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Report Card Time!

Here at Lakers Blog, we like to think of ourselves as a place to go to educate yourself on what's happening in Purpleandgoldland.  A school of sorts (stick with us, we promise the metaphor has a point).  And what do they give out at school?   You know, aside from steady doses of angst and humiliation (Or at least that's how it was for BK).

That's right.  Grades. 

So with that in mind, it's time for the First Annual Lakers Blog Midseason Player Report Card (FALBMPRC for short).  We'll both be giving each player on the roster a grade, A-F, including Incompletes. 

Will guys be posting theirs on the fridge, or stealing them from the mailbox before their parents get home from work (an AK high school specialty)? 

Going alphabetically (and without any of this grading on a curve crap.  C means average)...

Kwame Brown-

BK- I'm trying to make this evaluation based less on my hopes and dreams, or the fact he was a former #1. Just on court performance.  Had we done this a month ago, he'd have been lower.  Now, at least, he's shown a consistently solid low post presence on the defensive end, and is more often staying active on the boards.  But he still looks lost sometimes in team D, and lord is he a wreck on the offensive end.  C-.

AK- Ironic to be giving Kwame a mid-term grade of sorts, considering how desperately obvious it is that he needed a year or two of college. But I digress. Ever since coming back from that injury, he's looked more promising, providing the team's best interior D and hitting the glass hard. Unfortunately, any move requiring more than one dribble is asking for trouble, and I can't recall a player with his hands up and ready less. There may be nobody in the league more unsuited to play with Steve Nash. To say the least, a work in progress. C-.

Kobe Bryant-

BK- All controversy aside, he's had an MVP caliber first half.  Is he infallible?  No.  Does he need to remain mindful of his shot selection?  Yes.  Is he the easiest teammate in the world to play with?  Probably not.  But still, he's damn near the best player in the NBA.  A.

AK- Kind of a ho-hum season, but let me see if I can think of any highlights. There are qualities I wish Kobe would embrace: Giving his teammates a slightly longer leash. Opening up more, if for no other reason than it would make his own life easier, which in turn makes life for his teammates and franchise easier. I'm hopeful that recent developments (a better relationship with PJ, burying the hatchet with Shaq, having kids, etc.) will help. But either way, there's much more that I wouldn't change. Simply put, he's a sick player having an even sicker season.  A.

Andrew Bynum-

BK- It's tough to grade on pure potential, but considering he wasn't yet of drafting age when he was drafted, I'd say Bynum has done well.  He has great instincts, the makings of a nice offensive game, and as he showed against Shaq, he's not a pushover.  Toss in his solid work habits, and he's done well.  Loses marks for a smaller on court contribution (hey, this is the NBA, not high school).   B-.

AK- Love this kid. I really think Kupchak rolled the dice and came up 7 on Bynum. He has a feel for the game that can't be taught. Meanwhile, the skills can be learned, and by all accounts, he's dying to figure them out. He's got a way to go, but he's also 18, which means he's got plenty of time. He's played fleetingly, so the mostly good efforts only boost his grade so much. But considering people were talking D-League when the season began, I can't dock him too much, either. B.

Brian Cook-

BK- Call him the anti-Kwame.  His early season marks were much better than now.  Lately, he's been lost in the shuffle.  I love that he's become more decisive with his shot, is moving closer to the basket again, and has shown a willingness to take charges.  Still, he's not all that quick on the defensive end, and for whatever reason, hasn't been able to capitalize on the momentum he created in the season's first month.  C.

AK- I also love that Cook doesn't eff around when he gets the ball. And while it's hurt Team "Isaiah Rider" that he no longer camps out behind the arc, it's made him more effective. Unfortunately, he's still pretty one-dimensional and a liability on D, which I imagine is why he's lost so much time as of late. He works hard and does whatever's asked to the best of his ability, so I'm holding out hope he'll fight his way back in. C+.

Devean George-

BK- Not the problem, not the solution, and probably not long for the roster.  It's not that Devean isn't a good player.  He is.  It's just that about half the league could do what he does.  Good defensively, but his shooting is down this year, as is his scoring.  C.

AK- So little consistency. Or total consistency, depending on how you view it. His scoring has always gone up and down, rounding out to around 6-8 ppg (like now). He also plays consistently good D that's consistently overlooked because he's not worth an entire mid-level exception and thus consistently branded a disappointment. But his game is his game. It ain't bad, but may never be great, either. C+. 

Devin Green-

BK- Gets points for making the team.  Hard to say he's done much else.  Has spent less than 10 minutes on the court since Christmas.  Still, he showed some promise in his more active early season stints.  Not much of a scorer, but plays hard and has some defensive energy.  D+/Inc.

AK- I imagine he carries a veteran's luggage with the best of them. As far as his actual game, who knows? He's fast and works hard when he does play. Or at least that's my vague recollection. D/Inc.

Aaron McKie-

BK- To say he's been "disappointing" is to say a gang of angry grizzly bears is "dangerous."  A serious understatement.  In the 10 games he played before getting hurt, McKie averaged .3 ppg.  .3.  You and I could probably manage that.  Still time to turn it around, and the Lakers will need him to provide leadership and depth in the playoff drive.  D-/Inc.

