Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  September 28, 2012

Like many people, I was incredulous when I heard about the recent Steve Blake foot spike. On the scale of freak accidents it ranks pretty high but when it comes to sports, maybe not so much so. These are the vagaries of chance. The new Lakers roster has been compared to the 2003/04 team for obvious reasons – the star-studded aspect and the expectations game. We all remember what happened to Karl Malone that season – Scottie Williams landed on his knee and the season changed in a moment. Freak chances aren’t always injuries – the public’s attention was captured in a freeze-frame instant when replacement referees blew a late call in the Seahawks/Packers game. Did the outcry hasten a resolution to the union dispute? Maybe, maybe not. These things become part of the time continuum – we can say we know but we don’t really know. The narrative however, is often the way into the story. Some links for a Friday:

We’ve been winding our way through a ‘favorite role-players’ series here at FB&G. Dexter Fishmore and the gang at Silver Screen and Roll have also put up a great article on the subject matter. I especially enjoyed Actuarially Sound tabbing the Machine as his one true favorite. Bold move.

Andy Kamenetzky at the Land O’Lakers offers a brief video snippet of Dwight Howard working out, along with some typically enjoyable commentary. And, on the subject of good writing and Superman, if you haven’t read Emile’s extraordinarily good piece here, do it now.

Keeping it on the Dwight Howard beat, Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie reports on DH’s visit to the Ellen Show. This is the kind of stuff that keeps PR people fed and happy and I’m cringing just a little bit. Please feel free to complain.

Also at BDL, Eric Freeman has an update on the breaking news that the NBA is implementing measures to fine players that flop.

With training camp around the corner, players all around the league are in their teams’ cities, hitting the facilities, and getting in their last sessions before the fully structured days of an NBA season take hold. Over at Lakers.com, Mike Trudell has been observing the work guys like Jamison, Jordan Hill, Darius Morris, and several others are putting in. Here are his notes from a scrimmage last week as well as a couple of videos from action on other days.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the new Time Warner Lakers broadcast package. Joe Flint at the L.A. Times checks into some of the details. And speaking of the TWC’s Lakers’ coverage, another reminder that you can check to see whether or not your provider is slated to carry the channel and what you can do about it if they’re not.

I was browsing through HoopsHype and found this article about Keyon Dooling’s retirement, by Jessica Camerato. This is an article that I probably would have skipped right by but I began to read and got pulled in. It’s a substantial piece and covers some tough stuff.

On the subject of HoopsHype, this is a resource that’s been around for ten years now. I don’t spend as much time reading it as I once did, but it was one of the earliest internet basketball sites and data bases, and it has filled a lot of gaps over the years. It even predates Hunter S. Thompson and his ‘Hey Rube’ columns for ESPN and that’s going back a ways.

***

While they interest me, I tend not to put too much trust into polls and predictions. They are snapshots, opinions, quantifiers. We can’t be assured of health, we can’t be assured of a championship season, we can’t be assured that a new offensive scheme will work or that it won’t work. We can however discuss it and anticipate it and above all, we can be along for the ride. Training camp begins next week and a summer of change fades from view and a new season begins – full of hope, promise and chance.

- Dave Murphy

 

Dave Murphy

Posts

36 responses to Friday Forum

  1. 2004: The comparison with that team is somewhat valid. IMO, the 2003 team was much better than last year’s team, however the additions Howard and Nash et al, are better than Malone and Peyton. What is odd is the fact that people say that things didn’t “work” in 2004. That is wrong. We went to the Finals, and if Malone had not gotten injured, we probably would have won. I think things will “work” this year as well. We do not need time to gel. In fact if MB stays focused on the defense, and he lets the players free lance a bit on the offensive side (led by Nash), I think we will be a serious force. With D12, Kobe, and MWP on defense, our main focus should be designing defenses to stop LeBronze and KD. I am not worried about their two PUNK sidekicks.

  2. dave m: perfect timing.

    on the subject of “flopping” in the nba. it should be something simple. once deemed a “flopper”, player’s jersey’s should denote the letter “F – in front of their last name and all future flopping infractions should go unnoticed during real time nba games. So if you name is Cyndi Lauper, for example and you have a child that goes on to play in the nba, becomes deemed a flopper: jersey will be: F-lauper. would probably stop flopping all together..or not.

    again, these are things we the idle deem necessary to pose prior to the start of training camp.

    Go Lakers !

  3. Eh, I say let the players Flop… then have the refs adjust by not calling fouls drawn by the notorious floppers.

    I kinda like the idea of a known flopper (throughout the season) getting no whistles in the playoffs.

    It would kinda be like the kings-lakers 2001 series, except that it would be just vlade getting screwed instead of the whole kings team.

