Tag Archives: lakers
JA Adande has an article about replacing Phil Jackson when he retires, calling him out for not molding any assistants into starters besides Cartwright and someone else. Adande says he prefers veterans like Tex Winter… RIP.
He says Rambis doesn’t count because he’s now in MIN and actually had a chance to coach before Phil came and totally blew it. THEN, later on when he’s naming candidates, he mentions Brian Shaw. An up and coming coach who just happened to be an assistant to Phil, which Adande fails to recognize. He’s got a point about the lack of tutelage skills Phil has employed over the years, but let’s at least be real about the candidates you choose and where they come from. Totally hypocritical, but whatever, I like Adande. He’s epsn basketballs’ Michael Smith.
Then I’m reading about USC’s practice yesterday and how Corp “impressed” Pete coming back from his leg bone injury. Pete called it “remarkable” when asked about it, the one word quoted as a response according to the article.
Oh Pete… thanks for the lesson in how and why USC is so great at self promotion. Didn’t you just call Aaron out last week saying he MUST be back in practice by TUESDAY to have a chance at starting in 2 weeks? You did, Pete, and the only thing that would have made the situation truly remarkable about would be if Corp WASN’T at practice. He was going to be there with a leg brace on or in a wheel chair if necessary. Nice work Pete, Crown him a hero cause you need a reason to start the junior over the stud freshman. I like it.
And in other news, Pete’s old flame was named the Jets starter today.
Ok, I’m good now.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson turned 50 today. Nearly 30 years after he made his professional debut, he remains quite possibly the greatest point guard to ever play the game. For years, NBA franchises have been longing to find players who fit his mold. The oversized playmaker who get see the whole floor while creating his own shot to lead his team to victory. Magic was a 12-time all-star and 3-time MVP. He was also a 10-time All-NBA 1st team selection. Not only did he average 19.5 points and 11.2 assists per game, but he put up 19.5 points and 12.3 assists per game in his postseason career. He also snared 7.7 rebounds per game in the playoffs. Magic Johnson continues to be the benchmark for which all point guards are compared to. For every Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Tony Parker, there is only on Magic. We have, and quite possibly will, never see another Magic Johnson.
Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans, David Stern included, will be happy when the NBA schedule is released. Multiple sources are reporting that the Lebrons will open the season at home against Boston on national television. They will also be featured in the main event on Christmas Day against none other than the Lakers. Coincidentally, it’s yet another Kobe vs. Shaq Christmas Day matchup. However, this year will lean a little more heavily on the Kobe-Lebron angle. The bottom line, no surprises here.
Ron Artest sat down with Oakland’s freestyle king, Mistah Fab, to discuss the upcoming season with his new team.
Apparently, only YouTube or GoogleVideo can be embedded here, which this is not. Therefore…
Andre: I hope the Lakers are thinking about letting Ariza go so they can spend
their money on Artest instead
Tony: YES…that’s what I’m talking about too Dre!!!!!!!!!! However, ask any
fan what they think of him, and people want to throw up. Just adds fuel
to fire for the laker haters and doubters out there.
Andre: We know the Lakers like Artest, he’s basically Ariza a few years down
the line and stronger and scarier on D as well. Lamar knows he will
need to take that Mid level Exception id he wants to stick around, which
leaves Artest some room if they don’t extend an offer to Ariza. It’s
too bad the Lakers seem to be ok with Odom, I’m not
Matt: Dude, Artest playing with Kobe is a soap opera no one will be able to
resist. Ron has become a bigger black hole every year. Kobe will be
yelling at him every game. There’s no way they work out. Dj Mbenga and
Chris Mihm won’t be the only guys fighting each other in practice!
Tony: If Jordan could put up with Rodman something tells me Kobe and Artest
will find some good middle ground….Wins and championships seem to be a
good cure all.
Matt: Yeah, but Rodman wasn’t a black hole on offense.
Tony: Artest will adapt…shit he’ll be on a winning team for a change.
Brian: The Pacers were a winning team, that turned out well…
Tony: Really comparing the Pacers to the Lakers?
Brian: Only in the sense he had two other guys that were stars in Jackson and
O’neal and they were winning…
Andre: Ha, you’re saying Jackson was a star 5 years ago? And seriously, I’ll
repeat Tony’s words, are you really comparing the Pacers and Lakers?
