Summer League Stats, Thoughts

Kurt —  July 20, 2008

When you look at the Lakers roster heading into next season, it is very possible that two guys from this Summer League team could end up on the Lakers this fall (depending on free agent moves, of course, but bringing back Sasha, Karl and one free agent big puts the roster at 13, leaving room for one more we saw this summer).

So how did guys do on the score sheet this summer? As is tradition here, I give you some of the advanced stats for the key Lakers guys this summer.

Name eFG% 3pt % TS% Reb. Rate Ast. 40 Pts. P40 PPG
Karl 43.6% 37.9% 53.2% 5.5 % 2.2 18.8 13.8
Crawford 49.1% 45.5% 52.5% 6.2% 2.3 20 11.3
Caner-Medley 45.3% 25% 54.5% 15.2% 1.8 20.2 8.8
Ford 47.1% NA 50% 11.5% 0.8 16.6 8.4
Mata-Real 52.9% NA 48.5% 18.3% 1.1 10.1 4.8

Here’s a little guide to those stats for those that are new here:

eFG%: Shooting percentage combining two and three pointers
3pt.%: Shooting percentage from beyond the arc
TS%: True Shooting Percentage, think of this as points per shot attempt, it covers twos, three, free throws all adjusted to be a percentage.
Reb Rate: Percentage of available rebounds a player grabbed while on the floor.
Ast. P40: Assists dished per 40 minutes of playing time.
Pts. P40: Points scored per 40 minutes of playing time.
PPG: Points per game

You can only take away so much of what you learn from summer league games, it exists in a weird world about halfway between top college ball and the NBA. It’s a place you can sort players out and gain insights, not much more. Because a guy looks good in summer league doesn’t mean he will look that good the half-step up to the NBA level, but it means he has a chance. If a guy bombs out here…..

So, a few final thoughts on these guys.

Coby Karl shot lights out last summer league, but this time around he was the focus of the offense and that always means a shooting percentage drop. The shooting levels may be pedestrian, but the higher true shooting percentage shows he was getting to the line, which is a nice new wrinkle from his game. Also, he played good defense, something we had not seen a lot out of him. His game has progressed a lot in the last year, and it makes you wonder how far it can continue to grow. I think he’s proving he can play in the NBA as a solid bench guy with a little more development.

Joe Crawford played better and better as the Summer League went on. He shot about two from beyond the arc a game, and hit those at a nice rate. He can get into the lane. His decision making and defense need work, but the Lakers might keep him on the roster to see how he develops. Simply put, in two years the Lakers have some decisions to make at PG — if, as we hope, Farmar can step up and grab the starting job the Lakers will be looking for a solid (and affordable) backup to him. Crawford may be able to develop into that guy, and keeping him around and on the D-Fenders may give you a chance to make that happen.

Nik Caner-Medley was the guy fans fell in love with because he just wanted it, out worked the other guys on the floor and showed a few skills. His offensive game needs polish, but he put up 19 against Minnesota. Another guy I’d like to see how he develops in a year of playing professionally (here or maybe overseas, although his outside shooting appears to need work to play effectively in Europe). If the Lakers could get him on the D-Fenders for a year he might be a guy who can be an effective bench player in a couple years.

Sharrod Ford and Lorenzo Mata-Real round out the list. They are examples of guys who are going to get paid to play and likely will have nice careers in Europe (Ford is already doing that), but are just not quite NBA guys. There is no shame in that — getting paid to play basketball in Spain or Italy sounds pretty damn good to some of us.

Guys like Ford and Mata-Real are what make up most of the Sumer League rosters, and frankly what makes the league so much fun every year. These are good players looking for a chance. All the attention goes to the stars — Kevin Love answered some questions about his athleticism and if he can play pro ball; Mayo showed the tantalizing talent of major stardom in flashes but has a lot to learn; Jarryd Bayless may be very good, as if Portland needed more young talent — but that is just a few. It’s the “average” guy trying to prove himself that makes the Summer League. I guess for us basketball junkies, its back to the world of speculation and free agency. Well, at least for a couple weeks until the Olympics start.

Kurt

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109 responses to Summer League Stats, Thoughts

  1. Warren Wee Lim July 20, 2008 at 10:46 am

    We got 10 guys at the moment and we’re strapped for cash as is. I say sign all 5 and find that diamond in the rough.

  2. I think Crawford makes sense. With’s Fisher’s age his minutes are likely to slowly decline, and we could use a third PG. Someone who doesn’t expect to play much, 5-10 min. a game, but can play some D and hit threes. Sounds like Crawford can already shoot from three, if he can work on his defense he could develop into an affordable bench guy.

    Warren Wee Lim, your cousin Warren Addendum was here for a few days this week. Funny how the two of you never seem to be here at the same time … ;-)

  3. Adande has some quotes from Mitch on Turiaf and Bynum in this ESPN story:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3496084

  4. Putting Crawford at Point Guard doesn’t make sense. The dude played forward in college and his assist to turnover ratio was less than 1.
    Keep in mind he played a full four college years, how much upside can he have?

  5. I really wish I hadn’t changed my cable plan and that I still had NBA TV….because what I’d really like to know is how Crawford handled the ball, and if he can bring the ball up against pressure defense. I wonder that, because that is really the only qualification you need to play point guard for a Triangle team like the Lakers (outside of other offensive skills that you’d like every NBA player to have like shooting and what not). So, if Crawford can actually handle the ball in a manner that is competent, I’d be happy to give him a shot at the roster, especially considering that Sun Yue is still just some guy we’ve never seen play.

    As for Kurt’s point about needing another PG type in the pipeline, I still have hopes for Sasha in that regard (assuming he stays). He’s got the quickness/length ratio that enables him to guard opposing PG’s (imo) and he has already proven that he’s a capable shooter/scorer. That’s really all we need out of that position.

  6. Little things that smart teams to-have their play-by-play announcer do Summer League games.(Yes,I doubt the Lakers assigned him-but they didn’t veto him either.) You have to think the Lakers talk to Joel and ask his thoughts on who among the assorted teams has shown they can play.

    I’ve seen a few of the Laker games and Kobe K has really impressed me-more by his competing than anything else. He is a kid who you can see wants to play and doesn’t back down. Last yr he was on the team as roster fill. But I think he now knows he can play in the NBA and I wouldn’t be too suprised to see him get a few meaningful minutes towards early-middle of season. Not saying he will be a rotation player for a yr or so,but I can see Phil giving spot minutes if another reserve is struggling.
    .

  7. when are we gonna bring sun yue over? why not have him and coby karl as our players to develop.

  8. It’s Sasha time. We need to get Sasha signed ASAP. He’s our most important duck to get in a row. He connects last year with our future.

    I love our Laker team as it was, including Sasha Vujacic, Luke Walton and Vladimir Radmanovic. They all had important roles, and were part of the magical chemistry–even though Vladimir and Luke were seldom 100% healthy. I’m looking forward to Luke’s recovery from ankle surgery and his possible tandem role with Trevor at small forward. I’m looking forward to Vladimir backing up Gasol at power forward. The entire package fit together very well last year with many injuries and two key pieces missing, and I’m anxious to speculate on the tweaking process that needs to take place for next year.

    Sasha shouldn’t be surprised to wake up tomorrow morning to find that Mitch has pitched a tent in his front yard. Sasha should get his agent on the cell and sit down around the breakfast table with Mitch until a deal gets done tomorrow. If Mitch’s wife sends him home, and he gets back in his office, no telling what might happen.

  9. I’ve been interested, and trying to do my best to follow, Sun Yue since he was drafted. Intriguing skill set, great size and length, very athletic. Great penetrator, can finish at the rim, excellent court vision, and a very strong passer. Quick for a 6’9″-er as “The Chinese Magic Johnson”. Lacks a remarkable outside game, I believe. Defensive mentality may be an issue also, but that’s usually the case with young “projects” and something they can learn despite him being a bit skinny. It’ll be interesting to see him in China and how he stands up to Kobe and the gang. I’d love to see him shut down Manu. That would create some buzz. Good stuff. Can’t wait until 8/10 (I think) for more hoops action!

