Tomorrow at high noon Pacific (that’s 3 in important East Coast cities like Portsmouth, NH) I will be doing a live chat on ESPN along with J.A. Adande (okay, he’s kind of the featured guy) taking questions on all things Lakers. It will go at least 30 minutes, maybe more, just follow the link above and send in your questions.
If you can’t join the chat live, because you have a job or a life or some such annoying thing, I’ll have the transcript up here later in the day.
For those of you who like previews, here are some blogger previews for the Southwest division. You know, the one where the Mavs are going to win 73 games.
Mavs Moneyball | The Two Man Game | NBA Mate
The Dream Shake | Ballerblogger
New Orleans Hornets
San Antonio Spurs
Pounding The Rock | Project Spurs
Finally, Wednesday is John Wooden’s 99th birthday. If you want to send the best basketball coach of all time a birthday wish, follow this link, then tell your friends.
Adam T says
“Join J.A. Adande and the TrueHoop Network’s Lakers blogger on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. ET, and…”
Man, ESPN sucks, Kurt. Can’t even introduce you by your name! At least you’re reppin the best team in the league though.
Adam, at least this year we bloggers were invited to the dance/chat. Small steps, it all happens in small steps.
We can fix that problem somewhat by asking questions addressed to Kurt.
Btw, 73 wins for the Mavs is a joke right? Or did someone actually predict that?
73 wins was a joke. Except maybe Cuban thinks that, like he thinks the moves they made this offseason make them a contender.
It was probably Cuban’s stats guy telling him that, the same person who comes to the conclusion that Jason Kidd is still better than Devin Harris.
Just read an interesting article about one of the Lakers’ foes, the Trailblazers, who apparently are taking a new approach to travel and sleep schedules to improve their road perfomances.
Actually does make some sense, I’ll belloking for the Blazers’ road record this season.
Adam T says
Also, the Mavs are more likely to win 73 games without Kevin Durant than with him..right? Cuz thats what I heard
#5, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think that anyone who travels for business will attest to that.
The Knicks and D’Antoni are getting rid of their 10 a.m. shoot arounds this year. Supposedly to allow players to sleep in uninterruptedly. Instead of the usual, get a few hours of sleep, shootaround and everyone goes back for naps.
Dallas is too small up front to match up with the Lakers and SA. If they were able to have signed Gortat and then turn Dampiers partially guaranteed contract into a good shooting guard (Rip Hamilton for instance) than they might have been quasi contenders in the Denver bracket. But they didn’t though they will be decent in the 4-5 range. They might even win their division if SA faces a lot injuries again this year. But 73 wins is a joke (pretty much for any team too much talent for a team to win that many).
Seems to me like the Mavs have plenty of athleticism, they have one of the best fast break leaders the league has ever seen, a top 6th man, 4-5 recent all stars, and they have a recent MVP at PF. And I agree with their take than they can go 8-9 deep with almost any team in the league. Sounds a lot like the Lakers. So why aren’t they contenders?
My opinion is that when you look at why the Mav’s arent contenders, you have to look at their best player and say that he’s quite frankly overrated. I never understood why they have always been unwilling to rebuild and trade him for someone like Bosh.
Do you think Kobe has the passing skills to have been a true floor general if he did not choose to just completely dominate and try to outscore teams by himself?
I think with Kobe’s work ethic and desire he could have developed any skill he wanted.
And my Mavs winning 73 games was a joke! Only the Mavs stats people believe that could happen.
j.d. Hastings says
I didn’t see where the mavs were predicted as getting 73 wins. But I’ve now seen people predict 70+ wins for the mavs, the Lakers (by Reggie Miller during the real training camp), the Celtics (Rasheed Wallace said that if they are healthy and try hard they could do it… because Wallace is known for playing hard all season long), and the Cavs (by some computer predictions).
