Fast Break Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  August 14, 2012

With the Olympics over and training camps still more than a month away, it will be a while before there’s meaningful basketball to discuss. To be honest, getting a break is nice but I still find myself wanting for more hoops. I guess that’s what happens when Nash and Howard become Lakers in the span of six weeks. Right now, they’re the big boxes under the Christmas tree screaming “open me!” only to realize we just ate our Thanksgiving turkey. Lots of waiting in front of us. Sit tight, you guys. It will be here before you know it. In the meantime, some thoughts on what’s happening with the Lakers and around the league…

  • Yesterday the Jodie Meeks signing became official. We went over what he brings to the table already but it’s nice to review: Meeks offers a viable back up to Kobe while also giving the team a shooter they’ve been seeking. For what he’ll be paid, he’s a great signing solely for those two reasons. The fact that his defensive numbers are better than you’d expect and this signing looks fantastic.
  • Devin Ebanks also signed his offer sheet yesterday. We’ve yet to fully see what Ebanks is capable of but the hope is that he can bring some of what Matt Barnes did over the past two seasons. Devin has good size, is a decent athlete, and seems to have nose for the ball with an understanding of space. If he can be a slasher off the ball and a guy that fills the lane when the Lakers run, he can be a nice addition on offense. If he can start to hit his jumper (even if it’s only an 18-20 footer) his value goes up immensely for a Laker team that will need all the spacing it can get. It remains to be seen if he’ll rebound as well as Barnes (which, at this point, is asking a lot) but he should be able to contribute there as well. Ultimately, it’s good to have him officially back in the fold.
  • With Meeks and Ebanks in the mix, the Lakers have a very nice 10 man rotation of Nash, Kobe, Ron, Pau, Howard, Blake, Meeks, Ebanks, Jamison, and Hill. A group like that allows the Lakers to play countless lineups and get all their main cogs the proper rest in the process. There’s not a lot of positional versatility there (I see Blake, Jamison, Meeks, and Ebanks as only being able to play one position effectively) but the versatility of Kobe, Pau, Ron, and Hill still gives Mike Brown a lot of options to mix and match personnel to find effective groupings. Training camp will be key to start to sort some of that out.
  • What may interest only me is what happens with the bottom of the Lakers’ roster. Outside of the aforementioned 10 players, the Lakers also have Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock, Chris Duhon, and Earl Clark under contract for next year. They also hold the draft rights to Robert Sacre and Darius Johnson-Odom. If you’re counting at home, that’s 16 players and the Lakers can only carry 15 in the regular season. At least one of those players won’t make the roster and maybe more.
  • The Lakers rarely carry a full roster, however. They typically carry 14 players, allowing them roster flexibility should they make a trade where they take back more players than they send out or if there’s a player on the market via a buy out that they’d like to add. It will be interesting if they take that approach this year and if they do, who is on their way out. Remember, Goudelock’s contract is not guaranteed so he could end up being a bubble player even though he has an NBA ready skill (his shooting). Also note that even though Earl Clark is listed as a PF, he’s not a “big” in the classic sense. This leads me to believe that Sacre may have a shot at making the team solely for his size and as insurance against injury/to be a practice body even though I expect Clark to stick due to his contract being guaranteed.
  • Moving away from hoops for a second, with the summer winding down are there any good books you’d recommend? The last book I read was Jack Macallum’s Dream Team and that was excellent. your recommendation doesn’t have to be sports related but, if it’s not, I’d prefer to read fiction.
  • Finally went and saw the new Dark Knight Rises movie last week. It was well worth my $12 (for a matinee!). If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d recommend it. Though, since it’s the 3rd part of a trilogy, seeing the other two first would be advised.
  • Some site news: I’m considering a slight redesign of the site. Anything specific you’d like to see? New banner graphics? Something else? Let me know in the comments.
  • Finally, in the weeks leading up to the season, I want to do some more mailbags. Send me a question by clicking on the contact me button in  the right sidebar. I’ll also start soliciting questions via twitter so follow me on there @forumbluegold and you’ll get some details on submitting questions via that platform too.

Soon, we’ll have camps, pre-season games, and other matters surrounding the team to discuss. And, even sooner than that, we’re going to be doing offensive and defensive breakdowns on what Dwight Howard with looks at potential sets the Lakers can run to maximize their personnel. Just because basketball has stopped doesn’t mean we will.

Darius Soriano

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107 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. Darius: a good mobile version of the sites, as I use my phone a lot.

  2. Could we possibly see a wider default view? I guess some people still use 640×480 but on my screen the white column of text (where all the content/comments are) takes up less than a third of the available space.

  3. I second that mobile version of the site. :)

  4. I have some suggestions about the site.
    1. Remove the sidebar or movie to the bottom.
    2.When we load the site instead of seeing the full article, how about we only the first paragraph of each article so it makes the site smaller. and then clicking on the article will take you to the full thing.
    3. and yes a mobile version would be nice.

  5. The Passage is a fun read.

  6. You can’t go wrong with John Steinbeck. All of his novels are extremely good. However, as a light reading, maybe you should consider The Gambler by Fiodor Dostoievski or The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (I love all books written by these three authors).

    The last one I read was The Art of War by Sun Tzu and I’m about to finish The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. Tomorrow I’ll start reading The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick…

    Plenty to choose there and you can’t go wrong.

  7. Canada by Richard Ford. Best living American novelist now that Updike is dead.

  8. some ad links seem very slow on my iphone, so it takes a while (>30sec) for the right half to appear.

  9. I mainly read sci-fi, although last couple books I read were by Phil Jackson, but I doubt you haven’t read them. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card was another very good one I read recently.