  10. Just got back from LV. I saw some games at summer league on Saturday. I caught the Denver and LA game, and LA got beat bad. Denver’s 3 pt shooting from Bobby Jones was crazy. He was just on fire. Lakers didn’t start running until the second half, which was when they were much better offensively. Coby Karl is the playmaker on the team. His shot wasn’t there that day, but he was setting up guys left and right. I even got to take a picture with him (was trying to get a picture with Turiaf but he seemed like he didn’t want to and left in a hurry). Crawford was decent at times, but he seems to force the issue a little much. Maybe because it’s SL.

    And there was a JR Smith sighting. My friend got a chance to take a picture with him. I shook his hand. He was surprisingly pretty cool.

    Notes from the rest of the games that day that I attended:

    Corey Brewer played like a stud. He had some sick dunks and some nice defensive plays as well as some nice passes.

    KLove can play. He was tough and a good rebounder. Strong moves to the hoop too.

    Bayless (from the first half of the game) stunk up the court. He just kept forcing stuff by himself. People kept saying he’s good, but I haven’t watched him play before (I don’t follow NCAA). From what I saw, he was not that impressive.

    Joel Alexander can get ups.

    I love when players have their own little dunk contests during warmups.

  11. i think the play of coby karl has a lot to do with the signing process of sasha. they both play the same spot and imo, the laker brass is weighing in on how much to pay sasha or going with son of george in his spot. i feel that coby is progressing much faster than sasha did in comparison. the only tangible differences being that sasha is definitely more battle tested, more unafraid to let a shot go in a high pressure situation and perhaps an overall better shooter (but not by much, after all, pj did say that coby karl had the best stroke during last pre-season). i think that son of george has a higher basketball IQ and perhaps may hold up under high pressure better than sasha in the long run……after all, he’s already beaten a threat to his very being and what other foe can compare? i for one would hate to see sasha go, but i think his agent best not be too greedy………..

  12. Good lookin out Hansoulfood, I hope Brewer turns into a player, Minnesota sure looks like they are building something

    Re: Colby Karl- I think that he is a nice story and has a real nice stroke, but I don’t think he can effectivley guard either PG’s or SG’s, whereas Sasha has proven he can provide feisty defense in key moments. I don’t see Colby takin minutes from Sasha, unless we start to use Sasha at the PG more, and then some more minutes would open up at the 2.

  13. Kwame,
    I’m particularly high on Kevin Love. I think he can play some Center for them and that his game is versatile enough to not clog it up for Jefferson. If they can get some point guard play from Foye, I think they’re going to be a lot better than last season.

  14. Cant wait ’till training camp where we have more to talk about… right now, theres not much news in lakerland. you really notice how dull things are when Coby Karl’s play is the topic of discussion or luke walton’s ankle surgery. huge difference from a year ago when Kobe’s rants and demands were a hot topic and we had a ton of things to talk about. but i’d rather have this (quiet, but knowing the lakers will be a legit contender), rather than last year. But here are my thoughts:

    1) I seriously think the lakers over achieved last year. from the turmoil at the start of the season, it was surprising to see them jell together real early after a so-so start. the lakers and the hornets i think were the surprise teams of last year.

    2) I see the pattern of the early 90’s chicago bulls with this team. where they couldnt overcome a detroit piston team and lost to them a couple of times before going over the hump and winning it all. I seriously think that again, they just over achieved last year, and I feel that this will be their season to win it all. Lets just hope everyone stays relatively healthy especially at the end of the season

    3) are they one more trade away from winning it all? the bulls in the late 80’s traded charles oakley for bill cartwright, and i guess that was their missing piece (a veteran that could anchor their defense, sort of an enforcer). Could ron artest be that missing piece for the lakers?

  15. First, Coby is not ready to replace Sasha right now, not even close. Sasha made a big leap last year from where he was, and that is a couple of leaps from where Karl is right now. What I’m saying is maybe, in a couple years, Karl could make that jump. And Kwame a., I think Karl’s defense in summer league was the best thing he did, it gave me hope that he could be a decent defender someday.

    Drrayeye, I’m sure the Lakers are going to sign Sasha.

    I’m sure some Lakers scouts have, but I’d have to see some of Sun Yue and what he could do at the Olympics before I’d be comfortable with bringing him in. To just say he has all these mad skills in the Chinese league is not good enough.

    Hansoulfood, great stuff. I’m jealous, I miss going to Summer League.

  16. I have to say that this Coby replacing Sasha talk is absolutely ludicrous. I will admit that I did not give Sasha much credit for his first couple of years, especially when I watched him in the summer league’ he could not even bring the ball up the court against CBA caliber players. However he was 20 years old! He has really worked relentlessly to ensure that he is an NBA caliber player. After very limited playing time in his first three years, he has become an outstanding reserve in his fourth season and there is no way of telling if Coby K will make that progression. Of course we all hope that he does.

    Coby Karl is 25 years old and was drafted at age 24. His development should be faster than Sasha’s because he is older and has a smaller window for his NBA career.

    Kswagger: I don’t disagree with you that the Lakers can win it all this year, but I find it strange that you preface that statement by twice saying that they “over achieved” last year.

    Kurt: I pray that you are right about the Lakers signing Sasha. If I am not mistaken you were just as confident that Brand was signing with the Clippers. I hope Sasha doesn’t sign an offer sheet and we can just lock him up for a few years. And hopefully there isn’t a let down after his contract year.

    I am angry I don’t have NBA TV and did not witness a single summer league game. Kurt, I have to say that you kind of butchered Jerryd Bayless’ name in your post.

    Hansoulfood: You definitely make me miss the days when the summer squad played at the pyramid too. I fondly remember the sell out at Bynum’s first game, when he was double and triple teamed as a 17 year old.

    Well I am very excited, because I am going to Vegas this Friday and will be at the Thomas and Mack Center watching Kobe and Co. take on the Canadians in an Olympic exhibition game. Too bad Nash has decided against the Olympics this year, but I won’t mind a blow out.

  17. This is off topic. But I thought it was pretty interesting.

    “Childress weighing offer from Greek team”

    “LAS VEGAS – In a potentially stunning move that reflects the growing challenge Europe’s basketball leagues pose to the NBA, Atlanta Hawks free-agent forward Josh Childress is strongly considering a three-year, $20 million offer from Greek powerhouse Olympiakos, several league sources said Sunday night.

    Childress flew to Greece late Sunday and is scheduled to meet with Olympiakos officials on Monday. Childress, 25, is so flustered with the Hawks’ refusal to make a sign-and-trade deal to another team, one source familiar with his thinking believes there’s “better than a 50-50 chance” he’ll sign with Olympiakos. The team also will cover the Greek taxes for Childress, making it even more lucrative.

    “Unless he just gets there and doesn’t like it at all, I think he’s going to go,” one league source said.”

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Apw79AEVSJBVoOAC717iejm8vLYF?slug=aw-childressgreece072108&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

    Kind of Surprising. Really shows the rising status of the European league.

  18. 8). drrayeye — where does lamar fit in this lineup of yours? i honestly feel that one of these forwards is going to suffer this year ( odom,ariza, vlad, luke )
    Bynum and Gasol are our starting bigs. Odom is probably getting worked into the same rotation. I dont think its possible for PJ to play the subs as a second unit as he did this year, especially the forwards. There are 4 bigs right now, Pau, Bynum, Odom and Mihm ( and DJ ). Of these 4, if we’re looking at the C/PF, the following lineups make sense:
    Bynum+Pau
    Bynum+Odom
    Pau+Odom
    Mihm+Pau
    Mihm+Odom
    And I guess, we’re going to see a rotation working with some of these pairings.

    But the problem here is, that the following players can all play SF-
    1. Kobe
    2. Vlad
    3. Odom
    4. Ariza
    5. Luke
    6.Crawford???

