When we talk about Lakers looking to get paid lately, it’s been about Andrew Bynum and what he is worth. (Apparently he is doing well this off-season, by the way.) I’ve said what I think he should make, but whatever the number is this is something the Lakers need to get taken care of in camp.
Which leaves a few Lakers playing for their next contract during the coming season. Odom is one, although at this point his career we have a pretty good idea what he brings to the table. His situation will be an interesting one to watch this season. Ariza is another interesting case.
But maybe the most interesting and important long term will be Jordan Farmar. He will be playing the key year of his rookie deal, his third year. (While the Lakers have a team option for his fourth season, with players you want to keep traditionally you negotiate a long term deal after the third season.) Farmar wants to get paid. Without talking out of school, he wants to get paid starter money. Can’t blame him for wanting that.
But he has to earn it. This is the year I think we’re going to see just how good Jordan Farmar can be in the league. Is he a good starting PG, someone who can be trusted to handle the ball for a team going deep into the playoffs? Or, his he a nice PG, a guy who can be a solid backup and role player for quality teams, but is not starter material.
I don’t think we know the answer to that yet. We know he has a good work ethic and his game made big leaps between his first two seasons — true shooting percentage jumped from 51% to 55%, his three point shooting jumped from 32.8% to 37.1%, his assists were up while turnovers were down, his PER was up three points to 15.7 (about the league average). Those kinds of improvements just don’t happen without a lot of work. He gets called out for his defense, but opposing PGs shot just 47.5% (eFG%) against him and had a not great but not bad PER of 16.4 (those numbers were pretty comparable to the previous year).
The question now is, can he make another leap forward? On both ends of the floor? More importantly can he show us that he is the PG of the future, can he basically rip key minutes away from Fisher because Phil can’t just keep him on the bench?
If he does that, he gets paid. Maybe not as much as he dreams, but he’ll get a good offer. Good PGs matter. But if he doesn’t, if he really is a role player, he’ll get paid at that level. And that is not what he’s hoping for.
Here are a few other Dim Sum free comments and links:
• Everyone in the basketball blogsphere has linked to the Periodic Table of Basketball Bloggers. And with good reason, this is an impressive piece of work and a fun read. Plus, this site correlates with titanium on the table of elements, and I can live with that just fine.
• I’m not a fan of the idea, but there are a lot of people suggesting bringing Odom off the bench this season. And making their case.
• I think everyone is being a little hard on Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur. I think what they were doing was vintage Hunter S. Thompson straight out of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — get stoned in the one place you are not supposed to. Maybe it’s NBA rookie camp, maybe it’s a meeting of drug enforcement agents, but the attitude is the same. Fear and Loathing. Those two are my new favorite guys (no need to tell them about the bats, they’ll find out about them soon enough).