Around The World (Wide Web): Lakers running, 0.4, Gasol, Kobe Achilles

Ryan Cole —  August 5, 2013

From Eric Pincus, LA Times: Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis hopes to help improve the team’s defense, but he also had some thoughts to share on the offense. “The [Lakers] still have big people and I think you have to take advantage of the big people,” said Rambis in a phone interview with The Times on Thursday. “You can’t ignore them because they are an asset to your offense.” The Lakers lost Dwight Howard in free agency but the team still has Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill, along with free-agent acquisition Chris Kaman. Coach Mike D’Antoni prefers a fast-paced offense but Rambis cautions that the coaching staff still needs to evaluate the players during camp, especially from a health perspective.Kobe Bryant is recovering from a torn Achilles’ tendon. Steve Nash is almost done recovering from hip, hamstring and back injuries that bothered him late in the season. Gasol still hasn’t been cleared completely from knee procedures to help alleviate tendinosis.

From Ryan Cole, Lakers Nation: After winning three straight NBA titles between 2000-2002, the Los Angeles Lakers came up short on winning a fourth consecutive title when when they were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals. During the 2003 off-season, the Lakers knew that if they were to have any chance at getting back to the NBA Finals that they would have to go through San Antonio, and needed to get better as a team. So in order to fulfill that need, management brought in future NBA Hall Of Famers in Gary Payton and Karl Malone to play alongside the dynamic duo of Kobe and Shaq, making the Lakers seemingly unbeatable going into the 2003-2004 season.

From Satchel Price, SB Nation: The Los Angeles Lakers only have Pau Gasol under contract for one more season, but the former All-Star hopes to stay with the franchise where he’s already won two titles. Gasol says he holds no grudges for past trade rumors and remains positive while expecting to play a larger role with L.A. next season. “I would love to play for the franchise that I love playing for, that I’m proud to be a part of,” Gasol told Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times. “It would be great to continue to play for the Lakers.”

From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: When you put an obstacle in front of Kobe Bryant you get the best of him. Which is why he went from talk of retirement and his next challenge to playing a few more years once he ruptured his Achilles late last season — there was a new obstacle to overcome. He had to prove he could come back from this. The normal timeline for recovery would have Kobe returning around Christmas at the earliest, but he is talking about the start of the season at the end of October. Speaking in China recently where he was on an annual Nike tour to sell shoes, Kobe put it this way as reported by NBA.com.

Ryan Cole

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20 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Lakers running, 0.4, Gasol, Kobe Achilles

  1. In 2007 the ‘talking heads’ picked the Lakers 10th in the West. We did better than expected, then traded for Pau and that’s history for you.

    I’m not saying this year we go to the finals, but being rated 20th in the association isn’t the worst thing to happen to the Lakers.

  2. Didn’t say it was, and we are aware of your contempt for the talking heads, as you call them. BK simply used the piece to point out how many signs about the Lakers’ projectable performance are in the negative column right now, I think in response to a lot of fans saying the team is going to be a lot better than the general consensus seems to think, and he laid it out in very specific terms.

    Predictions always come with caveats and qualifiers; it is true that no one knows for sure what will happen. BK acknowledges as much. But not all opinions are created equal.

  3. Being ranked in the high teens and up to 20 sounds about right based on where we are right now. Kobe is supposed to be back after Christmas (although many think he will come back sooner), Pau had surgery in May and may not be cleared for physical activity until late this month or next (and he will then have to get back in shape), Nash coming back from an injury plagued season and the uncertainty that creates due to his age, Hill returning from hip surgery…. and, of course, the uncertainty (to some) over whether D’Antoni can make this team into a productive one. But, like Craig said, many factors can impact whether we beat or exceed expectations.

    This is the reality of where we are today. I do not like it, but I’m eager to see what transpires over the course of the next two seasons.

  4. rr – I think you are reading too much into Craig’s comment. No offense.

  5. Thanks MannyP. I wasn’t trying to put down what rr was saying. However, I do have a problem with ‘talking heads’ because they are paid to create controversy, rather than to find the truth, and they do that very well.

    I can certainly see why people wouldn’t be talking optimistically about the Lakers, but the need for negativity would seem to be more for headlines and to draw ‘hits’, rather than informed analysis.

    The Lakers should rightly be listed as a borderline playoff team. If their major stars are healthy most of the year they should finish pretty well. If their major stars are injury prone again this year, they will be in the lottery. I take that as a given and concern myself with how the other players might develop this year and how their strengths mesh with the coaching staff.

  6. Actually – being ranked 20th is exactly 14 places worse than “6th”. Given that “6th” is completely unacceptable, I will need to ponder 20th for a while. I would guess that nobody has ever won the title from a pre-season 20th.
    Talking Heads: A note from one of the board’s favorites.
    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/lakers-assistant-coach-kurt-rambis-doesn-t-think-185906215.html.
    SBNation Ranking not the Worst Thing That Has Happened to the Lakers: I would have to agree. There a couple very specific, recent things that come to mind, that were much worse.

