Week At A Glance

Andre Khatchaturian —  November 30, 2013

Well, what do you know? The Lakers have won five of their last six games and find themselves at 9-8 as November comes to an end. All of this without Kobe Bryant, who signed a two-year extension this week and will likely remain a Laker for life.

That being said, the Lakers still have plenty to work on – especially in the paint defensively, where they had two major letdowns this week.

First, they let Nene score 30 points in their lone loss of the week against the Wizards. Then, they allowed 76 points in the paint to the Pistons in what eventually turned out to be a win. In fact, the Pistons didn’t score a single basket outside of the paint until the third quarter.

The Lakers are just too easy to penetrate against. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First of all, they take a lot of long distance shots. They are second in terms of shots taken from beyond 24 feet and 10th in terms of shots from 16-24 feet. While they make a lot of them, they miss plenty, too. The misses usually result in long rebounds which lead to transition points from the paint.

Secondly, they’re pretty average in terms of defending the rim. Pau Gasol allows a 49.3 percent field goal percentage at the rim. It’s not awful (DeAndre Jordan allows a 61.9 percent field goal percentage at the rim), but it’s nowhere near good either (Roy Hibbert allows a 36.5 percent FGP at the rim).

This is interesting to keep in mind because both of those atrocious performances in the paint have come with Chris Kaman out of the lineup. He missed a few games with a back injury but he’s been cleared to play over the last two games. However, he has yet to see the floor. Why would Kaman help? Because in terms of players who see at least five field goal attempts at the rim per game, he has the THIRD BEST opponent field goal percentage at the rim (37.7 percent). He comes in right after Roy Hibbert and Brook Lopez on that list.

That being said, all of this is nitpicking. The Lakers are playing well and they’re playing hard. After all, the reasonable goal for Laker fans is for the team to play .500 ball until Kobe comes back. They’re doing better than that and let’s not forget – they’re doing it without Nash, too.

Pau Gasol continues to play well offensively as we highlighted last week. Through the last six games, he’s averaging vintage Pau numbers – 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

Nick Young has proven to be effective over the last two weeks. Not only is he scoring, but he’s playing well on both sides of the ball as evidenced by his plus-minus. He’s recorded a “plus” over eight of the last nine games. Over the last six games, he’s a plus-62.

After a sluggish start to the season, Shawne Williams is also beginning to play better and as a result he’s earning more minutes. He’s a plus-43 over the last six and after not being able to make more than three field goals in any given game this season, he exploded for 20 points against Detroit. In that game, he hit six threes.

Finally, there’s Jordan Farmar once again. I can’t stop talking about this guy. He averages fewer minutes than Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, Jordan Hill, and Wesley Johnson but he averages more points than all of those guys. Give this man some playing time, please. Farmar is a plus-67 in the last six games. He’s only played 20 minutes per game in that span, but he’s averaging 13.2 points and 5.0 assists per game. Let’s not forget how efficient he’s been either – he’s made 57.4 percent of his shots and he’s a guard. Farmar is also apart of the top five most efficient (in terms of plus-minus) Laker lineup combinations. Don’t think he has a factor in that?

The Lakers will carry their momentum to a huge game against the surprising Portland Trail Blazers Sunday night at Staples before getting four consecutive days off. It’s a light week for the Lakers, who will also play on Friday night at Sacramento – a team they defeated earlier this week.

The Portland game looks tough on paper, but the Lakers have done well against contenders this season evidenced by their wins against Houston and the Clippers. They also played the Spurs tough at home and barely lost to the Grizzlies. It’ll be a tough test and it’ll show us whether the Lakers have actually improved, or just dominated a bunch of cupcake opponents.

Andre Khatchaturian

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41 responses to Week At A Glance

