The Lonely Perfectionists

Gatinho —  February 2, 2010

[picappgallerysingle id="434180"]In recognition of Kobe Bryant passing Jerry West as the Lakers all-time scoring leader…

Jerry West was born the son of a coalmine electrician.

Kobe Bryant was born the son of an NBA journeyman.

…Raised in Cheylan, W. Virginia.

…Born in Philly, raised in Italy from the age of 8 to 14 and returned to the States for high school.

…Drafted 2nd behind Oscar Robertson

…Drafted 13th after the soon-to-be-mentor West saw him workout and crossed his fingers that no one would draft the prodigy before Charlotte’s spot.

Both Gold Medalists.

Both NBA Champions.

“Both are highly athletic scorers who are able to get their own shot any time they want one.”

The Celtics’ Red Auerbach, “You try any number of ways—play him close, loose, keep him away from the ball, and even then he’ll get his 25 or 30 points.” He was talking about number 44, but he easily could have been talking about number 24.

The Logo, Mr. Clutch, Zeke from Cabin Creek…

The Black Mamba, The Golden Child, triple-ocho…

“Most important, they are intense competitors able to battle through the worst kind of shooting night to defeat an opponent with a big shot at the end of a game. Thus, they both are Mr. Clutch.”

Both approached basketball with a fervor that can only be chronicled as an acute intensity.

It is not a great leap to think that GM West saw some of his own uncommon zeal and earnestness in the private workout he held with Bryant.

“Both are perfectionists, who have spent long hours alone perfecting every element of their games. That is why West was so excited to discover Bryant during his workout with the Lakers. The skill level alone revealed him. You don’t just get that as a gift. All the polish has to come with work.”

West was humble to a fault, but “working out his salvation with fear and trembling.” Driven seemingly by the angst surrounding failure. On the privilege of being an NBA player, “It’s hard enough if you take yourself too seriously because you can be a hero today and a bum tomorrow. It’s unbelievable. So you try hard and you hope you do well, and you enjoy it. ”

While Bryant was working to fulfill a destiny that comes to a kid who was born with a silver basketball. As a 19-year-old, he commented on mounting comparisons to Jordan. “It doesn’t bother me, I expect to be that good.”

In terms of year round commitment, they are a GM’s/owner’s/coach’s fantasy, their obsession for honing their craft motivated by something unseen under the surface.

For both “Company Time” was a foreign concept and undying dedication the norm.

“Sometimes. When he’s really keyed up it’s still 4 a.m. before he falls off.” -West’s wife

“You can’t gain conditioning without going through it. You’re going to have to feel some pain, you’re going to have to feel like your lungs are burning, and you know, you want to spit up blood, that sort of thing.” -Bryant in Men’s Fitness magazine

“Then there is the outcome. Kobe was able to experience championship success at a young age. West was teased by fate until the end of his career. That meant that perhaps no player worked in the off-season to improve as much as West pushed himself. Except that Bryant has done that too, which says to me that if West had won at an early age, it wouldn’t have stopped him. He would have found a way to make himself miserable, so that he could keep working on his game.”

If you watch West win his first and only ring after the torturous futility that a perfectionist should not have to be subjected to, there is a minuscule hint of elation on his face. Relief is the more appropriate description.

The Intensity and drive aside, each generation was lucky to watch a player that loves and respects the game deeply. And that is something that resonates with many. Consider yourself lucky to have witnessed these “Lonely Perfectionists”.

-The italicized quotes are courtesy of the author of the definitive Laker’s history, The Show, Roland Lazenby. His new book, Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon, debuts on February 23rd. Pre-order your copy today.

Gatinho

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68 responses to The Lonely Perfectionists

  1. First for Warren!!

  2. R. That’s only for game threads.

    Gatinho this is a brilliant piece. The resemblance in mindsets of Kobe and Jerry West is uncanny. The Lakers have been blessed with some of the greatest players to ever lace it up. We are definitely blessed to watch this incredible man play basketball.

    Congrats to Kobe and here is to more records to fall.

