Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  September 25, 2009

Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets Game 2 NBA Western Conference finals in Los Angeles
Finally the amount of Lakers news to discuss will pick up as camp opens, starting with Phil Jackson speaking to the press Friday. Then there is media day next Tuesday (followed by the start of camp). Honestly, the words spoken on media day may be the most useless thing in the NBA. The problem is useless is better than nothing, so we’re watching.

• PJ really didn’t say much unexpected at his sit down. He wants to keep Fisher to about 22 minutes a night and let someone else step up, something we all basically expected. He said he is going to experiment with lineups, including maybe a Kobe/Artest/LO/Gasol/Bynum lineup at points. Again not a shock, the versatility of this team is one of its biggest strengths and PJ has a lot of options to go with and look at (although I really do look forward to seeing that grouping). He said defense will be key and Artest makes them better there. He said the Lakers are better “on paper” but chemistry matters and we have to see how that plays out.

Basically, he said the things Lakers fans have been talking about all summer. Can’t wait for games so we can start to see these things play out.

• Not to give away too much of my season previews early, but here is my general take on the upcoming NBA season: Any one of five teams can win the title as currently constructed: Lakers, Spurs, Cavaliers, Celtics and Magic. (Other teams, such as Denver, could enter that elite grouping with a trade, but may be just short right now.) Of that group, the Lakers are the team with the largest margin for error — things do not have to go perfectly for the Lakers to win it all (they won last year despite a one-legged Bynum in the Finals). The Spurs and Celtics need to stay healthy, and that may be asking a lot. The Cavaliers need Shaq to defend the pick and roll and Mike Brown to be a good end of game coach. The Magic need Vince Carter to fit in.

I honestly believe going into a season there are tiers of contenders, the Lakers are in the best spot on the top tier. That’s all you can ask of a GM and owner. Making it a reality takes a combination of will from the players, coaching and luck that cannot be predicted right now.

• One thing I am rooting for with the Cavaliers — Coby Karl to make the team. He just got a camp invite. I liked him here in LA and at Summer League he looked like a guy who belonged on an NBA roster. Not a starter, but the guy can contribute (just not too much if it is with the Cavs, please).

• Really fascinating piece over at TrueHoop about fouling at the end of the game when your team is up three and the opponent has the ball. Phil Jackson said last year his rule of thumb is to foul in that situation with five or fewer seconds left (Stan Van Gundy got the same question and said six). Now people are bringing math to problem and… there is not yet a definitive answer. There are just so many variables (How good a free throw shooter is the guy you foul? Can you foul him on the dribble so he can’t get into the act of shooting? How good an offensive rebounding team is the team your playing, should they make the first and try to miss the second?). And no answer is going to be right 100% of the time, which makes it all the more intriguing.

• For those of you that watched Flash Forward last night, we have no idea where Kobe or the Lakers will be on April 29. If you’re going to watch the show, here comes the SPOILER ALERT: In the show, everybody on the planet blacks out and has a vision of a specific time in the future, the evening of April 29 (10 p.m. LA Time). One of the characters, reading the sports page on the john, says that he reads a story about Kobe blowing out an ACL and being out for the season. Well, he’d be out for the playoffs as the Lakers end the regular season on April 14. No way to know what the Lakers schedule will be then yet. But let’s hope that this show doesn’t foreshadow anything.

• Speaking of television, my two cents on Top Chef Las Vegas: Kevin is my guy. Like his high-end Southern food and anyone that does candied bacon jam is my hero. But I would be good with Jen or either of the brothers winning as well. So far in the show, the only person I’ve been sad to see go is Hector, everyone else seemed out of his or her league. And there are a couple more of those left (hello Robin). Also, I thought the Joël Robuchon episode was one of the best ever. That was a true test of what these chefs face in the real world, not who can make food that doesn’t taste like crap cooking on a campfire. But so far, really enjoying this season.

• FB&G is more a community than a blog. As we head into this season, if there are things you want to see us do — from specific posts to general things with the site — let me know. Put them in the comments or shoot me an email (link is over on the right). I may not be able to do it, or maybe I can, but I want to hear what all of you want to see, too. Just don’t say you want the details on Lamar’s wedding.

Kurt

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97 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. That line-up of Kobe, Artest, LO, Pau, & AB COULD BE one of the best defensive lineups the NBA has ever seen. Last year Phil didn’t give the big lineup (w/ LO, Pau, & AB) too much time on the court. i think Bynum’s injury and foul troubles had to do with it, but even moreso was a fear that we wouldn’t be able to spread the court. I get the feeling that Odom will be showing a more consistent 3-pointer this season. He built confidence in the playoffs, so an offseason is the perfect time to work out the kinks (optimistic thinking). I hope we see it experimented with more. It would be a devastating match up for a lot of our playoff opponents.

