Mad Men: The Lakers Preview

Kurt —  October 12, 2009

mad-men-silouhette
In the first of several Lakers previews coming to this site, we pay homage to Mad Men (because it is the best thing on television). Sure, this post is a bit Simmonsesque, but if you are going to steal, steal from people who do things with a flair.

“Change isn’t good or bad. It just is.”
—Don Draper

Sometimes lost in the excitement over a new season and new challenges we forget one simple thing — the Lakers won the NBA championship last year. When you have a contending team, you don’t make a lot of changes. And the Lakers didn’t. Kobe, Gasol, Odom, Bynum, Fisher, almost everyone is back.

Of course, the one change they did make turned some heads — basically a trade of Ron Artest for Trevor Ariza. This is where Don Draper is right — this trade makes the Lakers a different team, but that is not good or bad. They get a better wing defender against strong threes, a more consistent three point guy, someone with a polished midrange and post game (something he has already started to display in the preseason), but they give up some athleticism and versatility. None of that alone is necessarily good or bad, it just is. What matters is how the Lakers adjust and make use of the changes. Do they play to their strengths or not? Do they get Artest enough touches in places he can be successful, do they encourage him to be the playmaker he can be? Is the team defense going to be better? Early hints are yes, but preseason games are meaningless.

The Lakers have one other change to consider — the transition from Derek Fisher to another point guard. The Lakers are not going to offer Jordan Farmar a new contract before Oct. 31, so come the end of this season he will be a restricted free agent. If he wants to get paid, he can go out this year and earn it by basically demanding the job with his play. Same is true of Shannon Brown, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. It’s a long season, and over the course of it Fisher will be the starter but both of the others will get their chance to prove they should have the role next year. If one does not, the Lakers will look elsewhere. But the job is there to be taken if someone can defend well, play within the offense, run the break and hit open threes.

“A man like you I’d follow into combat blindfolded, and I wouldn’t be the first. Am I right, buddy?”
—Pete Campbell

Sometimes we can forget just how great a coach Phil Jackson is. First and foremost, the team plays hard for him. Next, he is the one man that can make Ron Artest feel included, by getting him into positions where he can succeed. Jackson does that better than any coach in the game today, maybe ever. To use an example we’ve used here before, when Kwame Brown just rebounded and played defense, when he played in the role Phil gave him, he didn’t suck. He was probably a backup center still (forced into a starting role), but he could fill a role. He just didn’t want to work hard and stay in that role. Basically that is what happens with all the guys that don’t work out in the triangle, they don’t stay in their role.

The Ron Artest of eight years ago may not have stayed in his role. Today’s Artest — with Phil and Kobe and Fisher in the locker room — may. It may even be likely. But I would not make any definitive declarations until January; we need a body of work to look at.

One other thing about Phil’s teams — traditionally they play great defense. The Bulls did. The difference between the 1999 and 2000 Lakers was really all about improvement on defense. And last year’s Lakers were a good defensive team with a great offense. With the addition of Artest and a healthy Bynum, the Lakers could be a very good defensive team. It will be a key this year, something to look for as we move into the season.

On a quick side note here — Phil Jackson cares about winning preseason games like Don Draper cares about being faithful to his wife. Which is why the one ugly preseason loss is not a big deal (there will be a couple during the season, too). It was not pretty — the turnovers trying to force the ball inside, the known issues defending quick point guards — but if you check, the Lakers record in games that matter is still 0-0. The team talked about it, and Phil sees this as the start of a new team starting to find its way through a long grind to come. That game really does not matter.

“Look, we’ve got oysters Rockefeller! Beef Wellington! Napoleons! We leave this lunch alone, it’ll take over Europe.”
—Roger Sterling

A great line from my favorite character on the show. And it’s a reminder that the European influence and style of play the Lakers remains.

