Bynum is Back! And Other Thoughts

Kurt —  April 8, 2009

Access E3 2006 - Arrivals

Andrew Bynum is back and will start his first game against the Denver Nuggets (I think Chris Broussard is one of the more reliable reporters out there, so I’ll go with this as real).

On one hand this is a great place to start, a team that does not possess a big body interior threat, so he can sort of ease back in. But the Nuggets are also a hot team (seven wins in a row). There will be no hiding what he can do in a national TNT broadcast.

Best of all, we get to hear the wisdom of The Jet about all of it… well, maybe that’s not the best part.

UPDATE: Here is a little Drew video.

• Jordan Farmar has become the new whipping boy for Lakers fans. And he isn’t getting much love from Phil Jackson either — he made two nice plays back-to-back last night, followed by one bad decision going into the lane rather than running the offense. Shannon Brown was up off the bench and in.

Sometimes we can get sucked into these things — Brown is a fantastic athlete and we want the guy with the potential, not the guy we expect more out of. But Brown is not making all great decisions and Farmar is not making all bad ones. There are discussions to be had bout next year, but that is not until after the playoffs. We need the guy playing the best right now to be the guy in the game.

Kwame a. broke it down well in the comments:

I think Brown’s minutes in the playoff will depend on 1) Farmar’s play, 2) Brown’s play and 3) the matchup (I think Brown would get minutes against a D-Will, see last year’s playoffs for my reasoning).

•I’ve taken part in the Blogger Knows Best series over at Hoops Daily. (Feel free to question whether I know best, my four year old daughter certainly does.)

If you’re not familiar, Hoops Daily has stuff like the Value Board where you rate the top 50 players in the league (Kobe is ranked 5th, right below D. Wade), and your opinion is compiled with others’ into a Consensus Value Board, creating something like a super smart public opinion poll. Hoops Daily is also connected to the AP wiretap for NBA news each morning, and has some of the most progressive advanced statistics around.
www.hoopsdaily.com.

• This is a question I have asked a few people: Who is the second best team in the West now? Denver? Utah? Houston? The question isn’t who we want/don’t want to see in the Finals — that is too far off and there is too much work to be done to get there for that to be a concern. I’m wondering who is the biggest challenge in our conference?

Kurt

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104 responses to Bynum is Back! And Other Thoughts

  1. I thought Farmar was drastically improved compared to the last month or so last night. He made much better decisions and changed up the pace of the game for the bench. My major issue with him is he always seems to start the season great and come back to earth (and start digging his way to China) as the season progresses.

    As far as 2nd best team in the West I’d probably go with Houston. Denver might have the record right now but I think they are the one team everybody in the west playoffs hope they see.

  2. The teams below us in the west are too inconsistent for any one of them to be considered #2. Houston is impressive over Orlando, but other nights fails to impress.

    I put New Orleans as the #2 team/ team I’d least like to see in the conference playoffs. Chris Paul is the best player not named Kobe coming out of the west, and with West and Chandler, they can compete with us if playing at their best. I’d put Utah next, as a healthy Boozer and a 3-point Okur are alot for our bigs to handle. Plus, Deron Williams tears us up.

    Denver doesnt have anyone who scares me that we cant match up with, and Houston will have Ron Artest shoot them out of many a game, as he forgets Yao can te if he lets him.

  3. Denver is the second best team in the west, with probably Houston right behind them. Portland is probably up there as well. NOH has too many injuries, and Utah is not good enough on the road.

    Drew being back is good news.

    Brown is insanely athletic, but he makes poor decisions, has a very inconsistent J and is unfamiliar with the offense. He will not take Farmar’s minutes (at least not this year) unless Farmar is playing really bad and he is playing well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bigger lineup with Ariza and Sasha in the back court, but only if Odom is the game giving the Lakers another ball handler.

  4. we want SA, Dallas, Denver. Houston, NO and Utah could be tough. avoid Portland!

  5. I know there’s no love lost for K Smith at FBG, but I have to admit, I usually agree with the real Jet’s insights. Unless it’s all-star picks…

    2nd best team, who knows. They’re all pretenders anyway. About who poses the biggest challenge, I’ll say Denver just because of the pieces they have and it’s time for Melo to make some noise. However, they’re not really better than their competition. And of course, not good enough to beat us. My unsolicited thoughts:

    Houston – I’m just not a believer. There’s no way Von Wafer & Aaron Brooks lead that team deep in the playoffs. And can Yao ever dominate a series and get his team a W? I’m starting to doubt it.

    New Orleans – Something’s not right about that team. It’s like they thought the WCF would be automatic for them after last year. D West has dropped off from last year. And Peja has never showed up in the playoffs. This year won’t be any different.

    Portland – Everyone says sleeper, but I don’t see it. This is the NBA playoffs, not the NCAA. No one on that team has won anything in the L. First trip to the playoffs; New kids on the block never go far in the NBA. 1st round exit.

    Utah – Porous D and doesn’t play well on the road. Not a recipe for playoff success. Is Boozer even still an elite player after last year’s playoffs and this season? He’s starting to remind me of Jermaine O’ Neal a little. Lucky for them they have some other effective players…and Deron Williams.

    San Antonio – The obvious, no Manu. The not so obvious, father time has set his sights on Tim Duncan. It’s all downhill from here…

  6. If Drew is really starting, I stand corrected. Not the first time.

    The team that matches up with us best is Portland, but they are the least experienced. Houston has Yao, but no one really behind him and the other matchups favor us. Utah is brutal, but they have to learn to win on the road, against a very good home team (us). NO has Chris Paul, but injuries will probably doom them. That leaves Denver – are those cheers I hear in the background. With Chauncey I say beware.

  7. Portland seems like our biggest threat, although who knows how they’ll fair in the postseason.

  8. Sweet!

    I’ll still wait until I see him on the floor playing until I exhale.

    I don’t know who #2 is because I think they could all beat each other. I would agree with Bryan that NO has a player who could control a series by himself (CP), but they aren’t as good or sturdy as last year, and I don’t think they’d beat Utah, since Deron owns Paul head up and Utah is gets bogus calls (ummm. …tough) at home, but they can’t win on the road. The Rockets are a team that can’t keep Yao involved in crunch time, is full of role players who think they’re the go to guy, and has Ron Ron as the leader. Potland sems scary, but this will be their 1st go round. Can they do it on the road? They haven’t in the regular season.

    I’m also not going to count out SA against any of these other teams, with or without Manu. Denver just has too much to prove to me in the Playoffs before I can call them the 2nd best team. I know they have Chauncey now, but the rest of the knuckleheads are the same, including George Karl.

    There’s really no real difference between 2-7 to me. Homecourt might decide everything for the other series. I guess I’d still pick SA simply because their coach and top two players are better than any of the other teams, and for some reason, they get it done. Except against us.

  9. I have to agree that Portland is our biggest threat. They match up well at every position, have potentially more depth than we do, and are overall more athletic.

    Houston is also a trouble matchup for us as yow takes our advantage in the middle away. However there lack of a legit closer gives the edge to us I think.

    Of the rest only New Orleans gives me any pause but with Bynum back I dont see them being capable of defending the paint against us.

  10. Best case scenario, Dallas in round one, SA in round two, and Denver in round three, and then how about the hawks in the finals to cap it off.

  11. I think the backup PG job is still Jordan’s to lose. One thing about Jordan, when he is competing against someone he plays better (whether it was smush or javaris) and last night’s performance from Brown just may spark Jordan more than anything Phil or the staff could have done.

