Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  December 2, 2009

[picappgallerysingle id=”4315975″]
Let Shannon Dunk!

• Late in the second quarter against the Hornets I had a blasphemous thought — I’m tired of the Lakers blowing teams out, I want to see them challenged. I feel conflicted. Finally, after years of the Lakers seeming to take the little guy too lightly and playing to their opponents level, they are blowing out weaker teams at home. It’s what fans have been asking for. And I’m getting bored with it. I want some team to push the Lakers, to really test them. Maybe Miami can do some of that Friday night. Maybe it’s next week when the Lakers host the Jazz on Wednesday. Or on next Saturday, when the Lakers play the Jazz again but on the road on the second night of a back-to-back. I know it will happen soon, and I’m looking forward to it.

• I love that Phil Jackson was willing to sink or swim with the bench guys at the end of the Hornets game. They have to start holding leads, when the Lakers do go out on the road more that rest for the starters will matter.

• I love that the Hornets were fouling and doing all they could to ruin the taco giveaway. I also loved that in the locker room after the game all the Hornets players were saying “What taco giveaway?”

• T. Rogers made a good point in the comments this morning: Serious knee injuries in two consecutive years might have mentally broken a lot of players, but Andrew Bynum has fought through them to come back stronger than ever. That is a credit to the kid.

• What the heck happened to Brandon Roy?

• AI in Philly? The team needs backcourt help, AI still has some game and provides instant scoring. Everyone else on the team is a pretty good defender and can cover for AI somewhat. But you might as well take Eddie Jordan’s complex Princetonesque offense and throw it out the window.

• An interesting breakdown from Kevin Pelton of the early season statistics league wide — teams are playing at a little faster pace than last season, and hitting short-range shots better.

• For those that remember The National, a look back.

• Check you iPhone App store or the Android Marketplace for a specially designed Lakers app today (it’s $3.99, and there is one for each team).

• Lakers fans need to understand this about the national perception of the Artest/Ariza swap — what happens in November and December is not going to change minds. Yes. Artest has been a perfect fit so far and, even with his latest “revelation,” he has not disrupted the team like some had feared (myself included). Yes, Ariza has struggled being “the man” in Houston. But remember that Ariza was a key to the Lakers championship, and for all Artest has done he has yet to do that, to play that well on the biggest of stages. That is the only thing that will change some minds.

Kurt

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63 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. Heck Kurt,
    Some of our fans are still complaining about Andrew Bynum. National skepticism about Ron Artest shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

  2. here is some more info on Ron Artest’s intrview with Sporting News magazine

    http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/article/2009-12-02/sn-conversation-ron-artest-i-was-head-case

  3. I don’t know how Artest could have drank during halftime of games. It must have been a very very small amount. I tried to play pickup with my buddies once while drunk and we made about 2 out of 30 shots and had to quit because we all felt like we were going to vomit.

  4. The picture is titled “Sixers beat Lakers” and even though that’s probably true of the game where that pic is from I’d like to see that edited out of spite. Also there’s a board/bored word sub.

    Anyways, on Brandon Roy: they’re benching Miller because Roy apparently doesn’t want to play off the ball as much and because the three guard line up supposedly puts him out of position.

    Some Blazers fans have been complaining that Roy is being uncharacteristically self absorbed with his own game and stats but if Roy’s focusing on his numbers he’s doing a very bad job at it and Portland fans should be concerned.

    Also: WOW dunks + Tacos = best garbage time in the Association, bar none

  5. Let’s not confuse “drinking in half-time” with “getting drunk in half-time”. Aside from the fact that Artest is a big guy that most of us probably would have serious difficulties keeping pace with drink for drink, the interview also mentions hiding the drinking, which means at most probably a shot or two but not enough to be noticeably affected.

    And since that was nearly a decade ago, let’s drop it and focus on today’s Ron Artest instead, shall we?

