Winning Without Kobe

Kurt —  January 18, 2010

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Having Kobe Bryant on your team is why you win most games. Or having a big center like Andrew Bynum in the paint.

But maybe the best sign about the Lakers is that playing a contending team on a night those two big guys had off nights, the Lakers still won. The Lakers made their comeback in the third and fourth quarters with a lineup of Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant (with Luke Walton getting a couple of his minutes), Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar and Shannon “I can score, too” Brown. It was the Lakers bench that was key to this game. That beat one of the best in the East.

A huge game from Kobe is not the sign of a championship team. You know those are going to be there, that he is going to hit key shots with the game on the line. It is winning without your star that is the sign of a title team.

Zephid added these points in the comments.

-Dwight Howard beasted all over Bynum. When Bynum was guarding Howard 1v1, Howard was just too fast and strong for Bynum to hold off without help, which starting killing our rotations and leaving shooters wide open. It was only when Gasol started guarding Howard that he got bothered a little and started putting up some bad shots (plus the Magic went away from Howard for a good quarter and a half).

First, Bynum had a stomach ailment that slowed him. Also, Bynum’s second foul (a questionable one on Barnes) shook Bynum’s confidence. He was tentative after that, and Howard eats that for lunch. The Lakers had to go to Gasol. And Bynum, long term, needs to be able to play through that.

More Zephid:

-Farmar and Brown played great, as everyone saw. I was scratching my head a little as to why they only played like, 7 minutes in the 1st half, but Fisher also played pretty good in the 1st quarter [Note: He was 3-3 and a +6 in the quarter]. I didn’t like most of Shannon’s shots, but he got into such a rhythm that they just kept falling for him. Same pretty much for Farmar. Their shots don’t look pretty (completely the opposite of Lewis; his shots look perfect every time), and perhaps that’s why they shoot so inconsistently.

-Shannon Brown should have a session with the rest of the guys on how to close out shots. There were three or four times when Brown was the rotating man and had to close out on one of Lewis or Redick or Anderson, and Brown ran full speed at the shooter, and swung with his arm with his body going past the shooter. You could tell that this really bothered Lewis and caused him to brick a couple late threes that could’ve really hurt the Lakers.

Kurt

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75 responses to Winning Without Kobe

  1. This is the 3rd win where Shannon has come off the bench to spark a Lakers win, the game at Sacramento was one and I cant remember the other as well as tonight. The guy is pretty solid for all the crap we fans give him sometimes, at least he’s there when we need him.

  2. Something to watch for; when Farmar was taken out in the fourth quarter, he seemed really angry about it.

    Hope that doesn’t become a problem.

  3. Great post from KA, that (briefly) touches on something that’s bothered me for some time – how different people define chemistry:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/12370/better-winning-through-chemistry

    But what does good chemistry mean? Are we talking about on-court fit? Are we talking about a group of guys that goes to the movies together on road trips? Remember the slew of articles about the Cleveland’s team chemistry last season? When the Cavs ultimately lost the Eastern Conference Finals last spring to Orlando was it because something upset that chemistry? Or was it because they ran up against a team that had a unique combination of size, speed and flexibility to offset the Cavs’ strengths?

  4. Farmer was actually cursing when he was lifted. Maybe he was reading the stats. Fisher a minus 15 yet Phil puts him back in. Daaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  5. Are we sure Farmar was angry? Doesn’t he curse spontaneously, like Kobe when he’s fired up? Maybe that was his way of celebrating one of his better career games? (I didn’t see it so I can’t say).

  6. Zephid was wrong about Bynum. He didn’t lose his confidence. He did not want to pick up another foul. I think that’s how Phil plays it. He told Bynum to come and not foul because they were going to play Howard completely different in the second half. As soon as Pau picked up his second foul, Mbenga came in. Phil just wanted to be close at the end of the half, because he knew that he was changing things in the second half.

    You really have to watch PJ and how he coaches and you will understand his intentions. They swarmed Howard in the second half and made him pass out of the double team. He is not the greatest passer (for a big man). They also started to hack Howard when he got free inside (the reason they saved their fouls in the first half) so PJs plan worked. It would have been better if it weren’t for the 10-12 shots we missed in a row.

  7. I’ll be honest, Kurt & Zephid – I don’t agree on the point about Shannon’s run-outs there. There are reasons you rarely see that from experienced NBA players, and they’re not ALL because of laziness. Thoughts:

    1) That’s an easy way to give up a foul to a composed veteran – I can almost guarantee that if Brown tries that on players like Paul Pierce or Ray Allen, they would take a quick dribble/sidestep and shoot just as Brown is coming down right on top of them – I’ve seen it done before, and it’s very often the source of 3 FTs. I don’t know that ‘Shard quite has the mental makeup for that move, but there are definitely players that do.

    1.5) Also, when players do get called for fouls on 3-point attempts, it’s usually on wild closeouts like those (even without the sidestep into the defender). That big swipe with the arm is just begging to slap somebody’s palm or wrist. The worst-case scenario is always the close-out swing that comes a half-second too late, not affecting the shot but still hitting the shooter. That’s where 4-point plays come from.

    2) It permits opportunities for offensive rebounds, as you’ve just taken yourself completely out of the offensive end. This is particularly damaging because 3-pointers tend to create long rebounds, and perimeter players need to be more involved on rebounding 3s and long 2s than shots closer to the hoop.

    I like Shannon’s energy, and I love his athleticism. But it’s very rare that you see NBA vets – even ones with excellent reputations for defense and energy – doing that sort of closeout, and I don’t think it’s an accident.

  8. Chemistry on the court is extremely important. Magic once said that you don’t have to be best friends off the court, you just have to get along and understand eachother on the court. I agree with him 100 percent.

    People are different. We grow up with different sociological backgrounds, different races, different beliefs, likes, dislikes, and motivators. It would be almost impossible to find 12-15 guys that were that similar. But on the court all the players should have one mission, and that is to win as a team.

    Orlando lost that cohesiveness when they lost Hedo. He was their glue. He knew when and how to get the ball to the players. He was a we player and they replaced him with a me player in Vince Carter. Vince does nothing to improve or help any other player on the court. He doesn’t bring the ball up, take people off the dribble and pass to a cutter for an easy layup or wide open shot. In addition, he plays absolutely no defense.

    Imagine where we would be without Lamar and Luke. They are our glue players, without them, we would look like Orlando, talented but lost.

  9. I agree with Underbruin personally, although I can see the benefits to both strategies. I just hate it more when I’m playing basketball, when my team mate flies past and thus gives up the offensive rebound or foul. Also charging out like that often leads to the offensive player shot faking and then stepping in for an easier make.

  10. Kobe should sit down for a while.He got whacked again on his finger and the results are not pretty.

  11. If we have to talk about chemistry, the perfect example of such (or lack thereof) is the Orlando Magic themselves.

    Last season, Orlando “flew under the radar” and somehow “upset” the heavy favorite Lebronland Cavaliers. When this happened, Orlando began to earn its respect. They won because of their identity (or lack thereof) and because they were so uncanny, there was no definite answer from the league’s best defensive team.

