Forum Blue & Gold: There are going to be a variety of previews on this site between now and Oct. 28 (the first game), but with the roster largely set (at least for the guys getting the majority of the minutes) it’s time to start looking at the squad. One of our insightful members here, Drrayeye, did that in a comment yesterday and I thought it was something that deserved more discussion, so here it is.

I like the Lakers 2008-2009 squad-all of them, individually at least to number 13, and I’m likely to be happy with 14 and 15 as well when we figure out who they are. In comparing the Lakers to opponents at this early preseason point, the established Lakers are already united in team spirit and familiar with each other. Other NBA teams are still trying to sign free agents, find additional players, or, worse, trying to locate one or two starters for the upcoming season.

The Lakers at this point are not only balanced, but may have backups available to sign to restore balance in case of injury. There are some Laker fans that have lost confidence in one or more of our returning players-but not me.

Those Laker bloggers who wish to call Luke “*uke” should wash their mouths out with soap. Last season, Luke played through injuries and changing roles in an apparent confused state. It will be interesting to find out about his mobility and three point shot in the preseason. I expect to see Walton regularly in certain combinations at the small forward and I expect him to make important contributions.

VladRad had a decent season last year, but still battled nagging injuries. His role is likely to shift from the small forward to the power forward-with more emphasis and opportunity as a scorer. I expect his role to also be better defined than last year and be another bright spot on the Laker team.

Derek Fisher played the last games and the playoffs with a significant injury. It will be interesting how healthy he is when he reappears in the preseason, and it will be interesting how many minutes he will play each game during the regular season.

I’m sure that Jordon Farmar is working on his three, but many of us are hoping that he gets to the hoop more often and rotates better on defense. It will be interesting to see if another Laker is added to the point guard rotation.

The Machine should expect an enhanced role on the Lakers to go with his substantially enhanced salary. I’m sure that there will be various strategies to make his scoring more efficient and his defense more acceptable.

Lamar had his best season as a Laker during 2007-2008, and he is as healthy as he ever has been. This season, his versatility will be challenged as never before.

The real treat will be to see Trevor Ariza and Andrew Bynum going through an entire preseason with Pau Gasol. There are many adjustments to work out. So far, the only Laker surgery on the horizon is for Kobe Bean, but he’ll be ready and rested by the time the season starts-I hope. If not, the early season absence will be a good test for the rest of the team.

Then there are three or four members of the newby squad to be added in:

Here comes the Sun (Sun Yue) seems signed, sealed, and soon delivered-ready to find the first dim sum place near Staples (hint: it’s not too far away!).

Josh Powell has apparently been swiped from the Clippers for the “Ronny Turiaf” slot-a slot that may have to be redefined to suit Josh.

I’m convinced that the Lakers will fill only one more slot (#14), unless they sign Mbenga (#15).

That slot should go to Coby Karl, and it may, but he may overlap too much with Sun Yue. I’m speculating (with no knowledge at all) that the slot will go to lightning fast Dwayne Mitchell in the hope that he can be a point guard defensive stopper. Why else would they even hold on to a 26 year old this long?

I find it least likely that they will select Crawford, but there are still a few other players that might be asked to training camp, and other strange things could happen. Slots 14 and 15 may not be completely determined until the start of the season.

  • its12:39

    omg my first-“first-comment”-cant believe it
    oh and GO LAKERS

  • dawg

    pls include my man karl on our rotation

  • VoiceofReason

    I’m happy you see Luke as a great player like I do. These kids dont appreciate what he brings to us when healthy.

  • Soichiro

    Luke could be one of our candid contributors. ;)

    In 2007, he had one of his best breakthrough seasons. If healthy, Luke can be one heck of a commodity with his passing skills. Unfortunately, I’d have to say that he still has got to work hard to improve his defense.

