Revisiting The Steve Blake Signing

Darius Soriano —  March 7, 2011

Steve Blake was the “marquee” Laker acquistion this past off-season. When the news first broke that the Lakers had signed him, I thought it was a very good idea and praised the pick up. Afterall, he has all the requisite skills to be a very good Triangle PG and his history as a solid contributor who rarely tries to break out of his role while consistently focusing on his team’s success made him an ideal player to add to a championship team.

However Blake has had, by any measure, an up and down season. And in the comments of the Bobcats recap, commenter Radmd made this point about Blake in relation Jordan Farmar, the man he essentially replaced in the Lakers’ lineup:

I never thought I would say this…but it sure looks like Jordan Farmar was actually more effective in the triangle offense than Blake has been. Blake has no penetrating ability, and if he is not shooting the 3 well, he is pretty useless, as he is not much of an assist guy due to his lack of penetration as opposed to Farmar. He is a slightly better defender than Jordan but not enough to make up for his lack of offense.

While this comment is a bit harsh (I’ve never thought of any player as useless, even when they’re not playing/performing well), it does raise a couple of good questions: Has Blake been a good signing and would the Lakers have been better off keeping Jordan Farmar?

Personally, I’m still of the mind that the Lakers made the right choice in signing Blake and letting Farmar walk. As Kurt points out, Farmar was never really a good fit for what the Lakers wanted to accomplish on offense:

(Farmar) ran the offense as little as possible. He did not like the confines the triangle puts on a point guard. He pushed the ball in transition largely to avoid having to run the sets. He broke out of it a lot, too, just because he felt creating off the dribble was his strength.  Now Farmar is back east and got everything he wanted…. oh, wait, they traded for D-Will, never mind.

I don’t think this point can be trumpeted loudly enough. Farmar wanted to be a lead guard in a offense that simply doesn’t require one – at least not one that runs the P&R or relies on dribble penetration to set up his teammates. The Triangle needs a lead guard that is willing to make entry passes, work off the ball, and direct the team’s sets from a more cereberal standpoint rather than always taking an action, with the ball, on the floor. Phillip explains this further:

Dribble penetration from the point guard spot has never been a key component with Phil in the triangle as it’s never really consistently been there. The point guard has been a supplementary piece to the major pieces: a scoring wing and solid post play from bigs (at least with the Lakers). It would be nice to have premier shooting from the point guard spot, but if you go back and look at simple statistics, Farmar didn’t really shoot any better last year than Blake has this season, at least not from long range.

Another point that needs to be raised – and this goes back to Kurt’s point – is the mentality that the PG must have when on a team with so many players that are good with the ball in their hands – in the Lakers’ case Kobe, Gasol, and Odom especially. Essentially, I’m refering to knowing one’s place in the pecking order of a team. On the Lakers, the point guard needs to take a backseat to the other, better, players on the team. Guys like Ron Harper, John Paxon, BJ Armstrong, and Brian Shaw understood this well. Today, Derek Fisher and Steve Blake do too. Jordan Farmar did not. In his last year as a Laker, Farmar had a usage rate of 19 (4th highest on the team). That number was nearly equal to Bynum and Gasol and was higher than Odom and Artest. Meanwhile, this season, Blake has a usage of 11.5 (of the Lakers 9 rotation players, Blake ranks 9th).  The player who’s benefitted most from that decrease in usage on the 2nd unit is Lamar Odom – a player much more talented than Farmar (or Blake) and a guy that also happens to be having the best year of his career. I don’t see this as a coincidence considering that LO is a guy who is very comfortable with the ball and also someone that thrives as an initiator on offense. Who would you rather taking shots and setting up teammates, Farmar or Odom? Yeah, me too.

One reason the question of whether Blake has been a good fit, though, is because the Lakers haven’t necessarily gotten the production out of him that we’d all have liked. As Zephid so succintly pointed out to me:

As the season has progressed, it’s clear that the on paper fit has not translated perfectly onto the court. Blake’s shooting has been a relatively poor 37.7%.  For me, it seems like something just looks wrong with Blake’s form this year, because his shooting form from year’s past (as shown in this video, looked a lot smoother and less jerky. 

