Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  June 23, 2008

As the frustration level subsides in the Lakers nation, we should look at some odds and ends issues that did not get much discussion here. What that means is that for now we return to the regular rules for discussion an Odom (or any other) trade — it is off the table until credible media sources say talks are taking place. For the many new readers here, that does not mean some media guy saying “the Lakers can expect a call” or a mention from Peter Vessey. It means more like Bresnahan at the Times or Ding at the Register saying talks are taking place. The hypothetical trade conversation can continue in the thread of the last post.

There are a lot of other interesting topics to discuss.

• It’s official, Kobe is on the US Olympic team. No shock there. I look at the roster and while it may be small (all the better to run with) like the balance — having Redd and Prince will be key in international ball. Kidd will help push the pace (although I sympathize with Cuban here, Kidd is the player most likely to feel the impact next season from no summer off).

The two complaints I heard were: 1) Not enough big men; personally, with international ball and the “big men” being more Dirk than Shaq, I think having Howard and Bosh with Boozer for muscle will be fine (it’s more about quickness and team defense, we’ll see if they get the rotations together); 2) Too many stars. I don’t look at this lineup and see a ball-hogging group, they guys on this roster can pass and the shooters (Redd) fit a need. Frankly, there are no Iversons on this squad.

Should be interesting, because Spain and Argentina (if Manu plays) should be right there with the US.

• By the way, it’s interesting to see the “club or country” debate in the USA about basketball after reading so many of the same arguments around international soccer for so many years.

• And while I’m on soccer, a Russia/Spain Euro 08 finals next weekend semifinal Thursday will be fun. I love watching Andrei Arshavin play.

• Rose or Beasley?

For me this comes down to my draft philosophy — take the best player, regardless of position. From what I saw during the season and Tournament (I saw Rose on television maybe five times, Beasley twice), I like Rose. I think in a league not allowing hand checking on the perimeter, his quickness and strength are going to make him a very valuable force for a decade or more. But, if the Bulls took a close look at Beasley and thought he was basically just as good, they should go that direction as he does fit their needs more. I’m just not sure he’s as good. Hollinger disagrees.

• Anybody have any draft sleepers they think will be good? I saw a good question the other day — who will be next year’s Carl Landry?

• By the way, a post looking at the Lakers options at #58 in the draft will be going up in the next few days. On Draft Day I’ll have an open chat going for people who want to swing by and make fun of what Kevin Love wears to the event (can he top this?), as well as follow the happenings.

• In case you didn’t see it, Ariza did exercise is option and will be a Laker next season. After that he is an unrestricted free agent.

• I’m excited to see Wimbledon starting, although to be honest the French Open is still my favorite to watch. Even if Nadal is unbeatable on the red clay. (I think he may win on grass, too.)

• I am surprised the Suns are shopping Barbosa around. If I were a GM of a team that wanted to get out and run…..

RIP George Carlin. Fuck I’m going to miss that son of a bitch.

• Yes, I just broke one of my own rules for this site, but in that one instance it seemed appropriate.

Kurt

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82 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. I found it extremely interesting that they didn’t go after another big for the US squad after Amare backed out. I’m having a tough time racking my brain to think of someone they could have asked that would have said yes, but it seems we could get really thin downlow in a hurry. The only reason I see it NOT being an issue is because we actually have a really, really good rebounding team. All players on the squad are some of the best rebounders at their respective positions.

    And I’m pretty bummed the Lakers really don’t have any involvement with the Draft this year. I love the NBA Draft and now it just won’t be as fun.

    RIP Mr. Carlin…one of the all time greats.

  2. RE The Olympic Team: While I’m not sure about the Big/Small debate, I really wish Amare was playing. His size, athleticism, offensive rebounding, finishing ability, and his improved jumper will be missed. While I like Boozer, I’m not sure if his bullish ways around the basket are going to be as useful in international play. I really do like Prince, though. And in all honesty, I wonder how Wade is going to fit in. It’s not that he’s not a great player, it’s just that his (offensive) skill set seems redundant to Lebron and I think I would have rather had another shooter ala Mike Miller. But we shall see. I think we are going to see CP3 step up big time in this tourney and the torch will be passed from Kidd to Paul. I just hope that Paul learns from Kidd, that for this team playing in 4th and 5th gear is more necessary, since with the Hornets he plays a much more controlled pace (Nawlins having one of the slowest paces in the league).

  3. another off topic, has anyone seen marc gasol play? i’ve dug up some youtube videos and he looks more aggressive than pau on blocking and rebounding.

  4. Nice post Kurt.

    Regarding your “next year’s Carl Landry” inquiry…I’m going to go with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. He’s a great hustle player with amazing skills on the defensive side of the ball. He’s only played organized ball for about 5 years, so once his body fills out more and he develops his offensive game, he can be a steal in the mid 2nd round.

