Fast Break Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  August 28, 2010

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (R) holds the MVP trophy as Derek Fisher holds the Larry O'Brien championship trophy after the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals basketball series in Los Angeles, California June 17, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

We kick off the first day of the FIBA World Championships with some fast break thoughts.

*Competitive basketball (where teams are actually trying to win something meaningful) returns today with the start of the FIBA World Championships in Turkey.  There are loads of good previews for this tourney all over the web so if you’re looking for the skinny on each of the teams, you don’t have to go searching too hard.  Over at Pro Basketball Talk, there’s a good preview of Team USA’s group and if you visit the NBA Facts and Rumors blog at CBS sports, you’ll find a comprehensive preview of the entire tourney that includes non NBA players to watch and sleeper teams.

*And speaking of the Worlds, if you’re looking for some insight into Team USA’s opponent today, go read Chris Sheridan’s post at TrueHoop where he gets a brief breakdown from Tony Ronzone on the former European power. (h/t to Kurt at PBT)

*One last point on the Worlds – most hoops junkies are interested in this event because it’s real basketball after a summer of free agency, trades, and talks of next year’s looming CBA negotiations.  Or, there’s always the patriotic angle where nationalism rules and you root for your home country (whatever country that may be).  But, this event is also where your favorite team may have a player or two on the squad and you want to see how those guys perform.  On that note, Rob Mahoney has a very good read on where the Worlds and OKC intersect that is worth your time.  And from a Lakers’ perspective, I know I’ll be watching Lamar Odom quite closely.  As I’ve said before, I think his game is built for FIBA as his versatility from the front court allows him to do whatever the team needs on both offense and defense.  Over at FanHouse, a closer look is taken at LO and how playing some Center for the U.S. team is just another thing that the do it all big man is taking on.

*In case you didn’t know, yesterday Derek Fisher filled in as host for Jim Rome on his t.v. show “Rome is Burning”.  Fish was his normal classy and dapper self and handled himself well, I thought.  Fish interviewed Bucks PG Brandon Jennings, got in some basketball talk with former NFL defensive lineman Marcellus Wiley, and spoke to some guy named “Kobe” for over 8 and a half minutes (way to hog the camera time #24).  Some interesting quotes came out of that interview (we’ll get to those in a minute), but for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking that even though Kobe had his guard down speaking to one of his closest friends and teammates, he’s still very media savvy and knows that whatever he says (even when speaking to a friend in a joking environment) can get framed and twisted in churn of media regurgitation.

However, Kobe did say some interesting things nonetheless.  His most played comment will probably be him comparing the teaming of the Heat’s new triumvirate to my favorite cartoon of all time.  My only question is who is the Blue Lion?  My vote goes to Bosh, but Mike Miller may be a candidate too.  Another interesting thing that Kobe said was that while he can never say never, he’s 99.9% sure that he’ll retire a Laker.  Over at PBT, Matt Moore tells us that it’s actually kind of rare for great players to stay with the same team for their entire career.  And when you think about it, he’s right.  Sure Magic and Bird did. West and Baylor did too.  As did Stockton and the “Admiral” David Robinson.  But who else?

*Finally, in case you did miss Fish grilling Kobe (sorry, I haven’t eaten breakfast yet) here’s the entire interview.  Enjoy.

Darius Soriano

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to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. Dwayne Wade is the Black Lion as he’s the leader of the team.

    I say Lebron is the Blue Lion as um… blue figured prominently in several of the Cav’s 137219 alternate uniform sets.

    Udonis Haslem is the Green Lion, green representing the marijuana leaf.


  2. Who else?

    Bill Russell? Reggie Miller (13th in WS ranking)? Duncan and Nowitzki (both have more WS than Kobe)? Havlicek?

    That said in the top 50 (by basketball-reference WS) there are only 13 such players, but in the top 100 only 16. In the top 20 – 7. So it seems the better player, the higher chance of him playing the whole career for one franchise. Common sense tells the same story, right?


  3. Just wanted to say that, as always, Fish shows that he is a class act. Incredibly smart, always prepared, always knowing what to say and when to say it, funny without ever crossing the line and becoming ridiculous. Great guy. I’m sure I’ll rant about him in 4 months, when a second string PG looks like an All-Star against him, but what a good human being.


