Preview & Chat: The Phoenix Suns

Kurt —  April 8, 2007

I’m excited to watch some television today. The Sopranos and Entourage are back tonight — I may or may not feel good after watching the Lakers today, but I know I will have fun watching those two shows. And, that means dinner tonight at our house before the Sorpano’s — baked ziti.

How to beat the Suns. It’s going to take a big effort at both end of the court. And, unlike the last three games, it will take 48 minutes of effort.

Let’s start on the offensive end, where we’ve seen the Lakers have success. The style of the Suns is to get you into a perimeter, up-tempo game. When the Lakers have had success they have done the opposite — be deliberate on offense and pound the ball inside. Kwame being back would be helpful, but whether he is or isn’t Bynum needs to show up for this game (unlike in Seattle). Posting up Odom, Kobe, Smush, basically anyone is a good idea.

On defense, well the smart blog The Painted Area had a great breakdown of what you want to do against the Suns — and how San Antonio did it (via True Hoop).

San Antonio chased the Phoenix shooters off the (three point) line, and forced them into long-jumpers off the dribble. Again, here at the Paint Area we have put forth the concept that you want the Suns taking 2-pointers as much as possible. Give them looks in the 8 foot to 21 foot range as much as possible. Even if you have to sacrifice some easy looks in 2-point range, just get them off the 3pt. line. (The Spurs) did this to perfection. And when the Suns tried to get rolls to the basket off the pick/roll, the Spurs’ help on the backline was superb & nearly there every play to either impede Amare, Nash or Marion. The Spurs always seemed to have 2-3 guys waiting in the lane when any Sun tried to attack the rim. Bell & Barbosa were taking mid-range jumpers off the dribble, & Diaw was taking long jumpers–exactly what you want. The Spurs defensive rotations were perfect on basically every possession.

The real question. Can the Lakers do that for 48 minutes? They have played somee of their better games against the Suns. As I said before I think part of that is due to familiarity — they got to know the Suns play very well last year in the playoffs, they know what they have to do better than most teams, where to push guys on defense or where to attack on offense. Knowing what to do is one thing, the question today is exectution.

A few player notes:
Smush is getting the start tonight (Phil told thhe LA Times that). The real question is, who plays in crunch time?

Kwame will be a game time decsion. Whether he does or doesn’t play — and espescially if he doesn’t — Bynum needs to step up, particularly on the defensive end. He has been a non-factor the last couple games (worse than that against Kaman, who torched him).

Radmanovic is expected back Thursday, against the Clippers.

Kurt

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43 responses to Preview & Chat: The Phoenix Suns

  1. chris henderson April 8, 2007 at 10:25 am

    both Andrew and Smush need to learn a lesson from Ronnie, and that lesson is to learn that the life they have right NOW is a true blessing, a once in a lifetime opportunity and they alone control how that comes out.
    Smush is pouting, seeing only the bad in a situation where he should suck it up, get over his bruised pride, be a man and get his ass out there and hustle, make it up to his teammates, let his actions do his talking.
    Andrew seems like a spoiled teenager who is playing NBA basketball because he was made to do it by his mom. he acts like he’d rather be hanging with his buddies watching Beavis and Butthead, and he’s only doing this because he has to. Laker mgt needs to speak with HIS MOM, and let her know that young ‘Drew is phoning it in, not being professional, and while at one time, he was considered untouchable, they are now considering a nice place to trade him, like Minnesota!
    Maybe his Mom will get his young ass in gear!
    the reason I say they need this lesson from Ronnie, well, we all know he appreciates life, more so that most of us. He looked death in the eye, even if it wasn’t a life or death operation, anytime someone says that they have to open your chest and operate on your heart, that is a time when you rethink what life is all about, and if you get through this, you are going to live life to the fullest. and that is the Ronnie we are seeing today.
    and that is the lesson these young pouting siulkers need to learn.
    they are playing basketball on the Los Angeles Lakers under Phil Jackson, alongside Kobe – all eventual places in the HISTORY of the game.
    what’s it’ going to say about them?
    (probably as badly as it’s going to remember George Bush Jr)

  2. (1) Beavis and Butthead? Your point is well taken but that show ended 10 years ago.

  3. dude he could have it on DVD. i do, it rules.

