Lamar Odom > Ron Artest

Kurt —  July 5, 2008

I think one thing most Lakers fans agree on is that the small forward position will be key for next year’s Lakers. Where the disagreement is exactly how to deal with that. But some think they have the answer.

On this blog, in Lakers forums all over the Internet, on talk radio, seemingly everywhere there is a fascination among some Lakers fans with bringing Ron Artest to the LA. And I don’t get it. I understand being unsure how well Odom will do as the small forward, it’s a legitimate question and concern.

But Ron Artest is not the answer.

Let me give you my thinking on this. And to start I’ll grant two points to the pro-Artest fans:

1) Artest is a better defender.
He is. But not by as much as you think. Last year opposing threes guarded by Ron Artest shot 51.5% (eFG%) and had a PER of 16.4 — those are not great numbers. Odom spent far less time matched up against threes, but he held them to 45.5% and a PER of 14.6. I don’t think those numbers would bear out if Odom spent more time guarding threes, like I said I’ll grant Artest is a better defender. But the gap is not as big as most think, Odom’s length creates problems for opposing threes.

2) Artest is a better three point shooter. Artest shot 38% and 35% from three the last two years, Odom shot 29% and 27%. Artest would be better at stretching the defense in the half court. That said, Artest is not the three point shooter many think he is. Go look at Artest’s hot zone shot chart at NBA.com — Artest shot 47% from three from the top of the arc, but no higher than 30% anywhere else on the arc. He can shoot the three from “his spot” but is not a classic three-point shooter. (If you look at Odom’s Hot Zones chart you’ll see he was 11 of 22 on corner threes this season — if he works on that this offseason could he keep up that pace over more attempts?)

To me, there are far more negatives than positives with Artest.

1) He is a worse shooter than Odom. Last season, using traditional FG%, Odom shot 52% and Artest 45%. Use eFG% (to account for three point shooting) and Odom is still 5% higher. The reason is Artest takes a lot of jumpers (66% of his shots last year) while Odom gets to the rim (44% of Odom’s shots are jumpers). And, on all those jumpers, Artest shoots just 3% higher than Odom. Look again at Artest’s hot zones shooting chart — he is not a good midrange guy at all. Bottom line, Artest is like Iverson in that he takes a lot of shots to make his points, he is not an efficient scorer.

2) Artest is not someone who has played well inside an offensive system. There are things he does well, but what are the Lakers going to do when Artest decides he should just take his man (on the post or on the wing) and steps outside the offense? The Lakers offense was impressive last year because everyone played within the system. Do you really think Artest is going to do that for a season and playoffs, when that has not been his MO in the past?

3) Lamar Odom is a much better rebounder than Artest.
I don’t think anyone would question this — last season Odom grabbed 15.6% of available rebounds when on the floor, Artest was at 8.6%. You can say that a healthy Bynum will soak up some of those, but for a team that wants to get out and run having control of the boards will be key. Odom led some of the best Laker breaks this year by grabbing the board and bringing the ball up himself, and we need more of that not less.

4) If you think Odom takes games off…. Artest is worse.
Far worse. It is not a crunch time thing with him, it is a week at a time thing. He does not bring it every night. Ask Kings fans about this. And this brings us to….

5) So this is the veteran image you want in the locker room?
The Lakers are still a young team, a team that by all reports bonded more last season than any Laker team has at least since the three-pete era, and maybe longer. And into that you do want to bring in a true wild card? Some will make the argument that Phil has dealt with these types of personalities before, he kept Rodman in check in Chicago. But he had Jordan ad Pippen and other veterans (plus Jack Haley) to keep him in line. Who in the Laker locker room is going to step up to Artest? Kobe, Fisher and……

The bottom line for me is that the slim advantages you gain from Artest in a couple areas are far outweighed in other areas. He has the chance of being a big problem, if you don’t think so look at his track record. Do you really want to take that risk?

I’m not sure Odom is the answer. I’m in the camp of keeping the roster largely intact, starting the year with Odom at the three and seeing how it works out. If it does not, see who is available at the trading deadline. Or, even let him walk and see if you can save the money (if someone like Ariza really steps up). Any of that is better than bringing in Ron Artest.

Kurt

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129 responses to Lamar Odom > Ron Artest

  1. Have to agree. At one point last off season when the future did not look so bright I thouhgt it might have been worth the risk. But certainly not now.

  2. Good post Kurt. Right on. Anyone who advocates this must not watch the Lakers, nor Artest. I actually think it’s a silly debate. There are too many ifs, and where we’re at right now, we don’t need ifs.

  3. the other Stephen July 5, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    boy, luke walton’s hot zones chart is not a very happy picture.

  4. Well said, Kurt. I’d much rather the Lakers do absolutely nothing this summer than even glance at Artest.

  5. Kurt,

    This may be confused–but bear with me.

    The case for Ron Artest is not about percentages–it is about perception. Ron is the alpha male who won’t back down. Ron is perceived as a lock down defender who can take out the other team’s shooter. He plays great position defense, plays great switching defense, makes key steals, and can intimidate opponents. On the offensive end, he can force his “man” to defend by making key shots. He often plays that role at the end of a game–very much like Kobe does. Artest does not back down and he never gives up. We’ve experienced that directly last year when he singlehandedly beat us.

    Ron Artest specializes in stopping the best shooting guard or small forward of an opposing team while scoring himself. He should not be compared to the Lamar Odom of 2007-2008–especially the Lamar Odom who just found himself as a Laker last year playing power forward.

    I’d like to overlook the “character” issues altogether, and concentrate on “contract” and “rotation” issues.

    Ron is not a free agent. The Lakers must trade for him. Ron earns $7.4million on an expiring contract, but he would demand a contract extension. The Kings just signed Beno Udrih to a 5 year mid level exception, placing their projected budget for next year to $83 million (Luxury tax hell), with more to go. Sacto. would like expiring contracts and might want to unload longer term contracts with Ron. The only expiring contract the Lakers have is Lamar Odom at over $14 million–and Lamar may be the Lakers only defense against contract hell themselves next year. I can’t imagine any combination of possibilities that would please all parties.

    A deeper problem is that the Lakers are considering a long term commitment to Trevor Ariza at the 3, so they may be wishing to “rent a vet” as a mentor–understanding that Trevor is to be “the man.” It is not clear the Ron Artest would like such a mentoring role It is more likely that Ron would want to be “the man.”

    The truth is that the Lakers need for Trevor to become the starting 3 for 2009-2010-or they will have their own Luxury cap hell.

    Unless something very bizarre happens, I don’t see any way for Ron to become a Laker this year (2008)–and next year (2009), we would hope to be able to say that our starting small forward is Trevor Ariza.

  6. I have to say that I always cringe when Odom has two at the line late, but I still think that we have to give the line up of LO, Gasol, Bynum a shot before we go and mess up what everyone can agree was great chemistry. Especially considering that Artest is not exactly a “chemistry” guy.

  7. I go back and forth on this.

    Artest would address three of the Lakers weaknesses – perimeter defense, outside shooting (to some degree), and toughness. But you never know with him and his behavior.

    I guess it comes down to how the Lakers will use Odom. If they plan on playing him for 35-40 minutes at SF, I would say to take a chance on Artest. If they plan on using Lamar off the bench and /or in some kind of 3-way rotation with Gasol and Bynum (with some combination of Ariza/Vlad/Kobe/Luke at SF) then I think that Artest is not worth the risk.

  8. Drrayeye, no doubt that for a game Artest can be an Alpha make who takes over a game, but he doesn’t do that nightly. He takes games, heck whole road trips, off. He is not the most focused player in the league. I’d rather dance with the devil I know, one who fits in on the team, than the devil I don’t.

    But it is true, the contract thing makes Artest not a likely reality. I just wanted to address the perception.

  9. Kurt, 100% agree. Don’t tinker with the roster yet. It’s not as if the Lakers got beat in the first round. They got to the Finals in a year where they were not even expected to contend. They get a camp of a healthy Bynum, a healthy Ariza, Gasol, etc. They are not in the same boat as say Dallas or Phoenix. Both of those teams panicked and made trades they both secretly regret.

    As for the Artest lovers, pop in the tape of infamous Motown Brawl and that’s all you need to know. That year Indiana was a legit Finals contender and he in one swoop destroyed that. That franchise has yet to recover from his chaos.

  10. On the subject of what the Lakers need: the team has enough 3 point shooters to space the floor. They need someone besides Kobe to go to the rack consistently. Even with Bynum in the post they need more penetration. Our best hope is for Jordan to provide this.

    I also feel that the whole Lamar debate has gotten way out of hand. This has left no one talking about another key sub-plot for next year’s team: When does Farmar become the de facto starter? I love Fish to death but I think next year’s the year his minutes go way down. Derek will start the games if he’s healthy, but I think Jordan will wind up playing more minutes than Fish by the end of season.

  11. Rob- I thought Jordan attacked the whole a lot more in year 1 than he did he did in year 2. I hope he doesn’t stay in love with the 3ball, and goes back to the tear-drop, and the drive and kick.

    Kurt-I think there are only a handful of people I’d consider to start at the 3: Artest, Marion, Battier. After that, I just don’t see anyone that can bring more that what LO does.

  12. I agree that we shouldn’t trade Odom. Still, I think we will do something about our forwards. My gut tells me Buss will have Mitch let Odom walk or have Mitch trade him for a late lottery pick. Either that, or the unlikely possibility that Luke Walton is traded.

    Lets face it, us Laker fans, we’re spoiled. We want to see a move made just to see a move made. I bet if we had Artest we would be lobbying for Mitch to trade him for a player that brings intangibles to the table… sort of like… Odom.

    I’m stickin’ with my idea… if Posey isn’t available for the right price, go for Najera. Najera is more versatile than Posey so he won’t steal too many minutes from our current players (say Trevor Ariza) plus he can knock down the 3 now.

  13. The Dude Abides July 5, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Agree…don’t want to see Artest come within 300 miles of the Lakers except when he plays against us or the Clippers. I do think the Lakers can improve the SF position via free agency or a trade, but Artest is not the answer. He wouldn’t be the answer even if his numbers were significantly better than they have been the past couple seasons. He’s a cancer.

  14. [paragraph deleted as it was a response to a now deleted comment of trade speculation]

    Kurt,I agree w/you on just say no to Artest. There’s a running argument on Rocket boards about Artest. Too many people who want him haven’t watched him recently. If another player gets some baskets on him,Ron makes the game a 1-on-1 contest and will start jacking up wild shots. He dribbles and dribbles and dribbles… He is no spring chicken,he’s almost 30. As to his reputation,I found it suprising how poorly he did in both Defensive Player of Yr(16 players got more votes) and how little support he got from coaches on NBA DEfensive Team voting.
    He has developed a bad case of “Wanting to be the Man”-itis. He wanted out of Indy because he didn’t want to be in O’Neal’s shadow,he now wants out of Sac because it’s becoming Martin’s team and we’re supposed to believe he’ll be happy being behind Kobe,Gasol,Bynum and even Fisher.
    Joined with his “Man-itis” is his expressed belief that he deserves a max contract.Since no one is crazy enough to give him one,Ron will never be happy w/whatever he gets and that will eat away at him.
    If you were going to get somebody from Sac,I’d go after Francisco Garcia. Tall SG who’s played some PG for them,good 3pt shooter and ave @20ppg in emergency starter duty.