  2. After reading this writeup, I officially move that we boycott Flash Forward.

  3. My new theory: The pilot of Fast Forward was ghost written by Danny Ainge.

  4. @1

    LO working on his game over the summer? Not a chance, he’s in loooove.

  5. I think you will see the lineup of Kobe, Artest, Odom, Gasol, and Bynum on the floor the last 5 minutes of games. Mainly for the reason that its the time in the game where the pace slows to a crawl and size and defense are even more important to success. You will see Artest and Odom at the guard spots in the triangle and Kobe at the wing. As you saw with Harper and Pippen in the backcourt and Jordan at the wing spot in the triangle with the Bulls from 95 to 98.

  6. JAD, LO had plenty of time to work on his game before he even met his intended.

  7. I’d be willing to bet that we won’t see Kobe actually play defense until Christmas Day.

  8. The big lineup has the potential to be a all out nightmare for NBA teams. I dont think Kobe should play point, it should be:
    PG LO
    SG KB
    SF RonRon
    PF Gasol
    C Bynum

  9. The Cookie Monster September 25, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Mr. Kurt- if you mind a suggestion. If you (or any other FB&G member) are bigs on the video game industry, I wouldn’t mind a brief NBA 2K10 vs. NBA Live post, seeing as it is Kobe vs. Dwight. Just a suggestion.

  10. Is it too early to start amping ourselves up for the 8 month long season? It probably is, right? Oh well, here’s a little bulletin board material from our dear friend, Paul “Wheels” Pierce:

    “They won their 17th NBA title in 2008. They thought they had the horses to repeat in 2009. Now, Paul Pierce and the Celtics believe 2010 will be their year.

    The All-Star forward told Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears that the Celtics should be considered the favorites to win it all this season.

    “Before the season even started last year, I was asked, ‘What is going to stop y’all from winning it all?’ ” Pierce said in a phone interview on Thursday. “The first thing I said was, ‘If we’re healthy, we’re going to win it all.’ And I’m going to say it again: ‘If we are healthy, we are going to win it all.’

    “I honestly believe that. I think we’re the best team in the NBA, healthy.”"

  11. On the general league predictions, I actually agreed almost entirely with Stein’s Power Rankings today:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/powerranking?season=2010&week=-1

    The champ should almost always be #1 in the rankings (unless they lose a main guy (see 1999 Bulls)).

    The next 4 teams could really go in any order, and Denver and Dallas could crash the top 5 any time.

    Then you see the Blazers at 8 and it seems like a stretch until you look at who else is there. Its basically a 7 team league. Anybody below that mark could over or under perform. After the Blazers, every West playoff team has serious issues, and stein only has 7 west teams in the top 19. That final playoff spot could go to the Clippers, OKC, Warriors or Houston.

    Honestly, that sounds about right to me.

  12. Look, the LO Kardashian thing is celebrity politics. If they’re still married in 20 years, I’ll eat whatever is left of Rich Soil t-shirts in the D-A-S-H inventory by then. I’m not trying to be a jerk but lets just say that the cult of celebrity is as predictable as a Leper fan’s response to hearing “2009 World Champion Los Angeles Lakers”. Please forgive my cynicism.

    Craig, only Shaq has has spent less Summers working on his game then LO.

    Well, as long as we can accept getting beat by the Aaron Brooks, CP3s and Tony Parkers of the League, that big line-up looks just about right to me. We’ll definitely see penetration against that line-up but I can’t imagine how even those guys will find high % shots once they’ve beaten their man. A few TP tear drops will go and maybe CP3 is working on his mid-range game but damn, that is a long, strong and active line-up.

  13. okay, that flashforward thing is nonsense. the writers clearly didn’t do their research. the other sports headline was the rays come back from 3 runs to sweep the redsox. ok, the 2010 baseball schedule has been out for a few weeks now and the redsox DO NOT play the rays on that dates. (granted it must’ve been filmed before the sked came out, but still, that can be edited) and who says “out for the rest of the season” when you’re already playing in the first round. you would say “out for the playoffs”.

    was a pretty good pilot but i wouldve liked it better if it was lebron james or paul pierce with a torn ligament.

  14. Regarding fouling at the end of the game up 3:

    I still wonder why LO didn’t foul Shawn Marion at the end of Game 6 against the Suns in 2006.

    I think a foul then ends the series.

  15. P. Ami,
    Actually, I think LO is being paid about what he is worth at this time. So comments about him improving his game probably shouldn’t be made, by me or anyone else.

