NBA Preseason: Lakers vs. Kings

Kurt —  October 26, 2007

While I’ve been out in front leading the “it’s just the preseason” parade, the consistently poor performances of the Lakers in the last several weeks combined with the consistent spat of injuries is disconcerting. Especially since the first three weeks of the season are loaded with good teams where the Lakers will have to play well just to be near .500.

I had hoped that tonight, the final preseason game (against the Kings), we would see some normal rotations and a team that looked ready for the season, but that is not to be the case. No Kobe (wrist injury), no Lamar. So, we can watch tonight and see what the Lakers’ second unit looks like against a team with some talent (but stuck in limbo). However, in the grand scheme, this game will show us little and mean less — seeing how Bynum and Kwame play will be the most interesting thing.

All that leaves me with some trepidation heading into the regular season next Tuesday — have we even seen five good minutes out of what will be the starting lineup for the Lakers against Houston? It’s just the preseason, where the games are virtually meaningless and lineup experimentation is the norm, but consistent poor play still has me uneasy.

As for tonight….

I saw the Kings in person against the Clippers Wednesday night, although I’ll admit that because of the day’s events for me I wasn’t laser focused. That said, here’s what I saw:

Mike Bibby was in midseason form, torching the Clipper point guards all night. Granted, the existing Clipper ones are not really known for their defense, but Bibby looks ready and will be a good test for Fisher and Farmar.

Kevin Martin had an off night, but I don’t expect that to mean much because he’s too good. Francisco Garcia had an off night and I’m questioning if that is part of a larger trend.

Brad Miller is past his prime and Kwame/Bynum should be able to take it too him down on the block (Kaman did a couple times). And I thought Mikki Moore would bring more of a presence to this team along the baseline than I saw — and I guess I wasn’t alone as Reggie Theus announced that Kenny Thomas would start the season for the Kings at the four and Moore will come off the bench.

John Salmons looked better than I remember him being, and some Kings fans said it was an off night for him.

Not much else to add here, and not sure there is much we will be able to take away from this game when its over.

——————————————

Finally, the last installment of the Fesivus of the NBA, focused on the Pacific. And the wise Tom Ziller looks smart in our eyes because he agrees with what we’ve said since the trade was made:

it wasn’t the Shaq trade which sent Los Angeles into the void — it was the Caron Butler trade. Really, I’m shocked that one didn’t work out.

And here’s a song about telling Buss that he needs to keep Kobe that is worth a listen.

Kurt

Posts

54 responses to NBA Preseason: Lakers vs. Kings

  1. I liked the Caron Butler deal at the time. Just shows you never know. Trading for Kwame Brown is like drafting Bynum. Massive potential that could implode and when you have just traded Shaq, you take risks to see if you can get a player that could be great. The jury is still out.

    I can only imagine the risky deals we will do after Kobe is gone.

  2. Honestly, doesn’t it seem like Kwame came here as a raw, but skilled PF with a ton of upside. Now he is an injury-prone, average C with no offensive skills and little upside. At least he’s huge now.

  3. Jeremy,

    The verdict is in on Kwame, guilty of first degree laziness and a complete lack of a work ethic and basketball skills. Looks to me like he hits the weights to bulk up, but that is nothing compared to what it takes to be an elite NBA athlete. You can bulk up without breaking a sweat. This guy has no upside. I am 6’6” 225 and I could school Kwame all day one on one. The guy relies on his size, not on his heart. The only reason with talk about potential improvement is because he is so terrible and our front court is so desperate. Number one pick in the draft and a total bust. Caron Butler’s work ethic is through the roof. He was training daily with Kobe, putting in the hours, and burning the midnight oil. Caron is a winner. The Kwame trade was a disaster, I knew it then, and we all know it now.

    I agree the jury is still out on Andrew, but no matter what the verdict is, the simple fact that the jury is going to deliberate for the next two years is what hurts this team.

    Vladman was arguably the worst mid-level signing in recent history. Doesn’t management have a sit down with these people before they are signed to multiyear multimillion dollar deals?