AK- Before the season began, I insisted to Mike Bresnahan that McKie would be a better pick up than Derek Anderson. As is the case with most things, I had no freakin' clue what I was talking about. F/Inc. 

Stanislav Medvedenko-

BK- I miss him.  I really do.  Fortunately, he's been reinvented as a backcourt player by the name of Von Wafer.  But honestly, despite his defensive shortcomings, the Lakers could use his offense.  F/Inc.

AK- I'm with BK. I totally miss Slava. He was often L.A.'s best source of unintentional comedy this side of Robert Downey Jr.'s drug escapades. And all kidding aside, the Lakers miss him, too. Forget the fact that he can't guard a stationary bike and Ronny Turiaf already knows the triangle better. The one thing this team needs is a guy that'll put the ball up, no questions asked. Slava will do that. And often does it well. F/Inc.

Chris Mihm-

BK-  Fouls, fouls, fouls.  Take them away, and Mihm could be one of the league's nicest surprises.  As it is, he's developed a more complete offensive game, grabs some boards here and there, and fits into the system nicely.  Shooting nearly 52%, and if he could stay on the floor more, he could average 12-15 ppg.  Like I said, fouls, fouls, fouls.  B-

AK- The most underrated member of this team. He ain't Shaq, but you can do a lot worse. He's actually put up career numbers since arriving in L.A. Unfortunately, he and the refs just don't see eye to eye when it comes to the rules, which keeps him pine-bound. Hopefully, a middle ground can be discovered. B.

Lamar Odom-   

BK- Yikes, this is tough.  He's rebounded the ball well all season, and generally has been a solid facilitator.  But he is still prone to fits of unaggressive play and general inactivity, and yes, on this team at least he needs to assert himself more offensively.  Sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone.  But his style of play helps Kobe be Kobe, so it's not all bad.  Frustrating at times, yes.  Bad, no.  B.

AK- Like BK, not quite sure how to approach this one. LO's doing a very good job playing "his game," which is what the team's asking of him. Unfortunately, he's doing an erratic job playing the opposite of "his game," which is also what the team's asking of him. 14,9 and 6 is way too good to be down on. But given the team's makeup, it's also not enough to go nuts over. B.

Smush Parker-

BK-  Great start to the year, a swoon in the middle, and he's come back strong since.  A great find for the Lakers.  Overall, I'm not convinced he'll develop into an elite point guard, but he's been very solid, and considering where the Lakers got him (the giant scrap heap of hoops), he's been a gift.  Very opportunistic defender, but can be used one on one.  He has helped the Lakers to some monster first quarters.  Hopefully, it just keeps getting better.  B.

AK- The guy went from out of the league to starting on a playoff contending team. That alone would merit Smush a C+ even he played like absolute garbage. Fortunately, he's actually acquitted himself well, for the most part. I'd like to think he'll keep improving, but he's already brought more to the table than could have been reasonably expected. Extra points for driving a Smushcalade and providing Mom with her favorite Laker since Horry. B.

Ronny Turiaf-

BK-  That he's even on this list is amazing.  Inc.

AK- His story rates an A+. His actual contributions rate an Inc.

Sasha Vujacic-

BK-  I think he's shown some serious improvement, at least in spurts.  He's shown a greater willingness to play aggressive defense and use his length to his advantage, is learning to occasionally head to the rim, and has shown a willingness to take, and even sometimes make, the big shot.  Still, for him to be successful, he'll have to improve on his shooting percentages.  The kid can stroke.  Or at least it looks like he can.  If his four ppg. become 6.5 over the rest of the season, I'll be happy.  C.

AK- Honestly, I have no idea what to make of Sasha. He's a pesky, annoying defender who's managed to get under the skin of A.I. and Bibby, among others. Unfortunately, "pesky" and  "annoying" don't equal "quick," so he's often used, too. And while he's not afraid to shoot, he's not always so hot at making them. But he's improved. The guy's only played about a season's worth of NBA ball, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, if not the grade. C. 

Von Wafer-

BK- Love him.  I wish he played more.  Why?  Because he makes the game fun.  The guy will shoot from anywhere.  That big dunk against Memphis (it was Memphis, right?) was one for the season ending highlight tape.  Sure he's shooting under 20% from the field, but hey, we're all human.  D+/Inc.

AK- Very few things in life shock me. Von's 16.7% from the field? That shocks me. If he had been manning the grassy knoll, JFK would still be alive. That being said, kid's got balls and ain't afraid to chuck. And being one of the only athletic looking guys on this squad, I could see his time coming. Just not this season. D/Inc.

Luke Walton-

BK-  In my mind, the most disappointing player on the roster.  For every solid, smooth play he makes, he seems to compensate with a turnover.  He's upped his scoring this year, but is actually shooting well below his career percentage, which is only 40%.  That's not good.   In the end, he's probably too slow to thrive in the league, unless he drastically improves his shooting.  D+.

AK- I'm also concerned about Walton. The guy seems born to play in the triangle, yet he hasn't flourished much beyond his rookie season. And until he develops the offensive skills to keep a defender honest, his passing can only be so effective. He's got a head for the game, if perhaps not the athleticism to back it up. Something needs to give soon. D+.

