Preseason Preview and Chat: The Sacramento Kings

Darius Soriano —  October 21, 2012

The Lakers play the Kings for the second time in 3 days tonight, this time back at Staples Center after returning from Las Vegas. In the last contest, the Lakers showed as much desire to get a W that they have the entire exhibition season but still could not get it done. The Kings were hot from the outside and kept the Lakers at arm’s length all night by knocking down key shots every time the team tried to make a push. Kudos to them. Seriously. The young Kings looked into the game and as much as the Lakers didn’t want to lose you could tell the Kings really wanted to get a win.

Tonight, though, the Lakers may be getting reinforcements. Dwight Howard is officially listed as a game time decision but I’d bet that he plays. While the team has been cautious in bringing him back, Mike Brown said after Saturday’s practice that if Howard were cleared by the doctors he’d be in the lineup tonight. With news out of Lakers’ practice not giving us any indication that Dwight would be ruled out, I’m using that lack of a declaration as an affirmation that he’s likely to play. Of course, I could be wrong, but I’m of the mind that it’s doubtful he suffers any sort of setback between now and game time and that he’ll be ready to play.

For the Lakers, this is good news (and that is an understatement). Not that I expect Howard to be up to the standard he’s set throughout his career tonight. He’s not played in an NBA game since April and he’s sure to show signs of rust. There may be some missed rotations on D, some missed shots that he’d normally make, and a general sense that the game is moving a bit too fast for him. All of this would be normal so adjust your expectations accordingly.

That said, the Lakers are deep enough into the preseason that there’s now little else they can learn about this team without starting to get all their injured players back on the floor. Howard, of course, is the most significant of these players. Having Howard back allows Mike Brown to start to experiment with rotations that he’s more likely to use in the regular season and, thus, start to find a comfort zone with which player combinations work and don’t.

Brown can also start to see how his offensive and defensive sets look — in a non practice environment — in live action with Howard anchoring the pivot. This information will only help inform him further in starting to develop his team as a cohesive unit. That process must begin somewhere and the sooner Howard is in the fold, the better in that respect.

All that said I’ve been of the mind that the Lakers should hold off on bringing Howard back until he’s absolutely ready and still believe that. So, if he ends up sitting tonight I’d be okay with that. I’ve also been preaching patience in this preseason in terms taking too much stock in the results of the games and my position hasn’t changed on that either.

These games aren’t to be judged on wins or losses, but more about the positive steps the team is taking towards becoming better. These last couple of games the Lakers have moved forward and, despite the losses, that should be looked at as progress. Getting Howard back would be another step in the right direction but if that doesn’t happen tonight, the team can take solace in the fact that it will happen relatively soon.

I can’t lie, though. I do hope it happens tonight.

Darius Soriano

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96 responses to Preseason Preview and Chat: The Sacramento Kings

  1. Simply put, looking forward to the debut of DH-12 tonight and, not that it matters much in these pre-season games, our 1st victory.

  2. Lakers-Kings are on NBA TV tonight for those that live outside of the Lakers coverage area and do not have the new Lakers channel.

  3. Just got tickets for the game, I had to witness this moment in Lakers history in person.

  4. I hope he only plays like 10 minutes…

  5. I can’t even describe how excited I am to see DH-12 in a Lakers uniform tonight!

  6. Just give me one pick and roll dunk Nash to Howard and one Howard blocked shot and I will be happy tonight.

  7. Kobe looks pumped up! This game’s going to be awesome.

  8. Games blocked out on nba tv here, (Long Beach) expected but disappointed nonetheless. Anyone got a link to a stream of it?

    I’d pay per game to view

  9. Have you ever seen the Staples crowd with this much buzz for a Laker pre-season (or even a regular season) player introductions?!? my hands are cold!

    Steve to Pau on the high post then alley-oop slam to Dwight! YEAH!!!

    For those who have ‘worried’ about the Laker offense and defense. watch this first first few minutes. Kobe and MWP getting wide open layups on the half court set. Steve Nash getting free lanes to probe the defense. No one helping on Pau. It’s called the “Dwight Howard effect”

  10. Pau put on a clinic that first quarter Aaron. Simple basketball plays that led to points. Still concerned?

  11. How can one live without Time Warner?

    Pau looks great. Howard little out of sync.