  12. coffee is for closers April 8, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Seems like all the rest of the West has some fatal flaw, and it really could be anyone (except mavs) that the lakers see in the WCF. I’m actually more concerned with whom they play in the first round. Why? Because it seems to me they’ll still be adjusting to having bynum back and how this adjusts all their substitution patterns. Once they have a series under their belt, i expect the team to start firing on all cylinders. I’d rather not see portland or utah in the first round – would love to see dallas. I agree Portland is too young and inexperienced, but they really believe they’ve got the lakers number. Add to that the raucous crowds, and if you give them a little hope in that series, you’ll end up fighting for your playoff lives – see Celtics v. Hawks 2008.

  13. the reason behind bynum getting the start is that PJ doesn’t want bynum to cool off while sitting on the bench because of his injury. since his body will be ready right after shoot around he figures starting would be the better option.

  14. KURT

    Farmar’s whipping boy status is well-earned.

    I was never fully on the “let’s bash Luke Walton” bandwagon, because I could see that even though his shooting was maddening, at times, he still did a lot of good things while he was out there in terms of running the offense and (mostly) making good decisions. You could tell Phil felt the same way, because he continued to play him – which is a pretty good measurement. When Walton misses easy shots, they are at least within the offense, and not off crazy drives where he’s trying to play outside of himself.

    Farmar, on the other hand, infuriorates the Laker faithful so much not necessarily because we can see so much potential being wasted, but because we’ve all realized that he’s not heir apparent at point guard – he’s a limited role player.

    Worse yet, he’s a limited role player who plays like he thinks he’s Kobe Bryant (and has the same discretionary exceptions afforded to him).

    When Kobe comes down and jacks up a bad shot outside of the offense, one of two things happens (mostly):

    1) He makes it.

    2) He misses, and then plays defense angrily, trying to make up for the miss.

    When Jordan comes down and jacks up a bad shot outside of the offense, 90% of the time, the following happens:

    He misses, then gives up an easy shot on the other end of the floor, because he’s still thinking about the miss and/or complaining to the ref.

    Farmar’s attitude/body language is just awful, and that negatively impacts the team (the “Smush Parker effect,” if you will, and yes, I just went there).

    If a player just came in on the second unit and played as hard as he could, didn’t force up shots, and busted his behind on defense, that would be a significant upgrade over what Farmar is bringing.

    That’s just the truth.

  15. No more Famar bashing from me today.

    I will say this bit of criticism about Brown:

    Laker fans tend to quckly fall in love with athletic, flashy guards – and he fits the bill. However, as Kurt points out, Brown’s track record aint quite stellar. I haven’t seen enough of the kid to say whether he is just a highlight reel or a good player, so I will reserve my opinion of him for now.

  16. 15. What I’m saying about the Farmar/Brown thing is this is a matter of expectations. Brown came in with no expectations and has shown great athletic ability, so we overlook his outside shot (27.9% on jumpers since joining the Lakers) or other issues. Farmar came in with high expectations, count me among those that though he would overtake Fisher this season. He has regressed, so we are all over him. But is Brown really playing that much better than Farmar, or are we just happy to get anything out of him?

  17. If we’re not considering potential Lakers playoff match ups; I think the Nuggets are clearly the No 2 team in the West. I’ve thought it since they went on the tear upon getting Chauncey. They backslid a bit, and everyone forgot them. But they’re experienced and are the most balanced Western Conference team not named the Lakers (though Utah is close).

  18. Some Guy in San Diego April 8, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Farmar is certainly struggling and a lot of the angst aimed at him is well earned. Hopefully, he’ll figure it out. In the meantime, I’d like to see a little more Brown.. especially running with Sasha and Kobe at the same time.. it makes his shooting weekness a little easier to accept.. and his defense could be very key, as pointed out by Kurt, in certain matchups.

  19. 17. KURT

    Don’t get me wrong – I agree with you in that Brown isn’t necessarily the answer, either.

    I more mean that right now, Brown is pretty much playing for his NBA life, so he’s hustling, and trying to play the offense as best he can (granted, with mistakes – but not the same momentum killing mistakes Farmar makes).

    Farmar is playing like a guy who thinks he has carte blanche and has already won the job of starting point guard.

    Maybe Brown gets comfortable, and starts playing out of control (from what I hear, that’s what was happening in Charlotte). But right now, I feel like Brown is bringing more to the table than Farmar is.

    Then again, right now, Farmar is actively taking things off the table.

  20. cinz,
    I think the reason Andrew is starting may be that that will require only one set of adjustments for him and the team. If he goes to the bench for a few games to get his personal timing and conditioning back somewhat, the team has to adjust to that. If he then goes to the starting line up (and by now, it’s playoff time) everyone has to readjust to that. Based on his style of play, that is a significant adjustment for him (and he is inexperienced as it is) – Pau is switching positions, too, Lamar is switching roles, if not positions, and the rest of the team has to get used to these three players doing things differently. All while trying to get the team into rhythm and get the rotations set for the playoffs.
    I see this as a sign that the coaching staff thinks he is healthy enough to be a significant contributor by the later playoff rounds. I think if they weren’t sure about that, they would have him coming off the bench for the duration, rather than making a major lineup change int he middle of the playoffs.

  21. I think Denver, Houston, and San Antonio can contend for a WCF showdown with the Lakers. New Orleans are in this group if they’re healthy.

    I think Utah and Portland are paper tigers. They can’t consistently win games without getting a boost from their fans and intimidated referees.

  22. I have to ask with all the farmar discussions, if farmar is not the answer and its not likely that brown will ever be a starting point guard, so when do we make a trade of pickup a point guard cos fish cant have that many years left, certainly as a starter

  23. Wow Ginobili goes down and the Spurs get, like, one mention as a possible threat? If Duncan gets a little healthier, they are still an elite team who beat us once. After all, they were #2 in the west most of the year without Ginobili.

    That being said, I don’t feel threatened by the spurs at all =P

    I’d least like to face Portland because we can’t win in Portland. I could definitely see us going to Game 7 against Portland. Which is why I’m hoping they fall to #6 seed.

  24. yes, awesome news. thanks Kurt. the team looks amped up for bynum’s return. I remember how down they all were when he went down. now we’re all smiling, and the bench looks like they’re beginning what could be talked about after the season is over, a great run. odom back to the bench. smooth play. can’t wait for the game tomorrow night.

    but please excuse me, I’m still in a ‘gotta see it to believe it’ stance. haha. still pumped though.

  25. The Dude Abides April 8, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I think Phil got irritated last night when Jordan passed up open 15-foot jumpers in order to drive to the hole and try to shoot acrobatic layups over two bigs, getting stuffed both times. Those are plays that typically lead to fast breaks on the other end, plus Jordan tends to compound the situation by lagging back and complaining to the officials.

    It will be good to get a steady rotation back. If Andrew starts, I can see him getting subbed out at the six-minute mark for LO. The only remaining question would be if Phil decides to move Luke back into the starting lineup, even while still giving Trevor the greater number of minutes at the SF.

  26. 23. James, the smart money says that is something the Lakers will look to do this offseason. Exactly what they will do is a good question (I don’t want to get into that speculation again) but I would bet any trade or free agent pickups will be to deal with PG short or long term. Brown could stick around and be a solid backup, I’m just not sold he can ever be more than that. (Not that you can’t have a nice career as an NBA backup.)

