Summer League First Person

Kurt —  July 12, 2007

One of my favorite parts of this blog (and I think some of the better stuff) came from my first-hand reporting of the Lakers happenings at the Summer Pro League in Long Beach the last couple of years. But, the Lakers have joined most of the rest of the NBA in Las Vegas, and I couldn’t get out there this year. Fortunately, commenter Reed lives in Vegas and he provides a front-row view from the game against Portland. Enjoy.

I finally found my way to the NBA Summer League last night. I had high hopes to see Oden and Durant, but, of course, they were busy with tonsillectomies and the Espy’s. If you swing through Vegas this weekend, make sure to stop by. It is a really, really different NBA experience – very informal, unregulated, open, intimate. Everywhere you turn there are NBA coaches, GM’s, players, foreign scouts, recognizable media, etc. Sam Presti looks all of eighteen. Aaron Afflalo likes a lot of ketchup. Nate McMillan is very, very sober.

I sat right behind the Sonic’s bench for their game against Milwaukee. Robert Swift must have spent the summer with Scott Pollard — has a long red pony tail, tattoos up both arms, and an assortment of lip and ear piercings. He spent most of the game leaning over and whispering awkward jokes to Jeff Green, who tried hard to ignore him.

I also sat directly behind the Lakers bench during their game. Close enough I could observe the coaches and players, hear trash-talking, and read Tex Winter’s stat sheets. Thoughts on the game:

• Kurt Rambis is eminently likeable. He reminds me of Larry’s agent in Curb Your Enthusiasm – the kind of person you would enjoy being around. He spent much of the first half playfully making fun of the players to Brian Shaw. When Jabari Smith forgot to jump for the opening tip, he sarcastically yelled, “Great Jabari, way to just stand there, that’s just what we need.” Rambis also has “presence,” more so than Shaw. He seems to command the players respect. Though, that may not be hard to do with a roster of desperate journeyman and rookies. He never stops teaching the fundamentals during timeouts and dead balls. He’s an asset as an assistant coach.

• Coby Karl is an interesting case. He really is too small and unathletic to play shooting guard, and not a good enough ball handler or fast enough to play the point. Martel Webster (the sixth overall pick in 2005) ate him up on offense — just too big, fast, athletic, and powerful (Webster looked incredible, a real breakout candidate). Webster blew by him and rose up over him for easy jump shots consistently. Yet, Karl still managed to positively impact the game. He has a quick shot with deep range, sees meaningful passes before most players, and plays with real tenacity. At one point, after Karl’s over-intense defense on Webster led to a deflection, Webster turned to him mockingly and said, “You better save some of that energy Coby.” Intentional or not, I was happy when the two got tangled in transition a few possessions later and Webster took a nasty fall — destroying his rhythm for the rest of the game. Karl’s basically a smaller, better shooting Luke Walton. If he can be hidden on defense by tracking a non-threatening opponent, he can be a solid rotation player in the league. Smart, well-schooled, and fundamentally sound. But, he’ll get absolutely dominated by the league’s better wing players. Tough call. I think he’s worth signing and putting in the D-League.

• Besides Farmar, Crittenton, and Karl, no one else has any chance of making the team. The bigs are… big. Nothing more. Jabari Smith is long and he tries hard, but he makes Kwame Brown look like Kevin McHale on the block. Just no game. He’s the type of player that approaches every timeout by smashing something on the bench after picking up a cheap foul or blowing an easy putback, followed by the coaches gently encouraging him. High on intentions, low on results. Larry Turner is massive. He’s has a Kwame physique, yet is even less polished than Jabari. White, Graves, Patterson, Gay, and the rest have little to offer at the NBA level. It’s a three man show with the big men around to get rebounds and feed the guards.

• Farmar and Crittenton look fantastic. Although it is only summer league, they clearly got the better of two skilled first round point guards in Sergio Rodriguez and Petteri Koponen. The two combined for 43 points on 15-28 shooting, 7 rebounds, 3 assists (some statkeeper wasn’t counting diligently…), and, most significantly, zero turnovers.

• Crittenton is more impressive physically — taller, thicker, stronger. He covers all the point guard skills well: lightning fast penetration, great finisher, good spot up shooter, controlled playmaking. His jump shot gets a little sketchy when he is forced to pull up off the dribble, but that won’t be his role on the Lakers for a few seasons. He scored 26 efficient points in every possible way. Very, very impressive. Yet, you can tell he’s only 19. He seems a little in awe of the situation and doesn’t quite realize how good he is. That’s the difference between watching Randy Foye and him right now — same ability, but Foye knows he’s better than the competition. Javaris seems a little surprised every time he does something well. I’m skeptical he will be ready to contribute against the best teams or in the playoffs this year, but his potential is greater than Farmar’s.

• Farmar was the best player on the court. He got less minutes and didn’t put up the same stat line as Crittenton, but he was the better player. He has the confidence that he’s been there before and knows he’s “the man” (of the summer team, anyway). He has obviously put some time in the weight room, with a much thicker upper body. On the court, he was flawless — patiently running the offense, creating plays in the paint, hitting open jump shots, finishing difficult layups, setting up Crittenton’s finishes, etc. Although the box score only showed two assists, many of Crittenton’s baskets came via Farmar breaking down the defense. Jordan could have scored 25 or 30 without any trouble, but he reigned in his opportunities to control the game. Very encouraging.

• As a side note, Farmar carries himself with quite an attitude. He’s “that guy” we’ve all played with that dramatically smirks when his teammates are out of place, aggressively directs traffic, and pouts when he gets called for a foul. He’s constantly coaching his teammates, giving butt slaps, and chatting/arguing with the coaches. Maybe he’s just filling a needed leadership void on the team, but let’s just say if I were choosing teams for a pick up game, I’d probably go a different direction… Unexpectedly, Rambis started Crittenton over him (I think to try and get Javaris into the flow early after a lackluster game 2), and Farmar incredulously asked why. Rambis just gave him a mischievous shrug and grin, as if to say “You’re not all that yet, so go sit down.” He sulked, but then came in and dominated. (Ed. note: The Lakers have always mixed up the starters at the summer league, changing it from game to game with little apparent reason other than to give everyone a shot.)

• Portland is loaded with young talent. Although Oden and Aldridge didn’t play, they still threw out four recent first rounders (Webster, Sergio Rodriguez, Petteri Koponen, Joel Freeland) and a few underrated second rounders (Josh McRoberts and Taurean Green). Webster has the talent to be a star. Rodriguez and Koponen (two late first round point guards) both really know what they are doing. They are skilled ballhandlers, understand when and how to distribute, have nice range, etc. Portland will probably stash them overseas and bring them up in a year or two when they are really ready. Rodriguez in particular really controlled the offense. McRoberts was a steal. His upper body lacks any kind of definition (in sharp contract to almost every other big man I saw), but he has a great feel for the game. He consistently made impressive passes from the high post and hit nice fall away jump shots from the baseline. He’ll struggle for a few years, but once he fills out and develops the consistent 20 footer, he’ll be a nice power forward in the league.

Final thoughts:

After watching the Laker point guards this summer and tracking free agency, I think it would be a colossal mistake to sign Steve Blake, Mo Williams, or any other top tier free agent point guard to a full five-year midlevel contract. While Farmar and Crittenton are not ready man the point of a contending team this season, they both have the potential to quickly match or surpass the production of Blake/Williams. (I recognize Williams put up big numbers last year and do think he is talented, but I also think it was a case of an above average player putting up big statistics on a terrible, injury-depleted team. Remember, Ruben Patterson also averaged 15 points on that team last year.) Signing a free agent point guards to a five or six year deal makes no sense. What would we do with Steve Blake and his 6M for years 4-6 when Farmar/Crittenton has surpassed him? If we had cap room to pursue Billups that would be one thing, but there isn’t an impact free agent available to us. All we need is a veteran who can give us short term stability at the position while our young point guards are groomed. A placeholder that can immediately contribute. Learning the triangle and how to mesh with Kobe takes time, even seasons. Fisher is the one point guard out there who can seamlessly step in and fortify the position without jeopardizing the long-term growth of our young gems. Farmar and Crittenton are skilled, athletic, well-rounded talents with great instincts for the game. As none of the available free agents has any more upside than our two point guards, signing Fisher, who is ready to contribute now, to a shorter, smaller deal makes great sense. (For more of Reed’s thoughts on the Fisher signing and what it means, be sure to read this.)

Kurt

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106 responses to Summer League First Person

  1. thanks again for the great analysis Reed. seriously, get a blog.

  2. Thanks for that Reed, really appreciate the insight.

  3. well documented observations. I hope you’re right about the potentials of both farmar and crittendon. dominating a summer league game is vastly different than dominating an NBA game though. so I’ll be the one waiting and seeing.

  4. Great insight and comments. I really think Critt is a keeper, as well as farmar, and the signing of fish is a perfetct fit for the situation. With that said, the team will have an abundance of guards. Who do you think should go? Sasaha, mo, or even farmar? maybe they can package one of them to sweeten the deal for garnett or JO? Odom/sasha/cook for JO or Odom/Bynum/Farmar/Cook for garnett?

  5. Reed, your stuff has been amazing (and really helped me out at a point I have had little time to write, let alone do any reflecting or research). I’d say get a blog, but I’d rather have you keep writing here.

