Preview & Chat: The Orlando Magic

Kurt —  December 20, 2008

Olympics Day 16 - Basketball
Records: Lakers 21-4 (1st in the West) Magic 20-6 (3rd in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.1 (3rd in league) Magic 107.3 (12th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 101.8 (4th in league) Magic 101.3 (3rd in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Magic Jameer Nelson, Keith Bogans, Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Dwight Howard

Farmar Injured This came out today, Farmar injured his knee on an uncontested dunk against Miami last night. It is a a tear of the lateral meniscus in his left knee. He is out for the rest of this road trip, he is flying back to LA to be looked at by doctors.

How long he is out will depend on how bad the tear is, could be a week or two, could be a couple months. Look for more Sasha at the backup point, which could be a good thing.

Lakers notes: What was frustrating about last night’s loss is that the Lakers let the Heat set the terms for the game. Yes, the bad free throw shooting and the turnovers were hard to watch, but it was the flow of the game that bothered me most.

There were 90 possessions in the game, six fewer than the Lakers average a game.

Next, the Lakers did not do a good job exploiting their mismatches inside. The Heat did the smart thing, fronting the Lakers bigs. There are ways to counter that. You can have the big seal off and throw a lob pass over the defender, but the Lakers threw terrible passes virtually every time they tried that. The Heat cheated a weak-side defender down to prevent the lob and the Lakers never recognized it. Part of the problem was the bigs, particularly Bynum, not really fighting for position and sealing guys off, but the passes into the post were sad.

The other way to deal with that is quick ball rotation, around the perimeter, allowing the big to slide across and set up on the other side of the key in a better spot. The Lakers did have some good plays off quick ball rotation, but it was almost always with Farmar or Kobe breaking down the play off the dribble. Again, no good passes into the post. The Lakers need to recognize their mismatches and exploit them.

Finally, the Lakers allowed the Heat to grab 26.8% of their missed shots (almost an identical percentage to the Lakers). Simply, the Lakers did not dominate the glass, and that is part of defense, too.

One bright spot, the Lakers did what they should have done to Wade. He attacked the rim and got off a shot f5 times (making 4). But, long range twos and threes he was 7 of 16. The Lakers did a pretty good job of keeping him out of the lane, but someone like Wade scores and impacts the game anyway. What the Lakers did was what you want to do.

Kobe’s shooting: Following up on a note about Kobe’s attacking the rim and shooting in general from yesterday.

Against the Heat, Kobe drove and attack the rim for 11 shots of which he made 8, plus drew a couple fouls. He also took 11 long two-pointers or three pointers, and of those he made 3.

The Magic Coming In: The Magic just spanked spanked the surging San Antonio Spurs. I mention that just to remind you of how good this team is, they are probably the fourth best team in the NBA this season.

Not many teams can match the Lakers length across the front line, but Orlando can. They also will create some issues for the Lakers and their trap, because Lewis and Hedo can step away from the basket, and bigs who can step out have been an issue in the past. Plus, doubling off Howard is not the wisest of choices.

The guy who really impressed me when I’ve watched the Magic is Jameer Nelson, just a very solid PG. He is scoring 16 a game with a 58.9% true shooting percentage, and 30.9% of his possessions end in an assist. He understands how to distribute the ball to this team.

Bringing it all together is one of the better coaches in the NBA in SVG. Defense first, play to your strengths offense, they move at a good tempo (9th fastest pace in the NBA) and they are just well coached.

Keys To The Game: I expect a good game out of Andrew Bynum, he plays up and down to the level of the competition more than any other Laker. He did not dominate the smaller Heat last night. But tonight, against the biggest test for a center in this league, I think we’ll see his best.

What kind of team gives the Magic fits? Ones that move the ball. As you would expect with their record, they play well against everyone but have won only 33% of their games against the top 10 teams in assists in the league. The Lakers are capable of that, they are a fantastic passing team when they want to be. But of late they have been inconsistent in the offense and in their passing.

Let’s see if the Lakers can exploit a mismatch tonight, in this case the Magic don’t have anyone who can stop Pau Gasol. Make them double him and let him pass off that, with movement off the ball returning to the Lakers offense.

Where you can watch: 4 p.m., KCAL 9 here and League Pass everywhere else.

Kurt

Posts

109 responses to Preview & Chat: The Orlando Magic

  1. I guess today we get to see if the Lakers are really not playing at the level they can play because they are “bored with the competition.” The Magic should offer them a good challenge and, thus, should bring out the best of them. I really look forward to seeing Bynum get a double-double today.

  2. Should be a test for Pau defensively. He’s exceeded all expectations so far, but Lewis is much quicker off the dribble than David West or any other PF, for that matter. Really, Pau has to guard a 3. Lewis was the one player last year in the playoffs that could get going against Detroit, because Rasheed couldn’t stick with him.

    Hedo’s one of my favorites, I love the versatility in his game. He makes some awful decisions at times, but his offensive package overall is one of the most versatile in the league.