    In a what-if sort of way,the best SF that I could think of for the Lakers is Josh Howard. Defends,drives,shoots decently mid-range out,rebounds and passes.

  15. kwame a. – I agree that Jordan seemed to drive a bit more in year one. But there were times this year he did, and I thought he looked quicker and was showing less to the hoop than before to avoid as many blocks. He did fall in love with the 3. The whole team did. Hopefully he knows that isn’t his primary function in the triangle. He shouldn’t be creating space by jump shooting but by driving.

    I have real hope that he’ll go down that road mainly because he looks like he’s having a ball every time he drives on a fast break.

  16. It would be silly to trade Odom before we see what the team looks like together. Odom played really well with Gasol up until the Celtics series. One bad series is not a reason to trade a guy–especially one as versatile as Lamar. We know that he plays better when he doesn’t have a lot of pressure to score. Well, when Bynum comes back he can focus on rebounding, defense and passing and leave the bulk of the scoring to the other four starters who can put up big numbers. Yes, he may have some trouble gaurding 3′s, but much less than the over-reactors are saying. His best year as a pro was playing the 3 with the Heat and, if anything, he’s improved as a defender since then. The great thing about this year’s team is that we have no pressure to trade for the sake of trading. If a great deal comes along, go for it. If not, we can still win a championship with Lamar. Perhaps people are just running out of things to talk about in the off-season.

  17. No way should they trade Odom for Artest. The only possible reason to bring in Artest would be that Sacramento accepted something like Walton and a signed and traded Turiaf (however doubtful that is). Even then, I’d prefer to keep Ron Ron on the second unit where his more assertive (read: independent, out of the system) offensive skills will fit better and he can play minutes down the stretch if his defense is needed. Then, he might be worth the gamble. Otherwise, try to sign Posey or live with Lamar at the three or coming off the bench as the first big. But to trade Lamar or ‘Lamar Odom’s expiring contract’ for a player ill suited for the triangle, with behavior issues (any person that mistreats their dogs is suspect in my book), and appears to be starting an early decline in his career, would be a terrible mistake. If Brown’s contract brought us PAU!, then Lamar’s can bring us something real sweet, especially considering all the teams trying to get under the cap for 2010.
    But here’s hoping Lamar finds a place with this team and plays an important role in our winning the championship next season.

  18. Hypothetical playing time/position: Lakers

    Assuming all players come back, here’s a hypothetical Laker rotation/projection for next year. I have two units–future and veteran (numbers in parenthesis are minutes per game).

    The Laker team of the future is:

    PG Jordan Farmar (24)
    SG Kobe Bryant (18)
    SF Trevor Ariza (24)
    PF Pau Gasol (18)
    C Andrew Bynum (24)

    We have a veteran “shadow team” consisting of

    PG Derek Fisher (18)
    SG Kobe Bryant (18)
    SF Luke Walton (24)
    PF Lamar Odom (24)
    C Pau Gasol (18)

    Others in the rotation include Sasha, VladRad, and Mihm

    Adding in the entire rotation pattern, I might imagine the shadow team playing 24 and the future team playing 24–but with Kobe and Pau being replaced by a backup for at least 12 minutes drawn from either team. Kobe would always be replaced by Sasha (18), who might also back up Derek. Pau would be replaced by VladRad on the Future team (6). Andrew would be replaced by Mihm (6) on the Future team.

    Kobe and Pau will average 36 minutes, Lamar, Trevor, Jordan, Luke, and Sasha will average 24, Derek will play 18, and Mihm, VladRad, will play 6.

    Any PF could be replaced by Ronny. Any PF, SF, or PG could be replaced by Lamar.

    The following players will be designated as 3 point shooters: Derek, Kobe, VladRad, Sasha, Jordan, Luke, Trevor

    The following players are designated as offensive rebounders: Andrew, Pau, Lamar, Chris

    What do you think?

  19. What’s up with the Celtics’ interest in Maggette? Isn’t he kind of redundant with Paul Pierce?

  20. I think the Lakers roster as is will be formidable next year but we do need an enforcer. I dont know if young Bynum can fill that roll but between him and Ariza i hope our defense wont be the sieve it was in the finals.

    Having said that i wouldnt mind seeing the lakers get rid of Walton and Vlade. We have lots of mediocre talent that we could try to consolidate into a player that better serves our needs. [edited for trade speculation]

  21. I agree with you Kurt that no dramatic fixes are needed though quick ones may still be worth the thought. Is there still no chance of having artest without giving lamar? I may be dreaming here but isn’t that still possible. If not, then we can surely use an improved version of what we have.

    Still, I think we are overloaded at the SF position and we need another guard and more importantly, an enforcing big. If we can get a veteran then we are better off than last year. Bottomline, I think our bench needs toughening. This is where an artest for some bizarre reason coming to us for little cost can be good. But then, am not so high on this.

    I am excited to see the triple tower treat but I also am with those who say lamar has to agree with D and SHOOTING. Our interior may get too crowded but that isn’t a bad thing if the bigs are as capable as our 3.

    Go Lakers!

  22. Any thoughts on Duhon to the Knicks? Not the perfect guy for D’Antoni, but maybe the best option available. And much better than Starbury.

  23. And by the way, still picking Nadal to beat Federer.

  24. drrayeye

    No offense, but I don’t see how your rotation idea works. Many NBA players need minutes just to get comfortable. For one, Kobe Bryant will always want to play as many minutes as he can and will average somewhere in the 42 or so range. Here is another projection:

    Starters:

    PG: Derek Fisher – 28 minutes
    SG: Kobe Bryant – 42 minutes
    SF: Vladamir Radmonovic – 15 minutes
    PF: Lamar Odom – 30 minutes
    C: Pau Gasol – 30 minutes

    Bench:

    Jordan Farmar – 18 minutes
    Sasha Vujacic – 18 minutes
    Trevor Ariza – 15 minutes
    Luke Walton – 8 minutes
    Ronny Turiaf- 10 minutes
    Andrew Bynum- 26 minutes

    I think something like that would be more reasonable with Chris Mihm coming in only when a big man was injured, in bad conditioning, or for whatever reason at some point during back to backs. Joe Crawford, a third true point guard, and Colby Carl can ride the pine on the inactive list.
    Another way for the above to change is if Farmar shows himself to be so good that he starts taking more and more minutes from Fish, but at least for this season, I don’t see that happening too often. Another factor would be Luke Walton showing if he can play better defense and thus prove he deserves to be on the court more. He is a good passer and knows the offense, but most likely Phil will keep him in for only short bursts so he doesn’t try to do too much. Also the more I think about it, Bynum rather than Odom should be on the bench at the start of the season. Odom has more experience than Bynum and while the young fella won’t like coming off the bench it could also drive him to keep working harder than ever before. Thoughts, comments?

  25. What are people’s thoughts on Sun Yue? Can he play? If we aquire him in, say, a years time, does that move Farmar into the starting line-up? This would allow Yue to take Farmar’s role of the change-of-pace point off the bench, considering his size/speed. Phil would certainly enjoy having this flexibility.

  26. I agree with your overall assessment, but it’s not very fair to compare Odom’s and Artest’s shooting percentages and defensive PER. Odom was either a 2nd or 3rd wheel for his career, gets to shoot uncontested jumpers beyond 17 feet frequently, and rarely if ever shot a 3 under defensive pressure. Artest was usually a 1B scoring option to Bibby/O’Neal, takes a fair amount of ‘Kobe 3′s’ with someone guarding him closely and still shot better overall. What could his percentages be if he’s your 4th scoring option and gets to camp in the corner and play off Bynum and Gasol in the post? It’s like comparing Kobe’s percentages to Jason Kapono’s or Damon Jones when one gets to shoot open jumpers and the other is double teamed even without the ball…Kobe probably shoots 50% at 3′s if he’s wide open (Where’s synergy sports when you need it…). Artest also tends to guard the opposing team’s best defender where as Vladimir f’ing Radmanovic received the prize of guarding Paul Pierce in the finals

  27. Kurt,

    I understand that it took Nash to seal the deal for Duhon. Very good for D’Antoni. If he had to start the preseason with Marbury, he would have ended up in Bellevue.

  28. I’m as puzzled as Kurt by the fascination with Artest as a Laker. I do confess to being intrigued by Corey Maggette, though. Is he a feasible pickup while retaining Odom? Would love to see Luke and Radman banished to the farthest end of the bench next year ….

  29. I imagine Boston is thinking of Maggette as 6th man, backing up both Allen and Pierce. Who else do they have?

  30. Anonymous, there is a video clip of Sun Yue at the ‘Club Lakers’ link here. He looked good from the video both defensive and offensive moves. I have not seen him really play a game, we will need to wait for the Olympics for that..

  31. Peanut Butter Spread July 6, 2008 at 12:55 am

    I agree. Count me as one of the people that did not love the idea of Artest as a Laker especially right after the Finals.

    Not that I don’t like Artest as a person, he seems genuinely like a nice dude, but his on court antics are a little sketchy for me to feel comfortable with him being a Lakers. I get that he’ll pose a “toughness” that everyone seems to think the Lakers are lacking, but at the same time, he’s not a solid team player, which was what this year’s Lakers was built on.

    Artest is kinda like Radman – sketchy when unmotivated, but a threat when motivated … I mean, does anyone remember that game the Kings played against the Hornets (it was a crucial game for the Hornets to get #1 in the conference) when he claimed his thumb was injured so he couldn’t play, yet the Kings won without him … then the very next game against the Lakers, his thumb miraculously felt better and he played against us and they lost? It’s funny and exasperating, but that’s only because he’s on the Kings. If he pulled something like that with us, I think most of those advocators who wanted Artest would be made to look like jokes.

  32. What I don’t like about Artest was what happened back in either the 2004-05 or 2005-06 season when he wanted to “take a break” from the Indiana Pacers to promote some no-name female R&B group.

    That kind of “commitment” is not one that I would like on the Lakers especially because the team is still relatively young. For all of the people saying that Phil can handle an Artest or Rodman type of player should also realize that Phil had the Chicago Bulls which was a veteran ball club that could police themselves.

    Ron Artest is a “feel good” solution because of the star power he has. Everyone must also remember the baggage that he brings.

    Personally, I’d rather have James Posey if the Lakers were thinking of using their mid-level exception.

  33. The Dude Abides July 6, 2008 at 3:26 am

    drrayeye, if our guys are all healthy next year, then Luke and Vlad should only get minutes in garbage time, or if Trevor or Lamar get into foul trouble…plus, our third option at SF is Kobe, with Sasha at SG.