  6. Thanks for the “words eye view” Reed.

    ESPN is reporting the Fisher signing….

  7. I could quote those words and be like a famous rock star over other Laker sites. Once more, bravo Reed.

    The reason why I enjoy FB&G is because bloggers like me, need a daily feed of info from sources not found on the net. Such as that. The atmosphere described over “words eye view” from the summer league is an indicator yet it is not a statistic.

    I come here regularly for may daily shot of Lakers adrenaline. Why not make this a member-based site as well? Having those thingies where you can start your own thread and you will have your own mini-page where you can blog all you like, being able to discuss different topics in separate threads. Just a suggestion…

  8. FYI: Rambis and Shaw are alternating in the head coaching role for the summer. Shaw had games 1 and 3 (the ones where Crittendon played major wins, also the 2 that the Lakers won.) Rambis coached game 2 (where the Lakers lost, and Critt barely got off the bench).

  9. One year makes a big difference.

    The Lakers now have 5 of their own first round back court draft picks on the squad: Kobe, Sasha, Derek, Jordan, and Javaris. A substitution of Derek for the Smusher and the elimination of Shammond and Aaron from the roster means that ALL backcourt players will have a Laker triangle offense perspective. Reed’s +- comparisons between Jordan, Smush, and Derek suggest a substantial increase in the offense/defense point spread next year without adding in any of the apparent improved chemistry.

    That may be a bigger improvement than many realize.

    The frontcourt is not nearly so Laker pure. The only experienced players drafted by the Lakers are Cook and Walton. First round Laker Bynum found himself surrounded by “slug” confusion last year–though Kareem already gave him a Laker identity. Draft pick Turiaf had enough world experience to adapt, but not necessarily in a pure Laker triangle mold–yet.

    3 key players: Lamar, Kwame, and VladRad have substantial experience outside the triangle–and it didn’t help. Only Chris Mimh might have had enough outside experience and Laker experience to qualify as a needed backcourt veteran.

    I know that the Lakers haven’t signed Mimh yet, but I’m assuming that he is fully recovered and they will. I’d be amazed if they allowed any other team to sign him away from us.

    Chris could provide the veteran backcourt difference that Derek will provide frontcourt. Together, we are likely to see backcourt defenders jumping out on the high pick and roll and switching more often seamlessly. We may see penetrating point guards more frequently directed in toward the waiting shot blockers.

    Maybe our defense with this team will lack the heady pinache of San Antonio. Let’s not ask for too much too soon. Maybe our “slugs” could rise to escargot this year.

    We would have (with my subjective rankings):

    PG: Fisher Farmar Crittendon
    SG: Bryant Evans Vujacic
    SF: Walton Radmanovic
    C: Mimh Brown Bynum
    PF: Odom Cook Turiaf

    Now that the salary numbers are almost in for a roster of 14, we can become quantitative. Barring a bare knuckles gamble into luxury tax hyperspace, there is only one budget friendly big “star” trade that the Lakers can make this year–and that would be for $13 mil Pau Gasol. Gasol might not take the Lakers over the cap at all, whereas the extra $7-9+ mil would be doubled by the luxury tax for the old guys.

    After failing with three offers to other free agent players, Memphis just signed Darko Milicic as a free agent. Darko was released by Orlando in favor of veteran Washington superstar PF Rashard Lewis.

    Though one of our FB&G bloggers projected Darko as the Grizzlies starting center, they still don’t really have a center on the squad. Darko is more like a backup for Pau-but Milicic doesn’t want to back up anyone anymore.

    The Memphis coach specializes in working with big men–and Darko is still only 22 and ready to play. Even before the acquisition of Darko, Memphis bloggers loved the idea of a trade for youngster Andrew Bynum–even if it would involve losing Pau Gasol.

    The trade that the Memphis bloggers endorsed was basically Pau for Kwame and Bynum–giving Memphis two centers–one with an expiring contract. Salaries on the trade deal would be very close. The deal might or might not require something more from the Lakers (draft pick or a current second rounders)

    Such a deal would give the Lakers Kobe, Pau, and Lamar as 3 scoring stars (not counting crisis help from Derek Fisher and role player help from Mimh, Walton, Vladrod, Farmar, Evans, and others).

    $13 mil Pau would change the scoring threats of the triangle more than the $20+ mil older guys (KG and O’Neil) since he likes to post up more. He’s younger and his ego would be least likely to clash with Kobe (especially with unselfish facilitation from Walton/Odom/Farmar/Fisher). On defense, Pau has the quickness and extra size to defend the NBA power forwards on the wing, but may need physical help inside against some teams. In addition to Mimh and Turiaf, who already could play that role, the Lakers might be able to attract a veteran like Chris Webber to be the 14th guy.

    If it failed, the Lakers could almost certainly reshuffle the deck and trade out of it even if Kobe left–not so likely with KG or JO.

  10. Reed, you are the man. You have the big brain for analysis and the big heart of a Laker fan. I’m on the bandwagon. Kurt, you get the credit for creating a blog that attracts such intelligent fans.

  11. It’ll be interesting how the point guard by committee works out this year. If you could put the three main PGs into a conglomerate player, wouldn’t that be nice?

    I wonder if Fish will play some 2 this year, with Kobe sliding to the 3 in order to make some room to allow Farmar and Critt to have more PT at the point. From reeding Reed’s post about Farmar, it seems like he’ll demand his PT this year so it’ll be important to balance PT evenly. That being said, it appears that Critt might be the odd man out due to being a rookie.

    BTW, any news on Bynum this summer?

  12. 3.
    I’m not looking for domination. I’ll be satisfied with “better than Smush” from our guard corps.

    10.
    I think you’ll see Crittenton getting time at the 2 slot more than you would Fisher.

  13. About Farmar: He has always tried to be that guy and carried himself that way. He has that type A personality that Kobe has except he also tries to be a leader of his teammates. He sometimes can be very hard on them. At UCLA not all were receptive to this (I think Collison punched him in practice once). I think his work ethic (the main reason he’s even in the league) shouldn’t change. I also think his willingness to lead shouldn’t change. But he’s gotta learn how to talk to people without having an attitude about it. Having Crit on the roster is just going to make Farmar more competitive than he ever has been. In his eyes, he’s going to be the starter of this team. That’s why he was upset when he didn’t start and came out with that “I’ll show them” approach in the game. I’ve know Jordan for a very long time. If Fish thinks he’s going to have an easy time staying the starter the entire season, he’s got another thing coming. Because in Jordan’s type A mind, he’s the best PG on the roster and he’s going to work his butt off to show everyone else that’s the case.

  14. 13. I wouldn’t assume Fish is the starter, he has always been better off the bench. Why not start Farmar and have Fish and Crit off the bench? Now, in the real world, that decision will be made during training camp, but to me Farmar has as good a chance as Fish to start. The big difference maker, however, could be Phil’s love of vets.

  15. I like the direction of the Lakers with respect to getting and keeping gritty players, namely Fish, Kobe, Critt, Farmar, Turiaf, Odom. These guys lay it all out every time they hit the court and that’s a great intangible to have. Unlike last year, if Parker didn’t bring it, Farmar was too green to play major minutes, and Vujacic and Williams were negligible in terms of impact. But now, you have competition from within and it should sharpen the players’ resolve as PT will now be earned, not as a matter of desperation/privilege. Hopefully, these guys will push Vrad, Cook, Kwame, Bynum to play harder. Now you have Fish who commands the respect of the players as an additional voice out there with Kobe so hopefully we’ll see some toughness developing from these guys.

    I think we’ll be standing pat in terms of getting the big names. If KG really wants to come here, he will next year and we won’t lose Odom/Bynum for it. We, and most importantly Kobe, have to be patient and not empty the cupboard unnecessarily.

  16. Appreciate the insight, Reed. I also hope that the young guards develop to be contributors, but it would also be great if they showed enough to be bait in a trade for the big that we really need.

    I also hope that Karl can stick on this roster. A team can never have enough smart players with feel who can shoot, esp in the triangle O. And if the Lakers make a trade, they will be giving up multiple players and will most likely have at least one extra roster spot, even after signing fisher.

  17. Reed, I appreciiate your thoughts, which are always interesting and insightful. As one who is down on the Fisher signing ,at least somewhat, you certainly give me pause to reconsider.

    That said, I still have a couple of quibbles. Part of your thinking was laid out in your analysis of past championship teams, wherein you argued that such teams always seem to have quality veterans, like a Robert Horry or Brian Shaw or Derek Fisher.

    That seems true enough, but I’m not sure that’s why they win, which is the relavent question. I mean, really good teams tend to draft late, and have limited cap flexibility, and they tend not to be able to make major trades because they can’t give up their superstars, and the rest of the players don’t have major trade value.

    Couldn’t it be that such teams have veteran role-players not because that’s what it takes to win, but because they have few other alternatives?

    As for Fisher specifically, I appreciate the +/- numbers you provided, but again wonder if coorelation necessarily means causation. After all, Brian Cook’s +/-over the past 3 years have been +4.7, +2.4 and +7.7. In each case, he’s been near the top of the Laker rankings, and that in no way causes me to believe Cook is one of the best players on the team.

