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NBA 2K10 simulation predicts Lakers will win Western Conference finals in five against Phoenix Suns

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Those wondering what a week off will do for the resurgent Lakers against Phoenix in the Western Conference finals already have some answers. A simulation on NBA 2K10 has the Lakers beating the Suns in five games, serving as a welcome contrast to L.A.'s first-round exits courtesy of Phoenix in 2006 and 2007.

And those curious about whether reserve guard Sasha Vujacic will provide a Return of the Machine against Phoenix will be largely disappointed. In the simulation, Coach Phil Jackson's talk about the team valuing Vujacic's return from a left ankle sprain proved unfounded. Despite being cleared to play, The Machine didn't play a single minute in the entire simulated series.

But no worries. The Lakers won't lost much sleep over that knowing that they'll make their third consecutive Finals appearance.

And for those wondering how much stock we should put in an NBA 2K10 simulation? Well, Kobe Bryant has given his stamp of approval both as a video gamer and an endorser. And the simulation proved mostly correct in picking the Lakers to advance past Oklahoma City in the first round.

OK, so the simulation had the Lakers winning in five games instead of six. It thought the Lakers would have no trouble playing in front of OKC's electric crowd. And it didn't think the Lakers would close out the series with forward Pau Gasol tipping the ball in with half a second remaining in Game 6. But those are all style points. Lakers fans should just be comforted to know that playoff basketball extends through June. 

After the jump are the story lines of each game simulation.

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Game 1: Lakers' 111-105 victory

Lakers top performer: Bryant (38 points on 12-of-20 shooting)

Suns top performer: Amare Stoudemire (31 points on 13-of-18 shooting, 12 rebounds)

How the game was won: It can't be overstated how much the week of rest benefited the Lakers. Bryant went on a tear, marking his sixth consecutive game scoring at least 30 points. Not only has his lift been at an all-time high, his finger actually healed enough for him to feel comfortable driving the lane. The increased aggressiveness resulted in a 12-of-14 performance at the free-throw line. The extra rest also benefited Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who spent all week getting treatment for the lateral meniscus in his right knee. He didn't lose the spring in his step, finishing with 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting and 11 rebounds. Interestingly, Gasol couldn't maintain his playoff consistency, finishing with only four points. And forward Lamar Odom disappeared and scored zero points. Part of that had to do with the fact that Bryant went into scoring mode, and part had to do with the two players' tentativeness. Nonetheless, they combined for 24 rebounds. The Suns actually entered the fourth quarter with a 80-74 lead, controlling much of the pace thanks to the tag-team duo of Stoudemire and Steve Nash (13 points, seven assists) on screen and rolls. Don't worry, Nash's theatrics didn't happen, with him playing essentially with just one eye in this series. Nonetheless, the Lakers won the fourth quarter, 37-25, thanks to Bryant's theatrics as well as some bench support from Shannon Brown (10 points) and Jordan Farmar (eight points).

Game 2: Lakers' 122-103 victory

Lakers top performer: Bryant (41 points on 14-of-28 shooting)

Suns top performer: Stoudemire (29 points on 11-of-23 shooting, 29 points)

How the game was won: The Lakers went on cruise control right from the beginning, storming out to a 41-25 first-quarter lead and extending the cushion to 68-48 at halftime. Bryant continued his aggressiveness, going off for 41 points and finishing 11 of 12 at the free-throw line. Gasol and Bynum essentially played a role reversal from Games 1 and 2, with Gasol finishing with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Bynum had a modest 12 points and seven rebounds. The Suns spent much of their time wondering who to focus on on defense. Occasionally, Phoenix proved successful in limiting the inside production. But Gasol and Bynum often kicked the ball out to the perimeter to forward Ron Artest, who scored 20 points and went four of nine from three-point range. Despite the Lakers holding a double-digit lead for much of the second half, Jackson remained reluctant to give the bench many minutes, perhaps fearful that the Suns' fast tempo would be too overwhelming. Nonetheless, Bryant (41), Artest (41) and Gasol (40) each logged plenty of minutes. Suns forward Louis Amundson injured his wrist, but he didn't sit out.

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Game 3: Suns' 123-106 victory

Lakers top performer: Bryant (25 points on 12-of-26 shooting).

