Archives For August 2012

This off-season the Lakers have worked to shore up their most damning perceived weaknesses. In trading for Steve Nash, they’ve added the playmaker at point guard that also gives them elite shooting from the perimeter. In signing Antawn Jamison, they’ve bolstered their bench by adding a scoring threat that also has the ability to space the floor from the PF position. With rumors of a transition to the Princeton Offense via the hiring of Eddie Jordan and the hard looks at back up SG options like Jodie Meeks or Leandro Barbosa, the Lakers look to be going all in by fixing their offense.

It’s not difficult to see why the Lakers would take this approach to their off-season. Last year they were mostly an average offensive team, ranking in the mid-teens most of the season before a late push settled them in at 10th in offensive efficiency. All year the team struggled to find the right mix between a Kobe-centric offense and one that featured the big men, often running disjointed sets that left the team working against the shot clock with at least one of their big three threats (usually Pau Gasol) not being used in a manner that optimized his skill set.

And while the addition of Ramon Sessions – whose stellar play after being acquired gave the Lakers are real offensive boost – masked these issues for a stretch, the offensive woes returned in the playoffs. Against both the Nuggets and the Thunder, the Lakers struggled to produce consistent offense against a packed paint that took away their post options, ultimately not able to aptly pose a perimeter threat to keep defenders from digging down on their big men.

Solving these issues should have been a priority going into next season. A few more buckets or better offensive execution down the stretch of games may have found the Lakers in better position to advance farther in the playoffs than they did.

However, while I’m ecstatic the Lakers have attempted to fix their offensive issues with deft acquisitions, I also know they’ll need to be better on defense next season if they hope to be a much better team. What’s not mentioned enough about the Lakers again failing to advance out of the second round is that it was their defense that failed as much as their offense.

In the 14 regular season games in April, the Lakers posted a defensive efficiency of 109.5, or the equivalent of being nearly 2 points per 100 possessions worse than the worst defensive team in the league. If you thought that was some sort of fluke, consider that in the 17 regular season games in March, the Lakers’ defensive efficiency was 103.1 which would have ranked them 19th on the year if they’d played that way all season. These numbers were dramatically worse from earlier in the season when the Lakers didn’t post a defensive efficiency worse than 98.6 in December, January, or February.

In the playoffs, the Lakers’ defensive slippage was just as pronounced when they posted a defensive efficiency of 106.5 over their 12 post-season games. Some of that is surely related to the fact that the Lakers played two of the league’s better offensive teams in Denver and OKC. But the fact remains that stops – especially key ones – were hard to come by for a group that sorely needed them.

After adding defensively challenged players like Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison only the need to be better on D is only highlighted further. More than ever next season, the Lakers will need a sound defensive scheme and fully committed players buying into making it work. Last season that wasn’t always the case as guards too often got caught on screens without recovering. Big men, meanwhile, were frequently out of position playing much too low on picks (Andrew Bynum) or sliding too high at bad angles (Pau Gasol) to deny the penetration that diced up the defense. Add to that wings that didn’t always close out hard or didn’t race to the paint to help the helper on the back line and the results were spotty at best by the end of the year.

So, improvement will be needed. Luckily, the Lakers have some ingredients to become the defensive team that they need to be. With Kobe shedding some pounds he should be able to better navigate screens and chase his man around the perimeter. Ron’s improved health and conditioning should also help him return (close) to his standards from previous seasons. And, of course, if Bynum can focus more of his energy into being one of the elite game changers he has the ability to be, the Lakers can be one of the better defensive teams in the league.

And, in a strange twist, the offense can also help them. If the Lakers do end up running the Princeton O, they’ll return to a two guard front that will promote better spacing and floor balance. This will help them in transition – an area where they’ve long struggled whenever their twin towers share the floor. Plus, if the Lakers can return to being one of the elite offensive teams, they should also be able to better control the pace and flow of the game by making the other team take the ball out of bounds at the end of possessions rather than getting run at after misses.

If all of these things can come together, the Lakers can show the better defense they’ll need to be one of the elite teams. It won’t be easy, but it will be possible. It will take the same defensive commitment on the hardwood that the front office showed off it to improving the O this summer. And, come October, the players and the coaches mustn’t lose sight of that.