  16. I’ll tell you what I want you to do, Kurt: follow me on Twitter. My username is @AnthonyWilson44 You’ve linked to my stuff before and I’m starting a Twitter Revolution that you shouldn’t miss out on.

  17. What happened to the talk with Kareem, it seems like it has been awhile. Yeah, KB24, Artest, LO, Gasol and Bynum, that is a pretty good 5 players on the court at one time for the same team, you know?
    I just feel we will crush other teams this year and take no prisoners…

  18. I can do the Kareem questions again, if people are interested. To be honest, I stopped because his answers clearly lacked any effort. I asked six questions on a variety of topics in a variety of styles and all of the answers were one sentence (two at best) and provided no real insight. It wasn’t just here, this deal was set up with other Lakers sites and I thought the answers he gave were unimpressive at all of them. So, I stopped. But if there is interest we can revive it.

  19. Coffee is for Closers September 25, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Good to be back in here. Excited to see how things start to unfold for this season.

    As for Top Chef, agree the Rubuchon epsiode rocked. That’s like playing bball in front of michael or kobe and waiting to be critiqued. Robin is a hack. I don’t blame the rest of the chefs for drinking the haterade. She pulled the cancer card (aka, get outta jail free) to pull the quickfire challenge. This is like an allstar game where they invited the leauge’s 5 best players and filled out the rest of the roster with D leaguers. I’m pulling for Jen, and for Robin to get her walking papers asap.

  20. I agree; Cap’s a legend but those answers were pretty terrible. I must’ve stared at the first batch for a good solid 10 minutes trying to eek out some hidden Yoda-style wisdom but sadly there was none. Only tears.

  21. w/r/t vujacic being asked to cut his hair: “Sasha played with his hair more than he played on the court.”

    I’m having a lot of trouble finding anyone likeable on this season of top chef. too many snobs.

  22. Phil’s openness to a “big” lineup including LO, Bynum, and Pau has really surprised me. Many fans called for the trio to start or even play together last season, but it never really materialized, and Phil seemed totally against it. In fact, I don’t believe the three big men ever played a minute together last season. That said, what gives? Is this Jackson amusing himself, or does he actually intend on giving the lineup a try? Furthermore, if this thing’s a real possibility, then why now?

    My theory, an admittedly crappy one, is that Lamar’s 3 pt shooting in the playoffs (around 51%, I believe, but I don’t have the stats in front of me) might have convinced Phil that he can space the floor, so long as he’s given open looks. From what I remember, the fundamental issue with the “big” lineup was that all three players could only score effectively around the basket. Has Lamar’s shooting (taken from an incredibly small sample size, of course) changed this? Also, what about Pau? From what I’ve read, he shot the three ball effectively in EuroBasket. Maybe that’s playing a part here? Or is it Ron Artest’s presence defensively that changes things? Or maybe it’s Jackson’s desire to keep both Bynum AND Odom on the floor at crunch time, thus keeping them both happy?

    To be honest, I’ve got no clue, but I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts….because a lineup of Kobe, Artest, Odom, Gasol, and Bynum makes me downright giddy.

  23. fifthrune, I completely agree with you. I thought at the time it was just because it was the offseason or something, but anyway let’s move on with this fun and exciting Laker season about to unfold before our eyes.

  24. During Flashoforward when they said that about KobeI literally threw the remote on the ground and started shouting, “F&$* you, Courtney Vance!”

    re: Top Chef,
    Ashley is going to shock the world!

  25. your gonna thank me of hate me for this, its a ron artest music video about working out. listen a little after the 3 min mark, “you can catch me on the corner with some coke in my nose” that line is completely out of no where in terms of the rest of the song. wtf?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao18DpJZjbQ

  26. Maybe Lamar was given Kobe’s 3pt workout that Trevor left when he went to Houston ;)

    Lineups are lineups and although giddy, I won’t admit it until I see them play. I’ve been disappointed by so many theoretically awesome lineups that it’s just natural for me to be a bit reserved.

    One thing I think that may be granted this season is a full, growing Bynum. If he can play defense like Pau did (wow, did I actually type that?) I won’t care if Ron has lost a step or two.

    … but i do wish that he won’t lose his mind.

  27. I’ve never been all that fascinated with ‘big’ lineups, but that particular group could make things interesting. Kobe might not be able to stay with someone like Parker from tip to buzzer, but for the last few minutes of a close game would be a different story. However, spacing could still be a major concern when Artest is the most accurate 3-point shooter on the court.

  28. Re Kareem Posts: I have to sadly agree that they were pretty lackluster and disappointing. Appreciate your discontinuing it, given the apparently inevitable letdown.

    I’m so excited for the new season, finally ! Wary of Artest, and even of Odom what with his sorta bizarre wedding and all.

