Preview & Chat: The Houston Rockets

Kurt —  April 3, 2009

Ron Artest of the Houston Rockets
Records: Lakers 59-16 (1st in the West) Rockets 48-27 (4th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.8 (3rd in league) Rockets 108.2 (14th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.0 (6th in league) Rockets 104.0 (4th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Rockets Aaron Brooks, Ron Artest, Moneyball Battier, Luis Scola, Yao Ming

The Lakers coming in: If you believe that Kobe is greater than LeBron, why not wear it on your chest with pride? (You have to love Free Darko. Just have to.)

We’ve talked a lot about it in the comments, but if you haven’t seen al the news that Bynum is likely going to be back a couple games before the playoffs, here is your link.

The Lakers have had the Rockets number this year, winning all three games, the last one in Houston to stop the Rockets 12-game winning streak, and the Lakers did it without Odom (who was suspended). The Rockets, as they should be, are a team that the Lakers see as a potential threat and they have been focused for their meetings with them this season. And the focused Lakers can beat anybody anywhere.

In the fourth quarter of the three games against the Rockets, Kobe is 12 of 19 with 37 points.

Finally if you want to think about something else for a while, what would it look like if the Lakers played baseball? Sure, Kobe is your closer. The only question is, what song does he enter the game to?

The Rockets Coming In: Just some fun trivia to start — when was the last time the Rockets won a first round series, and who did they beat?

If the Rockets want to win another first-round series, they need to get focused now — they currently would face a very tough out in Portland in the first round, and they are just half-a-game ahead of them in the standings. If Portland had home court it would be a brutal first round for the Rockets. The problem for the Rockets is, look at some of their closing games: Lakers, Blazers, Magic, Hornets and Mavericks. For the Rockets, the playoffs start now.

Tonight we’re going to get a heavy dose of “will Artest taunt Kobe again” talk, but we know Artest is smart enough not to piss in Kobe’s Wheaties again. This blog’s resident Rockets fan Stephen has thoughts on that and more:

For the Rockets Coach Adelman has been downplaying Artest/Kobe, going so far as to claim Artest is going to be defending Lamar.

The Rockets are making an increased effort to get Yao the ball. Yao is very good when he makes a quick move, when he starts crouching and dribbling, a turnover invariably follows.

The team just finished a stretch where they played 1 game in 7 days and they had several days of intense practice so expect some crisper cuts and more attempted passes. The Rockets are still at the see-think-act stage, instead of the react automatically stage that teams that have been together all year reach.

The Rockets biggest weaknesses are the lack of a rebounding monster, a closer and mental discipline. Against good teams these too often lead to losses.

Their PGs are very young and can get blistering hot and then do the dumbest things.

Ron will bull-rush into the lane w/no idea of what he’s doing, hoping for a bail-out foul. Then he can nail a 3 just when the team needs it-and he is deadly from the 3 when his feet are set.

Scola is vastly underutilized and will hustle and pound you all game long.

Wafer has started to regain his confidence.

Barry is getting more minutes and settles the second unit down. Landry being out has really hurt Rockets’ depth.

Keys To The Game: In the last meeting, the Lakers forced 23 Houston turnovers (and had just 12) and that was a big key to the win. The Rocket young guards can make poor decisions, as can Yao if you get him to hesitate and think.

Pau Gasol had a great game on Yao last meeting, particularly doing well on the defensive end in the second half. The Rockets offense flows through Yao, to disrupt it you need to both pressure the ball and make the entry pass hard, and not let Yao get deep position. The Lakers did those things in the second half of the last meeting.

A few more thoughts from Stephen:

This time around Battier will probably stay on Kobe the whole game, with Artest guarding him when Shane’s out. One side effect will be Artest will be guarding Ariza/Walton, limiting their open looks, but leaving them the opportunity for quick drives as Ron has lost a step.

For the Rockets, Yao needs to be fed often and he has to be decisive. The second unit needs to run, and run some more, and in half-court attack the basket. If the Rocket second unit outplays the Lakers’, the Laker starters will see alot of time and hopefully-for Rocket fans-this will result in dead legs in crunch time.

The Lakers need to harass Yao and stay in the passing lanes. Stay focused, run the offense. The starting 5 should run every chance they get as there is a speed advantage everywhere except PG. The bench has to be competitive.

Where you can watch: 7:30 start on ESPN and Fox Sports West. For those wanting to watch online, follow this link when the game starts to the ESPN 360 broadcast.

287 responses to Preview & Chat: The Houston Rockets

  1. All hail the re-post.


  2. Pau is absolutely abusing Scola.


  3. I second props to Phil – use the kobe / pau P&R to drive Yao out of the game, then use pau to abuse scola on the block. Perfect.