    Offense look good. Defense allowing open 3’s

    All in all this will be a great starting 5.

    Now it’s reserve’s time who have to show it.

  12. Love duhons activity on defense (steal, charge taken). If he’s able to shoot 40% from 3 like last year he may very well take the backup PG job

  13. Ko,

    If it were a regular season game, I’m assuming Dwight or Pau comes out early 4mins, then replaces the other at the 1-2min mark or starts the 2nd instead of Sacre out there. I doubt MB will sit the 4 future HOF’s for long stretches.


  14. Sacre need to learn how to face up his defender – his little fade away shots that he takes when he drives seem very stable once w gets to his release if he was able to use that to stretch the d from his position it would be great for ebanks as a cutter

  15. Duhon is as bad as Blake. He has a track record. We know who he is. And I won’t make a final judgemet on Dwight’s athletisism until he gets into shape. But so far he looks like he had bak surgery Unfortunatley. Not fun seeing your all world center being blocked at the rim on dunks and ally oops 🙁

  16. Even when Jordan Hill gets back, this bench doesn’t make a lot of sense. Long jumper after long jumper.

  17. Dwight is constantly down the court before almost every Laker. Rim running.

  18. – So I guess Steve Nash is now our new technical foul shooter? He missed though!

    – Mike Brown using real rotations today. Took Nash out at the 4 minute mark in the first.

    – That Pau and Dwight hi-low will destroy team defenses.

    – D12 1st qtr Stat line 4pts 2reb 2blk 1ast.

  19. Best guy on the court by far is brooks.

  20. Love seeing Dwight alter shots without fouling.

  21. Aaron Brooks will hear from the league office for that blatant flop

  22. There is that Pick and roll with Dwight I dream of.

  23. Howard is a foul magnet! This is sick. Kobe and Nash are going to get so many freebies off of touch fouls because Howard and Pau are going to have thew other team in the penalty all game.

    Love Howard’s energy on defense and his ability to play d without fouling. As I’m typing I just saw Kobe with another pick and roll with Howard for an easy dunk this time.

    I’m lovin’ it! Now MB just needs to keep tweaking these rotations and make sure that there are at least 2 of our starters on the floor most of the time.

  24. That’s two PnR’s by Kobe and Dwight. Oh how things change with Dwight on the floor. That’s Offense AND Defense!

  25. That looked like the Kobe-Shaq Connection of old!

  26. Things I like

    – I’m not sure if I’m alone on this but I see a lot of fisher in Nash – sneaky good at layups, poised leadership amd general scrappiness it brings back old memories

    – Dwight is fantastic at getting the position he wants near the rim – chuck Hayes of former rockets teams was a fantastic defender and generally great at keeping bigger guys like Bynum put of the post but Howard is just pushing him around

    – I think gasols moral will go way up playing with Howard – I think gasol more than anyone misses Lamar and his personality and I think Howard will bring that back to the team

    – it looks like It is pretty much Impossible to guard our starting 5 – everything we have been talking about in regards to offensive options is on full display near this end of the 2nd quarter – Kobe dwight pnr – lobs – open jumpers for everyone – single covered Kobe – even the parity in their numbers the parity in their numbers – wow

  27. Howard might want to try bending his knees when he’s shooting FTs…

  28. Joel,

    Big men don’t need to bend their knees when taking FT’s. They don’t need the lift and create so much arc as compared to the small men. It’s like an average sized man shooting at a 6-7 ft kids hoop with a volleyball sized ball. Let’s not worry about Dwight’s mechanics on the FT, he has a shooting coach in one Chuck Person

  29. Did the Lakers really trade Howard for Andrew? Steal of the decade.

  30. The Mailman could probably suit up today and have a better season than half of the power forwards in the league. The dude is still chiseled.

  31. Can we talk 82-0 now? Just kidding! No seriously! 82-0!

    My,my, so this what it feels like to D-O-M-I-N-A-T-E again. I missed you!

  32. Dwight’s ability to run the floor adds such a different dynamic to the Lakers. Imagine, a center who busts it back in defensive transition. His presence in the defensive paint is great to see as well.

