Fast Break Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  August 31, 2012

There may not be a lot going on at this time of the basketball year but that doesn’t mean there aren’t topics of interest to discuss. So, let’s go around the league (and beyond it) with some fast break thoughts…

  • We’re at an interesting point in the Lakers-as-super team news cycle. We have, essentially, completed the inevitable circle of coverage that occurs when moves like this happen. The stories went from ” Wow, I can’t believe the Lakers got Nash and Howard, they’re going to be amazing” to “Look at everything they can do on offense/Here’s how the Lakers will be amazing” to “Here are some things that may hold the Lakers back from being amazing” to “Let’s not crown the Lakers yet, the Thunder and the Heat are still the best teams until proven otherwise”.
  • For what it’s worth, I’m still of the mind that we need to see some games before we know anything beyond what their potential is. That said, based off talent alone the Lakers have catapulted themselves into the conversation of having the best team in the league. And, since talent matters so much, this is pretty important. So, at this point, my analysis stops at “the Lakers are one of the 3 to 4 teams that have a legitimate shot to win it all”. And, frankly, that’s enough for me.
  • I don’t know about you, but I’m still getting used to the fact that when I see a link to a Dwight Howard story it is, essentially, now a Lakers’ story. It hit me again the other day when I clicked on a link about Dwight playing pop-a-shot in China and there he was in his home Lakers #12 jersey. It’s still sort of surreal.
  • Speaking of Dwight, Eddy Rivera (and his crew of fine writers at Magic Basketball) have been producing fantastic content as part of their Dwight Week series. You should visit and learn everything you’d ever want to know about the newest Laker big man.
  • There’s a general sense that the Spurs are boring. It’s been talked about for years and has come to be what they’re known for. Well, I know of at least one Spur that isn’t: Greg Popovich.
  • One thing I love most about the off-season is that it gives me a chance to watch film, dive into the numbers, and give me a bit more insight into the league at large heading into the next season. In that regard, I’m always looking for more places to help me learn more. So, you can only guess at how happy I was when Tom Haberstroh (of ESPN and the Heat Index) dropped a link to VORPed. There’s so much time lost surfing around that place. Be careful.
  • Thing I can’t stop smiling over: Steve Nash’s shot chart from this past season. In case you were wondering, green and yellow are the colors you want. Good luck double teaming off that guy.

  • Lastly, a while back several of us at FB&G did a roundtable review of Jack McCallum’s Dream Team book. One of the themes touched on in that book was that regardless of what other guys had accomplished at that point of their careers, the trio of Michael Jordan, Magic, and Larry Bird were always held at a higher level of esteem. They were the exclusive club that no one else could penetrate. I’d imagine that today, the same is likely true. Those names ring out like few others in basketball history. Last week I was reminded of this by a great video. Check it out for yourself:

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  1. great video 🙂


  2. From last post.
    Jesse P.

    How many chances do you give a writer to be objective until you simply stop reading what he/she writes? Simmons is definitely different in his, admittedly, biased hatred of Kobe and all things Lakers. I can handle Simmons because that is exactly how I feel about the Celtics- and Paul Pierce for example. If i were writing article after article diminishing Paul Pierce’s accomplishments and play, and ignoring any stats that were contrary to my opinion, then I would be on the level of Henry Abbott.

    This isn’t to say that he doesn’t sometimes write good articles- I’m sure that he does, but he is not objective when it comes to Kobe so I would rather ignore him and not give him the clicks.

    To be honest…it kind of bugs me that Lakers/Kobe fans are being painted as touchy when it comes to Kobe. How about Bulls fans with Jordan or Celtics fans with Bird? When anyone- anyone, writes an article about ANY player possibly, maybe, kinda-sorta-almost, approaching the level of Michael Jordan….what happens? How do Jordan fans react? If Abbott would have instead written that article about Kobe’s top 10 dunks about Jordan, and called Jordan a selfish teammate in it, and said that he should have passed instead of dunking on Ewing or Tree Rollins or Mutombo, then what would Bulls fans have said? How would they have reacted?

    I respect the heck out of Darius for running this website and I am very grateful for all the writers who sacrifice their time to write about their favorite team- and allow us to read it. (For free!) However, I respectfully disagree with his opinion that Abbott is unbiased when he writes about Kobe. (If that is what Darius said. I seem to remember that he was very PC in his response, so he may not have.)

    Oh my gosh. That shot chart for Nash is so pretty. I never knew how beautiful the color green is! Awesome video too.


  3. I’d really, really appreciate it if the comments didn’t become a complaint fest about other writers. Thanks.


  4. In the low right corner of the Nash’s shot chart, isn’t 39.1% 3-pt FG%? why is it yellow?


  5. I’m hearing rumors that the Lakers are “in the mix” for bringing back Matt Barnes.

    Personally I hope he returns. What do you guys think?


  6. Here’s what Pete Carril, architect of the Princeton offense, thinks about how his baby will fit in LA:

    Coachie sounds a lot like Tex. Speaking of Tex, any updates on his health?


  7. bill² – evidently 40% is the line between green and yellow..


  8. Darius:

    That shot chart is just one example of why this is the only place I spend any measurable amount of “Lakers” time (other than watching the games of course)–interesting disparity between (1) Nash from the top of the key and on the right wing; and (2) Nash from the left wing–anyone want to help me with an obvious reason for such a difference? Is it a right-handed vs left handed thing?

