The Lakers, The Point Guard and The Future

Kurt —  July 29, 2009

Finals
There was only one position last season where the Lakers got below average offensive production — point guard. It’s the only position where when you compare the Lakers PER with the PER of their opponents at the position, the Lakers are a net negative — point guard. I could spend the next 500 words using stats to break down the problem, but nobody who watched the Lakers last season really needs convincing.

The one is an obvious problem going forward. The issue isn’t that the Lakers couldn’t stop Tony Parker, because nobody really can stop Tony Parker with the current rules. The problem was when Aaron Brooks looked like an All Star. And the parade of other Aaron Brookses from last season. Playing the Lakers was like Christmas Day for quick point guards.

Despite the cries of some, this issue is not one for the short term — this season Derek Fisher will start with Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown come off the bench. And, as last season proved, that combination is good enough to win an NBA title.

But this is the position that needs to be addressed as the Lakers championship window moves forward for the next several years. And there are a lot more questions than answers when addressing the long-term issues.

1) Can Farmar or Brown step up and be The Man?
This will be one of the biggest questions for the Lakers as they move through next season — can one of these two take the step forward and be good enough to challenge Fisher for the starting role and thereby take control of it for future seasons?

Reed had these thoughts:

I think that both have potential to be the starter provided we continue to play the triangle and have a healthy Kobe + Pau/Bynum/Odom offensive attack. All we need from a PG with our current roster is someone to hit open 3s and play serviceable defense. With our length inside and Kobe and Artest on the perimeter, we really don’t need an elite defender at the point, but we need someone that doesn’t make Aaron Brooks look like Nate Archibald. Brown has more size and upside defensively, but Farmar has shown flashes. They both have the skills offensively if they can turn into consistent high 30s 3-point shooters.

We all have guesses — I tend to think Brown may physically be better suited to the gig, but I don’t discount anyone with Farmar’s work ethic. Plus, remember that Farmar injured his knee in Miami in December, was forced to sit out a few games, and a lot of his issues with shooting started after that (and mentally started to creep into other parts of his game). I had expected Farmar to take a step forward last season that he did not take, but rather he regressed in every offensive category (the easy example, his PER fell from pretty much the league average of 15.4 to 9.9, evidence of his across the board slips). But he is fully capable of bouncing back; it’s on him (and his next contract depends on it). He and Brown will both get their chances, but do they grab it?

2) What about Derek Fisher? He is slowing, noticeably. That said, his +/- numbers were better than either Brown (by a little) or Farmar (by a lot) last season. In the playoffs it was he who made a key speech the team rallied around, he who hit key threes in the Finals. It was also he that was a defensive liability against the fastest PGs.

This coming year is the last year of his contract, and there is a fair chance that he retires at the end of it. But what if he wants to come back? Zephid had thoughts on this:

I think bringing back Fisher would be a good thing, both sentimentally and basketball-wise. But, it needs to be at the right price. I think a maximum offer of a 2-yr, bi-annual exception level offer would be fair (I know we gave it to Shannon Brown, but something similar in value), but the veteran’s minimum would obviously be preferable. If Fisher is willing to come back for the vet’s minimum, I don’t think there’s any reason why we shouldn’t bring him back.

Basketball-wise, bringing back Fisher after next season only makes sense if we still need one of three things from him: leadership, stability, or mentorship. Our team is still very young and guys like Farmar, Bynum, and Sasha still need some maturing to do before we can allow as strong a vocal leader as Fisher go. Our team needs someone who can keep Kobe in check, not allowing his personality to dominate our offense or our team, and Fisher is the only guy capable of that at this point.

But he — and everyone — admits that if he did come back, it would need to be as the third PG off the bench. His playing days are limited.

3) Who is coaching the Lakers in 2010-11? This, to me, is the biggest (and least discussed) feature in the long term PG decision making. Simply put, if Phil Jackson remains on and the Lakers stick with the triangle, then there is one set of PG needs. If Jackson steps down and the Buss family decides to bring in someone like Byron Scott (just a hypothetical) and the Lakers are moving to a different offensive system, then the needs at that position will be totally different.

This variable alone makes it very hard to say what the long term PG answer is. Reed adds along these lines:

I would probably not address the PG position until we figure out the next coach. PG is so different in the triangle and in other systems. They demand totally different kinds of players. So I say ride Fisher/Brown/Farmar this year and see what Phil does before making a big move for a long-term solution.

Next summer there are going to be a lot of free agents on the move, and with the salary cap expected to fall there will be teams looking to trade assets if a team will take on some salary. The options are seemingly endless.

Eventually the Lakers will move away from the triangle — but will they keep it around while Kobe and Pau are still playing together (even if Rambis or Shaw is in the big seat)? Eventually the Lakers will need a more traditional PG, but when is a question nobody can really answer right now.

So what do the Lakers need to do about the PG spot? Wait and see. Which sucks for fans as we prefer decisive action. But patience has been a hand the Lakers have played very often and very effectively in recent years.

Wait and see if Brown or Farmar can make a case to be the starter next year. Wait and see who will be coach and what system is going to be run after next season. Wait and see if other good options come available.

And wait and see if the Fisher/Farmar/Brown three-headed monster can get the Lakers back into the Finals this coming season.

Kurt

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183 responses to The Lakers, The Point Guard and The Future

  1. Good article. Very well thought out and presented. You are right about the fans. They want that answer now! I an getting used to waiting to see, though. ( Lamar!)

  2. I agree with most of the article but have to say that Farmar would be much better in a non-triangle offense.

    Watching him play it is quite evident that he struggles at times to find a way to contribute when, for the most part, the offense dictates that he makes an entry pass then cuts back door and stands on the weak side waiting to shoot a 3. To me, he seems much more comfortable in a free flowing offense or one where he gets to run the P&R even though few people seem to notice this is probably his best skill (just watch the game he started in round 2)

    I also believe he was slowed more than anyone noticed by the knee injury last year. Just think about the back pick alley-oop that they ran to start quarters so often. Pre-injury almost always successful, post-injury he couldn’t even get up above the rim and it never worked.

    (Full disclosure, I have a giant man crush on Jordan Farmar.)

  3. I’m glad this piece mentioned Farmar’s injury in Miami. The numbers may or may not show it, but he was contributing a lot to the second unit prior to that injury. He drove an up-tempo style that was much different than we saw from the starters, and the opponents really had to face two very different Laker units at that time.

    Once Farmar was slowed and Ariza moved into the starting unit, we really didn’t see that run-and-gun play often anymore.

    Farmar came back and played great against the Spurs in his first game and I think many fans just assumed he was back, 100 percent, much the way we did with Bynum after he played well at the close of the regular season. I don’t think either of those guys were anywhere close to 100 percent post-injury last year.

    That back-cut alley-oop to Farmar was a killer set play before he was hurt; afterward, there were several times he couldn’t get up high enough to make the play. That says a lot.

    Let’s hope he comes back strong again this season, much as he did after his role as back-up was challenged when Mitch drafted Critt a couple of years ago.

  4. Another good option for Derek would be to simply retire after next year and come back on the coaching staff, either as a scout or as an assistant, very similar to Brian Shaw.

    And don’t underestimate the power of the contract year. We will see a much, much better Jordan Farmar this coming season.

  5. Reports suggest that Lamar odom will make a decision in the next couple of days. Let;s just hope he signs and we can all move on…

  6. Haha. Great article, but I wouldn’t call Fisher/Farmar/Brown a 3 headed monster.

    Seriously, though, I really have my hopes on Shannon Brown continuing to develop into the future PG. His performance in the playoffs was what sold me. There are certain players that you see in their first playoffs that you just know will be serviceable role players on any playoff team. Raja Bell (01 Sixers) comes to mind. Just a young guy with talent who played hard and played well when the chips are down.

    Regarding the coaching situation, as long as Kobe is the centerpiece of the offense, I don’t see the Lakers moving very far from the current system. But great point on the Lakers FO being patient regarding the PG situation. We have a STACKED team right now (assuming LO resigning), with or without a PG solution. The talent on this roster could excel in any system. We don’t need to rush into anything long term.

  7. if phil retires after ’10, will kobe want to move away from the triangles and start with a fresh system this late in his career? he’s brought up in this system, and the only year he didn’t play the triangles was the only year he missed the playoffs. I’m guessing that we’re sticking with this offense until kobe’s done.

  8. I’d love to see the coaching staff give some starters minutes to Farmar or Brown. We all know FIsher is the kind of guy you want closing games, but it doesn’t take much to tell that he runs out of gas towards the end of the season if he gets too much burn.

