Bynum, Atlantic Division Previews, And A Bloggers Round Table

Kurt —  October 6, 2009

LAKERS
First, some quick thoughts on the most interesting thing to come out of Lakers training camp so far (and no, letters to Ron Artest are not close, but because he loves to interact with the public and can be direct, we can expect more of that this season, sometimes with people baiting him because they can).

Andrew Bynum could come off the bench.

UPDATE: Probably not, Phil Jackson said after practice today it will still be Odom most likely. But let’s got back to the post, because the discussion still has some merit.

I think that is a fascinating idea, you think other teams had a hard time matching up with Odom off the bench? Plus, Farmar and Bynum have shown chemistry in the past and if that continues it could provide a real spark to the second unit again. Bynum says he just wants to get some burn at the end of games. My comment to Bynum: Then you’ve got to earn that over the course of each game. Part of the end of game lineups will be match-up based, one night Odom may sit, another night Fisher, another night Bynum, another night Artest. But I expect Phil will go with the lineup he thinks gives him the best chance to win each night (except on the nights he decides to experiment or teach a lesson). You want the burn, with this talented and versatile roster, everyone is going to have to earn it. Each game.

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Once again bloggers are banding together to do team previews, there will be a few here. But for those that want a look at the Atlantic, here are some link:

Here’s the full list of Atlantic Division Previews.

Boston Celtics

CelticsBlog | LOY’s Place | Celtics17 | Red’s Army | Hoops Addict | Celtics Central | Celtics Hub | Gino’s Jungle

New Jersey Nets

Slippery When Nets | Barkley’s Mouth

New York Knicks

Posting and ToastingBandwagon Knick

Philadelphia 76ers

Liberty Ballers

Toronto Raptors

RaptorsHQ.com | Hoops Addict

Bonus Links

See full schedule here

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You’ll here more about this, but mark your Google Calendars for Oct. 23, as a rare Lakers bloggers round table is taking place at ESPN Zone at LA Live, right across from Staples Center. From 6-7 we’ll be talking Lakers, then we’ll be watching that night’s Lakers preseason game against the Nuggets.

I’m going to be there, along with Brian Kamentzky from LATimes.com, Kam Pashai from TheLakersNation.com, Eric Pincus from HoopsWorld.com, Brett Pollakoff from FanHouse.com, Colin Ward-Henniger from Examiner.com, Ryan Kane from LakeShowLife.com, and Gary Lee from LakersNation.com.

It should be a fun night, come watch all of us stare lovingly into Pincus’s eyes.

Kurt

Posts

62 responses to Bynum, Atlantic Division Previews, And A Bloggers Round Table

  1. Bynum off the bench? Interesting indeed. All the numbers support a Gasol/Odom frontcourt being our best pairing, but it will be interesting to see if we actually move in that direction. I do know that if Bynum is on the second unit, that would really give us that post-up anchor that would make that lineup a lot like our starting group. It would also give ‘Drew the chance to be more of an offensive focal point without worrying about being too much of a hog. Thinking about it more, you’d likely be looking at a line up of Farmar (or Brown), Sasha (or Kobe or Artest), Luke (or Artest), Pau (or LO), and Bynum. WOW. Just typing that is a scary proposition – those are the guys that are going to be playing against teams’ second units?

  2. I heard that after the round table, Gary Lee and Kam Pashai were going to have a octagon fight for the “LakersNation” moniker. (Jokes.)

    I always capitalize THE to make sure readers see the difference.

  3. I love the Bynum off the bench idea. If he wants to be one of the big dogs on the floor, let’s see what he can do as the #1 option on the 2nd unit. He’ll put up all-star type numbers if he brings the energy.

    Plus, he’ll get some run at the start of the 4th quarter, where before he came out late in the 3rd for LO and never came back in. If he’s able to show 4th quarter consistency throughout the season, that should mean some extra rest for guys like Pau, while getting Bynum closer to his goal of closing out games. Basically, if Drew does his job, we won’t need LO/Pau to close every game.

  4. The term I’d like to use seeing Odom and Gasol play together is ‘fluid’. I believe they are like long lost brothers from the chessboard.

