Straight Outta Fresno

Kurt —  October 11, 2006

Phil Jackson is a smart man, timing that hip surgery to avoid a trip to Fresno. I’d go as far as a root canal to avoid spending any time in Fresno, but Phil went above and beyond.

I didn’t see the Lakers’ first exhibition game last night, but here are thoughts based on listening to much of the game on the radio, looking at the box scores and notes from people and media who were there.

• As a team the Lakers shoot 59.6% (eFG%) — so much for not liking the new ball. Better news is the Lakers held Utah to 43.5% as a team.

• Lamar Odom rightly has been focused on personal issues this summer, but he didn’t look out of step once back on the court. He scored 18 points on 83% shooting (eFG%) and by all reports was very active on defense as well.

• New Laker Vladimir Radmanovic had a rougher start, going 2 of 7 from the floor (and I think the two makes were both layups), plus there were a couple bad passes that led to turnovers. We can just chalk that up to an off night.

• Meanwhile, Luke Walton started at the three and went 5 of 8 from the floor with six assists. Now, this is just one game, but I think it’s fair to ask the question: Could Walton keep his starting job? He had it last preseason then lost it to injury, but by the end of the season had won it back. I think most of us, including Vlad, had the newcomer penciled in as a starter, but in Seattle they thought Radmanovic was better suited as a change-of-pace off the bench. If Tuesday’s pattern were to continue…

• Kwame, deep breaths. Don’t rush your shots.

• Maurice Evans is dangerous if he gets the ball in the corner. And his presence is going to really help keep Kobe fresh this year, dropping his minutes by a few a game.

• Kwame a. wondered in the comments who would get the job as the backup power forward, Brian Cook or Ronny Turiaf. Again, just one game but Turiaf 21 minutes, Cook 9.

• Pinnock 5 minutes, Farmar 4 and Devin Green 4. Not even getting on the floor: Aaron McKie, Von Wafer, Marcus Douthit and Mamadou N’diaye.

• Just passing along a conspiracy theory out of True Hoop: Remember how Kobe (and a number of other players) wore those Nike tights last season? Is it a coincidence those have been banned this season right as Adidas comes on board as the league’s official clothing sponsor?

• Speaking of things Kobe does getting banned, another new rule for this season is players may not have a wristband on the upper arm or forearm. I’m really hard pressed to see any logic behind that one.

to Straight Outta Fresno

  1. Utah had 20 offensive rebounds?

    The Nike comspiracy theory reminds me of the original dream team and the fact that the Nike guys had to wear Reebok sweat suits on the victory stand, so Nike had them drape flags over their shoulders to cover the logo.

    “I felt the American dream is standing up for what you believe in,” Jordan said. “I stood up for something I believe in.”

    Life, liberty and the pursuit of endorsements.


  2. I’m really hard pressed to see any logic behind that one.

    I’m hard pressed to see the logic behind wearing a wristband anywhere but the wrist.


  3. micheal jordan is defintley one of the biggest corporate shills who has walked the earth, the only thing he’d ever take a stand on is gatorade over water, or maybe hanes over fruit of the loom, what a coward, he could’ve really affected social change, but what the hell, i guess he’d rather sell 200 hundred dollar sneakers.

    im excited about sasha, hes added 15+ pounds, and that will allow his shot to improve and remain consistent throughout the season. i would not be surprised if he presses smush for time, and may start at some point this season

    the ban on armbands, as well as the ridiculous other measures (dress code, nazi-like discipline for talking about the refs) is just part of the on-going image repair the racist corporate sponsors demanded their puppet davey stern to implement. whats next, a speech rule that bans all slang, my god its gotten absurd


  4. No, I think the next attempt will be to get speach coaches for all the players to ensure that they have good diction, don’t slur, and always use proper grammar. My prediction is that Iverson will pistol whip his speech coach, but Tim Duncan will become best friends with his.


  5. kwame a., not everyone is Ali. More are Tiger Woods.


  6. I think the tight and wrist band rules stem more from image management than from corporate sponsorship. This seems similar to the dress code that was recently implemented. The NBA doesn’t want players to appear so “street” (black) that they scare away white people. Which is, of course, insane.

    I have no doubt the league would ban tatoos if they could.


  7. Image management and corporate sponsorship are intertwined. What is driving the image issues is the older mostly-white guys who run the major corporations that pay the big bucks and don’t relate to/are turned off by the young hip-hop players. Same goes down to the individual team level, where it is those same corporate heads and well-fed people who can buy the luxury boxes and courtside seats.

    It’s about money. It’s always about money.


  8. I think one reason that Turiaf played more min. over Cook is not necessarily that they like him more as a player (or indicative of time each will get in the regular season) but more because Turiaf is more of an unknown quality that NEEDS more time learning the system and the offense etc. Cook has been doing the triangle for awhile now, he gets the drill. Now, that doesn’t mean I think that Cook is better or worse than Turiaf, I just think that the resasons I listed are much more likely to be the factors affecting play time differences.


  9. Elyse, well said, that’s why it’s just something to watch. But I’ll add that just part of the equation is that Vlad duplicates Cook’s skill set, while the Lakers have nobody quite like Turiaf. It’ll be interesting to see how all that shakes out.


  10. I agree about the money, Kurt. When I said corporate sponsorship, I meant that the switch to addidas from nike wasn’t likely wasn’t a factor.


  11. Ya, that is a good point. I am sure Cook’s minutes will decrease this year with the addition of Vlad. Assuming Vlad plays well enough. I am hoping that the first preseason game was just a bit of rust. Although, didn’t Kwame recently say he saw him shoot lights out?


  12. cook could still be valuable. we could concievably run a phoenix-like lineup out there with odom at center, cook at the four, vlad at the three, kobe at the two and smush at the point. i would not be surprised if we did, imagine the shooting on the court, although we would get TORCHED defensivley.


  13. Would PJ ever run a fast break offense over his beloved triangle? It might be interesting for him to change it up once in a while, you know a few times every game just ignore the triangle. It might work, you know the whole surprise factor thing. But you are right, the other teams offense would have a party.