So, it’s Kobe’s birthday. He’s 39 years young today and to celebrate the NBA posted this tremendous video of Kobe’s top play against every team he ever faced. What’s a nice touch is that we actually get multiple plays against some franchises who have moved or re-branded. So we get the Charlotte Hornets and the Bobcats, the Vancouver and Memphis Grizzlies, etc.

This thing is 11 minutes of pure fun. Seriously, sit back and enjoy.

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I’ve released my proposed ideal Laker playbook for next season, but it’s time to break it down. The playbook is comprised of 55 plays and grouped together in 9 chapters. I’ll be going through the playbook play by play and breaking down each of the plays I think the Lakers should run. Today is the second play of the playbook we’ll be breaking down.

Prerequisite Background Information

If you haven’t first read my earlier Forum Blue & Gold piece about Designing a Great Offense, which covers the 7 principles I think every great NBA play and offense NEEDS, check that out first. Each of those principles will be referenced in these play breakdowns, but for an explanation on the principle itself you’ll need to reference that original piece.

What This Includes

I’ll start with background info on each play, including its name, which team was seen running the play when it was diagrammed, the actions involved in the play, who (me or a FastModel contributor) diagrammed the play, and what alterations I may have made to the original play to make it #good.

After that short background, I’ll dig into how each play incorporates or could use improvement on each of my 7 principles of a great NBA offense.

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So, here’s what we know. The Pacers have asked the NBA to investigate the Lakers for tampering. This is related to Paul George who, after relaying to the Pacers front office that he intended to exercise his FA rights next summer and that his preferred destination would be the Lakers, was traded by the Pacers to the Thunder. So, Paul George is no longer a Pacer and is not (yet, at least) a Laker, but now the latter is being investigated because the former asked the league to do so.

Both the NBA and the Lakers have issued statements on this matter, but the can be summarized as such: The NBA says the Pacers asked them to do this, an independent law firm is handling the investigation, and no wrongdoing has yet been found; The Lakers are saying they’re cooperating, but cannot comment further on an ongoing investigation, and hope their name will be cleared soon.

So, that’s that, right?

Well, not so fast.

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I’ve released my proposed ideal Laker playbook for next season, but it’s time to break it down. The playbook is comprised of 55 plays and grouped together in 9 chapters. Starting today, I’ll be going through the playbook play by play and breaking down each of the plays I think the Lakers should run.

Prerequisite Background Information

If you haven’t first read my earlier Forum Blue & Gold piece about Designing a Great Offense, which covers the 7 principles I think every great NBA play and offense NEEDS, check that out first. Each of those principles will be referenced in these play breakdowns, but for an explanation on the principle itself you’ll need to reference that original piece.

What This Includes

I’ll start with background info on each play, including its name, which team was seen running the play when it was diagrammed, the actions involved in the play, who (me or a FastModel contributor) diagrammed the play, and what alterations I may have made to the original play to make it #good.

After that short background, I’ll dig into how each play incorporates or could use improvement on each of my 7 principles of a great NBA offense.

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No matter your personnel’s skill or experience, there are principles about designing a schematically sound offense that are consistent everywhere. Incorporating some of these principles can make your offense good. Having most of them can make it great. Having all of them can make it elite.

I’ve been openly critical about how poor the Lakers have been in many of these areas, so I decided I’d bring some potential solutions to the table. Below is a link to a PDF of a Laker playbook that’d match their current personnel and would be much better than what they currently run. It’s comprised of plays from other teams, as well as many plays that I designed or are from plays I diagrammed that other teams run that I made adjustments to (that follow the principles below).

Link to Ideal Laker Playbook: https://goo.gl/M1iQpw

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With training camp a little over a month away, the Lakers are starting to fill out their roster with players they’d like to see more of over the course of camp and preseason. The team had already signed Vander Blue to a make good contract, giving him a $50K guarantee to come to camp and try to make the team. I don’t think Blue’s chances are great to do that, but he showed some flashes in Vegas and I’m happy for him to get this chance.

The team also has already inked Alex Caruso to a two-way contract. So he’s automatically at camp and, in theory, not competing for a roster spot. Caruso will get some time with the big team, I’m sure, but will spend most of his season with the SBL in the G-League, running the system and being used as insurance should the Lakers need an extra body in practice or on the bench for potential game minutes.

With Blue and Caruso, the Lakers had 16 players under contract for camp. They are allowed 20. So, more were coming. And, now, more are here:

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It’s been a minute since our last podcast, so Pete and I had a little ground to cover. In our latest, we talk some of the roster moves in the last couple of weeks — specifically wondering if Tyler Ennis is really going to be the backup PG and if Vander Blue can make the final roster.

We also get into whether Lonzo can truly be a culture changer on the floor, or if he might experience some culture clash with some veterans who’s style of play to this point might not jibe as much with how Lonzo will try to play. We specifically talk Randle, Clarkson, and Lopez and how used they are to being ball dominant players.

Lastly, we get into Kyle Kuzma and whether he should get minutes at SF considering the glut of guys who will need to see minutes at PF while also understanding how shallow the team is on the wing behind Ingram. It’s a good discussion and it was good to be back talking Lakers basketball with Pete.

Click through to give the entire show a listen.

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He is a power forward who does not shoot threes (not yet, at least). He’s not especially long and is not a classic “big” defender who patrols the back line as a paint protector. He is a power player who loves his face up game. A player who, though very much left hand dominant, loves to drive hard to his right hand on initial moves. He is 6’9″ 250 pounds of down-hill, runaway train who does his best work in the open court.

In other words, Julius Randle’s game is not what you would expect. Not from a “modern” NBA power forward. Not in general. He’s unconventional in most every preconceived notion of style and game for today’s NBA at the PF position. And I love him for it. Give me Tasmanian Randle in the bunker next to me any day and let’s go to battle.

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