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Talking With: Ronnie Lester, Assistant GM, Part I

From the moment the Lakers' season came to an end, Lakers Blog has been abuzz with folks debating which kid in an oversize, flashy, custom-tailored suit the team should draft on June 28. Aside from the fact that it's fun to debate the merits of Guillermo Diaz vs. Shannon Brown vs. Thabo Sefolosha (who has half of our readers convinced he's "the one," despite having never seen the cat play a minute's worth of ball), whoever the Lakers select two Wednesdays from now represents another brick in the wall of a house being rebuilt.

Thus, we thought it would be a good idea to talk on Monday with Ronnie Lester, assistant GM of the Los Angeles Lakers. Aside from being Mitch Kupchak's right hand man, Lester is the big Kahuna when it comes to Lakers scouting. If there's a young 'un worth checking out, better believe Lester or a member of his staff has checked him out. Like every team in the league, the Lakers aren't big on tipping their hat pre-draft, so there weren't any specific potential draftees confirmed or denied as possibilities. But we got a good idea about the ins and outs of the process, as well some insights about the upcoming free agency period, trade possibilities, what the team is looking for come summer-league time, and other items. Here's what he had to say.

Brian Kamenetzky: I think one of the things Laker fans may not know is what your specific job is, what areas you cover around the league.

Ronnie Lester: I do a little bit of a lot of things, to be honest with you. I originally worked for the Lakers as a scout from '87 to 2001 before I came here to be Mitch's assistant. And it was basically college scouting. (Now) I have an office job. I'm in the office everyday. Still scouting. I like to scout. I like to get out there and see the kids. I think that's one of the things I do best. Being in the office, I put the last four or five summer league teams together, the kids that play for us in our summer league program. Being in the office, you talk to a lot of agents. You develop a lot of relationships with agents. Scouting has changed so much now. When I started, it was basically watching college kids play and evaluating them. Mostly upperclassmen. Then the younger kids started coming out, the freshmen and sophomores. Then high school kids started coming out. Then we started going to Europe five or six years ago, with the European players coming over here. So scouting has changed so much since I started in the late '80s to where it is today.

BK: Does that make it harder or does the larger pool make it easier by offering more choices?

RL: I think it gives you more choices but it's a lot more work. Going to Europe two or three times a year. Watching high school players prior to this year, when they outlawed players coming out of high school. You just have a lot more players to evaluate. You have a bigger player pool, so you have a lot more players to evaluate.

Andrew Kamenetzky: Were you in favor of the age limit?

RL: I was, overall. I think they probably should have stretched it to 20 instead of 19. I think it would have helped as far as the kids coming out's maturity level. Developing physically. Give them a couple more years before competing at this level against men who've been playing at this level for years.

AK: From basketball analysts to the media to fans, there are always those who say the high school kids coming out was diluting the talent level in the league.

RL: A lot of them weren't physically ready to play at this level. Their bodies hadn't developed. Most 18-year-olds aren't mature enough to deal with playing in the NBA. The travel, the things that encompasses that. I think back when I was 18. I could never comprehend that. But I think if you're talented enough, no matter what your age, teams are going to take a look at you. They have to. And like I said, a lot of kids aren't ready, but a lot of kids have upside that you kind of look at and evaluate and say in two years, once this kid's developed, he has the skill level to play against these guys, he's gonna be a pretty good player.

BK: "Upside" is one of those things I wanted to ask you about. When you're looking at a player in Europe who's playing on a junior team at 17, 18, 19 years old or an underclassman like Marvin Williams who didn't even start his one year at Carolina, when you're scouting these players, how do you determine the talent that's there but untapped against just wishful thinking?

RL: I think that after you've done it for a while and you've seen so many players, it's not always easy in specific instances, but overall, it's reasonably easy to see if a player has upside or not. First of all, you look at the skill level and the talent level that a player possesses and that's what you evaluate a guy on. But a lot of guys you watch, they have the ability to get much better than they are already. You know (with) a young player, bodies are going to develop and fill out in most cases. Some guys won't. You look at a body and say, "He has narrow shoulders. It doesn't look like he'll be able to carry a lot of weight." Other kids, they have the frame to put on weight. They have the skill level. And in those instances, you say, "Wow. He's got a pretty good upside."

BK: Now is that relative to basketball skills or is it athleticism, like a Tyrus Thomas, who can jump out of the gym, but fundamentally he doesn't shoot very well and struggles with other things? Do you look at it and decide some of those specific skills can be taught but you can't teach that kind of athleticism? Is that part of what goes into the equation?

RL: I think part of that. Guys like him. Rodney Carney, I think is another guy that's in this draft that's really athletic. And those guys can compete against anybody, whether it's the best college players or the best NBA players. So you look at it from that standpoint, they're gonna be able to compete athletically. Do they have the skill level to compete, because it not only takes being athletic, but you have to have skills to play at this level too. Guys get better. Their skills get better. In Thomas' case, I look at him as being more of an athlete than a player right now. He's gonna compete. You put him out there, he's gonna compete just off his athletic ability. Will he get better in his skills? He probably should. With NBA coaching he probably should get better, become a better shooter, become a better range shooter. Being able to create things off the dribble. He should become a better player down the line.

AK: At times, it feels like guys in college, the more polished they become and the more they develop their game, they get penalized for having "reached their ceiling." As opposed to guys who are really raw and get viewed as having a lot of "upside," but part of the reason that "upside" is there is because you really don't know for sure what they can do. How do you go about differentiating between upside and the guy who's polished but still could improve even further?

RL: Yeah, I mean, some players and I can give you an instance, the kid Brandon Roy, who I think most people say he's ready to play right now. You could put him in an NBA game today and he's ready to play. He can compete physically against those guys. His game is what it is. He's gonna do things and be a good player because if he's not reached his potential, he's almost there. The other kid, Tyrus Thomas, I think is another instance where athletically he can play, but he has a bigger upside than the kid from Washington, Brandon Roy. I think a lot depends on what you're looking for in the draft. Are you looking for a guy to come in and help you right away versus drafting a kid and watching him develop? Some kids, you don't know how good they can be. Their upside could be so big that they could be the next superstar in the league. With a Brandon Roy, I think he's gonna be a good player, but I don't know if he's gonna be that superstar-type player.

BK: So it becomes a matter of deciding whether you're satisfied with hitting a double or looking to hit a home run?

RL: Yeah. And if you have a pretty good team, could Brandon Roy get you to a championship level with what he does versus waiting for a kid two or three years down the line who maybe could get you there, maybe not. So you have to weigh those things.

BK: And at No. 26, do you have to look at things differently, since it's maybe not so clear?

RL: I think so. First of all, you don't know who's gonna be there at No. 26. You just wait and wait and wait. Probably two and a half hours after the draft starts, it's your turn to pick a player. And you have to watch a lot of good players that you like, that you'd like to have, you see them go before you. So you have to figure out, or know, I think, who you like of those remaining players in what order. How they can help you. How long it would take for them to help you. So you have to know those things. And that comes from scouting those players over the years. Not only over the year, but over their careers. Three or four years, a lot of them.

AK: So how do you guys go about approaching this decision as a team, since you're sort of in between? You're obviously competitive. You may have come a rebound away from the second round. But you could also make an argument that the team is not necessarily one piece away from a championship.

RL: I think, when it gets down there, our philosophy has been to take the best player. You can never go wrong taking the best player, I think, because he's gonna make other players better. Even if you have players at that position, he's gonna push those players. And there will be a pecking order established as to who is the better player. And you can always trade a player if you have a piece that's desirable around the league, you can always trade a player. So that's our philosophy, to take the better player. Sometimes, I think when you draft on need, you pass up on a lot of good players because you need a player at a certain position.

BK: And if you have two guys rated about the same, does the tiebreaker then become positional need?

RL: Sure. If you need a guard and you think those players are pretty equal, sure. Because you have to have a certain amount of players at every position. You want to try to balance your roster out. So that could tip it in one direction or the other.

BK: And while guys further down in the draft tend to make less of an impact, there have been guys — Josh Howard, Manu Ginobili, Michael Redd — that blow away the guys taken 15 or 20 spots ahead of them. How do you account for that and how do you try to see which players may have that kind of potential, even though 20 or so teams missed it?