    Only way the Lakers have a prayer at making the playoffs is if Kobe carrys this team on his back and averages 34, 6, 6. And it ain’t gonna happen because he doesn’t see the point. But even if he does so that we are virtually assured a first round depature in 5 or 6 games.

    This organization is a disaster……sigh…..

    One more point RE the “its only the preseason” line. That line works for teams like the Spurs and Bulls of old. Proven veterans and champions. That doesn’t wash with mediocre scrubs like the Lakers. You use the preseason to SET THE TONE FOR YOUR TEAM. Sure you expirament, but you play to WIN. The Lakers have consistently looked like garbage so far and it is a disgrace. Sorry for not being the proverbial “voice of reason,” but facts are facts.

  4. My thing about the Kwame/Caron trade was just that I thought with some patience the Lakers could have gotten more/better for him. Caron was a good trading asset and they moved him for a big risk. Then, they picked up the third year on said risk’s contract.

  5. Caron also had better on-court chemistry with Kobe than Lamar at the time of the trade. They played well together. Though, like others, i didn’t think it was a bad trade either. Goes to show what I know.

  6. Fire sale?
    =====
    The Timberwolves would trade Antoine Walker and Marko Jaric in an instant if they could find a taker for their salaries, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune …

    Also, Veteran forward Juwan Howard asked to be traded.

  7. 6. Every veteran on that roster should be on the block. Young players and picks come back to Minny. If you are going to blow it up and rebuild, then do it right.

    The Kings tonight are a perfect example of trying to keep the fans happy and rebuild a the same time — this team is going nowhere as is. You’ve got a good young piece in Kevin Martin, they should look to move Bibby/Miller/Rahim all of them, get picks and youth and try to go that route. Instead, they are in a wasted middle ground.

  8. The other interesting thing left for the Lakers — does Coby Karl make the cut? I’m leaning no, but could be swayed.

  9. All this Caron Kwame talk is really useless. We were not going to pick up Caron’s option – he played the same position as Kobe – and, no matter how much chemistry he and Kobe had, we wouldn’t invest that much money in a duplicate when we needed bigs.

    Why all the comparisons now? Over time we all tend to forget what doesn’t agree with what we would like our opinion to be.

  10. Kurt,

    More interesting than that is the Lakers starting 5 on opening night. If my scores are correct as an educated fan, I think the following players should start based on camp performance:

    Farmar, Bryant, Walton, Turiaf, and Bynum starting the game.

    2nd unit = Fisher, Critt, Evans, Radman, and Kwame.

    Reserves = Cook + Mihm

    I sat Sasha because his game does not suit the new push the floor triangle offense. Farmar, Fisher, and Critt’s ability to cut and drive create better offensive opportunities and Sasha is more of a tweener on defense.

  11. It appears that Kobe will be gone before the season starts. What is truly sad is the way it had to end. He will be remembered for forcing the Lakers to trade him. What a sad way this team has broken up.

    As for the preseason, the starters have stunk. The second unit has been quite successful. I like the play of Farmar and Vujacic, I hope it carries over to the regular season.

    As for Bynum, he does have the skills but it is likely he is at least a year away. Kwame was a gamble which failed. I don’t think the Lakers will be as quick to repeat this.

  12. 11. 81 Witness, I still think Phil starts Fish and brings Farmar off the bench, not because he should but because he loves his vets that much.

    12. Outside of sports talk radio, what would make you think Kobe will be traded in the next four days? There is no evidence of that, nobody is saying anything like that. All that stupid trade talk will escalate the next couple weeks if (as I expect) the injured Lakers get off to a slow start. But talk is cheep, we will have Kobe for a while.

  13. I didn’t like the Kwame/Caron trade at the time, but I understood it. I thought Caron could’ve played with Kobe reasonably well. Before he was moved Phil talked of using him in the facilitator position. Hmm.

    Everyone knew the trade was a big gamble. It didn’t pay off too well, but like drafting Bynum, it was a brave move.

