What Can/Should We Expect?

Kurt —  August 25, 2008

It’s about five weeks until the Lakers head into training camp. Five weeks with really no basketball to speak of as we watch the start of football (both American and in Europe) and writers and bloggers start working on team previews.

And when those previews come out, a lot of people are going to pick the Los Angeles Lakers to win a title. There’s good reason for that — the Lakers went six games into the NBA Finals last season without their starting center and having Kobe’s finger held in place by a piece of tape.

Lakers fans have a reputation, in some part deserved, of thinking anything short of hanging a new banner and having a parade downtown is a failed season. Going into this season that certainly will be the expectation of many.

But is that fair?

I don’t think that it is. For two primary reasons, one practical and one philosophical:

1) You never know how a season will shake out. Injuries can turn a team’s season around, plus other teams will have players emerge that we didn’t expect (as Bynum did last year). This is a deep Western Conference and the difference between winning the conference and going out in the second round is pretty slim. Then there are good teams from the East to overcome. I don’t think it’s fair to expect nothing but a title in such a close, fluid situation.

2) Focusing on the end result spoils the journey.
One of the best parts of last year’s Lakers success was the unexpected joy of watching young players (Farmar, Bynum and others) start to blossom and how that changed the team dynamic. We watched Kobe evolve over the course of the last four years. Suddenly a team we had watched struggle and grow together was very good.

And while this year’s journey starts from a different vantage point, it should still be an entertaining one. This team still needs to grow, it needs to find a defensive desire and game that can compliment what will be an explosive offense. It will have to overcome adversity.

And it may or may not end in a title. But if the title is the only goal, we as fans will look past the steps it took to get there, robbing some of the joy from that moment. And I want to completely soak in that moment.

But what do you expect this season?

Kurt

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87 responses to What Can/Should We Expect?

  1. I said a year ago that 2008/09 would be the season to see the Lakers blossom. Well, it happened a year early and it was fantastically exciting to experience. I doubt this year will match the excitement of last year – if only because ESPN picked last year’s team to finish 8/9th in the Western Conference – but we do have our things to watch. Will Bynum continue to flower, will Farmar make the same jump this year as last, will Kobe become more of a facilitator after the Olympic experience, will Odom work at the 3 or backup at the 3/4, can Ariza fit in and become a regular rotation player/starter?

    Here’s to Kobe getting his finger fixed quickly and actually taking some time off before starting the season.

  2. I only expect us to be a really good team.

    I always think that going into any season with expectations that include any specifics (ie: a championship, or games won, or all-star selections) are a little foolish just because these are things we can’t control and inevitably just lead to let downs or a satisfaction that is not as much joy as it is…relief. I enjoy rooting for the team as hard as possible in every scenario, but don’t enjoy being caught up in the notion that anything *should* happen. It’s one of the main reasons that I don’t gamble on sports. I never want to get into the thought process that something should happen or that I’m smart enough to *know* that something is going to happen before it actually does. I want to be suprised or really, just want to feel that jubilation that comes from winning.

    The ups and downs that come from a season, the last second wins that make your week, and the defeats that sting and stay with you are what sports are about for me. I let the pundits play the expectations game, they need the ratings. I’ll just continue to follow the games and hope we win. Because once you expect your team to win, I think you lose that joy when you actually do win and feel so much worse when you lose.

  3. Assuming a “reasonable” level of injuries (whatever that is!!) I expect this Lakers roster to be better than last year’s. That should make them a serious contender for the title. I don’t “expect” a title, though, because there are too many things that the Lakers have no control over – injuries, another team getting hot at the right time, etc.

  4. The one thing I most want to watch is Bynum and Gashol work together.Should be awsome.

  5. I view this Laker team as a completely new team. Judging by off season trades and acquisitions, I’d rank the Lakers no higher than third, behind Houston and New Orleans. That could change radically by December.

    The Lakers biggest single problem will be integrating Andrew Bynum into a team that almost won a championship without him. There are several major aspects to that integration:

    1. Getting Andrew comfortable with Pau Gasol, and getting Pau Gasol comfortable as a power forward again.

    2. Testing Lamar Odom at the SF–his original position at one time.

    3. Introducing Trevor Ariza into the flow with serious PT.

    4. Substantially improving team defense, especially on transitions.

    Any or all of these problems could severely compromise the team, and they lead to sub issues:

    1. Chris Mihm as a backup center

    2. Proper use of VladRad and Luke both on offense and defense.

    3. Development of a bench mob and “energy guys.”

    4. Recovery of Kobe and Fisher (and Bynum?) from surgery

    5. More selective use of the 3 by “the machine”

    As I watch the Lakers deal with these issues, I’ll also look for the team chemistry to reappear. I might be happier if it didn’t reappear too soon.

    This should be a very interesting season.

  6. Great reads Kurt and drrayeye, can’t wait for training camp to start (or word to come out about Kobe after his surgery…really just any Lakers news).