That said, Zephid isn’t close to burying Blake:

Some aspects of Blake’s game have been very good.  He hasn’t killed us with turnovers the way Farmar did so often in years past, and Blake is an infinitely better entry passer, perhaps the most crucial skill for a Triangle PG.  His defense has also been solid.

Kurt adds that even though Blake’s overall shooting may be poor that his shooting percentage may not be as bad as it seems:

One note on Blake’s shooting — Synergy has him at hitting 40.2 percent of his spot up threes. That is the majority of his threes, off a Kobe or Gasol kickout, and he’s hitting those at a good clip. Where he has struggled is virtually every other kind of three — 25 percent in transition, 33 percent off screens, and on and on. Maybe that is a sign of him still trying to get comfortable in the system.

Clearly, even if skewing his shooting numbers towards more favorable situations, Blake is not perfect. I’ve asked many times that he be more assertive in looking for his shot and that when running certain sets in the Triangle (dribble handoffs, sideline P&R’s) that he look to turn the corner aggressively and really attack the paint. He has some growing to do within the system, but I echo Phillip when he states: “I tend to be on the optimistic end of the Blake debate, feeling that he will produce more good than bad as we enter this last stretch of games before the postseason and into the team’s quest for a 3-peat.”

Bringing this back full circle, I give you a comment from Zephid:

I think comparing Farmar and Blake is a classic argument on where you stand on risk versus return.  With Blake, you have a very stable small amount of production.  He’ll hit a few threes, make a few passes, and play some average to above average defense, but he’ll never make an enormous impact.  Farmar’s performance had a much greater variance; you could have a night where he would go 5-9 from the floor, score 16 points and really influence the game; You also had a good chance of him going 0-4 with 2 fouls and 2 turnovers. In short, I think that Farmar on his good nights is clearly a better player than Blake.  On average, however, I think Blake’s steady production outweights Farmar’s variance over time.

Darius Soriano

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47 responses to Revisiting The Steve Blake Signing

  1. A couple of comments that didn’t make the post that are worth sharing.

    Phillip on how pace and playing to Blake’s strengths:

    Now, I say that his grade thus far has been an incomplete one for a few reasons. Off top, the Lakers began this season playing very uncharacteristic basketball, running teams off the floor and playing at what would have been a historic pace had they kept it up for a full season. I think that was the kind of basketball that would have suited Farmar’s game a bit more because he’s a speedy guy who needed to get out and run to be most affective. Blake, on the other hand, had the two best seasons of his career playing for the ’08 and ’09 Blazers, who finished 29th and 30th in league pace, respectively, hovering right around 87 possessions per game in both seasons. Comparatively, the Lakers pace this season has dropped significantly from the first month-month and a half of the season and is still at about 91 possessions per game. The Lakers have ben playing at a pace more suitable to Blake’s game, and we’ve seen improvements, albeit minor ones. He’s only had two games where he’s shot under 50 percent, and was shooting 57 percent from long range until the Bobcats game — but everyone shot horribly in that game. I know it’s a small sample size, but I expect to see improvement’s in Blake’s overall game with these more slowed down, half-court contests that the Lakers are playing.

    Bill Bridges on the Blake overall (in classic Bill form, too)

    Comparison to Farmar is a moot point. Farmar, even at the end of his Laker tenure, never ran the triangle like Blake. Farmar also was/is an atrocious defender prone to making bonehead plays. Blake is a solid defender and does not make stupid mistakes.

    In a sense, the Laker’s minimum requirement from their point guards is not to make stupid mistakes. By that requirement, Blake fits the bill.

    Zephid on Blake and how any negatives about his defense can be overblown:

    While his defense was still suspect, we’ve had Derek Fisher at the point for a number of years now, so any flaws he had we could likely cover up. With Blake, we were getting a stable, known quantity, which could never have described Farmar.

  2. Well, let’s just say this: Smush Parker, when he was on, could play and hit some threes as well, but I don’t miss him.

  3. Great, insightful post. Most Lakers on this squad show why they are worth being on the team during the playoffs. Ron and fish have both made their cases during that time.