*Statistical support for this post provided by

In case you missed it, the FB&G team voted to rank the 11 Lakers title teams since moving to Los Angeles from worst to first. So far, the countdown has seen us take a look at the 2002 Lakers (11th), the 2009 Lakers (10th) and the 2010 Lakers (ninth). Clocking in at the eighth spot…

The 1999-00 Lakers

Shaquille O’Neal left the Orlando Magic in the summer of 1996 to join a Los Angeles Lakers team that he felt appreciated him more considering his dominance on the basketball court as well as his charismatic personality off it. Granted, it helped that the Lakers were able to offer the Diesel more money than any other team in the league but the big man had his heart set on joining the team after talking it out with then general manager Jerry West.

In that same offseason, the franchise acquired Kobe Bryant via the draft and hoped to pair him up with O’Neal to form a great dynamic duo.

The first few seasons for both players were met with mixed results. Shaq performed up to expectations while Bryant struggled at times to understand his role and fit in within the team structure. But one thing eluded both: team success.

Despite a roster with overwhelming talent, the Lakers always seemed to underachieve in the postseason. And ultimately, the failures were always blamed on two people: the head coach — take your pick between Del Harris and Kurt Rambis — and Shaquille O’Neal.

O’Neal as well as some of his teammates found it extremely difficult to coexist with a young Bryant that seemed to think he knew it all, but with the owner and general manager forcing the head coach to play the young star in the making without him actually earning his playing time, it irked the team’s veterans. The kid was talented, but he was also a lone wolf.

Consequently, some of the Lakers resented Bryant because they felt that he was out for himself as opposed to the team. The only way this could be fixed would be if someone were able to help steer Kobe towards the team and also steer the team towards the future superstar.

And thus, the Lakers hired Phil Jackson with the hope that he would solve it all and get the team to play up to its championship potential.

And boy did he.

The new head coach put in the Triangle Offense and encouraged players to feed their dominant big man but also to find their own rhythm and assert themselves offensively when the situation presented itself for them to do so.

Bryant, to some degree, followed the instructions of his head coach despite the fact that his teammates often failed to recognize this. Nonetheless, the team’s play finally matched its hype and potential.

Jackson was able to get Shaquille O’Neal to play the best basketball of his career and submit his greatest statistical season ever. The Diesel appeared in 79 games and posted figures of 29.7 points per game, 13.6 rebounds per game, 3.8 assists per game and 3 blocks per game on 57.4 percent field goal shooting.

As a result of the big man’s dominance, combined with the coming together of the rest of the roster, the Los Angeles Lakers dominated the regular season. They finished the season with an impressive 67-15 record, sported the fifth best offensive efficiency figure in the league as well as the best defensive efficiency mark in the league and ended the regular season with a plus-8.5 average scoring margin.

Impressive statistics all around and yet, it gets better.

During the 1999-00 season, the Los Angeles Clippers won 15 games, the Chicago Bulls won 17 games and the Golden State Warriors were victorious in 19 contests. During that very same regular season, the Lakers managed three separate double-digit win streaks with two of them rivaling the record of the teams mentioned before.

Indeed, the purple and gold managed a 16-game winning streak from mid-December to mid-January, then went on an impressive run, winning 19 straight games from early February to mid-March. Once their winning streak ended in March with a loss on the road to Washington, Phil Jackson’s team picked things right back up and won another 11 straight.

In terms of regular season output, one could make the argument that the 2000 Lakers could have favorably compared to the 1997 Bulls team (69-13) as well as the 1967 Philadelphia 76ers (68-13).

Mind you, this version of the Lakers only finished eighth in our voting of Lakers title teams since the relocation to Los Angeles.

This was by far Phil Jackson’s best Lakers regular season team, but of all his title teams, it may just be its worst playoff performing unit — Chicago Bulls included– to have won a championship.

The 2000 Lakers struggled in the first round against a young Sacramento Kings team and needed the full five games — the first round at the time was a best of five games series — to advance to the second round where they played a little better and dispatched the Phoenix Suns in five games, which set up one of the greatest Western Conference Finals in NBA history.

