Preseason: Lakers vs. Jazz (version 1.0)

Kurt —  October 23, 2007

First — I hope that the ongoing wildfires have not displaced (or worse) any of you. It is my sincerest wish that each of you and your families are safe.

Now, on to the distractions…

Kobe has a shorter drive to the arena tonight and there is a championship banner hanging in the rafters, but nobody is going to confuse the Anaheim Pond (sorry Honda, it will always be that to me) with the Staples Center.

Tonight’s tedious preseason match up should be interesting on a few levels. I’d expect to see more of a “regular” rotation from the Lakers — whatever that will be exactly — at least for the first half, as Phil starts to look more toward the season.

The rotations we really need to see from the starters and core players are on defense — they have been better at times this preseason (compared to the nonexistent ones last year) but the performance has been inconsistent across the numerous player groupings. The players are talking a good game, but actions are what we need to see.

For the Jazz, Ronnie Brewer is trying to earn the starting two-guard spot, and leads Utah in the preseason with 17 ppg while shooting 60% from the floor. So what is worrying Jerry Sloan? Brewer’s defense. Remember last year Brewer started against the Lakers and Kobe put up 52. Look for Brewer to try to make a point tonight, and for Kobe to be a little more focused.

But the best part of tonight should be the banging inside, with this game having harder hits than anything Deon Sanders ever did in the NFL.

We know the Jazz — with a front line of Okur, Boozer and AK47, plus Millsap coming off the bench — can bang, but the Lakers new front line with Turiaf and Kwame (and, eventually, Odom) are no slouches themselves. Don’t take my word for it, this quote is out of True Hoop, from a Bobcat fan reader of Henry’s:

The Lakers are a lot tougher and more physical this year than last season. It’s more than just Kobe now. Kwame Brown knocked Primoz Brezec on his back, laid the ball in, and you could hear him yell ‘Ay! Get tough!’ Ronny Turiaf was downright nasty. He was literally pushing Walter Herrmann off of him on both sides of the floor.

As for injuries, Odom is out for sure for the Lakers (although he is going to try to play the final preseason game on Friday in Vegas) and Walton is questionable. Harpring will sit for the Jazz. And we can all hope nobody goes down in this game like Morrison did against the Lakers.

UPDATE: Elton Brown, Andre Patterson and Larry Turner have been waived by the team. No shock there, the only question now is if Coby Karl gets the 15th roster spot or if it stays open.


One little housekeeping note. As has been the tradition here, I’ll be doing previews and setting up comment threads for every Lakers game (with a breakdown of what the Lakers have been doing as well as info on the opponent). I’m trying to come up with my format for said previews, so if there is anything you want to see in there — point spreads, starting lineups, list of celebrities expected to sit courtside — send me an email or put it in the comments. Or, really, if you have other suggestions of things you want to see, put those in too. FB&G has become a community, so I want everyone to be a part of the process.



88 responses to Preseason: Lakers vs. Jazz (version 1.0)

  1. Second to Kurts initial statement, being born and raised and now a former resident of San Diego where our house was built into the side of a mountain that would light up like a tinder box every few years because of the Santa Ana winds causing us to have some close calls, I hope all the residents of SoCal are ok. The whole mess brings back some scary memories and many people I know are in my prayers as they battle this stuff. ..

    One suggestion I have is when you post your thread on each game, give us a prediction as to the winner, final score, and why.

  2. I added this as an update in the main post but will put it here as well:

    Elton Brown, Andre Patterson and Larry Turner have been waived by the team.

  3. Best wishes to everyone in SoCal, my family included.

    Kurt, I’d love to get injury updates/starting lineups in the game previews, as well interesting tidbits that relate to the game (so&so played for LA in 1998, last time these two teams played, etc.)

    Thanks for the great work!

  4. can we also list which TV station it will be on, starting time and list the next upcoming game? that way we can plan our tivo…hehe

  5. Also, a link to a game cast (like Yahoo) would be helpful for those that can’t watch the game.

  6. I like to look up when each team has played recently. Hearing that Team A is on the back end of back-to-backs, or on game 6 of a 7-game road trip can be telling. As does “they’ve had two nights off in their own beds.”

    Also, and this is less Team and more Kobe: how much he’s averaged against the projected opposing SG.

