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Things to watch in Lakers-Cleveland matchup

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1. Put the game away early. There's no use analyzing what the Cavaliers (8-29) might bring to the Lakers (27-11) when they square up Tuesday night at Staples Center (nothing). There's no use assessing what LeBron James' decision to take his talents to South Beach has done to the Cleveland franchise (drove it into the ground). And there's no use dissecting what Anderson Varejao's season-ending ankle injury will do to the Cavaliers (they've already lost 10 consecutive games at this point and have lost 20 of their last 21; does any setback to their star player really mean much at this point?).

So a Lakers victory should be inevitable and anything other outcome would be unacceptable, considering they have won six of their last seven games, are on a four-game winning streak and pledged they have learned their lesson after losing four games to Milwaukee, Miami, San Antonio and Memphis by double-digit margins. Still, the Lakers have lost four games to sub. 500 opponents this season, Cleveland Coach and former Laker Byron Scott knows the team pretty well and mostly every opponent treats a meeting with L.A. as the most important game of the season.

The key to avoid making this game harder than it should be doesn't just entail having a fast start. The Lakers have done well in that category, outscoring opponents in the first quarter by a combined score of 1,022-870. The Lakers' complacency usually takes place in later stretches in the game as indicated with the closer margin of victory in the second and third quarters, respectively (990-916, 983-962) and in losing the fourth quarter (942-932). The latter statistic reveals less about the Lakers' ability to close out games and more to do with them allowing teams to creep back after building comfortable leads.

With the Lakers visiting Golden State (15-22) on a back-to-back Wednesday, there's no use to keep tonight's result in question and require a substantial effort from the starters to secure the victory. There are two specific things the Lakers can improve on that would provide true meaning to an otherwise meaningless game.

2. Continue to sharpen on defense. What the Lakers demonstrate statistically  against the Cavaliers will reveal very little. Cleveland ranks 26th in total offense (94.24 points per game), 29th in field-goal percentage (42.8%), and 23rd in total defense (103.68 points per game) and field-goal percentage defense (47.6%). Beyond one-time All-Star Mo Williams, the Cavaliers feature a nondescript roster in Anthony Parker, Daniel Gibson, J.J. Hickson, Ramon Sessions, Christian Eyenga and Alonzo Gee. But hey, at least the Cavs won't commit too many turnovers (they are are ranked second overall with 13.49 per contest).

What will be revealing for the Lakers, however, entails how many good tangible habits the team demonstrates that can provide practical results in future games. The most important one points to their new defensive scheme, which emphasizes guarding players on the perimeter, forcing opponents to drive baseline instead of the middle of the lane and front-line players staying close to the basket. As much as the Lakers have credited this new scheme in their past four victories, both Coach Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant concede that the team is still working out the kinks. The point totals and field-goal percentage may very well be more of a reflective of how poorly Cleveland plays than anything else. But the Lakers can at least solidify more of their foundation.

3. Iron out roles for Matt Barnes' absence. With Barnes expected to be sidelined for eight weeks following surgery Tuesday on a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee, Jackson floated several different options to fill his void. That ranged anywhere between playing Kobe Bryant playing more at small forward while giving Shannon Brown more run at shooting guard, an increased starter's role for Ron Artest and more playing time for Luke Walton and Devin Ebanks.

The Lakers' victory over the Knicks showed Bryant strictly playing at shooting guard, Brown scoring 16 points in 18 minutes (around his season average), Artest playing pesky defense (sometimes too much) in 34 minutes, Walton playing a nondescript seven minutes and Ebanks remaining on the bench. Jackson has said the lineup combinations will vary depending on matchup, but a game such as tonight gives him a great opportunity to truly assess which options work best. Assuming the Lakers create a large enough cushion, Jackson will have the luxury of giving everyone an equal chance without having too short of a leash.

-- Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Miami forward LeBron James hugs former teammate Jawad Williams following the Heat's 118-90 victory over the Cavaliers in early December. Credit: Aaron Josefczyk / Reuters

 
Comments () | Archives (76)

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You have a choice:

Develop Ebanks while Barnes is out (which could turn into a blessing in disguise for the playoffs) OR.......................Look for playing time for a soon to be 31 years old slow as molasses, can't shoot or defend, has no business in the league...........Luke Walton?

What do you do?

Posted by: pfunk36 | January 11, 2011 at 02:39 PM
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Man, why don't you spoon feed us? Defer to Phil Jackson.

By the way, Luke may have slowed down, but he's still a solid team defender and there is much more fluidity on the floor with him in the offense than ANY of our other options at small forward, including Artest or Barnes. The problem is that he has slowed down so much, but when he was on the floor the other night, he rotated fine on defense and was in the middle of everything on offense. The problem is exactly THAT with fans; he is so noticeable because he's always in the middle of things in the triangle (by design) that it gets on your nerves. Personally, I welcome it. He just needs some more playing time to shake off the rust that has accumulated.

Candidly, Phil has done a good job developing low draft picks who have contributed to championships teams. From Luke to Sasha to Farmar to Ariza to Shannon Brown, these are players who may not have EVER made it in the NBA but for their tutelage under Phil Jackson. So I disagree with pretty much everything you said in the above-referenced post.

