Game Four Thoughts

Kurt —  April 30, 2007

The Suns made one key adjustment for Sunday’s game — they pushed the tempo up and forced the Lakers to make their reads and decisions more quickly.

The Lakers were not athletic enough or smart enough to deal with that, and under pressure got away from what worked before. They didn’t trap on the pick and roll with any urgency. The Lakers didn’t pound the offensive glass to slow the break. Guys were watching Nash and the ball, so Marion would waltz back door for the ally-oop dunk. The Suns really pushed the ball after misses and makes, setting up easy baskets because the Lakers were not back. The Lakers were slow to rotate out to three point shooters.

The word that kept coming to mind watching the Lakers was “unprofessional.”

Professional teams are prepared, they bring consistent mental effort, particularly on defense, every game — whether they won the last game or lost it. This Laker squad had a good game Thursday, they were rewarded with a win for doing what they needed to on defense. They came out in game four and did little of that under pressure.

We’ve seen that kind of inconsistency for months from the Lakers, we shouldn’t be shocked to see it in the playoffs.

UPDATE: This just in from the Irony Department: Kobe was named All NBA All-Defensive First Team. He really did not deserve that honor this year, he was slowed defensively by his knee early and resorted to what was wisely once described as a “one man zone” for much of the year. He was part of the reason the Lakers defense was so bad during the season and post-season. He’s not a bad defender, but he’s no “all NBA” guy anymore either.

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Phil Jackson clearly has no idea what to do with this team. He played all 12 guys suited up in the first half, searching for hot players and combinations that worked together. It was odd, because the tight rotation of players in game had worked the game before. And what worked this time Phil did not return to.

For example, there was the combo of Kobe, Mo Evans, Andrew Bynum, Brian Cook and Shammond Williams started the second quarter and went on a 10-0 run. It ended win Odom subbed in (for Cook)

Phil never played that hot fivesom in the second half.

———————————————————————-

Let’s break down the first few minutes of the second half, when the Suns pulled away for good.

Suns +7: Bell and Marion pass the ball around the three point line while Nash runs off two down screens under the basket trying to shake Farmar. When Nash gets the ball on the left wing Marion starts to come over to him. Odom anticipates the pick-and-roll so he gets prepared to show on Nash by going a little high, but Marion never sets the pick — he sees Odom out of position and he sprints to the basket, where Nash hits him with a pass. Kwame is slow to rotate and the result is a basket and the foul, but Marion misses the freebee.

Suns +9: Kobe gets the ball at the top of the key but Odom is able to establish good position in the paint with Marion on him. Kobe feeds Odom who gets the bucket and the foul, but he misses the free throw.

Suns +7: Nash comes off the Amare screen on the right wing but this was one of the few times the Lakers played it pretty well, so Nash had to pick up his dribble above the free throw line, he leaps and passes out on the wing to Marion, who passes up the shot to feed Jones at the apex of the three point line, who waits for Sashay to fly by then slides in for the15 footer.

Suns +9: The Lakers don’t move without the ball at all on offense, so Farmar and Luke try to create off isolation-style plays. Farmar eventually takes a 17 footer and misses it, but Kwame grabs the rebound. He gives it to Walton who tries to feed Odom diving toward the hoop, but that pass is deflected.

Suns +9: The Suns come up with it out of the loose-ball scramble, and nothing quick develops so Nash pulls up, but no Laker decides too cover him so he takes an open 18-footer, which he misses, However, this time it is Stoudemire and Jones who tip the ball out to Nash. He quickly whips the ball to Jones in the corner, who is left all alone and has time to set and drain the three because Odom is slow getting out there (Jones’ man was nowhere to be seen.

Suns +12: The Lakers work it around the top and eventually Farmar makes the pass into Kwame on the left block. He starts to work in on Amare but when he feels the double he kicks out to Farmar, who misses the three.

Long shot means long rebound so the Suns are off and to the races. Nothing develops on the wings so Nash shoots the 15 footer but misses, but seconds later Farmar throws the ball away. Basically this is followed by a couple ugly possessions by both teams not worth describing. Nobody scores but the tempo picks up and the Suns are happy.

The next possession worth talking about the Suns come down and Nash and Amare play pick and roll on the wing. The Lakers do switch but Kwame stays back almost daring Nash to shoot. Instead Kwame laying back also created a passing lane so Nash feeds it to the mismatch, Amare in the post with Kobe on him. Amare passes out, gets better position and Nash renters the ball and this time Amare goes to work, spinning baseline, drawing the contact and getting to the line for two. He only hits one.

Suns +13, the Lakers nibble at it from there but never get close again.

Kurt

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101 responses to Game Four Thoughts

  1. great analysis. I just hope the Lakers don’t lay down in Phoenix for game 5.

  2. 2. That is Bill Plaschke speculating, Unless he is doing a feature column, don’t bother with his ramblings.

  3. I have enormous respect for Jackson as a coach, of course, but as Kurt alludes to, I don’t think a 60 year-old Jackson is a good match for this team. Jackson has shown that he is brilliant at getting a combustible mix of stars over the top, but this team is basically Kobe Bryant, a third wheel in Odom asked to play the #2 role, and a bunch of young, part-time-caliber players. They need more of a teacher and/or redass, to help develop Bynum and Farmar and get on Brown and Odom. The team is not improving that I can see.

    I have also never been a Kupchak fan. I think it is time to re-evaluate everything and either:

    1. Try to pull out all the stops to get another star. I don’t think there is a chance in hell Kevin McHale would put Garnett in Los Angeles, but I would pretty much offer anything they want for him (except Bryant obviously) or make a run at Jason kidd or Jermaine O’Neal. This appeals to me for three reasons:
    a) I am not sure Bryant’ts shelf life is all that long. He is still great, but I think his legs are about 32, not 29.
    b) It would re-energize Jackson.
    c) I like Bynum and Farmar, but I don’t see them as future stars.

    or

    2) Ease Jackson out, get rid of Kupchak and try to build around youth, while keeping Bryant another year or two.

    I think Buss has basically gotten what he wanted when they traded Shaq–a decent team that people will pay to see because of Kobe–but it is time for a decisive directional shift now, IMO. We’ll see.

  4. There was a period in the 3rd quarter, where the Lakers made a run, and Odom was on fire. The next possession, Odom comes down the court looking to make another aggressive move, but instead passes it to Smush for a wide-open 3 at the top of the key. Smush proceeds to throw up a clunker. This is where the game was lost, took all the breath out of the run. Kupchack is going to have to sell Minnesota on Odom and Kwame for KG. Get rid of poor attitudes like Smush and Cook. Starting lineup: Farmar/Kobe/Vlad/KG/Bynum. Evans, Luke, Turiaf as your main bench guys. Turiaf can sub in at the 4 and slide KG over to 5, when Bynum needs rest.

  5. In the wake of some losses everyone is talking about retooling the roster. I’ve thought about it too. But when offering specific trade/free agent thoughts, remember these things:

    • Mitch takes a lot of blame from Laker fans, but how much real power does he have to make big moves? What I’m saying is how much of what the Lakers are now really falls at his feet versus the Buss family?

    • Phil Jackson isn’t going anywhere.

    • The Lakers have committed themselves to being a triangle team. That’s fine, nine championships proves the system can work with the right players. Spare me efforts to rework the Lakers into another style of team. Not going to happen, and remember Phil isn’t going anywhere.

    • Jerry West is not coming back.