    Also, on a side note, I was again impressed with Erik Spoelstra last night. Great coaches redesign their playbooks to match the personnel that they have, and ES has definitely done that. I expected him to be around for quite a while.

    I can’t say I like Riles (actually I can’t stand him), but he certainly has a knack for finding and training some great coaches.

  3. I actually thought Bynum should’ve been in for the last possession instead of Lamar. Maybe he should’ve been in there for the last 5 minutes as well. I bet that had he been in the same situation as Lamar, late-in-the-game-clutch-free throws, he would’ve made at least one instead of missed them both.

  4. 2 – Snoopy, dead on about Riley. If I knew I wouldn’t get thrown outta here, I could go on and on about the job he did/doing as GM and coach in Miami. Let me stop.

    About the post – Exploiting mismatches? Hmm, too bad that’s something we don’t do often. I even remember PJ saying that he wasn’t concerned with creating mismatches sometime in the last 2 weeks.

    Actually, SVG lets the Magic play way too loose on offense. I’m not sold on them, but it seems like we’re not in any position to take advantage. I’d be a little surprised if we win this one.

  5. I wonder if tonight we might see more of Vlad Rad? I think he’s a better match up for Hedu than Luke (same for when we play the Hornets and Peja, I like Vlad for the match up)
    I will watch with excitement the match up tonight with Bynum and Howard…but I fear that young ‘drew is gonna get schooled tonight. (I hope not, but…)
    Think Trevor will have any extra motivation because this is the team that traded him? I doubt it, he seems like the kind of guy not motivated that way, plus he seems to really “bring it” every night, got to love that guy!
    the bench showed some good signs last night, let’s hope to see more of that. this is a tough road trip and it would be nice to spread the minutes around… save something for Christmas day, eh?

  6. Jordan Farmar has a “tear of the lateral meniscus in his left knee” and has flown back to LA.

    http://my.lakers.com/blogs/2008/12/20/farmar-injures-left-knee/

  7. Sorry for the double post, but I made a typo. Farmar will fly back to LA on Sunday, not already like I said.

  8. so does this mean we’ll be seeing LO as back up PG? or Sasha? I guess even Kobe as PG for a while…
    thoughts?

  9. “tear of the lateral meniscus in his left knee”

    Sounds like he might be out for a few weeks, no?

  10. FYI – If Farmar does in fact have a torn meniscus, according to WebMD the recovery process typically involves surgery and between 8 to 12 weeks (2 -3 months) of recovery.

    That’s an aweful long time to be without a back up PG. I hope our boy Sasha steps it up.

  11. And the 2008-2009 Lakers injury train leaves the station…

  12. Sasha could get minutes as the Point.
    Judging by how quickly Sun racked up fouls I doubt that he’ll be able to play major minutes.

    Maybe we could call up a point guard from the D-League. Coby Karl has been running the point in the D-League and he knows the triangle.

  13. would it be wise to call up Joey Crawford?
    what other options would we have?

    on another totally unrelated topic…
    is anyone else offended by the mouthpiece chewing that goes on between play? I think there ought to be a rule that says if you wear a mouthpiece, it needs to stay in your mouth the whole time you are on the floor. some guys at every whistle/play stoppage they spit that thing out, twirl it around, chewing on the ends, or whatever…I really don’t enjoy seeing that. it doesn’t have to be that way, some players wear a mouthpiece and never expose it that way. at least that’s just my humble opinion.

    and on another irritating thing-
    NBA Broadband has decided to black out the Memphis game…why???
    and they also are blacking out the Hornets game even though it’s not on national TV…
    thank God for justintv is all I can say.

  14. I would love if Yue gets some burn tonight, I know he is not ready and all that stuff, but he can not really hurt the team in 10 minutes right? Afterall, the dude started on the Chinese Olympic team!

  15. 2 fouls on bynum in the first minute and he looks like he doesnt even care? I don’t like it.

  16. Actually, I thought Bynum was as active as we have seen him to start a game in a while. I’m not going to read much into him not throwing a temper tantrum after getting his second.

  17. Pau just plays smarter defense on bigs than Bynum.

  18. Another potential D-League callup Cedric Bozeman
    http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Cedric-Bozeman-108/

    Tall Point guard with good defense skills. Sounds promising.

  19. I hear what your saying. I would love to see some anger in general from him though. Not the whiny kind of anger, but the kind of anger you take out on the opponents rim.

  20. Lots of Kobe, not enough of anyone else yet. Still pretty good movement when the ball gets into the post and they have posted up Kobe.

    The Orlando offense looks like the old 90s Houston Rudy T. offense, a great big and a bunch of guys who can bomb threes.

  21. Stupid second foul by Howard.

  22. I was a little rushed doing this preview, and not only did I leave out the threes I left out the impressive play of Marcin Gortat of late.

  23. And Odom seems to have showed up tonight.

    And so did Ariza, Damn!