    I’m no expert in +/- ratios (and much else), but I think we need to use a little scepticism when: a) the player’s other numbers are relatively poor; and b) the player plays primarily as a back-up.

    After all, you explain his poor PER/Opponent PER by pointing out that he’s been spending too much time at the 2 the last few years. If that’s why his numbers are down–and I think that’s a reasonable explanation, along with the aging process–there’s no reason to think that he’s somehow creating the good +/- ratios when he’s out of position.

    That’s not to say Fisher’s +/- ratio isn’t worth something. It does make me a little more hopeful.

    Any rate, as I said earlier, I’m bothered by the Fish signing in large part because it says to me the the front office is prioritizing the symbolic and nostalgic value of bringing the old gang back together, not because I think Fish is so much worse than other options. Indeed, you make a good case against Blake and Williams.

  18. Jones — do you run both the jonesonthenba and basketballjones blogs, or just the former?

  19. I’m setting the over-under on Fisher’s standing ovation opening night at 180 seconds. Any takers?*

    (by the way kurt, it’s a good thing you own this domain. your stuff is unbelievable, but if you didn’t, with postings like this, your little house-move could turn you into a latter day wally pipp…)

    *-note, i have no money for actual betting. just fake betting. now go!

  20. Fish was at Game 3 against the Suns two years ago, and they put him on the big screen and the crowd went absolutely nuts. He started blushing the ovation was so loud.

    So 180 seconds sounds about right…

  21. Hmmm …I will take this with a huge grain of salt

    It has been the topic in Celtic blogs “Odom is coming to Boston in a 3 team deal”

    http://www.celticsblog.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=64&topic=7411.msg120545;topicseen#new

  22. Good thoughts James. I agree that +/- ratings should be met with a little skepticism. They are one piece of a larger picture. Though, I think that the wild outliers we see in +/- ratings are usually reserves who primarily play in garbage time, so I feel a little better about Fisher’s line than Cook’s. But, it’s a flawed stat. I’m not trying to make Fisher out to be more than he is — a veteran, 25 minute per game, role playing point guard. However, after doing a little research, I was struck that he is a little more valuable on the court than Kurt’s initial post implied (looking at all of: +/-, PG v. SG per, on/off court team defensive efficiency, charges, etc.). I also think his talents will be maximized on the Lakers in the triangle, where he can play point guard but not have to playmake. We’ll see. The thing I am most concerned about was the sharp decline in FG and 3FG% last year. Hopefully that was not a trend.

    I think the consistent role of veterans on title teams opens up numerous interesting questions. It definitely has something to do with the CBA. Championship teams always have 2-3 stars on max or near max contracts and don’t have the freedom to sign younger, more talented players that command larger contracts. So, they find value in older players willing to take a little discount for a ring (the Horry’s of the world). However, in watching these older role players mesh with the stars, it is clear they do more than offer cheap service. Their execution of the little things is critical to team success, especially in the playoffs (though, obviously not as critical as the stars’ contributions). I find it interesting that in big playoff series, contending teams often sit their younger, more “talented” role players for the experienced ones. The prime example is Phil Jackson’s consistent use of Rick Fox over Glen Rice. The team needed a smart, rugged, defensive small forward over Rice’s greater skills. Anyway, as always the answer is probably that it’s a little of both — older players are usually both cheaper and more needed for contending teams.

  23. Reed: I’m just running Jonesonthenba. I also write on the Fanhouse NBA page. I haven’t been doing much of either over the last month because I have been very busy. JE Skeets and Tas are the basketball jones guys. They are funny as I don’t know what.

  24. dan reins,

    I think 180 seconds sounds about right. What would be even more impressive is if Kobe let him be introduced last, at least on opening night.

    That would be a class move by Kobe (insert joke here).

  25. 21- I have seen that same rumor elsewhere. Actually I thought of a similar idea around draft time. But I think it is just a trade idea. But my question is if the Lakers traded for Garnett wouldn’t they just be a slightly better version of houston. A team with two extremely talented max salary guys with no resources to put any quality players around them?

    If that trade occurred the Lakers would probably have to take another bad contract from Minnesota. Blount would at least give the Lakers a serviceable big man to play center. Also if that happened the Lakers would h ave to resign Mihm, unless they could get Magloire or Moore to take the approx 1M they have left of the MLE after signing Fisher (highly doubtful). I guess its high risk high reward.

    There is an article by Chad Ford (ESPN) on 5 rules for GMs. It is quite good. I think its free for the time being. I will paste the link below.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=ford_chad&id=2934997

  26. Reed you do realize you just got another vote of confidence for your own blog by TrueHoop on ESPN. Henry Abbot is a fan and so are many of us here at FB&G.

    Thank you Kurt for such a great blog. Honestly the best on the net, don’t change it.

  27. That trade on the celticsblog forum seems pretty nice to me, especially if the Lakers only have to give up Odom.

  28. Interesting observations re: Martell Webster. I’ve been wondering if he’s ever going to live up to his potential.

  29. 26 – Lakers would have to give up most likely Bynum and Kwame in that trade. It was a celtic rumor so they left out most of the deal involving the lakers.

    If you read in between the lines a bit there is a mention that there are other parts that Minny would receive that hasn’t been worked out yet. Those parts are coming from the lakers.

    So lakers would give up Odom, Kwame, Bynum for Garnett. Possible more to take on another bad contract from Minny.

  30. Renato Afonso July 13, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Another great job Reed.

    Thanks for the “words eye view” ;)

  31. On that Celtics trade: It’s a logical idea that I’ve kicked around on trade machines since after the draft. If the Lakers give up Kwame, Odom, Bynum, and either a future #1 or Farmar or Critt they could take back KG and a contract (Jaric, Hudson, or Blount).

    In this scenario Minny would get 2 expiring deals (Kwame & Ratliff) and young players (Bynum, Green, our future #1/Farmar/Critt).

    Boston would get Odom

    Obviously this helps everyone and leaves the Lakers with this:

    PG: Fisher, whoever’s left from Farmar/Critt
    SG: Kobe, Sasha, Evans (he could also play SF)
    SF: Walton, VladRad (he could also play PF in a small lineup)
    PF/C: KG, Turiaf, Cook

    BUT, this also leaves the Lakers incredibly thin in the front court with no help immediately available. If this trade were to happen, bringing back Mihm would be a must and we would still need to sign another big w/ the vets minimum or the remaining $ from the mid-level and/or execute another trade that gets that big guy.

    If this deal were to happen, it’s why I have said that the summer league team may have a player or two that make the team just b/c we will need to fill out the roster.

  32. What is this about the “words eye view”?

  33. Great post as usual Reed, no way we could have gotten a better first hand analysis of summer league than what you have given us.

    I saw the link on Truehoop where Henry Abbott also believes that you need your own blog, and I agree… but I would much rather have you remain here with Kurt and the rest of the FB&G family.

    Kurt and Reed are the Kobe/Shaq of Laker blogging

  34. Reed/James,

    There are statistics, and damned statistics–but rarely are statistics intuitively understood. I constantly remind my students that statistics are merely a convenient and sometimes more specific way of saying with numbers what one can only awkwardly say with words.

    When I look at basketball games, I primarily look at team performance reflected in flow and rhythm, not who scores. When I go to the game summary, there are no flow and rythm points.

    The numbers at issue primarily concern points scored. If basketball involved one on one competition, points scored would be an excellent dependent variable, highly correlated with rebounds and steals. We could rather convincingly rank and predict player performance–as long as everyone played everyone else equally often and everyone stayed healthy.

    Basketball is NOT an individual game. In a five on five competition, points scored may not be a very good measure of player performance (even when one does +- comparisons with individuals and teams).

    If one is to use points at all, it might better be in % of total for that team, since some teams focus on minimizing the points of the opponents, some focus on quick scoring, some focus on winning the end game, some focus on offensive scoring %, etc.

    For example, in the NCAA tournament, UCLA only scored 17 points in the first half against Indiana–but Indiana only scored 10!

    A player who scored 10 for UCLA in that first half would be like someone who scored 40 if the team scored 48.

    Look at it in terms of individuals.

    I don’t remember all of the details, but suppose Afflalo went 1 for 7 on offense, missing four 3 point attempts. On defense, suppose Afflalo was forced to switch off and his “man” went a perfect 4 for 4 (including two 3′s) and accounted for all of the Indiana points.

    If you watched the game, you would know that both teams destroyed the rhythm of the opponents by bringing the “bigs” way out, forcing hotly contested 3s or turnovers, that Indiana was focused on stopping Afflalo so other Bruins scored, and that Afflalo wasn’t responsible for any of the points his opponent scored. Imagine what Afflalo’s PER stats would look like–and they would be totally off the mark! Despite games like that, Afflalo became an All American and was drafted by a defensively oriented NBA team!

    Reed is clearly aware of this problem; James, I’m not so sure. Still, Reed speculates and draws conclusions on point related statistics.

    Reed says, “The thing I am most concerned about was the sharp decline in FG and 3FG% last year. Hopefully that was not a trend.”

    Reed, didn’t Derek play for different teams (Jazz vs. Warriors) on those two years? Didn’t the Jazz concentrate on reducing the total number of points scored by opponents in a game? Couldn’t it be that if one re-scored Fish in terms of % of total team scoring for both years, the apparent decline would disappear–an artifact of the PER scoring system?