    As for basketball related chit chat, I fully expect to see Mike Brown use our reserves outside of your 10-man rotation sparingly and ineffectively. If Glock and Morris couldn’t cave in a nice 10-minute niche for themselves last year, with tougher competition this time around I don’t see either living up to their potential any time soon, unless something like a Blake injury happens.
    I do like Earl Clark and having Sacre around as spare tire should be useful. So I expect DJO to not be in the final roster.

    What I hope to see from Brown is a change in philosophy and the sooner the better. Kobe, Pau and Nash shouldn’t play more than 30 minutes a game. It’s funny just thinking about it, MB rides starters like every game is a Finals Game 7. I really do not care if we are 4th seed (which is the lowest I’m willing to conseed), we just need fresh legs from the old dudes when the playoffs come around.

    This is going to be an exciting season.

  10. The sidebar takes at least 30 seconds, if not more, to load, even when not on an iphone. Definitely would like a mobile version.

  11. I read on hoopsworld Goudelock has the only non guaranteed contract. With Meeks taking his spot it’s not totally inconceivable if the Lakers release him to open up another roster spot. And have Sacre take his spot. Lakers would still have Morris as a combo guard.

    Along with some Princeton sets maybe Brown can implement a few twin towers plays too. Howard being mobile like Robinson I think that’s something that can work if he can knock down that FT line jumper.

  12. I wonder who the Lakers backup PG will be. Blake and Duhon career numbers are almost identical. I’m not sure if Duhon’s numbers are deceiving but he’s always been able to shoot the 3 ball. I think that training camp battle will be healthy for the team. They should push each other and both should be better for it.

  13. Still like the chance to advertise some of my craft beers on the site. So Cal Beer.

  14. Agree with Matt @ comment #2 above about a wider default view.

  15. Interesting article here:

    http://hoopspeak.com/2012/08/mama-there-goes-that-meme-lakers-hang-a-banner-in-august/

    Basically, a couple of debbie downers wondering if the Lakers’ gamble will work.

    Really? As if we had other, more palatable options.

  16. I’m assuming you’ve read this already, but Derek Fisher’s “Character Driven” is a decent read. I got my copy online for 3 bucks.

    The Art of War by Sun Tzu and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho are two great reads as well.

  17. Another vote for the mobile site.

    I’d also like to see the name of the author on the top of the post so I know who’s writing as I read it.

    I recommend A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

  18. Oh, and as for the layout, can we have the latest comments show up on top, as opposed to the bottom. Think of all the time we can save scrolling :)

    Also, please, no FB integration, like they did with ESPN. I don’t want to have an FB account.

  19. Hard to see Goudelock making the team now that Meeks has signed. Meeks’ skills duplicate (and exceed) Andrew’s, and it is unlikely that Goudelock will demonstrate enough in the next year to warrant a new contract at the end of the season, so what’s the point of keeping him? With Darius J-O, the Lakers would have EIGHT guards on the roster….

  20. A couple of thoughts. I know nothing about web design, so some of these may not be desirable or feasible from a programming standpoint

    1) The archive section. This site is now 8 years in the running, and it would save space to compress prior years’ months into their calendar years. So you have August 2012, July 2012, etc., but then 2011, 2010, 2009, etc. with the months of those years embedded within.

    2) Along similar lines – The links section is unwieldy. In addition to taking a long time to load, the yellow backdrop fades into white as you go down. That looks ok at the top of the page, but less so as you go down. Could we compress some of the link categories into mouseoverable sub-headers to give the site a cleaner look? See mgoblog.com (mouse-over Big Ten Blogs and Links of Note for an example of something that works nicely – granted, this won’t translate that will to mobile) It might also be a good idea to reduce the font size and line spacing of the sidebar links, relative to that of the blog posts, to de-emphasize said links.

    3) Regarding the banner, just having West and Magic feels incomplete. We need some more pictures of guys to reflect the breadth of LA’s championship legacy! You could probably do a ribbon collage from side to side of all the greats we’ve had and still have debatable omissions. (Heck – we’ve got five titles not even represented by anyone on the front banner! ?

    Also – totally off-topic but assuming that many of you are based in L.A., I was wondering if you could sate my curiosity on something – I’ve been idly checking out in internets for another Laker hat. The specific type I’m looking for is, I think, similar to what ballboys at the Forum had during the Showtime era. It’s a solid purple hat with the LAKERS word mark in yellow and with the ‘Los Angeles’ over the Lakers. The Laker wordmark is completely yellow and there is no white trim. I know I’ve seen this on TV before but cannot find it shopping via Google images. Anyone else know what I’m talking about?

  21. @ Darius

    I’m with you in being really intrigued by the bottom half of the rotation, mostly because I believe Duhon and Clark are both either possibly or definitely better than at least 2 of the guys in the 10 man rotation you named. The most interesting situation is at PG, where Duhon and Blake will duke it out for the backup spot while both soaking up way too much salary cap space for Steve Nash’s backup. It almost makes more sense to waive or trade one of those guys and keep a cheaper combo guard like G’Lock to spell either PG or SG incase we get in a prolonged pinch due to an injury or something. A six guard roster doesn’t make sense when 4 of them (Kobe, Nash, Blake, Duhon) cost close to $40M a year.

    As far as Clark goes, I think he’ll come in very handy if DH misses some time due to the back injury. I’d like to hope that a young guy with his natural athleticism and versaitility could flourish on this veteran roster if he brings the right attitude.

