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The softer side of the roadie

(UPDATE - My take on the starting small forward question is added below the jump, for those interested.)

Not to poo poo the first opponent taking on the Lakers (5PM PST, KCAL) during back to back away contests, but the Memphis Grizzlies are a decidedly more "beatable" team than the New Orleans Hornets awaiting the Lakers on Wednesday.  Who will be the starting small forward during this theoretical beat down opportunity?  It's a call between Luke Walton and Trevor Ariza, with Phil Jackson often reserving the right to flip flop based on matchups.  PJ floated the notion of going with Ariza during yesterday's practice as a counter to Rudy Gay, which would mean Walton coming off the pine, which suits Big Red's kid just fine.  Granted, he personally thinks he's produced better as a starter, but again, no biggie one way or the other.  Besides, Walton's ankle still hurts like a mother no matter when he enters a game, so to some degree, who cares?  The Lakers could always go with Kobe at the 3, but then they'd be killing a slam dunk All-Star campaign at guard (although Kobe would probably get voted in listed as a center). 

For those curious, the numbers for Walton as a starter vs. a sub don't bear much difference one way or the other.  He does tend to turn the ball over a little more off the bench, but then again, he also shoots 33% better at the stripe for whatever reason while playing in the second unit, so that might offset the butterfingers.  Ariza's splits are harder to evaluate, since the starter-sub discrepancy includes Orlando stats produced while not playing much.


I had a doctor's appointment in the morning, so I needed to post today's links before adding my two cents.  But I didn't want to spark a small forward debate without adding my thoughts.  Let me preface this discussion by saying (for probably about the 50th time this season, but oh well) that I think "starting" remains, in most cases, an overrated and overblown topic.  All in all, it doesn't reflect a player's impact nearly as much as his minutes or how often he finishes the game.  People often regard the starting unit as proof of a "pecking order" or a player's "worth," when it often has more to do with creating the best overall fivesomes for both the first and second units, as well as creating beneficial matchups. 

Personally, I would start Ariza in most cases.  He's the better defender (and unlike Luke, can be used primarily for that role if need be) and adds a spark of energy to the opening group.  But my rationale also has as much to do with what Walton can do for the second unit, rather than purely a "Luke vs. Trevor" issue.  Walton brings another good ball handler and facilitator with quality triangular knowledge off the bench, which equals less onus on Jordan Farmar to put things in motion.  The only other options are basically (when healthy) Sasha Vujacic (more shooter than true play maker) or Javaris Crittenton, playing in Sasha's absence and often battling the urge to "prove himself," which often leads to him trying to do too much and turning the ball over even more often).  Thus, the ball is often in Farmar's hands, and lately that's led to some over-dribbling and a lack of motion while trying to organize.  Walton's presence could add some fluidity to the proceedings, perhaps offsetting to some degree what the loss of Andrew Bynum has meant for the bench's early season dominance.

That said, even while proposing to start Ariza, I can still see the argument for going with Walton.  The second unit tends to play more uptempo, which is clearly a better fit for Ariza's game than Walton's.  The first unit already has Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom, both of whom are capable of breaking down a defender and taking it to the hole.  Save Farmar or maybe Crittenton (if he remains in the rotation when Sasha's healthy), the bench unit is comprised of either shooters or bigs, so an additional threat to slash and attack can create more options.  Plus, playing Luke with the first unit's better defenders can help cover his weaknesses on that front (although, quite frankly, they're not nearly as bad as some of his detractors make them out to be).

In the end, Phil's current approach of going by matchup is probably as sensible as setting one starter in stone.  Neither Walton nor Ariza is playing decidedly better or worse in either role (as opposed to, say, Vlad Radmanovic, who's been considerably better off the bench).  Nor does any unhappiness appear to be brewing over the direction Jackson wants to go.  And let's be honest.  It's not like Phil's hemming and hawing between Kobe Bryant and Coby Karl.  We're talking about two role players.  Neither is All-Star quality.  Both would likely come off the bench on most teams.  Even if you think one is a better call than the other, I don't think a flat out obvious choice is staring the Zen Master in the face.

Doesn't make the debate any less interesting.  But still, a perspective should be maintained.  I wouldn't drive yourself nuts over the call.