  24. nice d

  25. Did I ever mention how much I like that Ariza for Cook trade?

  26. Don’t forget Maurice Evans

  27. Does Bynum only have one go-to move now? That step into the lane? Does he not want to try getting people into foul trouble?

  28. any sites for the game tonight?

  29. Is there any possible justification for bringing Joey Crawford out of his early retirement?

  30. Any idea what’s wrong with Bynum the past few games?

  31. Understatement of the night:

    Kobe is feeling it.

  32. It’s all Kobe and Fisher so far. These refs seem to be very whistle-happy tonight.

    Speaking of Kobe, he just made yet another ludicrous shot. A straight-on runner from 20 feet? Really?

  33. He got 19 shots up in the 1st half?! And he makes it look so easy. FGAs, FGAs, FGAs!

  34. Am I the only one seeing a TERRIBLE bynum?

  35. Wow, these guys are amazing. Have any of them watched Jameer Nelson play over the last couple weeks? Picked up a box score even?

  36. Odom is playing like garbage right now.

  37. Howard looks really really good. He has developed a few more moves on the offensive end. And seems to be even more dominant on the defensive end.

  38. How did Howard get that rebound over Gasol. that was pretty impressive.

  39. More Laker fans need to start getting to their head that Odom sucks and as far as Im concerned, is the cancer on this team…he continually produces nothing…

  40. Nothing from Odom or Bynum at all

  41. lucky break for the lakers. Good call though. Fisher got smacked in the face.

  42. 2 bad bounces back to back nights

  43. Another last-minute shot rims out…

  44. wow!! floridian hoops, you fail

  45. Last shot in and out again.

  46. Odom’s new name Phandom

  47. ouch, had sasha’s shot gone in it would have been a different ballgame…
    kind of like if LO would have made those 2 FT’s last night, we might have pulled it out.
    oh well, tough loss’s…will toughen this team up and maybe won’t be a waste after all.

  48. Tonights loss is understandable, the magic are really good and are playing a lot better than LA. But last nights game is what the killer was. It looks like the Lakers inconsistent play is catching up to them.

  49. 40.

    LO can be a very inconsistent basketball player, but he is a great guy who is loved by his teammates. Inconsistent, yes. Sucks, no. Cancer, no.

  50. Odom is a waste of space..Everybody keeps talkinng about his talent and versatility but i fail to see it. He has no post moves whatsoever ,cant hit the 3 has no jumpshot,has only one arm,goes only on one direction and when he drives to the lane 9 out of 10 times he commits an O foul. These are the facts on Phandomand are irrefutable so i say give him away.He does more bad than good on our team.

  51. 50, you have said it completely right. Its time that people see that and get rid of our team’s cancer. Bynum is at least still young. Odom’s bad play is inexcusible.

  52. We need at least one other player who DEMANDS the ball and can create for himself and is not lazy on D. As for Buynum…I dont think that anyone is intimmidated by him beeing in the paint both ends of the floor.Maybe that will change as the season goes on but I really think he is and wil become less than most people think/expect from him.I think he doesn’t have what it takes..mentally

  53. We should not have been in a position to have to make two last second shots to win these games.

    “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Stephen Leacock

  54. Watch every chip teams now and in the past..they all have at least 2 and somtimes 3 players who can step up every night.We have Kobe who is worth of 2 but he is 1 if you know what i mean.

  55. I think Bynum has a lot of potential, he was playing pretty decent in the beginning of the year and played very well last year before he was hurt. The disapointment about Bynum is he is not physically tough, hes kind of soft and thats why opposing teams are not scared of him. He needs to be tough though, and most importantly needs to defend the paint better. But give him time to progress.

  56. I think (in hind sight) that it was a mistake to give andrew the contract at the start of the season, he sure doesn’t seem to be playing with any fire in his belly these days.
    maybe it’s time for PJ to get in his head…
    let him hear some rumors he could be on the block, use the Farmar going down excuse, ie; need a PG…
    see if that motivates his butt!

  57. Anytime we need Kobe to score like tonight to keep a game close or even win it is BAD. Imagine if he had an off night tonight..who else would be able to step up and produce at both ends of the floor?? Buynum?Gasol?Fish?We really need to add pieces to the team to seperate us from what we were last year.Don’t get me wrong here..last year we were very good we just need to get better.

  58. This is getting really frustrating …i’ve been staying up all night to watch the games and they have been very dissapointing.It’s tough being a Laker on thi side of the world..

  59. Lakers need to be spanked around a bit, I think it is good for the team as weird as it might sound

  60. the other Stephen December 20, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    facktoids.

  61. nothing matters until june, but i can’t say i’m impressed right now. [edited for trade talk]

  62. Two consecutive losses remind us of lingering Laker deficiencies. The possible long term loss of Jordan Farmar may get Mitch on the telephones faster, contemplating potential trades or veteran signings. It’s that time of year.