  34. 23. is Starbury being bought out? If he is (which I assume he will be) what GM is dumb enough to pick him. I say Miami or maybe GS gets him/

    Duhom is not perfect (I think he is just a backup in the league) but better than anyone they have now. D’antoni was hoping for the #1 pick so that he could get Rose. Would have fit his system perfectly.

  35. Last Fall, I said that I liked the Lakers team that we had. After two more trades, I couldn’t think of any other player I wanted at any position. Not that there aren’t desireable players “out there,” but I felt that they would unbalance the team. I still feel that way.

    Going into the summer, the Lakers have already reassembled most of the team that almost won an NBA championship. Kobe and Pau will be playing in the Olympics, possibly against each other or against team China–where they will play against a future Laker.

    The budget of the 2008-2009 Lakers will be higher–even though the players are the same–well into luxury tax hell. Adding anyone could easily effect negotiations downstream for key players, playing time, and team chemistry. On top of all of that, most deals for known free agents aren’t even possible, and even the simplest trades which seem straightforward can quickly become complex.

    An acquisition of Posey for the mid level exception cannot be ignored, but it becomes more a curse than a blessing after 2009 for the Lakers–when new contracts for Andrew, Trevor, Jordan, and Lamar all happen at the same time.

    Under this backdrop, be grateful that we have such a great team, but think 3 times before you even consider any change–then think again. It’s not impossible, but once you’ve found a sure thing, check the alignment of the stars. If it’s a trade, don’t tell anyone until the last moment or it probably will collapse.

  36. (34) The Dude Abides,

    counting playoffs, there may be 100 games next year. Kobe needs more rest–’cause he’s playing more games. Everyone plays, one way or another. Some players not even in the rotation will get chances to start. The Lakers have deliberately chosen every player (except Lamar), and they’ve been chosen for a reason. Both Luke and Vlad are core players on long term salaries. I like and appreciate them as part of a truly balanced team. Change the chemistry, and you may get a lot less than you bargained for.

  37. For those who want Kobe to play 40-42min next year, I have a question. Do you want Kobe to play 3 more years or 6/7 more years? With all the mileage he has on his tires, Kobe needs to slow down a bit in the minutes. His conditioning is phenomenal, but none of us can completely turn back time and wear-and-tear. Were he to have played 4 yrs in college he would be 34 at this time. With Sasha and Ariza we have people who can give him some rest – let’s do it.

  38. Bingo T. Klown July 6, 2008 at 9:00 am

    well I keep saying it in response to these ridiculous trade odom for (a small forward) comments but if you trade him the Lakers interior becomes very thin. Ponder the following:

    a) Odom has been our best rebounder. bynum may replace him in that but until this happens for a season, do you really want to chance it?
    b) your front line is then bynum, gasol, turiaf (IF he resigns) and mihm. sorry folks but this scares me. Bynum ((if healthy) is a solid interior presence. Gasol has his moments inside. I know we all love Ronny’s energy but he is NOT a good rebounder (check the numbers). And can we really rely on Mihm for substantial minutes?
    c) you add new small forward to our pre-existing 3 – ariza, walton, and vlad. Ariza may fill the need, but we have to wait and see. and in Luke and Vlad you have two guys with with contracts that one would be hard pressed to trade for and that you would have a hard time throwing down at the end of the bench. I think Vlad, though far from perfect filled his role on offense fairly well; come in score 8-10 points quickly in Q1, disappear rest of game. Walton may be the weakest link, but even he had a great series against Denver. so how do you divide the time with new small forward? (and don’t say trade one of the aforementioned 3 because it isn’t going to happen)

    just to reiterate what MOST of you have said, we shouldn’t approximate moves based on what happened against Boston. They were the only team that beat us in the playoffs. Also if you take that short sighted approach of changing your roster for one team, well look happened with Phoenix, and they still couldn’t beat the Spurs.

  39. we really should give our lineup a shot unless something stupendeous presents itself.

    and honestly, after the confidence our team must have gained getting to the finals, and their realization that THEY could’ve been the difference between losing and winning, i really think our stars deserve a summer to prove themselves.

    anyway, i actually saw Jordan Farmar in Korea. Shorter than i thought ;) He was here to promote EA NBA madness or something like that, along with the Mavericks’ cheerleaders.

  40. 26 and 31. Sun is still raw… he has got just 2 good seasons at the Asian league and it’s not even one of the top leagues in the world. I like him, a lot, but he needs loads and loads of work on him.

    As I said in a previous comment in an other post here, Sun and Coby will make an exciting couple for the Defenders.

  41. @Bingo: You nailed it. We have a great team and will make a run at it again. Being in the West ill affords us room to make a mistake on chemistry or future signings. Mitch more than made up for the acquisition of Kwame with Gasol so I say let’s roll with what we got. Remember we didn’t do what a lot of people were saying to do last summer (trade Kobe) and we turned out alright I would say.

  42. It’s a long , long season and every player will be needed.Starters and older veterans should be played only long enough to win. That’s the upside to having a great bench.Keep them fresh for the playoffs.

  43. Sid (25),

    Your numbers are pretty good, but we make different assumptions. I’ll try to compare and explain mine.

    How can you have Pau Gasol play center for 30 minutes, and Andrew play center for 26? There are only 42 minutes in a game.

    Why on earth would you want to increase Kobe’s playing time per game? I’d like to reduce playing time per game for our stars. Maybe they can get us ahead enough so they don’t need to play the 4th quarter?

    Pau Gasol is not a center. The Lakers traded for Pau Gasol as a power forward. That’s his natural position. The idea is to have Pau and Andrew playing together.

    My idea is to transition a bit from our success last year by allowing Pau to play a bit of center, since he’s played both positions at Memphis before. This then allows Lamar to play the power forward like he did last year. Mihm (or some backup center) needs to play center regularly.

    I don’t see Vlad at the small forward next year. I see him at the power forward backing up Pau. His minutes may be low statistically, but he may play much longer minutes some nights. I see Ariza as the small forward, backed up by Luke (or vice versa, if you wish). As you notice, I don’t see Lamar at the small forward position, though he might switch over under certain conditions. His 3 point shooting last year was worst on the team; his rebounding was best. I do envision Lamar occasionally playing at point guard in his old role, getting our three towers on court together.

  44. I have mixed feelings re Odom v. Artest, so I am going to play devil’s advocate to Kurt.

    I agree with much of what Kurt said. In particular, I agree that Artest is likely to often take games/weeks off, play outside the offense, and threaten cohesion off the court. For these reasons, I think Odom is worth far more wins over the course of 82 regular season games than Artest. With Odom we have demonstrated cohesion and unity, on and off the court. Last year’s team (largely) played as one, and was thus more than the sum of their parts, especially during the blitz from Gasol’s acquisition through the Western Conference Finals. I have no doubt that even if Odom isn’t the ideal 3, the team would have enough talent to overpower most teams and roll through the regular season in impressive fashion — something like 60-65 wins.

    With Artest, it would feel choppier and the team would be more prone to prolonged funks. But I’m still tempted by it. After what happened in the finals, I wonder if the current LA team is another shade of the Webber-Bibby Kings, or Nash-Dirk Mavs, or Nash Suns. A team that has remarkable chemistry and rolls through the regular season but ultimately falls short because of some fatal flaw and/or lack of toughness. Remember, during the Shaq-Kobe title runs, the Lakers almost always won far less games than other Western powers (those listed above), as they had a hard time playing as one, but they always had another gear and were able to unite during the playoffs to defeat the prettier, smoother teams.

    I’m not sure what type of team we have now. And while I’d rather have Odom over 82 regular season games, when I honestly ask who I’d want in a 7 game series against Boston or San Antonio (with a healthy Ginobili), I have to answer Artest. I could be wrong, but I just believe that when focused in these do or die series, he would be more successful defending the Ginobili/Pierce types and less prone to be totally neutralized offensively (you can’t just sag off Artest 5 feet and take away his left hand like Garnett did to Odom).

    A few other statistical notes:

    Odom shot 52.5% last year, but that was a clear aberration, fueled largely by playing PF next to the brilliantly passing Gasol; he is a career 46% shooter and will be stuck on the perimeter much more next year, without the clear path to cut to the rim like he did constantly post-Gasol. I do not think he is a more efficient scorer than Artest, especially as a SF. Odom struggles mightily as a 3. They’ve tried to put him at his “natural” SF position numerous times to open the season and it always fails. He just isn’t an effective SF, at least not in our offense. His PER as a SF the last few years has been been markedly lower than as a PF. Last season, he had a 19.4 PER (56% eFG) as a PF and a 10.5 PER as a SF (38% eFG). He just doesn’t have the offensive skills to succeed on the perimeter in the triangle. He is what he is. He’s had summers to work on that 3 point shot and find ways to diversify his offensive game — it hasn’t happened. We shouldn’t expect that it will happen.

    Artest’s PER at SF has been over 20 the last two seasons. His outside shot is improving and is more accurate than Odom’s. He is a capable passer. He can drive left or right, post up, and hit the perimeter shot with enough accuracy to force team’s to play honest (whereas Odom encouraged Garnett to play free safety and jam up the triangle’s spacing). He has a much more diversified set of offensive skills and would give LA another perimeter scorer to create offense besides Kobe, whether in the pick and roll or isolation. LA sorely needed that at times against Boston.

    Artest’s defensive numbers are misleading in that he has had to play with no defensive support behind him on the Kings, who have had one of the worst defensive front lines in basketball and no shotblocking. The last time Artest had a true defensive presence in the paint behind him, in Indiana, he held SF’s to an incredible 12.7 PER allowed. I suspect that if he had Bynum and Gasol behind him here, his defensive numbers would improve.

    So, Artest just fits better on both ends of the court next to Bynum and Gasol. I love Odom as a player and person, but think we are being overoptimistic in thinking he can refine his game to be an effective 3 in our system. He’s certainly good enough for us to overpower most teams and roll through the regular season, especially with his versatility and ability to play a lot of backup 4. But our season’s success is not going to be determined by how many regular season wins we have — it will be on whether we can beat SA, Boston, Detroit, Utah, and so forth. As wonderful and multi-talented as Odom is, I just think he is what he is, and he is definitely not an effective SF. Artest is, despite his sometimes destructive tendencies. It might be worth living through those issues for 82 games to have him during 7.

    That’s my devil’s advocate case for Artest. I still lean towards keeping Odom and giving the team a chance to work out any kinks, but I admit being tempted by Ron and that I would feel more comfortable going to battle with him against the elite contenders — not throughout a long season, but definitely during a brutal 7 game series against a SA or Boston.

  45. Reed,
    One thing about your comparison of the Lakers to the Suns and Dallas. The Suns were never able to even reach the finals and the Mavs got there and got an advantage, but fell apart when the refs started pushing the whistle and Dirk had to come up big. The Lakers got to the finals, but they were clearly not the better team this year and Kobe is known as a clutch player.

