Well, after watching my first pre-season game (listened to the other ones) I was able to get a good look at the new Lakers. And, maybe you guys don't want to hear what I have to say (write), but I'll make commentary based on this one game, and use a little more information from the previous 4 pre-season games.
Overall, the team didn't start out all that great, their defense wasn't that strong, and offensively they were sporadic. Kobe forced a few shots, and actually appeared to get the ball on every possession, instead of running plays for him. The second unit played better, but also against equally inferior competition. A spark from the bench is a must this year. In previous years it was ok not to have it, with such dominant starters. But now, LA falls into the category with every other team. Bench depth, etc...
Chris Mihm - He's had some tremendous preseason games, but in this one, it appeared that he saw limited action. The ejection was understandable, there were circumstances where Kaman would get away with stuff, so the frustration was understandable. He got the better of Kaman at times, and at other times didn't. Right now he seems like a guy. If he can become consistent at rebounding and defense, and occasionally hit the baseline turnaround he should be good for LA. But a relatively quiet game from him.
Jumaine Jones - I definitely underestimated this guy. He's much better than DG, but then again, that could've been one of those good games. One thing that separates him from DG is that he doesn't let his offense affect his overall play. He's a good defensive rebounder from the SF spot, and is aggressive with the ball and in the open court. As of right now, I can't justify playing either George OR Walton ahead of him. Luke is hurt, and usually that can hurt a players status. Here, JJ has had the opportunity to showcase himself and has done extremely well.
Brian Cook - You know, I still hate the Robert Horry comparisons, but all of a sudden Cook has developed a 3 point shot. But I like Kerr's comparison to Sam Perkins, but he has a quick release and is shooting extremely well. He's still an exceptional help defender. On the ball is still to be determined. I liked his activity on the court today, much more than last year where it seemed like he was moping around. Again, another player I underestimated and who has made some great progress. I think he can be a very good role player. If he improves his screens, he could be excellent in the picknroll.
Tierre Brown - We have our backup PG, I like the energy he brings, and his ability to drive the lane. In reg season games, teams will collapse on him, so how important he dishes and creates easy opportunities will be key. But he was impressive, both defensively, in the open court, and shooting the ball.
Tony Bobbitt - He showed flashes in this game. At times he was silent, at others he did some good things. Unfortunately he won't make the team, so I won't discuss him much further.
Brian Grant - It appears that he'll be among the bench contributors, depending on matchups with opposing teams, but there was a sequence, where he did a brilliant job of help defense, then switching to front a post player, denying an entry pass, as the ball went up top, the player then drove towards him and he drew the charge. It was an exceptional sequence of events where Grant did 3 great things in just a few seconds.
Lamar Odom - I was extremely disappointed in his performance. He must've been rejected 4-5 times in this game. He kept showing the ball. He had his best rebounding game, but it didn't seem like was trying to rebound. He definitely needs to have the ball in his hand a little more, or find his nitch, b/c right now I don't like the way he's playing. One positive from his game was how well him & Caron Butler played together. Maybe Butler should see more time at the 2 guard spot, to maximize their PT together. Wilcox burning him and getting an easy 2, isn't what I want from our starting PF.
Kobe Bryant - Kobe is kobe, he had some really creative shots that didn't fall, he didn't finish on a lot of his layups. But one thing I noticed from Kobe is that there are still times where he takes away from the offense. That one-on-one style. I would think the new lakers would run more plays for him instead of just giving him the ball and let him create.
Sasha Vujacic - Didn't see him play much in this game, but his stats are quite impressive. He's a rookie so basically ANYTHING he brings to the table this year is a bonus.
Chucky Atkins - Mixed feelings. I expected him to be a below average PG, in terms of league wide. And I think that's exactly what I saw from him. At times the 30 year old PG looked like he was 35, at other times he looked good. He'll have open shots, so he has to be somewhat solid. Especially when there are so many other stellar PG's in the west. Shaun Livingston blocked his shot a couple times, which may have hurt his rating here, but there's little question about the weakness of this club.
Caron Butler - He also looked very inconsistent. I wasn't impressed by his play early on, he had a couple turnovers on fast breaks that weren't good. But at other times he did look good. I seriously think that Butler should see backup time at SF and some other time at SG. There are a LOT of very good SF's in this league and Butler doesn't rate as clearly better than many of them (which can hurt LA, especially defensively). Peja, Maggette, LBJ, Melo, Artest, Harrington to name a few. The two real players that I expect to carry the scoring load after Kobe haven't impressed me at all thus far. Maybe playing them together will be helpful.