    Shortest term, the Lakers will be asked to “suck it up.” Against Orlando, that meant playing Fisher the entire game. In subsequent games, that probably means more playing time for Sasha. Down the road, we may see the return of Coby Karl–at keast to the bench as a backup.

    If Jordan is out for much of this season, we may see a major trade–and all bets are off–but it won’t be easy–and it may not be glorious.

    Let’s hope thqt we can see Jordan in the “Santa Claus game” at Staples facing the Celts.

  63. I thought, “Why is Kobe going 1-on-1 when he is so tired?” Well, Phil answered for me when he criticized the other players for just continually passing the ball back to Kobe and then clearing out – making it hard for him to pass to anyone in any kind of position to make any shot.
    Kobe may be a great finisher, but we need other players to cut and move to keep our offense going. Isn’t the triangle supposed to get open looks for a number of players? Maybe we should try to run it in the 4th qtr!
    Also, when Lamar is given the ball in pressure situations I just cringe.

  64. The problem starts with Bynum and Odom. They are both playing like crap.

    Bynum seems soft as a wed noodle, and will most likely will be seriously punked when we play Boston. Against the Celts, Look for Bynum to take the early tick-tack fouls (like he has been doing lately) and stake out a good and safe spot on the bench.

    Odom leads the bench mob by standing out beyond the 3 point line and watching the action. The way he is playing, that might be the best place for him.

    The team needs to make a move. The Lakers will not win a championship with this group. Ther are too many offensive and defensive issues.

    In addition, Phil has to do some real coaching. His methods of using mindind games and plainer complaing to the media are getting old and inefective.

  65. I woke up this morning and was thinking about the game and it came to me… what is wrong with the Lakers.
    all our timing plays, ie; alley opps, pick and rolls (or the slips off P&R’s) are just plain OFF.
    and, this is also why Bynum is playing like crap, with no fire. think about this, even Stu said it, when Drew gets a block, or a nice lob for a slam, he gets fired up. and when he gets overlooked, he gets complacent. lately I think he’s not getting any passes, because as a low post player, he’s a 1 note song, and the odds of him making a shot 1 on 1 against Howard are not as good as a Kobe outside shot.
    at the start of the season, we had Trevor slashing or Kobe cutting on a back door play, alley oop, slam. even Luke and Farmar got into the act. then there was the very effective slip on the P&R from either Drew or Pau, resulting in a slam of a close in lay up.
    that our timing is just plain off was very noticeable against Miami, we must have missed 10 of those passes in the first quarter, all resulting not only in a turnover, but also a complacent Drew.
    I guarantee you that we’re going to see a lot of this used against us with Hornets combo of Paul/Tyson, and again on Christmas with Rondo/KG.
    we know they do it a lot, and they are using the season to perfect those timing plays.
    we for some reason have gotten worse, and I think are abandoning them. I think PJ and the coaching staff need to address this, make these a part of the playbook arsenal. work on timing in practice… work on getting drew involved earlier, because he seems to me to be a kid who overacts quickly, either he’s very involved, or a non factor, almost seeming like he likes having the 2 fouls to the bench excuse.

  66. I missed the game, but the box scores show that once gain, we didn’t get the ball to our bigs. That’s why we lost in Miami, and it seems like this is why they lost in Orlando. That, and we are allowing TOO many 3′s. Those things I can’t understand. C’mon Phil. Coach ‘em up. I’d much rather Pau and Bynum combine for 31 shots than Kobe taking 31. It’s better for flow of the offense.

  67. What is working?

    - Kobe is virtually same even though he seems like he a bit light on his feet in some games
    - Lakers are hitting decent amount of outside shots
    - Fisher is having his best offensive season in a long while
    - Pau is solid, but we can not ask him to do so much when some people are not giving half their heart
    - Radmanovic is more determined, plays focused on defense and is generally aggressive
    - Ariza is a beat on both ends with his hustle and energy
    **************************************

    What is not working?

    - Lately we rebound like a high school team
    - Our twin tower arrangement looks like a welcome mat for all the penetrating guards to attack the basket
    - ball movement is literally non-existent
    - Lamar and Bynum are struggling with energy and composure issues
    - We tend to play to our competition’s level and pace
    - Luke Walton can not hit an open shot
    - Farmar looked like he was playing in another universe before he went down
    - Vujacic is either very good or very bad…. lingering inconsistency
    **************************************

    What do we need?

    - Most of all we need a defensive PG who can knock down a 3 and is useful on defensive P&R
    - We need a good defensive wing who can buy into and excel in our team defensive schemes
    - cut down the player rotation to 8 guys per night. (LO, Sasha and Ariza) Give each more minutes so they can better find their rhythm
    - Tailor our defensive scheme to the strength of our bigs. Do not make Drew go beyond painted area on defense. He is not conditioned/educated enough to be able to track back fast to the basket
    - Phil Jackson should seriously spank somebody to set a precedent
    - We have a lot of shooters that teams in the Eastern Conference (Philly, Toronto, Orlando, Heat, Bobs) might be interested in. I am not supposing a specific trade, but I think it is time we made some changes to this team, part of the reason we are not getting better is that guys are used to the status quo. There is no sense of competition on this team

  68. It should be obvious by now that the Twin Tower Experiment of Phil Jackson is not working. It worked in November because their opponents haven’t figured out yet how to score with two 7-footers patrolling the paint. But after their first loss against Detroit, their weakness have been exposed and teams are exploiting that–just move your Bigs outside and have your best slasher drive to the basket.