  4. I don’t have any doubts or regrets about the Blake signing (and I’m not paying his salary). He is the 9th scoring option on this team and that is by design(Bynum, the monster in the middle only took a couple shots last game, for Pete’s sake.) I know we’d all love to see a little higher percentage from three and some more drives, but he is playing his role well.

    People talk about how LO has raised his game this year. Could playing with a solid player like Blake be part of the reason? Brown seems to have improved some as well and been a little more consistent. Again, could Blake be part of the reason? I would say Blake makes other players better. Farmar did not.

    I have not looked at the numbers, but my sense is that the bench has been better this year than last. Starters are not playing as many minutes. I can recall several games where the bench has actually taken or built leads.

    Blake was a solid signing when it happened and nothing has changed. I think people have unrealistic expectations. The dude is blending in to a stacked roster and making it better.

    And this is what I know – when I see LO, Barnes or Blake stepping onto the court I don’t get that sinking feeling in my gut. It’s been a while since I have felt that way about a Laker bench.

  5. Mimsy’s Hubby (Jim C.) March 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Excellent analysis. I’ve been going back and forth on the Blake signing all season as well. In the early going, when Blake was lighting it up from the outside, splitting time equally with Fisher, and playing great, I was feeling very vindicated about how excited I was by the signing.

    As the season progressed and a 152 year old Derek Fisher still held off the latest “next Laker PG” for the starting role, I started tempering my expectations. Then I started wondering if I was right at all about the Blake signing as he started to honest-to-god look worse than Fisher does at the PG slot.

    It’s worth a reminder to know what the level of expectation for this spot in the particular offense that the Lakers run is.

    I still think the Lakers would be infinitely better with a guy in the PG slot that can do these four things:

    1. Be a lock-down on-ball defender
    2. Make solid entry passes
    3. Hit wide-open threes on a consistent basis
    4. Not try and do too much.

    I remember not too long ago Phil experimenting with Shannon at the PG slot with Kobe at 2 and Ron-Ron at 3. I really was excited about the possibilities. But then Shannon made a pair of truly boneheaded plays in a row and Phil yanked him after (no joke) about 68 seconds of game time and that was that.

    But I’d still love for that experiment to be repeated at some point. Maybe not this year, but next year? Shannon has all the physical skills to do the four things I mentioned earlier. After his improvement as a jump shooter this year, I’d love to see him eventually improve the other areas (like decision making and defense) that he’s still deficient in at times.

  6. The San Antonio game was the first time I thought Steve Blake needed to be asked the Sasha question, which is, “If he isn’t gonna hit that wide open 3 why is he playing again?”

    Having said that I have a weird feeling Blake will come through in the playoffs. Maybe it’s wishful thinking…

  7. #6. He’s surely capable. Maybe we were all a bit spoiled by his sharp shooting in the first win of the year on Banner Night vs. the Rockets. He flashed a sweet jumper and had ice water in his veins by knocking down some big shots down the stretch.

    Since that point he’s been more reserved and maybe that’s influenced how we view him? I could be reaching there, but still think he’ll be capable when we need him.

  8. I hate to say it but Shannon still tends to make the bonehead play and I question his Basketball IQ. He stills either shoots to early in clock or overdribbles which invariably leads to a turnover or an ill advised jumper to beat the shot clock. He did this way to often when Farmar was there last year, but now it’s not as frequent. Maybe this is Blake’s contribution I don’t know. You would think that after getting quick hooks he would learn but it doesn’t appear he does.

  9. My humble hope for the new back up point guard for my Lakers this season was a guy who would eventually be effective enough, talented enough & smart enough to get the majority of minutes at the point from D. Fish by the All-Star break. It didn’t happen, and looks like it won’t happen this season.

    My expectations had nothing to do with Farmar, I was hoping by this stage of the season D. Fish, the Lakers own AARP rep, would be the 2nd best point guard on the team…alas he is not, he continues to be the best.

  10. Darius, can you tell me what Shannon’s usage rate is? Or actually, can I get a ranking on the usage rate? My guess it goes Kobe, LO, Pau, Bynum then Shannon?