    I would like to see the 2nd unit look to involve AJam more. He’s the player with the best offensive pedigree in that group. Didn’t care for Duhon’s long shots early in the shot clock.

    The last few minutes of the half gave a glimpse of things to come. Go LA!!!

  33. Were those both offensive fouls? For what?

  34. Those half time speeches need to change. 3rd quarter woes continue.

  35. Wow on robinsons dunk

    Also what an efficient game from Kobe – 17pts on 8 shots = +100% tsp

  36. Was hoping Lakers would put the game away in the 3rd to rest the 4th. But last year tells us different Brown’s halftime Xs and Os need some work.

  37. Way to many TO’s15.

  38. What I’ve seen that illustrates an upgrade over Bynum (and this is not to harp on Bynum, but more illustrate a difference), is that when there is a P&R and Pau goes to show against the kick, Dwight just naturally positions himself as a help defender that doesn’t allow for a guard drive or for the roll man to roll.

    That will help the Mike Brown defensive scheme.

  39. Not happy with Metta shooting so much and way to many open shots for Sac. 18 TO’s now.

    Sac can’t be this good. Can they? Hope Nash is not injured bad. that would be scary.

  40. Well the end of the 3rd sucked – didn’t like all the long jumpers from the bench – would like to see djo with that group to see some driving ability

  41. Scary moment there for Steve Nash. but coming from a football/soccer background, that ankle tweak is a common occurrence and you saw how he brushed it off (though I assure you it will be sore tomorrow). Nothing to be worried about.

    Turnovers are a result of not having enough time on the floor with each other. You see Dwight not ready and fumbling with Nash quick passes, Pau mis-timing the catches and even MWP seemingly surprised and not ready for some swing passes. It will be the small bumps to start the season for this group that will work its way as the season comes along

  42. If Jamison isn’t aggressive and scoring he’s useless on the floor. He was brought in to score he should look for his. Otherwise Earl Clark should get some run and let his athletic ability try and make some plays.

  43. Jamison absolutely useless – hope Jordan hill can come back healthy soon.

  44. 42 to 18 bench points. Could they be worse then last year? Other then Eubanks I don’t see much out there. Hope it changes.

  45. Looking forward to a recap of this game…

  46. We need like a jr smith for the bench maybe cdr could play this role but just like a gunner or someone who can create/looks for their own shot – i find the first 10 seconds of our bench possessions are wasted running around in circles and then we see sacre taking a running fade away – he should not be the last resort on the bench

  47. I guarantee you one thing: This bench group will NOT see much time (or at all) together come regular season. There will be at least one (Diwght/Pau) or two (one Pau/DH and Kobe/Nash) at all times. Meeks, Ebanks, Jamison, Hill and Blake/Duhon are all role/complementary players that feed off creators or players that demand attention and double teams. So not to worry about seeing this group together.

    And just like that, Nash and Dwight are back on the floor. That’s how it will be like come regular season

  48. Nice to be in the bonus so early

  49. So at the 6 min. mark of the 4th, we have all our starters in against the Queens’ scrubs. No excuses now.

  50. Ko,

    the setup of our bench cannot be compared to that of the Kings as well as teams like the Spurs, Okc who all have a “starter” (Thornton and Brooks, Harden, Ginobili) coming off the bench who are effectively one if not the leading scorers in their teams while their starting 5s only have 2-3 scorers and 2 role players (Okc with Sefolosha and Perkins, Spurs with whoever they start with Parker and Duncan) The Lakers will never average more than 25pts for the bench as our top 4-5 scorers night in and night are on the starting 5. It’s just statistically impossible

  51. This is not a bad Kings team. Certainly not scrubs anyway.

    Kswagger8 is right that we will have 2 or 3 of our starters on the floor most of the time so there shouldn’t be that opportunity for the bench to blow leads like that. (hopefully)

  52. Nash to Howard for the slam dunk.

  53. All the starters are around +15. All the bench players are around -15. Are we gonna have the worst bench in the league once again? All Mike Brown knows how to do is play his starters so many minutes in the regular season so they get burnt out come playoff time. He has no idea about how to cultivate a bench.