  7. Thing I’m looking for tonight, who will emerge as Phil’s ‘2 Centers’ between Kwame, Andrew, Chris.

  8. Mike in the Mountain West October 23, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    With Mihm still recovering from injury and his abysmal 0-6 last night I don’t see how Phil can go with anything other than Kwame and Bynum. Chris can fill in some minutes at PF and he’s great insurance in case Kwame goes down with an injury again but he just doesn’t seem up to par yet.

  9. That being said, I feel that Phil’s “2 centers” comment was meant to be a kick in the booty to Kwame to give it a go at PF. Phil as much said that a classic PF is the missing piece in this team when interviewed about Kobe. The Lakers have won with a scoring 2 guard and scoring 5 (which Houston hasn’t been able to do). However, there is another formula scoring 2 guard, scoring and facilitating small forward, and beast of a 4 on the boards and defensive end. Think Jordan Bulls. I think that’s what the Lakers were thinking in trading Caron for Kwame. Hasn’t panned out. Kwame just wasn’t able to share the floor with Mihm. Part of it is that Mihm likes to play the high post as opposed to the low post. Maybe Kwame can coexist with Drew on the court. I don’t why he hasn’t tried it. Starting frontcourt; Lamar, Kwame, Drew? Bench frontcourt: Luke, Ronny, Mihm? Could work.

  10. Paul- I would love to UPS play the 4 as well, but his skill set just doesn’t fit. He can’t function offensivley in the triangle at any position but the 5, where his only responsibility is post up on the low block and fumble Kobe’s passes. When he came in the league he hit the 15 ft jumper and had footwork. Somewhere along the line that disappered. If he were to find it again, that would be great.

  11. Strange personal opinion: how about we don’t start Lamar… why would we do this you ask? its simple, Lamar has clearly not been able to co-exist with Kobe for three years now and its time to try something know. We have seen glimpses of hope from Lamar but the word is that he only performs when Kobe is not on the floor. If we start Kobe with Jordan, Radmanovic, Kwame and Bynum, then we can have a second line of Lamar leading Fisher, Walton, Ronny, and Mihm. I think it would be an interesting idea to sub 5 guys at a time, let them learn how to play as unit 1 and unit 2. Kobe gets plenty of rest, Lamar gets plenty of rest. I personally believe this may be an interesting thought.

  12. Lamar Odom, out the first two weeks of the season, per LTV

  13. 12. That is bad news. They are going to miss his scoring during a tough stretch early.

  14. Man, this Laker team with Kobe and Fish sucks on offense. They need Farmar in there.

  15. i agree with all the suggestions for previews (especially time/channel of the game)..but how about more info about the opposing team? we all know the lakers inside and out since we watch all of their games..which players have been hot and cold lately, how they run their offense, what to look for to see if the team is doing well and all that..but i know next to nothing in-depth about the other teams around the league. i’m not really sure what that would entail though but hey it’s my job to come up with suggestions not solutions…

  16. This game is ugly. Kobe being Kobe and Utah defending him well.

    Finally, some substitutions on the 3:01 mark. There’s my guy.

  17. Just as Farmar and Bynum enters the game, LA scores and forces a turnover from the other end.

  18. For those relatively new to the site, in the previews I try to give us a picture of where the opposing team is coming in (a combo of trying to watch one of their recent games, or at least part, checking out blogs/reports and looking at the last 10 days stats). Of course there is Lakers talk. I also try to envision the matchups and where the advantages and disadvantages are. How successful that all is certainly is up for debate, but I try.

    I’m working on a template and welcome all the ideas. Thanks.

  19. Daniel, I don’t know about subbing 5 guys all in one time but I wonder at the thought that Lamar should be the 6th man.

    Here is my thought:

    We start Farmar-Kobe-Radmanovic-Turiaf-Bynum.

    This is a fluid offensive team with Farmar facilitating, Kobe and Radman doing the damage. Bynum and Turiaf do their usual.

    Off the bench, at about the 6-minute mark sub:
    Odom for Radmanovic, Cook for Turiaf.

    By this time, Turiaf would have committed 2 fouls anyway. Odom compensates for the rebounding, Cook assumes the offensive chores (which is the only thing he does).

