Watching The Celtics Lose Never Gets Old

Kurt —  January 28, 2010

Time to start getting fired up for Sunday.

Kurt

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79 responses to Watching The Celtics Lose Never Gets Old

  1. this one’s for Warren ;)
    let’s keep the streak going!
    let’s finish out this road trip with all W’s!
    THAT, would be impressive.

  2. sorry for the double post, but, has anyone else noticed that ever since the White House visit, Kobe is looking for assists WAAAAAYYYYY more often?
    I mean, it’s almost like it’s catching the players off guard, like they weren’t expecting the pass, so we had lots of turnovers for a while, and now they are catching on to this “new” Kobe and are more ready for that pass. (he’s almost had a triple double in the last 2 games)
    I think this comes from 2 things, 1) Magic Johnson was also at the White House and he and Kobe might have talked about a way Kobe can mix things up, and improve the team, maybe Kobe bought into that, and 2) I think Kobe knows he has to constantly be changing his game or else the opponents can simply plan to defend against a consistent Kobe, so a part of his plan, maybe even from the start of the season, is that right around the all-star break, or on this 8 game trip just prior, he would introduce the “Magic” version of Kobe.
    anyway, that’s just an observation and a hunch, and a place like this is a great place to bounce hunches off of fellow posters.

  3. Never get tired of watching that play!

  4. Truth be told, I HATE the trade deadline and can’t wait until we pass it. I’d rather comment/evaluate on actual players on the floor, and enjoy games like the Lakers/Celts without all the rampant speculation.

    Love the idea of Kobe adapting to “Magic” Kobe. But as usual, it all depends on how Pau/Bynum are playing and whether these guys play well enough to be the 1A/B options. It seems that Kobe feels out the process and evaluates on any given night, whether guys are stepping up, so he can play that Magic role. Always great to have someone like Kobe who has multiple gears and modalities. Makes us even tougher.

  5. Chris H – :-) Maybe Obama told him he needs to pass more. Maybe that is what the follow up visit was about.

  6. Random Stat of the Day: Derek Fisher and Adam Morrision are both averaging more blocked shots than Josh Powell.

  7. Any scoop on whether Drew or Pau might be named All Star reserves? I think Drew is probably more deserving, simply because he hasn’t missed the amount of time due to injury that Pau has. That said, I’d love to see both named. Along with Shannon, that would give the Lakers quite a contingency there.

  8. #2 (Chris H) Obama may have given Kobe the JFK speech, “Ask not what your team can do for you, ask what you can do for your team”

  9. Gr8 Scott. A Spanish paper is reporting Gasol is in. Rumors leaked to a lot of people last night that Randolph was in from Memphis. If those are true, Bynum is likely not on the team.

  10. Does anybody, besides me, think it would be a great idea to sign Javaris Crittenton after his rookie contract expired?
    He has some of the tools to be a good triangle pg. He is big, athletic and can finish around the rim. His defense is decent and he would not be a downgrade at that end of the floor compared to our current point guards.
    The only thing missing is a solid three point shot, but shooting is a part of the game that can be learned at every age. I think he will be rather cheap after what happend in the bullets locker room.
    Any thoughts on this?

  11. Word is W. told the Yankees to suck it after he tossed the first pitch of the World Series in 2001, and they listened… until he was out of office.

    How come Obama’s advise didn’t help Kentucky the other day?

  12. Kurt – thanks so much!! I know that just like the starters, it takes a lot of time (and public perception) just to make the reserves. What stinks about Randolph is that he has always been viewed (or reported) as a coach-killing malcontent and Drew has done just about everything our team has asked of him. I was hoping to see three members of our team there, but hopefully this will just further motivate young Drew.

    One more question – I’m taking my son to the All Star game. Does anyone know if they will sell all of the jerseys/shooting shirts that are sold online at the game??

    I don’t want to buy my son (or myself) something that won’t arrive until after the game online if I can buy it at the game. The last All Star game I went to was in ’89 (when Kareem filled in for an injured Magic, I believe) and the NBA wasn’t as big on marketing this game then. Any input from those of you who’ve been to a recent All Star game would be appreciated.

  13. 3ThreeIII, I disagree. Bynum does not have the right to demand touches on offense at all. He is third in the pecking order and should be third in the pecking order.

    Last night the Lakers went to him because he was guarded by Troy Murphy early — exactly what the Lakers should do, exploit the worst mismatch. That may have got Bynum going, but does that mean we should just start feeding Bynum early when he is covered by Perkins (a very good defensive center)? What about feeding him when Shaq is on him and JJ Hickson is on Gasol against Cleveland? There are nights Kobe should be in attack mode because he gets single-covered by Charlie Bell or someone of that ilk. What the Lakers need to do is attack the mismatches and run the triangle, not go to post isolation for Drew to stroke his ego. He needs to grow up and learn to impact the games with defense and rebounds on the nights he doesn’t get his touches.

  14. I was around 8 at the time, and that play is still the first basketball related memento I can recall, it was the first NBA game I was allowed to watch live feed, and I was criying before that play cause I was sured we were going down, one of the best nights ever for an 8 year old boy.

    Thx for the memories Kurt!

  15. 12.
    This year Randolph has completely turned it around. From all reports that I’ve read, Randolph has become a team player, playing a more well-rounded game. He is the biggest reason why the Grizzlies are winning this year. His numbers are essentially the same, but he has finally gotten “it”, passing more, opening up the game for Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo.

