Fast Break Thoughts

Zephid —  August 9, 2009

Clothesline!

(Revenge is sweet, b****!)

Now I know why Kurt went on vacation: now is the most difficult time of the year for basketball fans.  Summer league is over, most of free agency is over, and camp is around the corner but not quite near enough to begin discussing the next season.  Needless to say, we basketball fanatics are pining for any scrap of bball we can get, and there is, quite frankly, nothing going on.  Some of the little tid bits flying around are…

  • It seems it is finally official that Kurt Rambis is taking over as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Kurt (Rambis, not Helin) was always one of the big potential answers to, “who the heck do we turn to when Phil Jackson finally decides he’s done winning championships?”  I, for one, think that Minnesota is a half-way decent place for a fairly neophytic head coach to go (not quite as appealing as OKC or Chicago), considering expectations will be low, he won’t be in the LA lime-light, and the Wolves seem to have a nice core going around Jefferson and Love.
  • Now the question becomes, “If not Kurt, then who?”  The obvious answer is Brian Shaw, and he does seem like a good candidate, considering he’s both coached and played in the system.  But, he would be a first-time head coach, 0 games coached compared to Rambis’ 37.  Yea, Brian Shaw knows the system, but assuming PJ retires within 2-3 years (cross your fingers he stays that long), will Shaw be able to capture the respect of guys like Lamar Odom, Kobe Bryant, and of course, Ron “Crazy Pills” Artest.
  • Now that Odom has finally been re-signed, really the only issue left unresolved is Kobe’s extension.  This is just a personal hunch with no factual backing whatsoever, but I get the feeling the Kobe has always felt a little left out of the Summer 2010 Lebronanza.  Really, the ball is in Kobe’s court, as the Lakers will give in to whatever demands he wants, barring a unicorn ride onto the court.  He can re-sign this summer, next summer, the summer after, whenever.  And the Lakers will give him whatever he wants, whenever he wants, because he’s Kobe Bryant.  But, just for the heck of it, I think Kobe wants to inject a little of himself and crash Lebron’s big party in 2010.  And the funny thing is, we know he’s coming back, he knows he’s coming back, the Lakers know he’s coming back, the rest of the league knows he’s coming back, and anyone in the whole world with any semblance of knowledge about basketball knows he’s coming back.
  • This last one is just for fun, and is a little old, but you’d think a freakish athlete like Shannon Brown would have some sort of crazy workout regimen to maintain or improve his crazy athleticism.  Then, you find out, he doesn’t lift weights, and you just feel like life’s skills/attributes distribution is completely unfair.

Edit: I wish I had the photo-shopping skills to switch Rambis and McHale in their infamous mid-air meeting, with Rambis and McHale in suits, except with Rambis taking McHale on a face-first trip to the hardwood.  Trust me, if someone does this, we’ll find some way to get it into a post.

Edit: Thanks to Chad for the above pic.  Exactly what I was looking for.

Zephid

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59 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. This is the best news Laker fans could hear. This probably means the Lakers told Kurt Rambis that Phil Jackson isn’t retiring anytime soon. Although Phil isn’t in the business of leaving one of the most talented teams assembled for the couch. As Kupchack said last week he doesn’t see Jackson leaving possible championships on the table. But… nonetheless, this is just another indication Phil Jackson isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I would think if the Lakers told Kurt Rambis that Phil would be leaving sometime in the near future and there would be a coaching spot for him to interview for, Rambis wouldn’t take this Minnesota job. All the best for Kurt… I wish him all the luck in the world, he is gonna need it ;)

  2. As far as the Shannon Brown story goes its a little misleading. Brown said he doesn’t lift weight much because “it makes him too bulky.” Instead he does pushups, pull ups, and sit ups. So its not like he isn’t doing strength training.

  3. I’m glad to see Kurt get the opportunity. He’s earned our best wishes through his long, loyal Laker track record. Also, I hope he outshines McHale, just as the Lakers did the Celtics in the 80′s.

