When Garbage Time is Garbage Time

Kurt —  November 25, 2009

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The Lakers are 11-3. They are fairly healthy in all key positions and are playing arguably their best ball of this early season. On top of all that, Andrew Bynum is developing into an elite Center. All of that is grand, but last night, in the 4th quarter, we saw some seriously bad basketball played by the Lakers. Some of it was with Kobe, LO and Drew on the court all at once, other reasons included our suddenly uber-selfish bench and a serious of weird mental errors that led to turnovers. The following is some of the hi….excuse me, low-lights of last night’s 4th quarter:

Turnover, LO-bad pass (11:07)
Turnover, ShanWOW-bad pass (10:08)
Turnover, Sasha (9:48)
Turnover, Shannon-traveling (8:59)
Missed Hook, Bynum (gotta agree with those in the comments, he is kinda becoming a black hole…(8:23)
Brick, Sasha (7:56)
Turnover, Bynum (he tried to pass!) (7:41)
Missed Hook, Bynum (back to black hole) (7:18)
Turnover, Bynum-bad pass (he tried passing again) (6:58)
Turnover, Odom-traveling (6:33)
Patented Sasha Brick save 2008 season (6:01)
Missed Shot, Morrison (5:20)
Another Patented Sasha Brick (5:16)
Turnover, Bynum-traveling (3:00)
Missed 3ball, Jordan (2:20)
Offensive Goaltending, Bynum (he stole Kobe’s bucket, ha) (1:08)

Sandwiched in between that was an and-1 for Drew, a pair of FT’s by Drew, an LO 3 ball, a couple more FT’s by Drew, a FT by Ron-Ron, a pair of layups for Ron-Ron and Kobe, and a FT by Kobe. Needless to say it was a tough watch. Aside from the mental errors which led to turnovers, our problems in the 4th quarter was the inability to reverse the ball on offense. The ball stuck, it stuck to players hands, it stuck to one side of the court and it led to some awful offense.

17 pts, 4 baskets, 9 turnovers, lots of fodder for 3 days of practice.

— Kwame A.

to When Garbage Time is Garbage Time

  1. Garbage time: Provide entertainment when we have stop worrying about winning.


  2. Nice overview of the 4th quarter boneheadedness.

    Kobe playing +40 mins in what was a blowout against the Knicks is frustrating to see.

    Im missing a pass first guy with patience on that bench. Odom should have been that guy, but it isnt working.

    I know Walton isnt the most loved guy on the roster, but I really like him for his passing and patience. He isnt enough of a shooter to space the floor though, so we still need either Sasha or Ammo to find their stroke.


  3. Lets put tonight’s game aside… doing so the Lakers bench still has failed to score points the entire season. And I mean really fail to score points. Lamar is a great bench player but he isn’t “instant offense.” The Lakers bench was the best in the league last year in the first half with Lamar’s overall game, Ariza’s athleticism, Farmar’s fast break (and pick and roll) and Sasha’s shooting. This year all we have his Lamar. Ariza is in Houston, Farmar has been chained up by Phil (forced to run the triangle), and Sasha hasn’t seen the court.

    Now in the playoffs this wont matter… or will it? If the Lakers bench can’t give our superstar starting unit enough rest they are much more likely to get injured during the year and/or not be as fresh for the post-season. If the bench can’t turn it around in the next couple of weeks Mitch will have some pressure to add some talent to the 2nd unit… most likely someone who can generate a little offense.


  4. btw… that Kobe guy is pretty special.


  5. lets do a double “btw”… this Bynum being a blackhole thing is silly. He got doubled once this game where he didn’t pass out. Kobe does that 3 to 5 times a game. Bynum is a great low post scorer and is given the ball to score. When he is doubled he passes out. The Lakers don’t give him the ball with great position in the post just to have him kick the ball back out and receive a 3 second violation. Andrew is an All Star Center who is coming into his own and every great player (Kobe included) can and will be a little selfish sometimes. When an entry pass is made to Bynum in the post and there is a cutter open Bynum always hits him. I feel you guys who see Bynum as a blackhole are watching a different game. If Phil Jackson felt Bynum was a blackhole he wouldn’t be publicly asking to get Bynum the ball even more often then they already are.


  6. Phil Jackson has serious problems with the bench at this point in the season. LO was fine I guess, but the rest are not even playing at the minimum level needed to rest the starters. It seems like now days, you just wonder how much of the lead they will give up before they are pulled.


  7. You know walton is gonna use the game video come contract extension time..


  8. As he should… the second unit runs better with him on the court.

    Judging by how the season’s gone so far, Luke might be the only guy on the bench who actually plays unselfish basketball night in and night out. There’s a value to that, and I think the 4th quarter tonight was a good illustration of how selfishness and “me-first” can really hurt a team (especially a bench mob).


  9. I didn’t see the 4th quarter, but it looks like the bench was 4-22 (that includes Lamar – though he had a bunch of boards and some assists).

    It seems to me that the bench can not play by itself (maybe with Lamar and Luke – still have my doubts though). Garbage time has to be restricted to about 5-6 minutes left in the game. This is a lousy deal for the starters, but it is the way it is – that bench is not going to hold a lead against anybody.

    I don’t think it will impact in the playoffs unless the starters are just gassed from too many minutes in the regular season. I am actually comfortable with most of the bench guys *IF* they are playing mostly with starters. It is when you get three or more of them together that things fall apart in a hurry.


  10. I thought Jackson made a mistake putting Kobe back in. I can see why he did it–three days off, send a message, etc. But I think I would have left it alone. Kobe’s odometer needs to be guarded carefully. They were still up 14. Also, I think that DJ Mbenga should be part of the garbage-time hold the lead unit. He will hustle and protect the rim.

    Finally, Walton has a long way to go on THIS contract.


  11. We can say what we want about the bench, but when you spend as much money as we’re spending for our top 6 players, we have to deal with an inferior bench. I don’t see our bench getting any better especially against elite teams. The starters will just have to play more minutes.


  12. I know the bench is capable enough to play better than that but instead of chancing it again in another game I think we should spread out the reserves just one or two at a time w/ our starters. For example: end of 3rd take pau out and put in powell// start of 4th take out kobe put in shannon// at around 5 min. I would shitch bynum back for pau and possible take out ron if we can afford to lose him. I would ride a rotation like that until 2:30 left in regulation and then I would put the “garbage” line up in the game.
    Extra thought- I remember pau being a great leader for the bench last season, mabey we need more pau in the 4th once he’s ready to put the minutes in for it.


