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Report Card Time - AK's Final Grades

As we prepare to shift into it's the off-season, there isn't nearly as much to talk about, plus the Times isn't paying us our full rate while the team's on hiatus, so we're gonna start posting a little less mode, I wanted to add at least one more entry that provides closure of sorts. And few things in life provide closure like a final report card. They pretty much left no ambiguity when it came to summing up how mediocre I did in high school. Anyhoo, grades were once again assessed, along with the usual peanut gallery remarks. And I'm sure BK will chime in with his two cents soon enough.

If you want to reference the first half report card, here it is.

Kwame Brown: Things started clicking more after the switch to center. Kwame's already strong post D was accentuated by increased offensive confidence, culminating in a 12.8 ppg April. I personally enjoyed watching this coincide with his increased confidence dealing with the media. (Before improving, I used to joke with a Lakers P.R. rep that Kwame must tunnel out of Staples, since nobody ever saw him after games.) That said, dude still reeks of "project." Among many things, he rebounds inconsistently, catches like he's wearing oven mitts, and I've never seen a 6'11" player less likely to hit a layup. I also question his basketball I.Q. The off-season work will be crucial. He said it during his exit interview: No mas excuses. I asked Kwame once if he felt any pressure to prove himself worthy of No. 1 overall status. He shook his head, more or less saying, "It is what it is." He just wants to play well. Smart attitude. We'll see what happens.

First Half Grade: C-
Second Half Grade: B
Final Grade: C+

Kobe Bryant: It's borderline impossible to single out one highlight from such an array of sick accomplishments. But for my money, Kobe truly took things to another level during the playoffs. He remained deadly as ever (two clutch shots in Game 4 alone), but instilled confidence in his teammates by lending them unconditional trust and unlimited chances. Knowing that a player of godlike status (on and off the court) believed in them brought out the best in Kobe's supporting cast. The end results weren't quite perfect, but the bigger picture is fantastic. If this was a preview of Kobe's leadership to come, nutty as this may sound, the guy's best years have yet to arrive.

First Half Grade: A
Second Half Grade: A
Final Grade: A

Andrew Bynum: After the All-Star break, Big Baby more or less sported diapers. He played in only 15 games, mostly garbage time (although I'm pretty sure he once secured tacos with a rebound). The pine banishment was understandable, since growing pains become a pain in the ass while chasing a playoff spot. But I like his potential. A lot. The look on Kareem's face while interviewing him about Socks made me think Cap wasn't just blowing smoke about Bynum's work ethic, desire to learn, and instincts. Kid needs to hit the weights, work on finishing, and up his game knowledge in general. Like Kwame, he's a project. But one I feel more confident about.

First Half Grade: B
Second Half Grade: D+/Incomplete
Final Grade: C/Incomplete

Brian Cook: I'll begin with a positive. Save Kobe (or Von Wafer), no Laker waffles less when handed the rock. Cook chucks like he's paid by the catch 'n' shoot. Unfortunately, that basically describes Cook's contract, since it's more or less all he does. That he lost a starting job to an out-of-position Luke Walton doesn't speak well of Cook's D (Luke may be better, but he's no Ben Wallace) or post up game (Luke may be better, but he's no Rasheed Wallace). I held out hope for a stronger second half, but like my hopes for "Manu Girl" to knock on my door, it didn't happen.

First Half Grade: C+
Second Half Grade: D
Final Grade: C-

Devean George: Devean's a nice guy whom I've actively rooted to finally reach his potential since he was a rookie (if for no other reason than to shut up my wise ass friends). I've heard and read enough to support my theory that Devean's past inconsistency was due to a paper-thin confidence. Well, he's now playing with confidence and remains inconsistent as ever. Take the playoffs. He supplied either huge clutch shots or nada. I guess it's just who he is. He certainly doesn't hurt you when he's on the floor, but I doubt he'll ever help as much as he seemed capable.

First Half Grade: C+
Second Half Grade: C-
Final Grade: C

Devin Green: Geez, how to evaluate Green's 15 total minutes of post All-Star Break PT? I could harp on his 0-2 performance in 120 seconds against the Clips on Feb. 24. But you'll naturally counter that I'm ignoring how he recovered on Feb. 28 against Orlando, going 1-2 in 180 seconds. And really, who's to say which performance should count more? All kidding aside, I've heard that the brass likes "the other Dev," and Phil certainly could use a tall guard with decent speed. If I had to bet on which player with "D.G." initials will be back next season, it's this one.

First Half Grade: D/Incomplete
Second Half Grade: F/Incomplete
Final Grade: D-/Incomplete

Jim Jackson: Let's see. The Lakers needed a late addition free agent who can hit an outside shot, provide veteran presence to a young second unit and allow Kobe a little extra rest. I can totally see why JJ never stepped on the court. His acquisition and subsequent DNP-CD parade gets my nod for the season's "biggest head-scratcher" award.

Second Half/Final Grade: D-/Incomplete

Aaron McKie: I'll be blunt. McKie did dookie this season. I understand he was way behind the eight-ball after being injured for so long. But he didn't even represent at the Casino Night poker tourney, where he's more than capable of contributing. Disappointing, indeed.

First Half Grade: F/Incomplete
Second Half Grade: F/Incomplete
Final Grade: F/Incomplete

Stanislav Medvedenko: I already poured out some malt liquor for my boy. I only wish we got to see Slava guard Nash just once during any of those zillion playoff switches gone bad. Potential comedy for the ages.

First Half Grade: F/Incomplete
Second Half Grade: N/A
Final Grade: F/Inc./N/A

Chris Mihm: While his injury did provide untapped insight into Kwame's potential at the 5, it's a shame Mihm spent most of March and April crutching around. Even if you prefer Kwame's post D over Mihm's more polished offense, the Lakers needed some of the latter when it came to pounding the ball inside against Phoenix. Mihm spent the first half of the season as the most consistent source of interior scoring. Think that could have come in handy during Game 7?

