FanDuel - WFBC

April 12, 2004

Kobe Playing Mind Games?: - Kobe hoists one shot in the first half of a pivotal game against a hated rival after being accused of shooting too much in previous games. He finishes 3-13 for 8 points in a 102-85 loss to Sacramento. What's going on? Is this:

A. Kobe was shackled by the previously horrible King's defense.
B. Kobe was tired of hearing how he shot too much, so he decided to turn the tables on the anti-Kobe's.
C. Early free-agency value benchmark?
D. Wanted to prove that he (not Shaq, Karl, or Gary) is the Lakers biggest superstar.
E. If you don't like the way I play, I'll take my ball and go home whining.

Does this spell disaster for the Lakers, or are they destined to win regardless? Or were they going to lose anyway?







posted by jmevius to basketball at 10:30 AM - 39 comments

Kobe is a jerk. Period. He was a ballhog extraordinaire last week, shooting through triple-teams. Only an jerk would think he can get a better shot through a triple-team than one of his all-star teammates can get when they're wide open.

posted by dusted at 12:17 PM on April 12

In other news, Kobe went to see The Passion Of Christ last week. He liked it, but wondered why a film about him contained no basketball.

posted by molafson at 12:58 PM on April 12

The As-The-Stomach-Turns of the Lakers this year, and their circling of the bowl, has filled me with great voyeuristic glee. We're one stubbing of Shaq's toe away from the 78-year-old Karl Malone becoming a doughy stepladder for Pau Gasol in the first round. Spoiled self-entitled dumbasses. Threepeat this, dicknoses. (This isn't the MAO thread? No? You sure?)

posted by chicobangs at 01:18 PM on April 12

Heh.

posted by Succa at 01:31 PM on April 12

That was the most entertaining non-Mavs game I've watched this year. Watching the Lakers get slapped around makes for an entertaining afternoon. Nice to see the Kings step up their game a little bit too. They were starting to look like five-and-out first round playoff losers. Phil Jackson better pull some more of that old magic pixie dust out of his ass. This is probably his last chance for a championship ring to go, well, I dunno, is he out of fingers yet? I can think of some creative places for him to put another one. It'll be interesting to see what happens with the Lakers this off-season. If they win a championship, Payton will probably be gone, and Malone's a maybe. Either way, you've got to believe Kobe's out of there. It'd be fun to put him, Iverson, and McGrady on the same team and watch the ensuing shitfest.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:54 PM on April 12

Great comment, chicobangs, but if Karl Malone is "doughy" I'm the Michelin Man. I think he's probably got the best body in the NBA, and he has worked hard to get it.

posted by dusted at 01:54 PM on April 12

So, it's safe to say that there are others who are hoping for a violent Laker's implosion? Not just me?

posted by jmevius at 02:03 PM on April 12

the safest

posted by garfield at 02:33 PM on April 12

Let's just say if it comes down to a Lakers/Spurs conf final, I'm going to become the most rabid Nets/Pacers/Pistons bandwagonjumper in the history of bandwagonjumping.

posted by Ufez Jones at 02:37 PM on April 12

Hey Ufez, an All-Ballhog team... that's a great idea. Here's my partial list: PG: Gilbert Arenas SG: Kobe Bryant SF: Vince Carter PF: ? C: ? On the bench: Baron Davis, Steve Francis

posted by dusted at 03:07 PM on April 12

PF is probably Antoine Walker, much as I hate to say it. Or Kevin McHale.

posted by Bryant at 03:18 PM on April 12

PF could definitely be Walker. It's harder to pick frontcourt, because if they hog the ball, it's only because someone else gave it to them.. But, give me AI at the point. When he first started in the league, the Sixers only play was: Inbounds/rebound pass to Iverson, get out of the way.

posted by jmevius at 04:28 PM on April 12

Okay, dusted, true, Karl is buff. Touché. Still. As long as I live, I'll never pull for the Grizz as much as I will in Round One. And I know I've been on him the last couple of days (though he deserves it, the disrespectful little 4-year-old), but wouldn't Shaq be the obvious choice at center? Even just by process of elimination? I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. Nazr Muhammad, maybe?

posted by chicobangs at 05:14 PM on April 12

I can think of at least ten guards that are ball hogs, but I can't think of a single center. And yes, Iverson takes a huge percentage of the 76ers' shots, but he's a benchwarmer to the ballhogging genius named Arenas. wouldn't Shaq be the obvious choice at center? Heck no. You can make the argument that Shaq is boring to watch, unlikable, etc. but he's definitely not a ball hog. He and Vlade Divac are probably the best passing centers playing now.

