Predicting 82 Games

Zephid —  August 4, 2009

NBA 2009 - Lakers Beat Cavaliers 105-88

As we all laze away the final days of summer, basking in the glow of our championship campaign, gauging the competition, and wondering just how crazy Ron Artest will be, allow me to take a look forward to this coming season, as we take a good hard look at the 2009-2010 Lakers Regular Season Schedule.  And please, allow me the liberty of placing some predictions.  Feel free to contradict them if you must, and please, add your own.

Opening Day, Oct 27: Against the Clippers at “home.”  Yay!  While not quite as exciting as last year’s opening day decimation of the Blazers, we do get to see nice first peak at Blake Griffin and the Clippers young core of Griffin, Eric Gordon, and Al Thornton.  That’s assuming Blake Griffin hasn’t torn his ACL by then, which you never know when it comes to the Clippers.

First 8 weeks, Oct 27 – Dec 11 (21 games): We start out the season with 17 home games out of 21, including just two back to backs, one road-road against OKC then Houston, then another home-road with the Suns at home and then @ Denver.  Look for that first Denver game to be our first loss.  It’s notoriously difficult for teams to travel east on a back-to-back, especially crossing a timezone and then having to adjust to the altitude for an early evening ESPN game.  Phil Jackson talked about it at length during last season, although the circumstances were a little different (what, with Sun getting lost on the way to get fast food).  Otherwise, there aren’t too many really tough games in this stretch.  With all the home games, look for us to come strong out of the gate.

Prediction: 19-2 (@Denver, 1 miscellaneous)

Christmas time, Dec 12 – Jan 11 (16 games): During the middle of the season, we make up the huge number of home games we had in the beginning of the season by having 21 road games out of 33 (Dec 12 – Feb 10).  We have a 5 game road trip in mid-December through Utah, Chicago, Milwaukee, Jersey, and then Detroit.  Then, on Christmas day, no surprise that we have Lebron, Shaq and the Cavs coming to LA for a double-dose “Kobe v. Shaq”, “Kobe v. Lebron.”  Frankly I find it sick that the media keeps trying to double team Kobe.  Why can’t we have “Kobe v. Shaq” and “Lebron v. Jordan Crawford’s dunk footage” or “Kobe v. Lebron” and “Shaq v. Age.”  Even up things a little.  Other games of note include a major let-down game on the day after Christmas @Sacramento, then probably another high-tension, tempers flaring battle up in Portland on Jan 6 (wagers on Artest getting into an altercation with more than one Blazer?).  We played strong through this portion of the year last year, with our bench giving us a huge boost.  Another strong month for the Lakers.

Prediction: 13-3 (1 against either Cleveland or Sacramento the next day, 1 on the road trip, 1 miscellaneous).

The All-Star Break and Grammy’s Road Trip, Jan 12 – Feb 10 (17 games): After a short back-to-back trip through Texas (San Antonio, then Dallas), we have the Clippers (maybe they’ve thrown in the towel by then? Just sayin), then home against Orlando.  Eerily similar to last year, that Orlando game at home will be tough, considering we’ll be coming off the Clippers with a couple nice relaxing breaks at home.  @Cleveland on Jan 26 kicks off the Grammy’s road trip, which includes the Lebrons, the Knicks, Raps, Wiz, Pacers (major let-down game #2), Philly, followed by Boston on the 31st, then the dreaded “@MEM” on the 1st of February.  Scary how we always play the Grizz right at the end of January/beginning of February.  We may have to pretend Bynum got the flu in Boston for this one.  After the road trip comes a ‘3 games in 4 days” starting with a back-to-back, home-road against the Nuggs then @Portland, followed by San Antonio.  We made our statement to the league around this time last year, so this big road-trip may be the best place to gauge our championship hopes.  This is the really meaty part of our schedule, where we’ll be playing most of our games against contending teams, so this is where we can get the momentum to carry us through the rest of the regular season.

Prediction: 12-5 (@Indiana, @Portland, one of SAS/DAL, Orlando, 1 on road trip)

The Stink of the Season, Feb 16-Mar 31 (21 games): Feb 18, we have another showdown with Boston, this time at Staples.  This is followed by a suspicious looking 4-day, 3-game road trip through Miami, Charlotte, and Orlando, which absolutely reeks of losing 2 out of 3 disappointment.  Then there’s another mildly odorous 3 game road trip @Phoenix, @GSW, then @SAC, which stinks of losing 1 out of 3.  Saving the most putrid for last, we have a 5 game trip @San Antonio, through OKC, Houston, NO, then closing in Atlanta (major let-down game #3).  Maybe it’s just a sixth sense of mine, but late February, March period just reeks of disappointment to me, and I can see a lot of jitters coming from fans wary about our title hopes.  However, it’s important that we keep our heads on straight during the tough times, as they will inevitably come.  This month and a half period seems like the most likely time for a mass-scale fan freak-out.

Prediction: 16-5 (2 from @MIA/@CHA/@ORL, 1 from @PHO/@GSW/@SAC, 2 from road trip, most probably @ATL, @HOU)

Momentum into the Playoffs, Apr 1 – Apr 14 (7 games): Here is where we build for the playoffs.  We start out at home against Utah then at home against San Antonio, followed by a road-road back-to-back, @Denver, @Minnesota, then close with home against Portland and Sacramento, then on the “road” against the Clippers (Hurray for ending the season back where we started!  Although, I’d probably put money on Blake Griffin tearing a ligament of some sort by then).  I fully expect us to play strong through this stretch, and push for some good momentum heading into the postseason.

Prediction: 7-0

Overall, while I expect this Lakers team to be really, really, really good, it is a long, 82-game season, in which we have to anticipate bumps, twists, and turns.  As you can see above, my predictions are both conservative and liberal, giving way to elation at times (starting 19-2, closing 7-0), but I also understand that there will be times when our team will be down (bad road trips, poor performances in back-to-backs and 3-in-4’s).  But, the one thing I encourage all of us is the remember the optimism that we feel now, during the off-season, when all we seem to talk about is how invincible we are.  Please, I plead for you to remember this enthusiasm if we go 0-3 against Miami, Charlotte, and Orlando, or if we lose Sacramento at home, or if we lose back-to-back to start off a road trip (because it’s bound to happen).  Because as we’ve all seen, the best part of a championship isn’t winning it (although it’s pretty damn good): It’s about the journey we take with our team to get there.  Let’s make this one as memorable as the last.

Overall Prediction: 67-15

-Zephid

Zephid

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174 responses to Predicting 82 Games

  1. Sandwich Artist August 4, 2009 at 11:57 am

    You need to change your “stink of the season” record to 16-5 to get the math to work.

  2. You’re totally right, I miscounted. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. That is a really good analysis of your prediction! What things do you think have to go right for us to break the Bulls 72-10 mark though? Do we have the mental toughness for that?

  4. I think the schedule is terrible for the Lakers next year. Not that they can’t cope, but whether its the fault of Staples Center or the league, the fact that the team has 20 (TWENTY) back to backs is ridiculous. That’s 40 of 82 games played either on the front or back end of a b2b. I assume that means more 4 games in 5 nights situations too. For a team that isn’t young, that’s ridiculous.

    Then add in the road/home discrepancy between the beginning and end of the season, and the whole thing is a mess. Do other teams have to put up with crap like this?

  5. 67 wins seems about right. Assuming no injuries? Last year the team pulled out 65 with a key injury. That’s what I like about the Lakers more than any other team-the ability to still rock even with a key injury. Odom gives us that. Thank goodness he signed.

    For the regular season, I want to sweep Portland so they stop believing that they have some sort of anti-Laker mojo. Slap ‘em down.

  6. The Cookie Monster August 4, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Great Article, with subtle Lakers humor as well as packed NBA knowledge and support to fans who freak out over @Charlotte or @Portland games.

    Looking forward to the ’09-’10 season! Go Lakers!

  7. I’m personally hoping for 70-12, but that’s probably a bit too optimistic ;-)

  8. Throw in a couple losses due to injury (Kobe’s fingers will have him looking like a mummy by year’s end), and resting Kobe & Pau the last week of the season after they’ve cemented their playoff seed. 62-20 is my guess.

  9. Barring injury, 67-15 sounds about right, with an embarrassing loss (or two) to Charlotte thrown in there for good measure.

  10. My prediction:

    Lakers 94-0. Perfect season.

  11. One other thing: I’m really excited to watch OKC play this year, they seem like a fun team. They remind me of Portland a few years ago – if they can turn some of their pieces into a veteran all-star (which Portland couldn’t), look out… .in 2011.

  12. This was a well-thought look at what’s going to be a long season full of twists and turns.

    Given what we know now — which obviously doesn’t include any major injuries, trades or other yet-to-come changes that could shake up the NBA landscape — the Lakers finishing with 65 or so wins seems like a solid estimate.

    Those who suggested the Lakers will challenge the Bulls’ record-high 72 wins are misguided, in my view. We just can’t underestimate a couple of key advantages those Bulls enjoyed that the Lakers will not have in their favor.

    First, Chicago’s location near the center of the country means the Bulls seldom, if ever, had to travel the length of the United States while on one trip. Even while flying a charter, the challenges that come with four-, five- or six-hour flights will eventually cost even the best teams a game or two over the length of the season. These guys are human, and travel takes a toll on the best of us.

    Also, the pro-Jordan crowd loves to brag about “72” but often fails to note that 1995-96 was an expansion year, which diluted the talent-level leaguewide as franchises lost bench depth (and the chance to draft Damon Stoudamire) in order to create the new lineups in Toronto and Vancouver.

    In addition to beating up on those newcomers, the Bulls also benefitted from what was a down season in terms of competition.

    As Chicago racked up Ws, teams like Phoenix (41-41), Sacramento (39-43) and Miami (42-40) made the playoffs with records that were right around the .500 mark.

    Contrast that with the Western Conference the past two seasons, where teams that won 48 games were seeded eighth or even missed the playoffs.

  13. hi. new guy here. does anyone know anything about kobe’s finger? by the lack of news, i’m assuming he is not having surgery. last year it was the olympics and now he’s not doing it because….?