  54. This team has a long way to go. Starters lise to Sac reserves. Bench outscored by 30 and Over 20 TO’s.


  55. Consider the panic button pushed. 2nd unit terrible. Starters going through the motions defensively and Nash has no idea how to fit in which is the most surprising of all to me.

  56. Mike Brown played to win the game and we lost. Could be a blessing in disguise. Experience of late game situations is always useful.

  57. I agree about Nash so far. The offense in Phx was perfect for him (mostly PnR), and MB barely runs any of it with Nash. He just passes the ball to someone, cuts thru the lane, and then just basically stands around. Fisher can do that! Nash is at his best when the ball is in his hands the majority of the time. Bad fit for us? I certainly hope not.

  58. Mike Brown could’ve used the preseason to practice drawing up plays when he’ll need to take charge and do so. But he deferred to Eddie Jordan and that’s almost a microcosm of Brown. He defers too much and doesn’t take control of the ship. Kobe will always be the Captain as long as he’s here but Mike Brown isn’t even a co-captain or allowed in the wheelhouse. Dude is a deckhand.

  59. Meh. Panic button not pushed for me yet. When the rotations are finalized and we don’t have 5 bench players on the floor at the same time, then we can judge. Sloppy play led to turnovers, but I expect that those will decrease dramatically when all of our players get used to playing together.

    Just tap the brakes a little guys. At halftime we had someone gleefully talking about 82-0. Just hold on at least until the first 10 games of the season.

  60. I’m confused, whose the coach of the team. Is it Mike Brown or Eddie Jordan?

    It sure looked like Eddie Jordan was the one making all the late game decisions. I don’t know if I like it or I’m against it.

  61. So both our last shots sucked

    Overall notes

    – the kings took 20+ more shots than us so TOs and offensive rebounds were a problem

    – the bench cannot create their own shots still

    – coaching may still be an issue As late game strategy sucked

    – what’s everyone’s thoughts of Nash overall? At least the way I’m seeing the offense play it looks like we are really not usig him to his advantage but he may be a perfect fit to play with the bench amd run his own show instead of the Princeton – our bench is pretty similar to phoenix last year with meeks/dudly, hill/gortat, Jamison/ frye and ebanks can now shoot the 3 so overall I find it could be a similar team

  62. Paul:

    So the bench players suck. So mike brown plays the starters long minutes because the bench players suck. but mike brown cannot coach because he is not cultivating the bench players. You can’t have it both ways.

    No need to panic on a pre-season game. It is obvious that the starters are still trying to find their spots with one another and where to go. Dwight played great 19, 12, 4 blocks for a guy with a back issue. I would like to see Nash push a lil more when we have a break, but I’m sure he’s still trying to learn his new teammates. I like seeing all the motion that was going on, but i feel (and Darius or rr, feel free to get on me on this) that last year’s pick and roll heavy often would really suit this group of Lakers.

    Anyway. I never push the panic button. Bench needs work. Probably needs work with the set rotation and figure out which starters and bench will play well together.

    Fun to see Dwight in the Gold though. That was awesome.

  63. 18 of the Lakers 22 turnovers came from the starters. 3 by Sacre (which really doesn’t count coz he won’t be playing). You make your conclusions out of that.

    For me, it was their first REAL game together as a group (starting 5), and unfamiliarity with each other caused a lot of turnovers. They are still feeling out each other, and having a new PG and Center is definitely a huge adjustment. These starting 5 are veterans and they will find ways to win when the regular season starts. You see them trying to be too unselfish and make the offense work for the group and trying too hard to make that extra pass which is what the princeton is all about. you think Kobe will throw that alley-oop from the foul line when the game is on the line? Nash being so undecisive on that play with 30 seconds remaining? they were just trying to make the ‘right play’ too much.

    Positives for this game is one big DWIGHT HOWARD. He’s healthy and ready to go. some reserves are also showing a lot to deserve playing time. Ebanks Duhon and Meeks are making their cases. Hopefully Hill can return for the last couple of games as well

  64. Get rid of Brown now and get it over with. Why on earth is he running his starters like this is the real season? Now is the time for his reserves to get burn when it does not matter. I thought Brown was trained by the best. Was he really just sent out to make sure the Lakers stink for a few years?

