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This Week's 710 ESPN.com Lakers PodKast!

We're getting ever... so... close to the start of the regular season, but for those needing a way to kill the Now Hear This (2) hours between now and the 27th, I recommend this week's 710 ESPN.com Lakers PodKast.  Play it about 300 times, and boom! you're basically at opening night. Easy peasy.

This week, there's all sorts of auditory nutrition for your consumption.

  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus, co-author of the Pro Basketball Prospectus 2009-10, a very thorough, extremely handy guide to the upcoming season well worth the $9.95 download price, joins us to talk about the Lakers. We touch on Ron Artest, Kobe's "decline," the growth of Pau Gasol, and more. They've run the numbers, and- this is going to shock you- the Lakers are really good. For that segment, click here
  • We talk of Jordan Farmar's likely non-extension, the likely non-extension everyone seems to agree on. 
  • Last week, we completed a Western Conference Crapapalooza, a whirlwind tour of what Andy called the algae eaters of our side of the basketball universe. This week, we rise, if not to the cream, at least to fish more towards the middle of the aquarium.
  • There's a vigorous, vibrant mailbag (on Kobe's place in history and Phil Jackson's coaching style), followed by an examination of the lunacy taking place up north with Stephen Jackson and the Golden State Warriors. Jax is back on the floor, back but not happy and having voluntarily given up his captaincy. Call it another ring for the on-court and front office circus that's plagued GSW fans for the last few seasons (for more on the Warriors, click here). Since there's no drama down state, we had to look north for a little wierdosity.
BK
 
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yellofever,

I’m with you all the way on Ron making the difference between fearing the Celtics and just respecting them. He’s like a special trump card the Lakers were able to get to defend Paul Pierce, LeBron James, and Carmelo Antony. He’s our version of the Lakers signing Mychal Thompson to play Kevin McHale. Or Michael Cooper to play Larry Bird. Conversely, where have all the Kobe stoppers gone? More like on this team, Kobe IS unstoppable. It’s going to be fun seeing multiple Kobe’s exploding on the court. The scorer, defender, distributor, coach, decoy. Best of all, Kobe is dead set on posting up, which will mean a higher shooting percentage for sure. It’s like he is saying to Drew and Pau that he can shoot a higher percentage too if he is THAT close to the basket. LOL. That should even make Blitz happy.

Tom

Hello AK/BK,

Did you know refreshing the page in the 'Poll' thread allows us to vote multiple times?

The polls may not be accurate.

Did you know that?

LakerinBC,

Outstanding post. I think this Lakers team is going to exponentially better than last year’s team and will steadily and consistently improve all year long culminating in another Lakers NBA championship. And one of the keys is going to be that better man-to-man defense you smartly predicted with Bynum as the only player who still focuses consistently on helping defensively by patrolling the paint.

The obvious big benefit of more straight man-to-man and less help will show up in the diminished shooting percentages of our opponents, especially from behind the 3-point line. One weapon I would love to see the Lakers just take away from other teams is the corner 3, which is often a killer shot. We should have a basic defensive rule that we NEVER leave a player open in the corner to double.

Another benefit of the tighter man-to-man defense will be more steals. I look for Kobe especially to end up playing a lot of free safety. In fact, if Bynum and Artest get off to big starts, we may see Kobe really focus on defense and winning the DPOY award. He will score over 25 ppg but I think he will be seriously strategizing how he can best help this team become even better. That’s why he’s the MVP.

Conversely, I hope we will see the Lakers constantly changing pace on defense using traps and double teams to create turnovers and running opportunities and to make other team’s offenses have to work harder in less time to score in half court. People forget that despite our height and length and now muscle, this team still wants to run and play full court. That is what makes them so amazing. They are versatile to matchup well with any team or to make that team have to match up to them.

On the flipside, playing tighter man-to-man may really expose our weakness at point guard. It could even give Shannon significantly more minutes because he is definitely a better defender at this point than either Fish or Farmar. It’s a factor that I honestly had not considered when evaluative who was going to emerge as the first point guard off the bench. Tighter defense would favor Shannon just like more transition offense would favor Jordan. Unfortunately, neither option really favors Fish. LOL.

