Game two and other thoughts.

Kurt —  October 12, 2007

I tried to watch all of the Warriors/Lakers game two, but I fell asleep about the end of the third quarter. I don’t think this can be emphasized enough — don’t read much into these games. Kevin at Clipperblog said it well, “The lineups throughout the course of the game are like those David statue fridge magnet that you can dress with atrociously assembled outfits.” The Lakers ran a late first half roster out there that had Kobe running the point, Coby Karl at the two and Larry Turner at the five. Fairly sure we won’t see that when the games matter.

That said, here are some notes from the game:

• On the bright side, Ronny Turiaf looked a lot better on the offensive end — great post spin move on the block early in the first quarter; next trip down nice pass in the paint that led to a foul and free throws; two possessions later Ronny gives a little up-fake to get his defender in the air, drove the lane then when the defense rotated he made the kick-out pass to Fisher in the corner for the three.

• But the bigger problem was that “Ronny the foul machine” was back with two personal fouls in the first 5 minutes, three within 7:30. Keep that up and he will play his way out of the starting lineup.

• Without Barron Davis in the lineup the Warriors actually played faster — 10 more possessions than two nights ago — but the offense looked and felt far more disjointed. Davis is their glue.

• That said, they still shot 51% (eFG%) for the game (second game in a row where they were over 50%). I still thought the Lakers defensive rotations looked a little better early on, then they broke down as the lineups became an experiment.

• I thought Bynum looked better — he showed some strength inside, both on the boards and with a couple strong dunks on passes inside. Still there are little things to be worked on (like getting a foul for a moving pick, then a leg foul when he showed on a pick and roll). I thought he looked better on pick-and-roll defense than Mihm.

• Farmar’s decision making and shooting may not be ideal, but he looks more confident this year.

Now some non-game thoughts and links.

• Smush Parker was held out of Miami Heat practice one day last week for failing to meet team conditioning standards. Just a bit of schadenfreude.

• I have incredibly high hopes for this — Basketball Prospectus. The focus is on primarily college, but if Ken Pomeroy is on board I’m reading about the NCAA. On the NBA end, Kevin Pelton is one of the writers. I’m looking forward to this.

• has its own new group blog, with plenty of talent on display. Should be interesting to follow as well.

• Festivus on the Southwest.

• Friend of the site Carter Blanchard looks back at a pivotal moment in Kobe’s career.

• Next time LeBron James blows a layup in the NBA Finals, we’ll know why.

to Game two and other thoughts.

  1. I concur with a couple of things Stu Lantz mentioned
    about offensive and defensive combinations
    shaking out–
    I liked those Radman moves to the basket
    and Bynum on the give of one of those plays.
    Plenty tidy.

    Turok to DFish is another,
    Jordan/Sasha/Javaris another.

    Stu also mentioned the tempo
    being too fast for the crew.

    Right now, def so, especially while Mihm is getting
    his court feet ( and hands ) and timing back
    but I like seeing some smart wheeling developed
    to create a few easier points and especially
    to reduce the cheep buckets on the other end
    to avoid those early deficits
    when the regular season begins.

    ABynum’s upperbod is impressive,
    but he still needs to build the legs for endurance
    and also to assist in his shooting form.
    He at times leaves it to his wingspan
    to do most of the work , and is too far away
    to get an off. rebound.

    Loved the Carter blog,
    especially the Indy fan comment.
    I kinda miss the Kobe Roadrunner ‘Fro.

    Spontaneous brain activity, eh?
    That’s one theory.
    You wouldn’t know by the one expression
    he always has on his face.

    In earnest though, there is a correlation
    between something
    a professor of mine called internal tempo
    and mental focus, which may be why we see so much
    uptempo ball and yet so much fumbling around the basket.

    – 5 –


  2. Mike in the Mountain West October 12, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Again, I was unable to watch the game but looked at the box score.

    What’s your take on Coby Karl? 3 of 4 from behind the line, 3 assists and a couple of boards is not bad for end-of-bench guy.


  3. 2. Mike, he can spot up and shoot and made a couple nice passes. But he strikes me as a guy who needs to spend a couple years in the NDBL/Europe to refine his game for this level, to figure out how to compensate for his lack of athleticism at the NBA level.


  4. I hope Kobe is ready to play the type of winning basketball he displayed with team USA. However, when he attacks the hole and kicks out there will be times that these teammates don’t hit open shots, maybe long periods of time. One of the key things this season will be kobe analyzing the game and knowing when the team needs points and when he needs to continue to pass. because this is such a concerted effort for kobe, it may be best to keep him off the ball and allow others to initiate. too bad fish doesnt have that skill set. maybe farmar would work better starting. fish could play well with walton off the bench with walton (or odom who most likely would still be in) playing the initiator role.


