Slow Down

Kurt —  October 22, 2007

Kobe can’t be the facilitator, he turns the ball over too much. Farmar should start, and so should Bynum. This Lakers team defense isn’t any better than last year’s. Mihm isn’t ready.

You know what five preseason games equal? A pile of male bovine animal manure. While we are learning some things, the context in which we are learning them makes it very difficult to extrapolate these results into anything meaningful.

Let’s use Kobe in the facilitator role as an example. After watching the two games from this weekend, it is pretty clear he is not fully comfortable in that role with this lineup (remember he played this role a lot in the Shaq era). But to say he can’t do it and this plan should be abandoned ignores a lot of factors: 1) Lamar Odom is the only other starter who can create his own shot and Odom is wearing some pricy street clothes to the games, so the defenses are totally focused and collapsing on Kobe; 2) The lineups Kobe is playing with are experimental; 3) Just like Phil, he’s testing things out to see what works and what doesn’t, who he can trust and who he can’t. For example, I’m not sure we’ll be seeing a lot more lobs to Kwame. That list can go on, the point is not to make huge leaps yet — Kobe is struggling some, but that is what preseason is for.

Another example, there is no doubt that both Farmar and Bynum have looked good and have shown growth, both physically and in the diversity in their games. But that does not mean they should start. First off, as we said before, the lineups they are playing with and against are still too fluid to say they perform better with the starters or the bench guys. Also, look at it this way — both Farmar and Bynum have shown a broadened offensive game from last year, would that be better coming off the bench? With Kobe and Odom in the starting five, that unit will score, regardless of who is playing center. Maybe it’s better to have the more defensive-minded Kwame/Turiaf combo at the four and five to start, and bring the scoring punch of Bynum and Farmar off the bench (with Walton and Radmanovic).

All I’m trying to say here people is, deep breaths. This is the preseason.

On to other notes:

• I’d love to have Al Thorton coming off our bench, I like his game. Be warned, you may get some more Clippers comments later in the week as I have tickets to the Clippers/Kings preseason game at Staples Wednesday.

• This is why I don’t think the Suns get out of the second round again this year.

• Call them Gretzky’s or whatever, but I like the idea of counting a second assist in some cases. If Kobe drives the lane and kicks out to an open Fisher who makes a quick pass around the arc to Radmanovic for a wide open three, shouldn’t Kobe (or whomever) get some credit for starting that play? That said, it’s a judgment call thing to me, there are second assists that are meaningless (both in hockey and basketball).

• Is the LA Times borrowing ideas from bloggers?