Suns top performer: Stoudemire (35 points on 13-of-22 shooting)

How the game was won: The Lakers never appeared in this game, despite featuring plenty of balance with Bryant (25 points), Gasol (13 points, 17 rebounds), Artest (12 points, six rebounds, five assists), Odom (11 points, seven assists), Brown (11 points) and Farmar (10 points) scoring in double figures. The glaring omission from that stat line, of course, involved Bynum, who scored seven points in only nine minutes after feeling pain in his right knee toward the end of the first quarter. The Lakers had trouble recovering once the Suns put together a 31-20 first-quarter lead, with Phoenix outscoring them 73-64 in the second half.

Game 4: Lakers' 101-88 victory

Lakers top performer: Bryant (33 points on 13-of-28 shooting)

Suns top performer: Nash (21 points on eight-of- 12 shooting, nine assists)

How the game was won: The Lakers continued to limit Bynum, who scored only six points in 16 minutes. And his absence drastically changed the Lakers' plans. Without Bynum in the lineup, Gasol fought through constant double teams in the post and finished with only nine points on a three-of-12 clip. Bryant made up the difference with 33 points, but he aggravated the injury to his right index finger, forcing him to shoot more perimeter shots instead of driving to the basket. Artest was a little trigger-happy, going two of eight from three-point range, but his 23 points was welcomed on a night no one beyond Bryant did much offensively. Fortunately for the Lakers, the Suns weren't that involved in the game, shooting only 33 of 69 from the field. They went on a 33-22 second-quarter run after the Lakers led 27-19, but the Lakers dominated the second half. Suns guard Leandro Barbosa twisted his ankle, but didn't miss any time.

Game 5: Lakers' 114-102 victory

Lakers top performer: Bryant (36 points on 13-of-23 shooting, nine rebounds, seven assists, three steals)

Suns top performer: Stoudemire (30 points on 11-of-20 shooting and 17 rebounds)

How the game was won: The Suns stormed out to a 29-20 lead, thanks to Stoudemire's dominance. But Phoenix quickly fizzled out, with the Lakers winning the final three quarters and the Suns shooting 27 of 70 from the field. Bryant drove the lane, resulting in a seven-of-eight performance at the free-throw line. He shot from the outside, going three of five from three-point range. He helped Gasol (11) and Bynum (10) on the boards, grabbing nine rebounds. He played facilitator, combining with guard Derek Fisher for 17 assists en route to a three-tiered inside effort from Bynum (17), Gasol (14) and Odom (eight). And Bryant played lockdown defense, resulting in three steals.

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Upper photo: Kobe Bryant lays in two points as he drives between Phoenix Suns' Boris Diaw and Raja Bell in a 2008 regular-season game. Credit: Roy Dabner / EPA

Middle photo: Lakers forward Lamar Odom, elevates above Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire for a shot in a March regular-season game. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Lower photo: Kobe Bryant pulls up for a jump shot over Suns guard Jason Richardson in a March regular-season game. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire

 
Comments () | Archives (51)

The comments to this entry are closed.

What do you guys think of the nickname "Dragic Johnson"? It's a bit of a slight to Goran, but it will motivate him to work harder I think to escape the reference to earvin.

Posted by: BUTLER | May 11, 2010 at 11:34 AM

--
Butler, the one thing that I will concede is that you have the better Slovenian guard.

Sun's run a three-point to two point offense with Nash driving to basket to feed centers for fouls from Laker's. Sun's shoot 30 three-point attempts per game to beat Clippers by 15 extra points. Sun's three-point shooters were Nash, Frye, Dooley, and guard from Yugoslavia. Phil Jackson will have a fast pace offense with breaks by Sun's. Maybe, Star Wars Walton can start at center to bring back fame from University of Arizona days. Build winning plan around Luke Walton and Laker's force group. Watch out for Charles Barkley hall of famer from TNT broadcasts. Lakers will have to give away free taco's at Del Taco and Taco Bell to fans each time they beat Suns. You will need bench ready to play minutes to help with fast breaking Suns that are in shape for 48 minutes plus overtime periods. Suns have Coyotes, Cardinals, and Diamondback's pro teams to help them. Sun's have never won a league or NBA championship, why? Sun's are without Lopez due to injuries. Sun's bench has help them win games and are improving each game with experience.
Watch out for Thunder type game again agaist Lakers.

