well when he got traded from Seattle to the Clips. But do we really know how he will handle being part of one of the great franchises with all kinds of expectations on him? I hope he will excel, but it does have me worried.


  5. wow kurt, roland lazenby posted on your site, fbg is BLOWING UP, congratulations on that.

    I think mr. lazenby’s point about occupying the defense is exactly why they signed shammond williams as well. We had two perimeter players (smush and walton) that teams could effectivley sag off, and clog the lane. this disrupted our offensive flow, and led to our loss in the 1st round. With williams and vlad, the 4th qrts of games hopefully will look a lot different, with kobe and odom slashing to hole, vlad and williams shooting consistenly and kwame having space to operate down low.

    p.s. what do people think about the rumored juwan howard for chris mihm deal?


  6. 5. I know. It always feels good when you get compliments from people whose work you respect like I do his. I will add that since the playoffs traffic has been way up here.

    As for Howard, if he is willing to slip into the “veteran playing a role” mode I think he’d be a great fit. Give him 25 minutes a night, he’s a solid defender at the four and make sure he stops taking jumpers (that part of his game seems to have faded) and keep him near the basket and I think he’d be great off the bench.

    That said, he’s got three years left at $6.3 up to $7.3 million left. Can he fill that role for three seasons, or would you rather have someone younger. Also, I don’t think it can be just Mihm for Howead, other peices are needed to make the salaries match (Cook? Sahsa? A pick?).


  7. Mannie Jenkins July 18, 2006 at 12:11 pm

    Uh, didn’t Juwan Howard have one of the worst +/- numbers in the league last year? How much better did he make the Rockets? We don’t want him.

    I have my concerns about Vlade (especially with Cook still on the roster since they overlap), but I read that Phil Jackson called him up to personally talk him into signing us- before anybody else from the lakers called him. So that makes me think they know what they’re doing.


  8. Howard was a -9 per 48 last year (worse than any Laker who saw regular minutes), although the question is how much was that Howard and how much of it was what he was being asked to do and the players around him. Honestly, I’m not sure I saw enough of him to make that determination.


  9. Howard is no spring chicken and that contract is too long.

    I think it was Sir Charles who said, “Juwan Howard is made out of tissue paper.”


  10. Mannie Jenkins July 18, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    8- I just remember that before Kwame woke up, he had the second worst +/- in the league, ahead of Howard. if his +/- was the fault of those around him, shouldn’t they have worse, or comparable numbers? We need a +/- figure on how guys’ teammates’ +/- numbers change when they are on the floor together. (So, like Odom’s +/- number rises by a point every time kobe’s on the bench, so kobe’s meta +/- would be -1 towards odom). Oh yeah.

    I definitely don’t think howard’s better than Mihm. I think as Winter said on Lazenby’s page, Mihm could make a good PF. He can hit that shot from the high post, and has the mind to learn a new position. It might also make him less foul prone since he won’t be trying to block every ball that comes near him.


  11. For the record: While I don’t hate the Howard concept, I’m still in the “hang on to Mihm until the trade deadline” camp.


  12. yeah, hoping howard can produce for three seasons is probably stretching it, but the point is, we have to address the mihm situation before camp. his name has been tossed around all summer, and if we bring him back, we need to let him know its for the long-term, seeing how were asking him to switch positions and come off the bench when he could start elsewhere. this is why i think they should either extend him, and commit him to playing the four. if not, then trade him for a four, off the top of my head, id say we should be looking at guys like melvin ely and chris wilcox. we cant just hang on to mihm and lose him at the end of the year, it would be foolish and negligent on managments behalf, and belief it or not, im starting to have a lot more faith in managment (jim buss or whoever) these days.