    That said, I support Drew being benched for this purpose. The 2nd unit aka bench mob can get back to form if this move did happen and it will be a chance for Drew to shine as the unit’s best player, without having to worry about Kobe or Pau’s touches…

    1st unit
    Fish – Kobe – Ron – Odom – Pau

    2nd unit
    Farmar – Sasha – Luke – Powell – Drew

    Our 1st unit is still the league’s most complete 5 w/ outside shooting, rebounding and defense. Artest also gives us the needed size to be versatile enough to sustain a Jazz or Spurs frontcourt, while being quick enough to cover a Mav or Spur wing attack.

    Our 2nd unit will be most interesting. Farmar and Sasha are our pace guys and Luke is always an important cog in running the tri or making intelligent passes. Farmar and Sasha need to be more consistent shooters in this unit whilst Drew can establish his inside game and offense playing beside lesser-talented offensive teammates. Josh Powell also has that sweet 18-footer that will be a good compliment to Drew’s deep post presence.

    I can’t wait for the damn season to start !!

  5. Very intruiging concept. Wonder though, given the fact Phil has to integrate Artest into the whole system, as well as the unsettled fight for the bulk of PG minutes, if he wants to alter the lineup and “chemistry” so drastically at this point.

    But I agree with everyone else here, having Bynum as a 2nd unit anchor may be the best way for him to assert his game at this point, rather than being buried behind our excessive 1st unit talent. I seriously wonder though if Bynum’s ego can handle it. But I guess if Odom was able to do so, why can’t he?

  6. I sometimes think everyone’s starting job should be up for grabs game in and game out.

    Not everyone can do the Odom/Ginobili routine and even those guys are better off as starters but I think it’d set a tone of unselfishness.

    Realistically the only guy I see who wouldn’t be up for daily competition for his spot would be Kobe but there’s no realistic scenario in which Sasha would ever threaten :/

  7. Oh come on! Bynum off the bench is a ridiculous idea that is circulating because he didn’t run with the starters during the recent scrimmage (something driven entirely by injuries to other big guys, which would have rendered a scrimmage meaningless if he teamed with Gasol).

    Andrew is the starting center. He was before he was hurt, and after he came back. If he is healthy, which all indications suggest, then there is no question that the center/PF combo of Bynum/Gasol is superior to the center combo of Gasol/Odom, and that is why Andrew starts at center.

    The issue of who finishes games is, as it should be at the point, undetermined. Unlike starting spots, guys have to earn those final minutes every night. If you are playing horribly, you won’t be in at the end. But if you played horribly the previous game, you’ll still start the next game.

    Let’s stop this nonsense about Bynum off the bench before it gets started.

  8. The point was made that Mbenga was not available and the 2nd unit needed a center to make things even a little competitive.

    Let’s all relax and take a deep breath.

  9. I love the Bynum off the bench idea – for the reasons covered by Darius.

    If Bynum can check his ego at the door – wow, a scary thought for the opposition.

  10. Either Pau or Bynum will be in at C all the time anyways (with a few exceptions where Mbenga or Powell get some burn for a few minutes or in junk time). The Lakers have a 3 man PF/C rotation (the best in the league, Boston is second if Garnett is healthy and Wallace is motivated and still capable or playing at a high level) or Bynum, Pau and Odom with Walton or Artest getting some minutes every now and again. So both Pau and Bynum will get minutes against other teams second units.

  11. I dont like the Idea because it moves Pau to center in the starting lineup. Pau played pretty well againgst D. Howard in the finals, but D has no post moves. Last year when he played bulkier centers he seemed to lose his aggresiveness when going to the hoop. As far as beating the opposing teams big man down the floor for easy fast break points then thats a plus. Remeber LA wants to keep Pau fairly fresh this year considering he hasnt really had time off. If LA comes out at the start of the season dominating teams then I feel it would be worth a try on a trial basis only to see how everyone reacts to the change.

  12. I think what we’re forgetting is not everyone is effective off the bench. We know Odom off the bench and as the closer works. Bynum hasn’t shown anything to suggest he’s particularly mentally tough, coming off the bench may hurt his approach to the game more than anything (or he could get pissed like with Kobe’s diatribe and go off, it could work either way). We just don’t know right now.

    The one thing we can count on is that Phil will experiment with everything during the regular season to come up with the best lineup playoff time. So I’m interested in sitting back and seeing what results Phil’s experiments yield.