Lakers should not take day off and finish Cavs by the end of the 3rd.

"A source who has been involved in the lengthy Anthony trade negotiations said the Nuggets believe they likely would buy out Billups anyway after the season, something that could be a negative in the community since the Denver native is beloved. So why not just pull the cord now, when the trading of Anthony already will be looked upon by many locals as a negative?

Billups is under contract next season for $14.2 million. However, the Nuggets, or whichever team he might be with at the end of the season, can buy him out after the season for $3.7 million. With Billups showing signs of slippage this season, the source said the Nuggets have been thinking about buying him out in addition to having thoughts about seeking to re-sign him at a lesser salary."

====

If this happens, he'll slip his tail down to South Beach. Chauncey Billups is all about winning.

WHY MM?? Why do we have to look at the princess when she's not even on this team anymore??


Lrob - I'm assuming you were talking to me? You talkin to me? LOL! I missed a lot today - busy busy - so I didn't catch your music post this morning. I'm not sure if what I heard on the way in is therefore in the same vein or not... but for what it's worth, it was Bobby Brown's Every Little Step.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0FKzPfsxA4

I hope this doesn't turn into another "trap" game.

As long as we play focused D for 48 minutes like we did against the Knicks, I think we'll be okay.

I would love for Ebanks to get some run in. I really enjoy watching the younger, athletic guys play, especially since it's been so long since we had a "young" team who got out and sprinted up and down the hardwood.

KobeMVP888,

Being long time blogger here you should’ve learned about pfunk36 as a PJ/Luke hater and pretty comfortable with the motto “Phil is a luckiest SOB and has no clue how to coach”. Don’t even bother to start an intelligent discussion, it’s a lost cause.

We need to watch on onslaught of threes by Moe and Boobie "Keyshia Cole" Gibson and the shiftiness of Antawn Jamison..Cleveland will hustle, so we have to match their energy..If we do that and punish them down low and in the half court set, we should be aiight!!!

RydeOrDie!

PFunk,

Luke is Phil's "son". If Phil stubbornly starts Luke over Ariza, than Ebanks has very little chance of getting minutes over Luke (I hope I'm wrong). It's baffling that an NBA veteran like Luke, who has no inside game, STILL can't hit a wide open shot. Either he refuses to work on his game, or he is mentally as fragile as they come (probably both).

This team looks like they may have turned the corner, and I expect some blowouts in the coming weeks, which would be the perfect time to give EBanks some minutes.

888- I disagree with everything you've said, pfunk36 is spot on with his analysis. But hey, that's my opinion.

It's game time Babbby, this will be a real deal Donnie Brook. The Cav's are a joke, my heart bleeds for Byron, a true Laker. The bench should have a fields day, padding their statistics.

But that's just my OPINION.

Don’t even bother to start an intelligent discussion, it’s a lost cause.

Posted by: LAL_Fan | January 11, 2011 at 03:08 PM
====

How sad.

I do not like looking at photos of LeCreep.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Lews- Thanks for the BUS, it's all good. Still no game day prayer, ok crue somebody step up. We need that Prayer, no UTZ or MAMBA24 sighting? The show must go on, but I sure miss the Mamba24.

CARRY ON!!!

@Jon K.
"I do not like looking at photos of LeCreep."

You're not the only one. By the way, congrats on your latest Friedman!

Luke is Phil's "son". If Phil stubbornly starts Luke over Ariza, than Ebanks has very little chance of getting minutes over Luke (I hope I'm wrong). It's baffling that an NBA veteran like Luke, who has no inside game, STILL can't hit a wide open shot.

Posted by: LAKER TRUTH | January 11, 2011 at 03:19 PM
====

Boy do I hope you are wrong, too! Remain baffled forever and always then because shooting the basketball is not Luke's role on this team. As for his lack of an inside game, that's not it either. He is there to facilitate in the triangle, which he does very well from the pinch post and the perimeter, and to play solid team defense, which is does adequately if you pay attention to the Lakers defensive schemes. The team is fluid on offense with Luke on the floor and on defense he knows when to switch and who to switch on to. He boxes out well and reads the passing lanes well. No wonder you bash Fisher, too. You look for all the wrong things.

Your TRUTH has become crystal clear. It's the Mamba Show and ONLY the Mamba Show. Phil has lucked into everything, Fish sucks and always has, and Luke Walton is an embarrassment who should have never even been in the NBA. Is that about right?

Dude...Can't believe how so many of you Lakerholic HATE on the KING. If he was wearing purple and gold you all be in his JOCK, just appreciate. Maybe one day he'll be a Laker, and the BANDWAGONERS will sing his PRAISE.

Go Heat 13 road wins and counting....you know you're counting too, quit LYING.

Phil Jackson is the Gordon Gekko of young talent..............the wrecker of them.

Posted by: pfunk36 | January 11, 2011 at 02:39 PM
-----------------
Now that was funny.

888- I disagree with everything you've said, pfunk36 is spot on with his analysis. But hey, that's my opinion.

Posted by: 2PHATT | January 11, 2011 at 03:19 PM
====

I can live with you supporting a completely amateur opinion while I stick with the decisions of the successful professionals. I'm glad that Phil Jackson coaches the Lakers and not you, pfunk36, or LAKER TRUTH. "Spot on" is hardly what I would call an amateur opinion based on little more than "I don't like Luke Walton and Phil Jackson is a bad coach." Yeesh.