    Please see my take on this in the following blogpost:

    http://lalakersnba.blogspot.com/2008/12/lakers-lost-to-magic-103-106.html

  69. 65) Agree – the Lakers will not win a title with both Odom and Bynum playing sub-par. They could probably survive one playing at that level, but not both of them.

  70. hey kurt, just curious why my comment (#66) made an hour ago still says-
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I didn’t mention trades or anything, is there another reason?

  71. 68- odom is not playing sub par.Thats the way he plays all the time.he is what Chuck calls a ”teaser”.he plays one good game out of 5 and makes you think he has more potential than he actually posseses.he is really an overrated,one dimensional player.

  72. And as far as Phandom leading the second unit..think about this:to lead something or something, you have to be a leader and show it .Phandom is 28,by now he should have shown this quality and he hasn’t.

  73. typo:something or someone

  74. 71. Simply, I slept in. It’s approved now.

  75. Just an update on Farmar, after researching his injury, it really could be two weeks or surgery and three months, just depends on how severe the tear is. Then there is this from Kevin Ding in the register this morning:

    (The Lakers will wait to clarify how long Farmar will be out before possibly filling their open roster spot. But let it be known that Jackson has never liked Stephon Marbury.)

  76. Out of curiosity,anyone know why both Ariza and Pau were on the floor on the last play instead of Radman?

  77. Here’s what I think is flawed with the people who say the Lakers need to make a trade: There are no lock down PGs, and we have good wing defenders in house in Kobe and Ariza, and the price of getting another would be steep. You want what isn’t really out there to get, teams are very slow to give up what you ask, the Gasol trade is once a decade.

    And if you hadn’t noticed, the Lakers patience while all of you screamed for trade has turned the Lakers into a contender. If we had traded Bynum for J. Kidd, where would be now?

    Just making a move to shake things up is how you end up with the Knicks roster.

  78. 67

    The reason they lost is that only Kobe and Fisher made it to Amway Arena. Bynum only played 11 minutes due to foul trouble and was a non-factor when he was on the court. Gasol was invisible at times, Odom was a liability, Sasha was cold, and even Ariza committed a few dumb fouls. The only other player who made an impact was Radmanovic who was active and hit some outside shots.

  79. Seems to me that Lame-Ar needs to hit the market and see what comes back. We KNOW he will fold, miss FTs, dribble off his foot, launch 3s, foul at awful times and play small.

    He has an expiring contract, right? Not sure the lakers HAVE to get a lockdown PG back.

  80. “Just making a move to shake things up is how you end up with the Knicks roster.”

    I just got chills.

    The main thing is that great team defense is not a personnel issue, but a mentality issue. I look at Cleveland’s roster and find it hard to see one great defender. And yet their team defense is outstanding (even more so in years past). I’m just waiting to see that heart on the defensive end from LA. It’s frustrating but not alarming at this point; it’ll become a serious problem if we’re playing this way come February.

    How frustrated must Kareem be, sitting on the sidelines and watching Bynum’s inconsistency and lack of heart? It just shows that so much of greatness is not physical gifts, but mental strength and fire.
    I know some people will disagree with that, but I just see a huge difference between the types of bigs who relish physical play, who run into the paint and look for the first body to hit, who take pride in snaring every loose board and providing the teeth of the interior defense – I see a difference between that and Bynum simply waving his arms in people’s faces and getting boxed out by 6’9″ opponents. I think everyone can excuse a lack of talent (which is why Ronny and other role players are so loved) but it’s frustrating to see a lack of energy and heart. Not having an offensive repertoire is OK by me, but getting boxed out so easily is not.

    I wish I could take the heart of a Ronny or Rodman or Haslem and place it in the body of an Andrew Bynum. That’s when you get that rare greatness, that Russell or Olajuwon.

  81. Bynum wasn’t in foul trouble until he decided to intentionally foul Dwight Howard *TWICE* to prevent the dunk after the offensive rebound… in the span of two minutes.

    Bynum – useless once again.

  82. I have to say that I agree with the folks here are saying that Bynum is not showing much in the way of intensity, or desire, or even smarts. it looks like he’s got a bad attitude, like I did when i was a kid and my parents yelled at me, I was in a funk for a while. he’s a kid, but he’s playing in a man’s sport now and he’s got to act like a man now. they gave him a man size contract, and he accepted it, and now it’s time to show he’s worth it.
    maybe it’s time for him to sit and let Mihm or DJ get some playing time, send him a message that he has to EARN his minutes!

