Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  September 19, 2012

Lakers training camp countdown is now under the two week mark. Informal workouts have already begun in El Segundo and they’ll no doubt blend seamlessly into an all-important transitional phase. With new faces, a new offensive blend and great expectations, the fishbowl parade will be at full media strength. This is nothing new for the Lakers, always at or near the top in league coverage and debate. The arrival of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard fuels the speculation of course, and brings a further sense of conflict for fan bases. The first article below offers an especially interesting take on loyalty and mixed feelings:

Hardwood Paroxysm has a Danny Chau piece about Steve Nash and the Lakers, and the conflict of idolizing the player and not the team.

Brent Koremenos at Hoopspeak writes about what Dwight Howard can learn from Gustavo Ayon.

Arash Markazi at ESPN Los Angeles compares Dwight Howard to past Lakers greats.

Derek Fisher was spotted at an informal Lakers workout in El Segundo yesterday. Ryan Ward at Lakers Nation has the report, noting that a reunion would be highly improbable.

Adam Morrison’s long road back has led to a training camp invite from the Portland Trailblazers. Sam Amick writes about it for SI.

Ben Bolch at the LA Times examines the upcoming NBA tax system, a luxury that the Lakers may not be able to afford.

Jeff Miller at the OC Register notes that Scott Brooks isn’t about to give anything but diplomacy away.

***

The Lakers roster currently stands at 18, including the four non-guaranteed rookie contracts. There may be more as the October 2 camp date approaches. It’s always interesting to handicap the depth chart but I doubt we get any resolution until well into the regular season. It’s about the end game, and the journey there will be epic.

- Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy

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27 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. -Read the piece on Adam Morrison. I’m glad he’s at least getting a shot with Portland.

    -The L. A. Times article about the Laker’s upcoming tax issues only puts more pressure on this team to win it all (or at the very least give ownership & the front office reason to believe “next year”) this season. I know many fans aren’t interested in the $$’s, but $200 million…Yikes!! That’s just going to fly. Wholesale changes will be made.

    -Would love to see Fisher retire in a Laker uniform, however the only way that seems to work is if no one picks him up before the All-Star game and the Lakers lose a back-up point late in the season. I’m not wishing for either.

    -It was nice reading about the comparisons of Dwight to the other immortal centers (Wilt, Kareem, & Shaq) acquired by the Lakers with the focus being on how much the centers improved their Laker teams. Unfortunately, none won the title within their 1st couple of years with the Lakers or with the current coach…bummer

  2. Nice piece by Koremenos.

  3. BigCitySid: Agree with you on Morrison. He was lighting it up in summer league. Always thought he had Peja potential.

    It’s too early to compare Dwight with other Lakers greats time w/ Lakers. Wilt, Kareem, Shaq, Dwight all dominated and went to the Finals before joining the Lakers.

    I still don’t think this is the final roster that’s on the floor game 1 vs Dallas.

  4. I need training camps to open. I’m getting depressed. I’m barley holding on at this point. I need to see if Nash is still holding off father time and if Dwight can still dunk or if his back has turned him into Luke Walton. I can’t take it any longer.

  5. Big City: With regard to the taxes: Yes – the pressure is on. It falls squarely on Mike Brown and of course the players themselves – in that order.

    Kevin: Don’t forget to include Mikan on that list, so that we have all decades covered. This is Dwight’s decade.

    Aaron: I will take you out of your suspense : ) We have the best team.

  6. Aaron, I would have thought the inspiring news of Derek Fisher’s triumphant return to Lakerland would have kept you going for a little while… I know how much you love the little bulldog…

    And Robert is right: we do have the best team. Not only that, more importantly: when you match teams up position by position, I truly believe only OKC could credibly be favored in a series against us (insert injury caveats…). Not to say that I don’t like our chances against the Thunder, merely that they can play a style we can’t really match (of course the same is true in reverse). In particular, I really, really, really like the way we match up against the Heat.