  13. Rudy – we also spend money on our bench too tho. Morrison/sasha and luke all get paid atleast 5 million a year. Their paid to be atleast average NBA players… When they arent. Luke atleast brings some smart decision making but the other two players at this point arent worth much. Morrisons biggest asset is his expiring contract. Sashas will expire the year after. We can only hope they find their game until their contracts expire b/c with the highest payroll in the league I wouldnt count on the lakers taking on more salary. Especially when most of the Laker players are getting annual raises.


  14. Not to state the obvious, but when you have three guys “competing” for back-up minutes at the PG and SG spot, this kind of selfishness will occur. Kobe is going to play his 35+ minutes, and Fish will be around the 30 minute mark. That leaves approximately 31 minutes for three guys.

    Farmar is trying to earn a new contract, as is Shannon Brown. Sasha is trying to justify his existing contract (and his girl M). I know Phil is trying to work out rotations and if possible, save Sasha’s psyche, but until the guard rotation is more firmly established, you have to believe we will have these same issues.

    I suppose that’s the mixed blessing that comes with younger players, namely, they play hard because they are trying to carve out their respective niches in the league. Career bench folk (ala Joe Smiths, Jacque Vaughns, etc.) seem to know their place in the league and perform more consistently. But unfortunately, I doubt Farmar and Brown aspire to simply be one of the “career bench folk” and ergo, there lies the problem.


  15. Are you people serious? Inferior bench. I totally disagree. In most of these games our bench players are playing against the other teams starting unit which is trying to make some type of comeback because of the amount of points that they are down. I will take our bench over any other bench in the entire league. Ask yourself this–who has a better bench than the lakers? The problem is that phil has to juggle everyone’s playing time and some guys will play alot one night and 0 minutes the next night. I love shannon brown and i think he and bynum give the lakers an extremely bright future. He should be given more time over farmar and sasha. I watched every game and i can tell you this–the lakers get up by so much that even the crowd seems like they are bored at times. Now if phil runs up the lead to 30-35 than he doesn’t have respect for the knicks or d’antoni for running up the score. You just can’t win. He put morrison in –u know when morrison and mbnga are on the court that the white flag should be waved. Lakers for life.


  16. Wow, JOE, my eyes are hurting.


  17. If your referring to the caps sorry–lol.


  18. Joe – Your point would be correct only our bench doesn’t just come in and stink it up at the end of games, we are also bad to start the 2nd quarter. As you saw last night, Phil Jackson uncharacteristically kept Kobe in to start the 2nd quarter.

    Also, I’m not going to list every teams benches but you can’t seriously think the Lakers have the best bench in the league. I’ll take Boston, Atlanta and Orlando’s benches over ours.


  19. Rudy, I do seriously think our bench is better than all of those teams. When we are totally healthy look at whos coming off the bench–you got Lamar–a starter on any other team in the league, you got Walton–who is hurt, Shannon Brown who given minutes will only become better and better. Mbenga reminds me of when we had the energizer Jerome Kersey. Lets not forget that if they regain their old form that Farmar and Sasha would be awesome off the bench. I seriouly disagree with all of those teams you mentioned but I guess to each his own. At full strength there is no team in this league that can hang with the Lakers.


  20. I really don’t mind The Black Hole’s black-holiness when he’s out there with the second unit (and yes, I think I will refer to Bynum as The Black Hole from now on, or at least until he starts passing. Perhaps TBH when I’m feeling lazy). He gives the second unit a very defined focal point to their offense, gives them an excellent option in the half-court, and provides strong defense for their perimeter lapses. I also really like TBH’s help defense and shot alteration abilities to hide some of Kobe and Fisher’s defensive ineptitudes (to put it lightly). But, what I don’t like is when TBH misses a wide-open guy on the three point line, less than 5 feet away, in order to back down his man when he’s 10 feet from the hoop. Like a Kobe fadeaway, it’s great when he makes his goofy turnaround hook shot, but there’s a better option available.

    It’s understandable that TBH wants to be aggressive, and he should be; he’s arguably the best back-to-the-basket scorer in the league right now. But he’s not even looking to pass at this point; all he’s concentrating on is getting his shot. It’s great when he makes his shots, but he needs to at least look to pass. I don’t want TBH to stop shooting; he’s quickly turning into such a gifted scorer that he should be aggressive. But it kills our offensive flow, never gets others in good offensive rebounding position, and prevents our perimeter shooters from getting into the game.

    As for Sasha/Farmar/Brown, all of them have been playing fairly poorly of late. Usually we get at least one of them to have a half-way decent game, and that’s generally enough for us to hold onto the massive leads given by the starters. But all three of them have had poor games simultaneously of late. I think we need to stop thinking of Sasha and Farmar as 2007-08 Sasha and Farmar and realize that 2007-08 was the anomaly, not the trend. I’ve always been a big supporter of our bench guys, but these two have stunk bad enough, for long enough, that I’m starting to turn on them.

    And for those of you clinging to dreams that we’ll be able to trade Sasha, keep dreaming. At the rate he’s going, he’ll be gunning for worst contract in the league. Nobody is going to pay/trade 5 mil for a shooter who can’t shoot and a pesky defender who can’t defend without fouling.


  21. With the Lakers bench it is not an issue of “can’t” it is an issue of “won’t”. Meaning this bench can play at a high level. The Lakers were considered one of the deepest teams in the league last season. Now all of a sudden they have no bench. Part of it is their effort, but part of it is the rotations.

    As pointed out, not all of the fourth quarter malaise was on the bench players. As a team the Lakers can become unfocused when they get big leads.

    Here is the thing, folks. Help is not coming. I don’t buy the idea of Mitch trading Farmar and Morrison. He would if he got a deal he just couldn’t refuse. But we can’t count on that. These guys will simply have to work it out. And they can.

    Lastly, I’m with Aaron. Let’s go a little lighter on Bynum. Even with his occasional mistakes the guy is still bringing it every night. He is not the problem right now.


  22. As was alluded to earlier in the comments, the problem doesn’t seem to be so much that the guys are individually not good or talented, but that they aren’t playing good team basketball, which is particularly important given Phil’s tendency to play them as a unit.