  1. Andre: “Give this man some playing time, please. ” Agreed – he seems to be the heart of the team right now – then again who are we to challenge – the results are good – so let it ride : )
    rr: With regard to Melo – I do not disagree that getting him would hardly be a ticket to the next parade. Then again – I am not sure what would be, as I know you agree that there are a number of moves that need to be made in order to get there. Melo is one of the biggest FAs out there and he has a bad history with MD. Last year’s biggest FA was DH and he had a bad history with MD. Whether Kevin has any “Love” for MD or not – is yet to be seen : )
    SuperStars: Are we really debating this? Super Stars win titles – there is no other way in the NBA. Aaron – where are you?
    Harvey M: “MJ, who I view as a Jimi Hendrix type” I totally agree. It was “Team Magic” and “Team Larry”. MJ was a raw talent. He was supposed to be another Dominique. He was getting frozen out of All Star games – he was such a braggart. Strange thing happened though – he was just too good and he won all the rings, and like Hendrix – once people saw him play – everything changed. However we are where we are. Coaches need to coach superstars and they need game plans designed for them. To continue the music comparison. You can’t beat Jimi Hendrix by playing Beach Boys music. Metal must be attacked with metal and guys like Kobe and LBJ are like Metallica and Guns n Roses.
    ” this is what he is most capable of doing which is to invigorate a team and make them just way more interesting to watch. and yes he is better set up to handle underdog type teams.” Well – if that is what you want. It is not what I want. That is not the Laker way. If Mitch or Jim actually made a statement like that – they would be vilified and run out of town. Come to think of it – is there a way we can get Jim to say that? : )
    And by the way – I find the Lakers “interesting to watch” no matter who coaches them and who plays for them : ) So in case anyone from the FO is reading the site, don’t change the plans to try to keep me as a fan – I will be there unconditionally !

  2. I’m fairly certain a person can be ignorant whether they like or dislike MD’A as a Laker coach. Halitosis, also. However, I do admit to having no definitive data to back those assertions.

    My seven year old was able to watch the game last night by himself while I worked in the other room. I could tell the ebb and flow of the game by his fanatical yelling and cheers. This year, he is building individual attachment to players which points to his developing awareness more so than the miserable energy emanated from last year’s team. I am enjoying this season thus far because I am seeing the birth of a basketball aficionado with purple and gold blood. He can learn the mantra “championship or bust” at his own pace but seeing him frothing at the mouth during a good play or the cries of agony whenever the villainous team scores is worth putting up with Bill McDonald’s prattling.

  3. Whether you like the Beach Boys or Metallica has more to do with your generation than to the group’s talent. This is also true of sports figures – sorry but Jim Brown and Wilt Chamberlain rule over Emmitt Smith and Michael Jordan in my book. You can count rings to me all you want, but in a team sport the composition of the team and coaches has as much to do with rings as any individual does.

    Sorry Robert, but the Lakers are a transition team right now; and they need a coach who is good at developing talent, not just managing great talent. If we concentrate only on getting current great talent – and not developing it – then we will overpay every time and we will not have the supporting cast. If we do get a supporting cast, like Miami, we will have to develop them – the CBA dictates this approach, which was not true when Miami assembled their big three. This means a coach like MDA is what we need right now.

  4. then we will overpay every time

    This is a very strange comment indeed coming from a guy who supported the deal that the Lakers just gave Kobe.

  5. …and if you are worried about the CBA, committing 40% of the cap to Kobe should not be a decision that you are backing. The Lakers don’t have guys at the minimum because of some grand strategy; they have them because that is what they can afford, and because Farmar and Young wanted to be here.

    To MDA’s credit, he is doing a good job with this group. But if you like these guys, and you certainly seem to, Kobe’s deal is going to make it harder to keep some of them. If you see them as interchangeable and you think the FO will find some more of them and MDA will develop them, or if you think that they will want to take less money to stay here,, then, well, OK, but those are faith-based arguments, not analytical ones.

  6. Lakers in the 8th seed right now. The other teams that are contending for spots 6-8 are falling back to earth while the Lakers have not even played with their best player on the floor.

  7. It’s great that Kobe may be back soon and everything but let’s not expect that he’s just going to plug in and turbocharge the team. That would be wonderful it if happens but its more likely he’s going to have work into condition, perhaps (probably!) at some expense to the chemistry the team has developed without him.

    Let’s face it, the way Kobe usually (re) calibrates his game is by firing away …

  8. Craig and I go a long way but it doesn’t mean we’ve agreed to everything. Like right now he doesn’t like Melo while I push hard for him just weeks ago. But on the front of Mike D’ Antoni, we’re screwed in so tight.

    MDA is not a super coach like Phil. Most of you paint him a different color because of this. In fact, when he was hired as Lakers coach, it made sense for Nash, Howard, their supposed PNR, Kobe and Pau and their supposed PNR. In fact, his biggest mistake is that his name is not Phil Jackson.

