Lakers Preseason Game #6: In the IE

Kurt —  October 20, 2009

Lakers vs. Warriors
Just after noon today, Stephen Jackson picked up his first foul in tonight’s game.

It’s a little odd meeting the same team for a third time in the preseason, but the Lakers and Warriors go at it tonight out in the Inland Empire. The good news is that Lamar Odom is expected back on the floor for this one, but likely no Gasol or Walton again.

When looking at the preseason what I’m looking for are trends, things that happen over a few games, that might give us a clue as to what we will see when it really matters. You can’t read anything into lineups because the Lakers are keeping guys out who could play and because now is the time to start Josh Powell against Blake Griffin and see what happens. I’m not even going to guess at some of the lineups we’ll see tonight.

One thing we have all been watching is the play of Ron Artest, seeing how he is acclimating to the team (fits and starts, as you’d expect). But there is a great interview by the Brothers K over at the LA Times Lakers Blog with Artest from after the game the other night that is a must read.

Before Sunday’s win over the Clippers, Ron Artest spoke at length with the media about his work with a sports psychologist, something he began last year while with the Rockets. Gaining control of his competitive nature is something with which Artest has long struggled, particularly early in his career. Managing losses, keeping his ego in check. That sort of thing.

These are the areas that those of us on the fence about Artest had concerns about, but that he is self-aware enough to seek help and that he has that outlet in Los Angeles makes me feel more confident. I’m not worried about his fit in the offense, that will come, my concern was if he would truly accept the role. All indications are that is happening. I still need to see it in more than just a couple preseason games. But things are looking good so far.

(As a side note, what Kamenetzky brothers did here is what I think bloggers need to do with access to the team — provide some background some depth to flesh out stories, to provide more context and insight. This was good work,)

Oops, Jackson just picked up a second foul.

The only remaining question for the Lakers is what to do with Tony Gaffney. Most years I would say that this is not a question — his people at IMG sold me on him at Summer League, and what we have seen in camp fits with what I came to expect. He has good athleticism, and he just hustles every time out there. He wants it. He’s still learning how to play at this level, still learning to shoot. He is a perfect candidate for an end-of-the-bench/time in the D-League roster spot that you do with projects.

But it all comes down to money. We Lakers fans can’t complain — Jerry Buss is shelling out this year to keep a title team together. He is paying a whopping tax bill. With that tax, keeping Gaffney means spending another $1 million plus. And please don’t do the “but Buss is just loaded he should do that” because that is not how you run your finances and it should not be his. This is his family’s lone business anymore. And if you think $1 million is nothing you must be a congressman.

I don’t think keeping Gaffney will happen. But it would be a pleasant surprise if it did.

Kurt

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96 responses to Lakers Preseason Game #6: In the IE

  1. I’m for some reason incredibly relieved to know Ron’s been seeing a sports shrink even though I was never that concerned in the first place.

    Also, Ex-Cap. Jack said in an interview following his implosion v. Kobe something to the extent about being “a grown ass man”

    I love that Kobe gets into people’s heads. There’s no stat for that!

  2. JackO just picked up a T complaining that Kurt is harassing him.

    On a completely side note, via Ball Don’t Lie, check out this KG/Kobe/Lebron video mix:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ypMH8JHOhU&feature=player_embedded#

    Epic stuff.

  3. If RonRon wasnt ready to fall in line for a chance to win a ring, I truly believe that he wouldnt have come to LA. It seems that fans will never get past that brawl that happened 5 years ago. Its time to let that go and concentrate on what happens between the lines on the basketball court. Last year Artest showed plenty of unselfishness and playmaking ability with the Rockets, before injuries ruined their chances. I dont understand how thats not a big enough sample size to see that he is an intelligent and unselfish ball player, when in a winning enviroment will florish. You cant use the playoffs as a sample when the roster was make shift and relied on him to be the first scoring option. LA is not asking him to be no more than maybe a 3rd or 4th scoring option, while playing sound team defense. Artest didnt come to LA to make the team, he came here because he wanted to be part of something that could be great.

    P.S. Aaron that was pretty funny, I felt that I should take some of the animosity from posters who seem to hate your Fish frying.