  16. 13, Amen. It’s so simple, and yet…

    (That means no more turnaround 24 footers against the double team, MVP…)

  17. Chownoir (was J) January 28, 2010 at 10:32 am

    GR8 Scott, I always thought that ZBo was a malcontent black hole too. But by all accounts he has changed his stripes this year at Memphis.

    On top of his usual 20/10 production, he is an active willing defender. He’s also looking to pass and keep the offense fluid instead of just looking for his shot. Then you take a look at how that team has done. It’s hard to make a case against him in favor of Drew.

    There’s also been stories of Zach being more communicative with teammates and trying to be a leader. Encouraging them and not letting them get down.

    I love Drew, but production is the gauge. Drew may say and do all the right things, but it seems like he hasn’t contributed as consistently and highly as Zach has. So Zach deserves the berth over Drew.

    Maybe the snub will help Drew recognize he needs to do more than just ask for touches. Be consistent with the other aspects.

  18. Kurt, how about doing a Lakers State of the Union after the trade deadline, with all the requisite pomp and pageantry?

  19. Quick question (and I’m going to deliberately not mention to whom this might refer): if a player has a player option for next year and is traded midseason this year, does he automatically retain that option with the new team (i.e., does the new team have to swallow that the player may or may not exercise that option at the end of the current season without the team having a say)?

    thanks.

  20. Such a classic. One of my favorites.

  21. Kurt I agree with you. The lakers can’t attack every team or even every time they play the same way. That would make them predictable, easier to guard, and easier to frustrate. But the player with the mismatch should not always take the shot either. That is where we get a lot of 1 on 1, or 1 on 5 really, where all the others stand around unready because they do not expect to be part of the offense. Sometimes the best offense is to make everyone on the defensive end word – ergo, go to Pau, go to Bynum, or go to Kobe. If they kept the ball moving, and kept cutters moving, that will allow for more open/uncontested 3′s, and easier baskets overall. That’s why I hate the notion of touches. Everyone should want to be a part of their team, you know, winning, and if they aren’t the scoring option they have to find ways to be effective elsewhere.

  22. everyone on the defensive end work*

  23. I know you hate trade speculation Kurt…but with Bynum on fire…now would be the perfect time to make the Bosh for Bynum swap…you know, before Bynum has his yearly knee injury and/or goes into a funk again…

  24. Hi, I’m just trying to contribute to discussion in this great blog. I am a fan of the game. I wouldn’t say that I’m a student of it, nor that I understand it the way more knowledgeable posters here do. So please keep in mind that this is just a different, less knowledgeable opinion:

    whatever the reason for kobe being on “facilitator mode” these past few games, one thing is for certain: kobe can play this way. It’s just that, for some reason, he chooses not to. and IMHO, I think that’s fine. he’s got 4 rings! he knows what he’s doing.

    I hate to get into that whole Kobe vs. Lebron debate, but let me just approach the angel from a slightly different perspective. Kobe’s probably figured out that having a more all-around game (like Lebron) is not as efficient as his more “one-dimensional” play, where he can focus most of his energy on scoring (Keep in mind that Lebron is always compared to Oscar Robertson, and The Big O only has one ring). Look at it this way, at 31 Lebron will not have the strength he has today, and if he doesn’t develop more moves his scoring avg will go down and his game may decline with age just like The Big O’s. There’s no question that Lebron is great to watch, but he’s great to watch for reasons very different than Kobe is even better to watch. Kobe’s got the most beautiful game (in terms of scoring) we’ve ever seen. He’s such a student of the game. And so he has developed many different offensive moves that he can dip into whenever he needs to. Lebron, who relies more on his strength, can’t do that right now. Who knows if he’ll develop a more diverse offensive game these next couple of years. He will reach his peak in about 2 years, and I’m betting he will continue to play the same way (nothing wrong with that). But let’s remember Kobe at 27-now that was something special. Lebron will probably win a championship or two, but I really doubt he’ll get more than 2 rings, unless the competition really declines around the league these next few years. I guess we’ll get a better picture of that sort of future after next summer’s free agency bonanza.

  25. For those who don’t have insider on ESPN, this is today from Hollinger.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=PERDiem-100128

  26. Sorry the link may not work, so I’ll give you the order.

    10. Pau Gasol
    9. Wilt Chamberlain
    8. Gail Goodrich
    7. James Worthy
    6. Elgin Baylor
    5. Jerry West
    4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    3. Shaquille O’Neal
    2. Kobe Bryant
    1. Magic Johnson

  27. I love Pau, but I’m not sure if he should crack the top ten (yet). This will probably get blasted by some, but based on his entire body of work, I would rank Fish higher than Gasol. His leadership, grit, and contribution to the psyche of the team over the years has far outweighed his stats. Gasol is quickly closing the gap, however, which is definitely a reason to smile.

    How far back does that list go? Is it just top 10? If not, where is Mark Madsen? Pig Miller? Now that’s a debate, right! :P

    Can’t wait until Lakers/Celts!

  28. shaq is way too high..

  29. can’t believe josh smith didn’t make the game, good on pau though, hopefully drew goes on a tear now

  30. It’s disconcerting that Drew seemingly has this selfish paradigm concerning his play but I think it’s a bit overblown

    As we’ve discussed many times in the past, Drew just says what comes to mind and doesn’t quite have the media filter other guys do.

    I will never bash a guy for being honest instead of reading out the company line

  31. @13 – God bless you, Kurt.

