Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  November 14, 2006

Just clearing out the inbox and some stuff shoved in the corner of my brain.

UPDATE: Reminding us that for all the little things not quite coming together yet, now is a good time to be a Laker fan, Roland Lazenby has a new post up at his blog that is great.

The Running Game, long the heart of Laker lore, was put on the shelf while Jackson and Shaq walked their way to three championships. But now the Running Game is back baby, a tip of the hat to Mitch and Ronnie Lester and Jerry Buss; they found players that both fit the triangle and the running game; and as Tex always points out, the triangle is always ready to be morphed into what works best for the given talent on any team; that’s clearly the case with these Lakers; they just have to work out the kinks. Tex wants them to find ways to get out faster, to go, go, go, because that’s when they truly strike some terror in the hearts of their opponents.

• Here are a few stats to throw in the Smush vs. Farmar debate. Smush is really slumping, shooting just 39.3% on jumpers (which account for 82% of his attempts) and he has a PER of 8.1. He’s hitting threes from straight on to the right side of the court well (47.4%), but he’s ice inside the arc and is only shooting 43% at the rim. How do you shoot threes better than layups?

Defensively, it’s pretty much the same as last year: opposing point guards are shooting 52.5% and have a PER of 21.3. This is the one area where Farmar’s numbers are better — other points are shooting 41.3% against him with a PER of 8.6 — but part of that is Farmar, coming off the bench, has spent less time on the opponents top guard. On offense, Farmar is shooting just 36.5% on jumpers (although he gets to the hole more right now, another sign Smush is off) and has a PER of 9.3.

For me, I’m still in the “let Smush play his way out of it” camp. But I’d still give Farmar some key minutes.

• The Lakers still need to communicate better what they are going to do on the high pick and roll, particularly with Farmar in the game. Usually the Lakers switch, but Farmar fights through those more often. Twice in the first halrf Memphis ran the pick-and-pop with Mike Miller setting the pick, Farmar fought through with Stoudemire but Radmanovic and Evans both went with the switch, leaving Miller for an open three.

• I am totally hooked on Heroes.

• J.E. Skeets is funnier than the current Saturday Night Live. Wait, I was trying to pay him a compliment. Whatever, check out his piece about the gentle love between Kobe and Andrew Bynum.

• Low Post’s blog (one of the better ones on the Web) is interviewing NBA bloggers and is starting with everyone’s favorite Henry Abbot from True Hoop. Very much worth the read.

• The latest Carnival of the NBA is up at Phoenix Suns Rising.

• Kwame looked pretty good, considering the rust.

to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. Kurt,

    It’s about the Smusher, not Smush vs. Farmar.

    I believe that Farmar is getting an almost ideal rookie introduction to the NBA. He has been given opportunities to defend almost every opponent’s point guard–but not too much. He’s been given opportunities to lead the Lakers back and change the momentum. He’s been given opportunities to hold onto a lead. I think Farmar probably would get those minutes even if the Smusher had incredible stats and was leading the team with his savvy playmaking. Dream on.

    Unfortunately for the Smusher, Farmar’s amazing responses to most of these opportunities further highlight the Smusher’s long standing strategic deficiencies–getting lost on defense, often stuck in the corner on offense. As more and more of the other players “get it,” the Smusher looks more and more lost and confused. I feel sorry for him.


  2. All things being equal, I would start Farmar over Smush right now. All things, however, are not equal. Smush is a veteran and Farmar is not. Farmar is likely to wear down if we give him too many minutes early in the season and I’d rather keep Farmar available for the playoffs, and let him develop some experience, than rush him into the starting lineup just b/c Smush is in a funk.


  3. Can some one please explain to me how it is that all-star balloting is already open? Talk about giving the players with reputations an advantage.

    Also how sad is the state of centers that Mihm is on the ballot and he wont he even be playing this year? And yet other than a few stars, he would be one of the best choices in the west.


  4. What they said.

    It is puzzling how the on-court action
    seems insufficient to capture SParker’s focus
    all the time,

    on the other hand it’s hard to be in the game
    for the entire game, and therein is one of the things
    Smush needs to recognize in himself and address

    Vets like Kobe or Nash pick points where
    they think they can spell themselves while in play,
    and just as they recognize when they are fatigued physically, they can tell when they’re “into” the game.

    they’re also processing info like time-outs
    seconds remaining on the shot clock,
    reading what the opponent is doing at that moment
    and what indvidual players tendencies are, ad infinitum,
    so they’ve got games within the game going on
    and that keeps them active.

    If Smush is just thinking about being in front
    of his opponent because “Coach said so,”
    he’s not finding his own motivation and the task itself
    is limited.

    Smush’s vaunted “playground” skills come up
    glaringly one-dimensional against the rookie JFarmar
    who while making his share of freshman errors,
    shows his head is in the game on offense and defense.

    Same with Bynum– even Sasha is game active
    despite his current misfortune.

    Smush also must stoke the desire
    to add extra dimension to his game.
    He’s not much older than the others,
    so with youth potential growth can be assumed.

    without that internal push
    he could end up joining Kareem Rush and others
    in the “jack of one trade” category and that would be
    a shame.

    Rather than doing nothing over the summer
    as he reports to have done, he could have taken
    notice of Bynum’s summer assignment and fed off some of that– maybe joined Bynum on some of his work-outs
    or got a guru like Abdul-Jabbar that would give him
    a new way to look at the same ol’ game.

    Again, it proves how tough it is to become and remain
    an elite player in the Assn., and that it takes more
    than talent to get to that level.

    I’d like to see him succeed
    for his sake as well as for the team’s,
    but he’s got to go find and reboot the reason
    that drove him to want to play b-ball in the first place
    and adapt it to what is required of a true
    NBA professional– or if he wants to
    just make a comfortable living
    playing on an International League team somewhere,
    that’s okay too, but bloody well commit.

    – 5 –


  5. Off topic here: The Jazz might be for real. They beat the Clippers tonight 112 to 90. And that’s without Kirilenko.


  6. ian, that’s exactly why if Mihm had a longer contract, he’d be some nice trade bait right about now.


  7. red 5…well said!
    I couldn’t agree more about Smush, and what frustrates me so often is that exactly…that his head ain’t in it.
    these guys who are out there on the floor, where the minimum pay is still something like $250,000…
    well, it’s hard for me to show any sympathy towards their supposed hard times…seeing them “mope” around…poor me.
    of course there’s the infamous, “I can’t feed my family on $21 million…” of the now defunct Spreewell.
    I always like to say, “these guys need to spend 1 full 8 hour day with a roofing crew on a summer day, to more fully appreciate what a charmed life they lead”.

    Smush needs to get his head in the game, not only the NBA, but the game of life as well. maybe he needs to hear about life from someone who seems to really appreciate his…Ronnie Turiaf.


  8. Where do you get the stats on Smush’s FG% from different sides of the court?


  9. Jake, a couple places, but the easiest is:


  10. Thanks, that’s useful. Though I can’t seem to find listings for players who weren’t on the team last year.