    I hope Joey Dorsey from Memphis falls to the Lakers at #58. He’s a Ben Wallace type that the team can use.

  5. Re Odom:

    What does everyone think of what Mitch Kupchak said in the LA Times about the possibility of Odom moving to shooting/point guard and Bryant to small forward?

  6. Arshavin is an exceptional talent!

    Hopefully Gasol and Kobe don’t get worn out from the Olympics.

  7. I like the Olympic team. I agree I don’t see to many ball hogs, and most of the players are at least decent defenders (other than Mello). Howard should be able dominate on the boards, even though some teams will have big men that can pull him away from the basket. I think Kobe will once again take on the hardest defensive assignment for the team. If Manu plays and the US meets Argentina Kobe on Manu should be fun, especially since Kobe won’t even have to think about the offensive end.

    I like both Beasley and Rose. Rose will be a good PG int he league for a long time. But I think Beasley has the talent to one of the best players in the league in a few years. He has the whole package, and could very well lead the league in scoring in just a few years. The only concern I would have with Beasley is attitude. Is he going to put in the work required for him to be the best at this level. From what I have read abotu Beasley it seems that he is so much more talented than anyone he has gone up against that he sometimes takes plays off and doesn’t put the effort into the games. That won’t work once he gets to the NBA. Chicago will take Rose, and Miami will be stupid if they pass up on Beasley.

  8. I wouldn’t worry about Kobe in the Olympics. His role will be more specialized this summer – and likely more fun for him. Also, at the start of next year he is going to have to facilitate a lot for the development of the team. If this all means less 1-on-1 I think his body will thank him for it.

  9. Quick heads up, Spain-Russia is not this weekend, but coming Thursday. The final is Sunday.

  10. 9. Thanks, correction made.

  11. I don’t think a lack of depth with the bigs is going to hurt Team USA. Pau, Yao, etc…more finesse than anything. Hopefully Pau won’t have to take a pounding now so much and he’ll be fresher next season (I have Laker blood and guts and USA skin). This is going to be a fun bunch to watch this summer, should be a lot of running and gunning. A gold isn’t in the bag, which in my mind makes it more exciting. Sorry Magic and MJ, no offense.

    Kurt, I loved the Carlin comment. Very appropriate and I was thinking the same thing myself. I remember a line he had in the Kevin Smith flick “Jersey Girl” where he said “I don’t wanna die alone.” I’m glad he didn’t have to, with his family nearby.

    Back to ball, what does this feel like? New lineup possibility:

    1-Farmar
    2-Odom
    3-Bryant
    4-Gasol
    5-Bynum

    1-Fisher
    2-Vujacic
    3-Ariza/Radmanovic
    4-Turiaf/Radmanovic
    5-Mihm/Turiaf

    Pine-Walton, Karl, 2nd round pick, Sun Yue(?)

    Wow. Scary depth. Problem is…well a problem might be, is too many options. The old NFL wisdom of “If you think you have two good quarterbacks you probably don’t have one” is something to consider. Maybe I’m just trying to curb my expectations after this past series, but we’re looking good for ’09. Phil will manage it properly, there’s no one better. With several guys on the bench that are quality starters on most any other team, we may be in a position to be the most healthy and fresh team when it matters. There shouldn’t be a drop-off in production by cutting some minutes for anyone, save Kobe (on most nights). If Vujacic could emerge as a PG in the starting lineup we may be seeing one of the biggest lineups in NBA history:

    PG-6’7″
    SG-6’10″
    SF-6’6″
    PF-7’0″
    C-7’0″

    This would of course be with Kobe and Lamar making switches on O/D to match-up properly. Also, would leave two true PG’s on the bench, but would that be so bad? Fish can probably get away with playing the 2 most nights, small lineup with Farmar pushing the temp, Ariza at the 3, Radman at the 4 and Turiaf as an energy source at 5. Just musings, but I like the possibilities. We can only wait and see where this goes.

  12. to #5.):

    I love that idea. I believe that Kobe will win his 2nd MVP this upcoming season when he averages at least 25 pts and 10 + assts. per game (I also think the Lkaers will go 74-8, sound crazy?). I posted in the last thread that I think the starting 5 should be Kobe, Sasha, Lamar, Bynum,and Pau, with Kobe and Lamar handling point guard responsibilities.

  13. Am I the only one that just can’t get excited for Olympic basketball? I have no interest in the US doing well at all, not something that happens in other sports.

    Man, I hope Spain wins. But I wouldn’t be devastated if Russia made it to the final–Hiddink has crafted them into a fine team, and you have to think that if Arshavin had been playing in the first two games, they might have beaten Spain in the group. This should really be the final.