    8-minute mark sub:
    Kwame Brown for Bynum, Fisher for Farmar.

    We become a solid team in rebounding with Cook, Odom and Kwame and yet still a good shooting team with Kobe and Fish. Kobe does the facilitating this time.

    2nd quarter, start:
    Fisher-Crittenton-Walton-Odom-Mihm. We will have an excellent passing team with loads of open jumpers for Critt and Fish. We will still be a good ball-handling team with Fish and Critt alternating the PG chore.

    8-minute mark in 2nd: put in Farmar-Kobe-Odom-Turiaf-Bynum. This is our best 5.

  20. How about that?! Bynum with 2 successive blocks that leads to Farmar scoring on the break. I love these 2 guys.

  21. The Jazz offensive rebounding is killing the team. They need Kwame in there…

  22. Laker fans in LA, you don’t know how lucky you are to watch the games. Most of you take it for granted. Unfortunately, In Sac, all I get are a bunch of queens games. Listening to their announcers alone would make you want to cut off your ears.

  23. Off topic:
    Kyle Lowry with 21pts, 11rebs, 12asts, 2stls.

    Javaris with a circus shot! Wow!

  24. Judging by the box score i hope mitch and jerry realize how much he hurt this team by resigning cook, vujacic, and mihm. The Lakers could easily have C Webb, and two other contributors or draft picks.


  25. No game Thursday…Cancelled.

  26. Kobe really stunk up the joint tonight, both offensively AND defensively. Phil should have just sat him out if he is going to play like this – period.

  27. watching kobe on the bench tonight was painful. As an example, after the nice drive by fisher, where he got the three point play; there was kobe sitting on the bench (covered in a towel) while the other guys stood in celebration of a great play. This has to stop kobe! Either you need to go or find some gumption to pretend like you still care.

    i’m really befuddled…why does this have to happen?

  28. 24: having C-Webb sounds like more of a threat than an option, but that’s just me.

    About Odom’s injury… how quickly 07-08 starts to look like 06-07. We’re a pretty rational site, with no delusions of a championship this year; we just wanted the chance to see what we have and how well they can all play healthy. Last year every major contributor other than Kobe missed significant time. Now we’re starting off where we left off, which makes me sad.

  29. Mike in the Mountain West October 23, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    I didn’t see the game but I did see the box score. Any insight into why Kobe sucked it up so bad?

    More and more I come to the conclusion that the naysayers are right. Kobe exists very poorly with other teammates unless they are as good as him. He can’t make his teammates better.

    Let’s ship him out, get some good young players and picks and focus on our great young talent.

  30. Yes. Injuries are going to kill us. Why, because of all the puported depth on the bench, few of these players are equipped to field a quality start in the event that the starting player at their position is injured. Where are the Brian Shaws of the world? We need some.

  31. the other Stephen October 24, 2007 at 7:10 am

    ah, i’ve missed these previews so much.

  32. Kobe is not slowing down any. The lakers are going to be okay this year. Of corus kobe will lead the team

  33. I watched the whole game last night, and as sad as it is to say, it looked like Kobe was not ‘into it’. He carelessly turned the ball over several times, over-dribbled, missed open men, lazy on D. This may all be chalked up to preseason, but with the cloud hanging over Lakerdom these days, Kobe playing the role VC did in Toronto was not encouraging.

    Other thoughts: Kwame Brown is the worst offensive Center on the team, and his confusion ruins the flow of the entire offense. Vlad Rad is better suited to come off the bench, I would start Kobe at the 3 while Lamar is out, with Fish at the 2 and Farmar at the 1. Bynum stlll gets lost on defense for the better part of the game, and has big big problems establishing post position on the block.

  34. Oh yeah, Brian Cook is got to be one of the most annoying Lakers of all-time, I find myself cringing every second he is on the court, I’d rather let Critt play the back-up 4 than Cook.

  35. 24)
    Did you watch Webber play last year? No way would he help the Lakers. He can hardly move.

  36. Re:#27

    Adam, I’ve been watching Kobe when he’s on the bench and one of his teammates makes a nice play. I slow mo it and see what his reactions are.
    Most of the time? Nothing. He just sits there.
    The rest of the team is up jumping around clapping, whooping it up. But not Kobe.
    I don’t expect him to jump up and down like Rony does, but A LITTLE expression of emotion would be nice.
    I just don’t think that he’s “into it ” anymore.
    I think that in his mind, he’s already gone.