    The all-star selection process is flawed, but I’m not entirely sure how to fix it (Ray Allen seems to believe he has the answer). Suffice to say I was unhappy with a couple of selections (or those overlooked, most notably Josh Smith. Did anyone even watch the Hawks this year to come up with Horford over Smith?!).

  32. I would put Baylor, West, and Jabbar ahead of Shaq.

  33. Shaq was THE DOMINANT force in those 3 championship teams. What he did in the finals in those three years is probably top 5 performances in the finals history. Although his selfishness, greed (for money and attention), and inability to co-exist with Kobe turned off a lot of Laker fans including myself, what he did on the court shouldn’t be diminished. Whereas Kareem was with the Lakers towards the end of his prime, Shaq was with the Lakers in his prime. I think his 3 championships might have been more “worthy” than Kareem’s 5 just because of his 3 Finals MVP to Kareem’s 1.

  34. Goodrich ahead of Wilt and Gasol?

    OK …

  35. Drew did not deserve the all-star nod, so no surprise there.

    Before I get slammed for this comment, by the pro-Bynum crowd, I will explain myself:

    Drew is a beast against the likes of the Wizards, Pacers, and other teams with no strong center presence. He dominates the boards and scores at will on these guys. Those nights, he plays like an all-star.

    However, when he plays teams like Boston, Cleveland, Magic, Blazers, he either gets into early foul trouble or he is a non-factor. Until he can make an impact on games where the Lakers NEED him to be dominating, he will – in my eyes – be nothing more than a very good player, but not an all-star.

  36. Did anyone else see Pau and Drew’s respective quotes on becoming an all-star? It shows what type of player each is, Drew is more worried about stuffing his stats and personal accolades than team issues it seems (which most young players are until they mature and realize what’s most important – putting team first) and Pau solely talking about teamwork and how honorable it is to be on the all-star team. I hope Bynum can change this mode of thinking but its disturbing to hear him say what he did since he is on such a great team. It definitely shows he wants to be the head taco on the team or at least second fiddle to kobe.

  37. PREDICTION: Kobe trusts Bynum when he is matched up against Troy Murphy. If Bynum and Pau are ineffective against Boston’s front line, look for Kobe to start taking over offensively. This will undoubtedly result in half of this blog questioning Kobe’s shot selection, and wondering why he took so many shots.

    Re the video: I would guess that if you replaced Magic with Kobe in that video, half of this blog would be calling Kobe a ballhog for not passing to a wide open Kareem.

  38. The bottom line is that Drew is essentially correct: he should be getting more touches on offense.

    Drew’s motivation for voicing this opinion may come from a selfish place (i.e., he wants to be an All-Star); however, this doesn’t change the fact that he is the Lakers’ most efficient scorer (by far). One could also give Drew negative points for not mentioning that Pau too should be getting more touches, as Pau is the Lakers’ second most efficient scorer.

    The main culprit is, of course, Kobe, who simply dominates the ball too much for his level of effectiveness. His Usage is 3rd highest in the league at 31.3 (miles ahead of Pau at 19.1 and Drew at 18.5, which doesn’t even place them in the top 50 in the NBA); yet Kobe is only 7th on the team in eFG% and an even worse 10th on the team in A/TO. This lack of efficiency is reflected clearly in Kobe’s Usage to PER ratio, which is a pretty poor -7.6 (especially when compared to Pau and Drew who are at +3.99 and +1.83 respectively).

    Of course, Kobe is not alone in this. Our perimeter players in general settle far too much for outside shots, which is reflected by the fact that we currently sit at 9th in the NBA in 3ptFGA/G despite being only 16th in the NBA in 3ptFG%.

    So, while it’s fine and dandy to say that we should just run our offense and take open shots when they come, the bottom line is that it is easier to get perimeter shots than shots in the paint. Given our talent in the paint (i.e., Pau and Drew present mismatches to opposing bigs virtually every single night), we would benefit greatly from tweaking our offense to make a more concerted effort to get the ball inside to said talent.

  39. is there a reason my posts are not going through?

  40. Kurt, I think you are unduly harsh when it comes to Bynum demanding touches. First of all, you cite two examples (Shaq and Perkins) that materialize all of 4 times per season. The kind of matchup we saw last night is actually far more reflective of the typical matchup that Drew has, because there just aren’t very many legitimate centers (and notice how Drew dominated Indiana’s only legit center, Hibbert, when he was in).

    Andrew’s shooting percentage lays bare the error in your analysis. He has an advantage virtually every night, and yet his teammates often jack up long jumpers early in the shot clock. He should be getting more, not fewer shots.

  41. Bynum should get more shots, perhaps, but it depends on where they come from. If they come from Pau, it’s hurting the team. Ideally Bynum should get some shots from our inefficient guards, but I just don’t see it happening realistically. And then the frustration sets in – why can’t a player as gifted as Bynum affect the game in other ways, without touches?

    As much as we jump on Bynum, his mentality isn’t too different from Kobe’s early on. Kobe admitted that he wanted the #s early on in his career, to establish his name. The difference was, Kobe wanted to excel in all areas of the game, whereas we know where Drew’s focus is. If Kobe was 7’1″ and didn’t get enough touches, I can only see him getting angry and going on a rebounding and defensive tear.

    But every player has his own mentality and makeup. We can’t change someone’s personality.

  42. @41

    Whether you agree w/ Kurt or not, I think the dynamics of the team are clearly established. To quote Kobe, “I eat first”.

    That speaks volumes.

  43. chris h,
    I’m not sure anyone can tell Kobe something, but he is smart and he does listen – then he decides.

