Preseason Game Thread: Lakers v. Barcelona

Kurt —  October 18, 2008

I think the Lakers are in trouble here. Kobe is a very good on-ball defender, but I don’t see how he can mark Messi…..

Now that the obligatory soccer joke is out of the way, let’s talk hoops.

For a look into what we can expect from Barcelona, we turn to one of the long-time readers and most knowledgeable people at this site, Xavier. For you that don’t know him, he is a Barcelona resident and professional basketball coach. (In fact, he just got a great new job as the head coach at the El Masnou youth team and development program, the place that developed Ricky Rubio from ages 7 to 13. Great position for him and we wish him the best!)

What does he tell us about Barcelona?

FC Barcelona had a very irregular season last year and still managed to play the ACB finals. For what I’ve seen this preseason, they are doing lots of good things to solve it.

First and more important, JC Navarro is back home. He might have been a sub in the NBA but in Europe he’s a basketball god (ala Jasikevicious/Spanoulis). He’ll probably have more enemies in US because of what he said after the Olympics final (regarding the traveling calls), I’d better prefer to forget silly arguments from both sides and remember it as the one of the best finals ever. I don’t know if he’ll be ready to play big minutes, he’s back from an injury and just played 4 minutes last game. We’ll see this Saturday how it goes.

David Andersen (from CSKA Moskow) and Daniel Santiago (former NBA and Unicaja Malaga) are the new centers of the team. Andersen might be considered a better player but who I really like under the basket (at least at a FIBA level) is Santiago. They might not start together so they spare minutes at the 5.

We Will not see Andersen and Santiago as starters because the kid called right after Bynum in 2005 draft has just waken up. I don’t know why Fran Vazquez got drafted so high and the question marks in my head are bigger when I ask myself why he didn’t go to play in Orlando. Since then, he’s not being playing good… since this season. He’s starting to show the beast he was before being drafted. I like him better and should be one of the reasons for this team to battle for every title.

Ersan Ilyasova plays the multiskilled do it all role. Had an adaptation year last season and started clicking by the playoffs. Basile will give an extra scoring punch from the bench.

Jaka Lakovic and Andre Barrett will handle the PG. Lakovic is more of a scorer while Barret will be setting more plays for the team.

Every other player, Sada, Grimau, Trias, Barton… would be core players in other euro teams but play the role of glue guys

They are a very well balanced team. Every single backcourt player is a threat from three point line and the reborn Vazquez along with Andersen, Santiago and Trias set a good inside level.

Matching the Lakers:

Neither Lakers or Barcelona likely will play this game as a regular season one, Lakers in pre-season and Barcelona already 3 games into competition need to have their players in optimal conditions for the titles that really matter.

That said, I’d like to see how can the Lakers defend the pick and roll. That will be interesting because if they close lines and try to stop the penetration they will have shooters outside killing it or bigs with soft hands and if they wait for Gasol or Bynum to get from the week side they will see why in Europe we still use the mid range.

Outside defense is not great, the Lakers should try to beat them off the dribble to force them close inside then start ball movement we all like.

I like that the Lakers are going to have to deal with a good pick-and-roll team, they are going to see so much of that during the season and into the playoffs that this is a good test. As will be defending a team that moves well off the ball and can pass like the Lakers can.

Should be a fun one to watch.

27 responses to Preseason Game Thread: Lakers v. Barcelona

  1. Agreed, the heavy dose of pick & roll will be good practice for the Lakers D… maybe not the best situation to further explore the twin tower lineup, though… boo.

    Btw, this “local” scouting report is just another of SO many reasons why I freaking LOVE this site. Thanks Kurt, thanks Xavier, thanks everyone who posts…

  2. Thanks Xavier. Really helpful insights.

  3. Von Wafer is starting to look good in the pre-season. We picked him one pick ahead of Monta Ellis. At least he is showing that the Lakers weren’t completely off their rocker when they selected him. I’d still love to have Monta Ellis though!

  4. I have two very good (and free) tickets available for this game today , sec 205, row 2. Seats go to the first person who emails me AFTER NOON TODAY with your email and first name. Please do not email me before noon and please make sure you will attend the game before you request the tix. Again, the first person who emails me after 12:00:00 PST gets the tix, for free. Royal Room included.

    My email is Sorry to hijack the thread, but these are my seats and I want to give them to a Lakers fan. Have fun, and drink a beer for me.

  5. Is this game going to be broadcasted on a national channel?

  6. is there a stream site that broadcast the game live?

  7. JONES,
    I saw the highlights of Wafer taking over the other night. It looks like he might be finally figuring it out. As for Monta, I really wanted him that year. When I saw his draft reel and read his scouting report, I was thinking this was one kid who had a real chance. Then I heard him say that his favorite player was Kobe and that’s why he wore #8, and I was sold.

    I also want to give a great thanks to Xavier for the great insight.

  8. Great post…we’ll get to see how our D handles a constant pick-n-roll plays that we are sure to see throughout the west night in and night out.