  13. This all depends on how LO and Bynum are able to adjust night in and night out, but I could see a situation where we start either LO or Bynum depending on the matchup.

    For example: LO starts against the Jazz or b/c Memo plays on the perimeter, while Bynum starts against the Magic or Cavs since we don’t want Pau to log heavy minutes guarding Dwight or Shaq.

    But the real debate lies in who the closing 5 will be, and with the exception of Artest for Ariza, I don’t see it changing, cuz Drew’s not there yet. Honestly, I hope we can afford to “experiment” with Drew in the closing unit, especially during tight games because he needs that experience.

  14. I don’t know what the plan is, obviously, but something about this idea of Bynum off the bench seems inspired. Make Bynum earn it while improving his confidence by pitting him against second unit guys.

    From the bits and pieces of footage and pics I’ve seen, ShanWow looks inspired. He looks leaner and meaner. Dude might become the PG stopper, or the closest think the current rules allow.

  15. I don’t really expect to see Bynum coming off the bench, but you’d have to think a offense built around Farmar, Walton, Vujacic/Brown and everybody else competing to find the perfect entry pass would be a lot of fun for the young big man whenever it was on the floor.

  16. You all may have already seen this, but Ding has some good info on Bynum’s brace and knees:

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/bynum-zarzana-knee-2595193-brace-lakers

  17. I still prefer Bynum starting. I think its a powerful tool to be able to begin the game with a different unit that closes it. And you don’t want to make the kid sulk.

    I also think there’s more advantage to having a big man start the game. Beat up the opposition, wear them down, get fouls on them, then bring in the quicker, lankier lineup at the end to take advantage.

    Anyways, all 3 big man lineups will get opportunities to play against other teams’ second units. Basically whoever we put on the floor will be starter quality.

  18. Good grief!!! All this about an intersquad scrimmage.

    Thank god we will have a preseason game to argue over tomorrow.

  19. Loved the Ding article. I hope it’s right about Drew focusing on P&R defense and learning some of Pau’s footwork. Each would impress me way more than any 17 foot jumpshot he might pull out…

  20. If he had Pau’s footwork? Oh God. We’d go undefeated…..

  21. I don’t want Bynum coming off the bench, because he whines and sulks and will not be 1/4 as effective if he doesn’t have the title of “starter.” You need someone of strong character and security to send him from being a starter to the bench, and Bynum is not that guy, at least not yet.

  22. What GM voted for The Suns to win the Pacific Division?

  23. inwit,

    Most likely Mitch Kupchak. I believe NBA GM’s aren’t allowed to vote for their own teams. So, it’s the next best choice.

  24. I don’t think we should put Bynum as starter just cuz he “whines” about not being one. If everyone tries to pull this childish activity, it’s basically a race of “the crying kid gets the candy”. The people who are team-oriented and unselfish gets screwed. In contrast, we should teach them a lesson and tell him to act like a professional athlete and do what’s best for the team.
    Lastly, it’s not like Bynum is like Lebron James or Kobe Bryant –he doesn’t have ANY right to whine about coming off the bench or not playing crunch time minutes. He simply just IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Maybe he will be in another year, but currently he’s a elementary kid whining about not starting on a middle school varsity team.

  25. Maybe last year he would’ve sulked, but it seems like from his comments and his role in the end of the finals that he’s starting to understand what really matters in this league. Contributing and playing winning basketball, hopefully, will motivate him to become more mature and maybe even see coming off the bench as an opportunity rather than a hindrance since he can be the primary scoring option.

  26. Sorry to keep posting…..

    But since when is Bynum not good enough? This kid was putting in work before his injuries. Two years in a row. He’s good. There’s no doubt about it.

    I can understand if he hasn’t earned crunch time minutes yet, but to say he isn’t good enough is just wrong. He came back under very tough circumstances last season and it took time for him to adjust (or accept what PJ wanted from him), but providing he’s healthy and confident, I expect him to return to form.

  27. If you read Hollinger’s recap of Bynum last year, the kid had a PER in the 20s, an excellent rebound rate, low proclivity towards fouling, and had a huge effect on our defense when he was on the floor.

