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The Lakers' backcourt is going to look dramatically different next season

Jun 23, 2010, 1:55 PM EDT

It was pointed at as a significant weakness all year, and now it’s looking like the Los Angeles Lakers backcourt, despite being good enough to win a championship, will go through dramatic shakeups this summer.

First up is Shannon Brown, or as I like to call him, “King of the Missed Garbage Time Dunk.” NBA FanHouse spoke with Brown’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, who said that Brown “probably will” opt out of his contract and join The Free Agency Summer of Doom.

Brown is a considerable asset, coming from the NBA D-League and bouncing around before finding his way to the Lakers. Brown excelled in games when Kobe Bryant was injured, showing offensive versatility and an aggressiveness, especially when freed from the confines of the Triangle system.

Brown is a perfect example of a trend in the NBA, where championship players (especially for the Lakers) who aren’t particularly excellent outside of their specific role positions on championship level squads, are able to translate their team’s success into massive contracts. Brown will probably find a willing bidder looking for a point guard or combo guard, and could get considerably more than the paltry $2.49 million he’s otherwise owed by the Lakers next season.

Jordan Farmar, on the other hand, is not in such an enviable position. Farmar was slated to take over for Fisher when the zombie-like point guard ever decided to retire or when Farmar became too valuable for a bench role. But a series of flaps on the floor have landed him in Phil Jackson’s doghouse, and it looks like he, too, will be searching for greener pastures.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles reports that Farmar told the LA press “goodbye” in case he’s gone this summer.

Farmar has never really fit in with the triangle. It takes a certain type of guard, and that, combined with Jackson’s traditional reliance on a veteran point guard that knows his role and doesn’t try to create, has limited Farmar’s opportunities for the Lakers. Point guard is a premium position in this league (recognize that only one, maybe two will be drafted in Thursday’s draft). Farmar will find candidates.

One such option might be the Memphis Grizzlies, who have been shopping to solidify their backcourt as Mike Conley’s shot has improved but little else. Farmar will want a starting job, but there may be few of those opportunities. However, there will be ample chances for him to earn the top spot in camp.

The Lakers backcourt is going to look very different next season, with or without Derek Fisher.

  1. DT - Jun 23, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    It might finally be time to move Walton or Odom into the triangle PG role. It is not a creation role in the triangle. The only requirements are being able to dribble, pass, and shoot 3s. The problem would be that Kobe will have to guard the opponent PG, and Artest the opponent SG. Both are completely capable of doing so, but it means Kobe will do a lot more running on defense and Artest won’t be available to man up against the better forwards in the league. Still, the offensive advantage of having an 3XL PG rotation of Walton, Odom, Vujacic could make the Lakers a nightmare matchup for many teams that have two or more regulars under 6’6″.

  2. Kamron - Jun 23, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    The problem would be that Kobe will have to guard the opponent PG, and Artest the opponent SG. Both are completely capable of doing so…
    Neither is getting any younger. Particularly, having Kobe chase the likes of Chris Paul around the floor for 40 minutes seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Tire him out, get him in foul trouble, get him into a defensive positions/responsibilities that he’s not as used to (eg guarding the PG means less crashing the boards and more getting back on D). Plus, Artest’s strength these days is bodying SFs; if he tries to body fast SGs, he’ll spend a lot of time chasing and not much time making contact, he’s lost a step from his glory days (although none of the energy).
    You’ve taken two very good defenders and made them worse by playing them out of position. And all for the benefit of a mismatch at the other end when what you really want is to get Kobe and Gasol going. Plus, you’re rotation is worse as well: instead of bringing Odom off of the bench to rest Gasol and/or Bynum, you’ve got to bring a lower-quality big off of the bench into the regular rotation.
    IMO it’s not worth creating a mismatch at both ends of the floor unless you’re facing a talent deficit and hoping that you can utilize the mismatch better than your opponent can. Like going with a 3-guard rotation because you can’t put a good enough frontcourt on the floor to compete.
    The Lakers are better off playing a normal rotation and trying to use their talent to win.

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