So the simulator agrees with me ;)

Fine I suppose ;)

I can now leave and enjoy my movie night...

See you tomorrow fam ;)

So the simulator agrees with me ;)
Fine I suppose ;) I can now leave and enjoy my movie night...See you tomorrow fam ;) Posted by: ZairaAmaterasu | May 11, 2010 at 12:08 PM
*
See you tomorrow Zaira!

Holy Mackerel! I get a little busy in the AM and the blog takes off. First, a little re-posting:


in response to our Secret Agent's dark description:

Jon K: Master of the Post Noir.

I can see the film: Black and white of course, with a slight splash of color...maybe the beer in the glasses or the red (guessing here) covering of the Lucky Barstool.

The door opening and outside a black mist is gathered. Emerging from the mist is the hooded figure of despair. The murmuring discussion of LBJ's departures ceases only long enough to acknowledge the familiar visitor's entrance.

Yeah, what a film it would make...though, we might need to insert an old guy with a mop.

JR

Posted by: Jolly Rancher | May 11, 2010 at 11:43 AM

In response to LTLF's player status ratings (which I personally thought was spot on):
LTLF,

Do you think that if Pau had come into the NBA as a Laker or Spur that he would already be nearing the Legend category? Didn't carrying the Grizzlies hurt his status progression? No sarcasim here, these are real questions from me. Remember, I have been told (by a certain MIA troll) that I know nothing about the NBA :)

JR

Posted by: Jolly Rancher | May 11, 2010 at 11:51 AM

On to new business -
Good to be reading Butler's commentary again. It's good to see the other contender's respectable fans showing up again whether they be Sol's or angry little leprechauns.

Hyacinth - Denise Fisher (insert your last name) aka D-Fish has a nice ring to it...my daughter didn't go for it either. We ended up with a Sienna Isabella instead.

Ricky - Pau is Awesome, but in the same class as Russel and Wilt...Naw. He's got a ways to go.

To anyone complaining about anything involving the Jazz series, give it a rest: We won, end of that story.

8 to go!!!

JR

Hobbitmage,

Here is a repost, when I responded to your question of 3 threads ago by the time I finished writing & posting I didn't realize 2 new threads were up already (now 3 new ones) so here it is again in case you care to expound further, or not, up to you.
------------------

Art -FL Lakers Fan,
Remember when I said that Bynum can be taken out of the game?
Does that statement make more sense now?
Posted by: hobbitmage | May 11, 2010 at 09:36 AM
================

Hobbitmage,

Umm, actually, no I don't remember.
Not being difficult, but after reading hundreds of posts almost daily I kinda forget who said what about what sometimes.
Older age memory issues maybe, both a blessing and a curse, lol.
So, I'm not really sure what were the previous points being made.
But you are welcome to refresh the issue if you like.

I like Bynum. I like what he adds to the mix. I think he has potential still.
But then, I like Kobe and Gasol and Fish and Ron and really everyone else on the team for different reasons.
I also get frustrated with them sometimes. I have gotten frustrated with every player on the team at one time or another during the season.
Typical fan I reckon.
Sure, it would be great if we could upgrade a bit, but we are going to have a hard time acquiring quality players.

While I have said before I like Bynum I don't think I have ever said we must have Bynum to win or he was the key to the Lakers success, but he does add some more flexibility and depth to the team in a good way.
Posted by: Art - FL Lakers Fan | May 11, 2010 at 10:25 AM
======================

On a different note, what teams do you (or anyone else for that matter) think have the best inside games in the NBA, say, the top 4-5 teams?

And those curious about whether reserve guard Sasha Vujacic will provide a Return of the Machine against Phoenix will be largely disappointed. -MM
---

Darn. I was looking forward to a Goran v. Sasha matchup. Sasha could talk smack in Slovenian without risking a technical.

To Zaira,

I think that i know NBA well. I am fan since Magic-Kareem vs Bird -Mchale times (i am´t so young as you think).

OH, I forgot:

Zaira,

My knees and back have been killing me. Could you talk to Mrs. Rancher about your patented healing techniques? I'm sure they'll be better than heat patches and stretching.

