What It Means As We Welcome Back Kobe

Darius Soriano —  February 22, 2010

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As we’ve been reading for the past couple of days, all indications point to Kobe returning against Memphis on Tuesday.  Obviously, this is great news for the Lakers as the team is finally getting it’s key players healthy for their late season push into the playoffs.  We all know that Phil Jackson loves to have his team peak at the right time and his goals are always focussed on the big picture of performing the best come May and June and not necessarily January and February.  That said, those preparations for the playoffs do start now (if not already) and eventhough the Lakers will be without Sasha and Luke, the goals will now start to shift towards what this team will look and play like heading into the second season. 

So, now that Kobe is back, what can we expect?  A lot of people have weighed in on what the Lakers were like in his absence, but answering this question is more complex than it appears on the surface.  We all know what Kobe is capable of, but in his absence we’ve also seen a more disciplined and team focussed approach without our best player (which is natural, btw - this has happened to many NBA teams over the years as they miss their best player – look at Houston’s long win streak without Yao two seasons ago for further evidence of the bunker mentality that develops with your top guy out) .  The goal, at this point in the season, should be combining the best of both worlds (Kobe the difference maker + more aggressive and disciplined teammates) with a push towards the ultimate goal.  With that in mind, here are some thoughts on the Lakers offense, defense, and rotations with Kobe back in the fold.  We’ll start in reverse order…

Rotations:  We’ve already covered what missing Luke Walton means to the Lakers rotations.  And now that Sasha is out with his sprained shoulder, we’re likely to see even more shuffling of the lineup to compensate missing roation players.  So, in this regard, the return of Kobe could not come at a better time for a team that suddenly finds itself short on bodies that can play on the wing.  With these injuries, we’re likely to see Kobe resume his role as the primary backup to Artest at SF with him also logging more minutes at his traditional SG spot.  As we’ve discussed in the past, Phil has shown he’s quite comfortable with Kobe playing SF for extended stretches, especially with thet Farmar/Shannon backcourt.  And with Sasha also out (even though he was getting limited minutes on the season), I think we’ll also see more of Kobe in general as Shannon is the only back up SG on the roster and Phil starts to shorten rotations and play the players that he trusts most.

In the end, I think the Lakers will move more towards their most effective lineups and that means more Kobe at either SG or SF.  This may also mean experimentation of lineups that we have rarely seen this season (Shannon as a PG, LO as a SF, Ron as a SG) just because this puts our best players on the floor for more minutes.  At first take, this would surprise me as Phil is rarely one to tinker with lineups in this manner this late in the season.  It would not surprise me if these lineups were worked on in practice, but to impliment them in the games would be a step away from the normal for Phil as he traditionally has liked to build consistency throughout the season with his substitution patterns, minute allocations, and roles within units that are on the floor.  But, Phil has shown (in subtle ways) that he is not afraid to go to the players that work best (Farmar had been closing a lot of games out right before Kobe’s absence) and as the team preps for the playoffs, Phil will get players ready mentally for what he thinks their roles may be.

Defense:  Getting Kobe back is a two sided proposition to the Lakers’ defense.  On the one hand, Kobe is an All-NBA level defender.  He has the ability to slow any wing player in the league and make that player work hard to not only score the ball, but to even receive it.  I’ve often said that Kobe is one of the best players in the league at ball denials and he often does a lot of his best defensive work off the ball.  That leads us to the other side of the defensive coin with Kobe – he’s a tremendous off ball defender that truly does like to gamble and play “free safety” when he’s not the primary-on-ball defender.  This is even more true when the player that Kobe is guarding is not an offensive threat.  So, what getting Kobe back on defense means will be greatly determined by what his mind set is.  Will Kobe be the off the ball gambler whose individual freelancing help tendencies can sometimes comprimise our team help schemes?  Or will Kobe be a more traditional help defender, play his excellent ball denial defense, and exert his doberman mentality when playing on the ball?  I think the answer will probably be in between and vary based off matchups, but this will be something to monitor.

