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Extra! Extra! (1.21)

Halfway through the season they're not yet an elite team, but if they're not careful, the purple and West_on_walton gold will guarantee themselves a date with one come the first round of the playoffs. Saturday night's 113-103 loss to the Hornets in OKC is another in a disturbingly robust collection of clunkers that are costing the Lakers position in the Western Conference. The Lakers rang in the season's midpoint with an unfocused, unsuccessful effort, especially on the defensive end, allowing the league's weakest offensive team to go ABA on them. David West, in only his second game back from elbow surgery, pushed the Lakers around, and Rasual Butler did damage on both ends for the Hornets. Kobe, who had a rough go of it, described the game as a learning experience (hasn't the point been driven home by now?). If that's the case, the box score shows plenty of room for educational lessons, save a career high 23 from Mo Evans.  At least it's good to know that our sideline celebs trump theirs.   

Halfway through, the Lakers are surprising many but because four is not one, we feel there's room for improvement--although not necessarily much from Kobe Bryant. If nothing else, 24 has Byron Scott's support

Chris Webber to Detroit?  No great loss to L.A.

Did you miss the D-League showcase?  Kudos to Brian Chase of Your Los Angeles D-Fenders!

There are good numbers and bad in the team stats as well as individual

 
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THE JACKSON JOURNAL: *41st Game – New Orleans Hornets (26-15)
By Michael C. Teniente

A thumb’s down for Phil Jackson!

KEY OBSERVATION

James Worthy and Alan Massengale wondered why the starters weren’t in the game longer in the 1st half. They said that because the Lakers were behind 59-51 at the half. I don’t know what game they were watching but Luke Walton played 15:50 of the first half. That’s plenty of minutes. Kobe Bryant played 18:28 of the first half. That’s plenty. Again, I don’t know what game they were watching but it was the 1st unit; when they returned in the 2nd quarter that gave up the lead. And I’m not pointing the finger at Kobe Bryant. I just wanted to point out what they said because it’s so absolutely crazy to think that the starters did well in the 1st half.

NOW FOR THE BREAKDOWN

http://www.nba.com/games/20070120/LALNOK/playbyplay.html

OK, in the 1st half the Lakers gave up an incredible 59 points. But that wasn’t a surprise because everyone knows that the Lakers problems are on the defensive end. When the 3rd quarter started the Hornets started out with the same amount of energy. They turned an 8-point lead into an 11-point lead at the 10:45 mark. At that time PJ replaced Cook with Radmanociv. My thinking is that PJ was putting the blame on Cook, which is probably right. But how does replacing Cook with Radmanovic solve a defensive problem? It doesn’t.

Less than a minute later at the 10:02 mark PJ replaces Radmanovic with Turiaf and Walton with Evans. From the start of the 3rd quarter to this point the Hornets grabbed 3 offensive rebounds. It was the right thing to do.

This is what we’ve been waiting for. Putting a solid front line together. Bynum, Turiaf, and Evans. This group outscored the Hornets 21-13, from the 10:02 mark until Bynum and Turiaf were separated because of Bynum picking up his 4th foul. The score was 65-53 when PJ knew that there was a problem with Cook/Rad and Walton handling the 3 and 4 spot. When Bynum was taken out of the game the score was 78-74 Hornets at the 3:05 mark. In less than seven minutes the Lakers outscored the Hornets 21-13. THAT’S WHAT DEFENSE DOES! It creates energy and it doesn’t matter if you have your best offensive players in the game. And I don’t mean going without Bryant and Odom.

Anyway, there was nothing PJ could do but to replace Bynum with Walton. I can understand that. By the time Walton reentered the game the Lakers had managed to set a defensive tone and were scoring at a decent pace. When Walton returned he didn’t really hurt the flow of the game. That’s what reserves are supposed to do. They’re not supposed to disturb the flow of the game. The 3rd quarter ended with the Lakers behind by 1 point. The score was 83-82.

The 4th quarter started out with two Hornets baskets. That brought the score to 87-82. At that time Kobe Bryant was taken out of the game.

The game was going back and forth, with the Lakers even taking a 1-point lead at one time. This was without Bryant and Bynum. Then, at the 5:59 mark and with Farmar at the line, PJ replaced Turiaf with Andrew Bynum. The score, after Farmar’s free throws, was 94-92 Hornets.

In the last 6 minutes of the game the Hornets returned to what they did in the 1st half and the beginning of the 3rd quarter. They outscored the Lakers 19-11 for a final score of 113-103. Wow! What was so obvious was how the Hornets returned to the flow of the game that got them the 1st half lead. PJ used a Bynum/Turiaf/Evans combo to stop the bleeding early in the 3rd quarter. But he allows the bleeding to return in the last 6 minutes of the game?

This is why PJ gets a thumb’s down. He knows the problem. That’s why he replaced Cook/Rad and Walton with Turiaf and Evans at the beginning of the 3rd quarter. The reason why he replaced Turiaf with Bynum at the 5:59 mark in the 4th quarter is just his insistence on making Luke Walton a vital part of the Lakers plans. He should have replace Walton with Bynum and finished the last 5:59 of the game with a Bynum/Turiaf combination. And you saw what David West did to Walton at crucial moments of the game towards the end.

PJ knows this but he sticks with Walton? There’s something wrong here. This guy is going to run the Lakers’ defense to death with Walton in the line-up. That’s even with Kwame Brown at center and Lamar Odom at the 4 spot. Luke Walton is the weak link in the Lakers’ defense.

This is the 41st game of the season. The patterns are set. The reason why we can’t beat the weak teams is because Luke Walton can’t stop anyone on defense. It’s a freaken pattern. When is PJ going to pull the plug on Walton as a starter? Here’s the thing. Nothing is going to change with Walton. THE PATTERNS ARE SET. It’s his slow feet. You can’t change that. And you can’t ask the other players to compensate for Walton, and when they don’t you can’t punish them for it. This is about Luke Walton.

What makes this even more incredible is that PJ went with Walton from 3:05 left in the 3rd quarter to the end of the game. Fifteen straight minutes. He’s not that good! What’s more is that Walton takes 13 shots. That’s 2nd most on the team. He’s not that good! Not that it really matters for this game but Walton is 2 for the last 18 of his 3-point attempts. This guy is a good player. I won’t deny that. But he’s good in limited minutes. Once he’s given extended minutes his limitations are exposed. That’s what happens over long periods of time. That’s how patterns are observed. Over a period of time the truth always comes out. That isn’t going to change.

If PJ sticks with the Bynum/Turiaf combination in the Hornets game…we win. What’s so frustrating is that PJ knows it. This guy is going to try to ride Walton to the end and it’s going to cost us a championship this year. This is why I’m writing the journal. This stuff is obvious but no one says anything. If PJ continues to do stuff like this, it’s my intention to do everything I can to get him fired.

I know it’s not the politically correct thing for Jerry Buss to do, to fire PJ. But he can strip him of his influence over personal decisions. Like the idea of resigning Luke Walton, Mitch Kupchak and Jerry Buss should let Walton walk. That would strip PJ of his personal favorites and force his to coach instead of playing his favorites. Stripping PJ of personal decisions would make PJ’s ego go off. He’ll walk. That way Jerry Buss doesn’t have to fire him.

Speaking of Kupchak, the guy has put together one hell of a ballclub. This is Kupchak’s team. It’s Kupchak who should have the final say on who stays and who goes. I mean, with Jerry Buss’ approval, of course.

Seriously, if Jerry Buss could read this, I would say…hey, man, I don’t know how this season is going to unfold, but I do know if PJ continues to start Luke Walton, and to play him for huge minutes, the Lakers aren’t going to win a championship this year. Please don’t resign Luke Walton. As a matter of fact, Jerry, you should really try to trade Walton before the deadline, while is value is up. It’s not going to go any higher and he’s not worth more than 3 million a year. As a matter of fact, if my instincts are correct, Walton’s value is going to start to fall dramatically over the next few months. Even with Kwame Brown and Lamar Odom…Walton cannot deal with Josh Howard and if the Lakers are going to win it all this year, they have to go through Dallas. Walton cannot deal with Josh Howard, not this year and not next year. There is no room for significant development, in the case of Luke Walton, when it comes to dealing with the elite SFs in the Western Conference, not as a starter.

PJ know this but he’s thinking that with Brown and Odom he can hide Walton’s shortcomings on the frontline. I’m telling you…not against Dallas or Phoenix. But what’s so disturbing is that when Brown and Odom can’t mask Walton’s shortcoming, PJ will take it out on Kwame Brown. Please Mr. Buss, watch how PJ does this over and over.

You know, when he does this he thinks that he has a free pass as a basketball expert. He’s basically saying that you, Mr. Buss, don’t know a damn thing about basketball and when he give you a report, he thinks you’re too stupid to understand how he manipulates the game. He’ll try to convince you that Kwame Brown, with the development of Andrew Bynum, is expendable. Instead of developing Brown as the power forward, he’ll try to convince you that Luke Walton’s value to the team is more than Kwame Brown’s value.

This is interesting because, obviously Walton is not more valuable than Kwame Brown. But this also throws Ronny Turiaf into the mix, because if PJ continues to play Walton…Mr. Buss, you’re going to lose Ronny Turiaf.

Ronny Turiaf could be a starter in this league. But with Walton clogging up the minutes, Turiaf is regulated to 3rd string center. This is Turiaf’s last year on his contract, right? Do you think he’s going to want to stick around to be played as a 3rd string center? And why? Because PJ won’t play Odom at the 3 spot and free up minutes at the 4 spot for either Kwame Brown or Ronny Turiaf.

If this continues, Mr. Buss, you’re going to lose both Kwame Brown and Ronny Turiaf in favor of Luke Walton. Do you seriously plan on paying Luke Walton more than 3 million a year at the expense of losing Ronny Turiaf and Kwame Brown?

Kwame Brown isn’t going to stick around if he isn’t going to get at least 32 minutes a game. And he can get that somewhere else. And I’m telling you that Andrew Bynum doesn’t have the foot speed to ever be the defensive stopper that Kwame Brown can be. So you’ll be left with Andrew Bynum and Luke Walton…but you will see Ronny Turiaf and Kwame Brown walk. That’s what PJ is going to do with his insistence on playing Luke Walton as a starter and for big minutes. Are you too ignorant to see that, Mr. Buss? Tell me it’s not true, Mr. Buss. Better yet, tell PJ.

One more thing: If Kwame Brown and Ronny Turiaf walk…the Lakers will be rebuilding by the end of next year, and for what? Luke Walton as a starter? Then you’ll have a 30-year old Kobe Bryant waiting for more pieces to the puzzle. This has got to stop. I guess, at that time, you can bring in a 32-year old Kevin Garnett to play with Bynum, Odom, Walton, and Bryant. All to satisfy PJ’s need to play Luke Walton? Now that is value or you’re just one stupid guy, Mr. Buss.