    Still yet excited for the still burgeoning Bynum talent and for Gasol’s subtle, but continuing, growth in his game and mental approach.

  29. No doubt the Lakers are in the first tier, but they are there by themselves. The talent gap between the Lakers and the next best team is far greater than the gap between #2 and #5.

    Cleveland got slaughtered last year in the second round by a team the Lakers crushed in the Finals. Cleveland added a very old center who does not demand a double team or defend the pick and roll. There is NO WAY this move catapults them into Laker territory, and certainly not with a Laker team that is vastly improved (on paper, at least) over last year’s team.

  30. as much as we all love kareem his responses were very disappointing.

  31. Any word on how Bynum has been doing with his knee? I guess we will know soon enough.

    Re: Paul Pierce (comment #10). Although Pierce is a superb player, his rationale of “we’re the best when healthy” is meaningless. That’s like saying the Lakers with Malone were the “best when healthy”. So, I agree it’s good bulletin board material.

    Anyway, how good can the Celtics be without Miki Moore??

  32. Great post! I can’t wait until 10/23 for the Denver game in San Diego!

    In regards to the Truehoop post about “to foul or not to foul,” I never thought Phil was a believer in fouling, at least before last season. Usually, it seems that he just let the team defense work itself out. There is always the numbers aspect to the game in the “up by three” situation, but being the Zen master that he is, I believe that letting your team defense do its thing helps strengthened the team psychologically. To me at least, it means the coach is trusting the defense in big time situations. You can lose some games here and there, but it’s an 82 game season. Sometimes losing one game will mean winning several games later because you are that much mentally prepared for those situations. Fouling also just gives a sense of giving up on the defense to me. It’s a tough call both ways. At least statistics show that you can win either way comparably.

  33. 22) Yeah the talk of the big lineup really confuses me, too. Why now?

    I seriously don’t get why Phil would entertain the idea, because I have doubts about that lineup’s ability to guard elite PG’s or even good guard combos. Kobe’s great, but I wouldn’t want him chasing Tony Parker around for very long.

    On the other hand, that lineup would be a nightmare for the Cavs. Lebron surrounded by trees….Kobe guarded by Mo Williams….that would be good for us.

  34. Re the big line-up.
    Didn’t everyone go thru the is-Lamar-a-SF last yr ?
    While it might seem effective against Denver and Portland,maybe the Clips and Utah(big,strong PGs,lots of height on frontline),does anyone really imagine Phil wants Kobe spending his energy chasing Paul,Parker,Brooks?
    It’s more likely Phil is thinking of Lamar in the Ariza role and instead of Kobe and Ron,it’ll be Kobe and Brown/Farmar when Phil wants to try and run a team.

  35. The big lineup came up again because Phil doesnt know what kind of production he will get out of Farmar or S. Brown at the point. Fisher can not play the amount of minutes he played last year and be productive the entire season. If the young points show improvement running the team, then Im sure the talk of a big lineup will be a distant memory.

  36. j. d. hastings’s Agent September 26, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Well the Cal Football team was kind enough to implode early in the season this year, so now I’m READY FOR THE NBA! (seeing as how I have no NFL team to root for… unless you count the Raiders- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)

  37. Kobe is relentless, isn’t he? Getting workouts by Hakeem? There’s just something about him that makes you respect him. Or at least his desire/work ethic.

    But… gosh darn it, I wish it was Andrew or Lamar that gets in the news for doing extra curricular workouts. I mean, Kobe going from 99 to a 100 won’t help us much, compared to Bynum or Lamar going from 70 to 80!

  38. For all you diehard Lakers fans out there enjoy the vid if you have not seen it already

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyKgaeAoa-g

    I still have goosebumps :)

  39. JD:

    As a fellow Laker and Raider fan, isn’t that like the ultimate contrast right now? Talk about being at two opposite sides of the spectrum. Can Al Davis just die already?

  40. 40. I’m convinced Al Davis is Count Dracula and won’t die due to natural causes.

  41. Re: The big lineup: Remember that lineups are situational things. You match up to give you the advantage against other teams. There are times that big lineup could be a great advantage (someone mentioned Cleveland, which may work. I could see a lineup like San Antonio, which is small but has slashers like Parker and Manu, causing it problems (or at least just trading baskets). We’ll see how it works.

  42. 41) “I’m convinced Al Davis is Count Dracula and won’t die due to natural causes.”

    You could be right. Based on his wardrobe, he obviously doesn’t use a mirror.

  43. As a student of history, I must inquire about whether there has ever been a team in the NBA that could put 3 footers (Odom’s 6’11″, sure, but his length makes him equivalent to 7′) on the court together. Can anyone think of something close?

