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Know Thy Enemy: Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets

Last Season: 53-29 (.646, 2nd in Southwest Division, 5th in the Western Conference)

Key Additions: Signed Trevor Ariza, traded for David Andersen, drafted Chase Budinger, Jermaine Taylor
Key Subtractions: Ron Artest, Von Wafer, Brett Barry, plus Yao Ming is injured

I like this team.

I respect the work ethic, and how hard they'll compete. If my future children grow up to play basketball and I end up the coach, I'll fire up game film of the '09-'10 Rockets and use them as a model of determination and teamwork. (As an aside, I also wonder how much we'll win, given that our entire playbook is likely to consist of hoping one of those six year olds can dunk.) I think they'll win an ESPY for Best Scrappy Team. They will never mail it in. They won't even own postage. 

I just wonder how much they'll win.

The problem here is that despite all their virtues, the Rockets don't have much high end talent, and unlike, say, the Big 10, the NBA is unquestionably a league where talent rules. What Houston does have in excess are solid and often underrated role players. Guys who have been quietly productive throughout their careers, putting up the type of stats number crunchers love. In fact, this year's Rockets have become something of an experiment, particularly among advanced metric types, as people wonder if a well run team of good-but-not-exceptional players can be something greater than the sum of its parts. Some say it's possible, and GM Daryl Morey has a reputation for generating lemonade where others see lemons.

I'm not convinced.Kobe Bryant Shane Battier

Despite losing Yao early in the series, the Rockets pushed the Lakers to a Game 7 in last year's Western Conference Semi-Finals. Impressive as that was, two surprise Yao-less wins in a short series can't be equated to the day in, day out grind of the regular season. It'll be harder for the Rockets to pile up wins against teams that will know going in their game plan. They'll have a system plus the discipline and dedication to execute it, but Houston won't sneak up on anyone.

Continuing to pick out weaknesses is like shooting fish in a barrel.  Start with height. With Yao on the sidelines, they won't have a rotation player taller than 6'9", beyond the Euro import Andersen, who doesn't arrive on this side of the Atlantic with the reputation of a force in the paint. Calling them simply undersized in the frontcourt is an insult to undersized members of the NBA fraternity. The Rockets are wee.

Then there's the question of scoring. Nobody who will suit up on opening night cracked 13 points a game last season, so there are questions of scoring. Houston lacks players willing and able to put the ball on the floor and create shots for themselves and teammates. It's one thing to play defense, but it's only half the story. At some point, the ball has to go into the basket.

Even if Tracy McGrady returns as expected in early December, there's no way to know what impact he'll have. We're talking about recovery from microfracture surgery for a guy who has suffered a seemingly endless string of injuries over the past few seasons. If he doesn't have the offensive burst from Days of Yore T-Mac- Do you want to make the bet he will?- his presence could cause as many problems as it solves, since Houston will be giving away defense with McGrady on the floor. 

On the other hand, on some nights they may not need to score. Aside from Aaron Brooks, just about every important member of that team is a solid defender or better, and as a group, they'll hit the glass effectively, despite a lack of size. Effective doesn't necessarily mean conventional, either. Chuck Hayes, who at 6'6" is probably the shortest center the league has seen since players stopped wearing belts, is brutal on the opposition (as opposed to the offensive end, where Hayes is just bCarl Landry vs. Waltonrutal). Getting him off the block is like moving a tree stump off the lawn. It takes a lot of sweat and some sort of really big digging machine. Their lineup of quality defenders is impressive. Luis Scola. Carl Landry (right). Shane Battier. Kyle Lowry. Ariza.

They'll be put to good use by Rick Adelman.

Speaking of T.A., the story of how he got to Houston has been well documented locally, and in the long run I think he'll endear himself to Rockets fans the same way he did the Staples faithful. Short term, I wonder how he'll respond to defenses prepared for him to be an offensive contributor, and without players like Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol to work off of. Ariza's game with the Lakers was predicated on outside shooting and slashing to the basket. Mid-range stuff and putting the ball on the floor, not so much.