Seriously, Mr. Buss, you need to intervene.

GO LAKERS!

mike

p.s. The Lakers are 26-15 at the halfway point. At this pace the Lakers would finish at 52-30 for the season. Isn’t that James Worthy’s numbers? If this team would beat the weak teams it would be a 60 win team. But that can’t happen with Luke Walton as a starter. With Walton as a starter we’re a good team, but not an elite team. And we certainly won’t win a championship with Walton as a starter or with him getting anything close to 30 minutes a game. There is no room for improvement in Walton’s game. He’s top out in that department. He’s too slow to match up with the elite SF in the Western Conference. They kill him every time. That’s just a fact.

Michael T called this one. We all love Luke, what's not to like, but his lack of defensive ability was painfully obvious. The loss isn't just on him, this was a team effort if you can even call it an effort, team pathetic is more like it.

Rebounding, transition D, and offensive mistakes. Byron has gotten us twice now. How disgusting.

I posted before I read the journal Michael, just wanted everyone to know you called this two days ago! As I said, what's not to love about Walton? He's our own version of Nash, he facilitates the offense but is a defensive liability. PJ will have to counter certain line-ups with the big front court line-up. Having Odom in there will mask this deficiency, but it was obvious it's there, thank you for pointing that out the other day... as Stu Lanz was saying, "they're just going against Luke every trip down the court..."

Walton is fine guarding the three spot and selective fours, which is what happens when Odom is healthy, which is why Walton was so good to start the season. When Odom is healthy, him and Walton can switch up depending on what give the Lakers the better match up. I agree, when Walton is made to guard exclusively fours or doesn't have the right support on defense he is a defensive liability. The tone he sets for offense however, makes up for it when everyone is healthy.

The real problem is Cook and Vlad Rad don't even know what defense is. I watched in person as Vald lethargically, and I belive single handedly got Dallas going on their big run in the second quarter with his stupid and lazy plays on both sides of the ball. Cook is passable, but has glaring holes on defense as well.

In closing, what needs to happens is playing Walton exclusively at the 3 when players like Odom, Turiaf, Bynum, Brown are in the game. When weaked defensive players like Cook and Rad are in they need evens for his defense.

Walton will be a big part of us winning a championship again, and that is why Phil is sticking with him. He is a perfect role player for a KOBE team.

So who's this Brian Chase kid? Sounds promising. Time to send Aaron McKie down to the D-League and bring Brian Chase up.

GO LAKERS!

AK?BK,

With regards to Chris Mihm, how severe is the 2nd ankle surgery that he could not play this season? I know you're not the MD but I was wondering how come David West ankle injury got healed in few months time while in the case of Mihm, it's going 10 months now from the last time he played. Is it possible, he is already overaching his injury to the point of choosing now to play this year and wait of running out his contract? This could be another wash-out loss similar to Brian Grant.

I think the only team Kobe gives props in saying that it was because they played great and not because they(lakers)played bad is the hornets.

He always gives them their due and I think it's because of Byron Scott. Kobe loves Byron, so he always gives Byron's team a lot of props.


Well I won't the Lakers played ugly last night. Kobe again let the refs get into his head and it went down hill from there.

But Kobe is right the stupid refs are taking this Kobe hating to another level, I was surprised that last night Steve Hartman admitted that Kobe doesn't get the calls, he never says that, he always blames Kobe.

But it's really getting out of control. Kobe drives to the basket and no calls, it's just amazing and on top of that other refs gives him the technical, that's just wrong.

Kobe needs to send video to the nba, because it's getting to a point that's costing games that are winnable.

It was not just that obviously, Luke doesn't know how to play on the road, it is just amazing all the mistakes he makes. He is the only player that says 'we're better than that' and is the player that plays the worst.

I agree with Mo Evans, if the Lakers would win all the games they had to, they would be the top team in the nba. they would have a record of 34-7.

They better win tomorrow, because it is really getting ridiculous for them to not compete with lesser teams.

BTW, how many FT for wade today? I say 20.

Edwin-

The short answer is, Mihm's ankle injury is a lot worse, the damage more extensive. Plus, my understanding is the first time they went through, the healing process didn't go well, and they had to start over, in essence. You really can't compare injuries just because they happen in the same part of the body.

BK

mike, luke is defnetely defficient on the defensive end, but he makes the offense go, especially without Lamar. And you cant possibly pin not being a 60 win team on him. That's ludicrious. Sure, he is slumping right now, and he wont be a starter in the future. lakers have plenty of cap this summer, and I'm sure they will spend it on a SF, because all the other positions have a future.

You have to remember that once Phil finds a way to motivate his team against the terrible teams, we might be on our way to an incredible season. Right now we are way ahead of where I though we would be, even without the injuries.

greek dude,

"mike, luke is defnetely defficient on the defensive end, but he makes the offense go, especially without Lamar."

I don't know what games you're watching but it's Kobe Bryant that is making the offense go. Luke Walton never made the offense go. It's Lamar or Kobe. Walton was just benefitting. Now that there's no Lamar...he's not benefittiing. No way do the Lakers win a championship with Luke Walton as a starter.

mike

Mike T-
It's tough to believe that PJ would be "playing favorites" like that, but I'll give it to you... it's tough to figure why else he would have gone back to Walton. In addition to being slow, he's soft (just like Radmanovic and Cook). He's susceptible to being pushed around, and made ineffective on both ends of the floor. When the other team is playing physical, we need Turiaf in the game. I'm thinking of the Orlando game when he took Dwight Howard. That was an awesome performance, pure heart. Let's just hope PJ is working up to something, and not throwing the season away as you suspect.


STaRGaZINS DIsCoMBoBUlATeD LIST:(lol)

1. HEADLINE: LAKERS SOFT UNDERBELLY EXPOSED
2. LAKERS TWO STEPS SLOW AND ASLEEP AT THE SWITCH.
3. TOO MANY " SKIP TO MY LU " LAYUPS GIVEN UP BY LAKERS
4. THE COMBO OF COOKIE AND WALTON ON THE FLOOR IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER.
5. WALTON AND COOKIE ARE TOO SLOW AND NEITHER CAN JUMP.
6. WALTON AT LEAST UNDERSTANDS THE TEAM DEFENSE CONCEPT. COOKIE DOESN'T.
7. W/O ODOM AND KWAME. WE NEED RONNY AND MO ON THE FLOOR.
8. RONNY AND MO GIVE US DEFENSE, REBOUND, HUSTLE , ENERGY AND PHYSICALITY
9. ITS JUST PAINFUL TO WATCH WHEN WE HAVE ANY COMBO OF WALTON, COOKIE
,VLADY OUT THERE ON THE FLOOR.
10. BYNUMS LACK OF PHYSICALITY ALSO HURTS US AS COMPARED TO KWAME.
11. SASHA AND FARMAR PLAY "HARDER" DEFENSE THAN SMUSH.
12. WE ARE GETTING TORCHED BY POWER FORWARDS W/ODOM AND KWAME OUT.
13. THE MAN KOBE IS GUARDING OFTEN TIMES IS TORCHING US OUTSIDE. WHY? KOBE
IS PLAYING "OFF HIS MAN" EARLY IN THE GAME BECAUSE HE KNOWS HE WILL GET NO HELP WHEN HIS MAN GETS BY HIM.
14. ITS A MIRACLE THAT THE LAKERS HAVE DONE AS WELL AS THEY HAVE W/O ODOM AND KWAME.

15. ITS A TRIBUTE TO KOBE AND PJ THAT THE LAKERS HAVE DONE AS WELL AS THEY
HAVE W/O ODOM AND KWAME.

STARGAZIN
DISCOMBOBULATED
BUT HOPEFUL

BK and Edwin Gueco...

If I'm not mistaken, David West lost 2 months due to right elbow surgery, not an ankle injury. In addition, no less an expert than long-time trainer Gary Vitti classified Chris Mihm's injury as the most devastating ankle injury he had ever seen as a professional trainer. Gary likened it to an injury one sees as the result of a car accident. Clearly, Chris is truly injured and not merely hurt. There is a huge difference.

FROM FAITH

103-115
vs.
100-96

The difference between the Spurs game and last night is defense. It's not just the rebounds either, it's the approach to the game...in San Antonio...every shot was challenged...the paint was challenged (at least after the initial Tony Parker spurt)...and finally we exploited matchups. The same cannot be said for last night. Like Big Game James said...it's a mentality we got to develop that dictates our play.

That said, Lolo's right, it's one game...last year when we went on the 8 game east roadie...I recall plenty of what I like to call "turn around games"...where we actually stopped playing down to competiition (look back to Bynum's 16 points in 16 minutes in NY). I know we'll be doing the same this time...especially with LO and Kwame back. We need to look at last night as a learning game...a pissed off game, where we get so pissed off it shall never happen again.

Go lakers!

Posted by: Faith

I'm never surprised when the Lakers lose to a "lesser" team. First, these teams usually have one of there rare sell outs when the lakers come to town, so the players can feel the energy and step their game up, while the Lakers enter, used to that enviroment and expecting to pick up an easy win.

Second these are usually younger, more athletic teams, the Lakers are still pretty young themselves and instead of maintaining the discipline and focus that they display against veteran teams they are coaxed into playing a free flowing game, which does not suit them at all.

I really don't think it was Luke who killed us on defense, that was a team effort, aided by the fact that Socks is incapable of staying out of foul trouble (both because of lack of experience and never getting the benefit of the doubt from the refs). I think Luke is a key part of the Lakers success. The problem lately has been his three point shooting. When he is hitting from outside, the Lakers are unstoppable on the offensive end, but his shot just hasn't been there like earlier in the year.

Plus, Kobe had a forgettable game. Not only did he let frustration with the refs bother him, but he let competition with Rasual Butler effect his actions as well. Butler was obviously hyped up to play against Kobe, and had a great game, but Kobe is too much of a veteran to let young guys effect him like that.

A second knock on Kobe is the fact that he often doesn't help rebound, not even boxing out his own guy. I know he is probably supposed to act as the outlet, but when the team is struggling on the boards he needs to step in and use his size and athleticism to secure some boards, or at least not allow his man to do so. There was a couple of teams where he just stood flat footed and watched the guy in front of him get the rebound.

Looks like LA Times and Mark Heisler are taking note about how their readers
see the unfair treatment of Kobe, the perpetual news with subliminal criticism of his game and character.

Finally, Heisler is willing to recognize Kobe MVP season. (http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-heisler21jan21,1,1005202.story?coll=la-headlines-sports-nba-lakers)

Last year he was happy - He is a Phil's "hand helper" - to gave it to Nash, and don't let them fool you: He and the other columnists are just waiting for something to come up that justify putting Kobe out of the MVP race, something simple, like Kobe unwillingness to do 100 % what's Phil wants him to do, will qualify.