Laron Profit-

BK-  Was on his way to a solid B- before he got hurt.  Considering their lack of depth, his loss was a bigger one for the Lakers than it would have been for most teams. 

AK- For a trade throw in, Profit actually made his presence felt. Nice D. Nice confidence. Shame it went down the way it did. B. 

 
Comments () | Archives (38)

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This is absolutely awesome! Great work, Brothers!

My grades are slightly different, but, overall I think you guys are right on track.

Overall, the lakers are C team right now

The biggest disappointment this year was Kwame Brown period.

1st Biggest disappoint: Kwame Brown
2nd: Lamar Odom

I like smush he plays D well.
I think he's a surprise , not a disappointment.

Kwame- I would give him a c+ work on his hands an needs to work with Kareem
Kobe -he gets a A+ step up your assits to 5.2 a game
Lamar- B- keep learning the triangle and work on your shots
Smush-B- needs to work on being consitant
Laron- needs to get healthy.C
Sasha- keep growing and work on your shot C+
Von Wafer - should have stayed in school D-
Turiaf- too early to tell yet.
Mihm- needs to work more on defense-B
Devan-tired of him teasing the fans C+
Slava-been out all year F
Walton-trade or cut him, he cant shoot worth a DAM!!! F.
Mckie-hasnt done a dam thing .D
Green-Another one who hasnt done a dam thing.D

I think that for most of it, you guys have been fair and accurate (AK AND BK) but in some I think you've been generous.

Personally I think though it's being mean...Lamar deserves a C, so does Kwame because although they are pretty good...they counter it with mistakes. It's kind of like saying they do their homework but they fail their midterms (i.e. last 35 seconds in Sac).

And those that really havent done most of anything don't deserve a D, if anything F is more appropriate. Or the incompletes you've given them.

There's only one thing I can say about Luke...F!
okay I lied...3 things:-)
How much more confidence can they give him? They're already playing him in critical situations and he's still failing!

sorry you did give Kwame a C...my mistake

I love this grade idea...
MY OPINION
KOBE A+
SMUSH B
LAMAR B
BROWNC-
MIHM B

i agree with all your grades except for odom's. his numbers on any other team would get him an A or A-. almost averaging a triple double and handling the ball is sick. i love his game. of course every player could score a little more or make more assists or take down a few more rebounds. you can say that about anybody. that he should do more to compensate for an inexperienced team is not really his fault. that's on the other players. and the management.

i'm definitely bummed about walton. what happened to his confidence? how many more seasons do you think he has in the league?

and what about grading the school staff?

phil, the headmaster. A-. great job on bringing back the d. lazy on managing a few end of game moments (thus the minus).

mitch, the vice-principal. B. doing the best he can while trying to balance the needs of the owner, kobe's peak playing days and maintaining cap discipline for the ultimate prize.

kareem, the mystic janitor. A+. bynum's dunk around shaq. kareem didn't just teach him a move, he taught him about the possible historical significance of such a move. kareem should be teaching the non-bigs too. just soaking in his history, his wisdom would elevate everyone's game. it should be part of each player's training to kick back with kareem at a jazz club once a week.

Reserves

WALTON D SORELY DISAPPOINTED....
GEORGE C+
COOK B-
BYNUM B
VUJACIC C+
MCKIE D-
SLAVA D-
WAFER D
GREEN D

OVERALL LAKERS GRADE: B-
I PREDICT AT LEAST 45 WINS THIS YEAR, PROBABLY ABOUT FROM 47-50.
KOBE FOR MVP!!!!! MVP!!!!! MVP!!!!! MVP!!!!! MVP!!!!!
ANYONE HAVE INTERESTING TRADE IDEAS?

I'm not a Mihm fan. Get rid of him. This is 5 year in the league after college. Get rid of him. Simply put he lacks the mind. He's no surprise, he's an underachiever. He's athletic but to will never be better than he is right now.

mike

I agree with most of your grades but here are mines


Kobe: A+. Best player in the league.

LO: C+. I know he has great games in him it's just up to him (and Phil) to maximize his opportunities

Kwame: C. Some more confidence would help his scoring, his D helps a lot

My Man Smush: Got to give him a B just for starting after not being in the league

Sasha: C. Also needs more confidence and to work on D

Bynum: B/Inc. Has shown shot blocking skills, at flashes of Offense

Luke: F. I love Luke but he hurts more than he helps. Once his game gets in order he'll at least be a C.
I think Kobe should work with LO, My Man Smush, Sasha, and Luke in the offseason. His work ethic and drive could really help them.