    Fast forward to this season, they added and they added alot. Gortat was retained, Vince Carter, Matt Barnes, Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson were added, whilst subtracting Rafer alston, Tony Battie and Courtney Lee. I think the jury is still out on that trade, but I would have done that deal 9 times out of 10 if it were offered me. But the problem is chemistry.

    Like the guest Philip Rossman-Reich of the previous post mentioned, Orlando has become more of a conventional team with the 2010 version than they were in 2009. We all know that conventional teams have conventional defenses in place. But like I said, you do not pass up a chance to improve like this, esp that Hedo was leaving anyway.

    So what’s really wrong? Chemistry?

  12. Nimble,

    Kobe won’t sit unless he is physically unable to play through the pain. I agree that he should try to get healthy, but that would require him being out for a lot longer than we would like him to be. Playing through the fracture has slowed his recovery, but there is no evidence that it has made the injury worse. We have 3 months before playoffs so as long as he can make progress during those 3 months, we should be OK come playoff time.

  13. Farmar and Brown (especially Brown) took some very questionable shots. They went it last night which is great, but on nights that they don’t go in those shots really hurt the team. That is why I think Fisher still starts (plus when Farmar plays well he gives the Lakers a little bit of a scoring boost off the bench). Fish may not shoot a great percentage but most of his shots (minus the PUJITS and when the offense ran through him for some weird reason in a stretch of the 3rd quarter) most of his shots come in the flow of the offense.

    Bynum was really tentative after picking up his second foul and didn’t want to pick up his 3rd which is why Howard got going (plus if Howard is going to make 12 ft bank shots so be it). But overall I thought he played decent, he made a few good defensive plays coming out on screens in the first half and had some nice cuts to the basket.

    Odom had a fantastic game, when he plays like that and the Lakers are hitting outside shots they are going to be nearly impossible to beat.

  14. @2

    I thought Phil should have given Farmar a chance to finish, as he did with Brown. Farmar’s performance at the begnning of the 4th was a huge key. I don’t blame Farmar for being PO’d.

    One thing about Kobe: note that down the stretch, he did adjust–his last 4 or 5 handles he set up on the block, drove, or worked a two-man game with Gasol, instead of shooting a flat J.

    I don’t like Kobe’s going 45 minutes; I thought Walton should have gotten a little more burn in his place, with Farmar and Brown. I hope Phil knows what he is doing–SA and BOS are being very careful with veterans’ minutes, and Phil isn’t.

    I would still like to see Bynum get some burn with Farmar/Brown/Walton/Odom, as I said a few days ago.

    Satisfying win.

  15. I have to agree that while it was great to see Shannon and Jordan hitting big shots yesterday, they were not good shots.

    Not to say all of them were bad, but there were a few PUJIT’s, some early threes, and a few ill-advised drives to the hoop.

    Granted Kobe was doing the exact same thing, but I’ve long since given up on Kobe ever actually removing those from his repertoire.

    Also, let me echo the concerns of others: Kobe needs to sit down for a week and let his finger heal.

    I know he doesn’t want to, but this team has proven that they can win without him. I know there’s zero chance of him missing the game against Cleveland, but for God’s Sake, Kobe, SIT THE EFF DOWN AND GET HEALTHY.

    I think the rest of the basketball world has already accepted that Kobe is one of – if not THE most durable players in basketball history. Bill Simmons even said so. His essentially 730 days of straight basketball to earn 2 Finals appearances, a gold medal, and a championship are undeniably special and unique.

    Now sit down and be healthy by the playoffs and let this team figure out even more ways to win without needing 30 from you every night so that your 30 are part of our 40 point margin of victory.

  16. the other Stephen January 19, 2010 at 7:42 am

    the last bit you said about shannon contesting shots: same could be said about ariza last year. both closed in deceptively fast.

  17. Ken, if you (or anyone else) is insistent on the Fisher bashing, at least try to make a smart point about it as opposed to rather hammering the same point five times. We are trying to have an intelligent conversation here.

    The point people are making is this: Fisher didn’t play well, but Farmar and Brown were in the positive because bad shots went in for a night. That worked for a win, but in the long term that is not a sustainable solution. More nights than not, those shots don’t go down and Farmar would have Fisher like numbers if he played his minutes. Plus, Farmar is far more likely to take the Lakers out of their offense with overdribbling than Fisher. All this is not to say Fisher is playing well, but to question the wisdom of the other options being better.

    I will have a longer PG post in a couple days, but think about this: Is the problem that our PGs are shooting too much, period?

  18. And Busboy, you can define loss of confidence a number of ways, but the simple fact is Bynum was not the same player after the second foul. Say it was confidence, say it was not wanting to pick up another foul, define it any way you want, the result was the same. The problem I have is that he needs to be able to play through that, he needs to come back in the same player regardless.

  19. Kobe had over 40 min last night – when he was doing poorly – and we think he should sit. Well, he is not going to sit and there would be an eruption on the sidelines if Phil tried to sit him. How about the thought that Phil intentionally played Kobe long minutes, on a night when he was off and at home, for a reason? How about the fact that he now may be able to keep Kobe on a shorter leash on the road, where we can’t afford long minutes of his depressed play, just because he can now point to this game as an example of both Kobe’s play and and the other players stepping up.

    Just sayin’…

  20. Kurt, wasn’t Bynum barfing during Half Time? I think Phil J. indicated he got a stomach issue and ended up not playing the 4th quarter because of that.

    Perhaps that, with the Foul issues, caused him to disappear the rest of the game.

  21. I’d have to say that all our PG’s played well last night. Fish had more legs than I’ve seen him have in a while, which really sparked us to a jump there in the first quarter. Then Farmar came in the 4th and hit Orlando with energy and a couple steals. And Shannon just shot the ball well all game.

    I don’t pretend to be an expert on the issue of who our starting PG should be. But I do know that if all 3 guys come with the defensive energy they had last night and take their open opportunities, we’re unbeatable.

    and to 14) redrobin’s point. I think Shannon closing the game was more a product of defensive matchup issues. Farmar is a little too small to matchup with Jameer or VC, and Shannon was better suited to chase the rotating ball around the perimeter than Ron is. We were doubling Howard and then scrambing for the remainder of the possession, and as Kurt pointed out, Shannon was integral to our success with that strategy.

  22. Observation on Orlando…
    Two things have been pointed out about Orlando this year:
    1) Last year they flew under the radar – and for many years prior to last year.
    2) They changed their personnel and now are a more conventional team, although they may have upped their talent.

    Both things may be a reason for their struggles in the 1st half of this year.

    Just the fact that their players have not previously experienced having a target on their backs means that there will be unexpected pressure this year. If they are as talented as they seem to be, they can adjust to this over the 2nd half of the season. However, this is one reason it is so hard to repeat, even for a very talented team.

