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Caught in the Web: Lakers enjoy the day off

60155954--The Times' Mike Bresnahan believes the Lakers have a strong chance of securing second place in the Western Conference

--NBA.com's Fran Blinebury explains how Lakers forward Pau Gasol had once been in a similar position that Chris Bosh faces with the Heat.

--Orange County Register's Kevin Ding goes behind the scenes on the Lakers' recent four-game trip.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky questions Kobe Bryant's recent contention that having homecourt advantage is overrated.

--Dallas Morning New's Eddie Sefko argues the Lakers are better than the Mavericks.

--A Sports Illustrated NBA players poll shows Orlando Coach Stan Van Gundy annoys most players during games, garnering 65% of the vote. Meanwhile, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and Nets Coach Scott Skiles come in a distant second, with both compiling 7%.

--Daily News' Elliott Teaford highlights Andrew Bynum's recent contributions.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell has an interesting Q&A with Gasol.

--Orange County Register's Mark Whicker looks at Lakers who played in the Final Four.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano offers a few fastbreak thoughts.

--Silver Screen and Roll's C.A. Clark looks at the effect Bynum has had on the Lakers.

--SB Nation's Dexter Fishmore argues Lamar Odom should win NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award. 

Tweet of the Day: "Went to the Lakers practice facility on the team's off day to speak to visiting Cuse students. Who do I see? Kobe. Working on his day off." -- mcten (ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day Award: "The win last night was great, but my mind and heart can't truly enjoy them right now. Just knowing that Rick will not post here anymore, or call me to say hey, or drop me an email telling me his thoughts about the last game...well it's just not computing right now. It's wrong. I'm so deeply saddened it's hard to even type this. I'm only here to pay my respects to my dear BFF. I'll miss you." -- justanothermambafan

-- Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Kobe Bryant, right, and the Lakers won't be hitting the road as much as Jason Kidd and the Dallas Mavericks will be over the final month of the season. Credit: Matthew Emmons / U.S. Presswire

 
Comments () | Archives (28)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Justa - congrats. I feel your sadness too. It's hard to post without tearing up but Rick would want us to carry on, which is helping me. The fact that we have no games to comment makes it a bit harder. But at least we can celebrate that the Lakers are in a good place here and gearing up for the playoffs.

Gossip post: Pau Gasol spent his off day here in Indian Wells to see fellow Spaniards (Nadal and Lopez) move on in their doubles match. Perhaps he will be back tonight for Nadal's singles match?? You can guarantee I will be on the lookout. PS - no Sasha sighting for Sharapova this year - she must miss him.