  14. Jive Talking Turkey August 4, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    My Ultimate Prediction:

    Lakers 96-0. A perfect season.

    Also, predict 2 teams will not show up because of fear factor.

  15. I can’t remember, was Jordan’s Bulls predicted to have that kind of season? what championship was it i.e. 1st ,6th?

  16. Now that Sun has been waived, are there any roster spots open? If so, are any summer leaguers expected to challenge for these spots?

  17. TexasRob — I don’t recall if anyone expected the Bulls to win 72 that season.

    My guess would be no, given the uncertainty that surrounded Jordan’s short-season comeback the prior spring as well as how well a wild-card like Rodman would mesh with Jordan and Pippen, who previously battled him as a hated Piston.

    (The similarity to L.A. adding Artest should be noted.)

    Anyway, the 72-win Bulls were the fourth championship of the Jordan era, kicking off the first of three title wins in a row.

  18. 3, for us to beat 72-10, we need to have no injuries, other teams need to get hurt/have some issues, and we need a lot of lucky bounces (nothing like the games against Philly or Indiana last year). I don’t think we have the mindset for it, because our team won the championship last year. The thing about that Bulls team is that they lost to the Knicks the year before when MJ returned late in the season, and he was PO’d beyond reason. So they really had something to prove the next year. Us, we just seem much too laid back to seriously challenge 72-10.

    16, the Lakers have the minimum number of players on their roster as of now, 13. They can have at most 15 players, but I seriously doubt that they will take on any more salary.

    Btw, if you look it up, Chicago lost to Phoenix, Charlotte, and Miami, all .500 teams, as well as Denver and the expansion Toronto Raptors, both teams well below .500. So half their losses that year came against teams they really should have beaten.

  19. Zephid – the Knicks didn’t beat Jordan in ’95; it was Orlando.

  20. The typical Lakers fan during the offseason: “By exactly how much do you guys think we’ll shatter the Bulls 72 record?”

    The typical Lakers fan during the season: “Can we get Jamaal Tinsley for Pau? Does Kobe have the heart to win another one, or is he just coasting on his celebrity now? Will we ever win another game?”

    Good breakdown, Zephid. I agree, to break 72 everything has to go right, and quite frankly, who cares? I’m not sure I understand some people’s obsession. We always want to look at the Bulls, but if you look at the 65+ win Mavs and Pistons, teams that don’t let up during the season often burn out in the playoffs.

    My call – If we come close to pushing 70 wins, it should be because our bench is absolutely tearing it up. 70 wins shouldn’t come on the heels of our starters being worn down playing too many minutes.

    Andre – Nope, Kobe’s not having surgery. Only Kobe knows why, but my guess is he just doesn’t think it’s worth it. It doesn’t bother him that much anymore, and it definitely doesn’t affect his game. I don’t think he wants to take any time off and risk missing training camp at all.

  21. The number of nationally televised games the Rockets play next year: zero.

    From the max, to nothing, for Ariza. I wonder if Ariza’s cobbled together a David Lee voodoo doll yet?

    Too bad, I was hoping to see more of Durant on national TV. On the other hand, Bill Simmons might orgasm if Durant makes it onto the big stage, so maybe it’s a good thing.

  22. This breaks down the amount of back 2 back games per team. Out of thirty teams in the league 20 teams have 20 or more back 2 backs. The highest being the Bobcats at 23, the lowest NO at 16.

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-43-9/Lessons-from-the-Schedule.html

  23. 13. …because Kobe won a championship with 3 good fingers on his shooting hand. He’s not going to fix anything that ain’t “broke”. At least that’s what he said when asked at the end of the season.

  24. Reggie Miller said on the Dan Patrick show yesterday that “the Lakers will challenge the Bulls 72 wins record.” he also said that Artest is a better one on one defender that Scottie Pippen saying “I know… I played against both of them.” I hope he is right on both accounts.

  25. 20 back-to-backs. Just one 4-games-in-5-nights stretch.

    Man, December/January is kind of brutal. 32 games in 62 nights?

  26. Thanks Zeph,
    I thought 72 would require some serious motivation. It seems to me in order for the LA to beat that they need some motivation beyond the home court advantage. Maybe a really long streak will keep them focused. Do I here 33 anyone? When in reality, anything over 1 better than anyone else is overkill.

  27. I can live with 67 wins!!!

    Can we speed up time now and start the season already!!!

  28. i like it.

    what’s with the nba, now for the third or fourth year in a row by my memory, loading the lakers up with home games in november and december and sending them on long road trips in february and march??

    seriously, a little more balance and more 2-3-4 game trips would be better than the annual 8 or 9 game roadie.
    ~cmh

  29. Aaron, 24 —

    Actually that’s not exactly what he said about artest v pippen. He said “two different styles,” and said he personally would rather play Scottie because he wouldn’t beat him down (that doesn’t mean both wouldn’t equally contain him). He acknowledged while Ron could guard big guys better, Pippen could do full court pressure on pg’s — based on our needs I’d love to have Pippen from the 90s.

    The Dan Patrick show is more humor than analysis. It’s like 3 hours of less funny Bill Simmons without the Laker/Kobe jabs. It’s a good podcast for the treadmill.

    I’m with Snoopy: screw 72 wins. If it happens I hope it’s mostly blowouts with Kobe and Pau clocking few minutes.

  30. Christopher, 28–

    I read It’s because of Staples scheduling in the early year. If Staples isn’t available for whatever reason, you can’t exactly play there.

    I like the scheduling since I’m in LA only through the holidays.

  31. OT-Apparently, Shaq is challenging David Beckham to appear on Shaq’s reality show. Shaq is saying that he’s the goalkeeper on the soccer field, and Beckham can’t score a goal on him. TMZ asked Beckham about this, and he said that Shaq wouldn’t even be able to stop Kobe from scoring on him. Classic :D
    My estimation of Beckham just went up 5%.

  32. The regular season record only matters when it comes to home court advantage. If home court advantage is locked up, is it worth the risk to try for a record that is not the ultimate goal. Being sports fans, we all probably watched the Patriots lose the Super Bowl when all teams before had failed in attempts to beat the best. Nobody remembers that they won 18 games in a row, but everybody remembers the one they lost. If it happens then it happens, but I dont think the players or coaches should allow the hoopla, that the media will create, to lose sight of the mission at hand. Isnt it going to be enough pressure in being the defending champs and everyone gunning to topple goliath?

  33. The Clippers Curse has certainly reached a new level of creativity. Who would have thought Mark Madsen would end up on the wrong side of the law?

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Mark-Madsen-caught-in-middle-of-domain-name-thef;_ylt=AgD6MkjvybdC9enwJYBGW2C8vLYF?urn=nba,180472

  34. 4- the dude abides

    Haha if what you say is true then yes, my estimation of Beckham just went way up.

    As far as the schedule, do you think it will be close this year like with CLE last year, or will some other lead the wins category the entire season?

  35. Madsen didn’t do anything wrong, according to that article.

    He bought something in good faith that some other guy legally had no right to sell him. The seller is the one who ran afoul of the law. Hopefully MM gets his $110k back.

  36. I personally think 67 wins is too high. I think so for the following reasons:
    1) The usual pattern for repeat champions is to win more games during the regular season the first year than subsequent years (2000 – 2002 Lakers and 96 – 98 Bulls being the two most recent examples). Why? Maybe confidence that they can get it done in the post season without home court throughout?
    2) I believe (and I hope) that the minutes for Fisher, Kobe, and Pau will all be down this year vs. last. Kobe, I’m convinced, is rather immune to the fatigue of mortals, but it would still be nice for all three of those players to get more rest. This will naturally lead to fewer wins.
    3) I (as opposed to the thinking of many) think that all of the east’s contenders (Cavs, Celts, Magic) are worse this year than last. This will take some of the pressure off of the Lakers to keep pace with their win totals to achieve home court (if they are still as concerned with that as they were last year)

    For these reasons, my guess would be that the Lakers win closer to 60 games than 67. Incidentally, I don’t think they need home court advantage to win a title. They are experienced, confident, loaded, and won’t get frazzled like they did against Boston 2 years ago.

  37. 67 wins is too optimistic for me. 62-64 seems right, which should win the west. With the better competition in the east, I think 64 wins might give a team home court advantage through the Finals.

  38. I’ll be happy with however many wins it takes for home court advantage throughout the playoffs. If that’s one game over .500, so be it.

  39. Zephid,

    This is a thoughtful, high quality analysis, based on who the Lakers and other teams were last season, and how they might continue this year. It puts the Lakers almost exactly where they were last season.

    But reality must soon intrude. The only thing we can be certain of, is that what we believe might happen will turn out to be wrong.

    The Lakers have every reason to hope for a very successful season next year. Winning as many as 70% would be a great accomplishment: that’s more than 57 games. Expecting in the 60’s or 70’s without even seeing the Laker team or the competition in action is more homerism and fantasy than a realistic projection. I’d be delighted with 70% and thrilled if the Lakers got about 80% (as you suppose), or some homer dream of 90% or better.

    Let’s watch the season unfold a bit before we set our expectations at such high levels.

  40. 34. I can see the Lakers having the best record in the league wire to wire. Everyone could come out of the box with energy to start the new season, just as they did last season. Their home-heavy schedule over the first month could very well put them in front for the best record for good. I think the team’s length, offensive efficiency, and depth will carry them to the best record. I don’t believe 67 wins is too unrealistic at all. Of course, one might say that I’m a cockeyed optimist who’s mixed up in the high stakes game of world diplomacy, international intrigue, and NBA predictions.

  41. The NBA Schedule Maker has some truly bizarre notions.
    The Rockets have 22 back-to backs,15 of which the second game is on the road. Just before Christmas they play 6 games in 9 days and towards end of March play 4 games in 5 days w/the first three on the road.
    On the flip side the Rockets have a six day All-Star break,and a couple of stretches of 1 game in 5 days and a couple of 3 day off stretches.

    There is a distinct advantage for the Lakers in getting so many home games early,esp when integrating new players. Practice time. Gives new players that much more time to learn Triangle and get comfortable w/it.

