ESPN Zone Lakers Blogger Talk, And Some Basketball

Kurt —  October 19, 2009

LAKERS
Reminder that this Friday night at 6 p.m. at the ESPN Zone at LALive (right across from Staples Center) will be the Lakers bloggers forum, and it should be a lot of fun. We’ll spend an hour or so taking questions and asking Brian Kamenetzky where his cooler brother Andrew is. Besides Brian (he’s from the LA Times Lakers Blog) there will be Eric Pincus of Hoopsworld, Brett Pollakoff from FanHouse, Kam Pashai and video god Chris Manning from The Lakers Nation, Gary from Lakersnation.com, and Colin Ward-Henninger from The Examiner. Oh, and me.

After the Q&A we’ll have some food, a couple adult beverages and watch the Lakers/Nuggets game on the roughly 4,821 screens in ESPNZone LA Live. It’s a fun space (it was hopping after Finals games last year).

Should be a fun night, love to see you all there.

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As for some thoughts from the Lakers/Clippers match up, first thing is I love how active Bynum was on the offensive glass in the second half. One of the things I think we should expect from this team is a lot of offensive rebounds and second chance points. The Clippers (even without Marcus Camby) provide a stiff front line test and in the second half Bynum really answered that challenge.

We also expect the Lakers to be a better defensive team this year, but they were not against Eric Gordon and Baron Davis in the first quarter. This was not just about perimeter play but rotations inside, the Lakers just looked out of synch on defense (and the Clippers weren’t even running the pick-and-roll). It’s preseason, and as Phil Jackson said after the game right now practices matter more than games, so we shouldn’t make a big deal of it. But it’s worth watching.

I like Ammo’s shooting right now too, but as he said himself after the game if he can’t defend well he will not get the minutes. Not on this squad. And we have yet to be sold on his defense. The previously mentioned, very cool Andrew Kamenetzky has an interview with Ammo from after the game you should check out.

Finally, while this is a few days old, it is just too good not to post.

Kurt

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23 responses to ESPN Zone Lakers Blogger Talk, And Some Basketball

  1. I thought it was a good preseason game to watch, because I was keeping an eye on Bynum and Griffin, both did fine last night, good performances. Farmar will be good in his contract year, I think, great for the Lakers, it WILL be a fun year for sure.

  2. Have watched only one preseason game this year, trying to satisfy my football jones. Seems to me that the only thing that fans will be able to see when watching a preseason game is effort and hustle. Its just preseason, I dont think to much insight needs to go into disecting moves and statitics with players that dont have a chance of playing more than10 minutes a game. The only position that seems worth talking about is the point and I couldnt tell by the posting who was making a run at Fish job this year. Seen nothing but negatives about Fish inconsistent play, Shannon playing more 2 than 1, and Farmars play incouraging. So who is gonna get the minutes at the point for LA?

  3. Proud (and self-serving) to say I was at Staples last night rocking my new FB&G white t-shirt…

    kobe’s shot plus shannon’s dunk plus the rookie’s monster jam made it one of the more entertaining preseason games in some time….(admittedly a low bar…)

  4. Lil’ Pau, thanks for the rep!

  5. Here are a few of my observations of last night’s game:

    Kobe’s shot and shot selection pretty much sucked. He couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn last night. Hope this is just him trying tough shots during the preseason and not indictative of the hand needing fixing or something else.

    Without the second unit’s play and Andrew the Lakers would have lost the game last night. It’s preseason so it’s wouldn’t have been a big deal, but in my opinion the starters didn’t play well at all last night.

    Ron Artest will be fine as soon as he realizes that he has the right to shoot if he’s open. He needs to stop deferring all the time. He needs to find a balance between when and when not to defer to Kobe and/or the other guys. He has to do this to make the triangle work at its best.

    Farmar was better but he still has a me first attitude and not a point guard attitude, one play in particular demonstrated his knack for going three on one when he should pass. He and Shannon worked together to steal the ball. Farmar was covered by two clippers and could have passed to a wide open Shannon for an uncontested dunk but he tried to go one on two (taller defenders).

    Andrew was better in the rebounding department but still has a shoot first mentality and not a rebound and defensive mentality which will hurt the Lakers when they start facing really good teams. Scoring comes naturally to Andrew because it’s his desire to use all the offensive moves and footwork he’s been working on for so long. Rebounding and defense doesn’t seem to be something he cares about so much.

    Basically preseason doesn’t say much about who or what the Lakers will be. I can’t wait to see Pau, Lamar, Artest and Kobe, and either Bynum, Shannon, Ammo work together. I think those four (Pau, Lamar, Artest, Kobe) with any of the others will be a winning line up.

