Preseason Game One Notes

Kurt —  October 10, 2007

It looked like a first preseason game, with plenty of sloppy to go around. Not going to take anything too seriously, but here are some notes.

• The starting five was Fisher, Kobe, Radmanovic, Turiaf and Mihm. Note that Mihm got the start in front of Bynum.

• Mihm showed good hustle on the boards, worked hard to run the floor, showed a couple moves inside but generally looked rusty (but not bad, I thought). Both he and Drew looked a ways away from being quality starters. Mihm also picked up an early foul going over the back for an offensive rebound — he picked up those fouls a couple years ago, leading to him being in a lot of foul trouble, and he needs to cut those down.

• Apparently the Lakers are still getting used to the new defensive philosophy the Lakers have put in. Some confusion on bigs sliding back after showing out on a pick-and-roll, and some poor rotations in general. The Warriors, who move the ball very well, really exploited the slow rotations (this was a tough test for the Lakers).

It showed for the game as the Warriors shot 50% (eFG%) and it was much higher in the first half and when both team’s starters were on the floor. I have been at the head of the “play better defense” camp, but this was just one preseason game, no time to worry. I just want to see improvement through the preseason.

• Note to Don Nelson: Nobody in Hawaii wears a sport coat over their Hawaiian shirt. Lose the jacket.

• The Lakers clearly are trying to push the tempo, but the synch between the guards and the big running the floor still needs some work. That will come with time (you would think).

• Kobe is back as the facilitator and wasn’t looking for his shot at all early, just making passes until about halfway through the third quarter. Nobody he was passing to shot well — the Lakers shot just 36% (eFG%) for the first half.

• Maybe the only shooting bright spot early was Crittenton, who was 3 of 5 and 1 of 2 from beyond the arc (he had a couple nice passes as well) in the first half. He was also the bright spot late as he looked to take over the game at the end, showing a nice hesitation move, a fade away and a very aggressive mentality.

• Radmanovic has his shooting touch back, and he understands spacing the floor in a running game, he shot 5 of 7 from three (and 2 of 3 in closer). The only thing that could hold back his playing time is his defense (which was spotty, at best).

• Belinelli can shoot the ball, and isn’t afraid to do so. He’s a good fit in Golden State’s system and may be playing a lot by the end of the season.

• Cook had a rough game.

• Turaif has a nice midrange shot, he should get a chance to use it. He is still feeling his way at the four in the starting lineup.

• I’m not a guy who should be making hair comments, but I like the shaggy look on Sasha (which apparently came with a new, aggressive attitude), but the buzz cut on Farmar is not really working for me.

Kurt

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29 responses to Preseason Game One Notes

  1. Nothing to do with basketball, but it’s weird how Mihm, Kwame, Bynum, Farmar, Luke, and Vlad all cut their hair while Sasha grew his out.

  2. I am always excited when a new season starts, but it is becoming hard to admit to myself that this club is a fringe playoff team and first round loser at best. I am praying that Critt turns out to be really good and Vlad gets his shooting touch back.. If not, this is not an improved team and barring someone already on the roster significantly improving, a deal is going to have to be made to improve the team(if that is possible) before Kobe starts making waves again, and he will make more waves the closer he gets to opting out.

  3. I disagree about Mihm. He looked pretty awful to me. Between him and Kwame we have the worst handed bigs in the league.

    I’m pretty damn excited about Crittendon. He looks like the real deal.

    I get the feeling so much this season hinges on Bynum or some other big become a welcome surprise.

    Radmanovic looks to help us out a bunch.

    We have a lot of talent on this team. I’m excited.

    Hope springs eternal.

  4. Oh… I almost forgot about Cook. I’ve had it with him. He’s a complete one-trick pony (the catch and shoot three) who is a liability in EVERY other area.

    We have people with more upside to the team. I wouldn’t be sad at all to see him deep on the bench. Or better yet on another team.

  5. Re: Mihm, remember this was his first “real” basketball game in more than a year, so I think his hustle outweighed the other things. He’ll get his conditioning back, his hands aren’t as bad as they looked last night and I think he’ll improve.

    Like everyone, I really hope someone takes charge of that position. Anyone of the three.

  6. I think Mihm looked ok for not playing in over a year. He showed some good signs, but he looked like he was nailed to the floor. Hopefully as he plays more, his athleticism will come back to him.

