Game Preview & Chat: The Philadelphia 76ers

Kurt —  January 4, 2008

Records: Lakers 19-11; 76ers 14-18
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.2 (7th); 76ers 103.9 (22nd)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.4 (12th); 76ers 105.3 (7th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Trevor Ariza, Ronny Turiaf, Andrew Bynum
76ers: Andre Miller, Rodney Carney, Andre Iguodala, Reggie Evans, Samuel Dalembert

Lakers Notes: This is the game Lamar Odom sits and it’s not going to be easy to replace the 16 points and 10 rebounds a game he has averaged in the Lakers last 10. In the last 10 Odom has been shooting 51.1% (eFG%) and 35% on his 20 threes.

Kobe and Fisher have not been nearly as solid in the last 10. Kobe is shooting 45% (eFG%) overall and 29.8% from three, down from his 48.5% overall and 33.5% numbers for the season. Fisher’s numbers are 45.8% (down from 52.1%) and 33% (down from 37.9%) in the last 10.

Mihm is out another month (give or take) with an Achilles problem. I just want the guy to get healthy — remember two seasons ago he was, besides Kobe, the one guy who brought it every night, who really worked hard. I had hoped to eventually see that Mihm again. If his body doesn’t betray him.

On the injury front, Sasha Vujacic has had back spasms (which hurt like hell, by the way) and is a game-time decision. So is Radmanovic with a twisted ankle.

The 76ers Coming In:Ladies and gentlemen, start your rebuilding.

That’s what the trade of Kyle Korver signaled — the Sixers, behind new GM Ed Stefanski, are wisely blowing up what they have and starting over. I expect Andre Miller is moved at the trading deadline (although Stefanski likely will not take lowball offers).

The question is how will all this impact the team on the court this season? They are 5-5 in their last 10 and have been getting great play of late from Miller and Iguodala (a guy who thrives slashing to the basket in isolation, but is also hitting 36.6% of his threes the last 10 games). Dalembert has been giving them good minutes as well.

The bench play has hurt the 76ers of late — for example the last time these two met Louis Williams had been shooting 43.8% from three-point range off the bench, but in the last 10 that is down to 30%.

Last Time They Played: The 76ers had no answer for Andrew Bynum — he had 24 points on 10 of 11 shooting, plus pulled down 11 boards. Kobe, Fisher and Odom also were all in double figures as the Lakers cruised — they never had a huge (20ish point) lead but they led almost the entire game and took control with a third-quarter run. It was not one of Kobe’s more efficient games, in the fourth quarter he was 0-5 from the field (but did get to the line for 5 free throws, hitting them all). For the game he shot 35% (eFG%).

The Lakers did continue their trend of not stopping quick guards — Andre Miller had 21 points on 9 of 17 shooting. Iguodala added 20 but was 7 of 20 from the floor. The now-traded Korver had 11 points in 31 minutes for the Sixers in that game.

Want To Feel Like You’re At The Game? Check out this YouTube video of the Lakers pre-game spectacular. It was taken and put up by the guy who posts here as UCSBShaw. Well worth the look.

Keys To The Game: The Sixers try to create turnovers with a pressure defense, last meeting the Lakers exploited this by getting past the pressure out top and getting the ball to Bynum in great (and isolated) positions. Fisher and Odom also were able to exploit the pressure with smart plays that led to open looks. The Lakers need to do that again tonight.

The Lakers — particularly Turiaf and other guys on the front line — really need to crash the boards tonight because the Lakers will miss Odom in that regard against a good rebounding team. The 76ers grab 31% of their missed shots, the second highest percentage in the league. The Lakers cannot allow a lot of easy putback baskets tonight. Put a body on Reggie Evans.

Tonight’s Game: Where Britney Spears’ Seat Is Empty Happens: Last season the Lakers had the young-team’s habit of playing to the level of their opponent. They had great games against the league’s best but struggled with the teams they should beat. We’ll see what happens over the next seven games, if the Lakers have matured. This is a game the Lakers should win but the Sixers have enough talent and are playing well enough to beat teams that overlook them.

Where you can watch: Game time is 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). In Los Angeles tune into Fox Sports, nationally you’ll need League Pass or watch online with the ESPN gamecast.

to Game Preview & Chat: The Philadelphia 76ers

  1. Just a quick thought: For all the bashing we did of Smush Parker, we need to throw a little credit to Phil Jackson for getting as much out of him as he did. Pat Riley can’t, and I’m not sure who else could.