Tom

The Lakers were already way past "fearing" the Celtics before Artest arrived. That step was taken last season.

"Best of all, Kobe is dead set on posting up, which will mean a higher shooting percentage for sure. It’s like he is saying to Drew and Pau that he can shoot a higher percentage too if he is THAT close to the basket. LOL. That should even make Blitz happy."


Laker Tom I'd be happy winning another title. It would be great if his FG% did rise up. I mean he hasn't gotten past 47% yet while Lebron who shoots almost as much 3 pointers has a higher FG% then Kobe does. Reggie and Larry were outside shooters yet cracked 50+% many times. Magic had a 52% shooting from the field for his career. Kobe can do it I believe its just he hasn't. And FG% is important since it DOES seperate Kobe from Allen Iverson in terms of efficiency (all factors considering).

ex,

Maybe the Lakers were not afraid of the Celtics before Ron but I know a lot of Lakers fans were. We think Artest adds a toughness to the team that it lacked before and makes us match up better against Pierce. I don’t think there is a question that Ron improved the Lakers chances against 3 of their main competitors for titles – well, only 2 since Denver really will never beat them. But having a defensive force like Ron really solves the Lakers biggest weakness versus the Celtics (Pierce) and Cavs (LeBron). The Celtics and Cavs cannot beat the Lakers unless Pierce or LeBron have a sensational series against Ron. Point blank, that’s why the Lakers jumped on Artest and dumped Ariza. Pierce and LeBron.

Tom

exhelodrvr

"The Lakers were already way past "fearing" the Celtics before Artest arrived. That step was taken last season."

Definitely, when we beat them in Boston is when I felt like this team was girded for battle. Even when they played to the competition a few times after that game and especially when they seemed a bit distracted just before and during the earlier rounds of the playoffs, I still thought they had it in them. Now we're more experienced, possibly more talented and definitely tougher.

I still would feel better if the old refs came back.

That kid is into his megaphone. Where do you guys come up with those? I hope he's yelling about getting a cookie.

Why are we still talking about the leprechauns in another thread? They are not even sure of capturing the EC. I say Cavaliers, Magic, Piston and presumably Wizards will give the Celts a run for their money. The core of Celtic is old like a dying star, old players don't last 82 games and another 16+ games in the playoffs. If ever they survived the 3rd round in the playoffs, they have to play dirty with Perkins or KG. Wallace is not a dirty player, he's temperamental prone of getting technical fouls or thrown out of the game. Celtics will be lucky if they advanced to the 2nd round.

I saw the Clippers the other night, they're good. They play like the Blazers of last year, Warriors couldn't catch with them in the end.

Phil has been impressed with Ammo's shooting during practices, I get the feeling that he is the surprise package of Lakers this year a Ron-Ammo combo that we don't have last season. If Ammo explodes, Luke goes all the way to end of the bench.

Laker Tom, were dead Balls on with your man on man defense break down.

Are you guys on iTunes? If not, you should be.

I don't think this team has the focus to push for 73 wins. I'll setting for 65-68 with another banner.

Hypothetical losses
One to the Bos, Orl and Cleve (They don't call em the Big Three for nothing)
One to SA and Den (Spurs are hungry and Nuggets want revenge)
Two to Portland (hey until they prove otherwise)
One to Charlotte (they own Lakers)

That's a record of 12-8. Thus, Lakers would need to go 61-1 against the rest of the league. Ain't going to happen. Not with every road game sold out and home team playing their best of the season...especially on East Coast trip

I prefer they stay focused on the Big Trophy and not get sidetracked!

AK is funkified and I don't believe you can feel your cats knee. Time machine or no.

Interesting takes on Farmar during the podkast. He is a curious focus this year and it'll be interesting to see how he responds in a (restricted) contract year.

Don't agree with Kevin Pelton on the Orlando Magic, I just don't see Vince helping that team reach the next level.

