Welcome Back Shannon Brown (And Other Random Thoughts)

Darius Soriano —  August 5, 2010

Los Angeles Lakers guard Shannon Brown (C) slam dunks over top of Phoenix Suns guard Jason Richardson as Amar'e Stoudemire (L) and Lakers' Kobe Bryant (R) watch during Game 1 of their NBA Western Conference final playoff series in Los Angeles May 17, 2010. REUTERS/Mark J. Terrill/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

*It’s being reported that Shannon Brown will return to the Lakers after exploring his other options in free agency.  The deal is reportedly a 2 year contract worth 4.6 million dollars that will pay him 2.2 million in year one with a player option at 2.4 million in year two.  And really, I’m quite happy about this.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been someone that believed Shannon could really help the team next year and that his willingness to be coached, learn the nuances of the Lakers’ sets, and improve his game are traits that are welcomed on this particular team.  Not to mention, we all like seeing plays like these.  So really, it’s a can’t lose situation.  Brown knows the Lakers system, is respected by his teammates, and is comfortable with the role that he’s carved out.  And speaking of his role, some are wondering if Shannon will be used the same way next season (i.e as Kobe’s primary back up).  Honestly, I don’t see any other scenario that makes sense.  Many will point to Matt Barnes as being  the player that will take a lot of minutes at back up SG (and thus Shannon being more of an insurance combo guard), but I don’t really see it that way.  This isn’t to say that Barnes won’t play any SG next year, but as I’ve said in the past Barnes’ questionable handle and turnover rate (not to mention his unfamiliarity with the Lakers system) don’t really make him an ideal candidate to play SG in the Triangle.  Barnes, I think, is much more of a pure SF and is likely to play the “Ariza” role in the offense where ball handling and offensive initiation is limited, while slashing and spot up shooting is emphasized.  Meanwhile, Brown can continue to play as a secondary ball handler in both full and half court situations while also doing all the things he’s done up to this point with the Lakers. 

*We’ve touched on this topic some over the past couple of days, but Shaq will be a Celtic.  There are many different opinions on this from all anglesbut here’s my two cents in relation to Shaq as a player and his legacy as a Laker:  Shaq’s been a great player in his career.  And while many want to explore what he could have been had he only worked harder/committed himself to elite conditioning/not burned bridges with his other teams/fill in the blank, I celebrate the man for what he actually did do during his career.  Mind you, this doesn’t mean I ignore his faults or fail to recognize the legitimacy of “what could have been” when it comes to the Diesel.  But I am saying that Shaq was fantastic during his prime and his peak was higher than many other players (maybe every other player save Kobe) that we’ve seen in the past 10 to 15 years.  Despite Shaq’s shortcomings, he was the best Center of his era (by far) and I have him a hair above Duncan as the best big man of his generation (with Shaq’s peak dominance being valued a bit more than Duncan’s robotic - yet high level – consistency).  I will always remember Shaq’s tenure with the Lakers fondly as his exploits directly led to three consecutive championships.  Yes he was foolishly wrong at times.  Yes, his grass is always greener attitude bothered me.  And of course, as stated earlier, he could have worked harder and been even greater than he was.  But, in the end, Shaq was a monster that gave the Lakers and their fans some of the best years (and playoff performances) that we’ve ever seen.  That’s not opinion.  Look at some of his playoff performances and the impact he had on the court.  I understand many will not agree with me, but it’s where I am with Shaq.  All that said, ask me again after the first time the Lakers play the Celtics this year.

*Over at TrueHoop, Henry Abbott has a great post up where he’s looking at how thinking can get in the way of performing well.  There’s more to it than that, but go over and give it a read.  After I read what Henry wrote (and the article he references in the post) I had so many thoughts about the Lakers.  I thought about game 7 of this past season’s Finals against the Celtics and how everyone seemed to play tight.  It was as if the moment was so big and the players wanted to play so well that they were over thinking the game and it led to nearly every player having a sub par shooting game.  The article also made me think of an interview with Robert Horry and him talking about the art of making clutch shots (you know, like this one) and how the key was not thinking about the moment and just shooting the ball as he normally would.  Anyways, go check out Henry’s post and let me know if you can think of any other Lakers moments that fall into this category.

*And speaking of reading other sites, I’m still always impressed with the high quality work that so many writers put out there when it comes to basketball.  Just in the past couple days, a couple of pieces that I really liked were Eddy Rivera’s post on Tracy McGrady’s wasted prime years in Orlando (and how good T-Mac really was) and Rob Mahoney’s piece on positional revolution in basketball.  Just two excellent pieces of writing that I enjoyed.

*On a side note, still looking for more mailbag questions.  So, send them in as I’m looking to put together another post with answers to questions in the next week.

Darius Soriano

Posts

96 responses to Welcome Back Shannon Brown (And Other Random Thoughts)

  1. I love Kobe, but Shaq’s peak may have been the greatest of all time, let alone better than Kobe’s.

  2. I really think Sasha doesn’t have a conscious. That is why he shoots like he’s made everything when he’s 1 for his last 20.

    That is why he sinks two free throws in a G7 vs the Celtics when he’s done nothing all series.

    I don’t have any solid examples off the top of my head, but I think foreign players have a better tendency to not get “caught up” like Abbot talked about.

  3. Now that Shannon has signed his name on the dotted line, I am at peace with this offseason. The only player praying Brown didnt come back was Sasha. His minutes were already scarce last season, then you add Blake and Barnes into the mix. Its looking like Sasha will be this seasons version of A. Morrison. With no teams apparently willing to acquire Sasha, his fate has been written before he got a chance to prove himself before the sesaon started. I was feeling a little down for the dude, but then I remembered he’s a millionare and dates hot chicks so life cant be alll that bad.

  4. Good to see Brown back in the fold. Now he needs to improve his consistency and decision-making so we can give Kobe more rest. Hopefully playing alongside the more mature and reliable Blake will help in this regard.

    Depth chart:

    Fisher/Blake/Brown
    Bryant/Brown/Vujacic
    Artest/Barnes/Bryant/Ebanks*
    Gasol/Odom/Caracter*
    Bynum/Gasol/Ratliff

    * if/when signed

    Now that’s some real depth, for the first time in a couple of years.

  5. I’m glad Brown is back, but I do wonder if Roger Mason may have been a better fit. He certainly would have been cheaper, ’bout 3 mil cheaper, in fact.

  6. I guess this means we will probably trade Sasha sooner or later, right?

    Poor Sasha. I really thought this could be the year he breaks out because he would have the backup SG position all to himself and not worry about competing for playing time. And it is a contact year. And it looked like it was starting to come together for him towards the end of last year.