  3. Great post, Gatinho. Jerry West is a name that personifies baskeball and I think it’s fantastic that Kobe (a player that knows and respects the history of this game and the Lakers franchise) will forever be tied to the Logo.

  4. Dunk Specialist February 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I don’t think Kobe did it on purpose, but it was nice to see Kobe point up 44 points (Jerry West number for those that don’t know was 44).

  5. the other stephen February 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    haven’t heard anything out of you lately. thanks, gatinho.

  6. In other news, rumor is that Paul Pierce broke his foot. If that’s the case, the C’s can pretty much kiss their championship dreams goodbye.

  7. It was fitting that Kobe broke the record on a night where he shot well from the field and hogged the ball to the extent where he took his star teammates out of the game. Its also not surprising that Bryant’s only teammate who didn’t let Kobe’s fire burn out his own flame was Ron Artest. This was the reason Kobe wanted Artest. He is the only guy who doesn’t get intimidated by Kobe’s passion and fight. That is why most of the blame should go to Kobe… but not all of it. And I’m sure Kobe feels everyone should have the mindset that he and RonRon share. But that is what separates idealists from realists. Kobe has to learn the practical reality of the average basketball player… they aren’t basketball psycho’s like Kobe or everyday crazies like Ron.

  8. #4,

    on the previous post #188 (aB) mentioned that already. Which reminds me, I think people need to start reading other people’s comments because there is a lot of redundancy. (this doesn’t apply to this post but the last one).

  9. 2 – Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  10. A shame–or perhaps bitter irony–that Kobe broke the record by freezing out Bynum and Gasol. Way to go, Kobe.

    What a schmuck. This is why the Lakers are not an elite offensive team this year. Stop screwing around and get ready for the palyoffs.

    Definitely NOT the greatest Laker ever.

  11. Aaron, did you even watch the game? Who last night would you rather have taken those shots? Pau was hesitant and making mental mistakes, Lamar was MIA last night, and Bynum took himself out with foul trouble. The bench wasn’t very helpful either. I have no problem with Kobe taking so many shots when he’s making them at such a high clip. He wasn’t “hogging” the ball out of selfishness; it was out of necessity.

  12. In honor of Kobe passing Jerry west and that shot against the celts on Sunday, I changed my fantasy hoops team name to Kobe Time.

    On another note, the guy is a stud. I don’t think we realize yet how lucky we’ve been to have had him as a Laker this whole time.

    I get sad just thinking that at best we might have him for like 5-7 more years :/.

  13. Daniel,
    Kobe took everyone out of the game. If you don’t believe me ask Phil Jackson…

    “At halftime, I told the guys that he (Bryant) was forcing the action, and let’s get him over the hump and start playing team basketball,” Jackson said after a 95-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. “It didn’t seem like we ever did.”

  14. I think it was a bit of both Kobe being assertive and the rest being passive, given the opportunity to surpass West’s record.

    We all know Kobe isn’t the type to say “I’ll just get it tomorrow,” especially after coming off a bad shooting night (where he still hit the winner).

    Plus, Kobe probably figured the less touches Bynum gets, the less likely he gets hurt ;)

  15. Im usually against KB taking a high volume of shots, but last night he hit 57% of those shots. It was the lose balls and turnovers at critical times of the game that cost the team the win. If # 24 is that hot, then you have to get a rebound or maybe play a little defense to help out. Being on the bench with silly fouls you cant get that many touches as you would like.

    If PJ felt that way then why didnt he sit #24 down when he kept shooting. He was keeping LA in the game the whole night.

  16. Aaron,

    Valid point, but Kobe’s teammates also bear a chunk of responsibility for that. To me, they just didn’t step up and Kobe took the initiative to carry them with his very hot shooting. Look, I prefer playing team ball and there are games where Kobe presses too hard to score, but this was not one of them. Regardless of how you feel about his overall performance, you’ve got to give him credit for perfectly setting up Ron for that 3 and giving us a great shot to steal one at the end. I was much more concerned with the defense at the end of the game which, IMO, was atrocious.

