Archives For July 2006

Mihm gets Surgery

Kurt —  July 21, 2006

Forget about trading Chris Mihm before training camp, he underwent surgery to clean up scar tissue in his ankle.

Much like Kobe’s knee, this was minor arthroscopic stuff to clean up scar tissue and he’ll be good to go by training camp. However, getting a trade for him now just got a little harder.

In Mihm’s exit interview Phil Jackson said he asked him to work on the skills needed for the triangle four. It should be interesting to see if Mihm can adapt where Kwame could not last year.

Summer League Stats, Thoughts

Kurt —  July 21, 2006

What follows are some stats from this year’s Summer Pro League for key players from the Lakers’ squad: Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar, Danilo Pinnock, Devin Green, Marcus Douthit, Von Wafer and Deron Perkins and Marcus Slaughter. Bynum and Farmar are the only two we know will be with the Lakers in the fall, the others are fighting for what may be a non-existent roster spot.

If you’re new here and not familiar with a few of these stats, check below for a key.

Name eFG% 3pt % TS% Reb. Rate PPG Pts. P40
Bynum 60.1% NA 62.4% 11.6% 14.7 18.7
Farmar 56% 26.1% 59.9% 4.5% 16.1 20.6
Pinnock 54.2% 40% 60.9%% 7.4% 10.6 17.1
Green 56.6% 42.8% 63.3% 7.7% 14.4 20.1
Douthit 48.8% NA 51.5% 15.6% 7 10
Wafer 39% 36.4% 44.1% 3.6% 7.1 15.9
Perkins 62.9% 28.6% 68.9% 11.7% 9.6 23.3
Slaughter 49% 0% 52.6% 12.5% 8.5 16.4

A few other statistical notes. Jordan Farmar also averaged 5.7 assists and 3.7 turnovers per 40 minutes. Andrew Bynum averaged 2.9 blocks per 40 minutes. To compare this year’s numbers to last season’s check here (look how far Wafer fell off).

Bynum and Farmar both showed promise and areas that need work. For Farmar, he showed a great first step, a willingness to push the ball and real leadership. However, he needs to work on his long-range shooting, get stronger and, if he wants significant playing time this season, improve his defense. As for Bynum, he looked great at times but consistency was an issue. So was rebounding, while it’s not bad it’s not what it should be for a man of his size and length (he doesn’t anticipate rebound angles well). Also, he seems to have gone to the Chris Mihm School of Foul Trouble, he needs to work on not trying to block everything and pick his spots.

A key for the stats:

eFG%: Shooting percentage combining two and three pointers
3pt.%: Shooting percentage from beyond the arc
TS%: True Shooting Percentage, think of this as points per shot attempt, it covers twos, three, free throws all adjusted to be a percentage.
Reb Rate: Percentage of available rebounds a player grabbed while on the floor.
PPG: Points per game
Pts. P40: Points scored per 40 minutes of playing time.

For more info on these types of stats, check out Kevin Pelton’s primer.

One side note: If you look up the SPL’s official team stats from its Web site, there are a number of errors — the numbers for Devin Green are listed after Pinnock’s name, while Pinnock’s stats are under Powell’s name, and the stats for Wafer and Perkins are switched. I double checked everything by compiling game-by-game data.

I missed the start of this one and watched the game not in my usual near-the-floor seats (gotta love the media pass for that) but up near the top with a couple buddies. These are just a few notes on the top players, I’ll follow with some stats and final thoughts in the next day or so (once I get the chance to work and format everything).

Andrew Bynum did not play, in fact he did not even dress. Reports are he banged up his thigh and got a quality bruise the night before, so he got the night off.

Jordan Farmar: He showed a little more shooting range in this game, going 2 of 4 from three (hitting a couple early). Not his best game, there were a few turnovers on passes he tried to cut too fine, but he is clearly listening to the coaches and adapting. In the first few SPL games he was not fighting through picks defensively (you don’t see many quality picks from big men in college). Yesterday he was working hard at that, if not always succeeding. He needs some strength for that, but he is learning fast.

Danilo Pinnock: First off, here’s a rumor I was told: the Lakers may ask him to play in Europe this coming season so they can maintain his rights. They like him, but there are 15 guaranteed contracts already and are the Lakers going to buy out McKie to bring in Pinnock? Neither guy is going to make a huge impact on the team, so is it worth the money? As for last night, had one of his more quiet games, finishing with just six points.

Devin Green: Here’s the guy that in the last couple games has made a statement about wanting to make the squad in the fall. He scored 22 points on 10 of 17, 2 of 3 from three. He’s had a very impressive last few games and I can see why the coaches like him, but he’s in a difficult spot because of the 15 roster spots as well. I would like to think another team might be interested in picking him up if the Lakers let him go, this is a guy who has earned another year in the NBA, at least to my eyes.

Marcus Slaughter: Also played well the last couple games and finished with 12 points in the fourth quarter against Memphis Wednesday. Another guy that the Lakers may like to keep around but another team, with a roster spot for a project, may have interest in.

Fast Break Thoughts:

Kurt —  July 19, 2006

I’ll be at the last Laker Summer Pro League game tonight (I was not at yesterday’s shootout), and I’ll put up some closing thoughts and stats in the next few days. But until then….

• Brian Cook had surgery on a thumb he injured recently in a pick-up game. He is expected to be ready to go at training camp.

• My favorite inane basketball coach quote of the week comes from Long Beach State head coach Larry Reynolds, talking about new recruit Tim Island.

“He has the ability to shoot the basketball, which will work well in our offense.”

• I was worried that “Sports Guy” Bill Simmons was going to start rooting for the same English Premier League team I do. He isn’t (although he did pick my second favorite, I started pulling for Tottenham when Kasey Keller was their goalie and it was good to see an Amercian doing so well, plus a story Spurs fan Salman Rushdie did for the New Yorker years ago was one of the best peices of soccer writing I’ve ever read). That said, his piece breaking down the EPL teams is an example of why he can be so good and so much fun to read.

I’m curious what other club teams you are all fans of (I have just two jerseys, a Shearer Newcastle and an older Barca, two teams I pull for).

• It was linked to in the comments, but if you didn’t read the LA Times piece on Danilo Pinnock and his Summer League experiences as he tries to break into an already-full Laker roster, you should take the time.

• Also mentioned in the comments was Marcus Banks to Phoenix. That’s a great get for them because it gives them another perimeter player to fit their style but who can play defense.

• Team USA begins its tryouts/training camp for the World Championships today in Las Vegas.

• The sale of the Sonics to someone from Okalahoma City has sent a scare (and some anger) through fans of that team. Seattle ownership has complained about financial losses due to a bad stadium deal (which is a load of crap by the way, those figures never include the appreciation of the franchise). Okalahoma City proved itself ready hosting the Hornets. So don’t be shocked if the Sonics are on the move in a year. Which, frankly, makes me sad just as a fan of tradition. And for Seattle fans.

All of this scares fans of Sacramento, too.

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.