RL: I mean, there's certain things you like about players, that you see in them, that endear you to that player. But scouting and drafting players is not an exact science. You may pick a guy that you think is pretty good and he turns out to be a great player. And you can say, "I knew it all the time." But you didn't, really (laughs). You just evaluate the talent that you see before you and try to pick the best players. Players that have the ability or the better percentage of being a good player at this level. There are good players you're gonna find that go in the second round. That perform better than players before them. I think part of that is some players get slighted a little bit. They thought they should have been a first rounder. They go in the second. They have a chip on their shoulder.

AK: Gilbert Arenas still hasn't gotten over it.

RL: Yeah. He says, "I'm gonna show you guys and all those teams that passed on me that you made a mistake." And I think it's what's inside a player. How badly a guy wants to be a player. You can be a first-round player or a high pick and turn out not to be much in the league. And a lot of that depends on how badly you want to be a player. After getting drafted, how much you continue to work on your game to improve, to get better. And you can't see that by going out and watching a kid play. You can see the talent level, the ability the kid has, but you can't see what's inside. How badly a guy wants to be a great player.

BK: In terms of watching the summer camps and the workouts, how much stock do you guys put into individual workouts versus the draft camps when the guys are all playing together and out on the floor?

RL: You put it all in the pie, so to speak, and you come out with an opinion of the guy. I think a lot of the individual workouts you can get fooled. Especially, to me, (with) the European kids. A lot of those kids will not play five on five. They like to do the individual workouts. And I think you can get fooled by that, because kids will do those individual workouts for years and years and get very proficient at doing those workouts. Shooting the ball and making shots at certain spots. But you get in the game, when it's five on five, and they can't do those same things. So I think you can get fooled by just individual workouts. I think you have to look at everything. Individual workouts and watching the kids play, because ultimately, that's what we do. We play five on five. And that's what you prefer to see. You can only see certain things in individual workouts, ability to handle and shoot the ball. You can't see how a player reacts to being defended (in) game situations. So you prefer to see a guy play.

BK: And I guess if there is a benefit to drafting low, it's that more of the players who are late first round, second round guys tend to play in these camps.

RL: Yeah. The talented kids usually go first. That's what the draft's all about. Usually the kids that are down where we draft are kids who stuck around, especially if they're college kids here in the states, for three or four years. We've seen them. We've seen them, between the six or seven scouts we have, we've seen them a hundred times. So we know them quite well. And the more you see a kid, I think the better your opinion should be of him. What he can do, what he can't do. What type of player you think he projects out to be at this level. Seeing a kid once or twice, you can get fooled. So the more you see a kid, the better.

AK: Last year, you guys drafted 10th and it’s been a long time since you were in a position to draft that high. Was there a different feeling of anticipation or excitement going into that draft versus when you’d been drafting in the mid to late 20s?

RL: It’s a different feel because you know you’re going to be able to draft a higher quality player. A kid that if you pick a good player, he’s probably gonna be a cornerstone of your organization going forward here. So it was exciting from that standpoint.

AK: How did you guys go about deciding to go with Andrew Bynum, who could very well end up a cornerstone guy, but will take some time to get there, as opposed to a guy who might have been ready right away?

RL: Well, we felt Andrew Bynum’s a center, he’s 7 feet with a 7-foot-6 wingspan, you normally don’t find centers 10th in the draft. If you’re gonna draft a center, you’re probably in the top four or five. And the good centers, they go real early. We liked a lot of things about Andrew. As a kid. His work ethic. His size. His frame. Being able to draft a center at number 10, which you normally can’t do. We felt he was too good to pass up. We know it’s gonna take time. He was 17 years old when we drafted him. But if he had gone to college for a couple of years, we probably never would have been able to draft him at 10. So we felt he was a player at 10, to get a center, that we just couldn’t pass up.

AK: What was the organization’s feeling on his rookie season, in terms of progress and the way things went?

RL: Well, I know if you ask him, he’ll say he didn’t play nearly as much as he wanted to. And we’d like to see him play more than he did too, honestly. But once you draft a player and you hand him over to the coaching staff, it’s those guys’ decision how much a kid plays. But we think Andrew’s gonna be fine. We think he’s gonna be a cornerstone player for us for a number of years. He’s a young kid. He works hard. He wants to learn. He asks a lot of questions. So I think the future for him is very bright.

BK: This year, the top center on a lot of people’s boards is Patrick O’Bryant. And then some people talk about Mouhamed Saer Sene, from Senegal. How does Andrew compare to them, in what's generally considered a down draft, especially for centers?

RL: Well, the kid from Bradley (O’Bryant), he’s a long kid too. He’s pretty athletic for a seven foot kid. He’s long. I think it’s going to take him a while to develop physically. He doesn’t have the body Andrew had. This kid played two years of college and Andrew was coming out of high school as a 17-year-old. Andrew has a bigger body, a bigger frame. I think this kid is a center, the Bradley kid. But it’s gonna take him a while because he’s not strong. He gets pushed around. The other kid, the African kid, Saer Sene, he’s the same way. He’s a thin kid. He’s very athletic running. He’s long. He’s a shot blocker. I think if you put him in an NBA game today, what he can do is block shots, because he’s long. He goes after shots. But if you’re talking about him physically, Andrew is a much bigger center than those two guys are.

BK: And while it’s still developing, he does have a more polished low post game and low block offensive game.

RL: Yeah. I’ve seen the kid Saer Sene play once, in the Hoops Summit. I saw him practice a couple times. And I don’t know him as well as I know Patrick O’Bryant or our kid, Andrew. But I think physically, Andrew is a center. He can stand up and play in the post. Pound guys. Be physical. I think the Patrick O’Bryant kid, he’ll develop some physically. But I think Andrew’s gonna be a bigger player. A physically bigger player, as far as strength and weight. I don’t even know if the other kid, Saer Sene, is even a center in our league. And that’s what you run up against when you see young kids that play center in college or in Europe. Most of them can’t play center in our league. They’re not big enough. They’re not strong enough. But Andrew is. Andrew’s a center.

AK: So while there’s obviously guesswork with Andrew when it comes to measuring his true potential, but looking at him physically, there’s no guesswork.

RL: No. He’s 275 now as an 18-year-old kid. Two years in the weight room, working in the weight room, he’s gonna play in his prime right around 300 pounds, which is pretty big. He’s gonna be there. 290, 300 pounds. That’s what he’s gonna play at.

BK: Looking at the draft, and I know teams keep things pretty close to the vest and don’t just announce who they want to take, are there players, in a broad sense, that you’ve looked at and can talk about?

RL: Well, we normally don’t talk about players, as far as like you said, throwing names around. But we’ve gone through some draft stuff, and I’ll say this. We’re 26th and you always want to be higher than you are. You wish you were five spots higher. But we’re 26th and there’s probably 21 or 22 kids that we like and we know we would take right now if the draft was today and one of those kids were there.

BK: So you hope that one of those 21 or 22 kids make it to No. 26.

RL: Sure. And that’s possible, because every year in the draft there’s two or three kids that you would never take, that go before you in the draft. But we have 21 or 22 kids that we like. You can’t bank on that, but normally it happens. But we’ll keep working. The draft is the 28th. We have a couple more weeks before the draft, so we’ll keep working to come up with 26 kids we like.
AK: Plus, a few of them are playing positions that you don’t need. I mean, Patrick O’Bryant, if he slipped to you….

RL: (laughs) We’d have to take him.

AK: Well, yeah. But he’s one kid out of the way. That’s my point.

RL: Yeah. We have three centers on this team. We don’t need to add another center. If you look at our team, look at the players we have in positions, we need a backcourt player. So it’s easier to find a backcourt player at 26 than a center or a frontcourt player. So that's a good thing.

AK: That leads into a question I had. What do you guys see as pressing needs, both going into the draft and going into the off-season with free agency, trades, etc.?

RL: Well, we think we need a guy, like I said, in the backcourt. Preferably a guy with NBA experience. A guy who’s been in the league and knows the league. You know what the guy can do. And the only way to acquire someone like that is through a trade or through free agency. You know, you draft a kid 26th, and if you’re a pretty good team and we think we’re a pretty good team on our way to being a better team if you draft a kid 26th and he comes in and plays for you you’re probably not very good. So the kid we draft is probably not going to play a lot the next year or two. The way for us to get better is to find a veteran backcourt player, I think.

BK: If I threw some names at you, could you wink once if you like them, wink twice if they're not on your list?

RL: (smiles, no response)

BK: Just kidding.

AK: Can you talk about who has worked out for you, or would that be a little further from the vest than you’d like?