    But if Sasha sucked again, we would be in trouble. So I guess signing Shannon as insurance is a smart move.

    And gxs (#3) — I think it was more important to get more athletic than to have an extra 3-point shoooter at this point.

  7. Taylor,
    Haven’t read Abbot’s article yet, but in a lot of cases, foreign players have played for their national teams prior to getting to the NBA. I think there is a lot more pressure there, even though the level of the competition is not as high.

  8. Loving that Brown is back in the fold.

    The Lakers have done a really great job positioning themselves for another title run. I’m liking their chances.

    They are deep, experienced, and stronger than dirt!

  9. Glad SB is back. His athleticism will be sorely needed at some point this season, and he has improved pretty consistently since he came to LA. I kinda hope we trade Sasha so he gets more consistent burn.

    Say what you want about his decision making, but dude has used his athleticism to make game/series changing plays in the playoffs in both seasons in LA. Don’t believe me? How bout 2009 Game 5 WCF.

  10. I hate Shaq (loved the 3 Laker titles, but can’t stand his attitude and his post-Laker actions), but if Shaq’s peak had been extended, he would have been the Greatest Center Of All Time, period.

    As is, I rate him behind only Wilt and Jabbar. And the fact is, Jabbar belongs in the GOAT discussion far more often than he is mentioned.

  11. Re: Barnes vs Brown at SG

    Darius,
    I hate to again be so blunt… (OK that isn’t true ;>) but Shannon Brown just isn’t a very good basketball player. The guy was almost out of the NBA until he was traded to a very thin Lakers roster. Matt Barnes is a guy who has played heavy minutes and started for NBA teams including a very good and deep Magic squad last year. Barnes is indeed a quality ball handler and his turnover ratio will drop just as Artest’s did last season because there are few isolation plays in the triangle. Lets not get fooled by Browns PG height… he is a very poor ball handler and an equally poor pass maker. Barnes is no Magic but he has slightly better guard skills than Shannon Brown. Throw in the fact that the back up SG for the Lakers plays most of his minutes with Lamar Odom who actually plays the guard spot in the offense along with the PG on the floor. So the team needs even less guard skills from the “back up SG.” while needing more defense. And of course we haven’t mentioned the height disadvantage Brown was at last year when he did play SG. But most importantly Barnes is just a better player. It would be a waste of his skills to limit him to 12 minutes a game backing up Ron Artest when he can get his 24 minutes a game backing up both Artest and Kobe.

  12. Scott,
    We have been down that road on this blog many times. Most any of us over 30 will not totally agree with you. Whether it was maximizing his talent or his competition, there are players who rate higher than Shaq at the center position, never mind Laker GOAT.

  13. Welcome back Shannon :D Let’s make sure to hit a dunk over J Rich this year!

    Also: Great link to Rob Mahoney’s positional analysis, Darius. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time too.

    I don’t agree with the Creator must equal Handler idea… the ability to create a shot in offense is too varied to limit it to ball handlers, or more specifically, the first pass. If you think of good passing bigs, you get plenty of Creator-Scorers and Creator-Rebounders, and if you’re really lucky, you get All-Stars like Duncan, or energy guys like Kevin Love, who are Creator-Scorer-Rebounders. In my opinion, Creator/Handler should just be called an Initiator, where the player has good handles, and the ability to start an offense via the pass. After all, shots are also created from offensive systems/off-ball movement, and offensive rebounds. So, for me, players can be classified in only three primary roles: Initiator, Rebounder, Scorer, with sub-classes (or rather, abilities) for Creators and Handlers.

    Talking about basketball this way makes me feel like we’re about to jump into some crazy RPG discussion. And that’s Role Playing Game, not Rebounds Per Game ;)

  14. Bottom line on Shaq, we will never see a player quite like Shaq, just like we’ll never see another Jordan. A one of a kind. Part of the reason his peak was so short was the reason his peak was so great. The man has a HUGE build. Look at Kareem and look at Shaq. One is an ectomorph, one is an endomorph. It made him super dominant when he had the joint strength to explode that 330lbs off the ground, but it took a real toll on his body. Sure, he could have spent more time on the treadmill, but you’d have to be an idiot to think he was capable of keeping his body below 300lbs.

  15. Scott,

    Please don’t bring disrepect to those of us who’ve been using the Scott moniker. Yes, Shaq had some dominant years and you could argue that his postseason play during the 3peat years is worth mentioning with the other all time greats, but I think those of us who’ve seen his lack of conditioning and his constant bickering with management as his tenure with our team soured were put off by this some. That doesn’t take away from 3 straight titles, but to say his peak was better than Kobe is ridiculous. Kobe’s string of 40 point games (in ’03 and again in ’06 or ’07) were something few have ever done. And recall that he averaged 30+ one season with Shaq – with Shaq being the primary offensive option. I admire the Big (insert name) for all that he did while he donned the FB&G, but careerwise Kobe is battling Magic as the greatest Laker of all time.

    Glad SB is back and let’s get ready for title run #3!

    Question – When Kobe’s jersey is retired, does he get 2 jerseys? He did a lot as both #8 & #24. Just curious. Darius – maybe that’s better suited for the next mailbag.

  16. I think it’s a shame that Kareem’s name doesn’t come up more often in GOAT discussions. There’s always talk about how Shaq was one of a kind. Well what about KAJ?

    He had the agility to go past people, the strength to handle almost everyone except Moses, even then, I’d like to have seen a 28 year old KAJ against 80-85 Moses. Kareem was in his mid 30′s at that point of battling a prime MVP Moses and he did decently enough even if Moses could bull through him.

    KAJ was putting up elite numbers at 38 years old. He carried teams as a sole superstar and he was also #1 option as part of all time great teams. Clutch player with an unstoppable shot and played great man and help D.

    Any Bill Russell “he was a winner” argument you want to use, KAJ could hold his own against. Despite all his accolades, I think KAJ is criminally and habitually overlooked in a lot of GOAT discussions.

    Here was a guy blessed with great natural ability who also worked hard to maximize his potential. His biggest fault was his cold persona which stopped many media members from embracing and championing him.

  17. Sorry, but “greatest center of all time” can never be applied to a guy whose career rebounding average is 11 boards/game.

  18. Chownoir,
    KAJ is ignored for much the same reason as Wilt, Kobe, and even Bonds. They didn’t much care for the media. The ‘talking heads’ will never give them much credit, unless they are forced to – See Wilt’s per/game averages, KAJ’s scoring and durability, Kobe’s being Kobe – and even then they will only mention these things in passing. They just don’t like people who don’t kiss their a**es and most fans don’t bother to read farther than the closest column.

