Game Preview & Chat: The Orlando Magic

Kurt —  December 2, 2007

Records: Lakers 9-7; Magic 14-4
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.3 (8th); Magic 110.7 (9th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.2 (16th); Magic 102.1 (3rd)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Ronny turiaf, Andrew Bynum
Magic: Jameer Nelson, Keith Bogans, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard

Lakers Notes: The Lakers pick up an impressive win over Denver on Thursday, but when forced to travel for a back-to-back against one of the NBA’s better teams they barely show up. The Lakers are the second youngest team in the NBA right now and that’s what you get some night.

What is frustrating is when the veterans you expect to step up take the nights off. The guy Lakers fans are frustrated with right now is Lamar Odom — yes, he hit 60% of his shots against the Jazz, but he took only five shots, grabbed only four boards, looked lost at times on defense and ended the night a team-worst -29.

Part of that is he clearly is not 100% with the shoulder, but he also is clearly still adjusting to his new role in the offense. And, when he starts thinking too much on the court, Odom becomes much more passive. I think commenter kwame a. had a good breakdown:

His current problems stem from his confusion of offense in his new role. He is playing off the ball, so when he catches it in space he is usually open because his defender is quite comfortable coming under screens. This has cut down his ability to penetrate and has highlighted his wack J.

To counter-act this he has to cut towards the basket with purpose, this is what the triangle creates if he would only cut hard (numerous times Tex Winter has called him out for not doing that). Also, he can create opportunities to take his man off the dribble if Phil would run some pick and roll with him, and if he would push the ball every other defensive rebound he gathers.

The Magic Coming In: It’s not what you might have expected, but the Magic are thriving under Stan Van Gundy because he’s an offensive guru. Well, at least this year.

The Magic are a good defensive team — they are holding other teams to 46.5% (eFG%) shooting, second best in the league — but they were a good defensive squad last year (seventh in the league). However, last year they were 22nd in offensive efficiency, this year they are in the top 10 in the league.

At the heart of what the Magic do is Dwight Howard, the best pure center in the game today (assuming you call Duncan a forward, as he prefers). He is shooting 61.8%, is so strong he can get great position on the block and like vintage Shaq it’s hard to stop him from dunking down in there (he has 81 dunks in 18 games). He also has a series of nice post moves.

So you need to double Howard on the block — but if you do that with another big you pay a price because both Magic forwards (Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis) can shoot from the outside. However, right now Lewis is in the middle of a five-game shooting slump, shooting 31.3% in those games. His 6 if 19 against the Suns a couple nights ago is pretty typical of his numbers.

Also on the outside are Nelson and Bogans, who can shoot. In fact, all five Magic starters are shooting better than 50%, something quite rare.

The other reason you can get away spreading the floor around Howard is he is such a beast on the boards, grabbing 21.6% of the available rebounds on the floor. (Andrew Bynum, who has been great, is at 22.3%.)

For more on the Magic, check out the quite good Third Quarter Collapse blog.

Where do I know you from? Former Lakers Brian Cook and Mo Evans will get some run tonight against the Lakers.

Mo Evans has been getting more minutes, about 16 per game, and has been shooting 44%. Really, we know what to expect here — solid but not spectacular play.

Cook — a big who can spread the floor with his shot — should fit right in the Magic system. Since going East he has been shooting 50% (he was at 33% this season with the Lakers), but he has not earned many minutes from SVG (just 6 a game, down from his 9 average with the Lakers). As SVG is a defensive coach and Cook is not much of a defender, he is going to have to earn minutes.

Keys To The Game: Bynum v. Howard is going to be fun. Bynum plays his best games when faced with a challenge, but he will only be able to do so much against the man/child Howard. The hope is making him work hard on defense can keep Howard from putting up the 39 and 16 he did against Seattle a few nights back.

Part of that is defending the pick-and-roll, the Magic will run that with Howard setting the pick and rolling hard to the basket, getting good position inside. The Lakers have had their bigs show out hard on this play this year, tonight those guys will need to recover well too to defend Howard. Also, Howard is not a great free-throw shooters, there may be good times to send him to the line.

With defenses collapsing in on Howard, the Magic shoot a lot of threes. The Lakers have ignored people on the arc a lot this season, the Magic shooters are too good to let stand and set up from there.

Tonight’s Game: Where The Best Young Centers In The Game Happens: I’m looking forward to this one. Bynum is not the physical match for Howard, but his length can be an asset against him. The battle between these two for rebounds should be good.

The Lakers are going to need a good offensive night from Kobe and Odom tonight, both from the perimeter and driving into the lane (get a couple fouls on Howard?). If Odom shows up ready to play tonight, the Lakers can pick up the win, without his scoring it will be a challenge.

