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Post-Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving leftoversThe tryptophans have been ingested, absorbed, and slept off, but many of us still have another round (or three) of 'em safely stored in the fridge, the better to cap off some post-holiday lounging. Yes, the Friday after Thanksgiving is, for those without the bravery or tolerance to go shopping, about leftovers. And maybe college football, but definitely leftovers.

With that in mind, here are some thoughts and quotes I intended to put up Wednesday in the wake of Tuesday night's win over the Knicks, but didn't get the chance before the holiday. Starting with... the bench!

Phil Jackson was rightly disappointed in how his team performed in the fourth quarter, one in which the visitors outscored the Lakers 28-17, cutting into a large lead and requiring unnecessary run from Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest in the last five minutes. Nor was this the first time the reserves, when given a chance to ice a game (and get the starters iced down), failed to perform. As a group, the reserves were a putrid 4-22. This is not exactly salve for depth-concerned fans.

As we kicked around during this week's podcast, garbage time can be difficult to measure, at least in the context of deciding how good the bench really is. It shouldn't happen, but human nature makes it tough to play with the same sort of discipline and focus with a 25 point lead, as opposed to five or ten. (The same thing often happens to starters.) End of the bench players, by definition, are more limited as players, meaning when they're all on the floor at once the margin for error goes down. Add in a natural tendency to try and use that time to earn more PT during parts of the game where more than tacos are at stake, and it doesn't take a rockets scientist to see where things can go off the rails.

But on the grand scale of things, beyond the minutes it can shave from a starter's workload (not an insignificant factor) how a bench performs during garbage time isn't all that important. If it were, they'd have a different name for that part of the game. How bench players perform when the game is still in question matters more. Here's what PJ had to say both about that, and Lamar Odom after Tuesday's win:

"I think they've done okay, in the middle part of the game. In the substitution portion. I think tonight there just didn't seem to be leadership from the right sources out there. (Andrew Bynum) and Lamar stayed out with that group, and there just didn't seem to be that kind of leadership that we need to have... He had a little trouble adapting last year when he (moved) to the bench. He'll find his way. He had 12 rebounds tonight, that part of his game is good. He had five assists, which is okay- that part of his game. But the other aspect of his effectiveness being there offensively still has to find his way."

Odom hasn't put up big numbers since Pau Gasol's return, nor lit up more advanced +/- metrics like he did throughout last season, but the sample size (three games) makes it hard to draw conclusions. In the most important category, wins and losses, the Lakers have rolled, winning each Pau-laden game by nearly 14 points on average. Over the long haul, how Odom leads guys like Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton when he returns to the floor, and (depending on circumstances and how PJ doles out the PT) Josh Powell and Sasha Vujacic in the second and third quarters matters far more than what an all-reserves group does during blowouts.

I think Odom will be fine. The Lakers still need consistency from Farmar and Brown. Before any conclusions can be drawn, though, LA will need to be involved in a few more close games.

Next subject: Shooting.

The Lakers were 5-21 from beyond the arc Tuesday night, and are currently 19th in the NBA in three point percentage at 32.7%. They're not gunning without conscience from that part of the floor- while the Lakers shoot almost 19 threes a game, they lead the league in FGs per contest (87.6) so as a percentage of total shots, nothing is out of whack- given how their strong post play means most long jumpers are clean, open looks, 32.7% is very poor. Still, PJ was reasonably unconcerned about that aspect of LA's offense. "We're not a team that spends a lot of time focusing on three point shooting," he said, "so there's some things that happen with our three point shooting that obviously get rhythm as the (games) go through the season, and we get better as we go."

Seems reasonable enough. So how good do they need to get? "You have to shoot 35% to feel comfortable (with the shooting)," Jackson said. "Otherwise it's too many shots or not good rhythm shots, and guys are going to have to back off if they're not shooting (and making) shots and get it back inside. We have too many good inside players (not to use them.)"

