Around the World (Wide Web)

Phillip Barnett —  March 1, 2011

From Broderick Turner, LA Times: The Lakers’ four-game winning streak since the All-Star game seems attributable to their stifling defense, which has held opposing teams to 90.8 points a game in that stretch.?? Or maybe not — at least in the eyes of Lakers Coach Phil Jackson. He sees it more as a result of an effective offense by his team.??” I think it’s the pace of the game that we’re trying to establish,” Jackson said. “We’re not forcing the activity right now. When Matt [Barnes] comes back, we’ll probably pick the speed up in the game a little bit. But right now, we’re playing at . . . pretty much our [moderate] pace.”

From Arash Markazi, ESPNLA: Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes, who underwent surgery Jan. 11 to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee, says he is fit to play and the decision on his return is now in the hands of the team. Barnes, who is on his first road trip with the Lakers since suffering his injury on Jan. 7, went through warm-ups before the game and said he was ready to play and hoped to return to the lineup next week. “Progress is very good and now it’s really up to [coach] Phil [Jackson]. I’ve been practicing and rehabbing well,” Barnes said. “I feel good but I don’t want to cause any controversy. I want to be here for the long haul and when I’m back I want to make sure I stay back. When they’re ready to have me back out there I’ll be ready.”

From Patrick Hruby, ESPNLA: Go back in time. Way back. To the city’s 1954 basketball championship for black high schools. Held just two months before Brown vs. Board of Education marked the beginning of the end for American apartheid, the tournament semifinals pitted Baylor’s Spingarn High against Mays’ Armstrong Tech. Playing on its home floor, Spingarn entered the game undefeated. Nigh invincible. After all, Baylor averaged 37.5 points per game. He wasn’t just a future NBA All-Star; he was a leaping, soaring, sweet-shooting scorer ahead of his time, the evolutionary forefather of Michael Jordan and Dr. J. Expecting a coronation, no one in the packed gym gave Armstrong a chance — until Mays held Baylor to 18 points in a 50-47 Armstrong Tech victory. The impressive part? As the result of a childhood gun accident, Mays has only one arm. The really impressive part? Basketball wasn’t even his best sport.

From Mike Trudell, Lakers.com: Before the days of great Lakers Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson in Los Angeles were the days of George Mikan, Jim Pollard and Vern Mikkelsen of the Minneapolis Lakers, who spearheaded the run of the first five Lakers championships. Sid Hartman, the man who brought that team to Minneapolis in the first place and subsequently made all personnel and many business decisions, joined us on Lakers.com to look back at the first days of the franchise in advance of the current Lakers squad’s Tuesday evening matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Hartman, who detailed the events of the late 1940′s and 50′s in his book ‘Sid!: The Sports Legends, the Inside Scoops and the Close Personal Friends, continues to write sports columns for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Nearly 92 years old, Hartman has been covering sports in Minnesota for 64 years.

From Billy Witz, Fox Sports: It’s usually a slippery slope trying to read too much into the mood of the Lakers and their What-Me-Worry countenance. But it was hard Monday on a cool, crisp and crystal clear day not to see that their four-game winning streak since the All-Star break had left them in a state of blissful assuredness, where this time the two-time defending champions really believe they are headed in the right direction. It was there to see in the post-practice slam dunk contest/yuk fest that not only involved rookies like Devin Ebanks, but also veterans like Lamar Odom and Steve Blake, the latter of whom actually did get the ball just over the lip of the rim.

From Kent Youngblood, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Timberwolves rookie Wes Johnson’s newfound confidence will get a test Tuesday night at Target Center against the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant. But it won’t be their first go-round. Johnson met Bryant during last spring’s playoffs, when the former Syracuse star was in Los Angeles for a predraft workout. The two players share an agent, Rob Pelinka, who helped put Johnson in touch with Bryant. The two swapped phone numbers, and when Johnson decided to train last summer in L.A., the two worked out a couple of times before Bryant had offseason surgery. It started one day when Bryant phoned Johnson with instructions to meet him. Johnson got there at 8 a.m. and Bryant already had finished lifting weights. The two went out on the court, where Bryant gave Johnson some pointers on the triangle offense.

Phillip Barnett

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18 responses to Around the World (Wide Web)

  1. To all those wanting that defensive wing to guard PGs (from last thread) I guess Abbott agrees with you when it comes to Brewer.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/25595/the-knicks-could-use-a-good-geek

  2. Heat just cut Carlos Arroyo.

  3. well…at least the Cs didn’t get Bibby.

  4. I’m thankful the Heat didn’t get both Murphy and Bibby, both players were upgrades over everything they have at those positions combined (maybe with the exception of Chalmers being a better defender than Bibby).

    The new look Celtics are going to be much more versatile than in previous years. Now they have players who can space the floor, as opposed to previous years where only a few players were threats to score. I actually really like the moves they made, Ainge has put together a more well rounded team in sacrificing a little less defense. Because as game 7 of the Finals last year shows, defensively they were fine without Perkins, they just didn’t have a consistent scoring threat other than KG, Pierce, and Ray Ray.

  5. Murphy to the Celtics, Bibby to the Heat. Next two biggest names are Brewer and Powe. I still dont understand why the Knicks cut Brewer, he’s probably their best defender and they definitely need all the help they can get in that department.

    I’d love to see him on the Lakers, but I’m not sure where he’d play? Not with Matt about to return. But he’d be a great piece to develop.

