Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  February 14, 2008

Time to clear out the inbox (and the inbox in my head) of thoughts and notes heading into All Star Weekend.

UPDATE: The reports are back on Kobe’s finger injury and you can’t like the sound of it:

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has been diagnosed with a complete tear of the radial collateral ligament, an avulsion fracture, and a volar plate injury at the MCP joint of the small finger of this right hand, it was announced today. The damage occurred when Bryant dislocated the finger in the Lakers’ game at New Jersey on February 5, and was aggravated in last night’s game at Minnesota.

“My current thinking is to give my finger some treatment and rest for a few days, and hope I can still continue to compete at a high level after that rest,” said Bryant. “I would prefer to delay any surgical procedure until after our Lakers season, and this summer’s Olympic Games. But, this is an injury that myself and the Lakers’ medical staff will just have to continue to monitor on a day-to-day basis.”

Knowing what we do about Kobe, he will play through this unless the pain is unbearable. My initial guess, seeing how he played through it already for a few games, is he plays out the season and playoffs, as well as the Olympics. Then, if he still wants surgery, he’d likely just miss a little of camp. But this is something to seriously monitor.

• From the LA Times, Phil Jackson’s words to the team going into the All Star break:

“Stay off the ski slopes,” he said wryly.

• 7-2. Frankly, if the Lakers had Pau Gasol on board before this nine game East Coast road trip, I would have thought 7-2 would have been a good record. As kwame a. pointed out in the comments, if Dallas beats Phoenix tonight, the game between the Lakers and the Suns next week will be for first place in the division. And it should be Shaq’s debut.

• The Lakers are going to show up in plenty of trade rumors for the next week — I would be very surprised if any of them are more than some agent’s fantasy (or some other GM trying to gain leverage in actual negotiations). The Lakers do not need to make a move, they are contenders for the title right now. Let this team gel.

• In fact, the Lakers biggest problem is how to fit their borderline All Star center back into the lineup, as well as their best perimeter defender. While those are concerns, those are the good kinds of concerns to have.

• I’m late to this party, but I love Kareem’s new blog. Very smart, well rounded man.

• Happiest man in the world the wrtiter’s strike was resolved — Jon Stewart. I think Rob. L may be second on that list.

• Going to finally see There Will Be Blood this Friday. Unless somebody can convince me something else is going to win best picture.

• Does Devean George dare step outside his home in Dallas for the rest of the season?

• Why would George nix a trade just a week after he asked to be traded. Well, aside from enjoying ratcheting up the blood pressure of a billionaire, there are other reasons. I’ll let agent-in-training JonesontheNBA explain:

For George it’s about leverage. By keeping his Birds rights he makes it so he could get paid more via a sign and trade if he wants to go to a team that is over the cap, but unable to use their mid-level. As well, he doesn’t want to nix the opportunity to be included in a sign and trade this summer with a 1 year sweet deal if Dallas tries to package him in a deal to get another player. Basically it’s just all about the options for him.

• By the way, I still think he may change his mind over the weekend.

• Can’t say it enough, the best part of all these Western Conference trades if you’re a Lakers fan — Phoenix and (if the trade goes through) Dallas get a lot older, pushing all their chips in for this season. Maybe next season, if all the key parts can stay incredibly healthy in their mid 30s. The Spurs are an old team and may be finally showing it. Meanwhile the Lakers key cogs are under 30 — Kobe, Pau, Bynum and Odom. The only guy over 30 is Fisher, who is basically splitting time with the rapidly-improving Farmar. The Lakers window is at least four years right now.

• Just like Jerry Seinfeld, things in my life tend to balance out. Since the Lakers are going great, it explains a lot about what is going on with Newcastle United.

Kurt

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166 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. I quite enjoyed There Will Be Blood. But then again, I’ve liked previous Paul Thomas Anderson movies, and I like Radiohead (guitarist Johnny Greenwood composed the score).

    I wonder if Devean George is doing Dallas a favor by holding the trade up. I’m still not convinced they’re a better team without Devin Harris.

  2. Kurt-

    You should go see “No Country for Old Men”. Javier Bardem will almost certainly win best supporting actor and I think it is a little more entertaining overall. With that said, Daniel Day-Lewis is the man. You won’t be dissapointed either way.

  3. I’ll leave most of the basketball-related stuff to Kurt and several of the very insightful commenters because you guys blow me out of the water. But I’ll say one thing — LO is quickly becoming a favorite again, he looks comfortable, he seems flat-out ecstatic to be in the role he’s in (which will grow even more flexible, as has been said, once Bynum returns), and now those images of a mummified Lamar during last year’s playoffs are much easier to bring to mind. Just a good story all around, and I couldn’t be happier for the guy.

    As for There Will Be Blood — It was a phenomenal movie, but so was No Country, and I think that whoever wins Best Picture will lose out on Best Director to the other, and vice versa. Just two incredibly well-made movies, and in a sense I think it’s a no-lose situation.

  4. Daniel Day Lewis is electric in There Will be Blood, but the Coen’s No Country for Old Men will win Best Picture. It has won the bulk of the pre-Oscar precursors.

    As for the Lakers making more moves, I hope not. I agree we have all the right pieces for a push to the championship right now. And I would hate to see LO leave. He is certainly an expensive fourth option on offense (when Bynum returns), but what he brings to the table with his versatility, rebounding, passing, and defense, I just don’t see any other player available for acquisition in the league being able to contribute that as well as learn the triangle offense.

    And I hope that the Kidd trade goes through so we don’t have to listen to more talk about him coming to the Lakers. I even read somewhere that people thought Vince Carter would be a good addition to our squad. I laughed out loud at that.

  5. Kurt – nice points, especially about the trade hysteria that’s about to begin. I’m also late to the game with Kareem’s Blog but thanks to that post by you the other day, now have a lot of great new sites to visit.

    On a side note, did anyone else catch that exchange between Fish and Kobe during last nights game with about six and a half minutes left in the 3rd? Kobe had just finished the four point play and you could tell he felt hot. Gasol grabs the rebound and Kobe yells “Ball!”, but Pau immediately outlets to Fish. Kobe yells “Ball!!” again, this time louder. Fisher, who can definitely hear it, pretends not to notice and continues to run the offense. Kobe yells “BALL!!!” one last time before Fish stops in his tracks and nails a pull up jumper. Minnesota calls a timeout and on the way back you can see Fish and Kobe exchanging some laughs over it. Gotta love Fisher! He’s the only player on our team with the moxy to run the offense despite the pleas from 24. (Good thing he made that shot though…phew)

  6. i posted this at truehoop, but it is relevant to the george block that is going on with the mavs:

    “here’s what i don’t get from george’s side: he doesn’t want to give up his “rights as an early bird free agent” where because of his 2 year tenure with the mavs, if still with the mavs when this season ends, he can be re-signed or signed and traded for a contract number that could exceed the salary cap. because these are early rights and not full bird rights, this exception can only be used by the mavs; he loses them in any trade he agrees to. radman did this 2 seasons ago when he agreed to a trade from the sonics to the clippers. he lost his bird rights, and ended up leaving the clips as an unrestricted free agent (ufa). now, for george, i understand he wants that contract flexibility, but by blocking this trade, he sealed his fate with the mavs. he is not going to get re-signed by them now and will most likely become an ufa after this year. so ultimately he will be in the same boat whether he stays in dallas or agrees to go to jersey. he will be an ufa at the end of the season and can sign with any team under the cap (for any dollar amount that fits under that team’s cap) or will most likely sign for the vets minimum or the full or partial piece of the mid-level exception. the only leverage he loses is his ability to be included in a sign and trade…but in reality so much would have to match up for a sign and trade to work that it is pointless to hold on just for that. he should realize that his situation is really already determined whether he excepts this deal or not.”

    i definitely see nate’s point, though. but in nate’s scenario, george is still just a contract to whatever team he gets traded to…plus he would still need to agree to go to that team in a trade. so, in theory, if george stays with the mavs, he could do a sign and trade. but what are the possibilities that 1) the mavs actually want to do this with george and 2) that george actually agrees to go to the team that the mavs want to send him to? he is already blocking a deal to the nets where there are definitely playing time issues (carter/jefferson are entrenched at the wing spots and play heavy minutes) and team quality issues, but that’s where the mavs are trying to send him. will his options be any better in the offseason? will the mavs look to accomodate him and send him where he wants to go, or will they just continue to look for the best deal for the team, and if george goes for it then great? if he stays with the mavs, will they look at him as the guy that cost them kidd, and maybe the championship? i see george’s side to this, but there are some strong negatives to blocking this deal when there are no guarantees that this ends up any better for him at the end of the year.

  7. I wanted to bring up something I haven’t seen much discussion about regarding the Shaq to Phoenix and Kidd to Dallas trades: with the Western Conference being so absurdly tight right now, it’s actually a real possibility that either the Suns or Mavs (or both) could end up in the lottery this year if these trades even just marginally worsen their teams. Look at the standings right now and you’ll see that Phoenix is only 4 games up on 9th seeded Denver while Dallas a mere 3 games up on the Nuggets. Is it really smart to be doing such major tinkering with your team (namely trading away key pieces of your team’s core) when you’re that close record-wise to teams that wouldn’t be in the playoffs if they started today? Just something to keep an eye on, especially with Phoenix’s upcoming schedule…

  8. Yams, Keep up the good work. You continue to be *everywhere*.

    Great point to on the tightness of the race and what even one bad week could lead to.