From Luke to Sasha to Farmar to Ariza to Shannon Brown, these are players who may not have EVER made it in the NBA but for their tutelage under Phil Jackson.
Posted by: pfunk36
==============

Pfunk may or may not be 100% accurate in his comments, but then who is?
That being that case, that doesn't mean none of his points are valid.

And for accuracy sake, Shannon and Trevor both played for 4 other teams before coming to the Lakers, so I don't think that qualifies as Phil developing a player that "may not have EVER made it in the NBA ".

Ooops, correction.

From Luke to Sasha to Farmar to Ariza to Shannon Brown, these are players who may not have EVER made it in the NBA but for their tutelage under Phil Jackson.
Posted by: KobeMVP888
==============

Pfunk may or may not be 100% accurate in his comments, but then who is?
That being that case, that doesn't mean none of his points are valid.

And for accuracy sake, Shannon and Trevor both played for 4 other teams before coming to the Lakers, so I don't think that qualifies as Phil developing a player that "may not have EVER made it in the NBA ".

i bet the amount of laker fans trolling on other blogs is a lot less than heat fans. Why dont you support your team instead of wasting your time bashing others?
If the heat are as good as you say they are, we will see them in the finals. Otherwise, get through boston and orlando first.

@Justa – Bobby B....yes yes! Of course I was talking to you. So go check it at 9:43am and in your infamous words….acknowledge me.


@2phatt - see Justanon at 9:08am


@lakersrydeordie - I think Boobie is still out. He's missed the last few games with an ankle injury. I love you working in Keyshia in the conversation :-)

Art - FL Laker Fan,

You have no idea how many times I've heard Clevelanders say, "We should have never let go of Shannon Brown."

The truth is that Phil Jackson, our staff, and Kobe's example helped Shannon reach his potential in a way he could not find elsewhere in the NBA.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

LRob- What's up. Hey man, I said those sources, were full of bad intel. That story Stephen A. Smith wrote is full of errors. Apparently, Danny Ainge spoke with Sheed and Sheed told him directly he's not interested. As much as Sheed is a polarizing figure (I have always been a fan of his), he's not a waffler. When he said he was done, I figured it was a done deal.

Not to mention, there's literally no room on Bostons' squad for a 5th center. They have Shaq, Erden, Perkins, and Jermaine. Having 5 centers on a squad, desperate for backcourt depth would definitely defeat the purpose of balancing depth. Delonte West could be far more valuable, if fully healed, than a 37 year old Rasheed Wallace.

For now it's speculation and rumor, not a shred of logic or evidence to back it all up.
Posted by: Sean | January 11, 2011 at 03:02 PM
--------------------

Sean,

Thanks for the insight. I haven’t really dug deep into the story to see the validity. I will say this. Stephen A took a lot of heat…no pun intended….and was mocked by many when two weeks BEFORE “the decision” he said his sources told him that Lebron, DWade and Bosh had all agreed to sign with Miami. I happened to run into Stephen A at that time, and questioned him about it...he was adamant that he would’ve never went on record if he didn’t have reliable sources.

Anyway he’s been writing in Philly a long time and is well connected to Rasheed, a Philly native. If he said it was definite then I would trust his sources. If he said it was Sheed was considering it then that’s a different story. I just grabbed the story and posted it without really digging beyond the surface. I do appreciate you sharing your intel because it looks like you’ve done my homework than I have.

Just from my limited knowledge of Sheed from a fan perspective I always thought he was coming back and just wanted to skip the grind of training camp and most of the regular season. I feel he still has something left in the tank so I would prefer to see him on Boston and not Miami or SA.

888-I actually like Luke, and feel that PJ is the greatest coach ever to work in the lakers organization. But Luke days are over, it's a new day. He can't shoot to slow of foot to play "D", and other teams don't guard him. it's like Fish another liability on the floor. Let it go man, it's not worth the conversation, Luke is what he is, a practice and bench player.

MVP888,

I have asked you several times to just ignore my posts. We are NEVER going to agree when it comes to certain topics. I come here to express MY opinions and discuss all things Lakers with fellow Laker fans, NOT to start a fight, or to hurl insults at anyone who disagrees with MY opinions. Please do not respond to me again. Much obliged.

Phil Jackson is the Gordon Gekko of young talent..............the wrecker of them.

Posted by: pfunk36 | January 11, 2011 at 02:39 PM
-----------------
Now that was funny.

Posted by: LRob | January 11, 2011 at 03:37 PM
=====

Funny perhaps, but there's no truth to it. You're way too diplomatic sometimes, my friend.

