What Ron-Ron Means To Me

Kurt —  February 23, 2006

Rather than one of my standard previews of tonight’s game against Sacramento, I’m giving some space to Tom Z., the guy behind the Sactown Royalty blog (one of the best NBA blogs out there) to talk about what the addition of Ron Artest has meant to the Kings (besides 7 wins in the last 10). I’ll add a couple of thoughts afterward about tonight (and, in the unlikely event of a Laker trade, I’ll break in with a new post).

Right now, I can count six things that Ron Artest has brought with him to Sacramento. In a uncreative list format, here they are:

- Obviously, a top-three defender. His astute ability to deny the ball, deny the floor position, deny the easy shot to the best opposing swing player has been well-reviewed, and it’s honestly what distinguishes Ron-Ron from every other Joe 20-Point Scorer out there.

- A reliable offensive threat. His first step is actually stunning. In a game against Utah, Artest blew by Andrei Kirilenko from the left wing so easily that I literally had to pause the game to collect myself. He’s known as a post-up type, but he has driven at will against most opponents and hits the open three almost as consistently as Mike Bibby. And Lakers fans know all about Mike Bibby from three.

- Instant leadership. Yeah, Ron Artest is the clear leader of this team. It was such a vacuum before, with quiet guys like Peja, Shareef, Brad Miller and Bibby as the stars and louder types like Bonzi Wells trying to push for a last-chance multi-year deal on the basis of being a reformed team-first guy. Ron is trying to rehab himself, but he is innately competitive to a point that he refuses to let the team slink away from a challenge. Note that other than the cold-shooting quarter in Utah, the Kings haven’t been embarrassed in the Artest era.

- The Brad Miller of old. Remember when B-52 was inciting Shaq to throw punches and generally be a redneck asshole? Well, we haven’t gotten that piece of the deal in Sacramento. Until now. Reunited with his old mischievous pal, The Congressman is back to hassling bitches, pushing hoes and causing mayhem in the middle. Also, instead of whining to the refs constantly, he accepts his fouls and gets his money’s worth.

- A resuscitation of the Sacramento scene. Honestly, the Sac State groupie crew was probably getting sick of chasing down Peja and Bibby. Ron-Ron and his posse provide plenty of fresh blood. R.E. Graswich’s career as a metro columnist has literally been rejuvenated. Graswich was struggling to dig up any dirt on Bibby’s Team Dime this preseason. Now? Three items a week on Artest and Company. Absolutely fantastic for sports fans.

- Pure, unadulterated energy. He’s like Brian Cardinal on meth. He shouldn’t be – he’s one of the best players in the league! Doesn’t he know he’s not required to leap into the camera pit or hit the floor for a stray ball? And, my God, the fist pumps! He’s so excited on the court that he has zero ability to act cool and pimp-like when making a killer play. So, like Tiger Woods, he just bursts out in uncontrollably uncool gestures, like double fist pumps, handclap-hop combinations and the ballyhooed audible Marv Albert impersonation (“YESSS!”, especially effective after an And-1). Kings fans love that sort of raw excitement crap – hell, we bang cowbells for fun! I can’t believe no one realized a passionate guy like Ron-Ron and passionate fans like the Cowbell Kingdom were perfect for each other. Essentially perfect.

In sum, we like Ron not despite his crazy, but because of his crazy. Long live Sacronmento!

———————————————-

Great stuff. Two things from me:

Reasons I’m rooting for Sasha Cohen tonight: Other than the obviously prurient interest reasons, she and I also share an idol.

Cohen hopes that her best is yet to come, and she credited a book by John Wooden with revising her perspective on skating and life.

“You can’t live in the past and you can’t live in the future, but the present and what you do now can have an effect on the future,” she said. “And that’s what I’m trying is, really, to stay in the moment.”

Key’s to a Laker win: If one team is going to jump up into the top eight in the West before the season is out, I think the new-look Kings are the primary candidates.

Nobody stops Kobe, but Artest will slow him. That means four things: 1) Kobe can’t get frustrated and try to out-macho Artest and try to beat him every time down to prove a point; 2) Lamar Odom is going to have to take a big role in the offense, like he did against Portland – the book on him has become to lay off him and dare him to shoot from the outside, he needs to take that shot and hit it; 3) Brian Cook, Smush (a +23 against Portland) and others will have to step up; 4) As has been the case for a while, the Lakers are going to have to play good defense to win. They did that against Portland, but that was Portland. This is a good team.