    Now, even if we dont count Kobe and Odom, there are 3 maybe 4 guys at SF ( and these guys will NOT get minutes at other positions ) Even if its 3 players, for 48 minutes, means 16 Mpg for each. And we know that the minutes wont be split equally. Which means at least one of them is going to get under 10 minutes.
    + I feel odom may be pllaying at SF a lot, since I dont think the Pf/C rotation will leave him on the court enough. So he’ll be eating into someones minutes BIG TIME. Its a matter of spotting the weakest link and I suspect it will be Luke. Vlad has something to prove, or next season he becomes very tradable. Ariza likewise, is young and keen to prove his worth. Luke on the other hand has 5 more years on that damned contract, and I hope he proves me wrong, but I feel his productivity next year may really go down.

  19. Rohan,
    In all probability Bynum isn’t going to get 30min/game early on. Gasol will get @36-38 and will prob see at least a third of his min at the 5. There’s prob going to be @30min/game left at the bigs,and I would suspect Lamar gets maybe 2/3 of those.
    That will leave some 36 min at the SF,a few min at PF for Radman and prob a few min at SG for Ariza. Phil will prob split the time based on match-ups,or who’s playing well.
    Bynum is prob only going to get some 24-27min early on and as his time increases one of the SFs will lose minutes.(Of course that doesn’t take into count injuries-neither Walton nor Ariza have made it thru full seasons recently.)

  20. Rohan,

    Not counting Kobe, I think that we currently have only two SF players: Trevor and Luke. Vladimir will be able to play PF when backed up by a big center. He might be the shooter to complement Trevor’s driving on the other side.

    I don’t believe that Lamar will play SF much–if at all. If Lamar remains a Laker throughout the season–which is possible–he will be a valuable 6th man. I think it is far more likely that his expiring contract will provoke an irrisistible trade. Otherwise, I have no clue how we will deal with salaries next year.

    What’s your solution?

  21. 17. While I thought Brand would sign because I thought Brand’s agent had worked to get Barron to LA (turns out that was wrong). In the case of Sasha, I’ve heard something. Albeit second hand, not someone in on the negotiations but someone in a position to have information. It follows some logic. We shall see.

    As for Bayless, thanks. I actually spent part of last week with a woman named Liz Baylis (the top-ranked women’s match racing sailor in the United States, based out of SF) and just wasn’t thinking when I put the name in. Thanks.

    4/19. No way Crawford plays the three. First, if he makes the team he’s going to get mop up minutes only anyway. Second, maybe he played some three at Kentucky (I didn’t see many games so I don’t know) but at 6-4, he is a PG in the NBA. Nothing more.

    18. Interesting. May be a negotiating tactic, I would guess it probably is. That said, some players of quality may be interested in playing overseas and maybe he is one of them. Second, you better not make that bluff unless you are willing to follow through.

  22. Kurt. I thought it was a negotiating deal as well at first, but then if you think about a 3 year 20M Euro deal is a lot bigger than anything he can probably get here. With the decreasing value of the dollar, that amounts to almost 30M.

  23. Ryan,

    While I am sure that the European leagues are getting better every year. It’s not the rising status making players consider going. It’s the money. The euro is worth about twice the dollar right now, and these teams are willing to pay more, pay for the taxes (or it’s tax free), and most likely pay for housing and travel while there.

  24. The NBA better be weary of this trend of players defecting to the Euro leagues for more money. With the declining value of the US Dollar, some players (especially those looking for an MLE contract) can make much more in Europe. With Navarro, Delfino and Nachbar gone (and possibly Childress and Garbajosa), this can become a potentially damaging situation if the trend continues.

  25. I’ll put these up in the next post too, but here are the Olympic brackets after Germany qualified yesterday:

    GROUP A: Argentina, Australia, Croatia, Iran, Lithuania, Russia
    GROUP B: Angola, China, Germany, Greece, Spain, USA

    So yes, in round robin play we should get to see Sun and Pau against the USA (not to mention Yao and Dirk).

  26. Bingo T. Klown July 21, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Stephen/drrayeye/Rohan

    We better hope that Vlad does NOT see many minutes at PF, even with a good big backing him up. He is NOT a viable option there as both the sonics and clippers discovered. Like I said before in Pre-Pau games I watched, Luke was the 3rd option at PF NOT Vlad. He cannot take serious minutes there at all.

    I agree with stephen that Bynum will be brought along slowly (another factor to consider for those of you “optimists that think we are going to win the West easily or 65+ games even), But I also see our dilemma as pointed out by rohan. I think our SF rotation will revolve around Luke, Vald, Trevor and Odom. I think Odom will see plenty of time at SF, which will impact the others. However Ariza may get some burn at SG and Sasha will get some at PG.

    I think the first part of the season will include Phil looking at the various line-ups as we are discussing and we wont see a return to last years bench mob, but probably an even better bench this year (in spite of losing Ronny).

  27. As much as you may hope and pray dray, if Lamar is here next season he will be our starting small forward. Don’t think there is one shred of evidence suggesting otherwise (Phil and Mitch have already publicly stated he will be moving to SF)

  28. I actually think this potential dilemma is an ironic twist to David Stern’s ambitions to make basketballand the NBA more global. I started with the Dream Team, and was cemented by the Team USA’s recent failures. I really think that those teams in 2002-06 were made in hopes that they could lose. It was actually better for the NBA for other teams to e able to compete with American stars. What better way to have the rest of the world take interest then to have them beat Aerican NBA superstars. Mission accomplished. The rest of the world stepped up, and they can play. But then the dollar weakened and these players can stay at home now, and possibly take our young players too. We already have Brandon Jennings going to Europe rather than waste a year in college. David Stern probably did not expect this.

  29. I’m blown away that NBA caliber players will be signing in Europe. Although Childress isn’t an all star yet. I don’t think you will see D Wade and LeBron contemplating Europe in 2010, even if the money is comparable. The greats will continue to want to play in the greatest league.

    However if you look at it from a mid-level player’s perspective, it would be a fantastic opportunity to experience another culture. Also being the focal point of a team and making some decent cash aren’t bad selling points. If Childress does go, it will probably only be for a year and then back to prime time. That is obviously Jennings plan too, if he garners enough interest when he is eligible for the draft.

  30. Kurt’s ling to the Childress situation was very intriguing. Essentially it says the NBA has 3 tiers of players: Max, average, and min/rookie. If you don’t exactly fit in any of these three situations, or if you are minimum, then Europe may be for you. In Childress’ situation, he is better than an MLE, but cannot be paid for that within the economics of the CBA – new clubs won’t bid him up so his old club won’t pay him. He can either take less and stay with Atlanta or take what he is worth and go to Europe for 1+ years.

  31. Along the lines of what kind of contracts guys may take to go overseas, Brandon Jennings (the high school kid going to Italy rather than Arizona next year) has a three-year deal with an opt-out after one year. I would expect that kind of thing to be common for all these deals.

  32. (29) Kwame a,

    If your Lamar forecast is correct, I’l try to watch Lamar at the 3 with a good sense of humor.

    If you further correctly forecast Lamar to be here all season, I’ll be very interested to see what happens with the roster next year about this time

  33. Does Nik’s hustle remind you Kurt Rambis? I agree with you Kurt, he needs to develop in the D-League. He does have the potential to be another Udonis Haslem (undrafted PF or SF, that will eventually start).

  34. drrayeye,
    Why do you continue to not give Lamar a chance? In your eyes, is he that poor a fit that guys like Luke, Rad, and Ariza are really better options for the team at the SF/PF combo than LO?

  35. The depth and versatility currently on the roster is very exciting (Vujacic re-signing is inevitable, I feel, so I’ll put him right in the mix). Lamar will hold as a starting 3, at least until the all-star break when there’s pause to re-evaluate and gauge potential/deal with current injuries. But our bench has several potential starters cutting their own minutes, so no matter who is on the floor at tip-off, we can utilize a tremendous number of lineups and create innumerable matchup problems for opponents. Want to go big in the second half? Here you go:

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

    Small?