  44. A situation suitable for a big lineup would be against teams with poor 3pt shooting guards. For example, Artest and Kobe can back off against Andre Miller enough to guard against the drive.

    Another situation for a big lineup is to take advantage of smaller guards. By posting up Kobe or Artest, the Lakers can force to teams to help and exploit sluggish rotations.

  45. Reading about Kobe hitting up Hakeem for help with his game in the post just kind of blows you away. The man just wants to win.

    And I could not agree more with harold [#38]. SURELY Andrew or Lamar could’ve been doing something like this. Goodness knows that Lamar would’ve been better off out of LA over the summer!

  46. To be fair, Bynum has been working out this off-season in Atlanta, as he did last off-season. And conditioning was not the issue.

  47. Seriously, I wouldn’t mind the whole damn team getting post lessons from Olajuwon. Except maybe Sasha; don’t think he’ll ever be able to play in the post.

    I think this is exactly what Kobe needs at this stage in his career. He’s losing some speed and quickness, which he can make up for with guile and deception. I can only hope we get to see Kobe dreamshake some guy like Hakeem did to David Robinson.

  48. 44 – the Celtics team that fielded Walton (Bill that is), Parsih and McHale comes very close.

  49. Parish, that is.

    Don’t know who that “Parsih” guy was …

  50. I can’t remember exactly when, but at some point early on last season Phil gave his reason for not going with the LO/Pau/Drew line-up. He said it was too slow, both offensively and defensively. And he did try it – in the preseason.

  51. But I still think Phil is yanking reporter’s chains w/the big line-up bit. Get everybody talking about something other than the millionth question about Artest.

  52. 22 – Joey:

    What was Pau’s stats from distance during the Eurobasket? But then again, the line is a lot closer in the NBA; I remember watching this video of him shooting practice threes from the international line. He only missed twice out of twenty tries, or something like that, but I just figured he’s too fundamentally conservative with his game (if he’s not too good, he won’t even touch it) to try it from the NBA.

    44 – Jon:

    LOL. The only thing I remember from this decade (I started following basketball post-Jordan) is the 2003 All-Star West Team – think they had Duncan, Garnette and Shaq. That would’ve been nice on any team.

  53. Besides, like Joey said – why not? I always felt that playing Ariza instead of Artest in that lineup would’ve been way better – imagine putting Ariza instead of Bryant on the likes of Brooks or Parker. Not only does he ease Kobe’s workload on defense, but Ariza can actually just “span” like a pterodactyl and bother the PG’s shots. It wasn’t that long ago that everyone was whispering how Trevor’s our secret weapon that Phil saved for the playoffs on those elite PG’s.

    Granted, Artest could most likely handle the ball better, but with Kobe and Odom in the lineup, is that not enough? Basically, spacing is the only issue now – and maybe Joey’s right, Artest and the new Odom (in Phil’s mind) bring more to floor spacing than Ariza and the slightly more unproven Odom.

  54. PJ talks about being a “lame-duck” this year without the extension…

    Nah. PJ has too much credibility to be any lame-duck as long as he still sits courtside. He is being modest

  55. Simonoid, you have a point but the simple answer to your post is S. Brown put at PG in the BIG lineup. this will give one of our premier players some time to sit so we can balance our talent better and create some better defensive coverage at the same time. I’m confident in saying Brown could minimally accomplish everything you described in TA and possibly smash some of the less athletic PG’s in the league (nelson and nash come to mind). plus, you could always put KB or LO at the 1 on defense if it is the end of the game and you don’t have to worry about stamina. So, although you had a good point about TA taking care of PG’s better than ronron can he will be a better asset while still not losing MOST dynamics of our “game”.

    No comment on all other “hardly laker basketball topics”

  56. PeanutButterSpread September 26, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    39. ) Mamula –

    Watch Henry Abbot take that video and point out selfish Kobe is to be in all those highlight reels and to have a tribute video.

  57. I just keep thinking of that drive Kobe did in the Finals, where he faked with his right hand, holding the ball, the defender went for it and then he dished the ball in the basket with his left, the guy is just unbelievable to me.

  58. I think there was an allstar lineup that featured Yao/Shaq Duncan Garnett AND Dirk. Not sure if it was Yao or Shaq, but it was like 4 7 footers.

  59. NBA-TV has been running some All-Star games and I believe it was the 2004 game the West coach put on the floor Yao,Shaq,Duncan,KG and Steve Francis. Needless to say the East grabbed zero rebounds during those stretches :)

  60. regarding the huge kobe to bynum lineup.. doubt itll happen.. not enough spacing with a lineup like that.. didn’t we scrap the whole LO/Pau/bynum thing cause LO couldnt make the 3 regularly enough..? unless he makes a big leap this year.. i suspect we’ll probably see artest at the 3 and LO leading the bench mob again.