Pau Gasol is at the heart of this, because he is a versatile offensive player who can beat you with either hand at the basket, with a jumper out to about 20 feet, or with a deft pass. His basketball IQ is through the roof. But it is not just him. Kobe Bryant grew up watching his father play in Europe and has some of that same versatility and big picture view in his game. Like many in Europe, Lamar Odom will pass before shooting. Sasha certainly has that in his game. Farmar can pass beautifully. The entire team plays unselfish basketball (most of the time).

This team was constructed to run the triangle offense, with versatile players and guys who can make the pass. It should be a beautiful thing to watch this year.

“I shall be both dog and pony.”
—Roger Sterling

Ron Artest can be his own show off the basketball court (and at times on it, in both good and bad ways). Lamar Odom is now a mainstream celebrity. Defending NBA Champions always face increased distractions and time demands, but this years Lakers could set a new record for ways to distract themselves.

The lesson here is simple but needs to be repeated — they need to stay focused, they can’t just coast and expect to flip the switch. They got away with it last year (remember the Houston series?) but this year the price for that will be steeper.

“I’m living like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t one.”
—Don Draper

Phil Jackson has sort of distilled the Zen idea of mindfulness — of being aware of each moment and living in that moment — into a basketball philosophy with his mantra “you’re only successful the moment you perform a successful act.”

This ties into the point about added distractions above, but we need to also remember that the Lakers have a big target on their back every time they walk into an NBA arena. The other team’s fans have circled this date on the calendar. So has that team. The Lakers need to live in the moment this season, and not rest on past successful acts.

“Don’t you love the chase? Sometimes it doesn’t work out; those are the stakes. But when it does work out, it’s like having that first cigarette: your head gets all dizzy, your heart pounds, your knees go weak. Remember that?
—Roger Sterling

“Our worst fears lie in anticipation” (quoting Honore de Balzac)
—Don Draper

The last two quotes go out to Lakers fans. Sometimes we can get caught up in a championship-or-bust mentality and miss out on the beautiful, fun things that do happen. We can pick apart what went wrong in a win rather than accepting that it is a win and remembering they do all not have to be pretty. Not every win has to be a first round knockout. First round knockouts and strikeouts are boring and un-American anyway. Bottom line, we should not get to a point where a win is a relief, it should be a joy. That is especially true in the playoffs.

We are excited about a new season, but we also fear the unknown so we try to convince ourselves our team can’t be beat when it matters. But that is simply not true. As I’ve said before, I think the Lakers have the largest margin for error of any contender this season and would be very difficult to beat if healthy. But that is talking about June. Right now, we need to enjoy this ride, this team, this moment. Enjoy the chase, it is that which makes the kill fun, not the act itself.

Kurt

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74 responses to Mad Men: The Lakers Preview

  1. One thing: I don’t think the Lakers play hard for Phil all of the time, only when they absolutely have to.

  2. Great post, but…Sasha has a game?

    Kurt brings up an interesting point. In the wake of a championship, I forgot how much we hated the ‘flipping-the-switch’ mentality that plagued us into the playoffs. And that was without a ring. I’m a bit worried what that sense of entitlement will amount to now, or if it’ll change at all.

    I’m interested to see how they’ll respond with targets on their backs every night. This is the one part of what I loved about Michael, how he loved that edge.

    I’ve criticized Henry a decent amount (though not as much as others) but I have to give him his props where it’s due. At first I was laughing when I saw Durant’s tweets. But Abbot’s response was thorough, insightful, and written in the perfect tone without escalating the conflict:

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-45-42/Memo-to-a-Young-Baller.html

    I was just impressed by the research. He’s starting to shed some light onto a confusing issue.

  3. I think I’d put my season preview like this: The season starts in April, if not June.

    I didn’t see the last preseason game, and definitely don’t take much from it other than the fact that the Lakers will probably treat some games against bad teams next season as though they were preseason games.

    They did it last year before they’d even won a title. Now they have that, and they’re being projected to run away with their conference. Boredom, as Kurt pointed out, is guaranteed, so they’ll have to find reasons to care about each game.