  17. I can get frustrated with Kobe and his shot selection / talking over games, but last night was not one of those times (unless you mean the opening sequence of misses). Gasol and Bynum were not that effective. FIsher, Farmar and Odom were pretty bad shooting wise. Artest and Kobe carried a team that looked tired.

    In past years Kobe has tended to just do his thing sometimes, getting caught up in a one on one battle or whatever. This year it seems to me he starts gunning when others are not stepping up or are not effective. I am not saying he should. Maybe he needs to be more patient. But I have noticed a change in that respect.

  18. Does this mean Kobe will be a great GM one day?

  19. NBA.com is reporting that Paul Pierce may have actually broken his foot.

    http://www.nba.com/2010/news/02/02/pierce.foot/index.html

    Whether or not this is true, I wonder what Bill Simmons is thinking right now? I wonder if he wishes he could take back the piece (of Shhh) where Kobe breaks a bone and is out for an extended period? Karma is a B.

  20. I actually agree with Aaron here. Look, we can debate whether or not Pau’s weak game had to do with his low touches. Pau did say to Kevin Ding after the game that the bigs touch the ball so few times, they often rush and don’t find a rhythm.

    But what you shouldn’t do is point to how well Kobe shot last night and say it’s OK. We can’t have it both ways. Either Kobe dials back the high FGAs, or you take the horrible FG% nights with the good ones. You just can’t only call to get the ball inside when Kobe’s shooting is off.

    Kobe’s belief in himself is unshakable. He will never think to himself, “Hmmm, I don’t have it today, only shooting 40% so far, time to get the ball inside.” Either Phil/Pau force him to get the ball inside, or they live with Kobe trying to shoot himself out of awful games. If we play that way, it’s a reasonable bet Kobe will have more subpar FG% games than good ones.

    Suppose we had spread the wealth last night and Pau/Drew still had bad games. How is that any worse than Kobe’s 8/24, 12/31, 14/ 37 games? Players will have bad games. But when you spread the shot attempts between 3 players, there’s a higher chance of at least 1 player being on fire that day. And it makes for more sound execution, which helps the role players. It’s why Luke looks so good when he returns from injury – we need more players who emphasize getting the ball inside.

    Yes, I’m sure there will be those who say, “How dare you criticize Kobe! Without him, there’s no franchise!” Fair enough. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable that we, as fans, want to see our team play to its potential.

  21. Kobe lovers say: “Kobe was being assertive on offense. Pau/Bynum were being tentative”

    Kobe critics say: “Kobe was hogging the ball and taking it out of Pau’s and Bynums hands.”

    I think its a bit of both.

  22. Shaq looks vintage tonight. The Cavs are having too much fun out there against the Griz. Makes me a little jealous.

  23. Aaron- Did Kobe take Drew out of the game by telling him to foul a PG (not even on a fast brake) at the half court line for his 5th foul of the game! Come on Aaron, usually I bitterly agree with your outlook on Fish’ or why this team get’s in slumps but Kobe was our best option last night. No argument.

  24. I liked that PJ quote. It was pure Phil. A subtle way of acknowledging that yes, he realizes it’s become the Kobe show again, and yes, that is not the long-term plan.

    Time to start playing like a team again.

  25. Also, awesome quote from Kobe on the title last year:

    “It made me hungrier. It made me hungrier, if that makes any sense. It’s like, OK, we’ve got it. I’m in the party now—before I was outside in the street, like begging Phoenix and them to let me in. Now we got in, kicked them out, now you can’t come in. We gonna hold our house down.”

    Technically Phoenix never won, but the sentiment is nice.