    1-Farmar/Fisher
    2-Vujacic
    3-Ariza/Bryant
    4-Radmanovic/Walton/Odom
    5-Gasol

    I believe starting the season with Drew off the bench like last year is good, esp since Pau will need some rest on long minutes from the Olympics (same as Kobe). So I predict this starting 5 and this second unit:

    1-Fisher
    2-Bryant
    3-Ariza
    4-Odom
    5-Gasol

    1-Farmar
    2-Vujacic
    3-Walton
    4-Radmanovic
    5-Bynum

    Coby and Mihm will see some time also, in addition to anyone else who comes along later. Bottom line is, we can throw so many looks and so many combinations that it’s impossible to game plan us. That might not be a positive, but seeing as we have a legendary coaching staff I’d bet dollars to dough nuts that they’ll make the best of it. We have talent, 9-10 deep, that would start on 2/3 of other NBA teams, I believe.

    The first half of the season, as many have mentioned, will determine LO’s future in Forum Blue & Gold. Beyond anything else, who is going to beat us when we’re healthy?

  36. I’d like to see Odom at the 1, Kobe at the 2, Ariza at the 3, Gasol at the 4, and Bynum at the 5.

  37. Bingo T. Klown July 21, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Finalyst

    What exactly do you mean by Lamar will hold at the 3?

    Lamar wasn’t the starting 3 last year. He was the starting 4 when Bynum was C and when we got Pau he was still the starting 4.

    So I think you are making an assumption that he will be the starting 3.

    As an opinion that is fine but until they break camp we don’t know the configuration of the starting line-up.

    Further I think it is very possible that Lamar is not in the starting line-up but instead used as a super sub 6th man – like Manu.

    However your point on the versatility of the line up is well taken as I believe we have a very versatile line up . But all that may be moot because as we know Phil doesn’t like to play match-ups, he likes to dictate match-ups.

  38. Phil has made every indication the Lamar will be the starting 3, that’s all people can go on. As far as Lamar being here next year, or even at training camp, that is no gurantee. He defintley may be traded, but if he is here I have a strong feeling he will start, and there is no indication otherwise. Lamar has already stated he is going to work on lateral speed and his shooting, signaling his move to the 3.

  39. Just to piggy back on Kwame’s point in #40….

    There were also talks of Odom playing in the SG position in the offensive formation which would pair him on he weakside with Gasol. Considering the chemistry that Odom had with Gasol and the strong possibility of 2 man game/action on that side between Odom/Gasol, I think that this is worth exploring before we decide it won’t work.

  40. Darius,

    I think that playing Lamar out of position and out of his game style is not doing him any favors. I think in the final analysis, Ronny was allowed to leave because he needed to leave to get a chance to play. With Lamar, it is much more complex.

    Lamar came close to a true redemption season last year–he was our x factor changed into X factor–so it is harder to make the obvious moves.

    I agree with Kwame about 98%. I even think that Lamar may start–but at the PF. It probably will be obvious in training camp or the pre season scrimmages that Lamar won’t work out at the 3.

    If Lamar starts at the 3, I will be in better humor than last year. I won’t say, “Oh! No! Dumb” every time Lamar makes a 3 point attempt, and I won’t check how many 3 point misses he makes each game. I won’t comment on his switching defense against the scorers he will face.

    If you really love Lamar, don’t be selfish. Pray that he will get the opportunity to really showcase his talents unburdened by the triangle or a reduced salary rather than reducing his role as a Laker even more than it is already.

    Barring some fluke–it’s not going to happen in Lakerland.

  41. To echo kwame a., Bingo T. Klown: I’m not speculating on LO at the 3, Phil (and I believe Mitch) flat out said they expect this to happen. I do think he has obvious weaknesses at the position, which most of agree on, but I think he’ll hold steady until serious trade offers start to come in. We can win games in the first half of the season on a regular basis even with someone out of position, if in fact he isn’t able to handle the change. I don’t think, if he’s ineffective at the 3 and we can’t find another way to make solid substitution rotations, we can make it back to The Finals without a trade. But, if he works out (and let’s face it, Phil has better eyes for the court than all of us combined) we’re golden. So I think he gets a half a season to prove himself and then at the break the action will begin to heat up.

  42. drrayeye,
    I think that close mindedness on Lamar is probably one of the last things I ever thought I’d be accused of. Simple X’s and O’s of the triangle dicatate where players go based off the positions that they line up. So, for example, if LO is lined up as the Guard on the weakside, he would be the player that receives the handoff from the “Big” that flashes to the high post when the corner pass and the post entry are denied on the strong side. If Pau is on the weakside as the PF, Bynum is in the hub of the Triangle on the strong side, Kobe is on the wing on the strong side, and Fisher is handling the ball on the strong side, then Pau would flash to the high post and LO would cut off of his shoulder. Pau could either hand off to LO (enabling LO to catch the ball in stride and extend to the basket as he likes to do), he could not hand off and wait for Lamar to flatten to the corner or, or he could not hand off and LO could dive to box and try to seal his man. Meanwhile on the strong side, after Fisher passes to the high post for the ball reversal, he and Bynum would set a double screen for Kobe so that Kobe could either curl into the lane or Kobe could come off high to the 3pt. line. This is just one of many simple motions out of the triangle that use Odom better than as a strong side player who would be catching the ball on the wing and either shoot the corner J or enter into the post. Considering that we all have concerns about Odom’s ability to take SF’s off the dribble or shoot the long J, I would think putting Odom on the weakside *would be* to his benefit. Realize too that with Odom on the weakside, he would also be able to move off the ball much better and cut to open spaces in a manner that would enable him to be more successful.

    I’ve thought long and hard about the X’s and O’s of this. And while it may not work or run as smoothly as possible, there are many options within the offense with Odom line up on the weakside that when executed properly would still allow Odom to play quite well. (And on a sidenote, if it doesn’t work, I’ll be the first one to say that something needs to change; I’m not blind nor am I a guy who just throws support at guys without results.)

    You’re right though, LO will get plenty of chances at PF and as he’s proven, he’ll be succesful there. But it’s not a joke that he’d start at SF for us. It’s also not a joke that by manipulating where he lines up on the court that he has a chance to be pretty successful and a strong contributor.

  43. I’ve seen comments regarding LO and his place on this team, in the offense, etc…

    LO is an asset that few teams have a reasonable response to at any position he is likely to play at. At shooting guard he best compares to a mature, if less ambidextrous and shot rangy, Durant. What he is missing in quickness is made up for in strength and length. At small forward he gives most players problems with his length and strength. LO on Pierce would be fantastic if we have Bynum in the middle and Gasol at the 4. I would love to see him develop his right hand and that right there might solve more problems then his improving on his shooting.

    It is usually forgotten that LO had no chance to improve his game, two off seasons ago, as he had surgery and rehab for an injury and dealt with the death of his child. Last off season he was injured again. At no time did he have any real part of the off season to do more then just get himself ready for training camp. LO is smart enough to put this off season to some good use and if he works on his right hand and does what can be done to maximize his lateral quickness, we will have a 2/3 who will fit very well on the Lakers.

    If LO comes back next season having worked on those things I think the Lakers will be in a great situation. They can either let the man sign where ever he would like (Knicks? LO would be the uber-Diaw in D’Antoni’s system). They could sign and trade him or they can convince him to sign for less money to be the 4th option on a championship team. The only way LO gets traded is if he doesn’t quite adapt to his new position and the Lakers have an offer that clearly makes them better.

  44. I too think that LO will start at SF, unless Ariza shows so much in training camp that we cannot avoid starting him. I also think starting LO on the weakside with Gasol may not work as well as Darius thinks. It is not LO’s talent that is in question, it is his head. What you are talking about is maintaining a new and different (for LO) strategic view of the floor and adjusting to movement from a different angle. LO has had problems with some of the more difficult aspects of the triangle and reading what other people’s men were doing, then reacting accordingly. Now we will be placing him in a new relative position?? While I agree, this might be worth a try, I really don’t hold out a lot of hope Lamar will adjust quickly to this new setup. Again – yes he certainly has the talent, but does he have the head for this aspect of the triangle?

