Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  October 5, 2012

The dynamics at hand are intriguing. It’s an understatement, really. The Lakers starters have all been headline acts in their time, and each in different ways. Their personalities are distinctly disparate, even archetypal. Darius wrote earlier about getting the most out of MWP this season. Metta’s in a unique position, a role player among All-Stars, a guy whose own path has sometimes been rocky and questionable. Yet he seems to have found a sense of purpose in Los Angeles. Apart from the elbow to Harden, apart from random goofy behavior and sometimes questionable shot attempts (and he’s certainly not alone there), there has not been the distraction that some supposed when he landed here in 2009. Somehow, Metta, Ron, whoever you call him, has fit in, has found his level of peace.

While it’s far too early to make any real judgments about the roster as a whole, there does seem to be a certain fit and comfort level. Questions from the media seem to be more about whether the team will work on the court as opposed to how they relate to each other, or whether there will be a return to the famous conflicts of old. It’s somewhat telling that one of the biggest stories this week is Dwight Howard’s calm, measured and long overdue reaction to one of the key components of the old Star Wars – a man whose time has passed. Segue the links:

From Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports, Dwight Howard finally fires back at Shaq, “Your time is up’.

Mike Bresnahan of the L.A Times reports on Dwight Howard in practice, which includes shot coaching from the Rifleman. Bres also has the Lakers’ take on flopping.

Helene Elliott at the L.A. Times writes about Metta and his new look on fitness.

Mike Trudell for the Lakers Reporter examines Steve Nash’s leadership, off the court.

Dave McMenamin at ESPN Los Angeles brings news of Steve Blake’s return to practice ahead of schedule. Blake famously managed to step on a parking lot spike strip barefoot, about ten days ago – said deep puncture has now healed.

Brian Kamenetzky at the Land O’Lakers offers a podkast, on Kobe’s team, flopping and endorsements LeBron doesn’t want.

C.A. Clark at Silver Screen & Roll offers his 2012-2013 Lakers season preview.

Our own Emile Avanessian also offers a Lakers season preview, on his excellent Hardwood Hype blog.

Mark Whicker at the OC Register has an interesting article on Robert Sacre. He gets to Sacre in a roundabout way after righteously tearing Time Warner a new one, but the whole thing kind of works.

Arielle Moyal at Lakers Nation interviews that really, really tall guy, Greg Somogyi.

***

The first week of training camp has mostly passed. Sunday brings the first opportunity to see some preseason action against the Golden State Warriors (for those not caught up in the Time Warner mothership manipulations). Irrespective, the long road starts here. There will be roster cuts, debuts, speculation and the white-hot media glare. And most of all, as it is all across the league for teams and their fans, a season that begins, full of promise.

– Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy

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11 responses to Friday Forum

  1. Everytime Shaq opens his mouth, makes it easier to understand Kobe’s side of the feud from years ago (some of us took Kobe’s side then). However that is all history.

    I have decided that this year’s team should be compared to the 87 team, rather than 2004. Just like in 87, we have the best team, but everyone is worried about the prior year’s champion.

  2. Are the Lakers the only team running 2 a days? This is all the more reason Kobe needs to be on the KG, Duncan minute plan. At least it’s not the foot he explodes off of.

    http://blog.lakers.com/lakers/2012/10/05/injury-update-kobe-bryant/

  3. Just wanted to say that suddenly I’m a huge Fenerbahce fan…

  4. We have an oozing optimism on the upticks improvement of the Lakers mythical 5 this season, however we should consider some possible weaknesses. I suspect it will be in transitional defense against young guards such as Westbrook, Lawson and D’Will. Who among the five starters who could keep pace with them in a running game or in defensive transition? Kobe may be able to fill the void in some spurts but last season his defense has slowed down due to nagging injuries and too much p/t’s. Well, got Dwight and Nash who are both offensive-minded players, Gasol is also offensive and excel only on set defense, slow in transition defense. That leaves us to rejuvenated RA or Metta, still slow to keep up with raging PG with younger legs.

    One solution that I could think of, would be elevation of Meeks, Jamison (I don’t know whether Antawn is fast enough for his age too.) or the draftees who are eager to play D like DJO or Darius but then, are they not too raw to keep up with the superstars PG?

    Whatever the weaknesses, I would take our current upsides anytime, I think smart coaching could make some adjustments in the game. PJ was able to win b2b championships with moderates PG’s like Fisher/Farmar, I think Duhon, Blake and the youth could help in short energy defensive minutes reinforcing the possible weak points of Steve Nash.

  5. I think I’m not the only one thinking this, but good offense leads to good defense.

    What will great offense lead to? Great Defense.

    Better shooter at PG, an SG who is relieved of ball handling duties so probably is more ready to shoot when receiving the ball, and a fitter SF will all improve our perimeter shooting.

    A C who is more likely to be consistently in position to rebound will also help erase some of the misses that may lead to change in possession.

    Hopefully the Princeton offense will also reduce the number of broken down plays and desperation heaves which will also help us get back on defense better.

    All of this will also alleviate age concerns, as the more offense you play, the less tired you feel.

    I know this is all paper-talk, but it’s really hard not to get giddy imagining beautiful basketball.

    Oh yeah, and we have a chance to put to rest the talks centering around Kobe ball-hogging as well.

    Not only that, the added attention opposing teams have to put on our PG may give Kobe just enough space to be more efficient with the desperation shots on broken plays, re-establishing him as the player you fear most in clutch situations.

  6. @4 Dwight an offensively minded player? Hardly. I think Dwight is a lot better offensively than many people give him credit for because he is such a great defender. But he is a superstar because he is the best defensive player in the game and not because he is an excellent roll man and very good post player.
    If you look at the advanced stats he is just as good if not better than Bynum offensively other than FT shooting (granted that it is a big issue).
    Dwight is much faster than Bynum in pick and roll defense and transition defense. Dwight will upgrade the Lakers’ transition defense.

  7. Edwin Gueco,
    We are returning to a 2 guard offense. One of the benefits of this type of offense is that we are more likely to have someone back to defend early in the shot clock. Phil used this aspect of the triangle to counter small-quick guards – he always liked bigger players who were veterans. We always seemed to complain about this with his teams, but we won championships.

  8. It was in the news that MB plans to play the rookie Center tomorrow, Sacre or Somodji, what do you think of that decision?

    I think that’s a good idea in a no-bearing game, and with the presence of Nash, Kobe, Pau and Metta, the Center could just be a filler to complete the starters. I hope Sacre could really play in this league with his height to power the 2nd team plus the fact, he is the affordable Center in the future who could relieve Howard.

    We have so many talented players in LA who would like to join the team outside of the draft. Can we form a minor league similar to baseball triple A or double A, not necessarily D’League but more of exclusively a Lakers farm system? Will NBA allow that structure?

  9. Craig W,

    You’re absolutely right – that was a primary reason Fisher was pretty much always in a position to take a charge or break up an x-on-1 fast break (which he was uncannily good at). The thing is, I’m not sure if we want Steve Nash slamming his aching back into the hardwood even close to as frequently as Fish did.

  10. Time effin’ Warner! grrrrrrrrr