Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  November 9, 2009

Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Lakers
Centers? We don’t need no stinkin’ centers.

• This season, 36% of Kobe’s shot attempts have come out of the post. Last season that was 14%.

• I don’t expect the percentage to stay that high for Kobe when Gasol and Bynum return and need post touches — Phil Jackson said as much postgame the other night — but if team’s don’t adjust the Lakers should keep giving it to Kobe on the block.

• Without two key starters, it’s about getting the wins and little else. And the Lakers did that efficiently this weekend. Did you see the Orlando score last night? Without Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis they lost big to the Thunder. (Granted, the Thunder has the scoring talent to beat anybody if they are hot for a night.) The Lakers have shown their versatility and gotten good bench play on their way to two wins in potentially dangerous games. All a good sign.

• Phoenix on Thursday will be a much better test of this team. If you haven’t seen them, the Suns are back to spreading the floor, Nash is playing like his MVP years and Amare seems like he is all the way back. (That said, this is a team that needs some key older players like Nash and Hill to stay healthy through the long grind to compete come the spring.)

• The Lakers played solid defense last night. But it’s against the Hornets, a team it’s fairly easy to make into shoot jumpers. Can anybody but CP3 get to the rim and finish on that squad? (By the way, for those into advanced stats, great one from Royce Webb, one of the ESPN.com NBA editors: CP3 has created three estimated wins so far this season on a team with two wins. That is not a good supporting cast.)

• Kobe is shooting 58.8% the last two games. That came after shooting 46.2% on the back-to-back road trip. That ties back into the first note — he is getting the ball on the block and in places he wants. And in the last two games he has had defenders he could post easily on him.

• I like that early in both games, the Lakers got the ball to DJ Mbenga on his cuts. Not because Mbenga used those chances well, but because it forced the defense to respect him as an option.

• It is amazing how far the Hornets have fallen. New Orleans was seventh in defensive efficiency two years ago, ninth last year, and this year they are terrible on the defensive end. And that’s not all just missing Tyson Chandler (although that is part of the equation).

• There’s been a little less Xs and Os on this site so far this season, but that is because with the roster in flux it has been hard to take away a lot of lessons. There is more post play, much more Kobe in the post, obviously. But to take that away and discuss how it will be with Pau and Drew back in the fold is hard.

• I have loved the way the Lakers have gone after the mismatches.

• Got to root for the Globetrotters — Flight Time and Big Easy — to win the Amazing Race. Not just because of the hoops connection, mostly because they seem to be having more fun than any other team on the race. And that’s what it should be about — enjoying the journey, no matter how stressful.

• Honestly, I find the Fisher/Brown debate both tedious and moot. Fish is the starter. Brown and Farmar will have the season to prove they should be the man next year. The team is 6-1, no changes are coming in the near future.

Kurt

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146 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. Thank you for the excellent post. And, you are right on in your last post. 2 Finals, 1 Championship, a 6-1 start, and all with Fisher there. Phil knows what he’s doing, and Fisher too!

  2. Oops, I meant to say, “in your last point”.

  3. With the long rest between games this week, what’s the word on a Bynum/Gasol return on Thursday?

  4. Great info and insight as usual, Kurt. I loved the team’s performance this weekend. All I wanted going into this weekend was two Ws. They got them.

    This upcoming week will tell us a lot. They have to beat the Suns. The Lakers can’t let the Suns think they have a chance in the Pacific. Division. Time to shut that situation down right now. I could even stomach a loss to Denver. Looking at the first 20 games Denver and Dallas were the ones that jumped out at me as possible losses. Unfortunately, I was right about Dallas. We’ll see with Denver.

    But the big thing I am watching is Pau Gasol. If he is not out there by Friday the Lakers need to cut the “day to day” talk and just say the guy is out indefinitely so the fans (and possibly the teams) can mentally let it go.

    In fact, I would say the biggest things to watch for this week are the return (or not) of Andrew and Pau.

  5. I wonder if the Hornets are quitting on Byron. It looked like it in the playoffs last year and the start to this season isn’t very promising.

  6. If Luke Walton is knocking down threes, the Lakers are, literally, unbeatable.

    To take it a step further, the way teams scheme to beat the lakers is to counterbalance their dominant post work by packing the paint and zoning them to death.

    If guys like Brown, Fish, Walton, & Artest can knock down threes with regularity, it stretches the zone out, which opens up the paint…then it just becomes a pick your poison situation.

    The only guys who can wreck that Farmar and Sasha when they’re jacking up threes early in the shot clock (in fairness, shannon did this once, too), on the move. That’s exactly what the defense wants you to do.

  7. Not on point at all, but a curious thought just struck me. Next year, the Red Sox can either pick up Jason Varitek’s option for $5 mil or Varitek can exercise his option for $3 mil. Why doesn’t this happen in the NBA? This would make perfect sense for players like Brown and Farmar, guys with potential that teams may be willing to take a chance on, but want some sort of protection against them bolting if they turn out good.

    Like, say we gave Brown the same contract but threw a team option for $3 mil next year along with his player option for $2 mil. This way, if Brown has an Ariza-like performance in the playoffs, we can at least hold onto him for another year instead of letting him go to some team willing to throw their full, 5-yr mid-level at him. Brown still has the protection of his $2 mil player option, but the team also has protection with the $3 mil team option.

    Also, according to Hoopsdata.com, given that Kobe is attempting about 25% more shots per game this year than last (25 from 20), it’s interesting that:
    1. His shots at the rim have doubled (8.4 from 4.4)
    2. His attempts from 10-15 have increased by about 40% (5.6 from 3.2)
    3. His attempts from three have decreased by %50 (2.1 from 4.1)
    4. His attempts from <10 ft (2.3 from 2.2) and 16-23 ft (6.9 from 7) remained largely the same.

    Even though Kobe’s ball-hoggery has almost never been higher (assist ratio is less than half of what is was the last 3 seasons), he’s really “picking his spots.” It’s pretty amazing that he can be such an efficient scorer while practically never opening things up for his teammates.

    Now if only he’d actually play defense.

  8. Kurt- do you know why Queen City Hoops’ and Hollinger’s stats differ? It looks like their Pace stats differ, which shifts the other stats too:

    http://www.queencityhoops.com/statsPage.php

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/teamstats?sort=defeff&seasonType=2&league=nba

    Should I even care?

    82 Games came out with its first round of stats for the season. Still a lot of noise involved, but looks safe to say the Artest signing hasn’t been a mistake so far:

    http://www.82games.com/0910/0910LAL.HTM

    (not to pile on Ariza who is predictably struggling as a main option, but compare to Houston: http://www.82games.com/0910/0910HOU.HTM)

    If you go into it deeper, Artest has been great for our defense. When he’s on the floor, the Lakers have a defensive efficiency of 98.7. When he’s off the floor that explodes up to 120.1. With him on the court the offensive efficiency is 111, without him its 95.

