Jump to content




Photo

Real's 2008-09 Lakers Season Preview!


  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 Real Deal

Real Deal

    Legend

  • 14,860 posts
  • Joined: Jun 29, 2008
  • Location:Kansas
  • Name:Brandon
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe

Posted October 28, 2008 - 06:49 PM

The 2008-09 Los Angeles Lakers Season Preview
Posted Image
by Brandon Neal

"Your future takes precedence over your past. Focus on your future, rather than on the past." - Gary Ryan Blair

Months ago, the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. Since that nasty defeat in the NBA Finals, the Lakers have welcomed back Andrew Bynum, who will be our starting center, and are making lineup changes that will eventually benefit their perimeter offense and bench production. To date, the Lakers are courting the best player in the world in Kobe Bryant, who will be returning for his 13th NBA season. Only two players on Los Angeles' roster are over 30 -- Kobe, who plays like he's much younger, and Derek Fisher, both being originals from the three-peat Lakers from almost a decade ago. With little experience outside of the championship duo comes big expectations for the next two or three years, at the very least. It can be debated that this Lakers squad, barring any injuries, has the potential to be one of the best Lakers fans have seen since the days of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West. However, there's no denying the talent around the league, especially in the Western Conference, so with all things considered, there's no guarantee that this season will rival that of other 60-win Lakers teams in the past, but one thing is for certain: based on visuals from last season, the starting five and bench, under Phil Jackson's wing, will turn confident non-Lakers fans into nail-biters halfway through the regular season.

For Lakers roster information, click here.

THE STARTING FIVE

17 - ANDREW BYNUM (profile)
Posted Image
Position: C
Height: 7-0
Weight: 285
Born: 10/27/1987
School: St. Joseph HS (NJ)
Drafted: 1st Round, 10th (LAL) 2005
Salary: $2,769,300
Projected Stats: 13.3 PPG, 58% FG, 10.1 RPG, 2.1 BPG
After a successful knee surgery, Andrew Bynum seemed to be back to his old self in preseason basketball. Before the injury, Bynum was averaging a solid 13 points per game, along with ten boards. Granted this was only for 35 games, many don't understand that it was for almost a half a season, not a month. Bynum is nearly impossible to stop once he gets three or four feet from the rim, and with less body fat this season, Bynum's frame makes it tough for anyone to keep him grounded. Andrew has to play hard every night, stay healthy, and focus on dunking everything he gets his paws on, if he wants to be called one of the best centers in the league someday.

16 - PAU GASOL (profile)
Posted Image
Position: F-C
Height: 7-0
Weight: 250
Born: 7/6/1980
School: Spain
Drafted: 1st Round, 3rd (ATL) 2001
Salary: $15,106,000
Projected Stats: 14.5 PPG, 54% FG, 8.1 RPG, 1.5 BPG
Defensively, Pau Gasol has little to show for, minus his length. Otherwise, Gasol is an excellent player. With the ability to play with his back to the basket, or face up, at two different positions, Pau could be Kobe Bryant's favorite target once again this season. Gasol's passing is very impressive for a big man; definitely not what you'd see from Shaquille O'Neal years ago, but Gasol's range is better, which makes it easy to draw defenders. If it's a dunk, a hook, or a mid-range jumper, Pau Gasol can give it to you consistently, which makes him a dangerous weapon in the triangle offense this season.

10 - VLADIMIR RADMANOVIC (profile)
Posted Image
Position: F
Height: 6-10
Weight: 235
Born: 11/19/1980
School: Serbia & Montenegro
Drafted: 1st Round, 12th (SEA) 2001
Salary: $6,049,400
Projected Stats: 7.2 PPG, 45% FG, 3.1 RPG, 1.8 APG
Replacing Lamar Odom in the starting lineup, Vladimir Radmanovic is to the Lakers as Toni Kukoc was to the Chicago Bulls: an international forward that's instructed to "bomb away." Radmanovic can shoot 40% or better from beyond the arc, and if necessary, knows how to put the ball on the floor. His rebounding may not be up to par with other players near his height, but on a team with Bynum and Gasol running with him in the frontcourt, Radmanovic should have nothing to worry about five or six feet from the rim, which is where he'll be spending very little of his time in the first place.