  4. So Artest is smart enough to realize he needs help, and brave enough to go out and get it? I can feel myself warming up to this guy…

  5. DirtySanchez, last year when the Lakers played the Rockets we kept saying: I hope Ron decides to take over the game or does something stupid like get under Kobe’s skin to do his team in. And he did. On several occasions. If you think he was a good teammate and played well with others, you should ask some Rockets fans about that. That is why Artest still needs to prove to me he can do it.

  6. Thats why I stated that the playoffs was a bad sample considering the talent and experience of players around him on theRocket team during that time. He was there number one scoring option, and he cant do that at this point of his career, and never was really that type of player in his mid to early twentys. The Rockets played Portland in the first round and knocked them out, and that was with the help of Artest, didnt hear any complaining about team play when the lineup is still intact. All in all Artest will be who we need him to be at any point this year,

  7. I’m not sure anyone is arguing that Ron Artest genuinely wants to be successful with the Lakers and has the best intentions at heart. Personally, I don’t doubt that he will do his very best to succeed and help the team either.

    The reason I’m concerned is because he has a history of losing it, literally. I’m not doubting his honest intentions, I’m doubting his ability to follow through. Especially since, if we knew that he was the mental/emotional weakness of the Rockets, everyone else now knows that he’s the mental/emotional weakness of the Lakers, and any good fighter knows you go for the weak spots first.

  8. Reposted from Last Thread:

    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.

    Crittenton 07

    Crawford 08

    Wow 08-09

    ******

    As much as the starters excite me – after seeing Jordan’s behind the back left handed pass while flying into the key shows me that there is a Kobe-esque brilliance in the guy.

  9. 1) The STD,
    “Also, Ex-Cap. Jack said in an interview following his implosion v. Kobe something to the extent about being “a grown ass man”

    I didn’t realize he was a Seinfeld fan.

  10. Mr. Sanchez,

    Thank you very much. But I promised everyone here that I would stop pointing out after every game how poorly Fisher played. everyone here actually changed my mind. I now see how great Fisher is. Its the little things he does. So now I will point out how great he played after every game and how he so effectively makes the team better.

    This preseason so far Derek has been playing exactly how he has played since last February. Just a perfect fit for this team. Playing so unselfishly Fisher….

    *Misses almost all of his outside shots to give Farmar and Brown more confidence in taking outside shots and also allows Bynum and Gasol to get more offensive rebounds.

    *He sinks into the paint to help Bynum and Gasol down low when they don’t need it to make sure they don’t pick up too many silly fouls and also allows them to save their energy so they can help out Derek when he gets beat by his man throughout the game.

    *Speaking of his ability to intentionally allow dribble penetration to let Bynum rack up his block totals… he does it in a way where his man beats him so quickly it doesn’t give enough time for the defense to get over in time to cut off the penetration until the guard is under the basket cementing the shot block opportunity for Andrew.

    *One of the greatest things Derek does on the court is his great mobility that allows Fish to attack the basket. When Derek gets to the rim he has the rare explosiveness that gives him the ability to finish well at the basket. Here is another example of Fisher’s extreme unselfishness… instead of dunking over the entire front line he actually intentionally misses lay ups 100% of the time to give Gasol and Bynum easy offensive rebound opportunities and baskets. Occasionally its hard for Bynum and Gasol to get the rebounds because apparently the other teams know of Fisher’s unselfishness so they seem to dare him to shoot lay ups and box out Bynum and Gasol.

    *Fisher will pull up for 15 foot jumpers in transition instead of attacking the basket because he, unlike Kobe, cares about his teammates knees. He saw what Kobe did to Bynum when Kobe attacked the basket out of control and took out Drew’s knee. So Fisher wants to play in control. A great example of Fisher’s godlike experience.

    So when you watch the rest of the preseason games and onto the regular season look for these great Fisher traits. Its easy to watch the other Lakers PG’s and see how both Farmar and Brown both shoot better from the outside and play better defense (especially Brown). Its seems obvious to the average moronic fan how both Brown and Farmar finish better at the basket or how Farmar is a better playmaker and passer. But true Lakers fans see the big picture with Derek. He is a true Laker. He is a true warrior. He is a true winner. He has a high basketball IQ. He is a steadying force on the floor. So appreciate the unselfishness and winning attitude Derek gives the team… his leadership and character on rare.

