this is written by milesfides
of RealGM on the Lakers boards....a very good analysis of the team....it was written 3 days ago
With a 9-4 record, the Lakers are tied for the fourth best record in the NBA.
Remarkable. The impact of our big offseason acquistion has been negligible. We lost our starting center with offseason surgery, replaced by a 19-year-old center. Our former NBDL starting point guard has struggled. And the Lakers have so far shown that they're young, inexperienced, and hardly know their own offense.
And yet, the Lakers are one of the best teams in the league.
Kobe Bryant in Championship Form
Due to our trouble running our offense, Phil Jackson moved Kobe Bryant to guard. Kobe switched gears and has played Scottie Pippen to nobody's Jordan. Directing his teammates by pointing fingers, giving head nudges, gathering mini-huddles, Kobe has been the coach on the floor, and has drawn the clueless Lakers like chicks to a mother hen. Amazingly, Kobe has not lost his scoring touch, making impossible shots look even easier this season, with effortless fadeaways, left-handed floaters, and spinning scoop shots. Kobe has been running the offense like Peyton Manning, but when we need a basket, takes it himself like Michael Vick. Kobe is playing on a different level than any other player in the league; he is playing for a championship in November.
The collective impact of Walton, Bynum, Kwame and Farmar has made us a better team.
Walton worked on his offensive game this summer and it shows. He leads the nba in 3-point percentage, remarkable for a player who couldn't hit a shot a year ago. Refusing to be a limited player with just passing skills, Walton has transformed his game while elavating the Lakers'.
Bynum has shown that not only does he have the most upside among any young centers in the league, he is realizing that potential in just his second season, at 19. He has made an impact on both sides of the floor. He has a solid set of post moves and is proving to be an intimidating defensive presence around the basket. He has shown a nice touch at the line. Right now, there is no weakness or limitation to his game except inexperience. He doesn't know the tendencies of his opposition yet. He may not have the respect of the referees. But he has every indication of becoming dominant; it's only a matter of time.
Kwame is playing with urgency. He's always been a physical specimen, disappointing only in his mental lapses and uninspired play. Now, Kwame is playing with confidence. He wants the ball every time down the court, and this year, he's having no trouble catching the ball and putting it down. But the biggest change is in his energy level. His rebounding is at career highs. He's blocking shots. He's owning the paint. He's even hitting clutch free throws. All with a bad shoulder. Kwame is no longer the nervous kid in serious need of Puff Daddy's Proactiv. Instead, he looks seasoned and even a little irritable. He's playing with a chip on his shoulder, as if Bynum were standing over his grave.
Farmar has been outstanding. One thing is clear - he's a baller. Regardless of his role on the team, he is playing aggressively. He is a decisive player among indecisive teammates. With Kobe at point guard, Farmar has simply capitalized on the opportunities created by kobe. He is not whining about not having the ball in his hands - an easy and justified complaint for a point guard. He's simply balling. Open shot, take it. Open lane, drive to the basket. Moreover, he showed his defensive ability by quickly cooling off a hot Marcus Williams tonight. Clearly our point guard of the future - but will he stay fresh for the playoffs? We'll need him. Also, who's going to teach him how to play better defense?
But it's no time to sit on our early success. We should be looking at every advantage.
Bynum and Kwame. Play them together, or move one of them. Not that we have to, but both have such high value right now, we could fix team weaknesses, such as obtaining a veteran point guard for the playoffs and/or a help defender at forward. Or we can move Kwame to the four and completely dominate the paint. Although some people might say Kwame doesn't have a good jump shot, that's not historically true; his jump shot was average in the past. Perhaps by moving him back to the four we can exploit his natural face-to-the-basket talent, and utilize his finishing abilities by pushing the ball more often. No, the real obstacle is Odom, who plays the four. We cannot take Walton out because he is instrumental to run and execute our offense. But I'm going to leave that hot topic alone, what to do about Odom.
Speaking of Odom, he has shown similar tendencies as last year, except more aggressiveness. Not an increase in ability, just a willingness to shoot more. A lot of people think the offense would do much better in odom's hands, but they're overlooking the fact that Odom is a worse playmaker than Walton and Kobe, and knows the offense far less. However, the good news is, he's making an impact. Odom hasn't missed a beat shooting from downtown and driving hard to the left - same as last year. That's when he's at his best, not pounding the ball to the floor and stagnating the offense. However, his limitations are also clear; his post moves are limited, and he has shown that he has trouble adjusting to a defender (see Kirilenko, who blocked Odom numerous times, and Odom trying the same shot over and over again, inexplicably).
Radman - better than advertised, but it doesn't matter on this team, not with the current combination of players. Won't get burn over Walton, over Phil's own admission that he has no choice but to play Walton. Right now, a waste of money that could have spent elsewhere in areas of weakness.
Turiaf - not getting enough burn, but it's inevitable, given Kwame, Bynum, and Odom taking up all the frontcourt minutes. A trade would do wonders to open some playing time for one of our most productive per minute players. Quite possibly the answer to our power forward position for the next 10 years...if only he had the opportunity.
Mo Evans - great athleticism, and little else. Doesn't know the offense, relies to much on his athleticism. Not the great defender that some expected. Getting PT simply because Radman's defense is worse.
Sasha Vujacic - homework: learn how to drive. Relying too much on his jump shot, and when it's not falling, is a liability. Needs to work on his drive and finishing so that we can use his shooting and defensive intensity.
Cook - victim of the number crunch. Still our best shooting big man, but both he and Turiaf look like they'll get scraps as long as Bynum, Kwame, and Odom are on the team.
Smush Paker Intensity. Confidence. Same issues. He has a good stroke and is a great finisher. But when he hesitates with his three-point shooting, that reveals a lack of confidence or concentration. He must be ready, and when he doesn't hesitiate, his threes are money. Parker hasn't been driving to the hole very much this season, except his nasty posterizing of Ben Wallace. Most importantly, Parker has always shown the potential to be a great defender with long arms and great instincts, but he hasn't shown a willingness to f!ght through screens. He gives up, and many times is playing defense behind his opponent. Wrong side! But when Smush is inspired, playing hard and confidently, he changes the entire game, putting pressure on the opponent's point guards, which rattles their offense/defense. A mixed bag with Parker, but he is playing better as of late.
Our team is one of the most talented in the league, but also one of the youngest. We need some quality veterans that'll come through in the playoffs. You cannot depend on kids in the pressure cooker.
In sum, we look primed for a trade. At this point, our weaknesses are apparent, namely at point guard and help defense. And Phil has been ruthless in his rotations. He is simply playing players who can produce for us - not much politics involved. Phil's stature allows him to make basketball decisions regardless of the finances involved.
With Buss, Phil, and Kobe, they all look ready to make a championship run. Everybody is on the same page based on my observations so far.
I expect some major decisions by all-star break, and the Lakers to vie for a championship this very season.
Last edited by McLaren; 11-30-2006 at 05:43 PM..