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Sunday poll and links

Off kilter from the opening tip, the Lakers were poleaxed Friday night against the Mavs. In the process (and with plenty of company), Ron Artest again struggled with his shot. Meanwhile, Trevor Ariza hung 33 on the Blazers last night, helping the Rockets to a win in their home opener.

Personally, I think the first week of the season is a little quick to make stark, sweeping judgments, and as we noted after Tuesday's win, the signs of what Artest can bring to the mix are there. But enough about my opinion- have you done any soul searching?

Call it a hunch, but I doubt this'll be the last time this question pops up, in one form or another.

Sunday night, the Lakers hope to bounce back against the Atlanta Hawks, winners of their first two games but venturing out on the road for the first time this season. Last year, despite nabbing the E.C.'s fourth seed, the Hawks were still pretty bad away from Atlanta (16-25). Without a doubt, Mike Woodson's crew will arrive at Staples with plenty of talent. Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford (often overlooked, I think), Mike Bibby, Marvin Williams, Jamal Crawford, and so on. As a group, they're long and athletic.

If you missed it, Pau Gasol is out for tonight's game. Good sources for Hawks info: Hoopinion, Peachtree Hoops.

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I think the Lakers will find some rhythm tonight -- both on the offensive AND defensive ends. No more easy layups, boys. Drew, you've got to be patrolling the paint with a vengeance.

I can't wait to get Gasol back into the mix. He brings a level of stability to this unit that is totally undervalued by most of the sports media. In the meantime, though, let's see a monster game from Lamar.

Go Lake Show!

The last games haven't changed my mind on the trade, but they did show me that the difference between the two guys was more marginal than I thought. Ariza brings the youth and quickness, and Artest brings the toughness and passing ability - and overall, Artest will prove to be a more powerful weapon when coupled with our particular team.

Ariza just proved that he's capable of carrying the scoring load - and Artest used to do that from time to time also - so in my opinion, it comes down to youth/athleticism and toughness/passing along with other intangibles like leadership - but no doubt about it, Ariza had the mentality to work on his game and get better, and he didn't slow down after winning a title... he will go on and do well in Houston, and good for him, but he's still a traitor in my book as his agent attempted to bend mitch over for a whooping.

I didn't realize it, maybe it's Halloween time or something, but it looks a lot like St Patty's Day with these little green men walking around here, trying to use leprachaun magic on us... you sort of have to laugh at their self proclaimed intelligence, but perhaps they should just go back to imagination land where they belong.

Another day and hopefully another win - it's not who starts the race quickest, but rather who finishes it. It's a long season and frankly I like what I see on an individual level from almost everyone... it's the team that needs some work. Our biggest loss of the year wasn't Ariza, it was Rambis.

Well, everyone was telling "Barring any injuries to their senior players, the Lakers could win 70 games this season".... and now Pau got injured.

I am not feeling good at all with our starts, and the importance of Pau for this squad looks very stark.. I hope dude gets well soon....

I said I wasn't worried last year, and I'm not worried this year yet. This team will take a while to while to get the right feel to their game. You can just see it.

The question will always be how hot they are rolling into the playoffs, and how each individual playoff matchup plays itself out.

This is glorified preseason. Both the Spurs and the Lakers have lost a game, and have won 8 of the last 1o championships.

I hope the Lakers start winning, but the higher priority is to see them figure out how to play together.

I said I wasn't worried last year, and I'm not worried this year yet. This team will take a while to while to get the right feel to their game. You can just see it.

The question will always be how hot they are rolling into the playoffs, and how each individual playoff matchup plays itself out.

This is glorified preseason. Both the Spurs and the Lakers have lost a game, and have won 8 of the last 1o championships.

I hope the Lakers start winning, but the higher priority is to see them figure out how to play together.

Good Morning Everyone...

I think the move will take time to pay off...Artest,come crunch time will be better for us..

Yesterday i was thinking about Ariza after seeing the Rockets game,and i compared his contract drama with that of Stephen Jackson after he won a title with the Spurs..The Spurs put a contract in front of Jackson after the finals and he decided to go to Atlanta for a year then sign as a free agent for the Pacers...

Now i know Ariza did not get that big contract but he tried..So he decided to take the same money for more minutes and no chance of winning another ring any time soon....