    Putting one of the kids in the spotlight can tell us whether or not they will shine. I’d love to see Phil throw Farmar in the starting 5 against the Spurs and see what he’s got, or throw Shannon in for starter’s minutes to face off against D-Will and challenge him to shut him down.

  9. Speaking of Phil, ESPN’s other resident idiot columnist (Reilly) has ripped on PJ for wearing that X hat after the Lakers beat Orlando, claiming it was a classless “look at me” gesture.

    Had Reilly bothered to do any research, he’d have known that the hat was a gift from Phil’s kids.

    What’s he supposed to do, tell his family, “No, I won’t wear this hat because it may upset some pinheaded Nuggets fan who’ll call me out next month in a dumb column no one enjoys”?

    I hate ESPN sometimes… I really, really hate it. Simmons, Reilly, Berman, Stu Scott, Joe Morgan, (the since departed) Stephen A… I culd go on for hours.

  10. Farmar is a traditional penetrate-and- distribute PG who is better when working at a higher pace, so he struggles at times with being effective in the tri and finding his spots. That said, he’s a solid spot-up shooter, so he can be effective as a triangle point.

    Brown lacks the skillset to be a traditional point, since he can’t really create shots for either himself or his teammates, doesn’t run the pick and roll very well (from what we have seen), and doesn’t really seem to have all that great a handle. But he is almost tailor-made for the triangle in that he can explode to the basket on a give-and-go, is a solid spot-up shooter, and has the size and athleticism to be a solid defender and rebound his position well.

    So we have one potential PG of the future for the tri, and one potential PG of the future for a more traditional offense. Which means that Kurt is right – we can’t make a decision on which one to keep until we make a decision what we are going to do for the long term in terms of an offensive scheme.

  11. Chris J – haha. seriously that article was stupid. Although there was some merit in calling out Federer and Serena. that stuff was pretty classless.

    But the X hat was a gift, no different from the Championship T shirts and hats that the players wear (which he stupidly decided to criticize as well) “you can’t even read what they say”, and “the hats are dangling so you can’t see their faces” Sounds like a political commentary from CNN. Full of spin for the idiots out there. Can’t believe he gets payed for that.

  12. I’d be much more inclined to blame the sponsors that make the T-shirts/hats/sweaters than the athletes themselves. I’m sure if the athlete wasn’t being paid millions of dollars to do so, he/she wouldn’t wear those things immediately after wins. Don’t hate the playa; hate the game.

  13. My biggest fear about the coaching situation is that the team brings in Byron, who I loved as a player. This team’s personnel is perfect for the triangle, and it needs to stay that way. Why fix what ain’t broke?

    Re PG: I hope that both Shannon and Jordan have breakout seasons, and return to the team in 2010/11 along with Fish as the 3rd PG. Jordan and Shannon give opponents two different looks, although I think that our team is gradually going to turn into a more slower-paced team as the players age, which suits Jordan less.

  14. Brian,

    those are my feelings exactly. Farmar is the better point guard, but Brown is a perfect fit for the Triangle.

  15. Agree with Kurt’s analysis. I actually think the Lakers are in good shape for next season.

    Clearly this will be Fish’s last year, and PJ will want to rest him quite a bit to keep him fresh for the playoffs. With two young guys with huge motivation (contract year for Farmar; option to opt out after this season for Shannon), I think it is clear that one of these guys will step up. My money is on Brown, who I think has a bigger upside.

    I liked Farmar in the past, but I grew less fond of him last year. I get that he had an injury issue, but I thought his decisionmaking, as much as anything, got MUCH worse. Moreover, in today’s NBA there just aren’t many guys with Farmar’s build who you can model a game after. Tony Parker (who is taller) and Steve Nash are guys with a lot more talent than Jordan, and they used that talent to overcome their size.

    Brown, by contrast, has the body of the top PGs today. He doesn’t yet have the all around game of a PG, but I’m betting that this can be developed. People don’t generally remember this, but D Will was not a PG in college (think the guy’s name was Dee Brown or something like that). Williams was more of a shooting guard at Illinois, and developed his PG skills after getting drafted.

    Shannon, like D Will, was more of a shooting guard in college. I don’t want to get carried away and call Brown the next D Will, but the point is that guys with the work ethic and physical skills can develop into elite level PGs. Since the Lakers don’t need anything close to a D Will type of PG, I’m hopeful that Brown can develop what the team needs and take over the reins.

  16. I was dissappointed in Youg Farmars progression last year at the point. I hoped that he would have challenged Fish for the starting spot. He got injured, lost his confidence, and continued the rest of the season as an inconsistent player. Brown on the other hand you really couldnt tell as much about because he got to the team late and only had a small sample to analyze. You could see that he was strong and very athletic. He probably could play the SG position on some occasions because of his strength. The ability to play different positons wll set him apart from Farmar this year. I dont think Farmar handles pressure to well, and it shows in his play, he seems to be rushing and not letting the game come to him at times when things arent going his way. Next year one of them will have to take control, and show that they are the point of the future if not the FO will be shopping at the trade deadline or next off season. Fish is not going to be able to play the amount of minutes he played last year and last a whole season. Hopefully Farmar plays well enough, and Brown exceeds expectations enabling him to take over at the point. Famar is worth more to the Lakers as a expiring contract than anything else, the luxury tax is only goin to go down and it is really going to be hard for the FO to sign quality players on other teams.

  17. The point guard situation also relates in an interesting way to the LO negotiations, and emphasizes the importance of getting a good (for the Lakers) price. If LO walks “for nothing” as it is so often put, the Lakers have the flexibility to take on future contract obligations.

    For example, imagine a situation where tough economic times, declining cap and tax levels, a realization that contention is years away, and a great start from Stephen Curry lead the FO of the GSW to regret their long-term commitment to Monta Ellis. It could be that there are few teams willing to trade for him. Maybe they don’t want to take on salary. Maybe they don’t think he’s “all that.” maybe they don’t want to give up an important player. Whatever. If LO walks, the Lakers could offer DFish and Ammo for him, along with draft considerations (yes, I know this is a rip-off, one-sided trade on the basketball side, but these are expiring contracts. Besides, everyone knows the NBA secretly helps the Lakers get better trades). If they sign LO for $10 million per year for three years, the Lakers need to keep those expiring contracts.

    So, ignoring the insane trade example, the point is this: if LO walks, the Lakers don’t get nothing in return, they get financial flexibility. And that can turn into a basketball upgrade courtesy of what are known in my business as “financial sellers.” And it might be better to address the starting PG position than it is to have a super-back-up 6th man.

    P.S. I heard from “informed sources” that LO might sign with the Lakers today, or not, or Miami. Hey, are those peachy-o’s?

  18. I believe Fisher would want to return as a player next year. I remember an interview he did stating that he would like to play at least till the 2010 so he can be a part of the new collective bargaining agreement. I think he’ll be great in an Eric Snow type of role where he’s more of a player/assistant coach. That way, he’s still available to be the court general and have a more open forum to give motivational speeches.

  19. For those who complain about ESPN columnists, or others. The only effective way to reply to these ‘dumb’ types is to actively avoid reading them. Anything else just ups their hits and gets them bonuses – no one cares why you check them out, only that you do. Even when they occasionally have something good to say you have to discipline yourself not to pay them any attention.

    Until we, as a nation, actively tune out these kinds of dumb things, we are going to get bombarded with really stupid adds and commentators.

  20. When LO didnt sign the first contract offered, I thought the FO was shopping him for an upgrade at the point via sign and trade. I didnt know that the player involved had to approve of the team they were being traded too. That scenario would have been advantageous if a quality point had been involved in the talks. Losing LO, but at least getting someone who could have helped solved other position problems the team might have faced in the future.
    What FA point guards will be available next year if neither Brown or Farmar solves LA problems this year?

  21. @20- Steve Nash!!!! we can convince Steve Nash to join us for a title run before he retires!! oh, wait, he decided to extend his deal with the Suns so he can close his career with a mediocre team……I dont get it.

  22. Kurt,
    You can’t compare Fisher’s plus/minus to Brown or Farmar because Fisher was only allowed on the floor with Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, and Odom. He never played a minute without 3 of those guys on the floor. Farmar played mainly with the 2nd unit.

  23. …and one more thing… I wouldn’t call our PG’s as you did a “three headed monster.” I would be more inclined to name them what Bill Simmons did last year in the playoffs… a “poop club sandwich.”

  24. Aaron (22),

    I agree a lot with what you say. Next year, I really want to see Farmar play significant minutes with the starters. I think he has a chance to do really well (ex: When Fisher was suspended during the Lakers-Rockets series).