I just couldn't watch that game last night for any length of them. I had to just revisit it periodicly until the inevitable crash.

I agree with MT to the extent that we can't cover up slow foot speed with intelligence. Certain combinations of players are just toxic together; primarily on the defensive end. Having Smush, Walton and Cook/Rad in together is NOT going to get it done in this, or any other year. Smush is improving and I don't want to badmouth him on this, but he does have a habit of letting his man go by him, requiring the others to compensate. Walton and Cook/Rad CANNOT compensate; therefore this group of 3/4 should never be on the floor at the same time.

I do not agree with MT in that I feel Walton can be a real asset for this team. He is perfect for some teams and situations, but he MUST be surrounded with better defenders (Evans and Turiaf, for example).

Phil now has enough information on his players strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, I emphatically give him a 'thumbs down' for the coaching job last night.

From now on Phil's lessons should be about how to win, not what causes losses.

Weighing in on the Luke Walton debate, I believe that the Lakers have long realized that Luke is not the answer at small forward. Phil's original intention this season was for Vlad Rad to start at the 3 and to have Luke get most of his minutes anchoring the second unit. Unfortunately, Raddy injured his hand and has not fully recovered. In addition to this, he has not displayed the greatest aptitude for the triangle and has looked uncomfortable on both ends of the floor. Phil decided to give the starter's role to Luke in part because he had already been a starter down the stretch of last season and the team had done well with him in that role. Ultimately I agree that Luke should be a bench player but I would qualify it by saying that he has played well for the most part this season. The Lakers' season is on course to exceed most expectations and it is because of the play of some of the bench such as Turiaf, Cook and Farmar who have contributed and helped keep the team afloat while losing Lamar and Kwame and not having Vlad or Kobe at full strength. I don't think what we've seen so far is how the Laker braintrust envisioned the season to unfold or the roles of the players to develop. It has been a product created more out of necessity than design.

AK/BK,

I got a bit bored after finding out the Lakers losing to the Hornets so therefore, I put together a trade scenerio and would like to get yours and the blogs opinion on this trade..So here it goes.

The trade involves a 16 player trade involving 4 teams. Those teams being the Lakers, Philidelphia, Minnesota, and Milwaukee.

The Lakers:

Outgoing Players- Chris Mihm, Sasha Vujacic, Vladimir Radmanovic and Smush Parker.

Incoming Players- Mark Madson, Charlie Bell, Ricky Davis, Mo Williams.


Milwaukee Bucks:

Outgoing Players- Dan Gadzuric, Charlie Bell, Bobby Simmons, Mo Williams

Incoming Players- Chris Mihm, Steven Hunter, Kyle Korver, Mike James.


Minnesota Timberwolves:

Outgoing Players- Mark Madsen, Ricky Davis, Trenton Hassell, Mike James

Incoming Players- Alan Henderson, Dan Gadzuric, Kevin Ollie, Bobby Simmons.


Philidelphia 76ers:

Outgoing Players- Alan Henderson, Kevin Ollie, Steven Hunter, Kyle Korver

Incoming Players- Sasha Vujacic, Vladimir Radmanovic, Trenton Hassell, Smush Parker.

It took a couple of hours to put this together but I thought it would mix things up a bit and also give the Lakers a better PG and SF. Than Lamar can stay at the PF and Kwame assumes his Center position.

Lakers: Just Kidding Around
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Eric Pincus - for HOOPSWORLD.com

After beating the San Antonio Spurs for the second time this season, the Los Angeles Lakers flew into Dallas with a three-game win streak. Facing the team with the best record in the league on the second night of a back-to-back was a daunting task, especially short-handed. A win would have given the Lakers some serious street cred. Instead, the Mavericks beat the Lakers to the pulp on the boards, coasting to a 114-95 victory.

Dallas improved to 33-8 while the Lakers dropped to 26-14. In the meantime the Phoenix Suns won their 12th straight, pacing the Mavs with a 31-8 record. Though the San Antonio Spurs (28-13) are the only other team in the league with a better record than the Lakers, the Utah Jazz are also 26-14.

Prior to the two-game trip to Texas, Laker GM Mitch Kupchak told local radio (570 KLAC) that he would evaluate the team after seeing how well the Lakers stack up against the Spurs and Mavs. He opened the door that a trade was possible should the team need to improve.

Considering the team played so well against the Spurs without two major pieces (Lamar Odom and Kwame Brown) and lost to an excellent Mavericks team (looking to avenge a recent loss to the Lakers), LA may not have a pressing need to deal.

Based on record, it's pretty clear the Lakers are in the second rung of teams even if they finish with a 50+ win season. With the right match ups, proper execution and a lot of luck, LA may even be a contender this year.

Kupchak would not be doing his job if he wasn't open to making a deal. Every team can afford improve; taking phone calls is part of that duty. Historically the Lakers have been very quiet each year at the deadline. They've had some deals nearly go through, but the last major in-season acquisition was the Eddie Jones for Glen Rice trade when Jerry West ran the show.

Kupchak's comments should be taken in context ... not interpreted to mean the team is actively looking to make a change.

After the Maverick loss, Coach Phil Jackson gave his evaluation to the Los Angeles Daily News:

"Well, granted that we have a couple guys that are injured that can really contribute to our team this year," Jackson said. "We're still, I think, a player away from considering ourselves at the top of the league."

Coupled with Kupchak's comments, perhaps the Lakers do intend to shore up the roster this season. The complexity of learning the triangle complicates new acquisitions, but the team was open to signing Chris Webber. Though disappointed he chose the Detroit Pistons, the Lakers were not especially aggressive in chasing him . . . refusing to give any significant promises (starting position, minutes, etc).

The question at hand, would the Lakers be looking for a complimentary player who could give the team a slight bump . . . or did Jackson mean a high-impact player that pushes LA over the top?

The Mavericks and Suns barely ever lose, night in and night out. While the Lakers have beaten both along with the Spurs, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets . . . LA has dropped a number of games to teams like the Charlotte Bobcats, Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics.

If a player like Eddie Jones was waived by the Memphis Grizzlies (also a team that recently destroyed the Lakers), would he be considered a simple move that would make LA a favorite?

Probably not.

Certainly the return of Odom and Brown will make a difference, but Jackson himself admits the team is still short a piece.

Jackson also told ESPN that the "he hasn't ruled out a move in the near future." He also acknowledged that LA had given Penny Hardaway "a couple observation opportunities."

Would a healthy Hardaway push the Lakers over the edge?

Doubtfully.

With front court help on the way, it's difficult to see where the Lakers would be able to find time for a minor pickup. The front court is well stocked when healthy. A guard would have to come in with significant qualifications to displace Smush Parker, Jordan Farmar, Mo Evans and Sasha Vujacic . . . not to mention Kobe Bryant.

In general the team is very happy with the Lakers' progress. The team executes the offense exceptionally well on most nights. The young players have developed; some ahead of schedule. There are very few players the Lakers would even considering moving.

They have three last year contracts that are available: Chris Mihm, Aaron McKie and Shammond Williams who are all out of the rotation. Mihm is still recovering from multiple ankle surgeries and is out for the season.

It's generally safe to say LA is not willing to give up on their bright young players like Andrew Bynum, Ronny Turiaf and Farmar. Luke Walton, in the last year of his contract, is a solid part of the Lakers core.

The only player who has not come close to the team's expectations is Vladimir Radmanovic. Were they to give up on him, the market for a gunner with a five-year deal needing off-season surgery on his shooting hand is probably pretty bare.

But what if the Lakers were looking for a more serious acquisition, what would be their options? Who would they have to add to a trade package to make a deal?

Along with the trio of last years, there is one player who could give the Lakers enough outgoing salary to take on a big salaried player . . . Kwame Brown.

There has been no buzz that he is available, but in theory his contract is a viable trade piece with just one remaining year after this season at $9.075 million. If the Lakers packaged Brown with Mihm, McKie and Williams the team's outgoing salary would equal $16.75 million which would enable the Lakers to take in up to $21.0 million.

Though Brown was a disappointment in Washington, he's developed into a solid contributor as a Laker. Phil Jackson lamented his absence when the team recently took on the Orlando Magic.

When asked how the Lakers held the explosive Dwight Howard to just 12 points when LA visited the Magic, Jackson replied, "I put Kwame Brown on him."

Brown's has proven to be an elite post defender having success against players like Tim Duncan, Yao Ming and Shaquille O'Neal. Unfortunately he's not a complete defender, lacking consistent rebounding and shot-blocking skills.

Offensively he is not well suited for the forward position in the triangle, leading to a conflict down the road when the Lakers expect Bynum to play 30-40 mpg. He's been much better at center, but has had his share of struggles catching and controlling the ball.

Off the court a recent incident in which he grabbed a random stranger's chocolate cake and threw it at Ronny Turiaf (hitting instead the man whose birthday it was) raises maturity questions.

With Brown out with an ankle injury, the tandem of Bynum and Turiaf has done admirably well. The team doesn't rebound well, but the return of Odom (knee) should give the Lakers a boost.

LA is 10-6 without Brown this season (62.5%). They're only slightly better with him in the lineup at 16-8 (66.7%).

With Bynum clearly the next Laker center and Brown unlikely ever to fit in at power forward, would the Lakers consider making a pitch to New Jersey for Jason Kidd?

It's been widely acknowledged that the Nets have shopped Kidd around the league.

A recent report in The Star Ledger indicated that they were only able to find "two or three teams in the league that could put together an adequate package."

The story continues "they have also reached the conclusion that there is no logical deal for Kidd that doesn't lead to a rebuilding/bust-it-up scenario."

Finally, the Ledger acknowledges that "The Nets never say never, and there could be a development -- currently unforeseen -- before the deadline."

Considering New Jersey has surged recently, it's obvious why they don't want to blow up the team. There is still a lot of opportunity to climb in the Eastern Conference. The team is about to head out on a five-game road trip and will begin February with six of their first eight on the road. If the team drops significantly in the standings, perhaps Kidd returns to the trade block.

Could the Lakers be one of the three teams in the running?

With Kidd's age and large, multi-year contract, it's hard to imagine the Nets getting many offers. Not only would a team have to have the movable contracts to match Kidd's $18 million, they would have to find it a wise investment that would help a team contend immediately. At nearly 34, Kidd is simply too expensive to bring into a team that will round into a contender by the time his deal expires in 2009.

The Laker package could give the Nets significant salary relief and size they desperately need in Brown. LA has draft picks to offer, though they are very unlikely to be lottery picks. They also have a pair of Charlotte Bobcat second-round picks (2007 and 2009).

All signs point to Kidd not being moved, but if they Nets trigger a deal similar to the one the Philadelphia 76ers pulled to send out Allen Iverson . . . a Laker package may not be far off the mark.

