Behind Enemy Lines: 5 questions with Daniel Sagal of LABallTalk
Traded some Q&A material with Daniel Sagal of Laker-devoted LABallTalk in advance of tonight’s game, which should be fascinating on many fronts, including most especially whether the crowd will turn on the team when the Lakers go on their inevitable 20-4 run to seize command of the game.
Other things to watch for:
** The number of fans wearing bags on their heads.
** The number of fans holding signs, a la Guns ‘n’ Roses, asking “Where’s Monta?”
** Whether Bob Delaney will continue his streak of Warriors-Lakers games.
In any case, on to the Q&A:
48minutes.net: So, does Mitch Kupchak highlight Andrew Bynum’s line on the boxscore after every game and then leave it in Kobe Bryant’s locker? And, more seriously, is Bynum the piece that puts this team over the top this season?
LABallTalk: I highly doubt Kupchak is too happy with Bynum right as he has proven to be somewhat lazy and immature. You hear about all the guys working their butt off in the gym and in practice trying to improve while Andrew only does what he is asked. I’d like to see him grow up a bit more but I supoose that will come with age.
He has had a bit of trouble this season as he is not use to playing with another 7 footer clogging the paint. Pau Gasol is a great teammate for him to match up with in the key but to become fluid and work well together, they must practice together. I think that as the season progresses, Bynum will
eventually get more efficient, as of now though, he needs some work. Overall though, I wouldn’t consider him the key to the Lakers season, I think Trevor Ariza fills that title even more than Bynum.
48minutes.net: Kobe’s assist numbers (4.2 per game) are at their lowest level since 1998-99, yet he still leads the team in that category. Is the lack of conventional point guard going to hurt the Lakers in the playoffs?
No, not at all. The triangle offense isn’t about a conventional point guard, it’s about lots of passing and finding the open shooter. Kobe actually manages to pass a lot more than his numbers dictate, the only difference is that his teammates are smart enough to make that extra pass. With that extra
pass there is a man that is even more wide open. Unforuntaly for Kobe, that means that he doesn’t get an assist. I think at this point in his career though, Kobe is less worried about his assist numbers and more concerned with winning.
48minutes.net: Has Pau Gasol really shed his “soft” label, or is he still just one bad game away from being called “Charmin”?
LABallTalk: Gasol is soft on the defensive end, but he has always been solid on the offensive end. He is a finnesse player and likes to outplay his opponent with his brain rather than his body. He has taken a lot of time to listen to the criticism over the last several months and has put in a lot of time in the weight room. He said that he isn’t big on lifting weights, but ever since last year’s Finals exit, he feels like he need to put on some mass to be able to body up on the defensive end with the likes of Kevin Garnett.
48minutes.net: Lamar Odom’s production is down heavily across the board, an obvious byproduct of his reduced role. Given that he’s in a contract year, is there any concern that he’s going to start to chafe at his current circumstances?
LABallTalk: To be honest with you, I don’t think anybody really cares. In my opinion, Lamar is totally expendable. If the circumstance arises that he isn’t happy with his role, we’ll ship him out and find someone else that will be happy and also more consistent. There are plenty of guys that would be excited to join the Lakers such as Mike Miller, Richard Jefferson, Gerald Wallace, and Shawn Marion. I wouldn’t mind a trade for any of them actually! Just to make it clear, i’m not much of an Odom fan myself. I think he is extremely versatile but has one of the lowest IQs of any basketball player in the league. He makes the worst decisions you will ever see on the court. You can
always count on him making one out of every two free throws and throwing up at least 3 or 4 random ill advised jump shots that clings off the rim for a long rebound, a fast break, and an easy lay up by the other team. Sometimes it seriously just drives me nuts, other times, he manages to play solid and is the key piece to the Lakers success. This has been the case since Lamar has arrived in LA though and I’m ready to get someone more consistent.
48minutes.net: How are former Warriors Derek Fisher and DJ Mbenga doing? And on a related note, who’s the better flopper: Fish or Marco Belinelli? [Ed. note: I shamefully forgot to ask about Josh Powell. My sincere apologies, Josh.]
LABallTalk: Derek Fisher is doing great in LA. He has been quite consistent and a real asset in the locker room. On a team with so many young guys, Fisher’s leadership is very very important. Jordan Farmar has clearly grown a lot. The importance of having a veteran in the locker room is often overlooked, but someone that can motivate the young guys, keep their heads in the proper perspective for certain games, and be calm in tight situations is very important.
DJ Mbenga had a solid season last year. Unfortunately, do to the return of Bynum, he hasn’t been playing very minutes this season and probably won’t be either. I don’t see the Lakers holding on to him for much longer and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s involved in a trade if one were to go down. After all, the Lakers have four seven footers on the team.
Regarding who’s a better flopper, that’s easy, Marco Belinelli is way better a flopper. Fisher doesn’t flop, he gets fouled.
5 Responses to “Behind Enemy Lines: 5 questions with Daniel Sagal of LABallTalk”
Nigel Tufnel January 7th, 2009 at 12:11 pm
Fisher doesn’t flop! Hah! He should host a flop camp with Dunleavy Jr. where they could impart their masterful flopping knowledge to the masses. In a few years, you’ll drive past the neighborhood playground courts and see all 6 or 10 guys on the ground.
Watching the Lakers play we almost always see that “extra pass” and getting the ball to a player’s advantage. Balanced and comprehensive play on offense and defense. Despite their star power, the Lakers are a team. The Warriors, on the other hand, depend on match ups and one-on-one forays to the basket where the advantage is supposed to come from individual superiority, not team chemistry, unselfishness, ball movement, floor balance. That makes the Lakers, and teams like them, so much more fun to watch and so much more successful.
The match-up approach is what has made Don Nelson famous so he won’t really abandon that strategy no matter what. The “drive and kick” is just a temporary and ill-executed fling designed to stave off criticism of the bad play and the bad record.
Marco Bellinelli is the one player who initiates and follows through with ball movement as the first priority. He’s pretty much all by himself in that regard, and looks stranded on this team.
[...] Also, make sure you head over to 48Minutes.net to read my Lakers answers. [...]
go warriors January 7th, 2009 at 3:53 pm
this guy screams laker bias
[...] Trevor Ariza is making Daniel Sagal look pretty smart right about [...]
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