  14. Regarding Odom playing guard, I really hope they call up Magic Johnson and have him work with him the entire summer.

  15. I wish USA B-Ball would have taken Tyson Chandler over Boozer – so we can see more ‘oops’ between Chandler and Paul.

    I think it will be a challenge in Beijing but I like the teams’ chances provided they play defense.

    Beasley looks lazy and apathetic, but he certainly can ball. I would take Rose to run that Bulls team.

    I don’t know about Odom playing guard – I really like him at the 4. Phil’s got his work cut out for him (hopefully Tex has an idea or two…)

  16. I really think the Lakers have to think about limiting Kobe’s minutes next year. One-we have the bench for it. Two-this back-to-back summer work is gonna take its toll.

    I hope Abrahamovic goes out and gets his countrymen Arshavin, that would make Chelesa deadly.

  17. RE Odom playing guard, this is just cosmetic and it’s really in relation to where the players line up when initiating the offense. Without looking at some film it’d be tough for me to get too specific, but usually the Triangle is set up with the PG and the SF lined up on the strong side with the C in the hub of the Triangle, then the PF is on the weakside block with the SG up high opposite the PG on the weakside. If Odom was playing the SF, he would be on the strong side wing where initiating a post entry would be more difficult if defenses don’t respect his outside shot. If he’s the SG, he’d be opposite Fisher (or Farmar) and would then be the player that would get the ball off of ball reversals either from the PG or by receiving the handoff from the PF that flashed to the high post. Now, realize that our offense runs very right handed where the strong side is usually on the right. If Odom is on the weak (left) side, he can then attack to his left where he feels more comfortable and be attacking from the top rather than the wing in standard offensive sets. So, like I said, Odom playing SG is really just cosmetic, though he will still have ball handling responsibilities, it’s really just a matter of putting him in areas on the court (a lot of weak side, left side, top of the key positioning) where he can be most successful.

    Now, all that said, I could be off base, and I would like to look at some film to see the differences between where RadMan (or any other SF) and Kobe were lining up when the offense was initiated. Anyone know where I can get some film? Ha.

  18. beaking the swearing rule for Carlin…is perfect! That dude made millions of people laugh!!! he is in good hand now.

    Dont let Lamar go Mitch!!!! (I know this was BS talk…but..dont let it happen)

  19. Darius, you’re right on point with that. If Pau is playing the four, it will be him and Odom on that weak side, opening up two man game opportunities for the two of them. And we all know how well those two work together. I can see many plays where Pau flashes to the high post to catch a pass flowed by Lamar cuttin hard from his position to receive a nice pass for a dunk or a give and go play with Pau for a dunk. The more I think about it, that slight tweak would work wonders for the Lakers.

  20. I know this has little to do with this post, but I thought everyone should see this if they haven’t already.

    Shaq clowning on Kobe while blaming him for causing his divorce.

    http://www.tmz.com/tmz_main_video?titleid=1626146951

  21. Oh it’s a thing of beauty when Pau and Lamar are put in a position to play off of each other.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4AkHlM0bvc

  22. Moving Lamar to a guard position seems to have the same problem as moving him to the small forward position, namely that he can’t shoot with any kind of consistency. He can’t spread the floor. I know he’s said that he’s gonna work on it this summer, and I hope the best for him because I like him and want him to keep some kind of important role on the Lakers next year. Hopefully he can come back next fall with a more reliable jumper, and if he does, then he can contribute at the 2 or the 3.

  23. #20
    saw that..what the heck is wrong with shaq? just three weeks ago he was saying how proud he was of kobe.

    did u hear how he also talked trash on kareem?

    wow….I lost all respect for shaq

  24. Nadal has a tough potential second round match against Gulbis, a big, hard hitting 19 year old from Latvia. Gulbis and Djokovic had a real slugfest at the French. Also Roddick has an easy draw and is in Nadal’s half. Federer and Monfils would be a very interesting third round match up. But, is Federer all the way back from being sick with Mono? A Federer/ Djokovic showdown in the semis? Lots of questions this year.

    Ariza could turn out a little like Bynum did this year: the best trade could be no trade, if Ariza developes a consistent outside shot. Then you add a player without giving one up.

  25. Russia has been surprisingly good in the Euro 2008. Because most of their players play in Russian clubs, most of us don’t know their full potential. But with Guus Hiddink as coach and some great players in Arshavin and Pavluchenko, IMO they have to be favored to win this tournament.

  26. I think Ariza will be really committed to improving himself this offseason…and why not? He realizes he’s in a perfect situation…playing for his hometown team that will be contenders for years AND he might be placed in the starting lineup if he can demonstrate a shooting touch.