JR

I wonder if a 7 games series between the Suns and OKC would have been more fun to watch than Suns-Spurs.

The Snake - Hey maybe the video game is wrong. But it does sound feasible The Machine gets zero minutes

MM

Darn. I was looking forward to a Goran v. Sasha matchup. Sasha could talk smack in Slovenian without risking a technical. Posted by: The Snake | May 11, 2010 at 12:22 PM
LMAO!!!

OH, I forgot:Zaira,My knees and back have been killing me. Could you talk to Mrs. Rancher about your patented healing techniques? I'm sure they'll be better than heat patches and stretching.Posted by: Jolly Rancher | May 11, 2010 at 12:23 PM

ROFLMFAO!!!!

Hey Laker Fam:

First, great win last night. Nothing like a beatdown for a good night's sleep.

A special thank you to Mamba24, LadyJem, Rick F, Jon K and JR for the belated birthday wishes.

And thanks to the blog in general for putting up with the silliness that Mamba24 and I were up to yesterday. (Mamba24, I still and always will adore you. *wink*)

Congratulations to Hyacinth. (Excuse me a moment while I hop on board that bandwagon and take my seat.)

A note to Ricky: I can appreciate your devotion to your accomplished countryman (and Miss Zaira and I have long since pledged our allegiance to the Pau Groupie For Life fan club) BUT, if I had as much love for Pau as you do I'd get arrested as a stalker. Tone it down a little, for your own sake. As others said earlier: this is a team sport.

Now what are we going to do with ourselves for a week?

Lass

Ricky:

You wrote: I think that i know NBA well. I am fan since Magic-Kareem vs Bird -Mchale times (i am´t so young as you think). Posted by: ricky

Response: True, your mental development is not in congruence with your age.....

Art-FL that's a tougher question I thought. I'm assuming you mean with everyone healthy? If Yao is healthy I'd put Houston in the top three. Then it gets sketchy for me. Shaq seems effective when he plays, but he only plays around 23 minutes. Does this make the Cavs a good low post team? H if I know.

1. Lakers
2. Magic
3. Rockets
4. Celtics ? ? ? ? ?

DO WE NEED TO KNOW AS TO WHAT RICKY DOES WITH HIS PERSONAL TIME, EEEEEEEEEEEW? My guess Ricky staring at picture of Pau in his room alone


Lakerlass:

You wrote: Now what are we going to do with ourselves for a week?

Response: True, your mental development is not in congruence with your age.....
Posted by: Congruence | May 11, 2010 at 12:39 PM
================

DO WE NEED TO KNOW AS TO WHAT RICKY DOES WITH HIS PERSONAL TIME, EEEEEEEEEEEW? My guess Ricky staring at picture of Pau in his room alone
Posted by: eeeeeeeeew | May 11, 2010 at 12:47 PM
================

Hmmm, seems we have some chameleon posters in the house.

Mark G,

I forgot about Yao and the Rockets.
I dunno, will Yau make it back?
I would guess the Cavs make the list?
Mavs or Nuggets?

Heyy congruence, take it easy, mannn

You may be a retarded angeleno, but i fight with everybody for your freedom to speak here.

To FL Lakers Fan,

I could tell you about my time, but in spanish. Of course, i am not a "cruel" man. Disfruta de tu tiempo, si puedes y te dejan porque si eres el dueño de tu tiempo, eres el dueño del mundo............como yo lo soy.

Ricky,

FL Lakers Fan didn't write that comment about your time...someone else did.
Be careful.

Ricky,

I don't know what you are talking about, why don't you say what you want to say to me in English.

I have never written any post directed towards you, until this one.

You think Chamberlain, Russell, Shaq, been better that Pau???? well, i not think so. Y QUEEEE??????????????????

Art-FL Lakers Fan,

you wrote: Umm, actually, no I don't remember.
Not being difficult, but after reading hundreds of posts almost daily I kinda forget who said what about what sometimes.
Older age memory issues maybe, both a blessing and a curse, lol.
So, I'm not really sure what were the previous points being made.
But you are welcome to refresh the issue if you like.

my response: the gist of it was that Bynum could be taken out of the game
via fouls and character issues. He's also not healthy.