RL: We’ve had a lot of kids work out for us, but that’s not a true indication all the time. We’ve had probably 40-some kids in here. We’re probably going to have another 20 before the draft’s over with. This week we have a workout. We have three workouts next week. And we have a workout the week of the draft where you can bring in four kids each workout. And we’ll do that. So we’ll have five more workouts, times four. That’s 20 more kids that we’ll bring in. We’ll bring in 65 kids before it’s said and done.

BK: And do you have them playing against each other?

RL: Well, there’s certain rules. You can only have four kids in, so you can only do so much: two on two, one on one, basically. But yeah, we’ll have them do some of that stuff. A lot of shooting. Looking at different aspects of their skills. What type of skills they possess. How they fit in with how we play in the triangle offense. All those things.

Look for the second half next week...

 
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Awesome interview.

I'm lovin' the sound of this: "Well, we think we need a guy, like I said, in the backcourt. Preferably a guy with NBA experience. A guy who’s been in the league and knows the league. You know what the guy can do. And the only way to acquire someone like that is through a trade or through free agency."

Go Lakers, get us a stud!

Nice interview, really enjoyed it.

Guy just told you they're going after Banks.

AK: So while there’s obviously guesswork with Andrew when it comes to measuring his true potential, but looking at him physically, there’s no guesswork.

RL: No. He’s 275 now as an 18-year old kid. Two years in the weight room, working in the weight room, he’s gonna play in his prime right around 300 pounds, which is pretty big. He’s gonna be there. 290, 300 lbs. That’s what he’s gonna play at.


You just don't trade something like that! 300 lbs. after lifting weight for 2 years. Bynum is a keeper. Bynum is untouchable.

mike

AK/BK

That was good interview, very substantive questions and you almost nailed Ronnie in revealing their choices. Boy, that's your forte, kudos to K-Bros.

I love what I heard that they value C as well as our baby Bynum (the Laker B-2 bomber,) but this year they want immediate impact rather than waiting for three more years. It is possible there will be a trade but not necessarily draft picks alone but a player who could immediately deliver the Laker needs. I see Andrew Bynum as their showcase of the future so trading him might involve the decision of the Old Man up there not from the Front Office or the Coaching Staff alone. Ronnie did not delve much on talented international players because they are more concerned on weight & power while Europeans are mostly lanky and finesse. He didn't mention much on perimeter shooting but overall we have an idea what they are targetting this year's draft a "backcourt player".

I am also happy that they would put more value on our 5's like Mihm & Kwame. They know their bargaining strenght that Centers are rare in this league, we cannot just trade Mihm with Duhon or Darius there has to be package attached to it, cuz' if you put Mihm in this draft, will somebody pick him before #10? Most probably. If we get our backcourt needs and keep Mihm, that will be a great news to me.

We could TURN the pressure ON to Mihm or Kwame until February '07, i.e. you have to put up or you're GONE....this also applies to Smush or Sasha apply D in your game or you're gone. When there's a challenge, there's motivation to succeed.

Bring on Sam Cassell or Jamal Tinsley

P Ang,

Ha Ha - you beat me to it. Banks it is, but I hope they don't overpay to get him. At 2.5 per year, I would take him in a heartbeat. At 5-6 mil? I'd think about it. His stats are similar to Smush [except Banks shoots a higher %] and we are paying Smush less than 1 mil per year.

If we do sign him, we have the following guards:

Kobe, Smush, Sasha, McKie, Banks, Wafer, Green and potentially Profit.

That's a total of 8 [not including the draft, where we may end up with another one], where we shouldn't have more than 6. I can see Green being waived, and maybe even Wafer [though I like the boy], but I'd rather move or buy out McKie. Even so,we'd have a lot of *potential* in our backcourt, without too many proven players.

I'd rather we keep Kobe [duh!], Profit, Sasha and either Smush or Banks [but not both], draft a rook and then sign a veteran like BoJax/Speedy/MJames.

That still leaves big holes at SF/PF - depending on where LO is pencilled in.

Check out this draft profile of Monta Ellis [first year rook for the Warriors] - the description is pretty accurate even after his first year in the NBA [good scouting!]:

http://www.draftexpress.com/viewprofile.php?p=289

Boy is really quick, and can be had for real cheap. Word is that Warriors are looking for a center. How about using our exceptions this year to draft Mohammad and trade him to the Warriors for Pietrus (SG/SF) + Ellis (PG) + a decent SF

That way we get 3 decent young players who have NBA experience to help us with our perimeter defense today, while maintaing cap flexibility for the next couple of years.

Here's a list of SFs who are FAs this year. All of these guys are good defenders, and as a bonus are good 3 pt shooters - think Devean George at 2 mil/year:

Trevor Ariza, Jared Jeffries, Jumaine Jones, Rasual Butler, Matt Harpring, Sergei Monya

My pick would be Jumaine Jones - he can play both forward spots, and we only traded him because there was a logjam at SF. With Caron and George gone, we only have Luke as a designated SF. Jumaine is a good 3pt shooter and has a good relationship with Kobe.

C - Mihm, Turiaf, Bynum
PF - Brown, Luke, Cook
SF - LO, Jumaine, draft pick [hopefully TSef:)]
SG - Kobe, Profit, Sasha
PG - Pietrus, Smush, Monta Ellis

We would have to waive Wafer, McKie and Green, but this could be a pretty good team!

Great interview........what did he say again? haha that was pretty dang vague...but still an interesting read. Although...I heard Mitch on the radio a few days ago...and he was saying the same things and being just as vague (and understandably so).

Ronnie seems like a well spoken intelligent guy. But i have one problem...
"RL: I think, when it gets down there, our philosophy has been to take the best player. You can never go wrong taking the best player.......And you can always trade a player if you have a piece that's desirable around the league, you can always trade a player. So that's our philosophy, to take the better player. Sometimes, I think when you draft on need, you pass up on a lot of good players because you need a player at a certain position. "

I COMPLETELY agree. Now, my problem is....why havent you followed your own advice all these years?!! him saying those words is again very dissapointing to me. i assumed the lakers org were just in the "draft on need" camp or philosophy. which i always disagreed with. but to hear him say this is weird. cuz its no hidden fact that the lakers have been one of the worst drafting teams over the past 5 years. (except last year).

im surprised we are looking for the best player and simply drafting that bad. every year my friends and i create our own draft board of who we want. if i were the lakers gm, our drafts wouldve been WAY better. im not making this up and im not trying to toot my horn, it may be just pure luck, but the point is, its really sad to me that my draft boards have been considerably better than guys that are paid to scout and have 100 times more resources and hours of watching film, etc.

explainations for this could be:
1. RL and crew are terrible scouts: I dont think so really. RL seems like hes a very good scout. I think he is dead on about guys like Tyrus, Carney, and Roy. I like Roy's game, but I too think that he's not an all-star. I would draft Tyrus or Carney or Foye before Roy. (and if Rondo learns to shoot, he will be better than Roy.) Tyrus being the biggest risk but also having huge upside.
2: Lakers have changed their philosophy: This could be true. Since Bynum was a shift from need to completely a "best player available" pick.
3: Phil: Is it a coincidence that when phil is around, we take crappy low talent "need players". then last year when phil isnt around, we draft bynum?
considering how phil has wanted to trade bynum this past year...can we assume, had phil never left, bynum possibly might not be a laker? with all the sean may rumors last year...i could TOTALLY see phil wanting sean may. a polished proven college player with very limited nba upside to fill our "need" at PF. now thats scary.

Since I dont think RL is incompetent...im going with Option 3.

AK:

Just curious if your part 2 was already conducted. Something Ive always wondered about in terms of drafting players was how much influence these factors have on their decisions:
1. Character. Not so much work ethic, but how important are factors like leadership skills, moral character, and plain likeability and personality.
2. Psychological tests: what do these tests entail and how important are they? Like say someone you like drops to you but after tests you find they are extremely depressed. Does that matter?
3. Brain Typing: there are camps that think brain-typing in sports is of utmost importance...and others that think its hogwash. do you use consultants (or staff) in this area, and if so, what influence does it have?

Not sure if these are stupid questions, but Ive just always been curious about it.

wiZo is wrong. PJ was already on board when Bynum was selected last year. He threw his full support behind it and has repeated so several times during the past year.