    I think we should all agree the Celtics were clearly the best team last year – and on a real mission, to boot. The Lakers were a team many ‘talking heads’ didn’t expect would make the playoffs and a very young team. Now that the players not only have more confidence in themselves, but know what real pressure is, there is every reason to expect significant growth and more veteran savvy from these same players. That is the change we will see in next year’s Lakers, not by breaking up the club and adding ‘heavy’ to the mix.

  46. Now that was a championship. Kurt, you were right about Nadal, but what a match.

  47. I know. I’m still completely shocked that someone beat Federer at Wimbledon, but we Nadal has been playing so well. Um, I hope this inspires Pau to win his own championship!!

  48. I can honestly say that there really isn’t an easy or simple answer to this. In almost every way I agree with both Reed and Kurt. Artest’s and Odom’s faults are clear and definable, impacting the team in ways that aren’t difficult to foreshadow. Their strengths are also easily defined and are very good assets to have on any team, and when considering how those strengths would help us, it’s easy to envision both of them providing qualities that help us win.

    This is why, while I’m an advocate for Artest as a player (while still recognizing all his faults) I’ve never wanted a clean trade off of Odom for Artest. I think both provide so much (while still providing frustrations) that I can’t easily say that either would be the ultimate problem or the final solution. That’s why if we were really to try and aquire Ron, I would want to do it without giving up Odom. And ultimately I don’t think it’s possible to do it that way, so I don’t know what else to add. I’m not going to conjure up some crazy trade that works on a trade machine and act like it could actually happen. So, what’s the point really?

    Ultimately, I still think we need to see how this team plays next season, the way that it is. But, we must also consider how the rest of the off-season plays out and that will take time and patience. Sasha and Turiaf returning are not a given. Mitch signing a FA or making a trade is not out of the question. While it’s great to debate the merits of current players on the roster or speculate how an addition to the team may fit, nothing has actually happened yet. So, in the meantime, I just wait…which isn’t such a bad thing really. We were just in the Finals. In off-seasons past, I was a guy so concerned with how we’d get to the playoffs at all or how we’d get out of the first round. Now we’re talking how do we win a title. Things have changed for the ultimate better, and for that alone, I’m happy.

  49. 45- Reed

    I agree entirely with your analysis about Artest and Odom. Artest can potentially be better in a series, but for an entire season obtaining Artest is a risky move. Let’s hope Lamar takes the loss this season and wants to improve instead of being content. It’s his contract season so I’m sure he’s going to be working hard to get a contract if not from the Lakers than from someone else…that’s something that has been failed to be mentioned.

  50. Kurt,

    I’m tapped out of the Lamar discussion. I’m seeing 7′s in my sleep.

  51. Emma,

    We sure hope so. It can be done. If Nadal can beat Federer on grass, then Pau can consistantly take it to Kendrick Perkins. First the World Cup, then this. Spain’s on fire. Why did our Spaniard flame out?

    Also, I think this year actually makes the case for Federer and Nadal’s greatness stronger. Roger wins everything but the French for years because Nadal is one of, if not the best clay court specialists ever, and when Roger finally loses HIS tournament, it’s to Nadal who is increasingly comin into his own as a GREAT player, period, not just on clay. Call me wierd, but I think this actually helps Roger’s legacy. Now, if he can beat Nadal on clay…….then……….

  52. 48- I hope by “championship” you don’t mean “gold medal”. Anyone else itching for the olympics?

  53. The Dude Abides July 6, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    OT: Nadal-Federer was the best Wimbledon match I’ve seen since 1980 McEnroe-Borg. Truly scintillating tennis. I think Roger was a little stubborn by playing at the baseline too much, although Rafa did hit some unbelievable passing shots. One thing that Roger never seemed to notice was that Rafa rarely passed him cleanly down the line whenever Roger’s approach shot was cross court. Every time Roger was passed after hitting a crosscourt approach shot, Rafa’s pass was crosscourt. Changing the line of approach on a passing shot is the toughest shot to hit in tennis, especially if the approach shot is cross court. Even when Roger hit his approach up the line, most of the time Rafa’s pass went right back down that same line.

    I was pulling for Roger, and this drove me crazy. He only won one out of his 13 break points. Most of these took place in the ad court, and Rafa would get him in a Nadal forehand to Federer backhand baseline rally every time. Some of these points were on second serves, and Roger could have tried chipping the return down the line and charging the net, but never did. An approach shot that stays low is a more effective shot on grass against Nadal, who absolutely crushes everything thigh high and above.

  54. Whenever a team loses in the Playoffs,there’s an immediate reaction and that the losers feel they must “fix” whatever let the other team win.(Much like armies are said to prepare for the last war.) “Fixing” the Lakers so they can beat the Celtics is fine-but what if the Celts aren’t the opponent ? Focusing on the specific team and not the general weaknesses exposed leads to bad decision making. For example the Lakers lost a series to the Suns and Radmanovic had a great series against them,so let’s sign him to a MLE and now we have our Suns-killer.
    I think most here would agree Laker weaknesses during the Playoff run were:
    Lack of interior defensive presence-both individual and team help,as well as rebounding
    Perimeter defense-whether on pck/rolls,preventing penetration or being able to slow down a hot shooter
    Consistant scoring off the bench
    Overall offensive execution
    Mental toughness-not neccesarily physical toughness,but the mindset that refuses to allow another team to impose its’ will.

    Looking at the Lakers roster as is,I-and prob the team-believe a healthy Bynum will go far for fixing the interior defensive presence problem. His swatting away a couple of shots early will help the perimeter D as other players will no longer feel they have an open lane to drive. Bynum being the main interior defender will allow Gasol-and his celebrated length-to be potent weak-side shot-blocker.
    W/the integration of Ariza into the offense,he will get far more minutes,proving a perimeter defender.(In the Triangle he will usually set up in the baseline corner. Even if he can’t shoot from distance,if his man sags off,Ariza should cut hard to basket where Gasol will reward him and Ariza can finish strong.) We don’t know how much Fishers’ injury hurt him of defense,but if he’s healthy he gives the Lakers the strength to fight thru screens. But I would expect Laker perimeter D,esp screen/roll,to continue to be a weakness as Phil will prob spend most of camp and Pre-Season integrating Ariza,Bynum and Gasol into the Triangle and working out Lamar’s best fit. Next yr will be when Phil and staff concentrate on D.(Benefit of being cap-locked into current team for next couple of yrs.)
    The Lakers bench is young and that tends towards inconsistancy,plus there’s no one on the bench who can get their own shot at any time. So they have to score out of the system,or off fast breaks. Once the Season starts,the bench should have it’s roles set and the focus on getting Ariza and Gasol integrated into Triangle should have a trickle down effect. I also imagine there will be couple shifts of Bynum/Lamar w/second unit to help get them running.
    If Gasol becomes the “Initiator” out of the High Post,the rest of the team snaps into place on offense. Fisher/Farmer/Sasha at top of 3pt line as outlet 3s and fast break defenders. Bynum/Turaif on weakside for backdoors,screens for Kobe to continue thru and curl off of and,most importantly,crashing the boards. Kobe on the wing w/a multitude of options and free to focus on scoring and D. Lamar/Ariza in corner for quick cuts to basket or Rad/Luke/Sasha there for 3pt shooting.
    The time spent in Pre-Season will result in a much more efficient offense and one w/far more player movement.
    The mental toughness of the team will hopefully be improve by last yrs experience,increased confidence from better offensive execution and the good chance of a very successful Regular Season.(Instead of drama from last yr-Kobe,Bynum down,Gasol trade,etc,the team should go into season optimistic and w/increased success should grow increased confidence.) Further,Bynum seems to be pretty mentally tough and his presence will help immeasureably in that department.

    The Laker Organization can feel pretty confident that the weaknesses that were exposed last yr can be remedied for the most part by players already on their roster.

    Thanks for putting up w/my long-winded post. I just see so much right w/the Lakers-darn it!-that I wanted to express them. The personnel shortcomings I see are a third PG-either to groom for future or vet for when Farmar struggles and a reserve SG who can fill it up in a hurry can be fixed by Gasol running the O from High Post well enough for Phil to bite bullet and make Sasha the starting PG and the Triangle being run effeciently by second unit.

  55. Kurt,

    Sactown Royalty has taken on your “challenge,” and the preponderance of opinion there is along the lines of Reed’s “devil’s advocate” post. They think that Ron’s defense would make a huge difference for the Lakers–and they give specific examples of how and why.

    They would not be surprized to see the Lakers come knocking sooner or later.

  56. 53. I’m not usually taking my patriotism for a walk but… we are rocking the sports world. Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Fernando Alonso was a two-time F1 champion 2 years ago, Handball and (grass) Hockey… It feels good for out sport.

    Trying my best to be un-biassed, I’m still rooting for Spain at the olympics although this year USA team really scares me.

    For the record, since Pau Gasol trade spanish media have been sooooo anoying. The headers after a Laker win is something like “Pau Gasol leads the Lakers to another win” when maybe Kobe and Lamar both had bigger games. But is something I’m willing to live with.

  57. Mani, for one thing Luke had nagging injuries this last season, his minutes also dropped from the previous year, where he was a starter. I don’t know if his father had anything to do at all with the Lakers signing him from college or keeping him (I would think not). I do not think any player would tend to want to play worse in seasons following a contract extension like Luke’s. He played fine aginst the Nuggets but terrible against the Celtics (because of Paul Pierce), he is currently just one of many SF’s the Lakers have to work with and is not a problem or a savior for them.

  58. the key fact for the lakers this year was the lack of experience in deep play-off runs inside the team. some could say this was the same on the celtics side but each member of the big 3 had been in the conference finals before while being the man so they had experienced heavy pressure. in the lakers team only fish and kobe had previous deep play-off run experience. LO just played one time in the second round with miami, all the other players never played past the first round before, except walton (he was a rookie in 2004). i think the celts were more experienced and that’s why they won so i don’t see any need to do massive changes. everyone remember that MJ never losed in the finals but before that he experienced a decade of losing in eastern conference semi-finals or finals. losing this year will just bring the best of this young team for the future.

    then for the team in itself for next year, LO should be on the bench rather than at 3 and would be effective playing in the same period as farmar. i think trevor could be the answer at 3 if he watches videotapes of bruce bowen killing other teams with his corner 3s all summer and tries to do the same next year.

    i also hope ronny, bynum and vujacic were not just playing for the contract this year. walton did that a year ago, he received a good contract and now he is under-performing.

    on the free-agent side, brent barry would be the only useful addition. posey is a very good player but at 10M$ with taxes, buss will never signed him whereas barry is not expensive and he is capable of making key 3s, something we lacked this year.