Cheers to you Rick F.!! - PLG


Taking a closer look at the Andrew Bynum Effect
By C.A. Clark for Silver Screen and Roll
http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2011/3/15/2052406/taking-a-closer-look-at-the-andrew-bynum-effect
....................................
Want to know how big Drew’s impact has been on the Lakers defense? Want to see some stats? Then you need to read this article which separate the stats to show the impact when Drew was actually on the floor in the game. A must read for Lakers and Drew fans. Here two conclusions:
....................................
“Andrew Bynum's defensive presence would have the Lakers allow about 20 points less per game over an entire 48 minute contest.”
.....
“In the one game the Lakers have lost over the past month, they lost because Miami killed the Lakers in the time that Bynum was not on the court.”
.....
Here is the detail behind those conclusions:
....................................
We've been doing a whole lot of praise singing for Andrew Bynum over the last couple of weeks. He's been the primary subject of a vast majority of our game recaps, editorials, Player of the Week awards, and comments. There's no doubt Drew has earned some time in the spotlight because his play since the All Star Break has been inspired, but one can't help but wonder if we, as a blog and as a fanbase, are going a bit overboard. I mean, sure we can see how Drew is changing games with his defense and rebounding. We know his stat line of 12 points, 13 boards and 2.6 blocks per game is pretty much exactly what the Lakers dream of getting from Bynum on a team that is not short on offensive talent. We can be proud of the fact that AB is finally reveling in his role as anchor of the defense. But just how much effect, actual measureable effect, is Bynum really having on his team's play? Sure, all the blocks and rebounds he is accumulating are highly visible, and we know that the Lakers defense has been much improved since the All-Star break, but how much of that is actually due to Bynum's presence on the floor? Does his newfound dominance in our hearts match any kind of newfound dominance on the stat sheet, outside of his increased individual numbers?
.....
Yes. Oh dear God, yes. I took a look at just how much better the Lakers defense has been with Drew on the court since the All-Star Break, and the numbers are as shocking as they are heartwarming. And they certainly provide all the justification that we've never really needed to be as bullish on Andrew Bynum as we want to be.
.....
I went back through all the Laker play by plays over the last 11 games, and separated out the points, possessions and minutes from when Bynum was on the court vs. when he was off the court. Using these numbers, and the legendary statistical collections of one Dexter Fishmore, I was able to create a snapshot of how the Lakers have performed defensively since the break with Drew, without Drew and overall. Starting with the broad view, the Lakers overall have been pretty fantastic since the break, allowing just 1 point per possession over the last 11 games. And this is not a matter of playing a bunch of scrubs or poor offensive teams, either. You already know the Lakers competition post All-Star Break has been strong, but the teams the Lakers faced also have an average offensive rank of about 14. In other words, the Lakers defensive performance over the past 11 games is against a fairly representative sample of the league's offensive prowess. Pretty impressive, but how much of a role has Andrew Bynum played in all this? Prepare to be blown away.
.....
W/ Bynum
W/O Bynum
Total
Difference
.....
Atl
0.73
1.08
0.88
0.35
.....
at Por
1.18
0.92
1.07
-0.26
.....
Clip
0.98
1.26
1.07
0.28
.....
at OKC
0.94
1.06
0.99
0.11
.....
at Minn
0.78
1.05
0.90
0.27
.....
Cha
0.75
1.20
0.92
0.45
.....
at SA
0.95
0.98
0.97
0.02
.....
at Atl
0.95
1.33
1.05
0.38
.....
at Mia
0.94
1.75
1.13
0.81
.....
at Dal
0.99
1.26
1.05
0.28
.....
Orl
0.90
1.15
1.00
0.25
.....
Overall
0.92
1.14
1.00
0.22
.....
That table is so much win. In eleven games, the Lakers have been better with Andrew Bynum on the court in 10 of those games. They have been more than .2 points per possession better in eight of those games (which, incidentally is a difference which is nearly twice the overall difference between the leagues' best defense and its worst). In four games, that difference is .35 points per possession or higher. The sample size, both on an individual game basis and overall, is way too small, but these numbers are ridiculous. With Drew, the Lakers have been better than the best defenses in the land ... by 8 points per 100 possessions. Without Drew, the Lakers have been the worse than the worst. Maybe per possession stats aren't your cup of tea, so let me break it down simply. Andrew Bynum's defensive presence would have the Lakers allow about 20 points less per game over an entire 48 minute contest. That might just be responsible for the Lakers winning 10 of the last 11, no?
.....
Some of these games aren't the best sample, because garbage time played a role in driving the "defense without Bynum number" up, but take a look at the highest difference in that table ... the Miami Heat. In the one game the Lakers have lost over the past month, they lost because Miami killed the Lakers in the time that Bynum was not on the court. Bynum played nearly 37 minutes in that game, meaning that the game was effectively lost by 11 poor defensive minutes in which Bynum required rest. Ladies and gentlemen, that's your game changer right there.
.....
On the season, 82games.com has it that the Lakers are averaging 5.3 less points per 100 possessions with Bynum on the court. That number hasn't been updated since March 5th, so you can expect that the difference would be a bit higher today. However, since the All-Star Break, the difference is stunning. Kevin Garnett, probably the greatest defensive player of this generation, leads the league in average defensive rating (which is what I calculated for Drew times 100) at 94.5. Dwight Howard nips at his tail with 94.9. In the past 11 games, Drew is at 92.2. Add in the blocks and the rebounds, and these aren't breakout numbers, they are Defensive Player of the Year numbers. Obviously, Drew would need to do this over a full season, and sadly we've yet to see Drew do anything over a full season, but there can be no question of Drew's capability as a game changing defensive force, and the Lakers just won two championships more or less without his services.
.....
The coaches have taken notice of Drew's presence. Everyone has. Phil Jackson has been steadily increasing Bynum's minutes over the past week or so, with Drew playing 35, 37, and 37 minutes respectively before being limited with foul trouble yesterday and playing 28. But he's still not getting the most important minutes of all, those crunch time minutes at the end of the fourth quarter. In those situations, unless the Lakers have been up more than a couple points, PJ has preferred a Lamar Odom Pau Gasol foundation. It's tough to argue with having those two guys on at the end of games. After all, Pau Gasol is the most efficient offensive threat we have most nights, and Lamar Odom provides everything you could possibly want in the end game: sterling help defense, ability to run the offense, and top notch leadership. I honestly couldn't tell you who Drew should replace when the Lakers find themselves in a tight contest, but if Drew keeps playing like he has, I just don't know how you can keep him off the court when it matters most.
.....
After all, the offense isn't quite as smooth when Andrew Bynum is on the court, but you don't need to score very much when the other guy isn't scoring at all.
....................................
TOM


@JAMF... Congrats on winning the first official Friedman. A perfect selection by MM.
Hope you’re feeling better, Justa. I will try to join the chat on Friday since it’s the Wolves.
....................................
TOM


PLAYER OF THE WEEK OR MONTH...
..................................................................
Seems like Drew should get some consideration for NBA player of the month (or week) for the Western Conference considering his play has elevated the Lakers from the pack of elite teams to the pinnacle of the championship expectations. Andrew Bynum, West NBA Player of the Month.
..................................................................
TOM

The motto for this home stand games..."Return of the Killer B's"!!! It's perfect time to give the Lakers' starters some rest.

LakerTom taking care of business! WOW!


DBDH!

MM,

Thanks for tirelessly providing us with all these links, a wonderful way to saty up with Laker news in one place. I appreciate it everyday, but rarely mention it.

I'm solidly in BK's camp on home court advantage. It matters. It is the only thing that makes the regular season matter. I'd like to see the Lakers creep up on that list. You never know who you will REALLy play down the line and it's best to be as high on the list as possible.

Eddie Sefko is right, the Lakers are better than the Mavs. Was that ever a question anywhere but Dallas?

Great analysis of Laker D with/without AB by Silver Screen and Roll. And Drew also is giving the Lakers an advantage in the number of posessions with his board work. I know LakerTom may go a bit overboard now and then, but with Bynum living up to the hype, he deserves to gloat for awhile. We were both early adpopters on Socks, but has been much more consistent and more vocal in his support, even through the plague of injuries. He has taken some arrows in the back (some deserved, some not). Now that times are good, he deserves to bask in them.

Forum Blue and Gold's comments on Steve Blake are interesting (again). Let's face it. The Lakers want to run the offense through Kobe and Pau. No PG will put up big numbers. But Soriano consistently sees the good things Blake does, and now has me watching for them. Soriano is right.


Hey! Van Gundy irritates ME too!!!!!! Maybe his brother can talk to him.

LakerTom et al: thanks for all those stats/article. So glad to see you are basking in the Bynum glory right now.

I am still tempered in my feelings because of the consistency issue and injury/rehab history. But I am coming around.