    • Getting a JO/KG whatever is not going to happen. But even if it did, the biggest problem for the Lakers is the point guard spot. I don’t care who is on the front line, if we are seriously overmatched at PG it won’t matter.

    • Smush is likely gone, but Billiups and Mo Williams are out of the Lakers price range. Both are going for more than the midlevel.

    • Free agent pickups are not going to be big ones, the Lakers don’t have the money. What the Lakers may be able to do with the mid-level to get more veteran help.

    • Cook and Sasha got extensions, Get used to them.

    • Major three team deals are not going to happen. And do you really think right now the Nets are going to trade Kidd? Can you imagine doing that to your fan base after the playoffs he’s had? Owners want to sell tickets, pissing off your fans when you’re trying to move the team is a poor way to do that.

    Enough for now. Sorry for the ranting. I just don’t want this site to become “how the Lakers get JO” central in the comments, because Indiana got rid of their coach in an effort to keep JO around. And KG will opt out next year before he asks out this summer.

  6. Luke is a starter for this ball club. Vlad provides a good shot, but he will have to show Phil more to creep into the starting lineup. His defense is way too suspect. I think people over-rate Mo Evans a bit on the defensive end as well.

  7. thanks kurt,

    i hate people who say they’re realists, but then speculate about getting players that are not feesible, or in this case impossible!

    oh, and paul why did say it like it was a bad thing. He passed to the open man. Steve nash, and many others do it all the time. Once in a while smush actually has range, and lamar was anticipating that!

  8. “In the wake of some losses everyone is talking about retooling the roster. I’ve thought about it too.”

    Well, 13-27 over the second half and the Phoenix series indicates the team is not making progress. Yes, they had injuries, but so do most teams. I am not certain that they CAN make progress with the currrent combination of players/management/coaches.

    Like your work. Sorry my post irritated you. But, as a lifelong Laker fan old enough to remember the 1985 Finals, I suppose I am more interested in how the team can move forward than in analyzing why Phoenix can kick their ass 75% of the time (although you did a thorough and nice job of that).

    “Mitch takes a lot of blame from Laker fans, but how much real power does he have to make big moves? What I’m saying is how much of what the Lakers are now really falls at his feet versus the Buss family?”

    Some of both. Kupchak has done better the last couple of years. Walton is OK; Turiaf is OK. Bynum may work out. But, I don’t see moves or picks that make me go, “Wow, that was smart.” You would hope to see the occasional move like that. I would like to see him bring in a good international player. I don’t expect the next Dirk Nowitzki, but I would like to see someone better than Vujacic. Maybe VladRad qualifies, you could say, when healthy. Kupchak’s post-Shaq legacy right now depends a lot on Bynum.

    ” Major three team deals are not going to happen. And do you really think right now the Nets are going to trade Kidd? Can you imagine doing that to your fan base after the playoffs he’s had? Owners want to sell tickets, pissing off your fans when you’re trying to move the team is a poor way to do that.”

    Well, yes. I was among those few I think who was ready to trade some combo of Bynum/Farmar/picks to get Kidd, 34 years old or no if that was actually ever on the table. But the Nets could still lose to the Raptors and could get swept in the next round. Unlikely, of course.

    “Phil Jackson isn’t going anywhere.”

    Agreed, unless he just says he’s burned out and retires. So if that is the case, and as you say, he “has no idea what to do with this team” then the team should look into getting a couple of reliable veterans and taking whatever shot is necessary to get a star. Maybe it’s not possible, and they just wait to see if they can sign a big-name free agent. in the 2007-2008 off-season. But in the meantime, that means we are basically left with hoping that Farmar and Bynum grow up fast before Kobe’s legs go. I am not sure Phil Jackson, as smart as he is, is the best man for that job.,even with the help of Kareem and Tex Winter.

  9. Robinred, I didn’t mean that as a personal attack. I’m sorry if it came off that way. It’s just that as of late rather than talking playoffs this comments on this site have had more wild speculation than I I(and judging from my email box other readers) are comfortable with. So, I was just trying to set a tone, but that may have come off more harshly than intended. Please accept my apology if that came off as personal.

    I’ll add that I think most of us are trying to think of good ways to add some vets to this team. I think getting a healthy (mentally and physically) Radmanovic back is part of that. I think Evans and Luke fit the mold. But the inconsistency at PG (and often center) need to be addressed somehow. I’m just not sure how to do it as Laker management has, in some ways, backed itself into a corner.

  10. “i hate people who say they’re realists, but then speculate about getting players that are not feesible, or in this case impossible!”

    Leaving the pointless venom aside, (“hate people?)” remember I said I think there is virtually no chance McHale would trade Garnett here. And, in general, no one is going to look to help the Lakers, so such trade scmarios are unlikely That said, the franchise’s amazing history has been built almost entirely on bold moves to acquire stars and superstars. So, speculating about guys like Smush Parker and Kwame Brown learning to do things consistently that they have shown they can only do occasionally is probably about as realistic as wondering about Jermaine O’Neal’s availability. The issue for this team as currently constructed is the development of Jordan Farmar and Andrew Bynum.

    That said, I agree with one of the main points of the post: tempo. At a slow tempo, the Lakers can compete with Phoenix. But , Phoenix went 61-21 for many reasons, one being that the nature of the game–players at any level like to run–plays into their hands.

  11. Kurt,

    I didn’t take it that way. Plus, although I stop by here almost daily, I rarely post, so maybe I am saying stuff that has been said a zillion times already.

    I agree strongly that assuming Jackson stays, a couple of reliable veteran role players–one who can knock down a Kobe-created shot and one who can help defend in the paint and help on the glass–are needed. A healthy VladRad could help with one or both.

    And your point about PG and C–right on. See my comment re. Bynum and Farmar.

    Keep up the good work.

  12. really,all we can hope for is smush have one of his 20 point games he has on occasion. That may be what is needed to put pressure on nash for a quarter or 2.

    robin,

    i feel lamar odom is a third wheel when not properly utilized, and of course completely injured. Lamar is a guard in a forwards body. So utilize that by letting him create for others, and score off the dribble. This would make kobe a scorer, as opposed to say a facilitator,scorer, and defender all at the same time. Lamar playing off the dribble is a much better idea than kobe. Kobe, should be set in the post in a scoring posistion, much like michael jjordan was in his time in the triangle.

    bottom line Kobe as the scorer and lamar as the ball hanler would be very bennifical for everyone. for now and the fjuture!

  13. robin,

    it’s called hyperbole

    thanks

  14. Thanks for the perspective Kurt. I think you’re right in all your points. I think the Lakers have a nice young core. Again, Kwame’s had a pretty decent playoff run, Andrew’s shown us very good play and he’s 19 (?). It’s obvious Jordan is a great “old-school” PG. I think Kwame will be emboldened by his good playoffs. I think he relaizes now what he has to do, what he can do, and that Phil trusts him. Andrew also is developing by leaps and bounds (and this is all imo) and I really really hope Lamar plays. The guy is about as underrated as anyone in the league, imo, outside Shawn Marion. One of you guys did a post about the possibility of the Lakers making a deal for KG in ’09, that sounds most realistic to me. Yeah, I’d be happy to see the back of Smush but I’m really not that excited about getting a really expensive PG because I think Jordan is a decent player….but I’m happy to concede that argument to anyone else. I don’t know which other PGs will be available at a more affordable level. Anyway…….only question now is what on Earth is going to happen in that DAL-GSW series.

  15. to be honest the west is being setup for a suns championship. All the running teams have the momentum, at this point. And well, the suns can beat any running team out there, because they run better than everyone else.