  6. @Tyler – It was probably like Jackie Chan in Drunken Master 1 & 2. Just enough Hennessy will get you amped, too much and you’re done for the night…how’s that for some rationalizing :D

  7. sounds like someone’s a little pissy that his team didn’t do well last night:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/11160/when-your-game-face-features-hennessy-breath

  8. I’m thankful that all the stupid sh%$# I did at 19 doesn’t end up in magazines.

  9. Amen to that Kurt.

  10. #7, Abbot’s take started decently enough about not judging. But I thought it went off the rails a bit regarding the superstar and supporting cast bit.

    I don’t think anyone on the team will have a problem with Ron setting the dogged attitude in D. We all complained last year about lack of focus. So far everyone on the team has praised his constant focus on D.

    As for breaking off plays, still hasn’t happened to the detriment of the team.

    Granted it’s still early and as someone who was against his acquisition for all the usual reasons, I’m still in my hold my breath mode. But I’m also willing to recognize positive signs.

    Just standard level irritation at the piece for falling into lazy storylines that we often accuse mainstream columnist and national observers fall under.

  11. I definately remember “The National”, a great sports paper. Every morning when I came into work in Santa Monica, the current days “The National” paper was in my cubicle, on my desk, complements of my co-worker next cubicle over. I never really cared how or why he gave it to me, it was just something good to read every morning. Then when they went out of business, he said it is people like me that did it. I said what do you mean Joe, he said, well every morning when I get mine, I take an extra one out for you. So Joe is the reason the paper could not make it – lol.

  12. Gotta love Abbot sometimes – but other times you just gotta shake your head and ask: “who cares what happened 10 years ago?” About the only relevant thing in that Artest article is that he may get fined by the league for criticizing Joey Crawford. Other than that, admitting that you once had issues with weed and alcohol is not enough to suspend an NBA player these days. Don’t believe me? Just ask a certain young man from Miami….

  13. Abbott said:

    “Ariza ceded the spotlight to players like Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, hit open shots, and played hard at every instant.”

    You know, I never realized that. Ariza was a star that had to “cede” the spotlight? I could’ve sworn that before being a Laker and ultimately a green light shooter in Houston, he was a bench guy that two teams passed on giving minutes to (even if they were wrong).

    The article wasn’t too bad though. I guess Henry’s just hoping Ron reads and reacts like Kevin Durant did. I want Ron to feel he’s the best defender in the L.

  14. My 2¢: Artest is going to get a fine for the Crawford comments. If you criticize refs, you get fined, it’s pretty consistent. But that will be it.

    Also, I’m thinking about writing a post about how I don’t think this really impacts these Lakers at all, that they couldn’t care less about this crap.

  15. You know, this is where sometimes I believe Laker fans are not all that paranoid and that people really do tend to keep their team under a microscope.

    Crap like this is said all the time. Let’s not forget this gem from Paul pierce: http://www.realclearsports.com/blog/2008/07/paul_pierce_is_the_best_player_1.html Short version: He says that he, not Kobe, is the best player in the world.

    Where was the fallout from that? Why wasn’t KG and Ray Allen interviewed for their take? Why wasn’t he scrutinized?

    When I hear players talk trash, I really don’t care. Other than the guarantee that slips out here and there, it just is mostly annoying.

    We do ourselves a disservice when we link to stories like this because the authors get a false sense of the market for them.

    Artest is a great player and he is playing within the offense, nothing more we could ask of him. And please, for the milliionth time, could we not forget that he is a higher career 3pt shooter than Ariza? The only thing I miss from Ariza is quickness which is becoming less of an issue with Brown providing the explosiveness.

    Our Lakers are rolling, and touche STD, best garbage time period.

  16. Kurt!! You better not have jinxed it. I love me some blowouts. After the torture that was last year’s seesaw (torture being a relative term), I’m eager for these lopsided wins to continue.

    Also, isn’t it a Princetonesque offense?

    We keep talking about the bench learning to hold on to leads, but is it truly fair if they’re playing against a starting unit fighting to make a comeback? I was as hopeful as anyone, but this article points out (and I somewhat agree with it) that our bench might just not be that good. The Year of the Bench Mob was a magical one, but it looks more and more like an aberration than the norm. Our bench players might just not be that good:
    http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2009/11/25/1173405/pardon-our-bench

    I, for one, am glad rotations tighten in the playoffs.