  7. I expect 73 wins and the title won by late Feb. Bynum should be averaging 27/15/4/3 and…

    Like you all have been saying, it’s the journey not the destination. Considering the schedual I’m wondering if the team night perform well in spite of a slow start, build up their confidence, health and tune in the system so that by March the team could be healthy and rolling in spite of the late schedual.

    Didn’t Pau play PF whenever he and Narc shared the court. I figure it’s easier to adjust to a shift back to the position you are suited for rather then star in the position you are not. Gasol is a mighty nice PF and may go down as the Lakers’ greatest at that position seeing that Malone, McAdoo, Mycheal, Perkins etc… all played that position post prime.

    Can anyone imagine a better young PG for Phil Jackson’s system then Rubio?

    It was nice to see Pau play well on a big stage again and the love between he and Kobe was classy. I’m just trying to figure if Portland has too many great players who need the ball. Aldridge has room to grow but looks to face the basket allot. Roy and Bayless do allot of scoring and facilitating off the dribble, Rudy is a stud and I don’t see Outlaw or Webster becoming Rip Hamilton types. Is this fear trying to rationalize how this team might implode?I don’t mind living in Portland during a Blazer resurgence so long as the results are like 91 and 2000.

  8. It is unbelievable how whiny Lakers fans are – instead of giving credit to the Celts for beating the Lakers fair and square, instead the loss is blamed on Bynum’s absense and Kobe’s finger. Well, when we beat y’all once again, you won’t have either of these as options to explain your loss(es) to the Celts.

  9. Since I was a Sonics fan, this year I’m going to be chewing on the bitter end of things….I’ll keep an eye out on the Lakers; it should be interesting as there are a lot of things to watch (as drrayeye lists), yet the team is very good already.

    One humble but ambitious request: a great round of jeers at Staples for the OkC team. Please? For us NBA orphans?

  10. Frankly I loved how our team overachieved last year. I never expected them to be as good as they were. I mean there were a lot of unknowns, injuries, and generally excellent play in the West. How could we know that we would be in the Finals? We couldn’t and to say otherwise is foolish. Now I hope that we can duplicate the success that we had last year (and maybe even a little bit better), but again we have uncertainties about Bynum coming back to form, how the new chemistry will be, and everyone else getting a little bit better.

    I for one am looking forward to next year, but not assuming that we will just be given the title because of how we look “on paper”.

  11. I don’t think any crowd will be cheering for OkC anytime soon, at least outside of the Midwest…

    But hopefully the jeers aren’t directed at the players, but at that scum owner of theirs.

  12. #8-

    It’s unbelievable how arrogant celts fans are when they have only been relevant for a year since the Bird era(ie. 20 friggin’ years ago).

  13. Championship pending no major injuries

  14. Can we play our home games during The Finals in China?

  15. With the Chinese magic, a healthy Bynum, and little roster change from last year, a western conference championship is almost a definite. If everyone can stay completely healthy for the finals, i think we have a great shot at winning the championship this year. The only thing really lacking in this years finals was an effective big man (Bynum) to man up on either KG or Perkins. Now that we have him back, Pau can sit back and take his elbow jump shot, and Bynum can clean up down low. The only key to this season is staying healthy. If no one gets seriously injured, we can expect championship results.

  16. @ #8, there’s a difference between whining and analyzing. If you honestly think that having one of the best young centers in the league actually play in the Finals and getting to move Pau to PF wouldn’t have made some difference in the series, possibly a difference big enough to tilt the series in the other direction, then I guess Homer isn’t just some dead, Greek poet studied in Cambridge.

  17. no. 8 – where did that come from? i didn’t see any mention of celtics in this posting or excuses in reference to our finals loss until celts fan mentioned it. talking about wanting so and so injured player returning and getting excited about their potential contribution has nothing to do with the celtics. sounds like you need some attention. this is about the lakers. not about the cetlics. besides no one disagree that the celtics played very well in the finals and on the flip side of that the lakers played poorly. 2 sides of the coin. no need for you to come in here and try to start sh.**. leave it. we are moving on.

  18. PeanutButterSpread August 25, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Last year was so much fun watching the Lakers evolve into a championship contending team. All the younger players stepping up and the Gasol trade, it was just a whirlwind of a year considering all the injuries we had to endure throughout the year.

    Here’s to 08-09, I can’t wait!

  19. #8, Your team won. Congratulations. Celebrate it with people who want to hear it. Honestly, this is a discussion on what we expect for next season to happen with the Lakers. It is a little bit amusing to me that you think a healthy Lakers team won’t make a difference. The strength difference between Pau and Bynum is ubelievable. With Kobe fully recovered, he will be able to cross Ray Allen all day long. Apart from that, Sun Yue will do nothing but improve the team.

  20. I am looking forward to the season with the improved Laker team this year. I think they will be alot of fun to watch (not that they were not before) with the new combinations of players since last year. I do not really expect Sun Yue to get many minutes but we will have to wait and see what happens there.