  83. Bynum will get his thing together. He is still so freaking young. We expect him to dominate like Howard, Shaq or Duncan. Drew is not ready yet. He is not ready mentally, he is not ready physically, he does not have the knowledge and experience yet. He was hurt for a long time and is out of rhythm. Everyone, just wants him to average 20-15 and 3-4 blocks. But that is easier said than done.

    Andrew is simply uncomfortable with his game right now. He is confused and does not know how to make things better at the moment. It is a very normal thing to happen to a guy at his age and with the type of expectations he know he faces

    Andrew Bynum is the future of the Lakers. I do not think anyone in their right mind challenges that statement. But in the present, Andrew Bynum is a talented big man still on his rookie contract counted on to be the difference between excellence and perfection and he simply is not ready to be that yet

    With that said, Lamar Odom is really becoming a headache for all the super-believers of LO. I am one of them. I think Odom has game. He just is one of those dudes that needs to be coached, told what to do and held accountable. Lakers are trying that, but obviously it is not going well right now

  84. Mamula,
    “We expect him to dominate like Howard, Shaq or Duncan.”

    I don’t think most of us do; at this point we are looking for a “low” double-double from him, combined with decent, steady defense. That’s all this team needs from him. No one (sane) expected Dwight Howard-level play from him yet.

  85. In regards to Bynum, Shaq came into the league with a very different attitude then we see in our current Big Boy. If you combine this season and last, Bynum has played nearly half a college season more games then Shaq did in his two years at LSU. To say that Bynum needs more time, while probably true, seems to miss the point. He is physically mature enough and could be emotionally mature enough to handle the sort of play he needs to succeed at this level. He just doesn’t have it at this point but is young enough to make me believe he will.

    There are so many things going wrong with the Lakers right now, each of us could think of an example from the last two games and most would be able to extrapolate from that anecdote a meaningful commentary. My point of concurrence to what is being said above, LO is not a champion and will never be a champion (unless its in the “Mitch Richmond is a champion” form). Dude is way too messed up in the head to ever be consistent. Maybe PJ is trying to prove he can coach any good person with talent. Maybe LOs skill set and fit on the team is so exotic that one finds it hard to give that up for a lesser talent and a more conventional fit. Right about now I would have preferred McDyess to LO. Maybe bench LO and let Powell and Ariza take on the load. Maybe… [self edited for trade talk]

  86. These last two games show how vulnerable we are when only a few players step up. Bynum has to quit whining and start playing smart and hard – every night. Pau looks like his coasting along (although he was sick a few days back) and the “Bench Mob” looks like they’ve become the “Batched Job.” Kobe brings it every night – he has to inspire his mates to do the same or we will settle back into the rest of the West’s contenders and further away from any real shot at home court throughout. And someone please remind Odom to not shoot the jumpers – he’s horrible.

  87. I have finally come to grips with the idea that Kobe does not inspire or command the respect of his teammates. To me, that is the biggest problem with this team.

    It’s not the X’s and O’s, the coaching staff has won championships before, it’s not talent, we have the most talented and deepest team in the league. It’s not our defensive scheme, it’s not Farmar or LO – they come off the bench for crying out loud… it’s not any of that stuff.

    It seems to me that when the chips are down, the guys don’t/can’t rally around Kobe. The 2 biggest games of his post-Shaq career were two of the most embarrassing games in Laker History. The Game 7 stink bomb against the Suns a few years back and last year’s game 6 against against the Celtics. He just doesn’t
    t have that KG/Lebron intangible that makes the difference between good and great teams.

  88. Is the overall ‘voice-of-reason’ sentiment still ‘we’ll take 21-5 and it’s only December?’

    For some reason I’m not all that miffed now, maybe we can get some fire going for the Celts game.

    A game is a game is a game, but it will satisfy me to no end if the C’s maintain their streak just to have it broken by our boys.

  89. What is frustrating is the Lakers seem to be playing bad because of a lack of effort. If you ever watch Boston play, they play really hard every night. Thats partily why they are a great defensive team, they got killer instinct. The lakers dont have it. It seems to me that not enough players have that same passion for playing hard and winning like the celtic team does. Or look at the Miami Heat. They werent as good as the Lakers, but they played a lot harder than they did, they wanted to win more and thats why they pulled out a 2 point victory. Playing bad is one thing and I can live with it, its understandable a team is going to slump in the season. But at least play with some passion and heart. Besdies Kobe, none of these other players got it.

  90. Now the talk will begin that Kobe does not inspire anyone! Why should he? He did not sit with them and their agents when they signed their contracts nor did he ask for a percentage. Just as none of them sat with him when he signed his contract. What that means is that every man must be responsible for his own actions.

    Not pass the blame to Kobe because he is neither KG or LeBron. KG did not have to inspire Rondo to work on his game and bring it when the season began. LeBron did not have to tell Delonte West or Mo Williams to work on their games and bring it when the season began. So why must Kobe?