Either a lot of people are getting way ahead of themselves or else the league has become extremely polarized into the haves and have nots… We could see four 60 win teams and 5 sub 20 win teams…
mavs will win 73 games this year. absolutely.
they will then go on to get swept in the 1st round by GSW.
10) Kobe was the “quarterback” (in his words) during 1999 championship run, so yeah I think he has the skill set to be a true floor general.
I also think it’s a waste of Kobes talent not to be the primary scoring option on any team not featuring Lebron. But, maybe in the future if we see Bynum become a Shaq-esque scoring force while Kobe inevitably slows down, we might see Kobe deferring to him.
In my opinion, it was Shaq’s unwillingness to accept this kind of “changing of the guard”, as well as a lack of correct supporting cast personell to build around a SG that lead to the 3 peat team being broken up.
9, I think Chris Bosh is way more overrated than Dirk Nowitski. At least Dirk has led teams to the Finals/best record; Bosh only has a couple of first round losses to his name. Dirk’s shown you can build a title-contender around him; Bosh seems to be at most a really good complementary player, like Ginobili or Rashard Lewis.
j.d. Hastings says
Mavs at 73 wins may have been a joke, but if the prediction was something like “Memphis will score 73 assists next year as a team” you might actually be correct.
15) I hear you on Shaq. I think he is the biggest egomaniac in the league. He could be still hell of a lot of fun on the first impression, but the way he treats his former teams, players, coaches is just indecent. Only the greatest egomaniac could have convinced himself to start a beef with so many top notch players on his own team
As for Kobe as the distributor, I would truly enjoy the year if Kobe gets around 9-10 assists per game. His scoring will probably drop and rebounds will be harder to come by, but great basketball IQ combined with an unmatched skill of driving through the lane, moving through defenses and also being able to see the court would enlarge Kobe as a basketball phenom even more.
By the way did you guys notice that Bill Simmons has considerably back tracked on his attitude towards Lakers. I was listening to one of his podcasts and he seemed saying all the good things about most Laker players (Pau, Artest, even Bynum). And Lakers fans are definitely not used to that.
j.d. Hastings says
While I’d be thrilled to see Kobe naturally average 7+ assists next season, allow me to indulge my natural contrarian to make the case AGAINST that.
Despite what is often presented in the media, not all assists are unselfish. Lots of selfish players get selfish assists by holding onto the ball and not passing unless they are ensured the stat, when the right play is actually to pass the ball and let events unfold away from them.
In particular, in an offense like the triangle where passing is emphasized, holding onto the ball to ensure yourself the stat can cause more harm than good.
With someone as gifted offensively as Kobe, he can command double teams without the ball or 40 feet from the basket. In such cases, he’s much more likely to help the team by NOT going for the assist than he is trying to force it. He can do more for the offense by taking himself and 2 defenders away from the other 4 guys than an assist. But there’s no stat for this, so Truehoop will insist he was selfish.
I will always prefer that Kobe makes the right play and averages 3 assists per game, than dominate the ball too much and average 10.
Chris J says
18- Simmons still took his usual dig at the Lakers the other day (in one of the few times he actually writes anything) when he said one thing that couldn’t be done “Artest style” was win the 2009-10 NBA title. He’ll never let up.
I agree with those who say Kobe could have been a great distributor. But lesser players can be great distributors, so why would one of the all-time great scorers hold back in that aspect to do something that a lesser player could supply to the team?
As for the Mavs, they’re a paper tiger. Lots of names who’d look nice on a fantasy roster, but they lack the stones to get the job done when push comes to shove.
The only area in which Dallas seems to exceed the Lakers is the PG match-up, particularly when they go to the bench with Barea and Terry. Howard’s had ankle surgery and hasn’t been consistent for a couple of years now, and Odom (and Pau to an extent) really evens out Dirk, who is a match-up nightmare for most other PFs.
There’s no way that team beats the Lakers in a seven-game series if everyone is available for both teams.