Back to Jackson....So after having a chance to play with a contender and turning that chance down,guess what the brain surgeon Jackson wants to do because he does not like the direction the Warriors are taking?....

Get traded to a contender.....These players say they want to win but Ariza Jackson and many others care about one thing and one thing only...How big their heads can get and being a star...Not going on and winning more rings....

So while Ariza may have great stats over the next 5 years,how long before he gets to the same place Jackson is and wants to be traded to a contender?....

Even with Yao Ming,they are not going to beat ,Boston,Cavs,Magic,Lakers and other teams in the top half of the league...T-Mac is done...And i cant see anothe Gasol trade for his contract.....

Bottom line....Artest is at that point and took this chance with open arms....
Ariza will wake up soon enough and understand he made a big mistake..

I thought Artest was WAY overrated BEFORE the trade. [1] He's shown nothing, thus far, to dissuade. ***

But I'm a nobody who doesn't matter and no longer cares when a Con Artest cons himself.

Ron's world: "I feel like [I'm shooting] the ball well". [2]
Real world: 25%/FG%, 22%/3PT%, 33%/FT%. [3]

Ron's world: "I feel like I'm playing great. That's how I feel."
Real world: Win-shares -0.2, *lowest* on the team. Defensive Rating (DRtg) 100 = 8th "best" or 5th worst among Lakers overall, with only Fisher worse among starters [4].

Ron's world: "When we're all in sync, it shows how comfortable I am in the offense."
Real world: Offensive Rating (ORtg) 62, *last* and *worst* among Laker *starters* [5].

So con away Ron Con.

The only persuading and perusasion that matters: Ws and Ls.

4 ibid.
5 ibid.

Poll response: Yes, I opposed the trade, thought and still think Artest is a bad fit for *any* team and may very well doom any chance to ree-peet even with a healthy rotation going into the postseason.

I know most everyone is politically correct so no one will say it - but I think it stinks that Gasol played so much basketball and is now injured. He gets paid by Dr. Buss - not the team from Spain. No one is invincible and it was just a matter of time before he pushed his luck too far.

Now we are losing game(s) that we shouldn't be. We don't know how bad this injury is - already way worse then the organization led the fans to believe. Who knows if this could go on and on. Meanwhile - losing games is not as good as others are making it out to be. Would be good to have HCA in the playoffs and every game is going to count.

Does Gasol get paid even when not playing for the Lakers? If I was Dr. Buss I'd be pissed!!!

Re: this poll - a little early to be throwing gas on the fire, no?

That Artest video is amazing. I don't think i've seen too many American athletes give a hand to abused Afghani women.

It looks like this team is going to have to lose itself before it can be rebuilt. It was bound to happen. There's no way to get to the top if you're already there. So, to realize their full potential and become the champions they're destined to be, they'll have to lose their way, suffer incredibly, be pushed to the limits and come out transformed and rebuilt like the survivors in Deliverance. In fact, if we see the season as a trip down the Cahulawassee River, the Lakers have just now stepped in the canoes and wont be squealing like pigs until february.

So, they'll be fine in the end.



Suppose for a moment that you were just hired into a Fortune 100 company as a "support specialist". You're shown your office and state of the art computor and then you're taken around to meet the rest of the staff. Immediately before actually starting your "job" there is a big meeting and rally in Conference room B which includes all of the top brass and local business media to welcome your arrival.

Can you picture this?

During the first week of "whatever it is that you do" the CEO announces that they are a little disappointed in your production. You think to yourself "well....I'd better get a job description"...... because I'm a little confused as to exactly what is expected of me since I've never been asked to perform any specific function. So you decide to get some answers from the CEO........Your conversation goes something like this.

YOU: I know it's early in the process but what exactly is expected from me? I mean I've never been given a specific function, I've never been given a sales presentation opportunity and I feel my role should be defined for me because I'm a little confused

CEO: I understand your concern but you will just have to "figure it out" on your own. We've created an equal opportunity system around here......Nobody really has a role.....we just kinda wing it

YOU: Really? Well who is that guy with the corner office that takes up the whole floor?