24 - KOBE BRYANT (profile)
Posted Image
Position: G
Height: 6-6
Weight: 205
Born: 8/23/1978
School: Lower Merion HS (PA)
Drafted: 1st Round, 13th (NOH) 1996
Salary: $21,262,500
Projected Stats: 26.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 6.1 APG
The 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player, Kobe Bryant is arguably the best player in the world today. If critics are declaring your trust issues as your only weakness, you have something to brag about, and since last season, Bryant has been able to trust his teammates quite well (possibly due to the fact that he has legitimate teammates now). The best scorer in the NBA is also one of the best one-on-one defenders in the league, and it may be his determination and undying will to win that will lead him to possibly his fourth NBA championship in 2009, as well as a second run at another MVP award. With more help at all positions, and players moving back to their original spots on the court, the load may be less for Kobe, but the task is still the same.

2 - DEREK FISHER (profile)
Posted Image
Position: G
Height: 6-1
Weight: 210
Born: 8/9/1974
School: Arkansas-Little Rock
Drafted: 1st Round, 24th (LAL) 1996
Salary: $4,666,667
Projected Stats: 9.7 PPG, 42% FG, 1.7 RPG, 3.1 APG
Derek Fisher, who may be fighting with Jordan Farmar for the starting point guard spot, provides veteran leadership on and off the court. One of the better players in the league at drawing an offensive foul, Fisher's smothering defense helps his steals-to-turnover ratio, but also gets him into trouble sometimes, leaving him vulnerable to guards with an explosive first step, or those that are simply faster than Fisher. His ability to hit the open three overshadows his weakneses on defense, though, which has been the feature of Derek's game since the Lakers drafted him in 1996.

THE BENCH

7 - LAMAR ODOM (profile)
Posted Image
Position: F
Height: 6-10
Weight: 230
Born: 11/6/1979
School: Rhode Island
Drafted: 1st Round, 4th (LAC) 1999
Salary: $11,400,000
Projected Stats: 12.4 PPG, 53% FG, 9.1 RPG, 3.9 APG
Strengths: ball-handling, passing, rebounding
Weaknesses: post defense, clutch scoring

5 - JORDAN FARMAR (profile)
Posted Image
Position: G
Height: 6-2
Weight: 180
Born: 11/30/1986
School: UCLA
Drafted: 1st Round, 26th (LAL) 2006
Salary: $1,080,000
Projected Stats: 10.2 PPG, 47% FG, 2.1 RPG, 2.5 APG
Strengths: quickness, jumpshooting
Weaknesses: perimeter defense, playmaking

18 - SASHA VUJACIC (profile)
Posted Image
Position: G
Height: 6-7
Weight: 205
Born: 3/8/1984
School: Slovenia
Drafted: 1st Round, 27th (LAL) 2004
Salary: $5,000,000
Projected Stats: 7.9 PPG, 46% FG, 1.9 RPG, 1.9 APG
Strengths: three-point shooting, ball-handling
Weaknesses: quickness, physical strength

3 - TREVOR ARIZA (profile)
Posted Image
Position: F
Height: 6-8
Weight: 210
Born: 6/30/1985
School: UCLA
Drafted: 2nd Round, 43rd (NYK) 2004
Salary: $3,100,000
Projected Stats: 6.1 PPG, 47% FG, 2.8 RPG, 1.4 APG
Strengths: athleticism, on-ball defense
Weaknesses: jumpshooting, inconsistency

4 - LUKE WALTON (profile)
Posted Image
Position: F
Height: 6-8
Weight: 235
Born: 3/28/1980
School: Arizona
Drafted: 2nd Round, 32nd (LAL) 2003
Salary: $4,420,000
Projected Stats: 4.8 PPG, 41% FG, 3.5 RPG, 3.2 APG
Strengths: passing, basketball IQ
Weaknesses: interior defense, scoring