    Last year, the motivation was getting home court against the Celtics. They didn’t seem worried about Cleveland on that front. Does this Laker squad fear anybody enough to work hard to get HCA in the finals? We’ll see.

    So I agree with Kurt to enjoy the ride, but also don’t get so caught up in any given game. I disagree with any pundit that says the Lakers threaten for 70 games. Maybe if they can eke out a win against the dreaded Bobcats or in Portland I’ll start believing, but until then, the season starts in April, maybe May or June.

    Also- I think the top Western teams all improved this year and if the Lakers become too complacent there are 2 or 3 teams willing and able to take their place in the finals. I don’t expect that, but it could happen.

  4. I’ve alwasys pictured Kobe as being the NBA’s Dexter Morgan – nice on the outside and using those around him to get things done and to camoflauge his true killer instincts inside while all the while being in pursuit of the hunt.

  5. It will be an interesting season. The Lakers have all the tools to get it done.

    As far as the Lakers playing hard how can we really assess that? They won 65 games last year and I KNOW they gave at least three games away (I am thinking specifically about the home loss to Philly). But we fans and even some sportswriters don’t truly appreciate the 82 game grind. There is a reason why only one team has hit 70 wins in the four decades since the NBA switched to 82 regular season games: It’s hard to do. Heck, it is dang near impossible.

    And that part about the Lakers having a bulls eye on their backs, I think it is overrated. The Lakers ALWAYS have a bulls eye on their back. The team’s legacy, location, and its leader make sure of that. You can’t have a player like Kobe Bryant coming into a visting teams arean and think they wil blow that off. They Lakers are not the Timberwolves. They could be coming off a first round knock out the previous season and fans and teams alike will still get juiced up trying to beat the Lakers.

  6. I just looked at the sched again. Not only is it backloaded with away games, but most of the hardest competition comes after Christmas also. I actually take this as a good thing. As the schedule gets tougher late in the year it will help force the team to focus on the task at hand. The challenge is the soft, home heavy schedule through December….

  7. Wonderful article Kurt. Creative and balanced at the same time. Kobe as Dexter Morgan…hmm. Who would Ron be?

  8. dave in hillsboro October 12, 2009 at 11:22 am

    That last quote was spoken by Don Draper, to reassure the cop in the hospital, while both were waiting for their wives to give birth.

  9. dave in hillsboro October 12, 2009 at 11:24 am

    My mistake–the prison guard, not the cop. The episode titled The Fog.

  10. Dave, I think you are right. I took the quotes from the official Bravo/Mad Men site, but that is no assurance they are right. I think you are but I want to double check.

  11. Dave, you were right. Change made. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

  12. “First and foremost, the team plays hard for [Jackson].” really? did you watch the houston series last year? do you remember the 04 finals (or that entire season)? i’d say phil’s teams inconsistent effort is a trademark, at least of his teams in LA.

  13. Nicely written, though I’d like to focus on one particular point: “this years Lakers could set a new record for ways to distract themselves.”

    If that happens, God help us all. Because the bar for distractions was set higher than a 17-year-old Kobe could leap during the 2003-04 season, and we all remember how that turned out.

    Eagle, Colo. Gary Payton and Karl Malone signing. Payton and his agent whining. Shaq screaming at Buss for an undeserved contract extension. Phil getting fed up with Kobe. Shaq saying, “Our team is here” in Hawaii when Kobe came to camp late. Horry’s absence. Fisher leaving for Golden State. Losing to a team with a 6’9 center in the Finals. Slava. And in the end, watching a dynasty implode into the likes of Rudy T, Chucky Atkins and a lottery appearance.

    Please, please, basketball gods – don’t put us through anything like that again.

  14. I thought Shannon signed a 2 year deal?

  15. There will be more turnovers than we would like to see to start the season out. There always seem to be, but those turnovers always eventually turn into great passes as the season progresses, and rhythm is found.

