2010-2011 Laker Schedule and Predictions

Zephid —  August 10, 2010

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The 2010-2011 NBA schedule has just been released and you can look at the Lakers schedule here courtesy of ESPN.  (Here’s a pdf if you prefer a calendar view). And just like last year, I’m going to supply my input on the Lakers record at each stage of the season, and then we all get to see how wrong I am as the season progresses.  Last year I predicted 67 wins, which the Lakers came up just a little bit short (ok, a lot short) at 57-25, so take these with a massive helping of salt and skepticism.

October-November

Highlights: 10 home, 8 away, 2 back-to-backs, 3-game road trip.

Unlike last year, the Lakers don’t have a torrid home schedule in November.  Of the Lakers first 18 games, only 10 are at home, which is much lower considering some of the 21 of 24 and other ridiculousness we’ve had in the past two seasons.  However, the beginning of the season still has a lot of pillowy soft teams.  For all 18 games in the first two months of the season, only 7 will be against playoff teams from last year, 2 of them against what should be a significantly weaker Suns team due to the departure of Amar’e Stoudemire.  The Lakers have two back-to-backs, with the first one coming on home-away on Nov. 2 against Memphis then at Sacramento, the 2nd coming during a 3-game road trip through Milwaukee and Detroit on Nov. 16 and Minnesota 2 days later.

Prediction: 13-5

December

Highlights: 5 home, 10 away, 4 back-to-backs, 7-game road trip

The Lakers start off the month of December with the 2nd-half of a back-to-back, starting on Nov. 30 at Memphis then at Houston the next night.  After a lonely Friday contest against Sacramento at home, the team will have a home-away against Washington/@Clippers (or should it be home-home?), then embark on a 6 game road trip (7 if you include the Clippers as “on the road”).  The only above .500 team in that group should be Chicago, with the other games coming against New Jersey, Washington, Indiana, Philadelphia, and Toronto.  Three of those teams (NJN, WAS, and PHI) are up-and-coming squads with young players who will be more comfortable at home, and 2 of them are teams that are going nowhere (IND and TOR).  Throw in the fact that there is a back-to-back @Washington/@Indiana, and this looks to be one of those road trips where the Lakers probably should win, but will almost certainly drop a couple that the will cause immense fan heartache.

And then comes the mammoth that most of the league will be waiting for: Miami coming to Staples Center on Christmas Day.  The Lakers have three days off before the game, and two days off afterward, so there will be a long time for us fans to hype up this game and then wallow in its aftermath.  We can only hope that Christmas will be more like 2008 (when the Lakers beat the hated Celtics) and less like 2009 (when Lebron James and the Cavs whomped on the Lakers).  And what’s worse, the Lakers won’t have much time to relax, because they end the month with one last back-to-back @San Antonio/@New Orleans on Dec. 28, both of which should be tough contests.

Prediction: 10-5

January

Highlights: 10 home, 5 away, 3 back-to-backs.

While December should be a tough month for the Lakers, January looks a friendlier with many more home games.  The Lakers do have three back-to-backs, the first against Detroit/@Phoenix on Jan. 4, then Cleveland/@Golden State on Jan. 11, and lastly @Clippers/Oklahoma City (and I thought home-home back-to-backs weren’t allowed…).  That last game should be one of the marquee events of the season, when Kevin Durant brings the Thunder back to Staples for what should be a very exciting contest (plus it’s broadcast on TNT, so that means we get Charles Barkley commentary!).  The team will end the month with a lot of rest, playing only 3 games in 10 nights.  Hopefully this means the team will be rested when they meet the Celtics at the end of the month.

Prediction: 12-3

February

Highlights: 4 home, 9 away, 3 back-to-backs, 7-game road trip.