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You're not first with that prediction.

One more comment on the Luke v. Trevor starting debate. As much as I like what Ariza brings to the table, and as convinced, as I am that eventually he will be the full time starter over Luke if both remain Lakers. Why was it that Ariza wasn't getting very much PT at Orlando? Is it perhaps the Vangundy thought that another player was a better fit for what the team needed? Just as the 'better' team doesn't always win, perhaps some coaches don't start the 'better' player for the benefit of the team. Each coach tries their best to put the best combination of players on the floor and Phil is no different. Phil may think differently than we armchair coaches, but he has nine rings, a ton of wins in the NBA and CBA as a coach and I don't. He makes mistakes like all of us but when it comes to hoops I think he has an edge upon all us on the blog.

I get those that want Trevor to start, but Phil obviously is sticking with Luke for now because he thinks it is best for the team. It isn't because Luke is white, it isn't for fear of what Luke’s windbag, and pompous father might say on TV, it isn't because Phil doesn't want to win. It is because Phil has a different opinion of what he as coach wants on the floor. It could also be that he likes the impact Ariza has as a spark coming off the bench to impact the flow of a game. As long as the Lakers are winning 12 out of 15 games, Luke starting is fine with me.

Go Zen people. Just sit back and watch it all unfold. The Lakers season will play out as it is supposed to. Be thankful we have a good option over Luke at SF, appreciate that the team is winning with Luke as a starter. Don't worry be happy!


Walton's ankle still hurts a like mother

First teamwork, now matching up well? Geez, it's like this team wants to, like, win or something.

How lame - all the cool kids are losing this year.


I hope your right.

Regarding the Small Forwards, I believe matching the other SF's to our benefit is the way to go. If it is better to start Ariza against the more athletic SF's, then do it!!!

This is Luke Walton not #24. He should start adjusting to whatever role would be best for the team. He should be happy that he is playing for the Lakers!!!



Luke is still suffering from ankle injuries, Kwame is still over weight, and Vlad Rad is still MIA.

And in other news, the sky is still blue and grass is still green.




If the Lakers can get a blowout tonight and rest the 4th, they have a better chance tomorrow.

If the Lakers win both (meaning if they beat New Orleans in New Orleans on a back-to-back), it will be a major psychological victory for them, in that it will up the fear factor a bit when other teams play them, as well as jump them up the power rankings.

It will be a great win and support the mental toughness of the team. Hard to overemphasize the importance of mental thoughness.

By the way, kudos to Kupcheck for bringing in Ariza. When that trade happened, I didn't feel very good about it. It seemed a little crazy to me, but the Lakers are a significantly better team for Ariza's introduction. Good.


The problem I have with the Luke vs Ariza decision is at some point the lakers need to make a decision who is going to get the bulk of the minutes if they want consistent play from that position. Platoons rarely work in the NBA and this whole match-up idea is more Phil speak so he doesnt have to decide.

Luke cannot improve guarding Gay, or any other SF, by sitting on the bench and Arize cant improve his shooting by sitting on the bench.

Players who get consistent minutes produce consistent results, those that dont, well dont, Its really simple.

Those who get injured often should be considered for trade with a healthy player. If their frame of mind or physical frailties and handicap are not attuned to NBA standards, why insist on them? Are they Superstars?

Problem if they are healthy, they avoid defense so as not to get hurt. Fisher has been hurt before but look at him, he would not back down to an attacking player whether they are center or power forward, Fisher would give them his body. That is why he is admired and respected by fans. With Walton and Sasha, they will let a slashing player pass through and get ready to inbound the ball for a fast break which often result to T/O.


Looking at the draft 2003 when Luke was taken in the 2nd round, the Clippers got this C from Team Greece - Sofoklis Schorsanitis who never played with them. What is the rule at this time, can the Lakers get him without trading anybody?

Just my opinion, but I think Mike T has an edge over Phil Jackson in coaching.

On the Subject of Walton:

Has not elevated his game - is not getting more
comfy with the NBA - still looks like a rookie. I
don't know exactly why - maybe it's the lack of
a guiding light (like Kareem with AB). I like him
- I don't think that he will be with this team
for long.