If AB continues showing us his strength and endurance is coming back to 100% (however, is anybody ever at 100% this late in the season) along with defensive presence in the scheme of TEAM, there is no doubt his value to the Lakers will be justified.

I am so glad he finally got over his stubborn "need" to get points to feel important. It took him a few seasons but he finally sees (and is reaping) the benefits of his defensive presence in the post.

And I think we can all agree it's been so great to see the "quick scoring guard" sieve shut down when the post has a presence that won't be denied. I am relishing the fact that his role within the team defense model is not a weakness. This is where I have been most impressed.

Consistent play should allow AB to get an all defensive team mention this year and hopefully an all-star nod next. Is there a place for AB in the offensive scheme? Absolutely - but I believe PJ had to program (brainwash/whatever you wish to call it) him to get over his stubborness and embrace his ability to be an impact on the defensive end first.

I would not be surprised if PJ has a few tricks up his sleeve for AB to become #2 or 3 scoring option during this championship run assuming the match-ups allow for this. Won't that be a sight to see?

On any given playoff night, the Lakers could have four guys taking over offensively. That luxury is immeasurable and unbeatable.

Lastly, I allow you this - he is certainly making his case that he has arrived.... finally, after 6 years! Cheers to all the late bloomers!

Cheers to you Rick F - PLG

Man, just caught the news about Rick F.

I don't post here often anymore, but I just want to say, Rest In Peace, Rick F.

I truly enjoyed reading his posts and getting his insight, and am saddened by the loss of a Lakersblog family member.

#4


Andrew is on schedule.

Mitch and Co. planned on a 6 year timetable when they took the chance on signing a kid that just hadn't played much basketball. Bigs take longer to become NBA ready.

Kareem dominated and changed the game at every phase of his career, but he didn't play pro ball at 17. The NBA game is longer and played exponentially faster, especially these days.

The only concern about Andrew has been his health and his desire. The latter is no longer an issue. He especially loves big games. He dominated KG when he was 19 and loved going against Shaq and TD. Now that he's more of a team focus, his desire will rise with expectations, which means consistency.

His health is mostly about his recovery time. Big, long knees take longer and frankly, you gotta believe the Bynum family was extremely cautious about having his meal ticket punched because of a shortened recovery time. Understandable. It's our favorite team, but it's his life.

There's got to be corporate smiles 'round the Laker front office. It's amazing how they keep putting a team on the floor that competes decade after decade. Andrew will extend Kobe and Pau's career as Magic extended Kareem's. We're a lucky bunch 'o fans. But we knew that.

@Justa – congrats on the Friedman. You put things in proper perspective.

Good article by Fran Blinebury with some interesting comments by Pau.

Great article by Dexter Fishmore on LO being the 6th Man of the year. I agree 100%. The only real competition is Jason Terry.

Excellent article in Silver Screen & Roll (as LT posted earlier). I would love to see a similar study done on Ron Ron’s impact. And also see the difference when Drew plays without Ron, and Ron without Drew.

Justa,

As we all are aware, there is a great void in this blogosphere that can not be replaced.

However, as a team, we will all band together to help ease the emptiness and continue in Rick's tradition. He helped me survive the difficult Lakers years, the Trolls, and made this blog and the world a better place. No words can express this adequately.

For those that choose to take the level of their posts too seriously and slight others, please remember that each of us are blessed with limited days on this earth. Make the most of it while at the same time respecting each other's right to disagree.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring...

MM, I think that it would be a wonderful tribute to Rick if Stu Lance were to pass along the Lakers condolences on Friday's broadcast. Is there a number I could call to make such a request? If so, please email it to me...

Thanks, MM. This may sound corny, but I'm sharing this one with everyone who knew and loved Rick.

Laker Tom - I'm doing better, thanks. And it'll be great to see you on the chat on Friday. You can take over for Rick, my dear BFF, if you don't mind - he was always responsible for having the defibrillator ready and the paramedics on stand-by if the Show started playing bad, which threatened me with having a heart attack.... Keep the vodka handy too.

The Lakers have a real shot of gaining the 2nd best record in the league after SA. They only have 4 road games left. Compared to Boston 10 road games, Chicago 9 road games and Dallas & Miami 8 road games. However, the Lakers can’t afford more than 1 or 2 more losses since they’re two games back of Boston & Chicago in the loss column. (I haven’t looked at the actual SOS).


Early Tank Alert – Watch Dallas to see if they do anything out of the ordinary to move down to the 4th seed if it becomes evident that they can’t catch the Lakers. They would much rather face SA in the 2nd round instead of the Lakers.

Laker Tom-Dude...You need to slow down, Drew need to play a FULL SEASON. I hate to say it...but Drew have not done ANYTHING as of now, when he get to the post season and DONINATE like Shaq, and the CAP and take the MVP in the CHAMPIONSHIP game. Then you can Call your SHOTS, till then...your just running your YAP again.

HOOPLA SURROUNDING ANDREW BYNUM AND I WOULD ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION:

BEFORE WE GET TOO EXCITED AND GO OVER BOARD WITH BYNUM'S POTENTIAL AND RECENT RESURGENCE, CONSIDER THE LEGACY LEFT BY KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR OF THE LAKERS below:


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born Ferdinand Lewis "Lew" Alcindor, Jr., April 16, 1947) is an American retired basketball player, coach, actor, and author. During his career with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers from 1969 to 1989, Abdul-Jabbar scored more points than any other player in league history, won six NBA championships and a record six regular season MVP Awards. In college at UCLA, he played on three championship teams, and his high school team won 71 consecutive games. At the time of his retirement, Abdul-Jabbar was the NBA's all-time leader in points scored, games played, minutes played, field goals made, field goal attempts, blocked shots, defensive rebounds, and personal fouls. Standing at a height of 7 feet, 2 inches tall, Abdul-Jabbar has the distinction of being the tallest player inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