  42. (41) Stephen, the Lakers only have one new player to integrate–and Artest’s a veteran with previous experience with the triangle. Since the Lakers are such a veteran team, a great road team, and seemingly ready to go, they would probably be better off starting more frequently as visitors, before the opponents have integrated their new players–saving their home games to later on in the season–when they are tired, and opponents have fully integrated their many new players.

    As things stand, the Lakers will be expected to win their first 20 games–or else!

  43. The only opponent that stands in the way of us winning what our maximum potential will allow is health. We have to keep in mind that this team has played the most games over the last 2 seasons (not to mention Kobe & Pau playing in the Olympics). Avoiding nagging injuries is the biggest fight this team will have. If our bench can contribute solidly every night, then we can win in the 65-70 game range. The talent to challenge 72 wins is there, but we are now the ones with the big bullseye on our backs. Anything over 65 wins is gravy.

  44. Drrayeye & John M,

    I think that Zephid’s prediction is very realistic if the team stays healthy.

    John M,
    You state that the Bulls (96-98) and Lakers (00-02) decreased victories in the second of back to back championships is proof and reason that the same will happen with this Lakers team and I disagree.

    First of all the Bulls won 72 games in 96, which may not ever be repeated, so it was logical for a team a year older to have a drop off…but their drop off the next year was….69 victories, the second best record in league history, not much of a drop off at all.
    In regards to the Lakers championship repeat in 2001 our number one option, you may remember a certain dominant Center, was the one that enjoyed rounding into shape over the course of the season, which lead to a underwhelming 15-9 start. Kobe’s superior work ethic is one of the biggest reasons that they did not get along and Kobe has never been one to coast through a regular season, I don’t expect that to change now. Also the Lakers of 2001 lost their third option in Glen Rice and as annoying as his wife was, he was still a great asset to the team; attributing to many of their comeback wins during their winning streaks with his sniper like three point shooting.

    The difference with this Lakers team is that the one core player we lost, Trevor Ariza (who I hate to lose, because he was a play maker with lots of upside) was replaced with an upgrade IMO. Artest is a former Defensive Player of the Year and All Star who brings toughness, which is the only weakness detractors have pointed to. Not to mention if Bynum stays healthy (knock on wood) we’ve added another 30 plus games with an intimidating, physical, defensive presence (if he can learn to stay out of foul trouble).

    IMHO with Odom leading a bench of Farmar in his contract year, Shannon a year more experienced in the triangle and everyone having a championship swagger, in combination with the addition of a hungry Artest, the maturation of Bynum, the efficiency of Pau and the always hungry killer instinct of Kobe, this season realistically could be as successful as Zephid’s prediction and hopefully ending with another championship. But of course an injury or suspension could certainly change the face of the season and we will just have to watch the drama unfold in the best reality TV there is.

    BTW I like having the cushy schedule early, that way while we pad our record the real tests come against developed teams, providing true challenges that (as coach Jackson says) brings the team together and builds momentum heading into the playoffs. Just like the road trip last year when we beat Boston and Cleveland without Bynum.

  45. For the Lakers to get closer to 70 wins than 60, I agree with someone’s earlier assessment that it all depends on our bench. The back to back’s are going to present some big letdowns if we can’t get some ice on Kobe/Pau/Fish’s knees early in the 4th quarter.

    Bynum can help, too. If he comes out and dominates lesser frontcourts like he did against the Clips last season, that takes a lot of weight off of Kobe/Pau’s shoulders to win games that should be gimmies.

    Also, unless Ron Ron brings a seriously intense sense of urgency to the team that wasn’t there last year, I don’t see us coming close to 70, just given the personality of this team last year and how it always plays down to its competition.

  46. Drrayeye,
    Re your #42,true,up to a point.
    I was pointing out a huge benefit the Lakers get w/schedules that are heavily front-loaded w/home games.

    As to the specifics of this yr,while their is only one new player,not only does he have to learn the Triangle-and the team’s defense,the rest of the team has to get used to him. I rather doubt Phil is going to play the starters heavy minutes in Preseason,so the practice time-and who doesn’t think of AI whenever we talk about NBA practices?-will be very valuable.
    There is a strong possibility that Rambiss is going to Minn,and if he does that will cause a major reshuffling of assistant coaches and opens the door to a major revamping of defensive schemes as well.

    Phil’s fondness for mixing lineups early in the season is well known and much commented upon here. It’s much easier to do so in front of supportive home crowds and the home game front-loaded schedule makse it much easier to do.

    When the Rockets schedule was leaked early-bad Front Office,bad Front Office-one of first comments in a Rockets fan forum was that the Lakers prob had 19 of their first 20 at home. While everyone whines about their team’s schedule,there is a strong belief more home games early and a fav stretch at end is a better schedule than the reverse. Whatever the actual reality is-and I believe good teams make their schedule,the schedule doesn’t make the team-the Lakers consistantly getting a bunch of home games up front is thought to be an edge for the Lakers.

  47. I believe Lakers can go for 70 wins.
    Starting with so many home games could serve as motivation if their record is good after 20-25 games.
    Last year Lakers did not have more than 7-8 win games in a row, right?, and they still had 65 wins.
    That would probably change.
    Also I do not expect them to lose more than 2 in a row. Kobe and Pau they do not like to lose, they come back strong after loses.
    And they are the Champions. They should defend the title through the regular season, every single game, even if it is not the best thinking about the playoffs (probably Phil will ot allow too much effort in regular season but I believe they will show every night).

  48. 72 wins or 84?

    Yeah, i feel like i’m reading an orlando magic’s board. Something like 72 win season doesn’t come when you are expecting it. It just happens. Also, it should never be the goal. Unlike football, the NFL to some degree and DEFINITELY college football, the regular season in the NBA is really just a pre-season. The real season starts with the playoffs. Home court is definitely very important, but for the experienced teams which have already won a ring together, it is not that important. If you are going for your first ring, then homecourt is paramount. But for this lakers team, i doubt its importance. YOu saw that last year in game 3 vs the rockets and nuggets. This team can win 1 on the road when necessary.

    Also, Phil Jackson knows better than to push this team extra hard during the regular season. I think he’ll just go with the flow and not push this team too hard.

  49. if we want the lakers to be the greatest franchise in basketball, we really need to beat the bulls records. its all bragging rights with the lakers now, with each era of laker teams have something to prove, but overall, the lakers kicked ass.. it would be very nice if we really beat the record, but if we dont, we dont lose the championship. if the number of championships is the measure of greatness, the plus70 win seasons is not really a big deal after all

  50. It’s okay to get home court advantage through as much of the playoffs as possible, but sometimes teams that do too well in the regular season fold in the playoffs b/c they have either expended all their energy or haven’t sufficiently been through the adversity of tough loses, etc. to know how to gut through and come back after tough loses in the playoffs. So, it’s probably best not to do overly well in the regular season. Starting lineup: Bynum-top 5 among nba centers, Gasol-top 5 among nba power forwards, Artest-top 10 sf’s, Bryant-top 2, Fisher-top 30? Maybe.

  51. Wow, what happened to all the optimism on this board? Hardly anyone thinks the Lakers can get 70 wins, despite having won 65 last year?

    Last year’s team overcame the “geographic challenge” that Chicago didn’t have to deal with, an unsettled SF position (recall that Luke was the starting SF at the beginning of the year), having to incorporate Bynum and Gasol together after they’d never played with one another, and the loss of Andrew for nearly half the season. With all of that, they got 65 wins. Oh, and that includes devastating losses to the dregs of the league (Charlotte, twice, including at home…).

    This year’s team has a starting lineup intact from day one, a BETTER starting lineup than last year at TWO positions (Artest and a healthy Bynum) and people think that 5 more wins is somehow out of the question? People, please. Sasha was awful last year, and so was Jordan. Expect both guys to be better. Expect the bench to be better with LO staying in that role all year. Expect the starters to be better defensively (two seven footers to protect the rim, and two of the best perimeter defenders out front) as well as offensively.

    OF COURSE THEY CAN WIN 70 GAMES.

    Now, if you are going to argue that injuries could come up, then fine; I don’t think any analysis can be done if we allow for the injury issue to come up (e.g., if Kobe gets hurt, all bets are off). However, I have assumed that this topic generally assumes the Lakers will be playing at full strength next year, and if they are, I don’t know how anyone can say that a 5 game improvement is somehow unreachable.

  52. I don’t understand the fascination with 72 wins. As long as the Lakers win enough games to earn the homecourt advantage, and that results in them hoisting a 16th banner, what does it matter?

  53. I predict a perfect 82-0 season, followed by complete sweeps during the playoffs. Also, the entire Western Conference All-Star team will be comprised of Laker players. At the end of the season, Lebron will leave Cleveland and sign with LA for the veteran’s minimum, showing that he’s a follower of the old saying “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Also, Kevin Garnett will be involved in a scandal involving a sexual relationship with Paul Pierce.

    If you can’t tell by the sarcasm above, I am disappointed that this site would entertain talk about “how many games are we going to win next year”. Its ridiculous given that so many unknown factors (injuries, team chemistry, illness, suspensions, etc) can affect a team’s record. Additionally, once we set the bar at 65, 70, 75 or whatever, then, instead of enjoying the ride, we become a bunch of whinny babies every time the team losses.

    Please put up another post – pronto.

  54. 51) I hate to continue to be a devil’s advocate on the 70 wins. Yeah we CAN win 70, but every year there’s a team that CAN (04 lakers, 05 Pistons, 06 Mavericks, 08-09 Celtics, ect.) At some point the ESPN analysts will speak to this ad-nauseum until whichever team that’s 19-2 has a 2 game losing streak.

    Being able to win 70 and actually winning 70 are 2 very different things. Bynums inury, sahsa and jordan’s play, and shuffling the lineup all were nonfactors in us getting swept by the Bobcats last season. We lost because, well, it was the regular season. Even with the league being as top heavy as it is, there’s a lot that goes into winning an NBA game. Chemistry, game planning, motivation, sense of urgency, fatigue or lackthereof. Theoretically we can win every game

    I think our final record will be driven less by our abilities and situations with chemsitry and health, and more by how the rest of the league is stacking up. If we decide that home court is important to us, and one of the east teams pushes 70 wins, we will push 70 wins as well. Otherwise, regular season is code for preseason.