In the end, I think we need to understand that the Lakers have been one of the best two defensive teams (measured by pointer per 100 possessions) all season.  So, even with Kobe playing “center field” on defense, the Lakers have still been quite difficult to score on.  However, as has been noted, the defense has picked up with Kobe out of the line up and I think the coaches will continue to emphasize the Lakers D when Kobe returns.  I do think he’ll buy in to what the team wants and needs, but we’ll see it first hand come tomorrow evening.

Offense:  It is on the offensive side of the ball where we will see the biggest impact from Kobe’s return (pause to let obviousness sink in).  That said, the Lakers’ offense will need to incorporate Kobe in a way that optimizes what the Lakers are capable of on that end of the floor.  This is something that has not always taken place this season as evidenced by the Lakers offensive efficiency this season (hovering around 10th all season which is in direct contrast to the top five ranking of the past two seasons).   Simply put, Kobe is so talented on offense that he really hasn’t needed the intricacies of the Triangle to score his points.  Early in the season when Gasol was out, we saw Kobe in the post a great deal and he was essentially a guard version of Bynum.  He was scoring at an efficient clip, but rarely using the motions and passing opportunities built into the offense to get other players good shots.  Since Gasol has returned, Kobe has vacated the post much more, but has still relied heavily on isolation plays from the wings and P&R’s to get jumpshots or to create driving opportunities.  And because Kobe has the ball in his hands a lot, this has led to an imbalance in shot distribution that has not been slowed because his teammates have not been as agressive in either calling for the ball or forcing the ball movement away from Kobe to better set up the Lakers offense.

In the games that Kobe has been out, we have seen less of this perimeter isolation play from our wings and the fluidity of the offense has looked much better.  Yes, we’ve still seen a bit too much P&R (mostly from Farmar) and we’ve also seen a fair amount of over-dribbling, probing, and settling for jumpshots (mostly from Shannon).  But for the most part, the offense has been run through the post and this has led to better shots within the flow of the Triangle.  However, while this has led to a more aesthetically pleasing offense, it has not been any better at producing a better performing Lakers offense.  As Phillip linked to earlier today, the Lakers offense has struggled in the majority of games that Kobe has been out and moving forward, the Lakers will need to integrate Kobe in a manner where he is both killer and facilitator, primary offensive weapon and decoy that sets others up for easy shots.  The only person that can make this happen is Kobe and it must be a concious decision by #24. 

In order to accomplish this, I’d like to see Kobe operate less as a primary ball handler and much more off the ball.  If this takes place, Kobe will then become a player that will get shots more through the motions of the offense than through his own ability to create a shot.  He can use the weakside screen actions to curl to the ball.  He can set up at the weakside elbow where he has an almost unstoppable jumpshot while also eliminating double team opportunities for the defense (and if the double team does come, he can easily see where it’s coming from and make the appropriate pass – ala the Denver series last year).  Kobe can also use the “blind pig” sequence in the offense where the ball goes into the high post on a flash from the weakside (aka the pressure release) and then the weakside guard (Kobe) cuts to the baseline  where he can either receive a pass from the big on his backdoor cut or he can cut and then post up to get an easy look inside.  Essentially, Kobe can utitlize this offense better and do it in ways that he has been for years under Phil Jackson.

When Kobe does have the ball coming up the court, I’d like to see him call for the P&R less and instead initiate the post entry from the top or pass to the corner to initiate our sets.  As a captain of the team and a 10 year veteran of this offense, Kobe knows this offense inside out.  He also knows that our big men are our most efficient players and that their efficiency is at least partially based on the attention that he draws as a primary focus of the defense.  There is a balance to be struck on offense and over the past few games we’ve seen what the motion should look like, but we have not seen the high level of finishing that is possible.  With Kobe back in the fold, will now be possible again.

In conclusion, Kobe being back will be a tremendous boost to both our offense and our defense.  He will affect the game in positive ways even if he doesn’t play in a manner that fully promotes team play for every minute that he is on the court.  I mean, we will need hero Kobe at least once or twice more this regular season and in the playoffs; he will need to take over a game and that is the benefit of having him on our team.  But, I do think we will see more of a team committed Kobe than at any point we’ve seen this season.  His missed time allowed other players to get comfortable in what they need to do on a nightly basis, allowed Kobe to observe those same things, and also gave Kobe the time to rest up and come back fresh for the stretch run.

