Fast Break Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  August 23, 2010

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant celebrates defeating the Boston Celtics at the end of Game 7 to win the 2010 NBA Finals basketball series in Los Angeles, California June 17, 2010 .   REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

With a lull in legitimate Lakers’ news, time to take another look around the league and sprinkle in some other random thoughts…

*I don’t know about you, but for some reason I’m always interested in what’s going on with former Lakers – especially when they sign with other teams.  So, you better believe I had a reaction when I heard that Michael Jordan is offering a second chance to Kwame Brown.  Obviously, it’s easy to snicker when reading that MJ – the guy that made Kwame the #1 overall pick in his draft – is taking a flyer on Kwame.  But honestly, I think this is a good signing.  The Cat’s need a defensive big man and that’s exactly what Kwame is.  And considering Kwame is signing for the vet’s minimum, there’s little to no risk here.  I think this is the rare case when something that is actually kind of comical turns out to be pretty practical too.

*Doc Rivers is still saying his starting 5 is undefeated in a playoff series.  Okay.  As has happened a lot over the years, I agree with Kurt Helin on this one.

*With Kevin Love banged up and Coach K fiddling around with his lineups on Sunday (Rajon Rondo and Danny Granger both got DNP-CD’s) our own Lamar Odom got the start at Center for Team USA vs. Spain.  I must say that while Odom is over-matched when defending true big men like Marc Gasol one on one in the post (many are, so no shame there), LO continues to show that he’s a very good fit for the FIBA style of play.  The up and down nature of the game and the need to be good on the P&R on both offense and defense suits LO perfectly and I’m glad that he’s getting a second chance to rep the U.S.  I thought that LO did a very good job of filling the lane on the fast break, hedging and recovering on the P&R, and setting those barely legal drag screens for the U.S. guards.  In fact, it was one of LO’s screens that freed up Rose to get a big bucket down the stretch on Sunday.

*When forecasting next season, nearly everybody is picking the Lakers to win the West (via TrueHoop).  So you know, I was one of the folks on the panel and I too picked LA to win the West.  Not sure who the 5 people are who chose a different team, but in all honesty I do believe the Rockets and the Thunder are the two next best teams out West for this upcoming season so I can see the logic.  I’m not as high on Dallas, but if Chandler plays well and stays injury free they’ll be better than last season’s outfit that won 55 games (whether that translates into more wins, though, I’m not convinced).

*Anyone else watch Entourage?  I can’t decide if I like this season or not.  I’ve always said that the show is better when not everything is going well for all the characters, but things seem a bit forced this year.  I’d love some other takes on this.

*I know that football season is starting up and that means a big portion of my Sunday’s will be focused on the grid iron.  I re-upped in my fantasy leagues this year and hope to do better than my middle of pack finishes from last season.  I bring all this up because I also play fantasy hoops every year and wanted to know if you guys would like to get a FB&G fantasy hoops league going.  Obviously we’re a ways off from the season starting, but I bet we could manage to put togther a couple of points leagues with the highest score from all the entries taking home the bragging rights.  Let me know in the comments and I’ll weigh if it’s possible as the season approaches.

Darius Soriano

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  1. Well.. our starting five has also not lost to the Celtics in a series…. How quickly (and conveniently) he forgets that Bynum was out and Ariza was like 30% healthy.

    So, both “starting 5’s” are undefeated, no?


  2. This season’s Entourage blows goat nuts. The show’s really lost a lot of its lustor and I’m quite pleased to find that next season (a shortened one at that), will be its last.

    It’s no longer fun and I think that happened when the entourage started to no longer be the entourage…

    As for the basketball stuff, Doc River needs to keep it moving. ‘Cuz hey, the Celtics have never beaten the Lakers when Bynum was on the floor. Are Lakers fans crying about that? No, because the only games that count are the games that you play!