Andrew Bynum is the only high draft pick who Philip has had to develop since who knows when. Even Bynum came into the NBA raw, with an upside of Brendan Haywood according to some scouts, and now he's donning two championship rings as the Lakers starting center with a huge upside should he get and stay healthy. Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar were the 25th and 26th picks, respectively, in the 2006 draft and both players have developed above their potential under Phil Jackson. What did Shannon Brown do before he got to the Lakers? Not much. And how about second round draft pick Trevor Ariza, who did NOTHING before he came to the Lakers and then became the starting small forward on a championship team, contributing along the way, thus earning himself a nice contract. Somehow Sasha, another low first rounder, became a solid reserve in 2007-08 and it looks like he might even earn himself another contract next season. And say what you want about Luke, who also earned himself a nice contract, but he is a second round pick who has somehow appeared in 4 NBA Finals with 2 rings in his 7 years, contributing along the way ... a championship resume that no other NBA player from the vaunted 2003 draft can boast.

Yes folks, Phil Jackson gets the most out of mediocre, young talent whether you want to believe it or not.

And for accuracy sake, Shannon and Trevor both played for 4 other teams before coming to the Lakers, so I don't think that qualifies as Phil developing a player that "may not have EVER made it in the NBA ".

Posted by: Art - FL Laker Fan | January 11, 2011 at 03:40 PM
====

I'm talking about MAKING it. Shannon will get a very healthy contract next go around and Trevor Ariza has already gotten his. Meanwhile, who else did those kids thrive under? No one, not even Larry Brown. They were journeymen scrubs before they got to Phil Jackson, yet managed to work themselves into a CHAMPIONSHIP rotation. As for contracts, Luke got his, Sasha got his and Farmar got his. And you don't credit Phil Jackson? Well, OK then, it must be all Kobe.

LRob- aka professor of music, Thanks.

Justanon- The Prayer was FANTASTIC.

Yet another stupid post by G.Money. I can't wait until your next pile of garbage in text form shows up on this blog.

LeCreep represents all that is wrong with today'syouth: greed, narcicissm, glutony, ENORMOUS pride, disrespect of elders, disrepect of peers, disrespect of just about everything except for himself and his clan of cronies.

Yeah, we can't wait until he realizes that he is nothing more than Robin to Wade's Batman and decides to "take his malice" to Hollywood.

MVP888,

I have asked you several times to just ignore my posts. We are NEVER going to agree when it comes to certain topics. I come here to express MY opinions and discuss all things Lakers with fellow Laker fans, NOT to start a fight, or to hurl insults at anyone who disagrees with MY opinions. Please do not respond to me again. Much obliged.

Posted by: LAKER TRUTH | January 11, 2011 at 03:51 PM
====

Isn't this an open forum? What did I say that wasn't the TRUTH? Who is hurling insults? I'm disagreeing with your opinions which you should be proud of and defend instead of getting defensive when someone disagrees with them, sometimes in amazement. I am doing nothing other than offering my thoughts and opinions in an open forum just like you are; no more, no less. There's no rule against stirring things up as long as they are kept civil. My reactions to your strong and sometimes hateful opinions shouldn't bother you at all. So I can't oblige your request.

By the way, I'm glad we agreed on the wonderful video about Kobe that LRob posted. I forgot to mention that.

Art - FL Laker Fan,

You have no idea how many times I've heard Clevelanders say, "We should have never let go of Shannon Brown."

The truth is that Phil Jackson, our staff, and Kobe's example helped Shannon reach his potential in a way he could not find elsewhere in the NBA.
Posted by: Jon K. |
=============

Jon K,

Why did the Cavs fans want to keep Shannon, they must have seen something they liked.

I can accept that Kobe more than anyone may have helped develop Shannons game but the truth is, we don't really know how much a roll Phil played in Shannon's development. We don't have any way of knowing how good he might be today had he not joined the Lakers.

And my point was, he wasn't developed as a rookie by the Lakers. There were 4 other teams, coaching staffs etc, that all helped shape him to what he is today.

Art - FL Laker Fan,

You have no idea how many times I've heard Clevelanders say, "We should have never let go of Shannon Brown."

The truth is that Phil Jackson, our staff, and Kobe's example helped Shannon reach his potential in a way he could not find elsewhere in the NBA.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!
=====

Yeah, baybeee!

Posted by: Jon K. | January 11, 2011 at 03:48 PM

MVP888,

***sigh***

LAKER TRUTH

I have a great idea. I have Handle Envy with you because I know that I utter the TRUTH about the Lakers, while you are primarily a Kobe guy. What do you say we switch handles? :)

888,

This is my last request to just let it go. I want nothing to do with your mean spirited responses to fellow Laker fans who disagree with you. I am trying to keep this civil, but if you continue to degrade my opinions, put words into my mouth, and generalize me with other bloggers, than I will be forced to respond in kind.

peace

KobeMVP,

The bottom line is we don't know what role Phil played in developing any of the players you mentioned.
I can accept that maybe he played a role if you can accept that maybe he didn't.

It would be nice to be able to go interview Farmar, Ariza, Sasha, and Brown and get their take on it, but since we can't, it's just an amateur opinion.

Luke, well, we all know he is Phils son, so no need to interview him.

wow, the blog is heating up again...

I thought we are on a winning streak?

why can't we be friends?:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJTBPdVpdMc

Shaq has Bieber fever:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iYTei9eSfk&feature=more_related

The dude can still crack me up.

KobeMVP,

Morrison, Powell, Mbenga and numerous other that you know as well as the rest of us.
Where are their big contracts?
Why weren't they "developed"?

