10/4 Lakers Report: Defense...Defense...Defense

10/4 Lakers Report: Defense...Defense...Defense

Postby Vasashi17 on Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:29 am

The Los Angeles Times wrote:The Lakers would just as soon forget their final three games of last season, which included a lot of Steve Nash, a little bit of Tim Thomas and then a lot more of Nash.

What was a cozy 3-1 lead dissipated quickly amid the revival of the Phoenix Suns, who ran rampant over the Lakers and averaged 120.3 points in the final three games of their first-round playoff series.

The Suns were a surge of offense against most teams last season, but Lakers coaches still forced themselves a few weeks ago to watch tape of their series. A sampling of what they saw: Nash continually blowing by Lakers guards and little or no help from the big men.

Fast forward to Tuesday, the first day of training camp, and the Lakers barely touched the triangle offense, centering instead on defense.

"We're basically doing the same things we tried to get across to the players last year, but we obviously fell and had great lapses throughout the season in games and in critical situations," said assistant coach Kurt Rambis, who will run the team during Phil Jackson's absence. "Hopefully our guys will understand that as soon as they go from offense that it's not a pat on the back and a sigh of relief — they're immediately into defense and they can turn that around to create some more offense for us."

Kobe Bryant, watching practice from a courtside massage table after a light individual workout, estimated that 85% to 90% of Tuesday's four-hour session was geared toward defense.

Bryant, for his part, was back on the all-defensive team last season after failing to make it there the year before. The Lakers as a whole also improved, rising to 15th in points allowed after plummeting to 27th in the league in 2004-05.

The offense, buoyed by Bryant's 35.4 point per game, rose to seventh overall, but the defense simply wasn't effective enough when it mattered.

"If we're going to make the playoffs and think about advancing and trying to beat some of the top teams in the league, my man [Bryant] is not going to get 81 three games in a row or nothing like that," forward Lamar Odom said. "We didn't win enough what I would call ugly games. If you watch the Detroits, they do a good job of that. The Miami Heat, even the Dallas Mavericks to get to the championship, that's what you've got to do. We've got to improve on winning ugly, and defense will help you."
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Postby Genius GZA on Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:33 am

how you like that, sky?

that's one 'layer' of defense that can potentially improve this year, without additional personell...the rotation..hopefully they spend lots of time working on rotations and communication.
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Postby BDG on Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:34 am

Very encouraging to hear. Glad they're on the right track.

Good thing about this year is that the majority of the team already knows the fundamentals of the triangle and we can focus more on defense in training camp.
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Postby ladam24 on Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:38 am

BDG wrote:Very encouraging to hear. Glad they're on the right track.
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Postby Vasashi17 on Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:48 am

The Los Angeles Daily News wrote:For the NBA’s 30 teams last season, the difference between finishing in the top third and bottom third defensively was two baskets a game. The 10th best team allowed 95.4 points per game, while the 10th worst gave up 99.8 points.

How about the Lakers? They ranked 15th in the league in scoring defense and 12th in field-goal percentage defense. They were neither a good defensive team, nor a bad one, but ``decent’’ in guard Smush Parker’s evaluation.

If the first day of training camp was any indication, though, the Lakers intend to be a more aggressive and much improved team defensively. The Lakers devoted nearly 75 percent of their three hours on the practice court Tuesday to defense.

``That's all we did,'' center Kwame Brown said.

The only reminder the Lakers need about the importance of defense comes from their first-round playoff loss to Phoenix. After taking a 3-1 lead in the series, the Lakers gave up 114, 126 and 121 points as the Suns advanced in seven games.

``That has to be our focus if we’re going to make the playoffs and think about advancing,’’ forward Lamar Odom said, ``and trying to beat some of the top teams in the league.’’

Odom added: ``We didn’t win enough what I call `ugly’ games. Sometimes you’ve got to win ugly.’’

The Lakers worked Tuesday on everything from individual defense to full-court defense to help defense. One of the central messages was about the need to talk more on defense, especially when it comes to stopping the pick-and-roll.

It was a distinctly different first day of practice from last October, when the emphasis was on learning the triangle offense with Phil Jackson back as coach.

At media day, Jackson stressed that the Lakers could come up with more steals and force more turnovers to generate more possessions on offense. Jackson underwent hip-replacement surgery Tuesday while assistant Kurt Rambis ran practice in his place.