  4. kwame a. The MVP was always Lebrons this year as long was good. He is the golden child.


  5. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Stop! Ron-Ron meltdown!


  6. Six weeks ago I would have said Mbenga was the least skilled basketball player in the league. Boy was I wrong, the man has legitimate basketball skills


  7. I guess Yao’s height is a gift and a curse. The curse lies with his conditioning. Maybe they can build a ginormous elliptical for him.


  8. Its nice to see a smile on the face of the players…that 13 day road trip was brutal.


  9. Adelman throwing in the towel.


  10. How good has our defense been tonight? Our energy has been great and our rotations have been very crisp.


  11. And that completes the sweep of the H-town boys….


  12. Yao can’t handle Mbanging with Mbenga. Scola can’t Pbang with Pau either. Phil is a genius.

    Good win.


  13. kobe just did absolutely everything tonight, he did a lot that wont come up on the box score. he was just amazing tonight playing in the offense initiating the triangle. feeding pau and LO, setting screens for fish. wow.


  14. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    206. Just as long as DJ refrains from the dreaded jump hook. The guy has a decent face-up jump shot, and a pretty good turnaround bank shot using his jump shot. He can also catch and dunk, bang on his man while defending the post, and block or intimidate shots while defending the rim. And one more thing, the guy sets a tough screen without fouling. Kobe and Fish hit three straight jumpers off DJ’s screens during our 4th quarter run.

    Also, props to Luke and Josh tonight. Luke’s shot was off but he rebounded and passed pretty well. Powell didn’t try to do too much on offense, and he fought hard on the boards all night.


  15. How do the Rockets ever expect to be for real when Adelman sits Yao in crunch time EVERY game? Isn’t bad enough that Aaron Brooks is their PG and Artest becomes the man down the stretch? Yet, time after time, Yao, the 7’6″ guy with a turn around no one in the NBA can block, is sitting in a 5 pt. game. Silly.


  16. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Adelman didn’t sit Yao until the score was 87-76 with about four minutes left. I would say that Yao was fatigued, and Adelman didn’t think they could come back in the game with a tired Yao and a scrambling defense.


  17. kwame,

    Pau should have dunked at least 3 balls tonight that he tried laying up.

    The MVP is going to LBJ, but the Cavs record against the top teams is pedestrian. Hardly MVP worthy.

    Our boy? Puts it on ’em. Let LBJ rack up W’s and stats against the inferior teams. Kobe’s gotten it done in every big game this year, and at the end of it all, it’s going to add up.


  18. Dude,

    You do have a point, and I would buy it, if it didn’t happen all of the time. Four minutes is plenty of time to try to make a run. Instead Adelman would rather Artest bull his way to the hole. Great for us. I wasn’t scared of the Rockets in the beginning of the season, the middle of the season, and I’m officially not worried about them. They can’t beat us.


  19. Adelman sat Yao because 1) he was fatigued 2) Phil was starting to use Kobe and Gasol on the P&R to torch the Rockets’ defense. That said, without Yao, they generate zero offense and Artest starts to go into “hero mode” and make horrible decisions. Also, Scola was simply abused on the block by Gasol time and time again. If we have Bynum back in the playoffs and face Houston, we’re going to pound them into oblivion the moment Yao leaves the game.


  20. Post game, Adelman said he pulled Yao because he was tired and didn’t put him back in because it was the end of the road trip with Portland and Orlando up next for them at home, and he needs Yao fresh.

    But you’re right, w/o him nobody can generate offense.

    Also, the shirts are “banging with Mbenga” but I think it’s a huge oversite not to have it mbanging.


  21. Kurt,

    Yeah. All those people wearing the shirts, one of them should have caught that.


  22. The Dude Abides April 3, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    220. Hmmm…sounds unintentionally dirty. Or maybe it really is intentional 😀


  23. now we’re one win away from HCA.

    and i believe we can get it, just like last year
    in the last game.

    cause i think cavs will lose to spurs on sunday.
    spurs needed the win because they have a tough battle for 2nd place in the west with denver and houston.

    secondly, ginobili is back and anyone would agree that he’s the missing link for the spurs.

    although, this ginobili factor should also raise an heighten awareness for us.


  24. oh and i just realize, this win is our 60th


  25. sorry for the triple post, but this is really huge news.

    Thanks for the early news from Kurt
    and now this is the video evidence of Bynum pre-game workout.

    i would say he’s really getting better.
    and i think his shoulder and hands is bigger than before his injury.
    can any1 confirm this?

    again sorry for the triple post.


  26. This was a great game to watch and think about. With outstanding play by Yao and great defense, the Rockets were in it until Yao wore down. Ron Artest brought his A game, and Shane Battier did due diligence with Kobe, making key baskets as well.