  27. Denver is pretty much the #2 team now. They have a spree of offensive weapons that plays much better with Billups directing the action rather than Iverson and Anthony having a time-share over who dominates the ball on every other possession. Nene is a force in the middle, and is probably the best center among the playoff teams in the West with the exception of Yao and Duncan (if he’s closer to 100%). They have a decent bench with a fantastic scorer in J.R. Smith, a decent backup point guard in Anthony Carter, and energy guys Renaldo Balkman and Chris Andersen. They play in spurts defensively, but most of them have bought into the idea that they need to defend.

    Our big edge over Denver now that we have Bynum back is in the frontcourt. Martin can’t guard Gasol or Odom, and even Nene has bad spurts defensively because he gambles a tad bit too much for steals. Andersen is a high-flying blocker, but will frequently get himself out of position and can be outmuscled in the post. Also, Denver doesn’t really have a Kobe-stopper (or at least, some method of slowing Kobe down). Dahntay Jones is a decent defender, but he’s not going to stay on the court that long as he’s a liability offensively. Anthony has improved significantly as a defender, but he isn’t going to give Kobe major problems. Smith is even more flammable.

    Behind Denver is probably Houston and Portland. Houston’s problem is generating offense, especially when Yao leaves the floor. Artest will throw up bad shot after bad shot, and practically none of their role players can create their own shots. Artest and Battier form what is arguably the best tandem of wing defenders in the league, but as we’ve seen, Kobe has taken it upon himself to torch them whenever he’s out there. Yao also can’t play big minutes without getting exhausted, and becomes a liability in crunch time situations because of his inability to guard the pick and roll.

    Portland is the other team to worry about, but they’ve had such an inconsistent record on the road that it’s hard to throw them a bone. They’re a potent offensive team and have a slew of very long players, but they’re a middling defensive team. Give us Bynum back and Pau back at the four, and Portland will struggle to defend our frontcourt (Aldridge and Frye aren’t exactly good defenders). Oden was supposed to give them a bump here, but he’s very foul-prone and has an underdeveloped offensive game. Roy is definitely a burgeoning superstar and probably the best two guard in the game behind Kobe and Wade, but he isn’t going to carry the whole team.

    After these teams, it drops off significantly. San Antonio will struggle with no Ginobli to generate offense, and as long as Pop and Duncan are on that team, they will be a threat, but I don’t see them taking us past five, maybe six games. Parker and a less-than-100% Duncan can’t carry the whole team offensively. New Orleans has a banged-up lineup going into the postseason and has probably the biggest dropoff in quality going to their bench among West playoff teams. Utah has been awful on the road, and Boozer is not 100% either. Dallas has a slew of matchup problems with us and it’s looking like a first round sweep.

  28. Kurt,

    I also thought Farmar would be our starter by year’s end, and one of my friends will not let me forget it. Fish is his guy, so he didn’t care for it when I said it.

    I don’t think Shannon has played enough to say he’s doing anything, but I would agree, anything from him would be considered good. He could do the same as Farmar and it would seem different, because he’s not supposed to. We all want Farmar to be really good. Expected him to be really good, and he hasn’t been. To top it off, he wasn’t missed when he was hurt.

    I like what Kwame said. I hope the threat will improve Farmar. Along with Andrew’s return. I think he will. There’s a lot on the line for him.

  29. The issue about Farmar is threefold:
    1) He was supposed to be our future PG, but he has tailed off at the end of each year – not even a little acceptable for a playoff team.
    2) His defense is sub par and hasn’t materially improved this year; leading to…
    3) His height is an issue in the triangle system.

    Brown is 6’3″, muscular, athletic, and able to defend bigger people. We will have to see how consistent he can be, but, if he practices midrange jumpshots at all over the summer, he may be a better bet than Farmar going forward.

    In any case, if we sign/draft someone who could eventually start, Brown would probably be a much better backup from a defensive standpoint – Trevor serves that purpose in the starting unit.

  30. Marbury the answer? Just kidding.

    I think it’s pretty clear that Farmar needs to go. The only reason why I’d want him around is for chemistry reasons. Seems like Luke and Jordan really keep the young players on the team together.

  31. Dunk Specialist April 8, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Here is the thing I think people are missing about the whole Brown/Farmar thing, Brown was drafted ahead of Farmar. If he was going to develop a great outside shot or god decision making he wold have done it by now. Farmar is a better player now and in the future (and is younger). Brown is a good back up because he can defend, but he can’t space the floor. That makes him a good situational player but not one that is going to play more than 15 minutes a night. If the Lakers don’t believe Farmar can get it together then they need to go hard after someone they think can start next year. With everyone afraid to spend money this would be a good time to make a steal. Though I steal think the Lakers would be better getting a shooting guard like Crawford (if available) and just playing him at the point.

  32. cinz, the reason Bynum is starting is, (as I heard PJ say about a week ago) because he’s warm after the pre-game shoot around, and he doesn’t want him to cool off before coming in with the bench.

  33. I was never sold on Farmar being the heir to the starting PG position. He’s too overly confident which I think has hurt his game and the bench overall. We don’t need another guard out there always looking for his own shot instead of playing within the system and passing to the open man. I’ve seen him pass up a wide open Sasha too many times to drive into a bunch of taller defenders and jack up wild shots. It’s one thing when you’re Kobe, it’s another when you’re a bench pg. Even with Kobe in his Kobe mindset makes me flinch at times. I don’t want to suffer a heart attack watching Farmar do that too.

    I do hope that the team can find a resonable resplacement or maybe Brown can step up over the summer and be a temp until Mitch can work his magic and steal R. Rubio for us.

    Until then I think that Phil should play whoever is hot and not making too many bone headed plays. I think the backup pg spot will be a touch and go during the playoffs. Good thing we have other backups (Lamar, Sasha, besides Brown).

  34. Between Brown and Farmar, I’ll take Brown for the defense. It may be too soon to tell if Brown is really a better defender, but I like his energy. Farmar brings more offense, but he also brings more stupid mistakes (as many others have noted). What we don’t need from our point guard (backup or otherwise) is someone trying to be a hero, especially in the play-offs.

  35. Kurt is right. We are so disillusioned with Farmar that we let any spark of success from Brown cloud our judgement when it comes to who should be our backup point guard. Who’s to say that Brown, given Farmar’s minutes, wouldn’t be as erratic or error prone? We just don’t know enough about Brown right now to give him the reigns of the second unit. If he steps up and earns it over time, then so be it. But let it be a natural process rather than a witch hunt against Farmar.

  36. The Dude Abides April 8, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    San Antonio is toast. I’m hoping that Denver and Portland end up as the 2nd and 3rd seeds, with the Rockets and Spurs in the 4th and 5th slots. I can’t see the Spurs getting out of the first round. Manu is out, Duncan isn’t Duncan, and they can’t generate any offense when one of those two is off the floor. If the Spurs somehow do make it out of the first round, I can’t see them avoiding a sweep if they play us in the second round.

  37. The Dude Abides April 8, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    One more thing…we swept the Mavs this season, but I don’t know for how many of those games DAL didn’t have Howard. He brings an entirely new dimension to that team, and they are just crushing the Jazz right now. I actually believe we match up very well with Utah, in that if D-Will burns us too much, we can put Trevor on him, and Boozer gets pwned by either Pau or Drew at both ends. Their only real shotblocking threat is Kirilenko, and if he’s occupied with Kobe, then he isn’t defending the rim.

  38. emh101 said it well. Brown’s the new kid on the block so we’re more enamored with him. I think Brown’s greatest use is the same role Javaris filled – motivating Farmar. I do expect to see a different Farmar next year after a full offseason and training camp, because I think he’s the type of player that reacts well to competition.