    Let’s suppose we disregarded points scored altogether, and scored # of deflections, # of “spot” denials, # of picks, # of forced changes in direction, # of “nudges,”
    # of PT minutes of opponents reduced due to exhaustion, etc. Might not the numbers for all NBA players be radically different. Might not some of the “scorers” look pathetic whereas others would look pretty good?

    James says,

    “. . . .such teams always seem to have quality veterans, like a Robert Horry or Brian Shaw or Derek Fisher.

    Couldn’t it be that such teams have veteran role-players not because that’s what it takes to win, but because they have few other alternatives?”

    James seems not to have realized that Fisher was a Laker 1st round draft pick and was not picked up as a cheapie veteran. Only Shaw was picked up at a reduced salary at the end of his career. Although Reed calls Derek a veteran role player, Derek was not veteran enough in the glory years, since he was made a backup to Gary Payton.

    When Fisher was drafted, he couldn’t shoot the 3. He was all slash and dish. The 3 is now one of his strengths–not because he wanted to score, but because the Laker system requires it. His game changes every year.

    Karl Malone only made 50% of his free throws when he entered the league. Eventually, free throws at a high per cent were a critical part of his game.

    Fisher has been great for the Lakers from the beginning and is still appreciated because he is a team player. Scoring oriented statistics have obfuscated his contributions. He does whatever is necessary to win. He’s finally earned the badge of a true veteran.

  35. Actually I take that back… Kobe/Shaq couldn’t get along… Kurt and Reed are the Magic and Kareem of Laker blogging :)

  36. I doubt the Blazers will stash Rodriguez overseas. He played 13 minutes a game for them as a rookie last year, and McMillan loves him.

  37. My bad. I confused Rodriguez and their Spanish first round point guard from this draft — Rudy Fernandez, who they will stash. Between Jack, Fernandez, Rodriguez, Koponen, and Taurean Green (if he makes the team), they are loaded at point guard for the next 10 years.

  38. awesome article. thanks a million!

  39. It was actually me that wrote that, but I’m sure Henry feels the same — Reed, you need your own blog. This was a great post.

  40. I was referring to this:

    “This is an absolute must-read. Forum Blue and Gold commenter Reed, who truly needs his own blog, offers a detailed, nuanced, and insightful look at Laker prospects at the NBA’s Summer League.”

    at

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-26-44/Friday-Bullets.html

  41. Thanks Kelly. I’ve been a “lurking” loyal reader for a long time. I’ve always wished you wrote daily for SI like you have been today at TrueHoop. Although, any more basketball reading and writing will put my already tenuous marriage and job on even thinner ice.

  42. The Minn,Boston trade would have made sense for Minn back before the draft when they could have gotten Boston’s #5 pick. Now it makes little sense for Minn to essentialy trade KG for Green and Bynum. Still believe KG’s gonna ride out this season,decide if Minn has any potential and if not,opt out.

    Don’t get overly hung up on only vets being neccessary to win championships. Horry is an old vet now but he won his first title in Houston over a decade ago. Rookie Cassell was key to that team. Detroit was facing extinction when they turned to rookie Prince and w/him they went on a nice run.

  43. Hey Reed, I’m from the Bay Area and just got back from Vegas watching 2 straight days of games (was also at Bucks-Sonics, too). I’m doing some full-fledged reports of Summer League players, much as you’ve done here very nicely, and my last post was for Warrior fans on Golden State of Mind, here… http://www.goldenstateofmind.com/story/2007/7/11/15520/6403 …Maybe next year, we can get together and provide more of these valuable insights and scouting reports from Vegas? Also, good to get someone else’s perspective, e.g., I wasn’t all that impressed by Farmar — we can do a back-and-forth thing. Good to see someone else out there with the love for the game like I have. Email me at info-at-dreamleague-dot-org. Thanks and great work!

  44. “Word’s eye view” is what the late great Chick Hearn used to say at the beginning of Laker simulcast for the radio listeners or those who couldn’t “see” the game. if you ever listened to him announce you felt like you were seeing the game even though you couldn’t.

    Something like, “We’re here high above the Western sideline to give you our word’s eye view.”

    In the Forum Chick sat in the front row of the upper deck rather than at the sideline like most announcers do now. This allowed him to see the game develop in a way that other announcers couldn’t.

    The also called where he sat his perch or the nest. A play on bird’s eye view.

    http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/chick_hearn_020805.html

  45. Great analysis!

  46. This is what Chris Sheridian said who is an NBA Analyst from ESPN.

    He was asked his thoughts about Javaris Crittenton in the summer Leaugue.
    Luke (los angeles): Chris, what is your take on the Lakers Crittenton?

    Chris Sheridan: I saw him once in Vegas, and he was way, way, way better than Farmar. He has a nice shot, and he didn’t make many mistakes.

    Once again I rest my case

  47. Mike in the Mountain West July 13, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Great analysis Reed. You’ve demonstrated quite well what our needs are and why. I agree that Fisher answers our need at PG and the contract he was awarded gives us the best long term flexibility of any of the available PGs. I’m not so sure, however about Mihm. I think Mihm, like Blake and Williams, is not a great long-term option for the Lakers. If the rumors are right he’s going to want a long-term mid-level like deal. That’s a starter’s deal but if the progress Bynum made last year is any guide Mihm won’t be starting in a couple years and would probably have to fight for it this year. It is very much like our point guard situation but I would say that Bynum is even more ready to start than Farmar or Crit, making the re-signing of Mihm even more redundant than a Blake or a Williams. The only way it makes sense to re-sign Mihm is if Bynum is lost through trade. But if we end up keeping Bynum we would be better served by acquiring a dependable veteran big man in the mold of Fisher. My suggestion would be PJ Brown. Like Fisher he is one of the leagues “class acts” and a great lockerroom presence. He’s as injury proof as the come, never having had a major injury throughout his whole career, which has contributed to how well he’s aged. Signing him for the veteran’s minimum or with the rest of our MLE for 2 or 3 years would be a coup. He’s perfect for playing 15 minutes a game backin-up both front-court spots. The real problem with this would be if we traded both Bynum and Kwame and didn’t get a C in return, like in a KG deal. In that scenario PJ would probably start at C, which would be too big an assignment at this point in his career. Of course, the following year we could add a solid C with the MLE but if we lost in the first round again because we were too weak at C would Kobe demand a trade again? That’s why I think our smartest strategy is to try to convince Indiana of a JO deal sans Odom. A frontcourt of JO and Odom with PJ and Turiaf coming off the bench is much stronger than one composed of KG, PJ, and Turiaf or even KG, Mihm, and Turiaf for that matter. I also think a starting team of Kobe, JO, Odom, Fisher, and Walton with a bench of Farmar, Turiaf, PJ, Evans, Radmanovic, Crit, and Cook is much closer to the model championship team you outlined than anything we could put together after trading for KG.

  48. If the Lakers has only one move to make before the session starts

    which move you would rather to see

    A ) Kwame, odom, farmer for JO and Murphy

    B ) Kwame, farmar, green, ratliff for KG …with odom going to boston

    C) Kwame , farmar for Artests…with Bibby going to Cleveland.

    Let’s see how many of us agree or disagree?

  49. About that Celtics rumor…

    I do not buy that Odom is worth ONLY Ratliff and Green and that we should do that deal. Trading our 3 starters all for KG does not really sound the happy ending I have always dreamed of, although the thought of KG coming over months ago gives me the goosebumps. The point is, the argument is correct all along. We will be mortgaging our future and our ability to “add” quality players beside Kobe and KG if we do the deal. Signing KG for next year’s opt out must also mean the MLE only. (I have a diagram to show that we do not have money to sign him for 10M)

    Should this be the case, I’d rather take in more salary and be a little above the luxury tax than lose all 3 of them. My counter offer would be:

    Cook and Sasha to Minny
    Odom and Bynum to Boston
    Ratliff and Jefferson to Minny
    Kevin Garnett to LA.

    This way, we can keep Kwame for defense, depth and flexibility purposes. In as much as the team is concerned, we will be sporting this lineup:

    Farmar / Fisher / Crittenton
    Kobe / Evans
    Walton / Radmanovic
    Garnett / Turiaf
    Kwame / Mihm

    This is still a decent enough team that has a little flexibility come trade deadline…

    I also doubt that the Boston people will like the deal as they are pretty high on Big Al. However, They have to look at the glass half full and not half empty. They will be getting Bynum and Odom for ONLY Al Jeff and Ratliff.

  50. cook and sasha hahah no body wants cook and sasha and acting like kwame is something worth saving

  51. NEWS
    ===
    ===

    Kings sign Mikki Moore (Moore’s signing could be a prelude to a deal for Kings)

    The Utah Jazz signed point guard Jason Hart (Replacing Derek Fisher)

    Trail Blazers sign free agent guard Steve Blake.

    Morris Peterson Headed to New Orleans.

    Chucky Atkins will likely be a Denver Nugget .

    Chucky Atkins will likely be a Denver Nugget (Heat may lose out on Mo Williams after Riley’s nice dinner)

  52. Cook is young, 6’10 and a shooter. I wont say good. Sasha is merely for expiring purposes and not someone that any team might need anytime soon.