  4. Smush Parker must be reading my posts. It’s good to see him come out there with more bounce in his step. We know he is capable of playing like this, it’s just that he’s been pouting the entire year, and fans won’t stand for that. Especially when we know he is capable of playing like this.

    And can someone teach Andrew how to set a pick. He moves on almost every pick he sets and unlike Boris Diaw, he actually gets called for it.

  5. Phil waited waaay too long to bring in Ronny and Luke…

  6. the problem today was andrew and his lack of energy, hustle, and scoring.

  7. Drew was unimpressive. Kwame said in the LA Times today his confidence is gone, and Bynum needs to get it back somehow.

  8. Jones- I cannot agree with you more, I was screaming for Phil to put Ronny back in. No mistake that as soon as he was out and Andrew was back in, Phoenix ran off a quick scoring spurt that put the game out of reach. I know that Turiaf cannot play all 24 in the 2nd half, but he should’ve been put in at 8 mins.

    Also, why is Odom placed out top on the perimeter when he can be on the block creating mismathes. We become so predictable on offense in the 4th quarter. Why do we limit our options to kobe mid=post iso, or kobe pick n roll. And if we are gonna run kobe pick and roll, lets run it with Lamar, keep him involved, he’s really our only other threat individually on offense now that Walton cannot throw a pea in the ocean.

  9. Bynum -15, Turiaf, +7.

    And you guys weren’t alone in thinking that we needed to give the playing time to the guy earning it, and just as Jordan had the last few games Turiaf did tonight. If the Lakers do end up facing the Suns in the first round I’m not sure how much floor time Bynum sees.

  10. chris henderson April 8, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    do you think Andrew still is in the “untouchable” catagory?
    I’m beginning to wonder about his heart, work ethic, etc.
    may be a good time to shop him around this off season.
    anybody know how Mihm is progressing?

  11. The saddest thing about this loss is that it was totally predictable. Without Kwame, the prospects were bleak.

    For those of you who see Bynum as untouchable for trades, get used to what you saw. It gets worse before it gets better. How many of you are willing to see Kobe try to come out and play in another five years on crutches–no more cartilage to remove from his knees?

    The Smusher came out on fire scoring. He drained threes, made driving layups, even made a few rebounds and steals–and the Lakers gave up 115.

    In case you missed his defense, at half time they showed Phoenix first half scoring highlights. Almost every one also featured vintage Smushian turnstyle defense.

    He followed his typical decline in the second half on all fronts–but Phil put the Smusher back in after a few minutes on the second half bench anyway. Jordan Farmar had an offensive turnover followed by a defensive lapse. The curse of the Smusher was there to derail the Lakers in the end–but Phoenix didn’t need it.

    Despite outplaying ALL the big men, Turiaf is still treated as an afterthought.

    When the Lakers beat Seattle, Kurt said that “the subs” did well last night. We might want to rethink what it means to be a starter on this team.

    With Bynum and Smush still classified as starters, and Turiaf. Farmar, and Evans classified as “subs,” even after nearly a whole season, we need to marvel that Kobe, Lamar, and Luke kept it as close as they did.

    Even if a healthy Kwame played, and Turiaf, Evans, and Farmar got their minutes, the Suns might still win every game–but at least we’d be a Laker team that I believe in.

    When Bynum and Smush start, I don’t even want to watch!

  12. various points in a unclear manor i’d like to get across to other laker fans

    to all of you

    -forget talent, and all the other hang-ups with this team

    let the triangle set you free, it’s the greatest equalizer in sports. it removes all advantages of size, better athletes, dominant centers, and great point guards …if demonstrated properly. Much like the motion offense does as well.

    -we can’t double steve nash ever! To me, that is a cardinal rule in basketball, don’t let a pg. be doubled. That is what killed us today. All those corner three’s from raja bell. I’d much rather have steve nash trying to beat us straight up, then all those open corner three’s being attempted, and then made. To me it really makes no sense, besides smush, all the starters (kwame, kobe, lamar, and evans (don’t think luke should start either) play man to man defense relatively well. So, at this point this is are weakest link on defense. The strategy should be, ok, beat your man, but your not beating our team steve nash. If we continue to double on nash like today it will be the end for us. As the current standings have the lakers playing them in the playoffs.