    Sasha and Vlad looked good, but it was just a preseason game. Don’t forget a couple summers ago Smush was putting up 20 point games with ease in the preseason. But Sasha looked aggressive and Vlad was doing a good job of spreading the court and his shot looked nice.

    Kobe looked real sloppy. He was throwing bad passes a lot. Bynum looks bigger but not better. Fish is still good old Fish.

    All in all, I think this team is better than last season’s. I think as long as they stay consistent then maybe they can surprise some people this year.

  7. Kurt,

    We have the same mental mitochondria–
    all your observations mirrored mine to the T.

    Especially the sport jacket
    ( like it’s gonna mask the midriff, wot? )

    Loved the scrapping back
    but did not love the toreador defense ( no mas otra vez )
    and the shooting from suburbia,
    especially during those last possessions.

    Thank you Jordan, Sasha and Javaris for driving.
    ( Also love the hair on Sash.
    Jordan, not so much, but he seems to want to make
    a statement on commitment to play by chopping the lox )

    Mo Evans, what are you afraid of?
    Where is the D to go with that phys?

    Rad-man, thanks for trying to take the charge.
    Hang around DFish more
    and learn how to use those feet.
    ( no jokx here )

    Welcome back Mihm!
    Don’t sit next to Kwame.

    I also see I and I hope the new guys heed
    the need to raise the conditioning.

    They ran a lot but Crit was huffing
    after that great Kobesque drive in the 4th.

    Man, it’s nice to see some Forum blue and gold
    and hear the squeaking skeakers.

    – 5 -

  8. Great post as always Kurt, but I am a little more up on Bynum than you were. I thought in the limited time and against a team that gives bigs fits because of their style of play Bynum did well.

    Improvements over last year which were nice was his rebounding. He was going after a lot of boards instead them falling into his lap. I like how he even fought with his own teams for the ball. The other improvement was the fact that he didn’t get lost in the uptempo game as badly as he did last year (especially against phoenix).

    That said he still had the first game rust and rushed a few plays and he had several failed block attempts.

    I think he is coming along nicely and can easily average a moderate 12/9 a game with 24+ minutes. I believe he can be an average starter at center this year. Also he is only about to turn 20.

  9. Other thoughts:

    Mihm – looked very rusty and lost a lot of lift from his jumping.

    Critt – looked great, but we won’t get that anywhere near consistently for at least a year.

    Farmar – looks a little worried about critt but looks much bigger this year and will look good if he can hit his shot. (he bricked several last night…bad)

    Fish – offensively same ole guy…streaky shooter and still has trouble finishing at the basket but will figure a way to get at least 10 pts.

    Sasha – played just as well last preseason and got the start for Kobe in the opener last year and disappeared. I won’t get excited about his play until he does it for a month in the regular season.

    Turiaf – I didn’t think he energy was as high as normal, and his impact wasn’t much in the game. I am expecting more from him in this preseason.

    evans – didn’t see ANY improvement. A shame because he could help if he did.

    Radman – I feel pretty confident he will have his shooting back this year, lets just hope he can keep the fouls down and not be a black hole on defense.

    Coby Karl – Didn’t make many mistakes but his well advertised shot wasn’t present last night.

    Offense – Not sure why Phil wants to tweak the offense and speed up the tempo because O wasn’t our problem last year. Plus picking up the pace will make it tougher on our soft Defense.

    Defense – Still not looking good, but we were missing 3 guys who will be getting a lot of minutes so it wasn’t a true indicator of the coming season. I’m crossing my fingers that we improve our D this year.

  10. I agree, Farmar’s buzz isn’t working for me as well, hopefully Sasha’s game grows with his shag, we’ll see.

    On a different tune, while watching the Celtics ‘Wolves game live on the net from London, I thank all powers above that we are no longer that team up north. OJ Mayo might want to start looking into real estate up in Sota. Even though the game is somewhat close now in the fourth, none of the notable 3 are in for the Celtics. Nevertheless, batch players like Batista, House, and Perkins look like they could be legit contributers. Too bad Kobe released air wave hell about our front office, cause after reading the article in today’s Times, it seems like that made Boston’s situation look all that more rosier to Garnett, instead of living in Malibu year around.

    Somebody, anybody, step in purple and gold. Personally, I’m pulling for Ronny, we need D, and he plays with heart.