    Still–Kobe was rested and sharp, and Gasol got precious minutes on the bench watching Mbrilliant Mbenga manhandle and tame Yao. By the time Gasol reappeared, exhausted Yao watched from the bench: Pau, Pau, Pau.

    Even Ron Artest was beaten into submission in the end. Shane Battier was probably remembering happier days–when Pau Gasol was HIS teammate!


  27. wondabop,
    Yao normally plays in crunch time. At the end of close games Adelman will do the offense/defense thing w/Yao and Hayes,as Hayes is best Rockets low post defender and is agile enough to switch to a SG/SF and guard them.
    The Rockets problem w/Yao in crunch time is they rarely get him the ball.

    Tonite the Lakers did an excellent job of choking off the lane. The Rocket guards just weren’t tall enough to penetrate and kick-out.

    Anyone still wishing the Lakers had trade for Artest this past summer?

    Cleveland sure has problems against good teams when they’re on the road. I just don’t think they’re going to go 12-0 at home,so I have my doubts about them making it to the Finals.

    Finally,as to Lakers and rest,so long as they take care of Dallas in 5 games-or less-they should get a couple of extra days waitng for the 4-5 winner.


  28. BTW,sorry for the spelling errors. Hard to type when you’re po’d at your team 🙂


  29. Stephen,

    I concur that the Odom for Artest and Kenny Thomas trade would have been a bad idea, but to be fair to Artest, he’s basically asked to generate all the offense for this team when Yao is off the court. Their role players can’t create their own shot, and Artest is often forced into hero mode, as we saw during the closing stages of tonight’s game, in these situations. Put McGrady and Yao on the floor, and suddenly the floor is spaced more, Artest can cut to the rim with his strength and act as a catch-and-shoot guy, which he’s great at when his feet are set. Similar situation with our team — he can play the two-man game with Gasol, act as a cutter like Ariza does except with strength rather than quickness, and can benefit from Kobe’s drives by acting as a catch-and-shoot guy.

    Now, again, trading for him would have been a bad idea — we would have been saddled with Kenny Thomas’ awful contract and lost Odom — but don’t discount the situation Artest is forced into right now. It will be interesting to see who wants him this summer. He’s basically cleaned up his act, but Detroit doesn’t have much reason to offer him a contract, and OKC and Memphis don’t want him around their young players. It will probably come down to a MLE bidding war among playoff teams. As for us joining it, it’s doubtful and depends a lot on whether we can resign Odom and Ariza and for how much.


  30. Just got back from the game and ESPN Zone, which btw has excellent food.

    Some notes from the game,

    First thing I saw was Bynum hitting shots on the floor, I smiled.

    Josh did practice dunking in practice, cut him some slack, b/c he’s not the best finisher in the league, but he was very effective in the game with his jumper. Excellent complementary piece in the triangle.

    Sasha and Farmar practice half court shots for kicks and giggles. This is how their shots resulted: Sasha, airball, airball, and backboard rim. For Farmar: airball airball, backboard. C’mon globetrotters hit that shot with ease!

    The guy at half time was hard left, but did at least get the backboard, missed out on $60,000.

    Pau was definitely having a hard time shooting over Yao, but then again who wouldn’t? Most of the time, he was reluctant to put the ball on the floor and relied on pull up jumpers, not very effective over Yao.

    In warmups Farmar doesn’t miss very often, his stroke is confident and finds the net with regularity. Once the lights come on, you noticed hesitation in his movements. He had those two wide open jumpers and just flinched for a second and then took it. There was one time he worked the pick and pop, and pulled with the confidence of a new man and drained the shot. He was ripped by Phil on that blown jump ball situation, and I would assume gets lectured a lot b/c of his age. It looks like the repeated shortcomings have finally started to get to him. I hope Farmar finds a way to get his mojo back. As a player his offense dictates his game, and if his shots don’t fall, he loses focus and becomes an inept player.

    Kobe Bean Bryant. I am so glad he didn’t make it a point to go mano a mano against Artest or Battier the whole game. He was feeling out the defense and was playing the initiator role for almost the entire game. He reads the floor so quickly and it makes me think of him as a genius the way he plays. The knowledge of where guys are, and the passes he’s able to make. Watching him play definitely tells me he’s thinking out there, his basketball IQ was transparent.

    Like many others have said, our defensive rotations were very solid tonight, except for the corner threes that we continue to allow, but it is allowed b/c of the principles we follow on D. So if that’s the way they draw up and accept, I guess it’s the poison we’re willing to take.

    Playoff atmosphere, can’t wait for the real deal.


  31. Mbenga really surprised me tonight. What you saw tonight was Kobe in playoff mode. When he wants to set ppl up he is scary.