Kobe - A -Worth every penny of a $130 million contract
Odom - C plus -Not enough scoring, bottom line. End of game mistakes costly.
Mihm - B -At times, the second best player on the Lakers. Is developing into a very solid double-double guy.
Smush - B minus - Nice surprise offensively, needs more consistent effort defensively.
Kwame - C -Would have been a D minus 3 weeks ago. Starting to get a little offensive confidence to go with solid Defense, but manos de piedros keep him from justifying his #1 pick.
George - B minus -Knows how to play off Kobe and is willing to D up.
Luke - C plus - Offense always runs well with him in there, but shooting is a disaster. Tough to find someone he can guard, too. May always be a sub-15 minute a game player.
Sasha - C plus - Will play tough D, but needs more consistent shooting, since nobody guards him with Kobe in the game.
Cook - B minus - Underrated Laker, Jackson does not seem to like him at all, but a very consistent midrange shooter. Will take a charge on D better than any Laker since DFish.
Bynum/Wafer/Green/Slava/Profit - Incomplete - Just on one possession, Bynum made himself an untouchable. Looks like he could be a special shotblocker.
Jackson - B plus - I was against bringing him back, but I must admit he is getting more out of the other 11 than I thought possible.

Grades for the Staff

Phil Jackson:A
Mitch Kupcake:C
Kareem:A+

My Man Smush: Got to give him a B just for starting after not being in the league

That's the problem with Smush. He doesn't, in his heart, believe that he belongs. To Smush, it's like he's already achieved more than he expected from himself. That would be cool, you know, a real nice feel good story, but this is the Los Angeles Laker where the expectations are high and the traditions are deep. If Smush thinks he can get away with his play as it is now...he belongs on the bench.
Smush Parker need to look into the rafters and check out the jersey's of Laker greats and in particular number 25. Number 25 had a nick name, which was: Stumpy! Stumpy was 6'1 not 6'4. Stumpy was not athletic as Smush but the man was smart. With his intelligence he made his teams better to the point of championships. The UCLA traditions did not start with Jabbar or Walton but a guy called Stumpy. Check out: http://www.hoophall.com/halloffamers/Goodrich.htm
I remember that he was like automatic from the top of the key to the tune of 25 points a game in 71-72 that won a record 33 in row, which included Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlian. I don't expect you to be the next Gail Goodrich...heck, you didn't even go to college. But he, Goodrich, knew how to play under the pressure of big time sports and not the playgrounds of NYC! What am I trying to say? Smush has more athletic ablitiy than Stumpy did, and Smush can probably has a better natural shooting touch than Stumpy did, but what is missing? Smush, why don't you tell us? Here's a hint, it has something to do with your mind.

mike

We have a very young team, filled with a lot of players who don't know what they can't and can do, therefore we are inconsistent
Devean George (B-), Shoots confidently, great off the bench Defense/Athleticism
Sasha (C+), Tries on D, on a nightly basis how many point guards really get shut down, Inconsistent shooting hurts the team
Bynum (B), Work on getting up and down the floor and awareness on D and we have ourselves a top 5 center
Lamar (C+), I've never seen a player who can dominate the opponent play so unassertive, I love his game so much i expect too much
Smush (B), He's young, but wow I love his game, defense on pg's is hard in the NBA but I expect a little more from him, goes for the steal too much
Luke (D-), Can't shoot or play defense, the only time he should be on the court is when Kobe is on the bench because of his passing/understanding of triangle
Mihm (B+), No respect from refs, his second year of getting real PT, not clumsy like the 25 centers in the L. more confidence in mid range and better one on one D, and we have another top 5 center
Cook (B-), Liability on D and the boards, but when he starts with Lamar and Mihm the triangle looks good. He gives the team the key missing ingredient outside shooting. Phil put him back in the starting lineup, he spaces the floor.
Kwame (C+), I saw a game before his injury and he played as good D on Elton Brand that I have seen anyone play, NO HANDS or TEAM D (i.e.MCGRADY driving down the lane), please throw it in the post he is soooo quick if he gets confidence he is good
Laron (B-), Better shooting and we have ourselves a good SF off the bench
WAFER (C), Can't knock the kid's Athleticism/Aggressiveness, Next Harold Miner? Hope not
Zenmeister (A-), had them playing D before this recent stretch, Kobe dominating the ball not good for the team overall
Kupchak (B+), Smush, trade for Mihm, Bynum/Wafer pick
More upset that he traded Kareem Rush for nothing than the Shaq trade. Just joking.


Mike,

I'm not quite sure why you're thinking this way regarding Smush. But I can tell you from talking firsthand to him, he thinks he belongs in NBA. Here's him saying it on the blog, actually.

http://lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/2005/11/get_to_know_smu.html#more

To me, anybody who guts it out in the NDBL, Europe, in and out of the NBA, etc. without giving up is convinced he belongs. Is there something specific that makes you think otherwise?

If nothing else, just wanted to reassure you, unless he's one hell of an actor, that your starting PG believes in himself.