  22. I can see them keeping a full fifteen all the way up to the guarantee deadline. Gives extra time to see how Sacre and DOJ do in practice and spot minutes. Gluck is probably the odd man out after camp unless DOJ really stinks it up.

    Unless Duhon shows something drastically different than the last few years, he should never see the court. He’s much worse than Blake in all aspects. Too bad he’s guaranteed. Can’t shoot, defend or run an offense and bad locker room rep on top of that.

  23. Book Recommendations: While not sports-related or fiction, I have to think that if you haven’t already read it you would enjoy Malcom Gladwell’s “Outliers.”

    My fiancee recommended it to me and it’s a fascinating read.

  24. Basically, a couple of debbie downers wondering if the Lakers’ gamble will work.

    _________________

    Beckley Mason and Ethan Sherwood Strauss are young Abbott minions; their view of the Lakers, Kobe, and the Laker fanbase is exactly like Abbott’s–that is why Abbott linked them and has them write for TrueHoop. The word for the them is “HaterBoys.”

  25. Truehoop asks legitimate questions about the Lakers. There is a reason a team of Kobe, Nash, Gasol, and Dwight Howard isn’t the favorite to win the NBA championship.

    I can’t imagine Duhon or Blake can beat out Darius Morris as the back up PG. Now OT would be interesting to see Morris and Barbosa battle it out for that spot though.

  26. Question: What was the stats for the last game between Bird and Magic? Since it’s Magic’s bday and all. Also the reason I’m asking is because from my memory I remember Magic making a game winner from the elbow at Boston and that’s the last regular season game they played against each other.

  27. Suggestion: Add a “Who we are” tab and put a nice bio on each of the major contributors that run this site along with some pics. You guys do a hell of a job, so a little self promotion is more than acceptable – its encouraged.

    Keep up the good work!

  28. There is a reason a team of Kobe, Nash, Gasol, and Dwight Howard isn’t the favorite to win the NBA championship.

    No kidding–because they are a lot older than Miami and Oklahoma City. Suggesting that TrueHoop is onto some keen analytical approach because they are talking about this is silly, and like everything about the Lakers and Bryant on that site, it is larded with bias and cheap shots.

  29. I guess I’m the only one who doesn’t see any bias. What exactly are people disagreeing with?

  30. Aaron,

    The bias comes from the tone, the framing, and the constant emphasis on Kobe, Kobe, Kobe. It is how Abbott and his surrogates approach everything about the Lakers, and they never just say–as Simmons does–“I hate the Lakers and I hate Kobe, but this is what I think.”

    On the previous thread, I pointed out that the Lakers were 10-4 last year in games decided by 3 points or less, and 6-1 in OT. The Clippers, led by crunchtime wonder Chris Paul, were 7-6 and 2-1, and the Suns with Nash were 8-5 and 0-0.

    These numbers (and others like them) don’t prove that Abbott and Co are wrong, but they are one of about literally 100 examples that show there is an agenda, which these guys refuse to own.

  31. Lakers only concern is every title contenders concern Health. After Rose went down that was it for Chicago. Same with Mia, Okc , Lal, Bos. Anyone of those teams lose one of their big 3 and their done. That’s the only concern I see with this Lakers team. Depth isn’t an issue and Chemistry will work itself out by April.

  32. Book recommendation: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

    Though this fictional story probably isn’t for everyone, I found it to be laugh-out-loud funny as it follows the unforgettably lazy/delusional Ignatius J. Reilly through his misfortunes in 1960s New Orleans.

  33. Mobile version!
    Navigating comments and the site on iPhone is a pain!

  34. Thanks for the thoughts on ways to help w/ the site. Those are all ideas I’ve been thinking about so it’s good to know they’re things folks would like.

  35. The idea of Nash, Kobe, Metta, Pau, and Howard closing out games is fantastic. But does anyone think we might be better served not actually starting that lineup? It might make managing minutes easier as well as shoring up our bench.

    For example, consider these lineups:
    Starters – Nash, Kobe, Ebanks, Jamison, Howard
    Bench – Blake, Meeks, Metta, Hill, Pau

    The starters would have 3 players they could run the offense through in Nash, Kobe, and Howard. It would give Howard the stretch 4 that he seems to play well with. There would be three 3-point threats and one young dirty work/slasher type in Ebanks that Nash could make look good.

    The bench would have two guys to run the offense through in Metta and Pau, and three 3-point threats (well, maybe 2.5 – not sure if Blake counts anymore). Hill could fill the dirty work role, and I liked the way he played with Pau last year in limited minutes.

    I also like that this splits Howard and Pau up. Not to say they can’t play together, but even when Bynum was here, I never liked that our backup C was our starting PF. It made it hard to manage their minutes.

    In all likelihood, I suspect Mike Brown will probably play it “safe” and not try to bring our better players off the bench. But I’m still excited to see what lineups he sends out there and how they perform. Given all our shiny toys there are so many possibilities.

  36. Patrick O’Connor August 14, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    While non-fiction I highly recommend The Black Banners , The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War on Al Qaeda, by Ali Soufan. Soufan was the lead FBI investigator on the attack of USS Cole. While non-fiction it reads like a mystery novel and will in many ways shock you.

  37. rr,
    I urge you to read Abbott. As he has writte
    The Lakers are the highest rated offense in the league since Kobe and the Lakers won their last championship in 2000 and are only ranke in the middle of the pack when it comes to crunch time scoring.

  38. Darius-

    I’m also thinking of a “Top 3 Lakers article” section at the top right section.

    Most of the time commenters add links in blog entries and it’s nice to have quality and legitimate articles to read. Similar to the quality that JM Poulard puts up.