  25. In raw numbers, Fisher was +8.1 per 48 minutes, Farmar -9.8. That was not all about who was on the court with them.

    It is also worth noting that the Lakers offense dropped 8 points per 100 possessions when he was off the floor, although the defense saw little change. Basically, say what you want about Fisher, but he knows how to fit in the Lakers offense and nobody subbing for him was playing spectacular defense.

    Again, I’m not going to argue that I want Fisher to be the starter, I’m saying nobody was good enough last season to make Phil sit him. I hope that changes this season.

  26. I liked Farmar as a change of pace off the bench. It has already been said, but I don’t think he is a great fit for the triangle. I don’t think he is a great fit with our starters (especially if Crazy Pills is taking Ariza’s starting gig).

    I’m not knocking Farmar, I just don’t see him as anything but a back up for the Lakers because of his skill set and the Lakers needs. Fish is Fish – but aging quickly so the point guard of the future is either the kid with the hops or someone that is not on our roster right now.

  27. Kurt,
    Fishers numbers were so good because he was playing with 3 star players at all times. Get it? When Fisher was off the floor those stars were mainly off the floor too. Its pretty simple.

  28. … so the Lakers numbers dropped not because Fisher was off the floor… but because Kobe. Gasol, and Bynum were off the floor.

  29. Also… I have been on record before but I will say it again. I don’t think Fisher should ever play and I think Brown should start with Farmar leading the 2nd unit with this up tempo style and ability to play pick and roll offense.

  30. Farmar has had enough time to try to prove his worth to LA. If this new kid comes in next year and gets more playing time, I dont think Farmar will be able to handle that situation too well.

  31. Aaron, the five man units that Farmar got the most playing time with this year were: Farmar-Vujacic-Ariza-Odom-Bynum; Farmar-Bryant-Ariza-Odom-Gasol; Farmar-Vujacic-Ariza-Odom-Gasol. All three of those units were in the top 10 minute-getting five man units for the Lakers.

    So, Farmar was almost always out there with some combination of Odom/Bynum/Gasol/Bryant. Fisher, by the way, was out there second most with a Radmanovic lineup and third most with a Walton lineup.

  32. -19

    You’re right. I wish I could avoid ESPN. I guess I don’t have the willpower to avoid it’s Web site; I’m drawn to Simmons and Reilly just to see what stupidity they’re spouting next.

    We can’t avoid Joe Morgan, since he’s there to run Sunday Night Baseball every week. Same for Stu on the NBA games, though I now DVR them and begin watching an hour or so after tip off to fast-forward through the crap, like Stu and JB.

    Berman is thankfully avoidable since I’m a Raiders fan and therefore have no need to ever watch NFL highlights again until Al Davis is gone.

    What’s Stephen A. doing these days? My guess is sitting in a coffee shop somewhere, yelling at strangers as they attempt to read the newspaper.

    “O-ba-ma is wrong? Why you gonna to read a story that says O-ba-ma is wrong. My sources tell me he will be elected as president of the United States soon. You gonna criticize the next president. Please!”

    (Patron quickly takes a sip of coffee, hands Stephen A. some change and slips out the door.)

  33. 32. That article put a big smile on my face.

  34. I’m a huge fan of Shannon Brown for our current offense. But the playmaking ability of Farmar cannot be underestimated. If the Lakers move towards a more traditional offense, then Farmar is definitely the guy. He is that super quick, athletic PG who has mastered moves around the rim. I think Farmar is going to be a top quality PG in this league on some team. I’m not sure if that team is the lakers though.

    Shannon Brown, if he can mature and improve on his game, will also turn out to be dynamite. The lakers need to hire Gary Payton like they’ve hired the captain, to show Shannon how to drive the lane and finish. Gary had that high layup off the glass as he was driving. In his prime, unstoppable. And show him how to truly D up other PGs as well –no PG i’ve ever seen that could play D like the glove. And a post up game wouldn’t hurt either. Basically Shannon needs to get an offensive game more suited for the NBA.

  35. Aaron,
    But Fisher was also playing against the other team’s starters.

  36. Hi Aaron.

    We get that you don’t like Fischer.

    We. Get. It.

  37. Kaveh,
    Relatively speaking, Farmar is fast, but not especially quick. Which will limit him, especially as a defensive player, because he’s also relatively small.

  38. 37.

    Amen.

  39. Helo –

    Actually, Farmar is quite quick, at least from a measurable perspective. He graded out extremely well at the draft combine (not sure if those numbers are still available at this point, but I remember going through them when he was drafted and being surprised that he graded out so well. Far quicker than, say, DWill, and on par with CP3), and I think his quicks show on offense, but for some reason don’t show up as often on D. Which is kind of surprising since Farmar played for such a defensive-minded coach at UCLA.

  40. Brian,
    Farmar is in the middle of the guards in the league – last season someone posted the scores from the last 7-8 years of the draft.

  41. 37,
    I Like good players and don’t like bad players. Its my thing. The only players I like on the Lakers are Kobe, Artest, Odom, Gasol, and Bynum. Those are starting players on the Lakers that are above average starters in the league (all of them are way above average). I think Brown has a chance to be an average starting PG in the triangle. If that turns out to be the case than I will be indifferent on him.

    I like Farmar as a back up PG because I think he is an above average bench player. I think Sasha will have a bounce back year and will again become and average back up shooting guard. I don’t like Luke Walton because he is a bad back up SF. So in your position and role… if you are good then i will like you… if you are bad then I will not like you.

    Fisher most likely will be the worst starting PG in the NBA next year if Rubio indeed goes to the Wolves. So I don’t like him. Its pretty simple.

  42. #38,

    Farmar reminds me of a poor man’s tony parker. He has a feel for being able to finish in the lane –something Brown lacks.

    I think Farmar will be a star in this league. A lot of PGs are horrible at defense –i think it is the only position that escuses poor D, especially with the new no-bump rules (which i hate).

  43. Aaron,
    That is what we have been saying – you don’t like him. Ok, now let’s move on to another position.

  44. Craig,
    Luckily for the Lakers there is not other position to move on to. The only spot the Lakers don’t have a good player is at PG. Hence the reason Kurt wrote this article on the teams PG situation and predicament.

  45. http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Ak1YoZE7nOVgi34.AtxZ2_.8vLYF?slug=aw-belinelli072909&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

    In other news, Toronto continues its pursuit to be “all European players + Bosh.”

    Amazing.

  46. My guess is that Marco Belinelli will be a wing runner for them and fit in quite well. While George was coming off the books next year, Belinelli will help convince Bosh to stay with an increasingly talented club. That’s how I see the move, anyway.

  47. does anybody else notice that Farmar tends to be able to get to the rim but almost invariable fails to finish (blows layup at awkward angle or gets stuffed)? not just this year but in previous years too. if he could figure out how to finish or draw contact, I think he could do very well.

  48. I remember last year someone stated at one point late in the season that Shannon Brown had done everything he could to take away the PG spot from Farmar. I just remember Brown really shinning and stepping out in front of the pack at that time. I like Shannon, he is a big althletic guard (grab a rebound 10ft in the air) who I think can be the replacement for Fisher, sorry Farmar. What were we calling him? ShanWOW, for a reason. He was drafted one spot before Farmar, so I guess he is one spot better, huh.

  49. http://lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/2009/07/kurt-rambis-minnesota.html#more

    In the wake of Rambis being considered for the coaching job in Minny, BK wrote up this nice article and brought up an interesting question: if it came down to a choice between Rambis and Shaw, who would we prefer as our head coach?

  50. I’d like to see how a guard like Belinelli or Jasicevicius would have looked in the triangle. Both have been elite guards on European teams relying on passing-and-cutting offenses rather than relying heavily on isos. Both are clutch players and great shooters and also have good height for a PG. Both aren’t so great on defense but it’s not like our current ones are reminding us of Gary Payton (rather calling for him to help). I think the way basketball is taught and played in Europe might lend itself well to how the traingle works. Pau is a great example, to him the offense really came naturally. Although Vujacic does contradict me a little. And Slava Medvedenko. But maybe the problems those two have/had might be inherent.