Ah yes, the Grammy’s Road Trip.  Every February, Staples Center gets taken over by the Grammy’s, exiling the Lakers on their longest road trip of the season.  While the Lakers have had some big wins during the Grammy’s trip over the past few years, this season’s version will be just as torturous.  The road trip starts with New Orleans, then Memphis, then back-to-back against Boston and New York, then back-to-back against Orlando and noted Lakersbane, Charlotte, then Lebron-less Cleveland.  Luckily, the Lakers will get the All-Star break to rest (hopefully Kobe, Pau, and Andrew all make the team and then play the first 5 minutes and quit).  With no rest for the weary, the Lakers will return to a loving embrace from a back-to-back with Atlanta/@Portland, then a return to the raucous Ford Center against the Thunder.

Prediction: 8-5

March-April

Highlights: 12 home, 9 away, 3 back-to-backs, 4-game road trip, 7-game home stand

The 2nd week of March brings us what will probably be the toughest portion of the season.  It’s a 4-games in 7 days road trip, featuring visits to San Antonio, Atlanta (a much better team at home), Miami, and Dallas.  This is the part of the season where everyone is gearing for the playoffs, old teams (like the Lakers) are banged up, and everyone is slowing down due to the wear and tear of the season.  That tough week however is followed by the longest home stand I can remember from recent Laker history.  Over the next three weeks, the Lakers will play only 7 games, all at home, with no back-to-backs.  The games will not be easy, with match-ups against Orlando, Portland, Phoenix, and Dallas, but the Lakers should be well-rested.  And if we know anything about this Lakers team, well-rested means lazy, and lazy means dropping games that we expect them to win.

Hopefully the Lakers will put on their focus caps after a couple restful weeks, because they end the season with 3 back-to-backs, Dallas/@Utah (in which it’s always tough to go east on the 2nd night of a back-to-back), then Utah/@Golden State and San Antonio/@Sacramento to end the season.  Sprinkle in another meeting with Oklahoma City and trip up to the always hostile Rose Garden against Portland, and you’ve got a very difficult run up to the playoffs.  The Lakers stumbled their way into the playoffs last year on a soft schedule; let’s hope the increase in potential playoff opponents will increase their focus.

Prediction: 16-5

Overall Prediction: 59-23

Disagree? Let me know in the comments.  My predictions are entirely my own, completely unscientific, subjective, and biased.

Zephid

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48 responses to 2010-2011 Laker Schedule and Predictions

  1. I believe you are dead on your prediction regarding the winning total. Unfortunately it won’t be enough for HCA in The Finals but just good enough in the West. So, my point is, can we beat Orlando in a 7 game series without HCA? Miami and Boston won’t make it that far…

  2. I’d disagree with the end assessment of 59 wins.

    Here are the factors why.

    1. Injury bug hit us BIG TIME last year. Without just an unrelenting slate of injuries, I have to think that we’d have had more than 57 wins.

    2. Stars are taking the summer off to rest and get healthy

    3. Artest will have had a lot more time to get accustomed to playing in the Triangle/being a supporting role on offense

    4. Upgraded bench. Blake, Barnes and Ratliff are a big, big upgrade over Farmar, MBenga and Powell

    5. More balanced schedule
    For better or for worse, the more balanced schedule helps us. When you play too many home games in a row, I think it can mess with the mindset of a team. They look at the standings and forget to put them into context. Similarly, too many road games in a row to make up for it later in the year is grinding and contributes to injuries

    6. More defined roles
    When the second unit played last year, it was often glaringly obvious that certain players were playing for stats and contracts. I think that is less likely this go around.

    7. Less back to backs, and less brutal back to backs. Often times last year our second opponent was a killer. Looking at Land o Lakers blog, the back to backs don’t look as bad this year.

    I think these factors combined are worth more than two extra wins over the course of the year.

  3. isn’t courtney lee too good to be a backup sg?
    brooks, kevin martin, courtney lee.. that would be smallest/skinniest back court.
    hopefully it will be a fresh start for ariza. he would be a lot of appreciated if he does spot-up 3 point shootings, and backdoor cuts rather than forcing shots

  4. i think we’ll win 60 games easy! we won 57 games last season with an injuries to pau, kobe, bynum, artest, odom, luke, shannon AND with a crappy bench

    our whole roster hopefully will be healthy as can be and now that we have a pretty damn good bench…how do we not win 60 games MINIMUM??