    I’d really not like to see the suns in the finals; that would be very dissapointing.

  16. kurt- great points about the future of the team.

    Lakers are not that far away from being a top 4 seed, but defintley will not get there as constructed now.

    As far as Game 5, we can win that game. We have to adjust to their adjustment of slipping the screen, which prevented us from being able to trap Nash. Again, tempo, tempo,temo. Also, Kobe was going to the hole all game in Game 3, in the second half of Game 4, a lotta jump-shots. We have to exectue the game plan offensivley to have a shot defensivley. We showed we can do it, we have to now do it 3 straight games, 1 at a time starting Wednesday.

  17. adam kiley,

    I wasn’t dissing Lamar on that. It was more Smush. He is the king of run killers.

  18. TC mentioned the DAL-GSW series. Assuming GSW wins it,
    think back to the end of the season when DAL didn’t play their
    first team against GSW. Had DAL came to play in that game,
    they probably would have gotten the Clips in the 1st round.
    At the least, they’d have had one more game to figure GSW out.
    Does this count as IRONY?

  19. As far as Farmar, I think that he has shown he can play in the NBA. Whether he will be starter is yet to be determined, therefore, at least for the next 2 seasons, the Lakers do need another PG. Farmar reminds me of a Chris Duhon type, someone who can play with the starters, but is best served being the 3rd guard on a playoff-contender team.

  20. The only team that can take out the Suns is San Antonio. They have proven that over the course of the season.

    The Lakers, on the other hand, have proven that they shouldn’t even be in the playoffs. Kobe got them there, and it shouldn’t have been that way.

    They have been outsmarted, outrun, and outscored. The Suns have shown everyone watching what it takes to win… Discipline, consistency, intelligence, execution, athleticism, and flat out heart. Sadly, as much as I hate the guy, Raja Bell has more heart than the entire Lakers team (outside of Kobe, Lamar, Farmar, and Turiaf).

    Kwame and Bynum are 5’9″ boys in 7 foot tall men’s frames. Luke is a pushover, far too passive and inconsistent to be a starting SF (I still like him as a bench player, but we better not overpay this guy). Sasha and Smush don’t belong on this team. Vlade doesn’t have the drive or the focus to be a good NBA player.

    Too many holes. They need proven talent on this team. Where I think they can look:

    Salim Stoudemire, PG Atlanta (heart of a champion)

    Gerald Wallace, SF Charlotte (defensive, scrapper puts in 110% every game)

    Carlos Arroyo, PG Magic (tough, agressive and no spot for him in ORlando)

    Andre Miller, PG 76ers (scorer, intelligent, experienced)

    Jarrett Jack, PG Blazers (tough, championship experience in college, lots of heart… Roy taking over as PG in Portland)

    Andrei Kirilenko, SF Utah (all around guy, on the outs in Utah)

    … Good places to start anyway.

  21. that’s cool paul

    thanks!

  22. 19- Funniest part about all of it is that Dallas would’ve swept or easily beaten the Clippers, and would have probably handled us too, but they just don’t match-up with GS, kinda like how we had some match-up advantages agaisnt Phoenix last year.

    Phoenix is not winning the title, they aren’t making it out of the second round, let’s be honest, they have not accomplished anything, except a few division titles, that team doesn’t defend, and it will get exposed, probably by a team discliplined enough to exploit all of Phoenix’s holes

  23. Here’s my quick thoughts on whats going on right now with our team:
    - Phoenix is just a better team. Nash, Marion, and Stoudemire are no-brainer All-Stars every year. Lakers have Kobe. Suns have Bell, Diaw, Barbosa, and Jones as role players, all of whom are contributing very consistently in this series. Lakers have Kwame, Sasha, Bynum, and a 3 headed PG in Farmar, Smush, and Shamu. All of whom are struggling mightily.
    - Lamar is the only Laker other than Kobe who is playing like we are in the playoffs.
    - I’m getting a little tired of hearing “they just outplayed us” after every single loss.
    - All this talk about how injuries derailed our season. Well even if we were healthy all year, we are a 4 or 5 seed at best which means we still have trouble with SA, DAL, or PHX.
    - And lastly, this is not acceptable here. Not by any means. Making the playoffs and winning a game and going home is not okay with us. Complete dissapointment.
    - Unless we win the next 3 games, I can honestly say I am completely dissapointed with every player on this team… including Kobe and Lamar. Yes the team was banged up, but they played with NO desire when they were healthy. I think they let themselves and us down.

  24. why did we trade for him in the first place, if we knew kobe was a ball handling guard primarily, and he needs the ball to be successful?

    why get a guy, who by all accounts fits that same bill?

    It doesn’t make sense, and really it just wasted kobe and lamar’s time.

    That being said, with lamar pretty set in his ways as player, shouldn’t have kobe adjusted by now by becoming more of a scorer off the dribble , as a opposed to on. That would really maxmize his teammates “making them better”. I really don’t like that expression!

    I’m not really upset with kobe at all, it’s just that wouldn’t that make sense to if that was the situation he was in. As the leader and best player adjust and accomadate to the lesser players, so they can be more successful, and as a result him as well!

    just a thought

  25. We need a solid PG in the offseason. By solid I mean a veteran who doesn’t get rattled in hostile situations and can play somewhat consistently on defense. At this point, Eric Snow with his ugly shot would help us more than Smush, Farmar, Shamu. They are all equally un-productive on offense but at least Snow plays tough D.

    Either VladRad or Cook needs to go. We don’t need two of the same player. One tall guy with an inconsistent shot and no D is enough.

    Kwame needs to be traded while we can still get something for him. He is in the last year of 9mil deal. We need to sell high on him to a team desperate for some inside presence before we have another Smush situation next year with Kwame.

    How about we all throw in on a fruit basket and card for the Wolves. Inside the card we can put our team photo with Kobe blacked out and say… “We’ll give you all these guys for KG” We can then sign 10 d-league players and probably have a better chance at winning a title than we had this year.

  26. Just put this in a post:

    UPDATE: This just in from the Irony Department: Kobe was named All NBA All-Defensive First Team. He really did not deserve that honor this year, he was slowed defensively by his knee early and resorted to what was wisely once described as a “one man zone” for much of the year. He was part of the reason the Lakers defense was so bad during the season and post-season. He’s not a bad defender, but he’s no “all NBA” guy anymore either.

  27. Kobe on the All-D 1st team just shows you the scarcity of decent defensive guards these days…he doesn’t deserve it but I don’t know if Kidd or Hinrich do either..

  28. I’ve thought about the meaning of that Joem. I think it’s ironic if they were honestly hoping to get the Warriors. If it was just part of Coach’s rest schedule for his big guns, then, well, it’s just one of those things (imo). Anyway….with re: to possible PGs, I like Eric Snow a lot. He’s a smart player who’s also strong and can get a couple rebounds.

  29. If you look at net PER gains for PG at 82games.com, you’ll find that Eric Snow gave nearly the same performance as Smush this season (about -5). They just got there differently.

    Smush

    Snow

    Other measures of on court performance at 82games.com even favor Smush’s performance.

  30. BTW, I’m not suggesting Smush is the answer. But any PG the Lakers start next year must be able to hit the 3. I think it’s an absolute must. Snow is not that guy.

  31. Good work Rob L.
    I thought Snow did better than that. And I agree that any PG we get needs to hit the 3. Man, I miss D-Fish. We’ve been a wreck at PG since he left. Actually since we signed GP and gave him Fish’s job.