  61. 53 Siminoid Gasol’s 3pt stats for Eurobasket – 4/9

    I dont think he should be taking NBA three’s, but he passes up a lot of open shots from 15-18 foot range that he can make, which I’d like to see him take more this season.

  62. 56 – Jeremy:

    I see what you’re saying – bank on Shannon Brown to defend the PG’s. That’s what everyone was hoping for when we got him, wasn’t it? And while he was more effective than either Fisher or Farmar against Deron Williams, I thought he still disappointed a little.

    Thing is, Ariza and/or Odom (especially the former) can give the PG’s a LOT of space, because he has the wingspan to still bother the shot regardless. I agree with you in that Bryant/Odom will probably be effective on the midgets in the last few minutes of close games (where Kobe actually plays a little defense). So we can leave Artest in for that, and accomplish the same thing on defense (and more on offense).

  63. (sorry about double post)

    62 – Don:

    Yeah, 44% from international doesn’t say much. I do see him take those mid-range ones from time to time; and I agree, he should take more when he’s even semi-open. I trust him with that more than essentially the same shot by Kobe fading away from two defenders.

  64. 64, I don’t. Watch the video posted by Mamula, 39. Kobe’s form is so perfect, so refined, that he can make shots with hands covering his eyes, falling away, spinning away from the basket out of bounds. Part of the reason why Gasol is so good is because he is so efficient. And as we’ve seen over the course of last season, Pau taking more shots doesn’t make us a better team. Pau getting more touches most certainly makes us much, much better, but his shot selection is what makes him so good, because he recognizes when he has a good shot and when someone else may have a better one.

  65. 65 Zephid
    Shot selection to me means not only passing up bad shots but also taking the good and makeable ones. True, Pau has great shot selection, but it would be even better if he were to take semi-open shots with confidence, which seems lacking at times. I’d like to see him be more assertive, make a couple of those and that would open up his drives and the floor for teammates.
    I disagree with you about Kobe taking contested fadeaways. Yes, he is capable of making them at an inhuman clip, but he misses a lot more. I think Pau’s 15 foot semi-open or open shots (that he passes up) have a better chance of going in than Kobe’s shots “with hands covering his eyes, falling away, spinning away from the basketball out of bounds.”
    Plus, the more Pau takes those shots the more he is going to improve on them, a la Boozer and Amare. He is more room for improvement than Kobe’s tough shots.

  66. 64 – Zephid:

    I see where you’re coming from. Despite his form, Bryant’s actual percentage shooting from about the elbow-ish with hands covering his eyes is pretty low – mid 30’s, maybe? That’s why Battier was able to defend him so effectively, by giving him mostly those looks.

    But Zephid, think Gasol with an open shot from around the same distance. I remember a video floating around this blog a couple of months ago, showing Gasol at practice shooting three’s. I mean, I know it’s practice, but he has range; I mean, consistent range.

    I agree that the reason why he’s so efficient is because he defers to Kobe for shots, and we (I think) both agree that Kobe’s shots as they are right now are less efficient that Pau’s. I’m now arguing that if Pau defers a little less, and shoots a little more himself, that he’ll still have more efficient shots than what Kobe would get right now.

  67. zephid65: simonoid66,

    You should take a look at the stats of kobe when playing in the postseason. From what I percieve is that kobe is not affected if you have an athletic or smart defender like Pietrus or Battier on him, he still stays consistent. his numbers were a little down in houston but so are gasol’s because they both took more shots in that series. I would love for us to impliment Pau’s 15-20 more often; it opens the cutting lane more and is a good look IF! he is open. As for kobe being kobe, he’s gonna take crazy shots… some he’ll make and silence the opposition and others he’ll miss and show his human side, its all apart of the game. As for pau being more efficient of a scorer than kobe is, that’s stretch at the least! The lakers play their best when everyone get’s their touches but the only reason why other players such as pau get to find one on one or open looks is because kobe demands so much defensive attention. So, if the defense is going easy on kobe (once in a blue moon) he will take full advantage and leave you saying, pau who? but, on any regular night i think that first option is to find kobe, pau, drew, ron, or fish for open looks (in that order), 2nd is create shot for kobe, and 3rd is create for Pau. if you disagree i’d like to here, why.

  68. For the record, NBA hot shots has Kobe shooting about 44% from the elbows, and he seems to prefer the right elbow to the left. If the defender lets him spin into the middle and get into the high key area that jumps to 55% shooting.

  69. 68 Jeremy, I don’t think anyone is making the argument that Pau is more efficient a scorer than Kobe, based on the fact that Kobe demands so much attention. We’re in agreement that Pau should be taking open shots at mid-range as opposed to Kobe taking contested shots.