    If you want to argue he should be on the bench to punish 2nd teams fine, but anybody saying he’s no good doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

  28. I like the idea… Bynum could certainly put up all-star numbers if he puts his head to it.. He could be the focal point of offense in the 2nd unit.

    I also noticed in the comments that none mentioned SHANNON BROWN being in the 2nd unit… he’s a great defensive player with hops..and very agile..if he works on his jumpshot, he could actually be the main pg behind dfish.. Right now, he could play alongside farmar, and put either luke or sasha at 3.

    We could have different intimidating lineup combinations!

    DFish/Brown/Kobe
    Kobe/Artest
    Artest/LO
    LO/Pau
    Pau/Bynum

    2nd unit:
    Farmar/Brown
    Brown/Sasha/Artest
    Luke/Ammo/Artest
    Powell/LO
    Bynum

    think about how PJ could tinker with his lineup and make the other teams go crazy… dang i can’t wait for the season to start!

  29. Kurt did you even see the whole quote from Bynum:

    “Still, Bynum made it clear he wants some crunch time burn. “I expect to be out there at the end of the game. I expect to earn that. I expect to be able to block shots and put the ball into the basket at the end of games,” he said. ”

    Before offering your advice “My comment to Bynum: Then you’ve got to earn that over the course of each game.”?

  30. First, I edited the post to reflect PJ’s comment today that Bynum likely will start with Odom off the bench. I still like the idea of this, although I think the point that Bynum may not have the mental makeup to come off the bench has some validity.

    29. Yes, I saw the quote. But two things: 1) I’m glad Bynum says he expects to earn that, but expecting to and me saying do it each and every game I think are two different points; 2) I also went into a very brief discussion of the final lineup being about matchups and that there may be games he sits, and he needs to understand that as well. I think my points were nuanced enough to warrant the additional comments. Feel free to disagree with that.

  31. And I think we should have more discussions about Bynum as we go through the previews, because in the end I think if healthy and playing to potential he is a bigger improvement and change in the Lakers from last year’s Finals to this year than Artest can be.

  32. j. d. hastings’s Agent October 6, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Rick Kamla just asked Shaq how he’s dealing with Mike Brown. Shaq replied, “I always get along with my coaches” and everybody, including shaq, had to work not to laugh.

    Great ending to the Utah-Chicago exhibition in London. I knew who 3 of the people on the floor were, but it was still outstanding.

  33. 23 – wondah:

    GM’s are allowed to abstain – that’s probably what Kupchak did.

    What I want to know more are the GM’s who voted Kobe Bryant as the best defender (2 of them) and best perimeter defender (8 of them) in the entire league. Unbelievable. One possession defender? Maybe. But the dude plays defense once a month.

  34. 2 more things:

    Bryant is also not the best on-ball defender in the NBA (maybe only if he tries), and LOL at Cleveland getting no respect for best defensive team in the league (0 votes); even we got a couple, and we’re nowhere near the Cavs’ level.

  35. 33 – Wow I haven’t even considered that storyline. The guy couldn’t play for an elite coach like SVG, who I absolutely loved in 05, and essentially ushered Riley in. He squabbles with every no-name coach. He’s supposed to play for Mike Brown?

    Cleveland’s only optimism on that front is that usually it takes Shaq a full year plus the following offseason to start laying into his coaches. So if they don’t give him an extension, they’re OK this year.

    Also, now that Shaq’s ego has entered the picture, whose butt exactly does Mike Brown now kiss? One of the most subservient coaches I’ve seen in recent years. Still love him, because he’s an absolute defensive stud. But Mike Brown cannot be the most qualified to handle 2 ginormous egos.

  36. j. d. hastings’s Agent October 6, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    How often have these GM surveys actually predict anything? We have their past responses and results- why don’t we have the stats on their accuracy. In fact, considering how much espn and other outlets spend on advance stats in the sport itself, why don’t they keep records of the accuracy of their “experts.” I’d love that. Maybe I should start that website…

    While we’re discussing the idiocy of GM:

    RT @jeskeets: Dejuan Blair’s final line: 16 PTS (6-15 FG, 4-6 FT), 19 REBS (8 OFF), 2 AST and 1 STL in just 22 minutes. #Spurs

    I’m so thrilled every team in the league passed on Blair so he could wind up on the Spurs of all places.