posted by dusted at 05:56 PM on April 12

I'm going to go with F, all of the above. If you guys are sick of hearing of the Lakers, you should see what its like here in la. Wall to wall belly-aching. Blecch. I couldn't even bring myself to watch this game, as "important" as it was. He was a ballhog extraordinaire last week, shooting through triple-teams. And he was the only guy who seemed capable of scoring. How many jumpers did gp, karl, devean, etc miss? How many dunks and layups did shaq miss? kobe was the only thing keeping the lakers in those games. Only an jerk would think he can get a better shot through a triple-team than one of his all-star teammates can get when they're wide open. I agree with this sentiment. The sad thing is, if you look back at those games, Kobe probably shoots a better percentage against 3-teams than his team mates did open in that 3 game stretch. We're one stubbing of Shaq's toe away from the 78-year-old Karl Malone becoming a doughy stepladder for Pau Gasol in the first round. I'm all about "the Pink Panther" over here!! I can think of at least ten guards that are ball hogs, but I can't think of a single center. Thats because centers rely on guards to get them the ball, and the current crop of centers (outside of Shaq, Yao, and Duncan) suck.

posted by lilnemo at 07:35 PM on April 12

He and Vlade Divac are probably the best passing centers playing now. Mmm. Yao? Duncan (does he count at center)? Other than those obvious alternatives I have another point. Shaq's an average passer. He gets a lot of assists because he can bull his way to the basket which leads to much easier passes. Or to put it another way, when you get triple teamed that leaves your teamates open under the basket. This is nicely demonstrated by the trend of Shaq's assists. The less dominate Shaq is, the fewer assists he gets. Divac provides a nice contrast. Although Divac is getting older and less dominate on the floor, his assists keep going up??? If you wish to disagree, fine, but I believe it is incumbent upon you to explain: 1. The trend of Shaq's assists 2. The trend of Divac's assists

posted by Mike McD at 07:47 PM on April 12

Wait, it's incumbent upon me? :) Shaq's an average passer. No he's not. I can't think of any way of proving you wrong on this, so we'll have to agree to disagree. Divac is a great passer, but he plays his position entirely different. He plays at the high post and looks for cutters and open jump shooters. Shaq usually gets an assist by drawing a double-team and kicking out to the open man. Yes, they are different techniques, but I don't think one is better than the other. Both players are using their body type and team playing style to their best advantage.

posted by dusted at 09:16 PM on April 12

I can't think of any way of proving you wrong on this, so we'll have to agree to disagree... I'll do it. 1. The trend of Shaq's assists Shaq's an average passer. He gets a lot of assists because he can bull his way to the basket which leads to much easier passes. Nope, it leads to more turnovers. Driving into the heart of the defense (and every NBA defense collapses into the paint) would make it harder to get off a pass, and therefore more turnovers. Never mind the fact that passing from the post to the perimeter ensures that the resulting shot would be farther away from the basket, and longer shots have lower percentages, which in turn would greatly reduce the chances of getting an assist. Or to put it another way, when you get triple teamed that leaves your teamates open under the basket. This may be true of guards, who play on the perimeter, but not of centers who post-up like Shaq. If a post man is triple teamed there isn't any room under the basket for an open team mate. 2. The trend of Divac's assists Divac has more room to operate, because unlike most centers he predominately works from the high-post, or free throw line extended. There is less traffic at the high post, as it draws the defense's anchor (the opposing center) away from the basket, doing this provides good passing lanes to the basket, and better odds for layups as there is no defender to beat or avoid at the rim, as well as better odds of an assist as the assistee has a layup as opposed to a 17-25 footer. Having said that... For their careers, Divac averages 3.1 apg, and 2.2 T/Opg over 15 years. Shaq averages 2.9 apg, and 2.9 T/Opg over 12 years. This isn't exactly a huge deficit. They are both good passers (for centers). The main difference being that Divac is a prettier passer than Shaq. But, as they say: You don't get points for style.

posted by lilnemo at 09:20 PM on April 12

I think we found the Center for our "All Ball-Hog" team. I give you: Eddy Curry.