    Then again, it IS just the preseason.

  37. #35

    You must be out of your skull. Webber averaged 11 points, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 7 boards. He only averaged 30 min a game. Are you telling me Cook plays better than this guy? Webber’s offense would mesh well with the triangle.

    You’re telling me you’d rather have players like Cook, Vujacic, and Mihm on this team? I respect people’s comments on this board, but i’d suggest you do a little more research before making just posting any comment.

    If the Lakers would have dealt some of these guys for 2nd rounders in the last couple years they could have had people like Millsap, Glen Davis, McRoberts, Strawberry, etc.

  38. Well, has Kobe done any of those things in past years? I don’t think so..

  39. People, stop looking to deep into what Kobe does. It’s the pre-season and people have their off days. Star players often use the pre-season to test different things. He’ll be fine during the regular season. Fans these days are definitely a product of today’s tabloid media culture…

  40. Jones, I gotta agree with Goo, when has Kobe played so dispassionatley. Like I said earlier, I hope I am just reading into it too deep, but the eyes don’t lie.

  41. The only time in the recent years I have I seen kobe play with passion in the preseason was a few years back against the Kings. Other than that he has never should much emotion during the preseason.

    People are just paranoid because of all the trade talk and management problems.

  42. 37
    Webber’s defense now is poor, and he is very slow. He is an excellent passer, and has a decent mid-range shot, but no quickness on offense. The Lakers main weakness is defensive, not offense. They were a slow team last year, got slower in the Parker-Fisher switch, and you want to make them slower yet? No, Webber would be a horrible addition to the team. Cook’s offensive game fits very well with Kobe’s game; he provides a different look coming off the bench. Mihm is still recovering from his injury, so it’s way too soon to tell with him, but he will almost certainly be more valuable than Webber would be. Sasha – perhaps not, but you think Webber would sign for the veteran’s minimum? That’s all they have left.

  43. Jones got it right. I think the media measuring every freaking reaction like it holds some profound truth has now rubbed off onto the fans. It’s a preseason game and shouldn’t represent anything really.

    Sheesh. Wait till we are a month into the season to truly gauge what’s going on. Yea it’s disappointing to watch the team right now and even I sorta worry that bad preseason play will make matters worse but all the same when have we ever really looked and measured every reaction before? Only now I’d say and so we really shouldn’t take any observation taken now as scientific.

    Whatever happens, it’ll happen and as fans we’re just gonna have to live with it because obviously we have very little impact individually and perhaps the only reason why Kobe is still hear is because of are impact as a whole in viewership, ticket sales and merchandise sales.

  44. We need to stop treating Kobe like he’s Terrell Owens. If we decide to dissect his every move (or non move) we are truly in for a long season, injuries or not. Let’s play some games that count before we throw anyone under the bus or put any of the young guys on a pedastal.

    Kobe is gonna play hard and so is the rest of the team. Remember too, that even though he has played this role before, Kobe is still making an adjustment to being more of a distributor. He has to adjust to bringing the ball up, not just running down court and setting up in one of his sweet spots. This is going to be a tough role to balance…we need him to run the offense AND be the primary scorer. And he’s trying to do it right now without Odom. We just need some more time. I trust Kobe and Phil to figure it out.

  45. It is funny to note that none of the premier shooting guards and swingmen have an adequate supporting cast, with the exception of Tmac, and the Rockets ain’t winning a championship any time soon. Well, I take that back, so does Melo, and the Nuggets aren’t gonna win it either. The point is that the Lakers with one other legitimate starter, who is injured haif the time and has a permanently paralyzed right hand, were able to at least scare some good teams at ttimes over the last few years. Why, because of Kobe. He and Lebron have the weakest supporting cast of the dominant scorers in the league, but teams fear them the most. Because, you don’t know what will happen on any given night. Kobe is whining a lot, true. But give him half of what Tmac or Melo have, I guarantee the Lakers are competing for a championship. It’s not about the stars, it’s about the other players. Look at the salaries of the Fish’s, the Cooks, the Valds, even the Lukes, and compare these players to the players on San Antonio in the same salary range, and you have the answer to the problems the Lakers now face. And I haven’t even mentioned Kwame,. Jesus, 9 mil! Who’s making 9 mil on San Antonio? I bet he’s ten times better than Kwame.