    On top of that breakdown, we had numerous rushed shots. We once again tried to run with a running team. This will always fail. They have to play at a almost snail’s pace on offense to give themselves a chance for victory, it’s that simple. Get the best shot possible, taking off the most amount of time, and t hen rush back on defense in transition. Another point that should be emphazied to the whole team.

    if the lakers had consistently executed these two stratagies today they might have won.

    Still, now that amare has a jump shot on top of his low post game, he makes them that much more difficult to beat.

    I hope they execute these principles tomorrow against denver.

    -i disagree, kobe should not going guns a blazing against the suns. If anything the ball should move around a little more. I’d like to see the ball not stop moving when it goes to kobe, but continue to move until the defense is off balance. Allowing for the best possible shot. Which i thought he did a pretty good job at, but he could do a lot better going forward. We all know the key to beating the suns is slowing the pace, and dictating the tempo of the game to which best suits your style of play. Slow the ball down, and move it all around.

    Did anyone see the job lamar did on shawn marion today. He almost did to good of a job, because he wasn’t in the game he couldn’t exploit his mismatch on him. All the fouls were acumulated on marion because of lamar, except one on smush i think. I would like to see lamar post more, and have the ball in his hands longer. Heck, run more high screens for him as well.

    The key for beating the suns includes what i mentioned previously, but also most importantly Lamar Odom. Free him phil let the man play!

    -i don’t know, steve nash is not the type of player that can beat you single handedly. If he can i’d like to see him try. Rather that than raja bell making open three’s

    although, smush does deserve credit for coming out playing pretty well…except he started to make poor decsisons after his good start.

    on a different note maurice should play the point against Phoenix. Post and attack nash the whole game with him, he will become frustrated, and foul ridden. Not to forget, he can also play pretty decent defense on him as well. If only we had gary payton just to play the suns. he would post his ass all day! This will also help in beating the suns

  13. I kind of agree with AK there. You can’t double Nash, because that is exactly what the Suns want you to do. Single cover Nash, and if he goes for 40-50 so be it. But Nash’s mentallity is to pass, not score, so covering the shooters and making it difficult for Nash to find open men is definitely more advantageous than double teaming him…

  14. All those words Adam (keep it short, man!), but the words that stick with me are “I don’t think luke should start either.”

    If you don’t think Luke should be starting I question how much Laker basketball you truly watch. Last year the team took off instantly as soon as Luke was inserted into the starting lineup once he was healthy. He is crucial to our success each and every game. A “glue” guy as they call it. Every credible Laker insider says that Luke Walton may be our best team defender. The last thing our starting five needs is less defense.

    Also, Mo Evans playing PG is just not feasible. He doesn’t handle the ball well and isn’t quick enough to play the position. He is a wing player only who hustles his way to production. He has never run an offense.

    That game was lost on the defensive end, as usual. Nothing new here this season.

  15. Bynum shows no heart, Andrew isn’t aggressive, AB is getting beat on defense.

    Get a life. This guy was drafted as a 3-4 year project because of his lack of playing time in high school. You cannot get centers anywhere these days. The Lakers are going to give him 3-4 years to get it together. This is still his 2nd year. He was forced to play too many minutes because of injuries. We should be hoping this doesn’t ruin his chances, not gripe about his performance.

    The only real gripe about AB I have today is that Phil refused to sub in Turiaf as the flow of the game changed and left him on the bench until it was all lost. I guess he had to give him his designated amount of rest. However, that is bad coaching on Phil’s part. Turiaf is also in his 2nd year, but he played 4 yrs of college ball and overseas as well.

  16. Ronny should be getting so many more minutes. I don’t think we should knock Andrew too hard. He’s 19, and doing better, I think, than most expected, though I don’t know about you guys (and gals)-and he’s had to play more because of the injury to Kwame. Still, to bench him or just seriously alter his role I, I think, would be rough on him. I think he’s doing OK, though I wish Kwame was around and bringing it. The way to get the best out of guys is to encourage, not downgrade. That’s why I was glad to see Smush a little more positive today…still not the best D but…..but yeah, really, if you earn your PT as Ronny has, you should get it. And he’s the most effective C at this point…..

  17. If everyone on the team played with as much heart and fire as Ronny, obviously we would be in a much better situation than we currently are. I think Phil will give him more minutes.

