Archives For October 2008

UPDATE: Had to get this in here, the Lakers on Monday morning waived Coby Karl, who is now a free agent. The Laker roster is down to 14. I think this says that: 1) Sasha is feeling fine; 2) The Lakers want to keep their options open for potential mid-season roster moves. I like Karl, I hope someone picks him up.

Now, back to the post…

Is anyone else ready for the season to just start?

I am, and I’m tired of bouncing around the Web looking for good, new Lakers info.

But I think I found something interesting. One of my favorite stats Web sites for statistics is Doug’s Stats, where the raw numbers people love to crunch can be found. The site is also is one of the few spots where you can find the stats for the preseason.

Now, preseason stats mean about as much as Ralph Nader in this election, but I still took a look at the Lakers numbers, and here is what jumped off the page.

• The Lakers two best players were Andrew Bynum and Jordan Farmar. At least according to the Tendex players rating system. (For those unfamiliar, think of it like a cumulative stat, sort of a different version of Hollinger’s PER, not perfect by any means but it provides a good snapshot of what has been happening.) Bynum had the highest number on the team, and he averaged 12 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in just 23 minutes. Farmar averaged 13 points per game in 22 minutes.

By the way, the Tendex rating sort of backs up our eyes on that, although Gasol also would have been in the mix for me.

• Jordan Farmar shot 44.4% from three in the preseason (on 18 attempts). Radmanovic took the most threes, 29, and hit 37.9%, showing why Phil Jackson has him in with the starting unit. He is going to get a lot of looks in the season.

• The only other Laker shooting above 33% from three was Odom. Fisher, even Coby Karl, were below that threshold.

• Pau Gasol shot 66.7% for the preseason. Think he likes playing the four and getting to do a little face up?

• Who got to the free throw line the most for the Lakers? Bynum. Followed by Gasol and Ariza.

• Four Lakers averaged almost two steals per 48 minutes — Farmar, Ariza, Kobe and Walton. It’s a sign of how much more confident this team is with Bynum behind them that they take a few more risks.

Weekend Reading

Kurt —  October 26, 2008

Just a few things to read over the weekend, before we start talking Monday about the season. We’ll start with the blogger previews for the interesting (if not all that great) teams in the Southwest Division:

Atlanta Hawks
Peachtree Hoops

Charlotte Bobcats
Queen City Hoops

Miami Heat
The Peninsula is Mightier

Orlando Magic
Third Quarter Collapse

Washington Wizards
Hoops Addict
Bullets Forever
Truth About It Dot Net

• Lamar Odom is saying all the right things about being a sixth man. As long as he gets good minutes and the team is winning, I don’t think this will be an issue.

• I like that the Lakers aren’t afraid to say they want Boston again in the Finals. (Also good to see friend of the site Nate Jones back at Fanhouse).

• A great read on the NBA coming to Oklahoma City (via Fanhouse).

The Preseason Finally Ends

Kurt —  October 24, 2008

Tonight the Lakers break in a new building in Ontario versus the team that used to be in Seattle. Sorry fans in the Midwest, but I’m still a little bitter about how it went down and as this is the first time the Lakers have faced Kevin Durant’s team, this is the first chance I have had not to use their name. Frankly, I’m not sure when I will get around to using the new name.

Not sure what to expect from the former Sonics? Well, local UCLA fans should be happy, according to Brett Edwards of AOL’s NBA Fanhouse, who was in person for a game between the Suns and the pseudo-Sonics last night:

The Thunder aren’t going to pile up the wins this season, but they will have plenty of highlights. That’s because Russell Westbrook will likely be an above average point guard in his very first season. Matched up against Steve Nash last night, Westbrook was able to stay with him defensively, and use his speed and playmaking ability to rack up 22 points, six rebounds, and four assists. The Thunder like to push the ball, and with athletes like Kevin Durant and Desmond Mason in the fold, they’ll have no trouble scoring. If teams take them too lightly, they’ll get out to some early leads, because they seem to work to take mostly high percentage shots. Of course, between their youth and lack of depth, holding onto any lead is going to be a struggle. But if the team can manage to build on the solid foundation of Westbrook and Durant, they have a chance to climb out of the cellar in the seasons to come.