  21. Sun Yue is too raw to be a contributor for our deep team. He’s looking to fill the last spot on our roster and be a crowd favorite to chant for during blowouts.

  22. This was a really good post, kudos. I agree – it’s foolish to expect a championship before the season starts, because there’s just too many things that can change in that many months.

    There’s only 1 true expectation I have – after the Lakers got a first-hand glimpse last June of the type of consistent defense it takes to win a championship, I’ll fully expect them to come out a brand-new team defensively. Heart isn’t enough; a defensive gameplan is also very important. Tom Thibodeau doesn’t get enough credit for his incredible defensive schemes. Is it crazy to suggest Phil bring in a new assistant coach? One from the Jeff VG or Pat Riley regimes, someone who can truly be our defensive wizard and get our team to focus for 82 games on that end of the court? We have great length, versatility, and athleticism – an extraordinary defensive (assistant) coach could bring out the most of our talent.

  23. Boston fans in general have grown quite arrogant. Celts, Pats, Sox, they are living on cloud 9 and have become just like the Yankee fans they hate, ironic really. Enjoy it, because as little as 2 years ago, chants of “MVP” “MVP” for Kobe, at the garden.

    I liked the way Sun Yue looked in the Olympics, maybe he can play some minutes in the future. I really hope to see Phil find a rotation and stick with it, develop clearer roles for the bench players and Odom and hold Kobe accountable for his play on the defensive end.

  24. 8

    I don’t think that is fair at all. If I remember correctly, there was very little talk about not having Bynum, it was not like we lost him in game 2 or anything. But it is fair to say “we will be x much better with Bynum” because he was not there for the playoff run.

    My point being, if Philly said they think they cane make a deeper payoff run with Brand, would you say they are whining about not having Brand during the loss to the Pistons? Bynum is like a free agent pickup, and it is fair to wonder how much a difference he will make this year.

    In any case, I am glad to have a post like this Kurt – you will need to reference it during the first 3 game losing streak when people start the chicken little routine.

    It will be interesting to see how this teams performs with expectations, how young players progress, and to see how the offense and defense come together.

  25. Hornets and Blazers will be scary, but Lakers should have enough to get back and win finals.

  26. Well I do expect us to get at least to the WC Finals. I just think we have that much talent. I don’t make that prediction with any sort of joy or presumptuousness, but simply based on the personnel and abilities of our players. If we can get to the Finals WITHOUT Andrew, we should certainly get to the WCFs with him. That said, as you said, it’s great to enjoy the journey. But really, this year, I’m expecting some amazing performances (barring injuries, of course).

  27. Kurt mentioned in his post that expecting a finals appearance, much less a win, was counter productive and would lessen the experience we all look forward to next season. Browsing through the comments, the first thing I notice – other than a Celtics interloper – is the comments predicting a finals win. Didn’t people read the initial blog story? If you want to predict a win fine, but at least justify why you are going against what Kurt wrote about to kick this thing off.

  28. Just thinking about it makes me so thankful for last year’s run.

    The journey just kept getting better, all year long. Kobe not traded for spare parts. Us leading the West in January when the media picked us to land out of the playoffs. When Bynum first went down, I thought the season was pretty much in the trash. Then “wily” Mitch Kupchek (?!?) swooped in and saved the year by trading Kwame (!) for Pau (!!!) and taking no other cap killer salaries in return.

    The whole season was made of magic. Despite the fact that we didn’t win, I can’t remember a more enjoyable season of watching Laker basketball. Oh, right, forgot to mention that our lineup looks full of win for next year too.

    Pau comes back hungry, rightfully so. Lamar; contract year means an assertive LO. Healthy Kobe ready to cement his place in history. Mmmmm, Bynum.

    Smells like somethin’… Something familiar…

  29. I expect us to be competitive day in and day out.

    Although I’m worried about Kobe and Gasol, both workhorses in their respective teams, I’m more or less optimistic.

    Sure there will be tough teams out there, especially in the west, but that’s nothing new. Surely the Blazers will emerge, and Rockets/Hornets grow stronger (Rockets could pull a Challenger too) but I see Denver falling hard and Spurs/Mavericks losing their grip as feared powerhouses, evening out the scene.

  30. For the Lakers, next year is as good as it gets. I mean, we will have Kobe, LO, Gasol, and Bynum all on the same team. That is a lot of talent to have on a single team in an era of salary caps.

    I will be nervous every game because of my fear that one of those guys might get injured. If they stay healthy, this could be very special.

  31. I expect the team to vie for a championsip, but in such a talented and deep Western Conference, I cannot say we’re the favorites. Yet.

    I expect more from Phil. I felt let down by him last year in the Finals.

    Kobe reads comics!