    Or best links to Lakers related issues.

    For example, this website is the best for all Lakers game recaps. It shows every offensive point scored during the game and uploads it minutes after every game.

    http://www.lakersmedia.com/

  39. Site Suggestions: Registration of names; Historical search of comments by names; Possibly re-designing so there are multiple active threads simultaneously; Show 16 banners and 31 trips to finals in bold letters on the top of the site’s main page; E-mail addresses and cell phone numbers for all players and coaches : ) All but the last comment are serious.

  40. I urge you to read Abbott. As he has writte
    The Lakers are the highest rated offense in the league since Kobe and the Lakers won their last championship in 2000 and are only ranke in the middle of the pack when it comes to crunch time scoring.

    I have read those pieces, and I am aware of that evidence. At the same time, however, as I pointed out, the Lakers have not really underachieved over the years in terms of their Pythagorean record or their record in close games. Abbott has not to my knowledge talked about that much, and when he brought it up last year, did not talk about it in relation to Kobe. Abbott only presents part of the picture; that is the issue.

    As another example, the 2010 Cavs, a 61-21 James-led team, were 7-8 in games decided by 3 points or less and 2-2 in OT. The 2010 Lakers were 11-7 and 4-1.

  41. We are the best team in the league now. In addition to our new – Big 4, I actually believe MWP and his re-dedication to the sport. I am expecting a big season from him next year. Coaching is our only weakness and it is time for MB to rise to the occasion. I said “6th” all year last year and that is where we finished. I have a new mantra and yes rr, I am putting it in quotes: “1st”

  42. I say for the graphic along the side you put the players

  43. Abbott is discussing Kobe’s crunch time offense and not his crunch time defense.

  44. Kobe’s FG % and the team’s win loss record matter in this evaluation. But why the heck are we discussing that when Lakers came away with Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Antawn Jamison, Jodie Meeks and we got to keep Pau. We have the chance to watch another epic run here.

    Who do you guard on this team when you have a 30,000 point scorer, a PG who avg. 50/40/90 every year, a player who had 17/10/3/1 in a off year by many accounts and someone who can go get a lob if you throw it in the sky?

    Robert: I agree that’s very much the real only area of concern. Brown has to find a rotation stick with it and be more creative on offense. I do think he’ll turn your guy Howard into more of a beast on defense.

  45. My problem with Abbott is that he doesn’t look at statistics and then create a narrative. Instead, he has created a narrative, over the many years, and cherry picked statistics to back up his narrative. If there are other stats that don’t back up his narrative, then he simply omits them. If there are other stats that say that other players- like Nash, Lebron, Paul, or whoever else don’t have particularly good numbers in close games, then he just doesn’t write about that.

    I do realize, of course, that certain members of our site actually like that method of writing…

  46. “My problem with Abbott is that he doesn’t look at statistics and then create a narrative. Instead, he has created a narrative, over the many years, and cherry picked statistics to back up his narrative. If there are other stats that don’t back up his narrative, then he simply omits them.”

    Spot on. He’s biased and either is blind to his biases or deliberately chooses to not divulge them.

    He’s a hack and it’s an embarrassment that ESPN still features him.

  47. This isn’t a small sample size for Kobe and his crunch time offense. His team offense ranks number one over a decade (thanks to him) with his crunch time team offense ranking below average (thanks to him) for over a decade. The eye test tells the same story. Kobe is one of the most clutch players in NBA history but his hero ball tendencies hurts his performance and his teams performance in the clutch.

  48. KenOak is on the money. I could give examples in support of that all day, and have given a few here, and Abbott also doggedly insists that he has no agenda and no biases. He is either delusional, writes poorly, or is lying.

    Robert,

    I think the Lakers are a tic or two behind Miami and OKC, due to age, health concerns, and questions about the coach. They might prove themselves to be the best team in the league, but I wouldn’t count on it yet. Miami and OKC are still the favorites IMO.

  49. Here is all you need to know about Abbott, he has never taken a statistics class and doesn’t understand a thing about statistics. Simply regurgitating Stats doesn’t make Abbott some stats guru. Anyone with an understanding of statistics knows it easy to slant stats anyway you please, especially in a sport like Basketball where there are countless uncontrollable variables. Take Hollinger’s PER for example, many swear by it but its a stat that doesn’t take defense (man or team) into account, rewarding to offenses like Pick n Roll and punishing to an offense like the triangle. But the lazy talking heads throw it out there like its an end all be all stat. Think about it, even a Stat like rebounds can be misleading. Take game 7 the 2010 finals, Pau Gasol had 18 total rebs meanwhile 4 of those rebs were on on 1 play early in the 1st quarter where he missed a few times from point blank range. On that play he had 2 points and 3 to 4 rebounds as opposed to a making the shot the 1st time and having 2 points and zero Rebs. Someday soon we will be able to truly identify all variables in a game and correct for these variables when comparing stats from game to game. Until we can do that, all these advanced stats are totally incomplete and somewhat. As for Crunch time stats; lets just say that only people without an understanding of statistics can actually go around throwing crunch time stats.

  50. Abbott the supposed Kobe – hater: “They traded basketball’s rarest commodity — a productive 7-footer in his prime — for a high school shooting guard determined to take over the league. It was a risk, a HUGE risk, to trade Vlade Divac for Kobe Bryant. But that move, and several others like it, is precisely why the Lakers have been important for the last decade-and-a-half.”