If the Rockets are smart, they'll integrate Ariza into their system and not look to him to be a high volume offensive force. I don't think that'll work. But as far as personality and work ethic go, he's a great fit there. 

If there's such a thing as a great bad team, it'll be these guys. They will lose more often than they win, particularly to good teams, but Houston will make the opposition earn it every time and ought to find some success against the league's less disciplined squads. They won't be any fun to play, and it wouldn't surprise me if they become among the more popular Rockets teams in recent memory among their fans.  My heart wants to believe they can squeak into the playoffs.

The head, though, just doesn't see it.

Prediction: 37-45

Local Coverage:

    -Houston Chronicle

Blogs:

    -The Dream Shake
    -Clutch Fans
    -Rockets Buzz

BK

 
Comments () | Archives (60)

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Looks like that Magic and Larry book is going to be a good, revealing read...especially after Isiah came out defending himself against some stuff Magic revealed.

Might have read that one cover to cover in one sitting....

They will never mail it in. They won't even own postage.
BK
Now that's what I call a great line!! I'm sorry but I have to say it...
OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!!
Mamba24

Should Dikembe Mutmbo be in the list of key subtractions?

Mamaba,


Love the full roll call. No Reader’s Digest or Cliffs Notes versions ever. Let the disgruntled scroll.


- - - - -


#4,


>>> I see some extracurricular stuff going on tonight, I hope the Lakers keep their noses out of it.
>>> No need to prove anything.


Not to the Thuggets, for sure. The game is worth watching just to see Ron Artest get into Kenyan Martin’s grill the first time he tries to cheap shot a Lakers player.


- - - - -


mud,


Excellent post on the trolls. Crying that they have been insulted? Makes you wonder how old these trolls really are.


- - - - -


Tom


Im not insulted. I enjoy it. Its like being booed on the road. Then knocking down the dagger 3 and crowd spills out onto Figueroa!

mud - horrible response to the trolls - read my retort on bubble wrap - your comments made me laugh so hard I had to pee!!

Excellent post on the trolls. Crying that they have been insulted? Makes you wonder how old these trolls really are.
Posted by: LakerTom | October 22, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Ah LakerTom, Trolls have existed since the beginning of time. They exist in a dimension of space and time so far from Reality that they only age once every Kali Yuga. So be kind we are actually dealing with little children here. Even though some of them actually appear to be Giant ball headed old freaking lunatic guys with initials like KG. They are actually just innocent sweet babes. WTF? I have to go now LakerTom it's time to take my medication. LOL!
Mamba24

Im not insulted. I enjoy it. Its like being booed on the road. Then knocking down the dagger 3 and crowd spills out onto Figueroa! Posted by: 131-92 | October 22, 2009 at 10:59 AM

Now that I like. You came out the box STRONG today with our post.Just a few more bouts on the Mixed Martial Blog circuit and I think I'm going to let you go a few rounds with Exhelodrvr the Champ. He'll jab you to death with his puns before he knocks you out with his inuendo but you deserve a chance at the champ. Now keep training I like this improvement in your jabs. Short and economical that's the spirit. None of tthat long windup stuff.

mud - horrible response to the trolls - read my retort on bubble wrap - your comments made me laugh so hard I had to pee!! Posted by: stillhavethoseballoons? | October 22, 2009 at 11:02 AM

NOW DID YOU RAISE YOUR HAND FIRST LIKE YOU LEARNED IN PRE-SCHOOL LAST YEAR? Lol! I'm just playing with you Mr. Ballons I don't mean no harm.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Very cool hook. Great sport blog fodder. Nice to peruse and astound the gathering crowd with knowledge of Charlotte off season pickups.

But this year, the enemy is only us. Stay healthy, stay focused, have a parade.

It is as it was, inevitable.

Isn't this essentially the same lineup that won 22 straight with Yao injured for more than half of those games? These guys can be scary.