Nobody on the squad who shoots more than one triple a night is lighting things up. Ron Artest is at respectable 37% after a bad start. But like a kid wearing a shoes at least a size too large, Odom (31.4), Farmar (27.8), Brown (34.6), Fisher (30.6), and Vujacic (35.7) all have room to grow. No Laker, though, has needed a GPS to navigate from downtown like Kobe, currently shooting a fairly shocking 18.8% from behind the far line. While he's only hit at 34% for his career and never higher than 38.3%, Kobe Bryant sure as hell isn't a one-in-five guy. I don't care if he's spending more time in the post than in years past. If Kobe spent two seasons drinking cocktails on his own private island (he can afford one, I think) he'd meet his career norms upon returning. 

Fish, who hit near 40% in each of the last two seasons, also is likely to improve from downtown. It's not that outside shooting isn't a relative shortcoming- Sasha has limited value to the squad if he's not dropping bombs, and Farmar's shooting regression from his second season has folks murmuring- but given how much room there is for guys to improve, the Lakers ought to at least start hitting at a rate closer to last season's 36.1%. I think they can do even better.

Finally, Bynum:

Early in the third quarter against the Knicks, Bynum went a touch AWOL in regards to LA's defensive strategy, and found himself on the bench in a hurry. Said Jackson, "I think we got it straight. He was concerned about the help- he's the helper a lot of times on defense, and he was worried about his man scoring instead of helping the guard, and kind of gave up on a play, and I think that he understood that you can't give up and stop playing."

Asked about it after the game, Bynum didn't seem at all annoyed. "Oh, it was because I missed a couple of assignments. He put in LO in to change it up a little bit. That's the extent of it. I knew exactly what he was talking about, I was just tired of David Lee getting dunks."

No worries, it seems.

Kevin Ding of the OC Register wrote about it Wednesday in greater detail, but my take? Not a big deal. Bynum made a mistake, PJ yanked him, nobody seemed annoyed when it was over. But Bynum's improvement on both sides of the floor means Jackson's job balancing playing time among his three bigs will be tough as the season goes on. There will be egos in need of massaging (likely between Odom and Bynum, because Gasol will be on the floor).

Just something to watch.

BK

 
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Laker stuff from Hoopsworld chat:


Andrew in Las Vegas, NV:
If you were starting a team, who would you select as your Center: Noah, Oden or Bynum?


Anthony Macri:
This is a great question. If I am coaching, it would probably be Noah just because of the way I want to play (fast, up and down, lots of defensive trapping and switching, etc.). If I want the best "traditional" team it would probably be Bynum, though I reserve the right to regret not taking Oden.


Alex P in Los Angeles.:
Pau is back -Oh Oh for the rest of the league providing Bynum stays healthy? Lakers need to do something with their bench LO and Brown after that ? BTW are the Knicks watching their PG of Future in Farmar?


Anthony Macri:

Pau is back and it's gonna be trouble... hey nah hey nah, Pau is back!

Seriously though, he gives them so much. Not sure they need a ton of other players off the bench, because they can bring guys in that can do so many different things. Odom can come in and spell any of three positions, and then you just rotate guys from there. It's a good problem to have.

Not sure about the Knicks and what they are doing. I wish someone could clue me in.


Then there's this, also from Hoopsworld:


A Different Philosophy: The Los Angeles Lakers have become the New York Yankees of the NBA, willing to spend the dough needed to bring championships into the city of stars in Hollywood. Much like Yankees' owner George Steinbrenner, Lakers' owner Jerry Buss is pushing the stakes higher for his competing owners, spending just over $110-million in payroll this year - $91.3-million in payroll and an additional $21.4-million in luxury taxes for spending above the luxury tax threshold...


With so many teams in the NBA angling for salary-cap space and cutting overall costs, the Lakers are setting the bar as a team using a different philosophy for success. Similar to the Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Portland Trail Blazers, the Lakers are among a handful of teams that pursue talent and keep that talent by spending the necessary money to do so. Granted, not every team has had an opportunity to draft a player like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, or Dirk Nowitzki, but you'll notice that these top teams don't lose players to free agency. They do all that is necessary to convince their stars to stay.


Rather than grasping at straws and hoping to make that huge free agent splash (which, by the way, the Lakers had planned to do in 2007 when they planned to aggressively pursue Amar'e Stoudemire and Yao Ming, but couldn't do so because both re-signed with their teams), these teams aren't afraid to trade for the "bad contract" of a proven NBA talent.