  55. 51,
    I couldn’t agree more. The Lakers have as good a shot of anyone in history to get 70 wins. This team is loaded.

    52,
    And I’ll tel you why we shouldn’t be pushing for 70 wins. At the end of every season someone wins a championship. It happpens every year. But not evey team wins 72 games. Thats somehting to seperate yourself as the best team of all time.

  56. I hope that FB&G never becomes a blog of homers. Before the Lakers become the “best team in all time,” they better spend some time together, review challenges, and figure out how this team will approach next season.

    Then we take games one at a time–never sure whether we will win or not.

    We can worry about records after the season is over. Let’s not put the cart before the horse.

  57. for me personally, more important than the amount of wins the boys get is the way that they go about getting them. will fans still have to deal with the lakers’ old cliche problem of “playing down to the level of the competition” like so many games last year? it’s a long season, yeah. but the attitude of the “defending champs” and how they go about their defense without having letdown games against the bobcats, kings, etc. just shouldn’t ever come into question for a team this talented.

    off topic: in a hoopsworld chat, someone asked mike moreau whether we’d see a lineup of kobe, ronron, LO, pau and drew, and moreau said “why not? 1-3-1 halfcourt trap – like magic, coop, worthy, mcadoo, jabbar. all touching hands.” is this realistic?

  58. 53, they’re just my predictions, and anyone who disagrees can do so. I think having discussions like this are valuable because a lot of fans like to think about why a team loses basketball games. Yes, it could be the case that they were simply outplayed, or someone was hurt, or they had a bad shooting night, whatever, but one big factor that affects team performance that generally goes undervalued is the schedule. Yes, there are a lot of factors that are almost completely unknown at this point, but given the reasonable amount of information that we have, making reasonable conjectures, we can come to some sort of hypothesis as to how our team will perform, if only as a comparison.

    And the thing about expectations and whining is that the only people who whine about teams not meeting expectations are those who can’t handle disappointment. I’m probably one of the most care-free, one-game-at-a-time fan as they come, but that doesn’t mean that my projecting into the future will somehow affect my analysis of the present when it occurs. If anything, I was hoping that the one message I would be able to give with this is to be prepared to win, but also be prepared to lose. We will do both this season; of that there is no doubt. But one should not remove the joy of victory simply because we want to avoid disappointment.

  59. Drrayeye: I don’t think it’s being a “homer” to predict the Lakers win 60+ games next year. Any basketball analyst will predict at least 60 wins for the Lakers. Furthermore, why do Zephid’s predictions bother you so much. It is not an iron-clad demand that the Lakers win 67 games, its a fun look at the schedule and what he thinks will happen. No big deal, we will all watch the games and debate each quarter, each possession, each decision all year. This is like an overview and shouldnt cause consternation or calls of homerism.

    Any person that understands basketball knows the expectations for this team will be 60+ wins and another championship.

    Writing it on this blog doesn’t create those expecations, being the freakin LOS ANGELES LAKERS is what creates the expectations, and that is why so many are fans of this great team.

  60. Travis #54, I don’t think it is being a devil’s advocate to point out the challenges inherent in winning 70. My only point is that next year’s team is likely to be a FAR superior team to last year’s team (again, assuming they are at full-strength), and when you consider that 65 wins was achievable by a “worse” team, it is hard for me to understand how 70 is that unrealistic.

    No doubt that others that might have won 70 have come up short; but there is also no doubt (at least in my mind…) that next year’s full-strength Lakers are far superior in talent and depth to any of the teams that you mentioned.

    To start 4 potential all-stars means that the talent level of the starters alone should be enough to win almost every night. Add to that a deep bench, and the ability to overcome even the rare off nights by the 4 great starters that comes with a deep bench, and I think winning an average of one game per month more than last year’s team is pretty doable.

    Of course, home court advantage is more important than 70 or more wins, but achieving both would be nice….

  61. 60,
    Again… I couldn’t agree more. With the talent the Lakers have on this team 70 wins is a realistic goal. It of course will be a tough goal to reach… but thats why you set goals. The Lakers should be trying to be the best they can be. 65 wins is not the best this team can be. Some teams should aim for 40 wins… others for 50, some for 60 and the rare talented teams like this seasons Laker squad should be aiming for 70 wins. Your goals in life should be to be the best you can be… not to just be the best.

  62. Kwame (59), I think that it is homerism of the worst order to proclaim this Lakers team potentially “the best team in all time” before the season starts. I wasn’t commenting on Zephid.

    You can read my specific comments on Zephid’s writeup in #39 above.

    If you want to spend your time fanticizing about next season, I’m not about to stop you.

  63. Right on, Aaron. I start from the premise that the Lakers are the best team in the league, and all else being equal (injury/illness) they SHOULD win each game they play. I know that nobody wins every game, and this team won’t win them all–but when they lose, it will be to a team that is not as good as them. Those experiences should be quite rare.

    I don’t know if the players approach a season with a number of wins in mind, as opposed to just focusing one game at a time, but if they bring the kind of focus that they should, losing as many as a dozen games allows for many “letdowns” and still gets them to the 70 mark.

    It will be fun to watch, and I won’t be obsessing over the number of wins (home court is something else…) until they get really close in the final week or two of the season.

  64. How about “Kobe v. LeBron” and “Shaq v. Age” HA! That’s funny.

    As far as winning 70, don’t see it happening. Maybe if we had kept Ariza because Artest is a downgrade. I think that the East is gonna be awesome! As for the West, Portland’s gonna be better, Houston will be damn good, and San Antonio will be SCARY!

    I would love to see it happen but 70 is a stretch, even for the defending champs!

    http://balmer.typepad.com/keithsmooth/2009/08/10-reality-shows-based-on-stephon-marbury.html

    Sports, Pop Culture, & Satire

  65. Zephid, nice Post about our schedule of games next year and your predictions as to what is going to happen based on the previous years teams. You got this out quick, the schedule just was made public. I am not even really thinking about how many overall games we win. It doesn’t matter to me as long as we make the playoffs and home court would be nice to have also, but not necessary for a Championship. PJ did really want home court last year it seemed like via his comments after those losses late in the year, but anyway this is a new year. This is the last place I thought I would ever hear this homerism talk, but anyway.

    Enjoy the ride like last year (with the same results hopefully), that is all that is important.

  66. Phil must be excited.. This could be his most talented team during one of the nba’s most competitive years.. I can see him pushin for the record.

  67. Projecting wins is always tricky. I think Zephid uses very good logic in coming to his conclusions and that his predictions are very reasonable. Will it happen that way? Who knows. But by his own admission, he’s just throwing out his thoughts and isn’t trying to proclaim anything as irrefutable, so I say more power to him.

    As for chasing the all time wins record or even getting to 70 wins, that will be a tough task for all the same reasons it was tough last season. Phil has consistently maintained that traveling from the coasts will always be harder on a team (rather than from the middle of the country like his Bulls team did in their push for 70), plus there are the always unknowns of injuries, other teams’ motivation, and team mindset throughout the grind of the regular season. Last season, we all saw a relaxing of effort and energy from our guys after a very hot start, so I’m inclined to believe that the same thing could/would happen next season with a home heavy start and the championship nostalgia wearing off as the long season progresses. That doesn’t mean that we’ll fall off or something, just that it will be a challenge to stay as up as you need to be for as long as you need to be to achieve that type of goal when you’ve just won the entire thing the season before.

    Remember too, that when the Bulls broke the all time wins record they had just come off the biggest disappointment in the MJ (post first championship) era. He had comeback the prior season more than half way through the campaign (actually, he only played in 17 regular season games), worked his way back into pretty good form, and then they lost in the EC Semi-Finals to the Shaq led Orlando Magic. Jordan, the ultimate competitor that he was, came back that following season extremely focussed and determined to prove once again that he was the best player in the league and that his team was one of (if not the) best team ever. He displayed a drive that carried over to that entire team and they played inspired ball over the course of an entire 82 game schedule. Will the Lakers have that same drive? Coming not off a major disappointment, but most of these players’ biggest triumph? I know that Phil and Kobe and Fisher have already set the table with remarks about chasing more rings. Odom has too. I know that Artest is surely hungry. But what about our other role players? Will everything break our way? Will Bynum get in a full season? Will Pau stay healthy for a third consecutive year after not taking Summers off? Will the bench regain it’s early (last) season form? Artest!? So many questions that shape a chase like that…we’ll all see the answers play themselves out, I guess.

  68. Funky Chicken- Yeah, I’m with you on the amount of talent we’ve got. It’s pretty significant. But even the showtime Lakers never won 70 (peaked at 65), and they had in my opinion, more talent than we’ve got now, on paper.

    I’m not saying we don’t have a potential all-time great team. But that is measured over the course of years, and multiple playoff performances. We’ve got a new piece to fit into the puzzle, and that will take some times and cost us some regular season losses, no doubt. We won’t become bulletproof until about April.

    “To start 4 potential all-stars means that the talent level of the starters alone should be enough to win almost every night” sounds a lot like “To start 4 future hall of famers means that the talent level…..ect ect” type of statements that people were saying in 2004.

  69. Keith #65, I couldn’t believe you said that Artest is a downgrade over Ariza until I saw that you said Houston is going to be “damn good” and realized that you were engaging in sarcasm….

    Travis, no doubt it will be difficult, and the historical precedence suggests it won’t happen. However, I don’t equate the notion of 4 current allstar caliber guys with 4 future hall of famers, especially when 2 of the four HOF’er were way, way past their prime. What I think can be said about next year’s team that can’t be said about any recent teams is that you’ve got 4 guys who could theoretically make the allstar team this year, and a 5th, who if he plays like he can (HUGE “if”, I know) could also be in that category. That’s the sort of depth that I have never seen before.

    Loved the 80’s Lakers, and am still partial to them over this bunch, but I think it is getting awfully close talent-wise between this team and that one.

  70. Lakers, Spurs, Orlando and Boston all have “four all-star caliber starters” (Duncan/Parker/Ginobli/Jerfferson, Vince/Jameer/Dwight/Rashad and KG/Pierce/Allen/Rondo). Does that mean there will be four breaking the Bulls record next season?