Where you can watch: Game time is 6:30 p.m. (Pacific) and it is a Fox Sports game in LA and League Pass nationally.

to Game Preview & Chat: The Orlando Magic

  1. I’d say that Jameer Nelson is the weak link among the 5 starters for Orlando. He is not as good a decision maker as the guys that have hurt us (Williams, Paul, Parker). Hopefully our pick and roll d is improved.


  2. Don’t underestimate Jameer, Kwame. He’s improved plenty this year and has only struggled the past few games because of a sore wrist. If there is a weak link in our lineup right now, it’s Bogans, who may lose his starting job to J.J. Redick if he continues to miss wide-open threes.


  3. the other stephen December 2, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    yeah, thanks for the break-down kwame a. KEEP WORKING OUT, ANDREW BYNUM. i hope the dude becomes like a professional wrestler.


  4. Bynum legitimately scares me. I still think the Lakers should have traded him, but he’s going to be an excellent player.


  5. Ben-I like Jameer, he drives to the hoop with confidence this season, hes gonna be good for awhile. I just think his decision making could improve. bogans is a good defender, but redick would space the floor even more


  6. Fair enough. I’ve been impressed with his decision-making this season, especially with what little discretion he showed in the previous two seasons.

    The last time we beat you guys in L.A., Magic Johnson was your sixth man. Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum were in middle school. Wow.


  7. I also think we will have to guard the perimeter as well. Too many players on that team can sit behind the 3 point line and hurt us (Turkoglu, Redick if he plays, Garrity, etc.).

    So good inside and pick n roll defense will help us.


  8. I’m a fan of Bynum and am excited about his future as a Laker, but right now, he’s too slow and too soft for Howard. I would love to see him show up and out play Dwight, but I’m not putting my money on it happening yet.

    As for Jameer, he’s fast enough on his drives to make Fisher look foolish like Deron Williams did, and can drive and kick to open shooters. Fisher and Farmar are going to have to keep in front of him so that wing players don’t have to come off Lewis/Turkoglu leaving them open for 3’s and so Bynum doesn’t have to step to help and leave Howard open.


  9. Jameer Nelson has been playing with confidence since his contract extension kicked in. I guess some people need motivations and some need reassurances…

    Orlando is a pretty good team. Well the record shows… I didn’t envision them to be this good (my count goes as 6th-8th in the East, of course, I picked the Bulls to win it too).

    The weak link for Orlando are the guards. They have the best center in the league (dare I say) in D12 and they have 2 complimentary forwards in Hedo and Shard to support this one. Now if only they had a top-flight PG like CP3 or Deron Will…

    JJ Reddick, Keith Bogans, Jameer Nelson… these are all mediocre names. Of course thay can no longer afford more after paying Rashard that amount of money. Still, I think Orlando ought to make a pitch for a young and promising PG to play backup to Jameer at this point in time.

    As for the game, I think Orlando will put up a good one but LA will win it. Guard play will be key for LA and 3-ball will be key for Orlando. How we wished we had Kwame to bang D12 on this one…


  10. Should be a fun game.
    Magic have nobody who can guard Kobe. Will Lakers exploit the mismatch and take chance Kobe drops 50,but rest of team stands around watching,or will they continue to run offence. Lakers perimeter D is crucial to this one-Turkoglu has been rejuvenated(wish my Rockets had traded for him when he was available)-and the points have learned to penetrate and if opposing C comes over lob it to Dwight,if C stays on Dwight they continue on for layup.
    Nobody has been stopping Dwight except the refs. The Magic play “small” w/Turkoglu as PF and Rashard Lewis as SF(altho who they defend depends.)Would not be too suprised to see Turaif get quite a few minutes at C.


  11. I think Phil has slowly inserted Ronny to play PF initially then as backup center eventually. I think Mihm has not moved well, is terrible defensively and is a foul magnet.

    Never could imagine that at one point in time, all 5 white guys played for LA: Farmar, Sasha, Luke, Vlad and Chris. Good thing Phil reinserted Ronny here.


  12. the other Stephen December 2, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    8. too bad deron traveled on those headlight plays


  13. How long will it take for Bynum to become a force (if ever) like DH?

    And, if he does, for how long will they be going against each other? Will this event mark the first meeting between two rival centers who go at it for about 10 years to come?

    This could be fun, although I don’t see Bynum ‘containing’ or ‘limiting’ Howard in any way. But hopefully the reverse may be true as well.


  14. The Lakers biggest problem problem on defense this year has been against quick point guards who get a lot of screens (this isn’t good since 4 of the 5 best PGs in the league play in th West). That shouldn’t be as much as a problem this night but Nelson isn’t bad so they will have to stay in front of him. No way can Bynum handle Howard defensively (no one can) but he should be able to battle him for rebounds and make him work defensively. The Lakes need to have good player movements this game. I don’t think their is anyone that can stop Kobe from penetrating so Howard and others will have to come and double him. So if Odom (though he hasn’t done it yet), Bynum, Turiaf (who might be the best player on the team when moving without the ball), Walton etc will need to cut to the basket.

