Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  September 12, 2006

I haven’t forgotten about this blog, promise. There are some good posts coming later this week and down the line, but I’ve always tried not to write something just for the sake of having fresh drivel up on the site. That said, while I may not be writing other people are, so let me point you to some interesting stuff:

• UPDATE: Roland Lazenby continues to be the journalist around the Lakers we can most count on for insight into the team. His latest blog post does this in a couple ways, first providing some background to the well known dislike between Tex Winter and Shaq:

The serious breech between the assistant coach and Shaq didn’t come until the 2004 season when O’Neal out of nowhere told Winter to “shut the f*** up” during a team film session. A stunned Winter said that never in lengthy coaching career had a player been so extremely disrespectful. In fact, Winter has long been known for earning the respect and allegiance of an array of players, from the most difficult (Dennis Rodman) to the most hard-headed (Kobe Bryant).

O’Neal’s behavior in the 2004 incident is noteworthy for several reasons. First, O’Neal always describes himself as someone who respects his elders. That’s pretty much a self-promoting crock.

Second, Phil Jackson wrote a supposed “inside” book on the season, which was really a document aimed at cementing Jackson’s political position with the team. Strange that Jackson devoted so much ink to his allegation that Kobe Bryant was “uncoachable,” yet somehow he managed to avoid telling his readers the details of the major incident involving O’Neal.

Also, Lazenby talks about a new article he did on the death of defense by referring to how Joe Dumars shut down Jordan in the 1990 playoffs.

Asked in July if he could defend Jordan under today’s interpretation of the rules, Dumars first laughed, then offered a long pause before replying, “It would have been virtually impossible to defend Michael Jordan based on the way the game’s being called right now.”

I’ll be buying a copy of Lindy’s soon.

• Eric Marentette used to have a Portland Trailblazer blog at Oregonlive, but left it this summer — to work for Kobe Bryant. Via True Hoop:

KB is starting up his own company to market himself, since there’s currently a severe lack of Kobe-related products and information, and he’s hired away Eric to head up his new website, which supposedly will have something to do with Kobe’s number change. Eric will be working hands-on, with Kobe Bryant, on all things Kobe Bryant.

To me, this makes a lot of sense. You see other major athletes like Tiger Woods and Barry Bonds taking steps to control the marketing of their name and image. Bringing it “in-house” strikes me as a smart business move by Kobe. And, somehow, he’s the one guy I’m not worried about this being a distraction from his on-the-court responsibilities.

• Does playing in international summer competition — say, the recent World Championships in Japan — mean a drop off in the next NBA season for the players who go?

It’s been a long-discussed and disputed theory, but Kevin Pelton took up the idea for 82games and found:

There does seem to be a slightly higher probability of minor, nagging injuries for the players who participated on USA Basketball, but this effect is mild at best.

While there is always the concern of what happened to Pau Gasol at that tournament, sending guys to play for Team USA does not generally seem to mean less games the next year. Check out the whole article for yourself.