    I suppose the front office gets most of the blame, but it’s not like Phil didn’t sign on to all these questionable moves.

    Yeah, it looks like we’re going to get off to a rocky start. Look on the bright side though, odds are our play HAS to get better.

  14. Why do I feel Kobe will be traded shortly? It has been announced that Chi and LA have had a trade discussion. Also Paxon has tried to resign Gordon and Deng, a requirement for a trade to happen. The way Kobe has played would imply the Phil can’t handle him, a requirement if the Lakers were to consider keeping him. If the Lakers have Kobe at the start of the season they will have to pay him 80% of his salary after the first game, the remaining part paid thru the season.

  15. Paxon has to offer Deng and Gordon contracts by Nov. 1 or they become restricted free agents. Again, nobody of any repute is reporting that there are ongoing or serious talks. And, until such time, speculation will not last long in this blog (even in the comments).

  16. Jim @ 3. I think you said it right. Its sad to say, but I never thought I would see the day again where the Kings have more potential then the Lakers. I remember it from 92-93 when we had Gretzky, and the Lakers were bottoming out after a great run in the 80s and before we got Kobe and Shaq, but I think this is another cycle. Whats sad is that the Kings arent anywhere near 92-93 in terms of ability or results, but Lombardi has done well getting some young players(although his cheap FA signings may be a little iffy) to build around and I can see a future being built. Im actually more excited for the Kings this year then the Lakers and that is truly sad.

    I dont think anyone sees a future for the Lakers until Kobe is traded or something happens to where he is here long term and is truly the conerstone of the franchise and another star is added. Its going to be a long year, but hopefully Kobe isnt traded just for the sake of trading him.

  17. I guess keeping Caron would have allowed us to trade Odom and Bynum for JO and a backup 2 guard and who knows we might have got Kwame for cheap anyway after his contract expired with Washington. Then it would be formidable: Fish/Farmar?, Kobe, Caron, JO, Kwame. Not a bad starting lineup. That being said, Caron is a defensive liabilty in the gritty West.

  18. Question:
    ======
    Did the Lakers pick up Bynum’s $2.7 million option on Andrew Bynum for the 2008-09 season? I believe the deadline to secure the deal is Oct. 31. If the Lakers were to miss it, Bynum would become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

  19. I don’t think there is any imminent Kobe trade in the making. But my take on the situation is that Dr. Buss has soured on Kobe. Obviously this is just speculation on my part but thats just the feeling I have. But even if he wants to move Kobe he knows (and just as importantly the Lakers board) know that its Kobe that fills the Staples center every night. So no matter how much he wants to move him, he is not going to do it unless he gets players/picks that will replace those seats sometime in the near future.

  20. Gr8dunk

    I don’t think there is a chance in hell that the lakers don’t pick up Bynum’s option. Generally NBA teams wait till the day before or the day of the deadline to actually make it official. It is standard practice from what I have noticed.

    As to the reason why, I can only speculate that just in the rare case somebody gets in a horrible accident or some career threatening/ending injury they would not be on the hook for that extra year.

  21. Rob,

    Kobe will not be traded anytime soon. Lakers will take their time looking at their options. Any trade offer now won’t be going anywhere if they take their time. They would want to see how the season folds out before they make any moves.

    As for Kobe salary situation, I believe he already got his 80% or whatever the actual number is. I believe he got it sometime in September. So in essence your point of getting him out before Game 1 of the season because of the salary hit is incorrect. I know I should be using a link to my source but I am too lazy to look. If I get the time I will post a source.

  22. Another interesting point, PJ is expected to announce Fisher as the Lakers captain. Does this mean anything (besides Fish as the starting PG)?

  23. So, the consensus seems to be that this team is not a contender. But, we do have some nice pieces. So, my question is “are these pieces being utilized properly and who bares the burden of that?”.

    1) Kobe is a great scorer, in fact, he can score at will. He also has been shown to be lock down defender, when he isn’t asked to carry a team offensively. He is a great passer into post positions, and can play the pick and roll with the best of them. He is not so great at passing to shooters out on the wing. How is he being used, facilitate the offense, with the expectation of feeding shooters out on the wing. Or, when that doesn’t work, exhaust himself on the offensive end scoring 81 points.