  39. 31 – “Marbury the answer?”

    I think you may be on to something … but, how will we ever pry him away from the Celtics?

  40. The answer could lie in-house. Sasha improving his marginally PG skills (it doesn’t take a lot to run the triangle, just a higher bball IQ) could be our best option, realistically speaking.

  41. What’s the tie-breaker situation between Utah and Dallas?

    I don’t want the Lakers to face Utah in the 1st round. That’s the one team I’m scared of as a Laker fan.

  42. Snoopy,

    I think that’s something we consider if we don’t find another point guard through trade or free agency. The draft is high on point guard talent, but none of it is likely to fall to us (we’d snap up players like Eric Maynor, Jonny Flynn, or Jrue Holiday if they fell in the draft). There’s a much higher chance of us drafting a wing (Ellington, Budinger, Young) so if Sasha moves to the point then our pick can assume the backup two guard spot.

  43. I am not as down on farmar as others seem to be. I’m not a scout, so perhaps I’m not qualified to make a judgment, but it seems to me that Farmar’s shortcomings this year are things that can be fixed. If he works as hard as everyone says he does, I’m willing to let him work those skills into his game during the summer.

    the thing that is most frustrating for this la-z-boy quarterback is his shots early in the shot clock. It is quite maddening when he doesn’t trust that the offense will get him that outside three all day and that becomes the first option. that being said, two guys named fisher and bryant take that shot too often as well.

    All of this slumpiness doesn’t bother me too much. Farmar is still showing a willingness to pass to the open man on many plays. He’s not exactly the glenn robinson (a friend of mine from philly calls him the black hole. ball would go in to him and never come out. guaranteed shot) of the lakers. farmar has the ability to drive the lane and penetrate with speed, a skill that cannot be overstated. He can hit the outside shot, which is important in the triangle. He’s also got a lot of confidence. I’m not going to fault the guy for having lots of confidence. Of course I recognize that an overabundance of unjustified confidence can lead to poor team play…hmm…that also sounds like one senor bryant ala 2005/2006.

    I don’t believe we’re at the point where it’s time to give up hope on the Farmar. Look at how much crap got tossed Fisher’s way before he signed with Golden State. Look at how well Luke does with his shortcomings. He couldn’t guard anyone that year, and now he’s a very solid defender. Farmar is a player who cares about playing well and winning. He’s young and I still hold out lots of hope that he’ll figure it out.

  44. JJ Barea beating the breaks off Utah. They can’t stop off the P&R. Its hysterical to watch the little guy do work.

    As for Farmar, I’ll just root for him to do well the rest of the way. That’s all you can do. If he makes a mistake, hopefully, Shannon Brown is ready, or insert Sasha Vujacic.

    Javaris Crittenton is/was a far more talented player than Farmar, IMO. I don’t think he was drafted to serve as Farmar’s motivation. I think he had a legit shot to be the point guard of the future.

  45. The Dude Abides April 8, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Utah will have the tiebreaker over Dallas by virtue of a better conference record. I think we match up with either team equally, but Utah is more capable of not getting swept by us because of the referee situation in Salt Lake City.

  46. Phil Jackson was asked at the beginning of the year what Jordan Farmer needed to do to start. He said grow a couple of inches.

    I think Jordan is gone over the summer, or next season. Yes, he gives the team speed, but so does Shannon, and Shannon has the length that Phil likes, with defensive skills that fit our system, and comes at a cheaper price. I think he could be a Josh Powell type next season who plays for the league minimum as a second/third stringer.

    Kurt, I wouldn’t call Denver “a team that does not possess a big body interior threat.” Nene is as big a part of Denver’s success. I think that’s one reason why Phil wants Bynum back tomorrow.

  47. We need to get this nonsense of not having won in Portland since 2005 over and over now. We got handled last time we played in Portland and have given them false confidence against us at their place. We owe Denver for beating us last time as they always will try and run which we just beg teams to do. Get the losing at Portland streak taken care of and sing the praises of Andrew Bynum being back. Speaking of back, I say let AB play with the backup squad and give them a breath of confidence and let them gel for the playoffs or “winning time” as Magic used to call it. Then like ’85 it’s time to get our crown back after losing to the hated green last year. We’ve never won a championship in a year ending with 9, this is the year we change that.

  48. 42, utah owns the tiebreaker. 2-2 head’s up, better conference record.

  49. I completely agree with nomuskles. We all know that Farmar is not the prototypical PG to play in the triangle, but the skills he brings to the table are not to be understated. His instinct to push the pace is what gives our second unit its distinctive identity; it just hasn’t worked since Bynum went down because Odom and Ariza no longer play with Jordan. Insert Luke, Powell, and Mbenga instead, and you’ve got a team that’s just dying to take 20 jump shots in a quarter. If we go back to our original starting lineup, I think we’ll see the tempo pick-up when the bench comes in, and then we’ll start seeing our offense really kick it into high gear when Farmar pushes the ball upcourt.

    When Farmar plays with Sasha, Odom, Ariza, and Gasol, that team is born to run. Replace Gasol with Mbenga, Odom with Powell, and Ariza with Luke, and you’ve got one of the most middling lineups ever. None of those guys are built to run, so naturally that ruins all of Jordan’s positive attributes.

    I also think that the only problem Jordan has on defense is that he’s short. Because he’s so short, he has to stay closer to his man in order to cover his jump shot. Because he has to stay closer to his man, he’s more likely to get beaten off the dribble. However, Jordan plays very solid system defense; it’s when the opposing team gets in transition that we have problems. This way, I believe an improvement in offensive production will lead to an improvement in defensive production.

    I think it’s a little too early to kick Farmar out of town just yet. I’d say we should keep him until his rookie contract expires, and if he hasn’t improved by then, let him loose. Otherwise, we may prematurely give up on a talented player to pursue an aging veteran. And as we’ve seen with the Jason Kidd for Andrew Bynum trade talks, sometimes we shouldn’t give up too early on our prospects.

  50. RE: Farmar

    I agree with Kurt and #32. Farmar is actually a year younger and has had better statistical seasons. Brown is new and has flashy athleticism. I think its still a bit early to give up on a 23 year old point guard (which many say is the hardest position to learn in the nba).

    Maybe I am in the minority here, but I am often much more annoyed by Sasha’s play. Guarding guys who can’t shoot out to 35 feet? Jacking up contested 3’s early in the shot clock, or every time he touches the ball? And his drop in shooting % is worse than Farmar’s! I know he was never the “SG of the future”, but he has the new contract.

  51. 44, nomuskles – I agree with half of that. Farmar’s offensive problems (the bad decisions, the turnovers) can definitely be fixed. Unfortunately it seems like part of that might come from his stubbornness. I was amazed when I read the article about him questioning Phil’s advice even as a rookie. What rookie in their right mind has the moxie to question a coach with 9 rings? That’s not boldness, that’s borderline stupidity. Even Kobe wouldn’t do it. So it might just be a character/mental trait that’s keeping him from getting over the hump. But I do think that his offensive woes can, and will, improve.

    Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for his defense. Qualitatively, just from watching him, he doesn’t have the tools to be a good individual defender or the instincts to be a good help defender. Being 5’9″ myself, I hate saying this, but Farmar’s height works against him. His arms aren’t freakishly long to make up for his lack of height, and unfortunately he’s not terribly athletic. And by athletic, I’m talking about lateral quickness (being able to dunk doesn’t make a person a good defender).