And they're successful because they do it. This different approach has led to three of the past four NBA championships – the Celtics, Lakers, and HEAT all made a trade for that untradeable contract and reaped the benefits of doing so. Meanwhile, the cap-space seekers remain as bottom-feeders in the league, creating a huge disparity between the haves and have-nots.


And this:


Yoichi in 29 Palms, CA:
Do you think the Lakers needs a additional scoring spark off the bench? a 3pt threat perhaps? Can we trade Farmar, & Morrison/Vujacici for Barbosa?


Travis Heath:
Every team would like to add a little more off the bench, and even a team as good as the Lakers is no exception. However, no way the Suns would ever give up Barbosa for the package your proposed.


Mamula:
Who do you think is a better player Sasha Vujacic or Marco Belinelli?


Travis Heath:
Sasha has done more so far in his career, but in terms of who is playing better this season, it's without question Belinelli.


Pete in Los Angeles, CA:
What do you think about Lakers getting Iverson as a spark off the bench, assuming that AI can come to grips with not starting on the Lakers and playing for a championship contender?


Travis Heath:
I think it would be an awful fit. Iverson has a very unique game that only thrives when the ball is in his hands, and his game doesn't involve much action away from the basketball. His style of play would put him on my list of top five worst fits for the triangle offense in the NBA.

Then there's that whole coming to grips with not starting thing, which is something I don't think Iverson is ever going to come to grips with.


Gabriel in Lomita:
Vujacic is getting the space cadet treatment. Is he now trade fodder?


Travis Heath:
I'm sure the Lakers would love to trade him. The problem is finding someone dumb enough to take on the $10 million or so still left on his contract. Given Mitch Kupchak's track record I wouldn't rule it out completely, but I'm doubtful the Lakers will be able to find a taker this season. Next season is a different story since he'll be an expiring deal.


Ian Sedensky in Calabasas:
What gm is the shrewdest in the NBA?


Travis Heath:
Mitch Kupchak and Mark Warkentien are at the top of my list. Kupchak got Pau Gasol for scraps and Warkentien was able to get Chauncey for Iverson last season. I also think Warkentien & Co. deserve credit for getting better while cutting over $10 million in salary. That doesn't happen very often. In contrast, Mitch is able to spend pretty much at will. Different level of resources, but both do their jobs extremely well.


Sheila in La Mirada:
Jerry Buss is way over the cap. Are they looking to trade away some of their bad contracts for picks or cash?


Travis Heath:
I'm sure it's something they might look at, but they are certainly not going to trade a contributing piece to save money. That's not what championship teams do. Now, if someone is willing to take on Sasha's deal, for example, given his struggles, I'm sure the Lakers would consider it. Good luck finding a team like that in this economy, though.


Frank in Pacoima:
Does Bynum make the all star game this year? How about Shannon Brown for the slam dunk contest?


Travis Heath:
If Bynum stays healthy, yes.

If Brown wants to do be in the slam dunk contest I'm sure the league would love to have a Laker participate given the team's popularity.


And:


Nuttin But Luv in :
Is it fair to expect AI to take a back seat when other in his draft class are still starters like Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash - nobody is telling them to shut up and take a seat on the bench.


Yannis Koutroupis:
It is when you consider how hard it is to play with him when he has a dominant role and how much winning teams built around him have done over the past couple of years. Two of the players you mentioned, Ray Allen and Kobe Bryant, have won championships over the past two years. And technically they have taken a bit of a backseat because they have so much talent around them. They've done whatever it takes to win a championship, A.I. isn't willing to do the same unless it involves him being a starter and a focal point of the offense. Nash is the best playmaker in the NBA who is on a tear right now. They're not comparable with A.I. at all.


And lastly:


Dwight Howard in Orlando,Florida:
Are the future centers of the NBA, Me, Bynum, and Brooke Lopez? Lopez is a very underrated player and we all know what bynum does..and i just dominate!!!