    From all his comments i’ve heard from the guy, he sounds like he definitely wants to take advantage of this opportunity.

  27. I can hear the Ariza chants now…..”Ariza, Ariza, Ariza”.

    Niiiiiiice.

    Shaq’s rap was some bent up frustrations coming out…..but it was hella funny!

  28. According to Kobe, Ariza worked hard on his outside shot while rehabing the foot, and really improved it. Even if he comes off the bench, he stands to play big minutes because he can guard a 2 or a 3, while Luke and Radman can’t guard either.

  29. Ariza will be an unrestricted FA after next season though. We won’t be able to offer him that much money, or enough of it if he has a break out season.

  30. Darius,
    Thanks for your description of the Lamar move and the triangle. Now all we have to do is hone our team defense, but we have to do that anyway, regardless of the personnel.

    I am constantly amazed how we talk team defense and then all us fans start to discuss 1-to-1 defensive skills.

  31. If we are talking about personnel we talk about individual defense, if we want to talk team defense we need to get into the coaching issues.

  32. Lucky19,
    Do you have any reading material to back your claim about shaq talking trash about kareem?

  33. look at the video at http://www.tmz.com, it’s all right there

  34. This Little Pinky June 23, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    32 – According to Shaq’s freestyle rap, the following claims would be false:

    1. Patrick Ewing having more rings than Shaq.
    2. You thinking you’re better than Shaq.
    3. Kareem thinking he’s better than Shaq.

  35. I’d take Kareem over Shaq (both in their primes) in a heartbeat.

  36. Haha Shaq’s a clown. Always has been, always will be. Damn good basketball player in his prime – still couldn’t touch Kareem – but about as mature as an 8 year old.

  37. Kurt, I’m sorry to disagree with you, but your big men seems to me as your greatest handicap for the olympics, if the refs take it seriously, the expected time of play for Boozer and Howard should be around ten minutes, under FIBA rules, before fouling out.
    As for Russia beating Spain, even with Arshavin, it’s not likely to happen, cause Spain is the worst missmatch for them.
    The problem with Russia is that both defensive wings are to offensive minded (as a matter of fact, none of then are real defenders) and they leave too much space at their backs, something Spain, with two very fast forwards used in the previous match.
    It should be a fun match to see though.
    Regarding Marc, he’s a true center, not as skilled as Pau (but a skilled player nonetheless) but much more agressive. He plays closer to the basket, and feels comfortable with physicallity (considering that in Europe contact isn’t allowed the way it is in NBA).

  38. To quote a book I am reading “To build the best basketball team, you need the best talent, the best coach, and the best fans.” also it says “Basketball is about more than just talent and measuring performance. It is also about chemistry, coaching and strategy.” I believe both the Lakers and Team USA have these qualities present. All should be fine for both teams do you not think.

  39. Everyone labeled the Pau Gasol trade a complete steal, but trades can’t really be evaluated until all the pieces fall into place. We all liked Crit, but now Marc Gasol is starting to look pretty good – and we haven’t even gotten into the draft picks yet. I would still make the trade in a heartbeat, but the Griz may not have been as dumb as we previously thought – given their situation and requirements. Now they have money for their players and can also sign someone who can’t get what they want from the big boys.

  40. The Dude Abides June 23, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Ugh…I think the USA lineup is vulnerable to the better intl teams like Spain, Greece, Argentina, etc. We were killed on the inside by Greece in the 2006 Worlds and by Argentina in the 2004 Olympics. I would have dropped both Kidd and Wade in favor of Tyson Chandler and Joe Johnson. CP3 and DWill could handle the PG duties, with Kobe, JJ, or Lebron initiating the offense if our PGs get in foul trouble. That would eliminate the necessity for Kidd.

    Also, Wade is just not a FIBA player. His game isn’t conducive to attacking zones, and the FIBA refs just laugh at him when he drives to the hole and falls down looking for a foul. He is not a shooter, which is what is needed from an SG in FIBA ball. JJ’s game is much more suited for FIBA ball than Wade’s.

    We will need Chandler for help interior defense. Otherwise we will get exploited. The two worst PFs on defense in this Olympics (other than China’s team) will be Melo (our PF starter) and Boozer (our PF backup). Carrying Chandler would allow Bosh to slide over to PF.

    I was really looking forward to Team USA getting back the gold medal, but now I don’t see this happening. The same personnel selection mistakes that have been plaguing the team since the 1988 Seoul debacle have reared their ugly head again. If we don’t play zone, we’ll get pick and rolled to death AGAIN. Blehhh.

  41. As a native Korean, the Euro league is bringing back many memories, mostly because the Russian squad is led by Guus Hiddink. The man has a very interesting international resume, having led many teams above and beyond their expected levels.