    My thought is that he is getting tired of being stripped of the ball while driving into the teeth of the defense – remember he does have a damaged right hand and it probably affects his ability to handle the ball more than anything else.

    If he is able to up his assists he may force more attention to his teammates. This means less attention when he drives. This is a win-win for him. Also, from watching the games, he seems to be conserving more energy by directing things from the outside.

  44. #39 Sean P,

    Based on your logic, Eric Dampier should be getting more shots at the expense of Dirk. After all, Dampier leads the team in FG%. I’m not suggeting that Dampier is in Bynum’s class by any means, but the same logic applies. If you give Dampier more shots, his FG% will plummet. The ratio of shots that are putbacks and lobs underneath the basket compared to offense he creates for himself would go down, resulting in lower FG%. Teams would also start doubling him, creating more of responsibility on Dampier’s shoulders for increased decision making.

    I don’t understand the criticism towards Kobe on this blog. Phil knows what he is doing, and by all accounts, he seems fine with it. This formula has led to back to back finals. I’m all for giving Bynum as many shots as he wants against the likes of Troy Murphy, but come playoff time, I want the ball in Kobe’s hands (as well as Gasol’s) more often than not.

  45. Regarding hollingers list: as players, shaq was pretty damn amazing. He was the main reason for those 3 championships as someone said earlier. Shaq was a beast. Unguardable.

    And I find it funny that people get mad at drew and think he wants to be the main guy on a team that was succesful and really good. It’s KOBE 2.0!! Am I the only one seeing that?

    Kobe wanted to be the main banana on a team that was successful also. And whatever u want to say about shaq being overweight in those years, defensive gameplans revolved around stopping shaq.

    Drew is a young kid and will want to grow.

    And also, being an all star is an individual award not a team one. So if he were Alonzo mourning crazy and rebounding and blocking, he still wouldn’t make it.

    Btw, I like adande’s list better: #1 laker: chick hearn

  46. #39 Sean P -

    I think you pretty much nailed it with that post.

  47. I’m demanding that Bynum play better help D and grab more rebounds before he has the right to demand anything.

    And his body language when doesn’t get the ball… I demand he works on that too.

  48. #45 LT -

    You’re misinterpreting Sean’s logic. Many Laker guards have a ridiculous gap in PER and usage, Kobe included. This is somewhat expected as guards simply have the ball in their hands more often than post players, but still, there is no way that Jordan Farmar, for example, should have basically the same usage rate as Pau and Bynum. This is a product of Laker guards repeatedly ignoring the post in favor of outside shots. It’s often during these times in the game – when Laker guards fall in love with the 3 – that the Laker offense hits a slump.

    Here are the gaps in usage and PER on the Lakers:

    Brown -2.93
    Farmar -5.20
    Bryant -7.60
    Fisher -4.43
    Gasol +3.99
    Bynum +1.83
    Powell -11.37
    Artest -3.73
    Walton -3.07
    Odom -0.90
    Vujacic -1.20

    A gap of up to -3.5 is within the realm of normalcy. But this only highlights more the severity of the underutilization of Gasol, Bynum, and, to a lesser extent Odom. Meanwhile, Fisher, Farmar, Artest and Kobe are unnecessarily overextending themselves at the expense of their talented 7 foot teammates.

    Oh yeah, and could someone please tell Josh Powell he’s not Michael freaking Jordan? Sheesh.

  49. Repost:

    If Bynum where a consistant 15 and 8 guy for the rest of his career I would be fine with that.”

    A NBA player averaging those numbers does not deserve to make 16 to 17 mil a year. Bynum is getting paid as if he is the number one or two option on the team. Role players are what you need on the team when you have two legit all-stars in KB and Pau. Bynum at this time in his career is not ready to just be the guy who does the little things to help the team win. Thats not knocking him personally, its just him wanting to show the world that he should be considered one the best big men in the league. Reality is, Drew will not get the touches he desires as long as KB is the man on LA.

    On an off note: Will Kobe be Shaq in the next three to five years making the team choose between him and Drew. If Drew keeps the same “I need my touches philosophy”, and KB game starts to decline. Who will management keep in the future?

  50. I’m glad Drew didn’t get picked for the All-Star, because if he did, that would have reinforced his behavior of being off on nights when he faces strong competition and being moody when he doesn’t get his way. Like someone said, maybe this will cause him to work harder and become more mature.

    That sparked a thought for me…not saying the Lakers have no weaknesses, but maybe the rest of the team also just needs an attitude adjustment, not really a trade. If each player could realize that the team is what it is and it’s up to each individual to focus on what they need to do to benefit the team, they will come through, i.e. point guard defense (Fisher, Farmar, Brown), consistent boxing out whether they get the rebound or allow their team-mate to get the ball (Bynum), better 3-point shooting (Sasha and other guards). What ever it takes to get there, even if we lose some games, but it makes the players realize/change their attitude or behavior, I’m all for it. It’s all prep for the playoffs, right?

  51. Kurt, with all due respect, I have to disagree with you. Well, actually I am not. The Lakers should (in theory) always attack the mismatch. The problem is they rarely do it. There have been a few games where Bynum or Gasol was matched up against some scrub and the touches did not come. Kobe himself often violates the very same rule you think Bynum needs to be more mindful of.

    I’m just saying…

  52. #43, I agree that the dynamics of the team have been set. It is to the Lakers’ detriment, however, that those dynamics result in so many jump shots early in the shot clock by guards who shoot a terrible percentage.