Well of course Mike T. has an edge over Phil. He knows more about basketball than anyone else on the planet - probably even more than God himself. Who else but a Supreme Being can see how great Kwame is when none of the rest of us mere mortals can see it???? I think Kwame is a benefit to the Lakers becasue they have no other true big that can defend. However, if we could get a legit big that could defend decently for Kwames expiring contract that didn't kill the Lakers salary cap wise I would do it.


Mike T has yet to explain how Kwame got outworked by a nobody on Indiana named Harrison. If it was Bynum we would be sure to see how that showed Bynum could be "pushed around" by backup centers.

Uh, I would start CARON BUTLER instead. Oh, blasted, we decided to keep Luke instead. =(

Laker Lover,
"Platoons rarely work in the NBA and this whole match-up idea is more Phil speak so he doesnt have to decide."

At this point it is not clear who is better. If Ariza could shoot reasonably well from the outside, then IMO he would clearly be better. So far he hasn't shown that.

But then the decision has to be made as far as who starts and who doesn't.

Does the second string function better with Ariza or with Walton? Since the trade and the injuries that have occurred during that time frame, the bench players have not been performing especially well. So, from that perspective too, it is difficult for PJ to determine who should start.



Posted by: never | January 08, 2008 at 09:09 AM

Possibly. The difference this time around is we have LO against the Hornets. It would be nice to get both, but it would be difficult especially on a back to back. We'll see.

Just my opinion, but I think Mike T has an edge over Phil Jackson in coaching.

Posted by: Amazing_Happens | January 08, 2008 at 10:55 AM

LOL. Now that's the funniest post I've ever read on here. Thanks for the laughs!!!

CNN reporting tornadoes in Memphis right now!

Hope they got Kwame chained to a telephone pole or something..


In John Hollinger's article where he picks his all-star teams, he made this
comment, with respect to the argument to who should be the backup C
on the team (with certain fans pushing for Camby or Chandler or Kaman):

"Actually, the No. 3 center out West right now is probably Andrew Bynum,
who has put up an impressive 21.82 PER in 28.9 minutes per game for the
Lakers. It's a tough crowd out West so it will take more than that to earn him
a spot, but don't be shocked if he's on the West roster a year from now in

Hey, since SF is up in the air and PJ is confused about who to start, I volunteer to start at PF. I may only be 5'10", be 47 years old and have no low post skills, but I do have 6 fouls to give and I will work for only 10K a game (which is quite cheap by NBA standards).


Ariza wasnt starting in Orlando because they spent 18 mil per year on Rashard Lewis. They needed more outside shooting to so teams cldnt pack the paint on Howard.


By going with a combo of Ariza and Luke, the lakers are saying neither is good enough to play starters minutes at the SF position.

Thats not the recipe for a championship team as I have suggested many times because a team will not get consistent production without consistent minutes. Hence the whole match-up philosophy while sounding good, is dependent on having consistent performance from each player without getting consistent minutes, a flawed philosophy in my opinion.

Patty (Sherman Oaks, CA): John, this is probably a tired question, but if the Lakers packaged Kwame (expiring K) and one of their young players, who could they realistically land to help this team be that much more dangerous? By the way, I LOVE your rankings formula. I use to think they were a crock, but have noticed they are often eerily accurate.

John Hollinger: (3:55 PM ET ) Thanks ... I think. As far as L.A., the biggest target would be Jason Kidd, but that probably won't happen unless the Nets go back under .500. That's the thing with the trade deadline -- it's a liltle bit of a fishing expedition because the guy you want needs to be out there.

Mike T,

Since you're so obsessed with defense being the key, consider this from the
San Antonio Express-News:

" If there’s one thing they’ve been doing well during an otherwise
middling 10-game stretch, it’s defend people. They just aren’t scoring

During that span, the Spurs have allowed just 87.3 points per game,
better than anyone in the NBA outside of Detroit. But they are scoring
92.1 point per game, better than nobody in the NBA outside of Toronto
and the Clippers.

Not surprisingly, the Spurs are 6-4 over that stretch – or one game better
than exactly mediocre. In those four losses, the Spurs averaged
82.5 points. "

In other words, despite playing some of the best D in the league and also
playing at one of the slowest PACEs in the league, the Spurs are 6-4 over
the last 10. Personally, I prefer the Lakers giving up 101.2 points per
game and winning 8 of their last 10.