  32. Absolutely thrilled with the Lakers’ defense tonight. They were hustling on their rotations and challenging shots. Very very satisfying. I’m going to have to believe that the troubles on the road trip had more to do with boredom than inability. (I’m going to pretend that I did not notice the hiccup with the 2nd unit in their in the second half.)


  33. I think the “Andrew Bynum?” soundclip of Kobe still holds.


  34. The Hollinger rankings have changed rather dramatically. The Magic are now #1, the Lakers #2–then Cleveland and Boston. Another surprise is that the rankings have Portland ranked the next highest of the Western Conference (at #5).

    It makes a lot of sense to me. Both Orlando and Portland may give the Lakers all they can handle in the playoffs–if they get that far.


  35. I really don’t see Phil trying to develop any of the shorter PGs – he already has two – so that really leaves only two possibilities…
    1) Trade for a taller PG that is under 30 and has defensive and passing skills.
    2) Develop Shannon Brown.

    While we may like Darren Collison, his size and status as a rookie really don’t make him a good fit for the Lakers next year.


  36. Travis Y. hit on a point I noticed during the game and was going to/will bring up in the next game post — the Lakers second unit is hesitating in games. There were multiple times where Luke an Farmar in particular had an open shot but thought about it looking for the pass or putting the ball on the floor, then took one dribble and went up after all but by then the defense had closed. It’s in their heads. He’s right that before the game they don’t have this issue (although, to be fair, all NBA pregames are kind of like that — unguarded in practice you’d be shocked how little these guys, all of them, miss).

    If they could just get back in the flow, if Sasha could just catch and shoot and not shoot so much off the dribble now, I think they will bounce back, but they have to get that confidence back, somehow.


  37. Also, out of instinctual habit, I deleted a few comments and edited other posts talking about Mark Stein listing Jason Kidd as a possibility for LA.

    Upon further review: I should not have. My bad. I cannot, however, undo that decision and repost those. So, if you want to put up those posts again, something along the lines of what we’re thinking, go ahead.

    For those that missed it, Mark Stein said that the Lakers would be one of three teams in the bidding for Kidd this summer, but could only offer the MLE. The others that might want him also were MLE only teams (I think).

    First, the now-gone commenters are right that we only go after Kidd if Odom or Ariza cannot be resigned, and I’d rather have those two and one more year of Fish and Farmar than Kidd. If we do go after Kidd, no more than a two-year deal. He is better than what we have right now, but he is old.

    Which brings us to the real problem — Farmar is not the guy. So we need a new PG heir from somewhere. This draft is the deepest one with PGs in years, but I’m not sure if the ones I would want would be left when the Lakers will pick 29/30. This is where the scouting comes in. Guys I like such as Maynor are not going to fall that far, but is there a project sleeper that could? Someone who with a year of heavy D-Fenders rotation could come in a couple years an be a help? Kidd would be a stop gap, but does not solve the problem long term.

    So, please pick up the Kidd discussion in the comments today, and I’m sorry for cutting them. This comment thread can deal with it on a Saturday. But come gametime Sunday we should move on.


  38. Lamar Odom postgame quote:

    ““I think it might be a good idea, for Andrew to start (when he returns) because our first unit is so strong, especially with shot making, having Kobe and Pau out there.”


  39. Kurt @ 237.

    Some Point Guards that might be available later in the draft are Sergio Llul from Spain, Aaron Jackson from Duquesne, Nick Calathes from Florida and maybe Darren Collison from UCLA.

    I’m not a scout so I won’t pretend to be one here, but Calathes seems like he might be a great fit in the Triangle Offense.


  40. Odom brings up a good point. Being the main option for the second unit might be putting too much pressure on Bynum when he returns.

    But I think it really signals Odom’s willingness to return to the bench if it is asked of him.


  41. 1331, I understand why you picked the Spurs Cavs game this Sunday for another possible upset, but don’t they play the Hawks tonight? (I don’t have access to their sched) and that would be bak to back to back, so I’m not sure.
    but my point is, the Cavs have a pretty tough overall sched to finish out I guess, the Hawks are nothing to overlook, (as we know too well).
    and the Lakers have to be very careful not to overlook the Clips and the Kings, our next 2 games.
    time to sharpen the FOCUS!


  42. nice to see the team playing with some energy and joy. good to be home. very effective game by Kobe. they finally got the message to “feed feed feed the Pau”.

    I think we still have a tremendous uphill battle for HCA. @Sac and @Porty will be brutal. I think we have to count on losing at least one more. Will the Cavs lose at least 2 more? And the minutes Pau is racking up is crazy. don’t big men need more rest than others?