First Half Grade: B
Second Half Grade: Incomplete
Final Grade B/Incomplete

Lamar Odom: What a difference a second half makes. LO went from more erratic than Courtney Love on a coke binge to a freakin' Swiss watch, both in production and triangle quarterbacking. During March and April, he put up approximately 17, 9 and 6 (plus back-to-back trip-dubs). Those are borderline All-Star numbers. And he was a beast for most of the playoffs. Yeah, he picked a bad time to crap out in Game 7. But if March-May was more than just an oasis, Kobe and Lamar could very well be built around, should Mitch and Phil commit to that route.

First Half Grade: B
Second Half Grade: A
Final Grade: A-

Smush Parker: He may end up in a rubber room from Games 5 through 7 induced trauma, but Smush actually finished the regular season strong. Yeah, he was physically/mentally worthless down the postseason stretch. But under ideal circumstances, Smush is a second-string PG. 82 games guarding better players (followed by a back-to-back MVP in the playoffs) caught up to him. I'm not sugarcoating things. Smush has a lot to work on, especially defensively. But to judge him as you'd judge Steve Nash because they're both starters is unrealistic. Put it this way: If told in mid-October that Smush would average 11 ppg and almost two steals, would you have been mad? Doubt it.

First Half Grade: B
Second Half Grade: C
Final Grade: C+

Ronny Turiaf: The most entertaining Laker to ever man a sideline, Turiaf wasn't too bad in limited minutes either. He's a turnover waiting to happen, but he also picked up the triangle very quickly. Gee, a four-year-college guy with a high aptitude? Go figure. He also provided great energy and hustle. Were Turiaf a little more polished offensively, he may have had a shot at replacing Cook at the 4. Or stealing the lion's share of Cook's remaining minutes, if nothing else.

First Half Grade: Incomplete
Second Half Grade: B-
Final Grade: Inc./B-

Sasha Vujacic: In the first-half report card, I said that I wasn't sure what to make of Sasha. I've since made up my mind. I don't think he's very good. He has a fantastic looking stroke but mostly misses, a big problem since a) he's supposedly a shooter and b) he's not good taking it to the rack. He's too slow to guard 1's, but not big enough to guard 2's. His oft-championed ability to "annoy" ball handlers is overstated and overrated. For every one possession the skill comes in handy, he gets used the next nine. I will say this: He has a lot of confidence, which I hope he never loses. It's easily his biggest asset.

First Half Grade: C
Second Half Grade: D+
Final Grade: C-

Von Wafer: A legend. So out of control, he makes practice entertaining. I once caught the tail end of an El Segundo session where every vet, B. Shaw and PJ would alternately remind Von to pass the ball on about five straight possessions. That's gold. Yes, him playing meaningful minutes would result in nothing short of Armageddon. But when he's your sixth string shooting guard? Outstanding!

First Half Grade:  D/Incomplete
Second Half Grade: F/Incomplete
Final Grade: D-/Incomplete

Luke Walton: I gotta give Billy's Boy some serious props. I had pretty much written the guy off when he suddenly remembered how to play. Being handed the starting four spot came more from Cook not cutting it than PJ having some kind of hunch, but Luuuuuke did a very goooood job, including a few terrific playoff games. Walton also displayed spurts of athleticism that I never dreamed he possessed, especially with the flagrant on Tim Thomas. I had no idea he could get up that high.

First Half Grade: D+
Second Half Grade: B+
Final Grade: C+

AK

 
Comments () | Archives (269)

The comments to this entry are closed.

emman,

I'm not desperate to take anyone, but at the same time I think management can only make excuses for players or hope they reach their "potential" before you have big contracts and untradeable assets. I think there comes a point where each GM decides whether or not a certain player can or can not fit with their team. I don't know what timeline Mitch and Co. have decided for the likes of LO, Kwame, and Bynum, but my take is that we are in the prime of Kobe's career and it would be a shame to have him wasting away on a mediocre team.

As for Shannon Brown, I like the fact that he is super athletic and a good defender. He just had an incredible workout in Chicago where people were saying great things. I know he's more of an undersized two than a point, but again, I think he would be a good fit around Kobe, at least defensively. With Kobe and LO you really don't need a PG with the ball in their hands all the time (i.e. Steve Nash). As for Rondo, I was shocked by his shooting percentages, but I heard he is freakishly quick, has long arms and big hands with help handle the ball, and has a good head on his shoulders and plays super defense. I really think this team lacks one of those super quick PGs and he might fit that. Whether or not he drops to 26 is another question. More than likely we don't get someone who has all the tools and can step right in at 26, so I say go with someone who has some natural ability, like speed and athleticism.

Michael T,

per 48 minute stats are used to chart efficiency. Very often we hear those used because there are variances in minutes per game and it helps tremendously to identify how a certain player is spending the time on the court.

Get well soon Mike T...

Rocky,

Stereotypes are irrelevant with how people evaluate Kwame vs. Mihm. Noting Mihm's better fundamentals has nothing to do with color. The difference are on display and obvious. Mihm hits 15-18 foot jump shots, hits hook shots with either hand, and plays with his hands up and ready. That's all part of the fundamentals. Mihm also played a couple seasons of college, which helps in this area tremendously. He may not have perfect fundamentals, but they're better than Kwame's. It's that simple. For that matter, there are plenty of black players who get lauded for their fundamentals. Tim Duncan is nicknamed "The Big Fundamental." You get credit where you've earned it.

As far as Kwame's work ethic, people of color from Eddie Jordan to B. Shaw to Kareem have questioned Kwame's work ethic and willingness to learn. It's not about Kwame being black. It's a maturity issue, an area where Kwame has been lacking. Kwame has even admitted to making excuses for himself and a tendancy to blame others. And again, there are plenty of black players with a continually praised work ethic. KG. Duncan. Wade. Jermaine O'Neal. And Kobe's widely considered the league's hardest worker.