  59. [edited for trade talk]

    odom has peaked as a player, and has some valuable skills that several teams are interested in. the fact that he does not fit in the lakers system does not mean he is a bad player or that the lakers need to adjust for him. its just time to move on. no point in dragging it out.

    consider this: have you ever seen kobe and lamar execute any type of two man game at all? any type of give and go, pick and roll, cut, or anything? can you find any examples on youtube?

    don’t worry, I’ll wait.

    the numbers are skewed for artest because he was hurt and playing in a system where he didn’t fit. kings didn’t really have much of an offense anyway, and he was basically their 2nd or 3rd best offensive threat depending on who you ask.

    rebounding is a wash. we start two 7 footers. please.

    so what if he took games off in sacramento, its sacramento. he’s not motivated. I wonder if we have a coach who knows anything about motivating precocious players…

    no one will need to step up to artest. he and kobe have a strong mutual respect for each other, as well as a strong friendship.

    can you name any other players in the nba that kobe has a strong friendship with?

    don’t worry, I’ll wait.

    thanks for listening.

    kurt has the best laker site in the world.

  60. 60. “don’t worry, I’ll wait.”

    hahahah, gasolgasol has plenty of time… to wait.
    woaahh there’s nothing like summer with nothing else to do, uh? (I wish I was in that situation)

  61. I actually hope we keep Lamar and that it works out. There was something very pure about last year’s team that was distinguishable from the Shaq-Kobe teams. Part of it was the absence of drama, but part was the fact the team (sans Gasol) were homegrown — we had watched them develop, overcome weaknesses, understand their individual roles, etc. Even before Gasol came, the team had become a contender, and that was largely driven by the hard work of our young players to become better than any of us imagined (Bynum, Farmar, Sasha, Turiaf). Even Odom adapted his game and evolved to new heights once Gasol arrived. Once we start shipping out key cogs and bringing in new faces, it might feel like a collection of mercenaries rather than homegrown soldiers. So, I do hope we stick with the same team and let them grow, especially Odom whom we all have such a soft spot for. But in that desire I admit a little uneasiness in sticking with Odom and leaving a (fatal) flaw unattended. Perhaps Odom learns how to produce as a SF, perhaps Ariza steps, but I’m sure, rather than merely hopeful, that an Artest or Marion would get the job done during the playoff series that will inevitably decide our season. Even if it comes at the expense of some regular season cohesion and purity. So, I remain torn, hoping it works and that the team sticks together, but acknowledging that there might be a better path, even if less satisfying.

  62. Reed,
    I think we all are concluding that Lamar is Lamar and he isn’t going to change to any great degree. That being true, our other players all have finals playoff experience and playoff confidence. I expect noticeable growth from all our other players – except Kobe and Fish. This growth will change the dynamics Phil has to work with and lessen our reliance on Lamar. The only real fear I have is with our defense and this, I think, relies more on the coaching staff than on bringing in any additional players.

  63. which is the reason why we’re not the GM and the actual GM is taking the heat. let’s hope that what buss, kupchak and company conjure up isn’t a merely quiet summer not unless they hold the team intact and cook something to dominate next season with an emphasis on defense.

    i believe the triple tower treat can work. however, i am also for toughening the lineup particularly the bench. we need a go-to guy off the bench. that’s how things are in the nba. you can’t simply rely on a 1-2 punch, it has to be the team now which is a good thing. not even jordan could see this landscape the same way he did the 1990s. so i am hoping that we can get both artest and odom for no heavy cost. again, i am not high on ronron but i am willing take a chance if this presents itself possible (the not losing lamar scenario). if not, goodness, even maggette is worth chasing if only to meet the need of a 6th man. lamar can be the 6th man but that will mean ariza stepping up. i hold that trevor be the starting sf if not lamar, not vlad or luke. if this happens, then i have faith in trevor and may not see the need for acquisitions other than a big man off the bench and a posey-type role player with lamar…yikes. then our bench can run with the league’s starting 5 and that is scary.

    i entertain the idea of moving one of luke and vlad. we have enough shooters. barry, though still a nice piece is worth adding but then we have people playing in summer camp who are younger and as capable. we have contracts to worry about.

    with a formidable 5 and a 6th man anchoring a young and talented bench, and with a tougher mentality i’m sure we have entering this year, we can truly say we have the legitimate claim to the trophy.

    hats off to kurt, reed and the rest. we want the lakers to win. it’s up to them really but then, it’s nice to know the laker nation is hungry, let’s let this trickle down. GO LAKERS!

  64. I agree Craig. And that is part of the reason why I’d hold off on Odom for Artest, despite feeling that Ron is such a superior fit. But I’m extremely torn by the idea.

  65. Hi Reed, Craig,

    I’ve been trading posts at Sactown Royalty. They are commenting on Kurt’s thread. I find their perspective on Ron very interesting. I don’t think they have a clue how and when Petrie will trade Ron–and I think it will happen.

    It certainly is a situation worth watching.

  66. Bingo T. Klown July 6, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    To all supporting a trade for artest and jetisoning LO (not that it would be one for the other because salary cap issues and no real trade as such has been placed out there) please ANSWER these questions that I guess I have not made clear in prior posts:

    1) are you satisfied with an interior of Bynum, Gasol, Turiaf (if he resigns) and Mihm? If so let me hear you justification because I am skeptical.
    2) what are you going to do with 4 small forwards? And if you say trade (and I know Kurt hates trade speculation but) I want to hear something plausible.
    3) what’s the rotation??

  67. first off…… (11) and (12)… and everyone here… please dont call farmar “Jordan”.
    and as far as my opinions go… i like the team as it is… i like ariza… and i think ariza and gasol can gel really well together with ariza cutting into the lane as he has been known to do.
    (17)— hehe…. well said
    (21), (29)– agree totally… dont like vlade and luke is okay, but i feel his attitude isnt the greatest. he showed us hes got the potential to be a good player last year, won a contract and then shut shop. I really hope sasha doesnt do the same.

    personally, i like the starting lineup of bynum, gasol, kobe, sasha and farmar/fish

    lamar and ariza go to the bench, luke/ vladi ( unless we show them the door )

    this lineup sorts out a few issues, but we need to keep it flexible, to match up against the bigger SFs

  68. As a long-time lakers fan since the 80′s, I’d like to say I was surprised when the team got to the final. But what concerns me the most is our MVP, he looked worn-out and had no lift on his jumpers. Perhaps, bigger defenders really cause trouble, who’s to say that Kobe won’t face similar defense next year. I brought this out, simply look at what spurs and celts had done; some strategy, mano-on-mano, contest shots and keep the man guessing at all time. Well, it did NOT work for spurs coz Kobe MADE just enough shots against the spurs (50%+). I’ve seen way too many 7-21, 6-15, etc type of nights from Kobe. You’re not going to win a title when your best player struggle throughout a game, never mind a playoff series. Not here to bash Kobe; I love the man’s in-between game but it’s up to mgmt and the coaching staff to recognize that. Triangle offense actually needs spacing more than timing, and that’s why we struggle against the C’s since our big men can’t establish any presence inside, with the like of Oden, healthy Yao, it ain’t going to be easy for our bigs next season. My suggestion is this, trade GASOL, as unfathomable as it is, Gasol is over-rated. I don’t see him put up 20,30 lbs nor do I expect him to improve both of his jumpers and free throws (look at both %). There’s no upside in him, I’d take Odem over Gasol any day. Remember, titles are won in June. You can’t have softies on the floor not when zone defense is employed as well as the celts did to us. In playoffs, coaching staff has enough time to dissect you, expose your weaknesses, you ability to adjust hinges on the talent of your players. Gasol is who he is, great in regular season, but … just my 2 cents.

  69. This is how I see it: If everything goes according, Lakers reach the Finals as well as the Celtics in 2009, we will have to play practically the same team that demolished us. Yes, Bynum will be around , Gasol will be playing his “natural” position, and Odom will be at the SF position. (This is, of course, barring any injuries to our players, which, in the recent history of the organization, is damn near impossible)

    And guess what? Odom will still be unable to guard Pierce, Gasol will still be unable to guard KG, and what do we end up with? A repeat of this past season.

    Of course, the Lakers should make or not make adjustments just to achieve the best regular season record, right? Forget all about the toughest opponent we will eventually meet in the Finals, right? Being that opponent will likely end up as the Celtics, we can just lose to them again because we decided to adjust for best regular season achievements, rather than that one primary obstacle that hindered us this year from winning the championship.

    I love when some of the posters say, “If you think otherwise, you must not know or watch any Lakers basketball.” That elitist attitude is amusing and fascist, because apparently, Kurt is only ever right, right? Not a shot at Kurt, but I find it funny that everytime I read those comments, they usually follow something along the lines of, “I agree 100% with you Kurt,” or “You’re absolutely right, Kurt.”

  70. 44 drrayeye

    Your points are fair enough although there are 48 minutes in a game. I don’t actually have Gasol playing 30 minutes exclusively at Center. I expect him to start there, but to slide to PF when Bynum is on court with him which is why their totals add up to 56. The positions I showed in my earlier post are just where the players will start the game at, although obviously many of the players can play multiple positions over the course of the game and season.
    As for Kobe’s high minute totals, they are indeed ridiculous and high, but at the same time…thats what he wants. Its one thing to say Kobe should get less minutes, its another to actually tell the guy to stay sitting when he is so competitive. The only time Phil convinces him to stay sitting is if its a huge blowout, and even then apparently its tough. Look, if any coach can do it, it’s Phil, but since he hasn’t done it the past two seasons (perhaps fairly due to the team being wildly inconsistent without him, but again mostly because of Kobe’s personality) why would that change?
    Vlad is too weak to consistently have to guard power forwards. That can be used as a rare wrinkle here and there, but if done too often, opponents will just back him down in the post and abuse him.
    What i posted earlier isn’t what I might want for the team, its more of what I expect. Balancing minutes is normally a bad idea because it doesn’t allow many players to get into a groove while at the same time over extending others. With all the players being decent enough to expect the minutes drrayeye has given them, Phil has quite the headache upcoming, but it is one that I’m sure he’ll welcome since its always better to have too many options than too little.
    As for the Lamar Odom for Artest rumors, I hate them. Odom can play some power forward while Artest cannot. That means getting Artest includes Turiaf as the only dependable backup to Gasol and Bynum in the playoffs while rising the minutes of all three to minute totals that will probably lead them into some injury or the other in the regular season (and tire them for the playoffs even if it doesn’t.) Artest is also too slow to guard many of the quicker wings out there. He is a very physical defender to be fair and has a fair amount of success against bigger opponents, but all of the above is only when he exerts his full energy which is rare. Thus, there will be many games where Artest will be too lazy to play consistent defense. Then you have his offense which as agreed upon by many of the posters above me is ridiculous. He jacks up too many shots, ignores his teammates, and generally disregards the offensive game plan. We already have a player like that who does that occasionally, but unlike Artest, Kobe Bean Bryant is good enough to do that here and there. Odom is not as inconsistent as Artest (not that the distinction is huge) plays within the offense, grabs rebounds, and can pass. His defense isn’t terrible (tho below Artest’s when Artest tries.) In the end, he is a better fit.
    The comparisons of Artest to Rodman are not accurate either as while Artest knows his fair share of basketball, Rodman was a basketball savant (thanks ESPN Classic!) Yeah he was a headcase off the court, but on the court his defense was excellent and his rebounding the greatest ever. He, unlike Artest, knew his limitations on offense and only did what he could.