  11. Aaron, jesus man. Jesus.

  12. 10 masking your fisher hate in cynicism is sill boring and tired. For gawd sakes its the pre-season! U don’t have to love the guy but give it up already. Didn’t bother to read past the first few sentences and from here on out planning to skip all your postings. Peace.

  13. Aaron – Ah, how I miss your upbeat posts.

    I hate to say it, but I also agree that Fish’s skills are in decline. However, this is pre-season and these games are meaningless and (I know I’m in the minority here) poor predictors of full season success.

    Sadly, Fish’s starting job is Farmar’s and Brown’s to take. Until that happens, his job is secure and we will continue worrying about the young-guns that will outshoot, outlast and speed right by Fisher during the regular season. That’s life.

  14. Phil is loyal to his players to a fault. This means Brown or Farmar must take what they want. All pushes go to Fisher – he is the house. That’s the game and if either Brown or Farmar take the house away they will get the same benefit.

    The triangle doesn’t lend itself to the Chris Paul’s of the world so the Lakers don’t draft them – well, maybe they aren’t there to draft them because they are too successful – oh well. So we just have to make due with those all-round talents that don’t have the overwhelming scoring talent. That is really a tough proposition – well, for NBA champions anyway.

    Man, life is really tough for us, isn’t it?

  15. heyy.. links anyone??

  16. Aaron we all get it. You are right, you see what we all dont see. We get that you don’t appreciate Fisher and thats ok. But guess what? You are not Phil Jackson, you are not a Buss family member or a member of the LA front office. Therefore you can’t call ANY shots. Whining constantly about something you cant change just generates noise and makes reading this fabulous forum(kudos Kurt) painful. So let it go. If you cant, start a private journal and you can name it “i told you so” when you sell it to some book company to publish it. Thank you!

  17. aaron, yesterday it was funny, original, today is felt a little old already, might want to give it a break for a while.

  18. thank you!

  19. I agree that Fish’s physical skills are declining, and have been for the last three or four seasons.

    That said, he has that ice water in his veins that flat out matters.

    He helped us, immensely, in the playoffs last year.

    Two Big Moments.

    1) The Body Check. When he dropped Scola, there was no question it was both a warning to Scola and the Rockets, and also a call out to the Lakers to show some toughness.

    2) The Shot. Would Brown or Farmar even take that shot? I am not sure they would. Fisher did. And buried it. And buried the Magic at the same time.

    I agree that Farmar or Brown need to step up and take the job, but give Fisher his due. He has four rings, and he has helped earn them.

    Rings are what matter, yes?

  20. Aaron your Fish post really wake up a dead room.

  21. Well, just to comment on the game in progress rather than Fisher’s abilities (or lack of such) – Kobe’s shot is ON in the early going. Clearly having Jackson there is getting him juiced up.

  22. Surprise surprise, Aaron still can’t keep Fisher’s name out of his mouth.

    Kobe looks fired up for this one. He’s clearly determined to light the ‘Young Fella’ up.

  23. Apart from Kobe responding to Jackson’s comments with his game, I am very, very happy with the way Bynum is running the floor in transition. If this keeps up for the season, that’s 6-10 free points each game.

  24. Watching replacement refs is not going to be easy. Some very obvious calls missed already, both ways.

  25. Josh Powell’s midrange J is stuck on automatic.

  26. @3ThreeIII,

    You forgot two additional and very important things:

    The first is that Kobe respects Fisher and thinks of him as a close friend. That means Fisher is the only player on the floor who can (and will!) take Amazing-81-Man aside and tell him “You’re shooting too much and you’re forcing it. Ease up, start passing the ball!”, and actually be heard and listened to by Kobe. That is invaluable.

    The second is the moments just before the body check to Scola.

    It had to be done. The message had to be sent, both to the Rockets and to the Lakers. Someone had to step up and risk ejection or suspension, or both, to make that point. To come to that realization, to understand the consequences he’d be facing, and to follow through with it anyway, requires a kind of mature leadership that no one else on the team can provide.

    Until Farmar or Brown have proven that they can fill a pair of shoes of a size that 3ThreeIII and I just tried to describe to you, Fisher’s job is safe, and frankly, it should be. There’s more to playing the game of basketball than putting up numbers.

    @lakergirl,
    Go get him! :D

    @Aaron,
    You’re right. True Lakers fans do see the big picture with Derek. Obviously you’re not one of them.