    I was one of the people against the “trade” when it happened, but if these aren’t just early season outliers, count me among the converted.

    Another unexpected stat: With kobe on the floor the defensive efficiency is 101, with him off its 114. However, with him on, the offensive efficiency is just 106.8, while with him off its 112.5. I wonder how much the last 2 games are affecting this.

    Anyways, maybe I should try doing some actual work today.

  9. One thing I don’t get about kobe’s post moves…(sorry if I’m ignorant)
    Kobe is only a shooting guard, like MJ, only 6’6. How does he survive in the post with a lot of 7-feeters? Why don’t the other team put a taller defender (someone like tayshun prince, 6’9) on him, rather than what Dallas does, have people 6’2, or 6’4 guard him? Or like Grizzles having Mayo (6’4) guard him? Can guards still survive in the post? Shouldn’t it be the big man’s territory?

  10. You want to know what I really liked about last night’s game, besides the win. No starter played more than 30 minutes, except Bryant, with 33:42, and that is just fine with me also, except I am sure he would have got his 100th, 40 point game or probably another 50 point game, but we will just have to wait for that another day in the future, probably not this year, with the 7 footers healthy.

    “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” – Arthur Ashe

  11. - 8

    If an opposing coach put a 7-footer on Kobe, there would be a mismatch somewhere, with either a smaller player trying to guard a Laker big or with an opposing player trying to check Kobe.

    Either way, Kobe’s smart enough to see the weakness — find the mismatch inside with someone else, or take the slower, taller guy away from the rim and beat him with the jumper or off the dribble.

    The other team’s best option is to hope Kobe’s man can guard Kobe alone, or with help.

    Regardless, having Kobe play so well in the post is really just an opposing team’s worst nightmare. He’s a mismatch everywhere on the floor.

  12. 9- because then you have a smaller man on someone else- like Ron Artest.

    Though I do think LO’s post up game is suspect enough that teams can guard him with a smaller player. I think Houston did that. They had Ariza guard Odom with Scola on Artest. Odom tried to post up repeatedly with no success. And Artest’s leg speed isn’t enough to abuse a PF. If I’m game planning for the Lakers I explore this strategy.

  13. Last post was at Kenny. Numbers are off because I have a post waiting for approval

  14. 4) I think the last thing the Laker’s staff is concerned about is the ability for fans and opposing teams to mentally cope with Pau’s day to day status.

  15. phineas

    Bynum hopes to practice tomorrow and play on Thursday. Gasol still has pain in his hamstring and there is not set time for his return.

    http://www.pe.com/sports/basketball/lakers/stories/PE_Sports_Local_S_2_web_only_lakers_notes_09.4768629.html

  16. Interesting stats: LA is last in the league in defensive rebounding rate, and 3rd in the league in Offensive rebounding rate, putting us right in the middle of the league in total rebounding rate. What is that? And yet despite giving up an offensive rebound on nearly 1/3 of opponents’ possessions, LA’s overall defensive rating (pts given up per 100 possessions, where possessions are defined such that an OReb is a continuation of a possession, not a new one) is 9th in the league at a respectible 98.9 (Boston is 90.0).

    Why the discrepancy is the 2 rebounding rates? Anybody got any insight from watching tape? Just motivation? Are Drew/Mbenga going for blocks at the expense of the board? We’ve talked a little about this, but worth exploring. Imagine what the DRating would be if the Lakers could just grab 10% more rebounds on defense.

  17. Did anyone else thing CP3 looked like he’s quit? There were a few high S/R opportunities (against Fish!) and he showed zero inclination to turn the corner and go into the paint, instead making an easy pass to one of his teammates (not necessarily one in scoring position)? I haven’t watched any other NOH games but this one, but he looked utterly disinterested in the game which is sad to me– guy is probably my favorite non-Laker.

  18. lil pau, more than one person in the press room thought Chris Paul had the demeanor of Kevin Garnett those last years in Minny.

  19. #16. JD,
    I don’t have access to tape, nor have I seen too many of our early season games. That said, I think the Lakers suspect defensive rebounding rate can be chalked up to missing Gasol. Pau is a pretty good defensive rebounder and when the Lakers can pair Pau with Bynum, I think our rebounding issues will line up with where we were last season. Missing Pau creates a domino effect where DJ gets more minutes at Center and he is notorious for going after blocked shots. This frees up the weakside for offensive rebounding chances. Also, we see more minutes where we’ve gone small where Odom and Powell are playing together or Powell and DJ, which also comprises our defensive rebounding.

    As for our offensive rebounding numbers, those will always be high, regardless of personell. The Triangle lends itself to offensive rebounding chances because of the position(s) players find themselves in after executng the motions of our sets. Our spacing is usually spot on which makes helping harder (so when a defender does help, it frees up his man to crash the glass) while also creating space and angles to attack the offensive glass. If I’m not mistaken, the Lakers were one of the better offensive reboudning teams even during the Kwame/Smush “era”.

  20. Why do i get the feeling Gasol is just taking his time to get out there, almost like he is sticking it to the team for not giving him time off. Hamstring injuries are tricky because its really up to the player to declare himself painfree.

  21. j.d. Hastings

    Interesting point. Here are my thoughts on this issue. The lakers swicth more on defense than most teams in the league. In fact, I rarely see our guards fight over picks and stay with their men (especially Kobe and Fish).

    This approach has many pros and cons. However, on the con side, it is a frequent occurance to have one of our guards swicth onto the power forward or center of another team. This creates a rebounding mismatch inside (guard vs opponents center/forward.

    Also this type of swicth will leave our bigs following our opponents guards away from the paint. In addition, this can create confusion as to who each individual should box out when the shot goes up. To improve our rebounding bigs need to help then recover to their man insted of switching so frequently time.

  22. RE: 20

    The Lakers showed on an MRI last week that the damage is extremely minimal. He’s been fully cleared to play without doing an additional damage.

    Pau is using the beginning of the season to get some extra rest after playing the Finals, then the EURO Championship.

    The only problem is he played in the Euro Championship for free. He’s getting well on Jerry’s dime.

    I’d be pretty ticked off, if I was Jerry.

    Jerry is paying Pau $17M to play for the Lakers. He’s not paying him to play for Spain.

    What Pau is doing right now is decidedly NOT COOL.

  23. Darius- I looked up each game so far this season (really slow day at work!) an wrote down the total ORebs given up and the top guys getting them:

    -LAC: 15 OReb, Mainly from Al Thorton with 6
    -DAL: 13 Oreb, Marion with 4, Dampier and Humphries each with 3
    -ATL: 14 ORebs, JSmith with 4, Horford with 5
    -OKC: 13 ORebs, KD and Etan Thomas with 3, almost everyone else had 1 or more.
    -HOU: 17 ORebs, Hayes with 5, Battier, Ariza and Landry each with 3
    -MEM: 13 ORebs, ZBo with 7 (and by the way, ZBo is avging over 3 assists per game. He is trying to reform in response to his position, unlike AI)
    -NOH: 15 ORebs, 5 from Okafor, 3 from Armstrong

    The last 2 games, with Drew out, the bigs have been on the glass- Okafor, Armstrong and Zach Randolph, but before that its been a lot of athletic swing men. That could support your idea that collapsing rim defense leaves the weakside wings open to board.