Long Time laker fan......Very good post.....Thats a point that some people seem to miss......Thankyou

Eagleboy....IMO Trevor had trouble cracking the rotation in Orlando because of his poor outside shooting. Orlando is looking for players who can stretch the defense to allow Dwight Howard room to do that monster thing of his. That and the fact that Turkoglu is playing very well for them and they recently invested a ton of money in Rashard Lewis made Trevor's minutes scarce. If you look at the trade, they probably figured a guy like Brian Cook could also hit threes. I believe that Trevor's slashing style just didn't fit in well with Orlando, while his athleticism and ability to drive the ball to the hole fulfill something that the Lakers were lacking at the 3 spot. As to who should start, I'll leave that to 9 Rings and trust in his judgement to work the matchups in the Lakers' favor.

Just One Man's Opinion.

Andrew Z,

Bynum is definitely showing some fire this season. The two moments I remember the most was the Indy game on Sunday when he got fired up after getting an And 1 against JO and against Amare on another And 1.

The most underrated and ignored storyline (I'm surprised AK/BK haven't mentioned this.) is that since Bynum missed those clutch free throws against Golden State he's been pretty consistent at the line. I love this kid, he identifies his weaknesses and he works on them. This kid's going to be special.

LTLF, Thirty2,

I think MikeT's point is that getting your defense working is prolly more important than your offense if you are talking championships. Also, the fact that their big three hasn't played much together over the last 10 games has led to offensive inconsistency which is prolly the biggest reason the Spurs struggled. In the regular season, your offense can prolly help mask shortcomings, but in the playoffs, opponents will get plenty of time to dissect and untrack your O. D, once set, can never go away.

Suns are prolly a good example as well as an exception because of how well they execute offensively. They actually hung with the Spurs last year in the playoffs.

I do think, however, that we are better defensively last year inspite of Kwame not playing much this year (don't want to make this a Kwame/Bynum thing). It's just that I'd feel a lot better about your chances on the chip if we were giving up closer to 90 ppg than 100 ppg.

No reason we can't get there though.

Long Time Laker Fan - and thats why defense doesnt win championships, it keeps a team in games- offense wins championships.

You cant out-defend the other team and win if you cant score.

"In other words, despite playing some of the best D in the league and also
playing at one of the slowest PACEs in the league, the Spurs are 6-4 over
the last 10. Personally, I prefer the Lakers giving up 101.2 points per
game and winning 8 of their last 10."

The problem is in the playoffs when teams buckle down and most of the time play a half court game, defense will be key in winning the series.... I still think this Laker team needs another defensive stopper to go along with Kobe.... Outside of him I really dont see a dominant defensive player who can shut down his man.... Offense will come and go as we see in both of the Boston games as well as some other games where the Lakers got torched, but defense should stay constant and should be the recipe for any championship team, that said I don't think Kwame is the answer though; Hence lacks help defense and rebounding skills, but I think his the best we have off the bench behind Bynum....RON RON where are you.... Just imagine


I would give up anyone on our Bench to get him (serious)... Even take back a bad contract like Kenny Thomas from SAC....

How about Mimm, Critt and Kwame and a 2008 1st round pick for Ron Ron and Kenny Thomas

hariyahu......Giving up below a 100 points a game would be nice......I have a question before i go to work........

Are Paul Piearce,Ray Allen , and Garnett all great defenders.....or do they supply the offense and the rest of the team shut down the threats on the other team...?

"CNN reporting tornadoes in Memphis right now!"

Not to worry. Kwame's calves are so powerful he will be able to hold his position until he is in the eye of the tornado, then he pick up a GIANT CAKE and huck that sucker up into the driving winds and BOOM! the tornado will dissipate and Kwame will be given a key to the city and a giant statue will be errected in front of FedExForum of Kwame holding his cake, his giant calves glistening in the breeze and then Kwame will come out and put up 4 points, 3 rebounds and go 1 for 6 from the line in 20 minutes of action before he fouls out... and Mike T will be posting, "See! See! NOBODY can stop the calves of Kwame Brown! NOOOObody!"