  32. i’m just looking forward to high level basketball again. The lakers should be strong so that always helps but i’ll be cheering and yelling no matter what. I guess I am excited at the possibilities of this year’s team and hope to see growth along the way. I also expect to get a little kerfluffled at times when the lakers play poorly or with little focus. But who among us won’t? It’s all part of the fun of supporting this team

  33. I have been a Lakers fan since 1986 but until recently have I come to appreciate the journey to the playoffs more than the “title or bust” attitude that I used to have.

    That is probably why when the Lakers lost in the Finals that I didn’t go crazy or start panicking.

    I’m very happy that the Lakers didn’t panic either and make “feel good” moves like trading for Artest or dumping Odom. That would potentially destroy the team chemistry that the team gained during last season.

    Kupchak’s plan of keeping the team together was the right move. Cool heads most of the time prevail.

    As far as the upcoming season, while hoping that the Lakers win the 2009 NBA Championship, I don’t consider it a failure if they don’t. I’m just happy that the Lakers are now back to being title contenders and no longer in disarray.

    The key to next season is staying healthy. Ever since the Shaq trade, the Lakers have suffered massive injuries season after season to key players like Kobe, Lamar, Mihm, Walton and Radmanovic. If the Lakers stay healthy, then they have a great chance to come out of the West.

    The other keys to the season will be how Lamar adjusts to the small forward position and can he guard other 3s and consistently hit the mid-range shot, and how Mihm and Bynum bounce back from their season long injuries.

    The team as come a long way from when it looked like Kobe was going to leave and the team blown up.

  34. i expect to be alternately thrilled and frustrated with the team, as has been the case with almost every Phil-coached Laker squad.

    however, i also expect that come the end of the season, the team will find itself with a nice opportunity to advance far into the playoffs.

    if they’ve done their work during the season and learned from their mistakes, grown to trust one another, and worked everyone into the flow, they should be able to prevail.

    it may not work out, and i think we’ll see a pretty frustrated Kobe if it doesn’t, but I can say I’m very excited to see how it all unfolds.

  35. IMHO,
    The coming season for the Lakers depends on what they took away from last yr.
    If they came away hungry,having come thiiiis close,and feeling just a little more hard work will get them to the top,the experience gained from last yr will propel the team to 60+ wins and at least a WCF appearance.
    If they come into the season thinking other teams will roll over because “We’re the Lakers and we deserve to win”,it will be a 55 win season and at best a Second Rd loss.

    At this point I see the West as LA,Utah,NO and Hou and I just don’t see the other 3 teams being better than a committed Lakers team over the course of a season.

    And I still say around my mouthfuls of crow that the 2008 Olmpic team doesn’t/didn’t have a kiler instint like the Dream Team.(Yes,I have become that doddering old uncle in the corner muttering how things were better in my day.)

  36. Stephen,
    You forgot to mention that a killer instinct is often a single person, or a limited number of people, on a team. The 2008 Olympics team had Kobe – perhaps the coldest killer of them all. What more do you want?

  37. remember last year in the finals, and we were all saying that the “Celt’s” had taken us out of our game?…Lakerball! …there were a few glimpses of it, like when we ran out to a 24 point lead, (only to lose it, and a bitter defeat).

    my point is…the Lakers are an offensive minded team, always have been, always will. they will win (or lose) by how well they are playing “Lakerball”

    and this is why we (and half the rest of the fans of other teams) LOVE the Lakers, they are so much fun to watch when they are firing on all cylinders.

    I think the team HAS to expect to win the Championship, look at what Kobe said in his MVP speech to Staples, “we’ll be playing in June”…well, that came true, he should have been saying, “we are going to play and WIN in June” (positive visualization).

    the TEAM has to see themselves winning it all, the FANS should enjoy the ride, and with regards to tempering our expectations, that is true, but not only in Laker games, but also in life, so I can’t disagree there.

    I am very excited about this year, no doubt. watching Pau in the Olympic finals, he was awesome, great hands, desire and hustle were all there, as well as pride for his country and team. he has some character strengths that will hopefully be an influence on some of our guys, couldn’t hurt anyway.
    but to see Pau having a full year, with training camp, etc, as well as Andrew and Trevor coming back…well, it could be an amazing year.

    I think Derek hit the nail on the head, this is just one of those years where pure luck of the draw will enable us to have one of the most potent line ups in history, can you imagine a line up of Pau, Andrew, LO, Kobe and Fish? and the bench mob could all be starters on other teams…
    so the big challenge will be on the coaching staff, to distribute minutes, play match ups, and guide the team to finish strong, healthy, rested, and playing the BEST BALL OF THE SEASON (at the end).
    …and, we all know we have the best possible coach (and staff) for just that.

    it is truely going to be an awesome season. I agree with Darius and Kurt to temper our expectations and to remember the enjoy the ride, but I also think the team and it’s fans have to realize that this could be a once in a lifetime collection of talent that should expect a championship. (similar to the thinking of the “C’s” last year and this year’s “redeem team”).
    all the way baby!
    and I hope the “C’s” do make it back into the finals this year, how sweet would that be? (for both the teams, their fans, and the league)
    ahhh, revenge…

  38. Watching Pau in the Olympics (and of course Kobe) made me appreciate Pau’s game even more. Unfortunately, we were left with a somewhat struggling Pau after the Finals, but to see him play with a big 5 shows how effective he is at the 4 position. Just goes to show how easy it is to forget how good Pau really is.