  3. I always felt bad for K. Brown, I think it always comes back to he didnt draft himself #1. He had potential to be a good NBA player, but for some reason it just didnt play out that way.I read people bashing him about stuff that happened when he was in LA at a very unstable time. His skillset wasnt great when he arrived, so to expect him to become some All-Star only because he played with Kobe is a little unfair. Mbenga everybody loved, but he was as unfocused and undisciplined as Brown was on the court.

    If K. Brown had been drafted in the late first round or second round, would the animosity still be the same?


  4. Count me in for a fantasy league if you end up doing it, as long as it is competitive!


  5. @DirtySanchez – The guy’s got tens of millions of dollars in his bank, I’m not feeling bad for him and neither should anybody else. I don’t think Brown was ever meant to be anything more than a serviceable backup centre in this league. The only difference had he been drafted lower would be that he made less money.


  6. The photo says it all: Kobe celebrating, and Rivers walking off the floor frustrated with his hands on his hips.

    I wanted to scream when I read that BS comment after the Finals, and the fact that he’s still playing the card is just a joke.

    I can hear the Boston fans now: “We would have won it all in ’87 and ’88 had Len Bias not have snorted some coke.” “We’d have won every title in the ’90s had Bird not hurt his back.” Hell, Simmons still loves to mention McHale’s injury as though that cost the Celtics in ’87.

    It’s just Boston — they whine and twist facts as easily as they mispronouce the word “car.” You have to learn to ignore it.


  7. I’ve wondered a couple of times how Kwame would have done if he had gotten more nurturing ala Bynum. By most accounts Kwame’s confidence and psyche was completely destroyed by MJ. I don’t think Kwame has the same work ethic and fire as Bynum. But certainly he could have been a lot better than what he is now if he had gotten the right grooming.


  8. #5 Greg My sympathy was not based upon what he takes home on a paycheck, it was LA fans high expectations for a player who had done nothing in Washington before coming to LA. To expect otherwise and then bash on him till this day is what made me feel for the dude.

    #6 Chownoir Good point, if Kwame wouldnt have had to be a savior with a bad franchise and made to take the fall for MJ’s faults in the draft.


  9. All the nurturing in the world wouldn’t have improved Kwame’s hands. Kind of liked the guy when he was here, well spoken, had some good games, and of course some bad ones. Good backup center, just look for him to get second chance hoops..


  10. Doc can talk all he wants. This is what I know:
    Their starting five hasn’t been our starting five and vice versa. That’s been beaten to death. During that time, we have two rings and they only have one.

    Here’s another pearl:

    Their starting 5 did have a chance to beat our starting 5 for the ring. During game 6 (Celts up 3games to 2) they didn’t seal the deal. Sorry Doc, you’re just wrong.


  11. Aw, man, really? Another hater of this season of Entourage? All my friends feel like you do, Greg, but not me. I’m LOVING this season. The only thing I’m not a huge fan of is Vince on drugs. Entourage has always had a way of making even the biggest problems simply disappear. They’re not going to be able to do that with a drug addiction. You can’t simply have a studio head die on a golf course, or the girl threatening to sue change her mind to get out of that situation. I almost feel like the drug situation is too “big” or maybe too “real” for the fantasy world of Vince and the gang.

    Also, how did Eric end up marrying Emmanuelle Chriqui and we don’t get anymore screen time out of her? She’s hot as hell. Way hotter than Sasha Grey.

    As always, everything will work out for the boys. What we judge this season by will ultimately be HOW the writers bring us back to la-la land where everything is fine. I think they all need to fail a little at the same time to remember why they’re an entourage to begin with.


  12. Yeah I can’t get past this:

    “They still have not beaten our starting five. Our starting five against the Lakers starting five has a ring.”

    Does he not remember Bynum not playing? Geez. Selective memory much?