  7. Dwight – Bosh
    Pau – Udonis
    Metta – LeBron
    Kobe – Wade
    Nash – Chalmers?

    That’s a matchup we could exploit.

    Dwight – Perkins
    Pau – Ibaka
    Metta – Durant
    Kobe – Harden/Thabo
    Nash – Westbrook

    Yikes. I don’t like this one though. I think it’s certainly doable, and somewhat debatable as to who’s on top, but our margin here seems so much smaller.

  8. @ lil pau & harold

    No disrespect intended, but I would have to disagree with your opinion that we match-up ‘really, really, really’ well against the Heat and in regards to line-ups, it’s always more important, IMO, who finishes the game rather than who starts. With that being the case (and trust me, I know that we’re putting the cart before the horse), this is the match-up that I envision:

    MWP – LeBron
    Pau – Lewis
    Howard – Bosh
    Kobe – Allen
    Nash – Wade

    Power vs Speed
    Size vs Small Ball

    If both teams are fortunate enough to make it this far (definitely can’t overlook OKC & Boston), what it’ll come down to is which team is ‘Strong’ enough to impose its ‘Will’ on the other. Very intriguing, to say the least.

  9. Here’s hoping Gasol pats CP3 on the head again next time they play:
    http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2012/09/chris-paul-still-bothered-by-pau-gasol-head-pat-incident/

    What a baby. Get over it!

  10. I agree with those saying we don’t match up well with the heat.

    They have a glut of 2/3s while we don’t. Miller battier and Allen are much better than Meeks or ebanks and Morris/Duhon/Blake.

    Even chalmers v Nash on the defensive side could hurt us – chalmers is underrated.

    Pietrus would be nice could guard 1-3 positions and guarded lebron well when on him.

    As for okc I think the wild card will be how effective we can be against Westbrook but as we can leave Nash on seflaosha it’s less of a concern

  11. Tra: Great point. Heat gave Okc fits when they went small and Thunder kept Ibaka and Perkins on the floor. Lakers match up better with Okc just based off the traditional lineups.

    I do think with the way the NBA is going Ron playing PF is huge. I feel a whole lot better about the prospect of that happening with Dwight aboard.

  12. Nash – Westbrook – Wade
    Meeks – Harden – Allen
    Kobe – Sefolosha – Miller
    Ron – Durant – LeBron
    Dwight – Ibaka – Bosh

    Dwight has played with a lineup much worse than the Lakers would be putting on the floor there and has been effective on both sides. Advantage would still probably go to Okc and Miami in this situation but you’d be able to deal with their floor spacing better w/o having both Pau and Dwight on the floor and create your own spacing too.

  13. @Kevin, that line might just be used during the course of the game… and depending on match ups… – looking at our current roster, we have the flexibility to put different lineups on the floor. We can go big, we can go speed.

    Lakers all the way!

  14. Match Ups: When you have the best team, you do not match up with the opposition, they match up with you. Think about trying to guard the Lakers next year. You have 2 first team all NBA players, One of the toughest match ups in the league at PF, and one of the best PG’s of all time. And MWP is actually a tough match up in his own right. So with this bomb squad on offense, you would think we would be weak on defense. Wrong. Granted that the top teams will be able to exploit SN, but they will have #12 waiting for them underneath. We now have the best big man in the league and the second best big man does not play for a contender. Phil used to have a saying: “We have Shaq and nobody else does” . Just change the name. And in both cases – we still have Kobe !

  15. Robert: your right Lakers should play to their strengths and make teams match up with them. But I saw LeBron box out my guy Pau with ease. It was very painful to see. If and when Lakers play Okc and Miami it’ll benefit the team when Durant and LeBron play PF that Ron plays PF too.