    Vlad as a PF? The guy couldn’t rebound. His only asset I guess is his shooting. My goodness. But unlike Luke, I think Vlad has been trying harder on the defensive end. ;)

  • MR. JUAN_YOUR WARLOCK

    I think Karl must show up big time in the preseason or else he will be the first to go. Everyone including myself would love & want to see a person rebound from a serious health issue and succeed immensely in life… He has become a fan favorite mostly because of his past health issues and not because of his impact on the court.

  • http://www.jamieinsider.com Jamie Spears Insider

    Totally. Luke brings the little things. Kind of like Lamar except Lamar is more athletic.

  • http://lakers.topbuzz.com Mamba2410

    Nicely written, really nice…All I can say is…I can’t wait to see how much Bynum, Farmar, Ariza, and others improved, I wish that the pre-season would start!!!

  • Lakers24-7-365

    What i hope is that luke plays like he did in 2007 as a bench player, and vlad plays like he played with the clips and sonics.

  • Johnnie

    Too many at the SF position. A trade for a backup center/PF.

  • http://www.thelakersnation.com Fred A.

    [Comment ID #49822 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Exactly!!!!!!!!!!!
    You hit it right on the head.

  • Ubershorty

    I think that the Lakers should re-sign DJ Mbenga. And the Lakers should invite Shaun Livingston to training camp.

  • http://TheVerveNerve.com Billy Kupchak

    [Comment ID #49825 Will Be Quoted Here]

    We already took Josh Powell away :cool: Are we stealing 2 players away from our neighbors? ;)

  • Mitch4Pres

    this is a great article. im still hoping we hear more about the possibility of getting shawn livingston. i wish more people were talking about that.

  • lakaluva

    Is there anyway we can DUMP Luke!!! I mean this guy BLOWS!!!

  • LAKERNATION

    [Comment ID #49828 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Dude your so f*ucking dumb man.

  • LAKERNATION

    [Comment ID #49803 Will Be Quoted Here]

    And how “lakaluva” is a dumba**, you are a true LAKER fan man. Right when I read LUKE’s name pop up first on this artical, I was like hell yeah man finally I see some love for my main man LUKE!!!! Mark my words everyone, LUKE WALTON will be the teams, as to go with LAMAR ODOM as well, MOST IMPROVED PLAYER. You guys hate on them so much and you all forget how much these two players bring to our team. Without ODOM our rebounds would be way down, and easy two we can look for, and man just all around great performance. And LUKE, he would be the first one to admit it that 07-08 couldn’t get any worse, but man come 08-09 you will regreat all that bullshit that all you say about him.

  • lakaluva

    Why, cause I dont like your white token? Or because I dont scream Luuuuuuuke whe he throws a good pass once every 10 games? Or how about that WNBA shot of his… am I dumb for not like that? Did he miss out on all the training camps his father gave or what? What I do like about Luke is his ability to azz rape Mitch for a 6 year deal… I repsect that. But more than anything, I love the way Kobe rips Luke on national television for missing WIDE OPEN LAYUPS, and not being able to cover a snail to save his life. Yup, you just may be right… I am dumb for not liking that piece of shyt!!!

  • dawg

    lakaluva remember the day u said finals mvp is better than the reg season mvp? and u said i was a kobe-ballwasher cuz i think his mvp trophy is better than pierce? thank gawd these people realizes ur ignorance.

  • dawg

    yea i understand pierce still won the championship but individual award? reg season dude

  • lakaluva

    Finals MVP is better than regualr season MVP you jackazz!!! Do I have to spell it out for you! Finals MVP means you won the title dumb dumb. And you are a Kobe Nutsack Washer! And as for the other idiot above you getting his panties in a twist, Luke has BLOWED his whole damn career!!! He had one average season during his contract year, and then he went back to laying turds… and you are just lapping it up…lol. Hes injured every year, cant shoot worth shyt, poor defender, and he makes me want to take a long diarrhea crap everytime I watch him play. Lord help these fools.

  • lakaluva

    Oh, and LO is a good player, I just dont think he cares too much about winning.

  • http://www.thelakersnation.com Fred A.

    I would trade Luke Walton and Coby Karl for a good big probly a center.