Yep, I'd love Ron Ron on this team. I think with Phil, Kobe and Odom, we can tame the beast. Problem is that Maloofs won't want to trade him within the division, and most definitely to the hated Lakers. Getting a bad contract off their hands is a good way to start, but they'll need more than just Crit.

Ideally, we'd find a third team to offer them a promising PF as well. Somone like a Warrick or a Villanueva


I'd hate to see Ron Ron on this team.



How are you and long time no blog?

"How about Mimm, Critt and Kwame and a 2008 1st round pick for Ron Ron and Kenny Thomas"

I would not want to give up JC instead make it two picks... Kenny Thomas is serviceable. However, I just don't think Sacto wants to help us at all.

2nd unit of Ronny, Vlad/Thomas, Ariza/Luke, Sasha/Carl, Farmar/JC wouldn't be bad...

Have a good one Gino.

The most underrated and ignored storyline (I'm surprised AK/BK haven't mentioned this.) is that since Bynum missed those clutch free throws against Golden State he's been pretty consistent at the line. I love this kid, he identifies his weaknesses and he works on them. This kid's going to be special.

Posted by: Xodus | January 08, 2008 at 01:51 PM


Andrew actually missed the two free throws against the Cavs. You're right though because since that time he's been making most of his free throws. This makes him even more valuable because he won't be a liability in close games and crunch time. He's also displayed a deft touch around the rim in being able to finish despite being fouled. I think he had 3 or 4 and one's against the Pacers on Sunday night. As long as he keeps up his attitude about working on the weaknesses in his game he'll be fine.

Go Lakers!!!


I think the only great defender on the Celtics is KG himself. Most of it is the team helping each other out - prolly because of TomT hopping on as the defensive co-ordinator for that team.

Which is why, though I don't necessarily agree with the opinion that getting Kwame in the starting 5 would make us better defensively. If you look at the big three (Spurs, Celtics, Pistons), none of them have a defensive monster at the C. And by that I mean, a strong burly C with cord-fed calves who is quick of feet. Duncan, Rasheed and KG are all agile 4/5s, but none of them can "seal" their man - certainly not a Yao or a Howard. So, though Kwame's gifts are rather unique (strong post defensive with quick feet), his offensive shortcomings are too glaring to justify a lot of playing time - unless the rest of the unit can make up for him.

I think it's more important that the team adopt a defensive mentality, and I daresay we may already have the personnel for it. Now, getting someone like Artest may be the easiest way to get to that elite level (mainly because of the match-up issues Artest provides on the offensive end), but if Ariza develops a reliable jump shot, we might still get there.


I understand where you are coming from, but I do think that with the strong/stable personalities we have on this team, Artest's wild side would be kept relatively in check. His contract is not terribly expensive or long, and he truly is a two-way player. And think about this lineup:

Bynum/LO/Artest/Kobe/Fish - that would be a very tough unit. Bynum and LO would take care of the rebounding, Artest is strong enough to play the 4 against a lot teams, and allows LO to freelance a bit. Kobe/Artest would be a killer perimeter defensive unit. We'd be a match up nightmare for *every* team in the league.

I acknowledge the risk with chemistry that getting Artest would involve, but in my opinion the potential reward far outweighs the risk.


Love the idea of Kwame stopping the tornado by throwing a cake. Humorous!

This was an article in the Chicago Tribune today.

"Since Kobe loves Luol so much, how about Deng and Wallace for Bynum, Radmanovic and Kwame's expiring contract? Wouldn't that appease Kobe, make them instantly more playoff-ready and give the Bulls one hell of a young group of bigs to go with their collection of littles? Which side wouldn't do this?" --Ashley, Chicago

"Lakers, Lakers, Lakers. Kobe doesn't love Luol so much. He seemed to hate the Lakers more. Actually, he hated Bynum last spring and summer. But what's happened is the Lakers have become one of the great stories of the NBA this season. Their defense is much better, their bench is much deeper and they are big up front. And Kwame Brown got hurt, which was a huge break. They had to play Bynum, and he's showing he could be an elite center. Kobe isn't going anywhere and never was. He hates to admit it, but he's better off, and the talk is the Lakers are looking hard to move Kwame's expiring contract for another piece and make a serious championship run."