  71. Victor,
    One of the features of the Laker organization is that they will stick to you for a while, before blowing you out of the water – see Lamar Odom. The same is true for Gasol. He won’t be judged because of one series. He also has work to do over the summer and he will be playing a different position.

    As for bemoaning the series against the Celtics. Just like last year, people seem to forget that a new year brings changes to most young players and finals experience seems to toughen a lot of players – regardless of experience. Last year was a unique time – for both the Lakers and the Celtics (lest we forget). We will not see the low expectations, excitement, and consistent hand wringing we witnessed last year with the Lakers. However, we may not see as much drive, hunger and cohesion as we saw from the Celtics either. Just ask San Antonio just how easy it is to repeat in this league.

    Standing pat next year does not mean our team remains the same and it behooves all of us to remember that.

  72. lol,
    Thru the first 5 Finals games Gasol was a +5,KG +4.
    Gasol had 77 points on 54 FGAs,KG had 83 on 87 FGAs. Gasol had 16 assists,KG 14. Gasol had 53 rebounds,KG 64. A straight head-to-head match-up is much more even than supposed.

  73. The Dude Abides July 7, 2008 at 12:07 am

    I thought Gasol guarded Garnett pretty well. His length bothered him. But Gasol isn’t nearly as good as Bynum at defending the rim when a guard or forward penetrates. He is merely decent at it…he did a pretty good job against Utah and San Antonio. However, the primary players on those two teams who were successful penetrators were Tony Parker and Deron Williams. Both 6-3 or shorter. The problem with Boston was that their primary penetrator was Paul Pierce (6-7), who was matched up in the Finals with two of the worst defending SFs in the playoffs. He’s both taller and significantly stronger than Williams and Parker, so our bigs had a tougher time against him when they had to be the last line of defense. If we play the Celtics again, Lamar and Trevor should be able to do a much better job on Pierce, and Bynum’s presence will give us a more effective last line of defense.

  74. I’m with Bingo. If Ron v. LO were simply a case of who would provide the best combination of defense and outside shooting, then by all means get Artest, warts and all. But as so many have pointed out, we are loaded at the position. Too bad we can’t combine Vlad’s offense, Luke’s savvy and decent inside game, with Trevor’s defense and slashing athleticism. Alas, not possible, ergo our little dilemna.
    Keep in mind though, that not every team has a Paul Pierce. In the end, we will take advantage of LO’s flexibility and use him 30-35 min/game with 10-15 at SF and the remaining 20 playing with Drew or Paul at PF. As per Bingo, LO is best suited at PF. In the finals, Ronny was disapointing inside, showing really no inside offensive skills or much rebounding. The team really could have used a rotation of Bynum/Gasol/Lamar/Turiaf at the 4 and 5 spots with LO then free to guard Pierce. LO may get outquicked by a few SFs but not outphysicaled as Pierce did to all 4 options at the position. Of course, even with a patchwork SF, I see Vlad and Luke getting reduced time IF everyone is healthy.
    Predict we win 60 next year.

  75. Kurt,

    You made a very good case against Artest. But I don’t think you have him enough credit. He’s a MUCH better defender than Odom. In fact, it’s not even close. Ron is a former Defensive Player of the Year.

    True, he has a checkered past. But for the most part, he’s been a good teammate in Sacramento.

    He’s an excellent scorer in the post. He’s too big for every 3 not named LeBron and he’s too quick for every 4 not named Stoudemire.

    If Jackson could get through to Rodman, I’m confident that he could reign in Artest. Ron also respects Kobe so I don’t think he’d challenge the team hierarchy like he did in Indiana (Jermaine O’Neal).

    What this guy brings to the table is undeniable. When he’s on his game and surrounded by a winning team, he’s an animal.

  76. (70) Victor,

    Surprised they made it the Finals? Maybe you hadn’t watched a game since the 80′s either. Let me guess. You didn’t realize how good they were until the Playoffs started and then you found out they were #1 in the West.

  77. Quick question….if the Lakers offer their MLE to someone else are they still allowed to match any offer for Sasha and Ronny even if it means going beyond the cap

  78. the other Stephen July 7, 2008 at 8:37 am

    70. well, you’re certainly 100% right on the head, lol.

    skim a bit, and i think you’ll find more free thinkers than you first realized.

    13. anoni, it’s interesting to contemplate najera, but was paid 5 million last year. i wonder at the likelihood of landing him.

  79. lol,

    Well, guess you didn’t watch the Finals, right? Lamar didn’t play PP much, ang KG didn’t kill Pau either. He score over 20 in Games 1 & 6. I can live with him canning 18 footers for 3 quarters. What hurt us was Eddie House spacing the floor, not closing out on shooters in crucial situations, Pau not establishing position and being quick, intent and forceful, and not responding to runs. The lakers held Boston under 100 in all but 2 games (2 & 6), both of those being abberations, in a sense. Game 2 was one of the most terribly officiated games I have ever seen, and the Lakers just quit in Game 6. The other 4 games? Well, we blew a 24 point lead in one, and were beat in one competitive tight game, and won 2. So were the Lakers that bad, that it’s time to retool? No. What was bad was the help D, and the way they played pick and rolls on PP. & KG, and the lack of matching Boston toughness and hustle. All things that can be worked on, especially goven the talent of this team. So when some of us say, “If you think otherwise, you must not know or watch any Lakers basketball.” or “Good post Kurt. Right on. Anyone who advocates this must not watch the Lakers, nor Artest.” is correct, because you forget that we have a team that DID make the Finals, and although we got outworked, we can play with the Celtics, especially with TWO key players in Bynum and Ariza coming back, and a lesson learned from the Finals loss. The problems the Lakers had can be corrected by focus. So to think we need to wipe the board, and possibly make major changes is ridiculous, especially a major question mark like Ron Artest.
    In 1989, the Pistons got revenge on our Lakers, then went back to back, after getting beatby LA in ’88. They made a major trade after the ALL-Star Break in ’89, we get Bynum and Ariza back for this whole year. We’ll be fine. So again, Good post Kurt. Right on. Anyone who advocates this must not watch the Lakers, nor Artest, and “If you think otherwise, you must not know or watch any Lakers basketball.”

  80. LOL, I think you and I differ on a key point — I don’t think the Lakers can or should go into next season thinking about how their roster matches up with the Celtics. We need the best all around team just to get out of the West — the Spurs will be back healthy (and better if they get Maggette), New Orleans will be more mature and better, same with Utah, and Portland, the Clippers and others will improve. You cannot match your roster to some East coast team you may or may not see in the finals (are you sure they can beat Detroit and Cleveland again, are you sure the Celtics remain healthy like they did this playoff run?).

    To me, you have to field the best team, and LO is part of that more than Artest would be.

    And I’m certainly not always right. I like that several posters here (and at Sactown) think I’m wrong and are willing to state the case. I want a lively debate, not a cult.

  81. Umm…There is a little something I call heart – Artest couldn’t care less when he was playing in Sactown, which is why his defensive numbers don’t look that great. if he’s playing for the Lakers, he’s gonna be charged up big time. And he’s big enough to defend the really tough 3s of the NBA – Lebron, Anthony etc. Odom for Artest – I would do it before you can say Odom Sucks!

  82. 82. Sure it’s easy to get up for LeBron, everyone does. To me the mark of a professional (say Fisher or Kobe) is they bring it every night. And I think Odom does that as well or better than Artest. I just don’t buy the “he’s a Laker so he’ll be pumped” argument. KG was pumped every night in Minny, he just had nobody around him.

  83. The biggest on court reason to prefer Odom to Artest, which others noted, is that Odom provides key depth at the PF spot. If Odom were traded for a purer 3, we would be woefully thin up front, especially whenever Gasol or Bynum were hurt or in foul trouble. While Artest is capable of defending most 4′s, he does not provide the rebounding that Odom does. With Odom, we have a beautifully flexible and interchangeable lineup, as he can slip to the 4 whenever Gasol or Bynum sit without the steep talent drop off that most teams face when they sit their elite bigs.

    My assessment that Artest’s skills would better fulfill our SF needs does not mean that I consider him a superior basketball player to Odom. It is just a statement about fit and need. If I were Sacramento and looking at skills alone, I would far prefer Odom to Artest — because Sacramento happens to be loaded at the wing spot and needs a PF to put next to Hawes/Miller.

    I think the argument that we are rich at SF so trading for one is unnecessary is really shortsighted. We are rich in “C+” level SF’s, with none of them really capable of consistent production (though there is great hope for Ariza). Thus the need to constantly play none of them during key stretches in the playoffs, and go to the Sasha-Kobe lineup. It is the same reason Portland traded for Bayless despite having endless PGs on the roster (Blake, Jack, Rodriguez, Kopponen, Green) — quantity means nothing in the face of quality. Saying that losing Odom would expose our frontline is a strong argument; saying that we are already set at SF is not.

    I don’t think pushing for a purer SF because of what we saw in the finals equates to building your roster for one opponent. Boston exposed a weak link on our roster. This does not mean they are the only team capable of doing so, just that they were the only team that figured out how. While none of the other elite western teams had two attacking wings capable of preying on LA’s SF vulnerability (as Kobe can only guard one), we can’t assume that will be the case next year. SA could add Maggette to a healthy Ginobili. Utah could do the same.

    I still say keep Odom and put faith in Ariza, but I understand the reasonable arguments being thrown around for making a move for Artest.

  84. new post up as we wait for something to happen

  85. Lamar Odom is not going anywhere. For one, no one knows for sure how Bynum’s knee will hold up. Until Bynum proves healthy, losing size won’t happen. Two, if Bynum is back 100%, the team wants to see how a tall frontline will work out.

    Odom by far is the most frustrating Laker in my lifetime. I love the guy one minute, then he sleepwalks the next. (Remember a play a couple of years ago, the ref, after a basket, bounced passed the ball to Lamar to inbound it, and Lamar walks the ball over the line and in play).

    I think the Lakers will go after Artest in free agency only. I don’t think a trade will happen.

    Sure the Finals exposed defensive problems, but those problems existed a long time ago with players like Cook and Smush Parker. Sometimes I feel like maybe the Lakers should emphasize the defense more (because the offense is there already), maybe even hire a Van Gundy type coach once Jackson hangs it up or as a consultant. I think Jackson’s “let them work it out” approach to timeouts only worked on the veteran teams, and with this team being young and inexperienced it backfired in the Finals.

  86. Bingo:

    1. totally satisfied with drew gasol ronny and mihm. That’s three 7 foot starters, a solid energy guy, and a really bad dancer.
    2. there would not be 4 small forwards, at least one of them would be used as filler, not going to say which one but come on it should be obvious
    3. rotation is fluid baby! different games, different teams, different lineups!

  87. Forget Artest. I agree with the idea of keeping Odom at least through the trading deadline and using his expiring contract as bait for a legit SF or letting his contract expire because they have to pay Bynum and possibly Ariza and Farmar, I believe, after next season.