    Kwame is actually worth saving if it meant that we can be better defensively. Kwame will be the on-ball defender while KG provides the help. You don’t want to expend KG guarding Duncan all night long… He does occasionally when the big guys hits the stride, but you put Kwame on him for defensive purposes.

  53. laker fan for years, but dark days are ahead. Another 42-40 season is just around the corner. Hard to come away with not much in the Shaq trade. Look at what happened in Orlando when he left. It is going to take a few more years and some luck if the lakers are going to be another elite team. The real bad news is that Buss’s son may take over, doomsday will happen sooner if that happens, please Jerry, give the team to Jeannie or sell it to someone else.

  54. i know Jerry Buss is an idot he should give the team to jeanie she is much brighter and has more knowledge than Jim. I think its just a father son thing thoug that Jerry is dreaming about. forget it your Son is incapable of carrying on the job let jeannie do it.

  55. Some of our bloggers thought that the signing of Derek Fisher was lame.

    Behaving in an agressive manner preferred by some of our bloggers, the Miami Heat courted Mo Williams while leaving Steve Blake in Limbo. Milwaukee threw money at Williams and is on the verge of signing him. Blake meanwhile signed with Portland. Dropping a level, former Laker Chucky Atkins may replace Blake at Denver.

    We know where this train leads.

    Who’s going to tell Pat Riley about the Smusher?

  56. This Boston trade is just a trade Idea at this point. I’m not sure if such a trade has even been discovered. But if such a trade occurred the lakers would not have to give up Brown. You could do a trade that sent Odom to Boston, Bynum to minny + filler (Vujacic). Boston would send Green and Ratliff to Minny. The salaries match. the question would be, is that enough for Minnesota to trade Garnett? IF Boston were willing to throw in a 2008 first round pick along with one from the Lakers, that might be better. With two mid to late first round picks minnesota could trade up in the draft. There are some very talented players likely to be in next years draft; Mayo, Beasley, Rose, Gordon.

    If Taylor really wants to move Garnett to save money than they might take such a trade.

  57. re: 34

    You may be right that flow and rhythm are the most critical thing. My question is simple-how do you measure it if not by stats?

    If you think Fisher’s been great, and stats just don’t show it, but your observation does, well, I can’t argue with that. You may be right. I’m by no means enough of a basketball expert to judge the quality of every player without use of stats, just by watching.

    I’m am, however, at least knowledgeable enough to know that Derek Fisher hasn’t been perpetually 33–he was at one point young, and was drafted by the Lakers at the time. For myself, I referred to Fisher as a vet in the present, and I’ll guess Reed meant the same.

    Finally, there is a stat that attempts to deal with the problem you describe, known as pace factor. This allows us to adjust for pace the points scored and allowed, so it doesn’t appear, for example, that Phoenix is terrible defensively simply because they like to run.

  58. I could see Miami trying to make a move with Portland. They have a huge crop of PG’s. It appears that Jarrett Jack could be on the block.

  59. Sorry, comment #58 was by me.

  60. Michael Smith (Clipper color man) was broadcasting summer games with Joel (Laker voice). I was intrigued by his comment about a new player’s third year. Players who are going to be outstanding will show their colors by their 3rd year in the league. I would argue that you should wait for the 4th year for big men drafted out of high school, but, even so, Bynum is going into his 3rd year this year.

    For all us impatient fans and commentators, we should wait for this year – at least – before we determine to trade this guy.

    Mike’s point is that if you don’t see what you expect by the 3rd year, then you must expect what you see.

  61. lakerfan,
    Please follow commenting guidelines…
    “# 3. No personal attacks.
    # 4. We use complete sentences here, this is not an IM conversation.”

    If you have something intelligent to say, we would love to hear it… Warren is very bright, he does his homework about players and comes up with trade scenarios that would make sense from both teams point of view. If you do not agree with him, tell him why and debate. Do not call him worthless and stupid.

    Let us know why you think Minnesota would not be interested in Cook and Sasha other than just saying “they suck”

    Show us why you call yourself a Laker fan.

  62. Derek Banducci July 14, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    61. The problem with a wait-and-see approach on Bynum is that if he has a break-out year then the Lakers will not want to trade him b/c he will be able to help us immediately. On the other hand, if Bynum does not have a break-out year then other teams will be less willing to trade for him. Right now Bynum has value b/c he has gotten better each year in the league, looks like a legit prospect, and has great potential. But if Bynum stalls out, and we keep him, then we’re stuck with nothing except “potential.”

  63. warren’s trade is wishful thinking nobody will take sasha and cook NOBODY. This guy is hilarious thinking other teams will just take our crappy players. We have to give them what they want which is expiring contracts i.e. Kwame and GOOD young talent
    i.e. Bynum

  64. Lakerfan,
    We never said lets trade Cook and Sasha for KG. Cook and Sasha would be “fillers”. Lots of teams would like Cook on their team. He is a very good spot up shooter. A team that runs a lot of pick and rolls or pick and pops would love to have Cook on their team. Sasha is a pest on D. He gets under opposing PG’s skin and takes them out of their games sometimes (Bibby). Just because they are not really flourishing in our system does not mean that they are crap. For example, Cook’s numbers would double if he were on the Suns and got to just rain 3s all day… same with Sasha.

    The key is to find players that are not flourishing on other teams (i.e. Jaric, Blount, Hudson) on the T’Wolves and swap players. Our players could fit in better over there and their “crap” players may fit in a lot better here.

    Warren’s proposals make a lot of sense because he researches his proposals before presenting them to us. He looks at it from both team’s point of view.

    So please calm down, use complete sentences, back up your comments with why you think that way, and stop calling people idiots. You are only making yourself look like one.

  65. I agree with Derek’s analysis in 63 but disagree with the conclusion. If Bynum turns out to be as good as he might be (as Derek points out a big if) then Kobe, Lamar and Bynum could be the core of a championship team. That’s what I want, I want another Laker championship. I don’t want to settle for a team which makes it into the second round or a team which makes it to the conference finals a few times.

    Trading for JO or KG might also create a championship team but the history of that kind of trade is not very good, at least in the short term. Wilt was traded to the Lakers but it took several more years and the substitution of role player Jim McMillan for Elgin Baylor befoe it happened. I could give many other examples of major trades which did not work out but my point is that even when they do work out they almost never work out immediately. It normally takes several years before mega star players get used to playing with each other before a championship team is created. Frequently, the team is derailed by injury or other events before they get there.

    More often, champion teams are created by the arrival of new players who are not already major stars from the draft or free agency. New players work harder to fit in with what a team is already attempting to do if they are not already stars with a record of personal sucess. Also, trading away major parts of your existing team means that several other players will have to suceed in new roles for the team to be succesful. Only rarely does everything go right in the short term. Given the difficulties of learning the triangle offense and the ages and/or history of injury of the players we are talking about the “major trade” scenario is not a good one for the Lakers.

  66. 58 Thanks for the comments. We are on the same wavelength.

    I agree that “veteran” is a state of mind–and Derek has been a veteran for a long time. The ultimate first year “veterans” for the Lakers were Magic Johnson and James Worthy. Each of them came in as rookies, started, and helped win a championship.

    I’m not opposed to statistics, just opposed to misinterpretations. For example, Reed clearly improperly extrapolated when he said that he was concerned about Fisher’s drop in points and percentages. Those numbers were obtained when Fisher played for two different teams.

    I proposed that we measure “nudges, denial of spot, etc.” somewhat tongue in cheek. I think that the “pace” measure is a good idea–as is comparing percentages of the total team scoring per game–possibly extrapolated to a full game of minutes–rather than the raw number of points when comparing players from different teams.

    A good defensive team indicator that would be easy to count and extremely important/interesting would be the number of times the opposing team had an offensive opportunty and didn’t /couldn’t take a shot at all.

  67. I’m watching the Minn-Memphis summer league game right now and I am very impressed w/the Wolves young players. It’s early,summer league,etc.,but the Wolves kids look like they can play and they now offer a future to Minn. Give them a center and they could be supprisingly good-which has obvious implications for KG.

    I think the argument about Fisher’s value boils down to regular season vs Playoffs. Over the course of a season Fisher may well have a mediocre-to-bad +/-. But over a short series one or two plays can be crucial and make the diff between “win or go home”,whereas over an 82 game season a couple of great plays will be meaningless. Only two teams had five-somes w/over 200 +/- totals. One was Dallas at @+205 and the other was Houston w/a unit that was an incredible +257,almost 25% higher than the next five-some,and we all know how well those teams fared in Playoffs.
    There is a delicate balance between setting up for a playoff run and putting a team together that can make the Playoffs first. Fisher may not be the guy you want for 82 games,but in a short series he can be invaluable.

  68. Skigi,
    Any knowledgeable person about the NBA knows that both Sasha and Cook should not even be in the NBA. they would already be out of the NBA but Mitch gave them those stupid extentions. Brian Cook should not have even been drafted there are sooooooooo many players that can light up from downtown but dont even play in the nba. Cook is so unathletic and is one dimensional. He cant even shoot threes as well as you boast. Oh any players numbers would double in the suns system if they got a lot of minutes in it. The suns have the highest pace factor. Cook and Sasha belong in the NBDL at BEST. OPEN YOUR Freaking EYES PLEASE.