  51. Aaron please, dont talk Stats. Sample size, smh. Dude does your crunch time stats analysis take blown calls into consideration?? How can you seat there and talk about Sample Size of games when you cant say with certainty how many of the games in your sample have similar conditions?? Once again, please people lets not talk about meaningless stats

  52. Fiction:
    “Flow My Tears, The Police Man Said”, Phillip K Dick or “Futureland”, Walter Mosley.

    Can’t endorse yet it but I’m starting “Floyd Patterson: The Fighting Life of Boxing’s Invisible Champion”, W.K. Stratton.

  53. Tip of the hat to Renato @ 6 & Hale @ 51 – Speaking of Phillip K. Dick, I’d suggest “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, inspiration, of course, for “Blade Runner”.

  54. Phil Jackson’s new book is set to release next April. Eleven Rings.

  55. And of course, Darius has written the book on blogging!

  56. Great post. A few favorite reads; After Dark by Hiruki Murakami (fiction), The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (fiction), Sole Influence: Basketball, Corporate Greed, and the Corruption of America’s Youth by Dan Wetzel & Don Yaeger.

  57. Phillip K Dick. As a giant sci Fi guy I’m a giant fan.

  58. Abbott the supposed Kobe – hater:

    “And, that, ladies and gentlemen, is a ball hog.”

    That is a quote from one of Abbott’s earlier Bryant pieces.

    Also, again, Abbott leaves out that the Divac/Bryant deal was made in conjunction with the acquisition of Shaquill O’Neal. The deal was made one week before Shaq signed officially, but I would be willing to bet that West was pretty sure that O’Neal was coming. One of Abbott’s biggest problems as an “analyst” is that he focuses on Kobe too much, and not enough on the bigger picture.

  59. From my viewpoint Abbott deliberately states the same point to a nauseum trying to diminish Kobe clutch status and get a rise out of Lakers fans. I will admit Kobe’s poor FG % in that span is well documented and it’s very very poor. But I want Kobe taking that shot.

    But if we’re all honest Kobe has won Lakers games in those situations (NJ, NOH, LAC) and lost some (DEN, HOU, PHI). So it’s fair to say at 34 Kobe’s success rate is 50% that he’ll pull through when we need him.

    What Abbott constantly hammers home, which I don’t think can be overlooked in this situation, is that he prefers the open shot even if it’s Kobe taking it. That’s why he praises Paul and LeBron so much on that front, make or miss, is because they get the open shot in those situations. I have no problem with Kobe playing hero ball and the theatrics that come with it. But Abbott always says he would much rather see a player with a open shot than a forced one which I think is a fair point.

  60. Kevin,

    I have always said that Abbott makes a few good points. The problem is that he never talks about the crunch-time failures of other players, and he only looks at numbers that make Kobe look bad while insisting–and this is a direct quote–“This is not about Kobe Bryant.”

    The long email he sent me when I emailed him to tell him I was cancelling Insider (he is not behind the paywall–but it was a way to vote with my feet) was very revealing on a number of levels. Basically, this has become a personal and political thing for Abbott, so the points he does make get lost in the sturm und drang surrounding his feelings about it. Bias-by-omission is how it manifests.

  61. rr: I agree a good point does get lost in his transparent agenda.

    His numbers don’t tell the whole story because Kobe will come in and go 4/5 for 10 points but miss his last 3 in that clutch time span. It’ll show he was 0/3 with zero points but he brought the Lakers back before those 3 missed shots. Unless he shows game tape we really don’t know the context of those numbers.

    It’s really tough to tell when diving into certain numbers. Which is why deciding with the eye test is the best thing going.

  62. Kevin,

    Good points. One example of what I am talking about: on the Grammy Trip last year, Kobe had a huge game in Minnesota–14/29, 5/9 on 3s and came up big late with some smart crunchtime play. Lakers won. Abbott had nothing to say about it; he ignored it completely. A few days later, Kobe played badly down the stretch in Philly, missing several shots late. Lakers lost. Abbott did a detailed, possession-by-possession breakdown of the end of the game in a post called “Kobe Bryant kills crunch time.”

  63. @rr good points. Abbott looks for Kobe’s failures and highlights them with statistics. And when he does succeed he always gives back handed compliments.

  64. The problem with Abbott and stats are all discussed adequately above, so nothing to add there, except that he has laid off of Kobe now that Kobe is part of the 2012 Team USA and thus off-limits for a while.

    I don’t doubt Abbott’s intelligence; he knows what he’s doing writing all this stuff about Kobe and knows that the extra hits and comments are what motivates ESPN to keep him, so that’s what he does.

    I simply doubt the intelligence of those who don’t see that; although I do agree that sometimes he does bring up arguable points despite his agenda.

  65. thus off-limits for a while.

    ___________________

    Not really. On a THTV segment right after the Games started, Abbott and Hollinger trashed Kobe and Anthony pretty good. Also, Haberstroh called for Kobe to be benched in an Insider piece.

    As to whether Abbott is just trolling…if he is, it’s a long, deep con, based on my interaction with him.

  66. @Darius

    I’m a huge Sci-Fi and Fantasy fan. Give Game of Thrones, by George RR Martin, a chance if you haven’t already. Great series! Also, Patrick Rothfuss has a series that starts with, The Name of the Wind, which is pretty amazing. I would highly recommend both. The Hunger Games trilogy is actually pretty good too and it is a quick read.

  67. Across from the “Kobe-haters” stand the “Kobe-homers”, and thus it’s proven that Kobe Bryant is one of the most polarizing figures the NBA has ever presented.

    You either love him, or you hate him. Objective criticism is unacceptable.

