Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  June 22, 2012

Like basketball fans everywhere, I was glued to the game last night – the Miami Heat getting it done in convincing fashion. I was pulling for OKC the whole way but there’s a reason teams don’t come back from three games down – it’s nearly impossible to swing the tide of that kind of momentum, especially when you’re away from home. Regardless, the Thunder have now been close enough to taste it. They’re young, hungry, athletic, and they’ll come back stronger, and more determined.

And then there’s the rest of the league. We entered the off season at different points but somehow, it feels more official now. The summer of positioning begins, the draft and free agency and the power rankings and guessing games. The Lakers are one more year removed from the epicenter, bounced from the second round, twice in a row. For some organizations, summer begins with the cyclical process of “how can we ever get there?” For the Lakers, it’s how to find a way home.

There’s a glaring problem with that last statement – this organization has been divesting itself of ring holders ever since the Dallas series. A couple key trades and we could find ourselves down to the last man standing – Kobe Bryant. To an arguable extent. we’re in the same boat as much of the league, on the outside looking in. Odds-makers have put our chances of winning next year’s title at 12-1.

We have an organization that has feasted at the table, many times over. We have Kobe, and at least at this moment in time, we still have Pau and Andrew and even Metta, a guy who played with true heart this past season, and could possibly fit a new role next time around. Regardless, we’re at a crossroads. The Miami Heat have begun their summer party. The Thunder are going to try and settle their coaching situation.

It’s incredibly hard to win a championship. The competition is brutal, and we cannot succeed without change. So what should it be? Here’s a few possibilities: Jim Buss’s recent assertion, to keep the Kobe/Pau/Andrew nucleus intact, and shape Brown to fit them, rather than vice-versa – go all in on the power game, the system game.

Mitch Kupchak followed the same line of logic, that the likelihood of major change is slim. And yet as Darius wrote the other day, this is how a smart organization works, playing their cards close to the vest. It can work. It has in the past. That approach takes true discipline though – Phil Jackson had the stature and the success and the blueprint to make it work. Until it didn’t work.

The mixed grill approach – a little bit of this and a bit of that. Keep as much of our valuable resources as we can, and try to fill in the gaps, maybe find a way to pull the trigger on one or two vets with legit playoff experience, maybe trade up into the first round.

And then there’s the nuclear option – blow it up around Kobe – going young, fast, furious, and hungry. Surround an old assassin with young killers. No more Pau, as excellent and versatile, and smart as he is. He’s not bloodthirsty. And no more Andrew. He’s a beast, sometimes. He can can pull down 30 boards against the Spurs on their home court. And look off into space the next night. And loaf back down the court, hauling the bulkiest knee brace in the game with him.

I couldn’t find any links that actually support the idea of this final notion – probably because it’s the riskiest path possible. Nonetheless, it’s one that I almost like. Then again, I amuse myself by making up stories about Craig Sager. I’ll leave it up to you, readers, to figure out this dilemma. Have a great weekend.

– Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy

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103 responses to Friday Forum

  1. Watching Wade take a backseat to LeBron was something. Shaq did it to Wade in 06, Duncan recently to his supporting cast, Boston big 3 to Rondo. All of last decades premiere stars took a backseat to their heir apparent. I’m of the belief Kobe can do the same for the player he sees fit. He may have loosened his grip on the reins some last season. But I think he has to take a similar approach Wade took with LeBron. It’ll only happen for the player he sees fit though.

  2. “the likelihood of major change is slim.” Jimboism

    Do you want to see the same movie for the 3rd time and expect a change of story in the end? I guess Jimbo is playing the same Jimbo-speaks, the esperienced horse trader and son of an illustrious owner. If he’s advocating no change why does he have to say it? Just shut up and let the action speak for itself, that’s what the wise monkey said; “No talk, no mistake.”

  3. I am an advocate of rebuilding around Kobe.

    To me it makes no sense to keep the core together and tinker on the edges. I do not believe it will be enough to getba championship. Additionally, trading a part or parts of the core for expensive veterans does not get us a crown either. We must get younger and more athletic.

    (edited for trade speculation)

    The new CBA and the ‘in their prime’ talent level of the competition mandate that the Lakers go a ‘Kobe and the Kids’ concept.

  4. Kevin,

    i feel kobe would be more than happy to do that however we dont have a young player with the drive snd will that would be required for kobe to respect them enough to do it. Lets not even mention bynum as he is not even close in his approach to even warrant respect from fans let alone the most intensr and hardest working player in the league

  5. Kevin,

    Kobe will not hand the keys to anyone. Honestly, if LeBron played for the Lakers do you think Kobe would take a backseat to him? Of course not. Kobe’s drive and supreme belief in himself would not allow him to do that. It doesn’t matter what kind of player Bynum is or is not. It doesn’t matter what kind of player Gasol is or used to be. Kobe sees himself as the number one guy no matter who he shares the locker room with.

  6. I think this Olympics will be the time that Kobe understands that he’s no longer the player he used to be. Practicing on a daily basis against Lebron, Durant, Westbrook, Wade, Melo et al. will go along way in convincing Kobe that the mantle need be passed. However, he’ll only pass it to a player on the Lakers that plays as hard as he does.

    If Bryant passes the torch to Bynum it won’t be until mid-season when Bynum has displayed on a game in and game out basis that he’s got the fire in his belly.

  7. Warren Wee Lim June 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Kobe might think of himself highly but he’s also someone thats also wary of his legacy. He will not be #1 forever and he will not be this athletic forever. Although, for the most part, the injuries and his age that correlates to his performances last season makes me think he’s immortal.

    But Kobe will defer, and he will do so with the right guy. Sad to say it won’t be Bynum, thus it has to be Deron Williams, someone who can control the tempo, make Gasol who he is once more and make the rest of the team better exponentially.

  8. Skip Bayless (one of the all time Kobe haters) getting owned by Mark Cuban on live tv. Cuban just opened a can of whoop as$ and shoved it on Bayles’s candy as$.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv2jqFd2-qI

    Now can we get Henry Abbott next please!

  9. @2: Hi Edwin,

    I’d not take those words as definitive. Is there a chance to land DWill? Yes. Small? Probably yes, maybe 10-20%, or maybe more…who knows. Prior to the CP3 deal, I remember listening to the same mambo (“small changes, etc…”) and them, BUM…(then veto)

    It’s like a chess game. Let just hope Mitch can find the right moves.

    @6 – I don’t like Skip, but Cuban was awful, what a jerk.

  10. Haven’t heard Lakers names in the rumor mill lately. Mitch is in his bat cave trying to save Lakers from a seemingly inevitable Sterling takeover.

    All he’s waiting for is the signal from Jim so he can save depressed Lakers fans from an unknown mediocre territory.