    Other thoughts I had were that Artest’s lack of footspeed leaves his man able to get to the glass, or Kobe has drifted so far off his man that they get there. Just unsubstantiated theories, but maybe something to study if the trend continues.

    I’m also curious about the Laker’s defense around the basket this year. Is that on 82games…

  24. Gasol has been a workhorse.

    Try not to let the press and their “making news” form of gossip derail you.

    I would trust Gasol to gauge his own level of pain versus production.

    And, no one has said a word about Kobe “playing for free” rather than having the surgery on his finger.

    Gasol will be back, in 1, 2 or 5 games, and then all will be well.

    Relax.

  25. By the way, 82games has Brown at -15.9 net to Fish’s +1.4 net.

    Is that right?

    Small sample size or not, the difference between being exciting versus being a winner is apparent.

    Fish is a proven winner.

    Let’s not get too carried away in campaigning for Brown to replace him.

  26. JD,

    Others have hit on this, but maybe this is the reason. The fact that the Lakers rebound the ball so well on the offensive end, shows that they know how to rerbound. On defense they could be putting a lot of emphasis on stoping the ball or protecting the hoop. It might be that there’s a switch or that Pau is out, but either way the players are out of position for the rebound. On offense you obviously don’t have that problem, so our guys are able to use there abilities to get those rebounds.

    A good guy to ask this question to is David Thorpe over at ESPN. He always knows the answer to these types of questions.

  27. We could not have won the rings and trophy without Pau. Let the guy rest.

    I wanted Kobe to have surgery and rest last year, instead of going to the Olympics and risk further injury, which then would have put him in the position of collecting a hefty paycheck while sitting on the sidelines.

    If it was okay for Kobe to go out and represent his country in the off-season it’s okay for Pau to do the same. And if it’s not okay for Pau to do it, then those who criticize him now should have been criticizing Kobe when he did. But you didn’t… so now you need to let Pau do his thing for Spain and let him take some time to rest. It’s not like we’re going to lose the season if we let him sit a week extra.

  28. Just looked up the various %s given up from various spots on the floor. The main take away I got from it is the lakers are defending jumpshots better and are surprisingly bad at tip ins. This year they are actually giving up a higher % eFG on tip ins, but the overall % of possessions that represents is small enough to discount as the main issue.

  29. Re 20 & 22:

    Wow, I’m amazed of how little understanding you’ve got of who and how is Pau. He’s a pro in the whole sense. He’s the fisrt one being frustrated about his injury, unhappy with not playing…

    But as said, he’s a pro, and he knows that after tearing a muscle, you have to be “pain free” before going back to “work”, cause as long as it feels like pain ( it’s not that it bothers or feels sensible, it’s pain) it means the chances are that you are going to tear it again and most likely to a bigger extent that you did the first time.

    So the only thing to do here, as frustrating as it may be, is waiting and waitiing and…

  30. For the record, the MRI did not show the hamstring injury as fully healed. Pau feels limited, and lest you think he is on the sidelines eating bon bons, my impression was he was very frustrated with the pace of recovery. That said, the team is 6-1, I’m hard pressed to see why you would push him back. This is not the playoffs. What you need is Pau healthy in the playoffs and not with a lingering hamstring injury because he never fully let it heal. And Burgundy, if Buss wanted to be pissed about people stealing his money on this team, there are other candidates that seem more likely.

  31. @JD (28)
    But if the tip-in comes after an offensive rebound, then that makes sense with the much lower defensive rebounding from the Lakers, no?

    I was always under the impression (from watching games, not from reading nubmers) that Pau and Andrew were our main offensive rebounders, with Lamar occasionally grabbing one. That would explain the drop in offensive rebounds with the two of them out.

  32. Well since this post is under fast break thoughts, here are my thoughts about PG16 (someone in the last thread mentioned that) and the Lakers. He is the anchor of our big men in my mind, he is either playing PF or C while the ‘other’ is resting. He is not pulling a Shaq, where is waited until the season began to take care of medical issues, which could have been done right after the season ended. Gasol just got injured, on his own time, which is his to do with as he pleases. He worked so hard last year, remember all of the minutes he piled up, game after game, the most of any Laker I believe. He still has until December to get back to work in my book, and only if he is ready, we need him in June for sure.

  33. 31- That’s actually part of the mystery- the Lakers are rebounding on the offensive end as well as anyone in the league, which makes their lapses on the other side so weird.

    The reason I don’t think the tip in is the main culprit is because they account for 2% of opponent shots, same as last year, though the improved eFG on those shots has resulted in something like 2.7 ppg v. 1.5 last year. In other words, tip ins account for only 2-3 of the 13-14 ORebs per game the Lakers are giving up.

    Last year: http://www.82games.com/0809/0809LAL3.HTM

    This year:
    http://www.82games.com/0910/0910LAL3.HTM

    Surprisingly, our “block %” is pretty far down from last year (4.5 this year, 6.2 last year).

    This could also just be a lot of noise in early sample size.

  34. This is a dumb analogy, but have you ever poked a tiny hole into a rubberband and then kept stretching that rubberband over and over again. What happens to that hole?

    Let the man rest and as Kurt keeps reminding us, we’re 6-1!

  35. I liked the way Etan Thomas played against the Lakers a couple weeks ago. And it turns out he’s the rare athlete not fearing to share his opinions on politics and a host of issues. Check out item #12, I think he is dead on about that.

    http://blogs.hoopshype.com/blogs/thomas/2009/11/09/my-12-questions/

  36. @Kurt,
    As a sports fan, I have to say I whole-heartedly support item #6….

  37. RE: 30

    That last sentence made me laugh…you’re right, Buss definitely has bigger targets than Pau in the “stealing money” department on the team.

    Specifically, a guy who finally got a hair cut this offseason (and who, amazingly, still has another year left on his contract after this one).

    I understand that Pau isn’t 100%, and wants to feel 100% before he starts playing. But I also know that Phil Jackson has pretty pointedly taken the position I took in POST#22 in the press.

    Who am I to argue with Phil Jackson?

  38. As follow up, you can’t compare Kobe’s Olympic run to Pau playing with the Spanish National Team.

    Kobe didn’t get the surgery and played in the Olympics…but then he played the entire NBA season, leading his team to the NBA Championship.