  51. 49,
    I love the sarcasm. But the message is correct. The reason its even a question being asked (if Farmar or Brown should be the PG next season) is only happening because Farmar has been a Laker longer and people think he was the one with more potential. Brown was picked ahead of Farmar in the draft for a reason. People are thinking “this Brown fella came out of nowhere to take a spot ahead of Farmar.” That just isn’t the case and its not like farmar was a top pick. Where Jordan was drafted is not a place where a lot of good players come from. But I guess that sediment was more prevalent last year. Now people have kind of gotten used to the fact that brown might be better than Farmar. Shannon was known to have a alot of potential around the league and Teams were banking on the fact he could develop PG skills. That never happened. But in the triangle offense with the numerous star players, on this sickly loaded Lakers juggernaut (god… hoping Odom resigns) of a team, the Lakers don’t need ShanWow to be a PG and create shots for himself or his teammates. He can be the player he has always been and numerous GM’s wanted him to be. Here is to Shannon Brown being the average starting PG the Lakers haven’t had since Gary Payton,

  52. 49,
    Oh… and btw… that “person” was me. I right away said that Brown was the Lakers best PG and had proven it. I hope he proves me right this year… not just for me, but for the team.

  53. Dude trolls a lot.

  54. HizzleDizzleSizzle July 30, 2009 at 12:04 am

    51, I agree to some degree (enough to rhyme, anyways) but don’t forget to add our favorite Space Cadet as another example of a Euro fail

  55. Aaron,

    Knock it off. No one cares. Being “right” here doesn’t mean anything.

  56. Aaron, people realised Fisher was slowing down then too, but they thought that we couldn’t experiment in the playoffs, and Fisher proved THEM right by hitting those shots in game 6 or did you forget about that?
    So NO it didn’t take us 7 months longer to realise that Brown might be a better PG in our system than Fisher, we’re just changing our mind on who of the two should get more minutes based on the situation.

  57. I don’t understand why they don’t just give Sasha’s minutes to Brown. Brown is more of a 2 guard anyway.

  58. 54, what you claimed before was that we shouldn’t start Fisher during the playoffs. What you’re claiming now is that we shouldn’t start Fisher going forward. The latter is quite different from the former. We all agreed that Fisher was not the answer going forward beyond last year; it was whether to bench him in favor of Brown/Farmar during March-May and the playoffs that was in question. If you disagree in retrospect, that’s fine, but we won a championship with Fisher as the starting (and finishing) point guard, so claiming that you were right and everyone else was wrong is fallacious.

  59. The situation for the Lakers at PG is not all that dire. Fisher has the experience, Farmar has the speed, and Brown has the athleticism. For the sake of the team and in the interest of winning, these guys should continue to help one another develop, and the guys will all play key roles against different teams with diverse PGs as needed. Phil is no dummy…he has showed that when it counts, over and over again.

  60. Shannon Brown is probably the best option for our new starting PG. That’s precisely why Mitch re-signed him.

    Farmar is a great backup PG. Probably one of the best in the leage, but as has beenmentioned, he’s not a good fit in the triangle, and he’s probably much more valuable to other teams than he is to the Lakers. A team like Orlando or SA would be scary with him coming off the bench.

    At the end of the day, the defensive end is where the starting PG conversation will be determined. All 3 of our PG’s can hit open 3’s and that’s really all we need them to do. We don’t need a guy who can hit a floater in the lane or post up like GP. (We saw how that worked out for us in 2004) But the reason we have a “poop club sandiwch” is because none has shown the ability to slow quick PG’s. That’s why my money is on Shannon Brown. Fisher’s D isn’t going to get any better, and Farmar is just way too small to fight through a screen.

  61. 59 – The more this episode drags on, the more I think it’s likely that Odom gets fed up with the Lakers and signs with the Heat, a team that is showing over and over again that it truly wants him…

  62. Yeah but as has been mentioned before, with these new no-bump-the-fragile-pgs-rule, how can anyone D up the quick points? They get in the lane, throw their body into one of our bigs, and get to the foul line. It really has made the game crappier to watch.

    Could you imagine Tony Parker playing against the bad boys in detroit? Kid would be in the fetal.

  63. Yes, the Lakers won the title, but I was hoping they would make a trade like Denver did for Ty Lawson– quick pg and high percentage shooter- a great fit for the Lakers.

    I give Kupchak credit for realizing to take the steal in the Gasol trade, but at the same time he has bizarrely spent over $22 million on the following players:
    Luke Walton
    Adam Morrison (Radman contract)
    Sasha Vujadouche
    Shannon Brown

    Everybody knew what kind of players they were, and nobody else would sign the players to the deals they got. They are very replaceable. I guess you could blame Kobe for Sasha still hanging around, but with $22 mil they could’ve gotten so much more.

  64. 63. I have a strong feeling, much like Ariza and Artest being wooed by LBJ and the Cavs, that LO has to be hesitant about signing for 5 years with the Heat when Wade has given no indication that he will even remain with them after this season.

    I am absolutely stoked to see what S Brown will be offering next year. I love the DWill “comparison,” though I don’t think he’ll be like DWill, but they do have similar body frames. Here’s to hoping that Kobe gave Brown the same “shooting Bible” that he gave to Ariza.

    I hope Fish takes his “PG Scholar in Residence” position without much drama, b/c he can still serve a tremendous role to the young PGs on our team.

    I’m torn as to Farmar, and am curious how the Lakers will deal with him should he remain with the Lakers on a longer term contract.

  65. Fish said prior to -this- season he wouldn’t mind coming off the bench

  66. Derek Fisher will be the Lakers starting PG next season. He’ll look better on defense and offense as his role is reconfigured in the “new Lakers” that will emerge in the next season.

    The real questions are how many minutes Derek will typically play per game and during the early season.

    Since returning to the Lakers, many of us have expected the Lakers to “save” Derek for the playoffs, giving Farmar extended playing time. Unfortunately, that strategy went backwards with Farmar’s injury and inconsistent play upon return last season.

    What will be most interesting is who comes off the bench first, and for how long he will play. My guess is that it will be Shannon Brown, and he may play as many as 20 minutes per game. Though Derek may start the season with at least 20 minutes, his reduced playing time may well be made up by more time for Farmar.

    Derek may start and finish–with the other two heads of the three headed monster in the middle.

    Those expecting a precipitous drop in playing time for Derek and a radical change in his role next season are likely to be expecting in vain.

  67. Kaveh- True that the rules benefit fast PG’s, but you didn’t see Aaron Brooks lighting up other playoff teams as if he were an AllStar.

    @65- Stop criticizing Kupchak for the Vujacic contract. Remember, when we extended Sasha, we were at a point where him and Kobe were the only 2 Lakers who played well in the 08 finals.

    Imagine this- we win the 08 finals. All of a sudden, Sasha is the most coveted sharpshooter in the league. We saw it happen with Trevor this year. We win the finals and he’s a hot commodity, when all he did was make a couple huge steals against Denver and hit a couple huge 3’s against Orlando. He’s a great energy guy, but he’s not Bruce Bowen in his prime.

  68. One of the reasons I did not want to see Trevor go was because of his defense on “quick” PG’s like Parker. Trevor’s length and quick feet allowed him to back off of guys like Parker far enough to neutralize their first step. At the same time his long arms allowed him to close out effectively if they pulled up for a shot.

    I love the grit and toughness Artest will provide against guys like Pierce, LeBron, and Carmelo. But Trevor was our guy against the quick footed guards.

    I don’t care what anyone says. For the Lakers to lose both of those guys in one summer would be devestating.

  69. The triangle is not a PG centric offense. The PG first option is usually to throw it into the high post and rub for a handoff or cut through and go to the corner for the spacing 3.

    The triangle sets ups the SF which is why Pippen, Walton and (where his greatest value is) LO have room to operate and create assists.

    The other aspect of the Triangle is by cutting down dribbling you cut down on TOs and with better shots you cut down Fast Break points.

    Fisher fits this system far better than Farmar who dribbles too much. ShanWoW understands this better as Izzo has some high post action in his O.

    Towards the end of the year (and the 4th quarter of Denver’s Game 5), the Lakers best lineup was Pau, LO, Walton, Kobe and ShanWoW.

    It would interesting to see the Lakers internal numbers on the efficiency of the unit.

    With respect to PJax, the Lakers have a number of contracts for three years, is it possible that PJax has talked about 3 more seasons then hanging it up?

    Fisher will start and play 22-30 minutes.

    It is up to Brown and Farmar to properly run the Triangle to get more time. BTW, Aaaron Brooks torched the Blazers in a couple of PO games

  70. Travis #69, I agree with your take. Most opposing PGs looked like allstars against the Lakers.

    I think the criticism of Sasha’s contract comes from the same place that caused all the Ariza love. Short term memory. Sasha was garbage this year, no doubt. But when his contract came up, he was a young guy with a great stroke, who works extremely hard defensively (unlike many, he’s at least getting the most out of his ability). Moreover, at that time, he was the Lakers only outside shooting threat.

