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Phil Jackson agrees with Jerry West's critical comments on Lakers' defense

Philosophically, Jerry West and Phil Jackson rarely agree on much.

The former Lakers star and general manager has long maintained that talent determines championship success. The current Lakers coach believes it's the system -- the triangle, teamwork, managing egos to achieve a final goal -- that's pointed to his 11 championship rings.

But there's at least one point on which the two men reach consensus -- the Lakers' defense needs work.

“If there’s a loose ball now, how often do they get it?” West asked as the keynote speaker Thursday during the annual Orange County Automobile Dealers Assn. luncheon. “The reason you ‘can’t play defense’ is because you can’t!"

"He's right," Jackson said with a smile after Sunday's practice when West's comments were relayed to him. "We have to do a lot of things right to play defense the way we want to. Most of it is about controlling the tempo of the game. Some of it is about speed and outright speed. We're not the fastest team on the boards. We can do it if we control things the right way."

And West had more concerns about the Lakers than just their defense. He believes the team's mileage and age will soon catch up to it: "I don’t think the Lakers will be good for much longer. You can keep a car running for a long time by changing the tires, etc. You can’t change a player’s tires." He also shared his belief that the Boston Celtics have a good chance to win the NBA title: "I think Boston is a very dangerous team,” he said. “I would not want to play them every other night."

Incidentally, West made those comments during a speech in which he preached about the auto industry's need to overcome challenges to succeed. So it's not as if the Lakers are doomed to failure defensively. Their 107-97 victory Friday over Denver featured holding the Nuggets to four fast-break points, and Ron Artest contributed to Carmelo Anthony scoring 23 points on only 10 of 24 shooting.

The Lakers also credited a new defensive scheme that emphasized forcing baseline drives instead of through the middle, more emphasis on perimeter defense and keeping the front-line players close to the basket as instrumental in holding opponents under 100 points in nine of the 11 past contests. And statistically, the Lakers have fared well defensively in points allowed (a 10th best 96.4 points per game), opponent's field-goal percentage (43.8%, tied for third), opponent's three-point field-goal percentage (33.9%, fifth overall) and point differential (-7.04, fourth in the league).

As indicated by the Lakers' sluggish 109-100 loss Wednesday to the Mavericks, however, the team remains a work in progress in consistently sharpening those concepts.

Artest was deferential when told about West's comments, saying, "Jerry West has a great mind. But I'm not sure. It depends. I can't pinpoint." He then went on to say that he felt "great" physically before conceding that he had trouble last week "because I couldn't get in a rhythm" when guarding Clippers guard Eric Gordon, who scored 30 points on 13 of 20 shooting.

To offset opponents' offensive firepower, Jackson also has emphasized having two players remain close to the basket to grab rebounds, two players ready to march back on defense and leaving the shooter either to follow his shot or provide help on the defensive end. And the Lakers have often allowed their talent level to get into track meets with teams rather than playing at a deliberate pace.

"It's the toughest time to play defense in the NBA," Jackson said. "You can't do it off turnovers very rarely and you can't do it a lot of times off bad shots. It just goes that way. It's has to be good shots and it has to be at the right time."

-- Mark Medina

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Well Mr. West, the Boston Celtics are aging, and changing their tires constantly, as well. Their fourth quarter woes due to lack of energy and age are notorious in the league, as West may recall during last year's finals. They say, "oh, well they didn't have Perkins." Well, when Boston beat L.A. for the ring L.A. did not have Bynum. A healthy, focused Laker team should get another ring. And, I saw the Celtics lose to the Wizards last night and, um, beating the Celtics and that spotlight leech Shaq is a doable thing.

I love Jerry West as much as anyone. But he vastly underrates the importance of coaches. I'm always surprised that he does. He apparently doesn't think having his Lakers could have won more titles with Bill Sharman coaching them earlier instead of Bill Van Breda Kolff (who couldn't get along with Wilt) or Joe Mullaney (a college coach who never connected with the players).

I have to disagree with my idol on this one. Sharman was as important as any player on the '71-72 team and he got Wilt's buy-in to playing defense and being a playmaker. West and Wilt were getting old and weren't the players they had been in earlier in their careeers, and Baylor hung his jock strap early in the season. Yet they played together and stomped the reat of the league.

Yes, you need the players first, but the right coach is the key to putting a team over the top.

Jerry's a perfectionist, and ALWAYS brought it (greatest post season individual ever in my book), so he gets a little uppity about teams and players that don't play flat-out all the time, regardless of injury, opponent or situation.

Still, The Logo, except for Sharman at the end of his career, never worked under a good coach. The idea of system for him is not something ingrained. He understands it, obviously, but he never lived it as a player, so it's not reflexive with him. His points are valid, but Phil's overall plan is something that only Phil has the ability to execute.

This year looks to be about system vs. talent (Celtics & Spurs as system, Heat and maybe the Magic as talent). I think this may be the last year that the Lakers have both (if Drew "Knock On Wood" Bynum stays healthy and Pau "Why Do I Play Right Now Like By Girlfriend Is Giving Me Problems" Gasol gets his mojo back). Kobe is evolving his play, and I don't think the team has caught up yet. But woe to a team that thinks he can't mamba you anymore.

What, me worry?