    I’m with Craig and TC. Let’s not jump on Andrew too hard. He wasn’t even supposed to be playing more than 10-15 min this year. So to expect solid production beyond that is crazy.

  18. Also, my only question is where is John R.? He hasn’t shown up to appologize to me for his salary cap mistake on Friday.

  19. warren (philippines) April 8, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Andrew Bynum is a RISK. He is a gamble when you trade him away, He is a gamble when you keep him.

    I say, you trade him away when his potential is perceived the highest – that means NOW. This off-season, make him the bait for KG. I think McHale might feel better knowing he got something out of the KG deal.

    AB is FOol’s Gold.

  20. warren (philippines) April 9, 2007 at 12:05 am

    can anyone please tell me if the 80M extension for Bynum was signed? cant find it anywhere in ESPN but i swear I saw it happen.

  21. warren (philippines) April 9, 2007 at 12:10 am

    ey JONESONTHE NBA, u seem like a very knowledgeable guy, can u help me?

    Im referring to my comment #21. thanks in advance…

  22. warren (philippines) April 9, 2007 at 12:27 am

    #23 pardon me…

  23. Warren, Bynum has not signed an extension. He is in the second year of his three year rookie deal, he makes about $2.2. Next year he makes a little more. The real question is when it comes extension time in a couple of years, and what to offer him. But that offer is more than a year away.

  24. warren (philippines) April 9, 2007 at 12:38 am

    ok Kurt, I guess that was merely an offer then. HoopsHype doesnt have his salary under BYC yet so I guess it wasn’t really signed. Thanks a bunch.

  25. Warren- I agree with you, he’s fools gold, sell high, before the rest of the league finds out. Not for anyone, but for the right player, Bynum should be utilized to improve the team. Based on our salary cap situation we are only gonna keep one player between AB and Kwame, and I think we could pay Kwame 30 million less than AB and still sign other players to compliment Kobe, Lamar and whoever we get for AB.

  26. warren (philippines) April 9, 2007 at 7:50 am

    Andrew Bynum can be traded for a 4.5M value based on BYC, Brian Cook can go for 3.5M,
    Vlade Radman at 5.6M,
    sign-and-trade Mihm for 3M,
    then Sasha’s expiring 1.8M.

    KG’s salary for 08 is at 22M thereby, the 17.6M salary combo will be enough.

  27. warren (philippines) April 9, 2007 at 7:56 am

    folks, Jamaal Magloire is available. Mid-level exception? He’d fit in well.

  28. I love Smush’s quote today, “We lost, but I had fun.”

    Sorry, despite his points there was nothing redeeming in his play yesterday and it was broadcast on national TV for all to see.

    There must be some curse on Laker PG’s.

  29. Smush played well up to a point, but killed it with that fake behind the back pass that led to a turn over. I believe he had Kobe and Mo on the break with him, all he had to do was make a simple dish and the Lakers would have been down one.

  30. Ronny played well. Luke is still not himself. What about this as a strarting lineup in the playoffs?

    1: Smush, 2: Kobe, 3: Odom; 4: Ronny; 5: Kwame/Bynum

    I think this lineup is a little stronger defensively.,

  31. I think the play that killed us was the fast break with Lamar and Kobe that was stolen by Raja Bell. It was quickly converted into a bucket and we never scratched the surface after that.

    We killed ourselves many other ways in that game, but that was a momentum killer at the worst possible time.

    As much as Raja Bell drives me nuts, he works his tail off and earns his role in the NBA.

    AND NO, I DO NOT WANT JAMAL MAGLOIRE!!!!! really, what is that all about? have you seen him play recently?? He, Radman, and Cookie are about the most passive big men in the game. Let’s not add another loafer in the paint for all to expose. He’s not garbage persay, but he is far from a solution.

  32. Cary I feel the same about Raja, and said as much yesterday on the fanhouse:

    http://nba.aolsportsblog.com/2007/04/08/why-i-respect-raja-bell

  33. A side note for it is Monday–

    Is it just me,
    or does Raja Bell look very much like
    der animated Wienerschnitzel?