  11. Jayz, Thanks for the link. I absolutely loooovvvveeeddd that almost 7 minutes of Skip Bayless putdown. That guy just couldn’t deal with Mark Cuban’s specific questions.

    When it comes to strategy and tactics for specific situations or games the ‘talking heads’ can’t handle anything more than an ESPN generality.

    Cuban has been in the locker rooms and he has been with coaching strategy sessions. If Skip Bayless has ever been in those situations he sure didn’t know what to listen for. Perhaps that’s it…perhaps he just doesn’t know how to listen. Hummmm…a talking head not knowing how to listen — now that’s a new thought.

  12. Skip has had a pretty bad last few months when it comes to getting called out on First Take. First it was Jalen Rose who called out all media, but Skip in particular. Then it was Tim Legler who schooled him during the Spurs/Thunder series. That was fun :)

    This Cuban clip though…that was embarrassing! I felt pretty bad for Skip during that. I don’t get why he hates Lebron about as much as he loves Tebow.

  13. It’s amazing to me that after all these years Kobe is still disparaged for his perceived selfishness. Kobe has been passing out of double teams and creating shots for his teammates throughout his entire career. DFish made a career out of hitting open shots that Kobe created for him. I’m still trying to figure out who on this current team Kobe should defer to. “Once a week when I feel like it” Bynum? Or maybe “Push me around” Pau?

  14. Kobe deferred in the 2008 Olympics. Why is everyone convinced that he’s dumber than that established precedent? Assuming he’s a punch drunk boxer who will continue to fight past his time remains to be seen. If you have the drive and love having the drive are you going to hand your total future over to either 7 foot mood ring? One can argue that he should do better to integrate the talent that’s already around him. He gets the ball and people stop cutting. Ball hog or not, keep moving instead of watching the show.

  15. Bayless and Smith remind me of an old James Brown record…”Talkin’ loud and saying nothing”.

  16. Sorry but thus team must be blow up. You have strong minded players who all thinknthey are much better then the are.

    Kobe is not the best anymore and proves it with his horrible last shot stats.

    AB us not close to a leader and number one and wants the ball every time down. He hurts him to pass out it seems.

    Metta things he can actually shoot outside. He can’t yet it never stopped him.

    Fisher until gone really thought he was still a great shooter and could go to the bucket over anyone.

    This was and is a dysfunctional team that is slow, predictable and easy to defend. Especially with a coach with zero offensive talents.

    If Buss keeps this in tact then he, in my opinion is not about winning championships anymore. He has never built success with his own hands at anything and I do not think he has the fire to build a new winner.

    Laker fans will stop paying the big price for tickets to see a second tier team. They will move to the Clippers if things don’t change. 20 years if building a brand by Dr. Buss can be distroyed by a lack of the win or die need that comes by building something yourself.

  17. Kobe was the player for his generation. Michael was the player for the previous generation. Lebron is probably the player for the next generation.

    Why can’t we just leave the discussion with that observation. Beyond that the discussion gets too wrapped up in personal prejudice, likeability, statistics, and style of play.

    I am older than most of you and, for me, Wilt was the definition of dominance and I haven’t seen any one player dominate like he did – year in and year out – but it was Russell who won all the rings, and Michael isn’t even close. So, do those two cancel each other out? They both changed the game of basketball. You just can’t judge well what you can’t see, so let’s stop these GOAT comparisons.

  18. Don’t like Cuban, but he was great in that clip. He wasn’t bombastic or over the top – just simple, rational arguments. The sad part is I don’t think Skip Bayless realizes how badly he was destroyed. I don’t think they even realize what Mark Cuban was trying to say about context or the simplistic way Bayless looks at Westbrook’s 4/20 shooting night.

    My favorite line was the host’s “The beauty of Skip Bayless is that he tells you what’s not in the numbers.” Double facepalms cannot do such stupidity justice.

    Bayless won’t learn or change. But it’s still satisfying to see him properly called out.

  19. Kobe said last year you would have to take the basketball out of his cold dead hands. He isn’t passing the tortch to anyone. A coach is going to have to let him know he isn’t going to be able to have the highest usage rate in the league anymore. We also know that he always had Bynum’s back last year with several comments and no longer had Pau’s back as he called him out several times during the season. This is all we know. Kobe is not going to pass the tortch as Wade did. You’re going to have to beat him down and take it from him. In a way that’s only fitting.

  20. Aaron,

    I fully agree. That’s to a degree that I didn’t mind Farmar leaving. Certainly he was individually better than Fisher by that last year however he didn’t separate himself enough to where Jackson could get beyond his bias and become the starter/closer. If it’s going to be Bynum, he’s going to have to be a 100% player to take the mantle from Bryant.

  21. Phil is a teacher/coach at heart. And has always relayed messages through the media to his players. He was doing the same with Kobe here

    “I tried to get Kobe to do both for numbers of years, and he could. But his first instinct is to beat the guy that’s in front of him.”

    Not direct but very subtle. Same way he sent a message to Bynum about he needs to play defense for Lakers to be successful during the season. You get the feeling he’s telling Kobe something here.

  22. Craig W: Cuban made Skip Bayless his b*tch! Talk about choking under pressure.

    What’s even funnier Steven A. Smith wasn’t even saying a damn thing.

    If Jim Buss was half as smart as Cuban, Kobe would not have four, not five, but six rings by now.

  23. Cuban actually helped Bayless, in that he got Bayless some buzz.

  24. The “nuclear option”; i.e., blowing it up around Kobe? Seriously??? A 34-year-old fading superstar taking up almost half your salary cap?

    Let’s get this much straight – any sort of “nuclear option” begins with unloading Kobe somehow. Yeah, I know – unlikely for any number or reasons, but if anyone thinks the Lakers will be able to unload other major pieces and somehow attract and pay the right talent to reload with Kobe remaining as their centerpiece needs a serious dose of realism.

    Personally, I feel that as long as you’re keeping your faith in the “Kobe window”, you need to unload Andrew for a major piece, move Pau back to center (he and Kobe once had great chemistry – they can get it back), and hopefully get other nice pieces via free agency to fill in. If that doesn’t get it done in the next two years, then those contracts come off the books and you can start over from scratch.

  25. JonM – the term “nuclear option” was mostly tossed in as two words in a post that was written in the middle of a hectic day in order to give readers something to read. Symbolically, the idea was one of greater change than the previously described options, along with my belief that Kobe’s not going anywhere. I agree with your idea of trading Andrew for a major piece (or perhaps a couple key pieces). But at this point (to my way of thinking), everybody other than Kobe is on the table. It may not literally be true, but conceptually, I think it is.