EARLY LIFE:

Abdul-Jabbar was born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr on April 16, 1947, and grew up in Manhattan in New York City, the only child of Cora Lillian, a department store price checker, and Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Sr, a transit police officer and jazz musician.[1] At birth, he weighed 12 pounds, 10 ounces (5.73 kg), and was twenty-two and a half inches (57.2 cm) long.[2] He was raised as a Catholic and attended St. Jude School in the Inwood section of Manhattan. Later in life he converted to Islam.[3] He initially joined the Nation of Islam in 1968, before retaking the Shahada and converting to Sunni Islam that same summer.[4]

From an early age he began his record-breaking basketball accomplishments. In high school, he led Power Memorial Academy to three straight New York City Catholic championships, a 71-game winning streak, and a 79–2 overall record.[5


COLLEGE:

Lew Alcindor played three seasons for the UCLA Bruins from 1966–69 under coach John Wooden, contributing to the team's three-year record of 88 wins and only two losses: one to the University of Houston (see below) and the other to crosstown rival USC who played a "stall game" (i.e., there was no shot clock, so a team could hold the ball as long as it wanted before attempting to score).

During his college career, Alcindor was twice named Player of the Year (1967, 1969), was a three-time First Team All-American (1967–69), played on three NCAA basketball champion teams (1967, 1968, 1969), was honored as the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament (1967, 1968, 1969), and became the first-ever Naismith College Player of the Year in 1969.

In 1967 and 1968 he also won USBWA College Player of the Year which later became the Oscar Robertson Trophy. Alcindor became the only player to win the Helms Foundation Player of the Year award three times. The 1965–1966 UCLA Bruin team was the preseason #1. But on November 27, 1965, the freshman team led by Alcindor defeated the varsity team 75–60 in the first game in the new Pauley Pavilion.[6] Alcindor scored 31 points and had 21 rebounds in that game.

The dunk was banned in college basketball after the 1967 season, primarily because of Alcindor's dominant use of the shot.[5][7] It was not allowed again until 1976.
While playing for UCLA, he suffered a scratched left cornea on January 12, 1968, at the Cal game when he was struck by Tom Henderson of Cal in a rebound battle.[8] He would miss the next two games against Stanford and Portland.[5] This happened right before the momentous game against Houston. His cornea later would be scratched again during his pro career, subsequently causing him to wear goggles for protection.

Alcindor boycotted the 1968 Summer Olympics by deciding not to join the United States Men's Olympic Basketball team that year, protesting the unequal treatment of African-Americans in the United States.

Besides playing basketball, Alcindor also earned a degree in history from UCLA.


GAME OF THE CENTURY:

On January 20, 1968, Alcindor and the UCLA Bruins faced the Houston Cougars in the first-ever nationally televised regular season college basketball game. In front of 52,693 fans at the Houston Astrodome, Elvin Hayes scored 39 points and had 15 rebounds—while Alcindor, who suffered from a scratch on his left cornea, was held to just 15 points—as Houston managed to beat UCLA 71–69. The Bruins' 47-game winning streak ended in what has been called the "Game of the Century". Hayes and Alcindor would have a rematch in the 1968 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament where UCLA with a healthy Alcindor, would defeat Houston in the semi-finals 101–69, and go on to win the National Championship.

SCHOOL RECORDS:

Alcindor had an outstanding career at UCLA. As of the 2008-2009 season, he still holds or shares a number of individual records at UCLA:[10]
• Highest career scoring average: 26.4
• Most career field goals: 943 (tied with Don MacLean)
• Most points in a season: 870 (1967)
• Highest season scoring average: 29.0 (1967)
• Most field goals in a season: 346 (1967)
• Most free throw attempts in a season: 274 (1967)
• Most points in a single game: 61
• Most field goals in a single game: 26 (vs. Washington State, 2/25/67)

PROFESSIONAL CAREER:

MILWAUKEE BUCKS:
The Harlem Globetrotters offered him $1 million to play for them, but he declined, and was picked first in the 1969 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks (who were in only their second season of existence.) The Bucks won a coin-toss with the Phoenix Suns for first pick. He was also chosen first overall in the 1969 American Basketball Association draft by the New York Nets.[11] The Nets believed that they had the upper hand in securing Alcindor's services because he was from New York; however, when Alcindor told both the Bucks and the Nets that he would accept one offer only from each team, the Nets bid too low.

Lew Alcindor's entry into the NBA was timely, as center Bill Russell had just left the Boston Celtics, and Wilt Chamberlain, though still effective, was 33 years old. Alcindor's presence enabled the 1969–70 Bucks to claim second place in the NBA's Eastern Division with a 56–26 record (up from 27–55 the previous year), and he was an instant star, ranking second in the league in scoring (28.8 ppg) and third in rebounding (14.5 rpg), for which he was awarded the title of NBA Rookie of the Year.

The next season the Bucks acquired All-Star guard Oscar Robertson, known to sports fans as "the Big 'O'." Milwaukee went on to record the best record in the league with 66 victories in the 1970–71 NBA season, including a then-record of 20 straight wins. Alcindor was awarded his first of six NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, along with his first scoring title (31.7 ppg).[5] In the playoffs, the Bucks went 12–2 (including a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Bullets in the NBA Finals), won the championship, and Alcindor was named Finals MVP. On May 1, 1971, the day after the Bucks won the NBA championship, he adopted the Muslim name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, its Arabic translation roughly "generous/noble (Kareem), servant of (Abdul) the mighty/stern one (Jabbar) [i.e., of God]."