Another interesting topic was the Suns, I hadn't realized how they cam a stormin' back at the end of the season. Not too sure if they'll make the playoffs, I'll wait and see how the first 20 games go.

Amazing that the Jazz still made the playoffs with their big three playing so sparingly together. That's a testament to Jerry Sloan.

I met Jennifer 'Maniston' once, back when she was with Brad. I'll tell the story sometime, it's agood one.

Jamie out.

KB Blitz,
[The FG% is one of the biggest things that seperates Kobe and AI. If it didn't Kobe only has the edge in rings/Finals MVP's and other accolades. Here's some advice: not everything that does not put Kobe in a positive light means he sucks! Why you get over that?]

Again Iverson went to war with the world because he didnt want to practice. A lot about the player Kobe Bryant is on the court is built on his dedication to his craft. The fact that you see FG% as the biggest different in their game as opposed to Kobe's work ethic shows you'll never understand why we love the dude.

As for "everything that does not put kobe in a positive light doesn't mean he sucks" comment. Dude please ... isn't this the thousandth time you'll scream that out loud ... it's almost as cliche as kobe is selfish ... get some new material or perharps just try reading/understanding my post

I didn't say you said kobe sucks ... I said go find a bulls centric blog to express your love for MJ ... if you want to scream out loud that Magic's FG% is better than Kobe's feel free to do it on here.

MJ rocked, I'm a big fan of his. Magic rocks but I wasn't a laker fan back then but thanks to folks on here I pay homage now. I'll testify to Lebron's greatness based on how he continues to destroy the opposition, but you won't catch me expressing love for his game cuz freakish size/speed on the ball court doesn't resonate with the MJ addict in me. Kobe's game on the other hand has me feening for basketball 24/7 around the clock, poetry in motion is what I'll tell a stranger to ball, and his work ethic resonates with how my mama raised her kids. And oh if he played in the same era as MJ, I think he'd either have beaten MJ or died trying and frankly speaking I can't say the same about any other nba star playing now (and no FG% in the world can express that).

Anyway I digress ... This ain't ya first time spitting MJ's greatness on here ... it won't be your last ... just saying maybe it's about time u check yourself before you wreck yourself ... everytime someone screams kobe's the greatest and you feel the need to remind them MJ is better ... stop wait and think on it for a minute ... this is the one place you're guranteed to keep hearing kobe rocks, kobe reigns, kobe is king, etc etc etc ... and in my humble opinion you've made your case for MJ on here already and we respectfully diasgree ... ain't it time you dead the topic till there's an MJ thread or go find you a bulls blog to wax your lyrics on ... I'd be saying the same to a Lebron feen camping out on a lakers blog ... or a celtics feen that remains married to a 131-92 score and keeps trying to celebrate that union in the 1 place that's eager to prove they're able and willing to kill his bride

Again my message reads thus ... I ain't saying u think kobe sucks ... I'm saying I'm tired of hearing your drop MJs name every other post ... there's an app for that but lakersblog.latimes.com ain't it

KB Blitz,
["Show me the stat that tells that story."

http://tinyurl.com/ykqzs65

0:31 Pau Gasol makes dunk (Kobe Bryant assists)
0:04 Derek Fisher makes 26-foot three point jumper]

Now we're getting somewhere ... that tells a better story than some FG% ... my guess is if you watch a video of the clip you'd be able to tell the assist was made in traffic ... now if you spliced some of your FG% with video and took the time to go hey see MJ in this situation ... See kobe in a similar situation ... See what they did differently etc ... Maybe then it wouldn't sound like the same 'ol simplistic/lazy argument, look MJ has a better numbers in these 5 categories that the nba tracks ... Wilt's numbers rock in 5 other categories but umm Blitz won't talk about that cuz Blitz didn't really watch Wilt so can't relate to those numbers