  4. I’d like to see Byron Scott after Phil. He’s just got Lakers stamped all over him. Plus, I think he wants the job really bad. Who wouldn’t?

  5. That last one hurt. Some guys can spend their entire lives pumping iron and barely get any gain, and Brown becomes ripped through regular push and pullups. Sounds like someone cashed in on the genetic lottery. (#2 – It’s a bit unfair in that, for the vast majority of guys, simple push, pull, and situps without weights isn’t enough to majorly bulk up, because your body quickly adapts to the fixed weight and increasing reps only increases endurance – it’s increasing load that builds more muscle mass. From what WOW said, he bulks up so quickly that lifting weights will destroy his speed – for most normal people or even athletes like Kobe, lifting weights properly actually enhances speed, and simple calisthenics aren’t nearly enough to become massive).

    I do think weight lifting in the legs might help Shannon develop more of a post game. Assuming he plays the point, he has a size advantage over many of the smaller points (Brooks, Parker) that is best taken advantage of through a post game – but posting up usually requires some serious lower body strength. I don’t know if Shannon doesn’t post up because 1) his role didn’t require it, 2) he doesn’t have the fundamental footwork, or 3) if he needs to strengthen his legs before he can power down other players.

    Sweet Phil, this offseason is incredibly boring. We know we’ve reached an all time low when we’ve (ahem, I’ve) sunk to discussing ShanWOW’s legs.

  6. The K Brothers in their Podkast this week said that the players seem to really respect Shaw

  7. As I am desperately trying to shed weight to discover that college body I hid underneath layers of fat, I have to say, I’m jealous :)

    However, Brown is probably on a proper diet most of the time, which is more than 60% of a proper workout anyway. And jumping really isn’t about weights, it’s more about coordination and body balance – you don’t see any Olympian high jumpers in sprinters’ bodies, though of course speed helps in long jumps ;)

  8. No thanks on Byron Scott. His teams always quit on him after a year or two. He doesn’t seem to manage star egos well.

  9. @ 5. Snoopy2006.

    Granted, if we are going to discuss anyone’s legs, it might as well be ShanWow’s.

  10. despite what some may think.. weight training does nothing for your vertical, speed or agility. plyometrics (which is part of every nba player’s workout no doubt) is far more impt than pushing metal. the latter does serve to provide conditioning.. prevent injuries, prolong career, etc. weights are only for softies like 07/09 gasol who need to toughen up and take some contact.

  11. I’ll always remember that day early on with the Lakers when Shannon Brown came running up from behind an opposing player who was going for an uncontested slam dunk and ripped the ball out of his hands with both of his hands waaay above the rim, preventing the slam dunk…I knew then that the Lakers had a special player on their hands…
    Does anyone know where I can get a copy of that game?

  12. I don’t want Byron either, for the same reasons Icaros outlined above. You can’t tell me there’s no problem with his style when he’s had the exact same issues with different players at each stop on the head coaching trail. There’s a bad trend in play there.

    Hopefully Phil sticks around for two or three more years, ideally winning rings 11 and 12, maybe 13, and then the Buss family can deal with the “Life After PJ” phase of ownership.

    Regardless of who is the Lakers’ next head coach, that era has the potential to be a lot uglier than we’ve grown accustomed because Kobe also is on the downward end of his time in L.A.

    The “Showtime” era Lakers quickly rebuilt — albeit only to an extent — around Van Exel, Vlade and Eddie Jones. Those teams were fun (’95 in particular), but no one saw that squad as a title threat until Jerry West worked his magic and landed Shaq from Orlando, and traded for a high schooler whose next stop is the Hall of Fame.

    We’ve been incredibly spoiled — Kareem, Magic, Worthy, Shaq, Kobe. At some point, we’ve got to expect the Lakers not to have an all-world star on their roster. Unless Mitch can work some magic of his own.

    I’d rather not look too far down the road, however. The Lakers are loaded; let’s enjoy what’s in place now for as long as we can.

