Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  May 15, 2007

Thoughts while wondering what kind of hockey enforcer Robert Horry would have made….

• Yesterday was an example of why this time of year can get on my nerves (and is leading me to break my rule of not discussing random speculation in the blog). One Sacramento newspaper writer, idly speculating about where Ron Artest could possibly traded, throws the Lakers in the mix because the Lakers are looking to make a move this off-season. But have the Lakers and Kings actually had any discussions along these lines? Not by any report (and mainstream media types complain bloggers just sit around and make stuff up). A lack of talks didn’t stop the talk shows and message boards and all things Lakers from buzzing about Artest all day.

Ron Artest is a good defender, but not at the two key positions the Lakers need. He is not a point guard. And, trading him for Kwame (as the Sactown writer suggested) weakens the Laker interior defense, which was plenty weak this year already. So this makes the Lakers better? Plus, and correct me if I’m wrong, Artest brings a little baggage with him. His dependability is exactly what this team needs right now, what with the stellar focus they showed last season.

• Watching Vince Carter at the end of game four should be a reminder just why Kobe is a great closer.

Kobe puts himself in better positions to attack — Carter on the last play made a little swing move with the ball then started to drive right but when the defender went with him he turned his back to the basket, put himself in a tough position trying to back his man down and was caught off guard by a quick double (part of that impressive slip and fall move). Kobe finds a way to face-up, his moves to the basket are far more aggressive and because of that (and the respect for his move) he creates room for the pull-up jumper that Carter never had. He also has a plan for when the double comes (although, too often, because of his confidence, he still just shoots over the double).

• In case you missed it, the Seattle Supersonics and Sacramento Kings have been given permission to talk to Kurt Rambis about their head coaching spots. Previously the Indiana Pacers interviewed Brian Shaw for their head coaching vacancy.

• Great point by my two favorite ESPN writers yesterday — Henry Abbot and David Thorpe — comparing the 1980s Lakers and the current Suns, and their mental makeups.

Which are both excellent reasons for the Suns to especially remember Magic Johnson’s Lakers now. They may not have been the bullies of the league, but they were plenty physical in their way. (Consider the career of Kurt Rambis. Also, watch old video of Michael Cooper and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — I’m sure Bruce Bowen and Tim Duncan have done just that.) And more than anything, when Magic Johnson’s Lakers encountered extremely physical teams like the Celtics of Kevin McHale, Larry Bird, and Robert Parish, they didn’t let all that fire burn up their playbook. They were able to impose their fast-breaking style nonetheless. Even in that environment, the Lakers could often be in their element, and more often than not, Los Angeles ended up not whining at all, but smiling.

• Kevin at Clipperblog does one of his fantastic breakdowns of the final minutes of game four between the Spurs and Suns. A must read.

• I’d hate to see Amare or Diaw get suspended for game five. As Rob L. said in the comments, this is the problem with zero-tolerance policies, there is no wiggle room to do what is right.

• Good luck to Lamar Odom, who goes under the knife to repair his shoulder today.

• Last night looked good for my Cavs/Suns NBA finals prediction from October. Not that I really think it’s going to happen.

• I’m rooting for the Celtics to win the lottery. Seriously. I think it’s good for the league when they are good.