AK

AK,
I know I'm hard on the Laker players but it's not because I'm trying to be cruel. I just think this guy has a lot of talent and he just doesn't have the cold blooded confidence to hit the 3's when they count, in key moments, to take pressure off of Kobe. His defense is questionable at best. Listen, I'm a Laker fan but I'm spoiled with our tradition. West, Goodrich, Nixon, Magic, Scott, heck even Nick "the quick" Van Exel. These were big time players that delivered as Guards for the Los Angeles Lakers. I know Smush has a powerful scoring game, how else would he be a NYC playground legend, but all the talk in the world means nothing if he doesn't hit that 3 on a consistant basis and play his man better than he has been. I know he worked hard to be where he's at but like Kobe said, go beyond your own expectations. I think the key word, or phrase, is: being cold blooded like he was in the NYC playgrounds. What happened between NYC playgrounds and hard floors around the NBA? It has to be mental, is he in awe of being in the NBA? Well, wake-up! You're the starting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. It doesn't get any better than that, now deliver!
Specific? Every player has been beating him like crazy! Fast guys, slow guys, just whipping past to the basket on defense and if that isn't enough, his inconsistant offensive play, which I think and truely believe he can do a lot better or else I would be saying, trade Smush Parker and not recomending he study Gail Goodrich as an example of playing the game with all of your physical and mental abilities. They say with belief, miracles can be performed. Have you ever felt so good about something you could do, that when you did it that the results from that belief are manifested in a positive way? Belief is a very powerful attribute to have, especially on the hard floor. The perfect example of the belief attribute can be found in Kobe's game. Kobe believes the shot is going in. Smush wonders if it's going in, like 50/50 chance and his confidence plays out on that perception. Kobe doesn't think with a 50/50 mind set, he shoots with the expectation of it going in, even if it doesn't, and many times it hasn't but one thing remains true, he still believes his next shot is going in. That's what I'm saying. Gail Goodrich believed his shot was going in. He didn't havevthe most gifted of athletic ability but he believed his shot was going in. Cold blooded shot maker. It's all in the mind, Smush you need some mental disciplines, starting with picturing yourself on the NYC playgrounds and nothing can stop you from hitting whatever shot you take, if you'll only believe in yourself when it counts and not only in interviews. The proof is in the pudding, play ball!

mike

Mike,

I hear what you're saying, but I think you may be assessing Smush's ability as a little further along than it actually is. This is the longest he's lasted on an NBA team since 2002-03. The fact that he's stuck around this long is a testament to his belief. He's obviously doing something better than in years past. But that doesn't just automatically erase the areas that still need improvement.

Smush may have the pure physical tools of Goodrich (I'll have to take your word for it, since he retired when I was 7), but I have to imagine that they're not even remotely as developed as Gail's. That's the difference. I don't think Smush is suffering from a crisis of confidence on defense as much as he's simply not a stellar defender at this point. He's great at getting steals, but his overall D needs work. I doubt it's more complicated than that.

It's also not fair to compare Smush's self-belief to Kobe's, because their talent isn't even remotely comparable. Kobe's belief stems from knowledge of his skills. You can't have Kobe's belief without this talent, or at least a level close to it. Otherwise, you just have a player who thinks he's better than he is, which can be a problem, too.

Look, you can put anyone in a Lakers jersey and tell them they have a tradition to uphold. But it's not realistic to expect them to automatically do it simply because they have a uni on. He should strive for it (and I think he does), but there are limits, at least until his game improves. That being said, I imagine he's in the running for "Most improved player," so that's a step in the right direction.

Good discussion, Mike

AK

I'm happy for Smush. His comment:

"I knew that I belonged in the league. I knew I could play at this level. And I saw the competition and I thought I was better than the competition at that draft."

It's not about playing at this level, it's about excelling at this level, in a Laker jersey. The competition is not in the draft but with the players who are already established in this league. By excelling I don't mean to be the image of Kobe but what you do, do it well! Right now around the league Smush is a "surpise" a pleasant surpirse. Are you satisfied with that Smush? Are you happy that other players in the league count you as one of them? Yeah, you made it, but now excel. Show the league and the fans that you are not a surpise but the real deal!

mike

i think i may be too harsh...but here are my favorite lakers to grade

Devean - C...the dude SHOULD know the triangle just as well as kobe. based on that it's hard for me to gage him on his performance vs. where i thought he would be right now. i just don't see anything that awe-inspiring from devean.
Kobe - A+ ...alright, we know an A+ means perfection and kobe's game is not perfect. but the dude is like one of those kids who finish out with a 4.8 gpa and crap like that... kobe's on the weighted program, like taking AP calculus (ie. playing with an inconsistent young team) and advanced physics (ie. scoring 81) he deserves the extra credit.
Kwame - C-... he's cockdiesal and it just kills me that this big dude rarely throws it down. all the talk about his interior D is negated by his confusion on high-screens. he looks lost.
Lamar (aka the reason i'm developing an ulcer) - D...too harsh really when you look at his numbers but since i'm more active than a 'boxscore reader,' his game-to-game fluctuations are frustrating. and plus, i can't forget 4 points up, 34 seconds, offensive foul.
Luke - F... flat out fails. what happened?
Sasha - B...i love me some sasha now. he calmed on the threes and he's servicable on the other D (he doesn't get that much more abused as an understudy as smush does)

extra credit:
and Devin, way to sub in for Kobe on Sunday! Your semi-hug was played all over America. You looked sharp, son! and that's basically the longest I've ever seen you w/o the warm-up suit on. B+ for the 40 second cameo and half-hug.