  16. You can’t compare this year’s Lakers to the 2004 team. The 2004 team had two starters who absolutely HATED one another. Sure, they hated each other before. But you could tell Shaq and Kobe had finally reached the boiling point that year.

    Also, this year there are four other teams that have a legit shot at dethroning the Lakers. And Denver and Portland are aiming for them, also. I wouldn’t worry too much about distractions. I am not saying they will dominate. I am not sure about that at this point. But with so many teams swinging for their necks I don’t see how they have the time to be distracted.

    For all of the talk of them not playing hard, 65-17 is nothing to sneeze at. Also, the difference between the Lakers record last year as opposed to Cleveland,s is the Lakers actually played well against the best teams (except Orlando).

    Sure they slacked off against Houston. But they still won every series they played. No other team from last season can say that.

  17. #14. wondahbap,
    The 2nd year is a player option on Shannon’s contract. So, technically, he can be a free agent at the end of this upcomming season.

  18. Darius,

    Aha. So when we win It all again, and Bill Simmons has anointed him the best defensive PG in the NBA, he can cash in and leave us.

    (By he way, I’m going to save every Bill Simmons comment regarding the Lakers just so we can all have a good laugh after.)

  19. Wondahap- I spent the morning surfing the APBR metrics board and found an interesting one on their predictions for the upcoming season ( http://sonicscentral.com/apbrmetrics/viewtopic.php?t=2329 ) as well as a link to a post midway through last season where they rated their abilities to predict team totals ( http://sonicscentral.com/apbrmetrics/viewtopic.php?t=1885&start=150 )

    Who came out as their top predictor at the time? Bill Simmons.

    Of course, anybody can be good for one season (or half season), and his current laker bashing is similar to Cuban’s in that his homerism has him clinging to a specific outcome (Artest and Odom going crazy together) that causes the Lakers to fail. In other words, he is hopefully letting his biases get the better of him.

    However, I’ve now seen more than 1 numbers only record projections that have the Trailblazers finishing above the Lakers in the standings.

  20. To Bill Simmons Readers,
    He admits he hates the Lakers and I don’t think he believes 80% of what he writes about them. The Lakers won’t be proving him wrong this year, only the morons who think he believes what he writes on LA.

  21. The best show in television history is The Wire.. Mad Men isn’t bad, but it cannot compare to the genius of David Simon

    But good preview Kurt

  22. I should say I meant Mad Men was the best thing on television currently, as in being made right now. If I had to go with best show ever…. maybe the Twilight Zone.

  23. #20 Aaron,

    We know. It was a joke alluding to the Simmons proclaiming Trevor the best wing defender in the NBA. No one takes him seriously.

  24. I think Denver is less dangerous to us this year then last, health aside. A healthy Bynum enhances the Lakers’ chances in many ways and then Artest sitting on Melo for a series is the other improvement. SA has an intangible element, again health aside, which worries me a little. If what I’ve been seeing from Oden carries over into the regular season then forget it. The Blazers matchup against us is going to be one for the ages. They’ll be more athletic. We’ll be a more experienced. I have a feeling that Morrison contract will produce someone useful but the difference will be from a source nobody can predict.

    Regarding performance predictions and Hollinger’s take on Kobe, is anybody else looking forward to seeing what Kobe’s game is going to be like after having taken the Summer off… relatively speaking? Couple that with not having to cover the big guys that Artest now handles, I think we’ll be seeing a refreshed Kobe. Other then scoring, Kobe’s numbers and impact are going to be up this year and we may be about to witness a pantheon season.

    I’m knee deep in my first go at the Wire, middle of the first season. Never watched Mad Men or the Sopranos (aside from an episode here or there). I guess I just don’t like TV to have to strong a hold on my family. Honestly, we only bought a TV when it was decided last season that NBA League Pass was going to be my birthday presents for the foreseeable future. That said, the Wellington and Napoleon line is beautiful. It’s too bad we don’t eat dog in the West or we might have had a dish named after Stalin.

