I Like PER (and other thoughts)

Kurt —  September 12, 2007

If you haven’t been following this, there has become a heated debate in the hoops blogging world about the value of PER, John Hollinger’s all-encompassing hoops stat. Carter at Plissken at the Buzzer fired the first salvo, questioning the usefulness of PER, Tom Ziller (of Sactown Royalty and writing for Ballhype) puts up a passionate defense, the smart folks at Free Darko weighted in, and if you look around you’ll be able to find updates on this discussion in the last 24 hours as well.

I like PER as a quick snapshot. Yes, it has limitations, but it provides a concise place to start. (I’d say the same thing about the Wages of Wins “wins produced” number, although I’m less confident in that methodology right now.) We all know there is no way to boil down all of basketball to one number and have it be perfect, but there are advantages to having a quality way to provide a brief snapshot of a player’s performance, and I think PER does that well.

Here’s how I use PER: Let’s say the Lakers are going to play the Hawks, I like to write game previews and I’ve seen roughly 10 minutes of Hawks basketball so far in said season. When I look at the team stats on Knickerblogger or wherever, if I see Zaza Pachulia with an All-Star level PER of 22 I think to myself “that is odd” and use PER as a jumping off point to see what is really going on with his game (did he figure out how to shoot?). Then I try to pass along that slightly more detailed knowledge to you guys (my readers), so you know why Zaza is schooling Kwame.

For that snapshot to get me looking at things, I think PER is a great tool. But nobody is suggesting that it is the Alpha and Omega of stats. It is simply a starting point.

——————————————————–

A couple other quick thoughts:

• While it got a lot of attention that Phil Jackson said he and Kobe were on the same page about talent, what I found interesting in that statement was Phil singled out Jim Buss as the guy who promised and did nothing. Not Jerry Buss, not Mitch, but Jim Buss. Phil doesn’t say things like that on accident.

• In a little bit of site news, I think the Internet Explorer problem this site had is fixed (let me know if anyone is still having problems). I’m behind on getting the sidebar links updated, but that will happen in the next week or so. Promise. If people have other suggestions, I’m willing to listen (this site is more about you guys the commenters than me).

• The way my college football team is playing, the NBA season can’t start soon enough.

Kurt

Posts

59 responses to I Like PER (and other thoughts)

  1. I don’t find it strange that Phil pointed out Jim Buss as the person who made the promise. When Jim Buss said in an interview in the OC Register or the LA times earlier this summes that as soon as his father officially steps down, he’ll be making all of the decisions, which said to me he was already making the decisions unofficially.

    Many of us understood that Kupchek didn’t have the power to do the things he might have done because he answers to the Buss family. It was either in the LA Times or the Laker blog that Kupchek said the Buss’s are intricately involved in player personnel decisions.

    My only problem with this is Jim Buss has his vision of paying as little as possible for players, avoiding the luxury tax while charging the highest ticket prices in the league, and not having a true vision for the direction of the team. Because he doesn’t have the expertise to build a team that can both win now and in the future, the Lakers are what they are right now, not moving forward towards a championship and not really set for the future with a team of great young players.

    I agree with Phil, why pay him $10 million to coach a team of youngsters who aren’t anywhere close to winning. I’m hoping somebody gets Jim Buss to understand that he needs to listen to basketball people concerning player personnel decisions and not his own instincts in signing or not signing players.

  2. Jim Buss/Mitch are all talks, no smart moves.

  3. I agree with both 1 and 2. The Lakers not only need a better general manager, they probably need a new owner at this point. Since that’s wishful thinking, we might be watching the demise of the Lakers if it ever gets to the point that they trade Kobe.

    Jim Buss is only where he is because of who he is, the son of Jerry Buss. I get wanting your kid to follow in your footsteps and take over the team, but this isn’t good for the health of the franchise. He is basing the future of the Lakers on one person: Andrew Bynum. And I’m sorry, but is not a smart move. Maybe Bynum pans out and is the next dominant center or maybe he turns into another Kwame Brown, Sam Bowie, Mike Olawakandi, etc. Either way, I don’t think this warrants betting the farm on Bynum. Getting that complement to Kobe/Odom is the priority I’d think. The more I think about it, the more I am not understanding how the Lakers made no serious inquiries into the Gasol situation last year.

  4. 1. I think from the outside it’s tough to tell who has how much power, while the Buss(es) have final say how much input do they take? I think it’s becoming more clear that Phil and others who can are calling out the younger Buss.