  17. Abbot should worry less about what Ron did 10 years ago and more about what is going on right now in the Blazer’s locker room. We all know he is a Blazers homer. I always thought Brandon Roy was a shooting guard who could bring the ball up the floor if needed. Why does he need to play on the ball so much? Roy needs to let Miller set the table and get himself in striking position. You can’t have two floor leaders.

    And thanks for the rep, Kurt. When Big Bynum got up off the floor, ran down court and dunked on Shaq (2005) I knew then the kid had the fire in his belly. Seeing him come back from those injuries shows he has the strength of mind. Now its all about staying healthy. He’s on his way.

  18. Snoopy, thanks for the catch. I’ve had more than my share of spelling and other errors today. Clearly, I need to stop taking a couple shots of Hennessy mid-post.

  19. Roy carried Portland throughout 08-09, and it was back-breaking work. IIRC, he said nagging injuries had taken their toll and he was breaking down during Round 1 of the playoffs.

    I read he did not pick up a basketball during the off-season. He declined an invitation to Team USA, opting to recuperate from his injuries instead of honing his game among peers. He took up swimming to keep in shape, but showed up to camp about 10 lbs lighter.

    So, I think he’ll round into form as the season progresses, once he puts on some muscle and shakes off the rust.

    He seems to resent the addition of Miller and having to go away from what worked so well. He prefers to dominate the ball, and he’s great at that, in so far as Lebron is great.

    The problem is he’s not a 280 lb juggernaut. If he doesn’t embrace a playmaking point guard, I think history repeats itself.

  20. T.Rogers,

    Andre Miller.

    That is what happened to the Blazers. I don’t care what his stats are. He’s good for an extra 10-15+ losses a year. Check his record. Career loser. Steph without the crazy. His teams are never good. It’s just his karma.

    I’m just waiting for Bill Simmons to write an article about Miller’s “Ewing Theory” affect.

  21. great points by kurt. i was at the game and the taco drama was hilarious. the last two minutes seemed to have the most intensity of the entire night! when bynum sticks his elbows out as he holds the ball to start his move, it looks a lot like kareem…it might be too early to start carping about the bench, but sasha’s selfishness never ceases to amaze, and now that farmar is getting a little more playing time, he seems to be happier and playing better. but it’s a sign of how far farmer has fallen when he gets a big write up for playing well against the nets! (what’s their record again?) The starting five was very loose, almost too loose last night and it carried over to the second unit – who missed another opportunity to execute their offense. that stuff will come back to haunt them when they have to actually run it against better teams.

  22. The other problem with the second-unit criticisms/”Bench Mob” comparisons is the clear distinction that needs to be made between a “garbage time” second unit and a “game time” second unit.

    Our game time unit (including the Bench Mob) always has 1 or more starters on the floor with them, including All-Star caliber players like LO, Pau, and Kobe. This is the 8 man rotation. Garbage time involves the 7-12 roster, where even our sixth man (LO) gets his breather. It is entirely unrealistic for anyone to expect the 7-12 players on the bench to compete with the starters or “gametime” second unit of the opposing squad. That said, garbage-time unit has an important role and it’s mostly on PJ to make sure he doesn’t introduce this unit too early or with too little a cushion.

  23. As an aside, after halftime, the last 2:30 of Taco Time was easliy the most entertaining part of the game.

    Expect the rest of the league to rip-off the Lakers’ genius with similar promotions as they did with their knock-off Laker Girl sqauds 15 years ago.