    The Lakers got beat because they were not tough enough in the paint! Bynum will help for sure, but they still need more depth up front like a Kurt Thomas or (you won’t believe this) Kwame Brown! If he comes cheap, which he should, Kwame already knows the triangle and is as good a defender as Rony, but bigger. At $9M, he’s a bust; at $1-2M, he’s at least as serviceable as CHRIS MIHM!

    I would let Rony walk. While I know Bynum is coming back, if I’m Mitch, I don’t count on the kid playing 40 mins a night until I see it. So, my 5 next season would look like this:

    Starters
    C-Bynum
    PF-Gasol
    SF-Ariza
    SG-Bryant
    PG-Farmar

    2nd Unit
    C-K Thomas or K Brown
    PF-Odom
    SF-Walton or Radmanovic
    SG-Vujacic
    PG-Fisher

    Yes I would start Farmar next year. Odom would be my super-sub, like Ginobili- first off the bench and playing 30 mins/night for Bynum, Gasol or Ariza, depending on the situation/matchups.

    There are still a lot of ifs here, but the Lakers have a lot of options already and I don’t think they need to do much.

  88. I completely agree w/ you Kurt. We need to start the year with our roster intact, plus maybe a veteran addition or two (Kurt Thomas? Brent Barry?), and see how things shake out with Bynum and Ariza.

    If Bynum can’t stay healthy, Odom’s rebounding is indispensable. If Ariza doesn’t improve his shooting, or gets injured again, we don’t have another starting 3 without Odom (Walton & Radmanovich are backups).

    Besides, after his performance in the playoffs Odom’s trade value is a little down right now. If he comes back and plays well his value will go back up. Plus, as a couple ESPN guys have pointed out, Odom’s expiring contract will have much more value at the deadline than it does now. He could certainly be moved in February for some type of valuable asset(s), whether that be draft picks (picks from Memphis or New York for taking on salary?), veterans (Hinrich? Nocioni? Haslem?) or prospects.

    And I don’t want any part of Artest, for all the reasons Kurt mentioned. Ron Ron is crazy. Literally.

  89. I am not a huge Artest fan and he may not be the answer. Sure he has the menatlity that we are looking for but I’m not a fan of his offense. The thing that scares me is that while I do like Odom he simply is not cognitively there every game. He spaces out. But what scares me more is that in next year’s line up I see him being less not more effective. The reason being is he moves to small forward. Odom’s greatest advantage is his rebounding and then his defense against big guys. You move him to small forward and you are asking him to be a shooter/slasher. Sure he can slash but he can’t shoot! His 3 point % is AWEFUL! Every time he tries I shreek. They should fine him every time he attempts! Plus at small forward he’s much less likely to get those rebounds. So suddenly that $14 million player isn’t very effective. I’d actually like to see Kobe at the 3 and Sasha at the 2 with the ability to bring in a healthy Ariza to play either. I just don’t see where Odom fits in the rotation for next year and I think he has lots of value. We just need to find someone for him. I’m just not sure headcase Artest is that answer.

  90. Its going to take more than Ron Artest to help this team improve defensively. I still think Odom should go because if Gasol is going to be here and there offensively the Lakers should be looking then for a legit second scorer. Gasol is the second scorer but based on what I saw in the finals he looked like option 3. (wasn’t aggressive all the time)

  91. Lakers are going 2 go the finals next year and actually win it this time. With bynum at center they’re defense will be improved but the whole laker team must practice their team defense as a unit. If the lakers stay healthy they will repeat as the western conference champions. The lakes will have the best front court in the league. The starters are going to be :
    1. Derek Fisher
    2. Kobe Bryant
    3. Lamar Odom
    4. Pau Gasol
    5. Andrew Bynum

  92. Here is the thing I am not 100% Artest is the solution, but I am 5000% Odom has to go. He is too boneheaded, incosistant and honestly way too overpayed anyways. You cant resign him anyways after the season if you want to keep Bynum, Gasol, and Bryant so he should go now. I like the idea of getting a guy in there with some drive, and by the way Artest is a much better shooter than Odom, Odom has one of the ugliest jumpshots I have ever seen, has no ability to go around anyone either puts up wussy ass layups that brick or commits a charge. All his numbers are usually made against bottom tier teams, or poor defensive teams. Artest, Posey, Maggette and Marion would all be huge upgrades to this team, however I also believe in addition by subtraction so just bidding Odom farewell in the tradition of Kwame and Smush would absolutely thrill me.

    To be honest I think Ariza could develop into a suitable option for the Lakers at the small forward position as I believe his jump shot will improve, and his defense, hustle, and ablitliy to get to the rim supercede that of Lamar’s and his rebounding is pretty much a wash as he may lose a couple in lenght he definately will earn a couple in hustle and tip backs that Lamar is incapable of.

  93. That’s a great starting lineup that we have, plus energy guys like Turiaf, Vujacic and Farmar, solid guy in Walton, young jumpin’ jacks like Ariza. Radman could play better this year, Chris Mihm was a solid player once, he could get back in shape. We have a lot of good players, not one below average. If we just sign another wing scorer, who could allow Kobe to slip to the 3 spot depending on matchups, or play by his side (wingman like Eddie Jones, before we traded him when Kobe was developing). Anyway, we’ve got the mid level and the minimum to sign a solid guy and a good back up.

    How are you guys feeling about Maggette? Think the mid level+championship could entice him? Heard he’s going to San Antonio for less money so he can win. Why not L.A.?

  94. I wouldnt mind seeing Walton or Vlad Man go as well, keeping one is okay but having two inadequates Walton with his unathleticism and terrible shooting and Vlad just a space cadet one of them leaving along with Lamar would be a good thing. In the modern NBA you have to improve your roster every year, because the season is so long you know what you have. Other teams adjust and reload, I expect San Antonio, Clippers, Sacramento, and Portland to be better. The Jazz to be just as good and only New Orleans and Dallas maybe taking a step back. Bynum coming back and Ariza being healthy will help but when you have one or two glaring weaknesses that arent things that will improve with age, such as Lamar or Luke you have to try and improve. Farmar, Ariza, Sasha, Bynum yes you stick with young guys like that because they have shown the work ethic and are still young and always getting better, those other guys have reached their peak and are not improving anymore.

  95. Marcos the Lakers could get Maggette but they would have to give up on signing Turiaf and Sasha, as the exception is all going to signing them. Unless they work a sign and trade, of course Corey would be interested as he could start here and hes buddies with Kobe. I think a sign and trade you would still have to give one of those guys up, as the Clippers dont want Vladman and Lamar as they have long since given up on them. I think Sasha would interest the Clips however.

  96. 93/95. Greg. check out the latest post, but like I say there the idea of trading Luke of Vlade will not happen unless you are willing to package their bad contracts with real value. And, I think we agree that the best thing that could happen to the Lakers is Ariza becomes consistent from the outside,

    But simply put, Artest is not much of a better shooter than Odom. The numbers do not back it up, and in the basketball shooter numbers are the one reliable thing. Artest has a prettier shot but it does not go in more, except from three. And I just don’t think he’d be happy in the role as the third option, look how he struggled with one real threat (Martin) to his being the best player..

  97. Kurt,

    It is a) 3 point shooting on offense and b) defense at the 3 we are comparing. Last year, as you know, Lamar was the worst 3 point shooter on the Laker team (27+%)–even worse in clutch situations. Ron is quite good with very poor team support. He’s been much better in the past. He makes his free throws. On a defesively oriented Pacers team, Artest was considered best defender in the NBA. I don’t believe that Lamar ever made the all defense team in his career.

    Comparing Lamar to Ron is comparing apples to oranges. Lamar has a $14+ million salary; Ron’s is $7.4 milliion. Ron’s a clutch defender who can take out the best scorer on another team and force him to play defense on a defensively oriented team. Lamar is a very good rebounder and inconsistent scorer, a classic “tweener,” who is a decent defender, and versatile role player with an uneven record in clutch situations.

    Nonetheless, as an x factor, Lamar almost led the Lakers to an NBA championship. If Ron is to play for the Lakers, it must be “with” Lamar, not “instead” of Lamar. Given likely trade scenarios, and the huge mismatch in salaries, the Lakers will not trade Lamar for Ron. It’s possible that the Kings would trade Ron to the Lakers under crisis situations for some other consideration–but very very unlikely.

  98. The NBA.com Hotzones has as its most recent stats the 06-07 season. In reality, Artest’s 3-point shooting has improved over the past 3 seasons, with a respectable .380 3P% last season. This is in part because he stopped taking pull up 3′s and long 2′s off the dribble as much, and instead took more spot-up long jumpers.

    That’s clearly something lacking in Lamar Odom’s game. Even if he gets a kickout, when he’s standing at the 3-point line, he simply won’t make them at a high rate. This is clearly a need of the Lakers, a small forward that can be a spot up shooter. Vladimir Radmanovic proved that it’s possible to get a lot of good spot-up looks. Odom won’t make them. Artest will. If Phil Jackson can just coach Artest into choosing either a strong drive to the rim, or a spot up jumper, and continue to discourage him from trying to create off the dribble, Artest will excel in his role offensively.

    Odom, on the other hand, can certainly drive to the rim, but is ineffective both as a spot-up jump shooter and as an off the dribble jump shooter. How can the Lakers expect him to help space the floor with that lack of long range shooting ability?

  99. 99. If you do not pull down an option on the Hot Zones, you get the most recent season. Certainly, the site is a little buggy. But the most recent year info is correct.

    And, I said, he shot 38% last year. But again, he shots the straight-on three at nearly 50% and tries to take a lot of those, but he is spotty anywhere else.

  100. Another point regarding Ron Artest. You know how Luke Walton tends to like posting up down low, usually against a somewhat smaller or weaker defender, and actually does pretty well from the low post for a small forward? And how he tends to get there by either simply running down and posting up, or because of some cuts and nice passes that are integral in the triangle? Well, as good as Walton is down there, imagine how much more effective Artest will be doing those exact same things, especially as a player who is so good and strong in the post that there’s been thought of playing him some as a 4.

  101. If you do trade Lamar, you do it at the deadline not now. And, you do it only if you can package either Radmanovic or Walton’s (preferably Walton’s) now terrible contracts and get back either a guy who could play the 3, like Shawn Marion or to dump salary and pickup a high draft pick, like to NY for Marbury (only high salary expiring deal I could think of- besides Marion and Odom actually) and a #1.

    Marbury would ride the pine, of course, so the Lakers could dump $20M in payroll and not hurt the squad. The high #1 replaces Odom more cheaply and/or one of the #1s they lost in the Gasol deal.

    Hope my rambling makes sense.