  26. Really enjoyed the rhythm of your article Gatinho, great stuff. I was at the game last night in Memphis, and in my opinion, we lost the game because of hustle. We lost the rebounding game by 10 (including allowing 12 offensive rebounds to our own 5), turned the ball over 5 more times, and lost the battle inside big time. We collectively played tired and lazy and didn’t match their intensity. Kobe kept his engine going all night long, running hard up and down the court on defense and offense only matched in intensity by Artest and to an extent Odom. Without Artest and Odom, we would have lost by a ton as they played hard defensively as well.
    Andrew played like an overpaid big baby and “wouldn’t” hustle. Not that he couldn’t. This time of year and at the end of a road trip, tired is the name of the game for all these cats. However, they are professionals who are paid to compete, and Andrew picks his spots to play hard. This was overwhelmingly easy to see in person, although I am known to holler that at the TV as well.

  27. #24 only took 28 shots last night, it wasnt like he shot 40 times to get those 44 points. If he took only 20 shots, that would leave 8 more shots for the rest of the team to divide between themselves.

  28. Paul Pierce: May Have Broken Foot
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=rotowire-aulierceayaverokenoo&prov=rotowire&type=fantasy

    even though I hate about a player being injured, I enjoy to see the celtics struggling/losing.

  29. I don’t think anyone is advocating that Kobe shooting a high volume of shots should be our game plan for the future. I’m certainly not. I’m usually screaming at the TV for them to pound the ball inside because we almost always have such a great size advantage in the post. I’m under the belief that, generally, we need to run the triangle and spread the shots around.

    However, in looking back at last night’s game, I think the circumstances called for Kobe to take over. His teammates were simply not answering the call and sometimes, you’ve just got to ride the hot hand. I don’t like it as a long term strategy, but last night, I believe it was necessary to give the Lakers a chance to win.

    I decided to go back and take a closer look at the end of the game in the play-by-play, specifically from the time Kobe checked in for Shannon with 6:01 to go to the end of the game. So this is a significant part of the game, half a quarter, and a crucial one at that. In that time, Kobe made two-thirds of his shots, going 4-6 from the field. During that same span, his teammates went an abysmal 1-7 from the field, with Fish getting the only FG. You can argue all you want about Kobe not giving other guys the ball enough, but the fact of the matter is that his teammates had amble opportunities to score, and they did not take advantage. When we needed buckets the most, Kobe was the one to come through. Again, I’m not recommending this every game, but last night, it was warranted.

  30. We can argue the Kobe vs. the bigs’ touches all night. We could go a little deeper and actually attend the game like fivemantaichi and point out really complicated stas like rebounding edge and turnovers but the reason we lost last night is pretty obvious.

    Sasha had a DNP.

  31. @VoR

    ROFL!!
    absolutely killing me.. haha

  32. Why are we veering from this post? Can’t we just celebrate Kobe being the all-time scorer for the Lakers? Let’s go to the what-we-should-have-done/not-done on a future post. But for now, let’s appreciate Kobe Bryant, who he is and what he’s done for the Lakers. Awesome post on the two players, Gatinho.

    And, VoR, Win!

  33. well, there are some things that could be said about Cleveland’s romp over Memphis tonight, but we’d have to go to somewhere else such as the espn forums. [gag]

    oh, nice career Kobe.

  34. Kobe has an excellent work ethic and is a Top 10 all-time competitor.

    But it also helps when he’s hogging the ball most of the times not unlike Allen Iverson.

  35. Looks like there are as many Kobe haters in the Lakers forum as there are in the Celtics forum.

    Let’s just stick to the FACTS ladies and gentlemen. Kobe = our best player. Is it wrong for him to put up an average of 30 shots every night? Yes, because we have a lot of other tools and effective players, and with those players, our teams plays best when Kobe is in facilitator mode.

    However, as our best player, and when he is ON FIRE, all the while the rest of the team being absolutely awful, it is definitely fine for Kobe to take over. The great players on ever team do this and have done this in the past. Think MJ, or Shaq or Magic or whomever. The funny thing is that when those great players do it we all say how great they are and when Kobe does it, we all say (even as laker fans) how selfish he is.

    Typically, Kobe should take an average of 20 shots per game and be in the facilitator mode. But when he is shooting 60% from the field and is on fire, then he should take over games. Especially late in games.