  2. Kurt-
    Looks to me like ESPN360 is only doing the Tor-Det & Mia-Dal games. Do you see something different? Just checking because I really want to check this game out and I’m stuck on the east coast without league pass.


  3. 2. I linked to gamecast, not the 360 thing. ESPN is not doing 360 for the game.


  4. @FLan

    The faq has all the information you need to know on downloading the appropriate programs and how to use them. I prefer Sopcast though TVU is pretty solid also. The feeds usually range anywhere from 400k down to 150k.


  5. Kurt,
    “For all the bashing we did of Smush Parker, we need to throw a little credit to Phil Jackson for getting as much out of him as he did.”

    It also puts the kibosh on the “Kobe Bryant doesn’t make his teammates better” line of thinking.


  6. I think the Lakers also need to find a way to stay healthy. LO out, Mihm out, Vlad a questionable, Sasha a questionable, and Luke, Kwame, and Turiaf recovering from injuries, this Laker team is short on big men.

    Lakers need to get good penetration and play from their bigs to make Evans and Delambert non-factors like last game.


  7. Kurt,

    This may be a good chance to compare the value of an Odom on the old turnover prone “offense” Lakers with the much more integrated “defense” Lakers of Turiaff and Ariza.

    Although you wrote a great deal about our aspiring football player on the bench, it may be Trevor, starting and on defense, that may quietly be the real story tonite.

    Ronny can hit that short jumper, but you won’t see him taking those patented Odom, “oh no” threes at the 4 spot. Trevor is not afraid to put on an offensive slashing show of his own mixed in with a few steals and breakaways–even if his numbers don’t reach 16 and 10.

    Looks like Philly is going to feel right at home with this weather!


  8. Im really excited for tonights game. This is an oppurtunity to see how the first team will click Odom-less. If Ronny can show that he’s an able rebounder and steady defender than maybe the zen master will start having Odom and his freakish Mismatch-making abaility come off the bench. That would only strengthen our bench and i also think the first team will function better with system role players around kobe and bynum, while the bench will really flow with odom and farmar runnin wild…also Farmar could really control odoms dumb threepoint attempts. Farmars a floorgeneral and can limit odoms mistakes


  9. I’m looking forward to see whether Bynum recognizes the need for him to step up tonight and show what he’s truly capable of against the Sixers. The Sixers have solid big men and woul dmake perfect training opponents for Bynum to work against. Tonight’s game should be a win for the Lakers but its more of a learning experience to see what they are truly capable of and how serious they are about making it deep into the playoffs this year. I think its time for another blowout win tonight!!


  10. exhelodrvr (6): Nothing, short of a title, will ever put the kibosh on “Kobe Bryant doesn’t make his teammates better” line of thinking. I’m not sure even a title would do that: Lots of people with their mind made up about him already.


  11. kurt,

    i will talk like kobe for a minute and suggest everyone to look at it one game at a time. it seems that everyone is getting excited for our upcoming games (soft schedule apparently). i ll be disappointed if the lakers dont take tonight’s game. kobe and fish, with the rest, should rebound from recent slump; their leadership are needed for this young squard to rebound from our bad celtic loss. also looking forward to see how farmar and bynum bounce back…


  12. Samus, good to see you here.

    I don’t think the Lakers are in a slump. I mean, we went 3-1 on our road trip and went 2-1 against the Suns, Jazz and of course, the Celtics.

    Tonight is where Jordan Farmar regains his form happens. I like the kid and I disagree with exhelodrvr that he is mediocre at best. He has a good stroke at 3 and while he may be undersized for Phil’s liking, he is composed and collected and he is not shy in shooting.

    I’d like to comment a few about the discussion we had in the previous post but I will enjoy the live game 1st. Its on ESPN Philippines and I will eat my quick lunch to not miss a beat.


  13. Luke gets the start at the three.


  14. Watch Javaris using the time PJ gave him…


  15. I think the Lakers should give Javaris more PT to get his stock up or his confidence going. Sasha is still inconsistent at the 2 spot and it would be a great deal of help if Javaris could hold the backup SG spot on his rookie year and slowly creep into the rotation as the season progresses or as he gains more minutes.


  16. Taking a quick look at the box score and it looks like there was really only one reason the Lakers won this game.

    The Lakers shot 66.2% from the floor. 66.2!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    They did block 7 more shots but turning the ball over 21 times against the 76ers does not a good team make. The 76’s also shot 43% when I expected to see around the 30’s – hopefully the Lakers can correct these problems the next time.