  4. I find it troubling that the league will address flopping with post-game fines. It is akin to closing the barn door after all the livestock has run away. Let’s say a flop determines the outcome of a close game. Will a post-game fine rectify that? I think that the threat of league action in the form of a suspension for chronic floppers may be more of a deterrent to what has become a regrettable part of the game.

  5. @Robert #1

    “What is odd is the fact that people say that things didn’t “work” in 2004. That is wrong. We went to the Finals, and if Malone had not gotten injured, we probably would have won.”

    I agree, and disagree.

    That 2004 team was good, and no one was stopping it if Malone were at full strength.

    But that’s the rub – the 2004 actually DIDN’T work. Not because of egos (or whatever risks the pundits fretted over), but because it was felled by injury, the risk of which was baked into the acquisition of, ahem, OLD all stars like Malone and Payton.

    And, like the 2004 team, we have the age and injury risk with Nash. Even Howard regarding his back. And with our “other” big 4 guys, aging Kobe and Pau. [crossing fingers] Hopefully they will all stay healthy and crush the competition !! But naturally there’s risk here, as we all know, open-eyed, going into this season with this tantalizing, but aged, group.

  6. Re: Flopping:

    Here’s CNN’s list of notorious floppers – http://tinyurl.com/cw72agm

    No prizes for guessing who features on the list the most!

    I agree with Kenny T – a game-deciding flop must be worth more than a post-game fine. There should be a flop-count, like the technical-count. More than 10 flops in a season should result in a suspension. More than 5 flops should rule you ineligible for all-NBA honors.

  7. @5, Don Ford,

    I think what’s different from the 2004 side is that we actually have capable back-ups should we get bitten by the injury bug. When the Mailman went down, we had Slava Medvedenko step in. That plus the fact that Ben Wallace effectively neutralized Shaq 1-on-1 meant the offense suffered, in a big way.

    This year, we have a much more capable bench, and our starters are each much more productive.

  8. Nice story about Dooling. Wish him well. Had to laugh though, he considers Rondo the second best player in the NBA, behind Kevin Durant!

  9. Great to see Trudell’s notes from the scrimmage. Confirms what I saw in the video – Metta is looking more and more like the old Ron, and that’s going to huge for us.

    Between Kobe, Dwight, Nash, Metta, Jordan and DJO (yes, I said it!) we are going to be playing HARD every minute of the game. When was the last time we had that many hungry people on the same team? Most teams have 1 high energy player using up significant minutes. Good teams (Chicago, Boston, OKC) have two. Miami too, if play-offs LBJ shows up for the regular season. And we have 5!!

    If we can stay relatively injury-free, especially at SF, this team’s ceiling is really, really high.

    As for DJO – he’s not your typical rookie. He has played four years at a good school, plays (and defends!) much bigger than his size, and has a sweet shot. I wouldn’t be surprised if he cracks the rotation at some point during the season – and stays there.

  10. Don Ford: Fair points. I agree that age adds to the risk of injury. That said, injuries are somewhat random and can happen to anyone. Let’s look at significant Laker injuries: Magic in his second year, Worthy in his first year, Bynum – every year. All of these guys were young In 1989 B Scott’s hammy cost us the title, and he was in his prime. It is true that Malone went down, but he landed on someone and that can happen to anyone. So, the injury risk is there, but it does not significantly impact our chances, which are still at a solid 35% to win it all : )

  11. I saw Artest at a fight in Las Vegas this summer, and he looked thin and strong.

    Let’s hope it was a good omen. I had the same experience with Bynum summer of last year — I could see, even in street clothes, that the guy had been putting in work in the off-season.

    We later saw how Bynum’s season played out last year; let’s hope Ron’s 2012-13 plays out the same.

  12. I support the way flopping is being handled like this. I think it’s the best option. There’s no way something totally subjective like that could be called in-game. There could be just as many false positives as false negatives that could change the outcome of the game at the critical moments. I think post-game analysis, with multiple perspectives taken into account, rather than a gut feeling that can be influenced by reputation, is the best deterrant. It may not curb the activity altogether, but it’s better than any other options we have.

    Ron will probably come out averaging ~15 pts if DH plays to start, remember how people were so excited about the big 4 in 2004 and Devean George was torching everyone to start?

  13. From what I’ve read Wade, Allen, Perkins aren’t fully healthy. Wade had knee surgery he’ll never be 100% healthy, Perkins had groin surgery there’s always a chance to tweak that but he’s played with it and Ray Allen bone spurs or not looked washed up past postseason. All these things work in our favor.

    I’m very interested to see if LeBron can carry that 30-10-6 50% FG load again. That’s a lot to ask of a player once but he’ll have to do similar numbers for them to win next year. While teams like Boston and NY have gotten stronger. Indiana depending on how Hibbert progresses can throw a wrench into the East playoffs.