  9. anywhere we can watch this game?

  10. The game will be on Fox Sports West at 7:30 pm.

  11. but not on FSN HD, only the standard def channel, which sucks.
    I was wondering…besides Wafer, who would rank as our top players we’ve had to cut?
    I remember back in the Jerry West days, there were some good ones.
    Also, what about some players we just let go? like Lindsey Hunter, who had a pretty good career with the Pistons.
    I’m not talking about players moved in a trade, (or else I’d have to say Sam Perkins was a bad trade for us, I think we got Benoit Benjamin, and Doug Cristie)
    but, Christie would count cause I don’;t think we traded him away, just cut him. (again, West ahead of his time)

  12. Any links for streaming the game?

  13. any online links available to watch for those of us on east coast?

  14. jjxhan,
    you are awesome!!!

  15. Thanks! It was my inaugural post.

    Lakers are looking much tighter/more fluid on the defensive end, especially towards the end of that 1st quarter. Hopefully the effort/focus will hold through the whole game…

  16. Wow, those were pretty passes by Jordan. Jordan to Ariza makes me very, very happy.

  17. jxhan,
    so much for the tight defense in the second quarter, they are lighting us up from behind the arc in the second

  18. Mamba24 that is true, but the second quarter was a whole different line up. I’ve been expecting alot from Sun Yue, all those TOs have been a little upsetting. I do think its his first game though?

    Its good to see Luke Walton back, and that little Spanish Tear-Drop Floater that we say so much in the Olympics. Soft touch!

  19. Defense?? The Lakers never attempted to stop Navarros. He stood at the 3pt line shot after shot with no Laker in sight. Someone should have made the effort to slow him down!

    Barcelona fought their way back into the game after being down by 20. Kobe took Barcelona’s heart when he took the game over and scored effortlessly. We will be in for a very short season if the only way that we can take control of the game is to give the ball to no. 24!

    We need to stop this now, by learning how to take control of a game or to win a game with our defensive prowess.

  20. so much for kobe’s “tired legs”…

  21. JCN never really got going in Memphis. (Maybe he is one of those players that only plays well for a good team). He is still the best Spanish point guard in the world, better than Rubio or Calderon. Reminds me of another dead-eye play maker, Steve Nash. Don’t think D’Antoni would know how to use him at NY? Milwaukee, Indiana, Nuggs, and a dozen other teams really missed out by not trying to sign him before he went back to Spain.

  22. Barcelona was better than expected. Not close the glory years of Dejan Bodiroga, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Juan Carlos Navarro in 03 when they operated a kind of twin towers. You’d beat Bodiroga off the dribble only to find another Fucka between you and the basket…

    I saw the ’00 FCB team with a young Pau Gasol play my team in London and he was draining 3’s with ease. (He played the SF position) I suspect Pau will get his share of corner 3’s as the triangle is explored deeper and I predict very good success for him.

  23. I think this game showed showed quite a few things about us. First quarter showed us we can blow teams out early by playing good D and fluid offense. Second quarter showed we can let them back in just as easily because of not enough discipline on defense by everybody. Also, Pau played great and with lots of energy and if he can provide this type of effort night in, night out, we’ll be very great. Kobe’s legs had us worried by coach’s comments, I think all that should stop after this game as well. All in all, good game that showed some of the weaknesses that we definately need to work on

  24. i liked seeing LO run the second unit, when he got the rebound and took off, it was “off to the races” and that unit with farmar, trevor, luke, andrew with LO was stretching out the lead.
    wouldn’t it be nice (beach boys) if we could have a solid starting unit of Kobe, Fish, Radman, bymun and Pau,
    then rotate in the “bench mob” of LO, Trevor, (vary the 5 spot, DL impressed me last night) with Farmar, sasha, luke…etc, as necessary.
    this second unit should be able to stretch out leads.

    that’s how the Dodgers won the penant that year, with the “stunt men” of Mickey hatcher, et al…
    and that’s going to be a huge plus for us this year.

  25. Yeah the second unit definitely looked sharp. They came out with great energy, they were rebounding, they were forcing turnovers, and they were making plenty of excellent passes. I like how Odom, Walton and Farmar were moving the ball around, and Bynum and Ariza were taking it to the rim.

    Farmar’s passing was sexy throughout, he looked like he’s been working on his handles too. All he was really missing was a solid three-point shot.

    Also one thing I really liked is how Kobe seemed to be taking shots in the offense more than creating the offense single-handedly. His shot selection was really good, not too many off-balance fadeaways. I think that’s awesome because I really hope PJ tries to get the Lakers to work offensively without Kobe this year. If they have a solid offense without having to have Kobe rescue them all the time, It’ll create alot more space for Kobe to work in and hopefully let him get some bench time in during the regular season.

    We should take that game with a grain of salt though, Barca’s defence didn’t look to strong and they did seem very prone to TOs. Also their shooting 3 balls all the time was making for long rebounds and more fast breaks for the Lakes, which really helped the second string.