In trying to come up with reasons why lakers haven't come up with exceptional picks the last 5 years wiZo misses 2 points. First lakers in those years were always picking late. That leaves the pool with barely any exceptional talent. Secondly, as RL said, the selection process is not an exact science. In most fields (in particular sports) it is very hard to predict with certainty the development of the individual. I believe that a lot of GM's and their helpers are very capable and based on the information at hand go with the right choice on draft day. Somehow it is a gamble and as such they lose at times (e.g; K. Brown(#1), N. Tskitishvili(#5), D. Wagner(#6)). It even happens to the best of them. In the 2003 draft, Jerry West got Boston to pick Troy Bell for Memphis at #16. T. Bell is no longer in the league. Presently you could say that Josh Howard should have been picked instead of Brian Cook. Three years ago, it was not that obvious. Looking at it now, J. Howard should have been picked at about #10. If so 19 other GM's most of who preach about picking the best guy available made a mistake too. Perhaps David Harrison should have been picked instead of Sasha, but looking at where they both are, that is marginal. The fact is during the past 5 years it is very hard to look at players that were picked after the lakers' picks and conclude that they made grievious mistakes. And this has absolutely nothing to do with PJ.

The more i've thought about our situation, the less I want anyone traded. I don't think being a 'glass cannon' will take us deep into the playoffs (this year with mihm out and nobody playing PG).

If banks can be gotten through free agency on the cheap, and we can package our extra players away for a a small forward to start ahead of Luke until he starts producing consistently (good chance it happens this year with how he played at the end of last season) I think we can have a very solid team.

What I realistically think we can achieve this season along the lines of a depth chart:

C - Kwame/Mihm/Bynum
PF - Odom/Mihm/Turiaf
SF - (Gerald Wallace?)/Luke/(Free agent?)
SG - Kobe/Sasha/Profit
PG - Banks/Smush

I think Odom makes more sense at power forward, considering Mihm doesn't have a lot of experience there and Kwame has proven he's more comfortable at Center.

If they put their PF on the perimeter, that's a huge mistake and he can take any existing PF easily off the dribble or shooting.

The key with my proposed line up is we don't lose any valuable pieces, like Mihm, and we have line ups capable of dealing with any team out there. Grabbing Wallace, health permiting would be a great step towards heading back to the finals.

However, the hoopsworld article really sold me on him and banks. Let's hope something productive happens this summer! It's rare you have 3 solid centers in a time where everyone is looking for one, so I have high hopes of something happening. If we can trade Mihm for Wallace, I say pull the trigger.

I also think Banks is our guy. Part of me is happy that we'll be able to bring in a guard without trading any of our centers, but part of me thinks we MAY be able to get more if we were to trade Mihm to the Bulls, Bobcats, or some other team. I think moving Mihm could get us 2-3 players we need. I do like Mihm's game though so I think it will be a good thing in the long run if we can keep him, and still get the players we want/need.

I really had no idea how big Drew was!!!! Yeah, I know he's a 7 footer, but I never thought he would grow to be between 290 or 300 pounds!!!! If he works really hard on his game, and has the heart, he could be one of the best centers EVER!!!!! Think about it, he could be a more talented Shaq. He's already a better free throw shooter, and he will have more post moves than Shaq since he's working with Kareem. IF he works really hard he could be unstoppable!!!!!!

Michael T.,

300 pounds at 20 years of age? Untouchable? Hell, yes!

GO LAKERS!

Western Conference Finals in 2007
NBA CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2008!

as far as phil supporting bynum, of course he HAS to support the pick. he signed with the lakers like a week before the draft! so weve been scouting all year long, and he's gonna come in and just veto our pick? plus with how much jim buss likes bynum i doubt he couldve.
but phil endorsing bynum actually doesnt even make sense. yeah it was the right pick for the long term...but if you werent gonna be here for the long term, would you want that pick? if youre trying to win a championsip in 3 years and in doing so you will be labeled the greatest coach ever...do u REALLY want bynum? why do you think phil wanted to pull the bynum/artest deal? now artest is awesome, but at that time he basically stated he wants to go to NY after his contract is up. obviously phil will take artest cuz it just helps him for 2 years.

now youre right, the draft is an inexact science. but there is some method to the madness. yeah everyone makes mistakes. west made huge ones too. but if youre good , you also can make good picks every so often. im not saying cuz we didnt get a superstar at pick 30 we suck. im saying our draft picks just sucked! im guessing you dont watch a lot of college basketball (and i mean during the season, not just in march). cuz if you did, you would understand how bad many of our picks were. you could also see a trend of taking players that had absolutely no upside, just cuz they fill a small role (and not even that well).

2000: Mark Madsen. What a crappy pick. (Although he made up for this with his dance during the laker parade). Im not saying we shoulda got Redd. Im just saying Mark Madsen is an example of the type of player we got. Zero upside.
2002: Most people at the time thought we were going to draft Boozer. Instead we trade up for Kareem Rush. Ive seen both play a lot in college and i was SHOCKED at this pick. Kareem isnt even a great shooter and we had a pretty decent guy named Kobe at the 2. and also it didnt make sense cuz not only was boozer better, but PF was a greater need at the time also. also what was bad was we gave up Lindsey Hunter to move up and get crappy Rush. yeah lindsey couldnt hit a shot for us but he was by far our best perimeter defender next to kobe.
2003: Brian Cook. Again if you watched college ball, you could tell this was a bad pick. Yeah we needed a PF, but just from watching games I could tell you Cook was soft and shot a lot of 18-20 ftrs. Again, this pick was especially bad cuz of who everyone THOUGHT we were going to take. Some ppl in the org wanted Barbosa, who Ron Harper was telling Mitch that we HAD to take. I remember it was phil that did not want barbosa. and thats a fact. now josh howard did surprise me. i didnt know he'd be this good. but he was still a better college player than cook. another bad pick.
2004: Sasha. Ok, I actually like Sasha. Nice kid, tries hard. But at the time I hated it. I still remember watching clips of him on draft day and cringing. At thatt point I wanted Duhon and I was telling everyone that Duhon , while wont be great, is a legit starting PG. And weve seen Ariza play and i wouldve prefered Ariza for his upside. Then again, we cant blame the lakers cuz Duhon and Ariza played for small time schools Duke and UCLA. Duke never is on TV and never makes the Tourney. And UCLA is like ALL the way across town in Westwood. Thats a tiring drive in traffic. I understand.

im not saying youre wrong. but saying, "oh, its cuz we pick late" is not a valid excuse to me.
the spurs pick later than us every year and look at their drafts.
99: Ginobili (pick 50something)
00: Carawell (mid 2nd rd)
01: Parker (last pick 1st rd)
02: John Salmons (26th)
03: Barbosa (28th)
04: Beno Udrih (28th)
05: Mahinmi (28th) (actually not all that bad a pick considering how dominant the spurs are. a project they can leave overseas. also it shows were still considering the future at the same time.)

also the other team usually picking late with us, the Queens:
99: Robertson (46th)
00: Turkoglu (16th)
01: Gerald Wallace (25th)
02: Dickau (28th)
03: no pick
04: Kevin Martin (26th)
05: Francisco Garcia (23rd)

trust me, i also cant stand the people that say: "geez man! our team should have Ginobili, Parker, Rashard Lewis, Redd, Boozer, Kirilenko, and Josh Howard!" its nonsense. but Boozer and Barbosa are guys that i feel SHOULD have been on our team. drafting late cant be the excuse EVERY year. the fact is weve just plain not drafted well in the past 5-6 years.

in the words of a Lakers spokesman "You can always smell a plum if you poke around long enough in the right dumpster."


if shannon brown is available i say take him. hes another josh howard in the making, but hes more exiciting crazy hops and tight d what more can u ask for at the three, or kob can play three he can start right now, cause hes well coached and will have a better career than roy, trust me. does anybody know if nick caner medley from maryland is in da draft? if so hes a good second rnd pick. that kid from florida state is special also. as far as free agents or trades i like jared jefferies,jumaine jones,sam cassell.trades maybe we could get grant hill for cheap ak could we? i like ricky davis he could help our team. now that jordan is in charlotte maybe we can may and wallace for sasha and mimhn i heard paul pierce was on the block he may be a perfect fit or maybe im just fishing. id love a richard jefferson for lamar odom trade he and kobe could rule. i like l.o but if we can get someone like mcgrady or rashard lewis or jemaine oneil or igudala(maybe hes coming next year hes good friends with kob and hell be a free agent so maybe mihm and odom for iverson and igudala + cash would be the move we need to make)i say make the deal what do yaw think?

could you imagine a line-up of
1-iverson
2-kobe
3-igudala
4-kwame
5-andrew
does that spell championship or not i believe iverson would take less money for a chance to win a ring k bros could this happen as far as contracts go and how much of a pay cut would iverson have to take?