  11. This really did look like a first pre-season game, for the Lakers. They were sloppy, the bigs looked slow, and overall everyone seemed out of synch from the rest of the team.

    The W’s style of play lends itself to any game at any time of the year. These guys play an organized form of playground hoops: get the ball up court, pass the ball, and shoot when you’re open. No complicated triangle, no timing based cuts, no read and react from the backside….so in essence, I expected them to look strong and they did not dissapoint.

    Some of Kobe’s passes looked like he was still playing w/ Team USA. Sorry, Kobe, but Mihm is not going to catch that full court, over the shoulder lob like STAT or Howard. Besides that though, a work in progress for the entire team. I did like the more aggressive play on the pick and roll, but Kurt you are dead on with the cofusion with rotations as many GSW’s got wiiiiide open looks off the second pass from the pick action.

    I do like our depth though. We were down 3 starters from last season (although all 3 won’t continue to start), so I was happy with the guys who stepped in and at showed that they are capable of handling some minutes…but it is super early so I just hope to see improvement before the season starts.

  12. I think the one thing that will make this team better this year is competition. With the exception of a few spots, no position is guaranteed to anyone. You could just tell that guys will be fighting for minutes and will work their butts off to get them. Only the week will not play (see cook last night).

    As much as I like Sasha’s aggressiveness, I think he should concentrate more on being a scorer and not a facilitator. There were times he’d be calling for the ball in the back court instead of just getting up court to be a threat. He could be an interesting scorer off the bench instead of trying to be a ball handler. I also agree that Farmar looks worried about Crit, but they looked good playing together on the floor.

  13. 10. I’m home from work today and watched some of that game on ESPN, and I had the same thought — Minny is bad. Jefferson looked good as always, using his muscle inside, but as a team they looked frighteningly bad. Granted, it’s just one pre-season game, but there isn’t much there there.

  14. Speaking of early preseason observations. I caught Memphis playing against a Spanish team the other day, and they looked good. Rudy Gay and Hakim Warrick looked to have taken the next step with their game. Mike Miller was playing with that Team USA confidence, Gasol looked healthy, and their draft pick Conley looked quick and made good decisions. they will be a challenger for those last 2 playoff spots, Ivaroni will have that team putting big point totals up

  15. I only watched the first quarter and it was atrocious. I don’t think I pulled out any positives from that first quarter, especially the defense. One on one coverage was sad, rotations were slow, and golden state ended up with many open shots and uncontested layups. Kobe brought no intensity on defense. Is because he is still unhappy or is it because it is preseason and doesn’t matter?

    I do like fisher’s contributions to the team. I think he looked pretty good out there on offense, except he’s gotta shoot better.

    I know we shouldn’t take too much away from preseason games, but I’m not very encouraged by what I saw.

  16. John Coktostone October 10, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Coby Karl is not an NBA player. His shot wasn’t there because he’s too slow for legit NBA defenders. He seems like a nice kid, but he doesn’t belong in the league.

    Cook continues to prove it’s very possible to just throw away first round picks.

    Mihm was terrible. If he breaks his pelvis and gets really old, Kupchak may resign him again down the road anyway.

    Farmar is a career backup.

    Lastly, what’s with the fashion tips and hair updates? Is this a blog for The View?

  17. Kurt,
    Comments about how Minni looked are less reliable then comments about the Lakers. Not only did they turn over much of their team, but they are a very, very young group. The first exhibition game is no measure at all of what they will be like in Dec/Jan. They have a lot to learn, but they will probably progress faster then the Lakers – it is just that their ceiling is probably much lower this year.

  18. I hope Vlad can contribute like the way he did last night on a consistent basis, because that would be a great boost for the Lakers. I liked Crit’s showing last night. That alleyoop to Bynum was awesome. I agree with KrazyAnt about Farmar being worried about him. But as long as the two are competitive with each other, it could be a big plus for the Lakers as Joel Meyer said. It’s too early to tell if they’re great or not, since they were missing three starters. On a final note, I agree that Cook’s terrible.

  19. NBA Europe Live is showing here in the Phils and we get to see those games. This blog has since encouraged me to look at rotations, personnel management and defense so I look at the games now with more meaning (not just 10 guys chasing after one ball mentality).

    I must concede that I could not find the Lakers-Warriors game anywhere. All I could stare at was the box scores. Of course, its pre-season and its a box score, what could you expect?