    2) Lamar Odom is a classic point forward. Furthermore, he is taller and longer than any point forward we have seen. He should be playing the small forward position. He is the kind of guy who can dish out to shooters on the wing. How is he being used, as a power forward, who gets banged up by the beasts in the West. Sometimes he faciltating the offense, sometimes he’s hanging around waiting for somebody to shoot. He hardly ever goes to the post.

    3) Kwame Brown was a serviceable power forward in Washington. With any upside, he could have improved at this position. He wasn’t able to learn the PF position in the triangle, so we stuck him at center so he’s out of the other players’ way. Defensively, he is very good, and is usually used to guard the other team’s PF/C. I believed that the triangle can be tweaked to accomodate Kwame’s weakness at triangle style PF, and play another big man at C. Why isn’t this being done?

    4) Luke Walton is a classic sixth man. Perhaps, sixth man of the year material. Instead he is asked to play starting minutes.

    5) Chris Mihm could be a Bill Cartwright or a Kukoc, and waiting in his wings is a guy who could be a legitimate all star center if he works at it.

    6) The point guard position is well, the PG position. Two young prospects, one of which, Critt, could be great some day, and there’s the aging veteran, a soft spot in the fan’s hearts, who, however, is no Ron Harper.

    So, what am I saying, Phil Jackson. It’s time to act like a coach, and be a little creative. You have Kobe’s undying love, to the point that, he is in bad with the mgmt., blaming them for this fiasco. Sit down with crusty old Tex, and write version 2 of the triangle. It’s about time. The league has changed. Write a version of the triangle where a Kwame is all right at the 4, where the facilitating of the offense is shared by the PG, SG, and SF. Make the facilitating situational and interchangeable, as are the actual positions within it. We are working with young players, they needed the structure of the tri to get some discipline, but it’s time now to free things up and see what happens. You’ve got some pretty athletic guys out there. Athleticism, with a little imagination, go a long way to winning games. Just look at the Phoenix Suns.

  24. The triangle is an incredibly diverse and flexible offense, it can do work for anything from running teams to slow-it-down Shaq teams. The problem isn’t the offense, it’s the execution.

    And by the way, Kwame Brown was a serviceable power forward for half a season in Washington and now says he is uncomfortable in that role. Lamar Odom is the perfect pointt/forward on paper, but it has only been that way on the court in glimpses. And never put Chris Mihm and Kukoc in the same sentence, Tony was a far, far superior player.

  25. Re Butler trade. I thought it was a bad trade at time as Caron was building nice chemistry w/Kobe and had earned Kobe’s trust. Butler would allow Phil to shorten Kob’e minutes w/out having to worry about other team outscoring Lakers w/Kobe on bench. He was insurance for fragile Lamar,could easily get 30+min as a 6th man and if Lakers wanted to go small and quick w/Lamar at 4,Caron would have been a very good SF. But it’s not like the trade can be recalled.
    I would say that the “downfall” of the post-Shaq Lakers began w/GP balking at his trade and the Lakers not holding Boston to original deal,together w/ Malone’s “chat”. Mitch’s Lakers were going to be Banks,Kobe,Lamar,Malone and Mihm w/Caron backing up Kobe and Lamar,Thomas backing up the bigs. Losing 3 of projected top 7 before season started crippled the team and they never recovered.

    Opening starters(assuming Kobe can go)
    PG-Fisher. Phil prob prefers Farmar energy off bench
    SG-Kobe
    SF-Walton. To run offense and hope he can guard a McGrady who might be more interested in involving everyone else than in going off.
    PF-Turaif. Whoever Rockets start at PF(Scola and Hayes)will constantly be in motion and need to be guarded by a mobile player. Can easily see Walton and/or Radman getting minutes at PF in this game.
    C-Kwame. For his size against Yao.
    Sasha prob gets activated for this game because of worry over Kobe and Sasha can play SG.