    Now, after a dismal playoff run, everyone hates Sasha. Same folks are beside themselves with love for Ariza because he had a good playoff run. This kind of short term thinking is what gave rise to Luke Walton’s contract (now THAT is one for which Kupchak deserves never-ending scorn) and, previously, Devean George’s deal.

  71. kurt

    i think you’re completley overplaying farmars injury. he was only out for a short time early in the season and had plenty of minutes but was a consistent disappointment all year long… injury is hardly the reason for his horrible year.

  72. 60,
    I can’t prove that I was right last year unless they play it again with Brown starting. But if they did I would think the Lakers would win every series in fewer games. If Fisher didn’t play in Game 4 of the Finals I think the Lakers wouldn’t have won in OT… they would have won in regulation by the 10 points they were up by before Nelson starting dominating Fisher and setting up open shots and dunks for his teammates. Thank god Fisher was clutch enough to make his first three in 6 attempts at the end of the game.

  73. Pollo Loco,
    It is interesting how we talk about fans short term memory and immediately apply that failure in fans to the FO. The Lakers FO have proven themselves to win more times than they make mistakes – that’s about all you can ask a business organization – and their mistakes haven’t seriously compromised the Lakers – see the 2008-9 Championship run.

    You are right about Sasha and, given the same situation, they might make the same mistake again. However, Walton was a key player in moving the ball within the offense and our PG situation didn’t look very good at the time of his signing. Walton provided some relatively cheap – at that time in the economy – insurance that we would be able to continue to efficiently run the triangle, regardless of our guard situation.

    If I were to criticize Mitch for anything, it would be for signing both Vlade and Cook in the same year – duplicate parts – but that ultimately worked out in Ariza and SanWOW, so I guess I can’t even complain too loudly about that.

    We need to retain some perspective on all the – something most fans seem incapable of.

  74. T. Rogers, that’s interesting because TA’s inability to guard small forwards was the reason I was GLAD to see him go (in return for Artest).

    Having your small forward guard quick guards is not a recipe for a good defense. Mismatches will result (who do the Laker PG and Kobe now guard?)

    Guys need to guard their position, and when they can’t, it hurts the rest of the team. In my view, nothing makes the Lakers more vulnerable than having Kobe exert all of his energy defending small forwards.

    Think about the 3 teams to have given the Lakers the most trouble the last 2 playoffs: Boston last year, and Houston & Denver this year. What those teams all have in common is a small forward that Ariza could not guard (in fairness, the inability to guard Pierce was more Radmanovic, but the point is the same.

    Against these 3 teams, Kobe had to match up defensively against guys he shouldn’t have had to play. Next season, Pierce and Carmelo will be guarded by Artest (the third SF that Ariza couldn’t guard). With the luxury of not having to waste energy defending SFs, I think you’ll see a much fresher Kobe in the playoffs next year.

    As for the devastation of losing LO and TA, well if the Lakers get an upgrade defensively at the 3 (with ancillary benefits to Kobe’s energy saving), plus a better scoring SF, and an improved Andrew Bynum,

    I think it is clear that the starting 5 is going to be MUCH better than last year. I’ll grant you that the bench is likely to be MUCH worse, but nobody knows how this equation is going to shake out. I suspect that most teams would opt for greatly improving their starters over improving (or just maintaining) their bench.

    All that said, I’d still like to see LO back, but not at a price that handcuffs the Lakers for the next 4 or 5 years.

  75. Pollo Loco- agreed that Shasha was garbage last year. He was a machine…stupid fouls, bricks, and arguing calls were a given with him in the game.

    To echo on the topic of Mitch turning bad contracts into great trades, I’m starting to get hopeful that if LO decides to choose less money to go to Miami, Mitch can negotiate a sign and trade for Beasley. This way, Odom gets his $ and we get some talent.

    My scorecard to Mitch’s offseason:
    Odom back for 3/25: A+
    Odom back for more than that: B+
    Odom S&T for Beasley: C+/B-
    No Odom: D

  76. Craig, no doubt that the same standard should be applied to the FO. I will admit to being an enormous critic of Mitch Kupchak over the years. The thing is, I really have not changed my view of Mitch’s performance, except that I think as bad as many of his signings have been (Cook and Vlade are excellent examples), he has proven himself to be remarkably adept at correcting the errors over time. Whether by luck or by skill, turning Kwame into Pau, Radman into Shannon Brown, and Evans into Ariza (into Artest), I give my props to the GM. So, as bad as he has been at making signing decisions, he’s a hell of a trader….

    Even in retrospect, though, I cannot put Luke’s contract into any other category besides “dumb”. No team in the league would have paid Luke what the Lakers did, and by signing him to such a long contract, they made him untradeable. The length of the deal showed no vision at all. Clearly, whatever he does bring to the table, Walton is not a starting small forward in the NBA. So, why commit to so many years? Especially when nobody else would….

    Luke does a few things reasonably well, but these things are only valuable on a team that has enough talent to overcome all of Luke’s deficiencies. That’s the rub. A team with the talent level to overcome Luke’s deficiencies can’t afford a contract like Luke’s. Cut it in half and I’d say you’ve got a good deal.

  77. Re: Fisher’s Minutes

    I’m not so sure that Fisher starts this year. No doubt, Phil was not going to change horses midstream and promote Jordan/Shannon to the starting PG role during the playoffs, since Fish was the best option at that point. Also, any “allegiance” Phil owed to Fish, is no doubt paid in full as Phil trusted Fish during the whole playoffs. I love Fish’s heart and applaud him wholeheartedly, but next year’s starting PG should be earned during camp and not on the basis of Fish’s distinguished lifetime achievements with the Lakers.

    Come this season, I hope Phil goes with whoever plays the best during camp.

  78. @78:

    drrayeye said it best…

    “Derek Fisher will be the Lakers starting PG next season. Those expecting a precipitous drop in playing time for Derek and a radical change in his role next season are likely to be expecting in vain.”

    That is reality. The “paid in full” sentiment is bogus.

  79. 76,
    I couldn’t agree more. Ariza was a great team defender… but he couldn’t guard SF’s one one one… he either has too slow a first step of he is too weak… or probably both. He was better at guarding PG’s but Phil wouldn’t let him do that very often.

    78,
    I completely agree also. The only argument I feel that could be made for leaving Fisher in the starting lineup in the playoffs was Phil thought it would shake up a certain homeostasis. I hope Phil starts the player that will help the team more next season. Because it isn’t fair to anyone to play Derek come October, especially for Derek… he was almost embarrassing himself last year for the last 4 months of the season. I mean he was falling down while dribbling in the open court with nobody around him in the playoffs. The last thing Fisher wants to do is ask Phil to bench him like Luke Walton did last year.

  80. Luke Walton is trusted by Phil; that’s about all you need to know. At the time, he was considered a key piece of the Lakers. Since then we have acquired Ariza and Gasol and that, more than anything else, has made him somewhat redundant.

    If we want to criticize Mitch, something I think is becoming increasingly irrelevant, you should do it from the standpoint of the decision at the point-in-time it was made and the people in the organization and how they feel/coach. Fans seem almost incapable of thinking from an organizational point of view, but that is what must be to for proper evaluations – Lamar or anyone else.

  81. So, to go back to the original post, the issues as presented were,

    1. Can Farmar or Brown be the long term starter?
    2. Just how done is Fish
    3. The coaching situation

    I would actually add to this a couple more variables,

    4. Odom – On the face of it, it would seem that everyone involved (fans and FO alike) would be much more comfortable with a wait and see approach if Lamar is in the fold. Without him, it would be more imperative to have better on the ball defense from the PG position, since it would kill our scarily-long-and-mobile-at-very-nearly-all-times defensive substitution patterns, which allows all of our PGs to shade and funnel so much. We could go on and on about how Lamar’s absence would affect the defense, but let’s just say that it would, and would probably change the thinking about what we need from the PG position. Lamar provides so many things that having a crew that doesn’t make many mistakes is probably enough, but without him, it may not be.

    5. The Window – We could argue all day long about how long the window will be open, but it’s safe to say that it’s on the order of three years for this current group. If that’s the case, then an argument can be made that even a slight upgrade at the point would be worth sacrificing the long term potential of Farmar and Brown. Unfortunately, that perfect fit as a guard isn’t playing this year, as far as I can tell. It was the Bowen of 5 yrs ago or the Pippen of 15. It might be the Lawson of 4 years from now, but at this point I don’t see a stud lock down defender (remember it doesn’t even have to be a traditional PG) who drains the three for a rebuilding team that would like some youth and potential at PG.