    Looking out West it’s a 4 team race to reach the wcf. Okc, Lakers, Clippers, Denver. If Lamar bounces back to old form Clips have a shot to reach the Finals. Denver is the team that worries me the most. Javale seemed to take a step vs Lakers. With that consistent play, Igoudala’s defense, and there overall team speed and athleticism. That’s a nightmare matchup for LA and Okc.

    Pumped for the season and hope we get another Lakers-Celtics classic. it can happen.

  14. The new flopping rule hopefully makes it less likely to happen therefore keeping guys out of foul trouble.

    The 04 Lakers was a real last hurrah. It felt like a desperate attempt to squeeze one more ring out of that core this feels like the start of something big for a long time. This Lakers team and 04 Pistons is a better comparison. Similar starting lineups and a defensive minded coach. Difference is we have the best defensive player in the league this time and a general at PG.

    Saw in that video clip Gilbert Arenas working at the practice facility. Please, don’t do it Mitch!

  15. Chris J: Who was MWP fighting? : )

    Chris J/Don: I too am looking for a resurgent MWP. Defensive animal and someone who you can’t leave on offense. D George was a good #5 but MWP will exceed that.

    Kevin: I have almost forgiven you for putting KB at #8 on your list. At least you had that PUNK at #9 so it wasn’t a total loss : ) The league is a 3 team race. This is like the early 80′s when it was the Lakers, Celtics, and Sixers. It was a great time to be a fan, as the game was Fantastic. This year the title will come from Lakers (35%) , Heat (30%), and Thunder (25%). I am being generous to the rest of the league giving them 10%, as history suggests it is more like 3%.

  16. as currently constructed and barring injuries, one of the questions on everyone’s mind is will head coach brown succeed in coaching the laker players to an nba championship this upcoming nba season.

    to be fair, coach brown seems like he has many of the attributes to be a good and effective manager.

    let’s generalize and embellish:

    They care.
    They have a good sense of humor.
    They have strong people skills.
    They possess strong communication skills, both verbal and written.
    They have a sense of fairness in dealing with people and issues.
    They exhibit consistency in behavior.
    They are able to control emotions and keep them out of decision making and interactions with others.
    They believe that players are more important to his/her and the team’s success than he/she is.
    They are honest.
    They are willing to seek input from players and build consensus.
    They are open minded.
    They are flexible.
    They have well controlled egos.
    They are self-confident and secure.
    They are good listeners.
    They possess the ability to be direct when needed without being abusive or offensive.
    They have a sincere interest in people and their well being.
    They have good perceptive/intuitive abilities.
    They possess a good understanding of what makes people tick.
    They are mature.
    They allow others to get credit for positive outcomes and they want their people to succeed.
    They understand that hiring good people is critical to their success and they do not micromanage.
    They are willing to admit to their own shortcomings and mistakes and do not feel a persistent need to be right.

    of course all this will be moot if some team other than the lakers win the nba championship. but that would be because one of the attributes listed above was missing in coach brown’s ability to manage effectively.

    how’s that for killing time while we await news from laker nation?

    have a great weekend all !

    Go Lakers !

  17. Robert: Kobe still in the top 10 speaks volumes itself. I’d add Celtics to your list. Took Miami to 7 added Terry, Lee, Green, rooks. I’m hoping for Lakers-Celtics finals still need to settle the 1-1 tie.

  18. That Dwight Howard workout looks promising. He looks so good he might be ready for opening night.

    Is it October yet?

  19. @13 – You’re right. The problem with flopping is that 90% of them get the call. The refs give it to them all the time.

    This gotta stop, one way or another.

  20. DH was noticeably careful with his Gangnam style. It’s obvious he’s favoring his back and putting much thought in it at this moment.

  21. I think one of the real benefits of the flop decision is that it will start a recorded count of flops on different players. This will give many refs pause while calling games with big-time floppers. I think it will change the way that games are called. I would have preferred what others have suggested, the flop-count leading to suspensions.

  22. Keyon Dooling is retiring because he claims that he has been abused all his life in NBA. By whom? It is worth investigating if bullying exist in NBA among his teammates, coaches or GM’s or even his agents.

    The flopping rule, there is no need of fine. It is a judgement call, don’t call on them because a flopper gets hurt when he is down and let’s his team down with one man on the floor. It goes on two-way street too, refs. should also look on to abuses of some players in using their bodies as weapons of destruction in barging or forcing thru without any consideration in hurting someone for as long as they get positional advantage.

