Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  August 1, 2006

Not much new, working on a few things, but wanted to comment on some recent happenings and point you to a few things worth reading.

• Update 2: It’s official, Devean George has signed in Dallas. Two years, second one at Geroge’s option, for $4.2 mil. This is a good fit for both sides, George can give Dallas some quality minutes off the bench and he makes a team that made it to the NBA finals last season even more dangerous.

• Update: The Laker schedule is out.

Looking at it briefly did not dramatically change my initial thoughts, although I did feel a little relief. For Phil Jackson teams, seasons like this one that are front-loaded with home dates (15 of the first 20 at Staples) are not ideal. His teams, adjusting to the triangle, tend to peak later, like last season when 10 of the lat 13 were at home. The schedule was front loaded two seasons ago and that was a disaster. I’m confident this team will not fall apart like that one, but the 06-07 squad will have to meld fast and count on the veterans returning at late last season’s level to counter the tough road trip the road trip (eight games in a row in February) and more games on the road after the All-Star break.

The good news is that look at the last 25 games and you see the Lakers mostly playing teams they likely will be fighting for playoff positioning — their fate will be in their own hands. Which is about all you can ask. And, as I said before, you got to play them when they schedule them. That’s professional hoops.

• I’m more and more comfortable with the idea of Chris Mihm comming off the bench, playing the four primarily with some center as needed. We’ll see how it works in practice, but on paper it seems worth trying.

• My biggest concern about keeping Mihm and not making any changes to the already-full roster before the season starts is that a guy like Danilo Pinnock could be lost. Maybe he’ll play in Europe and come back to the Lakers next season, but maybe another NBA team looking for a steal at the end of their bench makes him an offer.

• I’m late to this party, but if you haven’t read Chad Ford’s piece about sports as a way for rival groups — including youth in the Middle East — to get to know one another and reduce conflicts, you must. This is really great stuff.

• The new Laker blog The Jell-O is Jigglin has done some fun stuff, including looking at the Laker roster in Haiku.

• My early Team USA thoughts: I love that they are going to use a high-screen offense ala Phoenix, there are a lot of guys on that team who can be dangerous handling the ball (Wade, LeBron, Arenas, Paul) or as the guy setting the pick (Melo, Miller). The question is can the other guys adjust and become “catch and shoot” spacers? If Wade has the ball and drives, then kicks it out to LeBron for the open 21-footer, can he drill it? Consistently? That’s where the loss of Kobe really hurts, he could fill that role. He could also get into the open floor and run, which this team should do well (and Chris Paul will be perfect for). I still wish there was one more “pure shooter” (ala Redd).

That said, I think this USA team is incredibly deep and if they can come together they should win it all. But we’ve all said that before, so we wait to see them in action.

• As much as I’m looking forward to the Laker season, my excitement for the start of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football season is right behind it. This is going to be a fun year to be an ND fan.

Kurt

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14 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. I think you missed the Los Angeles D-Fenders.

    *shakes head*

  2. Not so much missed as chose to ignore. A team name is nice (although I like the new Anaheim Arsenal name better) , but when they get a coach we’ll talk.

  3. im really liking the clock kurt, good edition. i like mihm as our 1st big off the bench. With walton and cook coming off the bench too, we have three guys that started for us last year now coming off the bench. Plus, we have williams and evans to go along with the kids, bynum, turiaf and farmar. our depth will be why we will be better than most people think. Mihm, Cook and Walton are borderline strarters, but off the bench can be a great asset for the lakers, we have a shooter, distributor and post presence with experience off the bench, this will make pj happy.

    p.s. gathino-good work while kurt was gone

  4. I think the way Picks work is that because the lakers drafted danilo pinnock, they have rights to him, that is the advantage of using your draft and not just inviting him onto your summer league squad or something…. I am not sure about that though. So they could send him to Europe and then get him if they want later…

  5. 4. The Lakers have Pinnock’s rights as of now, however he does not have a garunteed deal. Right now the Lakers have 15 garunteed contracts (once Turiaf signs) and that is the max. If Pinnock gets cut from the team and plays in the NDBL or other domestic league, the Lakers lose those rights. However, if he plays in Europe they keep the rights. Also, if the Lakers cut him another team in the NBA can pick him up as a free agent.

    I think he’s the kind of player you want to develop, which is why I’d like to see a roster spot opened up for him.

  6. go to camp. let profit, pinnock, green and mckie fight it out. whoever looks like they can give you the most sign. if its mckie fine, put green on the nbdl, send pinnock to europe, but a) i want the best one of those guys on the team and b) i dont want to lose pinnock or green

  7. kwame a.
    I think it is a little early to say you don’t want to loose either Pinnock or Green. Isn’t that what training camp is for? I suspect you are right, but it seems like we are making decisions based on summer league.

    Now what I want is for the league to say you can keep 17/18 people, but two/three of them have to be on your development team and can only be called up once/year. That would make the D-League a real group of teams, yet serve as a true minor league for the NBA.

  8. The Lakers actually had a couple of guys on the Summer squad with some potential (besides Pinnock). My question is do we have more flexibility with these players because we own an NBDL team? In other words, can the Lakers sign Pinnock and D. Green (and some of the others that performed well in the summer games) to NBDL contracts — some kind of minimum salary — and retain their rights? I thought the whole point of owning a D team was to hire a coach who could teach these guys the triangle, etc, so that they could eventually move up to the big leagues. Are they going through this whole process simply for the benefit of the 3 extra roster players to get playing time and triangle exposure. That doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  9. geokie 8, in a word, no. The league is tatking steps to “assign” players to the D-Fenders to prevent the Lakers with just stockpiling the team with guys they might sign because that would be an “unfair advantage” over other teams. The Lakers can’t just sign Wafter and Pinnock to the team. (even if they could, by signing a domestic professional contract the Lakers would lose the rights to Pinnock, he’d be a free agent.)

    The League allows you 15 guys under contract, with up to three allowed to be in the D-League at any time. The advantage to owning a D-League team for the Lakers is that team can run the triangle. Last year, Von Wafter got sent down in part because he didn’t run the triangle well, but when he got to the D-Leauge he was in another offense. Didn’t do much good. Owning a team solves that problem.

    Just a guess, but as part of the next CBA, teams will see the rosters expand to say 17 but a couple of those contracts will be true minor leauge type deals. However now it is 15.

  10. Does anyone honestly believe that McKie will contribute in any way? He is old and tired and even if he steps it up in training camp, it’s hard to believe that he will sustain energy for a full season. Dump the chump, end of story. The only reason why this is even an issue is that Jackson is partial to veterans. He needs to get over that.

  11. Just a programming note, I know things have been a little slow but I’ll have a new post up tommorow talking about the first USA game tonight. I’ve got some other summer/off-season-style stuff I’m working on, but it’s not ready for public consumption yet. And a buys week at work is cutting into my blogging time. sorry.

  12. Programming note part 2: Some of you may have experience technical difficulties here today. That’s largely because I’m a programming hack. But, someone smart has fixed the problem and we’re back to normal.

  13. I just wanted to say that I wish the best for Devean George. While he didn’t become the player I (and I imagine many people) hoped he would, he was still a great asset to the team. I hope he has a long and successful career with the Mavs and whichever other teams he may end up playing for.

  14. Remember that he played Division III college ball at Augsburg…