    If fans did their homework, these players might get the credit they are due.

  19. Funky Chicken with the zinger! Shaq could have been the greatest player of all time. You hear of guys eating themselves out of the league… well Shaq ate himself out of GOAT discussion. And someone said there will never again be someone like Shaq or Jordan? Well the same was said about Wilt and Dr J. There have only been about 50 real years of NBA basketballk as we know it… something tells me in the next thousand years we will see someone a lot better than Jordan… and I hope I am around to see it ;)

  20. If Shaq had the dedication of Kareem or Hakeem, who knows what his ceiling could have been. I will give Shaq credit for truly marketing himself wherever his career took him, though. He is an entertainer/jokester who just so happened to play in the NBA – and was a great Laker for 8 years. Can’t wait to beat him as a Celtic.

  21. 11- Aaron

    weak argument.

    things Barnes has done:
    -worked his way into the Warriors starting rotation
    -come off the bench for the Magic

    things Brown has done:
    -come off the bench for the Lakers

    Both have come close to being out of the league. Neither are good decision makers or possess superior skills. That’s why they play off the bench for elite teams.

    Brown brings explosive fast break plays and Barnes brings defensive tenacity. And Sasha brings, well, good free throw shooting. Depending on what we need at the time, that’s who will play the 2 off the bench.

    You are right on one point, though. You probably won’t see them both on the floor at the same time while Lamar is running the offense.

  22. Arizona Laker Fan August 5, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Let’s hold on to Sasha until the trading deadline. Give him a chance to battle Shannon as to who will backup Kobe. Yes, I know it’s Shannon’s spot to lose considering PJ preferred him over Sasha last season. Please read Silver Screen and Roll’s July 23, 2010 Player Report Card: Sasha Vujacic. (Sorry, I don’t know how to put that link right now). An excerpt from the report:

    “And that contract is the root of all his problems. After his excellent 07-08 showing netted him a 3-year, $15 million contract, Sasha felt that he needed to expand his game in order to truly earn that contract, and thus started attempting to create off the dribble, and work for his own shot. In doing so, he ended up turning down many threes in favour of drives. This was a major issue, considering Sasha is a highly mental player, and thus his rhythm and confidence greatly influence his ability to shoot.”

    Everything pretty much was downhill for Sasha and his PT was reduced and his confidence was diminished. Just give him a fair chance to rebound and show how he earned his nickname.

    I read from one of the blogs that the Lakers don’t have to pay the Luxury Tax until some point during this next season (maybe close to the end). If Sasha is still with the Lakers past that point, only then will they have to pay the tax from Sasha’s contract.

    If Shannon clearly wins the fight, then trade Sasha and try to get at least something for him. Maybe Sasha will even win the fight and really increase his trade value and he still gets traded anyway to save the Lakers from paying the Luxury Tax.

    (Edited for trade speculation.)
    Overall, I’m ecstatic about all the Laker moves this summer on our quest for the 3-peat. Go Lakers!

  23. I disagree with Josh’s evaluation that Shaq ranks among the league’s best centers ever. (He’s probably only the third-best center ever to play for L.A., let alone the entire NBA.)

    Shaq had the potential to be the best ever, but he just didn’t raise the bar as The New Wilt like many expected he would do coming out of LSU. Great career, but he’s not anywhere close to the best ever.

    That said, I wholly agree with Josh’s other comment (which others echoed) that Kareem belongs in the greatest ever discussion. I’ve said so many times, including mentioning Kareem’s greatness in a post yesterday in response to that ridiculous Jordan article on bettor.com.

    When it’s all said and done, I suspect there will be similar epitaphs written for LeBron’s career and that of Shaq: amazing physical skills, winners of a lot of games and (perhaps for LBJ) a handful of titles. But they just didn’t have that drive to constantly improve, to grab the league by the balls and make it scream for mercy. And because they enjoyed such great physical advantages, people will remember them as much for what they could have done as opposed to what they actually accomplished.

    I’m obviously projecting an opinion into the future based on past details, but my guess is neither’s going to be remembered in the same class as the Captain, Jordan, Bird or Magic — or Kobe.

  24. shannonlover12 August 5, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    I am happy, happy happy that Shannon Brown is back!!! Say what you will, Shannon has our respect,
    our best wishes and our love! He’s just that kind of
    guy. He doesn’t have to be Kobe or Pau or even
    Ron, he just has to be Shannon. And that means
    EXCITEMENT! He explodes on the court, he doesn’t
    run he gallops! And when he launches for the basket,
    our breath is taken away. He can be a bit wild. But that
    only makes for more excitement when he scores.
    NOPE- I’m happy for once this summer! This sumner was the longest one waiting to hear news
    of him signing- it took forever! And I have this to
    say to Buss…. for crying out loud Mr. Buss! You
    couldn’t have given Shannon more??? What a cheapy!

  25. i like that, in the end, we came away with something from the 2006 draft. It wasn’t Jordan Farmar, but Shannon.

    while his skills may not make him perfect for the triangle, his raw athleticism helps us match-up with certain teams.

    my one problem with this signing? I don’t like the fact that the lakers are developing a project like shannon year-to-year.

    arguably, it might have been better to fork over $2M for a draft pick, and start over with a guy that’d be locked up for 5 years.

  26. 2009-10 Shannon is like the smart kid who hangs around the neighborhood thugs and is unduly influenced into something he isn’t.

    Part of the problem was Jordan Farmar’s “get mine” attitude, and that was problematic coming from the point guard, the putative ball-distributor. I can’t even imagine the bench/sideline “Rasputin-esque” conversations with Shannon, “Shannon, you gotta get yours now so you can be a starter next year.” I really believe it was the company around him (Farmar, and a weak bench in general) that really threw off Shannon’s game.

    Now, I’m not saying he’s the next Joe Dumars or some other great player, but I believe the 2010-11 Shannon will be surrounded by the right type of players (Blake, Barnes, Ratliff) who will bring the best out of him. Too many times last year Shannon really played outside of his role. I’m not trying to besmirch Farmar, but his reputation precedes him.

    Brown will be a better player this year, I kind of wished he had signed for 3 years (2 + opt out) because his mind may be on 2011′s free agency period again. But good pickup at a reasonable price. We’ll see his value rise (especially during the NBA doldrum known as Feb-March).

  27. Travis,
    Barnes played 26 minutes a game for a great Magic team and started 58 contests (not counting the playoffs where he started a handful of games) . He played 25 minutes a game with the Suns starting 39 games two years ago.