  46. It seems to me that Phil is trying to make Kobe more of a Lebron type player in their offensive scheme. The only problem with that is Kobe is not a pg nor is he a Lebron type player! He may have played that position early on in his career and in high school but he is clearly a different player now than when he first started in the league. His talents are being underutilized in that type of attack because his energy is wasted on bringing the ball up, setting up plays for his teamates, and ultimately being the primary scorer on offense. Then he still has to get back on defense and gaurd the opposing teams best perimeter player. It is evident that Kobe is not a great passer at this stage in his career and still doesn’t trust his team enough to allow other to make plays so why put him in that situation?

  47. Luke,
    I think the issue is with the rest of the team. There haven’t been any consistent outside shooters, and who else can consistently create their own shots? No one except Lamar, and he takes a lot of time to do so, which neutralizes Kobe. If someone else is facilitating, that means Kobe is moving without the ball, when it is relatively easy to defend him. When he has the ball, he can either pass or work at creating his own shot. When he is trying to create, he inevitably draws a double team, which leaves someone open. Unfortunately, there has been a combination of teammates who don’t hit the shots/drop the pass/move enough to get open, and Kobe not always being willing to pass.

  48. So how does the Heat Wolves trade make sense for the wolves? All the excuses they used to not trade with the Lakers are BS. Kevin the Celitc is really doing a diservice to that city and team. A youth movement is one thing but an aged veteran out of shape (supposedly) with, I think more years or the same as Odom on his contract???? And they don’t trade unhappy Howard? I knwo this is a Lakers site but I think this is a real diservice to basketball but the owner allows. they could have had a combo of young players and or expiring contracts and Bynum. Really this isn’t sour grapes but this is what has screwed up the league in the past and why we have trade restriction and salary caps.

    Any thoughts? Am I missing how this makes sense for the Wolves?

    All have a great day!

  49. I think the USA basketball proves the point exhelodrvr. Kobe is a complete basketball player, but only really flowers when surrounded by good to great players. However, he is able to shine all by himself.

    The comment was made earlier that there are very few great shooters that have good to great players around them. I think that is what makes Boston with Ray Allen look so dangerous. There are really no great players the Lakers could get to surround Kobe at this time. If we are looking for players that could develop, then the Lakers are the best situation available – with Bynum, Farmar, and Crit as potential good to great players. However they are unlikely to be there this year.

    That is another reason I am in the ‘sit tight’ for the next two years and then see if Kobe walks. By that time I bet the Lakers will be the best place for Kobe hands down. In the meantime, I suggest management start massaging Kobe’s ego so that he does not feel committed to leave in two years or look stupid about staying.

  50. Actually i have to disagree with you on the point that Kobe is easier to guard without the ball for the simple fact that you CANT double him immediately and that leaves Kobe a lot more favorable match ups.

  51. I agree with Luke about Kobe being harder to guard without the ball. He is one of the few Lakers that is constantly in motion and – like Reggie Miller – he drives defenders absolutely nuts and pretty much screws up any defensive alignment.

    Actually I think this is a basic problem with the Laker offense. The Triangle is a motion offense and notice how players stop moving when a shooter gets the ball. I was watching last night and saw several times where Kwame (he is definitely not a shooter, but a good passer) got the ball down low and ALL the other players just stopped moving and waited for Kwame to go 1-on-1 with his man. One time his defender was behind him and all 4 Laker players were also behind him – none moved to present themselves as a good target for a pass out. If you won’t move when Kwame has the ball – someone who definitely will pass it out – then who will you move for?

  52. Luke,
    When Kobe doesn’t have the ball, the defender just needs to position himself to deny the ball to Kobe. That is much easier to do than to try and stop Kobe from scoring once he has the ball. And whoever is defending the man with the ball can concentrate on making it difficult for him to get the ball to Kobe, rather than worrying about all of the other four players. To make it easier, the Laker point guards haven’t shown the ability to hit shoot long jumpers quickly off the dribble. This allows their defender to back off a little, thus making it even harder to get the ball to Kobe. Not impossible, but harder.