    Nobody is saying that Bynum should get all the shots or that he should even get the “big” shots with the game on the line. The point is merely that he shoots a very high percentage, and despite the Dampier argument offered above, there is simply no evidence to suggest that the more shots Andrew gets the lower his percentage will be.

    Basketball is at its most easiest when it is played inside out. Listen to that sage, Stu Lantz. Feed Andrew (and Pau) early and often and it will make everybody’s life a lot easier. Alternatively, be like Orlando and fall in love with the quick jumper. That style might be fun, but it isn’t going to win any championships….

    Finally, despite the support for Andrew getting more shots, I confess to being pleased that he did not make the All-Star team, as I share the frustration with his defensive effort and I want him to stay hungry. Nothing wrong with wanting to be an All-Star, and there’s nothing wrong with him having to delay the achievement of that goal another year.

  53. puddle, Sean P: I just don’t think that statistics are advanced enough yet to answer this question quantitatively. PER especially. Way too arbitrary.

    And I’m not even sure it’s the right question. In my opinion, it’s not a matter of how many touches, but which touches. The purpose of the offense should be to get the ball to players in positions where they can succeed. The purpose of the defense is to thwart that. The offense has the advantage in that it is proactive, where as defense is (mostly) reactive. Yes, one can press or do some other creative things on the defensive side. But mostly it must react to what the offense does.

    The tendency is then to recommend that one take what the defense gives you. On a single-play basis, and even possibly for most plays, I would entirely agree. Over the course of an entire game, though, I don’t think that’s always the best strategy. It’s simply too predictable. It makes it possible for the defense to dictate what you’re going to do, to a large extent. To counteract that, you have to be somewhat unpredictable, and that means occasionally going to what for a single play is an inferior option. Since the perimeter players typically start with the ball in their hands, the “right” inferior option is often going to be a perimeter shot.

    Now I’m not going to contend that Kobe et al. don’t force it up when he shouldn’t. I think he absolutely does (as well as the others), but the issue is more timing than quantity. Studies Hollinger has mentioned indicate that while shooters may not go on hot streaks, they certainly think they do, and that makes them much more predictable, which is usually good for the defense and bad for the offense. I also think the performance gap is not as wide as the statistics suggest, because the statistics, and the way we are used to interpreting them, are geared to a single-play train of thought (even if they’re gathered over an entire game or season).

    Again, in my opinion, the science of sports statistics hasn’t yet caught up to strategy. Basketball games have a distinct opening, midgame, and endgame, much like chess, and we understand the opening and endgame all right, but the midgame–where a lot of the interesting stuff happens, and which constitutes most of the actual game–is not as well understood. It’ll be interesting to see how things progress in the next decade or so, now that just the notion of advanced statistics has caught on.

  54. I’m not overly bothered about Bynum’s attitude. Like most young players with star potential, he’s going to be focused on establishing himself at this stage of his career.

    Normally, a player of his age and talent would not be relied on to play the ‘Kendrick Perkins’ role on a championship team. Same deal with Farmar and Brown backing up an over-the-hill vet like Fisher. Generally speaking, role players on championship teams seem to either be vets who have accomplished enough to set aside individual goals for the sake of a title, or simply not talented enough to play a bigger role. The Lakers have 3 guys in their early 20s who are trying to make their names in the league. It’s understandable that they won’t always play within the system as much as we’d like – a bit like Kobe all those years ago.

  55. puddle,

    I see your point, and I agree that the guards should be pounding the ball inside more (namely Farmar, Shanon and Fish), but the stats related to Kobe are misleading. Kobe was having one of the most efficient years of his career before the injuries, and now that he is getting healthy, his efficiency has recently been on the rise. His poor efficiency while dealing with finger, elbow and back issues seems like an excuse for the trigger happy Kobe critics to question his shot selection. To me, this trigger happy attitude reveals a mistrust towards the finals MVP that should be reserved for players that have not proven themselves time and time again. Kobe should be put on a pedestal for playing through injuries that most players would sit out (or get surgery) for. In my opinion, Kobe’s play is the LEAST of the Lakers concerns, but his shot attempts always seems to be the dominant topic here for some reason. It was not an issue the past two seasons, and I don’t anticipate it being an issue this year. By all accounts, Phil is fine with it, and Kobe and Phil are the last two people on this team that I’m going to question. Since the blog moderator here thinks that Pau is the MVP of this team and gets defensive whenever Pau is criticized, I’m actually not that surprised at the number of Kobe critics on this blog.

    It seems that Kobe felt an added responsibility to score because of Artest’s assimilation into the triangle as well as his foot issues, Pau’s injuries and getting back into game shape, and Fish’s struggles. I agree with those who want Pau to get more touches since the stats reveal that he (and Bynum) have been highly efficient, but it works both ways. A big part of Pau’s (and Bynum’s) efficiency is based on Kobe’s aggressiveness and the attention he draws as a result of that aggresiveness. It is no coincidence that Pau’s FG% has skyrocketed since joining Kobe and becoming the second option. Same goes for Trevor last season, who is shooting all the shots that he can handle in Hou without Kobe, but his FG% now is under 40%.

    At the end of the day, it’s about whether we trust Kobe to find that balance, and based on last year’s championship as well as his career, (unlike most posters here) I have all the confidence that he will.

  56. I’m new here guys, so please excuse me if I’m hogging the discussion space. Not my intention…

    Brian Tung -

    You and I are in agreement about the progression of advanced statistics in sports – basketball especially. They’ve got a long way to go. Each of the major theories – win shares, adjusted +/-, PER, etc. – all have major flaws, and yet each still gives us a better perspective of a player’s ability than the silly per game stats that still manage to dominate sports talk.