Abdul-Jabbar remained a dominant force for Milwaukee, repeating as scoring champion (34.8 ppg) and NBA Most Valuable Player the following year, and helping the Bucks to repeat as division leaders for four straight years. In 1974, Abdul-Jabbar won his third MVP Award in five years and was among the top five NBA players in scoring (27.0 ppg, third), rebounding (14.5 rpg, fourth), blocked shots (283, second), and field goal percentage (.539, second).

While remaining relatively injury-free throughout his NBA career, Abdul-Jabbar twice broke his hand. The first time was during a pre-season game in 1974, when he was bumped hard and got his eye scratched, which angered him enough to punch the basket support stanchion. When he returned, after missing the first 16 games of the season, he started to wear protective goggles. The second time he broke his hand was in the opening game of the 1977–78 NBA season. Two minutes into the game, Abdul-Jabbar punched Milwaukee's Kent Benson in retaliation for an overly aggressive elbow. He was out for two months.
Although Abdul-Jabbar always spoke well of Milwaukee and its fans, he said that being in the Midwest did not fit his cultural needs and requested a trade to either New York or Los Angeles in October 1974.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS:

In 1975, the Lakers acquired Abdul-Jabbar and reserve center Walt Wesley from the Bucks for center Elmore Smith, guard Brian Winters, and rookie "blue chippers" Dave Meyers and Junior Bridgeman. In the 1975–76 season, his first with the Lakers, he had a dominating season, averaging 27.7 points per game and leading the league in rebounding, blocked shots, and minutes played. His 1,111 defensive rebounds remains the NBA single-season record (defensive rebounds were not recorded prior to the 1973–74 season). Also it marked the last time anyone had 4,000 or more PRA (Points + Rebounds + Assists) in a single NBA season. He earned his fourth MVP award, but missed the post-season for the second straight year.

Once he joined the Lakers, Abdul-Jabbar began wearing his trademark goggles. Years of battling under NBA backboards, and being hit and scratched in the face in the process, had taken their toll on his eyes and he developed corneal erosion syndrome, where the eyes begin to dry out easily and cease to produce moisture. He once missed a game in the 1986–87 season due to his eyes drying out and swelling as a result.

In the 1976–77 season, Abdul-Jabbar had another strong season. He led the league in field goal percentage, finished second in rebounds and blocked shots, and third in points per game. He helped lead the Lakers to the best record in the NBA, and he won his record-tying fifth MVP award. In the playoffs, the Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semi-finals, setting up a confrontation with the Portland Trail Blazers. The result was a memorable matchup, pitting Abdul-Jabbar against a young, injury-free Bill Walton. Although Abdul-Jabbar dominated the series statistically, Walton and the Trail Blazers (who were experiencing their first-ever run in the playoffs) swept the Lakers, behind Walton's skillful passing and leadership.

Abdul-Jabbar's play remained strong during the next two seasons, being named to the All-NBA Second Team twice, the All-Defense First Team once, and the All-Defense Second Team once. The Lakers, however, continued to be stymied in the playoffs, being eliminated by the Seattle SuperSonics in both 1978 and 1979.

In 1979, the Lakers acquired 1st overall draft pick Earvin "Magic" Johnson. The trade and draft paved the way for a Laker dynasty as they went on to become one of the most dominant team of the 1980s, appearing in the finals eight times and winning five NBA championships. Individually, while Abdul-Jabbar was not the dominant center he had been in the 1970s, he experienced a number of highlight moments. Among them were his record sixth MVP award in 1980, four more All-NBA First Team designations, two more All-Defense First Team designations, the 1985 Finals MVP, and on April 5, 1984 breaking Wilt Chamberlain's record for career points. Later in his career, he bulked up to about 265 pounds, to be able to withstand the strain of playing the highly physical center position into his early 40s.

While in L.A., Abdul-Jabbar started doing yoga in 1976 to improve his flexibility, and was notable for his physical fitness regimen.

In 1983, Abdul-Jabbar's house burnt down, incinerating many of his belongings including his beloved jazz LP collection. Many Lakers fans sent and brought him albums, which he found uplifting.

On June 28, 1989, after twenty professional seasons, Abdul-Jabbar announced his retirement. On his "retirement tour" he received standing ovations at games, home and away and gifts ranging from a yacht that said "Captain Skyhook" to framed jerseys from his basketball career to an Afghan rug. In his biography My Life, Magic Johnson recalls that in Abdul-Jabbar's farewell game, many Lakers and Celtics legends participated. Every player wore Abdul-Jabbar's trademark goggles and had to try a sky hook at least once, which led to comic results. The Lakers made the NBA Finals in each of Abdul-Jabbar's final three seasons, defeating Boston in 1987, and Detroit in 1988. The Lakers lost to the Pistons in a four-game sweep in his final season.

At the time of his retirement, Jabbar held the record for most games played by a single player in the NBA; this would later be broken by Robert Parish.

PLAYER PROFILE:

Abdul-Jabbar played the center position and is regarded as one of the best players of all time. He is the all-time leading NBA scorer with 38,387 points, having collected six titles, six regular season MVP and two Finals MVP awards, fifteen NBA First or Second Teams, a record nineteen NBA All-Star call-ups and averaging 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.6 blocks per game.[5] He is also the third all-time in registered blocks (3,189), which is even more impressive because this stat had not been recorded until the fourth year of his career (1974).

On offense, Abdul-Jabbar was an unstoppable low-post threat. In contrast to other low-post dominators like Wilt Chamberlain, Artis Gilmore or Shaquille O'Neal, Abdul-Jabbar was a relatively slender player, standing 7–2 but only weighing 225 lbs (though in his latter years the Lakers listed Abdul-Jabbar's weight as 265). However, he made up for his relative lack of bulk by showing textbook finesse, strength and was famous for his ambidextrous skyhook shot (see below), which defenders found impossible to block. It contributed to his high .559 field goal accuracy, making him the eighth most accurate scorer of all time[23] and a feared clutch shooter. Abdul-Jabbar was also quick enough to run the "Showtime" fast break led by Magic Johnson and was well-conditioned, standing on the hardwood an average 36.8 minutes. In contrast to other big men, Abdul-Jabbar also could reasonably hit his free throws, finishing with a career 72% average.