    The only way I can see Farmar improving defensively is working with the trainer Ronnie Brewer worked with, and working physically to improve his lateral quickness. But his lack of size, strength, and length unfortunately make it very hard for him to even be an average defender. Earl Watson comes to mind – he may be 6’1″, but he has a 6’7″ wingspan. Farmar unfortunately doesn’t have the physical tools. If he improves, he may stop being a defensive sieve, but I don’t see him becoming much better than that.

  52. Random but interesting tidbit from a Truehoop reader:

    “A quick look at Basketball Reference found that 13 teams have won at least 65 games. If the Lakers go 65-17, they’d be the first team to win at least 65 without having a winning streak of at least eight games. Seven would be their longest. Very odd. If they win 66 games, though, it’d mean they would have an eight-game streak as they’d end the season on that note. And actually, every team that’s won at least 65 games has had a winning streak of at least 10 games. So even if the Lakers win 66, they obviously will be the first team to not reach that mark. It shows how consistent they’ve been, I think, that they could win 66 and their best streak would be ‘only’ eight games.”

  53. Since Denver will end up w/the second-best record in the West,I’d say that makes them the second-best team. They’re really rolling these past few weeks,so I’d say they are the second-best right now.

    My rankings:
    Lakers
    Nuggets(frontrunners supreme that I doubt go far in Playoffs)
    Rockets(no clear closer,offensive droughts,rebounding when it counts will eventually catch up w/them)
    Blazers(mediocre team defense will be their downfall)
    Hornets,Spurs(crippled teams that could suprise in First Rd)
    Jazz(Hardest to gauge. Seem to be missing something,but a team that is disciplined,has great home crowd and could get motivated to win for late owner. Either go on a long run or exit quickly.)
    Mavs(If their shots don’t fall,they quit.)

  54. Sorry for all the posts, but I found some excerpts from DraftExpress that interestingly reflect the same strengths and weaknesses we see in Farmar right now. So while he may have overall improved since he came into the league, he hasn’t really shored up his original deficiencies:

    “The problems Farmar encountered mostly had to do with his decision making. He would follow up a terrific play with a boneheaded one, trying to be way too flashy and over-thinking things quite a bit. ”

    “Farmar is an unbelievable passer first and foremost, possessing terrific court vision and an uncanny knack for getting the ball to teammates in a favorable position to score. This skill will undoubtedly look infinitely better at the next level when he is playing next to more talented teammates.”

    I do believe that if Farmar switches to a more up-tempo style, especially in New York or Phoenix, the difference will be striking. He doesn’t quite have the green light here in LA that he would in a really free system. He may even put up borderline All-Star numbers in New York (I mean, Duhon did it for a while). If that happens, I’m sure a lot of Laker fans will be bemoaning how we let someone like that go. We should realize that Farmar is a talented player (with obvious weaknesses) that unfortunately, cannot be the heir apparent if we are to continue running the triangle. People always talk about how Mitch does a great job finding player that fit the system, but in all truth Farmar doesn’t fit our real system well. I do think he’ll have a long and productive NBA career.

  55. Portland’s is a matchup nightmare for LA that will only get scarier for the next few years. They remind me of the Sac teams of 2002 & 2003 who gave us A LOT of trouble.

  56. *I’m happy that Bynum is returning to the starting lineup. It restores Andrew and LO’s early season roles and (most importantly) gives us a true advantage against almost every team with Pau going back to PF. It also allows LO to return to his role as the leader of the second unit and hopefully turn all those minus’ on the +/- ledger of the bench to pluses.

    *I’m a guy that has gotten on Farmar a lot recently. Part of that is the expectations game (like Kurt mentions), but most of it is the little mistakes that he should be working out of his game. The thing that still bothers me the most is the post entry problems that he displays on a consistent basis. The missed shots or the over-aggression is something that comes with a confident player and is something that I can live with, but not the mistakes that PG’s should not be making. When was the last time that Fisher threw a bad entry pass? Or Sasha? I can guarantee that it happens way less than with Farmar. And when you consider that passing into the post is a staple of our offense (on both the strong and the weakside) it’s something that he needs to shore up.

    *As for the 2nd best team, the Nuggets are the most complete team ranking 6th and 8th in offensive and defensive efficiency respectively. Utah would be the next complete, followed by San Antonio and Houston. However, Portland is an elite offensive team, ranking even ahead of us. Pace obscures their numbers, but they are an extremely efficient team that has all the ingredients as well as varying ways to score (P&R, post iso’s for Aldridge, wing iso’s for Roy, three point shooting, etc). So despite their youth and inexperience, I actually think Portland’s elite offense is something that can carry them further than other teams that will be in the playoffs. Especially when you combine that with their slow pace, because that pace can disrupt what other teams like to do on offense by slowing down the game and making it more difficult to put up the numbers they’re accustomed to. In the end, I’d say that Denver is the second best team, but right after them, I’d put Portland just because of that elite level offense.

  57. I love what Zephid says. Intelligent post.

  58. the key to beating portland is to limit their offensive rebounds. they rank first in grabbing them and they are ALL OVER those boards. control that aspect of their game and the opposition will come out with the W.

  59. There isn’t a team in the west that would worry me if Bynum’s 80~90% of his early season form.

    Odom going to the 2nd unit alone will create all sorts of problems for other teams, because we usually have a starter with our bench too, and so our ‘2nd unit’ will actually be 2 starters and 3 subs.

    If that starter is Gasol, who has probably been getting a lot of burn with probably exactly this situation in mind, we unleash a great passing O-Gas combo, which will at least keep whatever lead we’ve earned and save Kobe for the 4th.

    And in this setup, I really don’t see any other team in the West really stopping us. Nobody comes close to matching our depth in the frontcourt, and unless we meet Boston, this will be the case in the finals as well.

    I’m kinda worried about Boston (not because Powe is a product of my alma mater ;) ) but I have a feeling that they won’t be meeting us in the finals this year. Orlando obviously took both games from us, but they’re not the greatest home team while we are decent.

    So… yeah, I’ll be watching Bynum carefully and modify my outlook from there.

  60. The Dude Abides April 8, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    The way the schedule appears for the last few games, it’s looking like the seedings will go:
    1. Lakers
    2. Nuggets
    3. Rockets
    4. Blazers
    5. Spurs

    The 6th, 7th, and 8th spots are more fluid. On Friday, the Jazz (31 losses) play at the Spurs, and the Hornets (30 L) start a home and home with the Mavs (31 L). Anything can happen these last few days. NO has two key players currently banged up and inactive (Chandler, Posey) and one guy whose back could go out at any time (Peja). Dallas has one guy who recently returned and is starting to get back in the groove (Howard), and Utah looks to be at full strength.

    I believe Utah will go 3-1 over their final four games, winning at SA and at home against two gimmies, and losing at Staples. NO has road games against DAL, SA, and HOU and a home game against DAL. I think they’ll go 2-2. The Mavs have three games at home against NO, MIN, and HOU, and a road game against NO. I think they’ll go 3-1, setting up a three-way tie at 50-32.

    Utah probably would have the first tiebreaker by virtue of best head to head against the other two teams, with DAL next and NO getting 8th and drawing the Lake Show in the first round.

  61. 56- Darius I agree completely and couldn’t say it any better.

    My stomach drops when I see Farmar’s post entries. I don’t understand that the coaching staff doesn’t hound him for that. They watch hours of film, yet it consistently happens. Find a better angle, make a solid bounce pass, or step around your man and make a one handed bounce pass. If the post player is sealed send it hard and high if the angle is there.