Frankly, Mihm has to work hard, because he doesn't have the natural tools of many players in the NBA. Say what you want about the guy. Call him a backup-quality center who'll never get better. Say that he's too foul prone or not rugged enough inside. But he's not lazy, so there's no reason that being white cuts him some kind of break.

The race issue has nothing to do with what's at play here. Okay, let me rephrase. Obviously, there could be people on the blog who secretly criticize Kwame because he's black. I have no idea and there's nothing I can do about it, other than to call those people ignorant and pathetic. But the flaws in Kwame's career/game still exist whether you acknowledge his skin or not. They are what they are and they're real.

I'm not trying to jump down your throat, but bringing race into this is innappropriate for a few reasons. For starters, it unfairly diminishes Mihm's accomplishments by inferring that he didn't truly earn things this season. It also isn't fair to Kwame, in that it doesn't hold him accountable. It creates excuses, as opposed to treating him like an adult who's responsible for his own actions and progress. Kwame deserves more credit than that. And mostly, I think it's inappropriate because it's just too easy and convenient a rationale. One player's white. The other's black. Race must be playing a factor, right? No, not necessarily.

I'm not naive enough to say that race isn't an unfortunate issue in this country on more than too many occasions. But it's equally naive to say that anything involving people of different ethnicities automatically makes race an underlying issue. That's simply not always the case, either.

Thanks,

AK

Hope all's well, Mike T.

Rocky,

Think it was Michael Jordan that first said the Kwam had no heart and was lazy. Michael's still black, as is Kobe and together they are two of the hardest working, brave hearted champions we've seen in this age of the NBA.

It's time for Kwame to turn on the mental switch that ignites his potential and justifies his salary.

emman,

Just read Chad Ford's Mock Draft and he has the Lakers taking Shannon Brown. Of course that really isn't worth a pile of poop at this point, but I think the kid would be an awesome fit alongside Kobe. Apparently he has an incredible work ethic, he's freakishly strong, and can jump out of the building. Sounds like something we need.

Rocky,
The fact is that Kwame is not a better player at this point than Mihm. He is better than Mihm in only one aspect (defending in the post), approx equal in one (rebounding) and worse in the rest. (offense, FT, shot blocking, team defense.) Mihm is clearly a better player at this point in time. That may not be the case five years from now, but it clearly is the case now. Kwame's "out-producing" Mihm is absolutely NOT the case if you look at the season as a whole. And if you are looking only at the last six weeks, you need to put Kwame's performance in the context of the improved performance of Walton and Odom, which instantly opened up additional, easy opportunities for Kwame. Approximately half of which he blew, by the way. Given the opportunities he was presented with, he should have been averaging at least 20 points a game during that last six weeks.

Your use of the "stereotype" argument is stereotyping itself. It is ludicrous to say that to posters who consistently have nothing but praise for any number of black players, specifically in regards to their heart and work ethic. And who don't hesitate to be critical of white players when their performance justifies criticism.

Could it be that you are giving Kwame the benefit of the doubt over Mihm, because he is black, and thus is assumed to be more likely to be a better player?

ROCKY!!!!!!!!!
i agree with to an extent on kwame. the only reason he is being blasted is due to mike t. trying to put the kid where he is not yet. then to make matters worse, he disses mihm to support his arguemnet. if not for mike t. nobody would be dissing kwame right now, we laker fan were proud of what we saw of kwame at the end of the season.

some smart guy said, trade kobe for t-mac, how smart was that? quality aside, did that person ever put into consideration that kobe was a free agent?

ANDREW z.!!!!!!!!!!111
first of all mock draft is what you called it. i'm not looking for another project, i want instant starter help. rondo is a beautiful player, he can score, but not shoot. brown,i have always liked at mich. st. he is very athletic, would boost the speed of the lakers, but for his size i doubt he could start, except they push kobe to the 3, and either mihm or kwame wouldn't start. but you know what, if he is available at 26, which i doubt, i would take him. but the reason i'm not talking about the draft at all is, i don't want to win a bunch of games(we already have enuff players to do that right now), i want to win a championship, and that would come from free agency. but nothing is impossible rondo could be an eric snow(defender, control tempo and slash), and help the lakers, you just never know. so you see, i'm not really against you, i'm jsut aiming higher.

mike t.
if you are really sick, get well soon bro.

AK!!!!!!!!
I CLEARLY support you, who ever tried to pull the race card on mihm and brown, can't be serious. they forget mihm was also having an improving season too. they call mihm a back up center at best, that is harsh. how many "go to centers do we have in the entire nba"? my point is there are not alot better. if you ask me, we keep kwame, bynum, and mihm. a pg is what is left for a championship(shooter and good defender).

AK:

Very intelligent and perceptive response to Rocky about Kwame/Mihm/Racism. Your comments capsulize why we all love this blog and respect the leadership and direction that you instill in it. Many props and thanks. You guys are great -- and bottom line, that is why this blog is great, not to take anything away from the wit and intelligence of us bloggers.

emman,

I would love to go for rings, but we don't have the money to go after any free agents worth anything, and we really don't have much to trade to get something worthwhile in return. Unfortunately at 26, that pick probably won't have much impact either, but if we can get one of the two guys I mentioned, I think it would be a step in the right direction.

I think that Mitch, Dr. Buss, and Phil are building these guys to contend after three years together. Everything they've invested in players (Kwame) and picks (Bynum), and their reluctance to spend money on long term contracts suggest that they want to get as good as possible with this group and re-evaluate after three years.

However, I think everyone in management was a bit surprised at the success this team had this year, and more so in the first four games of the Pheonix series. So maybe they realize that they can contend sooner than later and make moves accordingly.

I was just throwing draft stuff out there since that's the next thing on the radar. Wait until free agency opens, I'll be all over that stuff along with trades :)

BUILDING A TEAM:

I think that Mitch has done a great job considering the situation and circumstances that he was faced with. What he is trying to do is to build a team, because that is what will win us championshipS.