  5. I’d like to see the Lakers go undefeated on Saturdays this season.

  6. your prediction is way off. you’re working out the numbers on the assumption that the lakers care abt the regular season.

  7. I agree with #2 Jim C

    I think they will be in the low 60’s on wins. I hope this summers rest really helps their injuries decrease and i hope bynum can go one year without an injury!

    I know no ones mentioned this yet but there is no way the lakers or the heat will beat the bulls record of 72 wins. the bulls had the 2 of the top 3 players in the league (pippen was really good) and the whole league wasn’t very talented in the 90’s. Right now there are a lot of really good teams it will be tough to beat the 60 mark. but i think the lakers and heat can do that and maybe the magic.

    Anyway GO LAKERS!!

  8. We won 57 games with many very close games that could have gone both ways (read: 6 Kobe game winners). Winning 60 games is a huge accomplishment for a team; yet, in the end, as the Lakers demonstrated, the regular season is only a glorified preseason.

  9. Cant believe so many put the lakers to win only 60% of their games, I think the Lakers will win more for two reasons number one miami has upgrade and then already said they will take the championship this year thats motivation enough and second we have the best player on the planet in kobe hands down the young man is a destryor the only way you will beat LA is if some players intensionly hurt kobe the guy has showed throughout his career that in his house and on the hard wook and when the game is on the line he will and can take you out…

  10. am i right in saying that you are making your prediction conservative because of how off you were last year?

  11. I would say that the LAKERS will easily top 60+ wins if healthy, we have the best front court, big giants and a upgraded bench! Plus Phil wants to finish with a big bang! The road trips will be important because last year the LAKERS were bad! Keep in mind Kobe’s fuel will be to tie Jordan with 6 rings and doesn’t care what team he beats.

  12. I think the Kobe game winners balanced out the injuries and games lost last year. So I think the 57 is a close barometer for next year.

    Even though the bench is deeper, having two new pieces in Barnes and Blake will mean Phil will spend some time on strange lineups as he sees what’s going to work. That’ll probably lead to some losses in early and mid season as many fans are screaming at Phil for his horrible coaching.

    I also think Phil will play the two rookies some early in the year to see if they can contribute. With all that, I think low 60’s is the most to hope for. 59-61 wins sounds like the right range.

    I’d be utterly shocked if they ended up in the mid to high 60’s. This is a veteran team that knows they need their rest and health going into the playoffs. The energy just isn’t going to be there some nights.

    Besides all this is just fun speculation anyway.

  13. We have the least back to backs of any team in the league this year (15).

  14. Shannon Brown re-signed with the Lakers today. Ariza just got traded and is now on his fifth team. Think Shannon thought twice about leaving a dream situation? Feel bad for Ariza, but in the NBA, everything is fungible, including “loyalty” and all the players.

  15. I think the Lakers will be much better this upcoming season. Kobe will be fresher and as people have mentioned Ron will have a year in the offense worth of experience and our bench is going to be much better. And I truly believe Bynum will finally stay healthy and be an all star this upcoming season. So with all that accounted for I am going to say the Lakers finish 62-20. But again our main focus should be the playoffs and winning 3 in a row.

  16. I think this year the team will be much more sober and focused in their approach. Several reasons, including: it’s Phil’s last season, bench is more seasoned and new additions are quality, hopefully less injuries (we were pretty banged up last year), HCA is going to be very important with this year’s rise in East’s quality. Lakers should win 61+.

    Looks like Trevor just can’t shake the journeyman travels. Best of luck to him, I hope we can get him for Sasha and spare change.

  17. One thing that I left out of the previous post was the “Miami Heat” factor.

    As in, this year the contender that the Lakers are trying to beat is very clearly focused and defined. I think that will keep the team more focused than before.

  18. 11, vjh, yea that’s partially true. I was pretty exuberant last year and probably overestimated the Lakers abilities and how much they care about the regular season. But it’s also because this year I expect some teams to be better than last year.