``If you look at the versatility of our team, we have a lot of guys that can play a lot of different positions,’’ Rambis said. ``When you turn that around and look at the defensive end, we have a lot of guys that can help each other, that can do a lot of switching; they can also do a lot of gambling.’’

So the Lakers will take risks this season, in the hopes of not having to bring up the ball every time on offense. Rambis talked to the guards about overplaying the passing lanes and talked to the big men about rotating faster to draw a charge or block a shot.

``I think when you have a year under your belt,’’ Kobe Bryant said, ``you find yourself reacting more instead of thinking and then reacting.’’

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New man: Odom ran the floor Tuesday for the first time in months, as he spent time away from the game after the death of his infant son. He said his back was a little tight; Rambis said it was good to see Odom smile.

But Odom also said he would try to make a change this season when it comes to his emotional nature on the court.

``I vowed to myself this year to, when the refs make a call, to stay away from it so I keep myself into the game mentally as well,’’ Odom said.
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Postby The Maverick on Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:53 am

Very glad they're focusing on defense.
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Postby Barnstable on Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:12 am

I am so happy they are concentrating on D this training camp. The help D is the one thing that can dramatically improve without adding to the roster.

``I vowed to myself this year to, when the refs make a call, to stay away from it so I keep myself into the game mentally as well,’’ Odom said.


Glad to hear Odom is making a concentrated effort to keep himself mentally in the game :jam2: .
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Postby KB24 on Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:19 am

BDG wrote:Very encouraging to hear. Glad they're on the right track.

Good thing about this year is that the majority of the team already knows the fundamentals of the triangle and we can focus more on defense in training camp.

exactly. lets just hope the assistants can makeup for Phils absence.
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Postby dagreatkobe on Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:21 am

Im glad to hear we're actually focused... Damn, im bored :man6:
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Postby KB24 on Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:21 am

the defense was neither good nor a bad one, but ``decent’’ in guard Smush Parker’s evaluation.


Man Smush always make me want to punch him. he did not even once say he is concerned about the D or HIS D or that he worked on defense or anything. If he is the same matador, we are in trouble.
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Postby GCMD on Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:14 am

Live by it.

Die by it.
Feel free to ignore anything I say...

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Postby *wishlist* on Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:35 am

great job Vasashi17. the news is back. the nba is back. the lakers are back. the season's almost here. can't wait. :jam2:
What's it going to take to have the Lakers to have a team song/chant like euroleague.. teams have... I can only wish.
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Postby Startrex on Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:04 am

This is a good start by the coach and his staff: focusing on defense and efforts to create more turnovers and thus increase possessions. Yes, I'd love to see all sort of layers active in defense. And maybe my dream to see a new Twin Tower in Bynum and Turiaf will come true some day.

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Postby c.Lin on Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:10 am

Good to hear. We'll see if there are results come spring time.
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Postby saint091 on Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:11 am

SteveMachine wrote:Very glad they're focusing on defense.
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Postby Sky on Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:42 am

GZA - Long overdue and a great move, I'm pumped that if they're not willing to acquire defense at least they're finally willing to coach it.

The rotations will improve with better communication and more coaching emphasis. But keep in mind that rotations also require a defensive iq that Kwame and Odom lack. Need to read and anticipate defensively and that's not a strength of either starting big. But any improvement is welcome and necessary.
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Postby la3346 on Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:23 am

If I were them, I'd watch the Mavs/Suns second half of game 6 of the WCF(and if you observed that series extremely carefully, the Suns had the edge up to that point.) That was probably the best gimmick defense that I've seen anyone played on Nash and his pick-and-roll.

The first thing you do is put a big defender on Nash. No way around it. This takes away the post mismatch, once you switch. Now, when you switch, Nash will try to take his time to exploit his mismatch. However, the key is that the big on him must be mobile enough to force him to take his time, i.e gear up for a drive. Otherwise, he'll just drive past you quick and you'd never have a chance to double him

Now when he's about to make his move, which you should be able to tell, you double him. This will take him off rhythm, and because he was so focused(which usually you have to, when you're facing a good defender, for example, notice a lot of times when Kobe tries to beat Bruce Bowen, he has to focus so much energy on just one drive) on getting past the defender, he won't be able to spot the open guy immediately. This allows you to rotate over, leaving the opposite corner open, which is the safest spot, because even if he passed the ball there(very dangerous), the time it took the ball to travel should allow you to recover.