    Should be a good team if the Lakers decide to show up. Kobe could put up a lot of points but the other players (particularly Odom) will need to show up for the Lakers to get a win.


  15. 13. With all due to respect to Bynum, he is not gifted like DH, not as quick, DH is more naturally athletic and I’m not sure if Bynum will ever be that strong. We’ll see. It’s going to be fun to watc for years.


  16. This is sick. Kobe has 18 pts in the 1st and shoots 4-6 from the arc, 6-11 overall.


  17. My bad, Kobe had a free throw to go so its 19.

    Is it just me or is Lamar a turnover machine lately?


  18. Not the Lakers Live Wire crap. I thought we were done with that painful crap.


  19. Turiaf should be playing the majority of pf mins. We need his D. Badly.


  20. Odom looks like he’s worth the money we’re paying. He has more rebounds than Bynum or Howard.. cross out the or and make that AND… and we’re outrebounding them 41-28 or something.

    Odom is consistently inconstistent, but this is rather extreme.


  21. Watching the game cast, Mo Evans comes into the game and ESPN still uses his pic in a Lakers Uni… 6-4 ball 🙂


  22. I’d love if one time, just once, after Kobe loses the ball in the lane that he just run back on defense.


  23. I couldn’t comment on how bad the Lakers played today… there simply was no fire to “kill” Orlando.

    Not to take anything away from the Magic, they are playing really well, but this is one game we should have won.

    Next game is at Minny on Dec 4th. I’d be really pissed if they lost that one too.

    As of now, I am convinced that the Lakers are beyond help. The only thing that can help us is an improved Bynum and Farmar and thats what Phil should do. Start Farmar and Drew along with Kobe Lamar and Luke. Leave little from the bench and get some confidence going. I’d say this was really a bad loss psychologically.

    PS. Nice to see Lamar exert effort on the boards but those threes are really ugly.


  24. Lamar’s numbers from the 3-pt arc for the season:
    4-21 coming into this game, 1-5 tonight.

    If my math is correct 5-26 from that area means YOU DO NOT SHOOT FROM THERE!


  25. Mike in the Mountain West December 2, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Great showing from Odom. I didn’t watch the game. To those of you who did, what was the difference tonight with Odom?


  26. Lamar’s turnovers for the season:
    36 TOs in the last 12 games he played, 4 tonight.


  27. 25. Mike in the Mountain West

    Lamar Odom, while he showed up tonight for some 19pts and 17rebs, clanked the last 3 shots from 3 that would have made a reasonable run with a minute to go. Instead of passing it up to either Kobe or Fish or Rad, he’s the one shooting the threes now!

    I’d say the numbers looked good, but the game was still bad.


  28. who primarily guarded Odom today?


  29. Odom was being Odom. Led the team with Kobe in TOs with 4 each, total of 22 for the whole team. Mo Evans did a lot of damage getting rebounds and steals too.

    What I don’t get is how intimidated we were of DH. 10 trips to the line total. That’s very out of character, but Kobe’s shots were blocked often and he had a nice streak of 3s so i guess there’s some reason behind that.

    I also think that only Kobe should be cleared to shoot 3s, with others only allowed to shoot when wide, wide, wide, wide open. The team is too young and too soft, resorting to 3s EVERY SINGLE TIME they fall behind or feel that the lead is vanishing.


  30. 27- Lewis and Evans


  31. Color this game “weird.”

    The Lakers played almost no defense in the first quarter–but Kobe shot the lights out. The second unit held their own, but toward the end of the second quarter the starters returned (without defense) and Kobe wasn’t hitting. We were down by 8. Third quarter, we played good defense, Orlando got out of rythm, we went ahead. Fourth quarter, We ran out of gas. So did they. Buyt they had enough left for one last push.

    Maybe if Ronny hadn’t caught that Howard elbow in the head (and got called for a foul–to add insult to injury).

    Odom played good offense, rebouded like a madman–but had big problems switching on D. Bynum was very bad on defense (as usual). His offense in the second quarter lost us our momentum.

    We clearly missed Kwame “Twinkletoes” Brown.


  32. Mike in the Mountain West December 3, 2007 at 12:31 am

    I don’t think we need to be as upset with this loss as Warren seems to be. Orlando is an excellent team. Most consider them a legitimate contender. Plus, we got a good performance out Odom and he took more shots like we have all wanted him too (even if too many of those shots came from beyond the arc). And I think we played some pretty good defense (based on play-by-play and stats). In particular, Bynum seemed like he was able to limit Howard somewhat and do a pretty good job protecting the paint.