  11. 10 Ray – Here are the usage rates for the Lakers key rotation players. For future reference, you can find these kind of things on the newest of the Truehoop blogs, hoopdata.com.

    Bryant – 34.31
    Brown – 22.75
    Gasol – 21.63
    Odom – 19.26
    Bynum – 19.14
    Barnes – 16.78
    Walton – 14.64
    Fisher – 12.63
    Blake – 11.54

  12. Even though the season is coming down to the stretch run it is still early in the Steve Blake experiment. It was just one year ago that we were lamenting Artest’s “regression” b/c his 3pt shooting was down from 40% in the 2008-2009 season to 35% – not to mention his lack of knowledge of the triangle. These two criticisms may still be valid but defense is the reason Artest was signed. And as we saw in last years playoffs, Artest delivered especially in game 7 of the finals when his offense was even on.

    I am not expecting Blake to play nearly as big of a role in the upcoming playoffs as Artest did but I will say that I would not be surprised if he is instrumental in a few Laker wins. Blake was signed to do everything Farmar did not do. He was signed to play w/in the confines of the triangle (check), get our bigs more touches (check), play solid defense (I would give him a B) and hit open shots (still needs work). 3 out 4 is pretty good.

    The only complaint I have is that he is probably overpaid at 4mil w/ 3 years left on his deal but in todays NBA it’s difficult to sign a competent backup PG for any cheaper unless he is still on a rookie contract (Toney Douglas anyone?)

  13. Ray,
    Shannon’s usage rate is 22.6. Among the players that are in the Lakers’ 9 man rotation (or 10 man rotation if you inlcude Walton), that’s 2nd(!) on the team behind Kobe’s rate of 34.6.

    Gasol is 3rd, Odom is 4th, and Bynum 5th. After those guys it would rank Barnes, Artest, Fisher, and Blake would round out the top 9 (Walton would rank behind Artest but ahead of Fisher, if you’re wondering).

    Look, there are ways to rationalize Shannon’s high usage rate as he plays the “Kobe role” for the 2nd unit. He shoots a fair amount both in terms of set plays and ones where he’s a bailout option near the end of the clock. That said, his rate is too high considering he plays a fair amount with two of Bynum/Gasol/Odom at nearly all times. Not to mention he’s played with Kobe a fair amount of minutes as well.

    Also, in an ideal world, Kobe’s usage rate would be around 30 rather than hovering around 35, but he’s so good and relied upon so much as the main perimeter threat for this team that I can live with that. But, considering complete equality among 5 players on the court would be uniform usage rates of 20 (which, never happens, by the way – there are roles on teams and some guys get a bigger piece of the pie) I think for Gasol to be at 21.5 and for Bynum to be at 18.6, that there are issues with how often our bigs are utilized. But to quote Charlie Sheen here, duh, we knew that already.

    EDIT: I noticed Phillip already answered your question. As an aside, the numbers he posted are different than the ones I posted because I used Basketball-Reference for mine. Hoopdata is, as Phillip notes, a very good source for this information as well.

  14. Steve Blake to me is a younger version of Fisher basically. If he can start knocking down his 3’s again, the Lakers will be very difficult to beat.

  15. Archon – I have that strange feeling as well. There’s just something in the back of my mind that says Blake will hit at least 1 shot in these playoffs that will make the whole thing seem worthwhile.

  16. I do recall Blake hitting some big threes earlier this season, and if he can replicate that for a game or two in the playoffs, his signing will be more than justified.

    The burden falls on the top 3 players. The 4th and 5th simply need to be consistent, while the 6th needs to bring energy, and 7th and on are bonus players who are helpful as long as they don’t make bone-headed plays.

  17. It’s again interesting to see how time shapes all of our opinions. There was a strong following that believed Blake, at right about this point, would now be our starting PG. Now, we (dare I say) panic when Fish goes to the floor holding his arm. I wouldn’t think anyone would trade Fish for Blake for the remainder of this season/playoffs.

    I like many others, though, remember the first few weeks of the season when it was the Bench Mob tearing it up. I’m hoping with the infusion of Mr. Barnes back, that will bring the whole bench back around. Not that I see any relevance between Barnes playing and Blake improving, but who knows, maybe it will help the chemistry.