    I personally would err on the side of win now at all costs, and would be happy to swap out anybody at all outside of Kobe/Pau/Drew/Artest for a stud defensive guard. Then again, if we did that, we may need Lamar more than ever for his ball handling skills…

  82. john hollinger on twitter two minutes ago:

    “A league source just told me Odom is going back to the Lakers.”

  83. i hope to God your right ricky

  84. just got a text from espn mobile! odom is back! 4 years!!!

  85. Coffee is for Closers July 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    tweeting on LO in last few minutes indicates he STAYS!

    thats official, riggggght?

    ha

  86. Coffee is for Closers July 30, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Nice!

    Congrats to LO and to Mitch/Dr Buss for making it happen. Start sizing up their 2009-2010 rings.

    Happy for LO, and us laker fans.

  87. RELEASE THE HOUNDS!

  88. Coffee is for Closers July 30, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    By the way, nice day for Bill Simmons – ha!

  89. Four years, $33 million, fourth year at Lakers option.

  90. so it is much lower than the initial 36/4yr with 3mil guaranteed 4th year.

  91. almost feel like it’s finally okay to start enjoying the ring we just won.

    also gonna stop thinking about LO for a long while:

    listening to the BS report, and heard ric puker talk about how houston did an awesome job on covering up the fact that ronron has totally lost his athleticism, and was able to bury incidents that BS mentioned about ronron almost missing the team bus and made the last bus in his underwear. then saw this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G41WMMePSeo&feature=player_embedded

    I still miss trevor.

  92. The FO did a masterful job in calling LO’ bluff. A little over 8 mil a year is respectable and didnt hurt the team in the long run. I must say I am kinda sad that this ended, now there really is nothing to talk about.

  93. Lamar Odom is staying with the Lakers, finally the wait is over.

  94. Good for Lamar! I’m happy that he gets to have some stability in his life that has seemed somewhat elusive. Honestly, for Miami, I think this is really bad news for them, because now they probably won’t get Boozer and of course, we get to keep our LO!

    It’s also got to be so cool for LO and Artest to have started off their bball careers and now have a chance to end it together in LA!

  95. Funny, at lunch today I had a feeling Odom would sign with the Lakers (I had seen no reports). I get those little intuitions at times.

    Hope it’s true after saying that …

  96. And there was much rejoicing…

  97. Craig, in determining that Luke’s contract was a terrible move, I am considering where that team was at that point in time. Not sure what you mean by being a “key part” of the team, but whatever you mean, he was a guy who was unworthy of the salary at that time. That’s why nobody else offered him anything close to that kind of deal, and that (much more than any “trust” PJ has in him) is why he hasn’t been traded. Of course, this discussion is relatively meaningless if the reports of LO re-signing are true. Luke will get garbage minutes next year on a team that will win its second consecutive title….

  98. By the way, Buss played this perfectly. In the end, Odom signs for what Buss wanted to offer.

  99. well done buss. Well done.

  100. How much money did LO cost himself by not signing the first contract?

  101. By the way, he apparently turned down five years, $40 mil from Portland. So, there was a hometown discount afterall.

    Longer post coming, but world not letting me get it done now.

  102. I’m elated.

    Now, can we trade Artest back for Ariza…?

  103. I have been an unwavering fan of Odom’s and I am overjoyed to see him back with the team.

  104. thank god odom finally signed.

    i really like the contract, especially the team option for the 4th year. now only if the artest contract had a team option instead of a player option…

  105. Kurt,
    You are smarter than that. Thats what agents and players always say so people think they turned down more money. I would like to hear a Portland staffer confirm that report.

  106. How does Portland offer 5 years $40 million when they just spent almost all of their cap space on Andre Miller?

  107. 105,
    Kurt… I would like to ban not only stupid trade talk but any talk that Ariza is as good as Artest. Ariza had a one month span where he made wide open shots. He can’t play one on one defense or dribble a basketball. His only plus is he is a good team defender. Artest was a 2nd team all nba defender last year. What did Trevor ever do in the NBA before he played with 4 star players getting him wide open looks? Watch what happens to Ariza next year. I mean Kobe by himself made Luke Walton look good the one year Walton started a few years back. I can’t imagine what Artest will look like as the 4th option on offense. No more debating if Artest is better than Ariza. Its not a question.

  108. The ESPN headline says “Odom gets his wish, stays with Lakers”.

    It should say Laker Fans breathe sigh of relief!

    109, I thought that same thing. maybe someone can explain how they were able to offer above the MLE (maybe they had a little cap space left – didn’t they have about 10 mil a year, and Miller got about 7 a year? not sure about those numbers, though.

  109. 108.

    Aaron, Kurt didnt make that story up. ESPN said that. So by ESPNs reports we did get a hometown discount.

  110. aaron im sorry, your really not too web savy to say the least…espn said that

  111. Echoing a couple sentiments:

    a)Kudos to Buss-chak for their firm grasp of the situation.

    b)Kudos to Lamar for negotiating a good deal despite giving a lot of Lakers fans a scare.

  112. Aaron, my thoughts exactly (re: Ariza v. Artest). Anybody who thinks Ariza is even in the same league as Artest probably started watching NBA basketball in June….

  113. and aaron, dont call out our boy kurt like that, he knows more about basketball and the lakers than u know about your own life, thanks

  114. 113,
    You’re really not reading savvy. Because I know espn reported that. I was referring to the fact that it looks like Kurt believed that report. Kurt usually sees through things like that.

  115. I’m ecstatic right now…no more checking every quasi-respectable internet site for LO news. I just let out an huge sigh of relief.

    Regarding Portland, they didn’t even have the MLE available because they were under the cap so they couldn’t offer anything other than the vet min I think. Only plausible way was a S&T.

  116. Kevin,
    I respect Kurt and that is why I was surprised he didn’t question that report. Kurt and I have a good relationship.

  117. aaron, my bad bro i was misreading you, no hard feelings

  118. Where did this idea that Trevor was a bad player before this year come from? He was essentially the same player, just got more minutes and stayed healthy. And shot a ton more three’s.

  119. “No more debating if Artest is better than Ariza. Its not a question.”

    TA:
    – 22 y/o vs. 30
    – better athleticism, better finisher
    – better fit in the offense (at least more familiar)
    – doesn’t break plays and go into hero mode
    – doesn’t need his shots in return for defensive effort
    – won’t get random Ts based off of reputation
    – isn’t delusional in thinking that he’s on the level of kobe / bron, meaning a willingness to work harder
    – doesn’t post things like this on his blog: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G41WMMePSeo&feature=player_embedded

    not saying that TA’s better, yet. but it’s definitely debatable.

  120. sorry, 24 y/o vs. 30

  121. Still, even Artest will realise Hero-mode is unnecessary on the Lakers with Kobe right?

  122. Aaron hasn’t contributed a lot of positivity lately, but that is now on the backburner. With the core team back, the title defense can get underway!

  123. 118: If the Blazers were to offer the full mid-level + a max signing bonus, their max offer would exceed $40M, by my reckoning.

  124. kurt: what do you mean “for what Buss wanted to offer.” This makes no sense. Do you have some information that Buss didn’t really want to offer the original offer that he offered and that someone was forcing him to offer more than he wanted to offer?

  125. The Portland offer means one of 2 things: either they have a trade in the works to clear up cap space, or they were trying to drive up the price for Odom.

    Either way, he’s back. And who says there’s nothing to talk about? I’d like to discuss lineup strategies, matchups with other elite teams, and of course predictions. You know, actual basketball.

  126. Sweet, I vote for no more talk about the off season, contracts, trades etc and instead lets focus on the 2009 – 2010 season and defending the crown!

  127. See y’all at the parade!!!!

  128. Han, you cite as facts things that are opinions. When it comes to basketball skills, I can think of the following skills (feel free to add your own):

    -ball handling
    -long range shooting
    -mid-range shooting
    -rebounding
    -defense
    -scoring (the ability to step up and score, distinct from shooting percentages)

    At this point in their respective careers, I don’t think there is any question that Artest is better than Ariza in each of these categories. Moreover, this view is shared by those most knowledgeable about such matters People like Phil Jackson, Jerry Buss and Mitch Kupchak.

    Of course, anything in the world can be “argued” but not everything can be argued credibly. The supremacy of Artest over Ariza at this stage of their careers is such a case.

  129. 126, He means Buss did not have to pay more than he originally wanted to pay or more than he wanted to pay subsequently. Basically Buss won the negotiations.

