Thoughts while wishing I was cruising an Island Packet through the Caribbean.
• UPDATE: Friend of this site KD was entirely too kind, but this ranking is very flattering (and really reflective of the community here more than anything).
• I had a conversation with someone who has been at all the Lakers practice and camp days so far, and he used one word to describe the feeling: Relaxed. Players are more comfortable, coaches are relaxed, and while everyone is trying to drum up story lines — What do we do with Odom? — the mood of the team is totally different than last year.
If the players and coaches are relaxed, that is a good sign.
• Commenter Gerrit pulled together some very interesting stats from last season: The Lakers numbers with Bynum and Gasol as the starting centers:
with Andrew Bynum
Offensive Efficiency = 113.5
Defensive Efficiency = 106.6
Differential = +6.9
with Pau Gasol
Offensive Efficiency = 119.8
Defensive Efficiency = 101.7
Differential = +18.1
It shows that the Lakers were much more effective offensively with Pau Gasol as the starting center, which I expected. Surprisingly it also says that the Lakers were better defensively with Pau Gasol at Center. Perhaps this is due to strength of schedule. Looking at the schedule they mostly played weaker teams (Kings and Clippers, Spurs without Manu) against whom the Lakers piled up the stats.
Not sure this has a huge bearing on this season (knocking on wood to avoid injury curse) but interesting none the less.
• Shaun Livingston to Miami, which I think is a good fit (open style, team where he can get minutes to prove himself). I hope he does well.
• Why can’t basketball statheads and scouts just get along? (It’s a great read, which you expect if heavyweights like Ziller and Shoals are involved.)
• I’d laugh at Manchester United, having to play with bailed-out AIG blazoned across their chest, but as a Newcastle fan there is nothing funny about the Premiere League to me right now. Not even the new managers press conference.
• I was curious to watch the VP debate, but not if it meant missing the Dodgers in the playoffs. The Dodgers are bringing me a lot more joy than whoever will be VPOTUS could.