    The fact that they may be easier to defend, from a conventional standpoint, with Vince Carter means that their other players all have to up their game. So far nobody has done this. From all the on-air comments, it would seem this is the first game Dwight has done something different – his bank shots – and he needs to keep this up for them to succeed. The other players also need to add something to their game.

    I have my doubts that Orlando can adjust to both these changes. Most teams can’t – which is one more reason for making so few changes in successful teams. Granted, Hedo was probably gone in any case, so Orlando didn’t have much choice in the matter.

  23. I only caught the 4th quarter of last night’s game (saw Avatar in 3D) so I can’t speak to what was going on during any other portion of the game. But, I do agree with the sentiment that both Farmar and Brown were taking questionable shots (that just happened to go in). This speaks to their level of talent and the hard work they’ve put into their games, but it also speaks to their less than perfect fit into this offense.

    Also, I too thought that Jordan was a bit upset that he got pulled. But, I thought Phil pulled Jordan because, in a recurring theme, he did not play situational basketball over the span of 3 straight possessions around the 5 minute mark. This culminated after Orlando had found their groove again on offense (they hit a jumper and then Howard got fouled on 2 straight possessions) and they cut into the lead. And, instead of deciding to respond to this final push by Orlando by running our sets and going inside to Pau, Jordan dribbled up, called Pau out for a P&R, and then proceeded to shoot a 3 pointer. Not a good possession and poor decision making by Farmar. What made this possesion even worse for me was how Orlando actually defended the play – they hedged on Jordan and showed him a half-hearted trap that pushed Farmar back to about the 30 foot mark. He then back dribbled, told Pau to reset, waited for the screen, then went opposite of Pau to shoot that long J. There’s only one other player on our team that would even attempt this shot (do I even need to say who it is?) and it’s a bad shot for that player too.

    Anyways. I’m glad that Farmar and WOW are showing some signs of life. And I want them to be agressive players. That said, they also need to play controlled. They can’t force shots. They need to better understand that the shots will come to them when we run our sets and as offensive initiators on the court they can dictate to the team that we *need* to run our sets. In other words, they need to pass, cut, screen, and make the correct reads and in the end we will get a good shot (either by them or by, you know, one of our better players).

  24. I think Phil allowed Kobe to play longer minutes because it was a TNT game. The frequent timeouts for nationally televised games tend to be a little longer than other games and allows players to have more time to rest during timeouts. I still don’t think it’s good to have your veterans play 40+ minutes, but Phil knows what he is doing. I think as long as Kobe plays more “decoy” and “facilitator” role, he is still valuable player even when his shots are not falling. His mere presence makes the defense rotate to him more, allowing other players to have more room to operate.

    Darius, that’s a great point about the reason for Jordan’s departure. I just don’t understand it when PGs take a shot without passing at least once as they initiate our offense. Fisher, Farmar, and Brown all do that consistently. I think PGs need to make at least one pass to an open player giving them an option to shoot or make plays before taking a shot that comes to them unless it is a wide open layup or a wide open 3. Farmar taking a contested 3 off a dribble with the other team getting the momentum was a bad play as you suggested.

  25. I agree with Zephid of the importance of Brown’s close-outs against the likes of lewis and the other orlando shooters. While I see the risk taken in an aggressive close-out in the form of potential fouls (and there is nothing worse than fouling a jumpshooter), it is important, especially against a team as reliant on the 3 as Orlando, to make a team feel uncomfortable at that 3-point line and force contested threes or long-range 2’s off the bounce. Against the magic, I would rather allow someone like lewis to shoot a mid to long-range 2 off the dribble as opposed to a catch-and-shoot, rhythm 3.

    As far as rebounding goes, although 3’s tend to create long rebounds, rarely does the person responsible for the 3-point shooter find himself in position to get that rebound anyways. It’s more important for that person to try to force a low-percentage shot rather than close-out haphazardly and attempt to assist with rebounding because in that case, more often than not, a rebound will not be necessary.

  26. pb – I think you are spot on. Even with Kobe struggling, he’s a threat. He still requires double teams, because, as he’s proven time after time, he can suddendly get hot and turn a game all by himself.

  27. DTM, I had that in the post, Bynum did have stomach issues. He may have been puking, I was not at the game last night (and haven’t read it, but may have missed it). That may have had something to do with his play as the game wore on. That said, my guess that the fouls/whatever shook him is based on the past, he seems to fold at times. This time, maybe he did have a legit excuse.

  28. I think its interesting how as we ask the bench, LO, and Bynum not to defer to Kobe, we also get on them for taking shots outside the flow. We are so used to only seeing Kobe take “bad” shot that it is jarring when others take jumpers that are not wide open. As observers we know that there re so many “bad” a shots a team can take and still win. Usually we have Kobe penciled in as taking all of them. If he’s hitting win usually win big. If he’s not hitting, its a struggle. But he is only one allowed to take them. Last night, I thought our team did a good job not defering to Kobe, who was off and still got off 19 shots, but there seems a concern in the comments about the quality of the shots the Lakers take. I agree that contested jumpers will get your team beat, but contested jumpers are going to get shot. This the nba, and every player thinks/knows they are good. I think your secondary players need to get reps during this time of the year. So them take shots in game situations, contested or not, are going to help us down the line because we need them to have that experience that only comes from getting reps. I want us to play the perfect game. No “bad” shots, everything in the flow. I think we should shoot lay-ups. But “bad” shots are part of basketball, and if your team hits them, they usually roll. I thought that Farmar missed some rolls in the PNR game, and I thought some of Shannon’s jumpers off the bounce are always available, but who cares? They made shots, sparked us to a win, and now are more engaged as the season progresses. I think we are a better team after last night.

  29. I thought the offense was a lot more crisp. The cutters and screeners did their job. We moved the ball and got good looks. I frankly don’t mind a couple of bad shots on Farmar and SB’s part if they’re taking mostly good shots with the confidence that they showed last night.

  30. My comments about Bynum weren’t meant as an insult to him; they were intended as praise for Howard. Howard hit a couple of bank shots (if he develops that, he’ll be unstoppable), but he also just blew by Andrew on a couple of possessions, and Andrew just couldn’t keep up. Whether this is a long-term trend or not, I’m not sure. But what we do know is that Gasol can defend Howard pretty well 1v1, and the key with Howard is to switch from single coverage to double-teaming late in the game. However, we’ve also seen that physical play can really take Howard out of his game (Kendrick “NeverSmile” Perkins does this regularly). I hope Bynum can develop the same kind of physical defense against Howard.

    Also, good points about the merits of not closing out all crazy-like as Shannon Brown did, but I have to agree with EJK; against a hot three-point shooting team like Orlando, you’d rather they step in and take a long two, or dribble and try to draw a foul than to take a three in rhythm. Rashard Lewis had two perfect looking threes in the third quarter because Odom was guarding him and didn’t close hard on his shots. But when the 4th quarter came and it was Brown closing on him, you could see that Lewis was bothered and he clanked one.