Mike T. is actually Kwame Brown's mother.

That explains alot.



You're right it was the Cleveland game, thanks for the catch. Anyway, the fact that he said that moment would be the turning point for him and his FT shooting and he's turned the corner quickly. He already had a nice touch so it's not surprising that putting in more work led to such a drastic improvement.

The Sports Guy has Bynum's ceiling as the best center not named Yao or Dwight Howard, but I'm removing a ceiling. With his length, athleticism and soft touch the skies the limit for him.


The "prolly" is kinda cute if you don't use it 14 times.

i'd love to see ron ron on the team. how about using kwame's expiring contract sending him to phili, miller goes to cavs, gooden to sac, and ron ron to LA. plus fillers and we'd probably take on a bad contract, but to team kobe LO Ron bynum and fish is something to dream of.

yeah wed lose a back up center but somebody can always be picked up.


Why do we need to trade someone when everything is working fine? Why now and not at the end of the year when more players will be available as free agents? Problem with trading in mid season, they have to learn the triangle so they become proficient by next season, why not gut it out with all the players we have plus those in those second draft picks waiting for their turn. Kings will never give RonRon to the Lakers as long as Maloof are the owners.

"The Sports Guy has Bynum's ceiling as the best center not named Yao or Dwight Howard, but I'm removing a ceiling. With his length, athleticism and soft touch the skies the limit for him."

Posted by: Xodus | January 08, 2008 at 03:00 PM

Absolutely right.

predictions for tonight:
bynum has another big first half, kobe has one of those 6-18 games with 20 something points, fish and farmar play well, lakers blow out and give jcritt a chance to impress without 500 turnovers, luke and ariza wont really impact this game (even though i think theyre both good), and kwame will be dnp due to the tornado.


Why is Luuuuuke a problem as a starter in 3, he's a problem in the second string too because of his incessant passing and lacking the fundamentals to go for dunks or lay ups. He is really a PG, a slow PG. Is it by coincidence when Sasha, Vlad, Luke and Chris were not playing, Lakers were winning big w/ less T/O's?


"The Sports Guy has Bynum's ceiling as the best center not named Yao or Dwight Howard, but I'm removing a ceiling. With his length, athleticism and soft touch the skies the limit for him."

I concur on one condition. Bynum's ceiling is limited only by his persistent effort with Kareem. If he stopped developing skills and knowledge right now and *only* worked on his athleticism (strength, quickness) then I would say he could match or possibly surpass D. Howard. However, if he does those things AND works with Kareem and continually grows his knowledge and skill level, then comparisons to Yao or Howard will be laughable. It's up to Bynum how far he goes.


Mike T. is actually Kwame Brown's mother.

That explains alot.


Posted by: frank1rizzo | January 08, 2008 at 02:57 PM


That was a low blow, LOL.


Your trade proposal does one thing very well... it would put Lamar back to the 4th option where he belongs.

I don't mean the 4, I mean the 4th option.

If trading for Kwame was the team's biggest mistake, then electing to trade Caron instead of Lamar was their second biggest mistake.

a quick gist of what a possible trade could look like:

obviously i feel that some draft pick would be included and probably a couple of other players like crit would probably go but overall i think that this trade benifits all teams.

Lakers: they get ron ron, solifies our SF position (we get newble another SF but only because i haven't played around with the trade machine more

Phili: they get a huge expirin contract with kwame, which they have been looking for. plus they'd probably get an unsigned draft pick like sun yue from LA or elsewhere

Cavs: they get their pass first pg that they want, they lose gooden who hasnt really been incredbly great so far this year, but they get miller (a huge addition) he's not j kidd but hes a great passer and will open the game up for teammates.

SKings: They gain a good power forward in Gooden, but they lose artest. mikki moore has been playing great for them but i think gooden is a better option, plus he could spell bmiller in stretches. once bibby gets back, they improve a great deal.

how about we send philly VladR and Kwame, they send Cavs Andre Miller and Lakers Reggie Evans, Cavs send Gooden to the Queens, and the Queens send over Ron Ron. That was we get rid of Vlads contract, but get another physical PF instead of a soft one, and they get another crazy player in Artest instead of Space Cadet.