    Was watching that Lakers come back against the Mavericks the other night and noticed the veterans getting the ball into Shaq. It was beautiful, Fox with his bullets, Fish with his high lobs, Kobe with his darts, and Horry with the nice bounce pass. Part of that could be Shaq completely sealing his man, but the responsibility ultimately belongs to the passer.

    I love how Farmar can use his change of pace and get into the hole. That is what makes him a game breaker. What I want to see is if he’s not being effective getting into the hole, he concentrates more on playing tight defense. Farmar like most NBA players is an incredibly proud player. I really wish the coaching staff would play off that “weakness” and make it a strength. Challenge him to not be embarrassed by his man and play lock down D that plays into the team’s defensive principles,

    The last note about Farmar is that he did have a legit knee injury this year and came back very quickly. It takes time to get back into a groove of not only feeling physically capable but also finding success in game situations. With the latest stumble the bench has been experiencing it more than shows that Farmar is the motor and indicator of how well the Bench Mob is doing. I want to see him improve and will continue rooting for him until the coaching staff doesn’t allow me to.

  62. harold , you reminded me that we will probably be seeing alot of Lamar and Pau together, we all know how good they play with each other on the court at the same time.

  63. On the second unit of course.

  64. I think NO in the first round would be tougher than a Dallas or Jazz match up, so I kind of hope you’re wrong, “Your Dudeness”.
    or Dude-arino.

  65. whoa, way too much hate on farmar here. I honestly feel that if we were to let him go, we’d feel like idiots. he’s actually an all-around talent. just makes stupid mistakes at times. someone with his talent would be playing double than what he is on pretty much any other team in the nba. my god, I could just imagine him running seven seconds or less in ny. yeah, he isn’t the strongest or tallest, and turns it over a bit too much, but what young guard wouldn’t without enough PT. I think the injury set him back for sure. then coming back with bynum going down. he and bynum together flourish.

    jordan can dunk amazingly easy, shoot the 3 when he’s on, attack the rim, blazing spped, knows how to finish, great passer/vision. lets not take for granted what he is capable of. but I definitely do understand the frustration, we here in LA are unpatient. we expect dominance. but I like what mitch has been doing as of late, and he has earned my trust.

    also, not to mention the fact that farmar is home-grown attending taft high and ucla, he wants to succeed here as much as anyone else does. but I do highly concur that next year’s final yr on his contract will be the ultimate grading factor, not so much right now. lets be patient with our young studs. life is about to be a lot better thursday night with #17 back.

  66. One of the keys to good long term planning is keeping the players on their first contract for that entire contract – they are the players most likely to make substantial changes in their game. For that reason alone I think Mitch keeps Farmar next year – unless a great deal comes around.

    My issue with Farmar is that he has seemingly run into a rookie wall in each of his first three years. Is this becoming a trend? If this is his MO then I don’t think he has a future as either a starter or backup in the triangle system. He is too short and light (his body type is not going to get real muscular) for this system, without consistent, relatively mistake-free play.

  67. Does anyone have any thoughts on the idea of Ariza also going back to the bench, with Bynum set to start and take Odom’s spot in the starting line-up? To me this would seem like a return to the early part of the season were Ariza and Odom got out in transition, and subsequently the bench was proving to be effective. If the second unit can get back to their running game with Odom leading the way, wouldn’t it be best to match Ariza’s playing time accordingly so his talents could be maximized? I’m sure everyone remembers how effective he seemed earlier in the season off the pine.
    Also, with Bynum back, the team will look to get the ball inside more as we will have an extra threat in the post. Walton could obviously help in this regard, providing quality post feeds, if he was the starting 3.

  68. I could see Sasha getting the minutes as the back up PG and possibly the starters minutes if the Lakers can not find another answer in the next couple of off seasons (I could see Fish retiring after next year), especially if we pick up a wing player in the draft that could play back up SG. If we keep Ariza the two can switch off on who is guarding the PG and the wing depending on the match up.

  69. My gut instinct at first was that playing Dallas would be a more favorable matchup for us than playing the Jazz. Now, I’m not so sure. We haven’t played them with Josh Howard this year, and while I think he’s an absolute headcase (Ron Artest-lite), he still adds an explosive dimension on both offense and defense. They seem to be playing much, much better with him in the lineup.

    The Jazz, on the other hand, may be going in the other direction. In their last 3 big away games, they’ve lost to the Suns, Blazers, and now Mavs by an average of 20 points. Their notable frontcourt players consist of a center who loves to drift out past the 3 point line on offense, a power forward still working his way back from injury but still struggles against longer, taller defenders (which we have in spades), and a jack of all trades small forward but a master of none.

  70. the other Stephen April 9, 2009 at 7:22 am

    come on, fellas…don’t you guys think jordy will pick up on your ruthless bashing with those enormous ears?

  71. I’m eager to see Bynum back today. His cardio conditioning was an issue early in the season and I hope that he was able somehow to keep it up during his time off. If it isn’t, then I expect that our opponents in the play offs may try to speed up the tempo to tire Bynum to the point where he spends heavy minutes on the bench or gets taken out of the game.

  72. Wild – The problem is that we shouldn’t feel stupid if he does leave and light it up, because in all likelihood he will play much better in a different team and different system. That doesn’t change the fact that he can’t be the starting PG in a triangle-based system. He’s an amazing talent, to be sure, but people have to realize he might never realize his full potential with LA. It’s the sad truth. And (if he does leave) just because he plays better elsewhere doesn’t mean we should start the histronics. We already know what will happen if it comes to that.

  73. Great comment from J.A. :

    “It’s never enough in Lakerland, where the 60-victory mark wasn’t enough to quell dissatisfaction with some just-enough-to-win performances, most notably a victory over the Clippers on Sunday night that was much closer than it needed to be.

    But while the Lakers are working on details like their dismount, the rest of the West is trying to put together an entire routine. There are details to be hammered out, but ultimately it comes down to this: who’s going to face the Lakers, and when.”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dime-090409

  74. WIld,
    Farmar needs to be able to provide what the Lakers need, which is adequate defense, adequate-to-good outside shooting, good passing within the context of the triangle. What he provides on fast breaks is a “fringe benefit”, but not as important as the others. if he can’t do that, then It doesn’t really matter how well Farmar would do for Mike D’Antoni, there is no point in keeping him. If he goes to that type of system and succeeds, it does not mean that it was a mistake to let him go.

    He certainly has potential, but at this point it is very reasonable to question if he is going to be able to provide what the Lakers need. If he isn’t, then it would be best for the Lakers to make the change this off-season, while they still have Fisher and can ease someone else into the system/rotation.

  75. Was having a discussion about how much Bynum will help the Lakers. My opinion is Bynum will help the Lakers against every team in the Playoffs-except against Houston.
    W/out Bynum the Lakers start Gasol and Lamar who have significant quickness edges over Yao and Scola and are more perimeter oriented drawing the Rocket bigs further out than where they’re comfortable.
    Starting Bynum allows Yao to play a more traditional inside Center and moves Scola to Gasol. Lamar coming off the bench would be guarded by Landry/Artest/Hayes. Bynum starting gives the Rockets better match-ups in their area of strength.(Doesn’t help against Kobe in 4Q,but you take what you can get.)

    The Lakers are much better off facing Dallas than Utah. Utah is very physical while Dallas is not. Dallas wins when they hit their outside shots. Josh Howard is a First Half player,rarely giving anything in 4Q.
    When Dallas misses their shots and falls behind-esp on the road-they quit playing D and rush up hurried 3s.

