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.

Kurt

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19 responses to Lazenby + Winter = Good Copy

  1. You are right, the articles are always very informative and revealing – often by what they don’t say.

    Looking at what the Lakers need to start the game I say the center position (5) is BROWN / MIHM / BYNUM, with Bynum possibly spending time in the D-league in the first half of the season based on the availability of Mihm.

    (4) ODOM / TURIAF / COOK, with a possible Odom at the 3 and Turiaf at the 4 for really rough teams.

    (3) VLADE / WALTON / EVANS look to be a good combo for starting and backup minutes, and to keep Walton in charge of the 2nd unit.

    (2) KOBE / SASHA / Green or Pinnock

    (1) PARKER / FARMER / WILLIAMS to match up against the opponent’s PG.

    Green or Pinnock would be kept and sent to the D-league, with the other, hopefully, signed to the Defenders. If they both go, then Andrew must stay with the big club.

    After last night I think McKie is a gonner, regardless of the salery.

    All this fits well with Winter’s comments and the play so far in the preseason.

    The only question is who starts at PG and I suspect Farmer has little to no chance to start at the beginning of the year. He may play himself into the job fairly soon, but he must do it against NBA teams in the season, not the preseason.

  2. This interview with Roland Lazenby is an absolute must read:
    http://slamonline.com/online/2006/10/lakers-preview

    He pulls all the elements together. The only thing is that it appears the interview was done before Farmer started showing the Lakers are not really weak at PG this year.

  3. I hate, hate, hate the new rules. I don’t care what anybody says…Basketball has and always will be a physical game. And these rules prevent teams from PLAYING basketball. The thing that makes me most upset about these rules is that Jerry Colangelo (the guy that was set up to benefit the most by them) was the architect of them. With the traditional rules the Phoenix Suns would be nothing more than the Dallas Mavericks of Don Nelson/Steve Nash days, and Steve Nash would probably not have gotten close to getting his hands on one MVP award, let a lone two! The people that like these rules definitely are not basketball purists…Check old school guys like Tex Winter, for the way the game is supposed to be played.

  4. In the comments at Lazenby’s blog, he states that Tex doesn’t want to rush Farmar.

    Tex sure is making me worry about the post. Maybe this is all disinformation for the rest of the league?

  5. After last night’s game I am definetly in the camp that says Walton should come off the bench, for the simple reason that Radmanovic needs the stabilzing force of playing with others who are proficient in the offense.

    On Tex’s comments about Kobe, and I may have said this before, Tex usually charts shots. Since the triangle is about finding high percentage shots, he will mark an “F” on his chart if he feels a shot is forced. He has commented that towards the end of Jordan’s career he would frequently have games with only one or two “Forced” shots.
    (comparing this to his freewheeeling early years) I think this is the goal he has in mind for Kobe. If Kobe shoots “within the offense”, Tex (and Phil) won’t care how many he takes.

    Right on, JONES. As they said in the Bad News Bears, “Let them Play!”

    Reading those Tex and Lazenby exchanges reminds just how much I don’t know about basketball. I feel like I’m sitting at the foot of the Buddha…

  6. Disinformation? Have you watched Kwame and Bynum? Tex is dead on about them. They struggle offensively. Period. They are working to get better, but it’s not going to happen overnight.
    And Tex has said several times over the summer he’s impressed with Farmar. But he is a rookie, and if you enter a season planning on a rookie, you’re destined for trouble if you want to make a playoff run.

    Roland Lazenby
    author of The Show

  7. I would say this about Kwame’s offense: When he pushes for it, when he gets the ball and thinks “It’s my turn to score” things tend to go poorly. When he lets the game come to him, he gets points from interior passes or mismatches because of the movement of the offense. He, and Bynum as well, are just not patient.

  8. I would agree that the biggest problem in the post is lack of patience. This lack of patience filters all the way down to the high school level where players think in terms of scoring themselves and try to do too much with the ball and not enough without it. Fewer players realize the importance of what they do off the ball in creating shots for themselves and teammates. More players feel that they have to do something as soon as they get the ball as if they might not get a shot if they are patient within the offense. Patience within the offense, reading defenses, finding the open man are all team concepts that seem to get lost sometimes as players at all levels concentrate only on what they can do when they have the basketball.