The last two games he's been missing in action.

There was also a posting by Edwin Gueco, I believe, about having the *TALL*
lineup in the game at the end. I also responded to that that "speed kills".

I also said that Pau could be taken out if he was playing passive/being run off
his spots. I read an article over the last couple of days where it was mentioned
that the Lakers have been bringing up his softness issue quite a bit. The
purpose was to piss him off and have him play harder. Looks like it worked
during the Jazz series. :)

Back to Bynum: I think everybody likes Bynum. I think that many people
wish he were less injured and more mature about the game. I think we'll need
him if we play the Cavs, but we have Mbenga. Hopefully, PJ will start giving
Mbenga more playing time.

Amare listed himself as a center for the All-Star voting and getting the nod, i'm sure Bynum will want to prove who is the better Center. With a weeks rest, i'm looking for Drew to have a Big series vs the suns.

CIVIL RIGHTS:

Lakerlass:

you wrote to Rick: Tone it down a little, for your own sake. As others said earlier: this is a team sport.


RESPONSE: What happened to freedom of speech and what gives you the authority to tell others to refrain from expressions, especially Rick's posts are never mean spirited..
It would be like telling you to tone down your silliness with Mamb24 as others may find it to be waste of time..

No offense intended as I am a proponent of freedom pf speech as long as it is civil..

Dedicated to my #1 fan Ricky,

Oh Ricky, what a pity,
You don't understand!
You take me by the heart
And you take me by the hand!
Oh Ricky, ya know I'm so pretty
I know you understand?
It's guys like you, Ricky!
Oh, what you do, Ricky
Do, Ricky,
Don't break my heart, Ricky!


Hugs and Kisses,
Pau Gasol

Art -FL Lakers Fan,

you wrote/asked: On a different note, what teams do you (or anyone else for that matter) think have the best inside games in the NBA, say, the top 4-5 teams?

1. Lakers
2. Magic
3. Denver/Portland
[ Nene is good & Portland picked up Camby. Camby is a *great* defensive
inside presence. ]
4. Chicago!
5. Cavs [ they're mostly old, but they have skills. I dislike Shaq immensely,
but there's no denying his skill. jj hickson & verajao are good!]

For me, the idea of an inside game encompasses blocks, rebounds, offense &
passing.

Civil Rights Activist,

If you are a proponent of freedom of speech why are you calling out Laker Lass, doesn't she get the same freedom?

Also, she wasn't the only one to ask ricky to cool his jets a little, why not call them out too.

I would bet a dime to a dollar you are a regular poster hiding behind another name just like eeeeeew and congruence.

What's up with that?

Well, 22:41 in Barcelona. Very interesting today. I have to training my trash talking.

Sorry FL Lakers Fan, i tell you in spanish that i like to speak with intelligent peaple as you and i hope we can speak about Basketball long time.

Sleep time for me.

Bye.

Go NBA Simulation!

GO Lakers!

FYI.. Vegas odds

In case ur wondering Lakers are favored for this series -310... this means bet 310 on lakers and win 100

Lakers were favored against utah -400.. Thats 4:1...

So we sweep utah and vegas likes our chances even better against phoenix...

WOW.. My immediate reaction is great news but somethings smells fishy...

Very interesting today. I have to training my trash talking.
Sorry FL Lakers Fan, i tell you in spanish that i like to speak with intelligent peaple as you and i hope we can speak about Basketball long time.
Posted by: ricky | May 11, 2010 at 01:43 PM
===========

Ok ricky, thanks for clarifying.
=====================

ricky: "I have to training my trash talking."
=====================

LOL, now that's the funniest thing I have read all day.
Good one.

RevRunWisdom: Hating is the cowards way to show you that you're winning.

Civil Rights Activist,

you wrote: RESPONSE: What happened to freedom of speech and what gives you the authority to tell others to refrain from expressions, especially Rick's posts are never mean spirited..
It would be like telling you to tone down your silliness with Mamb24 as others may find it to be waste of time..

No offense intended as I am a proponent of freedom pf speech as long as it is civil..

my response:

1. Based upon your argument you have no right to question her.

2. She made a suggestion. Freedom of speech gives her the right to make this
suggestion.

3. While the latimes is a business in america, and america supports freedom
of speech, private companies have the right to control what is and what is
not done with their resources. Therefore, they have the right to ban anyone
they so choose. They have actually used that right before. They may use
that right again.