  45. Pure speculation-after all the opening roster isn’t even set-but I would imagine Lamar starts at SF then @7-8min in Bynum goes out and Lamar slides to the 4,Gasol to the 5. Start of 2Q Bynum in,Gasol out,Kobe out,Lamar stays at 4. 5-6min later Kobe,Gasol back Lamar out. Last few min of 2Q Lamar back at 3,or Bynum out and Lamar at 4. Something similar in Second Half.
    Start of 1,3Qs and maybe crunch time Lamar is at the 3,rest of his minutes at the 4.
    Bingo,many teams are using small lineups for stretches at a time. Radman would be adequate as a PF in those situations.

  46. Craig,
    On a certain level, I think that’s unfair. Odom had trouble being the secondary option in the offense. He had trouble being the secondary creator outside of Kobe. He had trouble being Isolated as the guy that was supposed to score points for team when that was a primary role for him. He had trouble playing off of Kwame Brown when interior defenders had no problems helping off of other offensive threats in order to disrupt his (LO’s) offensive attack. When Odom was paired with another interior threat and had other offensive options on the court for him to play off of, he struggled much less. Much less….in fact, he thrived.

    So, I don’t think he’ll have the mental issues that you describe. I think he’ll be fine cutting from the weakside and playing off of other bigs like Bynum and Gasol. Now, could I be wrong? Of course, and I’m willing to guess that if I am that we’ll see changes in order to get more effective players minutes or move Odom to a more familiar position (albeit in a different role considering Bynum’s growth and Gasol’s established role/game). And, as I said before, I’d be fine with that. I just think that, overall, Odom will be fine as the 3rd or 4th option on offense as a roamer on the weakside and as a more focussed jumpshooter (ie shooting from established positions on the court; any shooter is more effective when he knows where his shots are coming from). And ultimately, this past season, I think he did a pretty good job reading what other players men were doing on defense as evidenced by his success playing with Gasol. How many times did we see tremendous interior passing between Odom/Gasol? That entire combination is based off BOTH players reading the defense…and not just their own man, but eachothers man. Plus, when you put Odom on the weakside, he’s dealing with less defenders and the help is coming from more easily recognized places on the court (whereas on the strong side, the help can come from a variety of different positions/angles). I just think that portraying Odom as not having the IQ to perform in the role that I described above (which is still hypothetical, but realistic nonetheless) is not accurate considering he proved (to me at least) that he can definitely play off of other good players and read the defense when he’s not being asked to be the primary playmaker (which would still be Kobe, Gasol, Kobe (again), then Odom/Bynum).

  47. Somewhat off target,but have Childress’ agents hit upon the key to freeing Restricted Free Agents?
    To keep Childress’ rights the Hawks had to make a Qualifying Offer. The Offer counts towards their salary cap. In the past players who didn’t get offer sheets had to take the offer or not play at all. I assume that in the not play scenario the team keeps the player’s rights by extending the Qualifying Offer again the following yr,so the player is basically stuck w/the Qualifying offer.
    But what if he gets a Euro-or elsewhere contract offer-and takes it? Now instead of sitting home hoping the team caves in,he gets paid to play ball.
    Meanwhile-if I’m correct-his NBA team still has his QA on their books as a salary that counts towards the cap,and more importantly towards the Lux Tax. A team could end up paying the Lux Tax on the cap hold. To avoid that we may see teams start to renounce RFAs far more frequently.(Too late for Childress,but the Greek offer is barely 10% above a 3yr MLE deal. And it could end up being worse if his salary is in Euro’s. The Real estate bust that’s been dragging down the US economy is starting to hit Europe. If the Euro declines…)

  48. Lamar has never been fine, reliable or anything close to consistent. To me it doesn’t really matter if at times his shot seems to work, at other times shows up for a half, smiles as he misses the first of two freethrows in the clutch then misses the second. Dribbles to death and then runs over a defender. As others pointed out it has, and always been something in his mentality. The talent was never the issue, but he has never been able to earn anything more than some loyal admiration from good fans, he is overpayed and directly responsible for most of the times the Lakers come up short or blow leads…However, if there was any possibility to move him to the bench and resign him for the midlevel or less than he is an asset, especially if we can leave him on the bench for the critical moments in the fourth quarter.

    The NBA that wont happen someone will always overpay for size and potential, with some versatility. On the other hand I think the Lakers have given Kobe enough with what they have now to put together a title team, but if Phil couldnt find a way to keep Vladmir out of the game last year needing to start a shooter, how are you going to find a place to start Lamar with three better shooters on the bench. If he stays I think the six man role is a great idea in fact I think it will end up being inevitable.

    Wow I am rambling…

    Anyways the way the Lakers get injured I doubt there will be many tough decisions as they are usually made for us by the Doctors once we hit November.

  49. It really amazes me how down on Lamar some Lakers can get, you’d think he was Smush Parker some days. Odom is a very good third-banana, and that is something of value. Worth $14 mil a year? No, but this guy is not chopped liver either. It has always been a question of fit with him, but this is still a guy playing just below All-Star level, and that is of value in this league. And, I would argue, of value to the Lakers.

  50. Stephen,
    I was wondering the same thing….

    What happens to the Hawks if Childress actually signs that contract? I mean, they own his rights; he’s a *restricted* free agent. Based off the CBA, other NBA teams only have the right to sign him to a contract that can still be matched by the Hawks. What happens to the Hawks if he tries to leave to Europe? I’m sure Childress’ agent has already figured this out, but I sure would like to know the answer.

  51. I don’t remember anyone criticizing Lamar before the NBA Finals. Odom entered the NBA Finals averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds, and shooting 48% from the field.

    Yet there seems to this commonly held misconception that Odom is to blame for the Lakers loss in the Finals. Well, he averaged 14 points, 9 rebounds, and shot 52% from the field against the Celtics.

    He may have struggled or disappeared at times against the C’s, but so did everyone else on the team.

  52. @ Darius – Nothing happens to the Hawks. If Atlanta “matches” the offer Childress receives from a foreign team, Childress will likely choose to stay in the States. But there’s nothing prohibiting him from choosing to play overseas.

    The CBA doesn’t expire until 2011. If Childress joins Jennings overseas, the NBA could be long overdue for some drastic changes in four-years.

    A lot of the changes the NBA has implemented in Collective Bargaining Agreements of the past (rookie scale, age limit, salary cap, luxury tax) are beginning to bite them in the rear.

  53. If Childress joins Jennings overseas, the NBA could be long overdue for some drastic changes in *three-years*.

  54. Brandon Hoffman-I agree. I don’t wanna discuss the finals, but Lamar was not the only guy that didn’t perform well, and the whole team would say the same thing.

  55. Bingo T. Klown July 21, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Finalyst and others.

    If someone can point me to a reference that says LO is going to be the starting small forward then I may concede that he may be out of position if forced to play there, but I would be willing to give it a chance. It’s just that then we seriously need to look at unloading Luke or Vlad, for nothing if need be, because someone is going to be getting pine rash.

    Until I hear that this IS in fact the Lakers plan, then we we need to wait to see how our starting line up shakes out before claiming it is that way. I am not the expert Phil is and with only a layman’s knowledge and love of the game I am going to stick my neck out there and say that Lamar comes off the bench as a 6th man and that Vlad or possibly Luke is our starting SF.

    The other option would be if we start Bynum on the bench to begin season until he’s ready to start (physically speaking) in that case LO gets to be PF.

    All opinion and conjecture of course but I guess that’s what we do here.