  5. I was going to ask the same thing.

    I think we should keep him. At least for a few 10 day contracts worth of work.

    He is pretty physically slight though.


  6. I’m good with giving Karl a non-guaranteed contract to see how he works out. The thing is, those deals become guaranteed for the year about three weeks before the trading deadline, when the Lakers may want that extra roster spot. It seems a waste to keep him around for three months just to cut him loose (if you go that path).

    Also, we’re not seeing practices, I’m basing what I wrote on what I saw in limited preseason action. He may be doing more to wow coaches than I’ve seen.


  7. Karl is on the wrong team. He needs to be on a team where there is a low post beast who draws in defenders and who kicks it out to open 3pt shooters. A Miami,Orlando,Spurs or the Rockets of JVG.(He could prob be challenging for a starting job in Miami at SG til Wade comes back-which is a credit to Karl and an indication of how bad the Heat are!)
    On the Lakers he needs someone to penetrate and kick-out. Unfortunately that won’t happen often enough to make up for his defense.
    I doubt the Lakers can afford the roster spot in order to groom him for a future specialist role. All concerned might be best served if he’s traded to a Miami,or a Cleveland,Boston for expiring camp fodder and a second.(The team is already teaching 4 young players-Critt,Farmar,Turaif and Bynum-do they want to add a fifth?)


  8. Hey, if Jason Kapono can play in this league, so can Karl. I was encouraged by his play at least on the offensive end. I was not convinced that Turiaf is starter material, but I am pretty sure that Mihm will be starting when the regular season starts. He looked better than I expected, as did Radman. Bynum makes some good plays and it would be nice to have him play with the first unit as often as possible. He sure can finish near the basket better than anyone else on the team. If we don’t have space for Karl, I say get rid of Cook. He seems like a waste of space out there. I’ve never seen him shoot so fast.


  9. Busses=Dolans
    The fact is that Kobe is not Buss’s kid, and the father will care about his son’s ego over Kobe’s


  10. 8. Cook is under contract, you cut him and you still pay him for a few years. Karl is not under contract.

    Kapono had one advantage — he was drafted on to a Cavs team that won 35 games his first year. They were bad, it was a very young LeBron and Carlos Boozer and not a lot else. Even on that team Kapono was averaging 10 minutes and 3 points per game. Karl is no stepping into that type of learn-as-you-go situation, the backcourt is already full of talent.


  11. Karl needs to continue to carve his niche as a three point shooter. Steve Kerr made a career out of being a dead on three point shooter and not much else. Plus he has a GREAT feel for the game. Luke Walton ain’t much of an athlete either, but his basketball instincts make up for much of that. Hopefully that will allow Mr. Karl to find a home somewhere in the league.


  12. Jones, the difference is Walton is a 6-9 small forward who can grab some boards, score some inside and hit the three. Karl is a 6-5 two who can’t create his own shot at this level, so he needs to be in the right system with the right players around him to succeed (see Kerr in Chicago and San Antonio).

    I really want the kid to make it, but I’m not sure these Lakers are the fit.


  13. I”d rather drop Vujacic over Cook (not like either one is getting cut anytime soon)..but a 6’7 guard who still plays like he’s 5’11? No thanks.


  14. Being the son of a coach (and Walton being a son of an HoF) gives him a better feel for the game than most of the others around him. But based on what Kurt said, as I’m yet to see a preseason game, Karl as some athletic issues on a league that rewards athleticism over savvy and technique. Therefore, the only way to succed is to excel at shooting and know how to control the game (the right cut, the right pass, etc.).

    So, maybe, in order to allow Karl to develop into a quality roster player, we should let him play here in Europe, where those skills are more important than athleticism. Maybe a 3-year stint would make him better all-around…

    Regarding the fantasy league, please, all the regulars in FB&G interested, please send an e-mail to Kurt with your nick on this website and your e-mail. He’ll forward it to me and I’ll invite you into the league, if you’re still interested that is.


  15. Karl should fit in well with the Triangle…may take a season or two, but he’s clearly a kid who’ll play in the league – you don’t want to lose that for nothing.

    Did anyone else feel like Stu wanted to ducktape Sunderland’s mouth shut everytime he called Larry Turner “TO”…I know I wanted to…

    Radman or Cookie needs to go…we knew that last year, just wonder if the Lakers know that too. This team should be pretty competitive once Lamar and Kwame return. And if Rad can continue to shoot like he has, it brings a lot more to the table for this team…

    Have to agree with Stu when he says the competition between Farmar and Crittenton is good. I’ve been shocked how comfortable and capable Javaris looks. Farmar still hasn’t perfected NBA 3pt range or staying under control at all times, but he’s still a very adept PG. My guess is he’ll find a new home before the year is out.