  17. John,
    Again, statistics are deceiving. Many of the Laker turnovers were after the game was out of hand and the scrubs were in the game extended minutes. This is not something to get very concerned about.

    This was just a great win, both bounce back and keeping the pedal to the metal.


  18. This was a good win for many reasons. Kurt you said exactly how I was thinking. They used to play to their opponents level and it is easily noticeable that they don’t play like that this year. They have blown out teams that they are supposed to(well majority of the time). That is a nice welcome change. Dare I say, it’s amazing what confidence can do for a team.
    I was glad to see Javaris get some decent PT and make the most of it. I know Tex Winters thinks highly of this kid and so do most people but for him to show off his skills is a nice thing. I agree with Warren I have always wanted Javaris as the back up. Sasha plays hard but for me he’s too inconsistent I am just not a big fan of that.
    In an article in the LA Times Phil says there is no easy part of the schedule, referring to how the lakers didn’t fair well against sub .500 teams last year. Go Zen Master.


  19. Kurt said: This is the game Lamar Odom sits and it’s not going to be easy to replace the 16 points and 10 rebounds a game he has averaged in the Lakers last 10.

    Game: Turiaff ONLY got 15 points and 4 rebounds, but he did get a steal, 2 assists, and 5 (count-em) blocks. btw, Ronny attempted NO 3 pointers.

    Kurt: the Lakers will miss Odom in that regard against a good rebounding team.

    Game: Lakers: 46 rebounds Philly: 31 rebounds

    Kurt: The Lakers did continue their trend of not stopping quick guards — Andre Miller had 21 points on 9 of 17 shooting. Iguodala added 20 but was 7 of 20 from the floor

    Game: Miller went 3-10 for 8 points; Iguodala went 6-17 for 15 points.

    The added defense by Turiaff and Ariza more than offset Lamar’s previous 16 and 10-and Bynum embarrassed Dalembert and amazed the crowd

    (17) John,
    the Lakers (with Ariza, Turiaff, and Bynum playing D) gave up only 40 points in the first half–scored 64. Lakers substituted heavily through the rest of the game. Did you notice that Kobe Bryant only got 15 points and Javaris lead all scorers with career high 19? Lakers ended the game with Kobe Carl, Javaris, Jordan, Trevor, and Kwame on the floor.

    Maybe the lesson here is that if you totally destroy an opponent and rest your starters, the stats may look a bit ragged?


  20. OMG, having Farmar, Crittendon, Ariza, Coby Karl, and Kwame play nearly the entire 4th quarter. I could watch that kind of stomping anyday of the week.

    Farmar and Crittendon were incredible to watch play together. Ariza fits a role we needed badly. Also, Turiaf had a couple of great blocks and hustle plays.

    But, for all the role players we had to keep the game out of reach, this game was all about Andrew Bynum.

    This kid is making the leap. While he’ll have more growing pains and plenty more time for Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett to show him who’s boss, he clearly has become our 2nd best player. No offense to Lamar, but the impact Bynum is demonstrating lately is what will take our team to this mystic “contender” level.

    great to have a blow-out win. we never seemed to get over that hurdle last year. Every game was such a battle for 48 minutes.


  21. Where is the ‘Bynum for MIP’ contention? How come no one is going “schizo and drinking the kool-aid” on that one?

    Most of you have probably read this.



  22. That was good team beating a bad team, and it felt good to get that kind of win, didn’t it? It’s just the kind of thing we didn’t see last season. The Sixers played bad defense all game, the Lakers were slow to start but turned up the defense in the second quarter (the Sixers shot 23% for those 12 minutes). The Sixers couldn’t get the Lakers out of the offense, and the Lakers kept getting the shots they wanted. And Bynum was a beast on the boards. Again.

    Crit looked great, but we’re pretty deep at PG right now so bring him along slow and let him have success and build confidence.


  23. I’m starting to have some concerns about the 76ers’ title hopes.


  24. Crittenton really showed how electrifying the bench mob could be with him and farmar running the show. Farmar is a facilitator who can score and distribute. Crittenton looks like a bolt of lightning who gets to the rim…LET EM PLAY TOGETHER PHIL!!!!!


  25. The Sixers excel at making the Lakers look like the Celtics. Now, if only the Lakers could excel at making the Celtics look like the Sixers.