  130. LO re-signs

  131. lo is ours in principle. go lakers

  132. -Han 121
    There is no debate. Ron Artest is much better than TA.
    1. 30 yrs old. Yes he is and he will be good for a 3 year window to win championships. His game is proven unlike a younger maturing TA.
    2. RA is a much better finisher than TA. He is also a better on the ball defender. He’s also much more physical. (see TA’s play vs. Melo)
    3. You’re right TA didn’t break as many plays as RA, but at least when he does he will have a better chance at finishing.
    4. Random T’s…check. You’re right on that one.
    5. Shots for defensive effort? How do you know this? Ron prides himself on his defense. I think he gives his all in that area.
    6. When you reach a certain level of “greatness” as a pro athlete it seems like they all believe that they are the best. Ask Paul Pierce if he thinks that he is on Kobe’s level and you can laugh at his response.

  133. the other Stephen July 30, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    OMG LAMAR HAS DECIDED TO FLY WITH LAKERS AIRLINES ONCE AGAIN. GIMME A POUND, ALL YOU LAKERS FANS. this is such great news that i might not even have to watch basketball this season.

  134. 130. well, if that’s what he meant, he could’ve said that. like i said, what he said made no sense.

  135. Artest will don a Laker uniform in the best shape of his life! He hungers for a ring and a place in basketball history (beyond the Detroit brawl fiasco). I believe that LO will even work on his game, over the summer. Here’s hoping he develops a left hand at the rim 8 ).

    Mamba, lets make history!

  136. we’re getting experience, and we lost youth. we’re getting a resume with dpoy and an all-star appearance, and we lost the next 5 years’ worth of a kobe-aided bball growth spurt. we’re getting better on the ball defense with physicality, and we lost that anticipation, quickness in the passing lanes and hands that won two games in the wcf for us.

    it’ll be a different season for sure. but so far, even though I’m hoping for the best, not enough of what ronron brings can fully make up for what he’s meant to replace.

  137. Lets have a new post, just for Odom.

  138. Please, no more arguments that Ariza is “inexperienced” or “unproven.” I have work to do and can’t be baited into spending the rest of the day writing. Ariza proved more about being a winner this year than Artest ever has. Our hope is that Artest does only what Ariza did; our fear is that he won’t.

  139. @95

    That’s just crazy talk…this has been the kind of drama no one will miss. =) I will be ecstatic once I see the press release on the Lakers’ website; official confirmation with gobedly gook like “undisclosed terms” makes it real for me….

    On a different note: Aaron, you crack me up. You remind me so much of a guy that was on my university’s Laker forum back in the day…loved that moderating. Kurt is a true pro.

  140. 131 and 135-Trevor is a better rebounder than Ron. Also, I think close-range finishing is a skill, isn’t it? Trevor is a superior finisher as well, if you look at nba.com’s hotspots. Trevor shot .617% from in close, Ron shot .451%.

  141. Sorry, posts moved.

  142. My guess on the Portland offer is that it was early on in the process (pre Miller signing) and was an effort to drive up the price.

    Ricky, maybe I wasn’t clear, but I will bet that Buss was happier with the lower figure than the higher one.

    I want to do a new post, but this happened at the worst possible time of day for me at the day job. I have the post started, I started it days ago to be honest (just had a feeling it would go this way) and as soon as I have time to finish it, you’ll have it.

  143. - ball handling: RA
    – long range shooting: TA
    – mid-range shooting: RA
    – rebounding: TA
    – defense (1-on-1): RA
    – defense (steals): TA
    – scoring: RA
    -

  144. but 5yr contract vs. 5yr contract and 24 y/o vs. 30 y/o? how will those numbers be in a couple years?

  145. “Ricky, maybe I wasn’t clear, but I will bet that Buss was happier with the lower figure than the higher one. ”

    I agree with with you on both points. I mean, the last time i saved, what, six million dollars ($3m + $3m tax), i was ecstatic.

    and to whoever keeps posting that Artest is UNQUESTIONABLY better than Ariza, you are just insane. Artest had THE worst 2 point field goal percentage of forwards in the league last year. And he’s 30. And he’s lost a step. Oh, and he may be crazy. I’m not saying he Ariza’s better than Artest, but to say Artest is unquestionably better than Ariza, well, that’s something i wouldn’t expect to hear from anyone other than Artest, his immediate family, agent, music producer, and posse.

  146. 4th quarter of wcf game 7 all tied up. spurs shows us: parker-manu-rj-mcdyess-duncan

    do we:

    1. fish-kobe-ronron-LO-pau

    2. shannon-kobe-LO-pau-drew

    or 3. kobe-ronron-LO-pau-drew

    ?

  147. wow. the Ron/Trevor debate is dumb. Either way we are clear cut favorites for a title. Trevor would have been great to have back, but its a done deal.

    Reasons I’m excited to have Ron:
    1) He’s hungry for a title. He’ll be ready in May and June
    2) Just imagine what his 3 pt % will look like when he gets the looks that Trevor was getting
    3) No more Kobe guarding Forwards.
    4) He’s entertaining. Quotes, techs, all that stuff. It makes for a more engaging regular season
    5) Last summer we were ready to trade LO for him. Now we have them both.
    6) I can’t wait to see him chest up Paul Pierce and KG. We are no longer the “soft” Lakers.
    7) Kobe likes him. I’ve been a Laker fan long enough to know how much that matters.

  148. Han, you are placing an awful lot of stock in Ariza’s playoff performance being his new floor. We’ve seen this before (remember Devean George?) and you need to see it over a longer period.

    At most, you could argue that 4 years from now the Lakers will have the worst end of that “trade”. For now, it isn’t close. You are crediting Ariza for game saving steals against Denver that were only needed because Carmelo Anthony ate him alive and Kobe had to waste all his energy defending what should have been Ariza’s guy.

    Ok, I’ll grant you that Ariza is a better “finisher”. Not sure that I’d take that over a guy with a far superior mid-range game (a much more useful skill on a team with two seven-footers in the starting lineup).

    Steals are nice, but I’d rather have a lock down defender (who can guard his position). I don’t think there is a chance in the world that Artest will be a worse rebounder than Ariza on this Laker team. You are talking about a physical guy who can bang with anybody versus a finesse player who can’t box out the great players at his own position (there is a reason that it was Kobe who threw the elbow at Ron on a rebound, not Trevor).

    Again, you might disagree, but you are on the wrong side of this issue. Just ask Phil Jackson, Mitch Kupchak or Jerry Buss.

  149. Han

    I say you have to go with #1. Unless Bynum somehow becomes an unstoppable low post force against Duncan, which is conceivable given how much he’s slowed. Shannon won’t be ready.

    Phil likes his “go-to” units. Any any unit that closed out a championship run will always have his faith.

  150. I need to see all the details, but it appears that the Lakers have signed Lamar for just a bit more than his market value (the MLE)–effectively for 3 years.

    It’s about the right deal.

    It’s always good when Plan A happens.

  151. I’d think 1 too, but sometime during the season I’m dying to see kobe-ronron-LO-pau-drew against a team with a big sf. maybe on christmas day, lol

  152. I’m so glad the Lakers didn’t make an offer to Lamar of one suitcase of Walter’s dirty underwear per year, as Walter suggested.

  153. With LO on board, perhaps the most important question to answer is this very topic. Who is the pg of the future? ShanWow for sure, for the triangle. I know he had an off year and people are down on Sasha, but could he be a point guy in the triangle..he’s big and tries hard on defense. I remember the Lakers trying to use him early in his career as a point guard, but they decided it wasn’t going to work for some reason. Does anyone remember why? Was he too slow? Didn’t have a good enough handle? Defensive issues? Remember when Ron Harper appeared to be a bust with Chicago after his first year and they worked with him to make him a pg in the system? Could the same thing happen with Sasha, maybe as a back-up point guard behind Brown?

  154. Han-148
    Ra is a better 3-ball shooter than TA. He will be even better when he gets wide open 3’s like trevor had. I say we shelve this debate until after this season. I really don’t think TA will have a good year in Houston when he doesn’t have Kb or Pau to kick him open shots.

  155. yeah for sure, TA’s gonna be miserable in houston.

    can’t wait ’til training camp!

  156. Another reason the CPR “Artest” vs. Ariza debate is moot: Artest has a body of work as the no. 1, no. 2 supposedly no. 3 option on a team, whereas Ariza has one season on a team as the ? option. We will not be able to compare Artest vs. Ariza not until or unless Ariza builds a body of stats to compare the two with side by side. With Ariza now assuming the role of the man to carry a team and Artest assuming the role of a complimentary player only time will tell to whom the better of this deal went to.

    Love Ariza, hope he flourishes in Houston, just for being a quality Laker.

  157. Welcome to the Los Angeles Lakers: The only team whose fans bitch about acquiring an all star for the MLE…

    Absolutely great news about Odom however, really made my day.