I'm off topic as always, but what do you guys think of the league suspending Stackhouse? I'm astounded at the sheer inconsistency of this. If a guy can be suspended for a hard foul -- this wasn't an elbow, or a clothesline, or a punch -- then you could suspend one or two players almost every playoff game. I can't see any difference between that one and Luke's foul on Tim Thomas. I'm with Avery Johnson on this, even though I can't pretend to understand what went into the decision, it's sickening to see the league making such arbitrary decisions in this cryptic, dictatorial manner. It's too bad, because the officiating during the finals has been excellent, but this just continues the long tradition of disgusting mismanagement by the league.

how many yaers does stackhouse have left on his contract?

Wizo,

I'm not one of those guys that study the draft, but I think you're absolutely right. I had no idea we had a chance to land Boozer, Howard. I don't agree with the barbosa pick though. He's not the right type of player for the triangle, and probably would have been stuck to the bench, or traded. This is the first year that I've ever talked about the draft this much. I really can't wait to see who we pick.

Smooth D,

There is no way Kobe and Iverson could play on the same team (maybe if Iverson wanted to come off the bench). There's only one ball on the court, and they're both going to want it when the game is on the line. We've already seen what happens when you get two superstars on the court that think they're better than the other, and I for one don't want to see a rerun of that. Iverson has much heart, and can still cross anybody out of their shoes, but he's not the type of player we need.

smooth d,

thats one of the most rediculous things i've ever seen posted on here. it wont happen, not now..not ever. iverson and kobe would not mix, not one bit.

now, igoudala would be nice. he'd be a good aquisition to the team but it would be hard to get him.

iverson avg.40-10 and 35&7 for alot of the season and he just wants to win 50 shots between both of them and they said jesus couldnt walk on water my point being anything is possible kob and iverson could co-exist and would be great for the nba and for the lakers i belive they could make history!

and it wouldnt be hard to get igoudala if he has no intentions of re-signing with the siv=xers next year then they would have to deal him to get value so it could happen

It's way too soon to be getting this excited about Bynum. He has shown very little in the limited playing time he had; in fact, his lack of improvement throughout the season defensively was disappointing. And there are obviously no college games to look at to get a feel for how he performs in a game situations. He absolutely is NOT untouchable. If the opportunity to trade for Jermaine O'Neal or Kevin Garnett would come up, and Bynum was the most significant piece the Lakers had to give up, they should take it. IF he is going to be so great, doesn't it stand to reason that other teams would be drooling over him? The Timberwolves, who are in a rebuilding phase, should jump at the chance to trade Garnett for Bynum. IF BYNUM WERE SUCH A LOCK TO BE A SUPERSTAR. So obviously he isn't.

iverson is not 25-26 anymore hes older so i think in philly he scores because he has to i think in la he would so focus on getting a championship that he will sacrifice 8-10 shots this will do wonders for his fg% and actually help his ppg. when an nba player has done it all like iverson has a championship is what he desperately wants he and kob could be a fantatic duo throw in dre ig and u have a 60+win team easily>trust me egos wouldnt be a problem

so no one thinks kob an a.i. could play together?

exhelodrvr,

There is no such thing as a "lock" to be a superstar. In the end it all comes down to the person to perform to the best (or in Shaq's case to the least) amount that will bring him stardom. A great example would be the Kwam (who I love) but the way he was talked about you'd think he was destined to be the next great superstar (during his draft year), yet as it stands, he's a good player (no where near stardom status...but I'll take it anyways). My point being, just for size and "mentality" alone, Bynum is already ahead of the curve, now he just needs time to develop under one of the greatest superstars this league have ever seen in the Cap, and he'll be great/fine. However, I can't straight out say (or rule out) that if Minny or Indy said we want Bynum (without LO) and we'll give you KG or JO, I wouldn't pull the trigger (so in that sense I kinda agree with you).

Smooth D,

I'm sure not many would agree but, I also think they could work together. You're right, there comes a point in time when it's all about winning, and for both of them the time is now (more so for Iverson). I'm sure I'm in the minority on this, but especially with what Kobe did during the playoffs, the ball could definitely be shared. Frankly, I think they could be dynamite, but let's not forget that the inside and outside presence is more potent than 2 great outside presence---so in that sense I don't think it would be condusive to have Iverson as Kobe's second in command. Most importantly Iverson is not a free-agent (as far as I know) and he costs a whole lot of money that essentially it would be like trading for a Garnett (without the big man advantage) and would most certainly thin out our squad (Bynum, LO, Kwame would be gone). As for Igoudala, I'd love for Igoudala to be in this squad, course I'd take Tayshaun (my "impossible" dream) over him.

WiZo, you're good with your analysis, I think you have the qualification of a good scout. Were you a scout before or a basketball coach in your profession? In my case, it's only now I'm getting exposed to these drafts. I used to accept whatever choices the Lakers org. made because I do not have the ability to compare people in any order.

In the International scene, I'm just wondering what RL said that they have scouts all over Europe. We know for a fact that countries like: Russia, Germany, Lithuania, Argentina, Italy, Brazil have been strong basketball program and were competitive against USA after '92 Dream team, and yet, year after year I don't see the names of those great scorers during FIBA or Olympics. I assumed these players were contracted by Euro League teams but NBA is the premier league when theie contract expires, how come we can't get them play in the best basketball league in the world. Well lately, the Ginobli, Gasol, Nowitski, Nacione and Parker are now popular int'l. players. As I mentioned before, after the choice of Divac in 1989, the best international players chosen were Slava & Sasha. We have the advantage in our lineup we have Kobe who grew up in Italy and familiar with Euro players since he used to own a basketball team, perhaps his tips could help our scouts to best players. RL said Euros are soft and Latin americans are small but they are pure shooters at 60% to 70% FG ave. & that's what we need in the triangle.

McGarnagle,

I'm with you and Avery on this Stackhouse suspension. How often have we seen Shaq throw elbows in the paint, including the one that gave Stack three stitches in these Finals? Where was the review of the tape? Where was the suspension, or AT LEAST a fine? No mention of it afterwards. Stack DID throw his body into O'Neal but he was still attempting a play on the ball.

As the devil’s advocate, I can understand the league putting one to Cuban for his incessant complaining of the officiating. I’m sure they’ve read his blog (http://www.blogmaverick.com/ on May 5th) they probably didn’t care too much for his opinions on how to choose playoff officials in the first place.

This was the right foul to help keep Cuban’s type A personality and his team from winning a championship. I would have rather seen a fine, no suspension. LET THEM PLAY!

Yeah McGarnagle I'm a pro-Shaq guy but I still don't like that suspension. If Shaq can shove Stackhouse's nose bone up into his skull, then Shaq can take a hard foul on the lay-up.

To me this tarnishes the series, regardless of how it ends up. If the Heat win they might have to place an asterisk on the trophy, and if the Mavs win the Heat have to be just that much more embarrassed, and no matter who wins the league looks suspicious....

Hey Maleke & Guity,

Stop whining already! Waaahhhhhhh... Lakers isn't in the playoffs... I can't sleep, Kobe oh Kobe where art thou... SHUT THE *%^&^% up!

Just enjoy the finals and suck it up. MAN UP or shall I say "MAN LAW". NO CRYING AFTER THE LOSS(specially for those who didn't get to the FINALS(he! he! he!)

Trade L. Odom (former star player) for Marbury.

faith a.i. is still under contract so there would have to be a trade and a paycut but if we gave up l.o. mimhn and sasha,and a 1st rd.pick i belive king would pull the trigger.this would help philly in l.o. and webber would flourish together and mimhn would back up dalembert they plan on drafting a pt. grd.maybe marcus williams.they would be rid of iverson cap room to sign any free agent they need maybe make a run at carmello next yr.in return the lakers would get the pt. grd they need also a proven vet a young scottie pippen type player in igoudala if shaq could be given away anything is possibleand if dre ig has no intention of returning to philly why would they keep him. he's been training with kob so why wouldnt he want to be in l.a. a.i. has been rumored on his way out for years why shouldnt we make a run at him if he agrees to a paycut my idea isnt that crazy. portland didnt get face value for rasheed so maybe philly feels the same

hasson addams will be a great second rd. pick

EVERYONE!

Wake up!

We SHOULD have beaten Phoenix (not could, but "should"). If we would have beaten Phoenix, we reasonably could have beaten the Clippers. If we beat the Clippers, we would compete with Dallas.

With absolutely no personnel changes, the Lakers will be better next year. With the addition of one solid player who can play defense (ideally at point guard), we will be significantly better next year.