And this is the kind of team the Lakers need to beat if they are going to make the playoffs.

Kurt

Posts

8 responses to What Ron-Ron Means To Me

  1. we didnt make a deal, its not the end of the world. keeping devean will help the rest of this season, he is our best offensive option off the bench with cook starting and after kobe, i trust devean’s ability to perform in the triangle in critical situations most. before mihm got hurt he was playing his best ball of the season and should go on to put up close to a double-double when he is healthy (foul-prone tendencies aside). Lamar will be lamar, love him or hate him, its been 7 years and this is how he plays. The key is, and has always been, the rest of the guys, especially Smush and Kwame. On offense Smush must hit open shots and Kwame must make shots withing 5 feet. On defense Smush must stay in front of his man and Kwame has to improve on his off the ball awareness without losing track of his man. this team can still challenge for the 6th seed, the clips have lost 5 in a row, no/okl is young and we have black mamba and phillip

  2. DJ not damon jones February 23, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    lakers have won 2 straight without kobe scoring 40+.
    i believe he’s catching on to the concept of team play. just look at his assist from the past two games.

  3. woo hoo. what a win. i’m in lamar odom heaven right now, despite him kinda disappearing in the 2nd half. lord jesus, PLEASE keep him playing like this. i’ll give you my first born son.

    did you see how tough the team was playing defense up 20+ at the tail end of the fourth quarter? wow, magnificent.

  4. has anyone notice that Odom plays a whole lot better when he doesn’t have to play the facilitator role? When he is allowed free reign in the offense? I don’t know its just me but I would take a SF LO over a PG wanna be LO anyday. Nice win.. and if we win against the clippers at our “away” game then we will be in a great position to even overtake the clip show in the playoff race.

  5. Yes, they have Kobe playing the facilitator now and it works better. Just have to convince Kobe to continue to limit the amount of dribbling he does.

  6. last night was a fun game to watch…
    nice to see LO take it TO THE HOLE WITH AUTHORITY!
    it seems to me, (and the TNT announcer in the post-game also said it) when LO plays with an aggressive attitude, looks to score, finishes strong, hustle D…
    the Lakers WIN!
    it also seems to affect the other players, Cook diving on the floor, George all over the place, awesome put back slam dunk in the 4th, (the T was worth it!, hangin’ on the rim)…
    and did anyone else notice that Smush and Kwame seem to have made a pact that Smush is (will be) looking for him on some alley-oops? the first one was a bust, luckily LO was standing in rebound position, and caught the errant pass under the basket and simply laid it in…but the second time, they connected, and this, my friends, is why there are times I am amazed at Kwame atheletic abilities, did you see that 4th quarter alley-oop? when this guy decides to bring it, he can be an awesome force underneath..now it’s Phil’s job to see that he brings it very night. ( this will be his toughest coaching challenge …ever) I think he should keep Kwame coming in off the bench, both he and Devean, they bring high energy, and Sasha as well, I know alot of people are down on him, but he does bring hustle D, and can hit the open outside shot.
    all in all, it was a great win, cause it was a “must win”…
    if we blew that game last night, momentum would have shifted away from us and to the Kings, chasing us for the last playoff spot…right now, it’s time to build on that momentum, and keep doing that down the stretch…
    it’s Phil time!

  7. oh yeah, Cookie was shooting the lights out last night, and having a big with that kind of percentage will keep the double and triple teams more honest, and open it up underneath a bit…
    wasn’t it nice to see something other than a barrage of 3 point attempts last night?
    balance, that’s the key, don’t be predictable, shooting only 3′s… cut to the hole, look for the pass, run off picks, then hit the open man for the 3, options, motion baby…that’s the key

  8. It will be entertaining to see how the Lakers deal with D George at the end of this season. I’m sure it will very different from the last ime he was resigned. This time around their shouldn’t be as much league wide interest. I still think he has more value to the Lakers than anywhere else because of his triangle knowledge. I know other teams like his length and defense, but if he is affordable it seems he should want to stay in LA and the Lakers should look to keep him.

    TNT burns me up. Not just because of the uninformed comments they make, but because they don’t SHOW THE DAMN GAME. We missed both of Kobe’s early three’s because he was out of the frame, and a Mihm foul because they were showing an Artest stat.

    Kerr commenting that Kobe took a “bad shot” when he was trying to swing his arms through to get a foul on Artest was lame.

    How does Artest play a whole game without drawing a foul?