  76. Thanks for the love behzad.

    I think most of you are missing the point on Farmar. I think we can all agree that he is a bad PG for the triangle; he isn’t the strongest half-court player, he’s too short to be a good cutter, and his outside shooting is suspect. HOWEVER, just because Phil Jackson is our coach and the starters use it, doesn’t mean the bench HAS to run the triangle every time down the floor. Did you see what we did to the Kings? Even off made baskets, we beat them down the floor and our bigs got some great seals in the paint.

    Perhaps we shouldn’t be trying to tailor our roster to fit the system, but instead we should be tailoring our system to fit the roster. Our 2nd unit is one of the best at getting out and running; we should play to that strength, not hinder them by forcing them to run half-court set after half-court set.

  77. The Dude Abides April 9, 2009 at 8:34 am

    67. I posted earlier in this thread about that same topic, wondering if we would move Luke back to the starting lineup if Drew starts. Trevor could still play more minutes than Luke, but would still get plenty of time with the second unit, and Phil could leave either one in to close out games, depending on their play and the matchups.

  78. I think one thing we’re all ignoring is that Phil might not be sticking around for too long after this. He’s had the hip injury, and his contract is up soon. Does his heir continue to run the triangle? If he doesn’t, Farmar might be more of an asset than we think he is now. He’s definitely got talent, and I wouldn’t mind hanging on to him just in case.

  79. In regards to Jordan, we all can’t forget that we may not be a triangle team after next season. Jackson could be out, who knows if we hire “in-house” and even if we do who’s to say Rambis, Shaw, etc. will want to continue running primarily the triangle.

    As I said in my first post, Jordan definitely has his issues, but his ability to basically give us 2 different styles of play should not be overlooked. He’s young, is a pretty good shooter, quick, motivated. I do get concerned with his yearly “rookie wall”, but I can’t help but think he will eventually snap out of it.

    I’m not convinced Jordan is our PG of the future, but I’d definitely like to keep him around. We’ll see what happens.

  80. Farmar is an enigma. Just last week everyone was kissing his a$$. Now we’re hating on him. A lot of you are complaining he was too aggressive. Just last week everyone thought he wasn’t aggressive enough. Which is it? Is it the fact that he’s the only person who can cut and drive to the hoop on the 2nd unit? That’s what happens when you’re stuck on the floor with Sasha, Powell, Luke, and Mbenga/Pau (double-teamed). When Bynum returns and odom comes off the bench, there will be some improvements.

    He needs to show some consistency on both ends of the floor. His defense has improved compared to the beginning of this season.

    Farmar still has a lot of work, especially finishing at the basket and hitting that open 3.

  81. Zephid,
    Even if they look to run, most of the time the opportunities will not be there, and they will need to run the half-court offense. And it’s not as if Farmar has been doing a great job running the break.

  82. I think it was Kwame A. that made a good point about Farmar responding well to competition. The recent playing time of Shannon brown might definitely raise Jordan’s focus and improve his play, as well as the improvement of the bench as a result of Bynum’s return.

    Whether or not he’ll be here next year, or the year after is something I’d rather think about after the season. I do think his leash will be short though, because our bench has to play strong should we play Dallas.

  83. i havent been so excited for a game in a while. I can’t wait to see how the lakers react. I think psychologically, the team will get a wakeup call, know that its showtime with bynum back, and absolutely demolish the nuggets. The nuggets, while good at home, are just not disciplined enough to beat a motivated lakers team at home.

  84. There is no #2 in the west – just 7 teams that know that the Lakers will take them out. They each pose different challenges, but this team is ready to peak. Getting big Drew back and getting acclimated is great. If we win out and Cleveland loses once, we have HCA sewn up for the whole run. The real challenge is to not let these series linger on any longer than necessary. This back to back will be a great test. The current #2 in the west followed by the one road game we can’t seem to win (but hopefully will). 4 games to polish up before the playoff payoff. Go Lakers!

  85. There are many varying mindsets on Farmar, and I think that all of them are valid. I do think he’s a good player. I also think he’s mistake prone. I think he’d do excellent in a system that caters more to his skill set (though that’s true for many players), but I also think he’s got many skills that can be put to good use in our system. I don’t want to get too down on Farmar as I think (like Kurt and several others have mentioned) we don’t need whipping boys on this team and all the players deserve support in both good and bad times. I can say that most players earn the scorn of fans when their contributions seem to be outweighed by the negative things they do on the court. Lately, Farmar has seemingly crossed that threshold into more negative than positive plays and fans are voicing their concerns about that. However, I also feel that once a player gets tainted in that respect, it is hard for people to then see *any* of the positives that the player is contributing….I mean we see it all the time when former whipping boys Luke and Lamar make some bad plays and fans jump to kill them, but when they do something well those same fans are pretty silent and don’t offer any praise. So, in that vein I’m going to continue to look for the positives in Farmar’s game and give him the support that I think he deserves. I’m sure he’ll still do things that make me upset, but that would make him no different than every other player on the team. Plus, Farmar does do lots of things well so it should not be hard to root for the guy. We do need him to play well – because if he does we will be a really strong team as he does bring an element to our team that no other player (besides Kobe) really can.

  86. Zephid,
    I don’t think the Farmar issue is about whether or not he can fit with the 2nd unit. It about the fact that we are in the market for a starting PG and cannot just pick on up off the street, because of the triangle system. We need some time to integrate someone, before Fish retires.

  87. i dont hate farmar nor am I jumping on the bangwagon of making him the new whipping boy but i just dont think he is very good…simple as

  88. Zephid, I think you’re missing our point. Does Farmar (at his best) play well with the 2nd unit? Of course. I’m talking more about whether or not he’s the heir apparent. And if we continue to run the triangle, he cannot be an eventual starter in our system. And that’s not even taking into account he’d have to guard starting PGs.

    He’s a solid role player at best, and if he stays on the 2nd unit he’s valuable to us. But it does appear like we need to look for a different replacement for Fish. That’s all I’m saying, I’m not advocating shipping Farmar out at all. For a backup PG we still have one of the best. And I do expect Farmar to come back much stronger next year with the competition with Brown. I think we’ll see an improved offensive player, although he may never be able to shore up his defensive deficiencies.

  89. Farmar is still a young player at 22 years old. Remember that Ariza, Ginobili, Parker, and J O’Neal and others took time to mature.

    Letting him go would be a mistake. He is still under contract for next season, let’s see if he can’t improve himself.

  90. In terms of the question of whether or not Farmar is the PG starter or backup of the future, I have a slightly different take on it.

    To be fair, perhaps it is too early to judge him based on his performance in a Phil Jackson system. After all, he may be one of those players that is not well suited for such a system. Jordan is a free agent in the overly loaded class of 2010, so perhaps his better option is to stay put here and see if he can outlast Phil and hope for a coach that can better use his strenghts. However, I his “score now and pass later” may not be the best fit in a a team stacked with players like Kobe, Gasol, Ariza, Bynum (and hopefully Lamar) regardless of who is playing. I mean, unless I’m missing something, I think we need more of a distributor/passer than a guy who tries to immitate Dwayne Wade’s basket attack.

  91. Wondahbap,

    You laughed at me when I talked about the Lakers having the ability to win 70 games. You know what. If they had a healthy Bynum the WHOLE season, and pulled off just a few more of those really tight games we lost this season, especially the buzzer beater disasters, we would have had a shot at it. We still have a good shot at 66 if we win out…which we will probably need to do to get homecourt advantage

  92. Interesting article in today’s Wall Street Journal
    Sport section (just trust me, there is one). They
    looked at how teams do in the second game of
    a back-to-back. Utah is the worst (3-16) and
    Denver is second worst (under .500, which is
    a good omen for tonight’s game.) For those of
    you who fear Utah in the playoffs, this is bad news
    as there are no back-to-backs then and Utah’s
    record is Lakeresque if you don’t count those games.