Remember Phil Jackson is our coach.

Kobe Bryant is our star.

Lamar Odom is our heart.

All off these will be better next year. Why? Because they are Greats.

We just need to supe up the engine a little. We don't need an overhaul.

Marcus Banks or Speedy Claxton. That's the answer.

Adding Darius Miles and/or Kareem Rush would be even better.

GO LAKERS!

im with Jon K...We were one rebound away from making history

Go Lakers

Smooth D, you're still not addressing the "balance" or inside/outside. Having both AI and Kob makes us dominant on the perimeter, but with LO/Mihm traded our only presence would be the Kwam, a not so ready Bynum, or Turiaf (who I love but don't think is ready for a starting job). And also, LO and Webber is in a similar boat, except theirs is a dominant inside, but not so much outside (esp since LO really doesn't have a consistent outside shot---which I hope he's working on this offseason, as well as his off hand and move). I don't think Kobe is strong enough to always play in the post (or high post) which would be the only way to have a consistent inside presence in that lineup.
As far as I know (as someone in this blog pointed out to me a while back) the nba contracts are as good as it gets when it comes to "guaranteed" as in unbreakable (unlike the nfl) so there would be no way for AI to restructure his contract before or after the trade until he actually reaches the point in time when he'd be resigned or what not. In the meantime, we'd have to scrounge up the money to trade for him. But like I said, I agree with you, they'd be great---but the inside/outside thing would not make it condusive.

Still, Jon K is right, we're going to be fine, a few pieces here and there and we'll not only have a dominant 5, but a pretty good bench as well. Have faith! lol

P.S. Afflalo's going back to school (as he should) http://cbs2.com/topstories/local_story_168184148.html

tarugo,

If your a Heat fan, you shouldn't like the suspension either. Wouldn't you rather beat a whole Mavs team vs the league helping you by a questionable suspension of the Mavs best bench player?

I think the NBA would rather have "the next Jordan", Shaq, and the feel good stories of Mourning and Payton holding the trophy over Mark Cuban and his German star player.

tarugo,

At what point did I mention the Lakers?

Kobe was at the Sparks game tonight, he was with his daughter and also Devean Green. It's good for Kobe to have a friendship with the players it creates a closer unit. Maybe the team is already working out, since Kobe and Lamar will be leaving for the USA team.

We need what Phil and Kobe said we need: a couple of players.

But:

we won't have the same mismatch with Phoenix. They'll be able to play bigger and will probably be the team to beat. Dallas will be confident. San Antonio will want the spotlight back after adding youth to a solid, experienced core, and Sacramento will make a lot of noise and then go native if they keep Bonzi and Ron Ron together.

We are going to have to step it up just to get back to where we were. Barring injury, we will be better but we are going to need the pieces cooking full tilt boogie. Profit, Claxton or Banks and don't panic. Keep the kid and even Mihm unless something impossible to pass on jumps up. We're not desperate, but the schedule has accelerated. The time is now.


PS. Stackhouse should be playing tomorrow. But y'all knew that.

kobe/lamar/iverson/kwame/bynum good lineup

To Nyla & Maleke,

Keep on dreaming bro's 'coz like it or not, THE HEAT WILL BE THE NEXT CHAMP. You can smear all you want but the bottom line is HEAT will still become the champ & DWADE will take the finals MVP, something KOBE can ONLY dream of... Now children, DO NOT CRY!!!
WAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!! WAHHHHHH!!! WAAHHHHHH!!!

NYLA,

You're right.

GO LAKERS!

AI has a history of not wanting to practice, and a history of not wanting to work out in the off season. Plus he wants to control the ball when he plays. I don't see how anyone can possibly think that someone with those characteristics would mesh well with Kobe.

faith with a.i and kob and dre ig kwame and bynum is all u need because they would just get trash buckets and put backs and u dont need a dominant center for that just look at the mighty bulls, who da hell was cartwright,wennington, purdue, no damn body so u dont need a dominant center why do you think kob got rid of shaq centers slow down the game and in todays nba u got to get up and down the court the center position is more of a hybrid position now they just arent da same as they used to be. uve got 6'9-6'10 players playing center to combat with whats going on in the league today shaqs era is over meet the amares the kwames the diaws the harringtons. i think the lakers need an overhaul because of shaqs successs nobody says he cant win it without a stacked team so why cant we? if the a.i.'s are available then i say make the deal this could be history im sorry to keep beating on a dead drum but i think we could make this happen and it would benefit us largely can u imagine nash vs. iverson in the wcf and then kobe and lebron in the finals please basketball gods make it happen!

that was the young thug a.i. now ur dealin with a reborn a.i. who would die to play for a good coach and to play with someone finally on his level thats so scary if we can keep sasha in the deal then fine but if l.o. and mimhn, cook,and a draft pick could work i say make it happen today we would have the number one defense in the league with the a.i.'s and kob kwame is one of the best interior defenders in the league smush could dominate the second unit and learn from a hall of fame pt grd why does this not make sense to you guys people change a.i. would embrace this. if the lakers were rumored to trade l.o. for francis why cant they do it for the a.i.'s star power is what we need 24/3/54/17/9=championship hands down get on the phone mitch and make it happen!

Smooth D.,

I respectfully disagree with you when you said that the center is now a hybrid position. You still need a good center that will cover the post. The reason why we need a Center like Bynum who is 7'0" with a wider wing span, he could cover the post for those inside games and get rebounds. Believe me, if you have a good and active center, he attracts two guards from the opposing team, that's probably we were winning games in the past. Don't compare Shaq now who is slow and has spotty games. He does not dominate as he used to be but based on history of Basketball even during the time of Jordan, there is always C that helps the guards and forwards outwit their opponents. If you do not have C then you will always be a contender not playing for the Championship. Refer to Suns, Bulls & Nets games.

this is a guards league and is more so now than ever theres a reason nash has won the past two mvps because guards make the game go ruond so dont give me this big man crap the league is set up for quick guards who can break down the defense thats why tony parker lead the league in points in the paint its because of the hybrids duncan was on that team and he didnt lead in points in the paint go figure pay attention to ur surroundings the a.i.'s is what we need

edwin so ur telling me erica dampier is a great cener,diop is a great center hell no my point exactly whos makin it happen in the finals right now d. wade not some center times have changed bro this is the year of the guard!

lamar odom has a east coast game and would florish with webber and korver he could easily dominate ne one in the east at the three except lebron this would philly in the top half of the east maybe uprooting the nets so dont think philly wouldnt get ne thing in return they become a bigger version of the nets if they draft marcus williams and ager with thier two first rd. picks once again it could work and sounds pretty darn good

happy fathers day ak/bk/kobe and the rest of l.a. nation

SEVEN Hours to GAME TIME.......

FIVE Hours to GAME TIME.....

Happy Fathers Day.....
...SHAQ 'DADDY'!!!!!!!!!

THREE Hours to GAME TIME......

wiZo:

I have mixed feelings about the Laker draft record the past few years. Last year's selection of Andrew Bynum was the first pick in several years that I really liked.

I think the Lakers have been generally slow to search out speedy and athletic internationally backcourt players like Barbosa, Parker, or Diaw. These are players who had a much greater upside due to their natural abilities but were risky picks due to the level of their competition.

Instead, the Lakers international draftees were the more traditional, soft "Europen" players who were slow, plodding frontcourt guys like Vlade and Slava or outside shooters like Sasha. As a result, our international players had limited potential.

I have heard Popovitch state many times that they had no idea how great Ginobli or Parker were going to be when they drafted them. There is no doubt that drafting is composed of large elements of luck as well as instincts. Yet, you really have to wonder why some teams select some players.

I hope we have learned from watching the impact that guys like Parket, Ginobli, Barbosa, and Diaw have had as international players. With all of the hype that has been generated by Thabo Sefolosha's workouts approaching the draft and his defensive comparisons to Josh Howard and overall comparisons to Boris Diaw, I have not yet seen that the Lakers even scheduled a workout for him.

Here are the Lakers 1st round picks and guy that I was championing for them to pick at the time. Needless to say, I think my picks would have been a definite improvement:

Year - Picked / Should Have Picked

2006 - *********** / Thabo Sefolosha
2005 - Andrew Bynum / Andrew Bynum
2004 - Sasha Vujacic / Trevor Aziza
2003 - Brian Cook / Jason Kapono
2002 - Kareem Rush / Tayshaun Prince
2001 - No Pick / Gilbert Arenas

smooth D...wade has shaq

so much for ur theory

Go Lakers

I really like Walton starting. They don't need a lot of points from him with the other starters, but he can and does score well at times. His passing is so valuable. Then if the Lakers can find an another athletic 3 that can shoot (and defend... please!), they would be in pretty good shape at SF.