31 - CHRIS MIHM (profile)
Posted Image
Position: C
Height: 7-0
Weight: 265
Born: 7/16/1979
School: Texas
Drafted: 1st Round, 7th (CHI) 2000
Salary: $2,500,000
Projected Stats: 4.5 PPG, 48% FG, 4.3 RPG, 1.2 BPG
Strengths: low-post scoring, rebounding
Weaknesses: health, interior defense

21 - JOSH POWELL (profile)
Posted Image
Position: F-C
Height: 6-9
Weight: 240
Born: 1/25/1983
School: North Carolina State
Drafted: undrafted
Salary: $854,957
Projected Stats: 4.0 PPG, 47% FG, 4.3 RPG, 0.9 APG
Strengths: rebounding, physical strength
Weaknesses: interior scoring, basketball IQ

28 - DJ MBENGA (profile)
Posted Image
Position: C
Height: 7-0
Weight: 255
Born: 12/30/1980
School: Congo
Drafted: undrafted
Salary: $854,957
Projected Stats: 2.2 PPG, 49% FG, 1.5 RPG, 0.5 BPG
Strengths: shot-blocking, physical strength
Weaknesses: scoring, playmaking

9 - SUN YUE (profile)
Posted Image
Position: G
Height: 6-9
Weight: 220
Born: 11/6/1985
School: China
Drafted: 2nd Round, 40th (LAL) 2007
Salary: $442,114
Projected Stats: 1.8 PPG, 36% FG, 0.9 RPG, 1.0 APG
Strengths: athleticism
Weaknesses: turnover-prone, perimeter scoring

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2009
From top to bottom, the Los Angeles Lakers may be the best team in the NBA, and they will set out to prove it this season. Once again, the triangle offense will be implemented, but the key to the Lakers' success this season will be defense. Bynum and Ariza will surely help lessen the Lakers' woes on the defensive end, along with Bryant, but Gasol and Odom will be asked to lock in on their opponents much better, playing more physical basketball under the rim, and crashing the boards, which hurt us against stronger frontcourts throughout last season. Also, guard penetration needs to be minimized, and with an additional seven-footer in the paint, there's less room for a Tony Parker or Steve Nash to slide in and lay the ball up off the glass.

Our biggest issue on the offensive end has to be moving without the ball, and spacing. The triangle offense demands spacing, playmaking, and versatility, from all players (including the big men). Instead of having shoes of stone (sluggish movement, sometimes no movement at all), every player in purple and gold needs to learn, and apply, the basic cuts and post-positions in the triangle. Practicing good spacing and movement will not only beat most defenses with this type of offense, but also cut down on the effectiveness of the zone defense, which has been the antidote for the triangle offense since Phil Jackson, Tex Winter and Jim Cleamons introduced it to the Lakers in 1999.

Finally, attention has to be directed at Jackson, specifically for his in-game decisions. Jackson's rotations seem to be effective, but the timing has been questioned, especially late in the third and early fourth quarters. Phil Jackson's mind games has worked in the past, and may even be working with Lamar Odom, but you'd have to wonder if he's focusing too much on the players as individuals, rather than the game itself.

PREDICTIONS
There are two notable streaks in the schedule: five consecutive home games to end the month of November, and a seven-game road trip at the end of March. The March road trip may be easy, as the Lakers play the Charlotte Bobcats, Milwaukee Bucks, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Jersey Nets, Chicago Bulls and the Atlanta Hawks (with the Detroit Pistons being a toss-up). Also, from March 9th - March 17th, the Lakers will play the Portland TrailBlazers, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and the Philadelphia 76ers. No team would be happy about that, especially when the first three are on the road.

The Lakers racked up a very impressive 22-5 record with Pau Gasol in the lineup. If you do the math, that's an .815 win percentage, which equals a 67-win season. Keep in mind that Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum have yet to play a regular season game together. If fully healthy, the Lakers could reach 67 wins or beyond, something they did in the 1999-00 and the 1971-72 NBA seasons. Putting it into that perspective, it seems impossible.