    I didn’t mean to put credence solely in the hands of PER, but was merely pointing out that there was a trend among Laker guards for having more of a share in the Laker offense than perhaps was warranted, with the opposite being true for the Laker bigs. You talk about taking what the defense gives you. Often, I see the defense giving the Lakers enormous mismatches down low on which they fail to capitalize. The stats I presented merely reflect what my eyeballs have told me from watching 40 or so Laker games this year.

    LT -

    I don’t think that critiquing parts of Kobe’s game amount to being a Kobe critic. I’m a big Kobe fan. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think he could dial the shot selection back at times.

    I agree with you about Kobe’s efficiency. I love the way he’s been playing of late. His injuries were obviously a big reason for his efficiency tailing off, but that’s exactly the time I would think he would want to put some additional trust in his big guys.

    Kobe is one of the best at figuring out what his team needs from him and when to give it, so I have no doubt that he’s starting to figure that out.

  57. For all of you saying Bynum needs more touches lets see him show up in a game that matters and then he can demand more touches, until then this is Pau and Kobe’s team. If I were the Lakers center I would do the things Kendrick Perkins does to help the Celtics win, rebound play defense and block shots. I don’t care how young Bynum is until he can do the little things to help this team win the guy doesn’t deserve anything you EARN that right, I would rather Kobe and Pau have shots before him any day of the week.

  58. Kurt (and everyone), I agree that any good offense attacks the weaknesses of the defense. I would love it if the Lakers did that with any sort of regularity.

    Not to split hairs too much, but what I wrote was, “Bynum is absolutely right to be demanding touches on offense.”

    I did not mean that to be interpreted as, “Bynum has the right (as in, unalienable, god-given, right) to pout, slouch, and be a pain in the butt of the coaching staff until he gets the rock and an ego stroke.”

    I meant simply that it is a correct opinion to hold that Bynum should be getting more touches. He is the second most effective scorer we have on the Lakers (behind Gasol). Gasol should get more touches too.

    If the Lakers were to attack opposing team’s weaknesses on defense, I would say the first glaring weakness that virtually every team has is apparent; they lack the players to guard both Bynum AND Gasol when they are on the floor at the same time.

    I would love to see the Lakers play inside out, especially to start the game, and to begin player shifts/substitutions. Go to Bynum/Gasol until the opponents begin to commit to doubling. Force them to switch between the two. Rack up some fouls on the opposing big men. Get their wings to start cheating to the post. THEN open up with some 3 pointers off of kick outs and extra passes.

    It really hurts my feelings to see Farmar/Fisher/Brown/Sasha chuck up an early shot, or a contested shot, or a long two. The Lakers have three (add Odom) big men who can post, catch, create, and finish. Three of them.

    Imagine, just for a short and glorious moment, having Chris Paul or Deron Williams or Steve Nash or Jason Kidd as a guard with the Lakers. Do you think those guards might average 20 assists a game passing the ball into Bynum/Gasol?

    With true shooting/effective field goal %s of .610/.572 (Bynum) and .604/.538 (Gasol) it is a very good bet to get these two the ball. Why not commit the resources to the thing that gets the best yield?

    I would love to see the Lakers play like they understood that for more than a few minutes here and there in the ballgame.

  59. Now I only follow gamecast for most of the games, but when I do, there has been a pattern to Bynum’s touches.

    Often, he gets few shots and is highly successful – but not spectacularly so compared to Pau, who often shares the floor with him. However, these nights I wonder why he didn’t shoot more.

    Other times, he gets a decent number of shots, but his efficiency goes down to guard like numbers, making me think that him shooting more does not really result in great results.

    And, in a few games, he just disappears on offense and can’t seem to generate anything, probably due to foul trouble limiting his play. Watching these stats, I think that Bynum is just not ready to be depended upon.

    Based on this, my impression is that although there are times when Bynum is successful, those tend to be times when both Pau and Odom are successful anyway. Basically, we’re matched against an opponent who can’t handle size. And since Pau and Odom are better facilitators, I don’t think Bynum should get more touches here.

    In other situations, Bynum simply isn’t the kind of force that creates mismatches for us in the triangle offense. Pass the ball to Kobe or Pau, they’re likely to draw a double-team, and something will open up for other teammates, which they can exploit.

    Pass the ball to Bynum, not only will it not create a double team, the ball will usually stay in Bynum’s hand, and the situation will be very static – it won’t create another opening and we’re stuck with Bynum trying to score, or pass out in panic/frustration.

    As for the high usage rates in our guards, I’m not certain how usage rate is calculated, but if it measures the time a ball is held by a certain player, it’s only natural that players with no 3 second violations to worry about will touch it more. Especially in our see-and-react system, it’s natural for our guards to survey a while.

    I am worried about Brown becoming more carefree with his gunning ala Sasha, and our frequent PUJITs when our bigs are in no position to rebound, but that’s something else…

  60. Come on guys, help a brother out by defending my argument against all the Cav homers….

    http://whybedumb.com/index.php/2010/01/dont-hand-the-cavs-anything-just-yet/

  61. I love how Jason Williams has somehow morphed from White Chocolate into a steady veteran.

  62. Great game over at Tnt. White chocolate and redick closing the game for Orlando. Bet the magic fans are super frustrated with Carter so far. 2-13 in the games. Comes in the game with a minute to go and turns the ball right over. Wow, pierce shoulda let Carter get the ball. He wouldve messed that up

  63. The Magic will be fine come playoff time, they have too much talent to be anything but a top 2 team in the East. As bad as they have played lately that win over Boston may just give them their confidence back.