    I wonder if there is anybody on our team that the Jazz are interested in enough to part with D-Fish. I know that they must love him by now so they probably want to keep him, but maybe they would be willing to do it for Kwame or something like that, if they’re in desperate need for help in a way that we can help them….Alright Mitch, you got some phone calls to make this summer!

  32. Plus, Snow will be a 33-year-old guard entering his 13th NBA season. That’s a lot of miles. If we could get the 2001 version of Snow I’d be up for it.

  33. How about Flip Murray or Antonio Daniels. Obviously the issue is whether either of the two would be available. I don’t think Flip fit in too well with the Pistons. He was not playing very much until Billups’ injury. Daniels has had a great postseason but maybe he is tired of being Arenas’ backup and would like to start.

    Didn’t we offer Daniels and Aaron Mckie a contract and Mckie signed with us and Daniels went to the Wiz?

  34. 34- Antonio Daniels interests me, Flip Murray not so much. Flip isn’t known to be a good defender, and is inconsistent.

  35. Okay, the season’s not over yet but I’ve been sucked into the PG talk: Mo Williams is not realistic, but Earl Boykins can opt out of his contract this summer. He was making about *edit* 3 mil per *. I think he’d be a decent fit (pretty sure his name has come up here before). What are the odds Buss and Mitch’d take a run at him?

  36. It’s known that Phil prefers tall guards…. Boykins wouldn’t be someone Phil would go after… :p

  37. Rob- I like Boykins from the standpoint he is a shoot-first pg. On a team where the pg has to move the ball and initiate offense I think he is a liability and shoots too much, but in the triangle he would be a great weapon because he can shoot so well, even with a hand in his face, imagine open looks from kobe/odom penetration.

    By the way, just to reiterate, the Lakers can win Game 5, does anyone else still believe?

  38. Look the Lakers run a two guard front and don’t necessarily need a traditional PG, just someone that can help defend the one and can hit the open three. Beyond the PG/other guard spot issues, they need more shooters. In today’s NBA you have to have three point shooters. Especially when you have a guy like Kobe Bryant that commands constant double coverage. If the Lakers had any sort of outside shooting, they’d be a much improved team.

    But guys this series is not over. PHX came back from down 3-1 last season, so why not us? Don’t give up hope!

  39. Oh, and I forgot to mention the need for veteran players in the mold of Horry, Fox, Fisher, Harper, Ho Grant, and B Shaw that we’ve had in the past. Those kind of guys know their roles, but aren’t afraid to step up when called upon.

  40. Horry’s a free agent. He’s old, but he can still contribute.

    Anyway we can convince Ricky Fox to come back? :D

  41. One last thing:

    The sad part about Smush Parker is that he has the skills to be what the Lakers need at that PG spot, but just has such a poor attitude. It’s obvious that he hasn’t worked on his game at all. Take D-Fish as an example what Smush could have been. In 2000 (PJ’s first season)he was a player who’s game wasn’t really made for the triangle, but because of hard work, he eventually became a triangle PG. Fisher couldn’t hit a three pointer if his life depended on it before 2001. But he realized, to be an asset in that offense he had to transform himself from a driving/slashing PG to a dead eye shooter.

    With hard work, anyone at the guard/wing spot can become a good shooter. I mean, look at Raja Bell and Bruce Bowen. There offensive games are pretty limited beyond there three point shooting. But as ROLE players, that’s really all their teams need out of them. The Lakers have Kobe and Lamar, they just need their ROLE PLAYERS to gain the skills necessary to hit open shots when called upon. Because seriously, Kobe and Lamar are always going to create enough opportunties for everyone else.

  42. Our new Ho Grant- PJ Brown, he will be a f.a., and has obviously had a good impact on the Chicago young players, while contributing solid mins.

    Nate-I still believe. 1 win and we come back home with the crowd still hyped from Odom’s 3rd quarter outburst. We win that one and all the pressure is back on them. ha. 1 game at a time of course

  43. I believe.

    Then again, I believed the last game. And last post season.

    But hey, never underestimate the Lakers and the overconfident Suns! Nash is already talking about the next round. :D

  44. Kwame A.: I like that PJ Brown Pick up, but I have a feeling he might re-sign with the Bulls. Especially if they make the conference Finals. With this year’s knicks pick, that teams is going to be good for years to come.

    In regards to the Lakers PG Issues, Smush actually shoots a pretty good percentage:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/statistics?stat=nba3ptpct&league=nba&split=0&sort=3p%&avg=none&qual=true&season=2007&seasontype=2&pos=pg

    I had no idea he was that good of a three point shooter. He could still get better. But even if he did, his defense makes him a liability. Look through that list, and find someone that shoots well and also defends well (Chris Duhon comes to mind…he and famar would be a good two headed PG monster)

    And since we don’t need a traditional PG, here’s a look at the top three point shooting two guards:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/statistics?stat=nba3ptpct&league=nba&split=0&sort=3p%&avg=none&qual=true&season=2007&seasontype=2&pos=sg

  45. Good point ca-born,
    One of the Suns biggest problems against us over the past two years has been overconfidence. Last year they won game 1 and got overconfident… lost next 3. This year they lost game 3 because they got overconfident after the 17 point first quarter lead. No question that the times when we outplay them are when they let down their guard. As ca-born said, Nash is already talking about the 2nd round. They expect us to just roll over and die on wednesday. Thats when we surprise them and steal the game and bring it back home for game 6.

    One game at a time.

    “WE BELIEVE” – “REPRESENT”

    http://www.nba.com/lakers/intro_flash.html

  46. I’m watching the Utah-Houston game right now and every time T-Mac drives into the paint, everybody is collapsing on him and he just kicks it out to the 3 point line and Battier and Head and Alston are raining 3s on the Jazz and T-Mac has 15 assists already. If Kobe had someone to knock down some open 3s it would open the lane up so much for him it wouldn’t even be funny

  47. Also, since so much unwanted talk about unrealistic trade scenarios and free agent signings, I wanted to put together a list of free agents that are realistic for the Lakers. These are either young and up and coming players or veteran players that can be had via the mid-level exception (all or part of it) or the veterans exception:

    PJ Brown
    Andres Nocioni
    Anderson Varajao
    Jerry Stackhouse
    Austin Croshere
    Steve Blake
    Chris Webber
    Amir Johnson (L.A. Boy…Gonna Be A Star in this league)
    Matt Barnes
    Chuck Hayes
    Darrell Armstrong
    Eddie Jones
    James Posey
    Jason Kapono
    Ruben Patterson
    Maurice Williams
    Charlie Bell
    Julius Hodge
    Eddie House
    Mikki Moore
    Grant Hill
    Joe Smith
    Greg Buckner
    Ime Udoka
    Corliss Williamson
    Morris Peterson
    CJ Miles
    Dee Brown (The Illinois Version)
    DeShawn Stevenson (Player Option)

    If they aren’t on this list, the Lakers aren’t likely going to be able to sign them.

  48. Great work Jones,
    Now we can discuss realistic options. Some good players on the list but my heart tells me to wait until we are eliminated to start discussing
    … to be continued

  49. I really like the DeShawn Stevens option, as he’s a good shooter and a solid defender. When he was on the magic he was known as their best defender (although that’s not saying much) and he shoots 40% from three. Might be a good fit. See this GM job is not so hard.

  50. I’m not too fond of Steve Blake. Not a good defender, not starter quality, Farmar can bring everything he does except great shooting (and he’s improving). Also, not fond of Mo Williams, he’s an inconsitent defender.