    Brown had played 9 minutes and 15 minutes a game on Cle followed by 4 minutes a game in Chi and then 11 minutes a game on Cha. With a Laker team with one of the worst PG rotations in the NBA Shannon couldn’t even get time there in LA. He got the majority of his minutes backing up Kobe instead of……… Sasha. Shannon was widely known to be a candidate for Europe before the Lakers traded for him.

    This isn’t a discussion of who the better player is Travis. Every soul knows that is Matt Barnes and it isn’t close. The argument is who is the better fit at “SG.”

  28. I feel we on this site who like to call ourselves intelligent basketball fans are too partial to current Lakers. Next year at this time Barnes will be overrated… just you watch… haha

  29. I’ve written this before, but all you have to know about Kareem’s GOAT candidacy is: Finals MVP in 1971 and 1985. 14 years apart.

    Let’s see someone else pull that off.

    Not to mention more points and MVPs than anyone else.

    Oh, and before he turned pro, his college team went 88-2.

  30. I would be surprised if Brown ends up as more than a journeyman player. My observation is that when someone has been with two teams, and they aren’t interested in keeping them, then the player in question almost always has a limited ceiling. Pretty clearly the rest of the league doesn’t see much potential in Brown, or someone would have offered him a contract at least in the 4M range. This is a reasonable signing, and is better than the alternatives. He is a known factor, with a good attitude, but I don’t see much coming from it long-term.

  31. Since this pretty much closes the door on the front office’s offseason moves, I have to just give Mitch Kupchak his due.

    Mitch and his staff:

    - kept the players they wanted to keep
    - jettisoned the guys who didn’t need to be around
    - added three quality veteran FAs on the cheap
    - drafted two great looking prospects in the 2nd round
    - brought the whole coaching staff back

    Man…remember when season ticket holders were demanding Mitch’s resignation, to his face, at Staples Center “town hall” meetings?

  32. he only thing Mitch could not get done this off season was give Sasha away, no takers, we even offered some cash and first round pick (I believe).
    (crickets)…

    I know this might get edited for trade spec, but hey, it’s the off season, can’t we have JUST a little fun??)

    I heard that NY was trying to move Ronnie Turiaf, and I believe he and Sasha are in the same salary range…
    does anyone know if Sasha would be something the Knicks might be able to use? ie; how are they stacked at SG?

    I’m not even saying we need an extra PF, what i want to see is the infectious energy and spirit that Ronnie brought, and I’d love to see that back.

    why can’t we just do a swap???

  33. jodial,
    I believe the only college game Kareem lost was the one in the Astrodome in 1968 against Elvin Hayes; when he had an eye injury and couldn’t see well.

    Also, his freshman team (1966) – the freshmen were not eligible to play on the varsity team until their sophomore year – beat the varsity; who had won the NCAA title the year before. That was the year the Miners (an all black team) beat Kentucky (an all white team) for the NCAA title. UCLA took care of the remainder of the decade.

    Yes, KAJ – the former Lou Alcindor – has had quite a life. The intellectual killer; some of his accomplishments may never be equaled.

  34. Warren Wee Lim August 5, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Welcome back Shannon Brown (and to me I guess) I was spam filtered over the last 3 weeks or so LOL.

  35. Some of Abdul-Jabbar’s accolades are truly amazing.. seems like there’s some new unbelievable fact to learn every time we discuss his candidacy for GOAT (I didn’t realize that he won Finals MVP 14 years apart until now) I think someone mentioned in a previous thread that his personality wasn’t media-friendly so he was never given the spotlight. The man produced so well so far into his career, it’s mind-boggling. What other player had such longevity and such production? Just looking at his statistics and achievements makes me think that he would definitely rival Jordan for GOAT title if the two started playing around the same time.

  36. Well well, there we go. Glad to be back.

    Thanks Shannon, it seems like your signing was my signing as well.

  37. And for those wondering (not many I’m sure) but I wasn’t able to post here for quite awhile. FBG hates me LOL.

  38. Now I plan to spam the whole place to lead me back to my exile again LOL.

    Thanks Darius for fixing the problem, for awhile there I thought I was Jordan Farmar-ized aka traded to another team/blog.

  39. Some of us have been following and watching the NBA for 5 decades. The GOAT discussion has to be qualified as well as quantified. Do titles determine the GOAT, or do statistics? Is it MVP’s and Allstar appearances?

    Now some people look at the so called modern era as the benchmark for making that determination. A little food for thought? When Oscar Robertson averaged a triple double for an entire season, there were 8 NBA teams. A total of 96 players. So every night you faced the very best 96 players on earth, not the 360+ players face now. Think about it this way, it was like the the second round of the current playoff system every single night. In that context when you look at Wilt’s records, Oscar’s, Bill Russells you get a better idea of the magnitude of their efforts. There weren’t any Minnesota Timberwolves to pad your stats against.

    While i give props to the Jordan’s, Magic’s, Bird’s, Isaiah’s, the Kobe’s. I look at the quality of the opposition night in and night out, I look at Bill Russell who as a player is the GOAT if the GOAT is based on 13 Rings, 11 as a player. (Dude averaged 25 RPG in 165 playoff games as well).

    Wilt, Dude “Averaged 50 pts and 25 RPG over an entire season, for his career he averaged 30 PPG and 23 RPG.

    I wont comment on KAJ because his accomplishments are well chronicled, but if you dare place Shaq in the discussion with the these 3, you are either very young very naive or simply not a student of the game

  40. Shannon is back.

    That ALMOST completes our roster…which is greatly improved from a 2-peat…not easy to do.

    However, with Walton probably out, and Sasha likely to be dealt, even if/when Caracter and Ebanks are signed that leaves us 1 spot for sure (possibly 2) to sign somebody to dress business casual on the sideline and suit up when there’s an injury.

    (Fisher, Kobe, Artest, Pau, Bynum, Blake, Brown, Barnes, Odom, Ratliff, Caracter, Ebanks = 12 w/ Walton = 13)

    IMO that spot should go to a 3rd PG.

    I would love for that PG to be….

    PATTY MILLS.

    Thoughts?

  41. First, I’m also glad to have Shannon back.
    Considering the financial limitations, Mitch did an excellent job this off-season.
    The Lakers bench is now a more veteran group that hopefully plays more within the system and doesn’t give up leads. That’s a good move when going for the third year of a three-peat.
    And that more veteran group hopefully will influence Shannon into playing better and more within his talents.