    That said, to me the biggest problem appears to be a lack of communication from the top down. I think the Kobe rant, and the slow reaction of the front office to him, showed that. How are Phil and Kobe told different plans for the future? When Kobe does start ranting on the radio, how does someone from the front office not call and calm him down almost instantly, and promise a meeting? This to me is just basic management stuff. There seems to be a lot of in-fighting for power at Lakers headquarters, but from where I sit it’s about as easy to break down and understand the individual motives as it is Iraq.

  5. jim buss will eventually be the doom of the franchise.
    he’s lucky that the franchise has such a stellar reputation, that he’ll have about 3 or 4 years to ride the wave of the desent, crash and burn…
    but therre will be a public outcry, season ticket holders dropping off along the way…
    networks stop calling, revenue declines…
    at some point dad is going to have to come in and stop the bleeding, or sell the franchise while it still has a value.
    pretty dim picture isn’t it.

  6. Oh how I love the doom-and-gloom scenarios youse guys/gals? are putting out. I personally think the Lakers have been building a good foundation through the draft the last 3yrs. Before that both Jerry W. and Mitch K. really have had their problems.

    It is the instant fix of vets signed – the most costly way to get talent – that has been the problem here. Running the triangle does not help this situation.

    The fact that the Lakers ARE a business, as well as a sports team just seems to gall bloggers. Well tough cookies!! It ain’t gonna change.

    Miami is the only team in the last 30yrs that brought in outside talent to an average team and won within 2yrs. That example says something about Miami and about the NBA that we all should learn from. There are no moves we can make that will take us to a ‘sure fire’ championship contender status in 2007-8.

    We have a team with the ingredients to start to gel this year and we haven’t seen how Vlade will work out in his 2nd year – without injuries. Take a valium.

  7. Personally I don’t think myself or most here are doom and gloomers. I think the Lakers are a solid team right now, the question is can the current front office take them to the next level? I don’t know the answer to that.

  8. I definitely think going after Jim’s a smart move on Phil’s part. It aligns himself with Kobe without causing quite as many waves (like going after Mitch or Jerry would).

    And was wondering when you’d weigh in on the PER fun. I know you’re a fan of the modern era stats, and I actually do sort of agree with Abbott, why use the clunky traditional stuff when we have more sophisticated stuff available. My initial post (which trust me, would have been much more careful and precise in putting together had I known it was going to lead to this kind of debate) really was never intended as a, “I hate PER and don’t think it should ever be used” rant. I understand times it comes in handy, and acknowledged as much.

    As a minor side note, maybe now’s the time I should retire the chopperdave pseudonym in these parts and switch over to the Carter Blanchard name I blog under to avoid unneeded confusion.

  9. I think the biggest dilemma for the Lakers, whether we like it or not, is still Andrew Bynum. Bynum represents the “good” side of the Lakers – where a team needs to build and grow the young players to be successful and cost-efficient while Kobe, and now Phil too, represents the “rebels” side – where there is clamor to win now and I mean NOW.

    On Bynum’s corner are Mitch and Jim Buss – not sure how much Mitch is in here but I assume Jim has him to every beck and call. They represent “the FUTURE” of the franchise, and perhaps signaling that Kobe is expendable as long as the future is secure. Or so they think…

    On the other corner is Kobe by his lonesome, with the greatest coach of all time Phil Jackson backing him up. Phil has not publicly ranted on how he “distrusts” the front office since we have to understand he is “half-a-Buss” as well coz of Jeannie. That while Jeannie may actually be on the “rebel” side, she understands that taking that side is bad for business. Therefore, a quiet and seemingly neutral stance.

    In conclusion, much as I’d like to read the JO trade in the frontpage of ESPN, it looks like its not gonna happen. Unless Indiana submits to accepting Kwame and Bynum and some fillers for JO, it looks like this talk will remain talk until next year. For Indiana, much as it makes much sense to accept the Bynum-Crittenton-Kwame offer, value-wise it will never be enough for Bird or Walsh or the Indy fanbase.

    And so here we are. Neither hot nor cold, neither here nor there. Lukewarm is what we are, Standstill is where we’re at. Yes this is a good team, and it will even be better in the days and weeks to come. But if you think we still have next year to have another shot at JO, think again. If you think we have until end of 08 to keep Kobe, remember we only have until end of 07 to keep Phil.