    I always did like Matt Barnes, ever since he signed that 10 day contract with the Clippers I knew under the right system he could contribute. I don’t see GS letting him go, or Barnes leaving, after the play they’ve put up in the post season and the play he’s had.

    Jones – So Stackhouse, Jannero Pargo, Horry, and Brevin Knight are not realistic options?

  51. Also, with Mo Evans, would DeShawn still be a realistic option?

  52. Oh, and sorry, I missed Stack from your list.

  53. I like Pargo. I know Phil does too. He was playing really well for the Hornets this year when Paul was hurt. He has quick feet so he has the ability to stay in front of people.

    I did not know that Big Shot Bob was a free agent. If he is, then is there even a question about whether we should pursue him?

    Stack (If he leaves DAL) or Grant Hill could provide solid scoring but I think Luke is option #1 this summer at SF.

    How about Webber? He proved us all wrong and showed that he DID still have gas left in the tank. He just needs to be in a situation where he can play with his smarts. The triangle would fit him very well (assuming he leaves Detroit)

  54. I think we should keep in mind how our youth and inexperience hurt us this year. I think if we sign some veterans like Grant Hill, Robert Horry, Chris Webber, etc. we can let them start and have our current guys be their backups and split time basically evenly. The older players would benefit from not having to play too much minutes until playoff time and the younger players would learn a lot by playing behind such NBA greats and seeing how strong they are mentally. I think this might be the “cheapest” way of getting better this offseason.

  55. -Horry will not come to any team that is not a championship contender. If he plays next year it, I think it will be with the Spurs, Mavs, or Rockets (his fam lives in Texas) or no one else.

    -I believe Charlotte owns a team option on Brevin, so I don’t see him becoming a FA:
    http://www.hoopshype.com/salaries/charlotte.htm

    -Deshawn is probably a better PG defender than Mo Evans. And he’s certainly a better three point shooter (40% from three). This team needs shooters. I like Evans in his current role as an energy guy off of the bench.

    -Pargo and Matt Carroll are two guys I missed. Pargo knows the system and can shoot the three and Matt Carroll can also knock it down from the outside.

  56. This was the formula for success back in 1999. When Phil first got here, Fisher Fox and Horry were starters along with Kobe. Phil came in and picked up Ron Harper and Ho Grant through free agency and we had just gotten Glen Rice through trade. This pushed our starters of Fish Fox and Horry to be backups for the veterans and we took off. Over the years, Fish Fox and Horry casually worked their ways back into the starting lineups as they got older and more consistent.

  57. Our three biggest needs in the offseason are:
    1. A veteran ballhandling guard who can play D & hit 3s.
    2. A post player who can attack the rim consistently and defend the post.
    3. Veteran role-players.

    It’s not likely we could get the post player we need (Garnett/O’Neal/Bosh) this summer.

    The PG options in free agency are pretty limited, but there are some guys who might be available via trade – Damon Stoudamire, Earl Watson or Luke Ridnour, Derek Fisher, Mike James, Andre Miller, Sarunas Jasikevicius, maybe even Jason Terry (if the Mavs decide to shake things up after losing to the Warriors). One of those guys could probably be had. (Vlade, Sasha & a second rounder for Fisher? Vlade for James? Sasha, Cook & Shammond re-signed for Watson?)

    We should split the mid-level between two veteran role-players. I think PJ Brown would be awesome, as would a perimeter defender who can also shoot. Nate mentioned DeShawn Stevenson, I like him too. Or Matt Barnes, Ime Udoka, James Posey, Jerry Stackhouse, etc. (Not sure how well Barnes & Udoka defend. Anyone?) Grant Hill might be willing to sign for the veteran’s minimum.

    If you take this current team, add PJ/DeShawn/Hill (for example) & a point, while subtracting Vlade/Sasha or Sasha/Cook, that’s a pretty good improvement for next season. Then, with Odom/Kwame/Bynum we’ve got the trade chips if a star unexpectedly becomes available.

    Also, it should be mentioned that some of the guys on Nate’s list above are restricted (like Nocioni, Varejao). Meaning their teams can match any offer they sign with another team, so they’re not as likely for us to get.

  58. PS. I’m assuming that Smush/Shammond/McKie are all gone next year, and Luke & Ronny get re-signed.

  59. warren (philippines) May 1, 2007 at 12:08 am

    I love it when people start talking this way. Much as we disagree on several “fits” or “non-fits”, it’s a healthy way to discuss our future. game 4 is a day and a half away so I’ll have to join the party.

    First off, lets set aside Mega Deals for awhile and focus on how to improve this team on the cheap side.

    I have here Vlade Radman and Sasha to Detroit for Nazr Mohammed and Flip Murray. They are not exactly the wonder boys but they’re relatively young and experienced and they are certainly better than the two we’ve got. Besides, Lindsey Hunter is retiring and the Pistons are in need of shooters and a ball handler. Plus both Nazr and Flip are third stringers on their teams. Nazr is caught in a logjam of Centers and Big Men even before Webber arrived. While Flip was doing flips while in Seattle as back-up. I say they can help us. Money Spent – zero.

  60. warren (philippines) May 1, 2007 at 12:17 am

    In case you might wonder, the reason why I am intersted in Nazr is he is a decent center. Getting him will give us our 4th center.Too many of them wont hurt because I foresee that two centers or at least one would be parted with should we decide on a Mega Deal like KG or JO.

    Just to sweeten the deal, Joe Dumars was looking to trade this guy last deadline. Yes, he (Nazr) and Flip. What a coincidence, Hunter is retiring next year and they were in need of a ball handler and shooters to their roster. Voila Radmanovicicic and Vujacicicic. They sound funky.

  61. warren (philippines) May 1, 2007 at 12:25 am

    Oh, Vlade and Nazr have the same contract… But they’ve inversely benefited their teams.

    Laker assets this off-season:
    1. I think this summer is Kwame’s peak in terms of trade value. a decent showing, a nice game 3 chant and an expiring 9M contract.
    2. The Lakers have 3 picks this year. 19, 40, 48.
    3. Andrew Bynum
    4. If we talk mega deal, Lamar Odom.
    5. Luke Walton even.

    That being said, I think the Indy deal should be simple :
    Lamar, Kwame and Cook plus pick # 48 in exchange for Tinsley, JO and Diogu.

  62. I’m more a fan of Matt Carroll than Pargo, but I’m not sure I love any of the FA options.

  63. But I am not giving up on this series. After watching Lamar Odom last game, I know he is not. He was inspiring, one of the best parts of the entire playoffs, in my opinion.

  64. warren (philippines) May 1, 2007 at 12:37 am

    As for PG help, I’m having difficulty reconciling.

    For me, Fish isn’t the man for 3 reasons:
    1. Utah will not deal him.
    2. He would take 2-3 players to acquire and certainly not bigs-for-small deal possible
    3. I don’t think he is the same guy he was 3 years ago.

    Maurice Williams is a good choice but he won’t be coming in for 3 reasons:
    1. He is seeking a 7-8M deal which we can’t afford.
    2. Milwaukee has a more favorable structure than LA. *
    3. In Milwaukee, he can be the 2nd option. In LA, he would only be atleast third.