Wow. I think teams are always in for a surprise when it comes to
Artest, but magically teams keep taking a chance… wonder why if he’s
such a ball hogging black hole on offense
Brian: He had already won a championship with the Spurs, so yes he had earned
his All star status… I’m not comparing the teams, I’m just saying that
he was on a good team and it turned out well (pun intended)…
Andre: Ok, cause I’m still thinking Stephen Jackson is NOT a star and never has
been. At least not of the caliber your trying to compare him with. But
that’s a different argument for a different time, who cares about
Stephen Jackson, he needs a shower
Matt: Well how about this…
O’Neal = Gasol
Jackson = Odom (neither are all-stars)
Andre: But then you would be drawing a direct line between the Kobe and Artest,
and there’s no way even Artest would agree with that, and that’s the
point. HE would get the picture pretty damn quick on that team. HE has
a great basketball IQ, and he’s been made the go to guy on all of his
previous teams. No more of that if he comes to LA
Tony: Exactly….you take a write up for a guy who was the only offensive
player at time at Houston, and want to transport the analysis over to
how he would play as a Laker?
Brian: So Artest with Yao and Oneill is suddenly different than with Gasol?
Matt: I don’t think that’s the parallel being drawn, but now that I think
about it, Gasol would prob be the most frustrated sitting down there
wide open while Ron jacks up a 24 footer
Andre: Suddenly different? You’re talking about one of the best C’s in the game in terms of being active, having great hands, a smooth jumper, and moving up and down court like a forward and not a C.
PLUS, You’re comparing Artest with KOBE to begin with. This thought process is flawed from the beginning. Artest wouldn’t be the ballhogging black hole if he made all of the pressure shots that Kobe makes. He’s not Kobe on offense by far. Just a bull in the low post with a great jumper and lots of opportunities to miss in his career because the guys around him were his support, he was a main cog on offense.
Brian: Yeah, just try and tell Artest that. He thinks he’s the best player in the league and doesn’t need help from anyone…
Tony: Say what you will…..but being life long kings and warriors fans your
indoctrinated to look at things from the bleakest and most negative
perspectives. Its in your bloods, us laker fans come from the
perspective of winners, and we can make it work school of thought.
Brian: Yeah, and you obviously haven’t watched him play more than 100 games…
Matt: Yeah, I’ve watched Artest on the Pacers when I hated him, I watched him
on the Kings and liked him, then I watched him on Houston where I was
unbiased. Same shit, different toilet.
Brian: I realized that the matching him with a HOF coach wasn’t really
addressed. I can already hear Kobe crying over the phone to Phil when
Artest takes 25 18 ft jumpers with a hand in his face. (Since Phil won’t
be there to do anything for half of their games, that settles that)
Matt: I’d love to hear Rambis, “um Ron, er, Mr. Artest? Umm, do you, uh, think maybe you could not take so many off-balance 22 footers? I mean, it’s cool if you want to keep doing that, but we have Kobe on our team too. He’s not just a decoy. Thanks Mr. Artest. Don’t hurt me”
Andre: Did Artest come over and personally pee on your rug or something? IS
Artest a carpet-pisser??
Brian: HAhaha! No, no rug pissing, he’s just been devastating to the team
concept for every franchise he’s played for, so I really can’t stand
that type of player..
Tony: I’d say Houston did just fine this year?????
Brian: Definitely a fluke, I’ve never seen him make that many shots through two
Tony: I was talking about the team killer aspect……
Matt: Yeah, b/c much like you said, but with a different intent, the Rockets
didn’t have a kobe or gasol. You think Shane Battier or Von Wafer are
gonna get pissed at him for shooting so much? No.
Tony:Lets just accept the fact your going to shit on him no matter what he
does…….I get that.
Matt: I’m not saying he’s gonna turn the Lakers into a lottery team.
Remember, I’m the guy who defended him and said over and over I would
never trade him for Lamar Odom. I still feel that way. ALL I’M SAYING,
is that he’s gonna be a ball-hog and Kobe’s gonna get pissed at him.
Not really going out on a limb
Tony: Good let him get pissed….to alpha-dogs going after the same thing is
great. Phil is in his element with that shit.
Brian: You want Kobe to get pissed so he passes less? That doesn’t sound like a
The 2009 NBA Draft featured something we haven’t seen since 1998: Three California teams picking in the top 10. That year was highlighted by the Sacramento Kings’ selection of Jason Williams, an unfortunate swap of Vince Carter of Antawn Jamison (which didn’t really turn out that bad) and a Clippers’ pick we’ll touch on in a minute. Once again this year, the San Diego Clippers chose first, the Kings picked fourth, and the Golden State Warriors held the 7th selection.