    Pau played in the Euro Championship, and has now missed 7 regular season games, and counting…

  39. Of course you can compare the two, especially considering that no one complained when Pau went to the Olympics either. And after that, came back to the Lakers and was critical in helping us win the NBA Championship.

    To put it another way, if Pau had not been injured, would we even be having this conversation? Of course we wouldn’t, because we wouldn’t have been suffering as a result. To say that it’s okay for international players to represent their native countries in international basketball tournaments only if they don’t get injured makes no sense.

    Bottom line is, if it’s okay for Kobe to represent his country in international basketball, then it’s okay for any other Laker as well. Let’s not follow the unwashed screaming masses’ example and apply double standards every time we see an opening.

  40. I haven’t seen enough of the games, so I’m speculating here. But the Lakers do trap on the strong side quite a bit, having to scramble if the ball is swung to the other side.

    From playing a lot of zone myself, two things are really problematic as far as defensive rebounding is concerned:

    1. quickly matching up again when all five guys have to shift to the other side of the court once the ball is swung.

    2. playing helpside defense and at the same time keeping weak side offensive rebounders out of good position. Once the weak side defenders sink into the middle of the court (to help against short passes out of the double) the weak side offensive player can get into good rebounding position. When the ball is shot, the defenders have to relocate “their” man who has been able to get close to or even into the paint behind their back so to speak.

    Looking at the list J.D. Hastings compiled, it might be a case of athletic players who are mostly secondary options who profit from the attention their respective first options (Joe Johnson, Dirk, Chris Paul, Gay etc.) get from the Lakers’ strong side zone.

    Or maybe it might just be regarding my first basic point, that the Lakers are not there yet as far finding their balance again when getting out of the SSZ to the other side of the court.

  41. Joey Jo-Jo Shabadoo November 9, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Pau needs to be healthy. Better to miss 7 games in the regular season than 7 games in the postseason.

    I can’t believe people are upset with Pau about this.

  42. @Joey, (38)
    I’m as surprised as you are. We could never have won the NBA Championship without Pau, the very least we as fans can do is to not begrudge him a bit of rest to recover from an injury. One that by the way happened in training camp and not when he was off playing for Spain and winning medals with them.

  43. re: Pau – I wouldn’t say I am upset about this. But let’s keep things in perspective – this was not the Olympics – this was not the world championships – this was the Eurobasket…….

    Kobe got this summer off after an incredibly arduous basketball schedule for two years – Pau had the same schedule and extended it for a third year. The man is a stud – but yeah, I wish he would have given it a rest this year – save it for the Olympics or Worlds. This isn’t Memphis – we plan on playing deep into the playoffs every year.

    Having said that, he should take all the time he needs. My worst fear is that he will come back and re-aggravate it and this will be a season long issue. If he needs to sit until December – then do it.

  44. Joey Jo-Jo Shabadoo November 9, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Do these guys “take it easy” though? We all know how hard Kobe works in the off-season. Is it really a break from the regular season to begin with?

  45. I think the reason people didn’t complain about kobe playing for his country is because he didn’t take time off during the season.

  46. Joey – I am no expert, but I think I recall Kobe saying how refreshed he felt this year after taking time off. Others can jump in if I am off base, but I think he has attributed his energetic start this year to the break over summer.

  47. Kaifa nailed it. With the strong side zone the big needs to get back to his man or the guards need to crash the glass and help box out. They are also having Bynum run out if he’s out of the paint.

  48. Kaifa

    I have watched every game this year and you are on target. Strong side traps and switches routinely pull our bigs away from the basket leaving our opponents bigs free to crash the boards. A mad scramble on the weak side occurs frequently leaving our guards trying to box out a forward or center. This is what you give up when you put so much emphasis on trapping or switching on the strong side.

  49. @VoR,
    Thank you for some intelligent perspective. :) You’re right, Eurobasket is not the Olympics, and priorities may need to be straightened out a bit.

    However, I’m pretty sure Pau doesn’t enjoy being injured, and just from watching him from at side-line during games, it certainly seems like he would prefer to be out there playing rather than behind the bench in a suit.

    What I don’t get is the “toughen up and get back out there”-demands. If Pau returns too early he will not only not be 100%, he will very likely aggravate the injury and we will lose him for a much longer stretch later in the season. Regardless of how we feel about his summer activities, the best for the team (and for him) to do is to let him take his time to recover. Like I said before, we won’t lose the season over it. Maybe a couple of games more than we’d like, but not the season.

  50. 29 & 30.

    I wasnt saying Gasol shouldnt get some rest or whatever, he deserves it. But to me it just seems like the lakers think he can play and he is pretty defiant on not playing. I may be wrong but it was just something i noticed.

  51. @lakergirl,
    If he can and is, move aside. I want to be first in line to kick him. :p

  52. Joey Jo-Jo Shabadoo November 9, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    ‘What I don’t get is the “toughen up and get back out there”-demands.’

    I agree 100%. I’ve seen way too many recurring injuries from players trying to come back too early.

  53. Let me add to my comment 51 (when/if it gets out of moderation) that I really doubt that is the case. Pau works hard and is a professional. If he could play, he would.

  54. RE: 36

    I’m spaniard and I’m proud of Pau making an extra effort just to play for his country. That said, back in july I was the first one here to point out my concern about Pau playing the Euro with Spain.

    As a matter of fact, so was Pau, at first he wasn’t so sure about playing, he didn’t enroll until the last minute, and it was with the condition that he wasn’t going to follow spanish team training schedule but his own.

    The main reason for finally enlistingt was that Lakers training staff decided ( I still don’t get why) that it was better for Pau to keep fit during summer palying for Spain than doing it by himself in order to reach training camp in the best condition.

    That was the reason he finally took into consideration before enrolling with Spain.

    Then it came the finger injury, that kept him behind the schedule, so he got to the Euro a little bit below schedule. After the 5th game he got in his prime. But he ended the Euro out of gas because Marc’s bad performance meant that he was asked more than it was expected.

    But he didn’t get injured while playing the Euro, he got injured while camp, and it’s not that I blame feel, but he got to camp feeling tired, feeling uneasy, feeling something wrong and he was forced to ignore it and play.

    So don’t blame everything on him, as a matter fact we shouldn’t be blaming or pointing fingers it’s pro sport and these kind of things just happen .

    PS. My sincere apologies for the lenght of the post and my poor english

  55. Mimsy and Joey – I am totally with you on that point. No need to rush Pau back and no sense that he is asking to take time off to promote a new … uh…nevermind

    Lakergirl – with no clue what goes on in the organization – I’d trust Pau on this one. There are a few players who may be real wimps and probably need to be pushed. Pau does not strike me as one of those. If he doesn’t feel 100%, I’d take his word for it.