    Good win.


  26. Mike in the Mountain West January 5, 2008 at 5:08 am

    Although we know Phil would never do it, I think he should really try bringing Lamar off the bench. He would play so much better alongside Farmar, Crit, and Ariza.

    Lamar was playing extremely well in Miami but after he got here he has put up worse numbers every year. It’s not because he’s not talented or because he doesn’t want it or because he doesn’t work hard. It’s because he doesn’t fit well next to Kobe.

    Hollinger explains it best:

    The issue with Odom is that he’s a high-volume, medium-efficiency player — in other words, he’s good at creating lots of shots but doesn’t rack up a high true shooting percentage. This type of player is most effective with the ball in his hands a lot, and that simply isn’t possible with Kobe also on the team. Odom’s usage rate ranked 22nd among power forwards last year; Brian Cook actually created more shots per minute than Odom did, because he could spot up for jumpers and play off Kobe in a way that Odom can’t.

    This is why I’ve always felt Odom is miscast in L.A. He’s not going to space the floor for Kobe — he’s a 31.7 percent career shooter on 3s — but if he has the ball in the middle of the floor he can drive and pass and create lots of problems for opposing defenses. He’s 27 and should be in the prime of his career, but it’s been somewhat wasted in an imperfect system for his talents.

    (end quote)

    On the second unit however, he could be that guy. Phil could also cut down on Kobe’s minutes even more to 35 mpg or less. It would be a strategy not unlike San Antonio uses with Ginobli.

    Also a unit of Famar, Crit, Ariza, Odom, and Brown would be a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

    If Phil doesn’t go with a strategy like that than I think it would be in the best interests of the team and Lamar Odoms career to trade him, as long as we can convince possible trading partners that Lamar is better than he has been here and just needs the right system. I think Odom would thrive in a place like Memphis for instance.


  27. Don’t get too excited about this win… The Sixers are no match for any western playoff team…

    Did like to see Javaris!


  28. Let’s see…our injury prone players are Mihm, Brown, Walton, Vlade, and Lamar. How about the following rotations to help keep the injury prone players playing more.


    Bench mob:

    I think the 1st unit could manage more defense and they shouldn’t have too much trouble scoring with Kobe & Andrew, but the bench mob should really do a cut and paste job on pretty much any opponent.

    I would have Lamar come in 1st for either PF or SF, which ever we need to switch first and stay in when the other member is switched out for Walton/Rad.

    I know this was one game, but I think these combinations would work pretty well together.


  29. On a totally unrelated thread…
    I was reading TrueHoop and came across the article “NBA Media: In the Nosebleeds and Cranky” where reporters were complaining about where reporters were required to sit in Salt Lake. As the article went on the comment was made that the media has less and less access to players and that players didn’t really want to let their hair down during the ‘after game’ press conferences in the locker rooms.

    Increasingly the sports media is following the news media by focusing on sensational and conflict ridden stories. These are not stories that allow us to know the people/players better, they are stories that titillate us for the moment. In this environment – regardless of the reporters location on the court – sports organizations are going to try to severly restrict reporter’s access to players. It is in their best interest to keep the controversy to a manageable level.

    Reporters have only themselves – and their editors – are to blame for this situation. While this is not the entire story, I think journalists frequently ignore this aspect of their job because it doesn’t reflect very well on themselves – just like the teams are trying to do to them.


  30. Great win without Odom, and the Laker’s young guns continue to improve.


  31. 30. I think it was Henry who made a great point: If those beat writers had been using that courtside space to give us more colorful details of the game, that would be one thing, but they really didn’t for the most part.

    That said, I think the beat writers, in LA and nationwide, generally do a good job on what is not an easy job (lots of travel, tight deadlines, players that may not want to talk). Columnists, I think, are the ones that are leaning toward the sensational, trying to compete with talk radio and Around the Horn.


  32. 30) CraigW,
    “These are not stories that allow us to know the people/players better”

    I would think that, in today’s world, any celebrity would want to keep their private life as private and separated from the public as possible. Unfortunately, it is very hard for them to have a private life because of today’s media. And we as the public are to blame for that, because we eat up the product that the media produces. And if an athlete gives an honest opinion, I guarantee it will be completely blown out of proportion and taken out of context. Case in point – Kobe Bryant and the “ship his ass out” comment. If an athlete is smart, he will never say anything other than the standard cliches when asked a question.