  24. Kurt,
    The problem Laker fans are having with ESPN is that they are saying Artest already has been a disappointment in LA. They see the PPG of Ariza and Artest and close the book instead of watching the games. Another thing people are not talking about is that the Rockets have moved Ariza to his natural position (defensively) of SG. Ariza can’t guard SF’s… he doesn’t have the size. Another reason the swap was a no brainer for the Lakers… LA has a pretty good SG already. I wish Ariza all the best… I hope he starts shooting the ball better in Houston and has a great career but like all Laker fans I’m happy we got the better player and better fit for our team. And much like the rest of LA, I am tired of Laker haters in the media who are jealous of the talent and the winning.

  25. Im ready to see what LA has against a top team in the league. All these cream puff teams(wins appreciated) have really made me eager to watch them play a competitve team. Hopefully LA will stay sharp against the lesser teams in the league and not form bad habits that will cause me to have an ulcer in the future.

  26. Sparky, I think you make a great point. The Lakers made a great run in the second quarter with Odom/Farmar/Brown on the court. It is the garbage time lineups that are a problem. And as I have said before, if our garbage time lineup is our big problem, things are very good.

  27. @Kurt, #19,
    Very clearly. Everyone knows that a single malt works much better for correcting typing and spelling mistakes.

    A big story about whatever mistakes Artest made when he was 19 made me feel a lot like I did when I saw CNN devote nearly all their prime-time coverage to Tiger Woods’ car accident.

    Tired.

    So tired.

    Ron Artest’s teenage mistakes and Tiger Wood’s possible marital problems… how is this at all relevant, or for that matter interesting?

    @T. Rogers
    I got that dunk in my YouTube favorites! :) Everytime someone tries to tell me that Bynum is lacking toughness or fire I send them that link, and point out that this happened during his first ever minutes as an NBA player. I especially like that when Shaq threw that elbow Bynum got angry, instead of intimidated.

  28. It really seems to me like Ron Artest is a completely different person on the court versus off the court. On the court, he has been selfless, hard-working, determined, competitive, focused, and definitely in sync with the rest of the team. Off the court, he just seems so self-absorbed, lazy, nonchalant, complacent, confused, and off in crazy land by himself. It’s almost like he becomes a completely different person away from the basketball court.

    Most fans of other teams and national writers don’t really watch Laker games; they check box scores, game recaps, and maybe some game logs if something strikes their fancy. But they definitely see all the off court stuff, what with Artest in his underwear and now the latest Hennessy revelation.

    I think if opposing team’s fans saw as much of on-the-court Artest as off-the-court Artest, their opinion’s would be completely different.

  29. 2 problems with the Taco Unit®:

    1. They’re turning the ball over trying to force early offense opportunities, jacking up contested jumpers early in the shot clock, speeding the tempo up when they ought to be slowing it down.

    2. They haven’t established the focal point. I think Farmar can be that guy, and I think Ammo, Shannon, and Josh are ok with support roles.

    It’s like Sasha has his own agenda, though. Luke would be perfect in his stead, but it will be some time before he returns.

  30. 29 – Is it possible that those 48 minutes are the only time during the day that Artest is sober? Could that account for the change in his behavior?

    Does someone have some links for what’s going on in the Blazer locker room? I rely on Truehoop for most of my around-the-NBA reads but either articles haven’t been written yet, or HA’s consciously trying to cover up Blazer spats (I have a hard time imagining him doing that, fan or not – it’d be pointless). But does anyone have some more information/reports on the Blazers stuff?

  31. Abbot is funny, I mean, we’re talking Lakers, not the Jazz or the Trailblazers here.

    Let’s see what we went through, in no particular order, in the past decade.

    We had…
    1. Kobe: trials, feuding with Shaq, demanding trade, chewing out Bynum, injurying his finger, his groin…

    2. Pau: hamstring injury, appearance on CSI…

    3. Lamar: infant son, candy, taking way too long to re-sign, Khloe…

    4. Fisher: daughter with eye cancer…

    5. Sasha: serious slump affecting his psyche, Sharapova

    6. PJ: saying Kobe is uncoachable, constant prodding of his players through the media…

    I’m sure there was a helluva lot more that went on that merits more mention than Artest saying he drank a bit during games.

    At least I think it’s better than getting hurt snowboarding, or healing on company time, or having to deal with Smush “I’m better than Kobe” Parker.