  56. kurt please delete my previous comment for wrong publishing info…

    poor comparison but our starting lineup reminds me of our circa 04, 05 with lamar and caron now caron and ron-ron. that was considered a playoff team. this team can go to the playoffs as well with kobe taking a large volume of shots. now he has his post game working, he should get that ball. this guy is one of a kind.

    am not the type who second guesses pau’s intentions here with what i know of this stud. buy yes, 7 games off now better than 7 and too late.

    amare upping his stocks. lebron buttering his words. i would imagine it would only be us and perhaps to an extent bos and sa who would come out as stable contenders off next offseason. that is if and only if kobe re-sings…and fingers-crossed for duncan-like numbers…that could make us spectacular.

    off-topic, sac looked fun yesterday. GO LAKERS!

  57. lamar and ron-ron sorry

  58. LJAY, vengo a hacerte compañía. Aquí hay otro fan español de los Lakers y por supuesto de Pau.

    Switching to English before they scream at us.

    There are two issues here with the Pau situation. One is ridiculous and has to be thrown out the window right now. It’s the one that argues that Pau is “punishing” the team by refusing to play and taking a rest, even though he is healthy enough to play. This is bollocks, as they would say in the UK. Pau is not Marbury or Iverson. He is not whimsical or selfish. He is a very professional player and has always behaved professionally anywhere in his career. To even suggest that Pau is behaving this way is insulting. Pau wants to play and righ now is feeling really bad for not being able to.

    The other issue is blaming him for representing his country. Enough people have explained already that the same criteria needs to be applied to all players. If we applaud Bryant for representing USA in the Olympics, then we must do the same with Gasol. Don’t say “but it was not the Olympics, it was just the Eurobasket”. To say such a thing show a profound lack of knowledge about basketball. The Eurobasket is the highest profile tournament in Europe, equivalent to the World Championships. Furthermore, Bryant also helped team USA at the Americas tournament, which if compared with the Eurobasket is definitely a less important tournament, which further invalidates the statement. The argument of “players who decide to represent their countries in detriment of their clubs” will never go away, but let me say this. The motivation to do so comes from the heart of a champion who wants to win. Would you want him in your club, would he help your club so much if he didn’t have such passion in his heart? I don’t think so. Pau and Kobe are warriors, and winners. They got Olympic gold and silver and NBA rings. They are doing the right thing and if anything, they’ve earned the right to defend their actions and our collective respect as athletes.

    Now let me tell you something about hamstring injuries. I am thirty something and have been playing weekend basketball for many years. I have sufferend a hamstring injury and it’s not funny. Basketball players of all levels around the world can surely tell a very similar story. It took several months of rest for the pain to disappear. It limits what you can do on the floor and takes a toll on your confidence, too. The pain is not pleasant, either. The best thing Pau can do now is to rest and take it easy, let his teammates do the dirty job and get healthy so he can perform at 100% next year.

  59. Odd, off-topic question, but I’m curious about something: Where did all of you find out about this blog? How long ago did you start reading it? Thanks for indulging me.

  60. 59- Kurt I don’t remember. I may have just googled Lakers Blog suring the 2005-2006 season.

  61. I think I got this blog off a link from True Hoop or some other more ‘major’ sites, maybe even LA Times, not so sure, can’t remember. I know WHEN it was though, it was after the 81 pt game… i was so geeked that I had to read EVERYTHING ANYONE had to say about it ;)

    As for the Pau situation, him representing the country is Lakers and NBA PR. The better Spain performs, the more spanish fans watching and following the Lakers, and perhaps some will even order Laker merchandise… but the big thing will be that potential players will WANT to play in LA and the NBA. It’s better for us fans since it will bring more people like Gasol who might not have even played basketball had there been no Dream Team…

    Besides, this is the early season, and it’s time for coaches to actually try new players anyway. If it forces us a bit more than we like, schade, but not only can we afford this, but it’s also good to get some complacency out of our system after winning a championship.

  62. More fun with 82games.com stats. Phoenix is -6 cumulative with Steve Nash on the court and +31 with him off the court. With him on the court the per 100 defense is 113.6, and once he goes off its 99.9. Even more surprising, the offense goes from 111.6 to 119.7 with him off the court.

    And much of that can be tyraced to Goran Dragic.

    Also shocking is how good the Celtic Bench has been. With KG on the floor, they have per 100 marks of 92 on defense and 105 on offense. Good, but Shelden Williams, who apperently is subbed for KG and vice versa at all times, has per 100 marks of 95 on D and 120 on offense. And it’s not because of Rasheed. Williams and Marquis Daniels seem to play the bench minutes together a lot and share these basic minutes, but they’ve outperformed the starters so far.

    We’ll see if these trends last.

    Also the Cavs have a poor kid who is something like a net -123 per 100 possessions (I guess the 3 minutes he was on the floor they gave up a 10-0 run and he was yanked. End of story)

  63. I started reading the season after Shaq was dealt. I think I found it through Truehoop.

  64. a little feature in slam mag in 05 i think.

  65. One moment while I take my hat off and bow to Luis Alis for a well written and eloquent comment. Well spoken, sir, well spoken.

    @Kurt,
    I don’t remember when I first started reading this blog regularly, but I found it through my husband. He was reading and occasionally commenting on here back in the Dark Days when Smush Parker and Kwame Brown were among the Laker starters, and he’d occasionally show me an article or comment he thought I’d enjoy, all a part of his devious plan to convert me into enjoying basketball as much as he did. Well, he succeeded… :)

    I started being commenting more regularly early last season, since I liked the non-homerism atmosphere, not to mention that a lot of commenters seemed very knowledgable about basketball. So I stuck around, hoping that if I read enough blog posts and comments here, I’ll eventually come to understand this game as well as I once understood ice hockey.

  66. 59- FBG was linked from the Yahoo NBA pages. I started to read FBG in the 2003-2004 season.

  67. the other Stephen November 9, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    60. same answer as jd. those were hard times.

  68. same as palani or some link off old-reliable google…never regretted clicking that link

  69. I’m a n00b. I started reading in the early part of the season we ended up getting Pau.

    I think it was through a link from the K-Bros blog.

  70. Kurt, I just went to the lakers.com site one day, and went to the ‘blog roll’, I think it is called, in the 2007-08 season. Then I saw your main posts and the comments of the regulars, and was learning alot about basketball, then I just got hooked into daily reading throughout the year at FB&G.

  71. 3.5 years ago as a drunk freshmen whose party had just got broken up.

    still feeling drunk to this day – thanks kurt :)

  72. hey Kurt,
    that’s a good question, and I bet there are some funny answers too.
    I was starved for Laker news, mid summer, only baseball, boring. LA Times was down to zero coverage. it always finished the season with lots of coverage, then trickled off to… nothing.
    this is also a sign of the trend of all newspapers going to net readers.