  71. LT, there is all-star caliber and then there is real all-star caliber. Among the names you listed, I think there are only 6 real all-star caliber guys: Duncan, Parker, Jameer, Dwight, KG and Pierce.

    I don’t see this as being remotely close to the Lakers starters, two of which were allstars last year and quite likely to be suiting up for the West again; a third is a center who is probably the best center in the west now that Shaq and Yao are out of it; and the fourth, the “weakest” in my view is maybe the best perimeter defender in the league. You throw in Odom and the comparison to the other teams you list is a joke.

    Moreover, none of those teams came close to 70 last year, and it is hard to see how any of them improved to the point where 70 could even be possible. By contrast, the Lakers have significantly improved their starting lineup and, with the return of LO to the bench, their reserves, all off a team that came up 5 games short of 70 last year. The talk of 70 with this bunch is vastly more realistic.

  72. I don’t see the motivation to drive the Lakers to chase 72, nor do I think that’s overly realistic even if they had reason to want that record.

    It’s only been done once — for good reason — it’s very hard to win nearly every night when everyone is gunning for you, and in the end, what does 72 wins get you? A No. 1 seed? Well L.A. earned that with “only” 60-something wins the past two seasons.

    In the end, had the ’96 Bulls lost in the playoffs, they’d be viewed as a failure, much like the Patriots team that lost its only game in the Super Bowl.

    All that really matters is winning the Finals. They don’t put up banners for anything less at Staples Center, at least not in purple and gold.

    (However, I’m sure the Clippers would put up a banner for winning three games in a row, or perhaps for making the playoffs — anything, just to have a banner up — if Sterling weren’t too cheap to spring for it.)

  73. This would be much easier if the NBA had DBZ power levels. Then we wouldn’t have to debate.

  74. The defense is going to be the key to 70 plus wins. No matter how many all-stars we have on the offensive end, we need them to be all-stars on the defensive end of the floor, that will make the difference between a 65 win season and a 70 plus season. When shots are not falling, good sound defense, staying in front of your man, rotating as help defender and boxing out will be the key factors . If every member of LA makes an effort to play defense, I would say that 72 wins would be attainable without a doubt.

  75. 63) drrayeye,
    “proclaim this Lakers team potentially “the best team in all time” before the season starts”

    How is that homerism, to say that they have that potential? I certainly think they do; I think it’s a question of focus and injuries. Personally I don’t think that they will keep their focus enough of the time, but they certainly have the potential to win at that level.

  76. Funky Chicken,

    A healthy Ginobli is all-star calibur. Rondo, Allen, Rashard and Vince were borderline all-stars last season.

    Regarding last season’s record, you are underestimating the significance of losing Jameer and KG. Yeah, we lost Bynum, but Lamar was more than suitable as a replacement. KG was replaced by Powe/Davis, and Jameer by Alston. They performed admirably, but the dropoff was more significant for both those teams than it was for the Lakers.

    Although I agree with you that the Lakers starting unit is the best in the league, the gap between the Lakers and Boston starters (assuming KG is healthy) is not very big in my estimation:

    -SG (Allen/Kobe) – Advantage Lakers
    -SF (Pierce/Artest) – Advantage Boston
    -PG (Rondo/Fish) – HUGE advantage Boston
    -PF (KG/Gasol) – Slight advantage Boston
    -C (Perkins/Bynum) – Advantage Lakers (assuming Bynum regains his form) although Perkins is the type of player that can potentially give Bynum fits.

    That’s three positions that the Boston starters might have the advantage in. Seems pretty close to me.

  77. I forgot who said this but I will repeat it… The Lakers won 65 games last year without Bynum for half the year and now they are adding an all star in Ron Artest. This Lakers team has as good a chance as another team in history to win 70 games.

  78. (77)exhelodrvr,

    I was being kind with the “potentially.” Other than blind extrapolation from last year’s record, there is nothing tangible to go on.

    These are the types of blind speculations I expect to (and do) see on Celtics blogs–to which you contribute. Maybe you’ve become contaminated?

    If the Lakers actually win the NBA championship next year with numbers consistent with the legendary Bulls 72 win season, feel free to bring this subject up again at that time.

    I’d still consider it homer hype until Celtics and Bulls fans start posting such claims about the Lakers on their sites.

  79. 79,
    Hind site is 20/20. There is nothing to talk about after the Lakers win 73 games. The genius and fun is in prognosticating. Any loser can say the Lakers can win 70 games AFTER they win 70 games.

  80. (80) Aaron,

    It is extreme homerism to project one’s team as “the best team in all time” even after they did win “about” 72 games. To do it before the season begins is acting like a Celtic

    Some of us will hope for the best, fear for the worst, and watch what happens next year game by game–as long as the Lakers are playing games.

    I’ll leave the “prognosticating” to you. I might even lend you my oiji board!

  81. drrayeye,
    The Lakers won what, 65 games last season? Assuming reasonable health, with Bynum back and the replacement of Ariza with Artest, the Lakers on paper are noticeably stronger than last year. Throw in a some improvement (from the group overall, not necessarily each individual) from Walton, Powell, Farmar, and Vujacic, which I don’t think is unrealistic. This Lakers roster definitely has potential to exceed 70 wins. That’s not homerism, that’s basic common sense. Will they do? Based on the history of the league, probably not. Personally I don’t think they do. But to call it “homerism” to say that it’s reasonable to think they have the potential? That’s being silly. And FWIW, I don’t visit Celtics blogs. I think I did one time middle of the season last year.

  82. Something interesting to think about: with Yao and Shaq gone, who will be starting C for the West All-Stars?

    Duncan threw a hissy fit when he was listed as a C before. My guess is it’ll be Amare, unless he wants to be a F too. If not – can Al Jefferson rally up enough votes? I think this could be Bynum’s year. Even if he doesn’t play the best, being on the Lakers helps with the votes.

    http://readbetweenthebaselines.blogspot.com/2009/08/yao-out-for-season-shaq-in-cleveland.html

  83. (83)exhelodrvr,

    I watched nearly all of the Laker games last year. I’m aware of the results so far of free agency and trades both by the Lakers and competitors. I’m aware that the Lakers won the NBA championship. I’m clearly hopeful for next season.

    I’m not quite ready to proclaim the Lakers “the best team in all time” even before a single game is played. I’m not even ready to quibble over how many games the Lakers might or might not win next season.

    I’m a little worried that Sasha injured his knee . . . . .

  84. Even after winning a Championship and with a loaded team it’s important as fans to be humble. At the same time, I don’t see anything wrong with setting high expectations if you believe your team can do it. Pumping yourself up and believing your team can do the (seemingly) impossible is part of the fun of being a fan, at least for some of us. Hell, let’s go for 82!!! ;-)

  85. 73) if you’re gonna make your argument based on Lakers having “4 all star caliber guys”. The 05 Pistons had 4 players who were actually on the all star team, legitimately. And yeah, we won 65 last year without Bynum, but the Cavs won 66 without Shaq, or a real shooting guard.

    and if you want to count the number of “real all star caliber guys” that the other contenders have, I think you have to count Rondo (Boston’s best player in the 09 playoffs and the best defensive PG in the east), and Ray Allen (an actual all star the last 2 years). And Rashard Lewis and Shaq (actual all stars last year, and not by injury default. coaches picked them). Mo Williams was an allstar, too, by injury default (which is a more legitimate claim than Ron has)

    Ron has no shot at an all star team. He’s only be picked once (04, his DPOY season). And if Bynum makes an allstar team next year, it will be because Duncan and Amare are listed as Forwards. Drew won’t get the fan votes unless that’s the case, and I don’t think the coaches will honor him because he won’t be a top 12 player in the west (Dirk or Pau would get his spot). So really, if you want to count “real all star caliber guys”, we’re not that much better, at least on paper, than the big 3 of the east.

    All I’m saying is that the whole “this team has the potential to win 70 next year” is pretty cliche. Every year, fans and pundits will say this about the title favorites based on what they look like on paper, and it has happened…Once.

  86. (86) Jaybird,

    I like your attitude!

  87. drrayeye, I don’t think anyone is pretending here that they can tell the future. It is one thing to claim that believing our team can top 70 wins is homerism; that I can believe. But you can’t claim that someone is being utterly unreasonable when using past facts to attempt to predict future results. Yes, extrapolation can cause error, vast at times. But there is a reason why a science like statistics exists; to predict the future based on observations and intrinsic qualities.

    And while there’s good reason to expect that not all of what we believe will necessarily come true, it is strange to believe that none of what we believe will come true.

    I don’t see how this speculation is entirely “blind;” we’ve seen these players before and we have a reasonable knowledge of what they’re capable of (Bynum excluded). We know what the schedule is, we know who the Lakers will be playing, when they will be playing, and where they will be playing. We also have a somewhat reasonable knowledge of the opposing teams players abilities. Yes, there’s a lot to be uncertain of, but you can’t irrefutably claim that we don’t have at least some knowledge of what to expect this coming season.

    And please, to everyone, refrain from goading others into arguments in accordance with commenting guideline #4. While sarcasm can be funny and entertaining in some circumstances, it is not acceptable when that sarcasm is aimed at a particular person with malicious, mocking, or derisive intent.

  88. …and the celtics won 62 without KG. So I guess they’ve got potential for 70 now that he’s back, assuming he stays healthy….

    get my point?

  89. Hmmm, I think it is time for a famous quote:

    “We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.” – Eric Hoffer

  90. 87,
    Gasol was only an all star once before coming to the Lakers. When you play on a great team you have a better shot at making the team. So I like Artest’s shot at making the team again. Also he was an all league 2nd team defender last year. When was the last Laker not named Kobe to make that club?

    Duncan and Amare are listed as Forwards because thats their natural positions. And considering Bynum outplays them one on one I like his shot at being an all star. Who are the fans going to vote to the team before Bynum? If I had to put odds on Bynum being an all star I would say he has a 90% shot. He is the best Center in the NBA at 60% health. I love how people like kicking Bynum while he is down… you don’t see people saying Jameer Nelson isn’t good because of how badly he played in the Finals coming off an injury. So why do people judge Bynum playing on one leg with a steel knee brace that weighs two tons?