  13. entourage is forced. had 2 great eps.. the 2nd last one and the one 2 weeks before that.
    its just strained.. every character has a problem.. sasha grey is annoying as and they are just forcing it too hard with vince.
    i think next ep things will recover
    the movie will be dope tho


  14. I’m in if we’re doing any kind of fantasy stuff. I’m sure Doc Rivers is too, since he is still living there.

    I have nothing against him saying that his starting five has not lost a playoff series. They need all the motivation, all the affirmation and pep talk they need in order to grind through another full season and playoffs. They’ll also need Ubuntu, and maybe they’ll need to conjure up some more fighting words as well.

    But really, is that a wise thing to say as a coach? You’re basically saying your bench screwed it up for you, or at least that they are not good enough. Of course it’s probably true on both counts, but I probably wouldn’t want to be on record emphasizing that my starters are irreplacable and championship worthy while the rest of my team isn’t.


  15. I’m in for fantasy.

    I wouldn’t sell the Mavs short. They now have a full training camp with Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, plus they added Tyson Chandler and kept all their meaningful parts. If Chandler is healthy, the Mavs will have depth at C that they’ve never had before, with two guys that will do the dirty work leftover by Nowitski, who actually isn’t that bad of a rebounder or defender. Not good, but not horrendous. Meanwhile, they’ve got Roddy Beaubois, Kidd, and Terry as the backcourt rotation (with a sprinkling of JJ Barea), Butler and Shawn Marion on the wings, and Dirk at the 4. I think the Mavs will be better next year, if only because they’ll have a full training camp with Butler and Haywood, and more minutes for Beaubois.

    If you’re high on Houston, you pretty much have to be high on Dallas, because the likelihood of Tyson Chandler being healthy is about the same as the likelihood of Yao Ming and Kevin Martin being healthy.

    Lastly, I wouldn’t jump on the OKC bandwagon just yet. Their three best players, top scorers, and top defenders, Durant, Green, and Westbrook, played every single game last season. The Thunder are very thin without those three, especially in the scoring department, considering they combined to score over 60% of the Thunder’s total points. Think of it this way: Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook both scored more points than Pau Gasol last year. That’s how much that team depends on those three.

    A year ago, everyone said that the Blazers would be the biggest challenger to the Lakers, citing the fact that they were a young team with a good young leader, their role players would grow, and their team would get more experience. But as it turned out, their key players got hurt, all of their role players regressed, and they finished with fewer wins than last year.

    Speaking of Portland, I’m high on them this year. They went through a lot of crap last year, but played through it with pride. If they even have a semblance of health next year, they will be a top 4 seed in the West.


  16. Zephid, I think you’re spot on.


  17. I agree, the OKC bandwagon is getting mighty heavy. I think they’ll do better than their 8th seed but wont get homecourt in the playoffs.

    Denver (if Melo stays), Portland, Houston and Dallas are all better IMO.


  18. Zephid, I completely agree. The toughest leap to make (whether for a team or a player) is from very good to great, and I’m not convinced OKC has the pieces to do it yet. Their frontcourt is scrappy but smallish and their outside shooting is suspect outside of Durant. As things stand, I think they need major breakout years from both Ibaka and Harden to even think about contending for the conference crown, assuming they don’t have any serious injuries.

    I’m also on board with you on Portland. Not only are they deep (though not as much as before), talented, and tough, but they also match up well with the Lakers. Camby-Aldridge-Oden-Przybilla is the best collection of bigs in the West outside of ours. Batum is the type of player that can give Kobe trouble. Roy is lethal. Bayless is a quick PG and we all know what that means. Plus there’s that Rose Garden crowd… If they’re healthy I wouldn’t be looking forward to facing them in a playoff series.


  19. I haven’t played fantasy hoops in a couple seasons since my last league broke up, but I’d love to get back in it.

    tbh when I saw that ESPN poll I thought some people were smoking something. OKC? Sure they will improve, but from #8 to #1 in the West with Houston and Portland due to come back strong?

    They’ve only added a couple rookies and Daequan Cook, so any improvement they see will be because their young guys improved, and I don’t see such an incredible leap that they dethrone us especially given that we’ve gotten better. Add in their general healthiness (and our relative lack of it last season) and the fact that they’re stuck in a very competitive division (besides MIN) and I still see them in the bottom half of the bracket next year.