  37. “because in the end I think if healthy and playing to potential” …

    If Bynum is healthy and playing to potential, this is probably the greatest team of all time. (And that is with “potential” for Bynum defined as what is realistic at this point for him. i.e. not a “polished” offensive game yet.))

  38. Bynum off the bench is a bad idea. He had trouble as is staying on the court, and that gets aggravated for a soph (i don’t think he played 164 games yet) who can’t adjust his game on the fly or get a grasp of the game while watching it on the bench.

    Also, Bynum is injury prone; you want him warmed up at all times and not get into the fray with him eager to prove that he’s starter material when his body isn’t quite ready yet.

    And he’s coming off an injury – it’s best if he’s asked to play with competent teammates who doesn’t ask him to do much (although what they ask of him are stuff he doesn’t like) instead of running with teammates who want you to work all the time and bang.

    Besides, if you think Bynum is effective against 2nd unit centers, imagine how effective Pau & Odom would be against 2nd unit frontcourts. You claw and scratch to get a few points ahead with the first group, then bam! you cruise ahead with that combo :)

    Now if we could only get enough blowouts to monitor our minutes…

  39. 27) Bynum being “not good enough” is relative to a pairing of Gasol and Odom.

  40. Did anybody catch the Rockets-Spurs game? ESPN’s headline says “Ariza shines in Rockets debut.” The highlight shows him make a pretty nice move off the dribble. His stat line looks alright (9pts., 3-8, 4 rebs., 2 ast., 3 to), but I was wondering if anyone got a prolonged look at his game. I’m really interested to see how he does this year. I’m going to miss that guy, even if Artest is everything we are hoping for.

  41. I like this move for several reasons.

    It lets Phil Jackson give Bynum a longer leash if Bynum picks up an early foul or two. This is a legit concern, because we’ve seen the replacement refs call a lot of fouls. If Bynum comes in at the 7-8 minute mark, Phil can leave Bynum in to finish the quarter if Bynum picks up a foul in the first minute or two.

    That should help Bynum get back to speed and reduce any hit to his confidence if he gets yanked early because of the foul situation.

    It’s also good motivation for Bynum since Phil Jackson is making it clear that focusing on rebounding / defense / altering shots is key to getting those late game minutes. Bynum will have to work on this sooner, rather than later as it’ll be harder to get voted an All-Star as a non-starter.

    Finally, it also gives some time for the Kobe/Gasol/Odom/Artest dynamic to play out before introducing another variable.

    There is some concern about his accepting the role, but at some point the Lakers will have to let Bynum grow up on his own.

  42. To Everyone Who Can Only Remember the Playoffs,

    Should we not start Kobe either? Lets put Gasol to the bench also! Lets not forget that the last few games before Andrew got hurt he was playing over Odom to finish games (because he earned it). Andrew had a much better year than Odom had and he wasn’t in shape for the better part of the season.

    *Andrew adds an interior presence that the team (and Gasol) desperately needs. Lets not forget Pau plays best at PF.

    *There is a chance (ala the last week before drew went down) that Bynum will be the Lakers 2nd best player.

    *You can say all you want that Gasol and Odom play well together, and they do, but the Lakers lost several close games down the stretch because the team couldn’t defend the paint and rebound and couldn’t get the stops they needed. At the end of games defense, rebounding, and size are more important than at any other time.

    *Stop pretending that Lamar is the same player he was 4 year ago. Odom is a very nice player but a star he is no longer.

    *It is not a coincidence that Hollinger has Drew ranked ahead of even Kobe (albeit slightly). If you would like to judge him playing on one leg in the playoffs go right ahead. But Andrew Bynum is a star player in this league and will probably be the 2nd best Center in the NBA and an all star this season.