    I don’t know what year it was but it was the year (summer) we picked up Aaron McKey (hey, is that our aaron?) just kidding. Thanks Aaron for helping us get Pau!

    the way I found FB&G was a link, (I think) from RealGM/Lakers. which I found interesting, but once I found your site, I make it a favorite right away. I have changed my moniker once or twice I think, but it’s usually just been my name (or close).
    we had some fun then, remember ol’ John R?
    I also recall the first time you exceeded a couple hundred posters, and now it’s commonplace.
    you’re doing good stuff my man!

  73. The K-Bros reference you regularly, which is how I found out. Preseason last year, I think, was when I started reading this site.

  74. Aw, I’m stuck in moderation again :(

  75. There are assumptions being made on the part of a lot of you – that this injury is a direct result of his playing over the summer. The actual injury occurred IN THE LAKERS TRAINING CAMP. Playing for Spain may have contributed, it may not have.

  76. Does “assumption” bring moderation?

  77. I found this blog during “The Summer of Discontent,” when Kobe asked to be traded. I googled “Kobe” and “Trade Demands” and this site was one of the results.

    And I am very glad I found FB&G. It has become a daily ritual to check this site for the last two years.

  78. I started reading this blog ever since someone e-mailed me Darius’ fantastic post about Kobe.

  79. I came across the blog one day at work this year before free agency started. It was such a big issue at work whether or not LA was going to sign LO and Ariza or was one going to leave. No one at work every thought LA would let Ariza fly and sign Artest. Since I live on the east coast, I can kinda get a feel of what the west coast vibe is when I come to the sight. It makes for some unproductive days at work, Im sure my boss would not like to hear that. GO LAKERS!

  80. Kurt,

    My brother told me about FB&G.

    Started reading it season before last.

    I suspect he learned of it from True Hoop.

  81. I found it through truehoop. I loved the no BS, professional approach of this site and the insightful posts/comments I get for true basketball fans.

  82. Sorry for double post, btw I remembered I found it through the interesting post about the psyche of the insecure Celtics.

  83. geez, suns win AGAIN, this time with Nash handing out 20 assists.

    wow, now i’m looking forward to our matchup against them. Maybe that run and gun will rub off and sasha will become the old sasha again…

  84. I found a link to this blog on one of the articles by the Kamerenski (sp?) brothers…. been a daily visitor ever since.

  85. I watched a lot of that Suns game, and I’ll save the bulk of my thoughts for the pregame post, but I have to say that the Suns of a couple years ago really are back right now. Guys we didn’t think much of, like Jered Dudley, suddenly have new life in this system. Nash looks healthy and invigorated. I’m happy as a basketball fan to see Amare playing like this. Thursday will be interesting.

  86. Harold, the challenge with the Suns is to dare Nash to score. He’s good at it, there is a price to pay, but the more points and fewer assists Nash gets the better off you are. If he racks up 20 dimes they are very, very hard to beat.

  87. Kurt, no kidding, I remember seeing Nash’s stats a while back and think he was one of the more efficient shooters. Somewhere along the lines of him being the only player to shoot really well at the FT line, on the floor and beyond the arc. But, I don’t think he’s Kobe and can carry the scoring load for an entire game, especially when he is as old as he is and when punished at both ends of the floor (not sure how you punish a revolving door though).

    So, letting him get his would be a better strategy, but I’m not quite sure if we have the personnel to defend Amare adequately – not sure where he’s at nowadays, but he was somewhat unstoppable even without Nash.

    Anyway, as much as I hated the Suns for stopping us two season straight, I actually liked their brand of ball (even bought Jack’s book – :07 or less) and rooted for them once we were beat ;) I am still fuming about that Horry hip-check thing…

  88. Kurt i think i found it off deadspin or MJDs original website back in the day. But i’ve been a regular visitor for about 3 ore more years now.

  89. I got the link from the daily dime maybe three years ago, been part of my daily routine ever since…

  90. I went to Google, searched for “Lakers porn for true basketball fans,” clicked on “I’m feeling lucky,” and Google sent me to FB&G. And it’s been lurker heaven ever since.

  91. Found this awesome blog via Truehoop. Less than a year ago I would say.

    Mimsy, thanks for the kind words. Nothing like dissing Pau Gasol to get me going! :)

  92. Long time reader, infrequent poster, but I found this site during Kobe’s infamous summer of angst. I was constantly looking for a Lakers site that provided updates, as well as some of those juicy Garnett-to-LA trade rumors. A bit ironic that I found the best no-nonsense/no-trade-mongering sites during such a crazy trade-rumor summer! Kudos and double-kudos to Kurt and everyone here for making it the single best Lakers fan community and source for bball analysis!

  93. Ditto, a link on Daily Dime, 2005-06 season. Been reading almost daily since, and always before and after a game.

    And 3-4 years on, this is my first comment. Good job, Kurt.

  94. I’m from Germany and, for a lack of NBA coverage and the time difference problem, am depending on the internet for basketball coverage quite a bit. So this intelligent forum about my favorite team (thanks, Magic Johnson in ’92!) has helped me a lot.

    I guess I found this site through either Truehoop (when it was still a small independent blog) or Freedarko, I’d say about four seasons ago.

  95. i get the feeling our remaining bigs will deal enough damage to keep amare from scoring big numbers. if not, i think even ron-ron being physical may work. then there’s kobe. if they dare kobe or earn his ire instead of his disinterest, watch out. i still do not see this team as a defensive machine which will ultimately keep them from the top. i’d also like to see more shannon brown burn.

    i do not like it that we start-off with so little games. by the time we play phoenix, some teams have already played 9-10 games maybe. anyhow…just want to see more action.

    just a question, who are other 10th picks in nba history who have made or are making similar impact as andrew bynum? he is looking better than oden right now and should bynum had played college ball he might outrank greg. GO LAKERS!

  96. I think all this anxiety over when Gasol is going to get back into the lineup stems from the need of fans and analysts alike to see what kind of win totals and dominance this Lakers team can display when healthy. And I don’t think they are wrong. Every year a team wins a championship… but only once has a team won 70 plus games. Lets get Pau back and see if this Lakers squad can make a run at history.

  97. #22, I totally disagree

    Look, Jerry quite frankly could CARE LESS if the lakers win or lose 1 or 2 games this early in the season due to Pau playing. And quite frankly, neither should any fans.

    Whether he should have played for spain or not, HE DID. Now the question is, what to do NOW! The answer is to let Pau get some rest so he will be around and fully operational at the end of the season when the playoffs are on the line.

    I would much rather Pau miss some games now so he is rested and fully there for later in the season. Who really cares about games this early?

  98. I found out through Truehoop, I think around 2007 or something.

    I’m pretty sure it wasn’t part of ESPN then yet.

  99. matuldi klinsmann November 10, 2009 at 4:32 am

    just happened to cruise into the article ‘deconstructing kobe’ a while ago.

    nice site fellas.keep it up!

  100. I just read the story on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar having Leukemia. I am adding my vibes to raymeister’s. Good luck to Cap.