The Dallas Mavericks have the tools to make an even better offer with the last year contracts of Austin Croshere and Jerry Stackhouse. The Miami Heat could also have a reasonable offer with James Posey, Jason Williams and Dorell Wright (or Wayne Simien). If the Orlando Magic were willing to part with Grant Hill, perhaps they'd have a shot as well. Certainly another team or two could get into the mix ... Sacramento with Mike Bibby perhaps?

If the Nets hold out for talent, draft picks and cap relief, the Lakers may not be able to compete.

Considering the Lakers' current level of success, would they want to upgrade their point guard position for an additional $17 million? Would Kidd be able to play in the triangle? Would he mesh with Bryant and Odom?

Coach Jackson has admitted in the past to pursuing Kidd.

Envision him perhaps as a more versatile version of the Chicago Bulls' Ron Harper. Kidd may not have the pure outside stroke, but neither did Harper and he was an integral part of the Bulls' second three-peat.

The Bottom Line
Perhaps the comments made by Kupchak and Jackson reflect the team's desire to add a player in the off-season. Maybe they look at a free agent veteran before season's end to shore up the back court. With LA getting both Odom and Brown back shortly, the front court should automatically improve without a move.

Will the kids develop quickly enough through the next couple of years to take advantage of Bryant's prime? The hope was to have a contending team by the last year of Phil Jackson's contract.

Can the Lakers make that happen before the February 22nd deadline?

Right now the Nets aren't ready to blow up the team ... the Lakers don't appear willing to alter their working chemistry.

It's hard to see how a smaller move like Penny Hardaway would help the current team, but if the Lakers suddenly had three open roster spots...

Gasol Asks For Trade


Jan 21 - Sources throughout the NBA disclose Pau Gasol suddenly is eminently obtainable. Distressed at management's rebuilding-with-adolescence mood, the 271/2-year-old has asked to be traded to a playoff-positioned ensemble that, of course, would be instantly transformed into a legit title contender.
Infallible informers report Grizzlies president Jerry West has explored prospective trade arrangements with at least three teams regarding Gasol. In order to protect my sources, the only one I'm willing to identify for the time being is the Bulls.

"Giving up Ben Gordon and Luol Deng would be very difficult," a Bulls insider insisted. "John (Paxson) will never go there. Not even if Scott Skiles and the rest of the coaching staff is beating on him to make that swap, which isn't the case." -- New York Post

As Shaq has proven year after year, January doesn't matter. April is the month rested super heroes swoop in and save the day.

Meanwhile, this isn't entertaining. It would have been more entertaining in the absence of defense, if the ball had been passed more to the player on the team that was 8 for 9. 14 for 16 might have done it.

"Young & developing" are words Kobe drops into the microphone describing this team. That means patience. That means these kinds of losses. That might mean "next year".

DALLASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
WINSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

WADEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
CHOKESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

LOL.

This team could have used Chris Webber, and PJ couldn't guarantee him in the starting lineup with the front court that we have? I can't remember which article it was that he said he felt Turiaf would play the 4 forward position. When Odum went down he should have used him in that position, because that's Turiaf natural position and in the Big Bad West that's what we need. Smush, Bryant, Odum, Turiaf and Kwame as our starting five. WALTON IS NOT A STARTING TEAM NBA PLAYER! I don't care if he does know the triangle he is getting killed on the defensive end of the court and can't create his own shot on the offensive end. Until we have a true power forward we will not beat Dallas or Pheonix or maybe even a healthy Houston team in the playoffs. By the end of the eight game road trip will truly determine where we stand in the playoff picture, because we need at least 6 of 8. I'm here in Memphis and couldn't live down how the Grizzlies beat up on the Lakers, and they are the worst team in the league.

bronxlakerfan-

You're correct. I got too wrapped up in the forest (you can't compare injuries even on the same body part) that I forgot to see the tree. Or something like that. And you're right- Mihm's injury is a train wreck.

BK

stargazin- Yeah, but he was "injured".

Craig W.,

"I do not agree with MT in that I feel Walton can be a real asset for this team. He is perfect for some teams and situations, but he MUST be surrounded with better defenders (Evans and Turiaf, for example)."

The problem with that is this: With Walton as a Jackson favorite, PJ won't play him as a reserve. He'll continue to play him at a 30 minute clip. Luke Walton isn't that good. He's a reserve with about 18 minutes a game player.

mike

defense. the lakers don't play any.

i hope this changes with the return of lo and kwame.

defense is why the lakers remain a second tier team.

One more thing:

Why do the Lakers need to surround Luke Walton with better defenders? Why should the Lakers go out of their way to mask Luke Walton's shortcomings, when we have Lamar Odom who can play the 3 spot and either Kwame Brown or Ronny Turiaf play the 4 spot? Why must we mask for Luke Walton?

mike

Eric Pincus' trade scenario for Jason Kidd is very interesting. The only drawback is that it would leave the Show without any depth at the center position. I think we can all agree that Andrew's propensity for foul trouble and inexperience do not bode well were he to be the starter in a playoff situation. Ronny is undersized as a backup. Jason Kidd's defensive ability alone makes this an intriguing possibility. He certainly would help against the Nashes, Parkers, CP3s and Deron Williamses of the Western Conference. And I also think that the guy is known for his excellent conditioning so that even at age 34, he is capable of at least 3 more years of producing at a high level. If the Lakers were to acquire him and shore up their backup center position somehow, it would definitely upgrade their team.

THIS IS FUNNY TO ME,TO MR KORY WHO SAID PEOPLE DONT LISTEN TO ME(CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW!!!!!!!!GOOD).
To hear people talked about what i've been saying from the jump,COOK DONT BELONG IN THE LEAGUE HE'S ONE DIMENTIONAL HE CAN SHOOT IF HIS SHOTS NOT FALLING IT'S A WRAP.LUKE COMON DOGG!!!!!!!! Lets be real he's a back-up an should get 10-15 min a game,Vlad is getting a raw deal because Phil is alway's looking over he's shoulder an that's f@#ked up,to have your boss looking over your while you trying to do your job an getting on you for every thing that you do,every mistake that you make,an not just b-ball but real life.Vlad was a different player when he played for the clips an sonics because he played care free not thinking,AN IF ANYBODY ON THIS BLOG PLAYED ANY BALL AT ALL FROM PARK-AN-REC TO HIGH-SCHOOL AN ABOVE THE FIRST THING YOUR COACH TELLS YOU IS STOP THINKING,AN IF AL PHIL'S CARES ABOUT IS THAT DAMN TRIANGLE AN WHO GET'S IT AN WHO DONT AN STOPPING PLAYERS FROM PLAYING BECAUSE THEY DONT KNOW THE OFFENSE,THEN WERE NOT GOING THAT FAR(WE WILL NEVER WIN WITH PHIL JACKSON HAS HEAD COACH!!!!!!!!).THERE'S NO WAY IN HELL RONNY T IS A THIRD STRING CENTER AN VLAD ON THE BENCH WHEN WE NEED SHOOTERS IN THE GAME.

FROM FAITH

I got so pissed...I couldn't blog.

Here's the thing, we can't keep on putting players out there, and just hope they make enough points to counteract their defense...that line-up of Turiaf, Bynum, Mo, Kobe, Smush---is our best bet, and also our best defensive combo (with the injuries)...it's no surprise we were able to turn the game around with that line-up on the floor...only to lose it back when we came back with a not so defensive lineup. I know it runs the risk of foul trouble...but seeing as that team has foot speed, and can play physical...I say there's less risk of foul trouble with them. I would switch Smush with Farmar or Sasha, depending on need...but I think it's imperative we play that set more minutes...and not get into the tendency to play our bench just to play our bench...or playing people just cause it gets us out of the gate fast.

We lost this game not because Kobe was cold, not because we couldn't make our shots (we shot a respectable percentage)...or for that matter, because of offensive rebounds (though it turned the game around for them)...but because we did not play defense (outside of the 3rd quarter comeback). No defense, donut middle...you're gonna lose everytime, it's not rocket science.

I'd like to think we can just turn the lightbulb on, and finally understand how to play D...with energy, hustle, and smarts...but at this point you have to want it. We need our identity back...we may be winning on this stretch, but we aren't winning condusive to long term success. As a team we got to wake up and realize it all starts defensively, and play accordingly. No excuses, every person wearing that uniform needs to take it upon themselves.

Patience, and learning. That's the key in this process...boy I wish I have more. Go Lakers!

Posted by: Faith

What precedented the improvements made by the Lakers last year between January and April? By the time they finished the season with lots of wins and nearly beat down Phoenix in the first round, they surprised the heck out of just about everybody.

If they can manage to make a comparable amount of improvment THIS year, the sky is still the limit. This is especially true because there are currently no unbeatable juggernauts in the NBA right now. There are just a couple of teams that have a history of winning lots of games but no rings, and a current champion that can't seem to win many games at all until it starts squeaking its way through the playoffs. The table is set and the food is steaming hot on the plates just begging for a few determined guys to sit down and make a feast of it.

The Lakers could be those guys, and it might be possible even without executing a key trade. Lamar Odom is still an x-factor who hasn't yet plumbed the full depths of his potential. He played a huge part in the Lakers' improvement last February-through-April, and he could easily raise the Lakers up yet another notch this year...

One thing that I forgot to mention about the Jason Kidd situation is something that has changed since Eric Pincus' article. Richard Jefferson is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his ankle on Monday. This may further impact the way Nets approach the rest of their season and their future. They may see less of a possibility of competing in the East and begin to think of rebuilding.

ok mike, thats cool we have different opinions...that new.

On another note, Sasha is quietly becoming the player we all expected(well at least i did) to be. he has drained 19-20 FT since missing his first two from the stripe, and is now shooting 39% from three after starting out 14% from three. Go SASHAA!!!!

BK
Th link about Webber production belong to friday's game. He played just 15 minutes. He is, obviously out of shape.

Yesterday his production was

30 Minutes
4-9 From the field
10 Rebounds
2 Assists
2 steals
11 points.

Not to bad, BK.

NBA to ban clubbing! They didn't listen to fatty, now its being legislated.
NO CLUBBING KWAME, THIS MEANS YOU!!

http://www.realgm.com/src_wiretap_archives/44321/20070121/nba_to_ban_its_players


To follow up on an earlier post:

This is pure speculation - one possible reason why Phil Jackson is starting Luke is that he does not have other choices and wants to show that the Lakers need to make one more acquisition this year to challenge for the title.

Unfortunately to get quality you need to give up quality... so Mike T. will be crushed when the Lakers trade Kwame and keep Byrum and Turiaf for the long term.