Los Angeles Clippers #1: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
From the producers of Michael Olowokandi, in came the consensus #1 pick. I’ve been a long-time skeptic of Blake Griffin. This past season, I was finally sold on Griffin being a solid all-around player. He’s been dubbed as the “can’t-miss” selection of the draft. What I’m not sold on is him becoming a great player. Most will agree he’ll be a “long-time NBA starter.” What that will translate to, I’m not sure. All we can go on is the facts. They are the Clippers. Elton Brand managed to lead the Clippers to one postseason berth in his time in LA. He set the bar pretty high. I’m not sure if Griffin can lead them to the postseason, but they do also have Baron Davis, Zach Randolph, Eric Gordon, and Al Thornton. Problem is, the losing culture of the franchise will overshadow all, including Griffin’s performance.
Sacramento Kings #4: Tyreke Evans, Memphis
Local sentiment favored Ricky Rubio, for the simple fact that many around here saw him as the next coming of Jason Williams. J-Will didn’t single-handedly turn the franchise around – he had some help – but he was probably the most responsible for generating excitement and fan support. It seemed like a match made in heaven. Sac needed a point guard, and Rubio wanted to come here. The Kings, however, instead opted for Evans. I have to agree with the pick. I have stated for a while now that Evans probably has the most star potential in this year’s draft. How he’ll work out at PG I’m not sure, but he gives the Kings a much-needed scoring threat. While I definitely see them improving on their impressive 17 win total from a year ago, the possible outcomes are many. His production will constantly be compared with Rubio’s, as many will wonder what could’ve been.
Golden State Warriors #7: Stephen Curry, Davidson
I have wondered for a long time if Curry would be able to succeed at the elite level. I’m still not sure if he can. He impressed everywhere he worked out leading up to the draft, but many of those workouts are based largely around shooting displays – something we know Curry exceeds at. The Warriors’ front office proclaims that he is the perfect fit for their system. His game is so similar, yet different from Monta Ellis. He does give them a much needed shooter. Regardless of what happens, I love this pick for two reasons. He’s not Jordan Hill, who was probably the W’s backup choice. Second, I loved it simply for the reaction it got from Knicks’ fans. I loved seeing their player get snatched up right before their pick, and then watching them settle for Jordan Hill. Many thought Curry would be dealt, most likely to Phoenix. However, Don Nelson today stated on the record that Curry could “unpack his bags, even buy a house,” because he “ain’t going anyplace.” Problem is, Nellie’s word doesn’t carry much weight.
Los Angeles Lakers #59: Chinemelu Elonu, Texas A&M
Does it really even matter?
With the conclusion of the NBA finals, we finally saw Kobe get the” he can’t win without Shaq” monkey off his back. Kobe’s career is far from done, but his window of greatness could be closing as he transitions to the jump shooting phase of his career. I say that for one reason, he has averaged less free throw attempts per game each year for the last three seasons (10+ from 04 to 07, 7.6 in 08, and 5.9 in 09), which makes me think he would rather not take it to the hole, so instead he’s pulling up for jumpers. Has Kobe had enough “greatness” so far to be considered close to Jordan? Kobe is turning 31 over the summer, so this should be a good point in his career to compare what he’s done so far to Jordan at the same age. I don’t think this is going to be close, but we’ll run it by two categories: stats and bio. I can’t say that Kobe’s resume is as impressive as MJ’s, but adding the fourth championship should make it close!
His Airness – Jordan at the age of 29, went into retirement after winning three straight Championships with Phil in Chicago. He left the game he ruled to play professional baseball, but many think that it was an undercover suspension for MJ’s gambling habits (I’m a believer in that theory). He was at the top of the game and his resume was impressive at his first retirement winning; 3 MVP’s, 8 first team All NBA awards, 88’ Defensive Player of the Year, 6 first team All Defense awards, and 3 NBA Finals MVP’s. He won the scoring titles every year from 87 to 93. Many felt that in 93 Jordan deserved the MVP, but they were tired of giving it to him, so they gave it to Barkley.
Black Mamba – I’m sure we’re all a little fresher on Kobe’s stat’s to date, but here they are anyways. Keep in mind that MJ took his year off at 30 years old. Which is when Kobe won his 4th Championship, and added his 1st NBA Finals MVP. He also rounded out the resume with 1 League MVP, 2 time scoring champion, 7 first team All Defensive awards, and 7 first team All NBA awards. At this point I don’t think their stats are comparable, but Kobe did win one more championship than Jordan.