    Kurt,you will prob sympathize w/ a certain Houston Chronicle writer.
    In a recent column/blog on is preseason too long,most of comments were on proposed McGrady for T-Mac trade,w/supposed proof being a radio station had been talking about it. The writer would say every 10-15 comments that he had talked to everybody in the Rockets Front Office and there was no contact whatsoever w/the Lakers about trading for Kobe.Which didn’t stop comments saying,yeah,you didn’t know about this or that,so that means you’re wrong and there is a deal. The hysteria in Houston got to point the Rockets GM made a statement that the Rockets had not talked to Lakers.
    Looks like the Kobe soap opera is going to have a full season’s run.

  26. Paul,
    You are overvaluing Lamar, Kwame, Walton, and possibly Mihm. They just aren’t that good!

  27. Paul,
    Hey, I support you in this post. The fans on this blog – and most others – have given Phil Jackson a free ride for too long.

    I don’t think he is responsible for all the Laker ills, but he is a key part of both the team and the management. He has links to all the team members and to the Front Office. He is a known manipulator who has his own agenda as to what he wants.

    Maybe he hasn’t gotten everything he wants, but neither have any of the others in the Laker organization. Since Phil has 9 rings, it is now time to start holding his feet to the fire, along with others, if things are not working out.

    Very few outstanding coaches rigidly hold to one system and maintain their outstanding status. They have to change with time and circumstances, much less the game. Tex Winter says the triangle is much more flexible than has so far been demonstrated by the Lakers. Phil runs the triangle and employs Tex. It is time to tailor some of this flexibility to his current team.

  28. How about Mihm being as good as Longley? He might be able to pull that off if he gets healthier.

    Sure, they’ll pick up Bynum’s contract. I’m wondering if maybe they should pick up Sasha’s. And man, I used to hate him for the most part.

    I mean, his contract must be peanuts. He looks like he might demand a lot more if all his work pays off. Locking him early might save money in the long run.

    I know he hasn’t shown anything in the regular season yet, but the fact he’s really worked hard to improve his game the way the coaching staff asked, maybe that and the fruits of that that he’s displayed this preseason should be rewarded in itself.

  29. I have plenty of thoughts upon the termination of my NBA hibernation, but the first is to thank Kurt for maintaining this site.

    1. This is most likely not a season the Lakers win it all. But there is plenty to be excited about this year.
    2. The second unit has looked good. Yes, it’s only against pre-season line ups. But the fact that gets overlooked is that these guys should look good against pre-season line ups. They have matched expectations for this point in their careers. It doesn’t mean they’ll look this good during the regular season. Yet it seems their development continues on pace. That’s a good thing.
    3. By all accounts Farmar and Bynum have improved their game. Once again, this is not to say they’ll be torching teams this season. But we’ve got a point and a big with a lot of upside who are still getting better. Plenty of prospects plateau out by this point. They haven’t. That’s a good thing.
    4. The second unit has chemistry. That’s a really good thing. Especially on the Lakers.
    5. The key injuries have all come early. They don’t seem season ending at this point. There is a good probability that the Lakers will be at full strength for much of the season.
    6. You can’t tell me you’re not excited to see how a “running triangle” plays out.
    7. I am glad to hear about a renewed focus on defense. It hasn’t shown yet, but the Lakers haven’t fielded their real team on the floor. Conventional wisdom says teams need to focus on D from the start. The dividends may show later on when the team finally clicks. It may not. But the team recognized a weakness and is trying to address it. That’s also positive.

    Excuse the length of the post. Let’s just blame it on my hiatus and excitement.

    Go Lakers!

  30. Caron for Kwame – seemed like a good idea at that point. Phil THOUGHT he could unlock Kwame’s potential making him the new beast… but he was overestimating Kwame’s maturity. Now we’re stuck…

    As for the centers, I think Kwame will see action being the Laker’s satrting center this year with Bynum coming off for him. Mihm is in an audition year whether he deserves his 5M deal spread in two.