The question is whom can the Lakers get in exchange for any combination of Kwame, Vlad, Cook, Williams, McKie, and Milm.

i have this question that I have never figured out, it's a simple question but idk why im askin...

Why do basketball players never jump on free-throws? is it a violation if a player jumps on free-throws?

Pau Gasol looking for a trade so why don't we talk about the lakers getting him while he is trade or aquired by another team as usual.

also about luke walton i find him a great passer better than anything esle. if he were to play point guard that would be good in my opinion because he is a great passer not only this year but last yeat as well. He would make a 6'8 point guard which is big but hey magic was 6'8. But mike has a great point on luke he cant beat any of the small fowards in the league also the way he has been playing the last couple of games i also think he shouldn't start. i would like to see a change in position of luke walton. i think that would really improve his game what do you guys think.

Mike-

I've written before that I don't care if the Lakers move Walton out of the starting lineup once LO gets back (to put Turiaf or Mo in the first unit before them would put too much ball handling pressure on Kobe). That works fine for me, if the performance of the team improves. There are a couple things I think you overestimate, though. First, I don't think Ronny is able to handle starters minutes against starting PFs. In extended minutes, he's had trouble w/ fouls, holding defensive position, etc. More minutes, sure. 30 a night? I don't think so.

Second, I think you're off in your assesment that PJ and his desire to keep Luke it the lineup is the only reason Kwame isn't playing PF. The notion that they don't want Kwame there makes no sense. They traded for him as a PF, and that it would make life a ton easier if he could play there. Unfortunately, it didn't work last year, and if you ask Kwame today, he'll tell you he's a lot more comfortable at the five than four. He's not comfortable away from the hoop, and at PF, even if you try to flood the post, he'll have to move away both offensively and defensively.

I'd love Kwame to get the hang of it at the four, and frankly he has to if he wants to be a Laker after next season, and I'm sure the Lakers want to see it too. The idea that he's capable of playing there but PJ just won't let him seems a little strange to me. I've never seen or heard anything that would support that.

As for why they should protect Walton, if his deficiencies can be mitigated and the net benefit is positive (as it seemed to be through the first half of the season, at least), then it's worth it. Plenty of teams have guys who are stronger than others on one end of the floor or another.

BK

"I'd love Kwame to get the hang of it at the four, and frankly he has to if he wants to be a Laker after next season, and I'm sure the Lakers want to see it too."

If you or anyone else thinks that the Lakers are willing to lose Kwame Brown for the likes of Luke Walton...that's delusional. Luke Walton is not that good. And his play for the next few months is going to prove that.

Kwame Brown isn't going anywhere. Luke Walton won't be here because his play for the next 2 months is going to prove my point.

You got to be kidding. The Lakers, since Brown has been out, have been giving up 110 points per game, and now it's Kwame Brown who won't be around next year. Yeah, right!

You better think again. It's Walton who won't be around.

mike

well... i feel torn because i was at the game and had a blast (!) but then again, we lost to such a scrubby team. i thought the first quarter was promising and disheartening at the same time... what, did we give up 23, 25 points to them? way too much for a team that's missing so many key components.

and again, whoever called out luke weeks ago, you were so right. luke is just snakebitten it seems like. of course, he's gonna get abused on defense but now it's like even his bunnies aren't dropping on the other end. i counted maybe three shots that would've gone in for anybody else named luke walton but didn't fall for him.


about the trip: where else in america do you pay $6 for parking RIGHT NEXT to the arena? OKLAHOMA! gotta love cheap midwestern living. the people were nice, besides the drunk who wanted to talk trash afterwards and i got mo, sasha and bynum to sign my pennant...

good times. sucky loss.

One more thing on Walton:

I've been writing about this Walton problem since before the preseason.

You have to scroll but here it is.

Talking with: Andrew Bynum

http://lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/2006/09/talking_with_an_1.html#comments

"There’s no way we could go through a whole season with Luke Walton being the starting small forward. He is barely above Brain Cook in defense. The difference between Walton and Cook is that Walton plays with his head while Cook seems to concentrate on his shooting. Concerning Walton it’s a good thing that he plays with his head but it won’t get the job done against the better small forwards in the league."

I knew it was coming because Luke Walton isn't that good of a player. I called it for way back and it's not going to change. It's going to get worse. And it's Walton's play that will determine that.

And that has nothing to do with Kwame Brown.

mike

BK, you're being rational with Mike T, again, you know that won't work... I'm sure you've got better things to do. All that happens is it sets off the inevitable cycle of bluster and insult.

Mike-

The two have nothing to do with each other. Assuming they want to extend Bynum when he becomes a FA, they're not going to do that and give Kwame a long, expensive extension to back him up (or, conversely, pay Bynum huge dollars to back up Kwame). If they're both exclusively used at the five, than only one will be kept around for large dollars. Right now, I think that's Bynum. And based on what they've both shown thus far, I can't believe they'd let Drew walk to keep Kwame. If 54 can play the four between now and the end of next season, that equation changes dramatically.

Whether Luke returns has to do with how much money he wants on the market this summer. If I were him, I'd consider staying here for less, b/c there aren't many systems in which he fits better than this one. But if some team is going to pay him big, he'll go. Nor do I think the Lakers should break the bank to keep him. If they can agree on a number that works for everyone, he'll stay. But that deal has nothing to do with the future of Kwame beyond his current deal.

BK

BK,

Again, you're delusional. Bynum is tied up to the Lakers for the next 2 seasons. It's not even a concern for next year. Plus with the way centers get injured why would the Lakers keep 2 seven footers? If what you say is true, it won't come into play until after next year. As for next year, Kwame Brown is here to stay. And you better believe that.

mike

Kaliguy...

It is simply a matter of preference with most players that they shoot their free throws without jumping. As far as I know, as long as the player is behind the foul line and in the semi-circle in the key they can shoot the foul shot in any manner including jumpshooting. In practice, the only player that I remember who shot a jump shot as a free throw was Hal Greer. Hal was voted one of the top 50 players of the league's first 50 years. He was a long time Philadelphia 76er. There have also been other players who choose to position themselves well in back of the line to shoot their free throws. Wilt Chamberlain tried that for a while, but nothing could help him from the free throw line. LOL! Tracy McGrady also steps back from the line. Strictly a matter of preference and how each individual feels he has his best chance to make his free throws. Good question!!

That was in my opinion, the worst loss of the season. The Hornets ran circles around the Laker guards and the front line keep closing late.

Unfortunately it’s beginning to be a trend. Teams are scoring at will on these guys. Stu said it during the game, "your offense will come and go but you can always play defense". Struggling offensively and missing two starters the Hornets never should have scored that many points.
And someone on the Lakers coaching staff needs to teach these guys how to block out.

I’m starting to think the Lakers were lucky to have a winning record against + .500 teams. Maybe they can hire a hypnotist to make them think they are playing the Spurs each game.

I guess in long run it doesn’t matter. When they make the playoffs they’ll play harder then.

I dont want VLAD to be another GLEN RICE,MITCH RICHMOD,ARE EVEN ISIAH RIDER,Great offensive players before Phil an that damn triangle.The worst thing you can do as a coach is stop his players from having fun,an thats what phil's doing,nobody's having fun there more concern about what spot I should be at on the floor when we run the triangle over thinking,when people play care free relax,loose,an dont think just play off of reaction there way better basketball players an Phils not letting that happen.Look at the game in orlando when Vlad played care-free,loose,DAMIT he was himself hitting 3s,driving,dunking,(DANCING)an after the game what he say? im having fun im not thinking im playing,an what did phil do broke that off by calling him a space head a day later why? thats stupid,F@$K phil just let him be he could'nt leave well enough alone,an what happen he havn't been the same since STUPID STUPID STUPID,Phil Jacksons is not a coach he's a F@#KING psychologist.Even a young KOBE said he didn't like the slow it down half court,I really love Byron scott as head coach,he would take the same group lakers deeper in the playoffs than Phil.
LUKE FREE AGENT
KWAME BROWN LAKER OPTION
SMUSH PARKER FREE AGENT
RONNY T FREE AGENT
WHO WOULD YOU KEEP?
The only person on that list I would keep is Ronny T,Its mind blowing way this dude doesn't get minutes

Not enough defenders…

With Lamar and Kwame, our best two rebounders and two of our best individual defenders out, the Lakers are finally starting to pay the price for having too many weak defenders in the lineup at one time. We are lucky that we’ve been able to weather the injuries up to this point. Thankfully, Lamar and Kwame will soon be back.

With Smush, Luke, and Cook starting, the Lakers take the floor with three defensive liabilities, which is a sure prescription to lose games unless those guys fill it up on offense. When all three have off nights, like last night, then the Lakers are often destined to lose regardless of the quality of the opponent. Even lower echelon NBA teams have guys who can abuse weak defenders.

To think that Phil doesn’t realize this is myopically naïve. From the beginning of the season, he has come out and stated that he would prefer Luke Walton to come off the bench rather than start. Phil has also clearly stated that he would like to give Turiaf more minutes but is hesitant to do so because of his hip problems.

The reality is that Phil has not had many options in the front court with Lamar and Kwame out and Turiaf limited. He has been forced to continue to start Luke and Cook, who along with Parker can only hope to outscore their man rather then defending him. Defensively, the bench provides little answers either, with Mo Evans being the only sub who can play much defense.

When Lamar and Kwame return, I think you will see a definite attempt by Phil to play them on the court at the same time with Lamar Odom sliding to small forward, where he will be our best defender. I think Phil has seen enough of Vlade to realize that, like Luke, he cannot play defense against small or power forwards.

I would also like to see Kobe slide over to point guard, which is really what he often does early in the game anyway, with Mo Evans playing shooting guard to give us our best defensive team: Kobe, Mo, Lamar, Kwame, Andrew. The big argument is that then we have no defender in the second unit other than Ronny, but I would like to see how Evans athleticism matches up against quicker point guards. For sure, he can post the other team’s point guard more effectively than Smush or Farmar or Sasha. This could well be our crunch time lineup when we need to play serious defense.

Tom

Mike, read carefully. Where did I say I was talking about next year? I said if Kwame wants to be part of this team after next season he needs to learn to play the four.

"I'd love Kwame to get the hang of it at the four, and frankly he has to if he wants to be a Laker after next season, and I'm sure the Lakers want to see it too."


That's what I wrote. Seems pretty clear to me.

BK

As I said BK, the inevitable cycle of bluster and insult... you know where this is going. And amazing how it always comes down to Kwame is God and Luke sucks with Mike T, isn't it? I think he and Zakee are the same guy sometimes.