CEO: Who? Mr. Bryant? Well he's our leading salesman and the most productive employee we have around here. He also functions as product manager, IT specialist, #1 marketing specialist, Communications specialist and he conveniently takes the blame if anything goes wrong around here.

YOU: Well..........What do you do?

CEO: I take all the credit if everything goes right around here

YOU: Well can you help me be a better "support specialist" since that's why you brought me here?

CEO: You have to figure that out yourself............but I promise You I will take the credit if you happen to figure it out........How's that?

Any resemblance to a Phil Jackson Ron artest coversation is not coincidental

Jackson said Artest has to "figure out" on his own where he's most effective in the offense, because the triangle is supposed to mean equal opportunity.

"We don't do much play calling for individuals and so he has to learn how to fit in," said Jackson, whose team plays the Atlanta Hawks tonight at Staples Center. "We hope that that comes in time. That's something that we anticipate will happen. We're not surprised that there are some little things like that in various points in the game."

I didn't like Ariza going because he was a solid supporting player which is what the Lakers really need right now.

Having said that, the way the Lakers played Friday, they could have had Ariza instead of Artest and would have still lost, since they had more than a share of similar "D-level" games last year.

It would be nice to have both Artest AND Ariza. Any chance they can make a trade that would give Houston more cap space for next year's free agent sweepstakes? Of course arguably another point guard is a higher priority than Ariza right now when considering how to use Ammo and Farmar's expiring contracts...

Guys let's be honest about 1 thing right now. Anybody who knows sports knows it's a tough thing to play following a championship year. You get everybody's best every single night. I'm sure the Lakers were thinking about what they were doing after the game, being that it was a Friday night loss to Dallas (a team who got smashed on their opening night). The point is they didn't play their best, not even close in fact, and every team is going to play (or at least try to play) their best when the lakers are in town. It's going to be super tough this year, and when injuries hit (like gasol right now), its going to be extremely difficult to get a win.

I haven't been reading the blog (honestly I go into hiding when they lose) but I gotta wonder why Powell was playing instead of Bynum down the stretch. Look I don't care what Bynum liabilities are, HE IS THE BEST BIG MAN AVAILABLE right now. Play him please PHIL. Your killing me with that sh!!. Really its no time for mind games right now. Boston and the Magic are going for the best record, pedal to the medal as we speak. We don't have time for this home loss stuff. Its 1 game and I'm not panicking but.... well if your going to do this garbage coaching, no timeout, bad subbing stuff again, then well your just throwing those games down the trash chute, PJ! And maybe in the long run their is a method to your madness, I get that. But dude, Josh Powell is not in your lineup in the playoffs and Bynum is making big boy money now! Play him, if we lose with him in the lineup I think everybody is cool with that! He's a beast PJ, release him into the wild and coach him along the way just like you did Kobe. Ultimately its up to Bynum to apply the work ethic and the consistency night in, night out. But the truth is you got no choice. Without Gasol we are at a major disadvantage offensively and defensively. Clap it up, ring on 3, 1 - 2 - 3 RING! Let's go!

I see no reason to re-visit this issue.

1. We haven't yet played 5 games.

2. The second best player on the team hasn't played yet.

3. I thought we all understood that the Lakers play better with Pau
vs. Bynum. [ If you only have 1 playing. ]
Pau is more fundamentally sound and skilled.

4. We didn't get Artest for his offense. We got him for his defense.

5. As long as we make the playoffs and we're playing well when the playoffs
start, we will win. [ Home court is an issue, but not as much as last year. ]

Go Kobe!

Go Lakers!!

K Bros -
I have a legitimate question here -
Why did Ariza leave? It was the same money and same years, right? Posey left the Celtics (which was NOT as bad as PJ Brown retiring), for NO for one more year at the same money. That was not the case here, right?
I think there is more to this story than anyone is telling!! We heard in Boston that Kupchak would go to any length to sign Ariza, even if it meant losing Odom. That was in the paper back East. Since they negotiated with him first, we thought it was on-target. We were hearing 8 mil per year. What happened?
Thank you for your answer!!

The Lakers are only a .500 team after two games, so the season must be lost, and Artest is a bust. Seriously, people, do any of you really believe that?

The silver lining in Friday night's Mavericks' cloud burst is that the game film has plenty of teachable moments. Tonight the class is more likely to get a B+ than a D-.