    If you would like to be surprised when Andrew plays like he has the last two season before injuries go right ahead. But you will look foolish. He has dominated the NBA in the past making Pau Gasol, who is an NBA star, look like a nice complimentary piece. He changes the game with his shot blocking, size, and interior game. Go right ahead and forget Andrew was the player that brought the Lakers back from irrelevance. It wasn’t Gasol… thats for sure. When the Lakers traded for Pau the team was already the #1 seed in the west. Just days before the Lakers stole the spaniard Kobe was quoted as saying “With him (Bynum) on the floor we are a championship team.” It was Andrew Bynum dominating the middle… souring for lops, making players scared to go into the lane that took the Lakers from an 8th seed the year before to a #1 seed midway through the next year. Go on… pick on a kid for playing on one leg in the Finals so your team could win a championship. Ya think we would have won if Gasol had to play Center for 48 minutes? How did that work out in ’08? Gasol is a PF. Luckily Pau didn’t have to face a true Center until the Finals. And we all know what happened then… we got pushed around… we got bullied… we were called SOFT. It wasn’t even a good Center… it was Kendrick Perkins. They guy is solid… but he is no Dwight Howard. Go ahead… kick him when he is down. You think the Lakers would have won a championship last year against Dwight Howard if Bynum wasn’t out there at 50%? People call Karl Malone a warrior and he was. But when he was limited with his MCL tear he sat out the last 3 games of the Finals because he didn’t want to look bad. I guess he was right. Look at what happens to Andrew for playing hurt. Forget the fact he played better last year than Lamar… forget about the fact that he outplayed Tim Duncan, Al Jefferson, and hung up 42 and 15 on DeAndre Jordan (a guy people are saying is now a top Center) in the last few weeks before Kobe took him out. Forget it. Just forget it. Complain all you want about him not being able to stay healthy but to question his game is like Derek Fisher trying to go to the basket… your going to look stupid at the end of the day.

  43. Wow.
    I am amazed that anyone would be ok,let alone comfortable,with your supposed future franchise player coming off the bench in his FIFTH yr.
    Somewhere Bill Simmons is laughing his a** off.

  44. You put Ariza in the headline and Lakers fans click to see the story. There are lots of Lakers fans, hence the headline. Ariza didn’t do anything particularly headline worthy.

    It looks like Blair on SA will protect Kevin Love from the honor of recording the most “jumped over for a rebound” highlights. This doesn’t speak to how great they both are in using their body in getting and keeping, even improving, position over the course of a rebound but, every once in while they both get caught on a lower rung of the Jumpolutionary Scale.

  45. Stephen,

    The injuries have tempered expectations but there is hope. Lots of it. Lets not forget that this team has 2 top-10 players in the NBA and one of them plays Bynum’s position.

  46. what are bynum’s chances of making the all-star team now that shaqs gone n yao is out?

  47. I don’t want to hate on Bynum for wanting to close games. On any other team in the league he would be, we just happen to have a stacked team. He’s good enough, I think, but he’s just not part of the best unit this team has, and that’s what matters. But for the sake of his own development, the kid needs to spend some time closing out games and I think he’ll earn that at some point over the season if he stays healthy.

    I do think, though, that come June, LO and Pau will be our closing 4/5. With Fish at the point.

  48. Just because he cannot handle not being a starter doesn’t mean he SHOULD be the starter… if Bynum wants to show he is mature enough to compete, he should be saying the right things despite not liking the idea. We all know sacrifices lead to greatness and he must understand that THIS time is not YET his time.

    I can understand guys like Zephid who fully support his starting job. Its not an advocacy of absolution… it is an idea that he should be open with, for the sake of the team. I don’t care about his ego and frankly, PJ doesn’t either. He will straighten the kid out for him to become great… and with greatness requires the value of team first, sacrifice and patience.

    Is Bynum a starter? Yes. For 28 other teams aside from Orlando he will start at Center. For the Lakers, he could… but that is not to say he SHOULD.

    What difference does starting vs not starting really make? Is the 1st 5 minutes of the game everything that you would not trade it off for the 1st 5 minutes of the 3rd quarter? Its all psychological and its all too selfish of Bynum to say he SHOULD get it as supposed to he EARNED it.

    Question: Starter playing 30 mpg or bengh playing 34 mpg?

  49. Speaking of the Houston San Antonio game, Blair had 16 pts and 19 rbs in 22 minutes. Granted it was just a preseason game but 19 rbs is still impressive. I think he will struggle offensively because he is so undersized, and he may struggle defensively against bigger offensively talented big men. But he is going to be great on the boards. He just has a knack for getting the ball. He’s got that big wide body and clear out space toe get rebounds. It will be interesting to see if he can earn some playing time on a contending team in his rookie year. Under Popavich he is really going to have to earn it.