    A number of West teams look a lot better this year than last year. OKC definitely comes to mind. When I went through last year, it was like “oh OKC, that’s a win!” This year I weighed OKC at a lot more heavily, especially the game in the Ford Center. Another team is Portland, which will be much better than last year because they probably won’t have as many injuries. New Orleans should also be tougher with a healthy Chris Paul and now adding Trevor Ariza. Houston should also be better with a healthy Yao and a full training camp with Kevin Martin.

    Also, I expect many of the bottom feeding teams to be better this year. Sacramento, with Cousins who I expect to be a beast and front-runner for Rookie of the Year, has one more year of experience for a team that’s always been feisty. Washington will be an exciting, young, athletic team, and will be a difficult win on the road. Even the Clippers should be better with Blake Griffin in the fold (hopefully).

    The teams that will be really bad this year were pretty bad last year, like Toronto, Indiana, and Minnesota are going to be really, really bad this year. Really, the only teams that were tough last year that have gotten noticeably worse are Phoenix, due to the departure of Amar’e, and of course Cleveland, but they’re sort of replaced by Miami. And it’s not like a 30 point win against Toronto counts any more than a 20 point win against Toronto, so terrible teams getting worse doesn’t really help our cause.

    Overall, the better teams generally got better this past offseason, the really bad teams got worse, and the middling teams mostly got better.

    In other news, I’m liking the Ariza/Collison trade for all parties. Houston gets Lee and gives up Ariza, who was logjammed at wing with Martin and Battier taking most of those minutes, cutting almost $4M in salary. New Orleans gets Ariza, an athletic wing that they’ve never had in the Chris Paul Era, who can shoot decently from three and plays good defense, while finally finding someone to take James Posey off their hands. Indiana gets their point guard in Darren Collison, gives up Troy Murphy’s albatross of a contract. New Jersey gets Murphy’s EC while only giving up Lee, who was logjammed at SG with Terrence Williams looking to have much more potential. Really the only bad piece was Indiana eating James Posey’s contract, but that’s a small price to pay to get a PG as good as Collison and shedding salary at the same time.

  19. The Finals showed the importance of HCA. That will be a motivation for both players and coaching staff to get the best record.

  20. I think the prediction is pretty light. It’s only 2 more wins than last year. There were a crapload of injuries last year. They were allergic to playing basketball on the road. Which can be blamed on inconsistent bench play / weak bench. If they can avoid injuries this year, if the bench plays as strong as it looks on paper and they catch a few breaks. I see them winning at least 65 games.

  21. I think 59 wins is a bit low, and here’s why:

    1) The west is still the best, but is appreciably less formidable with the increasing age of key players on San Antonio, Phoenix, and Denver. Additionally, the loss of Amare in Phoenix, the uncertainty in NO re: CP3, pending free agency of Carmelo in Denver, the near impossibility of OKC remaining as healthy as they did last year and the question marks surrounding the return of Yao and Oden in Houston and Portland respectively, all are reasons to believe the west will not pose as thorough a daily challenge as it has in recent years.

    2) Health. Maybe the most remarkable thing about this Lakers run of back-to-back titles and 3 straight Finals appearances is that at no point has their starting 5 been healthy the majority of the season or at any point in the playoffs. After 3 years of injuries to Pau, Kobe, Bynum, Luke, Ariza, Odom, Artest, and Sasha, it seems likely that at some point we will have a healthy season. Last season we briefly saw glimpses of how dominant Bynum and Pau can be together once they have learned to coexist on the floor. A season together to build a rhythm will do wonders for an offense that at times last year struggled to produce efficiently.

    3) Bynum’s growth. This is somewhat of an addendum to point 2, but is important to note separately. Bynum, when healthy is a legitimate 20-10-2 center on any other team in the league. In fact, because of his advanced footwork and post scoring, and his dramatic growth defensively last season, Bynum is arguably the best center in the league. YES… I know Howard hasn’t retired, but it seems that his upward trajectory has stalled and while his talents are extraordinary, he lacks any natural feel for the offensive side of the game. Bynum showed for significant stretches last season that he is an elite center, but most notably, he is still far from having reached his full potential.