    Second, concerning the best Laker or player of all time, it’s difficult to discuss because there is so much difference between the 1-2-3 positions and the 4-5 positions.
    I’m going to agree that Kareem is the best Laker and NBA player of all time (to this point) for all the reasons given in previous posts.
    And the fact that a top elite level 4-5 player comes along less often than the same at the 1-2-3 and has more influence on the game.
    In Kareem’s case, the top elite player at the 5 who won 6 rings over 17 years with two teams (meaning he had to start over and build up to a championship level again) and played for 20 years at a high level.

    Kareem’s list of awards and records seems never-ending:
    6 Championships (with 2 teams, his jersey is retired by both teams) (includes 2 against the evil Celtics)
    2 Championships as assistant coach
    6 Season MVPs
    2 Finals MVPs
    19 All-Star games
    10 All-NBA First Team selections
    5 All-NBA Second Team selections
    5 NBA All-Defensive First Team selections
    6 NBA All-Defensive Second Team selections
    NBA Career Points Leader at 38,387
    Rookie of the Year
    3 NCAA Championships

    He played against top centers from Wilt to Moses Malone from the early 70s to the late 80s.
    And one can argue that with fewer teams, the talent he played against on each team was stronger, not as watered down as the current teams.

    If I could choose one player in his prime to start an NBA team, it would be Kareem.

    Thirdly, Shaq.
    Shaq is a great NBA center and helped the Lakers to win 3 rings.
    But I would say that Kareem, Wilt, Russell, and Hakeem are better then Shaq. Shaq would be at the 5th position of best NBA centers.
    He had the physical talent to be higher, but not the mental drive.

    Concerning the fallout of Shaq’s signing with the evil ones, I still think the Lakers should eventually retire his jersey, but not immediately when he retires. They should wait a few years.
    Perhaps wait until Kobe retires and retire Kobe’s jersey first.
    Then retire Shaq’s jersey the following year.

  42. I’m not going to take a side on this argument, but it is laughable to me that people are just dismissing Scott’s argument that Shaq had a better peak than Kobe out of hand. Despite Shaq’s laziness he posted 8 seasons better than Kobe’s BEST season measured by PER.

    Statistically however you want to shake it (Win shares, PER etc) Kobe has never had even close to as good a season as Shaq in his prime.

    I don’t want to weigh in on who’s prime was better, because not everything is statistics and you could make an argument either way. However it is absolutely BANANAS to dismiss Scott’s argument as ridiculous Gr8 Scott. Seriously have some respect for Shaq at least.

    I don’t even like Shaq, all this revisionist history in Laker Land re: Shaq just pisses me off!

  43. On Shaq:

    Why is this guy routinely referred to as funny, intelligent and sympathetic?

    Does he come across that way to all of you?

    I know he often tells jokes, but that doesnt make someone funny. I find him arrogant, self-centred and his comments often seem dim-witted and stupid.

    Maybe it has to do with me not being American… I dont know.

  44. it might be naive to compare the accomplishments of shaq to those great players, but please agree that shaq in his prime would´ve killed those players one on one.

    obviously, thats not the most important fact, but still: shaq was as dominant as it can possibly get.

  45. Oh… and on Shannon.

    I too believe he will be a better player by benching it out with bad-ass Barnes and smart-conservative Blake.

    Even if Farmar didnt have any bad off-court influence on Shannon, then I think their games meshed really poorly.

    The team can afford to have one rash and unpolished super athlete on the floor… and I am glad that it is Shannon.

    On the other hand… I would mind to see this kid play in Europe. Imagine the youtube-footage that could create.

  46. With the great Shan WOW back in the fold, I find myself once again really liking this Laker team. Until ShanWOW’s thumb injury, he had elements of all aspects of his game working. I’m certain that the coaches feel that they can further develop his upside while Kobe takes more much needed rests on the bench than last year.

    Against Boston, I look forward to ShanWOW’s posterizing dunk over a once familiar presence at the Staples Center.

    It also might be interesting to imagine a blowout “super taco” lineup that would team ShanWOW with Character and Ebanks–making the slow moving Thunder look over the hill.

  47. @Dom, you raise an interesting point regarding less teams and less players. However, this also meant that it was easier for teams to win titles as the season and playoffs were not as long. In fact, the top teams like Boston had 1st round byes.

    Also, players were shorter, smaller, and less athletic than today. It was easier to score and rebound for tall players like Wilt and Russell because the lane for part of their careers was 4 feet narrower, and with no 3-point line, the object of the game was to get a shot off as close to the basket as possible. Shorter shots meant shorter rebounds, making it easy for tall centers to rebound. Also, the game was played at a faster pace, meaning more rebounding opportunities. There’s a reason why the best NBA big men today only average 12-14 rpg. I think it’s safe to say that if Wilt and Russell were playing today, they would average about those numbers, rather than 22-23 rpg.

    Watching video of all the greats, it is obvious that Wilt’s offensive repertoire wasn’t nearly as good as players like Kareem, Hakeem, Robinson, Ewing, and yes even Shaq. I also feel that Russell is very overated. Winning doesn’t automatically make you the best, or else we would give undue props to Robert Horry, Sam Jones, or Hondo. The best way to measure a player is winning along with their offensive AND defensive games. Russell won and was stellar on defense, but he was mediocre at defense. 44% FG, 56% FT, 15 ppg when he was more athletic and taller than just about everyone else (with HOF teammates that should have made the game easier for him)–is not convincing to even put him in the top 10 IMO.

  48. You can’t compare the stats of players from one era to those from another era with any accuracy, because the context has completely changed. Rule changes, the way the refs call the rules, the quality of player when they get to the league, conditioning levels, international players, number of black players in the league, etc. And looking at Russell’s rings without considering his team is pointless, as well.

  49. i have conflicting feelings about shaq’s career.

    on the one hand, what really irks me was that he was satisfied with where he was as a player. in stark contrast to kobe, he seemed like a guy who couldn’t be bothered to improve himself, hone his skills, increase his repetoire.

    on the other hand, the guy has probably taken more punishment than any big man ever, with regard to fouls. so i admire him for enduring all of that abuse and injustice.

  50. In my previous post, I meant Russell was mediocre at offense.

  51. Read what exhelodrvr said again.

    Russell wasn’t a poor scorer, ala Dudley, but the key ingredients he added to the Celtics was rebounding, outlet passes, and defense, defense, defense. He could score – look at his averages – however, also you have to look at his teammates. Their jobs were to score as a team, and they certainly did. Similarly Magic could score, but his main job was to distribute the ball. Neither of them were going to win any scoring titles, but that wasn’t their job on those teams.