    A team like ours, we need a coach that would be able to maximize the best out of players. Sorry to most of you but this is not Phil Jackson. In fact, Jordan Farmar was greatly marginalized by Phil Jackson during his time (sure they won 2 chips) and had asked Mitch Kupchak to not tender him a qualifying offer so as to make him an unrestricted free agent the year later. More on this story in a bit.

    Phil Jackson is a great coach for great egos and for great players. I take nothing away from his legacy or his skill. But if you were to field a team of 1-yr deals like Chris Kaman and Wes Johnson and Xavier Henry and Jordan Farmar and Nick Young and Shawne Williams… this team would be competing against the Jazz and Bucks for Wiggins, which, well Phil would prefer to coach than any of these guys anyway. Farmar pretty sure wouldn’t have come back, we wouldn’t have signed Henry and Willaims to a contract.

    The coach’s impact of a game is always relative. Its cannot be proven how a coach can really make his team better or worse by what he does. Its still the players that run, defend, jump… last year’s team just couldn’t do any of those. Metta, Steve, Kobe, Pau … none of those four would jump on their nitro boosts to defend during transition. While we supposedly had better interior defense last year with Dwight, our offense was awful and if not for Kobe playing Magic late last year we’d be out of the playoffs WITH a super team.

    Give MDA his due, but don’t overcredit him. Stop calling for Phil to save you when things don’t pan out as you want. A championship opportunity doesn’t come every year, but we do have years where we need to groom players that become members of a championship team.

  9. It’s an incredible statement, but I hope that Johnson, Hill, Young, Farmar, etc. are more of an influence on Kobe than he is on them. This team hustles on every play on both sides of the ball… would love to see a dialed in Kobe doing the same. Doesn’t mean I don’t know that Kobe is one million times better than the rest of these guys; just that I hope their blue collar attitude and obvious love for playing as a team is contagious. MK and MDA have something really special on their hands… can’t wait to see what it looks like with a mamba in the fold.

  10. Having a athletic, gym jumping small forward like Johnson who can hit 3 pointers is something Kobe has never had . Ariza was close but Johnson has more and is younger. Compare him to slow feet Metta and his 3 point bricks and add Young to keep Kobe minutes down and this will make his life way easier.

    This team is one defensive big away from being a real contender next year. Assuming Nash retires of course.

  11. One thing about Kobe – he is a real blue collar player. He will get down and dig with the best of them, he will work on all parts of his game continuously, he will vary his game to maximize the chance for us to win. These are aspects that make him a superstar. He is also extremely stubborn, ego driven, and can be hard headed. These are also aspects that make him a superstar.

    If we can all agree that Kobe’s main drive is to win, then it stands to reason he will try to use the talents of this team to their best advantage. He is like a stubborn coach on the floor. This team has enough balance that Kobe can add some offense and still have enough energy left over to improve on his defense of the last couple of years. I’m sure he is not happy that his defense ‘tailed off’ the last two years, but he was required to pretty much do everything on offense for the team to win games – especially road games. If he has teammates that push and pass the ball, I suspect he will not feel so much pressure to produce on offense and will convert some of his smarts to intelligent defensive effort.

    Maybe I am wrong, but if the past is any indicator of Kobe’s dedication to winning, he will examine both sides of the ball in looking at where he should expend effort. I, too, would rather he signed a contract for less money, but I don’t think he is overpaid. He not only excels at winning, but puts butts in the seats while doing so – a good definition of being the highest paid player in the game, in management’s eyes.

  12. If anything, this bunch has proven we can roll with the best even without Kobe. MDA has done quite the job making them play over their own expectations. For those that have been touted as high picks like Wes, Jordan Hill and Xavier, they are finally playing to the expectations they were drafted for.

    Seeing this bunch so happy and together will encourage Kobe to trust them more. This is what happened with our 2008 group that saw a team play above expectations. Then the Gasol deal happened, boom!

    Kobe trusting his teammates to deliver means a better team because we know Kobe will command the double team. And then now, we have someone that could carry the load in the waning moments of how we lost the Nuggets, Grizzlies and Spurs games. Its not linear but it can only be better from hereon in.

    Confidence can be a very beautiful thing.

  13. “This team is one defensive big away from being a real contender next year.”
    Greg Monroe, anyone? Realistically, what would our chances be of landing him?