  36. Why are laker fans complaining about Kobe? you guys make me SICK.

  37. OhMyGod look at Phil Jackson:

    http://espn.go.com/media/nba/2005/1222/photo/pj1962wphoto.jpg

    Now every time I see a goofy-looking guy on the street, I’ll stop to wonder if he’s a legend minus 50 years, instead of laughing.

    Random thoughts:

    -Is Jamal Mashburn a reasonable comparison for Joe Johnson?

    -Craig, or anyone who got to see Phil Jackson play – the impression I get from reading about Jackson’s game is that he was similar to Kurt Rambis in style of play. And glasses. Is that true or just a misconception from not seeing him play?

  38. Kobe is absolutely, positively NOT what went wrong with the Memphis game. Odom, Pau, Bynum and Fisher are. Pau got outplayed by his brother! Odom got BEASTED on by Zach Randolph. Fisher was typical Fisher this season.

    Kobe and Ron were the only guys who brought the fire into that game and wanted the W. The two of them have more heart than the rest of the squad combined.

    But there’s no reason to flip out- people did this panic dance last year too, and look what happened. Gasol will get it back together, Odom tends to step up when it really counts (and no that doesn’t mean regular season games against the Grizzlies).

    I’d much rather go into the playoffs with this squad, led by Kobe, than Lebron’s squad, led by Lebron. Aside from Shaq and Lebron, none of those guys are proven playoff performers as they’ve shown virtually every year. Mo is chokeriffic in the playoffs.

    Anyway, is Kobe the greatest Laker of all-time…not yet. He’s got to catch Magic in titles first. But at the end of his career, when he ends with more points than Kareem and more titles than Magic, he will unquestionably be the greatest Laker of all-time and in my book, co-GOAT with MJ.

  39. Jerry was my idol when I was a kid. Even in the thrall of my hero worship I was able to recognize that he sometimes monopolized the offense to the detriment of the team. That didn’t much lower my reverence for him though (nor did it for Chick Hearn who, as Wilt Chamberlain once said, had only one failing as a basketball analyst: he confused Jerry West with Jesus Christ).

    I’ve observed Kobe’s career from a more mature perspective, and I don’t really have heroes anymore but…oh what the hell, he is heroic! And that’s one of the ways that he reminds me of Jerry.

    I’m so fortunate to have seen them both play so many games, for so many years.

  40. Pau and Drew missed so many bunnies off perfect passes from Kobe that I can’t blame Kobe for taking 28 FGs. It seemed to me that the team played like they were fatigued on the second night of a back to back at the end of their longest road trip of the season. This was compounded by the fact that the first night of this back to back was against Boston, so they were coming off an emotional high as well. Third, they were playing against an excellent home team in Memphis.

    Fatigue is evident when the team misses both a ton of layups and a ton of free throws. A number of those missed layups were virtually uncontested. My conclusion is that Kobe’s shooting kept the team in the game. The only problem I have with his play was that Fisher was open for a three a couple seconds before Kobe passed to Ron-Ron, and I believe Fish would have made that shot.

  41. 38. Snoopy, now that’s one handsome devil.

  42. Lets remember…we only have 33 more game remaining in the regular season. We have no chance of winning when we score 26 points in the paint. The Zen Master needs to find a way to motivate these grown men. If Kobe can bring it every night then the remaining starters should be able to do the same. Cleveland is having no problems following this procedure.

  43. It certainly hasn’t been the most enjoyable few weeks for kicking back and reading the comments in the Lakers blogosphere.

    A lot of discontent and venom spewing in every direction. With a tough stretch heading up to the All-Star break hopefully we can keep more of an even keel around here.

  44. >the impression I get from reading about Jackson’s game is that he was similar to Kurt Rambis in style of play. And glasses. Is that true or just a misconception from not seeing him play?

    I saw Jackson play for 3 years at UND (N. Dak., that is). He was the top player on a very good Division II team. but here is what David Halberstam had to say about his NBA days, when he was first off the bench for the Knicks for their good teams:

    “While he was a good all-around athlete, with unusually long arms, he was very limited offensively. He compensated for his offensive limitations with sheer intelligence and hard work, especially on defense.”