4. The definiton of "civil" is subjective unless you're dealing with a
government where legally things/words are defined.

5. The *facts* are that Ricky is *NOT* paying attention to anyone on this
blog in terms of suggestions about how to interact. Feel free to go back and
read suggestions made to him and then read his subsequent posts.

To put this in context:

If I'm at a club and Ricky comes in. He's free to dance. Let's say that he's off
beat. [ Some europeans can hear a beat. some can't. ] He's used to slam
dancing, but I'm not. I give him a few warnings, but he still wants to be
physical with me. .....

The way this *HYPOTHETICAL* story ends is ... either the bouncer removes
him from the club or I become "physical" with him.

He is free to be himself. His freedom is *NOT* allowed to negatively impact
me outside of certain legal definitions. Those definitions are defined by the
ruling party of the resources I'm using.

I hope that nice, civil, legal jargon is sufficient to express my subjective
feelings on the matter. :)

Art - FL Lakers Fan:

The reason posters are anonymous is because there is no membership/registration required. For me it is the context of the post that attracts me as oppose to who the posters are......Yes, I am a regular poster and a laker fan for a long time.

cheers!

aztro, is that you?

It is funny this simulation thing and how Gasol would supposedly do, taking into account how well he has done so far... Who programs it? Try to be a little bit more objective. Anyway, we will see..

I see that the one hit wonder, Ricky (livin la Vida Loca) is trying to make a comeback on the Laker blog.
Better him as the marketing agent for Pau Gasol than another singing attempt.

Seriously though, let's not go overboard, Gasol did exactly what he was suppose to do against an overmatched opponent in Carlos Boozer.

It's all about the matchups and the exploitation of those matchups. Rickys innane comparison to Kareem, Wilt, and Russell, is a little premature. But you have to think that Pau Gasol has an unhealthy need for attention.

This is Kobe's team, period.


"Pau is cuter."

"No it's Kobe."

"No it's Pau!"

"No damn it, it's Kobe!"

I think there are 3 really big things the Lakers will look to focus on going in to this series.

The first and most important key is Jason Richardson. The Suns were 29-4 during the regular season when he scored 20+ points, including 10-0 in their last 10. He is currently 6th in the NBA in Playoff PER at 25.27, right behind Gasol and well ahead of Kobe, Nash and Stoudemire. When this guy is on, the Suns are practically unstoppable.

Second is slowing the Suns' bench, which is a skilled and energetic unit. Dragic, Dudley, Admunson, Barbosa, Lopez - these guys come off the bench and give them a big time spark. If Odom, Farmar, Brown, Walton and Sasha (if he's available) are unable keep things close when matched up against the Suns bench, things could get out of hand very quickly for the Lakers. The guys formerly known as the "Bench Mob" need to match their energy.

Finally, as great a shooter as Nash is, he's an even greater passer, and I've always thought the best strategy against the Suns is to let Nash become a scorer. When he gets everyone involved and comfortable, that's what they're the most dangerous. Nash would rather get 15 and 15 than get 30 and 8. I say, let him get his 30 and 8.

So to recap: Lock down Richardson, match the energy of their bench and let Nash get his.

And, of course, it should go without saying: FEED THE POST AND DON'T SETTLE FOR G.D. 3 POINTERS!! Long misses lead to long rebounds which lead to fast break points. If the Lakers can stay disciplined enough to do this, I fully expect Pau and Bynum to average 40 and 20 in this series.

I’m waiting for Ricky to start a conversation with Ding How from Prattville.
Now that would be an interesting exhibition of the Spanchinglish.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

Jolly Roger,

I responded to your question about "What if Pau had started with the Lakers" a couple posts ago, but I'll give the short version here:

First year: Shaq at starting center, Horry & Rick Fox getting the PF minutes. And Phil Jackson, who doesn't like to play rookies. Pau would have gotten 10-15 minutes a game, and would have gotten yanked any time he turned the ball over or shot two consecutive misses.

Pau would not have won the rookie of the year, but he would have gotten his first ring as a bench player.