The key to next year is not whether Kwame or Mihm turns out better but how we can get these two guys to play together to take advantage of each's strengths and help cover each's weaknesses. On defense, that means Kwame shutting down the other team's Shaqs, Garnetts, and Duncans, Chris providing great help defense and shot blocking, and both guys working together to clog the lane, prevent penetration, and dominate the glass. What we need is BOTH of these guys to come through and provide a great inside presence that will anchor great team defense. If that happens, then we will all be happy and Mihm will get his contract extended and become part of the core. Add in Big Baby Bynum plus team co-MVP Lamar and we will have the best front court game in the league.

AK,

I agree with you for the most part. I was just responding to the wave of negative sentiment coming at Kwame out of this blog. Because both of these players are flawed equally.

SHAQ KICK BUTT !

Sorry to say, but all you at Laker land will have to wait for maybe 12-15 years before the purple and gold gets another taste of whats it like to be in the "finals"... again (not!)...he! he! he!. Or, you can expedite the process by trading the "cancer of the Team". You know... the ball-hog MJ wanna' be and get the daddy back and this time maybe include Nash with him.

Laker Tom,

Thanks.

AK

Rocky,

I understand, and if you think people are overestimating Mihm's game or underestimating Kwame's, that's your opinion and you're more than entitled to it. But I would make the point in pure basketball examples. Like I said, I don't think bringing race into it helps make your case as much as clouds it. You know what I mean?

AK

AK,

I hear you. This is a basketball blog. I got a point across. Maybe it's wrong, maybe it's right. Hopefully this will put a stop to all the venom being spewed at Kwame.

To think, I was a Kwame basher during the season...

Thanks AK for not getting too mad at me.

hope you feel better soon Mike T. ;-)

I'm not sure that race had absolutely nothing to do with the criticism of Kwame (maybe not in this blog). I'd venture to say that as people we are subconsciously motivated to act certain ways. Similarly, how much of the fact that Kwame came into a league as a poor young man, became a rich basketball player (and in some eyes have yet to earn it) comes into the picture. My point is that while equally pertinent (subconsciously) it's also important to see the actual work that we have seen from him, and most (for the beginning of the season) warranted criticism. He did drop balls, and he is pretty weak spirit wise, that's not a criticism that's fact. However he is still young, and although it's Kobe's prime, and we're all for that championship, we must not overlook that he could be a part of that championship. Kwame could be a valuable role player for us, in fact not months ago, he was a part of what we all (at least I did ;-) thought of the as the BIG 3, and that was warranted...now it's time to see if it could be consistent, if they and especially Kwame can be consistent.

Personally I'm excited to see both his development and the team's as a whole.

As for the draft...I'm leaning toward Rondo also (or Dee Brown, but he is short for PJ's triangle). In the end though, anybody that isn't soft, I think we've got our quota on that (even though I like Cookie and Sasha lol).

KWAME AND MIHM TOGETHER

Continuing my last post about the need for us to get Kwame and Mihm working together, I think these two guys could be develop into a very dynamic inside game. Reread AK's grade for Chris Mihm. I agree with emman and several other bloggers that have pointed out that Chris really has a very smooth and polished inside game. Had he been able to return for the Suns series, we would have won in 5. Chris can shot the short hook with either hand, has a great midrange shot, and has the hops to dunk and board against anyone. And he can shoot free throws. If we can get Kwame to focus on cleaning up the boards and sealing his man for easy shots like he did late in the season, these two guys could be awesome on offense and could provide us with 30 and 20 every game. Add in Lamar and Bynum off the bench and we would have a top-5 front court.

Rocky,

Don't sweat it. Gonna take a lot more than that for me to actually get mad atcha.

AK

^5'zz (high fives) Tarugo you are on point.

Shaq should have been kept in LA with the Lakers at all cost. Anyone can see, let me rephrase that,...EVEN Stevie Wonder can SEE, that where ever the Big Fella goes, players around him get BETTER.

The Heat TEAM have no fans discussing issues of black or white subpar power forwards/centers one with no hands, the other foul prone, nor does the Heat TEAM have a SG that beats his chest, flings his elbows, gets 'bulldogged' by opponents, tanks games or takes the team out of contention for winning by taking 35 shots. Team CHEMISTRY and BALANCE are the ingredience that win Championships and creates legends.

The Miami Heat under the guidance of the dapper FORMER Laker Hall of Fame 'Showtime' Coach Pat Riley are definately on course for winnig an NBA title. As the Bigman goes, so goes the Title.

OUT!!!
the Truth

tarugo...how much did you pay for the crack rock?

AK:

I don't think that Chris Mihm's offensive abilities are being appreciated. I thought that your B grade for him for the first half of the season was even a little low.

Yes, he needs to improve his defense and avoid fouls. Yes, he does not have the man-on-man defensive quickness that Kwame does.

But what centers in the league today have a better offensive game than Chris was showing right before he got hurt? IMO, only Ming, Shaq, Okur, and maybe Brad Miller are better offensively. I think he is at the same level right now as Ilgauskas and Kaman. As an offensive player, who else would you rather have as your center? He looks like a top-10 offensive center to me and a guy who is just starting to come into his own. I would really like to know who you and the bloggers think is better offensively. And yes, I know he does need to improve his D, but I think he can be a vital part of a good TEAM defense. Your thoughts? Thanks.

really steven why doesnt orlando have a title.
and how come he didnt get it last year.hmmm?

Laker Tom,

I don't know if I'd go quite as high as you in rating Mihm. I personally think Kaman is better offensively, with a much bigger overall upside, considering he's been in the league half the years. BK and I once went through a list of NBA starting C's, and concluded that Mihm would rank about 15-18. Somewhere in the middle of the pack. Granted, that's not bad and certainly doesn't hurt you. But I think top 10 is a stretch, unless you're talking purely offense (and even that may be pushing it).

But I agree that Mihm's general contributions and improvement often go underappreciated. And when you throw in the fact that he costs about 1/3 of the average NBA big, he's an absolute steal. I'd rather be paying for him than Eddy Curry.