  32. There should be no worries about the Lakers “Bench Mob.” Sasha, Powell, and Ammo are not really members. They’re strictly garbage time players.

    The truth of the matter is, Powell, can be effective in short bursts if he’s playing with the starters, because they know how to set him up for open looks (which he usually nails).

    Can’t say the same for Sasha and Morrison.

    The REAL rotation for the Lakers is Fish, Kobe, Artest, Pau & Bynum, with Odom, Farmar, and Shannon coming off the bench (once Walton returns, he’ll also come off the bench and eat into some of the minutes Kobe plays at small Forward/the minutes shannon plays at shooting guard (with Kobe playing those minutes instead).

    The fact that guys like Morrison and Sasha, who, quite frankly, aren’t NBA calibur players, can’t keep up with other team’s starters when they’re in desperation mode is not a real concern.

    Once the Lakers start playing against “good” teams, though, it will crop again that the point guard situation will need to be addressed, somehow.

    Farmar looks serviciable against cr@ppy teams, but against the elite teams he’ll be exposed again as a defensive liability who tends to force the action when things start going against him.

    Fish is okay as long as he’s not shooting that often and not playing too many minutes.

    This means that Shannon Brown eventually is going to need to embrace the role of playing defensive stopper at the point with the starters, and being a catch and shoot guy off the ball (who occasionally can get out on the break).

    Lately, they keep trying that Pau Gasol give-and-go with Fisher, which is an excellently designed play, only Fish is too slow/unathletic to secure the pass and get off a good shot. I would love to see that play run with Gasol and Shannon Brown.

  33. Zephid, I agree that a lot of fans and writers are not actually watching a bunch of Laker games. However, I also think people see what they want to see.

    So far (a constant qualifier this early in the season) Artest has done exactly what everyone said he could not do – blend in and be role player. Remember that was why Trevor was always a ‘better fit.’

    Ron, like Kobe, needs to just do his thing and let his play eventually shut everyone up. Even then……

  34. As a follow-up, I’m starting to feel like simply trading away Sasha (for whatever) would be addition by subtraction.

    Too bad no one would take on his contract.

    As another follow-up, can you believe that during Morrison’s senior year at Gonzaga, media types were making Larry Bird comparisons? The guy who now runs around the court afraid of his own shadow and can’t make a wide open jumper if his life depended on it was once compared to Larry Legend.

    Crazy.

  35. Burgandy,

    “Runs around the court” is a bit of an overstatement. He so stiff. Ammo’s injuries obviously robbed him of what little athleticism he had. I feel bad for the guy sometimes.

  36. DOES THIS GUY EVER GIVE UP?????

    Gabriel (LA)
    Bynum, All star ?

    John Hollinger
    (2:57 PM)
    I’d say so, yes, but you’re ignoring the most important variable — will he still be upright by mid-February?

  37. Since we know the biases of Abbott, Hollinger, and “what’s-his-name”, exactly why are we continually commenting on them on this blog? It would seem a better use of our time if we ignored them and went about our business as if they weren’t there.

    I do state here that I don’t read these guys and have no interest in adding to the hits to their sites. If their information is so good someone else will pick it up and run with it – someone like Kurt.

  38. wow. dallas is shooting over 80% from the field after 2 quarters in New Jersey.

  39. I love the fact that the Lakers fanbase sees Ron’s impact and is now defending him. Who cares about the rest, let them hate as we get ourselves some more O’Brien trophies.

  40. Speaking of the Nets, I have this feeling that the Ariza-Artest ‘swap’ may look like the Harris-Kidd trade.

    Am I the only one thinking that Dallas did okay by getting Kidd?

  41. Snoopy, I really feel bad for the Nets players. It’s not like those guys aren’t trying, but thanks to management there is so little talent. I’ve said that the Lakers have the largest margin for error in the league because of their roster, the Nets are the opposite — everything has to go right for them to win. And without a healthy Harris, that is nearly impossible.