    For you youngsters, you do have a point about today’s athletes being better conditioned, better coached, and having better (any) medical staffs. There were good coaches – Aurbach, and such – but there were bums also. The old timers had to have 2nd jobs because basketball simply didn’t pay all the bills, therefore they also couldn’t exclusively devote their time to the game – actually, neither do most modern players, aka Shaq.

    This means there were fewer really good players in those days, but Dom is correct about their being almost 1/4 the number of players as today. This does mean the nightly battles were wars – more hated rivalries. Think about what happens in any sport in the years after there is any significant expansion – the quality is really watered down until we get used to it.

  52. @Craig W – 44% FG and 56% FT for any center is poor offensively, especially one that didn’t score much (easier to shoot a higher percentage with less shots) and given the smaller players, smaller lane, etc…

    I’ve watched full games Russell played and have seen how he was not that great on offense.

  53. Let’s just give Shaq his due for what he actually accomplished, not what he could have been or what he should have done. I’m so over him already. For his own sake, wish he could simply retire with dignity. His numbers during the championship runs were simply astounding. But Shaq’s career is a cautionary tale of what happens when you take talent for granted.

    Still, my favorite post-Laker Shaq moment was when Bynum dunked on him. I thought that was a precursor of things to come. Bynum is still young, and I hope that his body allows him to achieve long-term success.

  54. Don’t care for Shaq’s signing with Boston as an LA fan, although he might cause disruption there like has for about every team he’s been on.

    However, O’Neal is probably a top-10 player in NBA history and his jersey has to be retired somewhere. He spent 8 seasons in LA, twice as long as anywhere else. He also had his most dominant time as a player with LA–some of the best years ever for ANY player. For these reasons, LA should retire his jersey.

  55. Count me among those who think that Shaq’s peak was higher than Kobe’s.

    And among those who think Kareem’s greatness has been criminally forgotten. There were some outliers who liked Wilt or Russel, but Kareem was every bit the consensus GOAT then that Jordan is now.

    I am as conflicted regarding Shaq as many are, but in terms of what actually happened on the court, he was just so dominant while he was a Laker. I have to say that if I had the first pick of any Laker ever for one single playoff run, it would have to be Shaq at his peak. If it were for a whole career, it would be Kareem.

  56. JR – we can agree to disagree. I’m not taking anything away from Shaq’s accomplishments. I’m simply saying that he left a bad taste in many fan’s mouths with how he left.

  57. Ethan,
    I am not saying Russell was an offensive force, by any measure, but be careful throwing around statistics to prove your points. You have to actually go back and look at the games – very hard when there is no film – to see how he scored when necessary, but wasn’t either a shooter or scorer. Russell scored when the chips were on the table and there was no alternative, but normally there were several alternatives and he was responsible for keeping the other team off the boards and starting the famous Boston fast breaks.

    All this from a 60yr Laker fan – oooooh how he/they really hurt us.

    Just because Shaq was a top player – I will dispute that he belongs in the top 10 – doesn’t mean his jersey has to be retired at some arena. A fabulous nomad – which Shaq was – may not have done enough at any one place to retire his jersey. That said, I do think his jersey will eventually be retired in Staples Center, but I surely hope it will not go up until several years after Kobe’s goes up there.

  58. The reason people say Shaq is Unique when it comes to centers is that he was a true center. That is why he always led the league in shooting percentage. Centers are meant to play in the middle to dunk, pund the boards and protect the paint. Kareem shot 15 foot sky hooks thats why you have power forwards. Shaq is definately the most dominate center to play the game. Chanberlin was good and Russell was good, but they palyed in an ERA where there were only a few seven footers. Shaq plays in a league wher 70% centers are 7 footers. As foe being better than Kobe. Shaq could not win Orland, he did not win until he teamed with Kobe same in Miami with Wade. We need to be saying him and Kobe were great together and they had a great supporting cast, take Derrick fisher and rick fox out of those taems and see what they do. Here is the difference Kobe and Shaq both proved they cnt win unless they have another super star. Shaq worked the inside and Kobe worked the out side. Her is why I think Kobe surpasses him a little. The year Kobe had Kwame Brown for a center and smush parker for a gaurd you cant name any other players on that team. Kwame and Parker were terible but he took them to the playoffs that is incredible due to the fact they played in the west not the Weak east. And look how many games he won with that team. Give shaq that same team and he doesnt get to 500.

  59. Regarding the dilution of talent between Russell’s era and today, I wonder if it’s as great as it first appears given the difference in the number of teams between then and now. While we have more teams today, the talent pool is also bigger, especially since the NBA is now recruiting globally.

    I also wonder if the percentage of kids in the U.S. playing organized basketball is greater today than at that time.

    In any case, while the NBA has more teams today, there also may be a bigger pool to choose from.

  60. Let me clarify something RE Shaq’s peak and Kobe’s peak. The reason why I even threw Kobe’s name in there (and mentioned that I’m talking about the past 10 -15 years and not just their stint on the Lakers together) is because at *his* peak, Kobe scored 81 points in a game and is considered (by me at least) to be the purest scorer of his generation. Unlimited range on his jumper with refined moves from nearly every position on the floor with a great ability to get to the rim and finish in the paint. He’s lost some of that explosion over the years, but we’re talking peaks. Also, Kobe’s been an all league defender for most of his career. Whether you want to say he’s been placed on the All-D team off merit or reputation is not as important to me as the fact that, when absolutely needed, Kobe is one of the best defensive wings in the world with the ability to guard multiple positions effectively. He’s also shown the ability to rebound and pass at an extremely high level. Ultimately, he’s shown that he has a well rounded, all court game that can be deployed at the highest of levels. So, when talking peaks, Kobe is right there.

    All that said, it’s hard to compare big men to guards specifically because of skill sets and roles. This is why in mythical GOAT arguments there really isn’t a right answer. Different positions affect the game in different ways that are tough to measure against eachother. I mean, is it more important to be a lock down defender on the wing that blankets opposing scorers by contesting jumpers, denying dribble penetration, and denying passes to a fabulous shooter OR is it better to defend the paint by blocking/contesting/deterring shots, denying post entries, rebounding, and covering up for guard’s mistakes on penetration? Comparisons like that can be made in nearly every facet of the game with no correct answer – just a preference. And that’s all a GOAT argument is – Preference.

    One last note on Shaq: outside of his basketball talent (which was massive) what the man had was charisma. People liked him. There’s the old Wilt quote about people not rooting for Goliath…but people rooted for Shaq. And while that rooting interest faded as he burned bridges, it doesn’t change the fact that every new place that he went the fans of that new team embraced him for all the same reasons that his old fans did originally. He had charm. And on a side note, this is why many sided with Shaq (or Jordan) in any debate about Kobe…but I digress as I’m so far off topic now that I’m no longer sure where I started.

