Getting The Point

Kurt —  November 13, 2006

Kobe moved to the initiator spot out on top of the triangle Sunday night, Odom moved onto the block and the triangle returned to shape against Memphis. I remember someone floating this idea in the comments a week or two ago (I couldn’t find it), and I balked because I am among those who instinctively wanted Kobe in the Jordan role and Odom as Pippen. It just made sense to me.

Now maybe it’s time for that experiment to end, or at least take a hiatus — Odom is not Scottie Pippen. What Odom brings is versatility. He’s a beast down low, and if other coach takes that away by throwing someone big on him you just get Odom the ball on the wing and let him drive. He can do a lot of things, but is clearly more comfortable getting the ball closer to the basket than creating his own shot starting out by the three-point line.

Remember, Kobe was the initiator out top of the triangle during the Shaq era, and while different parts of the offense are emphasized now he still knows how to run it and to get his shots. He drove the lane a few times, other times moved through the offense and got the ball in an attack position on the wing and scored that way.

Another thing I saw was how much better the rebounding looked — Kobe grabbed 6 boards (he had averaged 3.6 per game) and several times pushed the ball all the way up on the break ala Magic. Odom had 16 boards, well above his 7.6 average.

Part of how well things went is that Memphis, sans Gasol, is a good match up for the Lakers. But with four days off, the Lakers have time to practice and get used to Kobe out top more. The Lakers can still switch things up — have Smush or Odom set the table at times, depending on matchups.

But Kobe out top was a stabilizing influence out top, and consistency at that spot is something the Lakers have lacked. With Kobe out top we should see much more of it.