TD - your post didn't come up until after I posted mine... and you already said the good parts version.

Greatly admire Mr. West, but he doesn't put his trust in coaches (and I thought, though he was "okay," he didn't make a great coach himself... though no superstars ever really do).

Team play and system are very underrated in the eara of "superstars" and fantasy leagues, and the only way to have great team play and a system is to have a superior coach. Phil is the most iconoclastic coach in the history of the game, emulating no one and being un-emulatable himself. Hard to bet against him.

When we first got Pau, wasn't it Jerry West who said that the Pau-Bynum combination wouldn't work because they wouldn't be quick enough? Well, two championships later, I think the Lakers have proven Jerry wrong on that point.

Jerry West is obviously very gifted at evaluating talent and accumulating that talent into one team. Phil is the best at getting top talent to play together. It's just a shame that the two of them couldn't work together long-term.

Tom Daniels,

Do you *really* think that Jerry West is a worse judge of coaches than you?

Along those same lines are you saying: As soon as PJ retires, the Lakers
are doomed?

[ I'm asking honest questions, and will take your answers as straight-forward. ]

This is what I'm trying to get my head around.

Kobe seems to have lost ~ 3" of vertical jump. If he's physically degrading,
than Pau, Odom, D-Fish & Artest are too.

I don't see D-Fish getting much slower. He was never a speed demon to
begin with.

Artest seems to have *really* quick hands and ok feet, but great position.

If Odom can maintain *this* state, than I think we're good for 3 years.
Not sure about Pau though ...

Our team is getting older, and against a young running team with a center it will be tough, but maybe we can control the tempo. If by chance the heat get them a center that can play say a 7 footer then it would bring back memories of the first Jordan led bulls. They ran us off the floor,but Phil understands that so we would have a chance. But if the Magic get them a back up center to go with Howard that could be a really big problem. Over all this is the lakers best team for the last five years if they only could shoot better and move the ball. The key will be team play. Pau has one good year in him Kobe will play better than in the next few years.

Looks like yet another Socal QB can't get the job done.

Not to worry. Nocal boy from Chico, Aaron Rogers will defend the honor of California.

Clippers, Spurs, Thunder, Mavs, Portland, etc, etc,
will eliminate you in the early rounds.

San Antonio vs. Miami in the finals. Who do ya like?

Go San Francisco Giants!
Go San Francisco 49'ers!
Go Sacramento Kings!

Congrats Larry!
Nice profile Justa.


Hey Sonny, I don't like the Spurs or the Heat in the Finals.

The Lakers will do.

Your boys have stayed above the Mendoza line since Jan 1st.
I know that is the only real goal Sac could have this year.
Wonder how long that will last.
Of course, you predicted a playoff run.......

LA Lakers 2009-2010 Back-To-Back NBA Champions

Not sure Green Bay can get past Pittsburgh. Since most graduates from my family graduated from Chico, gotta go with Rogers.

Getting bumped in the early rounds: Heard that before like 16 times.

Enjoy Monsoon Season


Phil's thoughts about Ron and his transition D, absolute. Ron establishes post position, rebounding, things like what happened in Denver, would pretty much make the frontline create shots, loose balls, points off turnovers.

As others have stated, I respect Jerry West, but Respectfully have to Disagree.

First of all, Jerry has too many green ghosts in his closet from all those failed finals appearances against the Keltics.

Secondly, did West make the Keltics comments before or after the Big Green Slime-Bucket injured his hip? Which team is older Jerry? If you're talkng age differential, then the Keltics shouldn't have made it to the finals last year.

Lastly, talent and systems are both important. But let's take a look at a few examples:

Rick Adelman's Blazers:

Very talented. Drexler

For the record, Ron Artest has been Boston's #1 nemesis of the past ten years. Back in Indiana, he helped the Pacers, sweep the Celtics. Came to L.A. Artest made all the difference in game 7. Meaning, Ron Artest stands alone in this distinction. He is the only player on an opposing team to have swept the Celtics in the playoffs and defeated them in a Championship Game 7 in the Finals . Props to Ron.

I hate touch screens for just that reason. Posted before I completed my thoughts!!! Arghhhhhh!!!!

Drexler, Porter, Kersey, Duckworth, et al. System: Princeton Offense. RINGS: ZERO!!!

Kings talented. System: Princeton Offense. RINGS: ZERO!!!!!!

Coaching Staff: Good at Developing Young Players, NOT CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBRE!


Other Examples are Available...

Lakers & Bulls: Championship Coaching Staff, Talented Players & Championship System...

Interesting to Note: Coaches for Both Wilt's 1967 Philadelphia Championship Team & '72 Lakers Championship Both Played with Tex Winter at USC and Coached by the man that inspired Tex's Triangle Offense. Both Sharman and Alex Hannum ran some Triangle plays in their systems.

Add to the Championship Coaching staff of the '72 Lakers: Bill Sharman & KC Jones were both multi-championship players on the hated Keltics.

Championship Teams rarely exist without a synergy of players, coaches and system!


Go Lakers!!!!!!