  13. The loss of Kurt Rambis is a significant loss for the Lakers. Last year, Kurt was responsible for team defense, and I’m not sure who will replace him. He also had great chemistry with everyone in the Lakers organization–players, coaches, Mitch–all the way up to the Buss family.

    I don’t think we can read much into the timing of Kurt’s departure, since Rambis has been considered for the head manager position years before in other cities. This Timberwolves job was just the first one that completely meshed.

    I hesitate to bring this up, but I honestly feel that a great candidate to replace Phil Jackson as head coach would be Derek Fisher.

    I’m not going to say any more–but think about it.

  14. hubbit- you can find the clip pretty easy on youtube. the game was a blowout, though, I doubt it would be easy to find if its out there.

  15. 13) drrayeye,
    I think Fisher would make a very good coach, although I don’t think he has ever publicly indicated interest in that. I wouldn’t be thrilled about him going from player to head coach, without at least some time as as assistant.

  16. Byron Scott – NOOOOO! Others have said it, but his teams quit on him.

  17. I agree on the Byron Scott sentiments. All I would like to have is a coach with no baggage, even if they are unproven as B Shaw is.

  18. Rafael Nadal claims he doesn’t lift weights either.

  19. If Kurt was responsible for the defense then i’m glad to see the guy go…the lakers have always had issues on D. When they lack the focus and hustle it usually shows up on the defensive end first –since everyone loves to make baskets.

    We are lacking a tough minded defensive team like the Spurs have had in the past. With the talent –i.e. quickness, length, speed, etc. –on this team, we are capable of being a top quality defensive team. We need someone that will bring that out in our players.

  20. Yeah, now that you guys bring the past of Scott into the picture, I have to agree. But I did like him when he first became available. All you need as a coach a this level is a motivator, ala Riley. He stepped in after Westhead and the rest is history. It also helps to have a natural leader (Magic), and HOF’s around(Kareem, Worthy)! NBA channel is showing the old laker championship games. Man, was it fun to watch Showtime. If only they could make it HD.

  21. Kaveh- I’m in agreement. We never consistently executed Kurt’s SSZ scheme. We did execute when it counts, though. In any case, I’m less concerned with who coaches our defense and more concerned with can our players grasp it and commit to executing it. The only thing that worries me is that a totally new scheme means we have to go through an entire learning curve there in addition to working in Ron Artest in the triangle.

  22. 19, our team was #1 in defensive efficiency for a good portion of early last season, and we finished 2nd in defensive efficiency in the playoffs, second only to Cleveland. We talked about this before, but most of our players simply don’t have good defensive instincts, things you just can’t teach them. So they need a rigid system that tells them what to do at each juncture and maximizes their abilities. I think the SSZ was very effective in giving our team a well-defined system that played to our advantages; it forced opponents penetration into the arms of 2 7-footers. it’s only real weakness was quick, crisp passes around the perimeter coupled with poor rotation. A lot of people like to pile on our guys (like Lamar) for leaving 3-point shooters open, but more often than not, it was due to poor rotation (mostly by Kobe simply not rotating).

    I don’t think you can really blame lack of focus and hustle on the coach. If the system has an inherent flaw (which it did), I can see the issue with the coach, but it’s up to the players to go out and execute. Our guys just didn’t on a lot of nights.

    That being said, I’m kinda on the fence as to if we’ll use the SSZ next season. On one hand, it is a flawed system, easily exploited by fast PG’s with mobile, jump-shooting bigs, and three-point shooters spotting up in the corner. But really, what defense isn’t susceptible to that combination? We also don’t quite have the personnel to do it next season, since we lost Ariza, a quick athletic wing who can close out on the perimeter. Artest is simply not fast enough to be that guy. Yet, I don’t see a viable alternative. Every team is going to have trouble guarding fast PG’s, and leaving Derek Fisher/Jordan Farmar/Shannon Brown out on an island against Tony Parker or Aaron Brooks is not a recipe for success.