Darius Soriano

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43 responses to What It Means As We Welcome Back Kobe

  1. I just hope he blends in at first instead of just taking over and re-establishing himself as the alpha male.

  2. Darius, GREAT GREAT post. So thorough and full of great insights!

    I’m excited to have Kobe back in the lineup. Surely, our team is better now that he is back. I also like the timing and the atmosphere in which he is coming back. Had we beaten the Celtics, too, there could have been some who STILL might insist that the team is better without him. Seeing how we couldn’t score in the last 7 minutes or so against the Celtics and finding that Derek Fisher’s flailing attempt of a last second shot is the alternative, no one should be saying that Kobe-less team is better.

    My concern is at the defensive end. With the ankle and the finger bothering him, will he play “All-NBA” level of defense at SG or SF. Mayo and Gay are not “All-NBA” level players, but they are two of the most athletic offensive wingers in the league. I would love to see Kobe score in the low 20′s but shut down Mayo and/or Gay. If Kobe can operate at even 90% of his fully healthy mode, he can do the job. I just hope that our DEFENSE improves with him back as his mere presence will improve our OFFENSE by making other guys more open as a result of paying too much attention to Kobe.

  3. Great work, Darius.

    Random thought that was spurred by something mojo posted on the last thread. Why are the ESPN talking heads (and some other people) such pansies? Are players so afraid of being cold that they’d pass up a solid nucleus in Chicago? Jeez, grow a pair. I guess I’ve spent most of my life in cold-weather states, but hearing Stein and Sheridan and all these guys continually whining about how horrible the cold is in IL or MN just grates on me after a while.

    Maybe I’m just bored and defensive too. Seriously, though. Man up, ESPN.

  4. Question is: is the finger any better? Will it be any better before playoff time?

  5. It means that the engine is running with a FULL THROTTLE to a championship!!!

    The only weakness that I see is that no one can predict is having HEALTHY KEY PLAYERS with our Boyz is Kobe Bryant!!!! But, he will bring the madnessssss, Bbabbbbyy!!

  6. Will #24 every be able to take a back seat, and let someone else drive. He showed that he could do all things last year in the playoffs. But as this season started, he didnt continue to grow into the player he had become during the championship run last year.

    He had turned the corner in his career and was finally getting that Shaq 500 pound gorilla off his back. I was the first to tell anyone who would listen that playoff Kobe would be the Kobe of the future.

    Nobody knows which Kobe( me against the world or facilitator) you will see when he comes back. I just want to see the same hustle and desire the team had when he was out those 5 games.

    You could never doubt #24 desire to win, its just is he letting the desire to be great as an individual override the desire too win the ultimate team prize.

  7. I don’t see the benefit of moving away from the P&R at all. On the contrary, I want to see more of it.

    For one thing, not many teams defend it well consistently. Two, we have the personnel to run it effectively. Three, it becomes an option after the ball is reversed–and ball reversals are a good thing.

    So, defenses will have to play a bit more honestly. I think it allows our weak-side big to clog the lane a little less and participate in the offense more often. Refining this option will result in fewer turnovers and a more efficient offense, IMHO.

  8. #7. chibi,
    When I say I want to see less P&R, I specifically mean the times that the Lakers are perfectly set up in their half court offense – with everyone in position to run the Triangle – and the guard up top on the strong side motions for the big to vacate the post to come and set a ball screen for a P&R. This is useful as a changeup to running our sets, but I think we settle for this too much.

    There are other P&R options built into our offense that I’m completely happy to see us run – the sideline P&R after the ball goes to the corner and the top side guard cuts through the lane, the elbow P&R when the guard is at the weakside pinch post and the big comes and sets a cross screen, and there are others as well. I’m also fine with the secondary fast break P&R where our trailing big sets a drag screen for the ball handler as he comes up the court and when the defense is not completely set. But the traditional P&R could be run less and still remain effective while not being relied upon so often. The flipside to your point about the entire league not defending it well is that every team runs it and it’s a play that every team has a set strategy against (that strategy may not always be effective, but every team has a plan against it). I’d rather us run our sets, execute them to their highest degree, and then pull out the P&R when a team has been trying to find ways of stopping our normal stuff for most of the game. I think this maximizes our entire team much more than going to a single play that every team uses consistently throughout the game.

