From NBA.com’s Hangtime Blog: David Aldridge: For that to be true, one of the following would have to go: Russell, Jordan, Magic, Wilt, Kareem. I’ll let the Chuckster choose. Steve Aschburner: I’ll bet that a thorough search of the TNT archives would turn up tape of Barkley naming 13 different guys among his “Top 5? ever. I can’t put Bryant that high on any all-time list, not when the top spots are already clogged with the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, Jerry West and Julius Erving. Kobe could shove aside half of those guys and still not crack the Top 5. Counting rings is way too restrictive and an NBA peculiarity – no one obsesses over championships won when ranking the best ever in football or baseball, not to the degree employed by many hoops fans. So Bryant’s five are great, but that doesn’t give him “cuts” on Robertson or Baylor, for instance. I’d have him in my second five – and I’ll let you figure out who gets bumped down.
From Janis Carr, OC Register: After so many delays and return dates that have been pushed back, Andrew Bynum finally gave his teammates, Phil Jackson and fans a bit of good news. He could be back on the court sooner than he expected. Bynum said Monday that he could be back in uniform in 2 1/2-3 weeks instead of three weeks that he mentioned Saturday. After competing in a four-on-four half-court scrimmage, Bynum said he hopes to be ready to play recover during the Lakers’ six-game trip in mid-December.
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: As Brian wrote earlier, Phil Jackson clarified Sunday’s frustrated tone about the delayed recovery of Andrew Bynum. Watching PJ speak before the Indiana game, his vibe certainly felt like someone trying not-so-subtly to kick a player into fifth gear. But today, whether because he was just in a different mood or was aware of the reaction to his statements, Phil went out of his way to make clear he has no beef with Bynum. The center was described as a very “willing worker” in his rehab and Jackson dropped no hints about Bynum perhaps being more able than willing to step on the floor. Instead, it’s the situation annoying Jackson. He’s watching helplessly as the wear and tear builds for Lamar Odom and especially Pau Gasol, and he’s helpless to do anything about it. Theo Ratliff isn’t close to a return from knee surgery. Derrick Caracter isn’t ready to handle Theo’s 8.4 minutes. And Bynum’s ETA remains stubbornly in flux. That’s a tough situation for a coach to sit by and watch.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Relaxed at the beginning of training camp, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson sat before reporters and remarked why he wasn’t upset that Andrew Bynum’s wouldn’t be fully healthy to start the season as he rehabilitates from a surgically repaired knee. “The end result is what it’s going to be like in May and June,” Jackson said. “That’s the important part.” In a stressful state of mind toward the end of the first month of the regular season, Jackson stood before reporters and lamented Bynum’s prolonged timetable, the latest being that he would return to the court in three weeks, around Christmas.
From David Lassen, The Press Enterprise: Just how dramatic is the growth of Shannon Brown’s outside shooting game? Consider this: In 92 games over his first three NBA seasons, the 25-year-old Brown had 30 three-pointers. This season, in the Lakers’ first 16 games, he already has 29. In between, of course, came Brown’s first full season with the Lakers, when he played all 82 games, shot 33 percent from the arc in making 62 three-pointers and generally proved himself valuable off the bench. But even from last year to this, the jump has been huge, with Brown shooting 52 percent (51 percent on threes) and providing a huge offensive boost for the second unit.
From Gil Meriken, Silver Screen and Roll: I hate the individual stats that are used for basketball these days. They don’t describe the game. See, the point of an individual player is not to try to rack up as many of the “good” stats and as few of the “bad” stats, even if that is what the popular models will try to to tell you. Nor will those stats alone tell you how good a player is, say , at rebounding, or passing. More rebounds than another player does NOT necessarily mean “better rebounder” any more than more assists means “better passer”. The outcomes of those stats all depends on context, role on the team, teammates, and opposition.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Kobe Bryant stood at the top of the key early in the game in some bizarre trance as he waited and waited for an offensive rebound to come all the way out to him. It never got there. The Indiana Pacers got on that ball first for a transition score that left an embarrassed Bryant standing in that same spot in disbelief at what he had just done. The Pacers had the greater urgency Sunday night and won, 95-92, at Staples Center, holding off a Bryant-fueled rally to hand the Lakers’ their second consecutive loss.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: Plenty has happened in the 11-year history of Staples Center, be it a bevy of championship Lakers teams, an armful of losing Clippers teams and, for the music enthusiasts, a host of memorable concerts, from Bruce Springsteen to U2. Then there was the latest piece of history, or infamy from the point of view of a Lakers fan. The Pacers had never beaten the Lakers at Staples Center until Sunday, when they won, 95-92, to break an 0-14 skid that included three playoff losses in 2000.
From Elliot Teaford, LA Daily News: Lackluster effort by defending champs allows Indiana to get first win at Staples vs. L.A. Every season has its firsts. First game, first victory, first loss, first compelling victory, first road win, first road loss and first bad defeat. The Lakers pretty much exhausted the list with their lackluster 95-92 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night. It was their first genuine clunker, and it came against a team that was 0-11 in its history at Staples Center. “I thought we played a lethargic game,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.