  31. Interesting question, Kurt. I just think they shoot the wrong shots, not necessarily that they shoot too much. Fisher’s job is to hit the wide-open 3. That’s it. If he gets 10, take 10. And when he does that, like last night, the offense hums.

    Farmar and Brown, like others have said…they went in last night, but they weren’t great shots. I just want our backup PGs (not Fish!) to attack more. It can be argued Farmar doesn’t finish well in traffic, but no one wants the PUJITs, even when they go in, because they just encourage more. I just feel like our guards either don’t understand the system and where/when they should attack (Farmar/Brown), or else play beyond their physical limits and often turn the ball over or break a play (Fish).

    Still, all it takes is one player getting hot from deep in the playoffs. No need to knock these guys too much after they played well.

  32. I couldn’t agree more with Kurt’s observation, the problem is we have shoot first point guards on a team where basically 3 players (Kobe, Gasol, Bynum) can’t be single covered. Farmar and Brown are looking for there own shot while Gasol and Bynum are fighting for position for easy looks down low. I know the stat line looked great for those guys but I was dissapointed in the way they played. I think Brown can learn to pick his spots, with Farmar I think that ship has sailed…

  33. “Bad” shots are so hard to define because it is different for everyone. For example, a contested fadeaway jumper for Fisher is a “bad” shot. But for Kobe, it’s his normal shot. That said, I don’t think all “difficult” shots are necesarily bad shots. If they are shot with clock running down, it’s not necesarily a bad shot. However, PG dribbling down at the beginning of the offensive sequence, without surveying the situation and making an attempt to pass to the post or wing player, and chucking up a contested 3 is usually a bad shot, even if he hits it, especially if the other team has scored 3 trips in a row. 1) It is a low percentage shot. 2) It doesn’t get other players involved. 3) It didn’t eat up some time on offense making other team play some defense. 4) Long rebounds can lead to fastbreaks.

    I think PGs need to make better decisions in general because they tend to have the ball more than other players. There’s nothing more frustraing than having shoot first PG as your teammate because when he misses that long jumper, the bigs who hustled down to set up in the post now has to hustle back to get in the defensive position in the paint. Remember, the bigs have more distance to cover in transition because they usually go from baseline to baseline, whereas the smalls go from 3point line to 3 point line. That’s extra 40-50 feet per trip!

    I understand that Farmar and Brown have to shoot with confidence in the regular season, so that they can do that in the playoffs. But “lack” of confidence doesn’t seem to be Farmar and Brown’s main problem. The bigger problem seems to be not having composure and awareness of situation to run “proper” offense at “proper” time. PG’s need to do that. BTW, I had no problem with Farmar taking that PUJIT 3 on a pass from Kobe, because it was a shot off a pass and he was WIDE OPEN!

  34. Kurt, your right in that Bynum does do this in games quite often (even if he was sick) he needs to figure out how to fight past it and become a better player because if he doesn’t he will be useless in the playoffs like he was last year. He will basically become a foul machine on the court for brief moments in the game and we cant have that with as talented as the rest of the league has become.

  35. I agree with all of pb’s points about “bad” shots, especially how they effect defense. I also agree with pb about the PGs making better decisions. Side note: Is Fisher our worst decision maker at point guard? I think he might be the worst guard at running the fast break the league.

    I guess my point is more about if players are always going to take those shots. “Bad” ones. Isn’t it in the team’s best interest in them making them. Secondary players on every team takes these shots, they always will. I don’t want our guys to take them more or anything. I do want our guys to get better at running the sets, looking for our greatest advantage, and making shots when they have them.

    This all goes back to Kobe. Everything about our team does. Our team is more efficient when Kobe is defered to less. He said it last week. He might be the greatest player of all time when he gets his shots in the offense. Maybe because he is in the greatest offense of all time. We saw how much we win when Kobe’s shots happen outside of our offense. When he freelances he is not the greatest player of all time. Thats why he is top 10. He freelances sometimes.

    So if everyone asserts themselves more, Kobe can be better. “Bad” shots will unfortunately come with this assertion. Just no more PUJITs. Please no more PUJITs.

  36. “The aim of signing Marbury is to pay back our fans…” –Shanxi boss Wang Xingjiang after signing Stephon Marbury

    That could be read more than one way, depending on Wang’s relationship with his fans.

    I can see people’s points about the close-outs, but – correct me if I’m wrong – I believe the Celtics routinely employ those types of close-outs in their Thibodeau scheme. It’s worked well for them.

    Also, we really lack a cutter this year. Barnes looked good in a (slower) Ariza type of role; there was a handoff from Dwight that reminded me a lot of Pau to Odom.

  37. I too think Farmar’s ship has sailed. No one can say he doesn’t know the offense. No one can say he doesn’t know where he fits on the team. At this time the only thing a fan can say is that he doesn’t have the personality/desire to run this offense the way the coach wants it run.

    He will likely be a big success for someone like Phoenix, but I don’t think he stays beyond this year, regardless what we do in the playoffs.

  38. I think it is pretty clear that Shannon Brown has taken over Sasha’s roll as backup 2 and emergency backup 1. The only question will be if he is willing to be that on a championship level team vs being a bigger fish on a lesser team.

    The real advantage the Lakers have is that Brown has a history that includes both another improving team (Cleveland) and an also ran (Charlotte). He also knows, by this time, that our system will get him open looks and that his type of contributions are appreciated by the fans and NBA people. I don’t think his ego is as much a factor as with Farmar.

    If we keep Shannon for next year we need to draft a backup PG and perhaps trade Sasha??? for another to fight it out in training camp.

    Anyway, I plan to enjoy this year with the team we have and not to spend much time worrying about how we can change. I liked the 6/2 or 5/3 road projection by TNT last night.

  39. My take on last night’s game was that Kobe and Shannon cancelled each other out. In the future we can’t bank on Shannon hitting those shots, but we can expect Kobe to hit more of his. So if we replayed that game while regressing to the mean on both fronts, the end result would be about the same.

    On Fisher, he did have a very good first half, but I couldn’t get over how he and the team played during the run in the 3rd quarter. To me, when its clear momentum has shifted significantly in a game, the most important thing for the team to do is to get 1 good offensive possession. Then build off that.

    During that run, the team seemed to avoid good possessions on principle. I don’t know how many consecutive times they dribbled into unassisted jump shots, but it felt like 15 in row. At least 2 of those were by Fisher. Kobe, Odom and Artest has their own, by I was most upset when Fisher would do it because he’s supposedly our veteran point guard. If anybody should know to pound it inside, it should be your veteran point guard, no? I don’t care how hot you are in the first half, when you’ve given away a 10 point lead shooting bad jump shots, you don’t call your own number the next time down.

