Archives For October 2009

la lakers media day9/29/2009
The Lakers are back at the Forum tonight. Gatinho did a great post on the building that is worth revisiting:

Cooke tabbed the architectural firm of Charles Luckman and Associates who had just designed the newly built Madison Square Garden and would later design the LAX Theme Building among other famous American structures. Cooke disliked the preliminary drawings that were presented and asked for something that recalled the architecture of antiquity, a modern day Roman Coliseum.

Cooke would end up spending upwards of $16 million dollars on the land and property combined for Hollywood Park’s new neighbor. It would be Chick that would dub it “Fabulous” and Cooke that would remark that for such a great idea, Hearn would receive “something extra” in his next paycheck. In a vintage Cooke maneuver, Hearn would open the envelope to find a wallet sized photo of the Laker owner.

The Kings would have the honor of playing first on December 30, 1967 with a win over the Philadelphia Flyers. A day later the Lakers would follow suit, christening the new building and the New Year by pounding the San Diego Rockets.


A couple other things of note, from some of the smartest basketball writers on the Web.

First, the Basketball Prospectus preview book is out. Kevin Pelton remains one of my personal favorite hoop writers, and I got an advanced look at this and thought it was worth the time (particularly for the other teams, which we don’t know as well). I can also promise some more and interesting previews coming to this site.

Also, the brilliant Bethlehem Shoals wrote an open letter to Ron Artest that I think is more on point than the first.

Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Lakers

After one pre-season game the Lakers showed us some of what this team is capable of as they routed the Golden State Warriors 118 to 101.  Coming into this game, there seemed to be more questions than answers for a team coming off a title.  How would ‘Drew play?  What would our rotations look like?  How would our bench guards play?  Ron Artest!!??  Here are some thoughts on the game in general (and those questions specifically) from the game against the Dubs.  Keep in mind, though, this was only one game and an extremely small sample size:

*Andrew Bynum looks very much recovered from his injury that hampered him during the second half of the regular season and into the playoffs.  He ran the floor well and finished in the paint with ease.  He flashed some athleticism as he was able to play above the rim and he also showed some polish in working the low block.  He did a very good job of staying patient after he made his catch – reading the defense and acting accordingly.  He showed nice drop steps to both the middle and the baseline (finishing with both hands) and showed good passing back to the perimeter when nothing was there for him.  All of this work on offense led to a game high 24 points on 8-13 from the field and 8-9 from the FT line, all for a tidy +36 on the game.  Nice.  He also displayed good wind as he was the only Laker to play the entire 1st quarter while running post lane sprints and showing hustle on both the offensive and defensive glass (though he didn’t tally a high number of boards, gathering 5 total caroms).  Even for a pre-season game, I don’t think we could have asked for more and he definitely passed the eyeball test.

*Ron Artest played a nice, controlled game.  He showed off his strong mid-range game with a couple of pull up jumpers from the top of the key area and he even hit a corner three (not his best shooting spot, as we’ve detailed before).  Ron also played some pretty good defense – using that strong body to disrupt dribblers trying to attack the rim and showing good hands by getting his mits on some loose balls in his vicinity.  Ron also showed his capabilities on the glass, pulling in 9 total rebounds including 3 offensive.  However, where Ron surprised many was with his playmaking.  He had a beautifully placed lob to Andrew as Bynum flashed to the post, reverse spun back to the middle, and caught the ball that Ron delivered from the corner (reminded me of that Shaw/Shaq redemption play circa 2000).  He had a fantastic off the dribble left handed bounce pass to Bynum after penetrating the baseline that set up an easy finish for ‘Drew.  He then had a very nice shovel hand off to Lamar after driving the lane from the top of the key that set LO up for a nice dunk.  In all, Artest had 7 assists and several of those were very good plays that he made for his mates (not just post entries where Pau makes a jump hook).  Basically, Ron made the right play almost every time he touched the ball and created well when he had his chances.  It bares repeating that this was only one game, but this was an encouraging start for #37.

*Phil stuck to somewhat traditional rotations.  Odom was the first big off the bench and Farmar the first guard.  He let Kobe play most of the first quarter before going to Sasha.  Ammo got into the game before Luke, but it’s the pre-season and Phil is likely looking to see how Morrison plays when he’s not just in the game with scrubs.  Powell got some extened minutes as well but I think that is more the result of wanting to rest Pau than any indicator of what the regular season may look like.  All in all, the substitutions were pretty formulaic and there wasn’t anything I would really call a surprise.  But if there was one thing Phil did show that may or may not become a trend it was the backcourt pairing of Farmar/WOW.  They got extended minutes together in the 4th quarter and played well with and off of each other.  Maybe we’ll see more of that.  Or, again, maybe this is just the pre-season.

*Speaking of WOW and Farmar, our bench guards played a very good game.  The new, clean cut Machine was making jumpers.  I was especially happy that on his first shot attempt, he passed up a wide open three and took one dribble inside the arc to take a 20 footer.  He buried that shot and then proceeded to knock down his next two jumpers (finishing 3 of 4 from the field).  Farmar played a nice blend of uptempo and half court styles.  He was able to push the pace when the fast break presented itself, but also ran our sets pretty well.  He flashed his quick first step on offense to attack to the basket and also get into the gaps of the Warriors defense to create for teammates.  He still showed a penchant for dribbling a bit too much on a few possessions and also took one or two jumpers out of the flow of our sets, but overall I was pleased with his play.  He seemed focussed and confident – which is a big departure from where he was in March, April, and May of last season.  And everyone’s favorite backup guard WOW also played a pretty solid game.  He had a fantastic dunk over Mikki Moore – getting the ball in the open court, reading the defense, and demoralizing the dreadlocked Moore for a one handed flush when no one stopped the ball.  He also showed that he’s still got confidence in his jumper, nailing a three pointer and taking a few other jumpers in rhythm and without hesitation.   If our back up guards can play even remotely close to this well over the course of the season we will not be giving up the big leads that we did in the middle portion of last season.

