Donâ€™t Even Start. Yes the Timberwolves are in town but nobody should be mentioning a trade of that guy to this team. Not going to happen this season, probably a 1% chance it would ever happen. So stop it. Just stop it. Live in the moment.
Sit Kobe? You need to check out the latest conversation between Tex Winter and Roland Lazenby:
Will Odom defer to Bryant as he has in seasons past?
Thatâ€™s a concern to the Lakers, said Winter. â€œAfter all, there is only one ball. Odom might defer. The whole team might.â€
Chief among those concerned is Bryant himself.
â€œItâ€™s not Kobeâ€™s fault,â€ Winter said, adding that Bryant keeps encouraging Odom to be aggressive, to emerge as his own man.
Odom averaged 28 points over the first three games of this season, including one game in which Bryant returned to the lineup after a long layoff following knee surgery.
But in the fourth game, Odom and the rest of the team reverted to old form and deferred to Bryant, Winter said. Not surprisingly, the Lakers suffered their first loss of the season against Seattle.
Can we stop Mike James? New year but there has not been a dramatic change here â€“ opposing point guards have been the position giving the Lakers the most trouble. Just four games in but the opponent PER is 21.7 (basically Tony Parker level numbers). In part that is guys out top not being able to stay in front of their man â€” both Farmar and Smush at different times â€” part bad rotations behind them.
But itâ€™s too early to hit the panic button on the Laker defense â€” while the numbers are not good itâ€™s just four games, and three of them against some of the best offenses in the league.
As for Mike James, I asked Tom from Sactown Royalty how he looked last night against the Kings and he said James is clearly still struggling to fit into a system with KG and Ricky. So the Lakers have a chance to look good defending the point tonight.
Keep either Kobe or Lamar on the floor. Last season Phil would never go without either of them on the court, the fact he tried it in the second Sonics game says something about the depth he sees, but still…
Along those same lines â€” once again in the second game against Seattle the Lakers went with a front line for a stretch of Cook and Radmanovic, (with Evans, Smush and Walton) and once again they got burned with a -11 in just a few minutes of play. However, those two were again the front line (with Kobe, Sasha and Farmar) when the Lakers make the meaningless little run in the fourth. Still, Iâ€™d prefer that either Bynum or Turiaf be on the floor at all times.
Donâ€™t Watch the Game Until You Vote. I donâ€™t care who you vote for (well, thatâ€™s not totally true, I care but Iâ€™m not about to tell you that you should think like me), but vote. It matters.
I Love Turiaf. I do all but profess such in my latest at LAist.
Speaking of second round steals. Meet Craig Smith, the second round T-Wolves pick out of Boston College that is already playing nearly 17 minutes a game (way more than the heralded Randy Foye). Smith, playing the four, is shooting 61.5% on the season and has a PER of 20.3, second best on Minnesota so far this young season. Heâ€™s averaging 26.9 and 7.3 rebounds per 40 minutes. I guess heâ€™s not too small for the next level.
Donâ€™t forget that KG guy. Garnett has started the season with, well, Garnett like numbers. True Shooting percentage of 70.8% (crazy, crazy good), heâ€™s averaging 24.7 points and 12.8 rebounds per 40 minuets and has a PER of 30.7.
How do you stop him? Well, no one does. But youâ€™re better off if you can keep him away from the basket. Also, he prefers the left block to the right (this season heâ€™s shooting 63.6% from the right block, 40% from the left), so try to force him to his weaker side. And good luck with that.
Things to Look For. Minnesota is playing well, so the Lakers need to step it up. The Lakers need to get the movement back in the offense that was there for the three wins and missing in the loss. They need to rotate better on defense and do what they cannot to let KG dominate the game himself.
And run — the Wolves are in the second game of a back-to-back, having played last night in Sacramento. This is one the rested Lakers need to get.