1. The Lakers defense has sucked recently. That'll change.

2. The Lakers are not getting "long in the tooth" they've just played a lot of games in the last few years.

3. Andrew Bynum will have to really step up his game... next year.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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


There's been a lot of talk around the various blogs today about defense. West said something that stuck out to me, "the reason you can't play defense is because you can't!". Which really points more to motivation than anything else. All of the various wrinkles and schemes aside, players are either going to make the extra effort or they're not. Regardless of age or speed, every Laker is capable of playing agressive, effective defense. It's simply a matter of stringing their good sections together and keeping them focused and that's no small matter for a team that's famously attention-challenged.

Of course it takes great players AND a system to win a title. You can't win the ultimate prize without either.

I thought Jerry did give Sharman credit for the success in 72. He instituted the morning shoot around of game days that the whole league would copy. He also got Wilt to sacrifice his scoring, moved Jerry to PG thus allowing Stumpy to become focus more on scoring.

I do know Jerry said 1969 was the most disappointng season because he felt the Lakers had more talent and was a better team than the Celtics. So, even if he downplays the importance of coaching....his statement about that 1969 season would contradict that sentiment. Sharman got Wilt to buy into his system and Wilt really respected him. Conversely Van Breda Kolff opened fueded with Wilt. That is coaching and it cost the Lakers a title in 69.

Jerry was a GREAT player. A fine general manager. However, he was a mediocre coach @ best. Trust in Phil.

Contrary to West's remarks; this team can play defense when they have too. This team basically got lazy in the first 40 games, Pau in particular! I'm confidence that PJ would tune them out and get them ready for the 2nd half of the season. Artest will be more focused. Andrew will finally proof his worth as an all-stars caliber center. As bad as they play in the first 45 games, they're only 6 games behind the Spurs which IMHO, would win the best records this year. The stat that I care most is the number of win/loss against the eastern conference teams. Only Boston has less number of losses than us at 7. Miami starts to show the sign of wear and tear. Their big three logged in over 40 minutes so far. We will need a home court advantage in the Finals, therefore, they will need to have a strong second half. There is only 37 regular season games left. At most, they will have to finish 30-7 the rest of the way to finish 62-20.

So JW don’t think the Lakers will be good for much longer,...

I agree! But I'm not thinking "much longer", I'm thinking NOW!!!!!!

Lakers is a pretty good team NOW! I don't care how "bad" they'll be next season, and JW statement is pretty obvious. But today, Lakers is a very good team.

Next season is all about REBUILD!!! So let's get this one while we can.


I thought I remembered Jerry giving props to Sharman after he led the Lakers to the title in 1972. Here's an article from a couple of days after LA won the chip where Jerry said they would've won a few more if Sharman had been the coach.

1972 NBA Champs Los Angeles Lakers
Two days after Game 5 clincher May 9, 1972

Team can improve, says Fred Schaus
Lakers Better Next Year?

By Dwain Asper
Staff Writer
Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain will be back. So will coach
Bill Sharman. General Manager Fred Schaus sees no reason
why the Los Angeles Lakers won't be better next season.

"I know it sounds ridiculous," Schaus admitted as he reflected
on the tremendous 1971-72 campaign. "But 'this team can improve.
It should improve."

The Lakers capped the season by whipping the New York
Knicks 114-100 in the fifth and final game of the playoffs Sunday
night at the Forum. That gave them a 4-1 series edge and the NBA

In reaching that, lofty pinnacle for the first time in 12 years in Los Angeles,
the Lakers carved out a 69-13 regular season record, best in NBA history.
And they cruised through a 33-game winning streak, unequaled in pro
sports history.

"It's amazing what Sharman and KC. Jones did with this team." said
Schaus. "I can't say enough about their coaching job. But when you realize
that the players will not have to go through an orientation program next fall,
you can see what I mean. They should be better."

Chamberlain said he has one year to go on his contract with the Lakers.
"I have a couple of things to iron out on it," he declared. But I'll be back."

West has not agreed to terms for next season as yet. It is believed
he wants a whopping salary in the $200,000 per year range. "I'll be back,"
he promised, indicating that he is close to signing.

Chamberlain, the mighty center, will be 36 on August 21. West, the
super-guard, will be 34 on May 28.

"The way Wilt is playing, he can go on for at least three more years,"
said Schaus. "Jerry surely is good for a couple more seasons." There is
no question about the rest of the starters: forwards Happy Hairston
and Jim McMillian and guard Gail Goodrich.

"It may be the' best starting five that ever played the game," observed Schaus,
who has been in the NBA for a dozen years. "All we have to do is fill in a
couple of spots."

One man who figures to add to the Laker firepower next season is
Keith Erickson, who can play either forward or guard. He was knocked
out: most this record-breaking season with a knee injury. Eventually
surgery was required.

The Lakers also figure Travis Grant of Western- Kentucky will add some
scoring punch. He's a 6-8 forward. However, Schaus lost his other
top draft choice, guard Jim Price of Louisville, to the ABA.

Of course, Sherman's contributions to this magnificent season cannot be
overemphasized. Said West: "If he had come here a few years ago, we
would have won some championships before this."

Sharman communicated with the players as no other coach in Laker history.
Schaus, Bill van Breda Kolff and Joe Mullaney all were winners, but they
never were able to pluck the big plum.

Sharman did it in his first season. And now he stands in a unique position: the
only coach ever to win championships in three pro leagues. Sharman won the
now defunct American Basketball League with the Cleveland Pipers in 1961-2
season. He guided the Utah Stars to the ABA championship last year.