The Lakers seemed poised to easily dispatch an extremely talented Portland Trail Blazers team after taking a 3-1 series but then watched a squad led by Scottie Pippen’s championship experience come back and force a Game 7 at Staples Center and take a 13-point lead going into the fourth quarter of the game.

With contributions from their role players, the Lakers bounced back to take the lead and even gave fans the signature moment of the Shaq and Kobe era when Bryant crossed over Pippen late in the game and floated a wonderful alley-oop pass to Shaquille O’Neal that brought the house down and propelled the team to the NBA Finals.

A great comeback performance by the eventual champs, but they managed to actually get outscored in the seven-game series by the Blazers.

The Lakers would advance to the title round and dispatch the Indiana Pacers in six games, with Kobe Bryant showing a great flair for the dramatic as he delivered a fantastic performance in Game 4 with Shaquille O’Neal fouling out in overtime. The young guard went on to score the final eight points on a barrage of long 2-point jumpers and a put back basket that helped the Lakers seize a 3-1 stranglehold on the series, which resulted in them eventually winning the title in Game 6 back in Los Angeles.

The 2000 Lakers finished their playoff run with a 15-8 playoff record; with their eight defeats being the second most postseason losses by a Los Angeles Lakers title team. In addition, Shaq and Kobe’s first championship team sported a plus-2.3 average scoring margin, which happens to be the worst out of any of the Lakers teams that won titles after moving to Los Angeles.

Phil Jackson’s first season with the franchise was a success given the terrific regular season as well as the championship parade that capped off the team’s fantastic season. In addition, Shaq and Kobe provided many memorable moments during the spring of 2000 and those will probably be remembered for a fairly long time given their impact as well as their importance.

With that said though, the team’s playoff struggles invariably led to them taking a fairly substantial hit in their ranking when compared to other title teams.

But still…

Kobe to Shaq…

What a moment.

Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  August 3, 2012

We’re at that place where apart from any theoretical home run, the roster is pretty full, the money’s been spent, and the eternal quest for “niche” is simmering nicely. We could obviously use some perimeter help, but personally, I think being a bench shooter for the Lakers is the NBA kiss of death. Your number gets called every fifth game for a couple minutes, you fail miserably, and end up playing in smoke-filled arenas in Moldova. I’m not getting remotely excited about anyone unless Medvedenko reappears mysteriously at the age of 33. Here’s some links for a Friday:

The Kamenetzky Bros at the Land O’Lakers offer a podcast with invitee Antawn Jamison.

Andy Kamenetzky at the LOL has some thoughts on the law firm of Meeks & Miles (update: Miles is rumored to be joining the Cavs).

Kurt Helin at ProBasketballTalk brings up the Leandro Barbosa rumor.

Mark Medina at the L.A. Times has a free agent profile on former Laker Maurice Evans. Not exactly sure why, Mo’s primary ambition these days seems to be lusting after Derek Fisher’s union job.

Kevin Ding at the OC Register suggests that Dwight Howard could take a page from Kobe Bryant.

Ryan Ward at Lakers Nation writes about Magic Johnson’s view of the Lakers and what it will take to get them to the finals.

Kelly Dwyer for Yahoo’s Fourth Place Medal, reports on Team USA’s jaw-dropping beat-down of Nigeria.

Some of the Hardwood Paroxysm guys have a roundtable discussion about Lamar Odom.


It should be a good weekend for Olympics viewing, Team USA plays Lithuania Saturday morning and there’s plenty of other action as well. If y’all hear anything about Jodie Meeks or that guy from Orlando signing, please leave it in the thread.

– Dave Murphy

The Lakers’ roster, for all intents and purposes, is nearly set. The point guard position is settled between the Steves and the big man rotation is set in stone with the addition of Antawn Jamison and the return of Jordan Hill to team with mainstays Gasol and Bynum. Add in Kobe and Ron and the Lakers already have an eight man rotation that, on paper, look to be better than last year’s.

