Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  October 4, 2006

Notes and thoughts on the Lakers and the opening of camp — while I keep an eye on the Dodgers and Mets:

• The first day of training camp focused on defense. Good. So should the second, and the third, and the…..

• I was less than thrilled this summer when I learned that John Hollinger’s Basketball Prospectus was not coming out this year, that rather everything was moving online, to’s Insider. I can’t begrudge a guy making a few bucks, but if I didn’t respect Hollinger so much I’d be screaming sell out.

Just about the time the book would have arrived in my mailbox, I went online Monday to read his analysis of the Lakers and predictions for the coming season — and I think it’s pretty fair and accurate. I don’t agree with everything he said — for example, Hollinger question the Lakers biggest off-season move but I’ve said before Radmanovic brings more things to than table Cook, plus Hollinger and I can agree to disagree about the Lakers offensive strategy against the Suns in the playoffs — but for the most part its fair.

I’m not going to quote it at length, because it’s not fair to do that for material you are supposed to pay to see, but I think his bottom-line prediction for the coming year is accurate.

The Lakers are at least a player short from serious contention, but they’ll have a puncher’s chance in any playoff series…. the Lakers were better than their record indicated a year ago — they had 49 expected wins, but finished with only 45 wins. So even if Bryant slipped a little, they would be able to make up for some of it just with better luck…. All told, I expect the Lakers to be at least as good as they were a year ago, with an outside shot at a top-four seeding in the West.

• Kevin at Clipperblog is just smarter than me — Mike Duleavy in Anna Karenina. And it works.

• All that talk about trading Chris Mihm is going to have to wait until he proves himself healthy — and by all reports his ankle is still not great after last year’s severe sprain and off-season surgery. He won’t be taking part in practices for at least two weeks. His being slowed in preseason means he could end up like Luke Walton last season, injured in the preseason and slow to get back into the rotation. If the Lakers are looking to trade him look for him to get showcased starting around Christmas, or just after.

• Mihm’s situation opens up the door for Andrew Bynum to get minutes. The question is can he step through it.

• Word out of Golden State camp is that Troy Murphy will be spending time at center as the Warriors go small. Not a surprise with Nelson as coach, but I like that match up against the tall and long Lakers.

• Mamadou N’Diaye and Marcus Douthit were signed by the Lakers as training camp fodder.