Chris Perkins:
Dwight,Thanks for checking in. Dwyane Wade gave you one heckuva compliment when he said you're the player he'd most like to have as a teammate. Obviously, Wade has been indoctrinated into the Pat Riley "big-man-in-the-low-post" way of thinking. Nothing wrong with that. As for dominant centers, or centers of the future, Bynum has to stay healthy. But you're a force, Superman. I really like Lopez, too. As for the next generation let's see what Al Horford, Greg Oden, and maybe the newly-awakened Joakim Noah can do. There are other good centers (Al Jefferson, Chris Kaman, etc...) but as far being dominant big men, right now I'd only say it's you, Superman. The others have some proving to do.


LAKER FAN in Los Angeles, California:
how the heck is portland #1 in defense? they have more losses then us!! and they have zero chemistry!!


Chris Perkins:
Laker fan, Portland has length and athleticism. Those are key nowadays. Length (wingspan, not height) means you can clog passing lanes and either grab or tip rebounds. Athleticism means you can recover quickly from defensive errors to block shots, clog passing lanes, grab rebounds, etc... The tremendous advantage you have, Laker Fan, is you've gotten big stops at the end of games in big games. Portland hasn't proven it can do that, yet. Don't sweat the stats, Laker Fan. I'd still take your team in a best-of-seven.


Wes

I disagree with Heath and pretty much everyone else it seems.

Allen Iverson averaged over 26 points and 7 assists the season before last.He got traded to a team with a internal issues and a bad coach (ask Rip Hamilton) got upset and had a sub par season.

Now everyone talks like he should come off the bench because his time as a starter is done.He feels all he needs is a chance to show he can still do it.I can understand that.He looks bad with the Memphis thing and clearly acted like an idiot.At the same time Memphis should have been aware of what they were dealing with.After the previous season you think you'd communicate with him before signing him over what might and could be expected of him.

I can understand why Iverson would want to show he can still be the guy.Sure there is ego involved but what do you expect? I don't know why everyone is so quick to write him off as a guy who can start.It seems like everyone is obsessed to stick him in a 'scorer off the bench' role without really giving him a chance to prove he isn't done.
The guy's had an amazing career.I can see why it would irritate him.First bad season in a decade plus and he's written off.He's at least deserved a chance to see if he can still do it.

I've been reading all the stuff about Sasha and would say this - I agree that his play's been disappointing so far this season, as well as pretty much all of last season. I doubt he'll be traded for the same reasons others doubt it ($). And, the odds of him ever being a star in the league are (insert dolphin sounds here). Still, I wouldn't be surprised to seem him help the team at some point this season. He knows the system, is able to get under opposing players' skins, can still shoot the ball during certain lunar cycles. So, it's possible. Task not helped by unfortunate nickname and resulting snickers around the league, but still.

BK
- - - - - - - -
The best part of Thanksgiving to me has always been the leftovers. Nothing better than an open face turkey sandwich for lunch. Anyway, good stuff from you as always. I agree 100% with your take that you can’t deduce too much from garbage time. I like the 8-man rotation Phil is using. I think outside shooting will get better, although I hope we keep pounding the ball inside. I would like to see Drew and Pau combined get 30 shots per game and Kobe down around 20, unless he is sizzling of course.
-
The guy with the toughest job right now is going to be Lamar. I agree Pau has to play his minutes which leaves Drew and Lamar battling for the remaining minutes. The likely outcome will be Lamar getting less playing time than he would like. In the end, I am hoping the pattern continues that we cover all 144 minutes of playing time in the 3 front court positions with our Big 4 of Drew, Pau, Ron, and Lamar. with minutes based on the matchups and who is playing best. Sorry, DJ, Josh, Ammo but the only way that Drew, Pau, Ron, and Lamar all get enough playing time is if you don’t.
-
As for Drew. I think he has made tremendous strides not only on offense but defense too. We have to remember that he has the biggest help responsibility of any player since he has to protect the rim. You could understand how frustrating it gets when his man gets a dunk when he switches but there is no additional rotation to cover his man. Anyway, Drew is so coachable that incidents like this are really good signs as long as they are not repeats. When you look at the Lakers defensive stats – all at or near the top in the league – you can attribute part of that to Drew’s improved defense along with the addition of Ron Artest. With Pau back, the Lakers defense the last 4 games has been even better.
-
While the team may not like back-to-backs, this Lakers fan loves them. In fact, the Lakers could play every night as far as I am concerned. Anyway, since I’ve already committed over $600 for 3 great tickets when the Lakers play the Warriors in March as a Xmas gift for my son and grandson, I will be watching tomorrow night’s game in Oakland on TV. Here’s hoping the Lakers continue to dominate the boards and paint. Drew and Pau should have a field day if we play smart inside-out basketball
- - - - - - - -
Tom


Kiwi I agree with you, given what AI has done in his career he deserves that opportunity to start, and show case his skills. If he can't cut it, then off the bench.