Those were great," cracked Sharman, whose strained vocal cords barely lasted through the playoffs. "But the last one is the best one."

Sharman gave the players credit for the tremendous season. "They worked hard," he declared. "And contrary to what you may have read or heard, I never' had any problem with any of them. They came to all our practices. And that includes Chamberlain."

Hard work was Sharman's creed. The Lakers were forced to go through regular calisthenics just like track athletes. They endured day-of-the-game practice sessions.

"I'm just, lucky I survived," laughed West.
But mainly Sharman outlined new roles for Chamberlain and West,
two acknowledged Super stars in the NBA. Individual accomplishments
were minimized in this new concept.

Sharman had learned in his five-year association with Bill Russell that
team thinking was most important to success. Before Russell joined the
Celtics in 1956, they never had won a Championship.

Sharman spent five frustrating years in Boston before Russell
arrived. Then he enjoyed four championships in the next five years
before quitting to become a coach.

Sharman convinced Chamberlain he would be much more effective by
concentrating on defense and grabbing rebounds. Furthermore, Sharman
got Chamberlain to make the quick outlet, pass which triggered the Laker
fast break.

For the first, time in his career, West became a play-maker. He led the
NBA in assists as the middle-man on the break. In the past. West was a
skillful one-on-one guard with great, scoring ability. Although scoring output
diminished this season, West's new role made the Lakers a far more
versatile team.

Others were able to contribute as West and Chamberlain took on new
responsibilities. Sharman’s ability to set these revolutionary ideas
across stands as a tribute to his coaching genius. He may be the best thing,
that ever happened to the Lakers.

As some of you know I satisfied my hoop fix last summer by researching every regular season and playoff game Kareem and Wilt played against each other (1969-70 thru 1973-74). I also saved a few of the articles from the 72 finals. And since we're talking about Jerry West today...I thought I'd re-post one of the articles paying homage to him after finally winning the title.


NBA Finals 1972
Game 5 May 7, 1972

Years of emptiness over for West in Lakers finest hour

Staff Writer
Sunday was the day that hell froze over.' The sun
sank in the East. Howard Hughes declared bankruptcy.
Chairman Mao received the Pulitzer Peace prize.
The Lakers won the NBA championship.

Jerry West's dirty dozen years of emptiness were filled to
overflowing. In the absurdity that was the Laker dressing room,
Jerry West, 33, savored, relished and basked in the glow of
eternal triumph. Forgotten in the wake of a 114-100 elimination
of the New York Knicks were the abysmal failures of the past of
seven times coming out second best in the championship series.

West clutched a glass of champagne, the drink of champions, and said:.
"The way I feel right now I could take on Wilt Chamberlain."

The bridesmaid was suddenly a bride. No. 2 was suddenly No. 1
It was a madhouse. . .a sea of milling humanity. . .guys with microphones
thrusting them in every Laker face. . .cameramen pushing and shoving
and shining their lights on every gold jersey they could spy. . .reporters
with pencils and pads asking the same, silly questions. . .and everybody
sipping champagne, toasting the Southland's first professional basketball

"I can't talk but I can still holler,' said Bill Sharman, the mastermind.
"This is the greatest." Sharman' said Chamberlain deserved the MVP
award but he-was quick to: extol the virtues of West, who barely shot 30
per cent against the Knicks. "Without Jerry," Sharman pointed out, "there
would have been no leadership."

West had 12 years to prepare for this moment, his first scent of success in
16 years or since he was a member of a high school championship at East
Banks high in West Virginia in 1956. "It's an unbelievable feeling. . .something
I've always wanted to experience, but other than that I don't know what to say. I'm speechless:"

"I don't think there's a happier man in the world," ventured Jack
Kent Cooke, owner of the Lakers, the Forum and most of everything else
west of the Mississippi. "I'm even happier than Jerry West."

Thirty minutes after the epochal moment of triumph, West sat by his
locker and his appearance was one of deep, grateful relief.

He talked about yesterday ---- about how he felt he would never play
again after the debilitating knee injury — and about tomorrow, the
uncertain days of the future.

"Last year was the worst," he said of another Laker season that came up
short. "People would always want to know what went wrong and then there
was the injury. I didn't know if I'd ever play again. I had many misgivings.
I didn't think I could come back and do the things I have. It was fantastic.
Maybe I was lucky."

Of tomorrow, West said, "It's going to be awful hard to come back. I've
had several attractive offers."

He declined to elaborate but he has discussed retirement in the past —
especially after the frustrating seventh game loss to the Boston Celtics in
1969. There is talk that he is going to try to negotiate a two-year $600,000
contract with Cooke.

"I don't even care about next year," West insisted. "I'm not going, to talk
about a contract until Mr. Cooke say it's time." West paid tribute to
Shaman's coaching abilities. "We would have won other championships if he
had been our coach," Jerry said. "We could have walked, but he said run."

Other Lakers, besieged by the mob, offered these insights into how it feels to
be the best. Pat Riley: "I'm about nine feet off the ground ... I've been reborn.
I've been on winning teams before but never on the best basketball team in the
world, and that's what we are. I think my wife has spent all the playoff money
($17,000 per man)."