With that said, I have no choice but to believe they will match that total of 67 wins, exceeding the Boston Celtics' win total from last year by one. They will defeat the Hornets in the Western Conference Finals, 4-2. Then, in a series featuring the two best players in the league, the Lakers will defeat the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, 4-1.

LET'S CLOSE THE BOOK
Remembering the past is fine. It helps us prepare for the future. However, living in the past sends you in the wrong direction. Tonight, the championship rings were handed to each player who wore a Boston Celtics jersey in 2008. As of today, there is no NBA champion -- only contenders. The Lakers are the favorites coming out of the Western Conference, and perhaps the favorites to win it all this season. It's a long, rough road ahead, an agonizing 82-game regular season, but the sweet taste of victory is near. There's no success without struggle, and there's no struggle without blood and sweat. The offseason was the calm before the storm, and starting October 28th, it may be "lights out" for Lakers opponents, as a new dynasty is built from top to bottom, and a championship banner is raised once again in Los Angeles.

#2 Guest_Nissan_*

Guest_Nissan_*

Posted October 28, 2008 - 07:40 PM

Odom is making $11 million this season.

Odom's post defense is underrated. :huh:

#3 Real Deal

Real Deal

    Legend

  • 14,860 posts
  • Joined: Jun 29, 2008
  • Location:Kansas
  • Name:Brandon
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe

Posted October 28, 2008 - 09:05 PM

It's not looking underrated so far.

#4 Guest_Nissan_*

Guest_Nissan_*

Posted October 28, 2008 - 09:06 PM

It's not looking underrated so far.

He's playing good D on LaMarcus.

#5 Aztek Lakerfan

Aztek Lakerfan

    Aztek Lakerfan

  • 466 posts
  • Joined: Oct 28, 2008
  • Location:Los Angeles
  • Fan Since:1990
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe Bryant

Posted October 28, 2008 - 09:14 PM

Lakers get their first win. Good way to start the season.

#6 Real Deal

Real Deal

    Legend

  • 14,860 posts
  • Joined: Jun 29, 2008
  • Location:Kansas
  • Name:Brandon
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe

Posted October 28, 2008 - 09:16 PM

He's playing good D on LaMarcus.

Haha, okay. Aldridge has missed most of his shots open. That says something about Odom, who keeps ending up on other players, for some reason.

#7 JD

JD

    Just an Old Relic

  • 967 posts
  • Joined: Jul 09, 2008
  • Location:Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…
  • Fan Since:1980
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe and Magic

Posted October 28, 2008 - 11:31 PM

Great write-up. Better than the so-called mainstream sources, for sure.

Though, I noticed with the 1st unit, we saw a lot of breaking from the triangle. It appears to be by design also. From my perspective, it appears Phil is allowing the starters the freedom to set their own flow to the game. Though, I suspect when you have a player like Gasol who can continually beat his man down the court, it opens things up quite a bit and gives a coach that luxury. Even with breaking from the triangle, spacing was good and I didn't notice a lot of that stone shoes syndrome.

Once Bynum has his legs fully under him, it will just add one more dimension to that. Tonight, there were a few instances where he caught the opposition flat-footed.

zombies.jpg


#8 Real Deal

Real Deal

    Legend

  • 14,860 posts
  • Joined: Jun 29, 2008
  • Location:Kansas
  • Name:Brandon
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe

Posted October 29, 2008 - 12:07 AM

Though, I noticed with the 1st unit, we saw a lot of breaking from the triangle.

You're exactly right. Teams want to run. By design, as you say, the Lakers are going to run with them.

Take a look at what happened after the half. The Blazers caught up, for just a bit...but, because the starters were so powerful, and the second unit likes to run all game long, all of Portland's players ran out of steam.