  101. Reading on Cap’s comments, I’m sensing its not that bad… although, if you try to deconstruct the term of his ailment, you cannot help but worry.

    leukemia – cancer of the blood.
    rare form of – means its not common.

    ergo: its not a common cancer of the blood.

    However good or bad that is, I’m with you Cap. Must be why he took a little step back from Drew…

  102. found this through KD, when they still posted a FB&G’s link in BDL

  103. Found this forum after the 2008 Finals looking for some place to share my grief.

  104. truehoop circa 2006/07

    so what if pau is already well but wants to rest? i say give him the rest.. the man has played for spain every summer the past few years.. if im the lakers i’d rather have him in july than november.

  105. i know how much off topic but somehow related this is but we need to understand how important it is to represent your country.

    just look at manny pacquiao and miguel cotto (told you this is off the line) and look how much they relate their coming fight as something to do FOR the country.

    and especially manny pacquiao, (im filipino btw), who is looked up here as if he gave us independence. he gave us a name, that whenever someone speaks of pinoys they not only speak of us as servants but as athletes. manny did that for us.

    and for pau, you can’t fault what he did. he feels he needs to do it, they had their chance for many years and they blew it, this year they took finally got it together and they won. unfortunately it was very taxing and its evident in his injury. but you can’t take that away from him. its not stealing. we as laker fans should know better

  106. 99 – Hello kababayan…

    Been a member of this blog since the best Laker team of the modern era… when Kurt had to moderate every comment I made. LOL.

    PG: Smush Parker, Shammond Williams, Aaron McKie
    SG: Sasha Vujacic (before he made shots), Mo Evans
    SF: Vlade Radmanovic, Luke Walton,
    PF: Lamar Odom, Ronny Turiaf, Brian Cook
    C: Kwame Brown, Andrew Bynum

    And of course this scrub named Kobe…

    My God how far have we gone…

  107. 100 – Sorry I missed Farmar…

  108. Started coming here about a year ago. Law school has been difficult to focus on ever since.

  109. Although I only stated posting last season, I found this blog in the DEEP misery of the 04 season’s end. I was so distraught and just wanted to read thoughts and insights from people who cared as much as I did. So thanks.

    Did Malone falling in my lap during a game that season make the end hurt less? No. But it sure was fun. Man, he was big.

  110. 59. Kurt

    I saw a link to your site on ESPN two and a half years ago and have been a dedicated reader (and a fan) ever since

  111. Kurt, I’ve been reading since ’06 or ’07, had been reading Club Lakers or something like that and a post referenced you. Once I came over here I’ve been reading every day.

    I can’t believe how panicky people are being over Pau being out in November. I’d like him back on the court too, but he needs to be healthy, and frankly if I was a 7-foot Laker I’d be a little dubious over the medical staff’s diagnosis of my readiness to play ball, given what went down with Bynum & Mihm the last couple seasons.

    Pau will get it together. Anyone who thinks the guy isn’t tough or doesn’t have heart has an incredibly short memory.

  112. Maybe 3-4 years ago? I was casting about for a more intelligent site and tired of one note fan boys and trolls. Lurked for over a year I think before making any comments. I’m a big believer in understanding the culture of an online community before contributing.

    Lurked for a year because I couldn’t believe that this site could be so consistently intelligent and not have many of the problems that befall other forums. Didn’t want to invest the time and energy if I was just going to leave out of frustration shortly.

    I’m thrilled that this site has managed to maintain its standards all these years.

  113. I started reading this blog the summer of ’06. I think I found it just googling for a place to talk/read lakers. I was hooked every since.

  114. I started reading FB&G during the 2007-8 season and found the link I believe from ESPN and enjoy the insightful and intelligent talk about the Lakers. This blog makes games more enjoyable providing a forum to read other fans insights about how the team is doing. Keep up the excellent work

  115. the other Stephen November 10, 2009 at 9:02 am

    hahaha apparently sasha is dating maria sharapova. they can give each other hair tips.

    i’m so sorry i have nothing more consequential to say. i feel bad.

  116. Found it through True Hoop during the Kobe trade demand summer. Started following it more closely when the Lakers started winning pre-Gasol. Started following it religiously after we landed Gasol.

  117. It never ceases to amaze me that people make fun of Sasha for his hair, or Pau for his wavy hair and beard… One of the things I truly miss after moving over to the US is men who spend time and effort on their appearance and take pride in doing so.

    I may just have moved to the wrong part of the US though… I keep having this weird feeling that I’d find this pleasant phenomenon if I moved into a large metropolitan area. :)

  118. Kurt,
    I started reading this blog about 4 years ago after reading about it in DIME magazine. I have been reading daily since then.

    FB&G is filled with the most insightful analysis and comments of any fan blog on the net.

    Thank you Kurt and all the regular contributors.

  119. New, quick post up on Kareem. Not much else to say other than get well.

  120. Just want to wish Kareem the strength for a full and speedy recovery.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4640518

  121. hey Mimsey, I’m not offended by long hair, for instance I loved Ronnie Turiaf’s game. what does bother me is the constant messing with it that Sasha did, and I find that really this is just a part of what bugs me about Sasha. I wrote this earlier, I find that he’s more (too) concerned about what’s going on off the court, when he is ON the court.
    I think he needs to buckle down, forget about “looking cool” at least when he’s ON the court, that’s what I loved about Ronnie, he left it all on the floor, didn’t care about “looking cool”, just got out there and played his heart out. I’m not seeing that with sasha. (i think Smush had the same flaw, Kwame too)

  122. Funny that Pau is the topic of conversation and not Artest’s all around play, or Kobe’s post up game, DJ’s development, Andrew’s stepping up …. There is so much to be positive about right now, why go negative?

  123. The Suns are just as efficient(Ortg) as they were last year and they’re playing at a faster pace.

    They’re a slightly better rebounding team. I think the reason for that has something to do with FA pick-up Channing Frye, who stretches the floor and pulls 1 big man away from the basket. Another key factor is Grant Hill, who is rebounding the ball quite well, something like over 10 a game.

  124. Thanks everyone for sharing about finding the site. It answered a bigger question for me.

  125. No thoughts on that awfully boring Top Chef Reunion dinner?

  126. Shail, I have it on Tivo but have yet to watch it after every other fan I knew said pretty much what you did.

  127. @chris h
    That makes a lot more sense, and I completely agree that you’re not on the floor to look cool but to play.

    On the other hand… I have long hair, and I used to use hair bands like that to keep my hair out of my face for various activities, and frankly, they suck. They actually need to be adjusted as much as Sasha was adjusting his, so I never thought he was trying to look cool, he was just trying to get that hair band to stay in place.

    Personally, I threw all mine away. I’m a woman, I can get away with a pony tail and a banana clip. :)

  128. If Sasha was playing great and productive then his hair wouldnt be an issue. But it just seemed like he was paying more attention to the hair and his game suffered.