Happy Hairston: "Wilt was the big difference. He showed how dominating he
can be"

Gail Goodrich: "A storybook ending to a storybook season. I think we’ll
appreciate this even more during the off-season. I won't have to explain why
we lost."

Jim McMillian: "We wanted to win and we did. I feel overwhelmed."

Wilt Chamberlain: "It was a miracle of medicine. I didn't feel the pain would
make that much difference, so I played. Besides, Jerry West knew I would."

Finally, it was Elgin Baylor, the super star who was not a part of the super
moment, who said in summation: "Jerry West really deserved this."

The comments of Jerry West is just a pinch on the fat of the laker defense. I think at this point in time, the laker team needs a challenge, and Jerry West is the best man to challenge this aging team.

I have the utmost respect for the logo. That being said, these are the same comments that critics made last year about the Spurs and Celtics, which coincidentally both have the best records in their respective conferences this year. Andrew is extremely young, and Shannon is a nice youthful player as well. Let us not forget that we have not been at full strength this entire year. Theo and Matt Barnes will help us on the defensive end by March and April. The only thing that is missing is concerted effort, point guards have been blowing by Fisher for three years now. Moot point Mr. West.

I think Jerry West made this comment just to piss off Kobe Bryant.

A pissed off Kobe Bryant is an unstoppable force.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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


well, if the Lakers stand pat, this group might have one more year, since Phil will likely be gone. the future is yet to be seen. we don't know what will happen or what factors that could never have been known might come to play.

this is another non-story. there wasn't anything said that would be surprising, unless you wanted to start a fight. then the words could be framed more provacatively.

"hey Tweek, Craig says he's gonna kick your ....! he chooses you!"

@The Triangulator: nice read about the championship team in which Wilt played, they used principles of the Triangle. That makes me wonder about Phil Jackson in a parallele universe coaching Wilt, that would be the perfect combination and would result in multiple rings.

@LRob: nice read on the 1972 season. This season fascinates me, because they were a very old team. And played like a real team. So really I don't understand why Jerry West made thsi remark about the today Lakers. Because he lived it.

I am sure some folks are calling Jerry West a Troll or a Poser now!!!

I think the reason Jerry West said what he said about the Lakers was to wake up the team. Besides of the fact he was stating the obvious of lacking of defense, nothing can do that waking up faster than to say the Celts had a realistic chance of winning it all. If that does not inspire the Lakers to hustle on defense from now on, the 3-peat light slowly dims. And coincidentally the much hated Celts will be here on Sunday.

Tom D, great observation about the Logo's lack of proper consideration for the importance of a system as opposed to talent. Jerry is unquestionably the greatest judge of basketball talent ever, but he definitely doesn't see the importance of a system, nor of the coach and the mindset he infuses into his team. In that regard, Phil during playoffs is worth an extra 8 pts per game.

And I will go on record as saying that the Lakers have the best defensive team in the the playoffs. The reason "they can't play defense" isn't because they can't, it's because they WON' the regular season. When the playoffs roll around, I predict their interior size and length plus Artest, Kobe, and Barnes on the perimeter are going to totally clamp down on all the punk teams that cruised up the middle on them during the regular season. In fact, I'm going to put money on it, G Money. If I were you, I wouldn't do likewise on your boys. they have the talent, but not the system, the coach, or the interior size and length to get the job done in the playoffs. The Lakers do...and will.

By Chris Tomasson for
Here is excerpt:
DENVER -- The Lakers' Andrew Bynum has a good shot to be the second-best center of this decade following Orlando's Dwight Howard. But he's setting his sights even higher.
Bynum believes he can be the best center of the decade.
"Of course. Of course,'' Bynum said in an interview with FanHouse following the Lakers' 107-97 win at Denver on Friday. "I just need to get the opportunity to do something like that. I believe that (he can be the best).''

Justa profile = fun to finally see.

Happy Monday, y'all!


By Kevin Ding for the OC Register.
Here is excerpt:
Andrew Bynum didn't let an 0-for-4 start trying to shoot with a new sleeve over his hyperextended right elbow stop him from conscientiously and carefully challenging shot after shot from Denver's drivers despite one early foul.
Bynum's work near the rim was huge in stopping Denver's early attack from leaving the Lakers in too big a hole.

Love this post. FCM - it seems to be bringing out the best in our collective opinions.

Jon K. - there is definitely some challenge to what Logo said. He is in Kobe's backyard and knew any soundbits would get covered both in LAT and all OC papers.

Corner J: I totally agree. The playoffs bring out a completely different mindset - especially in a veteran team like the one we have.

They have a lot of mileage BUT when they need to be cohesive, focused and operating as one unit (i.e. playoffs), I go with the Lakers.

Let's look at the last few years. All of the quick guards have gotten their teams into the playoffs. But they haven't lasted. Rondo is an exception but he had 3-4 veteran guys so he had to play in a system because they slowed him down.

This is why I love LO's comments. He is always talking about playing as a unit, team, focused on the prize. This is very different than other teams who are spending this whole season trying to figure each other out.

We are very fortunate to have such a veteran, championship team. It can be really frustrating during the regular season when the quick guards are lighting us up with season or career highs. But we have to remember, their season ends on April 13. The Lakers have to keep working another two months.