  25. j.d. hastings,

    Haha. I guess these computers aren’t aware Andre Miller is their PG (maybe?) now.

  26. 25- My theory, and I could be off, is that the computers are trying to influence expectations of bettors and the house in Vegas so that they can place bets with what they know to actually be the correct predictions. Thus they will win more money than they would have previously, helping to fund their plot for world domination. The only question is whether Bill Simmons is in on it, and for how long…

  27. Kurt,

    Masterfully written. Your write-up captures the optimism I feel for this season to the tone and point. I am floating high on Fosters (a rare find in the middle east) and A History of Violence. What is this Mad Men you speak of. I need to find a way to watch these Lakers games so far away. Someone must upload every game on Rapid Share, so I might experience them the day after.

    On a Fisher note,
    he provides what we need given our exceptional team, and though we must all be excited by the promise of Shannon and the flashes that Farmar shows, we should recognize those 1-6 FG 1 assist 4 TO games that each man logs from time to time. It is easy to have a decent PER playing 10 minutes a game. Try logging three times that on average. Fisher is our weak link, no doubt, but also our whipping post. We are stacked two starters deep in every other position. What more can I say, top billin’.

  28. 24, Kobe didn’t play any defense last year, so Ron Artest coming in to play defense won’t affect Kobe’s level of fatigue. If anything, Kobe will want to prove that he’s just as good as defender as Artest, so he may actually try on D just because he’s such a competitor (yea, not really, but worth a shot right?).

    Kobe takes it pretty easy during the regular season, and he really tries in maybe 20 out of the 82 games.

    This season will be fun, even if we have to skip a few whiny comments here and there to actually enjoy the ride. People will freak mid-season this year just like they did mid-season last year, if not worse. And people will freak with every last second loss, every poor effort, and every bad game. I highly recommend reading through the old posts last year (I especially recommend the back2back losses to Atlanta and Charlotte) for the great entertainment value of people screaming and claiming that the Lakers will never win a championship ever.

  29. By the way: I have a kind of specific prediction I want to make here:

    In the first close game of the season when we take a time out for a game tying or winning shot, PJ will draw the play for Artest to see how he responds. Whether it results in a win or loss.

  30. The fact that the Lakers inspired you to use “Mad Men” as the template is the problem. Cool. Sophisticated. Introverted. I want my 2009-10 Lakers to look like the “Sons of Anarchy.” Kick ass and take names. Back down to no one. Push each 10 point lead to 20. Dominate.

  31. j.d.,

    I hope that play involves Artest taking a dribble or two to his left, from the left side of the court. Preferably with a screen set by Kobe

    Money.

  32. Z,
    I would probably argue that Kobe played D but not much of the lock down variety. He definitely made mucho plays by cheating a little on the passing lane, making rotations to the shooter from the weak side, and then the never fail to amaze swats that result from catching up to an opponent’s break away. His work on Melo and Artest in the playoffs, plus his contribution to TeamUSA were not often seen in the regular season. I think the biggest pet peev I have with Kobe is how he falls asleep against the many small name, good game swing players in the league. Lets just say that Webster and Batum tend to feast on Kobe’s lack of interest. Plus, at 6’6″ Roy manages to do to the Lakers’ D what we usually only see from guys 6’2″ and smaller. Thing will get very interesting this year.

  33. 32, I was talking strictly regular season. I agree with you; Kobe played pretty hard D throughout most of the playoffs.

  34. The Pantheon season I’d like to see from Kobe is an average of 24 ppg, 7 rpg, 9+ apg, 1.8 spg, 49% FG%, 40% 3FG%, with a couple of 55+ point smackdowns when necessary. If he can salt in 4 or 5 (…or 10) triple-doubles, so much the better.

    This team is stacked, he doesn’t need to carry the scoring load every night. I’d love to see him dial in as a facilitator and defender, but still be over to take over a tight one.

  35. JB,

    +1. That would be sweet.