    I must be a rebel…

  10. Carter/Chopper, I thought about saying it was you that wrote the post that started it all, but didn’t want to single you out. Personally, I think all our assumptions should be challenged now and again. I thought about writing a longer defense, but Ziller beat me to it (and did it better than I likely would have). The thing about the off-season and having a family, I sleep more and I kind of like that. I’ll end up doing more research when the season comes.

    I look at all the new stats (in baseball and basketball) as the fancy tools you see at Hone Depot. I like the idea of laser measures and precision saws, in the right hands it can lead to beautiful craftsmanship. That said, back in 1700 some guy was doing amazing work creating chairs that were basically pieces of art with a hammer and chisel. Ultimately, what matters is how well you use the tools you have.

  11. I just don’t understand the ‘future’ stuff, especially if you have one of the best players in the league in his prime. Future will only get worse as your best talent ages. It’s not like Kobe’s a 2nd-tier all star. He’s 1st tier, maybe the best of the best, and when you have the best of the best, you build to win NOW. You worry about the future once he’s no longer what he used to be, not while he is at his best.

    As for PER, i think it tries to be too much. Points, rebounds, those stats tell you exactly what they mean and what they don’t mean. PER, it tries to fool you into thinking that it’s the be all and end all when it actually only says ‘this guy’s better than average counting everything that can be counted.’

    If you take it with a grain of salt, yeah, it’s useful, but then again which stat isn’t? I think PER would’ve been much more useful if it was divided into offensive, defensive and team (intangibles) categories.

  12. harold,
    There is no way to win NOW – unless you presume that Boston is the odds on favorite to win the championship this year. The Lakers couldn’t have done what Boston did because they run a system offense and weren’t about to change that fact – with Phil the coach. They also hadn’t gotten the high draft picks Boston did the last 4yrs – plus they only have drafted well the last 3yrs – so they didn’t have the pieces to trade.

    When we say “win now” we should really define exactly what we mean by that and how we will be expected to win the championship in 2007-8. Anything farther out than that risks losing Phil and possibly Kobe – defeating the entire purpose of what we are requesting of the Lakers.

  13. Quick psuedo off-topic question here: Does anyone have some old Laker media guides or game programs from the Showtime era? Specifically, the question is what height is Michael Cooper listed as.

    I know I have some stuff from that era, but finding what box it is in, within my yet-to-be-organized garage after the move, is proving harder than I thought. Thanks.

  14. Haha, single me out? I got no problem with people breaking apart what I wrote, particularly people I respect as much as you, Ziller, Abbott, etc. I fully expected some people to leap to PER’s defense (but had I known it was going to draw this kind of attention, I probably would have been a little more thorough in that initial post). I do think I can be consistent in saying: I value PER as a shorthand, recognize that its the best single-stat available (here’s looking at you Berri), and really appreciate the cool econometric stuff it makes possible, while also having some gripes with it and how it’s often used.

  15. Harold on Kobe: I agree that somehow there is a lingering dilemma about the “future” and Kobe’s stay as a Laker and how things do not seem to be in agreement with each other.

    There are 2 points I’d like to raise up:

    1) Is Kobe considered OLD and WASHED UP by the time Bynum becomes the man Jimmy thinks he can be? Lets say 3 yrs counting this year…Coz if not there is still a good chance Kobe wins more rings than selling the “future” NOW by getting another player from another team (purportedly JO).

    Using this as the school of thought, if Bynum dominates by the age of 23, Kobe will still be 31, Odom and Walton will still be 30 and Kwame will still be 28. I am using the conditional word IF and the relatively considerate term STILL in describing this kind of a future.

    2) Is Kobe certain that Bynum is not the ONE? and are the Lakers certain that he is? Coz if the answer is neither, the risks involving losing your star outweighs the benefits of holding onto Bynum like this – esp now that Bynum COULD HAVE netted us Jason Kidd.

    The point in the Indiana deal dilemma is actually the inclusion of Odom. I would be quite certain that no GM or owner in his right state of mind would pass up on JO if the asking price is Kwame, Crittenton and Bynum ONLY. Also, if Indiana wanted Odom more than Bynum, they could easily swap JO and Foster for Odom and Kwame and it would already make sense.

    This tale tells us that Bynum is not really untouchable but only for the right price. Quite honestly I don’t get it… if he wasn’t for Jason Kidd, who would he be right for, KG? Now that KG is gone, who?