Cheers - PLG

I ran into Shack at the Orlando airport after the Lakers had been swept by a less talented Utah team. With head hanging low, he signed an autograph for me and went on his way. That was the year before Phil arrived. The next year, with a less talented team overall, they won the title. I can't help but wonder how many rings West would have right now if he had played for a great coach.

By Kurt Helin for NBC Sports
The Lakers have not been a bad defensive team — they are 10th in the league in defensive efficiency (points given up per possession) — but there have been lapses. Ugly, high-profile lapses. Those lapses tend to happen when they let the other team get transition points or early offense points, before the Lakers can set their defense. Basically, when more athletic teams can run on them.
Since the return of Andrew Bynum to the starting lineup, the Lakers defense is better when it gets set. They have made a point of keeping Bynum home to protect the paint. The wing defenders have done a better job of funneling players looking to drive toward the baseline and toward the long arms of Bynum (and Pau Gasol).
All that bodes well for the playoffs, when the pace of games tends to slow down. To beat the Lakers teams will need some easy transition buckets, because while the Lakers are older — 10 players on the roster are 30 or more — they are still very good if you let them get into their system.

It's no secret that Jerry West stresses out on things. He's probably looking at how the Lakers are playing up to this point, seeing how this team is just going through the motions, acting like it's their inherent right to be the champions, and that the regular season means nothing. Well, I think he's just getting his point across that this is the time to start turning it on. It's time to start putting a little heart and soul into these games now. It's the end of January, it's the 2nd half of the season. It's time to flip the switch.

The Boston Celtics look like the hungrier team right now. Since the Lakers and Celtics are so evenly matched, whoever has the most hunger, whoever wants that ring the most is going to take it. It's going to be a fight, just like last year. And HCA will be crucial against the Celtics. We do not want to go to Boston for a game 7.

Go Lakers!
Go Aztecs! Beat BYU!

Perhaps the great former Laker Player and GM from Cabin Creek tried to wake up or motivate the Lakers with a bank shot (i.e., "If there's a loose ball now, how often do they get it?"). And just maybe Lakers responded as some during Friday night’s game went after loose balls -- including Kobe going to the floor after a a loose ball with 4:15 left in Qtr 3 -- contrary to West’s assertion.

Snip from the article posted above by Laker Tom:

"Bynum's 7.8 field-goal attempts per game ranks fifth on the team, even behind reserve guard Shannon Brown's 9.0."

What's wrong with that picture, Brown shooting more than Bynum??

Comparing Bynums numbers to Howard isn't really a fair representation. If Howard played with Kobe, Pau and LO he probably wouldn't avg the numbers he does now.

For Drew to avg higher numbers he will need to play more minutes and get more shots.

Jerry West is the best and self critical to a fault. He flies to close to his competitive fire.

He was always roaming the halls of the Forum or driving the freeway during games to distance himself from the personal anguish of a possible loss.

A halftime years ago I was with a friend who asked him if we were going to win a certain playoff game we were a few points down in and he said, not unless some of our over paid players step up.

It's understandable that as a coach he'd see it from a similar view. After 11 rings and counting, you have a wider perspective.

Laker fan-

Its a tough call because I know how knowledgeable and unbiased you are but Im gonna have to agree with Phil and Jerry on this one.

Comparing Bynums numbers to Howard isn't really a fair representation. If Howard played with Kobe, Pau and LO he probably wouldn't avg the numbers he does now.

For Drew to avg higher numbers he will need to play more minutes and get more shots.

Posted by: Art - FL Laker Fan | January 24, 2011 at 08:35 AM

How bout comparing them using the eyeball test?

How bout comparing them using the eyeball test?
Posted by: 131-92 |

Comparing them using your criteria then I would say they are both equal.
The each have two.

You guys pretty much nailed it on the head about West's comments. He's a perfectionist and he's also trying to call the team out. He also makes subtle digs at Phil because they have such differing philosophies on what makes a champion and there's also been friction between the two after PJ didn't allow him in team-only meetings his first year. Jerry's made a few digs in the past such as saying the Lakers don't have an offense and to give it to Kobe. There's also a well-deserved amount of respect the Lakers have for him for obvious reasons. So even if they disagree with him, they're not going to say it because of how much they respect them. And in a way, it will wake them. Statistically the Lakers defense isn't bad and it's actually improved. It just hasn't been consistently executed

Jerry West is, and always will be the Man. He doesn't say stuff just to motivate Kobe and the Lakers, he just says what he thinks is the truth. He didn't predict that the Celts would win the title, he said they have an excellent chance, which they do. So do the Lakers.


By Chris Tomasson for
Here is excerpt:
DENVER -- The Lakers' Andrew Bynum has a good shot to be the second-best center of this decade following Orlando's Dwight Howard. But he's setting his sights even higher.
Bynum believes he can be the best center of the decade.
"Of course. Of course,'' Bynum said in an interview with FanHouse following the Lakers' 107-97 win at Denver on Friday. "I just need to get the opportunity to do something like that. I believe that (he can be the best).''

my response: I read that article. I think both you and he are missing a point.