  36. kobe will never shoot 40% from 3 but i would like to see a career high season in assists

  37. More open looks because of a better supporting cast will not hurt thos e three point % numbers.

  38. The only per game average I care about is mpg. Specifically – 30 or less for Pau, Kobe and Fish. Fresh legs in the playoffs would be a true testament to the team’s depth (if the bench actually sticks around all season)

  39. Kurt: I thought for sure you would have used this quote

    “You’re good. Get better. Stop asking for things.”

    From Don’s recent dress-down of Peggy, of course aimed at Farmar. And the parallel to the Duck sleepover would be Jordan running to the arms of extra shooting practice.

  40. One of the best things this team should accomplish is a high shooting percentage, high assist rate, and an excellent rebound rate on offense.

    I’m realizing, I can’t quite think of how effective Ron-Ron has been in finishing on fast breaks over the last few seasons. Anybody have numbers or impressions?

  41. James,

    Why couldn’t Kobe? Jason Kidd did last year. Remember the knock on Kidd? That he couldn’t shoot? Kobe always could.

  42. Kobe doesn’t get enough credit for the defense he played last season. Other than Odom, who remains a lesser man’s KG in most respects (which means he’s still our best/most consistent defender) Kobe had the best overall statistical showing of the guys who played heavy minutes, according to 82games.

    http://www.82games.com/0809/0809LAL.HTM

    Not bad for a guy with a reputation for slacking for 3 quarters, and then taking on the best offensive player in the fourth.

    Of course the one problem with this is that SGs on the whole are less productive, so it could be argued that that Bynum holding his opponent to just above the league average PER is more impressive than Kobe holding his guy to below average PER.

  43. Minor edit to my last post: the link I used refers to “production” and not PER, I was confused because they use PER a lot elsewhere and those numbers are around 15 (the set average for PER)

  44. Zephid,
    You are 100% right on Kobe’s defense. You also didn’t extrapolate much on his wondering eyes/mind. He would just sit on the perimeter and look at the ball forgetting about his man 99% of the time. But I think it is true that he doesn’t want Artest to show him up so he will focus more on defense this year. Because when he is focused he is the best on ball defender as SG in the NBA by far.

  45. Just love all of the quotes, at the right time and place in the post. I will enjoy this year and just maybe (hopefully) at the end we will be hoisting up another trophy, but the ride should be fun indeed… You know, Kobe and Artest, LO and Artest, Gasol and LO, a healthy Bynum all year long and let’s not forget ShanWOW in action.

  46. Shaky, there were so many quotes I could have used it was overwhelming. So I decided to keep it minimal.

  47. Kurt, awesome. Would have never thought to compare my favorite show Mad Men to the Lakers. Those quotes fit quite well.

    30: To me, there is always something about doing things with a little bit of style and grace as opposed to not.

    I mean, can’t we kick ass and look good doing it instead of looking like mongrels? There’s more mystery to that for me.

    Either way, the point is all the same….win the championship.

    Bye.

  48. Not sure how this turned into a bashing of Kobe’s defensive performance over 82 games. I wouldn’t say he’s lazy, he’s just cocky. He likes to sag off his man and pick guys off on the perimeter. He gives guys like Ronnie Brewer open looks and its more of a mental game he’s playing. He wants Ronnie to be tentative in the clutch. Not that I condone that kind of play, but don’t call it “lack of focus”. He leads the team in steals, for god sake. More steals than Trevor. Kobe and Ron are going to wreak havoc on the perimeter, especially in a press situation. Those two guys have some of the most active hands in the league and will get a lot of steals.

  49. What if Kobe played some point for a change? and settle this Fish-heir-PG thing? For sure he has the handles… he has the IQ and he has the wit and grit to take in a new challenge. How sick would our on-ball perimeter defense be if we placed Kobe at the 1 with Ron at the 2??