  27. I’m watching the game right now and jus wanted to ask….has anyone heard a louder rim during an NBA game?

  28. #29… that’s what I was saying to my cousin. What a lousy/bouncy rim.

    Interesting game. Kobe is going at Jackson. Sasha was jawing with Morrow (started after Sasha was knocked to the ground by 3 Warriors and Morrow started clapping excitedly).

  29. I am happy with Ron-Ron getting 7 assists, but dude has to step up the gas, 1-of-2 so far.

  30. OUCH! Gaffney, I like this guy. If money wasn’t an issue, I agree that signing him would be a no-brainer. Hope he’s alright.

  31. Okay, forgive my ignorance, but why do we keep playing the GSWs? I get the proximity thing – but Clips, Kings, Jazz and Suns are all pretty close by, too. Sorry if this has been addressed – but it would seem the team would be better served facing a broader range of opponents.

  32. I am for keeping Gaffney for the following reasons – he plays super hard, could become a very good defender who, with his 6′ 8 height and length, could potentially defend the 2, 3, and 4. Just imagine if we had Lamar in foul trouble, and Artest going mental, and someone had to guard Melo or Pierce… And he also knows where to be on the court, I have already seen Kobe hit him for some great backdoor layups.

    To me, there aren’t too many guys like him out there.

  33. I missed tonight’s game, I was at the Angel game watching them get blown away, ugh… From the box score, it looks like Bynum is starting off the season right and Artest with 8 assist is also encouraging. The bench shooting was awful tonight.

  34. I havn’t had much of a chance to watch the preseason play, but I’m hearing a lot about Farmar and Shannon getting some run together

    What are people’s thoughts on those 2 being our first guards off the bench? I think it could make a lot of sense. SB has the size to guard SG’s and they both play 100 miles an hour on the break. They could help replace some of that spark we were afraid of losing with Trevor.

  35. 34) I’m sorry, man. I don’t buy it. If we’re worried about having a 4th guy behind Artest, LO, and Kobe to guard powerful 3’s, we’re just being paranoid.

    He’s a SG with length, which means theoretically he can guard 3 spots. Sounds nice, but there are PLENTY of guys like him out there. For instance: The warriors have 5 of them: Jackson, Magette, Azubuike, Morrow, and our boy Devean George.

  36. My concerns about Artest’s psychological instability: 2 %

    My concerns about his on-court performance: 98 %

  37. Aaron, dude, its a good way to get famous. Only for us its called notoriety… and it has stopped being funny from the get-go.

  38. Philadelphia, who has been brutal to Kobe every time he’s gone there over the last decade, is now hurt that he’s chosen to root for the city that has accepted him over them:

    http://www.philly.com/inquirer/sports/20091021_Gonzo___Kobe_has_gone_totally_Hollywood.html

    Wah.

  39. I love posters like Aaron…[edited] Seriously, to take a line from Toby Keith, Fish ain’t as good as he once was, but he’s as good once as he ever was. I hope Jordan and/or Wow show they can carry the load, but don’t be surprised to see Mr. Fisher getting the end of game crunch-time minutes. Let’s get to the real games already.

  40. #36 Travis, what do you mean by first two guards off the bench? As in Farmar and Shannon coming off the bench before Sasha?

    There was a KCAL “text your vote in” poll during the Lakers game on which guard should come off the bench first. Sasha had overwhelming vote, and I believe that is the right choice.

    The question should only be whether Farmar or Brown comes off the bench first. Sasha has been playing well and, though he is nowhere near the other two guards’ athleticism, he is a good defender.

    I believe the Lakers will use Farmar and Brown for match up purposes. As far as the “cookie-cutter” rotation, I think Sasha will still be the primary two guard.

  41. PeanutButterSpread October 21, 2009 at 11:27 am

    At least Kobe still supported the Philadelphia Eagles …

  42. Can’t we stop talking about Fisher already? I love the guy and have supported him as ardently as possible in the past. He’s a pro’s pro.

    That said, Father Time is undefeated. Fish is in (physical) decline as a player. I think we all know that. I think we also all know that some of us can accept that and still root for him and the positives he provides while others want there to be an immediate change due to the negatives associated with his game. So, instead of going all Hatfield and McCoy over the guy, can’t we just agree to disagree and talk about something else?