  42. Harold, I think the flaw with the Kidd/Harris swap is really down the line. I don’t think you gain that much now but you lose so much when Kidd retires. They traded young for old, as if they had a championship window that wasn’t there. That is the mistake.

  43. No argument from me if you say that they didn’t have a championship window, except that they actually made it to the finals, and lost in a manner that was more promising than our loss to Boston.

    So I think it’s not unreasonable to think that they figured they were close, and they did what PHX did, trading for a piece that may give them that extra something that was missing.

    And once accepting that they had at least reason to believe that they were close, I think their deal is a lot like ours – drop somebody with lots of potential and quickness for somebody more proven, somewhat declining, more experienced and stronger.

    In a way, I think ours was a bigger gamble in that we had a team that won without our starting center, using our PF as a center instead (albeit a good one).

    Besides, I think there would always be takers for Kidd, he’s the type that probably will be effective coming off the bench and mentoring younger players, while Artest… I’m not so sure if there’ll be teams that think Artest could be effective coming off the bench and providing wisdom and guidance to younger players.

  44. Artest can teach the young players on the art of choosing the perfect cognac.

  45. speaking of the bench mob being gone, maybe Kobe should request a trade and get those guys fired up. that worked well in 07/08.

  46. Harold, point taken about the finals. I just think at that point the questions about Kidd were there and if he could take them where they needed to go.

    i’ll have an Artest post tomorrow. It just needs more polish before I push publish.

  47. @36

    Burgundy,

    You said something interesting, Ammo being afraid of his own shadow. I remember seeing this exact same trait in Kwame. Do you think that having MJ the most admired player of all time, scrutinizing you may have hindered AMmo’s development as a player?

    I mean he does cast a very large shadow and him putting a fragile new guy who grew up idolizing MJ, the fact that he’s around may have to do with players ending up as busts?

  48. Artest is being a solid, model citizen as far as I’m concerned. I see his ‘antics’ as being his way of showing both excitement (at joining a championship team) and frustration (of not being the alpha dog, not even close to it). So far, the venting has been healthy, in that it hasn’t hurt chemistry, and that’s all that matters.

    PJ is also being quite tactful about Artest and not making a big deal of things, although now that I think of it, maybe it’s some sort of a pact signed with our local media – not mentioning or asking about Artest too much.

    As far as building a team is concerned, as much as I wish we could maintain a contender 24/7, I think what’s most realistic is to get a lot of players on their prime together. And IF you are lucky, developing one player who may be the cornerstone for the next generation.

    That’s what we have here, with Kobe, Gasol and Odom forming our core all the while having the luxury of grooming Bynum to carry the torch, and this is very unlike what other teams have, although you could say Boston with Rondo is close to our model here.

  49. This was kind of awkward to hear from Artest though… not gonna lie

    “It’s weird because people don’t think about the whole basketball game,” Artest said. “There’s offense: Kobe averages 30 and is a great offensive player. Then you have defense. So on defense, now I have my supporting cast. … I’m one of the best defenders to ever play basketball, so I’m still the first option on defense.”

  50. Ammo is an interesting player, because so much of his game came from flair and guts. I dont know if you can reestablish that, and since his main physical skill was shooting – which still is 50% mental, the kid is basically married to his mojo, which has gone on a walkabout.

    Could Kobe have given him the Ariza/Butler treatment in the summer? Those two grew so much under his guidance.

    On Artest, I think the gamble has played out as the perfect problem so far.

    Artest is a bit nutty, but watching him on Kimmel was actually a lot of fun, didnt make me worry. And all this takes the focus of Kobe´s private life and conceived problems with bonding with teammates etc.

  51. On bench/Taco Mob – with Luke back the play might get less eratic, less prone to letting huge leads burn up in a few minutes, and as mentioned, rotations tighten in PO.

    But in my eyes, the bench still fails to provide one essential thing: Dead eye shooting. Late game or when running iso (for what ever reason), it would be wonderfull to have an automatic/machine like spot up three shooter to bring off the bench.

