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ENEMY LINES an opposing team's scout sizes up the Lakers
Jack McCallum
October 28, 2002
"It's about time Phil Jackson got credit for being one of the alltime great coaches. Defensively, the Lakers last season held opponents to the lowest field goal percentage and three-point percentage in the league. They were second in defensive rebounds, second in fewest turnovers committed and ninth in assists. They're a well-coached, well-disciplined team. Jackson has sustained excellence in two places with different kinds of players. Sure, he had the best players, but he's keeping them hungry. I would have thought complacency might have set in with Shaquille O'Neal, but it hasn't....
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October 28, 2002

Enemy Lines An Opposing Team's Scout Sizes Up The Lakers

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"It's about time Phil Jackson got credit for being one of the alltime great coaches. Defensively, the Lakers last season held opponents to the lowest field goal percentage and three-point percentage in the league. They were second in defensive rebounds, second in fewest turnovers committed and ninth in assists. They're a well-coached, well-disciplined team. Jackson has sustained excellence in two places with different kinds of players. Sure, he had the best players, but he's keeping them hungry. I would have thought complacency might have set in with Shaquille O'Neal, but it hasn't....

Making Kobe Bryant work defensively has to be part of your game plan; you can't let him rest and then take it out on you at the offensive end. Kobe isn't Michael Jordan on defense, but he gives a good effort....

The Lakers are developing replacements for their key role players. Devean George would be a starter on a lot of other teams, and he'll eventually take over for Rick Fox. In the next year or two Kareem Rush will probably replace Brian Shaw. The knock on Rush was that he's a little soft, but they used to say the same thing about Fox before he found his niche with the Lakers....

The one player who might be affected by age is Robert Horry, their third threat in the big games. The starter at power forward, Samaki Walker, has yet to show signs of consistency....

Derek Fisher isn't a pure point guard, and on most teams he would be a solid backup, but he fills the Lakers' needs by playing good on-the-ball defense, keeping them organized in the triangle, knowing when to push the tempo and hitting open shots....

If you took Kobe off that team I bet they'd still win the championship, because Shaq's presence does so much to make all the other guys better. It's a joke that Shaq doesn't win the MVP award every year, no matter how many games he misses."

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