  16. I have only my memory, but I think he was 6’7″. He may have been as short as 6’6″, but no shorter

  17. Kurt,
    I wanna say Coop was listed at 6’5

  18. The reason for the Cooper question is I got an email from Justin who runs Basketball-reference.com, who said in some official records he is 6-5 and others 6-7, so we are trying to find some guide from that era with a listing and answer. I know I have one, I just can’t find it quickly after my move this summer.

  19. He was taller than both West and Baylor.

  20. Horrible horrible news for Portland. Bet you they wish they could go back to draft night.

    Oden likely out for rookie season after knee surgery.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3017538

  21. That is horrific news for Oden and Portland. That said, if I’m the Blazers I’m not doing anything different on draft night — he’s missing one year and this is a pick for the next 12 years or so. Guys do bounce back from Microfracture (see Amare). Bill Simmons “See, I told you I was right” column today made me a little ill.

  22. the other Stephen September 13, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RTOEZRKMrw

    every sport needs more commentators like this guy, especially golf. you know, the spanish soccer announcer-type.

  23. Guys, guys

    Have you seen Darko Milicic’s statements in Eurobasket after Serbia’s loss to Greece?

    +++ WARNING +++

    He curses a lot, so… don’t show it to kids

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woWqSmichOo

    I guess some guys do have passion in their games (the way they channel it is sometimes wrong)

    And ‘Sheed was right about him, Darko is a serbian gangster…

    PS: Sorry for the off-topic comment, but noone seems to be discussing the PER stats…

  24. Thanks for the youtube feed Renato… I did not realize it was that bad. Darko should be reprimanded for saying that – to national TV no less. If the NBA could give Kobe suspensions for flailing, Darko’s words deserve more.

  25. Darko was fined 10000 euros (about 13000 US dollars) for what he said by Fiba. If he says anything like that while hes playing for Memphis he will get a lot worse than a 10000 euro fine.

  26. 13,000 dollars is chimp change compared to what he is making… I don’t think it was enough for that conduct.

  27. 26. I agree, Darko got off very light on that one.

  28. If he does that after an NBA game he will get a much larger fine and a multiple game suspension. He better learn to control himself.

  29. Thought it’s been covered pretty well, I just wanted to put in my two cents on the Jim Buss issue.

    New owners often feel they have something to prove, especially legacy owners who inherit their teams. So they make a lot of crazy promises, but now that it’s their bank account that the checks get cut out of, they fail to deliver. Or they try to prove that they can build a better team for less than anyone else, cause they know better. Unless they don’t flinch at the cost of things (like in Dallas and New York), they’re doomed to fail.

    The good news is they usually grow out of this. Look at Dr. York, owner of the SF 49ers. He wouldn’t spend a dime for years, until finally a year or two ago he brought in a smarter football man than himself (not hard to do), and trusted his decisions. He changed his job to writing and cashing the checks.

    Hopefully it doesn’t take Buss Jr. 10 years to get past his ego, and let smart basketball minds make smart basketball decisions and get out of the way. Then he’ll still have final decision (do you want to keep Kobe or Shaq? Here’s what I think and why…- GM).

    Building strong teams isn’t a mystery. Building a profitable team, especially in LA, isn’t a problem. How long it takes Junior to realize both of these things and get out of the way will determine how long it will be until the Lakers are a championship contender again.

  30. There’s no time for Jim Buss’ learning curve. Kobe is his prime now. This is a no brainer. Try to win now. If Indiana really wants both Odom and Bynum, then say OK we’ll do that, but you find another team to go into this deal because in addition to JO we want a solid role player who can start and knows how to play defense. BIrd, if you want this, find the guy, we’ll put in the filers and figure out to make ths thing work.

  31. Well put Bryan,
    As usual, I am less pessimistic about the franchise than many. I too think Jim Buss has to learn through hard knocks. I suspect, however, he has already learned a lot and we will not hear too much from him about who should be where.

    I do think he had a fair amount of input on the drafting of Andrew Bynum, but I also think that might just turn out to be a pretty good long range decision. Winners need a good presence in the middle and I think he will be one of those – even if he never becomes an all-time great.

  32. Paul (30) – On the JO deal…

    While it may be clear that we are in a better position to stand pat than Indiana, Bird is taking a very hardball stance. The one you are requesting for is impossible – knowing Bird. He will make you think you are the one in need.

    Bryan (29), Craig (31)

    I agree that Jim Buss might already be learning a bit… just not enough yet. He has to understand that “looking good” is a part of this business… that while he “MAY” be right in not trading Bynum – for now, he also has to keep his superstar content the very least.