  14. Is Greg Monroe a good defensive player? Good enough to cover up repeated drives to the basket?

  15. Greg Monroe has a polished offensive and passing game, but his defense is little to be desired. Couple that w/ the fact that he has bad ft% he could be an offensive Dwight. Also, he’s not that tall.

  16. Greg Monroe is definitely no-one’s idea of a defensive big…

  17. Notion Nash will improve Lakers is laughable. Nash is a washed up HOF PG who is a major defensive liability and can’t stay healthy enough to play 10 games in a row. Any reference to Nash as a contributor this season is misguided unless he makes impact in spot minutes off the bench. Medical retirement is Nash’s best contribution to Lakers nation.

  18. Why oh why couldn’t Bynum have stayed healthy? I was so sad watching this video…
    http://youtu.be/6zL_meBbHtw

  19. I’ll sure be glad once Kobe is back and will want the team to keep it’s diversity and unpredictability as well. The current 9 rotation players each have a usg% of 14. With everyone getting their time to shine we see the Johnson lobs, Pau post ups, PnR’s, equally divided isos’s and of course the 3s where 6 players are taking at last 3 a game. Numbers will go down but I hope not drastic enough where Lakers become predictable and stop hustling on defense because the opportunities aren’t there on offense.

  20. Nice for Bynum. I’m happy for him.

    I’m really starting to warm up to the idea of Melo. I think two good years with Melo and Kobe can really make us contenders. But I hope some of the players we have now stay with the team, like Johnson, Hill and Farmar. We know Nick Young is signed for an extra year so that would be great if he can be a 6th man again.

    I smell a nice trade this year.

  21. Rusty Shackleford December 1, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I was just told that my in-laws’ Christmas present to me was tickets to the game in Sacramento this Friday. In light of the return of Mamba news I’m excited to go watch him drop 47 on the City of Sacramento.

  22. Personally, I would pass on Greg Monroe. On top of everything that WWL mentioned, he’s also un-athletic and he’s also what we used to call on the blacktops of New York, a ’1 Hand Bandit’ (meaning he only plays to his strong hand, which in his case, is the left).

    Like others within the community, I’m also interested to see how Kobe meshes with the team once he returns. Kobe has the propensity to dominate the ball and up until this point, one of the reasons why this team is such a joy to watch is because the ball is constantly moving. Which means everyone is involved offensively, creating better team camaraderie and a higher effort on the defensive end of the court. However, this all won’t be on Kobe. As I’ve mentioned previously within the community, players such as Johnson, Meeks, Williams and X-Hen (although I believe Henry will be X’d out of the rotation upon Kobe’s arrival) must continue to be just as aggressive with Kobe on the floor next to them, as they’ve been while Kobe was out rehabbing. It’s imperative that they recognize Kobe as just another teammate (in a sense) and not sit back and all of a sudden become fans of his. The acclimation goes both ways.

  23. @Rubenowski:

    Agree that Melo will be a good addition. Not sure if the rumors about him having an issue with MDA are true but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were overblown. Regarding keeping our guys, due to Kobe’s extension it will be difficult. In order to keep a max slot available to Melo, Hill will have to be signed to a deal starting around 6M or less, X will have to be renounced and resigned to a one year deal, Farmar will have to take the Room MLE for 2.7M, and Wes will have to take the Non-Bird exception for around 1.3M (or you can switch these around depending on how the season progresses). That assumes everyone else is renounced (or traded for a pick). That also assumes Nash is waived via the stretch provision (assuming he doesn’t retire). Also, SwaggyP has a player option, so he will have to opt in and at 1.2M, I am sure he will get offers exceeding that. Bottom line is that if we land Melo, the current guys will have to take a discount (again).

  24. Robert,
    I’m lost. Who is saying superstars are bad for teams?

  25. Ken,
    People are heartbroken about Rose’s career altering injuries and rightfully so but people forget how athletic and skilled Bynum was before stepping on Lamar’s foot all hose years ago. He could have been a special player. A rare seven foot skilled athlete with power.

  26. I have a comment that’s been stuck in a moderation maze, but the crux of the post has me agreeing with the board on Monroe and my thoughts on the return of Kobe.

    About to tune in to the team that I predicted would come out of the Eastern Conference this year. Their West Coast excursion begins today against the Clips. With stops in Portland, San Antonio and OKC along the way. Time to see how they’re really built.