  43. I think the HCA discussion is much to intense for the impact it could have on us. If last night was any indication – with Kobe in transcendent mode – I think the Cavs will have a tough time with us, if they get that far.

    Jason Kidd: My earlier, erased comments, about him was that having both he and Fish as the PGs next year eliminates any ability for us to give minutes to a younger guard we are trying to bring along – say Shannon Brown here. That is the reason I don’t think Mitch will bring in Kidd. The talking heads don’t seem to see the development problem in bringing in Kidd. Our team is really a younger team and having one position dominated by two, at the end of their careers, players is very poor planning. The Lakers are not poor planners.


  44. It looks like my comment was one of those deleted.

    I think Kidd would be a good fit for the right price ($5M for 2 years) if he could maintain his current level of play. He has the size, versatility, and basketball IQ that Phil would want from a guard in the triangle, and he has become a very good spot-up shooter, hitting over 40% from 3 since being traded to Dallas. Of course he struggles with the smaller, quicker guards but he can still defend bigger PGs and swingmen pretty well (as opposed to Farmar, who as far as we can tell can’t guard anyone).

    This would of course leave the Lakers with 2 senior citizens – Fisher and Kidd – at PG, but the Lakers could conceivably draft a younger player to be groomed by the 2 vets for a couple years and then take over.
    As Kurt points out though, retaining Odom and Ariza is the priority, and if they are re-signed I don’t the Lakers will shell out for Kidd on top of that.

    That being said, it would be pretty funny to see Bynum catching lobs from the guy who Kobe wanted to “Ship his a$$ out” for… 😛


  45. I figured out what’s wrong with Farmar. He’s the only player on the team who wears Adidas. Everyone else rocks Nike’s. then he can stop hesitating and “Just do it.”

    I know. That was corny.

    Chris H,

    The NBA never schedules back to back to back.

    We have to take care of business, but the Cavs also have another game against the Celtics. It’s in Cleveland, but Boston beat them last time, and it should be a great game with or without KG, because the C’s will want to prove they can go into Cleveland and win.


  46. remember, we can use LO as a PG in the tri…
    Ron Harper was the best though, in my opinion.
    who out there can be a ‘harp’?
    what’s the situation with Jamal Crawford? if the W’s buy him out, can another team get him on ‘the cheap’?
    (kind of like the way we had DJ Mbenga, and the Mavs were paying his salary?)
    Crawford can really shoot, and can play imho.


  47. Kurt,

    I think your initial instincts were correct. There is no doubt that a veteran like Jason Kidd, talked about as a potential Laker for years, would merit consideration at the right price for next year. However, speculation seems premature to me. We first need to see how far the Lakers advance into the playoffs. It will make a huge difference if the Lakers win the NBA championship.

    I think that it is likewise premature to dismiss Jordan Farmar from consideration. His fate will also ride on the Lakers success in the playoffs as well as his performance.


  48. One other thought on the draft and PGs: When you pick at the end of the first round, you take the highest player on your board regardless of position. The guys drafted there do not come in and make an immediate impact and often do not even stick long term. You need a guy that contribute anywhere at that point.

    The last few guys taken 29th (for example): DJ White, Alando Tucker, Mardy Collins, Wayne Simien, Beno Udrih, Leandro Barbosa.

    Some decent guys there, but a mixed bag.


  49. @ chris h
    I don’t think cavs will play atlanta anymore this season, so I will assume u’re referring to the spurs.
    As for other cavs games, I think they potentially lose are boston game and one of the philly game.
    Because these two teams is fighting for playoff seeding. (Boston vs Orl and philly vs miami)

    As for the wiz game at cavs home court, I think cavs will definitely rebound from the last game.
    And it would be hard for wiz to maintain their energy level in road games.

    Ok, I will have to talk about lakers now.
    I think we have potentially lose game with portland. Utah n denver game should be interesting.
    But as long as we don’t play like hell-bad, we should be ok.
    Utah is known as teams who plays worse in road games. Denver is still trying to find stability.

    So I really think HCA is a probable scenario.

    Lastly, I don’t think jamal crawford is the guy we’re looking for.
    PG in triangle shouldn’t be volume shooter.
    The guy I like the most is ramon sessions. He will be great pg in our system.


  50. 1331, you’re right, my bad, it’s Orlando who plays the Hawks tonight. got the Cavs and magic mixed up in my head.
    so are you saying Crawford is not a ‘volume shooter’? I don’t know if I agree on that.


  51. What would the Lakers do without Pau…

    I think Phil it’s abusing of Pau’s minutes a bit… he needs to rest more for the playoffs… plus he is not using him enough on offence right now in my opinion…



  52. Harper is a good example why Kidd’s age could work. They are both big guards who could defend decently, and Harp was rolling around with one good knee. Kidd is fairly healthy. But I still don’t think it’s a route we should go, especially if we win it all.