AK

Quick comments.

1) I like Walton in the starting line up - and I think if he could just figure out how to consistently shoot the ball this team would be 5 wins better right out of the gate next season.

2) Agree totally on your take about Sasha - I love the attitude, but aren't all European guards supposed to be able to shoot? On most nights he can't hit the broadside of a barn. If we can replace him with a Steve Kerr/Craig Hodges/John Paxon marksmen it would make life a whole lot easier for Kobe, Kwame, and Lamar.

Rence.

AK!!!!!!!!!
i beg to disagree with your assessment of mihm as a 14/15th rankd center in the league.first of all he was nominated for center position in the all star, but couldn't make it. #2, i do not think there are 20 good centers in the league. nba stats shows 50, which actually consists of forwards as well. most of the the few good centers, are actually powerforwards. eg, brad miller, amare, ben wallace etc. all you have to do for me is name, 13 centers you think is better than mihm( i mean real centers, not converted forwards). i can't even name 10 centers without looking at the nba player list. my point is, there are no centers in the league, the few around are nothing to write home about! i'm waiting.

LakerTom,

I am obviously in the Chris Mihm Fan Club. I don't think he is top 10 offensively, but when i watch him I sometimes wonder why. He seems like he's more fluid, controlled, and skilled than most I see, and was improving this season. Sometimes it amazes me that he only averaged 10 points a game. I think for what we are paying him, how hard he works, and how he fits in chemistry-wise, he shouldn't be going anywhere.

It's been mentioned that he might be good trade bait for a guard this offseason, but I'd be hard pressed to believe that the guard we could be getting back in a trade would be much better than what we could draft at 26.

Anyway, glad to see someone else like Chris Mihm.

Rocky -"It seems like a lot of people are letting thier prejudice for Mike T cloud what Kwame truly means for this team"

I think we lost track of what Kwame is really suppose to mean. I dont mean to insult Mihm but Kwame is SUPPOSE to be a superstar and he's not even close. To be compared to Mihim(not attackign him cuz he is a decent center) should be a sad thing in Kwame's career if this guy is suppose to be a superstar. Mike T. try to bring up O'Neal and how he didnt produce til his 6th year(which is Kwame's next) and this is what i posted on his comparison on "He's MItchtastic II". This is why i have a problem with Kwame and not because of what make T. has said or what race he is. Sorry bout the lenght hope u can stay awake J/K

Mike T.

Good point your right Jermain O'Neal didnt do anything for his first 4 yrs. Now let me educate u(lol). Jermaine played as a backup in Portland to the all-star Rasheed Wallace only averaging about 11mins per game for 4 seasons. Then he was traded to Indiana to average 32mpg in his first season there with 12.9ppg then going to his 6th season playing 37.6mgp and averaging 19ppg.

Here's Kwame's stats. As a rookie he played 14mpg. Ok here's where comparison gets good. 2nd year he averaged 22mpg and only 7.4ppg.

Let me wrap this up Kwame in his career averages 23.7mpg, 7.6ppg, 5.7reb and 1 assist per game.

O'Neal has averages of 27.3mpg, 13.8ppg, 7.6reb and 1.3assist and thats with 4 seasons as a backup to Rasheed. Kwame has only averaged over 10ppg in one season and he has had playing time. Jermain has averaged more than 10ppg as soon as he got some playing time in Indiana.

The major reason is that Jermaine didnt get playing time in Portland but as soon as Indiana gave him PT he produced. Kwame has been give plenty of PT and still cant produce. You give the guy minutes and you find out what he's capable of thats why Jermaine has been a Superstar adn Kwame will at best be a decent backup and nothing more.

P.S. Give bynum some tiem to produce and say bye-bye to Kwame who will still have all-around problems.

Emman,

I should clarify. I'm including forwards who spend a large chunk of the season, if not all of it, playing the position. They are indeed their team's center, whether you consider them true centers or not. It is what it is. Thus, you have to rank Ben Wallace ahead of Mihm, in that he can change a game on D alone. Amare may be a true PF, but he plays C for the Suns and he's better than Mihm. Primoz Brezec may be a true PF, but he's Charlotte's C and I'd take him ahead of him, especially offensively.

So that might give you a better idea of how we ranked Mihm. Again, I do like him, so don't take it as a diss.

AK

i have here, the 30 teams in the nba. i will use an elimination process to break down the centers of the league.
some teams won't have a center, some centers won't be worth mentioning e.g a josh howard of atlanta, and some just too weak. so here we go. so when i say no center on some teams, it means that they don't have a credible center.
atlanta- no center (zaza pf/c)
atlanta- none
boston-none
charlotte- okafor
cleveland-big z
chi-chandler
dallas-dampier
denver.camby
det-wallace*
g.state-none
houston-ming
ind-foster
clip-kaman
laker-mihm
memphis- lorenzen wright(not a real c.)
miami-shaq, zo(can't play 20 mins)
mil-magloire
min-candy man
nj- jason collins
no/ok-none(pj brown-pf)
ny-curry
orlando-none
phillly-dalembert
phoenix-none
port-pryzbilla
sactown-brad miller*
san antonio-nesterovic
seattle-none
toronto-none
utah-okur*
wash.-haywood

most team with "none either have rookies, or they are not significant centers-inexperience too)

wallace, pj brown,okur and miller are power forwards. zo is not healthy enuff to play starter mins. so now i pick the notable starting centers that i think are better than mihm, or right there with mihm
1. big z
2.camby
3. ming
4. foster
5.kaman
6.magloire
7.pryzbilla
8.nesterovic
9.shaq
10.wallace* (arguably a center)
11.miller* (arguably a center)
12chandler
13.curry.
14. haywood
these are the notable centers in the league- can start in a playoff game and play major minutes.

now how does mihm rank 14 or 15? that is really a list of 11 true centers.

emman and AndrewZ:

Thanks for the Chris Mihm support.