    When taken individually, the players’ skill sets seem to make sense, but we need to face the reality that they haven’t been able to put it all together for almost two years now. It’s hard to assess exactly what might be the primary problem, and therefore potential solution because of limited time and flux in the rotations. Let’s face it, the coaching staff hasn’t figured it out, and they are all a lot smarter about basketball then we are.

    It may be that the concept of the bench as a unit is a part of the problem in itself. Injuries will always have a greater affect on the bench because every single injury to both starters and bench players changes the rotations for the bench, so there needs to be a better sense of core cohesion. Right now, it seems to all hinge on Walton, particularly on the offensive end.

    When they we going really well in early ’07-’08, a large part of it was that they ran the triangle more faithfully and with better execution than the starting unit. That, of course, is completely gone, and there is really no reason to be optimistic that it’ll get better at least until Walton gets back.

    That also bodes ill for a quick fix via trade. How are we going to trade for players who will immediately provide more cohesion. Anyone that skilled is most likely already valuable to their current team.

    God, this is depressing. The best we can seem to hope for is that they simply figure it out, and get better. Jeez.


    • Let’s not overreact here folks. Our team’s biggest problem is keeping the 20-30 point leads it builds. There are 29 other teams that want to have that problem.


  23. Last night I definitely remember Andrew not passing out of a double team, but it could be that was the only incidence and it was just egregious enough to feel like a pattern. But I’ve definitely seen him do it other times too. Often they result in free throws or a made basket anyways, but it does make the offense less fluid.

    The fact is, he is now averaging 1.3 assists/game this year. On November 4 he had 5 assists against Houston. Since then he’s had 4 total over 9 games.

    Yes, Kobe can go against 3 defenders 20 feet from the basket and still manage a lay-up, but Bynum isn’t Kobe yet.

    I’m not trying to pound the kid- I still love his development and think he deserves to take a lot of the shots he’s taking. I hope he’s an all star and that in 10 years we’re criticizing his young up and coming wing player for taking on double teams as if he was Drew- but it’s a notable phenomenon. He isn’t thinking about passing unless he has to, and I think his passing instincts have deteriorated as a result. The passes weren’t crisp in the 4th and were being picked off in traffic.

    I’m just saying, its something he should work on. If he becomes an adept and willing passer, he could be the second best center in this league (his d and rebounding have to become more monstrous to approach dwight).


  24. Kurt – I agree, it just sucks that in an otherwise enjoyable game (and season so far) there has to be two times that I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach – when the bench comes in and when Kobe is reinserted earlier than expected.

    On the other hand, it could lead to a real problem if the starters continue to log more minutes than necessary just because of poor bench play.


  25. I continue to be flummoxed by Hollinger’s power rankings – http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerrankings – in the latest installment the Lake’s 10-pt win over the Knicks looks like a loss, as they tumble from 5th to 8th. Hollinger claims the numbers don’t lie, but there’s *got* to be a built in fudge factor he’s not revealing. (pay particular attention to the numbers of the last 10 games of the teams that passed LA, where the ‘bias’ is supposedly built in.)


  26. 26. It also cant take into account that the last 3 games we’ve played have been over by the 3rd quarter


  27. I agree on the minutes distribution being a factor… every minute on the court for these guys is audition time so no one thinks of making the other look good… coz it might cost him his job.

    Luke Walton doesn’t have that problem because he is locked up for 3 more years after this one… as is Lamar. Contract years can bring out wonders (Sasha 2 seasons ago) or it can break the frailest confidence.

    As it is, Shannon’s job is almost very secure due to entertainment value. The worry I have is when teams go hard with the MLE for him next year… esp when lots of teams NEED a guy uber-athletic like him and have lots of cap space to toy around with.

    Is it just me or is he looking better and better as a SG rather than a PG?


  28. Hollinger’s and everyone else’s “power rankings” are worth about as much as a wooden nickel. Weren’t the Cavs at the top of his rankings at the end of the season? Why get all bent out of shape over such wrothless junk? Instead, let’s focus our criticism on Sasha and Farmar 😉


  29. yeah Manny, I’m with you, let’s get back to some bashing!
    but for me, there’s only one who needs to get bashed.
    Sasha. period.
    I thought Farmar played oK last night and has been Ok in my mind for the season too.
    but I don’t think I’ve seen one good game from Sasha yet this year, and it goes back to the end of last season too.
    he needs to seriously see a sports psycologist, now.


  30. 21- The Lakers depth has really changed over the last couple years. Losing guys like Vlad, Trevor and Ronny is tough if you can’t replace them.

    I think our bench can play better, I agree with the suggestion that Mbenga play more (especially in blowouts) because we are lacking defensive intensity. However, the only answer to the offensvie problems is a shot creator. In theory that should be LO, but maybe we should let Ron get a shot


  31. Not sure what the deal with the Shannon Brown nickname contest is but all the options during the game last night sucked harder than that chick chuck barkley got busted for. I figure since this blog gets more views than the others and has the ESPN monster pimping it, y’all should do a post on team nicknames. Then again don’t do it. Everyone’s suggestion is gonna be terrible anyway. I’ll just keep calling him what I call him. DOC BROWN . That sonofab***h is back to the future.


  32. As a young player like Bynum developes he requires more touches. How often do the Lakers go several minutes without Bynum even touching the ball? Way too often. The second unit is really bad about this, the guards look like they never learned how to make an entry pass into the post.

    Kobe’s comment the other day, to the effect that he eats first and the others get the leftovers, points to a problem that can flare up with such a talented lineup. They are going to have to find the balance in the offense so that all the main players get enough touches.

    Because Kobe is the alpha dog, alot of this responsibility falls on him, and early this season he seems more intent on showing everybody his great post up game.

    The balance is more difficult now than the end of last season because Andrew was not himself then because he was not 100%. Last year, before Andrew got hurt, Pau was taking a hit on his touches (if memory serves). Andrew’s injury “solved” the problem then, but that was only a temporary solution.

    Maybe Kobe’s scoring has to go to the low 20’s per game. Will he accept that?


  33. I think Farmar generally tries to facilitate when he’s out there, but he can’t really do it by himself. And how he facilitates isn’t always the most effective.

    Back again to the Bynum thing. I think Kobe states it best:

    Do you feel like you still have room to grow as a player?