On defense, Abdul-Jabbar maintained a dominant presence. He was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team eleven times. He frustrated opponents with his superior shot-blocking ability, denying an average 2.6 shots a game.

As a teammate, Abdul-Jabbar exuded natural leadership and was affectionately called "Cap"[24] or "Captain" by his colleagues. He was also known for his strict fitness regime, which made him one of the most durable players of all time. In the NBA, his 20 seasons and 1,560 games are performances surpassed only by Robert Parish.

Abdul-Jabbar made the NBA's 35th and 50th Anniversary Teams, and was named one of the 50 Greatest Players of All Time in 1996.

SKY HOOK:

Abdul-Jabbar was well known for his trademark "sky hook", a hook shot in which he bent his entire body (rather than just the arm) like a straw in one fluid motion to raise the ball and then release it at the highest point of his arm's arching motion. Combined with his long arms and great height (7 feet 2 inches), the sky hook was nearly impossible for a defender to block without goaltending. Only a few have blocked his legendary skyhook, including basketball greats Wilt Chamberlain and Hakeem Olajuwon. It was a reliable and feared offensive weapon and contributed to his high lifetime field goal percentage of .559. As a twist, he was adept at shooting the skyhook with either hand, which made him even more difficult to defend against. According to Abdul-Jabbar, he learned the move in fifth grade after practicing with the Mikan Drill and soon learned to value it, as it was "the only shot I could use that didn't get smashed back in my face"

NBA CAREER & STATISTICS:

TEAMS & YEARS:
• 1969–75 Milwaukee Bucks
• 1975–89 Los Angeles Lakers

STATISTICS:
• Games played – 1560 (2nd most in NBA history)
• Field goal % – 55.9 (10th highest in NBA history)
• Free throw % – 72.1
• Three-point % – 05.6
• Rebounds – 17,440 (3rd most in NBA history)
• Rebounds per game – 11.2 (23rd highest in NBA history)
• Assists – 5,660 (34th in NBA history)
• Assist per game – 3.6
• Steals – 1,160
• Steals per game – 0.74
• Blocks – 3,189 (3rd most in NBA history) (Note: blocks were not officially tabulated until the 1973–74 season)
• Blocks per game – 2.57
• Points per game – 24.6 (14th highest in NBA history)
• Holds NBA career record for:
o Most points (38,387)[26]
o Most minutes played (57,446)
o Most field goals made (15,837)
o Most field goals attempted (28,307)
o Most All-Star selections (19)
o Most All-Star games played (18)


ATLETIC HONORS:
• Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (May 15, 1995)[28]
• College:
o Player of the Year (1967, 1969)
o Three-time First Team All-American (1967–69)
o Three-time NCAA champion (1967, 1968, 1969)
o Most Outstanding Player in NCAA Tournament (1967, 1968, 1969)
o Naismith College Player of the Year (1969)
o National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (2007)[29]
• National Basketball Association:
o Rookie of the Year (1970)
o Six-time NBA champion (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
o Most Valuable Player (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980)
o Sporting News NBA MVP (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980)
o Finals Most Valuable Player (1971, 1985)
o Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" (1985)
o One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996)
o First player in NBA history to play 20 seasons
o #7 in SLAM Magazine's Top 50 NBA Players of all time in 2009.

CAREER HIGHS:

40 point games
70 times in the regular season
55 with Milwaukee Bucks
15 with Los Angeles Lakers
50 point games
All of Abdul-Jabbar's 50 point efforts occurred while he played for the Milwaukee Bucks.
His career high as a Laker was 48 points against the Portland Trail Blazers on November 26, 1975.

50 point games: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kareem_Abdul-Jabbar

Top shot-blocking efforts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kareem_Abdul-Jabbar

Regular season: : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kareem_Abdul-Jabbar


With a nod to Vin Scully, our own LakerTom has long been AB17's biggest fan on this Blog, and leader of the Andrew Bynum "Marching & Chowder Society."

Kudos to you LakerTom. I may not have posted as often in defense of Bynum, but truthfully, my support for Andrew has never wavered. Even when those ridiculous trade proposals swirled around (*cough* Bill Plaschke), I had faith that the Lakers braintrust would do both the "right" thing AND the smart thing: KEEP AB17 in the Purple & Gold.

Next order of business -- make Andrew Bynum a Laker for Life.

ANYone who knows ANYthing about basketball strategy and tactics understands that SIZE does indeed matter. Basketball is a game that is best played Inside-Out, and NOT Outside-In.

A strong low-post presence is the first ingredient for a winning team. Followed by a skillful ball-handling wing player. Preferably a superior point guard or a talented forward.

Memories might be short, but Andrew gave a glimpse into his character when (as a 17 year old) he returned the favor by dunking on Shaq's head, back in 2006. That will be a moment that lives on forever in Lakers lore.

In recent times Lakers broadcasters Big Game James Worthy and Stormin' Norman Nixon have BOTH gone on record as being huge Bynum fans.

Have we really forgotten that when KAJ personally tutored Bynum, Kareem declared that Andrew could become "The Next Great Lakers Center?"

That did it for me. Enough said. When (arguably) the Greatest Lakers Center EVER proclaims that Andrew has the goods to joint THAT immortal fraternity...well, everyone else's opinion just_does_not_matter. Period.