AK,

Yeah maybe you're right, I have to remember that it is his first year here and not even that. I believe in the guy, which is why I'm so hard on him. I'm challenging him. I'm not saying Smush has the phyiscal gifts that Gail did, I'm saying Gail didn't have the gifts Smush has. I'm saying it's all metal. Gail honed his limited physical abilities and used his mind to push himself to the next level of his game. Again, I'm happy for Smush, truely. But lets celebrate when his career is over and not right now. I'm also saying, that I have a feeling that Smush is actually a great shooter but he hasn't honed that ability to his mind yet, in game time situations. I have a secret hope, which I always do, that the Lakers can win the Championship on any given season. With that as my foundation of laker conversation and with the fact we're not a bad team and with Kobe...I'm hard on the players who I feel are not living up to the capabilities that they possess and are required to win that championship. Unrealistic, it may be true, but I'm a fan who enjoys winning championships or else I wouldn't waste my time following the Lakers. And if I bring it up now they have the 2nd half of the season to work on these things and if we don't win it this year, there will be no excuse for making the same mistakes next year, when, I think, we should be competeing for a championship. Yeah, I'm a fan, a serious fan, I love the Lakers. They've been part of my mind for as long as I can remember.

mike

Kobe Bryant = A

Lamar Odom = B+

Chris Mihm = B

Smush Parker = B

Andrew Bynum = B-

Brian Cook = C+

Sasha Vujacic = C

Laron Profit = C

Kwame Brown = C-

Devean George = D+

Luke Walton = D

quote:Specific? Every player has been beating him (smush)like crazy! Fast guys, slow guys, just whipping past to the basket on defense
I agree with you michael. Nearly every point guard have a career game against lakers .Maybe they must consider a line-up change.

I agree with most of your grades except Odoms. I just dont think his Basketball IQ is very high. He does provide us an double double in rebounding and scoring, however he does not provide mucha of a defensive presence and at his size playing the SF position he should be much more of a factor on defense. He also makes to many bone headed plays to be worthy of a b grade I would give him a c+. LO be smart on the court and play with some desire on D.

I'm sorry but I think everyone is grading Mihm too high and Kwame too low, because you expect more out of Kwame then you expect from Mihm. Mihm has NO hands with the ball. I can count on one hand the times he has not fumbled the ball when getting a pass in the paint off of penetration.

Kwame, on the other hand has increasingly become pretty strong in the paint with his hands. His flaw offensively is found when he goes too quickly. He is a much better low post presence though.

Really, Mihm and Brown would be a great tandem on the court at the SAME time with Bynum playing backup center and Cook playing backup power forward. Mihm shoots the 10-12 foot jumper very consistently. Defensively, Mihm's shot blocking would be more effective coming off of double teams as a help defender from the weakside.

Seriously, I see the Lakers working a rotation like this.

Parker, Bryant, Odom, Mihm, Brown

Vujacic, George, Cook, Bynum

That would be my 9-man rotation for the second half of the season. IF Profit had been healthy, it would have become a 10-man rotation. I seriously do not believe Walton fits in the regular rotation and he shouldn't be forced into it, if it doesn't work for the team. As for the 9-man rotation, with Kobe and Lamar averaging 35 - 40 minutes a night, this rotation would be effective. I see, Kobe keeping his regular rest time of the first 5-6 minutes of both the
second and fourth quarters. I would rest Odom the last 6 minutes of both the first and third quarters. In essence those two would play a combined 24 minutes together. That should be sufficient most nights. On the nights where more is needed, adjustments could be made. As for the rest of the players, this is my breakdown....Sasha and Smush should average about 24 minutes a night. The one should replace the other all night long. First half, I would alternate them every 6 minutes. The second half, I would start the third with Smush and end the fourth with Smush.....Sasha could play the middle 12. Kwame and Chris should be averaging 30 minutes a night at minimum. I believe that if that level of expectation is placed on them, they will see the importance of remaining out of foul trouble in order to play those minutes. 1 of them should always be in the game, similar to Lamar and Kobe. As for George, Cook and Bynum, they should be intermingled when necessary. George would should be the all-purpose man, coming in at different times when his experience and stability are needed. Cook and Bynum should be allowed to get about 12-16 minutes a night. For Cook that isn't a stretch from what he gets currently. For Bynum, it would mean an increase that I believe he has earned. The ideal times for Bynum's minutes would be the last 3 minutes of the first and third quarters stretching over to the first 3 minutes of the second and fourth quarters.

Except for foul laiden nights and injuries, this should work. In those events, that is when lamar would be shifted to power forward and maybe some minutes for Walton or Devean Green.

That's a solid team and soid rotation. If he starts it right after the All-Star break, the team would have some time to grow in it, and become consistent with it by the playoffs.

While I more or less concur with your grades, I'd like to point out two things:

1. Smush - He's a perfect fit for the Lakers. However, the Lakers are also the best fit for him. LA, as currently structured has a 6'11" LO serving as the PG and KB8 drawing nightly double,triple,quadruple,pentuple,sextuple and more [think refs+crowd] attention. So the second guard in our triangle pretty much has to do things - defend well, and make the open shot. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that since Smush is at best a combo guard, he's not going to fit in anywhere else as much - he's not a prototypical PG, yet doesn't have the height to guard the SGs of this league.