    4) The true Big 3. Piggy-backing on the previous 2 points, the Lakers possess BY FAR the most complimentary and devastating Big 3 in the league. Lebron-Wade-Bosh may be flashy and extremely gifted, but Lebron and Wade mirror each other in terms of what they bring to the floor. Their skills, to me at least, do not seem to balance each other’s weakness. Compare this to Boston with dynamic scoring bruiser Paul Pierce, sharp shooting Allen and HOF do everything big Garnett. Unlike Miami, Boston poses defensive problems by presenting a variety of attacks from various places on the floor. The Lakers, however, do this the best. The Lakers possess the best perimeter player in the world, paired with the best power forward in the world and the arguably the best true center in the world. Each piece offering a new variation for defenses to plan for.

    5) Big man’s league. No matter the greatness of perimeter players, 2 things remain constant. You can’t teach size, and defense and rebounding wins championships. A healthy Lakers front court is simply an impossible match up for any other team in the NBA. A healthy season will only improve upon the chemistry our bigs share, and that has to be a frightening thought for the rerst of the league.

    6) Bench. The additions of Blake and Barnes are not only important because of their shooting abilities, but because they provide excellent on ball defenders off the bench. Paired with 1-2 starters, our bench should have no problem holding off the kind of scoring runs we saw last year against our second unit. This will afford more rest for our starters, keeping them strong into the later months of the season. Also, fewer games will hinge on the ability of our starting 5 to regain control of a game after a poor showing by the bench.

    Finally, my predictions… 66-16. I believe the overall health, increased depth, better chemistry and growth of Bynum combined with a conference on the decline will result in a season in which the Lakers run away with the west.

  22. exhelodrvr – Very good point about HCA. The way the Finals played out last season could really pump the team up a little to get a few more wins.

  23. I think we top out at 62-66 wins. This team will be much more focused and assuming no big injuries (and a summer of rest for Kobe & Pau), we will be much more refreshed. And with only 15 back to backs for the back to back champs, we will see a lot more wins than last year.

  24. Zephid, Julian Wright is a very athletic wing and he was in NO for a couple of years.. TA is an upgrade and Belinelli can play some, but they have Thornton who’s budding and their frontline is still thin. If they really wanted to get help, they should have traded Collison for a big man with potential. That team has no chance in the west if it doesn’t pick one up to be the first big off the bench. This move doesn’t make them much better..

  25. I think that between 59-65 wins is the Lakers threshold for this season unless the bench plays extremely well. If the Lakers are healthy, I think that 60+ wins is definitely achievable. Especially if Bynum can improve again this season and simply stay healthy.

    Health is the key to this upcoming season more than anything else. Keep minutes down for the starters, so come playoff time they are much fresher. I don’t think this team needs any more motivation to win. Phil’s last season. Kobe going after #6. The formation of the Nazgul in Miami. Tying the Celtics for all-time titles. A lot of legacies are on the line this season especially with the lookout looming over the following season. I cannot wait for the season to get started.

  26. I have us winning around 55 or so, because:

    1. Kobe’s finger isn’t getting any better

    2. Andrew’s injuries aren’t just going to disappear

    3. Artest being settled-in means that he has more chance to become a distraction as well

    4. Odom will always seek new heights of inconsistency

    5. There’ll be games PJ will choose not to win as hard as he can because he needs to teach the newcomers

    So realistically I think last year’s total minus some buzzer beaters would be realistic…

  27. we’re adding two new players to the rotation, and we can’t expect them to gel overnight. it will take time for them to familiarize themselves with the system and new teammates. And it will take time for returning players and coaches to get a feel for blake and barnes.

    we know what phil is like. he is going to make sacrifices that may increase the risk of losing in the regular season, just so our teams gain the experience needed to win in the playoffs.

    I like that our team will be on the road a fair bit early on. That should create a lot of male bonding opportunities.

    I expect our team to begin on pace for 57 wins–that’s what we won last year. The last 1/3 of the season, I expect better basketball.

    I could see them starting off 34-14, and capping off the season with one or two double-digit winning streaks. I think we’ll win 57 at least, and likely 60+.

  28. @ #10 Louis Brown: No one picked the Lakers to “to win only 60% of their games” that would be only 49 victories.