  33. The Guy Formerly Known As Lamar Odom January 5, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    i liked the fact that my man critt got some pt. i love watching the lakers grow as a team. it’s a very beautiful thing. last year they were not that good. this year they beat the teams they should. and next year they’ll certainly beat the teams they can’t this year, the elite teams. it’s gonna be awesome.

    also, who’s scarier? the celtics……………………….or……….the PISTONS????!!!! they pistons just overtook the celts in hollinger’s rankings. I’ve always thought they were the scarier team, but now it’s official.


  34. 27. Cook “creates” more shots per minute than Odom? That is truly shocking.


  35. Regarding the sports media today I love that the Lakers web site provides the source video for the same press interactions that the media quotes to write their stories (I think Kurt wrote about this in good detail on True Hoop if I remember right). I still read the stories, but seeing the videos with them really makes me understand the mindset of the writers and the process they go through to digest information for us.


  36. Just a thought on Hollinger: He does not like Kobe. There’ve been comments in the past and this season about bad character and most of it seems to stem from the assumption that he ran Shaq out of town. He also was crying that it was an injustice to Ariza that he was traded to the Lakers where he would apparently not get any playing time. Wonder how he would revisit that. His Odom characterization is a little hysterical, that its poor Odom who is being wasted. I actually agree, but you think Odom wants to be a Laker or 76er?


  37. The Dude Abides January 5, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Well, we posters have been trying to come up with a nickname for Andrew Bynum over the past month or two. A number of us simply refer to him as AB, but after clicking on the link below of his dunk last night (especially the second angle), I think a more appropriate nickname would be The Long Dude.


  38. The problem with hollinger is he is so rooted in statistics. But we all know they don’t tell the whole story. Any good stats 101 course will teach you how to make the stats say what you think they should say anyways. Don’t get me wrong, I think they are an excellent tool to support a bigger picture, but I think all of Hollingers cryptic algorithmic formulas come up short.

    I also think that Kobe, and it is partly his fault, will not be able to change in the eyes of most national sports writers. I feel like these guys toon into a few Laker games each year, and their perspective about Kobe has stayed the same since shaq was traded even if Kobe hasn’t.


  39. I don’t have a problem with Hollinger’s stats, its his nonsensical and baseless opinions that ususally have little to do w/ his numbers.


  40. Mike in the Mountain West January 5, 2008 at 11:56 pm


    I’ve read most of Hollinger’s stuff and I don’t remember seeing anything negative about Kobe from him. In fact, his appraisal of Kobe on the Hollinger’s stats part of Kobe’s ESPN page is glowing. He can’t say enough about how amazing Bryant’s numbers were last year considering he was coming from off-season knee surgery and thus came into the season without having played any basketball in four months.

    I’m also not quite sure where you’re getting your info about his view on the Ariza deal. The only comments from him about the Ariza trade that I know of were in his blog where he says this:

    “From L.A.’s perspective, this deal was a no-brainer. They give up two guys who weren’t playing while adding a true 3 — a position the Lakers needed to bolster. And Ariza is another athletic young player who can become part of the nucleus headed by Farmar-Turiaf-Bynum if and when Kobe Bryant finally gets a new address. In terms of value this was a deal they couldn’t pass up — Ariza’s upside is far greater than Cook’s, and Evans was disposable.”

    I guess I’m saying I was puzzled by your characterization of Hollinger because it doesn’t jive with what I’ve read, but maybe I’m missing something.

    I also think Hollinger gets a little pigeon-holed as a stats guy. Sure, stats are a big part of his style but he uses stats to support a bigger picture. He also does a scouting report, that almost always includes non-stat descriptions of strengths and weaknesses, for every single player in the league. Every single player! He talks about their defensive skills (rotating, taking charges, lateral movement) and offensive tendencies (drives, shooting, passing, etc.), so clearly his commentary is more than stats.

    Sure he gets some things wrong (Houston as contenders this year is a biggie) but he also makes some correct predictions before anyone else. For instance, he was saying San Antonio was going to be the team to beat last year while everyone else was still enamored with the Mavericks. His focus on stats allowed him to see that while San Antonio’s record wasn’t as good as the Mavericks they were blowing out a lot of their opponents, the sign of a really good team. The Mavericks on the other had won a disproportionate number of their close games. Some pundits thought this was sign that Mavericks had gotten mentally tough. Their performance against Golden State however, blew that theory out of the water.