    If indeed Bynum turns out to be the monster Jimmy wants him to be, wouldn’t you want to have Kobe and Lamar alongside that monster? Or you shall have him on his lonesome, not being able to win any like KG, because of incompetent teammates?

    Jimmy has to play politics. He has to both try to keep Bynum – if he thinks he is the real thing – and keep Kobe in the process. Even if it means spending a little for now… the cash flow will get better very soon.

    Off-topic controversy: Shawn Marion is not happy in Phoenix.

  33. Eventually, all the good owners learn to hire basketball men (or football men or whatever sport) and give good men room to run the team with few interuptions. Jerry Buss did that with Jerry West (and Sharman before that). Maybe Jim Buss wants to “announce his presence with authority” but the best lesson he could learn is to let the experts in the field do their thing.

  34. Denver seems to be thinking of moving Camby after all.

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/article_23316.shtml

    Marion is reportedly UN-happy in Phoenix.

    http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/97213

    Why can’t these Lakers make an offer to anyone other than KG? Both players can be had without parting with Bynum and Odom. You only have to be creative enough…

  35. Jesus, are you people that F*$%&~ing desperate for any kind of move? First, by August basically all trade rumors are bored speculation, with few exceptions. Next, seriously, what makes you think that these guys could be easily gotten in a way that makes the Lakers contenders? Did you read the articles?

    First, Camby:

    However, Camby is a very important piece for the Nuggets the way the team is currently constructed. The Nuggets are in win-now mode after trading for Allen Iverson last season. And with the club already over the luxury tax threshold, the Nuggets have to get out of the first-round and show significant progress towards becoming a contender this season. As such, does it really make sense to trade Camby right now? Not unless the Nuggets get a really sweet package in return for him. This notion the Nuggets are looking to trade Camby simply to cut salary is completely bogus, and the only way Denver will trade the reigning Defensive Player of the Year is if the trade makes them a better team.

    Yup, sure sounds like the Nuggets are ready to dump him for a song. Both the Lakers and Nuggets need to win now, there is no deal where both teams think they could accomplish that. Next we have Marion:

    t’s been suggested that the Suns want to trade Marion because they think he’ll opt out of his contract after this season and become a free agent, leaving them empty-handed. Actually, Phoenix isn’t worried about that at all. As good as Marion is, no team is going to give him a contract that starts at $17.8 million (his salary for the 2007-08 season). That kind of money is reserved for superstars. And for all of Marion’s talents, he’s a complementary player, not someone who can lead a team.

    Yup, a $17 million malcontent (because Marion would get less shots behind Kobe than he does now) would solve all the Lakers problems.

  36. Is it too soon for the count down clock for training camp? This off season has been interminable…

  37. the other Stephen September 14, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    ah..if ya’ll had just watched the video i put up, you wouldn’t be going into conniptions.

  38. wow Kurt..I was just about to post the same thing. Are we really still talking about Jermaine O’Neal…really? The trade ideas we come up with after 5 beers is nothing like what GM’s have to figure out spending something like 80 hours a week trying to improve their team..nothing is happening and it’s not the end of the world..

  39. A little perspective. We’re almost 1/2 way thru Sept and only 12 of 30 teams have traded actual NBA players. Only 5 Play-Off teams from last yr have traded players,and of those the Spurs,Suns and Warriors all TRADED AWAY players for cap relief.
    Coaches and GMs have yet to see their team have a single practice,so they have don’t know what they really have. What vet has lost it over the summer. What young player has made major improvements in his game. Who has developed a 3pt shot over the summer. Which draft pick is better than thought,and which is worse. Optimism reigns in Front Offices around the League. Until the players return to practice-insert Iverson imitation here-and play a few exibition games,expect little trade activity.
    And let’s try to remember sportswriters aren’t paid to write “there’s nothing going on this week”.

  40. I don’t know if anyone watched this, but yesterday Theo Papaloukas, the big Greek point guard the Lakers were supposedly interested in signing was phenomenal in the Eurobasket quarterfinal against Slovenia, leading Greece in a memorable comeback, from 14 points down with 5 minutes remaining. Theo had 11 points in the final quarter (that’s ten minutes in European basketball) including the game winning basket, in front of Rasho Nesterovic. Even though hisoverall performance in the tournament is subpar, he remains the best player in Europe. Too bad he re-signed with CSKA Moscow, the Lakers could really use him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrrBy2iy9vk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yCy_RQhYQU

    And if there is anything more exciting in sports than the last two minutes of a basketball game, I haven’t seen it yet.

    ps: in the second video, the reactions of the Greek commentator are priceless…

  41. 35. Testify!