  7. I try not to pay attention to the pre-season predictions in any sport. The writers don’t really know any better than most fans at that point in time — one key injury or unforeseen trade and it’s all over, for example — so really the goal for most such writings is to put out something that seems either moderately credible, or something that will drive magazine sales or Internet clicks. Sometimes both…

    Sports Illustrated’s predictions have become particularly laughable of late now that it now releases “mid-season update” predictions in which the writers go back and take a second stab at who will win this or that, as if the readers should believe the writers can better predict the future now than they could three or four months earlier.

    “Ten Best” lists of preseason predictions aren’t anything more than fodder. Just recall this:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/lee_jenkins/10/22/nba-los-angeles-lakers-pacific-preview/index.html

  8. I would venture to say that MDA should heed Rambis´ advice in regard to utilizing our big men as much as possible, as well as shoring up our D. (obviously, this is NOT earth-shattering knowledge)
    This should help us move up in the rankings and trump those negative pre-season predictions that I, for one, am tired of hearing about.
    Not that the best of them aren´t based on level-headed thinking/study (ie. BK & a few others) but again, what seems clear is that our squad has an almost nil chance to hoist the trophy come June, and thus only what happens on the court night in & night out will determine where we may end up, and that´s fine by me.
    Give `em hell Lakers!!

  9. “The surgical procedure was different […] and because of that the recovery has been different,” ..

    It’s understood, the way in which the NBA.Com author wrote the piece, that there may have been more into what Kobe stated up above. If so, is there anyone within the FB&G Community who has the answer as to how the surgical procedure which was performed on him, any different from the customary surgery that’s administered upon athlete’s with the same type of injury?

    Truth be told, I sincerely hope that Kobe isn’t just throwing this out there, as a counter, to ward off some of the criticism that he’s receiving from fans and ‘media mouths’ alike that he may be rushing back too soon from such a devastating injury. He doesn’t come across to me as the type of individual who would do such a thing, but taking into account the severity of this injury, you never know.

  10. 20th= 1.7% chance for Wiggins(?)
    can we just trade substantial cash for the pick?

  11. Robert – I hear ya… it sucks – really, really sucks.. but I think that realistically, this where we should expect to be. Hopefully, as Craig said, we beat expectations, and if we don’t then even with tempered expectations heads will fly.

  12. 20th is OK with me if it nets us a nice pick. No better time to grab one than next June!

  13. arliepro,
    Even with a deep draft, the 12th pick would probably be a rotation player, and we would possibly not see him productive until the 2nd year.

    The draft is an important part of building a team – key word is building -, but it is not likely a lifesaver unless you hit a home run.

  14. Didn`t Kobe say in July, that he had to wait until mid-Aug,and make sure he was fully healed before doing any intense training? Injuries and health questions will determine where the team finishes,so a lot right now is just guessing.

  15. I would like to see Pau brought back next year most likely. I’m not enamored with signing Anthony and think money could be better spent on signing significant role players instead of a single star. 2015 is another story.

    I think next year may very well depend on just how well Ryan Kelly can play defense. If he can keep his man from doing lay-up drills he may very well become our starting PF. Short of Jordan Hill bringing out his inner Manute Bol.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45czWPhWQOI

  16. This thread is depressing me:
    rr: Posted the link to the 20th ranking.
    Craig: Correctly stated that we will most likely be drafting a rotation player.
    Vasheed: Evidently the bar for starting on our team is prevention of a lay-up drill. And then you cited Manute Bol as if that is something to aspire to be on the court : ) I guess for us it could be : )
    MannyP: You are my only salvation this thread. You invoked the hope that “heads will fly”

  17. I’m nervous about Kobe. If Kobe were to have a major setback in, say, December his season would be over. Not only that, he could be jeopardizing what’s left of his career. I just don’t see what the rush is. The Lakers are not about to compete for a title this upcoming season. They will be lucky to make the West playoffs. Why not take some extended time off? Kobe is not Elton Brand (who came back from the same injury) spending most of his time on the box. He is a wing. He will have to chase around 25 year old guys every night on a shaky wheel.

    Please take it easy Kobe.

  18. T. Rogers, I join you in the concern over Kobe attempting to prove that he is super human.

    Dear Kobe:

    Please do not attempt to return until December. Kobe Nation has already been deprived of your feats on the court for the end of last season. DO NOT return until you are 100% ready to endure the rigors of the season. Take the approach of Derrick Rose and err on the side of extreme caution by not returning until your body and mind have adjusted to your basketball mortality.

    Thank you, on behalf of Kobe Nation!

  19. Robert, I think Ryan Kelly has the requisite offensive skills to start but, his lack of speed may prevent him from being an adequate defensive presence. However, I had read in some assessments that his defensive numbers were better then might be expected which would indicate if not athletically gifted he has the intelligence to compensate somewhat. If he can play passable defense his offense will make him the Laker starting PF considering the other options.

    The Manute Bol reference was to emphasize the need for outside shooting. The Lakers need a stretch PF. I like Hill’s game a lot but I think his skill set does not match team needs unless you believe in heaving 3pt prayers alla the Bol reference. :)

    Consider MDA has indicated he may start Kaman and Gasol together to provide the necessary spacing. That slow combo should emphasize the problem with starting Hill.