    Secondly, Mitch get a real point guard for the second unit who can drive to the basket, pass the ball and run the offense! Is it really that hard to find backup point guards? Why torture fans with combo guards who are not able to play either position?

  65. If the last 6 minutes of the 2nd qtr was a small sample size of how good this team can be, then the Kobe and Dwight pick and roll should be runned a 100 times a game.

  66. Definitely a work in progress. Turnovers, allowing 2nd chance points, lack of bench production and poor foul shooting are all areas that need cleaning up.

    Sacto is very adept at going over the back and pushing off. Nice to see that NBA refs are in midseason form (sarcasm).

    Dwight looked great! Kobe, too. But the Lakers need someone on the bench to be a consistent contributor. A lot of new pieces have to mesh for this thing to work. For Dwight’s first run with his new teammates, however, there were plenty of encouraging signs.

  67. The key word for Nash and the rest of the starters really is “trying to fit in”. they tried too hard to do that… which is very understandable as they are thinking more for the group rather than ‘getting theirs’. I’m not worried about the starters. They will clean it up come regular season time.

    -The work to be done by the coaching staff now is who to put in together come 2nd and early 4th quarters.

    -Nash indeed might be better suited to come out earlier in the 1st and 3rd Q, and spend more time with the reserves, together with either Dwight or Pau at the C slot.

    -I like Duhon better than Blake as the back up. He’s under control, has the same shooting ability and defensive attitude and skills (if not better than Blake). But he also has more athleticism and penetrating ability than Blake.

    -MWP will have better numbers and will be a more reliable offensive option this year.

    -If Jamison doesn’t work out, Hill can play the 4, and Ebanks will back up MWP exclusively.

  68. We are 0-6. I still insist we have the best team. Because we do. Howard looked great. For those who want something to be genuinely concerned about – it is Jamison. We need him to be an effective scorer from the bench and thus far – he has not shown that. It is only pre-season however and he is a veteran. So like Mike Brown – he gets a free ride until the regular season.

  69. Was awesome to see dhoward play in the purple and gold!!!!

    obviously it’s still pre season but really worried about this bench. new players but same outcome. sure wish mitch could get that one player who could create his own shot for that unit. jamison meh – haven’t seen him do anything this entire preseason.

    Starters will be fine over time – but this bench – ughh.

  70. It was good to see Howard get some game action and take a few hits and falls. But it was not good to see the starting unit fall apart at the end and lose the game. They still seem very disjointed on both ends of the floor. I know there’s a lot of new pieces and a new offense, but I’m just not sold on Mike Brown as a coach who can bring it all together.

  71. yeah – not sold on mb as coach – never was. if he can’t win with this group of players something is wrong. there’s only so much that mb’s positive attitude can do.

    however, if buss and mitch were sold there must be something there.

    Going to be an interesting season!!

  72. This game is mildly concerning, but I am going to wait until they play 20 games or so before worrying. As to rotations, I will just repeat what I said:

    At least two of the Core Four out there until the game is decided.

    Nash with Howard as much as possible, working on opponents with P and R. Jamison and Meeks going 15-20 and almost all of them with Nash and Howard.

    Kobe with Pau as much as possible. Blake going 15-20 and almost all of them with Kobe and Pau. Very little or no Duhon. If Hill can’t play, either use Sacre or go small with MWP at the 4.

    Also, I would like to note that Kobe was an efficient, low-usage puzzle piece in this game–6/12 from the floor. As many if us have said, he probably will not be the problem.

  73. but i feel (and Darius or rr, feel free to get on me on this) that last year’s pick and roll heavy often would really suit this group of Lakers.

    I mostly agree, particularly when Nash and Howard are on the court.

  74. 67 shots in 48 minutes?Not gonna make it.We have not broken century mark once.Bench is absolutely terrible.

  75. I thought I would insert a minor reality check: We lost this game because of the starters’ unfamiliarity with each other and the sets and schemes they’re running. On defense, we gave up a bunch of offensive rebounds because our interior defenders were often out of position. This is likely to change with more reps with one another.

    Similarly, our offense would have produced an additional 15-20 points had we not turned the ball over so frequently–another byproduct of unfamiliarity. Those were our main failures this game. Coach Brown can’t catch and pass and rebound and coach at the same time, so all of you calling for his head need to chill.