  56. 53-I have been critical of LO since he became a Laker, although his first year I thought he had potential to be a lot better, no longer. Sometimes, I have even felt guilty because honestly I think he is a good person, but being new to this forum you guys missed all my angry words about Lamar I would post on Foxsports and ESPN. Why? Because I dont buy into numbers, I criticize what I see, on paper you can justify paying Lamar the 14 million again, kind of, if you watch every game of the Laker season critically you cant justify a midlevel or less.

    Why? He has gotten worse every year at the line. He has to be the absolute worst finisher near the basket, at least for a guy with his size he misses multiple layups every game, and half of them he should be throwing down. I have heard him be criticized for this by Hubie Brown, Mike Fratello, Charles Barkeley among others during games, and its downright maddening. He does have big games but they are usually against teams like the Suns that he has ridiculous match up advantages and benefits from the generosity and the double teams of Kobe. I believe give anyone minutes with Gasol, Bynum and Kobe you would be hard pressed not to get the same or more ppg when Ariza stepped in duriong the regular season pre-injury he looked absolutely capable out there, for about one sixth of the cost of Lamar, and maybe it is lower expectations but I dont remember yelling at the TV or throwing my remote once due to his mistakes.

    The only thing I was happy about this year is he finaly sotpped taking three point shots, because he is attrocious at makng them. And that was only due to being repremanded by Phil and yanked a couple times early in the season.

    The fact alone that a Laker fan should be happy with Lamar as a third or fouth banana is ridiculous as a guy drafted that high making that much, with his actual talents just is seriously underperforming, and you dont pay over ten million for a fouth player which he essentially becomes this year. The funny thing with all these trade talks the guy that would be the perfect replacement would be the guy we gave up Caron Butler, oh well, we like so many other people have been enticed by Lamars size and ball handling ability, and POTENTIAL… Never happened time to move on or at least move him to the bench.

    He needs to go somewhere else and try one more time to reach his potential, if its really because of the system oh well, its better for both parties but I think its because he is mentaly weak.

  57. So, the Hawks can match? I guess that was my question….because I would think that the CBA would impact other NBA teams but I question how an agreement between the players and the owners in one league, would impact owners of a different league and on another continent to boot.

  58. Brandon,
    While the Rookie salary is the one the League will prob focus on,one of the bigger culprits is the League allowing Max Contract raises to outstrip Cap growth. If the CBA had stated the Max contract will remain fixed at 25% of the Salary Cap teams like the Lakers and Rockets would be looking at a payroll of $7mil less. W/that much room,the Rockets would have gone after a MLE type player and the Lakers could have re-signed Ronny AND Sasha(assuming they didn’t commit the money earlier :) ). I’m not blaming players for getting all they can-I blame the League for not having smarts to realize what a problem they were creating for themselves.

  59. Darius,
    The League doesn’t have an agreement covering this w/Europe. The Hawks can of course match,but Childress doesn’t have to take it,he is free to go to Europe. But if he wants to return to the NBA,so long as the Hawks haven’t renounced his rights,he has to deal w/them. The catch for the Hawks is their Qualifying Offer remains on their books as salary for cap purposes. The Hawks will be so far below the Lux Tax they don’t have to worry-other than PR fallout. But a team near Lux Tax that has a RFA who gets a Euro offer? If the player leaves for Europe,the team not only has his QA count as salary,they still have to pay for his replacement.
    In a previous post Bill Bridges was talking about Poker and game theory. What Childress and his agents have done is rewrite the ground-rules for future players.

  60. The issues with Lamar have not just surfaced since the finals. They have been discussed for the last couple of years, at least. Also, I do not blame Lamar for the finals loss. It was predictable, in that the Lakers were a young club with little experience deep in the playoffs for all except Kobe and Fish. The wonder is that we got as far as we did on our talent and system. Now we should be able to improve without any more monkeying around with the players – even Lamar.

    I, and some other commenters, do have any problem with Lamar or his talent. We just think a system where the player constantly has to read what the defense is doing with his teammates does not play to Lamar’s strengths. GS or PHX would be ideal places for Lamar to thrive.

    One of the reasons Lamar thrived with Gasol was that Gasol was just learning his way in the triangle and he was really playing basic basketball, something Lamar also does well. Since both players are willing passers and play near each other, good things were going to result. As a matter of fact, Darius, I think that’s why you wanted Gasol and Lamar isolated on the weak side – and you may be right in this. However, not only will Bynum be playing next year, but Gasol will have much more practice with the offense and I suspect the entire team is getting more capable of running some of the more complex aspects of the triangle. This offense is predicated on getting open shots for every member of the team – this was our frustration with Kwame. Lamar will see his open shots if he plays within the offense. I just see his having increasing difficulty unless he improves his basic approach over the summer. I really hope you are right and I am wrong, because Lamar is a walking mismatch.

  61. The Great Googly Moogly July 21, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Just stop it! Just stop the Lamar bashing. It’s unwarranted and childish.

  62. Odom certainly has his issues. But, like Gasol, he has many skills that compliment nicely what this team is trying to do. The problem in the Boston series is that we had many good players, but few bruisers, or at minimum, nonbruisers who would not let themselves be bullied by bruisers. I don’t know what the answer is. All I know is that the Showtime Lakers were somewhat of a finesse team who, at the the same time, did not let themselves be bullied by more physical teams. Can these Lakers take a lesson from showtime?

  63. Its not Lamar bashing, its just honest opinions, dont see how its childish, if it was he wouldnt have been on the trading block for the past three years, and is once again, obviously the Lakers front office see’s it as a way to improve the team. If someone can honestly explain how the three spot in the triangle can be succesful night in and night out with no jumpshot, and inconsistant freethrowing than I am all ears.

    I do agree that the Lakers can still win with him, but it will be alot harder than without him.

  64. 64 The showtime Lakers had some bruisers in AC, Rambis and Orlando Woolridge… good point though.

  65. Greg, I really enjoy when people fall back on the “the numbers don’t prove anything” argument. The reasons numbers are useful is our perceptions are jaded — if you’ve decided Odom is a bad fit you will see everything he does wrong and not what he does well. We do this in all aspects of our lives, but in sports we have numbers that can shake our thought patterns, make us re-evaluate our perceptions. It’s why more and more GMs in all sports are having stat guys on staff, not to take their word as gospel but to provide another perspective, to open eyes, to make people think of problems differently.

    Honestly, I could throw numbers at you (like that Odom shot 65% in shots in close to the basket while Kobe shot 63% last year), but that is not going t change your perception. I have not been Odom’s biggest supporter, but I have said that he is what he is, and we need to accept the good with the bad with him. He is not going to change, but what he is remains a very good player.

    There are two things I think should be considered: Odom’s best play as a Laker probably cane between the Gasol trade and the end of the year, so I think he earned some trust. Second, and most importantly, none of us really know how Odom will work at the three. It may fail (well, that may be too strong a word, but not succeed like we hope) or it could go well. Nobody knows, not Phil not anyone. But I think most of us are willing to give it a chance with an open mind. As Laker fans we’d like it to work. If it doesn’t, there is plenty of time for a plan B.

  66. thats not what I said.

  67. Eddie House and Tony Allen get new contracts. House will get $2.7 year-one and $2.9 year-two w/a player option. Allen gets 2-year guaranteed for $2.5 each season.

    Do those contracts help establish Vujacic’s market value? They don’t seem to help him jusfity getting more than $4 or $4.5 per year much less the full MLE.

    http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/extras/celtics_blog/2008/07/celtics_agree_t.html

  68. 69. My guess is that is what Sasha’s agent and the Lakers are discussing. The Lakers likely will say that House does set the market, Sasha’s agent (also Kobe’s) argues that it is a totally different circumstance. I still think you’re right, that $4 mil or so is about right.

    Although, it does also sort of tie back to the Childress discussion earlier — what would be just compensation for Sasha in a world where you were paid purely on production? Is Sasha an average NBA player? One of the first guys off the bench but not a star, a role playing contributor? If he is average, and the MLE is the average salary, then is he worth $5.5? There are a lot of market factors that play into what Sasha will make, but the question of what he would be worth is interesting.