  68. One thing that’s been proven; however, is that Kobe always seems to play the right way when it matters (think 010 vs Celts). All players have to if they must win championships–we saw it last season, LeBron finally overcoming his outside pressures to have one of the greatest seasons the NBA has ever seen, and of course, winning a championship. Of course it’s a team game, and it was a collective win, but when the going gets tough, it all falls back on your best player, and LeBron did the right things.

    When it comes to an aging Kobe though, from me, there’s some yearning for further balance in his game. I think that needs to be assessed, especially now that Lakers have acquired a more talented player in Dwight Howard. And also, I think instilling an offensive system is the right start. Hopefully adding Eddie and the princeton will set the team up in a new direction offensively.

  69. ^^And by saying Dwight Howard is more talented I mean at this stage of their respective careers.

  70. Goodbye Goudelock and DJO. Fun to watch Goudelock at times last year, but they would be doing him a favor, there’s not much playing time here. My son went to Louisville, says Earl Clark can play some solid D when the mood strikes, that would be a plus.
    Sacre makes the team as practice fodder, hope he has some nice duds for the bench when not suiting up.
    Duhon is a wild card, who knows what he’ll bring-at the least he has some experience, perhaps Nash-Kobe et al., will inspire him. It’ll be interesting, that’s for sure.

  71. Jesse P.

    I can listen and even agree to some objective criticism about Kobe. What Abbott does is *not objective criticism. It can’t be objective when, damn near, the only thing that he ever writes about Kobe is criticism…

    I love Kobe as a player. He’s far and away my favorite Laker after Magic, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t groan when he goes ‘Hero’ some times. It doesn’t mean that I don’t criticize him.

  72. Aaron #25- Morris will beat out Blake and Duhon… based on what? Two of those guys played ~20 minutes per game for playoff teams last year. The other played ~0. Not that Blake or Duhon are really making a case for themselves as starters either, but Morris is a late 2nd round pick who was beat out for a role as the 11th man by Goudelock.

  73. There are some guys where you just know that they have an agenda, and Abbott is one of them.

    Regarding the site, (a) Totally serious: it would be good if there were the option of getting a user name, so frequent posters would have the name field already filled in. That would avoid someone posing as someone else, as sometimes happens. (b) Half serious, and wishful thinking: If you do a, then it would be good to have a button that can block all comments by a particular user

  74. A couple of links on the side panel are dead. I forget which ones, I’m afraid.

  75. A bit of nitpicking but there is no 76ers link on our NBA links. Ditto the mobile version.

  76. And also maybe the categories and archives can be collapsed to drop-downs. Not sure if a lot of people other than those who do write articles and need reference check those.

  77. I highly recommend on this board the book of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Have read it and my son would like to give me a Kindle and include it. I decline the offer, I’m still the old fashioned reader who needs to hold the book with my coffee on the other hand, enjoy browsing the pages and putting markers before going to sleep. I find the Kindle just storage of data, it takes away the excitement in owning a book, and displaying it later on your shelf. Going back to Steve Jobs, I might do a 2nd reading in order to master the art of ruthlessness of Steve who is fond of distorting reality in order to be perfect. He would not accept any compromise that will jeopardize his vision of the future. Creativity, science and kindness intersect in his life. genius to many but a Machiavellian beast to his close associates and the rewards are on the final outcome.

    Off topic, this afternoon, my son who works at UCLA saw Dwight Howard walking around the campus on the way to the gym. It maybe be part of his rehab. My son greeted him: “Welcome to LA”, Dwight smiled and said: Thanks.

    Can we fast forward to the preseason or let’s call it, an early preseason for the oldies and rehabs? lol!

  78. I have to chip in that I asked a while ago about Kobe having a spot up by Magic and the Logo. But in retrospect maybe something that incorporated all the HOFers (Wilt & Kareem most glaringly) and those who are sure to be headed there soon (Shaq & Kobe) would be cool. I actually like the site as it is for the most part. The other thing would be updating links as a lot are dead.

  79. 1) Mobile version; or better yet, an adaptive design to accommodate any screen size and device capabilities (that’s the IT guy in me talking).

    2) Mandatory login to leave comment, with option to “remember me”. This forces people to think before submitting, with some sort of accountability, and can also be used to keep track of articles and comments a user has read, allowing us to jump to unread.

    3) Something on the right side prevents the page from loading fast. The IT guy in me says: load items asynchronously.

    4) Author’s name at the top, with a link to all his/her previous articles.

    5) On the homepage, summaries or first 1-2 paragraphs, instead of full content of articles.

    6) Simplify categories. Items like game recaps, previews, analyses should suffice. The rest can be treated as tags. Personally, I’m not into tags, ’cause we tend to overtag; I’d rather search.

    7) Collapse archives. But please don’t do “mouseover”, mobile users won’t like that. Personally, though, I’d rather search for e.g. “june 2010″.

    8) How ’bout an FB&G logo? Something that would make a nice favicon and easily identifiable.

  80. It would be good if the main article column were a little wider.
    Other than that, I like it the way it is.
    I don’t need or want what some of the other sites have that make it load slow and glitchy.
    I’m here to read good articles, not look at glitz.
    Each site has it’s niche, please don’t try to copy everybody else.

    Maybe a way to indicate who we’re replying to since comments get stuck in moderation sometimes. But not indenting or it ends up like SS&R, all shoved to the right.
    I like having the newest post at the bottom, not the top, since that’s how we normally read pages.

  81. Couple points:

    What is an easy way to make a career for yourself in writing? Choose a controversial issue and become an ‘expert’ of it by sheer bludgeoning and force. Kobe is one of the most controversial athletes in recent decades, and definitely for the sport of basketball. Abbott is an opportunist who’s made his opportunism into a self-righteous crusade.