    The only guy who isn’t an all star type guy is Lamar Odom. But he is still a star player. The Lakers have 4 legit all stars on this squad.

  91. correction… I meant to say Bynum is the best center in the west at 60% health and the 2nd best center in the NBA when healthy.

  92. 67-15 is not bad and I can totally agree with you and if Lakers do better then that then power to them as they try to defend there title.

  93. and 82,
    Not once did I say the Lakers would win 70 games. I just said “they have as good a shot as anyone to do it. And they have that potential.” I’m sorry if you mis read.

  94. lt mitchell #78

    I completely disagree with your second paragraph.

    Sure losing KG hurts the celtics more than us losing Bynum –but the celtics were pushed to 7 games in the first round of the playoffs and were ousted in the second round despite having home court advantage. While the Lakers won the NBA championship.

    Secondly, the magic losing Jameer and having Alston replace him did not hurt more than the Lakers losing Bynum. Alston in my opinion is a very good point guard. Jameer on the other hand has never shown the ability to take a team deep into the playoffs. Alston is a true point guard while jameer is a scoring point. We will see next season if Jameer has what it takes.

  95. (89)Zephid, according to the binomial probability distribution, the likelihood of a particular event could be set at 50/50. If we associate that 50/50 with the outcome of basketball games, and expand the binomial, we can calculate the likelihood that a particular outcome, like 65/82 wins could happen by chance (50/50). If we did the calculation, 65/82 would be quite rare–suggesting that the Lakers were quite a bit better than an average (41/41) team.

    If we knew that the Lakers were about the same as last year, based on probabilities, we would expect the Lakers to win fewer than 65 games, not more. By chance, that would be more likely. We call it regression toward the mean.

    In fact, basketball teams frequently win NBA championships and then regress the next year.

    Your projection of more wins next year is not supported by the “science of statistics”–at least the binomial. In fact, your projections are inconsistent with what would be expected on a statistical basis alone.

    You’re just dreaming that the Lakers will have another season just like last year–only better. Statistically, that’s last year’s rare event–with benefits.

    You may be right, but it’s not based on any “science of statistics.”

    If you follow this link, you can look at a function that describes the winning percentage of Laker games over the last 20 years or so. You might find it interesting:

    http://www.sactownroyalty.com/2009/7/31/970852/a-tale-of-two-teams-the-lakers-and

  96. hey folks,

    I’ve been a daily reader here a few years but haven’t posted in quite a while. Just thought I’d add another thought.

    Phil sets many goals for the team each year – both at stages of the season and for the season as a whole.

    I could swear that I remember reading at the end of last season at least one place that the two goals – their “reach goals” – that they didn’t meet were (1) the best record in the league and (2) 70 wins.

    I could be wrong, but I’m fairly certain I recall reading that. I’d be interested if someone could find a reference.

    That said, there’s a fine line between “reach goals” and fantasy. When you’re the interested party, a reach goal represents actionable tasks along the way. It’s a stretch – hence the term – but it’s a stretch based on a realistic estimation of best-case and best-effort. To someone working day in and day out to get there, it’s anything but fantasy.

    Coming off of such an amazing season and (IMHO) after upgrading the roster… I think it’s plenty fair as a fan to recognize the possibility of 70. Not to dwell on it and not as fantasy, but as the potential outcome of a season of one-game-at-a-time focus.

    I’d be disappointed if a team goal again this year wasn’t 70. As such, I’m fine with it as a fan.

  97. Times have changed. I remember reading in the old Latimes Laker blog about bandwagons proclaiming the team will be able to win 55 games. Glad those days have passed.

    The team is capable of winning 70 if its their main goal. At what cause, our starting five breaking down or injuries? I’d rather they win 65 and stay healthy. That way they’d be able to compete in the playoffs and hopefully be back in the finals to win it all.

  98. Further explanation of “regression toward the mean” thinking:

    http://www.blazersedge.com/2009/8/5/978321/predictings-wins-in-2009-2010

  99. Aaron- I didn’t misread you. I said “this team has 70 win potential” is a cliche statment. There are 4 teams in the league that we can say that about, and I would bet my paycheck that none of them do.

  100. Drrayeye,
    “I’m not quite ready to proclaim the Lakers “the best team in all time””

    I have yet to see anyone make that claim here.

  101. (100)exhelodrvr,

    See (55) and my (56) reply.

    My post (98) is documentation for my “statistical” post (96) which has been held up in moderation for some reason for many hours.

  102. 97, your reasoning has a couple of flaws.

    First off, the probability of this year’s Lakers winning any particular basketball game will almost certainly never be 50%. In fact, I would claim that the average percentage is somewhere in the 60%-70% range. To expand binomially on a set of games using one particular set of probabilities would seriously flatten the results produced by any statistical model, considering the probabilities of winning any game is contingent on some number of exogenous factors. It would make much more sense to have a distribution of probabilities expanded binomially over time.

    And while the article you cite is fairly reasonable in its assertion, there are a number of exogenous factors that it seems not to account. First, as you say and the article says, it is much, much more difficult to increase in wins when you have a high win total to begin with. However, for reasons such as injury, lack of chemistry, or team collapse (think Miami Heat circa 2007), teams can dramatically collapse in their number of wins. I don’t see many teams going from 60 wins to 65 wins, but there’ve been a number of teams that I’ve seen go from 50 wins to 30 wins.

    Statistics is meaningful only if they are used correctly to model whichever event you wish to observe. I can attempt to model a series of coin flips with a binomial distribution with probabilities set at 70/30, but that doesn’t mean my calculations will match the outcomes even in the slightest.

    And I didn’t claim that my model used statistics. All I use in my thoughts were some rough Bayesian probability calculations with a little game theory thrown in, but nothing at all scientific. But you were claiming that we cannot predict anything about the future, whereas I believe most of my assertions are reasonable and within the bounds of rationality.

  103. Ok, I’m going to change it up … I think the team can win 85.366 % games this season. It just sounds more attainable.

  104. Zephid (104),

    See #39

  105. Drrayeye,
    Aaron said that this team has a good shot at 70 wins. That’s a very reasonable, realistic statement.

    Then he says that winning 72 games separates a team into the “best of all time” category. That is a reasonable statement. Note that he does not mention the Lakers in that statement.

    He did NOT say that this team is the best of all time, or going to be the best of all time. He IMPLIED that this team has a good shot at being in the best of all time discussion. That is a very reasonable line of thinking, and hardly “homerism.”

  106. I’m not willing to agree that winning 70 games next year is realistic. Given that its only been done once, and that there have historically been several equally talented teams in the past, with an equal level of competition, who were unable to do so.

    65-67 a more reasonable possibility. But in reality, we’re just as likely to peak at 60 as we are to reach 70.

    and I also disagree with the idea that the team goal should be 70 wins. the team goal is a title. whatever it takes to get there. if 70 wins requires Kobe to play 35+ mins a night, I’m not with that. That’s not the same as saying that fans shouldn’t hope for 70. By all means, hope for 82 if you like.

    And to 92) Aaron’s point, I don’t mean to kick Bynum while he’s down. But facts are facts, he’s played less than 20 games in his career that we can say he was in rhythm, in shape, and healthy. I would say its a speculative leap to think he’s got high odds of making an Allstar team. Also, not sure what Nene’s official position is listed as, but I would say that as of right now he’s the best center in the west (based on numbers and a higher sample size to judge what his 09 performance will be). Jameer Nelson, on the other hand, was actually picked as an Allstar last year, by NBA coaches. So questioning Bynum coming off an injury wouldn’t be as cruel as questioning Jameer.

  107. (107)exholodrvr, If you’ve read through this dialogue, including the statistical analysis and links I provided to the Sacto and Portland sites–and still don’t feel embarrassed by many of the “optomistic” projections and other statements posted on this thread, there is nothing I could ever say to convince you that there is unfortunate homerism sometimes expressed–even on our blessed F,B, & G.

  108. Good morning, Travis. With all due respect, you are completely missing the point. The point is not that 4 potential allstars makes 70 wins possible. The point is that 65 wins by last year’s team, a worse team by any reasonable person’s estimation, so a dramatic improvement at two starting positions and the bench could very reasonably add 5 wins.

    For you to take the position that 65-67 wins is a more “reasonable possibility” just ridiculous. We are not talking PROBABILITIES here; we are talking POSSIBILITIES. If you don’t see that a roster that is improved over one that won 65 can possibly win 70, then you are intentionally trying to miss the point.

    See, that’s the difference between all the other examples you’ve given. None of those teams could lay claim to having won 65 games the previous year, then gone out and radically improved their teams. Moreover, I’m not hearing anyone say that teams like Cleveland or Boston can’t win 70—this was a discussion about the Lakers. I’m not particularly sold on the Shaq move to Cleveland, but COULD that be worth 4 more games? Sure. Of course, I think Cleveland also plays in a tougher conference than the Lakers, so winning will be tougher for them.

    As for goal-setting, it isn’t as if a team enters the season with only one goal. In fact, under Phil Jackson the Lakers have yearly goals that include, among other things, stuff like winning the Pacific Division. Do you want to take the position that this is an inappropriate goal because winning a championship should be the only goal?

    There is nothing wrong with shooting for 70. As they get close to the end of the year, if home court advantage is secured, I completely agree that you don’t risk fatigue or injury in pursuit of a 70 win season; but that’s not an issue until the end of the season. Frankly, last year was too damn close in my opinion. LA did not have home court advantage if they’d played Cleveland. Given the talent in the east, I can easily see LA having to win 65+ games to secure home court advantage throughout the playoffs, and from there 70 is not terribly far.

  109. 108

    I’m sorry, I have to take issue with you calling Nene a better player than Bynum. First of all, he’s had even more injury problems than Bynum, so you’re basically judging him solely on last season – a season in which he didn’t even play as well as Bynum has over the last 2 seasons. Are you telling me that having averaged about 14ppg, 9rpg, and 2bpg over the course of 85 games, he was only “in rhythm, in shape, and healthy” for 20 of them?

