Fast Break Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  August 16, 2011

  • If you were ranking the top 100 players in the league, how many Lakers would make the cut? Zach Lowe of SI’s The Point Forward has given us his answer to that question in a series of posts. The Lakers have 5 players that make the cut on his list – including Artest, Bynum, and Odom – with strong analysis supporting each decision and placement of the player. Today, he revealed his top 10 and both Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant made the cut. You may want to argue with where they were placed, but I have no qualms here. Lowe’s reasoning is sound and is more than fair. Go check out the entire series and let me know if you agree or not.
  • Speaking of ranking things, ESPN Los Angeles recently put together a feature on L.A.’s Sports Hall of Fame and who, of all the many legends that have graced the city, would make the cut as the first 5 enshrined. It was a fierce competition and some Lakers made the cut. The Logo, though, did not. Do you agree?
  • Over at TrueHoop, Henry Abbott takes thorough look at Kobe Bryant’s on court value and ponders whether, after his recent contract extension, #24 is about to be overpaid. Personally, I think Abbott’s overall view of how Kobe will age and how that will translate to his production is a bit pessimistic, but I can’t say he’s off base about Kobe’s salary potentially being an issue down the line considering what the new CBA will look like. The potential for a hard cap and Kobe slated to make $30 mil by the end of his extension truly is a concern when thinking about navigating the salary cap and building a team. As a side note, I think the point about Kobe could just as easily be made about Pau Gasol who, like Kobe, also signed a contract extension that will pay him a boatload of cash over the next few seasons.
  • With the new CBA on the mind and the prospect that the new NBA landscape could negatively affect the Lakers’ ability to build a roster for contention as they have in recent years, our friends at Land O’ Lakers make the point that winning now is more important than ever and the team should be focussed on that, not on contending down the line.
  • I have my own thoughts on what the Lakers prospects are for next year. You can read them here as I answered some questions for ESPN’s 5 on 5 series.
  • Want to see Kobe’s top 10 blocks of all time? Of course you do. For what it’s worth, I was hoping to find this block in that mix but it was absent.
  • Lastly, here are some really good thoughts on Tex Winter’s HOF enshrinement as well as some good tid bits on his relationship with Phil Jackson.

Darius Soriano

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  1. The Lakers do have a great five… Unfortunately they don’t play together at the same time and there isn’t a league average player to join four of those guys. You are in the NBA only as strong as your weakest link… If the Lakers bring in an average PG they go from a talented but flawed team to a powerhouse unlike we have seen in quite some time. Think about a team with two big guys in Bynum and Gasol, a dominant wing in Kobe, one of the best perimeter defenders of all time in Artest, and a star utility player in Lamar Odom. The last few years all teams talk about is attacking the Lakers PG on offense and leaving the Lakers PG open on defense. With an upgrade at PG the Lakers have no holes and no where for a team to attack. Almost the perfect team.


  2. I’m not so sure about some of Zach Lowe’s rankings (although no ranking system is perfect). I prefer to use the Bill Simmons rule of ranking players, meaning you take the two players, eliminate all salary and team-fit concerns, and ask yourself, “who would win if these guys were traded for each other, straight up?”

    Guys like Thaddeus Young, Nicolas Batum, and Ron Artest, I would probably trade straight up for almost every single one of the guys below them (except maybe Turkoglu or Roy). I would trade Jamal Crawford or Jason Richardson for Jrue Holiday in a heartbeat.

    As for the Kobe article, I agree, if the hard cap is implemented, Kobe’s contract is going to kill us. But saying the contract was a mistake at the time assumes that Jerry Buss knew a hard cap was coming, which is dumb even at the present stage of the negotiations. Like with most Abbott articles about Kobe, there’s some slight semblance of truth to his argument, but he takes it way too far in his rhetoric.


  3. I think Zach Lowe’s list is predictable if nothing else. I shouldnt be surprised that he put LeBron #1. I think the last couple years’ playoffs have definitively shown he is NOT the best player in the world. Most talented? Sure. Best stats? Absolutely. Most athletic? Probably. But is he the first player I would want on my team if my life was on the line? Nope.

