Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  March 5, 2007

Lots of notes and random thoughts in a grab bag today:

• We learn the fate of Lamar Odom today, and there will be an update here as soon as word comes down. That said, I’m not optimistic, and neither is the Will Carroll, who made a comment here:

Unfortunately, I don’t have the same sources I do in basketball that I do in baseball. I think that Odom’s significant labrum tear is likely to end his season. He wont be able to reach up strongly for rebounds, would have significant pain if hit or worse, has his arms pulled or chopped, and I have to think it would affect his shot. It’s a bad, bad injury.

UPDATE: Odom is going to do a mini D Wade move, rehab it for a couple weeks then decide whether to come back or go under the knife.

• I don’t believe in moral victories at the professional level, but some losses sting less than others. The loss to Phoenix didn’t hurt much. If the Lakers play defense like that the rest of the way they will win plenty of games.

• I’ll add, I think it helped that the Lakers played the Suns last year in the playoffs. During the regular season there is little time for NBA teams to practice and most scouting and preparing for a team is of the video/grease board variety. But the Lakers had game experience in what to do against Phoenix, what their preferences were. It showed.

• The best part of the ABC broadcast — did you see the post-game interview with Steve Nash? He gets asked about the 2 for 11 first half and why he played better in the second half and his response is (not an exact quote), “I spent most of the pregame warm-ups in the bathroom with diarrhea… I probably shouldn’t have said that.” Honesty can be damn funny.

• Forget who starts, let’s look at the Lakers lineup for the final 5 minutes against Phoenix: Shammond, Sasha, Kobe, Cook and Kwame. The squad that Phil perceived as playing the best defense (we could argue some of those).

• What was getting Smush in trouble with Nash (at least more than the other guards) is the classic Smush problem — he would go for the steal and that opens up a lane for a good ball handler. Shammond just tried as best he could to stay in front of him, which is why he got the crunch-time minutes. I think it will be interesting to see how Smush responds to this at the start of the next game. Does he learn and change a little on the defensive end? Or does he try to go on a scoring binge, saying basically “you can’t afford to lose my offense right now?”

• For the game, Bynum was a team best +9, Kwame a team worst -15. It’s one game, so take that with a lot of salt. But I’d say right now Bynum offers a lot more offense, but even the rusty Kwame does a better job defending the pick-and-roll. In the comments on the game there started to have a good discussion about that.

• Pippen and Jackson talked. While Pippen was barbequing. Here’s the thing: I think Pippen could be a help but there is no way you sign him unless he comes for a workout. There wasn’t much in the tank two years ago when he played, and he admitted that as of last week he hadn’t played five-on-five recently.

The Lakers may be desperate with Odom out, but how much can Pippen really contribute? We can’t think of him as the 1997 Pippen, we need to evaluate the 2007 model. And there are questions that need to be answered before McKie is cut and a contract signed.

Kurt

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14 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. Lakers controlled tempo very well yesterday. We lost, but it doesn’t mean we didn’t play well. The game was being played at our speed, not theirs. You could see how affected the Suns fast break was by our game control. I think we have a very good game plan against them. We make them play uncomfortably.

    And I hope Smush learns from his mistake. Even though he has let me down a lot this year, I am still a Smush fan. I think he has the physical abilities to play good D and be consistent in the triangle, but he’s not quite there mentally. He needs an attitude change. I would be more than happy to see him make this attitude change, play a little better D, and re-earn his minutes… but it all starts in the Gym.

  2. Nash’s next line was, “I think they’re still eating brunch in Hawaii.”

  3. I think Shammond might start over Parker as well as finish. If Smush was yelling at Phil, Jackson will probably bench him. Plus he plays no D.
    Starting 5: Williams,Kobe,Odom,Brown,Bynum
    Finishers: Williams,Kobe,Odom,Cook,Bynum

  4. 3- I don’t think we can start our #1 and #2 centers at the same time. We’re not that deep up front. We can’t have Ronny backing both of them up. I think it needs to look more like Bynum and Turiaf starting, with Bynum scoring and Turiaf busting his ass defending. Then our 2nd unit will be Kwame and Cook with Cook scoring and Kwame busting his ass defending.

  5. I don’t want to pile on Smush, but there was an interesting note from South Bay resident Kevin Ding in the OC Register today:

    Jackson called Parker “flaccid” on offense, but also called Parker “despondent” during the third quarter when Nash got revved up. Jackson wanted to see if Williams could guard Nash, too, saying afterward that Williams “did OK.” Parker could be seen working on his hair extensively before the nationally televised game.

    http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/sports/pros/lakers/abox/article_1598641.php

  6. And does anyone know whats up with Bynum’s ankle? He twisted it a little bit yesterday but it didn’t seem that bad. It looked like one of those ones you just run off. But he played very little in the 2nd half, that had to have been why. I don’t see any other reason why Kwame comes in for him 3 minutes into the 3rd and plays like 12 minutes straight, against the suns. But we didn’t hear anything about Bynum in the paper today so maybe he did just walk it off.

  7. Which Laker is next to get injured, and how?

    The way this season’s going, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mo Evans pull a double Livingston on his way to the rack.

  8. Odom to decide in 2-3 weeks whether to tough it out or undergo surgery.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-lakerep6mar06,1,7474591.story?coll=la-headlines-sports

  9. I think he should tough it out like D-Wade and have surgery in the offseason

  10. Odom’s decision is smart. He may not need surgery, and if so, rehab slowly and let nature take its course. But please, please, please do not rush back too early to “help the team”. Let’s face it, the dream of a 2nd round playoff appearance seems far away indeed. At the very least, Lakers fans must admit that there is no chance of a title this year. The team is too banged up and the kind of luck they’d need is unfathomable. So please Vitti, don’t clear Odom if he’s just going to injure himself worse by playing through this injury. It is not worth it. The Lakers need a healthy Lamar next season too. (Besides, I don’t like seeing former players who destroyed their bodies completely for the sport. Competition is one thing, walking without a cane when you’re 60 is another.)

  11. Why sign Pippin when we’ve got Mychal Thompson and Big James Worthy already up on all facets of the Lakers every game? They might be enrolled fo these desperate situations. I heard that Gail Goodrich might be good for 5 minutes at shooting guard. Or . . .

    The Lakers could worry about complementary pairings (like Bynum/Turiaf and Cook/Kwame) and assignment of minutes for the players that remain–as suggested by many of you.

    Ray

  12. Here’s what I see with the Laker’s season so far. Injuries have definitely screwed up chemistry. But that being said, the Lakers compete, and in fact, have a good record against the elite and almost elite teams (though Cleveland and Detroit have their number this year). The problem is that they don’t play with any intensity against the weaker teams, and have lost a lot of games they shouldn’t lose. Consequently, the Lakers may be stuck playing San Antonio in the first round, and likely another first round exit in a seven game series. If they beat the likes of the Bobcats and the Blazers and the Kings, they probably have a fifth seed and beat the Jazz in six.

  13. 12 – Actually if the Lakers stay at the 6th seed, there’s a good chance they’ll be playing the Jazz. Don’t let the Hollinger Rankings fool you ; – ) Utah is only one game behind SA right now.

  14. skigi
    I like your lineup parings. Continuously good balance.

    I think Smush continues to start, but his minutes shrink, depending on his attitude. We get the most out of him in the beginning of the game. Why mess with that. Just get him out sooner if he goes into any tailspin.