  9. Darius,

    I actually hope that Phil tinkers with lineups. I’d love to move Odom into the starting lineup to play. Not because Bynum is not important, but it allows the team to still have two primary post scorers. Pau and Kobe. I thought Kobe’s offense earlier this year was efficient and within the offense when Gasol was out and he and bynum were sharing touches down there.

    Kobe on a wing can be prone to holding onto the ball. Kobe in the post is dangerous for spacing, gathering double teams, and u know, that pretty good dream shake/fade away jumper that he has.

    Thoughts?

  10. #8/Darius–thank you for the clarification.

  11. ray

    Bynum has to start or else he’s lost for the rest of the game. I hate to keep saying this but the kid is immature. That’s why the Lakers go out of their way to feed him in the beginning of the game. He scores at will until teams make an adjustment and either he jab fakes for 8 seconds and kills the offense, starts missing bunnies and is out of position defensively, or starts turning the ball over.

    With all that said, he is a defensive cog when he is on his game. He gets the other teams’ bigs in foul trouble ala Shaq. We need him where we have him IMHO.

  12. Hello there everybody.I ‘ve been reading and sporadically commenting on this blog,anonymously, since 2007 and now I figured it is time to add a name to those comments. The best blog by far out there. Congratulations to all of you.

  13. Speaking of pick and rolls, Orlando Pinstriped Post offered a look at 1/2 plays that helped the Magic beat the Cavs: http://bit.ly/boHBmS

    It’s a cool breakdown that makes me wish I had the IQ to contribute such a post to FB&G, but I know I’m not worthy (and w/o a DVR). At the same time, since the Triangle is a read-and-reaction offense with few set plays, this kinds of analysis can be hard to make, I think.

    I don’t think it’s possible to truly appreciate what motion offenses can do until you start watching other teams relying on heavy PnR. I didn’t really watch other teams until this season, and man, it can get boring when people just run the same high screens over and over. It might be effective but it’s boring basketball :/

    On topic, though, I definitely am keeping my fingers crossed that Kobe does more off-ball work. My sister and I were happy to finally stop yelling “CUT!!” at the TV whenever the team started Kobe-watching, so let’s hope that shout will stay retired.

  14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHbdHrhg3t8&feature=channel

    this is part 1 of a 5 part documentary(part 6 is actually pt5) explaining the triangle offense from the masters themselves.

  15. It is easy to forget that Kobe was the designated stopper on the US Olympic team

  16. I am ambivalent towards the idea of benching Bynum in favor of Lamar. Either way, the Lakers are difficult to match up with. The lineup should be based upon the matchups at the time. Sometimes playing Bynum + Gasol will reap greater rewards than playing Gasol + Lamar.

    I hope that Lamar doesn’t lose the fire that he has had the past five games when he goes to the bench tomorrow night. When he plays like he has, he is unstoppable.

    I feel bad that Sasha got hurt as it seemed like he had been slowly turning the corner. I don’t think he will return to The Machine status, but he can contribute in other ways. His defense on Ray Allen was pretty good and he was crashing the boards. He has been playing with a lot of hustle and was a big part of the run the Lakers made at the end of the Boston game before the Fisher debacle. Hopefully, he can recover soon to give the Lakers more wing depth and hustle.

    Shannon Brown needs a full-time Triangle Tutor.

    Also, I think it is time that PJ give Farmar a shot at the starting gig. Personally, I am just curious to see how it plays out and the constant calls to bench Fisher for Farmar will be vindicated.

    The Lakers have to do some serious searching at the PG position this summer. The Lakers will not last another year with what they currently have.

  17. Welcome, Kostas. I accept the congratulations on my behalf. FB&G wouldn’t be where it is today without my contributions.

    The lineup question is a tricky one, but I don’t think anyone has any new insight to offer. I don’t know if Drew could handle coming off the bench, and he’s needed for teams like the Celtics and possibly the Cavs.

    Perhaps the best strategy is subbing in LO at the 5-6 minute mark of the 1st. Drew starts and works up a lather, and we get to see half a quarter of that beautiful LO-Gasol fluidity. Drew comes back in at the start of the 2nd and dominates the opposing bench players.