    Anyway, no comment on our Lakers until something interesting actually develops. I like what we got.

  42. I always thought that Shaq was a self-centered, childish clown.
    The video proves it.

  43. the other Stephen June 23, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    no one seems to know what steve kerr is thinking.

    and really, i don’t find shaq’s rap that surprising. he’s always had a pretty huge ego.

  44. The Lakers goal for next year should to become a top 3 team In defensive field goal % against.f tthis goal can be met than I predict a parade come June 09. The lakers are already potent offensively but if they add stifling defense to there agenda then they will be unstoppable.

  45. Bryant, James, along with Anthony, Kidd and Dwight Howard, started for a team that went unbeaten in the Olympic qualifying tournament last year. Eight of the 12 players headed to Beijing played on that team and six played in the 2006 world championships. Continuity and relationships. … We’ll hit the ground running. Krzyzewski said.

  46. Renato Afonso June 24, 2008 at 1:13 am

    1. Team USA

    Melo is the biggest offensive weapon you guys have in International play. He always did good. Seeing Wade get minutes would be the worst it could happen to you, though… referees are very strict when it comes to travelling, and we all know that Mr. Wade is a master at travelling. Plus, if you throw your body against a big body inside, the refs will probably not blow the whistle.

    About Kidd, I never liked him in international play. He’s used for the defenses to fall apart after one or two rotations and to a lots of fast-breaks, but that’s not how the International game is played. For example, in Spain they don’t even practice fast-breaks… they practice transition defense. To beat the top european teams and Argentina, the USA will need to: hit the long range 2pt against zonal defenses, avoid isolation plays against man defense and actually play good transition defense.

    Make no mistake, team USA is the favorite and should win it all, but again, maybe they picked the wrong players again…

    2. Rookies

    Mbah-a-Moute. If he could only fall on our laps…

    3. Euro 2008

    This is a painfull subject… I’m portuguese and we had/have the best offensive talent alongside Brazil. We scored twice against one of the best defenses in the world and we still lost… Thanks Ricardo (the GK). That guy costed us Euro 2004 (the final), the World Cup 2006 (the semis) and now Euro 2008 (look closely at Germany’s 2nd and 3rd goal). This broke our collective spirit. To make things worse, Spain (who always chokes) is now going to reach the final and they will be unbearable for the next ten years if they actually win. I’m having nightmares already…

    Oh, yeah, Russia doesn’t have a chance against Spain, since they do not expose themselves in the back the way Holland did. Russia cannot beat any of the latin teams (Portugal, Spain, France and Italy), it’s just a bad matchup for them. And make no mistake, the way Holland plays, Spain and Portugal would have trashed them, since they give up too much in the flanks.

    The final will be Spain against Germany, and since the spaniards are playing way slower than usual and more patient, I think they could win… Hell, the semis would be Spain-Russia and Portugal-Turkey with an iberian final if it wasn’t for the worst GK ever… I’m going to get wasted now… The loss still hurts…

  47. I watched a lot of the Tournament of the Americas last summer, and this Team USA is definitely the best we’ve had since ’96. Not all of last summer’s members made the team, but this is a very lean group. The only potential mistake is not including Chandler, who brought a lot of intangibles to the team and obviously has great chemistry with Paul. But, between Kobe, CP3, Williams, Bosh and Lebron this group has a high collective basketball IQ. And Kurt is right that there are no real ballhogs (OK, Carmello has his moments, but not when he’s playing for coach K).

    Speaking of coach K, that may be our biggest advantage this year: Team USA finally has a single coach who has spent years developing an identity and a strategy. The players have bought into his style and know how to play in his system. Last summer there were several games in which they came out with a defense first mentality. If that continues, they will coast to a gold medal.

    Historically, Team USA has been like a makeshift rock supergroup who gets together at a festival to play one song after all of their respective bands have finished their sets. As brilliant as each musician might be individually, they aren’t prepared to deliver anything more than a musical curiosity. But, since Coach K took over the system, Team USA has begun to have more of the cohesion and consistency that defines other international programs. And, even if our guys haven’t played together quite as much as some of the European teams, they will know their roles when the time comes.

  48. I actually like Kidd on the Olympic team. Skill wise, the pgs are not as skilled as the Chris Pauls and Tony Parkers such that Kidd could actually guard them. Furthermore, his unselfish play is unlikely to hurt in the international game as he will have 4 players that can score and finish around him the majority of the time.

    However, I would have liked to see Chandler rather than Boozer. I cannot even imagine Boozer fitting into Team USA’s style. His physical and methodical style of play is rather different from the majority of the roster. I fear that he may end up being the Olympic equivalent of Juwan ‘black hole’ Howard. Chandler is a significantly better defensive rebounding, a facet that is necessary in order to initiate the break as I envision team USA would like to do as much as they could. Also, as much as I like Prince, I might have taken Mike Miller instead to add another shooter and ‘zone buster.’