CBUCK-
WHAT A BUMMER, THAT YOU GOT A BUMMER OF A GAME. WHAT CAN YOU DO?? WHAT WAS SAD IS THAT THE HORNETS CLEARLY LOOKED LIKE THE BETTER TEAM. HARD TO BELIEVE THE LAKERS ARE 27-15 AFTER WATCHING THAT GAME. THERE'S ONLY SO MUCH YOU CAN DO TO COVER THE LAKER WEAKNESSES WITH ODOM AND KWAME OUT. YOU CAN FOOL SOME OF THE TEAMS, SOME OF THE TIME BUT YOU CAN'T FOOL ALL THE TEAMS ALL OF THE TIME. I THINK ANY TEAMS SCOUTING US RIGHT NOW HAVE GOT TO BE ABLE TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BEAT US.

THE GOOD NEWS. THE LA TIMES REPORTED KWAME AND ODOM DUE BACK THIS WEEK.

GOOD SCORE ON THE AUTOGRAPHS.

I GAVE IT A GAME EFFORT ON THE RALLY CAPZ BUT....

Andrew and Kwame:

I disagree with BK and everyone who says that the Lakers won’t keep both Andrew and Kwame because of salary cap issues unless Kwame develops traditional power forward skills. Aside from Kobe and Lamar, the strength of this Lakers team is its two centers.

For one thing, I don’t see why we can’t play a double low post version of the triangle like we did with Andrew and Lamar when the season started. Lamar was playing down low with the ball on almost every play with Andrew lurking down low on the weak side ready to rebound or get a pass for a dunk from Lamar.

If the issue is the ability of one of these bigs to step out and take a free throw line jumper, I think that player will be Andrew. You can already see that he has a good stroke based on his free throw shooting. He should be a better shooter from that distance as he develops than either Tim Duncan or David Robinson were.

I have always thought that Lamar was best playing the 4 rather than the 3 but the reality is that we need his defense at the 3 and we need to get Kwame into the starting lineup to justify his salary. It is just a matter of time before Phil makes that move and puts Luke on the bench where he prefers him.

Bottom line, the lineup of Andrew, Kwame, and Lamar will give the Lakers the best front court in the NBA. It will allow the Lakers to play power basketball and control the boards against any other team out there. No way do we trade Kwame Brown and no way does Luke Walton remain our starting small forward. And no way that Phil does not understand this. Had Lamar and Kwame not gotten hurt, we would have seen this lineup earlier.

Tom

LakerTom-

I don't have an objection to them playing a hi-lo on the post, or some version therof. You're point is certainly interesting. I think, though, that part of the reason that can work with L.O. down low is because of his skill set. He's much more effective on the post than Kwame, both as a scorer and rebounder. Plus, he has the ability to move around, step out and take the 17 footer, get the ball in the high post, put a dribble move on and score, etc. It's harder to do that with someone with Kwame's (current) skill set. But maybe you're right- perhaps Drew will be the guy to develop that 12 footer. It would certainly open up his game. Combine that with a polished game down low, and that's a load.

In the end, I think if Kwame's contributions come down primarily to post defense, he won't be able to justify an extension to similar money than he gets now. He's going to have to develop a more well rounded skill set, likely at the four.

BK

LakerTom, I think that's an interesting line-up you're proposing, but I don't want Kobe trying to guard a premiere point for very long. That's not going to work out very well. He's not fast enough to keep up with those guys, and he'll do a lot more running around. Not exactly where we want him getting tired, trying to fight through a pick to keep up with Nash or Parker.

Frankly, I think we've got more defensive problems than people think. It's not just the fact that we have guys who don't do well stopping penetration. We don't have anybody who can really help in that situation either. basically, we don't deal well when we have mismatches, and every team is going to have a mismatch. This is not just a problem because of our exterior defenders, but our post players as well.

In fact, this will still be a problem when LO and Kwame get back, although LO will help this somewhat. Kwame has never shown himself to be a good off-the-ball defender. I'm not sure which one, him or Bynum, will learn this first, but we're going to have problems until they do. That's one area Chris Mihm actually could have helped us with.

BK,

OK, I see it, my fault. But still what does Kwame Brown have to do with the Lakers giving up 110 points per game since he's been out? The problem is slow foot speed at the 3 and 4 spots. And Luke Walton is a big problem that isn't going to resolve itself by having Kwame Brown and Lamar Odom mask it for him. That's the whole point. That and Josh Howard.

mike

BK,

Plus another thing about Kwame Brown at the 4 spot. It's easy to say that Kwame has to learn how to play the 4 spot in the triangle. But it's not that simple. PJ needs to adjust how the 4 spot is being playing. Like Laker Tom says, PJ needs to go with a double low post approach. Right now PJ is going with posting the 3 spot and having the 4 spot hanging out at the 3 point line. That's not something Kwame Brown will ever "learn."

PJ needs to run the triangle the way it's supposed to be run with the 4 spot on the other side of the lane opposite of the center. That's power ball. It's simple in theory, but PJ hasn't even made the adjustment on paper muchless actually practiced it. This isn't about Kwame Brown learning the 4 spot. It's about PJ adjusting the triangle to use the 4 spot accordingly. This is all on PJ and not Kwame Brown.

mike

For now, I think that any talk of a Twin Tower arrangement on the Lakers with Kwame and Andrew is a bit short sighted and premature. First of all, neither of these players has shown the skills to really play the face the basket game that power forward requires. Both are more comfortable with their back to the basket. I've never even seen either one of them attempt a fifteen foot jumper. Kwame and Andrew starting would result in both of them being ineffective and getting in each other's way. Remember when the Lakers tried to play Shaq and Elden Campbell together? It didn't work because both of them were most suited to operating in the paint. Same deal here. I think that starting Ronny T. with one of the centers (Kwame or Baby) and Lamar would allow the team to set a defensive tone at the start of each game. It would also allow Lamar to play what I consider to be his best position, the 3. And while I agree with BK that Ronny's weaknesses might be exposed with the increased playing time, I also feel that this would allow Coach Jackson to draw on the depth on his bench and use Cook, Vlad and Mo according to matchups and situations and to have the luxury of putting them in spots where they could succeed. I'm just not convinced that Twin Towers would work.

JOMO-Just One Man's Opinion

BK:

I think the need for Kwame to produce offense is over rated. There are very few one-on-one defenders who can stop guys like Duncan, KG, and Shaq. Kwame may be one of the best in the league in doing this. While Kwame needs to improve his help defense and rebounding, his low post one-on-one defense is the type of cornerstone on which you build a great team defense. And I think his help defense and rebounding will get better. His great block on Tony Parker in the Spurs game was a perfect example that he can do more than just guard Duncan.

I actually think that looking at how the Spurs have done over the years gives us some good direction for the Lakers to follow. To start with, the Spurs firmly committed to being a strong defensive team, first by putting Bruce Bowen in the starting lineup despite his weak offense and second by pairing two seven footers such as Duncan and Robinson in the starting lineup to defend the paint and control the boards. Kwame is our version of Bruce Bowen. Just like Bruce will take the Kobes and T-Macs, Kwame will take the Duncans and Shaqs. And Andrew and Kwame are our version of Duncan and Robinson. Defense and rebounding wins championships.

The other aspect of Andrew and Kwame’s game is how they complement each other. Kwame has the quickness and strength to defend premier low post players and even show strongly on pick and rolls, which frees Andrew so that he free can patrol the paint and block shots with his height and length. They are really a match made in heaven as far as defense goes and both are young with a lot of room to grow and develop. There is no way that the Lakers should let either guy go. The objective should be to put defense first and then adjust the offense to accommodate these players skills by playing a double low post version of the Triangle. Throw in Lamar as small forward and you have a formidable front court.

Tom

Michael A:

I was really talking about Kobe playing point guard on offense, which is basically what he has been doing the last couple of weeks when he has average 7 assists per game. Kobe has been doing exactly what Steve Nash does for the Suns – penetrate the lane and either score or dish the ball to a big for a layup or a perimeter player for an open 3.

Defensively, I agree with you. Kobe can be a stopper in key situations but not for the entire game. I would like to see Mo, however, paired with Kobe in the backcourt when we play the Suns. That would force Nash to guard Mo and unlike Smush or Farmar or Sasha, Mo has a great post up game and could really punish Nash down low.

Part of our problem defensively is that Phil has always loved pure outside shooters. Unfortunately for the Lakers, our best pure outside shooters also happen to be forwards who are terrible defenders. Some games they can outgun their man but if they are off, their defense really betrays them and the entire team defense falls apart. The key in my mind is the mix of defense that you get when you play Andrew, Kwame, and Lamar in the front court. These guys can control the paint and the boards and that is how you win championships.

Tom

Michael A:

I was also glad to see you bring up Chris Mihm. I read earlier in the blog that Chris says he wants to stay with the Lakers and would be willing to take less to do so. If play Kwame at the 4 with Andrew at the 5 as our starters, then we would definitely have a need for Chris to backup Andrew. Ronny and Cook would back up Kwame, and Luke and Vlade would back up Lamar. I have always thought that Chris Mihm was a solid player who was just beginning to elevate his play when he got injured. His help defense would give us a great backup for Andrew who would have very similar games.

The key to all of this working, of course, is the ability to play Kwame at the 4. For this reason, we should be looking at our defensive and offensive game plans and adjusting them so that we CAN play Kwame at the 4 rather than requiring Kwame to miraculously develop a traditional power forward skills set overnight. I agree 100% with Mike T. with respect to that. We need to tweak the system to fit the players we have rather than discarding an invaluable asset such as Kwame because he doesn’t fit the traditional 4 in the Triangle.

Tom

People are talking about Kwame as if he is a stiff, outside of his size and some man-to-man defense. In the games earlier this year I saw someone who could pass and shoot when in close (not right at the basket, however).

This is a person who was the definition of a basket case when he arrived, but one who apparently has some good skills and coordination for basketball. He also seems to have a reasonable bball IQ, something I sometimes question with Smush and Rad.

It is his bball IQ, as much as anything else that we will gain when he returns. Yeah, he has stone hands at times, but give him his props for what he can do.

Where he will end up in 2 years is so far down the road I don't think it merits any comments or thought. He is ours this year and next. My personal opinion is that by the end of next year he is going to be a fairly desirable player. Phil and the Laker organization, as well as a lot of hard work from Kwame, will be a large part of the reason for this success.

Mike T,

Lakers - Phil = Worse

LakerTom-

Regarding Kwame's offense, I agree. In a lineup of Smush, L.O., Kobe, and Bynum, they can get by with Kwame at PF (as long as he requires a team to guard him- like Wallace eventually did in Detroit). What I wouldn't do is, like Mike T suggests (this saves me the trouble of posting two comments, by the way), transform how they run the offense to accomodate Kwame's skill set at the four. To put Bynum and Kwame on the low block isn't the same as doing it with L.O. and Bynum, b/c Bynum has better offensive skills and L.O. can keep defenses honest by pulling them away from the hoop. Put Kwame down there, and you essentially a) lessen Bynum's space to operate, and b) make the lane much more congested for penetration b/c Kwame isn't a threat away from the hoop.