  26. Kevin,

    While I think williams is a great point guard, trading one of our Bigs for him alone wouldn’t solve our most glaring weakness, shooting. If we can’t spread the floor, the lane would be clogged for him, just like it is now for our bigs and Kobe. And Deron isn’t exactly a dead eye from distance himself. 33%, 27% and 34% over the last 3 years. To give you perspective Blake shot 33%, 37% and 43% the last 3 years.

    If we are going to commit to trading one of our bigs it should be for multiple players that can balance the roster instead of acquiring just one guy that doesn’t fix the biggest problem.

  27. shooting.

    Yes and no. Focusing on “shooting” is what lead to signing Kapono and Murphy. The Lakers’ biggest weakness is basketball talent, and shooting is part of that deficit. Also, if Williams actually comes here, it will be for Bynum, and that exchange would unclog the lane some in and of itself, since there would be no more Bynum/Gasol combo, as would the fact that defenses would have to account for two shot creators.

    Finally, Williams is big enough to check 2s, so it would be simple enough to play Blake at the 1 some (with Kobe resting or at the 3) to spread the floor.

  28. I am of the camp that maintains we can not improve sufficiently around the Big 3 to the point that we can really be championship contenders. I kind of like the reference to ‘Kobe and the Kids’. Let’s get younger and hungrier.

    We could trade our young core big and obtain(edited for trade speculation).

    This woud be rolling the dice in a big way. But it yields us (edited for trade speculation).

  29. Deron Williams is an impact player someone who would make everyone around him better. He can break down defenses and pratically spoon fed Boozer in Utah and recently Humphries in Jersey. The Sessions/Pau PnR we saw with Deron/PF would be unstoppable. He’d also make other teams PG’s play defense. Those Utah teams were very good. Only reason they never advanced was because they ran into us. A Deron/Kobe/C big 3 assures Lakers make it to the WCF.

    With only a mini mid level Lakers will continue to get Kapono, Murphy, McRoberts type players. With Kobe/Pau/Bynum playing significant minutes together Lakers are 9-13. It’s not working.

  30. 9-13 is Lakers record last 2 postseasons.

    The 21 points Deron avg. last year is 4 less than Lakers bench combined (25).

    Can you imagine what this would look like in purp and gold? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mT3UNyB7Vs8

  31. The rich will get richer this offseason. Heat have bought themselves the privilege of selling legitimate championship promises to productive vets like Nash, Hill, Garnett, etc. Ouch.

    Note to Lakers fans: there is only two wing players capable of playing decent man-D on LBJ. One is Iguodala, and the other is our very own Ron Artest.

  32. 30 – Sure … but Williams wouldn’t be replacing our bench. I’m not sure how that point is relevant. He’d be replacing Bynum, who scored 18.7 a game, although I realize these numbers are fairly meaningless. Our bench would stay awful.

    I’ve said it on here before, but I’m not as high on Williams as some. I think he’s a very good player, and maybe with better teammates his game will elevate. I don’t think a Kobe-Williams-Gasol trio takes out OKC or Miami without a very serious (and likely unattainable) supporting cast. But he probably is the best realistic high-end option we have, so I can understand why people are fascinated by him.

  33. @32 Snoopy,

    What is the alternative? A player like Deron Williams gives our squad a better chance, considering he improves several areas: production from the 1, outside shooting, penetration, as well as a physical big lead guard who can actually check 2s on occasion. Many forget that he was largely considered a close second-best PG in the league just two seasons ago.

  34. Three points:

    1. Based on the fact that he has a home in SD, and on a couple of things he has said, it seems DW may actually like the idea of playing here, whereas Howard seemingly may not.
    2. How much if any better the Lakers would be with Williams instead of Bynum is arguable and would of course depend on what else they did, but Lakers fans are hungry for a DIFFERENT team, and a Bynum/Williams exchange would certainly create that.
    3. DW is actually a FA right now, whereas Howard isn’t.

    All that said, I think there is only about a 10% chance it will happen. There are many variables–Buss, Cuban, Prokhorov, Paul Allen–and Cuban will do anything he can to keep Willliams from becoming a Laker.

  35. Avidon,
    As I read it, Snoopy2006 was saying Williams DOES NOT give our club a better chance of winning – we would simply be running in place.

    An alternative would be to maintain our advantage with our bigs and try to get more talent surrounding them. One of them might have to go, but we have to bring back more talent than one good player to improve. That is the entire point of his comment – as I read it.

    Also, it really doesn’t matter if the fans want something different. The front office isn’t stupid enough to let the fans’ continually changing demands influence what they are trying to do with the club.

  36. Also, it really doesn’t matter if the fans want something different

    Didn’t say it did. I was just pointing out one reason people are talking about Deron Williams. It also really doesn’t matter that you defend the FO as if you work for the Lakers. People are still going to express their opinons.

    Also, something that the “work the size advantage” crowd keeps missing: the key bigs on recent title teams have all been very different types of players, and more mobile than, Gasol and Bynum, and one problem with having them together is that are both very slow-footed. That might work if the other guys were quick, but with this team, it is a problem.

  37. One of Lakers advantages some say is our bigs but we forget McGee, Faried owned the paint inthe 1st round. And Ibaka, Perkins did in round 2. Guards also had no trouble finishing at the rim over our two 7 footers. Lakers have an advantage on paper. Our supposed size advantage in real games is not as significant.

    Being big isn’t a legit advantage anymore you have to be big and athletic. Getting offensive rebounds and easy 2nd chance points is a positive of being tall but you give those right back when you can’t get back on defense and give up transition points.

    The point people are missing is this is a league of athletes. Lakers have ZERO. Teams like Clippers, Okc, Denver will only get better and they have youth on their side. To continue to suggest Pau and Bynum will work is insane.

  38. Snoopy2006: Williams is better than any player on our roster. And a passing point guard would entice FAs to come play in LA.

    Just look at the difference between Boozer in Utah and Chicago. And Humphries now and a few years ago. Deron makes players better and is a floor general the way Paul and Rondo are. Coupled with the fact he’s as equally as good a scorer.

  39. If Pau is retained, he has to come in off the bench. It’s highly unlikely that the front office will allow a guy making 19million dollars to come off the bench. But that’s the only scenario that makes sense. Retain Hill as the power forward with Bynum and let him do more of the dirty work. He’s the defender on pick n rolls with Bynum back there protecting anyone that gets to the rim.

    Bench gets more productive and Pau becomes the focal point and no. 1 option on offense. Depending on match ups he and Bynum are interchangeable at the end of games. This way he remains the Lakers security blanket for any hiccups that may occur in the season with Bynum.

    Re-sign Ramon for no more than 18-19 million for 3 years, at which point he’ll be 29 yrs old and will play with the Lakers 1 year beyond the end of Pau and Kobe’s contract.