    Pheonix has been rumored in a variety of deals ranging from Barbosa and the 15th for Maggetee and the 7th to Diaw for T.J. Ford. As a Laker fan, I would not mind seeing the Maggetee trade as he seems a poor fit with Steve Nash as he needs the ball to be most effective.

    I am also wondering how Miami could pass on Beasely. He rates better than Durant did, and Durant had a solid 1st season (especially of late once his shot selection improved dramatically) The only deal I like from the Heat’s perspective is the Memphis possibility as they would be getting a pg (Lowry or Conley) and perhaps even an elite shooter (Miller if with Lowry) That would give them a lineup of Lowry/Wade/Miller/Marion/(Haslem [if going small) or 5th pick[ Love and Lopez could be favorites if OJ is off the board]) But nevertheless, passing on a player that realistically could be equivalent if not better than Carmelo Anthony is difficult.

    Finally, Craig brings up a good point. Granted it was a good deal for us, but every day, it is looking like the GAsol deal is becoming beneficial for BOTH teams. Memphis got cap space, assets (he two 1st rounders, and expendebility of Lowry or Conley) as well a possible above average to good player in Mark Gasol.

    [I lied about the finally, but........] Who do you guys have projected for the 58th pick? Personally, I would like to see us take someone that is either clearly a project or a hard working senior (especially if the top echelon does not feel that Ronny will be back)

  49. Renato Afonso June 24, 2008 at 1:18 am

    To stop Germany, stop Ballack from making those transitions… Foul him before the midfield line if you have to.

    To stop Turkey, well, they were stopped plenty of times and they’re just being lucky… Luck will run out (it didn’t for Greece for years ago, but…). They don’t belong in the semis

    To stop Russia… You don’t have to. Their defensive midfield is not good enough. They’ll be unable to stop Spain.

    To stop Spain… Go get Portugal or Croatia, since Spain can’t play against teams who play in a similar way but with better individual players on offense. The game slows down and their lack of agility on defense will be exposed.

  50. Anyone know whom the Lakers have worked out or are scheduled to work out?

  51. dude, admin, you are wayy to uptight and into the ‘rules’..let loose the suffocating restrictions on this site…allow some idiots..sometimes its boring to jus post on here with no controversial fodder

  52. I saw this a while a week ago about who the Lakers are looking at in the draft.

    “Draft Express: Look for the Los Angeles Lakers to try and land an early second round pick (possibly from Seattle) in order to draft IUPUI’s George Hill. He worked out in Los Angeles and reportedly was very impressive. His college team actually ran the triangle offense, and that is always a big factor in the Lakers’ workouts.thttp://www.draftexpress.com/article/Word-on-the-Street-Who-s-Moving-Up-or-Down-2933/

    Not sure if the Lakers are actually looking to trade up in the draft but he could be someone the Lakers actually look at.

    Don’t really know anything about him But here is something from Real GM

    http://www.realgm.com/src_fromtherafters/205/20080623/draft_report_george_hill_of_iupui/

    “Hill is able to create his own shot almost anywhere on the floor. He gets his very pure shot off using the dribble and when tightly contested.

    He has a perfect follow-through and release on the dribble as well as on the catch-and-shoot. Hill shot 45% from beyond the arc as a junior, which was a significant increase from his 30.8% as a sophomore. He also shot 81.2% from the free throw line.
    ………………
    Defensively, Hill does a few things well and has good athleticism but struggled at IUPUI with the small stuff, which was probably due to how heavily they relied on him offensively.

    He has good anticipation for where the pass is going and gets his long arms out into the passing lanes for deflections and steals, but he gets spun around too inexcusably much on help defense.

    Hill does a good job of maximizing what length he does have when closing out, but he is too frequently a matador defender. He is not a very good on-ball wing defender at all and, hopefully for his sake, it is more of a pacing issue than talent issue because he will need to substantially improve that in the NBA. “

  53. I can’t wait for the olimpic games to start
    hell, a game between the US and Spain is gonna be great. I really like US basketball team this year but remember, they have to approach this olimpic games as the underdogs, they still have to prove they can play as a team and spain is the real favourite to win .

    what’s up with this blog, Kurt? basketball, soccer, tennis, gasol… are you getting spanish-minded?