    I think the biggest weakness the team has to work on right now is not settling for 3 pointers. I did a little checking and when we attempt more 3 pointers than our average (19 per game) we are 3 – 5 but when we shoot less than our average we are 6 – 2. The one game we shot our average we lost. We are not a bad three point shooting team. We’re 13 in the league at .357% but we are an even better 2pt scoring team at a league leading .503%. So we need to really cut down on the three pointers. I think we look to do that in two specific ways. First, Odom needs to cut down on his three point attempts. In the immediate basket area Odom shoots 62% equaling Bynum. He is averaging about two 3pt attempts a game. That needs to be knocked down to less than one. The second way we cut down on our three point attempts and increase our efficiency is to play Bynum more minutes and for him to take more shots. He’s 5th in FG% in the league at 58%. Out of the top ten on that list Bynum takes more shots than only one other guy, Andris Biedrins. Those extra shots have to come from Kobe, at least for now. Ultimately I believe they will need to come from Fisher who will not be able to keep up his crazy 50% shooting. The guy has never been a great shooter so I think we can file his early shooting under the fluke rule.

    I think taking those two steps will do a lot to balance out the offense and increase our efficiency. It may even help our defense in the long run because fewer three pointers means fewer fast breaks, at least in theory, and if there is less pressure on Fisher to produce on the offensive side he can concentrate more on stopping dribble penetration on the defensive end which has been one of our major defensive weaknesses.


  33. Mike in the Mountain West December 3, 2007 at 1:40 am


    Please explain how Bynum could be “very bad” on defense when he had 7 blocks and Howard was held below his averages for points, FG%, and rebounds. Plus Bynum got 2 offensive boards and Howard had none. Since I didn’t see the game I guess its possible Bynum played mediocre D or sub-par D but “very bad”, that seems very unlikely with those stats.


  34. I agree, Bynum’s D on Howard was not that bad. He got a lot of help, particularly from Ronny, but you have to do that with DH. He had a key late rotation near the end of the game on Turk, but for the most part I thought he really hustled on D compared to most nights. Yes, Kwame’s big body would have helped, but Bynum played Howard fairly well.


  35. Dooling, Turkgolu and Lewis are the guys that really hurt us, Howard had an average game for his standards. I thought the EFFORT Drew put forth against him was great. As funny as it sounds, offense is what lost us the game in the very end. Kobe stopped hitting and the rest of the players stopped moving. The team has to have faith in the offense late in the game. Granted, if they played defense in the 2nd like they did in the 3rd we wouldve been blowing them out by the end of the game. We show flashes, hopefully we get back on track here, it’s been a tough schedule so far.


  36. the other Stephen December 3, 2007 at 8:18 am

    where were all our free throws? =(


  37. 33- great point, Drew had 7 blocks and Howard had NO offensive rebs, every player should “suck” so bad against the Leauges best Center.


  38. Mike in the Mountain West…

    The reason why I was so upset with the loss was because this was one game that was at home, was winnable and was almost won. Yet something told me the set-up went wrong. Why is Lamar jacking up threes? Is that how he interprets “being more aggresive on offense?”

    I caught the game in the middle of the second as I did not realize it was actually on National TV. Well the score stood 41-38 at that point and the action I saw was when Orlando was target practicing on the Lakers basket with ease.

    Much as it would be politically incorrect to penalize Lamar Odom at this point (after showing for 19-17), I will be heavily considering on making him the PF once more. There will be ways to “preserve” his health than merely making him the 3. Luke is not a great basketball player in terms of athleticism and over-all skill but his mind and his “eye” is essential to the team’s success. Can anyone remember how many games we lost last year due to Lamar’s absence? How about Luke’s?


  39. This is what happens when you don’t have a “real” #2 scoring option.


  40. I agree that this is a game we should have won. I’m still not impressed by Odom this year, even though the numbers looked okay this game. Bad turnovers, bad shoot selection, and the most frustrating part, bad defense. Vlad continues to shoot poorly, which nicely complements his poor defense. I wish he was still in a Sonic uniform.

    As for everything else, I thought it was an okay game. Bynum was passible. I think it’s clear that Howard is the more complete player, but Bynum held his own well enough.


  41. I didn’t see the game but from looking at the box score, the game was lost by turnovers (-6, 22 total is ridiculous) and at the FT line (-11 in attempts, -9 in FT made). Other than those two stats the Lakers should have won that game. Huge rebounding margin (+8) and their was not a big difference in FG%.


  42. 29 3pt attempts, 22 turnovers, 39 point quarters, 60 point halves, there are several alarming numbers from the game that help explain the lose. However, watching the game, the play of the game may have been that charge that Farmar picked up. The Lakers were causing Orlando problems on D and had taken the lead. After the charge Orlando scored and never looked back.


  43. I know, I know I keep harping on the Lakers to take less 3s, but it should be so. PJ has built a good passing team and they never seem to get it.

    I wonder how the Lakers stack up against the rest of the NBA? They are probably one of the worst shooting teams behind the arc.


  44. If we played Farmar, Sasha, Luke, Vlad, and Mihm together at one time, would that count as a whitewash? Or since Farmar is half/half, would we have to play Karl?