    I’m not climbing on the start Farmar or Brown bandwagons yet because as people have said they just happened to be hitting those bad shots, but that run just stuck with me because of how egregiously bad the execution was.

    But it was one stretch of one game, so I know I’m overreacting. But that was probably the most frustrating stretch of basketball I’ve seen this year. Hopefully Kobe can come back stronger with a few days off before the road trip.

    This Cleveland game is the latest Biggest Game of the Year. I don’t care how they win it, if they get the victory its a big deal.

  40. harris – i was cursing the TV last night when fish “ran” the 2v1 fast break so poorly at the end of the 1st half (jumped into Barnes instead of passing to try to draw a phantom foul call that was obviously not forthcoming), thus directly leading to a Magic fast break the other way that culminated with an Anderson 3. That was a 5 point swing right there.

    Poorly run fast breaks are the worst – not only do you not score when you should, but if the ball stays in play your teammates are entirely out of position, thus giving the opponent points.

  41. I think there have been several good points made…

    I agree with Harris in that bad shots will happen. Players will not always make the right choices and, as anyone that’s actually played basketball will attest, players do get caught up in the flow of the game and end up taking shots that a simple review of the game tape will show was not a good one. I think we all want those shots minimized, but if/when they are taken that we also hope they go in (and that when they do go in that it doesn’t inspire the culprit to take a similar shot next time down). I also agree that we are best served, as a team, when players don’t look to Kobe to bail them out too frequently. There are times where we’ll need the Kobe heroics or times when he has the ball in his hands and our best option is to have him (one of the best shot creators ever) to use his brilliance to get himself a *decent* shot. But, in the end, we want to minimize that. This offense is at it’s best when the execution level is high and when the ball is moving. Ball movement (combined with player movement) will result in shots coming from a variety of places and players, which is what makes this team dangerous (if you focus too much on one guy, the ball will go somewhere else and a good shot will be created).

    But that point leads me to agree with PB in that the players (especially the PG trio of Fish/Farmar/Brown) need to do a better job of initiating our sets while not defering to Kobe while still staying agressive for themselves. This is a balancing act that is both difficult but very necessary. I think Fisher is still the best at this (PUJIT’s included) because he’s the player that knows this offense best and he won’t waste time seeking out an option in our offense – if something is not there (a post entry to Kobe, for example) he’ll pass somewhere else and move to the next option. This is a read and react system and I think Fisher does the best job of doing just that. Fish may take more contested jumpers than the other players, but those contested jumpers normally come after the ball is swung to him and aren’t typically jumpers taken off the dribble where making a pass is more appropriate. This gets back to my point earlier about Farmar – Jordan is probably the worst of the 3 PG’s at reading/determining when his agressiveness is needed and when running our sets is more appropriate. And, in my eyes, it got him pulled from the game in the 4th quarter last night. Rather than running that P&R with Pau (when the Magic cut the lead to 5(?)), he should have tried to run our offense but he seemed to be feeling so good about his own offense that he thought him shooting *that* shot was the route to take. Incorrect. Brown is the player that I think has the temperament to be closest to Fish in striking a healthy balance, but I also think his role as the backup SG has him a tad too agressive when holding back could net better results. In a sense though, because Brown is the only one of our “PG’s” that plays multiple positions, I excuse these types of shots/actions more.

  42. I really don’t think Bynum had that bad of a game last night. He had a decent 1st half, and by comparison Pau looked like a better defender on Howard because we were double teaming Howard in the 2nd half. But he had two nice blocks in the 1st, including that killer block on Barnes, which was big for our momentum at the time. I don’t think that we get off to as hot of a start without AB on the floor.

    Shannon and Farmar played excellent. One thing is clear though. Farmar wants his numbers. Twice he had Shannon open for a dunk on the break and decided to take it himself, drawing the foul the 2nd time. He does dominate the ball a lot, but I think he’s doing that because of the unit he’s with. That won’t fly with our starters on the floor.

    Shannon’s halftime interview cracked me up. He was like “Barnes is standing at the free throw line and I’m at the 3 point line. I’m gonna shoot it and I just made shots” I couldn’t believe how wide open they were leaving SB all game. And when he gets confident with his shot, he’s our 2nd best guard on the team. Unlike Jordan, he only takes the shots he gets. He doesn’t force the issue.

  43. Well, I’m off to my buddy’s place in Cleveland to play Left 4 Dead 2 non-stop, only taking a break to go to the Lakers-Cavs game on Thursday night. Honestly, I’m not sure which will be the highlight of my trip. Hopefully I’ll have some cool stories to share.

  44. Darius, you are right, the points guards all have strengths and weaknesses, which would be nice if they compliment each but really do more to exacerbate their deficiencies. It would be nice we could create a Frankenstein point guard with Fish’s left side of the brain, Farmar’s right side of the brain, and put them into Shannon’s body, but unless Steve Martin takes the place of Gary Vitti, we will have to go with a platoon.

    Its also interesting to note how focused the comments have been on pgs on a post about winning with out Kobe. Its is because of the misconception of how the pg is unimportant in the triangle. Maybe in the mid-90s this was true, but with the rule changes you need production out that position to keep up with every other team. Also, the pg is your head. You can dominate physically with out the head, but the domination is much more aesthetically pleasing with one.

  45. Harris,
    Yeah, PG can be less important when you have Kobe/Pippen in facilitator roles and MJ/Shaq in devastator roles. Even last season, with Bynum hurt and on a team where Kobe/Pau were clearly defined as the #1 and #1A, Odom took on a lot of responsibility (with Fisher) as an initiator for our offense. I’m hopeful Artest can be a guy that develops into that role for us, but he’s had one training camp with this group and it’s wishful thinking that a newcomer could be a guy that gets us alligned properly right from the outset of his tenure.

  46. Great points by Darius throughout the thread about our PG’s.

    The job of the point guard in this particular offense (with Kobe, Pau, & Bynum) is to make sure the ball moves and spot up for wide open three pointers, then knock them down when you receive the kick out.

    That’s it.

    Creating three pointers off the dribble is not part of the program. Even if they’re going in….as Darius said, that’s why Farmar got pulled in the 4th Q.

    Kobe gets a pass for that kind of BS, because, well, he’s Kobe…and he’s shown through a well-established 14 year career that he can make those shots.

    Jordan has not established that history AT ALL.

    It may be a double standard, but Kobe is the only one who’s allowed to take bad shots.

  47. On the shoot-first PG discussion, Farmar and Brown seem to have very different problems that end up resulting in the same outcome (taking bad shots).

    Brown just isn’t a playmaker. You can tell he wants to pass, wants to make the right play or the right decision, but he just doesn’t have that ability (save for the rare drop-off pass to avoid the help defender on an attempted ShanWOW dunk). When it’s Brown’s turn to initiate the offense he usually dribbles for a while at the elbow, surveying the floor and looking for the play to develop, but he takes too much time and invariably ends up either swinging it aimlessly around the perimeter or taking a questionable jump shot. I really don’t think he WANTS to take those shots, but he ends up having to because he puts himself in that position. He just isn’t a point guard, as much as we would like him to be. He looks to pass, he’s just not very good at it. He has the right mentality, but the wrong skill set.