  18. I went on record in the offseason stating that There wasn’t a big difference between Farmar and Blake. They are both average to above average back up PGs. The reason I liked Blake a little more was because he could play within the offense a little better, he could shoot a little better, he could play defense a lot better, and in my opinion he is a better big game player. He has Kobe, Artest, and Fisher grit to his play.

  19. Busboys4me & others,
    We bring in Steve Blake to do the things Farmar wouldn’t do – note I did not say couldn’t. He is doing all those things. He is doing what we brought him in for. In the process we see a better game from Lamar and some slowing down of bone-headed plays from Shannon.

    Now we are complaining because he isn’t shooting well enough. Spoiled seems too mild a word for our demands. It is sort of like wondering why Andrew couldn’t score more in the San Antonio game. Blake hasn’t cost us any games this year and he may be the reason we won a couple (ball movement in the 2nd unit retaining and/or increasing leads).

    He may get better during the year and he may not. However, during the playoffs our game pace will slow down and – per Darius’ comment at #1 – we will probably see Steve Blake’s contribution increase. Whether this is solely because he functions better at a slower pace, because he is more accustomed to the triangle, or both, I think it is a good bet that he will be better in the playoffs.

    P.S. I think Shannon just has some bone-headedness in him, like Lamar, and that is the reason such talented players should be coming off the bench. Again, a key contribution from Steve Blake – controlling the athletic bone-head tendencies. Also this may be a reason Phil doesn’t want Steve Blake to start, even if he earned it.

  20. All I can really expect from Blake is to take open shots with confidence and to minimize turnovers. He does that pretty well so far. The shots will go down more frequently as he continues to learn the triangle.

  21. I cannot remember off-hand what the exact salary situation was, but I am sure that had a lot to do with Farmar moving on.

    But, here is a perspective that I haven’t seen addressed yet, and which gets very little mention in the press/blogs, but is an absolutely huge factor in terms of value to a team: Who would have been more beneficial for the Lakers in practices?

    I think that Farmar, as a quick footed, quick gunning point guard with something to prove and a chip on his shoulder, probably would have had more value to the Lakers in practices. There are more guards in the league (at the moment) that play with Farmar’s “style” than with Blake’s “style”.

    Up at the top end of the line-up (Kobe, Gasol, etc…) the differences in talent level are quite pronounced. But on the bench, from player 9 to player 12 on the depth chart, the talent levels are much more normalized. The front office wouldn’t have too much trouble finding a very similar player to Blake as a free agent, in terms of athletic ability, and skill set. On the bench, pro careers are made and lost because of the quality of effort focusing on the nitty-gritty work of film study, practice games, following the coaching staff directions, hustling in the sporadic minutes of actual game time, getting along (while remaining competitive) with teammates, etc…

    I would not be at all surprised, especially considering his salary, to see Blake traded somewhere during the off-season, with the reasoning/pitch being, “He needs a system better suited to displaying his talent.”

    On the other hand, if Steve Blake (our #9 player) is what wins or loses the Lakers a playoff series, something has gone pear shaped somewhere…

  22. The pecking order remark in Darius’s original post basically summed up this debate. I’m still of the opinion that Farmar has yet to become the player he will be in the NBA. But even if there is still some upside, a team like the Lakers simply does not need a headstrong, 22-year-old guard (or whatever his age is) that doesn’t see the big picture: this is Kobe’s team first, then Pau’s.

    I kept hoping Jordan would grow up, realize his place and also come to understand that he wouldn’t always rank so low on the pecking order, particularly when Phil stepped down, Kobe and Fish aged, and so on.

    Instead, Jordan stayed impatient, kept testing the boundaries and played himself onto a lottery team in New Jersey, where he now gets to back up another All-Star who’ll limit his playing time.

    Blake vs. Farmar will have one meaning this season, and I think Blake’s the better fit. But in three years, the answer may be different. That said, this Lakers team is built for the now, so SB it is.

    Here’s hoping he makes some great playoff memories, like we saw from Artest a year ago.

