The Lakers are now 0-5 against the “elite” teams in the league (Spurs, Heat, Mavs, Celtics). For some, that’s proof enough that this team is sunk. For others, it’s a bump in the road towards the ultimate goal. For what it’s worth, there’s value in both perspectives. It’s undoubtedly true that the Lakers will need to play better than what they did last season to win the championship this year. That’s the simple result of the other teams around the league being better than in the 09-10 campaign. The question is whether or not the Lakers are capable of doing so. For me, that question has yet to be answered and won’t be until the playoffs come. Until that point in the season comes, though, we all seek proof that it will happen. But I also see that faith is defined as a “firm belief in something for which there is no proof”. So, simply put, I guess I just have faith that when the time comes this team will be ready. That faith comes from years of watching this team play it’s best when the stakes are the highest. This year, we’ll all see whether or not that continued faith will be rewarded.
Speaking of being rewarded, the all-star reserves were announced and while Pau Gasol got the call, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum were left off the West roster. Really, considering how stacked the West is, this was to be expected and I would not consider these guys snubs. Or at least not snubs on the same level of Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge. Those guys are putting up outstanding numbers. Who they should replace is the real question though. Do you drop Duncan? How about Griffin? Maybe Deron Williams? Like I said, a stacked West this year. At least one more player will get the call though as Commissioner Stern will get to select an injury replacement for Yao. If you could choose one of the snubs to replace Yao, who would you choose?
The other day, something happened that didn’t really get the type of recognition that some thought it would. I’ll let emailer Sid take it from here: “In (Tuesday’s) overtime win against the Rockets, Kobe passed another milestone. He became only the 7th player in NBA history to join a very exclusive club whose members are all HOF’s. He joins Kareem, K. Malone, MJ, Oscar, Havlichek, & West as the only players to have 25,000+ points, 5,000+ rebounds, & 5,000+ assist in a career according to Basketball-Ref. I find this a fantastic accomplishment, more so than becoming the NBA’s 8th leading career scorer which he recently did. However I haven’t seen one story on Kobe becoming the newest member of the 25K/5K/5K club.” I agree with Sid in that this accomplishment deserves a bit more ink than it got. Scoring is sexy but it’s only one part of the game. Kobe’s one of the most complete players in the history of the association but his reputation is that of a scorer – with “81” and 40 and 50 point scoring streaks on his resume it’s easy to understand that – but when I look back on Kobe’s career in 10, 15, 20 years, I’ll also remember those 15 game 7 rebounds. I’ll remember the passes. I’ll remember all that he accomplished besides the binges of buckets he got while downing opponents.
A lot of talk about Gasol lately. We gave our two cents on him, Kobe said he needed him to be the “Black Swan”, and over at Silver Screen & Roll, wondahbap gave his thoughts on the big Spaniard. One thing you may have missed but need to go look at, though, is this great post by Sebastian Pruiti on how the Lakers get Pau his looks on offense. It’s a great X’s and O’s breakdown with video and still pictures and it gives tremendous insight on what you should be looking for every game from Pau on that side of the ball.
Speaking of offense. If you want to learn about the Triangle, you need to be reading this site.
Anyone have any thoughts on Kobe’s Nike commercials/movie? For those that haven’t seen them, here’s part 1 and part 2.
Lastly, it’s been a while since I did a mailbag and I’m looking to put one together. As usual, send me an email with mailbag question in the subject line and ask away. I hope to put it up early next week on an off-day.