    No way we’d get Ramon Sessions. Milwaukee traded Mo Williams because they knew what they had.

    I’m waiting for OJ Mayo to become our PG one day. Wishful thinking?


  53. Most mock drafts have the Lakers taking Wayne Ellington. He has a nice mid range and pull up jump shot (don’t know about long range) but he is not a PG and he is not strong/big enough to be a good defender.

    Nick Calathes might be a good choice for the Lakers, bit of a gamble but most players at that pick are.


  54. “But he knows he has to step it up and he’s done a terrific job of playing the kind of minutes that are really a compliment to him, to be able to take care of his body and compete at this level.”

    This Phil Jackson quote confirms suspicions I have had as to why he’s playing Pau such heavy minutes. I think Phil believes (And we all saw it) that Pau’s conditioning was a factor in the playoffs last year. He ‘s playing him so many minutes to keep him in good condition. I don’t know what kind of worker he is off the court, but a lot of “burn” will put you into a shape that conditioning can’t. So what to us may be perceived as borderline abuse , Jackson sees as a tangible means to toughen/strengthen Pau up for the playoff run, which as Kurt frequently mentions, allows for plenty of rest between games once they begin.


  55. man, for this whole 7 game-13 day road trip it’s been obvious to feed it to Pau more consistently, or at least more than only the few touches he would sometimes recieve in the 2nd half. pretty funny we actually kept feeding Pau in a game where we are now facing a 7’6 guy, and who happens to be the best center in the game. rather than versus someone like a dan gadzuric/villanueva(mil), okefor/diaw(cha), horford/pachulia(atl), brook lopez/ryan anderson(nj), kwame/mcdyess(det), kristic/collison(okc), noah/brad miller(chi). you can tell yao’s height and long arms gave gasol trouble on his usually effective 17 footer. but I definitely was glad to see us reverting back to feeding gasol often and making him our focal point of the triangle, no matter who is guarding the most skilled big man in today’s game. we really seemed to stress that last night. maybe some of pau’s touches on the road had to do with fatigue, but whatever it is I am glad that is not the issue anymore. gasol doesn’t need to pound everytime down, I just love it when the ball is in his hands. reads the defense well, can use/finish with either hand, awesome shooter, and can make that hockey assist to an open man.

    as for kobe, shades of last yr’s black mamba was unleashed last night. the most efficient I’ve seen him play in a while, especially after horrible shooting nights on the road. and the fact of the tempting battle between artest and morey’s battier looming on a nationally televised stage, and his new millions of china’s kobe-starved fans tuning in to watch yao and kobe go at it. but kobe kept within the triangle, even after hitting his patented back to back long 3’s. just an awesome game to watch. usually is when we face houston. and even sweeter that we completed the 4 game sweep.

    ahhh, life is a lot sweeter back at home in sunny california.


  56. @ chris h
    actually i meant the other way around. i think jamal crawford is a type of player who needs to shoot a lot to be effective.
    And i don’t a PG in triangle offense should do, in fact, any positions in triangle offense shouldn’t be a volume shooter, except maybe if you could hit shots from anywhere, like kobe does when he’s on fire.
    Triangle offense is really a system where everyone needs to read the defense and share the basketball to increase better FG made opportunity.

    yes, i agree. it would be very hard for us to take sessions from bucks. But i am still hopeful since bucks is a small market and the economic recessions might push them to trade sessions for expiring salary cap, which we will have around 6mil (? – morrison and farmar)

    i think your point has its merit.
    During most of lakers game, gasol is far more productive in the first half compare to the second half.
    Apart of that is because we move away from posting him up or just pass the ball inside, but i also think gasol is less assertive in the second half.
    i don’t know why, but it is possible that it is due to his conditioning.
    A talent like gasol should be assertive, especially when he’s playing with our bench, and sometimes (other than we just don’t give him enough ball inside) gasol actually somehow reluctant to exploit offensive opportunity for himself in the second half.

    this is of course, my random observation.


  57. Great title from David Friedman:

    “Kobe’s Complete Skill Set 4, Houston’s “Advanced Stats” 0 ”


  58. Gatinho,
    Man you come up with some great insights.

    …and the rest of you talking about getting Kidd. What exactly does a Fisher & Kidd backcourt give us going into the future beyond next year? How does all this mesh with our 27-31 year old players and our 21-23 year old players? I just think we will be left with absolutely nothing, with regards to a developed triangle PG beyond next year.


  59. My previous post was deleted, but I do think Kidd would be a good fit. He ironically operates better in the uptempo style the second unit usually runs because he makes far, far better decisions on the break than Farmar, and we have big men and athletic swingmen who can run on the break. He’s also improved as a spot-up shooter, as he’s shooting 40% from three-point range.