  69. Defense
    I love how you guys say stupid things like Sasha is a pest on D, and we need to keep Kwame for Defense.
    WAKE UP we were one of teh worst Defensive teams last year. These guys cant play D. WAKE UP PLEASE FOR The Love of God

  70. Lakerfan,
    Please read the commenting guidelines. We are all passionate about the Lakers around here, but please keep it civil and constructive.

  71. (51) (55) (64) (67) (68)
    Lakerfan,

    If you haven’t noticed yet, people who participate in this blog take it seriously. Some of them have their own blogs and/or write professional sports articles. Some of them know some of the Lakers players and/or management personally. Their comments are studded with links. If you go to the archives, or follow links from this blog, you can surf to the other teams–or even key players–and become a virtual detective.

    Many of them write beautifully!

    You have taken a very authoritative stand on possible trades and the value of Laker players in a writing style best described as “proto English” or “colloquial conversational English.” For example, you say,

    “i know Jerry Buss is an idot he should give the team to jeanie she is much brighter and has more knowledge than Jim.”

    I’m supposing that “i (?) know Jerry Buss is an idot (sic)” is a deliberate opening to a series of runon sentences written in the “rhythm of the street.” I’m supposing that you could write beautiful grammatical prose like Kurt if you wanted.

    Your authoritative tone suggests that your “over the top” statement about Jerry Buss is based on a long personal relationship with Jerry and other members of the Buss family.

    Since I don’t have a clue what you are talking about, could you do me a favor and write in grammatical English? Maybe you could go into some detail about your storied relationship with Jerry, especially those incidents that convinced you that he is an idiot (Or did you really mean “idot”).

    Although you seem to think lightly of Skigi and Warren, I am very respectful of them, their heavy surfing and clever posts–even if I disagree with them sometimes. What do you know that they don’t know?

    Until we know you better and learn more about your unusual ways to express yourself and apparent encyclopedic expertise expressed in a deliberate “folk style,” perhaps you could follow the rules of this blog?

  72. Everyone agrees with my opinions but dont want to be blunt about it like me. Thats what I am BLUNT. I am not going to sugar coat anything. The main rules of the blog are to express your own opinions. That is what I am doing. SO if you cant handle the heat get out of the kitchen. I am not goig to let anybody slide with a comment Like Sasha and Cook are valuable trade assets and That we need Kwame for Defense . Please Man . You Must be Really naive.

  73. Thanks Skigi and Dr Ray… I did not mind his comments anyway but coming from you, I’m honored to know that my “eccentric” scenarios matter.

    I am not really a sports writer and I don’t really have any affiliations from any members or players but I sure do think over and research my posts too. I consider a lot of things before proposing such or suggesting them more than the fact that it fits the trade machine requirements.

    I completely agree with Skigi’s comments regarding “fitting in” and being “crap”. Some players find it hard to adjust to a more structured system like the Triangle Offense more so with Phil at the helm. Which just reminds me of Chauncey the crap Billups who was perennially traded UNTIL he found the snug-fit in Detroit. Perhaps 5 ECF appearances and a ring might support that claim too.

    As for Sasha and Cook, they are not our best assets. More so if we act like this and treat them as D-leaguers. As for being a pest on D, I have not seen Sasha play very much recently as they only show about 20 regular season games here in the Philippines. The point is, I do not comment on something I have no knowledge of. I take Skigi’s observations as they are as I consider him one of the very respectable names in this blog.

    Lastly, I suggest that Lakerfan you start over. Be a member of this respectable blog not because you have comments to splash, but because you have insight of a true Laker fan. I believe the people here will accept an apology not for personal attacks but for the rule violations. Just state your case like a decent adult would. As for me, no apology required. I’m cool bro…

  74. Before anyone reads the beginning of this article and begins to panic like I almost did:
    http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/07/15/kobe-bryant-to-be-traded-to-memphis-says-guy-who-might-be-fired/
    make sure you go down to the comments where it seems to be unanimous that the announcer was only joking.

    Also Lakerfan, no one here’s arguing you can’t express your opinion. I happen to agree that Cook/Sasha/Odom won’t get a deal done (sorry Warren, as always I appreciate the effort). What we ALL have a problem with is how you express your opinions. And no, its not the bluntness. It’s the condescension, arrogance, lack of substantiation, and generally unreadable writing that bothers us.

  75. Here is a couple of ideas a few topics.

    I agree with Reed that Fisher’s contributions go beyond what his stats would suggest. I also agree that signing Fisher to a short 3 year deal is better than signing a player like Blake to a longer deal. The size of the contract is not that bad either. But, my problem with the deal is that Mitch was bidding against himself. I do no believe that Fisher was planning on playing anywhere else besides LA. So Mitch could have signed Fisher for a smaller contract. The reason this did not happen though, is because Fisher was given a larger contract because of what he did for the Lakers in the past.

    Bidding against yourself seems to be a common problem with GMs in the NBA. that is why there are so many players with contracts they do no deserve (read Rashard Lewis).

    Some interesting thoughts on the Garnett sweepstakes (or at least I think so. The buzz around KG trade rumors seemingly has died down. As Marc Stein reported there is no talk at the summer league about KG at all. But he also reported that one exec told Taylor wants KG moved before the start of the season http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=stein_marc&id=2935125

    Then there was Joe McDonnell saying that “the Lakers quietly working on something big”. I’m not sure if he still has any inside information but he might.

    http://forums.lakersground.net/viewtopic.php?t=44912

    There was a blog written by a fan at the summer league who said that Jim Buss smiled and gave a thumbs up to some fans that were heckling him when they asked him if he was going to get Garnett (unfortunately I do not have the link ). Probably means nothing.

    But these small things at least give me cause to hope that the Lakers have a chance to acquire KG in a trade.

  76. oops I have some typos in my previous blog. I was planning to double check it before I posted but… I will correct a couple of them to make it clearer.

    “Here is a couple of ideas (on) a few topics.”

    “one exec told (him that) Taylor wants KG moved…”

  77. You are right chop-chop dave… I do not mind people not agreeing, its how the disagreement was delivered.

  78. Lakerfan,
    You have been edited. And the first rule on this site is to be respectful. You can disagree but do so with respect, no insults. If you can’t live by that there are other Laker sites you can comment on.

  79. Is this the Laker calm before the storm? Seems like the loudest silence I’ve ever heard.

    I was in my car and listened to several hours of Hacksaw (I think “Slackjaw”) Hamilton on KLAC 570. I’m not sure whether he is just confused or deliberately trying to incite emotions with his comments. He was hitghly critical of Laker drafting–especially Crittendon. Hacksaw argued that Crittendon was 3 years from making a contribution–and the Lakers don’t need 3 guards: “How are they going to split the minutes?”

    Don’t most NBA teams have at least 3 PG’s? Didn’t the Lakers have Smush, Jordan, and Shammond last year? What’s this about? Is listenership down on his program?

    Hacksaw depicted a crisis situation in which Kobe has cut all ties with the Lakers–and the Laker management unable to execute needed trades.

    Though there is always a grain of truth in every distortion, I feel that Laker management has been carrying out a near flawless step-by-step patch and repair–necessary to make a long anticipated major restructuring trade or trades.

    Releasing Smush, McKie, and Williams while drafting Javaris and signing Derek Fisher provides both support/mentoring for our starting point guard, depth, a future–and potential trade bait if necessary.

    The next step is to sign Chris Mihm. Chris similarly both provides support up front and affords multiple trading opportunities. It appears that no competitor is prepared to offer him a full MLE. The Lakers seem to be willing to allow competing offers to determine Mihm’s market value–and then match it.

    The final step is to parade our now healthy bigs to revive their trade value–perhaps carrying out our blockbuster just before the season begins.

    I smell something else that could happen earlier.

    73 You’re not BLUNT, you’re confused–or maybe just unclear. Stream of consciousness “attitude” doesn’t substitude for logic, evidence, and clear thinking. You write a lot like some of Hacksaw’s callers.

  80. Whoops. 73 just became 72. I meant Lakerfan, not Warren.

  81. Kurt,

    I’m surprised you let Lakerfan go as long you did. Although, with JohnR not posting for awhile, I was starting to count on his post for a good laugh.

    I have to say that I’m generally disappointed with the two signings so far. I was a big Fisher fan since the Lakers drafted him and I took a lot of abuse from friends who weren’t and who pointed out that every PG in the league could blow by him, scoring easily or getting the Laker big men in foul trouble. But I stuck up for him and pointed out the effort, hustle, and overall value to the team. However, at this point I think his time has past. He is going to be slower than ever and he’s at the age where a player’s shooting percentage starts going down. When he was with the Lakers before, it was Bibby, Parker, and Nash who could easily blow by him. Now add Baron Davis, AI, Deron Williams, and several others. Couple that to the fact that there isn’t a Shaq waiting behind him to intimidate anyone coming into the lane. A Shaq who got lots of respect from the refs. Now Fisher will have Kwame and maybe Mihm behind him who aren’t going to intimidate anyone and who pick up fouls like Velcro. I wait to see what the posts here say about his signing after every PG is blowing by him. If the Lakers could have signed him for the LLE or Vet minimum, then it would have been a good signing. But not at $4-5M.