  70. Don70,
    i agree with your post. mostly what i was trying to point out about kobe’s stats in the playoffs is that since the team has been reconstructed to champ status kobe can keep his stats consistent enough because he doesn’t have to have games where he goes 17 for 48fg’s. so, when it comes to the previous days where it was “Kwame butterfingers Brown” for the easy deuce or kobe on the fadeaway; that was an easy choice of kobe. Now with pau being on our team we not only have a reliable post but a big man who can undoubtedly hit the outside shot. without dragging this conversation on any longer i would say that it is equally important of establishing kobe’s assassin like jumper as it is to draw pau’s defender out to contest his mid-range game as well. Through out the game i’d rather see pau’s midrange more than kobe’s contested J’s but in crunch time that’s a different story.

  71. I think Gasol is a more efficient scorer than Kobe, for several reasons.

    1) The defenses can’t key on him because they are keying on Kobe.

    2) By the nature of his position, when he gets the ball he is typically in a better position to score than Kobe is, and thus doesn’t have to work as hard to get a shot.

    3) There are many more good SF/SGs than good centers in the league.

  72. exhelodrvr72,
    Everything you said (list1-3) is true but if you read my post 68 i mentioned what i think the order of offensive strategy should be and i also mentioned about the nights where teams decide to let kobe score (denver comes to mind) and try to hone in on the rest of the team. Kobe is a more efficient scorer than pau as long as offense flows that way and he’s not absolutely smuthered by the defense. Pau is a strong offensive force but he is too reluctant on his midrange shot and still needs to strengthen up more on the post before we can truley consider him the #1offensive option of our team. (which is what he would be if what you were saying was true). Kobe’s game is to well rounded to be opposed even at this stage in his career, especially this upcoming season since he’s taking lesons from “hakeem the dream.”

  73. Jeremy,
    Efficiency is separate from skill level. Kobe clearly has a better all around game than Gasol. The question is if Kobe or Gasol has the ball, who is more likely to score, given their current style of play?

    I think it’s Gasol, because of the higher difficulty level of the shots Kobe takes. I couldn’t find a “true shooting percentage” chart to compare the two; that would take into consideration the 3 point shots that Kobe takes.

    Ask yourself if you think the Lakers would be better off on offense if Kobe took a few less shots, and Gasol took a few more.

  74. I’m not sure if Gasol is more likely to score. He is more efficient, but that’s because he has the option to ‘pass to Kobe who won’t mind taking impossible shots,’ not because he is a wiser in his shot selection than Kobe. If Kobe had somebody who was a better option than him, I’d think he’d be more efficient at this point of his career as well.

    Not so sure if the same dynamic applies to the Pros, but in the playground, there are times when you have to take an impossible shot if you know passing the ball will probably end up in a shot that’s worse, or, not get a shot up at all.

    Gasol isn’t subject to that pressure of having to shoot that impossible shot since he isn’t our ace. That burden falls on Kobe, so Kobe is never ever going to be as ‘efficient’ as Gasol.

  75. 74, I think the big question is how many is a few? Would we be better off if Gasol took 20 shots and Kobe took 10, instead of the other way around? Empirical evidence tells us nothing about this, because it never happens. So where’s the level? Frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing Gasol take more shots, but they have to be the same shots that he takes now, not less efficient ones. I don’t want Pau taking more semi-open 15-20 footers, because they’re just not that good a shot. Forcing him to take worse shots is only going to ruin the best part of his game: his efficiency. Pau’s game isn’t flashy, it isn’t beautiful; it’s efficient. Take away his efficiency, and Pau’s game loses a lot of its luster.

  76. 74-75-
    One point i think that was left out is that Kobe’s less efficient shots are usually taken with the shot clock running out and the play that was called wasn’t working (in my opinion you can’t blame kobe if the rest of the team didn’t set up for a clean look). As for the true shooting percentage, when you take away shots from kobe you are presumingly giving them to Pau; that means less 3pt looks from kobe and possibly a keyed in defense on Pau, who as you admit does not have the skill to create a look. So basically, Pau may be more efficient because he is our “X factor” while kobe is our main arsenal. so if they switch roles of 15 shots for Pau and 15 shots for kobe than guaranteed kobe would see less yet more efficient looks while Pau would then be stuck with being a primary scorer. Doesn’t sound worth the chemistry malfunction to me.

  77. Zephid,
    Kobe takes about 21.5 shots, Pau about 12.5 shots per game. Off the top of my head, I would say shift about 3-4 of those, and see what happens. But that needs to occur within the context of the offense.

