Some Morning Reading, Including Previews

Kurt —  October 15, 2008

The Lakers are slogging through long practices in a long preseason. To give you some interesting reading options, Bloggers from around the NBA are previewing their teams, and recently it was the guys in the Southwest Division (look for my formal Laker preview close to the end of the month).

Dallas Mavericks
Mavs Moneyball

Houston Rockets
The Dream Shake

Memphis Grizzlies
3 Shades of Blue

New Orleans Hornets
At the Hive
Hornets Hype

San Antonio Spurs
48 Minutes of Hell

Also see links to all the previews at

Here are a couple other things worth checking out:

• Tom Ziller at Fanhouse ranks Kobe as the third best player in the NBA

One of the greatest crimes against Kobe’s legacy is that his otherworldly scoring ability isn’t sufficiently credited. Eighty-one points gets headlines, and a streak of 40-point nights the same. But for reasons unknown, Kobe’s singular ability to explode for massive scoring games carries a heavy discount in our consciousness. We credit Kobe for his all-around game, or his steady consistency, or his heart, or his passion, or his clutch ability, or his touch from unfathomable ranges. But no one ever makes the case for Kobe as simply the most fantastic scorer of our time. It’s really that simple.

• Roland Lazenby talks about Jerry Krause and his role in the Bulls dynasty (it was more than just breaking it up).

to Some Morning Reading, Including Previews

  1. sorry Kurt…but I’m a little offended with you even mentioning that fanhouse report…I read every single one of their write-ups for the top 50…but #3?…really?

    …I closed the window before i could absorb the nonsense and won’t be back to that aol-funded, hiccup of a poor excuse of a basketball website again…hmmm?…time to check their stock…oh…down another 7% today…hopefully they lay-off ziller…who is that meathead anyways?

    …pure rubbish…


  2. By the way, a little site update. The redesign is well underway and should be up right about the first game (some kinks thrown into the system could push that back a week or two, hopefully not but we’ll see). I think you’ll all like it. The T-shirts are coming soon as well. Again, the post announcing sales will be soon and hopefully you’ll be able to put them on not long into the season.

    And, there is one other major change coming to this site in the next few weeks…. but I can’t discuss that yet. It’s a good thing, but what is important to me is doesn’t mess with the core of what has been built here. Details in a couple of weeks.


  3. 1. If you asked me who the best player in the NBA is, I’d put Lebron 1, Kobe 2, Paul 3. But, personally, I think you could put those in any order and make a good argument. I didn’t have a problem with what Ziller wrote, I thought it was his usual good stuff.


  4. Tom Ziller is a plague to mankind. No way any sane person ranks CP3 above Kobe. I particularly liked how even the Kobe-haters came out of the woodwork to disagree.


  5. I know this is close to being off limits, but on ESPN they had an article about guys on the trading block and Mr. Ubiquitous made the list:

    I think this is realistic. If the team is faced with a possible distraction if Odom can’t accept a different role, and everybody knows they won’t pay him this summer, then trading him is a real possibility. The thing is, if we can’t pay him, we can’t pay anybody we take on in a trade. I used the trade machine to scout everybody on the “interested teams” listed, and they are all jokes. The most realistic thing I can see is a straight salary dump if the team decides Odom is a distraction.

    So here’s my question: How well do we fare without Odom? Not in exchange for anyone else, but just without him at all? This is a very real possibility for next season, and if he becomes a distraction this season we could see things expedited. I like LO, and want to see him succeed, but the parties involved are in a tough spot here. Do we need to brace ourselves for this?


  6. Kurt,

    I agree with you that Ziller wrote a great article on Kobe’s biggest strength, his scoring. But how can you agree with his rankings when his own article contradicts him. The whole article was how Kobe has been the best scorer in the league last few years. I think nobody will argue with that whatsoever. Kobe is a better defender than the two guys that he is going to rank in front of him. Most people won’t doubt that either. He is more clutch than the either of those two (although not by much comparing to James) and not even James and CP3 will argue you on that. He is a better scorer, better defender, better in clutch. So again, how are those two better than him? Because Lebron rebounds better and Paul has more assists, is that why? CP3 has had ONE good season. thats it. ONE! and he is already ranked ahead of Kobe. If NBA was to redo the GREATEST 50 PLAYERS again, Kobe easily cracks the top 10…does either of those two even make the list? Lebron might, but CP3 wont even be in there. I am in no way hating on either two, as they are going to be the future of this league (barring no major Grant-Hill type of injuries). My question is how can they even rank them in front of Duncan? Arguably the best PF EVER, highest winning percentage of any athlete in ANY sports. CP3 has made it to playoffs once and finished second in MVP voting. thats his biggest accomplishment so far. Lebron has won couple all star mvps, a scoring title and a trip to NBA Finals. Thats his accomplishments. Now compare those two with Duncan and Kobe’s. Its great to see that NBA future is bright and in safe hands, but to put them above all time greats in just a VERY VERY VERY biased opinion.