  9. Kurt:

    You bring up a good point and I would like to hear some of the regulars comment on this as well: Now that we have seen Gasol get acclimated to the triangle, where does he fit in when Drew comes back? Can you foresee a front court of Odom, Gasol and Drew on the court at the same time? I think the triangle would fit this line-up because it is constantly moving and rotating, thus the “bigs” (As Stu would say) are not stationary and clogging up the lane. On the other had, someone is not going to get very many touches and it is imperative the Lakers get Drew the ball in a position where he is comfortable.

    The flip side is the defense. As you have noted, the D has sort of dropped off in recent weeks. Will Odom be able to guard quick three men? I personally can see Josh Howard taking him apart. Do the Lakers bring Odom off the bench when they play quick teams? I am excited to see how Phil deals with theses issues. If anyone can make it work, it is Phil.

  10. i agree with the comments about the tightness of the standings in the west…
    look at it, something like 10 teams above 500 ball, so 2 of those teams aren’t gonna make it.
    whereas in the east… well you know.
    all it takes in this tight of a race is a bad stretch of 4 games, or an injury to move from the top to the bottom, just that quick.

    if this was last years team, I would not have faith that we could compete at this level, consistently.
    but that is not the case this year, this team has the swagger that they feel they should win every game against every opponent, and so far, it’s based on reality.
    look how they played Detroit and that was without Pau.
    this team can and will hang with the best of them this year, and as we’re all seeing, our future, the next 4 to 5 years are even brighter.
    a great time to be a laker fan, way to go Mitch!

  11. 6. This is a money thing, pure and simple. There is some chance, let us say 25% that he will get included in a sign and trade to make salaries work. These things happen all the time — witness Aaron Mckie and (almost) P.J. Brown. He could expect to get a large payoff in that setting (say 2 million) over what he will make in the free market. So he stands to lose $500K in expectation — if Dallas or NJ could find a way to give him an extra million, he would be quite happy. I think it is unfair to expect him to just leave this money on the table.

  12. I don’t think that having Gasol and Bynum figure out how to play with each other will be difficult at all. Neither of these guys get a whole lot of shots as it is (Gasol’s averaged 12.7 FGA as a Laker while Bynum’s only averaged 8.5 FGA this year), so I think any concerns about them not getting enough touches while playing together with Kobe is an overrated idea/concern. We all know Odom isn’t gonna demand the ball either (10.4 FGAs this year). Bynum and Gasol should work very well together on offense as well, due to Gasol’s good face-up game and mid-range jumper, meaning he can play the high post while Bynum mans the low post. Bynum and Gasol should honestly have little problem adjusting to each other out there on the floor.

    The only problem I really can see is with Odom at small forward. With Bynum and Gasol in there at the high and low posts, Odom’s going to probably need to hit some open shots or at least make his defender pay by quickly slashing if he’s left open. I don’t have too much worry about Odom on offense because he can hit open shots and can slash if he wants to, plus his superb passing and ability to get offensive rebounds should help make up for whatever he lacks in those other areas. The problem with Odom really will be defensively when he’s needed to guard perimeter-oriented SFs who are smaller and quicker than he is. I don’t think this is too big of a problem though, since that will really depend on who the Lakers are playing, and if it does become a problem in one specific matchup then Ariza can always be inserted instead.

    The tightness of the Western Conference race is really ridiculous. The 1st seed Hornets have 15 losses, so they’re only 5 games ahead of the 9th seeded Nuggets who have 20. By comparison, in the East, there is a 4 game difference in the loss column between the #1 seed (Boston, 9 losses) and the #2 seed (Detroit, 13 losses). A bad streak for any of the top 9 teams in the West could drop them out of the playoff picture. The Lakers have to stay focused and play every game with as much intensity as possible.

    Thanks, desus32. My ubiquity is a direct correlation to my boredom :)

  13. 11. I think the chances that Dallas “rewards” George as part of a sign-and-trade now are next to nothing. After he held up this trade, I can’t see Cuban letting it happen, even if it hurts the team a little.

  14. who ever came up with the “western arms race” really hit the nail on the head for what we’re seeing right now.

    just think about it.
    remember when it was a dynamic dou that was what it took… (surrounded by the role players)
    shaq/kobe, duncan/parker, dwade/shaq…
    then a #3 specialist, Manu, Fish, came up as a bonus.

    nowadays, teams feel they need at least a ‘triple threat’
    we had that going with Kobe/Bynum and Lamar, and we were looking pretty awesome. then Andrew goes down, and we pick up Pau Gasol, so we keep the threesome aspect going, but the whole league also knows that Andrew is coming back…

    so now we are looking at a Quadruple threat…
    kobe/pau/’drew/lamar….(with top tier role players…too many to list!)
    so to keep up, Phx picks up Shaq, so what do they have?
    Nash/Shaq/Amare/..babarosa?
    the Mavs (might) have
    Dirk/Howard/Kidd/…Terry?

    san antonio somehow doesn’t feel they need to prove anything, since they are the reigning champs, but they might be rudely surprised this year come the playoffs.

    but like I said, whoever coined the phrase “western arms race”…goodonya!

  15. kurt,
    i agree with the cubes vendetta angle.

    also, you sign and trade 3 types of players 1) guys like mckie, pj brown, etc. players that have little to no use/are retired and are needed only for salary purposes, 2) players who have a high value around the league or for a specific team, who do not want to stay with their current team: like rashard lewis this offseason (he had a great deal of value to orlando, and seattle used that value to create the market) or 3) players you like but through a mutual agreement will no longer play for you (kobe kinda fit this mold when he was about to re-up with us 3yrs ago; he said he wanted a sign and trade, and the lakers were willing, but ended up fighting to keep him). george no longer fits any of these criterea. he still wants to contribute (he already requested a trade to go where he would play more), he does not have a high value to other teams around the league, and he pretty much iced his relationship with the mavs by blocking this deal. it is highly doubful there is a sweetheart sign and trade staring george in the face this offseason.

  16. Tony (9): Actually, defense is where I think Lamar can actually play the three. He’s pretty good at covering guards on the perimeter, so defending the small forward shouldn’t present too much of a problem for him.

    It’s on offense where I’m less convinced about his abilities against the threes. He doesn’t feel comfortable just shooting over them; he’d rather try to outquick them, even in the post (which he can’t do down there), or ends up bowling them over for the quick charge. If he could remember to switch his game around when he’s being defended by a three, he’d be in much better shape.

  17. I’ve been meaning to watch my DVR’d episodes of The Daily Show to see what Jon had to say now that the strike is over.

  18. Odom should not be traded as long as he can be resigned for lesser money in the future. Which 3 would fit in with the Lakers right now? You would be looking for a 3 pt shooting, tough defending, and decent rebounder. Other than Caron Butler, Josh Howard, or Shawn Marion, I can’t think of any 3 that I would rather have over LO. And we know that we have no shot of landing any of those 3. Prince could fit in, too, but he’s not coming to the Lakers either since Detroit will not help us. The Lakers might let LO go to save money, but I’d love to see him as our 4th option or 5th option. This would be the closest thing to our 80’s Showtime team w/Magic, Byron, Worthy, AC(Rambis), and Kareem, except that it will be much younger overall. If Spurs, Suns, and Dallas continue to decline, only the Blazers will have the talent to challenge us. New Orleans and Utah will be there, too, but we have more size, athleticism, and depth to capture another 3-4 titles in the next 5 years.

  19. Things are looking GREAT for the Lakers!

    Check out the current standings: http://tinyurl.com/3auqom

    The Lakers have the 3rd best record in the West, and are 1 game behind Phoenix for the Pacific Division lead and 1 and 1/2 games out of 1st place in the West.

    Now, check this out:

    Phoenix’s remaining February schedule: http://tinyurl.com/24l88g
    Dallas’s remaining February schedule: http://tinyurl.com/3xwynt
    New Orleans’ remaining February schedule: http://tinyurl.com/dl5te

    ALL of New Orleans’ games are against winning teams this month. Phoenix has 5 games against winning teams in February (only 1 against a losing team). Dallas has 3.

    Plus, THEY ALL PLAY EACH OTHER this month! So someone has to lose!

    Meanwhile, check out the Lakers: http://tinyurl.com/ytym8u

    Only 3 games against winning teams, but that includes 2 against Portland — and I think we can win both of those (they’ve lost 7 of their last 10).

    WHAT THIS MEANS: Lakers could come out of February sitting on top of the Western Conference, and with Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza right around the corner!!!

    GO LAKE-SHOW!!

    KOBE 4 MVP!!
    http://www.RespectKobe.com

  20. In case you haven’t heard, Coby Karl has been sent back down to the D-Fenders.

    “Hi I’m Coby Karl, I am the son of George.”

    Really, I can’t use that last line enough.

  21. Guys, I went to Brazil for 15 days and when I get back the NBA is changed… At least the Lakers are better, so, if you guys want to chip in for my next trip, maybe we’ll be even better when I get back ;) (just kidding)

    About Gasol and Bynum… Playing both at the same time will imply that Gasol will be guarded by a PF, which is probably quicker than him. I find it hard to see them both play at the same time. However, this could be perfect against small-ball teams…

    What I don’t see at all is a frontcourt of Odom, Gasol and Bynum. Odom can’t shoot the three, making defenses really crowded inside, hurting the triangle offense.

    What I can see is two REALLY strong units playing minutes, with PJ making small tweaks to adjust against each opponent. Perhaps against Spurs Walton is on the starting lineup (to spread the offense) and against the Suns we get Radmanovic…

    Ideally, the Lakers will have something balanced like:

    Fish, Kobe, Radman, Odom and Gasol with Farmar, Walton, Ariza, Turiaf and Bynum (or Sasha sometimes).