    RE Sasha. I’m still not convinced he’s back, but his performance in the preseason has been encouraging. However, regardless of a text poll and based purely off Phil’s rotations history, it’s doubtful Sasha will be the first guard off the bench. I mean, unless he becomes our primary backup PG, either Farmar or WOW will replace Fisher around the same time that Odom comes in for either Pau or Bynum. Sasha, per Phil’s standard rotation, will likely come into the game with a minute or so remaining in the first quarter to replace Kobe. I don’t see this changing. I think the real intrigue will be with what jboo (#42) speaks of – who between Farmar and Shannon will be the primary back up PG? I happen to think it will be Farmar. Phil’s been building Farmar up for three seasons and he’s going to give him his chances to succeed or fail. Having WOW around just means that Phil can give the hook to Farmar (or Sasha) and feel good that his guard rotation behind his starters is up to task.

  43. Hastings, I read that article as well. I am sick of hearing about Kobe’s mistakes and the way the media portrays him.

    Moreover, I’m sick of clowns like Henry posting that garbage wherever they can. Especially out of context. As you mentioned, I think Philly were the first to boo Bryant, not the other way around.

  44. I love Ron Artest. In trying to explain why Kobe went off on Stephen Jackson he said the following:

    “He always finds a reason,” Ron Artest said ” ‘You looked at me the wrong way. All right, I’m giving you 40. You don’t want to say my last name. All right, I’m giving you 40.’ He’s unbelievable.”

  45. Little bits of Lakers news today, not enough for a new post, but worth noting:

    • Kelati has been waived by the Lakers, but not Gaffney. My guess, Jackson and the staff want Gaffney, but a minimum deal with him plus tax is $850,000, so they have to convince Buss to do it. They can also keep him on the roster until January and still cut him with his current deal.

    • Bynum had a rotator cuff strain in the game and is day-to-day, another one of those injuries that would not keep him out of the regular season games but could for a preseason game. Also, Gaffney is day to day with a back bruise after that fall last night, which looked like it hurt.

  46. That Kobe?Philly article was very petty. The guy spent his formative years in Italy as much as Philadelphia, and as gxs noted the fans there turned on Kobe long ago.

    Using that writer’s logic, if it can be called that, we’re to suppose Kobe should have turned down the Lakers trade in ’96 out of some sort of civic obligation, since no true son of Philadelphia would ever wear the purple and gold.

    Give us a break.

  47. Love watching Bynum run. Love the quotes from him about his determination. Even loved Stu’s comment about “He isn’t keeping it a secret. He is letting everyone know that he wants to outrun all the other bigs down the floor”

    If Bynum keeps that focus, he pads his offense by 4-8 points a game, easily.

    Not only that, but a hard running Bynum early plays to the Lakers deep bench wonderfully.

    I can just see the gassed big men on the opposing side, shaky legs in the fourth quarter, untested third string big men on the floor to cover the extra rest…

    That makes me happy.

  48. Quick note about Artest. Is it merely coincindental that the first time Houston gets out of the first round in the Yao/McGrady era is when Ron came to town? I think not.

    The guy has his flaws. But he gave that Houston team some mojo last season they have not had in the several years of Tracy and Yao. People forget that.

  49. 42) Jboo: Yeah, I do mean Sasha coming off the bench AFTER Jordan and Shannon. I disagree that he’s our best guard off the bench. He was a foul machine and a brick-shooting black hole for a long stretch last season. He plays D like theres no such thing as a reaching foul and argues every call. I like his confidence and hustle, but I’d rather have Jordan or Shannon on the floor before him if he’s not going to shoot better. And even if he is shooting well, I think Jordan and Shannon help us out more in the long run b/c they both move the ball and keep others involved.

  50. When Derek Fisher is the most controversial player on your team, that’s almost a good thing.

  51. @chibi,
    Especially since we also have Ron Artest on the team….? :D

    T minus 6, and counting… Note to self: Cancel gym appointment so I won’t miss the season opener!

  52. If Sasha shoots like he did last year his spot will be taken over by WOW. Phil has been experimenting with the Farmar/WOW combination in the preseason for a reason. The results have been fairly positive according to previous post. I can see this as a motivational tool of Phils to get the best out of his players, but I also believe that he knows that WOW is a better all around player than Sasha. Just because you hit everything in practice and preseason doesnt mean you will get burn in the regular season. Sasha will be on a real short leash come Oct. 27 if his play is not up to par.