  6. Julien, it’s often the case that blogs are disparaged b/c of short “they suck” statements that don’t rely on evidence beyond conjecture. So let me put it bluntly, the two guys back-tracking with Farmar and WOW converged on WOW as Farmar passed the free-throw line leaving Farmar to make a play or reset (he did the right thing). You could say that Farmar should have passed it up at the half court mark – but why? Isn’t he the second PG on the team and in-line for the starting role? With that said, where have you read any evidence that Bynum’s desire to “use his footwork” is why he won’t pass. Sure, he has had a few brain-farts but for the most part I’ve seen some high-level passes to shooters these past few games.

    Alas, I agree on Ron Artest – do something son!

  7. Not to pile on Julien here, but I feel like I watched a completely different game than you did.

    I actually liked most of Kobe’s shot selection. More midrange shots coming off cuts. Took wide open jumpers and passed out when it wasn’t there. His shot just wasn’t falling. Sure he still had a couple of typical Kobe possessions taking tough shots, but I thought mostly it was in the flow.

    Farmar put up 7 assists last night leading the team when the next closest was DJ with 4?!? For the most part, I thought he made very smart decisions knowing when to pass or when to push it.

    Bynum’s rebounding numbers have jumped up ever since Pau and LO have been sitting. I think when those two are playing, there’s just not much spare boards around. Throw in that Kobe also goes on rebounding tears. The coaching staff have also indicated they want Bynum leaking out and running hard to establish early post position if he gets drawn out by his man.

    By most reports, the coaching staff have been happy with his efforts on D if not the results. His pick and roll defense by all accounts is a work in progress. Hard to make that jump to say he doesn’t care about rebounding and D when I don’t see a lack of effort on his part. Heck, he was fighting Dwight Howard during the Finals while still hurt. That shows a lot of caring for me.

    As for Ron, it’s just a matter of being comfortable. You can tell he’s still thinking and not reacting. Ron shouldn’t be aggressive for the sake of aggressiveness. He needs to be aggressive if it’s the right play. They’ve been in camp for a couple of weeks? I think it’s a bit tough to ask anyone to step into a well oiled lineup with a complicated offense and expect them to react instinctively immediately. Especially when two key cogs in Pau and LO have been out.

    I refuse to pass judgement on Ron’s passivity or aggressiveness until a good 5-6 games into the regular season. That’ll give him a month’s worth of camp and two weeks of real action. Good point to gauge his progress then.

    As you said, preseason doesn’t say much, especially at this point. I think passing harsh judgments right now is much too soon.

  8. DirtySanchez (2),
    Stop criticizing Fisher! Sure he has been in a slump so far in the preseason… but its just the preseason. And yes he hasn’t shot well in the last half of the season a year ago either but he brings so much more to the court and he will break out of it. Its about his leadership! You can’t put a price tag on that. He also is a stabilizing force out there. Brown and Farmar have only been outplaying Derek in the preseason and postseason last year. Its not a huge sample size. Fisher has the experience and the will to help the Lakers win games even if his shooting or defense isn’t there. Let’s all get off Derek’s back… he has been a Laker for a decade and was part of 4 Lakers championship teams. he is the heart and soul of the team.

  9. all this preseason stuff is just teasing teasing teasing… argh.

    on the bright side, now i can focus on playing mafia wars again…

  10. #5, lol

    This is toooooo funny. When Artest first got traded to the Lakers, a few of us had to post over and over telling the doubters that Artest will not shoot too much. That he has playmaking abilities, is a great passer, defender, and knows that bad shot selection will not work on the Lakers.

    Now your post was the 2nd time i’ve read tonight faulting Artest for shooting too little. The other poster was more harsh, but said the same thing.

    I just thought to myself HOW FUNNY. How things change. Go from chemistry will be messed up because Artest will shoot too much, which was what EVERYONE was saying not too long ago, to Artest needs to shoot more.

    The thing about Artest is that he is not as stupid as people think. I don’t know the guy, just my impression from what i’ve seen. He is smart enough, especially in basketball terms, to know what to do when the game is played. His biggest attribute for the lakers will be defense and and toughness. Kobe will have an enforcer on his team. Something he has been sorely LACKING.

    I think the reason PJ likes Artest the most, however, is his playmaking. Watching him last year i saw a player who understands basketball, and is a great passer. This is what i expect from him next year. He is going to be a great addition to the lakers.

  11. Nicely played, Aaron. :-)

    Given the context on this blog, that was pretty funny.