But back to your point. In the situation you describe, another key would be Kwame's ability to play defense away from the hoop, where he's not as good. Some of that is a comfort thing, and I think he can adjust. If that's the case, and he can keep defenses honest enough that it's not four on five, then it can work. Kwame will have to hone skills on both ends to make it happen, but he's certainly a good enough athlete. And I really believe this is what the Lakers are hoping to have happen. I just don't see the grand conspiracy to keep Kwame from succeeding. They owe the guy nine mil next season (not that you were suggesting it).

BK

bronxlakerfan,

thanks for not thinkin im dumb =) ive been playin/watchin ball and I've never seen a nba player jumpshoot a free-throw haha

bronxlakerfan:

Do you remember the season opening game against the Suns? Much of that game we played a double low post with Lamar backing his man down and Andrew lurking on the weak side to get a pass if his man doubled or get the rebound if Lamar shot. Lamar never really faced up and tried to beat his man off the dribble. Most of the game he played down low and he and Andrew played a great two man low post game. I even posted after that game how I thought that was what the Lakers should do every game. We dominated the paint and boards.

The double low post set is part of the Triangle offense and works best when both players have strong back-to-the-basket games and the other three players are good outside shooters. There were even a couple of times when Andrew and Lamar set screens for each other in order to for one of them to get great low post position sealing his man to receive an entry pass. Even when you look at the traditional Triangle setup, the center is the guy who comes out to the free throw line to receive a pass from the wing with the power forward lurking down low on the post on the weak side. Both Andrew and Kwame are already both comfortable playing high post or low post. What we give up is a power forward – Lamar, who slides to small forward, who spots up and shoots 3-point shots. What we get is the solution to teams abusing us on defense and on the boards and the best front court in the league.

Tom

honestly, i don't think the lakers will ever win another championship, they don't even understand what the term defense means, their giving up 102. + a game this year. the only reason why their record is 26-15 is because of the fortunate home stretch in the beginning, the 8-11 on the road shows what kind of team they are, what angers me the most is, they lose to teams such ascharlotte, new orleans, portland, etc. teams with losing records make themselves look more disgusting to watch.

the only thing fortunate about L.A. is they have Kobe, you all should be thankful, without Kobe Bryant, the Lakers wouldn't even win 15 games a season.

i think kwame brown is a piece of garbage that needs to be dispose immediately. what is this guy doing in the National Basketball Association . yes I spelt it out, because that's what it stands for and Kwame Brown still hasn't learn to catch a ball in the post or make a simple lay-up. Andrew bynum is already playing better than Kwame Brown and he's only been in the league for more than a year. lol Release Kwame Brown ASAP

I have a hard time reading blogs when we lose especially to a sub-par team, everyone seems to get flustered and start second guessing what we have been doing so far, there is room for improvement but the latest power rankings might give Laker Nation some hope as even though we went down to 12 they pick us to make the NBA FINALS now thats giving us some props, so dont go out shopping Luke just yet for going through a funk, when Lamar comes back everyone will be saying how good we are and how good Luke is, luke may not be the quickest player or a great defender but he ha qualities on the court that you cant teach.

BK,

" What I wouldn't do is, like Mike T suggests (this saves me the trouble of posting two comments, by the way), transform how they run the offense to accomodate Kwame's skill set at the four."

This is where you don't know what you're talking about. The triangle was tranformed to fit Lamar Odom at the 4 spot. What I'm suggesting is the way it supposed to be run.

That's why PJ had Mihm and Brown starting last year. Because that's how the triangle is supposed to be run. The only reason it didn't get off the ground is because Kobe Bryant was shooting the ball so much that no one was executing the triangle. Now that PJ has Kobe where he wants him...it's time for PJ to go back to his original idea of going big at the 4 and 5 spots.

Again, the triangle is supposed to be run that way. It was transformed to accommodate Lamar Odom at the 4 spot. And that's not how the triangle is supposed to be run.

Now that's a fact.

mike

BK:

I agree with you that there is no grand conspiracy to keep Kwame from succeeding. In fact, I think the opposite is true. The Lakers will do everything they can to make sure that Kwame succeeds because they truly value his man-on-man defense and realize he is the key to defending Shaq, Duncan, KG, Brand, and the other great big men in the West. I think the injuries to Kwame and Lamar AND Chris Mihm and Andrew’s foul problems have just held the Lakers back from putting Andrew and Kwame on the floor at the same time. I fully expect that we will see that change once we get Lamar and Kwame back. I believe it will be our starting lineup when we enter the playoffs this year.

I also think that Phil knows that he needs to get Luke out of the starting lineup. Teams have definitely identified him as the weak link and are focused on taking it to him, which in turn has hurt his offense much more than not having Lamar. And unlike Smush, a weak defender at small forward is easy to take advantage of. Again, I think it has been the injuries that have forced Phil to stick with Luke. Thank goodness that we are going to get Lamar and Kwame back soon now that teams have adjusted to Luke.

I also think that Luke’s slowness on defense was also one of the reasons he didn’t get an extension. We know that Phil loves shooters, which explains extending Cook and Sasha, but Luke was in that middle ground where he hadn’t shown he was a pure shooter. You have to give him credit, though, as he has definitely elevated his game. Unfortunately for him, it hasn’t been enough to keep him in the starting lineup. He will definitely have to take less for the Lakers to keep him next year.

Tom

LakerTom,

Lakers play Phil's triangle, if you don't fit you don't stay. There might be 500 variations to the triangle but its not the one PJ's running. And that one only uses one center.

That said, if you're Mitch, would you prefer a 5M or 9M backup center to Bynum (next year) both having almost the same stats?

Laker Tom...

I hope that your scenario of a Twin Tower set could work. After all, what we all would like to see is another Laker C'ship. I'm just not convinced that Kwame could play power forward effectively on offense. Kwame seems to be much more effective and comfortable the closer he is to the basket. He doesn't seem to be able to put the ball on the floor and create his own shot. I do agree that the Lakers must improve dramatically on defense to get where we want to see them. The rest of the season will be PJ's opportunity to fine tune this team and position them for a deep run in the playoffs. He has many options on this team. Let's hope that he chooses wisely.

Kaliguy...glad to help and share a little knowledge.

A few observations from FearlessWhackJob:

1) The Lakers are really young. Young players just can't play on the road. They just can't. I think the NBA is the only league where the disparity is so glaring between veteran and young teams and road wins.

2) I told you guys that our defense would be what suffered when both Kwame and LO went down. I said it here that our offense would still flow. Our D wasn't based on individual defense before they went down, but on an overall team defensive scheme that used Luke's strengths, which was his smarts, along with Kwame's strength and speed and LO's length to make the front-court D pretty respecable. Add in Bynum jumping out of the building and getting sick blocks every night and we had the real deal for stretches this season. Not consistent (we just won't be that), but great for a quarter or two every game. Which is usually enough -- just look at the record. Our defense will get back to what it needs once the two of them come back.

3) Kwame needs to come back and be a monster, because the little Lakers secret is out and we aren't going to be able to sneak up on anyone anymore. Dude's got to be up to the task.

4) LO needs to come back so that Kobe can lurk in the weeds more. That is a really potent 1-2 punch. Plus, they make a pretty good tandem on D when LO plays guard.

5) I still think they'll win 55. I think, like I said earlier in the year, that they'll finish at about .500 on the road. If they can climb back to .500 on the road, they will win 55 games.

6) I'm extemely happy with their progress.

7) Kobe IS the first half MVP. He doesn't have Amare to pass to, you know. He's got some 19 year-old dude who has very little basketball experience at all. And, a dude who drops 2 passes per game. Oh, and this guy who couldn't get more than a couple of 10-day contracts before last season. MVP, hands down.

--FearlessWhackJob

PS: What is that dude that called the 55-win bandwagoners "Whack Jobs" saying about the Lakers right now?

Oh, one more thing that I forgot to mention. Drew is getting ROBBED by the refs this season. More so than last season because it actually hurts us more this year when he gets called for those phantom fouls. I think that's really why Kobe is so frustrated, because dude (Drew) will be on a ROLL and suddenly get two non-fouls in like 13 seconds and wind up on the bench.

That is just SO FRUSTRATING. And, you can't even complain about it. Which just bottles all that crap up. That cannot be healthy.

I mean Amari takes three steps, lands on a jump stop (that's steps four and five according to the rules) and *then* jumps up for a dunk and Drew gets called for a foul, while trying to get out the way! What is that all about?

I think the refs forgot he was young for that two-week stretch when he didn't get called for that many fouls and they're trying to make up for lost time or something. Because, he really isn't playing any different, now. Just better. I feel for the dude.

--FearlessWhackJob

One other thing LT...concerning a frontcourt of Lamar, Kwame and Drew...don't forget that Lamar is very effective down low as you alluded to in the opening qame against Phx. Having two other guys trying to set up on the box would limit his touches in the post. I just don't think that the power lineup would be that effective on offense although I could see its benefits in certain defensive alignments.

Actually, I'm surprised they are playing this well this soon. Jackson teams are notorious for taking the first-half of the season off and roaring into the playoffs for the second half. Even happened last year. I'm hoping it doesn't mean we run out of steam this time...

--FearlessWhackJob

Kwame & Bynum both starting?

Hum..........

As the great poet Buggs Bunny used to say....

"What a bunch of maroons!"

The idea is so bad it isn't really even worth developing the arguments. But, here is a couple anyhow:

Kwame Brown - What you see is what you get.
Very limited offensive player, poor rebounder for a center, bad hands, questionable basketball I.Q.
Contract way above reasonable given his skill set.
(In fact, it will probably be his contract as much as his body that will be traded near next year's trading deadline).

Andrew Bynum - What you see is hopefully not all you'll get, but what you see isn't Hakeem, Jabar, Ewing, Wilt, etc. (What you see is potential).
Inconsistent rebounder for a center, not a "go to" post option, foul prone, turnover prone, still learning the game but does not currently have a great basketball I.Q. In short, potential does not equal accomplishment, (yet).

Both are productive useful guys, but for those who think they should play together...

I think you should have taken a left turn at Albuquerque!

Hey guys!!!!
I watched the game against NOK, It could have been a won game if it is not because of the referees.
KOBE lost his focus in the game because of noncalls by the refs!
It seems that KOBE doesn't have the respect of the referees as they have for D-wade!
Maybe we should start the "Give Kobe Respect" Carravan

Mike-

The offense is the offense. It's about spacing, ball movement, cuts, etc. It can work with Shaq in the middle, Kobe on the outside, or L.O. initiating from the perimeter or from the post (they've done both). The reason Kwame was starting with Mihm last year is because they brought in Kwame to play power forward. That was his job. And while you may object to how Kwame is used now and think Kobe's shooting had an adverse effect on him, you have to attibute at least some of Kwame's struggles at the four last year to Kwame. He was incredibly inconsistent, struggled with the offense, with team defense, etc. Kobe didn't stop shooting the day Kwame moved to center and he started playing better.