With Gasol being rail-thin (in comparison to Shaq, or Dwight) and Bynum losing weight, our bigs run the floor like deer, and the only guys who can keep up (the guards) aren't tall enough to catch those overhead passes being thrown down court to Gasol, Bynum, Radmanovic or Odom, who ARE tall enough to catch them and finish.

As I said in the preview, the Lakers have two veterans, with a couple who are near their 30's, and a bunch of young studs. The last thing a team wants to do is pick up the tempo.

There are two things that are different from D'Antoni's Suns of 2005 or 2006, and the Lakers you see today:

1) Kobe Bryant
2) the triangle offense

Otherwise, if you remove those two (and the triangle includes the coaching staff, haha), you have a run and gun team, with guys who want to rain from downtown. That team wouldn't work, as you saw in Seattle a few years back...but with two things to fall back on (Kobe and the triangle), this team is so offensively versatile, they can be almost impossible to guard, if overconfidence doesn't strike them down.

#9 Guest_Nissan_*

Guest_Nissan_*

Posted October 29, 2008 - 12:29 AM

Haha, okay. Aldridge has missed most of his shots open. That says something about Odom, who keeps ending up on other players, for some reason.

Why don't you ever give him some props for playing good? :(

He played good tonight and other people agree with me. :turrible:

Link

#10 netlord

netlord

    Flying high

  • 10,589 posts
  • Joined: Jul 29, 2008
  • Location:España
  • Name:Alexi
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe

Posted October 29, 2008 - 12:34 AM

Great read, and as JD says, better than mainstream.
I am very excited for this season.
Posted Image

#11 Real Deal

Real Deal

    Legend

  • 14,860 posts
  • Joined: Jun 29, 2008
  • Location:Kansas
  • Name:Brandon
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe

Posted October 29, 2008 - 12:51 AM

Why don't you ever give him some props for playing good? :(

He played good tonight and other people agree with me. :turrible:

Link

Smush Parker played the passing lanes pretty well, you know. Good ball thief.

How about sticking someone like, um...Elton Brand...in there against Lamar. Elton will drop at least 20 on Odom, and anywhere between 10-15 boards. In fact, in their last 12 meetings (since Lamar has played for the Lakers), Elton has averaged 22.9 PPG and 11.4 RPG, with Odom guarding him. Those would be Elton's second career highs in each statistic, if it were for a full season.

I wouldn't say that's good defense. I'm sure I can find more examples...just one rabbit out of the hat.

Tonight, Odom did what Smush did...but we all know that wasn't so great after a while. Mr. Inconsistency will show again, and again, and again.

#12 Machinehead

Machinehead

    BringBackSasha

  • 6,671 posts
  • Joined: Jul 27, 2008
  • Location:Valencia, CA
  • Name:Daniel
  • Fan Since:Radmanovic's long hair days.
  • Fav. Laker:Sasha Vujacic

Posted October 29, 2008 - 01:00 AM

Very good preview. Only 66 more wins from that (predicted) total.

However, I don't agree that one of Sasha's weaknesses is his quickness. I think he's extremely quick and fast. I agree with the physical strength part. I would substitute "quickness" with something like "Lack of ability to drive to the basket" or something, though.

But the rest of it is perfect.
Posted Image

#13 Real Deal

Real Deal

    Legend

  • 14,860 posts
  • Joined: Jun 29, 2008
  • Location:Kansas
  • Name:Brandon
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe

Posted October 29, 2008 - 09:47 AM

Very good preview. Only 66 more wins from that (predicted) total.

However, I don't agree that one of Sasha's weaknesses is his quickness. I think he's extremely quick and fast. I agree with the physical strength part. I would substitute "quickness" with something like "Lack of ability to drive to the basket" or something, though.

But the rest of it is perfect.

I just don't see him as quick as Farmar, or Tony Parker, Chris Paul, and the others. I think he'd much rather shoot the three, spotting up for it and just waiting for that pass, mainly because he's not that quick. Just two different perspectives, nothing wrong with that. :wall:

#14 Grandpa Herman

Grandpa Herman

    Guru

  • 3,756 posts
  • Joined: Aug 10, 2008
  • Location:The Holy Moly Donut Shop
  • Fav. Laker:Lamar Odom

Posted October 29, 2008 - 02:02 PM

<_< :rock: :rock: :rock:
Basketball Reasons...