  102. Kurt,

    I agree with your conclusion by just waiting to the trade deadline and if everythings okay kept the roster intact if not see whats out there or wait until odom’s a free agent. but this summer odoms has a lot of work to do. he needs to improve his mid range and long range game and get his quickness up just a little be able to stay with those sf’s. ohhh and not to forget odoms should be connecting at no less than 75% from the freethrow line not high 60′s. if he can do that he will fit perfectly at 3 and lakers will be a pretty tough team to beat. but artest is everthing that lamar needs to improve on. artest is just a basketcase but he’s been okay the last two seasons in sacramento. say if the trade happens artest will have to learn to play within the offense and he’s main focus will be on the defensive end and he has to be comfortable with being the 4th option on offense. but can he thats the major factor. so for now the lakers don’t need to panic and make’s any dramatic moves. just focus on bringing sasha and ronni back. and worry abt lamar later

  103. I’m sure this has been stated, but the article says nothing of defense and toughness, which is precisely what we need. We have on of the best offenses in the league so I his slightly lower efficiency as much of a problem, particularly when you consider that his efficiency is sure to rise if he play for P&G (see Odom, Mihm, Kwame, Butler, etc.). He plays hard nosed defense with an attitude, so I’d prefer that over what Odom brings.

    Having said that, I think there are other options I’d pursue first, such as Battier or Prince. Both of those fit the 3 spot perfectly and they don’t come with all the issues.

  104. Luke Walton, Vlade Radmonivic and Odom have to go, them three are very inconsistant and we can have that if we want to win a Championship.

  105. By the way Kurt really like this forum glad I found it!

  106. I suppose from your view Kurt they just let Lamar play the season out and then let his contract come off and use the cap space next year. To be honest if they suit up the exact same team, and a little luck in the health department they still should be good enough for at least a western conference finals appearence thats not too shabby. I just dont want to see Lamar put together just enough of a season to get him an inflated contract here, we cant afford it.

  107. Ive always been a Lamar supporter and i dont understand y people hate this guy. He averages a double double shoots better than 50% from the field and is an instant offensive break after a rebound and pass and dribble better than most men his size.
    Yes id like him to be more consistent but to hear people talk about artest likes hes the answer is ridiculous. Artest is guaranteed every year to have some freak injury or some kind of suspension that leads to him missing 20 games or more. The only guy out there worth trading Lamar for is Marion and even with the chance to land Marion id still say no and want to see what the combo of lamar, pau, and bynum can do. If any of the sf’s have to go its Vlad and Luke. They are horrible players signed to horrible contracts.

  108. Bryan… but do you think Lamar is worth 14 million a year Artest makes half that, although he will be getting a raise. Artest is a better competitor I dont think you really want to gage a player like Lamar on stats because he doesn’t do it when it counts. Case in point game 4 where the Lakers blew the 24 point lead, he careered in the first half and did absolutely zero for the rest of that game and pretty much the rest of the series. However if you look at his stats for that game they still look good… completely misleading as the team thought they could depend on him and he dissapeared. People gave Kobe all sorts of crap but he never knew what he was getting from the guy. Trust me Kobe does not want Lamar back no matter what he says, he would much rather have Maggette, Artest, or Posey.

    LO(ser) doesn’t give you anything in the second half, he is terrible at the line. Has no ability to finish when he attacks the rim, look how many layups he misses it had to be the highest in the NBA last year couple that with a terrible freethrow percentage especially in the clutch and its time to move on. Not to mention his boneheaded charges that a blind ref could call instead of going around or dishing he just bowls over the defender… He makes too much to be a third or fourth option. Hey I would be all for keeping him if he would work for 3 to 5 million and come off the bench, he would be a great 10 to 15 minute player, but he doesnt fit with Kobe and this group of soon to be champions as a starter.

  109. well…..I watched a couple of Kings games kast year…and man…artest was jackin up those damn jumpers like crazy…and he was hittin… NOTHING….he was awful…and i was watchin like…why is reggie theus keeping this guy in the game??? final stat line from ron was…9 of 26 from the field…can’t remember his threes…i think it was something like 3 of 10…or 4 of 11…anyway…he’s NOT a good player for the lakers!!!! because he won’t stop shooting just because there are kobe and gasol on the team…he doesn’t care about that…please mitch…we are on the good way with this team….don’t bring artest….

  110. look, i love lamar. i think he’s a smart player and he’s a good guy. but he’s performance in the playoffs is not acceptable. when he rebounds, he’s tips the ball to himself. kobe, at guard, grabs the rebound. see the difference?
    artest might be unstable, but we’ve seen what phil jackson did to rodman and many other headcases. we need somebody who’s tougher than odom.

  111. GREAT POST!

    Guys – Lamar is not going anywhere in the offseason – UNLESS an insane-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (like the Gasol trade) comes along. In short, the Lakers will keep him and see what happens.

    The only movement we will see this offseason is to fill in Newble and Mbenga’s roles AND the resigning of Sasha and Ronnie. Now, if either books, then we have a problem Houston. Karl will resign as well, unless we can get a better player for less (and this wont happen).

    The Lakers are talking to Barry (F) and they just drafted a PG and they have a PG sitting in China waiting to play. If you ask me, no need to go any further with speculation on what will happen to Newble’s open spot – it will go to one of these options. Best case, we get Barry, Sun has a great Olympic run and decides to come play for th Lakers (thereby putting Karl’s spot in question). Again, no other movement at the PG or F position.

    As far as having another “true” back upCenter, Mbenga was OK, but he was never a threat offensively. As many have said, the Lakers will talk to Kwame in the event they can’t get Posey to switch sides. Kwame is a HUGE dissapointment, but he is not a bad THIRD OPTION behind Bynum and Mihm AS LONG AS we get him for a very low fee (and he’s unlikely to get more than $2m a year anywhere in the league).

    Many here only see in the spectrum of Great Player, Role Player, and Horrible Player, and are too eager to throw Kwame into the Horrible Player category without understanding that he “could” be a Role Player. I think if you set your sights at that level, you will see that he is a decent choice for the lakers.

  112. Manny lol I think your a little off base. First off Mbenga and Newble dont have rolls with a healthy team. Second, to think that Lamar wont be the subject of trade talk from here until the trade line is crazy, the Lakers cant afford to resign him and they arent letting him walk after the season for nothing, so the odds are pretty huge he will be traded. And any expiring contract that size is going to generate interest.

  113. Kurt- I agree with you here statistically speaking, and I’m not necessarily in the Lamar -> Artest camp, but you’re neglecting to mention the biggest asset that Artest brings to a team like the Lakers: Attitude. I’ll admit that attitude could as easily be a major problem as it could an advantage for the team, but Artest is a guy who would instill an “enforcer” attitude the Lakers are sorely lacking. Bynum could comeback with some ‘tude with any luck. That’ll help. But Artest is a guy you want on your side in street fight, and Lamar is just a nice guy. The Lakers are full of nice guys. They need a pugilist. Artest is a proven pugilist.

    Personally I would pass on Artest, keep Lamar and move to get Posey. Posey has plenty of ‘tude and has to be the best bang-for-the-buck guy out there. And if I’m Andrew I come back and make it known that even though I might be a “kid”, I’m gonna be throwing my weight around and letting the opposition know about it. A technical or two in the pre-season should be encouraged by the Lakers and their coaching staff. Bynum should be the man in the middle that nobody messes with.

    Charles Oakley should be brought in as the “Attitude and Intimidation Coach”.

  114. After reading the arguments both for and against Artest, I think he would be a great fit for the Lakers system. The Lakers brass would not make a move as knee-jerk reaction to the Finals now. If they can bring back Turiaf and Sasha, along with sign a veteran like James Posey, they will hold tight and see how the Odom-Bynum-Gasol frontline works. After 30 games or so, if they do not see the results they want, then Odom will be gone.

  115. Posey, Artest, Rasheed, Marion are all viable options with attitude and all four of em will be able to play defense as well as hit an open three keys to the Lakers Triangle and defensive schemes. I really like Posey too, we shall see how that goes tommorrow as the moritorium lifts.

  116. Where did this idea come from that Marion is a great 3-pt shooter? He’s not. Last season he shot 33.3 % from three, and he’s at 34 % for his career. Granted that’s significantly better than Odom, but he’s only an average long range shooter, not a lock to hit open shots. He’s more of a combo forward like Lamar, not a pure small forward.

  117. Where do you get that stats please ??

  118. (117) – Master Zen,
    I got those stats from his player profile page on ESPN –
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?playerId=0510

    If you click on Stats, it’ll give you a breakdown of his stats for every year in his career. Basically, he had two good 3-pt. shooting seasons early in his career, and since then he hasn’t topped 34 %. In 2006-07 he shot 31.7 % from three, and after the Miami trade last season he only hit 25.8 %. Not good.

  119. Turiaf offered 4 years 17 million by the warriors!

    will the lakers match?

  120. Keep in mind the number of open threes goes up drastically when you are playing with Gasol, Bynum and Kobe. A career high in threes is likely, also I would rather have a guy who shoots 35% that has great defensive, and rebounding skills not to mention a much much much better inside and midrange game than Lamar, Marion is lightyears ahead of Lamar Odom.

  121. Bottom line on all this, I think you guys think Artest would be a better teammate and presence on the team than I do. I think he’ll be a distraction and problem on a team very close to contending. I would rather have good character people, we are too close to a title to play a wild card. And, I don’t think his any improvement in skills between him and Odom is enough to offset that risk.

  122. Thanks for the answer,

    But I was talking about the opponent stats, the matchup, opposing threes …. Where I can get thhis?

  123. I hear you Kurt, dont agree I think a lot of people underestimate just how good Artest is. The bottom line is it is close to %100 that Odom will be gone by the trade deadline because there is no chance the Lakers will resign him, so they are going to get something. I think if it was any other team the Kings would pull this trade including Kenny Thomas in a heartbeat, but being the Lakres I dont know if they can bare strengthening LA to champions.

  124. I agree with most of your points and would like to point out one thing, I think Artest is stronger mentally. Odom, as seen in this years playoffs, seems to drift off the map when the pressure builds. his numbers decreased as the lakers got further in to the playoffs.

  125. ummm
    when you said ron artest shoots worst then odom

    i dont think thats quite fair

    because odom has less shots that arent contested
    odom gets spotted all the time the all star kobe or by the big man gasol or by the guards, basically everyone.

    while ron artest IS THE ALL STAR in the team
    so he has to create the space to shoot, not his teamates.

    also, odom takes less shots then artest. thus giving him a better percentage.

  126. 126. Artest takes a lot of contested shots because he does not get them within the Kings offense. Have you watched him in crunch time? He demands the ball, dribbles too much and draws defenders to him but doesn’t pass well out of that. Frankly, that doesn’t just happen in crunch time, that’s just when it is most evident.

    Bottom line, I think Artest is a good player, when he wants to be. But I question how well he will fit in with the Lakers, will he demand shots or run the offense. I don’t think even Phil and Kobe can keep him in line.

    Oh, and Odom has been an All Star as well.

    125. Artest does more than his share of mental drifting.

  127. Excellent analysis. I for one hope the Lakers do NOT participate in any trades whatsoever. With Bynum back next season, they will be a force to be reckoned with!

  128. When is Odom signing? Come on Lamar, you are starting to piss me off. I love you man, don’t leave me…