Fourth, the man coaches defense, the glaring absence of which was the real reason for the Lakers' demise this season. People are always talking about the offense and the triangle and such, but the '96 Bulls and 2000 Lakers (according to stats analysis guru Dean Oliver) were the 10th- and 11th-best defensive clubs all time. The 2004-05 Lakers on the other hand, were 29th in the league in points given up per 100 possessions, just barely better than the Hawks.

Fifth, I'm guessing Phil tells Caron Butler how good he can be and Caron believes him, he convinces Chris Mihm he could be better than Luc Longley, which is actually better than you might think, and he lets Brian Cook know, in no uncertain terms, that while the jump shooting is nice and all, he'd best get his big ol' backside down on the block and rebound a ball or three but quick.

Sixth, this means more high-quality smackdowns of the Kings.

And seventh?

Well, Jeannie's happy, which means Phil's happy, which means I'm happy.


Eric Neel still plays hoops in his 1987 Lakers championship T-shirt.


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