  23. thisisweaksauce March 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I was extremely excited by the Blake signing, because in my opinion, Blake is pretty damn good basketball player. Ultimately, he wants to win, so he signed with the Lakers. But coming to the Lakers, it appears that the last thing he wanted to do was disrupt the chemistry. Hence, I think that’s why we see the lack of assertiveness on his part. But he needs to realize that his lack of assertiveness hurts the team. At the beginning of the season, he looked as awesome as I thought he would be, because he struck a balance between running the offense properly and looking for his own offense. But now, he barely looks for his own offense, and the only time he shoots is for a set three. Number 1, I think he needs to take a few more of those. Number 2, he needs to be more assertive so that opposing defenses don’t deem him to be a non-threat in the context of the offense (he’s always passing!). But I love the fact the he doesn’t break the offense (well, in comparison to Farmar). He’s too talented to be averaging the number of shot attempts he’s taking. I think it should be in the 6-8 range, rather than the 4 (I think) attempts he’s averaging. Thoughts?

  24. You should come on DDL more.

  25. comon t wolves

  26. #24. I know it. I’ll try to get on more. Tough on game days, but on off-days I’ll try to get on there more. I really like DDL’ing. Good times.

  27. should have known the wolves would lose in the 4th, miami-style.

  28. So what we’d like from Steve Blake is to shoot better from 3, fire up at least a few PUJIT’s, lead a few “fast” breaks and send a message to an opposing ‘Luis Scola’ type player with a well timed blindside pick! (And some playoff magic — ie. .4 seconds or a drive to the hole on the whole Boston team)!

  29. I need to watch that Fisher drive again. Just thinking about it, was there ever a more improbable and essential great play? I mean, damn.

  30. @ Craig W

    We agreed on his contribution. I pointed to the fact that Shannon was more prone to make mistakes last year because he seemed to be in competition with Farmar to break the offense and run Iso’s and take people off the dribble. Brown was always dribbling into the teeth of the defense and losing the ball. This year he is inconsistent (hence your LO reference) in that he will play under control for three or four games in a row and then have to stinkers (bonehead plays mostly).

    Yes, I want Blake to shoot better. In the 63 games he has played this season he has 21 games where he has been either 0-for (two or more) or 1-for (three of more). That is worse than Fish. That is down right terrible. I do not consider myself, nor do I consider anyone else who feels the same way as I do, spoiled. These guys get paid millions so I expect more from them than being terrible at their main craft 1/3 of the time.

  31. I hope I’m wrong, but I do believe that Blake will disappear completely in the playoffs. I fully expect D-Fish to be our PG hero yet again in April/May/June.

  32. Off topic, which lower seed presents a possible 6~7 game series for the Lakers?

    Portland? Memphis? New Orleans? Denver?

    And also, which of these would SA want to avoid? Dallas? OKC? Memphis seems to be shaping up to a team that could trouble many of the upper seeds, and with some health, Portland could too.

    Not sure about the two other teams and how they match up…

  33. @phillip and darius. thanks for the numbers. i figured shannon was high… but didnt think he’d be second…

    thanks.

  34. I think all this brings up an interesting question. When are we going to address our point guard of the future? Fisher and Blake aren’t getting any younger. Shannon has shown he can’t play the point so this might be something we need to address in the draft.

  35. Mimsy’s Hubby (Jim C.) March 8, 2011 at 7:36 am

    @32

    Of the teams you mentioned, Portland scares me the most in a seven game series followed by Memphis.

    Not scared at all of NO or Denver.

  36. Denver does not have a superstar, but they all play hard and play together. If it turns out that J.R. Smith is the only knucklehead on the team, they probably will be able to adjust to changes within games. That is the key to their success, IMO.

    If they are able to adjust – we know George Karl can adjust – then they become really dangerous in a long series. The longer it goes on the tougher they become. If they don’t play the Lakers in the 1st round and they win their series, I suspect they become really, really dangerous.

  37. Rudy,
    When has Shannon shown he can’t play the point? He hasn’t even really played the point because we already have two PGs and no back up SG’s. In my opinion he is better at the point where he can use his size and athleticism on bot sides of the ball.