    Of course this suggestion runs for about 5-8 mins per game…

    Anyhow, I don’t like gunning for 70 wins. Its best to keep the team concept together and stay on shape, form AND substance to be a repeat Champ rather than go for the fancies and be disappointed anyways. Remember, for 99% of fans its Ship or Bust. So anything short of a 73-9 season, 12-0 cruise to Finals and a Boston sweep in the Finals would be spectacular for us.

    See how much that kills the joy of it? You are in November and you are thinking of June… the moment you didn’t reach June, how you wish you had your November back to settle the things you needed to to get back to June.

    LIVE IN THE MOMENT guys… its what I would advocate.

  50. As for the X and O’s (purposely split the post to differentiate emotion from logic) the Lakers need to focus on getting the much-needed chemistry. 2 things we are doing differently this year: Andrew Bynum (one that is let go of KAJ’s apron strings) and the enigmatic Ron Artest. While Phil sees this as a challenge or an excitingly new puzzle to solve, for the others it might be a tougher task.

    Our Oct/Nov sked is kinda encouraging… esp for the task at hand. Only 4 road games in 16 total means we get home cooking for 12 of our 1st 16 games.

    The team needs to show they can gel and blow teams out early to conserve energy… but it also needs tough games/stretches to prove that such situations are needed to develop poise… the NOH, PHX, @DEN, HOU stretch is one barometer I will be particularly watching… where we all will be expecting it to be 3-1, hoping it will be 4-0 but it could also very possibly be 2-2.

  51. Warren Lee Lim,

    I don’t think teams “gun” for 70. As Herm Edwards said,”Hello. You play to win the game!”

    You try to win every game, so 82-0 is the goal. Unrealistic, yes, but you try to win ‘em all an hope for the best. (Unless your The Boston Celtics circa 2006/07. Then you try to lose them all.) They will either be good enough (or healthy, or lucky) to win 70 or they’re aren’t.

    Also, i don’t think Ron would be as effective covering quick 2’s. That’s where we’ll miss Ariza.

  52. Hi Everyone,

    I’m a long-time reader (3 years now) but only occasional poster, mostly because I don’t often have a lot to add to the discussion on most days.

    That’s going to change this year because I’ve gotten tired of the lack of depth in the typical box score. I’ve decided to track alternate stats myself for all Laker games this year.

    If you’re the type of person who finds value in knowing what percent of his blocks Andrew controls, or how many times Kobe makes a pass that leads to an assist, then you know where I’m coming from.

    I’m putting together my list of stats to follow, and would love input. I already have the basics (charges taken, deflections, fouls drawn, etc.) but I know that some of you have great ideas of things that I haven’t considered.

    So if there’s something you want tracked, let me know. I’ll be sure to throw out stat highlights here once games begin.

  53. 51)
    -dunks per 48
    -loose balls won
    -appearances in sportscenter top 10 plays
    -turnovers in the final 4:00

  54. 53. I wonder who leads the league in brain farts? Odom is probably up there.

    One of the best brain farts was when eddie jones tried to pass the ball to ref from out of bounds thinking he was a player causing a turnover.

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

  55. #51. Riz,
    *Jumpballs forced on D and given on O and then the result of the Jumpball

    *FT’s taken due to being in the penalty (rather than a foul in the act of shooting)

    *# of Shot clock violations the Lakers force

    *Times a player is double teamed (ie how many times is Kobe/Pau/Andrew double teamed AND how many times do we double team the opponent?)

    *Lakers offensive possessions with less than 3 passes

  56. How about how many times Joel says, “It’s anybody’s game now!” ?

    Haha.

  57. Wondahbap, there are 82 games so I would guess 164 times. At least.

  58. Kurt,

    You know what? That 164 is probably right. Even when you consider he probably won’t call 20 games or so due to national broadcasts.

  59. 51-

    PUJITs and PUTITs, definitely.