  4. Nowitski was drafted 9th and traded to Dallas for the 5th pick (Tractor). Does that disqualify him?


  5. P.S. What does WS mean?


  6. WS=website?

    Anyway, Kobe was drafted by Charlotte by the same logic, so does that disqualify him? Probably not because he ‘played’ his entire career as a Laker.

    As for Voltron, I always thought it was funny how the black lion was much bigger than the rest (I had the toy).

    If they’re Voltron, what are we? Gatchaman?


  7. I believe WS = win shares


  8. Craig, that’s pretty subjective.. but since he never even played a single game for any other NBA team, shouldn’t count, no?


  9. Joel (#7) is right. WS = Win Shares. For those that aren’t familiar with win shares, here’s an explanation from basketball-reference.

    Also, I probably should have refined my point and restricted this to players that played a fair amount of their careers after free agency became a reality. So, that disqualifies West, Baylor, Russell, and Havilicek. So if using players from the modern era (for lack of a better term), the list is really only Bird, Magic, Stockton, Reggie Miller, David Robinson, Duncan, Dirk, Kobe (for the last 3, we’re saying so far) and if you want to talk about guys post NBA/ABA merger Issel and Dr. J could be on this list as well. Now, look at the guys that didn’t: Jordan, Kareem, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Shaq, Barkley, Hakeem, KG, Payton, Kidd, Ewing, Pippen, Lebron, Drexler, Dominique, and many more in the top 50 of win shares. And if you throw back in the guys like West and Baylor, you have to also add in Wilt, Artis Gilmore, and Oscar Robertson. So, frankly I disagree when saying “the better the player, the more likely he stayed” because 8 of the top 10 players when measured by win shares played for at least 2 teams. Essentially, it’s pretty rare – which was my point.


  10. iirc, there were three versions of voltron. the popular 5 lions version, the version with about 30 components, and the voltron with 3 components.

    the Heat are more like the 3 component one. not the universally beloved lion version.


  11. If the Heat are the 3 component Voltron, then the Lakers are the 6-piece Ultrazord.


  12. Excuse me, 7 pieces, lol…


  13. Thank God for the FIBA tourney. Some nice players out there. Dragic looks really good, but we’ll see how he fares against our guards tomorrow. Tiago Splitter is going to be the real deal for the Spurs, just a solid player inside. Batum is also going to have a break-out year next year. His defense and newfound offensive intestinal fortitude is not good news to us Lakers fans.

    I would love for the good ole’ USA to win it, but it should be a good tourney.


  14. chibi, not sure if they were all released in the US as part of Voltron, but the 3 piece one, you referring to the one with an eagle, elephant and a lion?

    now that we got the robot comparison going, i’m calling Boston the Decepticon Devastator (annoying individual pieces), and we’d probably be closer to the dinobots. Teamwork without blatant piecing together 😉


  15. be sure to watch germany vs serbia today.
    germany had argentina on their heels yersterday, but lost because of inexpierience under pressure. it was still an impressive performance.

    the current teams of germany and serbia match up pretty equal as it is, but without kristic, serbia will have to play very hard to secure a win.


  16. wow.. this US squad is sure a thing of beauty.. NOT. 🙂


  17. Harold,

    The Lakers can’t be the dinobots. Grimlock sounded like preschooler! The Lakers are the Airialbots. I don’t think they ever got anytime on the cartoon, but the toys were awesome! I loved airplanes as a kid. And five transforming airplanes that combined to form one robot was the ultimate for me.


  18. Also, I really believe this World Championship run will do wonders for Kevin Durant. That kid is truly awesome. I really believe he will take over the mantle when Mr. Bryant finally calls it a career.

    KD’s humilty, skill and approach to the game make you want to root for him. I really hope he maintains that humble approach (a la Tim Duncan). I know many people think the league is going to Hades in a handbasket. But guys like Durant and Westbrook really give me hope for the future of the league.


  19. T. Rogers, watching Artest’s interview, I really think him and Grimlock are just perfect matches. Not that I think Artest isn’t smart, but there is indeed something about him 😉

    Aerialbots, I only saw on the catalogue. There was another decepticon that had voltron like animals put together, but I forgot that one’s name too.