  45. I agree that this is a game we should have won. I’m still not impressed by Odom this year, even though the numbers looked okay this game. Bad turnovers, bad shoot selection, and the most frustrating part, bad defense. Vlad continues to shoot poorly, which nicely complements his poor defense.

    As for everything else, I thought it was an okay game. Bynum was passible. I think it’s clear that Howard is the more complete player, but Bynum held his own well enough.


  46. The Lakers played well. Odom had good stats. Bynum hung with Howard. Kobe played great. Started off shooting at a very high percentage, and then it went down after that. Orlando is a very good team. Now, here’s wht I don’t buy the argument that we don’t need a legit 2nd option. You want you star shooting higher percentage shots. If you have a legit 2nd option that the defense needs to pay attention to. That gives just a little bit more room to shoot and drive and that’s all he needs to be shooting 50% consistently.


  47. 43) Paul,
    “If you have a legit 2nd option that the defense needs to pay attention to. That gives just a little bit more room to shoot and drive and that’s all he needs to be shooting 50% consistently.”

    Absolutely. It also provides an alternative when the top scorer is on the bench and/or is on a cold streak. The other missing item offensively is a consistent three-point threat. That would also open things up for everybody else.


  48. 45 & 46 – the reason why I like this team is that there appears we can have options, not just one other option. That’s what Fisher, Odom, Walton, Farmar, and Bynum all bring (and when he can make a shot, Vlad). All of them can get the ball in the hoop. I don’t think we need a 2nd option because we have plenty of players that can play offense well.

    All we need is better ball control and better defense. It’s pretty simple – don’t turn the ball over and don’t give open looks.

    Hopefully Bynum will continue to improve his interior defense, which has been okay for the most part this year. This coupled with a healthy Brown will help. But Fisher, Farmar, Lamar, and Vlad have to play better perimeter defense if we’re ever going to become a good team.


  49. 43, 44. I agree. But how do you solve that problem? There really is no one available to trade for. Besides that I think any team that the Lakers want to trade for will ask for Bynum. Maybe the Lakers could trade Odom for cap space around FEB. That would create about 10M in cap room maybe slightly more. You could possibly get a cheap 2nd option for around that much.

    As far as a 3pt threat.. that was supposed to be Vlad but he is inconsistent and in a shooting slump right now.


  50. Bynum will be the #2 option eventually. Maybe even next year.

    Getting Lamar to be a more potent scorer this season would be great, because then he would have no problem moving down the list of who gets the shots, yet would still be someone who can deliver offensively as well.

    Little goals would probably help at this time. Making sure Lamar gets more FGAs, preferably in the post would be a very good first step in the right direction.

    Can’t complain too much about this loss. Orlando is mighty. Lamar was better. Let’s keep going from here.


  51. While I was fairly disappointed with the result immediately following the game, I am not too distraught by the way we played. Lakers are still passing the ball around looking for the open man. Kobe doesn’t ball hog too much. Not too many defensive lapses. Lakers had quite a few steals and most of the Magic’s shots were contested, even if they went in.

    We saw Bynum play well against Dwight Howard, although it was fairly obvious that Howard is on another level (blocking and changing a few of Bynum’s shots).

    Kobe made three or four shots in a row on consecutive possession in the first quarter and I might be imagining this, but I get a bad feeling when he does that. Firstly, the rest of the Lakers think “Kobe is hot tonight, let’s just rely on him to win the game.” Secondly, Kobe can fall in love with the jump shot, instead of driving and distributing. Last night, he didn’t seem to fall into the second trap, but his teammates might have fallen into the first.


  52. I understand why Kobe wants to be traded. This team is simply an 7-8th seed at best and you cant trade Bynum to bring in any talent so by the time he develops, assuming he even does, Kobe is that much older and even more frustrated. The sad thing is there isnt much the GM can do to improve the situation any time soon.

    I think the best tradeable asset is Farmar and I would let him go in the right deal along with Odom. Critt can step in sooner then we think and will ultimately be better then Farmar.

    You almost have to root for the Lakers to lose to get a high draft pick instead of the same 8th place finish and a number 10-15 pick,


  53. Ex-Lakers jab at Phil’s offense
    “It’s been great because I’ve got a lot more freedom here to play,” Cook said. “We’ve got the motion offense and I’ve got the beast down low.”

    The beast would be center Dwight Howard, who has a way of opening things up for the shooters simply by his presence in the post.

    Orlando was seventh in the league in scoring before Sunday, which was two spots below the Lakers, although Evans reiterated what Cook said.

    “We’ve got so much offensive freedom out there,” Evans said. “We’re just excited to be here.”

    Both players were applauded during a brief pregame video that thanked them for their contributions to the Lakers.

    There were a few boos when Cook checked into the game. He averaged 6.6 points in a little more than four seasons with the Lakers.