    If we base it on camp performance, Farmar and Bynum SHOULD be starting. However, both Phil’s inclination to vets and his “uptempo” second unit suggest that we will see Fish-Kobe-Walton-Turiaf-Kwame vs. Houston come Tuesday. The second unit WITHOUT Kobe looks more fluid by the way…

    Lastly, for speculations sake, the only player that will satisfy Kobe’s marketability these days will be LeBron or Gil Zero. I think the latter has a better chance of happening and I think I might like it.

  31. Is there any hope for individual players, or a team as a whole, to become better defensively from one season to the next? We know (from Kurt and others pointing it out) that the Lakers really need to become a better defensive team. Assuming the coaches get it, and have the team work really hard on it in practices, is there hope this will work? Or do they need to trade or draft players who have more defensive ability?

  32. Rob L. Good to have you back!

    32. Individual players can improve their defense, but what a team can do is improve its “team” defense, it’s rotations, it’s effort. The Lakers can improve that if they are focused. Remember, two seasons ago the Lakers had a defensive rating of 105.5 (15th in the league), then last year it fell to 109 (25th in the league). If the offense stays where it is and the defense improves to average again, they can win a lot more games.

  33. some painful entry passes to start this game by the Lakers.

    With Kobe the Lakers would destroy that pressure defense the Kings are trying.

  34. While this was a preseason game and it was against the Kings (not a very good team), it was also against NBA professionals and our youngsters continue to look good. They will get less minutes in the season (except perhaps Farmar and Andrew), but I expect them to continue the focused effort.

    I hope Coby Karl gets the 15th spot. I realize he will spend most of the year in the D-league, but he certainly shows more defense and speed than I thought he had. He also has Walton’s type of smarts – I really like him.

  35. The only thing I took away from this game was that our second unit is pretty good for being so young.

  36. I like how the game turned out (not just because it was a win) but the guys are somehow “more cohesive” with Kobe on the bench. I hate what this implies but they do play a little better and with more passion to prove themselves if mr 2-4 is not in the game.

    Therefore, I am assuming that this is merely Kobe’s way to pace himself coming off a grueling stint at FIBA Americas to recuperate and mend his minor injuries.

    To start the season, I think Phil has to have a master plan regarding this “problem” if you may call it that, so that the media won’t be all over our star, further distracting the recovery of our team’s morale.

    Craig, I do agree about Coby Karl but I think he is undersized in the NBA. I do not know if he could handle a hard foul by Stephen Jackson or a Bruce Bowen-type of knee extension. That being said, we may want to hold on to him for at least 1 more year to see if he will have an NBA-ready body to sustain these physical players.

    Lastly, I second what rhys said. Our youngsters are way ahead of their pace. Farmar looks best, Bynum does not dissapoint my optimism as well. Crittenton played like a rookie – but a good one. Over-all I think we will be fine if the media gave us a break. The tough schedule early on will be a very good test on what we will be this year and in the near future. 2008 is where Kobe’s fate will be decided. I have a hard time figuring out that the “new guys” much less with the roster we have can fit in into Phil’s triangle. It’d take them at least up to February to comprehend Phil’s mind, and this will be such a sorry season if we ended up “teaching as we go” to our new core.

  37. It’s always nice to win. Almost looked like a real game.

    It was possible to recognize what the Lakers have been trying to do this year. The team played like a team with enthusiasm. Ronny’s attitude is rubbing off. Walton was creating and having fun. Farmar and Crit played well together. I hope that Phil allows Farmar to exert floor leadership when Fish is not in.

    Neither Sasha nor Cook looked good. They weren’t in tune. They didn’t fit in very well. Where was Vladrod?

    Kwame showed spirit in the end–more potential than anyone seems to think. He’s still not sure what he can do. For him, the highlights were steals. Andrew has improved at both ends–and he knows it. Not a bad one/two. Mihm may be helpful as a power forward. He hits that mid range jumper–but he’s not yet played into shape.

    I think that the team was glad Kobe Bryant didn’t play. I don’t see them missing Odom much. Isn’t that strange?