  61. Not sure if this is old news, but i’m just wondering how serious these ‘talks’ are with the Lakers. If indeed Dixon gets a camp invite, and somehow makes the team, how does he fit in? can’t be at the back up PG since Fisher and Blake are there. Was he just a back-up plan in case Shannon didn’t sign? If not, will he be Sasha’s replacement if indeed he is traded?

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=16983

    Now that the lakers have 12 vets on the roster, will the two rookies (Ebanks and Caracter) still have a good chance at being signed? Lakers still need one more big body to replace Powell.

  62. In the discussion of “most dominant”, I think the only two players who can be considered are Chamberlain and Mikan.

  63. Did any of you catch this ESPN article about Pau’s long-held and continuous interest in medicine? Some guys spend the off-season partying, Pau spends it watching spinal surgery

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=friend_tom&page=drgasol-100806

    ” Not only was Gasol attentive, but he noticed some of Isabelle’s vertebrae had slightly more bend in them than they should have. He alerted the doctor, who corrected it.”

    Pau Gasol is hands-down the most skilled big-man in the league. =)

  64. Pau Gasol’s parents are both doctors and he was raised in an intellectual and questioning environment. When you are smart it helps to be raised in a supportive atmosphere.

  65. 61. (kswagger). The date of the article was 8/3, two days before ShanWow re-signed. I think Dixon may have been one of many SG replacements the Lakers were in contact with.

    Also, what is the biggest $$$ making phrase this summer? Not the “Decision,” but rather “I have been in contact with Lakers representatives.” That phrase is akin to the Lakers’ imprimatur that the player is worthwhile to be sought after by a two-time champ. Dixon/Blake backcourt would be interesting, but only if they were back in Maryland, and in the early 2000s.

  66. Darius, I agree with everything you say about Kobe, and the difficulty of comparing bigs and wings, and while acknowledging that numbers aren’t everything, consider that in the finals against Indiana, Shaq’s point totals for the six games were 43-40-33-36-35-41 on 61% shooting while he grabbed almost 17 boards and had 2.67 blocks per game.

    For all of his brilliance, Kobe has never dominated like that.

  67. 27- Aaron

    I’m not being partial towards Brown. Backup SG will be a shared role, similar to all of our guard rotations, depending on the matchups. Of course Barnes will get some time at both the 2 and the 3, same way Brown will probably get burn at the 1 against big PG’s like Deron Williams. It’s all about matchups when Phil goes to his bench.

    What I do dispute is your assessment of Brown as “not a very good player”. Not sure what your barometer of a good player is, but if you’re gonna put Barnes and Brown on opposite sides of the “good player” conversation, I think you’re way off. Kupchak wouldn’t have gone after Brown if he wasn’t a good player.

    And the jab at “people who consider themselves intelligent basketball fans” was a bit condescending, chief.

  68. Oh goddamnit Travis. Sometimes I really feel like Stewie in the Surfin’ Bird clip from Family Guy.

  69. quetzpalin,
    Even Jordan didn’t dominate like that. That is the reason teams and coaches keep trying to get big men to fill their front lines. That’s why Phil Jackson took the Laker job in the first place – at last he would have a premier big man to run the offense through. Big men are able to simply control the game around them in a more noticeably dominant fashion.

    That is one reason Jordan was so celebrated. He came as close to dominating games from the 2 spot – rather than from the center position – as any non-center in history. Of course, before he could do this he also had to have a tremendous player added to his team (Scotty Pippen) – a fact that is often conveniently forgotten when discussing Jordan.

  70. Travis,
    Obviously you haven’t been conversing much with Aaron on this blog.

    Zephid, that was just too funny. I keep laughing and laughing just thinking back on it.

  71. Travis,
    “Kupchak wouldn’t have gone after Brown if he wasn’t a good player.”

    In today’s league, how many “good” players make less than 3M per year (not counting those still on a rookie contract)? And how many other teams showed interest in this particular “good” player?

  72. well, as a Laker fan who grew up in Sacramento, I always said I couldn’t stand the Kings because of their fans. now that I live in LA, have been around some of the sports bars, and have browsed the nonsense on this blog for a while, I can say I’m a Laker fan in spite of their fans.

  73. #73. “nonsense” huh? We don’t always agree here and some have less popular takes than others, but I’m not sure I would classify what’s here as nonsense, Travis.

  74. #72. exhelodrvr,
    Are you saying that Shannon isn’t a good player?

  75. Darius,
    Relative to the other players in the league, that is correct. Brown is a below-average NBA player.

  76. -The ongoing starting PG debate
    -The current Shaq vs Kobe debate
    -Last season’s Trevor vs. Ron Artest debate
    -Debating who should be Kobe’s backup, when we just re-signed the guy who filled that role last year.

    Dont’ get me wrong, the articles are cool, but the commentary is mind-numbing.

  77. Hmmm…is the summer heat getting to all of us? The doldrums of summer ringing in all of our ears? It seems that over the past two or so weeks some here have been on shorter fuses than usual.

    What happened to the days of playful “Lord of the Rings” analogies and united criticims of the Heat? Long past as we’ve now moved onto criticizing our MUCH improved roster. It’s really fortunate to be able to say that your team has gotten better every year for the last 4+ years. I think (whether some classify any number of our players as good/bad/somewhere in between) we have improved on a roster that won it all the past two seasons. It’s just really difficult for me to make any condescending arguement towards anything “Lakers.” Call me an optimist, or happily jaded…but it works for me. ; )

    But…don’t anyone stop posting. It gives me something to read. If it requires some bickering as well as well-thought out quips and passionate arguements…I’m game, it’s August!

  78. @77 – Isn’t everything you just listed still topics of conversation so why would we just up & stop conversing about them?

    As for the starting PG, why would we not discuss it as it’s been something we’ve discussed all last season and now that we have Blake wouldn’t the conversation only intensify?

    Ariza vs. Artest – Both won titles with LA so it’s easy to see how the debate on “which was a better fit” is easily still discussed.

    Same could be said for the other things you listed. Plus it’s August, not like there’s a lot of breaking news in the NBA to discuss. No doubt in my mind comments will pick up once the schedule is released as we can all discuss which team might be our 1st loss and etc, etc.