  38. #37. From a physical trait standpoint, you’re right about Shannon playing PG. But from an actual playing style standpoint, he’s not shown enough to warrant time there. His court awareness is still too narrow and he often makes his mind up much too early on how he wants a possession to play out. I truly believe that the Lakers have done Shannon a great service by placing him into a role where he can use his physical abilities naturally (looking for his own shot, pushing the ball, etc) and not have to directly channel them into always making the *right* play. They’ve set him free and it’s done a lot for his growth. Reining him in would likely be a mistake.

  39. Give Blake a few years with the triangle the same way Farmar did, and he’ll be far better than Jordan ever was. Blake is a smarter player by far.

    The “trade” had more to do with getting rid of locker room cancer (Farmar’s whiny, selfish attitude) and obtaining a calm, more steady and professional one in Blake.

    I’d do the same thing. To be honest, I would have let Farmar go earlier.

  40. You should make changes when there is a reasonable expectation that the new whatever will be better than the old whatever, and when the cost of failure is not too great. You should not make changes just to try something different.

  41. Wow. Great Post! Glad the K Brothers linked to this piece. People need to remember that losing Farmar was essentially addition by subtraction. He wasn’t a championship piece.

    How many times last year did we say, “If only we had a point who would just play within the system, not try to do too much, and play solid defense.”

    That’s exactly Steve Blake. We got exactly what we were asking for.

    Sure, it would be nice if he hit his three pointers at a higher clip, but most players are “volume” shooters. It takes a couple shots to get in rhythm, but Blake only has 4 or 5 shots a night to work with, so he’s essentially always cold when he’s shooting.

    The ultimate triangle point guards were Steve Kerr and John Paxon – guys who could knock down the open three pointers at any point in the game. But those were rare guys.

    For now, we should all be happy that Blake isn’t aborting the offense and trying to do too much.

    (That being said…it would be nice if he could knock down a couple more wide open shots…)

  42. By the way, the younger version of Derek Fisher (when he was hitting at a 42-45% clip from three) fit the mold of “ultimate triangle point guard,” too. Give credit where credit is due.

  43. TOV%

    BLAKE 2010/11: 18.8
    FARMAR 2009/10: 11.5

  44. @ 32

    From roughest to easiest matchup:

    MEM
    POR
    DEN
    NO

  45. #43. That’s a stat I saw too. And I think that it’s worth mentioning. However, my counter to that is that Farmar didn’t pass nearly as much as Blake has been trying to. Blake is actively seeking out teammates and Farmar was actively seeking his own shot. With more passes comes more opportunity for TO’s. Could that be false logic? Maybe, but I think it’s worth exploring.

    Also – and this is only from the eyeball test – I think Blake is a vastly superior passer to Farmar. In terms of delivering the ball on target and on time (two of the most important aspects of setting up teammates) Blake outclasses Farmar by a great deal. But, again, your simple point on TOV% is one that should be made.

  46. I just stumbled onto this website, but longtime Lakers fan. Not commenting on the post or the commentary, but I wanted to say that in 45 comments, this is the most thoughtful, respectful, and reasoned sports related (or any related for that matter) blog I have seen. Kudos to all the commenters.

  47. A little off topic, but the optimal point guard for the triangle offense is Billups. Billups followed by Deron Williams. The triangle, via a strong shooting guard and a post threat needs a viable outside shooter. Thats why Vlad Rad was signed a few years ago in an attempt to spread the floor for Kobe.
    Farmar is a young, quick, and talented point guard but he never truly fit the system. Whether that was due to mental constraints or physical is opinion. When Steve Blake comes in the game, there is no concern that the offensive sets will be run. Whether or not he actually hits his 3-4 shots per game does not have the same affect as his threat to hit those shots. Point guards like Chris Paul, and Rondo would never work in the triangle system because of their inconsistent jump shots. As Jeff Van Gundy says.. the NBA is a miss or make league. I counter that the threat of Blakes makes are more powerful than the the threat of Farmar’s makes. More important, Blake buys into the system and is more concerned with a ring then his next contract.