AK:

I was originally rating Chris as a top-10 center offensively. But as I look at the list of centers on NBA.com, I do not see 10 guys that I would take over Chris as all around centers. As emman requested, give us a list of "true" back-to-the-basket centers that you think are currently better than Chris at this point in time. Even including guys with bloated salaries that are nearing the end of their careers (ala Shaq and Mourning), I don't see 10 guys that I would prefer over Chris. This entire analysis also sheds some light on why the Lakers drafted Bynum and why every trade proposal to the Lakers seems to include Bynmum. True centers have become a rarity in the NBA. It isn't that the center position has become less important in the NBA, it is just that there are fewer good or great players available at that position today. Please, emman, Andrew A, and I would like to see your list of guys you would prefer over Chris Mihm. Thanks.

AK:

Please don't include forwards who are playing as centers. They can do this against many teams because of the lack of true centers. I think Mihm can be a 15 and 10 player for us who will abuse these guys on offense next year. I also think you will see Yao Ming continue his dramatically improved scoring next year. Everything else being equal, a true center can totally change how a team is defensed. Remember the Lakers when Shaq was in his prime? Waiting for your list. Thanks.

AK DISREGARD MY PREVIOUS COMMENT THEN!!!!!!!!!!
b'cos i didn't know you included the forwards, in that case i would agree with you that he is 14/15th center in the league. but amongst true centers, it is a different story.

Get well soon Mike Teniente.

LAKERS are way past that learning phase, they are in the improving phase right now. i hope to see mihm and kwame's number go up next season, except bynum and turiaf really improve, then mihm and kwame's #'s could stay the same or drop, but more efficient. all the lakers need is another front court help, and we would be making some noise. did you all know when the lakers were starting mihm and kwame, we were ranked about 3rd on defense, but we jsut couldn't score. then, between mihm,brown and odom, no rebounds were lost. watch out, for next season, we would do wonders with or without a trade or free agent acuisition.

Emman and Laker Tom,

I'm not gonna make that list because I think it's irrelevant whether they're true centers or not. If they're playing center and playing it well, that's all that matters. I don't care if you consider Amare Stoudemire a true center, power forward or oversized point guard. He plays center for the Suns and plays it better than Mihm. I'm not gonna discount a guy simply because he's playing out of position. That's not fair to the guy actually putting up the better numbers. If you can figure out a way to play Earl Boykins at center for an entire season, and he outplays Mihm, then he's ahead of mihm, in my mind.

By the way, Emman, there is no Josh Howard on Atlanta, so I'm not sure who you're referring to. And the Kandi Man is in Boston, not Minny. He now sucks on the east coast. Haha.

AK

Emman,

I didn't see you "disregard this" post until after I just finished mine. I wasn't gonna delete mine after doing all the work. haha

AK

lakertom!!!!!!!!!!!
i already have a list up there. but if i have to compare to mihm, this is how i would go about it, would i trade mihm for any of the 11 true centers i mentioned? here we go
1.big z- yes- may be not =age
2.camby-yes- maybe not=inury prone/beides alley hoops no offense.
3.ming-yes
4.foster-no
5.kaman-yes-may be not=kaman would be better in future not right now.
6.shaq-yes
7curry-yes, may be not=foul prone but aggressive on offense.
8.nesterovic-no
9.pryzbilla-no
10.chandler-no
11.dalembert-no
12haywood-no

i only had 7 that i think i could trade for mihm.

Laker Tom and Emman,

Also, if you guys really wanna be truly technical about it, you need to put Tim Duncan on that list ahead of Mihm. TD's actually a true center who switched to PF upon being drafted onto a team with Robinson. But he can still outplay almost every center in the league at the 5. You can't count the rules one way and not the other.

AK

AK!!!!!!!!
I didn't mean josh howard, i meant john edwards, my bad!

Emman,

No worries. And I fully agree. Mihm is better than John Edwards. haha

AK

AK!!!!!! that was funny, not letting your work go to waste. your arguement on forwards playing center, makes sense to some extent. for example, lamar would not be categorized a point guard, but he played it better than most pg's, in that respect i disagree, but when you mentioned tim duncan, i had to agree with you, b'cos i always felt he was a center. basically, the arguement can go either way. so i will come to compromise with you and let it be.

i'm so excited for next season, we would really be good, y'all don't understand. no injuries, better knowledge of the triangle, turiaf, bynum and green(summer league). comfort for brown and odom atlast in the offense.

But John Edwards would have been a better Vice President.

Andrew Z,

"But John Edwards would have been a better Vice President."

Who wouldn't?

AK

AZ!!!!!!!!!!!!
true talk. lol.

emman:

I ageee with your enthusiasm about next year. I think we really have potentially best front court in the league with Lamar, Mihm, Kwame, Bynum, Turiaff, Walton, and even Cook for his shooting. I also think that Phil is the right guy to put these pieces together.

AK:

I do not agree with your arbitrarily combining centers and power forwards ranking Chris but will give you that there are many different kinds of players that can fulfill different position roles on a team. In the end, however, being ranked as the 14th or 15th best center in the league is not chopped liver as many in the blog believe, especially since Chris is just starting to come into his own and could well be an 18 and 10 guy down the road.

I think the blueprint for how to use Chris and Kwame is very similar to how Popovich has used Duncan and Robinson/Nesterovich/Mohammed to create a twin-towers prescence for the Spurs. Duncan essentially plays as a center on offense and power foward on defense unless the matchups require a more mobile defender, in which case Tim moves over to center and a quicker, smaller defender is brought in to cover the power forward. As always, the key is to impose your will on the opponent and make them match up to you, rather than vice versa.

My whole point is that we have the pieces for a great front court, including Chris Mihm, and we should not trade big for small to solve our point guard problems, especially since we run the triangle. What we need to go with Kobe at guard is a great quick and long defender that can jump start our team defense. We do not need that guy to be a scorer. We have shooters off the bench in Sasha and Cook that can fill that role when needed and we have Chris Mihm, who can fill the role of our number three scorer, after Kobe and Lamar.