Sorry - creature of habit :)

Regarding the ongoing Luke-Trevor controversy. Does it really need to be said that every coach not only has a system that he prefers, he also likes to populate it with certain types of players? It isn't just the best athlete available at each and every position. And a great coach like Phil does it more by feel rather than by scientific method or "Hollinger's rating system" or the ultimate...Mike T's month-end report. In short, he observes how his team plays as a unit in various stages of games and various types of other teams/systems.

So far, it's clear that Phil likes BOTH players. They give him OPTIONS (another thing that coaches like). And by God, in spite of all the brilliant advice offered by the geniuses here on Laker Nation Central, he's going to use BOTH of them whenever and however he dang well pleases. The instant any of our friends here exhibit 9 or more NBA championship rings on their various appendages, I will defer to their strategy rather than Phil's.

In the meantime, GO LUKE! GO TREVOR! GO LAKERS!!!

see... what's going to happen tonight is, and they're all in on it... Mike T will call David Stern and tell him to tell the refs to call 2 phantom fouls on Bynum in the first quarter, the Lakers will be behind by 2 points and then... everything will stop... Kwame will slowly walk over to the scorer's table, put one leg up on the table and start rubbing a small towel over his calf, then he will get some oil and start really greasing it up and Mike T will go WILD! all the lights in the arena will be turned off except for one spotlight on Kwame as he massages the oil into his calves. First one leg... then the other... Kobe will walk over and sit down in the lotus position to observe the GREAT TEACHER. Then... suddenly! The lights will come on and everybody will come out of their hypnotic state and Kwame will bring everybody back to reality as a simple inbounds pass slips through his fingers and goes out of bounds... and he slaps his hands together... makes that "Darn!" face and starts to trot back to the other end of the court...

and Mike T sits back in his chair and says, "not going to mention that one..."


Why would Philly be ready to swap out Miller for Kwame? You'd prolly have to add in either Crit or Farmar.
Sac wouldn't mind Gooden, but you'll have to prolly sweeten the deal by adding a draft pick or two and taking on a bad contract (kenny or SAR) and ship another contract out (Coby)?

man, Artest is an example of how personality problems can effect how much you make in sports. He is averaging 19pts, 6reb, 4a, 2stl, and 1blk and he only makes 7.4 million. And on top of that he is one of the best 1-on-1 defenders in the game. imagine how much he could be paid if he wasn't so irrational and disturbed.

I think a combination of offense and defense wins championships, preferably the combination that creates the biggest margin of the team's points over the opponent's points.

Also, I don't care who starts, Luke Walton or Trevor Ariza. I just know that Ariza should be playing more minutes than Walton. Same thing goes for Bynum and Kwame, with Bynum garnering more minutes than Kwame.

One last warning, the Lakers must prevent Mike Conley from penetrating the interior of their defense tonight!


53 to comment and I say we win them both.

Lakers - Prove you are worthy to take the ring.

George Mikan
Wilt Chamberlain
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Shaquille O'Neal
Andrew Bynum


Go Lakers! Take care of business tonight so we can enjoy the Showdown tomorrow.

It's the Year of the Bynum!!!


Do you think that Utah wants to trade AK-47? he is maybe as unstable as Kwame, VRad, and Artest. In fact, those four players may be the most emotionally erattic players in the game, if you don't include any Pacers, Knicks, or Warriors in the list.

hariyahu.......Thanks for that ......i have been trying to tell Mike T that for a while.Mike makes some very good points but you summed it up well.......
Team D.....Look at the Pistons...its almost small ball...they dont have a monster in the middle but still beat the celtics in the first game....You can still win it all without a monster......Good team D....and good perimeter D

One thing I've learned in the 22 years of watching NBA basketball is that the good teams don't show everything during the regular season. The Spurs and Detroit are perfect examples. If the Spurs play a team they project to run into during the playoffs, they don't play them the way they will in the playoffs. A very good example of this is when the Spurs played Dallas this year: Bowen wasn't guarding Dirk during key times throughout the game. In fact Bowen and other key players were sulking a lot like they were fustrated and can't stop certain people and it's all a game they play. Because when the playoffs run around, the mentality changes and there is no more fustration and the key players are being defended. In other words, the Spurs "act" like they can't guard you during the regular season. Duncan is a master at this as is the whole Spurs team.

