Archives For January 2008

Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  January 2, 2008

Hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve, and now welcome to 2008.

• After some tough stretches, the Lakers should — should — be able to pad the record a little bit in the next few weeks with this schedule: Philly, Indianapolis, at Memphis, at New Orleans (that’s a tough one), Milwaukee, Memphis again, Seattle. That’s a 6-1, 5-2 at worst stretch for the kind of team the Lakers claim to be.

• Lamar Odom is suspended for Friday’s game against Philly, and deserves to be. Yes, the Celtics had their starters in at the end of a blowout, but it is not their job to keep stop scoring, it’s the Lakers job to play defense. Odom’s frustration foul against Ray Allen was a clean hit in the NFL, but not really allowed under NBA rules.

• For some Lakers fans Lamar Odom has become the new whipping boy, the guy holding this team back from reaching the next level. As I’ve said before, I’ve come to accept that Odom is who he is, I’m no longer willing to be tantalized by the potential of what could be. Odom will get you a double double most nights, have a few spectacular games and a few others where he disappears. So be it.

But, for those looking to replace him, know that there are not a lot of guys who put up the numbers Odom does. And, in the last two playoff series against Phoenix, Odom has been the Lakers best player (I guess Kobe could make a case, but Odom is at least a close second). You can be frustrated with Odom, but replacing his production would not be easy, there aren’t many guys in the league who put up those numbers and who are available (at a reasonable trade price).

• Boston’s defense is fantastic at taking away what you want to do — Bynum couldn’t get position on the block that he liked, Kobe couldn’t find space, etc. More veteran teams can adjust to that, take away one thing from the Spurs and they will attack somewhere else (you can’t take away everything). The Lakers have not had to do that enough yet to know how to do it.

Credit Boston. That is a team that is buying into the system, and the presence of KG behind them to clean up mistakes is making guys like Pierce and Allen decent defenders.

• If you haven’t yet watched the video of the Lakers putting on the short shorts (and talking about them), you really need to.

• Think getting to watch 144 NBA games a season in person as a scout would be fun? Maybe, if sleeping on airplanes, eating hotel food and never seeing your family is fine with you. Great post over at TrueHoop by Brian Windhorst today on the life of an NBA advanced scout.

• I’m enjoying watching Chicago try to sort out their roster. New coach benches Ben Gordon, starts Chris Duhon. Duhon promptly goes 4 for 20 from the floor. Noah still can’t get consistent time on the floor. Is it just me, or did a new version of Skiles become coach?

• Of course, I’d rather try to figure out what to do with Chicago’s roster than Miami’s right now.

• Knickerblogger has a great NBA dictionary up:

Intangibles (adj) – Statistics other than points per game; Tangible stats like rebounds, blocks, steals, etc.
“Ben Wallace is a phenomenal player because of his intangibles.” – Bill Walton