    I personally try not to speculate on an exact number and prefer to enjoy the experience of the ups and downs in the moment.

    However, I do always hope that the Lakers win enough to secure home court throughout the playoffs, no matter what that number may be, which is within their reach if health permits.

  29. I believe the Laker win total will depend not only on health, but mainly on how the other top teams fare. Two seasons ago, the Lakers kept up with Cleveland until the last few games for HCA, finishing a game behind the Cavs. Last season, they kind of knew by March that a) they wouldn’t catch the Cavs for overall record, b) they pretty much locked up #1 seed in the west and HCA except for Orlando and Cleveland. I’m not saying they tanked the last month of games, but Phil saw no reason to over-exert themselves and risk further injury for nothing.

    This season, if they stay relatively healthy (no team goes through a season unscathed), they can ‘push’ themselves for overall HCA, or at least top 3 record-wise in the league. Lakers have more pride than just winning 55 games and ending up as 3-6 seed in the west. I say that if the Heat and Magic are on pace for 60-65 wins, you will see the Lakers around that area as well. 59-63 wins maybe more fitting, and guaranteed #1 seed in the Western Conference

  30. Dustball – Well said, I agree completely. This team is stronger this year, the west is weaker, and they will be on a mission to send Phil out in style. The only way they win less than 60 wins is if there are some major injuries. If Bynum, Gasol, and Kobe can stay healthy, 60+ is very likely.

  31. Good write-up Zephid, on the upcoming games this season by month. HCA is very important, as we learned last year, would we be the current Champions, if that critical Finals 7th game had been played in Boston? I believe the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers (I like the sound of that, don’t you?), will do everything in their power to keep it throughout the year, more wins for sure this year than last year, see #2, Jim C. and #23, Dustball. HCA is everything!

    “Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.” – Franklin P. Jones

  32. I agree with most who think that they will win between 60 and 65 games. I think chemistry is not going to be a problem with Blake. All he has to do is watch Fisher and do what he does (plus actually hit the shots he takes). For Barnes it may be a little tougher and Ron Ron has to fight through the “I finally got one” malaise. They will be the competition between ShanWoW and Sasha to stay on the team. If ShanWoW comes in and plays like it did before the thumb injury, Sasha is SOL. The only chance for Sasha is to shoot lights out.

    There will be no rest for the wicked (bad teams). Be prepared for some blowouts at the expense of ill-prepared teams. Kobe and the boys have an agenda this year and it ain’t gonna be pretty for those in the way. This year will be very special….Mark my words.

  33. Off-topic: Poor CP3, did Hornets just trade the only valuable asset apart from Paul… for Ariza!?

    Ariza is still a fringe starter, a fourth or fifth man. If anything, that trade was a sal.dump of Posey and a only inched the franchise closer to trading Paul… only now they don´t have a plan B.

  34. Your prediction that the 2010-2011 Lakers will come within ONE game of a 60-win regular season record is WAY “optimistic”! Actually,, the 2010-2011 Lakers will be MORE like the 2002-2003 Lakers (in aftermath of their famous 3-peat),, when they started out like 3-9,,, then 11-19 (at the 30 game mark). TRUE,,, the 2010-2011 Lakers WILL recover (just like how the 2002-2003 Lakers did), while more realistically,, the 2010-2011 Lakers will finish something like 48-34 (maybe as high as 50-32),, and seeded about mid-pack,, in the West Conference Playoffs. Now just as the 2002-2003 Lakers were eliminated (make that DE-throned),, in the 2nd Playoff Rd.,, by the eventual champion Spurs,, the 2010-2011 Lakers will ALSO,, be de-throned,, in the 2nd round,, (perhaps by the Suns,,, perhaps by the OKC Thunder,,, perhaps by the Nuggets,, perhaps by the Mavericks,,, perhaps by the Rockets),, etc. YES,,, history WILL repeat itself (8 years later) for the Lakers!

  35. Hi Darius,

    I can’t speculate month by month, game by game as you do–my crystal ball is far too cloudy. So, let’s do it by binomial statistics.