  16. Hey Kurt,

    By no means was I saying that Karl is as good of a players as Walton. But just like Walton, if he finds the right situation, he’ll be fine. The Lakers need three point shooters. I don’t think it would hurt to keep him around on a non-guaranteed contract.

    And Jethro, that’s Joel Myers, not Paul Sunderland. I actually liked Sunderland more than Myers. He seemed more genuine than Myers IMO.


  17. Kurt, what are these adverts for? I always see them in recently said and they keep sprouting up in topics written 2 years ago.


  18. AH! You’re right Jones! I wrote it and felt I was off some how, but just went with it. And i agree, I like Sunderland a lot, Myers annoys the hell outta me…he seems like a kid allowed at the adult table, just happy to be there and echo the statements of others ad nauseum.


  19. Wow, is it me or did anyone else not realize that Brian Cook looked completely horrible in game 2? He is still the same ball hog that he always was. Seriously he doesn’t know how to affect a game unless he’s scoring. He’ll touch a ball and automatically shoot because there is only one threat in his “triple threat”. Can he please play some d or can coach bench him for someone that will.

    The idea for Phil to get easy baskets in the first 7 seconds is nice in theory but really this does not seem to fit our personnel. For a system like this to work you need a great floor general (Steve Nash) and a bunch of athletes that are fast and finish well. The Lakers will thrive by scoring in their system and having good transition defense. I guess it’s something you can experiment with in the summer. Maybe Phil actually wanted players to try some creativity and carry that on to the season. There is no way the Lakers can push the tempo and still win games.

    Coby Karl is a player that can play in the triangle because he’s a smart player. Example he could have saved a ball but remembered that he was under the opposition’s basket so decided to just go out of bounds instead of potentially giving up a layup. He also had a sweet behind the back pass and just seems to have a good grasp on the game. He also appeared to be quite explosive as he challenged a warrior i believe Azabuke and gave him a hard foul instead of ushering him to a layup. I like him and hope he can earn some minutes, also has a silky smooth stroke.

    I hope to see better defense in the coming games as well but also realize that Phil is trying out new things. The better wedge on the defense for screen and roll looks better so we’ll see.


  20. 17. Comment spam, Warren. Advertisers have “bots” that work to put ad spam in comments. I have a program on this blog that attempts to weed them out and has caught about 300,000 in the last year. Some still slip through and I delete them as fast as I see them, but they still show up on the feeds. Just part of the blogging game these days, sadly.

    And count me in the “I liked Sunderland better” camp.


  21. I know we all try to remember this is the exhibition season, but some of the comments sound like January. Phil is going to play weird combination now just to find out how people work together. As for practicing a new defensive scheme…well Golden State is probably the worst team to start that practice with. At least we didn’t start in Europe this year.

    Remember the 10 commandments – do no try to evaluate our personnel in these games – we are not the coaches and don’t know what they are attempting to show. That said, I don’t think Brian Cook has impressed anyone this fall and he should be the 16th player on the squad this year.


  22. Craig- I agree with your comments, but Phil was very erratic in his lineups and rotations throught the whole ’06-07 season. I just hope, once the season starts, he settles into a 9-10 man rotation and that rotation doesnt include the tallest shooting guard in the NBA: B. Cook


  23. kwame a.,
    You are right about Phil last year. I think that the injuries and Phil’s slow adjustment to playing with young NBAers had a lot to do with that. I hope he has learned as well.


  24. Kwame A.,
    You’re probably going to see some strange rotations for the first week or two of season. Neither Lamar nor Kwame has seen any game time yet,so I imagine Phil will still be experimenting as to best actual combo’s as season starts.
    Barring injury/trades I imagine there will be a reasonably set rotation by end of Nov. I also expect there to be a different rotation by the end of the yr.


  25. Lets not forget its only the preseason. Everyone always seems to get carried away and worried when the Lakers lose in the preseason. This is the time that Phil Jackson is simply experimenting with different line-ups and getting a feel of what everyone is capable of. For example, we all know that Sasha Vujacic will not be playing this many minutes once the season starts. Watch the games and observe the random times for substitutions of random players. There is really no rhyme or reason to the subs but instead just a test run of different players at different times in a game with different players around them. This is when team work is understood by the younger players! This is going to be a good season!


  26. Craig W.
    How can Golden State not be a good team to practice defense against??? They are a team in the NBA that runs screen and rolls, which is what the Lakers and many teams in the NBA struggle against. It is a perfect time to practice different defensive looks that can be used during the season.

    I concur with Stu Lantz, the Lakers look way out of sync with this new push offense. Coach Jackson is very knowledgeable and is probably searching for something deeper than just emulating the Suns.

    I feel that it is confidence. Look at Vlad and Farmar, they are playing with confidence now and hopefully that savvy will carry onto the regular season with the rest of the team. That seems more like Phil’s actual agenda b/c the Lakers need to get some scoring outside of Kobe.