  18. @Busboys,

    Do you think it is a good idea though? At some point, we have to put aside Drew’s immaturity and tell him to grow up and handle it like a professional. And really, he can’t say anything. Not with LO doing it last year.

    But for the Triangle offense perspective, don’t u think it would make Kobe more efficient? Or am I remembering the beginning of this season differently?

  19. Time for the young pup to get off the porch if he wants to run with the big dogs. If he cant handle the move mentally on a good team, send him to New York and let him see how all the touches dont mean s@#$ when your losing.

    To think about personnal goals, and pout when not getting your shots on an all star laden team is selfish. I know Drew wants to be the man and all, but dude you are like the 3rd or 4th scoring option on the starting 5.

    Time to take the kid gloves off, and serve his dish cold. We need his defensive production dearly, but if it is costing the team on offense, PJ is going to have to pick his poison at some point of the season.

  20. Is anyone concerned that Kobe is going to remember the Lakers losing to the Celtics by one more than he will remember the big W’s before that?

  21. I agree with Ray. I have been telling people since last year that just beacuse Drew is immature (he’s 22 already…i’m only 20, in college), doesn’t mean the world should revolve around him. People need to teach him a lesson and play team game, and work for the benefit of the team. Which is, stop forcing shots, start rebound/block shots/play defense. If he should get off the bench, then he should do it for the sake of the team and suck it up. If he can’t handle it like a professional then it gives more reason to bench him so he matures.

  22. It’s not that the world revolves around Bynum’s immaturity, it’s just that Odom is a bit more versatile and mature than Bynum and can be effective coming off the bench, whereas Bynum’s usefulness in that situation drops big time.

    We keep looking for the pre-injury, pre-Pau Bynum that got even Kobe excited after the trade-me summer, but we haven’t been seeing that Bynum too much. But we’re trying to get him back to that plateau, and if it means having to start him and force feeding him a bit, we should go that route.

    But regardless, everything DOES revolve around Kobe. He can shape and mold this team more than anyone else. I don’t mind him doing all the freelance and ball hogging thing in the regular season as long as he can get others in rhythm come playoffs.

    Not worried about Kobe doing the right thing, mind you, but worried that the rest of the team may not be ready when he does.

  23. I agree about Drew. Yes he has offensive talent but his holding the ball stops the offense, When is the last time he thought about pass as a first option? He makes a lot of money to still be worried about hurting his feelings.

  24. Harold,
    I don’t know if Bynum will ever be that beast we saw before his knee injuries again. I doubt it. He can keep growing as a player but he will never again be that athlete who could play dominating defense and swallow up boards.

  25. As for lineups, our best numbers both in efficiency and plus minus come when Odom is at PF with either Bynum or Gasol. This is actually much better than when Bynum is paired with Gasol. Lamar suffers 3pt line-itis at SF, and we lose much of his versatile skills such as ball handling, rebounding, slashing, etc.. for his mediocre shooting.

    Another frustration is that our bigs do not always push the pace down the floor. Especially against the Cavs with Z and Shaq these guys should be wearing out most other teams due to their youth and athleticism yet often that is not the case. It is also part of the reason they see less touches cause Kobe may not rush the 24 second clock but he will push for position much earlier than our bigs who often are still loping down the floor.

    Actually one other change I would like to see is having Kobe spend some time at PG. It is the position that hurts us the most. It forces Kobe to stay on ball and not gamble too much and allows Shannon more minutes on the floor. I like Shannon but he is not a PG, and is a long way from it. Kobe on the other hand is more than serviceable there and would help spell more minutes from Fish who is playing horribly this year (please resign and be a great assistant coach already).

  26. Bynum doesn’t have to be athletic to pass the ball.

    LO doesn’t shoot that many three’s.

  27. Lamar should be allowed to bring the ball up the court more often.

  28. re: Andrew Bynum

    I find it funny that the ASSUMPTION is that the only reason Bynum is starting is because he is too weak mentally to take it coming off the bench. Hmmm, you know there is another possibility right? The possibility that the most winning coach in basketball history, the greatest coach of all time, thinks it is beneficial for the TEAM to have Bynum starting and LO come off the bench.