    The game went the way their brief careers with the Magic have gone so far: Evans had more points (nine) and minutes (22) than Cook (three points, nine minutes).

    The Magic improved to 15-4.

    “The guys are great here,” Cook said. “They’re competitive.”

    Oh, and one other thing.

    “There isn’t as much drama,” he said.

    . Jackson on coaching against Cook and Evans: “It’s not quite like coaching against Shaq [Shaquille O’Neal], but, yes, it is [weird]. It’s the vagaries of the game.”


  54. 46) Vlad and Sasha have both failed to meet what was hoped for as three-point shooters.

    This year’s free agent group is going to be pretty strong, which also means that there may be a number of teams who are willing to make trades (if they aren’t in likely playoff contention, and they are going to lose the player to free agency anyway.) The Lakers are too far over the cap to be in the market for the bigger name free agents unless they can get one via the trade route.

    45) When the team goes flat offensively, it makes it much simpler for the other team’s offense, thus harder on the Lakers defense. You can’t separate the two, and just look at the point totals and say that the offense is fine.

    Bynum looks like he will be at the least a very solid player. That is the only spot, other than Kobe, that looks good for the future. I think Farmar will be, at the best, adequate as a starter (not quick enough for his size, relative to the other point guards). Turiaf and Walton are probably not real starter material. Lamar is solid, but not worth his current salary. Crit looks like he has a lot of potential, but it will be awhile before that is verified. FIsher is mediocre.


  55. 48 – I agree, I don’t see a trade being able to make us immediately better. Isn’t it said that it takes 3yrs in the triangle to be able to run it efficiently? Can’t help but feel that’s what is keeping Ariza on the bench. Moving Odom would just handicap us unless the person replacing him knows the triangle.


  56. Kwame Brown to Miss Next Two Games
    Source: Los Angeles Times

    Phil Jackson said Kwame Brown would not play on a trip that begins Tuesday in Minnesota and ends Wednesday in Denver. Brown has sat out eight games because of a sprained ankle and knee.


  57. There really are only a handful of players that we have a shot at getting that can help this team. I put Artest at the top of that list.

    Compare Artest with Odom:

    3 pt. shooting: Artest by a long shot
    Mid-range shooting: Artest
    Dribble Penetration: Artest slightly
    Post game: Odom slightly
    Passing: Odom slightly when he plays well, otherwise even
    Always being productive: Artest by a long shot
    Free throws: Odom slightly (this is the one thing I don’t like about Artet’s on court game)
    Consistency: Artest

    Defensively, Artest is WAY better than Odom in every way except rebounding where Odom has the advantage.

    Pairing Kobe and Artest would dramatically improve our defense and would provide much needed consistency to our offense.

    The question is Artest worth the potential turmoil he may bring?

    What do you guys think about Odom v. Artest?

    Note to Kurt – this isn’t a trade post, just comparing two players 🙂


  58. vlad was hot to start the season, hopefully he gets that stroke back, right now he’s not missing long or short, he’s left or right, which is way off.


  59. Guys, I actually have a post started on the inconsistency (and how frustrating it is) but I’ve gotten a nasty little stomach virus that has kept me from doing much of anything today (or thinking clearly, for that matter). I’ll try to get it up later, but as always you guys have started with some great thoughts along those lines.


  60. More trade related concepts (but not a proposal):

    How valuable is the expiring contract? We’ve all heard that Kwame is a valuable trade asset because of his expiring contract. My question is why is that valuable and how valuable is it? The latter issue obviously depends on the particular team in question but what factors are involved?

    Is it common to trade a lesser player (Kwame) for a much better player (insert name here) solely because Kwame’s contract is expiring?

    Another issue for this team: Are we really going to keep Farmar/Fisher/Crit for the next few years? Assuming Kobe doesn’t opt out that locks up the 2 spot for 3 more years, which leaves those guys fighting for time at point guard, all of whom can make a fair case for getting significant playing time. Remember, we’ve locked up Fisher for at least 2 more years.

    So to what extent should this team consider moving Farmar or Crit, if at all? Should we consider moving Kwame/Crit or Kwame/Farmar to land some real talent? Should we just move Lamar straight up? Who is out there that can help the team that we have a shot at getting? What woud it take to get them?

    I really would like to see a trade thread that allows us to get into all these issues in detail.

    I love the idea of Farmar, Crit, and Bynum for the future, but what does that do for the team for the next 2 years?

    Personally, I would not trade Bynum unless it was for a proven all-star, and even then I would hesitate.

    Sorry for the rambling post, I’m just try to think how we can actually become a contender next year because it is clear this roster can’t compete for a title as is.


  61. Expiring deals are not as popular with teams as they were a few years ago, a few less-wise GMs got burned with those and now teams are hesitant. If you have one or two all-stars but really should be blowing it up and going young, these deals make some sense. But not for most teams.