If Andrew were focused on rebounding he'd get an average of 5 - 10 more
pts. His offensive & defensive rebounding numbers would be up. The fact
that he was rebounding would mean that he was actually in a good position.
If he was in a good position he would get the ball, because then he could

He has been a featured C against teams which did not have a strong post
player and in those game he had great numbers. Teams like phx.

Also, if he quit picking up silly fouls.

I know that you think going to the world cup was the right thing to do. Here
are some interesting counter examples:

Blake Griffin. Hearing about what he did as he was recovering from his knee
surgery is music to my heart.

snippet: Blake Griffin Workout Revealed

Blake Griffin - Clippers Power Forward

At 6'10" and 250 pounds, Blake Griffin is destroying the competition. With high-flying acrobatics and a steady stream of poster-esque dunks, Griffin is making a name for himself in his NBA rookie season.

Blake Griffin started playing basketball at Oklahoma Christian School, where he played under his father, the head coach. He led his high school basketball team to 4 state championships, being named player of the year 2 times along the way. Graduating as a 5star recruit, he was considered as one of the highest ranked recruits in the history of Oklahoma.

Blake decided to play for Oklahoma University, after being ranked as the 3rd best power forward in the country. He averaged 18.8 points, 12 rebounds and one block over his two-year college stint.

In the 2009 NBA Draft, Griffin was selected first overall by the Los Angeles Clippers. Unfortunately, in his last preseason game, he suffered a non-displaced stress fracture of his left patella that resulted in him being sidelined for the entire season.

After successful surgery and a long year of rehab, Blake Griffin is back on the court flying over the competition.

Here are the Blake Griffin Workout Secrets revealed.
Blake Griffin Posterizes Knicks

Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin Workout

"I think the thing that's going to result in him being a factor right away next year is his attitude, his work ethic, his willingness and desire to be perfect. He wants to be the best. He thinks by making the sacrifices and working ahead of time and being in as good as shape as he can be will help him reach his goals."

This statement, made by Coach Bob Hill, shows Griffin's desire to be the best.

Blake starts his workouts by doing a warm-up that was designed by Rich Williams, his Strength and Conditioning Coach. To prepare Griffin's body for basketball, they do a lot of static and dynamic stretching. Hill also has Blake do a lot of ball handling drills such as 2-ball stationary dribbling and 2 ball dribbling through cones to improve his hand speed and hand-eye coordination.

Blake Griffin also works with San Francisco-based trainer Frank Matrisciano. Frank is all about extreme workouts - he puts Griffin through some tough workouts as part of his survival-of-the-fittest training.
Blake Griffin Works Out
Blake Griffin

Matrisciano's style of training is very different from the norm. It's common to see his athletes do a lot of weighted rope climbing and sand-hill runs. For instance, on specific days Frank has Griffin running ankle-deep in sand while dragging weighted harnesses - how's that for unique? But this is exactly what Griffin needs - and wants. He takes his workouts very seriously.

The workouts "let you know what kind of shape you're not in," Matrisciano said.

Blake is known to put in 8 hour days. To understand how difficult Matrisciano's workouts are, for every 10 players who give his seven-week program a try, only 3 complete it.

you may recall that we talked about Bynum's dedication after snubbing Kareem,
so that he could go to Italy and we all remember him going to the world cup.

There are many things that you can say about Bynum's attitude and what he
deserves based upon what he's done. The only thing I can offer is that other
players are doing different things and they are having different/better

Matt Barnes.

from our own blog:
Barnes' significant progress within the last nine days shouldn't be too surprising, considering he shared his initial optimism and determination about expediting the eight-week timetable after the first day of rehab where he measured the knee's flexibility and noticed the knee's swelling was fairly minimal. "That's what the plan is, but you know me, I'm going to work as hard as I possibly can to be back sooner," Barnes said, "but to make sure I'm healthy at the same time." Still it's compelling to read his Twitter feeds that detail how exactly he's making progress while staying mentally engaged, which includes a planned visit Monday afternoon to Mattel Children's Hospital, UCLA and continually studying the guard's role within the triangle offense.


Coahes don't win championships....players do. How many rings would Phil have without MJ? many as he won while MJ was roaming the outfield for the Birmingham Barons.

You should hope that Kupchak has the same insights as Jerry when it comes to "reloading"......i.e. replaced Silk with Big Game, brought in Mo Lucas, McCanDo0, Scott for Stormin' Norman, etc.....

How many rings did Phil get with Smush pushin' the peel? many as he won while MJ.............

You can have all the system you want but if your roster resembles the Sisters of Mercy (R.I.P. Chick) ain't winnin' Jack (Nicholson)!!!!

The contributor who said the Celtics are aging is right are we. The most frightening thing to see this post season would be another Celtic/Laker rematch...sorta like Holyfield vs Foreman...the geriatric olympics!!!!!!!

I love the Lakers and the most exciting thing for me is watching a healthy Bynum mature. With Gasol good for another 3-4 years we have a potent nucleus to build long as Drew stays healthy!!! Hopefully Kupchak is crafty enough to bag a Griffin or Durantula when they are testing free agency. Get Colisson out of pergatory in Indiana (there's your PG) and some "defensive" minded role players and you've got another 5-7 years of supremecy.

...and please do not talk to me about Love or Curry. I have no use for stat sheet stuffers who will give up as much on the defensive end as they contribute. Love couldn't defend me and Curry couldn't defend my grandmother!!!!