    I also hope Sun hangs out with Farmar and Sasha during the off-seasons (and Kobe if he would allow it) to see what it takes to get better and earn playing time. Sun is in good hands with respect to player development and if he is to be an NBDL player, he is still going to improve far more than he would playing in the Chinese league. But I’m very optimistic for the upcoming season and even if people suffer expected injuries here and there, the Lakers are still one of the deepest teams and can compensate for it.

  39. RIP Kevin Duckworth. That is sad.

  40. By the way, the reason I have yet to put up a Sun Yue post is that I have yet to be able to watch some of him from the Olympics. My brand new laptop is already in the shop (faulty CD drive) so I have not been able to watch the videos at home.

    What did those of you who saw him think? There has been some talk of this already in the comments.

  41. “Focusing on the end result spoils the journey.”

    Good comment, Kurt. I agree. That’s why a Championship from this squad will be so much sweeter than any of the previous 14 (spoiled aren’t we). We’ve seen this crew struggle, and have predictions of 9th or 10th in the West, the Kobe/FO feuds, etc. The journey back to elite has raised my “fandom” to a new level.

  42. RIP to Kevin Duckworth. I always loved players that rocked the 00 on the jersey…

  43. Has Kobe had his surgery yet?

  44. 44. Not scheduled as of yet. I say we let him enjoy his gold medal and birthday for a few days.

  45. #8 Celts Fan,

    I live in New England, and I’ve never seen so much bandwagon, fairweather fans, than Celtics fans. The Celtics were battling the Bruins for least cared about team, now all of a sudden you guys sign a couple of Hall of Famers, and wanna talk all this smack. Fine, you guys had a great team of free agents, and won one. We’ll see how long it lasts. I’ll take our chances, because unlike your team (of what, 4 months???), our team was built from the ground up, and set up for the future also.

  46. 46 – I live in LA and I see so many Laker “fans” who attend games just because it is cool to do so. Many Laker “fans” don’t know jack about the Lakers let alone basketball. The atmosphere at Lakers games is pitiful during the first quarter because the “fans” rarely show on time and are loud only during later parts of games. And yeah, we are the bandwagon fans…

  47. This Little Pinky August 26, 2008 at 11:53 am

    @47 – And I suppose every Celtics fan is a knowledgable fan. I like to respond to trolls – anyway, as far as expectations for the team, I expect the same thing I do every year: I expect the team to improve on its weaknesses and to maintain its strengths, I expect the players to develop a bond of trust and respect, and I hope to see them dedicate themselves to each and every game, because that is what we deserve as fans, nothing less.

  48. I never weighed in on Celts Fan’s first comment because, well, his reading comprehension is poor. At no point did I slight the Celtics, I simply said that the Lakers were able to make the Finals despite some big concerns, so it makes sense they are considered near the top this season. You have to be pretty self absorbed to see that as a slight.

    Frankly, both the Celtics and Lakers fans have some passionate cores and some bandwagoners. Evidence can be pointed both ways pretty easily.

    Welcome to the conversation during the slow weeks, I guess.

  49. #40–Kurt
    As a kid I hated Kevin Duckworth. Back then I was a homer and too biased to appreciate a good center with a sweet midrange jumper and soft-touch.

    I did watch a couple of Sun Yue’s games, but he did not leave much of an impression. He was not very assertive; but he did not look tentative. When he identified opportunities, he was able to seize them; but I believe there were more opportunities to be had, so his court awareness may need to improve. That’s my first impression.

  50. 47-Staples Center is not representative of Laker fans. Dodger fans and Laker fans are as passionate as any in the country, they get a bum rap, but that’s just a media story.

    Kurt-I only saw him play twice (one of them being the U.S.). He is defintely skinny, but he handled the ball well for his size and has a nice looking lefty stroke. One thing that I liked about him was that he moved without the ball, a quality that could translate well for the triangle.

  51. Celts Fan, if you live here, you know that most people can’t afford Laker tickets. The people that can afford them, tend to not be the rambunctious fans that you would see at a college game. You are right that there are a lot of people going to games that don’t know jack, but the people at the games don’t represent the huge fan base outside of Staples.

    Also, we haven’t waited 20 years for a championship…

  52. To answer the post, I expect the journey towards a championship. Sure, this thought ties in both your points of embracing the moment, and how focusing solely on the end result can cause detriment to the moment, but isn’t this what every member of the Lakers is focusing on?