  20. 18. (Joel) That’s why we got Blake to spill the beans about Portland, and divulge the hidden location of the Lakers’ kryptonite at the Rose Garden.

    I think the Miami cHEAT presents a new challenge to Kobe, which most great athletes need as fuel to their fire. Sure, winning a three-peat is usually motivation enough, but to win against a team that was formed specifically to defeat the Lakers, even sweeter.


  21. DY – don’t know why I haven’t seen that nickname for the Heat before, but I like it.



  22. 21. (Gabriel R.) I’ve been using that for a while! But the Three-Me-Egos is the best one I’ve seen so far (think it’s from Dan Le Batard).


  23. I like the Miami Hate as the nickname for that team. Lebron’s efficiency will fall since he’ll be playing with sand in his shorts this year.


  24. Hey Darius I’m definitely in for some Fantasy Basketball this upcoming season. Keep us posted if you actually go through with it. Thanks!


  25. Just brought this over from an older post

    I know it’s an old topic, but man I am sick of Dic… I mean Doc Rivers spewing that trash about “our starting five has never lost”. It just is pouty and inane. Yeah Doc. How about we have your healthy starting five against OUR healthy starting five. That goes for 08 without Bynum and Ariza too. Not only is this Boston team a Boston team, but they have the worst attitude I’ve seen from any NBA team in history. A bunch of spoiled little brats.


  26. Or one better, how about we all move to some magical land where no one ever gets hurt or hobbled, ever.


  27. “Our starting five against the Lakers starting five has a ring…. We will be back strong and Perk (Kendrick Perkins) will be there next year if there’s a game seven.”

    The funniest thing about that statement is that Perkins is by far the worst player of their starting five and he only missed one and a half games. By comparison Bynum is the Lakers number three option, who missed the entire 2008 series and was very limited with injury throughout the 2010 series.

    As previously noted their starting five does not have a ring against the Lakers starting five. That is just a dumb statement.

    I hope that the Celtics can keep it together for one more season, delaying the Heat’s eventual dominance of the East and providing a great rematch, where hopefully everyone is healthy and Doc eats his words.


  28. Oh the wonderful Doc “Revisionist” Rivers! By utilizing his semantically-based logic, alas, Lakers’ history has now been re-adjusted.

    1980: unfortunately, we still can’t claim the title because our own Kareem got hurt, and we’ll just have to erase Magic’s amazing performance moonlighting as a center. Sorry, using Doc’s logic here.

    1989: Pistons didn’t really “win” the Finals because we didn’t have Magic and Byron due to injuries.

    2004: Oh, Malone got hurt, so let’s scratch that one off as well.

    and 2008: Bynum was hurt, so I guess neither team won the championship that year.

    I’m sure there are more Doc-based revisionist history here (please do chime in with more examples). What a world we would live in! BTW, according to Docsology, you can simply not start a starter in an elimination game, and still retain the “we didn’t have all our starters” title.


  29. If Team USA doesn’t win the tournament this year, Doc Rivers can whine that it was all the fault of Rondo’s abesnce.

    (Set aside the fact that the guy was possibly going to be cut because he shoots worse than a blind 84-year-old with one arm. But facts don’t matter to Doc, do they…?”)


  30. I’m surprised people are so up in arms over Doc’s statement. This isn’t like Phil tweaking the Spurs over their ‘asterisk’ title. Nobody is going to look back 20 years from now and think: “Man, the Lakers really dodged a bullet when Perkins missed Game 7”. Yes it was a dumb thing to say, but he’s the head coach of a team that isn’t exactly known for classiness.

    Besides, as delusions go it’s got nothing on Pierce claiming he was the best player in the world a couple years ago.


  31. i would LOVE to play in an FB&G fantasy bball league… please let us know if it’s a go (and count me in if it is), Darius! =)