  13. Vlade can be guarded sufficiently by the opposition’s worst perimeter defender, and no he cant REALLY go to the basket. Yes, someone has to stand NEAR him, but you will find that as long as someone stands close enough to him that they can react to a pass and get a hand in his face he will either miss or pass up entirely a mildly contested shot. And once he passes up or misses one thats it, he is effectively out of the offense. Both as a contributor and as an effective decoy. He falls down a well of passivity. And Kobe will lose confidence in him which will reduce his threat further as the season goes. This is Vlade’s future. Mark it.

    Take the example of unnamed player X. Player X couldn’t crack the starting line up of a team even though he didn’t play behind an all-star. He complained about playing time so he left that team for another team, where he likewise couldn’t break into the starting lineup despite not playing behind an all-star. At the end of that season he is available to your team and will allow you to overpay him as long as you promise to start him. Do you make the promise and pay?

    The Lakers did just that. Vlades days as a “threat” are numbered once other teams see him extended minutes.

    Also in the Lakers’ future…one or two layups PER GAME that Vlade contests by mildly touching the opponent with not enough force to stop the layup, but just enough to give the free throw. And with that, PJ will lose confidence in him.

    Mr. Pincus is off his rocker if he thinks the Lakers will win 50 games in an overall improved West. The West was down last year based on the number of wins required to make the playoffs. And the Lakers scraped in by beating teams down the stretch who had already pulled the plug on the regular season while maintaining almost perfect health throughout the 82. (Wilcox dunking on Mihm so hard it hurt him physically not withstanding.)

    The Lakers are paper thin behind Kobe and Lamar. Vlade ISN’T an upgrade over Kobe taking every shot again this year like he did last. And as others have noted he might actually be a downgrade to Cook in terms of actual (not perceived) performance.

    Also, thanks to the extra classy Laker players for skirting their Team USA responsibilities. Why promise to play if you never really intended to? Jerks.


  14. wow, john r. can predict the future, criticize roland lazenby, eric pincus and tex winter’s assessment of vlad rad’s potential role in the offense created by winter,while also, criticizing lamar odom for not playing in the world championships after his grandmother and son died within weeks of eachother, sarcasm or not, its inappropriate.


  15. It will be interesting to see how this acquisition turns out. No question that Phil, Tex, Kobe, the brain trust, etc., see Radman as an opportunity. John R. plays an interesting devil’s advocate. His comments about Team USA notwithstanding, he offers an bleak scenario. Some things John R. hasn’t considered are the coaching factor (this staff has a way of getting more out of big men, i.e. Kwame), the Laker factor (players are eager to be a part of the aura). Radman is much more athletic than John R. gives him credit for. That being said, the downside John R. paints is the risk the Lakers assumed in trying to get better.
    Radman is probably the best fit of what was available.
    Certainly most sane people would agree with John R. that the Lakers are facing a tough climb in the West. Tex says a huge key is how rapidly Bynum develops, but he is still just 18 and has a long, long way to go.

    Roland Lazenby
    author of The Show


  16. I’ll tell you that I got emails from a few people who are not Laker fans expressing pessimism at the Radman signing. I have my own concerns about how this impacts perimeter defense. That said, I likeand agree with what Roland said, this coaching staff last year proved it can do a lot with less than perfect-fitting pieces, and Radman is a talent upgrade.

    The more I look at what has happened in the West, the more I think the key may be keeping your core players healthy (how much better will Houston be if Yao and McGrady can play a full season together? What about in Utah? And that list goes on…. Remember the Lakers were pretty lucky with Kobe and Odom last season).


  17. I love the fact that i knew that John R. was the author of that post before I was half-way through the first paragraph. Despite being quite the sarcastic joker myself, I have to agree with kwame a. and say that attacking Lamar is really unnaceptable in this situation, even if it is only because John R. is bitter that Lamar never made it to the playoffs with the Clips.