#15 Zen

Zen

    cooler than a polar bears toenails

  • 661 posts
  • Joined: Jul 29, 2008
  • Location:&quot;I got dreams, but dreams don't keep the lights on.&quot;
  • Fav. Laker:..::Magic::..

Posted October 29, 2008 - 11:39 PM

Awesome write up......enjoyed it very much.

Oh and that picture of Gasol is freakin great.....i was laughing at that for like 5 minutes when i first saw it. :lol:

#16 Real Deal

Real Deal

    Legend

  • 14,860 posts
  • Joined: Jun 29, 2008
  • Location:Kansas
  • Name:Brandon
  • Fav. Laker:Kobe

Posted October 30, 2008 - 10:34 AM

Awesome write up......enjoyed it very much.

Oh and that picture of Gasol is freakin great.....i was laughing at that for like 5 minutes when i first saw it. :lol:

Good to hear you enjoyed it. The Gasol picture is pretty funny if you sit and stare at it, haha.

Thanks guys. :rock:

#17 revgen

revgen

    Rookie

  • 969 posts
  • Joined: Jul 31, 2008

Posted November 08, 2008 - 03:24 AM

I don't agree with the assumption that Gasol has nothing defensively except length. He is an underrated man defender as long as he isn't facing heavy post players like Yao, Dwight, or Shaq. Otherwise he has to flop like Vlade used to, kinda like what he did against Dwight last year.

He played very good man defense against Boozer, Duncan, and KG until game 6. Unfortunately, he's not a shotblocker, and his rebounding leaves much to be desired.

I agree with the rest though.

Odom is most definitely not a post defender. Odom is best when he switches. His combination of length and speed makes him suitable in rotation defense rather than lockdown post defense.

Edited by revgen, November 08, 2008 - 03:28 AM.


#18 Grandpa Herman

Grandpa Herman

    Guru

  • 3,756 posts
  • Joined: Aug 10, 2008
  • Location:The Holy Moly Donut Shop
  • Fav. Laker:Lamar Odom

Posted November 08, 2008 - 09:59 AM

I just don't see him as quick as Farmar, or Tony Parker, Chris Paul, and the others. I think he'd much rather shoot the three, spotting up for it and just waiting for that pass, mainly because he's not that quick. Just two different perspectives, nothing wrong with that. :|

Keep in mind that Sasha is about 6'7. Farmar, Parker, and Paul run the point.

Sasha used to be the backup point guard too during the 06 season and he shut down Eddie House in that series against Phoenix, but he's a little more bulky now. Definitely not saying that's he's anywhere near buff, but he at least has a little more muscle now than he did back then. Even in the face he looks a little more developed and mature. Just like when Kobe first entered the league he still had the kinda baby face, but after a couple of years he looked more like a man.
Basketball Reasons...

#19 Machinehead

Machinehead

    BringBackSasha

  • 6,671 posts
  • Joined: Jul 27, 2008
  • Location:Valencia, CA
  • Name:Daniel
  • Fan Since:Radmanovic's long hair days.
  • Fav. Laker:Sasha Vujacic

Posted November 11, 2008 - 01:52 AM

Keep in mind that Sasha is about 6'7. Farmar, Parker, and Paul run the point.

Sasha used to be the backup point guard too during the 06 season and he shut down Eddie House in that series against Phoenix, but he's a little more bulky now. Definitely not saying that's he's anywhere near buff, but he at least has a little more muscle now than he did back then. Even in the face he looks a little more developed and mature. Just like when Kobe first entered the league he still had the kinda baby face, but after a couple of years he looked more like a man.



Ya, I know. Sasha had the face of a little kid back then. It's amazing what long hair can do to a guy. Haha. :lol:
Posted Image




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users