    Boykins isn’t the man for 3 reasons:
    1. He’s too short
    2. He’s too short
    3. He’s too short

    Steve Blake I’ve thought of too :
    1. He likes the Denver offense/set-up.
    2. He wont be a good fit to LA (lack of defense)
    3. I don’t think he is worth the Mid-Level. We’re on a budget guys…

    Andre Miller is the best fit of all, But… :
    1. Philly wont really let him go and we got nothing that will interest them.
    2. Oh I’d trade Walton and Radmanovic for this guy…

  65. Yeah, I think they can win the next one…PHX was down 3-1 and came back last year. Why can’t we? We do have Kobe Bryant…

    I think it’s going to be more about if the Lakers can go back to pounding it inside on offense and trapping and switching on defense. I don’t know why they went away from that in game 4.

  66. The thing I don’t understand is how Bynum became untradeable. He has POTENTIAL. But Potential doesn’t add up to much. Every bum on the street panhandling for change has POTENTIAL.

    Kobe has 3 years of being Kobe left. Then he will start to be “old Kobe”.
    THe Lakers have to do something NOW to capitalize on Kobe’s 3 or so years left of superstar productivity. And if trading Bynum can make them a contender NOW, then make a trade NOW.

    I want championships.

  67. warren (philippines) May 1, 2007 at 12:43 am

    Mitch Kupchak, please call Billy King what he asks for Andre Miller and Kyle Korver?

    We can offer Bynum, Walton and Radman can we?

  68. “We can offer Bynum, Walton and Radman can we?”

    Yeah-
    for KG or JO… not Miller and Korver.

  69. Muddy: done with the temper tantrum? Geez…I deal with kids all day and then one has to read stuff like this. Get over it already. I like the Matt Barnes option, have liked him when he played for the Clips, Kings…he’s a very smart player……gritty too…..but I think he’s gonna stay in GSW. I didn’t Snow was as effective as Smush….whenever I’ve seen him, he seems to have a good nose for the game and play tough D…but that’s very sparing anecdotal awareness. I love the D.Stevenson idea except don’t we need more of a 1? I think he can handle the ball…and like someone above said, he’s a tall guard. He shoots a good % and plays nice D. Blake….I like him…not the best defender, but he’s a good decision maker (this is all imo) and distributes the ball well….yeah, you’re right Jones, we could get it done tomorrow night…..I’ll be rooting for our boys….

  70. Even Kurt seems to have drawn himself into trade hysteria. Nate has drawn up his list. RobinRed has jumped into the limelight.

    Guys, it’s way too soon.

    I wonder if this type of discussion was going on in Phoenix about this time last year.

    If the Lakers lose the next game, we’re a bit closer. If the Lakers win, we’re a bit further away. We’ve already outlasted a number of teams who were beaten 4-0, including a certain team in Florida. Trading prospects have already gone up for the Lakers with those losing franchises.

    As I’ve already indicated, tremors continue to be felt from the Bay Area. One more win by the Warriors, and trade prospects for any team with the Mavericks go up exponentially. A second and third round win by the Warriors could further change the Universe (and trade prospects) in the Western Conference.

    Remember, serious discussions that ultimately led to a Shaqless Laker team didn’t unfold until the Lakers lost for sure to the Pistons.

    My gut tells me that something big will happen over the next 6 months, but the stars need to get aligned first.

    Stars aren’t even close to being aligned yet.

  71. Temper tantrum? No.

    Logic based on the fact that Kobe is not getting younger and the Lakers will not get to that “Elite team” status and contend for a title without a real 2nd superstar(prefferably a post player) on this team. Yes.
    Adding more role players won’t get THIS team to a title.

    I like Lamar. But he is not a true 2nd superstar. He’s not consistent enough. He’s better as that 3rd guy that will get some good numbers and score over 20 points every 2to3 games. Look at Phoenix. They have 2 stars and a very good third player. Nash, Amare and then Marion that puts up some nice numbers, but make no mistake. Nash And Amare are the 2 superstars.

    Do the Lakers need a better point guard? Yes. Adding a defensive minded point guard with a jump shot would be nice but that alone will not get us to a title.

    Something bigger needs to happen or else Kobe’s best years will have been wasted on mediocre teams. And if trading Bynum(the only player that teams really want in a trade) will get the Lakers playing for a title right now, then trade him.
    Right now, he’s all potential. What player will he become? I worry he’ll be closer to a Dampier than a Shaq,Duncan,Hakeem,Ewing,Kareem,or heck even a Robert Parrish.

  72. I’m with Muddywood in terms of where the team is and WRT Bynum. However, i want to respect the tone Kurt wants to set–it’s his house.

  73. This is what Odom was talking about with his chemistry comment. If we, the fans, can’t stick with each other while only watching the games imagine how tough it must be to keep it together in the locker room.

  74. Up until the start of game four, Phil is debating whether or not to make RadMan eligible. Though the LA Times says, “yes,” he apparently finally says, “no.”

    He starts the game with a rather lame attempt to repeat the somewhat novel “UCLA” strategy of Game 3–rather than further confusing the Suns with either personnel or strategy changes–say, like going to the zone with Sasha right away–anything to get the Suns confused and delay or deter their preplanned attack.

    The plan almost immediately unravels.

    Phil substitutes like mad–bringing in the Smusher as soon as possible. Then Shamu . . . . .

    Though Phil finds some combinations of players better than others, he aimlessly substitutes until the game is out of reach. The game, almost predictably, drifts away, bit by bit. Kurt calls the apparent lack of preparation for this game “unprofessional.”

    Back at home, he is moved as he watches the Warriors turn back Dallas, watching Stackhouse shoot them in and then shoot/turnover them out of the game–to the background of an almost hysterical crowd. Maybe the affect of the crowd on Warrior effort is what Phil remembered.

    Today, he shows the team a movie and sends them home to think about “effort.”

    He apparently graded the “team” an “F” and said they weren’t ready.

    Given his apparent lack of strategy and bizarre substitution patterns, what was he talking about? Who grades him? Did he learn something strategic from watching Nellie Ball?

    Some of you want to bring him a team of veterans that he can coach. Some of you just want to tinker with the role players. Some of you want to reinvent the team.

    Before we make trades, and after the playoffs are over–whenever that will be–Phil needs to sit down and rethink the personnel situation.

    Even though most of us gave up on the Smusher before mid season, Phil apparently has his back.

    Smush actually finished out our only win so far–and has played more minutes as a backup than Farmar has played as a starter. Why look for a veteran point guard if Phil thinks he has one on the cheap already? Why criticize the defense if Phil thinks that the Smusher is OK?

    Phil likes to substitute Smush and Bynum together. Only God knows why. It clearly detracts from Smush on defense (no “twinkle toes” to save “the turnstyle” from embarrassment) and Bynum on offense–since Smush is not good at getting the ball to the “big man.”

    Is Phil actually setting up the Smusher to fail? Is this to push the organization to trade Bynum in the off season–or a commitment to “offense” over defense–or simply putting whatever players come up into some predetermined rotation? Some of us are very weak in the ways of Zen.

    What does Phil want? What players does Phil need to make more sensible substitutions? We need his vision if we are to speculate on player additions/deletions meaningfully–and my crystal ball has apparently cracked. The time for the Zen master to meditate is fast approaching.

  75. Whoever plays PG tomorrow night needs to take it at Nash. Make him play defense. He his a human being, he gets tired. For those of you who have been watching the DAL-GS series, the Warriors are taking it AT Dirk almost every time. They Iso whoever Dirk is guarding and let him go one on on e and make Dirk play defense. The announcers mentioned that the Warriors also use this strategy on Nash. They have the luxury of a big body PG in Davis whom they have post Nash up all day and wear him out on the defensive end.