  23. Edwin,
    Based off what I read, Dooling didn’t make any accusations about being abused while in the NBA.

  24. On the sports headline with LAT today, For Brown pressure is part of the job description.

    Well, in my opinion he was able to BS his 2nd round exit last season due to short season, no preseason training and others. On this one, he is surrounded by great players, three former head coaches and an asst. coach of Dwight. Indeed, there is tremendous pressure either he becomes suddenly famous or an unglamorous exit to extinction from NBA. He has never handled a Championship caliber team as good as this, still there are so many games to be played and so many egos to handle, there is only one Mike Brown who has limited experience on being in the limelight.

  25. Darius, we really don’t know if there any of his NBA association involved in this accusation because only KD knew what happened.

    Here is what he said:

    “It just all came to a head. To be honest with you, I blocked a lot of things out of my life. I’m a man who’s been abused, sexually, emotionally, mentally. I’ve been abused in my life, and there’s so many guys around the NBA who have been abused and I know it because I’ve been their therapist. I didn’t even have the courage because I blocked it out so much that I couldn’t even share that . . .”

    From that statement, is it possible that KD and other NBA guys that he referred to have been abused “emotionally and mentally” while they were playing in NBA?

  26. Edwin,
    I think this passage from the reporter gives a bit more background:

    “He had been abused by both strangers and those he knew as a child. He refuses to harbor hate for those who have hurt him. Instead, he wants to share his story as a way to help others in similar situations cope.”

    This implies these are people from his past and not from his time in the league (how would people in the NBA be “strangers”? and he certainly wasn’t in the NBA as “a child”).

  27. Harold,

    This should put you at ease on Howard “favoring his back”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0OhgD5VAtM

  28. MB always has excuses. First there wasn’t training camp. Then there wasn’t a ball creating PG. Regardless of whether they’re justified, making excuses is not the mark of a champion.

  29. Don,

    Facts are part of analysis. Fact-based analysis is a foundational part of any learning and correction process. The Lakers were not a top level team last year, and Mike Brown had to account for their lack of success. He’s mentioned the two issues that you brought up, as well as the compacted schedule. He didn’t harp too much on our lack of bench depth, probably out of respect for his players, but that was also a major contributing factor.

    I disagree that stating facts which are quite obviously relevant and important is the same as ‘making excuses’. Everyone on this board was saying the same thing. Were we all ‘making excuses’ or providing a realistic analysis?

    I don’t understand where all the Mike Brown hatred comes from. He’s done at the very least a decent job of coaching the team, and the players seem to respect him. The Lakers did not under perform last year because of Mike Brown. They were not going to beat the Thunder under any circumstances with the roster that they had. Most of the criticism of coach Brown that I’ve seen rests on three flawed arguments:

    1) “He rode the starters into the ground”: Kobe had no backup and the point guards on our roster left a lot to be desired (Goudeluck was not the answer). Our 4-5 rotation was extremely week all year until Hill was traded to the team and recovered from his injury.

    2) “Too much Kobe-ball”: Bigs flourish when there is an inside out game; unfortunately, for much of last year, the only “out” on offense was Kobe Bean Bryant. No one else stepped up and started knocking down shots regularly. The importance of Kobe to our interior success was quickly proven during the 7 games he was injured. Our bigs efficiency numbers dropped precipitously.

    3) “Bad substitutions, more Ebanks”: Ebanks was shaky at best, despite several strong performances. Get this: he shot 41% on the year, season and playoffs, and didn’t hit a single 3pt attempt (0 for 16). Barnes was obviously not performing that well in the playoffs, but Ebanks was not a clear upgrade, especially if you need your SF to hit the outside shot. And with our complete lack of outside shooting, that’s a pretty important hangup.

    I don’t see what Brown’s major shortcoming has been. The Lakers had an inferior squad. They got beat by a younger, fresher team. Hell, Denver almost beat them because they were a more balanced team. This year, Mike Brown will succeed because he has the tools to do so. I wonder if the Lakers win, will everyone refuse to give Brown credit. We’ll see come June.

  30. Kareem, I agree with most of what you say. I’m saying that even if these assessments of deficiencies of this team was justified, it’s still not the right attitude for a head coach to be pointing them out. Is it unfair? Absolutely. But I do believe it would better lend to a culture of winning.

  31. Why isn’t Ebanks practicing in that video? He’s got an opportunity to grab that SF spot for years to come.

  32. Anyone living in SoCal without Time Warner Cable worried about not having the Sports Net channel with your cable provider?

    It seems I may have to make the switch if no deal is done by preseason.

  33. 34. Yes. I left TW for DirecTV and do NOT want to switch back, but will if I must.

  34. @34 LBc. I have AT&T U-verse and it looks like I will have to go with the broadband NBA League Pass, if I want to see the Lakers this year, since Time Warner is not an option where I live, unfortunately. And, League Pass may not offer every Laker game played, either.