  69. i still say Jamont Gordon would of been a way better pick then Crawford, i was shock that we took a decent 6’4 shooting guard over an above average 6’4 combo guard who almost led his squad to one of the bigger NCAA upsets in recent memory!! truthfully though, the world is full of “average” point guards who can step in for about 10 minutes a night and not brake your team but Jamont would’ve been a major steal that late in the 2nd, i tip my hat to philly

  70. What a great deal for Childress. Get paid about 7-8M, play about 50 games instead of 82 (and 40 minutes instead of 48) including championships. Live in Athens, a vibrant, exciting city with a great nightlife and good looking women. Hop around to the islands on off-days and travel to interesting places like Barcelona and Prague to play basketball! And play for a club with a rabid fan base – harkening back to his days playing for Stanford. ? What a life. What’s not to like?

    If you were young single guy in his 20’s who went to school at Stanford, what would you do for a few years?

  71. The Great Googly Moogly July 22, 2008 at 6:07 am

    If I were Josh Childress, I’d take the money and run. And every year, more and more NBA free agents will do the same thing. If the Lakers don’t watch out, Sasha might do that this year.

  72. I think LO earns credit too. Last year, with LO, Lakers were one of the best offensive teams in the league. So i dont worry about their fit in offense, but the impact of he, Gasol and Bynum in the defensive end and rebounds in general. I think we have a great upgrade from Gasol, LO and Turiaf and this should gives us the title this year. I cant see any other teams matching us with we paly like the road to Finals (expect the Finals) and i cant see Boston playing that well again.

  73. This Lamar debate (again, and again, and again) is so redundant. I’m done talking baout this until camp starts. It’s getting very boring, because there is nothing left to say about it. I can’t even read most of these Lamar posts, because I’ve read them all for the past month. Aren’t you guys tired of it? I am. i can’t even respond to posts like this about Lamar:

    Greg: “if you watch every game of the Laker season critically you cant justify a midlevel or less.”

    I can’t wait for the Olympics to start, so that we’ll have something worth watching to talk about. Summer League can’t really count since no one from there will see the court other than blowout city garbage time.

  74. Sasha already has a fan base in Europe. The real question is, now that he is facile within the triangle and knows how to get his shots, should he trade the NBA minutes for starting again?

    I say he stays, signs a shorter contract, and trys again in 3 years.

  75. Question for the group, which was posed to me by another blogger:

    Who are the Lakers “floor burn” guys? The energy, dive for lose balls, be nasty on defense, do all the dirty work but get no headlines guys?

  76. Kurt. Fisher fits that to some degree. Maybe Ariza did for the little bit of the season before he got hurt. Not sure if anyone else fits that description. Maybe that is what the Lakers are missing. Guys like Rick Fox, Robert Horry, Shaw, who will do all the little things, whatever is needed to get the W.

  77. 77) I’m sorry to say this Kurt, but nobody. We don’t have that kind of player.

  78. Great Question Kurt. I dont think we have had anyone that fits that mold since Jerry West left. Maybe Mitch is looking more for players that can play in this offense than players who scrap and hustle. Turiaf may have fit that mold a little bit But he just didnt have the quickness or healthy nimble body to get those floor burns. West had a keen eye for those type of players. Mitch not so much it seems.
    I must add that Im a bit perplexed that we havent seemed to address any of the glaring weaknesses that arose during the Finals. Maybe management thinks the 20 year old Bynum will help shore things up a bit. Im not on that bandwagon though. We need him to play at a high level for a full season and that just hasnt happened yet. He has time on his side. Although Kobe and Fish dont. This team certainly could use a good enforcer type of player. Not sure we will see that anytime soon though.

  79. Pato-Are you excited to play with Ronaldhino, should be fun with the 3 brazilans up front.

    Kurt-I think Sasha is a guy that will get after it, kind of a new age floor burner. Gotta through D-Fish on there, but what is clear is we don’t have a BIG that fits that bill and teams that win titles usually have those kind of guys.

  80. Hey people — Isn’t Kobe that type of player? I have seen him go for the ball in situations where you just held your breath. He really is like the player Jerry West in that regard.

  81. P.S. for those younger bloggers — Jerry West had his nose broken nine different times and the club repaired it when he retired.

  82. It may be a little be premature, but from what I’ve seen from Ariza so far, I truely believe that he can be our primary floor burner. He really impressed me in the little playting time that he got when he came back deep in the playoffs. I felt like he brought tremendous energy to the floor, and at times, he seemed to be all over the place on defense. With his scrappiness and athletic ability, I think he could become a very valuable role player for the Lakers. Now only if he could develop that outside shot…

  83. Kobe is like that, unfortunately the goal was to find non stars. I think we’d all agree KG would fit that type of role too, but I’m looking for role guys.

    He’s not a Laker any more, but Turaif was the obvious answer to me. After that, well, I guess Sasha and Fish. Can I just nominate Rambis off the bench?

  84. I really want Luke to fill that role. When you think about it, Luke is very similar to Rick Fox. Not that athletic, great feel for the offense, and a very high BBIQ. I still remember when after an off-season Fox came back in better shape and with a new attitude and became that guy that we’re describing/searching for. I’m not holding my breath that Luke will do the same as Fox, but of all the guys we have, I could see him revamping his style (especially if Phil is in his ear about it) and trying to fill that role. I’m going to break a little rule here, but Fox came back as a *dick* to the opposition, Luke’s a nice guy, but I really hope he’s got some of that in him too.

  85. Darius, good point about Fox, but I don’t think Fox would’ve been able to be the defender he was in today’s era of “no-touch” perimeter defense. The way Foxie played Peja he would’ve fouled out in 7 minutes. I do think we need toughness, both out on the wing and the interior. Also, Foxie was pretty good from 3 and Luke is kinda shaky (except when he was deadly with the new synthetic ball). Man, I loved it when Chick called him Foxie.

  86. I still call him Foxie. My fiance really makes fun of me when I see him courtside and I say “FOXIEEEEE”.

    Yeah, I hear you too on the no touching on the perimeter. He was in Peja’s shorts in those games/series. I’m with you too on the 3pt. shooting. I do think that Luke can be serviceable from 3 but only from certain positions on the court. I like him better from the corner and the extended wing rather than the top of the circle. But we’ll see. Really it’s just wishful thinking as I think Luke still has a place on this team.

  87. Ira Newble was supposed to come in as a defensive minded scrapper, I thought, but he didn’t get any p.t. Luke isn’t the type of dude that can perpetrate that attitude, I don’t think. He acts more like a surfer than a warrior. Sasha looks a little crazy sometimes out there, he could work. With the supposed new flopping rules he’s going to have to spend some court time doing something else :-) Ariza, Fish, Kobe, even Lamar will go into the crowd on a loose ball…I just close my eyes when Kobe does it (and hope that at the worst he gets a beer spilled on his shoes). Chris “Glass Legs” Mihm might be a physical presence if his titanium ankle holds up (the guy’s part Terminator by now). Seriously though, I do think Bynum in the middle will help a lot as many of you have mentioned. They’re a very different team next season, even if they don’t make another move.

  88. Well, say goodbye to Kurt Thomas. He’s been re-signed. I figured that would be the case if someone was offering the vet’s minimum and with the limited minutes he would be getting in LA.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3500429

  89. Great points by #80, MacBSlick

    I too am a bit perplexed that we havent seemed to address any of the glaring weaknesses that arose during the Finals. I know we were just two wins from winning the whole thing…but its pains me to remember how Boston took us out of our game. How Kobe was unable to penetrate. How Pau did nothing, How Sasha got beat by Ray Ray w/o anyhelp help, etc., etc., etc.

  90. Ira Newble was an insurance policy, he really does not have much in the tank any more.

    80/91. This gets rehashed a lot, but what problems to address? Tough perimeter defender? Someone to protect the rim on defense? Don’t Bynum and Ariza fit those bills when healthy?

