Overtime: A letter to Los Angeles Lakers fans
Dear “Those of You Who Think the Dwight Howard Trade Was Fair,”
Congratulations. Your team that has already won a lot is going to win a lot more. You guys totally deserve it, though. Five championships over 12 years is about as bad as it gets for an NBA fan.
Let’s recap the Lakers’ summer. They executed a sign-and-trade for Steve Nash, signed Antawn Jamison and turned Andrew Bynum into Dwight Howard. Sounds like a standard offseason for a big market team operating in the rigged NBA.
Are these moves enough to propel the Lakers back into the title hunt? Yes, duh.
So now you want to know why the moves are enough? I expected that, seeing as you are a greedy Lakers fan.
I’m going to talk about one of the new additions to the Lakers that went slightly under the radar: Eddie Jordan.
Chances are, you know of Jordan from his run as head coach of the Washington Wizards. You could also know him as the coach of that Philadelphia 76ers team that sucked. And, just maybe, you know him for his quest to keep the Princeton offense alive.
For you, Lakers fans (by “fans” I mean people who know what a Chris Mihm is), the thing to focus on is Jordan’s Princeton offense. Will it work in L.A.? Do the pieces fit in the Princeton puzzle? Will Kobe Bryant get tired of the offense and demand a trade? Will L.A. grant him his wish and trade him to the Charlotte Bobcats for draft picks?
Yes, but only to the first two. Jordan’s Princeton offense could actually be exactly what the Lakers need to make all of these stud players work together.
Oklahoma City Thunder’s new film analyst, Sebastian Pruiti, found this to be the case in a breakdown he did for ESPN in August. He looked at how the Lakers will fit into the Princeton offense and concluded that it’s a match.
Unlike Pruiti, I can’t get into extreme details about how the Princeton offense works, because it would take up several pages. Basically it’s all about spacing and movement. If run correctly, the defense will always be spread out and the offensive players will never be standing still.
What makes the Princeton offense such a perfect system for the Lakers is simple: There will always be room for their best players to work.
Say the Lakers decide to run a pick-and-roll. This play call is smart because they have the best pick-and-roll big man in the NBA, Dwight Howard. Oh yeah, they also have one of the most talented pick-and-roll point guards ever, Steve Nash. It is very fair for a team to have both of these players.
Within the Princeton offense, a Nash and Howard pick-and-roll could be the scariest play in basketball. The spacing and movement of the three players not involved will make help defense difficult. If the play goes as planned, the result should be an open shot for the offense almost every time.
I’m barely scratching the surface of Pruiti’s findings. For instance, take the pick-and-roll example and apply its effectiveness to Kobe post-ups and isolations. Doing this can get depressing if you are a fan of a Western Conference team that is not the Lakers.
Getting talents like Howard, Nash and Jamison was no doubt important for the Lakers. But Eddie Jordan could allow the Lakers to meet their full potential, which is a terrifying notion.
I asked one of my friends who’s a Lakers fan how many games he has them winning this year. He said 65. I think that’s a little ambitious (typical Lakers fan), but I also wouldn’t bet against it.
In the 2013 NBA season, the Lakers will flash brilliance, win a bunch of games and reach the NBA Finals.
And then they will lose to LeBron James.