    I have the same basic view on the Walton signing. It would have been OK at $3-4M for 4 years, but not $5M for 6 years. Now the Lakers have a 6 year ball and chain to deal with. Walton is a 3 without a 3′s typical talents. He’s too slow to defend and he’s not a good shooter especially in clutch situations. He’s not long and athletic such as Tayshaun Prince who can defend and he’s not an athletic slasher who can create his own shot or for others. Stop and think, when has anyone ever thought in a game “get the ball to Luke so he can take the shot”. I’m usually thinking “pass it Luke, please don’t shoot”. (Just don’t pass it to Kwame).

    Obviously, we all expect something big to happen before October. As the team is now, I don’t see how they can win even 41 games. Even with the usual superhuman games from Kobe.

  82. 81. Part of the fun with my moving has been a faulty modem for the new place, and with it spotty ability to access email and the Web. So I’m behind on things. (It should be fixed tomorrow as part of a parade of repairment/installers.)

    And, 81, that is a great username.

  83. 81 You’re thinking one-on-one instead of team. Nobody can stop the quick penetrating guards. Even though Parker is a very quick PG, San Antonio didn’t use him to stop Nash. Fish DID face Baron Davis in the playoffs recently as a member of the JAZZ, and the TEAM largely shut him down.

    On the Lakers, Walton has been given a different role than most 3′s. A conventional 3 wouldn’t work very well here. Better to have a savvy facilitator than a slug.

  84. Plan9FOS,

    I’m not sure how you think this Laker team is a sub.500 team. Last year the team won 42 games. This with significant injuries to Odom and Walton.

    We’ve since replaced Smush with one year older Farmar, Crittenden, and Fisher. Bynum will have improved. Mihm (assuming we sign him) will return. While those aren’t major upgrades, they are upgrades, so we should be at least marginally better than we were last year. The rest of the team is still relaively young so we shouldn’t expect any decline.

  85. I was thinking about all the trade rumors and scenarios that are being thrown around; Garnett, Gasol and Jermaine O’neal being the biggest three. Here is where those three trades stand now (to the best of my knowledge which comes from stories in the media). Minnesota is not particularly interested in what we have to offer so we would have to do a 3 team trade to acquire him. Indiana does not seem to be budging from what they are asking for O’neal (Bynum and Odom). It does not seem that Memphis is planning on moving Gasol.

    So unless something changes than none of those three trades will occur. There are many people that feel the Lakers should not make any major trades, that they should just let tis young talented team develop and see where it goes. If none of the three aforementioned names can not be obtained then that is what I think they will do.

    But why do the Lakers need to stay with the team they have now for 1 more year if no major trades happen? I was looking at the financial situation for the Lakers. After Fisher signs his contract that will give the Lakers 13 people under contract for roughly 67M. IF they resign Mihm say for 2.5 M that puts them almost to 70M, that is above the luxury tax.

    So here is what I would suggest. Why not trade for cap space. Kobe and Phil might not like this but next years free agent list is set with some big names; O’neal, Garnett, Brand (assuming they all opt out next year). So keep the team as it is now and see how improved they are. Then if the team has not made any major improvement over last year, see if you can trade for cap space.

    One such trade would be trading Odom to Boston for Ratliff + minnesota’s 2008 1st round pick (I think they still have it). Extend Turiaf’s contract and cut Vujacic (I do not believe his contract is guaranteed correct me if I am wrong). That would give the Lakers a payroll of approximately 44M. If the salary cap was set at 57M for the 2008-09 season that would leave the Lakers roughly 12-13M to offer some of these free agents. O’neal, Garnett or Brand (those would be the 3 biggest names likely to opt out next season assuming nothing changes) would have to take a pay cut but some them might be willing to, in order to play with Kobe in LA. Those 3 players would not even have to move they all have houses in LA. If you signed a FA before offering contracts to any player the lakes hold early bird rights to then, they could go over the salary thus giving them the MLE to fill in roster spots.

    Obviously it is not wise to trade assuming that players will choose to opt out of their contracts to play in LA. That is why I would recommend waiting until close to the trade deadline. That way it would be easier to judge what FA will likely be available. It would also be easier if you could move additional contracts. Radmonovich’s would be preferable but unlikely. But maybe a Odom + cook for Ratliff + Powe + Minnesota’s 2008 pick, could work.

    I think it could work. But I may have miscalculated some salary numbers.

  86. KOBE is the greatest July 15, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Lakerfan,
    I agree with everything you are saying. The people on here are just a bunch of pansies. They can’t take any contructive criticism. You are not afraid to express your opinion. I admre that quality in you. Keep it up and do not let anybody on here discourage you from posting your very Refreshing posts.

  87. hahaha, odds on Lakerfan using a new username? Or are there really two Kobe-homers with capitalization issues. Also, calling people pansies is super constructive.

  88. Warren: I agree that Kwame’s value lies on defense. Phil has made that exact point several times, and anyone who watches the games knows that Kwame has the strength and athleciticism to battle the best post players in the league (Duncan, KG, Yao, etc). And as I said earlier, if the Lakers deal for a player like KG they would be very thin in the front court and would need to supplement that roster w/ at least 2 big men. So, keeping Kwame in any such deal really would help the Lakers a lot.

    I also think it would be ideal to dump Cook and Sasha for something of worth b/c their play has been especially inconsistent over the years. And although they bring skills to the table (shooting, triangle experience, Sasha’s full court pestering) they also take a lot off the table (athleticism, rebounding, toughness).
    So I would love to be able to deal those specific guys for anyone who can be a more consistent contributor by bringing intangibles that will show up every game. When the Lakers had Shaq, the role players like Horry, Fish, and Fox did those same things that Cook and Sasha excell at, but they also had more complete games. If their shots were not falling, they were able to contribute in other ways (help defense, giving hard fouls, frustrating opponents, rebounding, drawing charges). Cook and Sasha do not bring these intangibles every night and the Lakers are weaker for it.
    This is why I think, like lakerfan (who is a bit over the top), that Sasha and Cook are not real trade assets. They can be used as individual pieces to give a team a specific need (like how Cook was rumored to go to Houston, b/c they need a big forward who can space the floor for Yao to operate inside), but are not good canidates for “throw-ins” b/c they do not bring an all around game or enough upside for a team to want them. I think this is even more true for a team like Minny b/c what they really want are young players with upside (hence their want of Bynum, Green, Jefferson, that extra lottery pick in this past draft that did not materialize) and expiring contracts. That way they can rebuild quickly with young lottery type players and have cap room to sign the vets that could provide leadership and ultimately create a faster turnaround for their franchise.

    So the Lakers (and us fans as well) have to make a choice as to wheter or not they truly want that major player to come and team w/ Kobe to make the run, or if they want to keep Bynum and Odom and see if those two (along w/ #24) are enough to be a championship core, while also making the necessary tweaks to this roster to make it stronger. We need to all realize though, that if the Lakers go the 2nd route, no one knows how Kobe will respond and whether he will want to stay with this team.

    Now if anyone thinks that this team could be better w/o Kobe, then obviously the Lakers should stay the course. We can see if Bynum is the guy we hope, that Odom finds his niche on this team, then if Kobe goes, use his money to go after a player that wants to be in LA.

    But if you think that the Lakers are better off with Kobe, we should try to keep him by bringing in the talent that will help the team compete immediately. Bring in the proven guy, a former MVP who brings the same win or die mentality that Kobe has and has the game to back it up: KG. We would just need to live with the fact that we are giving up a lot to get him and not whine that we gave up too much. This is a difficult dilema…But I, for one, would rather have KG. If it doesn’t work, then how is it different than the what has been going on with this team for the past 3 seasons? The Lakers have just been spinning their wheels…it reminds me of a quote from the movie “Shawshank Redemption”—–”Get Busy Livin’ or Get Busy Dyin’”. The Lakers need to choose what they want and go after it aggressively. I will support them any way they choose, but my support wavers when I see indecisiveness. Just my take.

  89. chopperdave,
    I was thinking the same thing. :) Create a new username and back himself up. Thats hilarious!

  90. I know this is slightly old news:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2936611
    but good news on the Mihm front. Hopefully we can re-sign him pretty easily now without outbidding ourselves (and he’ll be healthy and back in game-shape soon).

  91. I think the Lakers fans will find Crittendon to be our besr draft pick in years. To get a player of his talent so late in the first round was brilliant even if it was a no brainer selection. Who cares what Hacksaw says.

    The key is whether we will be able to keep him rather then just throwing him in as a final piece to make a trade for KG or JO. Unless we get to keep Bynum, I dont see how we can throw JC into a deal to make it happen.

    This is a guy to keep even if we have to wait a couple of years so dont just toss him in to some deal to get it done.

    Being patient with him is just as important as bringing in Fisher to have a player who Kobe likes even if Fish will make no significant difference in how this team does the next three years.

  92. I hope Mihm comes back too. Hopefully he will agree to short term, low cost deal, so that he can prove himself worthy of more money next year (or in 2 years).

    Late in the season when Kwame was hurt and Andrew was struggling, it would have helped to have another big like Mihm on the team so that we wouldn’t have to play Ronny at C so much.

  93. Wow, Von Wafer dropped 42 points today. Despite his character issues, it seems he may end up getting a spot on a squad somewhere (likely Denver).