    I’m just happy now…

    Is a Celtics-Lakers Finals still a pipedream?

  22. When people discuss the window of opportunity for the Lakers, there’s one fact that doesn’t get mentioned that often but has me really giddy. My impression is that the team as assembled right now is made up of players who really want to be in LA over all the other teams.

    We’ve all heard enough about Kobe and his whims, but you have Farmar who recently mentioned that this is the team where he wants to succeed even f it means a role of less traditional PG duties. Walton is the kind of LA guy that wouldn’t want to play elsewhere. I’m sure Turiaf will show his loyalty after the support he received from the Lakers throughout his recovery. I think this will probably be Fisher’s last stop, for more reasons than just the health of his daugher. I guess Pau couldn’t get into a much better situation, finding some similarities to home in LA while also getting back to that competitive level he’s experienced with the national team. Bynum is a special case because other teams will throw the max at him. But if he’s taken care of financially, my impression is that he’d rather stay than leave. Also, just the regularity with which the players smile on the court (Kobe, Fisher, Vujacic, Turiaf) tells me that they might really have something special going on.

    And one other random tought, I assume the Lakers will now be the most attractive destination for the Horrys and Finleys of the NBA looking to win a ring for low salary at the end of their careers. Not a bad position to be in to fill the bench spots with eager veterans.

  23. I am a firm believer of putting your five best players on the floor at the start of the game (sorry Manu.) I do not think having Odom, Gasol and Bynum on the floor at the same time will hurt the Lakers at all. They will be more than able to spread the floor and make teams play for trying to clog the middle. Odom has more than proven he has an adequate midrange jumper and can drop an occasional three when needs be. But where he can really make teams pay is when they run at him off of rotating defensively, and he drives right by them to the hoop for a score or for a pass to one of the really bigs inside or he passes outside to Kobe for a jumper or for a drive or he can pass to Fish for a three or Fish can even drive. The possibilities make me giddy.

  24. Love this site kurt. One point I am not sure has been made yet. The Suns and Lakers both have 1 game left before the Feb. 20 meeting. Dallas for the suns which I think they will win due to uncertainty surrounding the Kidd trade and Atlanta for the Lakers, on Feb. 19, which we should win with being at home and rested. If both us and Phoenix win or lose or we win and they lose then on Feb. 20 we can take the division due to the fact of the tiebreaker we would own, currenty having won two of the three previous. I love it that for now we control or own fate in the division. Btw this is first time posting but I have been following this site since December and it has added greatly to my enjoyment of this season.

  25. funny that you’re an EPL fan. You’re my best link back to Lakerdom while I’m over here on short-term assignment in London. :)

  26. Kurt-My boy Essien is coming back from the African Nations Cup and so is Drogba, so Chelesa will resume its hunt for the title. What do you think about the EPL proposing to play in other countries, I woould love to go to an EPL game.

  27. I asked this in an earlier post that probably no one is reading anymore … but I am really curious as to why Alan Massengale left/was replaced on KCAL. I know his contract wasn’t renewed. Did he end up somewhere else?

    E

  28. Lakers play Hawks and Suns back to back? That kind of sucks, I wish we could have played a much more plodding team like Milwaukee or something before the Suns, young springy athletic teams always make you work for a half at the least before falling over

  29. 27, yeah i was wondering about that too. I miss the mini basketball shots :(

  30. Don’t know if this was shared already, but Charley Rosen gives some good insight into Pau’s strengths and weaknesses…

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/7773532/Gasol's-game-looks-like-a-nice-fit-for-Lakers

  31. I’m so excited about this team.

    I think Gasol and Bynum in at the same time will create nightmares for teams. With Gasol on the elbow, and Bynum on the block……Dangerous!!! Gasol has the size to see over the top and can dump those lobs into Bynum all day!! Plus, when Gasol has that ball on the elbow, opponents will start to sag down for fear of that, which will create so many wide open 3’s, and so many oppurtunites to swing around for another wide open outside shot, clear lane or better angle to drop it back into the post.

    Plus, with both of these guys, i think the key is that we can create a better balanced rotation. We can always have at least one of them on the floor at all times which means better consistency out of the post which is the key to the Triangle.

    Also, neither player is a “i want my shot first” kind of player.

    Wow

    Hey Kurt,
    When you mention that the Lakers should not make a move, what possible moves are out there that people could start talk about? I havent heard anything…..whats in the rumor breeze?

  32. Emma (27): Don Corsini did not renew Alan’s contract when it came up in May-June last year. No idea what Alan is doing now. Alan reportedly said that he harbored no ill feelings toward Corsini.

    I don’t have a cite for this, sorry.

  33. 21, your comment that Gasol being guarded by PFs with more speed might hurt his game has some merit, but consider how much we saw Bynum out near the perimeter setting picks this year – Gasol could very well post up players who are smaller and quicker when he and Bynum are out there together. Also, Gasol has a lot of experience playing PF (Darko was Memphis’ center this year, as was Lorenzen Wright in the past), so he’d be well used to playing against the 4s of the league.

    I really don’t see any problems at all with playing Bynum and Gasol together out there. They seem to be the kind of players who were made to play on the floor together, IMO.

  34. Great site, I found it at the beginning of the season and have been following it since.

    One option that I don’t think is too popular, but I think might be a good idea is to have Bynum come off the bench when he comes back. I think the starting 5 now of FIsh, Kobe, L.O., Vlad, and Pau are starting to form a good chemistry and it seems to have really helped both Lamar and Vlad’s games recently. The Lakers could then come off the bench with a second unit of Jordan, Machine, Ariza, Turiaf, and Bynum, which is significantly better than any other second unit in the west. I’m sure there will be times when we will use both Gasol and Bynum on the floor at the same time in the clutch, but I think bringing Bynum off the bench significantly improves our second unit and allows him to beat up on backup centers.

  35. Great point on the time frame for a championship. The Pau Gasol deal really gives the Lakers many more years to win the title. I’d say wish Kobe’s diminishing role and Bynum and Farmars development, we have about six more years to make something great happen with this franchise. I can’t see these players negotiating for top dollar if they win back to backs and three-peats. You have to believe Pau and Kobe will settle for less money in four years if they have the chance to win 4 in a row. I’m looking forward to many more good years as a Lakers fan in this next decade!!

  36. Luis-That is an interesting idea. It may be the best way to ease Bynum back, but I think if he comes back and is in form, it will be hard to not start him.

  37. What’s great is that our bench, although certainly not as talented as our starters, are adequate and bring something entirely different to the table. It would be even greater if all of them could work on their defense and be like Ariza (and Sasha in that one game)… that would just throw opposing teams off big time.

    Also, we have lots of players who can slide over a spot meaning we can go small or big, run or go half court. LO being slow to defend 3’s won’t really be a problem as he’ll have two 7 footers guarding the paint, and if he can’t stop his man, he can always try to trap.

    As for potential trades, I’m all for letting this group jel, and although expensive, you’re not gonna find as talented a player as LO is WITHOUT pouting over lack of touches. Imagine Marion asked to play FOURTH wheel here, and how that would affect the locker room.

  38. Luis-
    I don’t think that is a great idea because we will notice soon that we really need Bynum’s defense out there. We have gotten by against sub-par competition with an outstanding offense. Our defense is much worse with Bynum out and he needs to start when he gets back. We won’t win any championships if we don’t have a solid defense no matter how well our team is clicking on offense.

  39. Luis, the idea is interesting, but Brian P. and I are on the same page. While the Lakers have gotten some great wins, it’s because the offense has been amazing since Pau arrived. The defense has been weaker but covered up by the offense. In the playoffs, the defense will matter more.

    That said, the great thing right now is the versatility of the Lakers lineup. If the matchups worked, you really could bring Bynum off the bench if you wanted to.

  40. 38 & 39-Good point about the defense, it is true our offense has been great recently and that has led us to win. I know that the defense will be key in the end, that’s why I think Gasol & Bynum will be on the floor together in the 4th quarter when it matters.

  41. Luis,
    Look at how Phil handles his rotations. Until the beginning of the 4th qtr in games where we are ahead he doesn’t sub in more than one or two players. We could accomplish the same thing if we subbed out Bynum and/or Lamar with Vlade and/or Ariza and would get much of what you are talking about. This is more likely the way Phil will get Bynum into peak conditioning for the playoffs.

    For a totally unrelated lark this link reminds me of Joe McDonald (a local LA sports commentator).
    http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1801552
    It is totally unsports related, but I find it morbidly funny for Valentine’s Day.

  42. Luis, Brian P, Kurt: Don’t you think it is almost certain that Bynum will come off the bench when he first returns? It’s just a matter of how long it will take before he returns to the starting lineup, isn’t it?

    Assuming he’s healthy and can get his timing back, I think he should be back starting within 5 or 6 games. I see him with Pau (4), Lamar (3), Kobe (2), Fish (1). Although I’m concerned about Lamar’s ability to play offensively at the 3, I think that with all the offensive firepower on the team at this point, he can be more of a rebounding force at that position. The triangle affords a lot of mid-to-long-range jump shots, and Lamar should be in a good position to get a lot of those mid-to-long-range rebounds.

    For defense in games where we are up late, I like Bynum (5), Turiaf (4), Ariza (3), Kobe (2), and Fish (1). Maybe the Machine (1) if we still have fouls to give. :) He sure does seem to get under other players’ skins.

  43. 42. To start, sure. Because of the nature of his injury he has some serious conditioning to do. But I think we were opposing that as a long-term plan.