posted by lilnemo at 09:34 PM on April 12

Was pretty funny watching the first five or so minutes of Gary Payton on The Best Damn Sports Show tonight. Everyone was pretty much piling on the Kobe, Shaq and the Lakers and GP sat there like a good sport taking it all.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:02 PM on April 12

I really really really REALLY dislike the Lakers. The prior iteration of the team actually caused a serious riff between me and my father. I want these fuckers OUSTED, toot sweet.

posted by forksclovetofu at 05:05 AM on April 13

dusted: Vince Carter is definitely not a ballhog. He's averaging a career-high 4.8 assists per game this season and you could add at least 2 more assists per game to that total if anyone else on his team could score worth a damn. If anything, he tends to be too unselfish at times. Any Raptors fan could tell you that, but that would require you to believe something other than what the Vince-hating media says about him. All I know is that Vince would never pull a stunt like this one, and he doesn't publicly rip his teammates like T-Mac. Considering all the public abuse he takes, Vince is (comparatively speaking) a pretty classy guy. Kobe is like school in the summertime: no class.

posted by Scott Carefoot at 08:10 AM on April 13

How could Vince Carter be a ballhog? He's always out injured. I've seen a few Raptors-Celtics games, and I don't think I've ever seen Vince Carter play.

posted by blarp at 08:26 AM on April 13

but that would require you to believe something other than what the Vince-hating media says about him I am part of the Vince-hating media, and I don't think he's a ballhog either....he definitely passes the ball way too often when he shouldn't. And Scott is right, he is a pretty classy guy, despite any deficiencies in his game.

posted by smithers at 09:48 AM on April 13

Vince Carter is definitely not a ballhog. OK, fine. VC has attempted 1,419 shots this season. The next Raptor on the list is Donyell Marshall, with 992. I was looking to see who took a disproportionate amount of their teams' shots. You could make the argument that some people should be taking most of the shots (Garnett, McGrady, Iverson). Does Vince fit into that category? You tell me. Number of assists is not a reliable measure of "ballhogginess," since some guards like Arenas gets lots of assists, but are ballhogs nonetheless.

posted by dusted at 11:11 AM on April 13

If not VC, how about 'Sheed when he was blazerbound?

posted by forksclovetofu at 11:31 AM on April 13

blarp said: "How could Vince Carter be a ballhog? He's always out injured. I've seen a few Raptors-Celtics games, and I don't think I've ever seen Vince Carter play." Ah yes, the old "Half man, half a season" rap. Vince certainly has a history of injury problems, but he's played in 71 games this season, more than McGrady (67), Iverson (48), Kobe (63), Baron Davis (66), Duncan (68) and Shaq (65). The Celtics games you watched must have been the back-to-back games on Feb. 27 and 29 when he was out thanks to Bruce Bowen's ankle assassination on Feb. 18. Vince played in this season's other two Raptors-Celtics matches. I'm can't defend everything about Vince, but compared to recent character and injury issues revealed by Kobe, T-Mac and Iverson, Vince isn't looking so bad right now. If he can untie himself from his mommy's apron strings, I might even be able to feel proud about rooting for him.

posted by Scott Carefoot at 01:24 PM on April 13

man, i came in hoping to get some info about the Lakers controversy and you guys are discussng Shaq and Vlade's assists? Kwame Brown is a starter on the All-Complaining about Ballhogs team coached by none other than Phil Jackson. What's wrong with that whole picture is that Phil has to send a message to Kobe through the media. Conclusion: Kobe plays elsewhere next year.

posted by pastepotpete at 01:46 PM on April 13

Lilnemo, You failed to answer the question I raised. The trend relates to how their averages are changing over time, not their career averages. So let me lay it out as clear as possible. Four years ago Shaq averaged 3.8 assists/game. Shaq's assist/game average has gone down every year since. If he's a good passer why would his assist/game average change over time? The answer? It wouldn't. His assist/game average has changed because he's not drawing the double/triple teams that he used to and therefore he's not getting the easy assists anymore. Divac, on the other hand, is a truly gifted passer. As he's gotten older his assists/game have actually gone up. Anyway, look at the statistics. I'm dying to understand why Shaq's assists have gone down every year since 99' brainiac.

posted by Mike McD at 08:16 PM on April 13

he's not drawing the double/triple teams that he used to... I'm not so sure of that. I'm dying to understand why Shaq's assists have gone down every year since 99'... I'm not entirely sure. It might have something to do with his "toe injury" I believe that was the year he got it. Or maybe because that was the first year of Phil and the championship. Everything after that first ring has been a slow decline (FGA, GP, BLK, RPG). brainiac. Sorry, I thought it was interesting question. I didn't think I'd catch crap over it. Christ.