    My eyes!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV3O94yv4vc

  16. At #12 I would rather see it this way

    Nash – Allen
    Kobe – Wade
    Ron – Miller/battier – Ron and Kobe could even switch on the 2/3 coverage so Ron guards wade
    Dwight – Lebron
    Gasol – Bosh

    I think Dwight covering lebron solo could actually negate the advantage there as dwight is an even bigger physical speciman than Lebron and Gasol can effectivly guard bosh

    and if we are looking for just an effective defensive stop we should even see morris or duhon on the court instead of nash

  17. We’ll have to drill our counters to fronting, because Lebron had success in spurts by fronting and muscling Gasol. Otherwise Pau becomes next to useless on the floor.

    Miami’s trump card is actually going big in the backcourt, putting Wade at the 1 and Allen at the 2. That’d be a pretty great counter to Nash. Wade would expend more energy but Nash would be forced to guard an elite, bigger, and stronger offensive player.

    But again, while matchups play a huge role, it’s about how the pieces fit together, and that’s a complex equation we don’t have the answer to right now.

  18. Pau can’t score on LeBron… James is too strong for him. At least that’s how it played out last year. But since Pau doesn’t show up in the playoffs anyways anymore it would open up room for Ron to produce offensivley. And Artest needs to be guarding LeBron…

  19. Off-topic but interesting. Are any of you following ESPN’s pre-season ranking of the top 500 NBA players for 2012-13? This is based on the opinion of 104 ESPN b-ball experts. They are not finished counting down yet (still have the top 30 to go), but you can already draw one conclusion. Only five (5) teams have three (3) or more players in the top 30.

    -Lakers & Thunder each have four
    -Celtics, Heat & Spurs have three each

    That’s 20 of the top 30 players on just five teams. Most interesting point to me, two of those teams are considered “small market”.

  20. Off topic #2. Celtics just signed Darko as the 3rd head of their 3 headed center tandem. He joins 33 year old Jason Collins & rookie Fab Melo. All three are 7’0 or more. Looks like they feel the Lakers will be in the finals and they want to be prepared w/ at the very least 21 fouls on D-12.

    Speaking of D-12, is he healthy enough to work on his free throw shooting? Just wondering.

  21. It will be interesting to see who Miami plays at PF in crunch time. My bet is on Battier. If Rashad Lewis is rejuvenated with the Heat, and Battier ages next year, I suppose Lewis has a shot, but either way, the Heat will have outside shooters at every position. Even Bosh proved to be an effective outside shooter beyond 15 feet in the finals. This straregy will force Gasol to guard a perimeter player, negating his size on the defensive end.

    One would think Gasol would have a huge advantage on the offensive end, but the refs allow major contact (and fouling) when a smaller player like Battier plays physical with a bigger player like Gasol. Hopefully, Gasol’s passing in the Princeton offense and his improving range from outside will help offset the problems the Heat will present for him.

    I think the Heat and Lakers are evenly matched, and the outcome will come down to coaching and the Lakers’ ability to hit their share of open shots.

  22. Shaun: Dwight won 3 DPOY awards by protecting the paint. Lakers would take away their biggest advantage on defense asking him to chase around LeBron.

    Lakers need to sign another wing and release a PG. Pietrus is the guy.

    FB&G mods should do a podcast about the team and upcoming season.

  23. So many questions. Not enough answers. Its been a minute since I’ve anticipated a season as much as I’m anticipating this one (actually, if memory serves correct, it was the ’99-2000 campaign for myself). I also believe that viewership will be off the charts this year and Television Records will be obliterated … Just. Can’t. Wait.

  24. Too many ?? to project Jun2013.By Jan we`ll have a better idea about all the top teams. The big questions about the Lakers are how the new players blend their talents, the quality of the bench,and of course Dwight`s availability and condtion.

  25. Dave

    I always love the stories you choose to highlight. Keep it up!!!

    Arielle, from LN.com :)

  26. @Arielle – thanks! And everybody, check out her work on LN – great stuff.