Today we continue our journey through all of the NBA Team Previews a little closer to home. There is only one preview on the Clippers and it will be followed by a collection of Lakers links. Enjoy.
From Steve Perrin, Clippers Nation: What Significant Moves were made during the off-season? The NBA off-season was dominated by mega-star free agents, in particular LeBron James. When the Clippers unloaded Al Thornton and Sebastian Telfair at the trade deadline, they assured themselves of having enough money under the salary cap to pursue James or any other big name. Indeed, they were one of six NBA teams invited to make a pitch to LeBron and his minions. But Neil Olshey and Andy Roeser probably never had a chance, their meeting lasted less than an hour, and LeBron eventually joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. Still sitting on a big pile of cash, the Clippers could turn their attentions to another free agent. Who would it be? Joe Johnson? Rudy Gay? How about Clips Nation favorite Josh Childress? Nope. Try Ryan Gomes, Randy Foye and Brian Cook.
From Gary Washburn, Boston.com: “The minute I heard Kobe [Bryant] say he had one more ring than Shaq, I said to Danny, ‘Let’s go get Shaq,’ and it happened,’’ said Grousbeck. “This is a very, very proud bunch of guys, the champions from ’08. And now with Jermaine and Shaq and Delonte, who haven’t been champions with us, this could be a good group. We’ve got huge challenges but we reloaded this summer. We really want banner No. 18.’’
From Jeff Miller, OC Register: We’re big enough here to admit when we’re wrong and, it turns out, there is now empirical proof we erred with Kobe Bryant. He is still superior to LeBron James. A survey released last week showed that Bryant remains the most disliked player in the NBA, the Laker again showing his renowned ability to close by holding off a fast-falling LeBron. The Q Scores Company reported that James, rocket-boosted by the manner in which he left Cleveland for Miami, went from being beloved to being a flesh-consuming virus. Based on how violently LeBron’s numbers shifted, he is now as popular as the recession.
From Lakers.com: Though no stranger to hitting clutch shots in the playoffs – including his two massive three-pointers that won Game 4 of the 2009 Finals – Derek Fisher had never dominated a quarter before … until scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter of Game 3 to lead L.A. to a critical 91-84 victory. The biggest of Fisher’s clutch plays was an and-1 layup over through three converging Celtics with 48.3 seconds to go, giving L.A. a seven-point lead they’d preserve to take a 2-1 series lead and home court advantage back from Boston.
From Eoin Connolly, SportsNooz.com: Los Angeles Lakers will make their first appearance in Europe for nearly twenty years after the NBA confirmed that the 2009 champions will join the New York Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves for this year’s pre-season Europe Live Tour. The three teams will play two games each in the fifth edition of the tour, which tips off with a game between the Knicks and Armani Jeans Milano in Milan, Italy on 3rd October. The Lakers will play the Timberwolves at London’s O2 Arena on 4th October – the fourth game in four years at the Greenwich-based venue – before heading to Spain to play Regal FC Barcelona three days later. The Palais Omnisports Paris Bercy in Paris will host a game between the Knicks and the Timberwolves on October 6th.
From Mike Truddell, Basket Blog: Lakers second round picks Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter have been a constant, collective presence at the team’s practice facility since Labor Day, serving the dual purpose of learning Phil Jackson’s system and getting physically ready for training camp. Assistant coach Jim Cleamons was at the team’s facility on Friday continuing the off-season triangle offense instruction started in July by fellow assistant Chuck Person (pictured below), while strengh and conditioning chief Chip Schaefer continued to put the rooks through off-court drills and excercises. After a Friday morning session, Ebanks and Caracter joined us to discuss their first impressions of the organization, their days as AAU teammates, Tupac vs. Biggy and more:
From Kyle Stack, SLAM Online: Lamar Odom has been given many labels throughout his 11-season career — upcoming star, versatile, underachiever. At 30 years old, he can add another one. Winner. In the past 15 months, Odom has won two NBA championships and a World Championships gold medal. This isn’t the path many suspected he would take as little as three years ago, when he finished his eighth season with the Lakers getting promptly knocked out of the playoffs’ first round in five games. Up to that point, Odom had made the Playoffs three times but had advanced beyond the first round only once. Furthermore, he had been on just one team that finished with a regular season record more than two games over .500.
From Shane Lambert, Crunch Sports: Kobe Bryant is considered the favorite to win the coveted MVP Award for the approaching NBA seads that sportsbook have set odds on the Los Angeles Laker guard at +250 (5/2) to win the award outright. That kind of status in that betting market carries the presumption that Bryant is the best player in the NBA but if you look at stats in depth then he’s not even the top 5 talent among all active players – not from a career perspective. The best statistic to look at in basketball is Win Shares per 48 minutes and if you don’t know what those are then I’m sorry but you know nothing about basketball. Against all active players that have ample NBA experience, Bryant is 8th in that very important category.