    Just saying it’s a possibility, lol…Phil would bench whomever if he thought it would be better for the team. Believe that.

  29. The Lakers are down Luke, and now Sasha and some of you basically want to eliminate Bynum from the rotation to teach him a lesson. And you want do this with a little over 20 games left to play when the team should be rounding into playoff form. Pure insanity.

    And please stop saying the offense stops with Bynum. When you consider his minutes and the number of shots he’s taking that really doesn’t hold up. The biggest Triangle busting culprit on the team is Mr. 25 shots himself, Kobe Bryant. His willingness or lack thereof to operate within the system will be much more impactful than what Bynum does with the eight or nine touches he gets a night.

  30. T. Rogers.

    My suggestion said nothing about eliminating Bynum from the rotation, merely discussing the impact of Lamar Odom in the starting lineup. As stated earlier, Odom would bring up the ball with Fish, Artest on the Wing, and Kobe or Pau can establish in the post. This would eliminate your problem with “Mr. 25 shots” because, as it was in the beginning of the season when Pau was out, Kobe was very efficient in the post, and to my best recollection so was the offense. Having two post up guys in the beginning of the game makes kobe play more on the wings and elbows, which makes him prone to over-dribbling. I like the Kobe post up player with the Steak Shake (Get it, dream shake, but steak since Kobe beef? is this mic on?), and people cutting, or kobe with his unstoppable turnaround.

    Further, a move of Bynum to the Bench would allow him for more touches with the second unit, unless you want shannon or Farmar taking PUJITs, pick and rolls, or three pointer. He wouldn’t have to fend for shots against Pau, Kobe or Ron Ron (who is being really aggressive now).

    I don’t think anyone on this site is making the argument that Bynum should be out of the rotation. Most people are just questioning his maturity level and his ability to take a “demotion”.

  31. Very detailed organized post Darius, good job indeed. Getting us ready for Kobe in the mix of Lakers players, huh? I hope the team keeps on running as smooth as it has with Kobe back in, like you said, nobody knows the triangle better than him, except maybe Fisher, well except for the PUJIT’s he likes.

  32. While I think Bynum to the bench could be an intriguing move that might pay dividends, I wouldn’t want lineup change at this point of the season.

    Drew will start eventually, so why not now? LO is the most versatile player, so why not have him be the leader of the bench mob. I think the recovery time for the major knee injury is about a year and a half. Drew will be better near the playoffs and definitely next season. His 80-90% is still very effective as long as he gets few early touches.

    I think the key issue is how aggressive Kobe is in the beginning of the game. Although the Lakers may struggle at times in the beginning, I hate it when Kobe comes out firing in the 1st quarter as he did in Memphis. I wish Kobe would let the game come to him and finish strong. He can look to score in the 3rd quarter if we’re behind, but I would much rather see our offense revolve around Drew and Pau in the first quarter to put the opposing bigs in foul trouble.

    One thing I want to see less is PnR in the crunch time in general. I’d rather see Kobe iso with the rest near the 3 pt line (ala CLE) than PnR. High PnR generally invites double team on Kobe and often forces him to give up the ball too far away. I’d rather see Kobe take his man off the dribble or see him in the box posting up. Either way, I can’t wait to see which Kobe shows up Tuesday. 30+ points Kobe or 25 points/8 ast Kobe? The Lakers win with either but they are so much more efficient with the latter.

  33. I haven’t seen this answered anywhere, so I’ll ask it here.

    How healthy is Kobe right now? Kobe had a bunch of injuries, and the ankle sprain was the main reason for him sitting out games. But what about the pinkie? It was only supposed to take 4-6 weeks to heal (but it kept getting hit), so how is it now? What about the hip problems? What about the other myriad of injuries Kobe has sustained so far?

  34. booboo ,

    KOBE from the LA times:

    “Where I’m at now, I feel confident about playing and, while I play, getting to 100%,” he said. “It’s about 80-85 right now. The rest of the percentage is made up just from strength.”

  35. @ ray 18

    Yes, with Bynum on the bench and Kobe allowed to go back into the post and Lamar given the green light to cut and take slower power fowards to the hole, the offense would flow better but the offense does not make the whole game. On the Defensive side of the ball Drew is a beast when motivated. His length and size are far greater than Odom’s. He is a match-up problem for everyone but the Cavs.