    A.I do. I do. I think there’s so much more to understand. A lot of it just has to do with winning. It has nothing to do with me as an individual. Just more so, how can I lead these guys? That’s kind of been the evolution as a basketball player. When you first come into the league, you’re trying to prove yourself as an individual, do things to assert yourself and establish yourself. But then once you’ve done that, there’s another level to the game that’s more complex than figuring out how to put up big numbers as an individual. That’s easy to do.


    And that’s why I point it out, but I’m not that worried.


  34. Bynum becoming an elite center? C’mon! A comment like this should be made only if he begins to develop as a TWO-WAY player. As it currently stands, he is a black hole on offense (he hasn’t seen a shot he doesn’t like), and is soft and lackadaisical on defense.

    When “elite” centers are mentioned, think of Kareem, Hakeem, Moses Malone, Russell, Parish, Duncan, Shaq, Robinson and others, who were great two-way players. If you were to look for a common thread between these “elite” guys, it would be that they all played decent D in their primes. They patrolled the paint and claimed it as their own and therefore left their imprint on the game.

    Bynum is nowhere close to any of these guys. Not to say he won’t get to that level, but you don’t get to the “elite” level just by focusing on your offense.


  35. 33- When I say Bynum is becoming elite, it is not in reference to the legendary center’s of the game. It is in reference to how a guy who nobody thought would be much, is now putting up almost 20 and 10. His offensive game is far more mature than people could have expected 4 years ago, and compare him to the other center’s in the NBA today, and I come away with the statement that he is becoming elite

    After Howard and Yao, Drew can make the argument that he is on the level of any of the other good center’s in the NBA. Nene and Bogut are solid players, so is Noah, Okur, and a few others I’m sure I’m leaving out. However, it certainly could be argued that Drew is the 3rd best center in the NBA and that would place him in the elite.


    • Just a little off topic, but the one thought about last night I didn’t really get to mention: God the Knicks are terrible. I’d seen bits and pieces of them this year but last night was the first time I focused on them for a full 48, and they are worse than I thought. Just terrible personnel for that system. Duhon has regressed, I think. The Italian kid may be the only one on that roster I think is suited for it (and Nate’s a decent spark off the bench). But they are just awful.


  36. Regarding young Drew, here we have a 7 footer who’s a true center and just turned 22 years old. He’s averaging 20 pts/10 boards in the early going (as mentioned in the post above).

    He’s shooting ~58% FG and ~ 77% FT.

    To steal a line from Kurt @23, it’s a “problem” the rest of the league would like to have. Oh, OK maybe Orlando wouldn’t want him …


  37. In today’s NBA, that is, which perhaps means the level of play and quality of centers playing in the league today pales in comparison to the quality of those “elite” centers who played in years past.


  38. Which is why we should trade Bynum away now. The guy isn’t just a black hole because he jacks up shots, he has a horrible attitude. If we could get rid of Bynum while the stock is high on him, and package Sasha away with him, we could probably get real above average guard and a serviceable center who plays solid D.


  39. Ecat- I agree there are not the same type of conventional/traditional bigs in the league anymore. That furthers the argument that our legit big is/will be elite.

    When you have something like that you just try to bring along the elements in his game which are lacking. Mainly, his level of awarness on team defense, but him playing ball so late in life really stunts this area because a lot of it is instinctual.


  40. 36 – who said Bynum wouldn’t be much? (aside from a disgruntled Kobe in a cell phone video). I don’t think you select a player 10th in the draft without seeing the upside.

    Also, i think Bynum needs to change his attitude on foul calls. He bickers SO much after each call. Even if he’s right, get back and play D.


  41. 31- Vlad and Ronny aren’t that hard to replace. Let’s call Artest/Ariza a wash. Vlad was inconsistent and NEVER played defense. Mbenga can give us what Ronny was giving. Maybe not as much offense, but just as much hustle and more size.

    The qualtiy of the bench is still the same as it was last year. They just need to refocus.


  42. 35 – “He hasn’t seen a shot he doesn’t like” … Drew’s shot selection can’t be all that bad since he’s making 58% of them.

    The team overall is hitting at 45% . Yes, I know Drew is typically shooting at close range. That’s what we want him to do. We don’t really need him to pass up good shots, do we?

    “soft and lax on defense …” – I’ll have to take your word for it, until I get to see him in person Saturday. He’ll be going up against that stud Mikki Moore!


  43. Cdog, what are you talking> Bynum is a couple years away from being a 25 and 12 guy, in fact he’s a 20/10 guy now. So he’s a little selfish, so what? With his length and positioning all of his shots are basically gimmes, why wouldn’t he shoot a lot?

    What the lakers need is a deadeye shooter coming off the bench, similar to a 06-07 Sasha which apprantly was one of the biggerst fluke years in NBA history.


  44. Cdog,

    So we trade away a young center with soft hands, a huge body, and a giant ceiling for…a couple mediocre players? Please, our frontcourt’s dominance over other teams is the key reason, perhaps above Kobe, why we’re considered favorites to win the championship. Watch Gasol and Bynum play volleyball with the ball above the hoop on the offensive end and revisit your opinion please.


  45. Let us also remember the learning curve for big men in the NBA is very steep. There are many things Andrew will not learn unless he sees them at full speed in game situations.

    I remember the over-powering Shaq of the Orlando days. He was all dunks no passing. After a few years of seeing constant double teams he devloped into an excellent passing big man. But that only came from many minutes on the floor dealing with those situations.

    Remember, Bynum’s injuries have basically taken one full season away over the last two years. For all of his development there are a lot of things he still needs to learn. It is not that we shouldn’t hold him to a high standard. But we have to be realistic in our expectations.


  46. Sedale- you really don’t remember the clamor that Bynum would never be more than an 8 and 4 guy? Kobe was not in the minority, especially after the completion of his 2nd year. And not all #10 picks are Paul Pierce, see: Jarvis Hayes, Luke Jackson, Keyon Dooling, Mohammed Sene, etc.

    The Lakers scored big with Bynum, some was luck, some was foresight, but at this point, we know what we have, and we aint trading him!


  47. kwame – I agree that when you have something like that, you try to bring along the elements that are lacking.

    In order for this to work, however, you have to have a willing mentee/student (in this case, Bynum) eager to learn and develop those weak areas.

    From what I have seen so far this season, the guy appears to have developed a bad attitude about not getting calls and a penchant to stay around and argue with the refs instead of running back to play D. Although Bynum’s been in the league since ’05, he really has played the equivalent of only one full season (half season in ’07-08 and ’08-09).