    Farmar, on the other hand, has shown the play-making ability that Brown lacks, but seems unwilling to utilize it consistently. He likes to shoot, he wants to shoot, so he shoots (even when he really, really shouldn’t). Like Brown, Farmar has a tendency to over-dribble, but he usually does so while calling for/waving off screens and looking for a way to get in position to score. He has the wrong mentality, but the right skill set.

    So, we have two shoot-first point guards who are what they are for entirely different reasons. As much as I like ShanWow, I think the Farmar stands the better chance of becoming a real point guard. All he needs is a change in his mentality, whereas I’m skeptical that Brown can develop the necessary play-making ability at this stage of his career. But if Farmar doesn’t figure out that he’s not Kobe, then it’s a moot point.

  48. Chownoir (was J) January 19, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Since we’re talking PG’s. Kevin Ding at OC Register with another solid article, this time on PG’s.

    http://www.ocregister.com/sports/farmar-229785-lakers-brown.html

  49. Farmar has the 2nd highest usage ratio on the team. When your using up more possessions then Bynum or Gasol, that to me suggests your prioritie are not the same as your team.

    That also suggests he’s playing for his next contract which won’t be with the Lakers.

  50. To summarize:

    Fisher: our best “wide open spot up” shooter, best initiator of offense, worst overall defender, worst finisher at the rim, and worst at running fast break.

    Farmar: our best “quick” defender, best penetrator (ballhandler), best at running fast break, worst physical defender, worst spot up shooter, and worst decision maker on offense

    Brown: our best finisher on break, best “physical” defender, good “spot up” shooter, worst initiator (passer) on offense, worst ball handler

    I think Farmar and Brown complement each other well in an uptempo game. They are best used as tempo changers in the 2nd/3rd quarters.

    Fisher should just start, play limited minutes and finish the game in a tight situation.

    Isn’t this what PJ’s been doing most of the time?

  51. After 4 yrs in this system shouldn’t we all agree what Farmar’s tendencies are? He knows the system. He knows the personnel. He is very smart and talented. I followed him at UCLA and he was very ego driven there, also. He is a headstrong, talented leader – ala Baron Davis, but not as powerful. This is not the type of PG that is needed for this Laker team. We already have 1 super-ego and several contenders in a system that attempts to create equal shots for all players. In that environment Farmar can do more damage than good, unless he is able to harness his natural inclination to take over.

    I really supported him when we drafted him because I thought his talent and drive would make him a net plus on the team – and we needed a future PG. I was right – however, his personal drive is so strong that he finds it difficult to mesh into this system.

    I am resigned to the fact that he is who he is – a-la Lamar Odom – and, unlike Lamar, what he brings to the table doesn’t surpass what he takes away.

  52. Why do the Lakers go through stretches where they refuse to enter the ball into the post? In my mind, that was the main cause for the huge dry spell in the third quarter. Not giving Pau, one of the best offensive post players in the game, consistent touches on the block is borderline insane.

  53. Travis makes a great point that I’m shocked nobody else seems to get: Gasol did not guard Howard one on one the way Bynum did. The Lakers made an adjustment at halftime and started to double Howard in the 2nd half (when Gasol was guarding him).

    THAT, more than anything else, is why Orlando ended up shooting themselves out of the game by hoisting up 3 pointers and not pounding the rock inside.

    As for the frequent references to Farmar & Brown as if they are a pair, please try to differentiate between these two guys, because they have virtually nothing in common. One (Brown) is a hustle guy who has a hunger to improve and an understanding of his role, with the other (Farmar) is a selfish and clueless player who thinks he is so much better than what he really is. Seeing him in action for the first time ina while last night put it in perfect perspective for me: Jordan is just a way less talented version of White Chocolate.

  54. #51, I ask myself the same thing. But, it’s not just the Lakers. The Magic had the same issue last night. They stopped going to Howard.

    I have come to the conclusion that it’s because of the defense the opposing team starts playing that makes passing to the post a lot harder.

  55. PB with the excellent “Cliff’s Notes”.

    I wanted to add that I’m hard on Farmar – a lot harder on him than on other players. The reason being is that, if he wanted to, he could be exactly what we need. He’s a gym rat and is a good enough shooter that he could improve to the point where he’s a 38-40% three point shooter. He’s smart and if he wanted to, he could run our sets and make the right decisions on when to get his own and when to look for his mates. I mean, the game against Houston in the playoffs when Fish was suspended was what I’d like to see from Farmar every game. It’s what he’s capable of. I don’t know how many of you have read Bill Simmon’s ‘Book of Basketball’ and his concept of the “The Secret” (which isn’t a secret at all, really). Earlier this season, Kobe discussed this concept in relation to himself where he said that early in his career he was trying to make a name for himself and carve out his place in this league but that those days are gone. That winning is all that matters now and that he can continue to get better by continuing to find ways to contribute to winning games; to winning championships. I bring all this up because this is where Farmar is falling short, in my eyes, at this point in his career. In the Ding article linked to in comment #48, Ding even relays that anecdote that Farmar loves video games but doens’t play basketball ones because the video game version of Farmar isn’t as good as the real life Farmar. That mindset is still to geared towards how good he can be as an individual player rather than the mentality on how he can maximize the strenght of the team by using his set of skills. Again, this is why I’m hard on Jordan. He, even more than Shannon and as detailed by PB, has all the requisite skills to be a very, very good PG for this team. But, too often, he finds a way to show or wants to prove that he can be a better PG in general, thinking that is helping the team. On a side note, there’s a scene in the movie “A Beautiful Mind” where Russel Crowe is in a bar with his friends and they’re all enamoured with one particular girl that has a group of friends. Crowe goes on to explain to his friends that rather then them all competing with eachother to get that one girl (and doing what is solely in their own best interests) that they should instead focus their attention on one of the girls’ friends. This way, they all get a girl and they all succeed as individuals and as a group. My point? – Jordan could help the group so much more if he resisted his temptation to find ways where he is making the impact (i.e. going after the hot girl).

  56. Daniel,
    That is what all this discussion about the PG is about. A veteran presence who will feed the people who need the ball, when they need to be fed.

    The ideal PG for us would be Chauncey Billups, however, not only is he not available, but he is also too expensive. Jason Kidd would also be a real plus, but…same reasons.

  57. I think Ryan is dead on. Brown has the type of attitude you want to keep around – he really just wants to do his best and fit in – but he just has minimal point guard skills. Even in the triangle, the PG has to be, for lack of a more concrete term, a steadying influence. He has to know the system. He has to have the cajones to occasionally deny Kobe if it means running the system. It’s so hard to describe, but you know it when you see it. It takes a certain maturity, and comfort with the system. It’s why Fish has been frustrating at times, because the PUJITs were a new invention that undermined his triangle smarts (esp. considering his slumping shooting). There’s a certain je-ne-sais-quoi about it; even within the triangle, some players have it, and some don’t.