Jerry West is right - the Lakers are slow and it's killing their defense. Watch Fisher try to guard virtually any point guard, or Artest guard an athletic small forward (Durant), or Pau try to guard a real power forward (like Blake Griffin) and the Lakers look OLD. But that doesn't mean the Lakers can't do anything to fix it. For this year, they are still short a guard and they have the 5.7 mil trade exception they got in the Sasha trade. As we get closer to the trade deadline it wouldn't surprise me to see them add a faster, perhaps defensive minded guard, which could help out quite a bit against all the athletic point guards they are going to run into (Westbrook, Chris Paul, Parker/Hill/Ginobli, Terry, Rondo, Wade etc). In addition, Barnes will be back in a month and he is probably the most energetic player on the team.

And, lets not forget, there's a good chance Dwight Howard will be looking for a new home in another year or so. A Bynum for Howard trade is not out of the question (as long as Bynum is healthy) and, as much as I like Bynum, Howard is a defensive beast.

I agree with Jerry. The Celtics will win the title.
The Lakers bench has not panned out as we had hoped.

Celtics, once fully healthy with Perkins, will dominate inside,
and frankly, should have one last year's title.

Lakers should try to move/release Kobe and Bynum to free up cap
$ for Dwight Howard in 2012 free agency. Get rid of Artest after this season as well.

West is right.

But understand that he's playing a mind game with the Lakers players.
That's all.
West knows the game about as good as anyone. Period.

Kobe is slower.
Pau is slower
Fisher well he's always been slow.
Bynum he's always been slow.
Artest is slower.

These are the facts and its showing up on their defense rotation.
Boston has the same issues; the only reason why they are having better success right now is that they're are controlling the game better than the Lakers are.

Boston knows their slow the Lakers have not accepted this fact.
Mainly Kobe.

The Lakers have been in the NBA title mix for the last 25 years.
Pat Riley got 5
Jackson's got 5
6 great seasons without winning the title

Great coaches. Great Systems. Great Players. Great Management. Equals NBA Titles. Every once in a while a team may win on pure heart. but it will not last for long.

If the Lakers don't get another superstar player within 3 years
and another Great Coach they will hit a wall. That's for sure.

The good things for Laker fans is this: we will not stay against the wall for long!
Let's just get one more ring!
Kobe's got one more ring left in the tank!

Go Lakers.

Lakersteveo...Uh Ron Ron pretty much holds all the top SF's under their average. You can't stop great players but you can make them throw up more shots to get their points. What did he do to Durant last year in the playoffs? Something like 10% point below his shooting average. Ditto Melo, Pierce...etc. Kobe is one of the better defenders at the 2, Bynum and Pau change shots in the paint. BTW, Blake G did pretty much nothing the 1st 3 q's last time they met. Outside of the PG spot this team has plenty of good defenders. The key is effort. This is still practice season and when the games really count they will step it up. Count on it.

I am really upset with Jerry west who I have always thought of him as one of the Best GM's of all time, and yet he left the Lakers. when he should have stayed. yes the Lakers are getting older but and Need to start Rebuilding. I am more worried about them coming to the games. wanting to make a statement when they don't play up to their talent. I don't Believe they can turn on anytime they want. Boston is a older team and yet most people think they can win. I am hoping the Lakers will make a trade to bring three point shoot who has speed. I said that last yr they needed to Pick up a point Guard who can shoot the Three and who has speed. why doesn't jerry just work with the Lakers. I am from the East Coast and have loved the Lakers for yrs

i think jerry west is right ,if the playoff were to start today , and, he is right about phil jackson triangle you can only go that well so many time, and phil been there 11 time it seem that the phil is trying some new thing and if the laker can get it all down they should look different in the play off l.a must start defending the three pt shot better. it seen fisher is only there to keep kobey happen lamar bring the ball down kobey bring the ball down so what excatly is fish role in the triangle? and andrew bynum stay in foul difficulty becuse gasol,and lomar odem ,are lazy and fish can,t stay in front of most nba guard and kobey mr high baskeball I.Q would stop gambling and defend his man straight up most team say ok kobey we are going to shoot three until you come out and defend me ,phil jackson response the team won,t cont. to shoot at that high percentage the whole game that his take on defending the three and of course when the laker decide to defend there, true nba point guard drive and kicks leaving andrew in foul troble taking are best defender, no not ron artist off the floor, phil needs to start shannon brown, for two reason it would build shannon conf. on the floor and cut down on his turnover by the time the playoff start and shannon can finish at the rim, and fish can,t anymore ,and i believe is a better defender don,t get me wrong i love fish a class guy but that don,t win game and the same thing with ron artist some time he seem like he stuck or running with heavy legs at 6 ft 7 ron barly get over the rim this all add up to the laker are old and can they reach down in that tank one more time will see in in the play off and it don,t look like la is going to have the best record in the west i believe they can after all that what make it so great win you win and sting so bad win you loose woo!!!

Jerry West is right. Jerry West also believes the Lakers can still win it all even though the celtics look better right now. Lakers just got Bynum back and haven't hit their stride yet. Don't doubt the Logo's remarks and don't doubt the reason for those remarks. He is speaking the truth yet also speaking it in order to motivate.



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