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.