  93. I think Portland’s lack of playoff experience can work in their favor, as they know they have nothing to lose. They haven’t played enough to be afraid of other teams, much less afraid of the Lakers. Throw that in with, as others have pointed out, the best offense in the league, as well as what will likely be a home crowd frothing at the mouth, and they will be a tough, tough out this year.

  94. snoopy/exhelodrvr,

    to me, It just seems that in order to improve(especially with the expectations some of us have here for farmar) you need the reps. yes farmar has logged plenty of mins as a laker. but I’ve always, always felt farmar isn’t being played nearly enough minutes than what he should be. especially when we had smush running point! realistically, he’s a late 1st round pick, not really translating into star pg potential. but I do see it in him, just not with the 20 mins he’s playing each game. I really do see a lot of devin harris in him. its just that jordan needs devin harris minutes. and its unfortunate that jordan can’t see those mins because he plays on a serious contender.

    It’s also hard to gain confidence, when you have such a short leash tied to you. phil is used to having a big, sly veteran running the point in the triangle that limits mistakes and just sticks to running the offense. I feel jordan sometimes jacks up unneccesary shots and forces it a little too much because he’s trying to make something happen in his short amount of mins to stand out a little. just his personality. but rememeber when we had fish, we never thought he was the answer at pg. but when he went to golden state and utah, fans and players were all so enamored with fish. we have never appreciated fisher as much as we do now with his second stay than his first. I just see a lot of the same bashing in farmar right now… solid, solid backup pg. but if given the chance to log more minutes an entire fan base would fall in love with his swag, skills, and charitable work, and the ability to become a great starting point. and then where would we be? stuck with an underachieved young pg that isn’t the answer? sorry, but I DO NOT want to experience the smush era ever again.

    but darius had a great point. after pointing out only the negative aspects in a person, u tend to overlook the positive that person achieves, or have too much pride to admit it.

    I’m confident we’ll see some positive flashes out of farmar in our title run, especially with bynum back. 4 players on the lakers I feel jordan has the best chemistry with: walton, bynum, ariza, odom. in that order. and of those teammates, has really only logged significant minutes lately with luke. now he’ll be with at least 2 of those guys at all times now.

  95. 89, snoopy, your whole point is tantamount on our continuing to run the triangle when the bench comes in. It’s not as if the triangle is some sort of law where if we choose not to follow it, we’re condemned to the depths of hell. Why do we have to continue forcing our subs, who are not best-suited to run the triangle, to run the triangle? This is why we switched to initiating our offense from the weak-side as opposed to the strong-side; it opened up the floor and allowed more space for cutters, dribble-drives, and seals inside. Why force our bench to continue bashing their heads against the proverbial wall when we can instead change our system to complement our player’s best attributes? Instead of forcing Farmar to thread passes into the post, which are more difficult for him because he’s shorter and has shorter arms, why not have him run off picks on the weak-side?

    As I’ve said before, all the crap about Farmar’s lack of defense has been mostly due to A.) Farmar’s height, and B.) transition defense. When we get caught in transition, the rotations are far less crisp as players are not sure what to do, so when Farmar shades a certain direction, the helpers are a step late, and that’s when we give up a lay-up. Whose fault is that, Jordan’s or the big’s? San Antonio managed to be an elite defensive team with Tony Parker at the point, who isn’t exactly a defensive stalwart. We just have to play the right system and get the whole team adjusted to working together.

    My whole point is that Farmar can be our starting point guard; we’re simply choosing to use a system that accentuates his weaknesses and hinders his strengths. I’m not above trading Farmar for equal value; I’m just saying that it’s a little early to completely give up on him being useful to our team.

  96. wild,
    Farmar needs to earn his additional time.

    Lately, with the Lakers trying to get the best record, and with Farmar not playing well, he does get pulled sooner. But in general, over the last two seasons, the team has been practically begging him to take Fisher’s minutes. He just hasn’t performed well enough. That’s not being on a short leash.

  97. Denver preview up!

    And live chat tonight.

  98. The rush to dump on Farmar reminds me of NFL fans who love to cry for the backup quarterback when the starter has a bad day. There’s a reason the Lakers kept Farmar over Crittendon, and there’s a reason Critt has bounced from team to team since then. Likewise, Shannon Brown has been moved a lot for such a young player. Don’t confuse either with gold, at least not thus far.

    The Spurs wanted to deal Tony Parker after he started for a championship team, and had Kidd not re-upped with the Nets that may have happened in 2003. That wouldn’t have worked out so well for the Spurs, sort of the same way Dallas must regret dealing Harris to New Jersey last season. Hell, even Steve Nash was traded early on. And let’s not forget Farmar left college early – he’s got a lot of room to grow (mental growth, if not physically).

    The bottom line is young point guards often need time to develop, so give the kid a break. Those who noted that Phil won’t be here forever were also dead on.

    Farmar can be frustrating now, but he’s got a lot of upside and I think the Lakers would regret the decision if they let him go. I see him as a starter, and a good one, a season or two from now.

  99. Joe,

    What are talking about? I predicted the Lakers to win 70+ this season. Any problem I ever had with you was because of the constant negativity and complete lack of faith you had. When you thought Boston or Cleveland were better than us, and we had no shot without Bynum.

    So please, tell me when I laughed at you for this 70 win remark?

  100. I made a comment saying, if the Lakers were more focused and consistent, they could win 70 games, and then you made a comment in response saying that made it sound like I was crazy for even suggesting the Lakers could win 70. At least that is how I interrpreted it, maybe I misinterpretted your comment. Anyway, yes, since the Lakers beat Boston and Cleveland back to back without Bynum on the road, I have had much more faith in the team. However, I still think a healthy Bynum is a necessary key to winning a championship.

  101. Zephid – of course my point is tantamount to running the triangle (with the STARTERS), because I’m fairly sure we said at the beginning that this debate hinged on whether or not we would continue to run the triangle. It was sort of the assumption that the rest of us were operating under.

    Although I have to say: “snoopy, your whole point is tantamount on our continuing to run the triangle when the BENCH comes in….Why do we have to continue forcing our subs, who are not best-suited to run the triangle, to run the triangle?”

    I’m trying to see the logic there. That makes very little sense with your final conclusion, that Farmar is a viable starter. I’ve never in my life advocated trying to force the bench to play the triangle. Let’s recap, as clearly as possible:

    -we both agree Farmar is a good fit for the bench, because the bench does not run the triangle. No beef here.
    -if we’re operating under the assumption that the starters will continue to play the triangle in future years, and we agree Farmar does not fit in the triangle…then how does he become a viable starter? It’s very simple logic, I’m not sure where the missing link is. Unless you’re saying we should change the system for the starters to match the players. I choose not to question Tex Winter’s 9-ring worthy system, because it makes the most of role players. But it’s an option I’m sure we’ll consider when Phil leaves.

    Wild – I actually agree very much. I’ve said several times over the last month that I’m 100% certain Farmar will have at least 1-2 games in the playoffs where he will swing the tempo of the game and play a huge role in our wins. He’s that talented. The question is simply about consistency as a bench player, that’s all. But we can all see Farmar’s talent, and I do expect him (given certain matchups) to find his groove again at some point in the playoffs.