  12. finally, we converted aaron to see the light about our fearless leader…(nudge nudge wink wink)
    well said though, ;)

  13. Kaveh, I’m not convinced about Artest yet. Trying to learn the offense in preseason minutes is very different from my concern that he takes bad shots in the clutch time of a real game in November or December. The early signs are good, but they are just that. I, personally, need to see things over a length of time during the regular season to be sure. I still am rooting to be wrong about my fears, and so far so good, but preseason means little.

  14. Kurt,

    You’re right. it’s too early to tell. At least he’s feeling his way through now, and not forcing it. It leads me to believe that he’s making a concentrated effort to stay in his role. But….If Artest effectively defends the likes of PP, LBJ, and/or Richard Jefferson, like the Artest we know, I think I might be willing to deal with a bad shot or two in the clutch once in a while.

  15. Pre-season is when iron chef Mario Batali can cook vegetables… he can also try out his new flaming ribs ala Bobby Flay or even try to speak chinese along the way. In short, we EXPERIMENT folks… get off everyone’s back except that of Sasha and Jordan… I will be particularly hard on these two coz I believe they will be key to our bench this year not squandering leads.

  16. Warren (9:08 a.m.): You just get your first post in and there won’t be any worries about lost leads.

  17. @16, I second that.

  18. Without having seen any of the pre-season games (it’s hard for me to muster enthusiasm until the official season opener) I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments about the team, the way they play, and especially how Artest fits in.

    I think I agree with the ones saying that among Artest’s many faults, stupidity on the court is not among them. Yes, he loses his temper and his head at times, but he’s been playing long enough and well enough to understand the game and he’s probably taking his time getting into a rhythm in a new system he’s never played before. I am sure he will make mistakes down the line, maybe even cost us a game or two. I am also sure that somewhere along the line I will be jumping up and down in front of the TV during a game, cursing Mitch for “giving up Trevor Ariza for THAT?!?!?!”

    But I also think that if I get to watch him play defense the way only Artest can, take a hard foul, get back up and retaliate briutally but in a perfectly legal way… essentially if he makes up for his mistakes by contributing with what he is really good at, and what we brought him in to do, then I don’t know about the rest of you, but I would be willing to forgive a mistake or four.

    There was no doubt in any one’s mind that we needed an enforcer on the team, and that we needed to improve on defense, and now we have one, and now we will.

    If nothing else, Artest is anything but boring. We have an exciting season ahead of us.

    T-7 and counting! :)

  19. Trevor Ariza is someone I’ve been following through the ESPN highlight reels and it looks like he’s consistently hitting that 15-18 point per game mark. How can we apply Ariza’s apparent success in TX to a guy like Farmar who I really think could take his game to another level if he didn’t constantly feel the pressure of a third-stringer knocking at the door, or the bald hero named Fisher who owns the starting spot.

    (Below)
    Crittenton 07

    Crawford 08

    Wow 08-09

    (Above)

    The forever young Fisher.

  20. I’m not going to make any judgements about our starters or our offense until Pau is on the floor. Everything goes through him and Kobe. Ron has no idea how to assert himself because he’s running with different units and getting different looks than he usually will get with a full squad.

    All I know from preseason is that Bynum is healthy and motivated to play hard, SB has a highlight play per game, Kobe has some new post moves, and this is going to be a loooong regular season for Lakers bloggers.

  21. Dunk Specialist October 20, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Here is the thing I think most people are forgetting (or choosing to ignore) about the triangle, it takes along time to get used to it. It has been written many times that it takes a year to really understand it. I think Artest will be on a rollercoaster for most of the year. Sometimes looking like he has it and other times looking lost. But I think it really clicks for him the last month of the season and in the playoffs when we need it. Remember it took Lamar like two years (or more) to get comfortable in it. Only guys like Kobe and Pau can pick it up as fast (and Pau lloked alot better last running it). Artest is a smart ball player so maybe he picks it up earlier around the allstar break but it will take more than a month into the season to really get it down. His only judge should be the playoffs. But even if he is only kind of gets the offense, remember he is replacing an 8 piont scorer (I love Ariza but this is true) and will be counted on to stop Roy, Jefferson, Pierce, LeBron, Melo and whomever Phil wants him to shut down on the Magic (not sure if it will be Lewis or someone else).

  22. Dunk Specialist October 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Oh and as for Bynum, he needs a month to really get used to the brace and what he can do on the knee. Anyone who has had knee surgeries will know it takes time before you really trust it and know what it can do (the time is different for everyone but it is still there). And even when you have faith in it there is a mental barrier that just can’t be overcome without time. Trust me I know first hand as I have had both knees fixed. Each heals differently and mentally it stays with you for along time. Once Bynum really gets comfortable in his body HE WILL LEAD the Lakers in rebounding (check his splits at the end of the year this year, if I am wrong please rub it in my face).