    We don’t have a big PG like Baron Davis to post Nash up so I think we should try Kobe at the 1 with Mo at 2, Luke at the 3. Nash will have to guard either Kobe or Mo. He will have to spend as much energy on D that he does on O. We used this lineup only one time, during the last Clipper game and it worked well but Phil has yet to go back to it. He has the feeling that throwing a new defender every 5 minutes at Nash will slow him down. Judging by the 23 assists last game, we might want to resort to plan B

  76. In the event that we play Kobe and Mo at the guards, the Suns would probably counter by screen and rolling a lot to make our guys play D too. But by having multiple players of the same size out there, we would be able to switch everything. The switch everything D is working wonderfully for the Warriors right now who play 5 players of the same size. PHX exploits our pick and roll D a lot right now by making us switch and then their big ends up on our PG and Nash gives him the ball for the mismatch. It seems like every other play Stoudemire or Diaw ends up posted up on Farmar or Smush because of the switch on the pick and roll D.

  77. Yes, just because you want a championship, doesn’t mean you get one. Any successful team with a chance at long term success takes time to build. Personally, I believe we’re early int the builiding phase but I don’t believe we’re not doing it. I might want $500,000 to pay bills and have a little pile of money to sit on, but it doesn’t mean I get it. It’s a question of working the market and getting the pieces we need, as the Lakers did in the late ’90s, first with Shaq and Kobe,and D. Fish then Foxy, Rob Horry, B. Shaw, HoGrant, Harp, etc. My point was simply we need to have patience. I don’t think we’re going in the wrong direction necessarily; disagree if you want anyone, but your post smacked of the myopia that afflicts too many sports fans, seems to me. If I was wrong, my bad, but that’s how your post sounded to me.

  78. “Just bring it back to L.A.,” Jackson said. “Bring the series back to L.A. and let the chips fall where they may. It’s just a one-game scenario. If you get to thinking (beyond that), you get yourself in trouble.”

    Kurt (or kwame a. or anyone who knows this stuff), I’d like to know your take on PHO “slipping” screens on screen/roll in game 3 and the subsequent if any adjustments that can be made…

  79. Gatinho- A couple things the Lakers could do

    1. continue to try to trap the screen and roll. They primarily utilize the Nash/Marion or Nash/Stoudemire screen roll. This leaves our sf or Kobe as the weakside perimeter help, and our center on the block. Last game when we tried to trap the screener rolled to the hoop, the c had to help, dunks ensued. To adjust the Lakers can have the perimeter player on the weakside sag into the pain to allow our c to rotate to the screener who slips the screen. This would still lead to some scrambling, and would open up the 3 ball for them, not sure if that’s the best thing for us.

    2. go back to switching the screen. This would probably be best for Lamar when he’s involved, maybe even Ronny, but not good for Bynum, Kwame or Cook.

    3. Mix up our Defenses. We should trap when our Center is involved in the play and make sure we are disclipined in our rotations. When Lamar is involved we should switch.

    Also, our offensive discpline will be key, the best way to slow the Suns down is to shoot high pecertange shots in the paint.

    just my two cents

  80. Sorry no new posts today guys, been swamped, but something interesting on the horizon. Plus, I think there’s a little game tomorrow in and amongst all the team makeover talk.

    But, since Matt Barnes came up in discussion, here’s a new interview with him:

    http://hoopsaddict.com/2007/05/01/nba-playoffs-player-interview-matt-barnes-golden-state-warriors/

  81. Great interview. Doesn’t sound like he’s gonna leave G State this offseason. I think he has found a home

  82. Thnaks kwame. I like the “mix it up” option best. Oh, and obviously i meant game 4.

  83. Lamar has to be on the box all night long. I know it hurts more to play down low, but the offense has to run thru Lamar on the block. If he’s not, I question the coaching.

    And somebody PLEASE put Nash on his butt when he drives to the hole. Has he hit the floor once in the series? I don’t care that he’s a 100% freethrow shooter. Knock him down(legally) and at least make him think when he drives. He’s either gonna make a layup or 2 FT’s after being fouled. He’s human. Make it hurt a bit (legally).

  84. No one is looking at or mentioning this guy, but he can shoot the lights out, isn’t getting any minutes with the Warriors, and has more spit-and-vinegar in him than Smush and Sasha put together.

    I’m not saying he would lead the Lakers on a championship run or anything, but the team WOULD be better. He can flat out shoot, and he knows the fundamentals of the game.

    Sarunas Jasikevicius

    Sarunas Jasikevicius

    Sarunas Jasikevicius

  85. I’m a lifelong Laker fan. Have been for as long as I can remember. I still have my autographed Chick Hearn picture from 1975 that I got when I was 9 years old. The Pat Riley picture with the mustache and sideburns is even better. I’ve always stuck by them. Even back in the Cedric Ceballos days when I would get laughed at for wearing my Laker hat to work. Why was I loyal? Because I always believed that the Lakers would make moves to make the team better sooner rather than later. The Logo was running things and always seemed to find a way to make things happen.

    Now when I see things happening and not happening, I question the teams management because the current group hasn’t really accomplished much post Shaq. Mitch seems to be hanging his hat on the pickup of Bynum and to me it seems like he’s holding onto him to show the world that he can evaluate talent and prove to everyone that Bynum will develop into something special. And all the while Kobe is getting older and his window of domination is closing. Kobe needs real help. Not more role players.

    As Marsellus Wallace would say “you here that Mitch, that’s pride messin with you. Screw pride. Pride only hurts…it never helps”

  86. 85- Sarunas is not known to be a good defender. He would certainly be better than Sasha, in my opinion, and if he can come for cheap, do it. But he’s not the answer to our woes at the 1 position.

  87. warren (philippines) May 1, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    My advocacy is that we DECIDE on what kind of team we are. Are we a running team? Passing team? Post-up? Triangle?

    From there, seek the players that can help you and try to get rid of those who have poor attitude and who do not fit the system. Right now we have 9 players on payroll and its easier to evaluate each when we aren’t bound.

    1st the starters – FARMAR, KOBE, WALTON(FA), ODOM, KWAME.

    A starting line-up like this is a team confused with the theme. It’s what we have though. Farmar is a deliberate guy, Walton is a deliberate read-react guy, Kobe is a free-lancer, Odom is a runner, ball-handler and a multi-dimensional guy. Kwame Brown is still confused with his identity. I’d put him on the deliberate side.

    Given what we have, its hard to tell how effective we are unless we employ a specific theme. If you have to be deliberate, you have to have a post up threat. If your strength is in your guards, be a running team.

  88. (86) I think the moves Mitch makes also has alot to do with saving his own job …it’s obvious alot of gm’s in many sports can’t take risks because if any of them backfire they will be scapegoated faster than you can say Paul DePodesta..so if general history is to be used as a guide we probably won’t see guys like Bynum going anywhere (and probably signed to a fat contract) while the Lakers just float on a team that neither truly rebuilds nor gears up for a good year…maybe Phil Jackson can change that since he’s in a very win-now attitude but this team seems to be going down a AI/TMac path of a one-man show

  89. warren (philippines) May 1, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    The Lakers are evidently needing threes this year. No not from Kobe. You gotta let Kobe score on the mid-range to lay-ups and dunks and shoot around 10 FTs a night.

    The Heat have recently implied that breaking the team up might be the better option. They are reportedly not taking back James Posey, Gary Payton and Eddie Jones and will try to look for another scorer to help out. Meanwhile, Jason Kapono is free as well. He could help out our three woes. I bet for 2.5M / year he might.