  23. btw, if anyone wants to photo-shop me a version of the McHale-Rambis clothesline with McHale and Rambis switched, I’ll put it up.

    In other news, Boston re-signs Cry Baby Davis. Yay?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4389149

    Any bets on how long it is until Kendrick Perkins eats him?

  24. Shannon’s weight-training regimen (or lack thereof) makes perfect sense. As someone said, earlier, it’s not that he just sits around eating Big Macs, then walks out on the court a physical specimen…he does strength routines, mostly using his own body-weight (push-ups, pullups, etc).

    Hey, some people are just genetically gifted.

    The Lakers’ weight trainer is smart, though. When someone is genetically gifted, the goal is to maintain – and not, as he said, “get too clever.”

    Brown obviously bulks up quickly, if he starts lifting with his upper body, he faces the possibility of losing some range of motion, which would negatively affect his game.

    Plus, the guy has a 44 inch vert – he needs to lift with his legs so he can get up to 50? The truth is, lifting weights with his legs would probably decrease his vert, and would probably slow down his straight ahead speed (which he relies on).

    The Lakers staff is doing the right thing by not having Brown do weight work.

    Pau Gasol, on the other hand, is an example of the opposite situation: he has little to zero natural bulk, so heavy weight-training (as we saw last season) is useful to him, because it helps him with establishing a good foundation.

    It’s a case by case basis. Basketball is all about agility and range of motion – it’s not football. Weight training isn’t always the answer.

    Naturally skinny guys (like Gasol and Kobe) can benefit from weight training to help avoid injury, and even increase their short area burst (which translates to their post-up game).

  25. While I agree that Scott tends to burn out his players, for me, it would depend on where in the cycle Phil steps down. If Phil goes two years, the current roster would probably have a couple of more shots at a title, and in that case, Scott would make sense in that it would be better to have an experienced coach for such a veteran roster, and chances are that the team would be broken up before he burned them out.

    Then, when the rebuilding begins, he’d be worth a few more years before burning out those players.

    If Phil goes before 2013, then it seems the next coach has to be proven, simply because you can’t take that chance when a title is a reasonable possibility. If, on the other hand, Phil rides the Kobe-Pau-Odom core all the way through to it’s logical conclusion, then Scott makes no sense.

    I’m just saying that a guy who eventually wears out his welcome with players can still be a good choice in certain situations, and that situation for the Lakers is actually fairly likely. As a thought experiment, if Phil were to step down after this year, would you hire Riley or Larry Brown? Well, you certainly wouldn’t turn them away simply because they can’t possibly be a long term solution.

    And so, I would argue that Scott shouldn’t turned away for that reason, either. Now, if you’d like to argue that he’s not a great coach, then that’s something completely different, but I haven’t seen much of that here.

    I’m personally a bit torn on the question. It hasn’t been obviously evident to me what exactly he did in NJ & NO to be considered a great coach.

    Is he a great tactician? Motivator? At adjustments?

    I don’t know, but it’s hard to argue with the results in the first few years each time. If we need someone to come in and close the deal on a couple more championship runs, he very may well end up being be the best option if that time comes.

  26. I don’t understand why the Lakers have to do whatever Kobe wants, simply because he’s Kobe?

    When Shaq demanded an extension, the Lakers balked – so it’s not like Buss/Kupchack are pushovers.

    More importantly – what leverage does Kobe have? Next year’s class is packed and he’s going to have a lot of competition with LeBron/Wade and others.

    It might be different if Kobe was capable of mailing in performances, a la Vince Carter/Tracy McGrady, but he’s too competative and the Lakers are favorties to win the title.

    I guess he could throw another tempertantrum like he did two years ago – but it didn’t work then and I doubt it will work now.

    I think it is in the team’s best interest to let him play out his contract. In two years we will have a better idea of how his body will hold up as he heads into his twilight years. If he wants to opt out next year – fine, resign him then. All the leverage and negotiating advantages are with the team right now – why commit max dollars to Kobe’s decline phase (ie his age 32-36 seasons) when you don’t have too?