    Or how about box outs that lead to another teammate getting the rebound

    “hockey assists”

    Otherwise, I don’t know how well you could track it, but basic defensive plots would be a dream to have- who can stay in front of their man, who loses track of their man, who let’s their men by them, failed steal attempts, good help d and rotations…

    But unless you’re making this a full time gig where you watch every possession 5 times, its probably over-ambitious.

  60. 51. Hey Riz, I’ve been wanting to do something like that too. If you need any help, let me know.

  61. NEVER forget the 1st gameday poster… ;) Riz, this is 1 stat you need 2 track.

    Willing to stake my unblemished record here 4 another achievement other than a “simple” win… Any suggestions?

  62. 51. Hey Riz, I’ve been wanting to do something like that too. If you need any help, let me know.

    I want to see
    -Bynum unnecessary fouls
    -Altered shots
    -Defensive good contests that lead to ‘stop,’ not just missed makeable shots
    -Gasol passes up 10-15 footer, leads to a open or contested shot
    -Fisher PUJITs
    -Assist that leads to dunk/layup & passes that lead to fouls
    -Bad shots w/ 10+ remaining

  63. - Unused timeouts
    – Worst in-game celebrity interviews

  64. j.d. hastings,

    I’m laughing, but and kicking myself for not coming up with that one. Good.

    By game #10, Fish will have built a lead so big, only the Warriors, Knicks, and Suns could come close. Combined for the season.

  65. -Times arguing with ref over non-call while opponent gets easy basket
    – Frustration fouls immediately following perceived non-calls
    -Smirks by head coach

  66. As crazy as this might sound, I think, Luke Walton should see considerable minutes this year. The dude is certainly trying hard and, despite his limitations, always brings something to the table. I know that the Lakers are stacked, but I would not be surprised if Artest gets more time at the two when Kobe rests and Luke at the 3. In that line-up Artest becomes a Kobe VersionB and Luke’s passing makes ball move around until reaching the basket (on many occasions. I know Shannon Brown might get some time at the 2, but I certainly think that Luke playing 14-18 minutes per game would be good for the Lakers

    Bottom line, Luke is a smart player. He knows when to move and where to be. He always listens to Kobe and they always discuss the plays when they are together on the court. If you really think about it, this team does not need more great stars, it just needs more great team players who play withing the game plan, understand and execute it perfectly. That is why Fish is Fish for example

    But that, of course goes with the assumption that the machine is broken

  67. Amazing to think that Luke was once one of our most reliable players.

    Really, with a good 3pt % as well. If everyone on the bench can duplicate their best years, we’d be formidable.

    Wait, we already are ;)

  68. This past month I re-watched some of the games from the Denver and Orlando playoffs, and I was surprised to see how well Luke played when he was in there. He really had some nice efforts in those games – smart hustle plays, good post-up baskets, moving the ball well – nothing spectacular, but he stayed within his role and kept the team on the right track. Hopefully he’ll get the chance to have that kind of a slot in the rotation, because I think he’s the kind of a player who can really do well in 15 minutes of action.

  69. Mamula(#67)
    If the replacement refs are starting the season Walton could see more minutes than even you think.
    Some of the crews are pretty good,but some are just brutal. Get one of those and Ron wil rack up a couple fouls in first couple of minutes.

  70. I wish there were more practice videos available. I love watching behind the scenes stuff like that video JD tweeted about.

  71. Very detailed and interresting analysis. But Mad Men the best show on TV? My dad was in the ad game during the 1960s. The show is not an accurate replication of the industry and time and, surprisingly, I find it extremely boring.
    But we Laker fans cannot agree on everything. Barring injury, the Lake Show roles to another title. Depth is going to wear down other teams in the playoffs, including the aging Celtics, if they get the chance to meet Kobe & Company.

  72. Jay,

    Hmmm. Not saying whether it was like that or not, but was your dad a Madison Avenue ad man (Mad Man) ? I mean there’s professional ball, then there’s being a Laker in the NBA.

    How many shows or movies are completely accurate? I’d say most aren’t. Either way, it’s still a great show.