    I think someone brought this up earlier, but there’s people criticizing the Lakers summer acquisitions with unbelievable vitriol. What better summer could they have hoped for? And as with any trade that puts a team in title contention, of course no one will know how things will turn out on the court.

    For example, I saw one of the ESPN hacks riding Howard for his poor FT shooting, as though it will actually matter on the Lakers in late game scenarios. We have several advantages over the Magic which ensures Howard does not need to possess the ball at all times in crunch scenarios. Their names are Nash, Kobe, and Pau. The Magic needed Howard to pound the ball in order to achieve spacing for their bombers. We won’t have that problem as much.

    Books:
    ATTA by Jarett Kobek
    Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
    Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
    Empire by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

    I’m personally more of a movie buff, so I’ll wax my recent likes on the silver screen:

    Samurai – 13 Assassins directed by Takashi Miike – easily the best Samurai movie since the 1960s, but it’s not for the faint of heart (for those of you who know Miike’s more sadistic offerings Ichii the Killer and The Audition).
    Need more samurai? Harakiri and Samurai Rebellion by Masaki Kobayashi (known best for Kwaidan)

    Sci-Fi: Solaris (Georgeo Clooney version), Sunshine (Olympic man Danny Boyle)

    Korean Gangster: The Man From Nowhere by Lee Jeong-Beom and A Bittersweet Life by Jee-Woon Kim

    Brazilian equivalent: Elite Squad by Jose Padhila (City of God)

  82. Agree with #18,
    Also a vote against facebook login… I think it’s aweful…

  83. Agree with mobile version.
    Don’t add or change things that will make site harder to load, or make it freeze or crash, wherther some fancy banner or my own suggestions.
    Some links are old, links could use updating/consolidating. Which may free up visual space a s others have suggested.
    Nested comments would be awesome, if infeasible. Rating comments also great and likely even more infeasible.

    Books:terry pluto’s 2 oral histories are wonderful reading – Loose Balls (re ABA) and Tall Tales Tnba in 50s and 60s).
    Another vote for phiilip dick (fave is Radio Free Albemuth)
    Replay by Ken Grimwood is a great longterm twist on Groundhog Day (which it predated)
    Unbroken by (Hildebrand?) A recent bestseller about a real life LA athlete’s WW2 story – just impossible to put down.
    Cryptonomican by neal stephenson: real readers only (long and dense) – brilliant, hilarious and fasinating
    And, if you are a politics/history person, the Robert Caro series on Lyndon Johnson is flat out fantastic. Long as hell, as gOod as the best novels to read, and authoritative.
    Great site go fbg

  84. Ishmael–Daniel Quinn. Regardless of whether you embrace or vehemently disagree with the philosphical/political/social stance of the book, if you go in with an open mind, it will provoke you to think about the world, the human condition, and why we all–as in the modern human race–do the things we do on a daily basis. It may not alter your view of the world, but it may at least make you think about why you have that view in the first place.

  85. what’s this talk about waiving goudelock, he’s our secret weapon come playoffs!

    on a more serious note, yes please do something about the sidebar taking 30s to load, i don’t use it at all, but it resets the page to the top of comments. i usually start reading, and have to mentally note which comment i am at so that i can scroll to the right number after the reset. very tiresome.

  86. Re Abbott

    Abbott is a stated jailblazers fan and I’m sure he is still fuming over us beating his team during their best chance when they really had a stacked team in the early 2000’s and especially to Kobe who just killed them.

    Mobile version of the site would be great, latest comments at the top would be great.

  87. Adding Jodie Meeks is a major addition for LA. He could spell either Kobe or nash and provide some energy of the bench.

  88. Books:

    The Name of the Wind (by Patrick Rothfuss)
    The Wise Man’s Fear (by Patrick Rothfuss)

    These are fantasy fiction, both about 1,000 pages. I buzzed through them both in about a week and never felt like they dragged on. They were that good.

    Also,

    Armor (by John Steakley)

    For the site:

    I totally agree with Author Name at the top of the articles.

  89. re: latest post on top

    please make it a toggle if implemented. i read all comments, and prefer the way it is now.

  90. jaycarty,
    Now that is a name from the deep past. I remember a Jay Carty from Oregon State in the early 60s – along with Mel Counts. Fill us in on where your handle came from.

    Site suggestions:
    1) Keep the latest article in full on the first page. For frequent visitors, they want to at least read the latest article without going further. The previous articles listed below can be compressed into 1-2 paragraphs.
    2) It is more natural to read down to follow the comments. Reading up (latest comment on top) is only for those people who visit the site every 10 minutes or so. If you visit 2-3 times a day your brain gets tired trying to figure out the thread of conversation.
    3) Please don’t implement nested comments. While that helps sub-threads, it puts the users in control of the look-and-feel of the sight and this is not a good thing when there are so many very different personalities contributing. Also, it makes reading the site sequentially impossible.
    4) Condensing the Archives is a very good idea. Archives would be a very good use for a tab. If someone is researching something they expect to have to dig a bit and they will not be unduly put off, but, for casual users, having the entire history of the archives have to load every time is annoying.

  91. Kareem, was scrolling down and surprised to find Korean movies – are they subtitled and available in the states? As I’m in Korea, i’ve already seen them, just curious.

    As for the book suggestions, those that i’ve read among the ones mentioned were worthwhile, especially outliers and steve jobs by isaacson. Though outliers is a very quick read and steve jobs sort of pretends to be objective while actually leaving out a lot of the criticisms people have about jobs. still good read, however.