  53. I wish I could cancel my Astronomy class next Tuesday night to see the season opener live on TV, instead of DVR’d, but I already missed last Tuesday in the Angel’s blowout game, poor sT… I will have to remember not to come here, before I watch it delayed. Maybe I should just drop this class, since every single Tuesday night this will happen, until mid December.

  54. Via BDL… Kobe learning the Dream Shake…

    http://coachingbetterbball.blogspot.com/2009/10/kobe-learns-dream-shake-from-olajuwon.html

    Haven’t seen one minute of preseason ball up here in NoCal…

    That Philly article was classic Philly. Boo him when he wins the All-Star game MVP and then expect his loyalty? Curious.

  55. sT,

    I vote you drop the class. The Lakers title defense certainly trumps an education.

  56. I’ve been down on Farmar in the past, but I like what I’ve seen in the preseason.

    His hustle and creativity have been most impressive. If the Laker 2nd unit can rebound, space the floor, and create lanes to the basket, Farmar ought to thrive. If his running mates get out into transition and create fast break and secondary break opportunities, Farmar ought to be dynamite.

    In a half-court game? He’s more suited to playing the 2.

  57. Philly fans are notoriously poor sports, so whatever. But, I must say, I recall them turning on Kobe the year that the Lakers played Iverson’s 76er’s in the Finals. In the WCF trophy acceptance or in some interview before the Finals, Kobe was asked what it was going to be like playing against his hometown team. And he said something along the lines of “I want to rip their hearts out”. Classic Kobe Bean Bryant, to say the least. But, I don’t think the fans of that team really liked him after that. As Gatinho pointed out they booed him when he won the MVP at the ASG in Philly and trash him every chance they get.

  58. sT, just convince your professor that with Kobe and Pau and LO and RonRon, you’ll see plenty of stars at home that night. ;)

  59. I will say that as dumb as the the Philly/Kobe thing is dumb, you gotta admit that him being a Mets fan (when he was younger) is a bit of a low blow :P

    But to give a low blow right back to those Philly blowhards, I’d like to point out that Kobe is (I think) and Eagles fan and really that’s the only team Philly really cares about when they’re not bandwagoning a championship ticket (Phillies).

    Anyhow, it’s hardly disingenuous for Kobe to be a Dodgers fan… most L.A.ers are transplants or only a generation or two removed from moving here. Really, it’s fitting enough to call Kobe a true son of L.A., and even more fitting if Philly disowned him like he disowned them.

  60. sT…you might even get to see a supernova, that being Kobe going supernova.

  61. Did anyone see this piece about Dirk working on adding the unblockable skyhook to his arsenal?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/columns/story?id=4572759

    Makes me wonder what ever happen to Drew and his skyhook. I didn’t get to read that latest piece about Drew and Kareem training sessions and I keep hearing that they are still working together, so are they or aren’t they?

    When I imagine the potential of Drew adding this shot to his offensive game (with all his great offensive potential already) and Pau with his many left/right handed post game shots and the potential for Sasha and Ammo returning to form with their shooting, and all the amazing slashers, shooter, playmakers and versatile players we have in Kobe, Odom, Artest…I just get so excited for the season to start! If only Drew and Pau utilize the skyhook regularly in their game with all that they are currently capable of, I think the Lakers will go from being a very very good team to a nearly unstopable team if we had our shooters back. Oh 6 more days….

  62. I’m watching te boston-clevelend preseason game right now and boston has 2 starters and a 20 point lead over ALL 5 of clevelend’s starters. Wow is shaq washed up.

    On a side note Rondo seems to get better every year. He is just abusing the cavs.

  63. If anyone on here is on Twitter too, Bill Simmons and Darryl Morey are having a pretty hilarious exchange

  64. Kobe has lived in LA longer than he lived in Philly. Even Bill Simmons would give him a pass for being a Dodger fan.

    I’m curious to see what Rondo does this year. If him and Bynum both start to realize their potentials this season, the C’s and the Lakers are in a stratosphere all by themselves.