*The rest of the team played well.  Kobe was his typical self – scoring when he wanted to and in the manner that he wanted to.  He focussed on his post game a lot as he often found himself being guarded by the smallish guards Curry and Morrow.  Neither of those guys can come close to battling Kobe on the block and he was pretty relentless in trying to punish them whenever they found themselves matched up with our boy Bean.  One thing I did notice about Kobe was his desire to stick it to the young Curry whenever he got the chance.  Kobe pressured him on defense (often leaving his own man to double the new Dub’s PG when he crossed half court) and (as I mentioned) he was trying to attack him on offense whenever they were matched up against each other.  If I was Curry, I’d actually take Kobe’s actions as a compliment as Kobe rarely makes the effort against players he doesn’t deem worthy, so obviously #24 thinks this kid could play or he wouldn’t have sought him out in the manner that he did.

*Speaking of Curry, this kid can flat out shoot (funny to say this on a 5-15 night, but it’s true).  His jumper looks just as pure as his Pops’ and his release is pure beauty.  He’s also an underrated playmaker, showing that he has good court vision and good instincts when playing the P&R.  A couple of times he successfully split the double team on the P&R and found an open teammate for a free look at a jumper.  Yes, Curry can improve his strength and yes, he will need to protect the ball better as guards try to see if he really is a ball handling PG, but overall I was impressed.  His range is limitless and he’s undoubtedly got guts.

*The rest of the Warriors were okay.  There’s only so much you can learn from the losing end of a blowout so maybe this isn’t the best time to objectively look at their team.  They didn’t have Brandon Wright, Azubuike, or former Laker and fan favorite Turiaf, whose presence would have helped on the glass and with their interior D.  They also lost Ellis very early to an ankle sprain and that definitely hurt their chances and limited their ability to push pace.  Some of their other guys looked good, but did not impress as much as I would have hoped (I do live in Oakland, so I have an interest in some of these kids).  Randolph flashed his versatility, skill set, and overall freakishness with 18 points, 12 rebounds, and a very good block on Kobe in the open court.  Biedrins worked the glass and was his usual slippery self around the basket.  Morrow showed that the shooting prowess he showed last season was not a fluke.  But overall?  Meh (especially you Capt. Jack).  They’ll surely want a better effort when they face the Lakers again at the Fabulous Forum on Friday.


Preseaon Game 1: Lakers/Warriors

Kurt —  October 7, 2009

Finally! An actual game rather than just speculation. Action, not just talk.

But remember, it is preseason so don’t read too much into anything. That starts with wins and losses — very good teams have had off preseasons and visa-versa. Also, because Gafney plays 22 minutes and looks good does not mean Buss will spend $1 mil to keep him for the season. Just because Sasha is/isn’t hot shooting tonight doesn’t matter, let’s see him in 10 regular seaon games before we say much about that.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Enjoy finally seeing Lakers basketball again, but see it for what it is.

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

Andrew Bynum could come off the bench.

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

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


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

Here’s the full list of Atlantic Division Previews.

Boston Celtics

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

New Jersey Nets

Slippery When Nets | Barkley’s Mouth

New York Knicks

Posting and ToastingBandwagon Knick

Philadelphia 76ers

Liberty Ballers

Toronto Raptors | Hoops Addict

Bonus Links

See full schedule here


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

I’m going to be there, along with Brian Kamentzky from, Kam Pashai from, Eric Pincus from, Brett Pollakoff from, Colin Ward-Henniger from, Ryan Kane from, and Gary Lee from

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

Game 5 - Magic vs. Lakers
We took notes last night on the Lakers broadcast that was put on by NBA TV.

• One thing that was interesting in the Lakers “Real Training Camp” compared to the. Denver one last night was coaching and practice styles. Denver ran a lot of 5 on 5, they were working on specific things within that (particularly offensive half court sets), but it was more like a scrimmage. The Lakers spent the first hour running drills that simulated some standard offensive sets in the triangle (for example a pass into the high post then passer cutting through the key, making a U and setting up 15-18 feet out on the wing). The Lakers were working on the details of the offense and recognizing it through drills.

I’m sure the Lakers run 5 on 5 and Denver runs more drills, but it was two very different styles.

• Andrew Bynum seemed to move fairly well, at one point blocking Josh Powell twice in a row followed immediately by a block of Artest.

• I liked Tony Gafney’s hustle.

• I think one thing we’ve been discussing on this site needs to be made clear. We’ve talked about how the current Lakers lineup (with Artest and without Ariza) is more of a half-court team. And it its in the sense that we will see fewer traditional fast breaks. But that does not mean LA is the Spurs.

The Lakers have two very mobile big men in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, and the Lakers got a lot of easy points last season on a secondary break — basically Gasol would beat his man down the floor and get deep post position, get fed the ball and score 7 seconds into the shot clock. That is not going to stop. Also, with the Lakers improved defense they are going to get some turnovers that lead to easy buckets.

The Lakers were fifth in the league in pace last year, I expect they will drop to about the middle of the pack. But don’t confuse that with too slow a team.

• Note to the execs at NBA TV: If someone is watching training camp footage on NBATV, they are a hard-core fan. Real Training Camp is not drawing in casual fans as viewers. So please, give us something hard core fans want other than a couple of guys spending the first 30 minutes of a broadcast sitting around talking generalities. Or tedious commentary. Get people on that feed the knowledge of hard-core fans, not the casual ones.