  90. warren (philippines) May 1, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    Guys, ever observed how guys with teeny weeny contracts seem to hustle more than someone say like Tim Thomas? Its human nature. People are better motivated when there’s something at stake. Except perhaps for Smush. This summer, we are on a tight budget therefore what we spend on better be the right guy. Major moves coming in would require that we send out Major players as well.

  91. warren (philippines) May 1, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    I’m offering Mitch Kupchak a way out of his stern pride. I am letting him keep Andrew Bynum (I am 100% against it).

    Now lets see our team on what we have and what we can do – Its automatic that you would have to let go of Kwame or Odom. Say he lets Kwame go. He will be letting go of a significant cap relief in 09. I know teams in struggle mode are interested in his 9M expiring. But we are too. Unless its a KG or JO, Kwame should stay. No not even for Kidd or Bibby.

    Lets say he lets go of Odom. Unless a bigger name is out there and he plays the 4 or 5, Odom is off limits. What do we have now then? We have nothing to improve the team.

    Vlade Radman? Brian Cook? Sasha Vujacic? these guys are salary fillers and throw-ins. They aren’t sought after players. Mihm is injured, Mckie, Smush and Shamu are probably gone. Turiaf is a good energy player and theres Evans and Farmar from there. Nothing more.

    I say we’re doomed. I say we ain’t got nothing unless we part with Bynum. Let him go Mitch. Its okay… Its okay…

  92. Hi Warren (90),

    I like your analysis, but there are alternative possibilities.

    The biggest unknown for this team is the health of Chris Mihm. If Mihm is not healthy, the Lakers won’t sign him. If Mihm is healthy, the Lakers almost certainly would sign him–giving the Lakers 3 desireable/tradeable centers. Without trading anyone , they would already have improved their team. More imporatantly, it would provide the necessary glue to put together multi-player deals.

    Since they earn enough, trading either Mihm or Kwame could be one-for-one.

    The biggest advantage to trading Bynum for a major player is that it allows the Lakers to unload players that otherwise wouldn’t be accepted by another team–to make salaries match.

    For this reason, trading Bynum would likely include Odom and others and could lead to a breaking up of the Laker team as we know it.

    I think that’s what you like!

  93. Sorry Warren,

    It changed to 92!

  94. warren (philippines) May 2, 2007 at 2:07 am

    I do not conform to shaking things up so much as it would create another puzzle – Chemistry. However, this team right here wasn’t built for contention, it was for recovery. Surely Odom, B.Grant and Caron Butler aren’t what you trade Shaq for… but that was probably the better deal at that time.

    We’ve had 3 full years of trying out and possibly half of the Laker wins can be attributed to group chemistry and perhaps half – Kobe heroics. Now, at the brink of destruction and so far away from glory, we ponder… Is this our team? or can we do better.

    It leads me to conclude that the personnel acquired from the Shaq trade wasn’t necessarily what we needed but what was the best possible pieces offered. Now we know certain things and we move on. In search of glory once more. Knowing our captain is right here at Full Throttle. Lets not wait till there is little or none left in the tank.

    As I can notice, I doubt if there’s anyone in this forum that is against the idea of KG. But due to 22million reasons, I’m thinking he is farther to reach than what we think. Even Mike Bibby was on the way until the Maloofs vetoed the deal coz he couldn’t stomach Bibby killing them.

  95. warren (philippines) May 2, 2007 at 2:17 am

    Now it leads me to think about the Laker squad next year.

    Assuming Mihm recovers and plays to par with his performace before the injury. We’d have a pretty decent center at hand. If I remember correctly, the starting 5 that time were Smush, Kobe, Odom, Kwame, Mihm. (Am I right?)

    If we apply that to today’s set-up, it would be:
    Farmar, Kobe, Walton, Odom, Mihm/Kwame.

    Mihm would be second string at center. A very good one at that place. However, Bynum’s minutes would be dwindling at this point. Which makes him harder to deal anywhere as his stock value might suffer too. Potential won’t be as much anymore as he will be out of the rotation.

    Therefore, I am suggesting that we pounce on a deal involving Bynum in exchange for a big name. KG or JO but not Kidd or Bibby. I wonder if there’s anything Philly would like in our roster apart from the core. I am sold at the idea that Andre Miller is 2x better than Mo Will.

    PG – Andre Miller
    SG – Kobe
    SF – Korver
    PF – Odom
    C – Kwame/Mihm

    just a vision…

  96. warren (philippines) May 2, 2007 at 2:36 am

    If not, Cook for Arroyo.

  97. I saw the Warriors almost topple Dallas–but Nowitzke (and maybe the refs) saved them to fight another day. I guess the Mavs haven’t yet gotten their fill of rice-a-roni (the San Francisco treat) and Nelly Ball. We’ll find out in Game 6.

    Given such a shaky win on their own court, the Mavs may be a bit woozy. Golden State, still up 3-2, still has nothing to lose.

    The fans in Oakland might have taken exception when a Maverick threw Baron Davis to the floor. They might not have liked that referee call near the end of the game. Given Bay Area hysteria, and Dallas desperation, game 6 of Warriors/Mavs may make an earthquake seem tame.

    Whoa, Nellie!

    Maybe the Lakers can bring a few of those California vibrations all the way to Arizona.

  98. “UPDATE: This just in from the Irony Department: Kobe was named All NBA All-Defensive First Team. He really did not deserve that honor this year, he was slowed defensively by his knee early and resorted to what was wisely once described as a “one man zone” for much of the year. He was part of the reason the Lakers defense was so bad during the season and post-season. He’s not a bad defender, but he’s no “all NBA” guy anymore either.”

    The reason he’s had to play defense the way he has has to do with the other guys getting burned badly on defense. If you had a clue, you’d see that he’s constantly looking over to see if he can help. It’s the same thing that happened when Chucky Atkins was part of this team. Kobe would always be moving over to provide help to Chucky thus weakening the defense a bit. In that situation it becomes a choice of two: you either stay on your man and let your teammate get burned or you try to help out while getting back to your man if possible.

    The idea that he was a part of the defensive problems on this team is laughable. His defense as a whole would look a lot better on paper to the basketball clueless like you, if we a much solid team on the court that didn’t rely on help defense so much. He wouldn’t have to be in a help mode so often. He’s our best defender and in fact, our only consistent defender. He WAS slowed down in the early part of the season, but he rebounded in performance. It just can’t be helped that the rest of the team needs help so often, nor is it his fault that our bigs (aside from Kwame) can’t play proper pick-and-roll defense.

  99. 100. Eniq 0×00, I don’t think Kobe was a bad defender this season but he was not up to his usual standards.

    First, that “one man zone” comment wasn’t mine. It was Tex Winter’s, when he complained to Roland Lazenby about Kobe’s defense. And if you know how the Tex/Phil relationship works, Tex says the things Phil wants to but can’t because of locker room politics.

    Second, opposing point guards shot a whopping 51.4% against him this season and had a PER of 15.1, which shows me Kobe’s defense was about the league average. In case your curious, in the Chucky Atkins disaster of a season, opposing 2 guards shot 46% against Kobe.

    Third, Kobe’s collapsing was part of the Lakers defensive rotations problems. As a team, the Lakers were slow rotating if the guy who blew past Smush got into the lane and passed out. Kobe was one of those who was slow.

    I think all that was more knee than anything else, I expect him to come back with a fire next season.