    Problems that remain: No backup 2, no perimeter defenders (unless, Eyenga and Ebanks improve enough to be counted on in stretches). No shooters, unless somehow Blake finally regains his pre-Laker shooting percentage. And, Goudelock gets playing time. Even if perimeter defense and shooting improve with the Lakers core players, to make a deep run in the playoffs they’ll need veteran players that can fill those two areas, play defense and mesh with the Laker core.

    a

  40. Avidon – Sure, but in that same deal you’re creating another weakness by giving up the 1 player most equipped to exploit the weaker frontlines in today’s NBA. I understand what you’re saying. I don’t see another alternative if fans are pushing for an immediate fix. Like I said, he’s the only somewhat-realistic high-end option out there. I do remember when he was the 2 to Chris Paul’s 1 (before Rose and Westbrook came along) – I’ve actually followed Williams fairly closely since his college days, when I attended some of his games in person. I’m very familiar with his history. I know Chris Paul isn’t available, but Paul is the standard for a PG I think would put us over the top with Kobe and Gasol – and I don’t think Williams is close to that standard. He doesn’t elevate teammates or control the flow of a game on the same level. Is the talent on that NJ really that much worse than the New Orleans team Paul dragged to the playoffs? I’m not convinced. It’s a team game, but anytime a PG captains one of the worst teams in NBA history, I get a little nervous.

    It’s just a gut feel that I have, and I understand if most think I’m crazy – he’s a phenomenal talent. I do think he gives us a slightly better chance to win, but going from a 10% to a 20% shot doesn’t really make us favorites.

    But I understand – there’s no alternative out there right now and we want a fix as soon as possible.

    The subtraction of Bynum (in a deal for Williams) would be huge. It’s true that Gasol was misutilized this year, but you can also make the argument that Bynum wasn’t put in a position to play his best either. If surrounded by cutters and shooters, Bynum could potentially have a greater effect on the game than Williams.

  41. On a slightly different topic, I’ve noticed calls to surround Kobe with young and athletic players at the expense of both our bigs. I know a lot of people are looking at the Finals/Conference Finals and assuming those 4 teams indicate a championship can only be won by going small and matching up.

    I’d argue the opposite – I’m not sure we could ever be more explosive, athletic, or offensively powered than OKC. And they still came up very short. Miami has few holes, and post scoring is one of them. Giving up our potential advantage (instead of optimizing it with proper complementary personnel) and trying to out-Miami the Heat or out-OKC the Thunder could prove disastrous.

  42. Lets take a look at D Will for his fans here.

    He averaged 21ppg on 17.4 shots as the 1st option.
    Andrew averaged 18.7 on 13 shots as the second option
    Pau averaged 17.4 on 14 shots as the 3rd option
    Think he will even average 18.7 playing with Kobe? Oh and if you trade Andrew you also have to replace 11.3 boards a game.

    Lets look at an alternative

    Kyle Lowery averaged 14.3 on 10.9 shots Shot 37% from 3 compared to D Wills 33% he average 6.6 assists to D Wills 8.8 but played nearly 5 minutes less a game. Will D Will continue to get 8.8 dribbling up and passing to Kobe? Both are ball dominant, so who wins?

    Oh ya, D Will will command nearly 20 mil a year. Lowery makes 5.5 mil. Which is the better acquisition? We maybe able to get him and other pieces without giving up Bynum. Which makes more sense?

    RR

    So you are saying that having Blake and D Will on the floor at the same time both shooting 33% fro 3 is going to somehow keep defenses from sagging off them? Not sure how that works.

  43. Snoopy,

    I made a similar point a couple weeks ago. The Lakers are not about to get even close to the level of athleticism of Miami and OKC. Giving up their size in attempt to emulate OKC and Miami makes about a much sense as jumping into the Pacific Ocean with an anvil attached your foot.

  44. I understand the fascination with Deron Williams. What I don’t understand is fans projecting trades – either with Bynum or Gasol – to get him on the Lakers. As an aside, 4 of the last 5 title teams started Fisher, Chalmers, and a very old Jason Kidd. I’m all for upgrading from a talent perspective, but there are many ways to do that not involving Williams. Fans seem awfully caught up on him right now…

  45. “Size advantage” worked when the Lakers had a younger Pau and the versatile Lamar coming off the bench to play big minutes.

    “Size advantage” no longer works with a gassed Pau and no Lamar (see the early exits last two years).

    “Size advantage” can still be retained over teams like Heat and Thunder who don’t have post scorers. Trading one of our bigs for 2 or 3 pieces that would bolster our roster and allow the remaining big to truly own the paint sounds like an improvement right now.

  46. T. Rogers – agreed, it would be a bit like what Kerr did by trading Marion for Shaq and changing the style of that team – ironically, in an attempt to match up with us.

    With that said, I do think one of the bigs probably has to go. Because the league is so guard-oriented and so PnR-oriented, the defending big involved on the PnR is as important (if not more) than the initial guard defender. Bynum and Pau have relatively slow food speed, and that’s my main concern with the pairing. It has nothing to do with the size itself (Garnett and Chandler are two 7-footers that would work wonders together). I’m less concerned with targeting an “explosive” and “athletic” backcourt, and more concerned with getting personnel to raise our PnR defense to a new level.

    So I’d advocate keeping one of the two for the offensive advantage, but pairing them with a 4 with fast feet and strong PnR defense or a shooter for spacing purposes. Those guys don’t grow on trees, but that would be the direction I’d aim for.

  47. Let’s talk numbers. Utah’s record. When Deron actually played with good players.

    05-06 – 41-41- No Playoffs
    06-07 – 51-31- Lost to Champion Spurs
    07-08 – 54-28- Lost 2nd round to WCF Lakers
    08-09 – 48-34- Lost to Champion Lakers
    09-10 – 53-29- Lost to Champion Lakers

    After his rookie season. He’s lost to Lakers and Spurs. All of those were Finals teams and 3 Champions.

  48. D. Williams 17.6 pts 9.2 ast 3.3 reb 1.1 stl 45/35/81

    Postseason 21.1 pts 9.6 ast 3.7 reb 1.2 stl 45/40/79

    Consensus top PG’s are Rose, Paul, Westbrook, Rondo. Only Rondo has had more success. You can add Westbrook with this recent run.

    The same way Paul took D. West game to another level WIlliams did the same for Boozer. The guy is a great player. And is a top 10 player in the league. Getting him isn’t easy but he would take Lakers to another level.

  49. Darius,

    Fans like the big names. They don’t always see the big picture. Trading one star for another fills one hole but creates another. In the case of trading Andrew, it actually creates 2 holes, since Pau and Andrew rotate at center we would need a back up center. And if we traded Pau we would need a PF AND a back up center. D Will isn’t THAT good. Thats why I think if we pull off a big trade we need multiple pieces back.