  65. 63. Come on the skyhook is so old school. If that move is so ninja(unbeatable) then how come 95% of NBA dont use it in their offensive arsenal. Dirk is definitely someone who needs to acquire this shot, considering he has no low post game. Or maybe he just needs to go see the Dream for a couple of his shake moves, which were just as unstoppable, but more pleasing to watch.

  66. @DirtySanchez,
    The skyhook isn’t cool. It’s not macho, it’s not something you watch on a highlight and go “oh wow, did you see that!?!”. It’s just a “get up a little bit, lift your leg in a girly way and lob the ball”-thing that no teenager obsessed with his image would ever want to waste time on.

    Because what you can do with it once you’ve learned it wouldn’t enter a teenage boy’s mind… trust me, I grew up with them. ;)

  67. Apologies for the double post (my #67 is awaiting moderation). I forgot to also mention that the skyhook is supposedly extremely difficult to learn, which also would explain why so few use it.

    And please, nobody quote my description of it verbatim to Kareem…? It has been pointed out to me that using the word “girly” to describe his unstoppable signature shot may not be taken charitably. :D

  68. That article made me wonder something. In terms of offensive repertoire, how does Pau compare to Kevin McHale? I’m too young to remember McHale so that’s an honest question, sorry if it’s no comparison. But Pau seems like he has one of the most advanced and varied offensive repertoires in recent memory, I was just wondering how some people think he stacks up against a legend like McHale.

  69. I would definitely say that there are some similarities with Pau & McHale on the blocks. The footwork and ability to shake free is similar. As far as differences, Pau is far more likely to take the face-up 16 footer, and McHale had more “up-and-under” type moves around the basket. If the game of today was played at the pace of the game in the 1980s, it’s not unreasonable to think that Pau would be averaging in the low 20s.

    Then again, you could say that the major difference is that we’re not likely to see Pau clothesline someone on the fast break any time soon…

  70. If the skyhook is to be retro fitted back into todays game, maybe poor free throw shooters(see SHAQ) should adopt the old underhanded free throw. Ive heard the technique will increase your free throw percentage by at least 5 to 10 percentage points.

    P.S. Almost forgot the tube socks.

  71. NBA TV had their fantasy preview for centers on tonight. Dennis Scott didn’t like Andrew Bynum because:
    -He has no passion
    -doesn’t work on his game during the summer
    -Just lumbers and can’t do anything with the ball to make anybody want to give him the ball in the post

    Meanwhile, Rick Kamla sees the potential for Kwame Brown to average a double double.

    So, um, don’t watch that show for informed insight.

  72. That’s cool, Philly can keep hating on Kobe all they want, this way they will have something meaningful to write about this year while Kobe and the Lakers win themselves another chip.

  73. I love what our players are showing. To me, this preseason (being preseason) has gone really well:

    Sasha & Farmar’s shots seem to be “back”, for now. And Farmar has his old explosiveness back, and is making some very heady PG plays.

    Drew, well, has been a monster.

    Josh Powell has become one of the better shooters on the team, and will be a good weapon to pair with Kobe

    Artest has been steady rather than spectacular. But honestly, given the guy’s history and everyone’s fears, which one would you want to see more, stability or spectacular stuff?

    Ups has been inconsistent, but that is not surprising at all. The fact is that he continues to hustle, defend and affect the game with his unbelievable athleticism

  74. 67: Dirty Sanchez, etc. the skyhook is not THAT hard to learn.

    I grew up as a kid watching Kareem do the hook in the 80’s and I wanted to do it ever since.

    People can learn to make a jumper, they can learn a skyhook. Much like any other shot like a three pointer or fall away shot, it has to be learned too.

    It’s just that people are lazy.

    I don’t play as well as Kobe or Bynum, but as a 6’1″ player in pickup games I use the skyhook a least a couple times a game.

    I almost never get a true defense on the shot because most people don’t look for it. Especially when I do it with the left hand(I’m a righty).

    I’d shoot it more but I don’t play a pure post up game and I don’t have the ridiculous range Kareem had.

    Bye.

  75. I don’t see the point of learning a skyhook if you could just learn the moves to put yourself in position for an easier jump hook. To me the skyhook is a covered and more difficult shot to control, whereas practicing footwork confers more advantages to use a plethora of shots.