Mike,


Nice new approach to your post. Bravo. There are times when layout does impact how content is perceived. The sub-headlines really give viewers a way to quickly grasp what you are talking about.
-
No doubt we all cringe when Fish takes it to the basket. I hate to think how the fickle “what have you done for me lately” fans would be treating Fish if he had NOT nailed those two incredibly clutch 3’s in the Finals. We should all be hoping that Fish has another year or two in his tank. He deserves it.
-
On the other hand, it is not impossible that Fish ends up coming off the bench by the end of the year. Jordan is playing extremely well right now and if his play doesn’t turn out to be a mirage, he might be able to win the job by the playoffs. If Jordan could continue to play this well the first half of the year, he just might win a chance to start and then possible an extension if he showed he could do the job. Of course, any extension that any Laker not named Kobe gets will not involve a huge raise in pay.


Tom

But this year, the enemy is only us. Stay healthy, stay focused, have a parade. It is as it was, inevitable.Posted by: VMan | October 22, 2009 at 11:24 AM

NOW THATS, WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!!!
BY GOD!! I DO BELIEVE WE HAVE OUR SLOGAN FOR THIS YEAR!!
SO SAY WE ALL!! LET IT BE SAID, LET IT BE WRITTEN, LET IT BE DONE!!
And Oh, by the way...OUT FREAKIN STANDING VMAN!!!!


Fearless,


Thanks for the props. Good to hear from you. Looks like the full Blog Crue will be locked and loaded for next Tuesday’s opener. I want to see Jordan play the entire first half of the season like he has this preseason. If he can that, he will win the opportunity to become the Lakers next starting point guard.
-
It’s funny how you mention the similarities between Kobe and Jordan. No doubt, Jordan is one cocky and confident young man – just like Kobe was at that age. Personally, I think you have to have that kind of edge to be a point guard in the league, especially playing for the Lakers and the Triangle. Jordan is what I would call a scoring point guard.
-
A scoring point guard is different in my mind than a combo guard, which to me is more of a shooting guard with some ability to handle and distribute the ball even though that is not his primary skill set, whereas a shooting point guard is a player with true point guard skills and floor vision who can also score the rock himself. Magic Johnson, of course, was the ultimate scoring point guard. I would prefer to see the Triangle Offense run by a scoring point guard than a combo guard. That is why I think Jordan Farmar is the better candidate to succeed Fish than Shannon Brown or Sasha.


Tom

Mamba24 - actually, I never raised my hand, so they sent me back to pre-school this year

eye r a ree"pee" ter

Have a great day!!!

Mamba24,

"So be kind we are actually dealing with little children here."

Sometimes in life you have to be cruel to be kind. Spare the rod and spoil the child.

There is no reforming a troll with kindness. They view kindness as weakness and a tool for deeper manipulation. They do not understand appropriateness, so by being kind to them, they are rewarded for their inappropriate actions.

Remember Butler? Remember the MONTHS of tolerance we afforded him? Remember the gentleman's bet we made with him?

How did he respond when given his golden moment to express maturity and class upon losing the bet? With insults and obsentitites.

Trolls are simply bad people. Until they understand that and change their behavior, there is no reason to reinforce their actions with "niceness" (not kindness; kindness is truth, niceness is weakness).

If you are a troll go to a fricken Celtics blog or whatever and get the hell out of here.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

BK,

I'm a little surprised [Alright, outright SHOCKED!] that the central focus of this thread was not Von Wafer. What's going on? Everyone knows that the movement of Von Wafer is the equivalent of a 9.0 earthquake across the league.

What's the problem?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

Mamba24,
"NOW DID YOU RAISE YOUR HAND FIRST LIKE YOU LEARNED IN PRE-SCHOOL LAST YEAR?"

He's thinking "Don't Lakers fans know about Depends?"