Kiwi,
It's not that Iverson had a "bad" season - it's the effect he has had on his teams over the past several years. Denver, Detroit, Memphis - all bad situations, in a significant degree due to him, who was supposed to be one of the leaders. He has not shown that he can play well AND maintain a good attitude when he isn't the focus of the offense. Do you think he would be willing to come off the bench for 15-20 minutes a game, and play within a system? Do you think he would he be willing to put in the practice and film time to learn a new system and set of teammates? At this point in his career, what team would want to start "fresh" with him as the focus of the team, and build a roster which would complement his style?

Why would any team, with serious hopes about "making a run", want to take a chance on him?

Are the Lakers the Yankees of basketball?

The Yankees 2009 payroll $201,000,000

The combined payrolls of the four lowest teams in baseball (Nationals, Pirates, Padres and Marlins); $180,000,000

The Lakers 2008-2009 (sorry, that’s as up to date as I can find); 78,900,000 before luxury tax. Like the man said, with luxury tax the Lakers 2009-2010 is only $110 M

The lowest two teams (golden state and the Memphis grizzlies) combined = 93 M and change.

Frankly, if there wasn’t a salary cap and the Lakers spent $200M a year in salary, I probably wouldn’t watch pro basketball, either.

Ex,

I can understand why teams might be hesitant now.But that is in some part to the media portrayal of things.The proof is in the pudding...In this league your role is only your role because somebody thinks it should be...I mean theres plenty of guys who think they should have a bigger role,plenty who might be capable of one apart from the fact that nobody has given them that job.If the only person that thinks that Iverson can still play at an all star level is Iverson then he can forget it...but it is a shame he never got a chance to show that due to this obsession that has come from nowhere of him absolutely HAVING to come off the bench

Denver were a playoff team that underachieved but still won fifty games with Iverson fitting in with other scorers...perhaps Iverson was part of the problem and perhaps not but you can't blame him for being Chauncy Billups.He then came into an exceptionally difficult situation in Detroit and it all went wrong but I'm not sure you could say he was THE problem (although thats how it will be remembered)

So that is the saddest thing - this latest outburst just has him going down as definitively the problem and while he certainly shoulders more than his fair share of the responsibility for that I think the one thing nobody has said is what if he can still play at the level and everyone has been quick to write him off as done.He had his chance with Memphis and blew it...however it was red rag to a bull when the coach said 'why would I change the lineup right now.' why say that without discussing Iverson's role with him? it seems extraordinary.

It seems a lot of players get a lot of chances in this league - the Artest's, rodman's etc and it seems nobody has taken AI in his last two stops and said 'let's work with what we have' the media piled on and here we are.he deserves it more than either of those two guys.

So sure nobody will sign him now...nobody is going to build a team around him either but there must be a number of teams that would be fine with him starting and having 33 minutes 18 shots a game.Thats all he wants is the chance to play his way out of that kind of role instead of everyone else deciding what he has left.Nobody wants to impede the development of their guards but are there really that many young guards that must play? Chris Duhon is doing THAT well?

This guy has been chewed up and spat out by the NBA system and media.People have hung aorund waiting for his sticky end and this feels almost manufactured.
I'm sure his attitude is bad at the moment but with a guy like that I'm sure it just takes one person to take the time to hear his point of view.

Personally, I think he may have had some characteristically bad reactions but he has also been in a series of unfortunate situations leading to a league wide overeaction.Why MUST Iverson come off the bench for anyone to sign him with no particularly noticable decline in his [previously celebrated game?

Andrew Bynum and Chris Kaman should be on the Western Conference All-Star team this year.

