DraftExpress Logo
     DraftExpress Facebook      DraftExpress Twitter    DraftExpress YouTube
 
Loading
 


NBA Market Watch: Preview-Los Angeles Lakers
by: Eric Weiss - Sports Aptitude
October 21, 2007
Off Season Overview:

Its been a tumultuous off-season for the Lakers as the prospect of trading Kobe Bryant has hindered the teamís ability to focus. Bryant requested a trade early in the summer and the team has been immersed in a media circus of sorts for the better part of three months.

The team made a couple of nice acquisitions that should help to pay short and long-term dividends. Veteran Derek Fisher was brought back into the fold to provide a steady veteran influence at the point. Bryantís familiarity with Fisher had to factor into the decision to acquire him. Fisher is a solid veteran who should increase the teamís offensive efficiency simply through system familiarity and experience. A tendency for clutch play will be a great asset come playoff time.

LA also acquired Fisherís protťgť when they drafted the talented Javaris Crittenton. Crittenton would be a sophomore in college this season and has a lot to learn in terms of reading the court and executing quickly in half court sets. But his size and skill set should help Crittenton transition smoothly into the Lakers system.

While the Lakers certainly didnít add the big ticket all star that Bryant desired, the current roster is ripe with players who may be ready to step up and improve this team internally. The Lakers biggest chance at improvement comes from their frontcourt.

Andrew Bynum has worked relentlessly this past off-season and is clearly in the best physical condition of his young career. Bynum is moving with more authority on the court and seems to recognize how much pressure he has to perform at a high level this season.

Bynum isnít alone to should the burden however. Kwame Brown, Chris Mihm, and Ronnie Turiaf all looked poised for solid contributions this season as well. Turiaf looks especially fit and has gained a new level of quickness and explosive lift that should prove valuable on the boards. Brown has cut his hair and focused in on gaining some consistency, while Mihm has rehabbed well and looks to have improved his range.

2nd year point guard Jordan Farmar also looks as if heís improved dramatically from last season. The accuracy on his jumper has increased and the speed at which heís running plays belays a maturity in the young guard beyond his years.

Depth Chart:

[c]courtesy of Synergy Sports Tech: Figure represents NBA offensive percentile rank[/c]

Strengths:

The Lakers enjoy excellent frontcourt depth and are a well-seasoned bunch with plenty of familiarity with one another. Bryant may be the lone all star currently, but Lamar Odom is coming off one of his finest seasons. Odom is now returning to his natural small forward position in order for the team to accommodate its frontcourt depth.

Moving Odom back to the wing will give the Lakers tremendous defensive length and rebounding out of their frontcourt. A starting lineup with Bynum, Brown, and Odom should make it extremely difficult for the opposition to penetrate the lane and get clean looks at the basket. The potential for defensive help against strong interior scorers should force opponents to use more ball-reversals and motion to create better looks.

Odom also allows super-glue guy Luke Walton to transition back to the bench where he should serve as one of the top 6th men in the league. Walton is well complemented by Turiaf and Maurice Evans on what should be a formidable 2nd unit. Farmarís rise and Mihmís return should make this one of the deepest teamís Bryant has played on as well as one of the most versatile.

Weaknesses:

Much has been made of Bryantís demands and the perception that the Lakers are rebuilding on the fly. But the team has good depth and is a Bynum breakout away from taking a major step forward.

The major weakness on this club comes from the distraction and uncertainty that Bryantís demeanor may bring to the team. Bryant is the focal point of the team and the keystone to its offensive attack. The younger players look up to him and the older players must feel that he is with them or they wonít be able to focus on the task of winning ball games. As of now, the team is a group without a clearly defined direction or objective, despite the public stance of solidarity.

