From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: In broad terms, Derek Fisher was largely the player this season he was the season before. In one important respect — 3-point shooting — Fisher was actually better, boosting his percentage from 34.8 to 39.6 percent, while shooting 39 percent from the floor, overall. While neither number is exactly slathered with “wow” factor, the figure from downtown actually exceeds, and the mark from the floor matches, Fisher’s career norms. Basically, they reinforce an important reality: Fisher has never, on a night-in, night-out basis, been a particularly good or consistent shooter. It also emphasizes how complaints about Fisher’s age and general lack of NBA-caliber quickness miss the point: While Fisher’s D garners most of the attention, he hurts the Lakers more offensively than at the other end.
From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen and Roll: Individually, all of these questions are difficult ones. They deal in the unknown, and therefore can not be answered with any kind of finality. We can surmise things from what we’ve seen and heard about Brian Shaw as a person, we can piece together the quotes from the players and front office and owners regarding the team’s direction, but at the end of the day, this is all just advanced guesswork. If the future were easy to predict, we’d all be rich. But it is the questions themselves that cause this situation to be so intriguing. Normally, in any coaching search, all that matters is the guesswork towards figuring out the answers to those first few questions. What kind of system does a coach run? Is that system a good fit with our team? Does the coach run that system well? Is the coach an effective motivator? If you know, or think you know, the answers to those questions, then you have the ability to figure out whether a candidate will be a good head coach. But, in the crazy world of the Los Angeles Lakers, we don’t even know whether the “right” answers to those questions are good or bad.
From Jeff Weiss, The Basketball Jones: We’ll probably never know what a goon is to a goblin, but it’s clear what happens when goblin meets goon. It looks like Andrew Bynum going full Macho Man Savage on an undrafted Puerto Rican ex-boy scout named J.J. Suddenly, the Lakers’ Three Mile meltdown was symbolized in a few frames, the footage as hideously memorable as a Craig Sager suit. Bynum’s crack up was one of those moments that crystallized every Lakers flaw: their lead-footed resistance to defensive rotations, their sour petulance, their inveterate ability to turn every middling point from Aaron Brooks to Goran Dragic into the second coming of A.I. Somehow, J.J. Barea — whose greatest prior achievement had been landing this woman — smacked the taste out of the Lakers mouth and made Mark Cuban jizz … in his … pants. Apologies for the grotesque imagery, but there is no other way to explain those flushed Frankenstein victory faces.
From Eddie Maisonet, Ed The Sports Fan: Mark Madsen, 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers – Also known as the dancing mistrel, Madsen was the original Psycho T aka Tyler Hansbrough…just with a lot less talent. Mr. Go Hard was always playing a half-step too hard, and when he got those garbage minutes everyone feared for their life. But ummmm, yeah about that dance… [The video is there in the post]
From Mike Trudell, Basket Blog: For the first time since 2007, Andrew Bynum is heading into an offseason with a clean bill of health. This is no small victory for Bynum, or for the Lakers, who could consider their 7-foot center’s current medical report the best news going after being unexpectedly swept out of the second round of the playoffs. In the summers of 2008, 2009 and 2010, Bynum was either recovering from surgery, or about to head under the knife, but as he detailed in his exit interview, the word “rehabilitation” is no longer an essential part of his offseason vocabulary: It’s going to change greatly how I approach the summer because I’m going to be able to work on my own. I don’t have to go through rehab, I don’t have to sit down for four months … physically I feel great, I have no injuries going into the summer. On that note, I’m definitely looking forward to becoming a better player.
From Elliot Teaford, Inside The Lakers: Kobe Bryant and Stephen Jackson were both born in 1978. Bryant began playing professionally for the Lakers in 1996-97 and Jackson the following season in the CBA. Bryant has played 21,186 minutes or seven 82-game seasons (averaging 40 minutes per game) more than Jackson if you add up all the playoff games, according to research done by Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News. That helps to explain why Bryant looked slow and old during the Lakers’ second-round playoff ouster at the hands of Dallas. Here’s Bryant’s workload in the last four seasons:
From Broderick Turner, LA Times: Do the Lakers try to find a copycat coach to replace Phil Jackson, or someone completely different in personality and coaching style? Or hire someone who is a composite of both?Now that Jackson has retired, it leaves the Lakers with giant shoes to fill as they search for the right candidate to replace the winningest coach in NBA history. “I don’t envy the person that has to fill those shoes. That’s for sure,” said Steve Kerr, who played for Jackson with the Chicago Bulls and is now a TNT basketball analyst working the Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and Chicago. Jackson performed his annual team exorcism before the Lakers began the 2011 playoffs, lighting a bundle of sage that he took throughout the team’s facility, doing it to get rid of bad spirits and to cleanse whatever ailed the team during the regular season.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: In the midst of the All-Star afterparties, Blake Griffin’s electrifying slam dunk performance and Kobe Bryant’s collecting his fourth All-Star MVP, Andrew Bynum’s conversation with Phil Jackson during the break helped lay the groundwork for what became a career-building season for the 23-year-old center. After missing the first 24 games of the season because of off-season surgery on his right knee, Bynum at the time lamented his role in the offensive system and his two-of-12 outing in the Lakers’ most embarrassing regular-season loss to Cleveland. That’s when Jackson implored him to take ownership of the Lakers’ defensive scheme that emphasized funneling players into the lane so the frontline could disrupt their opponents’ shots. Bynum laid out the perfect blueprint, averaging 11.2 points and a Western Conference leading 12.3 rebounds and 2.36 blocks per game, disrupting passing lanes and significantly altering the shots he didn’t block.