  53. According to Ric Bucher of ESPN, Mitch Kupchak is fighting to slow down the process of trading Kobe Bryant off the Lakers.

    According to Bucher, both Jerry Buss and Jim Buss are eager to trade Bryant as the issue has become emotional and personal for the two.

    Hmmmm ..

  54. Gr8dunk,
    I think you should rethink your source. ESPN??? Ric Bucher??? Are these really very reliable sources?

  55. 53, 54
    Bucher promised that Kobe would NEVER wear a Laker uniform again. Now he says Kobe will likely still be wearing the Laker uniform on opening night. How can you take this guy seriously?

  56. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves have completed a trade that would send Ricky Davis and Mark Blount to Miami in exchange for Antoine Walker, Wayne Simien, Michael Doleac and a conditional future first round pick.

    This deal clearly helps Miami’s depth, as even Mark Blount had one of his best seasons as a pro center last season and now can back up Shaquille O’Neal, and for Minnesota it clears a little long-term salary and rids the lineup of veteran players who would have taken away playing time from the younger kids who now are the Wolves’ future.

  57. I heard that Antoine Walker will be cut, if so, the deal makes more sense for the Wolves.

  58. Paul,I would seriously argue w/you about the Rockets’ talent the past few yrs. Suffice it to say they had a PlayOff Game last season where the bench produced 0 pts! McGrady has shown that if you surround him w/3pt shooters he can win 55-60% of the regular season games and a PlayOff berth. He hasn’t shown he can take such a team and advance in the PlayOffs. Kobe has not shown he can do any better w/out Shaq. W/any luck both will do so this yr.

    I think most of the Laker info you keep up w/extremely well in your posts. I wonder if you could get other team’s bloggers to donate a paragraph on the state of their team heading into the game.(I realize this won’t happen for every team and you might have to return the favor,sorry.)

  59. Stephen,

    T mac has Yao. Yes, he’s no Shaq, but I think Kobe and Yao would do very nicely together. The Rockets also have some other nice pieces. Certainly, Alston > Smush. Before we say that Kobe deosn’t make his teammates better, we have to be honest. Is any one else besides Kobe and Odom starting on any other team? Let’s take an example. Magic Johnson took good to great players and made them look amazing. Kobe is being asked to take fair to good players and make them look amazing. I think that’s a bit unfair.

  60. The Wolves are being smart by stocking up ondraft picks and young talent. That is the way you build in the NBA. The Bulls did the same thing a few years back and not they are on track to be good for years. Seattle and Philadelphia are also on the right track. Phily has cap space after this season and Iggy. Seattle holds five first-round picks over the next three drafts. With a guy such as Presti behind the line, it’s obvious they will be good soon.

  61. 48. Antoine’s contract actually spans for only 2 years since the final two are team options. Ok not even Mitch will take that 20M option on Walker. See, Minny is cutting salary, this is where we could have had Ricky D and Blount cheap. Offer Kwame and Sasha and a future 1st and you have yourself a decent center in Blount and a Slasher in Davis.

    The only team I see further cutting salary is Seattle. They might be interested in trading Wilcox and Wilkins for Kwame and fillers. Any way we can improve, we have to do it.

  62. Kobe injured his wrist in the game against the Jazz. He wants to play Friday against the Kings, but is unsure.

    I don’t see where Davis would have fit on this team though Warren. Too many at his position already unless you move Odom back to the 4, which I don’t think is in the plans.

  63. Chise. This is a moot point since he is on Miami now but he could have been a back up for Kobe. That would have allowed Kobe to play less minutes.

  64. Warren, not exactly sure the Lakers needed Ricky D. Also, even if they did, they would have had to give up a future first rounder to compete with the Miami deal. Why in the world would they think of doing that? Miami is giving up their future. When Shaq retires they’ll have cap space but not much else, because they’ll have traded away all of their draft picks. Wade will also be free to bounce at that time. Riley obviously only cares about his own legacy and winning now. If they win another title, I guess I can’t really knock it. But if they end up mediocre like they were last year, than they are just basically selling their future to remain relevant now. Just a bad move in my book.

  65. I understand the point is moot, but since Warren brought it up, I responded to it. Kobe can play less minutes the way the team is currently constructed because Fisher/Evans/Crittenton can all back him up at the two once Farmar regains the starting job.