    Still seems like a team ready for a trade. Almost any trade–except Kobe. I’m more reluctant to trade Bynum.

    I’m not gloom and doom. This is still a team in transition–balanced for the moment. The potential is there–even for this year. Much excitement to come.

  38. Egh. Forget that resign Sasha early talk. I think we might regret it, but I’m not yet sold on him. If I recall he had a pretty good preseason last year too.

    I want Karl on the team. Personally I think the longterm mentoring program approach taken with Bynum is a very good way to breed talent.

  39. You know for the people talking about the Kwame for Caron. Clearly I agree Caron is a much superior player, but as a GM looking at the lineup at the time didn’t you HAVE to make a move for a big? Caron’s contract was coming up and if the Lakers would have paid it they would have been setup with basically the pre-trade Heat with Kobe instead of D. Wade. Yes, in hindsight it was a bad move, but at the time it was a move that made sense. A gamble worth taking, and a gamble that has largely not paid off.

    Yes, Kwame is a disappointment. But he’s a fairly solid defender and 7 footers don’t grow on trees. His hands are truly bad. Somebody’s gonna pay him this year. Watch.

  40. Off topic: I am rounding up the fantasy basketball over at NBA.com. For those interested, please use ForumBlueandGold with password: lakers. I need 8 more players, thanks Kurt.

  41. In terms of a move, everyone was focused in the offseason on the move that would make us a contender, i.e. KG. But, is there a move oit there that is a smaller tweak in the right direction that will get us a good seed and into the second round of the playoffs? Then, our young players might start to get good, not yet great next year, and maybe that would be enough to push us over the edge.

  42. I agree with 38… This team has the pieces necessary to win games. The question is, will they actually win those games? Its a very interesting experiment but i’ve gotta believe that they will be alright as a unit. Bynum looked spectacular tonight and he looks like he’s finally enjoying himself out there on the court (only the first step). The rest of the team just looks happy, excited and proud to be Lakers. I look forward to this season!

  43. Paul (39),

    You’re preaching to the choir–and I sing in a choir.

    Some sort of 2 (Lakers) for one frees up a slot. Then, even if the Lakers sign Kobe Karl, they’d still be in a postion to add a veteran if things are going well, or trade Kobe if an opportunity arose. It is very likely that any team that trades for Kobe will offer multiple players.

  44. This is completely off topic but, did anyone notice Garnetts triple double; 21, 13, 10. He had something like 10, 5, 6 in the first quarter.

  45. Warren,
    Coby Karl is 6’5″, with long arms. While he is reed thin, did you see some of his defensive stances. He did bother the other players – ones that will play in the NBA. That is what I found most encouraging and why I think he should take the 15th spot. He is insurance in case of an emergency, a backup in case of a trade, and can play most of the year in the D-league.

  46. Well, 6’5 is not that relevant if you play SF on this team. I still think he is a true SG rather than what the depth chart supposes him to play… its more like the Lakers are 2-deep at SF and 3-deep at SG and PG with Sasha being a hybrid SG/SF due to his size.

    This being said I want Coby Karl to play on the D-League for awhile to make his presence felt and to boost his confidence. The Lakers can still carry 14 players up to January where his 100 grand will determine if he is worth 300 more or not.

  47. the team can play without kobe. no doubt about that. trade the guy.

  48. I only got to watch the second half, and I’m the last person to question the Zen Master’s rotations, but will someone please tell him that under no circumstances should Brian Cook and Vlad be on the court at the same time. They are the same player, down to the terrible defense and bonehead plays in the offense. Its like they’re trying to out-mistake each other. One at a time is just cringe worthy enough to be tolerable. Both sort of makes me want to vomit.

  49. Karl will stay in the league for years as a spot three point shooter. Steve Kerr did it. He just has to play next to guys that if he wants to stay in the league. He has other skills, and can possibly develop them to an NBA level with his hard work. But the safe bet is for him to pull a Dell Curry/Steve Kerr type deal and work a long career out of that.