  41. the guy formerly known as lamar odom January 6, 2008 at 12:06 am

    I don’t know how you all feel about it, but I don’t like The Long Dude as a nickname for Bynum. No offense to The Dude Abides, but I’m opposed to any nickname with the word “Dude” in it. It’s just not appealing. It’s way less appealing than “The Truth” (sucks) or “The Answer” (answer to what?) Let’s face it, most nicknames in sports are just plain no good. The coolest nicknames out there right now are The Matrix, AK-47, and The Machine; but I don’t think they even come close to “The Microwave”. That’s just plain legendary.

    How about most ridiculous nicknames? I don’t think anything beats “Franchise” or “Starbury”.


  42. Best nickname in sports history? The one I would be happiest to be known as? “The Big Unit.”


  43. As a statistics weenie, I’m of the opinion that Hollinger simply bases his opinions too much on the numbers. Even if he knows why the numbers might be misleading (and he might well know), he too rarely lets on, or explains why they’re misleading.

    My feeling is, if you’re trying to gauge something as subjective as whether player A is better or worse than player B, and you want to use statistics, you better have a huge sample size, and you better know *all* the different ways that your statistics might be misleading. It’s rare to see this, so I’d rather someone just use their experience in the game to judge players.

    Among all sports, there are perhaps a handful of guys that know how to use statistics. I read Neyer a handful of times before he went “inside,” but those few times he seemed to know what he was doing. But by and large, people using statistics don’t know what the hell they’re doing.


  44. The Dude Abides January 6, 2008 at 1:17 am

    Hmm former Lamar…you got something against The Big Lebowski? Anyway…no offense taken 😉 I think any nickname for him must acknowledge in some way the incredible height of the ball at the peak of his dunks. In that one replay angle it is scary.


  45. i’ll call bynum “the beast”

    I agree with eventually letting lamar come off the bench (or spend the bulk of his minutes with the second unit)

    It was great to finally see Critt get major minutes. When he’s finally given a spot on the rotation (as probable replecement to sasha), he will give a great option coz he can play the 1


  46. i’ll call bynum “the beast”

    I agree with eventually letting lamar come off the bench (or spend the bulk of his minutes with the second unit)

    It was great to finally see Critt get major minutes. When he’s finally given a spot on the rotation (as probable replecement to sasha), he will give a great option coz he can play the 1and 2 spot better than sasha. I hope he takes the path farmar took (taking over a rotation spot near the end of the season, and getting a specific role in his second season). PJ was right… JCritt is a “PLAYER”. can we now say he was the “steal of the draft”?


  47. It’s hard to say someone was the ‘steal of the draft’ when they are getting very few minutes – whether this is the coach’s problem or the player’s doesn’t matter. Since we watch like 82 Laker games and maybe 4 max for other teams probably makes us a little biased.

    Give it 3 yrs, then maybe we can talk about ‘steal of the draft’.


  48. Sorry about the double post…
    I think we can start talking about Bynum being the ‘steal of the draft’ though.


  49. Crit, Thorton, and Sean Williams would have been top ten picks in any other draft. All three were steals.


  50. Over in another forum’s basketball thread, we call Bynum “Big Sexah”

    I think it works.


  51. The Dude Abides January 6, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    I like “The Beast” too. I still can’t get over the height of that dunk. As for Critt, I was torn between hoping we’d draft either him or Belinelli. In hindsight, I’m glad we have Critt. He can shoot outside like Belinelli, but can do so much more. He can get to the rim like the early version of Tony Parker.


  52. 47. Who didn’t love Critt last night? I think you’re right about steal of the draft. It’s pure worthless speculation, but: who doesn’t think he’d be in the ROY conversation if say, Atlanta had taken him instead of Acie Law. He’ll make lots of rookie mistakes but he can get to the hoop _anytime_ he wants. I’m not comparing the two directly in any way, but: if he were in Durant’s role of being ‘the man’ in seattle, he’d at least be doing better than durant’s paltry 40% shooting mark.
    And how about some props for Kobe’s sworn enemies, the lakers front office. Arguably, they’ve had the ‘steal of the draft’ three years running now with bynum (definitely steal of the draft), farmar (not best overall, but great for #26 pick), and now critt. the lakers now have 4 positions covered with phenomenal talents all 22 yo or younger (!): Farmar, Critt, Ariza, and Bynum. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be competing literally for the next decade with those 4.