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Tuesday, November 7th, 2006 at 2:30 pm  |  8 responses

Laker Questions

Laker blog Show Time weighs in on the state of the team.

It’s been an interesting beginning to the NBA season with lots of different unexpected stories coming from out of leftfield. So naturally I’m bringing up the LA Lakers, a team that gets discussed and dissected more than any other. I made a promise to Yannis Koutroupis from the Laker blog Show Time that I would run this piece he wrote before the season started. I feel that the issues brought up still apply. Lamar Odom has been playing at a phenomenal level, Kobe isn’t back at 100% yet, and the young guys have been stepping up. This was sent to me right before the season opener. Take it away Yannis.
The future is now
By Yannis Koutroupis

Nobody under hyped the Laker draft picks more than the guy who made them, Mitch Kupchak. With Andrew Bynum he was very firm in saying that the plan was for him to sit the majority of his first two seasons, because he’s so young and the transition from high school to the NBA is especially hard for big men. At just 19 years old when drafted, much of the same things were said about rookie point guard out of UCLA Jordan Farmar.

But with injuries coming as frequently as complaints about the new ball, those plans have changed. Andrew Bynum is going to be the Lakers starting center until Chris Mihm and Kwame Brown can get healthy, but even then as Mitch Kupchak’s Wally Pip comment alluded to, Andrew could keep his spot if he plays at the level he did the last two preseason games.

The Lakers brought in Shammond Williams to solidify their point guard rotation, but because of a pelvis injury that is likely to nag him the entire season, Farmar got a chance to show what he could do early. Phil Jackson said the team gets ‘inspiration’ when he comes in the game, and the plan is to get him significant minutes early and see how he responds.

With fifteen of their first twenty games at home, most of them against non playoff teams, the Lakers future at the point guard and center position will get a chance to earn their spot in the rotation and become impact players for the Lakers much earlier than expected.

No matter how great the two young guys play though, the team goes as Kobe Bryant does. His ‘routine’ knee surgery kept him out four months, and getting to 100% is going to be a gradual process. By the time the Lakers long opening home stint is over, Kobe should be gearing into shape.

Phil Jackson’s hip replacement surgery still has him limping around somewhat, but the team’s early road games should be the only ones that he misses. With his nagging hip issue a thing of the past, expect contract extension talks to get serious at season’s end.

One of the only Lakers to not experience and injury this off season may have had a tougher summer than anyone. Lamar Odom was coming off his strongest play as a Laker, with hopes of being an all-star this season. These hopes came to an abrupt halt as his young son Jayden died in his sleep at the age of six months.

Odom is doing his best to become a better basketball player from this, saying on several occasions he’s play with his son’s soul inside of him. However, he’ll be asked of more this season than any other season before and with everything that happened in the off season considered; it may take Odom awhile to get going.

Just about everybody in the Laker organization helped recruit Vladimir Radmanovic. He was number one on everyone in the Lakers front office wish list, or at least it appeared that way. If his slap of the hand that resulted in a torn ligament that will require surgery is any indicator, Brian Shaw wasn’t as high on Vladimir as the rest. Joking aside, Vladimir was expected to give a big boost to the Lakers perimeter threat this year, but due to his hand injury he’s been shooting the ball poorly. Vladimir has said he’ll wait until the end of the season to get the surgery done, but if he continues to play poorly because of it that could change.

The Lakers have a young, deep, and talented team that includes the most dominant offensive player on the planet. If they can build on the chemistry they began to form last year and get healthy, they could make some noise in a western conference that is deep – but has no one dominant team. If they continue to harbor the injury bug like they did in pre season, it’ll be a long year with a deep draft as the reward in May.

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  • Nads

    Let’s go D-Fenders!

  • abelp

    lakers rule!!!! kb24 MVP odom all star !!!

  • yhahancee

    Defensive minded. I must have watched all of the teams this week play. What seperates being blown out or playing catch up the whole night is team personailty. some NBA teams can focus so well as a unit that a professional basketball team with all the offense in the world can be locked down to a 12 point quarter. Some teams concentrate so hard on “D” that their offense becomes so easy (no hesitaion on any shot; it will go in).