    Enough with trade speculation already… This was a post about the utility of stats (more specifically PER), and look where it’s headed… WTS over and over again.

  42. And going back on topic…

    Kurt, regarding the PER stats, I think you approach it the right way. Most times you don’t see all teams play, therefore you must rely on stats to analyze those teams and players who are having good seasons (or bad).

    But to me, a PER stat works almost to the same extent as normal stats… You must see the player perform on court and see the impact he has on the team.

    I had a discussion with someone about Bosh and Wade… and although Wade had a high PER during the world championship, I say it all over again… LeBron, Wade and Bosh were the reasons the US lost in the tournament. I don’t care if he torched someone for 30 points or had a magnificent stat line against Greece in that semi-final. The fact is: he and LeBron totally killed the flow of the offense! Noone was getting involved properly and they weren’t a factor on defense. And Bosh was just miserable…

    Now, if you only look at their PER’s for the tournament, they look good…

    PS: I’m overlooking the fact that a PER stat doesn’t show what a player does on defense properly. It’s something that simply cannot be measured…

  43. BTW,
    In Yao and Nash’s charity game in China the Laker draft pick,Sun Yue,impressed the US reporter/blogger who accompanied the NBA team.

  44. Stephen – Got a link? :D

  45. the other Stephen September 15, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    45. i think brian berger, the reporter, only mentioned it in passing, and i don’t know how much it really meant:

    “Paul Davis joined Steve Nash, Carmelo Anthony, Baron Davis and Leandro Barbosa in the Team Nash starting lineup. Team Yao featured Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets, Yi Jianlian of the Milwaukee Bucks and Sun Yue of the Los Angeles Lakers (who looked very impressive).”

    this only true, of course, if anyone reads wtf i write.

  46. Anon,
    You’ve been double-teamed by the Stephens :)
    The qoute from the other Stephen is the only one I’ve seen. Like he said it may not mean much,but on the other hand Sun Yue was the only player he commented on. My guess is Sun Yue played on a par w/NBA players not yet in game shape and wasn’t physically out-matched.

  47. There seems to be a push for prudene on this blog. A prudence in this case has been equated with patience. So then, here are some questions:

    1) Is it prudent to waste away Kobe’s prime? Does Jim Buss really believe that the Lakers’ will reach championship level in the next ten years if this happens?

    2) Doea a Kobe, Odom, Bynum Lakers stand a better’s chance of winning a championship in the next three years? Even if Bynum breaks out and say three years from now the Lakers squeak out a game 7 victory in a Western conference final and win the title, what happens the next year? Does Bynum have enough potential to be the team leader, as Kobe starts to lose a step or two?

    3) Is it prudent in the long term to pursue a business plan in the LA market (which is all about basketball, and only marginally interested in other pro sports) that assumes no championship, even if this seems to be working in the short term?

    Some things to ponder as we all seem to be giving Jimmy a break.

  48. Paul, don’t confuse wanting to make sure the Lakers make smart moves with not wanting to see anything done. The Lakers need to make a move, and ideally make it in the next year (this trading deadline or next summer). However, that is very different than saying they should do anything just to shake things up. Again, to use the overused example, trading both Odom and Bynum for JO does not make the Lakers a dramatically better team or a contender. Doing it just to do something is how teams end up like the Knicks.

    What I and others here are saying is the Lakers are a key piece (or maybe several smaller pieces) away from contending, and any move that does not fit into that mold doesn’t need to happen. Kobe simply made it harder to make a good move this summer with his rant because he weakened the Lakers negotiating position.

  49. the other Stephen September 16, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    47. holler.

    I know we’re a Lakers blog and all, but I was wondering if anyone had any opinion on Rasheed’s purported move to starting at center (and McDyess’ move to PF)? I don’t really remember, but apparently back when he was with the Blazers they tried the same thing, except instead of McDyess, it was Randolph, and it didn’t work very well. It’s great for a bunch of the younger talented bench players too, but expect Sheed’s foul trouble to go up?

  50. Kurt (49),

    You say, ” trading both Odom and Bynum for JO does not make the Lakers a dramatically better team or a contender. Doing it just to do something is how teams end up like the Knicks—”

    Or the Mavericks?