  44. So…

    http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/080214kobeinjury.html

    Now I don’t really know what this means…I guess we’re just gonna have to wait and see. I don’t think we should worry right? Any thoughts?

  45. 44. Wow, it’s worse than I thought. That said, my guess is he plays through it this season and for the Olympics, then if he needs it gets the surgery after that (maybe missing part of training camp). But we’ll see.

    That or he REALLY wanted no part of Rip Hamilton in the three point shooting contest. (I kid, I kid)

  46. That is not good news.

    If there’s anyone capable of gutting his way through an injury like this, though, it’s Kobe, as he’s well demonstrated over the years.

    In fact, it’s the kind of thing that could help cement an MVP award, if he’s able to maintain the level he’s at right now despite the hand.

  47. I’d like to see Phil start keeping Kobe’s minutes down after the break, especially against the sub .500 teams, like I don’t know how necessary it was for him to be out there in the second half of the 3rd quarter last night when we had the game won at the half. But I dunno; we all know Kobe is a warrior and he’ll play through it. Hopefully Gary Vitti and the training staff know what to do (that thing he said he wore against Orlando seemed to work pretty well, the stimulator or whatever it was) and Kobe will find a way to get his shot to fall regardless. Hopefully in a few weeks or so we’ll forget all about this injury, and come late-season/playoff time he’ll play so well we’ll all have long forgotten about this injury.

  48. From ESPN Page 2:

    http://tinyurl.com/2mrtqh

    Mitch Kupchack, Evil Genius [scroll all the way to the bottom if you want to only read the Mitch Kupchack, Evil Genius part.]

  49. Critical Beatdown February 14, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    I made the mistake of watching There Will Be Blood a few days after No Country For Old Men. Blood was excellent, but Country was great, and very few movies match up to it.

    I would have probably enjoyed Blood much more if I’d seen it first.

  50. Great posts. Just found this site a month ago. Very insightful.

    Phineas,

    Totally agree about LO. I really hope we don’t trade him (although I don’t see many people asking for that on this site). He’s such a great player when put in a 3rd/4th option role, and we need to appreciate an all-star caliber player who relishes being a role player, as such players who are still in their prime are few and far between.

    Have a good one.

    Happydaze

  51. 32: Thanks! That’s all I have heard as well. I wondered if people might have “behind the scenes” info around here.

  52. Kurt,

    “No Country for Old Men” is head and shoulders above all other films this year.

  53. 48) I feel like that was a poor attempt at trying to do what Kelly Dwyer had been doing with these posts:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/nba_experts?keyword=Shocking+dialogue

    Check the J Kidd/Rod Thorn post. Just classic…

    ESPN should put KD on page 2 and let him run wild.

  54. Bynum may or may not come off the bench regardless of his conditioning, because he’s just 20 and may need psychological reassurance more than anything else. That’s something for the Zen meister to consider, anyway. It may be easier to start him and play him 10~15 as opposed to have him come off the bench and play 20~25.

    The injury thing is both a bummer and reaffirmation. Kobe wants to be part of this team, part of this dream. He’s basically saying “Thanks FO, I have heard you loud and clear, now I’m going to play up to your work.”

    … Or, he wants the MVP pretty badly and thinks he has a good shot, especially with KG out with injury. Either way, the man can play through pain, and as long as delaying surgery does not aggravate it, i’m all for him giving 120%.

  55. I’m very sad to hear about Kobe’s injury. We’ve been really luck that he’s never suffered a major injury during the season.

    On a related note, I had the most amazing dream last night of Kobe sinking a game-7-game-winning-3 against Phoenix left handed. While words can’t describe how I felt while I was dreaming this, I now hope that he’ll be forced to do something like this in the coming weeks.

  56. I can’t believe that New Jersey didn’t get Brandon Bass in that deal, Bass is a beast.

  57. noooo! seriously why do we get kobes finger injured? why not sasha?!

  58. Let’s get on Gary Vitti for these continuing injuries.

    Really, we do seem to have a continuing problem with injuries. I guess the gods are testing us to see if we deserve the championship we could win this year.

    Keep fighting, keep winning. Thank god for Gasol, Sasha, and Lamar.

  59. espn said he wants to play through the injury but he might not be able to….awwww crudd i hope he can muscle it out the rest of the season.
    but it might be good for him to have the surgery now. we might be able to still hold the fort down with bynum and ariza hoefully coming back in 3 weeks.
    im very sad! what is with the injury bugs every single year!?!

  60. It does seem never-ending, doesn’t it? Still, and I know it’s hard to look past this year when it’s been and continues to be such an unexpected and amazing ride, I think we can all agree: we are freaking money for a while.

  61. Go to google, type “worst nba trainer”, and click the “I’m feeling lucky” button…pretty funny.

    58. My first post on this site was somewhat of a long rant about my lack of trust in the training staff and this just makes me doubt them even more. First there was Chris Mihm needing yet another surgery to fix his foot and now this. It’s always terrible injuries, it’s always long recovery times, and very often they misdiagnose the injuries (they initially said Kobe’s finger was dislocated: perhaps it was at first and it got worse last night but who knows). So with this kind of track record, I’m not only concerned about Kobe but also about Andrew. That was a damn serious injury, and if they misdiagnosed that then god help us all. Everyone always says that the Lakers have the best training staff around, but you look at how much we’re plagued by injuries and then you look at Phoenix, who has injury prone Grant Hill playing like he’s in the prime of his career, and Amare bounce back from microfracture surgery like it was nothing. I don’t know, it seems as a Laker fan these days as soon as there’s something to be happy about again there’s something terrible to cancel it out.

  62. They’re probably exaggerating Kobe’s injury to try and keep him out of the All Star Game so he can rest it.

  63. ive been thinking…
    this injury will not affect his future as far as playing with it, so why not and just give it a shot.
    you know he’s going to play through it.
    it’s kobe HE HAS TO!
    and yes we are set to be champ contenders for the next few years which is comforting….

  64. God I hate Ric Bucher.

  65. i think 62 may have a point. Or is it just wishful thinking :-/ ?

  66. 64-I’m second the notion. Can you actually take Ric Bucher seriously? Get well Kobe! The Lakers need you! In other news, the Lakers are third on the Western Conference =]

  67. Something else I’m hearing now is that the Lakers made this press release to get Kobe out of the All-Star Game (sort of like a phony doctor’s note or note from your parents to miss school) and that it’s perhaps not as serious as they’re making it out to be, hence the NBA not taking Kobe out of the game and naming a replacement. What do you all think about this theory, could it be possible, and has something of this sorts been done in the past where a team exaggerates an injury to the media for whatever reason?

    Here’s the link from ESPN my buddy sent me:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/allstar2008/news/story?id=3246576

  68. Oh my bad I didn’t see post 62, sorry about that.

  69. Lamar Odom is back! February 15, 2008 at 1:19 am

    it’s conspiracy time!!! Who goes first? Kurt?

  70. Excellent points everyone, this is what makes Kurt’s site very entertaining and educational.

    Kobe’s injury is something to be concerned about. What I would like to see is Kobe taking as much in-game rest as possible. The upcoming sked is much easier to bear so Kobe should rehab it by playing lesser minutes. Sasha would be more than willing to sub in and give 24 his rest.

    Drew will still get Phil’s nod and it will reflect come summer. He gets 65m 5yrs like what AlJeff got and the injury saves the Lakers around 2m per year on the extension. Drew’s agent must be dreaming dollars right now and Luol Deng, Dre Iguodala and Ben Gordon’s precedence ensures he signs it. He knows he could go down with another injury and he would mess his financial future.

  71. I think Kobe should have surgery now and come back in 2 – 3 weeks. Think about it. He has a complete tear right now. If he comes back in 2 – 3 weeks and re-injures it, he’s in no worse position than he’s in now. If he comes back in 2 and protects it until its fully healed, then this is a win/win.

  72. Recovery time from the surgery is 6 weeks, not 2-3, but Ric Bucher is reporting that they’re considering amputating the entire right hand.

  73. Mike in the Mountain West February 15, 2008 at 4:14 am

    I’ll trust Kobe with his decision but it’s clearly been affecting him. I’d rather see him get the surgery and be totally healthy for the playoffs. Our schedule going forward is much easier so we might drop a couple spots in rankings but I prefer that to Kobe making his injury worse and being ineffective in the playoffs or even missing them all together.

  74. Full recovery is 6 weeks. i.e. good as new. What I’m saying is that he doesn’t have to wait for full recovery because the worst case consequence of re-injury is no worse than what he has now.

    On another note. Lebron has a little oweeee on the fingers of his non-shooting hand and sits out 2-3 games (Cavs lose) and Kobe has a dislocated finger/completely torn ligaments on his shooting hand and leads his team to a 6 -1 record after the injury. Whose the MVP?

  75. I think there is a decent chance the Lakers organization is talking up this injury to get the league to let Kobe skip the All-star game. Only time will tell.

    I was very disappointed by “There Will Be Blood.” I though DDL’s character was facinating but conspicuously one dimensional. There was no evolution. He was the same person in the end that he was in the beginning, which I think takes away from DDL’s performance (although he didn’t write the script).

    I really liked “No Country” although I don’t understand some of the scenes. Can someone explain to me what the getting hit by the car at the end was all about?

  76. after seeing this video, i somehow feel a bit relief
    maybe you will too :p

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vukMoNEtkBQ&feature=related

  77. 50. Excellent point about Lamar being an all-star caliber role player. I can only think of a few off the top of my head: Camby, Kirilenko, Ginobili (with the injuries, he’s back to starting, be he’s willing to come off the bench). Marion finally got his wish to be a main man and is off this list.