  27. Also, if Kobe is ‘due an extension,’ why not Gasol. Pau only has two years left on his deal (if my info is correct), he’s younger than Kobe, and there’s plenty of evidence (PER, adj. +/-)that he’s more than just a sidekick to Kobe. Kobe and Gasol (IMHO) are more like 1A and 1B players on these last two teams.

    I’m not advocating an extension for Gasol. I just don’t see the reasoning behind Kobe ‘deserving’ and extension and Pau not.

  28. 26, The situation will be very similar to Lamar’s this summer. Let’s suppose Kobe does opt out in Summer 2010, joining the Lebronanza. Assuming we let Fisher and Farmar walk, and Brown picks up his player option, we’ll have around $59 million worth in contracts. Unless there is a significant economic reversal within the next 8-12 months, the salary cap will not increase from its current level of $57.7 mil, and it will probably decrease as many projections predict. Thus, we will be over the cap, with nothing but the mid-level exception to bring to the negotiation table. So we’ll have two options: re-sign Kobe Bryant, or go to war with some mid-level player. And Kobe Bryant at 31-32 is better than any mid-level player.

    As for Gasol, it is in his best interest to wait as long as possible until he signs an extension. Because he can only sign a maximum extension up to 6 years including the any remaining years on his current contract. So signing an extension this year would only add 4 years to his contract, whereas signing next year will add 5. That’s an extra $20+ mil for Gasol right there.

  29. Interesting idea, Derek Fisher as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. He is currently the Lakers captain and players representative for the union is he not? He certainly has the players trust and respect. Oh, I am not even going to think about a replacement for PJ, he still needs two more in-a-row Championships for 4 total 3 peats in his coaching career, right? I wish him good luck on that…

  30. http://www.marca.com/2009/08/10/baloncesto/seleccion/1249928780.html

    Pau hurt his finger when trying to block Felipe Reyes during today’s practice with the Spanish team. He was sent to a hospital in Seville for testing and X-rays in order to determine to extent of the injury.

  31. I hate to say this, but I hope Pau’s injury keeps him off the court for a few weeks. Dude has been going nonstop since before being traded to the Lakers and we need him with fresh legs.

  32. Zephid, the Lakers fan in me who craves for more rings did not want that re-signing of Big Baby to happen. That’s another body to throw at our bigs and should he grow up with his midrange and have a reputable post game (which he does not), that can make the celtics into more than worthy opponents. If Powe had returned and played well, they might have chosen him. But then, bring it on.

    I believe Kobe will stay. It’s like the Lamar situation in an aspect of having nowhere else to go (not many markets his name would want to be in). But Kobe is Kobe and will always be that mercurial character. We will love him, bash him when he leaves and all that. But the man has paid his dues. Can’t wait for season to begin.

    ….fingers crossed we sign a good free agent to the minimum (we play for rings, come one and all!) just to take out the breath from the rest of the league and say “your arms race is our stroll in the park.” GO LAKERS!

  33. Agree with those who aren’t terribly saddened by Kurt’s departure, and really disagree with those who thought he was the best choice to replace Phil. Elevating Kurt over Brian Shaw based on Kurt’s “experience” is ridiculous, as Shaw would exceed Kurt’s experience by the time the allstar game rolls around in his first year.

    Yeah, Shannon, I feel your pain. I hate getting so damn big every time I lift weights…. At least we don’t have to worry about any steroid disclosures involving Mr. Brown.

    Finally, MannyP13 #31, I’m with you. If this injury is just serious enough to keep Pau on the bench, then it will be a blessing.

  34. I don’t think anyone’s saying Brown should start lifting weights to increase his vertical, the two aren’t correlated at all. As someone said above, vertical can be improved more through plyometrics. But lifting weights can help with a post game, for which you need to have the strength to overpower opponents. Brown hasn’t tried to post up yet so it’s unclear if he already has that strength or not. But I’d love to see Phil go to more of that, to punish the small quick PGs that usually punish us. Fish and Farmar have no post games, it’d add a new weapon for us.

