If I might just rant here for a moment... and other Lakers/NBA news
A well run pick and roll is a great thing to watch, impossible to defend completely given the right personnel. That doesn't mean I want to see it all the time. But as Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times confirms and quantifies here, increasingly in today's NBA, it's a P and R world, the rest of us are just passengers.
The Lakers, who originated only 11% of their offensive plays last year through the set writes Abrams, are an exception. Fans and the game are better for it.
LA's offense demands players think and interpret, share the ball, display a varied skill set, and move in space. It thrives on players with basketball intellect who understand the relationship between their play and the four other guys on the floor. I appreciate the balance the triangle creates between a strong coaching hand necessary to implement, teach, and perfect the system with the trust given to players to do it properly once games start, and how it defines roles without mandating exactly how they be filled on every trip down the floor. (No question some of this is a byproduct of Phil Jackson's coaching style, but the style is also a reflection of the system.) Done right, the Lakers' offense is elevated stuff in a lowest common denominator world, a throwback to days when the sports world (the whole world, really) wasn't wasn't continuously dissected in a way too often requiring players and coaches to take the path of least resistance.
Given the number of Lakers I (and most of you) watch, that their games don't look the same as every other team in the league is particularly appealing. Expect the Lakers to do it well, but celebrate that they do it differently. Appreciate that the Lakers can run great pick and rolls with most of their roster (particularly Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol), but don't need it to generate looks. Get excited by the understanding that even on days when the Lakers don't look good, they'll almost always still produce a handful of exceptional plays on the offensive end.
(I now step off the soap box... click below for more Lakers and NBA news.)
-Like Patrick Ewing and his NBA brethren, Jerry Buss makes a lot of money, but he spends a lot, too (specifically on guys like Patrick Ewing and his NBA brethren).
-Lamar Odom, like virtually every other player in the league, loves to start, but values his sixth man role with the Lakers, particularly if it means they keep winning. His presence should help stabilize the bench unit.
-Charles Barkley sees this team winning multiple titles.
-The Clippers broadcast team was suspended one game for insensitive remarks.
-The future of Mike Dunleavy is a serious source of speculation at this point. How quickly guys like Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin can get back on the floor- and how effective they are as a team once they do- could be the determining factor.
-Lawrence Frank is dealing with massive injury issues in New Jersey, which is clouding their coaching situation.
-Issues for the Kings mean the end for the WNBA's Monarchs.