  64. Kobe’s play lately has been MUCH MUCH improved. Hey, he is my favorite all time player, so it was tough for me to be down on him when he was going 12/30 while being injured. His understanding of the game and passing is great enough where he can make a difference while getting near triple double type numbers, instead of scoring. The funny thing is, when he only shoots 15-20 shots per game, he still ends up scoring in the high 20′s to low 30′s because he is so much more efficient.

    The more shots you take the less efficient you are, that’s the simple math of the situation. The reason is that when you take less shots, you are only taking the high percentage shots (layups, open jumpers, etc.). Thus, Kobe can average 28 points per game while shooting only 20 shots per game. This is what Kobe MUST do, shoot 15-20 shots per game, in order to be the most effective.

    Hopefully this trend continues. He played this way late in last year’s playoffs, especially during the Nugget series. It worked and will continue to work.

    If anything, he may want to be a little more aggressive than he was against the pacers but i’m not complaining.

  65. Andrew Bynum does have the right to demand more touches. Why? He is only a 22 year old, 3rd option on the team. So why does he have the RIGHT to demand more touches? Because he is the most efficient player on the team. He is shooting a scorching 57.2% from the field this year. That is an amazing number. This red hot shooting has given him the right to demand more touches in my opinion.

    It is simple math, do you want a guy shooting 42% taking more shots or the guy shooting 57%? Obviously it matters what the specific situation in the game is, but on average you want the guy shooting 57% to take more shots.

    Now, this doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t play better on defense and rebound. I for one think that Bynum is a very good defender. Perhaps not great yet, but the potential is there. Having Bynum in the middle is a god send for all the other players. He alters so many shots which aren’t recorded by the stats. I really think that Bynum helps out our defense to a great extent when he is on the court.

    Of course this doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be better. What seems to be lacking is a certain level of maturity. This maturity allows you to not pout, work hard, be smart. The guy is 22 after all. But with more maturity will come better defense/rebounding.

  66. eric, are you serious? You wrote:
    ——————
    Eric wrote on January 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm
    Did anyone else see Pau and Drew’s respective quotes on becoming an all-star? It shows what type of player each is, Drew is more worried about stuffing his stats and personal accolades than team issues it seems (which most young players are until they mature and realize what’s most important – putting team first) and Pau solely talking about teamwork and how honorable it is to be on the all-star team. I hope Bynum can change this mode of thinking but its disturbing to hear him say what he did since he is on such a great team. It definitely shows he wants to be the head taco on the team or at least second fiddle to kobe.
    —————————-

    Do you seriously believe that ANYONE is more concerned with the “team” than they are with themselves? First off, there is no such entity as “the team.” The team is a group of individuals. So again, do you seriously believe that anyone on this team believes that the well being of the other individuals on that team come before his own well being?

    In my opinion there is nothing wrong with being selfish. I want what is good for myself and the people i care about. If my child is starving and the random child next door is starving, and i can only feed 1, guess what…i will feed my own child. This is selfish of course since my child living greatly benefits my own well being. This is selfish yet perfectly and utterly moral in my opinion.

    Now, back to basketball. Do you really believe that Pau Gasol cares more about the individuals that make up his team than he does about himself? Of course NOT. This is what’s called LYING. He is LYING like a politician lies. He is being politically correct. He is telling you what you want to HEAR.

    The truth is that people are concerned with their own well being first and foremost. They care about themselves and the people they love and care about. AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!

    So if you have a person like Pau lying about how he doesn’t care about himself and only cares about his team, and on the other end you have a person like Bynum who is actually telling you the truth. Why fault Bynum and believe Pau?

  67. kaveh, in regards to kobe only shooting 15-20 shots a game, I think the only way that happens is if the rest of the guys are pitching in. If the team isn’t doing well Kobe takes it upon himself to take the shots because the rest of the guys aren’t performing up to standards.

  68. Isolate, I think your observations are correct, but I think Kobe does that a little too quickly most of the time. I like to call it Mamba mode, when he gets the tunnel vision and feels that his shot and his will is the only way to win.
    While that strategy was the best when he had Smush and Kwame with him, I think he needs to realize that his talent is a lot better, and shouldn’t go to the mamba mode too quickly.

    I love Kobe’s game the last two games. Maybe it’s because I am such a big magic johnson fan, but i always thought Kobe’s will and skill he could average a triple double (or close to it). I think if he focused on that type of play, the lakers would be a better team.

    And at the end of games, Kobe is the one who I want to have the ball, either to shoot or to pass to an open guy.

  69. Sometimes I still think about if Kobe and Shaq just could have put their big egos aside enough to play together…the Lakers would have way more banners than the celts. We’d still be dominating!!!

  70. Karl, I’m more specific. I’m thinking if K. Malone weren’t hurt during the 2004 finals, we’d have beaten detroit.

  71. I also hope that the new Kobe stays around, dishing off passes left and right is a good thing for the whole team. I am sure it is messing up the scouting reports from opponents, not knowing what to do with him. That Magic hook was just wonderful, especially since it was against the dreaded Celtics, just what he Lakers needed at the time, huh?

  72. thisisweaksauce January 29, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Hey, is it me or is Sasha playing well within the offense in the little playing time he gets? He’s only been shooting when wide open and makes a good entry pass to the post. He has not been forcing things (remember the extra pass to Lamar at the end of the 1st in Indiana?). Maybe he should be getting some time at the point…

    Zephid?