    Also, whether you think he deserves it or not, Bynum has excellent odds of making the All-Star team now that Yao is injured and Shaq is in the East. Who is going to keep him out? Nene? Mehmet Okur? Al Jefferson? All good players, but are they going to get more votes than Bynum? Just as an FYI, Bynum had the third-highest votes among Western conference centers last season – behind Yao and Shaq. Unless Stoudemire gets switched back to center, Bynum would be the favourite to get voted in.

  110. When did homerism become a bad word?

  111. Isn’t homerism synonymous with optimism?

  112. @LT Mitchell (#111) — Sometime around the second season of The Simpsons, I’d wager.

  113. I love how winning 70 games makes it harder to win a championship. I think the Lakers played too hard last year to win 65 games. They should have coasted more… maybe they would have had an easier time in the playoffs.

  114. Drrayeye,

    What you said makes no sense at all. What you are failing to understand is that there is SOME luck/randomness involved in deciding NBA games, but very little (exceedingly little). In basketball games it is SKILL and TALENT and HARD WORK which decide games, not so much luck. So perhaps when taking into account the skill/talent level of the lakers, a record of 67/15 is on the less probable side than 72/10 –i’m not saying it is, i’m just saying that it is possible. The way you judge its possibility is by opinion not statistics.

    Furthermore, your binomial probability is not even valid here. Because the probability of an outcome is not fixed. Given the right motivation, the likelyhood of the lakers beating the Bobcats can approach 100% (assume that the players thought it was an elimination game, game 7 of the NBA finals), while on other nights due to lack of motivation it could be 50/50.

    Also, you are assuming that everything has remained constant —everything is the same from last year to this year. If some believe that this year the lakers are in a better position to win more games than last year, then it destroys your argument. Even if we assume that everything is the same, it also could be the case that the mean of last years season (assume you play it 1000 times everything remaining the same) is higher than 65 games –what if the mean was 70 games, then 65 wins was on the lower end of the mean, thus reverting to the mean would be an increase towards 70 games.

    Whenever you want the best forecasting, you never go to mathematicians or statisticians –you always follow the money. Follow where the market is putting its money –currently Las Vegas odds have the lakers at 2/1 for winning it all next year. Higher than anyone else. It is the same whether you are dealing in politics or the economy –follow the futures betting and you’re much more likely to come to the correct conclusion.

    You’ve seen the destruction statisticians/mathematicians can do in prognostication. Just look at the latest debacle in the housing market. Just look at the 1987 crash. One major flaw is assuming a normal distribution –it is referred to as the fat tail paradox. The distribution in aspects related to HUMAN ACTION have fatter tails than a normal bell curve. This is because the variables are not fixed –some human can alter the action of other humans. This is a big reason they priced those housing derivatives so incorrectly –fat tails.

  115. Below full strength, the Lakers could have won 70 games last year…there are a at least three games I can think of off the top of my head (two on the road and one at home)that came down to a possession, and a few others where it could have gone their way if not for a few calls or miscues. THAT’S the nature of BASKETBALL. That’s also why a team needs a lot of luck (despite the challenges like health and travel) to approach the kind of mark being debated here.

  116. Homerism (from that ‘reference dot com’ site):

    A new figure of speech named after the cartoon character Homer Simpson, denoting an expression that reveals more than the speaker intended.

  117. 97. The Lakers’ record would only regress to the mean outcome for the Lakers’ skill level, not for a random set of outcomes. The Lakers’ record last year was one observation among an infinite number of possible outcomes, based on the quality of the team and its opposition (as well as minor factors like scheduling). If we could sample these outcomes, we could determine the mean record of the Lakers. If that record were below 65 wins, say 60, we would expect the team to have a worse record if we replayed the season (which is saying essentially the same thing as “they’re just as good as last year”). However, the Lakers mean record might have been 70 wins, in which case we would expect to see a better record if we replayed the season.

    The trouble comes with the term “regressing to the mean.” What you describe in post 97 is the Lakers regressing to the mean level of skill in the NBA. What you are applying it to is the Lakers’ specific outcome regressing to the mean level of success the Lakers should have with their roster. This level is far above the mean level of success for NBA teams.

    one way to get a sense of this is to think about school. If the average score on math tests is 70, do you think we should expect a smart kid who got a 90 on the last test to do worse on the next test? What if I told you he got 100 on each of the two previous tests? With this additional information, it becomes clear that the 90 was an underperformance for this student, and his next test score is more likely to be between 90 and 100 than it is to be between 70 and 90. He will regress to his mean, not the school’s mean.

  118. (116)(118) Kavah, Firewalker, you’re not following the argument. The average of all w/l percentages for all teams will always be 41/41. If one compares deviations from that to a binomial function, one can evaluate the likelihood (by chance) of any outcome different from 41/41.

    I’ve obviously not been clear enough on what that means. For a more detailed in depth development of the same concept, see the Blazer’s link in #100.

  119. and now for something completely different-
    http://blogs.pe.com/prosports/2009/08/vujacic-suffers-left-knee-inju.html

    OMG! sasha’s hurt! do you think we can maybe use this to get out of our contract? (i know, just kidding, shouldn’t make fun of a player injury…;)
    but I’m just sayin’…

  120. Well put, Firewalker.

  121. Drrayeye, with all due respect – I believe that Zephid, kaveh, and Firewalker have gotten the best of you in this one.

    I believe that what Firewalker was trying to say is that you can’t use the league’s mean for the Lakers, because of other factors (reference: Zephid) that will consistently put the Lakers to the right of the standard curve (whether normal or binomial) in evaluating teams’ performances in the season.

  122. I am so lost. The IQ level on this blog is amazing.

    So let me get this straight. Bynum probability of regression towards being a mean person is based on one’s definition of blind homerism?

    Am I at least on the right path?

  123. I know this rumor has been around for a while, but Woj is reporting a much more advanced stage – says that Rambis is all but leaving and may already be assembling an assistant coaching staff.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Arr.7pd3x4dqqy4Wq32K7wa8vLYF?slug=aw-rambiswolves080609&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

  124. Just a follow-up: Yes, I have read your link to PoliSam’s post – that was a great article and I completely agree that from a pure statistical standpoint, the Lakers, judging purely from their recent 65-win season, will likely regress this following year. But just re-iterating what Zephid said, there’re too many other factors to take into account, such as Ron Artest.

  125. Drrayeye,
    Based on your comment that 57 wins would be a great outcome this year, it seems that you are working under the assumption that 65 wins was abnormally high for this roster, and thus the likelihood is that they will win fewer.

    I think that is a faulty assumption, possibly a symptom of doomerism.

    The Lakers team last season was on the rise from the previous year. Despite the the injury to Bynum and the lack of an off-season for Gasol and Bryant, they still achieved 65 wins. Based on the general age/experience level of the team, as a group they are at the point where the benefit from an additional year’s experience outweighs the toll an additional year of age tends to take. They also have made an upgrade with Artest (possibly a significant upgrade), and are also getting an upgrade with a healthy Bynum. Based on the above, it seems much more likely that they are still rising, rather than about to start a decline.

    Looking at “Won-Loss difference” statistics from various teams from other seasons, in isolation from the factors that go into the difference in a team from one year to the next, sets you up to make less accurate predictions.

  126. (125) have you looked at the real data on the won/lost record for the Lakers since 1986 from my Sacramento Royalty link? Does that real world data make you rethink the homer expectations expressed on this thread?

    http://www.sactownroyalty.com/2009/7/31/970852/a-tale-of-two-teams-the-lakers-and

  127. I think drrayeye and dissenters are not at odds. Drrayeye is saying 70 wins is unlikely, indeed even if you take .8 (last year’s win percentage) and plug it into tho the binomial probability function, the likelihood of 70 wins is less than 5%. Everyone else (it seems) is saying that it’s not impossible. So unlikely but possible. Don’t think anyone’s really in disagreement here.

  128. Above should be to simonoid (126)

  129. although, drrayeye, I do think imputing homerism with the possibility of 70 wins is a stretch.

  130. Re: drrayeye

    Ziller’s post? Yes, I read through that. And I think that reinforces Firewalker’s argument that the Lakers’ chances are consistently over 0.500. Perhaps posters are a little subjective when it comes to predicting Laker chances, but that’s just natural, right? I mean, complete objectivity can’t be attained with regards to this, can it?

  131. OT, I guess…

    I would be happy to see Rambis get the head coaching job over there, they have a good young core and I think he would have fun running the Wolves, especially with Rubio.

  132. Another bit of off-topic news, Rashard Lewis tests positive for steroids, and will be suspended 10 games.

    http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/32319199/ns/sports-player_news/

    I’ve long suspected that PED use in basketball was at least as big as in football and in baseball; this is the first real suspension I can remember.

  133. Statistical models and real Laker data suggest a prediction of about 57 or 58 wins would be realistic next year. Laker FBG speculators sometimes expect 70 wins.

    Time will tell.

  134. It definitely will.

    Statistical models suggest around 57 wins.

    Real Laker data? Too numerous to analyze collectively as one.

    That’s what’s in the fun of it all.

  135. 57 wins is an absurd prediction for a team that is this talented and for all assumptions should be somewhat near last year’s level of play.

    Just because some statistical model spits out some number based on simulations or whatever, doesn’t mean that it’s any good. this is my problem with people who abide by computations. 57 wins should mean a disappointing season, because barring a lot of injuries or the VAST improvement by a number of teams, there’s no way it should happen.

    70 is definitely a total within reach if history means anything.

  136. *at least somewhat near or better.

  137. OH!!!!!!!!!!! the Magic’s finals berth was tainted!!!!!!!!

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4381822

    But for real, this is the very first time I’ve ever heard of steroids in the NBA, and that’s kinda surprising given the number of cheaters in the other big sports.

  138. And Rashard was using steroids in the Finals… nice.

  139. any speculation as to what’s gonna happen to our defense now that clark kent’s goin to the t-wolves to replace the dood that clotheslined him? b-shaw to take on defensive duties too? ssz or no ssz?

  140. Being a homer doesn’t make one stupid. I’m a homer, but an irrational one. We’re all homers, that’s why we post here.

  141. yea that’s a good question han, be interesting to see. It was pretty successful, and once you implement it it shouldn’t be as hard to continue. I’d like them to keep doing it.