  66. Off topic, but, there are only 3 people ion Renato’s fantasy NBA league. Can we get some more regulars here to join? Ten is usually a good number for Fantasy sports. Send Kurt an email requesting the info and he will forward it to Renato. That’s how I got it anyhow…

  67. 65. I had to make room for another league. But I really want to do Renato’s league. I’m stuck in Goo’s league right now, and I’m a lame duck since I missed the draft entirely.

  68. I’m in Renato’s league, but I also have several leagues over at’s fantasy commish. I think that one’s better than the one at Yahoo.

  69. JonesontheNBA,
    Riley may be looking at is as,is a mid-round pick going to be a player who will play more than the free agent(s) I can sign w/the cap room(both Davis and Walker)? Considering his recent draft history…

    Seattle seems pretty high on Wilcox. Atl might also be a suitable trading partner. Their ownership is refusing to take on long-term contracts. A Josh Childress who does nothing great,but is a pretty good passer for a wing who might be able to run Triangle is the sort of player the Lakers should be looking at.(They also have a glut of mediocre bigs w/modest contracts.)

  70. Just throwing this here for now (will put it in a post tomorrow), but the ESPN Lakers preview is up, including a comment from me about what I would ask Mitch K:

  71. Iexhelodrvr So you’re telling me that when Kobe brings the ball upcourt by himself that its not a easy to double him?

  72. Stephen,

    Way, way off topic, but I actually had Childress coming to LA in a four-team Kobe trade to Dallas. He could play guard or forward, and I presume PJ would play him at guard and create size mismatches.

    Atlanta might be willing to let him or Marv Williams go since they have very similar stats and play the same position (G/F). There’s actually a log jamp of Forwards over there too. I am guessing they’d want another vet leader who plays good D and can launch 3s. The closest the Lakers can offer would be Mo Evans.

  73. Luke,
    No, I am saying that it is easier to defend Kobe when he doesn’t have the ball, and someone else is trying to get the ball to him, than when he does have the ball.

    If the rest of the Lakers weren’t so limited offensively, then that might not be the case.

  74. Stephen: Every year there are mid-round picks that turn out to be very good players. And the best part about it is that you have them for four seasons (if you choose) at a very low price (dictated by the rookie scale), while with veterans you’re usually overpaying for them. And most of the time these veterans don’t even help these teams out the way they are expecting. The way to win is to develop your own players. Look at the Mavericks. Dirk, Devin Harris, and Josh Howard were all picked by their team. Same with the Spurs with Duncan, TP, and Manu G. Unless you’re getting a Shaq or Kobe via trade or free agency or adding a veteran that fits a specific need, most of these trades and free agent pick ups turn out to be useless. Moreover, they ruin team’s salary situations and make it more difficult to have cap space available when players that are actually worthwhile come along or when it is time to re-sign their own players.

  75. The Lakers made a big mistake in trading Shaq and losing West. Keep West around and he has no problem convincing Kobe to stay and endure Shaq for one more year until his contract is up. In the next year, you dump Shaq and you’re under the cap. Now you have your pick of free agents and can make trades that don’t match salary, and can start to build a team around Kobe. This makes me think that they had no intention of building a contender around Kobe and just wanted to keep the seats full while they rebuild. That’s wht Kobe is upset.

  76. Okay, this is where I draw the line — we are NOT rehashing Shaq and West. I don’t think there are many Lakers fans that don’t want West still here. Shaq, well, that was a matter of Shaq or Kobe (keep Shaq and Kobe is a Clipper right now), and in that choice there was really no choice. It could have been handled better, but the choices were limited.

    But that’s off point — we are not getting into historic what ifs, or “we should” trades. I realize I put up an off-topic post today, so I’m letting the conversation wander some, but there are limits.