    For the record, I’m on a self-imposed ban on commenting about Abbott (the first step is admitting you have a problem)….


  9. Loved the shot chart. Can’t wait for the season to start.


  10. I’d prefer bringing Barnes back (it’s not my money, but still). I’m not sold on Ebanks being able to step into that backup 3 role. Yes, Barnes faded in the playoffs, but he’s had excellent stretches in the regular season, and considering the available pickings or Ebanks, I actually think he’s the superior option. I know people are down on him after two lackluster postseasons, but his cutting really will go well with Nash, and he provides some potential insurance in case MWP sleeps through a stretch of the season.


  11. essentially, now a Lakers’ story. It hit me again the other day when I clicked on a link about Dwight playing pop-a-shot in China and there he was in his home Lakers #12 jersey. It’s still sort of surreal.

    I agree with this. I still have not really internalized the fact that Howard and Nash are Lakers.


  12. Sorry KenOak, I skipped over your post as if Abbott wrote it.

    Nash shot chart + that vid made my day.


  13. Sorry KenOak, I skipped over your post as if Abbott wrote it.

    Seems like this should get zapped, to me. No point to it except to be snarky.


  14. “Michael Jordan, Magic, and Larry Bird were always held at a higher level of esteem”

    This is true and is a stark difference with how players are looked at today. For example, at the end of MJ’s career, it was clear that KB was better than him. However if anyone mentioned that, they were immediately greeted with MJ’s career accomplishments. Fast forward to today, and compare KB to let’s say Durant. Most writers simply point out how Durant is better and KB is older and slower. No mention of KB’s rings or other accomplishments. It is simply that Durant is better at this moment. KB does not get anywhere near the reverence that MJ, Magic, or Bird received, yet he is definitely in their league on the list of GOATs.


  15. #12 😉 that’s alright.

    Usually I am more excited about the NFL at this time of the year, but I really can’t stop thinking about watching this team play. I really don’t know what excites me more; Nash running the PnR or Dwight anchoring our defense with Kobe and Metta on the wings.


  16. The Barnes boat seems to have sailed when Lakers resigned Ebanks.

    We may still see a replay of Lawson blowing by Lakers PG at will but totally ignoring the PG on the perimeter days are over.


  17. “Seems like this should get zapped, to me. No point to it except to be snarky.”

    Lol, that’s funny considering the vast amounts of “snarkiness” in recent threads.

    I’d be ok with resigning Barnes, he seemed to fit seamlessly into Brown’s system (defensively, at least), and I could see him being effective on offense with Nash dishing him the ball. We saw the chemistry Sessions and Matty had, imagine the possibilities with Steve. We also forget Barnes started the season for us, and injuries sort of held him back late in the season; he’s certainly capable of playing big. Plus, another veteran presence can’t hurt; especially a gritty, gutsy player like Barnes. If he’s cheap, it wouldn’t hurt.

    Though, I’d be iffy about signing him at the expense of losing one of our youngsters.


  18. any_one_mouse, great article. I am not entirely sold on Dwight not being a good passer, but other than that Carril’s thoughts were insightful. The ‘creativity’ difference between the Princeton and Triangle offenses may be what allows the pick and roll game to slot within the system. Steve, Kobe and Pau can play both roles in the pick and roll, and with Steve and Dwight being arguably the best in their respective roles in that play, the offense should not only be dangerous, but more importantly in the context of last season, reliable. Can’t wait for opening night.


  19. This somewhat worries me, as pau being that far out of the paint consistently isn’t putting him where he’s at his best, which was a concern last season.

    “Gasol is going to turn out to be a three-point shooter. And if you want that to be effective, then he’s got to make them. He had to do the same thing with Bynum, and now he’s got this guy [Howard].”

    Read more:


  20. Gasol is going to have to spade the floor. Last year he was not the Lakers best post player and he won’t be again this year… So he will need to hit his outside shots as he did in the regular season but failed to do in the playoffs.


  21. Darius,
    I agree this site shouldn’t be a complaint-fest about other writers, but Abbott is a special case – as described above – and perhaps you could reduce the number of references you make to his site to zero in the future.

    Gasol is a player who does best when he can roll through the center position, rather than remain more stationary down low. I think this part of his game will be easier and more open with Dwight in the post, because he moves side to side and will go out to participate in the pick and roll. This will leave better lanes to the basket that Pau – and Kobe and MWP – can take advantage of.


  22. Craig,

    Abbott has become a hack in regards to Kobe and he’s likely made his career on the screeds he writes regularly. And as Darius and others pointed out, occasionally his barbs are coated in bits of truth and backhanded praise. I also agree with many who think that its not really positive to increase traffic to people who are abusive journalists (Abbott included). That said, it’s not THAT important, and we’re in no position to demand that Darius or any of the writers here stop linking to information that they find as relevant to their topics. Darius and others make so many sacrifices of time so that we can read intelligent analysis that we love and I feel like all of this Abbott stuff is nitpicking to an extreme. The staff here is skilled enough at writing and sports thought that they hardly need our pointers on these little quibbles. This is not a big issue and as a community member, I feel that this whole line of conversation needs to be put to rest. It might come off as ungrateful (which I know isn’t true), especially to the people putting the most time and effort into the continuity of this site.


  23. Darius,

    Would you be so kind as to tell me how you got that shot chart? Searched all over and can’t seem to find that option. Advanced stats provides a similar shot chat, but it’s definitely different and devoid of the color-coding I love so much. Thanks!