Statistics alone is just garbage ... he was 60% career shooter, but where did the shots come from ... who was he balling with and against etc etc ... how many shots a game did he take etc etc etc ... When I see Brandon Roy play, I get a lil scared like wow he looks like he can do everything kobe can and he's younger ... When I see Derick Rose play I'm like hmm I get the feeling chicago has a bright future ... The box score can't tell me that, it can only agree/disagree with what my eyes see (e.g. agrees: Roy had a good shooting night, disagrees Rose had a bad shooting night but stats didnt track the havoc he was wrecking by constantly breaking down the defense which led to the opposition being less aggressive defensively)

You need way more than the stats on nba.com to describe what happened in game 4 of the nba finals ... it takes way more than that to describe the career of a magic johnson ... and it takes way more than a FG% to pinpoint the biggest difference between Kobe and Iverson ...

don't get me wrong, statistics do have a place in sports ... but when you use them to draw major conclusions ala Hollinger etc ... then I think you're simply abusing it and ignoring a widely acknowledged fact that stats don't give you a complete picture

LakerTom,

How about Bynum targeting DPOY instead of All-Star (and not expect Kobe to win DPOY). To be a DPOY, you do need to do some hustle and bang., and I would expect Kobe NOT do it and preserve himself.

Bynum has the size and youth needed for it, so he should try to be #1 option on defense and not worry about the score. As I have reiterated, centers are known for their defense, and thats the model AB should follow.

"Wilt's numbers rock in 5 other categories but umm Blitz won't talk about that cuz Blitz didn't really watch Wilt so can't relate to those numbers"


Actually I did see Wilt mind you at the twilight of his career but Wilt in the Forum nevertheless. Greatest memory of the Forum just ahead of people in the front row storming on the floor on Game 7 of the 1988 Finals. And seeing how Wilt dominated in all statisical categories and how even at his twilight he deserved DPOY had it been created then (72 and 73 seasons he deserved that award and that's being conservative compared to him in the 60's).


"if you want to scream out loud that Magic's FG% is better than Kobe's feel free to do it on here."


Fine I'll not use Michael Jordan (whom Kobe matches in personality and worth ethic)and instead use Magic Johnson. And I'll say Magic (I saw him too but more on the tube) was more efficient than Kobe, better playmaker than Kobe, and was a very underrated shooter.


Anyway I digress the post was originally simply pointing that you cannot say "oh Kobe shoots more 3 pointers that's why his FG% is not as good" to say why his FG% has only got up to 46%. Look at Magic. When he shot 3 threes per game in the 1989-1990 season he not only had a FG% of 48% (higher than Kobe ever had) and still shot very good from the perimeter (38%). Magic Johnson had a FG% of 52% and he did his damage from almost every place on the court (mid range to the post) and even when he started using the 3 point line more he maintained a very good FG%. Larry Bird had seasons of over 50% shooting despite being an outside shooter!


Since you wanted to put yourself in the post why don't you answer how Kobe's FG% is only moderate compared to Magic Johnson's career FG% of 52%? And Magic has worked his butt of just as much as Kobe to win 5 titles for LA.


"and it takes way more than a FG% to pinpoint the biggest difference between Kobe and Iverson ... "


You are correct but the point of that was how Kobe is MORE efficient than Iverson despite Iverson being a slasher. Kobe shoots more perimeter shots yet has a better FG% despite Iverson's crossover moves and quickness. Iverson won 4 scoring titles yet had to fire MORE shots than Kobe and Kobe is more than ready to surprass AI in the All time scoring list. And a BIG part of that is how much more efficient Kobe is despite Iverson having 4 scoring titles compared to Kobe's 2.


That's it. That's all the post I posted originally was for! Yet you go out of your way to say "oh another MJ post". MJ was just used as example of explaining FG%. Fine I'll use Magic Johnson more Sheriff or even Jerry West. I ask you thought to not always assume when I speak the words "Michael Jordan" it is used to praise his name here. No how. Deal?

Good Night Everyone....

Steven Jackson shook the tree today......He should expect a Leopard to fall out during the season....Kobe would have seen his remarks....

Jamie Sweet....Dude...You cant dangle the bait and not expect to get a bite...lol

Please tell us the story......Im about to go to bed and this is not what i need to be thinking about at 3am...In 7 hours i hope to return....I also hope the story will be told....