  45. Gathino, thank you for a brilliant post on West and Kobe, their similarities and what drives them. Just a fantastic post.

    Reading the comments on this and other Lakers sites, Lakers fans better hope that Karma is not a real force in the universe, because if so as a unit — at least as represented by some immature people on the Web — they don’t deserve another title for a decade. You can have a thoughtful conversation about Kobe and if he is over shooting, if the Lakers are too much isolation, if because of tired legs the Lakers settled for too many perimeter shots and not getting the ball in the hoop, if this is something that can be corrected by the playoffs. But that’s not what happened in this discussion.

  46. Thanks for the kudos, y’all.

    There are some games in an 82 game season that shouldn’t be used to analyze the state of a team.

    Are there lessons to be learned from last night’s game? Sure.

    But should the last game of the annual Grammy road trip be used as a litmus test or a point of reference? Maybe not.

  47. All I can say is wow. I’m off-line for good portion of the day and suddenly Kobe is Allen Iverson and deemed responsible for the Lakers loss to Memphis. I know that this is not the perspective of all fans, but I feel like many have taken two quotes from Pau and Phil and ran with them to a point beyond anything that you could even reasonably infer from them. And, I hate to play the what if game, but *if* Ron makes that 3 is this even a discussion right now? And even if it is a discussion would there be as much venom behind the comments that there has been?

  48. Darius,

    Of course it wouldn’t be a discussion. Because then they would all be praising Kobe for being unselfish and passing up his own shot and potential glory for the good of the team. Laker fans just love to nitpick when things get a little dicey.

  49. Kobe was awesome last night, but he’s very often a volume shooter. Using him as our primary, secondary, and tertiary attack is not going to get it done against the best teams in the league. So Phil and Pau are absolutely right. Gotta get high percentage, easy baskets, not 45% jump shots.

    The only reason Cleveland won tonight is because we wore down Memphis last night. Had the scheduling been reversed, Cleveland would have lost and we would have blown out Memphis.

    I’d really like to get home court though. Hopefully Boston or someone will knock off Cleveland, although they can’t possibly keep winning without Mo Williams and Delonte West. They’ll drop a few soon.

  50. to anybody who bashes,degrades,disses this hell of a player,get a life!It is shocking to see such spiteful comments in a Laker blog from people who claim to be Laker fans.Schmuck is your middle name.

  51. Cleveland doesn’t have a road game for the next 20 days. They can easily keep this up without Mo or Delonte.

    Gibson and Parker are solid players and LeBron will just do the rest.

    The Cavs are going to be tough to catch for 1st in the league, their upcoming schedule is easier than the Lakers and their playing better basketball right now.

  52. Why don’t the Lakers pick up Von Wafer?

  53. No doubt this was a fantastic post, Scott. The parallels between an awkward small-town white guy from decades ago and a supremely athletic Euro-raised baller are truly fascinating. If anything, West was even more psychotic than Kobe. Kobe’s not happy when he loses, but from the stories people (like Mitch) tell about West, even as a GM he could rarely (if ever) sit back and enjoy his work. He was always on edge, always self-conscious, always fearing failure because he felt too close to it. I can’t imagine Kobe the same way, at least to that extent – but then again, as the last few years have shown, I can’t imagine Kobe as a GM either.

    West truly should be applauded. I can’t remember any player of that stature becoming as great a legend in the front office. And as a player…there’s a reason why Michael Jordan said the one player he wished he could play against was Jerry West.

    Outside of maybe 3-4 comments, I’m not sure I see the vitriol and bashing everyone is talking about. My observations had little to do with the Memphis loss and more to do with an accumulation of the last month+ worth of play. It’s no secret Kobe’s been shooting too much, when even brilliantly optimistic minds like Dwyer pitch in. I most definitely am not blaming Kobe for any one particular loss; without him we’re nothing. It’s just that – looking ahead to the playoffs – I’d like to see Phil rein Kobe in a bit to optimize our team’s talent. We saw in 2008 that one man – even Kobe – can be slowed, and even outplayed in a series. If Pau and Drew are forced to take on a greater burden now, I just think they’ll be more prepared to take on that responsibility in the playoffs.