    I think Fish can be as good as anyone, but he needs the coaching reps. Unless he retires soon, he won’t to coach under Phil. Playing and being assistant coach are two different ballgames, but Fish is so cerebral in his preparation I don’t think it’s a huge jump for him.

    Zephid made a good point – too often last year Lamar or someone was ripped by fans for leaving his man, but he was doing exactly what the scheme asked of him. Most times it was Kobe who was supposed to rotate and didn’t. Kobe’s an elite on-ball defender when he wants to be, but he falls in love with this ‘roamer’ mode and directing the defense (ala KG) that he often doesn’t rotate well. But it’s blasphemous to criticize Kobe and much easier to blame Lamar.

  35. Well Lakers-killer Kleiza is gone from the league.

  36. I wonder – do you think Kurt will try to implement the triangle in Minnesota? It’s so hard to learn and takes so long that it’s been the death of many coaches. But MN is a situation where the GM/owner may be patient (low expectations), and he has the GM’s approval. The triangle with a low-post beast like Al Jefferson and a passer like Kevin Love…and it would ease the burden on Flynn.

    I got the idea from the Rambis quotes on Truehoop, particularly the way he talks about the triangle and clearly loves everything about the system: http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-43-25/A-Quarter-Century-Later–Kurt-Rambis-Takes-Out-Kevin-McHale.html

  37. Kleiza leaving made my day!

  38. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2009/08/report-from-spain-lakers-pau-gasol-injures-left-index-finger.html

    I was surprised to learn that Pau was playing a summer league, you would think he (and the Lakers) would have wanted a summer off. last year they (he and Kobe) played both the Olympics and into June and the finals….seems like someone should take a breather.
    might be a blessing in disguise.

  39. Byron Scott’s teams do tend to quit on him but he’s still a good coach, Brain Shaw
    Has no head coaching time under his belt how about Michael Cooper how has been
    Coaching in the WNBA for some time and a proven winner at the head coaching
    Spot And Didn’t he win a couple of rings with the Lakers in the 80’s. Why wouldn’t
    We As Lakers fans put him at the top of are Head Coaching wish list

  40. the lakers definitely do have the talent to be a great defensive team. 2 legit 7footers in the fronycourt at all times, 2 of which are exceptionally agile and quick footed. length and speed everywhere on the court especially when brown is on the court. there is no reason that this team shouldn’t be dominant on D. and they were at times. the fact that they took off entire games during the playoffs weighs heavily on the coach in my opinion. its the coaches job to get the most out of the talent. rambis just hasn’t done that. maybe the next coach will, but then again maybe not.

  41. yeah, the Lakers have the potential to be great defensively. But if you think about all of the great defensive teams, all of them had a big man who was DEDICATED to defense and rebounding. The Duncan Spurs, the Bill Russel Celtics, the Lambier Pistons, the Rodman Bulls, the Wallace Pistons. This is what you have to have, and Bynum needs to be that guy if we want to be a great defensive team. Pau and LO aren’t going to be that for us.

    Fortunately, we are a great offensive team, so we don’t really have to be great defensively.

  42. 37, Kahn(new Minnesota GM) wrote that he will have Rambis implement a fast-breaking, up-tempo style offense.

  43. Not exactly what Zephid asked for…

    http://is.gd/2bi3z

  44. Coaches of the future

    Let’s not turn into homers here. Everyone who has been talked about on this board, regarding coaching the lakers, is somehow connected to the lakers. Byron Scott or Shaw or Rambis. Just because they played on a lakers team in the past is NOT a reason to make them coaches in the future. In fact, it shouldn’t even give them an edge in my opinion.

    The future coach should be the best man for the job. Even if the guy was a celtic great, he should be given the job if it is the best for continued success. I think too many times people allow emotions to cloud judgements. Of course everyone has an attachment to past laker stars, but wouldn’t you really want the best person for the job rather than someone just because they used to play on a laker team?