Blitz...

Everybody had higher field goal percentages back then...and while Lebron may shoot nearly as many threes - a lot more of his work is done closer to the basket.Its actually been broken down and the shooting percentages versus how they do their damage and where they do it from actually greatly adds weight to the Kobe argument as opposed to detracting from it.

...and while I won't argue that Kobe is in Jordan's class just yet (although I think in many ways he is probably more skilled if for no other reason than things evolve)I can confidently say that Kobe Bryant has more in common with Michael Jordan than he does with Iverson.

A lakers three peat and Kobe would have to be right there in the discussion with Mike...lakers go and win 3 straight starting this season? that discussion would become very interesting indeed.Kobe's got the skill, the individual highlights and awards and records, the all defensive team selections.what seperates Jordan from everyone else is his team dominated.Kobe's team dominates the league for 3-4 years now? and he's right in that argument.

The Lakers haven't reached their zenith yet. The best is yet to come.

Good morning, Lakers Family,

It's game day, and I'm all fired up. Even if it is just preseason. I just like watching these guys take the floor. There is no better starting lineup in basketball. I hope we see something special tonight.

Go Lake Show!

By the by, to answer the previous thread:

I care about two things, with regard to our record:

1. Best record in the league.
2. 16 wins in the playoffs, however they come.

That's it.

Go Lake Show!

Wait a minute. All this Ron Artest talk is great. We all know he's a great defender and all that...but he's still CRAZY. Also, look at the Lamar Odom wedding stuff going on AND doesn't anyone expect the Lakers to be a little complacent. I know Kobe is one tough competitor but I just don't expect this to be a dominant season. I think Cleveland and Boston got better. San Antonio looks strong with the additions of Jefferson and McDyess too.

Anyways, I also represent Steiner Sports, who is the leading memorabilia provider for the NBA, so check out some of their NBA stuff, especially the Los Angeles Lakers

The season should be great though. I'm so glad the major market teams are getting stronger again...except the Knicks!

Prediction: Unless someone gets injured, Luke Walton will hardly get any playing time this season. He's gone from starter to bench player to insurance policy.

It may have already been mentioned, but I just saw Sasha's practice video interview on the lakers official website. Is is just me, or does Sasha with his new haircut bear a striking resemblance to "Borat?"

Dikembe Mutombo : "I pray that Kobe and the Lakers can survive the addition of Ron Artest."

{Meanwhile, Laker fan favorite "Ru Paul" Pierce is in the best physical shape of his life!}

Blitz,

>>> Laker Tom I'd be happy winning another title. It would be great if his FG% did rise up.
>>> I mean he hasn't gotten past 47% yet while Lebron who shoots almost as much 3 pointers
>>> has a higher FG% then Kobe does. Reggie and Larry were outside shooters yet cracked 50+%
>>> many times. Magic had a 52% shooting from the field for his career. Kobe can do it I believe
>>> its just he hasn't. And FG% is important since it DOES seperate Kobe from Allen Iverson in
>>> terms of efficiency (all factors considering).

I do agree with you that FG% is an important measuring stick to compare shooters efficiency, although it is just one of many measures. The best measure would take into account free throws and 3-point shots. How does Kobe do comparatively using Hollinger’s True Shooting Percentage? Free throws have always been what made Kobe an efficient rather than volume scorer.

I do think Kobe probably decided over the summer that the best way for him to adjust his game to be more efficient by posting up more. That may be why he sought out the Dream for some tips. One thing for sure is such a strategy will definitely increase Kobe’s True Shooting Percentage what with being closer to the basket and having better chances to draw fouls and shoot free throws.