There. I said it.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

(And Go Clippers! By the way. They are the Lakers little speach-impeadimented brothers, after all.)

Laker Tom,

I will be brief...

Dude, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom? Really? On one team? How is anyone going to defend the paint? Explain that to me? Seriously?

This team is fricken sick.

The ONLY issue is The Bench Mob who have been playing like CRAP since Luke got hurt.

I have faith in The Bench Mob. All of them are able to step up their game, but they also need to realize that their play (AND COHESION) is essential to us winning a Championship.

Synergy wins. It always has and always will.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!!

The only thing that could honestly make this team better would be the return of Trevor Ariza.

NO PLAYER in the NBA could make this team better than Trevor Ariza on the second unit.

It's not going to happen. It's impossible.

However, the addition of a player with a skill set similar to Trevor Ariza would be pretty darned good... because that's what we need.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

I too think Sasha will wake up at some point and be of service. One of the problems is that for the moment he hasn't been much needed, but once the team is on the road for long stretches, that is likely to change.

In any case, we have no choice but to hope the machine shows up well-oiled and humming at least for a few weeks,
1) to contribute to wins against tougher teams in tougher times
2) to generate a modicum of interest from other teams hoping to make the final run towards the playoffs thanks to the late addition of a legitimate and proven 3 point specialist and willing to listen to Mitch's seductive pitch in which he lets it be known that he might be willing to let Sasha go for a pittance.

As for Farmar on the Knicks, I actually think that would be a nice move for Jordan and the Knicks. He would be a much better fit there and it could boost his career and increase his playing time. Although he has had plenty of time to learn Jackson's triangle and adjust, it isn't the ideal type of offense for his style of play.

I like Sasha...really...but you're dreaming if you think he's going to suddenly become The Machine again. He's become Baby Borat attitude-wise and gunning-wise. I just hope for his sake that he doesn't dribble that much with Sharapova.

As I've mentioned previously, his game has changed significantly. When he first joined the Lakers, he was content to be the classic perimeter shooter. Hang around on the perimeter. Wait for Kobe to kick the ball out. Square up. Shoot. Swish.

But then he got the great idea that he needed to develop his all-around game. Slash. Throw up mid-range bricks. Drive. Lose the ball. Repeat. And now his herky-jerky new style has completely screwed up his shooting rhythm and squaring up preparation. He has as many air balls as shots made.

The only resemblance he has to a machine is to that basketball machine at carnivals and some arcades where the basket is barely big enough for the baby basketballs that you have to fling up in nanoseconds...just like Baby Borat does.

I think when the lakers biggest problem is that the bench gave up PART of a huge lead and wound up only winning by 10, they are in a pretty good place. This can hardly be described as adversity.

I'd like the bench to play better as well, but I actually think their top 6/7 guys might be good enough to win it even if they don't.

Kiwi,
"Why MUST Iverson come off the bench for anyone to sign him with no particularly noticable decline in his [previously celebrated game?"

What teams would benefit, long term, from signing him? I can't think of any, because he is near the end of his career, yet he has never been willing to be a second fiddle. To be successful with him, a roster would need to be built around him, because of his style of play. But he's only going to be playing for maybe three more years anyway, so it's too late to start building around him now.
What teams would benefit from him short term, "benefit" meaning push/keep them in contention for a playoff run? None. He isn't willing to be a second fiddle, doesn't like to practice, doesn't want to come off the bench.

He was a singular talent, who could have been in the discussion for greatest ever, but he ruined it with his attitude. No one questions his ability to play, what is questioned is his ability to change at this stage in his career. It's sad, but it's his fault.

BK,

Glad to hear Bynum took that hook so well. That's a good sign.


I was glad to see Phil do it. Not enough coaches in NBA or college pull players like that anymore, since the balance of power has turned toward the players. They'll do it to a role player, but not a young stud like Drew. I have been very happy with Drew's play so far this year, but he is young and has a lot of growing to do in the team aspects of the game - team defense, ball movement, etc. Like most young players, he has develpoped first in the "I have the ball and I'm going to score" area. Phil needs to keep him focused on all the other things that win championships.