(On an off-topic side note, Brett and I are doing a lot of the Laker reporting for the new Web site of NBC’s Los Angeles affiliate. Check out the new site, the stuff there will be a little more mainstream than here but the goal is to bring a little blog to the MSM site as well.)

My guess is tonight is going to look a lot like last night, but hopefully with fewer turnovers (22 by the Lakers, 45 between the two teams, which made the game ugly to watch). A lot of the Lakers turnover seemed to be the team pressing a little without the Kobe fallback option, and with that came some timing issues. Hopefully that cleans up tonight.

Also, I’d be surprised if Kobe plays. I can’t see a good reason to run him out there.

Despite the merry-go-round of turnovers, there were some positives out of the game. Bchamp pointed to a few:

Farmar looks in command out there. At this rate he should be pushing for close to 30 minutes per game by the end of this season.

Bynum is finally to get some of his timing and defensive aggressiveness down. Great help to reject a Felton drive in the first half and he stuff one right down Okefor’s throat in the second.

It was one of the Lakers best defensive games, and they showed off some new wrinkles, as Darius pointed out:

Everything is skewed because the ‘Cats don’t have the size to play with Bynum and Gasol, but we’re zoning up the strong side with one of our bigs and really cutting down the penetration and contesting shots at the rim. We’re also rotating well on the perimeter and when players are driving baseline we’re dropping down on the weakside to make that pass to the opposite corner difficult.

Former coach Eric Mussleman liked what he saw in the Lakers defense as well:

The key was LA’s activity, which caused CHA turnovers (there were 34 combined TOs in the first half). Thanks to the length of the Lakers — something Coach Phil Jackson looks for in his players — they were able to effectively switch defensively.

On screening situations, LA did a great job chasing and closing out hard.

Because of Bynum’s ability to block shots, LA doesn’t have to double-team the guy Bynum is defending.

When things do get serious next week, Radmanovic will be the starting three. The Daily News blog has a quote from Phil about why Vlad and not Ariza:

“I don’t want to squelch Trevor’s ability by putting him on the first unit. It would be a disservice to his game. He’s much better having the opportunity to play a much more wide-open, quicker game with the second unit. They move the ball well, they run the court well, have a lot of fun on the court. The first unit is more half-court, more settled in and I think that Vlade gives them a great outside shooter to spread the defense so we can run the interior game.”

Getting close to the time of year when we do serious previews, but a preseason rematch against the Bobcats does not inspire one. Instead, what follows is some of the many great things on the Web the last few days worth checking out:

• First, we have the blogger previews for the Northwest Division:

Denver Nuggets
Pickaxe and Roll
The Nugg Doctor

Minnesota Timberwolves
TWolves Blog
Empty the Bench
Canis Hoopus

Oklahoma City
Blue Blitz
The Thunderworld

Portland Trail Blazers
…a stern warning
Blazers Edge
Rip City Project

Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz
SLC Dunk

Also see links to all the previews at

• I got the chance to have lunch with Kevin Pelton this summer, and he was talking about his plans to revive a PETCOA-style predictor for the NBA. He’s done it. And, when he breaks down the Pacific Division, he says the system really likes the Lakers. Ergo, I think it’s a great system.

• The ESPN Lakers preview is up, where you can she how I answer this question: Lakers down one, 9.2 seconds to play, must-win game. What’s the play?

• Here is the latest (and wrap up) in Little White Statistic’s incredibly detailed breakdown of Kobe’s shooting numbers.

• Who are the Lakers top 10 bench warmers of all time? You have to love any list with Mike Penberthy on it.

• Kurt Streeter did a fantastic Lamar Odom piece for the Los Angeles Times.

• Vote for your favorite NBA blog, by team. (You had better vote for SactownRoyalty.)

• Are the Lakers the logical choice to win the title?

Listen To FB&G and the Loose Cannons

Kurt —  October 23, 2008

Just a heads up, just after 2 p.m. you can listen to me and the Loose Cannons discuss Kobe’s knee, Radmanovic’s head and lord knows what else will come up with those guys. It’s 570 AM here in Los Angeles, or listen in online at the 570 Web site.