    Having played so little and he already has this attitude? I hope the Lakers don’t end up with a center, who only plays offense and doesn’t care much to play defense.


  48. Bynum = injury prone Big man who doesn’t play help D and peaks in December and January. Plus he has been a sour puss ever since Ronny left for GS. That’s all I am saying. The guy isn’t 18 so we can’t cut him that kind of slack anymore. Kid needs to grow up. Granted he is in his early 20’s but he was better LAST year than this year. That is a bad sign and not an upward trend that you predict for 25/12 in three years.


  49. That said, I’ll eat crow if he does grow up a little. Right now everyone has him a little overrated. Gotta bring you all back to earth – this kid is not the next big center in the NBA.


  50. @ 40:

    Yes, the Knicks are really bad. This is one reason I thought putting Bryant & Artest back in was a mistake.

    @ 26:

    Hollinger’s rankings go a lot on margin of victory and strength of schedule. The Lakers lost by 14, 10 and 26 to good teams, won two games in OT, and have beaten a lot of bad teams, and, due to the bench/focus issues, don’t win games by 30. There are no adjustments for stuff like “Gasol was out” or “Lakers were up 25 but the team gave up an 11-0 run immediately after Kobe and Artest were taken out.”

    So, it’s not bias on Hollinger’s part. Also, the power rankings are strictly a measure, with holes, of recent team performance. I am 98% sure if the Lakers and Hawks started a best-of-7 tomorrow to determine the NBA champion, Hollinger would pick the Lakers. Orlando, which had had Lewis, Anderson, Carter and Nelson out, is below the Lakers. It is nothing to get worked up about.


  51. Cdog stop it!

    You can’t say Bynum was better last year than this year. “This year” has only been 14 games. He missed 39 or so games last year. The jury is still out. And “better” for Bynum would simply mean staying healthy and playing 70+ games.

    And I don’t buy the “bad attitude” thing either. Quite a few Lakers argue calls,esepcially the guy wearing number 24. I’d take Bynum’s bad attitude over Sasha’s indifference any day of the week.


  52. What do you guys think of rearranging the lineups?

    Starting line up: 1. Shannon/Farmar 2. Kobe 3. Luke (when he gets back) 4. Pau 5. Drew

    Bench: 1. Fisher 2. Shannon/Sasha 3. Artest 4. Lamar 5. Mbenga/Powell


  53. Bynum will be an Allstar center either this year or in the future. He may not be “elite” in terms of past big men in the league but frankly it doesn’t really matter since there are so few true centers left.

    Also kurt anyway you can let FSN know that Shannon Brown’s nickname is ShanWOW?


    • Ian, I wish I had been there at Staples last night to get in Michael Eves ear about that.


    • And for the record, Bynum has been better this year by pretty much any statistical measure you want: points per game, points per 36 minutes, shooting percentage, true shooting percentage, PER, rebounds per game, and on and on. Plus, anyone suggesting he is not an impact player on defense is not watching the same games the rest of us are. Clearly health long term is an issue, but you do not trade away good bigs when they are young. That is how you end up with the Knicks roster.


  54. Elite = best of class. Take a look around the NBA, see where Bynum stands, he deserves to be called elite or working towards elite. No one is saying he is an elite all timer. An elite center today, that’s all you can do is be measured against current.

    Are we seriously discussion trading Bynum? And where does this play no defense bs come from? He may not be the best defensive center in the league, but I’d rank his defense in the upper half. He challenges shots and his pick and roll defense has steadily improved.

    For all the talk about his so called bad attitude, the kid has shown steady improvement in all areas. Are they coming as fast as some of us want, no. But is he improving, yes.

    Take a look at some of the other centers around the league and you tell me if they’ve shown any improvement. Look at Tyson Chandler or Emaka Okafor. Have either one of them added to their games anywhere near what Bynum has done? Look at Spencer Hawes, he came out of a major college program and is regarded as an up and coming big man. Is he better than Drew? Has he shown as much development as Drew in the past two years?

    Drew isn’t perfect by any means, but can we get grounded in reality please?


  55. Bynum is an elite center in the league right now. I’m not sure how this is a debate. Chris Bosh is the only other guy averaging a 20 & 10.

    WAY too soon to start talking about “historically elite.” Shouldn’t even be a discussion.

    I don’t mind him being a black hole when he’s shooting 50 to 60%, especially when his “shooters” are Farmar, Fisher, & Sasha.

    The moment Zephid was talking about where Bynum ignored a wide open shooter, and instead shot a 10 footer was when he ignored Farmar, who was 1 for 7 at that point. I would have ignored him, too…


  56. Bynum is on course to be an All-Star this season. Anyone who’s finding fault with his game is guilty, to some degree, of nitpicking.

    Aside from Dwight Howard, I’d challenge anyone to name another big man in the league you’d select over Drew if you had to pick one center to build a team around. The only real question still lingering is his health.

    Farmar has been playing well over the past few games, particularly when he gets time with the starters; if he stays at it I don’t foresee him as trade bait.

    As for the rest of the bench, in my view one of its biggest issues is rushed shots. Too often they cross midcourt and begin to think they’re playing for the Suns: shoot in seven seconds or less. This begets bad shots, which beget run-outs and lay-ups, which in turn eat away big leads very quickly.

    If they’d slow down, run the offense and work 20 seconds or so off of each possession, it wouldn’t be so damning. But instead they rush shots, and a 20-point lead turns to nine over the course of two minutes of game time.

    DJ, Sasha and Morrison all have quick triggers, as do Brown and Farmar, since they’re both up-tempo guys. This is where they really miss Luke, who slows things down and runs the offense.

    Ideally, perhaps the coaches can urge whomever is playing PG with the second unit to slow things down a bit. And they need to have Kobe, Pau or Drew getting some run for at least a few minutes, if only so that the defense has to respect one player as a legit scorer. Playing five bench guys at once, none of whom can create a good shot and all of whom treat the ball like a hot potato is the reason these guys aren’t holding leads.

    Thankfully, these are problems that can be fixed.


  57. Joey Jo-Jo Shabadoo November 25, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    That’s a great picture.


  58. I think a big effect of Bynum’s failure to pass is indirect. He doesn’t pass early in the game, so late in the game when the defense is packed in, other players aren’t looking for the pass. Which means they stop moving, and the defense can focus even more in Bynum.