  9. Great analysis by Winter seems to emphasize significance of Mihm to Lakers. It also seems to hint further concern about his recovery.

    Craig’s translation of that plus last night’s game into roster projections seems sound, but we may see so many multiple position players, that it might be more helpful to talk about playing time than position priority. Here are some multiple position possibilities:

    We could well see Turiaf at 5, or Odom at 5, 4, 3, 1. We could see Evans or Parker at 2; Kobe at 3; Walton, Vlade, and Mihm at 4; Sasha/Evans at 1.

    Compared to last year, my guess at PT gainers/new faces: Evans, Mihm, Vlade, Farmar, Bynum, Williams

    PT Losers/gone: George, Brown, Kobe, Parker

    In terms of roster, barring a trade, it appears that McKie is closer and closer to that bball in the sky, I’d vote for Pinnock over Green (by a hair), but I wouldn’t rule out some sort of trade to keep them both.

  10. They both also seem to make up their mind what they will do with the ball beofre they get it rather than take what the defense gives them, which is what the tri is built on…

  11. For the record, I was joking with the misinformation comment. I need to start using the sarcastic emoticon…

  12. Roland,
    When I talked about the PG position not being weak this year I didn’t mean Farmer would start, Just that with Farmar behind Smush/Williams the Lakers could rotate people into the position based on the matchups – not force playing time because of lack of depth.

    I think Farmer will start for the Lakers, but he is going to have to earn it within the season, not the preseason.

  13. Sorry, Rob. Certain words like “misinformation” can set off a journalist. Phil has made great use of mininformation over the years. Not Tex. He’s just trying for a clear, accurate picture of who the Lakers are. You can waste a lot of time in basketball trying to be way more than you can be. Kwame is light years ahead of last year this time. He works hard and is pushing to become a scorer.
    All the best.

    Roland

  14. I for one am excited to see what Walton can do for this team with a full healthy season of Basketball (knock on wood). Evans seems to be an ideal player coming off the bench to spell the 2 and 3. I just hope Vlad can heal up and really start becoming the player people thought he was going to be coming into the league. The center position is a problem, but I’ll be an optimist and say I think Kwame will continue to come around and Mihm will get healthy and play his ass off for a new contract. Regarding Farmar, he really is a great talent, but he is a rookie and won’t get a lot of playing time. I know all you UCLA heads out there are a little biased towards him and want to see him play, but it probably won’t happen. On the flip side I’m a little biased too, I’m a UofA guy and Farmar drove me nuts last season. But he’s a Laker now so you gotta love him.

  15. Nothing I’ve read from Tex sounds like he ever goes the disinformation route- he seems to say what’s on his mind and damn the consequences.

    I thought that in the last game, while he didn’t look great in general Bynum was trying to work on passing more, maybe in response to some of these comments. He still looks like he’s thinking through every action he takes. He just needs the experience to speed those thoughts up.

  16. Bynum is still 18, he would be just starting practice as a college sophomre. He has a lot of room to grow, and I think will at the least become a solid center. My only concern is that his maturation process still overlaps with Kobe at his peak.

  17. I think the key for Bynum is how well he absorbs the offense. I really don’t think this results in his thought process speeding up, but will result in everything slowing down for him as he sees the offense develope. I think this is what we mean about developing patience. The game slows down and you see all the options better with a more developed understanding of the offense.

  18. Yeah, when I said speed his thoughts up I really meant that he’d have to think less because with experience he’ll recognize situations more automatically. Problem is, he needs PT to gain that, but until he gains that it’s hard to give him PT…

    But I do like the fact that he is out there thinking. You’ll read the coaches say they’re trying to get him to learn X or Y, and when you watch him, you see him earnestly trying to learn. That’s what excites me about him.

    Kwame, on the other hand, you hope that what people tell him will stick, but it’s hard to tell from the outside whether it will or not…

  19. Roland, glad to have your insights.

    Kobe at 3 is a good idea. However this team has many sfs.

    Luke, MO, and Farmar are pleasant surprises. Vlad and Sasha have to be consistent with their shooting to relieve Kobe’s scoring load.

    Do the Lakers worry about the load of injuries?