Luck be a Laker

Gatinho —  May 27, 2006

A Time for Reflection: Past drafts may conjure up images of Sam Bowie and broken legs, Len Bias and broken dreams, or more recently Darko Milicic and broken chains. Laker fans specifically have spent plenty of time either thinking about, or avoiding thinking about, Kupchak era draft picks. But the draft is almost always ultimately about regret and a few of the names that were picked after guys named Cook and Vujacic may elicit a cringe or two. But let’s harken back to a time when luck, most of it dumb, ruled the drafting process…

The Lakers first round pick of 1965: Gail Goodrich lurked in the shadows his first two years as a Laker. He would eventually be snatched by the Suns in the 1968 expansion draft only to be traded back to the Lakers in time to be a part of the drought breaking ’72 team.

After a contract dispute with the notoriously strong headed Jack Kent Cooke, he would leave the club in 1976 as a free agent. In compensation for signing away Goodrich, the Lakers would receive from the newly moved and now awkwardly named Utah Jazz, three draft picks, one of which would be their 1976 first round pick.

Letting Goodrich go was highly criticized. That criticism would be unfounded when, after finishing with the worst record in the league, the Jazz pick would end up being the Lakers’ first of two opportunities at the number one overall pick.

Following one more case of luck being a Laker, a coin toss that the Chicago Bulls lost, the club would sign a player whose national introduction is (or should be) etched into our collective psyche…

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I want you to know this man has a smile that lights up a television screen from here to Bangor, Maine.”

From My Life, Earvin “Magic” Johnson:

“Before Buss bought the team, Cooke told him the Lakers’ management had recommended drafting Sidney Moncrief… No way, said Buss. Magic Johnson’s the guy or the deal’s off.”

Ted Stepien and the James Worthy Rule: Okay, so it’s really called the Ted Stepien Rule… In 1980 the Lakers traded Don Ford to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of one of many disastrous moves by Stepien.

Ford would end up playing in only 85 games over the next two years and that pick would turn into Hall of Famer “Big Game” James Worthy. The first, last, and only time that a reigning NBA champ would have the top pick in the following year’s draft.

Stepien would end up operating with such abandonment that the NBA took away the ability for him to make trades without the league’s specific direction and approval. The Gund brothers, who bought the Cavs in 1983, would only follow through with the transaction after the NBA promised to give them supplemental first round picks to replace those that Stepien had traded away.

None of this would happen in the here and now. GM’s are now backed by a slew of assistants, and all first round picks are lottery protected. The aptly nicknamed Ted Stepien rule states that teams can not trade first round picks in consecutive years and every team must have at least one pick in the two rounds of the draft.

In effect, we will never see a traded first round pick end up being the numero uno. It happened to the Lakers twice, and because common sense and league rules now dictate the process, it will never happen again.

Four coaches in one season: Stepien’s ineptitude was highlighted in 1982 when he hired and fired four different coaches in one season. The first of those coaches was Chuck Daly, who he fired after 41 games and replaced with Bill Musselman, Eric’s father.

Sacramento has interviewed Eric for their open position, and he’s comes with the endorsement of Daly who has called him a “basketball genius.”

Warrior fans may begrudgingly agree…

Yesterday in 1987 : Bird steals the ball from the new model Ted Stepien on the inbounds pass to abscond with game 5 and the series, setting up another and the last of the great Celtics-Lakers Finals.

“You expect to lose on a sky-hook,” Bird said with a pained smile. “You don’t expect it to be from Magic.”

Speculating amidst speculation: Alexander Johnson

The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken: Draft Express seems to have the market cornered on throwing bones to starving dogs whether they be fans, agents, players, GM’s… It was reported that Tyrus Thomas’ people shut them out of a workout because they had him listed seventh in one of their mock drafts.

-Gatinho

Gatinho

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25 responses to Luck be a Laker

  1. notreallyimportant May 27, 2006 at 10:50 am

    Rookies (and prospective rookies) need to be taken down a notch, in every major league, they should not be allowed to pull crap.

  2. There are two players that should be available when the Lakers pick that are intriguing to me: Dee Brown and PJ Tucker.