Art

I view developing rookies and developing young, raw talent as pretty much the same thing. I understand your technical distinction and that both Trevor and Shannon got some valuable NBA experience under other head coaches along the way, but it was Mitch Kupchak who saw their potential and Phil Jackson who harnessed it IMO.

LAKER TRUTH

The reason I respond to you is because your opinions are extremely harsh sometimes, so I simply try to balance them out with opposing observations and try to point out things that I believe you miss. By the way you post, I sometimes confuse you with yellofever, too, which is my fault ... and for that I apologize. I will try to keep it civil. I enjoy reading your posts and for the most part I think you know your stuff, so in that sense I hope you appreciate that I'm responding to you because I find your posts interesting and well written. There are many in here whose opinions I either don't value or whose content bores me, so I skip over them all together (just like they prefer to skip over me). Yes, I would prefer to forge a friendship than be enemies because we do have the one BIG main thing in common.

1-2-3 RING! #17 coming up STRONG!!

@JAMF - I knew you would say something. I was little hurting for file photos. That's the only one I could find in our archives of this year. Another sign of Cleveland struggling, not enough AP photos for us to use.....

KobeMVP,

Morrison, Powell, Mbenga and numerous other that you know as well as the rest of us.
Where are their big contracts?
Why weren't they "developed"?

Posted by: Art - FL Laker Fan | January 11, 2011 at 04:25 PM
====

1) Morrison. The sole purpose of his acquisition was that his contract was less than Buzz Kill's and for one less year. That trade was economic, just like the Sasha deal, except that Mitch saw some potential in Shannon Brown, the filler in that deal, which PJ successfully harnessed.

2) Mbenga. You will recall that when Bynum went down in January, 2008, the Lakers needed a big man and initially signed him to a 10-day contract. Remember they considered signing C-Web? Frankly, I think Mbenga exceeded expectations with his stint with the Lakers. He became a crowd favorite, always brought energy and filled in nicely when both Bynum and Gasol were out. PLUS he is still playing in the NBA. There was never any plan for him to be a rotation player.

3) Powell. He was our cheap replacement for Turiaf, who wasn't going to get minutes with Bynum, Gasol and Odom sharing 96 minutes. I submit that Josh Powell, at 3 mil cheaper than Turiaf, played very solid basketball with the Lakers and that Phil got the most out of him. Remember his three pointer for the final basket in the 100-75 Game 1 win over the Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals? (That was thrown in for nothing more than a fond memory). Nevertheless, he was not brought into to develop; he was brought in to fill in.

Look, this can't possibly apply to EVERY player because the rotations in the NBA range between 7-9 players in the playoffs. But Phil Jackson did develop all the guys I mentioned into solid rotation players who earned (or will earn in Shannon's case) nice NBA contracts. Other than Farmar, none of these guys got PT as a rookie, even Bynum. But all of them developed into championship rotation players. Not bad.

Art - FL Laker Fan,

"Why did the Cavs fans want to keep Shannon, they must have seen something they liked."

What was communicated to me was that they liked his attitude and his athletic ability. He came across as likable to most.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Kobe MVP,

Don't you agree that there are quite a few NBA players who may appear to be scrubs, or struggling, and that if you put them on the same team as Kobe, Pau, LO, and Fish, they might improve their games and become better?

KobeMVP,

The bottom line is we don't know what role Phil played in developing any of the players you mentioned.

Posted by: Art - FL Laker Fan | January 11, 2011 at 04:16 PM
====

Honestly, Art, I don't know how you can possibly say that. In the case of Farmar, Sasha, Bynum and Luke, they all grew up with Phil Jackson as their first head coach and earned their big contracts as the result of their play on the teams he coached. In the case of Trevor Ariza and Shannon Brown, they became champions and important role players under Phil Jackson. How can you possibly ask yourself whether Phil Jackson had anything to do with this? He's their head coach. I can't accept a proposition that a coach who is wearing a ring on his big toe because no more will fit on his fingers had little to do with their development. If he didn't have much to do with it, then his staff and the Lakers players did. The problem with that argument is that the buck stops with Phil Jackson.

Phil Jackson is the Gordon Gekko of young talent..............the wrecker of them.
Posted by: pfunk36 | January 11, 2011 at 02:39 PM
-----------------
Now that was funny.
Posted by: LRob | January 11, 2011 at 03:37 PM
=====
Funny perhaps, but there's no truth to it. You're way too diplomatic sometimes, my friend.
Posted by: KobeMVP888 | January 11, 2011 at 03:52 PM
-------------------------------

I’m just being me. I enjoy laughing and being a fan of Wall Street, pfunk’s Gekko comment was definitely funny. I haven’t found anyone on the blog I agree with 100% (thank God) including you and pfunk. Phil, Kobe, DFish or any other Laker is not beyond reproach. So when others criticize them sometimes it’s accurate and even when it’s not it still could be humorous.

It’s no secret that Phil “prefers” veteran players. Same with Larry Brown. That doesn’t detract from Phil being a great coach. However, the best organizations (sports or business) develop young talent.

Phil has done a decent job with the young players he’s coached in his career. BJ Armstrong (my Detroit homey) started with the Bulls and had his most productive years under PJ. Will Perdue and Luc Longley also had their best years with the Bulls. Even Scott Williams was able to parlay his success with the Bulls into a decent payday. Devean George is another that exceeded expectations. All these players were given opportunities by PJ.