  78. Ronny Turiaff has been a devoted Laker and crowd pleaser from day 1. Ronny has been and could be the starting 4, his natural position, right now. He’s healthy, been hitting those 20 footers, and adds some defensive muscle. Instead, Lamar has been eating up “his” minutes.

    Luke Walton, substantially healed, has watched VladRad start at the 3, and heard rumors that Odom was switching over and Ariza was coming back–even though he was one of the few with championship experience remaining on the Lakers.

    Lamar is precariously holding onto the 4 until Bynum recovers, allowing Gasol to permanently assume that position. Given Lamar’s embarrassing flop at the 3 earlier in the season, and the three other players entrenched at that position, and Lamar’s salary–being a player without a clear starting position should keep Lamar up at nights, Googling the internet to find where he was being shopped–preparing for the swap.

    I could go on.

    There are reasons for many of them to feel uncomfortable and/or unfairly treated. Has anyone heard a murmer of dissension? I dobn’t think so.

    Why?

    Fact is, all of the players on the Lakers right now appear to be where they want to be–and they want to stay here. Even Kobe.

    Why?

    Please don’t let this secret out. These guys are a little whackey. They believe that they are on a team that will win the NBA championship this year.

    Now the craziest thing of all. Suddenly everyone in the NBA is taking them very seriously. Hollinger has them #2 to the Celtics.

    It’s a great time to be a Laker fan.

  79. Kobe’s head is finally in the right place. Putting a team mentality ahead of himself. I think all the “Kobe is a ballhog” haters have gone into hibernation.

  80. 62- I just don’t think the team would go out of its way to say its a complete tear if there wasn’t one. Now he may be able to hold off surgery until the summer, but I think he’s hurt.

    My guess is that he will play, we’ve come to far and are too close to something special, he will not forefit that. Remember, even a 3 game losing streak, which is very possible without Kobe, can put a team in the West on the brink of not making the playoffs.

  81. Kobe’s head is FINALLY in the right place???

    I hasn’t been Kobe who has made the most changes the last two years, it has been us observers.

  82. 77-I don’t think anyone doubted Kobe’s ability to perform at the highest level with TALENT around him. Managment and Coaching are in place, so now is personel, with that around him, I know what he will bring

  83. You know I too see this as most likely trying to keep Kobe out of the All-Star game. He’s played great since the injury and even though last game he did hurt it again I just don’t see it screwing over his season. So unless he actually gets surgery or his production becomes terrible and after the ASG he plays always fiddling with it then I’ll be willing to concede it is something worse.

  84. There will be blood is terrible, seriously dissappointed. Try “Juno”, I gaurantee you will love it!

  85. Kurt (or anyone)- What is your favorite Cohen Brothers movie? Mine is ‘Big Lebowski’.

  86. Mike in the Mountain West February 15, 2008 at 11:54 am

    There is no way the Lakers lied about his injury because they would have had to convince the doctor, who they named, to lie, and no doctors going to do that. They were very specific in both the diagnoses and the suggested treatment. If they had been vague and just emphasised that it was a serious injury, or hedged by using language that gave them an escape from the diagnoses than maybe you could make the case they were exaggerating but they didn’t. They said this is what it is and it’s going to require surgery at some point.

  87. The Dude abides

  88. 85. O Brother Where Art Thou

  89. I am a bit confused about Kobe’s injury.
    it is supposed to be a “complete tear of the radial collateral ligament,” that sounds to me like they will have to surgerically repair the “tear”.

    it doesn’t sound like Therapy is an option.

    so, I don’t see how he can help himself (as some suggest above) by playing less minutes.
    is this an injury that can heal with therapy and rest?
    or, will it require surgery to fix it?
    and if that is the case, it seems to me like playing until June this way could lead to more extensive injuries.

  90. “blood simple” was a classic, and don’t forget “Raising Arizona”…and of course, “Fargo”
    that’d your partner in the wood chipper, there, eh?

  91. ‘Lebowski’ for sheer originality/performance/rewatchability, after that it’s close though I personally felt they kind of lost they way for a while until ‘No Country.’ O Brother Where Art Though and Fargo are high up on my list. Also, word on the street is that the Coen’s have just announced plans to write and direct MIchael Chabon’s ‘They Yiddish Policeman’s Union.” Anyone else read this? Seems like a great match to me.

  92. My question about Kobe’s injury is… if he postpones surgery, would he be risking permanent damage or anything like that? Or is it just a matter of playing with pain?

  93. it is a matter of playing through the pain.
    The ligament is completely seperated from the bone. He can’t injure it any more.

  94. Kind of an obvious perspective, but I think Hollinger makes some good points (insider, I think.)

    http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3247384&name=hollinger_john&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab1pos2

  95. phineas,
    Could you please give us Cliff Notes…for those of us who refuse to pay ESPN money for their columns.

  96. 95. Craig, the short of it is that Kobe should go under the knife now (not necessarily an opinion I share), but basically he’s saying that if he doesn’t, considering how much Kobe handles the ball and drives to the basket, it’s likely the pinkie will get hit and hit and hit. And though he managed to really fight through it on the road trip, after he’d hurt the pinkie but before it was reinjured, we all know how it affected him at Atlanta, immediately after hurting it (4-16 from the field, 3-5 from the line, 11 points.)

    The part I found most compelling was that he argues getting the surgery is the only way to compete for the title this year. “If winning a championship is the goal, then there’s only way to do it, Mr. Mamba. Sit out these next six weeks and hope your supporting cast is good enough to get into the postseason. If they aren’t, you weren’t going to win a championship anyway. If they are, then it doesn’t matter where you’re seeded — with you and Andrew Bynum back in the lineup, you’ll be the team to beat in the Western Conference playoffs.”

    Of course, this is all based on the idea that we’d still be in the playoff race after six weeks without Kobe, and that scares me, I’ll admit.

  97. If he gets the surgery, he should do it ASAP. I didn’t like what I saw Mitch say about playing a couple weeks and then getting the surgery.

  98. Im also with him getting the surgery. I know the west is a tight race and a losing streak will get us out but its not all too bad. reasons —

    1. our schedule gets easier along the way. easier than most of the top western teams. which gives us a better chance to stay in the playoff seeding

    2. i want a healthy bryant if we’re gonna push for the championship this year. and he can certainly get back when the playoffs are on the horizon if not already started.

    3.Its not like were gonna be terrible.(if he opted for surgery) we are playing very well and PAU only helps and the comebacks of Bynum and Ariza are more than enough for us to stay in the playoffs

    I could care less if we seeded 8 or 7, everyone already knows that if healthy the lakers can take just about anyone in our conference, with that said, i would rather have everyone healthy and get a lower seed than play through it; Risk even more injury.

  99. I am indeed ecstatic that the writer’s strike is over.

    Kobe’s injury is what it is. He’ll either astonish us all yet again by fighting through it or he won’t. Once again, I’m not sure how dislocating a finger during play is Vitti’s fault. I really think the Lakers have just had terrible luck the past few seasons. It is human nature to want an explanation for the bad breaks in life, but sometimes there just isn’t one.

    Favorite Cohen movie is hands down: Miller’s Crossing.

  100. No pun intended, but I am a bit torn on this one. On the one hand, there is no one else in the NBA that can play as well as Kobe can through pain, but come playoffs, when, especially near the end, there is more isolation ball, I wonder how this might play into it. Surgery may be tough for the lakers to handle with only 3 games seperating them and the 9th seed, but the lakers might have to dig down and play decently with him out. Another concern I would have is how the chemistry of the team would be if Kobe gets surgery, since his return would realistically be early april, thus there being a maximum of about 6-7 games where he could play with Bynum, Odom, and Pau on the court at the same time.

  101. 94, phineas
    I kind of agree with Hollinger. I’d rather have Kobe 100% for the playoffs than him being less than that. Of course, there is the very possibility of not making the playoffs without Kobe to help us during the next 6 weeks. But I think this team can hold the fort with Andrew and Trevor back in a month or so.
    So, even though everyone knows Kobe is a warrior, right now it’s not being tough and playing through pain, it’s about being smart and helping your team out in the long run. That’s why I’m leaning towards Kobe having surgery right now.

  102. Bobby Smith (75),

    The narrative reason for the Chigurh being involved in the car accident is to highlight the element of chance. The author of the novel, Cormac McCarthy, likes to deal with fate and chance from a philosophical perspective, chaos theory in modern scientific parlance. Chigurh himself is the narrative’s agent of chance and fate. Think of it in terms of the spate of Laker injuries. Kobe too is an anomaly in terms of his ability to concentrate and perform in spite of great pain and/or duress.

  103. Good thing the west’s all star coach is a former laker who still bleeds purple & gold. Scott was quoted saying he’ll play Kobe as little as possible or as much as possible, depending on how much minutes Kobe wants out there.

    C’mon Kobe, just get the surgery.

  104. He should go under the knife…however, THERE IS NO TIME! If he does, and is out 6 weeks, then he comes back with about 5 or 6 games left on the schedule. That is NOT enough time to integrate the entire crew, figure out minutes, etc. It also depends–when is Bynum slated to come back? If its another 4 weeks then its just not enough time….i doubt we make the playoffs then (we’d probably be a .500 team over the next month, and thats not good enough). I mean…he could go ahead and do it, but I say that eliminates our chances at a chip this year.