2. LO - One thing that I think you forgot to mention is that this year LO has to bring the ball up which is going to consume some of his energy and that's why you see his offensive output go up and down. Sure, he's a matchup nightmare, and should [and prolly will] learn to exploit it better. But in the meanwhile, his ppg for this season is roughly where it has always been. If you think of LO strictly as a PG, his stats of 14.5ppg, 5.6 apg and 9.4 rpg are pretty good! Plus, the intangible - he's the leader of the ball club who's keeping the team together while Kobe goes out and guns everyone down. Kobe needs him to do what he's doing, and has said as much.

If we can get a consistent 15-20 ppg guy at our PF, LO will be even more effective.

I agree that Luke Walton has become the biggest disappointment. I saw some good things his rookie season, but he has simply turned into an all around liability to have on the floor. I also agree you guys that if he were to add a good mid to long range shoot, that is consistent, his game would be elevated. The occasional dish is a good thing it shows unselfishness but he is on the verge of looking scared out there. Spot up shooters is what the Lakers need to compliment Kobe and spread the defense. This is a role Luke could fill and would work nicely with the assist skills he has now.

Kobe Bryant = A

Lamar Odom = B-

Chris Mihm = B+

Smush Parker = B+

Andrew Bynum = B

Brian Cook = B-

Sasha Vujacic = C-

Laron Profit = Inc

Kwame Brown = C

Devean George = B-

Luke Walton = D

Aaron McKie = F

KEV -
I'm sorry, Smush plays D well??? What games have you been watching? He let's guys drive right around him which is why CM gets so many fouls. Need to get to the eye doctor!!!

AK, BK,

Looks like you guys cheating on each others exams. Pretty solid assessments here. I don't really have anything to add.

I've seen improvment throughout the season in George, Kwame, and Mihm. Kobe's been awesome. Otherwise, I'm pretty disappointed with the team and even the improvers could be better. Everyone but Kobe and Mihm are missing recess to catch up. And Mihm's just a drop step away from it.

I agree with most of the grades,although I would give Parker and Bynum higher grades. In reference to an earlier poster that Smush is not a good defender,perhaps he should get HIS eye sight checked.
Smush rarely gets blown by one one. He and the big men
need to figure out how to communicate on the pick and roll better.Bynum deserved a higher grade for that I think so far he has met and exceeded all expectations.

A+ Kobe, will win the scoring title and not much else, can't blame him for taking so many shots because no one else has been able to put it in the hole.
C+ TO B, L.O. has got to get aggressive on a consistent basis and take his game to another level if he is going to be somebody who can take the heat off of Kobe.
C+ TO B, Kwame, take it to the hole with some passion and learn to run, run, run, gets beat to often of back door plays,needs to get back on D.
C+ TO B, Mihm, move your feet on D and quit with the reaching in fouls. Stand your ground buddy!
C+ Smush, fades in the 3rd and 4th quarters much too often. Needs to get some anger in his game, get tough and mean.
C+, Brian Cook, at 6' 11" would be solid if he could develope an inside game to go with his outside shot on offense. On D has got to get motivated to play tough. Hit the weight room.
C, Sasha, just can't hit the 3's on a consistent basis and stop going under those screens.
D, Devean, trade him and get what you can for him
D, Walton, he's no Bill that's for sure, get rid of him.
B, Andrew, Laker's aren't going anywhere so get him some more minutes and in the weight room. He's going to be good.

The way the team plays D, L.A. stands for Lay ups allowed. I've never seen so many layups allowed by a Laker team until this year.

Next year, the lakers will win 55-60 games and might come in 4th place or possibly capture the pacific division title. If the Lakers were able to close out the games they lost this season, they would have 55 or so wins. I really think this group of guys can make a lot of noise in the playoffs. The powerhouses of the NBA are aging and hopefully soon the SUns won't be a biggie since Steve Nash is getting old. Anyway, here is what I think next year's roster should look like.

Starters
1. Smush Parker
2. Kobe Bryant
3. Lamar Odom
4. Kwame Brown
5. Chris Mihm
Bench
6. Sasha Vujacic
7. Aaron McKie
8. Kareem Rush
9. Laron Profit
10.Von Wafer
11.Luke Walton
12.Devean George
13.Brian Cook
14.Ronny Turiaf
15. Andrew Bynum

Sorry Devin Green and Jim Jackson. Devean George accept less money and stay with the Lakers. His defense could be used. Go Lakers!

I just have one thing to say...

GET OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS SPURS!

LOL....

Steven's Final Grades

Well another NBA season passes with no sight of a glamourous adoring Los Angeles Laker team playing in the Western Conference Finals. Gone are past Laker teams that captured national attention with a brand of exciting basketball that virtually left unworthy opponents in their wake weary and tired, tongues hanging out of their mouths resembling an old pair of canvas Chuck Taylor shoes. Team nicknames such as 'Showtime' and the 'LakeShow' became common vernacular for common place fans who loved the drama and excitement brought on in those individual eras during Laker NBA greatness.

Gone are the Giants that roamed the middle of the lane, blocking or changing shots, snatching rebounds, making tough passes for assist or depositing easy baskets. Such giants as Wilt, Kareem and Shaq changed the game and the rules of the game in their own individual way.