P & G R

Congrats on "The Friedman" Justa. I haven't been around long enough to read all of Mr. Friedman's posts/comments, but I sure enjoyed reading what MM posted on his blog last night. RIP Mr. Friedman

Repost:

Great articles regarding Bynum but really, is anyone surprised? All of this "goodness" comes with one caveat: Can he remain healthy and avoid mishaps on the court? That is the only question that arises whenever the topic is about Andrew Bynum.

Many of us have posted here early in the season how it was VITAL to have Andrew on the court and the difference he makes in the game. I personally went as far as saying that he's the actual MVP on this team and that there is no championship without him as long as he can remain on the floor.

So far, history is on our side. We usually lose him after half a season just when his game is approaching its peak but it usually happens during the 1st half where he is compromised or completely absent for the remainder of the season.

This year, we have him approaching full capacity after the All Star break which bodes well for the team. He has a lot of rest on that body and barring any freak accidents on the court, he takes this team into the Finals and beyond with a deserving and genuine chance - if he is used properly - of being the Finals MVP. Yes, as we know, he really is that good which brings this organization to an agonizing point: If Dwight is available do you make that trade?

As “LakerTom” has pointed out in the past, there's a championship this season that must be won so there is plenty of time to make that decision if and when the scenario presents itself. Today, Bynum is available, he's playing his butt off, he has a great attitude, has embraced his role on this team and all we can hope for is that as long as he's available, the entire team takes notice of what they have and utilize his size and abilities to the fullest extent.

However, if that scenario was today, I make the trade! Dwight doesn’t get to play with Kobe, Pau and Lamar. He doesn’t have access to a great organization that the Lakers provide so if he was on board, his game would be that much better and in all likelihood, would be available for an entire season. Again, the key phrase is “IF that scenario was today.” We will all get to see what the future holds once it becomes the present. Until then, onward to the playoffs and beyond!

"Everything about the Lakers is geared toward winning playoff games. It's what they do." J.A. Adande


"Even when we didn’t make the playoffs, I thought we'd win the championship." Dr. Buss


Go Lakers & In Buss We Trust!!

Love to see Bynum vs Shaq in the Finals!

VMan,


I'm with you on Drew being "on schedule." Actually, maybe a little late, but saying "he's been in the league six years and is finally coming around" as I keep hearing is unfair.


Bigs take longer to develop physically and to to become real players. Remember, Drew was the youngest guy in the NBA, and had very little basketball experience when he was drafted.


Looking at guys like Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O'Neill, who took a couple of years to mature, and adjusting for Drew being even younger and less experienced, I always thought it would take until his third year at least for him to develop into some form of whatever he would become.


And in year 3 Drew emerged as what Kobe called the "player I've been waiting for" as a partner on the Lakers. He was emerging as a dominant big man. Then, after a strong string of games, he went down with his first injury. The "Landin' on LO" one. But before that injury he was developing right on time.


Then in year 4 he was just rounding into form and playing great again when Kobe fell on his knee and took him out. But again, pre-injury, Bynum was playing up to the hype. He was developing on schedule.


Last year Drew never really seemed to get to the top of his game, he never seemed fully recovered. He put up 15 and 8, but rarely looked like "Beast" that had seemed to be emerging in years 3 and 4. And he had injury problems throughout the playoffs.


So now on to year six. And again Bynum has recovered, gotten back into shape. He has also gotten past the mental aspect of his injuries to look like a dominating big man, this time with more focus on defense. And we hear the "finally living up to expections after six years" crap.


It's fine to say he has been hurt. It's smart to worry if he can stay healthy. But this is a guy who has fought back from 3 injuries, played hurt in the playoffs 2 years in a row. This is a guy who, when fully healthy, has demonstrated over the years what he can be.


I guess what I'm saying is that Drew's late arrival was due to injuries, not talent or effort. And those injuries were legit. Did you see the play where Kobe landed on him? It isn't like Drew just pulled up lame after running up the floor or something. No he has not put together a full season yet. No there is no proof he will stay healthy. But there is plenty of proof that, fully healthy, he is a unique talent, a dominating presence, and the biggest good player in the league. A difficult matchup for anybody.