I don't think Mihm can play the 4 spot so that puts Brown back at the 4 where he is less effective. And if they keep Bynum, Mihm will eventually be a backup.

If Mihm is working on his jumper he can play outside more and Brown closer to the basket where he is more effective. Still if they trade him, I hope they get max value for him.

The real key is how Brown will play back at power forward.

AK/BK
Outstanding interview as usual. That is what make this blog so great. Access to info, insight, and points of view we can't get anywhere else. Who else is going to interview RO like that?
Great job guys!

Smooth D.,

It's only now I was able to respond to your previous blogs after coming from errands. The people you mentioned are "ordinary" centers or players in the NBA who happened to be 7'0", still they were able to slow down Shaq, without Diop & Dampier, do you think Dallas have any chance against Miami? That was the big question when Suns were competing for the Finals. If Suns played the Finals, I doubt if they could win more than two games against Miami. The history of NBA revolves around the best centers, only Magic, Bird and Jordan made it more interesting when forwards and a tall guard got MVP's. You go back to its beginnings from Mikan, Russell, Elvin Hayes, Nate Thurmond, Moses Malone, D'Chief and the rest of them which you have already heard. I don't think these class of Centers could match any of your forwards and guards today. Even in today's game each team have been a good C in the Finals for the last 10 years: Spurs (Duncan + Robinson) Detroit (Wallace) Lakers (Shaq) Bulls (Cartright, Perdue, etc) Rockets (olajuwon) . Utah jazz, Sonics and Phoenix Suns in the 90's they have malone, Stockton, Barkley, Nunn, Johnson but because they have a dominatingn C they did not prevail the triangle of the Bulls.

It's okay Steven, we all know Wade is injured. I'm sure that's why he's not playing well.

Wow, the disparity in calls between Wade and Nowitzki is atrocious. Breathing on the dude the wrong way draws a whistle. 22 free throws & counting...

1 MORE TO GO BABY!

DWade for MVP!

Wade's stats: 11-28 from the field, 21-25 from the foul line, including 2 game-winning free throws on a phantom foul. What a joke. I would be seriously pissed if I was a Mavs fan.

McGarnagle,

I saw ya on ESPN's buzzmaster. I can't figure out which refs were worse the ones in this game or the ones in the in the US vs Italy

tarugo,

Wade's not MVP...the refs are.

Kobe Who?!!!
Kobe Who?!!!

This is the DWade SHOW!!!!!!
My point from the Start, you can take ANY 'athletic' shooting guard in the league, pair him with The MOST DOMINANT Center in the League and MAGIC HAPPENS!!!!

Hell I believe I could play shooting guard on a team with Shaq and look like a WORLD BEATER!!!! Hell even you folks on this blog Smoooth D, Andy B, TrueLakerfan, LakerTom, Faith, AK AND BK can play shooting guard on a Shaq led team and look like ALL-STARS!!!

Buss and Kupchak SCREWED the Lakers forever by trading Shaq!!!!

OUT!!!!
the Truth

I'm a believer Steven! Who cares about
Shaq? Let him get his ring.

But DWade is the superstar of the league right now - he makes the shots, he gets the calls, he wins the games, and he leads the team with ease.

Of course, now they have to win a game in Dallas - a 50/50 shot, but at least they have that shot after going down 0-2.

nyla and mcgarnagle:

waaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

all of you can go back to debating what crappy trade you can get done or what crappy player you can get at 50 or whatever number your pick is.

Meanwhile, the league's moving on with better teams and better players.

LAKERS SUCK!!!!

DWade!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kobe Who?!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kobe Who?!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shaq brings out the BEST in a TEAM and a City!!! All you Kobe fans don't 'HATE'(using So-Cal vernacular)you need to 'CONGRATULATE' This is the DWade SHOW!!!!!!!!!! Blame Buss and Kupchak!!! Looks like a few more SUMMERS with no celebrations in the Southern California area!!! Blame Buss and Kupchak!!!!
Don't 'hate' the Player,......'Hate' the GAME!!!!

I bet DWade LOVES Kobe for making things bad for Shaq as DWade reaps the benefits of the spoils!!!!
We'll see if Riley GUARANTEES a 'BACK-to-BACK'

OUT!!!
the Truth

nyla, yeah the refs have been really, really good this series, but they came out to control the game (after the Stackhouse "incident") which ruined the game as it always does.

Now... now... Ms NYLA (Happy Fathers to you too).

I know tears start flowing into your cheeks(tears of jealousy), but thats the way it is. Until the day YOU guys get rid of the "CANCER" in LAKERland, you'll never going to see "FINALS" let alone pass the 1st round of the playoffs(IF they get lucky # 7-8 spot next season).

But look at the bright side KOBE will probably score 82 points next time... againts TORONTO(he! he! he!).

Release Lamar Odom(former star player) for Marbury.

Dirk is too soft, he is weak minded we saw that when we played them in the playoffs a few years back and we had that come from behind win when phil got ejected...hopefully if the mav's loose (which i doubt) terry would wanna come to the lakers (not sure if hes a FA but from what i read here a lot of ppl want him to come)i think he will be a good fit, and definetly will put is in contention for a title...

Go Lakers

loser,

Wade's playing like the best player in the league right now, I'll give you that. But the dude's "Look, I'm playing hurt" grandstanding, babyface "bake me cookies" poses, and royal treatment from the refs all piss me off. Poetic justice for me would be to see him go down with a real injury, not like one of the ones he's always faking.

By the way, have you ever seen Wade have a good game on the road? Dallas will win in 7.

I think we should trade get in a 3-way trade with miami and minnesota. We'll give up sasha and a second rounder for d-wade and kevin garnett. That'll be pretty cool.

Edwin Gueco:

FINALLY you sound like a person that has some a little common SENSE!! As I have said ALL ALONG, it takes a DOMINANT Center to win in the game of Basketball!!! A DOMINANT Center like Shaq makes the game easier for the rest of the players like DWade. DWade is becoming the poster-child of the NBA as well as becoming very marketable in Corporate America.

Blame Buss and Kupchak for denying us Laker fans of any future NBA Title Celebrations, while they line their pockets with more revenue by raising ticket prices.

OUT!!!
the Truth

Heat wins in 6!!!

I'm not crying cause I'm not a Mavs fan. I'm just saying it how it is. The league office and refs have done some questionable things throughout the playoffs. They've clearly helped teams out including this one.

The Mavs had control of this game then all the sudden they're calling fouls left and right.

Sure I don't want to see Shaq winning another title, but it doesn't bother me that much. I'm just a huge basketball fan and it's sad to see refs control a game.

Just wait...Now Dirk's gonna suspended cause he threw a ball in the stands after the game.

Tarugo^^5zz - high fives!!!

We tried to tell these 'hardhead' Kobe fans!!! It was The MOST DOMINANT Center in the NBA Shaquille O'Neal that lead the Lakers to NBA Titles!!! Kobe was just along for the ride. It has been mentioned MANY TIMES, you can take ANY 'Athletic' Shooting Guard, pair him with Shaq, and NBA Titles appear out of thin air.

DWade seems like a very GROUNDED young man, he has been BLESSED to even have had the opportunity to in ONLY his THIRD YEAR to play beside Shaquille O'Neal for an NBA Title in front of a WORLD AUDIENCE. Shaq is the biggest REVENUE generator in the NBA for teams and teammates. Right now DWade will be the 'darling' of Madison Avenue Advertising Executives.

Kobe is difficult to deal with, if Kobe would have just kept his head and let the Veteran Shaq do his thing, then Kobe and Shaq could have went on to win more titles. But subborness and greed denied the Laker organization more NBA Titles.

OUT!!!
the Truth

Shady

Are you okay? Stay away from 'sharp instruments'
Don't blame the refs, both teams had the same refs. Don't blame the coaching both teams had coaches.

Some players 'choke' in big games, some bloggers 'choke' on this blog. Both Dirk and Josh CHOKED in two different games, and you choked on this blog. Shaq had his guys prepared, because Shaq is The MOST DOMINANT Center in the NBA.

I said before the series started...Heat in SIX
Case Closed!!