  54. >when even brilliantly optimistic minds like Dwyer pitch in.

    and (apologies to Hulk Hogan) whatcha gonna do when the Pessimisterians come down on you?!

  55. anybody feel like the Memphis loss might be a function of a the long NBA season? rather than playing the love/hate game with the Lakers.

    Maybe the loss had more to do with being the 2nd game of a road back to back, against a solid team, who we haven’t seen since week 1, who probably had this game circled. Is that possible? Or should Drew/Pau/Kobe/Lamar be impervious to the ups and downs?

  56. and it isn’t easy for our group psyche to see what the LeBrons (minus two starters) did to the selfsame team the very next night. (there was much joy and cackling again on their bench.. you think they aren’t feeling it right now?)

  57. Oh, lakersfan – thanks for the answers. I was curious about Phil’s game.

  58. The point isn’t the Memphis game or any one game. All season long the bigs have not been geting enough touches. The Lakers are a better team when they play inside out. They need to be working on those things that will make them the best team in the playoffs. If someone thinks Kobe shooting 30 times a game is the answer, fine, I respect their opinion.

    To say that Bynum and Gasol need to be used more in the offense isn’t denying that Kobe is the best player in the game today.

    The point is for the Lakers to be the best team.

  59. According to Bill Plashke’s opinion, the 3 greatest Lakers (in order) are Magic, Jerry West, and Kobe. I was wondering…do you think that if the Magic of the 80’s were on the team today, he could play in the triangle, or would he be so good that Phil would modify the triangle to suit him?

  60. This conversation about how great the Cavs are, and how the Lakers just don’t seem to be able to get it together happened last year.

    The Lakers won it all, and the Cavs were essentially swept by Orlando.

    Wake me up when the Finals start.

  61. we’re all just speculating here; but based on the small sample size of two games against the Lakers, what do you think the Cavs have learned this year? and based on the rather large sample size, what have the Lakers learned overall this year?

  62. #61. oldie,
    I think Magic could play in any system and would do quite well in the Triangle. People remember Magic for all the fast breaks and the no look passes, but he was also a tremendous half court player. He would have been a natural in the hub of the Triangle as a post up threat against smaller players. He also would have been excellent flashing from the weakside or curling into the lane to get shots in the paint (in a way that I could envision being part Kobe and part Luke Walton). And while he wasn’t a great 3point shooter, he was capable from that distance. Plus, there are few players that were smarter players than Magic and I’m sure he would master the intricacies of the offense in a way where he found every advantage and exploited the nuances of the cuts and motions that are part of that system.

  63. I’m really disappointed that game previews are being posted in the morning of game day – this used to be the status quo here and it made this place a unique place to head to – now… who the hell knows when it’ll come up. 30 min before the game, an hour, 2? Consistency is what made this place great – commentary, community and consistency.

  64. I agree with what Kobe has been quoted as saying, “I eat first. They know that.”
    I for one am a little annoyed at Pau’s constant comments about the bigs needing more touches down low. I would say that Bynum does get frozen out in the offense at times, but Pau does get touches. His problem is that there are plenty of times he gets it but ends up kicking it back out because he can’t get close enough to the basket. Just like was the case last year against the Nuggets in the playoffs, teams aren’t going to let Pau catch the ball, survey the court, jab step for 4 seconds, dribble down for 5 seconds without at least sending another player to make him pass it out. I feel that Pau needs to stop his whining.

    As for the Kobe/West comparison, I didn’t have the pleasure of watching Jerry West so if he is being mentioned with Kobe Bryant than I have to assume he had an unbelievable killer instinct.

  65. New post up with some links and other stuff to keep us going until the game preview.

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/02/03/fast-break-thoughts-58/