    This is naturally after resigning Odom and Ariza, which obviously takes precedence in this situation. If we can get both for a decent amount, then maybe Kupchak will start the search for a point guard in the summer.

    Like people have said earlier, with our position in the draft, we take the best talent that is available. That means taking Wayne Ellington, Sam Young, or Chase Budinger over need picks like Darren Collison or Nick Calathes. It’s hard to see us resolving our point guard situation in the draft unless someone like Eric Maynor or Jrue Holiday falls down to us (Maynor is a very remote possibility; Holiday is more plausible, as he had a bad close to the tournament and isn’t going to wow anyone in workouts).

    As for free agency, the best point guards available are Miller, Bibby, and Kidd. Miller is probably going to be resigned by Philadelphia unless they find a replacement somewhere. He’s been so essential to their success lately, and I think he would demand slightly over midlevel money. I never really liked Bibby, and while players like Kidd and Fisher have lost a step and can’t guard quicker guards well, Bibby can’t guard anyone. So Kidd is the most plausible choice. As Marc Stein put it, Cleveland, Dallas, and us are the most plausible locations. If Cleveland offers a full midlevel deal for three years or Dallas offers something similar, I don’t think we win that bidding war though. I honestly don’t think he’s worth more than $4-5 million for two years.


  60. Also note that Sasha can always move over to the point and work on his ballhandling over the summer. That leaves us open to sign a wing with our draft pick, and for our position in the draft, we’re liable to get some of the better wing options (Ellington, Young, Bundinger).


  61. Jamal Crawford is going to make something like 10 million dollars next year. No way should the Lakers take on that salary. Just say no.


  62. Hi, I’ve been lurking around for a while and really enjoy reading the discussion on this website. This is my first post and I really just wanna use it to ask a question that’s been bugging me for a while: why forum BLUE and gold? Aren’t Laker colors purple and gold?


  63. 262. Winston, welcome. And you’re not the first person to ask that.


  64. Craig W,
    PG is the weakest spot on the team.

    Getting Kidd would address that weak spot for a couple of years – maximize the opportunity to win while Kobe is still at the top of his game.

    The disadvantage is that in a couple of years, they are worse off then they are now.


  65. Craig W,

    I agree with you. The last My comment said:

    “But I still don’t think it’s a route we should go, especially if we win it all.”

    I was simply stating Kidd could do no worse than Harp, who was alright for us.


  66. I’m not so sold on Jason Kidd. If Farmar can’t keep PG’s in front of him, there’s no way Jason Kidd can; he’s older, slower, and way past his prime. Also, last year under Avery Johnson and the Mavs “Iso-Dirk” offense, Jason Kidd really struggled. It was only after Carlisle took over this year that he’s really had success. I don’t think he’d be so good in the Triangle, which requires a lot of off-ball movement on his part in addition a lot of Kobe-Iso and Gasol-Iso, both things he’s proven to not be so good at.

    I feel someone like Grant Hill would be way better than Jason Kidd. Plus he’d be much cheaper. He can handle the ball, play point in the triangle, and he’s become a semblance of a good defender, a la Ray Allen.


  67. Ah, no wonder, i thought i wrote more than that 😉

    Anyway, what I said was brought up by others, so i guess it’s all good.

    Kidd would be great in the second unit. He could get passes to Pau, Bynum, and even Lamar to boost his confidence. And Kidd giving passes to in-rythm Sasha? I think that would do wonders as well. He’d also be given the kind of freedom Jordan was granted, and I think Kidd’s value will go up as PJ’s retirement becomes more likely.


  68. Here we go again.Not long ago it was”get rid of Odom”,then it was Walton everybody wanted to get rid of.Now,it’s Farmar.I think he’s the guy.The more years he plays and the more playing time he gets,the better he will be.He’s smart and athletic.I don’t think we can do any better at the moment.


  69. The only problem I see with Kidd is defense. We complain about Farmar because he cannot guard ANYONE, well neither can Kidd.


  70. 257
    that was a good article thanks for sharing it 🙂


  71. we could do better at the moment for sure. our depth at PG is really suffering (Fisher, then who?) and I’m not sure playing time is the magic elixir Farmar needs. maybe the pressure of being a Los Angeles Laker — and the added pressure of being the “point guard of the Future” — is getting inside his head. on another team where the spotlight isn’t quite so bright, Farmar may be able to flourish.


  72. Jason Kidd can’t guard anyone? Since when? I know Kidd has lost a step or two but to say he can’t guard anyone is hyperbole. Kidd can still defend. Go ask D. Wade how good of a defender Kidd is. Though its a possibility, I don’t see this happening. I think the Lakers will want to add a young point guard to the backcourt. I think the Lakers will draft a point guard with one of their three picks. I’m hoping that guard is AJ Price or Curtis Jerrells.