  105. Mike in the Mountain West February 15, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Some have pointed out that currently only three games separate the Lakers from the 9th spot in the west and have used it to suggest that if Kobe is out for 6 weeks we could easily slip out of the playoffs. But if we look a little deeper we’ll find that it wouldn’t be as hard to make the playoffs as one might think.

    Right now 8th place Houston has a winning percentage of .615 (32-20). If that remains the winning percentage that one needs to get into the playoffs that would translate into about 50 wins. Putting aside how ridiculous and historic that would be, the Lakers need 15 more wins to reach 50 and with 30 games left they would only need to play .500 ball. Add in all the advantages we have going forward (weak schedule, number of home games, etc.) and I think a lineup of Fisher, Vujacic, Odom, Turiaf, Gasol, and our strong bench, can definitely do that. If they can’t then our team isn’t as good as we think. Plus, Bynum and Ariza will return in time to help out and if Kobe gets surgery right away he’ll also be back for all or most of the 8 games in April.

    In short, even if the western conference stays as bunched at the top as it is now and we have to play the rest of the regular season without Kobe it would take a meltdown of epic proportionss for us to miss the playoffs. So I’d rather take my chances without Kobe for 6 weeks than the risk that his injury hampers his ability when it really counts. Although we are a really strong team just about every opponent we could face at every stage of the playoffs is a threat. One game bad game too many, just one game, could send us packing.

    I hope Kobe takes time to really think about this decision and opts for the surgery. He’s trusted his teammates more this year and I think he just might have to show the ultimate level of trust and put our season in their hands.

  106. Is it clear whether Kobe injured his finger further in the TWolves game, or is it just a new diagnoses of the same injury? If Kobe can play like he has since he went with that new wrap-thing on his hand after the Atlanta game, then IMO he looks like he’s not hindered by the injury at all. If the injury is now worse than the last time we saw him on the floor though, then that’s obviously a concern. If Kobe is gonna get surgery, he needs to do it sooner rather than later, although if he’s unsure I’d like to see him give it a go for the first game or two after the All Star break before making a decision.

    If Kobe does decide in the next week to get the surgery, I think the Lakers should seriously consider trading Odom for either Shawn Marion or Andrei Kirilenko, if either player can be had. I’m worried about the prospect of Odom going back to being the #2 option on the team for an extended stretch (depending on when Bynum actually can return), and would rather get a player in there who actually could help shoulder the scoring load a bit more. Since I think there are already worries long-term about how well Odom will fit in as the team’s permanent small forward, it might be a good idea to get Marion or Kirilenko anyway, just because that really is the natural position for both those players. Both those players are better defenders than Odom and better shooters as well too, which would not only help while Kobe’s out, but is more what the Lakers really need from the SF position moving forward. What do you think?

  107. I think I am going to come down on the side of trying to play and make the decision off that (Kobe’s position at the moment).

    The ESPN radio show on 710 in LA this afternoon had the ESPN specialist on injuries on the show and she explained the injury extremely clearly. Her conclusion, when asked about whether or not he should continue to play, was that the dr would have told – not advised – he get surgery and do it now if he would have injured the finger with further playing. So it seems this is a matter of pain, not of further injury. That would make it Kobe’s call.

    She commented that the Laker staff must have done a very good job of ‘patching him up’ or he couldn’t have performed at the level he did finishing the road trip. The problem would be if the finger were forced out from the rest of the hand again and Gary Vitti has taped the two fingers together to prevent this from happening. If he gets hit on the finger – this is inevitable – then there may be a fair amount of pain, but no further damage.

    If Kobe is able to pull this off and the Lakers finish 1 or 2 in the West – I say this should about wrap it up for his 1st MVP award. Even the hating writers will not be able to talk about his selfishness anymore.

  108. Get the surgery #24 and be 100% for the playoffs. Would hate to see other teams purposefully injure/hack #24 to force him out of the game/season/playoff series.

  109. 99- I’ve just been gainin a proper appreciation of Miller’s Crossing, defintley a great one.

    If Kobe plays through this, leads his team to a title and country to gold, he goes down as one of THE best ever.

  110. http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-stars16feb16,1,707403.story

    Looks like he’s going to play…but I love the quote from Byron at the end:

    “The last thing I want to do is make the injury worse,” said Scott. “I don’t want to put him in any jeopardy.

    “If he says, ‘Give me a minute out there and take me out,’ that’s what I’m going to do.”

  111. 110-Byron was Kobe’s ‘mentor’ in ’96. I love B. Scott’s coaching style. New Orleans plays defense

  112. By the way, in part due to comments here saying it is a very good film and in part because the show times work better for us, we’ve switched to No Country for Old Men.

  113. Good choice, Kurt. I do not think you will be disappointed. Get ready for the ending though.

    And for trading Odom, I will say it again: there is no one that will be able to duplicate what he does while also trying to learn the triangle offense. If Kobe does indeed have surgery, we need to keep with the constancy rather than throwing everything up in the air hoping it will work out.

    That said. If the pain is bearable, I think Kobe will play through it which I think is the best decision for the team and for our chance in the playoffs.

  114. I feel Kobe should have surgery immediately; this team won’t fall out of the playoff picture without him in the lineup.

    According to estimates, Kobe should miss 22 games.

    Of those 22 games, Andrew Bynum and Ariza will play in at least 10 and at most 13.

    Without Bynum or Ariza, the Lakers have to play ATL, PHO, LAC(x2), SEA(x2), POR(x2), MIA, DAL(early March), and SAC.

    Bynum and Ariza are questionable for games against SAC(Mar 9), TOR(Mar 11), and NO(Mar 14).

    Bynum and Ariza should be available for games against DAL(mid March), HOU, UTA, GS(x2), CHA, MEM, WAS.

    Of those 22 games, the Lakers would have to win about 14 games to remain at a .670 winning percentage.

    I’m confident the Lakers can beat ATL, LAC(x2), SEA(x2), MIA, CHA, MEM, and WAS. That’s 9 wins. If we can split the rest of those games, we should be poised to make a great run in the playoffs.

  115. 1. From what I understand the ligament was torn the first time and they waited until LA to get a good look.

    2. I am sorry, but I have to err on the side of “if Kobe gets this surgery lakers risk falling out of the playoffs.” Why do you think sasha and fisher get good looks? Why can Gasol be so effective? Kobe is a big reason. Even with the finger injured, he is still a threat. He still needs two defenders. Lamar has looked so at ease b/c the preasure of being #2 was taken off. I am sorry, but in this difficult conference, no games are easy, no wins are assured. If the only ramification is pain, not damage, and Kobe can play effectively through it…well…I just don’t see how we can do without him.

    3. We don’t reallly know when bynum and ariza are coming back. At best it is 3-4 weeks. But what if it’s not? What if it’s more like 5-6, or 7-8? Obviously this would be a heavy burden for this team if that is the case. Especially if Kobe is out with surgery.

    HOWEVER…
    the only way I see this as a maybe is Kobe’s ability to seeminly heal at light speed. I remember one time he was out with a surgery that was supposed to keep him out 5 weeks and it kept him out like three games. Again, it is just so risky to hope he would heal faster.

    Anyways, that’s my take.

  116. sorry, it wasn’t surgery, but injury…

  117. Melvin Mason Jr. February 15, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    I feel that Kobe should go ahead and get the surgery done. I would not like any player to have to play throw a ton of pain just to get through this season, the playoffs, and the Olympics.

    I heard he said he will give it a try, but your fingers are important for “touch” and control of the ball, whether shooting or passing.

    Also, I am thinking for the future. It is possible, now with Gasol, that the Lakers could “hold the fort” until Kobe comes back. Remember when early last season when Kobe was out to start the season and how dominate Lamar Odom was. If, and I do mean if, we got that Lamar to go with Gasol, plus the additions of Ariza and Bynum coming back next month, then I think the Lakers could make at least the sixth or seventh spot in the West.

    This team, if kept together, is stacked and set up for a strong title run for next season and years to come. If the Lakers did not get it done this year. I am still excited about what this team can do for years to come.

    Sorry for the long post, but I hope others understand my ideas and where I am coming from.

  118. Kobe is not normally about percentages, he is about winning. That is why I think he will go with playing out the string, instead of having the surgery now.

  119. The more I think about this, the more I’m torn about it.

    Against surgery – This is Kobe’s first and could be his last legitimate shot at the MVP. Kobe has haters, West Coast has haters, and with KG out with injury and LeBron not showing the same toughness or team success, this is Kobe’s shot.

    For surgery – Lakers are talented enough to keep their heads above water, and the whole 6 weeks will be devoted to building our second unit — any combination without Kobe, that is. That will serve much better for a deep playoff run.

    Against surgery, 2 – 6 weeks is an estimation, not a set date. As are the return dates for Bynum and Ariza. Besides, re-injuring the same place happens every so often as well, so getting surgery does not mean we’re risk free during playoffs. Worst comes to worst, we may be without Kobe, Bynum AND Ariza until the playoffs. And that means integrating two vital pieces and one useful piece all at once during series that has teams dissecting every weakness.

    For surgery, 2 – let’s get real and go back to the beginning of the season, where we thought we were contenders, not challengers, and set up for the NEXT sesason. as much as our first pick will hurt if we don’t make the playoffs, we can afford to take this year off teaching the triangle to the newcomeers.

    Against surgery… you get the point. I’m torn.

  120. Kobe has got to have the surgery now, when the All-Star break will give him a couple of extra days of rest and he can still come back and have a couple of games to get integrated with the rest of the team before the playoffs. Eight games may not sound like much time for the team to learn to work together at full capacity but it’s better than zero, right? If Kobe plays another 6-8 games and THEN decides to have the surgery the team will be in a much worse situation.