    It’s also related to our issues with the second team. If he passes it out, the other players are more likely to take a shot themselves, since it can seem to them like it’s a rare chance for them to touch the ball. There’s a lost confidence on both sides.


  59. Wow, people are taking this Bynum thing to extremes. Trade him now? For showing a few flashes of precociousness? We might as well have traded Kobe in mid 2001.

    He’s had a few rough moments, as any youngster will. Portland fans are absolutely delirious over the fact that Oden has scored 16 points in 3 games in a row, so they think that he should be considered as good as Bynum. Here we’ve got Laker fans clamoring to trade the kid because his 20-11 includes a few moments of questionable decision making. Even those rough moments have come during blow outs and have affected nothing.

    Obviously I’m not above criticizing him, but I’m also doing backflips with joy at his development and the fact that he’s averaging close to 20-11 and has a long way to improve.


  60. the fax machine, how appropriate!
    what’s a GM/owner/coach to do??
    is tanya harding …no, never mind I didn’t say that.
    come on sasha, you are a professional athlete, get it together!


  61. how do I get Bill McDonalds job? Interview celebrities all game long and mix in some cheerleaders as well. must be nice.

    although i dont really like the courtside view at times. certain angles and refs in way make it so you can’t see whats going on. Anyone see that guy during halftime miss the half court shot terribly and then swish the 3 point basket? bitter sweet.


  62. I like to nickname Kevin Ding “The Carpenter” because he always Nails it:

    In this case about Bynum:

    And even there, Bynum’s petulance was from a desire to be more perfect than is reasonable on D. It’s a good trait that hasn’t learned the right way to express himself yet.


  63. Also Kurt- I watched the Celtics play the Knicks on Sunday and NY looked alright then. Clearly they were playing over their heads, but they were playing hard on D and getting to the basket. I don’t know if the Lakers are playing better than Boston, the travel got to NY or what, but it was a big difference between the two


  64. LakerFan wrote on June 21, 2009 at 1:53 am

    DO you guys think we can Trade Jordan Farmar and our 29th pick to move up so we can draft Brandon Jennings. I think he has got the most upside in him in this draft other than Rubio and Griffin.

    Farmar has regressed considerably in his development this year. Which may or may not have something to do with the injury. But i dont think he is teh answer at the 1 for this team. I still think they need to address this issue


  65. Gr8 Scott wrote on June 21, 2009 at 6:13 am

    I know this is off-topic, but I never read anything about why Dr. Buss wasn’t with the team in Orlando. Can anyone fill me in?

    Also, I would be wary of Brandon Jennings. If you’ve followed him during the last year, you saw his comments as being one of someone who feels he’s owed something. That’s not to say he can’t be a productive player, but maybe he doesn’t have what we need now. PG is the biggest need for down the road, me thinks.


  66. That is what happens when you immediately dismiss good ideas. Lakers could have traded up for Jennings. And our PG problems would have been solved for a loooooooooooong time.


    • LakerFan, your assumption that Farmar and the 29th pick would have gotten us in the top 10 is flawed. If you are desperately trying to dump Farmar at the time, what makes you think other teams were clamoring to get him? There is not some big demand for Farmar around the league (if he is traded it is as a sweetner with Ammo’s expiring deal — and no, we are not getting into what that could bring back because frankly we don’t know).

      It’s very easy to say if we had done X then Y. Reality almost never works that way.


  67. Where was Josh Powell last night? I didn’t see him in the game at all.

    His absence could have had an effect upon the bench’s performance.


  68. You cant really blame Sasha for his salary and false hopes. The FO is to blame for overpaying for his bball skills. If he made the league minimum would it be that big of a deal if he sucked. Because he makes all that cheddar, does that correlate to talent? Obviously not, so you cant compare the two and expect talent level to equal to salary. Let’s just call it what he is, a big mistake by the FO drinking the Sasha cool-aide.


  69. I was at the game and the 4th was tough to watch, and not just b/c the tacos were in jeopardy. I think the Lakers collectively hit some kind of wall of malaise when they build up a big lead. The score was stuck on 91 for a long time, even with #24 in the game. There is no excusing the bench which is not exactly setting things on fire when the game is close either. And the fact that this has gone on a long time makes me pessimistic of any real improvement with the current personnel.

    Sasha got a mixed reception when introduced at the start of the game, and there were some audible moans and some hisses when he entered the game. More groans when he clanked his shots. The crowd seems to have determined there’s a name to the bench’s pain and it is Sasha.

    Incidentally, I wouldn’t say the Staples crowd got bored with the big lead. Most people stayed til the end. I think everyone waited to see something exciting happen and instead got frustrated by the garbage play.

    It’s hard to make much of our 11-3 record. OT1H, we missed Pau for most of it. OTOH, we had a couple of games that could’ve gone the other way, games that we really should’ve won handily (OT in OKC?). The ones we lost were in impressive manner (impressive for the opponents, that is). Plus lots and lots of home games. All in all, it’s kind of a wash. But #8 in the power ranking is pretty ridiculous. Numbers don’t lie, just the analysts that make them up.

    Anyway, recall last season when, following an road trip when we beat Cle and Bos back to back, we went through a stretch looking very unchampionshipy. It’s just how we roll, so chill.


  70. Just adding fuel to the fire.

    Chris Bosh’s average in his 5th year in the league: 22.6 ppg, 2.5 assists, 10.7 reb, 1.3 blks. Bynum’s average (so far) in his 5th year: 19:7 ppg, 1.3 assists, 10.9 reb, 1.7 blks.

    Looks pretty comparable to a NBA “elite” big man, especially considering that Bosh will likely get close to a maximum contract this summer. I know it’s been mentioned but if Bynum stays healthy and puts up his current numbers, his salary is a bargain compared to the other “elite” big men.


  71. PJ-good question, where was JP?


  72. “Bynum = injury prone Big man who doesn’t play help D and peaks in December and January.”

    Um, yeah genius…it’s easy to peak in December and January when you have a major knee injury (one season-ending) at that time of year two seasons in a row. Troll much?


  73. I’ll always remember that Game 1 Final performance AI had against us in 2001. That performance and the cross-over on MJ really stood out for me.


  74. Wow, reading the comments I’d presume that we lost against the Knicks in an embarrassing fashion.

    We didn’t.