  54. Darius,

    I agree. I don’t think D-Wade is good with this team. He want sto play ISO basketball at the topof the key too much, and takes too long when he does it. Dribble, Dribble, dribble….let the D get set, dribble between two guys….two big steps, shoot. That’s offense, D-Wade style. I think it was politics that put him here. He’s one of the biggest stars in the NBA, and wants to play. I don’t think he would have been denied, and I think his ego has alot to do with it, especially considering it’s Kobe who is now playing the 2 guard. Wade was starting when we got our butts handed to us in Athens. So, it may be for some sort of redemption. If I’m Riley, I’m not too happy that he’s playing considering the injuries he’s endured the past couple of years.

  55. hehehe

    Spain will be the Eurocopa Champions!

    and the Olimpic Gold Medal in basket again!

    Go Spain ~

  56. Chibi,

    When you have the 58th pick, and really no minutes to give a draft pick anyway, unless they completey play off the wall best basketball of their life, do you waste your time working anyone out? I think whoever they do pick is almost guaranteed to NOT make the team. Project pick. D-league pick.

  57. I like that nonsense Shaq is spitting right now! He seems to have forgotten that even a tree stump is more nimble than him now. Kobe is going to give him and the Suns 50 reasons why respect is due four seperate times next season!

  58. Warren Wee Lim June 24, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Again sloth conquers me and leads me to skip some 49 comments. So if someone was leapfrogged, please pardon me.

    I am bothered by team USA’s size. For what its worth Coach K is supposedly playing Melo at the 4. Well that drunkard sure is talented but he’s no more man. Not by a longshot.

    I think I may have noticed someone dangle the name of Tyson Chandler. Like the Lakers, team USA has more offense than any army in the world (except Satan’s). So why the heck are we choosing the top scorers to play for us? Ty Chandler is a human pogo stick. He is not slow to the point of dragging our pace, as a matter of fact, he is the perfect uptempo center (of course unless Dwight Howard is in the discussion). So why Boozer? So he and Deron can pick and roll the Argentinians to death? WTF? Boozer slows us down but I can understand the Dukie connection.

  59. Warren Wee Lim June 24, 2008 at 8:22 am

    I am bothered by team USA’s size. For what its worth Coach K is supposedly playing Melo at the 4. Well that drunkard sure is talented but he’s no [b]four[/b] man. Not by a longshot.

  60. #54,

    Jerry Colangelo and Coach K have put much time and consideration into this team. I think they are sure that the team they have is fit to play FIBA basketball. So, don’t be bothered by their size. They’re big enough, and very athletic.

  61. 24. Gulbis will be a test, but after watching Nadal at the Stella tournament (while drinking a Stella) I just think this is going to be his year on grass. He looked dominant there to me.

    52. I saw that and will get into in the pre-draft post I put up. It’s an interesting idea.

    51. To be blunt: My house, my rules. There are plenty of other houses with different rules if you want to talk Lakers trades or tell people how they can convince Houston to give up Battier.

  62. Kurt – Love your site and appreciate the rules you set!

  63. #51.

    The reason alot of us blog here, is because we don’t have to deal with wild, unlikely, uninformed scenarios or trade machine madness. I appreciate this site for the fact they they filter out the BS. There’s another site I pretty much left because of that. Nothing against the blog itself, they’re too big to edit everything, and it shows.

  64. Anyone loving the ESPN coverage of Shaq’s rap on Sunday? I can’t believe media members are even trying to play this off as Shaq joking around and stuff.

  65. #52, thanks for the feedback. I did see that George Hill thing earlier. What I was really after was a complete list; I’ve noticed most lottery teams have that info floating around. For the Lakers, I’ve only seen snippits here and there in such-and-such from small-school-x-will-be-working-out-for-the-Lakers format.

    #56, with the luxury tax coming into play, I think it’ll be tough to resign both Turiaf and Vujacic. If at least one of them will be going, it may be wise to devote some time and effort into getting a reserve out of that #58.

    I feel Turiaf may be somewhat beholden to the Lakers, due to their generosity with regard to his cardiological problems. Vujacic I can easily imagine signing elsewhere.

  66. Shaq’s rap was obviously petty, but it may have been more the result of his limited skills as an MC than any real attempt to fan the long-dead flames of a feud. Seriously, the only time the crowd reacted was when he ripped into Kobe and, since he freestyles at about the level of the average South Bronx 5th grader, he probably didn’t know what else to say.

    Still, I don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense to be ripping into Kobe’s team (which made it to the finals) when Shaq’s squad couldn’t get out of the first round. It is especially suspect, given that the team he joined was in first place when got there and had made the conference finals the previous year.

    Perhaps instead of repeating “Kobe couldn’t do it without me”, Shaq should have been more honest and said “Kobe couldn’t do it without Bynum”. Thankfully, Kobe won’t have to attempt the latter next year.

    And I hope the big fella enjoys his new beefs with Kareem and Patrick Ewing. Classy stuff.