Tom

Downsizing in the Laker coaching staff was the news today in LAT. They don't intend to seek replacement for the position vacated by Rambis instead spread the work to the three remaining coaches. They didn't mention the Cap as part of the team. I doubt if Kobe & Gasol will get the amount they wanted for renewal, somehow it will be reduced negotiated deal too. It is not only with the Lakers, in fact even with Warriors, they could not find a suitable place for Steven Jackson. No GM would touch his contract and he is negotiating instead for a buyout. Bosh of the Raftors would like to be traded too but no team have the cap space to accommodate without any guarantees that he will still be with that team at the end of the season. Boozer advertised him throughout the off season that he's available, no takers so back to the Jazz. Recession in NBA has hit the team owners pocket books but not with the Laker fans. They rather release their passion by renewing their season ticket at a jacked up prices. Indeed, why not go with the fad Laker tickets are the premier material things that celebrities or Hollywood pretenders would like to have, a chance to hobnob with Jack Nicholson and his hubbies. The not so well-to-do fans cannot keep up with the Joneses so they just go with the Lakers blog and be counted in Mamba24 "no charge" roll call. Larry is our own version of Jack, it is Jack-In-The-Blog. He leads a a legion of "very tight" fans waiting for tickets to be sold at a dollar. Because of hard times, they canceled cable subscriptions, will follow live game on the blog catch the game on JustinTV endangering their friend's laptop (in the case of LakerTom their office computer) to viral infections . lol!

It is baseball fever in LA, another day of conflict a preseason game with the Lakers or the NLCS with our Dodgers. Another divided attention during timeouts and in between innings. It is the dream of LA fans to get the World Series.The last time they won it Mike Siosha was still the catcher, he and Gibson made a memorable homeruns. On the other sector of the city, it could be another nightmare for the Mayor Villaraigosa & his council in seeking funds for non budgeted celebrations. Lakers in June, Michael Jackson's funeral in July and maybe Dodgers in October. What a pathetic life to be a Californian during these lean times.


Kobefan in Cupertino,

>>> How about Bynum targeting DPOY instead of All-Star (and not expect Kobe to win DPOY).
>>> To be a DPOY, you do need to do some hustle and bang., and I would expect Kobe NOT do it
>>> and preserve himself.

>>> Bynum has the size and youth needed for it, so he should try to be #1 option on defense and
>>> not worry about the score. As I have reiterated, centers are known for their defense, and thats
>>> the model AB should follow.

You are right that playing tough defense takes a lot out of a player, which is why in the past we have always worried about Kobe’s defensive effort taking away from his offensive effectiveness upon which we have so heavily relied. This year’s team, however, reminds me of our recent Olympic team in that there is so much firepower that Kobe could easily reprise his Gold Medal role on that team as its defensive stopper on the perimeter and clutch game closer on offense.

Whether Kobe will actually do this or whether the Lakers would want him to do this is uncertain. For one thing, it runs contrary to the assumption that the arrival of Ron Artest would relieve Kobe of having to guard such tough matchups as Paul Pierce, Carmelo Antony, and LeBron James. What we may more likely see is Kobe in full gambling and steal mode on defense, which could possibly lead to some votes as DPOY, especially if Kobe could lead the league in steals. There is no doubt in my mind that Kobe would love to be able to match MJ by winning the DPOY award.

As for Andrew, there is no doubt that the biggest area in which he can benefit the team is interior help defense by blocking and altering shots and dominating the glass. I think it is naive and short-sighted, however, to expect Drew to ignore offense and scoring and just focus on defense. Next to Kobe, Drew will likely be the player with greatest matchup advantage during most games due to his size and length. He is not going to ignore those opportunities, nor are the Lakers. Like he was last January before getting injured, Drew will be the Lakers #2 scorer after Kobe, shooting a very high percentage from the floor augmented by a high number of opportunities at the line.

Tom


The biggest difference against the Celtics and whatever other elite teams emerge is the champion's experience and confidence of Pau and Lamar. They've stepped up to the final rung of the ladder.

Ron is frosting on that cake. Pound for pound, he'll battle Pierce, and LBJ in the post as Laker Tom mentioned, saving Kobe.

It's all good, actually this year, it's all better.

Sasha does look like Borat. Other look alikes: Andrew Bynum, Paul Milsap, and Ryan Howard.


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