Second year: Mostly more of the same. Pau would have gotten to shine in a few games with Shaq out injured, and if he didn't get discouraged and worked hard, he'd make it up to about 20 minutes a game

2004 - When Shaq got traded away, that's when the real change would happen. If the Lakers had Pau on the roster, then they wouldn't have felt they HAD to get a big man back in a Shaq trade. So if the trade was with Miami, it would have been Odom, Caron Butler, and anyone BUT Brian Grant.

Without Grant's huge albatross contract, the Lakers would have had more money to spend, PLUS they would already have a quality big man, so there's no way they would have traded for Kwame Brown. With a core of Kobe, Pau, Lamar, Caron, and more money to spend on a starting quality PG. Nash was a free agent that summer. Fish left because the Lakers were strapped for cash and didn't want to match Golden State's offer. Suffice to say that the Lakers would have gotten a better point guard than Chucky Atkins.

Or another possiblity would be Shaq traded to a different team for other players.

But the essence of the deal is that Pau would have stepped into Shaq's considerable shoes, and the players that came back in a Shaq trade would have been enough to make Kobe+Pau a legit contender from the start.

They could have 3 titles by now.

But (and it's a big but)...

Some people when they don't get to play a lot in their first season or two get discouraged and give up on the NBA. Ask Juan Carlos Navarro (the MVP of the recent Euroleague finals).

It's possible that Phil would have given Pau the rookie treatment for a couple of years and he wouldn't have great stats. So when free agency came up, and NBA teams were only offering MLE money, he might have gone back to Europe to play for Barcelona, and Ricky might be cheering him on in person right now.

There is actually an advantage to being drafted to teams with weak rosters - you get to start and play a lot of minutes and sink or swim. If you start out with a deep team, it may delay your development (like Jermaine O'Neal) or may discourage you right out of the league.

Hola! I am from Belgium!!

Zis team, she is DJ MBenga's team, no?

Go Congolian Beef.

DJ he iz real mussels from Brussels, and he has better than Shaq, no?

salud.

Ricky,

By the way, just want you to know that I do appreciate your posts. There is no one definitive measure for saying player X is better than player Y. In the end, it's all subjective.

Most people would agree with my opinions that Kobe, Shaq, Russell, Chamberlain, and a bunch of other players have been better than Pau. But it's good to see someone over-praising a Laker rather than over-criticizing one (like pfunk with Luke or DFish with Derek Fisher).

Now do your duty and go convince JC Navarro that if he comes and plays for the Lakers he could be the 6th man coming off the bench to score a lot of points like Jamal Crawford was for Atlanta this year. I'm sure he'd like LA much better than Memphis, and the Lakers could use someone more reliable than Sasha. :-)

Hey guys we got a new post up

MM

Okay, we've got a week off, and I don't want to spend seven days doing nothing but refuting Ricky's over-zealous praise of Pau.

So first of all, Ricky, try this on for size. Instead of saying Pau's better than the greatest 3 or 4 centers of all time, try comparing him to Parish or McHale or Garnett or even Tim Duncan. Some may agree or disagree with you on those comparisons, and it won't be so one sided. (and Pau could very well end up having a greater legacy than any of those four players)

Second, at risk of being shot...

Let's talk about the summer re-load. Who should the Lakers keep? Who should they let walk away? Is there any way they could still sign & trade Morrison, or is he now a total waste for them? Who's the point guard of the future.

We'll eventually get to talking about the Suns, but let's try to throw some controversy into this week of blogging (you know how much I love controversy).

>>>Amare listed himself as a center for the All-Star voting and getting the nod,
>>>i'm sure Bynum will want to prove who is the better Center.

I'm actually hoping Bynum &/or Gasol can get Amare in foul trouble in a couple of games. If you take Amare out, they're a major doughnut team (hole in the middle).

With Amare off the floor, it becomes easier to cover the pick & roll and still stay with the 3-point shooters. Nash-Lopez pick & roll isn't nearly as threatening as Nash-Stoudemire.

Isn't this the same game simulation that predicted the Cavs would win it all last year? I think this same game also predicted that the Cavs would win it all this year. Needless to say, I wouldn't put too much stock into this.

LTLF,
Thanks, that's quite a bit to consider.

JR


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