  67. 65. I’m not sure there was much a list, only because picking 58th they could see the guys they might have interest in at places like the Orlando camp or other group workouts. The individual workouts for the most part go with higher picks.

  68. #67–ah, i hadn’t considered group workouts. that makes sense. that makes it harder to identify the player scouts are studying, unless scouts state their intentions outright.

    i had more of a schedule in mind, but because of the nature of group workouts we’d still have a hazy picture of what the Lakers will do at #58.

    trying to predict round 2 is definitely more challenging than predicting round 1.

  69. From my understanding, and correct me if I’m wrong, but usually only the top 2-3 picks (or certain Intl. prospects like Yi) get to work out on their own for teams. Most other times, teams bring in multiple players with similar skill sets or that play the same position to compete against eachother in a *only the strong survive* sort of way. I’ve read how guys like Brandon Rush, CDR, and guys in that similar draft range and position(s) will and have competed against eachother at workouts several times. It’s really interesting in that these guys see a lot of eachother and even start to know eachothers tendencies when they play in 2 on 2 and 3 on 3 formats. I remember reading on TrueHoop last year how there was one player saying something along the lines of “If I see player X one more time at a workout, I’m going to go crazy”. Ha.

  70. #69–That doesn’t seem to entirely be the case. Those gladiator style workouts you cited occur frequently, but even a team like the Cavs at 19 host individual workouts.

    Based on the articles i’ve read, teams have two options when it comes to individual workouts:

    1. An exclusive individual workout for 1 team.
    2. A joint-individual workout, hosted by more than 1 team and featuring one player.

    And even potential 2nd rounders like Darnell Jackson have been invited to participate in individual workouts:

    http://www2.kusports.com/news/2008/jun/24/darnell_excited_predraft_travels/?mens_basketball

  71. I see. Thanks chibi.

  72. Looks like Shaq is being punished by the Miami Police Department who is taking away his police badge. You just can’t make this stuff up.

  73. Bad rappers have to resort to dissing since they can’t come up with something clever or witty that rhymes. No big deal, if anything it will further motivate Kobe (can you?) to win one without him.

    Regarding international ball, i’m just not sure as to who we have that can reliably guard opposing 4s.

    Melo? Urgh.

  74. aB, what’s even cooler is that 3 Lakers get drafted.

  75. The coolest (or one of the cooler) thing about the upcoming Olympics is for Lakers fan to get a glimpse of Sun Yue, to see how he’s progressed. I believe he average about 15 pts, 11 assists a game in his basketball league this past season.

    Let’s just hope and pray that Gasol and Bryant stay healthy during the competition.

  76. Nothing on the Shaquille O Neal rap against Kobe? i would think, that as Laker die hards, we should stand up for our paragon of basketball excellence.(Kobe)
    I was expecting some analytical diatribe on how Shaq is …..ah, what the heck

  77. My version of random comments.

    This yrs draft should be subtitled “The Incredible Shrinking SG Draft”,since the best players all seem to be 6’2′-6’3″ SGs.

    If Phil was serious about defense he’d start Sasha,Kobe,Ariza,Gasol and Bynum. Lamar would be 6th man to jump-start offense,either w/fast break or working w/Gasol or Bynum in 1/2 court sets to get motion back in offense.

    This Olympic team is what you get when you have a college coach in charge. College coaches have no clue about how to use big men in the low post,so why have any on the team. Howard better stay out of foul trouble and he better get every rebound.(Warren,Coach K used Carmelo at PF in the qualifying tournament last yr.) The team selection ended up being a farce. As to another big-Chandler,Horford,Powe,Jefferson(offense),Camby,Maxiel,Aldridge,Kaman,McDyess,heck Rasheed Wallace would in many respects would be perfect.

    What if they gave a draft and nobody wanted to pick?

  78. I was listening to Steve Hartman and John Ireland on the radio on my way home from work. Ron Artest called during one of his workouts. He said that he chose NOT to opt out with Sacremento. So it looks like no Artest this year….

  79. So far the Lakers haven’t dismissed anyone from the 2007-2008 Team. There is only one unrestricted free agent, Ira Newble. In addition to Sasha and Turiaf, MJ Mbenga is a restricted free agent. Many of us would like to see Mbenga back. Coby Karl could be signed before the season starts. At this moment, the Lakers could conceivably bring back everyone.

    It certainly shows how proud the organization is with this team.

  80. New Lakers draft post up.

  81. wow!

    im pleasantly surprised with all the euro 2008 talk in this thread. i guess that shows the lakers’ global appeal as well as america’s growing appreciation of soccer.

    both are good things IMO.

    anyways i myself am rooting for a spain – germany final though im not counting russia in pulling off another upset.