  7. The idea of trading Odom is all over the Web today. I like what JD is asking. I think we can have a discussion of whether or not we should even be considering trading Odom. What I want to avoid (and will edit) is: We should trade Odom for X. There are a lot of Xs out there, but anything here would be speculation and I don’t want this to devolve into the trade machine post.

    But the overarching questions are good ones.


  8. 6. I think the difference is you and many others care more about those rankings than I do. I have no problem with Zillers rankings, nor do I feel passionately about them at all.


  9. Kurt, you big tease. What is the “major change that is coming” ? I can’t wait a couple of weeks.


  10. The questions of keeping or dealing Lamar, and if kept, where does he fit it in, have been intriguing and obvious. The issue is driven by two key facts: A) the Lakers have a crowded front court with three talented 4/5 guys in Odom, Gasol and Bynum. B) If Bynum gets a big money extension, it will be hard to justify paying so much money to so many players. And since LO is the one with the expiring deal, he seems to be the focus of any deal discussions.

    Hopefully Kurt won’t censor this idea as crazy talk, but I’ve wondered whether the Lakers aren’t overlooking another option that could be on their table: trade Pau, and extend Odom to keep him in the fold.

    Everyone was enamored of Pau last season, with reason (at least until The Finals). As a result, no one has considered the thought of him leaving L.A.

    Hear me out… If Bynum comes back healthy, plays as well as he did last season, it’s reasonable that the front office would lock up an 20-year-old kid with All-Star potential at the 5. Bynum clearly has more upside than Pau, who’s both older and much softer on the defensive side of the ball.

    Gasol has three years and $49.4 million left on his deal. That’s not a lot for a player of his caliber, and some team in need of a talented big man might be interested in adding him to their lineup. Lord knows there were plenty of teams who whined that they would have had him once the Lakers stole him away from Memphis earlier this year.

    So it’s safe to say there’s a reasonable demand for talented seven footers out there. Why not see what could be gained in exchange for Paul, allowing Bynum to play the five and Odom the four, where he’s seemingly at his best for the Lakers?

    From an oncourt chemistry standpoint alone, the idea makes sense — they’ve got three guys fighting for time at two positions, none of whom seem like a bench-type player at this point in their careers.

    Obviously the right team would have to step forward, and I won’t go all crazy and start suggesting whom to deal with and what to seek in return. Maybe there isn’t a good fit out there after all. But we won’t know unless someone asks, and with so much focus on what to do with Lamar, I have to question if the Lakers aren’t overlooking a better trading chip .

    If Pau and Bynum become the next version of Duncan and Robinson, great. Adios Lamar. But what if they two bigs don’t fit as well together as we hope? Lamar is a known product at the four, and his personality is perfect for playing a third option role. He’s too good to be a fourth option, and Bynum won’t be content to wait for shots behind Kobe, Pau and Lamar.

    This makes sense on a lot of levels, heretical as it may sound.


  11. “In exchange for Pau,” the above paragraph should read. I have no delusions of stealing New Orleans’ point guard and bringing hjim to L.A.


  12. Just got back from the Lakers open practice. It was nothing exciting. At least a I got a free Lakers travel cup. Drew still looks like he is going half speed. Phil Jackson was on him the most.


  13. Thanks for the report Jones


  14. Hope Bynum has not been advised to go half-as*ed to force the Lakers hand into resigning him. You never know with today’s agents.


  15. (5)(7) J.D., Kurt,

    I’ve been struggling with Lamar’s situation for months. I basically agree with J.D. I could imagine a salary dump deal for the Lakers that would drop the Lakers below the salary cap penalty for this year. I even emailed a specific version of such a deal a few weeks ago to a regular FB&G contributor–and Lamar supporter. I think he probably has already changed his mind about this idea two or three times.

    Lamar is still a relatively young player who deserves a well defined long term starting role playing the type of bball he was born to play. It’s not going to happen here.

    Without Lamar, the Lakers still have a very balanced team where all the key players get sufficient PT minutes to be effective–and key young players get an opportunity to grow–and negotiate multi-year contracts next season.