However, when scanning that list of players, you’ll notice that the Lakers are still light on the wing. Kobe and Ron can’t be expected to play 48 minutes a night and will need capable back ups to give them the rest they need. Devin Ebanks is expected to return on a one year deal but is not yet signed. (Side note: one reason that Ebanks may not yet be signed is the fact that it frees up a roster spot for the team to make a trade. There are other reasons as well, but having that roster flexibility gives the Lakers options while also allowing Ebanks to continue to work the market to find a higher bidder. While that’s not likely to happen, it’s a win-win for both sides to remain patient here.)

But, even with Ebanks’ anticipated return, the Lakers still find themselves wanting a wing. Devin has shown promise but is still mostly a small forward that lacks polished guard skills to be a full time back up to Kobe. Finding a player that can spell #24 for fifteen minutes a game is imperative; the Lakers simply can’t have Kobe logging heavy minutes next season as he did this past one.

Over the last several weeks, however, the wing market has started to dwindle. The better options – OJ Mayo, Courtney Lee, Brandon Rush – were all signed for more money than the Lakers could spend. Delonte West signed for a reasonable price, but stayed with the Mavs where he’s found a comfortable environment. Ronnie Brewer also signed for a reasonable price but did so with the Knicks where his defense will be needed. The market wasn’t incredibly stacked to begin with, so what remains is a list of flawed players that the Lakers are combing through to try and find a good fit at what they’re willing to spend (reportedly, only the minimum).

So, who’s left? I’m glad you asked…

  • Jodie Meeks, SG. Meeks has been linked to the Lakers in recent weeks. He’s a shooting guard only, can hit the three point shot with relative consistency, and is a respectable defender. He offers little positional versatility, but is very familiar with playing SG both as a starter and as a reserve so he could slide right into his role with the Lakers without missing a beat. He’d have value simply as a floor spacer who can play off a penetrating guard or strong post up threats.
  • C.J. Miles, SF/SG. Miles’ name has also been linked to the Lakers lately. Miles offers a good all around game and the potential for strong defense, which is where his upside may actually lie. Per My Synergy Sports, Miles’ defense in isolation and in guarding spot up shooters is on par with Ron Artest. And while I’m not putting Miles in Ron’s class on D (Ron guards the opposition’s best wing nightly and plays heavy minutes as a starter), Miles’ size and solid athleticism gives him a solid foundation on that side of the floor. His offense has been in decline for the past several years, however, and one has to wonder if he really did peak in his 3rd and 4th seasons or if his dip in numbers have come with him being asked to do more than he could handle and then, last year, with the emergence of younger players in Utah that disrupted his role.
  • Leandro Barbosa, SG/PG. Barbosa is another player the Lakers are reportedly chatting with. He’s still a very good scorer that can create his own shot in both open and half court situations. He can come off picks and shoot jumpers when working off the ball and can still handle the ball in P&R situations to get into the paint. His offense would be a nice boost to the bench. However, what he doesn’t bring is defense. Anyone that watched the Pacers play the Heat in the playoffs this past season saw Barbosa struggle on that end of the floor with his coaches often making offense/defense subs late in the game to keep him off the floor when his team needed stops.
  • Carlos Delfino, SF/SG. If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you’ve likely seen Delfino playing well for his native Argentina. He’s flashed the ability to knock down outside jumpers and has used his size well on defense. As a combo wing, Delfino could back up both SG and SF and he has enough skill with the ball to play in a two guard front or on the wing. Defensively, he’s average but, statistically at least, looks to be a better option at SG where his size lends itself better to taking away driving lanes while still being able to contest shots.
  • Mickael Pietrus, SG/SF. Pietrus remains on the market, with whispers that he’s looking for more than a minimum level contract. He could still return to Boston but the additions of Courtney Lee and Jason Terry (to go along with Avery Bradley) soak up a lot of the SG minutes, making Pietrus more of a back up SF to Paul Pierce. What he offers on the court is good defense, streaky shooting, and good competitiveness. He’s been battle tested through hard fought playoff series over the years and has shown not to be afraid of the big moment. He can play behind Kobe or next to him and, like Delfino, would provide a nice option if seeking lineup versatility.
  • The remaining list of available guys includes Michael Redd, Tracy McGrady, Gilbert Arenas, and Matt Barnes. I’d scratch Matt off the list right away as it seems he and the Lakers are both ready to move on from their two years together. As for the other three, they all offer various skills but in older, worn down bodies that really can’t be relied on to remain healthy. They offer more wattage on the marquee than they do on the big stage and at this point in their careers are only part time contributors, not the major part of a rotation that the Lakers need.