There's no question that the missing ingredient is Gasol. As deep as the Lakers are, it's hard to make up for the missing offense and defense when the Spaniard is dressed in street clothes. Meanwhile, his absence from the active roster creates opportunities for others to step up. Down the line, the Lakers will benefit from the extra minutes others accumulate when Gasol is out.

For those in panic mode, please call the doubters' hotline at 1-800-CHILL-PILL. It's open 24/7/365 and extra operators are on duty tonight.

Go Lakers!

Laker Kev,
- - - - - -
Missing Pau for weeks is a scary proposition. A Lamar-less bench doesn’t offer much upside when we rest our starters. Hamstrings are notorious for taking inordinate amount of time to heal as well as being greatly prone to re-injury if not allowed to fully heal. No way we win 70+ without Pau playing. Best we can hope for is that AK is right and Pau plays next Friday. That would be good news.
LMAO. What was funny is you could easily see Phil and Ron NOT having a conversation with each other as they had a conversation with each other. In Ron’s defense as an alpha dog trying to find the right spot in a team with 4 other top notch dogs who all know their place, a little confusion is normal. I think he will be OK in the long run. Like everything, Phil’s approach is that learning sticks better in the mind of a player who figures it out for himself rather than having the coach do it for him. A little help, on the other hand, might smooth the transition. Giving Ron more post ups might help.
I also wondered what was going on with Phil pulling Drew for all the 4th quarter. My theory was that Phil really wanted the team to lose because he wanted to eliminate the talk about 70+ wins, which Kobe and Drew and the players had as a goal and may still have. Remember: Phil believes that teams learn more by losing than winning and benefit more from figuring out what went wrong themselves. While I realize that all that counts is the chip at the end, it still bums me to lose a game where Drew might have made the difference on offense and defense. The 81-1 Bandwagon still lives. LOL!
Nobody knows the full story but most of the accounts seem to indicate that the instant it became apparent that Artest was available, the Lakers opted to sign him and let Ariza walk. It was no secret that the Lakers front office had long coveted Artest for his defensive abilities against bigger more physical small forwards like Melo, Pierce, and LeBron. I think David Lee, Ariza’s agent, just played into the Lakers hands by walking in and demanding a big contract, giving the Lakers the PR spin they wanted to not appear to be cold and callous by ditching Ariza after his playoffs heroics.
- - - - - -

LakerTom - thanks. That makes sense. I think it's a mistake, but is makes sense. Do you think Ariza'a feelings were hurt at all by Phil throwing him under the bus after that timeout incident? I always thought that might have something to do with it.
And, not to start an argument, but Pierce averages over 20 when Artest covers him. Should be fun!!!

32...I have to disagree on Ariza.This move was about career prospects and money.If Ariza is averaging better stats and getting more minutes with the hawks he'll be happy.He was never going to get a chance to expand his role or game with the lakers and therefore never have a chance to be a star...there were always going to be way to many guys ahead of him or who were bigger investments or whatever for him to be higher in the pecking order...he's proven he can be a great role player,experienced a championship - where to from there? 2 more? 3 more? what if his shot doesn't drop the next playoffs? he could only go downhill from last year in some ways.

With the rockets he has a great oportunity to see how good he really can be...and possibly be a star if it goes right...of course he believes he's talented enough even if nobody else does.If that happens he will make considerably more money in the future...

My guess is that Ariza is at peace with himself as is Turiaf...Ariza was just luckier that he got his ring before he had to leave.Its way different through a fans lens.

I didn't realize it, maybe it's Halloween time or something, but it looks a lot like St Patty's Day with these little green men walking around here, trying to use leprachaun magic on us... you sort of have to laugh at their self proclaimed intelligence, but perhaps they should just go back to imagination land where they belong.
- Tim 4 Show

Tim - 82-0? 81-1? 72-10? 34 in a row?
That's what we are laughing at!!! Intelligent hoop fans realize it is ridiculous to make predictions like that. Perhaps you and some of your brethren should look in the mirror. Even koME said you're not going to be 72-10. And yes, some Boston fans have said the same thing, and yes, I call them out, too. Those records are not happening this year, as any intelligent hoop fan knows.
Thanks, have a great day, and happy posting.



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