Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  August 29, 2007

Thoughts while waiting for the Notre Dame/Georgia Tech kick-off……

• Yesterday in the comments I asked for thoughts about what makes Kobe “KOBE.” Great answers, particularly Craig W. All of that pushed me into giving better answers to Tom Ziller from Fanhouse (and Sactown Royalty) on why Kobe deserved their ranking as the number one “cornerstone” player in the NBA. You can read his post with my comments — inspired by yours — here.

• Interesting that the smart folks at Fanhouse went with Kobe over Wade and LeBron. Not to knock Kobe, who I think is the better player right now, but LeBron would be my choice as he is much younger. However, if you are saying who do you take without age or contract mattering I take Kobe. Well, unless I can get Shaq circa 1999-2000 and keep him frozen in time.

• Sort of looking forward to the USA/Argentina game Thursday, just to see if anyone can push the USA in this tournament. Like many of you, I find myself tuning out early in USA games because they are so dominant it’s just not fun to watch. Team USA is starting to look bored as well.

• All that matters for Team USA now — win Saturday. Do that and you get the Olympic hall pass.

• Just got my first HDTV, made sure I set it up, so I can watch those USA hoops games in low def. At least the US Open is in HD — the tennis looks a little better, but the establishing shots of New York in HD are stunning.

• Great note by former Laker beat writer Ross Siler, now with the Salt Lake Tribune, about the “Wiki-Walton” phenomenon during this tournament (hat tip to True Hoop):

The story of the tournament, if anyone wants to write it, has to be the opportunity these blowouts have presented for Walton to detail the cultural and political history of the U.S. opponents, as well as their major geographical landmarks.

Who would have guessed, for example, that one man knew so much about the Sea of Cortez? It’s like Walton’s playing Trivial Pursuit against himself from behind the microphone. He is his own Wikipedia.

We learned Monday that Mexico City is home to the world’s second-largest public square and that Latinos in America have a purchasing power of some $800 billion. We learned that Walton used to cross the border growing up in San Diego to play basketball in Tijuana.

We heard about the devastation of Hurricane Dean, about the Baja Peninsula being the world’s third-longest peninsula (not to mention that the main road wasn’t paved until the 1970s) and one man controls 14 percent of Mexico’s entire economy.

Just imagine what Walton will come up with for the Uruguay game on Wednesday. And imagine how great it would have been to lock Walton and Chavez in a room somewhere in Caracas this summer.

• Walton and the ESPN crew are doing these games from a studio in Bristol, not in Vegas. They did that last year in Japan, and I got that, lots of travel there. But Vegas? Strikes me as another sign of the focus on the Entertainment and not so much the Sports at ESPN these days.

to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. I have to disagre on Kobe vs. LeBron. LeBron does have the youth going for him, but his advantage over Kobe ends there. Kobe is a much better shooter, a significantly better defender, and despite LeBron’s performance against the Pistons in last year’s playoffs, a more clutch player. And, Kobe is still in his prime. He’s only 29 years old. He still has at least 4-5 good years left in him. In the fickle NBA, where GMs and coaches are fired all the time, you can’t look beyond 4-5 years. I’d take Kobe first, to win now.


  2. If we’re talking the 2007-08 season, I take Kobe over LeBron.

    If we’re starting a franchise, LeBron, due to his age, is my pick.

    I’ve been covering Team USA on my blog and today made an observation about Kobe’s possible mindset when he switches from Team USA camp to Laker camp…


  3. I called Kobe the greatest ever today at lunch. This received a scoffing from the table. I grew up taping Jordan’s Bulls teams and then I got older watching Kobe live with the Lakers. Jordan had some great moments, some of the most memorable ever. If Kobe still got the same (rape accusation destroyed) carte-blanche from the media that Michael had through his career, I believe that Kobe would already have his MVP’s and that “greatest ever”-type suggestions wouldn’t seem so outlandish. People basically discredit Kobe’s rings because of Shaq, but conveniently forget about the NBA top-10 player that was Scottie Pippen. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think I’m crazy.


  4. Welcome to the HD Club. TV and Sports will never be the same. Especially sports.


  5. I love Kobe, I think he is the best player in the league. But watching the FIBA tourney, one thing that struck me was how easy it is for Lebron to force his way to the rim for a dunk, while kobe has to try and fake out his defenders and do spins and what not to just get a layup. The few times Kobe did try to make a quick power move like Lebron, it worked. Why he doesnt do it more? Age? Mentality? I dont know, but its making Lebron look like the superior player.


  6. Also, check out my site guys.


  7. Lakertime, I like the changes, good luck! (Changes in links in the sidebar for a number of things should be up tomorrow, hopefully).


  8. So, what’s the under/over on “don’t cry for me Argentina” headlines and story ledes tomorrow?


  9. at i posted some thoughts on whty Kobe Bryant, I am not a fan.


  10. i wouldn’t be a fan either if he dropped 81 on my favorite team..


  11. Kobe is to Team USA what he is to the NBA: a draw. No other player is getting their name chanted by the sparse crowd in Vegas (including a can’t-miss Lebron). The Lakers remain one of the teams getting the maximum national TV appearances, along with the Suns and Heat(?). Now that the ref scandal has put a spotlight on the NBA’s credibility, can Kobe still use his cache to will the cards in LA’s favor this year? I’m talking WCF appearance, at which point anything can happen…


  12. I would like to see Kobe turn the defensive switch on starting early November, this way, he gets the credit he deserves. If they ride this trend well enough, they could very well earn the West’s respect – like a Dallas sort of team.

    If somehow Farmar can be a high intensity PG like Devin Harris, Walton hits the corner spot up more often, Odom plays his usual game and Kwame somehow gets motivated by his contract year, this team could really be West’s sleeper after all. If Farmar plays well enough, Fisher can be conserved for the playoffs. I’d like to see Crittenton earn his minutes on SG as Evans becomes a backup plan.

    I hate to spark controversy but would it not be a good idea to trade Odom for AK? Utah will gladly add Millsap on this deal. I understand he is quite overpaid but I think he would be perfect for the current makeup of this team.


  13. @12: I disagree that Utah would gladly add Millsap to the deal as I believe he would be their replacement for AK/Boozer’s backup. That guy is a rebounding machine (averaged over 5 in only 18 mins per game) and is pretty talented offensively as well.

    That said, I don’t like that deal at all either. AK is not a good outside shooter, doesn’t really bring anything to the table offensively, and is a terrible fit for the triangle in my opinion. Odom is so versatile and is a pretty good defender. Plus, Odom has more heart than anyone on the Lakers outside of Kobe. Unless we’re getting KG straight up for Odom, I don’t want to part with Odom. Maybe I’m overvaluing him but I think he’s growing into Kobe’s sidekick more than anyone could have imagine after his first season as a Laker.

    And for everyone all up in arms about salary cap implications, take in account AK’s ridiculous deal plus the extensions Bynum and Millsap would need in 2 years and this has salary cap hell written all over it. And for a guy who won’t fit the team real well? I’m totally against that.