    I don’t disagree w/you on the value of draft picks. I think what Phoenix has been doing w/theirs is borderline criminal. They could have used theirs this yr on Fernandez and Splitter,let them develope another yr or two,then bring them over fairly cheaply as some of their other contracts expired/were traded.
    But there is another viewpoint on trading draft picks. Namely,can the talent I get in a trade for the pick be better than whoever I’d be able to pick? If the Heat could sign an Artest next yr,wouldn’t he be better than whoever they could draft in the 14-18 range?
    I was also using Miami’s recent drafts as factoring in Riley decision-traded away disappointing Simien,Wright can’t win a wide-open starter spot and Cook has been erratic-to say the least.(And I might point out in your example of Dallas both Dirk and Harris were drafted in top 10-and both were acquired thru trades. For the “trade the pick” view I could use Atlanta as the poster child of keeping picks not always working.)

  78. Draft vs Trade — the eternal argument.

    JONESONTHENBA and myself think that to run a franchise economically and to compete for championships, you HAVE to draft well. Then you are able to make an occasional trade and pick up selected free agents to compliment your needs. We don’t feel you never trade, but a trade should not be the primary way you build a contender.

    Miami went the trade route and won a championship. We all jump on the trade bandwagon. However, Miami is not a very stable franchise. The trade route was good for them because they had not won previously and the risk was clearly worth it.

    Boston is an entirely different animal. They have a winning history, but an abysmal recent past. Perhaps they too had to go the trade route. I do think that 3yrs from now the fans will be cutting off the heads of management, but perhaps management felt they were going to lose their heads this year so the trade off was worth it.

    The Lakers have had good up and down cycles over decades. It is just that the last cycle lasted only four years and ended abruptly. The Lakers shouldn’t, in my opinion, go the trade route like Boston because they can’t afford the risk of a 10yr absence from championship contention and pretty much any trade – possibly outside KG – would not have made the Lakers front running contenders for any championship.

    It was too bad that we were the Lakers, dealing with two Celtics, but Minny may honestly believe they took the best deal. That is now closed and we must move to develop our young resources before Kobe leaves. That not only helps us long term, but reduces the possibility that Kobe will opt out.

  79. Craig W,
    “we must move to develop our young resources before Kobe leaves.”

    Unlikely that will happen in the next two years.

  80. Kobe will have to wait for the talent develop. In the meantime, as constituted they aren’t really built to go past the 2nd round without several players having career years

  81. How about playing them in games that count?

  82. I’m hoping Kobe doesn’t opt out, but, as a star, he needs know that he is appreciated. He can make this current team better, if he gives himself to the task, but, no matter what, they’re not wiinning championships. However, the press have sent signals, albeit implicitly, that Jordan in his prime could win championships with a similarly composed team. That simply isn’t the case, This has got to play with Kobe’s head. He is a great player playing with a team trying to develop itself into something, What he needs is some appreciation, reasonable expectations, and a sane level of playing team, so he’s around in full capacity when things come to fruition.

  83. Craig,
    The Lakers could try to max out the growth of their young talent over the next couple of years, but that will mean that they will not win very much, and will probably not make the playoffs. I don’t think that Kobe will stick around if that happens.

  84. I am apparently much more optimistic about our young players.
    Turiaf: already 1.5 yrs experience
    Bynum: already 2 yrs experience
    Farmar: already 1 yr experience
    Sasha: already 3 yrs experience (and lowest ceiling on potential)
    Crit: rookie

    I feel anyone with at least 1 yr experience can show some progress and contribution to our team. I don’t expect all-star production, but I do expect further progress as the year goes on. Next year I expect something more from each of these people.

    This year we will use Kwame, Vlade, Fisher, Mihm as basic pieces and fit the younger players into the mix as needed for team chemistry, wins, AND their development. The core is Kobe, Lamar, and Walton.

    I am more optimistic about their reaching the playoffs this season, but I don’t seriously think they will contend for the WC Championship. I really do expect this group to be much better by March.

  85. I agreee with you Craig about the nice young pieces on the team. Where I see a problem is when I look at teams like New Orleans, Memphis and the Clippers. All three of these teams didn’t make the playoffs last year and if you account for GS there are going to be 5 teams (including the Lakers) that are fighting for what looks like only one avaiable playoff spot. It will take 44 wins to make the playoffs this year, and with our players injury pasts, that may be tough to achieve.

  86. Injuries will surely kill a couple of the teams you mentioned. Which two I cannot guess. We are leary because of what we went through last year.

    However, I don’t think being leary should be a reason to make wholesale changes.

  87. I agree. Wholesale changes should be the last resort, but I guess the question is, are we at the last resort.