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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jazz vs. Lakers Chat with Forum Blue and Gold

Kurt at Forum Blue and Gold and I exchanged some questions regarding tonight's big game. My responses to his questions can be seen here.

Here are the questions I asked Kurt.

1. Big Three for Lakers. Who would you consider to the be Big 3 on the Lakers team? Cases can be made for Kobe, Pau, Bynum, and Odom.

If pressed I’d have to say Kobe, Gasol and Bynum. First, because Odom is more comfortable in the role as the third or fourth option (his numbers went way up when the pressure of being option #2 went to Gasol, but he is back to being inconsistent since Gasol’s injury). Gasol was born to play in the triangle offense, able to score in the high and low post and he is an amazing passer. When he has the ball guys are moving and spacing the floor because they know they will get chances if and when the double comes to Pau. Bynum, when healthy, provides someone who can defend the paint on defense and is a beast on the boards. He has a solid offensive game if you take him lightly, but it was all the other things he does that the Lakers really miss right now. Putting Kobe in the three is sort of obvious.

I would add that one of the great things about the Lakers roster — when everyone is healthy (so, we’re talking next season I guess) — is that there is a lot of versatility. Kobe can be a two or three, Gasol a four or five, Odom a three or a four, plus guys off the bench like Vladimir Radmanovic, Luke Walton, Trevor Ariza (when healthy) and Sasha Vujacic who can play multiple positions. In a playoff series, that allows Phil Jackson to do a lot with matchups, to put out lineups that are big or small, offensive focused or defensive. When everyone is healthy this is a very deep team that can match just about any style or personnel grouping.

2. Who is the one team the Lakers don't want to see in the first round of the playoffs? Or any round for that matter?

I say the Spurs. They create matchup problems for the Lakers who struggle with point guards that can get penetration (Parker) and versatile big men (Duncan). Plus, that Ginobli guy is pretty good. Then they surround those three stars with role players who understand the system, do their jobs and play within themselves. You don’t see Bowen trying to take over a game on offense or whining about his touches — he knows his role and fills it. Most importantly, they are focused on the defensive end. Every possession. The other thing that gets overlooked with the Spurs is they can beat a lot of styles because of the versatility in their roster and their belief in what they do. The Spurs are going to go out and do their thing, whether you want to run like the Warriors or bring in a big front line like Utah. I like teams that know who they are, no matter their age.

But when you look up and down the Western Conference, does anybody see any easy matchups in any round? It is going to be a real dogfight this year to make it to The Finals.

3. What percentage of women inside the Staples Center have had some sort of "enhancement" in their lives?

Above or below the luxury boxes? Very different percentages there. Here’s a little thing about Los Angeles (and I’m stealing this from JA Adande of ESPN and formerly the LA Times, who I think got it from someone else): Los Angeles is like an iceberg. What people see on TMZ or on the pages of People Magazine — what people think of as "LA" with entertainment industry people sitting around an exclusive rooftop pool party — accounts for about 10% of Los Angeles. It’s the part everybody sees. And for the most part those are the people sitting around courtside, needing to be seen. (Note that Jack Nicholson does not fall in this group — he is genuinely cool and genuinely a big hoops fan.) But like most modern NBA arenas you never see the majority of fans, who at Staples are looking down on the court from up high, above the three levels of luxury boxes. That is where the auto mechanic, the guy with a small record store, the cook at a Thai restaurant and the occasional blogger sit together, having splurged on tickets for one of a few games they can make a year, and they go nuts. Los Angeles is a big and diverse city, it just that most people never look to see that.

4. How do you feel about the Fisher signing? Fans in Utah are very skeptical that he just wanted out of the state and his daughters illness was a convenient excuse. Do you agree or disagree that he hung the Jazz out to dry.

I really don’t get that sentiment. Maybe everybody in America needs to feel the victim these days, maybe you just hate the fact he went to the Lakers (who became good this year) and wouldn’t feel the same if he was in New York. But I can say Lakers fans just don’t get the attitude. Last year you were nuts for this guy, who was making flights between his daughter’s hospital bed and playoff games, and now he’s disingenuous? The guy took a huge paycut for his family’s well being and he’s a bad guy? His daughter is fighting a rare disease and it’s a "convenient excuse?" Last year there was all this talk about how Fisher’s contract was a burden stopping the Jazz from adding key parts to this team, you get out from under it and he "hung the Jazz out to dry?" Seriously, to find that kind of twisted logic one normally needs to follow the presidential campaign.

Anybody who has followed Derek Fisher’s life and thinks he is just another spoiled athlete is looking for an excuse to hate.

5. If you were going to make an All-Star team using only the Lakers and Jazz. Who would fill what position and why? Also a 6th man and a coach.