    There is also the question of effectiveness. I don’t doubt Kobe’s ability to play through pain, but at some point it is going to start affecting him. He’ll start playing differently to avoid getting hit on the finger, or to avoid anything else that might cause him pain, and his game will suffer as a result. This isn’t a knock on Kobe, it’s just human nature. You see it all the time in baseball when they try to rush a pitcher back from an injury; inevitably, the pitcher adjusts his mechanics as a result of the pain and has trouble pitching effectively.

    I think this team, playing the schedule that it has before it, can play .500 ball even without both Kobe and Bynum. If they think they are truly good enough to win the championship with everybody healthy, then they shouldn’t worry too much about seeding. Yes, they’ll have a harder road as a 7-8 seed, but not that much harder. Essentially, they’d have a difference in the first series by having to play one of the tier one teams (SA, Dallas, PHO, or NO) instead of one of the tier two teams (Utah, GS, Hous, Den). And, I don’t think there is a big difference between those two tiers, which is why the West is so bunched up this year.

    For those people wanting to trade Lamar, forget about it. In my mind, there is absolutely no conceivable scenario that would result in the Lakers front office trading him. Consider:

    1) They are already over the cap by a fair amount.

    2) They have to resign several important players (Bynum, Farmar especially) after next season.

    3) Lamar’s huge contract expires next year, which makes him very valuable from a cap standpoint.

    4) Lamar is actually still very good, which makes him valuable from a player standpoint.

    5) The only players we could trade him for that would actually be better players would be similarly priced players that have longer deals (because that’s why you would want to trade for Lamar right now). The Lakers will not want to take on another big contract when they have to sign Bynum to one very soon. Artest, Kirilenko, or Marion would all might play better with this team on-court than Lamar but they wouldn’t necessarily work from a chemistry and cap point of view.

    6) Lamar will actually have an incredible amount of value next year. Consider that we got Gasol by trading Kwame’s bloated corpse simply because of the cap space cleared by his massive expiring contract. And Lamar is actually good! Teams would be falling all over themselves to trade a crappy contract like Kirilenko’s to the Lakers to get Lamar in return. So … why would the Lakers want to get rid of him?

  121. chibi, thank you a ton for analyzing our upcoming schedule. I believe Kobe should put the ultimate faith and trust in his teammates and get the surgery immediately.
    harold, you’re right in that it’s getting tougher and tougher for Kobe to win MVP, but I’d rather have KB24 win 5-6 rings and finish with 0 MVPs than him having 3 rings and 1-2 MVPs.
    If management, Dr. Buss, and a lot of people are recommending surgery, I think Kobe should heed their advice.

  122. Melvin Mason Jr. February 15, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    I just feel that Kobe, along with Bynum, should do what is right for them physically and not either, try to “play through it” or comeback too quickly. Knowing Kobe, he would play through it even if it killed him because I think he knows this is the best post-Shaq team he has had.

    If there is one bright spot, at least it is not his index or middle finger as the pinky can be taped to the ring finger until surgery.

    Hey Kurt, do you remember when Worthy messed up his finger back in 1989 or 1990. It was against Golden State I think. They tape the injured finger and the one next to it and he was able to play.

    As long as Kobe does not go “Ronnie Lott” on his finger , he and the Lakers will be in good shape, surgery now or later.

    Note: Ronnie Lott was with the 49ers and had a bad finger cut off. Just added info if people did not know what I meant earlier.

  123. Melvin Mason Jr. February 15, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Ran into this at ESPN. John Hollinger makes some good points. It is an insider article

    http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3247384&name=hollinger_john&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab2pos2

    If winning a championship is the goal, then there’s only way to do it, Mr. Mamba. Sit out these next six weeks and hope your supporting cast is good enough to get into the postseason. If they aren’t, you weren’t going to win a championship anyway. If they are, then it doesn’t matter where you’re seeded — with you and Andrew Bynum back in the lineup, you’ll be the team to beat in the Western Conference playoffs.

    Keep in mind that your team doesn’t need to do all that well without you in order to make the postseason. The Hollinger Playoff Odds project 48 wins will be required in the West; if the Lakers go 13-17 in their final 30 games they’ll finish 48-34. Anything better than that and a playoff berth looks certain.

  124. Melvin Mason Jr. February 15, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Every thing below the link is Hollinger’s words. I forgot to put in the quotation marks.

  125. My favorite Coen movie: well, that should be obvious to everyone who’s seen it. Fargo was very good as well, same as O Brother Where Art Thou. I didn’t see Miller’s Crossing. However, I think my favorite Coen film and the best Coen film are two different movies…I think No Country For Old Men is their best film. One thing, though, is that I went to see it knowing that I would have to pay attention to every detail in order to know what was happening. For example, when you know who checks the soles of their shoes near the end.

    As for Kobe, I’m sure he will play through the injury. He’s Kobe.

  126. Jordan just made a three and blocked a lay up

  127. Melvin,
    I agree with you about the surgery, but if the current winning percentages hold, it will take 51 to make the playoffs; Lakers need to be 16-14 to get that.

  128. Wow, I cannot believe any of you are actually advocating Kobe playing through this injury. As much as you, as a Laker fan, may want to win this season, and as much as you, as a Kobe fan, want to see him win MVP and lead us to a gold medal, you should also be concious of the consequences. Sure, in the BEST case scenario, Kobe plays through the pain and leads the team to the champ.

    But, we all saw how Kobe played after the original injury. The recent damage has only made it worse. Playing with it again risks much more severe damage. On top of that, you all are acting like this is THE season, that this is the last season Kobe can do it. We are talking about a mans future career here. If he screws around with his hand, it could really be over. And not only his career, but his life: a severe finger injury could plague him the rest of his years.

    Furthermore, if Kobe opts for surgery now, he still has ample time to return for the playoffs, and this team is capable of reaching the postseason. Even if they don’t, God forbid, Kobe definitely will be able to play for USA in the summer.

    The surgery has much less risk, both long and shortterm, than does putting it off. Kobe is headstrong and motivated, and that may cloud his decision, but it should not cloud Laker fans, especially Kobe fans, who look into the heart of the matter.

  129. The bad play Kobe had in those games (NJ and ATL) can be attributed to a bad tape job. The tape job he had against MIA, CHA and MIN had him playing fine. He will adapt even better. If he wants to play, who is gonna stop him

  130. Mark Cuban may be so focused on having a new Kidd on the block in Dallas that he may have neglected to consider other possibilities. Mark apparently is looking for a bigger guard to pair with Jason Terry. Harris is faster but too short.

    There is another point guard as tall as Kidd who is quicker, shoots a better 3, has played with many NBA teams, started at point guard for a major Western Conference team for several years, and once made a three point basket in the closing seconds of a playoff game that rescued victory from defeat.

    Unlike Jason Kidd, this player might cost so little, that the Mavericks could keep Stackhouse, Diop, and Harris. In fact, the Eastern Conference team involved might actually buy out his salary and pay the Mavericks to take him.

    Before Mark Cuban trades away half of the Maverick team or gets himself in luxury tax Hell, someone needs to suggest that he make a discreet call to the player’s agent and the team’s general manager.

    I’m sure that Smush Parker is available!

  131. Pretty good game by Farmar in the Rookie/Soph game. Its always fun to see the TNT guys commentating.

  132. Some Fast Break Thoughts of my Own:

    A. In Bruges was worth seeing as long as you can stomach some fairly grotesque acts of bodily damage. (i.e. bullet holes in people’s faces). 4 out 5 stars.

    B. I was listening to the KLAC podcast of a Kurt Rambis interview and they brought up Pau’s ability to fit in the team. Kurt obviously said he’s a great guy and wanted to fit in and got along really well with everyone.

    “He just seems like he’s very comfortable in doing whatever it takes to help the team win. If they need him to post up and score, that’s what he’s willing to do. If he can pass the ball out of double teams, he’s got no problem doing that–he doesn’t try to force the issue and doesn’t get into scoring points..” –Kurt Rambis

    I think that Pau’s personality lends him to being a really good number two option, but hinders his ability to be a really good number one option. In contrast to Michael Jordon and Kobe Bryant and even Mike Bibby, when it came down to it, they are going to go for the jugular. They are the alpha dog and a double team wasn’t going to stop them. All of those players had the confidence to believe that no one was going to stop them, no matter what. Pau is much like Dirk in that he’ll take what the defense gives him. My elementary analysis leads me to the conclusion that Pau has the potential to blossom with the Lakers in a way he never could in Memphis. Everyone expected him to be The Man in memphis when he’s probably more comfortable deferring to someone who has that killer instinct. The weight lifted from his shoulders could lead to a liberation of his basketball play. Also, this may mean that Dallas needs a number one guy (with a lot more skill than Jason Terry) to go along with Dirk before they make the big time.

    C. I am significantly less excited for the All-Star game knowing Kobe will only be making a token appearance, if at all.

    D. I’m in the camp that believes he should get surgery as soon as possible for most of the reasons above.

    E. I have pretty much failed to get into medical school and I won’t be applying again (this is already my second go-round). Any ideas on what I should do with my life?

  133. I am up for letting Kobe do what Kobe wants. Why speculate? If the finger cannot be further damaged, then I can understand Kobe wanting to play.

    I loved his quote when they asked what this means for that finger “I am gonna be that cool grandpa who can bend his pinkie all the way back”. Classic…

    85 – yea, Miller’s Crossing also my favorite Coen film. Fargo a close second.

