In every game preview we write here at FB&G, we try to break down the tendencies of the Lakers opponents, talk about what their strengths are, and discuss how the Lakers can go about attacking their opponent. In a way, this is a mini-scouting report for that game.
What we do here though, is nowhere near what actual scouting departments and coaches do to prepare their team for a specific opponent. NBA teams have advanced scouts at games taking notes on sets and play calls and coaches watching boatloads of tape. They study tendencies of the team and of individual players and produce scouting reports that prepare their guys for the next game.
Over at Land O’ Lakers, Dave McMenamin has gotten his hands on the 52 page Suns scouting report for the Lakers and shares some of the details of it. Here’s a taste, starting with a couple of notes on Kobe:
“IN HIS 54 CAREER GAMES AGAINST US, BRYANT IS AVERAGING 26.4 POINTS PER GAME.”
“BRYANT IS FACILITATING FOR THE FIRST THREE QUARTERS, THEN WILL LOOK TO TAKE OVER ON OFFENSE IN THE 4TH QUARTER.”
“HE HAS A LOT OF FREEDOM IN THE OFFENSE, MAKING READS AND WILL BREAK OFF AND GO ON HIS OWN WAY.”
“WE CANNOT GO FOR BRYANT’S PUMP FAKES, WHERE HE WILL GET THE DEFENDER IN THE AIR, THEN DRAWS A FOUL.”
And, here’s more on the Lakers’ offense vs. a zone D:
“OUR ’23’ ZONE CAN BE AN OPTION AGAINST THIS TEAM, AS WE HAD SUCCESS AGAINST THE LAKERS IN THE PLAYOFFS WITH IT.”
“HOUSTON HAD SUCCESS ZONING THE LAKERS EARLIER THIS SEASON.”
“TORONTO’S ZONE DEFENSE WAS EFFECTIVE AGAINST THE LAKERS IN THEIR LAST GAME, AND KEPT THE RAPTORS HANGING AROUND UNTILL (sic) THE VERY END.”
There are lots more goodies in McMenamin’s report (including specific notes on other players and the Lakers’ approach on offense) so I suggest going and reading the entire thing. Since the Lakers play the second game of a home and home series with the Suns tonight, it’s interesting to see what their scouts and coaches think of the Lakers.