  158. El Seano,
    You said a mouthful.

    It is time to shut up and wait for training camp.

  159. kurt

    whats your source on the portland offer?? i dont believe there are any reports anywhere that portand EVER put that offer on the table or ever wanted him…

  160. What RonRon brings to the table is toughness, the Magic had a good defense last year but where not really a tough team. The year we played Boston, it was obvious who was tougher and not going to back down from anything. This is the area we needed improvement, D. Fish will no longer have to be the enforcer(Houston series). We just open the door and let crazy pills roam the yard, lets see who wants to knock on our door.

  161. A 4 year 33 M deal with the 4th being an team option (3 years 25M + 2M if the Lakers do not pick up the 4th year) seems fair price for Odom to me. Yeah its more per year than anyone was offering him but its a shorter contract so I think its ultimately a better deal than 5 years 34M.

    Now can the season start already.

  162. Great lies widely believed by Boston fans:

    The Red Sox couldn’t win because they were cursed.

    Tom Brady didn’t really fumble in the snow against Oakland; it was a “tuck” play.

    Big Papi and Manny were steroid free. (Varitek, too, right?)

    Those Bill Belichick secret video tapes? They meant nothing to his success; he was just unlucky all those years in Cleveland.

    Bynum and Ariza’s injuries had no impact on the 2008 Finals.

    38 free throws to 10 is a totally fair ratio.

    The Celtics would have won the NBA title in 2009 had KG been healthy.

    KG will be a factor in 2009-10.

  163. 164. Chris J, that 38-10 FT ratio wasn’t even the worst part of it. Halfway through the 3rd quarter, it was 25-2. And the Lakers had almost as many shot attempts in the paint as the Celtics at that point in the game. But I like the second to last myth. Also, I do believe KG will be a factor next season, all the way through the Eastern Conference playoffs :D

  164. drrayeye,
    you seem to be the most aware of what our major competition is saying on their blogs…
    wonder what they are saying now? haha,
    “damn! them damn Lakers got LO!!”
    “how we gonna beat them now?”

    love to hear what’s buzzing on the C’s blog…

  165. Regarding Sasha at the PG position, he was decent doing that when Farmar was injured this year. I just don’t think he is a good defender. He “looks” like he is playing D, but it looks more like matador defense to me. Sure, he annoys some guys like Ginolbli (at times) but remember when Ray Allen just walked to the basket with us down 2 in the last minute of game 4 against the Celtics?

    Regarding that Celtics blog…those guys are crazy. They claim Rasheed is better than Odom. Not at this stage of their respective careers he isn’t…

    I really like Shannon as our PG of the future. Love that he has good size for the position, is extremely athletic, and really looks like he just wants to get better. Farmar is too small to guard any PG bigger than 6’1 and I don’t like his mental make-up. He just seems like missing shots or getting beat of D really affects his game. Not just offensively, but overall.

  166. If Phil is the brains, Kobe is the drive, and Fisher is the heart of our team, Lamar is certainly the soul. The fact that we get to keep him at such a reasonable price is something worth celebrating. The big winner in all of this, though, has to be us, the fans. We get to see our team come back, just as strong as last year, ready to defend their title. We get to see Kobe and Gasol in their primes, we get to witness the everyday zaniness of Odom and Artest, and we get to see our two young point guards play like crazy in their contract years.

    Our front office came through for us; they put their money where their mouth was and took on the huge cost of paying Lamar. Lamar came through for us, by all accounts giving us an effective home-town discount, when he could’ve easily bolted for Miami. It’s great to be a Laker fan.

    Any guesses as to whether they gave Lamar a candy-incentive, cause I swear that would’ve sealed the deal earlier.

  167. 144
    Jane,
    Thanks. I appreciate it. At least someone thinks I’m entertaining. I try to make points while including some humor. Well… thats not true… I try to make points, add humor, all while bashing the long since retired Derek Fisher.

  168. Anybody see LO’s tweet. He called Gasol the most talented and fluid center in the NBA. Pretty interesting take.

    LO!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I know I’m getting ahead of myself and I am looking forward to seeing how this team finds it’s pace, what happens at the 1 spot, what happens with Machine, how much resting this off season is going to help Kobe etc… But, the only match-up that I want to see in June is us against the Lepers.

    A) I am not happy with the LBJ hype and the Shaq v. Kobe angle is bound to be beaten to death.

    B) Not that interested in a rematch with the Magic.

    C) However much hype a Lepers v Lakers matchup will bring, it will be within some understandable level relative to the significance.

    D) Revenge is still a dish best served cold.

    E) I want the size and power of our team to just strangle the life out of the Lepers and Ron-Ron to whisper messages into KG’s ear for him to carry to G-d as he slips into NBA irrelevance.

    F) I love watching Rondo play.

  169. This is great news. Now I can go on with my life.

    The thought of the team consisting of 4 all-star level players (Odom when he plays hard) and with the potential in Drew as a future prospect gets me excited about the coming season. The 2nd unit has a lot of potential and room for improvement and I’m sure they’ll come out even more determined to prove it.

    I’m excited about seeing Shanwow and Farmar trying to out do each other for the starting position. Ammo trying to prove to the world he’s a worthy nba player (before he gets traded). The machine rebooted and retooled. Powell completing dunks. Mbenga mbanging. Fish hitting a few more clutch 3’s before retirement. I’m still sad over Ariza, but I think the Lakers will be ok without him as long as CPR keeps a cool head and plays within the system. Now if only the season will start!

  170. “we’re the champs” <— didn’t feel like it until today, when we finally assured ourselves a chance at being able to defend our championship the way we should defend it.

    :D

  171. New Odom post up. Finally. Sorry it took so long.

  172. I just posted a few thoughts on this topic as well: http://www.laballtalk.com/2009/07/30/the-point-guard-inspired-by-fbg/

    (tried to e-mail link to Kurt but mailbox full :-/… sorry)

    Anyway, I like your thoughts but thought I’d add a few of my own as well!! Opinions?

  173. 51.
    I think you’re a bit to high on Bellineli.
    He’s never been a star in Europe, he came unproven, like Bargnani or Sergio Rodríguez, and as both of them he’s having some problems proving his value. Few proven eurostars have hit the nba wall, but that was because their games could not translate. I’m talking the likes of Spanoulis, Jasikevicious or Navarro.

    As for Jassikevicious, he’s a tremendous scorer and leader, but he’s not a triangle PG, neither an NBA PG, he needs the ball to create and he needs teammates who move without the ball. Either in the lakers triangle or nba iso-hevy sistems, something’s missing for him.

    Passing and cutting is the bread and butter for euro players, but not because of that they have the skills set. Centers like Sabonis, Divac or Pau don’t grow in trees.

    I encourage you to watch any FIBA ball other than international competition, specially spanish’s ACB or Euroleague basketball. Try to be openminded and forget the names and the stars, just watch basketball.

  174. As much as I love Ariza and truly believe that he was an integral part on our championship this year, that does NOT mean that he will be next year.

    The main reason I say that is what Riley called the disease of more. That’s one thing that would have definitely entered Ariza’s head, and we saw glimpses of it in the postseason when he was clearly frustrated and annoyed when he was open and did not get the ball.

    Also, with Bynum healthy, we’re not a team that can develop two starters while also worrying about our PG spot. Who would you rather develop during the regular season, Bynum or Ariza? There’s only one ball, and we all know that players not named Kobe will have to claw and scratch for their share of it. Developing both Bynum and Ariza with what’s left of the ball will be a tall task, and will obviously cause friction.

    It’s much easier, on the other hand, to just surround Bynum with players who don’t need developing and can bail him out a bit by playing better individual defense (preventing some fouls). Artest can do this, and Artest also has the burden to prove that he is a team player, not needing the ball as badly.

    In the end, I think the move is mostly about making the most of Kobe’s window, but it’s also a move that will hopefully jumpstart and protect Bynum’s career. By lessening his burden on defense by surrounding him with better individual defenders, and allowing him more opportunity to get involved in offense, we’ll have a much better chance of developing Bynum, and in the end, any upside Ariza might have is trumped by Bynum’s growth potential and Artest’s skills.

  175. The first thing I care about as far as the PG for the Lakers is that he not turn the ball over. After that, somebody who can make good passes, hit the open three and play quality defense is what’s needed.

    Please, I hope Brian Shaw is the next Lakers head coach. He’s proven he has the smarts and communication ability to work with this group, he played with Kobe, and he’s shown loyalty to this franchise. Please Jerry B. hire B-Shaw next Lakers coach. Thanks!

  176. Chris J- 167
    Awesome post! You nailed every one of those points lol!

  177. Brilliant article