  73. Karl,

    Kobe had no choice but to break from Shaq. Or else his career would never be properly validated. The perceptions of a sidekick would always be there.

    It’s easy for us fans to just see it through our eyes, but would you enjoy work if everyone else gave someone the credit for work you did? No one wants that. Especially if they don’t have to.

    He put his entire career on the line. I respect him for that because many people take the easy path. The 2009 Championship meant more to me than any Lakers title I have been old enough to remember. It was because of the journey getting there. I was born in ’79, so I grew up on Showtime, and still think that.

    On another note…

    We’re about to go on a big run. I can feel it. The past few games (even when close) there seems to be a positive shift in fluidity on offense. Specifically because Kobe is controlling the game a la “facilitator” mode. Rebounding more, more active on defense, and making sure the bigs get the ball. When was the last time you saw Kobe pass this much to Drew?

    He’s “taking what the defense” give and making them pay.

    #73,

    Yes. Sasha’s been playing like that for a while now. PJ’s getting him ready for the stretch run. Machine almost fixed. I think PJ will give him a shot at crucial minutes against Boston to see for sure if it’s for real. Sasha needed to be humbled. They need what he can do. It’s no coincidence that the bench struggles started with his disappearance.

  74. 67, interesting. So in other words, it’s totally ok for me to delete comments that don’t agree with me, since it’s selfishly serving my own agenda of always appearing correct and fully-supported by the other commenters here?

    Like most everything, selfishness is ok up to a point where it may become detrimental to those around you. I don’t mind Bynum asking for more touches, but just because he doesn’t get touches doesn’t mean he has the right to sulk and not play defense.

    Also, just because a player shoots a really high percentage doesn’t mean they should get more shots. As 45, LT says, this would mean that Erick Dampier should be taking more shots than Dirk Nowitski.

    73, yea! Start Sasha!

    In all seriousness, we won’t really know how well Sasha will play with extended minutes until he gets extended minutes. He could play decently, with good, foul-less defense and solid three point shooting, or he could foul on the first possession of every game, and clank 2 out of 3 threes, who knows. But analyzing these tiny 4 minute samples doesn’t really yield too much, although I do like that he seems to be playing under more control these days.

  75. not sure if anybody else saw the Magic/Celtics last night. Hollinger’s daily dime today hit the nail on the head. Vince, KG, and Sheed played awfully. Especially on the last play. Kinda strange to see and as a Lakers fan that makes me pretty confident about tonight. It also makes me pretty sure that Nike will get its dream finals matchup this year.

  76. Kaveh, i do think that many players put the “team” ahead of themselves and i do believe that a group individuals come together to make up a team. In order for a team to be successful, every individual must realize his role within the team and execute this role to the best of his ability. If every player simply cared about “getting his” then the NBA championship would be decided at the beginning of every season as it would go to the team with the greatest collection of individual talent, and the US men’s basketball team would have won gold medals in every world championship/olympics over the last 8 years. To dismiss Gasol as lying is unfair. Anyone who has watched Pau play would agree that he is a totally unselfish player that cares about the good of the team before all else. Whether it be to make the extra pass, (attempt to) bang with bigs that outweigh him by 40 pounds, or continually defer to Kobe which allows for this team’s dynamic to work, he always is willing to do what is good for the team. What amazes me about Gasol is how often he seems to make the correct tactical decision in order to give this team the greatest chance of succeeding. If he has a mismatch he attacks it and converts at a high percentage, if he is doubled he hits the open man which often leads to an open jumper, if a person makes a good cut he rewards it often creating a high percentage shot at the rim. In fact, one of the main criticisms of Pau is that he is too unselfish and should look for his offense more considering his talents in the post. For all of these reasons, I have to disagree with you, Kaveh. I do NOT believe Pau Gasol is lying when he emphasizes the importance of the team over personal accolades.

  77. No, it’s not ‘simple math’. Bynum and Gasol’s percentages seem more efficient because they score off of opportunities where the defense is compromised – offensive boards, and after the defense collapses on a penetrator. If you think about how high these numbers must be (80%+?) then that means their post-entry 1on1 while the defense is set efficiency is much lower, to make the avg of 55%. Obviously the math is not entirely correct there depending on the proportion of shots, but you get my point. So if they can shoot 55% going one on one as the creator and initiator, not the finisher, then by all means they ought to get more touches. But they cannot – except in the case of mismatches.

  78. Kaveh, if you think Bynum’s reponse is acceptable and that him demanding touches in the way he did is okay then you’re crazy. Look at Kendrick Perkins that guy sacrifices his body for the Celtics team in the way Bynum should for this team because unlike Bynum, Kendrick recognizes his role on the team as the 3rd or 4th best player, he does the little things necessary for the team to win. If you want a player who is selfish and worries about his own stats then go ahead make a team of guys like Iverson and see how far you get. Bynum is the 3rd best option on this team I repeat 3rd, and you’re analogy of a starving kid cannot be applied to this same scenario. Bynum can play well against scrub teams but if he can’t even stay on the court against elite teams because of foul trouble or lack of defense then he needs to shut his mouth and worker harder and then maybe he can get more touches. His comment shows his arrogance and immaturity at his young age. You ask any person on this site and they will agree that if they were Bynum they would play defense first and ask for shot attempts second, it’s attitudes like that that give NBA players bad names because when you are more worried about stats or money you have lost touch with the game of basketball.