Don't get me wrong. The Spurs try to win, but if it's a team they can potentially meet in the playoffs, they don't play the key players the same at all.

The main reason I bring this up is because the Suns are doing the same thing. Amare was not his usual dominating self against the Lakers. Maybe Bynum had something to do with it, but I would wait to judge on that AFTER the playoffs because the regular season doesn't mean hardly anything.

The good teams don't show their stuff until it really counts - especially against teams they will likely meet in the playoffs.

I would say the Spurs are the masters at this in the NBA today. They know how to play great defense, but still let the opposing stars "think" they have an advantage and then the Spurs stop them in the playoffs.

All you have to do is watch Bowen and Duncan during the regular season as opposed to the playoffs and notice how they are not as aggressive on the stars of the opposing team. They even go as far as putting their heads down and look visibly fustrated! I know this is an act, because they don't do that in the playoffs. The only time you know Duncan and the Spurs are really fustrated? When they look down and dejected on the bench.

Maybe Im wrong..But I've watched the Spurs enough over the last 5 years to see this pattern.


"Kwame will slowly walk over to the scorer's table, put one leg up on the table and start rubbing a small towel over his calf, then he will get some oil and start really greasing it up and Mike T will go WILD! all the lights in the arena will be turned off except for one spotlight on Kwame as he massages the oil into his calves."

that little nugget beat out the cup of coffee as the day's picker-upper. nice.


your right, it would be tough to sell miller for kwame. there seems to be a mismatch of talent between the two. crit would probably be addeed to the pot to for miller as well as adraft pick. the only reason that the sixers would even consider taking kwame is because they are looking for expiring contracts to pick up a big time free agent in the ofseason. they'd probably be more willing to do the trade later in the year.



". . Kwame will slowly walk ...."

Dang, still laughing after an hour of reading that. Now if only Generic one can tie that up with how the zombies reacted.

For s**ts and giggles.

lakers won't lose against the hornets. that's an assurance for you, guys. :)

Laker Lover,

>>>By going with a combo of Ariza and Luke, the lakers are saying neither is good enough to play
>>>starters minutes at the SF position.
>>>Thats not the recipe for a championship team as I have suggested many times because a team
>>>will not get consistent production without consistent minutes.

Tell that to Michael Finley, Manu Ginobili, and the Spurs.

hariyahu and Laker Lover,

On the defense thing. I think the Lakers are playing good defense (4th best opponent shooting % is
a key stat - also point differential is one of the highest in the league). Mike T gets all flustered about
the number of points they give up. I'm making the point that the number of points given up isn't the
key stat for indicating how good your defense is, nor is a pure indicator that you're going to win games.

Since you mentioned that you think the Lakers would have a better chance at a championship if they
gave up closer to 90 points per game than 100 points per game, let me quote you a few numbers:

104.0, 105.3, 106.9, 106.4, 107.3, 104.9, and 101.8

Those are the average points given up by the Lakers teams that won the championships in 1980,
1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2001, and 2002.

There's only one Laker team in the last 30 years who gave up less than 100 ppg for a season, and
that was the 1999-2000 championship team. They gave up 98.4 points, which isn't that far under 100.

This season the Lakers are giving up 101.4 points per game, and I think they are perfectly capable
of going pretty far giving up that many points. As long as they keep scoring 107.5 themselves, they
should do just fine.


>>>I think the only great defender on the Celtics is KG himself.

Actually, Rajon Rondo is a very good defender - about the only PG who's schooled him so far this season
was Chauncey Billups, and it was a strength thing more than speed. Paul Pierce is also a reasonably
good defender. Ray Allen was a matador defender with Seattle, but he's trying harder in Boston.

i've been critical of bynum for the past 2 years but now he shows a little bit of kareem's move and baby hooks.
he still need to get up and down the court without delay. i notice after missed shots he will critique himself allowing time for opponents be in possision on the other end of the court.

i look for him to be a team captain next year. remember bynum, Dunk! Dunk! with vengence



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