  16. The team was just so special when they were moving the ball around well and Lamar was a big part of that. I just don’t want people taking what he brings to the table for granted.


  17. I don’t get why we talk about trades 2 weeks from season opening. I mean, We have seen NOTHING of how will this team be this season. Preseason games means nothing to me, I would rather see a summer league game than a preseason game (maybe that’s I’m not excited about the Wizards Hornets game tomorrow here in Barcelona).

    Kupchak tought us an important lesson last season. Be patient.
    NBA Fans figuring out trades when nobody watch the WNBA playoff… and those are the ones who are supposed to be pasionate fans of basketball.


  18. JONES,

    How was Bynum when it came to quick decisions? Was he holding too long?


  19. The article ranking Kobe #3 only makes sense if you read it as “projected rankings for the upcoming season.”

    And I think it was written that way. A lot of credit on past accomplishments, but a lot more placed on what we’re about to see. If so, I think Kobe at #3 makes perfect sense, since I do think LeBron and Paul have a much better chance at improving their play than Kobe. The big irony here is that even if Kobe improves, his ‘improvements’ will come at the expense of his stats.

    But if the article was to rank the current players based on their achievements, it should be Shaq, Kobe, Duncan.

    As for Odom…

    We’ll have to wait and see. Especially since there’s nobody, I mean NOBODY on the market that we could logically trade for. Maybe we would be better off dangling Bynum if he keeps up with this half-heart thing.


  20. 19. Remember how it took Bynum about 10 games before he was with it out there. I honestly feel we might see the same thing this year. It might be a good idea to have him start slowly off the bench with Jordi, Trevor and Sasha just to get him going. That group will run and force Bynum to be active. Anyhow, this was just a practice, so Bynum might have just been loafing it. Kobe definitely doesn’t loaf it in practice, so it makes Bynum’s loafing obvious. Ariza looked great in practice.

    That bench is what is going to set the Lakers apart this season. I mean, you either have Lamar, Jordi, Trevor, and Sasha or Bynum, Jordi, Trevor, and Sasha as subs. All of those guys could start on many teams in the league. And when you have that kind of bench playing against another teams subs, you’re going to see a lot of success. Obviously Luke Walton, Chris Mihm, and Josh Powell are not bad for 10, 11, and 12th men.

    On another note, did you guys read how Joe Crawford might make the team over Son of George? Will be sad to see him go. Maybe he can stick with the D-Fenders for the season, just in case the Lakers want him back?


  21. I’ll give this guy Lebron at number one, but CP3 possibly number 2? He had one great (historical) season and this fool is ready to crown him. Puff puff pass….

    I would much rather have CJ Giles over DJ Mbenga, but that’s just me. Mbenga is a solid backup though. Can’t go wrong with either choice, but I like Giles upside.

    Crawford will probably be hanging out at the D-League level for most of the season, depending upon Vujacic’s injury.


  22. It’s a long, long season.Who knows what injuries await out there.What looks like a very deep roster may end up being just right.A player may be traded for someone desperately needed.Too soon to talk about who needs to go.


  23. I haven’t been very impressed with Karl. He’s missed a lot of open looks and made mistakes. In the Sac game I thought Joe outplayed him, and thought we might just see Son of George go.

    Nice post over on your site Jones. The next year was my begging with serious fandom.


  24. Don’t traade Odom. He gives the Lakers incredible versatility and is a great insurance policy in the event Bynum or Gasol have to cover the other due to injuries. I have also read in the LA Times that Odom has said he would be willing to stay with the Lakers at a lesser amount than he could get elsewhere (but of course he qualified it by saying he would do what’s “best for his family”). In addition, it is unlikely that the Lakers are going to get a player back in any trade that would mesh seemlessly into Phil’s triangle (let’s be real, we were lucky that Gasol was able to pick it up so fast).

    Honestly, I wish people would lay off him and just let the team play hard and see how the season pans out. Frankly, I don’t care who starts as long as the end result is the same – A RING.


  25. I wasn’t advocating the Lakers trade Pau now. I totally agree that they need to give the current roster time to gel, and I hope that they twin towers approach works for the best.

    The point of my prior post was simple: if the situation does reach a point where someone needs to be moved due to a frontcourt log jam, the idea that the traded player must be Odom seems a bit short-sighted. Kupchak might find a better return out there by shopping Pau instead. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but if it does, he should keep all options on the table.

    That said, let the current guys play and see what comes of it. I totally agree that October isn’t the time to be making a trade of major significance.


  26. new post, because we can’t get enough Odom talk.