    As for our “black-hole” Bynum, I think it’s good as long as he’s shooting 58% or so. I mean, if Kobe shot 58%, do you want/need others shooting the ball? Same with Bynum. If that figure comes down, then we jump on him.

    And our beloved bench, well, it’s a free-for-all since nobody is really emerging. Mbenga and Powell have their spots pretty set, but Sasha, Farmar and Shannon each have their shortcomings examined under a microscope and may even feel the need to expose the others’ weaknesses if the outcome is rather safe. Heck, it is actually to their benefit if the starters play long minutes and *god forbid* suffer an injury or forced to sit on the bench to moderate their minutes late in the season when the spotlight is brighter.

    Okay, maybe that was going too far, but right now, if you want marked improvement from the bench, you need to have a set rotation. BUT, that’s not what the first 20 games of the season is for, is it? It’s to see who can play, and actually maybe even to see who can play while sacrificing his stats for the better of the team.

    The only thing I’m worried about is that Bynum maybe getting a bit ahead of himself and over-exerting when he’s not ready to and re-injure himself. Him getting lots of touches and shots and him taking every one of them do not worry me yet, it’s just the entailing ‘lax-ness’ he’ll display after exerting himself on the offensive end, and also not concentrating enough to prevent injuries.


  75. New post up on once Laker Cazzie Russell.

    Feel free to continue your discussion in the comments.


  76. is there any 7 footer in the league, who has played a similar amount of games as bynum, and is playing better? give the kid a break and let him play one year injury free. however, guys like farmar and sasha should be playing better, but it seems like they have worn out the coaching staff. can’t really complain though when you’re 11-3. good thing d’antoni has white hair already. let’s hope it doesn’t fall out.


  77. tbh. is just starting to find that groove, hes having so much fun, his job is to go in there and score and play defense, and maybe throw a couple elbows. hes no steve nash, so i will call him the big mamba lol… jackson is playing his lil mind games with the bench, hes doin the zen thing….i see a 4peat coming.. see u guys at parade


  78. Kurt, I agree about the bleak look of the Knicks. I’ve never really bought into the myth of NY as “basketball Mecca”, and I know the last time the Knicks won a title, Nixon was president, but nonetheless that’s a passionate and knowledgeable fan base, and I can’t imagine what it’d be like to have to root for a team as formless and hopeless as they’ve been for the last decade.


    • Jodial, the thing is they have such a great revenue stream. They are still the team in NYC, that franchise is second in value to the Lakers according to Forbes. It’s just been managed horribly.


  79. I continue to be bewildered by the negativity directed at Andrew Bynum.

    Black Hole? Really?

    Games: 12
    FG Made: 95
    FG Attempts: 164
    FG%: .579%
    FG Attempts / Game: 13.67

    FT Made: 46
    FT Attempts: 60
    FT %: .767%
    FT Attempts / Game: 5

    Points / Game: 19.7

    True Shooting%: 62%

    The next most efficient Laker is Gasol. He is at a True Shooting% of 58.5%. In 3 games.

    Add in Bynum’s help numbers…

    Rebounds / Game: 10.9
    Steals + Blocks / Game: 2.25
    Assists / Game: 1.3
    Turnovers / Game: 2.42

    Trade him for spare parts? When he is only 22 and has yet to get a full season as a starter?

    *huge headache*

    This must be exactly what it is like to be a scout for Chris Wallace…


  80. I think there are a number of misconceptions floating around about TBH:

    1.) His lack of passing is all bad. False. As harold said, the dude is shooting 58% from the field; we want him to be aggressive.

    2.) His aggressiveness in the post is all good. False. Basketball is a team sport, and part of the game is getting your teammates involved. Not involving your teammates and continually depending on one option is a one-way ticket to becoming the 2008-2009 Cleveland Cavaliers: great for a while; easy to game plan against. We need other guys to get involved in the game, even if it is at the expense of some of those goofy, highly efficient TBH hook shots.

    3.) TBH is not passing out of choice Partially true, partially false. I for one think that TBH is simply so focused on his post moves and shooting form that passing isn’t even crossing his mind. However, I think it is a stretch to claim that Andrew is selfish. I do think he is playing selfishly, but I think it is due to the fact that he’s still growing in his game and learning to multi-task in the post, as opposed to purposefully ignoring his teammates. He can grow out of this, and when he does, I will gladly stop calling him The Black Hole.


  81. 88, no one is denying that The Black Hole is a good scorer; it’s those 1.3 assists per game that give him his title. Yea, he scores a lot of points, gets a lot of free throws, and shoots a high percentage of both. But that doesn’t change the fact that the dude doesn’t pass. Whether you think that’s a bad thing or not is up to you, but you can’t contest the fact that he misses a lot of open passes.


  82. Still not worried about him not passing.

    The pecking order on this team, in terms of seniority and personality has Bynum ranked, what, 5th or 6th? There will be plenty of guys to put him back in line if need be.

    But right now, I think he needs confidence in his offensive game, and thus his knees, after which I hope that his confidence and activity on the defensive end and passing will come. Just hoping that he doesn’t overdo things as to re-injure his knees again, but I think most of his injuries were from him not paying too much attention to his surroundings more than anything.

    Besides, we are talking a small sample size against teams that really have no front line to speak of – it’s not like we went against Orlando or Cleveland or San Antonio or…


  83. Yeah, that New York team we just played is just horrible, indeed. How did they take the mighty Celtics to OT, then the C’s only win by a last shot at that. Did we play that same team? Oh, I forgot we are way better than the Celtic’s, that is why we took out the Knicks by 10 points. We need to stop the hating on Bynum, he is a good Center for us, I would take him over all Centers, except the guy on that Magic team.


  84. I’m glad KAJ taught Bynum the hook and all, but could he maybe teach him how to pass out of a double team also? Maybe they thought he would never see a double team with the weapons we have but its happening…

    Also, Farmar… he’s my favorite player on the team but man, something needs to happen. I’ve never seen anyone thinking so hard in my life. He became my favorite player for a reason, only the whole organization is doing their best to make me forget why.


  85. I’m pretty sure the guy clamoring for a trade of Bynum is actually some other team’s GM.

    I think the rest of us are just critiquing some tendencies we’ve noticed. Its not hate.

    In 2006 I would have loved to have been able to describe Kwame as a black hole, but as we know Black Holes attract objects to them, and Kwame’s hands repel all objects from them.