  62. Bobby Smith,
    “Are we really going to keep Farmar/Fisher/Crit for the next few years?”

    That is why I was not a fan of the Fisher signing. I think he is a great addition to the team, but not for that amount of money for that length of time.


  63. One last point, if we are going to pin our hopes on Farmar, Crit, and Bynum, which is a perfectly reasonable long-term strategy, it really does make sense to trade Kobe. I hate to say that because Kobe is my fav player, but from a managerial standpoint if we go young with those guys then Kobe needs to go.

    That sucks.


  64. 62-I think that Fisher eventually will be our backup 2 guard. If not later this year, defintley next year. I too was surprised they gave him a 3 yr deal, but he has played well, if his minutes are limited, I think his overall contribution to the team is a plus


  65. Critt seems to be as much a 2 as a 1. So he, Fish, and Farmar are probably fighting for 48 minutes as a PG and 5-10 or so as an SG (maybe more if Kobe spends a couple minutes at 3). I think Fish will see a decline in minutes as Farmar eventually takes the starting job from him. I don’t think Fish expects to be playing 25 a night or anything in the next couple years (he’s at 26 this year). I like Farmar and Critt and they seem like they’d make a good 2-headed monster at the 1 and backing up Kobe.

    I’d only trade them if they had to be in a package to get a legit all-star. But Farmar seems to be the triangle PG we’ve been looking for. And I’m not sure if Critt’s value is that high because he hasn’t had much PT, even if he has more potential than Farmar. It just seems unlikely that either will be traded right now. Maybe over summer or in Feb, with Odom and Kwame.


  66. Bobby Smith,
    “I hate to say that because Kobe is my fav player, but from a managerial standpoint if we go young with those guys then Kobe needs to go.”

    Is that from a financial perspective? Only Javaris plays Kobe’s position. Besides those two points, I’m not sure why committing to those 3 would necessitate getting rid of Kobe.


  67. Take a look at Almost all NBA blogs from each team.


  68. An expiring deal is valuable to a team if they “overpaid” for a player or that player no longer fits in their system. If the Lakers are going to get something for Kwame’s expiring deal its going to have to be a player who’s image/game is a tad tarnished and has a bad to very bad contract. The point was also made that a team might go for an expiring in a salary dump to get under the tax or just save some money, but again we’d be more than likely to get slightly damaged goods.

    I think as team’s get deeper in the season its more likely a better player comes available at a cheaper price. It could be JO, Gasol, Artest (or even Kobe). I don’t think any team is at the panic stage yet.


  69. Sac might just let Artest opt out after this year. They really don’t lose much. They are going to be a lottery team anyways so unless a player they can’t pass up comes along they will just let him walk for nothing. If Artest thinks he can get 8-10M or more next off season, then he will opt. But not many teams will be under the cap next off season and Artest value is low because of all his baggage.


  70. 66. Actually, I meant from a strategic perspective. If the thinking is that Farmar (PG), Crit (SG), and Bynum (C) can be the nucleus of our future (3+ years from now), then keeping Kobe limits (not sure how much) Crits playing time over the next 2 years (while we have Fisher), but it also ensures that the Lakers will be good enough to never get a high draft pick, and not good enough to contend.

    Basically, if we want to go young, then trade Kobe for an Al Jefferson type young player. Then we have a bona fide strategy of developing a core unit of young talent.

    If the stategy is to win now, then obviously our chances would be better if we moved Farmar or Crit or Bynum for a veteran #2 option on this team.

    Maybe it isn’t so cut and dry, but I do see conflicting strategies.


  71. (33)

    Hi Mike,

    If you watch carefully, Bynum’s profound problems with D will be obvious. He’s slow. He doesn’t know how and when to come out, rotate, and/or switch back . Maybe it will come in a few years, but now it is embarrassing. With Lamar “helping,” this is exacerbated, because he doesn’t know how either.

    The result is that with a few passes, somebody (recently a center-Celtics-or a forward-Utah-or a big power center–Orlando) forces Bynum to provoke a team defensive breakdown, and the opponents make a huge number of points in the paint.

    When other teammates try to help Andrew out by double downing, the ball is passed out for an unguarded 3. That’s the main reason why there is such a huge discrepency in defense between the games in which “Twinkletoes” Brown starts and the ones in which Bynum (and now Odom) starts.

    Bynum gets his blocks (and many rebounds) when someone covers for him enough so that he can recover–especially when someone drives the lane. If he were guarding his man, he wouldn’t get the defensive rebounds so often because the guy he was guarding wouldn’t shoot.

    When Ronny played center, things changed because Ronny was big ehnough and quick enough to both guard his man and make switches or rotations.

    If you don’t have a foundation down low, you don’t have a defense.


  72. 71. Drrayeye, what you said makes perfect sense, and I’ve seen those breakdowns to a certain extent myself. My question is, if that is true then why does Bynum have the best season (+ -) stat on our team, and why is drastically higher than Kwame’s?


