Just want to point you in the direction of a couple things this morning.
First is the latest from Eric Pincus at Hoopsworld looking at who the Lakers are looking at to fill in their roster with a little depth. The pickings are slim. One potentially amusing possibility is getting Aaron Williams out of Toronto to play some backup four. You thought Chris Mihm got a lot of fouls? Last season Williams averaged 8.9 fouls per 40 minutes played (Mihm was 5.1), but thatâ€™s better than the year before when he averaged 11.
Also, one of the best NBA blogs out there, the former Bulls Blog, has a new home as part of the growing SB Nation at Blog-A-Bull. Check out the new digs and during the season check back because Matt will have fun with the ups and downs of the Baby Bulls.
Aaron Williams might be nice if he can give some valuable defense down low coming off the bench. Even if Mitch is saying he is pretty much done… i really expect him to be looking for a couple more pieces to add much needed depth and improve the second unit overall quality. Anyway any new addition at this time would be possible only if they can balance out the roster via trade. There’s no doubt the lakers are pretty weak in front court reserves… especially lacking subs who can really defend their positions. Cook and Slava are good shooters and good fits offensively… but can they guard their guys effectively? Kwame and Chris might be having their foul troubles either… and they are question marks as far as defending effectively bigs for a decent amount of minutes without getting into foul trouble. With Phil emphasizing defense this year… you might expect them to improve this year but playoff level basketball requires well-rounded skills. Lamar can play some 4 either but again… he’s not a monster on the defensive end. Talking about defense considering the current roster there’s the point guard question mark. Will Mckie be a solid contributor on the defensive end? has he lost a step like the glove? Can Smush take care of the smaller faster pgs? Too many doubts to expect being risolved positively I guess. Laker management approach is correct anyway… if you can’t find anything better than what you have… then better stay put. And Mitch wasn’t really fortunate… if he could have stolen Antonio Daniels services and Ronny Turiaf could have contributed as hoped… this could have been a totally different story… and a balanced and pretty good team as far as team chemistry. We have to be confident and optimistic anyway… despite a few glaring weaknesses we have to be aware of, the Zen Master hopefully will succeed in putting together a nice, winning group who can really fight to get one of the west playoff spots (#7 or #8 presumably). And don’t forget that in 2007 the lakers will really have the flexibility to reshape the roster entirely around Kobe and Lamar (if he can prove to be one of the franchise pieces they expect him to be).
Look forward to reading the opinion of you guys on this. Prepare to be chanting DE-FENSE this year… guys really need to be encouraged!
Giopurle, I think you’re right. The Laker starting five should play good defense and be solid, but the drop off to the bench is steep. Particularly at the point and the 4/5. I think opening night will tell us a lot — Denver likely will start (or often have) Earl Watson at the 1 and Andre Miller at the 2. Kobe can handle Miller but can McKie deal with Watson? When Watson blows by McKie how will the defensive rotations go? What happens when Mihm needs a breather and Cook or Slava or the above-mentioned Aaron Williams comes in? That’s what worries me. But if Phil can get this team to commit to defense there is a good chance of picking up a playoff spot.
Another thing I think you’re right about, we’re going to be chanting D-Fence a lot this season.
You guys make great points. I think we’re in a world of trouble with the Laker PG situation. McKie is a great locker room guy and a pro, but he’s banged up and older – there’s no way he can keep up with the quick guards in the league and the Lakers don’t have anyone who really can, except for maybe Kobe, who you need to save for his offense anyway. When the opposing PG penetrates at will, Kwame or Mihm will have to rotate over where they’ll quickly get into foul trouble which means Slava and Cook will have to play big minutes, which won’t be a good thing.
Personally I’d love to get Williams to help with the situation. He’s tough, does the dirty work and can help play the “enforcer” role that would give opponents second thoughts about coming into the paint. True, he’s a foul waiting to happen, but defensively he’s still a major upgrade over Slava or Cook who run away from contact. I still remember Williams playing very well for the Nets in the playoffs a few years back.
I know it was a pipe dream for the asking cost, but man I wish the Lakers could’ve gotten Watson. He would’ve really helped out with that perimeter D – imagine him and Kobe locking down opposing backcourts…
Just a minor & slightly pedantic point…
Aaron Williams never averaged 11 fouls per 40 minutes over a whole season. He did however commit 45 fouls in 165 minutes of action with the Raptors last season, which gives the 11 per 40 rate.
That’s still some pretty impressive hacking, but I can’t see him fouling at that rate for 10 minutes a game!
that’s some travis knight-like hacking. he didn’t break travis’s record, did he?
Nobody will ever really replace Travis Knight.
Rashaan is right in that Williams has played fewer games and minutes the last couple of years and his fouls-per-minute have skyrocketed. My guess is he is older, a step slower and fouling because his feet can’t get him where he needs to be anymore. But, in his defense, for Williams career his foul rate per minute was not low but closer to Chis Mihm’s. Travis was in a whole other league â€” he averaged 7.1 fouls per 40 for his career. (Willims is at 5.7.)
I was just thinking about Aaron Williams before this came to light. I think he would do really well. He can hit the jumper, he plays physical defense and he’s a workhorse. The Lakers need to dump Slava and a throw-in, we already have a power forward that shoots jumpers all the time in B. Cook, and he’s a better shooter, also a younger player.