    The only Center I might take over Drew, other than Dwight, starts for us at Power Forward.


  86. 13.67 Attempts to 1.3 Assists is just a shade under 10% of his possessions.

    Add in passes that end in missed shots, or in swing passes, and I just don’t see it.

    And, as was well pointed out, if he gets deep into the post on offense, and then receives the inlet pass, he has 3 seconds to either A) Make his move and shoot, or B) Pass out, exit the post position, and re-establish the post position.

    The young man is running the court and beating the opposing big men to the low post and good position more often than any other center I have seen in, well, ever.

    Why negate the benefit of the young legs and hustle by passing out? Especially when he is shooting such a high percentage, hitting his foul shots, and generally wearing his man ragged?

    Run, Post, Catch, Shoot, Score.

    If it is just that simple, why complicate it?


  87. When did this turn into a discussion about Bynum. Bynum is playing excellent ball. You guys gotta give him a chance to develop. His offensive game is years ahead of where it should be. He can improve on defense but he does attempt to block shots and alters tons of them. Better defense will come with time and experience. About his health–2 years ago his knee injury was just that an injury, but the second injury is because Kobe accidentally flew into his leg–that same result wouldve happened no matter who was standing there–so its not like his knee just gave out. The problem here is that we really, truly as Laker fans do not have anything to complain about. We have or are tied for the best record in the league and coming off 2 straight trips to the finals–obviously one a being a championship.

    You know whats really scary is that we have Kobe, Pau, Odom and Artest all in their prime. As these players begin to transition into the latter years of their careers—Bynum, Brown, and Farmar will be waiting in the wings to lead this team into the future.

    My point being is that the Lakers are situated to have a really good team for a really long time. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride–stop complaining about Black Hole’s and other non-sense.


  88. Mark Overt Skilbred November 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Great Thanksgiving post, Kurt! I’m waiting for the Golden State game to start on Channel 7, so I was catching up on your posts. Here’s something I wrote a couple of weeks ago, feeling generally frustrated with the quality of Lakers bench play this year and trying to come up with a more workable formula. Is this too radical, or does this idea have merit? Thanks for your input and all your valuable insights!

    Mark Overt Skilbred


    Basketball team excellence has always depended on bench strength and depth. It has long been understood that organizations wishing to develop their franchises most effectively must recruit the strongest and most talented offensive and defensive players which are available at the high school and college level. Once this has been accomplished, the long process begins of improving their chances to play through scrimmaging each other and with the “regulars” in practice and throughout the season, by being substituted for those with injuries or foul trouble, to gain height or weight advantage, or to take advantage of certain offensive and defensive skills which become necessary as conditions demand. This often becomes a long development process, with occasional exceptions for those with superstar talents, or for those with the necessary skill-sets who are fortunate enough to be acquired at just the right time.

    This can be a delicate balancing act for owners and management, who are pressured to attract and keep the most talented veterans and at the same time offer recruits opportunity for advancement within their organizations. Often talented players run out of the patience needed to endure delays caused perhaps by management, but also by various other factors including the inability to fit neatly into the rotation pattern which has been established. It may be that coaching staffs intend to eventually make use of certain individuals, but that day just doesn’t arrive quickly enough to satisfy everyone. Injuries may cause a coaching staff to temporarily substitute players whose talents are then given proper recognition.

    At the high school level, B-teams allow players to develop their talents within a game setting, serving to enhance the skills of younger players, increase their endurance, and assist in the development of coaching staffs. When B-team players are allowed to play on a regular and consistent basis, their skill levels increase rapidly through exposure brought about by the regular number of minutes played, the opportunity to fit into a regular rotational flow with players whose skills match their own, and through experiencing the level of intensity which only an actual game provides. Although scrimmaging is the next-best thing to playing, it is no substitute for regular seasonal play, and especially playoff experience, where pressure is greatly increased.

    How can owners, management and coaching staffs optimize the use of their teams so that everyone benefits through the development of skilled players, increased fan-support, and the resulting financial advantages which result from a more competitive environment? The rotation of 5-man units which are used to strategically impact the game through the pony-express ability to increase speed and endurance and reduce fatigue and injury will not only add the element of surprise, but will increase player-skills, scores, fan-interest, coaching options, and ultimately player and team health and attitude. When all players equitably share minutes, mental and physical abilities are enhanced. Realizing that on a systematic and strategic basis, their full attention and participation is required will have the effect of greater involvement. The endurance which is currently demanded of players on an individual basis can be shared as 5-man units more efficiently, resulting in higher scores, more productive rotations, greater fan interest and increased revenues.

    Options which now depend on endurance factors, such as full-court press, run-and-gun, fast-break, various isolation and interception techniques, as well as every offensive and defensive weapon in the coaching arsenal will be improved when 5-man rotation units share available minutes and strategies on a more equitable basis and when player-usage is maximized rather than minimized. Consider which team will prevail season-by-season—one which is optimized through the use of all of its players, or one which makes ruthless demands on 7 or 8 players, to the virtual exclusion and ultimately the lack of consistent development of the balance of the team. Teams which consistently depend on the same few players unwittingly are developing themselves into desperate, needy and dependent organizations lacking the necessary options for the long haul. I know which team I would rather be a part of, and I think I know which team will win more championships.

    Initial objections to a more balanced 5-man-unit rotational approach may include those who feel that individual scoring results will suffer as a result of balancing efforts, but the increase in stamina, reduction in injuries, and the increase in overall team performance and fan support will eventually overcome these objections. Careers may actually be extended by making more reasonable seasonal demands on players. Concerns that win-loss percentages and their divisional standings may suffer while these changes are being implemented can be offset ultimately by overall team improvement in skills and attitude.

    Consider the following scenario: Superstar X on Team A is carrying the team because they have no other current option available to them, through lack of development. Superstar X sustains a season-altering injury or condition, forcing the substitution of a player who has limited game-exposure and rotational experience. Now begins the long process of development which may or may not lead to limited, but ineffective results for the team. Contrast this with Team B, which has consistently developed 5-man rotational units: A fresh rotational unit is immediately exchanged for the disabled unit and the game continues with minimal impact. Efforts to immediately replace or retrain a substitute have been greatly reduced. Which team option seems better for owner, management, coaching staff, players and fans? Consider well your options and plan appropriately.

    Mark Overt Skilbred


  89. Mark Overt Skilbred November 28, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks again!