    Brown is ultra quick and can defend on the ball well. Brown also handled some complicated offenses under Weber at Illinois and shot the ball extremely well his junior year. His size is a concern, but i think the Lakers have enough length to compensate.

    Tucker is strong and big. His jumper could develop and he brings some nastiness that I think the Lakers severely lack. I could see him developing in to a Raja Bell/Bruce Bowen type. His upside could even be in the Chauncey Billups range, if he can display some more quickness.

  3. notreallyimportant May 28, 2006 at 3:12 am

    remeber when Phil told Kwame that he should be more like Ben Wallace? Just worry about defense and let any offense be in the flow? I think Ben Wallace mis understood the zenmeister and decided to model himself after Kwame.

  4. I have to say, hack-a-Ben was smart by Riley.

  5. The draft is often like the lottery, but making a trade possiblily involving Odom might net the Lakers a sure bet. I think we need a backcourt player like Pippen was to Jordan. I agree-Hack-a-Ben was great!

  6. I think the lakers should seriously consider the Carlos Boozer scenario. He wants to be in L.A. and will definitely produce at the 4-spot. They can offer Chris Mihm, Devean George and the 1st round pick, or even Kwame Brown, and Sasha Vujacic. Then offer the Mid-level to a Gary Payton, Sam Cassell, or Bobby Jackson

  7. i’ve read Lakers are trying to move up in draft in order to get Brandon Roy… they have allready been working him
    http://www.draftexpress.com/viewarticle.php?a=1316

    it would be great, i like Roy

  8. notreallyimportant May 29, 2006 at 9:00 am

    I don’t think there is a pippen like backcourt player, maybe Tay Prince.

    I think Odom is a definite keeper unless a deal comes along for a top ten player.

  9. I love Odom, but we need to shake things up to make it back to the glory days. I agree Odom is keeper unless a top ten player comes along.

  10. chris henderson May 29, 2006 at 11:15 am

    I am afraid that a major shake up would not be what the Laker fans want to see, unless you can be very patient, and see things in a very long-term view.
    and I like most Laker fans, want to see this team go deeper into the playoffs next year, and maybe are hoping they are an elite team the following, with sights on the championship.
    in order to realize that goal, I believe they need to add a few pieces, what everyone’s been talking bout recently, a “starting” PG, (sorry Smush, you’ll be even better coming off the bench fior a season) and another big to work with LO and Kwame, (Mihm’s status TBD).
    our team was very young last season, and the tri is a tough system to be fluid in, so it take a couple years, at least, to see how well this unit can be.
    we had some nice role players, Ronnie could devlop into the next AC, Rambis, Mad Dog, which is the Ben wallace in Detroit, Bynum could become a solid C, (again, a season coming off the bench, more mins than last year, surely will help develop him) I was liking Laron Profit, shades of the ol’ Coop. (then there’s our Bowen) somehow, I think Phil can get a lot from Profit, I’d like to see him have the chance.
    I mean if we can get an A level PG, and another A level big, I’m all for doing whatever is necessasry, except the complete dismantelling of our roster, I don’t think the net result of something that drastic will improve our team over last year.
    I’m sure management is well aware that they have kobe in his prime over the next few years and they can’t waste this opportunity. they need to build a team around him, and they have Phil for 2 more years, yet another opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted.
    I know mgt doesn’t feel they need to be too drastic, but they can’t sit on thier hands like they did last year either.
    finally, if they need to go a few million more over the cap, then Buss should just “do it!” they’ll make it up in playoff revenue, and it’s the image of the franchise that’s at stake here.
    I don’t think this town can take a Clipper conversion, what have they done now, better record for the past 2 years…? right, can’t have it be 3 in a row, Buss has gotta have more pride than that.
    don’t waste next year Laker brass.
    brass doesn’t go “bling-bling” in goes “clunk-clunk”. bring home the gold baby.

  11. I love Roy too, mentioned it way back during the regular season. The problem is everyone loves him, to get him means moving into the top 3 to 5 picks in the draft. I’m not sure I would trade what it would take to get that high and take Roy.