  27. Aaron: I am lost too. I am not clear what the Lakers plan is, nor am I clear what some are saying it is. Evidently the current party line is that the FA group in the summer of 14 and 15 was not that good anyway, so now we must wait for 16. In the meantime we are going to spend the next 2 1/2 years developing a bench so that when we land our whopper free agents in 16, the bench mob will be there.
    Phil: Why are people continuing to bring up Phil? I am serious. Go re-read the comments. See who mentioned Phil and who did not. Who should have been hired last year is debatable, but no longer relevant. Also – we have all made our points known. It is who is going to coach us to the next visit to the Finals that matters. And if we are truly mortgaging the next 2 1/2 years (see note to Aaron), then who coaches us for the next 2 1/2 years is not that important. MD will be fine.
    Kobe: Looking forward to the return of KB to the court and the inevitable debates.

  28. Farmar is outplaying Blake and Nash, yet only gets 20 minutes per game. Clearly Farmar’s goal is being Lakers starting PG. No matter the obstacles, Farmar seems determined.

    @WWL Agree. Don’t think Farmar would have returned if PJ was the coach. Jordan Farmar on a productivity/minute basis outplayed DFish by a wide margin yet PJ never gave Farmar a chance. Don’t think Farmar appreciated how Phil limited his minutes no matter his productivity. Farmar seems to have a better relationship with Mitch K who drafted him.

  29. For all of us Andrew Bynum fans: “The Cleveland Cavaliers have been waiting for Andrew Bynum to have a breakout performance. The 7-footer came through in a 97-93 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. Bynum made the go-ahead basket with 3:35 left and had his best all-around game of the season with 20 points, five blocked shots, 10 rebounds, & 3 assist in 30 minutes.”

  30. great discussion. posted this several hours ago but apparently it is stuck in moderation. let’s see if this one goes through.

    @Rubenowski: Agree that Melo will be a good addition. Not sure if the rumors about him having an issue with MDA are true but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were overblown.

    Regarding keeping our guys, due to Kobe’s extension it will be difficult. In order to keep a max slot available to Melo, Hill will have to be signed to a deal starting around 6M or less, X will have to be renounced and resigned to a one year deal, Farmar will have to take the Room MLE for 2.7M, and Wes will have to take the Non-Bird exception for around 1.3M (or you can switch these around depending on how the season progresses).

    That assumes everyone else is renounced (or traded for a future pick). That also assumes Nash is waived via the stretch provision (assuming he doesn’t retire). Also, SwaggyP has a player option, so he will have to opt in and, at 1.2M, I am sure he will get offers exceeding that. Bottom line is that if we land Melo, the current guys will have to take a discount (again).

  31. If you could get Melo for two years I would do it. However the problem is that he’ll require a max four year deal. You don’t want to have a 33 year old Melo as the cornerstone for your team — it’s a recipe for disaster.

    With committing to Kobe the FO has to be careful what other commitments they make. Being maxed out with aging and/or little talent equates to sustained mediocrity in a hard cap league.

  32. Greg Monroe, anyone? Realistically, what would our chances be of landing him?

    He is a RFA, so that will be up to Detroit. But because of the money they have committed to Smith, the money that they will need to commit to Drummond, and the fact that the 3 bigs and Brandon Jennings thing isn’t going so well, he is a guy that might possibly be available.

    And, no, he is not a particularly good defensive player and is one reason that DET has been getting killed on PnRs at times this year.

    But he and Love are the best bigs in their 20s likely to hit the market over the next three years.

  33. Aaron: I am lost too. I am not clear what the Lakers plan is, nor am I clear what some are saying it is.

    There are a few possibilities:

    1. Kupchak and Buss agree with the people here who seem to have decided that this team is actually pretty close to contention now, assuming that
    a) Kobe is pretty much Kobe.
    b) They can pick up a pretty high-level defensive-minded big for 8-10M and give him either Pau’s job or Hill’s (not easy to do, actually).
    2. They have decided that they cannot contend for the next two years, so they want to keep the merch and ticket sales rolling in the meantime.
    3. They either don’t care about getting Kevin Love or they think that he is staying in Minnesota or going elsewhere.
    4. They think Kevin Love will want to join a team that has KB on it for 25M at age 37.
    5. They were just scared of making Kobe mad.
    6. Something else that I cannot see.

    And, yes, MDA does seem to be a good coach for this team–I said as much yesterday, and no, Phil at age 68 would not want to coach this group. And yes, Farmar is a great fit for for MDA ball and no, JF did not work well with Phil or the Triangle. These things, except for maybe the first one, were clear before the Lakers had played a game this year.