  45. I tend to disagree with some of the other commenters here regarding the reason for Rambis leaving. I do believe that the odds of Phil coaching more than one additional season are less than 50-50. I believe Rambis is going to Minny because he’s seen the writing on the wall regarding who Phil’s replacement will be, and it’s going to be Brian Shaw. BShaw has a great relationship with Kobe, and appears to have an excellent aptitude for coaching.

    It’s not going to be Byron because the organization will want to keep the triangle, and when you’ve got a good thing going, why change things midstream by going outside the organization?

  46. they will not get a never coach to take over the coach that just get the job at minn

  47. If we are handicapping something that Laker fans hope is at least a couple of yrs away,I’d have to say Shaw has the early edge for 3 reasons.
    1)Kobe. Wasn’t Shaw Kobe’s mentor the first season or so? The two seem to have a great relationship. Anyone who thinks Kobe won’t have input into the next coach doesn’t grasp the reality of NBA life.
    2)Location. Shaw is still in LA where he and the assorted Buss clan can interact constantly. Relationships matter. And Rambis’ w/Mitch is going to suffer from the out of sight,out of mind syndrome.
    3)Salary. As a first time Head Coach,Shaw will come comparatively cheap. For an ownership paying for Kobe,Gasol and Bynum,the chance to save a few million on a coach is going to look pretty tempting.

    I do have a dark horse candidate if we’re talking 2-3 yrs down the road-Mike D’Antoni. If NY still has a bad roster,I could see him jumping-or being pushed.

  48. pau hurt his finger while trg w/spain and had surgery.

    Kobe: “correa en un par, pau”

  49. Stephen- I agree with your point #1. Kobe is a huge factor. Someone earlier was asking what leverage Kobe has, and pointing to the fact that when Shaq started hollering for an extension, the Lakers FO balked.

    Facts are facts, Kobe and Lebron are by far the 2 most marketable players in the world. As expensive as the staples froncourt seats are, nobody is going to pay that much to watch Shaq lug his weight around for the 1st half of the season. Kobe puts on a show EVERY night. His jersey is the #1 seller worldwide, he’s huge in China, and Lakers fans LOVE him. He makes the Buss family more money than the rest of the Lakers roster combined. So yeah, Kobe can demand whatever he wants from the Lakers, even if that means going to the 2010 free agent market, and asking for more money despite the fact that everyone knows he’s coming back. And he will sign a deal that will match what Lebron will make on a yearly basis.

  50. omg it’s perfect.

  51. Nice one, Chad.

    45 – I don’t think the reason is homerism. I think most of us realize we’ve had great success with the triangle, and in Shaw and Rambis we have two assistant coaches who for years have learned and taught the triangle under Phil and know the system inside-out (Shaw even played in the triangle). That’s the main reason we’re looking at these guys – we want to keep the triangle.

    I could see Buss hiring D’Antoni, not in 2010 but maybe if we’re on a downswing and he wants to re-invigorate the franchise. Even during the 3-peat Buss grew bored of the triangle, and wanted to bring back a fastbreaking team. I don’t think we can win with D’Antoni, but from Buss’s POV, his system would help with sales.

  52. I love the McHale artwork…

    True story… In college I was asked to interview J.R. Rider for the school newspaper (at UNLV), so I went to a Timberwolves/Sixers game at the old Spectrum.

    I had my head down as I was walking into the locker room and literally walked right into someone who was coming out. The guy wasn’t looking where he was going either.

    Upon the collision, I turned my head up expecting to see someone’s face, but instead I saw a guy’s chest, which was strange because I’m 6’3. So I kept adjusting my head upwards and realized I’d walked right into Kevin McHale.

    I looked at him, he looked at me and it was one of those awkawrd situations where you’d want to say something rude to other guy for running into you (even though it was probably his fault as well as mine that we collided.)

    Anyway, I ran through my head all of the foul words I could have come up, but the only thing I could actually utter was….”Celtic” – in a tone more appropriate for “a-hole” or some other gem. “Celtic” was the worst possible contemptuous epithet I could hurl at him.