  73. Mike in the Mountain West December 3, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    54.) You are really underestimating some of the guys. The only one you’re really right about is Sasha who is shooting less than 30% from three.

    Vlad is going through a slump right now. It happens to all shooters. For the season he’s 39% from three which is damn good. I don’t know what you were expecting but 40% from three is excellent 3 point shooting. When you see it on the box score however it can be decieving.

    Both Bynum and Farmar are playing great right now, especially when you consider their age and this is only the second season each of them have gotten significant minutes. Their progress is quite remarkable. Bynum has a PER of 20.36 ranking him 9th as a center and 34th overall. Farmar has a PER of 18.65 ranking him 10th among PG’s and 57th overall.

    Much of Bynum’s improvement comes from his amazing ability to grab boards. Bynum is tied with Camby for the second best rebound rate (percentage of rebounds a player grabs while on the floor) at 22.2%. Kurt Thomas leads the league at 24%. Bynum is also hyper effecient on the offensive end with the 5th best FG% in the league an improved turnover ratio.

    We can attribute much of Farmar’s improvement to his improved stroke. He clearly practiced his shooting because he’s hitting 39% of his shots from beyond the arc and 49% overall. His improved 3 point shot has opened things up for him to drive the lane. He also grabs a hell of a lot of rebounds for a point guard. At 7.2% he’s tied for 5th best with Antonio Daniels. Per 40 minutes he’s averaging 19 points 5.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists.

    Our team has loads of talent.


  74. Guys,

    Stop worrying about the 2nd and the 3rd scorer. You are solving the wrong problem. With Kobe, Inc., we can score.

    What you all have to face is that Laker defense is unacceptable. When the Lakers give up more than 100 points they are likely to lose. This has happened a lot recently.

    Right now, this team is losing much like they did last year. It’s not Kobe. It’s not Farmar. It’s not Ronny. VladRad and Sasha have picked it up. Walton has done his part.

    Who’s left who plays a lot?

    Don’t only look at the box scores, and don’t just look at individual matchups.

    Although Bynum has shown remarkable progress on the offensive end, he gives them back on the defensive end–just like last year. It’s a little of this and a little of that. He is just not basketball savvy enough yet.

    With Ronny at power forward and Kobe helping as appropriate, Andrew can look fine against the right competition. Add in Derek and Walton, who understand the team concept, and you have an acceptable defensive team around Bynum as a starter.

    Against the opponent second team, Andrew has a chance to score without as much “blowback” collateral damage on defense.

    Switch Brown for Bynum and you have a good defensive team.

    Now, that does nothing about the Odom problem on defense. If Lamar could just play defense as a 3 and within the team concept, the Bynum problem might lessen or even disappear.

    Lamar’s inability to score consistently could easily be overcome if he could defend consistently.

    We’ll see what happens if Trevor can get a little bit of traction.


  75. 73) You are over-valuing the talent level of this team. From positions 4-12 on the “roster ladder”, how many of them would be starting on any other team in the league? Not many. You have a bunch of players that make decent backups, and some aren’t even that good.

    In positions 1-3 you have Kobe, Bynum (who is still learning, and is limited in the number of minutes he can play primarily due to fouling tendencies), and Lamar, who is overpaid for what he provides.

    As currently constructed, this team is not likely to make it past the second round, if that far, ever.


  76. Mike in the Mountain West December 3, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    75.) Both Farmar and Fisher (at least as he played so far this season) would definitely start on the following ten teams:

    Miami, Memphis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Sacramento.

    At least if they were on those teams they should be starting.

    We are clearly weakest at the forward spot. I think Turiaf will bounce back and be a legitimate starter. Vlad is probably never going to be a legitimate starter but could be a decent sixth man coming off the bench.

    If you compare our 4 – 12 players to the top of the league at each position of course they are not going to look good but compared to the middle and bottom they rank quite well.

    I would love to have a discussion about the talent on our team and different opinions are great but I think we’ll get the most out of a debate like this if our points are backed up by something. It doesn’t have to be statistics. drrayeye has some good arguments about Bynum’s defense based on observation, for instance.


  77. 74.

    “Sasha and Vlad have picked it up.” “Walton does his part.”

    “Who’e left?”

    Please tell me you are not arguing that Bynum plays poorer defense than those three players because that notion is sadly mistaken. Again, the numbers don’t support the theory that Bynum is not a good defender. Perhaps the Lakers just suck at TEAM defense, just like they have the past 3 years (before Bynum even played).

    What is the deal with the Bynum hate in Laker land (moreso on other blogs, but still notice it hear as well).


  78. The ONLY way that playing “#2 scorer by committee” works is if everyone plays GREAT defense(like the pistons)
    You win by shutting other scorers down.

    This team doesn’t do that.