    The more I see (or don’t see) CDR and DJO the more I expect them to be cut. I guess we should expect this penny pinching given the FO’s huge outlays for star power. I still think that CDR is worth the minimum. He’s shown flashes of play making and scoring in preseason and he’s got the most proven skill on the bench (outside of Jamison, perhaps).

    With a full 33 minutes under his belt, 19 points, 66% FG, 4 blocks, and 12 rebounds, does Howard still look like he’s got a broken back to you? If anything, I thought he seemed a little under conditioned. Give him 10-15 games and he’ll be putting up even better numbers.

  76. Quite a few people have been lamenting the lack of PnR offense ran through Nash, and I don’t get it. Our starters ran a ton of PnR, just Nash wasn’t always the one initiating. I don’t have the figures to back this up (anyone with an account willing to check Synergy?), but my “eye-test” felt that we were extremely effective in the PnR, regardless of who initiated. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? Just because you want to see Nash dominate the ball doesn’t mean he needs to.

  77. Thanks for the link, caught most of the game.

    Dwight moves so much faster than our last center. Well, I did like his nba live crucifixion pose after the 30 rebound game, other than that I don’t think I’ll miss him, though the journey was fun to behold.

    Metta is indeed in tip-top shape, Ebanks looked confident. Excited for the Clippers exhibition.

  78. Just because you want to see Nash dominate the ball doesn’t mean he needs to.

    Perhaps not, but he was only 2/6 from the floor, no 3s attempted, 5 AST, 4 TOs. While his numbers will change playing with this team, I would call that “broke” when you are talking about Steve Nash.

    Just a preseason game, but still: mildly concerning.

  79. why is everyone treating this like a playoff game when in fact this is only the first game our new starting 5 played a real game together.

    friendly reminder that, its only 21st of Oct… not 21st of April or May…

    i thought the starting 5 looks great together other than the turnovers… jamison will find his spots and shots eventually… with sacre, hill, and meeks, the bench will be just fine…

  80. rr

    Just a note, Nash has 12 TO’s last 3 games but he did address it after the game. He said he played no ball during off season and he is rusty.

    Hope so because Lakers will need more from him even though this might not be the right offense for him.

  81. I’d like to see more variability coming off the Nash DH pnr off the initial Princeton. It seems Paus defender would sag off a lot a nash would just pass out to Pau for a 18 footer. Maybe a screen for Kobe coming off the weak side while Paus man can’t help?

  82. i think it looks pretty good.

    there are a lot of miscommunications, that is certainly to be expected.

    Nash has looked great.

    Howard will be fine.

    Kobe looks like Kobe.

    MWP looks good.

    Pau got a little bit fired up and proved that he still can.

    Ebanks looks ready.

    bench points weren’t very impressive, but that had nothing to do with the loss. a few less missed freethrows would have made a different game. not trying out things you’ve been working on in practice since wins and losses don’t affect playoff standings would have made a different game. 22 turnovers are a lot of turnovers to overcome.

    look at the FG pecentages for a clue.

    this team is nowhere near perfect. no team is. still, at least wait until the first few weeks of the actual season to over-analyze the games.

    there are 3 players who have been Superstars for all or most of their careers. obviously, to the degree that their skills overlap, there will be an adjustment period while they figure out how it works.

    the important thing is that it DOES work. this team is full of proven workers, and that is all they need, other than health. there is no lack of talent or will to use it for the better of the team. in fact, the mistakes that caused the turnovers were the result of that fact, as was the team’s big run in the first half.

    i am happily encouraged by what i saw tonight. it’s a shame that there are those who can’t feel that way, but still consider themselves to be fanatics, errr, fans. these presseason games used to be inpossible to watch on tv or any other way,(other than being in some out of the way place or Hawaii) and the team could go through the PRE-season, the time BEFORE the season in peace.

    now there are live feeds on special channels and full scale A/V show player intros in the same arena that the real games are played in and the full regular season hype is on including advanced metrics.

    well, it’s something to do.

  83. Ko-

    Thanks for the info. I do place some stock in the explanations of needing to hone timing, getting used to the offense, getting used to each other, etc. Nash is a very smart, self-aware player, so if he says that, I take it seriously.