On the flip side, Stacy King didn’t reach his potential, Ty Lue wasn’t given enough PT imho. I also wanted PJ to play Caracter earlier before Bynum came back, just to give Gasol some more rest but he didn’t . I would also like to see Ebanks play some because his athleticism could come in handy against SA, OKC, Miami and some of the more athletic teams.

In my opinion, the key to this whole Phil doesn’t develop young players debate is to analyze the players’ performance after they left Phil. Now that would be an interesting project for someone to prove their case.

Kobe MVP,

Don't you agree that there are quite a few NBA players who may appear to be scrubs, or struggling, and that if you put them on the same team as Kobe, Pau, LO, and Fish, they might improve their games and become better?

Posted by: Art - FL Laker Fan | January 11, 2011 at 04:44 PM
===

I agree with that. But someone must properly harness that talent. That's where coaching comes in. Remember, the primary function of coaching is motivation. Of course, that motivation must come from within, but it is the great coaches who have a way of getting the most out of their players. Phil is a master of motivation. Pete Carroll is a master. Did you see what his 7-9 football team did to the defending Super Bowl champions last weekend? Popovich is another master, better than Phil in that regard in my opinion. Never mind Parker and Ginobili, but who was George Hill? Matt Bonner? Gary Neal? How about the job he's doing with DeJuan Blair? To me, this is what distinguishes great coaches from good ones. How about our sorry, old, slow starting point guard Derek Fisher? There's Phil Jackson's poster boy!

In my opinion, the key to this whole Phil doesn’t develop young players debate is to analyze the players’ performance after they left Phil. Now that would be an interesting project for someone to prove their case.

Posted by: LRob | January 11, 2011 at 04:54 PM
====

Some flop, others succeed. D-Fish didn't fit in with Golden State, but did with Utah because of their system. Devean George was basically a flop with Dallas. Steve Kerr got another ring with the Spurs in a similar role. As for Sasha, I'm guessing that his chances of securing another NBA contract next year are about 51-49%. Luke would be out of the league if his contract was up. Trevor wasn't a great fit with Houston, but he seems to be fitting in with the Hornets better. It's a system thing and that's why I think that Phil gets the most out of these less talented players because he gets their talents to fit the system. Just like Bill Walsh did for the 49ers.

@LRob
" I also wanted PJ to play Caracter earlier before Bynum came back, just to give Gasol some more rest but he didn’t . I would also like to see Ebanks play some because his athleticism could come in handy against SA, OKC, Miami and some of the more athletic teams."

I also thought Caracter could have spelled Gasol for at least 6-8 minute stretches. I just don't get Phil's reasoning that he would be throwing Caracter out there amongst the wolves. He is a big boy who has pretty good post moves. Yes, he makes mistakes, but just like every other rook, he needs time on the floor to learn how to work through these.

I too would like to see Devin get some more tick. He still has a way to go on his jumper, but his speed, and quickness on, as well as off of the ball can be used to counter many teams.

You have a choice:

Develop Ebanks while Barnes is out (which could turn into a blessing in disguise for the playoffs) OR.......................Look for playing time for a soon to be 31 years old slow as molasses, can't shoot or defend, has no business in the league...........Luke Walton?

What do you do?

Posted by: pfunk36 | January 11, 2011 at 02:39 PM
====

Man, why don't you spoon feed us? Defer to Phil Jackson.

By the way, Luke may have slowed down, but he's still a solid team defender and there is much more fluidity on the floor with him in the offense than ANY of our other options at small forward, including Artest or Barnes. The problem is that he has slowed down so much, but when he was on the floor the other night, he rotated fine on defense and was in the middle of everything on offense. The problem is exactly THAT with fans; he is so noticeable because he's always in the middle of things in the triangle (by design) that it gets on your nerves. Personally, I welcome it. He just needs some more playing time to shake off the rust that has accumulated.

Candidly, Phil has done a good job developing low draft picks who have contributed to championships teams. From Luke to Sasha to Farmar to Ariza to Shannon Brown, these are players who may not have EVER made it in the NBA but for their tutelage under Phil Jackson. So I disagree with pretty much everything you said in the above-referenced post.

Posted by: KobeMVP888 | January 11, 2011 at 03:00 PM

==================
Kobemvp888,
I strongly agree with PFunk36 and PJ is an opportunist to come to teams that already have the best players. PJ did not develop any of the above unless you consider Luke as a developed talent. Please! PJ takes credit for others work. Kobe made the other players better. Remember it was Kobe who showed Trevor how to shoot the 3 pt shot and TA gave Kobe credit. He put that new knowledge to good use with so many opewn looks with Kobe on the floor. What did PJ have to do with that? Same can be said for the rest as Kobe took Sasha under his wing not PJ. Farmar was arrogant and not coached well as he did his own thing and was poor defender. Developed so well that he was let go and not even traded for draft picks. I can go on but PJ sure did a great job on changing defensive scheme...oops that was Chuck Pearson.

Ebanks, I see so much potential within him. I hope both the rooks get playing time this week against the cavs and warriors. We got super lucky with our rookies, they are great.