    If every team won and lost an equal number of games, they’d all be 41-41. That’s possible–but highly unlikely. However, it is similarly unlikely for one team to go 82-0.

    The better teams will do better than 41-41, and the worse teams will do worse, but the average of all teams will always be 41-41. Based on the past three years, it appears like the Lakers could go about 30% above that average, or about 56 wins. Much beyond that, and regression to the mean starts to pull them back to earth.

    That’s just a tad below your number.

  36. @Steve: care to give reasons why this year would shape out like 2002/03. Other than pure speculation and bias of course?

    Balanced schedule, fewer back-to-backs (15 instead of 20), deeper squad (like others before me have said Barnes, Blake, Ratliff >>>> Farmar, Powell, Mbenga, add in Caracter and Ebanks who are > Morrison and it gets even better), less injuries (hopefully) and more defined roles = better record. Yes, the season doesn’t mean as much for an experienced team, but I think HCA is still desirable and now that the squad has experienced their year of malaise, I expect a much more focused approach to the upcoming schedule.

    68-14, good for overall HCA.

  37. RE: 35

    If I were Mitch it may be prudent to hold off on dumping Vujacic prior to the start of the regular season. I could see a scenario where the Hornets (or Ariza) struggle and look to get out of the remaining three years of his contract.

    The Lakers could be buyers in that case and really roll out a tremendous group of wing players/defenders (Kobe/Artest/Barnes/Ariza). Playing time in that case becomes an issue but those things generally take care of themselves.

    You never know…

  38. Here’s what we should do. Simply swap Ebanks for Ariza. Put all of Ariza’s tattos on Ebanks, and voilà! Only stickler, who gets to keep Trevor’s $$$?

  39. @39: To be fair, we’re ALL speculating and at least a little biased here. With that said, that post is as blatant a trolling attempt as I’ve seen in a while.

    I think we’ll be somewhere in the 57-60 win range. This team is simply too talented to lose very many more IMO. I sort of agree with the sentiment that the team will be pacing itself based on the performance of our rivals, but combined with Phil’s approach toward the regular season (time to tinker and teach) and the team’s well-chronicled tendency to play down to the level of its opponents on certain nights, I think mid-high 60s is pretty unrealistic.

  40. For all of those who are about to type (“but salary cap prevents…”), I was being facetious.

  41. >but in the NBA, everything is fungible, including “loyalty” and all the players.

    I didn’t want this to get completely glossed over, because there is an important concept masked herein. the term fungible is usually applied to commodities such as oil, wheat, and lumber. and, although the quoted statement is somewhat hyperbolic, it does apply totally to 75% (at a minimum) of NBA rosters, and fully applies to the upcoming rehash of the CBA.

    here’s another good, and related, usage:
    “Jets coach Rex Ryan isn’t happy with his team’s efforts in the punting game. And since it’s one of the most fungible positions in the sport, the Jets have inked a new punter.”
    – NBCSports.com August 16, 2009

  42. 44. Tsuwm. Yes, hyperbolic and histrionic-al. :-)

  43. I think we will see Kobe seize a chance to define himself and he’ll be healthy this year. If that’s what happens, this team will be ridiculous. If Kobe is on and the inside play is what we’ve come to expect the wins will come easily.

    The Heat will beat the Lakers both times (and will lose to someone with a center in a best of 7 come playoff time) this season.

    If Bynum is actually healthy this year, 66 wins. If not, 60.

    Go Lakers!

  44. #23 Dustbin Good post!

  45. Rogelio T. Agbayani August 14, 2010 at 1:47 am

    I strongly suggest that Coach Phil Jackson give more playing time and experience to the 2nd unit during “easy games” (without hurting the feelings of the 1st unit) particularly during the season so that when the END GAMES (CRITICAL PART) of the season comes, both 1st & 2nd unit shall have both confidence and high morale to play basketball.

    Ask any player who is not given much playing time and surely his morale will surely DROP and loyalty to the team ebbs considerably.

    THIS IS A COMMON MISTAKE OF THE COACH as well as contract terms and conditions. At any point in the game, players must be given time to show their talents just to built up their confidence.

  46. TEST.