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.