Or maybe PJ is just preparing them for greatness like he's done with so many other players"

Diandra

What young talent has Phil Jackson developed? Smush Parker? Kwame Brown? Jordan Farmar?...............Oh I know.....Slava Medvedenko? Luke Walton? Who? Sasha Vujacic?

Phil Jackson is the Gordon Gekko of young talent..............the wrecker of them.

Let's look at this scenario.............You have a young talent like Ebanks with a tremendous upside, eager to learn and has quickness with a long wingspan............perfectly built to learn defensively and could potentially guard some 2's and definitely 3's with a little more quickness than Ron Artest.

You have a choice:

Develop Ebanks while Barnes is out (which could turn into a blessing in disguise for the playoffs) OR.......................Look for playing time for a soon to be 31 years old slow as molasses, can't shoot or defend, has no business in the league...........Luke Walton?


What do you do?

=========================================

Dude, look at the people who have played under PJ. MJ and Kobe are amazing in their own ring, but neither of them had rings until PJ came in the picture, or while he was gone.

Look at Pippen, Rodman, Shannon Brown.. how much has he developed recently? Yes Kobe makes players better, and I can't wait till he eventually becomes a coach because the players he coaches will be awesome.

But you have to give credit to PJ. Who was Shannon Brown before he came to the lakers? What about Lamar Odom? Granted, he's always been a great player but he's only gotten better with PJ coaching him, and well the practice over the summer.

PJ has a lot of techniques that I dislike, but you can't sit there and say to me that he doesn't develop players to be better. Players like Farmar, Brown, weren't willing to take on the Zen master, they didn't have the LAKER attitude, and they were gone.

Those that had the LAKER attitude have only progressed as better players each year.

This is a good high end scrimmage game against a professional NBA team tonight. I hope the Lakers execute everything they have discussed and completed at practice because an opportunity to play a sub .500 team while you're struggling and continuing to work out kinks is a gift.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74Kh20Jwi1w

@Diandra
I agree with all of you points except for the take on L.O.

I beleive his marriage to Khloe has done much more for his calmness and focus on the basketball court. He played for many moons under Phil, but until recently, didn't play up to his potential. Now that his personal life is in order, he is playing the most consistant basketball of his entire career.

Go Lamar!!!!

"You points" was obviously supposed to be "your points."

So what coach develops players...how many rings does he have...

I'll take PJ...I want results...which is rings...who cares that Kwame, Smush, Ammo, etc was developed by PJ or not...

A great player developer coach with no rings or maybe even 1-5, over a coach with 11 going on 12...

Not a hard choice to make...

That's the problem with our society...we're never happy or content...we always want more...

Why??? it's because you never experienced being deprived...just like people who complain about the USA...

Try living in another country before you complain about America...

Try being a a fan of the another NBA team...will you really be addressing how good your coach is at developing players...or will you be addressing if your team will maybe make the finals one day...

Wow, people haven't a clue about the big leagues. All this PJ doesn't develop talent crap. The Lakers are the pinnacle of the NBA. There is NO margin of error. Not compared to the crummy teams who aren’t goin’ to the post-season (who can give playing time to scrubs and “develop” them).

I’ve developed a good amount of newbies in my time, but when I’m on a HUGE project, where tens of millions or hundreds of millions are on the line, the pressure is on, and the clock is ticking, unless the newcomer is ABSOLUTELY the best (or in the NBA a #1 draft phenom), I will NEVER hire one under those circumstance.

You don’t bring someone along when the chips are down. ALL CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS have the chips down, and back-to-back champs going for a 3peat.... Yeah, right. This ain’t no mom & pop grocery store. This is like running a #1 Fortune 500 company, or heading up the Allied forces in WWII, or sending the first astronauts to the Moon. When you need the best, you get the best, and you don’t gamble... you haven’t the time or margin of safety. On the Lakers, we win.

Phil’s here to win. Period. And he does it better than any other coach ever has. You want development... go root for the Cavs, or the Nets, or whatever lowly team has the time to do that.

I would say Phil is actually a master delegater of responsibilities. The reason why he is so effective is because he gets his assistants and top players to handle almost everything. It's his non-attachment which causes players to constantly strive to prove themselves.

Coac Phil does not hesitate to compliment his staff. He credited Chuck Person's defensive scheme for helping the team get back on track. Many of Phil's decisions often seem completely contrary to what you would think most coaches would do, but we know Phil sees the overall big picture and lets his team grow in a way that they can have confidence in themselves when it comes to crucial moments in the basketball season.

THE ZEN MASTER !!!
……………………………….
I’m actually mystified by the lack of respect for Phil Jackson by some Lakers fans on this blog. I can understand how some of his coaching brethren disrespect him out of petty jealousy or envy but how can any “real” Lakers fan not bow down in appreciation for what the man has meant to this franchise. Hopefully, this will change after Phil leads the Lakers to their sixth championship as their coach.

As a 49ers, Yankees, and Lakers fan, I have truly witnessed countless championship teams and no coach or manager has impressed me more than Phil Jackson. What sets him apart in my book is not only the eleven championship rings but also the depth and tenor of his coaching philosophy and the precision and perspective of his coaching methodology. Simply stated, Phil is the Zen Master.
...
Like John Wooden and Mike Krzyzewski, Phil Jackson predicates his coaching methodology on his coaching philosophy. In Phil’s case, his coaching philosophy has been customized for professional basketball, where coaches have to get rich and often spoiled superstar players to buy into their ideas. Most importantly, Phil’s coaching philosophy and methodology encompass the big picture.