    Kwame’s main problem is that he doesn’t care. As Phil says, Kwame is more about getting laughs from his teammates than actually working on his game in practice. He has all of the natural talent, but is just LAZY and lacking focus. Yeah he has small hands, but Elden Campbell had small hands and got over that to have a nice career. (Side Note: Isn’t it funny how Lakers fans used to rag on Big Easy because of his quiet demeanor? But at least we actually got something with that guy. I remember him dropping 40+ on the Knicks and Patrick Ewing in 1997 when Shaq was out.) Unless Kwame decides to focus on basketball, he’s pretty much going to be what he’s always been in the NBA to this point.

    As for Bynum. He’s a different story. You can tell that he works hard on his game. He’s so solid on offense. He has moves with both hand and on both side of the block. He has GREAT footwork, especially for a man of his size. Also his court vision and passing have been good and he seems to have potential to get even better. Obviously he needs to get better on defense. His problem last year was conditioning, and he’s seemed to work on a lot of that. His legs and his base still need to get stronger, but he’s showed a lot more spring than he did last season. I mean the last few games he’s really been getting off of the ground and throwing down some powerful dunks. People knock this FO for not trading Bynum, but there are solid reasons for this. Unless he loses focus or starts getting injured there is no way that he is not going to be an All-Star for years to come. This isn’t Dampier. This isn’t even Eddy Curry. This is a strong, very long, athletic, agile big man who is only 20 years old yet has already worked harder on his game than most classic ceneters ever do during their careers. Like I said, barring injury or loss of focus, there is no way he doesn’t become an all-star for years to come.

    The irony of Kobe and Bynum is that it kind of reminds me of Shaq and Kobe. Shaq not liking the young brash kid with tons of potential that the organization seemed to love more than him seems a lot like Kobe telling the organization to choose between him and Bynum. What Kobe doesn’t understand is that if he embraced Bynum and worked with him, he might be a lot closer to having a winning team in Los Angeles than he thinks. Kobe should be taking Bynum under his wing. Showing him how hard he works. Encouraging him to be the best big man he could be. Kobe says he needs to win now, but players can go from potential to being good within one season. Look at Steve Nash, Josh Howard, Tony Parker, Leandro Barbosa, Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki’s rookie year was terrible. Nash was below average his first three to four years in the league. Josh Howard broke out out of know where during his third year. Barbosa was seen as a bust until he really started to break loose during the 2006 season. Tony Parker was a starter that couldn’t finish games because of his lack of focus and dislike for contact his first three seasons in the league. I mean, TP is the reason Speedy Claxton currently is making the kind of dough he is. My point is that sometimes all you need is a little bit of patience. I know it sounds idealistic, but I think it’s still possible. Young guys need time to develop. Bynum, Farmar, Critt, and even Sasha are showing great signs of improvement. Barbosa didn’t break lose and show what he had to offer until his third season. The Suns had patience. The Lakers, Kobe and the fans need to learn how to do the same thing.

    Sorry for the long post…

  50. For my Karl point, I meant to say he needs to play next to guys that draw double teams and will leave him open on the outside.

  51. And forgot to mention Al Jefferson as another guy that took three seasons to develop.

  52. JONESONTHENBA nailed it for me. I have loved Kobe as a player since his rookie year, but he seems to have always been incapable of viewing the big picture. Patience ought to be instilled to see how our young players, especially Bynum develop. Perhaps they become legit producers, or legit trade bait for another solid pro, that could result in a circumstance where we don’t have to lose too many pieces to gain one.

    Usually, when personal issues get in the way of business, it is never good, and it seems the rift between Kobe and the FO is personal, and obstructing the ability to take care of business on the basketball court.

  53. JONES, I agree with you on patience. Which is why I think making a small move like Kwame for anybody reasonably decent, that might get us out of the first round, might be enough to let Kobe see that things are moving in the right direction, and embrace some of the young guys. That being said, if the young guys wait till Kobe is no longer in his prime to pan out, the Lakers are in for a long drought.