    Think about it, having been so close (well not too close, but in The Finals) every player wants to go back and get that ring. But, with Phil at the helm, he is likely preaching the moment. One day, one game, one possession at a time, all leading up to the ultimate point, a championship.

    Will I be disappointed if this expectation doesn’t manifest itself before me? Yeah, but if my disappointment from June can pass, this too will. And as a Laker fan, I will be thinking championship, but I look forward to focusing on the journey that will (hopefully) ultimately bring one.

    Essentially though, I expect the team to continue to grow.

    Aside from that and onto Sun Yue, in what I saw of him, seemed like a poised player who let the game develop and come to him. Also, the note above that people hopes he befriends his teammates quickly, does anyone know if he speaks English?

  53. As to Sun, I think his English is very poor at this point. He was interviewed and let’s just say I wish there were subtitles.

    From what I saw of Sun, I think he played “unassertive” only because of the regimented Chinese team system. He had to subsume much of his game to the older vets and of course to Yao. I think you could sense that there was a major pecking order when it came to shots (how else did Whang Zizi get so many shots?) so it’d be interesting to see if Sun can run wild in the NBDL. I don’t know if his dribbling skills translate to an NBA-level PG, but as a 2 or 3, his dribbling skills aren’t too bad, and are good enough to bring the ball over half court.

    If Sun suits up for games this year, I would consider that a success. I don’t expect him to get too much burn, but who knows.

  54. Sun will be like Sasha, it will take him 3 years before he will be able to contribute in any real way.

  55. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3552508

    Phoenix prosecutors want access to the Federal Donaghy evidence “to know whether Donaghy broke any Arizona laws while officiating two Phoenix Suns-Los Angeles Lakers playoff games in 2007.”

    Um, 2007? When Phoenix drilled the floundering Lakers 4 games to 1? Not any Spurs games that same year? What’s the point?

  56. Craig,
    This is one of the great things about sports.We can have fun debating the most meaningless of things. My position is the Dream Team had a collective kiler instinct that this yrs’ team lacked. And while I hold Kobe’s competitive fires in the highest possible regard,I woud have preferred the 08 version to have a collective killer instinct to match Kobe’s individual one.
    Whatever misgivings I expressed about the team,its roster,its coaching look pretty silly after the Team’s Gold Rush. Congrads to Team USA and all involved!

    Meanwhile,I eagerly await Morey’s next trade to see what gifts he’ll bring “my” Rockets(5 trades in 9 weeks).

    Regarding Sun,I would imagine the team hopes he developes into the “Initiator” role,prob at the 3.(Or 2,w/Kobe moving to the 3). Couple of yrs down the road I imagine the team would like Sasha at the pt,Kobe and Sun on the wings and Gasol and Bynum inside. The Lakers are prob thinking of him as the next Pippen,not the next Magic.

  57. 55, how do we know that Sasha didn’t just have a really great season? It might be to early to tell whether or not he can be a contributor, or just had a lucky season.

  58. 58- The machine is apparently great in practice, rarely missing. I think he’s starting to get accustomed to playing under pressure and he will be pretty consistent. I would actually say that he hasn’t really been lucky at all and that he may have actually underperformed last season.

  59. i have a few thoughts regarding our new signee Sun Yue. Please bear with me for a minute or two.

    i grew up in LA and watched the lakers and the nba since 1991. currently i live in Hong Kong, and i have a chance to watch most, if not all, of the olympic games here played by China. let me tell you guys something, Sun Yue is AT LEAST 2-3 years away from contributing big minutes on this lakers squad. please just think of him as a project now, like sasha once was, and dont hold too much expectation for this kid just yet.

    i say this because, i hope now real big expectation will be put on this kid. dont get me wrong, he has nice size, can handle the ball relatively well for his size, he is fearless and he defend like a mad man (ex. even if he get dunked on a couple of times by kobe and LBJ, he still would go fearless the next time and block DHoward). but at the moment, he is a lefty that can only go left, his range sort of come and goes (just like sasha before), his quickness and speed is questioable and he is not as strong as he needs to be to be playing in the NBA.

    i m not trying to be down on this kid, but he is not as ready as everyone say he is. For crying out loud he is the THIRD pg guard on his chinese team… i m just afriad everyone will be down on him and get disappointed when he really play here in staple center.

  60. 60 – Good comment. I always wondered why a guy who wasn’t even starting for the Chinese team had so much hype, and the reason is simply this – potential. I haven’t seen very much of Sun at all, but at this point I’d say Coby Karl is more ready to contribute at this point. Of course, I’ve always been a fan of Karl, so I’m not knocking Sun at all, but as Sam said, you can’t place too much expectation on Sun just yet.

  61. Mark Sanchez dislocates his knee or knee cap? Which one? Either way, this guy’s returnung to the field already, but yet, it’s took forever to even run on a gravity treadmill. I know, I know, Bynum is 7’1 blah blah blah, but football is a hard contact sport. What gives? Maybe the Lakers should send their players to USC for treatment.