Bottom line, Phil believes in giving his players unusual freedom in return for playing within a system. Thus, his methodology is not to call a time-out at times but to let the team figure out what’s wrong. Unfortunately, there are some fans whose views are so short term that they never understood this. While Phil always has his eye on the big picture, those critics myopically focus on the daily minutiae.

To me, the recent defensive adjustments that Phil made showcase the strengths of his coaching style, listening to ideas from his assistant coaches and understanding the problems that penetration was causing to the Lakers defense. The decision to have players switch on screens in order to keep Andrew Bynum from being drawn away from the paint is going to transform the Lakers defense.
……………………………….
TOM

The best part about PJ is how he keeps his calm, yet HATES the coach of the suns, or I guess knicks now.

Hilarious seeing some of the comments I've watched on youtube.

He's a great coach, the best ever. And that's that. I guarantee you that if PJ had been coaching Lebron all these years, Lebron would have a ring. But, he hasn't been, and Lebron has no rings.

Look at the Lakers before PJ came back. We didn't even make the play offs and we still had a great team!!!!!!!!!!

A coach is the staple, it's like the parent of a family who keeps all the kids in check. If you can't keep your kids in check they will run wild and do lord knows what, but not us Lakers!! We are kept in check, and that's why we are abck to back CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!

TAKE NO PRISONERS TONIGHT! i don't care that cleveland is playing with a junior varsity team! beat the snot out of them.

@63 - stellar post...great explanation...beats my analogy to the USA...lol

don't like Phil Jackson? fine.
you don't like winning.

Lew - I really liked this line of yours: "Try being a a fan of the another NBA team...will you really be addressing how good your coach is at developing players...or will you be addressing if your team will maybe make the finals one day..."

Yup, that's what all the other teams are thinkin': "Let those Lakers win championship after championship... we want to develop our players. And hey, our coach calls more time outs then the Lakers', and our coach yells more, too. Cool! Who cares about the cookies? Certainly not our fans. Oh, and while we're at it; our coach doesn't need a special chair, either! Nyah-nyah-nyah!"

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LAKERS BLOG ROLL CALL
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********************
GAME DAY PRAYER
********************

No one can replace the Banner Holder’s Game Day Prayer but I’ll substitute for this game:

Heavenly Father bless the two teams – Lakers and Cavaliers – as they compete today. Bless them with the ability to end the game being as healthy as they were when they started. Allow both teams to play to the best of their God given ability as a show of appreciation for the athletic gifts that you have given to each. Let not the game be decided by the evilness of wicked Darth Stern referees but rather be a true representation of skill. Let not The Los Angeles Lakers suffer from too much Pride but rather let them simply be what they are. The greatest franchise ever assembled upon the face of the earth with all the glory going to you Lord

Posted by: justanon | January 11, 2011 at 09:08 AM

speaking of which.. where is mamba24

You want development... go root for the Cavs, or the Nets, or whatever lowly team has the time to do that.


Posted by: 63 Footer | January 11, 2011 at 06:14 PM

__________

Yeah! What he said.

LT

Your post at 06:16 PM is nothing short of genius. Thank you for that read!

I have a more down-to-earth example. You and your spouse are going away for a long weekend. Do you leave your young child with a 14-year-old rookie babysitter with so-so grades, no experience with a baby sibling of their own, can't drive, or do you go with the seasoned vet... GRANDMA?

63 Footer

Can I leave the spouse at home and take the Au Pair away for a long weekend instead? I'd feel much more comfortable with Mommy caring for my young child over the 14 year old or Grandma. :)

@ Posted by: 63 Footer | January 11, 2011 at 06:32 PM

Man you made me shoot ice tea out of my nose...from LMAO

I have a more down-to-earth example. You and your spouse are going away for a long weekend. Do you leave your young child with a 14-year-old rookie babysitter with so-so grades, no experience with a baby sibling of their own, can't drive, or do you go with the seasoned vet... GRANDMA?

Posted by: 63 Footer | January 11, 2011 at 06:50 PM

_______________________

Grandma, all day long! Now where the heck is Joe Smith? Pau can sure use the break.

Grandmas are the best baby sitters...They are also the best at shopping for back to school, Christmas, and birthdays...and the best at "Junior needs a new big screen plasma..."

Looks like the Carmelo deal will go through...

Looks like the Carmelo deal will go through...

NBA Tonight reporting they are very close to signing...

To me, the recent defensive adjustments that Phil made showcase the strengths of his coaching style, listening to ideas from his assistant coaches and understanding the problems that penetration was causing to the Lakers defense. The decision to have players switch on screens in order to keep Andrew Bynum from being drawn away from the paint is going to transform the Lakers defense.
……………………………….
TOM

Posted by: LakerTom | January 11, 2011 at 06:16 PM

==============
Ummm that was Chuck Person who made the adjustment and PJ has no coaching ability so he defers to his assistants then takes credit.


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