  73. from

    Jason Kidd, Opponent Counterpart Per 48-Minute Production: PER 21.1

    Jordan Farmar, Opponent Counterpart Per 48-Minute Production: Per 17.5

    I’m not saying Kidd is a bad player, but claiming he’s anything more than a marginal improvement than Farmar at this stage in his career, given our offense and the way we play defense, is hyperbole. He will not function in the triangle, as shown by his experience under “Iso-Dirk” offense in Dallas, and his defense will only get worse with age. I’d much rather try and develop one of our in-house PGs (Farmar or Brown), over bringing in some stop-gap vet.


  74. Per 48 minute statistic is flawed as only shows Kidd guarding PGs which is not the case. As we’ve seen on many occasions, Kidd also guards some SGs and SFs this season.


  75. Just a FYI for those who havent already heard… Bynum completed a 5 on 5 scrimmage today. Moves fairly well and is pain-free, but definetl out of shape.


  76. Assuming we get JKidd, will it be him or Fish coming off the bench?


  77. 273 – Normally I’d completely agree, I’ve been in the anti-Kidd camp for a long time. However I thought someone did make an astute point earlier. Kidd would be awful as a starting PG. But if he were to play with only the 2nd unit, he’d function much better. The 2nd unit already loves to play uptempo, and despite what PER tells you, Kidd is a FAR superior decision maker than Farmar.

    Whoever said Kidd should play with the 2nd unit changed my mind. As a low-paid 2nd-unit player, an old Kidd would still be one of the better PGs in the league. In fact, at least in terms of body-type/decision-making, he reminds me of the closest thing we’ve had to Ron Harper.

    Ariza/Odom is priority number 1, though.


  78. Remember the Bench Mob at their best, running like mad and playing with supreme confidence? I’m now trying to imagine how that confidence will look with a player/decision maker like Kidd at the helm. Wow.

    I do think that Farmar should not be traded. He’s going through a rough time and may not never be even a solid starter, but I’m not sure we can find a young PG that could do much better. Farmar’s worth keeping, it’s just that our championship window won’t last forever and a veteran decision maker could only help.


  79. Andrew Andrekopoulos April 5, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I am so glad Andrew is almost back to full strength.. We will need him in the playoffs. His absence has given some of the others guys a chance to get some valuable experience that is really going to help this team come Finals time. Something they did not have last year! GO LAKERS!!


  80. I like what Kurt said (off handedly) that Flip Murray would look good at PG in the tri, and he is a free agent this summer, and not one of the high priced ones.
    what if the choice was Farmer or Flip?


  81. Chris H – See, I think Flip Murray has played himself into a possible big payday, though there aren’t many teams that are pg needy. As far as the choice goes, I would choose Flip Murray.

    Another player that I think would be a good fit in the triangle is Jarrett Jack.


  82. I wouldn’t buy into Flip Murray that much. He’s having a good year, but all of his percentages this year are way above his career averages. He’s also in a contract year, we can safely say he’ll regress back to the mean in the years to come. Overall, unless we can sign him for extremely cheap, ie what Farmar makes now, there’s no reason to go after him. He’s not that much of an improvement over Farmar, so I think taking a chance and trying to develop Farmar or Brown is still a better option.


  83. Flip Murray? Really? I haven’t seen a ton of him but he always seemed like a solid individual player who had trouble playing within a team concept. He also seemed to have some mental issues; I expect his play to drop dramatically once he gets a new contract. But I could be wrong, I haven’t really studied him or anything.


  84. E-Roc,

    I disagree about Jarrett Jack. I think he’s a terrible decision maker. I loved it when he played with the Blazers because he cost them more than a few possessions.

    Flip Murray does hit his shots. I’ll give him that.


  85. Wondahbap – Thats possible and his per 48 minute stats support your opinion. I think Anthony Parker is another player that would fit well in the triangle. He can play three positions and guard those positions too. Parker did fill in pretty good while Calderon was out.


  86. Clippers preview post up.

    The PG of the future discussion stays in this thread.


  87. On the subject of Kidd, you get best see his strengths in the Dallas-Phoenix game currently up. If he doesn’t get someone on the break, he just posts up Nash or Barbosa and with his strength, he’s either taking them into the post or finding an open shooter or cutter. He’d be fantastic with the second unit — that much is pretty apparent. As for the defensive numbers, remember that he’s defending both guard positions and for nearly 40 minutes a night. Put him in a bench role, in which Ariza can cross-match against fast point guards and Kidd can guard two guards and Kobe or Sasha can guard the small forward.