    If the team plays poor defense its Kobe’s fault. If the team can not throw a pinto bean in the cauldron its Kobe’s fault. If the team does not rebound its Kobe’s fault. If the team has low energy its Kobe’s fault.

    I blame the guys that have been around the Lakers long enough to know that everyone hates the Lakers on the road. If that team has lost 10 games they will surely be up for the task of winning a game against the Lakers. That’s how it is when you play for a successful organization, in a city that people love to hate! Luke, Sasha, Jordan, Andrew and even Trevor know this first hand. The Lakers draw people into the stadium on the road, and if they initially come to see the Lakers and not necessarily support their team, they will quickly switch allegiance if the home team has a chance to win.

    A lackluster performance, with low energy and effort will not garner wins on the road, period!

    I am extremely worried about this team, because the more they sink into a hole offensively the more Kobe will try to put the team on his back. And, by doing this they will probably win more games than they should just like last year, but when it really matters they will be shut down and embarrassed by better teams.

    Yes, it is early in the season, but you are what you do, you are how you play! The Lakers looked terrible prior to going on the road. The road is no elixir for fragile teams and egos.

    Yes, 21-5 is a good start, but habits are formed quickly with no time to repair during the season.

  91. Hagsst,

    What in the world are you talking about man? Kobe does not command respect of his teammates?

    The best players in the league right now all say that Kobe is the man! That is a lot of respect right there. And if LeBron, Dwight or Wade thinks Kobe is one of the best, how can Radmanovic, Walton or Odom not think the same?

    Kobe Bryant, along with Derek Fisher for the moment, is the best thing going on for the Lakers. Kobe Bryant does not need to inspire NBA players. They are freaking grown-up professionals making millions of dollars to do what they love in life. Few people are as fortunate as the athletes.

    Kobe needs to have teammates who are confident, trustworthy and play together. This years Lakers are a Work-in-Progress and rightfully so.

    How can you know how good you can be unless you encounter shortcomings against which you can measure yourself along the way?

    I would rather have these problems now than in May or June. And if they arise again down the line we will be more prepared to handle them when it matters more.

  92. Right now the team is strangely looking more like the 06-07 Lakers that struggled to beat even the league’s worst, than the team that made the finals last year. I guess we will know on the 25th whether the “motivation” argument carries any weight, or rather simply just “they suck”.

  93. Are you ready…

    The Gasol brothers are in town. Now I do have expectations on this game, a Laker win, no less.

  94. town = ‘Memphis’ of course.

  95. Many of you have noticed as I did that our defense is not what we or the players themselves want it to be and that certain players are not ”excecuting”their defensive assignments. The qualities and strengths/weaknesses of those players are well known and documented from the coach or at least they should be.what i fail to understand is why does the coach trying to turn someone to something that he is not (Odom into a leader for example) while he has never shown this quality or mental strenght to be one in his whole time in the league.The players are who they are and i think that the problem is the coach.Remember PJ was never a defensive coach and his Bulls teams and Lakers teams who won chips had actually great individual defenders,and all around passionate players who understood theis roles within the team.Those teams never had great defensive ”schemes”.Who on our team plays like Rodman(passionate wise) Pip, Ron or Fox?Many of our current players take pride in scoring and padding their stats.
    Remember also that PJ could never actually defend P&R with a certain D scheme,only with certain defensive minded players. Isn’t he the one who left Kobe all those years surrounded by mostly what now are bench players.All you have to do is look through the years 2004-2007 (before the Gasol trade).
    I don’t swallow this media hype about”great coach”.If he was indeed a great coach he would recognise that players like Kobe come once in a lifetime but they cannot do it alone.He would have made moves and trades to make sure that this great player has all the weapons he needs around him to win multiple chips.To me after Shaq PJ has been a burden to Kobe’s greateness. And don’t forget the Kobe-Shaq feud. Do you really believe he had nothing to do with it? Hell even i could have 9 rings coaching the 90′s Bulls and the 3peat Lakers.

  96. I’m happy the Lakers lost. If they were to keep winning while playing like they are then nothing would change. The we’ll step it up when it count’s mentality doesn’t work for a young inexperienced team. Now that they lost 2 in a row, they cant just talk about improving, they have to do it. When your winning you talk about the problems you have but in the end your still winning so there’s not alot of extra motivation. I rather the lakers face adversity and some losses now so that they are able to learn from them and grow as a team. Besides I don’t think were catching Boston(barring injury) for home court in the finals anyways.

  97. Is there some reason why my comment
    didn’t show up at nr. 96 Kurt?

  98. “I’ve been talking with the guys about playing with more enthusiasm and playing with more energy,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

    energy, hustle, focus… lacking tonight?
    if it’s Andrew again, give him the quick hook, move Pau to center LO to the 4.
    begin the Josh Powell minutes experiment.
    Powell and Trevor will bring the energy, hustle that we’ve been lacking.