    – 5 -

  34. We aren’t good at fastbreaks, we had three we messed up on last nite alone, one with Kobe in the middle, one with Lamar, one with Smush, all plays most teams get an easy dunk out of. We had a missed shot, a turnover and a turnover for a dunk on the other end. Little things or big things, take your pick right now

  35. Warren, your trade speculations aren’t very realistic. Yeah, Vlade/Cook/Mihm/Sasha/Bynum for KG would be a fantastic deal for the Lakers, they would do that deal in a heartbeat. And the salaries might work under the cap, but there’s NO WAY the T-Wolves would do that deal.

    All they would be getting back for Garnett is a prospect, two soft bigs, an injured backup center and a shooting guard who doesn’t shoot well.

    The Bulls, for one, would certainly be happy to offer the Wolves a much better deal than that. So would the Celtics, and many other teams. The Lakers will have to put together a much better offer than that to get a deal done.

    Also, the $80 million deal for Bunum you refer to was NOT an offer from the Lakers. It must have been speculation by someone on the internet. As Kurt said, the team is not able to offer Bynum an extension until July ’08 (after the third year of his rookie deal).

  36. Luke is our best option now at sf, but in the future i’d like to see him utilized off the bench. At least that’s how i feel, and at this point our best defender team or one on one is Lamar Odom. He picks up screens, he doubles well, and his man to man lately has been stellar
    I miss luke making that extra pass, he’s really been forcing it lately, espcially yesterday 3-9 shooting. Less shot luke, and more assists.

  37. Those sound like video game trades, Warren – and even those get turned down more and more in this modern-day business world. It would probably take Bynum and Odom to get Garnett, minimum.

    Check this, I have a franchise going with the Lake show on NBA 2K7 and I am in Lamar’s last year of his contract. I have to trade him or let him walk – I don’t have enough cash to resign the man. On a video game I can’t even afford to stockpile a dynasty around Kobe!

    We would have to be very lucky for a star player to take less $$$ to play alongside our current team.

    These are all pipe dreams that we share. In an ideal world, of course we can get a bunch of great talent around Kobe to start contending every year. But I don’t see it happening this year or next with the Lakers. I hope I am wrong – and I urge you to remind me all the way from the philippines if I am.

  38. Adam – I understand your opinion and agree Lamar’s length and athleticism is crucial to our team defense, but i respectfully have to disagree with you. Listen to Tex Winter – he has said numerous times that Luke is our best team defender (this has been posted on this forum before). I’ll take Tex’s word anyday of the week. Luke has a great future starting for this team.

    Kwame a – so true on the fast break point. Those seem small, but PHX always seems to execute their fast breaks flawlessly. I think that was the difference in the game. We played them FANTASTIC in the 3rd quarter up until that point. Them we blew a few easy ones that they converted.

  39. warren (philippines) April 9, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    Those sound like video game trades, Warren – and even those get turned down more and more in this modern-day business world. It would probably take Bynum and Odom to get Garnett, minimum.

    Check this, I have a franchise going with the Lake show on NBA 2K7 and I am in Lamar’s last year of his contract. I have to trade him or let him walk – I don’t have enough cash to resign the man. On a video game I can’t even afford to stockpile a dynasty around Kobe!

    We would have to be very lucky for a star player to take less $$$ to play alongside our current team.

    These are all pipe dreams that we share. In an ideal world, of course we can get a bunch of great talent around Kobe to start contending every year. But I don’t see it happening this year or next with the Lakers. I hope I am wrong – and I urge you to remind me all the way from the philippines if I am.

    I’m with you man. How bout a Kevin McHale for Mitch Kupchak trade then?

    anyway, i’m updating my trade “speculation” as you might consider :

    get Pau Gasol instead. He can be obtained if Andrew Bynum is in the deal and his salary is much easier to match.

    the mid-level exception would be the determining factor on how good they can be next year. get Mo Williams. But i guess he’d want more money than just that.

    As for this year, Kobe will make history in the playoffs but it simply wont be enough to win.

  40. Kupchak is a good GM, Warren. Not the best in the NBA, but not bad by any means. McHale is one of the worst GMs in the league. (Sam Cassell AND a lottery pick for Marko Jaric?!!) Getting McHale as the GM would probably be the worst move the team could make. (Well, other than getting Isaiah as the GM.) Plus as a former Celtic McHale hates the Lakers. He would probably try to sabotage the team intentionally.

    I like Gasol, but he’s a defensive liability. I wouldn’t give up Odom to get him, or Kwame. Bynum … maybe; not sure.