Derek Fisher, on the challenges presented by system offenses
One of the things that I enjoy about a Lakers/Jazz matchup is the meeting of two offenses that don't rely on the pick and roll to the same degree as the rest of the league. If both teams are executing well, there's no shortage of backscreens, cuts, ball movement, and other forms of attractive basketball (as I wrote last month, it's not that the P and R can't be appealing to watch, just not over and over again). The Lakers have more passers than your average NFL combine, while the Jazz lead the NBA in assist rate. Maybe it's the former Kindergarten teacher in me, but I like sharing.
But the lack of consistent P and R makes these teams unique among their NBA brethren.
Tuesday at practice, I asked Derek Fisher, who has of course played for both Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan, about any advantages that come with doing something that to varying degrees is off the NBA's beaten path. He agreed that both teams provide a "different look," but what really compounded problems for teams facing the Lakers isn't simply the advantages that come with operating in a way the opposition won't typically face, but who's holding the proverbial scalpel. "When Kobe (Bryant) or Pau (Gasol) or Lamar Odom are initiating the action, it's different than anything you've ever seen anywhere else in the NBA."
I'm sure Lakers fans will appreciate, too, the confidence Fish shows in his team and its personnel. It's reflective of a belief they all share, that if the Lakers play as they should, properly utilizing their myriad skills, there isn't another team that's better than they are.