At some point, some responsibility has to be placed on Kwame himself. I like the guy and want him to do well, but not everything is someone else's fault.

BK

BK,

"The offense is the offense."

Yeah, right! The offense is supposed to be run big. That's the offense. Just like Tom explained. That's how it's supposed to be run. But all this means nothing. LUKE WALTON IS THE WEAKLINK IN THE STARTING LINEUP AND NOTHING YOU SAY CAN CHANGE THAT. Have a nice night.

mike

Congraulations to the Colts. I'm happy for Tony Dungy. After last season it's good to see this happen to him.


Colts vs. Bears...hell of a game.

mike

BK,

"like the guy and want him to do well, but not everything is someone else's fault."

I'll tell you this, I was watching a game last year and Kobe was shooting like crazy. It got so bad that once I saw Lamar Odom and Chris Mihm running back after a Kobe shot. As they were running back side by side they looked at each other as if to say...what the F is happening. That's how bad it was.

Wasn't that one of your reasons why you didn't think Kobe was the MVP last year? Wasn't that your logic? Now all of a sudden when I point out that it's the reason why no one was executing the triangle last year...now all of a sudden it wasn't Bryant's fault.

It was his fault for you to justify not voting for him to win the MVP last year. In that case Steve Nash was the MVP.

Now it wasn't his fault the triangle was executed because if it was then Kwame can be put at the 4. In this case it Walton who would be put on the bench.

Now which one is it?

mike

Mike-

Lamar Odom not big enough for you? Again, if you pay a lick of attention to anything anyone actually says, I've written exensively that I prefer L.O. down low, because he's so effective in the lane and on the block. I have no problem with bigs, and I have no problem with Kwame. If Kwame can find a comfort zone at PF, more power to him. It's great for the team. But he's going to have to be able play facing the basket offensively, and get more comfortable covering guys away from the post defensively.

And I would agree, depending on what specifically you're talking about, Luke is the weak link. Defensively? Especially man on, I would agree. Offensively? Not necessarily. I don't exactly know how I became the great defender of Luke Walton in your eyes, but hey, I don't understand how a lot of things work in your head.

BK

BK,

I think we all know how things work in your mind. Now you be a nice good old boy.

mike

BK,

As for Odom being big enough. That's not the point. The point is defense. The defense is too weak to continue to play Walton at the 3 spot. This isn't really about Odom playing the post on offense. It's about Odom playing the 3 on defense. The only thing holding that up is Kwame playing the 4 spot on offense. I, and Laker Tom, have explain why that shouldn't be a reason.

But in the end...it's about the defensive. It's about Josh Howard and the Dallas Mavericks.

mike

Mike-

For someone who prides himself on debate and logic, you sure make an awful lot of leaps in what people actually write. You are correct in this respect: I think Kobe's shot selection was at times last year very questionable. I think he forced too many things onto himself, and at times it hurt the team. It is tied to my logic of one of the reasons for not voting for him as MVP- basically, he should have scored as much as he did, because he dominated the ball so much. Thus, the biggest "pro" in his favor, scoring, had less impact for me.

But is it not possible that Kwame struggled at the four AND Kobe would periodically go outside the offense? I think it is. He didn't play very well until he moved to center. There, he was far more comfortable, playing on the block with his back to the basket, and his play improved. He was more comfortable guarding guys in the low post, and his play improved. Meanwhile, Kobe still had games where he shot too much. More than one thing can happen at a time.

And did you miss the parts where I said once everyone is healthy, I don't mind Luke coming off the bench? I've written it many times this season. Either for Mo, or if Kwame can play the four, for him. I'm not sure Ronny can handle starters minutes there. But you generally only choose to read what you want to see, not what's actually in front of you.

Finally, if you want to call me a racist, go ahead and do it, rather than trying to be clever with your continued "good old boy" innuendos. At least have some sack, rather than trying to be cute. The "we all" you refer to has thus far been limited to you, but hey, maybe you'll be able to drum up support for your position if you're more clear with your terms. I wouldn't hold your breath, though.


BK

I don't have to hold my breath. I know it for myself. You're an easy case. You get riled up over PJ, Chris Mihm, Luke Walton, Grady Little, Mark McGwire...need I say more?

LOL!

mike

BK,

One thing about racism. We all know that it exist. The question is how it's expressed. Usually the accused are white. For what I've experienced, it's that anglo's like to have power. With that power they manipulate circumstances to serve their own. They have to because of racial laws. They can't do it outright. That's the way it works. It's a reality. But according to you...no one is guilty, and certainly not you, even though it's out there.

I say it's so ingrained that most people do it as the "norms." And usually it's business as usual...until someone brings up the issue.

Just like the Rodney King a*swhopping. Everyone knew that LAPD was brutal. But until there was a video...it was like white people were blind to it. And even with the video the cops were still found not guilty.

Now all of a sudden it's beyond reason to think that the white media is beyond applying the same ingrained mind set in voting for a MVP? Or for PJ to be playing Luke Walton when it makes no sense on a basketball level.

But clearly...the white media is not guilty and neither is PJ. Right?

It's out there, but no one is guilty of it.

mike


with this argument between brown and bynum play together, phil should let brown play as a center both offensively and defensively, bynum have a nice shooting touch while brown can be very agressive at the rim, and even defensively kwame might be more effective to play at 5, he got a wide body and be a good boxed-out against offensive rebound, the problem is we still not yet see any games that we tried to experiment playing them both, Phil might surprise if he will try, why not waste one of our giant sitting in the bench where we can try to play them together and might work wonders.. just give them chance to play for 3 to 4 games and see what happen, we have good records and it won't hurt us now if we will loss 1 or 2 games if it won't work, but if work.. hey this is another ball game..

hope they will play together, brown at 5 and bynum at 4

arnold

When is LO and Kwame coming back?

When is LOLO and Faith coming back?


I don't care who starts - I only care about the Lakers becoming the best team. However, lets examine some issues.

1. If Jerry Buss has to choose between Phil Jackson and Kwame Brown one hundred times out of one hundred Buss will choose Phil Jackson. Phil is a proven coach who can take team to the elite level. Kwame Brown is a nice strong player who is a very good individual one on one post player. That is about it. If it weren't for Mike T's strange obsession with this, this will only be a minor discussion on the Lakers.
2. If Jerry Buss has to choose between Andrew Bynum and Kwame Brown, one hundred out of one hundred times he will choose Andrew Bynum.
3. For Bynum and Brown to play together, a couple of things need to happen. We can't just say Bynum plays the 5 and Brown plays the 4 or vice versa and it would mysteriously work. First one of them needs to demonstrate the threat of a 10 to 15 footer. And one of them needs to demonstrate the threat of putting the ball on the floor and getting to the hoop from the top post. I don't know if either of them is capable at the moment.
4. The other issue to consider is with Bynum and Stone Hands Brown in the line up how much would the passing game degrades and the triangle offense suffers. We don't know yet. The danger with Bynum and Brown playing together prematurely is that the triangle offense may become poorly balanced. This opens up fast break opportunities for the other team. So we may have a stellar half court defense with Bynum and Brown in the line up. But the other team will run us off the court.
5. Kobe did shoot too much last year. But the new Lakers were not very proficient at running the Triangle offense either. So the responsibility is 50/50 so we should not lay it all on Kobe.

The time will come when Bynum and Brown will play together. It would not be with both in the starting line up initially. It would depend on the defensive matchups. The Lakers coaching staff will want to see how that looks like and to determine if there are strengths that can be exploited in the playoffs. The only exception is that, if in the judgement of the coaching staff, the two of them clearly don't have the skills to run the triangle offense together even near the end of the season.

Leo MaLau,

Number 1 and 2 is something you came up with in your own mind. I never put those scenarios out there. I'm saying PJ is manipulating the events to get Jerry Buss to buy into PJs thinking that Walton has more value than Kwame, which is absurd.

mike

As for the Kwame Brown discussion. I posted about Luke Walton today. What I said about Luke Walton is true. What I said about PJ pulling Kwame Brown when Walton isn't effective is true, too.

As a matter of fact, until last night, PJ never pulled Walton. And if he did he did by making a mass substitution. That way people cann't pin-point Walton. That's manuipulation. When Walton is the cause he's the one who should be pulled. I've been keeping track of this. I know it's true. This guy obsession with Walton is so bad he had him taking more shot than Lamar Odom at times. On occassion PJ has Walton playing more minutes than Bryant. That's BS!

mike

Leo, good series of comments. Be prepared for a series of insults from Mike T.

BK, I said earlier, the inevitable series of bluster and insults. You know how this works. You'll point something out, Mike will read something into it that's not there, will insult you needlessly, and then blame everything on Luke. If only I could get Vegas to open a line on this, I could make a mint.

LakerTom, I see what you're saying. I still don't think Kobe should be playing point on offense, I think that it probably works better where he's the secondary distributor. That leaves him being the primary weapon.

Mike-

I don't deny that there is racism in the world. Never have, never will. Nor will I say that race doesn't play into sports as it does into generally everything in America, in one form or another. But that's not the point. Again, show a little sack. We're not talking about the "white media," which I don't represent in its totality any more than an individual of any race or religion represents the views of the entire group. We're talking about what you think of me. If you think Brian Kamenetzky is a racist, call me one. Don't say, "Oh, BK defends Phil Jackson, Chris Mihm, Grady Little, etc." (conveniently leaving out the actual substance of any of my writing) then leave it out there as if the connection to my being anti-______ is plain as day. (I'm thankful that the rest of our readers aren't as small and/or simple minded as you.) In the end, though, I wouldn't expect more than that from someone like you, who can't handle being challenged on any level without acting like a child.

BK

I'll tell you all this. What is a strange obsession is people thinking that Luke Walton should be starting. I talk logic. Kwame Brown is our best defender, period. If he doesn't start at the 4 spot, he'll surely be starting at the 5 spot. That's not even the question. It's Kwame who'll be starting at the 5 spot. My post are about playing Bynum and Kwame together over the idea of playing Walton at the 3 spot. But for some strange reason/obsession people can't get over the idea that Walton isn't that good of a player. He certainly can't guard Josh Howard. And when he gets burned by Howard, PJ takes it out on other players. That's crazy. And it has to stop.

This isn't about Dr. Buss choosing between PJ or Bynum against Kwame. It's about Dr. Buss seeing what PJ is doing to sabotage a championship season because of his obsession with Luke Walton over a Bynum/Brown combination, which is determential to Kobe Bryant's quest to win a Champiopnship without Shaq O'Neil.

mike

 
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