    That’s why I’ve slowly come to realize that although Brown is a great backup to have, but I doubt he will be the heir to the PG slot, not on a multi-championship team. But I do hope he’s a Laker for a long time.

    Craig – I just think that’s the problem – veterans are too expensive for us. I’d rather take a player (for e.g., Jack) and give him a year or so under Fish, and mold him into the type of triangle PG that we need.

  58. my take on a couple of things:
    1) bynum: i thought that was a strategic move … early in the game howard was just bulling right past him, so bynum backed off and set up. that’s when howard started hitting the banks. i’m with whoever said: give him as many of those as he wants to shoot.
    2) i thought farmar played a heckuva fourth quarter, but i understand phil pulling him. his first shots might not have looked great, but they came within the context of the offense (the ones that weren’t off steals), but then he started dribbling and one-on-oneing and shooting bad shots and that’s when jackson pulled him. at least, that’s the way it looked to me.
    also, i was at the game last night and it really felt like at the start of the third quarter, all the energy got sucked out of the building. i told a friend they were playing like they were waking up from a nap.
    still, again, they played half of a really good game (second half against the clips, first and fourth quarters against the magic). considering they’re still like 5 games out in front in the west, that’s not bad.

  59. I’m not too displeased by the quality of Shannon’s/Jordan’s shots. They seemed to have a good idea of what the defense was going to give them, got to their spots, and hit shots in rhythm.

    Last night our bigs had a sense of what the perimeter players were trying to accomplish and used their versatility to assist teammates and win games without being the focal point of the offense.

    I thought the flow of the game was pretty good. In the past I’ve been disappointed in LA not feeding Gasol and Bynum and playing more deliberately, but I see that isn’t conducive to confidence-building. As maddening as it can be at times, this is the way to realize the team’s potential.

    Artest seems unsure about when and how to assert himself offensively, but makes up for it on the defensive end. He’s done a good job of hitting 3s and recognizing a mismatch. When his off-the-ball movement improves, the offense will shine.

    Bynum isn’t too versatile, yet. I believe he’s anxious to to contribute in real and meaningful ways, but the chemistry and experience is not there just yet. So, he has to score or else he doesn’t feel relevant.

    Due to his injured status, I kind of wish Kobe would do the things other than scoring that win ball games. And in a sense, he has with his leadership and toughness.

    Some want to see less of Kobe, but I want to see more.

  60. Farmar has all the keys, but lets remember, he’s auditioning for a big raise and it probably won’t come from the Lakers.

    So, if you’re trying to show case your talents for other teams, wouldn’t you want to run pick and roll sets and show how awesome you are shooting and going to the basket? Remember, he is 23 years old and even Kobe wanted to get his at 23 years old and show he is a better player. Kobe always showed frustrations with the triangle offense until the year he spent without it. In all honesty, I really don’t blame him for being financially frustrated (if he is) when looking at how much money Sasha makes to sit on the bench. (You guys figure out yet that I really really don’t like Sasha’s contract?)

    @Craig W, i’ll agree with you that Chauncey would probably fit well in the triangle. I will disagree that J. Kidd would. While he is shooting the 3 well this year, Kidd has never been known for his shooting ability. Second, Kidd’s talents are more suited for an up tempo style and one that deals with pick and rolls that give him the opportunity to make passes to open guys. Third, Kidd’s currently a terrible defensive guard. Remember Kidd and Gary Payton have similar games (with Kidd being a much better passer) and we all know how that worked out in 2004.

    Daniel, i agree with you. the third quarter lull was crazy and i remember thinking, why are we not going into the post. The triangle offense is designed to allow an entry past from different angles no matter how the defense plays it. It seems that the third quarter, the STARTERS were really out of sorts.

    But, thankfully, we were playing a team that also doesn’t know how to make entry passes to the post. Or figure out ways to get their best player the ball in successful situations. I shook my head yesterday in the fourth quarter when J. Nelson made a shot, but still down by 8 and was smiling on the way back. Plenty of time to play and get back into it, but he just seemed content.

  61. Snoopy2006,
    Yeah, I know…
    It’s just that we fans have been really pulling for Farmar to be that guy for the last 4yrs. It’s just extremely frustrating to finally have to admit that we are wrong and have to start over again with another young player.

    Here is another second to reading that Kevin Ding article linked to in #48 (Chownoir).

    Kevin still hasn’t quite given up yet, but I have been watching Jordan for 6 yrs now.

  62. #14,

    I agree that Boston/San Antonio are being very smart regarding Veteran playing time, and Phil JAckson is not playing Kobe 45 minutes a game. But remember that game time is not the only wear that a body gets. Practice time also causes wear and tear. Kobe missed the last few practices, so i think Phil was giving him time to make up for the practices.

    In any event, every Laker fan agrees that Kobe should be resting. I’m not sure why someone doesn’t tell Kobe: “hey, i know you want to play, but sometimes you just need to put the team’s playoff hopes ahead of your own personal goals.” And Kobe is my favorite player.

  63. kaveh,
    Kobe doesn’t want to rest — he doesn’t think that is an allowable situation. He also can use his reputation to draw defensive players to himself and allow others better shots; as has been mentioned here.

    I really think Phil used this game as an example and he can pull Kobe on the road more easily because of it. I don’t think Phil is any less smart than Pop or, certainly, Doc.

  64. Regarding the PG questions, i say “are you guys serious?” Fisher was playing far better than his typical play, but even then it is not even close to what Brown/Farmar can bring. Those two bring a quickness/athletic ability that Fisher has either lost or never even had to begin with. Along with better skill on both the offensive side and defensive side.

    For those of you that say Fisher is smarter, i say OF COURSE. But how do Farmar/Brown get smarter for the playoffs? Well, the way they get to become a veteran like fisher is to play close games against great competition in the 4th quarter.

    Were Farmar/Brown taking some bad shots? Yes, but those were shots taken because both were absolutely on fire. If they stopped going in, they would have stopped taking them. Each night is different. On the night Kobe scored 81 points, i would not be upset with him taking contested 3pt shots. Why? Because they were going in. On a regular night, he probably wouldn’t take those, or at least he would stop if they stopped going in.

    Farmar/Brown are both better than Fisher. They play stupid at times, yes. But for them to get smarter they need more experience when it matters, in the 4th quarter in a close game against great teams. They may never become as smart or even as close to being clutch as Fisher. But they are far better players at this point, and they need to be our 1st/2nd options at the PG.

  65. Craig – Well, Buss is a master poker player. And the Farmar situation is like playing a hand until the turn and realizing you have absolutely nothing. It’s better to fold than to play out a hand just for the sake of staying in it. Farmar, unfortunately, is a weak hand, and I think Buss sees that.