16) good point about Bosh, altough his supporting cast hasn’t been nearly what Dirk has had. But I still don’t get why Dirk has been so untouchable. The Mavs have turned down a trade for Shaq in 04, among others.
Personally, on that team I’d rather have Pau than Dirk, and I know they could have easily done that in 08. They already have perimeter scorers in Howard, Terry, (they HAD Harris). They don’t need a 7 footer parked out there, too.
The Harris/Kidd trade, letting go of Avery Johnson, and deciding to build around Dirk are examples of why Mark Cuban’s model only works to a certain point. I like how he focuses first on putting a good product on the floor, advocating for his players, and on spending the money to create a good experience for fans at home and at the arena. But at the end of the day, the basketball decisions should be made by basketball people and not the owner.
18) Its certainly a disappointing track record for Shaq.
I do want to clarify one thing about that 3 peat team, though. Or at least my opinion.
I really don’t think that, even if Shaq were to agree to playing 2nd bannana, that that particular Lakers squad was built to win a title with a SG as the focal point. The model for that is obviously the Bulls dyanasty. They had all the things that the Lakers have now and didn’t have in 04: versatile, lanky, stat-filling forwards ( Pippen, Kukoc , Odom, Ariza/Artest, Pau), dead-eye shooters, and they could defend the pick and roll (sorry Shaq).
Great job on the ESPN chat. Just finished reading it.
Thanks Wondahbap. I’m not totally comfortable in that format so when I read it I keep seeing the things I wished I’d said. Also, the volume of questions is insane (and a number are just rude/funny but would never get published).
I’m pretty convinced that Shaq’s ego will cause a problem in Cleveland. No mater what LBJ is now, Shaq will let it be known that he is a 4-time Champ and that LBJ hasn’t done anything he hadn’t done. Shaq’s going to get tired of the LeBron questions. I think he’ll remind LBJ that he needs him to win IT. It might happen while they’re joking around, but it will come out and it will affect this team in some way at some point. Shaq lays down for no one, and I can’t see him just letting himself be called 2nd fiddle all year to a player who has only won an MVP and that’s all.
No one is ever going to average 9 or 10 assists per game in a Phil Jackson triangle.
The high assist per game mark for any Phil Jackson-coached team was 7.0, by Scottie Pippen in ’92. Pippen averaged over 6 two other times, and Jordan also averaged slightly over 6 twice. Kobe’s high (and the Laker high under Phil) was 5.9 in ’03.
22, wait, who’s our dead-eye shooter?
A little off topic. But what do people think of the Clippers this year? I
think they have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. Mike Moreau at Hoopsworld has them making the playoffs as well. If Baron Davis is focused, healthy and in shape they might be pretty good.
I think they can be right there for the 7/8 seed, if Davis and everyone stays healthy. And if Dunleavy lets Davis et al run a little. That team has athletes.
Yeah. I imagine it must be tough having to read questions and answer them as fast as possible. I know when you do the live chats here during games it gets fast paced, and we are only “talking.” But you’re answers were convincing and clear. If I didn’t already know, I would be able to tell you know your Lakers.
What I was really impressed with was the lack of typos. I would have messed up every answer.
Seems Phil not worried about the battle between Yung Farmar and Shannon at the point when he can have both of them on the court at the same time. Sasha should be real nervous about the chemistry these two are developing on the second unit this preseason. He might be singing the blues this season if they continue to develop throughout the year.
Hey Laker fans….I have thoroughly enjoyed all the comments made and believe the Lakers will be dominate once Ron-Ron gets used to the triangle….defensively they’ll be a lot tougher but will sorely miss Ariza’s anticipation. Not many in the league can do what Treavor can, but against the rough and tumble small forwards, ala, Melo, Pierce, LeBron…they’ll be so glad Ron’s in there battling because he’s got the beef and the mind set. A healthy Lakers team see them back in the finals against any team and come out on top. From down under-over and out.