@TOM DANIELS... Thanks for the kind words, Tom. I think there were many more Bynum Boosters than Bashers all along. And I would bet now that almost every doubter or critic is just as happy as we are at how well Drew has been playing. His elevated play speaks worlds about our chances not only this year but for the rest of Kobe’s playing years. Like everyone, I just pray that he can stay healthy and not get injured again by some freak play. If so, the Lakers are set.
........................
@PSYCHED LAKER GIRL... Thanks for the support, Shannon. I don’t think most Lakers fans realize how unique it is for a player with Drew’s offensive game to make the sacrifice to focus on defense and rebounding the way he has. After all, we’re talking about a guy who once scored 42 points in a game. This is no stiff without an offensive game. This is an extremely talented and young offensive star sublimating his offense to concentrate on what his team needs, which is rebounding and defense. While we’ve seen a couple of veterans make a similar transition, I just cannot remember any other talented young player make such a change. It’s a huge tribute both to Drew’s character and Phil’s powers of persuasion. If Drew can stay healthy, he could be DPOY next year and for sure earn a spot as the starting center in the All-Star game.
.......................
@LROB.... Great idea for Silver Screen and Roll to put together a similar set of stats for Ron Artest and for the Lakers when both of them are on the floor together, though I suspect the big difference in stats when Drew is in the game is the result of teams not being able to score in the paint. One great defensive stat that I remember but cannot locate involved tabulating the PER for players when they were guarded by a specific player. I thought it was the best use of PER that I had ever seen. For example, you could measure Dwight’s normal PER vs. when guarded by Drew or KD’s normal PER vs. when he was guarded by Ron. If anybody out there can find where to get these stats, please let me know. It was a perfect measure of the impact a defender had who he guarded.
.......................
@TRIANGULATOR... I second your request for MM to try and get word to Stu about Rick’s passing. It would be great for Stu to let the world know what a great fan Rick was and how MM has proclaimed the RCOD to from now on to be known as the Rick Friedman Award. I think it would be a classy move that would honor Rick and perhaps lead more fans to join the blog.
.......................
@JAMF.... Justa, glad you’re feeling better. I am not sure if I can make the chat on Friday as I have basketball practice. My grandson’s CYO basketball team – the Mt. Carmel Lakers - won two thrillingly close games last weekend to earn a spot in the league Final Four for 5th grade boys and I am trying to get the kids ready to win it all. Are we talking about the regular chat or rc? Let me know because I do plan to start participating. Looking forward to getting to know everyone better.
.......................
@NORCAL... Kareem, Wilt, and Russell may never be surpassed as the greatest centers in the world. Drew is an anomaly for several reasons. First, unlike the above three, he was not a prodigy as a high school player or even in his first few years as a pro, which is a valid reason why many Lakers fans doubted that he could become the next great Lakers center. Second, he is perhaps the last of dying breed of true low post back-to-the-basket centers. Today, every player regardless of size wants to be a run-and-gun perimeter player like Kobe or LeBron so we may not see many top flight centers coming down the pike in the future, which makes Drew even more valuable. It is not beyond comprehension that Drew might become the Last Great Lakers Center as well as the Next.
.......................
@PURPLE & GOLD REIGN... “Have we really forgotten that when KAJ personally tutored Bynum, Kareem declared that Andrew could become "The Next Great Lakers Center?" Just a great post, P&GR and I remember you always supporting Drew. As I said earlier, from the time Drew went back to Shaq, there have always been a large segment of the Lakers fan base that “knew” Drew had greatness within him. I think some lost that belief due to the multiple injuries but are now returning to the fold. We all still are holding our breath every time Drew has a collision but just as he is slowly and surely trusting his body, we are slowly but surely seeing visions of greatness.
.......................
@FRMKT... Good post. You’re right that health is all that can hold Drew back right now. And if he plays like this in the NBA Finals, he just might “rob” Kobe of Finals MVP. The best result for me would be to see Drew and Kobe both play sensationally as we beat the Celtics for #17 and share the Finals MVP award. That would be the best of both worlds for Lakers fans and the franchise. It would also put an end to any fantasizing about trading Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard. :-)
.......................
TOM

justa FTW...congrats on winning the first 'official' FRIEDMAN...

Although I didn't know him as well as you, I feel your loss...at least we can mourn together...

I dedicate this season to Rick Friedman...and 2010-2011 season will be officially called, The Friedman Season...

Now let's hope it ends with another ring to make it perfect...

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation...

#17 (Friedman Bling) Coming Up!!!

"I would not be surprised if PJ has a few tricks up his sleeve for AB to become #2 or 3 scoring option during this championship run assuming the match-ups allow for this. Won't that be a sight to see?"

Posted by: PsychedLakerGirl | March 16, 2011 at 11:29 AM
__________

I've said all along that Drew will be the "not so secret weapon" unleashed in the playoffs as long as he's healthy and available. Thank goodness it's on schedule. He's looking good, healthy and so long as he can avoid those "freak accidents" from the past two seasons, this kid is a "GO!"
__________

"Next order of business -- make Andrew Bynum a Laker for Life."


Posted by: Purple & Gold Reign | March 16, 2011 at 01:08 PM

______________

I think it's too soon to make that commitment. Mitch "jumped the gun" once before and I don't think the team will want to do that again, especially with rumors that Dwight wants out of Orlando.

Lakers have an option on him next year and for now, that will be good enough. Unfortunately, Drew has to prove that he can avoid injuries long term and play without getting into unfortunate situations the compromise his knees.

G.Money...

If Laker Tom wants to talk about Andrew Bynum, then that is his right. He's not "running his yap", he's expressing his opinion. Andrew is doing very well, and has a tremendous upside. That's definitely something to be celebrated.

Norcal...

Comparing Andrew to Kareem at this point in his career is not realistic; we get that. Posting Kareem's life story to prove your point wasn't necessary. However, Andrew is a key component in the quest to three-peat and as such deserves the enthusiastic support of all Laker fans. We don't need Andrew to be Kareem. We just need him to be healthy and to play up to his own potential.

"We don't need Andrew to be Kareem. We just need him to be healthy and to play up to his own potential."

Posted by: bronxlakerfan | March 16, 2011 at 01:57 PM

_________

Amen!

Why in the world would Phil Jackson get on anybody's nerves during a game? He doesn't get up and in the refs face or call them out. He doesn't roam the sidelines, he just sits there and let what he coaches in practice carry on to the court.
Why isn't "Cry me a River," River's on that list? The Coach AND the players annoy the heck out of me..........cause in their eyes they NEVER commit a foul!!!!!!!!!!!! As a player it would be Ginobli, the biggest flopper and complainer along with Duncan.
@Justa, Congrat's on THE FRIEDMAN, and your heart felt thoughts on your friend.

"Why in the world would Phil Jackson get on anybody's nerves during a game? He doesn't get up and in the refs face or call them out. He doesn't roam the sidelines, he just sits there and let what he coaches in practice carry on to the court.
Posted by: NewMexicoLL | March 16, 2011 at 02:32 PM "

Not nearly as much as he used to but he still does bark at the refs sometimes. Maybe they don't like how he sits on the highchair, maybe they don't like his indifferent expression he wears 95% of the game, or maybe they just don't like the Lakers. Plus I'm sure guys like Vujacic and Farmar voted for him.

I don't really know how Van Gundy got so many votes as being annoying. If I was out there playing I'd have a hard time not laughing at him. I'd vote for Avery Johnson on his voice alone.

A riveting story about kareem norcal. Good stuff.


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