  51. Could be, especially the Mavs a few years back.

  52. Kurt, I have a few questions regarding the JO issue. (others, feel free to butt in for an answer, the more answers, the better)

    1. What is the biggest obstacle hanging in JO’s head?
    Injury or Price Tag? – surely we would not have this debate if it was KG.

    2. Does this mean we can expect Bynum to be above-average since we are not letting both Bynum and Odom go for JO?

    3. How do we foresee Odom and Bynum to do after this summer’s rest and preparation as supposed to what can be EXPECTED from JO?

    Let it be known, I am a fan of JO coming to LA. However, as to whether Bynum and Odom are worth him is the one I am seeking an answer to.

    PS – I would love to hear what Drrayeye, CraigW, Renato, the Stephens, chopperdave, Gatinho would respond to my questions. The varying answers might convince me or disprove my theories altogether.

    As soon as some have already posted their opinions, perhaps I can put in my 2 cents as well.

  53. @Warren (53):

    1. Biggest obstacle to me is the price-tag. LO and Bynum for JO just doesn’t make sense. It is a very lateral move in my opinion. We gain with JO’s defense, rebounding, and post ability, but we lose our primary facilitator in the Triangle in Odom, who is also a versatile player who scores, rebounds well, and plays decent enough defense. Throw in that we also lose our back-up/starting center, who some claim is gonna be great and is at the very least a solid future NBA center, which also minimizes our front-court depth. Plus, Kobe becomes the primary facilitator of the Triangle again.

    2. Jim Buss seems to expect this. Kupchak too. I can’t for the life of me, for a variety of reasons, see Bynum being the player we need him to be for at least 2 years. Call it instinct or whatever, but he just doesn’t seem to have the drive and work ethic to get over that hump. He has no heart and I question his attitude. Part of it is he’s only 19, but how long is it gonna take for him to grow up? Two more years? Three? Four? Do we really want to find out if we can get JO without surrendering Odom? Not sure we can right now, but I would if LO stayed.

    3. I expect Odom to come back and become an All-Star for the first time in his career. He was on clearly his way there until the injury derailed his season in the first half last year. Lest we forget, the Lakers were 30-18 I believe when Odom went down, or something very close, and he was having a career year. Add in his warrior mentality he exhibited against the Suns when he was playing with 2 serious injuries and he’s just the type of player I want on the team. I think Kobe has to appreciate Odom more now after his performance and sheer will to compete in the playoffs this past year, but I can’t be sure given his erratic state of mind.

    Bottom-line, I’m all for JO. But if it goes anything past Kwame, Bynum, Farmar, filler, and picks, I’m against it.

  54. WarrenWeeLim,
    1) I have two questions about JO. First, I really fear the injury situation would make him equivalent to LO in playing time – and we gave up Bynum also to get him. Second, I feel we need a down-low banger to compliment Kobe properly and JO seems to drift outside like LO, except for the times he gets injured. I guess, then, for me it is the injury thing.
    2) I definitely do think Bynum will be an above average center – and could be better than that, with motivation.
    3) I do not expect much more from LO this year, except I hope he stays healthy – that would be enough to noticeably improve this club. For Bynum, I expect steady improvement, particularly on defense this year. Since I feel this is where we need the most help, I am in favor of keeping Bynum.

  55. Hi Warren,

    1. I think that the issue is “packaging.” My guess is that Indiana wants us to take a second player with a multiyear contract or we don’t get Jermaine.

    2. Bynum keeps Laker trading options alive–so we don’t trade him easy.

    3. Bynum and Odom will be OK–they both will be trying to prove something.

    JO will improve the attitude of Phil, Kobe, and the entire team just by being there.

    We’re getting beyond the point of simple risk/rewards–or sound strategic thinking these days. If I KNEW that the Lakers refused a simple deal of Bynum/Odom for O’Neal and I were Phil, I wouldn’t sign a deal to coach beyond this year. If I were Kobe, I might not show up for training camp–at least for awhile.

    My own strategic assessment is to wait until mid October–but I’m very nervous.

    Kupchak must be living in a pressure cooker. I hope he doesn’t get a heart attack!

  56. Very informative guys and I appreciate it. Can’t believe I missed Chise on this one, but hey, I’ll remember next time man.

    Anyways, here are some points of agreement and disagreement on my part:

    1. I do not expect much more from LO this year, except I hope he stays healthy – that would be enough to noticeably improve this club.