  34. This team isn’t one of any player away from a championship outside of LeBron. I’m enjoying watching this team over achieve as much as anyone but frankly they are only hurting their draft position in a loaded draft.

  35. The other teams that are contending for spots 6-8 are falling back to earth

    Denver won in Toronto today to go to 10-6, and Minnesota won in Dallas last night. Dallas, Golden State and Memphis are all having a little trouble, but PHX is still over .500 and NO is only one game under. Seven teams in the West have either 8 losses or 9 losses.

  36. Rambis has had 2 head coaching gigs – in 1999 for a few months and 11 years later with Minn. I don’t see him getting another shot at being a head coach – 1st sentence, age, disposition. Therefore, I see him a good bet to remain with the Lakers a-la Bill Bertka. That being the case, I see absolutely no reason to run down MDA because we want a championship coach and will accept nothing less.

    MDA is what we need now, Kurt will be around to coach defense, and I see no reason why we shouldn’t evolve into a contender in the next 2-4 years. That is a reasonable timetable and allows for the front office to pick up a couple of talents through trades and free agency.

    I see no real reason to target specific individuals and lock in on anything at this time. I like the foundation and approach we are taking to evolving and I also like watching the team play right now – enjoyable basketball. I have confidence in the front office to make the right move when the opportunity arises, whether it be Greg Monroe, Kevin Love, or another player we are not even considering at this time – read the Pau Gasol trade.

    Therefore, I really don’t get caught up in statistics or PER at this time of year.

  37. Hale,
    nice post yesterday.
    ____
    tough game tonight, hope we can keep rolling..

  38. and I see no reason why we shouldn’t evolve into a contender in the next 2-4 years.
    I have confidence in the front office to make the right move when the opportunity arises

    That’s fine, and of course three years is a lifetime in the NBA. But these are, again, faith-based arguments. It would be just as easy to say that there is no particular reason to believe that the Lakers will evolve into contenders over the next 2-4 years, and that one does not have confidence in the front office to make the right moves.

    The Lakers don’t have any elite young talent, and they have very few upcoming draft picks. They still have some “financial flexibility” but they gave up a lot of it over the next two years to extend Kobe. Those are key facts.

    One thing to watch is whether the FO tries to trade some of the vets (Blake, Kaman, Meeks) in small deals with contenders. My guess is that there will be talks but no agreements made. That will be an indicator as to what the plan is. We will see.

    You are probably right about Rambis sticking around, and that may help, but no one is really running down MDA that I can see.

  39. Craig W: Rambis: Agreed: He could be a career #2 type guy. He has the perfect temperament for that.
    Championship Coach: We only need that if we have the roster to match and we don’t now – so no need for a change unless we get a plan for the roster – so let MD stay – also agreed.
    No Need to Lock in: Well – agreed again – because there are too many variables that zeroing in on a specific FA is not even possible.
    “Foundation + Evolving”: This is where we do not agree : ) You can’t organically build through FA. You do it through the draft. When you pick up guys at min and they do well, their re-ups eat up your cap space, and you have no money left to land the big stars. If you are fortunate and draft a KD or a RW, than you win in the current CBA. Short of that you can’t build the lesser players first and put the superstar on top later. It just does not work. This was the old football recipe for success: Build the O and D line first and get the QB later. The football teams do not even do this anymore. Everyone needs the marque QB. Just like everyone needs the SuperStars in basketball. Singing the peripheral players first without knowing who the top of the roster is going to be, is like putting a foundation in the ground before you design the house. Everyone points to the Spurs as the best development of players, but let’s not forget that the top of their roster, their coaching team, and their ownership has also had stability for 17 years ! In fact Pop, Duncan, and Holt all joined at approximately the same time. That is why they have won consistently. The development of secondary players can make the difference between a title and a runner-up. It does not take a middle of the road team and make them a contender.
    Then again – see rr’s list #2 + #5. Go Lakers + Kobe Rules !

  40. @rr, re: watching FO moves prior to the deadline, I agree that will give us a good indication of what is in store due to the limited possibilities of using cap room. In particular, if Pau is moved for a player with a 2014 salary, then we will know the FO is not considering Melo or Lebron, as there would not be sufficient room due to Kobe’s extension.