    Anyway, he smiled, we laughed it off and that was that. But a great once-in-a-lifetime memory.

  53. Pau gets to rest up a little, while his fingers heals. I have seen post earlier about the negative impacts of him playing overseas with no break from the game. Playing baketball you have to practice everyday to get a rythm to your game. While it might seem like a negative thing for him to play year round. The phrase “practice makes perfect ” has stood the test of time because of one reason, its true. I’d rather have him in a sanctioned setting, then hanging out with LO on Hollywood Blvd.. The minutes he played in the finals, while still being effective, was a testament to his conditioningin the offseason. I guess all those years of soccer really helped in building his stamina. Ill take the hard work and wanting to improve his skills any day over players who are gifted, but take their athletic gifts for granted. Pau has been in LA for 2 years now, this year will be his break out season to silence all the naysayers. If Pau improves on defense, which he did in the NBA Finals, he could become your all around baller in the likes of T. Duncan, and K.Garnett. He can handle the rock, nice jumpshot, and plenty post moves make Pau a triple threat player. The reason Kobe likes this dude so much, is because the work ethic, same reason for RonRon. He knows when your battling in tough playoff games you have to have the will, and determination to give 110 percent no matter what. I cant wait till the season starts.

  54. DirtySanchez,

    100% agree with you on Pau. I am so impressed with that guy’s game. Actually, I thought this season was his breakout year. He silenced all the so-called critics who called him soft. He was consistent all year long. Think about, the guy is still getting the same numbers he got in Memphis as the first option. And we all know he does not touch the ball enough. Pau is real deal!

    And I am glad he got a finger injury on his non-shooting hand. It will force him to rest and keep him for getting a more serious injury (like his knee).

  55. New post up and I added a few thoughts on Gasol’s finger and Rambis. And I’m baaaaack.

  56. The post the other day about performance enhancing drugs in athletics had me thinking about a level playing field in sports today. Even without the advantages players get from the use of illegal drugs, what about the economic advantages effecting a level playing field. Does every team truly have a chance to win a champioship at the beginning of training camp? Nope, if your the Timberwolves, Pacers, or Kings do you really picture yourselves holding the trophy at the beginning of the year. The bad economy really details the big gap between the haves and the have nots in the sports world in todays times. Is the playing field really on the up and up anyway? If teams like LA, Yankees, Boston, and Orlando have deep pockets to spend on players to get to that next level. What about the teams just trying to munipulate the cap to fill roster spots with players that dont have a chance to do anything but collect a check. Is it fair if the players and teams aren’t all afforded the same benefits because of money. LA can sign five all stars, a team like the Bucks could only wish to have that buying power. The economic playing field would only be level if all teams had the same amount of money to spend on players. A city with 1 million people would have the same cap as a city with
    100,000. Wouldnt that ultimately even the playing field so to speak if the game is to be in its purist form. Then all that counts is hard work and the willingness to sacrifice for the sum of the whole. Every organization is trying to gain an advantage in some way or another. Whether it be by money, drugs, ficilities, or cutting edge training staff the art of competition is trying to find that advantage and using it to achieve what no one has accomplished. Drugs is only one of many ways for a team to make the playing field uneven, so dont just think that if you take the drugs out of the sport it will purify the game, and put every one on the same level, it is just one aspect.

    PS: If I was commish, I would allow the Bucks, Pirates, Kansas Citys, Bobcats, and Grizzles of the sporting world to take PED’s, maybe it would allow them to catch up to all the money burning teams at the top, and at least have a chance.

  57. “Kurt Rambis nabs the head coaching job for the Minnesota Timberwolves. We wish him the best and… hope he can somehow facilitate Ricky Rubio for Sasha Vujacic trade with the Lakers. What impact will this leaving have on the Lakers’ championship hopes? Well…they did just get a little less white.”

    http://ohmeohmyjellosjigglin.blogspot.com/2009/08/knock-out-nba-news-recap.html