    And I think you should have gone to see “There will be Blood”. I loved it. Acting was terrific and the pacing was great. “Bastard in a basket!!” I’ll quote that line forever. Daniel-Day Lewis is as sure-fire a winner this year as Dwayne Wade getting 2 free throws for sneezing.

  134. I say let Kobe play. I remember seeing an interview with him at All-Star Weekend where he was asked the long term repercussions of playing through the injury. He said something about being a freaky old grandad who can pull his pinkie in weird directions and laughed it off.

    What I like most about Farmar last night was that he didn’t force the issue with shooting and set the table for lots of guys. He had a nice line with 17pts 12ast 4reb 4stl 1to. Congrats to him on his first quasi-double-double. It was the Rookie Sophomore Challenge after all; but at least this year the Rooks played some D giving up 57% shooting, instead of last years 74.7%!!! Plus he did it in only 21:49.

  135. Kobe may feel like he has to play through this as part of his maniacal work ethic. If the plug is going to be pulled in favor of surgery, it will be management telling/forcing him to do it.

    exhelodvr, your comments on Kobe and his surgery are on the latimes.com front page right now.

    Looking forward to the dunk contest tonight. We haven’t had a collection of straight up leapers like this ever…

  136. Gatinho-I think the dunk contest is cool again, the whole internet suggestions and voting makes it much more fun for the fans

  137. I am curious from those that think Kobe should get surgery about the advantages of getting it now versus waiting a few weeks and feeling things out? (He could wait a bit, get the surgery and still be back in time for the playoffs.) Here’s why the latter makes sense to me…

    1. Less time when Kobe, Bynum, and Ariza are all out if he waits and does decide to get it…Basically, if he waits two weeks for example, decides it is the best option to get the surgery, what have we lost? We are two weeks closer to the return of the other players. It’s not like the injury can get worse, I was speaking with a doctor and their point was “well, it’s already torn off, there’s not much else that can happen in regards to injuring it more, and it is actually a good tear b/c it took a piece of the bone with it, much easier to heal.”

    2. Opportunity to evaluate truly how effective he can be with this injury. Like I said before, he hasn’t missed a free throw the last 3 games…

    3. Opportunity to let the rest of the west play out a bit. If it is getting less tight, then maybe he can risk it. However, what if it goes the other way? If it does, .500 ball won’t cut it. Lakers went 7-2 on their road trip and are 8-2 in their last ten, yet they have barely made up any ground.

  138. ESPN just reported Kings trading Bibby and reportedly not even getting Childress back.

    As for the dunk contest, I think its an excellent sign to see Dwight Howard, a legit superstar, competing. This has to be the most exciting year since superstars used to participate.

  139. Bibby/Law
    Joe Johnson
    Marvin Williams/Childress
    Josh Smith
    Al Horford

    Atlanta will make the playoffs in the East (I know that’s not saying much, but they have nice young talent, they really needed a PG). Although, does anyone think they may flip Bibby before the deadline?

  140. the other Stephen February 16, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    the game against the suns is going to be MONDO HUGE.

  141. Atlanta did flip ‘Sheed a couple of years ago, but they have been looking for a PG forever, and their bear witter seems to think they were going to make a move for a PG, which would suggest they’d keep him.

  142. In the East, depending on seeds, that move may get Atlanta to the second round of the playoffs. That’s a team with a lot of athletes that I wouldn’t want to face in the first round of the East.

  143. I thought Al Horford was a better candidate for ROY than Kevin Durant because of his overall play and impact on his team. I have seen him several times now and that team is better than advertised with him banging down there – and he isn’t really a center. With Bibby I think they are going to really pound some people. I just hope it doesn’t start with a season sweep of the Lakers.

    Man! we get to break in two of the really big trades over the last week.

  144. On the Bibby trade, check out the brilliant Ziller for insight:

    http://www.sactownroyalty.com/

    The first of two bigger picture blogging posts from me goes up tonight or tomorrow morning. I caught the bug going around and that has really slowed my pace down on posting, sorry.

  145. 144-Craig, I agree, Horford has been the ROY. Durant just jacks up a lotta shots on a bad team. Horford is a rebounding beast

  146. Maybe we should put together a campaign to the ‘talking heads’ so that he can get some more pub. The ESPN centric media always mentions him as an ‘also-ran’. It is like, if they didn’t make you in the first place, you have no business winning anything.

    How about some of these people demonstrating that the really understand basketball, rather than just follow their own dunk highlights.

  147. Did you guys see the Haier commercial with all the laker’s shots?

  148. I like Peja to win the 3pt contest and Moon to win the dunk contest.

  149. Dwight Howard’s Superman dunk was obscene!

  150. uh, what i meant to say was Kapono and Howard, yup, Kapono and Howard.

  151. KwameA,as soon as I saw it was the Hawks,my first thought was they’d move him for a First(or two)and a big and filler…and Cavs fit the bill.

  152. Technically taht superman one wasnt a dunk, but that was pretty insane. I’d put his performance today over even carter’s (2000?) showing. The cake dunk was pretty cool too by Green but his final round dunks were simply lame.

  153. carter blanchard February 17, 2008 at 1:14 am

    You kidding? Both Green’s last two dunks under normal circumstances would have been huge crowd pleasers in a normal year. No-shoes through-the-legs, and an over-the-backboard-alley-oop through-the-legs?? (number of hyphens alone tells you how good that was) But the fact was he was hugely outclassed by Howard’s creativity. While I have mixed feelings about his Superman (not quite a) dunk, his two off-the-backboard self passes were two of the best I’ve ever seen.

    Other assorted notes: Wade’s defense of skills championship was a pathetic display. As was Kidd’s inability to hit an open 20 footer. I kind of have a suspicion that Kapono practices the 3-pt routine more than anyone ever has. All in all, today was a pretty strong day. I’m excited for tomorrow.

  154. Wow if I’m lebron i’m pissed management couldn’t put together a better package than that ATL deal. But as a Lakers fan i’m happy. did u see that black cast kobe had on during the dunk contest. it looked like he was wearing darth vader’s hand prosthetic. haha lukkkke i am your father.

  155. 154- Ronny & Jordan Video II:

    Hi I’m Luke, Kobe’s son?

    Anyway, Kobe looked like he was enjoying the festivities, and had an air of confidence and contentment looking at the activities that makes you think he likes where he’s at…

  156. As far as creativity goes, his second dunk was not awe inspiring, especially considering the standard that had been set in the previous round by Howard with the superman “dunk.” I did like the no shoes dunk, but the actual move he did was essential the same as he did on his 1st attempt.

  157. hey, nomuskles. you should think about teaching. I know it doesn’t provide the money or glory of being a doctor, but today’s kids really need good mentors. I don’t know how it works where you are, but here there are so many positions without teachers, the schools hire people straight out of undergrad, no teaching experience or knowledge required. If it’s the same where you are, you could even try it out before going for your certification. Just something to mull over.

  158. oh, and hope you feel better Kurt.

  159. Harald(156),
    Kobe seems to have fun at every All Star Game and in the off-season games that are held. Could be he gets to play basketball w/his peers just for fun,w/out having the constant pressure of leading his team.
    However,he and Dwight developed a really great relationship during the Olympic qualifying run. (Almost every bench shot had the two of them together,talking,smiling and laughing.)I believe that playing w/Dwight-and seeing the effort Dwight puts into lifting,improving his game,etc.-lead to Kobe’s public frustrations w/Bynum.

  160. carter blanchard February 17, 2008 at 5:30 am

    Draiiiiiiiiinage!

  161. 160 – interesting take! looking at it again tho it looked as if Kobe laughed, checked the jumbo to see if he was being shown, then laughed harder for image control. anyway, great show on the dunk contest. I hope kobe doesn’t get too excited and plays more than he must.

  162. Stephen,
    One problem with your Kobe-Howard scenario. Kobe went off in June — before he and Howard spent much time together for the USA team. Kobe was very quiet after his June rampage.

  163. Phil’s concept of Laker D seems as complex as the triangle, but pieces had begun to appear before the injuries to Trevor and Andrew. Pau Gasol has allowed Phil to consider expansions of his philosophy never seen in Chicago, and not seen in Lakerland since the days of Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Let’s call it situational defense.

    Phil wants to dictate the pace of the game, scoring the high percentage shots on offense, minimizing turnovers, minimizing the percentage of opponents on defense–targeting key players–getting defensive rebounds, blocks, and steals.

    He wants to make the offense part of the defense but to play for stops and turnovers to close out the game. Pau helps on offense by making such a high percentage of his shots that opponents have very few opportunities for fast breaks. Pau also either directly or indirectly helps with offensive rebounds. On defense, he uses finesse, redirecting more shots than he blocks, getting his share of defensive rebounds.

    It seems obvious that Trevor and Andrew will make substantial contributions, but even with the defense that we have, our points scored/allowed difference is third best in the NBA.

    That’s why you don’t hear me complaining about Laker defense lately–even though I’d like us to reduce the number of points scored by opponents by 5-10. That might well happen when Andrew returns.

  164. Lamar Odom is back! February 17, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    The cake dunk was way overrated.

  165. Craig(#163),
    True,but my perhaps faulty memeory is that while Kobe went public w/trade demand in June(and at time I admit I blamed the timing for LeBron Jealosy),he didn’t start throwing Bynum in front of the Buss(couldn’t resist bad pun)until after Olympic Qualifying.
    In any event Bynum’s hard work evidently highly impressed Kobe once Kobe saw the results and all looks very bright for the Lakers.