Mamba24,"NOW DID YOU RAISE YOUR HAND FIRST LIKE YOU LEARNED IN PRE-SCHOOL LAST YEAR?" He's thinking "Don't Lakers fans know about Depends?" Posted by: exhelodrvr | October 22, 2009 at 12:05 PM

DING, DING, DING!!! WINNER AND STILL MIXED MARTIAL BLOG CHAMP E-X-H-E-L-O-D-R-VRRRRRR!!!!! Now that's why you've been the Longest reining champ in Blog history. Damn that was so fast he probably never saw it comming! Lol
Mamba24

Everyone knows that the movement of Von Wafer is the equivalent of a 9.0 earthquake across the league. What's the problem? Posted by: Jon K. | October 22, 2009 at 12:01 PM

Come on Jon K! I like Von Wafer as much if not more than the next guy. But be serious! 9.0 is stretching it. Now 8.95 I can believe! Lol

Mamba24, "So be kind we are actually dealing with little children here." Sometimes in life you have to be cruel to be kind. Spare the rod and spoil the child. There is no reforming a troll with kindness. They view kindness as weakness and a tool for deeper manipulation. They do not understand appropriateness, so by being kind to them, they are rewarded for their inappropriate actions.
Posted by: Jon K. | October 22, 2009 at 11

Jon K, you are a hard taskmaster. But I bow to the superior wisdom of our Under-Cover Agent supreme!

I have mixed feelings about Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. On one level I feel compassion for these two players due to their unending string of injuries; on another level I'm annoyed by the hype associated with these players which they've never lived up to.

I guess it's not their fault. Yao Ming (unlike McGrady) has always played with heart, but it just seems like something has been lacking with the Rockets' superstars.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

Mamba24 - actually, I never raised my hand, so they sent me back to pre-school this year. eye r a ree"pee" ter Have a great day!!! Posted by: stillhavethoseballoons? | October 22, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Stop this! Stop this right now. I can't take to much more. Next damn thing you know, you'll have me buying you a brew and telling everybody what a nice guy you are. I GOT A REP. TO UPHOLD! Lol! I'm sorry folks but I like Mr. Ballons and 131-92. Now Butler that's a different animal! You have a great day too Mr. ballons. But I'll never turn my back on you! ROFLMAO!!! Just playing with you man.
Mamba24

I like the trolls here. They keep it interesting around here sometimes, instead of the same ole same ole all the time.

Does anyone have a list (know thy enemies) of all the trolls that have been on this blog? Not too many if you really think about it.

Mamba 24 - I love how Jon K babbles incessantly about the troll problem without ever actually "feeding" the trolls. Very passive aggressive. He baits, asks questions, the questions are answered, and he acts as though they weren't. You know, Mamba 24, there ARE 29 other teams out there. I think Jon K should take a lesson from you, grow a pair, and address the "trolls" on his own.
Have a great day, Mamba 24. Tell Jon K I was asking for him!

What do I Troll for - DINGS!!!!!
Celtics today......Celtics tomorrow.....Celtics forever!!

GO CELTICS!!!!

LONGTIMEREADER,

"Does anyone have a list (know thy enemies) of all the trolls that have been on this blog? Not too many if you really think about it."

Your memory is rather short for a long-time reader.

The blog has been infested with trolls since its inception. Dealing with them has been the second most consuming topic on this blog. Since we won the Championship, the infestation has subsided, but it is beginning to rev-up again with the upcoming season and these Celtics trolls.

I am vehemently anti-troll because dealing with them is just wasted energy. Too many of us fall into the trap in believing that these people are rational. They are not rational. They are on a Lakers blog when they are not Lakers fans. That in itself makes no sense.

They are here simply to cause trouble and to distract us from positive, intelligent discussion.

Period.

I know a lot of us want to be "nice" and to give people the benefit of the doubt and to not rock the boat...

Blah... blah... blah...

Let's man up and face reality.

Trolls are here just to cause trouble and they cannot be reasoned with.

Ignore them and only communicate with bloggers who are here for intelligent, reasoned communication.

Starve the troll. True yesterday, true today, true tomorrow.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

wow, the Knicks just keep dumping former Laker 2nd round picks. Good thing Mitch and D'Antoni never worked together... I'm surprised though, you would think Joe Crawford would have flourished in a run and gun offense.

Am I the only one who is surprised that the Cavs are 4-4 in pre-season?

I expected things to not work out with Shaq, but I expected a quick start from the team.

Well, it is pre-season after all. It doesn't matter much.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Good morning Everyone.....