Good question. D-Will at PG is easy. Nothing against Brewer but I’ll take Kobe at the two. At the three you can choose Odom or AK-47, both are inconsistent. Let’s say each one plays five minutes near the start of the game and we see which one bothered to show up that night and he gets the majority of minutes. Boozer at the four, Gasol at the five, those two would compliment each other very well. Having the banging Boozer doing the dirty work Gasol could live without frees him up to operate in the high post, then when you put someone smaller on him he drops down low. Sixth man — I love the idea of sending in Millsap and Ronny Turiaf as a second-unit front line. Can you imagine the energy those two would spark on the court at the same time?
As for coach, I say we throw Phil and Jerry in a cage — two men enter, one man leaves — winner gets to be coach. I just don’t want to watch, that would be sad.

Thanks for the chat Kurt. I think the Fisher debate is fascinating. This morning on 1280 they played the "return of Fisher" during game 2 of the Warriors series and it's amazing to listen to that crowd. It's a goose bump moment. I can't figure out why we are all bugged so bad...but truth be told I am still bitter. I guess I'm just a True Blue Jazz fan.

Game Prediction: Jazz 102, Lakers 99


Anonymous said...

...rumor has it, Fisher doesn't even have a daughter. Go Jazz!

Scrumtrulescent said...

I think the Jazz will have a huge rebounding edge (assuming Boozer is 100%) which will create more second chance points. I say Jazz 106 Lakers 95. I have a hunch that SOMEONE on the Jazz will have a breakout/career game.

K-wonder said...

For the record, I thought Fisher was not good for the Jazz last year. He was playing the 2 most of the time, which puts him totally out of position. He got lit up by just about every good 2 guard in the league, and missed too many layups to even count. He would be great this year though, as long as Sloan only played him as the backup-PG.

Ron Boone said...

If the NBA ever creates a "Best at Blowing Wide Open Layups" team here is how I think it will look:

PG: Derek Fisher

G: David Wesley

F: Matt Harpring (No evidence needed. We've seen enough.)

6th Man: J.J. Redick

Yes, I know I missed the PF and Center positions but I couldn't think of a deserving canidate. Any suggestions.

Anonymous said...

"Best at Blowing Wide Open Layups" at Center has to be Kwame Brown...

Anonymous said...


How could you forget Kwame Brown?! He's bad enough to fill both the PF and C positions.

moneyman memo said...

I can't make up my mind between these two:

C: Jamaal Magloire - absolutely no excuse, he just misses them

C: Greg Ostertag - he misses his first 4 chippies and then tips it in the fifth time. Does that count?

UtesFan89 said...

At least Ostertag finally got the lay-ups to go in, unlike Brown or Magloire. And not to be stupid or anything because I love Shorty, but I think Shorty would have to make the team as well. He had issues with it last year.

Oh, and I'm completely with K-wonder about HWMNBN. Him playing the 2 most of the time was just bad.

Anonymous said...

"I was very upset. The last time we came out here, they booed Derek Fisher for absolutely no reason. So I told the guys before the game, 'This game is personal'".

- Kobe Bean Bryant, 3/20/08

What a classy bunch you are Jazz fans. Not only do you boo D-Fish who saved your behinds in the playoffs, but you also decide to throw drinks and debris onto the floor after we dominated you. Pat yourselves on your backs, you should be proud

Scrumtrulescent said...

I love anonymous flamers. Is it better to have idiot fans who throw stuff, or fans that come a quarter late, don't watch the game, then leave a quarter early?

Anyone notice that I nailed the score? know...mixed the teams up...

Boozers Hammy said...

Yeah, anonyous, "you" dominated us. I can't remember though, what number is on the back of your jersey? Is Bryant's 8 or 24? Just want to check because you kept saying "WE" as if you did something to effect the out come.

For the record, your beloved Kobe (Rapist, team killer, front runner, flip flopper) Bryant told a fan to go F*%^ himself and that fan responded by throwing the first thing he could at him. To which Kobe showed his class by popping his jersey. Who the hell does he think he is? He tries so hard to look like a street thug, but grew up with a sliver spoon hanging out of his mouth. Maybe Kobe should try caring as much about his wife and family as he does a second rate point guard and stop raping 17 year old girls in Colorado. Dude is a cold faced killer on the court, but he has no right to open his mouth about any moral issues anymore.

I am proud of our fans, they stick by our team through thick and thin and dont take crap from anyone, including Fisher who may or may not have pulled a fast one the Jazz. But we all say good ridance to him, we are better off without him now. If we have Fish on our team now, D-Will and Brewer do not develop as they have and we never make the trade for Korver so you can keep him.

Ron Boone said...

Good call "Booze-Hound." Kobe has no right to call us out on any moral issue.
Not that I had any respect for Kobe to begin with, but the so called "face of the NBA" has no class. O.K. so maybe some of our fans are lacking class as well, but Kobe, you make billions, don't worry about us middle classers harrasing you. I have never seen a player of your caliber react that way. I honestly thought I was at a church ball game last night with the childish tantrum's you through. Yes, you are really, really good. No questions. However, it was you, calling fans out, pumping your chest, flashing your jersey at little kids, and women, that was just as classless. Play ball Kobe. You are good at it. Just quit being a little baby out there. Dear Phil Jackson, Take him out. He is embarrasing himeself.


K-wonder said...

Hammy's second paragraph *in his last comment) was scathing and spot on

Benjamin Edwards said...

There is a great Jazz season preview article at:

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