  27. Zen Master likely to sign extension

    Jackson, 62, is believed to be leaning toward signing a two-year extension for about $20million. His current three-year, $30million deal expires after this season. ”He has pretty much agreed he would coach if he feels he can do it physically,” owner Jerry Buss said. Jackson has had both hips replaced over the last two years. ”He feels a lot better,” assistant Tex Winter said. ”He’s much more animated this year than he was last year. He really came into the season last year not feeling very well. He is enjoying it now. He seems back to his old self.”,CST-SPT-jax14a.article


  28. Phil’s possible extension is pretty much is in tune with Kobe’s years… as a Laker.

    On Brian Cook: I think the Lakers should actively trade him. For cap relief the most. Offer him to GSW or something or some team having that trade exception. Paying the tax is bad enough, paying it because of Brian Cook’s extension is beyond terrible!


  29. Hey, my tech guy just said this site loaded fine in Internet Explorer, but I know it’s not right in my test. Is it still off for you? Can you email me screen shots (email link is at the top of the righthand sidebar)?


  30. 26. Preseason is the time to be out of synch trying new things.

    That said, it is a myth the Lakers were a slow-it down team last year, they were 8th in the league in possessions (pace) per game. I think trying to push that a little more is a good thing, especially if you have guys like Odom and Kobe who can finish (and a Radman or Fisher spotting up in transition for a three). If it gets us just a couple more easy baskets a game I’ll take it. It’s just going to take a while to get used to.


  31. Travis Y.,
    Yes, Golden State runs screen and rolls. However, their preferred offense is a scramble and their steal oriented defense is designed to get 1-on-1 or 1-on-0 offensive situations. When you are learning anything you have to think and Golden State is not going to give you time to think about anything. That is the basis for my saying they are possibly the worst team to start off your defensive practice against.


  32. I agree Craig, its basically the most organized “disorganized-basketball” in all the world.

    I think 3-pointers will be a key this year. Radman is finding his stroke and Fish is here. These 2 are easily starters for other teams too. Why not start both and have 2 3-pt threats aside from Kobe? Odom and Radman can co-exist as both Forwards and not specify as SF or PF.

    I am excited to see Lamar put the ball on the floor. However, a certain degree of pessimism holds me back. Bynum has gotten better, but the frame of mind might be too fragile. Kwame is, well, you know how I feel about him. I can never stop talking about Kwame (but I must credit his interior D, no question) without talking about a possible trade. Then sign him the MLE next year? 🙂

    These being said, are we not better off with a legit post scoring threat? JO once more tickles my mind… that Dunleavy guy can be a tall PG too, or another 3-threat forward.


  33. Kurt,
    Site looks fine. In fact,for me,it’s first time I haven’t had to scroll down to see articles.

    Re the pace issue,it may be Phil trying to fix several problems.
    1)Too many 3pt shots. By running,the team is going to basket instead of settling for 3pt shots.
    2)Rewarding players for playing good defense. By letting players run instead of settling into offense it lets hustle players get involved in scoring.
    3)Keeps players head in the game instead of them standing around watching Kobe and losing focus.
    4)Learning Triangle takes time. W/so many young players who are having enough on their plate learning to play in NBA,Phil wants something basic for them to use while learning intricacies of Triangle. (Also makes for easier transition in case any new players come in via trade).
    And it’s a return to Phil’s roots. His beloved Knicks ran and his Bulls had a devastating fast break.


  34. IE is working fine now…


  35. Golden State is definitely not the best team to try and learn a defensive strategy against. They are excellent at forcing teams to play their pace and style of game. However, lets look back two years when the Lakers took the Suns to 7 games. That series was all about keeping the Suns under 100 points. In case you don’t remember, victories came from the games that we contained their scoring runs. The teams that are succeeding are not those that just score, but those that score on runs. San Antonio, Dallas and Phoenix are all capable of going 5, 6, or even 7 plays down court in a row with at least two points each trip. The Lakers struggle against teams like this because they are unable to score as often. They can put together nice plays and have an overall solid performance, but they will only be able to score at best maybe 3 consecutive trips down court.


  36. San Antonio not only can run with Ginobolli and Parker, but they defend with Bowen, Duncan and (fill in the blank). That is what separates them from the Phoenix’s and Golden State’s. I don’t agree with our copying the fast break basketball entirely. I think what this team needs is balance. Also, that is the zen way.

    We need something for Kobe, Farmar, and Crit, but we also need some players to focus on defense.

    I too agree that Phil may be playing some mind games to keep all the players interested and motivated to continue to play defense, but I think our young players are now experienced enough with the triangle that they can integrate it with a fast break and defensive focus. Remember Farmar has real bball smarts and has a year’s experience under his belt and Crit has 4yrs from his high school days.