    I agree. I don’t think its fair to ask Odom to be KG or JO down low. Lamar will be Lamar and for some reason, I still love the guy’s heart. I’m sure Kobe appreciates it too.

    2. Jim Buss seems to expect this. Kupchak too. I can’t for the life of me, for a variety of reasons, see Bynum being the player we need him to be for at least 2 years. Call it instinct or whatever, but he just doesn’t seem to have the drive and work ethic to get over that hump. He has no heart and I question his attitude. Part of it is he’s only 19, but how long is it gonna take for him to grow up?

    I love how you put this one. I could not agree more. As I have said, AB needs to GROW UP as a person first, before he can become THE MAN we need. Much of this makes me think his breakout season might coincide with Kobe’s opt out. Ouch.

    3. Biggest obstacle to me is the price-tag. LO and Bynum for JO just doesn’t make sense. It is a very lateral move in my opinion. We gain with JO’s defense, rebounding, and post ability, but we lose our primary facilitator in the Triangle in Odom, who is also a versatile player who scores, rebounds well, and plays decent enough defense. Throw in that we also lose our back-up/starting center, who some claim is gonna be great and is at the very least a solid future NBA center, which also minimizes our front-court depth. Plus, Kobe becomes the primary facilitator of the Triangle again.

    On the Odom being the facilitator… I kinda disagree. I’m not sure if my facts are right, but I think we lost more games with Walton out last year than we did with Odom out. Much as I’d like to see a starter quality SF start for this Laker team, much as I’d hate to admit it, Walton seems to do a better job facilitating the Triangle. So I disagree that Kobe IS the primary facilitator. Walton is – like Scottie – less the athleticism and less less less the defense. I think he will be a very big factor on how we do this year. If he could perfect that corner jumper or a Rick Fox-like spot up 3, I think trading LO to Memphis for Pau COULD improve the team. Odom is a better fit in Memphis than Pau anyway, IMO.

    Lastly, I still think the Bynum+Odom=JO offer STILL stands for a reason. Indiana may seem to think that is the best value for an oft-injured and on-his-prime star JO and LA for sure keeps this deal afloat JUST IN CASE things blow up in their faces. As of now, I am still half-hearted in saying : Lets Do It.

  57. Warren,
    I’m a little late,but here is my 2 cents.
    If O’Neal-or Gasol- was the missing piece to make Lakers contenders,and a package of Bynum,Brown and a first would do,then yes I’d do it,esp if it was at trading deadline when lack of depth would not be critical and w/the Play-Offs having tightened rotations anyway. But I don’t think the Lakers are a O’Neal away from contending-and I definitely wouldn’t include Odom in such a deal for reasons I’ll discuss later.
    I wouldn’t trade for O’Neal now because that leaves the Lakers having to go thru a full season w/two extremely fragile bigs-neither Mihm nor O’Neal being healthy for yrs.

    Personally,I think the Odom experiment has failed and it’s time to move on. Three yrs,1 missed Play-Offs,2 early exits w/7 of last 8 Play-Off Games ending in a Laker loss. Something similar(except 2 brutal Game 7 losses instead of 7 of 8) got the Rockets coach fired. Phil isn’t getting fired,but something has to be done to change the dynamic.
    There are many differ ways to get to Finals.The 2 or 3 star theory is not the only path. It can be done w/1 star and several very talented role players. (Dirk’s Mavs,Wade’s Heat-Shaq is limited these days-LeBron’s Cavs,the Billups’ Pistons,AI’s 76s for recent examples.) I believe the Lakers should go this route in buildng a team of very good players to complement Kobe,and if another star becomes available…hello new Dynasty.
    Which brings me to Lamar. It’s obvious by now that he cannot be traded even-up for another upper echelon player.Instead of trying to find the right package for a star,the Lakers should be looking the other way.Get a solid starter and a promising youngster,one of whom can pass and defend.

  58. Warren, quick and fast… :P

    1. The price tag. His salary is obscene for his production on court. And to add injury to insult, they’re demanding two members from our starting lineup, while only getting one back. The injury bug is a matter of luck, but it’s still a downside

    2. Of course we must expect that (or at least they do). They spent a high pick on him. Rejected Jason Kidd for him. I think they still have hopes. I personally have them as well…

    3. Odom should resume playing at the level he wasplaying at the beginning of last season. Bynum should make a small leap and be even better, getting more minutes as the season goes by. I epxect no less than that. And I expect that the TEAM will be better defensively, not making us cry for JO (and the improved D that comes with him).