  76. Choosing not to learn the skyhook does NOT imply laziness. There are many, many possible offensive weapons to choose from and not enough time to master them all, so players have to prioritize. What shots/moves best complement their strengths or overcome/mask weaknesses? What best fit in with the role they will be playing within the offense on the team? Concentrating on a face-up jumper, some inside moves, rebounding, and defense seems like a much more productive use of Bynum’s time than spending it on the skyhook.

  77. Guys do not want to learn the Skyhook (which was not that simple because it has a number of countermoves depending on the defense) because this is the era of the face-up center. Everyone wants to be KG, everyone wants to be a center who can handle it 15-18 feet out. Bynum (and Kareem) have said he wanted to learn face-up moves. Nothing wrong with that, it can be effective as well. What really matters is that he masters what he decides to tackle.

    An I like the Pau/McHale comparison, I think Gasol may be the modern version of him in some ways.

  78. People – pros and amateurs – in their teens and twenties are much more concerned with ‘cool’ and ‘how it looks’. It is not until you get older that you realize that guile and strategy often triumph in the long run.

    I think this is a major reason that the sky hook (isn’t demonstrative) and underhanded free-throwing (looks so dorky) aren’t practiced by younger players.

    I doesn’t help that only the really ‘monster’ things are shown on ESPN.

    Often youth forgets that the goal is to win the game more times than the other guy.

  79. 76) I see your logic: You shoot the skyhook in pickup games. Therefore, it is easy to learn.

    If you can shoot it effectively in in a pickup game, any pro can shoot it effectively in the NBA. Kareem, and now Dirk, must have been the only pro players in history who weren’t too lazy to learn it like everybody else.

  80. I still think Craig and I are on to something… that the skyhook would be a lot more popular if it looked cooler. :)

    Though the fact the game has changed and playing style has changed is probably a more important factor. If learning other shots and moves makes you a more effective player and scorer than learning the skyhook does, then a smart player learns the other shots and moves. I doubt we’ll ever see LeBron or Garnett attempt one… but they don’t need to. They’re pretty good already.

  81. The sky hook is not defensible from a player around seven feet tall. This alone should make it a desirable option. It takes work – Kareem only practiced it because they outlawed dunking in college for several years – but it would give athletic big men a devastating weapon. Sure Pau and Dirk might not ‘need’ it, but for your opponent to have to take it into account when you get near the basket can change the defensive game.

    Underhanded free-throwing — well Rick Barry proved how effective it can be. Too bad Shaq is so macho dependent, or he could actually be an adequate player at the line.

  82. I think the skyhook would be a lot more popular if more players were7’2″ wtih long arms and had 20 inch hands with great touch.

  83. 83) “well Rick Barry proved how effective it can be”

    But he isn’t the all-time best free throw shooter, so why pick that method?

  84. Think how great Bynum would be if he could consistently hit three point shots!!

    That would really open up the inside for Kobe!!

  85. Kwame will average a double-double this season: 12 mpg, 14 TO.

  86. Rick Barry was also an unsufferable jerk – would players be smart to emulate that part of his “game” as well?

    (Oh wait, too many of them do … )

  87. @R, #89,
    To a certain extent, probably. Aggravate, irritate, get under your opponent’s skin and in his head… and he will make mistakes. Kobe is one of the masters at this, and it’s worked out pretty well for him.

  88. And in other news, FB&G is on the ESPN Lakers pre-view page. :)

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/feature/index?page=0910Preview-Lakers

  89. If you read this year’s Basketball Prospectus, it lists as the player Bynum is most similar to… Pau Gasol. I can live with that.

    Obviously the skyhook can only be accurately executed in short shorts.

  90. exhelodrvr,
    No Rick Barry wasn’t the highest FT% player, but he was consistently among the best. If you are shooting under 70% on free-throws I would think you would consider the under-hand method of shooting. Much better technique, smoother delivery, and better ball rotation and arc.

    From a physics point-of-view it is really a no brainer. The biggest problem with underhanded free-throws — they look silly. My only answer is win a few playoff games with this style and you can be the one to rag on the other players.

  91. New post up.

    Wow, 94 comments on a post again, it is starting to feel like the regular season around here.

  92. Craig W,
    The point is, why copy Barry when the best FT shooters don’t shoot underhand? Why pick # 3 (or whatever he is now) to copy, when you could copy #1? The biggest problem was unwillingness to work on the issue, not that he didn’t shoot underhanded.

  93. I rarely plan on that happening. ,