  18. Sorry, but I have to disagree with you JohnR… with everything you said! You refer to radmanovic as if he’s a D-league caliber player, or some fans even think he’s no better than Brian Cook. I, (like i know most of you did) cringe or roll your eyes (thinking “oh no, why did you leave him open”) whenever Vlad would get an open shot off our lakers. It’s because we know there is a great great chance he will make it, and the other players, fans in the arena, and opposing coaches know that as well. It simply means, it’s acknowledged that he is a legit threat. Can you say the same for Brian Cook? Hell no! teams even left him open “on purpose” in most games. So stop comparing vlad with cook. Phil called him up to recruit him, tex even probably had a hand in it, and vlad wants to prove himself as a starter, so i’m pretty sure the laker management and coaching staff know what they are doing and chances are it will work out for vlad and for the lakers. The lakers have a system in place, and the players need to fit that system. So we just can’t get any big name player that comes around but won’t fit the system. We have the best coach in history and I’m pretty damn sure he knows what he’s doing. Yea, the lakers got somewhat “lucky” last year. Lucky because 90% of the team hadn’t figured out the system, Lamar didn’t know his role and Kwame didn’t get the hang of it yet. So just imagine, what if they put it all together?! (like the last month and a half of the season) wouldn’t they be more dangerous?!


  19. I watched Vladimir play decent amount (And by the way his nickname is Vlada or Americanized Vlad, but Vlade it is not. That’s from Divac. But that’s not important, nor do I know if he’d agree with me).

    I think that he will perform well in high pressured situations. That’s always a bonus for a player.

    Good luck to Lakers.


  20. k_swagger you are right. vlad deserves more credit.
    the chemistry in this team started to be shown when the basics from the triangle were learned and that was in half way between the all-star break and the end of the reg. season

    so now imagine for a sec…
    -smush, awared of the competition in the PG spot, more acurated shoting that in playoffs
    -kobe being kobe
    -radmanovic learning the triangle and looking for the open shots Winter promissed him
    -Odom playing the point forward, grabing rebounds and running the fastbreak, or playing the outside-inside game
    -kwame more focused in being a defensive minded player scoring in clear positions or dunks(ala chandler) instead of trying to do everything as the begining of the past season (ala very very poor man’s KG)

    then a deeper bench than last year with mihm playing (not injured as the end of the past season), a couple that seems to understand each other very well in and out the court (farmar-bynum), maurice evans as a bench perimeter stoper? luke’s basketball IQ in the triangle, some quick shoters in sasha and shamond(not my favourite) and some intangible guys (the ones the staples end up to love) as pinnock, green, turiaf (you gotta love this boy!) …

    i want the next season to start!!


  21. The Rich seem to get richer. It seems like Marcus Banks has signed with the Suns. I suppose the Suns will go with a lot of small ball again now that they signed Banks.


  22. #13….. Lamar’s small son died, and Kobe is having Knee surgery. I know your an idiot, but even you must have enough common sense to understand that it’s pretty much beyond their control whether they play or not. Or did you think players could magically predict family deaths and injuries like you predict how badly the Lakers will play next year. In the case of Lamar I would urge you to have a little more respect, show a little more class yourself, you filthy piece of trash…


  23. Lest you guys all think John R, was always anti-Vlade, read his comments when the Clippers got him last year.

    A spot up 6/10 tweener is exactly what the doctor ordered to go with 2 post players and contrasts perfectly with Maggette’s slashing style.

    For the record, Kevin Pelton pointed me to this.


  24. chris henderson July 19, 2006 at 10:28 am

    I think my wife got it right about John R, he’s like that really bad seed teenager, who feels he only gets attention when he’s acting like this…and it’s true, he says things that can be unbelievably rude, obnoxious, and usually based solely on his opinion which in this case, we all feel is biased. I’ve wound up in a spar or two, and like argueing with a teenager, it’s kind of pointless, you wind up coming down to his level. I think my buddy got it right the other day we were talking about raising a teenager, and he said “patience” is the key…that’s what I’m trying, as hard a it is to not react to tasteless statements about Lamar not playing…(and his assumptions as to why)…I think sometimes it’s best to show some patience, not buy into his rhetoric…let it pass…