  92. With regards to suggestions for this site, I want to thank Darius and the other managers of FB&G who are doing a great job so please, just keep it as it is. It is high time to show our appreciation for their dedication and honesty in embracing professionalism in blogging. The moderators maintained the quality of every thread, great timing in switching threads and a great job in making their parent company ESPN as a subterfuge entity than the main feature.

    I am one of those commenters who came from another blog and very grateful to original commenters and moderators who accommodated us, despite our Nashstyle to join them and proclaimed ourselves as bloggers too and then seized their domain. The constant posting and aggressiveness may appear in that manner but the truth is, it is just the exuberance of a Laker fan to offer his unsolicited views before he forgets. lol!

    Our huge cheering group has been dispersed to so many sites after the introduction of face book media, intrusion to personal information. IMO, a Laker Blog should be a forum that belongs to the Laker fans first, rather than controlled and exploited by institutions. Our former site put a blind eye on moderation, focused more on what could be profitable by constant change of threads, attract more advertisers, ignore stealing of comments and identities, allowed gamesmanship and socials. As such, it eroded the interest of serious Laker fans who are not really professional junkies but more of avid fans who want to converse about the Lakers.

    I’m sharing this experience so that we would not be asking for more by tinkering what is already working. Animo FBG and Go Lakers.

  93. voting

    No to nested comments
    No to latest comments at the top

    Also I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, but when I click comments the page usually takes ~15 seconds to load, as if waiting for a media element, even though the text has loaded fully. Then it snaps back to the beginning even though I’ve already begun reading the comments and have to scroll back down again. There is probably something keeping the page from loading fully initially.

  94. Post comments in the order that they are approved, not in the order that they are submitted. So when something is held up in moderation, when it gets approved don’t insert it “back in time” – when you do that, it’s harder to identify which ones you have already read.

  95. Apparently there are 5 million Aaron’s in Philly. The Bynum press conference has been rumored to be a zoo with fans crowding the press conference like the 76ers reacquired WIlt. I am glad Andrew has a home where people appreciate his greatness. As Jon Hollinger wrote… the only Centers with PERs as good as Bynum’s his first four seasons in the NBA were Hakeem, Shaq, Kareem, and Dwight. Not bad company.

  96. Harold,

    The subtitling on both movies was stellar partly because both were shown in American cinemas. I’m really looking forward to watching more from Jee-Woon Kim. A Bittersweet Life is one of my favorite gangster flicks of all time (and outdoes Kill Bill on action/cinematography if you ask me). Any other suggestions from Korean cinema? I’ve seen the Oldboy trilogy, Bad Cop and a few others, but I’d like to exhaust the rest of the best.

  97. You guys should use disqus for your comments system. I’m not sure if it’s free, but it on of the most widely used systems and you see it on many blogs.

  98. Voting:
    Writers name at the top of the article, a la newspaper articles.

    Comments are fine top to bottom.

    I like the idea of comments being inserted when approved rather than when submitted. As some comments are passed over because a reader is looking for a number at which they last read or visited the section.

    Is there a way to have a “like” button on comments? Sometimes you like what a person has said but there’s no way of letting them know other than commenting back to them. Please no dislike button though, lol.

    But, if nothing were changed that would be fine too because FB&G is awesome! Thank you.

  99. I’m eager to see how Drew plays in Philly as the go to guy. He’ll have plenty chances to show he’s on par with those players as the PER states. Sixers need that dominant offensive minded player Lakers needed a player who disruptes offenses. It may out better for both parties.

  100. Please NO Facebook sign on. Anonymity makes this site great. Also, I hate the idea of a log in. I like to be able to come and go here without any sign on.

  101. Love the idea of signing in, so that you cannot comment anonymously. Comments inserted when approved is a good idea.

  102. Quick poll results re: FB&G site-

    1) Yes to enhanced mobile device functionality

    2) No to ordering comments most recent to oldest. It would be fine to allow toggle choice of sort order but the current order should remain the default.

    3) An emphatic NO to nested comments or Facebook login. As to the issue of impersonators, while a trivial problem I believe in realty, the best solution is to make sure that every commenter has a unique screen name. This screen name should coincide with the email address on record. This would eliminate the “that wasn’t me” nonsense we have seen around here recently.

    4) Have the ability to turn off auto-refresh. This is in my view the single biggest irritant with the site. In fact this problem may well be the long loading times of the right hand sidebar which triggers the screen refresh. Disconcerting when you’re in the middle of reading a comment.

    However, these are minor quibbles really. This site is the best already from a usability and content standpoint.

    Keep up the good work D.

  103. One suggestion is that we don’t have more than one individual with the same name. There appears to be two Aarons.

  104. Did someone just compare the petulant, moody often injured under achieving Bynum to Kareem, Hakeem and Wilt. If that doesn’t prove the PER formula is pure non sense, then I don’t know what is.

  105. just want to say thank you for the opportunity to read all this good stuff. i dont care about how you format your new page but i do ask that you do not allow it to become laden with GARBAGE, meaning all that advertising which requires an extra 4 to 9 seconds to load even with my 50 mb coneection. awesome reading, but i cant tolerate that stuff and have just stopped visiting some of my favorite sites because of it. i just dont want to wait for it to load, ya know? anyway, thanks again for the great writing. this is truly (one of) the best laker site i read.

  106. It may sound weird, but I live abroad and for work reasons sometimes I can’t watch the games or stay very up-to-date on the Lakers. It would be great if you guys could write something like a monthly review of what has gone on with the Lakers and their games. I think it would also help to keep perspective.
    I also like the suggestion of very-recommended links/readings on the links space.
    Thanks for the great job you carry on this site!