I like the way the Rockets play..I think Ariza will fit in really well...
Heck...This coach made Doug Christie look ok as a player....I like the coach as well...

Jon K and others.....After this season just past,i think it was the Outlaw who said we should never mention the name of that Suns fan again and i never have again..

As for the 3 that visit the best blog daily...I wont address them either.....I myself would never ever go onto another blog...EVER...Its one thing to talk about the game with others...Even if you dont support the same team..But its pretty clear to see what type of people you are dealing with..

Have i fired back at them before?...Yes i have ...After i fired back the other day and hit the post button,I also hit the off switch with them.....thats it.....

They are here because AK/BK have got their act together and run the best blog out there...and these guests have looked around the net and seen what we see daily....From what we are told from other bloggers,you will be banned from certain sites if you speak out...Not here as long as its within reason.....I dont mind reading what others think but when a new blogger from another team comes along and has a shot at Laker Tom in this case about Baseball thoughts...Its very clear that other blogs dont allow the freedom that we are gifted daily...

They tries the rest....They now know this is the best.......

As long as you're going King James on us (the original, not LeBron), please note that while you match "Love thy Neighbor", the vowel start of "enemy" requires the use of "thine", not "thy".

As in "To thine own self be true" (own starts with a vowel)-- a sentiment that Ron and Lamar would surely endorse.

Mamba24 -

We need to have a talk. There is NO WAY IN HELL that I'm going to allow you to lower yourself to such an extent that you'd actually admit to liking a troll or 2.

WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU????

You need to get back into the groove, my man. Watch Games 4 & 5 from the Finals last season. Put your Mamba24 jersey on. Bust out the purple & gold thong. Put the Championship DVD on the TV - SOMETHING!! ANYTHING!!

Dude - your reputation is definitely suffering and as Head of the Mamba Clan on this here Laker blog I will NOT allow this to continue.

I will bring Jon K and Sherrif Taliq with me if I have to, and we will roll up to your house & take you out back and you REALLY don't want to know what will happen next.

GET IT TOGETHER MAN!!!!!

STOP THE INSANITY!!!

longtimereader -

Note the post to mamba24 above.

Get it together - for the love of god.

Trolls are NOT to be coddled, liked or otherwise addressed unless it's to scourge them.

Have you learned nothing???

BK,

Thanks, spot on.

Houston shows how tough it is to be a GM. You build a team with Yao, T-Mac, Ron Ron and von Wafer, all legitmate stars. You add around them some of the toughest, scrappiest, defense-and-rebounding-minded role player around. You should be contenders. And you end with just the scrappy guys.

They will beat some good teams just by out-hustling them. They will be losers you have to respect.

Tom D.

Everyone relax. We have the defending champs here in the Lakers. Until someone knocks them out of the playoffs, the Lakers are the champs.

That goes before any asterisk, any condition, any caveat, any other argument that can be made this year about the Lakers.

Laker fans might be right, afterall.

I don`t see this "Starting Five" winning more than 50-55 games :

G--Marquis Daniels
G--Eddie House
C--Rasheed Wallace
F--Big Baby Davis
F--Sheldon Williams

Oh, I see...This is Boston`s BENCH!!!!

#4,

I can't wait to kick the living crap out of the Celtics.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

Child,
"I don`t see this "Starting Five" winning more than 50-55 games :"

Very accurate assessment. I don't see the Knicks or the Warriors winning more than 50-55 games, either.

I will bring Jon K and Sherrif Taliq with me if I have to, and we will roll up to your house & take you out back and you REALLY don't want to know what will happen next. GET IT TOGETHER MAN!!!!! STOP THE INSANITY!!! Posted by: justanothermambafan | October 22, 2009 at 01:25 PM