In the past the Laker organization was known for recruiting the BEST centers in the league along with building teams around those famed centers. Winning NBA titles with those centers was something expected from the Laker franchise. Names such as Mikin, Chamberlain and Jabbar grace the rafters of Staples Center giving subtle reminders of immortality at the center position for the Lakers.

The tradition of greatness broke with the Laker organization when Shaq was traded to the Miami Heat. A tradition of GREATNESS and DOMINANCE at the center position was traded for obsurity irreverance in a league that is ruled by giants ruling the middle.

As the Miami Heat led by Shaquille O'Neal and DWade, two TEAMMATES with a common goal, winning an NBA Title. As they march toward an Eastern Conference Title against the Detroit Pistons, one can only think of what could have been if pettiness would not have reared up it's ugly head in the City of Angels and caused the loss of one of the MOST DOMINANT centers in Laker and NBA history.

GRADES:

Kobe Bryant: B-
Kobe is a great talent and emensly athletic however, Kobe needs to learn how to RELAX and get on the same page as his OWN TEAMMATES. Kobe needs to show them respect and confidence in their games. What came back to haunt Kobe in the playoffs was that he DIDN'T TAKE the TIME to TEACH or HELP teammates with the triangle or 'Kobeangle' offense. If some recall Kobe stated many times that they were going to have to learn it on their own with their own learning process. Well that selfishness came back to bite Kobe in the ass when the Lakers were up 3 games to 1 against PHX. Had he taken extra time during the preseason to assist teammates in the learning process, and finding spots, they wouldn't have froze and went cold during games SIX and SEVEN.

Lamar Odom: C+
Poor guy can't play alongside Kobe, his confidence is shot and he looks confused in situations.

Kwame Brown: D+
The guy seems to lose focus on what he is doing late in games. Great physical speciment, but lacking fundamentals, such as CATCHING THE BALL.

Brian Cook: C
I don't believe he could make another NBA teams roster.

Luke Walton: B
Great passer, bi-offensive knows the triangle AND Kobeangle offenses. Needs to work on consistant jumpshot.

Devean George: too many injuries too bad, great guy.

Faith: D-
Quit dreaming false Laker dreams just Stick to nursing school. Maybe you can stop some Laker bleeding next season.

Laker UK: D-
pitiful. My suggestion, Read Basketball for Dummies. you ALMOST made me chuckle one time.

AK/BK: A+
Thanks for this medium, you guys were really intuitive to create a sounding board on this medium. This is a great medium for ideas and letting out frustration with a once storied franchise. Thanks again.

Jon: A+
That guy knows his stuff!! You guys AND gals need to follow Jon's written word. (Jon 3:16)

SantaMonica4Ever: D--
You must be related to Mitch Kupchak. I hope you don't have any fantasy teams, they'd be dwelling in the cellar like some Orlando Magic. whewwww you my man though!!!

To ALL: A
Thanks for the debates and insight it was great, good luck next season.

The HEAT will win the EAST and the NBA Titles, don't forget, you heard it here FIRST!!!!


OUT!!!
the REAL truth

Interesting, but I think some of the grades were too high. Smush is no where near a B. Perhaps a C-. One thing we can all learn about seeing the 2nd round is that the Lakers just don't have the NBA talent the top teams have (obvious). But lets hope for a good offseason.

MY SEASON LONG PREDICTION STANDS---PHOENIX SUNS V. MIAMI HEAT IN THE CHAMPIONSHIPS WITH THE SUNS WINNING IN 6 GAMES.

Remember, you've heard it hear all season!!

TO:AK and BK
GREAT WORK GUYS!!!AWESOME COVERAGE THIS YEAR!! but theres something that i kind of caught on and was wondering what your opinion is on this. Well mitch kupchack did say that we're looking for the 2007 year as the year we REALLY get going right? well i really like KG and obviously i dont think we could get him this summer because we dont really have the players minnesota would want for him. With that option out i was like DANG i guess we just have to go for him like way later. but i looked up kevin garnetts contract and the current one he has was a five year extension from 2003. And i recalled something about a player option so i went and researched it on the internet. and I FOUND OUT THAT AFTER HIS FOURTH YEAR HE HAS A PLAYER OPTION!!!!!!!!!which basically means that in the summer of 2007 he could let go of his contract and basically become a free agent!!!maybe is this WHY mitch was aiming also for 2007 cause amare and yao are out.....that he thought maybe kg would opt out that summer and wed go after him?????????????? i got really excited about this cause i always felt that kg was going to be a laker.....am i right??does he still have that option in 2007????i would REALLY APPRECIATE IT IF YOU GUYS WOULD ANSWER ME BACK CAUSE I DONT THINK ANYONE ELSE COULD HELP ME. Well if it is TRUE KG WILL BE IN PURPLE AND GOLD!

Just like Kareem is working with the big men, I think Magic needs to work with the Lakers guards. Most notibly Smush, and Luke. This might help those two understnd the importance of court vision. It's almost as if Smush just runs the play when it's called. If something screws the play up he is not sure what to do afterwards. That is what Smush Parker needs to work on.


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