  12. 6. The problem with that (aside the sidgn-and-trade aspect of D. George) is that Mihm is not what Utah will want. They’ve got bigs (why they are willking to trade Boozer), they need a shooting two guard. The Lakers are not going to get far with Sasha as the bait for that.

  13. I dont like the Boozer scenarios. Im not sure a PF is really what the Lakers need. Odom’s best position is the 4, he’s quick enough to take other big men off the dribble and big enough to handle the defensive and rebounding duties while he’s not exposed against quicker SF’s on defense.

    I think defense is the biggest area of need, in particular perimiter defense. Boozer doesnt address that or the PG issues. I dont think Bobby Jackson, Gary Payton or Sam Cassell really address that issue either and its not like any of those guys are young either.

    I love the Roy idea, he’s the most NBA ready player in the draft so he can help immediately and he’s a good two way player, so he address the need for a scoring SF and an additional perimiter defender. I would think that Chicago, Atlanta, and Portland would all be interested in Mihm. I think a solid package could be made surrounding him.

  14. Brandon Roy would look so ridiculously sexy in a Lakers jersey manning the point…ahhh it will never happpen though

  15. if you were the bulls, would you trade gordon and the 2nd pick for odom and mihm?

    imagine:
    Gordon
    Kobe
    walton or some free agent from the MLE
    Bargnani or Aldridge
    Brown

    that wouldnt hurt the 08 plan and it isnt looking bad for chicago who would get an all-arround like odom like an star and a center which they dont have for a 2nd draft pick in a non impact draft and a great guard but they also have hinrich, duhon, noccioni…..

  16. oh and i forgot about luol deng… so trading gordon having hinrich duhon noccioni and deng in the backcourt wouldnt hurt chicago…
    they could have a
    hinrich
    deng/duhon (with hinrich playing the 2 spot)
    noccioni
    odom
    mihm ( and chandler on the mix)

    which is far better than what they would get just drafting Bargnani or Aldridge

  17. why all the hating on lamar odom lately?

    newsflash: 1. odom led the lakers in rebounds last year; 2. odom led the lakers in assists last year; 3. odom creates insane matchup problems at SF; 4. odom can play both forward positions very well.

    odom is not going to be traded. period.

  18. I believe Mihm will be trade for a high draft pick. The lakers want Roy. Minm and one role players and draft picks will do it.

  19. notreallyimportant May 30, 2006 at 1:49 am

    Despite the fact that Ododm had a bad game 7 are you forgetting his incredible form after the all star break?

    He was ridiculous and there is every reason to think he will be able to keep that up next season as he gets more and more comfortable with the triangle, and Kobes incredible competitive spirit rubs off on him.

  20. it’s not that we hate odom, personaly i love him, he’s a pure all-arround player, but i think that if we could trade him with mihm to chicago for something that we need desperately ( a guard who can defend and shoot, like gordon or hinrich) and the 2nd draft choice to get something like Aldridge or Bargnani to play the 4 spot while having kwame at the center
    then we would have the MLE to have a shoot to any SF free agent or having walton there

    im not into trading odom for trash players but this trade i think it look quite good

  21. Listen gentlemen,
    lets try to think outside the box…no reason to be emotional over Odom, I love him and I loved him as a Clipper(sorry), we have to make some changes and it doesn’t hurt to think about what Odom can net us.,

  22. The problem with trading Odom is not emotional attachment, but time invested by the franchise. Bringing too many new straters to this offense creates the problem we had last year with a majority of our starting line up essentially learning on the job.

    Odom is one of the main reasons that Jackson chose to return. Trading Odom would have to net a top 10 player, not just a high draft pick and a point guard. If his growth stagnates in the coming season, then consider it a failed experiment, until then I would consider trading Odom as throwing a lot of hard work out the window.

  23. NICE. I have been waiting for an intelligent, articulate responce to my post. Thank-you.

  24. I agree with Laker Lady, nice one Gatinho

  25. Twenty years ago today, the Lakers moved ahead of the Boston Celtics for good. With the passing of Len Bias, the Celtics became an old team with less depth. The Lakers took over and the Celts never recovered.