  142. with the payroll the way it is already, don’t think dr. buss will look for someone to replace rambis. our coaching staff is pretty huge already. always wondered about how they distributed coaching duties between frank, jim, shaw and rambis, and curious now about how they’re looking to divvy them up.

    bit of a downer reading about rambis leaving.

  143. sorry, guys the Lakers aren’t “wildly improved” over last season. They have “potential” to be wildly improved. and I know nobody is saying the word “probably”. I’ve never implied that 70 has been someone’s prediction.

    What I’m saying is “probably not” 70 wins, and i’m arguing that stating that there is “potential” to win 70 is, like I said, cliche. every year you can say this about at least one team. Celtics fans were saying it last summer, and they’re probably saying it now, too. I would like to differentiate ourselves by placing potential on other, more unique possibilities such as Odom as best 6th man or Kobe winning a 2nd MVP, or even (despite my earlier comments) Bynum as an Allstar.

    I take back the Nene vs. Bynum statement I made earlier, I hadn’t realized that Bynums numbers over 50 games were nearly identical to Nene’s over 85. I guess it’s just hard for me to imagine 14/8/2 making an Allstar team. Of course there’s “possibility” that Bynum can come out of the gates averaging a double double through 20 games next season and dispel any doubt.

    I wouldn’t overlook, however, the possibility that Bynum isn’t as popular with fans outside of LA. I wouldn’t take the fan vote as a given for him. A friend of mine (Warriors fan) is constantly asking me why we don’t trade him. I also wouldnt over look the possibility that Bynum takes several games to get his rhythm back and play at an Allstar level, based on the way he started last season. But there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll be on an Allstar team in the near future.

  144. Travis, I agree that talk of 70 wins is generally cliche, because the fans of many teams have taken up the cause over the years. What makes it less cliche in this case, in my opinion, is that the Lakers 2009/10 roster is potentially better than any roster any of have seen in the last 20 years.

    Moreover, it is a different kind of talent than what we’ve seen in the past. Two legitimate seven footers in the starting lineup, one of whom is extremely mobile and can play inside and out (avoiding spacing problems that most “twin towers” teams of the past have had). Add to that two of the league’s best perimeter defenders, and a multipurpose 6’10” guy off the bench who can bring the ball up the court, shoot from the outside and rebound & defend with any power forward, and you are talking about a group that, to me, has no historical precedent.

    Of course, everything is “potential” in August, and getting all these pieces to mesh is the key, and that (along with injury) is the wildcard on the road to 70 wins; but on pure talent, I think it is really beyond debate that next year’s team has far superior talent than last year’s. Two of three noticeable defensive weaknesses are likely to be gone (getting roughed up inside by physical players, like Nene; and the utter inability of Trevor Ariza to guard strong small forwards). In looking to exploit a defensive weakness, I’m not sure where opponents will go (besides right past Derek Fisher…).

    That’s funny, because I would ask of your Warriors fan friend why in the world Golden State re-signed Biedrins to such a huge contract when there doesn’t appear to even be an argument that he could become a really good center (I say this as a once-loyal Warrior fan who split loyalty between GS and LA and who thinks that team is truly Clippers-North).

  145. Here’s a novel idea – how about we all agree that the Lakers are as talented, if not moreso, than any team in the league and that they have the experience to win anywhere from 60 to possibly 70+ games if they stay healthy and have a few breaks go their way? I really enjoy reading and commenting on this blog, but the bickering over the precise number of wins our beloved defending champions MIGHT win is unbecoming of this site. We should be more concerned about the strong possibility of losing not only a great assistant coach, but a great man in Kurt Rambis. I hate to use a Mark Jackson quote, but it fits – “Come on Forum Blue and Gold, you’re better than that!”

  146. The only bad thing about Odom signing is that discussions like this have to fill the void.

  147. inwit,
    Amen

  148. true that, this sucks.

    and yeah I can’t figure out how to show my buddy just how valuable Bynum is to us. Biedrins value us inflated because he racks up rebounds and putbacks off those ugly shots that Don Nelson keeps letting his boys take. I think fans of the rest of the league just see images of Bynum holding his knee and assume he’s injury prone and a flash in the pan.

  149. I second that Amen.

  150. I’m gonna go out on a long limb and predict more than 57 wins and less than 70 :)

    there’s only one way to resolve an argument like this: a friendly wager. I’d get in except I’m flat broke :(

  151. haha luubi. I guess deep down I don’t really care for a conversation centered around regular season wins. I’d rather talk matchups. That’s just me, I guess.

    So how bout that Rashard story? Any chance this turns into a big deal? Anybody buy his story? Somehow, I do. I heard through the grapevine that some supplement company got caught slipping tiny amounts of steroids in their protein shakes and stuff.

  152. I agree. Although I’m not sooo sure about the losing to Denver initially, I agree that the back to back thing is gonna be tough, but I also think that it’s one of those things where we’ve got something to prove. And Kobe is gonna take it personal that we ALMOST lost to them in the playoffs. We have to prove that we deserve the rings on our fingers, and the only way to do that is to win against Denver.

    The way you commented on the double-teaming Kobe thing is hilarious. I’m probably gonna have to quote you on that.. one day.

    In conclusion, I enjoy reading these things, and you really helped me understand the +/- rating.

  153. Re Rashard and steroids.
    Supposedly the same thing/same excuse by Darius Miles lasy yr also and there have been some minor names in past.
    Personally,I believe there is heavy steroid use by players getting up in age trying to recover from injury.(Steroids don’t just build muscle mass,they can also help a person recover much faster from an injury.) How often do we read of a player who’s recovered from an injury but still needs a couple of weeks of practice to get into “game shape”? Does he really need that much time to get into shape-or is he waiting to flush the drugs out of his system before he rejoins the active roster and becomes eligible for drug testing?

    Notice how in MLB,over 30 players in the Steroid Era had abnormaly good seasons and w/the advent of drug testing over 30 players are fading fast,just like they used to?
    Over 30 players in the NBA are performing at extremely high levels,just like their MLB counterparts in the 90s. And just like in baseball,better diet,intense physical conditioning programs and overall awareness of health and conditioning is credited w/basketball players being able to perform at a high level in their mid 30s.

    Perhaps I’m just cynical,but I believe a significant number of players has,is or will use steroids.

  154. 127- “possibly a symptom of doomerism”…that was great line!

  155. Regarding the Lakers’ win total next season I decided to look up the results from some past teams that won a high number of games.

    Since 1973 there have been 11 teams that have won at least 65 games in a season, including the 08-09 Lakers. The following year ALL of those teams won fewer games.

  156. PeanutButterSpread August 6, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    wondahap –

    I think you meant your a rational homer lol

  157. PeanutButterSpread August 6, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    * and I meant “you’re” not “your” lol

  158. *and you meant wondahbap :P

    drrayeye,
    I think that the statistical argument has some merit for a historic perspective. Over the course of a large number of years teams will tend towards X average. Yet to extrapolate from this model onto a single year is simply folly.

    What this model needs is a team by team calculation. I suspect we’ll likely see periods where every team “regresses to the mean”, and many periods where the argument doesn’t hold. Why? Because many basketball teams are dynastic by nature. For instance, with the advent of LeBron, the Caveliers regular season records have trended upward for the past 5 years–away from the mean, mind you. After LeBron departs, the Caveliers might spike downward towards some undetermined point–completely unrelated to their historic team winning average.

    I think 70 wins is possible, though an optimistic assessment. I think 57 wins is possible, but doomerism and less likely than a 70 win season. I think that this Lakers era has a “mean” winning average around 65 (my completely subjective assessment) with a standard deviation of +/- 3; <.001.

    That’s how my model works. It was written.

  159. 158,
    How many of those teams were as young as the Lakers and won 65 plus games with an injured star center out half the season and added a 29 year old all star SF in the off season?

  160. wait…wtf lewis was using steroids?

    …i think he was doing it wrong cuz he is one skinny mofo

  161. @aaron

    star center might not be completely accurate…

  162. LT Mitchell (124) – “So let me get this straight. Bynum probability of regression towards being a mean person is based on one’s definition of blind homerism?”

    After reading through all the Devil’s Math, that was just Hilarious!

  163. Gerrit,
    It’s not a question of what is “most likely to happen.” Most likely, the Lakers won’t win 70. Most likely, they won’t repeat. But it’s not being a “homer” to say that, based on last season’s results, the make-up of the team, and the changes since last season, they have a decent shot at both of those.

  164. Shaq and Lebron vs Kobe?

    I’m not worried.

    Realistically it’s

    “Shaq and Lebron vs Kobe, Gasol, Odom, Artest (awesome to think of the additional toughnest this man will bring! F#$k yes!) Bynum”

    I have a mate who is a Spurs fan. He claimed Spurs are set for a 70 win season, haha.. I’m looking forward to the next season.

    I’d like to see Luke Walton trade happen. Although I don’t see it happening..

  165. Aaron 161, it’s not completely accurate to call Artest an All-Star, either. The best season of his career was 5 years ago.

  166. LOL @ Kareem mocking Snoops!

  167. 168,
    And Pau Gasol only made the all star team once several seasons ago until he got traded to the Lakers with Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom. Would you call Gasol an all star? If you make the team once you are called an all star.

    Artest isn’t even 30 yet. Is he has quick as he was 5 years ago? No. Either is Kobe Bryant. Look at Artest’s numbers from 5 years ago… pretty much the same. Now that he will be back on a #1 seeded team he will likely make another all star appearance like Gasol did last year.

    To be honest… Artest might have a better shot at the team than Gasol because Bynum potentially is going to get a lot of Gasol’s touches and rebounds next year.

  168. 170,

    Ron Artest is not making the All-Star team before Pau Gasol does.

  169. since Pau DID make all-star, is the door open for Artest now? :)

  170. andrew,

    just thought you should know about mitch’s master plan:
    – during a casual dinner w/ the rockets GM early in the season, mitch slips him a roofie and gets him to sign off on another kupchak mastermind deal.
    – next day’s headline on ESPN: “Lakers trade Luke Walton to the Rockets for Trevor Ariza. Rest of NBA forfeits the season.”

    hey, at least i didn’t say the lakers would win 72 games…

  171. please do not let bynum suit up against memphis this year