    Regardless if it were played against scrubs, Bynum and Critt looked very good. The aforementioned stats speak for themselves, they will be very good ballers in 2-3 years time. I just hope Kobe is still around that long.

    Lastly, Brian Freaking Cook, I’ll call him BFC from now on, has to go. I don’t care if we get another PG who doesn’t get PT as long as we are not tied up to him.

  20. Cook – one trick pony indeed but when he gets his shot going he can become a reliable outside threat. Why not run a few pick ang pops with Kobe? I believe he can set a decent pick he’s an NBA player!

    Vlad – his shooting would be a key component for the whole offense so his consistency for the whole year and not just on spurts will be needed.

    Mihm – when was he ever good? back up center at best, just play the heck out of Bynum to develop him more quickly.

    Bynum – his slow progress scares me because this might all that he is capable of. But in order for this team to succedd they need a breakout year out of this guy and eliminate all the what if’s regarding Kidd.

  21. just read in the Times (again, from europe, so we get the next day edition earlier) that Buss says Kobe is “not untouchable”
    WTF is he thinking? you get the back in the fold, he says the right thing, “I’m a soldier..etc” and after his strong D showing in the world games… so you have all that going…and then you say “well, I’ll listen to offers”.
    I’m sure this makes KB feel like what is the point of breaking my back carrying this team, I wouldn’t blame him for phoning it in with an owner who goes public like that.
    I know we could all argue that KB went public, and this was a mistake, but he showed up, I think he did the best thing he could to spin control it positive.
    I just don’t follow the logic of Dr buss, I know he’s a good poker player, but I can’t see how a bluff ilke this wll enhance the chemistry of an already fragile group.
    can someone enlighten me as to how this could be helpful?

  22. This is certainly off-topic, but worth the talk.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-lakers11oct11,0,2308756,full.story?coll=la-headlines-sports

    Now that answers a lot of questions! And it suggests more…

    I honestly don’t know what to think and feel after hearing it from Buss himself. You guys do the math…

  23. 22. After reading that I think that Dr. Buss was/is trying to be respectful to his players. If Kobe is unhappy and wants to be traded then he owes it to Kobe to at least see what offers are out there. Obviously he does not want to trade the player that brings in all of his money but… Also there obviously is not trade that is worth doing so nothing happened and we are where we are, trying to make the team better with either trades or in home improvement. My guess is that Kobe does not get traded simply because there are no offers worth taking. If he wants to opt out in two years then so be it.

  24. I’m afraid this is just the tip of the iceberg.
    it looks like there is more going on behind the scenes that were let on.
    kobe will hear about this from the relentless press, they’ll build it into a mountain from a molehill.
    and buss knew this, so it’s pouring gasoline on a fire.
    this season is going to be the soap opera of all soap operas.
    fellas, this one is very strange to me, I’m finding it hard to be a loyal fan if this season is another meltdown, partially caused by the star, but escalated by the owner.
    can’t we all just get along?
    can we just play ball?

  25. On one hand you have to respect Buss being honest. But on the other hand, it’s bad P.R. to say those things to the L.A. times. Look at the ESPN headline: “Buss willing to trade Kobe.” That makes people think the wrong thing.

  26. Regarding Mike Bresnahan’s article…
    1) You have to consider the source AND his biases. There was one sentence that jumped out at me, “His unhappiness had steadily grown from the time the Lakers were eliminated by Phoenix…”. This is simply not true. Kobe got progressively more angry between April and June. Since then we have heard NOTHING from him. He may be getting more and more angry, but we currently know nothing about his feelings since those June outbursts. Mike makes the implication that Kobe’s anger has continued to rise throughout the summer. Sounds like a reporter starting a fire to me.
    2) Buss talked like a businessman who owns a piece of property he dearly loves. Sorry fellow fans, this is the real world and the best we can hope is that the owner loves his team – at least the now deceased Bidwell doesn’t own the Lakers.
    3) The article illustrates that Buss and Kobe do have an ongoing relationship, but they also have areas of disagreement – gee! that’s a real suprise.

    I really don’t see where this article adds more fuel to our current fire, but then again I am not a ‘news’ reporter and I don’t expect the Lakers to do anything that would compromise the liquidity of the franchise long term.

  27. dosent bellinin look like Sylvester Stallone?…like a skinny young one with lite hair?

  28. I like Sashas new hair.do but Farma looks like dumbo