    Lamar will be fine. Think about how well he operated with Luke. I think he needs to know that he has to score in order to do so. He rebounds when necessary, scores when necessary, and takes over the point foward when necessary.

    It is time for Drew to wake up, but I doubt that he will. I am not a Drew fan and if we traded him during the summer for Chris Bosh I would not be mad.

    He is immature and some people never get it. He is so into how he performs, he forgets he is part of a team. I tried telling everyone last year that he is an immature and mentally lazy young man. All he cares about is his “touches” not rebounding or protecting the rim.

    When Phil in the other coaches told him to come back this season with a renewed vengence on rebounding and blocked shots he instead came focused on being an all-star. He is unfortunately, Shaq without the size. Phil made a statement that Shaq should lead the next season in rebounds, he instead came back out of shape and never lead the league in rebounding.

    This is why I miss Trevor, whatever the coaches wanted he did. Luckily he doesn’t have to be everything for Houston anymore with Martin aboard. I wish him well, I want to see him in the playoffs. Preferably in the 1st round, so we can sweap his ungrateful butt out of the playoffs.

  36. ray

    I never answered your question. Yes it would be a good idea if Drew could handle it, but both of us know that he couldn’t handle it. You would have your most effective players on the floor at the same time, but I don’t trust Drew on the second squad. He would take his shots thus stopping the offense. He would then be double-teamed and because he isn’t the passer Pau is, turnovers would result.

    We are short Luke and Sasha, so we would have to play Kobe or WOW more minutes with the second squad. Not a good idea when you are trying to make sure Kobe gets healthy and strong again.

    Drew’s time is going to be limited. He hasn’t healed yet and he is getting up and down the court like a wounded horse. With Kobe coming back, he will be sitting and watching a lot more. Hopefully, he pays attention this time.

  37. I have to laugh about all these suggestions about Andrew and Lamar. Phil is the coach. Phil does make the decisions. Phil has decided what he is going to do.

    The rest of us are just ‘back seat drivers’.

    I have been a member of this blog since shortly after Kurt started it. I remember all the things we have said about Lamar. In all that time Lamar hasn’t changed – he is still the same in-and-out player who will make at least one/two boneheaded plays a game. With all that he is also uniquely talented among other NBA players. This is the man we have tried at #2, #3, and #4 on the team. It is as a #4 player that he has excelled and been the most consistent.

    I suggest we all take a deep breath and allow Phil to coach this team.

  38. Why is Kobe coming back tonight? I read his ankle is only 80%. Why not wait until its fully healed?

  39. 24, who are you and what have you done with the real Aaron.

  40. Darius,

    You’re completely right about the P&R… The Triangle has its own P&R options when the balll changes to the weakside. It is designed so that:
    a) you take advantage of the specific P&R (duh)
    b) you get the post player on the other side of the P&R cutting to the basket
    c) if EVERYTHING else fails, you’ll have the corner three…

    The point Darius is making is that Kobe is too quick to abandon the specific sets which make the defense move a lot. The reasoning to use the strong side play is to actually get the defense tired… We don’t want to be paying for making that mistake with a shortened rotation at the wings.

    One other thing that we’re all dismissing too quick is the impact of Sasha and specially Luke on ball movement. While moving Bynum to the bench seems reasonable from a statistical point of view, the lack of ball movement would get Bynum even less touches. No ball movement will get us more PUJIT’s and the lane clogged. Is that what we want for Bynum? Shooting over two players? If and when Luke and Sasha get back, then it would be fine to have LO and Bynum on the floor… Until then, don’t mix it up.

  41. Ray,

    I guess what I am getting at is with 20+ games left the play the Lakers still need to figure out how to get the most out of Gasol and Bynum on the floor together. That will be a key part of their strategy come playoff time. In order to do that Bynum needs to be on the floor. A well developed “power” front court combined with a well developed “speed” front court gives the Lakers options.

    And they will need every advantage they can get to win back to back series’ against (most likely) the Nuggests and Cavs.

  42. Wow, I didnt realize how deep we were into the season