  50. I mean we would have two holes with a trade for Andrew as well, with no realistic way to fill them.

  51. If the chris paul trade went through it would’ve been paul/kobe/bynum leaving a hole at PF. I see no difference in this unlikely Deron scenario.

    That’s why the past post of “No Easy Answers” is spot on. Lakers have and will have holes throughout the roster whether they stand pat or make a move. The team is too flawed.

  52. T Rogers and Snoopy,

    I have been saying the same thing as well. We can’t become Miami or OKC, even by trading everyone. There are no Lebrons or Durants available. You have to build around your strength, in this case it’s Size. I would personally like to keep both bigs if we could add enough around them to make it work. Barring that adding a solid stretch 4 to Bynum makes the most sense.

  53. Kevin,

    First of all Cris Paul is just plain better then Williams. Not only can he make plays but he can shoot and stretch the floor. and second, ya, we would have had big holes to fill with that deal as well. I doubt if we would have won because McRoberts wasn’t going to replace Pau and Lamar. Thats why it is important to balance your team. If you are going to trade one of the bigs, you need to be able to replace them and fill other needs. Kobe is 1st team NBA and Andrew is 2nd team NBA. That is a very good start. Now fill in the holes and you can compete.

  54. Chris Paul or Deron Williams? Exactly what good does that comparison do for us, except use up a little more time in argument? Deron Williams is not as good a deep shooter and Chris Paul is more injury prone. Trading a big for either one straight up doesn’t take us over the top, but it does create an untenable situation from a financial point of view – looking past 13/14.

    Unless Mitch pulls off a miracle, neither of these two players will ever see Laker colors. Now let’s get on with the business of how we can make the Lakers better. That is the job. It is impossible to make them champions in one year, without some minor miracle.

    I still say we are better served making some gambles on some of the younger talent currently on the Lakers. This means either getting Brown to change a bit, or finding another coach who will play some of the younger players next year. Sure we need to add 1 or two players, but there isn’t likely going to be any wholesale reshuffling of our team.

    I realize that isn’t the sexy choice – and fans always look to the sexy option – but running a business (any business) isn’t a sexy proposition.

  55. So you are saying that having Blake and D Will on the floor at the same time both shooting 33% fro 3 is going to somehow keep defenses from sagging off them?

    ___

    Blake is not a 33% career shooter, and you ignored the rest of the post: having a second guy who can create off the dribble and score, and getting Bynum out of the lane, will IMO create more space.

    But:
    ______________________________
    The Los Angeles Lakers, likewise have continued to express interest in a sign-and-trade package built around Pau Gasol for Williams, sources say, despite the Nets’ longstanding insistence that they have no interest in Gasol and would only consider such a move if they were getting back All-Star center Andrew Bynum, whom the Lakers have not made available.
    Sources say Williams, in any case, already has instructed his representatives to advise any team that calls starting at 12:01 a.m. July 1 that he intends to either re-sign with the Nets or return to his hometown with the Mavericks after a glittering high school career in the Dallas area.
    ___________________________

    from ESPN

  56. but there are many ways to do that not involving Williams.

    I suppose elaborating on this point would be against your own rules, but, actually, I don’t think there are, for reasons you and others have outlined.

    My post with the excerpt is stuck in mod, but ESPN reporting that Williams has told his agent to tell teams he is signing in either BKN or DAL–nowhere else.

  57. rr,
    I suppose if you’re taking umbrage with the word “many” in that sentence, I’d agree. That was probably too strong a word. But, my main point is that many seem obsessed with talking about acquiring Williams but I don’t see him as the only option to improve the Lakers.

  58. MichaelH: At 34 off the Olympics can’t put that 1st team pressure on Kobe. 82+ games next year he needs a decreased role.

    I think Bynum ran out of gas a little bit. The germany procedure may have him Shaq like next year. That would be great but it still wouldn’t be enough.

    A driven mad Okc team coming off a Finals loss will be no joke. The same drive the 09 Lakers and 12 Heat had they will have. Westbrook, Durant, Harden, Ibaka will only get better. Role players won’t stop their freight train.

    Lakers have always tried to get stars. That’s what we’ll need to overtake Okc. San Antonio had one of the best supporting cast in the league and they got steamrolled by superior talent.

  59. I made a post before going out to dinner ad came back to find out it was butchered. I guess I was too specific. Here is what I was trying to say although this time I won’t say it:

    (edited for trade speculation)

    We can not battle age, health concerns and the new CBA. Not to mention the fact that the teams that are blocking us are still peaking. We have to get younger and hungrier.

    The future will only be bright if we prepare now.

  60. Kevin,

    We have a 1st team all NBA shooting guard and a 2nd team all NBA center. Those are stars. If you were to trade andrew for D Will, you still have only two stars. Filled one need but opened a couple of new holes in doing so. Thats treding water, it’s not improving. I love Pau but he doesn’t have the same impact as Andrew and he is 7 years older.

    There is just no way we can improve through trade to beat OKC or Miami on their terms. We have to build around our advantage and that is size. we were able to dictate tempo against OKC with size.

    If we can do it and keep Pau and Andrew fine. But if we trade one, it has to be for a few quality players to balance the roster. A one for one trade will not help us.

  61. MIchaelH: Don’t want to argue we are on the same wavelength when it comes to needing to improve. How we go about it is the disagreement.

    Fastbreak Points: 137-77 + 60 Denver and 98-33 +65 Okc. It’s suicide running 2 centers out together.

    Pau’s only bringing back Ariza, Okafor type players because of his contract and new cba. You sound like your fine with turning the franchise over to Bynum. More power to you.

  62. Darius,

    Not taking umbrage–just see the options as limited.

    I am pretty much with Kevin on this, but if the report on DW is accurate, it is all moot in any case.

  63. Young talent on the Lakers:

    Ebanks’ ceiling is probably Trevor Ariza; Goudelock’s is probably Eddie House. Morris is harder to project, but he is very raw and is unlikely to ever be a starter. McRoberts is a backup. Sessions and Hill are FAs.

    If the history of the Lakers teaches us anything, it is the value of landing elite players. Pat Riley learned that in his time here, and has applied it.

    It may well be that Williams and Howard will not be options, and if so, so be it.

  64. Warren Wee Lim June 24, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Just because Mario Chalmers is the Heat’s defacto starting PG, doesn’t mean he is the PG. Lebron James is the Heat’s PG.

    Each team is different. Me advocating DW for AB opens up the door for the modern Lakers. Part of that is I have very little faith in Andrew Bynum. DW revives what greatness is left with Pau despite critics and so that gives us THREE stars instead of constantly insisting that the AB+PG combo works.