    But I only accprt those explanations to a degree. The game is still about talent. When the season starts Oct 30, I expect to start seeing some Ws. It is possible to win without being perfectly in sync.

  84. Laker fans accept nothing but championships, and expect nothing but domination.

    0-6 pre-season falls short of both.

    Actually it doesn’t, since the regular season hasn’t started yet, but it is as ridiculous to say that the performance does not matter one bit as it is to say that it matters a lot. Some things matter, some things don’t.

    But even taking into account that there are things that matter, it is still very very early in the season and we have not one but two super stars to integrate into our team.

    So I’m on the side that says it doesn’t matter much – I’ll start panicking about 5~10 games into the season and if we’re still winless.

  85. @85 very well said.
    Hope for a good start.

  86. Kareem,
    He does. He looks like someone who came off back surgery. He was stiff and tentative. The good news is he wasn’t unathletic necessarily. He was lacking his usual first step and burst but that can come back. We will know Dwight is back to being Dwight when he is capable of facing up his man and bearing him off the dribble (his staple offensive move which illustrates his athletisism). 50 percent of the Centers in the league could catch those wide open lobs. I still have hope. And that’s all you can ask for after game one after back surgery. If he doesn’t have his first step and explosion back by midseason then I’m throwing in the towel. But there is reason for optimism.

  87. Aaron,

    Most centers don’t finish those alley-oops. In fact Bynum hasn’t finished those lobs since his first knee injury. He definitely looked a little tentative but physically he looked fantastic IMO. If that’s the D-12 were going to see every game, (challenging shots, hustling back on defense, drawing quick fouls, and giving other guys space because of the lob) then we should be just fine.

  88. First off, this is a great website. I have been a long time reader and It is full of great analysis, in-depth discussions and home to some of the most intelligent basketball fans on the web. However, the comment section has gotten pretty ridiculous recently. It is full of so much bias, arguing and just straight up pettiness. I get people are worried about the 0-6 start but everyone seems to be forgetting it’s the preseason. Unless someone works for the Lakers or is best friends with MB and knows what their game plan is going into these PRESEASON games, everyone needs to take a deep breath and calm down. Also some people here are on a clear agenda. We get it. Some of you don’t like MB or think Andrew Bynum is better than DH. That is fine but there is no need to blow things out of proportion with no or very little concrete evidence to back up any of your claims. This used to be a site where people discuss and yes, even argue, intelligently about basketball/Lakers. A place where people would make reasonable statements and back them up with legitimate support. Let’s get back to that.

  89. I’m pretty sure that preseason record is a tie-breaker for home court advantage in the playoffs.

  90. Wonder why this writer didn’t check with FB&Gs medical analyst prior to writing his article?

  91. Ex- glaring oversight indeed 🙂 What was SI’s Ben Golliver thinking?

  92. I kind of agree with Aaron @87. Not to the degree that he takes it, but it was obvious that Dwight wasn’t quite as athletic as he was pre-injury. As Aaron said- the super quick first step as he faces up his guy and blows by him wasn’t there yet. I claim that this was just first game rust though. He will get it back and be *better than 19/12/4. Yeah, I know that that sounds absurd.

    I love what he brought on the defensive end of the floor. It’s night and day between he and Bynum there. On offense he isn’t as polished, but it seems like he puts more pressure on the defense and he is going to generate a ridiculous amount of fouls. Kobe and Nash will be on the line constantly getting freebies.

    This team has a way to go to get into sync with each other, but I claim that there should be optimism around here instead of this miasma of pessimism.

  93. @exhelodrvr….

    Thanks for the link to that SI story. I agree with the author’s take that conditioning and rust played a part in what we saw from Dwight. No amount of practice can replicate game conditions. For a first game coming off back surgery, getting involved with new teammates and having to overcome any mental reservations caused by the first major injury of his career, I thought that Dwight looked pretty darn good.

  94. From the link on post 91, from exhelodrvr

    “Gasol looked comfortable and was productive (14 points, eight rebounds, five assists).”

    That is a great sign.

    Now, Metta, saying he wanted to be more assertive, offensively, and then attempting so many shots in last night’s game… not such a great sign. (it’s only one game though)