Preseason Chat Thread: Lakers vs. Jazz

Kurt —  October 7, 2008

What we are going to see tonight is far from a full picture.

What we will see tonight are the first few brushstrokes of a painting that will take all season to complete. By about 20 games in we can get a pretty good idea of the form the painting will take, but even then we are just one injury away from everything going Jackson Pollock on us.

Still, there are things to look for. Starting with how Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum look together. In case you haven’t seen it, Kevin Ding in the OC Register has Phil Jackson calling the duo “clumsy” together and Tex Winter suggesting Bynum could come off the bench to start if things don’t change. Maybe the most discouraging statement is this one from Drew:

“This is the first year where it’s kind of a little bit boring just because we have to run through the same stuff we already know,” he said (of the practices).

The pairing of Bynum and Pau was something I think will work out well — I even told that to Brent Edwards at Fanhouse for his division preview — but it doesn’t have to work perfectly from day one. Bumps and slow spots are to be expected.

The NBA season is a long, long grind with plenty of time for things to mesh. For the Lakers to be at their best, Bynum and Pau have to be on the floor at the same time. But that doesn’t have to happen the first preseason game in Anaheim, or even in the season opener against Portland. But tonight (with very basic offenses on display as neither team really puts in a detailed game plan) is a good time to start working them out.

The other thing I’ll be watching tonight — how does the defense look. Rust and missed rotations are to be expected right now, but is the team generally getting its head around the new system yet will be something to keep an eye on.

Bottom line — I’m just happy there is a game. Preseason or not. Let’s get it on.

PS. Baylor out of the Clippers front office? He has had that job for 22 years, but because of the owner there I’m not sure we really know how good a GM he was or could have been. Good luck to Dunleavy. You’re going to need it.

Kurt

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20 responses to Preseason Chat Thread: Lakers vs. Jazz

  1. I’m really going to rely on you guys for how everyone looks tonight. My NBA TV got cancelled in my cable package….BOO!

  2. Baby Bynum looks good. Just has to stay away from the fouls. He took Okur off the dribble from the free throw line and finished with his left hand.

  3. Any development worth notice yet? Kobe’s playing a bit too much considering all that talk of him not playing at all in these preseason games.

  4. gasol and bynum never played together. Bynum played well.

  5. the other Stephen October 7, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    hey, what happened to gasol tonight? he only played 5 minutes or so. is he alright?

  6. Gasol is fine. A cut lip took him out in the first quarter by the blood rule. He was kept out of the rest of the game to let him rest.

  7. The three guys I think Laker fans are going to be watching the closest this preseason are Bynum, Odom and Ariza (in that order). Here are some early observations on each based on tonight’s performance.

    Bynum – Showed alot of confidence with his offensive game. Impressive shooting touch around the paint and decent execution of footwork. I really liked that nifty drive in the second half where he started at the left elbow and finished with his left hand. On defense I thought he was very late on supplying help to dribble penetration and off hand I can only remember one shot that he blocked / changed (boxscore shows zero blocks). Could just be a function of not having his timing / game flow down. Overall, he played 25 minutes and looked good in his first real game in 9 months. Grade – B+

    Odom – Had a nice semi break pass to a slashing Ariza for an assist right off the bat. That was about it. Odom looked out of shape, was foul prone and mostly inactive on both ends. Of particular note was how bad I thougt he was defending the perimeter guys in the 2nd half. On a sequence of plays where Odom was guarding either Korver or Almond he was getting abused on off ball picks. I counted at least 3 wide open jumpers that were the result of him being unable to stay with his guys coming off picks. Its the first game of the preseason so you can always chalk off a bad game to rust but if Lamar is seriously going to defend small forwards I think this is something to watch as the season unfolds. Grade – C- (he gets a passing grade only because he managed not to land on Bynum’s knee and throw the whole Laker season into Jeopardy)

    Ariza – This guy is going to be so fun to watch this year. Ariza showed (again) great anticipation, quickness on his weakside rotations and outstanding instincts for moving without the ball and cutting on the offensive end. He even managed to can a jumper from the top of the key in the second half. Can’t say enough about the guy. Grade – A

    Obviously its the first game of preseason so take it all with a grain of salt. Just my thoughts.

  8. @Kurt Maybe it’s just me but I haven’t noticed Goo around lately. Is it ok if I try and put together a FB&G fantasy league like he did last year?

  9. I was actually going to ask something similar to RHYbread. I hope you don’t mind my offering to add 5 players to a Yahoo keeper league that started last year. I’ll provide details if Kurt doesn’t mind.

    I was at the Blazer game tonight. Rudy is scary good. I’m sure his ally-oop reverse, kiss of the glass will be a highlight shown on ESPN. I think his running tear-drop, kiss of the glass should be shown as well. This kid is going to be killing us for years to come. Oden had some Shaq type back to the basket moves. Not quite the athlete that Shaq was nor as offensively developed as Shaq was when he came into the league but he has the strength that will make Drew work for whatever he gets and he better do a better job of blocking out on GO then Hawes was doing. Outlaw looks improved. He’s put some weight on in his shoulders and looks active as usual. Speaking of active, Rudy is very long and moves his feet constantly. I am telling you all, he will be one of the top 20 players in the NBA within a couple of years. I’m getting a littel man crush on the Spaniard.

