Here are some links and some other random thoughts going through my head as I’m inside an office on another nice day in the Bay Area.
*Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone. Now go celebrate by listening to Tas and Skeets’ song tribute to the Irish players in the league. You know, guys like Lamar O’do’m. Classic. (hat tip to Probasketballtalk.)
*We linked to this earlier today, but if you haven’t done so already, go check out the video break down of Artest guarding Tyreke Evans from last night. Evans had his moments (that spin move and layin was gorgeous), but overall Ron did a really good job denying Tyreke penetration and using active hands to disrupt passing angles. This is just another example of the impact Ron can have for this team as he’s asked to guard the other teams best perimeter player – even when he’s a point guard. I’m genuinely excited to see how Phil deploys Ron on defense in the playoffs.
*Speaking of the playoffs, it’s nice to see that our big guys are picking up their games as we head to the post season. In the past two games, Bynum has gone for 40 points and 26 rebounds and Pau has had 54 and 21. I’ve contended a lot in the past two seasons that Pau and Bynum have often gotten their numbers at the expense of each other. I’ve just had trouble recalling where both players had really good games in the same contest. Well, in the past two games that’s been exactly what’s happened. If this is a trend that can continue with their chemistry and ability to play together only getting better, the league will truly be in trouble. By the way, a big key to this recent success is Pau reestablishing his mid-range jumper. Last night he hit at least two more of those shots. When he’s knocking that down, the spacing on the interior is that much better and since Pau is one of our better passers the angles for him to distribute the ball are plentiful.
*And with our big men on my mind, please go check out the interview that Mike Trudell had with DJ “Congo Cash” Mbenga over at Lakers.com. They touched on lots of interesting topics including his nickname, his “clean” fashion sense, and who’s a more difficult cover – Bynum or Gasol (which I won’t give away).
*Very recently, there’s been a lot of discussion about Kobe shooting too much and what works best for our offense. These were concerns expressed again last night as Kobe took 26 shots while Pau & Bynum combined for only 28. So you know, I see both sides of this. There are times that Kobe is taking too many shots and it’s detrimental to the team and there are times where his shot taking and making is essential to our chances in a game. For me, nothing is concrete and it truly is a game to game thing that needs to be felt out based off what is going on in that particular contest. However, a side point to all of this is from the prologue epilogue of Bill Simmon’s “The Book of Basketball“. In that final chapter, Simmons visits Bill Walton and the discussion of winning and doing it “your way” comes up. They talk about Kobe and how #24 wants to win his way. And, for the most part I agree with that sentiment. Kobe is a dominant player with a dominant personality and he’s a guy that imposes his will on the game. That leads to him having a distinct style of play that he tries to win with. Well, guess what, so does every other superstar, past and present. Magic and Bird wanted to win their way too. So did Jordan. The difference is that fans liked their “way” and don’t always agree with Kobe’s “way”, often labeling it as something negative. The fact is, as long as it’s successful, it doesn’t matter. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Kobe may frustrate us all sometimes, but he’s pretty damned good at skinning the cat.
*You know who else is pretty good? That Lebron James guy. And so you know, Roland Lazenby has another post up at Laker Noise about Lebron and the Lakers. This is the second time Lazenby has covered this topic and while it all sounds plausible, I’m not sure that this could ever really happen (it is called a pipe dream, after all). It’s a very interesting read though, so go check it out.
*Lastly, have you joined the FB&G tourney pick ’em pool yet? What are you waiting for? First games are tomorrow morning and we can all see our brackets get busted together.