  129. Late to answer, but like many others, I found this site through a link from Truehoop, back in what emh aptly called the Summer of Discontent. Top-notch posts and commentary = following it closely ever since. Actually, the only blog (on any topic) I follow normally.

    Can’t find it now, but did I see a Kaba Modern reference somewhere in the comments? Only the greatest dance crew in the U.S.

  130. My buddy, Eric Pincus (Hoopsworld Writer), tipped me off to this site.

    By the way, Kurt, you should watch the Top Chef Reunion (even if it’s pretty boring, overall) just for an interesting moment when Fabio removes the fourth wall and yells at the other chefs for not being interesting enough and giving him crap about the questions he was asking. It’s a competition, but it’s still a show.

  131. I totally agree with J (#113). I found this site several years back from Freedarko I believe. I only started commenting last year, but love love love this site.

    Great work!

  132. On the topic of fast break thoughts;

    -Is it just me, or do Kobe and Artest seem to be having an on-the-court bromance going on? They just seem to exude a joy in playing together, having someone else on the court who is as demonstrative about being a warrior as they are. It’s great to see, although anything with that much intensity has the potential to go very wrong as well…

    -Has anyone seen a good in depth exploration of the demise of the Hornets? Everyone is writing them off, and there are superficial comments like Heisler’s “thin and small” column, but I can’t even think of a team that went from that good to this bad without a much more obvious reason (such as age, injury, coaching changes, etc)

    -I too am bored by the PG discussion, but would love for Farmar or Brown to play so well that the discussion became interesting again. So far, for me, that hasn’t happened.

    -On rebounding, Gasol seems to me to be the most disciplined defensive rebounder on the team, so his absence has really thrown everything out of whack. He isn’t the Rodman type, working and sniffing out rebounds; but he seems to almost always get the rebound that comes into the area he is responsible for.

    I started reading a few years ago. Back then, I was mostly reading things like APBR Metrics because I believed that all blogs were shrill and uninformed flamethrowers (except FD, of course). I don’t remember how I came across the site. It might have been mentioned in one of those forums.

  133. Add me to the list of people who found this site via TrueHoop during Kobe’s summer of discontent. Most of my (so-called) friends don’t care enough basketball to follow it in the off season, and the LA Times coverage (and most of the national coverage) seemed stuck on the blaming Kobe for everything.

    Watching the Top Chef reunion show was like tuning in for a Lakers pre-game show and finding that not only was it all about Lamar’s wedding, but that a main feature was interviews with surprise guests Smush Parker and Chucky Atkins.

  134. I think LA’s defensive rebounding problems are two-faceted.

    Opponents are shooting a lot of 3s, which result in long rebounds. Recently, the Lakers have done a better job of taking these boards.

    The more glaring problem is guard penetration, which causes a big man to step up and leave his man free to rebound missed shots.

    Somebody is either going to have to rotate and box out or the team is going to have to trap penetrators more effectively.

    As Phil noted, Gasol’s ability to defend the pick-and-roll is being sorely missed. If LA can manage to discourage penetration in his absence, they should be alright.

  135. Sorry if this has been asked, but did anybody with an insider membership catch the lakers’ rank in the “future” power rankings hollinger and ford stuck up on espn.com this morning? Curious about where we rank (not 1 or 2, portland and magic) and what they had to say about the team. Anybody want to copy that text over here?

  136. MS, the Lakers were third (behind Portland and Orlando). Chad Ford had wanted the Lakers a little lower, but Hollinger was higher on the team. But by 2013, this Lakers team will essentially be the Celtics now — good if they can stay healthy, but at that age it will be harder.

  137. Also, I feel compelled to add my voice to the chorus of “I was referred to FB&G through Truehoop on espn.com during the Summer of Discontent.” Got hooked, partially because Kurt (a not so subtle tip of my cap to you) does an excellent job of moderating the comments. The insight in these comments is half the reason I come here. All of your thoughtful analysis helps me understand the game and the team, and I like participating in an online community where people actively exchange ideas in a respectful and clear manner. FB&G, no joke, gives me hope for what online collaboration should and can be. Also, the Celts suck.

  138. “Also, the Celts suck.”

    You are welcomed here with open arms.

  139. RE: 137

    Everyone seems so ready to crown Portland as the next great team, and while I think they’ll be really good for many years to come (as in, always making the playoffs in that 3 to 6 seed range), I don’t think they’re #1 good. There are two many holes.

    Then again, they seem to have the Laker’s number…

  140. Oy vey. That’s “too many holes” not “two many holes.” That’s what happens when you post before checking what you wrote…

  141. 133- The demise of the Hornets started with them losing Pargo. He and Antonio Daniels used to make up their bench. Not a great bench, but one that could occasionally come in and make a difference. They lost those guys and replaced them with Posey, who could have been great as a guy who gave them Robert Horry type limited minutes and clutch playmaking.

    But last season both Peja and Tyson Chandler declined precipitously. And they had ZERO front court depth to start with.

    Meanwhile, David West is solid, but he’s not a game changer. He knocks down shots and pulls boards fairly well. He can’t defend your best frontcourt player or singlehandedly foul guys out of the game.

    Their 2 guard spot has always been terrible. This year they swapped out Chandler for Okafor who is also solid, but doesn’t give them what Chandler did 2 years ago.

    So as a team they are Chris Paul, David West and Okafor. On any given night Peja, Bobby or Gevin Brown could get hot, but you don’t have to game plan for it.

    That’s just not a good team. And Chris Paul isn’t 2005-2006 Kobe who can more or less go it alone with a glue guy like Odom and will a team to the playoffs. He depends on others to hit the shots he creates for them, even if he’s hitting for an obscene % this season. And the more load they place on his tiny shoulders the more I worry about him breaking down.

  142. I’d add to what j.d. said the widespread rumor that the Hornets aren’t listening to Byron Scott much any more. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say they’ve quit on him, as some have, but they certainly aren’t doing much as a team. The fact that Scott is in the last year of his coaching contract (with no extension in place) doesn’t help the situation.

  143. I found this blog through a link from alt.sports.basketball.nba.la-lakers newsgroup. I hardly read that group any more, due to all the political flame wars.

  144. Kurt, I first run into FBG 4 years ago. Another lurker friend recommended it for the analytical thinking. Visited once, got hooked ever since. I still visit 5 days a week, but rarely post. Love the blog and the community. Good time to say Thanks!

  145. Late to the party, but I just had to answer your question. Long time reader, fairly few comments. Found it in the middle of the Smush-Kwame era. Since then, I’ve never checked any other sports site for Laker news. Cheered every time Warren was the first to reply before a game. Also cheered every time the girls would reply (Emma, lakergirl and Mimsy). I always thought you, Reed and Darius were the smartest and most level-headed Laker fans. Oh, and cheers to the globetrotters to win the Amazing Race!