  50. Simonoid,

    Ask Orlando if our defense was at Cleveland’s level.

    The Lakers weren’t as consistent as Cleveland, but when it was time to buckle down, throw the stats out. You cannot tell me our defense wasn’t at Cleveland’s level. We have the rings to prove that.

    Somewhere, KD is reading your comments and giving you a thumbs up. The fact that Kobe can with ease still resonates with the League.

  51. 38.) exhelodrvr

    I know what you mean, but I don’t think “kenny” meant it that way.

  52. 45 – wondahbap:

    So true, I should really take off my KD hat sometimes, but I think that the more consistent defenses should be rewarded.

    I guess we can match those defenses (Boston, Cleveland, and I missed the best one – Orlando) when we felt like turning it on, but they’ve done it for longer, at the same level.

    Same goes with someone like Battier instead of Kobe. Think about who you’d want guarding a elite wing the whole game. Heck, even down to the last possesion, it’s arguable that I’d take Battier. LOL @ Rondo though. He made Rose look godly.

  53. As much as I love Pau Gasol’s game I still like Bynum as the Lakers starting center. If the kid can stay healthy (I know that’s the million dollar question) he is very effective on block. Against more physical teams it is better to have Andrew in the middle than Pau.

    I watch the Christmas 2008 game yet again. I noticed how much more effective Gasol was against Boston when he was moved out of the low post and up to the high post. It gave him the space to utilize his very diverse skill set. Also, it forced KG to have to actually cover him as opposed to just pushing him out of position when he was under the rim. And with Andrew’s size on the low block Perkins had to stay home. That combination of factors gave Gasol the room to make those three very crucial baskets toward the end of that game. As good a defensive player as KG is, Gasol can get the better of him off the dribble.

    The Lakers finesse game is great. But with Artest and Bynum the Lakers have the option to really over power the opposition. There is no team in the association that can match the power the Lakers and potentially put on the floor. They should exploit this advantage to the fullest.

  54. 48) Let’s not put words in Andrew Bynum’s mouth. He has never said that he should start, it was simply some fan speculation that he might have issues accepting a different role.

    All Drew has said he wants to do is finish games. And who can blame him? I’d rather have a player concerned about having an impact in crunch time than a player who is concerned about his minutes and numbers. So far what I see is a kid who wants to stay healthy and quiet his critics by performing at a high level and directly contribute to wins. How can we possibly be mad at that? I mean, what else can we ask of the kid? We criticize his mental mistakes in the game, but how can we really blame him? He’s been injured, he’s only started a 126 games (40 of which he was recovering from injury) and still put up 14/8/2 as a 21 year old last season while staying within his role as a defensive shot blocker and allowing Kobe and Pau to be the focal point of the offense. He works hard in the offseason, which is something we can’t say about LO.

    Sometimes I feel bad for Laker players, because every word they say to the media is picked apart by the fans like a pack of hungry lawyers.

  55. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/rankings

    Hollinger’s latest PER projections are up. Why Lakers fans dismiss him so quickly: he has Bynum having a “better” year than Kobe… and Odom doesnt place until a per of 15.36. Whatever. (he projects Artest a PER under the league average).

  56. the other Stephen October 7, 2009 at 11:18 am

    i spy a preseason game tonight. yes?

    i also wish i could be at espnzone.

  57. Hypothetical: What would happen to LA Sports -or even the fabric of the universe itself- if Manny Ramirez and Ron Artest became best friends?

  58. purple and gold spades October 7, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    nba tv needs to show more of the team on real training camp man.

  59. If Manny and Ron-Ron because best friends, I think Simmons might just start considering this year 91 in the Red Sox Championship drought.

  60. Simmons soured on Manny recently on a podcast. Compared it to a broken marriage built on lies (PEDs).

    For god’s sakes this season needs to start asap.

  61. Great post, T. Rodgers — this paragraph says it all: “The Lakers finesse game is great. But with Artest and Bynum the Lakers have the option to really over power the opposition. There is no team in the association that can match the power the Lakers and potentially put on the floor.”

    Absolutely true — finesse and/or power. This could be an amazing season if everyone is motivated to repeat, as I’m sure Phil will take care of that.