  79. Re: Barnes vs Brown

    I’ll be the guy who brings in some stats. (all via 82games.com)

    Barnes
    Over the past 3 years (GS, PHO, ORL), Barnes logged 0%, 2%, and 0% of all available minutes at SG. Interestingly. he has logged 26%, 21% and 2% of minutes at PF. Last year he had 50% of Orlando’s SF minutes.
    So for the past few years, he has played a lot at SF and even PF in small ball line-ups (not surprising considering the teams and his rebounding rate).
    Past three years he had a PER of 14.5, 14.0, and 15.9 at SF. All solid.

    ShanWow
    Past two years (all with the Lakers) Brown got 3% and 35% of available minutes at SG. He has had 0% and 3% at PG.
    The really interesting thing to me is how much better Brown is when playing SG. He has a solid PER of 17.0, 14.2 the past 2 years at SG. Over twp years, Brown’s average Net PER at SG is 1.8, compared to -11.4 at PG.

    Overall
    My point is not to talk about who is an overall better player. But, the numbers prove that Barnes is at his best as a SF, and Brown is at his best at a SG.
    I think Darius’ point about Brown’s role is accurate, especially if Phil wants to put both players in a position to succeed.

  80. If Arenas can’t be moved in Washington will it open up Hinrich to be traded for, uh I don’t know, an expiring contract and a player who may never play again thus giving them some financial relief? I would welcome Ronny back with open arms if NY is indeed that stupid.

  81. Oh yeah, Welcome Back ShanWoW!!! With a couple minor tweaks we will be ready for anything that Miami can throw at us for the next three years. We are already primed for the three-peat without question. An insurance big to play the blowout games (we want to preserve Theo for games we need him and tune-ups) or an eventual replacement for Fish (no bashing him, I’m just saying) and we will be good to go.

  82. I still say we should invite Crit to camp.

  83. With the Lakers, Boston, and Miami as stacked as they are I am willing to wager that there will be at least six games where an opponent is beaten by at least 40 points.

  84. I agree with you 100% Craig W. I’ve been saying the same thing. Let the three kids sit, watch, and learn.

  85. The problem I have with Shaq in a greats of the game discussion, particularly compared to Jordan and Kobe, is his terrible free throw shooting.

    During crunch time during their three-peat Phil Jackson would often take Shaq out of games to prevent Shaq from taking and missing too many free throws. Without the dependability of Kobe, Fisher abd others at the line during those times, the Lakers could easily be 0 for 3 instead of 3 for 3.

    I am a huge fan of Kareem, and believe strongly that he belongs in any GOAT discussion. He did take the high pressure, must get a basket NOW shots his entire career.

    And like it or not, He played Center not Power Forward. He played most of the time on the low blocks, either right or left, back to the basket rather than facing, and scored on EVERYBODY. He also defended Centers primarily and held his own against them.

  86. People are quick to forget what Shaq did in the finals against the Piston where the Lakers were crushed. Kobe was shutdown by Prince his fg% .381 3pt fg%.174 was horrid. Shaq was still in his prime and was unstoppable that series, his fg% was .631… Folks .631% for a finals series is ridiculous. Shaq changed the franchise and his four straight years of playoff dominance, more importantly finals dominance was incredible.

  87. #88.

    Obviously you are a stats guy, and I’m not sure you watched that series closely or followed it at all. If you havent, watch each game again, and look how the Pistons designed their defensive scheme. It was not to double Shaq. It was to stop everyone elso, especially Kobe, with double and help out with KB. If Shaq was such a dominant force that series, he would have lifted the team to victory. Very shallow observation and basis for your conclusions. Also, the Lakers didn’t get to 4 straight finals… they lost to the Spurs in the WC Semis in 2003.

  88. Matt (88)
    This is the one spot where stats can lie. The Pistons had little respect for Shaq that series after he had his first human season since entering the NBA averaging under 22 points per game. They single covered him the entire series instead deciding to double and triple team Kobe whenever he touched the ball.

    Whoops… after I typed ths I then saw that “kswagger” wrote what I did. Lol. Sorry.

  89. Shannon could develop into a Jason Richardson(Both MSU),very athletic with a decent 3pt shot. He needs to work on his handles, now below average for a guard.

  90. I’m surprised there were no comments on the McGrady article. I think McGrady’s situation in Orlando was very similar to Kobe’s prior to the Pau trade. Including the almost first round wins over the Pistons and Suns respectively. I think Kobe has been the better player through out, but my Laker bias may have impacted my thought-process :) I still don’t think Kobe gets enough credit for carrying Smush, Kwame, Luke and the pernially underwhelming Odom into the playoffs in the loaded west.

    and I agree with ex in that all this brouhaha about ShanWow is a tad unnecessary. Dude is a below average player who has found a good situation with the Lakers.

    I wish we could get our hands on Rudy. Is there a better fit for the Lakers today? Add him to the mix and we have the perfect back-court mate/backup for Kobe – immediately improving our offense, depth and athleticism.

    Getting Barnes, Blake and Ratliff had very little to do with Mitch and almost everything to do with the chance to compete for a ring. Fish didn’t exactly give him a ringing endorsement either, almost making it sound like he stayed on inspite of management, and not because of it. Getting Rudy? Now that would be the handiwork of a great GM!!

    Make it happen Mitch!!!

  91. Very glad to have Shannon Brown back. Great athlete. Hopefully he will continue to work on his outside shot. The Laker bench has rounded out and looks much better. Good job Mitch.

  92. As far as shaq being the most dominate big man ever. He is kidding himself. Seems i remember Hakeem having a fee good years. Seems i remember moses Malone having a few good years. Seems jabbar had more than a few good years. Lets not forget russell and chamberlain. Shaq was a great player, thats basically it. He was not a clutch player. The only award i would give him is most dominate of his era. Other than that we might have well called him the Big Wifey cuz all he did was complain and bi$ch.

  93. I don’t know how you can disagree with the comments on Shaq. He was great for the Lakers. He was the greatest big of his era, possibly ever. His playoff performances were insane. His regular season performances were pathetic for what he could have done (1 MVP, 1 rebounding title???). He did not fulfill his potential. He was a slacker. He had attitude problems. He burned bridges. These are indisputable facts.

    As Lakers fans, however, we cannot forget 3 NBA titles. He brought us out of the post-Magic depression era. He carried the City on his shoulders. But then, he and Kobe dropped us just as abruptly. Shaq then ripped the Lakers and us, his fans as he left for Miami.

    Now, he has joined the Celtics. He could have joined many other teams that wanted him that are contenders. But he chose the Celtics, and as Lakers fans, we also cannot forget this when we look back on Shaq years from now. No one on the Lakers rafters ever played for the Celtics, I don’t know how this can change.