Go Lakers.

Does anyone know if Garnett will be joining Kobe on the U.S.A. team this summer? I want to see their chemistry outside the All-Star game cuz we saw a Garnett lob to a flying Kobe a couple years ago but i want to see them play a serious game together.

Actually nevermind i just found it. I cant believe Adam Morrison and J.J. Reddick is are on the U.S.A basketball team. Hard to believe with so many availabe guards/forwards around in the nba.

Something else to consider is if we even want to have a "true" center in the starting lineup. The league is moving away from that and more and more towards playing two power forwards, or at least one player who is a borderline power forward/center. Unless the "true center" is really good, I think you stand to lose more than you gain by playing one. Centers need to be able to defend away from the basket, and run the floor, much more than they used to. Mihm fits that description more than Brown, at least at the moment.

Andrew Z,
A better VP than Josh Howard, yes.

Lakerville...

I like the potential of Baby Bynum and think that he is worth holding onto. If, the KG scenario played out and the Lakers gutted most of their current roster to obtain Garnett, what would the rest of the team look like? I've heard many bloggers say that KB and KG would guarantee a shot at true contention for the title but without a viable bench and at least one other quality starter, that combination would just be spinning its wheels in the Western Conference. Teams like San Antonio, Dallas and Phx. are deep. They are built to withstand the regular season as well as to contend in the playoffs. Take LO, Kwame and Bynum off the Lakers and substitute KG and my point is that the team would still not have enough to compete for the 'ship.

Laker Nation

Targuo & Steven are the "Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist" of this blog.

Boys please come back from mountain join the rest of the world, actually it would be better if stayed up there. As least you talk yourselves stupid about the wonders of Shaq & Wade because none of us are interested in what you have to say.

If Shaq is so good why did he not win the title with Orlando . We all know that Orlando squad was pretty talented and Kobe was there to mess it up with his ball hogging and he was not there when they did not win last year with home court and 3-2 up. Gulp!! Did they Choke!!

Anyway, I am sure you two will be happy up in the mountains with yourselves, coffee and the sheep.

Laker_Uk

Well said Laker_Uk. Sometimes sucking up too much drains away all those "intelligent" brain cells that they have left. Not accepting the real life keeps you going. I gurantee that once the heat lose they will come back and have all type of excuses lined up for the heat losing AGAIN.

P.S. Your team had a more sucessful year last year ending 59-23 and they couldnt do it. The only thing thats changing is your team is on a decline 52-30. ON the other hand the pistons went from 54-28 to 64-18! Your dominance in the east is declining and if you cant win in your conference then u definetly cant win the finals.

(ENTER STUPID EXIT LINE HERE)
THE REAL TRUTH

exhelodrvr:

I think the key to great defense, offense, and rebounding is to have a set of interchangeable pieces that allow you to dominate inside but still adjust to individual matchups. I like the idea of the size and length that Chris, Kwame, and Lamar give us in the front court with Bynum, Turiaff, Walton, and Cook giving us versatility to match up and take advantage of any situation.

What we need to do is to build the same set of pieces for our back court to complement Kobe and strengthen our team defense. Right now, he is all we have and needs some support.

I like Sasha as a backup for his outside shooting (9 of 15 from 3pt line & 11 for 11 freethrows in Sun series) and Profit for his hustle and overall play. But that is all we have: 2 good backups.

Everyone knows what I think of Smush. JJ and McKie were basically DNPs. Von Wafer is a joke. Devon Green might be the only other keeper. This is where we need to sign a couple free agents and draft some defensive guards. Phil will probably bring back Kareem Rush as a shooter and I understand that we still like Marcus Banks. This is where Mitch needs to focus his attention and Jerry needs to open his checkbook.

Laker Nation (rapist... ehem... i mean Kobe's nation),
When will you ever accept the FACT that KOBE is only in for HIMSELF. He's got what he wants which is to win the scoring title. Now, If you are asking IF he will win another NBA championship trophy, you are just a plain STUPID... and I don't know why are you still alive. Lets see, there's a cure for some cancer (but not what you guys have there... #8 // 24 or whatever number he wants to be... because it does not matter, he won't change his ball hog ways and MJ wanna be moves.) and as for you theres no cure for STUPID so just kill yourself.
And the best part of this is, your majesty "KING KONG (i mean KOBE)" is teary eyed watching the NBA series right now... JUST TO RUB IT IN YOUR FACES... SHAQ IS GOING TO THE FINALS AND YES MAYBE NASH TOO BUT WHERE IS KOBE?wondering IF he can join Nash's team to be a cheer leader or SHAQ's towel boy... Did I hear foul? You better believe it...

emman: "did you all know when the lakers were starting mihm and kwame, we were ranked about 3rd on defense"---I did not know that...good point.

while I agree that having a "twin towers" and good front line (and becoming better I hope ;-) could benefit us immensely, I think Mihm will be traded for a guard. We desperately need backcourt help both for a reserve for Kobe, and someone that would start. There is no way a rookie would start for us, for the simple reason that Phil does not play rookies, so it would have to come via trade. And I picked Mihm for the simple reason that he's got more value right now than most of our players (with the exception of LO and Kobe).

I'm not disagreeing with the fact that he probably is 14/15 as a center...in fact working with Kareem has raised his game (offensively) immensely...but the nba is a double edged sword--play good you might be trade bait, play better/great you're a keeper. Let's hope that he at least stays injury free next season.


Tarugo,

Is that the best you could come up with, Wow!! How long did it take you to do that masterpiece or rhyming nonsense.

For your information, you are more likely to be SHAQ's towel boy, considering the amount of time salivate over him. At the end of day Shaq has been on 3 different teams and everybody knows in his case it is all about the money!!

He bailed out on Orlando because the Lakers were willing to pay top dollar for him.

The Heat need a centre and the he wanted a contract that Buss was not willing to pay without certain guarantees.