  91. I want to second Kurt’s point on “glaring weaknesses”. Basically, I think that Bynum and Ariza address the tangible, physical weaknesses that we saw. I think Bynum’s size and (a healthy) Ariza on the perimeter make a difference to our lackluster rebounding/interior defense and our need for another perimeter defender.

    I think the intagible weakness that we had was just a lack of experience. Besides Odom, Kobe, Fisher, and Walton, none of our guys had even been to the 2nd round. And I hate to say it, but you gain experience through the type of loss that we suffered at the hands of the Celtics. Every team goes through those losses. Maybe not a 40 point clubbing in the clincher, but every team goes through some heartbreak. I can rattle off a bunch of teams, but I won’t. Just know that we will be more experienced next year, and we’ll see how much this team grows. Personally, I’m excited to see Farmar, Bynum, Ariza, Sasha, etc come back with revamped games and a new mindset reflective of what it takes to be a champion.

  92. there was an interesting article on Hoopsworld today, about Deng and the Bulls…seems it’s not going too well. they mention a sign and trade possibility with the Lakers, I wonder “who” that would include…?
    here’s an excerpt of the article-
    The Luol Deng Story: Reports yesterday suggested that Chicago Bulls’ forward Luol Deng and his agent were ready to issue an “ultimatum” to the Bulls, basically saying if Luol did not have a deal done by September 1st, that he would back away from negotiations and not negotiate again with the Bulls. The reports suggested if Luol did not get a deal he’s comfortable with, he’d sign the Bulls’ $4.4 million qualifying offer sheet and become an unrestricted free agent next year and walk. After spending the bulk of the day on the phone talking with Bulls and league sources and a couple of agents, there is some truth to this stance. Let’s not call it an ultimatum – the parameters of the negotiations have been established. That’s how the agents frame it. The Bulls have had several discussions with both Luol Deng and Ben Gordon and are basically offering both players the same kinds of packages they offered last year. In Luol’s case, $57 million is not enough for a number of reasons. First, other teams are offering sign-and-trade packages that Chicago seems lukewarm on exploring. Those sign-and-trade packages could get Luol in the $13 to $14 million a year range, which is substantially more than Chicago’s offer – roughly $9 million per year. Some teams are telling the agents of the restricted class to take the qualifying offer this year and get radically paid next year as unrestricted free agents; this includes Ben Gordon and Luol Deng. League sources suggested that the Lakers, Pistons, Heat and Jazz have all had discussions with Luol Deng’s camp about the framework of a sign-and-trade.

  93. Next season, with the plan of having Pau and Drew team-up in the middle, I think we need to make sure we have good shooters on the floor with them. I don’t know if its a weakness, but it something we must keep in mind. I think Fish (for the most part) over-performed last year. Vlad is a renowned shooter, but is defintley inconsisten. This is not even considering having LO at the 3, and issues with shooting that will bring. One more reason I think we absolutley have to re-sign Sasha.

  94. I think adding a healthy Drew and Ariza will make up for the weaknesses Boston exposed. I know you can play a game of what-ifs about many things in sports, but we were up 8 at the half in game 1 against Boston and in control of the game until Pierce’s return swung the momentum. And we were up 24 in Game 4. I think with a bit more experience and a healthy Drew and Ariza we certainly would have won.

  95. 94. I let this through, but let’s remember that this is clearly mostly coming from Deng’s agent. The fact the Lakers talked with Deng’s agent about a framework and $3 will get you a cup of coffee. Deng’s agent wants leverage. And he wants $13+ million a year, which means when Bynum gets paid the Lakers are in super-crazy tax land.

  96. I’d consider trading LO for Deng. He’s young, unselfish, plays good D, is friends with Kobe and extremely talented. We’d be set up in the short-term and in the long-term. We’d be contending for titles for years as Bynum, Deng and Farmar would be the core of the team when Kobe and Pau begin to age.

  97. The type of players the Lakers need to fill glaring weaknesses were indicated as not members of the squad by Phil Jackson. I think that the Lakers FO has their own list of players that fill our “glaring weaknesses,” but we’re clearly not ready to fill them yet either from trades or free agents until Sasha sashays in to sign his deal.

    Luke Walton is most likely existing player to do those little extras in the coming years because he’s done it before. He has been known to “get nasty” from time to time despite his laid back reputation. That’s the major reason for his long contract. It will be interesting to see how he plays after recovering from surgery. He definitely has the size, tenacity, and know-how to get the job done. He might be a good substitution tandem with Arisa–if he recovers his ability to shoot the 3.

    In the playoffs, it’s the vets that come through–and we haven’t got ours yet.

  98. I believe that Chicago might be a very good trade partner for the Lakers, but I never thought that Luol Deng was possible. I’ve had other possibilities in mind.

    Deng probably isn’t possible–but it’s fun to speculate.

    I don’t think that the Lakers are ready for serious negotiations with anyone yet for a major trade.

  99. I agree D-Ray, the Bulls may have to move some parts and Mitch should keep an eye on what plays out.

  100. Almost every team in the league should be looking to fleece the Bulls right now. They’ve got some (seemingly) disgrutled RFA’s in Deng/Gordon, a quality PG that actually plays defense in Kirk, a *warrior* type of Vet that has a contract that actually decreases in the upcoming years in Nocioni (BTW, Heinrich’s contract is like that as well), and some young guys that I think have a real future in this league in Noah and Thomas. I know they’ve got a new coach that would probably like to see how all these guys pan out in his system before anyone is dealt away, but you never know what Paxon will do until you ask.

    Kurt is right though about trading Odom for any one of those high salaried players (either currently high salaried or potentially high salaried like Deng), we’d be in cap HELL once Bynum is re-upped.

  101. Trading with Chicago won’t happen until at earliest mid-season. The Bulls will probably be a 7-10 seed playoff cusp team by the all-star break and the Lakers will know what to make of LO at the 3 (or wherever they land). Also, Bynum’s status should be more clear as far as his physical being and contract talks. No reason for a Finals appearance to lead to wholesale changes until this squad (minus Ronny) proves they need a lift. Health, as widely pointed out, is our biggest off-season triumph.

    But man, some people can get testy here in the off-season. Lots of defensive intensity to burn with no hoops action to holler at, I guess. Please bring on Beijing asap or some of us might kill each other…

  102. drrayeye, sasha sashay’s…funny
    say this 3 times
    sasha sashays into unique new york to buy a toy boat

  103. by the way, while I posted the clip from hoopsworld, I am not advocating trading LO. i think we should give this team a chance to develop together, with LO at the three, and with the versatility PJ will have with so many 6’8″ and taller players to switch around at the 3, 4 and 5 positions.

  104. I know that this barely affects us at all, but the Warriors traded for Marcus Williams, PG from the Nets. I always liked Williams and think he’s going to be a pretty good player for the Warriors. Anyways, the Warriors aren’t quite replacing Baron, but they’re not standing pat and wallowing in the misery of losing a franchise type guy either. They’re rebuilding this team with some young guys and, to me at least, their future is still pretty bright with Monta, Biedrins, Wright, Randolph, and now Williams.

  105. New post up, a round up talking more general NBA and Olympics than Lakers because, well, there is not a lot of Lakers news.

  106. DENG vs ARIZA
    LO for Deng seems like a no-brainer for the Lakers but then there’s the luxury tax and everything that goes with that.

    And the numbers between Deng and Ariza are strikingly similar per 40 MIN. Deng avgs 6 more points per 40min than Ariza but then Ariza has a better reputation as a defender and is more athletic (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1v6OIFNme6w).

    So, is it possible that the discrepency in their salaries does not accurately reflect the parity in their talent level? I would love Luol Deng as Laker but Trevor Ariza appears worthy of chance to prove himself as a starter. I wouldn’t mind waiting to see what happens in 6-10 months before handing Deng $60 mil or so for the next 5 years. Ariza may be the answer at half that price.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/players/hollinger?playerId=2426&univLogin02=stateChanged

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/players/hollinger?playerId=2429