  99. I think his teammates respect his game, but not him as a leader. There is a difference there. And it doesn’t matter how much money they make – people have to be managed in the workplace. It doesn’t matter if they are insurance salesmen or NBA basketball players that make millions. Like it or not, Kobe is a middle manager of sorts, and I don’t think his management style gets the best out of his guys.

    I’m not advocating trading Kobe, or blowing the whole thing up. The team came so close and I think we can get back there again. But I’m just trying to get my head around the fact that this team looks lifeless after such an energetic start.

  100. Man, two losses and people go back to their old, worn out, useless theories around here. Really, this site at times is starting to really frustrate me.

    Odom is coming off the bench, he is part of a three big rotation that the Lakers can’t break up, he’s playing nine fewer minutes a game, but people want to throw him under the bus because they need to scapegoat someone for the problems.

    And, to be simple, if you think Phil Jackson can’t coach basketball, you don’t know basketball. He is a defense-first coach, HAD TO change how he did things because of changes in the rules, but it comes down to players in the end.

    The problems with the Lakers right now are not going to be solved with a coaching change or a trade. These are internal problems, not ones to be solved externally.

  101. Second, as this has come up a couple times recently. If you comment does not appear, that means it was held for moderation. I will approve it (if it doesn’t cuss or involve trade talk), but that only happens when I’m at a computer.

  102. This can all be traced back to the coaches inability to teach defense to offensive minded players. I wrote something about that earlier today but it was sencored by Kurt although i was just giving my point of view for the current state of the team and how it might be fixed.Maybe it is because i am writting as ”anonymous” my comment was left out,so from now on i will use a name so that the mods can identify that i am a true LA fan and not somekind of troll lurking around.Cheers. From now on Costa.

  103. Well Kurt, allow me to disagree with you, if this is not a reason for cutting me out.(previously anonymous)

  104. You can certainly disagree with me. I have no problem with that.

    However, to me the argument that Phil Jackson has never been a good defensive coach or doesn’t know how to do rotations or build a championship team are ludicrous. Those are exactly the things the guy has done to win nine rings. He has always been willing to take some losses in December or even March to teach a team and get them to grow. He has always mucked with rotations. This is what he does, but the results bear out he can coach. If you think he just rolls the ball out and gets lucky, I think you are really missing the picture.

  105. Given the doom and gloom around here, I’ll repeat a previous comment:

    It is too soon to say the Lakers need to scrap the defensive scheme or bench players. This is a brand new system for the team. Out of the gate opponents hadn’t seen the Lakers play it and the Lakers dominated. Teams adjusted to it and now the Lakers need to execute the system better. That is a process that will take time, just like learning the triangle offense takes time. There is a good chance the team will get there by playoff time. On paper it is a good system to shoot for as it capitalizes on the Lakers’ strengths: length and quickness.

  106. Well said Rob L and Kurt.

    The problems our Lakers are facing will be dealt with changes in the defensive scheme and, perhaps, with player rotations – not with trades. This team is, and has always been deep, and this will play to our advantage during this long NBA season. Demanding player/coaching changes this early in the season is premature and imprudent.

    I’m as frustrated as all of the fans that come to this site, but I think that part of the frustration is that people have completely unrealistic expectations of some of the players on the team.

    For example, some people unfairly expect Andrew Bynum to be this “intimidating beast” merely because of his size. I’m not sure where this expectation came from as the Andrew Bynum I watch in games and seen at Staples Center has a style more reminissant of David Robinson or Kareeem than that of “physical” guys like Shaq or D. Howard. This does not mean that Bynum is “soft”, it just means that he plays a different style of basketball. I also think Bynum lacks the foundation that guys like Howard, Kareem and Shaq had, so his basketball instincts will develop a bit slower than some of us may hope (hence some of the “dumb” fouls and defensive decisions)- but they will develop.

    The same goes for Lamar. We all know by now what to expect from Lamar. Some nights he will be hot, others stone cold. But that does not mean that his versatily has no place in this team. Quite the oppossite, his versatility is what makes the Lakers contenders, even if we are having a hard time right now.

    So let’s ground our expectations and quit yapping about trades.

  107. @ Kurt’s recent posts & 106 – Kurt don’t get frustrated. Some of the recent posts are because of the the last 2 games, but others are because we aren’t playing well enough to win. Forget the record, we haven’t been for few weeks. IMHO, more losses are coming. People keep saying they won’t be worried until April. Well, this is how that happens, there’s no magic. If they’re going to fix the issues, they’re probably going to take some losses now.

    Concerning the new defense – I think it’s a gimmick and I don’t like it. After last year (and I mean the WHOLE season), we needed to play better, harder on D, not create a fake new scheme. Last year we gave up loads of open Js, but mostly locked down the paint for stretches. This season, it’s a party, basically any shot you want, because guys are uncomfortable, lazy, and noncommittal on D.

    And on O, who can deny that they haven’t really been effective running triangle this year? They were effective running and I was worried what would happen when teams took that away. Now I know.