    Why do I know that DW works? Anyone who knows little basketball like I do will see that DW’s contributions is not linear but exponential. Whether he likes it here and considers us an option is another matter. But if he does, as he should despite rumors that only suggest Dallas, then we should do our due diligence in exploring the possibility.

  65. We can’t have 2 bigs out there on the court who can’t guard the pick and roll. One of them has to go and I would prefer it be Gasol.

    I am all for getting more athletic. For everyone saying that is an overreaction to the 2 finals teams isn’t accurate. OKC and the Heat aren’t the only 2 athletic teams in the league. Clips, Memphis, Chicago are other teams that come to mind as well.

    The league is changing. The 2003 Spurs is the last team that I can remember who won the championship with a big being the main focal point of an offense (2006 Heat – Wade took over in the finals, not Shaq…and the 2007 Spurs – Parker got MVP not Duncan).

  66. Warren Wee Lim June 24, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Also to add, the DW advocacy is not to ask him to score 25ppg but to make his teammates better. Something Andrew can only do the opposite.

  67. The Lakers’ percieved size advantage is entirely dependent on Andrew Bynum. Since it doesn’t look that the Lakers are going to be able to trade him and obtain enough value to make such a trade feasible, my hope is that rest and the German treatment transform Drew into the beast that we all want him to be. He was really dragging his butt late in the playoffs. Drew needs to show that he has the willingness to work and take the next step towards true dominance.

    Making the All Star team or 2nd team NBA are nice, but doing all the little things that allow your team to be a true contender should be the goal that Andrew strives for. If he does that, all the accolades will follow.

  68. Reading some of these comments one would never believe Deron’s team missed the playoffs in a top heavy, but overall weak Eastern Conference. He is an excellent basketball player. However, he is not the end all, be all some think he is.

  69. http://espn.go.com/dallas/nba/story/_/id/8090057/deron-williams-only-interested-signing-brooklyn-nets-dallas-mavericks-sources-say

    Not Good. Not Good At All.

    “The Los Angeles Lakers, likewise have continued to express interest in a sign-and-trade package built around Pau Gasol for Williams”. LOL

    According to Stein Bynum is not on the block. So we should just Amnesty Kobe, Trade Pau and turn the team over to Bynum sooner than later, right?

  70. Rick Carlisle, Avery Johnson, Mike Brown?

    Mark Cuban, Mikhal Prokhrov, Jim Buss?

    Youth & cap space, Dirk & cap sapce, Ron and Blake?

    Big bright NY lights, Everything’s bigger in Texas, big bad lazy bynum?

    One could see Deron’s thinking here.

  71. dave m: in a perfect world, lakers get both deron williams and that center from the orlando magic, whose name i can’t seem to remember at this moment. you know, that guy who calls himself superman, talks in superlatives, can’t shoot free throws, never won a championship while playing in a Orlando Magic uniform.

    Fast forward to the present, these two guys playing on the same team would more than satisfy the appetite of laker faithful for years to come. It would be the perfect dejavu; fill in the blanks w/both veterans and nba newcomers which would come aplenty based on championship possibilities. New Jersey had the right idea, just couldn’t pull it off. The Lakers have what many other teams don’t: Money and more money. And Laker ownership knows more and willing than most that it takes money to make money.

    Go Lakers ! get that guy, what’s his name?

  72. T. Rogers – forget miss the playoffs, that team was in the running for worst record of all time.

  73. However, he is not the end all, be all some think he is.

    No one is saying that. I simply think Williams is better than Bynum, and the Lakers would have a better chance to get back to the Finals before Kobe’s contract runs out if they had Williams instead of Bynum. The Lakers are not good enough to win the West as currently constructed, and they are well over the cap and tax line. If they Bynum, Gasol and Bryant under contract and 10-12M of cap room, it would be different. They do have the TPE, but that is harder to use than cap space.

    That’s all that’s being said here, and Warren’s assesment is correct.

    And the argument about the Nets missing the playoffs doesn’t work very well. Basketball is a team game.

  74. It shouldn’t need reiteration, but again – I’m not trying to bash Williams. We went to the same school, so I’ve been a fan of his since he came into the league. He’s a phenomenal player and a top 5 or 6 PG. I’d have nothing against targeting him. I’m just saying that I hope people realize that acquiring Williams is not enough to get us to serious contention level, and that such a move would have to be followed by other personnel moves. Particularly if we have to give up Bynum to do so (likely).

    Not sure what to make of the Stein report. Stein’s a pretty cringe-worthy writer but a good reporter with good sources, and excellent Dallas sources. I’m sure we’ll hear some misdirection plays from the Dallas camp via Stein as we get closer to free agency, but sounds like this report is coming from Williams’ camp.

  75. @70, davidh – actually, in my perfect world, “that guy” goes by the name of Kiovanic Atomik, and would be available for the 60th pick. Then again, y’all know that my perfect world is somewhat suspect. http://tinyurl.com/7bzzsqz

  76. Dave M, if the Lakers retain the 60th pick and Kio is still available, he sounds intriguing enough to take a chance on with that pick. As I’m sure any shooter that the Lakers have targeted will be gone.

  77. Chearn – As it currently stands, Kio can’t get a travel visa beyond the world of Searching for Slava. We might be able to get Vic the Brick involved though, with his metaphysical powers.

  78. Kevin,

    You are right Denver and OKC both out ran us. But if I recall we did beat Denver with our style of play. and we controlled tempo against OKC. And if Kobe didn’t have perhaps 2 of the worst forth quarters in his professional career we would have went up 3-1 in that series as well.

    Yes I am fine with Andrew going forward. I looked at what he accomplished despite the obstacles. I watched the Denver series in horror as Denver doubled Andrew OFF the ball and we couldn’t make them pay with wide open shots. I watched them run triple teams at him and we couldn’t hit wide open shots to make them pay. There is no way teams should be able triple but Carl knew he had to stop Andrew so he gambled that we wouldn’t hit our shots and he was right. Against OKC they started out trying to cover Andrew with just Perkins but couldn’t so they also started to double and of course we couldn’t make them pay either.

    Andrew shot 55% from the field and 82% in crunch time, 1st in the league. Kobe shot 43% and 32% in crunch time but Andrew is the problem? He averaged 18.7 on only 13 shots a game and pulled down 11 rebounds a game. How do you replace that production trading him for a point guard who is also ball dominant like Kobe. Bringing in a PG that makes 20 mil to dribble up the court and pass to Kobe is a waste of money.

    As far as trading Pau, there are several rumors floating out there with players much better then you mentioned. Super stars? No. All stars? In some cases yes.