    Lakers does not have that at the moment.

    Luke is the best perimeter shooter at the moment, but I don´t think anyone trust him to sustain his 63 3p%… his career average is 34%.

    This might make FO look into shopping Farmar (even if he plays solidly), as he probably is the most marketable player on the 7-12 spots.

  52. Talking about mental problem, Sasha sure have a huge one, let hope it isn’t a virus…

  53. Just so you remember where I stood, I would have signed Turiaff and let Sasha walk that fateful year. But that was then . . .

    These days, Sasha is a valued veteran who doesn’t quite fit in anymore. One could argue that all three newcomers (Artest, Morrison, and Brown) have reduced his value to the team. Both Artest and Brown can play the two with qualities that Sasha can’t match, and Ammo could be a better 3 point shooter.

    Sasha’s fate this year might well depend on injuries or future trades, but don’t ever forget that he has been with the Lakers for many years–and has already helped the Lakers to win at critical times. He could still reappear and make an important contribution.

  54. Kurt, I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be a http://www.LetRonRonDrink.com website sooner.

  55. It doesn’t bother me if the sports media have an anti Lakers slant. It does bother me that from the get go the media seems to have been against Kobe.

    But to me, Kobe’s so-called sins — the reasons the haters cite for hating him — stem from his belief in himself, his perfectionism, and his overwhelming desire to win. Maybe I’m being a homer with a selective memory here, but I don’t recall Kobe ever saying he’s better than this or that player (Pierce), or so and so can’t guard me (he just goes out and tries to drop 40 on the alleged “Kobe stopper”), or if he can’t wear #23 than no one else can either (Lebron), or he’s a winner and hates to lose that’s why he doesn’t shake hands after losing, b/c apparently being a good sport is for losers (Lebron again).

    Yes there’s the rape charge but the haters didn’t need that to hate Kobe; that was just convenient gas for the grill. Kobe’s sins have been doing too much too soon (those airballs in his rookie year), not wanting to play with an affable clown with oversized body and talent but without the desire and commitment to match, and not wanting to waste away his prime with the likes of Kwame and Smush. But Kobe’s real sin — the one they can’t forgive him for — is his apparent but unstated desire to be GOAT and take the mantle away from their precious MJ. That’s why they’re jumping on the Lebron wagon, cause he’s got the ABK (anybody but Kobe) factor working for him.

  56. I feel like such a huge gossip-er in sharing this but a certain Spaniard from a non-US NBA team is being blamed for a star forward eventually leaving the team next summer… such a guy would be great to have for the Tri. Only problem is his huge salary commitment over 3 more seasons after this one.

    Drrayeye, I was there when you asked for Ronny instead of Sasha… but the Laker consensus was that Ronny’s role was easier to fill cheaper than Sasha’s hot shooting. But then again we never factored out “contract year phenomena” in bringing out the false best of a player…

    Now I am on the same bandwagon to trade Sasha. Options are very limited but if a team expresses interest, we should and I mean SHOULD trade the guy.

  57. The Ron Ron for Ariza trade will work for both teams. We lost a very athletic, popular, invaluable piece to our team but picked up what we were missing. A THUG. When the Lakers lacked people who did the “Dirty Work” they always went out and got one. From the days of Maurice Lucas and Orlando Woolridge, to AC Green and Kurt Rambis (non-thugs but did the work), to Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone we have had to have one to WIN.

    I love Trevor’s passion, but he is light in the back pocket. With he and Bynum healthy we would have beat Boston but Trevor gets beat down against the Paul Pierces’, Carmelo Anthonys’, and LeBron James’ of the league.

    Ron Ron doesn’t stop them, but he sure slows them down. Look at the LeBron’s worst games last year, they came against Ron Ron. Paul Pierce likes to back down smaller players or run them over on his literal trips to the rim. He can’t do those things with Ron.

    Ron makes up better for the next two or three years. We were willing to give up Trevor’s next 7 good years for 2 great years of Ron. Two more championships for seven years of being close is fine with most of us.