    OK, that’s a lie, I have absolutely no idea what Buss thinks. But I hope he sees that and doesn’t overpay.

  66. There have been some great observations about the PG issue her (which I won’t bother summarizing yet again), which actually brings my mind back again to the old (old, old) conventional wisdom regarding Phil and the Triangle: what this system needs is a tall solid-to-stud defender who makes good decisions on the offensive end and can knock down a shot when need be.

    Kaveh, I don’t think that the issue is who is “better”, but who does the most to help us win, and from that perspective, it’s highly debatable whether either of them is “better” than Fish.

    I am actually of the opinion that PJ and the coaching staff are more concerned with what is going on defensively from our PGs than offensively. I am explicitly not throwing out trade suggestions, but I think that we’d be better off with a Courtney Lee or Iguodala type guy who has the length, speed and tenacity to make us more of a trapping defensive team, ala the MJ-Pip Bulls.

    SB can certainly grow into that role, or whatever his version of it might be, but I, like Darius, am disappointed that Farmar has failed to use his unique skills to better fit the team. I like him considerably as a player, and think that he can be quite good, but it’s pretty evident at this point that it’s just not for this team.

    What I’m really getting at is that a few bad shots or bad decisions on the offensive end are perfectly acceptable if the PG, whoever that might be, is wreaking havoc on defense, which SB did last night, which is probably why he stayed on the floor.

    If he can do that more consistently, and grow into making better decisions offensively, then I think we may have something here, but if he can’t, it might be high time to go (way) back to the idea of needing a BShaw/Ron Harper replacement for this team.

  67. Like many have already said Farmar has the skill set to be a good pg. He just needs the experience. Coming off the bench playing 10-15 minutes doesn’t count as experience. So far Farmar has played well whenever Phil has called his number. Phil has to let Farmar play through some of his mistakes in order for Farmar to learn.

    Shannon is a small shooting guard not a point guard. I said this last season but many were saying he could be the lakers back up pg. NO. He needs to focus on how to become a better shooting guard. He can eat up a few minutes at the point against bigger guards like Chauncy Billupssince the lakers don’t require a pure pg.

    Moving on to Fisher. He’s still the starter and should finish most games. But he’s not getting any better, and he’s been slightly better than terrible for most of this season. He’s had some decent games here and there. Everyone say’s Fisher strongest asset and advantage over Farmar is Fishers ability to run the offense and his experience. However, that’s where Fisher has struggled the most at doing. I don’t know if struggle is the right word, but he hasn’t been the reliable veteran presence he was two seasons ago. When the Lakers offense is struggling, Fisher is supposed to settle them down and make the right play. However, Fisher has been the one to fire up a terrible contested long range jumper or drive the ball into 2 or 3 defenders early in the shot clock when the lakers need to settle down. Fisher’s shot selection, particularly when Pau was hurt, has been detrimental to his shooting percentage. Fisher should shoot 40% from 3 because almost all of his shots should be wide open and within the offense. That hasn’t been the case for most of the season. Thats why fisher has so many 1-8, 1-10, 2-11 shooting games. Add that to the fact that opposing pg’s have routinely had field days vs. the Lakers, the Lakers have to start looking towards the future and have to figure out if they should try to resign Farmar. With that being said, Fisher has played better over the last week or so in limited minutes. Pau Gasol’s return also forces Fisher to run the offense a bit more as well. My point is Fisher hasn’t been the consistent and reliable veteran he’s been in the past and should be now. This goes back to last season, especially throughout the western conference playoffs. He can still turn it around and have a decent season. But i’ll bet my money on Farmar playing better as the season goes on rather than Fisher.

  68. Does anyone else miss the days of having reliable triangle post entry passers like Horry, BShaw, and Foxy? The only players on this team I really trust to make consistent, solid passes into the post are Luke, who doesn’t play too many min, and Fish (when he’s not in chucking mode).

  69. To echo a bit of Kaveh, Farmar and Brown give the Lakers some rare speed that we haven’t seen since Trevor left. One of the reasons the bench was more productive last season was because they changed up the pace and style of the game. At one point the “bench mob” included Farmar, Sasha, Trevor, and Lamar. They were able to shift gears on teams (and go away from the Triangle at times) and really catch teams off guard. The loss of Trevor and Sasha’s permanent slump have drastically changed that dynamic.

    But when Farmar and Brown are together in the backcourt I see speed and youth again. Let’s remeber the purpose of playing is to win, not run the Triangle. That doesn’t mean Jordan gets free reign. It doesn’t mean the Lakers should abandon the Triangle. It simply means sometimes you have to take what you can get. There have been plenty of times in the past when the Lakers temporarily went away from the Triangle to get a particular player going. Or Kobe did it just because he wanted to.

    When we consider Fisher’s well documented shortcomings and Shannon’s limitations the Lakers will need strong input from Farmar if they think they are going to repeat. Let’s not get too zealous over the Triangle offense. The Lakers need diversity in their game. Sure, Jordan can get trigger happy. Still when he is on his game (when partnered with Brown) it gives the Lakers a dimension the starters lack. Take that away and the Lakers become a lot slower and a lot less athletic. Speed and athleticism came in very handy in last season’s title run.

  70. 69 – I get what you’re saying, but I think people would be less wary of Farmar’s trigger-happy ways if he didn’t serve up a giant plate of suck for all of last year. But if he can play like he did last night, or almost as well? Run free, Jordy.

  71. I’d just like to add that I’m loving the discussion today! Hall of Fame quality comments. Thanks everybody.

  72. not overly concerned with our PG play to tell you the truth. Brown is clearly the backup to Kobe, which gets the foul/brick machine off the floor. And Farmar, while not the decision maker that FIsh is, is a very good backup. Both backup guards have been playing great, and you could tell Fish is taking notice. He really came out hard last night.

    amid all this debate about who the starting PG should be and who the PG of the future should be, everybody is forgetting something: OUR BENCH IS BACK!!!

    All we gotta do is get Kobe and Ron back to 100%, and keep everybody else fresh for the playoffs. We’ll have the legendary team we thought we would have.

  73. 70- I hear you completely. I just like seeing players not named Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol go off. It doesn’t hurt to facilite that a little more. Some heavy doses of Shannon and Jordan can really help on the eight game roadie.

  74. new post up from nomuskles.

  75. Lets not forget our Christmas Day performance. The triangle is very difficult to run this year when the referees are not calling the game evenly. Kobe definately needs to play about 32 mins a game. I Luv Fish; however at 35 years of age, he is a liability out there when we need some defensive stops. Points guards have been having there way with us this whole season. I’m thankful that Jameer Nelson didn’t plan on lighting us up like he did last season. Farmer and Shannon definately complements each other very well on the court, but with Kobe playing less mins now will only strenghten our bench productivity come playoff time. In my opinion Bynum doesn’t have a passion for the game. If he was 6″10 he would probably be in the D League.