    There is no way that even trading Andrew and Pau, that we can assemble a team that can run and win against Miami and OKC. But you can build around strength and compete. Miami struggled against Boston and Indy because the both had a post game. They beat OKC easily because they didn’t have one. And as far as OKC, inside out basketball can control tempo. give me a couple shooters and we can compete with them as well.

    Of course the direction we take will not matter unless Kobe begins to buy into allowing others to do more, and stepping back a little himself.

  79. RR,

    Basketball is a team game indeed. But LeBron took a bunch of castoffs in Cleveland through a weak East to the NBA Finals in 2007. Kobe took a group of misfits through a tough West and got them into the playoffs and had them positioned for a first round upset. The fact New Jersey did so poorly this year is definitely a reflection on Williams to a degree. If he “makes everyone better” like so many say there is no way his team should have been that bad. It doesn’t make him a bad player, but it should give us pause.

  80. T. Rogers,
    The Nets had 22 different players see game action this year and 17 of those guys started a game. Not a single player played all 66 games. Brook Lopez, their best player besides Williams, played 5 more games for them than you or I did. Guys like Johan Petro and Shelden Williams played heavy minutes for them and were considered key contributors. Gerald Green was called up from the D-Fenders and instantly became their best reserve wing. The fact that they won 22 games is pretty much amazing. If they didn’t have Williams, they’re likely as bad – or worse – than the Bobcats who were historically awful. Said another way, I don’t think it’s quite fair to talk about how bad the Nets are as an indictment of Williams.

  81. And if Kobe didn’t have perhaps 2 of the worst forth quarters in his professional career we would have went up 3-1 in that series as well.

    And if the Lakers had shot and made a normal number of FTs in Game 3, they would have gotten swept.

    Bynum is a very good player, and he is not the “problem.” But:

    1. The Lakers’ 3 best players all have huge deals, are all slow, and all need the ball in the post.
    2. The Lakers traded their picks and are way over the cap and tax line, which reduces their ability to add talent in any way other than making trades. No one on the roster outside of Bynum, Kobe, and Pau has any real trade value. They already tried what you want to do–adding a “couple of shooters.” It didn’t work. The Lakers need better frontline talent.
    3. Kobe is untradeable due to his contract and no-trade clause.

    So, the most obvious way to try to improve the team is to trade Bynum or Gasol. Williams is the best player that we know is available, except for Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, who obviously are not coming here.

    So, the Lakers can pretty much either try to move Gasol in one of the many oft-rumored deals for him, or they can use Bynum to try to get a star, assuming they are not going to “blow it up” or do nothing.

    If you don’t think trading Bynum for Williams is a good idea, that’s OK, but you are dramatically understating the difference between Williams and the Lakers’ current PGs. Also, if you are worried about Kobe “pulling back” then the best way to do that is to get an elite PG who is a big star and played with Kobe on Team USA.

  82. rr

    My point is I would rather keep Bynum, and bring in someone like Kyle Lowery and other pieces then to just bring in Williams. Williams is not 14 1/2 million dollars a year better then Lowery. Plus you fill other holes as well. Williams alone does nothing to address the other problems on the team.

  83. DWill is a top five PG. The Nets suck. Not mutually exclusive. But mutually exclusive. PGs are not as important as people think. In the playoffs bigs become less lazy and it’s harder for little guys (6-4 and under) to get and finish at the basket. Also… Every team in the NBA has quality at the position. Just because you have a top flight PG doesn’t mean you will win a lot of games. But how many teams with top flight big men miss the playoffs? Or are even out of the top five in their respective conferences? Thats one of the reason I don’t consider Kevin Love a top flight big. He can’t create his own shot nonetheless a shot for others… And he can’t defend (or not adequately? But I digress. An Andrew for DWill trade would be overtly stupid by the Lakers. Trading away arguably the best center in the world who is only 24 years old for an older PG who arguably is the fourth best lead guard in the NBA? It doesn’t add up. It just doesn’t make sense at any level really. Add in the fact that DWill might not even e allowed to play PG with Kobe on the team.

  84. Aaron,

    You said–several times–that the Lakers had a “championship roster” after the Hill and Sessions deals, so your evaluation of this roster and what do with it leaves something to be desired.

    Michael H,

    If there is a deal with Houston still on the table for Lowry, it will likely just bring back Lowry with Scola–it will probably not “fill other holes.” I am OK with doing that, but Scola has three years left on his deal and is the same age as Pau.

    Also, Morey may not be willing to move Lowry since Dragic is now a UFA, even though Lowry has publicly stated that he no longer wants to play for Kevin McHale.

  85. Aaron,

    You said “in the playoffs bigs become less lazy” but outside of Tim Duncan, name one big in the playoffs this year who had genuine elite level impact. The playoffs were a reflection of the NBA season in which the team with the supposed “best center in the nba” didn’t get out of the second round and the team with a pair of defensive “enforcers” in the paint got pretty much crushed in the NBA Finals. Yet that same team was decimating everyone else and completely overwhelmed the one team that had their post player put up consistently good numbers.

    The best center in the NBA is Dwight Howard, period, end of story. Bynum is number two when he plays like it. He certainly didn’t play like it for most of the playoffs. And supposing he had, would it have made that much difference? Shaq wouldn’t have rescued this Laker team from an early vacation because they were totally outmatched on the perimeter. This league is becoming a guard’s league again.

    As for Kevin Love, his numbers fly in the face of your continued comments about him. Despite being much, much smaller than Bynum, he puts up more points and he grabs more rebounds. Oh yeah and his PER is better by 2 points. Enough said.

  86. MichaelH: Or if Bosh plays every game of those series they don’t go past 5 games. Miami has schemes they can figure out ways to drastically lessen the impact of your greatest strength. That’s no coincidence HIbbert and West became less effective as the series went on.

    Pau does so much for Bynum in game. When teams figured out how to guard the lob play (sometimes we guarded it ourselves by not running it) Bynum effectiveness dropped. Pau averaged 17/10/3/1 as a 3rd option. Bynum’s numbers aren’t telling me he’s a better player. Howard athleticism is elite, Pau’s passing is elite, Griffin’s athleticism is elite, Love’s rebounding is elite, Bynum’s ?????? (size) is elite.

    Lakers are paper champions. Lakers have barely made it out the first round last 2 years. Took 6 games for a totally undermanned Hornets team and 7 games to beat Denver. And lost in 4 and 5 games in the 2nd round. The formula that worked with Phil Jackson under the triangle with elite coaches didn’t work in 2011. And it didn’t work this season.

    http://www.82games.com/1112/1112LAL.HTM

    In this graphic the biggest on/off court difference was you guessed it Pau at -3.9 points. Bynum was a 0.8. I don’t know properly explain the Net portion but again it was Pau with the largest +7 and not close. If one of the mods could explain to us FB&G fans what the Net rating means that would be great.