What will happen when the Heat lose to the Pistions, lets see how long it will take before he starts to blame Wade for not getting him involved.

It's ironic that in all the NBA title runs He & Kobe had , Kobe had the most assists on the team but he is never seen as making the team better while its ok for Shaq to ball hog and get his points and make himself look good until the final minutes of the game, when Kobe has to mop up because Shaq is a liability on the FT line.

I say you better get your soap ready because Shaq wants you to wash down below hence "Tar u go" and wash it!!

Laker_UK

Tarugo,....GREAT POST

Great observations Tarugo, you are a clairvoyant, hell Ms Cleo couldn't have predicted it better. The blame for the Laker downfall was Buss not RESIGNING Phil Jackson for some idiotic unknown reason. That move of not resigning Jackson to a contract that he eventually got a year later was what started the crumbling of the Laker Camalot.

Oh well it seems team PRESIDENT and Coach Pat Riley has the foresight to build a future dynasty in Miami around the MOST DOMINANT Center in the NBA today. Even though completing his 13th season of WINNING Basketball, Shaq's best days are behind him, however as we see, he is still a FORCE that DOMINATES opposing teams to chart game plans focusing on him.

Kupchak should follow the same plan as Kiki in Denver and just ride off into the sunset. Maybe it is time for NEW BLOOD in the Laker front office.

How 'bout them Suns?!!!!!

OUT!!!
the Truth

Hey there Bert and Ernie,

Just thought I would chime in and say how much I enjoy reading your little two way stroke-a-thon. You two are Hilarious. It actaully just goes to show there's someone out there for everyone...

Keep it going. You both do this board a great service with your comedy.

Tarugo & STeven

"and as for you theres no cure for STUPID so just kill yourself."

Dude suicide is not the anser!!! Just pick up a book called "Basketball Basics For Dummies" and you both will be ok!!
Hey funny that you say that Kobe is in it for himself when it was Shaq demandint the Lakers to build around him but they said HELL NO. By the way Phil probably didnt want to resign cuz he didnt want Shaq to resign. We all know that if Phil resigned then Shaq would. Thats why Phils is BACK TO THE LAKERS AND NOT IN MIAMI!!! By the way its not 13 "WINNING SEASONS" its more like 3 seasons with THE LAKERS AND NOT THE MAGIC OR HEAT.

P.S. Miami will once again choke and Shaq will leave miami. Once Wade becomes the future(like KObe) of the Heat he will demand to be built around him and the Heat will say HELL NO. Wade wont be playing under a rookie salary after next year and the heat dont have enough to pay him a max contract. Say bye-bye to your dynasty if you cant pay them!!

Wow...You people disgust me...thinkin that Lakers are all that...they're old news,
Lakers suck so much and Kobe upsets me even more. For all you people that are Laker fans, too bad. Guess who's MVP? Guess who made it to the finals?! Not Kobe, not Lakers. So, where's that team spirit?!
NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!
Kobe doesn't do scrap except hog the ball everytime. I hope that Kobe got that line in his face. If he tried to even put more effort in the teamwork part, he wouldn't be there. In fact, Shaq and everyone else, as far as I'm concerned, hate his guts. Kobe spends less time focusing on the team, so Steve Nash got MVP...

i wouldnt quite describe mihm's offence as 'pollished' lmao thats going a little far u think?

I think the grade for Cook was a little high. He is soft as cotton and has no business in a Laker uniform. He needs to take his European game out east. And Mihm is probably a back-up 5 at best. He is inconsistent and his defense stinks. You should've given a report card to our joke of a GM Mitch Kupckak. He deserves an F- for his horrid personnel decisions. If anyone is gone next year I hope it's him but I think Kobe's other-worldly play unfortunately may have saved his job. I think I really hate that guy for what he has done to my beloved Lakers.

Laker_UK

Shaq's assist numbers for the title years:

3.8
3.7
3.0

Those are huge numbers for a center. In fact, in the first year, Kobe only had one assist a game more than him. Only one assist more than the center? That's not something you should be bragging about.

btw - why did Shaq's assists go down? Well, if you look at the rest of his stats, you'll see that his shots went down each year too. You can't get assists if you're not even getting the ball...

Ride on Ayami!

First-off Brian Cook’s 51 FG%, 43 3FG% 83 FT% are TERRIFIC. It is more a mystery of what Phil was thinking by playing Luke (41%. 32%, 75%) more minutes. Brian Cook earned more playing time then he received. How would the Suns use him? How about when driving the lane, kicking the ball out to the corner to him for a wide open three?

Kwame Brown at C+? You are high. No, that isn’t a question; it is a statement of fact. This clown’s numbers went up because his minutes went up. Did he earn those extra minutes? No, he got them because of an injury to Mihm. The Lakers learned how to use Kwame, Kwame didn’t improve one bit. Don’t pass to him while he is moving, and when you pass to him, pass the ball to his gut so he can trap it against his body. If he has to catch it with his hands, FORGET IT. 5 seasons in the NBA and he has no post moves or any shot other than an uncontested dunk. And don’t you dare ever write that he is a good defender. He NEVER had more than two blocks in a game the entire regular season. The correct grade is ‘D’.

How about a grade for Mitch. Hmmm, pre-season an F for drafting three players that didn’t contribute, for ONCE AGAIN using the MLE to get a broken player McKie that didn’t play, and bringing us Kwame Clown. Then during the season when we could have gotten Darko from Detroit for Kwame (you don’t think they would like to have Kwame to wrestle with Shaq right now) he sat on his hands. He once again did NOTHING at the trading deadline. Meanwhile Phil is saying we need PG help and finally he picks up a fired Jim Jackson who did NOTHING. So he gets an F for the second have. And since Dr. Buss gets to pay Brian Grant another $15,000,000 next season, he gets to start off next year with an F.

We have to fire Kupchak, because we are having Mitch Kupchak type seasons.

Yogi--Amen, brother! These Lakers are truly pathetic.

 
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