    Performance in the playoffs matters more than performance in the regular season and performance in the 4th quarter of a tight game matters infinitely more than the first 3 quarters. It’s unfortunate that analysts have tried to downplay the value of clutch play in recent seasons to support their narrative that Lebron is the best player in the world (or in the case of Abbott all but sacrificed his journalistic integrity to propagate his narrative that Kobe is a poor player in clutch situations)

    Also, I don’t have a huge problem with Lowe putting Dirk ahead of Kobe but at least admit that it is because of his performance in this past season’s playoffs (this directly relates to my last point b/c if Lowe admitted that he values playoff performance more than regular season he would have to rate Lebron lower). Is there any doubt that if Pau had played like he did to start the season and the Lakers played defense like they did during their 17-1 run they would have won the championship and Lowe would have Kobe ahead of Dirk and possibly #2 behind his beloved Lebron?


  4. Kobe Bryant is playing a game at the Drew League, right now! When I get details I will post. I would go and get first hand information if it was not so far away.


  5. Streaming live from the Drew League where Kobe Bryant is playing!

    Go to the Drew League to view!


  6. Take a look at Casper Ware, Jr. He will enter the draft next year.


  7. Putting Gretzky over the Logo (or even Chick for that matter) in the “LA Sports HOF” is a complete and utter joke.


  8. Can we please stop giving Abbott traffic to justify ESPN continuing to employ him?

    He’s just awful. Yes, someone who writes as much as he does (particularly about Kobe) will occasionally stumble across a coherent point, but that does not excuse the blatant bias, hating and overall lameness of his normal contributions.

    I move for an immediate boycott of all Abbott related material.


  9. Yes, Kobe will be overpaid at the end of his contract. It’s how the NBA salary system works, superstars will inevitably be overpaid at the tail end if they stay with the same team, unless they retire relatively close to their peak like Jordan did.

    But I am failing to see the relevance of Abbott pointing this out. So the Lakers should have let him walk after this year? They would still be capped out and they wouldn’t have one of the top 10 players in the league. At the end of the day it’s the Busses’ money, why does Abbott care how they spend it? Also, does he not understand the concept of goodwill or intangible assets, which is what the Lakers get by being a classy organization that takes care of the Laker family, and attract stars from generation to generation?

    Jerry Buss has always had the vision to understand that being first class sometimes means spending money that lesser men and lesser organizations consider a waste, and making investments in terms of dynasties, not seasons. Abbott does not. He thinks he is being very clever by correctly identifying a tree, when he doesn’t see the forest and generally (IMO) doesn’t when it comes to anyone other than Lebron James.


  10. Nowitzki at #4 and I think Lowe protests too much that it’s unrelated to the Mavs finally winning it all.


  11. Jim C. – I agree and just gloss over anything true hoop related. Henry is a petty schmuck. The guy writes about the achievements of other men for a living- he’s got to vent his frustration somehow!


  12. So what is the point on Abbott’s article other than his usual clear bias and hatred towards Kobe?


  13. Meh…

    Totally agree with Lowe. Kobe is a chucker and the stats bear it out. Run the freaking offense for crip sakes. It’s not 2007. Gasol is not Kwame! Also Kobe plays proper defense when he’s in the mood, which isn’t often. Jordan crushes him. (yes, I went there. I’m that pissed with Kobe of late.)

    I’m not a Kobe hater but he has been part of the problem for sure. And he’s the biggest question moving in to this season, whenever that starts. If he doesn’t want to run the triangle, what is he going to do with MB’s offense? I shudder to think.

    Abbott, on the hand, is nothing but a traffic troll at this point. The “Kobe isn’t clutch” argument bears that out. I mean how many times does he have to bring that up? Ergh. Now it’s about the 30 mil? Crawl back in your hole Abbott. There are so many reasons why Kobe is worth that much regardless of how he plays for the Lakers. Dang, that Abbott gets under my skin!

    Go Lakers!

    Better yet, how about the NLRB make a decision so Stern and D-Fish can get back to the table and hammer out a deal! So pissed if games are missed. It’s been a month since I’ve even read an NBA blog. Come guys! Work it out!