  87. After all those playoff wars with Utah can’t believe we are underestimating Deron. Hope it doesn’t take him going to Dallas and torching us 4 games a year to remember how good he is.

  88. Josh,
    Really a good question. Not great… But def good. Many reasons. Biggest is that there are really only two dominant big men on both sides of the ball anymore and one of them was hurt and not playing. The other was swarmed on and off the ball the majority of the regular and post season. The other reason is that one dominant big man in he low post did win the championship. LeBron just destroyed every team in the post and at the Tim. Ya know… That guy taller and heavier and stronger than the “dominant” big man that handed him the “Bill Russell” Finals MVP award. That King James is pretty good.

  89. Josh,
    And the tape on Kevin Love says he doesn’t influence his team on offense and defense the way his numbers suggest. The proof in the end is in his win totals every year. For a “Big” that dominates the glass at PF he sure doesn’t win like other Bigs have through out history. Kevin Love admittedly agrees he doesn’t have a quality offensive primary option game not being able to score in one on one sittuations. He also isn’t a good defender or shot blocker. Sooooo….

  90. I Gould have added… “having said that” his passing, spot up shooting, and secondary regular season hustle style rebounding for a 6-9 guy makes him a top 5 NBA starting PF.

  91. Josh,

    You can’t compare Andrew and Kevin Love. Their situations are completely different. Love as his teams 1st option averaged 26 ppg on 19 shots. That’s 44%. Normal that would be considered a weak percentage for a PF but he gets a pass because he is a stretch 4 and shoots quite a bit from distance. Andrew as the 2nd option averaged 18.7 on 13 shots. Thats 55%. I would say that is quite a bit more efficient. Love did out rebound Andrew by 2 a game. But of course he didn’t play with Pau, the 7th best rebounder in the league. That in my eyes will cost you a few boards a game as well.

    As far as Howard, you are right he is currently the best center in the league but not dramatically better. He is a better help defender the Bynum and he is better on the pick and roll but Andrew alters more shots and plays better on ball defense because of his length. Offensively Andrew is better. Howard did score 1.3 ppg more but then again he was the 1st option. And Van Gundy couldn’t even call his number at crunch time because he only shoots 49% from the line. That is a huge problem. As far as rebounding Howard had 3 more a game but then Anderson is also no Pau Gasol.

  92. Regardless of whether it’s Pau or Drew, trading one of the bigs is a gamble.

    If we trade Pau, we will at best receive 75c on the dollar and be stuck with an injury-prone center who plays well once every three to five games. Also, we will have a hole at the 4, unless we receive a starting-caliber 4 as part of the package coming back.

    If we trade Drew, we might receive better value in return than we would for Pau, but we’ll be stuck with a ‘finesse’ 5 in Pau. We will also still have a hole at the 4, unless we receive a starting-caliber 4 as part of the package coming back.

    There is no safe route. There is only the fact that the twin towers have not gotten it done in the last two years. One of them must and will go.

  93. Rumors are saying Iggy for Pau and Deron for Drew. I say “hold”, let the demand simmers and more offers from the Lakers auction. huh! Pau is equivalent of at least 2 to 3 speedy players while Drew should wait for the big sweepstake in Dwight. Don’t leave the Lakers without a Center.

    IMO, gotta to change the Coach too, but it won’t happen. See what happened when Lebron changed his coach, he found a new light. If he was still with Cavs and Mbrown was his mentor he gets older, fully depreciated with zero C’ship.

  94. Michael H.

    If you were the owner of Minny, Glen Taylor and faced with this question: who is the better PF Love or Gasol and your PG is Rubio. Statistically, it is Kevin Love but chemistry wise, it Pau Gasol. Will Love ever land Minny to WCF? I think Pau and Rubio have a good synergy that can build a team for the playoffs.

  95. According to Aaron he said: “Trading away arguably the best center in the world who is only 24 years old for an older PG.”

    ~~I partly agree that it is not a good exchange but to call Drew as the best Center in the world…..I repeat, in the world. Which world is he referring at? He could not handle Perkins, Ibaka and McGee and would rank him as wanderlust Center in the world. Must be dreaming, please wake him up.

  96. Kevin Love had three 30-20 games. Outplayed every PF in the league. Had a MVP season like Kobe did in 06. Out of this world numbers. And was well within playoff range before the Rubio injury. He’s the unanimous best PF in the league.

    The only thing Bynum is better than Howard in is FT shooting and 3 point attempts. They avg the same shot attempts difference is Howard gets to the FT line more. He goes through defenders Bynum goes around them.

  97. I love Mark Cuban from this day on!

    YES, kill them big mouthes. Lovely.

  98. I went into my collection and watched the Christmas game of 2007. LAL vs. Phx. I loved that game. The Lakers busted the Suns up really bad that day much to my delight. Andrew Bynum had a huge game that day. He opened up Stoudemire like a can of soup.

    My point is that back then, Drew had more foot speed and leaping ability. Combined with his size, those factors made him unguardable. The Bynum we saw in the recent playoffs struggled to get back on defense and had numerous shots blocked by shorter players.

    Bynum’s knees have taken away a lot of what made us all drool at his potential. His lack of explosiveness negates his size to a large degree. The Andrew Bynum that I saw on that Christmas day 4 1/2 years ago, well, I wouldn’t have traded him for anyone in the NBA. The Bynum of this year’s playoffs is a different player entirely. If he never recovers his speed and athleticism, he’s just big….and not so special, IMO.

  99. #99, the Bynum of today is significantly better than the Bynum of 4-5 years ago.

  100. @#100…

    Other than being able to avoid another injury, in what ways do you think Andrew is a better player today?

  101. Edwin,
    He could not handle McGee? The same guy who shot under 40 percent and had less than 5 rebounds a game against the Lakers? Perkins? Perkins is washed up and did little that series. Ibaka’s double teams and helpl defense was the key against Bynum. Let’s watch the games here. Dwig Howard is not healthy. We can’t stress this enough. His back surgery is much more sever and potentially career altering than anything Drew ever went through. Dwight Howard may not ever again be the same player. Even if… One could argue Bynum was the better player last year when both players were healthy. Bynum is an offensive shot creator for teammates more than a PnR 6-10 Center like Dwight.

    Kenny T,
    Are you serious? Last years Bynum was the most explosive and athletic addition we have yet to see. His knee injuries were not serious enough to ever effect future athletisism. Last years Bynum was dunking on and over multiple defemders. Getting shots blocked by smaller defemders? Haha. Yea… From behind as he was swarmed by numerous players because the guy was ungaurdable last season.