OUT!!!
the Truth

Shaquille O'Neal

The MOST DOMINANT Center Ever is one of the BEST PASSING Centers in the league. When he gets doubled, he always finds an open man who should nail down the outside shot. An athletic Center with TOOLS is hard to comeby in the NBA. That is why it is so confusing to many why Shaq was traded away.

Shooting Guards are a dime-a-dozen, athletic shooting guards are a premium. An athletic shooting guard teamed with Shaq is PRICELESS.

Seeing that Kobe Bryant is NOT a Center, it seems that the Laker organization was trying to reincarnate Michael Jordan. The Laker organization seems to be banking on just selling tickets and raising the prices for mild entertainment, not winning Championships.

OUT!!!
the Truth

PROOF OF WADES BACKCOURT VIOLATION:

RULE NO. 8
OUT-OF-BOUNDS
AND THROW-IN
Section I—Player
The player is out-of-bounds when he
touches the floor or any object on or
outside a boundary. For location of a
player in the air, his position is that from
which he last touched the floor.


On the final throw in Wade was established in the front court...he did not establish himself in the backcourt prior to receiving the inbound pass

These are the offical NBA rules...the ones the REFS did NOT follow on this play!

http://www.nba.com/media/rule_book_2005-06.pdf

RULE 8 (Inbound passes) Begins in the right hand column bottom of page 95 and the salient point ends at the top of page 96 in the top left column...


VIDEO PROOF BELOW:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qDdzU8Dxj4

Stev-IN and Tar-u-go,

Bet you are blaming Kobe for Dallas' defeat.

It isn't over 'til it's over.
Don't count the chickens before the eggs are hatched.
He who laughs last, laughs best.

Maybe, just maybe, in the end both of you will have your feet in your mouth if not in the ass.

we should have gotten boozer as back up to o'neal. if that had happened, shaq and kobe could haven't broken up because they would still have won the championship. i agree on sticking with the same guys and adding good role players like speedy claxton or gerald wallace. i will also agree if they would trade odom and mihm to the bulls for duhon,gordon and the 2nd pick. then we should pick aldridge...

Steven:
Don't count your chickens before they are hatched.
Game 6 in Dallas will decide the series. Miami won't win a game 7 on the road. Stack is back! Look out!

Steven,

You know what was priceless in this series? Your "Most Dominate Center Ever" getting knocked on his ass by Stack! Then trying to say his daughters hit him harder cause he was so embarrassed. Now that's priceless!

man-o-man, how on earth can the ref's call a foul on the last play of the game..... Wade has gotten the calls all year long (and yes, he is a crybaby - look I'm hurt....), to the line 25 times last night. Come on, give me a break.. unreal what i was watching... forget the time out, how can the ref's decide the game.... i do not understand this... someone help me to understand

remember, Kobe use to get the calls as well, but not this past year, he got "no love" from the ref's, while Wade get's all the love from the ref's

I am sure, Stern has a play in this.... He needs seven games, etc.....

Great interview K-Bros!

Steven,

The Heat is winning this series soley because of Wade. The guy has been nothing short of sick the past 3 games. He started 3-13 in the first half and Miami was down by 8. He steps up his game in the second half and the Heat wins. Wade's the best player on the floor by far.

Shaq is now part of Wade's supporting cast simple as that. The Heat is not winning this title (if they do) because of Shaq-though they certainly wouldn't be there without him-and the Heat making it to this point does not make trading Shaq less justified. When Shaq was traded he was an aging, grotesquely overweight big man. This championship has to be attributed to Pat Riley's offseason moves which everyone questioned and the greatness of Wade.

We're definitely witnessing one of the great NBA Finals performances right now.

wi zo:

You're so right man. I couldn't agree w/ you more. Our scouts are terrible in my opinion, especially when it comes to Europe. Like you mentioned, the Spurs are great at finding talent overseas. It's like they have a farm system. I'm not a proponent of bashing the Laker front office, but this has always irked me about the beloved purple and gold. We draft guys like Sasha, Madsen, DGeorge, Slava, BCook when we could have guys like AK-47, Arenas, etc. It sickens me. Hopefully, Vlade can do soemthing for us out in Eurpoe.

Sounds like DENIAL

OUT!!!
the Truth

Bad management DECISIONS!!

Ever since Jerry West left, and 'yes-man' Kupchak took over the Laker organization has been on a decline. Players have to 'trust' a GM to want to come to that organization. The Gary Payton issue as an example was where Kupchak kept 'promising' Payton the Lakers wanted to keep Payton as a part of the offense. Payton fell for the BS and resigned, next Kupchak trades Payton and Fox.

That type of business drealing resonates through the league making players leary of playing for the Lakers. Right now the Clippers will be the team that players would want to sign with and play for if they desire a So-Cal lifestyle. The Lakers need a change at GM, point blank.

OUT!!!
the Truth

I don't know what LakerTom is thinking, but to say we should have drafted Jason Kapono. Hm... And hindsight is 20/20. Ariza isn't much a player yet, just athletic, and Tayshaun was a joke for a long time, he just became reliable on his shooting. While those are things you can teach Kareem is actually one hell of a basketball player. He just needs to be in a better system, because without trading for Rasheed Wallace I could see the Pistons dumping Tayshaun Prince before he could become the player he is now. And another thing to look out for is how good he'd be on another team, or even this team when they start to separate.

i think its miami in six or dallas in seven no way miami in seven .
steven tarugo if they win well its wade not shaq so its wade not sahq who got a ring before kobe u dont get a ring like they used to dominate whith 15 and 10 posey posts that haha.
i have been telling u that big baby is going to be great .
at 7-2 or 7-3(3 more years to grow) and 300 pound he will be the second comming of shaq with better freethrows and work ethic.
plus when u have the cap and kobe the most lazy guy will have to work and he could use their experoence in big game moments to become clutch and dependable.
i love the fact that jimm buss wont give him up.
AK any update on the LA brakers and who will be put in the D leaugue team ,who will coach .....

steven what did ur great center do when crunch time was on he was on the bench. phoenix wuold have won this thing if they didnt play 17 gms. in 21 days or something like that. diaw would have given shaq fits, nash and barbosa would expose williams and payton way more than terry and harris. dont forget about shawn marion, and if raja can get in kobs head what does that mean for d-wade? trouble thats what. there is no need for a true center ne more get out of the past. the present is here, yeah miami has shaq, but if d-wade doesnt play out of his mind they have no chance against a team kobe put up 60+in three quarters.the suns should be the real nba champs and everybody knows it! they stop themselves, anyways the centers were liabilities in last nights game and the only time the game was really exciting was when they went small ball! the center spot is not what it used to be. san antonio's reign is over! this is phoenix's dallas and the lakers league, and each of these teams feature guard play 4 all-stars on these teams alone! even yao ming is an hybrid, he has an outside game hes not ur traditional center. paul gasol ben wallace is 6"9 center and defensive player of the year i rest my case. trade for the a.i's in a hurry!

ACCORDING TO SI TRUTHS AND RUMORS...

There is no evidence so far that the Bulls are close to trading the No. 2 pick for a veteran, but this week is traditionally when trade offers start to arrive. One rumor of the Lakers sending Lamar Odom for the Bulls' two first-round picks isn't likely to happen. Talk that Indiana GM Larry Bird is willing to swap Jermaine O'Neal for a pick that would land Adam Morrison sounds plausible.

Don't like Cuban or Dallas much, I'm a Marquette grad, I like D. Wade.
I liked the NBA that didn't call that a foul with one tick left. The one that wouldn't suspend arbitrarily in the finals. The one that let the players play the game.

Rubin:

Hey, I said these were the guys I "originally" wanted the Lakers to draft; not the ones I would have chosen after seeing everyone play for a few years.

The point I was trying to make was that a amateur draft prognositicator like myself was actually able to make better selections than the Lakers management.

You are right about Kapano. He has been a bust. And Aziza still has to prove he can be a quality player although he has great talent.

But Tayshaun Prince is really the best player on the Pistons at this time and one of the best defenders in the game. And Gilbert Arenas has proven that he is one of the top five guards in the entire NBA.

I also still believe that Bynum will become the next great Laker center and that whoever drafts Thabo Sefolosha will get one of the steals of this draft and a future shut-down defender that can play 3 positions.

Laker Tom,

The Lakers couldn't have taken Prince. The Pistons drafted him 4 spots before the Lakers were on the clock.

Not trying to comment one way or the other on any of your general points. I just wanted to clarify that particular one, since it sounded like you were down on the Lakers for letting him slip past.

AK

 
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