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.