  • lakaluva

    Now thats just being flat out Greedy Fred…lol. No team is going to bail the Lakers out for being stupid and crippling their salary cap with Lukes contract. Mitch has learned his lesson though. You dont give long-term deals to role players, they can be replaced in a heartbeat… especially guys like Luke. Mitch was right to let Ronny walk… look how easy it was to replace him with Josh. He also did a good job with Sasha only getting three years. Who knows, maybe Luke will get 3rd degree burns trying to BBQ or something. Can they cancel his contract behind something like that?

  • JayOne

    why would mitchel or crawford make th team if they already signed them?

  • monkey

    Whatever,I hope Luke and LO are the Most Improved Players in Lakers next season..

  • Ninja

    Pau Gasol must be treated as a God for the Lakers fans. He´s by far the best player of the rooster. SCREW KOBE, PAU FTW

  • DCLAKER

    I just want Vlad traded more than Luke for either Tyrus Thomas or Udonis Haslem.

  • orlando

    Luke is great only when passing to the other teams.He is worthless.living on his “no pride”fathers name.Could not even play with the la sparks or special olympics. Get his a## out of la if not California.

  • DCLAKER
  • http://www.thelakersnation.com Fred A.

    This would solve the problem 4 SHORE!!!!!!!!
    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/features/traderesult?players=3188~3015~1014~3251~549~1016~2027&teams=13~13~13~26~26~26~26&te=&cash=
    Fisher/Farmer/Crawford
    Bryant/Vujavic/Yue
    Odom/Ariza/Livingston or Almond
    Gasol/Millsap/Powell
    Bynum/Okur/Mabenga

  • LakersNo1

    Good article Kurt but you probably were watching Luke playing well during garbage time. That’s how he improve his stat. This guy can not deliver period. Those of you who believe Luke will win the most improve player award, keep dreaming cuz it aint happening any century.

  • Gelo

    I’m fricken bored out of my mind. So much talk about how much bigger and stronger Drew has gotten and the improvement of Farmar and the Machine, I’m going crazy waiting for training camp to start. I keep checking the internet for any new news on Bynum and it seems there is any as of yet.

  • yellowpurplefever

    I like the article, but on Luke “Fluke” , dont blame it on injuries. If he’s hurt, rest, rehab, sit out til healthy, he’s not Kobe(athletic). Did you watch last season! He missed easy jumpshots and layups, pls dont blame these on injuries. He’s just choked. Got paid well for 6 yrs. Until proven otherwise, he’s “Fluke”, give up his spot for Ariza, Powell and Sun more time. And Vlady, kidding me! dont blame this on the snowboarding accident. Another well paid choker who cant play DEFENSE. Give his minutes to Pau, LO, Powell and Ariza. Go Lakers!

  • Zen Master

    lakaluva, I understand your point that the Finals MVP Award is better than the Reg. Season MVP Award. But the problem is… you only have one point. Your only point is, well, winning the championship. You said its better because it comes by winning a championship.

    But keep in mind that Reg MVP is harder to get. First, players have to play all season to compete for that award (82 games). Second, there are way more players to compete with. In the Finals, a player only has to win the championship and perform well in a 7-game series. Compare 7 games to 82 games. Which one is harder? No brainer here.

  • DCLAKER

    The “What If” question of the day…someone ask me what if the Lakers had these 2…..

    http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/005A898bQD1XL/610x.jpg!!

  • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/ topher96
  • DCLAKER

    GREAT READ,TOPHER96,THANX!!!

    I like the fact that it said absolutely NUTHIN’ about Vlad and Luke and that after losing RONNY,The Bench Mobb was goin’ to be thin,WEAK (Powell is goin’ to shock alot of people though).

    This is why I make trade request because if we’re constantly talkin’ Finals,then our bench has NO CHOICE and NO EXCUSES this time around or else……December’s goin’ to a VERY C O L D month for these guys…

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/features/traderesult?players=3002~3251~549~617~3028~3032~1006&teams=4~4~4~15~13~13~13&te=&cash=!!!