Everything isnít roses simply with an on-board Bryant though. Andrew Bynumís assent to eventual all star status is still the lynch-pin in moving the Lakers into a Western Conference contender. Bynum doesnít have to get there this season, but a jump up in his development to a solid-starter level is key. The team is also relying on some x-factor performances from Brown and Farmar to really push the club up the standings. Overall, the team has an excellent supporting cast, but they need another star before they become more than a solid club.

Outlook:

The Lakers had an excellent first half to their season last year before Odom and Walton went down and the team became Kobe-centric offensively.

Bryant got very little support offensively from his surrounding cast in the second half of last season and the loss of his two most effective teammates threw off the rhythm of the club entirely. As such, the off-court static surrounding Bryant grew and the team splintered mentally as their record plummeted to a pedestrian two games above .500 for the year.

This season, the team may not be built for a title, but they have excellent depth at every position and have a few up-and-coming players who should be highly productive within Bryantís prime. The team has two guaranteed seasons left with Bryant and a little bit of strong leadership and authoritative direction from management may be able to re-sell this team to its super star.

If the Lakers can get on the same page and focus on competing on the court as a unit expect last seasonís start to carry through for a full 82 games. The team has the talent to win 50 games with health and solidarity. But the team has more drama than even Hollywood can handle, so the organization has to re-write the script and get their lines straight before this team can take off.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to eric.weiss@gmail.com .

 

Kobe Bryant
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Birthday: 08/23/1978
36 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Lower Merion
Previous Team: Lakers , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #13 in 1996 Draft
by the Hornets
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
25.0 Pts, 3.5 Rebs, 2.5 Asts


Derek Fisher
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Birthday: 08/09/1974
40 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Parkview
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #24 in 1996 Draft
by the Lakers
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
5.2 Pts, 1.5 Rebs, 1.4 Asts


Javaris Crittenton
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 194 lbs.
Birthday: 12/31/1987
26 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Southwest Atlanta Christian
Previous Team: Georgia Tech , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #19 in 2007 Draft
by the Lakers
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG/SG
Quick Stats:
14.5 Pts, 4.4 Rebs, 6.7 Asts


Andrew Bynum
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 7' 0"
Weight: 280 lbs.
Birthday: 10/27/1987
27 Years Old
Teams:
High School: St. Joseph
Previous Team: St. Joseph's , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #10 in 2005 Draft
by the Lakers
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
11.5 Pts, 9.5 Rebs, 1.0 Asts


Kwame Brown
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 11"
Weight: 243 lbs.
Birthday: 03/10/1982
32 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Glynn Academy
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #1 in 2001 Draft
by the Wizards
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
Pts, Rebs, Asts


Chris Mihm
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 7' 0"
Weight: 265 lbs.
Birthday: 07/16/1979
35 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Westlake
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #7 in 2000 Draft
by the Bulls
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
2.0 Pts, 1.9 Rebs, 0.6 Asts


Jordan Farmar
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 171 lbs.
Birthday: 11/30/1986
27 Years Old
Teams:
High School: William Howard Taft HS
Previous Team: Anadolu Efes , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #26 in 2006 Draft
by the Lakers
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
5.0 Pts, 2.3 Rebs, 2.3 Asts


Lamar Odom
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 220 lbs.
Birthday: 11/06/1979
34 Years Old
Teams:
High School: St. Thomas Aquinas
Previous Team: Rhode Island , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #4 in 1999 Draft
by the Clippers
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
0.0 Pts, 2.0 Rebs, 0.0 Asts


Luke Walton
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 9"
Weight: 235 lbs.
Birthday: 03/28/1980
34 Years Old
Teams:
High School: University
Previous Team: Arizona , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #3 in 2003 Draft
by the Raptors
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
4.0 Pts, 1.0 Rebs, 1.0 Asts


Maurice Evans
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 221 lbs.
Birthday: 11/08/1978
35 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Wichita Collegiate
Previous Team: Texas , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
4.9 Pts, 1.0 Rebs, 0.4 Asts


© 2014 DraftExpress LLC All rights reserved.