His Airness – Jordan had his struggles coming into the league since he joined a team that basically sucked. He learned how to win in college hitting a NCAA Championship game winner in 1982. The early Bulls teams were terrible, so he had to compensate by forcing it at times. His greatness still allowed them to win and make the playoffs only to be knocked out early (1st or 2nd round) throughout his first five seasons. In his second playoff series, against the 85-86 Celtics, considered by many to be one of the greatest in NBA history, he made his first playoff mark by scoring 63 in one game (still the record). Two seasons later, Jordan won his first MVP, and the defensive player of the year award.
MJ’s first three Championship years were none other than domination. In the first championship run, it was the first time that Jordan realized he had teammates averaging 8.4 assists in the playoffs, and 11.4 in the Finals. Jordan’s stats seemed to go up when he was in the playoffs. He averaged 34.6 Points, 6.8 Rebounds, 6.6 Assists, and 2.3 steals in his first 9 playoff appearances.
Black Mamba – Kobe came into the league a couple of years younger and less experienced, but was put into the starting rotation in his second year at the age of 20, and showed that he would be a star in the league. Already being teamed up with a superstar in Shaq, he had the chance to figure things out in a winning environment, drastically different than Jordan’s early years. The strike season of 98, shortened Kobe’s first year as a starter to 50 games, but league wide everyone knew that he was going to be a star. The following year Kobe was given the greatest coach of all time in Phil Jackson. With an amazing core, the Lakers would go on to win 3 championships. Kobe would continually increase his all around stats each year, but never won a finals MVP. He became a fixture in the fourth quarter as everyone would wonder when it was going to be “Kobe Time”. At the age of 23, he was the youngest player in the history of the NBA to have three titles.
There wasn’t a fourth championship run, and that’s when Kobe’s struggles started. He wanted to be the “man” in LA, and basically forced the owners to decide what the Lakers future was, him or Shaq. The Lakers chose Bryant as they traded away their star center and gave Kobe the fat wallet he desired. Kobe, was the man and he won scoring titles, but just like Jordan in his early years, he couldn’t really trust his teammates since they weren’t all that good. Kobe was unstoppable, but teams realized he was playing selfishly and just like Jordan didn’t want to pass to a lesser player to let them miss a shot. Kobe’s playoff averages aren’t bad, but comparing them to Jordan’s playoff stats at the same point in his career makes me appreciate just how good Jordan was. Kobe’s playoff stats look like this 25.0 Points, 5.1 Rebounds, 4.7 assists, and .5 steals (His first two seasons totaling 20 games brought down those stats).
Since championships matter most out of all the stats, I guess we can say that Kobe wins! MJ 3 Kobe 4, at the age of 30. There, I said it. I didn’t want to, but I did. This ultimately isn’t a race to win 4 championships though! Kobe still needs two more championships to be standing on the same pedistal as Jordan. He’s going to have to be the Finals MVP for both before I will truly put him in another comparison to Jordan. Looks like Kobe’s got some work to do!
Yes, I’m writing off the Orlando Magic. If you’ll recall, I wrote them off before the NBA Finals started. I felt that they lacked the mental toughness to pick themselves up off the mat after any knockout blows delivered by the Lakers. So far, I’ve been right. The Magic have played a surprisingly solid series, with the exception of game 1, but all they have to show for it is a 3-1 deficit. Any hope of having the slightest chance to make a series of this went away quicker than a Jameer Nelson closeout in game 4. The question now, isn’t whether the Lakers will win the series, but rather when. I’m pretty confident it’s going to be tonight. As much as I would love to see the Magic push this series back to Los Angeles, it’s not happening. Orlando knows it has no chance of winning this series anymore. Although I’m a fan of guys like Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, Mickael Pietrus, Jameer Nelson, Rafer Alston, etc… I’m not expecting anything beyond a lay down and fold effort tonight. Typically, this is where a team that’s down comes out and gives it everything they’ve got just to live to see another day. Not this team. You’ll see. They know if they pulled out a win tonight, they’ll be rewarded with an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles to get dismantled in front of a hostile Staples Center crowd. They know they’re better off suffering a scrappy 7 point loss on their home floor then going back to LA to get blown out by 30. Well, it’s tipoff time. Don’t say I didn’t call it.