    My man KB (welcome back; we all missed you; please believe everyone was watching your first game back). Haters even trying to nit pick. We’re not worried about KB; because KB is not worried himself. Team ball is on his mind. He loves the game to much to worry. Just Like the US with the bronze. We can’t worry about the stars going one-on-one for a dunk mcnasty. How about a (mc flurry) team win. It looks better when everyone scores. Everyone contributes because then what can one star player do to a whole team instead of just proving hoe great he can guard another star. Boring. How about triple doubles all day everyday just about (Lamar Odom). It’s the whole unit thing that makes teams like the Miami Heat get blown out on their first game. Tired!!!! huh. Yeah okay. All for one and one for all was written on the game plan board that night.

    Down to the funky hand shakes/celebrations. Our first loss to the ray allen sonics. It’s not that they played harder then the Lakes, but we defended as if we second guessed our potential or our every move. For instance, Ray Allen for the under the basket finger roll (only because Rad Mad was second guessing at the time). He wasn’t guessing when Ray Allen’s dunk was shhhhh. Not just a block; but a rejected dunk. Shhhhhh no comment.

    LAKERS. I’m down for life. Besides I like the haters talking they usually base their opinions on somebody elses opinion, which means they missed the whole game from jump. It’s just fun watching. I wish I could just mop a game or two. Remember their are people out here that love the organization as a whole, so much that our HD Video recorders aren’t even enough to whole all the Stu, Worthy Spins, and the games. I’ll sit in traffic anyday at 5pm on a Tuesday; as long as I know it’s tip off tonight. Sasha keep your head up (if you get scared; don’t worry about it, you got Ronny Two’s (Ronny Turiaf) for the put back. And for the laker shuffle at the end of that put back. CHiaaaa

  • jbn74sb

    Sam – You’re getting referenced on kobe’s site (kb24.com).

    http://news.kb24.com/#27

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    They should be referencing Yannis Koutroupis. He’s the one that wrote that.
    Also how did the new Jay-Z song/commercial make his top 25 videos list?

  • Froggiestyle

    Respect to Kob (Mr. Ill from Milano) but knee surgery is pretty scary, we’ll see how he “ages”…

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  • Linda Singleton

    I would like to know why Mitch Kupchak got rid of all the veteran’s on the Laker team and stick one of the greatest players with guys he just can’t win with? He should have been fired when the team didn’t come close to the playoffs. Kobe still can’t win with the guys he’s playing with..what happened? I hate to see Kobe go down like things are going…it has to be frustrating for him, it is sure frustrating for me…I enjoy watching him play and I pray for him and the team he has been stuck with..where does Kupchak find these guys? How can other lesser teams and even the ones that are up there, find the right guys. Kupchak gets rid of everybody…never gives them a chance to jell…look at the Spurs…their core guys are still together..why doesn’t he let even Dennis Rodman come back to at least provide some rebounding…Kobe needs help…it does not make sense that the amount of money these guys get paid that they can’t play any better. Another beef I have, a huge beef, why is Stu Jackson allowed to do whatever he wants to a player and they have no voice to defend themselves. He should be looked at and maybe he should be replaced with someone that has some wisdom and a sense of fairness. Kobe is not a dirty player..and according to Stu Jackson, if it happens again, he is going to get a longer suspension, which makes other players that will want to get him out of a game will intentionally go under his arm to create something. A Black man that once knew what it was to be where he had no voice, should understand someone else. He, I believe, is targeting Kobe, and I may add, this wisdomless jackass has taken all of the excitement out of the game. Why is Dr. Buss letting this go on. The fans should be able to voice their dislike, as Stu Jackson does not care about disappointing fans. If we don’t buy tickets, he can’t sit in the front office. I think he needs to be looked into and before he really does something to show how unwise he is. He abuses power and I believe that too much power in hands like his is a detriment…an accident going somewhere to happen. I love Kobe and he has taken a lot of heat…one thing the haters can’t take away from him is the gift God gave him to play basketball. He is the only one that you could say is a lot like Michael Jordan.. I hope they get some guys that can really play to surround him with…the guys they have now are second unit guys that can come off of the bench and may a difference..Lamar Odom is the only one in my estimation that you could say “duo”…I am praying for them …hope God has his ears open….

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