I agree with you on garbage time being hard to judge, but only up to a point. There has been a fair amount of garbage time early in this season. The Lakers bench is losing garbage time BADLY and they are doing it EVERY time. They are mostly doing it against the other teams bench, not their starters. They have yet hold or grow a lead.


This is a pattern of the Lakers bench simply not performing. They don't get stops. The are horrible on the defensive glass. They don't get good shots. At some point, after four or five times, it is possible to learn soemthing from garbage time.


It is a team focus, and they need to develop it. I love Shannon Brown's athleticism as much as anybody. It's fun to watch. But I'm tired of seeing the bench, in the midst of getting beat by 12 points in 5 minutes, celebrating one lousy basket because it looked good. Back to basics for these guys.


I't like the old Coop-a-Loop. It's fun to watch. But Coop had a well rounded game. On of the great defensive stoppers. Killer 3 point shooter. Back up point guard. Played with abandon and hated to lose.

The bench needs a killer instinct and team focus.

Tom D.

Just a thought.....

If Trevor Ariza was still under contract at season's end (therefore never would have left) and we used our mid-level to sign Ron Artest what would that mean for the league?

I think the Sternmeister would have just called off this season and declared the Lakers champions for 2009-10.

What would be the point of even playing out the year?

ANDREW BYNUM FOR ALL STAR. VOTE DAILY PEOPLE!

Kobe is obviously still playing too many minutes, 41 v. the Knicks is ridiculous. I agree though that where the bench has really stunk has been in the fourth during garbage time. I think the bench's mid-game play has been OK. What I've noticed is that PJ has been leaving Kobe in all through the 1st and 3rd quarters. It seems to me that in the past he would pull Kobe with 3 or 4 minutes left, bring him in for a last second shot if needed, and then have him sit down to start the next quarter. In the game against he Knicks, Lakes are up by 25 with 3+ minutes left in the 3rd, Kobe plays the entire quarter and starts the 4th on the floor. Id rather have PJ give Kobe a blow the last 3 minutes of the 3rd, esp up by 25. If the bench coughs up a big chunk of the lead, bring him back in the 4th. Maybe the fact you bring some bench guys in at the end of the 3rd, gets them out of the mindset that "it's just garbage time."

In an interview Kevin McHale gave recently, he describes choosing Marbury over Ray Allen as the biggest mistake of his time in the Timberwolves FO. I agree that it was a bad move. Just look what the two did in Boston. But I think McHale's letting himself off the hook a bit by not owning up that the Garnet for Bynum and Odom deal was also pretty bad. Here's McHale's top FUs as a FO guy:


#5 Trading for and not keeping Chauncey Billups.


#4 Not demanding Rajon Rondo from Boston in the Garnett trade.


#3 Taking Al Jefferson and Sebastian Telfair and junk for Ray allen instead of Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom.


#2 Drafting Ray Allen and trading him for Marbury


#1 Trying to doop the NBA by illegally signing Joe Smith to a secret contract. This cost the team 3.5 million and 3 first round draft picks.


Bad moves at every turn.


Wes

guys,

I've been telling you. I think we might get Trevor Ariza back this year for Adam Morrison's expiring contract. Both teams can do a straight up trade. Houston has quite a few expiring contracts as well and will be able to free up more if they jettison Ariza. If Houston is lottery bound, then this trade will happen.

Wes,

"Bad moves at every turn"

I'm sure Minnesotans hate the Celtics almost as much as we do after what McHale did to their team.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Kiwi & ex -

I've been reading your back and forths with some interest and would say that I agree in part with each of you, if that's possible. On the one hand, AI certainly bears responsibility for his own situation, both in words and actions over the years. He's given plenty of ammo to a willing media and has often used them in his disputes with management, etc.. On the other hand, they're only too happy to go with the prevailing winds and lately, that tilts towards Iverson's demise. That said, the guy's a fearless player, has given fans an amazing show over the years and in my opinion, deserves the opportunity to continue same. He has definitely given to the game. I'm hoping that the latest rumors all true - that a return to the 76ers is about to happen. If he can wind up his career in Philly, hopefully playing some inspired ball, then he really can go out on his own terms. I'm sure the Philly fans would welcome him back.


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