The top three guys are all ones the Lakers are linked to, but to be honest, any of them would be a fine get. If I had to rank them in order of my preference it would look like: Meeks, Delfino/Pietrus, Miles, then Barbosa last. Meeks’ shooting, youth, and history playing for a defensive coach in Doug Collins gives him the edge for me. As for Delfino, Pietrus, and Miles, they’re all pretty similar prospects and I could live with any of that trio. They all over okay shooting, solid to good defense, and some playoff experience. Leandro simply doesn’t play enough defense for my tastes though I know his shot creation would be useful, but ultimately I’d prefer those other guys ahead of him.

Understand, however, that all of these players are flawed. There’s a reason they’re all still on the market at this stage of free agency and that they’ll all likely sign for the minimum (or a shade more). They’re not complete players by any means and will have bad nights that have fans scratching their heads. That said, the Lakers don’t need a lot from any of them. 15-20 minutes a night of solid play where they stick to their strengths and play within their roles will do just fine. And, sooner or later, the Lakers will likely have one of them in house hoping they do just that.

So as you have seen earlier this week from our man, Zephid, he had a breakdown of the Lakers’ season schedule. As he had mentioned, the Lakers have 16 back-to-backs. Also of note is that the Lakers are starting their schedule out home-friendly as usual; 9 of their first 11 games are at the comfort of Staples Center. And their longest road trip is during that annual Grammy road trip; they will have a 7-game trek out of Staples. I’m just glad that we’re back to the normal, spread-out 82-game schedule so there will be none of those wacky back-to-back-to-backs.

So what games do we have marked on our calendars? I asked the Forum Blue & Gold Crew on what three games they are looking forward to the most. Let me start it off then I’ll have the rest of the guys take it from there.


OCT. 31 @ PORTLAND: We know that the Blazers and their fans always get up for the Lakers. Even though they’re kind of going through a rebuilding phase at the moment, they have their prized rookie point guard, Dame Lillard. He dominated Summer League and I’m curious how he’ll do on his very first NBA game. And what a test it’ll be for him.

FEB. 7 @ BOSTON: It’d be kind of silly if we DON’T have this marked on our calendars. We know how this goes. Lakers Vs Celtics. And this will be their first meeting of the season (they meet again on February 20). It’s a revamped Laker team against a revamped Celtic team. They may no longer have that “Big 4” but they still have Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo. And they now have Jason Terry, who has climbed his way amongst the ranks of “Laker enemies.” Either of these teams haven’t won a title since 2010 but that doesn’t make this game any less compelling.

APR. 7 @ L.A. CLIPPERS: This is the final meeting in four games between these Los Angeles teams but this one is deep into the season and can have some major playoff implications. I expect the Clippers and the Lakers to fight tooth and nail for playoff positioning and the division championship throughout the year. And with the rivalry only growing, this is a must-watch for me.

Okay, dudes. Take it.

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DEC. 7 @ OKLAHOMA CITY: The Lakers first return trip to the place where they got knocked out of the playoffs last season. How will the old, new-look Lakers match up with the young, same-look Thunder? Who is MWP going to foul hard in the first 10 seconds to set the tone?

JAN. 30 @ PHOENIX: Steve Nash’s return to Phoenix. How will the Suns crowd receive him, and will Kobe continue to put on a show against the Suns, even with 100% of those SSOL Suns gone?

FEB. 20 v BOSTON: In the first game back after the All-Star break, will the Lakers look sharp for the stretch run against their hated rivals, or will they come out lethargic? Who is MWP going to foul hard in the first 10 seconds to set the tone? (Who am I kidding? We all know it’s gonna be Paul Pierce.)


NOV. 2 v L.A. CLIPPERS: I would have had a Friday night game against the Clippers penciled in anyway but there’s the matter of Lamar Odom and Grant Hill. I’m always intrigued by player dynamics, old friendships, history, rivalries, whatever. Here, it’s more than that – it’s Lamar coming off a train wreck of a season with Dallas and returning to the team that drafted him, and memories of his younger days with Brand, Maggette, and the Kandi-man.