  62. 62: Dudes who play football put their body through remarkable punishment, much more so than basketball players. Just look at the average lifespan of an NFL guy (57) versus an average man (78) – http://www.wishtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8086355. These guys have one of four jobs:
    1.block
    2.run
    3.catch
    4.throw

    Many can achieve their job with a broken arm (or recently dislocated knee). Can you imagine an injured basketball player trying to run around the court with a busted up knee? It’s not the same type of game. The way the injury affects your play and the potential for re-injury are very different with the two sports.

  63. Bynum used his own doctors to analyze his medical situation. Perhaps next time he will pay more attention to the Laker doctors. However, remember how much grief we were giving the Laker training staff over the last 2 years. The players get wind of this stuff and we fans may have contributed to the length of Andrew’s recovery – wouldn’t that be a hoot.

  64. Darius,

    I don’t think there is anything wrong in expecting a Championship. We watch these games and root for our team in hopes of one, and when we know are team is that close to it, we should have that level of expectation. Of course nyhing can happen, but predictions are made based on everything going right, and if everything went right, then the Lakers are one of if not the favorite to win It all. There’s nothing wrong with expecting a Championship. It’s nice to have a team we can put these expectations on. Just having a good team and being happy about it are for Jazz and Suns fans.

    drrayeye,

    Seriously? Houston and NOH ahead of the Lakers? I don’t understand you most of time. How can you say that? We won the Western Conference Playoffs pretty handily, and our re-additions in Bynum and Ariza will be greater than any additions those teams made. Houston has more to prove than any team, they have to mesh more than the Lakers. T-Mac and Yao have not experienced any type of winning, nor health, never mind Ron Artests problems, and we handled Hew Orleans, so please jump off the bandwagon, and come back to reality.

  65. KurkPeterman,

    I know that you can play certain sports with an injury that would shelve you in another. I understand that. I’ve played both sports and had injuries that I could play football through but not basketball, and vice versa. My point is Sanchez is back after what? 2 weeks? Meanwhile, with Bynum, we heard nothing but setbacks. My real point is, what went wron with the healing process, or treatment, that Sanchez can retun so early after the same injury. Football players, especially a player that will have the ball, have to beable to make all types of movements. Forward, lateral, planting, pushing off, cutting, short stops. Nevermind being hit. A quarterback is GOING to get hit in the legs by diving defenders trying to get a sack. I know he isn;t jumping for a living, but there is alot of stress put on the knee also, but he is back after 2 weeks. Maybe USC’s staff handled it differently.

  66. Way off topic, but… Soon one of the big NBA blogs out there is going to be doing a “worst player/contract” in the NBA, basically the guy who contributes the least for the most money. Fortunately, the Lakers don’t really have a major contender in that race anymore (now if that Brian Grant contract were still around….). Now, remember back when the Artest to Lakers rumors were flying and a few of us (well, most of us as I recall) balked at the idea of Kenny Thomas being part of that deal? Well, I offer you this validation.

    http://www.sactownroyalty.com/2008/8/26/601440/oh-the-ways-you-suck

  67. Kwame Brown at $9 mill per would’ve made that list !

  68. Kurt, just out of curiosity, what brand/model of laptop did you buy? I am in the market, and I am trying to avoid a lemon…

  69. Ouch. We can expect the Lakers to handle GS easily, since Monta Ellis will be out until at least December:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3556108

  70. I just finished looking at laptops for my daughter yesterday. We got a Fujitsu Lifebook A6120 from Fry’s (of all places). It was the best price for a sturdy machine, not intended for heavy graphics use (has an integrated graphics card). Has everything you need, but looks pedestrian. For work needs, not show, but well under $1000.

  71. wondahbap — I have read no where that says that Sanchez’ injury was “the same” as Bynum’s. Sure, both had dislocated kneecaps, but there is no other indication than it was a “similar” condition to that of Bynum’s. I mean, Livingston also had a “dislocated knee cap” and he was out longer than Bynum and Sanchez. Dislocations can be mild to severe so who knows where in the spectrum Bynum and Sanchez are. By the look of things, Sanchez was minor (a few weeks), Bynum was severe (a few months) and Livingston was close to catastrophic.

    I think that the Lakers knew how bad things were but opted to keep things quiet for the sake of the public’s perception on the team and to prevent the media from going crazy with Kobe speculation. Can’t say it was a bad strategy as this also led them to Gasol. Had Memphis known that Bynum was out for the season, they would have had a stronger hand to play against the Lakers and Gasol may have cost us Bynum.

    Just my thoughts.

  72. 71. That sucks, in that I hate to see talented, fun young players go down. The story I read said November, but still.