FORGIVE ME MAMBA'S FOR I HAVE SINNED! OH THE HUMANITY!
MAMBA24 STOP THIS!! STOP THIS RIGHT NOW!...Wait a minute'
Oh no I, I am Mamba24!!! Mother of God can this be the end of Rico!
PURGE ME! I MUST BE PURGED RIGHT NOW! ROFLMFAO!!!!!!
ARE YOU SAYING I, I...MAMBA24 coddled Troll!!!
NO0OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
*****ladies and gentleman has Mamba24 taken leave of his senses******
***** The strain of Finding out that Paula Pierce was really a man ****
****** Must have made the poor lad snap. There is only one thing ******
****** Powerful enough to Snap him out of this. It may do permanent ***
****** damage to him...but it is better to have a damaged Mamba24****
******* Than this deranged Troll consorting shell of a Laker fan we *****
******** Here. Everybody step back this is going to very dangerous *****
******** And please Pray that it works. " MAMBA24 THE POWER
******** OF THE JACKSON JOURNALS COMPELLS.....nOOOooo!!!
*********"Oh it burns please stop" THE POWER OF KWAMES
********** MAGNIFICENT THIGHS COMPELS YOU********
***********"nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!! please, **
************" please I beg of you, It feels like my very Laker Soul is comming
************ out of my Body" MAMBA24 THE POWER OF SMUSH PARKER
************ AND THE SMUSHCALADE COMPELS YOU!!!****************
************"grrrrrrr%$$##%^&&*3@(()))_+_-$$^&&**((-0-**********
************ LOOOK OUT THE RESTRAINTS ARE BREAKKKING ********
************ OH MY GOD IT CAN'T BE NO WHAT HAVE WE DONE ******
************" I'll get you and your lil dog to Dorothy! Auntie Em Auntie EM
************ are we in Kansas! There's no need to fear Underdog is here!!!
************########## LADIES AND GENTLEMAN WE ARE SORRY ***
************ BUT WE CAN'T SUBJECT OUR AUDIENCE TO SUCH BRUTAL
************ WORK AS THIS...WE NOW LEAVE THE AIR WITH.........
************"Hey Shaq tell me how how my AZZZ tastezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz*


Breaking News!!! LUKE Walton returning to lineup tonight to give the Lakers their second loss of the preseason. The last time Luke suited up to play we loss by 20pts okay you caught me it was 19 but you get the point! Luke is a major liability and the Lakers need to seriously consider buying out his contract and let this guy get healthy delivering ribs to all his buddies on press row! P.S Luke coming back spells one painful reality 4 more years left on books for the biggest cover up in all basketball!

With Gasol, Kobe and Odom produces enough offense, enough to win the 09 NBA Finals. Bynum, Artest and Brown should focus on defense and the whole NBA will be in big trouble.

The way to PJ's rotation is hard defense and share the ball in offense. Ariza and Brown proved it last season.

Bynum will never be popular in PJ's eyes even if he scores 30 pts a night. He wants Bynum to dominate in the defensive end. Why?

Because all his other bigs (Gasol, Odom, Powell) are not capable of it, he sees Bynum as the ONE that can make the big difference.

Bynum should accept his role, the sooner he gets it, the geater the Lakers will be, untouchables!

Justanother - mamba 24 is a big boy and he can take care of himself. I actually get along with several lakers fans on Boston.com. And many out here. You usually have good posts, as well. Ah, Laker Tom wrote he hopes Paul Pierce gets injured this year, and he hopes the rest of the team gets swine flu!! Sorry, but he needs to practice what he preaches. Trolls do cause trouble. That statement is crying out as unjust. No true Celtics fan, or fan of basketball, would ever wish injury or harm to another player - we want to beat you at your best. Making statements like that here or anywhere else is ASKING for trouble. Oh, but wait, that would make him a troll......

Jon K - how do you know I cannot be reasoned with if you don't respond to my posts? Mamba24 and I have a "good" relationship, for people who don't root for the same team.

ALL TROLLS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL!!! I don't even consider mmyself one, I don't come here to cause trouble, I come here to see if you guys are as delusional as some Celtics fans - and guess what - you are!!! I love it!!

FOR THE RECORD - I think Rasheed Wallace telling the media that this Celtics team can win 73 is totally inappropriate and irresponsible. Divsion, Conference, best overall record, and rest your starters............
TTFN

#4
You are so correct. The Lakers are the champs until further notice. The NBA is not a fantasy league - as in some posters here are dreaming about how good they are. The Lakers made one change to a roster that has actually won the O'Brien trophy. That change was an upgrade defensively for sure and offensively at worst a wash. The Lakers also stand to improve tremendously just by having Bynum be healthy.