DEC. 7 @ OKLAHOMA CITY: By this point, the weather will be getting nice and chilly, and another great Friday night match-up for a nationally televised game. Any game against the Thunder will be one to watch this year. They’re an elite team, they stand in our way, they have been denying us, and this one will be on their turf. We get to see what we’re made of here.

APR. 14 v SAN ANTONIO: This is all the way at the tail end, the second to last game on the schedule. Anything can have happened by this point. It could easily be one of those games where Pop rests his starters but we won’t know the playoff implications until we get there. I always look forward to the Spurs match-ups; there’s a lot of history, veterans against veterans, and watching Popovich coach is one of the great joys in basketball for me.


NOV. 23 @ MEMPHIS: The Lakers will face their first true physical test at the Grindhouse on the road when they take on a tough and physical Grizzlies team that features too bruising big men in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. It may be an early season game, but this will be one of the team’s first big tests of the young season and it will give Mike Brown a semblance of idea to how his roster responds to a a team whose identity is all about hustle.

DEC. 13 @ NEW YORK: Kobe Bryant has very few years left in the league, which also means that his trips to Madison Square Garden are close to coming to an end. With Spike Lee in the building as well as a passionate Knicks crowd, expect Kobe to have a game to remember at the Garden.

JAN. 20 @ TORONTO: Steve Nash makes his lone appearance in Canada when the Lakers travel to take on the Toronto Raptors. For whatever reason, the Raptors have had a knack for playing well against the Lakers at the ACC but have seen Kobe burn them repeatedly down the stretch of games. Combine that with perhaps some mixed reactions from the fans in attendance about Nash picking Los Angeles over Toronto — an easy decision really — and, well, we have something close to resembling a playoff setting.


OCT. 30 v DALLAS: There are few things I love over the course of an NBA season than opening night. As someone as consumed with the NBA as much as I am, the off-season always makes the days move at a snail’s pace. It’s not the most glamorous Opening Night game, but it’s a return to hoops and hopefully the beginning of another title run.

FEB. 5 @ BROOKLYN: It’ll be the first time the Lakers play in the new Barclay’s Arena against the New Je… er Brooklyn Nets. I’m not as interested in the matchup as I am in the newness of the arena and the jerseys.

FEB. 14 v L.A. CLIPPERS: We saw how chippy the Lakers/Clippers matches were last season, this year they’ll get to play on Valentine’s day for the collective heart of the city (cue Jay-Z). Point God v. Point God. Blake Griffin trying to murder the Lakers front line. Kobe. Staples Center. Divisional positioning. What more could you ask for?


NOV. 2 v L.A. CLIPPERS: Finally!

Lamar Odom once again playing home games at Staples Center. Steve Nash and Grant Hill back under the same roof. Sort of. The two best point guards of the past decade – both acquired via trade by the Lakers, one successfully – squaring off for the first time as residents of the same building.

At long last, pro basketball in L.A. has some storylines to follow.

DEC. 13 @ NEW YORK: C’mon now! It’s New York! The city that never sleeps, Rucker, Spike Lee, the Mecca… seriously, how many opportunities does one get to grapple with a solid #7 seed, in front of 18,000 Finals-priced seats- before Christmas?

(Yeah. I’ll be in one of them. Sigh.)

Plus, our almost-40 point guard can smoke their almost-40 point guard. So that should be fun.

JAN. 30 @ PHOENIX: Barring a disappointing effort from the Lakers (crazy talk, I know, but humor me), the drama should not extend too far past the opening tip. That said, for as long as this contest is close, it will be must-see TV.

One of the greatest and most beloved players in franchise history, returning to the floor he so artfully ruled for nearly a decade, to the fans he repeatedly refused to leave in the lurch. Unfortunately for the locals, there’s not a uniform they’d less like to see him in.

As giddy as I am to have Steve Nash on the Lakers, my heart will go out to Suns fans during this one.
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So what games are you guys looking forward to the most? Discuss!

Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  August 1, 2012

There’s been some interesting talk over the last several days about the possibility of the Lakers using the Princeton offense to some degree, in the upcoming season. This is predicated on Eddie Jordan signing as an assistant coach. As far as I know, a contract hasn’t yet been finalized, but all indications are that it will happen. Eddie Jordan used the Princeton offense, also known as the motion offense, throughout stints as an assistant coach and head coach, for teams including the Sacramento Kings, the New Jersey Nets, the Washington Wizards and the Philadelphia 76ers. While not exactly the triangle, there’s some obvious similarities with a lot of read and react, and ball movement involving all five players. As an interesting side note, Eddie Jordan’s playing roots go back to the New Jersey Nets and Phil Jackson’s last year as a player, which segued into an assistant coach position that same year. Eddie would later be a part of the Showtime Lakers, including the 1982 championship squad.

The name most associated with the Princeton offense is Pete Carril, but the system’s history goes back to the 1930’s and Princeton Tigers coach Franklin “Cappy” Cappon. Pete Carril brought the offense with him to Sacramento when he signed on as an assistant coach to Rick Adelman. Here’s a few related links, and excerpts:

From Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports: So there was Brown and Bryant in a side room in a Las Vegas gymnasium during Team USA’s training camp in early July, listening to Eddie Jordan detail the offense’s intricacies, laying out how Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum would benefit with and without the basketball. Here was an old-school Ivy League blueprint daring to be a solution for the Showtime Lakers’ issues. Jordan happens to be the foremost Princeton authority in the NBA, the heir to architect Pete Carril, and that’s an immense part of why the Lakers are moving toward an agreement to hire Jordan as an assistant coach. Jordan sold his vision of the offense to a most willing subject, and ultimately, Bryant departed for these Olympics convinced that the Lakers have a sound plan of action for the 2012-13 season.

John Schumann,’s Hangtime Blog: The Princeton is similar to the Triangle in some ways. And it may seem odd that the Lakers are switching to an offense that doesn’t utilize traditional point guard play just as they’re bringing on the best traditional point guard in the league. But Jason Kidd and Chris Paul have been MVP candidates running the Princeton, and Nash is a better shooter than either of them. Pau Gasol’s passing skills are also a perfect fit for the Princeton, where the big men are often handling the ball in the (high or low) post. Teams need time to get used to the Princeton and develop the chemistry needed to run it effectively, so the Lakers’ offense won’t be a well-oiled machine early in the season. But with time, they have a real chance to be a top-three offensive team next season.

From Ben Rosales, Silver Screen and Roll: When it comes down to it, the underlying benefit the Princeton offense provides is structure, something that the Lakers lacked in great measure last season. Too many times either Kobe or one of the Lakers’ post players would have to create with little plan of how to best utilize the other players on the floor, and this is a suitable antidote to that problem. On the flip side, handing the ball to Nash, providing him with a pick, and asking him to create something is an equally good, if not better solution. It is a testament to Nash’s greatness that we can hold his court vision and ability above an entire system that tries to get the most out of players on the floor. Nash does that essentially by his lonesome. At the same time, Nash will not always be on the floor and even when he is, things break down from time to time, making the Princeton offense a nice thing to fall back on. We can split hairs over the particulars, but seeing an offense that many thought would be the cornerstone of the post-Phil Lakers, now has to be an endearing thought when considering how the team will look next season.


There’s obviously a lot of talk right now about this new/old offensive wrinkle – I linked just a small sampling. One of the most fascinating aspects is the sense of history. The Princeton roots, much like Tex Winters’ Triple Post roots, date back to the formative days of the sport. Sam Barry influenced Tex who influenced Phil. And Cappy Cappon influenced Pete Carril who influenced Eddie Jordan. Phil mentioned Carril in “More Than a Game”, the context being the Sacramento Kings who gave the Lakers fits in those days.

“Rick Adelman’s style is to flow directly from a fast break right into a high-intensity motion offense. A lot of credit for this quick-hitting passing attack goes to assistant coach Pete Carril, who’d brought much of the concept with him from Princeton. The Kings’ high-octane offense puts a lot of pressure on a defense, and makes double-teaming difficult.

The discussion’s only getting started – look for a lot of talk and debate about both the Princeton and pick-and-roll, from here on out.

– Dave Murphy