  6. I am not so sure I agree Lakers8884.

    The Celtics already use a backup PF pretty proficiently – CryBaby – and Murphy (if he is any good this year) is just going to cramp his minutes. I really don’t think Murphy is going to play much.. I think the biggest reason the Celtics got him is so that the heat couldn’t get him. Sort of like a weak arms race.

    For Miami I just dont understand the need for a Bibby. Sure he shoots threes, and despite the article by Haberstroh the says he is an average defender, those who watch the Hawks a ton know he is a Matador. The Hawks always had to use Johnson as the primary point defender and then Bibby got stuck on 2s he had no chance against – a Jason Richardson, Ray Allen, etc. Unlike Fisher, he doesn’t really fight through screens and by the Hawks removing him and adding Hinrich their defense became much better as they were more able to switch easily on pick and rolls.

    For a Miami team that is preaching defense first, and already has a plethora of 3pt shooting/No Defense guards (Arroyo, House), I dont understand it.

    I think the real fear is San Anto getting Brewer though, as that is just another solid body to put on Kobe/Durant in a playoff series and relieved Manu of a lot of defensive pressure. The same would be true if Boston got him – then theyd have Pierce, Green, and Brewer as solid bodies (with a ton of fouls) to defend the wings. And while Tony Allen was a better defender than Green and Brewer at the 2 & 3, sometimes having the bodies is a big deal.

    Looks like the Lakers are standing pat – which is either because they are arrogant, stubborn, or a little of both. Its not like Brewer wouldn’t be an upgrade over Luke Walton’s corpse. Especially for the vet minimum.

  7. Cdog-Barnes>brewer. Thats why

  8. Do the Lakers have financial room to sign Brewer? If they do, it is unfathomable to me that we wouldn’t make that move. With a fully healthy roster, sure, it’s tough to see how he would find playing time. But when the injuries set in (as they usually do) and guys get in foul trouble, Brewer’s athleticism and defensive capability is exactly what we need. The guy can be a game changer.

    Again, this all assumes the finances permit it.

  9. Neither Bibby nor Murphy are the magic missing piece that is going to put his respective team over the top. Both will be marginal contributors at best.

  10. Cdog, logically that makes no sense for Murphy to have gone there if he isn’t going to get any minutes, he had a starting job in Miami waiting for him. He will play and play big minutes (Shaq will rarely be used unless it’s Dwight or Bynum they are facing), and Murphy is definitely an upgrade of Nenad Kristic. The Celtics offense has lacked spacing and by adding a shooter who can play decent defense they have added a new dimension to their team.

    Also Cdog in order to make room for Bibby Arroyo was cut from the team.

  11. 7 – lou

    I agree- Barnes > Brewer. This is late to yesterdays post and may have been mentioned already – but that is one scenario I’d like to see more of – Barnes thrown on bigger point guards.

    Why have kobe waste his legs on them when Matt Barnes is such a pest on defense that he is nearly as effective? I really am looking forward to him coming back.

    If by chance some of you needed yet another reason to root for the Lakers – I’ve added the fact that they will be the only thing that resembles a real team come playoff time- the biggest changes in the past 2 years were add Artest (ariza chose to leave) and signing barnes to a modest contract. The Spurs and Celts come close – maybe OKC, but other than that, everyone is relying on major new pieces.

  12. I just don’t see it. Murphy can shoot the three, but he’s a lousy defender and if he’s on the floor a ton of pressure is put on Garnett as the only post threat and post defender. Nenad is at least big enough to somewhat body centers in the easy, but no way Doc want Garnett playing center (or defacto center) every game.

    And I know arroyo was cut but…. Aren’t he and bib by the pretty much same player and skillset?

  13. rondo is going to kill bibby just like he killed mo williams.

  14. @12,gxs, San Antonio has not added any major new pieces going into this year. Richard Jefferson the big piece from last year had troubles adjusting last year. This year after a summer of personal coaching from Pops, it’s made a world of difference for him and that team.

    If Jefferson was still bricking shots like he did last year, this Spurs team would be just as vulnerable as they were last year.

  15. any_one_mouse March 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Re: Brewer. As Zephid pointed out yesterday, he won’t cost a lot to pick up, especially with the season ending in a month and a half (!). Yes, it’s unrealistic to expect him to crack the rotation this year, but we could definitely get him acclimatised to the offensive/defensive schemes and ready for next year. Neither Barnes and Brown are guaranteed for next year, and Brewer could fill for either one of them.

  16. Double Brewer’s salary and that is what the Lakers will have to pay for him at the end of the year.

    I doubt the Lakers will take anyone just to prevent an opponent from signing them. With Barnes back how does Brewer help us?

  17. 17, Brewer would sign for $885k, the veteran’s minimum. This would then be pro-rated over the rest of the season, which is 21 games, roughly 1/4 of the season. So we would be paying him around $221k, and $221k in luxury tax, adding up to $442k. I doubt Buss will have nightmares over an extra $442k.

    Brewer would be just as much a signing for the future as it would be for the present. If we sign him, we’re the team that gave him the shot, and there’s a good chance he re-signs with us like Shannon did. This way, if and when we dump Artest’s contract (which I think will be the primary goal of this upcoming offseason), we’ll have some semblance of depth with Barnes and Brewer. Plus, there’s always the chance he develops into a great role player, like Ariza. And I must restate, he already has triangle experience from Minnesota, so we don’t have to teach him the offense from scratch. That’s a huge advantage over any other free agent.

    However, most of this is probably moot as it seems that Brewer is deciding between Boston, SA, and Chicago.