Most would agree that the Orlando Magic have looked like the best team thus far in the NBA Playoffs. The problem is, that can, and often does, all change when you step on the court with the Lakers. Prior to Game 6, I was questioning whether Dwight Howard could be the centerpiece of an Orlando offense that seems to live, and occasionally die by the three. Saturday night, Howard proved he could be a force inside on more than just open dunks and second chance points. Even in doing so, however, the Magic still jacked up 29 three pointers. That’s great when they’re going in, but the problem with the Lakers is they will bury a team, more so than any other squad, when the threes are not falling. Look no further than Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. The Nuggets converted a fairly solid 8-19 from beyond the arc, but the missed attempts seemed to stand out. That is ultimately what did them in Friday night.
The Lakers have an uncanny ability to stick to their game plan. Thanks to the presence of Kobe Bryant – who I still can’t help but to concede is still the best player in the league – they never seem as flustered as anybody else. Even without any standout shooters of the same caliber as Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Mickael Pietrus, and even Rafer Alston, they boast an impeccable balance of size, speed, length, and basketball IQ that it would be surprising if they lost more than two games in the upcoming series. Can the Magic match up with Bynum, Gasol, and Odom down low? I just can’t see that happening. What happens if Howard gets in foul trouble? I have a hard time seeing Gortat patrolling the paint and doing anything defensively to slow the Lakers on the block. I never thought I’d say this, but Adonal Foyle could be a key x-factor in the championship series. Problem is, Foyle has logged a total of 4 minutes the entire postseason. However, the Magic will need all the big bodies they have, and Stan Van Gundy doesn’t seem likely to call on Foyle off the bench. There’s probably a reason for that.
You won’t ever hear me call Phil Jackson the best coach in the league – I’m of the crowd who chalks his success up to having great players. But you can believe he will have his team defending the three-point arc without any lapses. The key guy in this series, and not many people would see this the same way, will be Courtney Lee. Lee has shown a supreme mastery of the ever popular mid-range jumper. With LA likely having one or two big men locked into the paint and the other guys firmly planted around the three-point line, it will be imperative for Lee to dominate the 15-20 foot area. The Magic must set an unofficial Finals record for most pump fakes and pull up jumpers to have any chance in this series. I just don’t know if guys like Turkogu and Pietrus will be able to stray from their three point dependancy.
THE KEY ASPECT I look to in the postseason is, for lack of a better word, swagger. What I mean by this is having players who have the mental toughness to go for the jugular and not get rattled when the other team is making a run. The Lakers have this. They always have. Sure, they’ve looked far from immortal this postseason, but we all know when it’s on the line, they’ll bring their A game. Any time you have Kobe on the floor with you, you know the game is always within reach and there’s no reason to panic or get scared. The Celtics were able to counter this thanks to the presence of Kevin Garnett. The Magic don’t have a guy like this. Looking up and down their roster, I don’t see many guys who can keep their composure when the Lakers are laying it on thick. I’ve seen guys like Turkoglu and Pietrus crumble in big situations. If Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony couldn’t do it, how can they? Orlando will need flawless execution and resiliancy to pull this one off. If they can survive the Staples Center and come away with a split, perhaps we can believe in them in a little bit. But there’s no way they will win a Game 5 or 7 in Los Angeles, so they definitely have their work cut out for them. Needless to say, I don’t see it happening.
Lakers in 4. ….maybe 5.
It’s no secret the NBA and its allies are praying for a Kobe-Lebron showdown in the Finals. I won’t lie, it’s a dream matchup that I too would love to see. BUT…. why is the NBA the only league that allows such public advances on its preferred matchups??? MLB and the NFL both sit back and wait and let the teams on the field decide. Last year we were force-fed Lakers-Celtics propaganda and that happened. Shouldn’t a league that has a reputation for possibly manipulating outcomes make an effort to hold back on this sort of stuff? Sure, it’s the advertisers who are driving this, but we all know where the league stands on it. Despite being an acclaimed Laker disliker – I don’t quite hate them – this is the first round of conference finals in a long time that I’ve been impartial to who wins each series. I love being able to sit back and enjoy playoff basketball without living and dying with the outcome. It’s great being able to watch Kobe, Lebron, Hedo, Carmelo, or the referees step up and take over a game down the stretch. However, I have a natural propensity to pull for the underdog. While Orlando and Denver may not be underdogs on the court, they most certainly are in the corporate world. (Side note: yet another puppet commercial runs as I type this)
So, unfortunately, my impartiality is quickly fading. I hope they can pull it off. Will they? OR, is the NBA in fact UNSTOPPABLE!