There are two other things you'll notice. If their big doesn't have three-point range, then you can try to play the pick-and-roll in the conventional, i.e. hedge and recover, manner. If he does, then you have to switch.

That's pretty much what I got from watching the Dallas-Phoenix series. And quite frankly, this is probably the only thing that you could work on that would give you a tangible improvement, without needing better personnel.
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Postby Punk-101 on Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:01 am

^^so we need a big with good enough defensive movement to deny nash's penetration enough to delay his pass to the open man?

who might that be? Lamar, Kwame?
Im guessing the dallas thing was with Howard or Daniels right? I see what you're saying, i just dont remember watching the matchups that closely.
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Postby la3346 on Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:21 am

Punk-101 wrote:^^so we need a big with good enough defensive movement to deny nash's penetration enough to delay his pass to the open man?

who might that be? Lamar, Kwame?
Im guessing the dallas thing was with Howard or Daniels right? I see what you're saying, i just dont remember watching the matchups that closely.


Enough to force him to put most of his focus and energy into being a driver. I think both Lamar and Kwame qualify. It also depends on where he isolated from though. The play I saw, he was at 8' o'clock, and this makes the double much more effective, as it doesn't allow him a direct route to pass to. I'm not sure how it would have worked if he was from the top of the key, as here he can pass it to the open man fairly quickly, no matter which direction the double was coming from.
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Postby no_dont on Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:00 am

Getting off to a good start is a must not an option. Defense is a mental thing. Having the sack to d-up against one of your boys in practice is one thing. Nutting up and playing D when your shot isnt falling is another.
Go Lakers, good to hear no doubt. Let #24 rest as much as he wants. he is the least of our problems
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Postby TIME on Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:02 am

Sky wrote:GZA - Long overdue and a great move, I'm pumped that if they're not willing to acquire defense at least they're finally willing to coach it.

The rotations will improve with better communication and more coaching emphasis. But keep in mind that rotations also require a defensive iq that Kwame and Odom lack. Need to read and anticipate defensively and that's not a strength of either starting big. But any improvement is welcome and necessary.


I agree with you that neither of these guys has shown much in defensive IQ so far in their careers. They both seem like intelligent, thoughtful men in interviews. Do you think that it is an issue that they just are not quick enough mentally to read and react to what the situation demands? That's my guess anyway.
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Postby Podium on Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:08 am

This is where Jim Cleamons makes his money. :jam2:
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Postby no_dont on Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:10 am

TIME wrote:
Sky wrote:GZA - Long overdue and a great move, I'm pumped that if they're not willing to acquire defense at least they're finally willing to coach it.

The rotations will improve with better communication and more coaching emphasis. But keep in mind that rotations also require a defensive iq that Kwame and Odom lack. Need to read and anticipate defensively and that's not a strength of either starting big. But any improvement is welcome and necessary.


I agree with you that neither of these guys has shown much in defensive IQ so far in their careers. They both seem like intelligent, thoughtful men in interviews. Do you think that it is an issue that they just are not quick enough mentally to read and react to what the situation demands? That's my guess anyway.

If I may-
Both guys are frequently noted as "needing to get involved early or else". I guess I understand offensively (not really), but there O involvement seems to dictate their D involvement. That IMO = mentally challenged in regards to that end of the court.

We saw frequently last year if LO didnt score early his game was nada. Same with Kwame, except his size and strength at least afford him some luxuries
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Postby Punk-101 on Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:06 pm

no_dont wrote:Getting off to a good start is a must not an option. Defense is a mental thing. Having the sack to d-up against one of your boys in practice is one thing. Nutting up and playing D when your shot isnt falling is another.
Go Lakers, good to hear no doubt. Let #24 rest as much as he wants. he is the least of our problems


Out of all of our players, id like this to apply to smush the most. His lack of D is 100% mental. There is NO excuse for him to not be a top 5 perimeter defender in the league. He's big for a pg, he's strong, long, very quick hands, very athletic, quick enough laterally. He has the tools. Now if he'd focus about 75% of his energy to being a doberman and just lock his guy down, fightinthrough screens like bowen. C'mon smush, pull your head out :jam2:
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Postby DiehardLakerFan on Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:18 pm

nice to see that we're working on our D...

But, unfortunately, you can't make chicken soup out of chicken crap. Other than Kobe, we simply do not have guys capable of playing strong defense. We can thank Mitch for that :mad1:
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