So what we have is a team - with the core of Kobe, Pau, and Lamar returning in pretty good health. The same cast of reserves that know their roles and can execute said role to a high level - good enough to win a title. We added a role player in Ron Artest, that has been a defensive POY, all D teamer, and all-star. I think most teams would like to have such an upgrade to their core let alone merely a role player for the Lakers.

>>>>
I don`t see this "Starting Five" winning more than 50-55 games :
>>>>

I agree. I figure about 22 wins max.


LA Lakers 2009 NBA Champions

Very accurate assessment. I don't see the Knicks or the Warriors winning more than 50-55 games, either. Posted by: exhelodrvr | October 22, 2009 at 03:00 PM

Easy champ easy. They are just throwing Red in there as cannon fodder so they
can study your techniques in hopes of improving theirs. Sparring with Red is beneath you, actually he is literally beneath you. DAMN CHAMP! Even I didn't see that uppercut. Two knockouts in a total of .002 seconds. Neither George Foreman, Mike Tyson or DFish ever did that!!! You keep this up and they'll be
afraid to fight you. Toy with them for about .004 seconds then knock em on their Azz. We'll get a better gate that way.
LADIES AND GENTLEMAN IN AN UNPRECEDENTED OCCURRENCE
EXHELODRVR HAS BEEN NAMED MIXED MARTIAL BLOG CHAMPION
TWICE IN ONE DAY.....TROLLS BE AFRAID ...BE VERY AFRAID!!!!!

Someone is afraid of the underDOG!

Houston put up a great fight last year in the 2nd round of the Western Conference playoffs, despite loosing Yao. This year, the loss of Yao and Artest will really put them at a disadvantage, and McGrady will probably be a disappointment again for the Rockets.

Great posts from all the astute Laker fans analyzing our fine 09/10 Laker team. The Brothers K do a fine and consistent job of jump starting many a good discussion. The Laker's blog is top caliber, consistent with our team being the reigning NBA Champions!

In some ways, the trolls make for more interesting blog reading. Nay-sayers like 131-92, Red's Love Child, stillhaveallthosebaloons, Butler, etc ., keep the energy intense. It is like the BBall competition we love so much on the hardwood - but with tough words on the blog instead. A statistical brawl at times. Are the Celtics or Cavs blogs as good?

Boston did look good against Cleveland last night sans Allen, and I do think the Cavaliers wanted to win. We have already demonstrated clear superiority over Orlando, and our Lakers team IS better and healthier now than in the Finals last year. Like everyone else, especially the trolls, I'd love to see a Lakers vs Boston rematch. However, if we met Lebron and ShaqMan (the Big Defector) in a Finals against the Purple and Gold, fine by me. The Lakers are in the Top Four, AGAIN, and ready to battle the best for the crown.

The Lakers have been to the NBA finals 30 times, and won 15 times (correct?). So 1st place 15 times, 2nd place 15 times. How many times have we been in the Conference Finals? That would make us 3rd or 4th place X times? Darn Good! Some people say "only count the Championships." Baloney! Excellence means being near the top, year after year, closing in on the Celtic's record for the most Championships; and respecting the other elite teams ' victories, and standing proud despite losses.

I'm excited about tonight. TNT will carry the Lakers-Nuggets game. It is the first time I will be able to watch a Lakers game since they won the Championship in Orlando. I also now have NBA League Pass for the year. Ready for Big Time Basketball. Sweet! Bring it On!!


Back to Back Laker Games!!!! Are you kidding me? God I love LA. Great weather and the next Dynasty.

"Calling them simply undersized in the frontcourt is an insult to undersized members of the NBA fraternity. The Rockets are wee. " <--- This was a great line, I had a good lol about it.

