Lazenby + Winter = Good Copy

Kurt —  October 18, 2006

When Roland Lazenby and Tex Winter talk, good information flows — and the latest post on Lazenby’s blog proves that again. You need to go read the whole thing, but here are a few interesting topics covered:

Mihm is the team’s only true offensive threat at center. But his recovery has dragged on leaving huge questions.

The other posts — Kwame Brown and teen-ager Andrew Bynum — have both improved. “Brown and Bynum have got a long way to go,” Winter said. “They’re working hard, and Brown is a good strong defender, a strong rebounder. Bynum has improved and has turned in some good play recently.

“But neither one of them can score the ball. They both want to score and try to score, but they don’t. So we lose the post scoring option out of the triangle.”

That sort of flattens the offensive geometry into a beeline for Bryant.

What’s worse, with Brown and Bynum pressing so hard to score “they’re really not the feeders out of the post we want them to be. Seeing and feeding the cutters is important for the post in the triangle. They realize it, and they’re trying to do the right thing. Both of them are pretty good passers. So they’re supposed to be feeders first. But right now they’re looking to score and struggling to score as opposed to being feeders first.”

That’s the frontcourt, but what about the other area of concern, perimeter defense?

Traditionally, Jackson’s teams have featured lots of ball pressure. But the league last season began a new policy of calling touch fouls on the perimeter to help free up offensive players. Thus, Miami’s Dwyane Wade’s big performance in the NBA Finals last June. That means the Lakers’ pressure style has to shift.

“I think you have to play more of a containing defense,” explained Winter, a critic of the NBA’s new guidelines for officiating the game. “You can still put some pressure on the offense. You can contain them and slow the ball up.”

But the new guidelines “change how you force turnovers,” Winter explained. “You can’t be as aggressive as you’d like to be with your hands. You can’t be ‘into’ the guy as much.”

As a result, defense now becomes a matter of waiting for the offensive player to make a mistake, rather than forcing a turnover, Winter said.

The Lakers would like to exert the kind of ball pressure they used to deploy when Derek Fisher wore the Forum Blue and Gold. But the new guidelines are still murky, Winter said. Before games, officials have visited with teams to explain the new approach, Winter said. “They come in and tell us all this stuff. Then the first four or five plays of the game, you see them doing just the opposite from what they said. You don’t know what they’re going to call. So you have to adjust accordingly, depending what’s going on from game to game, even half to half.”

I like what Tex had to say what Kobe too, but that is a topic for another day.