    70. I bought a Mac Book. I have always been on the Mac platform and can’t really imagine moving off it. Plus, the computer has been great outside of the fact the disk drive doesn’t ‘t work. That said, five years ago Macs were insanely reliable out of the box, but by all accounts as their share of the market has grown (particularly with iPhones) that has changed. Apple is paying for the replacement drive, but I can’t write a new post at home (or do anything) until I get it back tomorrow. Just kind of a pain.

  73. With the Crawford signing does that put the Lakers at 16 guys under contract?

  74. 75. No, Crawford is not a guaranteed deal.

    My guess is we have under a no-cut deal: Kobe, Gasol, Odom, Radman, Sasha, Fisher, Walton, Ariza, Bynum, Mihm, Farmar, Powell, and Yue, That is 13, with the Lakers expected to carry 14. Mitchell, Karl and Crawford are likely in a battle for that spot. If the Mitchell deal really is guaranteed then I would bet the roster is set.

  75. Ottereater,
    A yr or so ago I was looking for a new notebook to replace my old Viao. Someone whose opinion I respected suggested Fujitsus and I bought an A3110. No problems whatsoever-knock on wood-and came w/backup start-up discs just in case. Came w/very little misc c*** software. It’s my only PC,use it to write,surf,e-mail,waste Kurt’s bandwidth,play movies and some PC games,so my usage may differ widely from yours. I use the Sprint mobile broadband card/attachment/antennae for internet access.
    I’ve looked at Apples and I will prob go that way next time,just realize Apple is a few hundred bucks more than an equivalent PC,but is vastly safer to surf w/.
    If all you want is something portable to connect to internet w/,there are some cheap($300)mini-laptops from Acer and others.

    I bought it at the Notebookshop in KoreaTown. Excellent staff,set it up while I ran an errand and is an authorized service center. Prices were average to pretty good.

  76. It’s fun reading everyone comments, there’s a lot of trash talking and what not. But to stay on topic, the lakers gotta work on their defense, from my vantage point, they have all the players, chemistry and tools, now all they need is some solid D. The offense sells tickets but defense win championships, why not have both? What do you guys think?

  77. Ottereater,
    One little thing that may be hard to do,but if you go Japanese,make sure the laptop is made in Japan-it’ll say so on box.They still retain their high quality. Sony,Toshiba,etc often have theirs made in Malaysia,Taiwan,China,Korea where the quality control is not as strict.
    (Yes I know the boards are not made in Japan,and so on. However,the quality control is so much better and I have never had an electronic item made in Japan fail before I decided to upgrade it,whereas equipment from same co. made elsewhere has invariably failed within a couple of yrs.)

  78. @77 paco, Yea, when I am at a Lakers game or for that matter watching it on TV, I am enjoying most the slam dunks (maybe a Kobe reverse one) and great passes from player to player resulting in a basket. A great three pointer comming out of nowhere to ice a game. Along with dribble drives to the rim with a one handed shot for two, then the faul for the opportunity for three points. Some these opportunities come as the result of great defense though (blocked shots, steals) , you will not find a team without great defense in later rounds of the playoffs (see Denver, Golden State). That’s my take on it, you really need both to bring in the fans and win the games that count.

  79. 77. Agree on the defense. Pau’s already working on it. Check out his new defensive techniques:

    http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2008-08/41805173.jpg

  80. Geeze, at what point do rivalries warrant criticism of the fans as opposed to arguing about what we see on the court?

    I really hate how I can’t go to any sport websites or blogs, or watch videos on youtube anymore without having to see nothing but immature attacks instead of sports discussion. But hey, the truth that I like about trash talking though, is that you wouldn’t hate the team if they weren’t good.

  81. 76.

    Kurt,

    i would imagine the lakers wants to take another “big” for safety? at the moment we only have pau, drew, mhim and powell… any one of them go down and we will be looking at a thin front rotation, AGAIN. plus the fact that you never know what will happen to mhim’s ankle and progress of drews knee… err… i donno… i think mbenga has the biggest chance of making the team, well… if he would just stop pondering rather to stay in LA or go for Miami…

  82. 77-Paco, I really agree with you, the Lakers have to become a better defensive team this season. I really think that starts with the perimeter (Kobe has to be consistent and I’m hoping Farmar improves his strength) and will be bolstered by the return of Drew Bynum. I’m also interested to see what Powell brings the team.

  83. wondahbap – I do agree with you that perhaps Bynum could have done things differently as far as rehabilitation is concerned. This seems like a looonnnngggg injury, but if the net-net is that we get him back healthy for the next decade, I’m OK with it it. I can’t wait for some preseason, something to watch and evaluate…

  84. If Andrew and kobe will return 100% percent at the start of the season and with the rest of the team I think we will abe at least in the conference final.Unfortunately we gave up on Marc Gasol in his brother’s trade and we need another bigmen
    immediately.If i were Mitch I would sign Shaun Livingston because we have only 2 pointguards(i don’t think sun will paly much)and you never know,always players can get injured.From the 3 players(crawford,mitchell and karl)I’d give a contract to joe