  94. In a matter of 6 weeks, the Lakers turned from Hollywood drama haven to stamped LA Confidential. From a Kobe roller-coaster, its now military secrecy pentagon-style.

    The silence deafens me. It discourages the faint-hearted and it pisses off the weary fan. We all need a shot of LA drama.

    So far, here is what we know:
    1. Drafted and signed Javaris Crittenton. (8 of 10)
    2. Luke Walton has signed to a 30M 6-yr deal. (8 of 10)
    3. Derek Fisher expected to sign soon 14M 3-yr deal. (8 of 10)

    Based on these moves so far, I am keeping my pipi mouth shut from bashing Mitch Kupchak. These are, by far, 3 positive above average moves. Javaris was a pleasant surprise at #19 and he did a good job taking him in. I can imagine how Pat Riley screamed when David Stern made the announcement.

    Calling Luke Walton at 12:01 midnight on July 1st means Mitch did his homework. A lot of things are not in his hands, but this was. We always know Luke was re-signing, but we needed all the security and assurance by making it official.

    As for the Fish man, theres a bit of privilege involved. LA is the most logical choice for Derek and for the proper care for Tatum. Even though New York could probably house his needs, all signs point to him signing with LA. As the saying goes: “there is comfort in the familiar”. This is still the jersey he will be best remembered and now, seemingly safe to assume, the jersey he will retire in. How fitting for Aaron McKie to be leaving jersey #2 open? I also know that he desires to wear #4 as he did in Golden State but I think he likes it better at #2. Besides, Luke wears it already.

    The future is still up for grabs. As of now, I will quit bashing Mitch for he has given me 3 reasons to smile already. Contrary to popular sentiment, cut the guy some slack. Plus, he is working his buttsie off behind closed doors.

    Other notes:

    What we’ve missed so far…

    Rashard Lewis to Orlando
    - we never had the slimmest chance anyway, so, fine by me.

    Chauncey Billups, V. Carter and G. Wallace re-signing with the old teams
    - like the Shard deal, we will not make the futile effort of even considering any chance. Fine fine fine.

    Steve Blake signing with Portland and Mo Will signing with Milwaukee
    - with DFish coming aboard, these moves are now academically fine not to happen. Our guard roster is full and complete. DFish can mentor the 2 PGs we have, and within 3 years, they will be full-pledged NBA starters – both of em.

    Mikki Moore signing with Queens and Joe Smith signing with Bulls
    - these 2 big men could have helped our cause, especially IF a KG or JO deal is in the works.

    Jamal Magloire signing with New Jersey
    - this one could have worked for our system. We badly need another banger down there especially IF our bigs get traded.

    Jason Kapono, Morris Peterson, Jerry Stackhouse, Grant Hill
    - have all signed and I say good luck.

    What we can still do…

    Chris Mihm will always be welcome, but for a fair price. Having a healthy Mihm will definitely add depth to our front court. Something that Champions usually have. He was a solid 10-10 guy.

    Chris Webber will be a likely pickup with the vet minimum (which we still have). He provides a mentoring aspect aside from his usual on-court contributions to our young bigs. i.e Bynum and Kwame.

    Eddie Jones will be a welcome veteran addition. I do not know if it will still work for us, Fisher is now aboard the Laker ship.

  95. Kurt, after the Fisher signing do you expect a trade or do you think our off-season is over.

  96. 95. You’ll see in my post tommorow (I am working on something along those lines).

  97. On a non-lakers note…
    Did anybody watch the ESPY’s tonight? Jimmy Kimmel was pretty funny. He was clowning on Shaq and Kobe. He said Lebron and Tiger now have babies… and the Lakers still have Kobe. Then he asked Shaq if he heard that Kobe said he is willing to go to Miami… if Shaq agrees to go back up the beanstalk (followed by a long blank stare from Shaq)… pretty funny. He also said that Kobe was there and walking down the red carpet before asking to be traded to another awards show.
    The funniest part of the night had to be Lebron doing a MC Hammer/Bobby Brown version of “My Perogative”.

  98. 95 – Lakerfan

    I think the Lakers are not done dealing but are looking hard into the requirements. They obviously are not rushing to any deal at the moment (which is a good thing) but are really considering the idea of JO (being the only deal available at the moment).

    Trading both Odom and Bynum for JO constitutes overpayment. Everyone knows this, its just a question of “deal or no deal”. In my mind, I have conceded to the fact that we can be better both ways, but should the deal push through, JO will really help us in many ways. Jermaine will never yield Shaq-like numbers but his game compliments that of Kobe’s. He is also surrendered to the fact that he will be the 2nd option if ever he plays alongside Kobe.

    Having the post skills of JO and his ability to score back to the basket is one dimension the team lacks right now. His defensive skills down low will also benefit our interior defense deficiency. Kwame can hold off the offensive player with his size while JO rolls over for the help defense.

    These comments I make are not rumors ansd speculations, but are best described as me, “having the reason to believe” this will happen.

  99. Guys, I have also posted a link beside my name to share my blogs. I thought better of using one of my wife’s girly sites as my blog domain instead of flooding Kurt’s site. This way, we can stick to the topic better :)

  100. The Lakers are one signing away from a solid 14 man squad–a squad good enough to enter the regular season with confidence–right on the fringe of the salary cap limit. If I’m correct, once the Lakers have fully assembled this “team,” their real trading season will have finally started–from a position of strength.
    We already have a number of players other teans want. When other teams see our bigs healthy again, the list and value of the players may grow.

    The true trading season might end abruptly and quickly, or it could last until the trading deadline. We need to keep our nerve and confidence.

    On paper, we’ve turned our backcourt liability into a strength. Jordan Farmar is our starting point guard. He became the point guard by ousting the Smusher. Jordan battled Laker stereotypes that would have sent him to the development league almost to the end. He far exceeded expectations. He’s not a slug.

    Javaris Crittendon is a point guard Rookie. He appears to be a terrific prospect but . . .he hasn’t even begun the battle to get serious minutes as a Laker yet. For the time being, it might be best to regard him as trade bait (though I don’t expect him to be traded). Next year, we can write him in more definitively if he’s still here.

    Derek Fisher can play many roles–but he especially needs to be fresh for the playoffs. He will be used as needed throughout the season.

    We shouldn’t entirely forget Sasha. In the Laker system, Sasha could be a pg at times. You might even see Sasha paired as a pg with Derek as a shooting pg–especially If we face the Suns in the playoffs.

    A number of teams that might have made Mihm an offer are already somewhat or totally out of the game: Sacto (Mikki Moore), Chicago (Joe Smith), Heat (Elonzo Mourning), Memphis (Darko Milicic).

    We may end up giving Mihm a “prove yourself” first year at a low amount, with a two year option to follow. In some ways, Mihm solidifies the bigs just as Fisher solidifies the backcourt. He becomes our veteran center.

    I hope the signing happens soon.

    Here is what could follow (my fantasy):

    1. The Lakers trade Kwame/Andrew for Pau Gasol (to make the deal, the Lakers may add a draft pick)

    2. The Lakers trade Lamar Odom for Ron Artest +Shareef Abdur Raheem

    So, the Lakers lose: Kwame/Andrew/Lamar

    Gain: Pau/Ron/Shareef

    Grizzlies get two true centers–Bynum would bring in the crowds w/Conley

    Sacto. gets a new “Webber” gets rid of unneeded veteran with hanging contract (Abdur Rayheem)

    Lakers get two stars (Gasol/Artest), great veteran (Abdur-Raheem).

    Good balance. Better overall defense. No slugs.

    They are slightly under the salary cap!

  101. Renato Afonso July 16, 2007 at 7:18 am

    Warren,

    By offering that much money to Fisher I don’t think we can sign Webber and Mihm at the same time…

    PS: 100th post is mine

  102. Here is a blogger who claims to have overheard Taylor talking about a 3-team trade with Boston. The same one that has been splashing around on so many blogs; both Lakers and Celtics.
    Apparently he is a respected blogger from Thailand and not likely to make something up. He said that he thought it was Taylor, then someone sent him a picture and and he said that he was pretty sure it was. Don’t know if it is true but I thought is was worth posting.

    http://lakers.topbuzz.com/PNphpBB2-viewtopic-t-3376.html#45411

  103. 100 – We actually can. Mihm can be signed thru his Bird Rights, Webber can be signed of whats left of the MLE.

  104. I need another post…..I’m going through withdrawals…Kurt…Reed…somebody…post something!! =)

  105. I think Kurt is running something soon. Once he does, I’m going to add a few lengthy comments with my experience at the Saturday Lakers game. So, fear not, distraction from work is coming.

  106. Refresh will be hit constantly…as will Alt-Tab.

    My guess on Kurt’s post is either the promise of Crit/Farmar future or how the trade front seems to be strong for the Lakers now than it was a few weeks ago.

    Nets reportedly turn down the JO trade, Phoenix not in the running for KG anymore, GSW having trouble putting a deal together, Joe Smith signing with Bulls so Mihm can most likely be signed for a reasonable contract.

    Front office has been strong on not trading Kobe and showing no panic therefore regaining some trade leverage.

    Lakers are in a good position to make a move, however the nature of such a huge deal still makes it very unlikely anything will happen…but Lakers are in as good a position as anybody else if something does go down.