posted by lilnemo at 09:41 PM on April 13

It might have something to do with his "toe injury" A "toe injury" is effecting his passing skills? Interesting. Everything after that first ring has been a slow decline (FGA, GP, BLK, RPG). That's the point. If he has real passing skill that doesn't depend on athleticism and should not decline, as evidenced by Divac or Larry Bird. Check out Larry Bird. A lot of his numbers dropped off (pts, reb, fg%) but assists don't, they barely drop off at all. It's easy to understand that as players get older and they can't jump and run like they did they won't score as much or rebound as much. But it's not obvious why their assists would be unless their assists somehow are dependent on their athletic ability. Really, all you have to do is imagine Shaq five years from now, once his althleticism is gone. Do you believe that Shaq could step out to the high post and initiate an offense like Divac?

posted by Mike McD at 11:30 PM on April 13

Mike, can you point out the upward and downward trends please:

Vlade
YRAST
89-900.9
90-911.1
91-921.7
92-932.8
93-943.9
94-954.1
95-963.3
96-973.7
97-982.7
98-994.3
99-003.0
00-012.9
01-023.7
02-033.4
03-045.3
  
Career3.1
Shaq
YRAST
  
  
  
92-931.9
93-942.4
94-952.7
95-962.9
96-973.1
97-982.4
98-992.3
99-003.8
00-013.7
01-023.0
02-033.1
03-042.9
  
Career2.9
Shaq has been remarkably consistent the last three years, and Vlade has had a great year after being up and down for a few years. Hey, how about we keep beating this argument so deeply into the ground that no one ever finds it again? Let's break it down into split stats, separated by opponent weight and height and facial hair and flatulence? Then we'll really dig in and figure out who can pass the ball better, yup. Let's call in the Spofi Assist Evaluation Panel, we're going to get to the bottom of this.

posted by dusted at 11:59 PM on April 13

Looks like Kobe may know what he's doing....

posted by chmurray at 01:07 AM on April 14

unless their assists somehow are dependent on their athletic ability Assists are very much dependent on athletic ability. To complete passes in any professional sports league requires an inordinate amount of coordination and timing to be able to keep up with the speed of the game. Since a pass originates from the legs and trunk muscles, then as these decline, so will passing to a degree, even if you get more intelligent. In the Shaq vs. Vlade debate, you have to contextualize them more in the offences in which they play. L.A.'s triangle offence (ie. the triple-post) is intended to get jump shots, post-ups and isolated wing one-on-ones/screen&rolls when the blocks aren't clogged up. Sacramento, on the other hand, since they will pull Vlade out to the high post so often, are able to get tons more back-cutters and give-and-gos. Overall, Vlade is a better passer than Shaq, though he is in a better offence for it. Shaq is underrated as a passer, though if he and Kobe didn't make so much money they could afford a few scrubs that could hit open jumpers.

posted by smithers at 07:07 AM on April 14

Ahhh, the Chewbacca Defense.

posted by Mike McD at 12:38 PM on April 14

Mike, if you wish to disagree, fine, but I believe it is incumbent upon you to explain the upward and downward trends. :)

posted by dusted at 12:44 PM on April 14

Mike, if you wish to disagree, fine, but I believe it is incumbent upon you to explain the upward and downward trends. :) I'm interested. I'm all for the discussion. But can we stop being insulting?

posted by lilnemo at 01:04 PM on April 14

My take on Shaq and Vlade - Shaq's year with 3.8 assists was likely an abberation, looking at all the other years. That was the first year with Phil and so probably the triangle offense got him a lot of assists, which have tailed off as the Lakers' quality of players has declined. Shaq gets a lot of assists from being a little outside the blocks and passing to a man who is cutting to the basket. The team has fewer and fewer folks capable of getting to the hoop. Vlade has many more and better scorers on his team, although I would argue, in general, he plays a more interesting game and with less athleticism to see him through. The Wiz have TWO members of the All-Ballhog team : please don't forget Jerry Stackhouse!

posted by BobbyC at 09:57 PM on April 14

...please don't forget Jerry Stackhouse! How could we forget! Seeing how he has a "bum leg", maybe he could be our sixth man? Welcome to SpoFi BobbyC!

posted by lilnemo at 12:08 AM on April 15

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