    What I would really like is to see more of running the offense through Pau, and have Kobe move without the ball, and let Pau decide what to do, rather than Kobe doing as much dribble, dribble, dribble, then attack, as he does. I think that would result in Kobe getting better shots than he currently gets.

    Kobe and Pau are still learning how best to work together, which should be scary for the rest of the league.

  78. 76 – Zephid:

    That’s the question everyone’s been arguing over this whole time, isn’t it?

    “To what extent?”

    Because as Don (70) and just about everyone else (exhelodrvr & jeremy) pointed out, we agreed that Pau shoots more efficiently (elbow/midrange or otherwise) because Kobe consistently takes one for our team when the shot becomes next to impossible regardless of who takes it.

  79. Basically, I’m vouching for “a little” more, but not “a lot” more, but I can’t really say “how much” more, which makes this all pointless. But I can take a wild shot – say, 2 or 3 a game?

    What’s their shot distribution right now? 14 to 21 ish? Too lazy to check – so make it, say, 16 to 19. That’s 16 for Pau a game and 19 for Kobe. What does everyone else think?

  80. Wow its good to be a Lakers fan. “Witch one of our 5 stars should shoot the ball on each trip down the court?” I’ll answer this one very easily… whoever is open.

    If you would like to ask a real question how about “Which star player should be the focal point on each trip down the court?” Because who ends up with the open shot is not really the concern. Who the Lakers decide to use as the primary weapon is of course going to be on a possession by possession basis depending on match-ups and the flow of the basketball game. That will all work itself out.

  81. 2009 season was 21per game for kobe and 13 for pau. i would give up 2, 3 shots the most from kobe and put those on Pau for nothing else than keeping kobe fresh in his upcoming veteran seasons. as for everthing else on this topic I think its pretty well covered

  82. aaron80-
    pretty much my opinion on your post was written on 68 and yeah, i agree it is nice to argue on who is the guy we should run our offense through when we can’t exploit the defense at any one position.

  83. Lamar is a married man now…

  84. Happy Media Day, Laker Fans! The championship defense begins!

    Kurt, get us some good stuff! (And I don’t mean anything about a honeymoon or home video).

  85. I’m actually not going to media day. It’s a cattle call and nothing interesting ever comes out of it (plus it’s in the middle of the day job, basically I don’t think it’s worth taking time off for).

  86. the only thing I want to see coming out of media day is pictures of Drew, so we know he’s been in the gym.

  87. I concur with Travis. This year, Drew must really step up and be that dominant force he showed us during the first half of last season.

  88. I also want to hear how Sasha has improved. Last year he was all but non existent on offense and was foul prone on defense.

  89. Im sad to say but i think Sasha will be as good as he was or maybe worse than he was last year. He could not have had a worst summer by any means. First he gets hurt, cut by his national team, then cut his hair. His confidence has to be at low point at this time. Maybe he can be hypnotized into thinking he is the 2007/2008 Sasha.

  90. Long time reader, first time poster. Honestly, Lamar should be taking those lessons from the Dream… Even the Dream himself said so, “it’s for the guards and small forwards…”

    Maybe Kobe passes the news to LO

  91. yeah, last season Drew came in lookin big. if he looks bigger on media day this year than last, we know he’s putting in the work.

    Sasha, I would doubt comes in with any improved skills or mindset

    LO I hope is at least in good shape.

    Kobe, Pau, Ron, Fish: we know where they’re at.

    Jordan and SB: They’ll be ready for a dogfight.

  92. Travis,
    I hope by “big” you mean defined. Cause in any sport and especially basketball you never want size. You want to be as thin as possible with strength/muscle definition like Michael Jordan. And Phil Jackson said he wanted to see Bynum “looking thinner” and he said that is exactly what Bynum looks like so he is pleased.

  93. - Phil Jackson on Andrew Bynum, who’s back in town after training in Atlanta all summer. “Andrew looks good. His weight is lighter, which is a good deal. He’s been back here for a few days (after working out in Atlanta). He’s really excited about getting back and has a goal of making the All-Star team this season.”

  94. 44. Sorry, If this one has already been mentioned, but I didn’t see it. During Duncan’s first and second year the spurs would often start Duncan, Robinson, and Will Perdue and have Robinson play SF for a few mins until Perdue would sit.

  95. I’m betting the Lakers find a way to keep Tony Gaffney under contract this year. I know they want to stay at 13, but he’s long, a leaper-not quite an Ariza, but maybe someday..worth a chance, and he’s young. He’s also not Sun Yue-that’s a good thing.

  96. I will say that at summer league, some people close to Gaffney sold me on him. I think he can find a role in the NBA to start, and grow from there. I just fear the Lakers see that but are not in the financial position to act.