  10. Gasol was fantastic in the first 5 minutes, his jumpshot was money, got cut on the lip by Okur, and the coaches never put him back in. So all the hullabaloo over seeing Gasol and Bynum together first time was for naught.

    Bynum was a mixed bag. I came away impressed and Bynum himself evaluated himself as “decent” which is a fair assessment.

    The good: In the same way he seemed to add something to his arsenal with every game last season, he showed moves I didn’t know he had. Tonight he started out with a free throw line jumper, then a turnaround from the baseline. Most impressive move was a faceup move from the elbow, jab fake then dribble drive left and finishing with the left hand over Okur. Can’t remember the last time somebody that big pulled off a move like that. He looked comfortable at the line and rebounded very well.

    The not so good: While he was very mobile, he didn’t seem quite as explosive around the rim and he was sometimes held the ball too long without making a move, leading to indecisiveness and turnovers.

    Ariza looked great, doing all things that we know he can. Slashing, deflecting, moving on D and even drained a jumpshot.

    Mihm picked up quite a few fouls very fast but even then he looked better than we’ve seen him in a while, and converted a couple of baskets nicely

    I also liked what I saw from Farmar, Powell and Fisher and not so much the rest.

    As a team it was frustrating to see so many turnovers but that’s to be expected in preseason. The defense was also pretty disappointing as Brewer among others got to the rim again and again but I figure they’ll communicate better as well as the preseason goes forward.

  11. I’m basicly happy with the way Ariza and Bynum looked – especially Ariza. I like the flow of the team when he is in there. Other than that it is on to the next preseason game.

  12. At 5

    Gasol got a cut on his lip the first quarter and took a while to stop the bleeding. Then he just never came back.

    Ariza was studly. Bynum needs to get his rhythm back. That was just second half observations though since I missed the first.

  13. I missed the first quarter of the game…. that was when Gasol got hit it the mouth….Bynum replaced him in the lineup after that…reporters said the bloody lip wasn’t the reason Rambis didnt play Gasol longer…they just wanted to limit his minutes.

    Bynum was good overall…had periods where he wasn’t active on defense but showed some good moves on O….drove past Okur, 10 foot jumper etc

    Odom wasnt much of a factor. Hit 1 nice shot…both he and Drew were foul prone.

    Ariza was aggressive on both ends.

    Kobe gambled way too much on defense and that led to Brewer having a better game than he should have.

    Fisher was solid

    Farmer was great off the bench…great change to pace…he did well

    Powell will be a solid role player for us.

    Mihm is back. From what i saw i am comfortabel with him backing up Bynum and Gasol…we can cut Mbenga

    Radmanovic was his usual self…unfortunately

    I liked Giles’ hustle and he showed a 15 ft jumper

    Carl shot poorly but dished the ball ok

    Heath was error prone…didn’t see much of Crawford… Mbenga was active but might not have the necessary skill set to make the team this year

    Based on tonight’s performance i would keep Carl and Giles if we were going into the regular season with a full roster.

    Yet to see the twin towers tho….or Odom really running the point… Bring on Game 2

  14. 6. Goo has been around a little, but if you want to start the league go for it.

  15. Anybody who wants details on the league I have at Yahoo, just write me at pidyon.ami@mac.com.

  16. the other Stephen October 7, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    7. nice evaluation, bchamp. yeah, i caught some clips of the game, and bynum had a lot of tiny little jumpers. that might be why he got blocked so many times. also, that drive was against memo, who is probably not the most agile of big men. so i just hope that he keeps his head, and doesn’t play too far outside of his game.

  17. P. Ami was right – if you watch the ESPN highlight vid from the Blazers-Kings online…wow. Just wow. That Fernandez reverse alley-oop is something I’d expect only for Kobe. And I agree with McMillan’s assessment, he seems to have a much better feel for the game than he’s given credit for.

    I’m not sure why Blazer fans have so much animosity towards Lakers fans, but I’m not embarrassed at all to say I have a ton of respect for the Blazer organization and the team they’ve put together, and I’ll enjoy watching them play this year.

  18. 17. Among the teams the Lakers have ripped the heart out of are the Blazers, that’s why the fans hate the Lakers. the most obvious example is the 2000 Western Conference Finals, Blazers up 15 heading into the fourth quarter, and the Lakers win. I’d be pissed if I were them, too. For me, that was the best game I’ve ever attended.

  19. I was at the Honda Center tonight for the inaugural Lakers game. It was amazing how much beefier Bynum looks this year, and I’m not sure how he looked on TV but from my seats he looked like he had a good game. Remember that a lot of preaseason stuff is trying to get back into the flow of the game, mesh with teammates, and evaluate fence players.

    Anyway, I ended up seeing some of the suit guys (Walton, Sun Yue, etc.) play a bit before the actual game started and they all looked decent. If anyone has a question about a particular player or anything let me know and i”ll try to answer, as I could sit here and write forever about the game.

    One interesting tidbit, my brother got to shake hands with Boozer, Deron, and someone else; while I got to shake hands with Fesenko. Boo!

  20. Hey I’ve been around, just got back from a trip out of the country and trying to get used to Pacific time (I just woke up at 2 AM so yeah..still a while to go)..if you’d like to set up a league I’m definitely interested and can get a few of the guys that played last year back in the league as well