The Rockets will probably be a team LA pays a fair bit of attention to this year, due to the combination of that playoff series and the Artest/Ariza "trade" (well it wasn't a trade ... but it kind of was). But I think the part that's crucial for the Rockets, as said above, is that they play Ariza for what he is. He got all those great three's in the playoffs because of all the other offensive talent on the floor around him. I think Kupcake is excellent at finding players that fit into what the Lakers need, and Ariza was that perfect fit; but if the Rockets expect him to be a major force I just don't think it's going to work out.

Gasol and Bynum are both out tonight? I say let Artest play
Center and let him and Nene go at it.

@RedBluffPete- Great stuff. You bring up a great point. Trolls serve a purpose. IMO, if they're were no trolls to feed on, we tend to feed on ourselves. Its better that conflicts remain with others, not with each other.

@Jon K- You know I'm with you on that one. I'm also with you on those Cavs that you a special place in your heart for. Hope we crush them too.

@Eagleboy- Thanks for the comment, great point on having a healthy Bynum back. Adding Artest and Bynum will give us a formidable set of players from which to defend any sort of big line up. Length and strength. Heck, even Josh Powell isn't chopped liver.

37-45? Really? That's really... bleak. Personally, I'm hoping we see them in the playoffs again. It was very entertaining last time around. Plus, I want to see Fish introduce Scola to the floor again.

Link for tonights game. http://www.atdhe.net/index.html

Tom,

I actually see Fish as a scoring PG and Magic as a Freak-of-Nature Big Dude who could handle the rock, see the whole floor, and drain whatever shot needed to go down at the time. Plus, he always seemed to get the big rebound or steal as well.

Magic could play the triangle, and the triangle wouldn't break down unless he broke it down.

Jordan is the only true shooting PG (besides Fish) we've had in a long time. He just has a few little kinks to work out, and he's young. He can absolutely give us everything that Fish does.

I just don't know if he ego can take it. Jordan wants to be a star.

--Fearless

Backup link for the game
http://www.justin.tv/big_bad_16

Any game links?

Thanks,

Wes

Ron on Billups! Great TV (laptop)!


Wes

Whats the word Laker world?

rayray here to give you your 09-10 roster education (sorted based on importance):

1) Kobe: As usual he has added a number of moves to sync his physical ability with his creative abilities (such an undersetimated aspect of every hardworker in sports). Again, as usual expect the same results in a little adjusted to milage, different, way.

2) Pau: Too many miles the last 2 years, and I trust Phil will address that, but at the end of the day, the most skilled big man in the game is the the Lakers 1.5st option.

3) Bynum: You tell me he's not gonna get injured and he is #1 on this list (pending nobody else gets injured). This guy has listened to nobody, nooobody but his mama and his Mama told him "listen to this people (coaches and advisors) they know what you have to do to get where you want to get". Drew is becoming a beast. Shades of Wilt Chamberlin yet so fragile we never get to see this thing in full force.

4) Khloe's hubby: LO is gonna be filling out for Pau alot. I bet you LO is going to make a much higher percentage of shots and lay ups. Why? Getting comfy with the system and his role has to do, but I have two words for you: Con fidence.

5) He hate me: I know Ron's done crazy s..t and I know he is wired differently, as is your truely. But I can't wait to see other teams give us games just to be able to get ride of Kobe and RonRon making them look like little softy little girls. Stance is what Ron can bring to this team and I'm hoping he will.

6) Farmar/Brown: Only as far as point guards play, I don't like Farmars style of play he is a Jason Williams (white chocolate this) alittle more in control and wayyyyy less effective. But I like Shannon Brown. I love Shannon Brown. That dude is a momentum changer. Dunks, steals, smart plays. Just alittle Erratic. All n all the back point spot is the weakest link of this team.

7) Fish: You tell me he won't show he's 34, and I'll tell you he is #4 in this list. Knock Down jumpers and one of the most underrated and best leadership skills in the game. Fish is Wolf.

Sasha Bryant?

I'm watching these preseason games and can't help to see Sasha's new found foot work skills that look very much like Kobe's. I will watch again and eat crow if i'm mistaking, but Sasha Vujacic looks to have taken care of the most fundametal issue in his game, his foot work, and if so this can take his game to a different level!


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